Monday, October 5, 2015

St. George Marathon Results!!

Hi guys! I have a million and one things to say about my St. George experience but it might take a day or two so I thought I'd pop in and let you know how it went. You've all been incredibly supportive and encouraging and it means so much to me. I actually thought about my blog readers a lot on that course. 


Finish time: 3:13:11
Average pace: 7:23/mile
Place: 9th in age division 

Yep, I'm still in shock! Thanks again for cheering me on from afar! I have the best blog readers in the world! Huge sweaty hugs to all of you!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Rancho La Puerta Fitness Retreat | The Food & The Fitness

Last week, I had the chance to visit Rancho La Puerta for the ultimate fitness retreat. It’s considered a wellness resort but it’s actually more of a wellness MECCA, if you ask me. This place is pure magic and four days in my beautiful casita on the lush grounds of the Ranch had me so blissed out, I didn’t want to come home.


Let’s back up. Rancho La Puerta is a world renowned fitness resort & spa in Tecate, Mexico. It’s only about an hour from San Diego right over the border into Mexico making it the perfect getaway for SoCal folks. However, it’s so spectacular that it draws in people from all over the world. “The Ranch,” as it’s more commonly called, has a really cool story that adds to its allure. It was started by Deborah Szekely (one of my personal heroes) and her husband back in 1940 as the first fitness destination of its kind and it eventually became an uber popular wellness getaway for Hollywood stars in the 60s. The Ranch has evolved into what is known as the World’s Best Destination Spa year after year after year.

I had the pleasure of spending three nights and four days at the Ranch but typically, guests stay a full week. With work and other obligations I couldn’t stay nearly as long as I would have liked but I think a few days was enough to get a good feel for what it’s all about; however, a few more days would have really sealed the deal.

I took a shuttle from the San Diego airport which was ridiculously convenient and I'd recommend it to everyone, even if you're local.  They hook you up with granola and water for the road. Cha-ching!


I think I was actually more excited about the food than I was to experience the rest of the Ranch (is that sad?!) All the meals are farm to table. Literally, the ingredients come directly from the organic farm on the property and with some chef’s magic they eventually make their way onto our plates in the form of a delicious meal. 

One of the morning hikes gives you the opportunity to walk to the organic farm where a beautiful breakfast spread awaits you. One of the farmers then gives you a personal tour of the grounds and explains the philosophy behind what they grow and how they grow their food. It was one of the highlights of my trip. I'd definitely recommend it!

Breakfast and lunch are both serve yourself, buffet-style (holler!) Dinner is a nice sit-down meal with a server and table service. There are two options for each dinner and a tiny bit of dessert. I was actually a little concerned how I’d survive not having much access to sugary treats if the urge struck – but luckily, that teeny tiny sliver of a dessert each evening after dinner did the trick. When I say teeny, I mean, like Barbie size – which is great for someone as hooked on dessert as I am. It was a good lesson on what a real serving of sweets should look like. It practically felt like detox compared to the cups of fro yo I often drown myself in after long run days. If someone is at the Ranch to lose weight, they won’t have to worry about being tempted by all you can eat desserts and I can practically guarantee they will drop a few pounds from the clean eating alone.

Every meal I ate at the Ranch was fresh and full of flavor. They definitely weren’t serving up chocolate lava cakes but the dishes were exciting – I’m talking lasagna, polenta and eggplant parmesan! 


You know you’re in a health conscious place when condiments consist of nutritional yeast and bee pollen as opposed to mayonnaise and ketchup. Green juice was flowing daily and thank goodness, there was plenty of coffee and coconut milk to boot! Hallelujah!

