Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sweat. Smile. Repeat: Athleta Giveaway!

Lately, I really want to move to San Francisco... but I won't because I'd have to change my blog name to NorCal Runner Gal, buy a new domain, yadda, yadda, yadda.  But anway, San Francisco truly is my favorite city in the world!  It even beats out Paris in my book which is saying a lot because je t'adore Paris! There is something magical about SF and it feels like home to me.  And now I want to live there more than ever because they have something San Diego doesn't... fitmob!  This new fitness concept is sure to spread across the country in no time and I can't wait for it to make it's way down south to us folks in San Diego. I hate missing out on cool new fitness trends.

The Big Idea Behind FitMob

The peeps at fitmob have reinvented the fitness industry and created a community-based, FUN approach to working out. It enables people to workout both indoors and outdoors within their own neighborhood in a supportive yet challenging environment with others who share the same goals. 
Bingo! I love it and I'm all about it.

So how does it work?  

Sweat. Smile. Repeat.

Yoga, spin, TRX, bootcamp, kettlebell cardio, circuit, barre, indoors, outdoors, you name it! Every type of workout is offered through fitmob.  It is also WAY cheaper than your typical boutique fitness studios with the same quality of workouts and an amazing community.   The more you work out, the cheaper the classes get so you're actually being rewarded to get fit.

Who started this brilliant idea?  

Snapfish co-founder and entrepreneur/VC Raj Kapoor as CEO, tech guru and martial arts champion Paul Twohey as CTO, and worldwide fitness expert Tony Horton as co-creator of this wonderful concept.
Right now, fitmob is based in San Francisco as I mentioned earlier (sad faced San Diegan right here) but it will most definitely be taking the country by storm so keep your eyes open if you aren't in the NorCal area.  I feel like I am missing out on the party and it's killing me.  
If you're in the Bay Area, try 7 days of workouts fo' free! I'm serious!  Best deal ever.
Because the folks at fitmob are so freaking cool, they're giving away a $25 Athleta gift card to one of my readers! I'm giving you a ton of chances to win, so be wise!

Enter to Win!!

A winner will be chosen October 9th, so stay tuned!

May the odds be ever in your favor...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My Running Related Addiction

If there is something I am obsessed with more than running, it might be running shorts, running tops and of course, shoes for running.  I have a serious problem guys, like I need a 12 step program.  It's one of my many addictions and I know I am not alone.  The funny thing is, I constantly complain that I have nothing to wear and instead of buying real people clothes, I continue to buy MORE running clothes.  I am able to justify this addiction because I run (or workout) about 6 days a week so I “need” a lot of running clothes.  And how can I resist when there are awesome brand name clothes on clearance and I don't even have to leave my house to buy them (thank you, I have a VERY hard time saying no to a good deal. I actually had to cut myself off from this site awhile back because it was just getting out of hand. 

On that note, I am back on the bandwagon, and I think running the NYC Marathon deserves a new piece or two for race day and I’d love your help shopping!  I hate making decisions and this will be like shopping with a friend, so give me your opinions.  Thanks in advance. ;)  Since I refuse to pay full price for workout clothes when I can get them up to 80% off, I’m definitely shopping on The Clymb.  Here are some options I’m throwing around at the moment:

#1 I love yellow and believe it or not, I do not own a single piece of yellow athletic wear.  The see-through mesh portion at the top is super cute!

#2 This would be perfect for NYC temps, don’t you think?

#3 I just think this looks comfortable and since I rarely wear anything pink, it might be fun to mix it up.

#4 I like the asymmetrical top on this one and the loud color.  It helps when you’re in a sea of runners to stand out. 

#5 These would obviously go PERFECT with the top above.

So what do you think? Which are your favorites? Help a sista out! Should I just buy them all?

I am good on shoes right now but want to give you a heads up that The Clymb has Men’s and Women’s Mizunos on sale right now, so act fast!  Their options are constantly rotating.  

I don’t “need” a new pair, but these sure are pretty…

Opinions please – I’d REALLY like some new stuff in the mail ASAP. 

Is anyone else addicted to buying workout clothes?

Should we start a support group? 

