Marathon Training: Part 2 - Cross Training

Over the years I have learned a lot about marathoning. More than I want to put into one post so I created a 4-part series on marathon training.
Cross training, we all hear we need to do it but do we all do it? And if we are doing it, are we doing it right?

Over the years I have tried many, many times to implement cross training. I read about its importance and felt it should be added in but it often fell to the wayside. What I was trying on my own wasn't working. And in those years I actually had a gym membership, the classes were not at times I could go to them so I never did....except once. I did one spinning class. It was okay but that one class isn't going to reap the benefits I craved.

Also over the years I shunned lifting weights. A very ironic mindset considering in college I did take a weight training class and knew its importance and proper form. Hey, I also knew as an aging woman that lifting weights would be good for my bones. Help them stay strong. When I went dairy free the thought even crossed my mind that perhaps now was the time but nope, no real change.

I went forward in my normal marathon training of run, run, run and wasn't getting where I wanted to be. I wasn't achieving my big goals and in fact, I felt I was growing stagnant. And the workouts I was trying to add it never stuck.

One day as I flipped though a running magazine once again and saw a little 10 minute cross training circuit I decided to give it a whirl. And I did. 10 minutes a day for a bit but then I stumbled on something bigger and better. I am sure those 10 minutes were doing something but it wasn't until I jumped in with both feet, invested in myself and my future, and embraced a new challenge that I finally started seeing results.

I became a Beachbody coach! Ummm, yep, sometimes I jump into things with both feet. But that doesn't mean it wasn't a thoughtful jump. The jump took about a week to complete as I prayed, reached out to an old high school schoolmate and brother in Christ on his own fit journey, and wham, bam, thank you mam, I became a coach with a workout plan on its way. And my life changed.

DRASTICALLY CHANGED! And all for the better.

Time for a new transformation photo!
I am doing 30+ minutes of cross training each and every day (even on vacation) and I am seeing and feeling the difference. This has been going on since mid-May and in the past week my hubby has been commenting more on my appearance. He can see the changes now too! They say it takes others longer to see the changes you see. But this isn't just about building muscle and losing weight, it is about building a better me.

Cross training matters. The strength you gain matters for your marathon performance. Yes, these stronger arms and abs of mine will help carry me 26.2 miles but the confidence boost I get from doing the undoable matters too (but that is a later post in this series). Plus, I am stronger in all areas of life because of a deeper commitment to personal development.

In a nutshell, I am working my upper and lower body, I am doing Plyo, yoga, weight lifting, resistance band work, dancing, and so much more....all this on top of running every single day. Some days are AM workout only days, some are AM and PM workout days. I am getting it done and sweating myself happy!

I don't think I will ever be able to write another running plan without cross training in it and if you are training for a marathon --- cross train --- it matters and I would be honored to be your coach. Not only am a Beachbody coach but I am a certified running coach. Email me for more information.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for today's post workout burn.

Daily Bible Verse: I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 3:14


Marathon Training: Part 1 - Running

With the Maui Marathon rapidly approaching it seems more than appropriate to talk about marathon training. This will be my 10th marathon so I have learned a thing or two since my first marathon in 2011. Oh that was a sweet one and I still remember the last minute advice on the bus to the start. Just relax and enjoy. You are guaranteed a PR. Oh to be there again! I equate it to the advice moms so often get. Don't blink, enjoy this moment, your baby will grow up quick.

So here I am, my 3 year old is now 8 and in less than two months, I will be running my 10th marathon. Don't blink world. Things go by way too fast!

As I mentioned previously, over the years I have learned a lot about marathoning. More than I want to put into one post so this is part 1 of a 4-part series on marathon training and will focus on running. Part 2 is cross training. Part 3 is mindset. Part 4 is nutrition.

So let's talk running.

To run a marathon you need to run. Simple, right? Not quite.

Yes, you want time on your feet but you also need to work up that long run....smartly. Do not increase your mileage more than 10% a week unless you are crazy like me. No seriously, don't do it. Since I have been running every day since December 30, 2011, my weekly mileage and daily up's and down's are not textbook anymore but I know what my body can do and have learned to listen to it. Therefore, I may have a very low mileage one week due to odd circumstances (imagine a 15 mile week) and bump right back to a 35-40 mile week the following week. When you look at that plainly, some may see a recipe for disaster but since my base is solid, it works for me.

It is okay for your long run to be slower. You are getting used to time on your feet. However, I have never bought into the logic out there that all longs runs should be slow runs. I have never been able to hit my goals running long slower than I hope to run on race day. I am sorry, my body and mind needs to get used to running at the pace I want to run at. And that brings me to my next tip.

