Quick Training Update, the Weekend in Pictures & Skulpt Aim

Quick Training Update

So it’s 8:20 on Sunday night and I’m a little behind on writing this post. So, lucky you, it will be a mostly pictures training and weekend recap.

I took Monday off after my half marathon last week, so my first training day was Wednesday. I ran six miles. I started with a one mile warm up, then ran one mile at lactate threshold pace, with a quarter mile recovery. Repeating that two more times. My intervals were right about 9:09.

On Saturday I ran 17.5 miles. I started off with my husband, who was running 12, then continued on my own when he turned around at seven. It was getting hot as I was finishing up, so when I saw Alan’s car at the 17.5 mark (he was checking on me), I happily crawled jumped into his car. I was supposed to run 18, but it was almost 80 degrees, I was getting too much into walking mode anyway, so I took the out.

Long Run 2

Funny FaceOkay, we were tired of “smiley face!”

On Sunday we took the dogs out for their run. Our neighbor Christina joined us with her dog. It was a perfect recovery day, about 3.8 miles, pretty slow and easy. And fun, because, you know, dogs.

Dog Run

Dog Run 2

Dog Run 3

DesertThe pepper trees are blooming. Aren’t they messy pretty?

I’m still a little frustrated with my total mileage during the week. More on that later this week, but it has been difficult to fit in my runs with my early work schedule, made more challenging now with the time change.

Family Time

After the run we showered then got on the road to visit his guy:

Big BrotherAs you can see by his shirt, he is soon to be a big brother! We’re so excited that our new grandchild is due in early September! It’s about  month until we find out the gender, but, with four sons between Alan and me, three grandsons, it just might be time for a little XX in the family tree. Just saying. Of course we will be thrilled with our grandchild, boy or girl.

GrandpaSamuel is getting really good at saying Grandma and Grandpa. He is finally getting to an age where he knows us as his grandparents, is happy to see us, and even though we haven’t seen him since Christmas, he remembered us and felt comfortable enough for some snuggles. Though he wouldn’t smile for our selfie.


Vegan Lunch at Earth Bistro

We all went out to lunch at the Earth Bistro in Temecula. They have a variety of vegan options and we’ve been there before. This time wasn’t as successful. Their service has always been a little slow, and this time, when they were a little busy, it was quite bad. Alan and I enjoyed our food, but my son and daughter in law were disappointed.

Earth Bistro 3

Sarah Nathan

Earth Bistro

Earth Bistro 2

Skulpt Aim Fitness Tracker

I recently received a Skulpt Aim Fitness Tracker to review. I just barely got it out of the box, but I’m really excited about this product and I can’t wait to try it out and give you a full and honest review.


The Skulpt Aim is a simple fitness tracker that can measure body composition with just a touch, and continue to track it using the free Skulpt app. It uses electrical impedance myography, which uses a weak electrical current to measure body fat and to give you a Muscle Quality (MQ) score based on those measurements. The app is a great motivational tool that will help to record improvements.

How was your training week? Any races, other competitions or great training experiences to share? Would you like an easy way to measure MQ and body fat?

Small Changes Can Equal Big Savings in Your Monthly Bills

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ChangingPrepaid #CollectiveBias

When I lost my job last July I had to face a hard reality. While bills are due on a certain date, unemployment payment does not seem to have that requirement. As my unemployment fell farther and farther behind, it became a struggle to keep up with paying the bills without digging deeper into savings.

Bills 3

Small Changes = Big Savings

When I took a look at where I could cut back, I found a lot of what I would call filler in my financial life. Small bills and payments that you don’t notice when things are going well, but once that regular paycheck goes away, can take chunks out of your savings. They add up. The $20 (each) for the gym membership that wasn’t getting used. The $24 per month for my audiobook membership. Four bucks for Pandora, $5 for PicMonkey, several other small payments for blog-related things, important, but still adding dollars to my monthly payout.

Then there are the bigger bills. Ever notice how insurance, whether it is home or auto, creeps up as the years go by? Or that cable package that was so great when you signed up for it five years ago, but has now almost doubled? All of these things can add up to hundreds of dollars in a month!

