Welcome 2015: Running and Fitness Goals

It’s kind of funny, talking about running and fitness goals. I’ve been at it for so long, I’ve achieved all the PRs that I’m ever going to achieve (unless I start a new sport, I guess), and I’m already pretty happy with where I am now, that it seems sort of like, “been there, done that” to be writing about it all over again.

2015 Running Goals

That being said, I am a writer, so I will not only write this post about my 2015 goals, over the next week or so I will be telling you how I’m going to do it, how I’ll keep this 57 year old body going, and what motivates me to attempt my 37th marathon at SLO Marathon on April 26. Oops, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Running Goals

  1. It’s not like it’s been a secret, but my number one running goal for 2015 is to run my 37th marathon in San Luis Obispo this spring.
  2. I don’t want to just run the SLO Marathon, I want to rock it! That means serious training, more mileage, more speedwork, more running. Based on my most recent half marathon time, my previous running experience, and my age, I should be able to run a 4:15 marathon. Of course, that’s not taking my exercise induced asthma into account, which can pop up its ugly head at any moment and blow all plans to hell. But, all other things being equal, assuming I follow the plan that I create (which I’ll share on Wednesday), I can do that.
  3. Staying healthy and uninjured will be very important. I’ll be taxing my body in multiple ways, so I need to be smart and take care of myself, paying attention to minor aches and pains so that they don’t become real injuries.
  4. I want to run at least three half marathons in 2015. The Palm Springs Half Marathon is in February, and the Run Through Redlands is in March, so they will fit pretty well into my marathon training. I’d also like to run the Malibu Half Marathon, which is in November, for the first time. They are all races that Alan announces, so I’ll always get that boost at the finish line when he calls me in. A little inspiration for my final kick.
  5. I would love to do another Ragnar Relay. Even though I was kind of dragged into my first one, I had the time of my life. Now if only my #DirrtyDozen teammates could just agree on which one we should do!
  6. I’d really like to keep my running base throughout the year.

Fitness Goals

  1. Yoga
  2. Yoga
  3. Yoga
  4. No, seriously, yoga. I’ve made a good start getting back on my mat and I want to stay there. I have a lot of options to keep me there, including my friend April’s studio, Yoga Central, and her online classes from Yoga 30. Plus I always have several audio classes with me, right on my phone, from YogaDownload.com, that I can do anywhere at any time.
  5. Now that I have access to a Pilates studio at work, I’d like to take advantage and continue both to do Pilates and to learn more about teaching it.
  6. Okay, I guess I should get back to the gym. While I’m happy with the strength and flexibility I get from yoga, I think a little traditional strength training is a good thing. Plus, Alan and I go together, so I know that if I go…

Well, those are my goals, simple as they are. In the coming days I’ll share more about how I’ll get it all done. By the way, I am an Ambassador for the SLO Marathon and this post contains affiliate links. If you’d like to join me in San Luis Obispo this April, use the code WOODAMB when you register to save $10 on either the full or the half marathon.

What is your fitness goal for 2015? Remember, if it includes running your first 5k (or getting faster at your second or third 5k), be sure to check out my 12 Week 5k Training Program.

Life at the Gym: Asics Gel-Fit Sana Review

I am one of those lucky people who get to spend more than half of their life at the gym. I work there. I work out there. I teach classes, I go to classes, I…well, you get the idea. I’m at the gym a lot, and I’m on my feet a lot.

Asics Gel Sana 6For years I wore my retired running shoes. Yes, I admit it. My old Kayanos took me a long way on the road, then a quick wash and they were off to work with me. I finally figured out though, that as much as I love them, old running shoes probably weren’t ideal for teaching classes, working out, and standing on my feet all day.

When I learned about the Asics Gel-Fit Sana I was happy to try out a shoe from a company that I have trusted for years to take care of my feet. The Gel-Fit Sana is designed to be light and flexible, and has an inner lining that supports the foot from heel to forefoot. And they are very good looking too.

