My Running Truth: I stay motivated to keep running on the difficult days by reminding myself that the act of running is a privilege.

My name is Mireille and I am a Cameroonian born/ Los Angeles raised runner/dancer/daughter/sister/friend and future health care clinician. I like hanging out with old friends and new people, practicing personal development, and as you can probably guess- running. Ice cream is my not-so-guilty pleasure and I LOVE sleep!

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When did you start running and what inspired you to start?

I started running in high school. Instead of doing regular PE my junior year, I decided to join the track team as most of my friends were on it. Back then, speed and shorter distances were enough for me. I did not continue running immediately after high school, but my interest was reignited while majoring in Exercise Science in undergrad. We were required to complete a course that measured our level of fitness such as strength and cardiovascular health. We would build up our mileage periodically, and our class final included a timed 5k run. Living away from home and eating dorm food did take a toll on my prior level of fitness from high school. So, you could say my inspiration for running is rooted in wanting to obtain a healthier lifestyle. Even after I completed the course, I started running 5ks at the school gym on my own. My very first running goal was to do it in 30 minutes!

 

What has been the biggest lesson running has taught you?

Running has taught me many things, but I would consider one of the biggest lessons to be “you’ve always got more to give.” That goes for the hard runs and the runs when you feel you can go on forever. We all have that little extra push in us, it’s just a matter of reaching down and pulling it out of ourselves.

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How do you stay motivated to keep running on days you don’t want to get out the door?

I stay motivated to keep running on the difficult days by reminding myself that the act of running is a privilege. Very few of us HAVE to do it, and there are a number of those who CAN’T. But I remember my goals, why I’m training, and remind myself that I GET to do this. Seeing as this always wasn’t the case, I often pull from my own life experience. I’ve been living with Lupus since 2013 and running was practically non-existent in the first year and a half of treatment. In late 2014, I decided to try again, even if was just half a mile or one mile. I went from being barely able to walk to now having two full marathons under my belt! I have motivation for days, and I love sharing it with others.

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What has been the biggest challenge for you when it comes to running?

The biggest challenge for me when it comes to running has been getting used to how my body functions and feels during a run. There are a lot of things that set you apart from the runner next to you. What works for you, may not work for them and vice versa. I believe in trying different approaches to training and nutrition to find what works for you and makes you a stronger runner. Another challenge used to be the fear of pushing myself. I was afraid that if I tried to run with a faster group or run a little longer, I wouldn’t make it or I would get injured. But it was getting outside of my comfort zone that has made all the difference.

 

Who has been your biggest inspiration to  get you going?

My biggest inspiration is not one person specifically but the community of runners, especially the run families in Los Angeles. People come from all walks of life and I think it’s beautiful that we can pause our separate lives for a couple hours and do something we all love. You may not get to know everyone personally, but we still celebrate each other’s accomplishments nonetheless. Seeing others put in the time for their training or goals inspires me to do the same.

 

What are your favorite shoes to run in?

I am not sure if I can say I have an absolute favorite right now. I have been experimenting this year and rotating between Nike Pegasus, Adidas Ultraboost, Hoka Clifton 4, and APL Techloom Phantom. The shoe I end up running with depends on the workout for that day.

 

What does healthy mean to you?

To me, being healthy means being well in mind, body, and soul. I believe we get out of our bodies what we put in. I do my best to eat nutritious foods, meditate daily, and take time to do other things I enjoy like reading or catching up with friends, and cross-training. The little things add up and it’s what you do day after day that make up a whole year. So always be mindful of your food, thoughts, and heart.

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How has running affected other aspects of your life?

Running has enhanced the other aspects of my life. It is the ability to trickle into everything else you do and change your perspective. I would say that time management and discipline are the two areas that have shown the most growth since I started running/training more seriously. Setting a schedule at the beginning of each week lets me see realistically where I have time to do my run, work, study, or plan other things.

 

What advice do you have for new runners?

First, congrats on making what’s sure to be one of the best decisions of your life. Things might not be glamorous in the beginning, but everything will improve with time, patience, and discipline. Never listen to yourself during the warm up- I promise you you’re not actually dying. I encourage you to find a community but if you prefer running on your own for now, that’s perfectly fine. Eat well, stay hydrated, and most importantly HAVE FUN.

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Things We Love: Fall In Full Swing

Boo!  Just like that the end of October has snuck up on us and the holiday season is soon to be in full effect.  If I had to pick a favorite holiday, it would have to be Thanksgiving so while I hate to see all things pumpkin spice take a backseat to all things Thanksgiving… it’s all good because… pumpkin pie!  Thanksgiving is also a time that we can reflect on all the people and things that we are grateful for.  The items that are in this month’s blog post are sure to fill your heart with gratitude.

Let’s begin in the RUN department.  Very soon, we will be setting the clocks back (November 5th, BTW) and welcoming the dark with as much love… and light… as we can.  Each September, I follow my husband to Interbike for two reasons.  First, if you recall, it is the Birthday Month and all birthdays require a long weekend of poolside mojitos.  The second reason that I go would be for all the samples, freebies, and meeting all the people whose voices bombard my living room during conference calls.  Because cyclists require lots of the same nutrition and some of the same gear as runners, I pretend that this is a run expo without people completely nerding out on running.   This year, I stumbled upon the Nite Ize booth that had a light for any activity you could imagine.  There were lights for your dog, your home, camping – you name it… but most importantly, there were many for keeping one safe during workouts in the dark.  I’m a child of the 80’s and if you were too, you may remember the slap bracelets that were ALL. THE. RAGE.  Now… put a flashing light in that bracelet and you get some childhood nostalgia and a pretty cool way to alert drivers that you are getting your fit on.  Here’s the beauty, the SLAPLIT, which I picked up at the show.  Even more exciting…  I even picked up an extra for one lucky reader.  Stay tuned… the SIB crew will put the light up on Instagram and one lucky individual will be sporting a new light.  Check out the Nite Ize site to order, or if you are in Santa Cruz, West Marine has them in stock.

