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Meet the SheKnows running team!

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SheKnows' employees are joining forces to run the P.F. Chang's Arizona Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in January 2014. Now, we often find ourselves chatting about long runs, aches in our shins, pains in our knees, and "that weird thing that happened during my run on Sunday."

Meet the SheKnows running team

The following are 11 of the 14 employees who represent the brave SheKnows souls who decided to tackle 13 miles, many of us for the first time. As we plow through our training schedule at different paces and on different levels, we thought it wise to share some of our experiences with our readers.

Check back here periodically for our latest running tips and rants. You can also follow our journey on Twitter at #RnRAZ and #SKRunning and get more insight about training using our guide to running your first half marathon.

Kristine Cannon

Entertainment Editor

  • Her backstory: Before training, she exercised once or twice per week. Now she runs three days per week and cross trains twice per week.
  • Cross training of choice: Elliptical twice per week and strength training twice a week (arms, core)
  • Diet changes: "I eat more during the day now than I did before — more protein incorporated into my diet — and I drink a lot more water. After a run, I drink a protein shake. This is still something I'm figuring out — what to properly eat before and after a run and committing to it."
  • Her points of pain: Lower calves and knees
  • Her biggest struggle: "Stretching properly before and after my runs. It hasn't become a habit yet, so I find myself in pain more often."
  • Favorite songs to run to: "I listen to FitRadio, so no specific songs. Just something with a steady beat — something upbeat, like Moombahton and techno. Any DJ mix, really."

Kristine Cannon

Bonus tip: "Finding your pace is key to a steady, manageable long run. I've finally figured it out, and I'm actually enjoying my runs."

Natalie Schwab

Editorial Project Manager

  • Her backstory: Before training, she worked out once or twice a week. Now, she's running three to four days per week, but is struggling to mix in her cross-training days.
  • Cross training of choice: When she does, she does cycling or the elliptical.
  • Diet changes: "I’ve become more health-conscious over the past year, and I always start my day with a smoothie. I try not to eat too soon before my long run. If I run in the morning, I’ll just drink some water and eat a few Shot Bloks or Sport Beans. I’ve had issues with potassium deficiency in the past, so I try to pay special attention to my electrolyte intake."
  • Her points of pain: Hip flexors and on the outside of the lower leg. "I use my foam roller on that area and that tends to alleviate some pain. I’ve also discovered that sitting in my cold swimming pool for five to 10 minutes helps to reduce muscle pain."
  • Her biggest struggle: Finding the right time to run before it gets dark.
  • Favorite songs to run to: A mix of rap (Lupe Fiasco, Macklemore, Kid Cudi, etc.)  and house music (Avicii, Calvin Harris, Deadmau5).

Natalie Schwab

Bonus tip: "I was never a fan of running, but now I actually get urges to put on my shoes and go. I think it’s important to remember that it’s just for fun, and you don’t have to kill yourself on every run." Also, her favorite running gear is her Mizuno shoes!

Erin Nielsen

Sales Strategy Associate

  • Her backstory: Before training, she worked out five days a week as a faithful "CrossFitter" and also did hot yoga, cycling and hiking.
  • Cross training of choice: Three days of CrossFit and going hiking
  • Diet tips: "I didn't think this would be an issue before I got started with training, but realized during my 8-mile run how fatigued and thirsty I was getting. I try to drink a lot of water both before and after. I usually do a protein shake afterward to help muscles recover and build."
  • Her points of pain: Foot, knee and hip pain during long runs. Her solution? Ice your knees for 20 minutes afterward with a bag of frozen veggies or by freezing water in a Dixie cup and turning it over, peeling back the sides and massaging in a circular motion."
  • Her biggest struggle: Balancing CrossFit and running; she doesn't want to lose the benefits of the strength training that has helped her become a stronger runner.
  • Favorite songs to run to: Lady Gaga's "Applause" and "Do What You Want with My Body," "Timber" by Pitbull and Ke$ha and Macklemore's "Can't Hold Us"

Erin Nielsen

Bonus tip: "Running is such a mental thing, I get bored so [you] have to mentally be on your game."

