Sunday, December 27, 2015

My races of 2015!

Last week I posted a look back on the year with my running groups and private clients. 2015 was a great year for me as coach, nutritionist and personal trainer. All of my clients met their goals, whether it was getting stronger, faster, eating better or just plain being more active. I thought I'd take a more detailed look at my own year too. It was the year I've run the most miles and really felt the strongest I've ever felt as a runner. I kind of don't like to post about this kind of stuff because I feel like I'm being too boastful. But I also want to let people know that it's ok to feel proud of yourself and confident about what you do. So, here is a look back on my races of 2015! I won't write about every single race in detail but some of them do require a word or two out of respect :)

Before I begin, I'm linking up with my friend Smitha at Running With SD Mom and Dani at Weight Off My Shoulders for their Running Year in Review link up. I'm also linking up with the Tuesdays on the Run blog linkup with My No-Guilt LifeMCM Mama Runs and Marcia's Healthy Slice. They're also talking about races of the year. Be sure to check them out when you're done here!


Carlsbad Marathon, January 18

This was my first time running the Carlsbad full marathon. The 2012 Carlsbad half marathon was my first California race after moving here. But this year a good friend of mine, Launa, chose the full as her first marathon and to help her feel more comfortable about it, I told her I'd run it with her. It was good training for my 50-miler later in the year. I was sick, so I didn't finish well but all-in-all it was a good race. Didn't love sections of the course, but that's how marathons go.


Mermaid Half Marathon, February 7

This was a last minute race for me. A bunch of us ran 7 before the race, then the race, for a total of 20 that day. Training is fun!

Phoenix Marathon, February 28

This was the first marathon for my friends Smitha, Jamye and Thia. We made a girls trip out of it and had a blast. The race itself was just ok but the time with friends was outstanding. I felt really honored to be a part of their first marathon experience.


San Diego Half Marathon, March 8

This was my 4th year running the SD Half Marathon. I've run it every year it's been in existence and hope to keep that streak up!

Griffith Park Trail Marathon, March 28

This was the second time I did this race. I love it so much! Hopefully I'll be there again in 2016. Still not sure.


Ragnar Relay SoCal, April 10-11

This was my first Ragnar Relay. I could talk about Ragnar all day long, but I'll spare you :) It was a great experience with friends and I'm looking forward to it again in 2016. If you have any team name suggestions, add them below! We're at a loss!

Rock n Roll Nashville Half Marathon, April 25

Ever since I moved to California, my dear friends from the DC area, Steve and Tish, and I try to meet for a race every year. This year we picked Nashville and I'm so glad we did. It was a new place for all three of us and it was a blast! The race was great and we just fell in love with the city. I'd totally love to go back!


PCT 50 Mile, May 9

This was the big kahuna for me this year: my first 50-mile race. Over the past couple of years, I developed a love of the San Diego trails and ultra running. I wanted to really challenge myself with something different. Something not many people can do. The first 4 months of 2015 all led to this one race and it was such a great day. I mean, I hated the last 10 miles, but overall it was a great day. I felt so proud of myself for not giving up. It takes a lot to run for 12 hours straight, up and down mountains. I feel like I can conquer anything now. And if I can't the first time, it won't deter me. I know I'll get it.

Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon, May 31

This was the goal race for my spring half marathon group. I wasn't planning on running it (I don't usually run the races so I can see all my participants finish) but because this race is so huge I wanted to be sure I saw everyone finish and the best way for me to do that was to run it with some of them and plant myself at the finish line to see everyone else. It worked out well :)

June, July, August

No races in June, July or August! Can you believe it??


Noble Canyon 50K, September 19

This was my second year running the Noble Canyon 50K. I did better than last year, so I was happy about that. But this is by far one of the more difficult races I've done. I said after this year I wouldn't do it again, but it's part of the San Diego Slam, so I'll have to do it again at some point. Sheesh.


No races in October either!


