Tuesday, December 17, 2013

You Know your a Runner when...

you pack a golf ball, tennis ball, and KT-Tape whenever / wherever you travel.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A So-Cal Girl's Guide to Running in the Rain

Being in Southern California, we luckily have awesome weather almost all year round. I applaud the brave souls that experience real 'seasons' and have to run in the rain, snow and ice. However, sometimes we do experience this strange clear liquid falling from the sky every now and then, (I hear it's called Rain).

Oh what to do? :) 

1- What to wear? 
Look for active-wear designed to repel  rain and wind. My go to line is the Adidas ClimaWarm line. Recently, Nike has stepped it up their winter line with their   Thermaflex line which is now pretty decent. Today I wore: 

Bottom: Adidas Climawarm running tights (they have a fleece-like material on the inside)
Top: Nike Thermaflex top (wind and rain repellent)  
Outer: Nike Running Gloves, hat and a Pearl Izumi outer shell (Rain repellent)  
The shell is pretty fantastic. It's light weight and vented but also keeps the heat in.  (It's actually a cycling jacket but it still works for running). 
Wearing a hat with a bill will help keep the rain out of your eyes and face and keep your head warm (you lose a lot of body heat from your head).

2: Tunes:
Blast some kick ass music. When I stepped out the door, Pandora was playing  Sia-Titanium  and that song will make you feel invincible! Especially the chorus
 "I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose ...
You shoot me down but I won't fall
I am titanium" 
You will be shaking your fist saying "F-U rain! You can't stop me!" 

3: Ventilation, when things heat up: 
Once you start running your body temp will rise and the clothes are designed to retain your body heat. If you start getting too warm, don't take off your layers yet. (You're sweaty and you will get super cold.) 
First roll up your sleeves a little bit to  expose your wrists. Since this is the location of an artery it will cool down the rest of your body. If you're still too warm, expose your neck line (the carotid artery). If you're still burning up then take off a layer, but in this weather the wrist and neck should be enough.

4: Keep Moving 
Your body temp is regulated by your movement. If you stop too long (to take some pictures and blog about it), the body temperature will fall and you will be cold. But what's worse you'll be sweaty, wet, and cold (really the worst kind of cold to be in). If you need a break try to keep walking rather stopping completely. 

5: Smile
Just know that E V E R Y O N E (cars and people) will all be thinking "damn that's a hardcore runner!" 

Happy Rain-Running!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Imaginary Competition

Sorry I've been in a weird funk and haven't been blogging as much, but on my run yesterday, I thought of blogging and missed it.

I usually like running solo because it gives me the flexibility to run when I want (like at 3:42 in the afternoon or some odd time like that), and it gives me the flexibility to go as fast or slow as I feel like (which I know isn't proper training etiquette, but I'm in it for fun of it, not to win the Olympics - or as I keep justifying to myself). With my running with partners, we 'enable' each other instead of compete. hehehe

On my usual route, there's a pretty big hill 3 miles before my house (the end destination). Normally, I try to run part of it and walk the peak cus its pretty steep. Yesterday, when I was making the turn to start up the hill, I had already planned that I was gonna walk the hill. THEN, I saw "Girl with Sunglasses" on the opposite side of the road. Now, when you live in the same neighborhood and run the same routes, you notice the same people, and we've crossed paths and smiled and waved before. I could tell by her pace, she was not gonna walk the hill. So I ran up the hill. I was a little ahead of her so I couldn't see if she ran it either, but I could 'hear' footsteps behind me. I couldn't really turn to look back, all I could do was push forward. When I finally climbed up the peak, I wanted to rest, but I heard those footsteps closing in.. So I ran..

I kept running until I was about a mile from my house and there was a bend in the road which allowed me to peek behind me, and there she was, "Girl with Sunglasses"!
I'm glad I kept running cus I didn't want her to pass me. I really don't think she had any idea the "race" I had going on. But I felt so good when I got home, my pace was awesome, my breathing was awesome, my time was awesome, and I didn't let "Girl with Sunglasses" beat me. haha!