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Next on the list would be this amazing Orange Mud Wrap.  I’ve had one of these for a long time and it’s makes the most appearances once the temps drop and the seasons change.  Going for a run and sloshing through some puddles makes for some great run fun… until you get back to the car and realize what a mess you are.  Don’t fear…. with the Orange Mud towel you can zip it up and put it over the seat and muddy legs ain’t nothing but a solved runner’s problem.  The other run scenario that comes around this time of year would be the wet sport bra woes.  We’ve all been there… you finish a run; your pals want to have coffee; one quick errand calls your name and then… the freeze session sets in because that wet bra is bone chilling.  Once again, the Orange Mud towel comes to the rescue because it also transforms into a private changing room.  Seriously… this thing is amazing.  You need to get one, and while you are at it… grab one for a friend and knock a holiday gift off the list. Of course you can likely find these at your local running store (#shoplocal), on the great big world of Amazon, or if you go straight to the Orange Mud site, you will get a prompt to save 10% if you put in your email.  (Side note… if you get a new Gmail account just for sale emails you can still reap the rewards, but not have to see these in your normal inbox everyday.  Try using “salesfor” in front of whatever name you like @gmail.com and you’re good to go!)

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Moving on… Let’s talk about some current favorite things in the LIFESTYLE department.  It seems like once Halloween comes and goes that the holiday season is in full effect.  My husband and I don’t have a single relative in California and we don’t have any children, yet I still feel the stress of the holiday season.  With that being said, the enormous task of doing it all with an extended family and little ones to mix into the holiday loop I can only imagine the stress.  To add to the stress, work parties, cocktail hours, Friendsgivings shrink the time bank even more.  But wait… the house still needs cleaned, the kids’ activities still exist and Amazon has yet to get Whole Foods to deliver groceries straight to your door.  Stop the insanity!!!!

Not that long ago, I was having a really hard time prioritizing things in my life.  It seemed like every little task was a mountain and I had much anxiety over making a decision for fear of making somebody else upset.  Fortunately for me, I stumbled over a little gem of a book in a friend’s car (That friend was none other than @trainwithmary BTW).  Sarah Knight’s The Life Changing Magic of Not Give a F*ck is seriously a book you need to grab ASAP.  The book will honestly CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE.  (Warning: If you’re not down with the F-word I will caution that it’s in there quite a bit.  But…. Since many of you are runners, you can change it to the other F-word… Fartlek).  This book has 5 lessons that are guaranteed to help you move through the “Season of Joy” with just that… JOY!  Vogue had a really good clif notes version, but do yourself a favor and get the book.  In cases of emergency, feel free to have a downloaded copy of the “Should I give a F*ck” flowchart stashed in a purse, diaper bag, glove box, etc.

 

At the annual Las Vegas birthday extravaganza, there is the tradition of going on a little shopping trip to pick out the perfect birthday gift.  Not only did I find the perfect birthday gift, but also when passing through the malls in Vegas I stumbled into a Zara.  When I’m looking for a timeless piece, I’m happy to open the wallet and spend a significant amount.  If the item is going to be around for a while, it’s worth the investment.  However, trends come and go and this is where Zara gives you a big bang for the buck.  During this trip I stumbled across some pants that had a moto edge to them, and had the ability to be dressed up for a sexy date night or they could be incorporated into the everyday conundrums of life.  At $39.90 it was a no brainer to buy a pair in a few color ways.  Check out the three pairs purchased and look at the different ways to style them.  Side note:  If you are ever in a bind for how to put something together Fashion Stylist Google can lead the way… most often the stylist will lead to Pinterest, but hey… the holidays are coming up so your likely to find inspiration for more than just style.

The three pairs purchased…

 

How to Style: Day Look & Date Look

 

Last, but not least, if thoughts of bringing a new side dish to a holiday dinner seems exciting then this Butternut Squash Gratin will not disappoint.  P.S. Buy the pre-cut vegetables. You’re worth it!

Wishing you and yours the happiest of Thanksgivings!  Until next time… eat, drink and be grateful!

XO,

Leslie

 

For more from Leslie, visit her blog: https://lapslungesleather.blog/

Why Goals Are Rad

In 2011, my husband was on his third military deployment in 3 years.  Even though I had gotten pretty ‘good’ at handling these long 6-8 month absences, they were still hard.  The lonliness of having your loved one away for long periods of time with only sporadic contact, and the fear of having this loved one in danger… It’s heavy. I needed something, a coping mechanism, a distraction, a GOAL. 

“A goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot.” – Joe Vitale

It was January – 3 months in, 5 months to go.  I was tired of the waiting game. Counting down the days but not really enjoying the present.  What kind of goal could keep me motivated for 5 whole months? At this point in my life, I was working in the fitness industry as an instructor and manager, and long hours meant that my physical activity usually stayed within the confines of the gym. I had always enjoyed running, but had fallen out of a regular running routine.  That’s when a group of girlfriends and I decided … the goal would be … training for my very first half marathon.  We would train together, follow a schedule, and run 13.1 miles in May.  It was a little scary, but also really exciting!

