Thursday, October 25, 2012

Road is Long, Heart is Strong

A good friend told me this quote: "Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Work, continuous work and hard work, is the only way to accomplish results that last."

On that note, it's time to go out and get it done. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Marla Runyan Half Marathon 2012

Remember how I wasn't going into this race with any expectations? This was mostly because my expectations tend to lead to disappointments and disappointments tend to lead to eating too many cookies so I took the "let's just see what happens" route.

The Marla Runyan Half-Marathon took place on Sunday October 21, 2012. This was an inaugural event so quite honestly I wasn't sure what to expect. Since I was out of town Saturday during the packet pick-up I had to plan on getting to race early to pick up my race bib.

It was a breeze picking up my goodie bag, race bib, and timing chip. After I downed 2 bottles of water and hit the glorious port-a-potty I headed to the start line.

We actually started on time! It was scheduled to start at 7AM and I think we took off around 7:03AM. For an inaugural small event this was a major plus in my book.

I'd guess there were only a couple hundred runners at most. I could see the front and back of the group from where I started in the race. Maybe it's just me, but I like the smaller races. There's a lot more breathing room especially near the beginning. In the Disney Half I was weaving through people for at least a few miles since it was so congested.

I swore that I was going to see how long I could last without music this race. I swore that I didn't need music. I swore I'd last at least a few miles without it.

Turns out I'm a wimp and had the ipod on about half a mile in. The first mile flew by but I knew I was starting out way too fast, of course. The announcer even reminded everyone minutes before that at the start, "pace yourself!"

The start of races can be so tricky sometimes because your trying to find your pace but you almost can't help but pace with those around you. Anyone else fall into this trap? Maybe it's just me.

Oddly enough, mile 4 was my slowest mile in this race. Usually this is where I pick it up but I think it might have had to do with the incline during this part of the race. You don't really see it, but you feel it. Or, maybe I really am just a wimp again and prefer to run only music filled, easy, flat courses. Either way, it kicked my butt.

The middle was unscenic and kind of boring but I kept trucking along. Felt pretty strong miles 5-8. I actually passed people. Usually people pass me by this point. Then at 9 my legs were starting to feel that incline and by 10 I felt pretty tanked. I kept going though, even talking to myself (out loud at times):

Don't you dare give up

You made it this far, keep going

Come on, do you want this or not?

Please tell me I'm not the only one who talks to herself out loud when it gets tough in a race! When it becomes more of a mental race I tend to pick a song and stick with it, even repeat it a few times just to keep myself going. It's always a song I least expect too! This race it was "Hall of Fame" by The Script.

Even though I felt pretty tanked, I finished up at 2:05 which was a 5 minute PR for me! I haven't run that strong (for me) in months! My last few races were in the 2:11-2:16 range.

Since this was my 5th half-marathon, I finally feel like I have a better handle on what I need to do to stay healthy while slowly improving. Drastic improvements aren't worth it to me because when I run too hard, I get injured. I'd rather slowly increase my pace, be able to run more miles and keep the chance of injury at bay.

Recovery wise...
I'm taking 2 days off of running and see how my body feels on Wednesday. If it feels good I'll probably do some recovery miles. Definitely no speed work just yet. I'm feeling sore but its symmetrical. Always note whether your soreness is felt the same on both sides of your body. It's obviously not fool proof but that's just a tip when noting whether you have an injury or not.

I received a bunch of questions about speed work so I'll do my best to put together some tips for you this week!

Also, thank you to those of you who recommended I switch to Hammer gels. They were so much easier on my stomach! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Two half marathons

For yesterday's run I played the game of how many different colors can I wear at once. Anyone ever play that game? I think it's time to do some laundry.

I received a few e-mails this week requesting that I document what exactly I'm doing to prepare for my next race:

*Since I'm 4 days out I am upping my water and aiming for at least 3L of plain water per day. I don't count other liquids such as juice, coffee, etc. in the 3L.

