How I Run: Team LUNA Chix PDX’s Ashly Robinson

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In honor of our second Team LUNA Chix Portland Run season, I’ll be introducing our new team members via this interview series throughout the next few months…get to know these impressive ladies, and come join us for a run Monday nights from 6:30-7:30 pm in Portland! 

Last, but certainly not least, is Ashly Robinson! As one of our most loyal community members last year, it made perfect sense that she’d be joining the ranks of the team leaders this year.

Although Ashly freely admits she’s “not the fastest or the strongest runner out there” (I’d beg to differ; she’s an avid racer who has since taken to the trails and has also been dropping her pace-per-mile like nobody’s business, thanks to interval training), she said what attracted her to our group what that she never once felt like she didn’t belong. And now she wants to share that same welcoming spirit with our new community members as the team continues to grow.

Ashly’s also particularly passionate about raising money for our charity, Breast Cancer Fund, because it’s a cause that has taken too many lives of those she’s known and loved. In fact, she’s spearheading one of our main events for the season, a fundraiser with Orange Theory Fitness — check out our Facebook page for details!

So, without further ado, we’re rounding out this interview series by finding out what makes this all-around fabulous lady tick…

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1. What’s your favorite route? My favorite route really depends on the season. In the warmer months I’m a sucker for the trails, mostly Forest Park, but I don’t discriminate! In the cooler months, I love making a loop on the waterfront paths and enjoying all the city views.

2. What shoes do you wear? I’m currently wearing Nike’s LunarGlide 7.

3. What other run gear can’t you live without? My FlipBelt! I don’t always wear tights that have a zippered pocket, so this helps me carry my iPod/phone and keys without having to carry everything.

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4. What’s your best time-saver or “runhack?” I would have to say getting things ready the day before. Whether it’s a run after work or an early morning race, getting my gear ready just eliminates the “do I have everything?” stress.

5. What running-related thing are you better at than anyone else? I wouldn’t say I’m really better at anything running-related than anyone else, but I do a pretty good job of keeping a good attitude. I’m not the fastest girl on the block, I’ve even finished dead last in a race before, but I don’t let that stop me from getting out there and doing something I enjoy.

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6. What do you listen to while running? If I’m going out for a long run I like to listen to slower paced music to help me not run too fast too soon. This is usually something like Phantogram or Glass Animals, mixed in with some Eminem for motivation. For shorter runs I’m all about upbeat, “top hits” and some more Eminem.

7. What are you currently training for? Right now? Nothing. But I do have my sights set on a half marathon in December, so I guess I better get planning that!

8. What are your recovery & sleep routines like? Recovery isn’t my strong suit. That usually consists of some calf stretching and water/electrolyte intake. Definitely room for improvement there! Sleep, on the other hand, I’ve got that down. I’m an eight hours per night kinda gal.

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9. What’s the best running advice you’ve ever received? It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are, it just matters that you’re out there trying.

10. What’s your favorite running-related memory? This has to be from my first half marathon. A good friend of mine talked me into running this with her for her birthday, but I was never a runner. At the last minute, my dad decided to do it with me. Not only did I get to complete my first half with my dad by my side, but I also had great friends at the finish to cheer me on! Not to mention this was in Moab, Utah so the scenery itself was incredible.

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11. Fill in the blank: I’d love to go on a run with __________. There are so many people that I would love to run with. For right now, I’d have to say my husband, Sean. He’s done so much to help me achieve my goals and running with him (at his pace) would mean I’ve improved more than I ever thought possible.

12. Anything else you want to add? My dad always told me “we’re burnin’ daylight” when I would lolly-gag in the mornings. So in his wise words, get out there and quit burnin’ the daylight!

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Thanks, Ashly! Thank you for pitching in as a team leader this year; you continue to inspire those around you, and we’re excited to watch you crush yet another 13.1 come December! 

Friends, if you’re interested in being featured here (all levels & abilities welcome), please drop me a line at info(at)kineticfix(dot)com. 

10 Ways Having a Newborn is Like Reliving Your College Experience

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From sleepless nights to getting schooled in all sorts of subjects, life with a newborn bears a striking resemblance to those good ol’ glory days of college. So I thought I’d share my top 10 ways having a baby is like starting freshman year all over again.

