Completely Exposing Myself….

….and My Story Runs On….

I’ve decided to just go ahead and let it all out!  I debated whether I should do this or not….I’m a true believer in being authentic and I’ve learned that showing vulnerability is not a bad thing at all.


So here it goes…..

I’m going to share my personal video analysis and Danny Dreyer’s (founder of ChiRunning) critique of my ChiRunning form.  Keep in mind that I started using this form back in 2009, became Certified in 2010 and have been practicing ever since. (Click here and scroll to bottom of the page to see the evolution of my immersion into ChiRunning).

One of the things I love most about ChiRunning is that it’s truly a holistic practice.  We like to say Practice Makes Progress (not perfect) because we are always looking for ways to keep getting better and better at it.  I always tell my students that you get what you put into it.  Even Danny Dreyer has aha moments as he works on “perfecting” his form.

Anyways, here is the video.  Danny gave me specific directions to

“Be pretty nitpicky. This way I can see how good your critical eye is, and also how good your form is.”

The video is 7:37 minutes but note how many “nitpicky” things I found in my own form.

Here is Danny’s email back to me after his review:

“You did a fabulous job of nitpicking your form! Below are some of my comments to add to what you saw.
Foot splay in the flight phase on both feet. Only very slight in the right foot… not enough to worry about. When you were running in a counter-clockwise arc you were pointing your right foot as it swung forward and you were dorsiflexing your left foot as it swung forward. This was accentuated because of the curve and less obvious when running straight.
Landing on the outside of the feet is fine. It creates a natural pronation and makes a midfoot landing softer.
Much of your leg work would improve if your stride were a bit shorter. This would prevent any overuse of your lower legs, reduce over-pronation and help keep your cadence up around 177 where it should be. It’s a more efficient gear for you.
Good alignment and lean
Right calf is pre-firing and plantar flexing for stability but I don’t see it used for propulsion.
Left ankle is dorsiflexing but not heel striking. On both feet you’re landing below your knees, which is great.
Slight upper body rotation: right elbow comes back behind you. Left elbow not as much. I’d say that the main thing you need to work on is your armswing… everything else is very close to right on. With your arms, let your elbows swing in the direction your arms are aligned. When you’re holding an imaginary volleyball your hands are closer to your centerline and your elbows are wider because they’re angled out a bit. The reason why your shoulders rotate is because your elbows are not following the line set up by the volleyball, but instead they’re swinging directly rearward and not rearward at a slight angle to each side… in a “V” shape. Swinging your elbow straight back pulls your shoulder with it. Swinging your elbow in a “V” shape doesn’t.
A small amount of vertical motion is a good thing. If you had no vertical motion, you’d be walking. It’s necessary. But, we teach pelvic rotation just to insure that people aren’t bouncing more than they need to.
I’m happy to go over any of this with you on Skype, so I can demonstrate what’s happening….. You’re doing a fabulous job in many ways.
Keep up the good work.

Yesterday I had the privilege of talking to Danny via Google Hangout to discuss my video even further.  We worked on my right arm swing a bit and now I’m excited because I have some more things to focus on when I’m running.

Moral of the story: 


Just because I’ve been teaching and practicing for awhile, doesn’t mean I can’t learn and become a stronger runner.  It wasn’t easy being vulnerable and having the founder of ChiRunning critique my form but boy am I am re-energized and motivated to keep working on it. The better I get, the more I can help my students get better too!

I do video analysis in my 4-hour ChiRunning workshops.  Students tell me this is the most valuable part of the class. There is nothing like making that mind/body connection by seeing what your body is doing so you can correct it.

Although I was pretty nervous about this whole process, I’m so grateful because ChiRunning has changed my life both professionally and personally.  I continue to look forward to helping injured runners change their form so they won’t be injured anymore AND show brand new runners that running doesn’t have to be painful or hard.

“It’s not running that causes pain, but HOW you do it.” Danny Dreyer

P.S  Not sure if you are Ted Talk fan but here is a great one on The Power of Vulnerability from Brene Brown.

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

Walk and get some fresh energy!

….and My Story Runs On….