Up until very recently, the Ranch did not allow alcohol on the property. Now they offer wine from the Baja region of Mexico and free tastings each day to guests.  Wine is not offered in the dining hall, but there is a specific place on the grounds where it is offered separate from everything else. So if you're looking for a detox and don't want to be tempted - don't worry. You won't find it unless you're really looking. ;)


Rancho La Puerta was the OG fitness destination. It’s pretty much responsible for starting the health and fitness movement that is so prevalent today.  Thanks, Deborah! Without her, we might not live in a world where yoga pants and green juice are not only embraced but celebrated. ;)

Every day is packed with classes ranging from spin, TRX and water aerobics to yoga, cardio drumming and hip hop dance. No matter who you are and what your ability level is, there is something for you. I love that there are fun new things to try (like cardio drumming) and the tried and true classes that I rely on in my normal life (like spinning).  Classes are held in one of the 11 gyms on the property and some are outdoors - like Par Cour for instance, which involves running from station to station along a dirt trail and doing different sets of exercises at each one. At the Ranch, you have plenty of opportunities to step outside of your comfort zone.

Never do I ever see a sunrise in my normal life, but I started two of the four mornings with a 5:30 a.m. wake up call and a sunrise hike. I was kind of shocked that my body didn’t put up a fight with these early mornings and I can only assume it’s because I slept so well and went to bed at such a reasonable hour without any distractions (facebook and instagram, I’m looking at you).  It was pretty enlightening to see how much better I slept when unplugged and how that resulted in waking up far more easily. 

The grounds are home to countless trails, all marked and very easy to navigate. There is one designated trail for running; however, as a runner myself I can tell you -- ALL the trails are runner friendly and basically a trail runner’s dream.  My dream job would actually be to lead guests on trail runs. How awesome would that be?  Each trail is different from the next. Some are partly shaded with beautiful trees while others zig zag up the mountain. 

The gorgeous trails, incredible sunrises and time spent with the group, made the early wake up calls totally worth it.  I found the hikes energizing but also incredibly peaceful. The best part was finishing just in time for breakfast to be served. Nothing sounds sweeter than the sound of the breakfast bell...

You’ll find yoga on the schedule multiple times a day and classses are held in a beautiful pavilion with floor to ceiling windows. I’d highly recommend taking one yoga class a day simply because you probably won’t practice yoga like this very much in your everyday life. Simply put -- it’s special.

To see pictures by guests at the Ranch, search the hashtag #savortheranch on Instagram. 
To learn more about Rancho La Puerta visit:

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I'll cover the meditation classes, lectures, amenities, accommodations and how I am trying to live the Ranch life back at home... 

Disclaimer: My stay at the Ranch was comped but as always, all opinions expressed are authentic and 100% my own.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Embracing the Taper and Celebrating the Super Moon!

I can hardly believe I’ll be in St. George, Utah in 3 days and running another marathon in 4 ½ days. Ahhh! It’s getting real around here and the butterflies are starting to do their little thing already.

I’ve been tapering like a champ and the proof is in the fact that I’ve gained 2 pounds. I’m not worried because it’s completely normal to gain 2-4 pounds during taper. It just means I am fueling and resting which is essential for a good race, in my opinion. Eating what I normally do (which is a lot) and not running as much doesn’t always feel great, but I have to tell myself it’s OK! In fact, it’s necessary.

a little cake and wine never killed anybody - unless you're a dog.
practically living off of acai bowls right now because of this heat.

Studying for my run coach certification is helping to keep me busy and off my feet and it allows for Brittany to check her fantasy football stats while simultaneously watching football without me being super bored or annoyed.  Did I mention I hate football?

I did my final double digit run this Saturday with Ashleigh and the Seaside Striders. It went really well and I had a chance to chat with Jim, the running coach, who gave me a much needed pep talk. He helped me to believe my goal is not only within reach but that I can potentially blow it out of the water. Thanks, Jim!

This was the first weekend in awhile I was at home and didn’t have any plans. It was long overdue and perfect timing since I needed to get some cleaning and laundry done and most importantly, rest. I am expecting my body to work really hard for me this coming Saturday, so this weekend I let myself nap and relax. I know these legs of mine need it. No amount of work I do this week will help me in the race – I know this. So instead, I shall rest and jog easily.

Last night Brittany and I went for a sunset run on the beach. It was crazy humid but amazing nonetheless. Nothing on Earth makes me happier than sweating with my favorite person and catching a sunset. I seriously smile from ear to ear in these moments and never want them to end. 

here she comes...
Shortly after our run, the blood moon was out in all her glory. We were in complete awe and then went off to Trilogy Sanctuary in La Jolla to bring on the super moon with a huge group of people. 

