The 18 Miler (insert scary music here)

Today we’ll learn the importance of making smart choices, how to overcome a mental challenge, and maybe that it’s a good idea to read a paper or check the news a few days each week.

On Sunday morning, my running partner in crime, Lisa and I had planned to do our 18 mile run from Blackie’s Pasture in Tiburon down to Sausalito, over the Golden Gate Bridge and along the waterfront to the SF Ferry Building.  We were meeting at 7:30am.

At 7:00am I’m eating my oatmeal, getting dressed and decided to click on the news.  “(gunfire) – and that’s the start of the San Francisco Rock N Roll Half Marathon” says the announcer.  I quickly go to my computer and Google the race and more importantly the course.  Sure enough, our route is a large chunk of their route including the bridge, which I can tell you from previous races turns into a large and mighty CF when thousands of people descend.

Add to that the fact that unless  you are crazy, you don’t “crash” a race – especially since by the time we would be getting to SF it would be after the race had been going for 3 hours and it would be “walker central” (not that there’s anything wrong with walkers, they are just hard to maneuver around).  It’s just poor form.

Crap.  Crap.  Crap.  I call Lisa and we immediately decide to meet as usual but we’ll have to go another route.  I hopped onto and came up with our Plan B.  (Remember, always have a Plan B)

The replacement route looked good on paper.  We’d go out on the path from Blackie’s pasture into downtown Tiburon, up and past the turret until we hit 3.5 miles.  Then back  to the car to drop layers and grab a GU or Sport Beans to refuel.  From there we’d head out another 5.5  miles behind Tiburon around Richardson Bay, up and over the freeway, down the road to the Mill Valley Middle School and along the path to Sausalito and then turn back.  18.  Cool.

Except in my haste of planning a new route at the last minute I made 2 huge errors that affected our mental running, more than anything else.  And with any mental challenges, they won’t stop us from the task at hand but I swear, it will make for less than an enjoyable day.  And on an 18 mile run you really, really, really want to minimize any discomfort 🙂 Mental or physical.

My first mistake happened at the beginning.  I know that I should never go back to a place that I can either get in and drive away or go in and not come back out.  That’s why I always advise running away from your home or car and not doing laps around it or having to come back to it when you say, have 11 more miles to run.

Something else that I didn’t expect but became apparent as I approached my car was that I’ve run the path in Tiburon so many times that I’ve conditioned myself to be done when I come back to the car.  So, lo and behold when I arrived back at the parking lot, had my GU and was ready to go. I wasn’t really ready to go.  I was ready to go home.   Grr.

My second mistake is more of a character flaw so we won’t call it an actual mistake.    Hill amnesia.  I easily forget how steep or hilly a route can be.  Happened here.  My bad.

Here’s some back story; I would rather eat glass than run on The Great Highway in San Francisco and the path between the Mill Valley Middle School and Sausalito.

Unfortunately, Plan B included I figured a mile out and back on the Mill Valley Path to Hell. I thought since we wouldn’t be on it that long it would be tolerable.  Wrong. give it all you 've got

Flat.  Hot.  Boring.  Lots of bikers in their fancy logo pants, zipping by at speeds that cannot be safe and the talking.  Why do they have to talk so much and so loudly?  (Sorry, I was in a bad place yesterday!)

Add to that, I couldn’t quite remember what marker I had “dinged” as our turnaround point.  So I had to look at my stinking Garmin.  A lot.  Nothing will stop time faster than your 7 year old’s tee-ball game or glancing at your Garmin every 2 seconds to see if you’ve hit 12.5 miles yet.  Nothing.

And then it came.  12.5 miles.  I stopped dead in my tracks and turned around.  And for that last 5.5 miles it was a much better run.  Refill the water bottle at the fountain.  Head down.  Music turned up.  Run.  Sip of water.  Run. Up the hill.  Down.  Back up the hill (really?).  Down.  Flat then up the hill.  Oy.  I wanted to walk really, really, really badly but this girl was struggling up that hill on her bike and I refused to walk.  Pride – isn’t that one of the 7 Deadly Sins?

Finally, down the last hill and a coast into the parking lot.  18.  Done.

Back to this pride thing.  My husband once said that the only way I’d ever come off a race course is by being carried off of it.  And while we laugh about how stubborn I can be, he’s right.  Quitting sucks.  And I know that if I gave in to my head yesterday I would have been really unhappy.   And I firmly believe that having a really mentally challenging run during training is a necessary evil.

So yes, it was a tough run but I know that we’re prepared for any glitch or problem that comes up during the race.  We’ve got this.


Now go run!

Keli 🙂



No Short-Cuts to Training

I love running and love training for races.  I enjoy the structure, the focus, discipline and the satisfaction of completing these long runs.  With that said, make no mistake, long runs are long.

And no matter how pretty a course or how interesting the route we (Lisa, my running partner in crime and I) select, a long training run doesn’t get very exciting.  Trust me,  I try.  I pour over in an effort to find new, different and interesting runs.  I try and mix the trails with the road and have come up with some really cool runs.  But, at the end, a long run is long.  🙂

While it may sound like I hate the long runs, I don’t.   I appreciate and respect what the long run is designed to do; prepare me mentally and physically for a longer run.  A 16 mile run gets me to an 18 mile run.  That 18 mile run takes me to the 20 mile run, which then gets me ready for my race.   It all boils down to time on your feet and working through the mental garbage that screams “you really should take a break”.

