Pamper Yourself

So part of health and wellness is taking and making time for yourself right?  Some TLC goes a long way!  This week I got the (somewhat) unexpected surprise to do a little of that for myself!  With 2014 being as full as it’s been, that’s often been hard to do!  In the past I’d take a mini trip to wine country or a spa day but it’s been challenging (time and finances wise) to make that happen.  It doesn’t change the need for it though!  So when this blue box showed up on my doorstep I was thrilled!  I didn’t know what would be in it and although it was small it was packed full of great goodies–and I’d like to share them with you!!

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I was immediately drawn to a few things in particular and couldn’t wait to get them open and in use!  The only item in the box I’d tried and/or purchased before was the Tide To Go Pen–which works very well by the way, especially in the moment!  Much more subtle than dipping your restaurant napkin in your water glass (or *cringe* licking your napkin) then attempting to dab out your stain!

So first product I tried was of course the Sally Hansen nail polish! Love to girly it up every now and then–plus, if i feel late night mindless snacking coming on, it’s a great way to keep me from dipping into anything!  Can stand taking the time to paint my nails then ruin them!  Fun color of barracuda and their applicator tip was rounded, which I’d never seen!  It’s genius because now with that tip you are less likely to paint the edges of your cuticles/fingers in addition to your nails!  Made my non ambidextrous self feel more capable to paint both hands well and not just one!

 

Next, so I’ve always had an issue with acne–ever since puberty kicked in–and it hasn’t gone away.  At 32 years old, that’s more than frustrating.  Two of the products in the box were geared towards improved skin health!  The Eco Tools sponge and Olay Regenerist Moisturizer.  The sponge is an affordable option for sensitive skin needs–there’s also an exfoliating one.  The texture is quite unique and I’m still squishing it because it’s just like nothing I’ve felt or used before.  Out of the package it’s hard but add water and it softens right up!  For me, the Olay made me think “I’m too young for that!”  But really, skin health–especially your face–is important at any age!  Also, after just three nights of adding this to my regimen I’m a convert!  I see and feel the difference in my skin.  It’s smoother and my acne seems to be more in control–for me that’s an improvement!  My face is noticeably smoother as well!

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So lastly, I’m not quite headed down the aisle but after browsing their site, when I am my first stop will be Riley & Grey!  The card included in my @Influenster #VoxBox offers 50% off for your own personal wedding site!  In addition though, they have so much more!  Inspiration for not just weddings but honeymoons, baby showers/parties, and fashion and reception!  They have a modern flare with a classic/traditional inspiration!

So my moral here, is don’t forget to scribble in some time for you…whatever you may be doing or in the middle of!  Even things as simple as painting your nails or giving yourself a facial can help boost your mood/energy!  The wedding website, instead of being a part of the process you dread or groan about, may be something you look forward to instead!

Take time to enjoy the “little things” and your gratitude will multiply your abundance!

For the FUN of the RUN–my 1st Race Recap (ever) of my 10th Half Marathon! RnRSF

In August 2012 my goal for my first half was part serious and part joke–I kept saying that I just wanted to complete all 13.1 miles, upright and cross the finish line on my own two feet.  Then I started training and decided I could finish and that I wanted to complete it in under 3 hours; I ended up finishing in 2:35 so I was thrilled!  Then I did my 2nd half and beat that time by almost 20 minutes, then my 3rd half and PR’d again by another 5 min, and so on.  PRs became something I was getting used to and using as my focus/goal for each race.  Then the inevitable happened and I didn’t PR.  I was kind of bummed at first but I got over it, it was bound to happen at some point and I really hadn’t trained as well as I could/should have.  Then it happened again…I not only didn’t PR but I came in at the same time I did as my 2nd half and here I was completing my 9th!  Something dawned on me then…

This past Sunday I completed my 10th Half Marathon, it’s still amazing to me that within less than two years I’ve completed 10!  So here’s some background.  I am born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area–hills are part of my regular training/runs.  I did the RnRSF last year for their inaugural race and it had some good hills in there.  This course was a “go big or go home” kind of hill course and if you don’t know SF, then you should know that “inclines” are anything that are not pancake flat and “hills” are some serious climbs–whether that makes them short but steep or long.  Comparing this year and last year’s courses felt like night and day!  Once I faced the facts of what the course had in store from me I decided my goal was going to be “enjoy the views…and yes that was definitely a plural!”  This course started us out at the beach at sunrise for 0.25 miles then we headed up our first set of (many) hills into the sunrise itself–we had hills for breakfast!  Once we got into the Presidio and Sea Cliff it was all postcard views from there–and we were going to earn them!  I could talk about them but I will just post some of the pictures that runners took along the way.  I thought of stopping but I chose not to except for once and that was with some fellow bloggers who were cheering runners on along the course between miles 2 and 3!

