Dani Dishes 4-21-14: Initial Boston Marathon Thoughts

On this episode of Dani Dishes, I am sharing my initial thoughts and reactions to April 21′s Boston Marathon. Warning: there will be tears!


*UPDATED* I’m going to Nashville to #FightStroke!

Being a member of Tedy’s Team is an honor. One that I am reminded of every day. It becomes even more evident at the pasta party prior to the Boston Marathon, which happened last night. Hearing the stories of teammates – 5 who are Stroke Survivors that will be running on Monday.

I run in honor of my Stroke Heroes – my grandparents – and for all others who have been affected by Stroke.


So when I surpassed the $5000 goal for the Boston Marathon I started to think what was next. I then realized (yes late to the game) that many of my teammates would be taking on the Nashville half or full marathon five days after Boston. The fundraising goal for that was $4500.

As I sat pondering the extra challenge, I made my final push for Boston by offering mile sponsorships. The generous donations came rolling in (which still leaves me speechless)!

Finally yesterday I made a decision. If I could hit the $8000 mark, I would make the announcement: 2 marathons in 5 days to Fight Stroke.

And then this happened…

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So I am doing it. I am going to push my body and mind to a new limit in honor of my grandparents and those that can’t run.

Since the mile sponsorship was well-received for Boston, we are taking it to Nashville too. Here are the details:

1) Head over to my donation page (here) and donate :) – $20 per mile

2) Comment on this blog post with which mile you would like to sponsor

3) Feel good about helping to Fight Stroke


Thank you all for your continued support as we head to Boston tomorrow and Nashville Saturday!!

 EDIT: After the medical incidents at the Boston Marathon on April 21, I will be dropping to the half marathon in Nashville.

New fundraising update:



1 Holly Rhoades Johnson
2 Gramma
3 AK Stout
5 Mom & Dad
7 Dacia Root and Erick Larin
Carlee Padot McClurg
9 Chris Shuttlesworth
10 Katrina Pilkington
11 Jamie Falzone
12 Carissa Bealert
13 Cecilia Jones
13.1 My Stroke Heroes


2014 Road Races

Here is how the 2014 race schedule is shaping up so far:

January 1 – 1st Run 5k – 23:43 (7:39 min/mile pace) – RECAP

Dopey Challenge

January 9 – Disney Family Fun Run 5k – 32:05 (10:21 min/mile pace) – RECAP

January 10 – Walt Disney World 10k – 1:05:40 (10:35 min/mile pace) – RECAP

January 11 – Walt Disney World Half Marathon – 2:22:31 (10:53 min/mile pace) – RECAP

January 12 – Walt Disney World Marathon – 4:45:57 (10:55 min/mile pace) – RECAP


February 2 – Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon – 1:55:43 (8:50 min/mile pace) – RECAP

February 14 – Stop Stroke Shuffle 5k *Virtual* – 26:18 (8:29 min/mile pace)


March 1 – Black Cat 20-Miler – 2:57:59 (8:54 min/mile pace) – RECAP

March 16 – Craicfest 5k – 24:17 (7:49 min/mile pace) – RECAP


April 19 – BAA 5k – 25:09 (8:06 min/mile pace) – RECAP Pending

April 21 – 118th Boston Marathon – Starts at 11:25 a.m. ET

April 26 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon – Starts at 7:00 a.m.


May 11 – M.O.M.’s Run 5k – Starts at 10 a.m. ET

May 25 – Boston’s Run To Remember Half Marathon – Starts at TBD


June 1 - Freedom Run 5k - Starts at TBD

June 7 – Runner’s World 5k – Starts at 7 a.m. ET

June 7 – Runner’s World 10k – Starts at 8:30 a.m. ET

June 8 – Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon – Starts at 7:30 a.m. ET

June 22 - BAA 10k - Starts at 8:00 a.m. ET


July 13 – Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon – Starts at 7 a.m. ET


September 7 – Pumpkinman Half Ironman – Starts at TBD

September 20 – VERT – Big Bad Wolf (Trail Run) – Starts at TBD

September 27 – ZOOMA Women’s Half Marathon (Cape Cod) – Starts at TBD


October 12 - BAA Half Marathon - Starts at 8:30 a.m. ET


December 7 – Yulefest 5k – Starts at TBD




#BostonRunsSocial Meetup/Tweetup (April 19) – You joining?

