What Does Champion Mean?

Raw effort. Muscles, tendons, ligaments. Lungs working. Heart pumping. Shoes that cover your feet, or go without and run along the ocean or in the soft grass. The rawness of running creates a perfect beauty that makes the movement human’s natural progression.

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The world constantly turns over more need for gadgetry. Sports are evolving into lifestyles where investments the size of mortgages and college tuitions are everywhere. What does it leave us I ask? Where do we stand after it’s over? When the wind blows are you listening to what it is saying or blocking out what you don’t want to hear. Are we living in a state of denial?

 

I question if we have lost the meaning and reason behind our first steps. Why did you take that first run? What was it like the very first time you ever bought a pair of running shoes? Why did you buy them, what inspired you?

 

And that first bike ride. I mean all the way back to that very special day the training wheels were taken off your bike. Do you remember when that trusting parent or friend let go of the broomstick that stuck up from your bike and you rode away to the cheers of everyone behind you. Now that my friends, is natural progression. There was not much concern of how much money your bike cost or what components it housed.

 

And what about that first time you got in the pool? Maybe the first time you made it from one end to the other. And then talked about it for the next week.

 

I am frustrated that so many today have lost the joy and seem to only be looking for the next way to place higher, go faster, win more; and they look outside of their soul. They say, “there has to be something I can find, I can have, I need”.

 

My friends, you need to look inside. That is often the answer.


There is something about running. I often don’t even like referring to it as a sport only because to me it is something more raw and beautiful. You can’t buy shoes to make you run faster, clothes to make you lighter and more aero-dynamic, or something to carry you over hills and mountains. It is just you. You have to confront yourself, face your fears, understand your goals, enjoy every step you take for each step is a wonderful gift, and be blessed that we have so much to explore within ourselves internally and externally, with just using what we have. That my friends is what makes a champion inside and out.

What’s New? Nut Butters, Nathan, and Compression!

So was asked recently what are some of your favorite must haves!!! Ha, the list is long and varied so thought what better place to start writing about them.

 

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Pocket Fuel 

Let’s start with nut butter!! Always a fan of peanut butter but in the past few years have tried to stay away from peanuts as much as possible. Research has shown that other nuts have increased benefit for your health and now we have so much more to choose from out there, so why stop at peanut butter. But, then I found a product called Pocket Fuel  , Pocket Fuel Naturals was founded in Oregon, by athletes for athletes. To fuel athletes with natural, many are vegan, gluten free, whole real food. There line of nut butters and now cold brew coffee energy shots are amazing. These products have saved me many times before, during, and after workouts. Even first thing in the morning perfect for a treat before a training session on a piece of toast or waffle with a shot of espresso or soy cappuccino.

 

 

IMG_7705Fusion Compression Sleeves

Many ask, do they really work? Won’t I just get hot wearing them. No and no? I am a firm believer in compression sleeves and socks for training and racing. Fusion PWR Tubes compression sleeves are the best on the market without doubt! There have been years of research done to prove the benefit of increased circulation and oxygen delivery to the muscles. Sure, you will always get someone who will find something contrary to wearing them, but I choose to wear them for both training and recovery. Usually not both on a given day. If I train in them I will not put them on immediately after for recovery. If I choose not to use them for training that day, I will use them for recovery following the workout. I will often sleep in the socks but never the sleeves as you can get pooling under the ankle of the sleeve band (better to use the socks to sleep in or for driving/flying). I feel Fusion has developed a top of the line compression sleeve, the fit is right on, staying in place and proving graduated compression. They are comfortable when on for extended periods of time and stay nice and cool when training in hot climates such as Arizona. I don’t go anywhere without a pair of compression sleeves or socks when training hard or racing. Thanks Fusion for providing athletes with the very best apparel on the market.

 

 

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Nathan Sports

What doesn’t this company provide us athletes with these days, thanks Nathan! But most importantly Nathan has provided me a way to hold water and hydration for more than a decade of my life. My absolute favorite would be my insulated QuickShot Plus. For me it is the perfect size for most of my runs, and I can often find a spot to refill it. It is insulated so my water stays cool in the Arizona heat. It hits perfectly in my hand and the pocket can easily hit some money, a key, and any other small necessity. I have many other Nathan products that are part of my must haves as well, which will be reviewed soon!!!! Thanks Nathan for providing athletes so many ways to stay hydrated, in addition to a huge assortment of other products to use out playing on the roads and trails.

