RADrabbitPRO Curly Guillen recaps his half marathon race experience at Monterey Bay a week ago as he finishes his final preparation for the California International Marathon on December 4th. Read more from Curly below.
A little over a week ago I raced the Big Sur Half Marathon aka the Monterey Bay Half Marathon. I drove up the day before accompanied by fellow RADrabbitPRO Dani Moreno. This was my first time receiving accommodations at a race. We got to stay in the Portola Hotel & Spa. It was very nice and my favorite part was the hospitality suite for the elite athletes. I took full advantage of the snacks, drinks, and meals provided.
Shortly after arriving at the hotel we took a course tour. Right away I knew this was going to be a difficult race with the few climbs and rolling hills throughout. The view was beautiful! This has to be one of the most scenic races ever! I loved seeing the giant waves in the distance that looked like they were crashing on the race course.
We got back to the hotel after the tour and had to attend an elite athlete technical meeting to go over race day instructions. It was cool being in the same room with some of the biggest stars in the U.S. distance running scene. A little-known fact about me is I am a huge running nerd and I knew almost everybody's PR's in the room haha. My roommate at the hotel (shared rooms) was a 61-minute half marathoner! I finally got to meet RADrabbitPRO Ryan Miller. Very cool dude! We hit it off right away.
After the meeting, I hung out in my room until it was time for dinner downstairs at the hotel's restaurant. As I always do, I opted for the pasta dinner. I noticed some of the faster people were going with other options. I've always gone with pasta as my pre-race meal dating back to high school. At my table was fellow RADrabbitPRO Seth Totten (not racing), and also some members of the Mammoth Track Club (Lauren Jimison (who also happens to be Seth’s fiancée), Daniel Tapia, and coach Andrew Kastor). Daniel trains with newly signed RADrabbitPRO Brandon Birdsong and was familiar with the rabbit gear and had good things to say about it.
Dinner was over and it was time to head back up to the room and get everything ready for the race and try to get to bed early. I pinned my #84 bib onto my black "welcome to the gun show" rabbit singlet to go with my black/steel "daisy dukes." I set my alarm for 4:50am and heard the faint sounds of the seals on the beach all night lol.
At about 5:30am on race day I went into the hospitality suite for a bagel and coffee (rare for me, I only ever eat a little something before marathon races). We walked over to the start of the race and into the elite athlete area. I warmed up with Ryan Miller. It was a little chilly but I was kept warm by my new rabbit fall gear. I wore the "speed sleeves", "zippit", and "roger rabbits." The women were called to the start line and the national anthem was sung. The women started 9 minutes before the men. After some strides it was our turn to the start line and the invited elites were announced along with their accomplishments. A few guys were debuting at the half marathon distance. I couldn't help but think to myself as I looked around "I might not win this race but my race kit probably looks the best!" Haha. The gun goes off!
The lead pack started off a little slow. I know this because they went through 2 miles just under 10 minutes and I was still within contact. I felt pretty good until we hit the biggest climb on the course at mile 4. This zapped me of all my energy as i immediately fell off pace. I spent the next 2 miles trying to get back on pace, which I was able to, but that was it for me. I kept slowing down for the next 5. There was a big gap in front of me to the next runners and a small gap behind me. This is known as "no man’s land." There was a headwind on the way back. Attempts to get back on pace and pull off a miraculous negative split were short lived. It wasn't until the last 2 miles that I finally was able to wake the legs back up somewhat but it was too late. I was disappointed with my 12th place finish overall in 1:08:27. I had wanted to come to Monterey and PR in the half and have some good momentum going into next month's California International Marathon.
I spoke with some of the guys that finished ahead of me and they reassured me that this was not a PR course and that they themselves were 1:30-2:00 minutes off of their PR's. Although I didn't PR and was far off what I wanted to run, this was still my 3rd fastest half marathon ever. I had to remind myself the real show isn't until December 4th in Sacramento.
I cooled down with Dani Moreno, rabbit co-owner Jill Deering, and her hubby Gene. I returned to the elite athlete area and stuffed my face with breakfast burritos before heading back to the hotel room to clean up and check out.
Upon leaving the hotel with Ryan and Dani we ran into another elite runner named Will Nation and he was walking back to his room with an age group award in his hand. He mentioned that they called our names out. So we made our way to the award stand to claim our prizes. I won my age group, Dani was 2nd, and Ryan was also 2nd!
