Celebrating Mathias: 2nd Annual Team Mathias 5K and Family Fun Run!


Team Mathias

This past December, Mathias Giordano lost his cancer battle. Tomorrow he would have celebrated his 14th birthday. I have not been able to get him out of my thoughts since first hearing about him and what an amazing young man he was from my friend Gwen. Gwen and I, along with her son and HB ran the 5K this morning to remember him and raise money for childhood cancer research.

It was an amazing feeling to start my day with a 5K run to support Team Mathias in the Team Mathias 5K and Family Fun Run 2015y


I was so proud of HB. I thought she was going to back out of coming with me early this morning but no. She stayed true to her commitment and did great. This is now the second race we have done together. I can’t even describe how much it fills my heart with so much love and pride that she is open to tackling the races with me.  I think one of the reasons that I continue to be moved by Mathias is my own kiddos are around the same age – and after seeing how hard Scott’s cancer battle was, I can only imagine how much harder it is for those younger.  During the pre-race speeches, I teared up thinking about him and his family. What an amazing example of faith and perseverance.


Partnering with the Team Mathias was Be the Match®, a global leader in bone marrow transplantation. They conduct research to improve transplant outcomes provide support and resources for patients, and partner with a global network

My last 5K was in March for Scope it Out Colon Cancer Awareness and my 5K pace was 9:36. This race I finished with a 8:45 minute pace. So I’m pretty pleased with that improvement. Boxing and Cycling are really helping my overall lung capacity for sure.

11301561_10152972810248741_263347669_nChildhood Cancer Statistics – Important Facts

Each year, the parents of approximately 15,700 kids will hear the words “your child has cancer.” Across all ages, ethnic groups and socio-economics, this disease remains the number one cause of death by disease in children. Despite major advances – from an overall survival rate of 10 percent just fifty years ago to nearly 90 percent today, for many rare cancers, the survival rate is much lower. Furthermore, the number of diagnosed cases annually has not declined in nearly 20 years.

  • Every day, 43 children are diagnosed with cancer.
  • 12% of children diagnosed with cancer do not survive.
  • Children’s cancer affects all ethnic, gender and socio-economic groups.
  • The average age of children diagnosed is six.
  • More than 40,000 children undergo treatment for cancer each year.
  • 60% of children who survive cancer suffer late-effects, such as infertility, heart failure and secondary cancers.
  • There are approximately 375,000 adult survivors of children’s cancer in the United States.
    • That equates to 1 in 530 adults ages 20-39.

Team Mathias 5K
Team Mathias

2015 Scope It Out 5K – Washington, DC


Sunday was the 10th Annual Scope it Out 5K.  It was my fifth year running to celebrate my husband being colon cancer free! Seems so long ago now that he was recovering from surgery and chemo. Every year, I run this race as a reminder of how far we have come from those days and to continue to do my part spreading the word about how important it is for anyone with symptoms or at risk for colon cancer get screened. Remember: the treatment for colon cancer is a lot worse than any colonoscopy!!

Scope It Out 5K 2015

Both my kiddos ran this year’s race too! Last year’s 2014 Scope it Out 5K, HB joined us and this year Nate Dogg committed and rocked it!  I could not have been more proud of both of them! Apparently,  Nate loves to talk while he runs and expects a two way conversation, so Scotty had the pleasure of counting cop cars, crowds of people and anything else Nate Dogg wanted to mention during the 3+ miles. Good times!

I still regularly visit blogs created by others battling colon cancer. When I got back from the race, I decided to visit a blog by a young women in Arizona:  Michelle Whitehead Hastings. She had not been updating regularly because the cancer came back and she was undergoing some painful treatments. I wondered how she was doing and was shocked to learn she passed away late last month.  Michelle was a women, wife, mother, daughter – a bright shining person, who tried to give back as she navigated her own treatment. I took a moment last night to say a prayer for her and her family. And although I didn’t know the news at the time – I ran the race in her honor. RIP Michelle.

Race Results

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my time was better this year than 2014 and 2013! Keep in mind that I am not a runner. I had not run since this fall and even then it was no more than sprints. While there is nothing amazing about my pace in the general sense, I am quite pleased with it.  And I came in the top 17% overall. Not too shabby!