It turned out to be an incredible full moon party under the stars. We harnessed the power of the super moon with a drum circle, aerial yoga performances, crystal bowls and eventually some dancing. My childhood friend who now lives in Sweden and teaches yoga was in town so I was able to celebrate the super moon with her. It was really special considering I haven’t seen her in over two years. It was a great way to reconnect.


Last Week in Workouts: Tapering so hard…

Monday: Gentle Yoga
Tuesday: 4 mile hike + 3.5 mile run
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: 2.5 miles
Saturday: 10 miles
Sunday: 3 miles

It’s easy to see why I gained a couple pounds just looking at the low mileage compared to weeks prior. To anyone reading this who is training for a marathon or will eventually train for one – remember this: it will feel extremely weird to run such low mileage and you will feel like you are completely losing your fitness, but I promise, you’re not! You are resting your body and letting all the months of hard work sink in so you’re ready for race day. I think so many runners struggle with the taper and oftentimes they run more than they should because it's just plain hard NOT to. I am a huge advocate for REST so if you take any piece of advice from this blog, it should be to obey the taper and give your body the rest it needs. You will thank me on race day. 

Here's a great article on tapering from Runner's World: "How to Taper Correctly"

Any advice on tapering? Do you struggle with it or embrace it?

Did anyone see the blood moon last night???

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Turning Over a New Leaf... or Five

I just got back from four days of pure bliss in Tecate, Mexico at Rancho La Puerta. It was the ultimate wellness retreat and I feel rejuvenated, well rested and invigorated upon my return. I still need to put the whole trip into words (and I’m working on it) but until then, I thought I’d pop in and say Happy Autumn!

i actually saw a few sunrises while in mexico...

Fall is by far my favorite season -- even more so in the Midwest. In all honestly, it isn’t much different than summer here in San Diego but I still get excited about the minor changes that happen.

I loved Gina's post today (The Fitnessista) about turning over a new leaf with the new season.

She says, “With the new season, it’s also the perfect time to initiate change and assess your plan for the rest of the year."  I thought I’d join in since I am coming off four straight days of reflection while being almost entirely unplugged and removed from distraction. I am super tuned in at the moment to what I want to manifest and what I want to work on.

AKA My Five Goals for the Season:

MEDITATE. I am dedicated to making meditation a daily practice. I finally started meditating while at Rancho La Puerta after saying I would start for...ever.  I have continued since being home (so far – day 4). The goal is to meditate for at least 10-15 minutes each day. I was introduced to an app called One Giant Mind and I will use it to hold me accountable and guide me in my practice until it becomes  as routine as brushing my teeth and exercising.

GET CERTIFIED. I have registered for the Run-Fit Specialist Certification as well as an Advanced Sports and Exercise Nutrition Advisor Certification. Now it’s time to buckle down, read the texts and study hard. I want to be certified in both of these by the end of the year. (There is A LOT of material).

RUN WITH MY PEOPLE. I tend to be a lone wolf when it comes to running, but I have this wonderful running community at my fingertips and I'm lucky to call many of these runners my friends. I would like to make running with them a priority each week. I am so blessed to be a part of such a healthy, like-minded community and I need to take advantage of it. And think of all the running friends yet to be made!

SPEND TIME IN THE KITCHEN. While I am a healthy eater most of the time, I rarely prepare my own food. This one is really tough for me, but my hope is that if I write it down and put it out into the blogosphere, I will get better about it. I am guilty of treating Whole Foods like my personal chef and hitting up the salad bar at work like it’s my kitchen instead of buying and preparing meals. This needs to change! I want to grocery shop twice a week and meal prep at least once a week. I would also like to cook myself dinner a few nights a week (which means getting home before 9pm once in awhile).

