Friday, January 20, 2017

Five Tips for Running in the Rain

It's the rainy season here in San Diego and this year, it's actually raining! We've been dealing with rain on and off for most of January. With the Spring racing season on the horizon, it's pretty much a given that, if you don't have a way to run indoors, you'll be running outside in the rain. While it's not easy, there are things you can do that will help make it a little easier.

Before I continue, I'm linking up with the ALL-NEW Friday Five 2.0 link up, hosted by Rachel at Running on Happy and Lacey and Meranda from Fairytales and Fitness. When you're done here, be sure to check these ladies out!

Before I get to the tips, always keep safety in mind. If there are thunderstorms, keep it inside. If the rain is heavy and visibility is reduced, keep it inside. But a light rain or even a moderate amount of rain could be fun! Without further ado, here are my 5 tips for running in the rain:

1. Avoid cotton clothing. One thing ever runner needs to remember is that cotton is rotten, in any circumstance. Cotton absorbs moisture and that moisture will remain next to your skin throughout your run, increasing the likelihood of chafing. That added moisture also adds weight and bulk to your clothing. And it feels hideous. Do yourself a favor and invest in good quality, moisture-wicking items for anything that touches your body while running. Always, not just when it's raining.

2. Wear layers. Even in the cold rain, you can still sweat and overheat. A good rule of thumb is to pay attention to how you feel when you first leave for your run. If you feel a little on the cold side, you're in good shape and will most likely not overheat on your run. Another starting point is following the "20 degree" rule: dress as if it's 20 degrees warmer than it actually is when you get started. This is where wearing layers will help you the most. Be sure your outer layers are as water-resistant as possible and your base layers are non-cotton (everything should be non-cotton!). And don't forget to put some anti-chafe cream everywhere to help prevent chafing and blisters. Your feet will get wet, so be sure to lube them up!

3. Wear a water-resistant, lightweight shell. Water-resistant jackets will have sealed seams that will help keep water out when running during heavier rains. Be sure the jacket is breathable to prevent you from overheating. A hood is an added bonus. If you don't have a jacket with a hood, be sure to wear a hat (see below).

A lightweight shell I picked up for
$20 on clearance at Sports Authority!

4. Wear a moisture-wicking, lightweight hat. If I know I'm going to run in the rain, I need to leave my trucker hats at home and opt for a lightweight hat instead. Trucker hats will absorb more moisture than a moisture-wicking hat and will end up weighing 1000 pounds by the end of the run. A lighter-weight hat will feel more comfortable and the brim of the hat will help keep the rain off my face.

My trusty Nike hat I've had for 1000 years

5. Avoid especially muddy areas and puddles. While your feet are going to get wet simply from running in the rain, you'll want to avoid the urge to run through deep puddles and mud. Emerging your foot in water will guarantee your shoe to be soaked (adding extra weight each time you lift your foot) and blisters to form everywhere. Be sure to plan your route accordingly to avoid any low-lying areas that are prone to puddles and/or flooding. I know jumping in puddles is fun, so this may be the toughest rule to follow!

The best thing to do for running in the rain is to be prepared. Protect yourself with good quality items (don't forget your electronics - either leave them at home or put them in a plastic bag) and you're that much closer to actually enjoying your run through the rain. And when you're done, don't forget to get into warm, dry clothing as soon as possible! Hot cocoa, anyone?

Do you like running in the rain? How do you prepare? Or do you avoid it as much as possible?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Goals for 2017

It's 2017! I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season and have enjoyed the time with friends and family, doing the things you love. As the first week of the new year comes to an end, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my goals for the new year. Last year was a big year for me, logging the most mileage ever and completing my longest race to date. I wanted 2017 to be bigger and better than ever! Because my big running goal is a really BIG goal, I am only going to focus on the first half of the year with regard to my running. I'll reassess things when that goal has been reached and I'm ready for something else. Could I be any more vague? Well, without further ado, here are my 2017 goals:

But wait! Before I spill the beans, I must tell you that I'm linking up with the ALL-NEW Friday Five 2.0 link up, hosted by Rachel at Running on Happy and Lacey and Meranda from Fairytales and Fitness. When you're done here, be sure to check these ladies out!

