Monday, March 30, 2015

Let's Talk Training...

So I know I've probably mentioned it just a time or two, but I'm currently training for a Half Marathon that will take place on May 23 - The Avocado Half Marathon in Fallbrook. This is our (our being me, my mom & my sister) first time doing this race but we are already aware that the course has a hilly profile. Obviously from the name, it is near Avocado groves and if you aren't familiar with Avocado trees, they really like to grow on hillsides.

Here's a picture from their website:

So, I think you get the idea, right? Now, me and hills are usually not on friendly terms. Okay, okay, I pretty much hate them. Wait, let me revise that - I hate them in RACES. I don't usually hate them so much in training when I can just go at a leisurely training pace during repeats. But in a race, they inevitably end up kicking my rear and shredding my mental fortitude. The good part is that this race is two weeks before another hilly, and at altitude, 10k in Idyllwild that I do every year, so the hill training I am doing now will benefit both of these races.

But what I really want to touch on today is that I have a training dilemma. As I mentioned last week, I am also working with my daughter Michelle to complete the Couch to 5k program as she really wants to run some races. She's in the early stages of C25K so the intervals are fairly easy; this next week (week 3) we get up to running for 3 minutes. I'm loving doing the program with her and I'm so excited that she's taken an interest in running!! I have four kids and so far she's the ONLY one that has actually done so. My oldest is in the Air Force so he has to run for PT which means that he will only run when he has to. He much prefers cycling to running. My younger son was in the Army so after running for PT he decided he will only run when he wants to now, which is apparently never again. And the other daughter enjoys BMX, so that's where she gets her fitness fix.

So if I'm doing really easy runs with Michelle three days a week, when/how am I supposed to fit in the more intense training that I need to be prepared for a hilly half marathon?? That's the million dollar question...Actually, the million dollar question is how am I going to do it in the time frame that I am confined to AND how am I going to do it without feeling like I'm totally burnt out??

Here's my typical schedule:
Monday: easy effort on the TM, usually around 45 minutes - I find this works well for me as Monday's are the hardest to get having just an easy effort on the schedule allows me to ease into the week
Tuesday: speedwork on the TM
Wednesday: strength training
Thursday: Longer easy effort outside with Mom & Sis, usually around 50-60 minutes
Friday: strength training
Saturday: Long run
Sunday: Rest

Michelle wants to do her C25K sessions with me on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I'm not as worried about the Saturday session as I can do a little bit with her as a warm-up and then finish out my long miles while she is back chilling at the casa...or whatever. So I'm going to think out loud for just a moment with the hopes that you'll tell me if what I'm thinking is crazy or not.

My idea for revised schedule:
Monday: easy effort on the TM
Tuesday: C25K with Michelle followed by strength training focused on core/arms
Wednesday: speedwork on the TM
Thursday: C25K/easy effort
Friday: strength training/rest (if needed)
Saturday: C25K/long run
Sunday: Rest/stretching

Additionally, we will be doing hill work every other Saturday as part of our long run. So I don't think that is too unreasonable, right? Of course as Michelle gets up in longer intervals I may be able to switch back to my regular schedule. But in the meantime I really want to allow her to focus on completing the program and being ready to run a 5k. Of course, I'm also hoping that I'll be ready to run a half marathon in the process. HA!

No matter what my biggest hope is that I can arrive at a starting line feeling like I am somewhat ready to be there because it's been WAY too long since I've been able to say that has been the case. And please, any feedback you have, it is definitely welcomed!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Just a Quickie...

Just a couple burning topics on my brain today...let's get to it, shall we?

Want more pics of my beautiful sunny SoCal? Follow me on Instagram!
That picture looks gorgeous, does it not? Well, what is not so gorgeous is that it was like 94 degrees today! It is MARCH for goodness' sake!!! MARCH, people!!! Not June, not July...not even May - M~A~R~C~H. But, at least we aren't buried in snow, right? Psssh...

If you didn't notice, I posted a new tab at the top for Discount Codes. Check it out...but just because I love ya'll so, I'm going to make it super easy and post them here too!

I got my awesome discount codes for Skirt Sports today and am super excited to share. You can get 20% off of all merchandise AND virtual race entry fees.