MAKE TIME FOR "ME TIME."  This one is kind of a Catch-22. In the past, I’ve been notorious for being “flaky” so I made a conscious effort to be more reliable and change my reputation. But now, I am so busy with constant plans that I overbook myself on the regular. After a long day of work, I often find myself going from the office to run with one friend and then straight to dinner with another and not even allowing for a shower in between. I am rarely ever home and it can leave this outgoing introvert feeling exhausted. I need time to recharge my batteries. My new goal is to say “maybe” more often, instead of saying “yes” to everything and consequently feeling overwhelmed with obligations. “Maybe” doesn’t jive well with a lot of people but at least it allows for some flexibility and less commitment. It gives me the chance to see how I am feeling in the moment and honor those feelings. Exhausted? Pass. Super busy? Pass. Feeling great? Go for it!

I have more goals and things I’d like to focus on this Autumn, but I think that’s a good start for now.

Let’s hear about some new leaves you’d like to turn over! GO!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Ventura Marathon + Thoughts on Running and Racing

Hi guys! My posts have been more sparse than usual because I am still trying to figure out how to juggle blogging and my new job. It's been a tough balance to strike and I don't want to neglect this little baby of mine.

On top of busy Monday-Fridays, I've also been away the last few weekends and will be away yet again this weekend. I went to Palm Springs over Labor Day weekend for my good friend's birthday and this past weekend I took the train up to Ventura with Teresa for her marathon. This weekend I'll be in Mexico visiting Rancho La Puerta for a wellness retreat. Think yoga, meditation, healthy food and massages. YES. I am more excited for this four day getaway than I have been for anything in quite awhile. This is what my Saturday-Tuesday will look like:

Time is FLYING and the St. George Marathon is now less than three weeks away! I am getting so excited but also silently freaking out about projected temperatures (high of 90, low of 67 = death) but trying to stay positive. ;)

Here's what last week of training looked like:

Monday: 5 miles
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 7 miles (5 @ 7:18 pace)
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: 8 miles
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 20 miles (paced Teresa for about 6 of those)

Total: 45 miles

train ride to Ventura...

I went to Ventura this weekend to pace Teresa for part of her race. While I was there, I also had to get in 20 miles of my own so I did an out and back along the coast and then ran back to the course to find her at mile 20 to run the last 6.2 together. I felt like Rainman trying to figure out how far out I should go and at what time and what mile I would find her considering we were running opposite directions and started at different times - but somehow, miraculously, I got to mile 20 just as she was approaching the mile marker. It was kind of crazy and reminded me yet again... #solemates.

Being at the Ventura Marathon on Sunday was inspiring and got me energized for my own race but it was also an important reminder that anything can happen on race day. Teresa trained perfectly, worked her ass off and prepared for every scenario but still didn't end up with the race she expected. Due to terribly hot weather she wasn't able to run what she was physically capable of and trained for. The same exact thing happened to me in Ventura last year (remember how I peed myself mid-run?)

It's always upsetting when a race doesn't go as planned but how we react to it says a lot about us. Running 26.2 miles, at any pace, is a huge feat and something to be proud of. Teresa conquered that distance and she never once gave up even when she knew her goal was out of reach. This was her 14th marathon and she is truly one of the baddest b*tches I know. Tougher than nails. I couldn't be more proud of her and  how she handled yesterday.

Watching her conquer yet another 26.2 reminded me to just keep going, respect the distance, and be grateful for the journey. No matter the outcome, we're always better for it.

Bad races will happen. It's an inevitable part of life as a runner. It's so easy to want to throw in the towel and say, "running just isn't for me." I've been there and I'm so glad I convinced myself to keep running because I would have missed out on so many amazing runs and incredible experiences. Running is most certainly for me and I hope that conviction never diminishes.

Another beautiful reminder of the power of running came this morning from a reader via e-mail. She also ran Ventura yesterday and it was her first marathon ever!  I wanted to give her a public shout-out because I am so proud of her. I can't imagine running my first marathon in that kind of heat! I asked if I could share part of her e-mail with you because it's so poignant:
"I originally started to train for this marathon to help me grieve the loss of our greyhound, but I found so much more in the process- self-confidence, pride, a sense of purpose. At some point in the future (once I can feel my legs again) I'm sure I'll want to challenge myself and maybe get a BQ!  I read your blog whenever you post something new and I've found much inspiration in your posts.  Thanks for helping me get started." -Meg
Congratulations, Meg!!

