St. Patrick’s Day Runs

St. Patrick’s Day Runs

I did three St. Patrick’s Day runs this month.  I may be a tad crazy, but you already knew that. On March 11th I did the Lucky Clover 4 miler and this past weekend, the 16th and 17th, I did the Kiss Me I’m Irish Kilt run and 8k. I missed last year’s Kiss Me I’m Irish so I was excited to be able to do it again.

st. patrick's day runs st. patrick's day runs The Lucky Clover 4 miler was put on by 131 events. It was in Chandler, so a little bit of a drive for me. Luckily at 5:30 in the morning, not many people were out yet. The run started at the Shops at Ocotillo and did a loop route. The route itself was pretty good. There were a couple of spots that the runners were limited to the bike lane but a lot of us had to go outside the bike lane/orange cones because we had to pass slower runners.

There were also a few spots where cars needed to pass through but they all waited until a decent break in runners/walkers, at least that I saw. At one intersection, we were crossing diagonally and the police were holding traffic. I kind of sped up so I could get through with the group ahead of me in case runners were stopped for traffic. I overheard one of the runners saying the police should have stopped the runners and let the cars through because “none of us are competing”. Ummm… speak for yourself dude because I am competing.

I am competing with myself!

I always want to be better than I was before. I want to get a PR in every race. If not a PR, I want to be better than the last time I ran this distance. Also, this was about the 2-mile mark and I had settled into a good groove. I take about 1.5-2 miles to get going. I’ve been stopped before at this point and it just messes up my race, especially a short one like this because I’d never get a steady pace going. Longer races it’s not *as bad* because I have more distance to get that pacing back.

I finished 321 overall out of 635, 40 of 80 in my age group with a total time of 47:08:19. My average pace was 11:47 per mile. Definitely not a PR but I’m happy with it considering the past year and a half I’ve had. I haven’t been running much and have only recently started training again.

Friday night I participated in the Kilt Run, which was 1km. They have been doing this the last couple of years to try to set a record. As far as I know, we did not make it this year. When I finished, I ran to my car and weaved through the parking lot to get at least a full mile in. It was fun and I’d probably do it again next year to help them try to get the record.

Saturday morning was the 8k. This year was a little different and we did two loops around Westgate. I think the course was short because my Garmin ended at 4.45 miles when it should have been more like 4.97. Allegedly I PR’d this race with a 51:07 and 10:17 pace, which vastly differs from my Garmin (51:52/11:37 pace). I finished 153 out of 266 overall,  87 out of 156 females and 14 of 29 in my age group.

Overall I enjoyed all of my St. Patrick’s Day runs and would do them both again.

My only wish is walkers were told to start last. I try to go in the middle of the pack, as I know I’m a middle of the packer. At the Lucky Clover, I couldn’t even run across the start line and had to weave around a ton of people who started out walking. The start of the Kiss Me I’m Irish 8k was similar. I was kicked by someone trying to get into the corral by climbing over the rope in order to get ahead of a ton of people by someone with a cane. I passed them on both my loops. Know your ability and plan accordingly! It’s all about respect. I am planning a race etiquette blog and will be sure to put this in there!

What races do or did you have this month?

Here’s a little video the Kiss Me I’m Irish had of me (mint green tank) finishing:

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Coyotes 5K Wrapup

Coyotes 5k Wrapup

coyotes 5kYesterday was the inaugural Coyotes 5K. As a Coyotes fan, I hope this can become an annual thing and grow into something popular, like the Diamondbacks 5K. According to the results, there were 44 runners. I am not surprised as there was very little push or advertising for the event. As a runner that does a ton of races (every Facebook ad seems to be a different run), someone else had to tell me about this one. It was originally scheduled for November and was only mentioned on the Coyotes Foundation Facebook page (and maybe a tweet). I signed up right away and was the only registrant for a while. Eventually like two others signed up. We were notified it was being delayed until February. I opted to have my registration moved to the new date. I’ll give them props, they offered a refund if you didn’t want to move registrations. Some races will stick with the no refund policy.

