Making the effort .. to find the Daily Wins!

Running a Hill Workout with the Moon:)

I was reminded this week by something that I needed to hear…on Instagram “to find your daily wins”. Now this is not a new concept and I am not sharing with you something that you have never heard before. But if you are like me, and your day is filled with all the hustle bustle, you probably have little time in your day to recognize those wins. So why would taking time out to find your “daily wins” be important you ask?

Those wins are progress points that will lead you to your Goal!

Let’s face it the goals we set or the point we want to reach can be daunting. We all have doubts once we have decided on our path. Focusing on those daily wins , no matter how small, helps us to break down our large goal into manageable chunks. Those small wins each day help me to feel like I have accomplished something and motivate me to keep going.

Some of my Daily Wins this week-

-Fitting in a day to do weights/one legged exercises

-Pushing the Hill Workout- waking up very early to fit it in and pushing myself

-Made time to each lunch with a friend

-Catching up my calendar, listing daily mileage and work outs

-Putting up Christmas Tree, shopping for gifts

-Reaching my highest weekly running mileage= 38 miles

We always remember to review the failures. But do we really notice all of our daily wins? I challenge you to try this.

I survive by my lists. Do you make lists? A “To Do” list? I think this is another way to keep on track of our wins. Take that pen and cross it off, nothing is more satisfying that to cross something off my list.

Meal Prep today- Broccoli Soup, Roasted Potatoes, Curry Lentils with Spinach, Chia Pudding, Cashew Butter and Vegan Brownies.

Holiday treats? I need to get on it 🙂

Curried Lentils .. a hug in a bowl!

LENTILS are high in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates also a good source of iron, potassium, folate and manganese. Lentils come in a large variety of sizes and colors. Split lentils cook much faster and are good for use in curries. If you haven’t tried them for awhile I suggest you do.

Exercise- 38 miles running (what!) including pick ups, long run (17 miles) and a trail run/hike with elevation, and 1 day weights

Have a Healthy and Happy Week!

Making the effort …to keep informed by listening.

Long Run Day- 15 Miles easy, trying to keep heart rate between 130 to 145

The last year or so I have started listening to podcasts on training, sports nutrition, conditioning, running and specifically Ultra Running/Racing. I still enjoy reading my magazines, Trail Runner/Runner’s World that I get but it is nice that while I am driving home from work I can get the latest info from some the leading experts and athletes. It is also very exciting to listen to a race recap especially since the sport is not consistently televised. I am just beginning to find my way thru all the many podcasts that are available. I believe it is so important to keep educated so ..down the rabbit hole I go and I am taking you with me.

  1. KoopCast- Ultra Training Banter-Jason Koop- Author/Coach/Athlete
  2. The Art and Science of Running-Malc Kent-Scientist/Athlete/Coach and Jacob Puzey- Athlete/Coach
  3. The Rambling Runner Podcast-Matt Chittim- Athlete/Coach
  4. Like A Bigfoot Podcast- Chris Ward- Athlete/Teacher
  5. the morning shakeout poscast- Mario Fraioli- Coach/Athlete/Writer

These are just the top 5 that I am currently listening to. Truthfully, I cannot keep up. I am listening to one right now while typing this ( Episode 11 Tommy Rivers Puzey- the Art and Science of Running) that I didn’t get a chance to finish earlier.

Tommy ( bearded Runner) Rivers Puzey-Dec. 8th 2019 California International Marathon

I guess you can approach this like a cafeteria or a la cart menu.. pick and choose what you want. I enjoy hearing from experts but truthfully I get so much out of an episode from a non professional athletes or when the discussion involves not all success stories but the times when the race or training completely fell apart. If we are honest that is probably closer to home for us that are not professional athletes and so beneficial. I ask that if you haven’t subscribed to a podcast you need to and give it a try.

Recent Great Podcast – Reminded me how important a recovery drink or meal is- My version frozen Spinach, Pear, Collagen and water, blend until smooth.

