Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My 2016 In Races!

Last week, I had the pleasure of singing the praises of all my clients and their fantastic year. All of their hard work inspires me to keep going, to keep fighting the fight. I learn something from each and every client's experience. It just means the world to me to be a part of their goals and dreams. This week, I'm looking back at my own year. It was definitely a year of ups and downs, but one that I'll always think of fondly. I conquered a huge goal and finally took care of some lingering health issues, both of which will hopefully lead to bigger things in 2017. Without further ado, here's looking at the races of 2016:

The San Diego 50 Mile

I started the year off with a bang and ran the San Diego 50 Mile. This was my second 50-miler and the first for my partner in crime, Vanessa. It was a tough race, but it was a great way to start off 2016!

The Los Angeles Marathon

This was a dream race come true for me! I have always wanted to run the LA Marathon but since it's always around my twin girls' birthday, I figured I'd have to wait until they were a little older to either want to come with me or not care. But when the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials were set to run in LA, the marathon was moved to the same weekend: a month earlier on February 14th! That's all it took for me. Between the Trials, the marathon, seeing so many friends and time with my girl Smitha, and seeing Bob Harper on the course, it was a race weekend I'll never forget!

The San Diego Half Marathon

This is a race I've done every year of it's existence. In fact, it's the only race I've done every year and I'm hoping I can continue the streak for as many years as possible. This "legacy" status grants such perks as additional race shirts (years 2 and 3), a half-zip (year 4) and a jacket (this year for Year 5)! Can't wait to see what we get for running Year 6! 

Old West Trails 50K

This was my first year running this race. The Old West Trails 50K and 30K take place out in Borrego Springs Desert and it was quite hot and dry. It was a well-organized, fun race with a great post-race spread. It was also the first race I ran as an InkNBurn ambassador, so I was proud to represent my favorite gear. I'm so glad I had the chance to run it as they have since cancelled it. 

Ragnar SoCal

This was my second year participating in the Ragnar SoCal. Just 200-ish miles from Huntington Beach to San Diego. This year our team name was Hello...where's the finish line? and we had Adele shirts made. It was pretty cute. We were one member short in our van due to a last minute drop, so I ran the miles for my leg as well as the empty leg. I ran 31 miles over the course of the 24 hours. It was tiring but still so fun! Can't wait for next year! 

PCT 50 Miler

This was the second year running PCT 50 and it was so different from last year! It was quite a bit warmer and there wasn't snow on the ground this year! I also ran it with Vanessa, which was so fun! I did have some issues with dehydration and stuff towards the end of the race but overall, it was a good one. Looking forward to the three-peat in 2017!

The Strawberry Festival 5K

My family has participated in the Strawberry Festival over Memorial Day Weekend for the past 3 years. There is a 10K, a 5K, a kids' 1-mile and a kids' 1/4 mile. This year was super exciting because my son wanted to run the 5K with me. He has only done the kids 1-mile before and while this wasn't his first 5K, he hadn't run one in about 6 months. We had a blast and he did great! In fact, he then ran the kids' 1-mile with his friend. I'm so proud of the runner he's become!

Bulldog 50K

This was my first time running the Bulldog 50K in Malibu. We ran the Malibu Creek 50K last year, which has a similar course, but run in the opposite direction. I am not sure which one was more difficult! Bulldog had the heat to contend with, which wasn't as bad as it could have been, but wasn't fun either. All in all, it was a good training run and a fun time. 

Noble Canyon 50K

When I ran this race for the first time in 2014, I swore I'd never do it again. It is tough, hot and just brutal. But I ran it again in 2015 with my friend Jean because it's always fun to run with her. And then this year, it fit well with our training. Don't get me wrong, it's a well-organized, fun race with friends. But it's just brutal. Each year I've been able to shave some time off my time for this course, which is always a good thing. And when you run this race 5 times, you get a vest which I'm sure I'll try for some year. I'm so close now, I might as well go for it. Sheesh.

