How Do You Measure A Great Race

How do we measure the signs if a good race? Is it simply by the time on the finisher clock or is it by the experience as a whole?  For the past 16 weeks, I had some of the coldest and best Saturday mornings of my life.  Bonding with my running buddies, meeting new runners, and succeeding on some seriously great training runs.  I trained alongside my favorite runner peeps. In those 16 weeks I witnessed many physical and spiritual milestones occur. Friends became marathoners, walkers became runners, and a group of 120 people became bonded for life. For three days last weekend I had opportunities that until now, I could have only dreamed about.

I spent last Friday working under my friend and fellow social media expert Brittany as part of the J&A Shamrock Social Media Green Room Team. Tweeting, posting, responding and interacting online through social media with fellow Shamrockers was a blast.


Social Media Green Room

I was able to escort members of the elite field to a local elementary school for a final mile pep rally. Introducing this group of athletes I am proud and honored to call friends to a group of future runners and witnessing their excitement was exciting.  Having conversations about the future of running and the running community with Olympian and 2014 Shamrock Marathon winner Joanna Zeiger Shenk is an opportunity I will cherish for years to come.


Elite Athletes Kris Lawrence and Joanna Zeiger Shenk

The day of the Shamorck 8k, I found myself working the finish line shoot handing out the elite athletes gear check bags as they came through the finish. The times put down on our local course were something I classify as ridiculously fast and impressive. Local names and elite athletes alike seemed to destroy the flat, fast 8k course.  The night before race day I was privileged to share dinner space with my coach, close friends, Ultramarathon badass Mike Wardian, and members of the Collegiate Running Association. The speed, talent, and knowledge around that table that night was astounding. There came a point as we ate where I just settled in to my chair and soaked up the moment and logged it in my mind forever. I seemed un-phased that in just a few hours I would be running myself.


The morning of the race I woke up to texts, emails, and messages from friends and family wishing me luck on my journey. At zero dark thirty, I found myself in a conversation with my dear friend Krista who would be tackling her first marathon. There was never a doubt in my mind she would destroy it. Her, along with several other friends had big hopes and dreams banking on the 26.2 miles that lay ahead for them. As I ran through Fort Story on the backside of my 13.1, they all were on my heart.  After I had finished and recovered,  it was time to press myself against the Marathon finish line and wait with baited breath for my marathon friends. They came in like clockwork, 2:52, 3:02, 3:16, and 3:27 for Krista. BQ, BQ, BQ, and BQ (Boston Qualify)! As soon as she crossed I ran to meet her in the shoot and we both stood there embracing with tears rolling down our face. This was another moment I logged into my memory forever. We would always remember the moment she destroyed her first full, BQ’ed and that moment we cried.

Think back to a recent race and think beyond the actual time it took to complete it on race day. Think back to the memories of training, the friends you might have made, the milestones you accomplished, and the fun you had. You may just find that the joy is immeasurable after all. Somewhere over the Shamrock rainbow dreams really do come true.


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35 – 14 – 4 = Lucky #17 : Shamrock 2015

My earliest childhood memory that involves running includes a 100 meter trot with my dad and his college buddies around the Bridgewater Track in Harrisonburg Virginia. Dad was a sprinter in high school and college. To this day, he meets up with his college track buddies at least one weekend every year. Growing up I thought running was how you were supposed to start your day. My dad would wake up before the sun, make the coffee, and soon after he would hit the roads for an hour or more. When I was young and I would spend the night at friend’s house, I would often ask  ”What time does your dad go running?” I assumed everyone’s dad started their day that way.

When I was old enough, I started running in the mornings before school or work with him. My freshman year of highschool I began running cross country/track. I immediately took to the love of the sport. I made some great friends just like my dad had done. Spring of that year Dad had the idea of the two of us running the Shamrock 8k together at the Oceanfront. Growing up in Chesapeake made the sound of the boardwalk run sound exciting and a must! In 1994 this was my first road race. We started and ended at what was then the Virginia Beach Pavilion. Back then, the marathon was on the same day as the 8k. After the race, Dad insisted we hang around and watch the elite runners finish the 26.2. At the time I didn’t understand why he was so adamant we stay and watch. We found a spot on the curb right near the finish and I remember my amazement as these lean, quick men and women completed the marathon challenge with what looked like little effort. It was that moment I developed a true respect for the sport. I knew it was something that would become a part of my life for a long time.

