What I Wish I Had Known Before Running my First Marathon - https://itsjoulife.com/2017/05/21/what-to-know-before-first-marathon-part-2

What I Wish I Had Known Before Running My First Marathon // Part 2

What I Wish I Had Known Before Running my First Marathon (Part 2) - https://itsjoulife.com/2017/05/31/what-to-know-before-first-marathon-part-2

2015 (Oct) – San Francisco Nike Women’s Half-Marathon // My most recent half-marathon where I set my personal record, 1 hr 56 min. If you haven’t noticed already, I have a thing for jumping photos.

I’ve run a handful of races–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.

If you missed the first installment of this, read Part 1.


WHAT I WISH I HAD KNOWN BEFORE RUNNING MY FIRST MARATHON // PART 2

Learning to pace yourself is key–and really hard.

What I Wish I Had Known Before Running my First Marathon (Part 2) - https://itsjoulife.com/2017/05/31/what-to-know-before-first-marathon-part-2

2013 (Apr) – Washington, DC Nike Women’s Half-Marathon // This Tiffany’s finisher medal of the woman running with cherry blossoms in the background was gorgeous. I wish I paced myself better this race. Honestly, I should have trained better too. I walked several times.

I don’t even think I have this down. In the past, I don’t calculate pace when I run the streets. I run and push myself just enough mentally and physically, but not to the point of intense exhaustion. Just recently I started using the Strava App on my phone for long runs to keep track of my pace and progress. It’s a free app that provides GPS tracking, elevation, pace, analytics, and challenge friends.

  • Find your comfortable pace on training runs: To find your baseline, find a pace that is comfortable to run long distances and stick to it. If you want to improve your time, run sprints at a faster pace of 30 seconds. To build endurance, run long runs at a slower pace of 30 seconds. Once you are comfortable with your pace, play around with your stride and cadence. After a while, you’ll get a hang of your rhythm and a pace you’re comfortable with.
  • On race day don’t start out too fast. I know you’re excited and pumped with adrenaline and feeling good the first few miles, but take it easy. You don’t want to exhaust your reserves and burn out before the tail end of the race.
  • On race day I start out easy and then test my limits after every 4 miles. If I’m still feeling good, I push myself further. The last mile can be quite agonizing. It’s a mental game. I try to sprint the last half-mile. Usually, that only happens in my brain but IRL my legs feel like jello and I’m hauling a$$. It’s rough. Hopefully, comes race day it’ll be a different story. So I always tell myself.

Hydrate throughout the week prior to race day.

Being properly hydrated doesn’t happen overnight. I remember I’d chug loads of water a day before or even the day of the race and it would just filter through my body almost immediately. That is not what you want. Running on a full bladder is not fun. I spent so much time waiting in lines for the porta potties. Being properly hydrated takes much longer than that just a day.

Tip: In preparation for race day, it’s important to start hydrating a week before and to sip water on race day. I’d recommend setting a Google Calendar reminder several days prior to race day to hydrate throughout the day, every day.

Don’t eat anything new before or on race day.

This should be a no-brainer right? Not me. For some reason, I like to get creative on race day and end up eating something that slightly upsets my stomach. Stick to what your stomach knows.

Recommended race day breakfast eats: PB&J sandwich, oatmeal with bananas, or an energy bar. I try to steer away from dairy.

Mentally prepare yourself–bring your mental A-game.

What I Wish I Had Known Before Running my First Marathon (Part 2) - https://itsjoulife.com/2017/05/31/what-to-know-before-first-marathon-part-2

2012 (Oct) San Francisco Nike Women’s Full Marathon // Highlights from this epic race where Wayne and I ran together and raised over $1,280!

Running a marathon is just as much of a mental battle as a physical one. No matter how many races I’ve done I always have pre-race jitters. It can be tough, but to help calm your nerves, break up the race into bite-sized pieces.

  • For a half-marathon: Envision it as four 3-mile legs with a sprint finish at the end.
  • For a full marathon: Think of it as four 10Ks (6.2-mile legs) with a sprint finish at the end.