When you're stuck in a routine rut, pick a person to "race" with. It'll make your run a lot more "fun"

Happy Competing!

Friday, October 25, 2013

My Cauliflower Nightmare

I've eaten cauliflower before, mainly if it was part of an entree, but I've never actually purposefully sought out to cook and eat a cauliflower. I know cauliflower is a super gassy veggie (like way worse than beans) which has always been a major turn off for me.

Recently, I've seen lots of recipes that use cauliflower as a substitute for carbs and people seem to love it and in the back of my head I keep thinking, "Don't they get gassy?... maybe its not as bad as I thought it was."

I made a recipe for cauliflower & lentil soup

And here's where the nightmare begins..

I had 2 bowls for lunch, I was so bloated and gassy for the entire day. My stomach kept cramping up. I was hungry but I couldn't eat anything because my stomach was so bloated. Then my blood sugar was getting low, so I was shaking and getting the sweats, but I couldn't eat anything. My stomach was so expanded I looked like I was going on my 3rd trimester of a cauliflower-baby-monstrosity.
I had a  4 mile trail run planned that I had to cut short because I felt like I was either going to vomit, or shart myself. In pain I went home and tried to have dinner and sleep it off.

Around 1 am, my stomach pains violently woke me up. Then around 2-3 am I was regurgitating my days meals. I felt much better after that, but now here's the Worse part (what it gets worse? YES!)

The vomiting caused the blood vessels around my eyes and face to burst. It looks like I have black eyes.
I'm trying every remedy I can find online to reduce the blotchy-redness. 

Its safe to say, I'm not eating cauliflower again. It actually looks Better in the picture. In person its waaay worse

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I Don't Taper

I do understand there are benefits to tapering, but its not for me.. I tried it and I didn't like it.. and thus
I Don't Taper

First things first: what is tapering? In a nut-shell, greatly reducing mileage and training 2-3 weeks prior or a race.

-Training doesn't stop after the race/event

I feel when a person tapers 2-3 weeks before their race, it makes the race the "end goal", the finale. So what happens after the race, do you continue to train, take a break or find another race?
The normal taper timeline is 2-3 week taper, race, then 1-2 weeks off  (still enjoying the race high), then after another 1-2 weeks later you start considering another race. By that time, its 2-3 months out since you last really "trained" so then you need start from square 1 again with another 16 week training program.

-Loss of Endurance

I lose endurance so fast I should be a science experiment. I'm fit and healthy and I have a blood pressure score of 106/60 on a bad day, but I believe biology is not to my benefit and my circulation is weaker. I always feel I have a circualation issue which doesn't see to go away no matter how many miles I run or weights I lift. 1-2 weeks of not running or a reduce mileage is not going to work for me. There are some people who can keep their endurance for months.. for me 1 week of not running and its GONE.

-Itchy legs

This goes hand and hand with the loss of endurance. You know that 'itchy' feeling you get when you start working out after being sedentary for a while? (That itchy feeling is actually capillaries expanding to provide more blood to the muscles). If I reduce mileage for a week, by race day, my legs are itching like crazy. Told ya, I have bad circulation.

-Poor Performance
Tapering is supposed to get you body rested up so you can kick ass on race day. Instead, it makes me have the worse race possible. My legs are itchy, my lungs burn (loss of endurance) and I'm just M I S E R A B L E!

Instead, I do take it a easier the week leading up the race, mainly to avoid injury and not do something stupid like to try rock climbing for the first time, but I still run high mileage and do my cross training. I treat the race just like a normal training weekend, except its harder with more people, and I have to wake up earlier.
I take a normal rest day following the race and training resumes back to my normal schedule.

Now just cus tapering doesn't work for me, I'm not saying it wont work for you. I believe you know your body best and you know what it needs. Listen to what your body is saying and flow with it. If you hate the taper schedule, don't taper just cus someone or some training plan told you so. Experiment and see what works for you. :)

Happy Racing,

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Free Golf Balls

I don't play golf, but I love using golf balls for my plantar fasciitis. And whats better? Free is always better.
Get 2 free pinnacle golf balls here!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

DIY for dry hands.

