Monday, April 24, 2017

Cycling For A Cause (& GIVEAWAY)

I was contacted by Pure Indoor Cycling of San Diego a couple weeks back. They said that they were having a charity event for Earth Day and wanted to see if I would be interested in attending. I am all about raising money for a good cause so told them to save me some cycling shoes (is that what they're called?) and sign me up!


Pure Indoor Cycling teamed up with Athleta to raise money for the San Diego Coastkeeper, an organization that is on a mission to protect and restore swimmable, fishable and drinkable water in San Diego County. If you know me, you hopefully know at least two things about me - 1. I love being active (so although a spin class is definitely outside of my comfort zone I am at least willing to give it the old college try) and 2. I love the environment (especially when I am able to help in a local and tangible way). So pairing the two not only is it awesome for exercisers and the environment, but it was sort of like a giant neon sign pointing to the event saying "YOU MUST GO! THIS WAS MADE FOR YOU!"

Apparently no one told the other riders that it was Earth Day and they should get decked out in their
"green" apparel ;) (Or maybe some one should have told me that I would have stuck out like a sore thumb
if I wasn't wearing more black and less rainbows ;))

The class was AWESOME! Like I mentioned, spinning is pretty far outside of my comfort zone (as in, I've only ever been to one class and it was one that a friend was teaching). It was a little strange that we were in the middle of the mall so everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE) seemed to walk by a little slower so they could gawk at the crazies sweating across from Annie's Pretzels, but once you forgot about the onlookers and focused on the task at hand it was great.

Some of my pre-class shots
Left: Sandwich board outside of Athleta / Middle: Bikes set up for class / Right: Garmin shot (the closest activity... even if we were outside)

Kelsey kicked our booties and left us a sweaty puddle (although she definitely gave everyone the option to take it as easy or difficult as you wanted). The class was 45 minutes long and although the temps were dropping because it was closer to sunset, the humidity or breeze didn't give us much of a break. She was kind enough to go over the basics before we started (like how to clip your shoes in and where your hands should be in different positions) so although I felt like a fish out of water I think played the part of cyclist spinner 'newbie-taking-a-spinning-class' decently ;)

Things going on in this shot: Me trying not to fall off my bike, spectators at the end of the row interested in what the heck we are doing,
everyone else looking like they've done this a million times before

Left: Me and Kelsey (the teacher of our class) / Right: Me and Maria (the owner of the studio)

Not only did we walk away with soggy, sweaty clothes and the good feeling of knowing we were helping San Diego County's environment at the same time, but Athleta and Pure Indoor Cycling teamed up for an awesome goodie bag. I wanted to rip into the KIND bar on the drive home but knew a "good blogger" would at least snap a picture first ;)

I love that Pure Indoor Cycling offers "Pay It Forward" rides (which is what the event I attended was a part of, but they have others on a regular basis as well). A portion of each Pay it Forward ride is given to local charities in the San Diego area. Not only do you get to focus on improving yourself, but also your community... it's a WIN WIN!


And want to know what else is a win-win?! The fact that since you've read this blog post you now have a chance to win TEN FREE CLASSES at Pure Indoor Cycling (a $200 value). Yup, the super sweet folks gave me ten free classes at their studio to give away to one of YOU! [Please note - their studio is located in San Diego {401 W A St #140, San Diego, CA 92101}, so if you are not local you might not want to enter this giveaway... unless you're willing to travel ;)]

Truth be told, if I lived closer I would have totally swiped these classes for myself and this post would have been more of a review than a giveaway, but since the studio is about 40 miles away (and over an hour drive with ZERO traffic... which never happens in SoCal, #AmIRight?!), I thought I would share the wealth and give you the opportunity to win!

Entering is easy, all you need to do it use the Rafflecopter widget below and put your name in to win. This giveaway will last one week with a single winner being selected, winning the ten pack of rides. Easy peasy, so hurry and enter NOW!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway runs through Sunday, April 30th at 11:59pm PST. The winner will be contacted via the email address associated with their Rafflecopter account and have 24 hours to claim their prize. All entries are verified, so be sure to complete them or a new, random winner will be selected (I don't want you missing out due to a technicality).

