Thursday, December 16, 2010


Happy Holidays everyone! I'm finishing up 2010 with a bang! I'm still running and just started back on my 18 week ramp up to another chance at finishing a 50k. January kicks off the Winter show season and traveling will be in full effect. For right now... for the coming 2 weeks, it's about organizing and gearing up to ring in the new year.

This time of year also gives us time to reflect - as all of us work hard and when you get a cool opportunity to share what you are grateful for... you jump at the chance. I got a great opportunity to share with thousands of people what simple things I am grateful for. I am sharing amongst many other people just one of 365 inspirational pieces, (one for every day of the year.) I am so blessed in this life and having the opportunity of being a co-author was such an honor.

The Gratitude Book is being sold on and is a great gift for anyone in your life.

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. William Arthur Ward

Wishing you a healthy and successful 2011. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I AM 30!

"When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." ~Victor Frankl

This I AM 30! represents my commitment to the 30-Day Challenge I created almost 6 months ago. I have had such a wonderful experience with those that have been participating. Some have gotten off of insulin, while others have lost weight, gained energy and have participated in their first 5k, 10k, and half marathon. What an honor it is to be apart of their journey. Being that this is 11/30 and December 1st is only 2 days away - I felt this is fitting.

I AM 30! represents the challenge of moving for 30 minutes a day for 30 days - or in this case 31 days... but, you get the idea.

You can challenge yourself in other ways too for 30 days. Like no sugar, no fast food, no smoking, no beer (though that's no life), limiting your deserts. 30 days is a great amount of time to make a change. Whatever you do - make it a positive one for you and your family.

If you are on Facebook, join our movement there and share your recipes, work out ideas, anything that can help someone else.The 30-Day Challenge movement

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A year on the road...

Finally, the last flight has been flown. My work year on the road is over and I've got the miles to prove that it was a long, happy year. Sales are good and it seems as if the holiday season is underway. My reps are working hard on and off the road. The gift shows are a distant memory and fall is here. This year has been a challenging one; growing our rep groups while keeping them motivated, learning how to eat well and run all over the country, and creating new avenues to sell too. The recession is almost over and while we thought our retailers would bounce back earlier - we are now almost to 2011 and there seems to finally be a parting of the seas. Orders are being written and bills are being paid. Some have closed their doors while others expand. It's that yin and yang of business that keeps it exciting for me.

This year on the road has also had some great stuff go on too; like our journey to move to Portland, OR, the company continues to create cool, new products, and we've brought in some exciting new people to work with us in creating a synergy across the country. In my personal pursuits; I continue to educate myself in the outdoor and social media industry while marrying up both passions to speak at trade shows and regional events. I look forward to more of that in the upcoming year.

Taking time to read, reflect and run are what I'm looking forward to in the coming months while winding down the year. I continue to enjoy meshing all that I love in this wonderful journey that is my life. Lucky me.

Friday, October 8, 2010

It's all about the challenge....

Hey there! I've been quite busy and now that I'm off the road a bit and my training is in the taper phase - I'm realizing that balancing being successful on and off the trails is all about time management, rest, and completing your to-do list. I find that running when I'm tired does me no good. But, when I am rested and get out first thing...I find that I am way more productive the rest of the day. If I don't get out in the am than I am less likely to run or get in my work out the rest of the day. I absolutely love running when I am out there - but I think coming to the end of a full business year and the end of this particular training cycle, I am tired. So, my next challenges will be a few shorter races to keep me excited and motivated. Next week is my second 50K and I am a firm believer that it needs to stay fun to keep me goal oriented and keep that desire to continue to push me to that next level.

I will never be a sub 7:00 runner, so my long runs are almost double the time than faster runners. I have to work on speed work through the end of the year to get me running 4 hr marathons and 5 hour 50k's before moving to the 100k - 100m level. That's my first challenge to elevating me to the next phase.

My business continues to thrive and I love where my professional side is going. Teaching seminars at trade shows across the country, managing my reps and working with the coolest products in the gift and outdoor industry is both rewarding and challenging. Keeping these companies at the forefront of my reps and retailers minds takes persistence.

Challenging myself continues to be a daily dose of fun week after week. I hope you are working towards your next goal whether professionally or personally. There is nothing more wonderful than crossing the finish line or closing a sale! They both rock!

Thanks so much for reading.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Social media on the run...

On my run this morning - I find there really is a difference running in sneakers and running in my VFF's. There is something so primal - and while feeling raw with the pitter - patter of wet pavement below me my thoughts begin to travel into a world of their own. One of those thoughts goes to a power point presentation that I am creating for an upcoming seminar that I'm teaching Wednesday at the upcoming Las Vegas Souvenir & Resorts show for NARB. (The National Assoc. of Retail Buyers) Social media doesn't mean you have to be social. It's the intentions behind what you post that is most important.

It's funny, when I ask people to look at their Twitter feed or Facebook statuses as if it were the first time they were seeing them, I ask "do you think it represents who you really are?" Some people see that they aren't actually representing themselves in a good light - or it's all about specific hobbies. This is all fine if it is purely to speak your voice and that's all. If you are using social media for your business - then that's a different story. I always suggest to people that they create a business page for the sole purpose of sharing information about your specific niche while maintaining a personal page for friends and family. Finding balance between fun and informative will make you successful and popular.

Have an awesome day!

Monday, September 13, 2010

From Warriors to Pasta

Wow - what an awesome weekend!

(muddy pic from left to right is Me, Jerri and Jo)

One of my best friends, Tanya came up to Portland for the weekend. We have been planning this trip for a while and no one could prepare us for the amazing time that it was!

Saturday kicked it all off with The Warrior Dash. If you have never done this type of race or event before then you should absolutely put it on your calendar for 2011. They do these events all over the US. Grab some friends, make a costume and then insert laughter and mud. It's pretty awesome and I'm looking forward to doing the next one.