Cuyamaca 100K

This was the big one. The one I was gunning for all year. The Cuyamaca 100K. At this point, I was having some major health issues stemming from my pregnancy with the girls. Running was painful and I was scared I wouldn't get to the start line, let alone finish. But not only did I start, but I crossed that finish line and crossed this one off the list. Woo hoo!

And that's all for 2016. After Cuyamaca, I had surgery and I've taken the rest of the year really easily. I've gotten back into yoga, I've been cross training a lot more and have learned to love running again. I've slowly built my mileage back up and I'm looking forward to getting back into training. I have some big plans for 2017, so hopefully all that pain is behind me and it's full steam ahead. Stay tuned for some goal talk next week :) 

How did your 2016 shape up race-wise? What was your favorite memory? 

Now that you're done here, check out the Tuesday on the Run blog link up, hosted by Patty with My No-Guilt Life, Erika at MCM Mama Runs and Marcia at Marcia's Healthy Slice.

Also check out Susie from the Suzlyfe, Lora Marie from Crazy Running Girl, Debbie from Coach Debbie Runs and Rachel from Running on Happy, whom I'm linking up with for the Coaches' Corner blog link up.

I'm also linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday Link Up with Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Jen from Pretty Little Grub, Michelle at Fruition Fitness and Nicole at Fitful Focus. Check these badass women out!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A look back at 2016!

2016 is coming to a close...and what a year it's been. I love taking some time to reflect on the year, both personally and professionally. This was a great year for me professionally. I shifted a bit in the focus of my group programs and offered more strength training programs than running programs. As many of you know, I coach runners both privately and in a group setting and I am also a personal trainer for clients both privately and in a group setting. In addition, I also train and teach small groups at the Magdalena Ecke YMCA in Encinitas. I chose to work at the Y because I felt it would give me the opportunity to work with as many people from varying ages and abilities. I have literally worked with people of all ages and fitness levels, from the professional athlete through seniors needing to work on strength and balance. It's been extremely rewarding these past 2 years I've been there. And I am excited to be coaching the very first running program for the Y beginning in January. We're training for the Encinitas Half Marathon, which should be a great time!

The year began with a strength-training program held at Moonlight Beach. This was a 5-week session that kicked off the New Year! We focused on high-intensity interval training that really got our engines running. You might as well start the New Year with a bang, right? This program was then followed by another strength program, this time geared specifically for runners. We had a blast with running-specific strength work, muscle priming, hill work and much more. This was also held at the beach and it couldn't be more invigorating to workout with the ocean for a view. In both programs, it was so awesome to see people who initially thought they couldn't do a particular exercise and then knock it out of the park! That is what keeps me going every morning!

The last group program for the year was the second running of the Lake Hodges 15K Trail Running Program. I absolutely love this trail and race. Lake Hodges trails are excellent for starting a trail-running career. The race itself is just challenging enough for the experienced trail runner to be satisfied but not so challenging for those just trying trail running for the first time. Our program met for 10 weeks and the group was a good mix of experienced trail runners and those just starting out. It was hot and dusty most of the time but these folks pushed and pushed, never giving up and giving it their all. And as you can see, we definitely had fun together.

And let's not forget all of my wonderful private running, personal training and nutrition clients I've had the pleasure to work with throughout 2016. There were pounds lost, age groups won, new race distances conquered and a couple of Boston Qualifiers. It would be difficult for me to single out each and every one and all of the awesome goals they've achieved but know that they all hold a special place in my heart. Their goals are my goals and I am invested in everyone's hopes and dreams just as much as they are. From my dear running client who accomplished her first 100-mile race this year to my dear personal training client, who at 98-years old, is my most consistent and determined client and everyone in between. The time I have with my clients is special to me, whether it's in person, over the phone or through email. You all inspire and motivate me to do my best, both professionally and personally. I am grateful to each and every one of you! Here's to an amazing 2017!

