Honolulu Marathon, Blog School, Mimi Kirk and More!

I have a few (kind of random) things that I want to share with you. From the educational (Blog School), to the healthy (Mimi Kirk), 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.

Mimi Kirk at Bikram Yoga University Village

Finally, for locals. My friend Kim, who owns Bikram Yoga University Village in Palm Desert (aren’t I lucky to have two friends who own yoga studios?), asked me to spread the word about a special event she is hosting at her studio on Sunday, January 25. Raw food chef, author, and “Sexiest Vegetarian over 50,” Mimi Kirk will be discussing raw food preparation, along with a food prep demonstration, tasting, and book signing of her book “The Ultimate Book of Modern Juicing.”

Bikram Yoga Event

By the way, Mimi herself is the best model for her vegan, raw food lifestyle. This “sexiest vegetarian” is actually 75 years young!

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

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.

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?

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!

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?