Sunday, December 4, 2016

Check Out This Awesome Yoga Wheel!

So you may have been noticing all over social media this cylinder looking thing called a yoga wheel. I started seeing it pop up on my Instagram feed about a year ago. It looked interesting and some of the pictures were of some pretty awesome yoga poses. If you have ever taken a yoga class you may have used blocks to help with poses. Well the yoga wheel is just another tool similar to the blocks used in class. The only difference is that this wheel moves! So definitely take that in mind if you are a beginner.
A few weeks ago I was approached by YogaDev to try out one of their yoga wheels. I swear their little ears must have been ringing because I really wanted to check out this wheel myself.  After the Chicago Marathon, I noticed my legs were a bit tight. Stretching helped but I just felt like I wasn't getting that full stretch I needed. This yoga wheel has definitely helped in that department. In just a few short weeks I have already noticed a big change. I am able to do poses I wasn't able to do at the very beginning. I have also noticed I have better balance during my poses. Little by little I'm getting better and I definitely contribute the yoga wheel to my improvements. 

This specific yoga wheel comes in a variety of colors and can be purchased at both Amazon:
YogDev Yoga Wheel and the YogDev website. I personally was a fan of the grey and white wheel but there are other options to choose from. It is extremely sturdy and even has a nice foam layer to help out for padding. Cost wise this wheel will run you around $40-$50 so not too expensive. 

Okay so let's be honest for a second...I am not a yogi by any means. I don't know the difference between the many kinds of yoga. And if we are truly being honest, the only real pose I know is downward dog. When I attend yoga classes I feel like a fish out of water but by the end of the class I feel fabulous. Now if you were to quiz me on the poses afterwards I would still fail.  This is why the people at YogDev have made videos to help you with the poses. They have videos for all levels too. Check out this link:  YogDev Wheel Pose Guide

So I guess the next question is what's stopping you from trying this yoga wheel? Because I can list quite a few benefits from incorporating yoga in your training. Here are just some of the few:
  • Better flexibility
  • Perfect posture
  • Muscle strength
  • Better bone, cartilage and joint health
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Improves immune system
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Lifts the mood
  • Lowers blood sugars
  • Helps regulate hormone production
  • Improves focus
  • Improves balance
  • Better sleep
Oh and I also did a review on YouTube. You can check it out here:

Have you ever used a yoga wheel?

Other places you can find me:
Instagram: fitwanderlustrunner
Twitter: fitwrunner
Bloglovin': fitwanderlustrunner

I am linking up with Amanda from Running with Spoons

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello everyone and Happy Thanksgiving! Today is my favorite holiday not only because I get to eat some delicious food but because it is a day I get to spend with my family and loved ones. In the past I would always work since I was far away from home.  Since moving back to San Diego, this will be the second year in a row that I'll get to celebrate the holiday at my grandmother's house with my family. Words cannot express how grateful I am to spend this holiday with my abuelita. She is the glue that continues to hold our family together. Unfortunately she has been battling alzheimers disease for quite some time. There are times when she recognizes me and other times she just looks a me with a blank stare.

I may not be rich but I have all the treasures I need in my life. I wish you all a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving. Be grateful for  all that you have and be blessed for the amazing people you have in your life. Tomorrow is not guaranteed so enjoy your time with family and loved ones today.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Safety First While Running In The Dark

I have been really struggling with daylight savings this time around. I just can't seem to get used to the time change. On Monday I was literally getting ready for bed when I realized it was only 6pm! Sure makes getting an afternoon run a bit more difficult when it gets dark earlier.  During the summer and early fall I was getting in some runs in the afternoon as the sun was setting. I loved those runs because they felt magical as I was chasing the sunset. Unfortunately since daylight savings,  I haven't been able to do that.

Running in the night can be refreshing but also scary with recent news of runners being either assaulted or abducted.  In California, there is still a lady missing from her run a few weeks back! What a crazy world we live in right? In the past when I've ran at night, I've always taken the necessary precautions to stay safe. This year, I feel like it is necessary to step up my game. Here are some of the items I highly recommend if you are going to venture out for a run in the dark:

Yes, I can see why you might think it may be a bit too much. But when it comes to running safety, you just have to be very cautious. For example, the neighborhood I live in has practically no street lights so it is very dangerous if I go for a run without any reflective gear or LED lights. As for the pepper spray, it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. In all the years I have been running I have only had to use my pepper spray one time. It was a bit scary but I am glad I had it handy.

