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New Red-Faced Runners’ 5k Challenge!

Do you remember this photo?

Just look at all of those beautiful red faces! Those are some of the dedicated, motivated runners who joined us on the first challenge.

Now it’s time to lace up for the next Red Faced Runners Challenge. Whether you joined us on the last challenge, or you’re someone who hasn’t run a step since junior high gym class, we want you to join us on this next challenge. This has grown to be an amazing group of people who support each other through every walk or run, celebrating our accomplishments or commiserating with each other on the difficult days.
Keep on Reading »

Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen - April 2, 2013 - 8:08 am

Let’s DO THIS!! I love you girls!!

Lindsay - April 2, 2013 - 8:31 am

I’m already signed up to do The Color Run that weekend! Can’t wait!!

Amy - April 2, 2013 - 8:32 am

Looking forward to virtually running with y’all!

Lori @ RecipeGirl - April 2, 2013 - 8:39 am

So excited that we’re doing this again! I need something to keep me on track until summer bathing suit season… fast approaching!!!!

Kristen Doyle - April 2, 2013 - 9:12 am

I need this soooo much! Woo-hoo!

Traci - April 2, 2013 - 9:24 am

Yeah! I’m training for a half but love to do 5K’s for speed training. Definetely going to do this. Thanks!

Michelle Hudiburg - April 2, 2013 - 9:57 am

YES!!! Now maybe I will remember to set my alarm for my morning runs…

christi in ma - April 2, 2013 - 9:59 am

I’m signed up for a 5K on June 9th!!

Sarah @ Will Run for Pasta - April 2, 2013 - 10:54 am

Yay, I’m so glad RFR5k is back! Well, not that it ever went away, but I’m glad we’ve got another challenge going, I totally need it!!

Becky (So Very Blessed) - April 2, 2013 - 1:40 pm

YES! I’m so glad it’s been revived! It’s so much more fun to run when you’re running “with” a bunch of other ladies! Now, I’m off to look for a 5k around June 16th…in Tucson…yikes!

Sally - April 2, 2013 - 6:14 pm

Glad to be here for another one. Already signed up for a Color Me Rad 5k with my daughter. Thanks!!

Alison @ Wife Meets Life - April 3, 2013 - 7:14 am

This challenge will be a perfect way for me to explore my new neighborhood, and see what kind of runs they have in rural TX!

Carrie @ poet in the pantry - April 7, 2013 - 7:15 pm

I miss running so much. Haven’t really been able to do it since my back injury 2 years ago. BUT I would like to get back on track, and I just started going to the gym again. I will commit to this, though I cannot promise I will physically be able to run the whole 5K. :)

Kate | Food Babbles - April 7, 2013 - 7:23 pm

SO excited for this challenge!! Loved all the support of participating in the first round and can’t wait to do this again!

Jennie @themessybakerblog - April 7, 2013 - 8:03 pm

I’d love to join you ladies on your journey. How do I sign up? I’ll be running a race in June. I went to the join tab, but I didn’t find a link to join. Thanks!

Kristen Doyle - April 8, 2013 - 8:57 am

Leaving a comment and tweeting with the #RFR5K challenge is all you need to do!

Megan {Country Cleaver} - April 8, 2013 - 8:58 am

Can’t wait for another round ladies!! This is going to be fun!

Amy @ The Nifty Foodie - April 8, 2013 - 9:01 am

You know I’m in! I’ll be doing an unofficial 5k though, since race season kind of ends in May around here. Yay Louisiana summers lol!

Red Faced Runner Spotlight: Amy from The Nifty Foodie

Dear readers – we’re sorry for the crickets here lately. Life has gotten busy for all of us, and unfortunately Red Faced Runners took the fallout from that. Thanks for all the emails letting us know we were missed. I’m pleased to let you know that we are back and as motivated as ever!  Stay tuned for the next #RFR5K Challenge! In the meantime, I’m excited to share with  you our newest feature, where we highlight one of YOU! 

Red Faced Runner Spotlight - Amy from The Nifty Foodie

First up, meet Amy from The Nifty Foodie. I have been proudly watching Amy over the past year as she’s worked to lose weight and become the healthiest version of herself she can be. She is one of my biggest inspirations as a runner… I think you’ll find her to be pretty incredible as well!

RFR: Hi Amy! Let’s start off with an easy question… can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Amy: My name is Amy, and I have a food & life blog called The Nifty Foodie. By day, I make maps for a living and at night, I’m basically a Martha Stewart wannabe. I’m currently on a journey to live a healthier lifestyle and lose about 120 lbs.

RFR: How long have you been running?

Amy: I started running in June of 2012 with the Couch to 5K program, and I have been hooked ever since!

RFR: How would you say running has changed your life?

