Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2014…Whatcha Got For Me?

I'm not really one to make new years resolutions but I do usually take the beginning of a new year to at least think about what I have to look forward to in the coming year.  Of course a lot of those thoughts center around fitness as staying fit and healthy is a major part of my life all year round.

I haven't talked about it too much but I've been getting into weight lifting a LOT lately.  In fact after running a marathon in 2011 I started to focus more and more on it, falling off the wagon quite a few times, but always coming back to it.  I find I MUST follow some sort of program to actually stay with it and in the past I've completed Jamie Eason's 12 Week Trainer on and most recently completed the James Wilson 12 Week Program.  As a side note, I highly recommend both. Jamie's is free and focuses on body parts and sets where you do your typical 3 sets of a certain exercise and move on. James' programs is $50 (and COMPLETELY worth it) and it does circuit style training exclusively which I really loved.

I think my body has changed a bit since I've started lifting and running, not ONLY running…I tried to find some racing photos to depict that…you can kind of see a difference below.  But mostly you can just see that I have the weirdest hands while running, why I can't just put them in a fist and look normal is beyond me!

2011 Chicago Marathon - ONLY running         and    2013 Seahawks 12K - Weights and running

I think I look a little leaner…I would like to get even more lean!  Mostly I just FEEL better so that is really all that matters right?

One of my biggest goals in 2014 is to remain active lifting weights for the whole year with no big breaks to focus soley on running…like I did last summer with all the relays.  Anyways, back to my semi-plan for 2014 for staying in shape and enjoying running with friends!

January - March - Lee Labrada 12 Week Trainer

I CRAVE variety in my workouts so I knew I couldn't just go repeat one of the 12 week plans I've done before and I found my latest one again on  I picked this one because it does 2 days of weights with one day off for the whole 12 weeks.  On the days off you can do cardio…hence where running fits perfectly into!  As far as running goes right now I'm just getting out there and getting some mileage in and enjoying time with friends.  I usually get 1-2 requests a week to go for a run so I'll just continue to let my friends motivate me to get the miles in while not focusing on how fast or how long I go…sticking to my number 1 goal of getting lean and strong!
  • March 2, 2014 - Hot Chocolate 15K - Leslie practically begged me to run this race ;) so I'm going for it!  It is a fun distance and the race shirt (or rather really nice fleece) is super awesome so I'm not going to pass it up.  
How can you say no to this face?
April - June

I don't know what weight training program I'll be doing but I'm on the hunt for a more advanced one to take me past the initial 12 weeks I complete above.  I really really want to hire a personal trainer but I'm not sure it's in my budget…we shall see.

  • May 3, 2014 - Mini Indy Half Marathon - I'm MOST excited about this race.  Both of my cousins have never ran a half marathon before and I finally brainwashed them into thinking it would be a piece of cake ;).  My cousin, Janel, lives in Indianapolis and has asked me to come run this every year since she has lived there to which I always reply "I'll run it when you run it". Well the time has come and I have to make do on my promise…it's going to be so fun crossing the finish line with them!  
Training will probably be minimal for the half other then fitting in running when I can and focusing on getting in a couple of longer runs in before race day.  BUT, in May-June I do need to start ramping up the running a bit for Ragnar Ultra business again!
Janel is on the far left and Kristin is in the middle - those other two young ladies are our mothers!
July - September

July is to far in the future for me to plan but I do hope to be still into the weights and staying in shape. My biggest focus for July will be planning and executing another ultra relay team! 
  • July 18-19, 2014 - Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage - Team Six Pack with Racks is back again, with a couple roster changes, but overall we are excited to get out there and conquer the 200 miles as a 6 pack again.  Prices increase February 1 so if you are running REGISTER NOW!  I believe you can still get $50 off using code NWP15ACTIVE.
I pulled off 30+ miles last year without too much training but I was hurting and super exhausted so I'm hoping for a bit more mileage and back to back long runs to try and enjoy the experience a tad more.  And maybe even pick up the pace a bit :).  I may actually make a plan for this and try to stick to it…maybe! Funny how I can stick to a weight training plan no problem but pretty much have never used a running plan before.

October- December

Not a freakin clue…I'll figure it out along the way!

Phew, thinking about a whole year was tiring!  In reality my only goal for 2014 is to remain fit and healthy and have fun with friends while doing it.  This of course includes getting to be an ambassador for Nuun and Ragnar relay as well and I hope to meet even more awesome running/fitness buddies in 2014!

QUESTION: Do you plan out your entire year race/fitness wise?  

Monday, January 6, 2014

Christmas in Costa Rica - Take Me Back Please

I've been in serious post vaca depression since coming back…I would seriously LIVE in Costa Rica if I could, such an amazing country.  Major major major thanks to my parents for this trip of a lifetime as a Christmas gift. I joked the whole time they are going to have to try pretty hard to outdo this Christmas gift next year but that should be up for the challenge ;).  I'm thinking Belize...


On December 20th we made our way to Costa Rica with 10 other people (another family from our neighborhood where I grew up) for a 7 day vaca and we had the time of our lives.  We all stayed in one giant house and pretty much did all our activities together.  Seeing as I live alone it got a tad challenging to be with 10 other people 24/7 but luckily you just step outside for a quick beach walk and all is right in the world again.  

I won't go into detail about every single thing we did but here are the highlights for me!

SUNSETS! - I mean seriously, could they be anymore beautiful?  We had the most perfect sunset every single evening there that I made it my job to capture it each night. I only missed night 7 because we were literally in the car stuck in a traffic from an accident :(.

