For-Profit Races are Charitable Organizations Too

“The result of charity is often beyond calculation”

When I worked in the obstacle racing industry, we got a lot of questions about our races:
“How long is the race?”
“What should I wear?”
“How hard are the obstacles?”
“Will there be a lot of mud?”
“Can I run with a group?”

Pretty typical. Then there were the inevitable ones based on the million-dollar (or in our case, $50- to $80-dollar) question:
“How much does it cost?”
“What do I get for that fee?”
“That’s way too expensive, I’m not participating if it costs that much!”
(Notice that last one isn’t actually a question – I’ll explain that soon…)

Then came the ones that could get really tough:
“How much of the fee goes to the charity?”
“Why doesn’t my entire entry fee go to the charity?”
“I won’t support your race because 100% of entry fees don’t go to the charity!”


PR & Marketing Director by day – event team/construction/set-up at every race!

Things often escalated from questions to angry statements. On the one hand, I get it; A) people want to know they’re getting good value for their money and B) they want to support charities (races have become synonymous with charitable giving). But on the other, I think people forget that when he or she signs up for a race, it’s no different than going to a movie or going out to dinner. You’re paying for a service. From a business.

True, a lot of races out there are strictly non-profit and put on solely to raise money for a charity or cause. They’re also run by volunteers and larger organizations that are financially supported on their own, allowing them to donate all race fees to a charity. And that’s great. But why the anger and judgment towards for-profit race companies? Is it because so many races involve a charitable component that it’s sort of become the expectation all races support charities? You don’t expect the movie theater owner to give all ticket proceeds to charity. You wouldn’t boycott a local restaurant because the owners don’t donate 100% of food sales to charity. So why should a race company be expected to give its profits to a charity?


After pulling off a successful event, we didn’t stop – time to teardown & plan the next one.

I’ve seen it in my years as a participant in the racing world but I really understood it when I worked for a race event company. Our team put in so much hard work, physical labor, sweat and passion into executing each and every race we held. And that was just the race itself. Our small team put that same dedication into the business of creating these events, from our race director sourcing port-a-potty companies to our IT manager making sure online registration process was smooth and easy for customers to our volunteer coordinator pulling together hundreds of people to help our small team pull off these events to the world-class level our runners deserved. Everyone wore multiple hats and put in a ton of hours to provide an experience to customers.

For-profit race companies aren’t greedy companies trying to take all of your money and run (pun intended). They’re businesses providing a service. With real people who work real hours and deserve to earn real salaries, bonuses, PTO and health benefits. It takes a lot of time and energy, people and planning, supplies and money to put on races, whether a 10k or triathlon, an obstacle race, mud run or color run – every race. This goes way beyond the cost of your finisher’s shirt and medal.


We didn’t pay pros to model on our signs – that’s just me & our course director.

Beyond providing us with a form of entertainment, race companies give us even more than that – encouragement, a sense of achievement and health. Training for a race gives us a reason to push ourselves in the gym and show up every day, especially the tough ones where we’re just not feeling it. Finishing a race makes us feel amazing about ourselves. And the cycle of doing another race and another keeps us motivated to stay physically healthy. If that’s not charitable and helping the greater good, I don’t know what is.

Think about that next time you register for a race and are tempted to balk at the $60 race fee. You’re paying for more than a shirt, you’re paying for an experience.

I write this as I’m about to run a local race on Saturday. The Fargo Mini Marathon is a race I try to do every year and put on by GoFarEvents, a local race company in Fargo that puts on a ton of great running events, from 5ks to marathons to youth runs. I love all the opportunities the GoFarEvents team brings to the community and they put on fantastic events – plus, the company does plenty of charitable work and donates a lot to the community (much of that is done “behind the scenes” tho so most people don’t see it). So I’m always thrilled to support and participate in its events. Side note, I’m hoping for a PR in the half marathon and just to enjoy the 5k afterward!