Like you could get this really cool Reversible Flight Tank that is on sale right now (the one on the right side)!
Want to see more awesome pins? Follow me on Pinterest!
Or you could use it to sign up for the 261 Fearless Virtual Race taking place next month April 18-20. Let me tell you really quick about the perks: You get to run a cool race in your own neighborhood or wherever you choose to, you get a Don't Sweat It tank, sponsor swag, AND a Skirt Sports certificate that varies in value depending on the race package you select. Seriously, that is some of the best swag I have ever, ever, ever seen in a race, much less a virtual race. Doooooo ittttttt!!!

Click on image to go to race website
Okay, so the discount code, please use:


Alright - that's all I have time for today...have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Too Much Good Stuff!

I have so much good stuff to share I am practically bursting at the seams! So let's just do a little bullet action here because, well, I just love lists and what's a better way of organizing them than bullets? Yeah, I knew you'd agree... :-)

Click on Image for Website

  • I'm already on Week 6 of my latest half marathon training plan! It's going so quickly...this is for the Avocado Half Marathon that will be at the end of May. It looks to be a very challenging course and end of May with the weather we are having so far may mean a very hot race. I can't say my training has been spectacular on the long runs, but I'm confident that with some plan tweaking I will be ready for it as much as possible. But I definitely can't skip or shorten any more from here on out!
  • Speaking of weather - we apparently decided to skip Winter altogether here and jump right into late spring, early summer. We've already had multiple 90 degree days and I'm even out running in t-shirts and shorts at 4:00 AM!! Crazy, I know...but I'm not complaining (yet). I just hope it isn't indicative of an overbearingly hot summer. *fingers crossed* I mean, take a look at this picture from just last week:

I'm sorry...try not to be jealous.
  • One of my daughters who has always kind of flirted with the idea of running, but has never committed to it has actually begun!!! We've been doing the Couch to 5k plan and she's already on Week 2 Day 2 tomorrow morning. I actually didn't make her (relative term...I'm not "making" her do it period, but I didn't go out of my way to get her up and moving...LOL) do it a couple of days and she got upset with me - so that was my first indication that she's truly serious about it. She's hoping to run her first 5k right around her 21st birthday in mid-May which also coincides with her completing the 9 week program. I'm so proud of her and can't wait until we can run a race together!

  • And kind of separate but along with that, my hubby has been taking walks with me in the evenings in the hope of being able to run with me someday. He does have some physical limitations that make it more difficult, but he's trying and that's totally awesome! It's going to take awhile to build up to it, but we all know, a journey of a million miles starts with one step. We have already gotten him his first new running outfit of shorts, shirt and shoes. I'm so proud of him too and can't wait until we can possibly participate in a race together!
  • I haven't made an official announcement on the ol' blog, but I was officially invited back to be a member of Team SunRype for 2015! I'm so excited to continue representing this brand and feel like this year will be even better as I know what to expect now. 

  • And I've saved the absolute best for last: I took what felt like a really ridiculous long-shot when I filled out the Ambassador Application for Skirt Sports. Since submitting it several weeks ago I've expected to see the "Thank you for applying, but..." message pretty much every day. So when I saw the email from the Ambassador Coordinator I didn't even look at the subject line and jumped right in to the actual message so I could just read "Thank you for applying, but..." when lo and behold imagine my surprise when it actually said "Dear Skirt Sports Ambassador," I mean, like WHOA!!!! I'm truly amazed that I've been selected to represent what is a really awesome brand. This company was formed by triathlete Nicole DeBoom because one day as she was out running around town she caught her reflection in the mirror and thought "I look like a boy". She wanted to feel like her pretty, fierce, and feminine self when she was out running so she went ahead and created her very own running skirt prototype. Three days after wearing her first running skirt during a triathlon she created her company. Since then they have done so much to create programs, clothes and a mentality of Real Women, Real Bodies, and Real Inspiration. Like, seriously, what's not to love about that?!?!?

    Oh wait, there's MORE!! Okay, so then you throw in a partnership with none other than Katherine Switzer - as in the Katherine Switzer that was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, as in the Katherine Switzer that almost got attacked and drug off of the race course by Jock Semple, the then race director. YEAH, THAT KATHERINE SWITZER!! They have created an entire line of clothes and a race around 261 - Katherine's bib number in that race.
    Background image from

And what this means for you guys is that over the coming year I'm going to have some awesome giveaways (!!!) and discounts (!!!) for you so that you can also experience some absolutely amazing Skirt Sports products! I know, it's too good to be true, right?!?

