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 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?


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, 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?



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!


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?

The La Quinta Storm of 2014

It sounds a bit melodramatic, but the La Quinta Storm of 2014 was the worst one that I can remember in the 35 years that I have lived in the desert. It did affect the whole desert area, but since I live in La Quinta, and we were one of the hardest hit areas, the name stands.

I was getting ready to leave cross country practice on Monday morning. Though there had been some thunder and lightening throughout the morning that had forced our workout indoors, there was no rain. We’d been having flash flood alerts for a few days, so eventually you barely pay attention.

As I sat in my car waiting for the drop-off traffic to clear out, Alan called. He told me that it was pouring in La Quinta, the worst rain that he’d ever seen here. He had to climb up on the roof because we have an area around our chimney that lets water in if it’s not covered up. I told him to wait, that I’d be home in just a little bit. I was in Palm Desert, just about three miles east of La Quinta, and right then it had just started to sprinkle. He said he couldn’t wait because it was raining so hard that it needed to be covered up immediately. I started heading for home.

Within a mile, the deluge began. It started raining harder and harder, like someone was standing overhead pouring buckets of water. I decided to take Highway 111, the main throughway through the desert, because I could already tell that the water was starting to get deep on the roadway. I thought it would be the better choice.

Within another mile, the traffic started to back up. Soon we slowed to a crawl, then stopped altogether. The water got deeper and deeper, until it was over the curbs on both sides of the street. I could tell the other side of the highway was closed because there were no cars coming through. There were one or two cars parked in the middle of the road, though. The whole situation had developed so quickly that the police officers directing traffic had not even had time to put on rain gear. They looked like drowned rats out on the roadway.


I finally worked my way to Washington Street, which is one of the few streets that take you into La Quinta. As I peered down the road, all I could see was deep water and lots of cars backed up all the way to the intersection. I decided then to skip that street, and stayed straight for another mile.


I turned right on Adams street. It was flooded with a lot of traffic, but at least we were moving. That is until I reached the intersection that would take me back to Washington. Again, flooded and backed up. Instead, I turned the other direction, hoping to circle around and come in from the more southerly side of town.


I had the same luck there, and on the next route I tried. In fact, coming in on a street called Avenue 50, I had forgotten that an unbridged wash ran right across the road. It was flooded and there was a car right in the middle, with the water almost up to its windows!

I had one more option to try, so I drove back to Avenue 48, and I was able to make it all the way through. Unfortunately though, Washington Street itself was closed and I could see several cars parked in deep water along the road. At that point I gave up, and needing to use the restroom after over an hour of driving around, I parked nearby at Target. They had no power and were closed, but they were nice enough to let me use the bathroom. They told me there had been quite a few people with the same request.

I decided to sit it out in the Target parking lot for a while. Not only was it pointless to keep driving, it was potentially dangerous. Unbelievably, the rain not only had stopped, but the sky was now clear and blue.

After a while, I tried again, just close by to see if I could through, but the road nearest me was still closed. I parked again and waited. I was getting hungry. Trader Joes was close by, as was a new little juice shop that I’ve never been to. I drove over, but they were both closed, having no power.

I decided to cruise a little more to see if I could find a way in. The traffic in the non-flooded areas was not bad, and it had stopped raining. I finally found a road that had been opened all the way to Washington, so I took it and traveled about a mile when it too came to a halt. By now I was only about two miles from home. I’d been driving for about two hours.

The hold up seemed to be the intersection at Washington and a street I later found out had severe flooding, stranded cars, and damage to the businesses along the road (Calle Tampico for locals’ information). When I finally got to the intersection it looked pretty deep and I was hesitant about passing through, but I saw other cars my size managing it (I have a Honda CRV), so I decided to go for it. I really wanted to get home.


It’s a little hard to see here, but the shopping center parking lot is a lake. All these people had stopped their cars and were hanging around, chatting with each other, talking on the phone, etc.

It wasn’t bad. A few scary seconds when the water was probably above my door frame, but I was soon through that and driving along at a moderate pace. Finally, two hours and 20 minutes after starting out I arrived at home.

I was almost scared by what I would find there. I’d spoken to Alan a few times (he’d made it off the roof safely!), and I knew that in addition to the water near the fireplace, which he had fortunately been able to stop, we’d also had water coming in the front door, and even up into the bathroom, apparently through the wall.