Do you agree with my point of view? Are there local races you love to support because of the good they bring the community? Or are you one who feels races should completely support charitable organizations? Leave a comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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Fit Girl Problems – What Happens When You’re A Girl Who Lifts

“So that’s where my boobs went…”

Lifting is awesome. It’s functional and supports our day-to-day lives, boosts metabolism, and just makes you feel good. There aren’t many downsides to lifting.

There are, however, some less-than-glamorous things that come along with it. Sorry, dudes. This blog’s just for the ladies. Though I encourage all you guys to read so you understand what your women go thru as a fit girl.

Some are kinda gross, some are kinda funny, hopefully all of them make you feel better that you’re not the only one! And because not all problems are necessarily bad, my #FitGirlProbs are divided into The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

The Good

Everybody Wants You
When you’re “the fit chick” people assume you’re good at every sport and, more importantly, you want to play on every rec sports team there is. Your co-worker needs girls for his co-ed softball team? Guaranteed your name’s going to come up. Or let’s say you already play on a team but have to miss a game. You’ll be greeted with horrible, blank stares from your teammates that say, “What? WTF are we supposed to do?” I was actually even approached by a total stranger at the gym who asked me to be on his volleyball team – no clue if I even knew how to play; it was just assumed I did and that I would be good.

On the one hand, it’s pretty cool to be viewed as a kickass athlete. But on the other, it’s tough if you’re not interested in playing or don’t have time. I personally haven’t learned how to say “no” very well. Chris thinks he can help me work on that.


You Can’t Save the Ta-Tas
There’s no delicate way to put this: your boobs are going to shrink. Over the years, I’ve seen mine go from a full C → to those bras getting too big → to the newer B-cups I own starting to feel a little roomy. You can accept smaller cans, get padded bras or shell out the bucks for breast implants.

Why is this in the “Good” category? I’m a runner! Most of the lifting I do is aimed at making me a better runner. So I kind of view the ever-shrinking-boobs as a nice side effect.

Not everyone shares my enthusiasm for tiny ta-tas. Implants are really common for girls who lift, especially those who frequently compete in lifting events. If you see a bikini competitor with a nice big rack, there’s a 1% chance she has wonderful genetics and a 99% chance she bought the boobs. Not saying there’s anything wrong with that, it’s a matter of choice and your personal goals.

And, although most females (and let’s be honest, probably every dude out there) aren’t excited about smaller knockers, there is some good news for all fit chicks: Thanks to all that muscle propping them up, the ones you have are really perky!


Carbs. Peanut butter. ALL THE FOOD. #fitgirprobs

You Can Eat A Lot
It takes a lot of food to feed a lot of muscle so be prepared to eat a lot. I often find myself going to bed, thinking about what I’m going to eat when I wake up. Sleeping is basically my time machine to breakfast.

Again, why do I see this as a good thing? All that muscle doesn’t just mean you want to eat more, it means you NEED to eat more. And, you CAN eat more, thanks to that rapid-fire metabolism you’ve got going on now. Plus, it’s not all protein, protein, protein – those who lift need carbs too.

Fit chicks can enjoy more food and a variety of food, knowing that our bodies are going to use it up in a good way. Plus, we get to enjoy an indulgence here or there, knowing it’s not the end of the world and we’ll make up for it with our next clean meal. It’s pretty great not having to pretend I love the 21-day fix (or other bullshit fad diet I’m on) “meals” I’m eating, while secretly weeping inside, just wishing I could have a pint of Oktoberfest, veggie burger and sweet potato fries without worry of whether or not it all fits into a bright-colored pieces of Tupperware.

