Tahoe PiYo

This post is coming to you from my spot bundled up in a blanket, on a couch, in front of a crackling fireplace, surrounded by family and with a view of the Heavenly tram out the window.  I’m in Tahoe for the weekend on a family ski trip!

Last summer, Chap and I came out here to meet my brother and his wife for a summer lake trip.  We decided then it’d be a good excuse to get everyone together again to come back for a ski trip, and here we are.   I’ll designate a special post to the trip next week, but today I just wanted to check in for the purpose of staying on track with posting and updating the race training progress.

Almost every time I travel there are more workout clothes than actual clothes in my bag and this time the only exception are all of the layers of skiing apparel.  I normally pack with every intention to have an active vacation – running, doing some circuits and practicing yoga.  It used to be because I had a fear of gaining an ounce just because I was traveling.  Now, it’s because I love keeping my body moving, especially when like-minded people are around.  I knew Shelby and my dad would want to run, and I can rope Shelby into almost any other kind of activity.

We spent several hours yesterday skiing Heavenly resort, which I will fully count as a leg day.  Lugging those ski boots around is no joke, and neither is staying on both feet down a mountain covered in snow.  Today was rainy, windy and very difficult to see.  As a new skier, I’m not into that and only managed a morning on the slopes.  I packed some PiYo DVDs to spice up the workouts a bit and Shelby and I did one on the living room floor.  We had plenty of space but I don’t recommend working out anywhere there is a fire going.

I have no pictures, not much content and still working the rust away but wanted to get a post up, especially since I missed yesterday.  Some ideas are starting to come to me but nothing worth really writing about yet.  What would you want to know about?

Minnesota (2/3): Wedding Dress Shopping

But not for me!  I am nowhere close to being in a place where I want to be married, or even if I did, that I would want people to stare at me while I walk down an aisle and pour my heart out to my sweetheart.  Nope, just can’t picture it.  So I gave fair warning to Mama that she better enjoy this day shopping for my soon to be sister Shelby.

We started the day with a shakeout run in the chilly (to me anyway) Minneapolis morning.  Shelby lead us over one of the famous bridges downtown towards a cute little historic Main Street part of the neighborhood.

It was’t a long run – just two miles to keep the blood flowing for Sunday’s race.  After a shower and waking up the non-runners of the family, we all united for a damn good breakfast at the Hen House Then, the girls and guys split up and we set off for some wedding dress fittings!

This is my first round of family weddings and I’m super excited for Shelby and Nathan to finally take the pressure off me for a wedding….I mean, to finally do what we’ve all seen coming for years and tie the knot.  Mama and I enjoyed watching Shelby try on various styles of wedding dresses at two different boutiques.  I have no idea how anyone ever settles for one but there were plenty of HIDEOUS gowns.  Pink ombre, anyone?  Never.

I was not allowed to try any on (still chasing that dream of being a wedding dress model) BUT I did slip on a veil for a quick minute.

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After making no major decisions or purchases (besides knowing that ombre pink is not the one), we headed off to the smallest packet pickup I’ve ever been to.  And for snacks.  I was one HANGRY chick after that :).  An apple and some almond butter fixed that pretty quickly though.  Shelby and Nathan walked us down to the spot where the race would take place – one of the lakes.

It was here that I realized how much I miss water sports.  We were always on the lake in Austin – paddle boarding, running around it, swimming in the springs.  And although Tulsa has a river here, no one gets in it.  I do miss being on the water.

For dinner, we re-visited the little Main Street we had run to earlier that evening.  I happily devoured a flatbread pizza while we watched all sorts of people with all sorts of dogs mill about.  Minneapolis is a happenin’ little place with a great vibe.  Time to rest up for race day in the morning!

Tulsa Tuesdays: Brush and Pen Workshop 

Some of you know that I work a side gig for the very place that brought me to Tulsa – Foolish Things Coffee Company.  My best friend from growin’ up, co-owns the shop with her husband and their ambition to have their own places of business really inspired me on the couple of visits I made to Tulsa.  I figured the best way to get that going for myself was to surround myself with it, one of the many reasons I chose Tulsa over Austin after graduate school.I now work for them part time as the event coordinator of their beautiful space.  We host anything from work meetings to rehearsal dinners to baby showers to wedding receptions.  This past weekend we had the pleasure of hosting a craft workshop called The Brush and Pen Workshop.  It was not the first time we hosted, but I did promise myself last time that I would get in  on the next one.  So I did!