Take it one step at a time and keep things in perspective.

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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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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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$30 off ClassPass // Bargain + Fitness

$30 off ClassPass // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/07/08/30-off-classpass-bargain-fitness

Happy anniversary ClassPass! In honor of this celebration you’ll get $30 off your first month! Hurry (!) because this offer is for a limited time.

ClassPass a new kind of fitness membership that lets you enjoy diverse and exciting ways to work out. It’s a brilliant business model and suits my interests because I like variety and trying out new things. Each workout is a good sweat leaving me recharged and refreshed. It’s challenging and I’ve learned to push myself physically and mentally. I’m stronger, more toned, built endurance and always leave feeling I can conquer the day.

Catchup with my love and obsession for ClassPass and why it has transformed my mind, body and soul, in a prior post, here.

Deal

$30 off your first month special – Join me on ClassPass and you’ll get $30 off your first month of group fitness classes. From yoga and barre to cycling and Pilates, ClassPass lets you try the best boutique studios in your area. One monthly membership, endless options, all up to you! http://class.ps/gIHXY

Do something good for your mind, body, soul this 2016. Cheers to good health!

You must be a new ClassPass subscriber and must purchase a membership using this unique link (http://class.ps/gIHXY).

Free first SoulCycle ride at DTLA studio

Free first SoulCycle class at DTWN LA studio // https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/free-first-soulcycle-class-at-dtla-studioJumpstart your July summer festivities with some SOUL in Downtown Los Angeles! For the month of July, all SoulCyclists can take their first DTLA class FOR FREE*. That’s right. If you’ve never tapped it back at their 888 S. Olive Street studio, now’s your chance to catch a complimentary class there!
Here’s how it works:
• If you’re new to SoulCycle, sign-up for an account to ride for free, here.
• Click HERE to find a class that works for you between 7/1 and 7/31.
• Call the studio at 323-463-7685 to book your seat and mention this offer. They’ll look you up by your mobile # on your account.
• Drop the beat at DTLA!
And to make it even easier to find your SOUL, you can park for free for two hours with SOUL validation at the Level Building Garage. Enter on Hill St. (between 8th and 9th St.) then follow signs for Retail Parking.
So what are you waiting for? Grab a friend and come check out their DTLA studio in July!
*Please note: This offer is valid for existing riders as well as new riders. FIRST ride at DTLA only. One redemption per account. Sign-up for a new account to ride for FREE, here.

Strength. Integrity. Community. DTLA.

I ran a 200-mile race // ragnar relay so cal // fitness

I Ran a 200-mile Ragnar Relay from OC to SD https://wp.me/p7RBMP-vg

We ran a 200-mile Ragnar Relay from OC to SD

I Ran a 200-mile Ragnar Relay from OC to SD https://wp.me/p7RBMP-vg

Our finisher medals connected together say, “Together we ran 200 miles.”

I never thought I’d ever do it, but I ran a 200-mile relay race as part of the Ragnar Relay So Cal race 2015. Our team came in #42 and ran it in 26 hours and 22 mins. As much as this race was lengthy, it taught me a lot about endurance and pushing my mental and physical limits.

It’s been about a year since and even now just the thought of running a race that starts at Huntington Beach to San Diego is exhausting! It’s what crazy people do, right? In all seriousness, it was actually one of the best and challenging experiences. The race was well-organized, scenic routes, energetic crowds and spirited team members made it all worth it.

It’s been a longtime dream of Wayne’s and my good friend Jason made it happen for us! Jason was the super team captain and master organizer of this beast of a race. We didn’t have to worry because as a veteran of the race he had all the binders, splits and routes mapped out. Best of all, our 12-person relay team represented all the Harry Potter houses in matching outfits. I was team Hufflepuff and was just too cool running in knee high socks, yellow and blue striped tie and a wand–casting spells against other runners.