All the rabbits in town met up for breakfast at Wild Plum shortly after. Yes, I ate some more. I love pancakes! Then it was back on the road for the long drive back to Goleta.
My experience in Monterey showed me that I have a long way to go to catch up to the guys ahead of me. I may have only been able to hang on with them for a few miles this time around but eventually I'll be in the mix for longer. I have to continue putting in hard work.
I'm making my final preparations for CIM where I hope to crack the 2:20 barrier. But first, I will have one last tune up race. I'll be racing the Thanksgiving 4 Miler here in Santa Barbara.
Add me on the usual social media channels: @deejaycurly
-RADrabbitPRO Curly Guillen
F U E L E D F R I D A Y this week is brought to you by our own Michelle Battista.
Ok, it's finally fall here in Cali...we have been logging the miles....therefore, we will be indulging in these skillet apple crips this weekend.
Recipe for the filling:
1/2 C Brown Sugar
3 T Corn starch
1 T Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Clove
1 oz Bourbon
Recipe for the topping:
1/2 C Butter
1 C Brown Sugar
1 C Granulated Sugar
1 C AP Flour
1 C Rolled Oats
1 T Kosher salt
Combine filling ingredients in a medium bowl, mix well. Distribute between
To make topping, Cut butter into 1/4" pieces, Place remaining ingredients
in a medium bowl and mix well. Rub butter into dry mixture until a stiff
crumble forms. Top fruit with crumble. Bake at 350 for 15-20 min, until
fruit mixture bubbles, cooking the corn starch.
Enjoy with Bourbon Creme Anglaise or your favorite ice cream and then go for a long run tomorrow.
For this week's Runday Motivation, we are stoked to bring to you our newest blog written by RADrabbitPRO Dani Moreno, sharing her story from running the USA Trail Half Marathon Championships a few weeks back. If this doesn't get you motivated and fired up, well, we don't know what will! Enjoy:
The Calm Before the Storm
So there I was, sitting in the Seattle airport, watching a news reporter state that there was a large storm brewing along the west coast. Simultaneously I received my second email stating that if the race was going to be canceled we would be notified by 7am the day of. This race? Well, no other than the USA Trail Half Marathon Championships. Dun, dun, dun!
I mean I am not one to run away when conditions get tough, but I can’t say I am used to the rain either. Coming from Santa Barbara, the city who has beach weather 350 days out of the year, rain, let alone seeing more than two or three colors on a tree, is an experience for me. This isn’t to say I haven’t run in the rain before, I definitely have back in my younger years when California was on a normal weather pattern. However, rain, or in this case thunderstorms, are seldom and not something I have had the pleasure of dealing with very often. So considering the logical assumption that dirt+rain+mountains=slippery slopes, I was very aware that the cards would not be in my favor. But, as per usual, my slightly idiotic mindset that I can do anything I believe I can took control of my mental reins and I befriended the weather deciding that the race, if anything, would be super majestic-like similar to the slow-mo montage at the end of a glorious sports movie.
See, the trail half was something I had been looking forward to because, despite my lack of building a true base this year, it was a distance I enjoyed and could do. I had run my first trail half in 1:23 earlier in the year (Valley Crest Trail Half) off a month of consistent training and so knowing that I garnered a supple amount of confidence to commit to the idea that I could potentially podium at this race (meaning I could place in the top 5).
The race would take place at Lake Padden in Bellingham Washington. It would begin with a flat first mile before gradually becoming a series of climbs that would last miles 2-5ish. After climbing these rolling hills we would then descend down for about a mile before evening out on the flat part once again thus taking us into that same loop for the second time. The competition was noted as “the deepest trail half field this year” as it featured road and trail studs alike. This was very exciting to me because I mean what is a National Championship without quality talent! You have to race the best to be the best! So let’s summarize all of this. I was going to have face unfavorable weather conditions, run a tough course, and face some steep competition. Wooo, weeee, I don’t know about you but these are the types of circumstances that keep me loving this sport! I was stoked.
On the flip side, I am not going to lie, the listed field was a bit intimidating, but I knew that if I could focus on my strengths I could potentially have a finish that would bring momentum into my sophomore year of trail running. What were these strengths you may ask? Well to simplify it there were two. 1) I am sort of a racing addict and 2) I love running technical downhill.
