Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Shoreline Half Marathon Race Recap

This was my second race of the summer and I'm happy to have another under my belt. I think it's good to get beat up a bit and realize that when the fast times and PRs come, you will be truly thankful for them and never take that success for granted.

I got my butt handed to me in this race. If you followed along on my Instagram or over at Women's Running Insta, you got an overview of the day. I mean you guys, my times just got slower and slower and at one point I literally was struggling to breathe. We read and talk about "never give up!" "keep pushing", "fight for it!" and in those hard, hard miles I couldn't seem to muster any of that. I just wanted to stop on the side of the road, have a cold one (anything) and just rest. It was hard to accept my feelings as I always have something left in the reserve tank. Even in those hard Boston miles, I still felt strong, I never thought about stopping and I kept pushing. 

The plan for the morning was for Jerold and I to go to the race solo. My Mom was happy to hang out with the kids and we were planning to leave by 4:15 am and be back before noon. Yeah, things went a little different than the plan! Josh decided that he really (really) wanted to come with us - please, please can I come. I didn't want to say no to him, so okay, Josh can come with us. Well, when I rolled out of bed before 4 am, Megan was at my bedside saying she want to come as well. Please Mommy, please can I come, it's not fair - you can't take Josh and leave me. In those moments I knew the plan was going to go out the window a bit - it's hard for Jerold to get around on his bike with two kids on their bikes and I was hoping he would be there for various points in the race including start and finish. At first I sat both kids down (Elle was in total dreamland and never woke up) and said maybe its better if Mommy and Daddy go to the race and come straight back before noon. Well, yeah - they were pretty darn stubborn and there were some tears, so I'm like - gosh if they really want to come to a race and see me run, then why the heck not?

I promise they were happy - they were just super hot and sun in their eyes at this point! :)

Well, by the time we actually got on the road, it was well after 5 am and I had a sinking feeling in my heart that I was going to be SO rushed to make it to the start on time. We arrived at 6:30 am (7 am start) and I bolted out of the car and started my warm up. Half mile done (was supposed to be a mile) and dynamic stretching completed while I waited to get my bib. Got the bib, had to GO badly to the restroom, the line was huge and the announcer was saying that they would start the half marathon at 7 AM sharp - not a minute later. Crap. The time was about 6:47 am. A nice lady points me in the direction of an uncrowded restroom and I take off running toward it. A short line, I was in and out and then jogged back to the starting line just was they were about to start the gun. I felt a little flushed and a tiny bit like I need five more minutes (!),  Jerold was asking me about a picture and I couldn't focus on any of it. I also realized that I forgot to put the GU (I like to take one at around mile 7 or 8 in a half) in my back pocket. OOPS.
At 7 am sharp we were off and running.

Mile 1: 6:59 (Crap. Started faster than coach wanted. This mile was supposed to be between 7:10 and 7:20)

Mile 2: 7:00 (This is the mile pace that I supposed to run the whole race. The instructions were to keep running one 7 minute mile after another - and I knew I was in shape to do it.)

Mile 3: 7:04

Mile 4: 6:57

Mile 5: 7:10

Mile 6: 7:15 (I felt the humidity a lot at this point. The sun was ablaze and no shade)

Mile 7: 7:19

Mile 8: 7:28 (humm, this is NOT 7 minute pace, but there is still time to recover)

Mile 9: 7:44 (whoa. I knew I was in real trouble here) - I was thinking about the forgotten GU and maybe that would have given me a boost?!

Mile 10: 7:51 (what?)

Mile 11: 8:25 (This was the mile I debated on stopping. I was jogging and felt so, so bad during this mile. It was so humid and hot and I was by myself at this point)

Mile 12: 7:33 (decided I had to find a second gear in this race and salvage whatever I had left)

Mile 13: 7:20 (finish as strong as you can)

Final Time - 1:36:45 (7:24 pace)

A full three minutes slower than what my half marathon times have been this year and I had a whole range of emotions going on. 

The good stuff:  I won the race for the women. There was a woman running with me and we stayed together for the first few miles and then I went ahead. She caught up and went ahead and we were volleying back and forth for a bit. Then I went ahead until I had a breakdown at mile 9/10 and then she caught up and went went ahead. There was a point where I had to decide what to do - was I going to lose this race on top of the disaster of my pacing/splits? Nope. I knew I had to try. I passed her at the end of 11 and decided to give it whatever I had left. There's that feeling when you pass someone in the last miles of a race and they don't immediately respond - you know you can tough it out, so put the hammer down and don't look back. Try it in your next race!

Inspiring to run with these women!

