MileHigh Run club is awesome!

11 Feb

Hey Squad,

If you live in the NY area and love to run, you have to check out the MileHigh Run club.  The first class is free so you can see if its the kind of class that you like before committing any boutique class dollars.  My daughter Laura (the wind beneath all my running) went to the class via classpass and told me about it.  She had a great experience.

Truthfully, I had heard of the club before and wasnt all that interested in it. Boy was I wrong.  The class was amazing.  I took the Dash class which was about 30 minutes of running and then full body weight work. ( squats, lunges, planks and kettlebell work)

It has been my quiet goal to along with not getting injured, to gain some speed this year.  I know its tougher at my age, but everything I read said its possible.  I asked the coach afterward if my pace goal was attainable and she said YES!

So, I will be back.  I am going to go at least once a week during my spring marathon training that starts on Monday ( EEK!)

Check it out and let them know I sent you.

Cheerfully yours,




#TBT- My story in Huffington Post

02 Feb

Hey Squad,

I thought that I would share this article as a throw back Thursday.  It is from June 2013.  I am so thankful for tall I have experienced since this journey began.

Mom Sheds 57 pounds after daughter issues the ultimate challenge.

Like many moms, Phyllis Strand was having a hard time getting rid of the baby weight she put on while carrying her first child. She tried cutting calories and the occasional Jazzercise class, but nothing more than a few pounds ever seemed to budge. It would be frustrating for any new mom, but even more so for Phyllis, since her first born, Chris, was now 28.

“I had two more children after Chris,” Phyllis explained, “Pamela and Laura, and I’d carry them as camouflage, to cover up the rolls. And I became the family photographer. We’d go on trips to the beach and I’d take the pictures, so I didn’t have to be in them.”

And she kept the mirrors in the house to a minimum. It wasn’t that Phyllis didn’t know she had weight to lose, but in her case, no one was making a very big deal of it.

“When my son started dating our daughter-in-law, she began taking the pictures. I remember thinking ‘Oh, Big Mama! For someone who cares so much about her hair, there’s something going on south of there.’”

“I was a size 14,” she continued, “and I was carrying around an extra 50 pounds. There seems to be this middle ground — where if you don’t tip the scale too far, no one says much. I’d go to the doctor and they’d ask if I smoked, if I drank or if I took birth control pills, but they never suggested that maybe I should drop a few.”

And Phyllis’s blood work didn’t appear to reflect any big issues. She took a little something for blood pressure, a little something for cholesterol and a tiny bit of medication for depression.

“They kind of made light of it. They said if it weren’t for pregnant women, they’d put these drugs in the water!”

But it was when she reached her 40s that her weight began to get in her way.

“There was a fullness to my belly,” Phyllis said, “that seemed to come with age. And there’s something weird that happened to my butt. It just suddenly began to sag. Gravity was taking over and that’s when I felt like I needed to figure this out.”

So when a co-worker suggested that they commit to a 90-day exercise plan, she agreed to 30 minutes a day on the treadmill, as long as there was no running involved.

‘If I were being chased,” she laughed, “I wouldn’t run, I’d hide! We are not hunters in my family, we’re gatherers.”

The exception to that rule was Phyllis’ 25-year-old daughter, Laura, who had battled her own weight issues by beginning a running program. When Laura saw that her Mom was beginning to get in the game, she decided to challenge her to take the next step, by secretly signing her up for a 5K run that preceded the New York City Marathon. It was a race that would change Phyllis’s life, but the real turning point would come with two little words. 

It Ain’t Over: Phyllis Strand

“I literally said good-bye to everyone at the office, certain that my brain was going to blow up during the race. I had taken my workout up to an hour a day, so by race day, I was running a 12-minute mile, which really is just above walking, but it was running for me!”

“I took the train from Stamford, Connecticut, into the city and found my daughter and her friends. They were adorable — all dressed alike, in leggings and shorts with their hair up. And there I was, with 7 layers of clothes on, wearing a race day shirt, which they informed me was a faux pas.”

And that wasn’t the only issue. As the race was about to begin, Phyllis found herself at the back of the pack, while Laura and her friends were right up front.

“They place you in the pack,” the apprehensive athlete recalled, “according to your speed. I was like number 2 billion! So I texted my daughter and said, ‘I don’t like it back here.’ And I got two words back. ‘Run faster.‘ That was it. It was on!”