Happy Training Week #3 to me! I am definitely feeling the mileage. Even in my 20/30’s I had not ran this kind of weekly mileage (I usually ran 3 times a week and no more than 30 miles) or had been this consistent, so I am tired and nicely surprised. Early morning running is where I feel most comfortable so that means some very early mornings (3:30AM) with my current work schedule. I am doing 30 to 35 miles a week and fitting in a hill workout, long run, pick ups/strides, and some weight sessions.

Meal Prep- Roasted Veggie, Broccoli & Sweet Potato, Turkey & Cranberry Meatballs, Brown Rice w/ Barley, Raw Veggie w/Dill Dip (non dairy).

Have a Happy and Healthy Week!!

Making the effort .. to stick to the plan!

Hi All! So nice to be back , had a great holiday and hope you did too! I took the Thanksgiving week off. This time of the year is so busy. We seem to overbook ourselves in all areas, and I want to be thoughtful with this medium and not just rush thru a blog post. So lets catch up:)

The Plan- or at least the most recent plan is

  1. Try my very best to follow the dietary recommendations after learning about my food sensitivities.
  2. Follow the Running/Training 16 week Plan for running an Ultra.

Have you ever wondered what Lacto Ovo Vegetarian meant? Or maybe what a Vegan can eat or why they choose their dietary lifestyle? With my restrictions I fall somewhere between most dietary labels. Here is a breakdown for you:

Vegetarians have many reasons for making their decisions, Health Reasons, a distaste for Animal Products, or a love for Animals.

Flexitarian– the term was coined to describe those that eat mostly vegetarian or semi vegetarian.

Pescatarian– those that abstain from eating all animal flesh except fish.

Lacto -Ovo Vegetarian- those that abstain from eating beef, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish or animal flesh of any kind, but do eat eggs and dairy products.

Vegan– those that do not eat any animal products, even as far as not eating any animal -derived ingredients such as gelatin/collagen for animals. Honey seems to be under debate even today.

Raw Vegan or Eating Raw– diet consisting of unprocessed vegan foods, items that have not been heated above 115 degrees F. The belief is that the food consumed is more beneficial to us if not heated above 115 degrees F.

And Finally Macrobiotic Diet– includes unprocessed vegan foods and allows for the occasional consumption of fish. Sugar and refined oils are not avoided but Asian vegetables are promoted, such as daikon radish and sea vegetables that include wakame and other seaweeds.

My Diet- I currently do not eat Eggs, Dairy (also including goat), or Red Meat. This was my first holiday trying to follow my new restrictions and it was difficult. I accepted an invitation to a local restaurant known for their Buffet which has a wide variety of food choices. I assumed this would make my eating easier, well I was unfortunately wrong. Most of the main dishes had either cheese or a cream sauce added. I do find it necessary to tell whoever I am with why I need to make the choices I do and when I mention it is for health reasons that seems to be readily accepted. Why would people make a judgement on whether my food choices are for moral or physical reasons? And the other question… Why do I feel the need to give an explanation? I need to ponder on this more.

My Training Plan- I had posted the picture of the “16 week Running Plan for my first Ultra Race” in a prior blog. The weekly plan seems very doable, building from a 10 mile long run on the first week, and still leaves me with enough rest days. Today ends my second week, so I started the plan on the week of November 18th. I have stuck to the plan with the exception of moving Thanksgivings run from Thursday (bad weather) to Friday. Also I added a weight day.

Meal Prep-Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake, Crusty No Knead Bread, White Beans, Turkey Pesto Panini, Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats, Veggie Dip. Also made a Thanksgiving meal ..just for the leftovers.

Hope you all have a Healthy and Happy week!

Making the effort .. to take stock!

Palm Springs in the morning light.

