One Step Forward, Three Steps Back: Training Update

It’s been a tough two weeks around here. After avoiding the first go-round of illness that invaded my work place, it finally caught up with me. That’s what I get for being cocky I guess. In spite of a flu shot (which I have heard only protected about 20% of people because of a mutation in the virus), I got it badly. Actually, I’m not sure if it was the flu or just a bad cold, but I had a cough, congestion, headache, body ache, and generally just felt, well, shitty.

As far as training went, I feel like I had taken one step forward, then three steps back. I didn’t run for 10 days! That is really rare for me because when I get a cold I can usually muddle through, maybe missing one workout. I think that many times a short, easy run makes me feel better. Nope, not this time.

Keep Your Eyes on the GoalI finally got out for a short run on Saturday. Alan and I, along with a neighbor, ran four miles on the trails. I felt good, had no breathing problems. My legs felt fresh! Even though I woke up with a headache, I pushed through. The headache went away while I was running, only to come back with a vengeance when we finished. While it wasn’t a migraine, it was enough to send me back to bed, where I spent most of the rest of the day.

One Step ForwardWhen I woke up on Sunday I really felt like I’d turned a corner. While I still had a cough, my headache was gone, and I just felt good. I did keep it light, just a three mile run with the dogs, but it went well and didn’t knock me down for the day. Same thing on Monday. An easy three mile run and all felt well.

However, all this sickness and missed workouts puts me behind on my training plan for the SLO Marathon in April. I’m not worried about the speed, there’s plenty of time to get the benefit of that, but I’m a little concerned about both my long runs and my total weekly distance. I have to sit down and make a training update, and figure out how to get all the long runs I want, without trying to make too big a leap to get there.

On top of that, if I can just whine a little bit more, my schedule is filling up at work, which is a good thing, but it also makes it harder to get in the workouts that I’d planned. So, I will have to re-work my mid-week running plans too. Plus I picked up a class on Saturday, so that will bump my long run to Sunday. Yikes, I guess I just need to create a whole new plan. Good thing I have 13 weeks until the race!

So, as it stands, here are my goals for the upcoming week:

Monday: Easy three miles (got that one!)
Tuesday: Cross Training: Pilates Reformer
Wednesday: Five miles with a few fartlek bursts, just to see how everything is feeling.
Thursday: Cross Training: Pilates Reformer
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Five miles before work, Yoga class after.
Sunday: 10 miles (I feel like I need this to get back on track, but I’ll see how I feel and cut it back if I really need to.)

I won’t let these obstacles sidetrack me though. I plan to run strong on April 23, and I know I just need to keep my focus on that goal. All of these “problems” are just distractions tempting me to take my eyes off that final goal. I’m not going to let that happen.

What obstacles have you faced when trying to achieve a big goal? How did you overcome them?

Honolulu Marathon, Blog School, and More!

I have a few (kind of random) things that I want to share with you. From the educational (Blog School), to the (for me) exciting (Honolulu Marathon), to the mundane (health insurance), I decided to just jam it all in one post.

Going Back to Blog School

Blog Genie’s Blog School is back and if you’re a blogger, you really should think about signing up. Rita Berry kicks off school season on February 2 with a free, three part “Road Map” to blogging.

Blog-School-Screenshot

The Blog School Traffic Roadmap, 3 part training is totally free and will give you the tools and strategy you need to start building your traffic, whether you’re just starting out or have been blogging for years.

  • The 2 critical components you must get right before you build your traffic
  • Why promotion is the last thing you do to build your traffic and why most people try it first (and why they get frustrated)
  • The most valuable blogging exercise you’ll ever do, it’s what I still do every time I start a new blog or product
  • How to blog less for more traffic
  • Why the way we think about blog traffic is backwards and how correcting our mindset makes traffic so much easier to generate
  • The difference between high and low quality traffic and why you can create a better and more successful blog with less pageviews than you might think

I was a student in the first session of Blog School, so while this is affiliate link, I speak from experience that it is totally worth the investment.

Honolulu Marathon

In case you missed my Instagram post:

(I thought it was kind of cool that @HonoluluMarathon reposted this!)

Yes indeed, I signed Alan and myself up for the Honolulu Marathon! It seems like spur of the moment, but it really wasn’t. We’d hoped to go last year, but the stars did not align, so when a friend tagged me on a link to the early registration (only $55!), I took the plunge.

