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TODAY IS THE DAY! 

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Marathon training starts today!  

I am trying not to feel disappointed over the Napa experience. My goal was to enjoy training (I did!) and enjoy the experience (I did!) BUT–I have a problem with pushing myself into being uncomfortable. I just plain DON’T push myself unless I have some peer pressure. 


Lifting weights on my own? LOL, I’ll do one set then call it a day. 

Running? I won’t push my pace unless I have someone on my side to keep me honest.

Lots of people stop 100 feet from the finish line for a photo op, right?

So during the Napa race, when it got tough I had no one there to push me over the edge to be uncomfortable. Not saying that it wasn’t tough (a distance that far is just plain tough) or didn’t hurt (it kinda did? Who am I kidding. No, not really.) 
Classic fitness motivation pushes you into the “no pain, no gain” or “Sweat is fat crying” or “Sore today, Sorry tomorrow” or “IF YOU ARE NOT ON THE VERGE OF DEATH BY THE END OF THIS WORKOUT IT DOESN”T COUNT”  I am… not really into that. 
This is why I found biking a century so freeing. I was genuinely surprised the first time someone asked me what my time was. People do this for time and not the snack table? Team snack table right here. 


So I’m trying to focus my goals for this marathon this week. I haven’t met anyone who is specifically training for this marathon, but I am hoping that doesn’t deter me from staying on task. 

Even though this little girl is my favorite pacer, her run 200 feet and take a pee break would not be ideal for most training runs


1) I am about 15 lbs above my ideal racing weight. I think I can drop about 10, especially if I…

2) Clean up my diet. The husband and I just joined the Fresh 20 (www.fresh20.com), and I’m all ready in love. Someone giving me a shopping list and telling me what to buy, what meals to make in what order, and upping my veggie intake with minimal effort or planning on my part? Yes please. 

3) Do some damn speed work. My running club has track workouts Wednesday nights at a time that comes right after spin, so it would be tough (especially because Wednesday is a twoaday, and adding one more? Eek!)

4) NOT BLOW OFF MID WEEK RUNS. This should be easier to accomplish over the summer. 

5) Work toward a PR. That would be 5:06. A sub 5 would be better. A sub 4:45 would send me into a tailspin of happiness.  
So any thoughts or advice, running land? I could use it.  

100 Miles of Keeping it Classic

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A few weeks ago, one of my new cycling BFFs said to me “if you can complete a century, you can do anything. And kid, you got 100 miles in you.” Perhaps I was flattered by the fact he realized how youthful I am (I’m not), but that comment made a world of difference in my mental game tackling the California Classic century ride.

I prepared like I would for any of my running events – set all my stuff out the night before, avoided looking too closely at any of the details of the route (team ignorance is bliss), and continued hydrating like a boss. I’m so thankful for friends to of done feats like this before who were sounding boards for my dumb questions:  should I bring a small external battery for my phone (yes); should I play music out loud from my phone (don’t be that girl); and do people wear throwaway clothes at the start of bike races (no one knew that answer, but it did not seem to be a thing yesterday)


I got up at 5:15, had my usual long run breakfast, got dressed and loaded up my bike and headed off to the start line. I’m thankful this event takes place at a minor-league ballpark, so the parking was easy and close to the start line. Also, a local bike shop had a pump you up station for which I am eternally grateful because I suck at that. 


It was so freaking cold at the start. Only about 48°, but in a short sleeve jersey and shorts I was freezing. I chatted with some of my spin class friends (who were doing the metric), and then we were off. We have plenty of time to finish our conversation .6 miles in, when the race came to a dead halt as we waited for a train.


The first 15 miles of the race consisted of snaking through downtown and then getting on the freeway. The first 4 miles had felt so crowded and slow, and it was amazing getting on that wide open, smooth road and cruising along for 10 miles. 


After the first rest stop (about mile 16), the mini metric headed back towards downtown well the metric and century headed out to the country. The first 30 miles were completely smooth and easy – fairly flat, fairly fast, and on roads on the outskirts of town with amazing bike lanes. I don’t remember much about this part of the race because it was smooth and peaceful and easy. 

Shortly after the 30 mile mark, the metric broke off and the full century headed into the foothills. About mile 40 is when the climbing began. All of the rain California has had this winter has turned the foothills into an absolutely breathtaking landscape. I have never seen California look this beautiful. Miles 40 to 50 were the hardest. It included approximately 2000 feet of elevation gain over a few major hills. The big one – right around the 48 to 51 mile mark – was at 6 to 7% grade according to Strava. I was not alone and getting off my bike and walking portions of it. 

