Is it too early to start planning for 2017?

It is NEVER too early to start planning your race schedule! In my opinion. While I currently don’t have a traditional plan, and I am focusing on running for fun I am already getting quite a full “race” schedule for 2017 ( race in quotations because as of right now I don’t plan on racing any of these races). Let’s go through the races I have coming up so far for next year.

First, I have the Carlsbad Half Marathon . This race is January 15th. There is a full and half option. I’m going with the half because I just ran Chicago, I have the CIM in December and another full in March (details below). I’m still a newbie to the SoCal racing scene but apparently this is a popular race because it is part of the Triple Crown – which also includes La Jolla Half Marathon & America’s Finest City Half Marathon. If you want to run Carlsbad with me use discount code BIBRAVE10 to save $10 off the full or half marathon (thank BibRave!).

Next, is the Palm Desert Half Marathon on February 19th. I’ve never run a race in the desert and I hear this one has amazing mountain views. I also have a discount code for this race (Thanks again BibRave!). Use code BRPD2017 to save 10% off registration for 1/2 marathon, 5k, relays and kids race – valid until the close of online registration (February 15, 2017 at 11:50PM PST).

After those half marathons I have my first marathon of 2017. The LA Marathon on March 19th. I have not run this race before, and I will be running it for charity (post to come soon…I am SOOOO excited to tell you about it!). This will be my last race in SoCal before I move back home to Sacramento. LA is a race I have considered in the past and I really love the city – I swear I do. You hear lots of negative things about LA but it is a place I connect with, so I am really looking forward to running this marathon.

Finally, at the end of 2017 I have the California International Marathon. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, as I have run this race every year since 2012. 2017 will by my 6th CIM! And no, registration is NOT open yet but this marathon has a standing place on my race calendar.

How much in advance do you start planning for your races? If you still have room on your calendar for this year, check out my Discount Page! I have discounts for races all over the country from this year into next. Happy running!

Chicago Part 1: The City

Chicago. Wow. I have never been until this past weekend (to run the Chicago Marathon, duh) and I did not realize how quickly I would fall in love with the city. As soon as we landed I felt a connection. Chicago has soul and character that I connect with. I’ve been telling everyone that I would move there in a second over San Diego, where I currently live. Some people said I was crazy, but some Chicagoans I talked to totally got it. The community, diversity, food, art, parks, history…I can’t say enough great things about my experience there. I will be back for sure. This first post will be about my experience in the city, and my next post will be about the race. So let’s get started!

Once we settled into our Airbnb (that had 4 cats, a dog, 2 birds, 2 turtles and a lizzard – I made LOTS of friends) we headed over to packet pick up. I never stay at expos for very long so we got my bib, shirt and headed out. But not before getting some cool shots of the Chicago skyline and the building where the expo was. The architecture in Chi-Town is AMAZING.


After packet pick up we headed out to dinner then back to where we were staying. It wasn’t too eventful of a night, but I did make a few new cat friends.

 The next morning we were up early for our shake out run with the peeps from Fleet Feet, Runner’s World and Bart Yasso!  My bf, who is not a runner, saw him come in and a ton of people start getting pictures with him and he said, “Is that old guy famous or something?” – haha. Um, yes. This was my first time running in Chicago and while it was only 3ish miles I was LOVING every second of it.

We had to stop to get a view with the city in the back ground.


After the shake out run Cory and I had breakfast then played tourist.


I knew Chicago was famous for its architecture, but I had no idea how much art was around the city. It is truly a beautiful city. Our first stop was Millennium and Grant Parks. We had to go to The Bean – which is really called Cloud Gate. I learned that on the bus tour we took. I used to think tourist things were lame, but you learn so much and they are actually really fun. Perhaps this is what happens when you get old. All I know is, I had a great time touring Chicago.


Most of our exploring was on Monday, after the race. I won’t say too much about the race until the next post, but I will say I was worried that exploring the city on Monday, after 26.2 miles of running on Sunday would be a bad idea. Luckily it wasn’t. Post race we took a river/architecture tour, which was a good way to rest my legies. On Monday we took a bus tour; I highly recommend the bus tour because it is a great way to see the city and you can hop on and off at any of the stops.

When I asked for suggestions of what to do in Chicago, everyone said I had to take the architecture tour. They were right! I found a tour that took us along the river and Lake Michigan, both were beautiful. I know I live by the ocean, but rivers and lakes are where it’s at! We had a great time seeing the city from the boat.

Views from the lake.

