What Is Will Be

Hi guys, hope everyone is enjoying Summer time. It’s getting warm in AZ, but I don’t mind to much. It’s better than the bitter cold of WI winters.

Been thinking lately about acceptance again. We often try to plan ahead. We lay out a schedule, write it in our planners or set it into our calendars on our phones so that we know what to do each day. Whether it’s work, training, social, racing. We have a plan. Then life happens. Business plans fall through, vacation, we get hurt or sick, loved ones pass away, etc,.

We have to adjust. We have to accept. It forces us to think, reflect, ask questions. Sometimes hard ones and sometimes painful. But also it forces us to grow. We step up to the plate. We leave our comfort zone (we are often forced to whether we want to or not).


In the last 6 months I have cried many times, been scared, been angry BUT I have also grown to be stronger. I have laughed often, I have had fun in exploring new journeys, and setting new challenging goals for myself. I have learned to sit back and ask questions, to live in the present more and the future less.

We all have adversity, it crops up and some days it feels like it might never go away but it will and your attitude towards it will determine how much you let it overcome you.

While watching Amy Van Dyken as she courageously tackles rehab for her spinal cord injury, her relentless energy and spirit inspires and reminds that we must adapt. We must find a way. There is always a way. Her bravery is incredible and I have no doubt she will do incredible things and accomplish way more than any of us think possible.

It might not be what you had scheduled in the beginning, there will be new chapters and new journeys, accept what it is and what it will be.

… What Is Will Be – Live Life To The Fullest, Have Fun and Have No Regrets


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.



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.




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.




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.


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

Building a Foundation. Quantity AND Quality

The importance of a foundation…

I was asked the other day by an athlete on my opinion of quality of quantity. What is better? What do I believe in?

That is not a simple one word answer sorry to say. Said athlete seemed frustrated. There is a method to the madness of getting to the starting line whether it be a 5K, 10K, marathon, sprint triathlon, or ironman. It’s a process and you need a foundation.

Do I believe in quantity? Yes

Do I believe in quality? Yes

I have coached hundreds of athletes and have worked with athletes from ages 5 to 65 … those that can’t run a mile to those that are training to run close to 100 miles at a time. There is not an athlete out there that does not need to build a foundation (base) of muscular strength and aerobic capacity as he/she starts their training. If I see one more article stating that there is absolutely no need for easy aerobic training and only HIIT (High-intensity interval training) for endurance athletes will improve their performance, I will simply loose my mind. HIIT training without aerobic conditioning can just as easily lead to over-use injury and over-training syndrome. Think of it this way…

If the foundation of a house (an athlete’s muscular strength, connective tissue strength , tendon/ligament strength) is not strong enough; would it be intelligent to put a roof on top. The roof could and most likely would cause the foundation to crack and break down. This is exactly how athletes break down. When additional stimulus is added and the foundation of strength (or lack of) is not there to support it.


How can this be fixed?

Athletes can build a good foundation with a combination of SMART training build-up. I was listening this morning to a podcast with Rich Roll (an extremely talented triathlete and Ultraman) and Vinnie Tortorich (a ridiculously talented ultra cyclist and personal trainer for decades). Both these athletes have awesome podcasts on itunes that I highly recommend. I was listening to them agree on the importance of building a good base for further develop.

Whether you are a runner, cyclist, or a triathlete. Building a base need not be difficult, painful, or dreaded. Run easy, listen to your body. Pick some new routes, head for the trails, meet a friend. If you are going for a really long ride or run. Start out early. Get in an hour or two, then meet up with friends for a bit, then after they are done if you need to finish up on your own just get it done.  Remember though that the payoff is that you will have the foundation that you can add the roof to.

Quality? Yes, that is EXTREMELY important as well. In the past with my own training I have sometimes overlooked the quality component and hung on to the quantity component a bit to long. It is because I am a “distance” runner and athlete at heart. I love the endurance component but what I have found is that when the adequate foundation is built by adding quality work, this is where huge gains can be made. I often see athletes, especially distance runners and endurance athletes making the mistake of trying to maintain high training volume when training intensity increases. This can spell disaster. One component of your training will and should give a little. Make sure you keep balance in your training. If intensity increases, volume should decrease a bit.

There is such a delicate balance and fine line and unfortunately it is a bit different with each athlete. The concepts are similar, the individual athlete specifics differ. That’s why there are coaches.

With every athlete I coach, communication is the most important component! Listen to your body. Athletes have mastered the art of denial. If something hurts, listen to it. If you are not seeing improvement despite focused consistent training, you need to take a serious look at what you are doing and see what needs to change. But most important you need to have fun while doing it.

I had to laugh when Vinnie told a story on the podcast I was listening to. He told of a time when someone pulled over and asked if if he needed a ride while he was out training, he commented back something like “No, I want to be out here”

Reminded me of a time just a few years ago I was out doing a long run in the rain, a beautiful Sunday morning in Wisconsin just before sunrise. A little old lady pulled over on her way to church and said “sweetie, you are awfully wet, I will dry you off and take you home now”. I could not have been in a more happy place out there running in the rain, I smiled, and said “no thanks, I’m good :-)”

Whether it be training or in life. We need a foundation.

