The ‘Lazy’ Gal’s (or Guy’s) Guide To Getting Fit

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An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. -Newton’s first law of motion

My girlfriends and I were discussing workout habits while on a group run the other morning, and I joked about being one of the “laziest active people” around. Yes, I work out — probably more than the average person — but I’ve also learned how to make it easy on myself.

Easy? Well, there’s a bit of effort required, but the concept is simple: Make the path of least resistance the one that leads to fitness.

Huh? Ok, allow me to explain.

You see, years ago my workout routine consisted of dragging myself to the gym after work and halfheartedly hitting the elliptical machine for a half hour (while reading a magazine) before calling it a day. I was too tired to cook well, bedtime would get pushed back, I’d sleep in to try to catch up, etc.

Repeat again and again with the exception of a few races. I’d schedule and train for them, but fall off the wagon in between.

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It wasn’t until my fall marathon in 2013 that I finally decided to stop the vicious cycle once and for all. I was sick of training hard into injury, then spending months healing and recovering…only to find myself back at square one.

You can only play Jenga with yourself so many times before the excitement of seeing how high you can stack the pile before everything comes crashing down loses its appeal.

Instead, I vowed to take a new approach, one that would allow me to once and for all create a solid foundation. Step one was deciding to make fitness a lifestyle — something that I live and breathe every day — instead of an option. Step two was to figuring out a game plan. And step three was putting it in action and conservatively building on successes.

So here’s how I started offsetting my sedentary habits for good:

1. Stop thinking, start doing.

Get up! Quite simply, sit less and move more – and once you start, don’t stop. It began with a nightly walk around the block with my dogs, then I started building up my mileage and adding strength training between races to push my fitness threshold.

Weekend runs were no longer just a means to an end (i.e. the same five-mile loop to our farmer’s market for fresh kettle corn); they became part of a bigger plan of slowly building a larger base so I wouldn’t have to start from zero each training cycle.

2. Watch your mouth.

As in, what you put in it. You are what you eat, and it’ll translate into your training, so make it count. Avoid processed foods, practice portion control and aim to incorporate more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Once I started seeing food as fuel and feeling the impact of my choices — both good and bad — I wanted to give my body what it needed to get stronger and stay healthy. Rather than viewing it as extra work, I got excited when I saw how it was so closely connected to performance.

3. Ask for help. 

It can be intimidating starting a new routine, so seek out people on whom you can rely for advice, motivation and inspiration. Join a local running club or swim team for coaching, or enlist the help of friends who are seasoned athletes and can explain the finer points of various training concepts.

You’ve got to know yourself and what works for you; I get bored easily, so I knew I’d need to mix things up. I started adding cross-training in the form of different classes, which not only challenged my mind, but also made me a stronger runner. My November Project tribe was also immensely helpful when it came to staying motivated; there was always someone doing something — or someone who was game for anything.

4. DIY at home.

You can thank Jane Fonda for this one. After inspiring a home video fitness craze among millions of baby boomers, she paved the way for P90X, Insanity and a host of other DVD-based workout programs in our generation.

Let’s face it, we all get our days when we’d rather hit the couch than the treadmill. So I made a deal with myself that if I didn’t get to the gym for a workout, I’d at least move around at home with one of my workout DVDs (I happen to love Beachbody’s, and they don’t pay me to say that).

5. Sign up for a race.

A mere two months of three 20-30 minute sessions per week stand between you and the finish line, so it’s totally doable. Check out my couch-to-five-miler plan, which takes you step-by-step through the process if you’ve got your eye on an event this season but don’t know where to start.

When all else fails, having a deadline can be very motivating. And once you have that race date in the calendar, the key is to back out from that day and create a training plan (the actual length will depend on your current level of fitness and the race duration).

I put my marathon plans front and center on the fridge and even make check boxes so I can cross off runs as I complete them. Take it one step at a time, one workout at a time and before you know it, you’ll be living — and actually looking forward to — a more active lifestyle.

How do you motivate yourself out of a workout slump?

Happy Birthday, Mom!

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Sister, nurse, wife, mom, grandma.

Chef, shrink, wound-healer, natural soother, story-teller, housekeeper, personal shopper.

Alternative medicine explorer, Jane Fonda devotee (circa 1980), healthy recipe experimenter.

Adult-onset runner to 2000 Somerset Classic 5k age group 2nd place winner.

Limit pusher, dream chaser, cheerleader, eternal optimist.

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You inspire me more than you know.

You may not always understand all my crazy endeavors — “Running 26.2 miles? Why would you want to do that to yourself?!”

But thanks for being there every step of the way.

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Happy birthday, Mom! I love you!

Join us Monday Nights for Team LUNA Chix Portland Run Workouts!