Revel Canyon City Marathon, November 7

This was my second time running Revel Canyon City, though last year I did the half. This year the full was better for my training, so that's what we did. It is a tough course with over 5000 feet elevation loss over the first 1/2 of the race then rolling hills for another 10 miles, then flat to the finish. It's a tough transition to make. But aside from that, it was a good race and we had a great time together!


Malibu Canyon 50K, December 12

This was my last race for the year and the last big run (over 25 miles) before the San Diego 50-miler in January. I was sick the week leading up to the race, so I really just wanted to finish with dignity. It's a looped course, meaning we ran a 16-mile loop twice. The first half of the loop goes 5000 feet up for 8 miles and the second part goes down. Then you do it again. Ugh. The first loop was not pleasant as I was snotting and snorting for most of it (thank you, Vanessa, for putting up with me) but the second loop was much better. And we got to run through the area where they filmed M*A*S*H.

And that's a wrap on 2015 races. Races alone tallied 293 miles! Which one was my favorite? Probably the PCT 50 because it meant so much to me. Which one was my least favorite? Probably Rock n Roll San Diego. I just don't love the course that much. It's expensive, crowded and logistically a pain to get to and get home from. But I love running it with friends. Any race is made better with friends.

What was your favorite race in 2015? Least favorite?

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A look back on 2015!

This week, I'm linking up with the Tuesdays on the Run blog link up and the week's topic is a look back on the year. It's given me a chance to stop for a moment and really reflect on what an awesome year it's been, both personally and professionally. Sorting through all the photos brings be back to the time with all my clients and friends and all the memories we have made together! It also reminds me of how far everyone has come during the year. I love it!

Before I begin to look back (ha!), the Tuesdays on the Run blog linkup is with My No-Guilt Life, MCM Mama Runs and Marcia's Healthy Slice. I'm also linking up with my friend Smitha at Running With SD Mom and Dani at Weight Off My Shoulders for their Running Year in Review link up. When you're done reading here, go check them out!

Before Finish Chelsea's Run 5K 2015
2015 has been a good year for Sole Health and Wellness and all of our Sole Mates! Our first program of the year was a beginning 5K program with the Running Center in Carlsbad. We trained for Finish Chelsea's Run 5K. 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! It was great to see the success and achievements of this special group. Finish Chelsea's Run is a race benefiting the Chelsea's Light Foundation in honor of Chelsea King. 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 our second year running the California 10/20 10-mile race. This program actually started in November of 2014, so their awesomeness spans between 2014 and 2015 ;) This was a great race and a great group of people. It's tough running through the holidays and they all stayed dedicated and on track! It was a beautiful morning for the race and the route through Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas was a real treat. Unfortunately for us, this was the last time they would be holding this race. The organizers announced on race morning that they would most likely not be returning in 2016. Such a bummer for our running community but I'm thankful we had the chance to run this race the two years it was here. Take a look at all our photos from the race.

Rock n Roll Rockstars!
In March, we started our program for the Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon. This was our first 
time doing a program for this race and it was a good one! In 2014, they changed the course for both the full and half marathon and the changes were good ones, making it an ideal target race for a training program. All of our runners did a fabulous job! 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. It definitely gives me something to look forward to when that Fall program begins! Take a look at all our photos from the Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon.

I have to include this photo from our RnR San Diego Half Marathon group. It was taken the first day of the program. At first glance, it looks like a normal picture but if you look closely at Cindy, the woman on the far left, she was standing perfectly in front of a palm tree and the effect is hilarious. We had quite a few laughs over this photo and even recreated it when we did Ragnar a month or so later (see below). Good times! 
I love this photo! 

Race day for our trail runners!
The Fall brought another first for me: my first trail running program. I absolutely love trail running and wanted to offer a training program for a race that would be a great introduction for first-time trail runners. So we set our sights on the Lake Hodges Trail 15K and 5K in October. Our 15K group began in August and over the course of our 10-weeks, we definitely had some highs and lows. 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. The 5K group was an evening program and that meant we did a lot of our trail running in the dark. Nighttime trail running is equally exhilarating and terrifying. But everyone took it in stride (heh heh). Race day was amazing with one of our 5K runners coming in as second overall female and one of our 15K runners coming in second in her age. All of our runners did so well on another hideously hot day.  Take a look at all the photos from the Lake Hodges 15K and 5K.

