Monday, September 15, 2014

The Most Magical Place in San Diego

This Saturday, I stepped out onto a rooftop in La Jolla and found my new happy place.  It is as close to heaven as I can possibly imagine with stunning views of the ocean whichever way you look, colorful silks blowing in the wind and a cafe filled with fresh, plant-based foods. It is, in one word: MAGICAL.  



I've been dying to check this place out since I met the lovely, radiant owner, Leila, after a charity spin event.  She was passing out free samples of juice and we began chatting.  She told me about this new place she was opening that is so much more than just a yoga studio.  And damn, she wasn't kidding.

This little piece of heaven is called Trilogy Sanctuary and it is by every definition of the word, a sanctuary. 

sanc·tu·ar·y
ˈsaNG(k)CHo͞oˌerē/
noun
  1. 1.
    a place of refuge or safety.



Amy and I went together to try out our first ever aerial yoga class.  I was a little nervous going into it and assumed I probably wouldn't be able to do half the crazy stuff asked of us.  Then I completely shocked myself when I went ahead and did it ALL.  I hung upside down, I did a flip, a pull up, a superman dive, all of it!  I looked over at Amy at one point and said "Oh my god! We're doing this!" because it just felt so surreal to be soaring on a rooftop with the ocean right there in the distance.  


Look, ma! I can fly!

Leila taught our class with such perfect cues that it was almost impossible to be confused.  She's fantastic!  You're in truly good hands with her and she will help you soar whether you think you can or not.
amy, loving inversions.

Afterwards, Amy and I checked out the cafe which couldn't be any better if I dreamed it up myself.  The menu is 100% organic and vegan which apparently is pretty hard to find.  I ordered an acai bowl with ginger to help my tummy because honestly, I got really nauseous from all the upside down movements and the swaying.  Who knew I had motion sickness?  The ginger definitely did the trick and eventually I felt fine.






I had to text Amy about half an hour after we left telling her I was still in awe of our unexpectedly breathtaking Saturday morning experience.  It was just incredible!  I had no idea it would be (or could be) that amazing.  I've heard that inversions are helpful in dealing with depression but I never thought that theory held much weight.  Then on Saturday, the entire rest of the day I was on cloud 9.  I felt happier than I've felt in a really long time, so maybe there is something to being upside down. Placebo effect or not, I was happy -- and that's good enough for me.



I have to admit, I was almost hesitant to share how much I love this place because I kind of wanted to keep it to myself.  If it gets too popular I'm afraid it might lose its allure, but then I realized withholding such magic is not very yogic of me. ;)  So, you're welcome!   





Check out Trilogy Sanctuary on the web... www.trilogysanctuary.com

Ever done aerial yoga? Tell me about it!



Friday, September 12, 2014

Back to Back Marathons

Every marathon is a learning experience.  You find out what works and what doesn't quite make the cut.  Ventura was a pretty horrid experience but I can definitely say that I know what I need to tweak before I kick ass in New York City (you see what I'm trying to manifest there?)  I won't lie, I'm very nervous about running back-to-back marathons but I also don't want to miss out on this experience of a lifetime.  In an effort to have an enjoyable (and fast) race in NYC, I plan to learn from Ventura and make some changes.

Here are some things I will do differently for NYC...
  1. Long runs.  During Ventura training, I woke up too late for many of my long runs and would hit the treadmill to avoid the heat. I think it is important to train on the same surface you'll be racing on.  Weekday treadmill runs are fine but I really need to do 90% of my long runs outdoors and I need to pick up the pace and take less breaks.
  2. Fueling.  On long runs I like to eat real food instead of gels or goos.  But what I've learned (time and time again) is that it is really difficult to chew and eat during a marathon. Gels are so much easier to consume, so even though I find them gross, I need to figure out how to make them work.
  3. Hill training.  I realize the NYC Marathon is about 7 weeks away (yikes!) but I completely bypassed all hills during Ventura training and it would be great to build some strength before race day.
  4. Clean eating.  I really need to kick the fro-yo addiction. I like to think I can eat as much frozen yogurt as I want because I run it off, but eating massive quantities of this delightful dessert is not exactly optimal nutrition.  
  5. Yoga.  I was really good (at first) about squeezing at least one class in each week but then I fell off the yogic bandwagon.  I must hop back on!
  6. I will not pee myself.
Hopefully all of that works out in my favor and I run a much better race in... 7 weeks and 2 days. Ahh!
more of this...