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Thanks to social media (i.e. a deluge of Twitter and Instagram posts!), you probably know I was down in Berkeley, Calif., this past weekend for the annual LUNA Chix Summit. This event serves as the official kick-off for the Team LUNA Chix season, which runs from April to October.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Terra Castro, a friend from high school who just happens to be a former professional triathlete and current LUNA sponsored athlete, invited me to check out last year’s Summit. Just one day with these incredible women, and I was hooked. I just knew I had to be a part of what they were doing.

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Why? Well, there a lot of inspiring (read: bad-ass) athletes in this crew. But — more importantly — as much as they’re into challenging themselves, they’re equally as committed to supporting and motivating other women to get active in a non-competitive environment.

So fast forward one year, and we’re launching a team here in Portland. But it’s not about us, even though we do have our own athletic goals that we’ll be striving for throughout the year; rather, our weekly workouts are about YOU, your goals and providing a platform with which women can connect with one another.

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Our goal is to set an example in the community as a running team that supports ALL fitness levels. Regardless of if you’ve never run a step in your life or if you’re a super-seasoned marathoner, we’d love to have you join us and help empower each other to be active, healthy and happy.

Our workouts are Monday evenings from 6:30-7:30 pm, rotating between a few locations (check our Twitter & Facebook pages for details, and — shameless plug — please follow & friend us!). Our first one, though, will take place on April 6 at the Lincoln High School track in Portland. Hope to see you there!

In the meantime, I thought it’d be fun to share a few highlights from the weekend…

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Team leaders arrived Thursday so we could get down to business first thing Friday morning. We chatted about the brand, our goals for the season and best practices from the more established teams.

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We also heard from ladies at the Breast Cancer Fund, which is our charity partner. Little did I know, they’re not so much about fighting breast cancer as they are about preventing it. They gave a fascinating talk about how you can reduce your risk by reducing your exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation.

By early afternoon we were ready to get out into the sun, so we met outside for an easy four-mile shake-out run.

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After we showered up and changed, we headed over to Clif Bar & Company headquarters for a tour and dinner. This company lives and breathes the philosophy that “every day is an opportunity to do something that matters.”

Not only are they working to create a more sustainable food system by being responsible with how they source ingredients for their products, but they also are actively working to reduce their ecological footprint, be it by subsidizing the purchase of hybrid vehicles, using solar power to run the office or incentivizing employees to bike to work.

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The food was also nothing short of amazing. Megan, being a Registered Dietitian with her own nutrition company, was particularly impressed with the spread.

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I, however, was even more excited about the dessert table with treats from Snickerdoodle Sweets. The owner, Tiffany, talked to us about being a female entrepreneur and pursuing your dreams, and then she lead us in a fun cupcake-decorating competition.

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By Saturday morning, our sugar highs had subsided. We started the day with yoga before settling into some more training sessions — this time with the larger group of team leaders and members.

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After learning more about team dynamics and tips for new teams throughout the morning and early afternoon, we broke up into categories by sport and prepped for afternoon activities. Of course, I couldn’t resist another workout with Terra, so I headed to the track for her clinic!

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We had a blast doing 400’s with the LUNA professional and sponsored athletes. We weren’t running close to what I’d imagine their usual pace(s) to be, but it was thrilling running alongside them in the workout…and it’s that same feeling our team hopes to give to everyone who joins us on runs.

Unfortunately my darn SI joint was acting up again, so I opted out of the aqua jog clinic. Instead, I went to San Francisco Run team leader Dr. Heather Maxwell’s clinic on foam rolling and stuck around after to pick her brain for tips on how to keep strengthening my sleepy glutes.

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By then it was time to shower up and head to dinner. Our guest speaker was the President & CEO of the Breast Cancer Fund, Jeanne Rizzo.

She’s as entertaining as she is informative, and her talk was one of the most memorable moments of the weekend, as it was last year.

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After Jeanne spoke, we enjoyed watching a series of poignant short films, all of which are featured in this year’s LUNAFEST lineup. LUNAFEST is a traveling film festival of award-winning short films by, for and about women — and they did not disappoint; I highly recommend checking it out, if it comes to a city near you!

Sunday morning, we had the choice of easing in with yoga, Pilates or a run mechanics clinic. I opted to pick up some more tips from Terra on exercises to help get your body get into better running form (fingers crossed for those SI issues).

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Then it was time for the wrap-up run, so Megan and I decided to sport our new LUNA kits on our six-miler. The  tanks were really comfy, and I’m excited to get the rest of the team decked out for our season!

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About an hour later, we arrived back at the hotel — drenched in sweat, on a runner’s high and slightly sad that our 2015 Summit time was coming to an end. We showered up and ate lunch with the LUNA athletes and our fellow team members out in the sun before bidding each other goodbye until next year.