“I couldn’t run fast enough at that point. I’d see people in front of me and think I’ve got to be faster than that person. And I’d make it my goal to get ahead of them. I’d see kids running and thought, ‘If they beat me, this is going to be embarrassing.’ And as I headed towards the finish line, it hit me — I’m going to finish my first race. I’m actually finishing a race!”

Not only did Phyllis finish, she made it past the finish line just five minutes after her daughter. And to top things off, all that training helped her take off 25 pounds.

Laura continued to challenge her Mom, convincing Phyllis — who still had another 25 pounds to go — to try a 10K and then for her birthday, a half marathon.

“I have to admit,” Phyllis said, “I was worried about that half marathon, so my husband and I secretly drove to Philadelphia to sneak one in before I ran with Laura. Chuck told me that every time he saw a stretcher, he’d say, ‘Please don’t let that be Phyllis.’ But I made it — 13.1 miles. I made it!”

So on October 7th, 2012 — the day Phyllis turned 52, she joined her daughter for the Staten Island Half Marathon. And as she reached the 5K mark, she noticed her husband in the crowd. Typically, he would have been holding up a sign the couple brings to all of Laura’s races. But when Phyllis passed by, she noticed Chuck had it by his side. She stopped briefly to ask why — and his answer: Laura hadn’t gotten there yet.

And just at that moment, Phyllis heard a voice from behind her. It was Laura asking, “You’re not ahead of me, are you?”

“That was the best birthday present ever! I was ahead of my 25-year-old daughter at the 5K mark!”

In the end, Laura did beat her mother to the finish line, but she circled back, so they could cross it together. By the time Phyllis finished that race, she was not only an accomplished runner, she was on her way to wearing a size 2. She had lost 57 pounds.

“I owe my life to my daughter,” Phyllis said. “I wish so much that someone in one of those doctor’s offices had just said something years ago. I have so much energy and I’m so happy now. I wish they had told me how much of a difference exercise could make in my life.”

Have a great day.

Cheerfully yours,


A week went by…

20 Sep

Hey squad,

Last Sunday was the best day. imageI ran with Laura a half marathon in Westerly, RI. We had a good day.  The best part was Pamela officially ran her first 5K. We all are rocking our medals!

This Sunday was not so fun. I ran 11 miles and I felt every step. My legs are filled with lead. I am going to make sure and hit every mile of my training plan this week and hope it gets better. image

Here’s a photo from today’s run, a nice hill.

I feel a case of the running blues coming on. I will be meeting in Real Life my favorite podcaster and other fans of the Running Lifestyle Show on Wednesday evening. It will be just what I need to bring back the joy in my running.

Cheerfully yours,


Running and training, what else is there ?

06 Sep

Hey Squad,

Awesome week of training behind me and I am happy to report all ten toes are healing up.  They never bother me when I run, its just when I try and wear regular shoes its a problem.  I am just going to lean into this and wear nothing but sneakers until the marathon. Business casual will have a whole new look !

I am logging some quality time watching the US Open and I am amazed at the high level of training required to play those matches for longer than 3 hours.  In the interviews, every player remarks on how its mostly a mental game, and that once they got their head right, their performance improved.  I think this is just like marathon training, its mostly mental and once I got my head right after last week, I have not had a bad run.  Its all about celebrating the little victories and not looking too far ahead. So in keeping with that, here is what I found:


Go team go!
Cheerfully yours,

These little piggies.

01 Sep

Hey Squad,

This weekend, I was playing a game of This Little Piggy with my youngest grandson’s toes. He giggled and pulled his feet away because they are so ticklish. It’s adorable seeing him anticipate the “all the way home” to his chin.

Check ou the Father picture in the back !

This is the exact opposite experience for my piggies. They are taking a beating in this marathon training. After all my miles last week,the one place that stayed sore was my big toe on the right foot. (For those of you who don’t know, this is the piggy that goes to the market. )

I thought it was just sore but today, it’s black and blue. That toenail is toast. UGH. Plus the baby toe on the other foot is still healing from the epic blister. The worst part is I can’t wear my house slippers to work and those are the only shoes that do not hurt.

I am not sure why this happened, followed all the tips.

shoes – not too tight

socks- wick a way fabric

feet- covered in glide so nothing sticks

terrain- combo of concrete and trails

It must be the weather. Nothing I can do about the heat and sweat that drenched my sneakers.

So I am taking the piggies to the drug store (again) for more cushioning prior to tonight’s running class.