The past 20 years Dad and I haven’t missed a Shamrock except for the 4 years I was in college. A few years ago after facing some personal challenges,  I decided I wanted to tackle the Shamrock Half instead of the 8k like I had done so many years before. I remember how nervous I was to tell Dad I would not be running the 8k with him. He couldn’t have been more supportive or excited. Not only did he come back on Sunday to watch me, he held down bike patrol on the north end and cheered me to the finish. That year, I was barely able to run that last 5k of my 13.1 but he was there every step.

Last year I had the privilege of serving as a J&A Ambassador and training on the Shamrock Training Team. This was a dream come true for the little girl from Chesapeake who feel in love with running at Shamrock so many years before. I tackled the half marathon again and this time I had set out to break the 2:00 mark. This time, Mom and Dad decided to make a weekend out of it. They reserved a hotel room and Saturday we cheered Dad on for the 8k. Sunday was my turn. Dad met me at my hotel early and escorted me to the start line as any great coach would do. After a few last words of encouragement I was off.  As I exited Fort Story, Dad was there with the bike and he had the biggest smile. I think we both knew I was gonna break two! As I came down the boardwalk, Mom and Dad were both there screaming.  I crossed the finish line at 1:57 and change!

This year it will again be a family affair. Mom is volunteering for J&A. I am working for J&A and running alongside my J&A teammates.  Dad is tackling his first Shamrock Half! I just celebrated my 35th birthday and Dad is turning 60 during race week. The numbers on the clock may track our pace, but the memories in our hearts track our miles! Dad and I have trained separately. But we encouraged each other every step of the way with texts and calls back and forth through the last 12 weeks. I have no doubt each of us will finish strong and it will sure to be a Shamrock in Horton history!

For more on my Shamrock journey through the years, click Shamrock Articles

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The Power of Positivity in Race Training


The above quote is something I heard a lot growing up. My mother has this hanging in our house.  It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized how powerful of a mantra it truly is. This a great daily reminder on how to tackle the world.

Each day we wake up with a choice. We have the choice to be happy. Life throws challenges and obstacles at us constantly. Sometimes the challenges can become to much to bare and we may even break. While we do not have the ability to control everything that comes our way, we do have the ability to control how we handle, cope, or deal with stressful and unpleasant situations.

For example, when it rains and the roads become icy as they did many times this past training season, many of us were faced with a training choice. You can either…complain that the streets are bad, the roads are icy, the weather sucks, you never will get thru training…or embrace the off chance you have to train on the treadmill and realize you can hit your speed workout at a guaranteed pace by setting it and forgetting it. That was a choice to change your outlook.

I recently heard “X is happy all the time, nothing bad must ever happen to X!” I would bet that this certain X individual embraces the power of positivity and choice. The choice to be happy. What good would it do to carry themselves with doom and gloom? I have been guilty of spreading my negative energy with my friends before. The only thing my complaining did was steal the good energy right out of them. I was becoming a joy stealer! It was in a moment like that several years ago I realized that the energy I was putting out into the world is exactly the energy I was recieving back.  Ask yourself, do you want to spread joy or steal it? Looking at the negative side of life is exhausting and no fun. Harboring stress and negativity inside your body makes you tired and can even cause you physical pain.

When things fall apart in my world, I take a beat at that moment to make a choice. Sure, I allow myself the time for a meltdown every now and then. But once it is out of my system, I am on to listing out all the wonderful things I have in life, verses the few sucky things wasting my energy. Running has been a coping mechanism for me in these situations for years. One of my mentors often says, “When life is good, running is good” and he is right. Essentially, when your outlook is positive and strong your running will follow suit.  This mentor also talks about the dreaded devil on your shoulder during a race. Training for a full or half marathon, we can be tempted to listen to the devil on our shoulder.

“You will never finish, You are tired, You are weak”


“You are well trained, You have practiced, You’ve got this!”