On that note, I hope you all had a beautiful weekend and my fellow southern Californians are surviving this heat wave!  And now... I taper. :)

Tell me about your worst running experience.
Mine is pretty obvious - the unforgettable peeing-myself-during-a-marathon incident. :)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

How I broke up with Plantar Fasciitis and foot pain for good

I've officially been Plantar Fasciitis free for over a year now . So it's not like I've been tirelessly battling a deadly disease or anything but any runner who has dealt with this foot issue knows how terrible it is -- mainly because it tends to be chronic and there's usually no quick fix.

Of all the injuries I've suffered over the years (stress fractures, IT Band Syndrome, tendinitis, etc.) this one has been the most annoying and expensive.  But now that it's been over a year without it, I feel like I can share with confidence what has worked for me. Keep in my mind, this is completely anecdotal evidence.

pain-free running is the business
Let’s back it up real quick though.  Like every other runner in America, I read Born to Run when it first came out and was all about running free and natural like the Tarahumara. So for a few years I tried taking a minimal approach to my running shoes and switched from the traditional shoe to a thinner, lighter, less supportive version. I dealt with one injury after another. After having to drop out of several races (not cheap) and subsequently take time off from running over and over again, I finally decided to go back to a neutral shoe. Best decision ever. For me. I believe this is one part of the equation that has helped significantly in combating my Plantar Fasciitis. (My current shoe)

I also got expensive ART treatments which would help for like two days at best. I iced. Stretched. Rolled on a golf ball. Tried the Strassburg sock. All of these things helped but none provided a permanent fix.

The real game changer was the Currex RunPro insole for high arches. Holy cow. I have my friend Eli to thank for introducing me to these. I was extremely hesitant about adding anything to my shoe but I was also desperate.  At the time I was still a recovering minimalist so I regarded any kind of support as unnecessary and unnatural.  But the insoles instantly made a difference.

Within just a few weeks I noticed the pain subsiding and that hot, burning sensation dissipated completely within a month or two. I was completely hooked.

To be clear, this is not a sponsored post... I just want to share what has worked for me and has been a total lifesaver.

I wear my insoles until they’re beat to death. They usually have blood stains on them (so sexy) and are tearing apart on the sides by the time I decide to order more (because they aren't super cheap).  I can honestly say, I will NOT run without them.  I tried using a different insole and that lasted about 2 days because the pain in my plantar fascia immediately came back.  That’s how I know for sure these suckers are what have kept my inflammation at bay. Even the guy at my local running store (which doesn't sell Currex by the way) tells me they're the best and he wears them in his own shoes.

brand new vs. worn -- yikes.

Just a year or so ago, when barefoot running was all the rage, my take on this would be wildly unpopular.  But it seems the pendulum has swung back to the other side (hello, Hokas) so I know I'm not alone in this thinking. If you have PF and you’re hesitant about stepping away from your minimal shoe, I encourage you to just give it a shot. Try a neutral shoe and get some insoles with serious arch support. I get mine on Amazon (free 2 day shipping, holler!) for $50 and some running stores carry them too. Obviously this isn’t the solution for everyone but I’d love to save you the hassle of spending tons of money on expensive treatments and physical therapy when the solution may be just giving your arch the support it needs.  But you gotta do you. :)

Stay injury-free my friends!

Are you a minimalist or do you prefer some support?
Any fellow PF sufferers out there?

**Again, this is not a sponsored post, however, I've included some affiliate links to amazon, where I buy mine on the reg. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Turning Weekends into Mini Vacations + Week in Workouts

Before I get into an overly-detailed, ridiculously lengthy recap of my weekend, let's take a peek at last week's workouts...

Monday: Yoga (at White Peacock with Wildfire)
Tuesday: 7 miles (5 @ 7:16ish pace)
Wednesday: 5 miles with Asheejojo
Thursday: Off (worked an event and ran around in heels all day, so I refuse to call this a rest day)
Friday: 5 miles
Saturday: 12 miles (last 3 @ 7:42 - practicing for race day!)
Sunday: Spin Class on the beach!

