Thursday, August 18, 2016

Five Reasons I Love Living in San Diego

This past Wednesday, August 17th, marked the 5th anniversary of my arrival in San Diego. It seems like so long ago and just like yesterday all at the same time. There are times I feel like I've been living here forever and then times where I still feel like I'm only here on vacation. It's a strange sensation, for sure. And while I'll always be a New Yorker at heart, I have definitely embraced the San Diego lifestyle.

In honor of this momentous occasion, I wanted to take a moment and reflect on five things I love about living here. Before I get to it, I'm linking up with the Friday Five link up hosted by Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What and Mar at Mar on the Run.

Here are five reasons why I love living in San Diego:

1. The people. I have met some amazing people and made some amazing friends. You may be surprised to know this, but my first friends here weren't runners at all but fellow moms of multiples. Before we moved here, I joined the North County Mothers of Multiples to connect with some local moms. It was the best decision I made. They welcomed me, my husband, my then 5-year old son and my then 4-month old twin girls with open arms and helped me acclimate to a whole new world: living here and dealing with twins + one! In addition to those wonderful mom friends, I've met some other amazing people, both runners and non-runners alike. With no family here, I would be lost without them. Friends that are like family make living here better. Thank you. There are too many people to name individually but you know who you are :)

2. The running community. When I first moved here, Running Skirts had a shop in Encinitas and had a group run during the week. I went one week and instantly felt part of the running community here. Everyone there was friendly and welcoming. I was so out of shape from having the girls that I couldn't keep up with everyone but one of the employees stayed with me. I'll never forget it! From there, I joined the San Diego group of Moms Run This Town and have made some amazing friends. Not to mention the Dirt Devils, San Diego Ultra Running Friends and Run North County. Personally, it's been amazing but professionally, as a running coach/sports nutritionist/personal trainer, the fitness community here is like no other. There is no better place to work. I have loved every minute of working with my San Diego clients!

3. The trails. I have to admit, I was a pretty novice trail runner when I first moved here. There are only a handful of trails near where I lived in the DC area and while they are beautiful, they aren't very technical. It was quite a shock to start running the trails right outside my door. But I have loved learning the trails here and love that I can take my pick from technical, steep climbs in the mountains to soft lagoon trails that lead to the ocean. While I don't love the critters we encounter from time to time, I absolutely love everything about running the trails here in San Diego! And I must give an honorable mention to the coast. I am able to run along the Pacific Ocean coastline any time I want and it's pretty fantastic. Between the coast and the trails, I am in a runner's paradise!

4. The weather. I mean, really. San Diego is known as much for its beaches as it is for its weather. You can run here year-round and get your fair share of Vitamin D on the regular. Granted, we have issues with drought and wild fires in especially hot and dry conditions (like this week) but overall, it's an amazing climate that you quickly get used to! I have lost every ounce of my ability to withstand cold weather. I'll never forget the first winter we went back to New York after moving here, I had become such a wuss. I couldn't understand how I ever survived an East Coast winter and it had only been a year since living through one!

5. The races. We are lucky here in SD that there's usually a race every weekend somewhere within a 30-minute (or less) drive. I've done quite a lot of the local races and have loved getting to know my new county through them. I've also loved being able to easily travel to places I've wanted to race such as Los Angeles, Arizona and Las Vegas. And as my kids get older, it will get easier to explore even further. I can't wait!

While I will always miss my East Coast roots, friends and family, I have loved getting to know San Diego. I know how lucky we are to live here and I feel so grateful to have made San Diego my residence for the last 5 years. Whether we stay here forever remains to be seen but for now, it's home.

What do you love about where you live?

Friday, August 5, 2016

Five Things I'm Most Excited About the Summer Olympics in Rio

pic courtesy of NBC
The 2016 Summer Olympics begin today! That's right, the highly anticipated and already infamous Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony is tonight and I simply cannot wait. Like most sports enthusiasts, I love the Olympics. The sports, the athletes, the history of the host city and memories of past Games are all equally exciting. The Olympics have always been a part of my family's life in some way and I have fond memories of watching the Games with my parents and brother. My family and I would go camping every summer and I clearly remember bringing a dinky TV with us during the summer of the 1984 Olympics. We couldn't really see anything very well but it was exciting, nonetheless. Especially the women's marathon, as this was the first year it was permitted. Perhaps that was when my love of endurance running was ignited! Now I get to share my Olympic excitement with my own husband and kids, which is super fun. With the Rio Games starting tonight, I thought I'd share the Olympic events I'm most excited to see.

Before I continue, I'm linking up with the Friday Five link up hosted by Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What and Mar at Mar on the Run.

1. The Opening Ceremony. The official opening of the Olympic Games occurs when the torch is lit in the host city and it is always a sight to behold. Rio holds a special place in my heart because my husband and I went to Rio, Iguassu Falls and Buenos Aires back in 2005 as a "last hurrah" trip before we started our family. We had such a blast in Rio. The people are wonderful, the beaches are beautiful and it's going to be so exciting to see how they put on the Games. I know there has been a lot of negative press, but I'm hopeful that they'll pull it off. And I cannot wait to see the flamboyance that only Rio can present.

