Marathon Training, Yoga Challenges, and Grandsons: Just a little recap

Busy weekend = mostly pictures. That and the Westminster Dog Show is distracting me. So, a little recap with a lot of pictures.

Marathon Training

What should be the biggest part of my recap is, well, not so much. I’m having schedule clashes, with clients who want to work out at 7:00 in the morning, and while I’m willing to get out there early, I’m hesitant to get out there too much in advance of the sunrise. That’s a long excuse for only two runs this week.

Running 2I did get out early on Wednesday, finishing my four miles by 6:00.

RunningAnd I did a 14 mile long run on Sunday (Saturday we had family stuff). I ran the first 5 miles with Alan and our neighbor, then took off on my own for the rest. The fire station is my perfect water stop. They have an ice machine, plus, well, firemen (though there weren’t any about on Sunday).

Total mileage only 18 miles! That should improve in the coming week. My work schedule is a little better and I have a cut back on the long run next weekend.

Yoga Challenge

Ironically, I’ve done much better with the Take the Leap 30 Days of Yoga Challenge with prAna and Sweat Pink that I did with running. I’ve managed at least a short practice every day since the beginning, and since I’m doing the Bringing Yoga Back challenge too (which fortunately work really well together), I’m really happy with my yoga efforts. I didn’t make it to a “real” class this week, but I practiced at home, both in and outdoors. Take a peek:

Week 2A little doggy-assisted yoga, my favorite kind.

Week 2_2While Alan worked the PS Half Marathon, I took a little run, the did a little posing.

Week 2_3Not only do I get help from my dogs, I get a lot of interest from the cats in the neighborhood.

Week 2_4I spread out my mat on the driveway to stretch after my Wednesday run.

Week 2_5I think I did a pretty good lizard pose variation, don’t you?

Week 2_6Back in the house, a 20 minute balance flow, and amazingly the dogs stayed clear (they were probably afraid I’d fall on them, my balance was that bad).

Week 2_8We traveled to Huntington Beach on Saturday for our twin grandsons’ 10th birthday party. While they played basketball, I posed.

Week 2_7I dragged Alan out for this one. Up in the trails behind our house, he took so many great pictures of my downward facing dog that I couldn’t choose just one.

Phew, week two in the books. I’m am so ready for week three!

Grandsons

As I mentioned, our grandsons turned 10 on Saturday (yes, they’re Valentine’s Day boys). It was a basketball themed party, so Alan and I had a chance to throw the ball around a little bit too. It had been 20 years a long time since I played basketball, and I was playing in flip flops, but I still managed a couple free throws (it seems much farther away than it did when I was younger!), and more than a few lay ups. From my Instagram:

Yes, we did. #basketball

A video posted by Debbe Woodruff (@coachdebbieruns) on

And this:

BirthdayThey asked to do this. #10yearoldboys

Valentine’s Day

We’re not big Valentine’s celebrators. We try to show our love daily, so it’s just not a big deal. We did, however, take the opportunity to stop for dinner at Native Foods on our way home from Huntington Beach on Saturday. It’s not exactly romantic, but it is our favorite restaurant. As I told one of our smartypants Facebook friends, it feels more romantic to us than candlelight and steaks!

Native Foods 3Native Foods 2Alan ordered three(!) cupcakes, so we had ALL the chocolate! I was really well fueled for my long run on Sunday. And fortunately not too sore from the basketball.

So, that was my week in training and life. What’s happening in yours? Any races, events, family fun?

Workouts, Vegan Eats, & Christmas (and Blendtec)!

Yes, I’m jamming it all into one post. To keep the wordiness down, the Christmas recap will be mostly pictures. But, first, a couple announcements and my training recap.

A Blendtec Kind of Holiday

So much exciting stuff going on. First off, if you remember my what I want for Christmas post, I mentioned at the top of my list needing/wanting a new blender. Well, Santa skipped that one, but Fitfluential did not! I actually won a Blendtec Designer 725! Yes, I did! I haven’t received it yet, but here’s the proof:

WinnerYep, that’s me!