“Life can pull you down. But running always lifts you up.”  – Jenny Hadfield

I was amazed at how having this goal and training for it changed EVERYTHING.  When I woke up in the morning, I felt motivated and inspired, not just lonely or sad.  It gave a little extra meaning to every day because I was working toward this goal.  As I started running more, I realized that how good it made me feel was spilling over into the rest of my life.  This was POWERFUL.  This was the beginning of my adult relationship with running.  In my younger years, running was associated with exercise, staying in shape, looking a certain way.  Now, as an adult, running was about freedom, gratitude, confidence, love.  About getting outside and connecting with others.  About coping with sorrow and searching for joy.  I also realized the power of setting goals, working toward goals, falling short of goals, crushing goals and setting new goals.

“Acknowledge all of your small victories.  They will eventually add up to something great.” – Kara Goucher

When we are growing up, goals are sort of built into the fabric of our lives.  Graduate from high school, get into college, score your dream job, or try to figure out what that might be.  As an adult, sometimes we stop setting goals.  We get wrapped up in the day to day routine, and we forget that we should be working toward something that makes us better, that makes us proud, that allows us to challenge ourselves and learn from it. This cycle of goal setting has truly enriched my adult life.  It started with training for a half marathon to cope with a tough time in my life.  But it set in motion a lifestyle that centers on progress, improvement, growth, and sometimes failure.  The thing about goals is that they quench your thirst momentarily, but they also leave you thirsty for more. And I say cheers to that! Since 2011, I’ve completed 18 half marathons and 7 full marathons, with more big goals in store for 2018!

So, where do you start?  Here are 5 simple steps to set RAD goals on the road and in your life!

Step 1: BE YOU.  Good goals have personal meaning. They should be things you want to achieve for yourself, not to meet someone else’s expectations. Training to reach a goal requires a lot of hard work. When you hit a tough stretch, either physically or mentally, if the goal you’re working toward has deep significance for you, you’ll find a way to persevere. Most of us have enough areas in our lives where we have to meet others’ expectations. Let your running and non-running goals be about your own hopes and dreams.

Step 2: BE SPECIFIC.  Good goals are specific, not broad.  The broader the goal, the less meaningful it can be, and the more murky it becomes.  There should be no ambiguity here. For example: “I want to run 30 seconds faster in my next 5K” instead of “I want to run faster,” or “I want to run 5 days a week” instead of “I want to run more.” Once you identify exactly what you want to accomplish, that will help you decide how to go about doing it.

Step 3: BE REAL.  A good goal is challenging but realistic. Your goals should require you to reach outside of your comfort zone while remaining within the realm of possibility.  To work toward your ultimate goal, set shorter-term goals. Decide where you should be at the end of each month leading up to your goal, and then break those months into week-by-week progress reports toward that month-end goal. Every week, evaluate your progress. Look at this process as a learning experience rather than success or failure. 

Step 4: BE TIMELY.  It’s human nature to be motivated by a deadline. Having a date by which to reach your goal helps you plan how to reach it.  For most of us, 3 to 6 months is a good range for achieving a main goal. That’s enough time to do the work to achieve it, but also close enough to remain motivated on a daily basis.

Step 5: BE GRATEFUL.  Remind yourself that life, that moving your body is a privilege not to be taken for granted.  Reframe your goal not as a task that has to be done, but as a wonderful gift. Every step is a victory to be cherished and celebrated.

 

If you’re looking to set goals for the coming year, we invite you to check out our 2018 SIB Mileage Club. The SIB Mileage Club is an online community that supports and inspires each member to accomplish a self-selected yearly mileage goal. To learn more and to join our VIRTUAL girl gang with goals, visit: http://runsheisbeautiful.com/sibcommunity/#event_details

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By: Katie Gott, Group Fitness Instructor, Running Coach, and Community Coordinator for She.is.beautiful

She.is.beautiful’s herstory has evolved, but love has always been the foundation.

                                                                  

She.is.beautiful has come a long way over the last 8 years. In particular, I think our image of “Girl Power” has shifted, and this concept has changed in the media as well. The conversation around race and privilege has made strides, with more room to grow. Topics like vulnerability, bravery, and gratitude have surfaced thanks to authors like Glennon Doyle, Brene Brown, and Elizabeth Gilbert. Many might argue that these powerful words have become trendy. Good – I can only hope for more people to talk about these topics so we can all understand each other more. In fact, the more we understand each other, the more we often learn that most of us are really just searching for more love, the feeling of being heard, and a better understanding of the world.

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The starting line of She.is.beautiful 2017

 

To our participants that have joined us over the years, we thank you for being part of the process. In the same way humans evolve, the She.is.beautiful brand itself has continued to change, learn, and grow. Think back to your adolescent or young twenty year-old self. Most of us made mistakes and learned from them (at least eventually). Looking back over the years, there are a few moments that we put our hands on our heads in the same fashion you do when you think of memories where you did things simply because you didn’t know any better. Awareness and experience, this is how we all learn.

As a 23 year-old starting She.is.beautiful, the concept was very clear to me: share with other women and girls the way running and sweating made me feel. To create an in person community in a world that seemed to becoming more and more virtual. Empowering females of all levels to be inspired to bring more fitness and self-love into their life, as I was (and still am!) so convinced of its power to change all aspects of your life.  To lift each participant’s whole self to higher grounds. The stronger and more confident women and girls feel in their bodies, the more likely they are to take greater risks and opportunities in school, sports, or their career. The more likely they feel good within themselves, the kinder they will be to others, the more good they will bring into the world around them. I experienced this first hand in my own life, and I was inspired to share and celebrate this feeling with those who already had this lifestyle, as well as those who were searching for it.

Think back to 2011, the year She.is.beautiful started: Adele and Lady Gaga were just becoming mainstream, it would be a year before Instagram would be founded, and it was the last year of the Oprah Winfrey Show. As a 23 year-old white female, our branding and marketing were based on things that spoke to me (like most twenty year-olds do, right?!). I also wanted the event to feel the same way that both running and Oprah’s show made me feel over the years: Inspired, joyful, hopeful.

