My Running Truth: Running shows me almost daily that tides will change, that hard can turn easy, easy can become hard, that what I need to do is focus on persevering.

I can mostly be defined by three major decisions I’ve made in my life (so far). The first was when I was six-years old, I came home from the barn, sat my parents down and informed them that I was never eating animals again. It wasn’t quite that simple, as my parents had no idea how to feed a vegetarian and my diet was mostly Oreos and french fries. In those days Oreos were made with lard, so really it was a slow start. But, it began to paint the picture of an animal lover, who one day might master vegetarianism. The next two decisions, more self-explanatory, really defined the things that keep my fire burning bright through thick and thin. They bring the highest highs and lowest lows, becoming a mom and becoming a runner.

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

Well, running was never really my thing. I had every excuse in the book ready for PE on running days. As an adult, I had started walking and hiking on a daily basis. After my first son was born, I would leave him with my husband for a walk or hike, come back an hour or so later and all was well. However, after the birth of my second son, the look of terror in his eye when I left him with a newborn and a toddler for a hike made me rethink my plans. I had a neighbor (that I will FOREVER be grateful to) that proposed meeting at 6 AM on our corner and “running” 3 miles. I was 29, a mom of two, and I had NEVER been in so much pain as those first 3 miles. The side aches I remembered from childhood came rushing back, my knees, hips everything  hurt and to add insult to injury, when I stopped my legs turned bright red and itched like I had been attacked by fleas. 
So, I guess it wasn’t love at first lap. As a matter of fact it wasn’t love for a long, long time. But, we stuck with it. She stuck with me and I kept trying. I’d say it took at least 3-months of daily running before I felt like my body knew what was happening.   

 

What has been the biggest lesson running has taught you?

Running shows me almost daily that tides will change, that hard can turn easy, easy can become hard, that what I need to do is focus on persevering. It’s given me faith in my ability to get through the toughest stuff, and how to be present and appreciate those painless magical free-flying miles.  

 

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

I joke that I’m a ‘co-dependent’ runner, but I’m not sure it’s really a joke! I organize friends, set-up group texts, anything to make sure I have someone to meet for a run. One of the best things I’ve done is joined a group track work-out, making that dreaded day one of my favorites.

 

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

Finding the balance between the much needed training/me time, and my family. As much as I love running and it brings me so much joy, sometimes I have to remind myself that it’s okay to miss a day or week, to experience life. I wish I could suppress that, “Ashlee didn’t run today, so she’s grumpy.” 

 

Who has been your biggest inspiration to  get you going?

Inspiration is alive and well in the running community. Running is a ‘suffer sport’ and anytime I see someone out there trying to make it happen, I’m inspired. New, young, old, elite or weekend warriors, it doesn’t matter, I’m impressed. 
The last two years I’ve taken on new challenges in running. Inspired by my kids and the way they jump into sports despite the fact that they aren’ t naturally talented. I watch them work, I see their resiliency and it makes me want to knock down the walls I’ve put up for myself. I was told I was too tall to excel in trail running, so that was my first goal. I ran my first 50K a year ago, and this summer when I completed my third big trail race, the Cortina Trail 48K, I was, for the first time, really proud of myself for the work I put in, for believing in myself when I knew others had their doubts, and facing a lot of my fears on those super technical trails. Coming into the finish was one of my happiest moments, that moment when you’ve defied even what you thought possible. My second challenge was to try cross-country this fall. I’ve always thought, “Hmmm, cross-country, what a nice sport!” Now, I can just laugh at that sweet naive image I had. Cross-Country is raw, it is fast, fierce, unbelievably hard, and unforgiving. But, surviving a cross-country race? Fabulous. There’s nothing quite like it. Having completed my first season of cross-country I have so much admiration for the kids that race XC. One more place to find inspiration, in those sweet, smart, XC kids, that go out and race their hearts out, for their themselves, their teams and their schools. 

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What are your favorite shoes to run in?