Do you live in Boston?

Do you read this blog? Ummm that is an awkward question since you are currently reading this sentence, but hey I have to ask anyway. Right?

Are you running the BAA 5k or Boston Marathon?

If you answered YES to any of those questions, well good for you.

That’s it. I was just wondering.

Ahhh just kidding! ;)

It’s meetup/tweetup time folks!!

I floated the idea out on the interwebs a few months back and folks seemed like they wanted to get on board. So here it is:


The Back Bay Social club is located right across the street from the expo so it is a GREAT location!

Will I see you there?

PS Special thanks to Linzie from See Sharp Run for coming up with the sweet hashtag!!


One Week Til Boston…

I was trying to put into words my thoughts about next Monday, but I thought a little video might be easier. Okay it is the same amount of rambling, but I liked doing the video rambling instead. :P

As mentioned in the video I am STILL raising money to #FightStroke and would appreciate any and all donations. If you would like to sponsor a mile in the marathon, follow the simple instructions below:

1) Head over to my donation page (here) and donate :) – $20 per mile

2) Comment on this blog post with which mile you would like to sponsor

3) Feel good about helping to Fight Stroke


Thank you all for your continued support as we head to the Big Day!!



1 Lindsay Sampson
2 Amanda Heglin
3 Nicole Ethier
4 Lynne & Jim Kirk
5 Cubicle Dad (aka Dan Malinski)
6 Samantha Collins
7 Abby Land
8 John Flynn and Diane Fauteux
9 Tambra Means
10 Wendy Arnold
11 Kim Carvalho
12 Amy Kelley and Shannon Natoli
13 Rachel Rubenson
14 Amy Parker
15 Caitlin, Jeff and the Slumbrew Family
16 Linda Rasmussen
17 The Bryan Flynn Family
18 Sarah Griffiths-Briggs
19 Anna Schandorff
20 Mindy Bobe
21 Chris Shuttlesworth
22 Kathleen and Ben Coughlan
23 Megan Lee
24 Dan & Marcia Flynn
25 Eric Celidonio
26 Kelly Southard
26.2 My Stroke Heroes


Weight Off My Shoulders In The News…

I’m wicked honored whenever anyone wants to chat with me about my weight loss, fitness or running journeys. Now I figured I should keep the pieces together in one place so I can truly cherish how lucky and blessed I am!!

September 21, 2011

Inspiration Of The Week – Just Weighing In And Moving On Blog

December 28, 2011

How I Lost It – TimeOut Chicago

April 3, 2012

Real Life Biggest Losers – FUDiet.com

May 14, 2012

BEE Active – Athlete Interview – Bee Well For Life

May 29, 2012

Biggest Loser Blog – “Losing It On Their Own” – phillyburbs.com

June 1, 2012 

Blogger Of The Month (June) – Sparkly Soul Headbands

September 12, 2012


September 17, 2012

Weight Loss Success Story – Half Size Me Podcast

October 3, 2012

CHANGE Spotlight  - TrulyJess.com

October 16, 2012

Twitter Can Help You Lose Weight – FOX 25 News

December 20, 2012

Fitfluential Ambassador Spotlight - Fitfluential.com

Fitbie.com - One of the web’s best weight loss stories of 2012

February 1, 2013

Featured Fit Friends – DivaOnADiet.com

February 14, 2013

Runner Spotlight – RunToTheFinish.com

March 21, 2013

Blog Post: A Boston Marathon Virgin – Runkeeper.com

March 29, 2013

Featured Blogger Friday – RunStretchRepeat.com

Dani Holmes-Kirk; How She Got Her Start – Fit-Journey.com

April 9, 2013

Marathon Profile: Dani Holmes-Kirk Runs For Stroke Awareness – SomervillePatch.com

