Thursday, September 29, 2011

Loosening my grip…

As most people do, I have been refreshing about a million times a day for the past week obsessing about St. George, Utah on Saturday. Unfortunately, the weather outlook has steadily become worse and worse. Five days ago, the forecast was for high temperatures around 89 degrees.  As of five minutes ago, the high is predicted to be 93.  YIKES.

Yesterday, I posted on Facebook and Twitter asking for advice for running a marathon in extreme heat.  I had some good advice.  Some of it even made me laugh. Alyssa and XLMIC both suggested I run naked! Interesting thought…

Two tweets came through that really made me think:

bart yasso twitter post

mason twitter post

When I talked to my husband about it, he encouraged me not to change my goal. I have been training toward this goal for six months. If you count my failed attempt last year, I have been running toward this goal for over a year.

But running in temperatures that high? In Googling “running in heat” I saw articles saying that running in temperatures over 85 can lower your pace as much as 20%.

I am not going to give up my goal. However, I am going to loosen my grip on it a bit. Last year, I was holding on to my goal so tightly that when it finally slipped away, I was crushed. It still stings. I actually have a bad taste in my mouth for the Long Beach Marathon because of it. I have looked forward for so long to running St. George, I don’t want it ruined. I am determined to enjoy this!

I will do exactly as Mason suggests: accept what the day gives me, adjust my goal as needed and, most importantly, HAVE FUN.

I don’t think there is live tracking for the race, however they are broadcasting the finish line. I will be wearing a day-glo tank top, pink visor, pink compression socks and black shorts. My bib number is 5974. Look for me!

I’m off to finish packing.  We leave in the morning.

Happy Running…

Hood to Coast Race Report Part 6—party on the beach AND a thanks to our sponsors

Ah yes… you thought you were done with Hood to Coast recaps.  Well, almost.  I would be remiss if I didn’t finish the story.

Once I was done running, we hopped into the van and headed toward the beach. We all had thought we would shower, nap etc., but we were too excited. This was the “biggest beach party on the West Coast.”

The beach was slightly cool and breezy. It was nice.

We stalked famous people.  The above picture is the Heart –n- Sole team from the Hood to Coast Movie.  Below is Bob Foote, the founder of Hood to Coast. I really enjoyed talking with him! He is a runner’s runner.

Then it was time for a little revelry!  I think we earned those beers!
After a few beers, it was time to head to the finish line to cheer on our teams.  Unfortunately, the rest of Nuun Platuun hadn’t made it to the beach due to crazy traffic. It was up to us to give XLMIC a huge welcome.

As usual, she was giving it all she had.  You can read her own version HERE. She ran that last leg as fast as she possibly could.  She anchored our team beautifully.

Nuun Platuun did better than anyone expected.  While we did great on the first two legs, each one of us dug deeper for that last leg.  Our team finished 200 grueling miles in 27:59:17!!!   We finished 7th in the Women’s Open Division!  That was an hour faster than our 10K PRs predicted.  We were all more than thrilled at our stellar finish.

Thirteen minutes later, Megan finished.  She was injured and hurting, but she finished strong with a huge smile on her face (pictured above).  You can read about her runs HERE.

There were a lot of emotions.  Hood to Coast was over and both teams had highs and lows and did GREAT.

Van 2 finally made it to the beach.  We received our medals, took some pictures, then there was more partying. The entire hood to coast medalteam had a fun time. It was everything I had hoped it would be. It was more than a race, more than a blogger meetup. It was something hard to put into words (yet I used thousands of words to try). I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Here is a video that briefly portrays the Hood to Coast experience:

And now a word about our incredibly generous sponsors…

Of course, the number one sponsor to thank goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway). Nuun was FANTASTIC in putting this entire thing together.  I still pinch myself when I think about how lucky I was to have been involved.

Running Skirts generously donated some awesome camo running skirts to the team. How great do we look?
Road ID gave us some killer dog tags. I love mine and wore it the entire time during HTC. 
hood to coast road idhood to coast road id 2

Moving Comfort was kind enough to give us some bras. I LOVE my Juno bra.
Looking back, I should have run in just my bra during HTC.  Jess did that and looked awesome.

Tommie Copper sent us a bunch of compression gear. I have worn the ankle sleeves several times (to help with some tendonitis I get on the top of my foot), the knee sleeve (after my first leg when my IT band got a bit angry) and the calf sleeves.  They are all super comfortable! provided signs for our vans. They did a great job! Not only did the magnets look good, but they stayed on the vans.  Four vans, multiple signs and no sign loss.