It is hosted by two girls – Brittany and Alex – who each run their own Etsy shop, selling their handmade goodies.  I’ve followed Alex on Instagram for almost a year before meeting her in person and totally crushing all over her creations (you can follow her too @prairielettershop).  I didn’t know Brittany before the event but she is a very talented and passionate artist too (find her @brittanyviklund).

Let’s get a little background on the creative prowress that is not me.  I’ve never excelled in any kind of art – drawing, painting, music, choir – except a really fantastic color-by-number book my grandmother had.  I still dig that up every time I go to her house.  I thought this workshop would be a great way to have some tutelage as I attempted to ease into some right brain exercises.

And it blew me away.  There were about 18 or 20 attendees and we were each greeted with our own little set-up.

  
Alex spoke to us first, reviewing supplies and essentials for getting started in calligraphy.  We learned about nibs, ink and all kinds of paper I had no idea existed.  The best part was that the supplies we needed to get started were included in the workshop registration fee!  

She let us spend some time practicing various brush strokes, patiently answering questions and referring us back to the packet she put together with examples.  I did up strokes and downstrokes, lead ins and tails.  Over and over again.  

  
I’ve got some work to do on consistency of the shapes of the letters but had a lot of fun creating my own combination of cursive and flair. 

Next up was Brittany who walked us through the basics of watercolor (more paper options!).  We talked about brushes and tube vs. container paints before going into a technique tutorial.

  
We practiced fat and thin lines, wet on dry, wet on wet and all kinds of other techniques.  I made some up myself, too.  She walked us through a flower and wreath tutorial and then we combined the two arts by using the brush to letter with ink inside the wreath.  I wasn’t too impressed with mine BUT it was easier than I thought and the process of creating was magical.

  I discovered my favorite thing will be water coloring backgrounds and lettering powerful words over them.  Warrior was the first one I chose and it turned out great – lots of new mantras to create!
All the participants also walked away with swag bags in addition to most of the supplies and all the knowledge we need to keep going!  Check out my goodies – lots of creations from the girls’ online shops.

   
 Overall I cannot recommend this workshop enough to the aspiring crafter.  It’s a simple start with just the basic tools so not much upfront cost.  There’s plenty of practice time, encouraging coaching and resources for after the workshop is over.  

Their next workshop is in Arkansas on September 19 and you can register here:  www.brushandpenworkshop.com.

State 14: New York

Tulsa was finally having some beautiful weather – sun and seventies!  Flowers were blooming and the trees are showing spots of green.  I thought it’d be the perfect time to head to the Northeast for my 14th state.

I didn’t know what to expect from this race.  I chose to run in the Michelob Ultra Queens 13.1.  I would have loved to do the NYRR half the weekend before but it was almost double the price and flights were a little more expensive.  Queens it was.

Each of my races have had their own unique things about them and New York was no different.  I was unsure of two things – 1. How my knee would hold up to 13.1 miles and 2. How I would get to the race.  I decided, like I do with most things I’ve committed to, to just wing it.

I arrived in the big city on Thursday night and had accommodations at Audrey’s, my college roommate’s, place.  She gave me very detailed instructions for getting to her Washington Heights apartment and I followed them exactly.  Get the unlimited weekly pass.  Take the M60 bus.  Get on the Subway, line 3 uptown.  Take it to 161.  Everything went fine until the 3 line stopped running at 145th street.  No problem, I just called Audrey on a phone that had 2% left (later learned that the subway is a battery sucker) and decided to cab it to her place.

We had a perfectly chill night catching up on our lives, laying in bed together like we did throughout all four years of college.  The first two, sharing rooms and having beds that touched at the headboards.  So many nights we fell asleep talking to each other and quickly that habit was picked back up.

Friday we set out to find Rockefeller Plaza which is where my packet pickup was.  I let her set the pace and the route for the day.  She informed me of a cookie place we needed to try LeVain’s Bakery and that it was National Macaron Day (i.e. free macaron samples all over the city).  Perfect pre-race fuel.

First stop – the bakery.  We shared an incredible chocolate chip and walnut cookie as we hoofed it through Central Park in the chilly 30 degrees.  Best cookie I’ve ever had (so good I waited in line for more later in the weekend – maybe more than once, and maybe once for more time than I’d like to admit).  We spent the rest of the morning using one of her apps to find all the free Macaron places on the way to packet pickup.

Cookies in Central Park

Cookies in Central Park

A lot of things about Audrey have rubbed off on me over the years – a big one is the love for the Louisville Cardinals.  I knew if they were playing we’d be watching.  So after a brief respite at her place (we’ve always been great at naps), we headed back out into the city for some basketball and were greeted with some big snow!

