Life and training updates

I realize it’s been PAINFULLY long since I’ve posted anything, but it’s time to get back in the swing of things and start journaling my training. I have many updates, one being the most important, and that’s MR Wentworth himself, our baby Max. He has managed to come into our lives and make it so full of joy and happiness we can’t seem to remember life before him. Emma says he is her best friend, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
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Thank you, Kathleen Curto Photography!
Thank you, Kathleen Curto Photography!

My pregnancy with Max was much easier the second time in terms of staying active and eating healthy. Having a two year old running around left me little couch time so we tried to make all of our activities active ones. Fortunately I craved pretty much the same things as I did my first pregnancy – bananas, plain oatmeal, and apples. Well….and the occasional mint chip but that was mainly left for the last few weeks. I was able to keep running until about 8 months, which really helped keep me strong. I even did a 22.4 mile race with my little nugget at about 17 weeks! My friends and I completed all three races for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend in 2016 – the 5k, 10k, and half marathon over three days.

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Now I sit here, 4 months postpartum, I am registered for a long list of races and challenges this year and next. I have many strength goals I need to hit because I lost a lot of It while pregnant, which is extremely normal but it kind of sucks at the same time. I somehow find myself registered for the Dopey Challenge again, and those of you that know me will laugh because we all know how THRILLED Ryan is about that! I joke, but he is the most supportive husband and without his faith in me, I don’t think I would have the courage to do it! On top of Dopey, I have the Disneyland half challenge, the Princess half marathon weekend (all three races) 2018, the Tinkerbell half marathon weekend (all three races) 2018, and the ultimate challenge – Ragnar Napa with 11 of my friends scheduled for this November.
Could there possibly be any more or better reasons to document all of this running? Tips and mistakes that I find along the way will be passed on to you as well. My goals are to keep my body as healthy as possible to avoid any injury, and have a blast along the way!
When Max was about 4 weeks old, I started back up with some heavy lifting (heavy at the time for being 4 weeks postpartum – nothing crazy!). Twice a week, my husband and I would take a class to focus on back squats, deadlifts, overhead press, and bench press and increased the weight each day. Once I felt strong enough with this class, we added in a third day and I started very slow jogs around the park by our house.

After having Emma, I had to use the Jeff Galloway method of running where you run for an amount of time and then take a walk break. I actually improved my best times overall by running for 2 minutes and speed walking for 30 seconds. I almost never get sore joints or overly fatigued too soon. Around 4 weeks after having Max I started by running a minute and walking a minute and just trying to go slow in order to really protect my joints. After having a baby and while you are nursing, your body is so pumped full of hormones it’s really easy to injure yourself, so be careful!
Since I only have until October 3rd to submit a proof of time for the Dopey Challenge, I really have to try to up my intervals and work on speed. Right now I can do about 8 miles with my 2:1 intervals (2 minutes on, 1 minute off) but as this week rolls around I’m going to try either shortening my walk break, or running for 3 minutes instead of 2. A lot about running is trial and error so if you feel yourself not being able to keep going or if you feel too tired too soon, play around with your intervals.

With two babies being at home with me, some days going to the gym feels like packing up and leaving for a European vacation. I’ve started to do the one thing I truly hate the most – HOME WORKOUTS! I’m thrilled to say I’ve actually come up with a few that are not boring, keep me focused and make the time go by so quickly! All I used were 20 lbs free weights.
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Run around the block once – roughly 2-3 minutes
45 seconds on, 15 seconds off of:
Split lunge with a shoulder press
Bicep curl to a shoulder row
Single leg dead lift to a reverse lunge
Tricep exstentions
Goblet squats

I did 4 rounds and finished with 5 minutes of abs.

I was extra lucky that day because I also managed to squeeze in 6 miles that morning. FOAM ROLLING….LOTS AND LOTS OF FOAM ROLLING!
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Race countdown:
Disneyland half marathon weekend – 163
Ragnar Napa – 227
Dopey Challenge – 288
Princess half marathon weekend – 337
Tinkerbell half marathon weekend – 415

Using the Jeff Galloway method for the Dopey Challenge

First off, I’m super annoyed it’s taken me over two weeks to write a new post. For those of you who haven’t read my previous blog post, my father in law passed away so I needed to take some time for me and my family to regroup.