Dun, dun, dun!
The morning of the race I was up relatively early, not normal for me as I typically sleep until the last minute possible. Haha, I can talk about this some other time, I am sort of notorious for sleeping until the very last minute of everything. Anyways, this time I was up early and the reason being, was that if the race was cancelled we were supposed to be notified by that morning, but lucky for us it was not! After an easy breakfast, I headed to the course.
I warmed up, etc. (Let’s fast-forward to the good stuff, the actual race.)
So the gun goes off and the horses take off. Taking into account the talent level of the women that were in the race I had a feeling that we would go out a good steady pace, but man was I wrong, we took off flying. I got our first mile at about 5:42, which you may think “Dani, that’s not that bad”, but take into account this was the FIRST mile of THIRTEEN, and we had a good chunk of climbing ahead of us. Learning from previous races once you let somebody go on a trail it is very hard to catch them especially when the race features single track. So going with my gut I hung with the lead pack for as long as I could. The lead pack had about 8 women in it, all very strong and funny enough most were even talking to each other. I had one gal, Ladia, who was asking me if I had run the race before and we had almost a full conversation on the matter. I wasn’t dying but I definitely wasn’t able to talk with the same ease as her. (Which side note she’s super badass). Nevertheless as the race continued at its fast pace (we were averaging 6-6:20 on the first hilly miles) things began to change as the entire front pack began to spread out.
As we went up, down, and all around I was unsure what place I was in but it didn't keep me from pushing. Luckily I passed some cheering groups and heard them call out that I was indeed in 6th place, in which case I was like “heck yes!” But at the same time, “I had some work to do!” The hills were tough and continued to get tougher, but I was determined to get to the end of the first loop so I could begin my descent. (Side note: In order to be a major threat as a trail racer, you need to be killer at climbing, as most championship women are beasts on hills. This is something I've realized will take more experience but as for now, I manage.) Eventually, I got to the last hill which included some very painful switchbacks and it was just then that I thought that maybe my watch wasn’t getting the mileage right with all the trees. But then before I knew it, grace was bestowed upon me as we finally hit the best part... the downhill.
Now this was no ordinary downhill, no this was a muddy, rocky, tree roots everywhere type of downhill. With no hesitation, I leaned forward and let my feet and mind do all the work. I am not scared to say it, but I am pretty sure I was flying ;) . Within the first mile, I caught about 4 men and soon enough I eyed and passed the 5th place girl. Then just right before I hit the flat mile again there was a HUGE tree that had fallen over during the storm. Although unexpected, it was probably the best surprise ever. I side jumped the trunk and continued to play catch up as much as possible. The problem, however, is that I had gone so fast on the downhill that when I hit the flat my legs were burnt. I continued to roll just trying to keep consistent but the girl I had just passed was definitely making up ground. I knew she was a strong uphill runner as that was where she had caught me before, but I was determined to keep my lead as long as possible as I knew that the longer I could keep distance from her the better position I would be in for the last part of the race.
We continued to climb until she eventually caught up with me again around miles 8-9. With muddy hills ahead both of us were pushing. She even gapped me a little but I was determined to stay in range. I was just about gassed when we finally hit the switchbacks, which I knew was the last part of the hilly section. I pushed and pushed until finally I crested and just used about everything left in the tank to catch her. She knew I was behind her as she was flying much quicker than before but then I cranked into another gear allowing me to navigate the technical rocky parts and gain momentum in some open downward stretches. I caught 2 guys who I think were just as surprised as I was to be passing them coming into the last part of the race but made me even happier as it gave me an euphoric second wind to keep charging! Finally, around mile 12 I passed her (Camelia and eventual 5th place finisher #sweetheart) and continued hard into the finish. I crossed the finish gleaming that I was able to pull off a 4th place finish! I was stoked.
After the race I cooled down most of the top 10 girls who were all stoked as well. I think because we all knew what we had just been through, from the weather to the conditions of the course, there was a mutual understanding that we are all pretty rad.
Overall I was pretty happy with the race. Considering the talent of the field I was happy to come away with a 4th place finish. This year has been the epitome of a freshman pro-year as I really felt like a guppy who had no idea which way to swim. But this race has fueled me of the promise the future holds and has helped me to create goals that are even bigger than they were before!