There is something to be said for taking stock of where you are. Could mean looking at where you are professionally, personally or health wise. But to truly take stock you have to be open to all that you’re going to see and that can be hard to swallow. It is not easy to look at your surroundings, your body/mind and put a value on it. To examine the choices you have made so far and to decide which of those you would do again or not. After you have come to those conclusions, what would be the next step? To make a plan…

I had been holding on to this for months!

I have spent the spring and summer building up my base. Running long easy runs, incorporating altitude training and weight training when I could, using hill workouts instead of speedwork and always conscious of the benefits of running/hiking with elevation gain. Now I can step off from my base and begin building with a plan.

Back to taking stock…Do you have an idea of where you are professionally? Do you enjoy it or spend too much time stressed out? What else do you see yourself doing? Where else could you do it? I moved clear across the country , but that story is for another day.

Looking at health, we can determine strength and weakness and what you can actually control. Age is one of my weaknesses, and I believe that my discipline and commitment is one of my strengths. Am I taking stock of where I am at? Absolutely! I have to face that I have lived more than half my life now and what else do I want? I try not to see the years as a countdown but I would be lying to say I don’t sometimes. Maybe that is why I am supper focused on preventative health. Has this helped me to push myself to do what I want to do, to take more risks …yes. But it is not easy and there is always a possibility of failure.

To Take Stock American Heritage Dictionary

  1. To take an inventory
  2. To make an estimate of appraisal , as of resources or of oneself

This reflection is necessary considering tomorrow I begin my 16 week Training Program for the Antelope Canyon 55K Ultra. Below is some excerpts from an awesome article about training.

In an article “Three Lessons from Running Ultras” from Ultra Running Magazine by Drew Dinan on 3/13/2019

  1. Don’t Fear Failure-Fear the distance, fear the terrain, fear the chafing, but don’t fear the challenge of achieving something you never dreamed possible

2. Compare yourself to no one not even your former self-running is about being our best selves, whether that means finishing on the podium or just crossing the finish line.

3. The race is only a small part of a much larger picture. Before you click the register button, think about the hours hard work you will need to put forth in order to give yourself the best chance of success. Celebrate it.

Antelope Canyon ….Here I come!!!

Hiking Buddies- Boohoff Trail 7 mile with about 1500 ft elevations gain

Exercise-17 Miles hiking and running, 1 day of weight training/jump rope

Meal Prep=Baked Shrimp, Pasta with Creamy Pesto ( Creamy Cauliflower sauce from last week + Trader Joe’s Kale Pesto , Vegan Snickerdoodle Blondies, Tabbouleh

Have a Happy and Healthy Week!

Making the effort … Part II Grateful for vacations!

The lushness of the big island!

To be continued- Still feeling the effects of my vacation in Hawaii..grateful and refreshed. I have visited the Big Island quite a few times and I enjoy looking for new things to do and new hidden gems to see. This trip did not disappoint! I had found an advertisement for a tour of the Ok Farm near Hilo and also a mushroom farm not too far, both I could squeeze in a day trip to Hilo. My tour ended up being a private tour with the owner which made it all the more special.

Rainbow Falls, One of two Waterfalls located on the land of Ok Farms.

The background story of the farm is pretty much the American dream. People with a desire to bring to life their dream and not about to give up until it happens. What was once a simple Macadamia Tree Farm turned into a farm with citrus, macadamia, coffee, spices, honey and even a few spots of land that locals can rent to farm. Besides producing the owners saw the potentials for tours and a small store to sell their merchandise.

Harvesting Macadamia Nuts, their initial crop, is still done by hand. The nuts are not shook off the tree manually but after naturally dropping (in the green state) they are picked up by hand. After the other common island friendly crops were planted, such coffee and citrus they looked to see what else might be an opportunity for the farm to try their hand at. Spice Row was created, a beautiful exotic section of the farm dedicated to spices. I have to admit my ignorance as to how spices grow and was amazed as I was able to walk and inhale all the wonderful smells of spice row. Curry Pepper Tree, Cinnamon Tree, Clove and Nutmeg are the ones that are harvested and sold at their store and to local chefs. Now this is not a huge mass production operation just a small, trusted amount of good quality spices. I left with Christmas gifts for friends and a warm heart to see what they had made of that land. You cannot put a price on having the knowledge of exactly where your food is grown, and to see the soil and water that nourishes it. Another reason I should consider moving over!

