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Anyone who considers themselves a runner has had this question asked of them at least once…”why do you run”? Followed by, “it’s so boring”, “you’re going to ruin your knees”,” that can’t be good for your body” etc. The truth is, running is not only one of the best exercises for your heart and cardiovascular system but it’s the fastest, most effective way to burn calories and lose weight! Running is hard. Running is hard on your body, it tests your endurance and it tests your mind. Believe it or not running is a very mental activity; more times than not, your mind will give out before your legs. Sometimes when I’m exhausted and running a 5 miler I literally can’t get through that last mile but then the next day I could run 15 miles no problem. It’s a mind game and you have to learn to overcome it with positive thoughts.

I recently shared my story as to why I run on Keri’s Runway ( a fun supportive and inspiring website for runners, fitness enthusiasts and fashionistas); I also wanted to share it in my blog. I started working out about 9 years ago when I moved to Orlando from Chicago. I didn’t know anyone or have anything to do so I joined a gym and really got in to fitness and I’ve been a fitness enthusiast ever since. I worked out with a personal trainer for a long time; I was in to lifting weights at the time with a little bit of elliptical and a spin class once per week for cardio. My fitness goals were very unhealthy and superficial. I was only worried about being skinny and having “abs of steal”. I worked out like crazy always comparing myself to unrealistic airbrushed women and feeling like I failed at my fitness goals miserably. I would cut back on carbs, feel weak then binge later and feel even worse about myself than I did before. I started adding in more cardio and started running on the treadmill for about 30 minutes every other day. It was uncomfortable and painful but I still did it. This whole cycle of me working out like a crazy person and not meeting my “fitness goals” went on for years until around New Year’s Resolution time going in to 2009 I decided to sign up for the 2009 Disney Princess Half Marathon. I had friends who had run half marathons and I liked the idea of taking 3 months to train then actually do something.

I started training and my long runs were painful! Every Sunday I’d do my long runs, increase mileage and be more sore than I can ever remember feeling. I trained for 3 whole months, ran the 2009 Disney Princess Half Marathon and finished in 2 hours 3 minutes! I LOVED it! I was hooked – I started looking for the next one which was the 2009 Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon (1:54:23) then the 2009 Las Vegas Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon (1:47:04) with a few 5Ks in between. My time improved every time and I felt so accomplished every time I crossed that finish line – something I’ve never felt before with my previous fitness goals. I ran the 2010 Disney full Marathon, 2010 Disney Princess Half Marathon, 2010 Minneapolis full Marathon, 2010 Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon, 2010 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon with some 5Ks and 10Ks in between until I took a year off to have my son. My previous PR in a half marathon (my favorite distance to run) was the 2010 Disney Princess Half Marathon: 1:44:55. I won 1st in my age group in a 10K and always placed in the to 10 in every single 5K I had ever done. As I said, I felt so accomplished! I was actually good at running – who knew?

My first race back after having my son was the 2011 Chicago Hot Chocolate 15K. Training for that race felt like training for my first half marathon – I was also 15 pounds overweight and completely out of shape while training for that one. I ended up finishing in 1:24:27 and I felt great after the race! My time was nowhere near what I could do but great for my first race in over a year and being overweight. I couldn’t wait until my next race – the Orlando OUC Half Marathon – I finished in 1:54:38 which was right around my previous average time. I was back – but not quite. The holiday got to me and my training slacked for the 2012 Disney World Half Marathon, I finished with my worst time on record. I was so upset with myself and I got that old sense of failure again. It was a horrible feeling and I decided to kick it up, drop my weight for good and train hard for the 2012 Disney Princess Half Marathon. I lost the weight by then and finished that one in 1:47:42 which was my 3rd best half marathon time ever. I officially felt like I was back and ended up qualifying for the Half Marathon Fanatics for completing 3 half marathons within 90 days. Since then I ran a 10K, four 5Ks a 10 miler, a 15K and 4 half marathons! I met my goal of running a half marathon in the 1 hour 30 minute range – I finished the 2012 First Midwest Bank Southwest Half Marathon in 1:39:41 which got me 3rd place in my age group and is still my PR so far! In all the smaller local races (5, 10 and 15Ks) I have never placed lower than 7th on my age group and even won 1st in my age group in the Run for the Trees 5K. I would say my running goals are going well even though I still get angry when I don’t PR – it’s just the determination in me.

