Friday, July 11, 2014

Some motivation for you..

The Vow
By Malcolm O. Varner
No matter how deep the sadness or wide the pain,
I vow to live for a brighter day will come again.
No matter how many mistakes I’ve made in the past,
I vow to live and in the future avoid them, surefooted and fast.
No matter how many tragedies beyond my control take place,
I vow to live and stay my course within this race.
No matter how poor or rich I may ever be,
I vow to live and aspire to search for the dignity in simplicity.
No matter how much a lover may pierce the inner core of my heart,
I vow to live for like spring I’ll get a new start.
No matter how isolated and alone I may feel,
I vow to live and do something for someone else to heal.
No matter how hopeless my situation my appear,
I vow to live and reflect until my viewpoint is clear.
No matter what happens in this life – good or bad
I vow to live, do my best, and just for living – be glad.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dina Lavinga Breath of Life-Olympic Triathlon - June 22, 2014

On June 22, 2014 I successfully completed my first Olympic distance Triathlon In Ventura, California. The distances were :

 Swim: 1.5 kilometers (.93 miles)
Bike: 40 kilometers (24.8 miles)
Run: 10 kilometers (6.2 miles)

Our bike/transition area was arranged by age. I had got there as soon as transition opened and I was able to secure a really good spot (first on the rack). I've learned from the my last tri it's really important to get a good spot. It had rained the night before (my first tri) and some ladies that arrived late had to put their stuff in puddles and/or were moving other people's stuff for theirs to fit.

After this picture I ended up moving my helmet on top of my black shoes. I was afraid I'd be so worried about getting my shoes on I would grab my bike and forgot about putting my helmet on first (grabbing bike before putting on your helmet = instant disqualification). I'm always extremely nervous about that.

After getting marked up (age on the hamstring race number on the arm and wrist) I did last minute checks and slowly got my wetsuit on. It was really funny watching everyone do the same. There was no shame as people yanked and pulled at their butts, thighs, and chest areas making sure the skin tight material is fully stretched over our bodies.

My age group was the first female group out in the water. The temperature of the harbor was around 63 degrees although my heart was racing too much to think about the temperature. I was anxious about the triangular course. I intensely watched the first 6 waves attempt it to make sure I knew what I was supposed to do. My first loop around the triangle (750 m) was very unsuccessful. My first stroke involved lots of high tension breathing and realized that I could not see anything underwater. My breathing shortened and I had to spend the majority of the first loop doing the back stroke just to breath. I saw the lifeguards eying me and I started doubting my ability to even finish this section, wondering if I had set the bar too high.  As I made it to the end I could not think of how I was going to accomplish that again making a second loop . I ran onto the beach, through the sand, over the platform and back in the water. This time I was determined to relax and find my breath. I only had to turn on my back to breath twice but I slowly made my way around the entire course again with the freestyle stroke. I was mauled by the other waves of swimmers as well as getting my feet tangled in kelp beds but I got used to the bumping and jarring of hands and heads. As long as someone didn't kick me in the face I was fine. I finally saw the sandy bottom and knew I could stand. I walked up the beach, hands in the air yelling "It's over!!!" ..the worst part was over. I couldn't tell you how excited I was to get on the bike. I got to the transition are and saw that my area (Women 35 & under) was pretty barren. I think there were 3 bikes left , including mine.  I stripped my wetsuit off, GRABBED and SECURED my helmet, socks/shoes on, belt w/ number on, and away I went.