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 2016 especially amazing for me and I am looking forward to working and running with you in 2017!

Stay tuned to my personal look-back on 2016 later this week! In the meantime, check out Susie from the Suzlyfe, Lora Marie from Crazy Running Girl, Debbie from Coach Debbie Runs and Rachel from Running on Happy, whom I'm linking up with for the Coaches' Corner blog link up.

I'm also linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday Link Up with Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Jen from Pretty Little Grub, Michelle at Fruition Fitness and Nicole at Fitful Focus. Check these badass women out!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Strength Every Runner Should Do: Exercises with a Twist

When talking about body movements, there are three main planes of motion in which our body moves: the frontal plane (where we move laterally, or side-to-side), the sagittal plane (where we move forward and back) and the transverse plane (where we are moving in a twisting motion). Running is a forward and back activity and exercising in only this plane of motion is one of the main causes of overuse injuries. Add in most strength moves like squats and forward and reverse lunges and you're adding insult to possible injury. Sometimes we runners will add in some lateral moves like side lunges, some drills like speed skaters and the like. We need to add in the third plane of motion (transverse, or rotational exercises) to really round out our routine and give our body the chance to move with full range of motion. We rotate all-day long in our everyday routine- turning to check for traffic or turning to hand something to the kids in the backseat, for example. It's important to strengthen the muscles involved with rotational motion at the shoulders, hips and throughout the spine. This helps not only prevent injury, but add variety to your workout routine.

My favorite rotational exercise is the low-to-high chop. You can use a weighted medicine ball, dumbbell, gallon of milk, or nothing at all. Master the initial movement and then add weight to progress. You’ll start standing with feet about hip width apart, maybe a little wider. You’re holding your weight (if using one) in your hands. Squat back (weight in your heels, knees behind toes), and twist left to hold the weight on the outside of your left leg. Exhale, and lift the weight diagonally across your body, ending twisted to the right with the weight above your head. Pivot on your left foot as needed. Really focus on the rotation initiating in your torso and don’t let your arms holding the weight dictate the move. This is all about rotating at the torso. Twist back to the starting position. This completes one rep. Do 12 reps on each side. So, you’ll do 12 reps starting with the weight down at your left side and then you’ll do 12 reps with the weight starting at your right side.

Alternating side planks is a great way to add rotation at the spine, hips and shoulders. Begin in a plank position with your feet in line with your hips, shoulders over elbows, elbows over hands. You can do this with straight arms or on your forearms. Forearm plank rotations is definitely more challenging. Twist to the left, reaching your left arm to the ceiling without letting your pelvis rise or lower. Aim to stack your shoulders on top of one another. Return to plank position, bringing your hand back to the floor. This completes one rep. Do 12 reps to start.

I also like to add rotation in general strength moves, such as a forward lunge with a twist. You can do forward lunges in place or do walking lunges. To begin, hold a medicine ball, or other weight if using one, in front of you with elbows bent about 90 degrees. You may want to begin this exercise with no weight and build up your strength over time. Step forward with your left foot into a lunge position. Be sure to keep your knee over your left foot and don't twist at the knee. Shoulders are broad, chest is open and core is engaged. From your torso, twist your upper body to the left (towards the front leg). Come back to starting position and lunge forward with the right leg and twist towards the right. This is one rep. Do 12 reps on each side to begin and progress either by adding weight or reps but not both at the same time.

Lastly, you can add some rotation into your dynamic warm-up routine by adding windmills. Stand with your feet winder than hip width apart. Depending on your hamstrings, you may want a slight bend at the knee. Bend forward at the hips while rotating toward the left. Your right arm will be straight down between your feet and your left arm will be up in the air. You're aiming to stack your shoulders. Return to starting position and then rotate towards the right. You can do this for about 30 seconds as part of your warm up before your workout.