I put my skin through a lot of abuse- chlorine, sun, salt, dishes, multiple showers a day, etc.. With the summer heat, my hands were getting really dry and wrinkly. Here's a cheap effective home remedy anyone can do.

1- rubber gloves
2- lotions

Get rubber gloves a size larger or ones that give you a little bit of wiggle room else you hands will feel like they are suffocating.  My hands are technically small so my glove size is a s/m. 

Gather lotions. I like to mix and match and layer an array of lotions.

Next layer the lotion on your hands. Any of your favorites are fine. Gob it on thick. Then put the gloves on. I also squirt in some more lotion after the gloves are on.  I like to do this before bed so when I wake up I have soft silly hands. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Plantar Fasciitis? Cheap home remedies

Instead of buying the $100 freezable roller, place a water bottle in the freezer and roll the bottom of your foot with it. You can experiment with bottles of different shapes. 

Tennis balls:
Tennis balls are great muscle massagers. You can use them pretty much on any body part, it's cheap, and portable. This case was $.99 at the 99 cent store. Roll the bottom of your foot with it. Really put your weight on it to get a deep massage. 

Panty hose:
Place the ball inside a knee length panty hose so you can control the ball from rolling away. Also a great use for back massaging. Place the ball on your back while standing against a wall. Press and hold the ball on those stubborn muscle knots. 

Happy Rollin' 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

2013 Barb's Half Ironman Race Review

1.2 Mile Swim, 56 Mile Bike, 13.1 Mile Run

Barb's Race is the only "women's only" triathlon. It was developed as a fundraising event to be held simultaneously with the Full Vineman. Over $700,000 has been raised for cancer related organizations since the inception of Barb's Race in 2001.

** Barb's Story**
Barb Recchia volunteered for the Vineman events every year since they began in 1990. Then Barb was diagnosed with cancer in 1999.
Barb’s positive outlook and resolve in beating cancer made a big impression. It became clear that an event in her honor to raise funds for helping people like her beat cancer. The next year, Barb’s Race was started.

When I began the race, I thought to myself.. " I'm Never doing this again".. but once I finished, I said to myself.. "I can do better." Since this was my first time participating, I didn't know which hotel to stay at, so I trusted the hotel sponsors on the Vineman website. Lesson learned...next time, (if there is a next time), I do not recommend this. The hotel was SO FAR from the start or finish. It would have been better to have stayed at a hotel toward the beginning or end. The hotel we were at was in the middle, neither here nor there.. It took 20 mins to get to either the start or finish. Next time, I know better.

The Swim: 
We started the swim in the Russian River. I really liked how the corral started in the water, rather than making you 'run' into the water. 

The water was the perfect temperature, not too hot, not too cold. The water level is pretty shallow, at most 5 or 6 feet deep. Several parts of the swim course, the water is so shallow you can't even stroke cus you hit the ground, so many actually "walk". I really appreciated that the race directors carpeted the swim exit. Its just awful to swim 1.2 miles then have to stagger your way back to your bike over sharp rocks, etc. I'm very thankful for the carpet they laid down. They also had a crew that helped you take off your wetsuit. 


There were 2 transitions locations. At first it seems kinda weird, but it makes sense. You have to put all your run stuff at T2 the day before, which is at the finish line. Then you put all your swim and bike stuff at T1 (near the start line) the morning of. You're given a bag with your number on it, where you put all your swim stuff, and ride off. The race people will gather all the bags of swim stuff and take it to the finish line where you can pick it up. OR if you have a "cheerleader" with you, you can give your bag to them before you 'Bike Out' so then they have your stuff. Then the race people collapse and take down T1, and in an hour, its as if we were never there. 

Bike Out: 

T1 was muddy. I had so much mud in my bike clips I couldn't clip in. The start of the 'Bike Out' is a short but steep uphill. I walked my bike up the path before I clipped in, no point in wasting extra energy on that. 

