To Plan or Not To Plan? That is the Question!

….and My Story Runs On….

Should you set a goal before a race or not?  Many runners do…..I always tell new runners not to worry about what everyone else is doing and do your own thing.  Running is social for me so I don’t tend to set many concrete goals before I do a race.  Read my blog and/or watch my video to find out about my last race;)


This past Saturday night, I completed my longest run in a long time…since dealing with my plantar fascitiis.  It was the 25K Javelina Jangover with Aravaipa Running (15ish miles).  A night trail run that started at 8pm.  I used think people were crazy to do night trail runs but now they are my favorite type of run.

Last year I did this same race with a few friends and we had a blast. It was their first longest race, and at night.  We had not any goals and completed it in 3:57.

This year most of my friends weren’t doing it and since I love this trail, I decided to go for it (I have been training for it).

As I said, I rarely go into a run with a solid plan but this time was different:

Needless to say, I was craving a nice long run where I could really focus on my form… and more importantly energy efficiency.   Here was my plan:

  • Beat last year’s time with a goal of 3:27
  • Not wear my Garmin so I could run strictly by body sensing rather than having the time/mileage rule my mind. I wrote another blog about this before.
  • I actually looked at the map. I new the first half of the race was hillier and that my 2nd half would be easier (was hoping for negative splits-when the 2nd half of your race is faster than the first half)
  • Be as energy efficient as possible by using the ChiRunning form focuses as much as possible. I also wanted to focus on applying the rule of matching my running to the environment.

I’m happy to report that my plan went very well:

  • I ended up with a 3:16:28 time (ended 7th in my Age Group out of 27 other women).  I averaged a 13:02 pace for 13 miles which I was happily surprised with.
  • I looked at my Garmin a few times to gauge the Aid station but happy that it did not “rule” my run.
  •  I was alone most of the run, didn’t listen to any music and was happy to run into a friend after the aid station and we chit chatted for a bit which helped the My favorite part was working on all my form focuses! Time went by so fast. You have to be very present when night trail running already but when you focus on form, it gives you something to work with as well.  My abs were pretty sore at the end which means I focused well on my posture the entire time and allowing gravity to pull me forward.  I focused on letting the trail pick up my feet and did a lot of work with my upper body. I focused on not rotating my upper body. I strategically ChiWalked up every hill which is very efficient and used short strides and my upper body to do more of the work. I focused a lot on breathing, especially nose breathing.  I never focused this much on breathing during a race and I have to say, this paid off. I felt great the entire time and I believe it was the breathing that had the biggest impact.  (I also give credit to Dr. Al Lundeen, my chiropractor, from Fast Forward Chiropractic who I’ve been working with for several months. We are working on some of my posture issues that effect breathing).
  • My other favorite running meditation is to focus on all my senses and be present within each of them.  Try it next time.  Focus on what you hear for a bit, what you see, smell, feel and taste.

I’ve ran quite a few training runs and races but I have to say, that had to be one of my best runs ever if I were to measure it specifically on energy efficiency. I felt great during the run and after the run.

AHA Moment:  It’s up to you if you want to have a plan or not.  But if you do have a plan, don’t get too attached to it.  Sometimes things happen that are out of our control…I’ve seen this happen where people make plans for an event and they couldn’t keep the plan and then they are beating themselves about it for days. It’s not worth it.  Make a plan and see how it goes.  If it doesn’t go as planned, figure out why and use it as a learning lesson next time. No need to beat yourself up about it!

Have you ever planned for a race?  How did it go?


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

Win money while losing weight?! (or maintaining)

….and My Story Runs On….

It’s been awhile since I’ve promoted Krowdfit…mainly because I wasn’t really crazy about the Body Media device they used AND because you had to download your info every night rather than it being blue tooth and giving immediate feedback…

WELL THAT HAS ALL CHANGED and it couldn’t be easier now to be a member.  As I’ve stated before, there are no gimmicks to this.  I won $5000 last year (read that blog post or watch my 1 min video keeping in mind this was with the old Body Media device) and half the people on my team have won anywhere from $75-$250 for sleeping, taking steps and logging their food.