I arrived about 7:20 to pick up my packet and there were only a handful of people and two vendors. We left to get coffee and came back with about 15 minutes before the race started. We gathered at the start line to get a break down of the route. It was a bit confusing because it weaved through the parking lots of Westgate but the course was well marked with different color duct tape arrows and orange cones. I give them credit for making the course clear. I was a bit disappointed in the parking lot weaving. It definitely wasn’t my favorite route.

The race itself was gun time and not chip time. With only 44 people, we mostly crossed the line about the same time so it wasn’t that big of a deal. The runners seemed skewed to the fast end. I am usually a middle of the pack runner, but I was just ahead of the walkers this race. I ended 29 out of 44 and 13 of 21 women. I think I was designed for more distance running because when I finally settled into a good pace and cadence, I looked at my watch and it was 2.9 miles, right as I rounded the corner to the finish line.

The medal was good quality and I *almost* forgot to collect it. I crossed the line, stopped my Garmin and walked over to Justin. I talked to him for a few seconds and realized I didn’t get my medal. The Paw Patrol was already walking over and was like, “Don’t forget this! You earned it”. I think that was a first for me. LOL

I would definitely do this race again but I’d love to see a few things changed. I would love for them to really push the race. It seemed kind of like an afterthought. The Coyotes Foundation pushed it a bit on their social media but they’d reach a lot more if they used the Coyotes main accounts. Or get ambassadors to push it. Have members of the running community do your advertising for you in exchange for a free or discounted entry. I’d gladly plaster social media for a free race entry.

Chip timing would be awesome but it’s not a must-have for me. I can use my Garmin and just try to beat myself but I know some people won’t do races unless they have chip timing.

The route was explained to use but I’d love to see a better route that doesn’t do switchbacks in parking lots. The Kiss Me I’m Irish and Redneck Run both start and end in the same spot the Coyotes 5k did but they run you out to the canal path nearby and around Cardinals Stadium. It’s a much more enjoyable route. The only advantage of the parking lot weave was bystanders could quickly and easily move to different parts of the course to cheer on the runners/walkers.

I’m not a race organizer, nor do I claim to know how to do it, but I have run about a million* races. I know what I like and don’t and what gets me to run a race again. Normally, this would be a no for me but I love the Coyotes and want to see this succeed. I’d do it again just because of that.

What makes you run a race again? Why do you choose not to re-run a race the following year?

*slight exaggeration


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WTF Trail Race

wtf trail race

WTF trail race was my worst race ever.

wtf trail raceWTF trail race went down on January 28th, 2018. Although not the fault of the race, I had a terrible time. I thought I would DNF (did not finish) and would be found on the course hours after the race had ended. I did finish, barely. It was rough. We’ve all been there though. What matters is how do we react. Do we give up or do we keep going?

I plan to dust myself off and try again. This was only my second trail race and in an area, I was not very familiar with. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect with the route. To add to it, my ears were plugged. I had woken up the day before the race with ears so plugged I couldn’t unplug them or even move my head much. I took it easy and crossed my fingers that I’d feel better on Sunday.

I did wake up feeling a bit better. My head was still a bit plugged up but I paid so I figured I’d at least go and try. And I really wanted the medal! So I got up, got ready and headed out.

I overdressed. When I was getting my clothes ready the night before, the temps at 8 am were expected to be around 50. In reality, it was already 60. I had set out pants and a t-shirt. I wish I had gone with capris. The t-shirt wasn’t bad but my legs got warm. I also wish I had remembered my headband. My hair was sticking to my face by the end.

WTF trail race stans for Winter Trail Frosty, or as the back of the shirt says, where’s the finish?

131 Events doesn’t have corrals but does do wave starts. They asked slower runners to go to the back. Knowing I was probably going to be slower than usual, I headed to the back. But more people kept lining up behind me. I heard them saying how slow they were and they wouldn’t be as fast as anyone else. Which is weird because usually, runners think they are faster and always want to line up in front! So I ended up in like the 3rd or 4th wave. I started a bit faster than I wanted (always a problem) and I wasn’t prepared for the elevation. There was a lot of climbing in the beginning. I learned with my asthma it’s better for me to walk up than run up these hills. They were a lot steeper than I realized.

