Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Expect Success

** Note: I wrote this on Monday evening, decided to go to bed instead of editing + publishing and now it's Wednesday.

It's 8:30 PM and I just put Josh to bed after we spent a good 45 minutes working on four thesis statements along with fractions and research for his state report. I feel like I just kissed and hugged a college student instead of a fifth grader (I don't remember having this much work in fifth grade?). I'm proud that he is always willing to work hard even in the midst of me deconstructing his thesis statements and discussing how he could make them stronger...better.
He is learning a lot about life these days - how even though he is working really hard in a lot of areas of his life, he isn't coming out the "winner". I mean, to Jerold and I he is definitely always a winner, but he isn't the best on the basketball team despite his daily practice in the driveway and there are other things lately that he has worked for and didn't get the result he wanted. 
I think it's really good that things aren't coming easy to him despite his hard efforts. He is getting the hard knocks of life (on a young boy's scale) that you've got to work harder and smarter to achieve what you want and sometimes that means going back again and again until it happens. 




Expect Success.

These are the two words that my coach wrote in my training log this past week and out of every single thing that has happened in this crazy week, these words are burned in my mind. I hate the doubt that creeps into my mind at times that suggests I won't achieve what I want in this sport. Most days I shove it away with a vengence, but there are days where I let the whispers crowd into my space: "What if you do all the work and you don't perform well?" What if you make rookie mistakes like you did in December?" What if, what if, what if.
I don't mean to go all heavy on you guys on a Monday Wednesday evening, but you know you've been there - whether in running or anything else you set out to achieve in your life. 
I think the best thing to do is to hold your head high, tell those thoughts to take a hike and keep telling yourself:

Expect Success.

At this point, I know I'm putting in the work, the effort and dedication. I know how much I love running and the joy, peace, clarity and sense of accomplishment it brings to my life. I know that I'll keep going back to the well, keep striving for my own sense of greatness no matter how long it takes.

Expect Success.

Alright, here is a glimpse into my training from last week:


Monday March 19th: 
Easy 5 miles. 
I love these Monday morning easy runs. Sundays are my long run days and Mondays are for complete chill mode.

Tuesday March 20th: 
8.1 miles am - 3 miles pm
I'm in double day mode a couple of times a week and my body is handling it well thus far.
8 miles outside and then a quick and easy 3 miles on the treadmill in the late afternoon. I'd love to do this outside as well, but the kids are home by then and I have do what works.





Wednesday March 21st: 
10 total miles broken up like - 
2 mile w/up, 8 x 800 meter (ranging from 3:08 at the start to 3:03 the last two - it took a bit to warm up to the faster pace) repeats with 400 meter jog, 2 mile cool down.

Thursday March 2nd: 
8 miles

Friday March 23rd: 
10.74 miles am  - 3 miles pm
This am workout was 8 miles and then two at a faster pace. The two at faster pace was tough to pull off and I was running into a wicked head wind on tired legs, but I ran as fast as I could. 

Saturday March 24th: 
8.1 miles

Sunday March 25th: 
20 miles (at 7:40 average pace)
I haven't run a twenty miler since CIM training in the fall and it felt good to have this under my belt. Coach wanted me to keep this conservative and I was happy to do that. I do enough quality work during the week that every long run doesn't have to be at a fast pace, plus it is easy for me to recover and get ready for a new week. The key is to spend time on your feet, not race your long run and then not be able to hit your paces in key workouts later. Note: some weeks we have some fast paces woven into the long run.


Total miles: 75.94

I mentioned this on Instagram, but I peaked at 70 miles in the fall for CIM and now I'm running 70+ miles every week. It's been a slow progression to get to this point I'm doing all the things to keep my body happy. More details on this soon.





Do Awesome Things.

xo,
Natalie

Sunday, February 11, 2018

60 Miles + I Wasn't Feeling It Till Saturday

You know those weeks that seem absolutely endless? Yeah, I had one of those and I felt pretty out of it the whole week. Moving by auto pilot each day, going through the motions - having many days where I had zero desire to run. What? Yes. I had many days where I didn't want to run AT ALL and it was incredibly difficult to force myself out the door. By Thursday, I started to question if maybe I was coming down with the flu? No. That wasn't it... I think weeks like these are normal and okay. If we felt great every single day on every single run - well, I guess we would be super human.
My speed workout (which is usually on Wednesday), was moved to Thursday since I had the race last Sunday. I ended up moving it to Friday, becuase Thursday was crazy, crazy and I also didn't feel like I had much energy to run fast on Thursday.
Finally, I knew I had to try to get this done on Friday and the first rep felt like death. I mean, I was so depleted after the first 600 meter (I had 10 to do) that I really doubted that I could finish. I was like, "I'm done". Then you talk yourself into doing just one more and then by number four it feels better and by number eight I knew I could finish.
Sleep. I know I talk about sleep a lot, but as athletes, sleep is critical to the healing/recovery process. I've been making it my job to go to bed every night for eight plus hours. It's become a game - how fast can I make it to bed. What? I have to finish this task? Nope. I've got to go to bed. Only seven hours and fifty seven minutes? Shoot! The thing is, you have to take it seriously, because the alarm clock doesn't care - it goes off at the SAME TIME every morning and it has zero mercy. Ugh.