Strong women unite!
This Fall also marked my first group strength training program. I have wanted to do a group strength program for a while but never had an opportunity. But the lack of winter training program opened the door for a strength program. I was planning on hosting my program in a park in my neighborhood but was notified less than a week before our start date that I couldn't have it there (even though it's a free space with no permits required). So my good friend Chris with Perfect Balance Therapeutic Massage offered us the use of her studio. She was a life saver! So we did part of our workout indoors and part outdoors. We did a different workout each week that included games, partner work and much more! It was so much fun, I decided to offer another program in the New Year. So if you're local to San Diego, check out my next program starting January 10th. This time we're hitting the beach, working out at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. I can't wait for some surf, sun and strength! 

And let's not forget all of our wonderful private running, personal training and nutrition clients we've had the pleasure to work with throughout 2015. There were pounds lost, age groups won, new race distances conquered 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 2016. 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!

Cindy's palm tree hair! With a bird!
On a personal running note, 2015 was a good one for me too. I ran my first 50-mile race, the PCT 50, in May. This was an amazing experience. Not only was the race awesome and fulfilling, the months of training leading up to the race were also life-altering and fulfilling. I ran so many races as training runs, traveling with friends to do so and having such a blast along the way. One of the "races" I did was the Ragnar Relay SoCal, which was so fun. I ran a relay back in Maryland years ago called the American Odyssey, but I had never done a Ragnar before. These Ragnarians know how to put on a party, that's for sure. I have memories to last a lifetime, including the recreation of Cindy's palm tree hair from the picture above. I don't know why the palm tree hair makes me laugh so much, but it does. Since we had so much fun together, my team is back for more in 2016. And I plan more insane goals for myself with another 50-miler in January, another 50-miler in May and a 100K in the Fall! Sheesh! Stay tuned for those shenanigans!

As you look back on your year, focus on how far you've come! Don't dwell on goals you didn't reach or things you didn't do. Instead, focus on all you have done and accomplished, however big or small. Not every goal is huge and those smaller accomplishments along the way to larger ones count too. You have all made 2015 especially amazing for me and I am looking forward to working and running with you in 2016!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Let's go to the EXPO!

This week I'm linking up with the Tuesdays on the Run blog link up. The topic we're discussing is how we feel about race expos. To be perfectly honest, I have a love-hate relationship with them.

Before I continue, the Tuesdays on the Run blog link up is with My No-Guilt LifeMCM Mama Runs and Marcia's Healthy Slice. When you're done reading here, go check them out!

Now, back to race expos. When I first started running big races, the expo was the best thing ever. With so many new products to look at and try, foods to sample and really nice people to meet (even racing and running celebrities), sometimes the expo was better than the race itself. I loved expos! I even worked the Marine Corps Marathon expo a couple of times, which was a lot of fun. But then the races got bigger and the expos got insane. Honestly, it became too overwhelming for me to go to the expo and I would do my best to get in and out as fast as possible (that's the hate part of the love-hate relationship). One of my favorite things about running trail races and ultras is that there is no expo. You check in race morning, get your bib, shirt and any items from race sponsors and that's it. Much less anxiety for me.