The course was beautiful, passing through many many vineyards. I installed the hydration system Speedfil which is amazing! Around mile 30 I started to run low on my liquids, I grabbed a gatorade bottle from next the bike station, stuck bottle upside-down into the speedfil opening. In seconds, the gatorade bottle was emptied into my Speedfil container, all without missing a cadence beat.

By mile 40, I was already over biking. I hated seeing more vineyards. I thought to myself, "I never want to ride this long ever again!" On the Barb's website, they said there was a 'big hill' at mile 45. Around mile 41, I thought I conquired the rumored 'big hill'. It was tough, but I powered through it feeling really proud of myself. 
I passed through more rollling hills, I look down at my bike computer, mile 45. I look forward and I'm approaching a monster of a hill. I couldn't even see where it ended. I plow forward, barely going 5 mphs. At many points I even thought of getting off my bike and walking up the hill. Close to giving up, a well placed volunteer at an upcoming curve cheering "You're almost there, just around this turn!" Believing her, I said her words over in my head.. "arouond the turn.. around the turn".. I made it past her, smiled, but when I looked... there was ANOTHER TURN! She LIED! And I was MAD! (but it was a well-placed lie) Wanting to give up again, some well placed children volunteers where cheering us on, "Just around the turn!" 
I would not let myself fail infront of children, what kind of example would I be? So I pushed on.. There were a few more turns (kickback style) until we finally finally finally reached the peak. 
It was the most blessed downhill I've ever experienced. The rest were rolling  hills heading to T2. 

Strangely, the last 3 miles were the longest and most painful. I could see the school, I could hear the crowds.. but I WASNT there yet! I pedaled fasters.. looked at my meter only .3 miles had passed. ARGH!!! 
Eventually, painfully, and thankfully, I made it to T2. 

The run transition was great. I placed a cooler full of ice at my area, so my drinks were cold and it felt so good to splash ice all overmyself. I soaked my hat in the melted ice before I ran off. I have really long transitions, which I know I should be more hasty, but I just swam 1.2 miles, and biked 56 miles, and conquered the Monster Hill of Hell.. I'm sitting down, and I'm going to pamper myself. LOL 
I washed my feet, changed my socks, drank my liquids. 

Run Out: 

The run was two 3.3 mile loops. You run out to 3.3 miles, turn around and go back to the start, 6.6 miles, then back out again, 9.9 miles, then back to the finish, 13.1 miles. They had the most amazing water stations. Water, gatorades, fruits, cookies, chips, and the most amazing peaches and nectarines sliced up. I called each station, the "Peach stop". My only driving force at that moment was knowing there were peaches at the next mile. 

Crossing the finish line was a relief. It was over, I could sit and lie down. 

The funniest part, was when we got back to our hotel, I took one step up the stairs and froze. My legs would not work. I almost had to be carried back to the room. It took me a day to regain the use of my legs.

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Runner's Solution for Thick Hair - Scunci, no slip grip evolution

I have thick, long, unruly and heavy hair. Pretty much every hair tie I've ever tried, its ruined after 1 use. I always have to stop and re-tie my hair because it gets loose and hair is flying  and flopping around everywere.

However, I stumbled upon these hair-ties and they are AMAZING!!! The Scunci, no slip grip evolution

This is serious, NO SLIP GRIP. I did my entire half ironman with these little guys and my hair was still very tightly held in place.

I'll never go back to regular hair ties again.
Trust me ladies (or men if you have long unruly hair) this is for you.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Stubborn Muscle Knots?

Recently I had some calf issues and went to see a Physical Therapist.
Since I was there I brought up every problem I had, (one stop shopping).

My other chronic issue is pain in my upper traps, mainly between my shoulder blades.

I tried a chiropractor, acupuncture, massages, but the knots would always be there. Finally after 3 PT sessions, I realized the Electric Massager the PT used was very effective. So I went to Amazon and bought this one. There are many brands and prices. I just went for the cheapest with pretty decent reviews: XFT-320A Electrical Massager..

I love this. its the best $24 I ever spent. I blast my knots and I can move my neck again.