I found a very basic training outline for running 2 marathons within 8 weeks of one another and I will probably follow this for the most part (with the exception of this week because I don't plan to run until Sunday).  


WEEKMONTUEWEDTHUFRISATSUN
8Rest2 m run3 m run4 m runRest6 m run1-2 hours
7Rest3 m run6 m run3 m runRest6 m run12 m run
6Rest4 m run6 m run4 m runRest6 m run16 m run
5Rest4 m run6 m run4 m runRest6 m run20 m run
4Rest4 m run6 m run4 m runRest6 m run12 m run
3Rest4 m run6 m run4 m runRest6 m run16 m run
2Rest4 m run6 m run4 m runRest6 m run12 m run
1Rest2 m run3 m runRestRest2 m runMarathon
I've been taking spin classes and they feel glorious!  I took two complete rest days after the marathon and I have to say I was going a little stir crazy. It felt so good to get on the bike and sweat my ass off again.  I guess I'm addicted to those endorphins!  I am taking 6 whole days off of running to allow my legs and my poor blistered, battered feet to recover then I am back at it!  I see a lot of ice and foam rollers in my future!  (Even reading the word "ice" made me crave ice-cream -- I told you I have a problem!)

Have you ever run back-to-back marathons? 

Any advice?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ventura Marathon Race Recap + Sport Chalet Winners!!

Hi guys! I just got back to San Diego after a couple lovely days of R&R in one of my favorite places, Santa Barbara.  B and I had a nice little getaway and it was so great to have a few days off after a brutal marathon experience.  Two days later and I can still hardly walk.

central coast beauty



be still my heart, SB.
So where do I begin?  If you don't want all the gory details, I can cut to the chase and tell you the Ventura Marathon was a total bust and a personal worst for me.  I also peed myself (yes, I'm serious) and I have a swollen infected toe that is making it really painful to walk. Marathons are a trip, that's for sure. If you want the full story, here it is, but don't say I didn't warn you...

The Night Before

The night before the marathon my legs felt a little achy and my confidence was in the gutter in regard to my potential.  Like I mentioned before, my iron stores are basically depleted and I knew this would affect my performance just like it's been affecting my training.  Brittany decided at the last minute to have Teresa's bib transferred into her name and run the half which was sort of a relief to me.  I was happy that she wouldn't be out on the course and wouldn't see me suffering.  Maybe I manifested all the suffering with my negative thinking?  Instead, I could just look forward to seeing her at the finish.


We had sushi for dinner which I thought was a great idea (the perfect mix of carbs and protein, right?) but for once we didn't yelp a restaurant before eating.  We decided to wing it and ate at the first sushi place we found on Main Street and then did something you should never do.  We read the Yelp reviews after eating our food. 1 out of 5 stars. I started mildly freaking out and asked Brittany to hurry up and look for the restaurant report card thingie that usually says "A." I was certain this restaurant was going to have a "B" rating and we would be vomiting in no time.  Well, we never found the restaurant score but we also managed to not get food poisoning.  Side note: we were one of two tables eating at the restaurant - a sure sign that a restaurant sucks. 

Race Day

The morning of the marathon I popped right out of bed at 5 AM along with Brittany. This completely shocked me because we are not morning people...at all.  I don't think I've ever seen Brittany coherent at 5 AM.  Drunk maybe, but never alert and wide awake. But hey, there she was!  She went straight to Starbucks to get me a soy latte with an extra shot and a toasted bagel which basically made her my instant hero and my favorite person on the planet.  I've explained to her how critical a strong cup of coffee is before a race and she clearly listened and took it to heart. Major points.




Our hotel could not have been more convenient for the race.  The start line was literally a 5 minute walk from our front door.  I left at about 6:00 a.m. for a 6:20 a.m. start, which I've never ever been able to do.  No shuttles. No crazy traffic. No parking lot issues.  Nada.  Major perk!

The race started promptly at 6:20 and I lined up with the 3:35 pace group just for the hell of it.  I was actually trained for a sub 3:30 marathon (according to my training plan) but I figured I'd be lucky to even come close to qualifying for Boston with my annoying iron issues and the weather forecast of 80 degrees.

Within three miles the sun was beating down on us.  If you didn't know, I suck at running in the heat which is why I do so much treadmill running in the summer months. I was hopeful that this race would be in cooler temps and that we'd have a nice marine layer since it's several hours north of here but nope, that didn't happen.