The evening was filled with good food and some beer - great for recovery by the way! :-)

Sunday we were sore and bruised from Warrior Dash but our spirits were good! The Pints2Pasta 10K was right downstairs from our home and the excitement was building. You can see the Spaghetti Factory from our balcony and the buses were lined up to shuttle all of us up to the start of the race which was at ADIDAS HQ. Today was a challenge for Tanya as it was her first road 10K and for me it was the first time I've ran 6.2 miles in my Vibram Five Fingers. My feet felt great while running and today on a recovery day - my feet, shins and calves feel awesome!

We ended Sunday with a short hike up to Multnomah Falls and enjoyed dim-sum for brunch. It was a great weekend that were filled with "golden moments." It was a weekend to remember always.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

3 miles and still running

So today I ran 3 miles in my VFF's. The differences that I am noticing within these first two-weeks while on my long runs - my arch pain has decreased to almost none. Even after my 20-miler this past Sunday - I was tired, but still ready to rock 'n' roll!

Some of the other differences are that my calves recover better - though they are sore from stairs, hill repeats and increasing mileage - they also feel more rested faster. I'm looking forward to increasing my mileage and will continue to let you guys know.

Thanks for reading...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My first run going barefoot

Hi all!

As promised - I am sharing my journey with you...

I really enjoyed my first run today in my new Vibram FiveFingers! Running barefoot takes a little getting used to - but it gives me a new freedom and I'll enjoy logging on some additional miles.

I did a little video today to keep track of how I'm feeling while testing these new shoes out.

Click here for my video

Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My first pair of Vibram 5Fingers

So, I took the plunge at the Outdoor Retailer. I walked ove in my Montrail shoes and like the 100's of others proceeded to strip my shoes and socks to get fitted properly for a pair of these crazy shoes others have been swearing by.

A few days ago, I was not only excited to receive my first pair of the
Vibram FiveFingers , but to also wear them.

Vibram says, "The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised."

I totally believe that and like all exercises - cross training is vital to creating a strong core and to use multiple muscle groups daily to strengthen the body as a whole. That's why programs like P90X and CrossFit are so successful. Shaking up the body with this so called muscle confusion, which accelerates the results process by constantly introducing new moves and routines so your body never plateaus, and you never get bored. Sounds good to me!

Your feet deserve the same love - as we put tons of pressure on them all day long.

When you first put these on - you'll notice your toes fighting you on being separated, but once you walk around and your foot warms up - you'll feel a sense of freedom. If you are like me and wear flip flops a lot - these feel way more solid, more comfortable and like a little kid again. The cushioning on the bottom of my particular pair (Bikila: Built on an entirely new platform, the Bikila features a Dri-Lex® covered 3mm polyurethane insole (thickest under the ball) and a 4mm anatomical pod outsole design that offers more plating protection, and distributes forefoot impact without compromising important ground feedback essential to a proper forefoot strike running form), which is best to run in.

I walked this morning in them for 2 miles and felt great. In fact, I still have them on and walked the dogs again with no problems. Next week I'll begin to add running in the mix - but for now, so far so good!

Vibram suggests - there is a bit of a break-in period and I suggest you take a week or two to just walk and get your feet used to being "barefoot" all over town. I totally love them and am happy to share my thoughts while building up my mileage in them.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I'm sitting in a Starbucks near my hotel - as I just arrived off of a red-eye to get in a cab where the driver would get pulled over for not having his easy pass and drivers license. What professional taxi driver would leave the house with not only one but both? It's like me showing up to a trade show without my badge or business cards. I just chalk it up to another NY minute. It simply is an amazing city and I'm looking forward to running in Central Park, going to a few museums and hanging out with my showmies. (A term we all coined years ago - as we all met at trade shows)

This is the first Saturday in almost 6 years where I have time to enjoy the city and take advantage of not having to set up our booth. (Thank you Paul!) It is such an absolute treat to be able to just unpack, take a leisurely run and then enjoy what the city has to offer!

I think this city on a day like that offers up magical moments, (ie: this morning) great food and experiences like no other. Tomorrow the gift show kicks off and I'll be there with bells on.

For today - I'll be sightseeing and staying completely present to take in what ever the city offers up.

Wish me luck on my NY adventure!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Outdoor Retailer : DAY 1

This morning kicks off the Outdoor Retailer show. Have I mentioned yet how much I love this particular trade show? You know the feeling you get when you walk into your favorite store? That happy feeling? I get it every time I walk into an REI, Adventure 16 or a Dick's Sporting Goods. Well this is like that and Christmas morning rolled into 4 days of heavenly outdoor gear for camping, hiking or even just an afternoon picnic in the park all wrapped up in a pretty little schwag bag bow.

They have loads of cool stuff going on for the attendees and for the occasional manufacturer. On Thursday, Montrail shoes is hosting an early morning 5K - and I hear it's quite the challenge. I'm looking forward to it and I'll still be on time to work my booth.

I'm looking forward to the next 4 days of speaking and sharing Flatterware products to wonderful adventure and travel retailers from all over the world. Bring on the first day of OR!

Friday, July 30, 2010


As I see it. . .

Set your expectations high and exceed them Go beyond where you have been and stretch your boundaries to new and uncharted territory that will lead you to success and prosperity.

Use your past as a launching pad to the stars, which raises your bar and places you with the eagles soaring above the clouds to unlimited opportunity.

Setting high expectations escalates our thinking to a new and higher level and our attitude will be enlightened with the visions of new possibilities.

Your expectations are the view of your future as you see it.

The heights of your expectations are a leading indicator for your future aim high.
Leave the past behind you, look into the future with high expectation and focus your thinking and energy on achieving your expectations and challenge yourself to exceed your expectations. - Mark Sanborn, Leadership Specialist

I hope each of you wake up each day with a purpose to achieve your goals. Set those expectations a bit higher then what you originally set for yourself. I want each of you to succeed from the bottom of my heart and reach for the stars! So take a leap of faith in yourself!

See you each day on our 30-Day Challenge page on Facebook.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Still running...

Today I took a day off after yesterdays trail run up along Wildwood Trail.

This week kicks off my training for my second 50k. I'm definitely feeling stronger and am excited to see how I feel in the coming 8-10 weeks. I'm definitely going to keep my focus on diet and continue eating lots of extra fruits and protein. My legs are definitely getting stronger. I'm starting to see them take on a new shape as well. That's kinda cool.