The good news, though, is that our enthusiasm coming our of Summit is about a 12 on a scale of 1-10. So get ready, Portland, because it’s going to be an exciting inaugural season as we embark on this adventure together!

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Want to join in on the fun? Stay tuned for updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and don’t forget to join us on Monday evenings for workouts and clinics when you’re in the Portland area.

Not in PDX? Don’t despair; there’s a good chance LUNA’s got a local team in a city near you, so click here to check.

Hope to grab some miles with you this season; please help us spread word that LUNA is in Portland — and ready to RUN!

9 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Next Season

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Back in November I got pretty fired up after reading blogger friend and fellow Coeur Sports teammate Kecia’s blog post, which talked about evaluating her 2014 triathlon journey in order to set S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2015. It inspired me so much, in fact, that I thought I’d do the same in anticipation of my own fitness planning for the upcoming year.

Using this article in USA Triathlon as her guide, Kecia addressed nine critical, but often overlooked, steps to effectively evaluating her season. As the author says, “Allowing your success to be determined solely by the finish line clock or your ranking is not fair to all the effort and time you invested. You deserve more credit than that.”

I couldn’t agree more. So as we all prepare to spend the next 360-odd days training for something (or a lot of things), take a stab at the questions below and see how your efforts from last year stack up. Be critical, be honest, but — above all — be open to changing tactics in order to see some strategic gains in 2015.

1. In hindsight, were your season goals clear and attainable?
Did you achieve what you set out to do at the start of the year? Knowing what you know now could you have aimed higher, or were you somewhat unrealistic in your expectations of your time, commitments or the physical skills you needed to develop? Use hindsight as a barometer for thinking ahead to next year and create goals that push you and inspire you to go for it.

My main goal was to PR in the marathon and finish in under four hours, which didn’t happen. My secondary goals were to tackle some new events, such as an Olympic triathlon and an ultramarathon in the process. Check and check. Although I was able to maintain a higher level of fitness throughout the year and dial in my nutrition during training and racing, I failed miserably at being able to do it injury-free.

In hindsight, I was overzealous in taking on a high-volume marathon training program after upping my racing frequency and without a proper pre-hab and rehab regimen in place. As a result, a few underlying issues — namely, plantar fasciitis, stiff ankles and weak glutes — caused me to compensate in other areas, and my training was cut short with a pre-stress fracture in my tibia.

2. What were you most proud of this season?
Was it the improvement you saw in your swim, bike and run splits? Or your dedication and ability to balance your other responsibilities around the sport? How you overcame setbacks and still performed at a high level? Think of the big things and the little moments that you look back on with pride and delight in what you accomplished.

Generally? Pushing my limits and being open to trying new things outside of road running.

Specifically? Well, a few things: First off, 2014 was the year I found #bikelove, having progressed from my first clipped-in ride to an Olympic triathlon to a 50-mile solo ride. Second, this year I got onto the trails, moving from the Bay Area’s ocean-side scenery to Portland’s lush green landscape. Off the roads, I was able to push my body farther than ever before (literally) in my first ultramarathon. And, finally, I’m proud that I took the necessary steps to finally discover what might be hindering me from reaching my running goals.

3. What would you like to duplicate next year?
Perhaps it’s working with the same coach or training plan, continuing to do a variety of races and taking on big challenges that excite you and motivate you to train consistently. Of the things that you really enjoyed, what would you like to be sure you experience again?

That statement above hit the nail on the head: Taking on big challenges that excite me and motivate me to train consistently. I love the thrill of accomplishing something I previously didn’t think was possible, plus learning something new in the process is icing on the cake. And in between, I found my sweet spot with varied and frequent cross training, which not only helps keep me functionally fit, but also prevents me from getting bored.

4. What frustrated or disappointed you the most this season?
Did you struggle to see consistent improvement in your speed? Fail to summon your determination when things got hard? Were you unable to overcome nagging injuries? What concerned you and took some of your energy away from the positive things?

The most frustrating part of my season was having to succumb to overuse injury, step back from my training plan and hold myself back from running all-out in my A-race, the Detroit Marathon. After a successful first half of marathon training (including a new 10k PR), I wasn’t able to see how it would ultimately translate to the marathon distance.

At the root of all of this are those underlying weaknesses, which were the most disappointing part. The truth was a hard pill to swallow: As much as I’d been training and (I thought) strengthening my body, I was going about it the hard way — not the smart way.

5. What do you not want to happen again next year?
Were you unprepared for some races and found you performed better in training than in racing? Did you take yourself and the sport too seriously, forgetting to have fun along the way? Look for insights from question four — things that you need to avoid in order to be at your best. Put emphasis and focus on things that you can control or influence.

Physically, I don’t want to ignore my blind spots. Now I know exactly where I need to focus; sure, a 20-mile training run or a mile done at a certain pace help, but I need to seek out the small wins — like ankle flexibility and glute activation — in order to build a strong foundation for success.