Ok, here we go:

1. Run a 100 mile race. Yes, 100 miles. This is the big goal of the year. I've registered for my first 100-mile race, the San Diego 100 Mile. I got my acceptance letter yesterday and I'm officially on the entrants list. You have to qualify for these big races by either having run a certain distance ultra in a certain time or by just completing another big ultra. So I've met all the qualifications, it's all set and this is what I'm gunning for in 2017. All other goals lead to this one (sort of). The race is June 9th, which is why I said I'd reassess things when this one is done. I'll have almost 6 months of the year left, so we'll have to see what I'll have the desire to do next. Probably sleep :) Until then, I'm running all the miles and many of the races too. For training, I'm running:

  • Griffith Park Trail 50K
  • San Diego Half Marathon
  • Encinitas Half Marathon
  • Ragnar Relay SoCal
  • Leona Divide 50K
  • PCT 50 Mile 

2. Complete the San Diego Ultra Slam. This is the culmination of completing the 4 big mountain ultras in San Diego within a 12-month period. You must complete the Noble Canyon 50K, the PCT 50 Mile, the Cuyamaca 100K and the San Diego 100 Mile. I started my quest for the Slam with the 2016 Noble Canyon, then completed the 2016 Cuyamaca 100K. I'll be doing the PCT 50 for a third time this year and then end my quest for the Slam with the San Diego 100.

3. Make more time for yoga. I reignited my love for yoga this past year by participating in several yoga challenges on Instagram. Typically, someone hosts the challenge and posts the pose to do for each day of the challenge. You do the pose and post it. Sometimes there are prizes by sponsors (I won a bracelet that I'll feature here soon). It's super fun and allows me stop, drop and yoga. I can tune out, practice a little yoga sequence to warm up and then do the daily pose. It also allows me to be creative with my pics and I've met a ton of new yogi friends. I've also been able to get to some classes at my local studio more often, which has been great fun. But yoga also helps build strength and balance. I want to place a special focus on balance work as I train for the 100. This is so important for climbing mountains and I want my body to be as strong as it can be, on every level. It also helps calm my mind, something I'll need as I know I'm going to freak out about this race from time to time!

4. Volunteer for at least 3 races. I really want to give back to my beloved running community and this is the year I'll volunteer more. I was only able to help out at one race last year, the Surfing Madonna Beach Fest and it was so fun! I plan to volunteer at the San Diego 50-miler next weekend and I'm so excited! I can't wait to be on the other side of the aid station table, so to speak :)

5. Have at least one adventure with my family every month. After my surgery back in October, I was not able to run much. I was able to go on an adventure with the kids every Sunday until the holiday season. We went for hikes or the zoo or some other fun place. Then over the holidays when my husband was able to join us, we did even more. It was so nice to just focus on each other for a while. I hate to admit it, but this past year was so busy that we didn't do nearly enough fun stuff as a family. I really want to change that this year. And I think once a month is attainable.

There are a few other things I'd like to work on, such as not letting mom guilt (or any guilt) eat away at me so much. But these are the main goals for 2017! What goals do you have in mind for 2017?

I'm also linking up with for the Coaches' Corner blog link up with Susie from the Suzlyfe, Lora Marie from Crazy Running Girl, Debbie from Coach Debbie Runs and Rachel from Running on Happy. Check these awesome ladies out!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My 2016 In Races!

Last week, I had the pleasure of singing the praises of all my clients and their fantastic year. All of their hard work inspires me to keep going, to keep fighting the fight. I learn something from each and every client's experience. It just means the world to me to be a part of their goals and dreams. This week, I'm looking back at my own year. It was definitely a year of ups and downs, but one that I'll always think of fondly. I conquered a huge goal and finally took care of some lingering health issues, both of which will hopefully lead to bigger things in 2017. Without further ado, here's looking at the races of 2016:

The San Diego 50 Mile

I started the year off with a bang and ran the San Diego 50 Mile. This was my second 50-miler and the first for my partner in crime, Vanessa. It was a tough race, but it was a great way to start off 2016!