Good luck to everyone who enters and remember to enter early & often as some of the options are available daily!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Workout Recap - Week 16

Sunday, April 16th – 3 mile run with the hubby and a friend, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, April 17th – Strength Training (abs, back, legs and arms), 3.05 mile run (Goal HR ~140), Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, April 18th – 6.97 mile run {10 minute warm-up, 6 x 800 (@ 4:20 pace and 2:00 rest between), 2 x 400 (@ 2:10 pace and 1:00 rest between), 10 minute cool-down}, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, April 19th – 60 minutes on the stationary bike, 3.17 mile run with the hubby {30 minute run (Goal HR ~140)}, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, April 20th – 7.05 mile run {10 minute warm-up, 6 x 800 (@ 3:25 pace and 2:00 rest between), 2 x 400 (@ 1:40 pace and 1:00 rest between), 10 minute cool-down}, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, April 21st –  Rest Day

Saturday, April 22nd – 5 mile run (Goal was 9:45 pace... ended up running them a little faster than that...), 45 minute spin class, Stretched & Foam Rolled

This is my first week working with a coach (check out my post HERE to see what goals I have on the horizon). I had to swap some of my workouts around because of our last minute camping trip, but other than that I feel like I pretty much followed everything to the T. I need to get better at making my easy runs easy, but I'm happy with how this week went!

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Favorites

In case you don't follow me on social media (which reminds me... maybe you should take a couple seconds to do so ;)), you may not know that the hubby, pup and I are currently taking our new #AdventureMobile on its maiden voyage. We aren't venturing too far from home (just in case anything goes wrong), but we still wanted to give it a go. With that said, even though I'm not home doesn't mean you should miss out on things I am LOVING lately... So, without further ado...

Margarita Flight

I am not a big drinker... I don't like beer or wine, and honestly, I hate the idea of drinking my calories, but every once in a while you can find me with a drink or two. The hubby and I went out to dinner with some friends earlier in the week and on the menu there was a MARGARITA FLIGHT! Seeing as the hubby is a beer (specifically IPA) 'enjoyer', I am familiar with flights and how they work... but had never seen an option for margaritas - so SIGN ME UP! The margaritas were yummy, but it's the idea that I was really loving! Why not try each of the House, Cadillac, Chile N PiƱa, and Strawberry margaritas rather than having to pick just one?!


If you've been around these parts for a while you know that I've picked up a bit of reading {you can check out the books I read in JANUARY, FEBRUARY and MARCH in case you are interested}. So when a friend of mine saw this AWESOME project, she thought of me and now I have to share it with you (even though we are now at the tail end of it).


From April 17 – 23, the week leading up to UNESCO’s World Book Day, we have an opportunity to #ReadWell and to help young readers in local communities throughout North America. All we have to do is read. Browse and read the free, timed excerpts from the books and authors on this site – from Biography and Memoir, to Health and Wellness, and from Sci-fi & Fantasy, to Young Adult and the Classics – triggering book donations from Penguin Random House to Save the Children, up to 300,000 books. Some take as little as 5-10 minutes of your time!


Adding Workouts on Garmin Connect

Now that I am working with a coach (which you can read about HERE), I have some "non-standard" workouts on my training calendar (and by non-standard I mean more than just running said amount of miles). I love how easy it is to add different workouts on Garmin Connect and sync them to my device. Let's just say I am very non-tech savvy and I was able to figure it out, so it has to be super simple ;) The most recent workout I added had a 10 minute warm-up, 6 repeats of 800 meters with 2:00 of rest between, 2 repeats of 400 meters with 1:00 of rest between and then finally a 10 minute cool-down. Being able to have the workout in my watch helps to take the thinking out of running (as well as the counting, which can be tough after your fourth or fifth hard interval). You even have the option to put in different variables (such as a range of paces or a specific heart rate you want for said portions of the workout) - #MindBlown!

Hello Apparel's New Tees

The sweet folks over at Hello Apparel have noticed how much I love their gear (prior to them reaching out to me a couple weeks back I already had ten tees and two pairs of pants in my closet) so they kindly offered to send me a couple of their new items - uh.... HECK TO THE YES! And they just arrived yesterday! I am IN LOVE! The popsicle is PERFECT for summer and I can't wait to rock the "There's No Place Like Home" tee on Saturday for Earth Day!

