Zooma Napa Valley 2015 

Napa…I love driving into Napa because it will always feel like home to me. For the past year I have been an Ambassador for ZOOMA Napa Valley. It is an all women’s race series in great destinations all across the country. 2015 is ZOOMA’s second year here in Napa and my second time running it.

Race weekend started out at the Napa Marriott Hotel where we picked up our bibs and hung out at the “mocktail” party. Hint Water  hosted the event with their yummy sparkling water. I swear I am looking at my drink as if it is really champagne. I love me some champagne! But the mocktails were good too!

And so was the cheese. Ahhhh…cheese.

Once again it was great catching up with the other ZOOMA Ambassador ladies and meeting some new faces as well! 

After the mocktail party I headed to Vallejo to visit my sister, but it turns out she forgot we were coming. Which was fine…I had to go to sleep early and we were up early so I suppose it worked out for the best.

ZOOMA Napa Valley 2015 – minus a few that missed the picture 😉

 The race starts near the vineyards and continues for 6.5 miles down the road along the highway (which is kinda a bummer) then we hit the turn around to run back. I have to say though, I enjoyed this course much more than last year. It is the same course, but it was much better weather (not as hot) and I was there with more company this year. So that always makes things better!

Me and my Kaia FIT Sunrise girls!

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And we’re off!

Hot air balloons. This was my favorite view of the race!   This race was mentally and physically hard for me. The main reason, for both, is I didn’t train for a half marathon. Luckily I have enough base mileage to be able to just go out and run one, but I am currently training for a 10.5 mile trail run. So needless to say my training has not been focused on a half marathon road race. I still did well, and my goal was to pace one of the ladies I helped train. She wanted to run under a 2 hour half. It was more like she kept me going! She put in the training & did great! I however, was unprepared that morning, forgot my electrolyte drink and so along the course they had Gatorade. Which I think was actually Cytomax? Not sure, I heard both. But I don’t drink either of those because they do not agree with my stomach. I’ll spare you the details…I’ll just say I had to make a bathroom stop and told Sarah to keep going & I’d catch up.

I had her in my sight until about mile 10 and I just couldn’t keep up. I was super happy for her because she beat her last half by 15 minutes!! She came in around 1:50. My goal was to finish under 2 hours – I also realized I hadn’t run a half marathon since October last year. That is when I ran my PR of 1:43. So 2 hours seemed easy and doable. Then around mile 11.5 I hear the 1:55 pacer coming up behind me. I COULDN’T fall behind 1:55 so I sped up at mile 12 and came in at 1:53. Not bad but not my best. And that is okay.

Sarah met me right before the end and ran across the finish with me. 
We made it! LyndaKaren and myself. Fellow Ambassadors.
And me with the Kaia ladies! I am so proud of our girls, and coaches. 2 of our team placed in their age group, 2 of the girls beat a previous half marathon PR and 1 girl ran her first 10k! Such a great day!

We like to take pictures.   

ZOOMA is a very fun race and I was happy to be apart of it again. Well organized and great swag (if that is your thing). It would be interesting to experience a different ZOOMA race. They are advertised at destination races. I used to live in Napa so maybe that is why this doesn’t seem like a destination race to me, and I have also never done a destination race. So I don’t quite know what to expect but I feel like there is something more that could be done to make it special. It is Napa Valley so just that alone is awesome and you can go wine tasting right after your race! I was a little underwhelmed with the “after party”. We were unable to have our girls get their prizes as they were announced since we waited for everyone to finish (but they did get them), and the food was just chicken salad and Hint Water. As someone who doesn’t eat meat, I couldn’t partake in their post race food. I do think carbs would have been a good choice to have been offered as well. This race is still new to the area, so I am interested to see how it grows. Thank you ZOOMA for choosing me to represent your race! You can check out their other races here: ZOOMA races
  
  
  

It’s Not About Being Fast 

 I often read posts or get told when I ask someone to run with me or see pictures that say, “but I’m not fast”. So. Did anyone ask how fast you are? And what is this obsession with being fast? Fast does not mean better. Yet, we often associate it as such. Who wants to be last? Ugh last, you suck if you’re last.

