Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Let's Get All Grateful Over Here!

Happy Thanksgiving week -->My favorite time of the year!  I love the food, the weather, and the emphasis on gratitude. As a kid, I made the entire family share what they were thankful for on Thanksgiving before we ate. Not everyone was a fan of this little game but I've always loved it!

Sometimes I forget about all of the wonderful things in my life and I focus on what is lacking.  Bad idea!  Then I hang out with my seniors who are living in poverty and have little to no family and my perspective quickly shifts to that of gratitude. * I work for a non-profit that provides meals and services to seniors in need.

So in the spirit of giving thanks, let's take out our pens and paper (seriously, do it!) and write down what we're grateful for. Maybe grab a cup of tea or coffee and really just meditate on all the goodness that is in your life. Sometimes this can be more challenging than other times but once you get going, you'll be surprised what random things come to mind. Seeing an entire page of handwritten positives is a great way to kick any negativity to the curb and to bask in all that is right in your world.

I'll get us started...

Today, I am grateful for:

(The Big Ones...)

  1. A meaningful job that feeds my soul on a daily basis.
  2. Incredible friends that love and support me and are especially kind and warm when things get tough.
  3. This here blog.  It has provided me so many great opportunities and even a helpful little side income and I absolutely LOVE doing it!  I've met so many wonderful people through this old thang.
  4. Running. This will always make the list.  It helps me to deal with life's challenges while also challenging me physically and mentally in a way that helps me grow. And running just makes me really freaking HAPPY. 
  5. The furry friends in my life.  They're the best snuggle buddies in the entire world.
  6. My family, of course. They're crazy and they're awesome and I couldn't love 'em more.
  7. Access to healthy, fresh foods. This one is HUGE for me! Not everyone has the ability to eat fresh, local, delicious food like we do here in southern CA and I do not take it for granted. 

(The Smaller Ones...)
  1. Coffee. Seriously. Life just wouldn't be the same without it and I would have a lot less motivation to get up in the morning.
  2. My gym.  I just love it! It's clean and kind of swanky and it has everything a (fit) girl could dream of in one place. It makes me seriously happy to be there.
  3. Taylor Swift. Yeah, laugh all you want but her music puts me in the best mood ever! (I like really cool music too - promise!)
  4. My book club. #nerdalert. For the past 4 years I've been in one book club or another and I thoroughly enjoy it.  I love reading and it's so much fun to discuss books with like-minded (and sometimes not-so-like-minded) people.
  5. Yoga.  I don't go nearly enough but when I do, I am so thankful for the practice and the teachers who spread their love and light all around.
  6. San Diego.  I will admit, I am getting a little tired of the constantly perfect climate but it is such a beautiful place to live and I am grateful for the chance to have spent 5 years here so far. 
Had to do it, guys.

Please play along and spread the positivity! 

What are you grateful for?

Monday, November 24, 2014

1-Day Cleanse, My New Shoes, & Moving!

Hi guys! I'm doing a pseudo-cleanse today because the fine folks at Green Bee delivered a day's worth of green juice and detox soup to my doorstep on a day when I really, really need it. I definitely overindulged this weekend in honor of my friend's 30th birthday. It was all in good fun and celebrating a dear friend PLUS I am under a lot of stress at the moment so I'm cutting myself some slack. The timing of the one-day cleanse couldn't be better.  Thank you, universe, for always sending me exactly what I need. :) I love the guys over at Green Bee and love what they're bringing to the San Diego juice scene.

much needed after a blurry night of too many cocktails.


My workouts this past week were pretty lame and I only worked out 4 days - not typical for me, but again, I am trying to be a bit more lenient with myself.  I also decided to make this time period my "off-season" since I know my body needs a little down time and I really want to run the LA Marathon.  I am not one of those people that can run back to back to back races and never take a break.  Most humans NEED an off-season, and although I am a strange and unusual bird in most ways, I am definitely like most humans when it comes to running.  And in exciting news, I will have a coach to help me through this next year of racing! This is really exciting for me and I will share more on my coach and all of that in a future blog post.

Here's a great article on the importance of having an off-season. All I can say is, amen.

Fit Foodie 5k last Saturday. The longest I've run since then is a whopping 4 miles.


I've been on the hunt for a new place the past several weeks and haven't had any luck. It's been stressful and frustrating but this past weekend I found the winner! It's quite hard to find a place in my budget in an area of San Diego that I like.  I decided to go the roommate route and found a pretty ideal situation with two really great girls in a perfect spot.  It's a 2 story duplex in a very walkable area and just two doors down from an old friend of mine.  I feel like I can breathe now.  Moving day will likely be this upcoming weekend. Fingers crossed!