The Los Angeles Marathon

This was a dream race come true for me! I have always wanted to run the LA Marathon but since it's always around my twin girls' birthday, I figured I'd have to wait until they were a little older to either want to come with me or not care. But when the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials were set to run in LA, the marathon was moved to the same weekend: a month earlier on February 14th! That's all it took for me. Between the Trials, the marathon, seeing so many friends and time with my girl Smitha, and seeing Bob Harper on the course, it was a race weekend I'll never forget!

The San Diego Half Marathon

This is a race I've done every year of it's existence. In fact, it's the only race I've done every year and I'm hoping I can continue the streak for as many years as possible. This "legacy" status grants such perks as additional race shirts (years 2 and 3), a half-zip (year 4) and a jacket (this year for Year 5)! Can't wait to see what we get for running Year 6! 

Old West Trails 50K

This was my first year running this race. The Old West Trails 50K and 30K take place out in Borrego Springs Desert and it was quite hot and dry. It was a well-organized, fun race with a great post-race spread. It was also the first race I ran as an InkNBurn ambassador, so I was proud to represent my favorite gear. I'm so glad I had the chance to run it as they have since cancelled it. 

Ragnar SoCal

This was my second year participating in the Ragnar SoCal. Just 200-ish miles from Huntington Beach to San Diego. This year our team name was Hello...where's the finish line? and we had Adele shirts made. It was pretty cute. We were one member short in our van due to a last minute drop, so I ran the miles for my leg as well as the empty leg. I ran 31 miles over the course of the 24 hours. It was tiring but still so fun! Can't wait for next year! 

PCT 50 Miler

This was the second year running PCT 50 and it was so different from last year! It was quite a bit warmer and there wasn't snow on the ground this year! I also ran it with Vanessa, which was so fun! I did have some issues with dehydration and stuff towards the end of the race but overall, it was a good one. Looking forward to the three-peat in 2017!

The Strawberry Festival 5K

My family has participated in the Strawberry Festival over Memorial Day Weekend for the past 3 years. There is a 10K, a 5K, a kids' 1-mile and a kids' 1/4 mile. This year was super exciting because my son wanted to run the 5K with me. He has only done the kids 1-mile before and while this wasn't his first 5K, he hadn't run one in about 6 months. We had a blast and he did great! In fact, he then ran the kids' 1-mile with his friend. I'm so proud of the runner he's become!

Bulldog 50K

This was my first time running the Bulldog 50K in Malibu. We ran the Malibu Creek 50K last year, which has a similar course, but run in the opposite direction. I am not sure which one was more difficult! Bulldog had the heat to contend with, which wasn't as bad as it could have been, but wasn't fun either. All in all, it was a good training run and a fun time. 

Noble Canyon 50K

When I ran this race for the first time in 2014, I swore I'd never do it again. It is tough, hot and just brutal. But I ran it again in 2015 with my friend Jean because it's always fun to run with her. And then this year, it fit well with our training. Don't get me wrong, it's a well-organized, fun race with friends. But it's just brutal. Each year I've been able to shave some time off my time for this course, which is always a good thing. And when you run this race 5 times, you get a vest which I'm sure I'll try for some year. I'm so close now, I might as well go for it. Sheesh.

Cuyamaca 100K

This was the big one. The one I was gunning for all year. The Cuyamaca 100K. At this point, I was having some major health issues stemming from my pregnancy with the girls. Running was painful and I was scared I wouldn't get to the start line, let alone finish. But not only did I start, but I crossed that finish line and crossed this one off the list. Woo hoo!