I find the Power of Positivity particularly important during race week. Some runners go into what is known as a race cave. They hibernate to get their mind right and steer clear of distractions. I find myself doing something similar. Many of my friends now know this about me and they even contribute by sending positive vibes my way during race week. Whenever I have a big race approaching I spend time doing some of the following.

Watch an inspirational sports film

Find positive quotes and mantras on Pinterest, Google, Bible

Spend time with uplifting people

Avoid as many stressful situations as you can

Create a happy playlist

You have worked to hard to let a battle sidetrack or sideline you now. Life is fluid and challenges present themselves daily. You will not be able to avoid most of them or even tackle them all. But with the power of positivity and the will to stay strong, you are more likely to overcome it in stride while keeping a smile on your face. Stay positive, stay focused on the finish and stay powerful!

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Hemp Hearts

Last month I mentioned my grocery store tour through a local market. On the tour I was educated on some different plant based proteins. One of those foods I mentioned was hemp. When you hear hemp, you may think of those hippie days from high school when the surfer dude was sporting a hemp necklace. Well be prepared to become enlightened on the health benefits of hemp.

Hemp comes from the Cannibas plant. Yup you heard correctly. The same plant that produces marijuana. This plant is making headlines everywhere it seems these days from Colorado dispensaries to the isles of your local market. Cannibas is thought to be one of the oldest domesticated crops dating back to the settlers. The bottom line is there are two distinctive types of Cannibas plants: one for providing us hemp…and one for a more recreational use.


Hemp as we are discussing today is grown in Western Canada and most of all the plant can be used. The hemp seed at the top of the plant is what Manitoba Harvest uses to bring us Hemp Hearts. Hemp in this form contains 0.001% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and will NOT cause a psychoactive effect. They are convenient for life in the go and easy to sprinkle onto oatmeal or salads. With 10 grams of protein and 10 grams of omegas per serving, Hemp Hearts have more protein and omegas and less carbs than the same serving of chia or flax.



To enter to win a bag of Hemp Hearts for yourself, do two things. Share this post on your Facebook page and leave us a comment on our Facebook page once you’ve shared it. Be sure to use #hashtag #thefitpetite and #hemphearts


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76th Street Tote: North End Bag Company

I am always on the hunt for the perfect bag. One that can handle all my goods and hold up against my busy lifestyle. I have gathered quite a collection of totes over the past few years and only a couple are able to handle what I throw in them. The latest bag to my collection is reaching the top spot on the list.


In My Bag
Scentsy, Headbands of Hope, Brooks, Fitness Journal, Arbonne

Virginia Beach based, North End Bag Company is a local company with a great product.  Their one of a kind bags are taking the marketplace by storm. You may have read about them in Distinction last month. Local artisan Aaron McLellan spends countless hours in his studio handcrafting, designing, and sewing each bag. The quality in the material and the combination of leather and canvas looks like something you would find on the streets of Cape Cod and we are lucky enough to have this gem here.


76th Street Tote, Wearing the Side Sling Option

As a local business owner, I am always looking to support, collaborate, and promote other local business owners who share a similar passion for their craft. A few weeks ago I was fortunate to catch up with Aaron in his studio as he broke away from his sewing machine for a few minutes. As I admired the fine leather and canvas that filled the room, we spent the time talking business, bags, the beach and beyond. As the conversation developed, I shared with him that as someone on the go I am always on the hunt for just the perfect bag. As a chick, I want a bag that can take me from the gym to lunch and be equally impressive in both settings. He began asking me what style and features I found appealing in a bag. Immediately I answered with the explanation of pockets. Keeping things organized in my busy life is partitive. Before we knew it, a new item in the North End Bag Company collection was being conceived. Their latest addition proves to be functional, durable, and a lot more.

I am thrilled to announce exclusively  for a first look at The Fit Petite ,the 76th Street Tote. The 76th Street Tote is multi-functional and unisex. With pockets and handles galore, the bag can make it through the workday, travel, or leisure. I am proud to bring you the first looks at this amazing piece. The bags found at North End are high quality works of art featuring the finest stitching and woven fabrics.

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76th Street Tote w pockets and handles

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