I feel like life is just full of so much good stuff and I'm super excited to share it with you guys! I'm thrilled that two different companies that are so different, yet both have such high quality products, have entrusted little ol' me to share their goodness and mission with others! More to come...

Thursday, January 29, 2015


I realized yesterday that I never actually came back on here to share my 2015 goals. It took me long enough to even come up with what I wanted them to be and I have to admit that I've tried to keep them fairly simple because I know that it's going to be a crazy year with everything I have going on. I may keep these goals for the entire year, or I may make some changes mid-way. I just know that I really want to get back to some basics as my bad habits have gotten a little out of control.

Keep in mind that these are not resolutions per se, but goals that are attainable. If I had made a resolution, trust me, I would have already broken it so it would have ended up falling along the wayside. HA! So here's what I want to focus on for at least the first half of the year.

1. Get my 5 servings of fruits/veggies (freggies) in each day. Now I recognize that I may not get 5 every single day, but I'm striving to hit that goal on a regular basis and so far I think I've done okay. One thing I'm doing differently is making sure that I have a fruit or veggie with every major meal or snack. So a typical day might be my traditional cereal for breakfast, then a banana and yogurt for a snack, some type of veggie or two at lunch, an apple in the afternoon for snack, and then veggies with dinner. Since I've been doing this I can say that my family is also doing a better job of getting more fruits and veggies in their diet too!

2. Drink my water (minimum of 8 cups, 7x/week). I've gotten really lazy about this and I don't like how being under-hydrated feels. So I'm working on getting back to this being a habit that I don't even have to think about. It's hard in the winter because I'm just not as thirsty and drinking cold water isn't as appealing; so I'm having at least one large cup of herbal tea in the morning to warm myself up. My main struggle with this one is the weekends. I get busy around the house and I just don't think about it. But I know if I'm drinking my water during the week then I will start to crave it on the weekends.

3. Strength Train/Knee PT Exercises at least 2x each week. I mentioned in my Citrus Half race recap that I was having knee pain in my "bad" knee so I pulled out my sheet of at-home PT exercises and immediately added those back into the rotation. Additionally, I also mentioned that issue with calf cramping and I really think it goes back to some muscle imbalances/muscle fatigue. Strength training and those PT exercises should add some much needed balance into my body that will only help me with my running.

4. Run for an entire 5k. This used to not be a problem at all. In fact, I never even thought about stopping to take walk breaks back in the beginning of my running. If I was doing a 5k, I just ran the entire time. But between the knee completely taking a crap on me, and getting WAY too used to long, slow training runs for half and full marathon training I have given myself a lot of leeway in taking walk breaks. Oh look - there's a hill! Better conserve my energy and walk that bad boy! Oh look - a water station!! Better walk through it so you can get the water in your mouth instead of on your shirt, and since you're already walking, might as well wait until you're comfortable again! Yeah...I want to break those bad habits.

5. My overarching goal, even though it doesn't fit the typical "goal mold" of being measurable is to just stay sane through the spring semester at school. I believe I've mentioned that I'm taking two classes: Math and English. Both are challenging even on their own and will be very time intensive. The Math is time intensive because I'm going to need to use every study skill and resource available to me as math is a very tough subject for me to grasp easily. I can get it, but I have to work at it. English is easier to grasp, but there's lots of writing and lots of peer review. So it's just going to take time to actually sit at a keyboard and write all those essays...oh and the 9-page research paper due at the end of the semester. Ugh.It's just a lot of work, so really goals 1-3 are there to help me meet goal #5. If I'm eating well, staying hydrated and exercising regularly then I am a calmer, more peaceful person. It's times like this that I realize the little joke about exercising so you don't slap someone is oh-so-true and not so joke-like!

I think I've selected some goals that will truly benefit me overall, that are achievable, and that I can measure. I will be re-evaluating as necessary or as certain things become habit to the point that they are happening without me even thinking about it. Or if something comes up that really needs to be elevated to goal status then I may add it in.

