What I Wish I Had Known Before Running my First Marathon - https://itsjoulife.com/2017/05/21/what-to-know-before-first-marathon-part-1

What I Wish I Had Known Before Running My First Marathon // Part 1

What I Wish I Had Known Before Running my First Marathon // Part 1 - https://itsjoulife.com/2017/05/22/what-to-know-before-first-marathon-part-1

2012 (Oct) San Francisco Nike Women’s Full Marathon // Mile 20 felt tortuous but we still had some more in us. We should have trained better…

I ran my first full marathon (26.2 miles, baby!) in 2008 on the beautiful island of Honolulu, Hawaii. My cousin and I were so inspired by my brother’s 2007 Honolulu Marathon finish that we vowed to run the following year’s race together. It’s amazing how far I’ve come in my marathon journey. It’s hard to imagine almost a decade ago I huffed and puffed a couple miles, let alone complete 26.2 miles.

What I Wish I Had Known Before Running my First Marathon // Part 1 - https://itsjoulife.com/2017/05/22/what-to-know-before-first-marathon-part-1

2008 (Oct) – Honolulu, Hawaii Full Marathon // Waiting with the cousin and brother at the starting line in the wee early morning hours of my first ever long-distance race

Since then I’ve run three half-marathons (four, in August), two full marathons, and a 200-mile (36-hour) relay. I’m by no means an expert–more often I feel faux than pro. I still struggle with motivating myself to run and each time I begin training it feels like I’m starting all over again.

Signing up for a long-distance race is daunting. But knowing what to expect can ease your race jitters and boost your confidence. Looking back, there are some lessons I wish I hadn’t learned the hard way for my first marathon. I wish someone gave me the low down on race preparation and day-of expectations before jumping head-first into the racing world.

If you signed up and ready to train for a half or full marathon, here’s what I want you to know:

What I Wish I Had Known Before Running my First Marathon // Part 1

There’s no perfect training plan, so find one that works for you and stick to it.

I’m a running delinquent when it comes to properly training for a marathon. This is something I’m working on. Yes, I’m training myself to train myself to keep to a consistent schedule. What I look for in a suitable training plan is not only a gradual increase and then tapering off mileage each week, but a mix of interval runs and strength training. For this half-marathon coming up in August, so far I’m on track and it’s a big thanks to the handy dandy Lululemon SeaWheeze 14-week half-marathon training schedule and their comprehensive training program to prepare the body and mind. I also give mad props to my better half who is voluntarily training alongside with me. He’s training for a half-marathon race that he won’t be running. What a keeper.

For those training for a full marathon (26.2 miles), I came across this PopSugar Beginner 18-week Marathon Training Program. Too bad this wasn’t around in 2008. I would have committed the sh*t out of this plan.

Strength Training, Cross Training, and Sprints are your friends.

What I Wish I Had Known Before Running my First Marathon // Part 1 - https://itsjoulife.com/2017/05/22/what-to-know-before-first-marathon-part-1

2009 (Sep) – Disneyland Half-Marathon // This was such a fun race to run with friends. We ran through Disneyland Park, high-fived Disney characters, and even ran on the Angels Stadium field. I remember I incorporated swimming, kickboxing, and yoga in my training schedule.

I know, as if running isn’t hard enough, now you gotta incorporate strength and cross training and all that jazz? These are integral to help prevent injuries and build optimal strength so you can run more comfortably and with stronger form. Sprints aid in running faster and help you hit your goal time. However, you can’t have one without the other. You have to build the foundations of a stronger body before focusing on speed. My first marathon I made the mistake of only just running during training. It helped with my endurance but my body (lower back area) didn’t feel strong enough to hold a proper running form for long periods of time. Nowadays I love High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts to build strength and I’ve been regularly incorporating spin for endurance and hot yoga for flexibility.

Lululemon SeaWheeze created this Strengthen Your Stride workouts that are designed to support your run training. Give it a whirl.

Proper stretching pre and post workout is your other friend.

Stretching before and after a run helps ease your body into and out of a high-impact activity–focusing on hamstrings, hip flexors, calves, quads, glutes, and lower back. Activating your muscles before a run can help maintain good form while stretching after can help prevent stiffness and soreness from pushing your limits. Refer to Lululemon SeaWheeze Strengthen Your Stride workouts that cover warm-up and cool-down moves. Also incorporating sessions with a foam roller is a bonus! Giving yourself a massage 1x or 2x/week with a foam roller will help prevent injuries.

Here’s a foam-rolling routine that will certainly hit all your sore spots. Using a foam roller can hurt like a mother but it essentially works like a massage–rolls out your knots, hits sore spots, and eventually, you’ll feel relaxed. No pain, no gain, right?

