There is no "I" in RUN (I thought that was pretty darn creative!)

I think when most people think of the sport of running they make the assumption that you accomplish everything on your own.  There is little anyone else can contribute to the success/failure of a runner.

This is far from the truth; in fact I would argue running, more then ANY other sport, critically needs support both personally and financially.

First, there's the mental part.  Running is 90% mental.  You are out there day after day, logging the miles, a majority of them solo.  You have a lot of time to get into your head :)  Trust me on that one. And when race day comes, especially for the art of the marathon, you have spent an entire year preparing, thinking about this one race, this one day.  And no one can help you when you are out there, it's your 2 legs;  there is no team to fall back on.  You can't blame the bonk on "Johnny" who missed the field goal, no sunshine, you just didn't cut it!  After all this work, you cannot afford to goof this up; you will have wasted all that training. This is where the support comes in.  Jodi, my mom, Justin, and Adam have walked me off many a cliff.  I quite possibly would be running on a hamster wheel in a cage without them.  You have to have this core group who knows you, knows what to say and WHEN (that is key).   They are your support, your foundation, they bring you back to reality so you can execute on race day.

Second, coaching yourself in running is very difficult.  Many professional runners who try it end up turning back.  It is hard to see the end goal - and then draw the map there.  It takes someone really skilled to step back and build the plan as you go adapting to your workouts, milestone races, and even "life".  I have been blessed to have a coach do this for me.  They also learn you in a way most of your friends/family do not; a coach/athlete relationship is very deep bond that only those 2 understand.  My coach knows I love cheer-leading when I kick a workout's ass - it fires me up; but I do NOT like to be patted on the back when I bomb it; accountability works for me - so I'd rather hear it, face reality, and that really FIRES me up.  

Third, back to my Mr. Magoo post.  Your team.  Running competitively is a full time job - literally for the really good ones; but also for the serious ones.  Logging 90+ miles a week takes a lot of time outside those on the road.  Every runner is different but depending on what makes you tick this could involve chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, acupuncture people, nutritionists, blood work experts, strength coaches, yoga teachers, Pilates instructors, ART/MAT specialists, etc.  This crew keeps you on the road and at your peak performance day in and day out.  And then for those blessed enough, your actual teammates; having the best in the US :)  I can honestly say the accountability and push that they gave you, change the game.  It is fitting our sponsor, Pantene, is powered by a Stronger Together campaign right now. Obviously, they intend for it to be in regards to shampoo and conditioner; but there is a powerful second meaning that our team lives by; hence we tag EVERY tweet, picture, post #SDPStrongerTogether - we believe it too, just like Pantene!

Lastly, and here comes the fun part!!!!  Financial Sponsors.  The common thought is running is simple, all you need is shoes....well yes - but at 90 miles a week, and 300 miles per shoe, that's roughly a pair of shoes every 3-4 weeks, or 13-14 shoes a year (and those are just for base training); depending on the runner there is also a need for racing flats, track workouts, or trail runs. That's a lot of shoes!:)    As my old neighbor can attest to,  I could open a shoe store in my front hallway.  And we've just talked shoes, there are so many key pieces that are the details that truly set apart good to great: socks, hydration, fueling, timing splits, HRM, etc.

I am wicked (shout out to my East Coast buddies!) excited to share my sponsors for this year.   I could not be more fired up or proud to chase big things in 2015 knowing I represent these amazing sponsors.  The best part about these sponsors is that I am truly an avid user of all of them; I would wear/brag/sell them to people even if they were not on board with this journey. I just plain love them.

So here we go; here's an introduction to each.  And this is just the beginning!  Throughout the year I will do fun contests and giveaways for FREE product!

Full disclosure #PGEMP
I have to start with P&G, because how many people can truly say they are really proud of who they work for and what they stand for?  P&G has had my back many times throughout my 10 years with them; and so it is picture perfect that they are 100% behind my running dream.  P&G makes over 100+ brands; most famously Tide, Bounty, Pampers, Pantene, Always, Cover Girl, Gillette, and Secret.  Obviously I have the inside perspective but these products are truly the best out there, you would not believe the pride and rigor that goes into being the best - because every single day people ask the question how does the product make life easier/better for the consumer?  I never once sat in a meeting where I felt it was about making a dollar, I always felt like it was about making a life better.  And while the products are great, the people are even better.  