One of the reasons I love ChiWalking is because it provide’s a matrix with 12 types of walk.  Depending on what energy you need in your life on that particular day, you pick a specific walk to fulfill those needs.  How fun to add some variety to your walking program!


Here are some tips on the Chi Gathering Walk:

  • The most ideal place to do a Chi Gathering walk is out in nature, as far away from civilization as you possible. The purpose is to use all your senses to help in this process and you want as few distractions as possible. The Chi in nature is the purest and best form to gather and it’s the most abundant and powerful.


  • Set aside a few hours to really go out, let go of all tasks and enjoy nature.
  • If you are familiar with the Grounding and Chi Gathering stances from Tai Chi, start with these (not a requirement but will help set the intention to gather Chi)
  • As you walk, be aware of all your senses working one at a time. Cycle through your senses individually at first and then allow an awareness of all of them to work together. Let your eyes watch in all dimensions (nature up close and further away)
  • Pretend you have eyes in your chest and think about taking in nature and it’s Chi as you inhale.
  • Spend as much time walking, stopping, watching, relaxing and just indulging on all the nature around you.

As you finish your walk, feel the extra energy you gathered and bring it with you into the rest of your day!


From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

She’s such a loser!

….and My Story Runs On….

No, I’m not about ready to start bashing anyone but just wanted to get your attention. Honestly, this will be probably my favorite blog post yet…Why?  Because this story is EXACTLY why I do what I do.

Meet Diane.  I met her in March this year when she attended Danny Dreyer‘s ChiRunning workshop.  I remember hearing her say at one point that she lost 100 lbs. As a fitness trainer, I always love to hear these stories. We became facebook friends and she joined my Running for Brews group a few times and met at other running events across the valley.  This weekend, I had the honor of being with her on her longest run to date. Not only was it her longest run (15.5 miles) but she did it on a trail…and at night time!  Let’s go back a bit though…

Here is a before/after picture of Diane:


Since my passion in life is to help more people get into walking and running because it’s one of the easiest things you can do for weight loss/maintenance (if done correctly), I asked Diane if she could answer a few questions for me.  I was in tears reading her answers and I asked her permission to blog about it because I know she can inspire others!

How much weight did you lose?  
“I lost 100 lbs in a year and 105 lbs to date.”

When did you realize you need to make a change in your life?
“I was lying in bed one night and I was concerned because my heart was beating really hard and fast. It had been doing that for a couple months and I was scared I was going to have a heart attack and have my daughters find me. So that was my defining moment of when I decided to make a lifestyle change.”

What did you do?
“I was very strict with my diet by cutting out fast food, junk food, and sweets–I basically detoxed. I allowed myself to have one splurge meal a week.” (if you calculate it, she lost about 8-10 lbs a month which is healthy amount to lose)

When did you start running? Why?  When was your first 5K?
“I started running in September 2013. Even though I had lost a lot of weight, I felt like something was missing in my life. I decided to start walking. One night on a walk I started wondering if I could run. So I tried it–it was really tough and I could only do it for maybe 30 seconds at a time. Three weeks later I ran my first 5K.”  (I love that running can provide people with so many first time experiences: distances, trail, night trail, triathlons, etc. I see people pushing their boundaries all the time!)

Why did you keep doing it if it was hard?
“I was hooked on the race experience and found that I could channel my stress and anxiety through running. I ran my first half in May 2014 and am currently training for my first full in January. I’m still pretty careful about what I eat, but running allows me to enjoy brownies every once in awhile!”

What else has running done for you?
“Running and losing weight have given me the confidence and inner peace that helps me to be successful in all areas of my life, personally and professionally. The best part is I have become a good role model for my daughters, and they’re very proud of me!”

Any advice for anyone who would say to you “I could never be a runner”
“My advice to those who feel they could never be a runner is to take it slowly in the beginning with both pace and distance. If you try to do too much too soon, you could injure yourself or get burned out. Running is a huge lesson in patience. Accept the days when running feels impossible, and embrace the days when running feels effortless. Progress is gradual so don’t give up!”

Any advice for anyone who would say to you “I’m too overweight to be a runner”
“As far as those who think they’re too overweight to run, not true! Runners come in all shapes and sizes. There are plenty of amazing runners who don’t fit the mold. Fear is a prison. Don’t let it hold you back from being successful and accomplishing your dreams! It’s also important to focus on good running form so you learn how to run with minimal impact to the joints. I haven’t had shin splints, foot pain, or muscle pain since I started ChiRunning in March.