Mentally, I don’t ever want to “wing it” in a race. I should have known that I was avoiding open water during training for a reason, and next time I won’t wait for race-day to confirm why.

6. What did you learn by going through these experiences?
We all have good and bad days (and races and seasons) but what you take away from them can make all the difference the next time around. Despite the challenges or painful times, what valuable lessons did you learn? What meaningful lessons can you take forward as you build on your experience as an athlete? How can you catch yourself from slipping backward the next time you hit a rough patch?

I learned three valuable lessons this year: 1) More is not always more; sometimes it’s less about intensity and more about approach. 2) I’ve got a lot of grit from which I can draw, and that stubborn streak can sometimes work in my favor. 3) There’s nothing quite as enjoying or empowering as trying new things and expanding your skill set.

7. What decisions did you make that were empowering for you?
Think about the conscious decisions you made about what you committed to or improved: your nutrition, getting support from a coach or community, your approach to training and recovery, how you managed your life around your workouts, the number or frequency of races, etc. What were some of the most important decisions of the year for you, both related to triathlon and other parts of your life where relevant? And therefore, what decisions must you make for next season to experience even more success?

Pre-injury, the frequency of races allowed me to use some as training runs, which was an ideal means of tracking progress and made the mileage more fun. Post-injury, seeking outside help was a real turning point for my running.

Working with a PT allowed me to rehab correctly, troubleshoot issues and get to the start line of the Detroit Marathon. And although I haven’t had training guidance since high school, working with a run coach and having some frank discussions about goals, possibilities and reality was what got me across the finish line.

8. What habits seemed to hold you back from achieving your potential?
We all have them. Recurring ways of behaving and thinking which sometimes we realize — even when we know it’s not in our best interest — and sometimes we don’t. What causes you to skip training sessions? What do you tend to say to yourself during a race or training session, or when the alarm goes off before sunrise? In which ways has your diet been limiting your body’s potential? Where have you procrastinated or not been as disciplined as you’d like to be? Be really honest and list the items that you must change in order to achieve your goals.

Three habits I’d like to work on in 2015: 1) Not every workout needs to be all-out; don’t let my excitement to try something new or laser focus on a singular goal prevent me from taking time to let my body catch up to my training. 2) Don’t neglect pre-hab and rehab; ’nuff said. 3) Quit taking nutrition for granted; I’ve made progress with better consistency here in 2014, but can delve deeper into how what I eat affects my performance and my health.

9. What decisions should you make in order to have your best year ahead?
Building off your insights from all the previous questions, what will you continue to do, where do you need to get extra help, what will you stop doing? This is a critical step, take your time and identify the key decisions you need to make.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, 2015 needs to be about working smarter…not harder!

I need to work on my running form and strengthen my weak spots, particularly those stiff ankles and sleepy glutes. Before I get injured again. I need to keep challenging myself with Big Hairy Audacious Goals and keep things interesting by experimenting with new pursuits. But not get too overzealous in the process. I need to get my running under control, build on last year’s #bikelove, and tackle that open-water fear once and for all. Then sign up for another triathlon. I need to remain open to tools and/or outside help, which will allow me to train smarter, not harder, this year. And then kick butt. 

Stay tuned for my 2015 goals…

What were your biggest lessons learned from 2014?

Highlights from last week’s IDEA World BlogFest with SweatPink

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As I sat down to write this post yesterday, I saw that my sister had forwarded me an article from the Detroit Free Press about how a specific group is sparking the nation’s running craze. And what started off as a way to procrastinate for a few minutes to cure my writers’ block actually ended up giving me a clearer perspective on the past few days.

According to the article, Running USA recently released some interesting stats: A record-setting 19 million people finished U.S. running events last year, which is great news because it’s an increase of 300 percent since 1990. But the best part? Women made up 10.8 million, or 57 percent of participants, the highest ever.

Some other fun facts from Running USA: For the first time in 2013, 61 percent of U.S. half marathon finishers were women. Women also competed in record-high numbers in full marathon events, making up 43 percent of finishers.

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So what, exactly, does this have to do with me heading down to Anaheim last week with the SweatGuru/FitApproach team to co-host the first-ever Blogfest with SweatPink? Well, there are a few insights and observations from the event that I thought were worth sharing:

  1. Women are stepping up to the plate and inspiring others to live healthier lives
  2. We truly are redefining the phrase “like a girl” through actions, not just words
  3. Using fitness as a tool, women can empower themselves, as well as each other
  4. Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be an exercise in restraint; it can be fun
  5. Wellness is going social: Being active is “cool,” and workouts are the new “it” activity

That’s why I’m proud to be part of the SweatPink community, and it’s also why we wanted to be a part of the world’s largest fitness conference, IDEA World. Regardless of gender (see top photo with my buddy, Pavement Runner, who knows that real men “sweat pink”), we’re’re all for the thrill of the challenge, for looking great, but feeling even better. And we’re committed to finding our best “fit,” whatever that may be, and making it stick.