At about the three-mile mark I was out of energy. I walked the next 3.25-ish miles. I had to stop and rest a few times. I would guess the combination of sinus issues, starting too fast, and elevation got to me. I just couldn’t get up the energy to run. At one point, I threw up. That was a first for me. I’ve never thrown up from a workout. Granted, it was mostly liquid (and I didn’t even have that much – I drank less than 8 oz over the course of 6.55 miles).  Either way, yuck. Never want to do that again.

Once I saw the finish line, I started a slow run. I crossed the line in 1:53:16. A slow 17:41 pace.

The same company that did WTF trail race is doing a Hot as Hell in May. I plan on doing the quarter again. Now I have an idea of the route and how the race works, I can set myself up better. And hopefully, I won’t be battling my sinuses in May! I had contemplated doing the half marathon but it’s two loops of the same course and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to do that. I will stick to the quarter marathon.

I feel 131 Events put on a good event. This was their first WTF race here and using this route (they have a few other road races that have been in Phoenix area before). I liked the atmosphere and the race director was having fun MC-ing before the race. The route was well marked and easy to follow (which is important in a trail race). They had a lot of volunteers on the route to help with confusing areas. I also appreciated the brand of chips they used, as they are gluten free plus a banana. I was a little sad I couldn’t eat the cake. It looked yummy!

They also gave a choice of two styles of their shirt, which is nice. I picked the long sleeve thermal because it looked comfy. And the medal? They are huge! Aside from the Hot as Hell trail race, they have several other road races that I am putting on my calendar. Mostly because the medals and shirts are awesome.

What was your worse race and how did you get back at it?

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Adjustments to Goals

I’ve been reflecting on the goals I’ve set for 2018 and decided I need to make a change. With limited time and energy, some things needed to go. We’ve only got a limited amount of hours each day and rather than force time for something that doesn’t currently fit in my life I’ve decided to drop it and focus on other pursuits I enjoy more.

I have determined that at this time, meditation is not meant to be in my life. I have been trying to force it into my routine and it just doesn’t work for me. I would rather spend time reading and writing than meditating. I often find myself with no good time for meditation because I can’t do it with others around (too many distractions) and if I am alone, I tend to fall asleep while meditating which kind of defeats the purpose. 

Finding time and a place to comfortable meditate is causing me more stress than reducing it. I plan to focus on keeping myself in the present in general rather than meditate. It just seems to be a better fit for me at this time.

Sometimes you realize something wasn’t meant to be in your life at this time. Instead of forcing it, you have to let it go.

In other news, I did run both the 5 and 10 K over the rock n roll weekend with no ill effects! In fact, I haven’t had any issues while running! I am slower than I’d like to be but sometimes going slow is for the best. I have a quarter marathon trail run coming up and I will have to keep telling myself to go slower because for some reason I want to go SUPER fast on trails.

I have been sticking to my consistency word. I’ve been really good about my workouts. A few time I have taken an extra rest day but it was because my body (or mind) needed it and I got right back at it the next day. I’ve also been logging my food every day (except one!) and logging completely honestly. I’ve been eating really well and staying in my calorie goal. I am still struggling to hit my protein goal but I keep working at it.

How are you doing at working towards your goals? Have you reevaluated any yet?



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Goals: Physical and Mental for 2018

Goals: I have a lot of them.

I want to start showing up. Every other Monday, I will be here, pouring my heart out and working toward my health and fitness goals. I hope you will come back and join me each time. It always helps to have others to hold you accountable for your actions. You do that for me, as long as I keep showing up here.

goalsMy word of the year? Consistency.