10. Mounting Expenses. Back then you spent your money on books, meal plan and extracurriculars. Now you’re draining your bank account on books, take-out and just about any gadget and/or invention under the sun that promises to help baby sleep.

9. Boot ‘n’ Rally. Popular among frat boys. Also babies.

8. All Nighters. The only difference? In college, you could sleep in ’til noon the next day to recover. With babies, there’ no sleeping in again. Ever.

7. Roommate Issues. It’s the luck of the draw. Some go with the flow and are easy to get along with. Others? Messy, loud and up at all hours.

6. Weight Gain. Packing it on, freshman-style, is a lot of fun thanks to beer and late-night snacks. With pregnancy, it’s more about the pesky final 15 that seems to linger postpartum.

5. Boobs. They’re endlessly fascinating to both hormone-riddled young men and babies, alike.

4. Knowledge. Talk about theory all you want, but there’s a big difference between book smarts and being able to apply that knowledge in the real world — or with a real human.

3. Hormones. Both teens and pregnant women are vying for front-row seats on the emotional roller-coaster.

2. Life Lessons. Just when we think we’ve got it all figured out, life has a way of showing you that you truly don’t know what you don’t know until you’re in the thick of it.

1. Growing Up. There’s a good chance you’ll be forever changed for the better after each experience.

Anything else you’d add to the list? 

How I Run: Team LUNA Chix PDX’s Vanessa Peterson

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In honor of our second Team LUNA Chix Portland Run season, I’ll be introducing our new team members via this interview series throughout the next few months…get to know these impressive ladies, and come join us for a run Monday nights from 6:30-7:30 pm in Portland! 

Next up, meet Vanessa Peterson! During the week you can find her helping to straighten people’s teeth as an orthodontist…but when the weekend rolls around, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find our team’s resident speed demon heading out on some kind of great adventure.

Case in point: With her 30th birthday approaching soon, Vanessa’s made it a goal to run the length of the Wildwood Trail — all 30 miles of it. So for practice, she and her husband ran up Mt. St. Helens — that’s 19 miles with 4,300 feet of climbing over six hours, folks.

What I love most about Vanessa is that you’ll never met anyone with a softer heart and a stronger mental game. Seriously, this woman is one of the kindest and most genuine people you’ll meet, but when it comes to competing in races, the gloves come off — she’s just puts that much heart and soul into everything she does.

Needless to say, we’re thrilled to have her leading the pack with this year’s team, both literally and figuratively, so here’s a little peek into how she makes it happen…

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1. What’s your favorite route? I love running from the OHSU/Marquam Hill through Wildwood Trail to Pittock Mansion down into Forest Park and back. It’s a 12 mile loop that is perfect for a summer Sunday morning jaunt!

2. What shoes do you wear? I’ve worn Nike Pegasus running shoes for 15 years. I’m superstitious and nervous that if I switch I’ll get injured. However, this year is the first year I don’t have any crazy races that I’ve signed up for, so maybe its finally time to branch out and try something new…stay tuned!

3. What other run gear can’t you live without? I can’t live without my sunglasses and my phone. I love listening to Pandora or putting on a podcast when I run.

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4. What’s your best time-saver or “runhack?” I keep an old pair of running shoes and a run outfit in the trunk of my car. That way, if a running opportunity presents itself or the rainy clouds open up, I’m ready to go and don’t have to fight traffic to go home and change.

5. What running-related thing are you better at than anyone else? I LOVE track workouts –tempo, fartleks, ladders, speed, you name it! I was a NCAA Track & Field Div 1 800-meter runner in college, and I’m also a rule follower. When a track workout says you must hit this time and you have this much rest, it doesn’t matter how tired I am, I’ll do anything to hit that split!

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6. What do you listen to while running? Lately I listen to wellness podcasts. They are so inspiring, and are especially helpful when I’m running the waterfront on my lunch hour during a stressful day at work.

7. What are you currently training for? I am turning 30 this year and I’ve decided that, to celebrate, I want to run all 30 miles of the Wildwood trail in August. It’s not an official race, but I can’t wait! I’m hoping to get a big group of people to join me at least for parts of it!