2Toms provided some great Sport Shield to keep us from chafing.  I am taking this stuff with me to St. George! It goes on like roll-on deodorant and dries so you don’t even know it is there.
Jack Black cosmetics supplied us with a great sample pack of lotions, sunscreens and lip balms. This is another product I will be taking with me to St. George. They have an SPF 45 sunscreen that I really like and the lip balm saved me!
Jack Black cosmetics
We spent a day and a half in a van and snack foods were important. Jamba Juice provided the team with some coconut water juice.  They were a hit!
jamba coconut water
Jenny Craig also sent us some Oatmeal Breakfast Squares. They really hit the spot at odd times during the day.  They were perfect as a breakfast snack even when breakfast was at 2 in the morning.

And we also were given some Gu, a key ingredient of any race. While the flavors weren’t my personal favorite, Gu is my gel of choice. It will be fueling me on Saturday during the marathon.

It was wonderful for all these companies to support our adventure in such a big way. It just shows how admired all the women are and how they conduct themselves out in the blogosphere. Everyone represented these sponsors well and appreciated all the products more than the sponsors will know. It was just the added touch that made the entire experience a bit surreal.

Thanks again to everyone for all your support.

Happy Running…

Don’t forget to enter my giveaways for free Gymboss Interval Timers.  Today is the last day.  You can find the blog giveaway HERE. And my Facebook giveaway HERE.

Friday, September 23, 2011

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Gymboss and a giveaway!!

If you are reading this blog, you are probably interested in fitness. If you are interested in fitness, you have probably heard of HIIT—high intensity interval training. HIIT is a format of exercise
“which you alternate short, very high intensity intervals with longer, slower intervals to recover. This type of training has been used by athletes to improve performance, but it's also been shown to benefit the average exerciser. HIIT training not only helps performance, it also improves the ability of the muscles to burn fat.”
According to, HIIT gets the body’s motor going for a longer period than traditional steady-state cardio, creating an “after-burn effect.” This means that you can work out for shorter periods of time to burn the same amounts of calories.
image courtesy of
My Body Back classes use an interval format. Not only does it help clients get great results, but it breaks exercise sets into bite sized pieces. It is easier to ask a woman, who hasn’t exercised for years, to do an exercise for 30 seconds or a minute than it is to get them to jog for 30 minutes.  My workouts involve a warmup (about 7-10 minutes) HIIT workout (40-45 minutes), ending with abs, stretching and meditation (about 10 minutes).

One of my favorite HIIT workouts uses Tabata sets.  Tabatas have you doing 20 seconds of very high intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. You repeat this for eight sets. The entire Tabata set takes four minutes. I can tell you that by the last minute, you are feeling those reps, no matter what you are doing. I have used Tabatas with squats, curls, pushups, and various high intensity cardio moves. You can use them for almost anything.

A key element of the workouts I teach is timing. If you tell someone that they will do a plank for a minute, have them do a plank for a minute. A 20 second interval for Tabata needs to be precise to be the most effective. Using a watch is sometimes unreliable. If you just watch your second hand (or numbers), then it is easy to lose track of the interval. It is difficult to help clients with form and to encourage/motivate them if you are staring at your watch. Countdown timers are good, but my watch beep isn’t loud enough to hear well over high tempo music that I like to play. Lastly, it is difficult to keep track of how many intervals have been completed, especially if you are participating in the workout. You lose some credibility if you tell them that you are going to do eight rounds and then only do seven or hit them with nine.
Enter the Gymboss. It is one of my favorite (and most necessary) tools for my workouts. I can set one or two intervals up to 99 times. It keeps track of the how many you have left so you can look at it and know exactly where you are. My clients love when I let them know where they are. “Half way there!” or “only 15 seconds left!” The beep can be long or short, soft or loud and can also vibrate (so if you really have the music up, you know the interval is over).

Not only does this little timer work for HIIT workouts, but for run/walk running plans as well. The Gymboss is super lightweight.  It clips onto just about anything. You could clip it onto a waistband and forget about it (until it beeps, of course). In fact, one of the timers is marketed specifically for Jeff Galloway’s Run/Walk/Run program.