Monday was our bus tour and waking around the city time. As I said before, the parks and art around the city are beautiful and you can find something interesting/beautiful every where you look. We started out going to a local coffee shop and walking over to Wrigley Field. As you probably know, the Cubs are doing quite well so Chicago was ALL about it. I kept seeing “W” flags and signs all over the city and found out it is because their Cubs are winning. This city loves their team, and I loved seeing how excited everyone was. There was even talk of adding a 5th star on the flag if the Cubs win the World Series.

Monday ended with exploring more of the parks. We wanted to check out the local brewery scene but the ones we really wanted to go to were closed. I guess I didn’t take into account that it was Monday and Columbus Day – stupid Columbus ruining my plans. But we still enjoyed our time being tourists and I can’t wait to be back.



My next post will be about race day!!! Chicago is now my favorite marathon I have run (sorry CIM, but you still have a special place in my heart). I can’t wait to share with you about race day. I learned a lot about myself at this race; running and finishing when I highly doubted I would be able to finish. Again, I don’t want to say too much just yet, but I was once again reminded how strong I am – much stronger than I give myself credit for.

This Body Can – Trinity

October’s This Body Can contribution is from Trinity. I met Trinity back in 2014 through a mutual friend (Stephanie).  We all met up to work out and she had SO much energy – and fruit and veggie tattoos that I love – that it was contagious. I think our first workout was stair repeats, which I have never been great at, but those two made that morning stair workout fun. I learned Trinity was in roller derby (now retired), which I thought was awesome. Another strong lady friend finding fun ways to stay active and loving it. As you will read in Trinity’s story there are so many things you can do to get off your ass and be active. You don’t have to trick yourself into thinking you’re having fun, you don’t need an app that makes exercising tolerable (something I heard on the radio recently that REALLY bothered me). Look for things, try things and find what you love. Thank you Trinity for sharing your story.

If you would have asked me 2 years ago what I loved to do to be active I would have said “roller derby is my life.” I practiced 3 times a week for at least 2-3 hours each session as well as cross-training 2-3 times a week. My schedule was packed trying to fit this sport in to my full time job and life itself. Retired for 2 years now after 9 seasons, I am still looking for a regular activity to fill this void. I jumped right into cycling and road racing specifically; criterium. It reminded me of roller derby; a pack of women, all fighting for a position and yelling, lots of it. I raced for a full season and really enjoyed it. Now that was over what was next? I was introduced to cyclocross and fell in love.


The way I describe cyclocross is that it’s on a “road like bike” but with tread on the tires and the racing environment consists of riding through lots of different obstacles; sand, mud, dirt, road, barriers, etc. as well as having to jump off your bike and carry it over some of those obstacles. The sport was created long ago for road racers in the off season. This type of bike and sport offers so much. You can take this bike anywhere and ride most everything; it is a sense of freedom that I love so much. The scene is also admirable; lots of friendly people, crazy fashion (kits) and multiple courses within the Sacramento area. The main series I participated in was Sacramento Cyclocross . It consisted of 8 races from September through December. This timeframe warrants all kind of weather; rain, wind, cold and hot…it was different each race along with the course. One season under my belt and I am hooked. I found an awesome shop, Kinetic Cycles that offers weekly rides and a team atmosphere that I was looking for. I had found the same sense of “community” that I had in roller derby. NO ONE will replace my derby family but I have certainly found something that makes me happy, racing my bike.

Now, I can’t talk about what physical activity I love to do without the nutrition side which I believe allows me to continue to be competitive, recover and if I’m not always faithful to workouts; allows me to maintain a body shape I am ok with. I have come to learn that eating plant based/vegan not only made me the feel the best I ever have (and in the best shape); it opened my mind to compassion and awareness of environmental impacts the food system has on us.

Part of this blog series is talking about body image. My whole life I have been an athlete and I guess since I always had something going on/being involved in a team sport and being competitive, what I looked like wasn’t always on the top of my mind. I was concerned with how to beat the competition. I am also that person that doesn’t mind going to the mainstream gym where it is dominated by males fighting for equipment. I usually make a game of it and love seeing people using machines in a way that I would have never guessed! It is certainly based on personal perspective and if that type of gym is your only option I would encourage anyone to still go and create your own space.

One of the most important things I have learned over the years and in multiple sports is to GO FOR IT and be prepared that you may fail, break an ankle, get knocked out, etc…injuries WILL happen but just as they may slow you down for a period of time they can be overcome, just like any of life’s obstacles.