Every day is a new day toward your goals. #justrun


I'm happy with my sleep this week and I'm proud of myself for staying strong through a less than stellar week of feeling good about running. Finally, on Saturday morning I bounded  cautiously lifted myself out of bed and felt excited about running. Sure enough it was a great eight mile day and then fifteen on Sunday felt like nothing was ever wrong. (insert sigh of relief).
Although I'm not "marathon specific training" right now, I am building a critical base that is important to the overall health of this training cycle. I can't begin to tell you how pumped I am about it and my journey toward big goals. On the bad days, you shake your head and wonder: "How am I going to run x pace for 26.2 miles?" Other days, you confidently feel that it is going to happen if you put in the work, pace well and BELIEVE.


Josh took this. #proudmom



Let's make this post short, sweet and down to business, shall we?


Monday Feb 5th - 4 easy miles (post race)

Tuesday Feb. 6th - 8 miles

Wednesday Feb. 7th - 8 miles

Thursday Feb. 8th - 8 miles

Friday Feb. 9th - 2 mile w/up, 10 x 600s (at 6:00-6:10 pace. I did the first half at 6:10 and second half going down toward 6:00 - last three were in 6 min. range), 1:30 jog in betweem, 2 mile c/d = 9 miles

I used the Energy Gummi Bears for this workout!
Also, the protein Cake Bites taste like heaven.


Saturday Feb 10th - 8 miles

Sunday Feb. 11th - 15 miles


Long run felt fantastic in new shoes! Brooks Ghost 10 #runhappy


Finally a run where I felt good this week.


Post run with this sweet 7 year old girl - love her so. #Megan


Total Miles: 60


Onward to a new week and I'm feeling great about it + Valentine's Day + almost mid Feb?


How do you deal with running when you aren't feeling up to it (but not sick)?

Which spring races are you training for?



Do Awesome things.

xo,
Natalie

Friday, February 9, 2018

Redondo Beach Super Bowl 10K Race Recap

One of my goals for 2018 is to race more often, treat a race environment like second nature and to work on speed. I was happy to start the new season with a 10k race as a starting point on what to work on and access where I am right now.
This race also coincided with Elle's 5th birthday celebrations and to be honest (which, why do we say that? I'm always honest with you :) about a week before the race, I thought seriously about pulling out, because I didn't want to feel over loaded. I went back and forth and decided I could do ALL the things and I really want to race in early February, blah, blah. Ultimately, by the time I got to the starting line I was exhausted. I tried to block it out of my mind when the gun went off, but my body was listening at all. Although I very much wanted this race, it just wasn't my day. The hectic pace of the week, including Elle's actual birthday the Tuesday before (which included school and home celebrations) along with her very first birthday party with friends (the last four birthdays have been family only) on the day of the 10k was pulling myself emotionally and physically in too many directions.


You can't do ALL the things and race well.



Jerold and I decided to take the kids with us to the race as it was going to be a gorgeous day and we thought they would have fun hanging with Dad while I raced.
They dropped me off quickly near the start, so I could begin my warm up and stretch routine while they parked the car. I felt pretty good on the warm up and ultimately would have liked to arrive even earlier to get to the front of the pack with ease as it was a pretty nice sized race.
From the moment the gun went off, I knew my body felt off.  I didn't think about it too much, I just focused on running according the plan coach had outlined. After the first mile, there wasn't much zip in my legs and I tried to run as fast as my body would let me.

Splits:

7:10, 7:06, 7:02, 6:51, 7:16, 7:15 = 44:41

Let's talk about the good things here for a moment. The good thing is I'm working hard on pacing and the first four miles were a good progression down. I didn't start the race too fast and I was happy about that. 


I HAD to find something good about my race :)


The not so good things were I was aiming to run 6:30s and go DOWN from there (nope) and also what happened to mile 5 and 6? (yikes - I could tell I was toast, couldn't even sprint in at the end which I always do).

These splits look more like marathon splits than 10k, but with each race you learn so much. I learned that you can't schedule 5,000 things over the course of a week and expect to race at your very best. I slept well that week, but I think the craziness of party planning, Mom life and some unexpected stresses during the week was too much for this runner girl :)

Other great things about this race:

1. Well organized. I had to pick up my bib early that morning and I was able to get it in like two minutes - no joke.

2. Fun race atmosphere! They had such great music, an enthusastic announcer and lots of fun booths to explore after the race.




