Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A look back at 2014

Another year is coming to a close. Every year I am floored at how fast time is passing by. Just when I think things are going to slow down, it's as if the clocks are on overdrive and another few weeks have passed in a blink of an eye. You know time is flying when your kids make mention of it. My 9-year old son has repeatedly said how fast time is flying. He's 9! If it's going fast for him, we obviously need to slow things down a bit. Which is why I'd like to spend some time looking back.

Before Finish Chelsea's Run 5K 
2014 has been a good year for Sole Health and Wellness and all of our Sole Mates! Our first program of the year began in January and trained for Finish Chelsea's Run 5K on March 1st. This evening program met entirely in the dark each week but they didn't let the cold and dark of winter stop them from reaching their goals. In fact, race morning was the first time we saw each other in the light of day! And this particular race day brought with it a huge rain storm, preventing one of our members from joining. But the clouds parted just in time for the race and it turned out to be a beautiful morning (that is, until it started raining just as the 5K ended). It was great to see the success and achievements of this special group. This was the first time we did a program for this race because when I learned about its story, it was too late to do a program for 2013. But I knew I wanted to support this race as soon as I heard about Chelsea King. If you don't know about Chelsea King, the local young woman for whom the race is named, be sure to read about her story and the reason behind Chelsea's Light Foundation. And local runners, send your friends and family to us to train for the 2015 Finish Chelsea's Run 5K. It's an amazing community event and one that we are very proud to be a part of. Take a look at all of our photos from the race.

Post-race bliss for our CA 10/20 runners!

February brought the inaugural running of the California 10/20 10-mile race. This program actually started in November of 2013, so their awesomeness actually spans between 2013 and 2014 ;) Honestly, this was a great race and a great group of people. These runners were mostly beginners and this was the first double-digit race for many of them, which was very exciting to be a part of. I actually ran this race with my group, which I rarely do since I want to be at the finish line to see everyone. Because this was the first time this race was put on, I needed to check it out to be sure it was one to come back to and train another group to run it again. So for me, this was a chance to be both coach and participant and enjoy the best of both worlds. Race day was a little cloudy and rainy at the start but in true San Diego fashion, the clouds parted and sun shined on us as we ran through Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas. And we were lucky enough to make it into the Marathon Show podcast for the race. It was great finally meeting Joe after listening to him for so long. You can listen to the podcast here. Excuse my bumbling as I was a little star struck that I was talking to Joe. Such a great guy! We're at about 19:00 into the podcast. The race itself was very well done, which isn't usually the case for a first-time race. But these organizers had their game faces on and we all had a blast. Can't wait for our current 10/20 runners to toe the line this coming February. Take a look at all our photos from the race.

Pre-race love fest with the crew!
The weekend after the CA 10/20 began our 10K and Half Marathon group. A few weeks later, our 5K group began as well. All three groups were training for the Girls on the Go 5K, 10K and Half Marathon in May. This was the second year we did a program for this race since 2013's event was a lot of fun. And the 2014 race did not disappoint. All of our runners did a fabulous job and for many of them, their respective race was their first time doing that distance. This race takes place in Mission Bay, which is always a great place for a race. The course is flat and you have several opportunities to see your runners as they make their way through the course. We had such a great group this go around and it was a great time for me to see them all reach their respective goals. It's always bittersweet when my Spring programs end. I take the summers off to be with my family, which is amazing. But I end up really missing all these crazy people I've become really close to. But it definitely gives us all something to look forward to when that Fall program begins! Take a look at all our photos from the Girls on the Go race.

It was always a celebration with this group!
The Fall brought another program training for another first-time race: the Celebration 10K and Half Marathon. We began in August and over the course of our 12-weeks, we definitely had some highs and lows. The race date was changed to a month later. Then the race distance was changed (from an 8K to a 10K) but we all took it in stride (get it??). There were some injuries along the way and some excessively hot long runs, but everyone overcame their respective issues and rocked the house on race day. They truly celebrated all they worked for over the course of the 12 weeks and earned all the kudos, accolades and yahoos bestowed upon them. This program was also the first time we partnered with our friend and Sole Mate Chris Vettel over at Perfect Balance Therapeutic Massage in San Marcos. Registration for the program included a 50-minute massage as well as a discount on a second massage, in addition to other goodies they received from us along the way. Working with Chris was a blast and I know this was only the first of what will be many partnerships with her in the future. Take a look at all the photos from the Celebration Run 10K and Half Marathon.

Loved running with these ladies!
Our last 5K program of 2014 was also a first for us! This was the first program in which we partnered with local running store Running Center in Carlsbad. I first went to the Running Center back in June of 2011 when my husband and I were here house hunting before our actual move across the country. I fell in love with the local store, known for their amazing shoe-fit process, work with the community and overall expertise in all things running. It reminded me so much of the early days of Fleet Feet Sports, Gaithersburg, where I worked for several years in several capacities, right up until the move here to San Diego. Anyway, working together, the Running Center and I hosted a 5K program training for the Oceanside Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving Day. This program was so much fun and every week was such an adventure. While the 5K distance wasn't a new one for most of the runners, they were all coming back to running either after a break or really wanted to learn the "right way" to run, so they could run forever. Watching their transformation over the course of the 8 weeks was truly inspiring. I can't wait to partner with the Running Center again in 2015 as we team up to offer another 5K program training for the Finish Chelsea's Run 5K. Be sure to join us!

And let's not forget all of our wonderful private running and nutrition clients we've had the pleasure to work with throughout 2014. There were pounds lost, age groups won, new race distances conquered, new countries and continents run and a couple of Boston Qualifiers. It was wonderful learning everyone's stories and being a part of their goals. It's always an honor for me to come along with my runners as they work towards something great, whether it's their first race or 500th, their longest distance ever or their fastest. I absolutely cannot wait to see what's in store for all of them in 2015. As for Sole Health and Wellness? Be on the lookout for exciting new training programs, personal training packages and some strength training classes in 2015. We'll help you run your best and strongest this year and in the years to come!

As you look back on 2014, remember the highs, respect the lows and learn from them. Not every year is great for everyone but know that downhills lead back uphill and eventually those hills even out. I wish all of you a very happy and healthy New Year. You have all made 2014 especially amazing for me and I am looking forward to working and running with you in 2015! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Seven stocking stuffers in the seven days before Christmas!

We're in the home stretch before Christmas. If you're anything like me, you've bought all your gifts and are ready for Christmas morning. For some reason though, there's always a scramble to find something for the stockings. I don't know why this always happens because, in our house, the gifts in the stocking are just as exciting as what's under the tree. Therefore, with just a week left before the big day, here are some ideas for last minute stocking stuffers. You don't have to buy them online, just pop over to your local running store or sporting goods shop like REI. The fitness enthusiast in your life will thank you for it!

1. Nutrition items. If your runner has a favorite nutrition item, throw a few in their stocking. You can get most popular fuels in running stores or REI and even at the grocery store. Take a peak in their fuel belt to see what they like. Or, use this as a chance to give them something new to try. You don't have to go crazy. Items like Honey Stinger chews, Mamma Chia squeezes and Jelly Belly Sports Beans can all be found in the grocery store.