And that's all for 2016. After Cuyamaca, I had surgery and I've taken the rest of the year really easily. I've gotten back into yoga, I've been cross training a lot more and have learned to love running again. I've slowly built my mileage back up and I'm looking forward to getting back into training. I have some big plans for 2017, so hopefully all that pain is behind me and it's full steam ahead. Stay tuned for some goal talk next week :) 

How did your 2016 shape up race-wise? What was your favorite memory? 

Now that you're done here, check out the Tuesday on the Run blog link up, hosted by Patty with My No-Guilt Life, Erika at MCM Mama Runs and Marcia at Marcia's Healthy Slice.

Also check out Susie from the Suzlyfe, Lora Marie from Crazy Running Girl, Debbie from Coach Debbie Runs and Rachel from Running on Happy, whom I'm linking up with for the Coaches' Corner blog link up.

I'm also linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday Link Up with Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Jen from Pretty Little Grub, Michelle at Fruition Fitness and Nicole at Fitful Focus. Check these badass women out!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A look back at 2016!

2016 is coming to a close...and what a year it's been. I love taking some time to reflect on the year, both personally and professionally. This was a great year for me professionally. I shifted a bit in the focus of my group programs and offered more strength training programs than running programs. As many of you know, I coach runners both privately and in a group setting and I am also a personal trainer for clients both privately and in a group setting. In addition, I also train and teach small groups at the Magdalena Ecke YMCA in Encinitas. I chose to work at the Y because I felt it would give me the opportunity to work with as many people from varying ages and abilities. I have literally worked with people of all ages and fitness levels, from the professional athlete through seniors needing to work on strength and balance. It's been extremely rewarding these past 2 years I've been there. And I am excited to be coaching the very first running program for the Y beginning in January. We're training for the Encinitas Half Marathon, which should be a great time!

The year began with a strength-training program held at Moonlight Beach. This was a 5-week session that kicked off the New Year! We focused on high-intensity interval training that really got our engines running. You might as well start the New Year with a bang, right? This program was then followed by another strength program, this time geared specifically for runners. We had a blast with running-specific strength work, muscle priming, hill work and much more. This was also held at the beach and it couldn't be more invigorating to workout with the ocean for a view. In both programs, it was so awesome to see people who initially thought they couldn't do a particular exercise and then knock it out of the park! That is what keeps me going every morning!

The last group program for the year was the second running of the Lake Hodges 15K Trail Running Program. I absolutely love this trail and race. Lake Hodges trails are excellent for starting a trail-running career. The race itself is just challenging enough for the experienced trail runner to be satisfied but not so challenging for those just trying trail running for the first time. Our program met for 10 weeks and the group was a good mix of experienced trail runners and those just starting out. It was hot and dusty most of the time but these folks pushed and pushed, never giving up and giving it their all. And as you can see, we definitely had fun together.

And let's not forget all of my wonderful private running, personal training and nutrition clients I've had the pleasure to work with throughout 2016. There were pounds lost, age groups won, new race distances conquered and a couple of Boston Qualifiers. It would be difficult for me to single out each and every one and all of the awesome goals they've achieved but know that they all hold a special place in my heart. Their goals are my goals and I am invested in everyone's hopes and dreams just as much as they are. From my dear running client who accomplished her first 100-mile race this year to my dear personal training client, who at 98-years old, is my most consistent and determined client and everyone in between. The time I have with my clients is special to me, whether it's in person, over the phone or through email. You all inspire and motivate me to do my best, both professionally and personally. I am grateful to each and every one of you! Here's to an amazing 2017!

As you look back on your year, focus on how far you've come! Don't dwell on goals you didn't reach or things you didn't do. Instead, focus on all you have done and accomplished, however big or small. Not every goal is huge and those smaller accomplishments along the way to larger ones count too. You have all made 2016 especially amazing for me and I am looking forward to working and running with you in 2017!

Stay tuned to my personal look-back on 2016 later this week! In the meantime, check out Susie from the Suzlyfe, Lora Marie from Crazy Running Girl, Debbie from Coach Debbie Runs and Rachel from Running on Happy, whom I'm linking up with for the Coaches' Corner blog link up.

