Take me back to San Francisco

On Tuesday I announced how excited I am to be 1 of 9 chosen for the first ever Starting 9 Ambassador Program for the

San Francisco Giant Race Presented by Blueprint for Athletes

If you’re looking to join the fun and run the 5k, 10k, or half marathon this year on 9/11/16 you can use my promo code: FITWITHLISS for $10 off your race entry!

My Sister and I rocked the {perfectly cool weathered} streets of San Francisco last year for this race – you can check out that blog post here: 2015 SF Giant Race

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Hope to see you guys there this year – and be sure to let me know if you are gonna run the city with us as I am sure there will be a meet up of sorts!

Happy training – and in the meantime, be sure to follow the Giant Race via social media on their links here:

Instagram    Facebook    Twitter

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Rugged Maniac Race

I (literally) jumped in very last minute to run the Rugged Maniac race.  A muddy 3-mile, 25-obstacle course in the back-country (read: hot as the damn desert) of Temecula, CA.  I teamed up with a fun & energetic crew of 20+ people from Valencia Gardens, and we hit the mud!

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I didn’t go to an expo for this race (to be honest, I am not even sure if they do that) because I did run it as a group entry.  We were already paid for and pre-registered, so we just checked in upon arrival on race day to get our stuff.

Driving into the course was deceptively beautiful for what you were about to encounter once on the course!  #mudbath

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It’s $10 to park, but traffic and parking was not an issue because of the way they structure these races.  Since there are so many people (and obstacles on the course which slow things down), they send groups off in waves.  We were set to run at 10:15am.

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We started late, after our wave start time, because getting a 20+ person group together was similar to herding cats.  Once we got it together and arrived at the start, we learned that you actually begin by jumping over this chest high wall you can see below to get to the start line behind it.  So we’ll just round that up to 26 obstacles!

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After the start our group spread out a bit, it got really hot, rounding upwards of 100+ degrees for this race.  Probably the only thing that made it manageable (aside from the fact that it was only 3 miles) was that we swam in mud along the way.

I don’t have any pics from out on the course yet, but we did have someone there from our group taking a few that will no doubt surface later.

The obstacles were anything (and everything) from tunnel crawls, jumping fire, trampolining into a mud pit, various wall climbs, crawling under barbed wire, balancing on different surfaces getting across water. You name it, it was out there.  Some more challenging than others for sure!

If you are looking to PR your 5k distance, obstacle racing is not the way to go.  It can take awhile to get through because lines build up at the obstacles.  Some people prefer this type of race for that reason, that way it is not consistent running and you get to stop for breaks along the way.

We did this as a “fun run” and didn’t even run with chip timers, only people who are seriously competing do that in these races.  I honestly have no idea how long it even took us.  We started late and because of the mud, well, my running attire was down to the bare necessities — which meant no Garmin!

I will say one bummer was that the last couple obstacles completely washed off all the hard work you had done caking mud on so that you ran through the finish line clean!  What?!  Why?  I thought that was odd because in other mud runs I have done, you finish completely muddy.  I mean, that’s part of the fun –  getting those dirty finish line pictures with your medal!

This is one of my Sister’s co-workers who tackled obstacles with me, but you can see here how clean we looked after we finished.

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Once we were done, most of our group hadn’t finished yet, so I grabbed my phone and bag from the bag check.  Then we were able to run back and catch some pics at the finish.

At the very end of the race, there was this wall where you got a running start and had people to grab on and help pull you up at the top.  OR, if you miss their hands you slide back down like a limp goldfish in front of the 100+ people waiting behind you for their turn.  I don’t know the girl pictured here — she just happened to be dangling there when I took this!

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Once you got up and over that you went straight into the very last obstacle… which was a 50ft drop into a pool of dirty water.  Caught a few of our crew sliding into that mess here!

Can you say mud wedgie?!

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The after-party for this event is HUGE and fun.  Tons of vendors like Suja, Vita Coco, Krave Jerky, Power Crunch and Nesquick to name a few.  You get a free beer, but I didn’t even cash in on that, as at 105 degrees at the finish, a beer was the furthest thing from my mind.  Instead I guzzled 2 bottles of water and chocolate milk at the finish.  I was SO thirsty, even though it was only 3 miles, I felt as though I hadn’t drank anything all day in that dry heat!  There were 3 water stations on course, which was good for 3 miles, but with the length of time getting through obstacles, it did feel like forever getting to them.

There was a nice big shaded area with picnic tables where people could hide from the heat and re-hydrate while having the view of the finish, too.

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They had music, contests and different things going on all surrounding a big foaming shower area you can go stand in to rinse yourself off.  Having done a few mud runs before, I had loaded the back of my SUV with towels, extra clothes, shoes and a gallon of water to do my own shower in the parking lot with no line.

Overall, this was a fun race and the course was beautiful back there in the hills with palm trees every where; it’s just a little dry and hot in the summertime.  This race was only about 20 minutes from my house so anyone that lives out here knew what to expect weather-wise anyways – HEAT!

I loved the medal – I’m always happy to add a new one of those to my collection.  And those socks back there were still that dirty after I had rinsed off – they just went straight to the trash. Nasty.