But, but the time I got home, Alan had cleaned up most of the mess. He’d stopped the water with a big pile of towels, mopped it up, and spent some time earlier on outside trying to divert as much as he could. The only really wet part was around our fireplace, in the corner where we have our television, so we sucked up as much as we could with the wet vac, pulled the carpet up in that corner and dried it out. I think it’s going to be okay. Everything is back in place and we survived a day and a half without cable television!

Our neighbors up the street didn’t fare as well though. Alan was helping them out by the time I got home because the whole inside of their house was under about four inches of water. I saw them a couple days ago and they were still cleaning up.

There was a lot of damage around the area from the floods, but as far as I know, no one was injured. Many cars were pulled not only from washes after unwise attempts to cross, but also from regular streets, where the water rose so fast that people didn’t have time to get out of the way. It was reported that the La Quinta Cove area, where I live, got over four inches of rain in about two hours. That is a lot for an area that just doesn’t absorb the moisture.


Over the last two days I’ve run both on the trails and down to some of the flooded road areas. The power of water is amazing. Some trails were completely washed away, deep ravines were cut into the earth and there was still a lot of water pooled on the ground. I had to make a lot of detours and a few leaps to get through.


This morning I ran to an intersection that was reported to have basically been under water. The road had been closed for two days and they were still working on getting the dirt and sand cleaned up. I took a picture, then a little later in the day I came across a photo on Facebook from almost the same angle, taken Monday while they were still busy rescuing the 30 or so cars that were stuck. Pretty amazing.


Shortly after I arrived home on Monday, as Alan and I were working to suck up the water, we saw a FedEx truck pull up in front. We went out front to meet the driver, congratulating him on his perserverance in getting through in spite of traffic and road closures. He modestly said that it wasn’t too difficult. I was happy that he made it though, because look what I got!


I received the Keurig 2.0 as part of an Influenster campaign, and, in my own words, it’s awesome. It is much fancier than my previous machine, and even has a carafe option for when you really need to get wired want to share.  So far, I love it!

Oh, for the Instagram picture of the day, from my run this morning.

A boogie board, with a crack on each side, a rare sight in the desert, by the trash along the wash in the La Quinta cove. I visualized some brave (and not too bright) soul body surfing down the wash during the flash flood, perhaps breaking the board on a rock along the way.

So, everybody is safe, and all is good here on the La Quinta home front. We are counting our blessings because it could have been so much worse. Thanks to everyone who has sent along their positive thoughts and well wishes. We appreciate them, and you, very much.

8 Summer Running Tips

It is heating up in the desert. Which makes sense, considering that summer has officially started. As I write this it is 113 outside. All this makes running a tougher sport than it already is.


But it feels like only 109!

Summer Running Tips

Running in the summer can be challenging, but here are a few tips that can help.

  • Run early or late. Running in the cooler part of the day is smart. The morning hours are usually the coolest, but if that doesn’t work for you, waiting until early evening will provide some relief.
  • Drink before, during, and after your run to stay hydrated. Keep the water flowing! Using a sports drink can help balance your electrolytes to help avoid dehydration.
  • Adapt. Allow yourself 10 days to two weeks to acclimatize to hot weather, gradually increasing your distance and intensity.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. While running shirtless may sound cooler, in reality the direct sunlight can overheat you even more, not to mention cause you to risk a sunburn. Choose a moisture wicking material that is lightweight and comfortable. Lighter colors will keep you cooler. Protect your face by wearing a lightweight hat or visor.
  • Adjust your expectations. Running in the heat will take a toll on your training target times. Expect that, but know that as long as the effort is there you are still improving your fitness and your speed.
  • Listen to your Body. There are dangers associated with running in the heat, from dehydration, to heat exhaustion, to heat stroke. Learn the symptoms and pay attention to how you feel during your run.
  • Be Smart. On some hot, high humidity days, the smartest runners will move their run indoors or just take a rest day. Watch the heat index, which will let you know the “feels like” temperature, as well as the air quality index, particularly if you have asthma or other respiratory problems.
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen.

Obviously my run started a little earlier in the day, but it was still pretty warm (it just looks hot, doesn’t it?).June8I got a late start, after spending way too much time looking for my favorite running top (the one I wore in the marathon). I still haven’t found it, even though I know I just wore it the other day. It was about 6:45 when I finally headed out for my run, and already over 80 degrees. It was 90 when I finished!


Vega CocktailMy post-run cocktail. Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator provides support for all aspects of recovery, including electrolytes for rehydration.

The weekend forecast made it easy to skip some Saturday chores and head to Huntington Beach for another out and back trip. This weekend, one of our grandsons was competing in a baseball all star tournament. I’m not sure what was the best part, seeing him play, or the lovely 80 degree weather. Kidding! It was definitely the weather seeing the game.

