Making the effort … to see the shadows.

The Boo Hoff Trail in the shadows.

Another week that feels as if it were a month. Do you ever have those weeks? Maybe it is we cram too much in each hour of each day, too much scheduled, or it is just the pace of life in 2019. A mostly good week that ended with my third training trail hike/run in the dark. Today’s hike was in a more agreeable temperature but not the perfect 50 -60’s that I am dreaming about. My hiking buddy and I started out on the trail with our headlights at about 5:00 AM. Not much talking in the beginning, just trying to breathe as we ascend up. I did notice about 30 minutes in that I wasn’t anxious or even thinking about some of the fears that I had before on my previous hikes in the dark. Amazing what facing your fears, bringing them out in the light can do. The rising light in the sky would stop us both in mid-sentence as the hike continued. The turn around point for me was a Spring Energy gel washed down by lukewarm water and a smile because now we would run. I have not gotten strong enough to be able to run up the 1600 feet (3.5 mile) or maybe my mind has convinced me of that. This trail is more technical so I definitely will need my confidence and maybe a third lung if I intend to run it completely. As we were running down the trail we saw that the rising sun had cast glorious shadows along the terrain and that got me thinking. Do we honor the shadows like we should?

The eye is always caught by light, but shadows have more to say. Gregory Macguire

All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow. Leo Tolstoy

The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy in the shadows. Brene Brown

I recently enjoyed an outdoor photography workshop where this idea of taking pictures of what is in the shadows was discussed. It surprised me when the instructor right from the beginning had us taking photos in the shadows not in the light. He then talked about showcasing the shapes and darkness that the shadows cast and that it can enhance the composition of a picture. I now see that the intensity reaches another level for both the lightened area and the dark. I believe that shadows can truly enrich a photograph.

The balance of light and shadow.

Light and shadows add a sense of balance, and balance is what we all should be striving for…. Right?

Exercise for the week – 21 miles running/hiking, 1 day weights & balance, 1 day jump rope and one legged exercises.

Meal Prep-Baked Crusty Bread, Steel Cut Oats (will add toppings of fruit), hummus & veggies bowls, Pizza Zucchini bites, & Salmon (3 ways- plain, Pesto, spices)

Have a Happy and Healthy Week!

Here is something to leave you with ….

This is NOT me and hope it is NOT you 🙂

Making the effort to ….. welcome the sufferfest!

Los Liones Trail- 10 miles + 2100 ft elevation gain= Tough one

So if you haven’t had your head stuck in your phone or laptop since Friday then you have not caught the UTMB ( Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc) bug! Talk about a SufferFest, probably the most well known ultra marathon races that start and end in Chamonix in the French Alps. There are 6 races of ranging lengths but the final race is a 106 mile race with huge elevation gain and all are considered the toughest foot races in the world. This year I followed some of the best runners from America.

Thanks to technology I was able to follow the live stream at the finish and I just couldn’t concentrate until I knew the podium winners. America was represented extremely well. I knew more about the female runners but not gonna lie I caught myself holding my breathe while watching all of the runners. Such emotion and such humility!

After watching the race I began thinking, all the runners know that they are going to hurt.. like really hurt. What does a person say to oneself to prepare for that kind of pain? Or do they know and it is just their ability to shut it out and see the outcome?

Sufferfest-A workout or race in the arena of endurance sports that involves prolonged suffering on the part of all who participate.

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.

Muhammad Aali

I found a cool article on Suffering –

The Article ‘Ultra -Marathons: the 15 stages of suffering in the Ultra Running magazine by Sean McCoy,July 2016″ and below I will paraphrase.

  1. Jitters (a couple days before)- Hello… I am about 6 months out from mine and I am already nervous!
  2. Panic-full blown panic should set in night before the race (I will be an overachiever in this area)
  3. Adrenaline-… and Run! The pack moves fast, probably faster than you should go (which you will regret quickly).
  4. Reality Check- Oh Boy .. what am I doing here? and I better get my pace under control because I have a long way to go.
  5. Aid Station #1- Everyone feels good so they run past. This is a good time to do a mental check and see if you need to attend to any issues .. and take in some calories!
  6. It is gonna be a long day-the first twinges hit you and you think Ok let’s do this!
  7. This is bullshit- and so the cussing begins along with the pain.
  8. Bargaining- The mental game of an Ultra is a monster! At this point you will make any deal with yourself .. both to quit and to keep going.
  9. Halfway there-Yeah!.. & Oh No!
  10. Point of no return-you probably picked a point in which no matter what you will finish… (hopefully this hits about 2/3 ‘s way in my race and gets me to the finish line).
  11. The Pain Cave/ SufferFest- every thing sucks and you are just pissed, nothing tastes good and all you can think about is the pain. Remind yourself “this is what you came here for..”
  12. Realization- in the middle of the pain you will realize and recognize your worth… and may give a little smile.
  13. Will this EVER end?- where is that stupid finish line? .. and they better have Ice Cold Chocolate Milk waiting for me.
  14. Smelling the Barn- You are that close you can smell it- I personally find this part loooonnng! I usually have to look down at my steps because the finish line just keeps moving away.
  15. The Emotional Avalanche-Why is my lip quivering? The relief is overwhelming and the tears, high fives and WooHoos may come.

