All About the Amazingness of the Runner’s World Challenge


Well, hello friends!

I won’t bore you with my Monday workout/teaching a bazillion classes schedule, but I will show you how my day ended.

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4 easy miles by the beach. I was tired, but just couldn’t pass up a free Mezamashii “therapy session” before I headed home.


There were a few other things I couldn’t pass up yesterday also.

First off was this new version of the STUFT egg-rito. Filled this one up with a little cinnamon, coconut oil, a nectarine and almond butter.

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Mmm hmm…. It got a little messy to eat, but was a very good combination (all thanks to Brooke’s suggestion).

I couldn’t pass up showing off my cool Starbucks cup on instagram. Not sure why, but my iced Americanos taste better out of this cup.


I also couldn’t pass up attempting to sear ahi for a salad for lunch. It looks okay, but I had no idea how to season it, so it didn’t do much to impress me. I’ll take any ideas or suggestions you might have. Thank you in advance. Ha.


Oh, and I really could not pass up wearing my special bracelets that the boys made for me.

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They are my special “power bracelets”. So darn sweet.



So let’s talk running a bit. Specifically all the awesomeness of the Runner’s World Challenge, but first a little inspiration.

I wore this Mizuno shirt the other day for my morning run.  

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When I got home, Joaquin said, “Mama, that’s a cool running shirt. I want a cool shirt like that. A small one.”

I had to smile. I want him to have a cool shirt like that too. I also want him to possibly discover a passion for running, have the courage to take chances, tackle challenges, get up when he stumbles (as he will many times like we all do), count his blessing and enjoy life’s journey every step of the way.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It really doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go, but anyone can be a runner. Anyone can find that passion for something in life.

I never loved running. I didn’t even really like it, I just did it occasionally. I did not do it well for a very long time. It hurt my knees and back, I would get cramps all the time, I was awkward, etc. I only grew to love it after randomly signing up for my first half marathon in 2006. It all kind of blossomed from there.

In fact, while in college, I was told by my doctor that I would never be able to run again because of severe back problems I had back then.

Whelp, 12 years after a doctor told me that I was running my first marathon. I’ve ran 7 since (I think).

And, although after this whole injury/hip dysplasia thing I may not ever be as fast as I was 4 months ago, but for now I can run. Yep, I can run. That’s all I want at the moment. Not fast, not that great, but I can still get that “runner’s high” and have some goals to work towards.

Monday Motivation: Some of the World's Greatest Feats... | Runner's World



So, I’ve mentioned on here a few times that I’m partnering with Runner’s World Challenge with a new training plan to get me back on track for some races in the fall.

Last fall I had the amazing opportunity to go to the Runner’s World Half Marathon and Festival through FitFluential. There’s even this picture on the Runner’s World Facebook that I’m pretty proud of. Ha ha.

It was by far the best running/race weekend of my life.

(Some throwback pictures to reminisce.)


Everything about it was amazing, not to mention that’s where I got to meet Bart Yasso for the first time along with all the Runner’s World editors, got my half marathon PR, ran a mile with Shalane Flanagan (before she left me in the dust on her “easy run”) and got third place in the hat trick.


The RW Half is approaching pretty darn quickly this year, but I’m hoping things work out so I can be there again. I’ve got to represent, right?


Anyhoo, I also had the amazing opportunity to race Big Sur this past April (actually I just ran naked because of my injury).

Let me tell you friends, The Runner’s World Challenge crew knows how to put on a VIP race experience. Holy cow.

Their events sell out quickly for obvious reasons, but even if you’re training for local race and looking for a plan to follow or just want to start somewhere with running, but aren’t quite sure how or what to do, the Runner’s World Challenge has you covered.


Let me just tell you that I am amazed at all the things you get when you join the challenge. You really get A LOT for what you pay.

When I was in talks with working with a local coach, not only was the price incredibly higher, but the training plan was more complex, there was less interaction and support and there was no additional access to special online training logs, forums, experts, and help along the way.

Here is what you get with The Runner’s World Challenge (which you can use to train for any marathon or half-marathon around the country at any time):

– Access to over a dozen of marathon or half marathon training plans (check out all the ones to choose from here)

– A 4-month trial of the PREMIUM version of training peaks, Runner’s World online training log, which gives you daily emails, lets you sync up your training watch, etc.