In 6 days I'm heading to the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City. It'll be great to run at that higher altitude of about 4400 ft. Always good for a cardio buster. The show is one of my favorites if you enjoy seeing all the new stuff from Columbia, North Face, Swiftwick Socks, Patagonia, Exoffico, Horny Toad, KEEN, Vibram and others. I love getting great deals on some basics while also getting the additional freebies from friends. Socks are some of my favorite give-a-ways.

I really hope to come home with a pair of Vibram Five Fingers to start running in and help strengthen my stride and ligaments. That's the one item I really want to check out.

I feel so lucky to be working in such cool industries, live in Portland and have such wonderful support from friends, my partner and family. I am a lucky girl!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Happy Saturday!
This morning I am challenging myself by teaching a seminar this morning for AmericasMart University! I love the idea of sharing what I know and I have so much fun teaching. This is my personal challenge! I want to do more of this. It just feels right while up there helping others achieve success personally and if that translates into more revenue in their stores - then I have met my goal one seminar at a time.

Today I am challenging you and all of my 30-Day Challengers to embrace a 5K whether or not you have done one before! I challenge you to pick a 5K that inspires you/is for a good cause that you believe in and is in Oct or early Nov. That will give each of us plenty of time to train - kick it up a gear - and beat your last time.
This is a great short term goal! The link below are some great training basics to help you kick butt!,7120,s6-238-244-259-13534-0,00.html

I hope everyone has a great Saturday!

Hugs & High Fives!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nike Chokblock

This is so cool! I wrote a message of inspiration to the Nike Chalkbot and it actually got written on the streets of the Tour de France today. What will you say?

Hope you are enjoying the Tour and let's continue the fight to cure Cancer once and for all!

~ Michele

Are you tired?

Happy Hump Day!! I hope everyone is getting enough rest, drinking enough fluids and finding some balance within each day. I'm at the start of my travel as you all know by now and I found this great article on pushing through the tiredness of life. I went to bed a little later than usual last night as I had dinner with my Mom and some old friends and waking up this morning to go for a run seemed daunting. Of course my internal alarm wakes me up about 45 minutes before my alarm and I gulped down about 8 oz of water and headed out for a great 5.8 mile run full of hills and now sitting here showered I feel accomplished and refreshed. May you find that inner strength on those days that are harder than usual. Go out and as Nike says, "JUST DO IT!" Hugs & High Fives! Michele

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

On the road again...


This morning I am at the airport writing this and heading down to LA today. It's the first day of the LA Gift Show and I'm looking forward to seeing our LA Showroom and working with my reps. I'm also looking forward to running around my childhood neighborhood (Sherman Oaks) and then heading out to Atlanta for another Gift Show where I am speaking and working our Stewart Stand booth. to hopefully catch a run with Jess. (30-Day team member) at the very least have tracked a few routes to get in my weekly sweat on!

This morning while enjoying the free Wifi - I came across this fun blog of a first time Marathoner writing about his journey... This link will take you to his vacation and what he did to move each day... I think you will be able to relate and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

Make it a great day!

Hugs & H5's!

Monday, July 12, 2010

building momentum...

We are a 1/3 of the way through this month and boy is it going by fast! How are all of you doing? Today as I was on my long trail run and while out there, I thought of you, the Tour de France riders and for a moment it made me take a personal inventory of my current efforts. At that moment I decided to push harder and boy was the reward sweet. I ran up hills I had hiked/walked previously and focused on the downhills for my recovery. I checked my HR monitor (highly recommend for those who train alone) to keep a close count of my BPM. (beats per minute) My efforts paid off and I felt great as I sprinted the final 1/4 mile... The morning was beautiful and the trails felt great!

More importantly I was proud of my success - and look forward to my next run, my next challenge.
I hope each of you continue to take inventory on your efforts whether you are at work, walking, running, walking or at the gym. Just go out today and give it your best! What do you have to lose? Have a great day! Hugs & H5's! Michele

Monday, July 5, 2010

Well I am off to a great start this month with our 30-Day Challenge! I have already lost 3lbs (woo hoo) and am really excited to see how far I can push myself this month. I signed up recently for a fun race and another 50k. If you haven't heard of the Warrior Dash - you should definitely check out their website.

It's a mix between a 5k and an urban race. I signed up with other friends and it should just be a mud fest of laughter! I am finding that it's important to mix training with fun. Just as mixing business with personal time.

I'm heading out to Los Angeles and Atlanta next week and looking forward to running in both cities. Both for completely different reasons and seasons. LA should be dry and warm, where ATL will be hot and humid. Running across the country this Summer will be good for training.

I can tell you that the way I'm feeling now - is awesome! A few days ago when I was on a trail run, my legs felt really strong and my cardio is getting better and better. I've been riding on my off days in slow gears to really use my quads and hams. I think it's helping my overall running and I'm happy for that. I still run an 8-10 miler a week to keep my progression rolling forward and this weekend I have an 11-miler on the books. I'm looking forward to it.

With the 30-day challenge ,, my 50k, upcoming travel schedule - I am one busy sales girl!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Shedding the pounds

Before signing up for my next 50K - I am making a commitment to loose 25lbs. It'll make me faster, leaner and stronger. I'm really excited to get this phase in check to see where and how far I can run by just loosing my midsection. So tough - and I love beer so much. Ugh. Starting on Monday and allowing myself one beer and a little chocolate on those long run days. I'm still completely maintaining my running and get in a 8-10 mile run once a week so I don't loose out on all the work I've done so far.

It was so hot and humid on this weeks trip to Chicago... boy, I felt like I ran double the miles as my chest was heaving from that heavy air. I love the fact that I can run out my hotel anywhere in the world. Such a perk to becoming an addict. Not necessarily to running itself but to how good I feel when I stop.

I always feel better when I'm standing in my booth for 8 hours if I've run that morning.

Still excited for this journey I call my life.

Monday, June 21, 2010

On the road again...

On the road again.... Tomorrow kicks off my Summer trade show season and it doesn't really stop until end of August. I love being in trade show mode and being able to see all of the old retail friends and new. It's great to get feedback straight from the source. So important to ask your customers about the good, bad and the ugly while also creating long lasting relationships.