April 15-22, 2013 – Boston Marathon Posts

Boston – MrsFatAss.com

Boston Marathon 4-15-13 – BusinessOfLosingWeight.com

Finish Line Heartbreak (For Boston) – FoodFoodBodyBody.com

Red Sox can help Boston cope – FOXSports.com

Phone Interview – Chicago Tribune Live

May 27, 2013

Featured Sneakers #28 – SneakersAndFingerPaints.com

May 29, 2013

I Lost Weight – HuffingtonPost.com

November 6, 2013

Dani’s Story: Running Helped Me Lose Over 80 Pounds – RunInspired.com

November 20, 2013

{Runners Who Rock} Dani – ThisCrazyLifeOfMine.com

December 16, 2013

I Wanna See You Be Brave – TheValentineRD.com

January 2, 2014

Blogger of the Month (January) - Sparkly Soul Headbands

January 8, 2014

1,150 Miles In 2013 – Runkeeper.com

January 23, 2014

Faces of Assembly Row (Video 5) – Youtube.com

February 22, 2014

Dani Holmes-Kirk Story – DietsInReview.com

April 17, 2014

Boston Marathoner Spotlight…Dani Holmes-Kirk – LittleFancyNancy.blogspot.com


Splendid Saturday

On Saturday, April 12, the stars aligned, the weather gods listened and I had one freakin’ fantastic day!!

Oh yeah it was worth double alliteration: Freakin’ Fantastic and Splendid Saturday.

The morning started like every other Saturday this winter/early Spring – with an early wake-up call for a morning run. But this wouldn’t be a Tedy’s Team run (because those ended the week before). I would be meeting my friend Robin (aka Westford Mommy) at the Minuteman Bikeway.

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We met at Depot Park in Bedford, which is thankfully a great halfway point between us, at 8:30am. Robin had a 2 hour run on the docket so she did a nice 4.5 mile warm-up before I got there. Yeah that is why she is a 3:24 marathoner and an Iron(wo)man! :)

The weather was GORGEOUS and the Minuteman Bikeway was finally clear of snow. The Minuteman Bikeway enjoys rolling “hills.” It isn’t really hills, but more a constant incline and decline during the entire path. I somehow block that from my memory each time I run the path.

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Robin and I haven’t been able to hang out for ages since she is rocking Half Ironman/Marathon training, being a mom and going to school to be a PT. So it was great to have some quality time to catch-up.

As I said before Robin is a much faster and stronger runner than I am so I was nervous to have her run with me. I didn’t want to slow her training down. But thankfully she is training at a slower speed, which thankfully fits more into my normal pace. :P

We hit the trail talking and before I knew it we were at 5 miles and ready to turn around.

Mile 1: 8:26
Mile 2: 8:20
Mile 3: 8:24
Mile 4: 8:23
Mile 5: 8:10

The inclines didn’t take too much out of me, which really made me appreciate all the extra time I am putting it on the bike this winter.

I was so focused on our conversation that I barely looked down at my watch to see what our pace was. I knew we were just under 8:30. I couldn’t believe how comfortable the pace was. I was having a good conversation and didn’t sound out of breath while we were talking (which is always a good indicator whether you are running too fast).

As I’ve mentioned Robin is a huge inspiration of mine on many levels. She lost over 90 lbs with Weight Watchers and is one amazing athlete and mom. So any chance I get to pick her brain about training and racing, I jump on it. I had her sole attention out there. :P

We are actually both going to be completing The Pumpkinman Half Ironman in September (my first) so it was great to hear her thoughts on the course since she’s done it before.

I also love Robin’s belief that I am stronger than I think. She is 100% believes I can qualify for Boston, while I think she may be missing a screw up there. ;) But she gives me the slight flicker that maybe there is a small chance. And if not, I could still run a faster and stronger marathon than I do now.

Mile 6: 8:38
Mile 7: 8:36
Mile 8: 8:27
Mile 9: 8:20
Mile 10: 8:33

(Yeah we caught some great inclines on the way back – thanks Minuteman ;))

I felt strong during the run. I didn’t feel like I was pushing the pace. There is something to taking that risk and running with someone who is a faster pace than you. Plus, I knew that if I needed to at any point, we could slow the pace back down. But as the final long run before Boston, I wanted to see what the legs had to offer. Sorry taper. :P

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It was great to see Robin, especially since she was the person that found me on Newbury Street after the marathon bombings and stayed with me until we found my family.

Big thanks to Twitter for bringing us together.

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What an amazing way to kick off a Saturday, huh?

