Santa Cruz Half Marathon

Hi!

I’m back to the blog. Honestly after this race I felt like I lost my motivation and discipline and needed sometime to get back to my routine. I’ve also been traveling these past few weekends so it was hard to make time for blogging with my 9-5, teaching, and life in general!

Anyways, race recap blog posts hold a special place in my heart. I started writing these posts back in college and it’s always so fun for me to look back at them years later and relive the race experience. I feel like they are posts I write for myself more than anyone else but hopefully you still find them entertaining ☺.

I usually recap the race by breaking it down into mile chunks but honestly I didn’t feel too differently in mile 3 than I did at mile 10! So instead, I’ll focus on three key factors of the race: mind, body, and nutrition.

MIND:

I was genuinely so excited about the Santa Cruz Half Marathon. It was a great excuse for a one-day getaway to a beach town with my parents and my boyfriend and I was excited for a chance to run another race after my IT band injury last year.

I didn’t experience the normal anxiety and nerves I usually do with half marathons and I think there are a couple of reasons for that. Number one, I’ve done a few half marathons by now so I know what to expect at a race; two, I didn’t put too much pressure on myself for a finishing time. Yes I knew I wanted a sub 2 hour final time but if I didn’t achieve it I knew there would be more races.

BODY:

Training was relatively short at eight weeks but it was consistent. I ran three times a week and paired my runs with strength training and POP Pilates training. I feel like core strength and lower body strength made a huge difference in a running. Thanks to Fleet Feet SF’s training program, my runs were a mix of hill training, speed work, and challenging long runs!

NUTRITION:

This was my first half marathon after I started to work with a nutritionist and my diet change helped a lot with my energy levels. In the past I’d feel tired and uncomfortable after long runs and I think it’s because I’d refuel with food that didn’t sit well with my stomach. This time around I had more control of my energy level.

THE OUTCOME:

I PRed at a time of 1:52*!! I shaved off 10 minutes my last PR: part of the difference is due to the fact that SC is far less hilly than SF, but I also think the mind, body, and nutrition prep did wonders.

I felt like a million bucks right after the race but a couple of days later I felt like I lost all discipline. I think I need a new goal again ☺.

*1:52 is my approximated time because for some silly reason the race ended at 12.7 miles…I had so much more energy left in me I wish it kept on going! I added 5 minutes to my official time of 1:47:18 to get my PR time.

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Five Tips for Workout Motivation

five easy tips on how to find motivation for working out.

In a perfect world, working out should be as easy as other routine activities like brushing your teeth, showering, eating etc. But we all know it’s not that easy, even though physical activity is as important as clean teeth (if not more!).

You know when I find it the hardest to be motivated? When you’re coming back to working out after a while, whether it be weeks or years. You feel like your first workout back has to be the best one ever – but that’s totally not true. You just have to do something!

I struggled with workout motivation for years and still occasionally do…you know sometimes that fear sets in. But think I’ve finally found a happy balance and I definitely didn’t find that motivation alone. The tips below have helped me stay motivated and hopefully they help you too.

1. Stop being a Perfectionist

Let’s say you haven’t worked out for three months but want to get back into running as You make a plan to run 4 miles the next day but when tomorrow comes, you are afraid you won’t be able to do it so you postpone it.

Then, the next day comes around and you still don’t get to running because you don’t have the time for a full 4 miles. But why not just start with one mile? Or why don’t you even make it a point to get outside for 15-20 minutes to see what happens?

I feel like we get so caught up with the “perfect” plan that we can let it intimidate us to a point where we do nothing. 

2. Set Realistic, Achievable Goals

We all have our own reasons to why we workout: to lose weight, to feel happier, to run faster. However, sometimes when we are dragging our butts to the gym, we lose sight on why we are there in the first place.

Shannon Arens, the general manager of our health & wellness program at work wrote a great post on how to choose “S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound)” goals.

For example, I’m most motivated to workout when I’m training for a race. I feel truly committed andI also love competing against myself and aiming to beat my personal record. A great example of a SMART goal for me would be “set a PR for my half-marathons by running a sub 2:00 time at the Santa Cruz half on April 9th.”

I personally steer away from goals in physical appearance because I think it could lead to an unhealthy obsession with the scale and vanity metrics. So maybe getting ready for bikini season is a great motivation for some people, but I don’t think it’s a goal that’s leads to longer-term commitment to working out.

3. Find an accountability partner

I wish I was better at morning workouts (well I am kind of getting better now that I teach POP Pilates twice a week at 7 AM) but if I don’t have a reason to be up, I normally end up snoozing my alarm. However, if I am meeting a friend for a run in the morning or taking a class someone, I never snooze for fear of disappointing my friend! Working out with someone not only is fun, but also provides accountability.

4. Keep it Social

This point ties in well to the one above: working out shouldn’t necessarily feel like a chore. Try rock-climbing, dancing, or hiking with friends. My roommate and I sometimes go to hip-hop together at uforia studios and it’s so much fun!

With all of our busy lives, it’s hard to find time to do everything, so why not make it easier by combining social time and fitness into one?

5. Join an online community

There are many great online fitness communities where you can like-minded individuals who are trying to make health & wellness a priority. A few well-known fitness communities include POP Pilates, Tone it Up, and Kayla Itsines BBG. There are always different challenges to partake in and you’ll find plenty of other women on the way to motivate you!

I know I’ve only touched on a few ways to stay motivated to work out so I’d love to hear from you what you do to bring back that determination!