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Ventura Half Marathon 

Disclaimer: I received  a free entry to the Ventura Half Marathon  as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

This past weekend I ran the Ventura Half Marathon. It was my first time running a race in Ventura, which is such a cute little town to run in/visit. Packet pick up was at the Ventura Pier, with beautiful views of the ocean.

The expo was smaller than expected, but had good vendors (running gear, food, clothing, etc). The packet pick up was simple and well organized and they had lots of good photo ops!


Check out the runner swag! Reusable Ventura bag, hat, nice tech shirt, and not pictured was all the snacks and Ventura tourist info.

After checking out the expo my bf and I went out to dinner at my FAVORITE restaurant in Ventura, Himalaya . Unfortunately I didn’t get any food pics (#fail). If you are in Ventura this place is a must. With our bellies full we went to our Airbnb…home? Room? I don’t know how you would refer to that, but we stayed at a cute home that we found via Airbnb – our first Airbnb stay! The proximity to the race is one of the reasons we chose this location, but let’s be real, this is the number one reason I chose to stay where we did:

v4Oh my goodness you guys! These cat friends were the best! We cuddled all night, then cuddled some more before we left.

Okay, okay, on to race day. The half marathon started at 6:30am so I arrived around 5:45am to prepare for the race. I also met up with my fellow BibRave Pros! It was great to meet Abby and Erica on race morning (you can read their reviews of the race here and here). The start of the race, and the entire race for that matter, was very well organized. The start line had corrals, and each corral was well controlled by the volunteers. A pretty big pet peeve of mine is runners running in waves/corrals that they shouldn’t be in, that didn’t really happen here that I could see. Perhaps it is because everything was so clearly labeled.



So, I gotta be honest here, not a big fan of this course for the most part. I really did think we would be able to see more of the coast. You saw the beach at the beginning, a little in the middle, then again at the end since it is an out and back course. This isn’t a huge turn off for me, but I thought the views would be a little nicer. The course is nice and flat and perfect if you are looking to set a PR. There were quite a few cheer stations, which I LOVE! If you don’t run, but are reading this and you cheer at races, I just want you to know how much that means to me and the other runners. Running/racing is really hard and having people out there cheering us on helps more than you know. Another thing that helps is good pacers. I was in the 2:15 pace group, which I only decided on the night before. I have been recovering from a few injuries so I wanted this to be a fun and easy run. Thanks to Megan and Amy, who pace for Beast Pacing, I ran a nice and easy 2:09 half. They got me to about mile 9, and I was feeling great so I thanked them, took off and they cheered for me as I ran the rest of the race solo. v7

While the views aren’t the best, I still enjoyed this race a lot. The course was clearly marked, aid stations were stocked well and the volunteers did a great job handing us our water/electrolytes. Bottom line: awesome cheer stations, flat course and it ends on the beach! Food, drinks and beach time is a pretty great way to end a race.

I have also reviewed this race (and all my races) on BibRave. Check it out & leave reviews for your races –> BibRave.



What Is It All for?

It’s no secret running has been tough for me this year. It all started last October when I injured myself while training for a marathon. So, yep – almost a year that running has been a struggle. I haven’t wanted to admit it, I haven’t wanted to admit that my running is just not at the level that it was a year or two ago. I am constantly comparing where I am now to where I was then, which is not a healthy thing to do. I have not been present, I have not been enjoying my journey, I have forgotten what this is all for.

Now, that’s not to say I haven’t been enjoying running, because I always do. However, this year I have felt a need to prove myself. To who? Everyone? Myself? I’d say both. I wanted to prove that I was a good runner, something I never thought about when I first started running. I remember my first sub 2 half marathon it was a PR by almost 15 minutes. And my first sub 4 was a PR by almost 30 minutes. People would tell me how great I was doing, other runners I had met would tell me those were crazy improvements. I had no idea, I just knew I was having fun. Then I ran a 1:43 half, when my goal was 1:45. If I had to pin point when I felt the need to prove myself, or maybe more accurately, prove my worth as a runner that was it.  The Urban Cow Half Marathon 2014.  It is my best half to date, and I find myself comparing myself to that race all the time. Stupid, I know! Especially when I encourage so many people on their running journey – slow or fast. I tell people being slow doesn’t matter, who gives a shit? You’re moving, you found something you love, that is what counts. Apparently I don’t listen to my own words.