I have a shoe problem. There, I said it. Buuuut, since you asked, I’ll tell you about it. I rotate 3-4 pairs of shoes, depending on what I’m working on. My workhorse shoe, tried and true, is the Brook’s Launch. It runs a hair small and you might need to size up if you’re thinking about trying it. It’s a light, neutral shoe that I use for marathon training, all my long runs, and any race over 13.1. For my faster workouts, I love the New Balance 1400’s, I use them for track, tempo and racing the 13.1! I like to keep a steady diet of trails in my mix, so my third shoe is a trail shoe. I use the Saucony Peregrine for almost all my trail miles and they are awesome!! I’ve used them in conditions from water crossings (they drain quickly), to sand in the desert, to the most technical trails in the Dolomites, I can’t say enough good things about them. The fourth pair of shoes depends on what race I’m getting ready for, I have the Brook’s Mach 18 in my closet (a spike-less spike for XC), the Brook’s Ghost for a softer road recovery shoe (during Marathon training), but currently my fourth shoe is a lighter, faster trail shoe from Hoka that I’m super excited about.

 

What does healthy mean to you?

Moderation. Moderation in everything. And, I say that, not being the most moderate person myself, but I try. When I strip it down, I know what feels healthy for me, and that’s good food, daily exercise and a full heart. But, the truth is, all three of those things are great luxuries in today’s world. I picture the three as buckets and I try to keep them in balance, when they’re out of balance, I think about what I need to do to bring it back. I don’t use hard deadlines or diets, I try and implement small steps to get back to where I want to be. Sometimes, it also means asking for help. A friend to watch the kids, so you can get a short run. When my heart bucket is low, sometimes all I need to do is help someone else and spreading a little love usually brings it back too. Healthy is not just a solo pursuit, I think it’s important to fill your life with healthy people. It’s okay to move away from relationships you find toxic. Healthy is a constant, evolving element in my life. I try to make decisions based on what is healthy for me, while balancing what it means to those I love and how it is healthy for them too. And, laughter. I love to laugh; bring on the smiles, bad jokes and cute animals, I’m pretty sure all those things help me stay healthy.

 

How has running effected other aspects of your life?

Running brings clarity to rest of my life. After a run, I can step back and see multiple sides of situations and come to solutions in a much more balanced and methodical way (especially if my run buddies help me). It helps me to keep up with my kids, take on challenges, believe in myself. Taking on running challenges has showed me that walls can become doors. And, best of all, running makes food taste even better!!

 

What advice do you have for new runners?

Moderation. Make goals for yourself that start simple. Runners, also walk. Remember that getting out the door and running any part of your journey is a success. Don’t be hard on yourself, focus on your victories, no matter how big or small, do not spend time on negatives or presumed failures, there is no failure in trying. It took me months to get to a full 3-mile run, months of walk/running, walk/running/sitting on the curb, months of hurting and showing my body it could do something it thought impossible. You can do it, take your time.

 

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Showing up for the miles, showing up for your life.

Find the things that bring you joy and strength in this life, and do them often. I love this, I believe this, I’ve held onto to this strongly this year when things felt overwhelming. Running for me is so much more than a movement. Like many, it’s where I find clarity, peace, strength, love, and my favorite place to reflect and be inspired.

I am a believer in chasing big scary goals. But the truth is, some years the goal isn’t out of the ordinary. Sometimes the goal is just to show up as best you can each day. This year, my participation in the She.is.beautiful Mileage Club was far less about the mileage goal itself, but a fun way track my progress in a year in supportive/non competitive community. Today I’ll hit 1,000 miles- my mileage goal for 2017. Each of those miles mean days I said, “Let’s do this.”

Running this year was never convenient but always worth it.

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About a week old newborn and newly 2 year old…and me wondering if I will always dress my new daughter in head-to-toe adorable while I’m in PJ’s and messy bun all day.

I didn’t start running until mid February of 2017 as I was recovering from a c-section in December. There isn’t really one right way to come back to running after having a child because each experience is different (that’s a whole other blog). I ran 4 weeks after my first baby, and I know some ladies that run 1 week after birth and others that don’t run for 6 months. Everyone is different!

