Tag Archives: running

Building Community With The Makeshift 5k

I want to say a big thank you to everyone who participated in the #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k on Saturday!


I had a great time walking with Javacia, the fearless leader of See Jane Write and my blogging guru. I kept one eye on Facebook and Instagram and was so excited to see all of your posts coming in, and those that came later in the day when the temperature was cooler.


I have to say, what I have loved most about organizing the Makeshift 5k is building a community of people who want to cheer each other on as we work on our fitness.

This event started out as a way to keep my walking/running fitness level up in between larger “official” races that I like to do. But budget-wise, registering for a 5k every couple of months at $30 a pop just wasn’t going to happen. So I wanted to set a regular date for myself to get walking/running, and then I thought, why not invite readers, family and friends to join in?!

Thankfully you have all responded so positively, and it’s definitely something I want to keep going!

I know we all need a little push sometimes to work on our fitness. It’s not easy to squeeze in workouts with our busy schedules. But having a goal like a 5k can keep us focus and motivated. It’s been working for me, and I hope it works for you, too!

So get ready for the next #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k coming on Sept. 26! Hopefully it will be cooler then in all parts of the country, and we can enjoy getting our run/walk on together!  

Mark your calendars for Sept. 26, and check back here for more updates!


The Next #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k: July 18

I know, I know what you’re thinking: a 5k? In July? Seriously, Jen?

Yup! Look, if I was able to start my #stellarmiles challenge last summer, we can certainly run or walk 3.1 miles on July 18 … as long as it’s early. Like, really early.

So I hope you will get ready to meet me at 7 a.m. on Saturday, July 18, and run or walk with me!

5k magnet Please let me emphasize the WALK portion of this #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k. I want to encourage everyone to challenge themselves with the distance of 3.1 miles, but know that walking the entire way, or part of the way, is absolutely 100% OK! If you want to run the whole way, that’s OK, too. The more, the merrier!

During the next couple of months, I will offer running and walking tips in my new monthly newsletter (subscribe to the right!) with links to other articles or inspiration. Look for more on this topic via my Facebook page or my Instagram account, too.

And don’t forget that if you’re reading this blog outside of where I live in Alabama, you can join in virtually! Tell me how your training is going, ask me questions, and then run or walk with me on July 18. I will do another Instagram challenge that day with a giveaway included! (Stay tuned to the blog to check out what my friends won by participating in the last Makeshift 5k! I’m slow getting this prize to them, but it’s coming!)

As I work on my goals for May to find balance between eating more healthfully and still continuing to exercise, I don’t want to let my walking/running ability slide. So having a goal like this Makeshift 5k to work on, in addition to going to my boot camp, spinning and yoga classes, will keep me on track and give me a goal to work toward.

Will you join me for the #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k on July 18? I hope so!

Run With Me Saturday: IRL Or Virtually!

5k magnet

Well, April 25 is two days away, and I for one am ready to run a 5k!

First, I have to address the weather, at least here in Birmingham. The Weather Channel is calling for thunderstorms on Saturday.


I’m crossing my fingers that the storms will leave us be until the afternoon, but if it’s a torrential downpour or there’s lightning, I will cancel the run. (We will reschedule!) We don’t need any twisted ankles on slippery leaves or dangerous conditions. So please keep an eye on my Facebook page for an announcement; I will make the call by 8 a.m. CT that morning if we are running at 9 a.m. or not.

Here are the other details you need to know:

Please participate no matter where you live! If you’re a reader and you live outside Birmingham, please run with us on Saturday! We will start at 9 a.m. CT, and I’m encouraging you to let me know that you’re running, too, by taking a photo of yourself, your scenery, your Nike+ app — whatever you like — and posting it on Instagram using the hashtags #stellarmiles or #makeshift5k. Post these pics by noon CT (for all you West Coast runners and walkers!), and I will choose one participant, either local here in Birmingham or somewhere else out there, to win a prize! (Prize details to come!)