In a time before inspirational sayings filled your Pinterest page, our course was filled with signs of coined motivational mantras and fun sayings. Amongst our first year signs was “Run like Ryan Gosling is at the finish line with a latte.” To this day, I would very much not mind if Ryan Gosling was actually at the finish line with a latte for me, BUT before the second year of the event we became more aware and realized: 1. Our motivation to do things shouldn’t be to impress those of the opposite sex, and 2. Not everyone is attracted to the opposite sex…c’mon sister. (Insert palm to 24-year-old self’s face here).

If you’ve been with us since year one, you have hung on tight through grammatical disasters. We are not perfect but each year we look to improve on all fronts. As you cringe at the site of a grammatical error, we’re hoping our love kept you coming back. Our arms are wide open each year, ready to love you!

We’ve changed our courses to accommodate the requests of our participants, local law enforcement and jurisdictions, and neighbors. We’ve worked hard to fight for courses that respect others but also have epic ocean views. There’s more logistics that go into this process than many people realize. We are grateful to the cities we work with who have met with us time and time again to create safe spaces.

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Two girlfriends in our starting area with their pre-race game faces.

Over the last eight years we have grown – as individuals at She.is.beautiful and as a brand. A few of us have become mothers and this itself has opened our eyes up to a whole other perspective. Also, in the world and in the media, Women Empowerment and Girl Power has evolved. I think (I hope) girls are becoming more aware of their power at a younger age. I think many parents are becoming more aware of their influence and how to speak to their offspring about gender.

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We welcome women and girls of all stages of life. We believe every phase needs support and should be celebrated. Our Bumbleride Baby Mama Division is for those pushing strollers.

Let’s talk about privilege and race. The topic of privilege has become more openly talked about. We understand that many people who make time to run, are privileged. We understand many events cater to a privileged audience. At She.is.beautiful, we do our best to open our registration at an affordable price – not because we don’t believe in the value of our brand but because we want to have an inclusive environment.

Our event has become more diverse over the years.  In 2017, 38% of our participants stated “Hispanic or Latina” as their ethnicity. 47% stated “Caucasian or White” and the other 15% varied. We are not perfect and we know this. We continue to help grow this area. We hope the population of our community continues to evolve to reflect the world around us. We will be opening 10 scholarship entry spots that we will be taking applications for (stay tuned to our Instagram to learn more about this program).

Let’s talk about pink. We understand what pink used to represent. “Pink it and shrink it” was a term often used in marketing to women. This phrase basically meant to take any item on the market, make it smaller and pink, and women will buy it. She.is.beautiful adopted the pink branding because to us pink is bold, strong, and, to be honest, we think it’s a fun color. We have people give us feedback that having so much pink is the opposite of the strong empowering message we embody. Often times these comments are before  they participate in our event and then once they participate they often see how very different She.is.beautiful is compared to their initial judgement. But we’ve taken this feedback, we’ve thought about doing a massive rebrand. But for us, we think pink is…well, badass. We’re keeping it. We’re refining it. In fact, if you’ve been a part of this event, together we are and have been redefining beauty for 8 years.

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All smiles heading to the finish line!

We are excited to launch the 8th Annual She.is.beautiful Santa Cruz 5k and 10k registration on Wednesday, October 25th 2017 at 7:00AM. As always, the first 1,000 registrants will get the Early Bird Registration Price. Our 2018 race date falls on Saturday, March 17th 2018, which happens to also be St. Patrick’s Day. This happened one other year in the past and we stuck to our traditional branding but added some lucky flare in the mix. It’s going to be awesome and we hope you’ll join us!

As we wrap this up, we want to say this: We thank you for being a part of this community that is larger than just a race. We thank you for continuing to show up for life in the way you do. We thank you for growing with us, for sharing with us, and for inspiring us. We’re all in this crazy beautiful, hard, messy, amazing life, together.

Sweat and Dreams,

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My Running Truth: Running Is Not Easy For Me 95% Of The Time

Hiya, I’m Lacey! Most would describe me as a creative, firecracker, adrenaline junkie and wanderluster, but I am also an introvert by nature. It is a delicate balance to maintain. I’m an 18+ year military spouse and mommy to a miracle baby, a 15-year-old daughter. We currently live in New Mexico but Uncle Sam is finally taking us back home to Texas in the next couple of months and we are thrilled. I blog, sometimes regularly, sometimes not, over at laceybuchorn.com.

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When did you start running and what inspired you to start?
 
Running was not an activity that I ever imagined myself doing. I mean, I even forged notes and ended up in the dean’s office to get out of PE as a child. In 2008, my world was rocked. I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 28. I was obese, inactive and suddenly fighting not only for my health, but my life. I’m not exactly certain why I chose running, but I guess I figured it was time to “go big or go home”. Almost 10 years later, I am still running.

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What has been the biggest lesson running has taught you?

Running has taught me that I CAN do hard things and to have faith in myself. I’ve always had a stubborn personalty, but also a tendency to give up when things got hard. Running is not easy for me 95% of the time, but the sense of accomplishment I get when I conquer a hard run makes me feel invincible.

 

How do you stay motivated to keep running on days you don’t want to get out the door?

I have several methods, but the biggest is to focus on why I started! Cancer hasn’t won and will NOT! My personal running mantra is, “But did you die?”. I also like to keep a race on the calendar! I find it easier to say “oh, I’ll run tomorrow” and “tomorrow” turns into next week if I don’t have anything specific that I am training for. I currently have 2x 5K’s, 1x 10K and 3x half marathons on the schedule in the next 4 months. Instagram is also great for motivation (find me @laceybuchorn). So many amazing women out there, doing even more amazing things!
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What has been the biggest challenge for you when it comes to running?