Seeing my manufacturer friends is also one of the perks. I love networking and finding out from my peers the 411 on their businesses. It's such a great way to get the whole picture.
During a 4 day trade show I can find out all I need to know about what our business will look like for the next 6 months. It's a great exchange from all kinds of people that I respect in the business. My retailers are so knowledgeable and their expertise is critical to the next round of product we might bring into market for 2011.

This upcoming trip is taking me to Chicago and I'm really looking forward to running along the lake and through their urban jungle. It'll be great weather and great food along the way. Thanks again for reading!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

DAY 17 - Exercising like a kid

Getting out this morning for a ride was so enjoyable. Sometimes I feel like a kid on my bike. I even had an imaginary race with a gentleman who was way up ahead.... had to catch him. 15 miles later I was at home, showered and sipping on some coffee. What a great way to start the day! Since it is Summer even though up here in the NW we are getting a slow start - the idea of days past and what it all represents is still vivid in my mind.

Exercising like a kid is a fun challenge. I love taking my bike and jumping the curbs or pretending I'm on a race team and have to sprint to the finish line. I also love going on a swing to go as high as I possibly can.

It's a great time of year to run on the beach, up in the mountains or just leave all of your gear behind (except water) - unless you bring a few bucks like me and pick up something when I'm getting thirsty. Just the spontaneity of a run like that is fun.

Have fun this week!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


The 30-Day Challenge is still on it's way. We are near the end of Day 9... and it looks like everyone is still on track. If they did skip a day - it looks as if they've made it up along the way. My countdown to finding another 50k is on and I've already started adding up the training days again. This time I'm going to intermingle bicycling and running to get my legs stronger for longer runs and the hilly, mountainous terrain I have come to love.

Now - starting tomorrow is where it's going to get a bit tougher and I'll need all the support I can get while I dial in my diet. Trying to cut down sugar and starch... oh, how I love my starch. I will allow it for breakfast to kick start my day and workouts. I'll be focusing in on protein, fruits, veggies and nuts.

I figure if I write it and post this - I'm a bit more accountable to it. This will be the toughest week to overcome. If I can do it - anyone can.

Thanks for joining me on this new chapter in my journey to 50k and beyond.

If you want to still join us on the 30-DAY CHALLENGE - click the link.

Make it a great day!

Monday, June 7, 2010

DAY 7 of the 30 Day Challenge

I am so excited and inspired by the comments I continue to read on both the event page and the actual FB page. People are getting off the couch and taking their dogs out more frequently, running, walking, hiking and cycling. They are making the conscious decision to make the most out of each day and taking steps to create a better self. It is really the stories that are making this so worth it.

Creating a small movement is like throwing a pebble in a lake. The ripple effect has begun and it's awesome!

Change is good!

"The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live." ~Flora Whittemore

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tanya, Ladawna and I outside REI

The girls and I had such a great time the day before our race... that we decided to head out to REI. My friends are great and boy did they crush their times on the 10K. So proud of them!

What a journey so far...

Sunday was the big day! I had prepped for over 5 mos for my first Ultra marathon. Like I said, I have never even ran a marathon before... with how muddy the course was and my desire - I ran with my heart. It really was one of the most physically challenging days of my life. There was one point in the day that became overwhelmingly emotional. It was around mile 19 and the descent was steep with no traction. I basically had to sit on my butt and slide down... I kept falling on my right wrist and felt like giving up right there. I made a phone call to my partner and once I felt the support and a caring cheer - I was back up at it. 7:30 hours later I was depleted and done. It was quite the day - full of lessons, challenges and accomplishment. Now that I'm not completely worn out - I'm looking to give myself the next 3 weeks to run, bike and enjoy working out while focusing in my diet.

I definitely know that I love ultras and much like what I do for a living... I totally love seeing how far I can push myself... now the journey takes on a new chapter and I'm looking forward to seeing where that takes me.

I can't wait to start all over again from where I am. Love this quote!

"Do what you can with what you have, where you are." Theodore Roosevelt

Have a great day and thanks so much for all the support!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

30 Minutes For 30 Days

Today I created on Facebook an event to get my friends to move based on the Dean Karnazes 50 Marathons, 50 States, 50 Days. I thought if Dean can run 50 marathons in a row - we could certainly take on the challenge of moving for 30 min. for 30 days. I rented the movie from Netflix this week so I could watch it in honor of the number 50, Dean and my first 50K.

"If you can't run, then walk. And if you can't walk, then crawl. Do what you have to do. Just keep moving forward and never, ever give up."

If you want to join in the fun and start moving on June 1st. Then click on the link and begin your 30 day journey with us.!/event.php?eid=114132325297202

Thanks again for reading!

Make your life a great life!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Battling Belly Fat

Since I've been training for my first 50K. Diet has been an incredibly important aspect to recovery and fueling my exercise. So I decided to post this video - because I found it helpful and family proof. Hope it helps you!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rest is good

Hey all,

Feeling really good as I'm coming in to the home stretch of running my first 50K. A few things I've learned along the way are:

1. Don't eat a raw bar 8 miles from a bathroom.
2. Buy Bodyglide before your first 1/2 marathon
3. Apply Bodyglide.
4. Break in new shoes for a few weeks before running 16 miles.
5. Bring tp with you - on every run.
6. Pack more H2O then you think you need
7. Fiber is good for you... just not the night before a long run.
8. Do enjoy the scenery on trails
9. Don't forget to look down.
10. Do cherish your feet
11. Do run at your own pace
12. Do purchase a HR monitor
13. Do set goals
14. Do purchase Epsom salt
15. Use it
16. Do tell people you are going to run an obscene length
17. Don't run your hardest everyday
18. R.I.C.E.(rest, ice, compression, elevation)
19. Do run against traffic
20. Do have fun!

Looking forward to posting all about it!

Thanks so much for all your wonderful support!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Am I really a "runner" now?