Unfortunately the Mushroom Farm was closed for tours so I visited the Astronomy Museum on the campus of the University of Hawaii. It was a great ending to my day.

An example of a market in the town of Hawi.

After the busy week of travel, overdoing, and my half marathon race on Saturday I decided to take a week off of running.

Meal Prep-Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars, Pumpkin Chocolate Bars, Creamy Garlic Sauce for Pasta and some Vegan Savory Crackers.

Have a Happy and Healthy Week! Aloha!

Making the effort ….to live in Gratitude!

Being grateful always for Nature’s beauty.

I could have used the phrase “being grateful” or “remembering to be grateful” but I choose to use ” Living in Gratitude” and for me that is taking it to the next level. I consider myself a normally grateful person, believe that it is in my core, but add up a decade or two of life’s stressors, the state of the world’s affairs and what came as automatic now takes effort. I took a month long gratitude challenge and it wasn’t trying to find what to be grateful for that was difficult but actually remembering to take the time to acknowledge it. What was my take away? That I need to take time to honor those feelings more and since I have a birthday coming up this is a good time to hit reboot.

Gratitude– the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness… Oxford Dictionary

from Psychology Today -Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has. It is a recognition of value independent of monetary worth. Spontaneously generated from within it is an affirmation of goodness. Studies show that there are specific areas of the brain that are involved in experiencing and expressing gratitude.

Robert Emmons, Professor of Psychology, UC Davis believes that there are two parts to gratitude. First it is an affirmation of goodness. Second, we recognize the sources of this goodness as outside of ourselves. Emmons also sees the social dimension as being especially important to gratitude, a relationship-strengthening emotion because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.

What Good is Gratitude?

  1. Gratitude allows celebration of the present
  2. Gratitude blocks toxic emotions (envy,resentment,regret,depression)
  3. Grateful people are more stress- resilient
  4. Gratitude strengthens social ties and self-worth

I cannot possibly list all the things I am grateful for but in this moment what comes to mind.. Nature, my health, peace of mind, my pets, my spirituality, friends, my work, my community, memories.. I plan on trying to live in gratitude and I need to make it a priority. How about you?

Super busy week, I played tour guide for a visiting friend and had so much fun. I had also felt a little tired physically so I did take some extra rest days.

Exercise- speed work, stair workout

Meal Prep- Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas, Cucumber Mint Dressing, Cream of Asparagus soup, Almond Butter, Sweet Potato & Chocolate Chip Blondies

Have a Happy and Healthy Week!

Making the effort… to surprise yourself!!

#2 Night Trail Hike/Run could not have gone better!

Do you know that feeling when you go in to something with low expectations, a little anxious, worried and you totally surprise yourself? Well I truly wish if you haven’t, that you do!

Surprise yourself every day with your own courage.

Denholm Elliot

The most delightful surprise in life is to suddenly recognize your own worth.

Maxwell Maltz

The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but they seize us.

Ashley Montagu

I believe that Ashley, Mazwell, and Denholm must have been on my Night Trail Hike/Run! My hiking buddy and I decided to do another Night trail hike/run this weekend and we just happened to pick a night with humidity and heat. I was dripping sweat down both my forearms before we got to the trailhead a little before 5:00 AM and grateful for the water I brought. Breathing always feels more of a struggle when I am overheated, so this hike up felt more difficult but good. I did notice about mid way thru that I was not as anxious as the first Night Hike, much more confident and a little chatty. We talked about our upcoming Joshua Tree Night Hike 1/2 Marathon in November and our plan to get a look at the route over the next month. Also I was thinking thru my next 6 months training regimen that will prepare me for my first Ultra, and after that just not thinking, just enjoying my surroundings.