Michele Ribaudo

Sales Strategy Coordinator

  • Her backstory: The only other time she ran 13 miles, she intended to run 8, got lost and ended up clocking 13! So this is her first official half marathon. She previously worked out five days per week.
  • Cross training of choice: Boxing four times a week
  • Diet changes: "I’ve tried to incorporate more protein into my diet via smoothies, chicken, etc. But other than that, my diet has remained the same."
  • Her points of pain: Runner's knee
  • Her biggest struggle: "I haven’t been able to get into a regular running routine and have mostly just been hitting the pavement on the weekends."
  • Favorite songs to run to: "Memories" by David Guetta featuring Kid Cudi

Michele Ribaudo

Bonus tip: Eat half a banana before your run and use the other half in a protein-infused smoothie after.

Jenni Pollack

Promotions Manager

  • Her backstory: This is her third half marathon, and she recently ran the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. She runs five days a week on the regular.
  • Cross training of choice: Spin class, Pure Barre, free weights and some yoga
  • Diet tips: "The fewer processed foods and more whole foods I eat (whole grains, fruits and vegetables), the better I sleep, the better and more energetic I feel when running and the further I can go without fatigue."
  • Her points of pain: "As a long-time runner, my IT bands and legs are perpetually tight, and my hip flexors often ache or pop. I do my best to keep my legs stretched out with a foam roller, massages and some yoga. Ice baths definitely keep the soreness at bay after long runs as well."
  • Her favorite gear: Her Jaybird Bluebuds X, Bluetooth wireless headphones
  • Favorite songs to run to: "Things that pump me up are mostly electronic music with heavy beats, like Skrillex, Cazzette, Dada Life, Ke$ha and Calvin Harris."

Jenni Pollack

Bonus tip: The night before a long run, eat a carb-loaded meal that won’t upset your stomach. Her go-to: Pasta with some light protein, steamed veggies and red sauce or pizza with minimal toppings. The morning of: Half a bagel or English muffin with some peanut butter and honey.

Nicole Brennan

Senior Account Manager

  • Her backstory: Previously, she worked out four to five times a week. She's running another half marathon in December, which will be her first one, making the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon her second all within two months!
  • Cross training of choice: Interval workouts and barre workouts
  • Diet changes: "Before a long run, I always eat oatmeal with peanut butter. After the run, I don’t eat anything specific, but try to have something with protein."
  • Her points of pain: Knees and hips
  • Her biggest struggle: "I am used to doing different workouts and forcing myself to stick to the same thing all the time can be a bit mentally challenging for me. Once I get started, though, I never regret a run."
  • Favorite songs to run to: "Work B****" by Britney Spears and anything by Pitbull

Nicole Brennen

Bonus tip: Try out new products to stay fueled during a run! Nicole likes the GU gels.

Paris Polcyn

Graphic Designer

  • Her backstory: Paris is used to working out at CrossFit three to four times a week and playing softball with our SheKnows team, but has never been fond of running. This is a whole new journey for her!
  • Cross training of choice: CrossFit and hiking
  • Diet changes: She recently cleaned up her diet prior to training and eats what she calls "Paleo-ish."
  • Her points of pain: Paris' biggest secret is that she actually hasn't started training full speed yet. Stay tuned as she adds more miles each week.
  • Her biggest struggle: Making the time to run. But despite putting off her training, she's not dropping out. She's going to power through and to that, we tip our hats. Go Paris!

Paris Polcyn

Bonus tip: Don't procrastinate! Commit and stick to it.

Marlis Tolo

Account Manager

  • Her backstory: This is her first half marathon, but she's run the Ragnar Relay, which she highly recommends. She's used to working out three to five times per week. Now she's running four to five times per week.
  • Cross training of choice: "I will add some weights to my workout (squats mainly), lunges and sit-ups to mix it up a little."
  • Diet tips: Eat healthy throughout the week leading up to your long run. "I actually don’t eat much because I get cramps if I eat before, but afterward, I will make a kale, fruit, protein smoothie!"
  • Her points of pain: Shin splints! Her remedy is icing it, stretching, ibuprofen and compression sleeves.
  • Her biggest struggle: "The last mile is my struggle, but running with a friend makes it much better and pushes you to keep going."
  • Favorite songs to run to: Anything by Avicii and anything upbeat

Marlis Tolo

Bonus tip: "I definitely prefer [running on] dirt; the impact is far less than running on the sidewalk or asphalt."