After bidding Robin farewell, I headed home to do a quick shower/change before the rest of my fun plans.

But first I had to try on the super cute running skirt that Robin gave me. (Running Skirts)


“Now you can work up to all the distances on the skirt” … hmmm I see where she is going with this. ;)

I don’t usually run in any skirt besides a Sparkle Athletic skirt, but the shorts under the skirt seem so comfortable that I might have to give it a try!

After grabbing a quick lunch with the wife, I was off to The Paint Bar on Newbury St ($35 value) as part of my friend Beth‘s #NerdyThirty Birthday Celebration Day. As you can imagine she had a nerd theme. I love a theme, but ran out of time to properly prepare so I thought my Zensah Argyle socks would have to do.

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The Paint Bar event started at 1:30 and of course I cut my arrival super close, but I made it. This was my first attempt at a Paint Bar event and I was nervous. I was told wine would be available, which would be appreciated.

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Beth in full #nerdythirty garb (wig and all)

The crowd was about 98% women with a wide range of ages. Many folks looked to be either enjoying an afternoon with friends, on a date with a significant other or celebrating a birthday. Either way the crowd was lively and ready to paint.

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Here is what the final product should look like:

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Let’s see how close I got.

Thankfully I immediately found the wine. #priorities

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Thankfully our lead artist Ari did a great job painting, playing DJ and making sure we all stayed on task. :)

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We all took our paper plates to the back of the room to get our paints. Again they had a nice sign telling you exactly how much of each color of paint to get. Thank you Paint Bar!

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We were finally ready.

We started with the sky and I already felt overwhelmed :P but I just tried to do my best. I knew that if the painting was horrible at least people would pity me and tell me it looked okay.

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After finishing the sky, grass and water we took at 15 min drying break. I looked around and noticed that every single person’s picture looked different. We were able to make the water whatever color you wanted. Some liked it more magenta than blue, etc. It put me at ease to see that we all took some artistic license with it.

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Thank goodness actual people were not in my buildings. You can see they were a little wobbly. Probably not structurally sound. ;)

While checking in to The Paint Bar on my social media channels to try and win a chance for a free class at Paint Bar, I had a great time chatting with the owner Jill. April 12 marked The Paint Bar’s one-year anniversary at the Newbury St location. They also have one in Newton.

After another short break, it was time to add the tiny trees to the Riverfront and windows to the buildings. Oh yeah and the sun and stars.


There’s my finished product.

What do you think? I was pretty darn proud of myself since the most I can draw normally are stick figures. The Paint Bar staff really does make painting something everyone in the room can do… and have fun the whole time.


Our group had some masterpieces! 

The Paint Bar event took just over two hours, but the time flew. We were at the final product before I knew it. I highly recommend taking in a class at The Paint Bar if you are in the Boston or Newton area. I think the wife and I will be having a date there sometime soon. :)

After we finished our painting, the birthday girl and her crew went home to change, while I opted to enjoy the gorgeous Boston afternoon. I called the wife and had her meet me early so we could walk around downtown. It would be just her second time back to Boylston Street since the Marathon Bombings.

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Enjoyed a nice beer while I waited for her

Oh and the beer was Samuel Adams Rebel IPA not Bud Light. Just for everyone’s info. ;)

The wife and I had a great time walking around downtown before meeting back up with Beth and her friends for dinner at Kashmir. I was going to have my first adventure with Indian Food. We had some delicious garlic naan bread, which I knew I liked. I tried my first vegetable samosa. Eh, I didn’t hate it, but didn’t see any real draw to it. For my main dish, I had chicken tikka masala. I even asked for mild, but it was still a little spicy for my little palette. Overall, it was a great experience and I was happy to try something new. It has only been since joining Weight Watchers in 2009 that I have really tried to branch out in my food choices.

The conversation at dinner was ah-may-zing and it felt like I have known these people for ages instead of meeting some that afternoon.

While the girls went out for some karaoke, the wife and I took advantage of the nice weather by heading to the train then walking home.

Oh and I happened to pick up my Boston Marathon jacket before the Expo next week.


The day revolved around three amazing people – Robin, Beth and my wife – all of whom I met online. Thank you dear internet for bringing such amazing people in my life.