So calm before the storm, yes this title is in regards to the weather of this race, but it is also in reference to the powerful storm that is calmly raging inside of me that I can’t wait to release onto the trails next year!
Until next time, ¡Viva la correr!
Thanks to rabbit and Hoka One One, you guys are awesome ! :)
- Dani Moreno, RADrabbitPRO
F U E L E D F R I D A Y
Today we are stoked to share RADrabbit Monique Bienvenue's recipe for lemon delight granola parfait. Not only is Monique an awesome runner with big goals (P.S. she just PR'd last weekend by 7 minutes in the half-marathon), but she is just an all-around awesome chick. She is doing some amazing work in encouraging families and educators to adopt a healthier lifestyle through the Power Your Lunchbox Campaign. Make sure to give her a follow on instagram, her handle is modeezy101.
We can't wait to dig into this parfait after our long run this weekend!
Makes 1 serving.
Ingredients for Parfait:
Ingredients for Lemon Delight Granola:
Directions for Lemon Delight Granola:
Once granola is cool, pour 1 cup of it over Greek yogurt and top with berries, coconut flakes, chocolate chips and any other toppings you desire. The remaining granola can be stored in an air tight container for an additional 2-3 days.
We are super excited to introduce the World's Fastest DJ to you fine folks! He also happens to be RADrabbitPRO runner Curly Guillen. Learn a little about Curly in his own words:
This is RADrabbit Pro Curly Guillen from Santa Barbara checking in for my first post on the blog. This Sunday I will be racing the Big Sur Half Marathon in Monterey Bay, California. This will be my first half marathon since the Houston Half in January where I missed qualifying for the Olympic trials marathon by 1 minute and 49 seconds. This race will be a tuneup for next month's California International Marathon. My goal is to set a new personal best and head into next month's race with some good momentum. Monterey will have a beautiful course, great weather, and some tough competition to help me run a fast time.
This week also serves as the 5 year anniversary of me running again after a 7.5 year hiatus. When I first started I was overweight and struggling to run 2-3 miles at a time without fainting. After 6 months of running consistently I shed 50 pounds. I have been running 80-100 mile weeks ever since.
I have been inspired by former teammates and competitors that have continued to run throughout all these years. Some of them have competed in the Olympic Trails and even represented the US in international competition. I can't help but to think where I would be if I never stopped running. All I can do now is to keep putting in work and hope I can catch back up.
I have competed in 3 U.S. Championships now with my best performance being last year's marathon championships in Los Angeles where I finished in 13th place on a very hot day. Missing my goal of qualifying for the Olympic Trials earlier this year in Houston and later having a bad performance at the Boston Marathon has motivated me to take my training to new levels. I have continually been pushing the boundaries of what I thought was possible. I have my mind set on doing whatever it takes to toe the line at the next Olympic Trials marathon in the year 2020.
I do most of my training alone and several of my races are solo time trials. I am excited to see what I can do this weekend with fast people to run with. I have seen the list of elite entries already and I am excited to be lining up once again next to some big names.
I'll report back after this weekend with a race recap so stay tuned!
Add me on the usual social media channels to keep up with my crazy life: @deejaycurly
- Curly Guillen, RADrabbitPRO
F U E L E D F R I D A Y
So....it's the weekend and sometimes we need to indulge a little. These chocolate peanut butter bars are not as naughty as they seem. They are Vegan and Gluten Free with no flour or refined sugar. They are three layers of yummy goodness: crisp chocolate crust, creamy peanut butter and a layer of dark chocolate. We will be packing these bad boys with us on our long trail run this weekend! Recipe credit Natural Girl Modern World.