The Bad

Clothes Don’t Fit
I wish I could tell you that once you’ve been lifting awhile, clothes fit better. They don’t. Your body is rockin but designers just don’t make clothes for fit girls (though I’m on a one-woman campaign to try and change that). It sucks that the fitter you get, the tougher shopping can be. Here are a few things you can look forward to:

Jeans – If you find a pair of jeans you can squeeze your legs and ass into, yay! Same goes for skinny jeans (which seem to be the only style offered at most retailers these days). But when it comes to pairing those skinny jeans with a cute pair of heels, good luck. You know how women love heels because they make their calves look nice? Fit girls actually have calf muscles and heels amplify them. Like it’s not enough having your butt and quads hugged, now your calves look like they’re about to bust out of your pants too.

Dress Pants – The biggest challenge I’ve found with dress pants is finding a pair that fits the legs and butt – but without a huge gap in the waist. Ugh….

Shirts – They’ll hug your arms and shoulders but be baggy in the stomach. Upside: I guess you’ll be all set when you need maternity shirts?


You finally find a pair of jeans that fit – then this happens. #fitgirlprobs

And speaking of clothes not fitting right, you’ll have more chance at clothing mishaps. I’ve actually “Incredible Hulked” in clothes. I put on a new pair of leggings that fit when I tried them on at the store (and were actually too big in the waist) and within a couple hours, had ripped a nice hole in the quads. I may or may not have also ripped a pair of jeans last winter. But I more blame that on being too competitive while curling.

You’re going to be sore. Pretty much all the time. You may roll out of bed the morning after a tough lift and shuffle to the shower with the same speed and gait as a 90-year old woman. You may groan at the simple task of sitting on the toilet the day after leg day. Oddly enough, the days you don’t feel sore, it may be alarming – like, “Did I not work hard enough yesterday?!” Oh but don’t worry. You’ll be sore again soon.

Shaving Sucks
When you really start building your arms, something happens to your armpits: they become nearly impossible to shave. I find myself pulling, twisting and doing whatever I have to in order to reach all the crevices and angles I now have in my pits. It’s a big win if I don’t miss a patch of stubble.

The Ugly

Gnarly Hands
You can moisturize and exfoliate and do it all – you’re still going to get callouses. Oh, you like going to get manicures? I don’t. Between my polish chipping off as soon as I pick up a weight, breaking at least one during a heavy sesh, and just needing to keep them relatively short so they don’t dig into my palms while gripping, it’s a miracle my nails have even a hint of femininity.


That weird little bruise? Courtesy of deadlifting. #fitgirlprobs


Random Bruises
You’ll notice bruises pop up in the most random spots. I’ve had them on my shins, shoulders and, my favorite, the outsides of my wrists (I concluded they came from the special deadlifting bar that has a unique grip set up). Weights will do that to you, that’s all there is too it. Yes, I do feel safe at home and no, no one hits me.


Other People’s Opinions
When you’re a fit chick, you become not “normal”, in the sense of what most of society deems normal. It’s not “normal” to strive for bigger legs or desire to be anything more than a size 2. It’s not “normal” to want to go to the gym on a Friday night vs. go out for drinks (um, hello it’s the only time I can get on the cables and hog them for 30 minutes without feeling like an asshole). All of this abnormality can lead to hurtful comments and judgment from others – even if they don’t realize they’re doing it.

I’ve had friends tell me they think it’s gross when women have too much muscle. Um, are you telling me I’m gross or am I okay because I don’t have “too much”? Then there are the straightforward comments directed right at you. I know, it seems ridiculous but people will make comments about your body. It’s fine when one of your girlfriends comments on your killer arms (great compliment!) but when strangers do it? That’s awkward. Whether it’s a compliment or a rude opinion someone feels the need to offer up of why women shouldn’t be so muscular, some people just won’t keep their opinions to themselves.

And finally, the judgments. I went through this recently when I bought my wedding dress. After being measured, my chest and waist came in at a size 2, while my butt and hips were between a 4 and 6. The sales girl’s eyes lit up. She excitedly informed me that most brides try to lose weight before their weddings so I was in a great position to get a smaller dress size, then not have to work as hard to fit into it. My response, with zero hesitation: No, I want the size 6.