The bike was going well. I knew / had ridden the course countless times, I felt confidant, there was little headwind, and I was making really good time. I remember looking down at the Timex computer and saw I was at mile 12 by 45 minutes averaging somewhere around 15-16 mph. I had planned on keeping the pace steady, replenishing my nutrition, and then picking it up on the 3rd loop..and happened. One of the streets on the course had some really bad potholes as well as some bad bumps. I knew it well and tried my best to avoid them but for some reason I could really feel them the 2nd loop around. I looked down and saw that my back tire looked really, really low. I groaned and stopped. I got off my bike, looked at it, and saw it was extremely low. I knew I had aired up this morning but I didn't know if I had popped it or if it was just leaking? LUCKILY I had decided to keep my little pump attached to my bike. I aired up the tire as much as I could (as many bikers passed) and crossed my fingers that was the last of it. As I made it around the last turn I could feel the low tire again. Then became the routine of stopping, unclipping my feet, and airing it up every 2 miles. I kept getting passed by more and more bikers. On my 3rd loop I think I saw maybe 2 other bikers. It was kind of an odd feeling to be in a race and see a single biker. By mile 20 there was no more airing it up, it was just done.

I was extremely frustrated at my bad bike karma . On a earlier ride this week I had popped my tire on a screw riding on the Pacific Coast highway and then in my first Sprint Triathlon my chain popped off and I had to spend 5 minutes figuring out how to get it back on. I didn't want to quit though. As I rode down the 5 mile stretch I finished the bike course riding on my tire rim at a slow 10-11 mph pace. I had passed right by the runners and got a lot of weird looks but was ecstatic to be done with the bike portion of the race.

As I dismounted and "ran" back into transition it was clear that the finishers party was beginning. Many people next to me, wearing their medals, were clearing the area . They saw that I was still in the race and wished me luck on the run portion. I put on my running shoes, determined to not let the bike get to me, and ran out of transition with tight legs. As I passed runners who were on their way back from the run, most looked tired and fatigued. I high fived them and let them know they're almost done. My goal was to go slow and steady. I biked right by the run course and knew that last mile was going to be a tough one, mentally if I didn't pace myself adequately. I had fueled myself well on the bike and felt decent but the heat of the sun breaking through the clouds was evident and I knew it would be smart to take advantage of the 3 hydration stops.

 It was odd not to have music with me (music is not allowed in Triathlons) but I focused on keeping myself relaxed, breathing at a rhythm , and my pace around 10:00 per mile. By mile 2 my legs were finding their rhythm and I knew I wasn't far from the turn around. Each time someone passed me on the return side I high fived them, letting them know they were looking great. As I approached the turn around sign I slapped it hard, letting it know it wasn't going to defeat me, and told myself I was almost home. The whole time I was running I kept thinking " I'm so glad I'm a runner, I'm SO glad I'm a runner." It really fits the phrase, saving the best for last. I arrived at the mile 5 sign knowing I had lots of turns ahead of me back into the marina/harbor area and I didn't need to start my finish line pace yet. Every turn I made I looked up to see if I could see the finish line/party. When I couldn't see the finish, I fixed my eyes on the road a head of me and kept pushing. I finally made the turn towards the finish line and was SO happy! 

My Times were:
Swim: 39:51
Transition 1: 2:39
Bike: 1:59:36
T2: 1:23
Run: 1:04
TT- 3 hours 48 minutes

I'm not exactly thrilled with my times. Of course the bike could have been much better. If I could have ridden all the way through I think I could have ridden around a 1:35-40, according to previous rides. Oh well, it's not the action that matters, it's how you react to the action. I didn't realize my husband had replenished my little saddle bag with a new tire. With the previous flat I thought I had used up all of our spares. Since the race I have learned how to change a tire and am prepared for the next time I get a flat. Though, with 2 new, more puncture resistant tires and tubes, I'm hoping that's not any time soon.

I was really impressed with the organization of the race as well as the volunteers. The swim was the most impressive. There were multiple times I would look up to site and a life guard would tell me I've veered off and where I needed to go (thankfully my next TRI is just a straight shot down the river lol). The after party was amazing. The complimentary grilled burgers/chips/and multiple drink choices were very welcoming, I was already thinking about where I was going to have lunch during the run (lol always thinking about food). If we lived here permanently I would make this race a summer staple for my Triathlon Training!

Official Website
Renegade Race Series-Breath of Life

Monday, May 19, 2014

Inside the AFAA Group Fitness Trainer Certification...