Monday, September 29, 2014

5 Weeks 'til NYC!

I cannot believe the New York City Marathon is only 5 weeks away!  I am beyond excited and seriously ready to PR.  For a moment I considered not going but then realized this is just such a cool opportunity (thanks to my awesome sponsor, Airbnb) and I can't pass it up.  So I said...

I mentioned before that I am anemic and have been for quite some time. It has put a serious damper on my running for the past couple of years and training for a marathon feels next to impossible sometimes.  Whereas most people get faster over time, I've only gotten slower and slower despite increased efforts.  It becomes insanely frustrating.

Well, I think I finally have it under control!  I've been religious about taking my supplements (3-5 each day) and Brittany even gives me pats on the back because she knows how much I hate taking those giant pills but I'm doing such a great job!  It's finally paying off because running feels great again.  I have my energy back, I haven't had chest pains, my breathing isn't as labored at faster paces, I take less breaks and I just feel better all around.  I can truly run happy again.

saturday's 16 miler

I ran 16 miles on Saturday and only took a couple breaks to snap a few pics for Sport Chalet.  I felt fantastic the entire way and finished strong with an average pace of 8:35.  It feels so amazing to be running almost effortlessly again.  

long run essentials

from saturday's run.  i love my city.

I am feeling exceptionally grateful after this weekend and so excited for things to come! Brittany and I are headed to Chicago in a couple weeks to see my family. She surprised me with plane tickets a little while back and I couldn't be happier (except I'm missing a friend's wedding so that puts a damper on things.)  It's been almost a year since I've been home which is just a crazy lapse in visits.  I have about a hundred nieces and nephews so there will be lots of playtime and cookie eating.  The timing couldn't be more perfect because I am dreaming about fall weather all day, every day.  I cannot wait to run on the lakefront path in cold weather and then warm up with a pumpkin spiced latte after.  Ahhhh! Fall is the best time to run in Chicago.  Am I right, Chicagoans?!

In food related news... I ate a lot this weekend.  It all started with pizza the night before my long run and then Saturday was my friend's 29th birthday and well, she's a chef. Need I say more? This is her version of a cheese platter.  Ridiculous.  (I think I ate half of it myself.)

a night of eating like this, leads to...

...a day of this. :) #backontrack

My Week in Workouts:

Monday: 5 miles
Tuesday: Spin
Wednesday: 7 miles (5 @ 7:25 pace)
Thursday: Rest (Although, I did a photo shoot that required me to run back and forth across a bridge like 200 times and my butt was actually sore the next day. That MUST count for something!)
Friday: 3.2 miles with the pup
Saturday: 16 miles
Sunday: 5 miles

Total Miles: 36.2 
Total X-Train: 1 hour

How was your weekend? 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Faves

Hey guys! I don't know about you, but I am so ready for the weekend.  This week has been crazy but it also flew by --so that's a plus!

Want to {virtually} hang out with me this weekend?  I will be hijacking Sport Chalet's Instagram account all day tomorrow so follow them at @sportchaletexperts and spend the day with me!  I have a 16 mile run on the books and I'll snap a bunch of pics along the way to share some of San Diego's beauty with their followers.  Not sure what else I'll be up to but whatever it is -- I'll be instagrammin' it.  And if you don't already follow me on Instagram, where've you been?  Find me: @socalrunnergal  It's basically where I live.

Okay, onto my Friday Faves!  There is a lot of new stuff I've been loving.  I'm lucky to have fellow marathoning friends who turn me on to some really great product and I, in turn, pass along the word to you.

SKLZ Accuball

I love this little thing!  I used to use tennis balls and golf balls until I discovered the Accuball.  That little yellow piece pops into the ball and it acts like a massage therapist's knuckles to get deep in the knots.  I use it for my calves and peroneal tendon which has been killing me lately.  

It has a non-stick texture so you can use it anywhere without it rolling away (like a golf ball).  It hurts in the best way possible.  You can find it online here for only $20.  Now I just need to teach Gunner that it is not his toy because we've been fighting over it...

Osmo Nutrition for Women

My friend Eli turned me onto this stuff made specifically for women.  The philosophy behind Osmo Nutrition is: Women are not small men. Get the recovery nutrition that matches your physiology and see how much better you feel and perform.  They offer nutrition for before, during and after workouts.  The pre-load hydration comes in Pineapple Margarita flavor and when I drink it, it feels like happy hour!  It is perfect for the heat wave we're experiencing right now because it is designed for use in extreme heat or ultra-endurance events. 