Amy: Oh gosh. Running has impacted my life so much. It has definitely helped me with weight loss, mainly. It has also helped me realize how strong my body could be with some hard work and determination. If you told me last year that I would be participating in 5K races, along with now being registered for a half marathon, I probably would have laughed at you.

Amy from The NIfty Foodie Red Faced Runners Spotlight

RFR: That’s so incredible that you’ve made that much progress in less than a year! What would you say some of your running goals are? Keep on Reading »

Cookin' Canuck - March 24, 2013 - 9:58 pm

Amy, you are truly an inspiration! What an amazing change you’ve made in your life. Your determination and down-to-earth attitude show that anyone can make true changes just working on it one day at a time, one goal at a time. I can’t wait for the day when you post an update on your first half-marathon!

Maris - March 24, 2013 - 10:17 pm

Amy is an inspiration to all of us! She makes me want to go for a run right now (and I’m quite comfortable here on this couch).

Carrie @ poet in the pantry - March 24, 2013 - 10:18 pm

Go Amy! You are such an inspiration!

Lori @ RecipeGirl - March 24, 2013 - 10:36 pm

Amy! What an inspiration you are! Way to go, keep it up, and thanks for keeping me on track as a great way to start the week. Wahoo!

Tracey - March 25, 2013 - 6:36 am

I’ve been following your journey too Amy (mostly on Instagram), and you are such an inspiration!! Great interview :)

Amy - March 25, 2013 - 7:10 am

Woo hoo, Amy! You are such an encouragement to keep on truckin. You go girl!

Jodi Pavlik - March 25, 2013 - 7:16 am

She is such an inspiration! I recently did my first 5K and I am hooked!

bridget {bake at 350} - March 25, 2013 - 8:27 am

I just love Amy! Her IG running posts are always so inspiring to me. Not to mention, she lives where it is even MORE humid than it is in Houston, so if she can get out and run in it, so can I. ;)

“A setback is only a set-up for a comeback!” …great quote!

Sarah @ Will Run for Pasta - March 25, 2013 - 2:42 pm

Yay, I’ve been missing my RFR5k posts!

Amy has been an inspiration from the beginning, I love following her on Instagram and her blog is great!

christi in ma - March 26, 2013 - 2:07 pm

I love The Nifty Foodie blog! So glad to see the Red Faced Runners back in action too.

Shawn - March 27, 2013 - 1:47 pm

This is so inspiring! I loved reading this and can’t wait to see who the next spotlight will be! :) I’m going to strap on my running shoes tonight and get going. Yay for #RFR5K!!

I get to.

We all run for different reasons. Some of us run for fun, others because we have to in order to fit into that favorite pair of jeans. Maybe the doctor has prescribed it for health reasons? Or you’ve found it is the best stress reliever of all time? I have many reasons, but mostly, I complain about needing to, and am very skilled at finding an excuse at every turn to delay or skip a very much needed run. And with crazy schedules this time of the year, it’s even easier to find reasons to skip a run.

As I struggled through a late, procrastinated run yesterday evening, I remembered an email I received earlier this year from a lady who replied to a post I wrote about running:


“I just read your blog entry about running. Just wanted to tell you that it touched me very deeply. I loved to run. Love Love Loved it. I ran track and cross country in high school and it was my passion. The end of my sophomore year of high school I was in a car accident that left me paralyzed and requiring the use of a wheelchair. I cried. A lot. Not because I wasn’t going to walk again. But because I would never run again. I just wanted you to know from one runner to another … I loved the post! And kick some serious butt in that 5K this week!”


Before I didn’t think much about running because I could. I thought about how I ran because I needed to, and I thought about every reason under the sun to avoid it, to be lazy, to whine, and grumble.

With Thanksgiving this week, I’m reminded again of the lady who contacted me, and others like her, who would be ecstatic to have the chance to run. Something I have easily taken for granted. We have so many things to be thankful for, and yes, for most of us, running can be one of those too.

So this week while remembering those things I’m thankful for, I’m challenging myself to change my mindset toward running and exercise in general, from one of “I have to,”  to one of “I get to.” I know I’ll be trying to squeeze in activity in the middle of the hurried fray of the next few months, but I’ll also be trying to remember to smile more and whine less as I run, and to be thankful for each step I get to take.

Will you join me?


Happy running, y’all!

Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen - November 18, 2012 - 5:18 pm

So so true! Thank you for writing this. A needed reminder for me!!

Dara - November 18, 2012 - 6:00 pm

Thank you for this, Amy! Whenever I have a tough run, I remind myself how lucky I am to be able to put one foot in front of the other. Thank you for reminding us how truly lucky we are each and every day that we are able to exercise.

bridget {bake at 350} - November 19, 2012 - 8:51 am

You made me cry. I’m sitting here in my pj’s in front of the computer…AVOIDING the run that I know I should tackle this morning. Thanks for putting a new outlook on it for me.

Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch - November 19, 2012 - 9:41 am

Thank you so much for this post! I needed to read this today and most likely every day as I have procrastination down to an art.

Lori @ RecipeGirl - November 19, 2012 - 11:10 am

What a beautiful post and a great reminder!!

Maria - November 20, 2012 - 8:46 am

Thanks for sharing this post. Just what I needed to hear!

Cara - November 22, 2012 - 7:40 pm

Definitely thankful for this on this Thanksgiving day… I get to, too.

My Running Song for the Week: Lady Marmalade

Are you like me?  Every week or so, one of the songs on my running playlist “speaks” (sings?) to me running wise.

This week, nothing gets me moving like “Lady Marmalade” by Miss Patti LaBelle.  I’m pretty sure when she sings, “Hello. Hey Joe. You wanna give it go,” that she’s referring to running.

What’s song has YOU moving this week?

Bridget Edwards completed her first 5k in April 2012. She blogs about cookies and other dangerous treats on her blog, Bake at 350,
Cara - October 25, 2012 - 8:20 pm

“Some Nights” by FUN - October 30, 2012 - 8:55 pm

Fighter by Christina Aguilera

Pat - November 7, 2012 - 5:49 pm

Stiff upper lip/ACDC

Jess - November 15, 2012 - 4:02 pm

it’s always a good time (I think that’s the name of the song…) has been on a loop in my head for a week now, and it always makes me want to get going!

Born to Run? Then Why Do I Hate It So Much?

If you happen to follow my blog, you’ll know that I am slightly obsessed with the book Born To Run by Christopher MacDougall.  I am on a tear about it, and have suggested it as reading material to every runner I know.  And some non-runners too.  Although it’s not, in my humble opinion, particularly well-written, it is an astonishing story.  But even more than that, the author is right about a great many things, in particular how the human body is perfectly designed to run long distances.  And he has managed to spark a huge debate about the running shoe industry and whether or not they are good for us or bad for us.  I find myself falling into the bad-for-us camp, and have started to embrace the idea of barefoot/minimalist running.

But at the moment, that’s neither here nor there.  As many of you are new runners, I don’t want to overwhelm you with thoughts of ultra-marathons and minimalist running shoes.  I want to address another point altogether, a point much more suitable for beginning runners.  It’s a question of motivation, and really, it’s one that applies to all of us, no matter how new or how seasoned we are.  And it comes at a point in the book where the author has successfully illustrated that humans are actually evolved for long distance running.  We may be much slower than our four-legged counterparts, but we can outrun them in the end.  We can, quite literally, run our prey to death.  Then the author asks “Then why do so many people hate it?…If we’re all born to run, shouldn’t all of us enjoy it?”.

Chances are, you’ve asked yourself the same question.  You’ve just managed to complete your first 5k, and you know how much work that took.  You’re wondering how anybody runs more than that, because those 3.1 miles took everything you had.  How does anyone ever run a 10k, let alone a half-marathon, a marathon or an ultra-marathon?  Those people are crazy.  Born to run…whatever!

But the problem isn’t our bodies.  Those are, in fact, perfectly designed for running (I see you shaking your head…but I will convince you in the end!).  The problem is our heads.  Or rather, our brains.  Along with our talent for long distance running, we evolved these enormous brains that consume vast amounts of energy.  They are only 2% of our total body weight, and yet they consume 20% of our energy when we are at rest.

But our brains also happen to be conservationists.  They are always trying to find ways to conserve the energy we have, because back in the day, our survival depended on it.  Now it’s no longer a matter of survival, but our brain doesn’t really know that.  It’s still constantly scheming to keep us low key and resting, keeping any extra energy on hand for a time when we need to chase our prey or to avoid being eaten by lions.  One expert in the book described it thus:  “You’ve got this fancy machine, and it’s controlled by a pilot who’s thinking ‘Okay, how can I run this baby without using any fuel?’”.

Now that we live in such a sedentary society, we (the collective we) have gotten out of the habit of running.  We don’t need to run to catch our food and we don’t need to run away from becoming food for other predators, so the brain’s insistence on conserving energy takes precedence.  When you start a running program, you are retraining your body to ignore your brain.  All of those whispers in your head about how hard running is, how tired you are, how you just want to stop?  That’s your brain faking you out.  Tell it to shut up.  Tell it that you are born to run.