A week ago I signed up through Acclaim Travel for the RunDisney Dopey Challenge along with my three cousins. The Dopey challenge is MY Olympics! I have been patiently waiting through a pregnancy and the first year of Emma’s life to finally be able to sign up. This race consists of a 5k, 10k, a half marathon and a full marathon – 48.6 miles in four days! Now I only have to wait another 254 days, but who’s counting?

One of my discoveries along this journey is the Jeff Galloway method of running. He’s the spokesperson for RunDisney and of course I have heard of him from time to time, but I never tried his run/walk/run philosophy. Honestly, I had too much pride to walk. I wanted to run the whole darn thing! While reading his marathon book, he had a list of signs you’re running too long without letting your body recover appropriately. This right away stuck out to me. Every time I run 10 + miles I’m useless to the world for the rest of the day. After a half marathon, I’m a Netflix and “become one with the couch” kinda girl. So after reading the first few chapters in his book, I thought trying it out couldn’t hurt.
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Ever since I had Emma, my right hip flexor has been really sensitive. Anytime I lift my knee hip level, take a step, or even put on pants I could feel how tight it felt. I’ve been stretching and foam rolling like I’m supposed to but something just didn’t feel right. This could mean a few things such as: tight or weakened hips, tight or weakened quads, and weak glutes. Oh man. And I thought my legs were my strong suit! I work with a lot of really talented and smart trainers at Fitness Rangers and asked a few of them on their advice. They gave me some great stretching ideas which I will post below.

So over the last few weeks I’ve been running anywhere from 3 to 10 miles by running 3 minutes and walking 30 seconds and you know what, I have no pain! My hip flexor hasn’t been bothering me like it was and best of all, I feel like I could run all day! I now see how this will help me so much over the Dopey Challenge weekend. Training will mostly consist of running days back to back to simulate a mini Dopey. Training doesn’t technically start until July but since I have another RunDisney challenge in May, I feel like training has already begun.

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This stretch (shown above) helps separate the joint a bit to really allow the muscle to stretch. This targets that hip flexor in a more intense way than without the band.

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Since my quads could also be an issue, here is a way to completely relax the leg (notice how his foot is under the ledge of the table) and get a really deep quad stretch.

Today was the Capital City Classic in Sacramento. My friend and I decided to do the 10 mile race in order to get in our last long run before the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend.
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Today was the day I put the Jeff Galloway method to the test. I told myself I wanted to run as fast as I could for 3 minutes and then speed walk for 30 seconds. My goal was to stay under a 9 minute mile during those three minutes at least until I got to the 10k mark. (I would LOVE to make it into the A corral for the Dopey Challenge) I’m happy to say that even with a bathroom break around mile 1, I made it to the 10K mark around 58 minutes! I couldn’t be happier! I was a little skeptical about having to walk thinking for sure it would slow me down but in reality, it made me run faster during the 3 minutes. I felt like I had more energy because of that quick break. I was able to get control of my breathing and focus for the next run.
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I’m SO excited to use this method as see how fast I can get my sprints. Now, the REAL challenge – seeing if I can do a full marathon with this! Stay tuned for more updates on using this method, I’m excited to see how it will help me especially when I get into the longer distances!

Shamrockn’ Half Marathon and mom abs!

This past Sunday my friend, Veronica, and I ran the Shamrockn’ Half Marathon! We had finished this race before in 2013 and it was just as fun as the first time. This time, however, we were clad in our green to show just how festive we felt! Well, festive yes…just maybe not as awake haha!
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This is probably one of my favorite courses for a half marathon. You start and end at Raley Field, running over the Sacramento bridge and on to the streets of downtown.
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Here we are running past the Blue Diamond almond factory at Mile 4. This crazy crowd mixed with the cliff block we just ate certainly pepped us up for the bike trail miles we were about to endure.

We had a good run overall. There are a lot of good visual changes throughout the race which I love. Let’s face it, there’s nothing WORSE than feeling bored for 13 miles.
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It sounds bad, but I was really excited for this race to be over because that meant I was one race closer to Tinkerbell. I know I probably won’t PR with all of the picture stops along the way, but I have a really good feeling about that race weekend! Here’s my medal taking it’s new home as I wait to fill the rest of the hooks!
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A week or so ago my good friend, Winnie, asked me what she can do for her abs after her C-section 3 months ago. She’s already below her pre-baby weight (what a rockstar) but she’s not feeling as toned as she’d like. Here are some examples of some exercises you can literally do anywhere, anytime. There are three levels shown. If you have to start at level 1, that’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

I remember 6 weeks after I had Emma when I took my first pilates class. My abs felt like mashed potatoes! Seriously! Like kneading dough. I know it’s hard to tell other women “don’t worry about it” but honestly, if you take a balloon and inflate it for close to a year, do you think it won’t be a little stretched out once you let the air out? Give yourself some time to heal. Don’t be discouraged, just think about the miracle that your body created and slowly jump back in to your routine.