This has been quite a year already. I knew last year when I announced that I wanted to complete a 50k that it was a lofty goal…most of my friends thought I was crazy. I mean I have never been a runner. Sure, I did the occasional 5k for a worthy cause, but was never a so-called “runner.” I am excited now to fondly call myself a runner these days. I’m amazed at every hurdle I jump over and look forward to meeting more goals that push my mind and my body to its limit. It’s funny what you think about on a 5 hour run. Those thoughts that travel through my mind while running are from daily chores to thinking about running 100M next year. That is what makes me very enthusiastic about the upcoming event and though my legs are beat from completing my last long run before the tapering begins the next 14 days, I am optimistic that I’ll finish on my own two feet and live to tell the tale. I mean a lot of these pro-ultra runners that I love reading about and following on Facebook and Twitter have been at it for over 10 years. I’m inspired by their accomplishments and think about how far I have come in 12 months. After I complete this first 50k, I will look to do another one and I’ll then be able to focus my energy on building a stronger core, speed, form and become more proficient at climbing hills. It’ll be fun to just go out and train hard. The mental part of me is pretty solid. I never stop. I may walk or hike, but I know I can stay upright for hours at a time… I'm like the "energizer bunny" and that will make me a good Ultra-runner in the coming years. I may be 41, but I don’t feel old. I like that I can tap into this part of me that just keeps pushing in a relentless sort of way.

For the next 14 days I’m looking forward to some shorter runs, hill work and core. Also thinking again about being more conscious with my diet and doing what’s best for my legs and feet, so that I can be my best on race day. I’m definitely going to add P90X Yoga and Core Synergistics to my day as a second workout. These particular workouts will really help me stay injury free.

I have a lot of people to thank at this stage of my training; Carey, my partner – with her constant support and patience - my friends, Tanya and Kris, my cousins Steve and Valerie for checking in on me while providing such great words of wisdom and cheering each accomplishment how ever small it may seem. My circles of friends on Facebook have also been an amazing source of support and inspiration. So many of them are running or riding through their own journeys and it’s wonderful to see them accomplish their goals day in and day out too! Every day I am one step closer to achieving my goal is a win in itself! Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Healthy and happy

Well, it's been a long week of shorter runs and rest. I really had a great weekend as our Mom's came into Portland for Mother's Day. We walked all over town, the zoo, Forest Park. It was great to take a few days off and just enjoy. I ate healthy and indulged a wee bit. This week is all about taking the next two weeks enjoying one long 20+ miler and breaking in my two new pairs of shoes... oh, the new cushioning felt good. It was definitely time to recycle the old pairs. I wore them down. It's important to look on the bottom of your shoes for wear and tear that might prevent you from getting to that next step. I'm looking forward to a run today! All in all - feeling great because I'm healthy; my feet and legs are feeling fully rested. So happy me will just keep on keepin' on! Thanks for reading.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Patience • Diet • Consistency = Rewards

This week has been interesting… I am 4 weeks out until the big day and I haven’t lost as much weight as I thought – but all of a sudden as my mileage is growing and my decision to change things up, I’m seeing results. My face looks thinner and my body is feeling stronger. Today though, my left ankle and left arch is a bit sore from yesterdays 21.7 miles. I can’t tell if it’s the mileage / trails themselves or the fact that my trail shoes are breaking down and not giving me enough support. I’m buying a new pair of trail shoes this week and I’ll know more when I do a longer run in them.

When I began my run yesterday, I really tried to imagine myself on race day yesterday since it was the first time I’ve tackled that kind of mileage. I really focused on my pace and hiking the hills that were too steep or the terrain too rough to run up. I also walked when I needed and took a break at the 13-mile mark as if I were going through a water station and enjoyed a strawberry pop tart and took in some extra water. I also added Hammer Nutrition powder to two of my 3 Nathan canteens on my fuel belt, which was great and helped my energy level while keeping me from cramping. My hamstrings only started to get stiff and sore by mile 17… this week I’ll be stretching more and doing short bursts of hill repeats to continue to build strength. I have another 22 mile run this upcoming Friday – so we’ll see how my recovery this week is.

A few of the other changes this week with regards to my diet is the smoothies that I’ve started to make. The Kale-cucumber smoothies are really hydrating and provide a huge dose of clean energy. I was told to start slow and ease into it, like training. A good way to begin is to have a smoothie in the morning, because it tastes good. You can mix in hemp, flaxseed, and a green component, like chlorella. If you have an intestinal reaction, which a lot of people do, go with smaller amounts and increase gradually. You'll eventually build these small changes into a healthful, whole-food, plant-based diet. I am all about everything in small doses. I eat about 5 small meals a day – and I am feeling better already. I also start the day 2-3x a week with an avocado smoothie. Most of the fat in avocados is monosaturated -- the "good fat" that helps to lower cholesterol. Avocados are also high in magnesium, which combats high blood pressure, excess belly fat, and high blood sugar, in addition to high cholesterol. Also, a single avocado delivers 11 grams of fiber!" You’ve gotta love that! I mix it with organic frozen blueberries, low fat vanilla yogurt and ground flax. It’s filling and light before heading out for a run. On the mornings that are 5 miles or lower, I usually slice a banana with a dollop of sunflower butter. Both provide good energy and a little fat and protein, especially first thing in the morning.

My lessons this week have been: patience, diet = rewards, and consistency.