Add in speed work. I know, yuck! Who wants to do that? Okay, some other crazy runners like me who sometimes just like to sweat like crazy and push their limits. I am odd in that regard. I have a love-hate relationship for speed work. The idea makes me cringe. BUT....it is my big motivator. If I am feeling sluggish on a run or bored on that treadmill run, speed work is the thing I turn to. It gets me going. I get focused on those intervals, pushing myself a bit further, and forget all those yucky thoughts that were plaguing my mind. I honestly don't care if you do textbook intervals or fartleks. Just pick up the pace, push yourself, and keep at it. Don't do this every day. Toss in at least one speedy day a week if not two.

On weeks I do one speedy day, I aim for a tempo run day too. A day I push myself a wee bit more BUT not as fast as a pace as speed work and I aim to hold that pace for miles and miles versus short distances and/or time blocks. This will help your body get used to running longer distances at faster paces. It is a good thing. Give it a try!

And one thing I really, really should do more of is hill work. I finally have an adjustable incline treadmill at home so there really isn't an excuse. My goal is always to toss this in once a week too but that doesn't always happen. It is the element of the mix that often gets dropped. Just being honest with you. We all have perfect plans but not perfect execution.

I know I just mentioned a lot of runs and you are thinking go, go, go! But please remember to toss in recovery days. Yes, run slow. I mean slooooowwwww. Ease it up and let your body recover. It is a good thing.

In case you were wondering, I haven't gone into one marathon and run every day as planned in terms of pace, distance, etc. Don't sweat it. You may get off track a wee bit and that is okay. You will be okay. Trust your training but be honest with yourself. If you never hit your long runs or really fall off course, take a good hard look at your goals and race day plan.

And that brings me back to that long run. That is the most critical. There was one race I was nailing my long run distances but flopping on all my other runs. Way too many 1-3 mile runs BUT somehow, by the grace of God, I was able to complete the race. I even had friends comment that they were amazed I pulled it off with so little mid-length runs. All I can say is, I had a solid base beforehand and really worked those long runs. Not the perfect marathon training plan so don't plan on it to bring you to success but it illustrates my point. My training was off. I didn't plan on a PR and I finished happy and able to run the next day.

One more long run note -- my longest runs are typically 20-21 miles for each marathon cycle. I aim to nail 2-3 pre-race day with the last one about 3-4 weeks out. I like a 3-week taper too.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my running legs.

Daily Bible Verse: Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. ~ Hebrews 12:1


How to choose the right car seat

I know, I know...my car seat days are winding down. Well, technically, here in Hawaii darling daughter doesn't legally need a booster seat anymore. But those laws can get tricky and overwhelming for new moms. Not only do you need and want to do the best for your kiddo's in your home state but also when travelling.

That is why I am writing this sponsored post today. 

I have been there. I was a new mom and perhaps a bit paranoid, overly protective, I gotta do this all right new mom. I never had a second child so poor darling daughter gets the full on 110% protection from this momma bear. And I wouldn't want it any other way. She is my precious gift from God and I will do EVERYTHING in my power to protect her. And car safety matters. That car seat matters. But just like the riding helmets of today for her horse lessons, a proper fit makes all the difference.

But don't fret. Help is there for you courtesy of The Baby Cubby. Let me tell you this, I wish I had this resource 8+ years ago! The Baby Cubby team is made of parents who have been there so safety for the kiddo's matters, fun and easy shopping matters, stroller testing matters, and prices matter. And guess what? They do price matching --- even Amazon price matching! --- and offer FREE shipping on orders of $49 or more. All the moms out there know it is easy to spend $49 on a kid purchase. PLUS, when you order from them you can feel confident that you are getting a safe product because they have already done the research for you. As much as I love Amazon, they can't promise me that!

But like I said, they offer more than just products. You can check out their car seat guide and see for yourself if your darling is in the right seat, if you need another, or what to get your almost here gem from Heaven. And they even address car seat needs for children with special needs. How cool is that? Personally, I love that their quick reference chart supports me still having darling daughter in a booster seat. The seat belt just rests better on her when she is in it.

This is a topic I feel strongly about so I am going to add a few personal tips of my own that I learned from personal experience.

1. Go to a car seat inspection with your seat in place and your kiddo. They rock and have a wealth of information. At my first inspection they even recommended taking down the window shade I had in place. I felt the sun would be too bright for my newborn but they advised me and warned me of the multitude of injuries that happen when the shade flies off during an accident. The seat holds strong but baby is hurt by the shade. They kindly said it was my choice but I took that suction cup shade down without hesitation.