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Throughout the past few days we had the chance to connect with bloggers, fit pros and healthy living mavens and exercise enthusiasts. Of course, this all began with a group fun run, which wouldn’t be complete without a few mega-selfies to document our route through downtown Disney.

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Later at the convention kickoff, we heard from some pretty amazing speakers. One particular pair  — Lynne and Augie Nieto — moved the entire audience to tears with their story. Augie is the founder of Life Fitness, a leading fitness equipment company, and was diagnosed with ALS in 2005. Despite a grim prognosis, however, he’s beat the odds and since doubled his life expectancy. His wife Lynne spoke about their project, Augie’s Quest, which strives to drive awareness and raise funds for ALS research.

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And after Diana Nyad was presented with the Jack LaLanne Award, she walked us through her journey of how, at age 62 and after four failed attempts, she finally conquered the 100+ mile swim Cuba to Florida, sans shark cage. She was once challenged to swim as if she couldn’t go a “fingernail’s length faster” in the pool, and it’s clear she lives her life with that very same mission, so she encouraged us to do the same.

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One of BlogFest’s highlights was keynote speaker Jillian Michaels, who shared the story of her fitness journey, along with some many awesome tidbits of advice during her Q&A. Some of my favorite snippets:

  • “Fitness isn’t about building a better body. It’s a tool that helps us build a better life.”
  • “Follow the 80/20 rule for food. Don’t be extreme, eat real food!”
  • “There’s a big difference in singing your own praises versus thinking you’re better than someone else.”
  • “Empower, don’t repress to get kids to eat healthy!”
  • “Regret is the jump we didn’t make, the leap we didn’t take.”
  • “Every failure is an entry point of learning.”
  • “Work with purpose is passion. Work without passion is punishment. What is the WHY?”
  • “I got where I got because I think I DESERVE IT….we are all worth it. We have to work for it.”

Oh, and did I mention that the entire room fell in love with her? She’s not at ALL like the personality portrayed on TV; she’s hilarious, irreverent and real…and the entire room had a #girlcrush on her by the end of the hour. Including me and Bianca.

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Finally, what would a fitness convention be without some amazing workouts? Thanks to Stephanie Ring (yoga), Chalene Johnson (piyo), Tara Stiles (yoga), Shauna Harrison (bootcamp) and Moe & Caroline (bootcamp), we got to break a sweat between the expo and educational sessions. Here we are doing the famous “piyo flip” with Chalene.

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So there you have it — and incredible few days working and working out alongside some of the most passionate people in the business. We were beyond honored to be a part of it, and I hope that seeing the shots of everyone in action inspired you, as well.

I also took with me a renewed commitment to share this passion via my little corner of the Internet here at KineticFix. My hope is to not only hold myself accountable in making healthier choices and redefining my own limits, but also to challenge you to think about how you can find whatever that best “fit” is in your life, as well.

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How will YOU empower yourself to live a healthier life and, in turn, inspire others? 

Body After Baby: Tried-and-true tips for new moms

Photo courtesy of BeyondFitPhysiques.com

Photo courtesy of BeyondFitPhysiques.com

After catching up with ultra-mama Sarah Evans a few weeks ago, I thought it’d be fun today to revisit some of the great advice from a few of my other “mom friends” about reclaiming their pre-baby bodies.

We’re not talking about fitting into some kind of Barbie doll-sized skinny jeans, though; we’re talking about getting your groove back — feeling good inside and out, finding a new routine and establishing healthy habits for the whole family.

That’s why I love the sentiment in the photo above, and it’s also why I find people like Sarah and the other moms I interviewed so inspiring.

I still don’t know how they find the time — or the energy — but I admire their creativity and determination for maintaining a fitness routine despite a new (and pretty darn demanding) member in the household.

And speaking of “homes,” Hubby and I are making our way north to our new one this week… More on that in this week’s marathon training recap!

Moms, how did you get back into your fitness groove post-baby?

Checking in with ultra-momma Sarah Evans

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I first spoke with Sarah Evans earlier this year after seeing that she totally smashed her marathon PR (and qualified for Boston) a mere four months after having a baby.

Inspired and intrigued, I asked if I could pick her brain, and my interview with her continues to be one of the most popular KineticFix posts to this day.

Six-plus months have passed since then, and we have yet to coordinate trail running schedules (one day!), although we do connect every so often over social media to root each other on.

So I figured it was about time for us to catch up on life, running and our shared love for getting lost on the trails…

KineticFix: How has training been going since we last chatted?