Cheerfully yours,


Run, sleep, work, run, sleep, run …

30 Aug

Hey Squad,








I have not had a chance to update you this week. I can sum it up in one word for you.


I ran more miles in one week than I ever had- 35 miles . I touched my target pace 10:41 and I felt great during my long run of 15 miles. Next week, more of the same.
The NYRR class on Tuesday proves to be so worth it week after week. On Wednesday, I will join a running group to prep for the FEED 10K in September. Any opportunity for a group run always pushes me farther and makes me a better runner.
Anyone else running it?

Cheerfully yours,


Getting it done #strandgirlsrunnyc

23 Aug

Hey Squad,

Wonders never cease, I completed all three runs for a total of 26.8 miles. I look back on it and I am still in disbelief.

On the last post, I had it all planned out, where and when I would run. Well nothing went according to that plan. On Friday it was raining so I didn’t run in NYC on the west side highway. I ran in the evening in Fairfield. Six miles after a rest day felt great. On Saturday, I was to run the 15 miles. I had planned to go to Southport, but did the exact opposite and ran to and from Bridgeport. 13 miles went well, then the heat got to me. I was out of everything liquid so I walked the last two miles.  Today, I was going to another town to run and then have brunch, but on Friday I read my favorite brunch place was sold !

So today,I expected aches and pains, but nope five miles went swimmingly.  I won’t lie, I did have a toe causality. It’s a blister that’s pretty epic. I found these padded self adhesive gauze pads that are heaven. I could run today with very little discomfort.  I also have the worst sunglass tan lines !

My virtual trainer gave me a high five and a time lapsed video of the marathon. It’s very cool.

Next week I have to get a handle on this sleep thing, I feel a little punchy!










Cheerfully yours,


3 days 26 miles

20 Aug

Hey squad,

This is going to be a big weekend. I will be running a total of 26 miles over Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I will try to add in a .2 so that is the complete marathon distance.

My NYRR training plan has it out for me.

6 on Friday- I plan to run the West Side highway in NYC.
15 on Saturday- I plan to run my Southport/Fairfield beach, ending up on the sand for the rest of the day.
5 on Sunday- I plan to go to South Norwalk and run my old route that I trained on and then eat HUGE brunch afterwards.

I am a big believer of “burning your boat” in other words putting out into the world what you intend to do in order to keep accountable. So this post is lighting the match.








If you follow me on instagram @phyllis4fitness1 you can track my progress. I will do a blog update on Sunday night.

What do you have planned for the weekend?

Cheerfully yours,


Social Media and #runners

19 Aug

Hey Squad,

Here is a tip, if on Race Day

If a person asks if they can ask you a few questions and take your picture. – Say yes.

This was great and I have gotten so much positive feedback from the comments.  I even received an email from a wonderful lady asking where I got my running skirt.  I was able to find them online and sent her the link.  They were on sale!  I ordered an extra pair for me too.


Also, I am really enjoying Periscope. Everyday I get to check in with the amazing Amanda from Runtothefinish #runnerscope . She was the first fitness blogger I connected with over 3 years ago and her blog posts and encouragement has made her invaluable to me. She does a daily chat #runnerscope and it’s awesome. I get the notification that she is live and I pop into a conference room to participate. Check her out for amazing words of wisdom.
Cheerfully yours,


The training continues.

16 Aug

Hey Squad,

What a week of training. Emotionally, I have been all over the map and my sleep has been awful, but the marathon waits for no one.

It was back  to Central Park for the second long training run of the marathon season.  It was a gorgeous, hot summer morning.

I learned from my other training runs, that I needed a better nutrition and hydration routine.  This run was much better on both fronts.  Breakfast was eaten an hour before the run and I took Pro Blocks and Gatorade with me.  This was a NYRR event so there was plenty of water stations, plus Misting sessions which was wonderful.

Mile 10 hit and there was the dreaded SUCK.  I felt tired and ready to be done, but with 4 miles to go.  It’s the brain saying stop and the body following suit.  There was nothing wrong with my legs, so I told the brain to shut up and finish.  It was tough, really tough.   Every week I want to push it further out and continue to gain stamina.

Luckily, there are 72 days until the race so plenty of time.

Update- Sherpa down!  Chuck’s knee pain has become severe and he is off to the sports orthopedic surgeon this week. We have done all the self care we could on this injury and now its time for medical intervention.

I am ready to start the next week.  This Tuesday is hill training with the running class. YIKES.

Cheerfully yours,