Bills 4

My mobile phone bill was a huge culprit. My husband and I have three mobile phone lines. We are on a shared data plan that was supposed to save us money. We don’t use a lot of data since we use our home internet network most of the time, but somehow our bill ended up almost $250 each month! For three phones! Even looking at the bill is confusing, trying to figure out how, with a reasonable base rate, no overages, and nothing fancy in our plan, it comes in that high each month. Something needs to be done!

TMobile Prepaid 4Introducing Simply Prepaid from T-Mobile

The T-Mobile Simply Prepaid plan is, well, simple. For just $40 a month I can get 4G LTE data with unlimited talk and text. That’s it, no sneaky “supplemental charges” that add $$ to the bill. In fact, there isn’t a bill at all. I simply buy a $40 prepaid card, which is good for a month, then buy a new one the following month. Not only no bill, but no overages, credit check, or annual service contract required.

TMobile Prepaid 2

In the past, the problem with prepaid mobile plans was that they often had slow data, spotty coverage, and second rate phones. Now, with Simply Prepaid you don’t have to settle for second rate prepaid wireless. You get the best in wireless on T-Mobile’s Nationwide 4G LTE Network, unlimited talk and text with your choice of high-speed data amount, starting at $40 per month, along with a choice of quality phones. The best in wireless, now prepaid.

TMobile Prepaid 3I was able to purchase my phone, the Samsung Avant, online at Walmart.com. Then I simply picked it up the next day at my local Walmart and headed to the electronics department, where I had the phone activated and purchased my first two months of prepaid data cards. The Avant works great, has a clear display, and takes good pictures. It’s also a perfect size to use on my runs, so I loaded it up with my audiobooks and running apps.

You can learn more about Simply Prepaid from T-Mobile and how it helps us stay connected in this video.


Implementing Savings Changes

Even though I am back at work, I see no reason to let go of the expense saving changes that I have made over the last few months. Those sneaky monthly filler charges? Gone for the most part, except those I felt were important. I also made changes in my cable company and auto insurance. And finally, with Simply Prepaid I can reduce my monthly phone bill and be confident that I will have the best in prepaid wireless.


What do you do to save money on your monthly expenses? I’d love to hear your tips!

5k Thursday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 11

Run a 5k 8

Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 11

Admit it. That first 5k is so close now that you can almost taste it. By the end of week 11 you will run for 30 minutes straight. That will be your final long run of this training period. Next week we will ease up a bit so that you will feel fresh and ready for your race. (Missed week one? Click here to get started!)

You will again have the option of adding a little speed work (or you can choose an active recovery workout instead). Remember to warm up before each workout with an 8-10 minute walk, and to cool down and stretch at the end. Spending some time with ice, on your knees, shins (or anything else that may be aching a little) is always a good idea. On your rest days you can strength train, yoga, Pilates, etc. if you want.

Run_a_5K_Program.JPGDay One: After your warm up, run for 28 minutes. Cool down, stretch, ice.

Day Two: Active Recovery. Warm up, then run for 20 minutes. Cool down, etc. Optional Speedwork: (Do this instead of the Active Recovery.) Warm up, then run for two minutes at your normal pace. For the next two minutes pick up the pace (think effort level of about 8-9 on a scale of 10). Slow down to your normal pace for two minutes. Repeat five more times (a total of six fast intervals). Cool down and stretch.

Day Three: Warm up. Run for 13 minutes. Walk for one minute. Run for 13 minutes. Cool Down.

Day Four: Rest.

Day Five: After your warm up, run for 30 minutes. Cool down, stretch, ice.

Day Six: Rest Day or Active Recovery. Warm up, then run for 15 minutes. Walk for one minute, then run for 5 minutes. Cool Down.

Day Seven: Rest.

Getting Faster

Getting_Faster.JPGRefer back to this post for information on whether you’re ready to add speed to your workout, how to find your goal pace, reasons for each workout as well as the first week of workouts to add to your training.

The Workouts:

The Long Run: At this point in your training, your long run should be at least six miles. Whatever it is right now, don’t add to it this week. Run the same distance as last week’s long run, or even cut it back a little if you were running over eight miles. The goal is to be in tip top shape and be rested and ready to go for your race.

