Thursday, March 26, 2015

Finding the Perfect SHOE for YOU

It’s taken me years and years to find a shoe that works for my foot and my stride. I finally found my personal perfect shoe through trial and error, but I am telling you, there’s a much better way to go about it and you can likely avoid the error part of this equation. Finding the right shoe often means injury prevention -> 2 very important words for us runners!

Three things you should definitely do to find the right shoe: Get fitted, have a gait analysis performed and determine what type of foot you have.

Last night, I went to Road Runner Sports for a video gait analysis, foot scan, shoe fitting and to have custom insoles made for my shoes. They do it all right there in the store! It’s fancy shmancy and the video analysis, foot scan and fitting are completely free and no appointment is needed – just walk in and they will do it ALL.

The store is massive and they have two rows of treadmills all equipped with the technology for their "Shoe Dog" experience which involves a video gait analysis. They have you step on a little blue pad that transmits a reading and image to the big flat screen showing where you carry your weight and what type of foot you have. It looks like a brain scan but of your feet. My reading showed my insanely high arches and the fact that all of my weight goes to the outer edges of my feet.

They then have you hop on the treadmill barefoot and run for a minute or so while they record your gait. Once you hop off the treadmill they show you your form in slow motion and go forward and back so you can see the tiniest little details and subtleties that you would never notice otherwise. I learned that while my feet roll outward, my Achilles is actually right where it needs to be. This is important info in picking a type of shoe (stability versus neutral).

The stick the custom insoles into a machine that warms them up and gets them ready to be molded to your foot. It’s seriously cool. Then they have you step on this other contraption that is super soft and cushy and form the custom insole to your foot. It then hardens and is good to go. This is perfect for me because I need an insole that will support my arches. I've learned this the hard way.

They print off all of your info and then another staff member runs and picks out a ton of varieties to try based on the shape and size of your foot, the mileage you run, your gait and the type of terrain you run on. You can test them on a treadmill or on the little track around the store.

I tried on half a dozen shoes and was thrilled to find out the most recent shoe I’ve been running in and loving is basically the perfect shoe for my foot. Seriously, if I would’ve come here sooner it would have prevented so many injuries, lost toenails and discomfort. I could kick myself now.

My final choice:

I ended up walking away with a brand new pair of Saucony Triumphs in some outrageously fun colors, my custom insoles made to order and some super thin socks for my blister-prone feet. I went home and immediately slipped my new kicks on and went for a 3 mile run. They felt glorious! There’s really nothing like a new pair of running shoes. Right?

Fun fact: I've never known another place to let you exchange your worn shoes after 90 days if you're unhappy with them but Road Runner Sports does! You get to test-run your shoes to make sure they’re perfect. They don't care if they're dirty and worn - they will trade you for a pair you're happier with. It's seriously awesome customer service.

Find your Road Runner Sports store here or shop online at

What's the perfect shoe for you?
What kind of feet do you have?

* This post is sponsored by Road Runner Sports as part of a 3-part series, but as always, all opinions expressed are original and authentic.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spreading love and toes...on the run

I’m a runner (obviously) and I have the feet to prove it. Blisters, black toenails, callouses, you name it. My feet are far from pretty but after a decade of running, I’ve finally learned to appreciate them. I used to hide my calloused and battered little toes from the eyes of others and I even avoided pedicures because I didn’t think any person should be subjected to my feet. But that’s silly because after all, these soles helped me cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon and and these toes held me in tree pose as I overlooked a jungle in Thailand. These are also the very feet that kiss the earth every single day. Nowadays, I embrace my gnarly feet and I give them all the love.

That’s how I got hooked on ToeSox in the first place. Slipping on a pair is like giving my feet a well deserved hug. I wear my ToeSox on the mat to practice yoga and in the studio to take barre classes. Now ToeSox has gone even further and created the Zoe, a compression sock that I wear for running and recovery from long runs.

The Zoe was just released..TODAY! :) Get yours here.