Sarah Evans: Training has been fun and one of the things that has remained consistent and steady in my life.

Since the first of the year I’ve ran several races, including a PR (personal record) at the Kaiser Half Marathon in February (1:33:40), a 35k on my (34th!) birthday in March and a fun 5k (tried to break 20 min; not quite there yet!) with my mom in April, culminating in my first Ultra (a 50k) this month!

I’ve continued running, cross training with cycling and have been including a lot more yoga and HIIT (high intensity interval training), boot camp-type workouts to my regimen instead of the boring, slow strength training that I did in the past.

I also decided to resign from my job as a medical device rep at the first of the year to stay home and raise my daughter for the time being. Since then I’ve studied for and passed/received my personal training certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and I’m also going to take classes to become a certified run coach next month through Road Runners Club of America.

So I’m really exploring other opportunities in the sport that I love while still being able to stay close to home with my baby girl.

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KF: Wow, you’ve sure been busy! So can you share your latest tips for maintaining a workout schedule with a increasingly-active baby girl?

SE: With having an ever-changing and super-active baby, running has continued to remain my outlet and my ‘me’ time to get out in the early mornings before the day gets hectic (or exhausting!).

I still maintain my Sunday mornings with my friends on the trails; those are my 3-4 hours that are an unspoken religion to me to get out solo, so my husband is very supportive of that routine. But I’m also finding more time to run with my daughter in the BOB stroller, since she’s becoming much more aware, active and awake for longer periods; it’s a time we can spend together and I can start sharing my love of running with her!

During a typical weekday, I’m awake around 5:30/6am to get in a run or a spin on my bike before my daughter wakes up (at 7am). Twice a week I get until 7:30am to go on a longer run if I want, and my husband gets up with our daughter. It gives me some extra ‘me’ time and my husband gets some of those precious morning minutes that are so sweet with a baby. It’s a great compromise and schedule that we have worked out!

On those mornings, I know I have a chunk of my training done for the day, and then me and my daughter can enjoy the morning together taking a walk, playing in the yard or at the park. Then I will add on small/additional ‘workouts’ throughout the day.

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That’s what I think is important for many busy women and moms to realize: You don’t need a full hour or two a day to work out. Just add it in little by little throughout your day! I keep resistance bands, my yoga mat, foam rollers, some small hand weights, ankle weights and an exercise ball out in our living room all the time (hey it eventually blends in with all the toys!).

While my daughter is laughing at her reflection in front of the mirror, practicing crawling or working on developmental skills with some toys, I can get in 10 minutes of core work, leg and butt exercises, lunges (during which I will hold her for extra weight!), you name it. I also have 10-20 minute ‘bootcamp’ or total-body workouts I’ll do, where each exercise is done for one minute.

It’s easy to stop those workouts, if needed, in the middle and pick them up later in the day. And when my daughter takes a nap, I’ll fit in a 20-minute yoga session in between dishes, laundry, taking a shower and preparing her meals. It is truly the small things you do throughout the day that add up.

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Another way I also stay active with a 10-month old baby is by walking (or many times run!) when I do errands. We jog the mile to the grocery store or run/walk the 1.25 miles to the park, all instead of driving the car. We spend a lot of time outside, so that automatically lends itself to being active, in fresh air and staying fit.

And how I maintain my workout and training schedule is truly planning my weeks in advance. This works especially well when you have a training plan for a race mapped out, then you already know what  will be running weeks/months in advance!

I will put the entire plan into my calendar, marking down what mileage or workout I need to do and on what days. Then when I look at my week on Sunday evening, I already know whether I need to carve out time early in the morning, during a ‘lunch-break’ (for me that may be nap-time) or sometimes later in the evening.

This helps because just as I’ll schedule a lunch, a meeting or an appointment with someone, I also schedule my run (or any workout, spin, strength, core work, etc.) It’s  important to make that meeting with yourself, and this way it’s really difficult for me to miss a run or cross training workout because it’s pre-scheduled into my day!

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KF: All great ideas! Speaking of getting active in the great outdoors, you’ve entered ultra territory, too. Why the step up to longer distances? 

SE: I am competitive, especially with myself, and I’m always looking for the next challenge. I found myself wanting another hurdle to overcome (as if having a baby or my come-back from breaking my foot two years ago wasn’t enough!).

I had recently broken my personal records for the marathon and half-marathon within four and six months, respectively, post-baby — so I thought an Ultra (starting off with a 50K) would be the natural next step. Pair that with my absolute LOVE of the trails, and it seemed like a no-brainer.

There’s a big difference going from road runs with speed to the long, slow pacing of a trail ‘ultra’ distance. It taps into a different part of yourself and your spirit, and it seems to exceed a certain fitness level and delves into mental strength…but I like that new challenge!