I have a number of races left in 2012 and I just started training for speed by adding Tempo runs and repeat days 2 weeks ago. I have more running goals in mind and I am having so much fun working towards them. If I did that well without speed training in the past, what am I capable of now? Placing overall in a 5K? Place in another larger half marathon? Qualify to run Boston? The possibilities are limitless!

The reason why I run is because I’m working towards a positive, healthy non superficial fitness goal. It’s good for my heart, good for my body and soul. I love running! No matter what you choose to do for fitness, make sure it is positive and healthy and don’t be afraid to try something new. You never know where your talents may lie.

XOXO The Glam Runner



Here’s a preview of a little bit of fun that we have on the TRX in RPM Dancer Niki Lin’s class. Today’s class was a Ballet Barre fusion class. She mixes classic Barre class exercises in with dynamic stretches and power moves on the TRX along with some Jump Boarding on the reformer.

Ballet Barre class is at Gold’s Gym Dr. Phillips Tuesday night at 6:30pm and Sunday morning at 10:30am

When I found out I was pregnant with my precious son AJ in October of 2010, I assured myself I was only going to gain the recommended 25-35 pounds during my pregnancy.  I was going to eat healthy, keep up with my work outs and loose the baby weight in no time at all.  I was a marathon runner and fitness enthusiast so naturally I wouldn’t let my weight get out of control…so I thought!

A couple weeks in to my 2nd trimester I started developing horrible pain in my lower stomach.  It was so bad and constant I made my first of many trips to the Winnie Palmer Emergency Room – I was terrified! I loved my baby before he was even created. Thankfully everything was fine and I just had a bad case of ligament pain from everything stretching and growing.  My doctor told me I could continue working out but to wait until I felt 100% better; I felt completely better in a week but ended up stopping my running. I continued with spin classes and light weight lifting and all was well for about a month until the pain returned again but worse this time.  I knew what it was so I suffered in silence until I couldn’t take it anymore and made trip number two to the Emergency Room.  It was the same thing coupled with fibroids aggravating the pain so they had to inject me with a narcotic pain medication and gave me a prescription for Percocet (which totally freaked me out, I never took them).  I ended up not working out for a few weeks waiting for everything to return to normal; then the bleeding started.  I again was left terrified and got right in my car at 6:00AM and drove over to Winnie Palmer – the doctors assured me everything was great and normal and I would be fine.  My OB assured me the same thing but told me when I worked out the bleeding would increase because it was being caused by a polyp that formed during pregnancy so I pretty much quit working out.  Even though they assured me everything was fine, blood scared me and I didn’t want to see it.

When I went in for my 6 month check up my blood pressure had skyrocketed and my doctor put me through a round of tests to make sure I didn’t have Preeclampsia which I didn’t, thankfully.  I was instructed to not work out, take it easy and I was put on blood pressure medication – it worked for a couple weeks until my blood pressure went up again and I was put on “official bed rest”.  I ended up sitting around, eating and watching the Real Housewives for 3 full months and the weight packed on FAST.  58 pounds exactly. 