Asics Gel Sana 1So good looking in fact that I’ve pretty much had them on my feet since the first day. From teaching a fitness class, to training clients at work, then off to lunch or to the market, they are fashionable and comfortable.

When I first slid my feet into the Asics Gel-Fit Sana I let out an audible sigh. Yes, they are that comfortable. Thanks to the inner lining, they fit like a glove. So light and flexible that you can almost forget you’re wearing shoes. Like barefoot with benefits.

Asics Gel Sana 7Because I spend so much time on my feet, I really need a shoe that will cushion and support my feet, and the Gel-Fit Sana does that. At the end of the day, instead of needing to rip off my shoes as soon as I get home, I’ve actually been keeping them on, just because my feet feel so good. And that is quite an accomplishment.

While comfortable is great, since I am using the Gel-Fit Sana while teaching group exercise classes, it is really important that I have a shoe that will keep my feet healthy and cool while I’m working hard. I don’t teach high impact classes, but I can still feel how the cushioning in the heel helps absorb the shock, and the mesh upper is breathable, so my feet don’t get sweaty and overheat.

Asics Gel Sana 2The sizing seems accurate, or at least what I wear in my running shoes. And Asics realizes that women’s feet don’t stop growing in half sizes once we get over size 10 (size 11.5 and proud here!). While they have a glove-like fit, my feet don’t feel constricted in anyway, and instead feel supported and secure.

The MSRP is $80 and the Asics Gel-Fit Sana is available in a variety of pretty colors.

Asics Gel Sana 14Hmm, I’m trying to pick my next pair! It’s difficult.

I really like the Asics Gel-Fit Sana. It is the perfect shoe for me.

Do you wear one type of shoe to do everything? Or do you have specific shoes for each sport or activity? What color of Gel-Fit Sana to you like best?

 

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of ASICS.

Workouts, Vegan Eats, & Christmas (and Blendtec)!

Yes, I’m jamming it all into one post. To keep the wordiness down, the Christmas recap will be mostly pictures. But, first, a couple announcements and my training recap.

A Blendtec Kind of Holiday

So much exciting stuff going on. First off, if you remember my what I want for Christmas post, I mentioned at the top of my list needing/wanting a new blender. Well, Santa skipped that one, but Fitfluential did not! I actually won a Blendtec Designer 725! Yes, I did! I haven’t received it yet, but here’s the proof:

WinnerYep, that’s me!

Small town, BIG RACE

As you know, Alan and I are training for the SLO Marathon on April 26. Our training program officially starts with the new year, so it’s time to get race plans in place. We’d love to have you join us, so remember that the prices will be going up December 31. You can still save $10 with the code WOODAMB, so hurry up and sign up!

SLO Marathon

As for my own training, I think the term “holiday training” pretty much sums it up. Yes, I ran, a little. Yes, I did practice yoga, twice, once at home, once at the studio. But, all things considered, I’m okay with that. Here are my workouts from last week:

Monday: Since it was looking to be a busy day, I did an at-home yoga class with Yoga 30 (taught by my friend April of Yoga Central) early in the morning, followed by a three mile run (because that’s all I had left).

Yoga 30
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Alan and I planned to run in Huntington Beach while visiting the family, but I ended up with a migraine, so that didn’t happen. Put a damper on the whole day.
Thursday: Christmas day Alan and I took a little three mile trail run. After being sick the day before it felt good just to be out and running.

Christmas Run
Friday: Rest
Saturday: In keeping with the holiday run thing, we ran about 5.5 miles on the trails.

Trail Run
Sunday: Run with the dogs day. Okay, that didn’t happen. Here’s why:

Weather

The poor dogs didn’t even get a walk. I did make it to a 90 minute yoga class though.