I will say one thing - for some reason I enjoy the Rock n Roll expos. I usually do these races with friends so we go to the expo together, which is always fun. This past year, I met my dear friends Steve and Tish in Nashville to run the RnR Nashville Half Marathon. We had a blast at the expo, which wasn't too incredibly crowded, or too large. We stopped at many of the booths, participated in raffles and contests and just basically had a blast. In general, we really loved Nashville. From our experience with the race (good except it was hard to find each other at the end) to the great restaurants and shops, it's a great city. I would definitely go back to visit Nashville, even without a race!
Goofing off in Nashville with Steve and Tish.
Doesn't Steve look thrilled? :) 

I had a great experience with the Rock n Roll San Diego expo this year too. Whenever I've done this race, I go to the expo on the Friday. I always have my twins with me since they don't have preschool on Fridays. This year we went with two friends. We got there early enough that it wasn't crowded at all and there were very short lines in the most crowded places. We got in and out fairly quickly, which made it pretty enjoyable. While I haven't done every RnR race, I've done my fair share and I would say these expos are worth the time to walk through. My other favorite expos have been NYC Marathon, Chicago Marathon and Marine Corps. Even though they're big races with big expos, they have never been too overwhelming for me. It's the races that have big expos but in too-small a place that I don't care for. A couple of Washington, DC races have this problem (Army Ten Miler is one).

Cindy and Maria ready to Rock n Roll!

How do you feel about race expos? Take em or leave em? Or LOVE them? Do you have a favorite?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Happy Holidays?

Pic from
It's here! The Holiday Season! Are we excited yet? Each year it seems to get here a little earlier than the last year. You get through Halloween, you turn around, and there's Thanksgiving. And then the rest of the holiday season whizzes by you so fast, your head is spinning on New Year's. And that's before you open the champagne! I don't know about you but I'm already behind and feeling beat up. That's when I know I need to sit down and get a hold of myself and make a plan for getting through this next month. Here is what works for me:

Make an appointment. The first thing to do before the season gets away from you is to realize you just won't be able to get as many runs in, or run as long, as normal. Between the parties, the school plays, gift shopping and family gatherings, you just won't have the time. Before things get out of control, add an item to your to-do list: run. Even if it's just for 20 minutes, it's something. And there's nothing wrong with making a date with your running shoes. It's just as important as your grandma’s holiday gift exchange. I find just telling myself that I'll run for X amount of time instead of trying to get in my entire run takes the stress off and makes it seem more manageable.

Be flexible. While you need to make an appointment with your running shoes as often as you can, you have to be able to juggle things around a bit. Going for a run will just have to take a back seat to your child's holiday show. But that doesn't mean you should forgo running entirely. It means you should try to do it another time. Perhaps in the morning before work, on your lunch break, or once the kids are in bed. And if none of those options work, take 5-minute breaks throughout your day to do a few lunges here and a few squats there. And throw in some push-ups and crunches for good measure. You’ll get a full-body mini-workout that keeps your energy up for all those holiday obligations. I often break up my runs throughout the day. I also accept the fact that I may not get to shower in between runs. That's when I'm thankful for ShowerPill :)

Be creative. Need to run some errands? Do it! Run to the post office to mail your holiday cards. And who says you have to run to work out? Do some laps around the mall as you do your holiday shopping. Add some dance moves as you push the vacuum around the house. Do squats while folding the laundry. Sometimes I find myself doing laps around the kitchen island while cooking and baking those holiday meals. Every step counts!

Stay home. If trying to fit in a trip to the gym, the trail or the streets is too much, stay home and work out at home. You can find thousands of workouts to stream on Netflix, Amazon Prime, your cable company's On Demand system or go old school and borrow one from the library to have for the whole holiday season as back up. There's no need to buy new ones. Don't want to exercise to a canned workout? Do the push-ups and crunches mentioned earlier. Throw in some squats, jumping jacks, lunges, triceps dips and planks and you have a full-body workout. My FAVE TRX is still having some great Cyber Monday deals. Check them out and set up a TRX workout at home. I love mine!

Stay calm. Physical activity is a well-known stress reducer. Want to stay sane this holiday season? Stay active. Want to stay healthy? Get moving. Research has shown for decades that physical activity is not only a proven-stress reducer, but it can also aid in the prevention and treatment of chronic illness such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. Move it or lose it.