– 1 year of access to online coaching from the RW experts on training, nutrition, and injury-prevention (*This cost hundreds of dollars if hiring a coach on your own. I found out first hand about the hefty prices of personal coaches awhile ago and am so glad I didn’t shell out the big bucks because this program is so much better.)

– Runner’s World book (you get to choose from three different ones) and a RW Challenge team t-shirt

– 1 year of access to online coaching from the RW experts on training, nutrition, and injury-prevention

– Any time you have a question about training, nutrition, injuries, etc., you can access their experts by clicking on the red "Ask a Question" button on the site, or emailing them directly at (*I know from personal experience how quickly and thoroughly they respond.)

-Or, you can pose the question in the private forums, where you can get perspective from other runners who are taking the Challenge, training for Marine Corps and/or other races (like Big Sur).

-Access to private RW Editor blogs

Just writing about this is getting me all excited about running and training with them (and, if I’m being honest, a little nervous inside too).


I choose the “Break 3:15 Marathon Training Plan”. I’m pretty sure that’s a little quite ambitious coming back from a pretty serious injury/condition, but I’ve got the time to train and I’m keeping an open mind about it. If I get there, I get there. If not, well, there’s always another race. I’m actually just thankful to be able to run at the moment and have a plan to work with.

Speaking of my training plan, I am beyond impressed with the layout of it all. It’s easy to follow, which is key for me because I’m really not good at following directions that well. Ha ha. The online version of Training Peaks you get is amazing and you can pretty much record anything and everything in there. (I’ve been doing that every night.) You even get a daily email with what workout you have scheduled for the next two days and a few tips each day as well. (I look forward to those emails every day. Some of us need a few more reminders than others, you know?)


And… the experts (Bart Yasso, Amby Burfoot, and nutrition and injury-prevention experts) are phenomenal and so far my interactions with them have been incredibly helpful and encouraging. The injury specialists have answered so many of my silly questions and addressed all my concerns with getting back into running after being out for so long.

Not without noting that editor Jen Van Allen has gone above and beyond in guiding me through the past couple of weeks. Turns out, as I’ve read in the private group forums with The Challenge, I’m not the only one she goes above an beyond to help. She really takes care of everyone else too and addresses everyone’s concerns and issues right away.

Friends, these experts are by your side the entire time.

Man, I really can’t say enough good things. The Challenge has both 10-week half marathon training plans and 16-week marathon training ones to choose from.

Currently I’m on a 16-week marathon training one.

I’m a little nervous to write my upcoming racing schedule on here since the last time I got all crazy and wrote out all my upcoming races, I found myself unable to run/walk normally just 48 hours later. Remember this post? That was a fun one to write. I was also a little off on my self diagnosis back then, but my darn injury led me to pull out of not one, but six marathon races over the past 4 months. Yikes.


But…. things are looking up.

Life is all about challenges, stumbles and comebacks, right?


I so want some of you to join and have that excitement over the daily email that I’ve been having the past couple of weeks. I really can’t stop smiling because I’m so in love with this whole Runner’s World Challenge program. I didn’t know too much about it before, except that they really know how to do up the VIP treatment and take care of their challengers at their special events.

Oh man, there’s so much more.



Okay, well, so here it goes. I’ll spill the beans on my main goal for fall.

Besides hopefully getting to the RW Half again, I’m doing the MCM Marathon October 27th. Yep, I’m going to Washington D.C. (for the first time ever) and I get the honor of running this race with the The Challenge Crew.

I could not be more excited.

And nervous, anxious and worried, etc.


that’s what life and this whole running thing is about. Taking chances and challenging yourself. Dreaming big and finding out just how strong you are. All with the help of quality training plans written by Bart Yasso himself and the support of all the best running experts around.

Who’s in?

I’m ready for my comeback, are you ready for yours?



If you sign up, email me ( so I can send you a little something. Cheesy, I know, but I’m just so darn excited I really want some of you to get in on this with me. You may think I am joking, I am not. I want to send you a little something. I’m totally serious.

And, in all honesty, I really think this training program beats all the others I’ve looked into. And you can use whatever plan you choose for any event you might have coming up.