As a marathon runner, compression socks are essential on my long runs and the key to recovery because of their physical benefits like increased circulation and reduced inflammation. The Zoe is a beautiful knee high compression sock with the usual seamless five toe construction to prevent blisters and friction. The design is meant to allow your foot to move in the most natural way possible. The Zoes are stylish and super functional as always but they have the added physical benefits of compression making them the super star of all ToeSox.

As a long distance runner I swear by compression and recommend every runner give it a whirl. Go for a trial run at a longer distance in a pair of compression socks and see if you notice a difference. Also try wearing them for a few hours after a really tough run and notice how you recover and feel the next day.

Our feet and legs work incredibly hard for us and I believe they deserve the royal treatment. If we expect them to perform at their best, we need to give them lots of love and a tight squeeze from time to time. And if you’re like me and have some less than pretty looking feet, don’t be shy. Be grateful for the finish lines they’ve helped you cross, the many miles of training they’ve let you endure and the places they’ve allowed you to explore.

What places has running allowed you to explore?

Monday, March 23, 2015

{Almost} Wordless Weekend Recap

How about a little iPhone photo dump to tell the story of my weekend?  Here goes:

As usual this weekend involved some great sweat sessions (at Pilates Plus and the Rush), delicious food, bikini time on the beach, live music with an ocean view and some cocktails. My base tan is in full effect and I am ready for summer!

What did YOU do this weekend?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Diet Versus Exercise Dilemma

When I received this month's Runner's World in the mail I did my usual happy dance and was then immediately intrigued by the subtitle of an article on the cover: How Burning More Calories Beats Eating Less. I completely agree. 100 million %.

just one of the many reasons I exercise

I would so much rather be active almost daily and eat to my heart's content than move less and have to eat less to maintain my weight.

But have you heard the phrase "You can't out-exercise a bad diet"? I see it everywhere, even at my gym where they sell the pre-made meals. Whenever I read that quote I think to myself...well, that's a lie because you sure can out-run one. I come from the camp of "calories burned are calories earned." Apparently, that notion has been rejected by most researchers.

Researchers across the board pretty much agree that exercise is not that important when it comes to weight loss.  Diet is what truly matters. It is far easier to cut calories from our diet than to actually burn them off. That's a no-brainer. To be clear, nobody is arguing that exercise isn't good for us. We know it has a multitude of health benefits and we should all be doing it. It's just that when it comes to weight loss - it doesn't seem to have a huge impact.

From my experience, when I'm in marathon training mode I can get away with eating a ton of calories. I can scarf down half of a large pizza the night before a long run and I can enjoy fro-yo on the regular. But as soon as my mileage decreases, I need to keep my eating in check or else the needle on the scale will start moving in an unfortunate direction.

I will say, about 80% of my diet is "healthy" and "clean" but I can eat a dessert every day and a massive burrito the size of my head when I'm training and not gain any weight.  The tricky part is not going overboard on the treats and overcompensating for the calories burned.  That is where many of us get into trouble.

But I still struggle with this idea that exercise doesn't have much of an effect on our weight. As a runner and active person I believe exercise is basically the only reason I am able to eat the amount I do and stay within a healthy weight range. Did I mention I eat A LOT? I've always assumed that if I were to stop exercising I'd gain a ton of weight. Seems like common sense. Right?

But last night as I read the article in Runner's World, I realized I've never actually stopped working out so how would I really know?  In the last 10 years of my life I have only taken one or two weeks off of exercise (due to medical issues that completely prohibited me from exercising). So the weight gain that would presumably happen if I stopped exercising is just that -- presumption.

Or is it? 

The author of the Runner's World article seems to think there's something to my philosophy, "calories burned are calories earned." Amby Burfoot believes there is more to physical activity than researchers as of late have suggested. He takes us back to an old theory from the 1950s called "Energy Flux."

The summary of this theory, as I understand it, is basically that humans have evolved to exercise a certain amount every day. As long as we do, everything basically works itself out. Meaning our body tells us how much to eat which saves us from overeating and packing on the pounds. If we don't move and are completely sedentary (which many Americans are) we end up all out of whack. The body's natural hunger and satiety mechanisms are essentially broken and that is when we eat, eat and eat some more and wind up obese.