As I face a pretty scary neck surgery in less than 2 weeks and I think about foundation. Building yet another foundation starting 2014. A foundation I will build on and take to great places in 2014!!! Huge huge goals lie ahead and I’m excited.

I want to thank my amazing family, friends, coach, church family, doctors & pt, and followers! So great having you all around during this scary and uncertain time.

Updates Abound

Well it’s long over do for an update on the blog. Life has been busy.

I had a wonderful trip to WI the last week of June to see my best friend Chrissy and her family. It was relaxing and so fun to hang out, go to the pool, play tennis, and just chill with friends.



Then back to AZ and the triple digit temps plus training. Training has been going really well and is progressing. I am currently just working on building up a base with miles and a lot of strength & core work supplemented with some additional mileage on the AlterG anti-gravity treadmill and cycling. All in all I am feeling really good, a bit tired at times, sore at others, but it is all part of the process.





Brooks Ghost 6

(photo of Brooks Ghost 6)… found at Sole Sports Running

I am so incredibly grateful to be back out training no matter what my body gives me, and I am taking it week by week. I do have some races on the schedule. A few 5K’s in Sept, a 10K and Half in Oct, a Half in Nov., and plan to run Tucson Marathon on Dec 8th. Very excited!!! I plan to head to Flagstaff a few times between now and then to get in some runs up in cooler temps until we start to see the temps drop down here in the valley.

I also am working hard on organizing some fundraising campaigns for my book. Yes, most know I am writing a book. A book about courage, perseverance, determination, and overcoming adversity. This is not just about running but about what it takes when you are faced with steep mountains most think are impassable. It is a book about coming back to life physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I am so grateful and excited for what the future has in store and I am really excited to share my journey with all of you!


In my spare time “haha” when not (working at Sole Sports, training, writing, coaching, and working on some other new entrepreneurial endeavors with my non-profit) I have a new goal for myself. Read more!!!!! New goal, “take the time to read two to three pleasure books a month” … I even went and got a library card. (Thanks Jen!). I don’t think I had been in a library since college, and that was 14 years ago. CRAZY!!!!


Well, that is all for now. Hope everyone is having a FANTASTIC SUMMER!!! Live each day to the fullest and take NOTHING for granted. 😉




Babysteps and forward progress

Hey guys, a little update. Some good news yesterday when I got my INR checked (a blood clotting factor) and it was within a more appropriate range. So back on Monday (yes in 3 days) to have it checked again. But for the next 3 days I don’t have to give myself 2 x day shots and will just be on daily blood thinners orally. So progress.

Also on Tuesday night spent several hours in the ER (a little scare with coughing up blood and chest pain) but the good news is that they did another CT scan of my lungs and it showed the clots are starting to dissolve. More good news.


As for activity I have walked every day this week and incorporated some :30-:90 jogs into each of the walks. Each day gets a little easier I think and today legs were a little tired. Yesterday I started back at Endurance Rehab with some stretching and will start doing some core and strength work this coming week. It will be a process but I feel ready and with the support of Endurance, friends, and coaches…. I will come back stronger.

It’s weird that it is as much mental right now as physical. Being able to trust the body and not being afraid. Being able to trust the Dr. when he says it’s ok to run. I want to run as much as anyone knows but every time I do I am just a little bit scared, especially when I feel that chest tightness (which Dr. says is to be expected and is normal for now). It’s about learning to trust my body. Not something easy to do after what has happened. But hopefully it will get easier.

HOWEVER, I am excited for what the future holds. What will I be blogging about 3 months from now, 6 months from now, a year, or 2? Who knows… I hope to be back training and racing. Being more active in the running events and traveling a bit more too. I hope that the book is continuing it’s journey and moving closer to being published. I hope to be doing a bit more motivational speaking and inspiring others, and helping other athletes accomplish their goals and dreams.

In the meantime I will continue to live each day to the fullest, being grateful for what I do have and searching for the perfect wave in the vast ocean of life. 😉


Coach Cristin Now Offers Personalized E-Training Plans: 5K -> Marathon

Cristin Van Driel, American College of Sports Medicine Certified Trainer and USA Track & Field Certified Coach is now offering personalized online training plans from 5K to Marathon for all levels of runners; beginners to elite.

All athletes and clients will fill out a detailed athlete profile prior to training plan development to ensure the plan is tailored and appropriate for the established goals and individual.

Training Plans:

$ 19.95 for a 10-week 5K training plan
$ 24.95 for a 12-week 10K training plan
$ 24.95 for a 12-week half marathon training plan
$ 29.95 for a 18-week marathon training plan

All training plans come:

– Functional runner specific strength and core training plan
– Pre and post run drills and stretches
– Personalized recommendations on proper pace guidelines for workouts
– Unlimited e-mail communication with Coach Cristin

For more information contact Cristin at ultimatestamina@gmail.com or (623)266-2485