Chocolate crust (base layer): 1 cup blanched almonds* 3 tablespoons cocoa powder 6 dates (pitted) 2 tablespoons maple syrup 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted Pinch of salt 1/2 cup oats 1/2 cup puffed rice cereal
Creamy peanut butter (middle layer): 1 cup natural peanut butter (unsalted)** 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon maple syrup 1 teaspoon salt
Melted chocolate (top layer): 3.5 oz / 100 g bar of high-quality dark chocolate (85-90% cocoa)*** 3 tablespoons coconut oil 2 tablespoons cocoa powder 1 tablespoon maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 8" x 8" baking pan with parchment paper. For the base layer, use a food processor to grind the blanched almonds until they are the texture of fine sand. Then, add in the cocoa powder, salt, pitted dates, maple syrup, and melted coconut oil. Process until well combined. Pour the mixture into the baking pan, then add the rice puff cereal and oats. Stir ingredients in the baking pan and once combined, use your hands to press the ingredients down firmly to create the first layer. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes while you prepare the next layer. For the peanut butter layer, use a medium sized bowl to combine peanut butter, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and salt. Stir until well combined. Pour peanut butter on top of the base layer. Use the back of the spoon to spread evenly. Place the baking pan in the fridge. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes, until the peanut butter has begun to firm up. Chop up the dark chocolate bar and place it in a double broiler (or a heatproof bowl over simmering water). As the chocolate begins to melt, add the coconut oil and cocoa powder. Whisk until well combined, then add the maple syrup and vanilla. Pour chocolate evenly over the peanut butter layer. Return to the fridge to set (~2 hours). Sprinkle with flaky sea salt (if desired), and slice to serve. Store extras in the refrigerator. Notes: *In this recipe, we make our own almond flour from whole blanched almonds. You may however substitute for almond flour instead. **This recipe uses 100% all natural peanut butter (no salt / sugar added). If you're using peanut butter with salt or sugar, you'd need to adjust accordingly. Since each manufacturer would vary, for the most reliable results, start with 100% peanut butter (no additives). ***Vegans, make sure you're selecting a chocolate bar that's free from dairy. High quality dark chocolate with this high of a cocoa content shouldn't have dairy in it, but read the labels to confirm.
Being a runner means facing injury. It’s not a question of if, but rather, a question of when and how severe. It’s the reality that we face as runners. And guess what, it’s ok. You will recover, even if that feels impossible.
It’s also important to remember that injury happens to all runners of all abilities and levels, from the weekend warrior to the seasoned professional. In fact, several of our RADrabbitPRO runners are currently injured. But, we know they will be back as soon as possible (if not sooner).
If you are currently dealing with an injury and feel frustrated and upset, we don’t want you to feel alone. Don’t forget why you run, why you love it, and how good it can feel.
Also, we want to share with you a blog written by one of our RADrabbitPROs Sabrina Little, who just developed a navicular fracture while training for the 50 Mile World Championships in Portugal, which she was going to race as a member of Team USA.
As upsetting and unfortunate as the timing of Sabrina's injury is, it’s also a good time to reflect, as she mentions in her blog. And, it’s also a great time to rejoice on how talented and accomplished she is. We hope you read this amazing Runner’s World article on Sabrina to find out a little more about her amazing accomplishments so you can appreciate just how truly talented she is.
So, rabbits, if you are injured and feeling upset and frustrated, please know that you are not alone. Injuries happen to the best runners out there. But, more importantly, recoveries happen too. We can learn a lot about ourselves during this time of injury and recovery. And, we CAN come back faster and stronger than ever.
Happy training. And if you are injured, happy cross training!
- the rabbit crew
F U E L E D F R I D A Y is brought to you this week by RADrabbitPRO Lauren Capone, AKA LC. When Lauren is not swimming, biking, or running she is in her kitchen creating amazing food that is clean, healthy and gives her BIG fuel for her epic workouts. This week Lauren is sharing her rabbit food recipe.
rabbit food is perfect for long rides, long runs, or for a delicious snack. It is packed with raw, healthy ingredients that will give you sustained energy.
2 cups medjol dates, pitted
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup walnuts
½ cup grated carrot
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon maca powder
¼ cup vanilla whey protein
Ready for these complicated instructions? Put all ingredients in a food processor and turn it on.
Ok, it’s not just that simple. Pulse it a few times to make sure everything gets well mixed and forms a massive lump in the food processor. Scoop spoonfulls of the mixture and roll into balls with your hands. It may help to rub some coconut oil into the palms of your hands. If the dough gets too sticky, let it chill in the refrigerator and try again later. Enjoy!
This week, F U E L E D F R I D A Y is brought to you by RADrabbit Makena Lidie. Makena is a plant-based ultra runner, studying nutritional science. Makena is sharing her take on scrumptious avocado toast. Thank you Makena for sharing this epic goodness with us all. Friyay!