So, not a whole lot accomplished, but with holidays, shopping, family, travel, not to mention migraines, I’m okay with my training. Back on track in the coming week, though. I’m not quite where I wanted to be by the end of December since official training starts next week, but it is what it is. I’m also thinking about joining the January yoga challenge that Yoga Central is doing this month. That should help me stay on yoga-track (there are prizes!).

Vegan Eats

Of course all of my eats are vegan, but we did get a couple chances to get out to eat. For our second visit to the Tap In Room at Whole Foods, we tried the Artisanal Vegan Cheese plate, and, Oh My God! It was good. It was actually served by the “Cheese Man,” who explained each cheese. We also had the Jackfruit Crab Cakes again, and they were good too. We couldn’t finish it all, so we took home the leftover cheese and I had it for lunch the next day. It was even better, probably because I didn’t have the gustatory distraction of the spicy sauce on the jackfruit cakes. I was happy to find out that they sell it in the store (I’d never even visited the cheese section), and I can’t wait to pick some up.

Whole Foods

Whole Foods 2We also had a chance to introduce some friends to Native Food. I tried a new menu item, the Crispy Chicken and Avocado Club, forgoing my favorites, either the Bistro Steak Sandwich or the Greek Gyro Bowl. It was okay, but I’ll return to my faves on my next visit. Our friends enjoyed their meal too, which always makes me happy. I love when non-vegans learn how delicious cruelty-free can be!

Native FoodsAnd Finally…Christmas

Alan and I actually had three Christmas celebrations, one with each side of the family, then our own on Christmas morning. But, as promised, I won’t get too wordy. Just a lot of pictures (and maybe a little explanation here and there).

MinervaWe took the same friends for their first visit to Minerva Street, the desert’s version of Candy Cane Lane. Even though the youngest “child” was 18, they all loved it! So did I!

DebbieOur very nice neighbors brought us a huge gift basket. Obviously they don’t know us very well (yet), but it was a great bring-along to our family Christmas.

Gift BasketOur first Christmas, in Huntington Beach with Alan’s son and his family. The grandsons scored!

Watkins

Watkins 2

ElvisWe traveled home on Christmas Eve. My migraine finally cleared enough so that I could at least decorate the tree. We didn’t actually put any presents under it though, what with our little terror, er, terrier, Johnny B. Goode, being such a chewer. At least he didn’t eat the tree. Maybe because it was blessed by Elvis.

Alan_LilyJust because Santa didn’t bring a blender doesn’t mean I didn’t get exactly what I wanted. Now I’ll have to have some fancy adventures on the run that are GoPro-worthy.

Go Pro

NathanMy son Nathan and my beautiful daughter-in-law Sarah. I’d even say she was glowing…

ChristmasMy youngest son David and his girlfriend Melissa. Awake and smiling here but both were recovering a bit from a Christmas Eve celebration the night before.

DavidMy niece Brynne, who was there with her boyfriend Eric and his son Zach.

Brynne

SarahThere was some fancy underwear.

SamuelI guess Samuel doesn’t quite know what to do with his yet.

Samuel 2I distinctly heard Samuel, son of Paleo parents, say “yum” after he took a bite of the vegan turkey roast. He looks pretty handsome in his new robe, doesn’t he?

So that was my week. Got it done in less than 1,000 words. How was your holiday?

My Stinky Life (Thank Goodness for ShowerPill!) Plus Stocking Stuffers for Athletes

This post is sponsored by ShowerPill through my association with Fit Approach as a Sweat Pink Ambassador.

 

This is my stinky life (we’re talking literally here)

I run. Then I go to yoga.

Shower Pill5

A quick clean up between my six mile run and my 90 minute yoga class.

I teach group exercise. Then I work as a personal trainer. If I have an open hour, I will work out myself. Then I’ll go back to work.

Shower Pill 2

My workday essentials: My iPad, my banana, and my ShowerPill.

I’ve also been know to do that crazy thing called a Ragnar Relay.

And sometimes I do all of these things in one day. Far too often, I go from one to the other with no time for a shower in between.