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@pointonemiles and @pavementrunner

Explaining these views is pointless, they speak for themselves.  But for someone from here, they even got me to consider stopping because they were SO BEAUTIFUL!!

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From top/bottom and L to R @sojomy, me, @pointonemiles, @katietheactor, @hayz808,  @pavementrunner, @run_westin, @runrocknroll

This weekend was more about why I enjoy running and not about how fast I could finish it!  Isn’t that what life in general is about?  Enjoying the journey and not focusing about how fast you arrive at your final destination?  I was so proud of myself for my finish but I was elated at the finish line because the amazing fun-filled weekend I had was well spent and worth the hurt (and tiredness) that I felt!  I met people who inspire/motivate me daily via social media and I feel like we all really know each other like any other friend I’ve had for years!  We all instantly click when we get together like we’ve never been separated by distance.  We encourage each other to keep going when it feels hard or hurts, to go further when we feel we’ve gone the distance, to keep our heads up when we keep ourselves down, to be proud of what we’ve done because we couldn’t at one point, and to enjoy the view and have fun because in the end that’s what it’s all about!

This weekend I conquered the hills of San Francisco, I completed my 10th half marathon (and plan on completing many more), I was blessed with some AMAZING views and I’m grateful to be a part of this running community that spans over many miles, ages, demographics, experience, etc.  We all have one common thread and it keeps us together through all the ups and downs–or in this case peaks and valleys!

 

 

For more great views check out RnRSF recaps at  http://www.pointonemiles.com/  and  http://pavementrunner.com/rnrsf-2014/

 

Pre Race “Cold Feet”–Am I the ONLY One?

Many times, especially when I first started out, I’d get to be a “ball of nerves” pre race day.  Often times it’d keep me from getting decent sleep the night before, my stomach would be in knots the morning of, I’d jump out in the beginning of the race and go too fast for my normal pace, etc.!  Am I the only one?!?

I’ve come to learn that running is just like many other things in life, it’s something we practice and the more we practice we not only get better at it but we also get more comfortable doing it.  I’m at a point now where I can feel my pace/stride and that’s an achievement for me but I still get some of those nerves/cold feet!  It wouldn’t bother me so much if it didn’t also trigger some negative thoughts. :(  Am I the only one?

I can often catch myself in these moments and consciously work to correct my negative thoughts into positive ones.  Or I’ll pause and reflect on my past and realize that there was also a time when running wasn’t something I was capable of doing because of my weight and mindset.  These help me in the moment but now I wonder if these nerves are something I’ll always have or if it’s possible for me to overcome them.  I’m running my first half of 2014–wait, maybe that’s part of my problem….maybe I’m keeping myself this way by always focusing on the “first” part of this.  Instead shift my focus to I’ve run this race before, I’ve run 13.1 miles nine times before this and I’ve run 10+ miles many times in addition to that!  Focus on adding more miles to my life and enjoying the view instead of focusing on the speed in which I get from point A to point B. 

I keep running (and the longer distances) because I enjoy the “runners high”–I let go of all the things “weighing me down” and just enjoy being in the moment; it’s like meditating.  So I don’t know why I get so wrapped up in the “can I do this” pre race nerves!  Maybe this blog will help me release that and the more I practice releasing it, it will eventually cease to exists.

Thoughts…feedback…advice…?

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Food Musts for your RnRSF ‘Runcation’

All right, we are less than a week away from our race day and it’s time to talk fun!  Most of the runners I know train hard and play equally so!  This is why our races give you free beer at the finish line–**ahem** ALL the Rock n Roll series! So have you planned your non-run related outings while you are in San Francisco this weekend?  Where are you eating post 13.1?