I apologize to Jean Mayer, PhD for likely butchering her theory there.

This idea of Energy Flux places a whole lot more value on exercise which I'm sure most of us can get behind. Personally, it makes sense to me and seems logical enough.  As long as you're moving and grooving everything will work itself out. Except this doesn't take into account emotional eating or food addiction etc. so it's obviously an oversimplification of something more complex.

A part of me would love to do a personal experiment and see what happens if I completely cut out exercise. Would I gain a bunch of weight? Would I stay the same? Who knows? And honestly, who cares?

The bottom line is this:  You could show me all the evidence in the world proving exercise has no effect on weight gain or loss and I would still exercise. I don't exercise so I can fit into my size 2 jeans. I work out for my well-being. I crave exercise. I need to sweat for my sanity.  If exercise is the thing keeping me in those size 2s, that's great! If not, you'll still find me hitting the gym and running marathons.

After all that rambling sprinkled with ill fitting memes, let's hear your thoughts:

Do you think exercise plays a major role in weight loss?
Or is it all about diet?

If someone told you that exercise has absolutely no impact on your waistline, would you still do it?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Yoga in a Nightclub + My Vision

Last night I had another first. Have I ever told you how much I love trying things for the first time? Well, it's kind of the best. I live for it.

Last night I practiced yoga in a trendy downtown night club. You will likely never find me in a club these days so it was nice to have an excuse to check out one of these swanky places while still wearing my comfy workout clothes. Win/win!

My friend Sheri and her friend Helen led a goal-setting workshop and yoga class at Parq. It was such a blast! There was a DJ serenading us (digitally) with fun music throughout the night and the club was packed! Another first: listening to Tupac in tree pose. Super awesome. Need to do that again!

My favorite part was when we were asked to write our vision for 5 years from today. We were instructed to write it in the present tense. I personally LOVE intention setting and visualization. I believe so wholeheartedly in its power and the importance of positive thinking.

I went all out with the cheesiness (because that's just how I am) and had no idea we'd be asked to share our vision with a complete stranger. I was super embarrassed but I figured, hell, if I shared it with a random in-person stranger, I may as well share it with all of you. Right?

So here goes.

My Vision... {In my voice 5 years from now}
I am 33 going on 34 now and I love my life! I still live in San Diego because it has truly become home sweet home over the past 10 years. I have a beautiful, healthy little baby and I am finally experiencing the triumphs, trials and joy of motherhood. I love it! I have a wonderful partner who understands that my identity goes beyond 'mother' and supports me in the ways I need to be supported. I do the same. I blog full time and do some freelance writing on the side. I continue to be involved in the non-profit industry but now as a consultant from time to time. I also teach some fitness classes in my community and I love the variety in my days. Boredom is a word that does not exist in my vocabulary. My house is truly a home and I wake up every morning grateful for my family and all the beauty that surrounds me. I am not rich with material goods or money but have an abundance of wealth as I define it. Upon my first sip of coffee each morning I sigh deeply because I am content. I have everything I've ever wanted. 

Wow! That was embarrassing but what you put out into the universe, you get back. Right? So there it is. I've put it out there. Hopefully all that goodness boomerangs its way back to me in five years. ;)

Where's the weirdest place you've practiced yoga?

Brave enough to share your 5 year vision? Go for it!

Monday, March 16, 2015

When the beach beckons...

Holy cow - summer has hit San Diego a bit early this year. It's been hovering around 90 degrees for the past four days or so.  On Friday, I was told to go home early from work so rather than do the whole "are you sure?" or "well, let me wrap up this project first..." I grabbed my purse and sped off. I went home, threw on a bikini and made my way to the beach.

beach day #1

It truly feels like summer right now. It even smells like summer. It's delightful.

I spent Friday at the beach and then enjoyed a delicious grapefruit cocktail and some fish tacos. Saturday began with a coffee date with my friend Rebecca bright and early followed by a killer class at Core40.  And by killer, I mean she wanted to kill me after taking her to the class. ;) Holy core work!