I had Boston qualifying friends tell me I could BQ. I had people come up to me after races and tell me I was fast and they were trying to keep up with me. I was getting compliments on how fast I was. I’m not gonna lie, I liked it. But at the same time, I’ve never been one to brag, I’ve never let compliments go to my head. I am humble when it comes to my abilities. So what the fuck? Perhaps being the couch potato I used to be, the feeling of accomplishment you feel post race, the recognition, the belonging to a community…perhaps I didn’t want to lose that. And since everyone around me was trying to BQ I decided I wanted to also. Since everyone was talking about getting faster I thought I should get faster too. Of course there is nothing wrong with pushing yourself, setting goals and being your very best, but there is something wrong when it isn’t making you happy and you aren’t doing it for yourself.

There is a social pressure at times when you are a runner. One of the first questions I would get asked once people knew I ran marathons was, “Are you going to qualify for Boston?” When I’d run a race the most commonly asked question was, “What was your finish time?” Which really means (intentionally or not), “How fast did you run?”  It’s like I was letting people down if I didn’t set a new PR, or if I said I wasn’t interested in BQing yet. Obviously those are my thoughts in my head, I wasn’t letting anyone down. I think a  good analogy is when you are in a long term relationship people always ask when you’re getting married. If the answer is never, or you’re not sure there is this look of sympathy like, oh that poor girl isn’t ever going to get married. Maybe I don’t want to get married, maybe I don’t want to BQ, and nothing is wrong with that. You gotta do you. I know society is not intentionally trying to put pressure on me (unless you’re my mom asking for grandkids. I hope grandcats will do) but it does happen. So in the mix of pressure from wanting to “keep up” with the other runners and wanting to look good to those who don’t run I lost myself along the way.

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Fast forward to today.  I ran for the first time in 15 days. It was fun, I looked around, took pictures and enjoyed the fact that I was running along the San Diego bay. I ran by a bathroom that I love – which is so weird but it is clean and has letters all over it. I noticed there was a no climbing sign near the bathroom wall, then I looked at the wall and realized, that would be a really fun wall to climb. You’d be climbing the alphabet!

The skies today were overcast and gray, just the way I like it. I even did the tourist thing and went to the kissing statue for a photo.

3 miles today. Nice, easy and fun. I have 3 marathons within the next 6 months. Two are for charity and one is the CIM so obviously I have to run it, but I don’t have a training plan for any of them right now. I am running because I love to, and those marathons will be long run days. Today I came to the decision to run for fun and I tossed my Chicago plan out the window (not literally, I don’t litter). So if I want to work on some speed I will, if I want to do an easy run along the beach I will, hills – sure, why not? Running has been my time to be free of worries and responsibilities; it has been about connecting with the community, and being happy. So I am going back to that.

Because otherwise, what is the damn point (thank you, friend for your words).

This Body Can – Louise

I am very happy to present September’s  This Body Can post from Louise. I met Louise when I was attending an Iron Grrls Clinic and I saw her benching, I think. She had a Cat Town Cafe shirt on (based in Oakland, CA) so of course, being the cat lover that I am, I had to go tell her how much I loved her shirt. Over the months of training at BodyTribe I found out Louise is a cat lover as well, made a really great documentary about the Historic Rose Garden in Sacramento and loves & appreciates movement just like I do. I love her story and can relate to the “can’t” feeling she had in P.E. Shit, I failed P.E. in high school and had to take it again my senior year – so there you go; finding a love for movement and appreciating what my body can do is new to me, with in the last 5 years. Age doesn’t matter when you are on this journey. Sometimes it comes later in life, and that is okay. Thank you, Louise for sharing your story.

Like many women – heck, let’s go ahead and include all genders and say many people – I’ve struggled in thinking positively about my physical being. My earliest thoughts about sport/exercise/physicality were all some version of “I can’t.” I remember the horrible realization I had, in grammar school, as I tried so hard to “try hard,” watching the backs of all my fellow students grow farther and farther away, as they raced to the finish line ahead of me. I remember the exact moment: the Presidential Physical Fitness Test. Here it was, the measure of us all. Who could do a pull-up? Who could jump far enough? Who could run fast enough to meet the time? I watched as our class sorted itself into the Cans and the Can’ts, generally corresponding to boys (Can) and girls (Can’t),  and me – the very last of the Can’ts. I had been good at things up until this: I could read well, liked math, could draw. But this? I was bad at this. It made me feel terrible physically and emotionally. Of course, I learned later that the PPFT had a worthy motive – to encourage the physical education of children, and I’m very in favor of that. But for me it was a crusher. My takeaway: I can’t, and I hate ALL this stuff.