By paying attention to your schedule, planning ahead, and being prepared for the inevitable shuffling around of schedules, you can definitely stay on track this holiday season. It may not be exactly what you want to do, but it's something. Something is always better than nothing! You'll feel so much better knowing you're doing SOMETHING to stay on track. It helps me feel less guilty when I just accept that I can't get everything done. I am only human, you know ;)

What do you do to stay on track during the holidays?

This week I'm linking up with the Tuesdays on the Run blog link up. The Tuesdays on the Run blog link up is with My No-Guilt Life, MCM Mama Runs and Marcia's Healthy Slice. Now that you're done reading here, go check them out!

Monday, November 16, 2015

What's on your running playlist?

Do you run with music? I don't run with music every time I run but some runs just call for something distracting. Whether it's a boring route (the dreadmill), a tough run (hills!) or you just need an extra push, music can be really helpful. I've always been a lyrics person so if the song has great lyrics, in addition to a great sound, I'm on it. I can recall several runs where the song I was listening to really helped move me along. So this is a list of the top songs I really love to run with, as well as some other music sources and podcasts for when I'm bored with my usual playlist.

Before we get into what we're listening to, I just want to put it out there that running with headphones isn't the safest thing to do. Always be aware of your surroundings, keep your volume low, or only have one earphone in so you can "listen" with your other ear. If you are going to have headphones in while you run, make sure your running route has minimal traffic (pedestrians, cars, bikes, etc) and you can hear it if someone or something approaches you.

As I was getting this post together, I realized there are eleventy billion songs I love to listen to while I'm running. If I posted every single one, this post would be 15 pages long. At least. So here are the top 10 songs that are doing it for me right now, in no particular order.

Coldplay - Every Teardrop is a Waterfall
Man, this is a good song. You'd never know this was a sad song based on the music (the title kind of gives it away). For some reason though, I just love to run to it.

David Guetta/Sia - Titanium
I mean, really. This song was written for a runner. From the line, "I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose," to "You shoot me down but I won't fall. I am titanium," you just can't help but feel a little invincible when you run to this song.

Fall Out Boy - Uma Thurman
I first heard this song when I was training for my first 50-miler and it just kind of resonated with me, especially the line, "I can move mountains; I can work a miracle, work a miracle." Ok, maybe that's the only line that resonated with me but it's a catchy tune that's fun to run to :)

Guns N Roses - Welcome to the Jungle
While this one may not be the most motivational, it certainly makes me pick up the pace. And want to scream a little. In a good way, of course.

Journey - Don't Stop Believing
This one has sentimental value. One of my very first childhood crushes was a Journey fan and this band will always hold a special place in my heart. But as a runner, this one will always be on my playlist. We can never stop believing that we can do what we set out to do!

Muse - Uprising
This is another one that makes me want to run through the streets screaming my face off. Again, it's not the most inspirational song, but it can certainly motivate me to keep fighting through a tough run or race.

Queen - Another One Bites The Dust
This one kind of speaks for itself. I equate the "another one down, another one down, another one bites the dust" to miles, and another mile has bitten the dust. And while they're not part of this list's 10 songs, Queen's We are the Champions and We Will Rock You are honorable mentions.

Young The Giant - My Body
I really like running to this song a lot. "My body tells me no but I won't quit," pretty much sums up why it's a good running song. Granted, it's now in a ton of commercials and it's lost a little bit of its luster but I still enjoy it.

Ricky Martin - Allez! (from the 1998 World Cup)
Yes, I know. This is a crazy one. Don't judge me. I'm telling you, running to this song will make you feel like you can run forever. Just add it to your playlist and thank me later when you've had the best run of your life.

Eminem - Lose Yourself
This song has helped get me out of a bad run so many times. It helped me finish marathons. In fact, it's one of maybe 3 songs I'll play over and over again to get through an especially bad patch. It just reminds me that this could be my last opportunity to run and do I really want to go out like this? The answer is always no.

Some others I'm enjoying right now include The Walker from Fitz and the Tantrums, Wild Ones from Flo Rida and Uptown Funk from Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars.