Have a great week!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Trail Running 101

While I was running this morning and working on my form, my heel to toe stepping I realized that everything I had recently learned with regards to trail running techniques hadn't been from a book or even a running group. I owe my recent success to hard work, diet, consistency and YouTube. Yes, I said it... YouTube. It has been a phenomenal tool for me to take my trail running to a new level - the level I need to be at to walk after my first 50K. Watching greats like Karl Melzer and Scott Mason discuss proper techniques to watching the Leadville 100 winner of 2006 & 2007, Anton Krupicka talk about his unique approach to training. YouTube is definitely fun for the occasional kid giggles, puppy antics and Ted Talks; but, what I never realized before was that it is a bountiful source of information for how to, inspirational videos. I am inspired while learning. I started laughing around mile 5 today of my 10 mile training run - thinking about taking smaller steps with my knees coming higher and raising my chest. The visual training on YouTube is a powerful tool. It is my new secret weapon and I encourage anyone who is or isn't hitting your targets to jump on and search the site for all kinds of wonderful nuggets. I think you will find yourself in a new land of hope and maybe a desire to hit the road or gym... have you seen Apolo Ohno's team workout? That is a kick in the pants for sure. Check out Lance Armstrong in training. I mean this guy works hard. I'm sorry, but I definitely push harder after watching it. It has definitely helped me, who trains by myself, for myself and I know it can help you. Thanks for reading! Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chasing the dollar

Today while having a coffee meet up I was reminded about how back in the day I felt as if I had to chase the dollar vs. the dollar chasing me. For as long as I can remember making money was always really important to me. Sure it helped me pay my bills - so that I could drive a car, use a phone, watch cable... but what it really gave me was choices. That's when the light went off! After starting my own company in 2007, I came to a quick understanding that if you found a niche within an industry you were already emerged in, people would pay you money to help them grow. It was easy to understand. The question that I asked myself was, "Could I really get paid what I'm worth?" That was not as easy to to comprehend. My brain and possibly my self esteem were telling me otherwise. It wasn't until other professionals listed out all the points of differences that I had to offer did it start to seep in.

In racing you can get money to win. It's called Prize Money and there are lots of Professional Athletes who make a great living at doing what they love and what they are talented at. God bless them! I admire each of them and a few I call friends. Can you imagine as an amateur runner if I were to actually be chasing the prize money? What a laugh! 1. It's totally out of my realm due to my novice running career so far and 2. I would be setting myself up to fail.

That is why I say "keep it simple." Do what you know and play to your strengths. You'll be so much more successful in life if you follow that rule. Also, combining what you love and your work will also be profitable beyond your wildest dreams when you stop thinking about that next paycheck and think about your mission and what your purpose is. Trust me - everything will follow after that. The dollar will begin to chase you...and believe me, that is way more fun!

As for running - chasing a finish is more my speed. Thanks for reading! Make it a great week!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Running is like life...

"It's funny, running a race is a lot like life... you are going to hit hiccups, your going to hit rough periods but it's all in how you handle those and how you get through them," Quote from the Spirit of the Marathon.

I've ran 13.1 miles before in training - but running those miles with a number on the front of you highlights all of the training; weaknesses and strengths. Considering where I came from - an occasional 5K for some type of cause to running in my first official 1/2 marathon and 7 weeks and counting before the 50K - I can say... wow, it is starting to pay off!

My time and overall pace for this race was: 3:11:43 14:37

For my first 8 miles I was running a 13:26 pace - but then the mind games of the last part of the route started messing with me. Every time I thought we were heading back towards the water, we would literally go the opposite direction. Last mile though I got a third wind and felt good coming in. Today I feel a tad sore (a good sore) : I'm looking forward to hitting the gym today and heading out for a trail run tomorrow! So - I'm happy with bringing my overall pace down from 15:00 especially when I was only doing the occasional 5k.

I definitely don't look like your typical runner - but, I'll guarantee that my spirit rivals any professional. When the run gets tougher I'm loving the aspect of digging deeper. Thank goodness for adrenaline. It really does make a difference, unless it's the Gatorade mix or the Sport Jelly Belly's that I ingest through out the race... maybe it's a special mixture of both. Whatever it is - I love when my thoughts take me to my breath, take me to thinking global, work; it is almost like a mini-vacation. I feel more alive in those moments, then any other time of the day. In fact, as I write this I am thinking how excited I am about hitting the trails tomorrow.

In going back and re-reading that quote - running really is like life - professionally or personally; the journey, the trials and tribulations that work may throw at you or a disagreement with your family. It's all in there. It's all in every step towards the finish line. I like running in the pack. I love teaming up with my manufacturers and standing in a trade show booth. Trade shows and racing have the same sense of kinship. When you are out there on your training runs and you pass someone or see a runner on the other side of the street - you wave. Just like when you are at a trade show, throw on the badge - those same people give you the nod.

Running teaches you to keep going... That's what I'm going to continue to do. I hope you'll do the same. Thanks again for reading and being a part of this wonderful journey I call "my" life!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bring On The Challenges....

So, I did the Wildwood trail on Saturday - which is the same trail that I'm running the 50k on in May. I had only done a few hikes and a short run in the past few weeks up there. I decided to take my longer run to the trails. Miles 1 - 8 were awesome. I mean sure the up hills were tough, but not quite what I expected coming back down. I think the 16 miles in a trail environment (felt like a paved Marathon), especially muddy, unstable and it being really cold was tougher on my body then expected. My left foot is sore on the outside area and I think the repeated pounding of the slippery downhills was rough on my knees. Sunday was fine, just a bit sore (but a good sore) and my foot seems to be feeling better. The trail was gorgeous and I'm looking forwarded to conquering it, in the meantime Advil is my friend. What it showed me, was that I have to now do all my runs up there with one flat run during the week for endurance. If my foot continues to hurt, I may need to buy a new pair of trail runners that have more cushioning - as I've never run on terrain as unsteady as that before. Smooth fire roads in Arizona or desert trails are completely different. Also, I have no ego when it comes to taking a step back, adding in some additional P90X yoga / core synergistics (like today) and taking on Wildwood Trail 6 miles at a time while building up to the 22 miler in the coming weeks. I guess that is why pushing myself this week was a positive experience. I wouldn't have know otherwise. I know then, that adding on 2 miles will be fine a week - while increasing the weekly mileage total until day of race. I have definitely gotten better at listening to my body. After reading in the new issue of Running Magazine, an article about Zen Running - I tried to apply a few of the principles. Listening to one's breath, the sound of foot steps, focusing in on the trail and not external thoughts. In fact, I ran this 16-miler without any music! Huge for me! Since it was a complete 360' from what I'm used too. I absolutely loved listening to the sounds of birds and the wind whip by. I felt as if I was running through a jungle. It was pretty cool.

I definitely don't have as much weight coming off for all that I am doing. So, I'm back on my daily plate ( to start calculating everything again. I would love to strip away 10-12 lbs in coming month and I know I can do that with a few extra gym workouts - core - running - and watching my intake for sure.