The New Shoe

I mentioned I was interested in trying a new shoe and that I was going to have a gait analysis performed at my favorite local running shop, Milestone in North Park.  Well, I did all of that and I found a new shoe that I hope will turn out to be the PERFECT shoe.   

Getting all analyzed...

by the running relationship expert.

I learned my feet are two different sizes. By like A LOT.


The Saucony Triumph!

Pretty, right!?

So that's what's happening in my little corner of the internet. What is new with you!?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I'm a Spinning Machine + Trying New Shoes

My last run was at the Fit Foodie 5k on Saturday because I am trying to be a really good girl and rest this hamstring. I've been a spinning machine and I'm sure by the end of the week I will be so over riding an indoor bike that goes nowhere.  I love spinning, don't get me wrong, but 5 days a week is a bit much for me. It is all in the name of being able to run again.

My new home away from home

Tonight I am headed over to my favorite local running shop (after spin class, of course) and I am going to have a gait analysis done.  I'm kind of itching to try a new shoe.  The Brooks Ghosts have been my tried and true shoe since the beginning of time and every time I switch, I regret it but I just feel like there must be a shoe out there that won't result in bloody feet after every race.  Right!? 

The Currex insoles have been a lifesaver in every way and I've had ZERO plantar fascia issues since using them. My hope is that as long as I put those suckers in a new shoe, I will be golden as far as injury goes.  Fingers crossed.

My foot profile is as follows:

  • I have a super high arch
  • I am an underpronator (meaning my feel roll outward when running)
  • I land on my forefoot 
  • I am prone to Plantar Fasciitis
So I am looking for the perfect shoe to work with all of those things.  Wish me luck!

milestone - my fave running shop

And on a side note, can you believe Thanksgiving is NEXT week already? Since I don't have family here, I will be serving some seniors a turkey dinner and will possibly meet up with some friends. I try to keep busy on these days so I don't miss the fam too much. :) 

What is your all-time favorite shoe?

T-Day plans?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fit Foodie Weekend Extravaganza!

This weekend was all my favorite things packed into just a few days -- running, yoga, food and there were cocktails but I missed those. 

I don’t usually run 5ks because quite honestly, I think they’re really hard!  Those 3.1 miles feel like an eternity because you have to push hard the entire time.  There is no getting comfortable like in a marathon.  The race was down at the Hilton Bayfront which is less than one block from my gym and less than a mile from my friend Teresa’s condo where I was staying this weekend so it couldn't have been more convenient.  The course was pretty like most San Diego courses and very familiar as I usually do my long runs on that very path. 

Nicole from Fitness Fatale was the winner of one of my race entries so we finally got to meet after a long time of blog following.  I didn’t start at the front of the pack because I was a little late getting to the starting area so I wasn’t able to run with her, but I saw her come flying by after one of the turn around points and she looked great!  She ended up getting a PR!  It was so fun to finally chat with her in person since I have been following her CIM training religiously and just know she is going to do amazing.  It is exciting to watch people work hard for a goal and then kick ass on race day – which I am already foreshadowing.
Fitness Fatale meets SoCal Runner Gal - finally!

I didn’t even wear my timing chip because I knew I wasn’t racing the 5k so I don’t have a clue what my finish time was but I am pretty sure it was a high 21, likely 21:59.  :)  After finishing, I also got to meet Ashleigh, London and Andy – all top notch San Diego bloggers.  Sure enough, they’re all fabulous in person too.  

I mean, honestly, I can't even believe I posted this photo because I have never seen a worse photo of myself -- but everyone else looks beautiful and by posting it I probably earned some major selfless karma points.

The finisher’s village was just insane, in the best way.  They provided the best swag I’ve ever seen at a race. Great food, massages, full size bottles of Suja juice and Sambazon and almond milk lattes.  It was just ridiculous.  There were cooking demos with celebrity chefs – when I was there it was a guy from Bravo’s ‘Below the Deck.’  The entire race was very well organized and the freebies were unbeatable.

cooking demo at the finisher's village

Sunday was yoga and brunch which I was most looking forward to.  Kristin McGee taught the class and she is just lovely in every way.  I met some really nice women beforehand and sat with some cool chicks who work for the LaceUp Running Series at brunch.  I find it very easy to get along with women who are into fitness and food. There is never a shortage of conversation.  Again, the freebies were ridiculous and I stocked up on some seriously great stuff.  Brunch was light and healthy and the location was gorgeous with views of the water. 

kristin mcgee

I had so much fun this past weekend and I would do it again in a heartbeat! Thank you, Fit Foodie, for letting me be an ambassador for this fabulously fun and fit weekend.  