For me, it is my energy level and sometimes debilitating fatigue. I have to be flexible with my training plans and not beat myself up for rearranging or skipping runs. Rest days are important for everyone, but especially someone battling a chronic disease.

 

Who has been your biggest inspiration to get you going?

My husband! He has been there for me every step of the way! He encourages me, supports me and pushes me. He put his own training on hold to run with me in those early days when I was painfully slow. He holds me when I have a bad run or a mid-trail anxiety attack. He has been at every one of my finish lines, either holding my hand or annoying the people standing around him, cheering loudly. I have my very first race without him present this fall and I know the finish line is going to be a mix of emotions without him there. 
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What are your favorite shoes to run in?

Altra’s! Not only do I love the fit and zero drop, but the customer service is phenomenal. I currently run in Intuition and Torin for road and Superior for trail. I am eyeballing the new Timps for my next trail pair.

 

What does healthy mean to you?

Being a cancer survivor, I can’t look at health solely as the absence of disease and medications or the perfect weight and blood pressure. It is so much more than that. I keep my body healthy by staying active, eating foods that nourish my body, and getting adequate rest. I keep my mind healthy by avoiding drama, worrying less, and occasionally indulging in ice cream. Yes, it is 100% necessary to my mental health :-). I keep my soul healthy, by spending time in God’s word and focusing on an attitude of gratitude. Running has not only helped me lose 120 pounds, but it has helped me “find myself”. Hours on the road and trail give you lots of time to be introspective. Health is about balance. Balance between following the “rules” and enjoying life.

 

How has running effected other aspects of your life?

Running has brought my self confidence back, which in turn has challenged me try things I never thought I would! This year it was a mud run on an army assault course and next year I am signed up for a Ragnar Trail Race! Who knows what else I will come up with, maybe even an ultra!
Running has also brought amazing friendships into my life! The running community is like no other, supportive and encouraging! There are many people in my life I wouldn’t have met without running and I am so thankful I did!

 

What advice do you have for new runners?

My most practical suggestion would be to buy proper gear, shoes especially! Go to a reputable running store and have a gait analysis done. Yes, shoes are expensive, but so are injuries and proper fit is essential to keeping injuries at bay!
Start slow! I personally used the C25K program to start running way back in 2008 and still use this program if I take an extended hiatus from running. Running is hard and your 8 week plan may take 10 weeks, but who cares. The moment you step on that track (road, trail, etc) exhibit a running movement, YOU ARE A RUNNER! Forward movement, no matter how small, is till movement.
Lastly, don’t get caught up in the comparison trap! It is easy to focus on other runner’s distances, splits and achievements and get dismayed about your own performance. Running is a personal journey at the very core. Everyone is in a different chapter in their story and the only person you need to compare yourself to is who you were yesterday.
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Improve How You Move Part 2: Power Generation (Real Talk: The “engine” moving us from point A to point B )

You are in school and the teacher has just assigned the dreaded group project.  You quickly realize that no one else on the team has any interest in doing well on the project.  You become the only one working, staying up late to finish said project and in the end, it doesn’t turn out as good as other groups who had the whole team contributing.  Now you are left with a bad grade and a headache from lack of sleep.  What if I told you this same process is at work in millions of runner’s bodies around the world:  some body parts doing “all the work”, commonly getting injured in the process, while other body parts rest in Mexico sipping an umbrella cocktail.

I define power generation as the engine that is moving you down the road or trail. In the body, it is the movements or muscle groups that are doing the majority of the work to make this happen.  Inefficient power generation is a common cause of why runners get injured every year (research shows up to 80% of runners experience at least one injury every year…yikes!), why running even at slow speeds feels “hard” and why some people never get faster.  

 

Dysfunctional power generation sources include:

“Waist twisting and bending”:

           

Excessive spinal movement through over rotation of the back, coupled usually with either flexing or extending the back.  Think:  that runner with their chest up, rotating through their waist, while their legs are simply shuffling along.  Some spinal movement is undoubtedly necessary for efficient running, but it should never be the primary driver of power.  

“Butt kicking”:

Bringing feet off the ground by drawing them up high behind you and then having to take the time to fling the foot out forward for the next foot strike

“Twinkle toe-ing”:

Propelling forward using excessive work of calf muscles with your butt on the aforementioned tropical vacation and not participating in the workload.

 

How it makes us get hurt:

  • “Waist twisting and bending”: over rotation of the spine, especially when coupled with flexion or extension stresses the discs between our vertebrate, as well as the nerves that come out between them.  This can lead to back and pelvic pain.  Additionally, research has shown that when back pain is present, “core” musculature starts to not work as efficiently, leading to the whole body having an unstable foundation.
  • “Butt kicking”:  leads to overuse of muscles that flex the knees (like hamstrings) and extend the knees (like quads).  This also sets you up to have your foot land further in front of your body which sets off injuries described in my previous blog…think plantar fasciitis, calf strains, patellar tendonitis and pelvic floor issues…nothing good here folks!
  • “Twinkle toe-ing”:  leads to overuse injuries including the foot, arch, achilles and calf.  