Here's the thing: it was a tough day out there for everyone. Even on the way back when I saw the front guys - they looked hot and tired too. 
Also, not every race is going to be an amazing PR or even the time you desire - but you still put in the effort and that is huge.

I loved hugging the woman afterwards and saying kind words to each other - community!

More good stuff: this time last year I was injured and not running or racing at all!!

Everyone has bad races - we all do. I think the important thing is to pick yourself up and learn from the experience.

Let's talk about the logistics of the Shoreline Half Marathon (In Ventura, CA - about 60 miles north of LA) for a moment:

I thought it was a very well run race! A good amount of bathrooms (Porta potties and regular), water and Gatorade at many mile points, on time start (to beat the heat as much as possible), great volunteers, good swag (medal for all finishers, t-shirt, small bag and water bottle + age group medal award and I got a sweet black bag with many compartments for winning the race!). They had to move the race from the beach location to 8 miles inland (near Ojai, CA - a beautiful mountain town) which made the heat more intense without an ocean breeze. The course was great (run along the Ventura/Ojai bike path) and it finished at Foster Park, a really pretty location.

As far as the heat and humidity training - I need work on this! I have to learn to run stronger in the heat.

SO - I'm off to New Orleans tomorrow to put it to the test (and have fun of course!). I'll be posting all over the place and updating here on running in extreme heat/humidity, so be sure and follow along on my trip to NOLA!

How do you deal with bad races? Do you race again pretty quickly, or take more time for reflection (and training)?

How do you deal with racing in heat and humidity?

Have you ever been to New Orleans (this is my first trip there!)?


Friday, July 7, 2017

Mixed Baby Greens With Mint Lime Yogurt Dressing

This post is sponsored by Stonyfield Yogurt and Taylor Farms. 
All opinions are my own.

Every time I make a huge salad for dinner (and throw in whatever veggies we have in the fridge) I find myself doing yet another happy dance that my kids actually LIKE salad and will eat it with joy. YESSS! Total win in the Mom department. Salads are such an easy, healthy, go to for dinners and especially during summer when no one really wants to turn on the oven if there is any way to avoid it.
I've made everything from huge salads topped with chunks of wild salmon, salad with fruit, veggies and grilled chicken, grilled swordfish - you name it, we have probably done some variation of it. When Stonyfield asked me to make a salad dressing with their yogurt along with mixed greens from Taylor Farms, I couldn't have been more excited. Running is my first love, but cooking is definietly a close second! My family loves to eat and I like knowing exactly what goes into our food - so needless to say, our kitchen is always buzzing.

When I started brainstorming on a dressing, I knew I wanted it to be tangy, light and refreshing. It had to be kid friendly and easy to make. One herb that I can't get enough of (and I knew would be part of this recipe) is mint. We use mint in our lemonade, many other summer drinks and I love the smell of fresh mint in the summer. 
On to lime - lime has that special tangy quality that gives everything a bit of a different taste than lemon and that sounded interesting to me. Mini oranges are the secret ingredient in this dressing! The orange flavor added another layer of citrus and I couldn't wait to put everything together and give it a try.

The result was so delicious! You never know with recipes how long it can take to get everything right, but this is so tasty - I hope you'll give it a try on your next summer salad.

Mint Lime Yogurt Dressing
By: NatRunsFar


1/4 cup Fresh Mint Leaves
1/2 half Lime (juice only)
1/2 cup Stonyfield Whole Milk Organic Yogurt
1 mini orange (peeled and sectioned)
1/4 teaspoon lime zest


Place all ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth - about 1 minute.

Serve immediately or refrigerate.


Taylor Farms Organic Baby Spring Mix
1 avocado chopped
3 Fresh strawberries sliced

Voila! Whether you need a quick lunch option or want to use this an a starter for your next summer dinner party - this is sure to get your taste buds popping.

What type of salad dressing do you like? (I normally use olive oil and balsamic vinegar, so this was a really fun change!)

What is your favorite summer salad?

Enjoy and happy summer!


Thursday, July 6, 2017

What A 60 Mile Week Looks (And Feels) Like + Happy 4th!

I love going all out for Fourth of July. It's the biggest holiday of the summer and it always feels so festive and happy. I've been dressing the kids in red, white and blue on the 4th since they were born. 


And three years ago! (+ Elle can now wear Megan's dress!)

I didn't make my famous flag cake this year - ahhh, too tired I think (hello, training, writing and #momlife), plus you have to have a big crowd to eat it - the cake is huge. I am going to work on making a smaller version...