Because you are.  After you stick with it, and you get back in the habit of running, you will find that your brain does shut up…at least some of the time.  And in the end, both your body and your brain will thank you.

er - September 20, 2012 - 11:56 am

I finally decided to just join you guys! I have been following and love all the posts, and I run already, not sure why it has taken me so long! Great post Carolyn, I need to check out that book – but it is so true, if you can get past your brain you can do it! - September 20, 2012 - 1:41 pm

I love this post! I have spent a good many years of my life hating running, doing it anyways but hating it. I justified hating it by telling myself that my body just isn’t designed to be a runner…others bodies are made for it and that’s why it’s easy for them and maybe why they love it. But not me…it was just always going to be hard and never joyful.
It wasn’t until this first RFR 5K challenge that something switched on in me…I DO like this, my body IS designed for this…holy crap…I’m a runner!!!! I had been away from running for about 5 years and decided to jump back in slowly with the 5K training program, that was key for me. Now, I’m hooked and so excited about running again! Unfortunately, I had shoulder surgery on August 30th so I’ve been sidelined but it the funniest thing to hear myself hounding my surgeon as to when I can start running again!!! Can’t wait to get back at it!

Sarah @ Will Run for Pasta - September 20, 2012 - 2:20 pm

Great post! So funny that you bring up the brain thing as the NPR show Radiolab just had a really interesting episode called Limits that talked about the brains roll in pushing your limits of exhaustion (they looked at that cross-country bike race), really interesting if anyone wants to listen to – on their next run :) – the podcast it can be found here:

Krista - September 20, 2012 - 2:50 pm

I love this Carolyn! Wonderful job. It’s amazing how much the mind plays a part in a person’s ability to run. It’s taken me a long time to learn that and to quiet my brain.

Carolyn - September 20, 2012 - 4:53 pm

Andrea, the funny part is, I always thought I wasn’t a runner either, despite studying human evolution and knowing that humans could chase down their prey. It just “clicked” with me too, and there is something immensely reassuring in knowing that we are in fact designed to do this and just need to overcome the “lazy” brain.

Cindy @ Once Upon a Loaf - September 20, 2012 - 6:19 pm

Wonderful post. You know I concur! I really like looking at it this way; it’s true that our brains need to be retrained, then the next step is for us to realize that not only can the brain stop stopping us from running, it can MAKE US GO ON running. And on and on. Bravo, Carolyn!!

Katharine - September 20, 2012 - 6:57 pm

I blame my knees for my running issues, but maybe it’s just my brain? :) Actually, since I’ve changed my diet and switched to the Galloway method (run 4 min/walk 1 min) I can go for 6 miles at a faster pace than when I was running the whole time 10 years ago! And my knees have been feeling great. I’m trying to convince myself that it’s still running if I take these little walk breaks. But either way, I’m soaking up my “runs” after a 10 year break! I want to check out that book. Does it blame injury on our shoes? That’s my biggest fear right now – return of tendonitis. Great post!

Jamie - September 20, 2012 - 11:34 pm

my brain SO needed this kick today… I’ve been thinking myself out of a run ever since I woke up.

another interesting running book I’ve read is Return to Running by Richard Benyo. it was published in 1978 so it’s more old-school philosophy on running but it made me want to put on my nikes and get out the door. plus, the cover is kindof awesome:

Cookin' Canuck - September 21, 2012 - 9:51 am

This is such a great post, Carolyn. There were many, many times in the past when my brain got in the way of running farther or faster. It still does on occasion. However, now I know what my body can do because I’ve experienced that blissful feeling that occurs when you push your body past the limitations of your brain. Now I can say…yep, I’m born to run.

bridget {bake at 350} - September 21, 2012 - 10:13 am

This is a great post, Carolyn! I need to tell my brain to “shut up” more often. I started the 5k program in Merrell minimal shoes and LOVED them! They ended up hurting my foot as I added more time to my runs and I switched to another minimal show with a bit more padding. Now that I’ve gained a little more strength, I want to try those Merrell’s again…I felt light as air running in them!

Amy - September 21, 2012 - 10:20 am

It is so much a mental battle for me every single time I run. Every. Single. Time. Thanks for the encouragement!

[...] run further than a 5k, so I can’t wait to see if I can accomplish this. Also, I just read this article and it really resonated with me. It’s like the minute I start running, my brain starts a loop [...]

Lisa @ Lisa the Vegetarian - October 3, 2012 - 8:25 am

This is SO true. I did the Couch to 5k program once and I faced this struggle every time I got on the treadmill. I never actually got up to the point of running a 5k, but I would really like to in the near future.

[...] Who has a copy of Born to Run I can borrow? Because, once again, I realize I should read it. [...]

Sue - October 8, 2012 - 9:43 am

Hi all!!

I did my first 5K Saturday October 6th….I placed FIRST place out of 11 in my age category. There were 391 participants and I was 195th overall. Pretty good for a 60 year old! It was great and look forward to continue my training towards the big 1/2 marathon in Phoenix in January. PF Chang Rock and Roll!!!!

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