2. LED lights. These are a running must-have, especially in the winter when the chances of your runner hitting the roads in the dark are greater. Most running stores carry LED lights that can clip onto your outer layer. There are steady lights, flashing lights, red lights, green lights. Really, the possibilities are endless. Check out Knuckle Lights that you hold while running (just don't hold on too tightly as that can add unneeded tension to your run), available at most Dick's Sporting Goods. Other lights such as those from Nathan can be picked up at REI as well as your local running store.

3. Anti-chafe product. We runners chafe. It's an unfortunate side effect to an otherwise healthy addiction. There are a million anti-chafe products out there. Ask 10 different runners and they'll probably give you 10 different products. My favorite is RunGoo which is made locally here in Encinitas and can be found at a bunch of California stores and beyond. You can also buy it online but it may not arrive in time. Other options that can be found at most sporting good stores are products like Body Glide and Sports Shield from 2Toms.

4. Magazine subscription. While print materials are becoming less and less popular, there's something exciting when my Runner's World arrives in the mail. I love taking 30 minutes to read through all the latest-and-greatest news, events and inspirational stories each month. I also like to refer back to my older issues when I know there's something that will help a client's or my training. Sign up your runner for a year of magazines from Runner's World, Running Times, Trail Runner Magazine or any other health and fitness magazine. Buy one issue to place in the stocking with a note that a year's worth of info is on the way!

5. Massage tools. Any runner can benefit from regular massage. And while seeing a massage therapist that knows how to work with runners is your best bet for staying loose and preventing injury, it's not always feasible. That's where having an arsenal of massage tools comes in handy. Tools like the Moji 360 Mini Massager, The Stick and products from Trigger Point such as the GRID mini foam roller, are an absolute must for athletes and non-athletes alike. You can find these products at most running and sporting goods stores. The only limitation is the size of your stocking!

6. Gift cards. Back in the day, gift cards had the reputation of being impersonal, boring and lame. Not anymore and especially not for runners. We runners are a peculiar bunch and we like what we like. We have special socks, shoes, clothes, hats and gloves that we use and we only want certain ones. And forget about sizing. We like things to fit in a certain way and often have to try things on before we buy them (especially running shoes). Instead of making yourself crazy trying to figure out the size, color, brand, fabric, etc., get a gift card to your local running store such as The Running Center in Carlsbad, and let your athlete choose exactly what they want. Just Google "local running stores" to find one in your area that gets good reviews.

7. Gift certificate for coaching. Coaching isn't just for elite or professional runners. Anyone can benefit from having a professional take a look at their form, assess their training plan, give advice and recommendations and so much more. I offer gift certificates for private coaching, my running programs and nutritional counseling. If your loved one is looking to take their running to the next level, tackle a new race distance or wants to give running a try, think about getting them a gift certificate for some one-on-one sessions with me or a spot in one of my upcoming running programs. And nutrition is just as important as the training, which is why I offer gift certificates for nutritional counseling as well. And you don't have to be local to San Diego to work with me. Just email me and we can discuss your options!

Nothing tells someone you love them than giving them something that helps them lead a healthier, happier lifestyle. We all know being active helps you live a long and happy life. Therefore, by supporting their fitness you're saying you want them to be around for a long time :) That's the best gift ever!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A new 5K program in the New Year!

Join us as we train for a race that is near and dear to our heart! We're teaming up with The Running Center, Carlsbad once again to bring a program training for Finish Chelsea's Run 5K.

In this laid-back, supportive, non-competitive and FUN program, runners get a detailed 8-week training program, weekly coached runs, unlimited contact with the coach, information seminars (including info on running form, nutrition, injury prevention and more), discounts on running gear from the Running Center, product samples, technical t-shirt and much more! Race registration isn't included in the program!

The price for the program is $60.00. This price does not include race registration and the program dates and location are subject to change. This price will increase to $75 on January 1st, so register today!

It's time to challenge yourself in new ways this New Year. But instead of just saying you'll "get more active," be specific. You WILL run a 5K! You WILL meet new people and you WILL achieve a new goal. This is so much more than a running program! 

Program starts January 14th. Get all the info you need on our website!

Contact us with any questions you may have!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sweet potato, fennel and carrot soup

In case you haven't noticed, I like soup. Like a smoothie, it's the perfect meal. You can put lots of nutritious, healthy, delectable foods together, that perhaps you wouldn't really eat much on their own, and blend them up into a fabulous meal. This soup is no exception.

Sweet potatoes should be a staple in anyone's pantry. Potatoes in general get a bad rap because carbs themselves get a bad rap. But, let's face it, there are good carbs and bad carbs. Processed, refined carbohydrates are bad. Think white bread, pastas and baked goods. Carb sources that are whole grain, whole food and in their most natural form? That's the good stuff. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A, vitamin B5, B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and are rich in carotenoids (powerful antioxidants known to decrease the chances of developing certain cancers, such as breast cancer). Add some fennel, which is also high in antioxidants such as quercitin and vitamin C, as well as other vitamins and minerals like iron, potassium and magnesium, and you have a combo that will help reduce inflammation, boost immunity and taste pretty darn fantastic. The carrot adds a little more sweetness (as well as vitamins and minerals) and the garlic, onion and ginger will also provide some anti-inflammatory goodness. Whip up a batch of this soup, add some hemp seeds or other protein source and have it after a workout for a great recovery meal.


2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1-2 fennel bulbs, cored and sliced, fronds removed
1-2 carrots, scrubbed and sliced
2 gloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 quart vegetable broth
1-2 tsp ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste

Because you're ultimately going to blend the ingredients, don't feel obligated to chop your veggies to perfection.

In a non-stick pot, add 1 tbs water and heat on medium-high heat until the water bubbles and moves along the pot. Add the onion, fennel, garlic and carrot. Saute for a few minutes, until the onion and fennel soften but do not brown. Add the broth, sweet potatoes and ginger. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are softened. After simmering, I added my soup to the Vitamix to blend but you can also use an immersion blender and blend it right in the pot. Or, if those methods are not possible, you can add everything to a food processor.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Butternut Sqush + Hemp Seed Soup

It's raining here in San Diego! Most of us are doing a happy dance because we desperately need the rain. But it is kinda cold. Which means it's time for some warm, yummy soup. We make a lot of soup in this house because it's quick and easy and a great way to sneak in all the vitamins and minerals you need. Today's delightful soup addition is Butternut Squash and Hemp Seed soup.

This soup is as healthy as it is delicious. Butternut squash is packed with vitamin A, the vitamin B complex vitamins, vitamin C, iron, zinc, copper, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, just to name a few. Hemp seeds are an excellent source of protein, healthy fats and vitamins and minerals. Combine the two? You have a healthy and deliciously filling soup that everyone will love.
Here's how to make it:


2-3 medium butternut squash, cut in half and seeds removed
1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds (I like Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts)
2 cups filtered water

Preheat your oven to 425. Place the halved squash, cut side up, on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast for about 45-60 minutes. After roasting, cool slightly. Scoop out all the squash. To your high-speed blender, add the water, squash and hemp seeds. Blend until at the consistency you like. You can add spices or salt if you'd like. I didn't add anything as I really like the nutty flavor added by the hemp seeds.