Avocado toast is a simple offering that has quickly risen to a prominence as trendy brunch staple. And for good reason! It’s a dish with endless possibilities and it’s almost impossible to mess up. No matter what variation you consume, there are always three basic components: avocado, some form of bread, and an additional element of flavor. As an ultra runner and full-time student working two jobs, it’s important to me to find nutritionally dense meals that I can quickly prepare and still feel like I’m being creative in the kitchen. Avocado toast fulfills those requirements, so it’s my favorite go-to breakfast. That being said, I think avocado smeared on anything is heavenly, so I like to always have a few avocados on hand. Not only are avocados a delicious fruit, they are chalk full of phytosterols, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
My current favorite variation includes:
- toasted low sodium Ezekiel Bread
- ¼ medium diced Haas avocado
- quartered organic cherry tomatoes
- a dash of paprika and dried turmeric
- a sprinkle of dried red pepper flakes
- a pinch of pink Himalayan salt
- roughly chopped cilantro to top it all off
It’s a simple combination and I almost always have those ingredients in the fridge, but the flavors are complex enough to keep it interesting. If it’s going to be a post-run breakfast then I’ll up the serving to two slices of bread and half an avocado and have sautéed kale or spinach on the side. As an athlete who’s studying nutritional science, I’m acutely aware of the importance of post run meals. I’m sure that most of us have heard of the 30 minute rule, which suggests eating within 30 minutes of completing a workout to prevent additional breakdown and enhance recovery. The type of refueling is equally as important as the timing. By fueling with antioxidant rich, unprocessed, whole foods, the body is able to operate more efficiently and recover faster. So grab an avocado and see what wacky combos are hiding in your fridge!
See you on the trails!
“Motivation remains key to the marathon: the motivation to begin; the motivation to continue; the motivation never to quit.” ~ Hal Higdon
It's true, you know. Running a marathon will change your life. But, it won't be easy. We are so honored to share this blog with you written by RADrabbit Monique Bienvenue as she trains for her first 26.2 and gets a little advice from rabbit co-founder Jill Deering in finding the right motivation to get her to the finish line.
I can remember the conversation like it took place yesterday. I was talking to my co-worker and former runner, Joe, about registering for my next race (the Two Cities Half Marathon) when he asked the question that used to make me cringe, “So you’ve ran multiple halves, when are you going to register for a full?”
I didn’t say anything right away; in fact, I avoided the question entirely and started laughing. Me? Run a full? The idea alone was daunting. Sure, my overall goal is to qualify for Boston one day, but did I feel like I was ready to finally tackle a marathon? No, definitely not. In fact, the mere thought of training for something of that nature freaked me out. Later that day, Joe passed by my desk again and I found myself saying something that shocked even me. I looked at Joe and told him that I was going to run the Surf City Marathon in February, 2017.
Later that day, I had a serious talk with myself. I looked at my planner and noted all the events, meetings, social gatherings, lessons and appointments that I had scheduled for the next few months. Being that I’m a pretty serious runner already, and have been racing regularly for the past two years, I always designate time in my schedule to run. Training for a marathon, however, meant double the mileage, double the time and more likely than not, double the exhaustion.
Fortunately for me, I’ve been a brand ambassador for an amazing running apparel company called rabbit for the past few months, and through its wonderful community of runners, I decided to reach out to rabbit Co-Founder and Elite Runner Jill Deering. Now just to give you some perspective, Jill is one BUSY lady. I’ve always considered myself a busy person, but this talented woman definitely takes “busy” to the next level. Not only is Jill a PHENOMENAL runner, she's also a full time attorney and the co-founder of one of the hottest running apparel companies in Southern California, rabbit. With a full time job, training (and qualifying for the Boston Marathon) and running a start-up, how on Earth does she do it?
Fortunately, Jill shared some of her wisdom with me as we discussed some of the things she does to balance being a talented attorney, an outstanding athlete and a tenacious entrepreneur.