We missed the cake this year

We had such a fun 4th! Megan asked to run the kids race - she loves running it every year and of course I love that :)

That kick!

I am coming off of a 60 mile week and here is what that looks like:

Monday June 26th - 4 easy miles (easy recovery run from Sunday's 13 miler which ended in 3 miles at 7:06 pace)

Tuesday June 27th - 7 miles (Comfortable. My comfortable/easy pace is between about 9:15 and 8:10 pace. The first mile is always a bit sluggish and I don't think about the first mile, which usually falls very slow (for me) - about 9:30-9:40. I just let my body take the lead...

Wednesday June 28th - 7 miles

Thursday June 29th - 2 mile warm up, 3 x 2 mile repeats (13:19, 13:20, 13:13) = 6:39-6:36 pace. 2 minute jog in between, 2 mile cool down.
10.50 total miles
This workout is TOUGH. Sustaining a quick pace for 2 miles is great training (lacate threshold) and helps you stay focused, which will help you become a faster, stronger racer.

Friday June 30th - 7 miles

Saturday July 1st - 9.5 miles with 8 x :30 second pick ups (I love this workout - the miles tick by and its nice to get the legs turning over with the pick ups. Paces for the pick ups in the low 6's).

Sunday July 2nd - 15 miles at 7:39 pace

A good amount of strength work: 3 solid days of 20-30 minutes of strength. 
including: push ups, dynamic planks, bear crawl, squats, bridges + weights
Core work: 5 days

What a 60 mile week feels like:

My body is in a good place where I can handle the miles. I needed to eat a good amount without over eating. Eggs every day, plus yogurt, lots of fresh veggies and fruit, one day we made homeade burgers - SO GOOD.

Another day I made homemade meat balls for the pasta - this is Josh's favorite.

Today's breakfast - egg tacos!

Sleep: I could feel that my body needed more sleep - the best recovery ever - so I tried most nights to put myself to bed early. Last night, Jerold was home and put the kids to bed. I crawled into bed at 7 and was asleep by 7:30. Glorious.

Testing out my fitness by running a half marathon this weekend. Praying that it feels cool until about 9 am.

Have a great rest of the week friends!

What time do you go to bed each night?

Anyone racing this weekend?

Favorite summer meal?


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Peach and Heirloom Tomato Salad = Happy Summer!

July is peak peach season which is reason enough to celebrate. Fourth of July is rapidly on the way, which means light summer fare and lots of eating will be on tap this weekend. Today, I want to share with you a wonderful summer salad that you are going to love!
Think sweet, juicy peaches, mixed with succulent heirloom tomatoes and topped with fresh organic basil + crumbles of feta cheese, to give it just the right amount of bite.
Have I piqued your interest yet?
The light dressing that is mixed with it... oooh - red wine vinegar, honey and coconut oil with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. SO tasty!
This salad is absolutely so wonderful, that you are going to want to mix it up and serve it for dinner before July 4th!
I got silence and (good) groans at the dinner table this evening, which is always positive. Josh has now become a little bit of a picky eater, and tomatoes are one thing he isn't crazy about. Well, tonight he ate everything and asked for seconds! I think that is a good sign, don't you?

Not only is this salad delicious, it also looks really pretty on the plate. I love all the vibrant colors that remind us summer is here.
Are you ready? Okay, let's get started! 
Sweltering from the summer heat? No need to turn on the oven today! :)

First, whisk together all the ingredients for the salad and set it aside (red wine vinegar, honey, coconut oil, sea salt and pepper)...

Next, slice the peaches, heirloom tomatoes and red onion...

Isn't she a beauty?

Drizzle the dressing over the peaches, tomatoes and red onion...

Mix it all together in a large bowl. Then add the fresh basil leaves and sprinkle feta cheese on top...

Serve immediately. That won't be a problem, because you'll be dying to sink your teeth into this healthy, refreshing salad!

Bon Appetit!

Peach and Heirloom Tomato Summer Salad
By: NatRunsFar 
Serves: 4-5 people


1/4 cup thinly, vertically sliced red onion
1/2 pound ripe peaches, pitted and cut into wedges
1/4 pound organic heirloom beefsteak tomatoes, cut into thick wedges
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons small basil leaves or torn basil


1. Combine red wine vinegar, coconut oil, honey, sea salt and pepper in a small bowl, Stirring with a whisk. Set aside

2. Cut peaches, heirloom tomatoes and onions. Drizzle with the dressing.

3. Gently toss together in a large bowl and add fresh basil + feta cheese. Serve immediately.

Happy eating and happy running friends.

Do you have 4th of July traditions?

