Early in July, I was invited to apply for The North Face Locals Ambassador program. Of course, I jumped at the chance!
Yesterday I received the news that I was selected as one of The North Face Locals Ambassador! I look forward to my journey as a #TNFLocals Ambassador!
You read my interview with Team Chocolate Milk member Apolo Ohno. If you didn’t, check it out here.
Another member of Team Chocolate Milk is Jen Ator, Women’s Health Fitness Director.
Jen is currently training for the 2014 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii in October. Follow her training at GotChocolateMilk.com.
She hit the pavement with Apolo in the streets of Seattle in her first Mission Apolo: BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK race – Rock n’ Roll Seattle Half-Marathon.
Unfortunately due to Jen’s travel schedule I was unable to meet up with her prior to her run. I was super bummed!
However, she was awesome to answer some questions via email.
How do you balance work and training?
Balancing work and training is far from easy—both are demanding, and both have to be a top priority. Working out in the morning has been crucial for me—not only in terms of being able to balance both, but also to be fully present at both. When I’m up in the morning, the only thing that matters is my training. That has my full attention. Then, once it’s done, I can get to work and be completely focused on what I need to do that day at my job (rather than being distracted or stressed about getting my workout in later that day). It also has helped me stay consistent with training; if something comes up at work and I have to stay late (which happens a lot), it doesn’t mean missing a workout.
I think the other big component to balancing everything is that going into this journey I knew I would have to make sacrifices in other areas of my life and I was comfortable with doing that. It might mean I have to skip that happy hour or pass on taking a long lunch break with a co-worker. For me it’s worth it because I know what my priorities are right now and that’s where I need to be focused. My schedule is pretty simplified these days: train, work, sleep, repeat.
What has been the biggest obstacle in training? How are you getting over it?
I think two of the biggest obstacles have been nutrition and sleep. You can only train as effectively as you’ve recovered, which means how I perform in my workouts is directly linked to how I take care of my body during the remainder of each day, outside of my training. With all that I need to get done in any given day, it’s all too easy for nutrition and sleep to fall off my radar and not get the adequate attention they need.
With nutrition, it’s all about setting myself up for success by planning ahead. I stash a bottle of chocolate milk in my gym bag so I have it immediately after my workout (I have a freezable lunch pack that I use each day to keep my meals cold while I’m at the gym – really useful!); I do a little prep work each week so that I have simple ingredients that can be tossed together in less than 10 minutes for dinner when I get home late; I keep healthy, well-balanced snacks in my office so that I can grab something in between meals if I can’t get away from my desk.
Getting enough sleep is an everyday struggle—there are not enough hours in the day! Like I said before, when something is a priority in your life, you find a way to make time for it. I’m turning off the TV earlier (or not turning it on at all), and trying to create a habit of unwinding before bed—10 to 30 minutes without my computer, or phone, or other distractions to help improve my sleep quality.
Which event (swimming, biking, running) are you the strongest? Why?
Running is the event in which I have the most experience and that I’m the most comfortable with but that doesn’t mean it has been easy. Coming back from knee surgery, I’ve had to adjust to a slower pace and tolerate a few more aches and pains along the way. I really enjoy swimming and biking in general, but both come with their own challenges when training for this race: I’m an anxious swimmer in open water and I will be learning to ride a TT bike for the first time.
Jen has a busy schedule , but really knows how to efficiently make the most out of time and stay on top of her training!
Be sure to follow her journey at GotChocolateMilk.com.
I had the pleasure of meeting eight-time medalist for short-track speedskating, Apolo Ohno.
Apolo is on Team Chocolate Milk and currently training for the 2014 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii in October. Follow his training at GotChocolateMilk.com.
I had a quick meet and greet with Apolo after an autograph session at the Chocolate Milk both at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle expo.
My first question was, “Are you running the Rock ‘n’ Roll half or full marathon?”. He was running the half marathon and shooting for a 1:45 finish, about a 8 minute mile.
Apolo was born in Washington State. I asked how it felt to be back in his hometown. He was excited and happy to back and see his family, even if it was only for a few short days. Side note: his dad was at the booth too.
I asked which event of the triathlon – swimming, biking or swimming is the the toughest for him. Running is definitely the hardest event. He said that he needed more open water swimming practice. He has been mainly practicing in a pool. The other tough part of training was shedding mass to be leaner and faster for the triathlon.