It’s just perfect.

dream big

Okay, enough.

You’ll be hearing more about The Challenge and my training plan because well, that’s what I’m going to be focusing on for the next few months. I wasn’t sure if this was in my future or not a couple of months ago. Turns out, it just may be and it’s making me one heck of a happy camper.

I’ll let you get on with your day now.


Catch ya later!


Do you have any races planned for the fall?

Have you ever followed a training plan or do you just do your own thing?

Don’t forget to email me when you sign up. Can’t wait for us to be RW challenge buddies. He he.

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  1. 1
    bethp262 says:

    I’m doing the RW Half (and hat trick) too! Hope you are able to make it! Would love to meet you!
    As far as training plans go, now I generally do my own thing. If its a new distance then my husband, who is an exercise physiologist, makes a plan for me. He made my first marathon and first ultra training plans for me.

    • 1.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      Yay Beth! I’m doing my best to get there! Would LOVE to meet you if I do!!! Cool that your hubby makes your plans for you! My hubby wants a shirt that says “Running sucks”. Lovely.

  2. 2
    Laura says:

    Gah! Love this post!! (of course your evening beach run looks gorgeous) But….I am currently “training” for the Hat Trick at the RW Festival. By that I mean that I am….running with that in mind. But as far as training goes, I definitely need help/guidance, as I never really follow a plan. I have been looking into the RW challenge, and I, too, concluded that you really get a lot for what you pay. Your love of it is making me want to just do it even more. I will have to sit down today and figure it out. I’ll certainly email you if I go for it.
    P.S. Please come to the RW Festival weekend!!! Thanks for re-sharing some of last year’s pics…it’s making me even more excited!! 🙂

    • 2.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      Gah! 🙂 Laura, seriously I am amazed at what you get and it’s so funny because certain coaches want to charge you soooo much money and don’t even give you half of this stuff. These experts are like personal coaches and totally answer any questions and are so helpful. The online training program itself it probably worth more than the cost. Let me know if you sign up. I’ll send you a little something in the mail. He he. Hopefully I make it to RW Half. Would LOVE to meet you!

  3. 3

    I’ll start Runner’s World’s 16-week training plan on 8/19 for a December marathon {the Dallas marathon}. It will only be my 2nd marathon and I followed the same training plan when I ran the Dallas marathon in 2011. The plan is a 4 hour marathon plan and I ended up running it in 4:15, but my excuse is that the weather was rainy and very cold. 😉 The training plan was challenging, but doable. There are a few things that I’ll be tweaking. I want to run more hills, since that’s a major area of weakness for me and I want to run a little speedier than the suggested time in the training plan.

    I WANT your Starbucks cup!!!

    • 3.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      Kim- that is awesome! Did you sign up or you’re waiting to sign up so the timing is right with your race? My plan has a hill run a week, so depending on what one you choose it will get those hills in for you. 🙂 Let me know!

  4. 4
    Rene' says:

    You have convinced me to sign up Kristin. I am coming back from a fall (trail running in Boulder that ended up with 14 stitches in my knee) and trying to get on track for my fall half marathon. I would love to have a plan that I would follow everyday and that would keep me motivated. Oh great….let me go get my wallet.
    P.S…..So excited that you are doing MCM. You are going to do great!

    • 4.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      Rene- Yay yay yay! Seriously, I’m so darn excited about this because you really get so much for what you pay and it’s such a good well rounded program, plus getting access to so much more. Let me know when you do and we can chat in the forums (and I can send you a little something in the mail). He he. The emails will keep you motivated! It’s fun getting them in your inbox. Hugs!

  5. 5
    kait says:

    woohoo how exciting!!! i will be running MCM as well (fingers crossed i stay healthy) perhaps i’ll see you there 🙂

  6. 6

    I am working my endurance up, coming back from a broken ankle. I am currently training for my first 10K and then on to a half marathon. Both this autumn. So excited!

    Your son is right. That is a cool shirt! And I really like your Starbucks cup, too!