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five easy tips on how to find motivation for working out.

five easy tips on how to find motivation for working out.

Tone It Up Bay Area Getaway: Part I

aimee-torri

The Getaway

I’ve been a silent follower of Tone It Up for the last couple of years. I’ve wanted to get involved in the community for so long, but hesitated in the past. I’m a bit of an introvert so I tend to shy away from group activities and do more things independently.

But I still really wanted to get involved…so I finally took a leap of faith and signed up for a retreat with 30 other local TIU members. We rented a house in Marin and spent three days working out, relaxing by the pool, working out some more and then drinking a lot of wine. It was like a weekend with your sorority sisters…but better.

The Tone It Up Getaway wasn’t actually sponsored by Tone It Up or affiliated in anyway with the official Tone It Up Retreat. The trip was actually planned by a few special women who thought it would be fun to do our own mini-retreat at a much more reasonable price.

Here’s Part I of the Getaway… there’s so much to say that I’m going to dedicate Part II to all the food we ate (because it was that freaking good!).

So what do you do at a fitness retreat?

Our first night in the house (Friday evening) we spent time getting to know each other over food, games, and wine. We also received our super cool swag bags that night – I’ve never seen anything like it: great snacks, head bands, water bottles, and other Tone It Up gear.

We kicked off Saturday morning with our Booty Call. For those unfamiliar with Tone It Up workouts, a “booty call” isn’t what you may think; rather it’s short morning workout to start off your day! You can go on a walk, a run, complete a HIIT workout, whatever gets you up and moving in the morning.

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The afternoon was spent relaxing by the pool while drinking sangria & eating Nada Moo ice cream from tub (my new obsession!).

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Later in the afternoon, we welcomed Leila to lead a 90 minute yoga session. We opened the French doors out to the front yard so that we could set some yoga mats in the living room and others out by the pool to create a partially indoor/outdoor yoga experience.

Immediately we knew this practice was going to be different. First, we were at a fitness retreat in a quiet neighborhood where we could see hawks flying, and hear leaves rustling with the wind. But what made the class truly unique was the spirituality aspect Leila had brought. She began the class with a spiritual chant “Sri Ram Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram” while she played the harmonium.

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I’ll be completely honest: I was hesitant to accept the practice due to my personal, internal conflicts with western yoga and Hindu religion (this topic totally deserves it’s own post). However, because she felt so genuine, I was able to fully embrace her style and felt at peace while she chanted. It ended being one of my most memorable yoga practices.

Our final celebrations

You guys, we had our own dance party in the house and it was so much fun! It reminded of house parties we used to have in college, but way less trashy ☺. We converted the living room into a dance & drank copious amounts of wine and tequila, sang our favorite throwback hits, and danced the night away.

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After an intense night, Sunday morning was a bit of a struggle but we were still determined to workout! Our final organized activity was a 5K hike/run – we marched out in our pink Charity Miles tanks to get our sweat on.

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Saying our goodbyes was tough, but luckily the TIU community is very active online. It’s been so easy to stay in touch!

I want to thank Raisa, Lauren, and Kara for planning this unforgettable getaway. They went above and beyond to make this event a success by organizing fun activities, partnering with amazing brands, and by taking every step they could to strengthen our community. You ladies are the best!

Look out for TIU Getaway Part II while I’ll recap all the yummy food we devoured.

My Kind of Retail Therapy: Whole Foods

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Hi all!

How was everyone’s weekend? Mine was great! I went to a music festival in San Francisco, Outside Lands, all weekend with my boyfriend and some friends. It was a bit exhausting but it felt great being able to disconnect from my regular routine. Oh I also got to see one of my favorite artists EVER, Lana Del Rey :D.

Soo I’m working on another more thoughtful, raw post but I need some time before I can fully write it. Honestly I can’t really figure out how to vocalize how I feel….my words haven’t caught up to my mind yet. But anyways, it will happen in due time!

What I can share is that I have had more than a couple of bad days these past few months and I’ve need different outlets to brighten my mood. Sometimes it’s yoga or a nice walk, but other times good-old retail therapy seems to do the trick.

My kind of retail therapy does not include shoes, clothes, or handbags, but rather a few fun snacks from Whole Foods. I don’t shop there on a weekly basis but I like to treat myself to quirky vegan, gluten-free, healthier treats occasionally.

Here’s a few things from my shopping “haul” last week (I’ve wanted to use that word ever since I saw Blair Fowler doing them on YouTube 10 years ago).

Whole Foods Haul

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    1. Harmless Harvest Raw Coconut Water – I discovered this coconut water a couple of years ago at Whole Foods and it’s now my favorite packaged coconut water! For a while I could only find them at Whole Foods but luckily they are available at many more places now.
    2. I Heart Keenwah Quinoa Puffs – I tried these puffs our Chicago office and I was addicted instantly. They are a local Chicago brand so I wasn’t sure if I would be able to find them here but luckily Whole Foods carries the brand!
    3. Veggie Fresh Rolls – These look very pretty but were a tad bit dry. Will try making my own version at home soon.
    4. Grindstone Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookie – Hmm this cookie is a bit mealy and dry but still enjoyable (probably because it had chocolate). Though calories are not a huge deal for me and I was a bit surprised the cookie is over 500 calories. I’m sure they are nutrient dense!
    5. Kite Hill Vegan Cheese – nothing compares to the real thing, but Kite Hill makes a good alternative.

Any recommendations on what I should try next?

P.S. I’m doing a fun ab-challenge on Instagram for the month of August. Follow along if you aren’t already 🙂

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