8. What are your recovery & sleep routines like? I do a ton of yoga — like 4-6 hours a week. I’ve found that flexibility equals speed, and good posture and a strong core leads to a long-term running career. Following a long run with yoga is almost like getting a massage; it feels so good!

I also am a very healthy eater. I eat 95% plant-based, which I think is essential to optimal athletic performance. Finally, I usually get eight hours of sleep and I’m up by 5 am. It was hard to get into a morning routine, but I’ve found the early morning is my favorite part of the day.

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9. What’s the best running advice you’ve ever received? I tend to run like a Tyrannosaurus Rex with my arms clenched up by my armpits and my shoulders super tense. One of my coaches taught me to run with a penny in each hand between my fingers; it reminds you to relax your arms and drop your shoulders!

10. What’s your favorite running-related memory? I got food poisoning the night before my first Ironman Triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run). I decided to still do the race, but it was a very long day where I felt sick to my stomach.

During the marathon portion of the event, I was struggling and ended up running three miles with an 82-year-old man before he left me in the dust! It was so inspiring to see what great shape he was in for his age!

11. Fill in the blank: I’d love to go on a run with ______. My Friends! Running is way more fun to me when its a social event! I love that so many people in Portland are active and love the outdoors. It’s great to have friends who inspire and motivate you!

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12. Anything else you want to add? I’ve gone through many phases with running and triathlon. From running competitively in college to being on a sponsored triathlon team, I’ve run six marathons, including the Boston Marathon, and have done more than 30 triathlons, including two Ironman distances. I used to have a much more competitive spirit, but these days training outside is simply my zen.

There is nothing better than being on the trails with a great group of people. I developed such great relationships with so many Luna Chix last year. My goal this year is to have a blast getting healthy and training with an incredible group of women!

Thanks, Vanessa! We love having you as a team leader this season — and enjoy the challenge of trying to keep up with you each week😉

Friends, if you’re interested in being featured here (all levels & abilities welcome), please drop me a line at info(at)kineticfix(dot)com. 

July Goal Check-In

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Ever look back and marvel at how far you’ve come — yet realize how much you’ve veered off course?

That’s pretty much how I feel about this year’s goals at this point, but that’s the name of the game now: learning how to roll with the punches and adjust (and re-adjust) expectations. Chalk that up to another lesson of parenthood.

Regardless, one day at a time and one foot in front of the other, the important part is that we’re making progress, right?

Read more about the five goals toward which I’m working in 2016.

Here’s where things stand currently:

1. Health & Fitness

We’re still working on getting a daily routine down (naps, anyone?), but I have gotten good at making little workouts happen in the nooks and crannies of our days. Even if it’s just a walk with the stroller, a stroll with the baby carrier or some at-home body weight exercises designed by one of my favorite trainers, I try to get at least 30 minutes of activity on the regular.

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In the absence of a regular fitness schedule, however, I’ve realized it’s also come high time to revamp my eating habits. Up until now, I’ve been using breastfeeding as an excuse reason to be more lax than usual…

But now that Wyatt’s getting more mobile, energy is the focus so I’ve been supplementing with Forelle, a new meal delivery service here in Portland that specializes in raw, plant-based meals  using whole, organic and seasonal ingredients that are sourced from local suppliers. Clean eating feels good again, even if it’s only for a few meals a week!

2. Training

Now that we’re creeping up on six months where I have yet to get a full night’s sleep, I’m starting to re-think the plan for this fall’s marathon. Although mileage is now up to double-digits on weekend runs, operating in a state of chronic sleep deprivation is hardly conducive to smart training — i.e. the last thing I want to do is get injured in the process.

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The good news is that my average pace per mile has been dropping steadily as I’ve been increasing distance each week. The bad news is that I’m nowhere near the kind of mileage that’s considered preparation for 26.2.

Walk/jogging is an option, for sure, but there’s something to be said for training properly for a race so you can enjoy the whole experience. Needless to say, I’ve been mulling over my options, so stay tuned.

3. Community

This month we switched things up at one  of our weekly Team LUNA Chix Portland Run practices and held a scavenger hunt with some of our favorite fitness stores and studios in the area (shout out to Bar Method, Barre3, Burncycle, Lucy, MUV, Revocycle, Title Nine, YAS, YoYoYogi and Zest Nutrition). Between bags of bars, coupons for free classes and all kinds of raffle prizes, everyone walked away a winner!