Be sure to talk to your doctor before returning to your workout routine after baby. Have your doctor check you for Diastasis Recti or “split abs” because if you do have this, your ab routine might need some tweaking. This simply just means that the ab muscles have thinned or separated a bit more and this actually occurs in about a third of pregnant women.

Level 1:
Boat pose – 45 seconds
Bicycles – try to do 30-50 reps
Jackknives with a leg bridge – 20 each side
Cobras – 20 reps – 2 seconds up and 2 seconds down

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvOx6WZDJJU

Level 2:
Plank: 45 – 60 seconds
Yoga abs – 15 reps each side
Rotating T’s – 45 – 60 seconds
Swimmers – 50 -60 seconds

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QW84VCQLcU

Level 3:
Plank twists – 45 – 60 seconds
Side plank hip dips – 20 – 30 reps each side
Russian twists – 60 seconds
Shoulder taps – 25 each side

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmfaXTL14gY

When it comes to the midsection, remember that abs are made in the kitchen! Yes a strong core is essential to preventing injury and getting stronger, but if you want some killer definition ay attention to your nutrition! I hope these exercises help any other mamas out there. I hope you know that you are amazing, your body after baby is beautiful, and most importantly you are inspirational! Don’t give up!

A successful week and some new running gear

Today’s victory was celebrated by yet another Sparkle Athletic running skirt. And what is today’s victory you ask? FOUR POUNDS. I’m down another 4 pounds! I’m not on a crazy diet and I’m not killing myself working out like a mad woman either, I’m just eating natural whole foods and working out 50 minutes a day. Who knew? image

I used to take the Michael Phelps approach to fueling before a workout. I thought that I wouldn’t have enough energy without a whole bagel and peanut butter. While that might work well right before a half marathon, which is what I usually eat 45 minutes before and then add a banana about 15 minutes before race time, this isn’t necessary for my 50 minute circuit training class. I found that I was perfectly fine snacking on veggies, hard boiled eggs, and a few nuts about 30 minutes before.

OK, back to the bling.

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Cute, right? My running buddy, Veronica, and I are running the Shamrockin’ Half Marathon coming up on March 15, 2015. The green will work perfectly for the theme and let’s face it, I can reuse this so many ways for my many Rundisney races coming up! Since we are about 3 weeks out, we are still on our steady pace of two short runs a week of 3 miles and this weekend our long is 8 miles. After running a few half marathons together we both can agree the success is not the long run but actually the consistent short 3 mile runs during the week. Not that a good playlist doesn’t help, either!

Another very exciting update is that we all FINALLY got a sneak peak at the bling for the upcoming Pixie Dust Challenge May 8-10, 2015. The Pixie Dust challenge, which is what I will be running, is a 10 k on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday. This challenge is all apart of the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend which I’ve completed once before. One of the best perks of running for Disney is the awesome medals, right?
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My clients were really bringing the hard work this week, they are seeing results left and right and I could not be more proud. Here is something you can do the next time you feel like you have some energy at the end of a workout and want a last minute burn.

Burn out of the week:
This is an example of just how creepy I can be while training my clients! Just kidding! Jean knew I was filming her, haha! So this burn out was done by turning off the treadmill and allowing Jean to just power it with her legs. She did 1 minute of “dead tread” running, 1 minute of tricep dips using the treadmill, and 1 minute of plank twists. Repeat this 3 times with a 30 second rest every 3 minutes, which in between each set. You should be pushing yourself hard enough so that you can’t hold a conversation but can complete the 1 minute of each exercise successfully.
Clink on the links below to show each exercise:
Dead tread
Tricep dips
Plank twists



Working out while pregnant

Sometimes just getting out of bed seems like a workout in itself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of whining about every little ache and pain while pregnant. I knew what I was getting myself into. The reality is you don’t sleep, you have a hell of time eating because the little bean is pressing on your stomach, oh and this is delightful…your ligaments loosen. What? Wish I knew that. I feel like a big blob of taffy. Ignoring all of that, I have tried to stay motivated the last 35 weeks to keep my workouts going mostly because I hear it makes labor easier. Who knows if that is actually true but hey, it can’t hurt right?