*I am starting NOW to transition to bland foods. My body is very sensitive and I'm hoping that switching to blander foods now will set me up for a stomach issue free race.

*My last workout will be Friday morning (2 days before the race) and won't be too leg intensive.

*RELAXING mentally is something I'm really trying to focus on doing. If I turn into a head case and obsess over every little aspect of what I should still do, shouldn't have done, etc. it never does any good. I'm working on finding the balance between being competitive and enjoying the race.

*I've already accepted this won't be a PR (or at least the odds aren't in my favor for one.) My shins have been acting up periodically and I've been getting in too many "junk miles." I need to be more disciplined about training if I want to seriously improve.

But, this doesn't mean I won't give it my all! Just because I'm not in my best shape doesn't mean I can't do well. Plus, I still have another race next weekend at LA Rock'n'Roll so I need to factor that in there. Two half marathons on back to back weekends could be a little interesting.

For more information, here's an article with 5 tips for running your first half-marathon incase you're interested.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

You have a choice

You have value beyond measure. Don't let things or people rattle you. Stand firm in your goals, dreams, and beliefs. If you have a dream, chase it. The size is irrelevant. Why not you? The only thing standing in the way of your dreams are your own doubts and fears; you are limiting yourself. Choose to see beyond the self made barriers.

Part of the changing process is owning your CHOICES, both good and bad. Life presents you various situations but you CHOOSE your response to them. You are in the driver seat, the author of your own story... if you don't feel that way, it's time to make a change.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I signed up for a marathon

Well, this happened.
That's right. Danielle is doing her first full marathon May 2013.

I'm still trying to find a good training plan to follow. I've been considering this one. Any suggestions?

My biggest fear with tackling a 26.2 mile race is to acquire some kind of injury during training. We already know I'm susceptible to shin splints so I need to be very proactive about stretching, icing, and listening to my body when it needs a rest day. I can be horrible about stretching post workout! How often do you stretch? Before, after, or during your run?

Questions From You

"How many times do you run a week?"
I generally run 3 times per week. Usually two "shorter" runs (3-5 miles) and 1 longer (7-10 miles). 

"Is it okay to stop during your run?"
I'm not afraid to stop in the middle of my runs especially to stretch. I used to be paranoid about stopping but now I don't take any chances. I'd rather stop than increase my chance for injury. I always advise people that it's best to listen to your body. Stopping or slowing down may also be an effective form of interval training that will help you in the long run. 

"Why do I feel like I'm going to DIE the first mile every time I go running? How can I get over this?"
This issue may have to do with how often you're running. If your runs are schedule too far apart your body can't successfully adapt and your endurance and overall fitness may be hindered. A second possibility may be that you're starting off too fast. Let your body ease into the run. Another issue may that your body still need a better warm up. I'm an advocate for dynamic warm ups to get your muscles warm and heart rate up.

 If you have a question about running or any other topic shoot me an e-mail and I'll do my best to get it answered for you! E-mail:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The moment you flip a coin

I am the type of person who can get overwhelmed if I have too many options - especially if none of the options seem that bad. I'm very forward minded but sometimes that backfires on me. It backfires because I think of all the possible scenarios, both good and bad, then shy away from following through in fear that it won't work out. I'm guilty of dwelling on the past and trying to pointlessly rewrite it all while trying to isolate the moment it all went awry. 

I've been so guilty of this lately. I keep looking back in a negative way wondering, "where did it all go wrong?" and "how did I end up here?" Instead, I should be focusing on the exciting and promising hope of the future. I get to write the story MYSELF. It can be overwhelming at times but liberating nonetheless. I need to work on taking a leap of faith.

I saw this quote today and wondered if you guys had any thoughts about it,

The moment you flip a coin, you know what your decision is. Not because of the side it landed, but because in the few seconds the coin was in the air, you knew what you wanted. 