 

How it makes us slower:

  • “Waist twisting”: There is only so much forward momentum that can be created by twisting your spine or lifting your chest.  This also can lead to having core muscles be put into positions they can’t work as well in, so they are not there to add support as well.
  • “Butt kicking”: It is simply a waste of energy to bring your foot up high behind you, not only because it also requires you to use extra muscular effort to bring that foot back DOWN to the ground.  It also  usually sets you up to have your foot strike too far in front of your body.  When your foot lands in front of you, instead of underneath you, it is the equivalent of “hitting the brakes”.  
  • “Twinkle toe-ing”:  Calf muscles are much smaller than glutes.  Using your calves to be the primary driver of forward movement is like crossing the ocean with a row boat instead of a cruise ship

 

The key power source being missed:

  • Waist twisting, butt kicking and twinkle toe-ing:  hip flexors and hip extensors working in conjunction with a strong, stable trunk

 

How we can fix it:

  • Our goal for all of the conditions described above is to work on increasing the amount you are flexing one hip joint while extending the other with the spine kept relatively neutral.
  • Train your brain and body with the Standing March:IMG_2303
    • Stand with feet hips width apart.  
    • Bring your spine into neutral by thinking of a ring at the bottom of your rib cage and a ring at the top of your pelvis and line these rings up (many runners have a tendency to tilt their chests up to the sky which brings the spine into excessive extension).  
    • Grow tall not by lifting your chest, but by slightly tucking your chin and thinking of someone pulling your ponytail up and forward.  
    • March one knee up until your thigh is almost parallel to the ground, your ankle is directly under your knee and your toes are up (your hip, knee and ankle joints should all be at 90 degree angles).  
    • You should picture the leg you are balancing on pushing the crown of your head to the sky until you can feel your butt on that side starting to work.  
    • Hold for 1-2 seconds and then switch legs.  Come to the exact leg/foot position described each time.  
  • Running integration:  
    • Maintain the neutral spine position described above by the ponytail visualization and by keeping your gaze on the ground 10-20 feet in front of you
    • Lean slightly forward FROM YOUR ANKLES
    • Try to pick your knee and your toe up in front of you in the manner described above JUST A LITTLE as you run.  
    • Notice how flexing a little more through the hip will cause you to naturally use your butt to help you push off on the OPPOSITE side naturally.

 

Here’s to getting faster, stronger and being able to run forever!

 

Sara

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Sara Tanza PT, DPT, CFMT  is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and the Assistant Race Director for She.Is.Beautiful 5k and 10k.  

The Race is Almost Here: You’ve Got This!

She.is.beautiful Santa Barbara 5k & 10k is around the corner! With just a week until race day, it’s time to start preparing yourself to have the best experience possible. Let’s talk about how to use all the emotions that might be surfacing to empower you to run a race that will make you proud.

 

Revisit Your Goals

When you signed up for the race weeks ago, besides soaking up the epic race day energy, you may have made some personal race day goals. After training for this day, it’s time to revisit those goals you made for yourself and tap into your inner superhero. It’s a good time to write your race day goals down and how you’re going to make it happen on race day.

 

Visualize Success

Once you’re squared away with your goals and made any adjustments, start to imagine yourself having the best race ever. When we practice believing in ourselves, our body will usually follow. But the opposite is also true. If we fill our mind with negative race day thoughts, that’s probably how our race will unfold. So in the last few weeks, take some quiet moments to close your eyes and imagine the day from start to finish. Picture yourself waking up race day morning feeling strong and joyful. You’re focused but lighthearted. The coffee is perfect and your race day outfit is on point. You’re imagining yourself soaking up the race day energy and using it to make you feel powerful. Perhaps you picture yourself at each mile feeling tired but repeating to yourself, “This is hard, but I go this.” Whatever gives you the image of your ideal race, start visualizing it so that you can make it come alive in real time on race morning.

 

Practice Positivity and Resilience

Similar to visualizing success, we need to practice it as well. Just like in a race, life is full of potential setbacks. Enjoyment and success are dependent upon how we respond to these challenges. If you practice using resilience and gratitude in your daily life in the last few weeks, especially if obstacles arise, these will help you stretch your mental game for race day. That way if something unexpected happens on race day, you will have your mental strength fresh in your tool kit.

 

Now is the time to come up with a race mantra. This is something that’s short and simple that will inspire you before the race and keep you motivated and resilient when the going gets tough. Come up with a few words that feel true to you, and put them on mental repeat leading up to the race. Then, practice these words in your last few training runs so they become part of your routine. Then pull these words out of your arsenal when you need to power through that last mile and make it to the post-race festival with beaming pride.

 

Relax and Trust the Process

In the last week, you may be nervously anticipating race day. So much to be excited about and also so many unknowns. How will I feel? What if I’m hungry? Or sick? There are so many scenarios that can arise. But that’s life, too! The best we can do is visualize, plan, do the work, and then enjoy the journey and respond to challenges. You can take all these skills with you on race day to feel confident and proud. When the nerves arise, remind yourself it’s just excitement in disguise.

 

You are ready for this day. Believe it and get our there and have some fun!

 

You’ve got this,

Mary

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Things We Love: First Taste of Fall

Do you have one of those friends who alwayScreen Shot 2017-09-13 at 10.33.13 AMs recommends the greatest new thing? We do and her name is Leslie. We want to share some of her favorites with you! Each month we will share with you her favorite items of the moment.

Leslie Haverstock is a special education teacher by day and a lover of all things running, fitness and fashion… all the time.  She has a super rad husband and the world’s greatest dog.  Leslie’s blog, Laps Lunges Leather, explores all these loves with a bit of humor, some tears, and fantastic tips and tidbits.

It’s not a secret, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, but Fall is my very, very favorite season.  Maybe it’s because my birthday month is in the Fall, maybe it’s the change of the weather that makes boots and sweaters come out of the closet, maybe it’s ALL THE PUMPKIN SPICE, maybe it’s the slower pace after the hustle and bustle of summer fun, and maybe it’s simply because I was born in the Midwest and Fall is just incredibly beautiful there.  Now that I’m living in California the seasons don’t change as much, but the calendar says it’s Fall so it’s time for all of the Fall Favorites. 