If you don't have a high-speed blender, you can place your ingredients into a large pot and use an immersion blender or you can add everything to your food processor. Whatever is easiest.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Powered by Bits: Review and Giveaway of Energy Bits!

There are about a billion energy replacement products on the market. From gels, chews and drinks to beans, blocks and bites, you definitely have a variety of products to choose from. In my experience, some are fantastic while some are not so fantastic. For someone like me, with an extremely weird stomach and a major sensitivity to sugars, it can be a full-time job trying all of these different products, often ending with some not so pleasant results. So when the awesome folks over at Energy Bits contacted me to try their products for endurance and recovery, I jumped at the chance.

I have to admit that I had never heard of Energy Bits before they got in touch. But after reading through the information on their website, as well as the information they sent me, I was intrigued and excited to try their product. What is it? Well, they're bits! Little bits of algae. You're probably thinking, "Um, gross?" And I'll admit, I was a little weirded out myself at first. But after reading through the information about fueling workouts with algae, I was ready to give it a try.

Algae is a very nutrient-rich food source, packed with protein and glucose, both of which are necessary for endurance athletes. Algae is pure amino acids, which can be broken down very quickly to glucose. This allows quick energy during your workout. I'm sure you've heard that taking in protein while running can be hard on the body. This is true if you're taking in animal protein. It takes quite some time to digest animal protein sources into usable amino acids while the plant-based protein in algae (already usable amino acids), is digested into glucose in minutes, providing fast fuel when you need it most. In addition, algae is high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as B vitamins, nitric oxide and iron, all of which help convert the glucose into energy and reduce muscle and brain fatigue. This little bits pack a bug punch and are definitely worth trying.

Bits do take some practice to eat. In fact, you don't really eat them but swallow them whole. If you have trouble taking pills, this may be an issue for you. The first time I took them, I thought I was going to choke but then I got a system down. First, take a drink of water to wet your mouth and throat. Swallow the Bits. You can either throw them all down at once (30 Bits are a serving) or take them in shifts. I found taking most, if not all, at once was easiest. However you take them, be sure to chase them with plenty of water. You don't really taste anything this way. But if you let the Bits linger, you will taste a salty, seaweed-like taste. I eat a lot of sushi and nori, so it doesn't really bother me. But tasting this at 5:00am before a run is a different experience entirely ;)

I've now used bits on 4 runs of varying distances: a 4-mile, 8-mile and 10-mile run on roads and a 15-mile run on trails. For the 4-mile run, all I had right before the run were the Bits. I took one serving of Bits (30 bits) about 15 mins before the feet hit the ground. These are a really good option if you if you can't wake up in time to eat anything before your run, but know you should because it would help you feel better while running ;) For the 8- and 10-mile runs, I took one serving of Bits right before the run. This was in addition to a pre-run breakfast of toast that I ate about an hour before the Bits. I drank my yummy Skratch Labs sports drink throughout the run. Between the Bits and the Skratch, I did not need any additional fuel. I felt great throughout the entire run and never had any real energy issues. In fact, that 8-mile run was shortly after running the Marine Corps Marathon, and I was afraid I hadn't given myself enough time to recover. But I felt great and I know the Bits had a lot to do with it. I hadn't tried them on enough runs before the marathon, or I would have used them during that race too.

For the 15-mile run on trails, I took one serving of Bits before the run (in addition to a half-PB sandwich and hour before) and another half-way through the run. Because trails require a little more fuel (you burn more calories because of all the varying terrain, lateral movement and more), I did take in more calories (mainly from Skratch and energy chews). It was a hot, humid day on the trails in the Cleveland National Forest. Tons of climbs and lots of sunshine. It was a tough run because of the conditions, but I think the Bits really helped keep my energy up. I felt fairly good most of the time, especially considering the conditions.

I'm pretty much sold on Bits. I think they're a great way to get instant fuel in a healthy, chemical-free way. In fact, I've enjoyed running with Bits so much, I'll be partnering with them in the future to giveaway samples to my running groups and clients, as well as offer a discount code for anyone anywhere to try them. For now, you have the opportunity to win a sample prize pack right here. Simply enter using the Rafflecopter below. Good luck! You have until midnight Friday, November 14 to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 7, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Chia Seed Pudding

Even though, as I'm writing this, it's close to 90 degrees in the San Diego area and I'm wearing shorts and a tank top, Fall is supposedly upon us. There's pumpkin-flavored stuff everywhere to remind us that it is, indeed, Fall. Most of the pumpkin-flavored stuff out there grosses me out as it's not really pumpkin but true, pure pumpkin is a wonderful addition to snacks and meals. Not only is it yummy but it is one of the best foods out there; a Superfood, if you will. I've written articles about the pumpkin, I've posted recipes including pumpkin and I'm about to add to my pumpkin repertoire. I came across this recipe on a whim and I had to try it. I've modified it some and the result is some pretty awesome stuff. It feels decadent and naughty but this gem is less than 300 calories per 1 cup and makes for a great breakfast or snack. It's loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and healthy fats, so don't feel badly eating it. Enjoy it and when you're done, feel free to lick the bowl. I did :)

Pumpkin Pie Chia Seed Pudding
This makes about 4 1-cup servings

1 cup light coconut milk (the canned kind)
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (look for one without added artificial ingredients like this one from Frontier)
5 medjool dates, pits removed
3 tablespoons chia seeds

Add everything but the chia seeds to a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend until everything is smooth, combined and thick. Pour the mixture into a bowl or container that can be sealed. Add the chia seeds and stir well to combine. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes and stir again to be sure the chia seeds are mixed throughout (the often settle to the bottom). Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but the longer the better as the chia seeds will expand. The more time they have to expand, the more your pudding will actually have a pudding-like consistency. I topped mine with a dash of cinnamon and some pumpkin seeds but add some fresh fruit or coconut cream for some added decadence. YUM! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Momentum Jewelry giveaway!

I was so excited to get the mail yesterday as my shiny new Momentum Wrap bracelet and Foot Note charm arrived!

I came across the company kind of randomly on another blog (which I don't remember or I would link it!) and after reading about them, I contacted the company right away. Momentum - Designs that Move You - is a small women-owned business born during a workout (just like mine!). They make beautiful workout-friendly items that will inspire you both while you're running your long run and running your errands. And they donate 5% of their profits to Action for Healthy Kids, a national non-profit helping kids lead healthier, more active lives. Pretty awesome.