My three legs were a cumulative 14 miles and had its own sets of challenges. I ran in the mid-day heat in the Santa Ana river channel for 7 hard miles, enjoyed the dark midnight hours and nature’s noises in Laguna Niguel and experienced the sunrise rays of along the beach in San Diego. The most challenging part? Staying up for around 30+ hours and doing my best to be physically functioning to race hard.

It was an energy like no other and my team members were the most spirited, supporting and encouraging group of individuals. We tag-teamed providing water support where there was car access, squeezed in a Taiwanese dinner between van shifts and took turns napping in 20-minute increments, if possible. The team medals were pretty wicked. The 12 medals also came together like a puzzle to read, “Together we ran 200-miles.”

The photos need no explanation. Pure excitement. Spirited Away. Full adrenaline.

Best. Race. Ever.

Just don’t ask me to do it again.

I Ran a 200-mile Ragnar Relay from OC to SD https://wp.me/p7RBMP-vg

What I packed in my race bag for two days

I Ran a 200-mile Ragnar Relay from OC to SD https://wp.me/p7RBMP-vg

Awesome gear designed by Jason 🙂

I Ran a 200-mile Ragnar Relay from OC to SD https://wp.me/p7RBMP-vg

Suit up!

I Ran a 200-mile Ragnar Relay from OC to SD https://wp.me/p7RBMP-vg

Ready?

I Ran a 200-mile Ragnar Relay from OC to SD https://wp.me/p7RBMP-vg

My lucky gnome charm

I Ran a 200-mile Ragnar Relay from OC to SD https://wp.me/p7RBMP-vg

I Ran a 200-mile Ragnar Relay from OC to SD https://wp.me/p7RBMP-vg

My night run. My favorite leg.

I Ran a 200-mile Ragnar Relay from OC to SD https://wp.me/p7RBMP-vg

Pre-dawn sunrise in San Diego

I Ran a 200-mile Ragnar Relay from OC to SD https://wp.me/p7RBMP-vg

Our awesome van

I Ran a 200-mile Ragnar Relay from OC to SD https://wp.me/p7RBMP-vg

Van decor on fleek

I Ran a 200-mile Ragnar Relay from OC to SD https://wp.me/p7RBMP-vg

$30 off ClassPass // bargain + fitness

CPAs a long time fitness fiend, spending time training for marathons and even owning memberships at two gyms, I finally found my groove in a consistent workout routine. All thanks to ClassPass.

I LOVE ClassPass. It’s a new kind of fitness membership that lets you enjoy diverse and exciting ways to work out. It’s a brilliant business model and suits my interests because I like variety and trying out new things. I’ve been doing hot yoga, spinning, circuit training, ballet barre, stand up paddle boarding and been meaning to try boxing and surfing.

Each workout is a good sweat leaving me recharged and refreshed. It’s challenging and I’ve learned to push myself physically and mentally. I’m stronger, more toned, built endurance and always leave feeling I can conquer the day. I recently ran a half marathon in hilly San Francisco and set my personal record (!) and I owe it all to spinning and the motivational energy of my favorite instructor, Rene. During that race I just kept pushing myself. My lungs burned and legs were tired, but I knew I had it in me.

I can’t stop talking about it to friends. CP doesn’t have promo offers often, but I just came across a $20 off your first month of unlimited group fitness classes. Note: I pay $119/month and max three classes at each studio. This is an awesome deal because sometimes a month membership at a fancy gym or studio runs $120+/month. This way I can jump around and get diversity and cross train at various studios in different cities.

Deal

NEW Offer! $30 off your first month special – Join me on ClassPass and you’ll get $30 off your first month of group fitness classes. From yoga and barre to cycling and Pilates, ClassPass lets you try the best boutique studios in your area. One monthly membership, endless options, all up to you! http://class.ps/gIHXY More details on the $30 off deal in a new post, here.

Do something good for your mind, body, soul this 2016. Cheers to good health!