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But what I really want to address this month in terms of community is the fitness scene here in Portland. What I love about it is that there’s much more camaraderie than competition — to each his own with workouts, so there can (and should) be room for everyone to play.

However, this past month I witnessed something happen to one of my favorite studio owners that made my blood boil. Rather than go into a rant here, though, I’d just like to take the opportunity to commend the people and places who pitched in and redeemed our faith in the Portland fitness community — namely Industrial Barre and PureBarre Bend — as well as those who stepped forward and asked how they could lend a hand to a fellow small business owner in need.

That’s how it should be, folks!

4. Career

My consulting work with Pulse Creative continues to be a juggling act, schedule-wise, but is so worth it. Aside from working out, it’s the other small piece of my day where I can feel like the old ‘me.’

And what’s nice, I’ve learned, from having less time is that you get to prioritize projects — i.e. partner with great people and do only work that you love. Which makes the time spent doubly enjoyable!

5. Life

Finally, as I mentioned last month and the previous month, life hasn’t been without its lessons since Wyatt came along. The latest of which is:

It’s no longer about you. 

Well, duh, you’re probably saying. Anyone over the age of five knows this. 

But after years of being able to do what you want, when you want and how you want — from things as simple as setting sleep hours and eating regular meals to more complicated things such as work/life balance, training for events or, heck, even a date night with my husband — it can be a hard pill to swallow in the adjustment as a first-time parent.

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And what initially felt like a tug-of-war to not forget about what makes me ‘me’ or what makes Ben and me ‘us’ has become, well, a more comfortable shade of normal. It may have taken a handful of months and some newfound perspective — or maybe it’s just that there’s a flicker of light ahead at the end of the newborn tunnel — but I see now that it’s less about losing something and more about adding pieces to the puzzle.

What that bigger picture is, we don’t know yet; we’re still very much in the thick of it. But the prospect of creating it together, all three of us, is pretty exciting.

How are your 2016 goals coming along? 

How I Run: Team LUNA Chix PDX’s Syreeta Abrams

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In honor of our second Team LUNA Chix Portland Run season, I’ll be introducing our new team members via this interview series throughout the next few months…get to know these impressive ladies, and come join us for a run Monday nights from 6:30-7:30 pm in Portland! 

Next up, meet Syreeta Abrams! If you’ve been thinking about joining our group, here’s why you shouldn’t hesitate to come check us out: there’s more than a good chance that she’ll be the first person to greet you with a warm smile and jog a few ‘get to know you’ laps upon your arrival.

A people person at heart, Syreeta started coming to our workouts last year and quickly became a core member of the team. Whether it’s taking on new running experiences (trail races, Hood to Coast) or tackling some of the Pacific Northwest’s best hikes (hit her up for info), she’s game for anything.

What I love most about Syreeta, though, (aside from her wicked sense of humor) is that she’s a great example to us all for living a truly balanced life; she’s not only a proud mom, wife and successful executive, but she’s also an athlete and an avid world traveler.

The best part? She juggles it all with a positive attitude and level of energy that are genuinely inspiring. So here’s a little peek behind the scenes at how she does it!

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1. What’s your favorite route? I love running around Mountain Park and Tryon Park.

2. What shoes do you wear? Nike Structures

3. What other run gear can’t you live without? I can’t live without my phone, my music and my Garmin watch. I think I’m obsessed with checking to make sure I did a full 3, 4, 5, 6 miles. I hate when it says 2.99 miles!

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4. What’s your best time-saver or “runback?” I don’t think I really have one.

5. What running-related thing are you better at than anyone else? I think I’m better at going the distance. Sometimes I feel like I can run forever — not fast but just far. And don’t let me have a partner that I can talk to; omg I might run to Seattle!

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6. What do you listen to while running? I listen to whatever my college-aged daughter tells me to download — so right now it’s Beyonce, Formation and Fetty Wap.

7. What are you currently training for? I am training for nothing at the moment! Life has happened, and I honestly don’t have the time to train for anything right now.