I caught up with Apolo after the race. I was eager to find out how he did. He happily said he finished in 1:36, which is about a 7:20-ish pace. Definitely an awesome time for someone who doesn’t like to run!
Overall, Apolo was a down to earth, chill, easy to talk to guy. I wish him good luck at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii in October! He is going to kill it!
Be sure to follow his journey at GotChocolateMilk.com.
Disclosure: BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK contacted me to write a sponsored blog post about TEAM CHOCOLATE MILK and their work with eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno. In return I was given a complimentary entry to Rock n Roll Seattle and a meet & greet with Apolo Ohno. Chocolate Milk is the Official REFUEL Beverage of Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series.
The Science Behind Chocolate Milk:
More than 20 studies support the benefits of recovering with the high-quality protein and nutrients in chocolate milk after a tough workout.
Chocolate milk is a natural source of high-quality protein to build lean muscle. It has the right mix of protein and carbs, scientifically shown to refuel exhausted muscles and help return muscles to peek potential. It provides fluids and electrolytes – like calcium, potassium and magnesium and sodium – to rehydrate and help replenish critical nutrients lost in sweat.
Team Chocolate Milk & Apolo Ohno
Apolo Ohno is an eight-time medalist for short-track speedskating and is recognized as the most decorated winter sports athlete of all time.
As part of this year’s BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK campaign, they’ve launched a “Mission Apolo” series that challenges Apolo Ohno, to translate his power and speed to the sport of triathlon. With the help and training from experts on TEAM CHOCOLATE MILK, Apolo will compete in the 2014 IRONMAN World Championship Race in Kona.
Click on the picture above to see the latest Mission Apolo clip, which features Apolo, Jen Ator, Women’s Health Magazine fitness director and 6X IRONMAN Champ Luke McKenzie.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle
As part of Apolo’s training routine, he will be running Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle!
During my meet and greet with Apolo, I can ask him questions about his training.
What questions would you ask Apolo Ohno about his training for 2014 IRONMAN World Championship Race in Kona with Team CHOCOLATE MILK?
After reading all the great recaps and tweets about The North Face Endurance Challenge – California, it sounded like an awesome challenge. I wanted to run it.
The North Face Endurance Challenge has a couple of race lengths – 5k (3.1 miles), 10k (6.21 miles) , half marathon (13.1 miles), marathon (26.2 miles), 50k (31 miles), and 50 miles.
The events take place in the Marin Headlands, the course features scenic views with some drastic elevation change.
Guess what I did? I signed up. Duh. 50k. Go big or go home, right?
This will be my first 50k AND first trail race. I’m scared, nervous, excited and can’t wait to run it!
Now it’s time to read every article and blog on training for a 50k…
Do you have a favorite blog for training for an ultramarathon?
A few months ago I was invited to join team afterNUUN run, which was made up of San Francisco Marathon Ambassadors (an awesome writeup on each of team members can be found on Gametiime’s blog). Needless to say, I jumped at the chance!
We were split up into two vans (listed in runner leg order).
To add the already awesomeness of the team we were fortunate to have many generous sponsors!
Here we go!
I arrived in Orange County on Thursday. Met up with other team members at the airport. We then went to the rental car facility to pick up another mini-van #2. We stopped at Yard House for some lunch and a beer before heading to the hotel to check-in. Lucky for us there was a Target across the street from the hotel. We picked up a bunch of snacks, water and items to decorate the vans.
Later that evening we decided to run to Downtown Disney for dinner. It was a nice evening and run! We ended up having some delicious pizza at Naples. A few decided to run back to the hotel. While the rest of us opted to take the shuttle back.
The next morning we loaded up the vans, said our goodbyes to Van #2 and took off for the beach.
We had to sit through a mandatory safety meeting before we received our bibs. Afterward we decorated our van and anxiously waited for Keith to start the race.
12:45pm – it was time for Keith to start the race for team afterNUUN run! Off he went and so did we to the next exchange.
It was Friday evening and time for me to finally run. I was ready. I studied the route map, applied sunscreen and stretched. Yeah, I’m ready…I think. I waited at the exchange for Jordan (runner 3). The volunteer yelled out our team number. There she was! She handed off the slap bracelet and I was off.