As soon as we finished our sweat session we hit the beach...again. We have the kind of lovely friendship where we can comfortably sit in silence without any sort of awkwardness.  So we lied there on the most gorgeous beach, soaking up the sun and totally blissing out.

beach day #2!!

We wrapped up our beach day with... you guessed it... FISH TACOS (and a beer). Honestly, I'm obsessed. I think if I moved away from San Diego, I might miss the fish tacos more than anything else. That is how good they are.  I went to dinner at True Food Kitchen Saturday night and had the most delicious booze-free concoction - the Kale-Aid and my favorite kale salad with salmon.

Sunday, I slept in and it was glorious. I cooked some breakfast and then hit the gym for a little 6 mile run (my first run of the week) since it was way too hot to run outside. After my sweaty treadmill sesh, I crossed the bridge over to Coronado Island and relaxed for a bit with Brittany and then we went stand up paddle boarding. I love SUPing and find it so relaxing. It's like a meditation on water and with gorgeous views of my beloved city; it's total bliss.

beach day #3!!

I finished off the weekend with... more fish tacos. Seriously, I can't stop guys!  And there is something extra delicious about a fresh fish taco after a day at the beach. It's the most perfect finale.

Sometimes I want to pinch myself because my life feels like a vacation.  Weekends like this make me so grateful I took the leap and moved across the country five years ago. I can't imagine a place I'd be happier to call home.

**I rented Stand Up Paddle Boards with my Fitn pass. One membership gives you access to the best studios and gyms and even kayak, bike and SUP rentals! This is how I go to SparkCycle all the time. :)  Learn more here. {Available in San Diego and Orange County}

How was your weekend? Spill it!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Blissin' Out at YogaSix with ClassPass

Happy Friday, everyone!! I started celebrating the weekend a little early last night at the two year anniversary VIP event for the Blind Burro. We enjoyed delicious margaritas and tons of tasty Mexican fare. I love that place! It never disappoints.


I've had the chance to try out a crazy amount of fitness studios with my ClassPass (if you don't have one, get one!) and slowly but surely I will write about them all.  Today, let's talk about YogaSix.

I've taken classes at two different locations - one in Point Loma and one in Solana Beach. I enjoyed both of them!

Here's some background on YogaSix:
Yoga Six studios offer hot, traditionally inspired set-sequence flows, vinyasa yoga, specialty yoga classes, and fitness classes – at a variety of levels. True, beginner-friendly classes and programs support newer students in their yoga journey; more advanced classes allow seasoned practitioners to deepen their respective practices. Additional offerings like Yoga Teacher Training, specialty workshops, and seasonal programs provide opportunities for continued education, and personal development. At present, Yoga Six has four studios in San Diego, one in St. Louis and several more locations in development.
Obviously you can't completely judge a yoga studio after only taking a few classes because the quality depends entirely on the instructor.  However, the studios are beautiful!  Both locations are gorgeous and pristine. They are both super contemporary and clean with great amenities like showers and toiletries free for students. They're also eco-friendly and much of the design is made from recycled materials.

The yoga rooms themselves have soft flooring called Tatami mat flooring, which is made from non-toxic, recycled materials and the rooms are mirrored (like many studios these days).  I am not a big fan of either of these aspects. I love wood flooring despite the Tatami being better on your joints and I prefer studios without mirrors. But that's just my personal preference obviously.

Both classes I took had great teachers and I felt my hour was well spent.  Classes get pretty full at both studios so I'd recommend booking online (or on your ClassPass app) and getting there early for a good spot.

Classes are definitely pricier than some other studios ($20 drop-in rate) but at a boutique studio it's to be expected.  If you enjoy taking yoga in a posh place with top notch amenities, then you'll love YogaSix.  If you prefer no frills and just like to practice outside on a deck, for instance, then I'd recommend Riff's in La Jolla. Totally different vibe.  Different strokes for different folks and they're both fantastic.

Want to try a week of ClassPass for only $10? Click here. 

What are you up to this weekend?

Ever been to YogaSix?