The pre-load hydration is designed to: Counteract Hormone-Induced Drop in Body Water, Increase Power & Endurance, and Reduce Muscle Fatigue and Improve Recovery.

The "during" drink is super helpful on long runs and I store some in a plastic baggie and take it with me. 

The "Active Hydration" formula is designed to: Increase Power Output, Improve Endurance and Avoid Premenstrual Performance Decline.

And then of course there is the after beverage which is the best, in my opinion. 

The recovery drink is made to: Promote Muscle Synthesis, Reduce Hormonal Influences on Recovery and Optimize Training Adaptations.
** You can find more info and buy it here.

Diet Cults by Matt Fitzgerald

I loved this book! I'm actually bummed that I read a copy from the library because there were so many points I wanted to highlight.  I've been a member of a diet cult (for moral reasons) and have since transitioned to what Fitzgerald calls "Agnostic health eating," a term that makes such perfect sense to me and perfectly describes the way I eat.  He explains that all diet cults have one thing in common: they all preach that there is "one true way" to eat for maximum health, something he strongly disagrees with (as do I).  I was going to try to sum up his thoughts because they're so similar to mine but his are actually backed by research and more eloquently stated, so I'll just share this tid-bit from his site instead:

The first clue that this shared assumption is untrue is the sheer variety of diets advocated. Indeed, while all of competing “diet cults” claim to be backed by science, a good look at actual nutritional science suggests that it is impossible to identify a single best way to eat. What makes us human is our ability to eat—and enjoy—a wide variety of foods from all around the globe.
The appeal of the diet cults is their hypnotic power to make healthy eating easier for some people by offering a food-based identity and morality to latch on to. Yet many more of us are turned off by the arbitrariness of the diet cults’ rules and by the speciousness of their dogma.

I am fascinated by our culture's obsession with weight-loss and the different theories on eating that become super popular and then die off.  I read this book in just a few days -- it's a page turner if you're into nutrition.  He also includes a lot of great info for endurance athletes (since that is his niche) which is probably why I devoured it.  Find it here. 

And some fun stuff from the internet 

...since it's Friday and we all know you're not really working.

* We have really needy animals so I appreciated this big time.

* And these people are so clever, I cant even handle it.

*This movie and this movie.  Go see them this weekend!

* Fall has arrived...and I need to dress my dogs up like this:

Happy Friday! What are you up to this weekend?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

When Running Gives More Than it Takes

One of my favorite quotes about running surprisingly comes from the one and only Queen O:

"Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it." - Oprah Winfrey

She's totally right.  (Then again, Oprah is always right...right?)  But lately, I have to say, running is giving me even more than I am giving it.  I am working hard, as always, and chasing that PR in NYC, but it's giving so much back and I feel really hashtag blessed.  

Life has been pretty stressful lately. I'm not sleeping well and I have a ton on my mind.  In response to the stress, anxiety and worry, I run.  It's one of the few ways I know how to deal.  

I often wonder what I would do if I couldn't run and the thought scares me a little.  I'm not quite sure how I would overcome obstacles or deal with disappointments.  Sure, I could turn to yoga, or baking, or take up some other nice hobby, but nothing comes close to running.  Take yesterday for example -- I was completely exhausted from lack of sleep and stressed beyond measure.  No amount of coffee was able to pep me up and my mind was spinning with thoughts and worries and unnecessary garbage.  I had a tempo run on the plan but that seemed like an unreasonable request considering how tired I was.  When I hopped on the treadmill, I decided to just start running and see what my body was able to give in that moment and to accept whatever it was capable of without any pressure to go faster or harder.  

I ended up channeling all of the stress and worry into an amazing run and went beyond what was even called for.  I took all of that energy that was being wasted on negativity and used it to fuel a fast, hard run.  I finished those tempo miles feeling incredible.  

On top of the world.  




Clear headed.

What else leaves you feeling that good?  For me, running is better than a massage, better than a hot yoga session, better than dessert, and even better than a glass of wine.  Shocking coming from me, I know, but I mean that with all of my heart. Every time I run lately, it feels like I lose about 10 pounds of baggage. I'm lighter and life feels more manageable. 