  • 2015: 9:36
  • 2014: 10:13
  • 2013: 9:55
  • 2012: 9:03
  • 2011: 9:29

Scope It Out 2015 Results

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2015 Scope it Out 5K Event Photos

Scope it out 5K 2015Scope it out 5K 2015


10649662_10152772708013741_6033625574996435756_nScope it out 5K

Scope it out 5K 2015

Scope it out 5K

10th Annual Scope It Out 5K


scope it out Spring is almost here and for the fifth year in a row, my family is running in the Scope it Out 5K Washington DC Presented by Chris4Life

Are you busy Sunday, March 22nd?  Want to do a 5K with me in DC?

I am running with Team Hoagie’s Heroes to raise awareness and money for colon cancer research. My silver fox of a husband Scott Hoaglund is now six+ years colon cancer free and I can’t think of a better reason to run and celebrate!

Here’s a link to the blog I kept during his diagnosis and treatment: Colon C: A Family’s Journey

If you can’t make the run with us, would you consider donating? https://fundraising.active.com/fundraiser/Hoagie_sHeroes

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Recognize people in this video?

scope 2015

What A Crazy, Busy Wonderful Weekend We Had


What a crazy, busy wonderful weekend I had. Friday evening, I met up with some of the awesome people from Highbar CrossFit for a social happy hour/dinner. It’s always fun to be able to talk and hang out outside of the gym because if our coaches had our way, we would always be laser focused on the workout. And I know, I know – it’s important but I also like chatting away.

Coach Takano Weightlifting Scott and I didn’t stay out too late because I had to get up early and go to the Bob Takano Weightlifting Clinic at Highbar. Bob Takano is a hall of fame lifting coach who has coached some really impressive athletes. He’s the kind of coach that based on his experience, he can just look at you and know instantly where your faults lie and how to advise to fix. Whether you can fix it or not, well that’s another issue. He’s also the kind of guy that is very blunt in his approach – doesn’t really sugar coat his message, so I am glad I have a thick skin in general. One of the points he talked through was the idea of an athlete and a more recreational athlete, who is just looking to get fit. That’s been the topic of debate in the CrossFit circles for a while. I got the impression that Coach Takano could give a crap about all of that controversy. He loves what he does and if there are new communities who want to learn more about weightlifting, he will be happy to oblige.

I learned quite about technique and I realized how long it has been since I have done any Oly Lifting. My form was totally off and some of my general faults prevent me from making some progress. For example, my posture sucks. I have Kyphosis – which is a curving of the spine that causes a bowing or rounding of the back, which leads to a hunchback or slouching posture. I have mentioned my posture issues before and they have been around since before kindergarten. I look at old pics and wish that someone had insisted I sit up properly! Just look at my Kindergarten school pic below. I know I was cute and had flair, but man, my shoulders were all hunched in even then. SIT UP STRAIGHT YOUNGER STEPHANIE!!!

Kindergarten School Pic

What do I need to do to address my back issue? Coach Takano told me to focus on doing a lot of Overhead Squats. So, I am going to start doing that and add in some mobility work to help combat any more effects that may arise down the line. It also looks horrible –when I see pics that I have not posed for, I look schlumpy and fat. And if I can do something to prevent me from looking frumpy, I am going to do it!  A quick Google search produced a bunch of results on how to heal the hunchback. Here are a few from some sites that I respect:

Scope it out 5K groupThere is always some work to do and I love it!  And I was super tired and sore from 6 hours of weightlifting and slept super well Saturday night.

Scope it Out 5K

A good night’s sleep was seriously welcome because I had to get up early and head into DC to run the Annual Scope it Out 5K for Colon Cancer Awareness! This is the 4th year I have run it and we always have a ton of fun. We run the race and then head out to eat brunch and partake in bloody marys and/or mimosas. Hannah Bea ran it again this year too – and I was so proud of her for finishing it along with her daddy! Five years cancer free is a serious reason to celebrate!

Scope it out 5K Finish Line

Here’s a link to the complete photo gallery: 2014 Scope it Out 5K. I finished in the top 25% which was suprising since I have been strugging with my running lately. It wasn’t an impressive performance – doing a 10 minute mile, but I finished alongside my pal Lani and didn’t have an asthma attack, so it was a win in my book! 

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Be Inspired

Every Day We Should Read One Good Poem...


Rest Day!

Happy New Year 2014


HIghbar CrossFit Ladies Doing a 5K in Leesburg VA

Happy New Year 2014


Nothing like doing a 5K on New Year’s Day — Rehau Resolutions 5K. It was a tough one for me.. did about a 10 minute mile. My running needs major work– and I mean major work.