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But seriously, I don’t run to eat (like the illustration) I eat to enhance my running. I’m also a foodie and I enjoy indulgent food even more now since I’ve started running.  Why? Well it’s taught me that while I’m training I need to fuel my body to support my performance–healthy, clean and natural food. Being that many runners (myself included) are always in a state of training, race weekends tend to be my runcations (race vacations) and I allow myself at least one indulgent meal.  If the San Francisco Rock ‘n’ Roll is going to be a “runcation” for you, I’d like to point you in the direction of some must eat spots while you are here!

Breakfast/Brunch:

-Louis’ Cafe is actually just north of our race route along the Great Highway. It has a scenic view of the Pacific Ocean and tasty all American food with some local specialties–like their Dungeons crab Benedict! Note they are a cash only location so hit the ATM before you go!

-Just for You Cafe is well off our race route but still a tasty detour! Its authentic Southern fare is a hidden gem in SF’s Dog Patch neighborhood—if Chicory coffee and fluffy beignets are your thing then you don’t want to miss this place!

-The Ramp is the place to see and be seen in SF. Just south of AT&T park (Home of the SF Giants) this hidden shack-like eatery is mostly patio seating with a full bar. If it’s sunny, then expect a long wait to get a table!  But they have some good brunch cocktails to hold you over while you wait!

-Blue Bottle is some of the best coffee you’ll find in The City. They have their own store front in the Ferry Building and a number of other SF locations. It’s bold, smooth and good to the last drop! We start early so this may be a good stop post 13.1!

-SF Ferry Building Farmers Market is bustling on any Saturday especially if the weather cooperates! You are smart if you get out there early but there’s still plenty to see if you are looking forward to sleep in at least one of your mornings. My recommendation is to do a walk through first–it’s a big spread that starts in front of the building, wraps around the right side and takes over the back area behind the building. Vendors vary from produce, fresh proteins, sweets, and local eateries! One of my favorites is the lavender lemonade from Happy Girl Kitchen, it’s refreshing and sure to quench your thirst! 4505 Meats usually has some unique and tasty breakfast options while the oyster po’boy from (add their bacon, or eat the bacon on the side) Hayes Street Grill (they are usually right across from Happy Girl)!

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Lunch:

-Pier 23 is a long-time “fixture” along the SF water front.  Just north of the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero sits a small one level building with plenty of patio seating where you can enjoy our SF sunshine!  They have an awesome crab sandwich and a full bar with tasty brunch drinks as well!  The old time photo of the cowgirls in nothing but their hats and boots is also located here. ;)

-Plouf is my new favorite French spot! It’s located on Beldin Lane which is lined with eateries along the border of the Financial District and Chinatown. You definitely have to try their tar tar starter and share one of their many versions of their mussels–ask for extra bread, you won’t want any of that sauce to go to waste!

-La Corneta is the south of the border stop you can’t miss!  Running 13.1 miles can work up an appetite, their super burrito will satisfy any size hunger you walk in with!  My favorite is their steak and shrimp burrito–surf and turf baby, and go supreme!  Perfect to fill you up after a long run!  They have a number of locations in the Bay Area including the Glen Park neighborhood in SF.

-Gott’s may be one of the more expensive burger joints you visit but it’s pays off in taste, creativity and quality!  I often try to order something different any time I go. Their original location (originally called Taylor’s) has been a staple up in wine country where it’s drive-up and picnic style seating only. During any time of the year you go, it’s always busy!  That alone should tell you how good this place is. Lucky for us, they opened up a location in the Ferry Building not too long ago!  Try any kind of burger and you can’t really go wrong–ahi tuna, Texas, etc! Their milkshakes are tasty too–too bad they don’t have an “adult” style shake on their regular menu. Just look for the big red G!

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Snacks/Sweet Treats  :

-DeLise is a sweet heaven on earth! This hidden gem is located just a few blocks from Pier 39 on Bay Street (@ Powell). Her menu has some staples but also some great seasonal items like the miso rice crispy treat, Peking duck scones, chocolate stout ice cream, etc! If you have a sweet tooth, you MUST stop here!