Shower Pill 3

That is when I say thank goodness for ShowerPill. As do all the other people in my vicinity.

ShowerPill is a large, anti-bacterial wipe designed to keep you clean while on the go. Perfect! It is large and thick, more like a washcloth than a towelette, and it smells really good. One ShowerPill is big and moist enough to clean your entire body (just flip and fold as you go).

Not only does ShowerPill smell and feel good, it is anti-bacterial and kills 99.9% of germs, including staph, has vitamin E and aloe vera so it’s good for your skin, dries quickly, and contains no alcohol or parabens.

In case you’re wondering why an athletic wipe is called a “Pill,” there is actually a story behind it. The ShowerPill was created by three college football teammates, who, as students, were always going from practice, to class, to weightlifting, to practice, etc., without always having time to shower in between each activity. They wanted to design something that would keep them fresh, and, when they found out about the risk of athletes acquiring MRSA and other staph infections, decided to create a wipe that would kill 99.9% of all germs on the body, have moisturizing ingredients, and be easy to transport. The name “Shower Pill” actually came from an old inside joke among athletes wishing that they had a pill to instantly clean their body. Well, now they do.

If you’d like to try ShowerPill yourself, you can save 20% when you use purchase two boxes and use the code holiday20. You can order here.

Shower Pill 6

Stocking Stuffers for Athletes

When I was a kid, my mom always had our stockings filled about a week before Christmas. I’m not sure why, maybe she just tossed something in there when she had a chance, but by Christmas day our stockings were full. My mom’s idea of a great stocking stuffer? Think socks and underwear, lip balm, deodorant, and other fun things that you can purchase in the travel aisle at the drugstore.

While I’ve laughed over the years at that, I have followed in my mother’s footsteps. My kids were likely to find useful things like a new toothbrush, flashlights, or skin lotion. And socks. Lots of socks.

In keeping with that tradition, the following stocking stuffer ideas may not be flashy, but they will certainly be useful.

1. ShowerPill: So useful, a box of 10 ShowerPill Athletic Wipes will be appreciated by any athlete.

Shower Pill

2. A Headlamp Flashlight: Whether your athlete is doing a relay race or setting up their triathlon transition area before the race, handsfree lighting is essential.

3. Compression Socks: Useful for recovery for any sport. Sleeves are useful as well. There are many brands (and many colors and designs) to choose from. I like PRO Compression. If you order these Snowflake Socks you can save 40% and get free shipping with the code SNOW. ***Edited 12/15*** I just got an email from Pro Compression. You can save 42% on everything, yes, everything through December 19, 2014, with the code 2014. And the shipping is still free! Now, go!!! (I’m not sure if you need that link or not, so be sure to click the word “go.” It’s not my affiliate link, it’s the one from the email.)

Pro Compression

4. Goggle Defogger: What every swimmer needs and frequently forgets.

5. Tire Changing Kit: Every cyclist needs to know how to fix and change a tire. A tire changing kit can be priceless when you have a flat out on the road alone.

6. Race Entry: A little more expensive than most of my stocking stuffers, but if you have a runner in the family, this is a great gift.

7. Gym or Yoga Membership: This is like giving a healthy lifestyle in a stocking. Yes, more expensive, but even a month or two to get started will be appreciated. For the yogi in your life, another option to a yoga studio are online classes. Two choices are YogaDownload.com and Yoga 30 (where you can work out with my favorite in-real-life instructor!).

yogacentralspotlight

8. Gift Cards: Gift cards make great stocking stuffers. Whether your athlete is a coffee drinker, a big eater, or loves music, you can find the perfect card at a price that works for you.

There are a couple of affiliate links in the above suggestions, but all of these are things that I would like to see in my own stocking, except the defogger…so NOT a swimmer.

What would you like to find in your stocking? Do you move from activity to activity without a break? Have you tried ShowerPill?