How about you - have you set any goals for 2015? How do you make sure you are working towards your goals and they aren't just "put on a shelf" and forgotten?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Finding a New Groove...

I love Disney's The Emperor's New Groove! I feel it is one of the most underrated of the classically drawn Disney films. But that's not really what I'm writing about just felt like a good image to kick it off.

I've felt terribly out of my groove since, well, if I'm honest, since before the holidays. I know that once the holidays hit I adopted a mentality of "after the holidays I will ______" (fill in the blank whether it is eating, exercising, whatever). So the holidays came and went and I did feel like I enjoyed them but was still somewhat reasonable throughout. But then the New Year hit and I was all jazzed about new goals, resolutions, my word for 2015 - NOW, and more. But here I sit a couple days away from February and I feel like I don't even know which way is up yet, much less remembering what those goals I set were. (And I just realized I don't even think I set them here on the blog...d'oh!)

I'm a morning exerciser. Most people know that I'm up at dark o'thirty for my workouts. And I've been able to be fairly consistent like that for close to 6 years now. But for whatever reason these days getting up at 4:00 AM just feels so gosh darn HARD. I might be able to get it for a few days and then I can't for a few and it just keeps going like that in what is beginning to feel like an endless cycle.

And I don't know why!!

Well, I know that I'm not sleeping all that great, I know that I'm not eating terrifically, I know that I'm drinking too much coffee to keep myself going, I know that school is crazy, I know that work is busy, I know that family life has its ups and downs. I know all those things, but honestly, those things have been in existence since I started living a healthy life in 2009. So it's not like I can pinpoint an exact thing and say A-HA - YOU'RE THE REASON I CAN'T SEEM TO GET MY ACT TOGETHER!

In other words, there's no smoking gun for this nonsense. There's lots of excuses to be found, but the reasons elude me.

Right now I feel like I just need a great big mental reset. I wish it was still the first of the year so I could take the time to figure it all out, bundle up some magical motivation potion to sustain me for the next 24-7-365, and finally have my act together and feel like I am ahead of the game instead of wondering why the stands have already emptied and I'm just barely making my way to the field.

I haven't figured it out yet, but I'm certainly trying to and maybe tomorrow I'll be working on a fresher brain and can come up with some solutions. In the meantime, I'll just be a Llama until I can get my new groove going!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Citrus Heritage Half Marathon Race Recap

I was super excited to be headed back to Riverside (SoCal/Inland Empire) this past weekend for the Citrus Heritage Run. I ran their inaugural Half Marathon distance last year and was returning for the same again this year even though I was going into it knowing full well that I was totally under-trained and unprepared for a half marathon. But I put my big girl pants on and figured I would do my best. So let's take a look...

Citrus Heritage Half Race Start
COURSE: I absolutely love this course. I stated last year that it just might be my new favorite half marathon race and after returning again this year I think I can still mostly say the same thing. You might be wondering if the course changed and that's why I say mostly, and no, it didn't. It's the exact same course and it was still gorgeous and still meandered through the orange groves and still had amazing vistas; but I will admit that the course was more challenging than I remembered it being. I seem to have had it in my head that there were only a few hills, but it turns out there are a lot of hills. The same amount as last year...I just remember them better this time. HA!

But let me get back to the views - they are absolutely amazing!! You run through the State Historic Citrus Park, through orange groves, through beautiful residential neighborhoods. And those hills I mentioned, well they allow some wonderful views of the valleys below especially through the Citrus Park and just about the midway point. It's a great course that is challenging, but totally reasonable if you are better prepared than I.

AID STATIONS: The local high schools come out to really support this race and they man those aid stations like nobody's business! They are cheerful and motivating even right down to the very last runners. They were well stocked with cold water and Gatorade throughout the race, and I was at the tail end so I can even say that from what I saw the back-of-the-packers were all taken care of as well! The one thing that I noted was that last year they provided GU Gels at the halfway point, this time they didn't have any kind of energy gel available. I had, thankfully, carried my own; however, if I had been relying on them for that mid-race energy gel I would have been in big trouble. Predicted Great Race Day Weather!
WEATHER: The sun was mostly out for the start of the race, but it quickly disappeared behind clouds to give us an overcast sky throughout. It really was perfect racing weather. I was never overly hot and was actually almost cold a few times. I was wearing shorts, compression sleeves, a short-sleeved shirt, and gloves so I wasn't exactly bundled up or anything. I took off one glove a couple miles in and was perfect the rest of the race. You just can't get better than SoCal winter weather for running, in my humble opinion.

