Monthly Archives: November 2011

I’m Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving-Eve! Tomorrow marks the celebration of my favorite holiday in the whole entire world. It has all of the important F’s: family, friends, food and football! It’s not very often that you get all four of those together and I want to soak up as much of it as I can.

Pudding puff pastries for dessert tomorrow!

But more importantly, this holiday is about being thankful for all the beautiful, wonderful things happening in your life instead of focusing on the negative, which happens more often than most of us like to admit (at least me).

Every year, my mom requires us to all go around the dinner table and say at least one thing we’re grateful for and one thing on our bucket list. She’s a big believer in goals and dreams, and this is an annual reminder to keep on keeping on. What am I thankful for? I’m so glad you asked:

My family. First and foremost, I’m so unbelievably thankful for the family in my life. I have a great support system and people I know I can turn to with any problem. I’m grateful they are in good health and I get to spend time with so many of them this holiday weekend.

Justin and I on the Brooklyn Bridge. We're happier than we look. It was windy.

Liz. Yeah, she’s in Oklahoma. But she’s my best friend. Even though she’s a bajillion miles away, or at least that’s what it feels like, we still talk on a regular basis and she’s the first person I call with good and/or bad news. I can’t wait until the day she moves back to New York for good and I can see her all the time again. Until then, I’ll cry a little inside as I constantly search flight sites to find something semi-cheap to Oklahoma.

Dustin. We’ve been through a lot this year, some great stuff and some really difficult things. No matter what, we’ve been able to work through it all and he’s really been my rock. I’m so thankful that we’re living together and continuing to grow our relationship awesome-ness.

My friends. Old and new, I love you all. I’ve made some great friends in the last few years and I’m so thankful for each and every one of them. People come in and out of your life for a reason, and I honestly believe every single one of my friends has made a great impact on me. Love you all.

At Louis Armstrong Park in New Orleans. Our version of Where's Waldo?!

My health. I’ve been relatively healthy for the entire year and I could not be more happy about that. It’s allowed me to do a lot of fun, fit things that I’ve had on my bucket list (like running a half-marathon) and kept me out of the hospital. That’s always a good deal.

Being in New York City. I’m living the dream. It’s not easy, but I’m doing it. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given to really prove myself and work toward success in my career.

Running. It’s awesome. I’ve fallen in love and I’m so excited to start marathon training soon.

All of you. Thank you so much for coming to check out the blog and read whatever I have to say on a random day. It really means the world to me. And I get all sorts of excited whenever I get an email saying someone “liked” my post, I have a new subscriber, or a new comment is waiting for me to view 🙂

And in honor of mom’s Thanksgiving tradition, here are a few things on my bucket list for the year (until next Thanksgiving):

  1. Complete my first marathon.
  2. Volunteer at the Hope Lodge in NYC.
  3. Raise money for the American Cancer Society during a race.
  4. Get my personal training certification.
  5. Run at least three more races in new states.

I hope everyone has a fantastic day tomorrow; Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you thankful for? Tell me something on your bucket list!

p.s. If you want to see photos from my birthday trip to New Orleans, check out my Facebook page!

Go Sport ID Winner

Phew, it’s a crazy week! With my birthday, a crazy work schedule and Thanksgiving all so close together, I’m struggling to keep my head above water. Nonetheless, here’s the winner to the Go Sport ID giveaway!

Congratulations!! Please send me an email at checkmypulseblog [at] gmail [dot] com right away so I can get your prize mailed out!

I’ll be back with a real post tomorrow!


Always Remember, Never Forget

This weekend my brother was in town and one of the things he requested we do is visit the Ground Zero Memorial. I hadn’t been yet and was more than willing to oblige. So I snatched up three tickets for Sunday afternoon and Dustin, Justin and I trekked down there. It was so beautiful and unbelievably moving. I nearly cried reading everyone’s names again and was so sad seeing names with flowers rested upon them. It made me wonder who had visited to lay them there, and I wanted to know their story. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has had to personally deal with a lost loved one on that tragic day.

If you ever get a chance, I highly recommend you go see the memorial for yourself. I went during the day, but think it would be beautiful at night with everything lit up. And when spring comes around, all of the trees in the park are going to be in bloom and it’ll just make the memorial vibrant and full of life — something I think many people need to be reminded of. Live life to the fullest, you never know which day is your last.

Here are a few of the pictures I snapped while at the memorial. I hope you enjoy ❤

September 11, 2001: Always Remember, Never Forget ❤

Safety First (Giveaway!)