Hey Everyone,

 So, I just took my test yesterday and was SO nervous going into it!! I think I have really bad test anxiety not knowing what I was getting into. I had taken the Personal Fitness Test, though AFAA, about 2 and 1/2 years ago and was amazed at HOW MUCH EASIER this written test was over the Personal Test. I also was a little nervous at the fact that the workshop was only 4-5 hours, while the PFT was an entire extra day (trust me, you need it).

I would like to preface this first by saying I'm not sure what your, as the reader, background is...whether it be already teaching and just need this degree for your gym or you're starting out from DAY 1. I'm going to assume you enjoy taking classes and are ready to start teaching with no previous group class teaching background.

OK, so HERE is what I suggest.

1. Register early and buy the book
  I lived about 2 hours away from the actual location of AFAA and it took almost a week and 1/2 to get my book. When you register for the workshop you get the study guide (and a practice test?) but the book is separate as well as arriving separate from the other materials.

So, once you get everything, breathe'll be fine lol Open the study guide and read through it. The first part of it really breaks everything down for you.

There are 2 major parts to this test:

A. Part 1: The Practical
     A. Warmup/Cardio/cool down
     B Muscle exercises/flexibility
     C. Teaching segment

B. Part 2: The Written test

OK.. So, Personally I put part A off for a while and focused on part B for the majority of my studying. I originally gave myself about 3 months to study and review. I have a pretty active life style (racing/running/training..etc etc) . SO...AGAIN, If you sign up for your workshop date BEFORE you get your materials, I HIGHLY suggest registering 3-4 months out. Things happens..aka LIFE,

Allow yourself some days off from studying and time for review. Plus if you register beforehand I feel like you won't keep putting it off and putting it off, the deadline helps.

(Minus the study guide, I think I left it at the testing site :( )

So you have your date and materials, where to start? Look at your study guide, at the very beginning it mentions what chapters you will need to cover and it breaks it down in an outline by segments.  Thankfully you do not need to read every single page in this book, some chapters are skipped.

Step 1:
I know that I am a speed reader and try to read to get through things instead of actually grasping the material, so I read through the material, noting the important parts with a highlighter.
Step 2:
Once through a chapter, I would go back and write down in a notebook what I highlighted
Step 3:
I would complete the chapter in the study guide, answering the questions.

You don't HAVE to do it this way, but I know this is most beneficial for me.
Some just went through the chapters, looking for the answers in the study guide, and that's as in depth as they got.  So that part is totally up to you

After completing the study guide I attempted my practice test (writing the answers on a separate sheet). The practice test doesn't have 100 questions but it's still the same idea, passing is a 20%.  On the actual test, for the certification, you have 100 questions and are allowed to miss 20 questions (20%). The first time I only passed the practice test by 2 questions and was a little nervous with that. I love the fact that each answer has the corresponding chapter a long with the question you missed. For me I missed a lot of questions from the same chapter, so, I went back, saw what I missed, and re-read the chapter.

Following the practice test I made flashcards. I took a lot of the terms from the study guide as well as the multiple choice options from the test. If I didn't know what a term was on the test, it was made into a flash card.

I kept the flash cards with me in my purse. I used them in the car (when my husband was driving on long trips), while sun bathing on the beach..etc etc. They're a lot easier to carry around than that huge book and notebook.
I later retook the practice test and did much better.

Part 1: The Practical Portion.. ..Alright. So this part is SO much easier than it sounds in the book. I freaked out a little more than I should have. Luckily I just became certified in a certain type of cardio class and helped me get over my nerves for this section.

