Meet Sara Crandall, the creator of The Lake Shore Runner blog and Undiscovered Kitchen Ambassador! Her journey as a runner and a blogger didn’t start in a typical way. In her senior year of high school Sara was sidelined from sports because of a sports staph infection in her ankle, which destroyed the joint – the next year, she made the difficult decision to get her ankle fused.
Doctors told her that as a result she would never be able to run again – but the news only motivated Sara to prove her doctors wrong! And prove them wrong she did – four years later she finished her first half marathon in Chicago and two years after that her first full marathon – the Nashville Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon – in an impressive 3 hours and 56 minutes and 28 seconds! (Go Sarah!)
The name Lake Shore Runner comes from the street names of the pavement Sara’s hit for runs – a combination of “Lake Shore Drive” in her hometown of Detroit and “Lake Shore Path” in Chicago.
[Tweet “Meet @scranberry33 The Lake Shore Runner Who Beat the Odds! #fitness #run”]
Sara reviews different types of fitness workouts and gyms and features a Tried it Tuesday series which, as the name suggests, is a series where Sara tries something new every Tuesday – for example, a new recipe or type of workout. She’s also one of Undiscovered Kitchen’s partners in our New Year New You, Ultimate Fitness Giveaway!
Some of the posts Sara has had the most fun writing:
- Chocolate Covered Peppermint Pretzel Slims Recipe
- Give Presence
- Tips & Tricks for Making Your Presents Look Beautiful
- Benefit of Pure Barre to Runners
Sara posts a diverse range of recipes for every meal and for every occasion:
When did you start your blog?
What inspired you to start your blog?
Initially, I was asked to start my blog by a running organization in Chicago as a place to talk about their marathon-training program. In the end, I wasn’t able to start the training program because of a running injury but I decided to keep up with the blog and formed it into a place where I could connect and learn from other people. It was something I didn’t mention to others at first but now, I am so proud of it I tell everyone!
Inevitably some people will give you weird looks when you tell them you’re a blogger, as if to say, “what do you have to say that’s so important?” But I own it and I know that there are enough people who enjoy my posts – enough to get excited to continuously create new content and post daily.
What’s the goal/mission of your blog?
As I mentioned, it started off as a place to capture my training but has since grown to be a much bigger part of my life! I want to continue growing the blog and brand myself. Lake Shore Runner offers me a unique experience – I get to connect with runners from all over the country, every day!
I’m also planning to use the blog as a place to gather data for my thesis for my Masters in Sports Administration at Northwestern University. The topic of my thesis is to analyze whether or not sponsorship at races impacts runners’ purchasing behavior before and/or after a race, and how brands can do a better job of enhancing runners’ experiences at races.
Additionally, I’m hoping to use my blog to work on campaigns with brands, such as this one, for example, with Undiscovered Kitchen! I love working with brands on programs because it allows me to give even better content to my readers!
Is your blog your full time job? If not, how do you balance your time?
My blog is my passion project. I’m currently a Senior Account Manager at a Marketing company in Chicago and attend Northwestern University in the evenings for my Masters in Sports Administration. I’m at my best when I am busiest.
Even when I come home at night, completely wiped from the day, I’m excited to write a blog post, read comments, and respond to readers. I love talking about running any chance I get, so the blog is an outlet to talk about my passions – It also never feels like work which is what I love about it!
Any funny/memorable rookie mistakes or lessons learned along the way?
In order to get readers to your blog, you need to be active throughout all social media channels so I’ve learned how to brand myself on social media. I’ve also learned what people do and don’t like to read based on traffic and my own experience reading other blogs.
How do you keep a healthy mind?
Take each task as it comes and check it off as soon as it’s complete. My life is about checklists! Sometimes I feel like I’m going in a million directions at once, which can be very overwhelming but even when it seems impossible, I know I’ll get everything done.
Just take one thing in at a time. I start each day with what makes my body and mind feel their healthiest – a workout! I always joke that working out is my source of free therapy – It allows me to de-stress and sort out everything in my head – My me time!
How do you keep a healthy body?
By getting a workout in everyday! Whether it’s HIIT, spin, a run, yoga, or just a long walk to do errands. I know I feel my best when I’m active and fueling my body properly.
How do you keep a healthy spirit?
Living life to the fullest everyday and knowing that while I can’t control many things in my life, I do have control of how I live my life – and a healthy one at that! My life motto is that everything happens for a reason.
What’s your secret to staying motivated?
I’m always craving the next challenge wanting a better life and to better myself. My main motivation is to keep going and to keep striving to accomplish my next life goal.
A few years ago, my motivator was to complete a marathon. Now that I’ve done that I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon – I use this as my running goal and keep it in mind when I’m working out.
What are 3-5 of your favorite fitness/health related products?
- The Grid Trigger Point Foam Roller
- Fly Away Tamer Head Band
- Feetures Running Socks
- Wrap Ice Pack
- Lulelemon Run Inspire Crop
What are your favorite small batch food companies?
- Mitten Munch Trail Bars: Organic, locally produced trail mix bars
- PB2: All natural powder peanut butter
What’s your “secret ingredient” or what do you find yourself constantly using in the kitchen?
I love oats! I incorporate them into so many of my meals and recipes – smoothies, muffins, cookies, protein bites, and bread! I keep the Costco size box of Quaker rolled oats in my kitchen. I love how they add substance and texture to my smoothies.
What are your favorite foodie blogs/sites for recipe inspiration?
What are your 3 of your best or favorite posts of all time?
Given all the time, tools and fresh ingredients, what would you love to try in the kitchen?
I would love to make pumpkin butternut squash stuffed ravioli (made from scratch) will a sage butter sauce! I love recipes that use fall flavors and vegetables. On my blog I posted lots of pumpkin recipes this fall – some healthy and other for more of a treat!
What recipe have you been dying to master but still can’t get exactly right?
Zucchini & Squash Lasagna! I love lasagna but I don’t love all the calories that come with it so I use zucchini and squash to replace the noodles and cottage cheese in place of ricotta. The only problem is that the water from the vegetables tend to make the lasagna soupy. I’ve have tried dehydrating the veggies with salt prior to baking but water still comes out. I’m still experimenting and hope to get it right soon!
What 3 items can’t you live without?
- My iPhone
- My computer (I’m a little tech dependent)
- My running shoes!
What are you excited to or hope to achieve in 2015?
I’m excited to work on my thesis and to graduate from grad school! While working on my thesis I’m hoping to grow my blog and working on learning new web skills to make the blog the best it can be – of course, I know this will be something I’ll always work on because you can never be 100% content.
I’m excited to be in two of my best friends’ weddings. It makes me feel so special to be a part of their special day.
I’m also excited to travel in 2015 – I’ve already planned trips to San Fran and Nashville but that’s just scratching the surface. All of my travel is centering around races. In the fall I also hope to run the Detroit Marathon [fingers crossed I am healthy] and would love to qualify for Boston. My biggest goal for the new year!
Oh and last but not least in 2015 I will have another niece/nephew. I love seeing our family grow!
Sara is also part of other fitness and blog organizations!
- Fitfluencial Ambassador
- Windy City Bloggers Member
- Lifetime Esprit de She Ambassador
- Chicago Running Bloggers Member
- Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador
- I’m Fit Possible Ambassador
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