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Here’s me forgetting how small yet how much newborns eat, and how active 2 year olds are. TIRED!

The meaning behind my miles today is not about the glory of hitting the 1,000 miles but the obstacles and journey it took to get there. This year adding our second baby has been magically fuzzy- mentally, emotionally, and physically. Between the honor and responsibilities of running a business and running a household with 2-year-old and new baby, I had little room to make for myself and running. I learned that 6am would be my best time to run and have the least amount of impact on my family –  I could be home by 7am when everyone was rocking and rolling in my home. (Shout out to my partner for holding down the home-front all those early mornings!)

I often set multiple alarms for 5am, 5:10am, 5:15am, 5:20am to prevent myself from snoozing too many times. I’m a big believer in coffee and peace before a morning run and I learned to love the quiet of the morning and looked forward to the warmth of my coffee. Some days were harder than others to get out of bed (and some mornings I didn’t), but as I laid in bed debating whether to go back to sleep I would remind myself of how much better my days seem to go when I start them with a run.

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Monterey Bay Half Marathon in November

Running has been my greatest support, centering me each time I move my body in this way. I owe so much of my sanity this year to this movement that brings me so much clarity. For me, my running this year has not been about race times and striving for personal bests (ironically I ran my best half marathon time to date). Running this year has been a place I’ve held tightly for myself to just breathe without pressure, commitment, or responsibility. It’s a space I’ve come to remember who I am and what I am made of.  It has inspired me to look at spaces in my life to bring more presence and peace too.

Find the things that bring you joy and strength in this life, and do them often. Running has allowed me to practice showing up for myself- even on the hard days. I’m planning on celebrating my mileage goal with my favorite croissant and a coffee with my son- before I drop him off at preschool and head into work. When we reach goals- big or small- life often doesn’t stop, but it’s good to pause and take a look back at how far you’ve come in a year. Because if we don’t stop and celebrate the moments in our journey, life leaves us asking the elusive, are we there yet?

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Did you have any goals for 2017 that brought you joy? Share with us in the comments below- we love to hear from you!

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1000 miles later: a 1 year old, a 3 year old, and an 8 year marriage all playing the game of life. We do our best to show up in the present- sometimes often it’s messy, sometimes there’s tantrums, but it’s real and full of love.

 

 

Nourish Yourself: Part 3 with SuperFoodRunner (Crowded Kitchen)

Plant-based desserts

Since drastically changing our diets about 6 years ago (cutting out processed foods, dairy and gluten), our tastes have completely evolved. Though we’ve always eaten relatively healthy (home-prepared meals, lots of fruits and veggies, etc.), we most definitely used to consume much larger quantities of processed snacks, like chips, cookies, and sugar-laden energy bars. Once we made the switch and cut most of these things out completely, we actually stopped craving them! The first time I ate a Reese’s PB Cup about 2 years after cutting out processed sweets, I could barely finish it. Of course, it tastes delicious, but the sugar was just a bit too much compared to what I was used to. Don’t get me wrong – we’re far from sugar free (I have a HUGE sweet tooth) – but healthy, homemade, plant-based treats far outweigh Tollhouse cookies any day in our house.

Aside from the fact that homemade treats aren’t processed, they also allow you to incorporate nutritious ingredients that you may not typically associate with dessert, like beets, bananas, dates, maca powder, nut butters & more. We’re huge proponents of the idea that sweets, when done right, should be a healthy part of any diet. Even if you follow a very limited diet (think paleo or raw vegan), there are endless recipe options out there!