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MacGyver Your Way to Save Water // Earth Day

easy ways on how you can save water - https://wp.me/p7RBMP-100

On being MacGyver while growing up in SoCal during the 80s/90s drought.

As a child growing up during the 80s/90s drought in Southern California, I remember my family and I would go the extremes to save water and then share our tips with our neighbors. We basically coined #watersavinghacks before hashtags were a thing. We’d MacGyver (or MacGruber) our own low-flow toilet by placing a couple filled water bottles in the water tank so it’d take less water to fill it. We’d also use the cleanly rinsed vegetable water collected in the sink bucket to water the backyard plants.

My parents instilled in me the importance of protecting our environment. Now that I’m a grown adult and married with our own place, Wayne and I take being water wise to heart. SoCal has been facing intense drought the past several years and although we recently had a blessed wet winter, we still need to continue our water-conserving efforts.

Here we share some easy ways to save water // #WaterSavingHacks

Seeing Delicious Living’s “5 Easy Ways to Save Water” infographic motivates us with practical tips to continue our water conservation efforts.

Turn off the faucet while brushing teeth.

This is a simple tip, yet there are some who forget this is an option. Turning off the water faucet while brushing your teeth saves 200 gallons per month. Same goes for turning the water off while you’re washing your hands and face with soap. Tip: Place a “save water–turn it off during the in-betweens” reminder note on your mirror when you wash your face and brush your teeth.

If your shower takes a while to get warm…

If your shower is anything like ours, it takes a few minutes for warm water to come out. To avoid running the shower and wasting clean water, we have a bucket in the shower to catch all the clean water and save it to water the plants and fill the humidifier. We also turn on the dishwasher or washing machine a few minutes before showering. Yes, we try to time washing a full load of dishes or laundry around our shower times. That way our shower gets warm within seconds once we turn it on.

Take shorter showers; 4-minute showers to be exact.

Did you know you save 5,840 gallons of water per year by taking 4-minute showers instead of 10-minute showers? This is totally doable for those with short hair–AND with those with long hair–like me. See our next tip.

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How to Fill that Hole ‘Big Little Lies’ Left in My Heart - https://itsjoulife.com/2017/04/12/big-little-lies/

How to Fill that Hole ‘Big Little Lies’ Left in My Heart

How to Fill that Hole ‘Big Little Lies’ Left in My Heart - https://itsjoulife.com/2017/04/12/big-little-lies/

Courtesy of HBO.com

You know that feeling when a dang good show ends?

Two Sundays ago the spellbinding HBO hit limited series, Big Little Lies, aired its much anticipated season finale. It surely delivered in resolution and clarity (as a well as heartbreak) since it strung us along in suspense and intrigue for the past seven weeks. Wayne and I were captivated and mesmerized from the start. We watched from the first airdate of the premiere and it was agony having to wait a week in between episodes, let alone almost two months for all our questions to be answered. It was well worth it though.

For those unfamiliar with “Big Little Lies” a disclaimer: highly provocative and intensely addictive–you may never put the remote down! Based on Liane Moriarty’s novel, this murder-mystery dark dramedy revolves around the seemingly perfect lives of three women (Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley) and their families in Monterey. There’s a murder and the storytelling is told through the police interrogation of other community residents. With a show that is created and written by David E. Kelley (The Practice, Ally McBeal), directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Wild, Dallas Buyers Club), and starring an all-star cast, it’s everything you crave from compelling storytelling and brilliant acting. Yes, it’s THAT riveting and irresistible.

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Top 10 trends at the Natural Products Expo West 2017


Top 10 Trends at Natural Products Expo West 2017 via It's Jou Life blog https://wp.me/p7RBMP-YO

A few weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the 37th annual Natural Products Expo West, the world’s largest natural, organic, and healthy products expo. I was among the record-breaking 80,000 attendees perusing 3,100 exhibitors, including more than 500 first-time exhibitors, at the Anaheim Convention Center and extending into the Hilton and Marriott ballrooms. I excitedly counted down the weeks for this multi-day event packed with delectable tastings, educational seminars, and meeting innovative companies. As a healthy lifestyle and skincare enthusiast (and serious snacker), I’m always scouting out new natural products, learning about upcoming trends, and chatting with brands that have a mindful mission. As my sophomore year attending, thank goodness I came prepared with a good night’s rest, comfortable shoes, and a big appetite because I logged some serious miles and ate to my heart’s content.

trends & What I Discovered at the Natural Products Expo Continue reading

My best kept beauty secrets

Wet hair & #nomakeup game strong

There’s no magical vial that leads to the fountain of youth, however, the secret to having beautiful skin is easier and more obtainable than you think. Here are my 10 best kept beauty secrets that I’ve implemented into my lifestyle.