Happy Tuesday! Hope everyone is having a fantastic week. I’m soaking in as much of this glorious weather as I can until it disappears into the dreaded abyss that is winter. Short strolls during my lunch break, opting to walk instead of taking the subway whenever possible and staying outside for my workouts are just a few things I’ve been doing lately…hey, it postpones me having to actually pay for a gym membership 😉

Speaking of outdoor workouts, I’ve got a great giveaway up my sleeve for you guys this week to continue sharing the birthday love. Whenever you’re headed outdoors, especially alone, you should always carry some form of ID on you. God forbid something happens to you (fingers crossed nothing ever does!), medical professionals need to be able to identify you so they can contact your in-case-of-emergency (ICE) person.

So I should just carry my license in my pocket, right? Wrong. What if you have a flimsy pocket and it flies out? Or you go to take it out, lose grip and it falls down a subway vent (seriously, this almost happened to me a few months ago)? Worst case scenario: someone tries to abduct you, you get away, but your license is left behind in the struggle. They now have your home address. I know it’s easy to think “it won’t ever happen to me,” but that’s what everyone thinks before it’s too late.

So now that the creepy situations are laid out in the open, I have a solution for you:

Enter Go Sport ID, a cute and sporty medical bracelet that carries all of your important information on your wrist.

It’s much harder for it to fly off and no address is required. You don’t even have to have your ICE contacts blatantly on display, but rather hidden on the backside like mine.

My momma is an ICE contact, too. I just hid it. Privacy, people!

Plus, you get to have a personalized mantra engraved on the bracelet for those moments when your out getting sweaty but just need an extra mental boost. I have many mantras that I fall back on, but “Do it for those who can’t” holds a special place in my heart. After all, how can I see that on my wrist, think about all of the people who want to work out but can’t, and then not finish strong? It’s basically impossible.

I got my Inspire Go Sport ID last week and have been wearing it around like it’s a fashion statement (#Imsocool). The band is comfortable, fits snugly and is in my favorite color. I can’t really ask for much else. And if I get bored with the color, I can easily swap out the red for any of the other colors that come in their Inspire multi-pack. They have all of the colors of the rainbow! Remember ROYGBIV? Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Black (wait for it), Indigo (the blue band) and Violet. See, ROYGBIV! 😉 Then they decided to be extra sweet and throw pink into the mix, too.

Have I convinced you to get one yet? Wait! I may be able to give you one for free 🙂

Go Sport ID has generously offered to give one Check My Pulse reader a $25 gift certificate to create your own bracelet and an Inspire Band: Multi-Pack. Double win!

To enter, you can do one or all of the following:

  • Leave a comment telling me what mantra you would have put on your Go Sport ID.
  • Follow Go Sport ID on Twitter and leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.
  • “Like” me on Facebook and leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.
  • Tweet something along the lines of “I entered @samanthaxrachel’s birthday giveaway of the week for a @GoSportID bracelet!” with a link to this post. Leave a separate comment here letting me know you did so.

Remember to leave a separate comment for each thing you do so that you receive a separate entry 🙂

This giveaway ends on Friday, November 18 (my birthday!) at 12:00 midnight EST. Giveaway is open to U.S. readers only.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

And the Winner is…

It’s been a super long day, and while I planned on blogging tonight, I just can’t muster up the energy. I’m lacking on sleep because about 20 firemen woke me up at 1:00am (story to come later, but everything’s fine), and I had a super busy and awesome weekend with my brother (details on that coming soon too.) However, I didn’t want to leave you wondering about the winner of the Bondi Band giveaway any longer!

So without further adieu, the winner is…

Congratulations, Sherry! Send me an email with your address and what Bondi Band you want to checkmypulseblog [at] gmail [dot] com so we can get that shipped out right away 🙂

To continue sharing the birthday love, I have another fun giveaway coming your way tomorrow! See ya then!

You Know You’re a Runner When

I’ve been playing around with this post for a while, coming up with things here and there that have happened to me that I think kinda sorta distinguish me as a runner. These are only a few; I know there are many more. But I find these particularly amusing and hopefully you do, too. So in my opinion, You Know You’re a Runner When…

…you get caught stretching in the office elevator…multiple times.

…you hear PR and automatically think “personal record,” not “public relations.”

…your favorite food group is carbohydrates.

…you get really irritated when people say half-marathons and marathons are the same thing.

…you don’t hit a new trail until you know if bathrooms are easily accessible.

…you have a line in your budget for “race entry fees and travel.”

