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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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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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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How to be a #GirlBoss by NastyGal founder Sophia Amoruso // Reads

How to be a #GirlBoss // itsjoulife.com

#GirlBoss is much more than a self-help business book

NastyGal is not your mother’s taste (in fashion) and neither is Sophia Amoruso’s cheeky, self-help business memoir, #GirlBoss. I absolutely savored every piece of advice Amoruso dishes. I appreciate her self-awareness, ability to blaze her own path (on her own terms and with her unique style), streets smarts, sassy humor, and practical advice for those who want to be their own #GirlBoss. The illustrations drew me in as much as her inspirational bite-size quotes. She writes with a truthful vulnerability and shares her fair share of lessons learned.

For those who aren’t familiar with Amoruso, she went from a hitchhiking, dumpster-diving, community college dropout to creating a mega fashion brand, Nasty Gal, that has sold over $300 million in vintage and new clothing and accessories. Her humble beginnings started with an eBay store and she was a one-woman enterprise–mastering the skills of thrift store shopping, bargaining, photographing, copywriting, marketing, and shipping logistics. Talk about wearing multiple hats! She was her own start-up company. Her business may have seemed to grow overnight like a rags to riches story, but she worked her tail off because she finally found her passion and a clear purpose of who she wanted to become and what she wanted to accomplish in life. I finished this book in a day and furiously took notes.

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