I surprised myself by hanging with the 3:35 group for 18 miles and we were actually ahead of pace.
 The group was really awesome and everyone was super nice and encouraging.  I wasn't listening to music so I was able to chat with some other runners and it made the time pass. The average pace, according to my GPS, was an 8:05 and it felt okay for about 16 of those miles.  The pacer for our group said he wanted to run a bit faster in case the course was longer than 26.2 -- which it was!  We hit the half marathon turn around point at 1:47 and I still felt decent, just incredibly hot.  I was dumping water on my head at every water stop and taking in a lot of fluids.  I know how important fueling is but I really struggle with it.  I brought along two packs of Jelly Belly sport beans but it was so difficult to eat with the heat.  I chewed on a few but even chewing felt like wasted energy.

Hitting the Wall 

I have yet to hit "the wall" in a marathon until this race.  I have definitely struggled and found it incredibly hard to keep running, but I don't think that is quite the same as the wall other people speak of.  Now I know what bonking is.  At mile 18 I just felt my body start to shut down.  It felt like I couldn't possibly take another step.  Then the craziest thing happened: I started peeing.

I've been told by some girls who used to run cross country that a lot of times they'd pee themselves during a race.  I could never understand why or how this happens but it's called stress incontinence and it's actually way more common than I thought.  I literally just felt pee coming out and thank god there was a port-a-potty right there in that moment so I ran in and finished on the pot.  But seriously how gross and embarrassing is that?  I was already soaked in sweat and water so it's not like anyone would notice but c'mon! That is just crazy.

I've never walked in a race (with the exception of a killer hill at mile 23 of the Santa Barbara Marathon) and I've never used the bathroom in the middle of a race either. But once you've PEED yourself, you start making exceptions.  I clearly was physically exhausted and my body was turning on me.

By the time I stepped out of the porta-potty, the 3:35 group was out of reach. If I could have stuck with them until the end, I think I could have finished with a 3:33 which would have been magnificent.  But once they were gone, I knew I lost my chance at qualifying for Boston.  If I wasn't going to qualify anyway, why push myself so hard?  I mean I already peed my pants, so I might as well just slow down and walk as needed.  In my head I sort of threw in the towel and that was the end of "racing" for the day.

I turned on my music at this point because I desperately needed a distraction from the monotony of the course. I was totally alone on a boring stretch of road and there weren't any spectators out there to distract me. The Ventura Marathon is an out-and-back which is extremely mentally challenging for me.  I thought it was going to be an oceanfront course and it definitely wasn't.  It was on a street parallel to the coastal highway but without a view of the ocean.  That also meant no ocean breeze to cool us off from the blaring sunshine.

I'm not going to lie, I questioned my sanity at this point and wanted it to just be over so badly.  I wanted someone to pick me up and take me to a bed.  Normally I'd want someone to pick me up and take me to food but I was a bit nauseous from the heat and all I wanted was to be horizontal.  You know I'm in bad shape when I'd rather lay down than eat.  I mean seriously, even when I have the flu I want to eat.

The Final Miles

At this point there was a whole lot of pain, walking, etc. and then the 3:45 pace group caught up with me.  I knew at this point I was on my way to a personal worst.  I forced myself to stick with this group and hopefully finish in the time I ran Boston, which up until now was the hardest, slowest marathon I'd run.  Sadly, the only people left in the 3:45 group were the two pacers themselves.  This group had previously been packed with folks so I knew I wasn't the only one having a bad day.

I reminded myself of the kind words I received from my friend, Eli, the day before. Her message was perfect and so completely true!

and so I tried...

I hung with the 3:45 pacers for what felt like an eternity to the finish line.  Brittany was about 100 yards from the finish and cheered for me as I gave her a pouty face that said "this hurts" and then I sprinted it in with everything I had to finish with a 3:47.  Although the course was from scenic, the start and finish were quite beautiful.  The course starts and ends at the Ventura Pier.

I was super excited to see all of the fresh fruit at the finish and I gobbled up watermelon and pineapple like a starving child.  It was so incredibly refreshing after running in the heat. I laid down on the dirty ground because it just felt right and eventually hopped in the ocean to rinse off before waiting for free massages.  The little 10 minute massages were excellent and slightly made up for the crappiness of my race.

Brittany has hardly been running at all and finished her half marathon in 2:06.  I am SO proud of her.  She still hardly considers herself a runner which is crazy because she has some seriously untapped talent, in my opinion.  I can't wait to see what's to come for her in regards to running. I'm sure she will run a marathon one day... even if she doesn't know it yet.
Since Sunday, we've both been hobbling around like two 90 year olds and it's kind of nice to have someone share in my pain, as terrible as that may sound.  We happily lounged around in Santa Barbara and ate like our lives depended on it.