Flat Kristen Ready to Run!
PRE/POST RACE: Pre-race check-in was super easy and a better set-up than last year's event. The race starts and ends near the Arlington Sports Park and they utilize the space well. There were several booths set up where you could pick up info from various vendors and I even met a group of Team SunRype (TSR) folks that were there! That was actually my first time meeting other TSR members at a race and since they are all on the 2015 team also I am looking forward to maybe meeting up with them for some events this coming year. Post Race they had plenty of bananas, oranges, and water. They also had a local Boy Scout Troop handing out chili which was a nice bonus! There was also a Sierra Nevada Beer Garden that I didn't partake in, but it looked like a cool place to hang out and each runner got one ticket for a free beer so that was a really cool perk for sure.

Team SunRype representing Riverside County! Yeah-Yeah! Looking forward to meeting up with these fine folks again!
MY RACE: Okay, so let's get to the nitty gritty of my race. It was bad. It was painful. It was ugly. I don't know what else to really say about it. The first 6-7 miles I felt AWESOME!! It was probably one of the best starts I've had in that I took it nice and slow, I didn't have any shin tightening issues from going out too fast, I felt strong and powered up the hills. If the entire race had felt like that I'm sure I would have PR'ed. But the wheels fell off 7 miles in. My knee - yes, THAT knee - started feeling all tweaky. I called my husband to whine about it and he asked what "tweaky" meant and the best I could describe it was like someone was pinching my knee really HARD from the inside. It was a sharp pain that would actually cause me to say "ouch" out loud. And then to top it off my right calf started cramping. I could feel the muscle wind up and then spring loose in a hard cramp just like it did during my marathon last September. The exact same way, in the exact same place. So there's a problem there that needs to be fixed before my next half in May. I'm sure I'll talk more on this later. So I walked a lot of the second half of the race, I finished in under three hours but barely, and I actually had pain in my knee for the rest of Saturday which just terrifies me. I have a lot of thoughts about it and even though I was extremely disappointed in my abilities following this race, my primary goal going into it was to run smart, and in this case, the smartest thing for me to do was to end up walking more than running. That's just how the cookie crumbled...

THE SWAG: The tech shirt (sorry I don't have a picture of it, but you can see the back of it in the picture of the start line I posted up above on the lady to the right) is a really great technical long-sleeve with Half Marathon Finisher in a sunburst design on the back and orange blossoms down one sleeve. It's a beautiful shirt!!! They do run large as I learned last year, so I got a Medium this time and it fits great. And the medal...OH THE MEDAL!!! It is truly gorgeous - on par with what you get at much larger races and for much more money paid in registration fees. And in case you can't tell from the picture, the center section spins! Totally cool...

Taken from the event's Facebook page
Finally, this was the last race in the Run Riverside Challenge series which previously included the Hometown Heroes Honor Run (my recap, event webpage) and the Mission Inn Run (I didn't recap this race, but I completed the 10k). So at the completion of this one I was able to collect up my extra bling...and it is absolutely beautiful, let me tell ya. Or better yet - let me show you!

L-R: Mission Inn (10k), Run Riverside Challenge, Citrus Heritage (13.1), and Hometown Heroes (5k)
OVERALL THOUGHTS: I absolutely love this race and the series! I am planning on doing these for as long as possible. They are all unique enough on their own but have the overlying theme of showcasing Riverside and its rich cultural past AND present. I can highly recommend them all and getting the extra challenge medal is just an added bonus. Even though my race performance seems to have gone downhill with each successive race I can't blame that on anybody but myself. I will be back again in 2015-2016 - hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Oh Hey...It's 2015!

I think one of the things I've come to accept about myself is that sometimes I just need a little more time to process information. Yes, it's almost a full week into 2015 and I swear I thought about the fact that a new year was around the corner before it was actually here, but I just didn't process everything I needed to yet to be able to meaningfully discuss it. For example, reflecting on my goals for 2014 since I don't feel like I can fully move forward into 2015 before reflecting some.

