Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Fearless...

Image from kathrineswitzer.com
Have you heard the story before? The one about how Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon? Well, in case you haven't, let me tell you a little bit about it for a moment...

Not so very long ago in a land not so far away, it was completely and totally thought that women weren't capable of running a marathon. They believed all kinds of wacky things like that it would cause our uterus to fall out (!!!), that we might die, that we simply couldn't. But there were some women that absolutely KNEW that what "they" thought was a bunch of baloney. But because of all these wacky ideas, women were not allowed to even ENTER into longer distance races. But all that changed in 1967 when Kathrine Switzer entered the Boston Marathon using her initials K.V. Switzer and was given an official race bib with the number 261.

She toed the line and she finished the race but not before the race director, enraged that a WOMAN was running HIS race, attempted to remove her from the course. And the rest, as they say, was history. He was unsuccessful in removing her and Kathrine Switzer went down in the record books as the first female to run the Boston Marathon. This, of course, opened up the door, albeit VERY slowly, for women to run longer distances. And just look at us now?!?

According to Running USA's data, the number of women finishers increases each and every year.

You don't have to look far to find inspiration in women's running. You have Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan, Lauren Fleshman, Mary Cain and more; but I would bet that if you asked those women who inspires them, that each and every one of them would have Kathrine Switzer on their list.

261, Kathrine's bib number, has become more than just a number. It has become a movement; one that continues to inspire people in nations around the world to BE FEARLESS in the face of adversity, no matter what that means to each individual. #261fearless is a mantra, a call to arms for women everywhere to keep moving. 261 is a lifestyle.

For me, I used that image of Kathrine Switzer running on in the face of being attacked on my motivation wall at home as I was training for my first full marathon. I looked at it more than once and thought to myself that I have opportunities to participate in races that female runners didn't get to previously. I was glad that I didn't have to worry about someone trying to kick me off the course and that all I had to do was be fearless enough to keep moving when every part of my body wanted to quit. I think often about how I need to be fearless on a daily basis when I wake up and the call of sleep is greater than the call of working out. It's on those days that I appreciate most that great women like Kathrine Switzer have paved the way for me to love something so much that I can resist the siren call of sleep and fearlessly strap on my shoes instead.



This weekend is the Skirt Sports 261 Fearless Virtual Race and it's not too late to register! But even if you don't do the official race, my challenge to you this weekend, as we celebrate the anniversary of Kathrine Switzer running the Boston Marathon on April 19, 1967, is to read her story here, and then reflect on what it means for YOU to BE FEARLESS. Us girls still have a long way to go when it comes to equality in many avenues, but every time we look fear in the eye and say "not today...you won't beat me today, Fear" and push forward we honor the women that have come before us and stood up for our rights and have proven time and again that WE CAN and WE WILL.

Wearing the Skirt Sports 261 Fearless visor and 261 Switzer Skirt in Fearless Purple - shop for your own and use discount code SSPQL20 for 20% off! That code is good for registration on the virtual race too!

But no matter what - go and BE FEARLESS. Live the 261 lifestyle whether you run or bike or do absolutely nothing; do it fearlessly, my friends!!

Question: Have you been inspired by Kathrine Switzer's story? Or another woman that has paved the way? I want to hear all about it in the comments! Here's your chance to give a shout-out to the Fearless women!

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Weekend

I had a great weekend!! The weather was perfect, the days were long, and my time was a perfect mix of active and relaxation. The only bad part was I should have done some homework, but I just couldn't bring myself to even sit still in front of the computer for a moment. Oops...

Here comes the weekend in photos:

I was a little worried that I waited until the last minute to do my Easter shopping, but it actually wasn't that bad when I went on Friday afternoon! Of course it didn't hurt that I had a Valencia Orange Refresher from Starbucks to keep me going.

Took a walk in the evening with the Hubster and saw a pair of Canadian Geese hanging around...he was definitely playing the doting mate there and was very watchful of his lady swimming while he stood guard.

Headed out early enough on Saturday morning to catch the tail end of the Lunar Eclipse. I always wish the camera would capture what we actually SEE, but that's the best I could do. You can just barely see the little chunk missing out of the bottom. It was pretty freaking cool though, lemme tell ya.

And if I was out early enough for the eclipse, then you know that means I also got to see the sun come up and it didn't disappoint!

#chasingeverysunrise

I headed out for an easy nine miles...HA!! As if easy and nine miles actually went together in a sentence...but I was sporting my new Skirt Sports Switzer skirt (get your own at www.skirtsports.com and use SSPQL20 for 20% off!!). I loved that my skirt matched my Mizuno Riders and Garmin Forerunner 220 (not pictured) so nicely because nothing makes nine miles easier than feeling like you look good while you're doing it! :-) I love the reflective detail on the leg of the skirt, you can see the 261, but just below that it says fearless. LOVE!!! This was my first time wearing this particular skirt and I have to say that it was perfect...the shorties underneath didn't ride and it was super comfortable all around.


Got a new step record on Saturday thanks to that nine mile run in the morning followed by grocery shopping and egg coloring and all that fun stuff!

Here comes the obligatory egg dying picture - the kids had a blast and it didn't take them long at all to decorate all three dozen eggs! By the time I sat down I got to do ONE egg. hahaha (Not that I'm complaining, it's for the kids anyways and I usually only do a couple.)

L-R: Angelique (3), Michelle, Melissa & Curtis, and Joshua (4)

Gee, I wonder who dyed this egg?? ;-)
And....they're off!!! They are both at such great ages (4 and 3) it was a total blast. We have several parks throughout our neighborhood so we utilized this one just down the street from us in a cul-de-sac. It was perfect!! Small enough to not be overwhelming, but large enough to give them both plenty of room to run around without tripping over each other.

All in all, it was a fabulously blessed weekend of fun and family!

How was your weekend and is your egg-hunt tradition indoors or outdoors?


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 going...so 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:

SSPQL20

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 katherineswitzer.com

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

Go-Go-Goals!

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 today...it 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!