To Sum it All Up

In short, this was a tough race but it was another marathon finish, nonetheless. For that I am proud.  I am proud that I was able to push through the pain and the pee and the heat.  I was able to finish, and that in itself was a huge feat.  I would LOVE to redeem myself in NYC with another BQ but I really need to focus on my health at the moment. I am going to take this week to decide what is best for me because another marathon may not be the brightest idea.  My doctor has suggested taking a few months off from running in the past to get my iron stores back up and that just wasn't an option for me back then.  After the pain of this race, I will certainly consider it.  I want my next marathon to be an awesome one.  I want to not only feel great but also do great.  I train too hard not to.


I hope I didn't bore you too much with the details but I like to document all of the small things, the mishaps and also the parts of the journey I loved.  Thanks for following along with my training and thank you for having such high hopes for my race.  I wish I could have finished with the times you all predicted, but there's always a next time.  This race doesn't define me or my abilities and I know there is a PR in this gal's future.

Giveaway Winners!

Thanks to everyone who entered the Sport Chalet giveaway.  

The winner of the $100 Sport Chalet gift card is:

DANA 

The winner of the $50 Sport Chalet gift card is:

ELLE

You will both be receiving an e-mail shortly.  Congrats!


Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Faves: Marathon Edition

So, let me start by saying I love you guys for having such high hopes for my marathon this Sunday! Wow.  I will likely disappoint all of you but I appreciate your optimism.  And I love Zoe's guess best: 3:33:33.  I'm obsessed with the number 3 so that would just make my life complete!

I decided to finally indulge in some pizza last night (my favorite food on earth) and by indulge, I mean eat an entire pizza myself.  It was nothing short of amazing. I'm lucky to have friends willing to step up and partake in this pre-marathon tradition.  I know it's rough.



Onto Friday Faves, where I rave about all the crap I'm obsessed with.  In honor of the Ventura Marathon this weekend, this edition of Friday Faves is all about my marathon must-haves!

FUEL:



These are the tastiest chews I've tried yet and they're organic so there aren't any funky ingredients.  They're real food, they practically melt in your mouth, and they provide the perfect kick when the going gets tough.  I will be carrying these with me on Sunday for sure.

SHOES:


This is by far my favorite running shoe of all time.  The Brooks Ghost is the shoe I ran my very first marathon in and after a gazillion injuries, I decided to return to this tried and true shoe.  I am so happy I did because it has made all the difference.  

Insert BROOKS running shoes. ;)

Gunner is a huge fan.

SHORTS:



I am convinced these are the best shorts ever made for running. I've never loved a pair of bottoms more in my life.  It seems like about 70% of women in every race I run wear these exact shorts, so clearly I am not alone in my love of this design.  They cost $58 which I think is totally worth it! 


OTHER GOODIES:


Seriously, this orange guy is the best!  I plan on rolling the heck out of my body the night before the race.  This roller is super helpful for my calves and my IT bands. 



I am super prone to blisters and this stuff is awesome and keeping my footsies blister-free! The guys at my local running shop recommended it and I love it.

***

All of these things will be coming with me to Ventura this weekend.  I seriously cannot wait to get another marathon under my belt and I'm also in desperate need of a little getaway. I am SO looking forward to a 4 day weekend in Ventura and then Santa Barbara.  Be sure to follow my adventures on Instagram (@socalrunnergal) and Facebook!  EEK! Start sending positive vibes Amy's and my way!

***

ALSO, don't forget about my awesome Sport Chalet giveaway!  Click here and enter to win! 

What are some of your Marathon Must-Haves?


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

An Awesome Sport Chalet Giveaway!!! {$$$}

I was recently chosen to be a Sport Chalet Expert Ambassador for their running community.  (Click here for my little bio.)  Obviously, I am by no means a true expert but I am really passionate about running, training and racing so of course I was excited to be chosen!  The Sport Chalet communities are super interactive and a great way to engage with other runners (or cyclists, scuba divers, etc.) for motivation and inspiration.   For the running community the hashtag we all use is #runaddiction and for fitness it's #obsessedwithfitness so you might notice those popping up with my instagram photos.  Start tagging your photos because they just may feature you on their page.  One of my photos is on the page right now!



You see me down there in the corner? :) 



So onto the fun stuff!