Small town, BIG RACE

As you know, Alan and I are training for the SLO Marathon on April 26. Our training program officially starts with the new year, so it’s time to get race plans in place. We’d love to have you join us, so remember that the prices will be going up December 31. You can still save $10 with the code WOODAMB, so hurry up and sign up!

SLO Marathon

As for my own training, I think the term “holiday training” pretty much sums it up. Yes, I ran, a little. Yes, I did practice yoga, twice, once at home, once at the studio. But, all things considered, I’m okay with that. Here are my workouts from last week:

Monday: Since it was looking to be a busy day, I did an at-home yoga class with Yoga 30 (taught by my friend April of Yoga Central) early in the morning, followed by a three mile run (because that’s all I had left).

Yoga 30
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Alan and I planned to run in Huntington Beach while visiting the family, but I ended up with a migraine, so that didn’t happen. Put a damper on the whole day.
Thursday: Christmas day Alan and I took a little three mile trail run. After being sick the day before it felt good just to be out and running.

Christmas Run
Friday: Rest
Saturday: In keeping with the holiday run thing, we ran about 5.5 miles on the trails.

Trail Run
Sunday: Run with the dogs day. Okay, that didn’t happen. Here’s why:

Weather

The poor dogs didn’t even get a walk. I did make it to a 90 minute yoga class though.

So, not a whole lot accomplished, but with holidays, shopping, family, travel, not to mention migraines, I’m okay with my training. Back on track in the coming week, though. I’m not quite where I wanted to be by the end of December since official training starts next week, but it is what it is. I’m also thinking about joining the January yoga challenge that Yoga Central is doing this month. That should help me stay on yoga-track (there are prizes!).

Vegan Eats

Of course all of my eats are vegan, but we did get a couple chances to get out to eat. For our second visit to the Tap In Room at Whole Foods, we tried the Artisanal Vegan Cheese plate, and, Oh My God! It was good. It was actually served by the “Cheese Man,” who explained each cheese. We also had the Jackfruit Crab Cakes again, and they were good too. We couldn’t finish it all, so we took home the leftover cheese and I had it for lunch the next day. It was even better, probably because I didn’t have the gustatory distraction of the spicy sauce on the jackfruit cakes. I was happy to find out that they sell it in the store (I’d never even visited the cheese section), and I can’t wait to pick some up.

Whole Foods

Whole Foods 2We also had a chance to introduce some friends to Native Food. I tried a new menu item, the Crispy Chicken and Avocado Club, forgoing my favorites, either the Bistro Steak Sandwich or the Greek Gyro Bowl. It was okay, but I’ll return to my faves on my next visit. Our friends enjoyed their meal too, which always makes me happy. I love when non-vegans learn how delicious cruelty-free can be!

Native FoodsAnd Finally…Christmas

Alan and I actually had three Christmas celebrations, one with each side of the family, then our own on Christmas morning. But, as promised, I won’t get too wordy. Just a lot of pictures (and maybe a little explanation here and there).

MinervaWe took the same friends for their first visit to Minerva Street, the desert’s version of Candy Cane Lane. Even though the youngest “child” was 18, they all loved it! So did I!

DebbieOur very nice neighbors brought us a huge gift basket. Obviously they don’t know us very well (yet), but it was a great bring-along to our family Christmas.

Gift BasketOur first Christmas, in Huntington Beach with Alan’s son and his family. The grandsons scored!

Watkins

Watkins 2

ElvisWe traveled home on Christmas Eve. My migraine finally cleared enough so that I could at least decorate the tree. We didn’t actually put any presents under it though, what with our little terror, er, terrier, Johnny B. Goode, being such a chewer. At least he didn’t eat the tree. Maybe because it was blessed by Elvis.

Alan_LilyJust because Santa didn’t bring a blender doesn’t mean I didn’t get exactly what I wanted. Now I’ll have to have some fancy adventures on the run that are GoPro-worthy.

Go Pro

NathanMy son Nathan and my beautiful daughter-in-law Sarah. I’d even say she was glowing…

ChristmasMy youngest son David and his girlfriend Melissa. Awake and smiling here but both were recovering a bit from a Christmas Eve celebration the night before.