I am probably most excited about this sponsor because I have always really been shoe frustrated; until I found Skechers.  Many people say Skechers?  Yes this not your grandfather's Cadillac ( I have always wanted to say that!)  Many elites have started wearing them; including Meb and Kara; but I urge you to try them if you are looking for a new running shoe.  I made the switch because of their dedication to elite running and truly designing towards and with runners.  The 2 things I like most about their line-up is the wide forefront and lightweight feel.   I run 70% of my miles in the GO Run Ride 4's,  10% of my miles in trail shoes the GOBionic Trail, and 10% of miles in racing flats the GOmeb speed 3's.  You can check them all out here...http://www.skechers.com/brands/go?cm_mmc=microsite-_-SKXPerformance-_-MainHomePage-_-ShopNow.

Nuun!  Pronounced "noon" like the time for lunch (my favorite meal of the day because that means it's peanut butter sandwich time!)  By now, I think most folks have heard me rave about this product. It truly changed the game for me in terms of hydration.  My whole fueling journey could be a post in itself; so I will just leave it simple and say - it took me about 5 years to realize I was not drinking enough, and then 1 month (due to a minor heat stroke incident  - let's hope mom is NOT reading this) to realize I was not drinking enough electrolytes.  60% of your fluids need to have electrolytes to replace what you lose out of sweat, etc.  So say you drink 100 oz a day; 60 of those suckers need to have electrolytes.  I literally can FEEL a "pop" after I drink Nuun; like it resets me or something.  Anyways without any artificial anything in it; I am a huge fan.

My socks!!!  My feet are very ugly, it's okay, even Justin has told me they are brutal.  You really do not find me prancing around barefoot as a foot model anyway so as long as they are happy, I am happy.  And socks - these socks - have made them very happy.  Swiftwick is a made in the USA company, which I love, and they just get athletes.  They are compression socks, which many people argue the benefit of compression, here is what my humble opinion is.  If you think you will run faster in blue underwear, wear it.  If you think you will race faster in compression socks do it (neither factually will do that for you).  BUT, I do believe that the recovery compression socks provide is REAL.  So I wear them for recovery runs, long runs, and while traveling.  OK, I have also been seen getting the mail in them too.  ("Mommy why is that girl wearing tall socks? in 120 degree heat).  I literally feel lighter in the legs after I take them off, like I could bounce.  Huge fan.
Sweaty Bands!  This one is a long time supporter of me, I have raced in my famous red polka dot band for years; most people know me by that!  I recently have changed that up, but still love this product.  I sweat A LOT...I would argue more then the average person my height/weight, so this keeps from the EYE BURN syndrome which I struggled with forever.  Sweat burns man!  Plus if you are a fashionista, which I am not, you can literally get one however you like!  Great for hot yoga, running, the gym, heck even frolicking around in the grocery store.  I will wear Sweaty Bands for the rest of my life (well assuming I have hair - let's not worry about that yet, I digress.)

2:43,  I want to see that number so bad, and I need a good GPS watch to read it on :)   Soleus Running watches are actually named after the muscle in your calf - very powerful - that basically enables you to run.  It's a simple muscle, but powerful in nature.  This watch is the same; once you learn it, it;s simple to navigate but the data it provides is powerful in advancing your  training:  HR info, splits, avg. pace, insta pace, calories (who cares about those), and of course time.  You never want to become a data hound, but I will say like the old reading rainbow commercial  - The more you know, the more you grow!  Data can transform your running.  Anyways, I am huge fan!

This post has turned out to be rather long, but it's important to me to say thank you to the real team behind the miles.  Every step, every milestone, is in part thanks to YOU :)

Here's to AGGRESSIVE goals, SMART training, and BIG dreams in 2015!

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