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8. What are your recovery & sleep routines like? I love to sleep, so lets just say I get my 8+ hours in on the regular, LOL! And I usually like to run every other day, so 3-5 times a week.

9. What’s the best running advice you’ve ever received? Go a 1/2 size up on your running shoes and listen to your body not what a book says. So if you find some good advice try it but don’t force it on yourself because each person’s body has different needs.

For example, I don’t eat before I run (I mean nothing — no water, no food, not even a bite of something!) because if I do I get sick to my stomach while running. Why does this happen? Who knows, but it does, and I’ve met people for years telling me ‘you should eat.’

I tried it a few times and decided it just doesn’t work for me, and when I finally listened to my body, it worked just fine!

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10. What’s your favorite running-related memory? The best memory was when I was running my first half marathon in Williamsburg, Va. — the scenery was breathtaking and I had trained super hard and was ready to run like a maniac.

11. Fill in the blank: I’d love to go on a run with __________. My husband. He won’t run, but boy would that make my day!

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Thanks, Syreeta! We’re pumped to have you as a team leader this year, and I’m looking forward to many more adventures together. 

Friends, if you’re interested in being featured here (all levels & abilities welcome), please drop me a line at info(at)kineticfix(dot)com. 

10 Fourth Trimester Life-Savers

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Back when Wyatt was just a bump in my belly, I shared a few favorite firstsecond and third trimester essentials that helped us make our way through pregnancy together.

But have you heard of the fourth trimester? It’s the concept that the first three months after birth are quite literally an extension of life in the womb for baby.

And I’m not gonna lie: At times, it can be a rocky transition for everyone involved. Not only does baby need lots of attention, but mama also deserves extra TLC during recovery and those sleepless nights and days spent getting to know the newest family member.

As always, everyone’s experience will be a bit different, but these are just a few of the things that I found helpful for easing into motherhood. And by ‘easing in’ I mean jumping with both feet into the deep end. 

1. Nursing Tanks

If you’re nursing or pumping, not only will you need quick access, but you’ll also need something pretty forgiving as you change size throughout the day. Consider the Gilligan & O’Malley Nursing Cotton Camis part of your new mom uniform; at $20 a pop, they’re as budget-friendly as they are baby-friendly.

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2. Support Tights

Another staple in your new mom wardrobe? A pair of tummy-friendly tights, which are both comfortable and versatile as your body shape-shifts in the first few months postpartum. One of my favorites were Blanqi’s Highwaist Support Leggings, which not only help provide some extra core support but also come in handy when you’re between sizes.

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3. Nipple Butter

Whether you use it for nursing or as a lube with your breast pump, Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Natural Nipple Butter is the best stuff out there — period. It’s from a local company, it’s all-natural and it works, so do yourself a favor and stockpile this stuff by the case before baby comes.

earth-mama-angel-baby-natural-nipple-butter4. Breast Pump

Speaking of your ‘ladies,’ if you’re thinking of breastfeeding and/or pumping you’ll want something to get the job done without too much…collateral damage, shall we say? After trying the Medela Freestyle, which was awesomely small and portable, I ultimately settled on the Spectra Baby S1. It came highly recommended from a girlfriend, and I found it to be just as effective, but a lot gentler.

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5. Pumping Bra

If you’re a woman, you’re no stranger to multitasking. And if you’re a breastfeeding mom, you’re no stranger to multitasking while pumping. Enter the Simple Wishes D*Lite Hands-Free Pumping Bra, which is adjustable in size to sustain a perfect fit over time as a nursing mother’s size changes. Brilliant!

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6. Nursing Pads

And while we’re on the subject of milk, when it comes in you’ll want to be prepared with some disposable nursing pads to keep from leaking through your shirts, on the sheets…you get the point. But after your supply evens out, I’ve found these washable breast pads to be more comfortable and better at wicking away moisture.

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7. Robe & Comfy PJ’s

One of the best maternity investments I made in terms of cost-per-wear was this robe and nightgown set. I can’t say enough about how handy a lightweight cotton robe with pockets can be for keeping you warm when you’re up at all hours, as well as having handy pockets to stack bottles, pacifiers, burp-cloths, etc.