3. The volunteers were super friendly and everyone was in a great mood with getting their sweat on in the am and then preparing for the big game later that day!

4. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. The weather was fantastic and living in So Cal never, ever gets old (especially in February).




5. The t-shirt and medal were very cool.





6. Good, enjoyable course - flat with a few rolling hills.


I ran a two mile cool down and then we jumped back in the car to hurry home and get dressed and ready for the all the little people that were coming to my house later that day. Here's the thing - with being a Mom and an athlete, I have to juggle a lot of balls and hope nothing comes crashing down. In this case the race came crashing down, but to see Elle's eyes light up with joy at her big birthday party.... well, that's all that mattered on this day.


Bunnies and a bouncy house to celebrate 5!


I care about the time on the clock, but they don't :)


I would highly recommend the Redondo Beach Super Bowl 10k as a fun way to kick off Super Bowl Sunday, a well organized race in a beautiful seaside setting.

I'm in the middle of a 60 (I think it'll be 60) mile week, so off to hydrate, run and be the best Mom I can to three awesome kids.


How do you deal with bad races?

Ever raced during a hectic, super busy week?


Do Awesome Things.

xo,
Natalie










Friday, February 2, 2018

Roka (Rio) Sunglasses Review

I've been psyched to write this review - it's fun talking about products that get me fired up AND I get to share it all with you guys. The fact is, sunglasses that I can run and work out in are like GOLD to me. Living in a year round sunny climate, I pretty much sleep in sunglasses. Most importantly, for the overall health of my eyes, its so important to have the right pair.




When I started on the hunt for a new pair of shades, I knew they had have the following criteria:

1. Stylish. 
I mean, right? They have to protect your eyes like nobody's business, but if they look bad on your face, then that's a deal breaker. Also, they have to be timeless - like you want to look back in 10 years and still think they look good.

2. Functionality
I needed a pair of sunglasses that were going to stay put during a twenty mile run or one mile repeats and everything in between. Who has time to constantly fiddle with glasses when you are focused on running? I wanted to put them on and forget about them - like they weren't even there....

3. Lightweight
...which brings me to the next point - lightweight. I wanted something that would feel light as air on my face.

4. Polarized lenses
Polarized lenses are important to me - they have better protection for your eyes...

Check out this article from VSP:




5. Versatile
I was looking for sunglasses that I could easily wear on a run or go out for dinner. Wear them with jeans, a dress or active wear. I didn't want to have to worry about having five different pair of glasses.






The Roka Rio fit all of my needs and so much more. These glasses are in three words: total. bad. ass. Roka has an awesome selection of sunglasses that are crafted and made for athletes, and yet anyone can wear them and look great. The company understands that athletes work hard at their sport and they want to look good too. The Rio is a classic aviator style, and from the moment you slide them on your face, you're in heaven.






Not only do they feel smooth as silk and light as a feather (the glasses weigh only 18 grams) all at the same time, they are handcrafted in Japan and made with titanium. They of course have polarized lenses and sturdy nose grips which don't allow the glasses to move AT ALL on your face. I've worn these beauties on over twenty mile runs, tempo workouts, hill repeats, trail runs and more during marathon training and they fit like a dream.



Excellent quality - these glasses were made for working hard and looking beautiful at the same time.



I also love the luxurious case that they provide for your glasses. After years of putting my sunglasses any and everywhere, this case is so pretty that I can't wait to put them away after every use.






Roka provides sunglasses to some of the best athletes in the world, and they only launched in 2013 - amazing things this company has done in a short amount of time.







Let's talk about cost for a moment. The Rio retails for $300, which I know isn't cheap - but I'm telling you, it's worth it. There are things you can skimp on, but protecting your eyes isn't one of them. After two months of testing these glasses, I feel the price is justified (note the black pair are a bit more expensive. This style also come in other colors which retail for $260).




Cheers to running and protecting our eyes!






*I was sent a pair of the Rio for review, but all opinions are my own.


Do you run in sunglasses?

What is most important to you in a pair of sunglasses?


Do Awesome Things.

Xo,
Natalie

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

57 Miles + End Of January

After CIM, I remember thinking about how tough the marathon is on our bodies. Rest and recovery is so critical to our long term success and as much as we want to jump right back into training, it's much smarter to ease our way back. It's been eight and half weeks since the marathon and I feel really good and ready to start training again. The last few weeks have been a nice transition of lots of easy runs, getting back to longer runs and a tiny bit of fast stuff.






Here's what last week looked like:

Monday January 22nd - 4 easy miles (Monday is an optional rest day or very easy miles. I wanted to shake out my legs from 13 miles the day before and a four mile trail run was just what I needed.)