In 2018 my focus is on overall health, physical AND mental. I want to feel good inside and out. I want to decrease my anxiety and depression. I want to find joy in the everyday. I want to decrease stress. I have a plan to slowly add in daily meditation, journaling, and reading. These three activities center me and help me decompress. I am starting out with 1-2 days per week and when that becomes habit increase it slowly until it’s a daily thing. The hardest part for me is finding the 15 minutes to meditate. I work all day and then come home. It’s easier after work when no one else is home but that is a rare occurrence. And then I sometimes doze off while meditating later in the evening. It’s a work in progress.

For journaling, I can easily do that most nights. I just don’t. I have journals and pens, just gotta do it! Same with reading. I usually read on my commute and lunch break, I just need to be more consistent with these times. I want to read a book a week this year. I’ve devised a plan of attack and week one went great. I figured out I needed to read 55 pages for 7 days to finish my book. It was easier to sit down and read knowing I *only* had to read 55 pages. Most days I read more and the last two days I had about 30 pages each day. I also listed out all the books I plan to read this year so I know which one is coming next and when I finish one I can move right on to the next!

I am also focusing on logging my food and hitting my calories and macros. For now, I am working on just logging. I log everything I eat. If I have a great day, I can hit my calorie goal. If I have a bad day, I log and go over but at least I am logging. I am holding myself responsible for my choices, both good and bad. Meal planning and healthy recipes are also a focus. I am trying to find easy, quick recipes with similar ingredients to make it easy to do and stick with.

Finally, the physical. I want to be consistent with all my workouts. I want to be a runner again. I want to gain strength. I want to push myself to workout when I’d rather sit on the couch. It’s so much easier to sit on the couch and listen to that voice in my head than it is to workout. I have signed up for a few short races to help push myself in running and another challenge to help me reach my strength goals.

Part of me is afraid to run more than 3 miles. If I push myself in distances will I have the same reaction I did early in 2017, which caused me to stop running altogether? I’ve had it a few times over winter, but not every run. I plan to discuss this with my physician at my annual appointment. I think it might be blood pressure related, high or low. I test high at the doctor and normal at home but the symptoms read like low blood pressure drops. It could be related to poor nutrition and going out too fast/hard. I need to figure it out though because I get anxiety when a new distance comes up on a training plan and then find out reasons not to go.

I still have plans to get the runs on (not) gluten page up and running, in the meantime go join the Facebook group as it is slowly becoming the place to be!

What are your goals for 2018 and how will you be consistent? What is your word of the year?

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My current weight. I am putting it out there for all to see. I am not where I’d like to be. I gained 25 pounds since my celiac diagnosis. First, I was in denial. It was only 10 pounds. I’ll lose it easily. But it just kept coming. Then came anger. How the fuck did I gain all this weight? Fuck celiac disease. Yes, I kept blaming my celiac disease. Going gluten free can cause weight gain but I think mine was probably just the first 10-15 pounds. I put on those pounds pretty quickly after going gluten free. The other 10 pounds? I slowly packed those on.

I was depressed about having celiac and going gluten free. So I ate. I ate crappy gluten free baked goods because I could. I ate entire packages of Glutino cookies because they were better than my beloved Oreos.

But I think I have finally reached acceptance.

self confidence
Probably one of the last times I felt happy & confident in myself.

I know I gained the weight and I’m not happy with it. I know only I can change it. So I started. In July I focused on eating healthy. The past week or so I have been tracking my food. I redid my calorie and macro calculations and am working to hit those goals. Anyone know how I can reduce the number of carbs? I eat WAY too many carbs for being gluten free!

I am slowly trying to get active again. I am working towards my 10K steps per day and 10 plus minutes of stretching. I am slowly adding running back in. And by the end of August, I hope to start lifting weights again. I was feeling so much stress earlier this summer. Work was crazy. Running my own business on top of work and then trying to fit in workouts was making me crazy.

So I stopped.

Often we neglect our mental health, but it is just as important as our physical health. We need to make sure our mind is healthy. My anxiety was getting crazy high. I was starting into a downward spiral of depression. So I stepped back. I thought, what can I drop and/or refocus on? For me, it was working out and eating better. I couldn’t skip my job. We kinda need the money. I don’t want to give up my business. I am still trying to grow it to where I want it to be. So I stopped my workouts. I still took daily walks. I started making better food choices.