DavidMy niece Brynne, who was there with her boyfriend Eric and his son Zach.

Brynne

SarahThere was some fancy underwear.

SamuelI guess Samuel doesn’t quite know what to do with his yet.

Samuel 2I distinctly heard Samuel, son of Paleo parents, say “yum” after he took a bite of the vegan turkey roast. He looks pretty handsome in his new robe, doesn’t he?

So that was my week. Got it done in less than 1,000 words. How was your holiday?

Frazzled for the Holidays: 4 Tips to Remain (Mostly) Stress Free

Remember when you were a kid? The holiday season was a marvelous time. The countdown to Christmas or Hanukkah took so long and you savored every moment. Your only gifting responsibilities, if any, were your parents, and most likely you made it in school, or went shopping with mom or dad, laid out your precious pennies, and purchased the one gift that was always your parents’ favorite (you knew this because they told you).

Welcome to adulthood! These days the countdown to the holiday flies by, and not only are you responsible for shopping for gifts for your entire family, you may have friends, co-workers, in-laws, and others to think about. You must decorate your home, make sure that it is spotless pretty much all the time, bake, cook, entertain, attend other parties, all the while trying to keep the “normal” part of your life going, which includes caring for your family, work, exercise, hobbies (like blogging). Whew! Sounds exhausting doesn’t it? And stressful.

Stress Free Holiday 2

While it is impossible to take away all of the work involved in preparing for the holidays, it is possible to change how you react to the stress. Here are a few tips that I have found help me handle the holidays without tearing out my hair, and to keep me (almost) stress free.

1. Budget your Gift Giving

The holidays, particularly Christmas, are expensive. Avoid overspending by making a gift giving budget. Take the time to make your gift list, have an idea of what you want to give, and decide how much you want to spend. Then stick to it. Also, occasionally take stock of who is on your gift list. No one expects you to buy a gift for every single person in your life, particularly if you find yourself overspending every year. It really is the thought that counts, and a personalized card, a shared memory, a few photographs can mean more than a quickly purchased present. Finally, embrace the joy of giving with a gift card. No longer considered an “easy cop-out,” gift cards are ideal for everyone from teenagers to the man who has everything.

Stress Free Holiday

2. Budget your Time

Trying to do everything for everybody is not only exhausting, it is impossible. Prioritize your responsibilities to lighten your load. Sit down (yes, you have time), make a comprehensive list of what needs to be done. Shopping, cooking, cleaning, decorating, try to get it all. Then break it down. First, by order of importance and due date. Then, take a look at your list and ask yourself what can be delegated. Prepare to let go of control a little, but yes, your spouse can run the vacuum. Your kids can decorate the tree. True, it may not be exactly the way you would do it, but it will get done, and you will earn a little time.

Stress Free Holiday 3

3. Breathe

Or meditate. Or get a massage. The idea is to take a little time, calm your mind, and give yourself some space to breathe. Try spending a few minutes every morning just breathing, empty your mind of all of your to-do lists, and just be quiet and calm. After days and weeks of worrying about everybody else, treat yourself to a massage or facial. Avoid the temptation to “wait until after the holidays.” Nope, you need it now.

Stress Free Holiday 44. Exercise but…

Obviously, I embrace the power of exercise to not only keep me fit and strong, but to help me handle life. Running gives me confidence and lifts me up, while yoga keeps me strong, centered and focused. All of this helps me deal with stress. But, sometimes, something’s going to give. You really may not have time to do it all. Acknowledge this, embrace it, and get your activity when you can. Take a walk (a perfect time for mobile meditation), do a higher intensity (but shorter) workout (I have dozens of them pinned on Pinterest, how about you?). Play. If you only have 20 minutes for a run instead of an hour, take it! Don’t give it up altogether, but allow yourself to just do a little less.

While I don’t always follow all of my own advice, these are a few of the ways that I keep my stress to a minimum during the holidays. What would you add? How do you get it all done without going crazy? Please, leave your tips in the comments.