Getting_Faster.JPGThe Interval Workout: A basic 400 meter interval workout on the track will do the trick, cutting back just slightly on the total distance (10 intervals instead of 12). The intensity will remain high. After your warmup, run 400 meters (once around the track). They should be run at about your 5K pace (about 90-95% of VO2Max). Recover by jogging or walking 200 meters. Repeat nine more times. Cool down by walking or jogging 400-800 meters. Stretch (and don’t forget to ice after your workout!)

The Lactate Threshold Workout: Again, easing up just slightly on the total distance, while the intensity stays the same. On the road for this workout. After your one mile easy warm up, run one at slightly less that your 5k pace (about 85-90% of your maximal effort). Cool down by jogging a half mile, and finish with a stretch.

Remember, in addition to these workouts, you can run another one-three days during the week, nice easy, shorter runs (recovery runs). A sample schedule can be found in this post.

Nice job on week 11. One week to go!

5 Reasons to Date a Runner

Still single and looking for the perfect (you choose) date, partner, spouse, SO? I highly recommend heading to your local track or a hometown 5k, and take a look at the runners crossing the finish line.

Why Should You Date a Runner?

Running takes dedication, commitment, strength, and even a sense of humor (tell me you don’t laugh at shared stories of blisters, black toenails, and “potty stops”). I don’t know what you look for in a partner, but those traits were always at the top of my list.

But wait! There is more. Here are five more reasons that dating a runner is a good idea. Note: I’m a straight female, so I’m calling my runner “him.” However, this applies to all runners.

Runners are out there, at races, club workouts, on the trails. In a world where 40% of singles are using online dating to meet people, the Runner is out there doing what he loves best. You don’t even have to ask what you have in common. It’s right there, pinned to his running shorts.


When you date a Runner, you have a built in running partner. Having a training partner is a great way to get motivated, challenge yourself, and have fun while you’re doing it. There is also security in having a running partner, especially one who is likely to feel protective of you, which is especially reassuring if you run in the dark.

Your Runner always knows what you want for your birthday. Who needs a charm bracelet when you’d rather have a Fitbit? The list of gift possibilities is almost endless, from a new running outfit, to compression socks, to race entries. This eases the Runner’s mind too, saving him the stress of not knowing what to give you. There is a downside to this though. If you ever want a non-running gift, you’re going to have to come straight out and say it. After success with GPS systems, heart rate monitors and the like, your Runner may forget that sometimes a person really does appreciate something with a little more flash than a sparkle skirt.

Traveling to a race = Vacation. When both you and your Runner are running a race away from home, you can make a romantic vacation out of the experience. Be sure to plan so the race is at the beginning of your trip, the better to enjoy new restaurants, side tours, and trying other non-running activities, like hiking, kayaking, or cycling.

Runners “get” you. If you tell a regular date (regular = non-runner) that you can’t go out on Saturday night because you have a race in the morning and you need to get your sleep (and eat the right things the night before), he  might look at you as if you have a third eye. Not the Runner. The Runner understands the need for rest and proper nutrition before a run. He will appreciate your pile of running shoes (and probably has one of his own). He will even recognize the beauty of your home decor of framed finishers’ certificates, your medal display, and race posters.


I speak from experience. I met my runner husband at a race (of course). We have trained together, traveled to races together, pushed each other when needed (and held each other back when injured or overtrained), and understood each other for 19 years. We even got married at a race!

So, take it from me, dating a Runner is a great idea. All you have to do is catch him!

Is your partner a runner? If so, did you meet him or her through running?

This was originally written last year as a guest post for the Kindrunner blog. I thought my regular readers might enjoy it, so I updated it and I’m happy to share it with you.

Taking the Leap and Running Through Redlands

Stupid exercise induced asthma.

SLO Marathon Training Recap Week 9

With the exception of total mileage, my training week was right on target this week. I got my main workouts done, and finished it off with a half marathon, which was on the schedule, though it was a last minute decision to actually sign up and run the race (more on that below).

On Monday, I ran four half mile intervals (my goal is six, but time is always a factor). After a half mile warm up, I did my intervals on the street near my house. I even had my own coach (Alan) out there! That was nice because he gives me an extra push. Each half mile was around 4:03 to 4:04, which is probably a little too fast for me right now, but it felt good (in a really hard kind of way).