What are you loving lately?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Working With A Coach

Although I still consider myself a fairly new runner (or at least a "late onset runner"), I have a decent number of races under my belt. (I guess I'm not that new to the running scene, but I swear 2012 was just yesterday, wasn't it?!) Thus far I've tackled 35 half marathons, 11 full marathons, 3 ultra relays and handfuls of shorter races during my running career.

For the majority of those races I've followed a standard training plan (normally an online one or one a friend has put together). Seeing as I'm not planning on winning races anytime soon (or EVER), that strategy has worked perfectly fine.

A few weeks back I started pondering the type of training plan I'd want to use for my next BQ attempt (for those of you unaware of what a "BQ attempt" means, I'm trying to run a marathon in a time fast enough to qualify me for the Boston Marathon... my age and gender dictates I need to run a 3:35 to qualify {although that does NOT guarantee you a spot, but we won't get into that now}). My thought was to make my next BQ attempt at the Chicago Marathon in October.


What else do you do when you have a question?! You go to the InterWebs - DUH! I polled runners, asking them what training plan(s) they've found to work best for them. As luck would have it, friends of mine who own a pacing company in Utah have been working with runners (both elites and amateurs) and offered to help with my training. HECK YES!

To start, I had to answer a fairly extensive questionnaire (including things like what your goals are and how you would assess your current fitness level to mile splits from recent runs and heart rate averages from races).

After that I had to do two "test runs". The first one required me to run a 10 minute warm up (with a goal heart rate at 140), followed by a 5K with a goal heart rate between 155 and 165, and capped off by a 10 minute cool down (with a goal heart rate at 140). The second one required me to run a 10 minute warm up (with a goal heart rate at 140), followed by a 5K with a goal heart rate over 185, and capped off by a 10 minute cool down (with a goal heart rate at 140). I did them last week; the first test on Tuesday and the second on Thursday.

With the data I was able to supply, they were able to create the first few weeks of my training plan. Now I know I mentioned my main goal was a BQ at Chicago in October, but I'm also shooting for a half marathon PR in June. I'll be completely honest and confess that I have done like ZERO speed work since before my St. George Marathon last October. With that said, there is a BIG chance my body will not be ready to push the pace as fast as I need to in Fontana in a few weeks, but we are at least going to put in the work to see if I can give it a go.
Obviously it's only been a couple days since working with the team, so I can't give a ton of feedback yet (although I plan to do so throughout the process, as well as after my goal races), but thus far I'm stoked. They not only have tailor a plan specifically for me, but there are also tests throughout the training to make sure I am moving towards my goals.

And in case you were wondering what a "standard" training week will look like - 

          Monday: Strength Training + Recovery Run (30 minute run with a goal HR ~140)
          Tuesday: Easy Run (4-6 miles @ 9:45/mile pace)
          Wednesday: AT Interval Work (6-8 x 800 @ 4:20 pace + 2-4 x 400 @ 2:10 pace)
          Thursday: Cross Training + Recovery Run (30 minute run with a goal HR ~140)
          Friday: Vo2 Max Interval Work (6-8 x 800 @ 3:25 pace + 2-4 x 400 @ 1:40 pace)
          Saturday: Rest Day
          Sunday: Long Run (8-12 miles with paces ranging from 8:30/mile to 7:15/mile)

We're hoping that a few weeks of these workouts will help me chase down a sub 1:38:38 half marathon, but only time will tell (we will be reassessing the goal once the race gets closer)! PS Like I said, this plan is specific to me, my goals and my current fitness level so please do not take this as running advice... I'm not a coach and don't even play one on TV (if you're interested in a personalized plan, let me know and I can get you in touch with the crew). 

Have you ever worked with a coach before?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Walt Wednesday

Some people do a "Wordless Wednesday" post, where they simply share a photo or image, but I thought I'd make a little series out of my Wednesdays. And since I love alliteration so much, why not go with Walt Wednesdays (obviously everyone can use a little break from the seriousness, scariness and sassiness of life - and what better way to help put a smile on your face than with a cute wiener dog picture, am I right?!)... So, without further ado...