Part 1A: The warmup/cardio...
...ALRIGHT, so.. This part you do in a group. You are lined up and the examiner will play a fitness mix song from her selection. You get 3 minutes to do a warmup segment that shows 3 feet variation. There is no cueing, there is no talking. Basically you just move in your space to the music, demonstrating you know a slow, low heart rate warmup that has 3 different feet movement. I marched, then I tapped side to side, incorporating low arm movements, and then tapped to the front evolving that into a forward march and back wards march. I kept everything low and very small. She then cued us to increase intensity AKA move and involve more arms. This would be the end half of your warm up. Same as the warm up, no cueing, nothing verbal just moving your body showing YOU know how to increase the intensity. I actually stole some moves from my other certification's teacher. I included a grapevine with arms, I spun the grapevine marched back, toe tapped, and then marched to the front ending with some arms. After doing that for a while I did some other arm reaches. The examiner cued us to lower the intensity. I once again went back to segments from the 1st warm up. Lower arms, side step, and then eventually a march.

Part 1B: Muscle Exercise/ Flexibility.

       Copied from the Study Guide
a. Chest and Back (Category of Evaluation 3*)
Grouping 1: pectorals
Grouping 2: trapezius, rhomboids, and/or latissimus dorsi
b. Shoulders and Arms (Category of Evaluation 4*)
Grouping 1: deltoids
Grouping 2: biceps and/or triceps
c. Hips and Buttocks (Category of Evaluation 5*)
Grouping 1: hip abductors and/or adductors
Grouping 2: gluteus maximus
d. Legs: Front and Back (Category of Evaluation 6*)
Grouping 1: quadriceps and/or tibialis anterior
Grouping 2: hamstrings and/or gastrocnemius/soleus
e. Torso (Core): Front and Back (Category of Evaluation 7*)
Grouping 1: rectus abdominis and/or obliques
Grouping 2: erector spinae

   This section is detailed in your study guide and broke down into categories. NOW, here is where I was most nervous/confused about. In the book it mentions A. Pectorals. Ok that's fine. 2 strength exercises for that, 1 stretch. Fine, THEN it mentions a section that lists : Rhomboids, Traps, and/or Latts. I was like um...are they going to pick from that? Do WE pick from that? or does it mean we need to know 2 strength exercises for each?  and then it mentioned we may/may not have access to weights/bands. I was was seriously stressing over this. SO..fear not. Within the category of the :Rhomboids/Traps/Lats, you must demonstrate only 2 strength exercises and 1 stretch. So I did Rows and flys. With the back and lower legs there are many exercises that use multi joint areas (lunges/squats). What they want is demonstration of knowledge for PRIMARY movers. Take a crunch for instance, yes you're using obliques but the PRIMARY muscle moving is your rectus abdominus. With the weight issue, my examiner didn't want us to use weights, in fear that it would cause our form to be out of alignment. With the row I did not use any weights or band. I simply hinged at my hip flexors, feet shoulder width apart, back supported and rowed as if I had a band or weight in my hand. They do judge you on your form, being that you must demonstrate proper form when teaching.  For each category you must demonstrate 2 strength exercises and 1 flexibility/stretch. You can mix them up if it's a category that lists 2-3 muscles. For the Biceps/triceps category, We all performed a bicep crunch and then for our 2nd strength performed a type of tricep exercise. Same with the Abs/obliques . I did a crunch for my first strength and then a bicycle crunch for my 2nd. My examiner went over this section in GREAT detail and even did a few practice sessions with us. I went in with some basics moves in my head but she really helped me feel prepared for this section. You will also do this section in the group .

Part 1C: This part sounds scary but, trust me, it's not. My examiner, again, went over this in great detail, gave us examples, and then if we demonstrated the knowledge during the test , cut us off before the 2 minutes was up. So, basically what this part does is show you know how to modify and progress a certain exercise for people in your class. You can do a cardio section, a weight , or a flexibility. Honestly I think the easiest is a strength/flexibility exercise. You are to pick something, talk about it a little bit, then show you know how to do it in 3 levels. For example I chose a crescent pose. I went in front of my group, introduced myself and welcomed them to the class (welcome). Then I introduced the exercise " now that we're all warmed up we are going to work on those tight hip flexors we don't spend a lot of time stretching." So I instructed my class to get in table top position on their mats, instructor the correct body posture , then began the instruction to get into the crescent pose: Foot between the leg arms on the mat, back knee on the mat. This was my level 1, level 2 we lifted the back knee up into a runners lunge, level 3 hands off the mat into crescent pose. You can do anything, Pushups, crunches , or even a grapevine (level 1 grape fine, level 2 legs up, level 3 hop ). It has to be the SAME exercise but starting at a lower level and progressing up to a higher level. This is really easy and only lasts 1-2 minutes.