I know it doesn't solve the underlying issue (which I'm sure is related to posture and training) but it definitely feels Great!!

Friday, March 22, 2013

My Addiction

Over the years, as my body has grown accustomed to long distance running and endurance, it is true, endurance training is highly addicting.. but why?

Yes, on many levels there are hormones and enzymes in your brain and body that love it and keep you wanting more. Everyone has their own personal thoughts and feelings.

But I've noticed, in myself, during on and off season training, my stomach is what drives me the most. Now its not just the justification of gorging 3000-4000 calories a day, (that of course is fun) but its the way my body reacts to food is a whole other story.

During my off season, I wasn't running as much, and therefore I wasn't as 'hungry'. I feel like I've reached a point in my training, where my body just knows how many calories it needs to sustain itself. On my off season, I probably have 1000-1200 a day. Mainly I just don't "feel" like eating more. I get full, I stop. Yes, I get hungry like most normal humans, but the main reason why I don't eat more is because food just "taste" ok. Imagine eating something that didn't "taste" good. You'd obviously just eat enough to sustain life, and stop.
Even some of my favorite foods are just "good". Food was becomes something I had to do for survival because everything I ate was 'bleh'


When I do long runs, my body gets so hungry, so drained, the tiniest morsel of the most mundane food tastes Phenomenal!! As I chew, every taste bud is dancing erotically on my tongue, and every bite is almost orgasmic. Then consuming the food re-energizes my soul, my mind, my eyes, my ears, everything. Everything just tastes so g o o d!

Its like playing a Super Mario Brothers  with only 1/4 a heart left, then you find that Magic Mushroom, and *BAM* 20+ full hearts back.

It wasn't like this all the time. It took years to get to this point and realization.
When I don't have my long runs, I miss the "taste" of food the most. I do love training on the road for hours, being at peace with the world and myself. But that meal at the end is what really drives me home. I 'crave' to crave food.

what's drives you home? :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Search for a Tri-Bike

Since my bike got stolen (prior post) I needed to quickly find a new bike because Barb's Race Half Ironman was quickly approaching and I needed to continue my training.

I debated between a road bike and a tri bike, and decided to go with the a tri bike. When I did my last half ironman, my hamstrings were really tired, so I hope to avoid that feeling with a tri bike.

Now finding a size was difficult. I'm 5'2 and petite. Its hard to find a bike small enough to fit me, and with a top tube short enough for my torso. Also I want to get a good deal on a bike too. Of course you can spend $$$$ on a bike, but I decided my limit was $2000-$3000. Closer to $2000 would be best.

I visited a few triathlon stores to get fitted for a bike. I didn't know how a tri bike should feel and it was my first time riding one.
I tried a QintanaRoo, Fuji, Cervelo, and Felt.

It took a couple weeks of searching and researching. Also it was hard to take the time out to drive to stores to try the bikes out.

My local bike store had a GREAT deal on a Cervelo P2 and P3. They looked so pretty, but the smallest size would not fit me.

My last stop was at Triathlon Lab where I saw a good deal on a Felt B16W. I really needed to find a women specific bike because those were the ones small enough to fit me. The workers at TriLab were so helpful, and they set up 3 different bikes for me to try out so I could feel the difference. They didn't force me to get the expensive bike, because I was really drawn to the Cervelo. They recommended the B16 because it fit me really well.

after a few test rides, I fell in love with my Felt B16W. It was comfortable and a great deal! I ended up getting it for $1700 a full carbon and full ultgera bike.

Here's a picture of my new 'Mint-Chip' (its light green and black, but it looks blue in the pictures)

Special Thanks to State Farm for making this happen.

My Bikes Got Stolen

Over MLK weekend, my garage was broken into and my 2 bikes were stolen.

Here's an homage to 'Little Red' - my 2010 Fuji XS SL Comp 1. 

My second bike was a 2009 Trek WSD FX 7.5 - that wasn't ridden very much, so all I have is stock photo. 

I'm writing this post to let other's know how the whole process goes in case this happens to someone else and they need some solace. 

