2016 Goals

After I finished my 10k in October I was listless.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my running, so I didn’t do anything at all.  That’s not to say I stopped running, but I cut back significantly since I had no drive.  To me it seems like most people who get into running continue doing longer, more difficult races.  I was not – and am still not – interested in the next race distance after a 10k, which would be a half marathon.  It’s not to say I never want to run one, but right now I’m not interested in running for two and a half hours in one go.  That’s a lot of running that I’m just not ready to do.

Since my running was very sporadic I knew I needed some kind of challenge to keep my fitness up.  I usually run three miles three times a week, and my annual average for 2015 was about 30 miles/month, although I didn’t start running again until mid-March.  30 miles/month running three miles each time averaged out to 10 runs, which was more than doable for me!  I had  my goal!  30 miles/month would challenge me to run continuously throughout the month, but it wasn’t an unreasonable or overwhelming amount.

January proved a little difficult, so I did have to kick up my running in the second half of the month.  February is going really well, and I feel really great – and exciting – about running again.



10k Results!

It’s been a few months since I ran my 10k.  I ended up completing my goal (running the whole time)!  I also exceeded my expectations with my time, averaging 10:15 min/mile!  I had a great time and felt incredibly accomplished.  I would recommend the Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis race event for anyone who’s interested in large events.  Though it would have been nice if they had had some more music stations, there were plenty of water stands, and the course was marked clearly.

I slacked a bit on my running game after I finished my race, but this year I’ve set a new goal and have done well so far.  I’ll be updating soon!

10k Training Week 8: Feeling Good

Last week was my eighth week of 10k training, which means I’ve 2/3 of the way there!  I’ve been away from the blog for a while; here’s what I’ve been up to exercise-wise:

10k Training Plan Weeks 5-8

I only have a month left until my 10k, which seems really soon and really far away at the same time.  I’ve done really well with my running and am quite proud of myself.  I’ve followed my running plan (haven’t skipped any runs!), and my pace has been consistent with an upward trend.  I’ve had a few bad runs, but the overwhelming majority have left me feeling fantastic.

Samantha or Sam Post-5 Mile Run
Post-5 Mile Run Exhaustion/Bliss

With four weeks to go until my race I’m getting slightly nervous.  I think I may have overdone the how many weeks I needed to train – eight weeks probably would have been enough.  That being said, running is a huge mental game for me.  My legs are a lot stronger than I ever expected – I just need to make sure I remember that!

Samantha or Sam's 10k Training:  Week 8 Overview

10k Training Week 3: Throw Your Schedule Out the Window

Samantha or Sam's 10k Training Recap Week 3

A few weeks ago I began my 10k journey.  I created my own 10k training plan using Jeff Galloway and Jenny Hadfield 10k guides as my inspiration.  It’s been three weeks of training now and I haven’t managed to follow my own plan for even one week yet!  I could give all the excuses, but it comes down to two things:

  1. It’s too hot to run outside
  2. I’m lazy

Since I can’t seem to get four runs in during the week, I’m going to tweak my training plan.  I’m only going to require three runs per week, with my Sunday run optional.  If I don’t run on Sunday I’ll still have to do at least 30 minutes of cardio, but I’m tired of beating myself up over not getting all my runs in.  I’ll be shifting most of my long runs to Friday, which is my favorite day to hang out in the gym.

My runs this week all felt really good.  My 4 mile run on Friday was awesome!  After my warmup I ran one mile/walked five minutes three times, hitting the four mile mark.  I was disgustingly sweaty after I was finished, but I felt great.  I’m not worried about my 10k at all.  I’ve got two more months of training; I’m going to kick ass!

Week 3 Training Breakdown

10k Training Recap Week 3

Samantha or Sam's 10k Training Plan Version 2

Running Meets Yoga: The Haiku Weekender Duffle Bag Review

My gym bag held my clothes and running shoes.  My yoga mat bag held my yoga mat.  My work bag held my lunch bag, purse, and miscellaneous work items.  I was tired off lugging multiple bags to work every day.

It was time for a new gym bag.

There were two things I wanted my in my new bag:  a shoe garage and a place for my yoga mat.  Size was negotiable, but I needed to be able to fit my gym clothes, running shoes, yoga mat, and shower things in at the time without issue.  A place to separate my clean clothes from everything else would be a plus.  This wouldn’t be too difficult to find, right?

I searched the internet for days trying to find an affordable gym bag that met all my specifications, but it was tough.  Eventually I had a few contenders, notably the Haiku Sprint Duffle, the Haiku Weekender Duffle, and the Haiku Gym Weekender Duffle.  Notice a trend here?  There were a few others that had potential, but the Haiku brand seems to have cornered the market on Things Sam Needs in her Gym Bag.