And guess what? Your done with the practical portion!! Horray! Like I said earlier, by the time we were finished I was like, that was it?! lol MUCH more easier than I thought it would be.

Before the workshop began
Some tips/advice I would give...
#1...The muscles that are on the practical, know where they are A. that helps during the practical and B there may/may not be a chart where you have to give a name to an arrow, on the multiple choice test, to the muscle it's pointing to.

#2, Know your planes. It helps to thing if you put an imaginary glass of window in front of your body "how would you wash it

#3 BRING A HOODIE..omg I was FREEZING in that gym I was in.

#4 pay the extra $$ and go to a smaller test. Ok, so I know the APEX testing sites are much cheaper but, I've heard they are HUGE 200+ people. My workshop had 7? people in it and I got one on one attention from the instructor making sure what I was doing was right.

#5 Use the materials. I was second guessing myself the entire time "Oh i'm not ready, I'm not ready". I got to the workshop and barley had to take notes. I could answer almost every question she asked . She even said herself not everything subject in the book is covered on the test. The most important are the major muscles, some of the special populations (older/arthritis) , and the AFAA 5 questions. They were provided on my test but just go over them and make sure you understand them.

Every test is different so , what may have been on my test could not be on yours. At the workshop, most of the time the examiners know what's on the test. They will give you as much help as they can, not wanting you to fail. I was a little questionable with 2-3 questions of the test but I had remembered my examiner made it a point to mention one of the answers So, I ended up choosing that particular answer.

I haven't received my results yet but left feeling good about how I did.
I hope this helps and wish you the best of luck.

I didn't know these existed before my test but here are some links to websites of flashcards I've found and other people's websites.
Flash Cards
Confessions of a Former Couch Potato Blog's Experience
ONLINE STUDY GUIDE- Now, i'm pretty sure this is the ONLINE Group fitness study guide for those taking the test online via webcam, however the question section is still the same. The calendar is referring to the videos though that you are going to watch if taking this online. If you are attending the workshop then there are no videos

Please feel free to reply to this blog or my email if you have any questions!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Los Angeles Marathon - Day 3 - MARATHON DAY!!!

Isn't amazing, when you sign up for a race,  6 months out you feel like "oh i have plenty of time"...well came. I signed up for this race in October, and I couldn't believe how FAST it got here.

With the whole loosing an hour of sleep ,getting up at 3:30 (2:30 normal time), and the fiasco of forgetting my headphones for the 5K the day before, I laid everything out. I didn't want to leave anything to "oh i 'll remember that tomorrow morning." I never want to leave race day items to chance. My adrenaline already makes me more gittery than I already am. I highly suggest doing this for every major race!

I was super anxious about Daylights savings time ( I still wonder if anyone was royally messed up because of this?) and so we set like 5 alarms.. lol we had a crazy wakeup call.  For those that DO NOT KNOW, marathon morning is CRAZY... 3 years ago we allowed 2 hours to get to Dodger stadium, living 20 minutes away. My husband had to jump out of the car on the free way and jog 2 miles to the starting line,he was not alone. Traffic is crazy, people are crazy, so, I didn't mind formulating a plan for race day. We met our coach, at 4:30, in Venice, carpooled and parked in a "secret spot", and then took the shuttle. Everything was extremely smooth and we were in place at Dodger stadium EARLY. Which was fine, time to warm up, check our bags, and last bathroom stop prerace.