On Wednesday I ran up into the hills behind our house for a hill workout on the trails. It started off great! I found a $20 bill on the road! Everything else was, well, hard. I did 15 repeats on this hill:

Hill Workout 2It’s not super long but it’s pretty steep, so it was challenging. So challenging that I didn’t trust my exercsie addled brain to remember what number I was on, so I used the “count rocks” system.

Hill WorkoutI’d add a rock to the pile after each repeat. I was glad I did because not only could I not remember which one I was on, I had to keep recounting the rocks because I wasn’t sure I was counting them correctly!

I had to work on Saturday, just for a couple hours basically to transport a couple of our massage therapists to a golf event where they’d be doing chair massage. I asked for, and got, permission to take a run in between the time I dropped them off and picked them up. Running around the country club where I work is really like another hill workout. Lots of beautiful views though.

Running Through Redlands

On Sunday, Alan announced the Run Through Redlands half marathon, 10, and 5k. This is his fifth year announcing, but this year they moved the event to March 8 (from late April). The race was on my schedule, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to run it. If I had not worked the day before, I probably would have run 18 miles then taken Sunday off. Well, that didn’t happen. But I feel like I’m a little behind in my long run effort, so I was hesitant to skip that long run.

We had to be at the event by 5:30, so with an hour plus drive that meant a 3:00 am wake up. And remember that little ol’ time change? Yes, we were basically getting up at 2:00 am. Just as the bars were closing.

We arrived and Alan took off to do his announcing thing. I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do. Run the race? Do a long run on my own around Redlands? Go back to sleep (which really sounded like the most attractive option)? I tweeted:

So I made the decision at 6:30 to run the race that was starting in 50 minutes. Because of my lack of commitment, my planning was terrible. Though I had brought along a banana and a Clif Bar, I didn’t bring any gels or electrolytes (and they didn’t have them on the course either!). Instead I tucked another Clif Bar in my Flipbelt, hoping I could get it down if I needed it.

My goal was to have fun, to see if I could get in some marathon pace miles in, and just to stay occupied while Alan was working. Even though I ran the race last year, I’d forgotten how much uphill there is during the first half. In fact, basically the whole first half is uphill, which should be good training for the hills of the SLO Marathon. So my 9:30 miles slowed down to 10:30 miles after mile two, then picked up at bit after about mile seven as we headed back toward the finish line.

I was almost to mile 12, and looking at about a 2:12-ish finish, not great, but not bad, then WHAM! I started to feel like my vision was darkening around the perimeter and that I might just have a big bear sitting on my chest. I know immediately when my exercise induced asthma is rearing its ugly head, but I kept trying to run for a bit, but finally had to slow to a walk, take a couple puffs on my inhaler (fortunately I had remembered to bring that!), and wait for the medicine to kick in. And wait. And wait. It seemed to take much longer than usual for my breathing to return to normal, but finally I could start running again. Slowly. And keep on going to the finish (where my lovely husband greeted me with his usual “here is my favorite person in the whole world!”).

Mile 12 took me almost 13 minutes, giving me a finish time of 2:16:17, which was a little slower than my race last year. But, the good news is this:

RedlandsSecond place in my division! I was actually lying on a massage table getting my free post-race 10 minute massage (which was wonderful by the way), when I heard them announce my name. I sometimes judge myself a little too harshly, forgetting that I’m not 30 anymore. When you compete against your peers, you come out…second! (Of course I checked out the first place woman’s time..just under 2:13. Stupid exercise induced asthma!

RecoveryI’m spending a day or so in recovery mode. I was really exhausted after the race, which I think was more an aftereffect of the asthma than the race itself (that and waking up at 2:00 in the morning!). Alan drove home and I put my feet up and took a little nap. Then I took Monday off of running, but I did go to a yoga class (I had two clients cancel, which sucks, but it did give me time to go to the yoga class we offer at my fitness center).


pro compression

This post has gone on for a long time, hasn’t it? So let’s wrap the Take the Leap Yoga Challenge in pictures! Well mostly. I am a wordy gal. Let me just say that it was a great experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Thanks so much to prAna and Fit Approach for hosting!

Click here to read more about prAna, their beautiful fitness and lifestyle clothing, and their approach to sustainability (plus a 15% discount!).

 Take the Leap Challenge, the Final Week

Week 5This is supposed to be a simple child’s pose. Not so much in my house.