In case you didn’t know (or didn’t read the Instagram comment above), Honolulu was my first marathon. I wrote about it here. I’ve done the race six times, but I haven’t been back since 2003. Eleven years, but our plans will be the same. Fly over to Oahu on Friday before the race. After the race on Sunday, catch an island hopper over to Kauai, our favorite island, and spend four or five days in Hanalei. It’s a great place to relax after a marathon. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually want 2015 to fly by because the 2015 Honolulu Marathon is on December 13.

Medical Insurance

It sounds kind of silly to get so excited about something I took for granted while I was employed at my former job, but my new medical insurance starts on February 1! Yes, I have been uninsured since I was fired last summer. All that time, in spite of being really healthy, I’ve been worried about getting sick. Fortunately, it hasn’t happened (or won’t happen in the next 10 days, knock on wood). Thank you ObamaCare. Before my last job, I was denied affordable health insurance because I had a pre-existing condition: exercise induced asthma (I mean, come on, how ridiculous is that?). I will sleep much better now.

Fascial Stretch Therapy

I don’t talk about it very often, but I have been dealing with chronic lower back pain for several years now. I’ve tried a few things, including a chiropractor, stretching, and medication, but it has continued to be an issue for me. I’m sure some if has to do with what I’m doing right now, sitting here typing for a couple hours at a time. I think that finally I have found something that will make a difference.

Although Stretch to Win and Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST) have been around over 20 years, most people haven’t heard of this undulating stretching technique that focuses on fascial continuities, rather than isolated muscles. Fascia is the connective tissue that that form sheets or bands beneath the skin to attach, stabilize, enclose, and separate muscles and other internal organs. FST is a special and specific technique that addresses the nervous system and joint capsules to help our muscles, which are surrounded by fascia, to function better, relieve pain, and correct minor structural issues of the body.

It is very popular at my fitness center right now, and I hope in the future to get certified myself, but last Saturday I became a true believer. We had a fitness event and I, sick as I was, manned the personal trainer booth, doing fitness and body composition assessments. We also had some lectures, vitamin B-12 shots, free chair massage, and other informational booths.

We also did free 10 minute FST sessions, which were the most popular item on the agenda. I finally had a chance to take a turn at the end of the event, and I got a little extra time (about 30 minutes). The therapist worked on my lower body, since that was my main issue. Afterwards I felt fine, but nothing super special. Of course at that point I just needed to go home and go to bed.

The next morning I woke up, and for the first time in months, maybe years, my back didn’t hurt. That was Sunday. Today is Wednesday and I am still pain free. As I said, I am a believer. FST is becoming popular among professional athletes as a way to correct imbalances in the body and improve athletic performance. I really suggest that if you have chronic pain that you look into FST. You can find certified therapists in your area here.

Have you ever tried (or heard of) Fascial Stretch Therapy? Want to join me in Honolulu on December 13?

 

Starting with a Bang…

Starting with a Bang…

Well, you know what comes after that phrase.

As I began MY Season last week, I built great momentum.  As planned I started my base training runs in preparation for the SLO Marathon in April.

That part was fine, but I also plunged right into yoga, going to three classes in four days.  The classes were great, challenging but not too hard, and I held myself back knowing that I really can’t start back in where I left off about a year ago. I was a little sore, but not too bad.

I even had a short Pilates workout, which was really a refresher before training a client on the reformer.

So, all was good. I’d embarked on MY Season, ready to take advantage of the extra time after cross country.  Here’s my training log for the week:

Monday:  Yoga. 90 minute Vinyasa Class
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Running. 5 miles Yoga. 90 mnute Vinyasa Class
Thursday: Pilates. 30 minutes
Friday: Running. 3 miles

Ending with a Whimper

Then, Friday afternoon happened.

I noticed in the early afternoon that my legs just felt really tired and sore. Not a definable sore, just an all-over achy feeling. I also was tired. I felt like I’d been put through a wringer. I couldn’t even stop and rest. With working all morning, chores and errands in the afternoon, then my cross country banquet in the evening, I needed to channel the Energizer bunny just to keep going.

I made it through the evening. It was fun, our awards banquet, which we do potluck-style every year at one of our athlete’s homes. Of course, my food choices were limited, which I expected. A salad (lettuce), a veggie platter, fresh salsa, and the salad dressing that I brought with me. So I had fun, but I was hungry. The boys entertained us:

 

I had a hard time sleeping on Friday night because of my tired, jumpy legs. Then I woke up Saturday morning and I literally hurt all over. My back, hips, left arm, and a general achy feeling in every other part of my body. I’m not sure exactly why, but my gung-ho return to yoga and Pilates may have had something to do with it.