Happy New Year – May it be your best year yet!

Trail Race: We Were All In It Together


Team SwoletownYesterday, I ran the 10K Trail Race from Hell aka the Loudoun 10K Trail Run in Middleburg VA. It was probably one of the hardest races I have personally ever done mostly due to the huge hill at the start and the finish of the race.  The race benefits the Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors and it was a worthy cause especially since today is Veteran’s Day.  Trail racing seems to be so much tougher than regular road running too. There were leaves all over the trails, so you aren’t sure what the terrain is really like –and it was bumpy, uneven & slippery underneath all of those leaves. Then we had small creeks to get over – It was really challenging and I was so ready to go home when it was done. The last quarter mile was this steep hill that kept on going and going. I stopped in the middle of it — and thought how am I going to finish. I am sore, my lower back hurts. I just decided to put one foot in front of the other and just keep going. At the very last part, I really didn’t think I could run to the finish line and this other lady ran by and said “come on, we will run together.” And we did –and I was done. My time was nothing at all to write home about –but for someone who doesn’t run long distances often and who doesn’t enjoy running – the fact that I finished it was an accomplishment. That’s all that mattered to me and I got to hang out with some super cool, strong chicks who took it on together!

After getting laid off, I wanted to do something completely out of my comfort zone that would challenge me to the max for some reason. I am glad I did it –although I am not likely to do that course again – but never say never! And the ladies I spent time with on Saturday were awesome. As I said, I am focused on being around strong, positive people who want to be better and do better each and every day.

A few lessons learned —

  1. 1. Do not wear a fanny pack with a bottle of water. My back started to get really tight and uncomfortable after a while and only after I dumped the water, did it start to feel a wee bit better.
  2. 2. Do not use Spotify when you are on a trail in the woods. Reception is bad and your music becomes unreliable.
  3. 3. Don’t plan to do anything the rest of the day because you will need to rest and recover.

Saturday, after my workout – we all as a family went to see Thor. I am not usually into movies like that but it was really good. I thought the story played out really well. The kids really liked it too — and it was yet another reminder that my daughter is growing up. She now has a crush on Chris Hemsworth!


Workout: Cleans
Push Press
Front Squat

Kindness Matters

This Middle School Football Team Went Behind Their Coaches’ Backs To Do Something Incredible (Video)

The Olivet Eagles football team at Olivet Middle School in Olivet, Michigan, decided to run a play and intentionally not score, all without their coaches knowing.

The football team planned the play for weeks, all so they could set up a very special moment for a special boy.

Keith Orr is a special needs child, and his buddies on the football team decided to give him the chance to run for a touchdown.

Thought You Couldn’t Hold Mr. Rogers In Any Higher Of An Esteem? Check Out These 6 Wonderful Facts

How can you not love Mr. Rogers. These facts are just more proof of what a wonderful, kind man he was in real life.



CrossFit For Hope – National Mall 2013


pull upsI had so much fun this weekend at CrossFit for Hope. It was a great cause and was worth having work out in the blazing heat, mid-morning in the middle of the National Mall. I didn’t do like amazing well at the brutal workout, but that wasn’t what it was about for me. I just loved being in the mix of the CrossFit community, seeing old friends, doing something all together for a great cause and having fun the only way CrossFitters know how – through fitness!

There were some of the more well-know CrossFit athletes there including Christmas Abbott, Christy Phillips, Elisabeth Akinwale, and Greg Glassman -the founder of CrossFit himself!

Such a great event and I was happy to be there –but in all honesty I felt sluggish and chunky the entire time. Then I saw the pictures and OMG — I look a bit thicker around the middle that I would like and started getting really down. Yeah, Yeah – I look strong and have muscles but I am also all about honesty – and I need to re-focus my eating and start getting leaner again — not to mention I need to rid myself of some of the physical effects I am feeling as of late. Today is the day —

Want to see some more pics from the event? Visit my Facebook photo album: CrossFit for Hope 2013

And I can’t forget my friend Christmas Abbot giving me a headlock hug — She really is one of the nicest people you could ever meet – gorgeous, funny, nice, strong.