After contacting Amy and gushing to her about how awesome I thought her company was, we arranged for me to do a product review and giveaway of their awesome wrap bracelet or foot note charm. Yay! And thank you! They make it super easy to pick out your bling. You can choose an oval, rectangle or copper plate for your saying. They have several sayings you can choose from such as "Live Fearlessly" and "Make it Happen" or you can have your own custom saying placed on the plate for $4. Then you choose your wrap color. They have black, olive, eggplant, cardinal red, hot pink and teal. For my bracelet, I chose the eggplant wrap (I do love me some purple) and I chose to have a custom word on my bracelet: "Believe." There is NOTHING you can't do when you believe in yourself. If you truly believe you can do something, whether it's running a race, climbing a mountain, giving a speech or dealing with newborn twins + 1, you can conquer anything. I remember one day early in my twins' lives where I had to take them to a pediatrician check up and I had to take my oldest with me. By myself. Two newborns and a high-energy 5-year-old at the doctor's office. By myself. And if you've ever had a baby, you know they get shots fairly often so there were shots involved (times two) plus my son running around the place like it was a playground. I had to deal with it all by myself. Did I mention I was by myself? Anyway, after everything was done and I got everyone in the car, I sat in the driver's seat and just said to myself, "I can do this." It was a moment for me. It opened the door for me to believe in myself and that however hard things seem to be, I can do it. This may seem like a ridiculous thing to be proud about, but it was a huge victory for me. Running a marathon is easy compared to twins + 1. Seriously.

My bracelet is so beautiful. I put it on and right away I noticed just how soft the fabric is. It IS like getting a hug from a bracelet (it says this on the package!). But what's more important is that it will fit ANYONE! I have small wrists and have a hard time finding bracelets that fit me well without flying all over my arm and even falling off. With this wrap, you wrap it around your wrist until you get it at the right size for you. And once it's on, you don't even feel that it's there. But I love being able to look down and see the word "Believe." It makes me smile every time I look at it. And I've received several compliments on it already, from my clients and friends to my kids! I can't wait to see how the girls I coach for Girls on the Run like it!

During my workouts, it was great having the bracelet on. Just knowing that word is there fills me with motivation. I can't wait to wear it for my next race. Being able to look at my wrist and get instant inspiration is going to be huge. Practically speaking, the bracelet doesn't chafe or get annoying since it doesn't move. The fabric is moisture-wicking, which is great since I sweat like a hog. You hand-wash the material when you're done and let it air dry. Easy peasy.

For my foot note charm, I chose a single charm though you can get a pair of charms. I chose their saying, "Be Brave." Just like with their bracelets, they have several sayings to choose from or you can have your own saying added for a $4 charge. I chose "Be Brave," because there is a choice you have to make every time you face something challenging. You either choose to walk away out of fear or you be brave and face it. It doesn't mean you're not afraid, it just means you're going to face it. When I'm running and I want to give up, now I can look down and decide to be brave instead of giving up. I love this little charm because it's so simple yet makes a big impact. It's easy to slip onto your laces and will provide miles of motivation. And all Momentum's plates are lightweight and will not tarnish.

And now that you know all about the wonderful-ness of Momentum jewelry, it's your chance to win some for yourself or someone you think will love it. You can win either a Motivate Wrap or Foot Note Charms of your choosing! You can enter through this Rafflecopter system so your entry is counted! Be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

If you can't wait for the giveaway results, or if you don't win :( Momentum has wonderfully provided me with a discount code. Use MOTIVATEME15 for 15% off your website order (from now until 1/1/15).

The winner will be announced Monday, November 10th. It starts tonight at midnight and you have until midnight Sunday, the 9th, to enter. Winners will be contacted through email (be sure there’s a way to contact you when you enter!) and will have 24 hours to respond. If I don’t receive a response, another winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Monday, November 3, 2014

California 10/20 10-miler Training Program announced!

An all-new training program is set and ready for roll-out! We are excited to announce our next training program for the super awesome California 10/20 10-miler! This race is now in its second year and many of the first-year kinks have been worked out. My biggest complaint was having to pay for parking at the race expo held at the Fairgrounds. Well, as if reading my mind, race organizers moved packet pick-up to Road Runner Sports, San Diego. Score!

Our program will be a 12-week program, meeting Sundays starting November 30th at Moonlight Beach, Encinitas. We'll be training along the race course every weekend, ensuring your familiarity and comfort with the course come race day. You'll know the course like the back of your hand so there will be no surprises come race day. In addition, you'll receive a detailed training plan, weekly coached runs, weekly newsletters, information sessions on running form, nutrition, hydration, injury prevention and management and so much more. You'll also receive a discount on race registration as well as discounts on gear from the Running Center in Carlsbad. There's also tons of product samples, giveaways and a tech t-shirt for all participants. Not to mention motivation, guidance, support and encouragement along the way. Oh and FUN!!

Here are the details:

What: 12 Week 10-miler Running Program
When: November 30th through February 15th
Where: Moonlight Beach, Encinitas
Time: Every Sunday at 8:00AM (some runs will meet on Saturdays instead, dates TBD)
Price: $100 (race registration is not included)

Register online: https://www.signmeup.com/104267
More details on our website. Go there now!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The 10 things I've learned in 10 years of marathon running!

This past Sunday marked the 10th anniversary of my first marathon. In 2004, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon for the first time. At that point, I had been running for 17 years but hadn't yet done a marathon. It wasn't my first stab. I trained for the 2003 Marine Corps but had to defer my race entry due to injury. It was horrible to have to accept it wasn't going to happen that year, so getting to the start line in 2004 was a victory in and of itself.

That first marathon changed my life. It brought me lifelong friends that mean the world to me, it paved the way to a new career as a running coach and it brought new meaning to the phrase, "anything is possible." I've learned a lot in the past 10 years of running marathons and ultramarathons. I could write pages and pages on what I've learned, but here are the 10 most important things I've learned, in no particular order. And while I know there's still so much to learn, I'd be honored if you'd join me as I look back at the past 10 years.

1. The race is the easy part. My first marathon was done before I had my first baby. So, needless to say, I've done more races since having kids than before. Trust me, the race is easy compared to training on so many levels. Scheduling runs around obligations, weather, vacations, sleeping, breastfeeding, etc., gets pretty hairy. You have to become a master at multi-tasking. Race day is one big party after months of juggling things around. At least it should be.

2. Runners make the best friends. I have come across some of the best people through running. The ladies I trained with for my first marathon are now some of my best friends, one of which is the godmother of my children. In fact, some of the most important people in my life are those I've met through running. If they train with you, they know everything about you (and then some) come race day. If they are friends but not training partners, they at least know and can relate to things you're dealing with. Running connects people on so many levels and every runner I come into contact with is a future friend.

3. You can get through anything, physically and mentally. Training and running a marathon is definitely a test of your patience and perseverance. There are so many things just waiting to derail you from your goal. Your perseverance and persistence in getting through them is more important than actually running the miles. And those victories along the way are just more weapons in your arsenal come race day. Telling yourself, "Well, I got through X, I can get through this," may be all you need to get to that finish line.