It can also be used as a stopwatch. I used it the other day for fitness assessments for my Body Back clients. I used it for timing one mile time trials and planks. One improvement I would suggest would be the ability to save the data somehow, since I am timing more than one person at a time.

I bought a Gymboss for myself and another one for my Body Back instructor as a thank you. I love it. It is lightweight and once you figure out the instructions, it is relatively simple to use. However, I wish there was room for a “cheat sheet” because I often forget how to change it and have to do a bit of trial and error to remind myself. There are instructions printed on it to change it to a stopwatch.

You may have noticed the Gymboss ad on my sidebar. If you want to purchase a Gymboss, please click through that since I am part of their affiliate program.  But don’t buy yet! I have a couple Gymboss timers to giveaway to readers. The first timer I will give away here and the second one on my Facebook page.

To enter, the only requirement is that you are a follower.  Click on the first option below in the Rafflecopter entry form and you are in.  You can earn additional entries by tweeting, posting to Facebook or your blog (1 entry for each). Please click the options below in order to get your entry counted. I will draw a winner on Thursday, September 29 after 9 p.m.

Please click "Read More" to get to the entry form!  Thanks!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hood to Coast Race Report Part 5—running faster than cars

After an hour of the best sleep I have ever had, I was in a GREAT mood. Some of the negativity that haunted me the previous day was completely gone. I knew it was going to be a fantastic day. My expectations would be exceeded.

We started the Hood to Coast adventure with the express goal of having fun. I loved that we had no time goal and that we were all just running our best without any expectation.  But, we are all competitors at heart and find motivation by pushing ourselves against ourselves and others.

On the first day, there was never talk of how we were doing or where other teams were. On Saturday, things changed a little. The friendly banter and trash talking began. I’m not sure where it came from, but I love it.  We had trash talked about various college rivalries* but that morning, things changed a bit. If you read Tricia’s recap HERE, you will see that her competitive juices started flowing during her last leg that morning. She pushed herself and ran that leg fast! IMAG0725

Lauren, who had been using me as motivation (aka…’catch and pass Lisa’) smiled at me and said (in a fun, sweet tone) “I’m coming for you.”  I quickly replied, “bring it…you probably will catch me, but you will have to work hard to do it.” Somehow, we all turned it on that morning and ran awesome legs.

The other team, AfterNuun Delight, was predicted to finish quite a bit ahead of us. We were ok with that, since it never really was a competition. But by those last legs, we realized that our little underdog team was neck and neck with the speedy Sparkle Skirt gals. Our goal became clear…hit the beach the same time as the other Nuun team. We needed to make sure that we ran our fastest in order to finish strong.

I was so excited about this leg, but I knew from the previous two legs that I had a long time to wait. I bought a breakfast sandwich from a local entrepreneur. After Friday’s under-fueling, I wanted to make sure I ate some real food. It was the best breakfast sandwich I have ever had.

After Tricia was done, she passed off to Alyssa. Alyssa kicked some booty as well. IMAG0728

Alyssa did an awesome job of keeping the sparkly AfterNuun Delight team in our sights. She and Dorothy ran the same leg. Dorothy had some incredible runs that weekend. Alyssa was able to run run fast enough to hold Dorothy off for most of her run, so when Caitlin took over, they were only a couple minutes ahead.  Caitlin ran super strong, passed her sparkle counterpart and never looked back.*

Kerrie was next and was all smiles. Her last leg is described HERE. She ran her leg strong and fast.  We were on a roll.



DSCN3641And then it was Margot’s turn again. Her leg was one of the most difficult of the entire relay. She basically had to run up and down a mountain. She kept telling us how slow she would be and if we saw her walking to forgive her. Yeah…that never happened.DSCN3642

leg 29

Margot made that hill look easy. It was KILLER. I was tired just driving up it. She just kept running and then became a blur on the way down.  HERE are her words.

Then it was time for me to finally run! It was a beautiful day and I was excited to run. At this point I wanted to run as fast as I could. My goal was to make Lauren run really fast if she was going to pass me this time.


Traffic had been getting increasingly difficult. As I started my leg, the rest of my team immediately hopped in the van and headed toward the next exchange.  They passed me and cheered for me, always a boost, especially up the first hill.



But then, I passed them.


I started seeing runners carrying clipboards to give to the other vans for their team (since it was clear that the runners would beat the vans by a lot). There was absolutely no cell phone coverage, so none of us knew if the other van would even be there.  But I wasn’t concerned with any of that. I was just running.