Running isn't always one big endorphin infused love fest.  Some runs are completely and utterly awful.  Some suck the life out of me and leave me feeling deflated and crappy about myself.  Some miles make me question my sanity.  Some make me want to quit running altogether.  It isn't always pretty.  But when it is, it is just beautiful.  So, if you're newer to running, don't stop.  Don't give up.  Eventually, it will become euphoric and you will have an out-of-this-world run that will leave you wanting more.  It will happen.  Keep running.  And when that finally happens, it will be SO worth it and it will change your world for the better.  Promise.

Is running one big love fest lately or are you on the struggle bus?

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Weekend This Introvert Desperately Needed

Ahh, Fall has arrived.  It definitely doesn't feel like it but I am hopeful the weather will start to shift out here on the west coast.  With the exception of this weekend, the weather has been brutal.  This weekend (and the cooler temps) is exactly what the doctor ordered for this girl.

Friday night, I went to one of my favorite restaurants, True Food Kitchen, with two girlfriends.  We got caught up on eachother's lives then went to see "This is Where I Leave You."  It was hilarious!   I loved it.  Tina Fey is just the best.  I got home at a decent time and was able to do some reading before bed and get a good night's sleep, which I desperately needed.

The "TLT" from True Food.  Tempeh, lettuce, tomato and avocado. TO DIE FOR.

I decided to make Saturday my day.  I needed a day to myself to relax and hang out with me.  My weekends are normally jam packed with people, which is great, but sometimes I need a breather.

I took myself to the gym to lay by the pool and catch some rays and then squeeze a few miles in on the treadmill.  As soon as I got to the pool, someone walked over and handed me an ice cold beer. Only at Fit, I tell ya.  I laid out for a good two hours (and have serious tan lines to prove it) then went for a quick run.  Saturday night I had the house all to myself so I went and got a big fat veggie burrito from El Zarape and plopped myself on the couch.  It was LOVELY!  I watched Julie & Julia, caught up on blog reading, and finished Diet Cults (which deserves its own post entirely).  I heard Yogurtland has pumpkin pie fro-yo, so I ended the night with a little roadtrip to treat myself.

It was so nice to just have some solo time. As social as I am and as much as I love being around people, I know I am a serious introvert.  Being alone is how I recharge my batteries.  We assume being outgoing and social equates to being an extrovert but that isn't how it works. After a full day of being surrounded by people, I am exhausted.  Like completely wiped out.  A night to myself leaves me feeling refreshed and energized.  That is how I know I am introvert.

Sunday was long run day.  You know you're a marathon runner when you say things like "I only have to run 12 miles today."  I found myself saying and thinking that this weekend.  12 miles is a cake walk compared to 20+ miles so I didn't even give my run much thought.  I overslept after a crappy night's sleep (thanks to the crazy animals) and headed out well after 8 a.m.  I ran down to the harbor so I could see Amy finish her first triathlon on her 40th birthday.  Funny enough, it is also the 40th birthday of triathlon itself which was born in San Diego, so it was only fitting that she celebrated 40 with a tri.  Amy looked SO strong in her final half mile and was chatting like it ain't no thang.  She is seriously such a bad ass and has the most positive attitude of anyone I've ever met, and lucky for me, it's contagious. She (unknowingly) reminds me why I run and to not take it too seriously.  I need that from time to time.
lookin' good! 

I had a lovely brunch at Kensington Cafe after my run and then took the most glorious nap of all time.  I then went to see yet another movie, The Skeleton Twins, and love-love-loved it!  Two funny ones in a row.  If you're not into dark humor, I wouldn't recommend it.

favorite neighborhood cafe :) 

Now I am trying to figure out logistics for NYC and taking time off from work and such.  This is the not so fun part.  I have to coordinate with a trip home to Chicago and a friend's wedding all around the same time and it's getting messy.

My Week in Workouts

Monday: 7.5 miles (@ 8:00/mi average)
Tuesday:  Rest Day
Wednesday: 4.5 miles
Thursday: 6 miles
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: 3 miles
Sunday: 12 miles (+ 2 mile walk with the dogs:)) 

So, that was my weekend -- how was yours??

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. 

  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...

Ever done aerial yoga? Tell me about it!