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Beat Of My Own Run!

Hi There!

My name is Kristina and I am a runner, blogger, and group fitness instructor. However, I’ve had quite the journey to my fit life!

As a child, I had a heart condition that prevented me from doing any sort of prolonged activity – running, hiking, standing, etc! If I tried, most times it would end in an embarrassing fainting episode. These episodes have happened almost everywhere – the Grand Canyon, the NYC subway, elementary school science fairs, even the corporate offices of Ralph Lauren! Since it was dangerous and constant, my parents and doctors had a LOT of control over what I did and did not do.

However, in 2010 everything changed. I realized that my EKG reports were getting better, and I was feeling stronger. My boyfriend at the time (now my husband!) was traveling most days of the week, so I decided to set my alarm clock 30 minutes earlier than usual to try to run. Little by little, mile by mile, I felt OK! So, I leaped – I signed up for a sprint triathlon! I remember my parents asking me “…Kristina, can you swim?” Haha! I gave myself 4 months to train, and I DID IT! I completed my first sprint triathlon in July 2010! I haven’t looked back ever since. I’ve completed 2 more triathlons, 2 duathlons, countless 10Ks, 6 half marathons, a 20-mile race, and 1 FULL MARATHON! As I am also in the fitness industry, I am constantly pushing clients/members to do the thing they “think” they cannot do!

I am so grateful to be a part of the Sweat Pink Ambassador program as I strive to reach people every day through fitness. My fit journey is relatable, and I hope to help others break through barriers that they may have! I am very open with my journey on social media; I want to be transparent with the fitness community so they know that they CAN do anything they set their minds to!

Thank you for reading my story :) My AHA moment was almost 4 years ago, and I look forward to many more years of health, happiness, and new adventures!!


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Taking Action For My Body

Growing up I was always on the skinny side. I am from India and was a strict vegetarian growing up. Hence my mom made sure we got good servings of vegetables and fruits every day. Fast forward 20 years, I got married and moved to United States with my husband.  I was alone, no friends, away from family and had no work (as I was on a dependent visa and couldn’t work). Food was my savior and I slowly started to put on weight as I found comfort in sweets. I got pregnant meanwhile and blamed the weight gain on pregnancy. A year after my daughter was born, I went to a party and all my friends were astonished by how big I was.

This was when I decided to take action for my body. I removed all of the sugars, unprocessed foods, soda, and any junk from the pantry and started eating clean. Working out was never my friend but Zumba changed my life. I lost 40 pounds and started running which I had never done in my life. I completed a 5k and hope to do many more in the future. Now I am working full time, and the happiest state I’ve ever been in my life.


These days I blog over at Healthy Cooking ‘N’ Fitness sharing lots of healthy clean eating recipes and workouts which can be done in the comfort of your home. I make meal plans every week, cook healthily and make clean lunches and dinners most days.

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F^3 Lake Half Marathon [A Race Report]

Well, well, well…SURE, I’ll run a half on the Lakefront in Chicago…in JANUARY…during a POLAR VORTEX.  To be fair, the high for the day was about four hours prior to race start time (10:00am).

I spent my early morning (after sleeping in!) enjoying sipping some coffee and doing some blogging.  Around 8:45am, I started getting dressed and we took off toward Montrose Harbor.  No lie, I’ve never participated in a race that started this late in the morning.  I was beginning to get hungry!  Since I haven’t found a good food to nom on before any kind of run, whether it be long or short, I just don’t eat before taking off.  I have successfully completed 14+ miles without food, so I figured today wouldn’t be any different.  I realized it sort of WAS different, since I usually run earlier in the day.  Much earlier.  Like hours earlier.  Ahhhhh.

When we finally arrived and found parking, which was about a half mile from the race start, we realized that it was FIVE MINUTES until race time!  My emotions were teetering on the fact that I didn’t feel prepared, but that it was a chip-timed race, and I wasn’t *racing* it, anyway.  I could waltz over the start line five minutes after they began the silly thing if I wanted to.  Luckily, they started the race in waves.  There were parts of the path that would’ve been just downright frustrating having to deal with everyone at once.  The best part about being late?  SO MANY PORT-A-POTTIES!  Not ONE was occupied.  This isn’t to say that I took my sweet time and chose the cleanest one with the most TP in it, but it was nice to not have to stand in a line.  The first wave had taken off before I even got near the start line; the second wave took off just as I finished up and was ready to go!

Despite my ridiculous timing, this race was clearly extremely organized!

As you can see, it was REALLY tight at the beginning!  Everyone was running right on top of each other, stumbling over patches of ice and mounds of snow.  We even stopped completely at one point; for what, I have no clue.  They had shoveled and cleared the entire route before the race, but the WIND kept blowing more and more snow onto it.  I just concentrated on people’s feet in front of me.


Meanwhile, Harry took some really wonderful pictures!  Welcome to #Chiberia!

The first half was pretty nice!  I sloshed through mud, shuffled through snow, and slid ever-so slightly over icy patches.  I kept the pace extremely easy, as I was just treating this like a long run.  I tried to pick up a tempo, but I eventually hit more snow and ice, so I slowed back down.  My feet started to ache from all of the bouncing and dodging around people and winter elements.  Up top, I was burning up!  I had put on two layers, knowing that the temperature was going go drop quickly.  I was ready to turn my back to the sun. The wind eventually started blowing HARD, nearly knocking me over into the oncoming race traffic.  It felt nice.  :P

I hit the turnaround and thanked several volunteers for being out there.  If I was freezing my tooshie off while running, they must be absolutely frigid!

Eventually, I started getting REALLY tired.  Why?  I’m assuming from running in ankle-deep snow and sand (SAND!  Sand had gotten up there, too!) and from dodging puddles.  I took a GU (see above about me eating and running…this goes for DURING, as well) around mile 7, as I felt my tummy turning over itself.  When I say that I “took a GU”, I mean “chewed a GU slowly over a mile”.  Now I had a GU-cicle in my tummy.  Great.

Miles 8-12 were really just me putting one foot in front of the other.  Times were tough.  My feet were muddy and freezing, and my legs were heavy!  I kept saying “I’m not of my body, I’m not of my body”, attempting to control the mentally enduring portion of this run.  I did not want to stop for anything.  I saw so many people walking, which mentally messed with me…taunted me…“You know you want to walk, Tiffany…it’s only a long run…you can stop if you want…”; with which I would fire back with“NO, I don’t care, I can’t stop…I’m not of my body…”

I finally got to mile 12 (after successfully watching every tenth of a mile tick-tick-tick away…*le sigh*) and I got excited.  Hooooray, food is near!

Harry was settled about .15 of a mile from the finish line.  Of course, I looked stupid-happy to see him.  I looked forward to the finish line and smiled at every camera I saw.  There’s definitely nothing more humbling than running that far in that weather, in those conditions. Unless you were volunteering that day.  Then you win.  :)

Harry found me grabbing food and water.  I was trying to show him that there were ice cubes in the water…you can see what I suspect as frozen snot.  *le blush*


 Aftermath mud!

All in all, this was an absolutely fantastic, fun, well-organized race!  From packet pick-up, which had been situated in several locations all over Chicago a week out up to race day, to the traffic coordinators and volunteers.  Plus, they had nifty Finisher’s medals and 1/4 zip long sleeved race shirts!  The hat was a gift from Harry.  D’awwww.

Did you run in F^3 (EFFING FREEZING FROZEN) weather?

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