2. Get two car seats for the dual car family if you can. When we had the infant seat with the detachable carrier, I had a base in both my car and hubby's. This meant for baby switcheroo's we were having to move the carrier back and forth and all around. At least the bases were in place and fortunately the drop off was never forgotten at day care when hubby dropped darling daughter off and I picked her up later. BUT...once she moved out of that seat, I purchased seats for both cars so no more juggling. And I bought the same version for each car so from darling daughter's perspective, it was the same.

3. Don't fret about the cost and investment and get a convertible seat when you can. You know, one your kiddo can grow with. Darling daughter is now in the booster portion of the last convertible car seats we purchased. With that said, The Baby Cubby has two new convertible seats available - a convertible car seat and a convertible booster seat.

I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to write this post and I hope it helps some new moms out.

Have a blessed day!

Love and hugs.


Join me! August Challenge Groups

Oh me oh my! I am head over heels in love with fitness and realize, good nutrition is KEY to good fitness performance. Being active makes me happy and a happy me makes my house much happier. Plus, life is better enjoyed when happy, right?

Some of you may not know but recently I jumped in with both feet to be an online health and fitness coach. What took me so long to do this? I still offer online coaching for runners but have found, personally, that to be a better runner not only do I need to run BUT I need to fuel my body right (and what I thought was right wasn't the best right for me) and to cross train. And those things I was trying out of magazines --- well, they weren't working.

I am sure there are many others out there like me. Trying so hard to make forward progress but seeming to get nowhere. Goals are not being realized. You are just tired. You lose motivation. You stop and start like crazy and eventually accept that what you have is the best you can have at this point in your life. But I am here to tell you, don't accept those lies. We can all grow stronger, healthier, and better every single day.

That is my new mission/mantra --- #buildingabetterme #onedayatatime

Why? Because I want to help others overcome their bumps in life, just as I am overcoming mine...one day at a time.

With that said I have not one, not two, but THREE challenge groups slated for August. Yep, darling daughter is going back to school and I will be up'ing my own fitness and nutrition game right along you. Yes, I am in this with you!

Why do you want me as your coach? Because I get it. Because I have fallen down. Because I have failed. Because I have dusted myself off and found the tools to build a better me. Because I care about you. I mean really care. My prime drive for starting this blog was to motivate myself and others. Everything I have done and continue to do comes back to that core reason --- to motivate myself and others and I would be honored for you to join me. I am 100% positive one of these challenges will fit your needs and yes, each one will be personalized for you. No cookie cutter fitness and health. We are talking about what is best for you - your body, your current fitness level, and your fitness goals...and yes, these do change over time. We can work on that together.

Each client of mine also receives unlimited online support primarily through facebook but if you are  not a facebooker, I will work with you on developing our best "stay in touch" plan. I care that much!

So now that you know some of the nuts and bolts, what do I have up my sleeve?

First, I have TWO 7-day clean eating and shake challenges slated for August. One starts on the 1st and one starts on the 8th. To ensure you have time to get all your goodies for the challenge, the deadline for joining the August 1st challenge is July 23rd. The deadline for joining the August 8th challenge is July 30th.

Second, I have one 21-day challenge starting on August 11st to end August strong. This is the perfect combination of fitness and nutrition. In a nutshell, you can think of it as an extension of the 7-day challenge as for all 21 days, you are eating clean and fueling your body well PLUS you are doing a daily 30 minute workout that includes cardio and strength (or another workout regimen that you personally select). The deadline for joining this group is July 31st.

Call me crazy but if it were me, I would join the August 1st challenge group AND the August 11th group. Wait! That is EXACTLY what I will be doing as the host and your coach! Life is great!!! Won't you join me today?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful God has called me to serve Him through helping others feel better about themselves and to find their inner strength and beauty.

Daily Bible Verse: Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. ~ Hebrews 13:16


I met my buddy!

This is the post of my dreams....literally and figuratively. Meeting Toby was a dream and it finally came true in June but last night, I dreamt of this post and sharing some of the awesome-sauce of our time together.

The first thing I want to say is that boy gives the BEST hugs! But let's back track a bit. Flying to meet Toby took two flights and our flight in Phoenix was delayed. Darling daughter and I were getting more and more excited and anxious to get on that plane to fly to meet Toby --- granted, I was also very happy NOT to get on the plane that had a ton of firemen go on to inspect it some more and more and more. A delay and new plane were perfectly okay.