As I was approaching the top of my biggest ascent, I saw someone running towards me.  It was Margot! She had come to run with me. Wow, after a killer leg, she was going to run a ways with me—how sweet! Honestly, I was a little nervous.  Margot is faster than I am. She told me to run at my pace, but I felt my ego sneak in and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t too slow for the Faster Bunny.  We crested that hill and then went sailing down the other side. I glanced at my Garmin briefly (I did not want to trip) and saw we were in the low 7’s.  After a mile or two, Margot headed back to the van (the van was actually quite a ways behind us).  She was just the push I needed to run out of my comfort zone and speedy!

It was a glorious run. It was along a windy highway in the woods. The trees would open up to beautiful vistas of the foothills of the coastal range. It was sunny, but there was plenty of shade. It was the perfect leg to end on, capping off my Hood to Coast experience with an amazing run. I was actually a little sad when I approached the end.

As I came into the transition, I didn’t see Jess waiting for me.  Uh oh…maybe they didn’t expect us so soon. Our van had run out of our minds and all of us ran faster than we ever thought we could.  I ran 5.42 miles at a 7:47 pace***!! That is quite a bit faster than my 10K pace on one hour of sleep!!

Suddenly, I saw Jess pop out of the crowd, looking a little surprised, but very happy.  Apparently, she heard our team number and jumped into the transition area. For the previous two legs, she had seen Lauren handing off to Jen, which was her cue to get ready.  This time, the Nuun Platuun arrived first. Our little engine-that-could was 30 minutes ahead of our projection!!

I was done, hoping to chat with some of the Van 2 gals, but they had already taken off, worried about the traffic and getting to the next exchange before Jess. I wandered around a bit.  After so much time with so many teammates, it was strange to be by myself.  Suddenly, there was Alex.  But how? I passed the van miles back.

Apparently, Alex was worried that Van 2 wouldn’t know we were coming and wanted to touch base with them. He had Kerrie drive and he ran about two miles down to the exchange, only to miss the other van. I think he just wanted to run.  Sitting for that long driving a van has to get old. He probably wanted a break from the van chatter as well.

When the van arrived, I hopped in and we headed toward the beach.  WE WERE DONE!!!  We had each run three times within a 24 hour period. We were amped and ready to celebrate in Seaside.

Stay tuned for the final installment (maybe) of this series of race reports.

The winner of the iFitness Hydration Belt has been announced HERE.

Happy Running….

*But since my alma mater was well represented among, well…everyone in Oregon, and the Ducks dominate in the Pac 12 North, college trash talking got old for those from Washington schools.  Winking smile

**I’m so bummed that I didn’t get another picture of Caitlin before her last leg. Caitlin was such a huge part of our team and I don’t want to slight her in any way.

***I was predicted, based on my 10K PR, to run that leg at an 8:15 pace. I am happy to have blown that away. I am actually looking forward to my next opportunity to run a 10K to see if I can better that PR.

Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to entry #23 Kerrie for winning my giveaway!  She nabbed this particular entry by “liking” iFitness on Facebook.  Kerrie will receive an iFitness Hydration Belt. Kerrie, I will send you an e-mail based on the address you entered, but if you see this first, please send me your shipping information and size/color preference to mom2marathon (at) gmail (dot) com.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I wanted to let everyone know that Kerrie was the second name drawn. The first person that came up, unfortunately did not leave a blog comment with a favorite item from the iFitness website.  This was required in order to be eligible to win.  I will be having other giveaways in the near future so keep playing!!

Happy Running….

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hood to Coast Race Report Part 4—there are zombies in Mist, Oregon

After I finished my night leg, our team was done for several hours.  It was 3ish in the morning and everyone was pretty tired.

Since I had just run a hard leg, I was still pretty amped. So when the AfterNuun Delight’s Van 1 lost their keys, I was happy to help them look.  It gave me a chance to walk around a bit.  Luckily, Kerrie and a random stranger were able to find the keys. Kerrie’s version of the night legs can be found HERE. Can you imagine how much THAT would have sucked? 3 a.m. and no keys to the van? I would imagine that finding a locksmith or contacting the rental company at 3 a.m. from St. Helens, Oregon would not be an easy task.