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8. Amazon Prime

Another invaluable investment? An Amazon Prime subscription, which is worth it’s weight in gold. From diapers to developmental toys and everything else in between, it’s a necessity in those early days when you need something — stat! — and can’t get out to the store. Simply search, click and it’ll be on your doorstep in two days.

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9. Meals

I cooked exactly two freezer meals and one batch of lactation cookies before Wyatt came, thinking that’d tide us over until I get back on my feet and had time to get in the kitchen again. HA! Little did I know we’d come to rely heavily on frozen foods, take-out, meal delivery services and the kindness of friends and family in those first few months. Have a friend with a new baby and want to know how you can help? Bring over a warm meal, and they’ll be forever indebted to you.

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10. Thank You Cards

I’m old-school and believe that any gift you receive deserves a nice handwritten thank-you. Save time — and your sanity — by stamping and putting your return address on a bunch of cards before baby arrives. That way you can write them as you go, ensuring you’ll get ’em out the door in a timely manner and also remember who sent what when the time comes.

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*Bonus: Netflix Subscription

Finally, no list of postpartum must-haves would be complete without the mother of all necessities during those first few months: a Netflix subscription. When you’re up at all hours night after night, it’s either stare at the ceiling while feeding or immerse yourself in a season — or three — of your favorite show (my choice was Orange is the New Black). So sink into the couch together and enjoy some quality cuddle time!

Mamas, what were your fourth trimester must-haves? 

How I Run: Team LUNA Chix PDX’s Alex Schrimp

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In honor of our second Team LUNA Chix Portland Run season, I’ll be introducing our new team members via this interview series throughout the next few months…get to know these impressive ladies, and come join us for a run Monday nights from 6:30-7:30 pm in Portland! 

Next up, meet Alex Schrimp! She’s a Senior Research Assistant by day at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and has been a runner for a little more than three years now.

But after finding herself losing steam with workouts last summer, Alex needed some help staying motivated and holding herself accountable towards her goals. Enter Team LUNA Chix: One workout, and she was hooked.

Fast forward to this season — Alex is one of our rockstar team leaders, and is excited to help others find their fitness grooves again. Whether you’re looking for an upcoming race or ideas for how to spend your non-running time in Portland (hit her up for ideas on where to find the city’s best food, drinks and hikes…as well as what happened on this weeks’ episode of The Bachelorette), she’s your gal!

1. What’s your favorite route? I love to run from my house down to Tom McCall Waterfront Park, across the Steel Bridge, down Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade, across Tilikum Crossing and home. It’s about a six-mile loop. It’s great on a clear, sunny day, but I also love it on those cloudy, rainy Portland mornings.

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2. What shoes do you wear? I’m currently running in Brooks Glycerin 13 and Hoka One One Clifton 2.

3. What other run gear can’t you live without? I love my Garmin GPS watch and my hydration belt! I have to have hydration and fuel with me at all times.

4. What’s your best time-saver or “runhack?” One of the best ways I’ve found to get my training in while still seeing my friends is to run into downtown to meet friends for a drink or dinner in the evening. I get my sweat on and still get to see everyone!

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5. What running-related thing are you better at than anyone else? I’m not sure I’m better at anything than anyone else is; that’s not why I run. I just like to get out there, relieve some stress and push myself.

6. What do you listen to while running? I listen to all kinds of music depending on what type of run (easy vs hard) I’m doing and the weather. I’ll usually listen to country music on easy runs and some top hits when I’m really pushing myself.

7. What are you currently training for? My goal for 2016 is to run one race/month and average a 9-min/mile.

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8. What are your recovery & sleep routines like? I usually increase my water/electrolyte intake and try to eat within an hour of finishing a long or intense run. As for sleep, I shoot for eight hours every night!

9. What’s the best running advice you’ve ever received? Listen to your body. I think that’s the golden rule in running. It’ll tell you all that you need to know.

10. What’s your favorite running-related memory? Finishing my first half marathon with my sister!

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Thanks, Alex! We’re thrilled to have you as part of the team this year, and we’re excited to cheer you on as you run down those race and pace goals this season. 

Friends, if you’re interested in being featured here (all levels & abilities welcome), please drop me a line at info(at)kineticfix(dot)com.