Watching the Flakes

Watching the Flakes

Braving the Snow for the Cards

Braving the Snow for the Cards

The Cards pulled it off and I continued the carb loading with some incredible Buffalo Chicken Mac n Cheese and a really disappointing bloody mary at Heights Tavern.

Sinful.  But helped me through 13.1.

Sinful. But helped me through 13.1.

Pre-race evening included reviewing the route to the race – a few subway stops, a bus transfer and a tiny foot commute would do it.  I planned to leave in plenty of time to make it to the race, but didn’t want to be too early standing in the cold.  I ended up too early, but oh well.

I was so glad the race had a later start – 9am because it meant warmer temps despite the snow underfoot, and a reasonable wake up hour for the 40+ minute commute.

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The race was ok, not much to say about it.  We ran through the park close to the Mets stadium but it wasn’t very eventful or filled with great scenery.  We even ran a 5ish mile loop twice.  Never a fan of those in big races.  BUT I was so excited that I made it to 7 miles with no pain and no stopping (after only hitting 5 miles post-knee-injury training) and that I managed to finish the race at a run/walk and still have no pain the rest of the trip!

Not my favorite race but a big mental obstacle overcoming the weather and the injury.  Plus I got to catch up with several friends from lots of circles of life: Rhodes College, Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and University of Texas.  I do love New York!

That’s it for State 14 (I’ll spare you my nightmare getting back to Tulsa!)  Can’t wait to reveal 15 to you soon!  2 days into training for it!

12 Weeks

Howdy y’all!  It has been way too long since I’ve been consistent on here.  So I’m issuing myself a 12 week challenge.  I chose 12 weeks for a few reasons:  first, it’s the amount of time until my next race (details soon!) and I’ve written out a twelve week plan for it combining running, weight lifting, PiYo (recently certified) and clean eating.  Second, it’s an amount of time that will solidify a habit AND see significant changes in body and mind.  They say 30 days but I’m going for 84!

Here are some things to look forward to on the blog in the next week or two:

New York Race Recap (State 14!)

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Snow World in Queens, NY

Tulsa finally started showing signs of spring-like temps so I though it’d be a good time to travel to the snowy northeast.  I bunked with a best friend from college and ran in my first snow-covered race.

Tulsa Area Boot Camps

I’ve recently been certified in PiYo and have been asked to throw together some group workouts here in Tulsa.  It’s a perfect time of year for it outside so that’s what we’ll do – stay tuned for specific dates and times!

April Clean Eating Challenge

I’ll be leading these each month from now on!  It’s a great program to help eliminate some of those trouble foods that are easy and convenient but not the best for your body.  I’ll keep track of recipes and how I’m eating to supplement my training.

State 15

I’ll be racing state 15 in 12 weeks, and an announcement as well as run recaps and workouts will be coming soon.

What are you hoping to accomplish this spring?

Puerto Rico: El Yunque National Forest

Our second day in Puerto Rico started off just the same as any other in the lives of fitpros….with a run!  I love that I have running to help me see new places.  Running and walking make the experience with a new town so much more intimate.  You can smell the beach, feel the breeze on your face and take in your surroundings better.  We did a four mile run along the coast and into Old Town.  I was really pleased with the walk/runability of San Juan.  And there were plenty of other adventurers out with us despite the weather being similar to Texas and Oklahoma currently…humid and warm!

Erin and I decided that one of our main objectives to make our trip feel the most worthwhile would be to see the rainforest.  We were staying in San Juan, on the Northeast coast of the island of Puerto Rico and the Yunque National Forest was about a 40 minute drive a little farther east and a little more inland but completely worth it.

I could tell when we were getting close as the land started to rise up a little bit around us and turned into a more lush and green landscape.  Puerto Rico definitely has that tropical beach feel throughout the island but it was turning into simply tropical.  We paid $4 each to get into the Rain Forest Center but there was only a small trail, some maps to pick up and the museum.  If you’re just interested in the main rainforest sightseeing, you can skip the visitors center and save your money.  (Although I like to think it goes to a good cause 🙂 )

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The Park is set up so that you can drive all the way to the top, choosing to stop at whatever sights and tangent hikes you wanted to along the way.  We were all in for this excursion so tried to stop at all of them!  I’ll take you through one by one.

La Coca Falls

Our first stop was La Coca Falls, a crystal clear waterfall coming down the base of the “mountain”.  We stopped and took some pictures and then wandered over to ask the guide where La Coca Trail started.  He tipped us off in broken but clear English to some of the better sights, and encouraged us to skip La Coca Trail.  So we did, and everything else he suggested.