Basically it’s a membership site and if you are already doing these things with a Fitbit or Jawbone (or want to), you might as well pay the membership fee since it could win you money.  You will get sweepstakes entries for doing specific things. Instead of me sharing these details, click here to find out more…trust me, it’s worth at least checking it out.

As a fitness trainer, I’ve been approached by so many people with these multi level marketing companies that have products that are supposed to help you lose weight: from Isagenix to some type of chocolate that’s supposed to help you lose weight. I have no issue with the “pyramid” system SO LONG  as the product does what it says it does. THIS IS THE ONLY product that I’ve found to be true.  There is no magic potion or chocolate to help you lose weight: it boils down to eating less, and sleeping and moving more…..and Krowdfit encourages this behavior via the devices they use.

I just got my Jawbone UP24 and LOVE IT!  I can’t believe how much feedback it gives me immediately.

If you already own a Fitbit or Jawbone, it’s only $12.99 a month! (I’d give up 3 Starbucks coffees for the money and the extra calories!)  That’s totally worth trying to meet all my daily food and fitness goals…with some of them, the more you do, the more entries you get!

If you don’t have one of these devices, you can purchase one and pay it as part of your monthly membership.

Yes, I am a KREW member and I’m not trying to hide that this is a wee bit of passive income for me but that’s not why I’m doing it…I TRULY BELIEVE IN THESE DEVICES AND THIS IDEA OF BEING MOTIVATED TO WIN MONEY.  I don’t gamble because I work too hard for my money but knowing there is a way that I can do healthy things daily to lose weight (or maintain and keep me on track) and possibly win money for it…SIGN ME UP!  I do have a secret facebook page for my Krew members and they do get fitness/health advice from me as well. (By the way,  If you think you can get 6 people to join you, you should sign up as a KREW member (once you get 6 people, your $22.99 membership is free))

If you decide to join my team, please make sure to click here to sign up and be on my team.  Make sure to also send me an email at so I can be sure you are on my team!

I can also sync my Jawbone phone app with Fitness Pal (where I track my food) and there are several other apps you can sync with so you don’t have to do double duty!)

Here are just a few images from my Jawbone from yesterday and today:


I was so tempted to go walk outside last night to get to my 10,000 steps in but didn’t ;( but that’s how motivating this can be!


Love all this date I get from my sleep patterns!


Here are the emails that I saved when I won and some of my team members:

Lisa wins for completing vigorous activity!

Lisa wins for completing vigorous activity!

Amy wins for sleeping 8 hours!

Amy wins for sleeping 8 hours!

Anita wins for sleeping 8 hours!

Anita wins for sleeping 8 hours!


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

Blog Series #3: Cross training – Barre

….and My Story Runs On….

I remember when I was 6 or 7 years old, my Mom signed me up for Ballet class. ….and it lasted about 1 day.  I HATED it!  Not sure why, maybe it felt too girle for me (I’ve always been a bit of a tom boy…I blame my male cousins for that). I enjoyed swimming, gymnastics and ice skating as a kid but ballet was not on my list.  Thankfully, she didn’t force me to take it and I never went back.

Fast forward to 2015, I’m dealing with my injury and finding ways to cross train.  I always recommend changing up your fitness routine…not just for a mental shift to try some new stuff but your body gets used to doing the same thing and you need a change.

I joined Flip’n Fit last month and have been enjoying some fun new fitness experiences.  I also like to push myself out of my comfort zone and this has worked well so far…

Yesterday I finally decided to sign up for a Barre class at Ten Pointe5 Tempe.  This is the description on their website:

“TenPoint5 is based on the philosophy that the human mind is the strongest “muscle” in the body—and that peak physique is achieved only by the belief that true transformation happens after fatigue.TenPoint5 incorporates classic ballet, core, pilates and yoga strengthening techniques.
The class blends resistance training with stretching exercises to achieve long lean muscles—and is set to choreography that strategically accelerates muscle conditioning and sculpting.”