She looked confused and weirded out, and asked if I was sure I didn’t want the size 4. I mean, why in the world would anyone pass up the chance to wear a smaller size? I then informed her that I had no intentions of trying to drop a bunch of weight before my wedding, especially not in my butt and legs. In fact, if my legs and butt did get smaller before the wedding, that would mean I wasn’t training hard enough for the Boston Marathon. She looked slightly disappointed then went ahead and ordered me the – gasp – size 6 that I wanted.

Again, most people don’t realize they’re being rude. Just have thick skin and remind yourself that you’re doing what’s right for you, not what society thinks you should do.

Ladies, can you relate to any of these #FitGirlProbs? Or do you have others? Comment or Tweet me, @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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Fitness and Workout Motivation – Why I Run

“I work out because I can. And it’s good for me. Okay fine, it’s because I like to eat a lot…I work out because I really really like food.”

Why do you run – or lift or walk or do Bodypump or cycle? Whatever’s your fitness passion, why do you do it?

Even the most dedicated, fitness-loving person needs a little extra motivation from time to time. Whether #MondayMotivation or just a tough day, sometimes it’s important to remind ourselves why we do what we do.

Here’s why I run:


I’ll still relax with a cold one but running is my #1 best stress relief

1. It’s my stress relief
And a much better form of stress relief than yelling, smoking, overeating or one of the other terrible ways I used to handle stress

2. It’s when I do my best thinking
Whether on the treadmill listening to music or outside sans-headphones, I truly do my best thinking while running

3. I’ve put 10+ years into becoming the runner I am today
And I’m not going to throw away all that hard work

4. It makes my legs look good
They’re so big and strong, I get a bonus workout trying to get them into jeans

5. I always feel great after a run
Unless it’s that one long-training-crying-run – or there was a case of unexpected chafing


This is my friend Hannah & me at a street fair w/a color-coded, highlighted map of all the food vendors. Yes, I love food.

6. A world without Cheez-its, veggie burgers, peanut butter M&Ms and cereal isn’t one I want to know
Nuff said

7. It’s 100% “me” time
Even when I bring Burton or Blitz along, it’s because I want to

8. I love racing
Especially getting a new PR or winning

9. It makes me a better, happier person
I can go a little crazy when I haven’t run for a few days…and it’s not the best version of me

10. I love helping others with all-things running
Those just getting started running, those who want to get faster, those who need a strategy to avoid chafing – I’ve pretty much been through it all and can tell it like it is

That’s why I run – why do you run – or whatever’s your favorite workout? Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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New Recipes Just Added – Oh, How I Love Food

“Yum, food”

The future hubs and I were in Chicago this weekend so I didn’t get a chance to update the blog. But Chicago reminded me how much good food there is out there – and how I have some new recipes that I’ve been meaning to put up on the blog.


Just doin what I do so well. Yum, food.

Check out my Yum, Food page to see the new recipes like:

Clean Out the Fridge Lavosh (courtesy one of my BFFs, Jenny)

Peek-a-Boos with Grilled Cheese (because it’s okay to eat like a kid)

Protein Pumpkin Pancakes (because tis the season!)

Plus more, and some oldies-but-goodies like Mexican Pie-zas and Monster Cookie Protein Balls. Dammit, now I’m hungry. Shocking, right?

Let me know if you try one of these recipes and love it. Or, feel free to share your best protein-packed vegetarian recipes with me! Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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Three Races, Two Places, One That Made A Difference

“You think I’m crazy because of how much I run? Trust me, if I didn’t run this much, that’s when you’d see crazy.”

Since my last blog, less than a week ago, I’ve run three races. I also had a big change in plans for one of those races that ended up being two.

Now that I’ve confused everyone with so many numbers, I’ll explain. My week in races:

Thursday – CCRI 5k
There’s a local organization in the Fargo-Moorhead area called CCRI, which serves those in the community with disabilities. An annual event CCRI puts on is the Superhero 5k. It’s a chance for adults and children to participate in the event, some who just need a little help and encouragement along the way. Others tho are physically unable to walk or run and need extra help to take part.