When life gets overwhelming, how do you de-stress?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#Ragnar4Rett Recap: Part II

Yesterday we wrapped up the first three legs of my 2017 #Ragnar4Rett journey. If you missed that recap, check it out HERE so we're all on the same page. Don't worry, we'll wait for you... Done? Okay, good, now we can move along!

Let's pick up where I left off... My fourth run. This leg was slated to be flat-ish (the second half was uphill, but it was pretty gradual so it wasn't super noticeable). I knew this run would be slower than the rest up to this point, mostly because night legs can get difficult (it's dark, which makes it harder to see, and the energy is waining, because you have been running for a while already as well as you need to be respectful of the locals and keep the noise down while folks are sleeping). I was glad that it wasn't raining yet, since the weather man was predicting precipitation (but don't you worry your pretty little head, I was definitely prepared and had rain and even snow gear packed), but the temps still hadn't cooled too much. I was able to run these 4.51 miles in 36:34 (an average pace of 8:07) and with 19 road kills. By the end of the run I knew I was a passenger along the STRUGGLE BUS headed straight to the PAIN CAVE!

It looks hilly, but thankfully the difference wasn't huge

My "coldest" run of the race... Still pretty warm!

Stoked to run for these girls! They give me strength to push on!

These miles were for Samantha, Shravonie, Laura, Bailey and Teagan!

Now I briefly mentioned in yesterday's post that I think one of the hardest parts of a multi-leg relay race is the fueling and hydrating aspect. Sure, the running takes a toll (in my mind I feel it isn't the most difficult part though because it's expected), but I think the roughest thing for your body is the fact that you're running frequently and not really able to eat complete meals and don't really have time to properly digest whatever you are able to get down.

So, with that said, I'm sure you can imagine where this post is going... TUMMY TROUBLES! Don't worry, I will spare you the details - just realize that running every three to four hours over the course of 24 hours (combined with sitting in a cramped van between legs) can cause a major strain on your body... and not just your running muscles.

With my runs getting longer and harder, I started to freak out a bit. I put a call on my social media for prayers and positive thoughts to keep my stomach issues at bay and tried to pull strength from the Rett fighters I'd be running for.

Thanks for all my social media friends and followers! 

I knew from the jump that my fifth leg was going to be tough... not only was my tummy funky and were my legs feeling the two full marathons I had run during the previous six weeks, but I was going to be doing quite a bit of hills AND the rain that they were predicting was coming down (okay, so it isn't so much "rain" as it is thick mist, but we still had to use the windshield wipers). I told myself that my game plan was to take advantage of the flats and downhills and do my best with whatever I could going up. Let's just say I felt majorly defeated staring up at the huge hills that stood between me and Torrey Pines High... This leg contained a lot of tears (frustrations that I was letting my team down, that my body wasn't cooperating, that I wasn't feeling as strong as I would have liked, that I was mentally and physically beat, etc) and prayers (thanking God for the ability to be out on the course, asking for strength to get me through the miles, etc). When you're #Running4ThoseWhoCant, things quickly get put into perspective. What we're doing pales in comparison to what these girls and their families go through while battling Rett Syndrome, the least I can do is give it my all. I was able to run these 6.32 miles in 1:01:26 (an average pace of 9:43) and with 11 road kills. [PS Although the pace I submitted to Ragnar was 8:00/mile, they adjust it when taking elevation, distance, difficulty, etc into account and I was actually still able to beat the time they estimated me taking for this leg, which made me feel a bit better... but not much.]

And in case you didn't notice... the elevation is in meters... 

In case you wanted to know how they mark the course... You are supposed
to do the "tap and go" method... So you if you see this across the street you
have to go to the sign, tap it, and then do what it says (that way you are on
the proper side of the street to see the next signs). 

I guess you can say this emotion is a little fear mixed with some frustration and topped with exhaustion... 

Heading in to the transition

High fiving Allison for our hand-off

My final night miles were for Lauren, Rachel, Kaelyn, Megan, Ava and River!

I was very excited that the sun was starting to rise on my fifth leg. Not only does that mean we could ditch our safety gear (you are required to wear a reflective vest any time you are out of the van between dusk and dawn and you must wear a headlamp and back blinker while running), but the energy normally starts to increase once the sun comes up.