4. Running is therapy. While running is a social event at times, I cherish the solo runs as well. It can be a time for so many things: to relax and reflect, organize my to-do list, tune out, get away from my family, deal with my emotions. There was no better therapy for me during the most tragic time in my life. In 2009, we lost our second baby. We lost our son about half-way through the pregnancy. Giving birth to a baby we could never hold is the most horrendous, the most devastating experience I have ever experienced. And you can't understand unless you've been through it. And yes, I know there are harder things for people to go through, but this was the hardest thing my family had ever been through. I still feel like there is someone missing from my family. But in those months following our loss, it was only running that helped me. I actually didn't want to be around anyone, so going for a run was a good excuse to get away from people. But it wasn't fun. At first it was awful. I would cry more than run. I'd make it about a half-mile down the street before I'd have to stop and sob. I still think about this section of bushes where I would hide, sit and cry. But those stretches of running got longer and I got to the point where I could finish a run without crying. Those times became my therapy sessions and I don't think I would have been able to get through the year after our loss without them. It was also at that time when I quit my last office job and decided to make running my career. I felt there was no better way for me to give back to the sport that helped me so much than devote myself to it personally and professionally.

5. Running gives you the freedom to love and care for yourself. For some reason, when we enter adulthood, taking care of ourselves becomes shameful. Taking a day off from work because you're sick: you're selfish and not a productive employee. Getting a massage: you're selfish and indulgent. Going for a run: you're selfish and not a good mom/dad/whatever. F that. You cannot be a good mom, dad, spouse, friend, employee, person without taking time for yourself in some way. You will falter and burn out and be useless before too long. You know that saying, "He/she snapped!" I guarantee that person wasn't given the opportunity to have a little me-time. Everyone has their go-to way of de-stressing and grabbing some me-time. For me, it's running. It's my time for myself and without it I'm not a happy person. That's why injured runners get depressed. And with running (or any exercise), you're more likely to eat better, get the sleep you need and generally take better care of yourself so that you can keep running. Running is the gateway drug for better health. So when you go for a run, or think about starting a running program if you're not a runner, don't think of it as a selfish thing away from your obligations. You will find a way to balance everything and you will be a better person because of it.

6. It's ok to lose control. As a Type A personality, it's hard to relinquish control of things. I have to credit running with my becoming a more Type A - or Type B + personality. With running and racing you can only control so much: your training, your clothing/shoes, your nutrition. You can't control the weather, people, race routes, etc. You can only prepare and then you can only prepare so much. Do what you know to do, trust in that and then go along on your merry way. If you obsess over every little thing, you're going to lose your mind and then the fun is all gone. After that, what's the point?

7. Running transcends all aspects of your life. Really, what I mean by this is that running accomplishments, however big or small, transcend your everyday, non-running life. Get through an especially hard 10-mile training run? Well, that project at work may not seem so daunting now. Complete a crazy Tough Mudder race? Well, giving your kids a bath isn't as much of a physically demanding thing anymore. With every run I complete, I know my everyday life is going to benefit. And I don't just mean I'll be a better mom/wife/coach, etc. I mean I will have the confidence to get through whatever ugly action item may be looming in the background. Confidence is huge and without it, life is pretty unsettling. Without running, I probably wouldn't have the confidence to do half of the things I do, from the big action items like public speaking, to the small action items like introducing myself to someone new. Confidence is a game-changer and I have running to thank for that.

8. You have to learn to accept defeat. This was a big lesson for me and I learned it early on in my running career. Things don't always go your way. You get injured. You have major stomach issues during a race (at least I do and they suck). Sometimes life gets in the way and you can't run a race you want to, you can't meet friends for a run because your spouse is out of town or you get sidelined by work and can't run as much as you need to. It happens to every runner. No runner can say they've had a seamless, perfect running career. There are low points. There are bad days. There are days that are so bad you regret even being a runner. But when you learn to accept these defeats and not let them overcome you, define you, you become a better runner. You learn from the failures, you prepare better and you learn to roll with the punches. Doing this as a runner has helped me so much in my non-running life, I can't even put it into words. Sometimes it takes several defeats, several failures to truly learn how to change things. And once we learn to do this, running is so much more enjoyable. Don't let that first setback stop you. Stop, regroup and carry on. It's worth it.

9. Running changes the way you see the world. And I don't mean is some spiritual, philosophical way, though it does. I mean in a more down-to-earth kind of way. I think runners are more compassionate people. We run to raise money and awareness for certain causes, we volunteer more of our time to things (we all know how important our race volunteers are so we like to give back!). I know we probably pay more attention to other runners and pedestrians while driving since we don't like to be run over. We look at sidewalks, city streets and trails and wonder how they'd be to run on. We plan trips and vacations around races. We look at the world as one big running route and do our best to keep it happy, clean, safe and around for a long time for all the future generation of runners.

10. Running is the easiest and hardest thing to do. Running is easy. Put on shoes, go for a run. Simple. There are things to look forward to like fun runs, beer runs, endorphins, runner's highs, race finishers medals, post-race food and massages. Running is the best! But is it? What about thinking about pace, stride rate, running efficiency, negative splits, VO2 max, lactate threshold, the talk test and specificity? How about overuse injuries, chafing, blisters and bloody nipples? And let's not forget pre-sunrise wake up calls, absolutely no motivation, sore muscles and The Wall. It's a love-hate relationship, really. But it's working through those most-hated moments that allow for us to experience those moments we love. Honestly, I wouldn't change a thing. Well, maybe chafing. That's no fun.    

So what have you learned as a runner? Whether you're a new runner or have run around the block a few times, chances are you've picked up a few nuggets of wisdom. I'd love it if you'd share your thoughts in the comments.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

I love me some soup, especially when the weather starts cooling down. Here in San Diego, we have had a hot, dry few months but the last few weeks have actually felt a little like Fall (I am not thinking about the heat wave that's on the way for this weekend). I'm taking full advantage of the short reprieve from typical SoCal Fall weather and enjoying my soup while I can.

This version of sweet potato soup is by far my favorite. It's rich, creamy and so filling, you don't need anything else with it for lunch or maybe just a small side salad for dinner. It's quick and simple and actually buying the ingredients will take more effort than making this soup. And you get so much out of it: it's high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. The cashews add protein and healthy fats. Soaking them beforehand helps with digestion and allows you to absorb more of the nutrients, but it's not a requirement. So much for so little? You can't beat that!

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup 
(this serves 2, so be sure to adjust your ingredients as necessary)

1 medium sweet potato, peel on
1 medium carrot, washed, top and tip removed but skin not peeled
1 cup raw cashews (soaked in water for 30 minutes if you have the time)
2 cups low-sodium broth of your choice (I just used water since I didn't have broth)
1 tsp ground chipotle, divided

Fill the bottom of a sauce pot with 2 inches of water. While waiting for the water to come to a rapid boil, slice potatoes into 1/2-inch slices or cubes. Place the potatoes in a steamer basket on top of the sauce pot. Steam until the potatoes are tender, about 5-7 minutes. While the potatoes are steaming, wash your carrot, removing the top and tip. Cut into chunks. Using a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix, add your broth (or water), sweet potato, carrot and cashews. Turn the blender on and quickly increase the speed to highest setting. Blend until everything is combined and smooth, about 1 minute. Place the soup into bowls and top with chipotle. Yum!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure San Diego is November 2!