Team Reese at the finish line.

A friend of mine volunteers for CCRI and I mentioned I would of course sign up for the race to support the group – and because I love a good fall race. He asked if I would be interested in pushing a wheelchair while I ran too. Without hesitation, I said yes. How great would that be, to support the cause AND share the fun of racing a 5k with someone who otherwise wouldn’t be able to do it. Nevermind I had never pushed a wheelchair for an entire race, even if I had to jog or walk, I would get that person across the finish line.

It was an incredible experience. The wheelchair runners were organized by a group called Ainsley’s Angles, a national group that just started a chapter in the Red River valley. Each wheelchair participant was assigned two Ainsley’s Angels runners (so we could trade off pushing – it’s hard work, especially turns); my teammate and I got to help a boy named Reese, who was excited from the minute I met him. All throughout the course, fellow runners were cheering for Reese. When we pushed him across the finish line and the crowd cheered for him even louder, I was beaming. It was so fun to see all the support for every participant. Something I hope to be able to do again.
Saturday – Dick Beardsley 10k
I had originally planned to race the Roger Maris 10k on Saturday. However, I found out the race was actually being held on Friday, not Saturday as in years past. I had already committed to the CCRI race on Thursday and volunteering for the Roger Maris fundraiser event on Friday. Between that and other plans for the weekend, it wasn’t in the cards to make the logistics work.

Good news though, I’d still be able to support Roger Maris through volunteering and I could now race the Dick Beardsley 10k on Saturday morning and run the 5k later that morning (it sounded like a great idea when I was registering in my pjs). I had participated in the DB run a few times in the past, so I was happy to race it again and support another good, local race.

It turned out to be a great race. I ran the 10k in 43:56 (my second best 10k time ever). I ended up taking second overall for women and the best part was it was a great race between myself, and the third and fourth place finisher. The girl who took third was on my tail the entire time; it was great, she really pushed me to keep up the pace. The fourth place finisher started out in second but ran out of steam around mile 4 – we chatted a little during and after the race, and she was so nice. The winner blew us all away. In her time of 38 and change, she blew away most of the guys too. I’ve raced her before and she’s awesome, just ridiculously fast. #respect

After the race, I stretched out and watched the half marathon finishers start to roll in. I quickly realized there was a slight flaw in my plan to run two races the same morning. I finished the 10k around 8:30 a.m. The 5k didn’t start until 11. That left me a solid 2+ hours to hang out in my sweaty race clothes which got riper and smellier as the time passed. Also, it was a chilly morning; great for racing, not so great when all the sweat dries and chills the body. I was shivering most of the time up until it was time to run again.
Saturday – Dick Beardsley 5k
Time to run again – that’s right, I signed up for another race that day. Okay, no problem, I got this. I met two guys at the start line who noticed I was also wearing the special bib, for the people who had already run a race earlier that day. We joked that we were glad to not be the only ones who thought this was a good idea! All joking aside, I was excited for another race. I was understandably a little fatigued from the hard run earlier that morning but I was well-conditioned enough I could handle three more miles. I figured, why not try to run fast too? So I did. Although I couldn’t keep up the same pace as earlier in the 10k, my legs felt really heavy and it had warmed up quite a bit, I still finished in third place overall (first place age group!) in a respectable time of 23:11. The best part was, I was in second place the first two miles then just got smoked by an 11-year-old girl in the last mile. I wanted to give her a high five and tell her how awesome she was for running #LikeAGirl but she burned by me too damn fast.


A big medal for a big day of racing.

My parents were waiting at the finish line to congratulate me and, in addition to my 10k and 5k finisher medals, I got a special medal for running “The Beardsley Duo.” It’s ginormous and just might make my Run Like A Girl medal holder fall right off the wall. All in all, I’d for sure do the two-a-day race thing again. It was a really fun morning, full of what I love – racing! And, I got to enjoy a nice relaxing day at the lake after capped off with my post-race staple: a Jimmy John’s veggie sub.