I'm still a little proud of myself that I actually closed out my year of Courage (2014's One Little Word) and shared my word for 2015 - Now. And I swear that I thought about goals and resolutions...but thinking about them and actually screaming them from the rooftop are two very different things. Because what I'm learning is that if they are only in the brain, they aren't anything. They are just a nebulous thought that can poof away in a moment. If they are down on paper they are an actual living, breathing thing. Right?

I set some goals in January 2014 and I kind of treated them like most people treat their resolutions. I wrote them down and then promptly forgot about them for the most part. One goal stuck and I kept it in my mind all year long and worked at it (most of the time). Let me take a look back at those goals for a moment:

Get to my goal weight of 140: How did I do? I think I'm probably in the EXACT same place I was at the beginning of 2014. I bounced around in the same 10-pound range and didn't actually lose any net weight. So that was a total bust...

PR in the major race distances: How did I do? I can pretty much check them all off except for the half marathon which will take place this weekend. I ran a 5k PR at the Hometown Heroes Honor Run in October. I ran the Mission Inn 10k in November and it was not a PR which was disappointing; HOWEVER, I noticed on my Garmin records that I set a new 10k PR in 2014 at, of all things, my marathon in September. I was surprised by this as I had set out to start slower than slow and I definitely owned the marathon mentality of slow and steady. So I count that as a 10k PR because, well, Vinnie my Garmin says so. And he speaks the TRUTH, yo! And then since it was my very first marathon, it was an automatic PR even though it was ridiculously slow. So that leaves the half marathon that is taking place on Saturday (which I'm considering part of 2014 since it is SO early in the year). Do I think I will PR? No, no I absolutely do not. If I did I would be absolutely shocked. But I'll try and even if I fall a little short, I'm going to consider this goal mostly a success.

It turns out I run a marathon while standing still...HA!
AKA: the picture where I didn't want to look terrible so I struck a pose instead.

Blog on a more regular basis: How did I do? Well, look at the archives and see for yourself. This wasn't a total bust, but it wasn't a success either.

Devotional or Bible Reading 3x a week: How did I do? Total and complete bust. 'Nuff said.

Date night with Hubby 1x each month: How did I do? Yeah...not so much. But we did get to enjoy some time with each other by going to the beach in August, spending time at a cabin with the family in June, going without the family to my marathon in September, and other little things throughout the year. The reality is that we spent a lot of family time and that was truly awesome and I wouldn't give that back for solo time at all. And we spent a lot of lazy Fridays just chilling on the couch catching up on TV shows we like to watch together. Call that a date if you want because it was more awesome than going out to dinner. Not a success, but not a total bust either.

Pumpkin Patchin' it up in SoCal style...note the shorts and tank tops - yeahhhhhh...
Now I did have some very real roadblocks come up that weren't entirely expected, but isn't that life?? I started taking classes again by randomly deciding a week after classes had started that now was the time to work on my transfer units so I could finally get going on that long-awaited and forever-and-a-year-ago planned Bachelor's degree. And I couldn't make it easy on myself either by enrolling in an online Managerial Accounting class that kicked my rear for much of the semester. It wasn't helped by a VERY poor instructor either. But I survived the initial shock to the system and pulled off an A (that was very much EARNED) to boot! I also survived marathon training in what turned out to be a very long, very hot summer. My hubby had a gallbladder meltdown that is still in the process of being fixed. My oldest son and DIL moved to Japan for three years. Lots and lots of ups and downs with kids that are in between being kids and being grown ups. I could go on. Let's just say there were roadblocks that may have caused a stumble or two, but aren't excuses as to why I didn't meet my goals for 2014. I didn't meet my goals for 2014 because I simply didn't work at them all the time.

BUT...I feel like 2014 was a really great year! It had challenges galore, but it was full of rewards too. I feel like I made courageous choices. I feel like I appreciated a slower pace of life most of the time. I feel like I maximized my free time and did what I wanted to do instead of what everyone else wanted me to do. I proved that I was capable of more than I thought I was ever capable of by training for and completing a marathon. And I finally took a really big step towards accomplishing an education goal. And on top of all that, I was an active part of Team SunRype through Active Ambassadors including being invited to apply again for the 2015 team!

So really, me and 2014...we are ending on good terms. We are square and I think I'm finally ready to think about what 2015 has to offer!