I'm also linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday Link Up with Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Jen from Pretty Little Grub, Michelle at Fruition Fitness and Nicole at Fitful Focus. Check these badass women out!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Strength Every Runner Should Do: Exercises with a Twist

When talking about body movements, there are three main planes of motion in which our body moves: the frontal plane (where we move laterally, or side-to-side), the sagittal plane (where we move forward and back) and the transverse plane (where we are moving in a twisting motion). Running is a forward and back activity and exercising in only this plane of motion is one of the main causes of overuse injuries. Add in most strength moves like squats and forward and reverse lunges and you're adding insult to possible injury. Sometimes we runners will add in some lateral moves like side lunges, some drills like speed skaters and the like. We need to add in the third plane of motion (transverse, or rotational exercises) to really round out our routine and give our body the chance to move with full range of motion. We rotate all-day long in our everyday routine- turning to check for traffic or turning to hand something to the kids in the backseat, for example. It's important to strengthen the muscles involved with rotational motion at the shoulders, hips and throughout the spine. This helps not only prevent injury, but add variety to your workout routine.

My favorite rotational exercise is the low-to-high chop. You can use a weighted medicine ball, dumbbell, gallon of milk, or nothing at all. Master the initial movement and then add weight to progress. You’ll start standing with feet about hip width apart, maybe a little wider. You’re holding your weight (if using one) in your hands. Squat back (weight in your heels, knees behind toes), and twist left to hold the weight on the outside of your left leg. Exhale, and lift the weight diagonally across your body, ending twisted to the right with the weight above your head. Pivot on your left foot as needed. Really focus on the rotation initiating in your torso and don’t let your arms holding the weight dictate the move. This is all about rotating at the torso. Twist back to the starting position. This completes one rep. Do 12 reps on each side. So, you’ll do 12 reps starting with the weight down at your left side and then you’ll do 12 reps with the weight starting at your right side.

Alternating side planks is a great way to add rotation at the spine, hips and shoulders. Begin in a plank position with your feet in line with your hips, shoulders over elbows, elbows over hands. You can do this with straight arms or on your forearms. Forearm plank rotations is definitely more challenging. Twist to the left, reaching your left arm to the ceiling without letting your pelvis rise or lower. Aim to stack your shoulders on top of one another. Return to plank position, bringing your hand back to the floor. This completes one rep. Do 12 reps to start.

I also like to add rotation in general strength moves, such as a forward lunge with a twist. You can do forward lunges in place or do walking lunges. To begin, hold a medicine ball, or other weight if using one, in front of you with elbows bent about 90 degrees. You may want to begin this exercise with no weight and build up your strength over time. Step forward with your left foot into a lunge position. Be sure to keep your knee over your left foot and don't twist at the knee. Shoulders are broad, chest is open and core is engaged. From your torso, twist your upper body to the left (towards the front leg). Come back to starting position and lunge forward with the right leg and twist towards the right. This is one rep. Do 12 reps on each side to begin and progress either by adding weight or reps but not both at the same time.

Lastly, you can add some rotation into your dynamic warm-up routine by adding windmills. Stand with your feet winder than hip width apart. Depending on your hamstrings, you may want a slight bend at the knee. Bend forward at the hips while rotating toward the left. Your right arm will be straight down between your feet and your left arm will be up in the air. You're aiming to stack your shoulders. Return to starting position and then rotate towards the right. You can do this for about 30 seconds as part of your warm up before your workout.

Adding in some rotational moves will definitely add some variety and help you prevent injury. You'll become a stronger, more well-rounded runner for it! 

I'm linking up with Susie from the Suzlyfe, Lora Marie from Crazy Running Girl, Debbie from Coach Debbie Runs and Rachel from Running on Happy for the Coaches' Corner blog link up. Check these awesome ladies when you're done here!

I'm also linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday Link Up with Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Jen from Pretty Little Grub, Michelle at Fruition Fitness and Nicole at Fitful Focus. Check these badass women out!