How was your weekend?

Does this sound like a weekend you'd be into?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How I Deal With Stress... Starting TODAY!

This week sucks.  Can I say that without you thinking I'm the most negative person ever?  I swear I am not -- this week has just been a rough one. There are some major life changes looming in the very near future and a whole lot of uncertainty. I don't deal well with stress which is why today at our staff meeting I decided to go to town on a huge piece of chocolate cake. I am so thankful to my boss who said "Kate. Throw it away. It's not even that good" because he knew I was just going to be angry with myself and feel sick if I ate it all.  I always appreciate honesty AND he saved me like 200 extra calories.

The stress is also causing me to break out like WHOA which has now led me to explore alternative diets to deal with skin issues.  My friend Rebecca sent me a copy of the e-book Skintervention so I am diving into that at the moment.  I must say, the Paleo way of eating stresses me out because it feels so different from how I eat now. Since it's something very new I feel like it would require a lot of thought and I would need a coach to help me learn the way.  I actually know one and her name is January but every time I think about doing her sugar detox, something always comes up and stops me from committing.  But if you're interested in that sort of thing, she's amazing and has quite literally changed many lives.  Check her out!  {Sorry for going on a little tangent there!}

Usually when I am stressed I take it out on the pavement.  I run my heart out and basically sweat the stress away.  But I am still in recovery mode from my marathon 10 days ago and trying not to exacerbate this lingering hamstring issue.

So, how am I dealing with big life changes and uncertainty??

Excellent question! 

The answer is: I'm not.  I'm losing my mind.  So I will lay out some alternatives to dealing with stress that don't involve long distance running. I vow to start doing at least one of these a day until my life returns to normal.  It might be awhile, folks...

  1. Journal.  I know from experience that this one works! Writing it all out is a huge release and by the time you're done scribbling, you're usually calmer and more rational about the situation.
  2. Practice Yoga.  Yoga is known for its ability to calm the mind and ease tension.  Leave it all on the mat.
  3. Talk to friends.  Last night I forced myself out of hibernation mode to hang out with one of my best friends over a glass of wine. We chatted, laughed and by the time I left I felt like maybe (just maybe) the world wasn't ending. That's what friends are for - truly.
  4. Get lost in a book.  If the stress is too overwhelming it can be impossible to focus and read, but I've found that if I shut out all distractions I can lose myself in a book and forget about my problems for the time being rather than obsess over them.
  5. Take the dog for a walk.  My dog is ecstatic when we go on walks and that happiness is contagious. How can you not be happy when your pup is thrilled to be out on a walk with you? If you don't have a dog, it's okay. Walking alone is nice too. :)
So there you have it -- Some stress relief tips and tricks that I know work well yet I don't use nearly enough.  Today, I choose to journal.  I am headed off to spin class and I will journal with a cup of tea tonight.  :) 

How do you deal with stress? 

Monday, November 10, 2014

5 Tips for Running Your Best Marathon

I have now run 5 marathons - which is nothing compared to many other marathon runners - but for me and my body, it's a whole lot.  Marathon #1 was a BQ and my PR until New York just a week ago.  That isn't typical. Usually you get faster, not slower, especially at my age.  I decided to go back to basics for this last race and I did everything exactly as I had for my first marathon. I went on to run a 3:29 and qualified for Boston again!  It is so very clear to me now what works and what doesn't.

We are all very different so I am not suggesting one size fits all.  Some people can handle way more mileage, more speedwork, less rest, fewer carbs, etc. but I know what works for me and what provides me with the right amount of endurance, energy and strength to be able to run consistently over 26.2 miles and finish strong.  

1.) Replace one run each week with cross-training.  If you're prone to injury (like me), swap out one run with some other type of low impact cardiovascular activity.  I prefer spinning but the elliptical and swimming are also great options. This allows you to build endurance while minimizing the risk of injury.

2.) Run slow to run fast. This one sounds counter intuitive but I promise it works. I watch fellow runners do all their training runs way faster than me and come race day, they run 30+ minutes slower than me. I am a firm believer in running easy most days of the week. With the exception of speed work and tempo runs, runs should be comfortable and about a full minute per mile slower than race pace. 