A preview of the ceremony - pic courtesy of CNN

2. Michael Phelps. One of the greatest athletes of all time is back. We are big Michael Phelps fans and were able to follow his career pretty closely while we lived in Maryland. In fact, our son dressed as Michael Phelps for Halloween back in 2008. Can he add to his amazing medal count? He is the most decorated Olympic athlete with 18 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze medals. That's right, 18 gold medals. We are cheering for him, that's for sure.

3. The Marathon. The Olympic Marathon is always exciting and this year will be no different. I was lucky enough to be in Los Angeles to see the Olympic Marathon Trials. I am so excited to see Meb Keflezighi, Galen Rupp, Jared Ward, Amy Cragg, Des Linden and Shalane Flanagan represent our country. Let's only hope these amazing athletes will bring home some hardware! Really, I'm excited for all of Track and Field (which now part of the blanket title "Athletics," which includes track and field, road running and race walking events) and will be glued to my TV and phone so I can see as many events as possible.

4. Gymnastics. While I only did gymnastics for a couple of years as a kid, I am so inspired by these amazing athletes. They are so freaking strong! Both the men and women are so captivating to watch. Their strength, beauty and grace are just fantastic. Did you know that the US has earned the gold in the individual women's all-around competition for the last three Olympics? Yep, we won gold in Athens, Bejing and London. Can we do it again in Rio?

5. The Stories. I am such a sucker for the stories behind the athletes. I mean, who isn't? The hard work, dedication and sacrifice these athletes and their families have made is just awe-inspiring. To add to the amazing legacy of the Olympics is this year's Refugee Olympic Team. The International Olympic Committee established the refugee team to raise awareness of the refugee crisis around the world and the millions of people who have had to flee their homes due to war, natural disaster or disease. There are 10 athletes on the team and they will be represented by the Olympic Flag and the Olympic Anthem during the Games. I'm already crying.

Do you love the Olympics? What are you most looking forward to in Rio?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

July Runfessions

It's the last Friday of the month, which means it's time to wipe the slate clean and runfess all of my fitness indiscretions.

Before I continue, I'm linking up with Marcia's Runfessions link up over at Marcia's Healthy Slice. Head over there when you're done here!

And, since I'm releasing five runfessions, I'm linking up with the Friday Five link up hosted by Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What and Mar at Mar on the Run. Be sure to show them some love!

I actually haven't runfessed in a couple of months and the time has come to let it all out, so to speak :) Here we go!

1. I have a full-fledged trucker hat obsession. I used to not like trucker hats at all. But then some switch flipped and now I want every one I see. It's pretty bad. But there are worse obsessions to have, really.

2. I believe I've runfessed my obsession with the OJ Simpson trial earlier this year when FX had the miniseries The People vs. OJ Simpson. A client of mine is also obsessed and that's kind of fueled the fire. She let me borrow the Vincent Bugliosi book on the trial (the District Attorney who successfully prosecuted Charles Manson), which outlined how the case was horrendously lost. That led me to read Marcia Clark's and Chris Darden's books as well. Oh, it was clearly an obsession for months. I just couldn't believe how he got away with the crimes. Then I watched ESPN's five-part miniseries OJ Simpson: Made in America, which was excellent. It discussed not only OJ's rise to fame and his relationship with his wife but it also discussed the culture in LA at the time and how race was so important to the trial. I'm not saying he didn't commit the crimes, I can just see how the defense used the awful reputation of the LAPD to their advantage. It was all just the perfect storm for him to be acquitted. It definitely helped me get through some long miles on the treadmill.

3. Speaking of watching stuff while on the treadmill, I kind of fell off the other day watching Ally Wong's comedy special, Baby Cobra. This special is not for the faint of heart, that's for sure. But it was funny enough for me to trip and stumble off the treadmill. I'm not proud and I didn't take any pictures or videos. Thankfully.

4. I've been in a bit of a blogging rut this summer. This same thing happened last summer too. I can't really put my finger on why I have this lull. Any other bloggers experience the summertime blogging blues? How do you get out of the rut? What are some topics some of you readers would like to see?

5. Last, but not least, is that I've been having some medical issues over the past few months that have been tough on me. For one, my thyroid function has been steadily declining and before my doctor prescribes meds, we're going to try some dietary changes to see if that can help. That explains a lot of the fatigue I've been having. Secondly, and more importantly, I've been having some complications that stem back from when I was pregnant with my twins and I will be having surgery most likely this October. It's a long and complicated but the surgery will hopefully solve all the issues. As long as my symptoms don't intensify, I'm still able to train and I can wait on the surgery. It's a week-by-week decision about when to have it done. With school starting soon and all my kids making big transitions, I don't want to be down and out until things have settled. So it's just a wait-and-see thing right now but I figured I should put it out there so it's not such a shock when I say I'm not running and I'm having surgery. But know that it's not a life threatening situation and I will be ok :) But I will say with all of my symptoms, running has definitely been a struggle. It's frustrating when all the work I've been putting in feels like it's slipping away. I'm doing the best I can and that's is about all I can do right now.