I admit I was a bit nervous to go…also because I went alone. There were only 2 other people in the class.  Here was my set up:

Barre Set Up

Let me tell you, the warm up kicked my butt.  I can’t describe to you everything that happened but I can tell you right now that muscles I did not know existed are talking to me today!  Krista, the co-owner and instructor, was very attentive to me knowing that it was my first time and I really appreciate that in a fitness professional.  I have to say, I liked it more than I thought. Great cross training for runners!

First of all, I had to be very mindful because the movements were small but very effective.  I wanted to make sure I was working the right muscles. Krista did a great job of cueing us on where to feel it.  Another great thing I appreciate from a fitness professional.  There was quite a bit of glute and core work.  Both of these muscle groups are crucial for runners.   I also loved the focus on posture.

My body was already a bit sore from the strength training workout I did the night before but I can tell what muscles I worked yesterday!

All in all, it was a great experience and I would go check it out again!  I’d recommend anyone to try it at least once ;)

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

2014 Major Celebrations: Mind, Body & Spirit

….and My Story Runs On….

It’s been a few years that I’ve decided not to make New Year Resolutions anymore. There are all sorts of statistics about the % of people who make them and who keep them.

I do believe that this is a great time to reflect on last year and set new intentions for the upcoming year.  I’m combining this all together over 3 blogs posts. My hope is to inspire you to do the same. Today I’m reflecting on my major accomplishments in 2014.  My word of the year was Celebration and my song for this year is Pitbull/Cristina Aguilera’s Feel This Moment (see more in Vision Board section below) When I look back, I like to focus on what I accomplished…maybe a better word is what I CELEBRATED. In the next few days, I’ll write about my major lessons learned in 2014.  I’ll focus on my intentions after taking my next Vision Board class with Sacred Harts.

“If you nurture your mind, body, and spirit, your time will expand. You will gain a new perspective that will allow you to accomplish much more.”
Brian Koslow

2014 Accomplishments

  • Completed my Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM). This was huge for me because I’ve been working on it for the last 10 years.  I know people that have completed it in 2 years but that’s one of things I love about Toastmasters is that you can move at your own pace. I can’t say enough about this organization.  I’ve been meaning to write a blog about the similarities of Toastmasters and running ;)  coming soon….
  • Completed my Corrective Exercise certification.  I didn’t need to do my CEUs for my fitness training certification yet so I was happy to get ahead of the game.  This was a challenge for me as it’s been awhile since I’ve immersed myself back into studying anatomy.
  • Completed 23 blogs posts. This has been a tough one for me but I’ll be working more on this in 2015.



Before I tackle spirit, let me tell you what this means to me. I’ve probably had my biggest growth happen in the last year in this area. This picture sums it up:

We all have a purpose in this world.  When I have experiences that bring me true happiness, I know I'm getting closer to my true self and soul.

We all have a purpose in this world. When I have experiences that bring me true happiness, I know I’m getting closer to my true self and soul.

  • Completed three 21-Day Meditation series from Deepak Chopra. These are free and I love them.  I started doing these in May of 2012 and this probably the #1 thing that has changed my life in so many ways. I have 67 pages of journaling from this process. This year I completed the following series: Find Your Flow, Expanding Your Happiness and Energy of Attraction. I can’t recommend these enough.  Find out more on their website and facebook page.
  • Completed my first Vision Board in January 2014.  I’ve always wanted to do these but never got around to it.  I can’t say enough about the workshop I took with Lisa Hecke from Sacred Harts (as a matter of fact, I’m signed up for her next one on 1/11).  I’m a big believer in setting intentions because I’ve manifested amazing things in my life through this process….so I’m interested in anything that will deepen it.  Here is a picture of 2014 Vision Board.  I have this hanging right in front of my computer so I see it every single day.  I even took a picture of it on my phone so I had it handy when I wanted to focus on it.  There were mornings that I would get in my car, look at the photo and blast my song.  As I was doing this, I really stayed present and focused on my vision board intentions.  When I look at all my celebrations for this year, a lot of it was right here in my vision board.  Here is a picture of it:


    Left half is my personal life and right half is my business life

  • Niched my business from general fitness (Easy Fitness Solutions) to The Running University.  I realized that my passion was to see people cross finish lines and accomplish goals they never thought possible whether walking or running. This included a new website, my free ebook 15 Simple Steps for the Beginner Beginner™ Runner, new facebook, twitter and You Tube page.  Running has changed my life in ways I can’t list here right now and I know it can do the same for others (I know all my friends that were non runners would say the same exact thing)
  • Became a ChiRunning/ChiWalking Master Instructor.  I remember when I first became certified to teach and NEVER thought that I would want to or could be one.  I assisted/stalked Danny Dreyer, the founder of ChiRunning by assisting him with several classes in the last few years. I was/am a sponge and who better to learn from than the guru himself. I say that running has changed my life but it’s really ChiRunning.  There are the obvious benefits of decreased chance of injury and learning to make running effortless but it’s really about a lifestyle choice of living intentionally and mindfully.

I’ve been working on this post for 3 hours!  I’m not saying you have to take this long (although it’s leaving me with a great feeling of accomplishment to look back) but maybe take a few moments and look back at 2014.  You can categorize them this same way (Mind, Body Spirit) or however your heart desires.  Whatever way you do it, write it down so you can see just how much you accomplished and celebrated this year!

PLEASE share any of your accomplishments or celebrations in the comments!

P.S. This deal is only good through 12/31.  I recently discovered Flip’n Fit.  Basically you pay a monthly membership fee and have access to 35 different studios from RealRyder Spinning to Pilates to Yoga and now to some of my group classes! They are offering a special deal to my peeps…you need a facebook account though ;)  Pay for one month ($99) and get the next month FREE.  $50 for each month with access to up to 200 classes a day!  Here is the deal:

1) Share this post about Flip’n Fit on your page
2) Like their Facebook page
3) Purchase on or before 12/31 to get your second month FREE! (membership is $99)

I’ve been using them for the last month and love it…I’m now doing RealRyder spin classes 2-3x a week and tried Dahn Yoga which I’d never done before…excited about Barre and Pilates in January too!

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

Blog Series: #2 Cross training – Real Ryder Spin Class

….and My Story Runs On….

What happens when you eat the same amount of food as you were when you were running 30-40 miles a week?  You know it…the pounds start creeping back up….add a little depression and self-pity because you can’t run and at some point you have to snap out of it and get with the program.

After stepping on the scale, I knew I had to figure out a way to get more cardio in since I’m not not running and I need to stay off my feet as much as possible.  One of the things I love about Flip’N Fit is that you get to sample a variety of classes at different studios.

I used to love to spin a long time ago but haven’t done it in a few years.  I had heard about these Real Ryder spin bikes but never been on one. Real Ryder bikes are unique because they tilt and lean, almost like a real bike. It engages more muscles groups including your upper body and core.

You can't see it's tilt functionality here but trust me on it ;)

You can’t see it’s tilt functionality here but trust me on it ;)

So, I got the courage a few weeks ago to sign up for my first Real Ryder class at My Fitness Studio.

As always, I’m a bit intimidated to go somewhere new by myself but I sucked it up and went for it.

What a great experience!  I’ve been to 5 more classes since my first time.

Honestly, I enjoy the outdoors a lot (hate treadmills) so I wasn’t sure I was going to like being inside on a bike…but I love it.  It’s been great for me because I am working on my cardio and working my core in different ways which I know will help me with my ChiRunning.

I also really enjoy the variety of the work out: sometimes we are going uphill in harder gears, then downhill super fast, then on rolling hills, biking in simulated sand dunes, etc.

Having great music and a dark room lit up with Christmas and disco lights add to the experience as well…and last but not least, the instructor makes all the difference.

Terry, Donna & I

Terry, Donna & I

Donna (on my left in the photo) is the owner of My Fitness Studio and taught several of the classes I took.  I love her style and she says the same thing as I do: “I love kicking my own butt!”.  We started talking and I’m going to be doing one of my ChiRunning clinics there in January! Terry just started teaching there and she is a machine!  She has all kinds of certifications and was also the first woman in the US to run a USA Boxing Gym.  She is high energy and Italian!  You know I love my Italian paesani!

Our bodies become very efficient if we repeat the same workout all the time.  So go shock your body and try something totally new…like a Real Ryder Spin class ;)

Have you ever tried this class? Let me know your thoughts!

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