Day 1 - upper left - sunset from the beach closest to our house
Day 2 - upper middle - sunset from Tamarindo beach…almost missed that one!
Day 3 - upper right - sunset from the snorkel sailboat adventure
Day 4 - bottom left - view from our house
Day 5 - bottom middle - Feliz Navidad, view from the beach club down the road from our house
Day 6 - bottom right - sipping on a passion fruit margarita at the JW Marriott Guanacaste resort

Are you insanely jealous yet? ;)

PALO VERDE RIVER CRUISE - On Christmas Day we all got up early and got picked up by a tour company and made our way to the Palo Verde National Park where we went on the coolest river cruise ever…you know that Jungle ride at Disneyland…yeah that…but REAL and no hippos :).

Mi Familia - Feliz Navidad!
It was freaking awesome! We saw EVERYTHING! Massive iguanas, crocodiles, tons of birds, howler monkeys, and capuchin monkeys. I didn't want to get off the boat.


Some of the capuchin monkeys came on the boat (not because we fed them or anything…nope…that isn't allowed…wink wink).  They were super duper friendly and after having one on my head I decided a selfie with a monkey should be added to my bucket list so I made it happen…!

We ended the morning with a delicious authentic Costa Rican lunch, spent the afternoon soaking up the rays at our pool and enjoyed a fabulous dinner at a hotel on our property that evening.  It didn't "feel" much like Christmas's that I'm used to but I loved this one and obviously I'll never forget it!

We clean up nice!
SUNSET SAIL AND SNORKEL - obviously you can't go somewhere tropical without going on a snorkel cruise complete with unlimited beverages, delicious food and snorkeling right?  We decided on a sailboat since they gave our group an awesome deal and off we went one afternoon.  We enjoyed lounging on the boat deck, eating amazing small plates, drinking anything we wanted, snorkeling, a beautiful sunset (day 3 above), and live music from one of the deck hands.  Despite one minor swimsuit malfunction that include my bottoms ripping in half from sliding off the boat into the water (thanks goodness for running shorts that can double as swim bottoms!) I had an amazing time and enjoyed some more QT with the fam and friends.

Me, the brother, the mother
HIKING RINCON DE LA VIEJA PARK - We took off on our last full day in Costa Rica for the 2 hour drive to this awesome national park that is advertised as the "Yellowstone of Costa Rica".  While most of the group opted for a more adventurous day of horseback riding and river tubing my mom, dad, and I headed out to the park for a hike.  We did the Las Pailas loop that offers many volcanic like sites to be seen including natural fumaroles, boiling mud pits, and sulfur steam vents.  I would have loved to spend a couple days in the park going on more hikes (including a challenging one to the crater!) but getting a sneak peak on this easy trail was fun!

My mom is NOT a hiker but she handled it like a champ!

Oh man that was fun to recap and makes me want to go back already.  I would highly recommend putting Costa Rica on your places to visit if you haven't already.

QUESTION: Anyone else spend the holidays somewhere warm? 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Top 5 Moments of 2013

Yeah yeah I've been very absent from this little blog of mine for a while now but I do promise that one of my 2014 goals is to post more regularly…mostly for me cause I like to look back but also for YOU since I enjoy reading your blogs so much you must enjoy mine right? ;)

Instead of writing out a long winded post on everything that was fabulous about 2013 I'll just give you my top 5 so if you missed anything I did this year you can go re-read for yourself.  In no particular order the top 5 moments of MarathonLar are:

1. The Adventures of Spleenless Stacey - talk about a stressful time for me and my pup but I couldn't be more grateful everything turned out well and Stacey is back to her old and, dare I even say, more energetic self!  Having to think about her mortality was pretty hard but I'm happy to know I still have some time left with her.

2. The Government Shutdown So I Played - while this wasn't exactly a great thing during the shutdown I did eventually get paid for a 2.5 week vacation so I guess that is a good thing? Sadly, I don't know if I'll ever have that much consecutive time off from my work again so I did try to take advantage and have a little fun!

A mid-week hike was nice!

3. Relay Running - I ran TWO epic relays! My first ultra Ragnar relay in July that evidently was so much fun I'm doing it again in 2014.  And then of course getting to finally experience the Hood to Coast excitement and more excitedly doing it with Nuun along the way in August.  I can't wait to experience 2014 as a Nuun and Ragnar Ambassador since they were both such a big part of 2013!

4. Discovering the Wonder that is Jasyoga - I've always enjoyed yoga but honestly never found a style or a company that I really jived with until I found Jasyoga.  Plain and simple they do yoga for athletes and know JUST how to stretch you out to walk away feeling refreshed, relaxed, and ready to tackle your next workout even harder.  Combine that with beer and wine drinking and you've got the perfect combo…in my humble opinion.  Their next run/yoga/beer event is on Saturday, January 11…whose comin?

Friends, beer, yoga…who needs more?

5. Being an Ambassador - I've said it before, I'll say it again…I had NO idea what starting this little blog would get me into and never thought it would go beyond me just blabbing to an audience of one (me!).  Getting to meet such awesome people and learn about cool companies has been an absolute surprise perk of this blog and I absolutely love it!  In 2013 I got to pace a friend to a half mary PR as an ambassador for See Jane Run, run Hood to Coast with Nuun as an ambassador, and became a Ragnar Relay Ambassador for the 2014 Northwest Passage race!

While 2013 might not have been filled with new PR's or huge new athletic accomplishments it was spent hanging out with countless new running buddies, motivating new friends to try running, and staying active the whole time…I'll call that a win!

I'm working on my goals for 2014 and I'll share as soon as I'm ready!

QUESTION: Anyone make any new years resolutions/goals that are or running/fitness related?