I decided to take the day off. Instead I embarked on my annual “oh my God, it’s the holidays, people might visit!” cleaning project. I don’t think that was helpful for my back either, so when I woke up on Sunday still hurting, I wasn’t surprised. I did a little running/walking with my dogs, took another day off yoga, and resumed my cleaning project.

Today, with a clean house, reduced pain in my back and hips, I think I can start the day with  short run without problems. I have a client now on Monday mornings, so I’ll get back on my mat with a YogaDownload.com workout, taking it easy, but at least keeping up with my commitment to my yoga practice.

Other fun things this week. I was able to purchase almost $300 in fitness fashion, without spending a dollar of my own. I wrote about my Lorna Jane shopping spree, but I also had a $100 Lululemon gift card that I won from a Fitfluential giveaway. I am so ready to look good for fall and winter workouts now! Though I confess that I bought a new pair of black tights. So boring, but so awesome!

Pictures from the week (originally posted on Instagram (are you following?)).

YogaAfter my third yoga class. Tired but triumphant. It feel so good to be back on my mat.

Tribesports5It’s getting a little chilly for my morning runs. It was 39 degrees on Wednesday! That’s pretty cold for anywhere, but exceptionally cold for the desert (in November!). I was happy to wear my Tribesports Half Zip, which kept me warm and dry.

LilyLily also discovered my briefcase. I think she wants to go to IHRSA 2015 with me too!

Banquet

I am assuming that my body aches were from doing a little much too soon, so I expect I’ll feel better next week. So while my week one training ended with a whimper,  I will continue to add my base mileage, fit in my yoga practice, and Pilates training. I already feel better tonight as I write this, so I’m sure I’ll feel even better tomorrow. I guess I just sometimes forget that I’m not 50, 40, 30, 20 any more. I need to remember that and honor what my body really needs.

I feel bad taking extra days off, but I keep telling myself that it is the better choice to stay strong, reduce chance of injury, and enjoy my training.

Things to remember:

SLO Marathon

Join me in San Luis Obispo on April 26, 2015, for the SLO Marathon. Save $10 on registration for either the full or half marathon with the code: WOODAMB. Register soon for the best savings and I’ll see you in April!

Yoga Central

My favorite yoga studio, Yoga Central is going global! You can sign up here, and read this post for details on signing up for online classes at Yoga Central.

How was your week/weekend? Did you reach your training goals, run a race, are participate in another fitness activity. Spend extra time with family? Lick your workout wounds like me? I’d love to hear it all!

Favorites: Yoga, Candles, Vegan Wellington & Turkey Trotting!

Wow! It’s Friday again! The weeks are flying by, the holidays are looming, and I haven’t prepared my Holiday Wishlist Gift List. Remember when you were a kid and the last weeks before Christmas seemed to last forever? Not anymore!  While I never have been one of those people who have their shopping done in November, I’m hoping to at least get my list done soon. I don’t want to be always be running around at the last minute.  In the meantime, I compiled a list of some of my favorites that I want to share with you.

Old Town La Quinta Turkey Trot

Delray_turkey_trot_logo 2There is no better way to start off Thanksgiving Day than with a Turkey Trot 5k. My husband is the director of our local race, the Old Town La Quinta Turkey Trot, which is celebrating its 16th anniversary. If you’re visiting or live nearby, we’d love to see you out there. If you can’t make it to our race, I’m sure you can find one closer to your home.

 

 

 

 

Vegan Thanksgiving Wellington

WellingtonSpeaking of Thanksgiving, there is still time to order your Thanksgiving Wellington from Native Foods! I always choose to give turkeys something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving, and this delicious, plant-based puff pastry filled with seasoned seitan, yams, stuffing, and kale will make everyone happy.

 

 

 

 

Yoga Central is going Global!

Yoga CentralEven though I’m not the most consistent yogi, one thing has never changed: my love for my favorite yoga studio, Yoga Central in La Quinta. It is owned by my friend April, and she, along with her staff, are the most amazing instructors! Now, the classes at Yoga Central are available 24 hours a day in the comfort of your own home through Yoga30!  Here’s how you can get access to my favorite studio and teacher: Got to Yoga30 and select either Yoga Central as your referring studio or April Jones as your referring teacher. By doing this you are affiliating yourself with Yoga Central, but you are free to choose any class or teacher on the site.