Once we touched down we were then both eager to GET OFF the flight. We were beyond excited to meet Toby and I got to confess, all the emotions hit really hard that this was about to happen and I teared up and started to cry and hadn't even left my spot on the plane yet. Yep, I am a crier.

Getting to him seemed to go by quickly and when we saw him in the distance I was torn between sprinting and running with control. One, I had a tired and excited 8 year old in tow and neither of us got much sleep on our red eye flights. Two, I didn't want to terrify the poor boy!

So we did a controlled run and I was able to stop my carry on bag in tow with control to drop to my knees and say hello to the most precious boy ever...and hug him...really hug him...and get kissed like crazy...and my heart was about to burst open with happiness. The only thing that could top the awesome-sauce of hugging Toby (and meeting his family) was seeing him and darling daughter hug and kiss hello. Seriously getting teary-eyed here because it is a feeling you can NEVER express in words.

I am so thankful for our time together exploring a water park, the zoo, dining, and just chatting. It was GREAT to get to know his mom better, to pray together, to hear her read from the bible, and to just enjoy the gift of being together. These are days I will never forget. Days I am anxious to experience again.

God perfectly matched us and their family is my family.

But what really amazes me is not how much Toby has impacted my life, but darling daughter's too. She loves him and is completely smitten with his younger brother. She will sign to me every now and then (especially when she wants a piggyback ride -- she loves that sign!) and she will say my name Toby does from time to time in the cutest voice ever. It always makes me chuckle!

She is learning so much from this experience and may God bless Timothy Boyle and I Run for Michael for bringing us together. 

Daily Gratitude: I am forever thankful for time together with Toby.

Daily Bible Verse: I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. ~ Psalm 119:7


The effects of flight on your body

Aloha All!

I am back in action after a three-week vacation. I didn't schedule posts ahead of time as I truly felt I would blog on the go. Ha! That didn't happen. But I do have a variety of posts lined up in my head for you and today I wanted to start with this post -- how flying impacts your body as I feel I felt it immensely on our way home. A very long day with three flights and two layovers that looked kinda like this -- fly 3.5 hours, layover 1 hour, fly 2 hours, layover 6 hours, fly 6 hours, home sweet home.

We got home very late Monday night with us reaching our house at almost 10 pm. This is a LONG day for two gals who were up at 4 am Texas time and got very little sleep on the flights. One time I did dose off a flight attendant woke me to ask me if I wanted coffee! Darling daughter looked at me after wards and said, "I didn't wake you this time."

This was a HUGE travel day as we got back to port Sunday morning, my mom drove us "home", and I washed and packed like crazy and tried to get to bed as early as possible before the big day arrived. I thought we were doing pretty good but Monday night I woke up and felt sick to my stomach and a bit shaky. Kinda like the world was swaying. I am feeling that sway again as I type but I think it is a mind trick. Perhaps my body thinks I am still on the water.

Come Tuesday morning (yesterday) I woke up after about 8 hours of sleep and slowly made my way to the treadmill to try to run. I thought I would run more but that mile hurt. My legs ached every step. My left ankle felt off to the point I just wanted to finish the streak mile (day 1657) and call it a fitness day done. Perhaps my body needed rest even though my past few workout days were light. Perhaps flying had an impact on me? This got me thinking and of course, researching.

Here are some of the effects of flying on your body:
  • Dehydration that has all those normal side effects as well as nasal membranes swelling as your mucous dries up. I tried to drink well but in all reality, I could see the effects of dehydration with my urine output. Sorry gang, just being honest. And my nose was drier than anything! And yes, your skin can dry out too.
  • Blood flow decreases and oxygen levels in your body decrease. This could make you feel sleepier but who knows, I was going on over 20 hours without decent sleep so I was tired.
  • Blood pools in your legs and feet. I often travel with compression socks on but foolish me, I packed them in the checked luggage on this big travel day and it may have been the day I needed them the most with all that up and down.
  • Gas in your intestines expands. I never really thought about this but yes, I was feeling more bloated and it makes perfect sense. We had a bottle with a straw that folds down. Towards the end of flight 3 I opened it to sip some SOS and got an SOS fountain instead....and a very wet lap. Darling daughter was not amused. 

Looking at that list is like the proverbial light bulb going off. No wonder my run yesterday morning felt off. My body had a lot of recovering to do and I spent that recovery day school supply shopping, a trip to Costco to stock up of fruit, veggies, and more, unpacking, horse lessons, and more. Isn't that how all runners recover?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my mom and her awesome hospitality --- and for taking us on a cruise!

Daily Bible Verse: Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:9-11