While there were places to sleep there in St. Helens, Alex decided that we needed to get to the next exchange before trying to sleep. He felt that waking up and driving to the exchange would be more stressful in the morning. BEST. DECISION. EVER. As we were getting into the van, we realized that Margot was missing.  Forget a set of keys…losing a teammate?  Now THAT would suck. It so happened that Alex is an expert in search and rescue.  Margot was soon found trying to catch some zzzz’s on one of the sleeping fields. Poor Margot was really out of it and very tired. Thank goodness she was safe! Her story in her words are HERE.

We then headed to the last major van exchange.  I think it was supposed to take 20-30 minutes. We drove along a dark two-lane highway and we all very ready to be somewhere to stretch out and sleep. A few of the gals stretched out on the back seats and fell asleep for a bit. Kerrie and I tried to share the front bench, but neither of us could get comfortable. Plus, poor Alex and Caitlin were trying to navigate. So Kerrie and I basically stayed up.

Our navigators were awesome. The directions given by the race were wrong, telling us to take a left instead of a right on a highway. By looking at the map and knowing that we needed to head toward Mist, Alex and Caitlin ignored the written directions and turned right. It helped that 90% of the vans were doing to same thing.

And that is when time slowed down. We entered the twilight zone of Hood to Coast. Traffic was moving at a couple of miles an hour. It was bumper to bumper. Traffic was the biggest subject of post-race discussions.  Traffic was horrendous. There were more teams this year than ever before and apparently those extra vans made a big difference. We crawled along the two-lane highway toward Mist. Ironically, as we neared the little town of Mist, the fog rolled in, giving everything a very surreal feel. The vans weren’t moving, there were random runners walking around as well as running along the route.
  htc traffic
One guy crossed into our stream of headlights and his sunken cheeks and glazed look could only mean he was a zombie! Then we realized that he was just another runner who has had no sleep and was just trying to find a place to sleep. At that point I felt like a zombie.
courtesy of
About then, Margot suddenly exclaimed that she had to go. “Can you wait?” we ask. “We should be there any minute.” But we had no idea how long it would be. We could be only a mile away, but it might take an hour. There is a rule that runners cannot relieve themselves along the course, it is grounds for disqualification. We started making suggestions—pee in a zip lock bag?  Umm…no. She finally just said, “I can’t wait, I’m going. I’m not wearing a race number, so they won’t know who I am.” And suddenly, she opened the door to the van and was gone.

We watched her run into the fog. To the left of her was a dark farmhouse, in my mind abandoned and a haven for zombies. Ahead of her were trees and mist that seemed to envelope her. I wish I could have caught a picture of it.  It was truly out of a horror film. It was almost artistic, even gothic. I worried that it might be the last we saw of Margot, but she soon jogged back to the van and hopped in.

We FNALLY made it to the final exchange (AKA: Post-apocalyptic zombie encampment). At this point I didn’t care where I slept, I just needed to sleep. It was 5:45 a.m. and we had been driving for 2.5 hours.* Alex spread a tarp out on the ground and he, Kerrie, Margot and I threw our sleeping bags on it and grabbed some quick shut-eye. The others slept in the van. There was no cell phone coverage here and we had no idea what time XLMIC would be coming in, so Tricia had to be ready to go around 7-in a little over an hour.

You would think that an hour of sleep would not be enough. I honestly think that hour of sleep was one of the most solid hours of sleep ever. I think I felt better after that hour than I would have had I had four hours. It was a cool, crisp morning and I was excited for the day and our third legs. I was actually a little sad to have it almost over.We all woke up ready to start the day. And it would turn out to be a very good day.DSCN3632
Stay tuned for the next installment of this saga**—running faster than cars.

Don’t forget to enter to win an iFitness Hydration Belt  HERE.

Happy Running…

*For the record, you can almost drive from Mt. Hood to Seaside in 2.5 hours via a non-traffic four-lane highway.
** I know that most of you are sick of hearing about this race that occurred weeks ago.I also know there are at least a couple people who still enjoy following on our adventure (I know I still enjoying reading my teammates’ recaps). I thought I would be done by now, but there is just so much I want to document for my own memory. It just seems kinder to the reader to break it up into multiple parts.  Thanks for sticking with me.  Smile

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Jamba Juice anyone?

Check out these great coupons! Just in time for the new fall flavors like Pumpkin Smash! Click on the picture for a printable coupon!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for an iFitness Hydration Belt!!!


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