Can Clothing Inspire Fitness? prAna Early Winter Collection

This post is sponsored by prAna in partnership with FitApproach

Many years ago, when I first started exercising, there were no gyms in the desert (dark ages, I know!). I lived in Palm Springs at the time and there was, literally as far as I know, not a single gym or fitness center nearby. This was before I started running, so fitness videos became my exercise of choice.

I had them all..Kathy Smith, Kari Anderson, Gilad, Cathe Friedrich, even Jane Fonda. At a certain point, the longer, tougher, and more complicated the better. I was religious in my fitness efforts, up before dawn to fit in up to two hours of exercise before work.  Most mornings I would drag myself out of bed and dress myself in a colorful, fashionable, fitness ensemble and get to my workout. Yes, we’re talking leg warmers and thong leotards, but the point is, that was the fashion of the time so that is what I wore.

80s fashion

photo credit: deleted.scenes via photopin cc

The sensible thing, since I was working out in the privacy of my own home, would have been to not waste money on the latest fashion. A t-shirt and shorts would have done the trick, right?

My point, which I’ve taken a long time here to make is, that even when I first started working out, dressing the part inspired me to exercise.

That is why, when I heard about prAna, tried on the clothing that I received, learned more about the company and their mission, I was inspired to return to my yoga mat.

To me, yoga is about more than getting a great workout. It is a lifestyle of sustainability, kindness, and focus. PrAna is a Sanskrit word that means breath, life, and vitality of the spirit, and prAna has taken this meaning to heart because it helps guide their actions towards becoming an evermore socially mindful and environmentally sustainable organization.

PrAna’s approach to sustainability is three pronged and focuses on: 1) The materials to make their products, 2) Materials and energy to service the business, and 3) People and working conditions. You can read more about prAna’s commitment to sustainability here.

 

Prana2

I’m wearing the Julz Hoodie top in red violet and the Olympia pant. I love that the top is made in the US from organic cotton and recycled materials. It is a light weight knit, so it’s perfect for cool mornings on the way to class. It is soft and comfortable, fitting nicely when pulled over a workout tank. I felt like a yogini when I wore this top.

PranaP

Though I chose clothing for yoga (which means I wear it to class then everywhere else my day takes me), prAna is a lifestyle clothing company. The Early Winter Catalog features not only active wear, but beautiful sweaters, “regular” pants like jeans and cords, not to mention jackets, beanies and scarves.

As our thoughts turn toward the holidays and gift shopping looms, the prAna Early Winter Catalog has many options for men and women. Give the gift of beautiful clothing that is created with a conscience. Plus, you can save %15 percent on your entire purchase by using my coupon code pspf14lflq.  Here are a few of your choices:

Prana7

Shelby Poncho

Prana8

Kirsten Tunic & Milly Vest

 

Prana6

Phoebe Top

Prana9

Chrissa Top & Trinity Cord Pant

What is your favorite of the fashion’s above? Would you like to receive a gift of fitness fashion for the holidays? Don’t forget, if you’re going to shop, use my code to save!

Now It’s MY Season. Yoga, Pilates, and the SLO Marathon

Okay, that title sounds pretty selfish, doesn’t it? My Season. The season of ME. Well, sometimes it’s okay to be selfish.

Saturday was our final meet of the cross country season. It was a big one, the CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) preliminaries, the next step after league finals in the road toward state championships. We were eliminated in spite of an all-out effort by the girls. And that means that, yes, cross country season is over.

CIF 2014_2

For me that means no more excuses. Cross country is very time consuming. Practice is five days a week, usually at the time that I would normally be doing my own workout. We started back in July, so yes, I am ready for a break (as are the girls!).

CIF 2014

What is MY Season?

Actually, MY Season isn’t nearly as selfish as it sounds. It just means that now that cross country season is over, I will have time to focus on my own fitness goals. I’m working now, with a fairly flexible schedule as I build my personal training business, so I plan to take advantage of the extra time. So, to me, MY Season means that I will focus on several things.