Yea.. I surprised myself but is it more than that. That feeling fed my momentum. It is not easy to create momentum and unless momentum continues resistance can set in and destroy the progress you have made. When you gather momentum, you simply ride the ride, you take on the bumps as they come and you move forward until you reach the goal. This feeling makes me feel unstoppable and I wish it for you.

Exercise for the week- 1 day weights, 12 miles, night hike.

Meal Prep- Overnight Oats w/ apples, Israeli couscous with tomatoes, Chicken Enchiladas in Green Sauce.

Have a Happy and Healthy Week!

Making the Effort … to get Technical!!

Let’s Get Technical… (I am thinking of the old song “Let’s Get Physical…) lol! Well truth is if I had a choice I would prefer to get physical rather than deal with technology. That sounds bad huh? Just not my forte..What about you? Don’t get me wrong I am amazed at how technology is shaping how we live, we interact with the world ( this blog), and it goes without saying how we work, and get information. But I am blown away at what the current technology can do to help each one of us on our wellness journey. Twenty years ago no one ever heard of 10,000 Steps Daily, but today how many are keeping track of their daily exercises by using a Fitbit , IPhone or any other of the smart devices and apps.

“This is the whole point of technology. It creates an appetite for immortality on the one hand. It threatens universal extinction on the other. Technology is lust removed from nature”.

-Don DeLillo

Apps, Smart Phones/Watches and Internet Hiking Guides have become my new best friends. I enjoy traveling and wherever I go I try to find a trail to hike or run. But I need to make this one point very clear, I have no sense of direction! I know it sounds a little crazy that I would continue to put myself out there if I really don’t know where out there is.. I try my best to compensate for that weakness and have backup plans. To plan, I end up searching for information and sometimes that means I print out a 20 page document to drag along up a mountain to check our location step by step. My hiking buddies and I used the 20 page detailed directions from to hike Mt Baldy. I have also recently used AllTrails to literally help me follow the right (badly marked) trail and the breadcrumb feature on the Suunto is lifesaver. The Suunto watch has an extended battery and a phone app Movescount that syncs information from the phone to an app that gives all the pertinent data that any self respecting hiker needs.

I plan on using a few more popular apps such as PeakVisor, GAIA GPS, MapMyHike GPS Hiking, and CAIRN. The PeakVisor will help to recognize peaks that come into view (most excited to use this). The GAIA GPS for planning hiking trails and includes camping locations. MapMyHike GPS Hiking includes a large digital health and fitness community. CAIRN links you to information on great outdoor gear and an inspirational blog. My recommendation is to reach out and take advantage of what is available, find what fits for your needs and do not let your fear of technology stop you from advancing.

Meal Prep- Chia Pudding made with Hemp Milk and topped w/ Pomegranate, Chicken & Black Bean Quesadilla, Egg Salad, Raw Veggie Salad w/Feta, and Chocolate Banana Almond Butter Muffins.

Have a Happy and Healthy Week!

Making the Effort …to take responsibility for your health!

Seeing more Blue and Green hiking on Mt San Jacinto

Last week I talked about taking care of my health and that brings me to a touchy subject. Taking Responsibility for your own health….

At 25 yrs old I had been drinking, smoking, had no basic cooking skills and to tell you the truth I was intimidated by cooking so fast food was my main intake. I admit I was immature and felt terrible but finally woke up, took charge of my health, quit smoking and drinking and got educated. I always admired athletes and I wanted to feel better but it wasn’t until I took responsibility for my health that things finally clicked. I started running and as I began to feel strong I wanted to look at all areas of my health and the natural next step was Nutrition and going back to school. My interest in Nutrition just grew and grew and I still am amazed to think of the concept that what you eat can effect your health both positive and negative. Now take that one step further… Who is responsible for the nutrients you take in?