Please run OR walk! Don’t feel like you have to run if you’re a walker, or like you have to run the whole way. Go at your pace, at your ability … the only goal is to cover 3.1 miles!

Location, for my locals. If you’re planning to meet me Saturday morning, I will be at our meet-up spot by 8:45 a.m. CT. We will meet at the start of Lakeshore Trail on the Green Springs side, at the water fountain. If you’re on Green Springs, coming from Lakeshore Drive, you take a left right after passing the Circle K. Then, before you get to the soccer fields parking lot, there’s a smaller lot on your left where I will be. Here’s a map:

google map1

Google maps

We will run or walk to the entrance of Samford University, then turn around and come back. This is about 3.1 miles. (I encourage you to track yourself via an app like Nike+ or a Garmin watch, if you have one.)

Map My Run

Map My Run

If you have any questions for me, please post them on my Facebook page or email me: stellarfashionandfitness[at]gmail.com.

One note: I am not a professional running coach or a running expert. So, if you have never run or walked 3.1 miles before, please use caution and only go as far as you can. It’s always a good idea to see a doctor when starting a new exercise regimen, if you don’t already workout regularly.

I can’t wait to run on Saturday, and I hope you’ll be running or walking with me!

Get Ready To Run!

This Saturday is my Makeshift 5k — are any of you planning to come? Watch out for a Facebook post about it soon! I want to make sure if anyone locally here in Birmingham wants to run with me that day, that I don’t start without ya!

So this past weekend I went home for a surprise visit — it was my Dad’s 60th birthday and he had no idea that I was coming home! My sister and niece were part of the surprise to, and we got him good!


At the Philadelphia Zoo!

I didn’t take the time to run while I was in New Jersey last weekend, but I did a lot of walking on the boardwalk in Point Pleasant, and again Sunday at the Philadelphia Zoo.


With my beautiful sister at Martell’s Tiki Bar, Point Pleasant, NJ


With my lovely mom at the zoo!

This week I am hoping to get in two runs before doing the Makeshift 5k on Saturday (9 a.m. — and we’ll keep an eye on the weather!). I didn’t focus as much as I wanted to on getting faster this month. I intended to work on speed by doing intervals and hill training … but time got away from me, other workouts seemed more appealing, and it didn’t really happen. Nevertheless, I’m determined to beat my last 5k time by even just a little bit, and then move forward from there. Maybe we’ll have another Makeshift 5k in a couple of months!

I hope to see you out running this weekend! And if you’re planning to run your own 5k from wherever you live, be sure to let me know on my Facebook page!

Midmonth Check-in: April Goals

I’m checking in with y’all this month to report on how my fitness goals are going so far. I can’t believe it’s the 15th already!

I have been working on my speed to get ready for the Makeshift 5k I will run on Saturday, April 25. I haven’t run this month as often as I would like, however, as I started going to a new-to-me boot camp class! It is INTENSE — but I’ve left each class feeling strong and invigorated.

I like to imagine I'm The Rock while at boot camp — ha!

I like to imagine I’m The Rock while at boot camp — ha!

My plan is to continue that class twice a week, and get my workout schedule more down pat so I can also run a couple of times a week, too. I also still want to get to yoga on Wednesdays and spinning on Tuesdays as much as I can. I went to spinning last night and realized it had been too long!

When I switch up my workouts like this, it really does help keep me excited about exercising. Sometimes I get too bogged down in a routine, so a fresh class, a new challenge, really does go a long way with me.

I recently reposted on Instagram a photo and message from Lena Duhnam, of Girls on HBO. She wrote that working out has helped her anxiety, OCD and depression. I am blessed that I don’t deal with those issues, but I do have some stressful factors in my life that, without regular exercise, I’m sure would cause me to worry (sometimes needlessly) even more.

Whether you like to walk, run, dance, lift weights … it doesn’t matter! I just think finding a physical activity, no matter what it is, is so important. I know it helps me tremendously!