F that. No you don’t. What sucks is stopping yourself from doing something because you’re afraid to. Because you aren’t as good as the person next to you. News flash: There Will Always Be Someone Better Than You. Faster, stronger, smarter…but why should that stop you? I have run with people much faster than me. I have also run with people slower than me. When I ask someone to run with me I am pretty well aware of their capabilities. I don’t expect someone with an easy pace of 10+ min/mi to keep up with my easy pace of 8:30 (well, 9-9:30. What I think is easy, should really be easier. I’ve been told).  It is good to run with someone during your easy runs that is slower than you because they can keep you from running too fast. On the flip side if you want to challenge yourself run with someone faster than you. Sounds simple, yet I still find it hard to find someone to run with because they are “intimidated to run with you (me)”. Me?? Really? Trust me, no one should be intimidated by me. It bothers me to hear that, and it bothers me to read posts about how slow someone thinks they are because in a way, it is negative. No one thinks being slow is good, it is looked at negatively. Negative thoughts get negative results – even if you’re not meaning for it to be that way. I know I am probably guilty of this myself. But when I have a hard training run, or I feel slow I try to think of why I feel that way. What am I doing that is effecting my runs? I also realize that I am training to get better & I will get better. It takes time.

These last couple of months I started power lifting, and really focusing on my deadlifts. My current PR is 170lbs. My goal is 200. There is a woman at the gym I go to who is probably about 25 years older than me, so late 50’s, that is pretty close to lifting 200lbs, if she hasn’t already. Last I heard she was at 190. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t workout with her. Hell yeah I would. That is awesome. I want to be lifting 200lbs when I grow up 😉 But do you see my point? Don’t let someone else’s betterness make you feel less than. Let that inspire you. Think about where they came from and where they are. Think about where you came from and where you’re going! You don’t just start out lifting 200lbs, and you don’t just start out as a fast runner.

Here I am running the Clarksburg County Run (20 miles) in 2012. This was the year I started running. Was I fast? Hell no. I finished with an average of a 12 minute mile. But I was out there training for my first marathon. I had no goals of being “fast”. I just wanted to say I did it.

Here I am at one of my more recent races. Now yes, I do have a goal of getting faster. But it is not for the sake of just being fast. I don’t have a goal of getting faster to say, “I run a 5 minute mile” or “I run a sub 3 marathon”. Those things don’t even sound fun to me. But who knows, maybe some day they will and that will be my new goal.

  

As of right now my goal is to qualify for Boston at the California International Marathon this year. What does this mean for me? I need to run an average of an 8:12 min/mi. For 26.2 miles. Is that doable? Personally, I think it is. When I was at the top of my training last year I was set on accomplishing that goal. But then I had an injury…My current marathon PR is 3:53:47, which is an average pace of 8:55min/mi. I have to shave 25 minutes off my time and yes I realize that is a lot. But my marathon PR at CIM last year is based off of only 13.1 miles of training. Because of my injury I never got to run more that 13 miles while training for that marathon. I believe I still ran a decent race because I had a strong base mileage (I had run 2 other marathons that year). And, as silly as this may sound, I also believe it is because it was CIM. In case you didn’t know this is my FAVORITE race of the year. It was my first marathon in 2012, I’ve run it every year since & plan on running it until I am 112 years old – I’ve decided that is how old I am going to live to.

So, back to my point. Who cares if you’re not fast. If that is a goal of yours, then great! Work towards it – and you will have to work! Be realistic, train hard, recover hard but also know that it is okay to be “slow”. As much as I hate to sound like a motivational meme:

meme

Mobot – A Review

Disclaimer: I received a Mobot to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

What the heck is a Mobot? If you’re a runner or you are active in any kind of sport it is a products that is the best of 2 worlds – hydration & recovery. A water bottle that doubles as a foam roller! Or is it a foam roller that doubles as a water bottle? You can decide on that.  When I was given the opportunity to test this product out I was very intrigued. I run (long distance, trails, sprints, hills…) I also coach & work out at Kaia FIT Sunrise and lift at BodyTribe. Needless to say, I’m active & I sweat. A lot.     So I need to hydrate & roll out. A lot.