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I was so happy to get home and shower, I was still pretty dirty although I appeared clean – that was not the case.

The free shirts they gave out (at least to the females) were really cute!  It’s a soft cotton and true to size for once.  A much more flattering fit than some of the race shirts that run in men’s sizes and fit like a potato sack.  You can see some bruises that had started coming in on my arm here, too, I guess that’s because I’m “rugged” now.

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This is a fun, challenging and well-put together race for people that like the muddy, obstacle aspect while racing.  I only do this type of race if it is group-related, as I typically prefer to stay out of the mud.  I don’t like to get my Asics THAT dirty!

How about you guys, has anyone else run this race before?

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My transformation kickstart

 After my transformation posts on social media, I get a lot of questions and messages like:  How did I get started?  What tips do I have for someone starting out? What is my diet like?

So I wanted to share the two biggest things that I believe helped me break through the plateau (more like hopeless, unmotivated RUT) I was in and kick-start my weight loss.

That being said, I want to add there is no miracle answer here.  These are simple things and may seem like common sense  — but until I actually applied them, nothing else worked for me. I’m also going to mention that I am not a Nutritionist, nor am I recommending this as the right thing for you, just simply sharing what has worked for me!

 Top 2 things that gave my body a Jump-Start:

  • Adjusting water intake
  • Eliminating gluten

Water.  How much are you drinking?  Is it enough?

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I wasn’t even coming close to consuming what my body needed. You should aim for drinking half your body weight in ounces.  For example; if you are a 200 lb man, you should be shooting for a minimum of 100 oz a day.  If you exercise a lot or sweat profusely – you need to add more to accommodate that sweat loss.

 Lemon water?  Even better.  This is how I start my morning EVERY single day, without fail. A cup of warm lemon water – before all else!  There are SO many healthy benefits for drinking it. Just a few to name:

  •  Helps aid in weight loss —  The pectin fiber found in lemons helps reduce hunger cravings.
  • Boosts the immune system.
  • Helps purify and stimulate the liver.
  • It’s packed with anti-oxidants and helps clear your skin.
  • Helps avoid indigestion and bloating.
  • Helps aid elimination – You get the point!
  • Reduces inflammation (Acidity in your body is decreased with the consumption of lemon water.  This can relieve the uric acid in your joints — which is a cause of inflammation).

I realize buying lemons and squeezing them into your water every morning can seem tedious, or wasteful to do this daily.  This is why instead I just add a couple drops of lemon essential oil to my water — SO much easier and makes less work.  This trick was big for me, because parents know that simplifying your morning with 2 toddlers underfoot is always appreciated!

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 Gluten.  Elimination of this was the next trick I pulled out of the hat.  Subtracting that from my diet was a game changer.  I noticed a difference within the first week of applying that decision.  No more bloating after meals and I just felt better overall.  My body responded very well to it – and quickly I might add.  I stayed on track with that until I hit my goal, and even now I probably remain 85% gluten free just because I like the way I feel.

I say 85% because I cut out “obvious gluten,” and what I mean by that is that is that I don’t go as far as checking labels on sauces or spices (as this was not an allergy related choice). Also, if I want dessert or something that has gluten in it once in awhile, I eat it!  I never deprive myself because I don’t think that is a system that works long term for people. whether they’re athletes or not.

Here are just a few benefits of cutting out gluten:

  • Improved digestion
  • Neurological benefits
  • Increased energy levels
  • Helps reduce chronic inflammation
  • Helps you avoid processed foods
  • Reduces bloating

Making these changes in addition to starting out with some at-home workouts (as I was not confident enough to run out on the road or work out in the gym) is what enabled me to lose my baby weight and become the strongest version of me.

The photo on the left was me 6-weeks postpartum after my 2nd son, the day I got cleared to work out.

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Biggest Tips for Those of You Beginning Your Journey:

  1. Do NOT do too much too soon!  Too often people want to see change by the next day and go 115% in their first few days only to tire and burn out and eventually quit.  Start slow.  Take it easy, change will come as you get stronger.
  2. Find support & motivation!   IG has proved to be a HUGE motivational and support system for me.  A place where I have connected with and Friended so many other runners, athletes, co-workers, gym members and parents — all with like-minded goals.  We support each other while we balance every day life, proving to one another it IS all possible.
  3. DOCUMENT your journey.  I can’t stress this enough.  Trust me – I know how hard it is to take those “before” pictures.  But those pictures will fuel the fire on days when you need a pick me up and want to see how far you’ve come.  I love being able to see the hard work pay off as I reflect back, and you will too.  Do it!
  4. Figure out what your motivation is.  What is going to drive this force for a healthy lifestyle for you?  A huge factor for me is my boys.  Children are sponges so we need to lead by example.  Making sure kids get off to a good, healthy start is going to help keep them on track growing up.  I also want to be able to keep up with them.  At only two and four years old, my boys have proved to be unstoppable, and I want to be just like them.

 What tips and tricks do you guys have for things that have worked for you?