June11Dane is the baserunner in these pictures. He eventually scored. His team ended up winning 12-0.

June3Grandpa with our All Star

June4I think Cash may have his Grandpa’s flair for color (his just needs a little refining).

We brought Coco along with us, and she was a dream. She’s been having a bit of a hard time with our new addition and his puppy exuberance, so we decided to give her a break. She loved it.

June1I think she’ll want to go everywhere with us now!



Our grandsons with their parents.

The only downside of these visits is the traffic. It’s about a two and a half hour drive, but the traffic is so heavy once we get close to Orange County that it almost makes you want to turn back around. And that’s on a Saturday! It really must be miserable on a weekday.

Speaking of Johnny, he continues to settle in. He can be a little terror when he gets excited, jumping and climbing over the dogs like they’re not even there. I came home after my run on Sunday to find the trash spread all over the kitchen and front room. While I’m pretty sure that it was Penny (also known as the trash dog) who tipped it over, Johnny was having a good old time spreading it around.

June10I’m not sure if that expression looks guilty or innocent

Other Running Stuff

So I feel like my recovery is finally over. While I didn’t get my mileage up to where I want it (a late start plays havoc on running goals), I did manage five miles on Saturday and six miles on the trails on Sunday. Even though it was hot, it felt really good to be back on the trails. I haven’t done much trail running since marathon training got serious. I was by myself, because Alan was riding his bike and Penny just isn’t up to the mileage anymore (I did take her for a one mile run/walk though).


June7On Wednesday I did a tempo run, my first speed workout since before the marathon (not that I did that much even then!). I did the Pyramid Fartek Workout that I posted last week, and it was tough! To be honest, I cut out one of the five minute intervals (the workout tops out with two five minute intervals with a 2:30 recovery. I did one of them). I was still pleased with my own effort. I also loved my new speed training shoes, the Asics Gel Electro33, which I reviewed here.

Asics 3This is the purple top that I can’t find! And I wore it for last Wednesday’s workout.

Asics Outrun the Sun Challenge

Just in case you missed it, Team Ultra Trail outran the sun on the longest day of the year!

Outrun the SunSadly, Team Enduro lost to the sun. Better luck next year!

How was your weekend? Any races, events, classes, or family fun? Do you have any tips to add for running in the heat?

I Am Distraught

You know about my husband, the Dog, Cat, and Calf Rescuer. While we both are animal lovers, my husband Alan goes above and beyond the norm to rescue, care for, and love animals. That is why we are involved in a crazy situation that truly is devastating for both of us (Alan in particular).


Alan has been caring for the feral cats in the neighborhood for several years. Out of his own pocket, he feeds, provides medical care, spays and neuters, many cats. Over the time, many have become much more tame. He has raised many of them from the time they were kittens. Several of our neighbors also help to take care of the cats. As for the ones who are not interested, Alan has been a good neighbor, cleaning up after the cats so that the neighbors don’t have that to deal with. It has worked, our neighborhood is friendly and clean, though we do have quite a few cats wandering around.

Until now. A new renter moved across the street about a month ago. Apparently he doesn’t like cats, doesn’t like that they upset his dogs, doesn’t like that they defecate on his property. All of which Alan understands. As with our other neighbors, Alan offered to clean up after the cats. Fine, done. Until he realized that some of the cats, including his pets, the tame, sweet, cats that he considers his babies, had disappeared.

As it turns out, this neighbor has asked animal control to give him traps, which he hides in his garage and his back yard. He baits the cats by putting tuna fish in the traps. Once he lures them in, and they are caught in the trap, he calls animal control to have them picked up.

Alan has talked to him, tried to reason with him. Yes, he understands there are a lot of feral cats, but a baited trap catches all cats. Our pets, tame, neutered, well-fed, are being caught in the trap. Will this man let Alan know so that he can get the tame cats back? No, he has sent all of the cats to their potential death, it didn’t matter if they had collars, were tame, or anything.

Alan tried to make an analogy that it was like we lured the neighbor’s dogs in with hot dogs, then killed them when they came on our property. This man responded by calling the police, saying that Alan had threatened his dogs (something that Alan would never do..hurt an animal). At least we had an opportunity to tell our side of the story. We want to compromise.

We are pretty much at our wit’s end. Calm reason has had no effect on this person. Appealing to any sense of humanity has done nothing. We don’t know what else to do. We are distraught.

Do you have any suggestions? Help!