• Collectively Colleen

Updated: Nov 11, 2019

"I'll Never Be a Runner"

In middle school gym class we were always required to run the half mile test and I remembered DREADING it. I would build up my anxiety all day until it was time and whine throughout the entire experience. I hated running. I didn't understand why anyone would put themselves through that torture.

Simultaneously, I have vivid memories from my childhood of my Dad running. He would put me in the jogging stroller as a kid and we would run around our neighborhood. Sometimes with his friends, sometimes alone. He was part of a running club in our area and would also volunteer at races. My siblings and I would tag along some times and help hand out water to runners on the course.

But still, I hated running. Many times I have said "I'll never be a runner" or even, "I can't run".

"But It'll Be Easy"

You may remember in April of 2018 I published a blog post about how I had decided I was going to run a half marathon (I laugh now as I read back through that post). In the beginning of 2018, I had come across a Buzzfeed article about the runDisney Princess Half Marathon, something that as a proclaimed Disney-fan I had surprisingly never heard of. I instantly became intrigued. The author made this race sound like a fun experience that everyone (including non-runners) would enjoy. So in the midst of planning a wedding and being swamped at work I thought "I'll just start training and run this in 2019, it'll be fun".

Spoiler alert: It didn't happen.

I thought it was going to be easy. The very first week of the training plan I found online had me running 3 miles three times that week. "I can run 3 miles no problem". Turns out, I couldn't run 3 miles at all. So instead of trying to work through it and build up my endurance, I gave up. I was bogged down by the stress of planning a wedding that I couldn't motivate myself to try and accomplish this strange running goal.

Fast forward to January of 2018. I was hanging out with Peter and some of his friends and we somehow ended up on the topic of running. In this conversation Peter had mentioned how I had once tried running, even went and bought shoes, but gave up. And after that the fire inside me started burning.

I got angry with myself. I had spent time and money on this goal to only give up. I had gone about trying to run the entirely wrong way. So what if, I trained properly and did my research? Would I actually be able to run 13.1 miles?

So I started training again but this time a bit differently. I started out by run-walking. I was embarrassed. I was unable to even run a mile without stopping. But I persisted. I kept run-walking, changing my time intervals until one day I realized I could run 3 miles without walking.

As I was building up my endurance, I started doing more "running research". Listening to running podcasts (I'll share my favorites below), reading books on running and trying to retain as much information as I could. I started to become not only obsessed with running but with the running culture as well. But in my head I still was not a runner.

runDisney Wine & Dine

So of course during all this time training I had the idea that I would just want to run one runDisney race to say I did it and then I could move on. As I mentioned, my original goal was to run the runDisney Princess Half Marathon. But after talking with my parents and Peter, we thought it would be fun to do the runDisney Half Marathon that takes place during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival in November. We would make it into a whole trip. My mom who has been a treadmill runner for years also decided that she would run the race too. So in March, I officially registered for my first Half Marathon.

I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to do it. At that point, I was barely running. How could I run 13.1 miles in just 8 months? But at that point there was no going back. At that time I set a goal for myself, to finish in 2 hours and 30 mins.

The Summer of Running

I spent the entire summer running and cross-training and lifting. I was focused on my nutrition. I was listening to every podcast under the sun related to running, reading every book I could get my hands on about running and becoming fully obsessed with running.

I could now run almost 10 miles without stopping and I actually liked it. Running quickly became my therapy. When I was running, I wasn't thinking about anything else. I was focused on my feet hitting the ground. I would look forward to my runs most days. Of course, there were days I didn't want to run but I never regretted a run.

I remember at one point during the summer I was talking to Peter about running in general and I said something along the lines of "Well at my next race..." to which he responded "I thought you were only going to do this race and then be done". In that moment I realized that running had become something much bigger to me. I wouldn't be even close to being done once I crossed that finish lines. I had goals now, big ones.

Finally Here

Fast forward a few months and miles later, our trip was finally here. All of the training and preparation was leading up to this weekend. There are so many things I could share about our trip and our experience but I will try to keep this short as I know this blog post is already so long!

We arrived in Disney World late Thursday night and the race would be EARLY Sunday Morning. We spent all day Friday walking around Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

Saturday we headed over to the ESPN Center to pick up our bibs and t shirts.

I wanted to keep it chill on Saturday as to not tire our legs out too much. Plus we would have to wake up at 2:45 am the next morning. We spent the rest of Saturday walking around Disney Springs and hanging out by our hotel pool.

When Sunday morning arrived I wasn't the least bit tired, I was excited. We got up, ate some breakfast, got ready and went over to the starting area.

In true Disney fashion, there was a lot of waiting. Since neither my mom or I had run a race previously, we were in one of the later corrals (or groups) to start the race.

Right at 6:00 am, we started our runDisney Half Marathon. The wine and dine course starts in the Magic Kingdom Parking Lot goes through Animal Kingdom, along lots of highway to dip through Hollywood Studios then over to Epcot through the World Showcase and ending in the Epcot Parking Lot.