In addition to my own personal playlist, I'll listen to iTunes Radio station a lot (I love the Mixtape station). I also do Pandora and Spotify, though not as much anymore. There's also Rock My Run which has pre-made mixes categorized by type of music, length of mix (which you can use based on how long you plan to run) and even beats per minute to match your running cadence.

Lastly, I've just recently started listening to podcasts while running. I do this when I'm running outside and want to listen to something but still stay aware of my surroundings as much as possible. I started with Serial, which described the real-life murder conviction of Adnan Syed back in 1999/2000. And it blew my mind. I then started Undisclosed, which gets into the nitty gritty of the case and where it stands today. When I want something a little lighter, I listen to The Lapse, which is also real-life stories but really, really interesting stories. They're not always light but always interesting. I recently started listening to Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me from NPR. I know, old people like that one. But it's so funny. I have actually had to stop during a run because I was laughing so hard and couldn't breathe. I'm sure I was a sight to see for the people driving by. Some weird laughing runner. Also from NPR is the Pop Culture Happy Hour which has some interesting discussions about what's going on in current movies, books, TV shows, etc.

What do you listen to while you run? Any songs that will always have a place on your playlist?

This week I'm linking up with the Tuesdays on the Run blog link up. The Tuesdays on the Run blog link up is with My No-Guilt LifeMCM Mama Runs and Marcia's Healthy Slice. Now that you're done reading here, go check them out!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Love your Lungs!

Pic from Heather Von St. James and
Did you know November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month? Well, I didn't until I was contacted by mesothelioma survivor Heather Von St. James (Twitter @HeatherVSJ) who is an advocate and blogger for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. She, along with us healthy lifestyle bloggers, are working to bring awareness to these preventable lung diseases throughout November and all year long.

Heather was a healthy, 36-year old brand-new mom when she started experiencing weird symptoms such as unexplained weight loss, loss of strength and trouble breathing. She was ultimately diagnosed with mesothelioma and given 15 months to live. Never a smoker, doctors attributed her cancer to exposure to asbestos as a child. Heather underwent an experimental surgery that removed her left lung. That experimental surgery and subsequent treatments gave her a life she never thought she would see. She just celebrated her 10th year as a cancer survivor and is dedicated to raising awareness of mesothelioma and other lung cancers (they're not just smokers' diseases anymore!) and helping others affected by these diseases.

According to the National Cancer Institute, lung cancers are the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Lung cancers have touched my life too. This month marks the 5th anniversary of the loss of my great mentor, running coach and friend, Mike Broderick, who died just weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010. And my mom's cousin is battling lung cancer as we speak. When they hear someone has lung cancer, people automatically assume the person was a smoker. But this isn't always the case. Thousands of people diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked but have been exposed to second- and third-hand smoke. Others have been exposed to pollutants such as radon and toxic materials such as asbestos (and exposure to asbestos can also be second-hand, as in Heather's case).

In addition to never smoking or quitting ASAP, there are ways you can prevent these lung diseases by loving your lungs and keeping them healthy. In case you can't read the graphic below, they include:

  • Practicing deep breathing exercises
  • Staying properly hydrated
  • Exercising regularly
  • Limiting your exposure to pollutants such as radon gas and asbestos
  • Monitoring your family's history and any symptoms of lung cancer, asthma, COPD and other lung diseases. 

Pic from Heather Von St. James and
Take care of those lungs, people! Go for a walk, go for a run. Make sure you limit your exposure to known pollutants whenever possible. Do the best you can to live a long, healthy life!

You can read more about Heather, lung cancer and mesothelioma on the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance website.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Week Wrap Up!