There are other things you can also do in order to make sure you are safe when you go out for a night run. Always make sure you tell someone where you are going. That way they have a general idea of when to expect you and most importantly let them know your running route. When I moved to Fresno, I didn't live in the greatest neighborhood. The house was in a newer development but it still had some sprinkled sketchy areas around me. Every time I went for a run (night or day), I would tell my roommates exactly where I was running and what time I would be back. They knew to come looking for me if I didn't come back. Even if they weren't home I would leave them a note detailing them the time I left, my running route, and expected time back. Now a days if you have an IPhone you can use the app Find My Friends to find your friend's exact location in case of an emergency. Of course you have to allow that person to see where you are at. For safety reasons only my husband has authority to "find me." Also a very important thing to remember is to try to run without headphones. Running at night does require your full attention so any additional distractions can be unsafe. Luckily I have some really amazing wireless headphones that go on the outside of your ear so you can still listen to all surrounding noises as well as listen to your favorite tunes.

Basically anytime you head out for a night run, make sure you stay as safe as possible.  Try to run in very lit areas and know your surroundings. I know during the winter it's tough to motivate yourself to run while it's dark but if you are deep in your training you just can't use daylight savings as your excuse to not run. Running must go on, so stay safe out there my fellow runners.

Other places you can find me:
Instagram: fitwanderlustrunner
Twitter: fitwrunner
Bloglovin': fitwanderlustrunner

I am linking up with Amanda from Running with Spoons

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Training for my PR & 2 New Things You Need To Check Out!

I am two weeks into my training for my next half marathon and this time I am kind of switching it up. When I trained for the Chicago Marathon, my life revolved around my training schedule. This time around I am going week by week and having fun. In order to not get into a slump I have also changed up my cross training activities just to keep things exciting.

With Chicago it was all about the mileage. I needed to increase my mileage just to prove to myself that I would be able to do this and finish strong. I seriously cringe remembering those horrid long runs. Remember running a marathon is just as much mental as physical. This time around though, I know this race. I know the course like the back of my hand (been running it for 9 years). And the best part is that after running a full marathon, running a half marathon seems like nothing. So this time around it's all about getting a PR so that means it really is all about getting faster.

What makes a runner faster? Well many things actually but I am really focusing on speed work. This is where my treadmill has come into play. I have been able to slowly drop my pace and it feels pretty damn rewarding. I also recently started running with an old friend. She just moved back to San Diego this past summer and get this, we actually used to run together back in high school. She has always been faster than me and even though that is intimidating for me, she is going to be pivotal for my training. I am going to need her to push me when I don't want to do the work. I have only gone on one run with her and she kicked my butt! If I keep running with her I have no doubt I'll be able to reach my goal pace.

I've also started lifting more and incorporated more HIIT workouts to help me pick up my speed. It's only been two weeks into my training but I am optimistic I can get that PR. This coming week I am focusing on negative splits and will start doing hill repeats (something I truly hate). This is a busy work week for me so that's why planning my runs week by week comes in handy. On Sundays, I like to lay out my workouts for the week so today is no different. Now, here are the two things you need to check out:

If you have been following me for awhile you know I don't own a gym membership. Well this past week I tried the November Project. Have you heard of them? It's pretty freaking awesome. I'll have to do a full review on them but for now just read about them here: I left my workout so inspired and motivated by all those around me. I am definitely going to be incorporating November Project into my half marathon training.

Also have you heard of Lymber? It's a great start-up app (currently only Iphones) that is Southern California based. This app helps you enjoy the best in fitness and wellness without costly monthly membership fees and restrictions. Lymber helps you find the classes and activities that best fit your lifestyle, with results based on your location and unique preferences. So if you are like me and don't want to commit to a gym but miss taking classes then this the perfect app for you. I will also be doing a full review on the app but just wanted to give you readers a head's up. Right now there is a promo code that will grant a new user $5 OFF their first class. So if you live in Southern California you should definitely download the app and take advantage of this promo code right now. Use the code: GETLYMBER and start checking out new classes around your area.

Other places you can find me:
Instagram: fitwanderlustrunner
Twitter: fitwrunner
Bloglovin': fitwanderlustrunner

I am linking up with Amanda from Running with Spoons

Thursday, October 27, 2016

So You Ran A Marathon, What's Next?

Running the Chicago Marathon was an absolute thrill. I had an amazing time and loved the course. Would I do it again? Of course...but not any time soon. You know how runner's get that high after their races and want to immediately sign up for the next one? Yeah that was NOT me after the Chicago Marathon.  I guess that high only happens to me when I complete a half marathon. So it made me think, what's next?