Week 5 1I thought this was the last day of the challenge, so I celebrated with some headstands, a crow, and by wearing a pretty prAna top that I hadn’t worn for a while. But, I found out that 30 Days of Yoga was actually 35!

Week 5 2Revolved Chair pose. I love yoga in my front yard.

Week 5 3Half moon pose with a little help from the pups. This is me, seconds before toppling over.

Week 5 4Flashback Friday. Tree pose in front of the Self Realization Fellowship in Encinitas (from about three years ago).

Week 5 6During my run at work on Saturday. Beautiful views, lots of hills for the run.

Week 5 5And finally…savasana. The perfect post for the last day of the Take the Leap challenge and for post-race recovery.

How was your week in training? Any races, events or other competitions? Have you signed up for the SLO Marathon yet? Remember, you can save $10 with my code: WOODAMB.

Living, Playing, Breathing with prAna

prana 7Taking the Leap with prAna

I have had the great pleasure of working with prAna and Fit Approach for the last month to participate in and promote the Take the Leap 30 Days of Yoga Challenge.

Day 5

I guess you’d call that a disclosure, but it is also a statement of fact. The Take the Leap challenge was such an amazing experience, both on a personal and fitness level, because it brought me back to yoga, but also on a social level, because I had the opportunity to connect with the many other participants in the challenge.

Because of the challenge, I not only practiced yoga more frequently, I discovered that “practicing yoga” did not have to be a 90 minute power yoga class, or even any kind of a structured class (even though those are awesome!). I could spend 10 minutes warming up for a run, stretching afterward, or spend some time relaxing before bedtime, and it was yoga. You do have to have intention when you practice like this, but done correctly, yes, it is yoga.

Click here for tips for fitting in yoga on a busy schedule.

I also learned that my form is not as good as I thought. Seriously, as a personal trainer, I feel that I have pretty good body awareness and proprioception. My yoga studio does not have any mirrors, so I assumed that I looked like I felt, whether it was a fierce warrior or a joyful camel (my new favorite pose).

I found out, with my daily yoga selfies, that this was not necessarily the case. Yes, my form was pretty good, but I never looked as deep, fierce, or intent as I felt in a pose. Fortunately, I probably won’t be photographing all my yoga practices in the future!

prana 1

PrAna sent me the outfit you see above. There is something about beautiful fitness clothing that inspires me. It makes me want to move, to breath, to enjoy the process of exercise. And this outfit is particularly inspiring. The top is the Meadow Top, in Viola Magnolia. I even love the name of the color! It has a built in shelf bra and a soft, drapy fit that allow freedom of movement in comfort, with a stretchy band at the bottom which keeps it in place during yoga practice.

prana 2The pants are the Tori Capri in neon orange. They are made of a soft performance knit and are comfortable and stay in place.  I love the detail in the hem.

prana 4Sustainability

To me, yoga is about more than getting a great workout. It is a lifestyle of sustainability, kindness, and focus. PrAna is a Sanskrit word that means breath, life, and vitality of the spirit, and prAna has taken this meaning to heart because it helps guide their actions towards becoming an evermore socially mindful and environmentally sustainable organization.

PrAna’s approach to sustainability is three pronged and focuses on: 1) The materials to make their products, 2) Materials and energy to service the business, and 3) People and working conditions. You can read more about prAna’s commitment to sustainability here.

prana 5bluesign

Headquartered in Switzerland, bluesign is a worldwide standard that is applied to production chains to measure the safety and sustainability of raw materials used by chemical and manufacturing companies. PrAna is a bluesign partner and works to implement bluesign standards in their supply chain.

prana 6

Save 15% at prAna!

Be sure to check out the new Early Spring Collection where will you will find both active and lifestyle clothing for men and women that will fit not only into your yoga practice, but into your life. You can save 15% on your purchase by using this code at checkout: psps15LFL.


Most of the photos above were taken my my husband in the trail system area about one mile from my home. Aren’t I lucky (both for the beautiful neighborhood and the husband who actually enjoyed the photo shoot)?


Alan, my photographer, showing me the shot that he wanted.

Did you participate in the Take the Leap challenge? Do you practice yoga regularly or try to fit it into your workout schedule? Where is your favorite place to work out?