…you believe waking up at 7am is sleeping in.

…you sigh because a friend scheduled her wedding for Friday, meaning you either have to behave at the wedding or you’re going to have a rough long run the next day.

…you see a Groupon for Garmin, and automatically get excited because you think it’s for a running watch. When you find out it’s actually for a car GPS, you immediately delete the email.

…you’re always hungry. And you love it.

…you’ve mastered the art of using a porta pottie as fast as humanly possible.

…your laundry pile has more workout clothes than regular ones.

…you have more fun shopping for workout clothes than normal ones.

…you wonder if your commute to work would be faster if you just ran it.

…you read this post to see if it applies to you, then realize everything I’ve said is normal.

What are your You Know You’re a Runner When… moments?

An Italian Kind of Night

Pasta is good. Pasta = carbs. Carbs in multiple forms of food are fantastic.

That’s what’s up in my apartment tonight. Some Amy’s pesto pizza.

Some manicotti made from scratch, a la Victoria.

(All of these foods are in the cooking phase still. Obviously.)

And some homemade macaroni and cheese, a la Dustin and Samantha. The “and Samantha” part involves me stirring a few things and washing the dirty dishes. I know, I should be on Top Chef.

You know what else is good? Wine. Red wine, specifically.

Oh, good company is nice to have around too 😉

Heyyyy, Lauren and Victoria.

Dustin and Libby wouldn’t let me take their photos. But they were here. So there.

Anyway, what it all boils down to is this:

Wine + lots of carbs + friends = a fabulous night of relaxation.

Have a great night!

And don’t forget to enter the Bondi Band giveaway! You have until end of day Friday!

Sharing the Birthday Love (Giveaway!)

November is a very important month. Fall season is in full force, Halloween has passed, Thanksgiving is here, Black Friday scares everyone and then Christmas season bears down on us. Despite the crazy schedules that everyone almost always has during this month, it’s my favorite month. I just love the energy that always seems to be around when November is here, the weather is perfect and people just seem happy.

Plus it’s my birthday month. That’s always a plus 😉

Celebrating my 20th a tiara and sash.

As the years go on, my birthday seems to be less and less of a big deal. I didn’t even realize how close my birthday was until last night (10 days away!) when Dustin asked me if there was anything in particular I wanted. We’re going on a New Orleans trip with Libby for the weekend to celebrate (we were supposed to be running a half-marathon but it got canceled), so I think that’s celebration enough!

However, I knew a while ago I didn’t want my birthday to pass by without sharing the love with all of you! So all of that behind-the-scenes work I was doing before? It’s finally coming to fruition. Enter the month of birthday giveaways! For the rest of the month, I have some fun giveaways lined up each week, so make sure you’re tuning in and entering for some fantastic prizes to help keep you on the healthy living train.

First up: Bondi Band!

I love these headbands so much it’s not even funny. The designs are cute, the phrases fit my personality perfectly and the thing stays put. I have an oddly shaped head (I guess?) because it’s so hard for me to find a headband that stays in the right spot when I’m running. Bondi Band is perfect. I’ve taken it on the Fifth Avenue Mile and it stuck through my sprinting efforts, and I’ve treked through the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon with it and again, it didn’t move an inch.

I recently got a second one with an even cooler saying. “Sweat is my fat crying.” Come on, isn’t that awesome? I wore the band yesterday morning while I was lifting weights and it was definitely motivational for me — I stared at it while performing my reps in front of a mirror.

In honor of my birthday celebration, Bondi Band has generously offered to give one of you lucky readers a Bondi Band of your own! You can pick out whatever design you like and it’ll be shipped over right away 🙂

To enter the giveaway, you can do one (or all) of the following:

  • Check out their designs, then come back and leave a comment here letting me know what one you’d pick!
  • Follow me on Twitter & leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.
  • “Like” me on Facebook & leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.
  • “Like” Bondi Band on Facebook & leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.
  • Follow Bondi Band on Twitter & leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.
  • Tweet something along the lines of, “I entered @samanthaxrachel’s birthday giveaway of the week for a @BondiBand!” with a link to this post & leave a comment letting me know you did so.

That’s six ways to enter, giving you a whole ton of chances to win! Just make sure you leave a separate comment for each thing you do because each comment creates a new entry.

This giveaway ends Friday, November 11 at 12:00 midnight EST. Giveaway is open to U.S. readers only.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Bust the Rut

So it’s pretty obvious that I fell off the blogging wagon last week.

Actually, let me correct that. I didn’t fall off the blogging wagon. I jumped off.