My coworkers think I am crazy for still wanting to run. What can I say I just love the sport! I just have a strong passion for running and I am glad that it hasn't dwindled. It's my stress reliever and I love it.  I've been on a few runs here and there but haven't ran anything longer than a 10k since the marathon. However, I have noticed that my pace is getting faster! I remember looking down at my watch at the half way point of the marathon and being shocked at my time, 1:58. Since then that time has been in my thoughts. What if I train extra hard and try to get a 1:55 for my next half marathon? Sounds reasonable right? So that's my next goal...get a PR for a half marathon.

*Disclaimer* Technically my "official" PR for a half marathon is 1:46 but my husband says that one doesn't count. I kind of agree with him and I kinda don't. That PR was for the Heavenly Half Marathon which is a complete downhill race in the mountains of Auberry, CA. Yes, the downhill helped tremendously but I was also in really good shape and was able to pull of that time due to all my training. But, in every other race I've ran I haven't even come close to that time.

My next race is actually in the middle of January which gives me time to come up with a killer 12 week training plan to get that PR! I'll be running the Carlsbad Half Marathon, a race I just love. It's a part of the triple crown which I am also planning on running next year. The triple crown consists of three of San Diego's finest running races. They are divided throughout the year with the last one being in August. I know getting multiple PR's a year is a bit tough so I am going to focus all my training on the Carlsbad Half Marathon

Another thing I signed up for doing next is running a Ragnar Race! Yep, that's if running a marathon wasn't tough enough right? I'll be running the Ragnar SoCal with my fellow coworkers so it should be fun. Well the not sleeping part and running in the middle of the night doesn't sound fun but at least I will be with good company. The course is supposed to be really pretty with a ton of coastal views so I am looking forward to trying something new. Since my group consists of 12 runners, each with different levels of training, I am hoping this will just be an enjoyable race. 

I had thought about possibly putting my name in the lottery for the NYC Marathon, but I am going to wait on that for a bit. I think I am going to really focus on my upcoming half marathons and Ragnar. That should definitely keep me occupied for the majority of next year. 

So I guess that answers my question of what I'll be doing now that I finished a marathon! Pretty excited for what's to come. Stay tuned for glimpses into my training program but definitely follow me on Instagram if you want more daily pictures of how my training is going. 

 Have you ever ran a Ragnar race?
 Any tips?

Other places you can find me:
Instagram: fitwanderlustrunner
Twitter: fitwrunner
Bloglovin': fitwanderlustrunner

I am linking up with Amanda from Running with Spoons

Monday, October 24, 2016

Fit Foodie Race Recap

I had every intention of not running any more races for the remainder of the year. Let's just say my body desperately needed a break after my marathon. Then a few days after coming back from Chicago, my brother told me he had some free entries for the Fit Foodie Race here in San Diego. Since I am not one to pass up a free race, I signed up for the 10k. And since I wanted to spread the love I got my husband and my friend Adam to run the race with me. My husband wasn't as thrilled at the idea of running a 10k as I was.

Have you ever ran the Fit Foodie Run? It is actually a pretty neat race that currently runs in 4 cities in the United States (with more cities to come in the future). It is not only a one day event but a three day event that focuses on living a balanced life with a healthy lifestyle. The Fit Foodie Race Weekend is jam-packed with celebrity chef tastings, culinary and fitness demonstrations, a 5k/10k race, and a pumped up sweat session. Since I only had a free entry for the race, I didn't partake in any of the other daily activities.

On race day you were able to pick up your bib and even sign up for the race if you hadn't done so already. My husband and I decided to pick up our race bib on Friday in order to avoid the long lines. On Saturday, we headed towards to the start line early in order to avoid the traffic. Unfortunately there was only ONE person running the parking garage at the convention center so there was a lot more traffic than anticipated. I don't understand why they wouldn't have more people running the parking garage when there was an event. It was just plain ridiculous. If I could say one negative thing about this even is this.

Once we finally arrived at the start line I met up with my brother to thank him for the free entries. I also met up with some fellow San Diego Bloggers before the race started. It was so nice to meet all these ladies. 

The race started five minutes later than scheduled but when it finally started it went smoothly. The first group was the fast 5k, then the 10k, followed by the remaining 5k runners. Literally not even a quarter of a mile into the race there was a casualty. My husband fell and I was dragged along with him. The fall wasn't very pretty. He chipped his phone; I landed on my knee and somehow managed to hurt my elbow. We got up right away though, and kept on running. Other than the sore knee I felt great. My husband could barely breathe since he was coming off of a pretty bad cold so he was hating life during the run. Since my pace was pretty good I ran ahead of our group. In the end though, I finished alongside my husband. 