I tired to keep running but about 4 months in it made me feel like I might need a diaper so I quickly switched to walking. Some days I even felt good enough to walk 5 miles so I was feeling pretty good about myself. I did weights 2-3 times a week with my boot camp class and tried to do everything but the jumping (burpies….ew). The major adjustment is not laying on you back. Gone are my beloved hamstring curls but that’s ok because I traded them for more dead lifts. Chest presses quickly turned into incline presses and planks soon became planks on my knees.

Now that I’m at the end, everything is hurting. My belly is in the way of my squats, my inner thighs burn when I walk too long and I just feel like a mess. My hour walks are feeling more and more like a full marathon everyday. I’m noticing I might have to stop altogether and start swimming again as my main workout. I think the hardest part is the mental aspect. Everyday I wonder what my workout will be and I think to myself that there’s no way I can start taking a break now. I mean, with the rest required after delivery that means I could be taking off 2 months if I stop now? No way! I’ll go crazy.

What I’ve been learning is that you simply have to listen to your body. Ignore the women on instagram who “never had a cheat meal while pregnant” and who don’t give themselves enough time to just relax. Simply do as much as your body tells you, then take a rest. There will never be a better time for you to actually do exactly what you want to do.

 

My realistic workout regime while pregnant:

walking 1 hour 4-5 times a week

Circuit/weight training for 45 mins 2 times a week.

Circuit workout 1:

Lunges with a bicep curl 3 x 20 reps with a 15lb weight

shoulder presses 3 x 12 reps with a 15-20lbs weight

plank 1 min

squat with an over head press 3 x 10 on each arm with a 15 lbs weight

Hamsting curls on the machine 3 x 15 reps

I do this in a circuit style, one set and go down  the line repeating 3 times

Circuit 2:

Single leg dead lifts 3 x 12 on each side with a 25lbs weight

Tricep dips 3 x 15

Incline chest presses 3 x 15 with a 25 lbs weight

leg extension 3 x 15

back rows 3 x 12 on each side with a 25 lbs weight

My boot camp Halloween workout!

Halloween (and all the holidays for that matter) came very fast this year and what better way to burn off all the Twix and Milky Way than a fat burning workout? One of my favorite boot campers, Scott, brought a TON of glow sticks for us to keep it spooky. We had a great playlist (which will be listed) and had everyone bring a pumpkin to use as a weight!

First thing we needed:

The Halloween playlist

Superstition – Stevie Wonder

Monster Mash – Boris Pickett

Ghostbusters theme – Ray Parker Jr

Jump in the line – Harry Belafonte

Time Warp – The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Thriller – Michael Jackson

Feed my Frankenstein – Alice Cooper

Bat out of Hell – Meat Loaf

Super Freak – Rick James

 

Second, I needed something to bribe them to workout so early on a holiday:

Nothing a little fruit, peanut butter, and Starbucks can’t fix!

 

This station was all about cardio! Weighted ropes, burpies, and jumps!

 

Putting the Val Slides under their feet, they used their arms to pull their bodies across the room! Kills the shoulders and abs!

 

This was our ab station, using the pumpkins as the weight.

 

Putting heavy barbells on their shoulders, they lunged across the room.

 

The campers hoped over and in between different “boxes” to get their heart rates up.

 

This was an ab/TRX combo station.

 

Our weights for the day.

 

We were very festive!

 

Even the baby bump enjoyed the party!

 

 

 

Danielle doing the Frankenstein walks!

 

Overall, we had a blast! it made us all excited for the Turkey Triumph workout and the Christmas Eve workout!

Let’s get balanced!

 

 

Balance and flexibility is one of the most common imbalances with people today. Due to our desk ridden careers, it’s rare we get to get up and move throughout the day. I think one or two days a week (AT LEAST) needs to be focused on balance and flexibility. I work as a student assistant for the Department of Public Health and here I am trying to get an everyday fitness group started. 15 minutes a day and every day targets a different body part. Today was you guessed it…balance and flexibility. I have listed below what we did today for 15 minutes. It surprisingly got everyone’s heart rate up and left us feeling invigorated!

 

Below are the listed things we tried out today, feel free to print this out, stick it on your fridge and try it a few times a week! You’ll feel longer and limber! Try these exercises for about 30s-1min.