The workout was brutal
CrossFit for Hope
3 Rounds AMRAP

  • 1 minute Burpees
  • 1 minute Snatch
  • 1 minute Thrusters
  • 1 minute Box Jumps
  • 1 minute Chest to Bar/Pull ups
  • 1 minute Rest

Imagine its 90 degrees, out on the National Mall doing that workout. Yeah – it was brutal. When we were done, I walked around a bit, said my hellos/goodbyes, went out for lunch. Drove home – showered and I crashed for a few hours. I was wiped out but happy I was there for another year.

Sunday was a rest day –and today, was the start of testing week at HighBar CrossFit!

200m jog
4 sampson stretch
10 push ups
4 instep lunges
10 squats

strength – testing my progress
back squat
175 1×5
185 1×5

10 min AMRAP
5 DB Hang Squats
5 DB Lunges
25 Double Unders
5+ rounds

Greg Glassman

How Clean Is Your Gym?


I am taking full advantage of having this week off and going to the later HighBar CrossFit classes. Today we did a benchmark workout, Jackie. We didn’t do a lot of benchmarks that required rowing at the other gym but I am finding that rowing is super challenging to me and I like it.

  • 1000m row
  • 50 Thrusters (45#)
  • 30 Pull Ups

Time: 16:32

I took the thrusters and pull ups 5 at a time and just got through them. I was a soaking wet mess at the end. To add misery to the day, we also did 3×12 of this Ab torture movement. I can’t recall the name of it, but you lie on a bench with your butt off the bench. Bring your knees to your chin, straighten then out and slowly lower them to parallel -hold them a sec, do it again. Want to feel your abs working? Do that, trust me. I like some of the isometric work we do — my abs will be sore tomorrow for sure!

I have mentioned before how I have been fighting a mycobacterial infection for over a year now. I don’t think I will ever get rid of it — I have been talking to the owners of HighBar who have experience as athletes as well as coaches. They are very aware and sensitive about the cleanliness of their gym and I am constantly seeing them sweep and mop with antifungal/anti-bacterial cleaning stuff.  When you are looking at joining a CrossFit box, look around – -is the gym clean? What do the bathrooms look like? Ask them about their cleaning schedule. Do you see the coaches and staff doing their part in helping keep the place clean, safe and disinfected?  It’s really easy to have an open cut and have it turn into something more when there are tons of bacteria and other shit around. Learn from my mistake!

I just registered for CrossFit for Hope in DC on July 6th. It should be a good time for a great cause and I think Scotty will be able to join me so he can take some bad-ass pictures. I’m excited!

Lastly, do you often have lower back pain? Whenever someone mentions that to me I tell them, it’s probably the hamstrings! Here’s some exercises you can do to help alleviate your lower back pain:


Low Back Pain

And of course, do hamstring stretches to loosen them up so you can move better and also help alleviate the strain on your back. It has changed people’s lives! I swear….



American Odyssey Relay Adventure


Where shall I start to recap my two + day American Odyssey Adventure? From the top…

Thursday afternoon I got all ready to go –about five minutes before I was ready to head over to the gym to meet the gang, my iPhone that was in my back pocket fell in the toilet. Full on in — I was like WTF? Seriously? Was this a sign of things to come? I quickly put it in a bag of rice and began to pray for the best — more on that later.

AOR VANThursday we packed up the van and headed out to Gettsyburg around 7p.  We arrived around 830ish to our cabins at the DrummerBoy Camp Ground. Nice, clean fully furnished cabins. We headed on out again to eat because we were starving. We ended up at a place called Pub & Restaurant and ate a pre-race meal. Some of the team had some pre-race drinks too!

The boys wanted to stay out a bit later than I did so Drew was kind enough to take me home before heading back on out with the guys. Drew is young and man –sometimes that boy needs to be slapped in the head. I noticed when he got on the main road he was going the wrong way, so I said hey -the outlet malls are over there and when we were coming into GBurg they were on the other side.. He said no, we are going the right way. We are cool. So about 10 minutes further I said Drew, you know the Outlet mall was way back there. He said oh they were, shoot we are going the wrong way.  I said Yes that’s what I said..he said well I didn’t believe you! It was like this all weekend!

We all got up and ready to go mee01-DSC07522t up with Van 1 to see them start and kick off the race for our Team Impavidus. It was early and we had not yet had any coffee. And Colleen started us off..away she went!

We all then headed to a local diner, had some grub and then headed back to the cabin. Our Van didn’t start until the mid afternoon, so we hung out, napped, decorated the van.