Banana ‘nice cream’, specifically, is a go-to in our house. It’s filling and absolutely delicious, but doesn’t leave you with that heavy feeling typically associated with processed foods. It’s also incredibly easy to customize – simply blend a few frozen bananas and add-in ingredients like cacao powder, peanut butter, vanilla, cinnamon, or other berries. Pro tip: If you have a food processor, use that instead of a blender. Although we love our blender, it can be a pain to make a thick smoothie bowl or nice cream. Here’s one of our favorite recipes:

Chocolate Banana Nice Cream

(Serves two)

4 frozen bananas, thawed for 15 minutes

2 tbsp cacao powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1-5 tbsp almond milk

Pinch of sea salt

In a food processor, pulse frozen bananas until they resemble a crumb-like texture. Add cacao powder, vanilla, sea salt and 1 tbsp of milk. Pulse for 30 seconds. Add more liquid if necessary to reach a smooth, creamy consistency.

Enjoy immediately as soft serve, or transfer to small loaf pan and freeze for 2-4 hours for ice cream.

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Vegan Cheesecake

Vegan cheesecakes are another favorite in our house. If you’re suspicious of “vegan” and “cheesecake” in the same sentence, don’t abandon ship quite yet. Cashews make a perfectly creamy filling, and a small squeeze of lemon juice gives it that tangy component that’s quintessential for cheesecake. Here’s one of our favorite recipes!

Ingredients:

  • Crust Ingredients:
  • 1 cup raw pecans or cashews
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 5 dates, soaked 10 mins in water
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 1/2 tsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Filling Ingredients:
  • 4 cups soaked raw cashews (soak for 2 hours)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 7 tbsp maple syrup or agave
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • Nut milk (almond, coconut, etc) for consistency
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 tsp acai powder
  • 1tbsp vanilla extract
  • Seeds of one vanilla bean
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • Chocolate Ganache Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 7 tbsp maple syrup or agave
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp acai powder
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. For Crust:
  2. In a food processor, pulse pecans/cashews, almonds, coconut flakes, and salt until a crumbly mixture forms.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until dough is well-blended and sticks together when pressed with fingers.
  4. Line 9×9 or 8×8 pan with parchment paper and firmly press filling in.
  5. Chill in freezer while preparing filling.
  6. For Filling:
  7. Blend cashews, lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla, vanilla bean, and sea salt in blender until well combined. Do not worry if the mix looks lumpy, it will smooth out when you add the coconut oil and milk.
  8. Slowly add in coconut oil and blend, adding nut milk until the consistency is thick, smooth and without lumps.
  9. Divide batter in half.
  10. In one half, add acai powder, blueberries, and lavender extract, and blend until well incorporated.
  11. Pour vanilla layer (the original half of your batter) on top of chilled crust, smooth out with a spatula, and let chill for 1-3 hours, or until firm.
  12. Once firm, pour the blueberry lavender layer, smooth with spatula, and let chill for additional 1-3 hours.
  13. For Chocolate Ganache:
  14. Whisk all ingredients until smooth. If mixture hardens and becomes too thick to pour, reheat in microwave for 15 second intervals until melted.
  15. Pour on top of cheesecake layers and let harden for 2-4 hours, or overnight.
  16. Slice into bars and store in freezer (or eat them all right away!).

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Chocolate Mousse

If you’re looking for a super easy, decadent, single serving dessert, look no further than this vegan chocolate mousse. Don’t be turned off by the fact that the recipe uses avocado – we PROMISE it tastes good! In fact, we made our entire family (& a few friends) do a blind taste test before telling them what’s in it, and there was only positive feedback!

Serves One

Ingredients

1/2 ripe avocado

2 tbsp cacao powder

2 tbsp maple syrup or agave syrup

2 tbsp full fat coconut milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of sea salt

Fresh berries for topping

Directions

Blend all ingredients in food processor until smooth and creamy.

Be sure to use a very ripe avocado (and don’t worry, you won’t be able to taste it!)

Serve in a small jar or ramekin and top with strawberries. Enjoy immediately!

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For more plant-based dessert inspiration, check out these recipes on our blog!