 

 

 

Step Out.

Ever wonder what it would feel like to step out of your comfort zone? Not to just slightly challenge yourself but to really step way out of the circle. To really change things up. Would it be scary? Would it come with some doubt? Would you question yourself? Yes. Yes. and Yes.

Would it also provide excitement? Would you wake up each day with those good butterflies curious of what the day would hold? With energy to begin the adventure. Yes. Yes. and Yes.

I have recently had some extra time to think. Time to think of how I plan to Step Out. To challenge myself and take myself to a whole different level. It will require sacrifice, courage, dedication, determination, and my never wavering faith.

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We are all different in what we choose in life to do with our days. Thankfully not many have seen or felt what I have and so moving forward I choose a path of passion, to live each day using my gifts of helping others in sport as my profession. I also use those gifts and passions to step out to find new places further outside of myself, a place I dream of and will someday be.

I hear so many talk about the “I wish I had” late in their lives. I have heard those that have had their lives cut short say to me “if only I had”. I ask you my friends to not wait because I am not going to. I have seen life and just how fragile it can be personally. I have felt the fear, the deep down fear that makes you shake and pray for another day.

So I will step out and go further, live life with positive energy flowing through me, surround myself with those that support my passion for living the “I did’s” and not the “I wish I had’s”, and “Know I can do all things through Christ who strengths me” Philippians 4:13

I have some huge goals, they will require a lot of myself. All I can give is all of myself and a lot of prayer. I am excited for what the future will hold and know that without big goals and dreams, we will never grow. I want to grow, to continue to learn; I will forever be a student. When you stop learning, you stop living. One step at a time but I will be stepping out in some big ways and that will be fun! I hope to always inspire others to do the same.

My Heavenly Father, friends and family, coach Frank, and all those who support me are my rock. It’s journey and with faith it will be a success.

Shoe Review: Newton Running Distance Elite

I have been wearing Newton Running Shoes for about 4 years and have loved them since the first run in them. In the past 4 years I have run in the Newton Gravity, Distance, and Terra Momentum (one of their earlier trail specific shoes). I was super excited to try the Distance Elite!

The Elite has the classic 4 lug system with a seamless upper. The upper is also constructed with open mesh and is fast drying, ideal for warm weather temperatures and triathletes. The lacing pattern is asymmetrical making it even more comfortable to wear without socks and for extended periods of time, even when the foot swells. The day after the shoe arrived it was time to take them out for a short run. The shoe felt very fast, light and my stride felt effortless. The power transfer from toe-off was very responsive. The shoe is firm but that is what translates to responsiveness and most often speed.

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For the majority of my runs, I prefer to not feel the shoe on my foot. I don’t like something cumbersome or to soft, which often causes my running technique to be less mechanically efficient. There is a fine line between having to much shoe and not enough and I prefer to go towards the theory of “less is more” as long as the runner is sufficiently protected for their individual needs and orthopedic considerations.

The Distance Elite has a 2mm heel- to- toe drop allowing proper natural running technique and weighs (women’s) approx. 6.2 oz.

I plan to use the Elite’s for track workout’s and as a half-marathon and marathon racing shoe as well as eventually a racing flat for Olympic Tri’s, 70.3 and eventually IM.

Newton Running once again, produced a great shoe allowing athletes to run more efficiently, with less chance of injury, and as a result faster. Thanks Newton Running !!! #HelloBetter

Register for Your Own Journey

Internal dialogue, questions, dreams, wondering, asking, listening, praying ….

I have done a lot of the above in the last couple years. I have started and stopped, re-started, trained, planned, re-written the plan, revised the plan, run through the plan, trying to defy the odds and create success. Challenges of health and set-backs stemming from a past cycling accident have challenged me to the core. The problem was that while I was trying to create success I was not fully embracing it. It was forced, it was not done with freedom but it was for all the wrong reasons.