Then met up with Van 1 right after Leg 6 – which is the hardest leg of the entire race. All uphill, crazy 6 miles and was done by the amazing Nick. He is built for these types of races and didn’t disappoint.



Then it was Conan’s turn to kick off Van 2’s first leg of the race. My first leg was around 4 pm and it was 5.6 miles. The longest I have ever had to run in a race before. The scenery was gorgeous but there sure are a ton of hills in Gettysburg!



After our legs were over, we headed to get some grub for dinner. It was around 7p –then we headed to the next checkpoint.  We were not done for the night. My next leg was 3.14 miles all uphill through Antiem Battlefield at 2A. Talk about challenging! Not my finest hour and it was probably one of the low points of the race for me. It was cold, dark and here I was running at 2A. WTF?

When our late night legs were over, we headed to the checkpoint in Poolsville MD – which happened to be about 1.5 hours away. I felt bad because Conan had to drive and we were all exhausted and sleeping in the back. He was a trooper and probably should have pulled over at some point – but we made it to our checkpoint around 4A. We managed to get a few hours of sleep. I slept in the van while most of the others slept outside with their sleeping bags.

We awoke around 7A and got ready in the school and waited for Nick to finish out his leg before handing it off to Conan. This was our final stretch — Conan got to run in the most beautiful scenic trail.



As we followed him to the next hand off point, we all were just beyond exhausted but kept motoring on. Conan handed off to Jon — and then it was my turn. Jerry and I ran my leg together. It was a beautiful run along the C&O canal into DC.


I was so happy to see the transition point because I was done — 4.6 miles I think that last leg was and with no sleep and having run 9 in the past day, I no longer wanted to run. I wanted to sleep. That was it. Sleep. I was so thirsty at the end –and we were out of water. A nice person gave me their water bottle just to help out. I love people.

I handed it off to Drew who brought it all the way home. And we met him at the end and ran in together as a team…

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It was fun, horrible, challenging, exhilarating all at the same time. Oh and my fone did not work the entire trip and it is working now but the camera and wireless are not. I am headed to the Apple store today in hopes that can help. If not, new phone for Stephsters!

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Gearing up for the Big Race


i canThis is the week of my American Odyssey Race— I just reviewed my legs of the race and seems do-able. I ran 6 miles total on Saturday with some rests in between but I know I can do it with less rest –I may not be the fastest runner but I can push on!

  • 11 which is entitled; Across the Mason/Dixon line 5.6 miles
  • 23 which is through a residential hood  3.4 miles
  • 35 which is entitled Phyllis’s Favorite and is the 2nd to last leg 4.7 miles

I’m nervous and excited and totally up for it. This is so far beyond my comfort zone but the guys I am hanging with are like my family and I know they won’t let me fail.

Forbes just did a story about Relay Races.

American Odyssey Relay Run Adventure
This picturesque race is one for history buffs. The American Odyssey Relay starts in the shadow of Gettysburg, Penn.’s Civil War battlefields (they’re about an hour north of Baltimore), and makes the trek down to Washington, D.C., passing some of the most famous landmarks in American history. Each of the 36 legs ranges from easy to very hard and is between 3.2 and 8.7 miles. After crossing the Mason-Dixon Line, teams can refuel (and shower) at the “Odyssey Oasis” during legs 16 through 18. The route continues through other historical sites, including Antietam National Battlefield and Harpers Ferry, W.Va. In the home stretch, the final runner crosses the Francis Scott Key Bridge in D.C. and 14th Street Bridge to join your team at the finish line at the Southwest Waterfront. April 26-27.

Today’s workout was RUNNING! It was one of the fine ladies of CrossFit: Nancy.

400m run



5 RFT 

  • 400m run
  • 15 OHS  (55#)

My shoulders were super tight even though I did some mobility work before hand. It took until the second to last round for the to loosen which slowed me down.  I also made sure to focus on my POSE running so I was a bit slower in my run but it felt so much better!! It’s not as torturous to run — I had to be reminded to lean in a few times but overall I was running noticeably smoother. Progress!!

Today is Earth Day. I wrote a blog for the corporate blog I work for: Earth Day 2013 sharing some ideas about lessons you can do with your kids to learn about the planet. Also –simply get outside, clean up some garbage, plant some flowers. We only have one home, let’s take care of it.

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