3.) Don't fear sugar.  Sugar gets a really bad rap and rightfully so, but when it comes to marathon training and racing it is actually very beneficial. Use it to your advantage. "Dozens and dozens of studies have demonstrated that supplementing your body’s supply of glucose/glycogen with glucose, fructose, and other simple sugars that are easily converted to glucose during exercise enhances performance in workouts and races lasting longer than an hour" according to Competitor. I prefer gels and sports drinks on long runs and throughout a marathon.  I can usually only stomach about 2 gels in an entire marathon but I take them in slowly and I also supplement with sports drinks at every other aid station. Cutting out sugar in your everyday life is a great choice but embracing it on long runs and race day can make a huge difference in performance.

4.) Taper.  Like a lot.  As crazy runners we find it incredibly difficult to cut down on mileage but I am here to tell you it is critical. I typically taper for 3 weeks before a marathon but this last time around I was forced to taper a full 4 weeks and guess what-- I still ran faster than my goal pace!  When people say "the hay is in the barn" it is absolutely true.  Your training is done and any running done in those last few weeks will not make you faster or increase your endurance. Rest! 

5.) Ditch the tunes and tune into your body.  I've run my fastest marathons without music. Coincidence? Definitely not.  While I train with music 100% of the time, I find that on race day it is a distraction.  Ditching the music allows you to completely tune into your body.  This will help you avoid going out too fast which is one of the biggest mistakes marathon runners make.  You will be able to run by feel and focus on your breathing instead of allowing your pace to be determined by the tempo of a song.  Music hinders you from focusing on your breath and exertion and it can also make it harder to have those important mental conversations with yourself. 

Do you agree or disagree with these?

What would you add to the list?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

My Name is Kate + I'm a Runaholic.

I think I am suffering from the post-marathon blues and to be completely honest, I’ve been downright sad this week. I find it hard to transition from my routine of running and training with such focus to …just life.  I love working towards a goal. I love challenging myself.  I love the feelings of euphoria that are the hard-earned product of a great sweat session.  At the same time, I love the easy, carefree runs that require no agenda.  I just love to run. Period.

This morning I came to the conclusion that I may truly be addicted to running. The word “addiction” comes with such great stigma that I’m sure most runners would hesitate to say they are addicted.  It's likely that most runners aren’t actually addicted but I’m sure there are many out there like me.  The ones who become down when they can't run and who experience the blues when running is taken away from them and those who physically crave it.

I serendipitously came across this beautifully written article “Running: Just another addiction?” that confirmed I am not alone. I found myself silently saying “Yes!  Yes! Yes!”  as I read her words.  Here are a couple excerpts that resonated with me:

"It is in the search to live meaningfully, to experience life at its fullest, that running has become my sweetest addiction and one that I hope to never quit."

Running has dragged me out of the darkest, lowest, unhappiest places and has taken me somewhere beautiful.  Running has exposed parts of me that I didn't know existed.   Parts of me I can be proud of.  Running has taught me to respect my body and honor it.  Yes, I put it through a lot with marathoning but it only makes me stronger and happier.  I used to beat my body up in other ways that weren't healthy or kind.  I, like the author, hope to never quit. 

"It is a very different addiction than one that leads to a path of self-destruction. As long as you maintain a strong balance and always refer to your heart for guidance, this addiction is a good thing. This addiction leads to happiness and freedom. My running addiction is an expression of my love of life."

Running has also made me love and appreciate life far more than I ever did before.  I have a very addictive personality and it can quickly become self-destructive. I have to be mindful.  Addiction runs in my blood and I come from a long line of addicts so it’s not surprising that I took to running so quickly and fell in love with marathons. But like she says, running is not self-destructive (for most).  It is the opposite. Running has essentially constructed me into the person I am today, and holy cow, I couldn't be more grateful. It has saved me.

I think I am genuinely experiencing some withdrawal symptoms from not running at all this week and I am itching to get back out there.  Luckily, over the years I’ve grown wiser and I know that my body needs to recover. It isn't an option – it’s mandatory.  If I want to keep doing the very thing that breathes life into me, I need to rest.  This is also the way I maintain a healthy addiction to running.

My mom commented on this saying If you're going to be addicted to something it may as well be something that's good for you!" and I couldn't agree more.

today, we walked.

I’m sure there are a lot of varied opinions on this subject.  Weigh in!

What are your thoughts?  

Are you a running addict?