Today we have the pleasure of hosting a guest blogger: Jaclyn Acree, media contact for the Susan G. Komen San Diego Race for the Cure. Read below for her release on the upcoming Race for the Cure here in San Diego on November 2nd!

There are more 5K events than can be counted, but none have the same community impact on breast cancer as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. And the San Diego race is set for Sunday, November 2 in Balboa Park. With $1 million invested this year alone, Komen San Diego continues to be the County’s largest provider of free breast cancer treatments, services and support.

“The Race is our largest fundraiser that provides critical funding for women who are in need of life-saving services that they may not otherwise be able to afford,” said Laura Farmer Sherman, executive director of Susan G. Komen San Diego. “We provide free mammograms, education, financial assistance for living expenses, food assistance, transportation and more – all thanks to those fundraising and participating in the Race.”

The Race for the Cure raises significant funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer, celebrates survivors and honors those who have lost their battle with this heartbreaking and increasingly occurring disease. When San Diegans participate, their donations go directly to help breast cancer patients in San Diego, as well as toward research grants internationally.

New this year, San Diego Chargers players, place kicker Nick Novak and safety Jahleel Addae, will serve as the Honorary Chairs. Novak and Addae both have someone close to them who has been affected by breast cancer. They will be the Chargers’ spokespeople for the Race and encourage fans to join Team Chargers.

Participating in the Race helps Komen provide free services for every step of the breast cancer journey:
  • Diagnostic mammograms, biopsies, MRI’s, ultrasounds and more for qualified women who have nowhere to turn when breast cancer strikes
  • Temporary financial aid – including rent, mortgage, prescription drug payments and more 
  • Meal delivery for a woman and her entire family 
  • Intensive patient navigation – complete with emotional support for all
  • The world’s largest investment of breast cancer research – next to the U.S. government. Right now, $42 million is at work to find the cures!
  • Wherever there’s a gap – Komen fills it

This year’s honorary survivor, Lorraine Hutchinson, will join forces to stand up against breast cancer along with more than 15,000 San Diegans. Hutchinson, the first African American woman Deputy Chief in the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, was diagnosed with Stage IB breast cancer four months after being diagnosed with diabetes and struggling to lose 35 pounds. After having an initial mammogram she was asked to come back for a follow up. Hutchinson took her time going back in because she was not too concerned as she did not have a family history of cancer. Six weeks after diagnosis, she underwent a mastectomy of her left breast followed by four treatments of chemotherapy. Hutchinson no longer has breast cancer or diabetes.

“I did not have a family history of breast cancer so I didn’t believe that I was at risk. I hope my role as the Honorary Survivor will help educate San Diegans, especially in the African American community, that early detection and education is imperative,” said Hutchinson. “I want people to think about how I fought it, how I won, and how I came out even better on the other end.”

The Local Presenting Sponsors are Jerome’s Furniture Store, Ralphs and Food for Less. The Local Presenting Media Sponsors are CBS 8, JACK FM and 760 AM. Platinum sponsors include Chevron, Anderson Plumbing, Heating and Air and Reputation Impression.

For additional information about the San Diego Race for the Cure, forming a team, fundraising, recruiting team members or to register click here.

About the Race for the Cure
The Komen Race for the Cure is a unique event, designed and implemented to promote positive awareness, education and early detection of breast cancer. It has proved to be an enormously effective way to reach many women and men with the message that breast cancer doesn’t have to be fatal if regular mammograms and breast self-exams become routine. As well as being a road race for runners, the Komen Race for the Cure is an emotionally charged event that attracts many first timers and recreational runners. It is an opportunity for thousands of women, men and their families, running or walking, to share a message of hope and inspiration with their communities.

About Susan G. Komen San Diego
Since its inception in 1995, Komen San Diego has raised more than $12.5 million to fund local non-profits who provide everything from free diagnostic mammograms and surgeries to meal delivery, child care and temporary financial aid. Seventy-five percent of every dollar raised stays right here in San Diego County to fund free diagnostic mammograms, treatment and services for qualified women and their families. The remaining 25 percent funds international breast cancer research. In fact, next to the U.S. government, Susan G. Komen is the largest funder of breast cancer research in the world. For more information, please visit www.komensandiego.org.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Powered by Chia

By now, you all know I love me some chia seeds. They are just tiny seeds of goodness. High in fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and more, they truly define the saying, "good things come in small packages." You can add them to smoothies, salads, pasta dishes, yogurt, cereal, etc. There is just so much you can do with these little beauties to spruce up your diet, as well as your health.

As I've mentioned before, chia seeds have been around for centuries and grow primarily in Central and South America. They became popular in the running community through the book Born to Run as the chia seed was described as the dietary staple of the members of the Tarahumara Indian tribe, providing long-lasting nutrition and the source of the tribe's everlasting stamina.

But you don't have to be a superhuman Tarahumara Indian to get the benefits of these little beauties. They can help with weight loss, regulation of blood sugar levels, gastrointestinal issues, as well as aid in hydration and nutrition for endurance athletes. Chia seeds are loaded with heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and so much more. They are easier to digest than flax seeds, so you can eat them whole. When added to water, they absorb the liquid to create a gel. When eaten, this gel helps control body fluid levels, helping to prevent dehydration. It also helps slow the metabolism of carbohydrates, which means the carbs you eat will fuel you longer. This also helps stabilize blood sugar levels, preventing that horrendous sugar crash. 

Now, if you're like me, eating while on the go has become a mainstay in your lifestyle. While it's not ideal, with our busy schedules, it's become a way of life to grab a snack like a portable energy bar. But most bars on the market are high in processed ingredients, fillers, preservatives and other yucky stuff that just aren't good for you and certainly not worth the cost. That is, unless it's a bar from Health Warrior. Health Warrior has an awesome array of healthy chia seed bars that can fuel you when you need it. At 100 calories a bar, you're getting all the benefits of chia seeds in a small, portable package. The bars are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, 100% vegan and 100% delicious. With flavors such as apple cinnamon, acai berry, mango, chocolate peanut butter and dark chocolate berry, there's a yummy flavor to suit anyone's palate. Grab one of these bars as part of your breakfast, a good post-run snack or for just a quick bite to eat while on the go.

Now you can enjoy Health Warrior goodness for free! We're giving away an awesome prize pack of one full box of Health Warrior chia bars (flavor variety of your choice) and a 16oz bag of chia seeds to add to your smoothies, yogurts, salads, etc. And stay tuned for future giveaways of the boxes left over ;)

All you have to do is leave a comment here, on our Facebook post, reply to us on Twitter or like/comment on Instagram @SoleHealth.

We'll take comments/likes/responses through Sunday 10/19 and announce the winner Monday 10/20.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Get back to you!