I decided to make this week a cut-back instead of next because of the heat and my crazy work week.

Moving on...

If you didn't already know, I am like really good at weekends. I make a serious effort to turn every weekend into a mini vacation because work is hard man! I insist on relaxing after 40+ hours of stress and responsibility. I think we all need more vacation time and Americans do not travel nearly as much our European and Australian counterparts. It ain't right!  I am also not one to ever waste spend, a whole day running errands and cleaning. Life is way too freaking short. Do one load of laundry, tidy up for a bit, haul ass to the store between a run or yoga class, and call it a day. Capisce?

That's how I roll.

Sidenote: If you have kids and I am totally annoying you with my "carefree vacation weekends" that involve zero responsibility, I totally get it. I realize I don't have to wash nine million loads of baby onesies and clean up after children with sticky hands who manage to destroy a clean house within 15 seconds. I am able to minimize the cleaning and laundry and I realize not everyone has that luxury. One day, I too will understand your pain. And I have mad respect for all y'all!
This weekend was no different than most except for a little extra cherry on top which was Sunday.

So Friday night I had a gym date with Brittany at Point Loma Sports Club, a new-to-me gym. Since I have Wildfire, I have access to all the best gyms and studios in San Diego which makes working out kind of an adventure. I try new places all the damn time which is nice because boredom is not a word I like to have in my frequently used vocab. We hit up the treadmills and then grabbed some dinner afterwards at Native Foods.

Saturday morning I woke up to a total scorcher and knew I didn't have it in me to run outside. Some days you can gut it out and other days ... not so much. I had the week from hell at work and I was run down so I went on my handy dandy Wildfire app, once again, and found a new gym for the day. Brittany is also a Wildfire member so she can join me on all these adventures. (In just one week I went to Fit in Solana Beach, White Peacock in Encinitas, Point Loma Sports Club and Broadway Athletic & Swim Club downtown all with ONE app - just sayin.')

We hit up Broadway Athletic and Swim Club this time. It's downtown and it's for the fancy pants people of San Diego. I really loved it and all its ridiculous amenities (razors and salon grade shampoo?! yes, please). I ran 12 miles on the treadmill while staring out over San Diego's skyline and the Coronado bridge in the distance and couldn't help but think, wow, I live here! Yeah, it's been almost 6 years and I still think that pretty often.

As soon as I finished, I jumped into the rooftop pool and it was the most refreshing thing EVER. Brittany and I laid out for a bit before heading out to breakfast at Kensington Cafe. I followed up those eggs and coffee with the most glorious nap in air conditioning ever.

After some Zzzs, I saw Trainwreck with my friend Susan and ate popcorn for dinner. Typical. Go see it if you haven't already. The ending is just THE BEST.

Sunday was like the day from heaven. Brittany and I took an 8:30 am spin class on the beach at the Hotel del Coronado which happens to be one of my most favorite spots in San Diego. The class was a total blast, taught by Veronica who I recognized from Fit. Everyone is given headphones so we can all party on our bikes to awesome music and the instructor's voice without disturbing the sleeping guests at the hotel (since you know, they're paying like a gazillion dollars a night to stay there).

I basically smiled throughout the entire class because I was having so much fun - and to add to my nerdy amount of glee, we saw dolphins. Not once, but twice! Oh, San Diego. Always wooing me.

After spin we enjoyed the most exquisite brunch. Fizzy mimosas, eggs benedict, shrimp hash, fresh fruit, the works. We were seriously in heaven. Then we took it to the next level and hit up the spa. White robes, champagne, comfy lounge chairs, pool, slippers, bliss. Done. Dead. Heaven.

I rounded out the weekend with some dinner with my brother who is in town for like five minutes which warmed my heart because his is just solid gold.

So that was my weekend, similar to most. Never boring. Rarely crazy. Always perfect. How the HELL is it already Monday though?

Do you prefer your weekends care-free and relaxing? 

Or do you try to maximize productivity?