There are 2 sizes available. I have the 40z. Which actually does hold 40 oz. I measured to make sure.

Instead of going on about specs and details that you can find on the website I want to tell you why I love this product. But first, I wanted to share with you  Mobot‘s mission:

“To innovate, create and inspire. To hydrate the mind, body and spirit.  To change the way you move. At Mobot Nation we believe in an infinite state of living.  We act to better ourselves daily and reshape the way we live.  We always strive to achieve that goal, but more importantly, WE HONOR THE EFFORT.” Love this. Thanks Mobot!

Here is what I found when opening my package.

Now, I am not a person that is huge on bright colors and I don’t care much for camo but I gotta say, this is a fun bottle. It draws attention. People don’t realize what it is and they have to touch it, pick it up and examine it. Then they realize what it is & also agree it is a great idea.

It comes with an extra lid and a bunch of info about the product, how to care for it, and how to foam roll.

I LOOOVE that it comes with a straw. I am constantly spilling my water and electrolyte drinks on myself because 1. I am clumsy 2. The wide mouth on my other bottles. So this straw is perfect for me.

    Even when the Mobot is full it is still light weight. It has a handle on the lid to easily carry around. When you use it as a foam roller it does not leak. YES! The roller is firm – which I like. I don’t like the soft foam rollers because they don’t really help, you need the pressure that you get from a firm roller. It is very durable too. Another thing I tend to do with my water bottles is drop them. I’ve dropped this multiple times already & once when I was skating with it down the street…no harm done!

Hydration ✔️

SMR to help with recovery ✔️

Durability ✔️

Convenient & easy to use ✔️

Cool product that everyone wants to use (or at least touch) ✔️

I recommend this product for sure! Definitely good for some one on the go, or if you need something convenient and easy to use, small spaces…really this is good for anyone. 2 things are a must for you active peeps: hydration and recovery. Mobot takes care of both!

              

Blood Don’t Lie – My First Test With InsideTracker

When I first heard of the company InsideTracker I was intrigued. Then I went to their site, read reviews, did some research of my own and realized they are offering something I hadn’t seen being offered before. This is directly from their website:

“InsideTracker is a personalized health analytics company founded by leading scientists, physicians, nutritionists and exercise physiologists from MIT, Harvard and Tufts University. 

The InsideTracker platform tracks and analyzes key biochemical and physiological markers and applies sophisticated algorithms and large scientific databases to determine personalized optimal zones for each marker. InsideTracker’s expert system offers science-driven nutrition and lifestyle interventions that empower people to optimize their markers. When optimized, these marker levels have been scientifically proven to increase vitality, improve performance and extend life.

Our goal is to empower individuals with the essential information they need to manage and optimize their own health. We believe that by providing a dynamic, personalized analytic platform at the intersection of biology, science and technology, then distilling the results into simple, natural and sustainable nutrition and lifestyle recommendations to follow, we can help people live longer, healthier lives.”

First thing that came to my mind is how beneficial this could be for me and my goal of a BQ at CIM this year. Then, the more I thought about it the more I realized this is not just for my athletic performance but my overall health. Coming from the veterinary field I know many veterinarians recommend annual blood work for your pets, and biannual blood work when they reach a certain age. Yet when was the last time I had labs done? It has been 3-4 years. Which is crazy! Knowing your blood values is a must, comparing them year to year, catching diseases before they become a problem…it just MAKES SENSE to have annual labs at the least. But let me get off my soapbox and talk about my experience.