Now time to gear up for the Fargo Mini-Marathon in October. A perfect time to run a half marathon and get the most out of the fall season and fall racing that I love so much.

Have you ever run multiple races in a week – or even the same day? If not, would you go for it? Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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Running Loyalty and Favorite Races

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming what you thought you couldn’t do.

Everyone has those things to which he/she is loyal. A restaurant, brand of shoes, type of toothpaste, nutrition shop – there are likely several things on your list, even if you don’t always think about them. What about races?

I personally have some strong race loyalties. First, the Fargo Marathon. This was the first race I ever ran, first half marathon and first full marathon. It’s a great race and the course is a little different every year so it’s one I’ve run every year for the past nine (planning on the big 10 year anniversary in May!). Same with the YoungLife Triathlon. Great event, perfect setting for a tri and, again, my first triathlon. Makes it kind of special to me, a race I enjoy and one I like to support every year.


First-ever running award!

The race I’m running this coming Saturday is one of those special ones. Aside from the fact it supports the Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo, it’s the race where I earned my first running award (third place age group). I’ve run it every year since the first time, except one year when College Game Day came to Fargo – I couldn’t pass up the chance to see that in person!

Anyway, back to my first running award. Taking home an award did more than give me something for my office shelf. It gave me the competitive spark and the confidence to think, maybe I could run fast.

See, when I first began running, I started with a half marathon. After years of being overweight, smoking and doing numerous other things that weren’t great for my body, mind or soul, the idea of finishing 13.1 miles was an incredible accomplishment in itself. There was no way that I could be a fast runner, just being a runner was a huge deal for me – and that’s what I told myself. So, without ever trying to run fast, I convinced myself that I was just an endurance runner and I wasn’t fast. Again, I never even tried to be fast. I just always told myself I wasn’t. I mean, come on. Wasn’t it enough that I could run for an extended period of time? Who did I think I was? Trying to be fast…come on!

Well, that race showed me that, maybe I could run faster than I thought. I had the distance thing down; maybe, if I just tried pushing myself a little bit, I could run a little faster. “Fast” forward a few years later, a few more awards later and I now confidently consider myself a fast runner. And I love it. I love pushing myself with speed work and sprints. I love lining up for a race with the intention of finishing in the top 10, top three or even first.

I’m really looking forward to Saturday’s race and putting up my best showing possible. Unlike years past, I’m not shooting for the first place overall finish. The August heat and humidity have both been really tough on me and I haven’t logged as many outdoor tempo runs as I would normally like to prep for a race win. But I’m excited to do what I know I can do now – run fast!

Runners, triathletes, OCRers: do you have race loyalty? Are there certain races you always run? Why? Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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People Magazine’s “Half Their Size” Issue – Vote KJ’s Fit Momma!

“No surgery. No gimmicks. What they ate to lose the weight”

Quick blog this week – my friend Mallory, aka kjsfitmomma on Instagram and, is vying for an honor. One she deserves and one the world deserves. She’s hoping to be featured in People Magazine’s annual “Half Their Size” issue, where she’ll get a chance to share her weight loss journey, show off her amazing bod and inspire others to do it too – the right way.


She’s now up to 130 pounds lost. Lookin and feelin fab.

Mallory, a 30-something working mother, wife and kickass woman, has lost 130 pounds. The best part? She did it the right way, with healthy lifestyle changes, balanced diet and exercise, and over a sustainable amount of time – no crash diets, pills or any of many shenanigans out there today that would have promised her a “quick fix” or way to “lose weight fast!”

Those of you unfamiliar with her, check out her pages or the letter I wrote her last year. She’s an awesome woman and I would love to see a real woman like her in People Magazine.

No pressure but if you want to join #TeamKJsFitMomma, just click the link and Like her pic on the Facebook submission. Thanks, friends!

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