Haiku Weekender Duffle Bag with Yoga Mat
Front View (Full) with Yoga Mat

To be honest, I had never heard of Haiku before.  I did some research and they seemed like a decent enough company, so I decided to buy one of their bags.  The bags themselves were priced between $80 and $120 on Amazon (the cheapest place to buy them), so price wasn’t a deciding factor.  While they all had shoe compartments, the Gym Weekender’s shoe compartment wasn’t ventilated!  It thought that was a little odd considering it was the specific “gym” bag, but I crossed it off my list.  The Sprint and the Weekender were pretty even contenders for me.  The Weekender was larger, but I liked the placement of the yoga mat better on the Sprint.  Decisions, decisions.

I waffled back and forth and eventually ended up purchasing the Haiku Weekender Duffle.  Since the Weekender had more space I could theoretically fit my lunch box and purse in it, making my bag lady status disappear!  With high hopes I made my purchase and waited eagerly for it to arrive.

The Haiku Weekender comes in a few different colors, but I chose black since I would be using it as a work bag as well.  The entire top of the bag zips shut.  In addition to the main compartment, the interior of the bag hosts a small pocket and two large elastic pockets on the sides of the bag.  The inside liner is some kind of wipe-to-clean material.

Haiku Weekender Duffle Bag with Yoga Mat
Inside View – Gym Clothes in Left Pocket, Accessories in Right Pocket, Purse, Lunch Box, Cardigan, Running Shoes, Yoga Mat

On the exterior of the bag there a small pocket on the front of the yoga mat sling, the shoe garage on the side of the bag, and a “pocket” on the back with a zipper at the bottom so that it can go through your rolling suitcase’s handle and sit on the suitcase when you’re in the airport/traveling.  The exterior of the bag is made of a soft, thick, canvas.  In the month or so that I’ve had this bag I’ve managed to spill iced coffee on it twice, but it was a breeze to clean with a damp, lightly soaped cloth.

Haiku Weekender Duffle Bag with Yoga Mat
Top View (Full) with Yoga Mat

I wouldn’t recommend using the zippered pocket on the back, as the zipper comes undone fairly easily.  There’s so much room inside the bag I’ve never needed to use it for anything.  I thought the front pocket would be superfluous, but I really love it for my work badge, keys, and cell phone.  The small pocket on the inside is where I keep my bluetooth headphones (and their charger), regular headphones, running watch and charger, and fitbit charger.  Yeah, all of that fits in this tiny little pocket!

My running shoes aren’t extra small or extra bulky; there’s a lot of space left in the shoe compartment to accommodate larger shoes.  It does take up some of the room inside the main compartment, but the bag is spacious enough that I’ve never had issues with it.  I like to keep my gym clothes in one elastic pocket.  The other pocket holds shower shoes, a pouch with shower accessories and makeup, and sun screen (full size).  My umbrella and water bottle live in the main compartment.  I keep my lunch box (full of large tupperware) on the size of the bag opposite the shoe compartment; my purse goes in next, followed by an ever-present cardigan on top.  Finally, I can easily fit my standard size yoga mat through the front and I’m good to go!

Haiku Weekender Duffle Bag with Yoga Mat
Shoe Garage (Inside)

When I’m at the gym I can fit my bag into a locker, but I do have to squish it a little bit.  I don’t keep my purse or lunch bag in it (it’s a work gym), so it’s just my shoes in the elastic pocket where I keep my gym clothes, my regular clothes in the main compartment, and my accessories in the other pocket.  If it’s a yoga day my running shoes are in the shoe garage as well.  Our lockers are standard size I don’t usually have a problem getting them closed and clocked without issue.

Shoe Garage (Outside)
Shoe Garage (Outside)

While this bag fits everything I require, it does get heavy.  It weighs about three pounds by itself.  When I started using it I was slightly disappointed because of the weight.  When I removed the crossover strap, something I never used, it did lighten some.  A month later and I honestly don’t notice the weight now.  The Haiku Weekender Duffle Bag is perfect for my running, yoga, and work needs.  If I had a work laptop things might be a little different, but I don’t think it would be too much of an issue to keep it in a sleeve in the main compartment.  If you’re looking for an affordable, stylish (but not too girly) gym bag with a vented shoe compartment, place for your yoga mat, and multiple pockets I can’t recommend this bag enough!


I do not work for nor am I affiliated with Haiku or Amazon in any way.  I was not paid for my review in any way.  I simply love my gym bag and want other runners and yogis to be aware there is a gym bag that can fit all their needs.