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Momentum Jewelry

 I recently was chosen to be an Ambassador for Momentum Jewelry – a company that sells athletic & inspired jewelry.  So, what does that mean exactly?  It means that I now get to help represent a company whose product and brand I love.  And I get to do that by wearing their functional, eye-catching jewelry while I work out.  Cause let’s be honest, just because you workout like a beast doesn’t mean you have to look like one!

I first learned about their jewelry through their Instagram, and was immediately sold on the product and the idea behind it once I tried my first Motivate Wrap:

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You also have an option to customize your jewelry, and as a spin instructor I felt compelled to do just that to represent things other than running that I am equally passionate about.

Warning: One is never enough.  Once you order from their website an un-explainable force pulls you back in like tractor beam.  This is highly addictive jewelry.

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These Motivate Wrap bracelets are one-size fits all and are washable, waterproof, non-tarnishing and extremely soft and comfortable. They do not move, pinch, pull or chafe in any way. They are designed perfectly to add motivation, encouragement and a little twist of fashion sense to your workout.  Brilliant!  You can also interchange the wraps to switch up the look of your favorite mantras – the options are endless! It’s not just bracelets either, they have necklaces, headbands, earrings, foot notes, and more you’ll have to check out.  Since becoming an Ambassador my collection is growing rapidly!

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Lastly, I love the message and idea that stands behind this product. As a Mom of two young toddler boys, fitness and a healthy lifestyle is something I will always encourage my boys to embrace and go after.

This excerpt from the Momentum Jewelry website is really what captured my attention and reeled me into their products to begin with:

“At Momentum we believe in jewelry as a beautiful means of expression. We believe in living your passion. And because we believe in the importance of instilling a healthy lifestyle at an early age, 5% of our profits are donated to the national effort Action for Healthy Kids. Founded in 2002, Action for Healthy Kids works with schools to fight the national epidemic of childhood obesity by teaching kids to live healthy, active lives. Learn more at www.actionforhealthykids.org

Even better when a product you love supports such a significant cause.  Take a second to check them out and Find your Spark if you haven’t already!

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For the Love of Asics

I get asked quite a bit about the shoes that I wear for running.  If you have been following me long via any social media outlet, you know that I only run in ASICS.  It is not a secret. I’m 110% predictable that way.  I thought I would get a little more specific about the different models I have been training in and have proved to be my favorites this past year.

 All the bright colors of this Gel Noosa Tri  model caught my eye, and I had to have them.  The brighter the better for my running shoes and anything with orange, yellow or lime green – well, just take my money!

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The Gel DS Trainer 20 is a favorite model of mine.  I currently have this one in 2 colors.  Typically I am not a huge fan of so much pink and purple, but they got me with the electric yellow colored laces.  I do all my training runs in this model right now.

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These are the same model as the previous – Gel DS Trainer 20    just in another color I had to have.  Annnnnnnd while linking this shoe, I noticed they are on sale 50% off right now with free shipping – Any guesses what I’ll be doing after this post?

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This next model Gel-Super J33 is the one I have been running my half marathons in this year.  I tried them out for the first time in January and I love them.  They are lightweight and make me speedy!  It appears this exact color is only available on Amazon now.

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Shoes are the MOST important thing for a runner.  You have to find what works for you and RUN with it.  I have been wearing Asics since high school and I love them because they never have to be “broken in” for me.  I can take off in a brand new pair on a 10-mile run and be just fine.  Any time I have ever tried another brand (maybe 3 times over the last 20 years), it has resulted in some kind of injury, like shin splints or knee pain.

It’s also a good idea to keep your running shoes strictly for running.  If you do a lot of cross training or walking, I suggest having a separate pair of shoes for that.  Depending on the activity you are doing, your feet land differently in the shoe and will break them down quicker, offering less support when running.

Spend the money on a good shoe, save yourself the injury and run happy my friends!

What about you guys, what brands do you LOVE and run in?

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Runstreak Day 100

On Sunday 5/1 my Sister and I ran 5 miles to celebrate our 100 days of

Runstreak-ing!

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I’m happy that such a milestone fell on this day. To be honest I started my day feeling pretty down.  Thankfully, a good run with scenic views is always cure for that.

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Today was the OC Half Marathon which is where my first run streak started last year. Tomorrow would have marked 365 days of streaking for me, but if you’ve been following me long, you know in Jan it broke when my sweet baby boy was ill and we spent 3 nights at Radys.

I don’t talk about it much anymore because it bothered me when people would comment the foolish-ness of being sad about a running streak when my child was sick.

They were missing the point.

It goes without saying kids come first above all else, I never pondered leaving his bedside to go for a run. But that streak started for me during a very tough time and it gave me something positive to focus on. Something that made me happy. As runners I know you can relate to the way that running helps us work through things.

My boys health & happiness has and will always come before all else, but I can still be sad about letting go of goals I had set for myself. While it seems like a silly thing to be sad over to some, it wasn’t silly to me.

Now 100 days ago my Sister joined me on the madness that is streaking and it’s been so fun to share in this together. Can’t wait to see how far we go and finish out all our race adventures this year! How lucky am I to have a Sister that loves running as much as me? Love you B! 👯💕#wecollectmedals #andtruckerhats #justonemore 😑

#RunAlways

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