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-Liguria Bakery is the heart of North Beach (the Italian neighborhood of SF). So while you are waiting in line at Mama’s for breakfast or  zig zagging your way down Lombard Street, swing by Liguria (on the corner of Stockton and Filbert Sts.) but don’t look for their sign they don’t have one!  They are the original owners–as they say the ovens don’t move but you’d wish they did after tasting their focaccia!  They are closed Sundays/Mondays and when they run out of product (and they WILL) they close their doors for the rest of the day, so your best to get there early!  Don’t underestimate their plain focaccia, it’s my favorite, as is their pizza!

-La Boulange isn’t exactly an old staple to SF and yes some of their products can be found in your local Starbucks but one item in particular can only be found at their stores!  They chocolate hazelnut croissant is AMAZING!! No, it’s not a Nutella filled croissant, they purée the hazelnuts and combine it with chocolate in a buttery flaky croissant, get it toasted! They have tasty coffee too!

-Mitchell’s is another “worth the wait” SF eatery!  Take a number and peruse their menu of good ol’ and unique flavors–Mexican chocolate to grasshopper pie (kinda like those minty cookies those girls sell once a year). Perfect for any weather we get in SF!

Dinner:

-Coqueta is one reservation you better make now!  Spanish tapas are a big thing as of late and Croqueta serves them up in a rustic yet upscale setting. Start with some of their small plates and then finish with some sangria and family style paella! But seriously, make your reservation now!  It’s still “shiny and new” for us here and so everyone wants to go!

-Cha Cha Cha set in the SF’s Mission District and one of the neighborhood staples!  It’s another tapas style menu (small plates) so it’s fun setting to fill your table with lots of tasty treats!  Everyone will advise you to try their plantains and they are right!  Go for it!  And then if you feel bad for eating any of it, just dance it off!

-Lark Creek shouldn’t be counted out just because it’s located in the Westfield Center.  It is your place for steak—always a nice post run treat–and don’t overlook their seafood entrees!  One of SF’s staples is the Dungness crab and LC serves it up in style!  Lastly, PLEASE do yourself a favor and save room for dessert; specifically the chocolate creamux! It light and rich all at the same time, take it in with a bit of the salted caramel sauce a crunchy crumble that accompanies it and you’ll thank me for that little bite of heaven on earth!

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Bars with Food

-Mikkeller is a great gastro pub hidden on the outskirts of Union Square and not far at all from our finish line! Their beer menu is longer than their food menu but the food they do have, they do it well!  Go ahead and try their bacon wrapped pups (it’s protein :) )! But when in Rome…so go for their wings platter as well!  My advice would be to walk or cab it there so you can enjoy more than one of their beers that they have on tap–by the way, it’s all on tap!

-Giordano Bros is Pittsburgh in SF’s little Italy! Who needs sides though when those Burghs put it all in one sando! Your first thought may be “fries in my sandwich?!” But don’t knock it til you try it!  You can get just about any kind of meat you want–steak, turkey, sausage, pastrami, etc., but the rest remains the same! Beer is good and so are their wings.  Small joint but enough TVs to show any sports event you could want! Fun staff too–they also have a location in the Mission District.

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There’s no way you’ll leave San Francisco hungry with this guide! And no regrets, you just ran 13.1 miles!

 

Leaders (Weight Watchers) Need Love Too

I’m a leader who called out sick this week for some meetings.  Why?  Because I caught whatever is going around and I’m down for the count! I’ve tried to write this blog I’ve titled numerous times, but I end up allowing myself to get pulled away by other things.  But I sit here now and recognize that this post isn’t just for others but also for myself.  Had I sat down and written this the numerous times I started to before, it probably would have come off more like and rant or venting session from me.  But my intent for this is just the opposite.  This message goes for mothers, fathers, care takers, teachers, etc. ALL of you out there you naturally put other’s well-being before your own on a day to day basis.

When I decided to join the WeightWatchers team I remember thinking that this would be a great way to hold myself accountable to my maintenance efforts.  Quite the opposite has lived out…I find myself putting my job(s) before my own needs and it’s having side effects on my body.  I spent this last week sick.  I don’t get sick often, in fact since I started taking better care of myself and living a healthier lifestyle I pretty much haven’t gotten sick at all.  But this past winter I’ve caught bad colds twice from interactions with others who’ve chosen not to stay home and take care of themselves but go out and end up infecting others.  I know I’m not living in the time of the plague but still….PEOPLE, I’m not asking you to stay home if you are sick for my sake but for YOUR OWN.