And Boston, thanks for being one beautiful city!

Apr 2014
COMMENTS 1 Comment

“So lightweight and comfortable, you’ll forget you have them on” – Describes?

(The following post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of Reebok)

I would love to be inside your mind as you try to quickly figure out what that tagline is describing.

“Dani, are you discussing undergarments again?”

“Does this have something to do with pajamas?”

“Gurrrlll, where are you going with this?”

“I’m scared!”

Well I will put your racing thoughts to rest.

“So lightweight and comfortable, you’ll forget you have them on”


The new Reebok Skyscape sneakers!

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Cute, right?

One night I came home from work and thanks to Reebok and Fitfluential, I had an adorable package waiting for me on my doorstep.

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I mean personalized and everything? You are too nice Reebok.

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I tore open the packaging to find special instructions from Reebok.

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You don’t have to tell me twice to unwind. Can do Reebok!

This shoe is crafted borrowing the materials and soft molding process used to create lingerie, which provides all-around comfort and creates a shoe so lightweight that it weighs only 5.0 ounces.

Oh you folks that thought I was talking about lingerie earlier … were sort of right. :P

The Skyscapes, which are available in 5 different colors to match any outfit, can make a summer dress a little more casual or add a spark of color while heading out to go grocery shopping in your yoga pants.

Yes I can pull off both looks in the same day. Anyone else?

With the sneakers weighing only 5 ounces, I’m thinking these are the perfect shoes to pop in your carry on during travel. I mean you know every ounce counts at the airport.

I don’t normally have casual/cute every day sneakers so I was excited to test these out. I decided to take them on a test run during one of the most taxing activities of a weekend – grocery shopping!

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The pink added just enough color to the outfit on an overcast Saturday in Boston.

The sneakers are partially made from a foam material, which allows for flexibility and softness. They have a low-cut design, which you would think may lead to some chafing under the ankle, but the seamless construction actually minimizes rub and irritation. It’s like they knew what I was going to complain about before I could.

And you all KNOW I would’ve complained if there was unnecessary rubbing. :P

Skyscapes showcase the “Skyspring technology,” which “features a unique design architecture designed to help support the foot and provide all day comfort.”

It lived up to the name.

After spending hours at the grocery store, we continued the hell joy of running errands and my feet were the only part of me that was happy! ;)

Anyone that has met me knows I am a klutz and horrible at keeping things clean. Reebok had my back and the Skyscapes are machine washable. Bring it on world! Bring it on!

Now if you want to look as stylish as me, you can pick up your own Skyscapes (and we can be twinsies) online or in store (including Reebok FitHub and Outlet stores).

So what are you waiting for? Hit the web or find your closest Reebok store and make sure your #StyleNeverStops!!

Apr 2014
COMMENTS 3 Comments

Three Things Thursday: Zensah Edition

I’ve done countless posts about Zensah compression socks and sleeves. (Read here if you missed one)

Since everyone knows/hears about compression socks and sleeves, I thought I’d use Three Things Thursday to open your minds to other products Zensah has to offer in the world of compression.

(Please note: I loved Zensah so much I was honored to be chosen last year as a Zensah blogger! This does not however sway or impact my reviews of their products! Ain’t nobody got time for fake reviews!!!)


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The three Zensah products I’m bringing to you today are: Sports Bra, Shorts and Arm Warmers.

Let’s get this compression party started …


1) Limitless Compression Arm Warmers (value $34.99)

The latest addition to the Zensah arsenal are arm warmers. I wasn’t sure what to think when I first heard about them. I mean I have seen friends running in arm warmers before, but hadn’t tried it myself.

The description on the website explained it clearly:

Whether using the Zensah Limitless Compression Arm Warmers during an early morning run, or while working out, the arm warmers provide athletes with improved circulation for faster muscle recovery.

And who doesn’t want faster muscle recovery? I knew they were worth a shot.

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I was trying to find the perfect opportunity to test them out and Boston weather gods must’ve heard me. We had a gorgeous, yet slightly chilly day this past weekend where I could actually rock a tank top. Destiny!

So I took the arm warmers out for a spin and they were really great. I didn’t feel any swelling in my arms or hands. The sleeves stayed in place thanks to the comfortable elastic at the top. No pinching, which is always appreciated.