What are some of your runfessions this month? Anything you'd like to share? 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Where Summer Running Has Taken Me

It's hard to believe July is coming to a close and the summer is almost over. I feel like I have not done a whole lot this summer but as I compiled my photos for this blog post, I've been lucky enough to have some really great long runs and miles of fun.

Before I continue, I'm linking up with the Tuesday on the Run blog link up, hosted by My No-Guilt LifeMCM Mama Runs and Marcia's Healthy Slice. When you're done reading here, go check them out!

Summer running was unofficially kicked off with the Vista Strawberry Festival. This was the third year for us and it didn't disappoint! This year my son and I did the 5K, he then ran the kids 1-mile with a friend and then the girls and I did the kids 1/4-mile run. It was a great day!

Summer trail running has taken me to some familiar and some not-so-familiar ground. Despite the heat and my fear of snakes, the trails have been as fun as ever. Here are a few places I'm lucky enough to be able to run through:

South side of Lake Hodges
The north side of Lake Hodges 

Top of Cuyamaca Peak with PIC Vanessa

Top of Cuyamaca Peak with the Dirt Devils

One of the more interesting trail runs was when we discovered the newly opened trail leading to Annie's Canyon. This trail is part of the the San Elijo Lagoon trail system and was closed off to the public but people still went into the canyon (locally known as the Mushroom Caves) and defaced the rocks. Local conservancy groups banded together to clean up the canyon and reopen it to the public. We had so much fun exploring and climbing through the rocks. 

Entering Annie's Canyon

Climbing through the rocks was super cool! 

The top of the canyon with Vanessa, Jenny and Sean
Back to the top of Cuyamaca Peak

View from the top! 

Not all runs were on trails and many of my summer runs took place along my beloved Coast Highway. 

The top of Torrey Pines
A silly random evening run with my love Joanna

Through downtown San Diego for Smitha's birthday run!

The birthday run crew! 

And the summer running fun isn't over yet! More coast runs starting with this weekend's 26-miler, a trip up to Malibu for the Bulldog 50K and some running on our family trip to Mexico in a couple of weeks. And who knows where else! Hopefully I'll be able to make a trip out to Noble Canyon before that 50K in September. We'll see!

Where has your summer running taken you? Any crazy runs planned before summer is over?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Five Tips for Running with Your Dog

July 23rd is Clear the Shelters Day where animal shelters all over the US are waiving their adoption fees and offering other incentives to help animals find forever homes. In 2014, we were lucky enough to adopt our yellow Lab, Yogi, from a local rescue, California Labs and More. He's been a great addition to our family, all 119 pounds of him!

When we first got Yogi, I would take him running with me a lot. I don't run him quite as much any more as he gets tired pretty quickly. We usually do some light jogging within our walks. With his large frame, running a ton isn't exactly good for him. In fact, running with your dog isn't always an easy task and I thought I'd share my tips so your four-legged friend could become your best running friend too.

Before I continue, I'm linking up with the Friday Five link up hosted by Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What and Mar at Mar on the Run. Be sure to show them some love!

Yogi getting ready to run!
1. Wait until your dog is done with the majority of his growing before hitting the roads. The primary purpose of our muscles is to support our skeletal system. When our muscles tire, it's difficult to keep our bones moving the way they should (which is why strength training is so important for runners - it builds muscle strength and endurance!), which increases our chance for injury. When muscles are not mature, they tire even more rapidly and the chances for injury are greater. This is true for puppies too. Talk with your vet to make sure your pup has finished the majority of his growing and is ready to pound the pavement with you. While you're at it, make sure your vet thinks your doggie is able to run with you. Not all breeds make good runners.

2. Just like you, dogs need to gradually increase their mileage. Don't expect your dog to handle a 3-mile run as soon as he joins your family (unless his previous owners were runners too). Ease into mileage the same way you would: try a run/walk interval, covering short distances at first and build up on a weekly basis. And try to keep the pace on an easy side until your dog has adapted to the mileage. Dogs will try to keep up with you or run their heart out even if it's exhausting them. They go until they can't go anymore. Pay attention to how alert your dog is, how labored their breathing is or if they're showing any other signs of distress. Give your pup a break and keep things easy until you know what your dog can handle.

3. Aim for soft surfaces whenever possible. You know how trails and grass are much softer on your joints than concrete and pavement? Same goes for your doggie's joints and paws too. Just be sure you know if dogs are allowed and if they need to stay on leash while on the trail.

4. Your dog needs to hydrate too! Be sure you're giving your dog enough water before and after as well as throughout your run.

5. For the safety of your dog, as well as your own, try to keep your dog close to you while running. Giving him too much leash can spell trouble: lots of zig-zagging, pulling or dragging. You can practice this while on your walks first and then work it into your runs. And don't forget your poop bags!

Yogi in recovery-mode 

Do you run with your dog? How often do you run together and where do you like to run?