If your summer was anything like ours, there wasn't much me-time. Working around the kids' summer schedules left little time to schedule anything else, let alone a consistent workout routine. Well, the kids are back in school and it's time to get back to you. And we're here to help.

Join one of our Fall 5K Programs and we'll help you go from 0 to 5K in 8 weeks. Whether your running took a backseat to summer fun, you're coming back from an injury or you've never run before, these programs are designed to help you get to the starting line of a 5K race in a fun, supportive way, all while minimizing risk of getting hurt. 

Our program participants will receive:
  • a detailed 8-week training plan 
  • weekly coached runs
  • information seminars (including info on running form, nutrition, injury prevention and more)
  • weekly email newsletters with tons of info to keep you running strong in between weekly meetings
  • discounts on running gear from the Running Center in Carlsbad
  • product samples and other goodies
  • technical t-shirt 
  • SO much more! 
Already a seasoned runner? Forward this info to anyone you think would be interested in starting a running program. It's hard to get started alone. With us, you don't have to. 

Happy running!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mamma Chia Giveaway!


Once only known for creating a beautiful Chia Pet, now the world knows the chia seed as a healthy superfood. If you haven't heard of chia seeds, or you haven't tried them yet, today is your lucky day. Not only will you learn all about these little powerhouses, but you'll have a chance to win a prize pack from awesome local company, Mamma Chia.

Chia seeds have been around for centuries and grow primarily in Central and South America. They became popular in the running community through the book Born to Run as the chia seed was described as the dietary staple of the members of the Tarahumara Indian tribe, providing long-lasting nutrition and the source of the tribe's everlasting stamina.

These tiny seeds pack the healthiest bang for your buck. They are known to help with weight loss, regulation of blood sugar levels, gastrointestinal issues, as well as aid in hydration and nutrition for endurance athletes. Chia seeds are loaded with heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and so much more. They are easier to digest than flax seeds, so you can eat them whole. When added to water, they absorb the liquid to create a gel. When eaten, this gel helps control body fluid levels, helping to prevent dehydration. It also helps slow the metabolism of carbohydrates, which means the carbs you eat will fuel you longer. This also helps stabilize blood sugar levels, preventing that horrendous sugar crash. Really, there's not much this little seed can't help you with (health-wise, anyway). You can eat them in a variety of ways, from sprinkling them into your yogurt, cereal or salad to adding them to your main dinner meal and your desserts! For those of us who can't do dairy, the way chia seeds absorb liquids helps them to make puddings and yogurts that rival their dairy counterparts. Check out our simple recipe for a chia seed pudding (it's the second recipe listed). 

One company has literally bottled the magic of the chia seed. Carlsbad-based Mamma Chia has created a line of chia drinks and on-the-go squeeze packs, allowing you to refuel and hydrate while either running your errands or running your long run. Combined with organic fruits and vegetables, their drinks and squeezes provide all the health benefits of the chia seed in a healthy, portable way. This means you can still have healthy snacks and drinks while on the go. 

Now you can enjoy Mamma Chia goodness for free! We're giving away an awesome prize pack containing all of their chia squeeze flavors, some creamy dreamy lip balm and four coupons to try their chia drink for free. All you have to do is leave a comment here, on our Facebook post, reply to us on Twitter or like/comment on Instagram @SoleHealth.

We'll take comments/likes/responses through 8/19 and announce the winner 8/20. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Start your day the Quinoa way!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet millions of people skip it. While I sort of understand why some skip it, you really shouldn't. Breakfast helps "wake up" your metabolism after fasting all night. It helps prevent you from overeating later in the day. It also gives your body the fuel it needs to function; without it, your body uses its own muscle for fuel and you don't want that. Whatever your reason for skipping is, this quinoa breakfast cereal is sure to change that. It's packed with protein, fiber, tons of vitamins and minerals and will keep you feeling full for hours. What's more is that it's a great recovery meal after a long run. Timing of your recovery meals is important if you want to make sure your body is recovering as best as possible after a long, hard workout. Right after your run, you need to focus more on simple, easily digestible carbs and a small amount of protein to promote replenishment of your energy stores and begin to rebuild muscle. But an hour to 2 hours after your long workout, you need more complex carbohydrates and protein to continue the process. Quinoa is a whole grain, making it a great complex carbohydrate. What is even better about quinoa is its protein content. One cup of cooked quinoa has 8g of protein! Coupled with the dried fruit and nuts, you are getting all the macronutrients (carbs, protein and fat) and microminerals/micronutrients (potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, calcium, iron, etc....the list is endless) you need to rebuild and get stronger. Because of the complex carbs and protein, I don't recommend this for a pre-workout meal, as it can cause some stomach distress during your workout.

This recipe makes a huge batch of quinoa that you can store in the fridge for the week, making grabbing breakfast each morning quick and easy. Just top with your favorite dried fruits and nuts and you're good to go. And this meal is gluten-free and vegan!

Quinoa Breakfast/Recovery Cereal

2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 cup dried quinoa
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp 100% pure maple syrup

This will make about 4 cups cooked quinoa. For your meal serving size, aim for about 1/2-1 cup quinoa, plus toppings.


1/8 cup dried fruit (I use dried raisins, cranberries, blueberries and cherries)
1/8 cup raw walnuts

Because you can store the remaining quinoa in the fridge, I recommend adding your toppings as needed. This way you can change things up, making yourself a different meal each time. This is an example of the amounts of toppings per serving. You can also top with chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, fresh berries, bananas and more. Really, the choices are endless!

Place the milk and quinoa into a medium pot. Stir the quinoa into the milk. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat. You need to watch as the milk can boil over if you don't turn down the heat quickly after it comes to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to low and cover. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add cinnamon and syrup. The syrup is just for a little sweetness, so it's completely optional. Remove the cover and continue simmering for an additional 5 minutes, until all the milk is absorbed. You may want to stir frequently so the quinoa doesn't burn and/or stick to your pot. After the liquid is absorbed, you're done. Place your quinoa serving (1/2 cup - 1 cup) and your desired toppings in a bowl and enjoy!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Best running moment...

Yesterday I had one of the best running experiences in my entire running career: I ran a 5K with my 8-year old for the first time. This was such a great experience, I just had to write about it :) 

We did the Bolt to the Q 5K, which is part of the NFL 5K series. Several NFL teams participate and host 5K races at their stadium. This is the San Diego Chargers event, held at Qualcomm Stadium. We started in the parking lot, ran an out and back route, though instead of finishing where we started, we got to run through the tunnel the Chargers run through when entering the stadium. From the tunnel, we then run right onto the field and finish at the 50 yard line. It was an amazing experience I won’t ever forget. 

This past Memorial Day weekend, we ran the Vista Strawberry Festival’s fun run as a family. My son has run several kids races but this was our twin girls’ first race. It was a great time for all of us. At the time, my son asked if he could do the 5K next year. Of course I said yes, but why wait until next year? A friend of mine told me about the Bolt to the Q and how she and her son do it together. After hearing about the details, I thought it would be a great first 5K for Keller. And if I’m being honest, I figured if he had a great first 5K the chances would be high for him to want to do others. And maybe even join the local kids running club. But that’s another story altogether. 