Last weekend Lisa and I tackled our 16 mile run and  it was a good, but challenging run.  We had some hills and some flats.  We ran from the water, up and over a hill then back down to the water again, along a path leading to a trail, up the trail to the top of the trailhead then down towards the beach.  And then we turned around and headed back.  All in all, we ended the run feeling strong and confident.  Sure, we were tired and a little stiff but that feeling of accomplishment is huge and will carry us far.

This weekend we are doing our 18 mile run.  From Tiburon to the Ferry Building in San Francisco.  We’re trying something new, a one way route.  Lisa and I have run many parts of this route before, just not in this particular configuration.

But we’ll lace up our shoes, grab our Gu’s, a few bucks for coffee (and the Ferry ride home) and head on out.   ‘Cause that’s how we roll, or run.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

PS – the lesson from today, boys and girls, is that whether you are running 18 miles or a mile and a half, the feeling you get when you finish should motivate and encourage you.





Spring Fling

Back in the day.  Waaaay back in the day (pre kids, pre marriage) when I used to “go to the gym” I loved the Lifecycle.  I’d bring a magazine, my clear plastic magazine holder, my Walkman and grab a bike.
After adjusting the seat so I was 3 holes “high”, I’d hop on, take my workout towel, fold it over so I could rest my arms on the handlebars, pop on my headphones, turn on my cassette deck and start to pedal.  And I’d pedal at 1 speed for 30 minutes.  When done, I’d wipe my machine down, do a quick round through the weight machine and off I’d go.  3 days a week.
I did also take a Hip Hop class a few times a week when I thought I needed some new dance moves.  You can only imagine how good I was.  LOL
My, times have changed.  Intensity.  Focus.  Power.  Speed.  Strength.  Agility.  All of these components are wrapped into workouts today.  Cross Fit has introduced the concept of heavy lifting to the masses.  Tabata has taught us to work super, duper hard for 4 minutes.  Stadium workouts, indoor or outdoor boot camps bust our butts up and down stairs, across gym floors and over football fields.  Zumba, well, Zumba has shown us that it’s ok for us to move and dance, no matter what size or dance ability we posses.
Now, there are plenty of people who still go to the gym and hit the machines for their workouts and that’s ok.  My thinking is that whatever gets you off the couch and bathed in sweat is a good thing.  I am the kind of fitness geek that gets excited with new fitness trends and try to incorporate them in my classes.
I always joke that I wish I had trailer behind my truck so I could load it up with ropes, tires, Bosu’s, medicine balls, kettle bells, TRX straps and any other bit of equipment I could get my hands on.  Maybe even a mobile Hip Hop class.
Hey, you never know…
Now go run!
Keli 🙂



Back on the Wagon Wednesday

As a fitness professional, my job is to motivate, provide inspiration, train safely and effectively while creating an atmosphere where people can  get stronger and improve their fitness levels.   And have fun.  🙂

I’ve had my fair share of clients come and go.  Sometimes the class (or me) isn’t their cup of tea.  Sometimes it’s just too early, too dark, too cold, or all of the above. I understand this and try not to take it personally.  You can’t please everyone.

Sometimes, however, people simply fall off the wagon and can’t get back on. This, I feel, is my biggest challenge.  How to re-motivate and encourage someone to come back to class (mine, or anyone else’s for that matter) and continue their fitness journey?

After a lot of research, motivation tactics and other tricks of the trade I’ve been able to narrow down the process to 2 words.

Just.  Go.

Don’t think.  Don’t snooze.  Don’t make excuses.

Just.  Go.

Get your workout clothes prepared the night before or even sleep in them if need be.  Get the kids’ cereal out, bowls on the table and their backpacks packed.

Just. Go.

And when you get home, put a big, fat, gold star on your calendar.  You did good.  Be proud.

Then repeat the process until you don’t have to push yourself out the door.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

HHJJ Redux

I’m all for equality so today I’m going to share the things I loved about my

Same route, same distance, nothing cranky about it!

1.  Daffodils.  Thanks to whoever plants bulbs in random spots in the ‘hood.  Daffys make me smile.

2.  Props to the Port-A-Potty at Marinwood Park.   Relatively clean and not too stinky.

3. A lovely sunrise.

4.  Chilly but not cold.  Short sleeve running rocks!

5.  Well behaved, leashed pooches.  Good doggie!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Happy Happy Joy Joy

My run was great today.  With that said, you all know that I “process” a lot while on my runs.  Sometimes I plot my day, figure out my schedule or do some planning.  Sometimes I “write” my blog in my head as I run along and sometimes I have arguments with people that I have issues with.  (Have I mentioned that I’m diametrically opposed to conflict?)

Today I got a bit annoyed during my run at various outside forces so I thought I’d share them.  Because we all put our cranky shorts on one leg at a time…

1.  If I’m able to squeak out a breathless “morning” as I’m climbing a hill, at least you can reply in kind.  Or nod, or give me the finger.  Some kind of acknowledgement that we are sharing space on the planet at this particular moment in time.

2. Our neighborhood has the least illuminating street lights, probably on earth.  Are real bulbs too expensive?  And while I’m speaking of street lamps, why so few?

3.  Stop signs are not a “suggestion”.

4.  Skunks should have a glowing white stripe.  For the second time in two weeks I was ambling along with a sudden realization it wasn’t a cat running next to me.

5.  If you drive, please stay in your lane.  The bike lane belongs to those of us not surrounded by a few tons of metal.

6.  Don’t let your dog  jump up at me.  Or chase me.  And I don’t care if “he’s friendly”.  Your pooch has caused me to stop running and I forgot to pause my Garmin.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