Things We Love: Gratitude & Life Hacks

‘Tis the season to Eat, Drink and be Thankful… so says the chalkboard art above my fireplace mantle.  It’s true though… of all the holidays I believe Thanksgiving is my favorite.  If you think about it, it is a pretty simple holiday.  There’s food (Hello stuffing!), drinks (Howdy, Pinot Noir!), friends and family (Hey there Mom & Dad… sorry we won’t be home this year.  Love you!), and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (AKA another chunk of time with my beloved Matt Lauer).  All of the above make for a grateful heart.  This leads me to this month’s post – all of these items and ideas make my heart grateful, and they are also simple life hacks.  With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I’ll take all the life hacks I can get.

 

Running Faves/Life Hacks –

When life gets busy, good nutrition happens to be one of the first things out the door.  As athletes, caretakers, friends, mothers, sisters, cooks, organizers and all the other important roles that we play good nutrition is important.  What’s a girl to do when life is crazy?  Grab a Picky Bar!  These little bars of deliciousness were the brainchild of professional runners Lauren Fleshman and Stephanie Bruce.  They are the perfect carb to protein ratio, full of real food and void of gluten and dairy.  There are many flavors, but the Chai and Catch Me is the only one you need right now.  Pumpkin Spice was so last month… it is time to move on ladies.  With the perfect mix of cardamom, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon this bar has holiday spice written all over it!  Grab a few for your glove box, purse, gym bag, desk, etc.  They are a perfect pre-run, post-run, anytime of day indulgence.  Not only will they save you from a hunger meltdown, you can grab a few and pass them along to friends.  Trust me… their lil hearts will be grateful! (P.S. Picky Bars are 30% off right now! No code needed.)

Moving on… let’s talk about the most important item in a runner’s arsenal – SOCKS.  I’m pretty certain that I have tried nearly every brand of socks out there (except for those Injinji socks… those little toes freak me out), and for the last couple of years Stance socks have come out on top.  They not only have a wide variety of socks for running, but their lifestyle socks are super cute as well.  My favorites for trail would be the taller Weekend Crew and for all other runs the Hystory Tab or the Uncommon Solid Tab fill my drawers.  I must add that they have a Star Wars line as well.  The Darth Vader socks drew my husband in, but after his first few wears he is now a solid Stance fan (Side note… he is a picky dude so when he gives something a gold star I pay attention).

Now… you might be wondering how socks lead to a life hack, but here’s the gravy on the turkey.  As runners, we often pair our running socks with Body Glide (if you aren’t using this you’re missing out – get some!).  With the holiday season, those dancing shoes and heels should find their way out of your closet and onto those beaten up runner’s feet.  Body Glide isn’t just meant for running, put it on any hot spots in those fancy shoes and you will be cutting a rug all night long.  Bonus… grab a travel size Body Glide and a pair of socks, tie a ribbon around them and VOILA!!!! You just found another gift that will have a friend with happy feet and a grateful heart.  That’s another gift crossed off the list!

Lifestyle Favorites/Life Hacks

With the holidays comes holiday travel.  However it is that you get to your destination, there’s always a chance some things may not make the trip.  One of the things that simply breaks my heart would be that moment that I’ve arrived at our destination, unpacked, took a minute to chill and then head off to the mirror to get ready for a fun evening out only to open my makeup bag and find pieces of makeup everywhere.  It’s a mess, but let’s focus on the cost of makeup these days… ouch!  Here’s a life hack that will keep your makeup intact and a smile on your face.  Simply take a cotton pad – round for round items and square for square items – and insert it into the compact.  This tiny little cotton pad acts as a cushion and your makeup will arrive to your destination intact.  You’re welcome.

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Let’s next talk about the beauty of a scarf.  This wonderful accessory not only keeps us warm during the chilly seasons, but it can jazz up even the most basic of outfits.  The book The Art of the Scarf  not only shows tons of ways to tie a scarf, but it gives a brief history of scarf icons… Jackie O, Brigette Bardot, Audrey Hepburn and the list goes on.  Scarves are always a life hack, but here’s another way to cross a gift off your list… grab this book, grab a scarf, put a ribbon on it and VOILA!!! You have yet another grateful gift recipient.