And for all new runners–don’t get hung up on being fast. Just get out there and enjoy it!”

Thanks so much to Diane for sharing a very brief summary of how weight loss and running has changed her life!

Here is a picture of us from this weekend.


Both of these ladies broke records by surpassing their longest runs to date.
Both of these ladies never thought they would be running 15 miles on a trail at night (same goes for me!).
Both of these ladies never thought they’d be running a full marathon!
But both of these ladies had the courage to listen to their heart (don’t listen to your mind because it will tell you otherwise!) and just go for it.

So whether it’s weight loss or starting a walking/running program, remember this:

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” ~Brian Tracy

“If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” ~Thomas Edison

From My Running Story to Yours….

(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

A 70 year old, 73 yo and 91 yo go into a bar….

….and My Story Runs On….

Just kidding….well, maybe they do go into a bar but only after going for a run!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:


I sit here and think, I’ve only been running for about 5-6 years and knowing what I know now, I wish I would’ve started before!  But I’m very glad to know that assuming nothing happens to me, I have another 40+ years in me!  Yeah, freaking yeah!  (Knowing this always makes me feel better especially since I’ve had to taper my running down in the last few months to heal my foot).

First of all, have you heard about this new study that says Running 5 Minutes a Day Has Long Lasting Benefits? That’s right, running doesn’t have to be something that you do for 2 hours a day or anything. It’s one of the easiest things you can do and requires very little equipment and expense (I always say a good pair of shoes and a class to learn proper form, like ChiRunning, and you are good to go anywhere, anytime!).

I’m very blessed to do what I love to do and nothings makes me happier than hearing about “older” people that are running.  Just in the last month:

  • I had the honor to have a private session with a 73 year old woman who wanted to learn to run!  Her son contacted me and we worked out a plan and I couldn’t have been more excited to do this!  I’m just waiting for her to decide when she is ready for her first 5K.  She started out with 10 minutes and is working her way up.  She’s an avid golfer, walker and yogi…and now wanted to change things up a bit with some running!  Love to surround myself with people who want to keep growing no matter their age.
  • Do you remember one of my blog posts about Doc Gooding: You’re doing what at 69 years old?  He took my ChiRunning workshop a few years ago and apparently hasn’t been the same since ;) ! He sent me another email on 8/24/14:

“Hope you are doing well…Just wanted to give you an update.  I competed in the USA Triathlon National Sprint Championships a few weeks ago in Milwaukee.  There were 32 participants in my age group 70-74. I came in 14th in the age group with a time of 1:30 which qualified me for Team USA. That was my main goal…to get on Team USA!  So, I will be representing the USA in the World Championships September 2015 in the Chicago. My time for the race was 10 minutes faster than my previous time for the same distance. A good part of that was improved run time…I have been focusing on getting my cadence up. My pace on the run was 10:03….my previous best race pace was 11:09. I focused on getting and keeping my pace up the whole race.”

  • Last but not least, I was scrolling through facebook and read about the 91 year old who started running marathons at 76. Her name is Harriette Thompson and she broke two records: fastest course time for her age group by 2 hours AND 2nd oldest marathon finisher in world history at the 2014 San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon.  She’s completed 15 marathons  AND she’s battling skin cancer AND had 9 radiation treatments a month before the race AND she raised $90K for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!

All I can say is:


Too many people use their age as a reason not to do things.  Life is too short to not explore your potential and see how far you can take your body and mind.  I’m looking forward to My Running Story to keep going and going….. What will you be doing when you’re 70? or 90?  I think it’s time to start working on that bucket list……

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

Race Report-CYA 6/12/24: First Time & Last Place

….and My Story Runs On….

Well, I wasn’t really in last place but I was second to last ;)  and you know what, I AM OK with that!


The reason I started this blog was to encourage runners to write their own running story. Everyone’s journey is different..more importantly, I like to encourage people to get out of their comfort zone and try new things when running.