When you want to be better at anything your mind must change, you must change as a person. You must face all your fears. With success comes being terrified and with being terrified comes growth. One should embrace fear and not run from it. We need to be as comfortable with hugging fear as we are hugging our favorite stuffed animal each night; knowing it will not ever leave us. If we are not afraid we will never grow. We must embrace fear and allow it with us on the journey.

What I have discovered is that life is not at all about the destination we will achieve. It is not about how many mph we went cycling or running or how much money we made. It isn’t about how much our car is worth verses our neighbors. It really doesn’t matter if you have $500 in your wallet and I have $5 .. What does matter is that your mind is at peace with where you stand today and where you are headed tomorrow.

When I go out with my Dad on Sunday mornings to cycle. We take the mountain bikes and head up Talus through the peaceful neighborhood looking out over the mountains and golf course. We ave 8-10mph together and we chat about the scenery and the week past and ahead. Not once do I think, “wow, on my training rides I ave 18+ mph.. I could go so much faster”. I know many would but it’s the journey, it’s not about the destination. Sometimes we have to slow way down to realize what we are missing. TODAY I DID.

Today I said, I am done caring and trying to pretend. As the best male Russian figure skater, Evgeni Plushenko, said after pulling out seconds before his Olympic skate, “I am human, I am not a robot”

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I will do my very best, compete my my highest level, my goals to race at the highest level have not changed, where that level is, only God knows. I will do my best, but I will only do what makes me happy. What I have missed is that I have not embraced or had fun in the past 3-5 years of running and cycling. I have NOW chosen to find balance, I will choose to race and train but not at the expense of cherishing each step along with my many friends in the sport. I know not every day of training and every workout will be fun and enjoyable but I run because it makes my heart beat faster, it makes me fall asleep with a smile, and wake with the same smile, it helps give purpose to my days, and has given me courage to get through some of the most terrifying moments of my life. I have chosen it’s time to care less about pleasing others and more about making sure my mind is in the right place. I am grateful for a fantastic Coach, PT, doctors, and friends. I am very excited for the fun times the future will bring and the success that will come as a result.

I am 100% physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually invested in running and what ever else God has planned for me. Blood, sweat, and tears are part of success and without it, it’s only a fake fantasy. Rich Roll has helped me realize that it is so crucial to detach from the end result, Let It Go! It’s irrelevent.

Register for YOUR journey.

Brachial Plexus Surgery… Staying Positive

Many know that last week Monday I went into Barrow Neuro Institute / St. Joseph’s to undergo brachial plexus surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. After a year + of neck pain and arm weakness/numbness, a diagnosis was made. Dr. Nicholas Theodore and Dr. Mark Mahan took out the cervical rib, scalene muscles, tissue, and all else that was causing trouble. Surgery was a success. So incredibly grateful for these amazing surgeons. Went into surgery around noon-ish and parents told me got into recovery room around 3:30/ ish and was up to my hospital room around 8 PM. Ended up staying in the hospital until late Friday. The first few days in the hospital were BRUTAL!!! I think an equal combo of the pain from surgery and the effects of the pain medication. A double edged sword. For the record I HATE pain killers and since I left the hospital I have only taken tylenol. …. which has made some moments more painful than others but thankfully no side effects of the pain killers. I am breathing into the breathing thing, aerobic capacity training??? And as long as I don’t let my clavicle rise breathing isn’t to bad. Also, ice is a wonderful thing!!!!

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As far as the actually neck incision it’s a little gruesome now but the Dr. promises it will not look like much in a few months. Phew. Good thing as I like to sport 2 piece swim suits and tank tops !!! As for now I am not doing to much, being monitored by my parents. They think Reese PB Cups and M&Ms are healing and they think I need to gain weight, not exactly what I’m thinking as my training has gone to a big fat ZERO. … but I am eating the Reese just because, well you can not NOT eat them when they are next to you and moving them hurts more than eating them 😉

Getting lots of computer time and catching up on blogs too. Walking 2-3 times a day for 20 minutes. Hoping to increase the walks a bit and start riding the bike on the trainer soon. I get to start PT this coming Monday back at Endurance Rehab, best place for PT and training and I miss the gang a ton. I am hoping to be back running by the new year and I see the surgeons next week Tuesday, so will know more then. Fingers crossed.