Tuesday January 23rd - Seven easy miles

Wednesday January 24th - 2 mile w/up, 15 x 1:00 on (1:00 jog), 2 mile cool down. 
Incorporating some speed back into the legs. 5:25 - 5:50 pace on the these one minute repeats and I felt like my legs were ready for a bit of speed! 8 total miles

Thursday January 25th - 7 easy miles

Friday January 26th - 10 miles (easing back into double digit weekday runs)

Saturday January 27th - 7 miles




Sunday January 28th - 14 miles (at 7:40 pace). I ran this on the treadmill, but I was able to settle into it and run a good effort, not at all hard, but a good pace.

Total Miles for the week: 57

Total January Miles: 181.1

Onward to February, friends!


What are you most looking forward to in February?

How do you feel about your beginning of the year fitness?

Do Awesome Things.

xo,
Natalie


Monday, January 29, 2018

Koala Clip Review + GIVEAWAY!

The month of January usually crawls by like a snail and I find myself wondering, "Is it still January?" That is definitely not the case this month. The month has flown by so fast and how is it the last Monday in January already... 
Running has been going well and I'm excited to review a new product that I know you are going to love as much I do! It's called the Koala Clip - an amazing little pouch for your phone that allows you to clip it onto your sports bra and not worry about where to put your phone.






I don't know about you guys, but putting my phone in an arm band does NOT work well for me. I never liked the idea of having something on my arm while running. For a long time, I have placed my phone in the zipper pocket of my favorite shorts, but I've been really enjoying the Koala Clip. It allows me to attach my phone to my running bra, which leaves more room for fuel and my key in the back zipper pocket.







I have taken the Koala Clip out for many runs in the past few weeks and it really does hold up to the challenge. Trail runs on rocky terrain, long runs, tempo runs, easy runs, super sweaty, hot runs - this clip has stayed in place and I don't notice that it is there. I like that it fits in all types of running bras - the pics in this post are with a low cut (in the back) bra, so the clip sticks out a bit in the back, but it didn't bother me at all on the run. The only thing that I have to get used to is reaching my arm up to unzip and grab my phone rather than grabbing the back pocket.



I usually put my phone in the bottom zipper pocket, now I have extra room for fuel and other items. 


I felt safe putting my phone in the pouch, it's well made and had a nice layer of cushion inside.


I'm an android girl (not an iphone) and it fits great.


Good padding and zipper to keep the phone secure.



Now it's time for me to say "Guess whhhhaaat?" - and when I say that, you know it means something good! One of you lucky friends is going to get one too! I love sharing the love and Koala Clip is kindly giving one away. Head over to my Instagram to enter to win.

Whether you are running, strength training or cross training - who has time to worry about their phone? Koala Clip is a great solution to keep your phone safe and accessible.



** I was given a Koala Clip to review, but as always all opinions are my own. 


Do Awesome Things.

xo,
Natalie

Monday, January 15, 2018

Getting Back Into The Swing

Just wanted to check in and say hi! Middle of January, six weeks post marathon - here we go.  I'm easing my way back into the swing of things...



Taking time to enjoy the view post run



I hope you guys are doing well, marching your way through the month and keeping your eye on the prize.

Here's what my workouts looked like last week:

Monday January 8th - REST DAY

Tuesday January 9th - 7 easy miles

Wednesday January 10th - 7 miles with 8 x :30 second pick ups (paces were 6:40 to 5:50)

Thursday January 11th - 6.2 miles

Friday January 12th  - 8 miles




Saturday January 13th - 6.2 miles

Sunday January 14th - 11 miles


Total miles: 45.4


I've pulled out my trusty band again and have been determined to use it at least 5 days a week. I do these exercises usually every evening and on those days that I am bone tired and don't want to do them, I think about my goals and get to work. I find that it's hard at first to get on the mat and then as soon as you complete one set, you warm up and totally get into it :)




I ended up with five days of (with the band):

Monster walks and lateral walks (3 sets of 16)

Clam shells (2 sets of 15)

I did two days of squats (2 sets of 10)


Then I did these daily this week:

Donkey kicks (2 sets of 20)
Push ups (3 sets of 20)
Dynamic planks (3 sets of 20)
Bicycle crunches (2 sets of 60)
Bridges and single leg bridge (2 sets of 20)
Superman (2 sets of 20)
Single leg deadlift (2 sets of 15 - with a 15 pound weight)
Side plank single leg raises (oooh, they burn! 2 sets of 15)

Plus the usual tiny bit of yoga (GOAL - do more yoga!):

Legs up the wall
Pigeon
Child's pose
and I've been loving happy baby, which is so relaxing at the end of the session :)

Zero swimming or other cross training this week, but it was a good week of easy, low mileage running.

Cheers to a great week of running and workouts!

Do awesome things.

xo,
Natalie