But don’t worry, I knew I’d get back on! I just needed a breather. Things were getting extremely overwhelming in Samantha-land (yes, it exists), and I really just needed to take a step back from a lot of things and re-evaluate what was really important to me.

What did I come up with? A few things, actually.

My job. I love my job so, so much. I love going into the office every day and performing the day-to-day tasks that are required for FITNESS to be successful. I work with great people, I research fascinating subject matter that truly matters to me, and I get to connect with millions of people. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Running. This is another thing I took a break from. If you’ve checked out my DailyMile profile recently, you can see that I skidded into quite a workout halt. I could feel myself getting burnt out a few weeks before the race, but told myself to power through and finish strong. I’m so glad I did. Then I gave myself a week off, telling myself I’d jump right back into it. I should have known better — it’s always ten times harder to get back into it when I take a break.

But I knew exactly what would get me back in the groove — the New York City Marathon. Obviously, basically everyone knows it happened yesterday. It was phenomenal. Beautiful. Unbelievably inspirational. I’ve read so many race recaps today it’s not even funny. Dustin went with me to watch at mile 24 and it was so fun cheering for everyone.

Three of my co-workers, Betty, John and Jenna, dominated and a ton of blogging friends conquered the 26.2 epicness that is NYCM. It was the perfect kick in the butt to get me back into my sneakers this morning and ready to pound the pavement. Three other co-workers have already made a pact with me to run the marathon next year. Let the countdown begin!

I want to be like Mike Spidey.

Blogging. This little space on the Internet has come to mean so much to me. Yes, I took a week off, but I have been itching to be back for days. So why didn’t you blog when you wanted to, Samantha? Because I told myself at the beginning of the week I would take a full week off to really evaluate what was important to me. Could I live without blogging? Was it unnecessary pressure I was adding to myself? Would shutting down my page be in everyone’s best interests?

Turns out the answer to all of those questions is a big fat NO. Although I wasn’t actively blogging myself, I was reading nonstop, dreaming up future posts, taking pictures, and thinking about what I would do once I got back to blogging. I realized that this really has become a huge passion of mine and I’m not willing to give it up. Nor do I have to. I just need to play around with my schedule and really nail down something that works for me. I know I’ve been saying that for a few months now, and I don’t know if you’ve even noticed, but I’ve toyed with different schedules and am slowly figuring out what works for me. I’m really hoping to find a long-term solution sometime soon.

But ya know what was the best part of the week-long blogging hiatus? Realizing how many of you actually read and care about my blog. That means so much to me. I had so many Facebook messages, comments, tweets and e-mails flood in throughout the week, wondering if I was alright and when I was going to be back. People telling me they missed me and were (im)patiently awaiting my return. Compliments from people I know and people I haven’t met IRL (in real life) yet. It truly means the world to me. I know I don’t have a ginormous following, but every single person reading this blog means something to me. It truly blows my mind that people take a few minutes out of their day to read my words simply because they want to. Thank you.

Food. More specifically, healthy food. I’ve come to realize that living with a boy is hard when it comes to food. They eat more, which makes you want to eat more, and they don’t always eat super-healthy because well, their metabolism can handle it. At least Dustin’s can. Dustin doesn’t work out nearly as much as I do, yet he still rocks a six-pack and can run faster than me (I hate him a little bit for that). So after San Francisco, I gave in to his cravings and basically ate whatever he decided to whip up. Half of it was healthy, half of it not so much.

Fortunately, we sat down this weekend and re-evaluated our goals to get back on the healthy living bandwagon. Because in the end, when I eat like crap, I feel like crap. Sure, it satisfies all of my cravings in the moment, but it only lasts for about 2.5 seconds before the next one hits. That’s a quick recipe for disaster. I’d much rather have a recipe like Monica’s tortilla soup, which I happened to feast on tonight.

That is one hearty, filling soup. Low-sodium chicken broth, shredded chicken breast, salsa (next time we’re just going to cut up a ton of tomatoes, I think), black beans, corn, a few tortilla chips and a sprinkle of shredded cheese. Unbelievably easy and incredibly delicious. Win.

Overall, I think the break was a much-needed step back to really think about my life and where I want it to go. I have a lot of things on my plate, yes, but they’re all things that I love 100 percent. I’m officially back on the wagon, I’ve busted through the rut and am ready to soar with flying colors (enough cliches for ya there?). Thanks for sticking around, I promise it’ll be well worth it 🙂



pssst! Fun goodies coming your way tomorrow, so stay tuned!