How It Went

Leading up to the race I had a few long training runs that were 13 or 14 miles. I shared that originally my goal was to run the race under 2 hours and 30 minutes. In the midst of my training I realized that was more than possible. My goal constantly changed.

From 2:30 it went to 2:16 then 2:05.

My last long training run that I completed on my own, I had run the half marathon distance in 1:58. A 9 min pace. I was in tears. I went from not being able to run a mile to running 13 miles in under 2 hours.

Going into race day I didn't want to hold myself to this sub-2 hour standard too hard. I knew that the runDisney races were not meant for fast runners. I knew that we would be doing a lot of walking in the days leading up. I knew that being in a later corral meant that we would be surrounded by runners slower than us.

I ultimately finished the runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon in 2:04:28. I was not disappointed.

Would You Run It Again?

While I had a great time running the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, I won't be doing another runDisney race again. They are definitely fun races meant for Disney fanatics. They have characters scattered along the course, Disney music playing and other exciting elements. But they are not geared as much towards serious runners.

When I first decided to do a runDisney race it was for fun. But during my training my goals shifted. I wanted to run my best time possible but this wasn't the race to do it.

The first three miles I spent dodging walkers. I was constantly bobbing and weaving around others. No one kept to one side of the course and there were many run-walkers that would just stop in front of you. I understand that this was more prominent for me because of my later corral position but it was still frustrating.

What I also realized a few miles into the race was that we had done way too much walking during the past two days and my legs were TIRED. I could feel it but I knew I had to push on.

Was it my best run? No. But it was still fun and I was still so proud of my time and how far I have come.

What's Next?

As I said, I'm definitely not done with running. I think that with my current time it puts me at a great spot to be able to smash my goals.

In April I will be running the Sole of the City 10K in Baltimore hosted by Charm City Run. I've heard so many great things about this race and can't wait to take it on.

I'm also planning to run a spring half marathon, possibly the Shape Women's Half Marathon in NYC or the Fredrick, MD Half Marathon.

After that I plan to run a fall half marathon.

Will you ever run a Full Marathon?

Yes! I'm very intrigued by the marathon and my goal right now is to possibly run the Chicago Marathon in 2021.

Favorite Running Podcasts?

Ali on the Run


I'll Have Another

Favorite Running Books?

26 Marathons: What I've Learned About Faith, Identity, Running and Life From Each Marathon I've Run by Meb Keflezighi

Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory by Deena Kastor

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

And so that's it in a nutshell. If you've read this far, kudos and thank you! Let me know if you guys want to see more running content from me. It's become such an integral part of my life and I want to keep sharing. Also send me any running questions or advice!

xoxo Colleen

  • Collectively Colleen

Updated: Nov 10, 2019

Hey there, long time no talk. I realize it’s been a few months now since I’ve made a blog post and you may have noticed that I haven’t been as active on Instagram as well. And I promise, there’s a reason (or two)!

A few months ago, I wasn’t feeling myself. Posting to Instagram, writing blog posts and attending different events felt so forced. I dreaded having to get ready. My mental health was not at a great point and honestly neither was my physical health. I hadn’t been to the gym consistently since before our wedding, I wasn’t eating healthy and I felt beyond sluggish.

Now, some of you may remember last year where I wrote a blog post about training for a half marathon. I could laugh out loud when I look back on this post. I had no clue what I was trying to get myself into and I had tried to do it during the most stressful time of my life. Needless to say, it didn’t happen. I stopped running, I gave up and I didn’t think about it again until this past February when Peter (my husband) made a comment to me about it.

So of course, the wheels in my head started to turn again. I started itching at the idea of training for a half marathon again, or at least trying to.

I downloaded a training plan, I put my shoes on and I just started running. Three times a week, every week, consistently. It wasn’t pretty at first. I was not in great shape. I could barely run for 2 minutes straight without feeling like I was dying.

Fast-forward six months later, I still run consistently every week and I love it. I’ve been running long distances of 13 and 14 miles. I have also FULLY immersed myself into the running culture. Reading books, listening to podcasts and doing allll of the nutrition/gear/recovery research. (More posts to come on that later)

I am also significantly happier than I was all those months ago. I’ve really taken the time to focus on my health and recenter myself. Running consistently, biking with my husband, cooking healthy meals, reading more. I now finally feel like I’m at a place where I can get back into blogging and sharing more on Instagram but on my own terms. More authentically.


If you know me, you know I can’t sit still. So of course during all this time I also decided to take on a new business opportunity. In short, I started an Interior Design Business!

I’ve always been a lover of homes and interiors. Admiring the design, beauty and precision that go into them. Spending countless hours binging HGTV, no matter what show was on. When I joined my current full time job at a contract furniture manufacturer, that love of interiors only grew. I was able to help design our Chicago Showroom not once but twice! It truly ignited this passion I had deep down inside. I thought if I love this so much, why don’t I try it out?!