This is such a bigger subject than just taking responsibility, it is also connected to forgiveness and courage. Now you need to take it from here as I continue to try to for myself. Take a good hard look at yourself and your health and how you see your future self.

Making the Effort !

I did promise to show my supplements that I take and just remember that it is ever changing and this is in no way a recommendation for you. The information from the science and medical fields should improve as they learn more and each person should look at the latest to form an opinion. I take the time to read and research the latest information so that I can make the best decision for myself. Here we go!

Vitamin D3, Psyllum, Calcium, Glucosamine/Chrondroitin, Ubiquinol, and a Probiotic
These supplements help with promoting a healthy immune system, bone/joint health, and stomach/digestive health and should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet.

I do recommend that you sign up for a few reputable health/wellness news letters. I am currently reading the Wellness Letters from University of California, Berkeley. In the February issue it discussed the long-awaited clinical trial funded by the NIH called the VITAL study. For the past 5 years the study looked at Vitamin D and Omega-3s and their protective effects against a wide array of diseases. The results were printed in the New England Journal of Medicine. The studies looked at whether the supplements could reduce the incidence of major cardiovascular events or cancer, but as what usually happens the study showed data that was unexpected and needs to be looked at closer ( read for yourself). Another important item to mention is that you need to be confident in the supplements you take. Look into the brands, if there are any recalls listed with the USDA and be careful purchasing supplements that are not made in this country.

Meal Prep for this week; Vegan Caesar Dressing (to be used for the Kale Caesar Salad) Fruit Salad, Almond Butter, Meatballs (for Green Curry and Marinara) and Tuscan Mushroom, Kale & Zucchini soup.

Have a Happy and Healthy Week!

Making the Effort .. to Take Care of Me!

Yes.. another destination Trail Run – Santa Rosa Plateau Scenic Loop

Hey there so ..Let’s just jump right in. This week I finally made time for some Wellness appointments and it got me thinking. Why do we put off making the effort to stay healthy? Is Prevention a dirty word? “Taking care of yourself”.. has gotten a bad wrap. Somewhere along the way the action of looking out for your health has become something that has to be fit in between a crazy busy professional and personal life and truthfully it is not given the priority that it deserves. The only time it is given the priority is usually when it .. is too late. We all need to recognize the importance of prevention and demand that the medical field accept it. I have tried numerous times over the years to ask my physicians about preventative measures with little success. We are the customer in this scenario and our wishes should be honored.

I am very lucky that I am rarely ill …wait a minute not all luck, I try to eat healthy and take care of my health. Also, I take supplements to boost my immune-system and of course running which has been proven to benefit the body by boosting the body’s natural immune system. How does this happen? Here are some of theories:

-running boosts the immune system by circulating protective cells through the body faster.

-the increase in the body’s temperature when we run may inhibit the growth of bacteria (some bacteria cannot thrive in that environment).

-running helps rid the lungs of airborne bacteria and viruses.

-exercise causes the loss of carcinogens through increased sweat and urine loss.

What about the mental benefits? 🙂

I definitely raised my body temp this week LOL! Speed Work -Done, Weight Day -Done and a Trail Run-Done.

My appointment was with Naturopathic Doctor and regardless if you agree or disagree with my choice I will tell you I have rarely had a medical visit that included at least 30 minutes just sitting across from them while they asked me specific questions and took detailed notes. She understood my health goals, she created a plan for me and I will be sharing the results of my lab work here. I strongly believe that we all should be getting at the very least regular lab tests when we have our annual check ups. It is like getting your health report card. I have also asked for a Spectra Cell micro-nutrient test and a food sensitivity panel, this will be a first for me and am so excited to see the results.

Go make yourself an appointment! Your Health is Priceless!

Supplements and what I take? -To be Continued Next Week

Meal Prep- Quinoa Tabouli (Tabbouleh), Apple Pancakes, Spinach Pasta, Rice Krispies Treats. *Recovery Chocolate Mushroom Cashew milk

Have a Happy and Healthy Week!