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The cooler temps and traveling always wreck havoc on my lips.  Recently, I went to NYC to meet up with my crush, Matt Lauer (I know… strange crush, but he’s smart, handsome, well dressed, and smiles a lot… kind of like my very own husband). mat.png Okay… the truth is that I went for a work trip, and Matt was just a bonus.  Anyway, my lips were the driest they had ever been so I was on a mission to find the best lip balm in the city.  In my quest of searching for lip balms, I was reminded of how important a lip scrub is for helping to keep those lips pucker ready.  I found Sugar Lip Caramel Hydrating Balm and it’s partner Sugar Lip Polish from Fresh.  I’m now obsessed!  Using a lip scrub a couple times a week will make your lips none other than… grateful!  The $20+ price of the Fresh scrub is a splurge, but you can go to your pantry right this minute and find all the ingredients to make your very own lip scrub.  Check out this site for 30 make at home lip scrubs… I’m feeling the gingersnap recipe.  So here you go… another little shortcut to having some smooch ready lips and another wonderful homemade gift to share with others.

Until next time… May your Turkey Trots be joyous, may your turkey be delish, may your drink be filled to the rim, may your family all get along, and may your heart be grateful!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Meaning Behind My Miles

What’s the meaning behind your miles? What inspires you to keep going?

 

On November 5th Shalane Flanagan became the first American woman to win the New York City Marathon in 40 years!  You Go Girl! There are many things about Shalane’s performance that inspired us (GRL PWR!), but one in particular that really got us thinking.  The New York City Marathon took place just days after a terrorist attack in Lower Manhattan.  Shalane said she felt a greater stake in this year’s New York City Marathon because of this attack. It reminded her of the inspiring performance by her friend Meb Keflezighi, the American male winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon, the first Boston Marathon after the 2013 Boston bombings. “I was thinking of Meb and how I wanted to make him proud today.” She also said, “I have to put a smile on New Yorkers’ faces today. I have to do this.” It’s interesting that the two recent World Marathon Majors wins by Americans were both in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, of a tragedy.  It’s interesting that both athletes talk about how there was a deeper motivation to win, to win for the communities of Boston and New York, to create something positive out of pain.  This reminded us that focusing on something bigger than just ourselves can bring deeper meaning to our miles and renewed energy to our goals, and that’s powerful. 

 

When you see a woman running down the street, do you ever wonder what got her up and out the door today? Many of us agree on the freedom, perspective, and stress relief that this movement provides, but have you ever thought about or dedicated your miles to a cause, goal, or larger motivator? Often times putting meaning behind a goal (and writing that meaning down) is helpful especially when you don’t see immediate success. Attaching meaning to the goal can keep you motivated and inspired, even when things get really tough.

 

As we enter the holiday season, we invite you to join us for a journey which we’re calling ‘meaning behind my miles.’ We encourage you for the month of December to take a deeper look at the miles in your life, and for a moment before, during or after a run to attach meaning to your movement.  Maybe it’s gratitude, maybe it’s sweating your way through a loss or a challenge, maybe it’s joy or community.  Maybe it’s working toward a goal, or maybe it’s simply to be a role model for your loved ones. 

 

What’s the meaning behind your miles this month?  Tag us with your photos and dedications on social media with #MeaningBehindMyMiles starting December 1st– December 15th.

  1. To get the “MeaningBehindmymiles” filter, click here: facebook.com/fbcameraeffects/tryit/708655886011601/
  2. Take a photo of yourself (oh heeyyy selfie!) or your squad
  3. Post on Facebook and tag us- share with us the Meaning Behind Your Miles and use hashtag #MeaningBehindMyMiles

OR

Save the photo and Post on your Instagram Story and tag us (@runsheisbeautiful) and share the Meaning Behind Your Miles #MeaningBehindMyMiles.

 

We look forward to sharing these photos with our community to build motivation and inspiration heading into the New Year!

Happy Holidays from the SIB Sass Squad!

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Sweat, smiles, and miles,

Katie

Community Manager and Coach

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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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