I’m hoping that this isn’t my last Ultra. The community that surrounds the trails and ultra-running is very unique, open and friendly, and I love the feeling I get from getting dirty, sometimes lost (I think you can relate!) and being out in nature.

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KF: Oh, yes! I like to say that if there’s a way to get lost, I’ll find it — especially on the trails. What’s next on your list, and can you share your game plan for getting there?

SE: I’m looking forward to kicking it up a notch and getting back into speed work and intervals when I start training for the Chicago Marathon, which I will be running along with my mom for her first marathon! This was also my first marathon in 2008, so I am looking for another personal record and Boston Qualifying time.

I’ll create my own training plan; I enjoy researching and finding new workouts to add to my runs and being my own coach. There’s not the pressure of answering to a coach, but I’m also my own worst critic, so I do a pretty good job at keeping myself in check!

I am also working out the details of registering for the 2015 Boston Marathon (with my last marathon qualifying time) and then trying to get into the Boston to Big Sur Challenge next April where you run back-to-back marathons, six days apart, on opposite coasts of the country. And I’ve always been a big fan of The North Face Endurance Challenge, so that could possibly be another 50k (or dare I say 50 mile!?) opportunity.

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On the exploring and fun side, I have a deep desire to also run Rim to Rim (and maybe Rim!) in the Grand Canyon, so I may be putting together a group for late next Spring.

All of these races really are just a celebration for the running that I do on a daily, weekly basis. I don’t run just to race, the races just seem like a great opportunity to add on challenges to my running, which I still do purely for the freedom, joy and love of it.

I am very excited to share this passion with my daughter and possibly run a race with her one day, as I am doing with MY mom this year! I am also very lucky to be able to spend time at home with my daughter in her first year of life and to start to use my personal training and coaching certifications for my own knowledge and to share with my friends and family who seem to enjoy picking my brain for advice and input in their own active lives.

Now, as I look at my plans for the next year, there seems to be a lot going on. But in the end, it’s done for the fun of it all, to spend time on the trails with my running crew and to celebrate our training with races…not to mention coming home to my husband and daughter and going out for Mexican!

It’s the easy, simple things sometimes 🙂

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Special thanks, Sarah, for taking the time to chat. Can’t wait to follow along on your adventures over the next year — and hopefully hit those trails with you soon!

Win an entry into the 2014 Nike Women’s Half Marathon

Hey, runner friends! How would you like to race to support lifesaving blood cancer research this fall at the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco?

Team in Training (TNT) has partnered with our friends at Fit Approach to offer one FREE entry to the 2014 Nike Women’s Half Marathon. Opportunities as unique & powerful as this only come around once in a while!

Team in Training is a race training program that also serves as the main fundraising campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer.

Over the past 25 years, TNT has raised more than $1.4 billion to support LLS’s mission to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the lives of patients and their families.

Each mile you run will impact the lives of loved ones across the country.

In exchange for raising funds, TNT provides four months of marathon training with world-class trainers as well as clinics on nutrition and injury prevention.

Not to mention, you’ll get to run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon with 25,000 new friends through the iconic streets of San Francisco…

Enter today…and good luck!

Learn more about Team in Training

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Dad Knows Best: Must-have advice for life…and working out

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Happy Father’s Day to dads everywhere!

Moms may have gotten nominated as having the #WorldsToughestJob, but dads don’t necessarily have it easy either.

So listen up, and heed all those words of wisdom from over the years…if not for life, at least for your next workout or race. You can thank him later.

“Use common sense.”

Pause, even if just for a second. Think before you act, and respond rather than react.

Common sense is a biggie with my dad, and taking a moment to think something through — whether it’s a project at work, a plan with a friend or a race-day strategy — can help you avoid costly mistakes and missteps.

“Money doesn’t grow on trees.”

Sad, but true — which is why it’s important to prioritize and spend resources (time, money, energy) on what’s most important to you.

At first glance, it may seem limiting. But, in fact, it can be freeing to focus on quality over quantity, be it trips, toys or even race entries.

“Just try your best.”

You don’t really know what you’re capable of until you try. And in the grand scheme of things, as long as you know you gave it your all you can — and should — be proud.

In fact, there’s a great running quote about this that I love: “Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish, which trumps Did Not Start.”

“Actions speak louder than words.”

Another quote to consider: “There are wish bones, jaw bones and back bones. Those who dream about doing things, those who talk about doing things, and those who actually accomplish things.”

Don’t waste a bunch of time talking about things. Just. Do. It. (Thanks, Nike!)

“Eat your vegetables.”

A side effect of growing older (and smarter)? Coming to the realization that sometimes what’s best for us isn’t always the easiest or most appealing option (at least at first).

But you know what? A little delayed gratification can be good; in fact, it builds characte, strength and an appreciation for the process, whether you’re saving up for a special treat or training for months in anticipation of a big race.