We had an early wake-up call before the race as we still needed to get our race numbers. Thankfully they allow you to pick them up race morning. My friend and her son picked us up at 5:45 am and off we went to the race. When we got there, we got our race stuff and promptly put on our race shirts. I don’t typically wear a race shirt until I’ve finished the race for superstitious reasons, but Keller wanted to wear his and so we did. 

After donning our race shirts and using the restroom, it was time to line up. Supposedly, there were over 4000 that did this race, so you can imagine the crowd at the start line. After a great rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, we were off. My friend and I decided to let our boys kind of go off on their own since they would probably be running faster than us. We were able to see them ahead of us for most of the race. The course itself is pretty easy and really is a great course for a first time 5K. It’s truly out and back with just a couple of bump ups here and there. At some point before the half-way point, I was getting nervous about Keller running on his own. If he needed to stop and walk, I was worried he would get overwhelmed by all the people. I had to run to catch up to the boys and with a mile to go, I caught them. I was so happy to have that last mile with them. Seeing them deal with the mental aspect of running was kind of amazing. My friend’s son is older and has done this race before. So he was kind of coaching Keller in how to run that last mile, telling him to keep his pace under control, etc. I see a future running coach in him :) 

Finally, after a small hill, we returned to the stadium parking lot. We could see the straight-away to the players’ tunnel and the field. Keller took off. Sean and I both looked at each other in amazement. Sean even asked me where Keller got his energy. This coming from a 12-year old! As we approached the tunnel, Keller stopped. I think he thought that was the finish line (there was a Mile 3 sign there). I took his hand and we entered the tunnel. We held hands the whole way to the finish line and it was absolutely one of the sweetest race finishes I’ve ever had. I could tell Keller was so proud of himself for running the whole thing and finishing strong. He was super tired and said he wasn't sure if he could do a longer race. Of course I told him he could if we trained for it. It was kind of exciting to think that he's thinking about future races already. By the way, Sean came out of no where with a finishing kick that was pretty strong and blew by us both. The stinker. 

Proud mom moment: Keller finished 14th among the 1-12 age group (out of 118). His time was 26:29 and he ran the entire way (except for that stop at mile 3). He’s definitely feeling a bit sore and tired today, but he earned it :)

What is even more exciting is that we’re in the footage of the race from two different news programs! You have to watch the entire videos in order to see us but we’re there! In the one from NBC San Diego, towards the end of the video, you will see Keller’s little head zoom by the camera, then me and my friends behind him. We actually saw this on the news this morning. I quickly tried to find the video online but couldn't. I emailed NBC through Facebook as well as tweeted one of the morning news anchors Marianne Kushi (yes, I am a dork). Marianne quickly got back to me and sent me the link. And shortly after that, the NBC Facebook person also sent me the link (thanks so much Marianne and NBC. We love you guys and watch every morning!). Gotta love social media. Anyway, in the one from ABC 10 News, towards the end of the video, you will see Keller and me crossing the finish line together! My most favorite memory is now on film for all of eternity! Can’t beat that! 

I have to say that, regardless of whether or not Keller becomes a life-long runner and we have 1,000s of race finishes together, this will be one of my top favorite mom-son moments. There’s never another first race :)

Not to be outdone, our girls participated in the kids fun run. This race was 1/2 mile, which was their longest race to date! Brenna was fine throughout the race and she and my husband alternated running and walking for the 1/2 mile. Ellen had a little trouble. I think she was overwhelmed by all the fanfare and people. We walked most of the way and at some point, she wanted to be carried. The kids run got to go through the players' tunnel and finish on the 50 yard line as well. Since Ellen and I were some of the last kids to cross the finish line, we got lots of cheers and some high-fives from Charger Ryan Mathews, whose charity serves as race beneficiary. And yes, she did wear a feather boa to the race. Sometimes you just need to wear a boa. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


We belong to an awesome CSA here in San Marcos. The farm is Be Wise Ranch, Inc and they're based in Escondido. I love belonging to a CSA because we get a butt-load of wonderfully organic fruits and veggies every week for less than what we'd pay in the grocery store (butt-load is a farming term, by the way). Sure, I could go to the store and pick out my own veggies but this is much more convenient for me. And it forces us to eat stuff we wouldn't normally eat, as well as try things we wouldn't usually try. It's been wonderful and I feel good knowing I'm supporting a local business and my local environment. And I get HUGE bundles of basil! Have you ever seen a bunch of basil so enormous? It's been heavenly because I'm forced to put basil on everything because I don't want it to go bad. And I really love basil.

Aside from the obviously lovely taste basil adds, it actually has quite a number of important health benefits. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help protect you (and your immune system) from pesky bacterial infections. Basil also boosts cardiovascular health because it's high in the anti-oxidant beta-carotene, as well as magnesium, vitamin K, manganese, omega-3 fatty acids and more. It definitely provides a lot of bang for your buck. Did I mention how much I love basil? Really, what's not to love?

Here are a few basil recipes to get your love affair with basil started off!

Basil Pesto (vegan)

2 cups tightly packed fresh basil
1/2 cup pine nuts
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1tbs lemon juice
2-3 tbs nutritional yeast

Place everything in a food processor or high speed blender. Typically it's easier to blend in a blender when all the liquids are placed in the blender first, then the other ingredients. When I made my most recent batch, I actually just threw everything in a high cup and used my immersion blender. Whatever works best for you. Blend until everything is combined and the consistency is to your liking. Some like a course, chunky pesto (this is most preferred) but others like it a little smoother. Experiment to find what you like the best.

Basil Hummus

2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (about 1 15-oz can)
1 cup water reserved from cooking beans (see below)
1-2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs olive oil

If you've cooked your beans, reserve about a cup of the cooking liquid. If you're using canned, drain the beans and rinse them and use 1 cup of water with the recipe. Place everything in a food processor or high-speed blender. If you're using a blender, add the water first, then all the other ingredients. Mix until everything is combined and smooth. Add more water tablespoon by tablespoon until you get the consistency you like. This is to avoid too much oil, as most store-bought hummus have too much. Serve with whatever you'd like to dip!

Basil Tea

1 cup water
3 tbs fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tsp lemon juice (or more, per your taste)

Chop the basil leaves finely. To brew the tea, you'll want an infuser basket or other tea cup that allows you to brew loose-leaf tea. I have a ton of different cups/basket/mesh thingys that I use to brew loose-leaf tea, but the one pictured here is from Uncommon Goods and does a good job. And since your tea is still in the infuser section, you get to smell its yummy aroma as you sip your tea :) Once you've chopped the basil, add it to your infuser. Poor your boiling water over the leaves and let it steep for about 5-10 minutes. Add your lemon juice and enjoy!

By the way, I can't chop my basil without my beautiful mezzaluna. I highly recommend getting one for all of your herb chopping needs. It's easy on the hands and on the eyes :)