Once we got home and realized the bikes were stolen (along with other stuff in the garage) we called the "non-emergency" police line. 
About 30 mins an officer arrived and gave us some forms to fill out to file a police report. He said there's pretty much nothing they can do, and usually the stolen stuff never turns up. 

I went to bed feeling very sad, thinking why did this happen.

The next day, I called my homeowners insurance to get an idea of what can be covered. My Statefarm agent said they wouldn't be able to provide much details. I would need to file an "inquiry claim" to see if its worth filing a claim. 

After talking to a claims agent, who was very helpful, he said, that State Farm would cover the amount to replace the objects minus the depreciation. So for example, to replace and purchase my Fuji SL Comp today, the retail price is $2300. State Farm believes a lifespan of a bike is 10 years, since I had the bike for 2 years, they took off 20% for depreciation. So $2300 - 20% ($460) = $1840 + tax back to me.

Not bad since I bought the bike on sale for $1800. So I got the full value that I paid for it. 

State Farm knows you don't keep receipts for everything, but for the larger priced items, if you did have a receipt it would be helpful. Luckily I did have my receipts for my bikes, but they were ok if I didn't have receipts for other things, like my pedals, bike computer, etc. 

The insurance process was very fast. After I submitted the paper work, I got a check within days. The process was over in a week. 

I also notified local bike stores and scoured craigslist and ebay to see if my bike was posted. I even made flyers to post, but after I got my $ back, the flame to search for my bikes died down. 

It would be nice to find my road bike so I don't have to go through the process of getting another one which is a PAIN.

If you rent, you can get renters insurance. It covers the same things as home owners insurance (in case your bikes or possessions gets stolen) 

Get insurance! better safe than sorry :)

and here's a note for the thief: 

Charity Miles - Run/Walk/Bike and Save the World

If you have a smart phone Download this free app - Charity Miles. 

Its awesome.

For every mile you walk or run, it will donate $0.25, and $0.10 for every mile you bike. And that's just for doing your Normal workout!
This app doesn't interfere with your other training apps, you can use MapMyRun or Nike+ or other apps at the same time.

Workout and Save the World!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Stress and Snacking

I know everyone talks about stress, depression or any unhappy feelings leads to overeating, but I never "really" understood it until it happened to me. I always thought it was a lack of willpower on the person, but its much more complicated than that.

Now I wasn't going through anything traumatic, but I had was having a tough day at work and an overall stressful day. Suddenly deadlines, fire-drills, urgent projects, and my dog wasn't helping being mischievous every other minute.

I felt at my wits end. And all I wanted to do was eat. I felt hungry, even though I just ate, so I snacked and snacked and snacked.

Near the end of the day, I had an out of body experience where I mentally stepped away from myself and realized what I was doing.

My day wasn't going in a positive direction.. but what 'was' positive? The candy bowl in front of me, the chips and pretzels, etc. It was something I was "doing" that was "right". It gave me continuous "positive" reinforcement. I wanted more and more to fill the void of my crappy work day.

I now understand how a person can get lost in that. Luckily tomorrow, will be a better day, and all my deadlines will hopefully be gone, and I will need to workout to burn off all the candy I ate. :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cheat Days?

Do you condone or forbid cheat days? 

I love fitness, health, and working out.. but what I love even more? Brownies, cheesecake, and food (plant and animal)!

I went to a seminar where a very well respected author and weight loss doctor talked about his extremely stringent diet that he holds himself and with his patients. He did water fasting (fasting for days to weeks with just water), and only ate veggies, rice and beans. Beans were his sole source of protein. 

What really shocked me, was that he compared "cheat days" the same as giving a recovering alcoholic a drink. 

I know his methods do work, but I believe through the power of training and fitness, you learn self control and you learn how eat right. And with that control, I believe you can have that snack, dessert, 'cheat day'. 

I understand its important to watch what you eat to perform at your best, except the Michael Phelps diet, but we're not all training to be Olympic athletes, and whats the point of doing all that if you can't enjoy the simple brownie bites in life. 

Train hard, and don't forget to treat yourself :)