Category Archives: Seattle

Team Chocolate Milk interview: Jen Ator

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

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


Team Chocolate Milk interview: Apolo Ohno

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

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.

RunWithWes and Apolo Ohno

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.

Apolo Ohno After Rock 'n' Seattle

Apolo Ohno After Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle

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


Built With Chocolate Milk

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?



RECAP: Seattle (Half) Marathon 2013

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!

Moving Forward

Roughly a month ago I did not finish (DNF) the LA Marathon. Since then I have taken some time off from running to reflect and heal.

I have decided not to run Rock N Roll Portland Half Marathon in May to focus on rehabbing and strengthening my legs. Every race after that is also up in the air. I don’t want to jump back in too quickly.

However, there is one race that I do plan to run. But luckily that is much later in the year, which gives me plenty of time to train and be 100%. That race is (drum roll please!) the Amica Insurance Seattle Marathon!

In November of 2010 I ran the my 1st half marathon ever at the Seattle Marathon (see full post here). That didn’t go well as planned. Now it’s time for revenge. Back to where it all started. Yes, I will CRUSH the Seattle Marathon. I will be documenting my training up until the big day on December 1st, 2013.

Seattle Marathon Logo

This year I have been very fortunate to be a Seattle Marathon Ambassador! I’m very humbled and honored to be part of the Seattle Marathon Association. Full disclosure: They have provided me with a race entry as part of being a Seattle Marathon Ambassador.

Seattle Magazine’s Earth Day 5k

I’ve added another race to my schedule, the Seattle Magazine’s Earth Day 5k on April 20th!


From the Seattle Magazine’s site:

Check-In and race festivities will begin at Bell Harbor International Conference Center. From there, runners will head through the Olympic Sculpture Park and onto the Elliott Bay bike trail. Take in breathtaking views of the Olympics and the oceanfront we are all lucky to call home as you reach Centennial Park and circle back to the Bell Harbor pier for the finish line, complete with sustainable beer garden and awards ceremonies.

The exact race route can be found here.

To entice you to run with me, I have a 15% off discount code for you to use. On the registration form (click here to open a new window) enter RUNWITHWES13 in the coupon field.

I hope to see you there!

LA Marathon Training – Week #1

Good first week of training. Feels nice to be back in the groove of things!

I decided to switch from my Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 7’s to my Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11s. I switched because I felt that I needed more support and the ventilation on the Brooks isn’t as open as the Asics, thus keeping my feet warmer! Luckily the Brooks have a couple of hundred miles left on them. I will definitely be looking into a shoe that is between a Noosa and an Adrenaline.

My training is a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday schedule with Saturday being the long run.

Tuesday – 3 Miles
Weather: 47 degrees
Actual Miles: 3.00
Pace: 9:31
Time: 28:46
Notes: Start of my LA Marathon training! Didn’t feel like running, because I just didn’t feel good. Managed to squeeze out 3 painful miles.

Wednesday – 3 Miles
Weather: 50 degrees
Actual Miles: 3.00
Pace: 9.23
Time: 28:01
Notes: Felt blah! Body just didn’t want to run. The weather was perfect – dry and sunny. A chatty fellow asked how many I was running. People were outside being super chipper.

Thursday – 3 Miles
Weather: 46 degrees
Actual Miles: 3.01
Pace: 8:57
Time: 27:01
Notes: Better than my previous two days. Felt a lot better. However, my legs were a bit sore.

Saturday – 6 Miles
Weather: 50 degrees
Actual Miles: 6.18
Pace: 9:23
Time: 58:12
Notes: Picked a course with a LOT of uphill. Super hilly! Probably not the best idea for week 1 training. Around mile 2 I felt like I had absolutely no energy, then got a nice burst of energy around mile 3. Not a bad 6 miles. Overall a good run and end of week 1!

Total Week #1: 15.19 miles
Total LA Marathon Training: 15.19 miles

Lab Rat

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to Brooks Running headquarters in Bothell, Washington to be a Brooks Running Lab Rat.

What does that mean? Basically it means that I tested some running shoes. Now I can’t go into any details about how or what I tested. But it was a lot of fun! I hope to be invited back for future testing!

For my efforts, I did get this sweet shirt!

Calf Tightness

Lately I haven’t been running as much as I normally do. Earlier in the year I had a tight calf muscle. I went to a Physical Therapist (PT) and they worked the muscles for a few weeks. This seems like the same injury. But, thankfully, not even as bad. I’ve been rolling the calf muscle out every night. Icing and ibuprofen during the day. It seems to be getting A LOT better!

I ran through injuries or tight muscles when I first started running years ago. As I gained experience, knowledge and patience as a runner, I learned to not run through injuries or tight muscles and that rest is your friend! I’m taking it slow with this calf muscle tightness. Not going to put high mileage on it until it feels right again.

It should be good in about 2 weeks. Definitely more time then is needed, but I’d rather be safe than sorry!

6 months ago, this happened.

Back in May on a tyical Friday afternoon I left work early. Rode my usual buses to the University District to make my way home. I hopped onto bus 43 at it’s first stop. I boarded, swiped my bus pass, said hi to the driver, and sat down in a seat in the middle of the bus. A few minutes later the bus departed for its second stop on the route. I checked email on my phone like I normally do.

The bus stopped at the second stop. Four people boarded including a lady in a wheelchair, which took a little longer since the bus driver has to use the lift. He strapped her in with the seat belts to secure the wheelchair. The bus waited at the red light for a few seconds before it turned green. We were off…

Just as the bus was almost through the intersection a stolen SUV (which I did not know at the time) slams into the left side of the bus, just below the bus driver’s seat.

I feel the push of whatever it was (at the time I had no idea what happened). I say, “Oh shit!” I then look right to see a police officer running down the street. I still have no idea what’s going on.

I ask if everyone is ok. Two passengers look at me with blank stares. I could see they were ok, because they were standing and starting to dial numbers on their phones. The lady in the wheelchair slumped over with head almost touching the floor. I lift her back into her wheelchair so that she is sitting upright. She complained of hip pain. I run up to the driver and ask if he is ok. He says, “I just need a little time to relax.” I ask the other passenger of they are ok. A passenger tells me they hit their head. I can see the mark of their makeup where their head hit the metal box behind the driver. I go to the lady in the wheelchair. I feel helpless as I can’t really do anything else than comfort her and tell her it will be alright. She asks me if I can call someone for her. I pick her iPhone off the floor and find the person she wants me to call for her. I hold the phone up to her ear so she can talk to them. The phone rang a few times after, each time I held the phone to her ear so she could talk to them. During this time police and paramedics boarded the bus. They asked for everyone’s information.

The paramedics first removed the bus driver from the bus on a backboard, then the the person with the head injury and last the lady in the wheelchair. They had to lift the lady out of her wheelchair to get her off the bus. The wheelchair was broken, taking her with the wheelchair was not an option. As they were taking her off the bus her phone rang. The caller asked where they were taking her. I asked the paramedics and relayed the information to the caller. I hung up, handed the phone to the paramedics and walked off the bus. I caught another bus home. A short time later I was contact by the TV station.

It was a surreal day.

I could not upload the video to my blog. Here is a link to the KIRO interview. Police chase ends in busy U-District intersection crash

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