I hope you read the article in its entirety, because I believe that Sean McCoy nailed it. I can speak from experience, I have recently had a couple of SufferFests. Mount Whitney and the LA Marathon, but I would not trade those experiences for anything.

These two events came at 50 , 51 and this year I will be 53yrs old and racing my first Ultra. Goodness .. what was I thinking! LOL! Wish me Luck.

I am almost 6 months out from the Antelope Canyon Ultra Race 55K so you will probably hear more on this. As far as training-The last couple of weeks I have really tried to up the training in Elevation Gain and Altitude while continuing to include more time in the gym. I seem to see the biggest results when I am consistent with these. Today I did a 10 mile with about a 2100 ft elevation gain and tomorrow (holiday – off work) will hike Mt San Jacinto .. not quite sure that elevation gain but it is about 12 miles I think. These back to back days are not only for strength but for my mental training I want to really push it and know that I can.

Meal Prep- will have to wait until tomorrow. I did bake some sweet potatoes and pork chops that I can pull from this week.

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!

Making the Effort to take advantage of destination runs …and seasonal fruits/ veggies!!

Crystal Cove State Park, Laguna Beach

What a way to celebrate the July 4th Holiday but to …explore! Decided to take advantage of an extra day off this week by driving to a new location to run a trail. I have definitely been craving to see water and I am lucky that if I head the car west I will eventually run into it.

Living in the desert has made me appreciate different terrains. Sometimes I literally stop, take a minute and look around at the neutral colors of the desert in amazement. It also makes the green pines I see greener and blue water even bluer.

I am a huge fan of State Parks and Crystal Cove did not disappoint. I chose a tough but scenic trail, about a 10 mile loop that would give me some views of the blue and green. Now there was one thing I did not anticipate.. humidity (ugh!). It turns out when I left Palm Springs it was about 15% humidity and after wringing out my shirt after my run I checked the weather app for Laguna that morning and it said 79% humidity. Well, we will call that added training:) The trail really pushed me and I got more training being comfortable with elevation, sand, technical parts, and single track. I had packed a lunch and after my run I sat myself down at a picnic table and smiled while I ate.

10 miles and a gallon of sweat

Training for this week turned out to be pretty good. I ended up with 25 miles (quality) and was able to get one day of weights in. Still need to incorporate more yoga/stretching. So how are your weekly workouts going? If you are in a rut I recommend you get out of your ordinary, it will ignite your enthusiasm.

Now let’s talk Seasonal Fruits and Veggies- I think it is obvious that the benefits of seasonal produce are huge. The benefits are not only the taste and convenience but the high quality. “Knee high by the fourth of July…” that is a Midwestern saying about Corn and who doesn’t love Corn. Also Figs are in season so that has been on my mind this week. FYI- You probably won’t find a better plant source of calcium than Figs. Remember to freeze left over produce to use later when season is past.

Meal Prep- Corn Salad, Yukon Gold Baked Potatoes, Shrimp, Frittata, Fig Bar, and Flour-less Almond Butter Cookies

Have a Happy and Healthy Week.. Enjoy!!

Making the Effort to face our fears!

Hi All! First things first- Another busy, active week with temps reaching the three digits. What does that mean? It means I took that as an invitation to head up..up to Big Bear Lake again today. Last week my extra training was a run/hike with elevation gain (vert) and this week there needs to be some altitude. Palm Springs is just about 500 ft above sea level so basically I can drive anywhere to get to higher ground…lol! Big Bear Lake is just under 7,000 ft and so beautiful. I also will be heading up to the Tram- Mt San Jacinto soon but more about that later.

My training for this week included arm/leg weights, easy run (trying to keep my heart rate under 140), a long run ( 10 mile run) and then time spent running at higher altitude. Total miles was just under 25 , not much but happy with the effort I put forth.

As I was running this week thinking about Western States (of course!) I began thinking about my blog entry and knew I wanted to talk about Fear. My Fears and yours because yes we all have fears and we have the opportunity to conquer them.



  1. an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat.
  2. be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful or threatening.

Guess what we all have fears. You and I may have different fears due to many factors but they still are with us. I had many fears as a child and young adult but I credit Running for my growing up. The act of Running has given me the tools to have self confidence, courage to face my fears, discipline, work ethic, to have acceptance and to honor my self worth.

Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you .

William Jennings Bryan

The inherent nature of life is constant change. To fear change is to fear life itself.

Jonathan Lockwood Huie

I still struggle with fear, whether it is as simple as trying to boulder up some rocks, going on a new trail, signing up for a college class or looking into my future but I will keep moving forward and so will you!

Meal Prep- Baked Chicken Breasts, Zucchini Pizza Boats, Broccoli Soup and I made up some Cherry snack bags to take to work.

Baked Chicken Breasts – Lemon Herb and Garlic

Make different flavors so that you will not feel like you are eating the same leftovers for days:) and to save money buy bulk and freeze what you cannot use now. I will be making the Lemon Herb Chicken into a cold Chicken Salad with Grapes and Walnuts later in the week.

Zucchini Pizza Boats and Freeze some for smoothies. A dear friend gave me these Zucchini from her garden.

Broccoli Soup – Broccoli is a very good source of Vit K, C and Fiber.

Kale …Schmale… Just Kidding!

Excited about some New Books…

Making the Effort to train, and prepare to prevent injury!

Hi All! Hope you had a beautiful week!

Training this week included Vert, Speedwork and some Strength. I again had to adjust the “Plan” due to work schedules and heat. I was able to get in all I wanted to do, expect maybe another easy long run day, but still happy with the results. In my years of running, I haven’t felt comfortable adopting the run every day method of training. I ran every other day giving my body a day to heal and try to continue that now. I started running at 25 yrs old and I was working as a full-time hairdresser. That means I was standing at least 10 hours a day at work and just noticed swelling if I had too many running days in a row. I was also very careful to ice my knees after a tough run and I can say I have had minimal injuries during my 27 yrs of running, which makes me super lucky and happy:)

Mileage is all relative and a very personal subject with runners. I have not been able to build up too high, but concentrating more on a strong base. I have been focusing on leg strength, lunges, squats and weights for over a year and I have noticed positive results. Running on the trails demands strong muscles, sturdy ankles and balance, so I need to prepare. I feel good about continuing with what is working but I will be adding 2 miles to my long run day every 3 to 4 weeks because my goal is the Ultra!! Let’s not forget about speedwork and hills, which was also added in this crazy mix.

1 hour easy running and 1 hour weights

Stretching… yuk! I will admit it, I do not like stretching but I know how important it is so I have tried to do more. I want to include some yoga back into my routine if I can get just one more day in the week …LOL! And I would like to introduce you to my new friend…

No.. that is HARRY. I mean the Muscle Roller.

Muscle Rollers, I will say this…IT HURTS BUT IT WORKS! I think I contemplated throwing the roller out the window after I used it the first time but it helps if you cannot afford a massage daily, which I cannot.

Another important piece to prevent injury I believe is what you eat. I have not always ate healthy. In my early 20’s I knew very little about cooking and definitely visited the fast food spots too frequently but facing up to feeling like crap half the time I realized it had to be my health so I quit smoking, drinking, started eating better (no red meat) and running, haven’t looked back since. This is why Making the Effort is so very important to me. Making the Effort is just that, putting forth the energy to change. Success or perfection isn’t guaranteed but taking responsibility for your health will produce improvements.

Visit your local Farmer’s Market

Taking time to eat as healthy as I can is a priority to me. Food is fuel, and the building blocks for the body. After a run those micro tears in the quadriceps need fuel and nutrients to repair. The bodies many systems need to be functionally properly for those muscles and you to be ready for the next run. Visit a Farmer’s Market and you will not only pick up some gorgeous produce, but most have branched out to sell eggs and meat, so for us it is one stop shopping. The quality cannot be denied, but especially with organic produce the need to wash your produce is a must.

I try eat clean and limit my processed foods intake. I have taken the time to educate myself on basic cooking methods and found that I really enjoy it. I even started baking bread. I recommend to anyone that is interested in making changes to your diet that you start by not looking at what you have to give up but first start adding the high quality foods in. So look at your meals and try to get them more nutritionally dense, add spinach, kale or other veggies in where you can. For Example, if you have scrambled eggs in the morning don’t go cold turkey with egg whites only but to your usual scrambled eggs add spinach, and tomatoes. If you restrict your self too much you are just setting yourself up for failure. Once you start feeling better you will want to make those additional changes. Of Course , get educated by reading the latest info out there. I recommend medical sites such as EatRight.Org (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) , Health.Gov (Dietary Guidelines for Americans), and most of the respected teaching hospitals such as will have an informative website. I do take supplements .. but that is a conversation for another day.

Have a Healthy, and Happy Week!

This Weeks Meal Prep- Cashew Butter, Grilled Asparagus and Tomatoes, Grilled Salmon, Tuna Salad, Baked Yams and Chia Pudding w/ Blueberries.