Here's what she told me:
"I love running. I mean I really LOVE running, so it very rarely feels like a grind. Every night when I go to sleep, I can’t wait to wake up so that I can run. Is that weird?! That being said, it is hard to manage everything. Time management is vital. My life follows a relatively strict schedule so that I can fit it all in. I always plan running into my daily schedule and make it a priority. That means if I have an 8am meeting on the same day as a 2hr run, I am waking up very early to get it done. At times this can be hard to do, and can be stressful, but it’s ALWAYS worth it. I guess I operate with a fair amount of energy, because working a full day after a 20-mile morning run, takes a lot. But, here are some tips for those training and working a full time job:
Schedule your runs into your daily schedule, otherwise it’s too easy to lose track of time or skip a workout
If you fit your run in before you go to work, it will always get done
Most of us are never going to be Olympians, so remember why you run and always try to have fun with training
Keep extra running clothes and shoes at your office just in case you get off work early or have some other unplanned opportunity to run
Use 10 minutes of your lunch break every day to stretch and foam roll
A tired slow run is still a run
For ladies, blow drying is a luxury ;)
Remember how good you feel after a run and use that as motivation to get out the door and run!"
After the conversation I had with Jill, I knew I had to step up my game. Yes, I already took running seriously, and yes I already made time for it, but let's be real - sometimes it's easy to let life get the best of you and allow a workout (or two, or three) to go down the drain. So I tried rearranging my already busy schedule to focus more on training, and here's what I've learned thus far.
Sleep is important. Unfortunately for me, I already wake up at the crack of dawn to commute to work and get everything done for the day. Working in the Public Relations industry means being flexible, traveling a lot and being detail oriented every minute of the work day. After working 9-10 hours a day, my brain is usually fried - throw running into the mix and you have one TIRED individual. There have been a few days, however, that I thought I was invincible, worked like crazy, trained and only slept for about 4-5 hours. As you can imagine, I quickly learned that that was a terrible idea. The less I slept, the worse my workouts. Needless to say, my lesson was learned.
Meal prep is crucial. If you're always on-the-go like me, it's imperative to set time during the week to prepare healthy, nutritious meals. It's true what they say - the crappier you eat the worse you'll feel. I can always feel a significant difference in my energy levels and the qualities of my runs when I eat fast food as opposed to a healthy meal. And trust me, meal prepping makes life 100% easier during the week. After working long hours and training, the last thing you want to worry about is making time to cook a meal.
Remind yourself why you started. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to throw my running shoes at the wall because I didn't feel like I was progressing. Naturally competitive, I always strive to be the best at whatever I do, so when my Garmin tells me that I ran slower than I had anticipated, I want to quit. But as soon as I remember how much I've improved over the last two years, and all the amazing people and opportunities that running has brought me, it's easier to keep going.
Make a plan and REALLY stick to it. Every week, I sit down at my desk and schedule my workouts for the week. This helps me allot time to run, it helps me to accommodate my other priorities and it gives me a sense of calm knowing that I'm one step closer to achieving my goal. Does that mean sometimes skipping on a night with out friends? Yes. Does that mean waking up early on your days off? Yes. But goals are goals and if you are truly passionate about something, you will make time for it.
Stay hydrated. When you’re always on the go, it’s relatively easy to forget to drink water. There have been times where I don’t keep track of how much water I’ve drank, have gone out for a run and found myself suffering because I felt incredibly light-headed. It’s not a great feeling, and my workouts always suffer because of it. In order to prevent this from happening, I started to keep track of how much I’ve drank throughout the day by noting it in my planner. It might sound crazy, but I always perform much better when I’m hydrated.
There is strength in numbers. While there are some people that love to run mile after mile from sun up to sun down by themselves, there are people like me who are ready to go home after a few good miles. But as we all know, that doesn’t work when training for a marathon. In order to help keep myself accountable on days where I’ve scheduled distance runs I either invite a friend to join me or I purposely tell others what my plans are to help keep me motivated.
Running is a fabulous sport, and I have BIG plans for myself in the near future. But just like anything else, if you want to do something well you have to dedicate time and energy to the craft. With a half marathon coming up for me in November, and a full coming up in February, I have A LOT of work cut out for myself over the next few months. Fortunately for me, however, I’m part of a community of runners and dreamers who motivate me, inspire me and encourage me to stick to my goals every day. I may or may not qualify for Boston in 2017, but let me assure you, I will one day. If there’s anything that running has taught me over the past two years, it’s that nothing is impossible with a dedicated heart, a positive mentality and strong legs.
So keep dreaming, everyone. It’s that passion that ultimately gets you past the finish line. ;)
- Monique Bienvenue, RADrabbit
Note: All photos of me were taken by local Fresno photographer Megan Stone. Check out her work at @meganstonephotography!