I don’t want to pin it all on President Kennedy, but it took a long time to turn this belief around. For me, the legacy of such a bad start including years of self-hate, disordered eating and mental health problems. I’m so very grateful I’ve been able to change this pattern, even though it came later in life for me. When I was around 40, I started going to a gym for the first time – a dumpy, inexpensive place with beat up equipment, chosen because it was the least intimidating place I could find. I booked a few training sessions, so I wouldn’t look like an idiot on the machines. I forced myself to shop for workout clothes until I found something that didn’t make me feel hideous and uncomfortable. My motivation was simple: I was under a lot of stress at work, and needed some way to handle it. I began meditating at the same time. I set some reachable goals: for a long time, my goal was just to get to the gym, just enter the building and change clothes. If, at that point, I just couldn’t… well, I didn’t. But that almost never happened. Once I got there, I generally felt like doing something. I started to look forward to this part of my day. I realized how effective the stress relief was.

louise.JPG                                                              Flip a tire 20 times and then beat the crap out of it with a club – stress relief!

I started really enjoying the feeling I had as I walked home, tired and in the mood for dinner. I started to feel strong. I noticed that I was not out of breath anymore on the stairs. My back pain disappeared. My tricep became noticeable. It was a new start, a much better start. I began to think, “huh! maybe I CAN.”
And now, even though I’m 52 and definitely noticing the changes that come with age, I am more able and confident – physically and emotionally – than I have ever been. After my first gym closed, I was lucky enough to land in a great place, and get access to an extremely talented and generous trainer. She has patiently worked with my fears and issues, always teaching me, always challenging me in both physical and mental ways. She has gently steered my thinking away from negativity toward empowerment and exploration. The gym I go to now is a haven of sanity and support, focused on hard work and proper form, and always filled with laughs, sweat, dogs, babies, music and friends. At this point, I actually seek failure at times, as when maxing out a lift. It’s just another tool to measure progress – my own personal progress, not someone else’s. It’s a joy to own that feeling so completely. Changing the way I think about success and failure has made a big difference to life in general, not just life in the gym. I am much more concerned with progress, momentum, and consistency than I am about numbers (my own or others’). This way of thinking allows me to try hard, and to be happy.


Are You Practicing Self Awareness?

You know when you hear something and it just clicks? This happened to me the other day while listening to one of my favorite podcasts, RunnersConnect. This episode is about conditioning your mind the way you condition your body. If you have trained for a marathon, or just being a runner, you should know running is just as much mental as it is physical. I think an argument could be made that it is actually more mentally (and emotionally) harder than physically.

Thoughts are powerful; things like visualization, setting goals, appreciating your journey and positive thoughts during your runs/training all help prepare you on race day. I know when training gets hard for me, I visualize running down L street in Sacramento during the CIM.  I can see myself running through Midtown, past de Vere’s (where there are always drunk people cheering us on!) I visualize turning left down 8th street, then another left down Capitol Mall. Running down the chute with the California State Capitol in the foreground. I can see all of that, and it is my go to when training gets tough because the California International Marathon was my first marathon and it is in the city I love and call home. It helps me remember why I do this crazy thing – running marathons.

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October 2015 I got injured and running has been tough for me, off and on, ever since. After the CIM (pictured above) I completely reevaluated my goals. I wanted to BQ at CIM for the past 2 years, but why? At the end of 2015 I thought to myself, “Why do you care about setting a PR or qualifying for Boston?” Truth be told, it is because that is what everyone else was doing. Sure I want to improve and challenge myself, but as I mentioned before, I was putting too much pressure on myself and not having fun.  I had no balance between hard work, proper rest and self awareness.

So of course, today was another tough run. I don’t think I warmed up well enough when I went out on my run, and my glute and hamstring were both pretty painful – IT issues. I only ran 2 of 4 miles. While I could have been pissed, had a pity party for myself or try to push through, I decided to listen to my body. I cut my run short, went home and did some yoga. Yoga is another great conditioning tool. I focus on my breathing, if thoughts come into my head they are positive and I am always 100% happy after class. Completely stress free – which has been my biggest battle lately. Honestly, it is probably one of the only times I am in the present. I’m not thinking about work, running, or anything I have going on that will eventually need my attention. I am definitely lacking in my yoga skills, but I feel great after class or a solo session in my living room or garage gym. Focusing on all aspects of training – physically, mentally and emotionally – and finding the balance that works for me, right now, that is what matters.