I ended up having my baby AJ on May 24th 2011 at 38 weeks via scheduled c-section.  He was perfect and healthy at 9 pounds 2 ounces 21.5 inches long.  At the 6 week mark when I was cleared to work out I ended up having 25 pounds left to lose and it was a long and hard journey!  I was told, breast feeding will help you lose your weight but I breast fed, took 5 spin classes per week and hired a personal trainer but a month later I weighed exactly the same!!! I was so discouraged but I kept at it.  I picked up running again, if that’s what you wanted to call it.  I was big, overweight, uncomfortable and running was downright painful!  I worked myself up to being able to run 6 straight miles on the treadmill and decided to register for my 1st race back – the Chicago Hot Chocolate 15K in November of 2011.  By the time that race came along I had lost 10 more pounds and finished the race in 1 hour and 24 minutes – that is no where near my skill level but it was great for being 15 pounds over weight and it being my first race in 1 whole year.  I was officially back in to running and registered for the 2011 OUC Half Marathon and 2012 Disney Half Marathon.  I finished OUC in 1 hour 53 minutes which wasn’t bad!  Unfortunately the holidays came along and my training suffered for Disney and my eating was HORRIBLE!!! By the time the holidays were done with I put on another 5 pounds after losing another 3, so instead of having 12 more to lose at the end of November by the time the year ended I had 17 to lose!  On top of that, I BOMBED the Disney Half Marathon big time.  I gave up after mile 8 and ended up walking the last 5 miles.  That had never ever happened to me in a half marathon ever and it was my worse time on record – even worse than when I ran the 2011 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon pregnant.

I had finally had enough of my out of shape body.  I was surrounded by women who only gained 20 pounds and lost it in 6 weeks – then there was me, 7 months later 17 pounds overweight even though I ran 5 days per week, did spin classes, did Pilates Reformer classes and worked out with a personal trainer.  It was totally unacceptable in my eyes; I refused to be that woman who used her child as an excuse to be overweight, I HAD to do something about it so I joined Weight Watchers.  I was always inspired by watching Jennifer Hudson, a fellow Chicago native, tell her story of heartbreak, becoming a mom and getting healthy by following Weight Watchers.

My mom and I both joined Weight Watchers and wow, the weight came off so fast!!! I lost those 17 pounds in a little over 10 weeks and then another 5 a few weeks later.  My mom also lost the 10 pounds she had been trying to lose for 10 years.  It was all about paying super close attention to everything you eat.  I tracked everything from the 2 tablespoons of skim milk I put in my coffee to the tablespoon of sour cream I used to put on chicken tacos. It really worked!  I ended up running a half marathon in 1 hour and 39 minutes this May, which was more than 5 minutes faster than my pre pregnancy PR.  I am faster than ever and in better shape than ever at age (almost) 32 with a baby.  It took me a full 9 months to lose my baby weight but I did it – it can be done.

I hope this post inspires everyone to realize no matter how hard it is, you can lose weight and you can become healthier no matter what your age or situation.  It takes hard work and a realization you must pay attention to what you are eating – eating right and not drinking your calories is over 80% of the battle.  Anyone can work out and go to the gym but it takes a lifestyle transformation to lose it for good.

XOXO, the Glam Runner



Hello Everyone!

My name is Samantha DeBello and I am a 31 year old (almost 32) single mom of a 1 year old precious baby boy!  I am a Chicago native but I currently live in Orlando Florida.  I am a die hard Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bears fan!  I am using this blog to help inspire people to run, be fit, active and healthy as well as find their inner glam goddess.  I am a fit foodie and I love to share my simple healthy colorful creations on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.  I am a runner but I also enjoy a good spin class, Pilates Reformer, Ballet Barre and general weight lifting.  I also love trying out and sharing great new work outs!

I’m currently training for the 2013 Disney Marathon which will be my 3rd full marathon.  I generally focus on half marathons and medium distance races – I’ve ran 7 half marathons since December 2011 and numerous shorter races.  I will share my story of pregnancy, weight gain and weight loss in my next posting but I just started racing again after having my baby in November of 2011 and I am better and faster than ever!  The “full marathon” has been my biggest challenge but we should always challenge ourselves.  Nothing worth it ever came easily!

I would love for anyone who is looking for health, fitness, nutrition and beauty tips to follow my blog.  I hope to be able to inspire anyone to become just a little healthier and to help people realize they can do it!

Be fit, happy, healthy and glam xoxo The Glam Runner

#fitness #running #fitmoms #nutrition #beauty #pilates #balletbarre #chicago #orlando #florida #fitfluential #fitfoodie

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