“Always have something to look forward to.”

It’s easy to slip into a bit of a lull now and then — especially after a big life event or the completion of a major race.

So to avoid the blues, I always try to plan my next race or event as soon as possible. Make a game plan to improve upon past mistakes, and give yourself a new goal to which you can look forward and work toward.

“Never regret the choices you make in life.”

This one’s always a work-in-progress, but I’d like to think of life less as a path of “wrong” and “right” turns and more as a series of opportunities to learn.

Of course, this is often much easier said than done! But all you can really do is take what you know, and try to grow from it.

What’s your favorite advice from Dad?  

IRUNLIKEAGIRL…do you?

Images for IRUNLIKEAGIRL shoot of Jennifer Hellickson

What do you get when you mix a few friends with great active apparel, a camera, some flattering lighting and bit of running and biking around the most scenic spots in San Francisco?

Well, if you’re me (aka the one doing the running and biking; that Twin Peaks hill is no joke), the answer is ‘pretty sweaty’ — otherwise the result is a really fun and hopefully inspiring photo shoot for IRUNLIKEAGIRL women’s activewear.

Kelly McCloskey, a friend and creative director of the brand, teamed up with the fabulous duo of Cody and Natalie at C+N Creative to catch me in action while training for my first Olympic triathlon. Check out the write-up on it here.

Images for IRUNLIKEAGIRL shoot of Jennifer Hellickson

But I also decided to turn the tables on Kelly and interview her here so you can get to know her brand and the incredible dedication and passion she brings to every hand-picked piece in the line.

We caught up recently, and here are a few of her thoughts on the importance of friends, fitness and female empowerment when it comes to both getting active and getting down to business.

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KineticFix: Thanks so much for inviting me to be a part of your new campaign! So tell us about the inspiration behind IRUNLIKEAGIRL. What does it mean to you?

Kelly McCloskey: IRUNLIKEAGIRL is all about heart. It’s about going after something that makes you feel alive. And then being able to share that ‘moment’ with a friend. For me, IRUNLIKEAGIRL lives at the intersection of my love for running and dream to run my own business. We’re driven to create fun, flattering and functional active apparel that you can identify with; it’s like wearing a feeling. The ‘I’m going to make this happen’ feeling.

KF: You’re big on empowering and encouraging females to get active and involved in the running community. How does IRLAG facilitate this?

KM: My favorite thing about running is racing. The training, the long runs with friends, the buildup, the having a goal that gets you out of bed to run when you just want to sleep– it never really gets old to me. I’ve met and continue to meet incredible people through running which is why I started Team IRUNLIKEAGIRL.

It’s an international program; our team of IRUNLIKEAGIRL ambassadors each select a goal race in their city and recruit local runners to train for the race together. I’ve experienced nothing quite like working towards a common goal with friends and teammates. When we get together and push each other forward we challenge the limits of our comfort zone and rise up to our best.

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KF: I love that! Can you tell us a little bit about your own running – what are you training for, current race goals, etc?

KM: I’ve been running since I was 12, and competed on the XC/track teams for the University of New Hampshire. I was always more of a hurdler and middle-distance runner but post-college I met my love for the marathon. Next goal: Boston, baby! And to break the 1:30 barrier in the half marathon. Right now I’m training for the Santa Rosa marathon in August in effort to run a new marathon PR/qualify for Boston 2015.

KF: What inspires the IRLAG line, and what’s your favorite piece at the moment?

KM: There are a few things about apparel features and fit that I’m fanatical about, and I focused on them while designing this line. Fun color, extra length, flattering fit and soft-yet-functional fabric. I’m all about the little things too, like adding thumbholes, playing around with where we feature the logo and adding an armsleeve pocket that can fit an iPhone.

My favorite piece in the line is the Racer Girl tank. I wanted to make something for race days that brought to life those special feelings of anticipation and excitement. Its bright colors are unique, and the supportive, soft and super quick-drying fabric all came together nicely. If you look good you feel good, and you need to feel good on race morning, right?!

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KF: Couldn’t agree more! So, where do you hope to take the company from here?

KM: My long term dream is to have an IRUNLIKEAGIRL truck that travels around the country to different races. We’d drive in and meet with our ambassadors and local runners. The pre-race energy would be high with music, laughter, friends and IRUNLIKEAGIRL active apparel, of course. It would be a ‘fitfashion’ truck. And this truck would also serve cupcakes. Because cupcakes and running are the perfect pair.

Kelly, I like where your head is at 🙂 Huge thanks for sitting down to chat!

KineticFix readers: Get a 20% discount on IRUNLIKEAGIRL apparel through 6/25/14 (valid site-wide) with the code “save20percentKF” 

Images for IRUNLIKEAGIRL shoot of Jennifer Hellickson