SLO Marathon

1. Running. As I mentioned last week, I’ve been running, somewhat lackadaisically, around 12-15 miles per week. I decided that I needed a goal to get me out of my running rut. I first decided to run the Palm Springs Marathon in February, then I decided to join the SLO Marathon Ambassador program again and train for 26.2 on April 26, 2015. Now that it is MY Season, I will have four or five days a week to run, so the plan for now is to build my base and work my way toward 25-30 miles per week over the next month. Then I’ll really start a training program. For now, my base training schedule will be:

Monday: Medium length, moderate pace, gradually building to about eight miles.
Wednesday: Tempo run.
Friday: Shorter, easier run before work.
Saturday: Long run. I’d like to have a base of 10 miles when I start my marathon training. Right now I’m at about five miles.
Sunday: Easy run. This is the day I run with my dogs, which I’ll continue to do. It is shorter, slower, with lots of pee breaks (for them, not me :-) ).

As I add on new clients on Monday and Wednesday, my planning may have to change, but I will keep the basic outline of this schedule. I’m working on my training program now, which I will share with you. If you want to join me in San Luis Obispo for the SLO Marathon or Half Marathon, you can use the discount code WOODAMB to save $10 on either race.

2. Yoga. Yes, I know that I have said this before, but I plan to re-dedicate myself to my yoga practice. I have recently been inspired to get back on my yoga mat (I’ll talk a little more about that later in the week), and I went to class today. I realize that making it to one yoga class is just a tiny first step, but I really want this, and now that it is MY Season, I will make the time to continue.

I went to my favorite studio, Yoga Central in La Quinta, which is owned by my friend April. She is also my favorite teacher, but fortunately she wasn’t teaching today. Yes, fortunately, because she teaches a flowing, almost dance-like Vinyasa class, and I am just not in the shape to keep up. I would have spent much of the class recovering in child’s pose. Instead my class was taught by Stephen, and while it was certainly challenging (it’s an all-level class, so you can make it as hard as you like), he held the poses longer, there were a lot fewer chaturangas, and I left his class feeling accomplished and happy. And sweaty (with the curly hair to prove it).

Yoga Central

My plan is to make it to the studio at least three days a week, probably Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. That’s a little lopsided, but that fits into my work and running schedule. Once my Saturday long runs get over 10 miles, an active Vinyasa class may be too much, so I might try the Friday afternoon restorative class instead.

I will supplement the studio classes with an at-home practice. I love YogaDownload.com. That is an affiliate link, but I’ve been a member for years and pay my own membership fees. The instruction is clear, there are a variety of levels and class lengths, and you even have a choice between audio or video. I love the audio classes because I can download the classes and do them anywhere, and focus on what I’m doing, not the instructor on the screen.

3. Pilates. This is a new one for me. Now that I’m working as a personal trainer again, I have the opportunity to use some of the Pilates training that I had a few years ago. To do this, I need to get on the reformer and practice, not to mention decide whether I want to continue on toward a Pilates certification. It’s a long (and expensive) road, but for now I want to work on the reformer a couple days a week, and maybe go to a mat class once a week (there’s one at work I can go to).

20140203_121858What you don’t see here

While I have a lot of fitness plans, there are a couple things you won’t see here. Regular weight training for one. I’m just not that into lifting heavy weights right now. While that may change in the future, for now I’m happy to be using the alternatives of Yoga and Pilates, both of which provide an amazing workout. I’m not teaching any classes right now either, so traditional strength and core work are also out of the picture.

Totally off-topic, but isn’t this just the cutest picture of Olivia? She’s never done this before and I just happened to see her there this evening. Photographing a black dog can be difficult, but she is looking at Alan to my right, so the whites of her eyes make everything show up better. (Do you follow me on Instagram?)

If you could design YOUR Season, what would you include? What obstacles get in your way and how do you overcome them?

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