Another thing that helps me? An accountability partner! As Sherri and I were going through our Scale Back Alabama program, I was so pleased to find someone who didn’t mind if I texted her when I was tempted to eat something not so healthy … or after I had already done so! She’s a great, natural-born cheerleader who supports the goals of everyone around her. We both lost some weight during the challenge, which was great! But we gained something, too — a great friend! Although we had been friends before this challenge, coaching each other toward a goal brought us closer, and I’m so grateful for that!

We celebrated at a Birmingham Barons baseball game with our husbands this past weekend!

We celebrated at a Birmingham Barons baseball game with our husbands this past weekend!

How is your month going? What would you like to accomplish during the rest of April?

April Stellar Miles & Goals

Welcome to April, everyone! I can’t believe we’re already in the fourth month of 2015. Time seems to be flying by this year. In fact, in just under two months I will celebrate my first wedding anniversary! Wow!

Want to know what other anniversary I just passed? Five years since I started running! Since then I’ve run two half marathons, a few 10ks and lots of 5ks … it’s been quite a ride! I’ve had my ups and downs, but it’s still a form of exercise that I really enjoy.

As you know I am currently working on trying to get faster. I had a great 3-mile run on Friday — I ran the first two miles at a pretty good pace, and then walked a third mile. I was pretty pleased with my time because the first two miles were at a faster pace than my pace during the 5k I ran while in Texas for work.

photo (12)

I’m hoping that I can build up to running the full 3 miles without stopping to walk (though walking is fine — nothing wrong with it!), but I think that’s one way I can work on my overall pace and 5k time.

The other ways that I will work on getting faster include interval training and hills. I read from several sources (mostly Runner’s World), that this is how many runners increase their speed. One commenter said it can be as simple as adding short stretches of sprints into your run, then building up so that maybe you’re running at your usual pace for several minutes, then sprinting for a minute, etc. I think I can handle this, though I’m sure it will be a little tough!

As for hills, I have plenty of those in my neighborhood! I will start to take different routes and rather than walking the hills, like I often do, I will run them at whatever pace I can handle.

If you have any experience in trying to increase your speed, please feel free to give me some advice or refer me to any articles you would recommend!

Lastly, how did your #stellarmiles go for March? I had a great month, thanks to my work trip! I hadn’t originally planned on counting a portion of the miles I walked there toward my miles for the month, but after my first day it became apparent that I was going to get quite the workout each day, so I thought I should go for it. I racked up a total of 31 miles in March!

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Since I know I’ll be out running a lot in preparation for my totally made-up Makeshift 5k on April 25 — scheduled for 9 a.m. at the Green Springs side of Lakeshore Trail — I’m going for 30 miles again in April. I hope you’ll join me for #30stellarmiles in April — and for the Makeshift 5k on April 25!

photo (7)Do you have any running or other fitness goals for April?

Got That 5k Goin’ On

I’m back from my trip to Texas for work, and although I didn’t get in any strength-based workouts, to say I was on my feet a lot would be an understatement! I walked almost 10,000 steps each day and on Saturday, when I ran the Run Your Bass Off 5k, I had more than 12,000! I was really pleased with that, and pleased with my 5k time — 45:40 — because I hadn’t trained at all.

So, you probably know where I’m going with this — now I want to beat that time!  I’m not going to sign up for an official 5k because of my budget. But I am going to set a date, April 25, and train to beat that time. I’m not sure how much progress I can make in one month, but even if it’s just a little, that’s fine by me.

photo (7)

I will run this 5k on Lakeshore Trail in Homewood, so if anyone wants to do a Makeshift 5k with me that day, you’re welcome to join me! We will each run/walk our own race, our own pace, and meet at the finish line. Let me know if you’re interested!

I’m not exactly sure how I will go about getting faster. I’m going to research some training programs and see if I can find one to help my pace but also take into account my abilities. I don’t think I’m quite at the 10-minute mile mark right now! But maybe I’ll get there one day!

I’ll keep you posted on how training is going and the other workouts I’m doing, too.

Here’s to more miles!