Why do we neglect to take care of ourselves or to do so last instead of first?  I find that many of my old habits like this are coming back in my new role as a WW Leader.  In talking to other leaders in my territory I find that many of them have similar habits and it saddens me.  Why is is that we who are so motivated to help others neglect to help ourselves?  In reality I offer my best self to my members when I am at my best.  They inspire me, they motivate me and they encourage me through their own actions to be the best version of myself.

So I’m leaving this post short and with a sweetness to finish….Leader, members, all people of this world…please don’t forget to take care of yourself first and foremost so you can really offer the best versions of yourselves to those you encounter!  Take time for yourself on a daily basis, eat well, be active, sleep soundly, and wake up with hope in your heart that each day is the day you will positively impact someones life!  Set yourself a solid foundation so you can build great things upon it!

 

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I am here to Rock ‘n’ Blog!!!

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Some of you may have guessed it already, but I’m here to make it official tonight with the reveal of my announcement of #RunWithDre!

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Last April I ran my first Rock n Roll Series Half Marathon in San Francisco; ironically it was also my first hometown half!  It was a great memory (and PR) made that foggy Sunday!  Tonight I’m grateful and excited to announce that I’ll be back again this April to run AND blog for this event!

If your 2014 Bucket or To Do list includes getting health(ier), getting fit, running a half marathon, challenging yourself, having fun and/or simply to take a trip to San Francisco then I’m PERSONALLY inviting you to #RunWithDre this April 6 through the scenic streets of San Francisco and even over the Golden Gate Bridge!!

Some of my most favorite running memories are those I’ve run with friends, family, and fellow bloggers (so don’t worry, you won’t be going at this alone)!  If you’ve never been to San Francisco–have no fear–I’ll be blogging with some travel and site seeing tips!  If you haven’t run much lately or at all, I’m (and many other RnR bloggers) are here to help with that too!

The first step is up to YOU–register before it sells out!  Last year RnRSF sold out by mid January (lucky for you, we still have some spots left)!  To entice you, I also have a promo code you can use– RUNWITHDRE (Valid for $10 off the Half Marathon registration fee)!!  There’s a limited number of registrations that the code is good for and it will expire, so sign up to #RunWithDre TODAY!!

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Oh, one last thing…you know those #TweepUps we are always posting about, we’ll have one of those too (in addition to all the race expo, running, and post race concert fun…did I mention there’s a free beer, of course for the 21 and up?!) for you to look forward to!

Now GO!!

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Making for a Happier & Healthier Holidays

I can’t help it…the holiday season reminds me of my Mom and those remind me that she’s no longer physically here.  This often saddens me when I’m reminded.  I’ve embraced this, really I have, I know it’s part of my “new normal” of living the rest of my life without her here. There will be no walking me down the aisle when I get married, no holding my first born, etc.  I didn’t think about these things initially after her passing.  I’ve embraced this and the fact that even for the silliest of sad movie moments I’ll tear up like she used to–I used to make fun of her for this!

The point here is that life goes on and if I keep myself open to moving on, I will.  I’ll never forget her, but I will always be open to how to continue to live my life to the best of my ability without her physically here….evening during the harder times.  To do so, I’ve found that embracing the facts is part of the process.  Facts like she’s physically gone and there’s no bringing her back in that sense and the emotions that ensue.  There’s nothing wrong with being sad but for some reason many (including my past self) thought this to be a shameful or unacceptable reaction.  Don’t get my wrong, I don’t “enjoying” crying or being sad, but I tend to be better if feel it and deal with it.  

 

So to make for a happier holidays I’ve started to bring some of her back into my holiday traditions.  Here are my top 5 tips to make it a happier holiday season even if someone special is gone.

1) Reignite a traditional holiday event.  For example, as kids she used to take us into the city to see all the holiday decorations, do a little bit of shopping and have a nice lunch.  This year I decided to spend a day celebrating my birthday doing this.  It was really nice and I did it with friends!  The memories the came up made me happy and not sad, I was mentally and emotionally ready to do this.  

2) Make their festive food tradition your own.  Every year she’d spend time baking her infamous chocolate chip cookies for the neighbors.  I did this to a T the first couple of Christmas years but I’ve now put my own spin on it and the cookies are a supporting act and not the main feature.  It’s taken her tradition and turned it into ours!  It doesn’t make me sad, it makes me feel closer to her.  