Adding in some rotational moves will definitely add some variety and help you prevent injury. You'll become a stronger, more well-rounded runner for it! 

I'm linking up with Susie from the Suzlyfe, Lora Marie from Crazy Running Girl, Debbie from Coach Debbie Runs and Rachel from Running on Happy for the Coaches' Corner blog link up. Check these awesome ladies when you're done here!

I'm also linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday Link Up with Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Jen from Pretty Little Grub, Michelle at Fruition Fitness and Nicole at Fitful Focus. Check these badass women out!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Stay Safe with Knuckle Lights

This time of year is always tough for runners. With the shorter days, there's a pretty good chance you're either running in the dark in the morning or evening most days. I am always looking for ways to see and be seen, so when Knuckle Lights approached me to try out their new rechargeable lights, I jumped at the chance.

Typically, I wear a headlamp when running in the dark. I like headlamps, but if I'm being perfectly honest, I never feel like they light very far in front of me and I have to hold my head in a particular way in order for the light to shine in a way I can see! This is especially true when running the trails in the dark. So, I've never felt 100% in love with my headlamps and always felt there had to be a better way to do things. Enter Knuckle Lights. These light, easy to use lights may be changing the way I do things from now on! Here are my thoughts after using Knuckle Lights Rechargeable Lights for about a week's worth of early runs :)

1. They're super light. One of my gripes with headlamps are that they're heavy, especially when I'm wearing a hat (which I usually do). The idea of running without a headlamp is really attractive to me but I was afraid I would hate holding something in my hands for an entire run. During the San Diego 50, I held a flashlight for the last 6 miles and I hated it! That tiny flashlight felt like it was 1000 pounds by the end. Right out of the box, the Knuckle Lights were super light. I was wondering if the rechargeable battery would be heavy but not at all. And you barely notice them on your hands.

2. They charge quickly and hold charge a long time. Technically, when used on high power, they should last about 4 hours. I've used them on high for 3 runs ranging from 4-6 miles and haven't had to charge them yet. When used on low power, they should last about 8 hours. That will come in handy when I'm running my 100-miler next year. I'll probably get another pair to keep in my pack! In addition to the high and low settings, there is also a blinking setting. Battery should last about 14 hours in this mode. They are also magnetized, so when you take them off the charging station, they bind together. This helps prevent you from losing one :)

Magnets keep them together! 

3. You barely notice them on your hands. I was apprehensive about running with the lights on my hands based on my flashlight experience mentioned above. I thought I would hate them, they would bounce and be annoying. None of the above! When placed correctly on your knuckles, you don't even notice them. And when adjusted correctly, they won't move. I was concerned about making sure they would fit on my hands, but they fit perfectly! I wore them both with and without gloves and didn't have any issues with the lights bouncing or moving around.

4. They're all-weather proof. This was especially helpful as it actually rained on and off for 3 days here in San Diego and I got caught in some on one of my runs with the lights. Thankfully, I didn't have to worry about any damage from the moisture and rain.

5. You can see far. Light up whole street if you want to. In order to take the video below, I placed the camera far down at the end of my street, perhaps 0.05 mile away. As you can see, I'm not hard to miss. While my jacket had some reflective strips on it, I made sure not to wear my reflective vest I usually wear because I wanted to see how much the Knuckle Lights illuminate me, as well as the road around me. As you can see, I'm not hard to miss :)

I highly recommend picking up a pair of Knuckle Lights for you or the runner on your holiday gift list. They will appreciate how much you care about them! To help you out, here's a code to receive 10% off your order: YKAF5599. Stay safe out there with the easy-to-use and comfortable Knuckle Lights!

I'm linking up with the ALL-NEW Friday Five 2.0 link up, hosted by Rachel at Running on Happy and Lacey and Meranda from Fairytales and Fitness. When you're done here, be sure to check these ladies out!

*The Knuckle Lights were provided for me to try but all opinions, photos and experiences are my own.