We made it to the shuttle! Coach Iyob and Johnny! Iyob was celebrating his 23rd LA marathon and had just completed 50 marathons before the age of 50.

 My "running sister" :) A pretty awesome women. Her and her boyfriend ended up getting 3rd place in the relay, both running 1:30ish half marathons and are both heading to Boston next month!

Beautiful sunrise!


My Run MDR ladies :) 

and we're off!

I saw people jumping up and down, running around HOURS before the race. My advice, save your energy, it's going to be a long day. Simple stretching and some leg swings are fine. Take the first 2-3 miles to warm up your legs (trust me the hill at mile 4 will do just that!)

The first 1-2 miles is down hill heading out of Dodger Stadium. You want to just take off, but, I really tried to make sure I was listening to my body, knowing in about 3 miles there was going to be a hill climb. I didn't want to burn all my energy out at the beginning, and ran around a 55-59% effort

First stop, Chinatown!

It was right around this time I spotted the 4:45 pacers. I had picked up 2 cliff pacer bracelets at the expo ( I LOVE THESE THINGS). It's a paper bracelet, that I like to wear on my right wrist. at the bottom it has your goal time. I was shooting for 4:45 so I picked up that one . It has your elapsed time for every mile marker . I set the top portion of my nike+ watch on my elapsed running time and then checked it with my cliff bracelet about 2-3 times a mile to make sure I was doing what I wanted. 

...yeah..chilli cheese hotdogs..NO THANKS

Around the 10K I still felt like I could give a little more so, I picked up the pace and never saw the 4:45 pace group for the rest of the race.

The crowd was extremely thick exciting Echo Park and turning towards the city.

The first site of the Hollywood sign and the Griffith observatory!

There was a camera crew following a runner, I didn't recognize her, but I figured maybe she worked for a news channel or was an actress. 

was feeling the effects of my pace so, first GU shot of the day :) I've learned that if I wait for a water stop and eat the Gu/Drink the water simultaneously it goes down quicker and it doesn't stick in my throat. 

(don't know what happened to mile 9)
Around mile 10, I met up with he 4:15 pacer, I was EXTREMELY excited to see her. I didn't realize I was doing that well :) My times had been all negative  splits by about 3-5 minutes . I was able to keep up with her for about 2-3 miles but then I realize I needed to run my race and understand I still had almost half a race left. So, I kept her balloon in site but decided to pull back and listen to my body.

Having lived on Hollywood Blvd before, I was extremely excited to see this. I knew we were getting closer and closer to Hollywood

Hollywood and Highland intersection! One of my favorite plazas I used to go to.

Chinese theater!

Turned left, pass In N out and right on Sunset Blvd!

One more!

Gu #2
The sun had finally decided to come out (it had been overcast all morning), right after mile 13 I REALLY began to feel the heat and it didn't stop rising.

The beginning of Beverly Hills/Rodeo Drive

Why hello Vera Wang :)
still around Rodeo

Up until now, I had been doing fairly decent. It was about 10-15 degrees warmer now than it had been at the start. Oddly enough I hadn't been paying much attention, the last mile, to where we were but once I climbed the first "rolling hill" I knew we were on this long, never ending highway that I used to drive to Santa Monica a lot. I was like oh heck no, this isn't going to be easy. 

Right around here, my brain was telling me, ok, almost a's just a 10K...You run this every Wed. Even though I was trying to stay positive, I also realized my fastest 10K was at 55 mins. I still almost had an entire hour left, the hardest one of the race. 

As you can see I skipped mile 20. I'm pretty sure it was because my head was down and I was walking. I walked the first hill (which wasn't much of one at all, it felt like it tho) and the heat spiked another 5 degrees.