3) Be open to your new normal.  Especially if this is your first holiday without them.  You can’t bring them back (physically speaking) so what you’ve known as “normal” or “traditional” is going to change from this point forward, it’s inevitable and fighting it won’t make it easier.  Our first holiday after my Mom passed was Thanksgiving.  She used to spend the week leading up to that Thursday in the kitchen prepping for our and our extended family’s dinner!  Our first one after she passed, my Dad ordered one of the box ones from the grocery store.  I was in shock but I wasn’t about to argue about it.  Even if we did try to recreate it, it would have not been the same and probably added more tension and emotion to the day.

4) Embrace the feelings.  Yup, you are going to get mad, be angry, and/or tear/cry–might as well accept it.  It doesn’t mean you are broken–just human and unlike the Tin Man, you have a heart.  I can still remember our first Holiday Season without her…it felt weird (like something was missing), it didn’t feel right, I was sad, felt lonely, I cried, etc.  But each year since, it’s gotten easier and happier.   I still have moments/days that are still less happy but I take those days for myself and then commit to not letting it keep me down.

5) Focus forward.  I can’t tell you how many times I opted to turn to food to “soothe” or drown my feelings related to not having my Mom around any more.  I can’t tell you because it happened so much that I lost count.  But I can tell you that those times have significantly reduced over the years.  For one, I’m more aware of how I feel after I’ve done that and I don’t like that physical feeling.  Secondly, it doesn’t help with the emotional pain, it’s still there after I down a box of chocolates.  So I now I focus more on fueling my body versus “feeding” the feelings.  I also get out if I’m in a funk.  Winter months tend to keep us inside more than outside which reduces key nutrients and vitamins that we get from the sun and have side effects in and of themselves.  So I commit to getting outside weather permitting and if it doesn’t I still try and get out of my house.  

I can’t guarantee that all this will work for everyone, I’m simply sharing what I know has worked for me.  You can’t stop change from happening, but you can make it an easier shift by going with its “flow” versus fighting against its “current”!

A Few of my Favorite Fit Things…

With the holidays upon us I was recently asked to share a few of my favorite fit things!  If you don’t know me here’s a synopsis…I’ve personally and naturally shed 170+ lbs (with no desire to gain them back).  I’m a proponent of an overall well being–meaning that in order to truly live a healthy life we must address all aspects of health (mental/emotional, spiritual and physical).  Health is an inside out way of life; we must treat our inside well to reflect a healthy outside.  You’ve seen this probably when people post things like it’s “20% exercise and 80% clean eating/diet”.  But it goes beyond that, our “dirty eating” is triggered by mental/emotional/spiritual lacking.  Similar to how we often confuse hunger with dehydration (meaning we are actually in need of water not food).  I can go more into that in later posts.  This post is about some of my favorite tools to live/lead a healthy life!  So here we go! And some of these are FREE!!

1)  FitBit –This little device (which they have a number of models/styles to choose from) has been attached to my hip–literally–since February 2012!  To date I’ve travel over 6.7K miles!  I love this because it’s a great monitor and motivator to keep me moving throughout my day and not just for my workouts!  The key about sustaining a healthy lifestyle is regular activity not just a hardcore 30-60 minute workout.  This is both a motivator for those busy work days when I’m usually more sedentary and shows me how much more so then usual.  It’s also a great “cheerleader” for those very active days I have!   It’s caught on in my family–my Dad, sister, brother-in-law, three cousins and many friends have their own!  It also allows you the ability to keep yourself accountable with your friends/family online.  

2)  Chopra Center Meditation — I’ve done two of the free 21 day challenges now and loved both of them!  They also offered paid guided meditations and apps.  They help clear my mental clutter and see what’s right in front of me and most important.  I have to admit I don’t get “frazzled” as much any more and this is partially because these challenges allow you to schedule the time to decompress and they guide you towards sustaining the results of their meditations.  

3) Gym Membership — I’m being general here because a gym membership is like a pair of shoes, one style/size doesn’t fit all.  Take the time and do the homework to find the right one for you and your needs.  I’ll admit, I’m a member of 24 Hour Fitness.  I appreciate the convenience and the amenities they offer.  But, there’s no sense in signing up for the one everyone else is if it’s not the right fit for you.  You’ll never go and you’ll end up wasting money.  In fact, perhaps the gym atmosphere all together isn’t your thing…or you are like me and can’t always get there, which leads me to my next favorite thing.