Prices:
$5 Day Pass
$14 Monthly Unlimited (costs less than one drop-in fee at any studio!)
$71 Six Month Unlimited Pass
$134 Annual Unlimited Pass
There is a 7-day free trial offer available on the Yoga30 site. Because this is so new, there are currently three classes available from Yoga Central, but more are coming soon, including an all-level Vinyasa, Gentle Flow, and a Hips/Hamstrings mini class.

 

Old Factory Candles

Old Factory CandlesI recently received a gift set of Old Factory Candles to try out and review. These candles are sold exclusively on Amazon.com. They are all hand-poured in the US with natural soy wax, hand trimmed cotton wicks, and premium fragrance oils. Each gift set comes with three themed scented candles that burn 20 hours. I chose to try Spa Day because I love the scents of lemongrass, cucumber, and green tea.

I love these candles. They smell so good and last forever. I can close my eyes and feel like I’m really in a spa (aside from my dogs barking at every movement). There are a lot of scents to choose from including Fall Harvest, with Pumpkin Spice, Cranberry and Autumn Leaves, Vacation which comes with Sea Breeze, Hawaiian Lei, and Awapuhi, and many others. A gift pack of three 20-hour candles costs $25 and they are eligible for Amazon Prime.

 

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Will you run a turkey trot? What is your favorite candle scent?

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?

7befcf28f4903568095b1611bff4ebf6255de6304107fe933e

Trottin’ to La Quinta. Plus My Birthday! And My Dad

 

Old Town La Quinta Turkey Trot

Those of you who know me (either in person or through my blog), know that every year my husband and I put on a 5k race on Thanksgiving morning. We’ve been doing it for 15 years! It’s called the Turkey Trot, and for 12 of those years it took place in Palm Desert, on El Paseo (kind of the Rodeo Drive of the desert). Then we moved to Palm Springs for a year. Finally, last year we came home to La Quinta, and made it a trail race in our beautiful cove area.

Delray_turkey_trot_logo 2

Now, I say “we,” but it is really my husband’s project. He does almost everything related to planning a race, from dealing with the city council, to planning the route, to raising sponsorships, to ordering porta-potties. I get the registration set up on Active.com, make the flyers, find the volunteers, then, on race day oversee registration. Years ago, when we were much smaller, I even handled the finish line timing, but now we hire someone to do that (thank goodness!).

I’m excited to announce that in this, our 16th year of putting on the race, we will be moving to the streets of La Quinta! Even better, we will be starting and finishing right in the center of Old Town La Quinta, our quaint shopping and dining center in our city.

Old Town LogoSo, if you are going to be in or near La Quinta over the Thanksgiving Holiday (November 27-30), we’d love to have you participate! The course will be flat and fast, the crowd fun and family oriented (we always have a free race for the little kids), and you’ll be done long before the turkey (or in my case tofurky) is ready. In fact, I almost always work at the race, then go home and prepare Thanksgiving dinner for my family.

You can register by clicking this link, the logo above, or if you want to wait until later, there is a link on the side bar. I’d love to see you out there!

My Birthday

So, Sunday was my birthday. Since I got to pick our activities for the day, we went to visit my son, daughter-in-law, and, of course, Samuel! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate.

SamuelIt was also exciting that they had just moved into their new house! They had it built in a new development (which is much closer to the desert, hurray!), and just got the keys last week and moved on Friday! So the house was still full of boxes, the walls are bare, but they are so happy to be into their first home.

house 2

houseYes, that is my birthday wine in the foreground.

So we got to play with Samuel.

Samuel 2

And with the granddogs (Chloe will also be celebrating her first birthday in a couple days. Can you tell which dog is the puppy?

Granddogs

Sarah

They took us to lunch at the Earth Bistro, a cute place in Temecula that has vegan options for us and gluten free options for them. A win-win!

Earth Bistro

Samuel 3All in all, just about the best way I can think of to spend my birthday.

My Dad

My dad and I shared the same birthday, so I always like to take some time to think about him on “our” day. He would have been 88!

Dad

How was your weekend? Any fun events or family time? Want to come to La Quinta to run a 5k with me? Did you guess which dog was the puppy?