This part was the HARDEST part of my race, my coach told me it would be as well . "People drop like flies around the VA" he constantly told me :) By this time I knew Run MDR would be set up at Mile 23, PLUS San Vincente was right around the corner. Our Sunday long runs consisted of a start at Venice beach, up the Santa Monica Pier and the race route,backwards, up San Vincente and through Brentwood. If I could just get to mile 23, I could make it. Once I hit Brentwood (and went past the Farmers market I ALWAYS WANT TO STOP AT LOL) I knew there was 1 hill, one hill left, one constant incline for about 1 mile. I walked/ran the last 2-3 miles, high fived the Run MDR folk and kept going. I took about 2 Gu's and kept telling myself Santa Monica wasn't the stopping point, I still had to run to the store, hoping to pysch myself out. 
After 23, it was all down hill, literally. The hill was gone, it was a gradual and slow down hill. I've ran this route for 3 month's every Friday. I counted down the blocks as they went...23rd......11th.........7th (our 10 mile turn around from the store)......There's the fancy houses...

I really wanted to run this last bit but once again I got horrible side stiches. They seem to hit more frequent when my breathing becomes more labored so, I focused on breathing and elongating my stride. I ran through my check list from a ZAP coach, from Boone, NC. "Shoulders down, arms at the side, jaw relaxed." It also made me laugh thinking about him yelling it across a lake, and still being able to hear him :)

We turned left onto Ocean and BOOM....the longest stretch of life LOL....The crowd was thick, the sky was blue, the ocean on my right, the finish line off in the distance. Ironically "Have you got it in you" by Imogen Heap was playing, my theme song for my Half Ironman. I listened to the chorus once, took my headphones off and just took in the sites and sounds. The "you're almost there, you've got it!" I saw a friend from my running club on the side (she had paced another friend). I waved, she smiled and I more walking, I was going to finish this

I crossed the finish line with a really bad cramp, but I did it!. I got my phone , called my husband (he finished almost an hour and 1/2 a head of me). He asked me how I felt and I remember saying "I just want to SIT DOWN". Of course you have to walk everywhere to get all your stuff. About half a mile later, I had my bag, my water (the bottle was already empty after the first gulp) and my medal. We reconnected at the massage line and I had one of the best post race (free) massages ever. I plan on doing this after EVERY major race .

This is a picture from the 5K ( i think we were just too tired to take pics from the actual day of the race) but, once I met up with my husband,he was like " so, I guess I have at least one more marathon to do". I was laughing because as I was getting my phone out (after I crossed the finish line). A friend on FB had been following our bibs and had already messaged me JOSH RAN A 3:03!!!! Josh is (hopefully) running Boston 2015.  He beat his age group qualifying time by 2 minutes. 

My swag, I love it!

Have I told you HOW MUCH i love this watch? It's my favorite running accessory! ( I even wear when I'm not running) I paused it once when I thought I was going to go to the bathroom but then decided not to. It was highly accurate before, but ended up getting about .30 off the race markers. The elapsed time was almost dead on tho which was the most significant. 

To be honest, at first I was a little disappointed in my time. I was doing so well up until around Mile 18-19 where I started walking a lot more. My original goal was to be 5:19 ( my last marathon time). So after some talk I realized I should be thankful for this time. This was my 3rd marathon but the first one I had trained well for and was actually "competitive" in . My next marathon is in 2 months and I can only hope to improve on that time :)

I drank at every aid station, sometimes both gatorade and water. I think what attributed to my early "wall hitting" around mile 20 was not enough Gu's. I was inhaling them around mile 22-23 but I didn't take my first shot until Mile 8, originally I was planning for mile 6, then mile 13 and 18. I waited until I felt like I needed them. I learned my lesson and I realize I need to replenish with them at a more consistent rate so I don't FEEL the need for them and have more constant energy. 

I def couldn't have done it without this group. As part of the Run Marina Del Ray running group we are "the Sundays (Minus 2 of our regulars)." a firefighter, a BA trainer, a teacher, 2 husband/wife teams, a student and a first time marathoner. We owe it to each other (and our coach) for being there on Sundays. For the smiles, the stories, just knowing there is someone waiting for you at the end, regardless how long we all take.  Thanks :)