I wish I could call this post "Totally Bragging Post" because that's what it is. No, I'm not bragging about me, I'm bragging about my friends and clients that had AMAZING weeks. Seriously, I can't stop smiling at how well everyone did over the past 8 days. Here are the major highlights:

The week started with the first session of my strength training program. This has been something I've been looking to do ever since I became a personal trainer but just haven't been able to do it, scheduling-wise. But now the timing worked out to offer a 6-week program. I was notified about 6 days before the start of the program that my location couldn't be used, so I had to scramble to find another location. Thankfully, my good friend Chris, owner at Perfect Balance Therapeutic Massage, offered her space for our use. And it worked out so well! I capped the program at 10 and all the women kicked some major booty! It's a great group and I'm looking forward to working with everyone!

This day was also RACE DAY for private client Isabel. She has been working so hard since January. What started out as a way to get into shape and compliment her favorite sport beach volleyball has become something she really enjoys. Isabel worked towards a 5K and completed the Finish Chelsea's Run 5K in March. She loved it so much she then trained up for the Girls on the Go 10K in May. Then she was bitten by the running bug and decided to do the Celebration Half Marathon on Nov. 1. She did so well and I am so proud of her!! And now she's doing the Resolution Run 15K and Carlsbad Half Marathon, both in January. It's been truly wonderful to see her grow as a runner.

Look at the smile!
Friday I hit the road with my girls Smitha and Vanessa. We were heading for Azusa, just outside of Pasadena, for the Revel Canyon City Marathon. Smitha and I did the half marathon last year and fell in love with it! It starts in the San Gabriel mountains and heads downhill into Azusa. The marathon starts 13 miles higher up in the mountains. It's a 5400+ foot elevation loss over the first half of the marathon and then the next 10 miles have about 1000 ft elevation loss over rolling hills. Then the final 3 are flat. It's a beautiful course and we were up for the challenge.

Hitting the road with these beauties! 
We were part of a larger group, Southern California Moms Run This Town (MRTT). I actually met Smitha through our local San Diego MRTT so it has a special place in my heart. There are so many wonderful women in this group, I just can't take it sometimes. The awesomeness is too much. If you're looking to meet up and run, walk, skip or just hang out with like-minded women, check out your local group. Anyway, women from the San Diego area, Temecula, Riverside, Orange County, LA and all over SoCal were part of the team and were just under 200 people strong. The largest team that did the race. We had a team shirt and most of us opted to wear the beautiful For the Birds print from Spandits. It was great to see the camaraderie along the course.

Saturday morning was an early one. We needed to get on a bus before 5:00am for the hour-long ride to the marathon start. I won't lie, it was a bit scary for me, being on a creaky school bus as we ride up, up, up a windy mountain road. I was glad when that was over. When we got to the start, we had an hour to spare so we parked ourselves in line for the port-o-potties and tried to keep warm. It was so cold!! Vanessa, private client Leslie and I happened to get our throw-way jackets from the sale rack at Target and we all looked like the Unibomber!! We had to take a pic to showcase how menacing we could be as Unibombers (with flowery pants and skirts, of course).

We are the Three Menacing Unibombers
After many more pics, more trips to the port-o-potties and lots of laughs to pass the time, it was go time. We lined up and off we went. As we expected, the course just went down, down, down. But it wasn't really bothersome until we got to about halfway (more on that later). The scenery was just breathtaking. I'm so glad the sun was up for us to see just how gorgeous this area really is. We passed a couple of campgrounds and I'd love to go back up there with the family to explore the area a little more. And drive up and down the mountain instead of run :)

I am one lucky girl to be able to run in such beautiful places!

Smitha and I were Twinsies!

Vanessa and me somewhere along the course

When we hit the halfway point of the race, it was like a second race began. The next 10 miles were rolling hills. I ran this course last year and it felt like a completely different course after running down 5400+ feet over 13 miles. Every hill felt like a mountain and our legs were so confused. It was not pleasant to say the least. At about mile 23, we were heading into Azusa and the course completely flattened out. That was another tough transition. But we hunkered down and powered through that last 3 miles to the finish line. And what a sweet finish line it was. Vanessa and I ran the majority of the race together and after 26.4 (we thought 26.2 wasn't enough) miles of laughs, we finished strong. Then came Barbara who finished with a 6 minute PR (we were in the bathroom when she finished so we didn't see it...friend fail). Then came Smitha. Aside from being one of my dearest friends, Smitha is also a client and she ROCKED her race. She PR'd by about 10 minutes and felt great at the end of her race. Leslie also finished well, despite dealing with leg cramps. A finish on a tough course like this is an awesome accomplishment!  