Yokahu Tower

We hopped back in the rental and drove to the next sight, Yokahu Tower.  Europe taught me to love climbing to the tops of towers for better views of the city and I knew we were in for a great view at the top of this one.  We climbed just over 100 stairs to reach the top and be greeted with an incredible view of the top of the forest as well as the coastline.

La Mina Falls

Our next stop was the one I was looking forward to the most.  The guide at La Coca Falls told us to take the Palo Colorado trail down to La Mina Falls.  He then challenged that if we were brave girls we would get in and go swimming in the falls.  I’m not sure where I had seen that there would be swimming available but I was ready with my suit on under my outfit.

We hiked down for about 30 minutes commenting on the dense forest around us, wondering what makes a jungle different from a rainforest (jungles less dense and usually close to a water source) and groaning about the inclined hike that would follow the swim.  We walked next to the water that would eventually fall over into the pool and it was crystal clear and cool.

Once we reached the falls I stuck to my brave girl challenge and slid in carefully.  The water was clear enough to see the uneven surface at the bottom but I couldn’t tell how deep it was so I was cautious.  I’m a big cold water wuss so it was a big accomplishment for me and I’m so glad I can say I swam in the rainforest!

Mt. Britton Tower

After the falls we had only one stop left.  There’s a different hike, upwards of two hours one way, to get to El Yunque Peak and we briefly entertained the idea of conquering it the following day (quit the entertaining after the hike to Mt. Britton).  So we settled instead for a 30-45 minute hike up to the tower. It was steeper than the hike coming back up from the Falls but we were of course jazzed at the thought of  a challenging hike.  Again, worth it.

On our way down we ran into a girl whose family is from the area and asked her where we should grab some food unique to the area.  She told us about a town just a little more east called Luqillo and that we could lay on the beach too.  There was a strip of 50+ little storefronts in this town and we found number 31 at her suggestion.  Erin and I split a seafood paella and mofongo (some sort of local plantain dish).  I didn’t really care for either BUT feel more cultured for trying.  Then we found paradise on a small beach.

We only left because a rainstorm moved in on us.  An appropriate ending to our rainforest adventure 🙂

Motivation Monday: My Problem with Fitspiration

Last week I wrote a post on setting goals, and another one about steps to take for enhancing your chances of success.  I’d like to turn Mondays into a regular motivational post, just to keep that fire lit.  When I searched “motivation” on Pinterest this morning, I was hoping for some inspiring quotes.  Instead, I was bombarded with images of (mostly) women’s half-naked bodies.

If you’ve been around Pinterest or in the fitness world for a while, you’re familiar with what I’m talking about.  The phenomenon actually has some terminology dedicated to it: fitspiration, thispiration, fitspo, thinspo.  (If you’re not familiar with this, search “motivation” on Pinterest).  There it all is.

First result for Google search: “fitness motivation women” Motivated?

Well, it all pisses me off (and not just me – here and there are some other viewpoints).

I personally am not motivated by these graphics (and if you are, more power to you!)  Instead I’m shamed into believing that I still haven’t reached that ideal body.  I’m not inspired to run another mile because after 20+ half marathons, I still don’t look like the body in the picture.  My focus shifts away from my health (physical, much less emotional and mental) and onto my appearance.

That is not motivation.

The photos normally don’t have a head attached to the body (objectifying the subject) – drawing the attention to very rounded and lifted glutes, flat abdominals and chiseled shoulders.  Hell, I’ve even seen super perky boobs as the focus and let me just tell you here, and you can quote me on this one: no amount of time in the gym can enhance your boobs!  

Just because you put the body in athletic wear and stamp a motivational quote over it doesn’t make it inspiring.

I asked some of my clients how they feel after seeing these images, and here are some responses:

I find most are not motivating and veer on thinspiration.  I think a lot of these graphics make women feel less than, and encourages disordered behavior.

They are not motivating to me, honestly.  Sometimes the words are motivating depending on the message.  There was a time I would have been obsessed with looking that way.

Here is what I hope motivates you:  Feeling good-mentally and physically.  Moving without pain.  Being outdoors.  Having confidence in yourself.  My stories of daily sweats.  An open road.  Exploring new trails.  Measurable progress in miles, speed, pushups or steps toward your goals.  Inspiring others.  (And I hope this post will spur some questions and thoughts in your mind about this industry, enough to get a conversation going with your fellow females).

And because of those hopes, here is my promise to you:  I promise to never post one of those graphics on a Motivation Monday blog.  Never post one of those graphics to a social media account.  When I do put photos up, they will be of me or a client celebrating an accomplishment or transformation.  And finally, I promise to never to hold you, my clients, my readers, my friends to that beauty/fitness ideal.

But I’m curious…do those photos motivate you?