What is your favorite summer fruit?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Summer Life, Mom Stuff - Oh, And Running..

Um, June - you can slow down a bit, ummmk? Thanks. 

Last week in June and I really like to soak in July - July feels like the heart of summer (right?!). No one goes back to school, the back to school ads aren't airing yet and it's just one lazy, hazy summerfest (for the kids at least). 

I'm steadily building a base of miles and slowly getting stronger, post Boston (for some reason, Boston feels like a long time ago).

Buy a shirt! Woo hoo!!

This week, I have a 60 mile week on tap - the most since the heart of Boston training months ago. It's a nice relief when the miles are done and recorded and you can breathe a tiny sigh of accomplishment - more miles in the bank.

I'll take you on a quick look back at what I ran last week!

Monday June 19th - DAY OFF. After 10 straight days of running, I was really ready for a break. Oh and the people that are on run streaks (6 months, one year - even 30 days) - you are simply amazing.

Tuesday June 20th - 7 easy miles

Wednesday June 21st - 6 easy miles. Bonus - Summer Solstice and a beautiful sunrise.

Thursday June 22nd - 10.15 miles broken down like this: 
2 mile warm up, 5 x 1 mile repeats (6:30, 6:31, 6:30, 6:30, 6:29), 2 mile cool down.

Let's talk about progress for a moment. A year ago, six months ago - I wasn't running 10 miles in the middle of the week, followed by a few longer runs and then a long run on Sunday. Before you think I'm bonkers, remember increasing your mileage happens over time. Little by little you inch along - I remember when my short easy runs were 4 or 5 miles and now they are 6-7 miles. PROGRESS. I know someday I'll be running 70+ miles a week (perhaps!) and will look back and think that 50+ was pretty chill - as opposed to now when I think 50+ is a good amount.

Also, many people have opinions on higher mileage. Everyone is different and what works for one runner may not work for another. I work well on higher mileage - I feel fit and ready to tackle races, plus I'm working toward my long term goals. I know as long as I do the little things to stay healthy (strength training, sleeping, eating well, body work), higher mileage + 6 day a week running works for me.

One funny story - I remember talking to a running friend of mine years ago (Josh was maybe a baby, or not even born yet, can't quite remember) and she was telling me that 90 miles a week is what it would take to run well. Urging me to do it - run 90 miles a week. I couldn't even wrap my brain around that concept and it was pretty crazy to even think about doing that = you are just asking for a big, fat injury and so much more. Needless to say, I wasn't in that mode at all - I had very little fire about running. I knew there were goals I wanted to accomplish, but didn't have the push to work and make it happen. Years later, 90 miles a week still seems crazy. Ha. #dowhatworksforyou

Friday June 23rd - 6 miles

Saturday June 24th - 9 miles (with 8 x :30 second pick ups)

Sunday June 25th - 13 miles (10 at 7:45 pace and then last 3 at 7:06 pace)

Total miles 51.15

Mom life:

Megan's very first theatre performance and Josh's second (first one was like two years ago and he was ready to do another one).
They had such blast and Elle is definitely ready for the stage!

Water madness:

This is real life! 

Last summer Josh and Megan dipped their toe into triathlon - meaning we swam at the pool, jumped on the bike and then they ran! They are so pumped to do it again this summer and really practice. Stay tuned.

Let's see if I can post again (YES! I feel like I have a lot to talk about) before we hit a new month! :)

I hope you guys are well and wishing you happy running.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Students Run LA 5k Recap

My race photos are not always a reflection of my love for our sport :). I definitely feel gratitude and happiness about being out on a race course - happy to be running hard, finding out what my body is capable of and how I learn from every experience. Somehow the camera snaps when I must be in deep thought pain about pushing myself a little harder, a little faster - trying not to leave anything on that course. It never gets old, I still laugh when I look at my race photos and see this:

On Sunday I raced the Students Run LA 5k race in Griffith Park. My love for Griffith Park runs deep -when Jerold and I got married, we bought a house a few minutes away from the park and loved running and biking there. I have memories of many 20 + mile runs from our house to Griffith Park, through the park and back. It covers 4,310 acres of land, making it one the the largest urban parks in North America (source) and it boasts the most breathtaking trails.

There wasn't a lot information about the race course and I found out that it would be a little bit on trail in the beginning and then on the road for the remainder of the race. 
We arrived early on Sunday morning and it was so nice to not have to fight through thousands of people to park and navigate the bathrooms. As I ran a one mile shake out run and did a dynamic warm up, I realized that unless the course sharply veered onto the road, we would be running on trails for the race. The trail was beautiful, but it consisted of the type of sandy like soft horse trails that your feet sink into. I knew it would be a fun experience no matter what, a way to test my fitness and see where what my body is up to right now.