Disconnected. And it feels so good!

Well, it’s been a while, old friends! A week and a day to be exact. I didn’t plan it, but I ended up disconnecting for the holidays. With the exception of a few Instagram pics of my silly dogs, I avoided most social media, and most importantly, I didn’t write a word. I didn’t even take very many pictures (gasp!). Instead I spent lots of time with family, helped my husband put on a Turkey Trot race, cooked a lot, ate a lot more, ran a little, and had an amazing, wonderful holiday.

Here, with the few photographs that I took, plus a few that I stole borrowed from my family and friends, is a recap of the last week. And, many of the things that I am thankful for.

With the weather cooling down (though it was in the 80s on Thanksgiving Day), we had some cloud cover and even a little rain. That made for some beautiful sunrises. Did you ever notice that the most beautiful part of the sunrise happens when you don’t have a camera handy?

Sunrise

Johnny

As I said, I didn’t take many pictures, but sometimes I just have to share my dogs’ antics, no matter how disconnected I am. There is Johnny above, showing it all off during his nap, Penny below, who is soooo tired, and Goldie on the bottom, sitting in a food bowl. Silly dogs!

Penny

Goldie

 

On Thanksgiving Day, Alan and I put on the 16th Annual Turkey Trot, this year held in Old Town La Quinta. I say we, but he does all the work. I just help out and handle registration on race day. We had about 500 people, and in spite of a little course confusion (don’t ask!), everyone had a good time. And it gave us an idea for a different kind of race, a Scramble, where you run three courses, all the same distance, in different directions, and the first one across the line is a winner (that may give you an idea of how the Turkey Trot went!).

race

Pace Car

My son David and his girlfriend Melissa did the race for the first time. They also helped at registration.

David

Alan, posing with our daughter-in-law Lisa, and our twin grandsons Dane and Cash, before the race.

Family

Look at that intense look on Cash’s face. You can tell he wants to win.

Cash3And he’s leading the race! Not really, but he did really well.

Cash2This was posted on Facebook by someone that I don’t even know (she posted it on the race page).  Cash is pretty much leading the race at that point!

Race Start

Brothers!

Dane_Cash

Grandpa and the boys.

Dane

I look important, don’t I? I’m checking the results to see how Cash did.

Debbie

And he finished first in his age group!

Cash4

Proud mama Lisa and her boys after the race.

Lisa

One of our local newswomen, Gloria Rodriguez, announced the awards ceremony.

Gloria

Alan is always at home behind the mic. In addition to our own races, he announces quite a few in Southern California, including the Malibu Marathon and the LA Triathlon series.

Alan

By 10:00 we were done with the race and headed home (nice to host a race in your home town, just five minutes from our front door). Even though we weren’t hosting Thanksgiving dinner, I did have some cooking to do..vegan versions of stuffing, sweet potatoes, plus I roasted a Gardein Holiday Roast, to bring with us to dinner at Lisa’s and Alan’s son John’s place in Palm Desert. Believe it or not, I didn’t take a single picture of either family or food. Instead, we just enjoyed the holiday together.

We were exhausted though. Alan wakes up at 2:30 on race morning, and I sleep in to about 4:00. I think we managed about an hour nap each, so by 8:00 we were sagging. Still, we had a great time.

Our second Thanksgiving meal was held at my son Nathan’s new home. It was also a celebration of Samuel’s second birthday, so in addition to Nathan and his wife Sarah, David and Melissa were there, along with my niece Brynne, her boyfriend Eric, and his son Zach. This time Nathan made vegan versions of most of the side dishes (hurray for my Paleo son!), so I just brought along the leftover Holiday Roast. I also got back on the picture taking wagon (or fell off..or something).

Grandpa: First, let’s take a selfie!

Grandpa

Hurray for the Chargers!

McClean

Sarah and Nathan are loving their new home. They’ve just been in it a month, and are finally getting things where they want them.

Nathan

Uncle David giving Samuel a flight…

Uncle David

…and spending some time coloring.

David_Samuel

A boy and his dog. That’s Chloe, who just turned a year old. Nice that they’ll grow up together.