Now all I can say is I'm eating lean to be lean, lifting light to feel light, and running up hills to get stronger. Bring on the challenges that lie a head - I will conquer them one mile at a time! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hills are only sometimes fun....

It's been over 8 months since I have run a 14 miler - boy did I make it tough on myself. If I had just ran the straight route - it would have been challenging, but not so darn painful. I ran over 5 miles of it in the NW hills of Portland... because I felt like "exploring." What the heck was I thinking?! Hills are only sometimes fun. Sure a 2 minute sprint - but 30 or 60 minutes of them are not. The houses were beautiful as this particular area is like the Beverly Hills of Portland. 2 bottles of water, a gatorade, a few sport jelly beans and a half of bagel later I finally hit my wall on mile 13. I literally had to walk...forced to walk. Thank goodness I bumped into the only friend I have here on my last mile and so the walk of pain was in short stride. Just letting her chat while walking her dog - definitely lifted my spirits. I think on future runs when I'm feeling depleted from a run that I'm going to call a friend and just let them talk to me. I really had to just laugh at myself. It's great though to tell people where you ran from and to and have them be really impressed. For me, I was happy to be back home in tact and in good spirits. The next day I was pleasantly surprised that my body is recovering better. Sure my hamstrings and quads were sore, but that was to be expected. My calves were really tight - but a good tight. I am happy I pushed myself seeing that I'll be running a 16 mile trail run on the race course this Saturday and I'm thinking that my last week exploration and hill repeats will start to pay off. I definitely need to incorporate more stretching - and get a massage at least once a month until the race. Today - I scheduled an easy 45 min. run - while tomorrow I'll have 6 mile trail run. Friday will be some core or yoga and Saturday will be a fun 4 hours! I've got 8 weeks and counting and am right on pace to have a great first 50K. My goal for that race is to finish and "walk the next day" to talk about it. That will be the payoff! FINISHING! Have a great day and thanks again for reading!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Keeping It Fresh

Definitely feeling the effects from the last 4 weeks of training. I'm just plain old tired. Not burnt out - just tired. Tomorrow I am running a 14-miler and I can only hope it goes smooth and pain free. My 5 miles of hills and stairs yesterday was fun - I'm glad that I was spontaneous and did those hill repeats seeing that the 50k will have a 3,100' elevation gain - so really hills now are going to be the bain of my existence. What is the classic term, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger?" That's my new mantra. In fact, running up this one incline yesterday - which turned out to be a 2 minute uphill battle - was truly heart pounding. I actually grunted out loud at one point. My calves are definitely more sore today then the usual flat runs I do 10+ miles. Hills definitely works those muscles in your glutes and calves to help give you power. Definitely the last mile home on the flats felt really great and I was moving faster, so that was fun! One thing that I've been adding to my normal fluid repertoire is filling one of my flasks with Gatorade and that has helped to keep my energy higher and I think is helping in my recovery too.

Evidently, one of the purest and most direct tools in developing “running strength” can only be gained by hill training. I read this somewhere and it's stayed with me. So here I am - adding in on my mid-week runs, more and more hills! All in all - I'm looking forward to tomorrows long run (finding a few hills) and possibly scheduling a body massage or in the very least a really nice foot rub in the near future.

I realize that keeping my work outs fresh is just as important as changing up my diet, and creating new mixes on my iPhone. It all plays a part in psyching me out so that I don't get bored and every week feels new and challenging! So, keeping it fresh is definitely a priority for the coming 9 weeks. Keep me in your thoughts and thanks again for reading!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My First official 1/2 Marathon

I just entered the Race For The Roses. I'm really excited to run an official half though I have run 16 miles before... it'll just be great to wear the T-shirt! In 2009, women far outnumbered the men in the half marathon. 1,401 women crossed the finish line compared to only 722 men. This should be a fun one! I'll keep you guys posted!

One foot in front of the other...

Over the weekend while on my 12 miler, I'm listening to music and my heartbeat through my headphones. They are the noise reduction kind and all the sounds outside are quieted while music and my internal beat are directly in my ears. The interesting thing is it doesn't drown out my thoughts. That's where time stand stills for me. Knowing that I am on this run for the next 2-3 hours. Nothing else matters; not chores, my honey-do list, what we are doing for lunch. It is all about going from bridge to bridge. It's funny - the Run Keeper voice speaks every mile to me - but all that I'm thinking about is the next bridge. If I even pause to think about 12 miles - it is just too much for me to wrap my head around. I try to use only visual guides. This has been really helping me as I build my weekly mileage. Now, once I start on longer runs on trails - that might be a new lesson to be learned. I find that true with sales too. The visual goals are items we might want to own some day to keep us excited and incentivized as sales professionals. Just paying the mortgage, car payment and utilities might not keep us as motivated; but, a Hawaiian vacation might kick us into gear if a commission check could pay for the whole trip! Those visual guides are great - short term goals are a beautiful thing. There really is nothing better than accomplishing tasks - whether it's physical or professional. Both are so satisfying!

On my 12-miler my legs were really sore until that afternoon. Surprisingly though the next day I felt pretty good. Those are good signs that are showing me that I'm able to recover better after every long run. Downing chocolate milk after a tough workout can help replenish exhausted muscles and significantly aid exercise recovery, new research shows. So, I've been drinking a tall glass of either chocolate milk or carnation instant breakfast milk after those days. It is easy and quick - tastes great and while I'm in the shower, my body got the nutrients it needs to help it feel better.

As I continue to run and watch my intake - I find that I am craving more sugar lately. I want to eat Jelly Belly's and the occasional doughnut. I get that because I'm burning 2,000 cal in a single run doesn't give me the right to indulge... but it really keeps me excited knowing that at least once a week I can enjoy a meal I otherwise would have felt guilty about. I am drinking tons of water - as hydration is critical in recovery as is my multi-vitamin pack and getting my daily dose of proteins, fruits and veggies. Like for instance, as I type this I am eating a piece of low fat string cheese and apple slices. Trying to increase fruit as a natural sugar is a daily reminder than I make these choices and will pay for them on my runs. This food is fuel. When I don't I pay the price - my intestines do - then of course I do. Really pay attention to your body on your workouts, whatever your goals are. Keep it clean and keep one foot in front of the other! Have a great day and thanks again for reading!