Alan Halter

Campaign Manager, Team Lead

  • His backstory: Alan is the one and only male on our team, and this is his fourth half marathon.
  • Cross training of choice: Weight training and CrossFit-like workouts
  • Diet tips: He never eats before a run, but after, he opts for a protein shake and a banana. He's currently figuring out the best method to stay fueled during his runs as they get longer. Normally, his diet requires a lot of lean protein and veggies, so he's on the right track!
  • His points of pain: IT bands, to which his answer is to buy a foam roller. "It's a godsend in helping out legs."
  • His biggest struggle: Getting into the swing of his training after an international trip to South Korea, India and Hong Kong. In his own words: "Putting your shoes on at 5 a.m. Scheduling it and telling yourself it’s just part of your day versus an option to do or not do."
  • Favorite songs to run to: "I don’t listen to music when I run; it cheapens the experience and you are more likely to get hit by a car (yes, it's happened before)." Stay safe out there, Alan!

Alan Halter

Bonus tip: "It’s the journey, not the destination. I would rather do 500 burpees than run 5 miles." Yet, here he is putting his mind to it!

Crystal Brown

Managing Editor

  • Her backstory: She trained for the P.F.Chang’s half marathon with her husband back in 2011, but wasn’t able to participate because she couldn’t find childcare. "I’ve run a few 5Ks, a 10K, a 12K and done a sprint triathlon, so the half marathon seemed a perfect next step. Here I am, two years later, ready to finally earn a 13.1 sticker for my car."
  • Cross training of choice: Strength training
  • Diet changes: "I hate to say that I haven’t been nearly as consistent with my diet as I’d like to be. I try to stay away from sweets and drink tons of water. But wine is my vice!"
  • Her points of pain: Hamstrings and glutes. "I’ve just started with a physical therapist to determine what is causing the pain and fix it!"
  • Her favorite gear: Arm warmers!
  • Her biggest struggle: "With my long commute, it’s tough to find time to fit in a run and take care of my family. I find myself either skipping my runs or skipping making dinners and lunches for my family, neither of which is ideal."
  • Favorite songs to run to: "Right now, my playlist has tons of Jay Z, but includes my new favorite, Lorde. When I need to push through, nothing’s better than Beyoncé’s 'Run the World (Girls).''

Crystal Brown

Bonus tip: "With the time change, it’s nearly impossible for me to get in my run during daylight hours, so I invested in a headlamp. This one by Petzl is lightweight (and light on the pocketbook), but bright enough so that I can run even when it’s dark."

Catherine Conelly

Senior Editor

  • Her backstory: She's used to running 2 to 3 miles here and there and staying active with hiking and yoga. "I always wanted to run a marathon or a half, but not until I committed with coworkers did I feel obligated to actually follow through. I recommend it because no one wants to let down coworkers! It takes being accountable to a new level. Now, I couldn't be happier to finally be checking this off my bucket list."
  • Cross training of choice: "I use my Nike Training Camp app for targeted workouts and mix in yoga classes at least once a week."
  • Diet tips: Be careful what you eat the night before a long run because it can easily impact you in the morning. Also, "I always drink a smoothie immediately after my run using almond milk, raw protein powder and whatever fruits and veggies I have on hand."
  • Her points of pain: Knees and shins
  • Her favorite gear: Brooks running shoes
  • Her biggest struggle: Eating enough. "I've had to get used to eating enough throughout the day in order to keep my body fueled. I keep emergency snacks in my desk at work."
  • Favorite songs to run to: Classic Britney Spears jams. "They're catchy and upbeat, so they immediately give me a mood-boost when they're sprinkled throughout my playlist!"

Catherine Conelly

Bonus tip: "Go to your local running store and have them test your gait. Having the right shoe is like having a soul mate on those long runs. It's worth the pretty penny."

run with us

Join SheKnows at the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon & Half Marathon event. Register here.

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