As the season change, it’s time to share some Fall Favorites of mine.  Honestly, this list could go on and on and on, but since the SIB team said I could be a regular on their blog, I was able to narrow my favorites down to two things… actually four because if you follow my blog at www.lapslungesleather.blog you would find that there are some big loves in my life which includes all things lifestyle and all things running (and some cross training since all runners need some fine tuning to keep us doing what we love).

In the category of LIFESTYLE you know that I can’t escape adding something pumpkin into the mix.  I always find myself in a rush and know the importance of a good breakfast or replenishing my body after a run.  With that being said, let me introduce you to the Pumpkin Pie Smoothie.  Yep… it tastes like the real deal and it is simple and quick. Picture1

  • 1 frozen banana
  • ½ cup of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup of almond milk (or any milk of your choosing)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder**
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 T almond butter (you can leave this out, but it adds some good fat)**

Add all of the ingredients into a blender and drink up!  **If you don’t have vanilla protein powder, use ½ t vanilla extract.  **If your almond butter is unsweetened and you would like the shake a bit sweeter, add a splash of maple syrup, coconut sugar or Stevia (or whatever little packet you like).

 

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The other sign that Fall has arrived would be Opi’s Black Cherry Chutney nail polish.  For real, this has been a staple in my life, and the life of many friends F-O-R-E-V-E-R!  I’ve had manicures from so many different salons and it’s a pretty sure bet that they have the color in stock.  It’s kind of hard to describe, but it’s a bit purple, a bit of shimmer, a bit of black red… I know that’s hard to imagine so check out the pictures.  Try it for your next manicure (comes in gel and regular polish)!

 

Now that we have you eating well and looking fine, it’s time to chat about my favorite RUN goodies this month.  I know that I just shared how much I love Fall, but there is one little thing that I’m not a fan.  What could I not love about Fall? The DARK!  With the days getting shorter, morning runs have brought out the headlamps, but Oiselle just upped their game with new reflective gear.  I seriously can’t get enough.  There are two items that are must haves in my closet.  Check out these beauties…

KC Knickers

These beauties come in a gorgeous blue and black. Not only is the new reflective print a winner, I like that there is a bit of compression and a bit of a higher waist.  The higher waist with the pocket plus compression makes stored items feel secure. 

Roga Shorts

If knickers aren’t your thing or your climate is warmer, check out the Roga Shorts.  They come in 3 different lengths with the Mac being the shortest and the Long, obviously being the long ones.  The ones shown are right in the middle.  The one thing I will warn about the Rogas is that the pockets aren’t in the greatest of places.  If you don’t carry much on a run, then these are the perfect shorts.  They are a top seller for a reason!

DISCOUNT ALERT… Using the code FIRSTFLIGHT will save you 10% on your Oiselle order.  You have to sign up for an account (don’t worry… they actually send emails you will want to read) and to use the discount you will need to be signed into the account.  Sorry… discount only applies to new accounts. 

And now… my final favorite thing for this month would be sunscreen.  Picture7Just because there is less sun in a day doesn’t mean our skin can go without coverage.  Running with sunscreen can be a real bummer when it runs into your eyes or makes you look like a ghost.  The one that has been my summer staple and will roll right into Fall would be Coola’s Classic Face SPF 30 Cucumber.  This stuff goes on light, doesn’t smell like a chemical sh*t storm (Did you see cucumber in the name?  Yeah… it’s smells so fresh), leaves your skin feeling soft and a bit dewy and… it’s 70% organic.  At $32 a bottle it’s okay to be a bit shaken, but I promise… a little goes a long, long way.

Honestly, I could pull out a hundred other favorite Fall Favorites, but we would be here all day.  So we’ll leave it here with Pumpkin Pie Smoothies, OPI nail polish, Oiselle’s reflective clothing, and Coola’s sunscreen.  Okay, okay… I’ll add one more… ALL THE PUMPKIN SPICE!  What are your Fall Favorites?

 

Want more from Leslie? (Who wouldn’t?!)

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Blog: Laps, Lunges, and Leather

Instagram: @lapslungesleather

My Running Truth: Simply Try

Hi! I’m Erin, a mother to two girls (6 and 2) and have been married for just shy of 10 years. My family and I are San Jose transplants; we moved here at the end of ‘13 after living in Chicago for 11 years (and before that, I lived in the Akron, OH area until I was 18). Spending time with my family, running, reading, writing (I have a little blog, runningruminations.com, and freelance/ghostwrite for a bunch of running-related websites) — I’m pretty easy to please.

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When did you start running, and what inspired you?

I have been running for as long as I can remember; I can recall running around my elementary school playground, around 1st grade, chasing boys while wearing frilly and lacey dresses (thanks, mom!). I ran middle school and high school track, just like my older brother and sister, and happily ran nothing longer than 400 meters because anything beyond that was “too far.”

I began marathon training for the first time in ‘07 with Team in Training (TNT), the fundraising and training arm of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). I wanted to honor my mom, who had survived breast cancer in ‘03 and then a stroke in ‘06, and my dear friend Traci’s mom, who had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and TNT had a huge presence in the Chicago running community. I managed to convince Traci to also run the Chicago Marathon that year (and many years thereafter) with TNT, as well. Aside from taking a Track and Field PE elective my senior year of undergrad, I hadn’t run since I was a high school senior. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Initially, my draw to the marathon was a simple fundraising/bucket list thing — I figured I would never do something like this again, so why not make it memorable by doing some social good with it by fundraising? — but through the sport, I met tons of other runners, many who have become some of my closest friends. Suffice it to say that my initial inspiration came from the courage and bravery of people like my mother and Traci’s mother, as well as the many patient honorees we met through TNT; those people were the real heroes, the real badasses doing the real scary stuff. If I could do something positive and productive with my running — raising funds to help make their quality of life better, by helping to fund research to create better and more effective medications and treatment therapies, providing funds that would allow for different comfort measures or increased patient support, and the like —  then it was a no-brainer. Training for and running a marathon would be difficult, surely, but it’d pale in comparison to the stuff my mom, Traci’s mom, or the many patient honorees endured/were enduring.