Nardo Interiors then came to be. You might remember through my Instagram posts or blog posts or by just having a conversation with me that I also co-own an Ad Agency with my husband, Nardo Agency. When brainstorming through all of this interior design business, we figured it would be a smart idea to make my interiors business and extension of our existing business. This way we can cross-promote our services and keep it all in the family!

I have shared some of our projects on my Instagram stories and am so excited with how successful things have been so far! It’s a lot of work but also a lot of fun. I find so much joy in hunting down the perfect sofa or small trinket that brings together a space.

All that being said, if you know anyone in need of Interior Design Services (residential or corporate) send them our way! We’re still working on the website but we do have a Houzz Account Set up that you can access HERE.

In short, I’ve been a busy lady these last few months. Running all over the place, literally. But I’m excited to get back into sharing more of my life with you and I promise I won’t disappear again… at least not for a while!

What can you expect from me now? Probably some more posts on running, behind the scenes of different Interior Projects and just my old authentic self.

As always thanks for sticking around <3

xoxo Colleen

  • Collectively Colleen

Updated: Nov 10, 2019

This week I have been consistently going to classes at Bar Method! You may have heard me mention it on my instagram or in this blog post. But today I want to share IT ALL with you! The ups, the downs, what it’s really like and if I’m going to continue classes.

One month ago I signed up for Bar Method Baltimore’s Bridal Bar Package (whew that’s a mouthful!). I have been working out consistently to get in shape for the wedding and honeymoon but wasn’t totally loving my workouts. I decided to switch it up. I had taken a barre class at Bar Method when they opened in April (you can read all about my experience here) and I had really liked it. When I heard about their Bridal Bar Package I thought it was worth the try. Their package included: 3 months unlimited, a bridal swag bag, private class for 15 friends and a freeze on your account when you go on your honeymoon! Let me say: I have not been disappointed.


When I joined Bar Method a month ago, I had a sliver of an idea about what I was getting into. I had enjoyed my first class I had taken there and thought everyone was so welcoming. What I didn’t realize was how welcoming the women of Bar Method Baltimore would be. Every instructor and employee makes it a point to know your name, ask you about your day and give you the motivation to keep coming back day after day. When I enter the studio in Locust Point, I don’t feel like I’m dragging my feet into a workout. I get excited to be there. To see my friends and to get a good sweat in.

In just one month, I’ve been able to find a place that helps me de-stress after a day at work, meet new women I wouldn’t normally and build my self-confidence. And that is something I definitely didn’t expect.


Thigh Work. Let me tell you, your thighs are gonna burn. For like days. In each Bar Method Class, they focus on each part of your body. There are, what they call, “3 sets of Thigh”. These are back-to-back workouts isolating just your thigh muscles and MAN oh MAN does it burn. I vow one day to be able to get through a class without having to pause during thigh work and shake out my legs. But on the upside, I am definitely feeling a lot stronger in my legs!!


What you can’t see from Instagram or Facebook or their website is how much of a positive atmosphere Bar Method is. As I mentioned earlier, everyone knows your name and gives you the motivation to keep working hard. This is reflected from the moment you step into the studio until the moment you leave.

Every class I take I always feel supported and motivated to keep pushing myself. Not only from the instructors but from the other girls taking class as well! It is such a positive atmosphere that lifts my mood and gives me the courage to push myself more and more each class.

THE STUDIO Okay so I can’t talk about Bar Method without mentioning how “Insta-Worthy” their studio is! You’ve probably seen me post on my instagram and on my instagram stories their studio, but honestly it doesn’t do it justice!

It’s so bright and white in the reception space, the locker room and the studios that even on the cloudiest day, you can’t help but smile. From the exposed brick wall to the cozy couch corner, it’s all so adorable.

The locker rooms are also AMAZING because they have showers if I want to take a quick class before work but don’t want to stink up the office (lol) and they have all the necessities you might need (dry shampoo, spray deodorant, mints!!). It’s like they thought of everything you might possibly need.


To say I’ve noticed a difference in my body would be an understatement. Not only have I lost weight and gained muscle, my posture has improved and I feel stronger. I used to hate working out my leg muscles, but now since I’m somewhat forced into it I can feel my legs getting stronger! My core has also gotten stronger as well. Majority of the moves you complete in Bar Method engage your core, keeping your whole body involved.

One important aspect of Bar Method as well is that the instructors are constantly roaming around checking your form and your posture. This keeps you from injuring yourself and getting the most out of your workout! From this, I have definitely seen my posture improve not only in class but in my day to day as well.

Overall, I can’t express how much of a difference the Bar Method has made in my life. From my mood to my body to my posture. I feel myself wanting to make healthier choices in my life and to step outside of my comfort zone.

I honestly can’t believe how much of a difference just one month has made and I’m excited to see what the next two have in store for me!!

xoxo Colleen

P.S. Want to join too?! Use code: "collectivelycolleen" for $10 OFF all classes and packages!

About Me

Hi there! My name is Colleen and I’m the author and creator of Collectively Colleen.This blog is a place where I’ll be sharing everything about my life! From favorites to career tips, outfits I’m loving and places to travel, I’m going to be sharing it all here!


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