Welcome to another edition of Faces of Fitness! If you are new —> this is where I feature the most inspirational health and fitness influencers of 2014. Check out other nominees HERE (and learn how to nominate someone that inspires you, or even yourself!). 

This week, I’m excited to introduce you to Maria from Lil Mys Ninja. She is an awesome runner who has a TON of races on the calendar… I love reading her recaps and her blog in general. Enjoy! 🙂


Twitter: @LilMysNinja
Instagram: @LilMysNinja
Pinterest: Lil Mys Ninja
Google+: Lil Mys Ninja
1. Tell us more about your blog!
A few years ago I wanted to start a blog about motorcycles. Then I realized that though I loved motorcycles, I just didn’t have the content. So I just blogged about my random life. However, when I started running and working out more, the blog naturally steered into that direction. Now, it’s morphed more or less into a running blog that also follows my crazy life.
You can expect to read about my races, expo visits, other [featured] runners, volunteering & fostering, my running buddies, family, boyfriend, friends, and my furkids — especially Elijah because he runs with me sometimes. Basically you’re getting a mixture of my running life with tidbits of my everyday life thrown in. 
2. What do you love about running?
I love that I’m actually able to do it. Before my car accident in 2007, I didn’t really appreciate. Now I’ve fallen completely in love with running and definitely appreciate it much more.
There’s so many other reasons why I love it. I love that it keeps me healthy (for the most part), it teaches me, it challenges me and it gives me that ME time that I sometimes need.
I love that even though it can be a solo sport, you can still connect with the running community and run with others for that socialization. It’s connected me with so many people, some I call friends, both in person and virtually. The running community has supported, motivated and inspired me. 
3. You are tackling 14 races this year along, with several recent half marathons… what do you love about that distance?
If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be running half marathons, I’d have told you that you were crazy.
It used to be a struggle to get me to run just a 5k. I just didn’t have the desire to run a half marathon. I used to say that I’m a 5k girl and that’s because that’s all I cared to do. I did throw in a 10k now and again, but 5k was my distance.
Until one day I ran more than 7 miles in one day and it was then that I realized that I could do more. When I increased my “long run” days to 8-9 miles, I decided that maybe I should go for a half marathon.
So I did and here I am now, having completed 3 half marathons in a matter of 6 months. It’s amazing. It’s taught me more about running and it’s taught me more about myself.  I’ve learned that my body could do so much more than I imagined.  
4. How do you balance life with a crazy busy race schedule?
I sometimes don’t even know how I do it. There are days where I feel like all I do is work, volunteer & foster and run. During the end of my training schedule, as I get closer to race day for a half, I’m so exhausted with fitting it all in that I’m crashing early and sleeping hard. It was especially challenging during my busy season at work.
But when you’re determined to stay dedicated to your training, you will make it all happen. There are times where I’ve been tired and didn’t go out with friends or chose dinner at home rather than going out with the boyfriend. He’s really been supportive during those times.
When you have goals set and you’re determined to meet them, then you’ll make the decisions you need to make them happen. If that means getting up earlier to get that run in or skipping out on things to run after work, then so be it.
But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t skipped a run or two because I stayed out late the night before or I’d rather go out to dinner with the boyfriend or friends. Balancing life and running is a challenge and I somehow make it happen.
It’s all about your set priorities.
5. What is your number one tip for people to stay motivated to reach their health/fitness goals? 
Just keep going!
Life is going to throw you curve balls but that’s life.
And stay focused. Tell someone your goals because it will help keep yourself accountable and that alone can provide motivation. Don’t forget to look to your support group, whether that be family, friends or even online friends when you need it because they will help you stay on track.
Whenever I’m struggling and need some motivation, I look to my fellow bloggers, runners and fitness friends and ambassadors. Sometimes all it takes is a small pep talk from another and I’ve been re-energized and re-focused. 
Any questions for Maria? 
Where do you look to for motivation?

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