This was my first time participating in this type of a timed event.  Basically you pick the time (I was going to do 12 hours but I had to drop down to 6 as explained in this blog post).  In this race, there was a 3 mile trail (Brownlow Trail in Prescott) and you get to go around as many times as you want, can, etc.  As a first timer, and I’ll speak for the other 3 friends that I convinced to do it with me, it was awesome!  People asked me if I was crazy and why would I do this? It’s hard to explain but I’ll give it a try…

You could be someone who doesn’t want to be pressured against the clock that most races impose (like being at the end of a marathon with a swag wagon on your ass because you have to finish by a specific time) OR you might like the security of being on a shorter trail where you have consistency/safety for the run OR you might just want to challenge yourself to see how many miles you can finish in X amount of hours OR you might just want to do your first ultra marathon (over 26.2 miles) and you can pick a time that you know you could do that in (for example if you can’t do it in 6 hours, you could pick the 12 hour event and you would have PLENTY of time to finish 26.2 miles)….not sure I’ve still explained this well enough but long story short, I loved the fact that I knew I had 6 hours on the course and I could do whatever I want!

Since I’ve been dealing with an injury, I decided I was not going to push my body and changed my mind frame from “getting as many miles as possible in” to “I’m just going to have a good time today”.

The race was put on my Solemates’ Ultra Running Events and Mark and Sharill did an amazing job! First, I’m soooo glad that they did a preview run of the course so we could know what it was like. The biggest thing we learned (even though the race was called CYA Cool Your Ass because it’s cooler in Prescott), it really wasn’t that much cooler ;) Knowing this helped us prepare for the heat on race day.

The course was well marked, there was a major aid station at the start (which you run by every 3 miles…another plus of these types of events) with amazing stuff. There was the usual (electrolyte replacement and water) AND then there was the “other” stuff:  dates, potatoes, M + M’s, fruit, grilled cheese, etc. They really took care of the runners! There was also a mini aid station in the middle of the 3 mile course with water/electrolytes. So basically you were covered every 1.5 miles.

The 3 mile trail had a variety of terrain.  Some single track but it was mostly double track. Some of it was rockier and some of it was sandier.  Overall it was a good mix of trail.  Great thing about knowing the trail is you knew when Mount Orth was coming too.  This was the big hill at the end.  There was only one shady spot on the trail and we took several photos at our favorite bench. It never seemed repetitive to me which was odd.  I stayed as present as possible and focused on seeing different things every time. It was also great to “run into” other friends along the route.


Kicking it on the bench

Kicking it on the bench

This is one of my ChiRunners and Mountain Miler friends Steve Orth ;)

This is one of my ChiRunners and Mountain Miler friends Steve Orth ;)

Due to my injury, I knew I needed to really listen to my body and take it easy. This is another thing I loved about this event.  After 9 miles, I could feel my heel bugging me a bit so I decided to sit a loop out while my friends did one without me. It was a tough decision to make but I knew it was the right thing to do.  So I stretched, iced and did some facebook updates. I also decided to ChiWalk most of the race.  I wanted to run and I did on downhills and flats but knew I wasn’t in any hurry to get any mileage in so I just enjoyed the scenery and time with my friends.

My stuff!

My stuff!

When I signed up for this event, I’ll admit that I was intimidated by it.  I know my friends were too.  The great thing is that there were competitive people who were trying to beat the clock but there were also a lot of “regular” people who were just out there to see what they could do in 6 hours.

I think I’m hooked now to a new type of event!  Most of these races usually start with 12 hours which is not realistic for most “regular” runners. I appreciate that Solemates’ has a 6 hour option that is a more reasonable time frame for “regular” runners.

Thanks to Solemates’ for hosting an amazing event. Thanks to my friends who decided to get of their comfort zone to join me!

So who wants to join me for their next one:  Solemates’ Thanksgiving Tryptophun Rhuns the weekend of Thanksgiving at White Tanks?  I’ll probably be marathon training or something by then and it would be a perfect “training run”. Another benefit of these types of events:  you can make it a long training run and you don’t have to worry about bathrooms, food and water.  Plus you get a medal, shirt and other cool swag!



Me being goofy!

Me being goofy!

Not registered yet but pretty sure I’m in…who’s with me?

From My Running Story to Yours….

(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)