I started small and am building towards where I want to be.

What else happened when I gained all this weight? I lost my self-confidence. I want that back. I want to feel confident in everything I do. I want to feel good in my clothes. Right now all my clothes feel too tight or don’t sit well. Plus, I am wearing the same few pieces all the time. They are easy. I know they fit somewhat ok. It’s time to start utilizing everything in my closet. I want to wear skirts and heels. I want to put on makeup and feel pretty again.

I truly believe that sometimes you need to fake it until you make it. I know if I start dressing like I feel pretty or sexy, I will actually start feeling pretty and sexy again. My plan is to get in the shower just 5 minutes earlier. Five minutes should give me enough time to pick out a different outfit and put on some eye shadow and mascara. I can put on lipstick at work after I eat my breakfast.

How do you boost your self-confidence when you aren’t feeling 100%?

Follow me on Instagram to keep an eye on my journey! I try to document my fitness and food!

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June and July Wrap Up

July is coming to an end. How have I done the last few months?

Not that great.

I have given up on working out. I was being so sporadic I didn’t feel it was worth it. I did better in June than July but I can’t get my head in order. My 9-5 has been crazy this month and despite having good intentions every morning I am dead by the time I get home. My head is spinning and all I want to do is zone out and relax. I have been giving myself permission to do so. I think it is important for my mental health to just have some downtime.

I have been focusing on eating better. And I would say 90% of the time I have been doing pretty well. I am eating fruits and vegetables and filling up on protein. I am limiting my sweets and doing really well in this category. July has seen me eating a lot of potato chips and pretzels. I apparently am heading towards a salty binge. Week days are so much better than weekends because I tend to graze when I’m writing or editing photos.

I am giving myself permission to take time and get one area of my life somewhat controlled before I add another element. For July I really focused on my food and will continue to do so through August. My plan is to reintroduce workouts in September. I want to try running again plus restart the Bikini Body strength program. It’s a 6-day program but I plan to start slow and do just Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and the weekends. I will rest on Tuesday and Thursday. Once I feel comfortable with that, I will add in one more day to do the program as written.

I think mental health is just as important as physical health. Stepping away from exercise is both bad and good for mental health. I know I feel better when I workout but right now working out is causing me to stress more. I am still taking walk breaks every day, just not doing strength or cardio workouts. I would love to but I need to get my mental health in order.

I have not journaled much in June and not at all in July. I plan to start adding that back in during August. I will start off with once a week and build from there. I also want to start reading before bed again. I have a stack of magazines that are calling my name but I have picked surfing Facebook or playing Candy Crush instead. As much as I enjoy mindlessly playing around on Facebook, I need to use my time better.

It’s been a rough summer but everything gets better eventually, right?

How do you keep yourself motivated? What do you do for mental health? Tell me in the comments!

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International Yoga Day

June 21st is international yoga day and I’m taking that as a sign.

What happens when I try to do yoga

I need to get back on the horse. I used to do yoga after *most* of my runs and all my long runs. I stopped running and therefore I’ve stopped doing it.

I probably need more yoga than most people because I am literally the least flexible person on earth. I’ve never been flexible, even when I was dancing five days a week. This is probably why I never became a professional dancer. I do much better and actually get a little flexible when I actually stretch daily and do yoga at least once a week.

And now with my increased emphasis on strength training, I need to do more stretching.

I am the least flexible and I am pretty sure I have the world’s rightest hips. My squats are nowhere near ass to the grass. I’m lucky if I can get parallel. I use a lit of hip openers to work on gaining flexibility in my hips to help improve my lifting.

Like most people, I sit at a desk for 8-9 hours a day. I try to get up and do posture checks but I know I need help here too. Even at home I have horrible posture. What helps posture? Yoga.

I also benefit from the mental aspect as well. I feel less stressed when I take the time for yoga. I need to learn to shut my brain down and certain poses help with that. I always feel better after a good session.