My leg was pretty short, 2.7 miles. There were only a couple turns. Pretty easy.
The scenery was cars and more cars. I saw Angel Stadium in the distance. I knew I wasn’t far from the next exchange. At the traffic light was the Ragnar sign “Left”. The light was red. I waited and waited and waited until it finally turned green. Off I ran…left.
My Garmin showed that I only had a little bit to go. But I didn’t see the exchange. Where is everyone?! Oh no, I ran the wrong way! Doh! I ran back the way I came, which ended up being a mile. Yes, I ran a mile out of my way. Oh, THERE is the exchange. Doh. And there is Erin! SLAP! And off she went.
So much for studying the route map. However I did run faster than expected. Only 5 minutes later than my expected time.
It was now about 2:00am on Saturday. It was time for my second leg and my only nighttime leg.
I asked Chris to pace me during this leg. I wanted a solid run and knew that he could help me do that.
I heard our team number called. I saw Jordan running up. Off I go…again! Less than a minute into the run I asked Chris what the pace was, because it felt comfortable. He said 7:30. Whoa. I don’t ever run this fast…but I was and it felt great!
The route was flat and short, 4.10 miles. Not much to look at except the random jackrabbit running across the trail. We only passed one runner along the way. Before I knew it, we were at the exchange.
Thanks to Chris, I ran my fastest 4 miler ever. 7:37 minute pace!
My last leg. We were almost done! I was looking forward to real food, a beer, a shower and a long sleep in a real bed.
I planned to enjoy this last leg, not worry about pace and take it all in. There were a lot more runners on this leg than my previous legs. It was actually nice to run with other runners. I stayed behind a couple of runners for the first couple of the miles. Their pace was just right. Plus it allowed me to take in the awesome ocean view!
I knew there were a few hills on leg. They didn’t look too bad on paper. The first hill wasn’t that bad. But the second hill. The second hill was a beast! I started to run up the hill, but I just couldn’t. It was hot. I was tired and didn’t have it in me. So I walked/run to the top. On the way I started talking to two runners. We talked about where we were from and about Ragnar. Once we were within eyeshot of the exchange I said my goodbyes and passed off the slap bracelet to Erin.
And just like that. I was done.
To the beach!
Our last runner, Chris, made his way into the last exchange. Soon after we hightailed it to the beach! Van 1 was done! We waited for Van 2 to finish their legs and meet us at the beach to run to through the finish together. In the meantime we got lunch, hung out and relaxed.
A few hours later Van 2 arrived. We quickly made our way to the finishing chute and ran with our last runner Alisyn through to the finish line! 194 miles done!
Our official finish time was 26:40:57. We finished 8th in Mixed Open category and 24th overall. Not bad!
It was an amazing experience with a bunch of awesome runners. I would definitely run another relay with this group!
I arrived late Friday afternoon. I was a bit weary at the start about my right foot. I was having some issues with it a few weeks earlier. I tried to stay off of it as much as I could prior to Sunday.
The expo was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. My main goals were to pick up my bib, quickly check out the expo and stop by the San Francisco Marathon booth.
Bib pickup was easy and quick! Absolutely no lines or issues. Awesome.
I made a quick walkthrough the expo. Walked past all the usual expo vendors. Found the San Francisco Marathon booth. Chatted with them for a little bit and I was on my way.
For an early dinner we had some really good homemade spaghetti. I tried not to eat too much, but I failed. I was full and content.
I relaxed the rest of the evening, watched a movie, and laid out my clothes for the race. I double and triple checked to make sure I didn’t forget anything. I was asleep before 10:00PM.
Alarm went off at 5:00AM. I was up and ready within 20 minutes. We left for the start line at 5:30 and arrived just after 6:00AM.
Side note: They changed the entry route to the start line this year, but it didn’t add any additional time to get to the start.
A bunch of my fellow San Francisco Marathon Ambassadors were running too. We decided to meet at 6:30AM for a quick picture. After the picture I did some stretching, used the restroom and made my way over the to corrals.
The corrals were REALLY full. I couldn’t find my way into one until the gun went off around 7:30AM. I squeezed my way in. Slowly made my walk to the start line.