  7. 7

    Hi! I have been following your blog for some time now but, first time commenting. I have always been intrigued with the Runner’s World Challenge. Sounds like a great program! I am currently training for my very first full marathon on October 13th in Long Beach, CA. I always use Runner’s World smart coach training plans but, I do adjust the plan each week based on how I am feeling. I love reading your posts! You are very inspirational!!

    • 7.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      I forgot Long Beach has one in October. Fun! I want to do that one someday! Thanks for your comment Lindsey! I have to adjust my program a bit too since my schedule is so crazy. 🙂

  8. 8
    meredith says:

    I never follow a training plan. Maybe I should but I doubt I will until my way of doing things stops working for me. I like waking up and deciding how my workouts will go all depending on how I feel. I only have two races planned for the fall so far. One half and one 10K. I am kinda annoyed that all of the half marathons are so clustered together within a couple of weekends that it becomes very hard to get more than one or two in. Not to mention, the Diva Half falls on my son’s birthday and I just can’t run one on his special day. I tell myself I can run 13.1 really any time I want so if my fall calendar is not filled, I will race myself on a random Wednesday lol.

  9. 9
    jennifer says:

    I’m so excited you are doing MCM! Mommy of 3 (3 1/2 yr old twins and 2 yr old) who lives in DC. I love your blog and you have inspired me to start running again. Finished my first 5k this weekend and I’m training for a 10-miler in the fall. I’ll be cheering you on at MCM!! I’ll be sure to check out the training plans. Who knows … maybe there’s a marathon in me?!

  10. 10

    I’m glad that you’re enjoying your comeback training plan. I would imagine that their training is high quality, I was impressed with their SmartCoach in the past, so I’m glad to hear it’s good! And I knew you would love TrainingPeaks – that’s what I use with my clients too and it is an AWESOME system! 🙂

  11. 11

    Ok. I may have to make the drive down to DC to see you that weekend! Need to hear your travel plans ASAP! =)

  12. 12
    Natalie says:

    Love this post!! I want to sign up so bad. I think it would really help me reach my marathon goals!! Ahhh!!!!

  13. 13

    I think it’s so funny how you can grow to enjoy running. I used to hate it and now really enjoy it. I find it to be so relaxing and challenging at the same time.

  14. 14

    Aw man I wish I could run ANY of those east coast races!!! I’ll be in San Fran running Nike again this year, but will be getting on a plan!

  15. 15

    Course I love the first part of this post with the beauty of your day & those cuties making bracelets for you!!!

    I am not a runner per se.. I ran 5Ks when I was younger but as soon as my knee started to bother me, I stopped the races – I get competitive in them. 🙂 I never really loved doing them anyway – it was a challenge for me in my younger years. I run for my cardio & challenge my self but I also cross train – especially with this age & feet stuff! 😉 Running is the lesser of all evils to me for cardio. 🙂 I love me some weights BUT I do a lot of cardio too – I have to for my bod & to keep the weight from creeping on!

  16. 16

    Actually planning on signing up for the Monster Dash this fall…I always follow a running plan…if I didn’t, I would probably do 3 miles every run 😉

  17. 17
    amanda says:

    Awesome! I was going to do MCM but had to have surgery in the spring and am just getting back to building my mileage, so I am doing the 10k instead:)

  18. 18
    Jill says:

    Hi! I just found your blog a few days ago and have been hooked since! I am new to running (just started two weeks ago consistently). I only have time to run in the morning and was wondering what your opinion is of whether you should eat before a run or not? It would be easier to eat after a run so I don’t have to wait a hour or more after eatting (so I could sleep in longer). There are so many different opinions on this but it’s been hard for me to find information from someone’s own experience. Thank you and I love your blog!

    • 18.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      I think it all depends on what your body needs. Some people have to eat before, some people don’t. I totally hear you on sleeping a bit longer . LOL. Whether or not I eat depends on the length of my run and/or how I feel when I wake up. Coffee is usually always a must though. Have you experimented both ways to see how you feel?

  19. 19
    Miz says:


  20. 20
    kim perry says:

    Whoa!! That JAR!!


  1. […] the schedule for the weekend with my MCM training plan was […]

  2. […] Like tomorrow, when I head to the MCM Marathon with the Runner’s World Challenge (which also deserves a post all on it’s own for the awesomeness of the program and the MCM training plan). […]

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