I am super excited for what 2014 will bring in both personal, professional, and my athletic career. I am happy to have the surgery behind me even though there have (I won’t lie) been a few moments were the pain and frustration in the last few days has gotten me down. I will do my best to chronicle the comeback here and be completely honest, the highs and the lows. But let’s all remember, regardless of the situation, it’s how we choose to respond. I choose to stay positive and be optimistic…. it’s worked so far!!!

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Incision and (yes) quite a bit of swelling. #OperationRehab Day 8.

Dick Beardsley, a little Q & A

Dick Beardsley, a world class distance runner, is not only a great friend of mine but someone I highly look up to. Dick’s close finish with Alberto Salazar in the 1982 Boston Marathon is a moment in running history that will be remembered forever. Dick’s 2:08:53 at that Boston Marathon is a time many of us can’t even imagine. Not only is Dick an amazing person, friend, Coach, and motivational speaker. He also has written a book, “Staying the Course”, where he talks of overcoming much adversity through his life.  In 2010, he was inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame.

I couldn’t be more grateful to have learned so much from Dick, call him a friend, and continue learning from someone so talented and willing to help others through all he does.

Dick Beardsley and I, Boston Marathon weekend

Dick Beardsley and I, Boston Marathon weekend

Q: When and how did you get started in running?
Dick: I started running in 1973 as a junior in high school. I went out for XC thinking I could earn a letter jacket and get a girlfriend. I finally earned my letter jacket as a senior and got a girlfriend at the same time!
Q: Who were some of your biggest role models growing up? 
Dick: My best friend in high school George Ross. He was a year a head of me but was a real stud when it came to running. His dad and my Godfather Joe Ross was right there also as he was so encouraging of my running. He would time me doing repeats out in their cow pasture and came to all my meets even after George graduated.
Q: What are 3 lessons you wish you would have learned earlier in your running career? 
Dick: Recovery, Recovery, Recovery! 
Q: There seems to be different schools of thought on the benefits of higher mileage vs. lower mileage and higher intensity, you do quite a bit of coaching; what are your thoughts on these components of a training program? 
Dick: I’m a firm believer in combining both of them together. It can be a little dangerous from a standpoint of injury but if you are really trying to get the most out of your running my feeling is you have to combine high mileage along with intensity.
Q: You talk in your book, Staying The Course, about the addiction struggles you faced while recovering from a serious injury; have you found that your ability to run has given you strength in overcoming those addiction struggles? 
Dick: I don’t think you ever completely overcome a addiction but my running definitely helps to keep it at bay, but the minute I think I’ve overcome it, I’m in trouble.
Q: For those dealing with injury or illness. I frequently tell people that are trying to overcome adversity, endorphins are a powerful drug. Would you agree? How has being an athlete helped you through the years of comebacks from injuries, etc. And even if you can’t run, what cross-training have you done or do you recommend for runners to stay sane while injured. 
Dick: I for sure agree that your own endorphins are a powerful drug! The best cross-training devise I’ve ever found is the ElliptiGO ( www.elliptiGO.com ) Its like a elliptical machine but even better as its about as close to running as you can get without actually running plus you can go all over the countryside on it! 
Q: Your favorite inspirational book? Favorite inspirational movie? 
Dick: Favorite inspirational book: “The Little Engine that Could” Favorite inspirational movie: Hands down its “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed
Q: Biggest attributes needed in dealing with adversity? 
Dick: Positive Attitude!
Q: You have a new recovery drink on the market? Tell us about that? What is your approach to nutrition? 
Dick: I’m very excited about my new Endurance & Recovery drink mix! It not only helps hydrate you but also helps reduce lactic acid buildup which is huge to running longer and faster! As far as my approach to nutrition, I really don’t have any! I eat when I’m hungry and don’t eat when I’m not. My body pretty much tells me what it wants. Sometimes its a steak, or fish or pasta, etc. I do take a multivitamin along with NuBound and a iron supplement.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
Dick: I’ve been running for 40+ years now and love it as much today as I ever have! I can’t even dream running 2:08 marathons anymore but at almost 58 years of age I still enjoy training and racing and seeing how much I can still get out of myself! 
Check out Dick Beardsley’s website http://dickbeardsley.com  … Dick is someone that can inspire us all, whether runner or not.