Monday, October 8, 2012


Excess sugar may be one of the biggest reasons that people gain weight so quickly. Sugar is an readily used filler because people like the taste, it's a acts as a good preserver, and it also serves as a bulking agent so it's easy to see why it's in everything. (source) While your taste buds may enjoy the taste of sugar, your waist line surely does not.

When you eat sugar it causes an insulin spike. Insulin is a hormone (chemical messenger) that tells your body to "store" carbs (among other things.) So, imagine that if you're eating something that is loaded with sugar (doesn't matter if you taste it or not) it's telling your body "store" the food you're consuming. Not only does that have adverse affects on someone who is trying to lose weight, it can also lead to Type II Diabetes. The more frequent you have insulin spikes the more "wore out" the receptors get; they are essentially getting desensitized. When you have receptors that are not responding to glucose levels in the blood it can be dangerous.

When I'm talking about "sugar" I'm referring beyond table sugar. Check out this list of the top sources of hidden sugar from Dr. Oz's website:

Breakfast Cereal
Toasted rice flakes contain 10 grams of sugar per serving. Instant flavored oatmeal often has 16 grams of sugar per serving. Instead, go for sugar-free, high-fiber cereals or plain instant oatmeal that you flavor yourself with blueberries and cinammon.

Protein Drinks
Popular pre-packaged weight-loss drinks pack 35 grams of sugar per serving. Homemade smoothies made with skim milk can have up to 80 grams of sugar depending on how you make them. One cup of skim milk has 11 grams of sugar. Most soy milk brands have 12 grams of sugar per serving. Once you add in juice and fresh fruit, you’ve made a super-sugary concoction. Instead, choose a low-sugar protein shake by reading the label.

Yogurt and Yogurt Drinks
If your yogurt or yogurt drink isn’t sugar-free, it can have anywhere from 27-60 grams of sugar per serving. Aim for the sugar-free variety.

Dried Fruit
People tend to overeat dried fruit because they think that it’s good for them. But dried fruit is not as nutritious as fresh fruit. A 1.5-ounce box of raisins has 30 grams of sugar! Instead, grab fresh fruit like a green apple.

Fruit Juice
Juice can have anywhere from 30-80 grams of sugar. Many processed juices also lack the fiber whole fruit or fresh juices provide. Drink water instead.

When reading nutrition labels, here are a few added sugars to look out from a Livestrong article:

high fructose corn syrup, syrup, raw sugar, syrup, cane sugar, brown sugar, dextrose, fructose, glucose, corn sweetener, molasses, honey or fruit juice concentrates.

The American Heart Association recommends women to have no more than 100 calories or 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day while they recommend men no more than 150 calories or 8 teaspoons of per day.

If you're struggling to achieve the weight loss goals you're after, I challenge you to note how much sugar you're taking in per day and to think outside of the box when it comes to what you view as "sugar." As always, contact me with questions!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Is it okay to call someone out?

Over the past few days there has been a lot of buzz around this story. This story has sparked quite the controversy over what hurtful remarks he said and how she gracefully handled the situation. Many have been saying that she is doing a great service by calling out the man she calls a bully. However, others disagree. They think he is right by saying that as she is a public role model, she should strive to be in a healthy weight range. People are also saying that he is being too critical and assume he "must be one of those health nuts."

This is how I see it: yes, we want to encourage healthy behaviors and self esteem but we do not need to put down others in the process. His words were not encouragement at all. If anything, his words were a calling out. To get through to people you can't just expose their faults. That's the quickest and surest way to turn someone into defense mode.

We all battle something whether we want to admit it or not. Just because someone's battle is more pronounced that yours does not give you the right to "weigh in" your opinion. Your negative opinion of someone else is literally worthless. It adds nothing to the universe. It astounds me at how many people think they can put someone else down "in the name of health."

What do you think? Do people have a right to call out someone if their lifestyle isn't considered "healthy?"

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