4) & 5) At Home Workouts — I have videos and small equipment (I’m going to mention more than one workout, hence this being two numbers in one).  I’m usually at the gym but there are times I can’t get there.  When that happens I won’t give myself an out but instead another option.  I have a number of different workouts to go to but I like the total body workouts offered in the different BeachBody workouts.  Tony has some great strength and endurance workouts (and NO he doesn’t just do P90X).  My other at home is usually Pilates and/or Yoga.  It’s still one of those workouts that I don’t enjoy doing with a group of people.  So for Pilates I love my Tone and Tighten DVD that I got at my local WeightWatchers which came with some equipment as well!  For yoga I use the PocketYoga app offered for iPad/iPhone.  It’s a guided and timed routine for all levels of yogis!

6) At Home Equipment — Let’s face it, majority of us don’t have room for workout equipment at home and don’t really want an at home gym (I do some day but living in a studio apartment that’s not my reality)!  My go to equipment is the following: yoga mat, kettlebells, bands, and my Gaiam ball/chair.  I’m sitting on the ball/chair as I type this and it’s benefited me in so many ways since I got it!  It’s improved my core while I work, it serves as workout equipment when not being my chair, and my back is much better since I’ve gotten this–I rarely get back/shoulder pain anymore.  The bands are a great alternative to storing weights at home.  For one they are lighter and easier to store!  They come in different tensions to simulate heavier weights and are used in many at home workouts.  Kettlebells can be found at many gyms now as well but I like having my stash at home too.  They are easier to store (in my opinion) vs the regular dumbbells.  They also provide a different kind of weight training workout–think of it like stability training with a weight.  You can do isolated weight training, in addition a lot of the workouts include exercises that work more that one muscle/group at a time which equals more efficient!  And a yoga mat comes in handy for of course your yoga/pilates work but also for any workouts that require you to do floor exercises!.  

7) HydraCoach Water Bottle — I bought mine off of Amazon.com…well I technically got it for Christmas two years ago but I found it there, LOL.  We all have our stash of water bottles (like coffee tumblers) we never use, but this is one I’ve used daily for the past two years!  This water bottle tracks you daily water consumption.  I got it because I always lost track of how many times I’d refill my water bottles and/or glasses.  In addition to, this taught me that I was walking around dehydrated because I was consuming less than my daily goal needed for my body size!  By far one of my favorite products!  I have dropped it (not on purpose), it fits into cup holders, etc. and it’s still by my side daily!  The only thing I’ve had to replace was the mouthpiece and that’s because after two years I wore it out!

8) Journal — Any one that inspires you to go to it daily will do!  I bought my current one off of Amazon but I’ve gotten past ones at Barnes and Noble or other local shops as well.  The purpose of my journal?  Well it’s multi-functional for me!  I track my food/water/activity in my journal but I also write down snippets of what’s happened that day to reflect those choices and then do a weekly reflection of how my week went overall–did I follow Good Health Guidelines, reach my daily water goal, and/or have emotional/stressful day(s)?  It allows me to not only pause and reflect daily/weekly but it offers me the time/space to track that and learn from it.  I can see patterns of good times and struggling times.  

9) Garmin Forerunner — as a runner I have to admit that I’d be lost literally/metaphorically without this!  They come in different styles/models and my Dad even purchased one this past year for himself. Mine is GPS and Heart Rate monitor in one, which is why I got it.  With the training for half marathons I’ve been doing and they on/off road running for it, it’s been a great guide both for miles and my heart rate!

10) CEP Compression Sleeves — my newest addition to my favorites!  In a month I’ve gone from none to four pairs!  They are the one thing I don’t want to take off after my long run days!  They keep you muscles in tip top shape while you are on the go in addition to they are great for recovery as well!  Speaking of recovery, I’m sneaking in one more as a bonus (BonVital) my sport cooling spray.  This was introduced to me by my sports massage therapist and is great for recovery post run!  I pack it in my after race bag for immediate use after I change out of my sweaty clothes.  I reapply after I shower post run as well.  I’ve noticed my recovery to be faster and with little/no soreness.