Samuel

My vegan dinner. Even my niece made her green bean casserole dairy free.

Dinner

 

Samuel2

Singing to the birthday boy!

Birthday

Samuel_Nathan

I managed to get a little training in, though between work, holidays, traveling, etc., I didn’t get my greatest effort. I did three runs, including a six miler on Saturday, my longest in a while, did one Pilates workout, and no yoga at all. But, December is the beginning of marathon training (for the SLO Marathon in April), so I started the month off with a five mile run and a yoga class on Monday.

Well, it felt so good to be disconnected, but it’s great to be back. How was your holiday? Did you get to disconnect a little? Spend some time with family and friends? Do you realize that Christmas is only three weeks away? And Hanukkah starts in less than two weeks? Yikes!

 

 

Things to remember:

SLO Marathon 1024x379 Starting with a Bang...

Join me in San Luis Obispo on April 26, 2015, for the SLO Marathon. Save $10 on registration for either the full or half marathon with the code: WOODAMB. Register soon for the best savings and I’ll see you in April!

Yoga Central Starting with a Bang...

My favorite yoga studio, Yoga Central is going global! You can sign up here, and read this post for details on signing up for online classes at Yoga Central.

Be a Gracious Guest with this Hostess Gift Guide

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Boombox Network. The opinions and text are all my own.

If you’re like me, the next month will be filled with parties, dinners, weekends, and other events to celebrate the holidays. It started last week, when I attended two separate Thanksgiving dinners (on different evenings, thank goodness!) I always try to be a gracious guest when I’m invited into someone’s home, but sometimes I struggle to find a unique gift with which to thank my hostess. While a bottle of wine is nice, I’ve been to parties where the hostess ended up with a half dozen bottles lined up on the counter. I strive for originality, so I love this Holiday Hostess gift guide, which is filled with distinctive and creative ideas that your hostess will adore.

 

  1. Flirty Aprons – An apron (especially a pretty one like this one) is a gift that you know will come in handy over the busy holiday season. Order your apron & see the other choices here.
  2. Decade candy box – Bring your host or hostess back to their childhood by choosing a Thank You box with candy from the decade of your choice. Perhaps they’ll share so that you can reminisce together. Choose your decade here.
  3. Covered cheese dish – An adorable white porcelain cheese dish that can come out every time your hostess entertains. Buy it here.
  4. Sugar scrub tower – A beautiful assortment of 6 different sugar scrubs for the hostess to pamper herself once all the guests have left. Find this gift idea by Lalicious here.
  5. Gilded trophy bowl – Very simply, a beautiful and elegant vessel to place anywhere in the home and use as wished. Find it here, along with other fab gift ideas from Pure Home.
  6. Glass cocktail shaker – Cocktail season is upon us. You want your hosts to be ready! Add a bottle of hooch and mixers if you wish to go all out. Buy the cocktail shaker here.
  7. Reclaimed soda bottle glasses – For your stylin’ eco-conscious hosts, they will be sure to enjoy these glasses made from real glass soda bottles. Find the reclaimed glasses here.
  8. Salt & pepper cellars – A wonderful and pretty hostess gift that will certainly make its way on to the next dinner table. Buy here.
  9. Cashmere throw – If you’re a house guest for a few days, a luxurious gift that the host might not buy themselves will fit the bill. Like this cashmere throw. Cozy too. See it here.
  10. Custom serving platter – Personalized gifts are the best. They demonstrate that you went the extra step and put some thought into the gift. Like this platter with the host’s family’s last name (or other inscription). Order it here.
  11. Re-wined candles – A clever way to reclaim old wine bottles: as jar vessels filled with natural soy wax that has been carefully blended with aromas of white grape, honey, freshly baked bread and a spritz of citrus. Buy it here.
  12. Taste Trunk’s monthly foodie subscription – Chances are that if your hosts invited you for dinner, they like to cook. In which case, they will really appreciate a single or even a monthly subscription to Taste Trunk, a box subscription service for foodies. Find out more.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Boombox Network . The opinions and text are all mine.