And you know my love of thumb holes.

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Zensah didn’t disappoint there.

The arm warmers even have a small mesh pocket where you can store fuel, a house key or even your phone.

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My ENERGYBits are nice and snug!

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Now many of you might be thinking that having a phone on your arm without a strap might bog you down. I didn’t find it a problem at all. It stayed in place and didn’t pull the arm warmer down at all while running.

I’m excited to test these out more over the next few months. As the weather gets a tad warmer my hands tend to heat up first so I tested it and the thumbholes can be rolled up to the wrist if needed without causing a ton of discomfort.

The arm warmers currently come in four different colors: black, white, neon pink and neon yellow.

Key Features:

  • Essential transition piece for cooler weather
  • Moisture wicking and antimicrobial proprietary fabric
  • Mesh side pocket ideal for carrying iPhone, gels, or keys
  • Thumbholes for added hand warmth
  • Silver ions for thermal regulation
  • Compression improves circulation for faster recovery
  • Sun Protection
  • Made of 87% Nylon, 13% Spandex


2) High Compression Shorts (value $63.99)

I think we all know that running and training is always a learning process. Am I right?

There are always techniques and products we learn about from our peers.

Well, I encountered IT band problems in 2011. I knew to foam roll and went to physical therapy to work on the problem. It would creep back at times as it does.

But one day I was running with friend when she told me about compression shorts. I had no idea. I knew about socks/sleeves and was already addicted to those. But knew nothing about these compression shorts.

So I took myself to the Zensah website to learn more:

Run, bike, and recover faster with the Zensah High Compression Shorts, The compression shorts provide support to the upper leg, while allowing for unrestricted mobility in the lower leg.

Huh? So these little shorts sound like they could help the nagging pain in my hip and IT area.

Can you guess what happened next?

I tried them … and they worked!

Shocking I know.

I now wear compression shorts the night before a big run and the afternoon/evening after.

My hip and upper leg couldn’t be happier. They are thin enough that I will in fact wear them under work pants or a dress. Take that business casual.


At first I thought it was just another fad or something folks bought just because they sound cool, but I see the light. These shorts are heaven to my legs especially after dealing with Heartbreak Hill on a weekly basis!

Key Features:

  • 3D compression for extra support in the quadriceps
  • Moisture wicking
  • Keeps upper legs warm and loose
  • Made of 85% Polyamide, 15% Elastane


3) Seamless Running Sports Bra (value $35.99)


Sports bras are one of the most integral pieces of clothing when it comes to exercise.

Fellas you agree? Mansiere? Bro?

The #1 annoyance can be chafing. Ain’t nobody got time for that! (yes I used that reference twice in one blog post – sue me! No wait don’t!)

With a seamless construction and Zensah fabric, the Zensah Sports Bra prevents chafing. This high-performance running sports bra offers superior comfort and support, as well as giving you the option to add color to your workout.

I like comfort. I like support. I like color.

Seems like a winning combo to me.

And they ARE super comfortable. My addiction has grown and I now own this bra in five different colors and waiting for pay day to increase the collection.

The Zensah Running Sports Bra features moisture wicking technology that keeps you dry, even after the toughest workouts. The racerback allows for free movement. Zensah has the best sports bra on the market for runners, athletes, and any active woman. The 15 different color choices make it the most colorful running sports bra.

The sports bra does fit all body types, but know it only goes up to a L/XL so you would have to refer to the sizing chart before purchasing. My lovely lady lumps have shrunk – thanks weight loss – so I usually wear the M/L.

Key Features:

  • Seamless design = no chafing
  • Anti-Bacterial
  • Superior Comfort from the proprietary Zensah fabric in each Running Bra
  • Thermal Regulating
  • Moisture Wicking to prevent the running bra from becoming heavy with perspiration
  • Made of 94% Nylon, 6% Spandex


Have you checked out any of these Zensah products?


Dani Dishes 4-7-14

On this episode of Dani Dishes, I’m reminding you of my blog survey, announcing the Boston Marathon weekend meet up (4/19, 11-1, Back Bay Social – 867 Boylston St) and remind everyone about the ebbs/flows of our journey!