The course was along the embarcadero. The 5k and the 10k course went off in different direction until meeting up again towards the end, Only when I met with the 5k runners did it feel a bit too crammed for me. Other than that I have no real complaints about the course.  And for being a small race there was enough waters stations to keep me hydrated. 

The best part of the entire race was the finish line. Never in all my races have I received so much free swag. Every where I turned people were handing me samples. From booth to booth, I kept pilling my bag with anything free that was given to me. When we were half way through checking out the booths, we ran into the beer garden. Not only were the samples free but the beer was free as well. The main beer sponsor was Stella and after a nice run, a cold beer was just what the doctor ordered. 

We stayed at the beer garden for a bit but we all had to run errands so we left to finish the remaining booths. At one of the final booths, I was able to meet the running legends Bill Rodgers and Meb! They are both truly inspirational. I've met Meb before at a few other races I've participated in but it was honor to meet Bill for the first time.

Would I run this race again? Hell yesss! After getting all the free swag, why wouldn't I? Currently the race is in four cities (San Diego, Tampa, Austin, and Fairfax) but hopefully more cities will be added to the list. So if you happen to live by any of these four locations I would highly recommend signing up for it!

Other places you can find me:
Instagram: fitwanderlustrunner
Twitter: fitwrunner
Bloglovin': fitwanderlustrunner

I am linking up with Amanda from Running with Spoons,

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Special Thank You To My Husband

People warn you about how hard marathon training will be on your body. They also warn you about how much of a time commitment it will be.  Even knowing all this I still signed up because I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to prove to myself I could still do it. With the loving support from my husband I started my training back in May. Yes, May! That means that for five months my poor husband, family, dogs, and even my house were neglected.

Honestly, I don't know how my husband put up with my training (or me for that matter). I would leave early in the morning and sometimes not get in until noon (depending on where I ran and for how long).  That meant that on some days all other chores wouldn't get done. This included the cooking, cleaning up the house, walking the dogs, and even laundry. I basically did the bare minimum the last five months. I mean let's be honest, after going for a long run the last thing you want to do is house chores. All I wanted to do was eat and sleep.  Not once did my husband complain though.  Not once did he discourage me from pursuing this goal of mine. In fact he listened to me when I needed to vent about a long run that didn't go well. He massaged my feet when I asked him to. He stepped up and helped with cleaning when he had time. He even continued to praise me for all my hard work. My husband just kept encouraging me to keep at it. He was/is my biggest cheerleader and for that and many more reasons I want to thank him.

I am truly lucky to have such an understanding husband. Dating or being married to a runner isn't for the faint of heart. Lets be honest, runners are freaking crazy. We literally sign up for the torture and then complain about the training process. We have this weird desire to continuously sign up for races in hopes of reaching PR's. My husband has heard it all: my struggles, my pains, even when I chaffed, and worst of all he's learned about my bowel movements during runs. Sorry may be a bit TMI but it gives you a glimpse of what my husband has to endure with me as his wife. Now you truly understand why my husband is wonderful. Even with all that, he continuous to love me. 

I count my lucky stars for having him by my side, my partner in life. He is my better half and I am so grateful for all his love and support. He just gets me. When I doubted myself during my marathon training he always had a way of making me feel better. He somehow made the worry go away. Thank you Dario for being there for me not only during these last five months of training but for every race since we have been together. Here's to more races and training cycles together!

Other places you can find me:
Instagram: fitwanderlustrunner
Twitter: fitwrunner
Bloglovin': fitwanderlustrunner

I am linking up with Amanda from Running with Spoons

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Chicago Marathon Recap

Exactly one week ago, I finished the Chicago Marathon! I am still in awe of completing such an amazing accomplishment. I would have written this blog post sooner but unfortunately I got really sick right after the race and it has taken me a bit to recover. My poor husband got it worse than I did. He actually had to go to urgent care today to get some antibiotics. I was starting to feel under the weather a few days before the race, like the day before we even flew out to Chicago. I remember telling my husband that I felt it coming. Given how hard a marathon is on your body, I knew the second I was done with the race, my immune system would take a hit and I'd get sick. Sure enough that very night after the race by throat was hurting and I was starting to feel congested.

Anyways, back to my race recap! I want to start off by saying Chicago is amazing. This was my second time visiting the city and I fell in love with it even more this time around. I wanted to go to the expo on Friday before the race that way I would have all day Saturday to relax. Luckily there was a free shuttle from our hotel room to the convention center where the expo was being held. I am not really one to linger too much at expos mostly because they can be pretty jam packed and I just don't like feeling like a sardine in a can. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how spacious the Chicago Marathon Expo was. Not once did I feel crammed. The plan was to get my bib, buy a commemorative jacket and then high tail it out of there. We kinda did that but I managed to convince my husband that I needed a new Garmin. It helped that they had a special price during the expo. Afterwards we ended up getting a Lyft ride back to our hotel since the shuttles were taking too long. We already had plans for that night and we just didn't have time to waste.