Friday, March 19, 2010

My 12 Miler

A day off

Now we all look forward to working hard all week and on Friday evening getting to enjoy 48 hours of fun! I feel the same with a day off from running... my body is tired, sore from weights, running hills and adding miles each week. Today is not only Friday (the beginning of the weekend) but also a day off from working out. I can't tell you how important it is to have these days and take full advantage of it. We all have goals personally and professionally - but if you can't be creative at work - you need to step outside - take a breath so you can be your best the rest of the day. The same goes for a day off. Our bodies have to take a break to rebuild to be it's best on the next workout day... whatever that workout is. On these days I like to take my dogs for a long walk. It helps to stretch me out while also making my puppies feel great! I make sure I take my vitamins, eat lots of fruit and drink enough water every day (but especially these days) where it's essential to hit my longest run of the week tomorrow at my most hydrated and fully rested best! Don't take these days for granted. Your job today besides work, is to rest those weary bones. In the worst-case scenario, too few rest and recovery days can lead to overtraining syndrome - a difficult condition to recover from. So make sure if you are burnt out that you are just taking some time to chill or find something fun to cross train and keep things from getting stagnant. The burnout stage is when the energy is eventually consumed by fatigue and irritability at work. Enthusiasm with work drops as well as productivity and quality of work. There is criticism from workers regarding the work product and this adds on to the stress already being experienced. Your life must go beyond your work and athletic goals. Enjoy your time alone, your time with your friends and your time with your family. This will help you keep track of your expectations and it will also keep your aspirations realistic. Have a great weekend - rest, play and eat well! Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Shamrock Run

The race this morning was a blast.
A little chilly but with Carey and
the puppies there to support me in
my quest - it was on! There was
21,000 participants this morning
and the energy was fabulous.
Beer, Salmon Chowder from Stan-
ford’s, live music and lots of green
made this event really fun. Also,
the Adidas Tech Shirt and 50%
off coupon at their on campus
store was a nice perk to the regu-
lar cotton T’s from other races. Wearing a beanie is key
during these colder mornings - I was thankful for mine.
Running this 8K had a few challenges - due to the standing
around I had gotten a bit stiff, and realizing I had to pee
started this off a bit rough. Looking forward to finding a
bathroom around mile one and starting off slow to warm
up the muscles made for a slow mile. Though once I found
a restroom and got into my pace, things just got better and
better where I found myself singing to myself with my
playlist sounding in my ear. “Back to Life” really got me up
to form and I was having fun. Seeing other woman and try-
ing to motivate along the way. A gal at the end stretch
whom I had pounded fists with around mile 2.5 thanked me
for being her pace car. Lots of smiles and great bagpipes
along the course, but it is always the RunKeeper App voice
that I appreciate most who at every mile passed announces
the mile, time in and my pace. That is one of my favorite
new tools to helping me just relax and run. It doesn’t inter-
rupt my music or anything... Technology is good. Monday
is a running rest day - though I’ll hit the gym which I really
enjoy! Looking forward to another week of trials and miles.
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Running In The Rain

This morning while working on emails and creating my to-do list, I'm sitting here in my running gear looking out to the Portland rainy sky. There are lots of things I have no problem doing - but running in the rain is really new for me. I know it could be worse and it's only water... blah blah blah. But, that first step will be a new challenge for me.

It reminds me of those moments in a day where picking up and cold calling a new store can be challenging but after the first call - it becomes fun and usually pays off. I have to keep that in mind when running on these wet mornings. As my races will more than likely involve rain from time to time.

Selling and running go hand in hand. The only time you don't succeed is if you don't try. Most retailers won't pick up a phone and call you for the sale - just as no one will run for you. These are actions you must do for yourself. So today - I step out side my comfort zone and run in the rain. When I get back - I'll shower - dry off - then go knocking on some doors. I'll make this day a day of squashing fears! I am a force to be reckoned with! 4 miles in the rain - not a problem! I can do this!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Journey to 50K

Well, this is my first blog of many in which I hope to be a great life experience for me. Choosing to run a 50K wasn't taken lightly. What it was - was a need to place a goal in front of me to keep me motivated and catapult me to a fitter self. If you are a friend of mine, you know how much I love to eat... I'm not obese, but easily could be if I didn't work out through out the week. 2 years ago when I was 39, I gave myself a goal to do a triathlon before I turned 40. So I lost 26 pounds and ran my first triathlon. I chose an all women's event, SheRox and it was a great experience and got me thinking... so I started to run. My friend and boss Paul sent me, "Born to Run," and then after loving that I picked up Dean Karnazes book, "The Ultramarathon Man. " Both were really inspiring. The idea of running turned to more of a passion. A zen space in time for me to turn it all off. The fact that both books focused in on the internal reasons of why to run - really was the turning point for me. To create a journey around it...and not just run. It's funny, because I have hips and boobs and was always told I couldn't run... I wanted it even more. So, I grabbed my shoes and headed out the door. I've done a bunch of 5K's but couldn't fathom running beyond the 3.1 miles... so, I Google mapped around my neighborhood and ran 2 miles out and back. Finally, I went past a 5K and then weekly added 1-2 miles extra depending upon how I felt. I started training last November and about 8 weeks later I finally ran 16 miles... what a great accomplishment for me. The thoughts then turned to not doing a marathon, but an ultramarathon. I mean who would want to run on pavement for a whopping 26.1 miles? I rather run for 31.1 miles on a beautiful trail. So, I signed up for my first 50K on May 30, 2010.

I know it is going to be a lot of hard work... the trail is close to my home here in Portland, so I'll get to train on it 2x a week... which is a plus. It's wooded and has hills. I'm loving the challenge and found a training plan online that gives me the mileage plan for 12 weeks leading up to the race. Diet and cross training will be crucial too and with lots of stretching I will hopefully run healthy. I'm excited for the challenge and to share it with whomever will listen. This is totally for me...