 I was told to not exercise the day before and I had to fast for 12 hours. Ugh. But I knew it was worth it. Blood draw went great. The nurse (?) was super nice, we talked, she was fast & proficient and while I was shaking the whole time I was fine. Until she pulled the gauze to look at my arm. I saw the tiniest red spot on my arm where the needle was and I guess that set off the chain of events. I left the room feeling queasy and sat in the waiting room for a minute. Then I thought I wanted air so my bf & I headed to the elevator, but I realized I wasn’t going to make it outside so we went back to the office and one of the ladies told me they had a bed to lay in if I wanted to for a few minutes. I gladly accepted her offer and walked into the back…then I woke up with a cold towel on my head, someone squeezing my arm, another person fanning me and wondering, “Why the fuck am I on the floor? They said they were taking me to a bed!” Then I realized what happened. Yep. I passed out.

Personally, I thought it was pretty funny. So I just had to tell my story. But I am REALLY hoping it doesn’t happen next time.

On April 27th I decided I was going to cut meat from my diet. I have a lot of reasons for doing so, but that is a topic for another post. Training has been harder for me some days, easier others which is how training goes. However, I decided after a month of no meat (I still eat eggs, fish and cheese…don’t come between me and my cheese) it would be interesting to see where my blood values are and like I said earlier good info to also have for my BQ this December. Here are just a few of the findings.

This is what I was worried about. Low iron levels. Since I no longer eat meat I will have to really focus on raising these levels. My Ferritin, which is an iron storing protein, is pretty low too. This is bad for me as an endurance athlete because, “Iron is required for the formation of the oxygen-carrying proteins hemoglobin and myoglobin, and for enzymes involved in energy production. Oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood is essential for endurance exercise as well as for normal function of the nervous, behavioral, and immune systems.” – InsideTracker.

iron

Happy to report my creatine kinase levels are WNL – and actually even better. They are in my optimal range. “One of the most valid and reliable methods for assessing muscular damage is to check for increases in blood serum levels of creatine kinase” – InsideTracker

CK
However my testosterone:cortisol ratio is a bit low. Again from InsideTracker, “The testosterone:cortisol score (T/C) is therefore an indicator of whether the body is in a state of increasing or decreasing muscle mass. The score ranges from 0-100, and the higher the score, the more optimal the conditions for increasing muscle mass. A low T/C score can be an indicator of over-training, high stress levels, or poor quality sleep, any of which can result in muscle breakdown and fatigue. A high T/C score can show that your body is getting enough sleep and recovery time to increase muscle mass and strength.
TCR
Which brings me to this. My cortisol. I was unpleasantly surprised how high this level is. Normal range is 4.0 – 22.0 and optimal levels are 5.0 – 16.3. My level is at 27.0 So this needs some work.
Cortisol
One of the many things I love about InsideTracker is they tell you what foods will be best for your diet to make positive changes with your lab work. The GIVE you a shopping list in their Food Basked section. Love that! It makes it so easy.
Here are some recs for lowering my cortisol levels.
Cortfoods
Another level I was shocked about was my low Vitamin D. I am outside every day. I mean, I’m a runner! Although I am not outside midday and I have been told that is the best time to get some sun. Looks like some diet changes and supplements are in my future.
Vitd
Another thing I like about InsideTracker’s service. You can compare yourself to other InsideTracker uses.
vitd2
So we won’t go over all of my results but here is what was included:
Glucose
Cholesterol
LDL, HDL
Triglycerides
Calcium
Vitamin D
Magnesium
Folate
Vitamin B12
Potassium
Sodium
Zinc
WBC
High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein
Creatine Kinase
Testosterone
Free Testosterone
DHEAS
Cortisol
Sex-Hormone Binding Globulin
Albumin
Hemoglobin
Ferritin
Total Iron Binding Capacity
Iron
Transferrin Saturation
Alanine Aminotransferase
Aspartate Aminotransferase
Gamma-glutamyl Transpeptidase
I chose the Ultimate Plan, but they have a other plans to choose from depending on your needs.
You get the science behind the results, nutrition recommendations, tracking to see your progress and best of all (in my opinion) is you’re an advocate for your health! You know that saying, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you”? I completely disagree. What you don’t know can kill you. So take care of yourself!
Over all I would say my labs were good. I now have the knowledge of what I need to work on to take my training to the next level and stay healthy.
    Already working on getting in more Vitamin D.