Lastly, I’d like to work on my balance. You’d think after 20ish years of dance I’d be a pro at balance. Nope. I’m only graceful and balanced while dancing. Yoga, and many of the individual poses, are great for balance work, which is helpful in real life.

I pledge to start doing yoga once a week and stretching daily. I really want to feel strong and healthy, both mentally and physically.

What do you pledge to do to be healthier? 

Follow along on Instagram to see my workouts!

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June Dairy Month

dairyI have a problem. I am addicted to dairy products.

I am not worried about this addiction. I love dairy, especially cheese. And Greek yogurt. In my neverending quest for more protein, I tend to reach for those products quite a bit. I have Greek yogurt for breakfast and string cheese for lunch. I drink chocolate milk after runs. My chocolate milk comes in a glass bottle from a local farm. I love buying local and the fact that the glass can be reused in my home or taken back to the farm for them to reuse. Helping the environment one milk at a time.

I am obsessed.

I grew up in Wisconsin, the dairy state. The town I grew up in had June Dairy Days. I vividly remember the parades. The park and downtown became a carnival. Rides, games, friends and fun. These are memories I will cherish. Life revolves around food, memories and bonds are formed over dinners.

If I didn’t grow up surrounded by cheese, would I still love it?

I think so. A girl and her cheese: a love story.

I truly believe that cheese makes almost everything taste better. Cheese improves even the most boring, bland foods.

Lately, I find myself eating more dairy in order to get more protein. I can only eat so much meat and I am not a fan of protein shakes so I depend on a lot of dairy products. Muscles to build. Most days I can fit all the cheese into my fat goals. I try not to go over fat too much, it’s a balancing act.

I am always on the lookout for new products and new ways to get protein. My favorite yogurt? Noosa. I wish the sugar was lower but it’s gluten free and the lemon flavor is fantastic, especially if you add raspberries to it. I also love Siggi’s, which is an Icelandic-style yogurt. Want to know more about what I eat and how I strive to reach my protein goals? Follow me on Instagram! I post images of food… a lot.

How do you make sure you hit your protein goals? Tell me in the comments. I need some suggestions!

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Struggle and May Wrap Up

Struggle is my word this month.

May has been a rough month.

I got aboard the struggle bus and keep trying to get off. I don’t know why I am having such a difficult time. Or why I can’t seem to get myself to workout, despite wanting to workout and wanting to change. I started bikini body on May 1st and should be starting week five but I am only in the middle of week three.

WTF is wrong with me?

I did the first week pretty easily but the second week started off badly and went downhill from there. Monday of week two started with three buses not showing up so I stood outside for 30 minutes then, of course, the bus was packed and I had to stand for another 30 minutes. By the time I got home, I was exhausted and my feet/legs were killing me. Tuesday I actually did my workout (Yay me!) but Wednesday was a Dbacks game and Thursday we had to run to Costco. Friday was another bus fiasco. I really don’t know why I keep taking the bus. The afternoon ones are always late or non-existent. I am always good on the weekends though!

StruggleThen I took pretty much a week off.

I don’t even know or remember why. Bad week at work. Feeling sorry for myself. Frustrated at my perceived lack of progress. All of the above and then some probably. I did finally decide to workout again on Sunday. I started where I had left off, plyo + HIIT day. I did three of the four rounds of plyo and was done. I couldn’t do anymore. I was exhausted, about to get dizzy, and had zero energy. But I did what I could and that is what is important.

So then I decided to try getting up at 4 am to see if I could do better before work. It lasted two days. I went back to after work and have done pretty well.

I started a personal photography project to track my health, fitness, and progress. I hope it will help keep me more accountable to myself. It seems to be working and also helps improve my photography skills. The project is making me think more creatively about what health, fitness, and progress represent and how I can show these in different ways.

Follow me on Instagram to see posts of my progress, food, and puppies. Ok, they are full grown dogs but they are still puppies to me!

The struggle. It’s real. What have you been struggling with lately?

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