Like I mentioned yesterday, the six of us are only all together at the start, the finish and while driving the virtual transition...
otherwise someone is always out running.

It would be a TRAGEDY if I didn't give a HUGE THANKS to these two... Skyler and Dave are the real
superheroes! They navigate us around Southern California with very little sleep and in a van with six stinky
women, not to mention they do it with a smile on their faces and are always willing to help! THEY ROCK
{smelly} SOCKS! Couldn't have a better crew along for the journey, that's FO SHO!
Source@elisewallace's Instagram Feed

My sixth leg was the one I was most nervous for... It was my last leg so that meant it was after a day of less than stellar fueling (thankfully the bad belly settled down a bit and wasn't raging against me), on legs that were super tired and with a body that had ZERO sleep (I didn't get a single wink during the course of the relay race). Not only was it my longest leg, but it would be run at mid-day, which meant toasty temps. So even though I had some elements stacked against me, I went out planning to listen to my body and give it my all. Unfortunately the first half was along the waterfront in Downtown San Diego - and although that means pretty views, it also means a traffic light what seemed like every block or two so it was hard to get into a rhythm. Once we got out of downtown we were running through some sketchy areas. There were spots where it seemed like industrial streets with semis lining each side. There were a couple girls in front of me, so I decided to hang back a bit so I could keep my eye on them and make sure no one tried to scoop them into a truck cab. Oh yeah, and who could forget the lovely set of stairs we had to run up and down to get over a main street?! Let's just say the run was rough and not one I was particularly proud of (the second half felt like I was doing just as much walking as I was running), but once I got close enough to the transition area I knew I was DONE! Kristen met me a little ways away and ran with me for a bit, then I saw Allison for my final hand off and gave her a big, sweaty hug. I was able to run these 10.64 miles in 1:40:39 (an average pace of 9:28) and with 11 road kills.

Thankfully the elevation wasn't much to worry about

It started off cloudy and around 4 miles in it was sunny and
at least 75*

Heading towards San Diego

Honored to be able to run for these littles!

My last leg of the race was done on behalf of Grace, Madison, Amber, Aubrey and Claire (PS Ragnar switched some of the final legs
about a week before the race so that's why the number of girls on my button differs from the miles I ran, but don't worry, everyone was run for!)

Once I finished there were two last legs before the team would meet Elise near the finish so we could cross together.

We were able to finish with an official time of 26:50 - WHOOOOO HOOOOOO! 

We also brought our #TeamSparkle Virtual 5K bling with us... because these two
races are forever intertwined! 

We started at 10am on Friday and finished before 2pm on Saturday (and had to
have our travel time subtracted from the virtual exchange)

That time was good enough to give us FIRST PLACE in the Women's Ultra Division, SECOND PLACE in Women's Teams (including teams with 12 runners), FIFTH PLACE in All Ultra Teams (including male teams), and NINETEENTH PLACE overall (including teams with 12 runners) out of the 606 teams who officially finished the race.


Although those numbers sound impressive, what we really care about is helping to raise funds (and awareness) for Rett Syndrome. And what matters is that over the last three years we have been able to help raise <<drum roll>> over $160,000! Our goal is to continue running for these girls and their families until one day they are able to run WITH us!

This is what the race is ALL ABOUT! Each and every one of these faces!

Looking back over this experience it's hard to put everything into words. These ladies, they're not only a team, they're a family. Running for something more than yourself, for others who can't, will always make the experience more worthwhile, more heartfelt, more meaningful and worth every tear, painful step and moment of self-doubt. I pray that I never take for granted the ability that I have been blessed with, the ability to lace up my shoes and go outside for a run. It has been an absolute honor to have been a part of the #Ragnar4Rett adventure for the last three years.

Left: 2015 / Center: 2016 / Right: 2017

And just because the official fundraising efforts for #Ragnar4Rett have closed, I'd be remised if I didn't at least mention ways to give to Girl Power 2 Cure, which can be found here. Obviously there is NO PRESSURE, but in case it has been on your heart I wanted to make it as easy as possible. And for all of you who have already donated (whether it be your time, talents or resources) - THANK YOU! I know the funds will be used to help find a cure for this devastating disorder!


Have you ever been a part of a team that became a family?