Our hotel was super close to both the start and finish line. I actually had never had the pleasure of sleeping in and just walk to my start line on race day. It was nice since I had the luxury of using a real bathroom before the start of the marathon. No porta potty for me! I told my husband to sleep in and not worry about going with me to the start. He of course was more than excited to hear that! It was like music to his ears. Actually only runners were allowed into the park where our corrals were located. There was security everywhere checking to make sure only runners with bibs were allowed inside.

Once I was in my corral the nerves just kicked into overdrive! The heart was pounding and the butterflies were kicking in big time. I was actually able to see the sunrise towards the lake which helped calm my nerves a bit. I was in wave 2 which I knew meant it would take awhile to get me to the start. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how fast everything went. I really didn't wait that long after the first wave considering my corral was towards the end. Another bonus was the weather. It was great! I couldn't have asked for better weather throughout the marathon. The temp was in the 50s and sunny. I did have a throwaway long sleeved t-shirt to keep me warm until the race started but I quickly got rid of that.

At a little after 8:00am it was my time to start! It was go time! I have a really close friend of mine who had run the marathon a few years back and she told me I would love the course. Well she was 100% correct. From the beginning to the end, there was not one part of the course where fans/supporters were out there cheering us on. I couldn't even listen to my music during certain parts of the course because they were cheering so loud! I think I was smiling from ear to ear the first six miles. I was in awe of how amazing the fans/supporters were.  I didn't even realize how fast I was going until my friend text me saying my 5K was a sub 9 minute pace. I blame the fans. Their cheers were pushing me to keep going. I knew I was going out way too fast but I felt great so I just told myself to just keep listening to my body. Before I knew I had reached the half way point (13.1 miles) and my watch said 1:58! I was elated at that time but I knew then that I wouldn't be able to maintain that pace. At that point, I was also looking for my husband. We had talked about meeting up at mile 13 but I couldn't find him. Since my pace was a lot faster than we both anticipated, he had missed me so he just went straight to mile 16.

I can't even express how ecstatic I was to see my husband at mile 16. He cheered me on for a bit, even ran by my side for a minute. The smile on my face from the picture he took of me pretty much sums up how great I was feeling up to that point. I can say with all honestly that when mile 18 came along I was hating life. I was no longer smiling. I didn't think I would hit my wall that soon but I did. I wasn't cramping up but my body was starting to just shut down on me. The legs felt tired and I could feel my shoulders tense up. I wasn't even sweating anymore and needed to find a restroom STAT. I was getting a bit scared that I might be showing signs of heat stroke so I started to walk at the aid stations instead of running through them like I had done. I made sure to eat all my gels and ate bananas when offered to me. I knew I had to run smart from that point on. The last few miles were slow...a lot slower than I wanted. I was calculating my pace and realized I could still get my goal time if I pushed through the pain. Getting to that time helped me to speed up a bit. The closer I got to the finish line the louder it got from people cheering. It was exactly what I needed to cross and finish strong. When I looked down at my watch and saw 4:14 I started to cry. I had beat my goal time and reached a marathon PR!

The Chicago Marathon has now become my favorite race EVER! I don't know if it was a combination of the flat course, the awesome fans, or my marathon PR but I think the main reason I loved this race was because all my hard work paid off. All those months of putting in the work, all those months of waking up early, were all worth it. At the finish line I was given my medal and I all I could do was just stare at it. This is what I had trained for the last five months. Since I was a bit dehydrated, drinking that beer felt so refreshing. All I wanted to do was find my husband, hug him and thank him for all the support during my training.

I don't have any plans of running a marathon any time soon, but I would definitely do this one again for these reasons:
  • The expo was great.
  • There was security patrolling during the entire race so I felt safe the whole course.
  • I loved my medal, my t-shirt, and my free swag.
  • There was a perfect amount of aid stations.
  • During the course there was plenty of porta potties if needed.
  • I've mentioned this many times already but the support from fans was unreal!
  • The race is organized so well considering it is a very massive undertaking.
  • The beer at the end, Goose Island!
  • Free massages at the post race party (sadly I didn't partake in this)

So what now?
I am not sure.
All I know is that I am a marathoner once again and I am loving life!

Other places you can find me:
Instagram: fitwanderlustrunner
Twitter: fitwrunner
Bloglovin': fitwanderlustrunner

I am linking up with Amanda from Running with Spoons