Mile 1-4. Ran out of Dodger Stadium and down past the Disney Concert Hall. Just after mile 4, I needed a bathroom ASAP. Luckily there was one right there with a very short line. I was in and out in under 2 minutes!
Mile 5-9. It was nice to see a lot of people lining the streets cheering everyone on. Feeling awesome running through Downtown LA!
Mile 10. Just entering Hollywood. Last year, at this mile I decided to take a DNF (read more about that here). I knew that that I would get somewhat emotional here. My eyes welled up a little bit. But then I had a huge smile on my face. I made it further than I did last year. Wooohoo!
Mile 10-12. I was still excited about making it past mile 10 AND I was feeling good. These miles were kind of a blur.
Mile 13.1. On Sunset Strip. Half way done! Feeling awesome. Foot felt good. I still had a lot of energy.
Mile 14-16. My right foot was starting to hurt. I tried to not run on the side of my foot that was hurting. Looking back I think that didn’t made the foot feel any better.
Mile 16-20. I had to run/walk. Foot wasn’t getting any better. It was getting warm. Every water station I ran by I grabbed some water.
Mile 21-24. Zombies everywhere. People just didn’t have anything left in them. It was now HOT. About 85 degrees. I was exiting the VA at the point. I tried to run when I could. As soon as my foot started to hurt I stopped and walked.
Mile 25-26.2. Almost to the ocean. Coming around the corner I could see the finish line! I decided to sprint the short distance to the finish line. I was done! SO excited. And really, really warm.
After I received my medal, I REALLY needed water at the finish. Unfortunately I didn’t see any close to the finish. I did see a cold, wet towel, which I grabbed. I did eventually find water, but it was a ways away. Ack.
Super excited about finish. Not so excited about my foot. Lots to think about and work on.
After two years of running (well a DNF and a finish) the LA Marathon, I think this will be a yearly race for me. I love the course and the weather!
I’m happy to announce I’ve been invited to be on the San Francisco Ambassador Ragnar SoCal team. The official name of the team is AfterNUUN Run.
This will be my first Ragnar. A Ragnar relay has been on my wish list for awhile. I’m excited to finally get to run one!
3 years ago my first race was the Seattle Marathon. I was undertrained and overconfident. Needless to say the race didn’t go as planned, which you can read here.
I woke up at 5:30AM sharp! Got ready and caught the bus to the Seattle Center. The bus was 5 minutes late, go figure! I arrived and walked fairly quickly to the start to get into the mass corral. Lucky I arrived with 15 minutes to spare. Though I didn’t have enough time to check in my bag. A friend was nice enough to hold it. I made my way to the corral, but for the life of me couldn’t find an opening through the barricades. Me, and everyone else, climbed over the barricades into the corral. I made it just in time. The National Anthem was starting.
BOOM! The gun goes off. It took a few minutes to get to the start line and for the crowd to open up. I started my Garmin. It was the last time I would look at it until the finish line. Miles 1 -4 were great! Running under the monorail tracks, through downtown and then eventually onto the I-90 Express Way. I was running at a comfortable pace. I felt really good.
After coming off I-90, the course turned onto Lake Washington Blvd. Miles 5-6 are my favorite miles of the entire course. Running by Lake Washington and the great views of the other side of the lake. This part seemed to go faster than I expected. I didn’t want to run too fast, so I ran behind people who were running a decent pace.
I knew what was coming up. The part of that course I wasn’t looking forward to, miles 7-9. Hills. Big hills. These hills kill my legs. I knew that I couldn’t power up them. I ran to the top of the first hill and had to walk for 30 seconds before running up the next hill. Geesh! Needless to say I was really happy when I was at the top.
Miles 10-12. I was starting to run out of steam. I popped a couple of Cytomax chews. It gave me the boost I needed to get through miles 10 and 11. Mile 12 was tough. I was spent! I knew I ran at race at a faster than I wanted to pace. Did I mention this race was the furtherest I ran since my ITBS injury earlier this year? And it was the first long run for my LA Marathon 2014 training.
The last mile I gave it my all. I knew the finish line was close. Before I knew it, I crossed the finish line. I did it! I got my revenge on the Seattle Half Marathon!
I finished in a faster time than I expected – 2:00:05. I planned on running a lot slower, easier pace and not pushing myself too much. Overall not a bad training run!