 

So there you go!!  A few of my Favorite Fitness Things!!!  But remember, they don’t work unless you do!

Wrapping up my Year of the Half Rock n Roll Style!

Wrapping up my Year of the Half Rock n Roll Style!

I still find it hard to believe sometimes that I’ve completed 8 half marathons in a little over more than a year from my first!  As this year comes to a close (and my birthday nears) I’m wrapping up my year with my 9th and final half marathon!  I’ve evolved my walking into jogging into running.  I’ve gone from hoping to finish my first half in under 3 hours (finished 2:35) to my last half finished in 2:02!  I’ve gone from focusing mostly on PRs (personal records) to ENJOYING running!  I’m beyond “half crazy”! LOL

One of my most recent experiences around running really opened my eyes.  I was at a table with some co-workers I was getting to know (beyond email exchanges) and all of them had questions for me on/about running.  It was like I was sitting on a panel for runners and non runners.  The best part, I never once thought “who am I to answer these”, because deep down I’m a runner and my head is catching up to my heart on that!

Running has been one of my best forms of measuring my progressing over the last few years.  For those of you who don’t know where I started here’s the summary: I was well over 340lbs, lost my job/Mom/Grandma within a one month period, and in a general state of feeling lost in the dark.  With no Mom, job, or significant other I had nothing to “fall back on” but myself and my current self was in no shape to help anyone including myself.  I didn’t start off running at 340+ lbs, I started by just putting one foot in front of the other and walking.  My Mom was an avid walker so this also served as a way to connect with her.  As the weight came off (both literally and figuratively) walking became easier and I started to challenge myself with walking/jogging intervals.  In time that turned into running.  At some point though, I had to go outside myself for support and in doing so I found great motivators in family, friends, and social media.  Yes, social media played a part in my weight loss journey.  It’s been via social media that I’ve been able to share my story, meet others on their journey and those who I admire and aspire (running wise) to be like some day!  It was the days I felt I had no where to turn when I’d turn to my SM friends and they’d lift me out of my trenches with no judgement.

I’ve met some AMAZING people through running!  This past month I had the opportunity to meet some of my running idols at the RunRocknRoll #RnRLA (Los Angeles) expo.  People like Dani from WeightOffMyShoulders (fellow WeightWatchers leader), Brian from PavementRunner (who’s a fellow Bay Area runner and a TOTAL ROCKSTAR in my book, ironically we didn’t meet until LA), Linze of SeeSharpRun (super fun/funny guy and never a dull moment when with him), John (who is another rockstar and running #SA2LV this weekend), and last but not least I got to meet some of the @RunRocknRoll team (super cool and committed people who’ve put on some amazing races and included me in them)!  My point to calling these people out?  They don’t need the extra follows trust me, they all have quite a following!  But that they are worth the follow, whether you are a want to be runner, new to running, been running, male/female, East/West Coaster, etc.!  These people cover all the basics and make running fun.  They recognize that it’s about more than PRs but enjoying life and running through it, they pay it forward, and they are inclusive in all they do!  They all inspire/motivate me when I feel like I don’t have anything left to give.

I say all that to say this….

I know it’s been a busy and crazy year and starting this year with doing just my 2nd half ever I’m ending it by completing my 9th!  How apropos that it will be on the same course as many of the above and with @RunRocknRoll!  This post is a reminder to pause through all the hustle and bustle (especially coming up with the holidays) and remember how far you’ve progressed this year.  Change is constant, we often overlook the positive changes we’ve made because of this.  Once upon a time, the #RnRLV was on my bucket list for runs because it usually fell on my birthday weekend.  This year it’s a few weeks earlier, but I feel it’s still a great way to celebrate my life–I’ll be running in a 5K the weekend of my bday in lieu of!

People often ask why I run…I’ve heard a lot of other’s answer this “because I can”, “it keeps me sane”, etc.  And while those all apply to me as well I’d have to honestly answer that I run because it’s a blessing on the life I was graced with.  It’d be like being given the gift of life and not waking up each morning.  I haven’t always had the ability/capability to run, now that I do I won’t take it for granted. This is why I’m ReNewedMe.  I couldn’t go back to what I knew as “normal” and in turn I created my new normal and realized change is good and not as scary as I often saw it to be.