 

Inchworm-

These are fabulous for warming the hamstring, calves, shoulders, and abs. It virtually targets all muscles in the body and forces them to engage and start to stretch. Be sure to have your abs nice and tight because you will feel them work once you get into the plank. Have your feet together and try not to bend your knees as well as push down your heel as you’re doing this to help feel a calf stretch.

Lateral lunge-

These start to warm up the glute and inner thigh. You can perform these with your hands on your hips, behind your head, or the most challenging – hands all the way in the air. Keep heals and toes in line and make sure to keep the one knee straight, hold for a second or two to really feel the stretch. You can perform these in place or moving as well.

 

Front lunge-

Same goes for this as the lateral lunge but this will engage your glute and hamstring more than the lateral lunge. Arm placement is the same with the 3 levels or difficulty. You can do these in place or walking, weights can also be used as you get more advanced. Try holding your hands out in front, straight and together, and twisting them at shoulder level to the side to get a good abdominal twist as you do your lunges. Twist toward the leg that is in front.

 

Single leg balance-

While having your arms up b your ears, stand on one leg and tilt down to make a T position, shoulders and leg in line so you are perpendicular to the floor, hold for 3 seconds, come up, and switch.

 

Single leg reach-

While standing on one leg, have the opposite hand reach down towards the toe while keeping good upper body posture. Bend the leg as if you were doing a squat to really feel the work being done in the quad and glute.

 

Glute stretch-

Lay on the floor, bring your right knee to your chest, cross over your left knee and pull gently behind your left thigh, hold for 30 seconds and switch.

 

Calf stretch-

This could be one of the most important stretches you do. A lot of people have little flexibility in their calves and this will effect your squats and even the way you walk. While doing this stretch, hold for 30 seconds, then switch.

A new workout

So since I’ve been doing the same workouts for a while now, I decided to start doing a new program with my boyfriend, Ryan. He found a workout which is to promote the growth of muscles, and to be honest looks pretty tough. Today was day one where we had 4 exercises to do: dead lifts, good mornings, back extenstions, and an ab exercise. We did about 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps for each with the exception of the dead lifts where I did 3 sets just to warm up with using the bar.

 

For the second exercise, good mornings, i did 4 sets of 15 with just using the bar since that seemed to be enough resistance.

The last exercise for back we did 4 sets of 20 hyperextensions.

This whole workout took about 80 minutes because we did a 10 minute easy warm up on the bike. I know this doesn’t seem like a lot of work for 80 minutes but because of all the extra sets, it really does take a while. Tomorrow is cardio for 45 minutes and I’ll post the workout.

My after workout shake:

For dinner I’ll have some salmon and veggies. Usually I make a half of a sweet potato with this meal but to be honest since it’s almost 9, i’m really not that hungry. I feel very worn out! Since my days are so long, I don’t feel like I ever leave the gym feeling dead like I used to when I had the time to really work out. I’m hoping lifting like this can take my muscles to the next level. We’ll see!

Double Whammy!

From my boot campers, I get a lot of questions about what to do when you only have 20-30 minutes to work out. To be honest, you can get all of your muscles worked in that amount of time it’s just about pairing muscle groups together. My aunt was asking how to fit it all in before work. I simply told her as long as you can do you weight/strength training in a circuit style, paired with some cardio after, you’ll be good to go! Here are some videos showing what exactly you can do:

Dead lift with back row:

– Level one: both feet on the ground, soft knees (don’t lock), chest and chin up towards the ceiling leaving a nice flat back. Bend over as far as you can so you feel that hamstring stretch, come back up a little and row the weights with your elbows by your side squeezing your shoulder blades. (10-12 reps, 3 sets)

– Level two: the same idea but with only one foot on the ground and coming into a T position with the shoulders and leg. You can alternate legs or switch every set. (10-12 reps, 3 sets)

Squat to clean:

-This does wonders for the rear and shoulder. Love Jessica Biel’s arms? Here you go. Squat down with the weight in between the legs. Again, chin and chest are always up with your abs in tight. After you squat (squeezing the cheeks together) press the weight up towards your shoulder and lift over head. Inhale as you squat, exhale as you push. (8 reps with one arm, then switch. 3 sets)

Plank to push up:

– This is a doozy but works the abs as well as the chest. In a plank position (can be done on the toes like shown or on your knees for level 1) push one arm up and the other follows. Make sure to switch arms for example: pushing up right then left then down with left down with right. You can repeat the same for the other arm. (perform this for up to 1 minute)