 

How has running affected your personal self-esteem, body image, goal setting, as well as other aspects of your life?

By its very nature, running is difficult, whether you’re sprinting 100 meters as fast as you possibly can or are struggling to keep making forward progress for hours on end in an ultramarathon. Despite (or because of) running’s challenging nature, I find it to be supremely rewarding because in it — through it — you can see progress. Sometimes progress will manifest as times on the clock getting faster, the distances you’re capable of running getting longer, your body or your body image changing in a way that is favorable to you, or maybe for once finally feeling strong when you’re facing something insurmountable (run-related or not). Running is an excellent teacher because it challenges me to get beyond my comfort zone —  and sometimes, quite frankly, it humbles my ass and tells me that I have to try again another day! — and honestly, it’s great. I find that running gives me many opportunities to reflect and to process, and it’s in those moments — and on the runs that I share with my friends or with my kids — that I find that this little hobby of mine has empowered me in ways that I wouldn’t have anticipated when I began it in earnest a decade ago. Running has taught me that I’m physically and mentally stronger than I realize and that nothing is impossible. Some tasks or goals will be more difficult and more challenging than others, of course, but if I’m willing to put in the work, the sky’s the limit. Therein lies the beauty.

Two Cities Marathon 17 Erin Mink Garvey

What piece of advice do you have for new runners?

Give yourself both the permission to try and the permission to fail. So often we tell ourselves that we’re only capable of X or that Y is outside our wheelhouse, and we shut ourselves out from the experience.We don’t even let ourselves try! We implore our kids to be brave and try new things, but as adults, we face uncertainty and failure with far more trepidation. I think we let our fears and anxieties get the better of us, and as a result, we sell ourselves short and under-perform. So many of us undermine ourselves and in the process, do ourselves a huge disservice. Believing in yourself — and trusting yourself and your training — can go a long way. I have a temporary tattoo from SIB ‘17 that says something like “she fiercely believed in herself, and that made all the difference.” There’s a lot of truth in that.

 

Why do you keep going? What has kept you motivated to continue to reach new goals and get out the door?

I keep going simply because I have more to give; it sounds trite, but I feel it, and I know it. So many people keep me going — my supportive husband, my kids who are watching my every move, my family and friends — and I’m extremely grateful that so many people believe in me and so enthusiastically support me. I believe my best years of running are ahead of me, and I’m committed to my own progress: getting faster, going farther, digging deeper, whatever, while continuing to remain healthy. It’s really important to me that I model positive behaviors for my girls and that they see how gratifying the process can be when you work hard day in and day out to chip away at a goal. I want my girls to grow up knowing that running — and more generally speaking, regular physical movement — is a normal part of a healthy lifestyle. Plus, practically speaking, running is a social thing for me, too. Being a stay-at-home mom, my social circle is pretty small and things can be somewhat isolating, and it’s through running that I’ve made some of my closest friends, especially after my family and I moved to California. I aspire to run in a way now that will allow me to be the 90+ year-old lady you see at a race many years from now, rockin’ a sweatsuit and headband and just throwing down. Ultimately, I guess you can say that I treat my running like a long-term relationship, and my motivation to keep at it and to improve trickles down from that.

 

What are your favorite running shoes and why?

I rotate my shoes pretty regularly (and have an embarrassing number in my current mix), but my fav for the past couple years has been Hoka One One’s Clifton. They feel great on my feet, are extremely lightweight (their moonshoe look belies their weight), and I appreciate how responsive they are. I’ve used them for many training runs on roads and trails, as well as for many road races, and I couldn’t be happier with them.

 

Do you have any running buddies that have inspired you along the way?

I’m lucky to have many running buddies who have helped me, and who continue to help me, become a better runner and a better human being. We runners are so lucky because while running can be a solitary sport, it can also be extremely social; we can have it both ways if we want. I am so appreciative to have so many people in my pocket who not only understand all this weird running stuff that I do but who also encourage me and embolden me to think and dream bigger.

 

What’s on your race calendar this year?

After racing some short stuff this spring and the San Francisco Marathon in late July, I just paced the 3:33 marathon group at the Santa Rosa Marathon — my 30th marathon! — in late August. This fall, I’ll train for December’s California International Marathon (CIM), with some cross-country action with my team, Wolfpack Running Club, in the mix.          

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Do you have a big, scary running goal you want to accomplish in the next five years?

I purposely haven’t put a deadline on my running goals, but arguably my biggest and most intimidating is to break 3 hours in the marathon. I’m working on whittling it down from my 3:19 PR, and while I know the progress isn’t going to dramatically happen overnight, I’m excited to continue to improve — to get stronger, to get faster, and to stay healthy — over the long-term. As my kids get older, I may foray back to ultras — I ran a 50k unknowingly pregnant and consequently put a 50-miler on the backburner — but we’ll see. I’m open to wherever my running takes me. My joy is in the journey.

 

Fill in the blank: my running truth is _________.

My running truth is to simply try. Give yourself the permission and the opportunity to try, to give a damn, and to fail. Don’t sell yourself short. Running can have a transformative effect on your life; dare yourself to let it.

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