The atmosphere was very friendly and everyone was smiling and happy to be out on a beautiful Sunday morning. We were led in a group warm up, followed by everyone high fiving each other and saying hello to people that you didn't know. I loved this and felt like we were all part of a special community.

Finally the race began and we were off. Eyeing the course and testing things out on my warm up, I knew the best thing would be to get to far right or left and try to find some hard packed sand, but it just wasn't there. I felt my feet sinking into the surface and knew I needed to smile, run as hard as I could and let everything else go.

Mile one: 6:50
As my watch beeped, I glanced down and saw 6:50 and knew this wasn't a race about time today. It would be a race about hard effort and so that was what I would do.

Mile two: 7:11
Puffing from the effort of soft trail terrain. I run a lot on the trails near my home and for the most part they are pretty hard packed dirt trails, so this was definitely different. This was HARD.

Mile three 7:05
I knew in my mind, I had to hold it together (suck it up!) and run as hard as I could. There were zero women in sight and the guys I was running next to were in the same boat I was in.

.1: 6:28
Run hard to the finish - legs burning from the terrain, but happy with the effort!

I knew at that point, I had to be the first woman to cross, and yet I couldn't think about - I was so happy to be finished.

Final time: 21:13

Coach told me to throw time out the window on a trail race and think about effort. I knew that in my heart, but nice to hear it from him as thoughts of a 21 minute 5K flashed through my head (Bummer! Despite this, I had a great speed workout this week with 8 x 800's at 6:07-6:10 pace). 

Jerold had his bike and I ran about a half mile cool down afterwards. Later in the afternoon, I ran another 4 miles for a total of 8.6 miles for the day.

I met some really great people at the race! Two alumni who trained for their first marathon with the SRLA program.

I also got to meet one of the founders (Paul) and the director (Christine) of SRLA.

The Running Is My Recess t-shirts have arrived! Buy a shirt and help an at risk kid find the joy in running!

Lots of running going on in my world this week, so focused on recovering well and taking it one day at a time.

Hope you guys are having a great week!

Have you ever raced on soft trails?

What is one goal you have for your summer running?


Friday, June 2, 2017

Friday Stuff + The Anatomy Of A Hard Workout

Seriously. I have TWO more days of school lunches to pack and then we are finished for the school year! I really need some down time to refresh the batteries. The past month has been especially crazy with the rush of end of the year activities and next week will really be insane. Two schools, three kids = June madness. 
By the way, how is it June already? I feel like we just had Christmas break. I can hardly believe these kiddos will be going into 5th, 2nd and last year of preschool.

Captain Underpants The movie has arrived! I have read the book so many times to my kids and now the movie is finally here. Fun fact: The voice over actress part of me loves going to these animated movies, as I spent a lot of time working on commericals and a few animated TV shows. After years of voice training and auditions, I haven't worked in this industry in a while and some days I miss it.

Can I tell you how hungry I have been this week? I found myself trolling the pantry the other night, in desperate search of anything good to eat. I'm on tap for my first 50+ mile week in a while, so maybe that's why?

Let me I tell you about the monster workout I had on Wednesday. It was the first hard effort workout of the new season and I walked away drenched, glad to be finished, yet ready to put in some hard work this summer and see what happens. 

10.44 miles (on a Wednesday!) broken up like this:

2 mile warm up on my beloved trails

Then down to the roads for the tempo portion:

4 x 1.5 miles at 6:52 average pace (with 1:30 jog in between each set)

Ended with a 2 mile cool down.

There's something about running that extra half mile (as opposed to one mile repeats) that nails your butt. Lots of mental talk going on during this workout - first set was hard and by the third set I got into a good rythmn. At one point I broke the set into half mile segments times three (in my mind - not actually stopping) and that helped a lot mentally.  <-----Tip for you during mile and a half repeats!

Seven miles of recovery running yesterday and if the key is to run easy on the easy days, then I get an A+.

Finished up the month of May with 187.5 miles and onward to June.

Running Is My Recess - psyched about this movement and this awesome community of runners (check them out on Insta!) BTW, don't forget to buy a t-shirt, tank or mug - 10% goes to support Students Run LA! I can't wait to receive my shirt in the mail and of course I'll share it with you guys. #Runningismyrecess

Have a wonderful weekend filled with miles and smiles!

What's the toughest workout you've done in the past month?

How many miles are you running this weekend?