Day 10 // Meditate for 1 Minute | Birchbox Challenge

Day 10 // Meditate for One Minute #BirchboxChallenge via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1124

Sunrise up in the Alishan, Taiwan mountains

I’ve recently started setting my alarm clock at 11pm every night and been waking up more energized and ready to start my day (thanks to Day 16 #BirchboxChallenge)! I’ve been having quaint mornings of “me” time and among other things, I meditate for one minute. It helps reduce stress, clear my mind and calm my heart. I sit up straight, rest my palms in my lap, close my eyes, and pay attention to my inhales and exhales for 60 seconds.
The below tips to reap the full benefits of a one-minute meditation practice is taken from Birchbox and Tara Stiles, Strala Yoga founder and author of Make Your Own Rules DietI’m definitely guilty of getting lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life–rushing out of the house to get to an appointment, not taking enough walking breaks at work and Instagramming during dinner. Even taking just one minute to meditate gives me a jumpstart to a more productive and brighter day.

Get Comfortable

Set a time for one minute using your smartphone. Choose a place in your home where you won’t be disturbed, and arrange yourself in a comfortable seated position. If you are in a chair, place your feet on the ground evenly. If you are on the floor, try crossing your legs or sitting on your heels. Sit up straight and rest your palms in your lap. Close your eyes and begin to pay attention to your breath.

Focus on Your Breath

Watch your inhales and exhales as they come and go. Allow yourself to become interested in the depth and pace of your breathing. Begin to lengthen your inhales and exhales. If it feels comfortable, pause at the top of your inhale and at the bottom of your exhale.

Guide Your Thoughs

Relax your whole body, including your face, neck, shoulders, back, legs and feet. If you notice your thoughts starting to drift, guide your attention back to your breath.

Finish Strong

When the timer goes off, don’t just pop out of your practice. Continue to breathe for 10 more long, deep breaths. When you are ready, slowly open your eyes.

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Let’s do this together!

Day 9 // Get Sculpted in 6 Minutes | Birchbox Challenge

I’m a lover of High Intensity Training (HIT) classes. The pattern usually is 30-seconds of intense cardio/strength moves that get quickly gets the heart rate up, followed by 20-seconds of rest. The Day 9 Challenge is something a little different.

Day 9 Birchbox Challenge “Get Sculpted in 6 Minutes” is created by celebrity trainer Ashley Borden. She swears by crazy effective workouts that can be done in a short amount of time, with minimal equipment. She uses the AMRAP technique ( “as many reps as possible”), which works muscles nonstop to condition your entire body, increase your metabolic rate, and burn a ton of calories. Her Sexy Six workout is just six moves and six minutes long but will leave you breathless and sweaty. Once you learn the workout, repeat it multiple times a week, focusing on your form and adding time as you get stronger.

Set a timer for 6 minutes. Do the 6 moves below, in order. Repeat the order as fast as you can, while maintaining your form, until time’s up. Keep track of how many times you got through the entire workout at the end, and beat that at your next workout!

See the moves here on Day 9 Birchbox Challenge.

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Let’s do this together!

Day 5 // Become a Morning Warrior | Birchbox Challenge

I’d like to say I’m a selective morning person. I enjoy waking up early on the weekends–make tea, journal, go to the gym and even declutter my desk. As for the weekday, after hitting snooze three times, I drag myself out of bed with just enough time to brush my teeth and wash my face before bolting out the door for work.

I keep telling myself I should wake up earlier during the work week to make time to quiet my heart, energize my body and mentally prepare for a full day. I’ve been trying these three powerful yoga poses from the Day 5 // Become a Morning Warrior from the Birchbox Challenge and been getting a jumpstart on my day and feeling invigorated.

This three-pose yoga sequence from Masumi Goldman and Laura Kasperzak, the brains (and muscle) behind Two Fit Moms, will leave you feeling peaceful and centered. Plus, you’ll get a gentle flexibility and strength workout just minutes after you roll out of bed. Each of these fundamental yoga poses stretches and strengthens your muscles in a short period of time. Once you’re familiar with each of the poses and can hold each pose for five full breaths, repeat the sequence at a faster pace. Remember to practice the poses on both sides of the body.

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About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Make sure to also enter for their daily prize giveaways. Let’s do this together!