I am giving away not one, but TWO gift cards to Sport Chalet.  First prize is $100 and second prize is $50.  I wanted to see who could guess my marathon finish time for this Sunday but I need to run the contest for a week so that won't work.  Instead, I will choose a winner randomly.  BUT, I still want you to guess my finish time.  ;)  There are a variety of ways to enter (see below).  You can do as many or as few as you'd like and I will choose a winner next Thursday 9/11 (at random) so stay tuned and GOOD LUCK!

ENTER TO WIN!



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Gimme All The Iron!

Back to reality after three days off.  I hope you all had a nice long weekend!  I didn't do a whole lot of anything.  I spent lots of time with Brittany's family, hung out with my friend Megan, ran 8 super crappy miles, and had some solo time at the pool with a new book.  All in all, it was pretty nice.

finally a little sunshine
brunch at cafe 21

mocktails at true food kitchen

I mentioned before that I'm anemic and it's something I have battled with for years.  I haven't taken it very seriously until about a week or so ago when I looked at the results of a recent blood test.  Yes, doctors are always telling me my iron stores are really low and I need to take a supplement and yadda yadda yadda, but I didn't think it was too big of a deal.  I should've known a year ago when I was being hospitalized for something totally unrelated and the doctor seemed more concerned about my red blood cell count than the issue at hand.  

So anyway, I finally saw my ferritin, hematocrit, and hemoglobin levels and whoa, they are in the gutter.  It all makes sense now.  No wonder I am winded walking up the stairs.  No wonder I have to stop every single mile to take a break.  No wonder I often feel utterly exhausted and depleted.  No wonder.  Being a runner with anemia is like running at altitude after living and training at sea level.  It's freaking hard!  And now I feel kind of bad for beating myself up over being so slow this past year despite my best efforts.  My heart was totally 100% in this training so it has been really disappointing to see such little progress.

the solution (hopefully): spinach, floradix, iron tablets and vitamin c.  
lots of leafy greens going into this belly.
My hopes for running fast this Sunday at the Ventura Marathon are kind of crushed and that is okay. I am mentally strong but your mind can only take you so far when physically you have limitations.  I was almost in tears as I struggled through an 8 mile run on Sunday that should have been easy.  I need to accept where I'm at physically. Easier said than done, though.  

I am going to try to enjoy each mile, take breaks as needed and celebrate Amy's BQ, because I know she is going to kick ass!  My hope is that as I continue to religiously take crazy amounts of iron in any and every form that I will kick this anemia's ass and therefore be able to run really well at the NYC Marathon.  NYC is my new "A" race and Ventura will just have to be a beautiful race enjoyed with friends.  :) 

How was your Labor Day Weekend? 



Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Faves

Happy Friday and three day weekend! Woo woo!  Thanks for sharing in my excitement about the NYC Marathon.  It is a really cool opportunity and I can't wait to run all the burroughs!

So let's kick off this long weekend with some FRIDAY FAVES...

Trader Joe's Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate


Don't ask questions. Just go buy this.  Amazing.

Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt Kind Bars


Oh-em-mother-effing-gee! This is one of the tastiest treats I've ever put in my mouth.  There are only 5 grams of sugar in a bar so no need to feel guilty despite the fact that it tastes like a freaking candy bar.  I never met a KIND bar I didn't like but this is definitely my new go-to flavor.

About KIND:  You'll find all of these snacks are pretty much the nirvana of healthful tastiness. KIND Bars are made with tasty ingredients you can see and pronounce, like nuts, fruits, honey and spices. Mysteries belong in novels, not in your food.


House of Cards

Oooh so good! Kevin Spacey is amazing and Robin Wright is easy on the eyes.  I just got into it and may do some binge watching tonight. It's streaming on Netflix and you'll dig it if you're into political dramas.



Dinner + House of Cards -- not a bad night.


and for locals...

Pacific Coast Grill

I love trying new restaurants (duh) and I tried a new fave last night with one of my girlfriends, Eli (founder of Smack! Media).  Pacific Coast Grill is right on the 101 with stunning ocean views.  They have fantastic cocktails, sushi, and guac with crab and lobster. WHAT!? Who does that?  They do.  Check it out if you're ever up in Cardiff-by-the-Sea (my favorite little coastal town). 


stunning sunsets in cardiff

rainbow roll - colorfully delicious!
Dessert was some crazy concoction with a pretzel crust. Amazing!


Happy Friday! Enjoy the long weekend!