The finishers!
After the race we headed to Congregation Ale House to celebrate. We ate like the queens we are and enjoyed a cold adult beverage. Smitha and I were a little nauseated from the run but ultimately able enjoy our meals, drinks and the time with our friends. We conquered the tough Revel Canyon City course and we have the sore quads to prove it!!

Burger and tater tots!

Beer + medal = happy!

Saturday was also a banner day for private client Cheryl with her 9th marathon finish at the OBX Marathon. While finishing her 9th marathon is certainly an amazing feat in and of itself, she followed it up with an 8K on Sunday. AND this was all part of her training as she gets ready to do the JFK 50 Mile run in a couple of weeks. This will be her 3rd JFK 50 and she is gearing up for her first 100 miler next year. I've been working with Cheryl since we lived in Maryland. I remember our first meeting when I was pregnant with my twins and she came over to my house because I was on bedrest and couldn't go meet her! She has always been a strong runner but she has become such a powerhouse rock star.

Sunday was another great session for my strength training program. These ladies are a lot of fun to work with and they're up for all of my torture exercises.

Sunday was also an amazing day for three of my private clients. Erika ran the Mission Inn 10K in Riverside. Not only did she crush her previous 10K PR by 3 minutes but she was the overall female winner!! This is a fantastic win for her as she does not love racing and has been working hard to get used to the process. I'd say she is getting the hang of it!

Last but certainly not least is private client Jennifer and her very first marathon finish at the Santa Clarita Marathon. Jennifer participated in one of my half marathon programs back in Maryland but moved to Northern California a few years ago. We connected again when she started to run about a year ago after dealing with some injuries. She has worked super hard all year and decided to take on the marathon. She was supposed to run the Santa Barbara Marathon, but when it was canceled less than a month before race day, it was time to scramble. She decided on Santa Clarita to get the most out of her hard work and training and not have to prolong things for a race further out. Even with knee trouble, she finished her race. That goes to show just how strong and tenacious she is! So proud of you, Jennifer!

And though I don't have any pics and haven't had a chance to talk with either of them, private client Alexis and running program alum Chris both had exciting weekends. Alexis completed her 6th Ragnar Relay of the year - Ragnar Las Vegas. She is awesome and all of this is leading up to her first trail marathon in January! Chris was set to do the Disneyworld Wine and Dine Half Marathon (this is the same awesome Chris that let us use her studio for the strength program). There was some crazy weather and they had to delay the start of the race and modify the race course. It wasn't quite the race she expected but still had a fabulous time. I've been working with Chris for about a year and a half and she is AMAZING. She had heart surgery almost 5 years ago and is now running half marathons and race challenges and reaching heights she never thought she could. She has come a long way!!

So it's been quite a week for me, professionally. I just feel so incredibly honored and fortunate to be able to work with such amazing women. I work with some amazing men too, but this week was all about girl power! These women are strong, inspiring and unstoppable!

Personally, it was an ok training week. I wasn't able to get all of my miles in around work, kids, etc., but I felt good during the race on Saturday. I still think it's pretty crazy that a marathon is a training run for me. I'm a bit sore from the crazy course and its roller coaster ride but other than that, I feel good. I am happy with how the week ended for me and this coming week is a light one, training-wise. Things start getting crazy with my oldest's school schedule as they have off for Veteran's Day this week, then next week they're off for parent-teacher conferences and then they are off the week of Thanksgiving. Should be interesting trying to get everything in!

How was your week? What was the best part?

I'm linking up with Holly at HoHo Runs and Tricia at MissSippiPiddlin for their weekly wrap up link up (say that 10 times fast). Leave me a comment about your week and then go check them out!