  1. Protect with SPF 30 sunscreen // The best anti-aging tip I’ve been advocating is sunscreen! I don’t just write and review about it, I actually wear a broad spectrum UVA/UVB of at least SPF 30 sunscreen every day. Read my sunscreen post, here.
  2. Wear a hat // Growing up I used to make fun of my mom looking like a beekeeper on sunny summer days. If you are to see my mom now, she has beautiful, smooth skin and does not look her age. At all. Now, you’d often find me in a lightweight long-sleeve and a hat, hoping I age as gracefully.
  3. Drink enough water // To be honest, this is a daily struggle for me. It’s easy if I’m at my desk sipping out of my rainbow sippy cup. When I’m out and about I take my water bottle and drink to stay hydrated. Find a water bottle that works for your lifestyle and make sure you take it everywhere with you.
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What I Eat In a Day // Healthy Fats

Healthy Fats Infographic

What I eat in a day // How I eat healthy fats

Breakfast: Avocado toast and a fried egg over whole-grain bread

Lunch: Grilled salmon mixed green salad with olive oil and apple cider vinaigrette dressing

Snack: Walnuts and almonds in my trail mix

Dinner: Grilled chicken, mixed greens, and sliced avocado wrap

Dessert: Acai bowl with chia seeds

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Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass

Celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary with a free 2017 parks Canada discovery pass

For all of 2017 this free Parks Canada Discovery Pass gives you unlimited opportunities to discover and enjoy National Parks, National Marine Conservation Areas, and National Historic Sites across Canada! We’ve been wanting to go visit Banff, Glacier, Jasper National Parks for quite some time now. Perfect timing!

Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass - https://itsjoulife.com/2016/12/12/2017-parks-canada-discovery-pass/

Please note:

  • You only need to order one pass for your group or family if you are all traveling together. A 2017 Discovery Pass is valid for everyone arriving in the same vehicle at a national park, or arriving together at a marine conservation area, or historic site.
  • The Discovery Pass is only accepted at national historic sites which are operated by Parks Canada.
  • Activities such as tours or parking that normally carry a separate fee may not be covered by the Discovery Pass.
  • Camping fees are not included with the Discovery Pass
  • Validity Period: January 1st 2017 to December 31st 2017.
  • Display: The 2017 Discovery Pass must be hung from the rear view mirror of the vehicle facing forward or it can be placed on the front driver side dashboard facing up.

If you have questions regarding the above information, please contact our National Information Service at 1-888-773-8888 or information@pc.gc.ca .

NPS Centennial Forever Stamps


Friday Favorites // NPS Forever Stamps via It's Jou Life https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/friday-favorites-stranger-things-happy-centennial-bday-nps-stamps-lynda-com

Happy 100th Birthday, NPS! The US Postal Service is celebrating the NPS Centennial by issuing 16 new forever stamps featuring national parks. These picturesque images will get you to find your hiking shoes, book a camping trip and get back into nature! I miss those vibrant, unreal colors of the Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone National Park and the serene ceremonial sunrise on Haleakala National Park.

My NP bucket list: Acadia, Arches, Glacier Bay, Yellowstone (w/ Wayne this time), Zion. My favorite moment is ascending on top Half Dome in Yosemite (recap post, here). The best yet? These are forever stamps and you can share the love of national parks forever, just like all the memories you’ll create when you get out there and explore your inner wild. #letsgosomewhere

How to get free Lynda.com Online Learning

learn // Lynda.com Online Learning // Learn a new skill online, on your time

how to get free lynda.com membership - https://itsjoulife.com/2016/10/01/lynda-com/

Want to be a Graphic Designer, a Portrait Photographer, or just got promoted and want to learn the fundamentals of what makes a good manager? As a self-help book enthusiast and advocate of continual education, I geeked out when I learned about online learning sites like Lynda.com. Lynda.com is a leading online learning platform that helps anyone learn business, software, technology, and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals.

Want free access? I went bananas when I learned my County of Los Angeles Public Library card gives me free access to Lynda.com. This is a $29.99 value membership, for free!)

  1. Learn more about free access to Lynda.com.
  2. If you don’t have a library card, sign-up for a free card..
  3. Find your local County of Los Angeles Public Library.
  4. Once you have an account, log in to Lynda.com.

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Register to Vote

Register to vote - http://g.co/elections/134

In honor of Voter Registration Day, do your nation a solid and register to vote in this year’s presidential election. It only takes a quick 1:34! That’s faster than me writing this post. Our generation is a big voting bloc and can actually make a difference in deciding who our next president is. Continue reading