After cresting the top of the big hill, and after a brief dissent, I made it to the next rest stop where I almost cried with happiness because they had sub sandwiches there. I’ve got nothing against uncrustables, bagels, or bananas, but hot damn that was delicious. 

After this rest stop, was about 10 miles net downhill (fun!). However, at this time my booty began to hurt (chafe?) and it took a while for me to find that perfect combination between position on the bike and blessed ass numbing from the vibration on the road. The vibration on the road also did a number on my hands and trapezius muscles as well.  Ouch.  

The miles between 60 and 85 were lovely. I got a antsy between trying to find a position on the bike that was comfortable for my booty, hands, and shoulders ( I never did quite achieve that), but the view was stunning and the weather absolutely perfect. 
DH was volunteering for the race (he’s a radio guy), and seeing him at the mile 85 rooftop give me life. It was so awesome to roll up and have someone filling me a cup of water,  handing me a Diet Coke and offering to rub my shoulders.  It was awesome.

The end of the race was kind of lame. My city is not known for the charm of its urban center, and the last 7 miles were on bike lanes in afternoon traffic. The downside to this? I hit every goddamn red light–which meant I had to unclip my shoes and peel my aching back side off the seat,  only to repeat the process a quarter-mile later.

The finish line was lonely. The arch with up, and I’m thankful the beer garden for a local brewery faced the finish line so at least someone noticed I was crossing it, but there were no race representative or signs out there. So I just kept biking to my car. 

I had just lifted up my bike to load it when I realized I never got my damn metal. The thought of getting back on my bicycle (my poor booty) and circling the stadium to see where the %#&@ the party was happening made me want to cry.  But I did it. When I found the  stadium entrance where they were handing out medals, I asked the girl who gave me mine why they had no one directing people to the other end of the ballpark. “Oh, it’s so late.”

WTMF. 

I briefly walked inside the stadium to see if I could get some of the wonderful barbecue/ice cream that was promised, but they were taking everything down a full one hour before the brochure said they would close everything, and a half hour before the cut off time for the race.

Thanks to my husband (the radio guy) I know for a fact that over 30 people finished after I did.  WHY IS THERE NO LOVE FOR THE SLOW


Overall, it was a gorgeous race and the weather was perfect.  So the lack of food is a bummer, but within 15 min I was home eating enchiladas which was awesome.  

Speaking of awesome–the dread I felt getting on a spin bike to teach this morning was not.  One full week of “rest” (lol) before training for Santa Rosa begins! 

Run Napa, Run Happy

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Hi guys!  I ran a marathon this weekend, which is something I swore I would never ever do again.  Crazy how that works, right? 

I ran my first marathon in San Francisco in 2008. I knew so little about running strategy or tools that make runs and recovery nicer.  You just run, right? Nutrition? Body glide? Compression socks?  None of these were something I used.  Real runners only pause for a moment at a water fountain!

This was my summer of 2008. It is also a wonderful book by Mark Remy.


I trained in the heat of summer in the flat, flat valley–it did not occur to me that there would be hills until my friend mentioned it on the drive up to the race. I HATED HATED HATED it with the fire of the thousand blazing suns that made me miserable for four months of godforsaken 4 am wake ups to run 2-3 hours 4x week. (Cross training? What?) 

Accurate depiction of me most mornings that summer.

I was so inspired to take on another one after seeing so many people train last summer–I considered running Santa Rosa last August, but couldn’t pull the trigger because I would have had zero IRL support on the day of the race–I envisioned myself immobile on park bench, hoping the stranger I gave $20 to would return with a burrito to help me pass the time until my SIL’s flight got in and she could help my sorry sorry self. 

My main goal was to enjoy training, and I did. I enjoyed it immensely. I used an app that  automatically synced to my phone’s calendar (to give me a sense of what to do when) and then modified the runs to suit me (long runs were based on time, and I replaced it with mileage goals)
I was LAZY about this training. I hit every long run with progressive distances (building up so I had time for three 20+ milers), but I did blow off a significant number of midweek runs and replaced it with spin. The cross training kept me sane and injury free, but did nothing for my speed.  

So many sunrises!


So the race! After a fitful night of sleep, I woke up, got dressed, and grabbed my oatmeal and coffee, and drove to the parking (about a half hour filled with a show tune sing along), and rode the bus to the start.  The air temperature was below 40, with an   ice cold monsoonal wind and rain that briefly picked up as I left the bus to hit the portapotty. That part of the storm passed quickly, but I remained chilly.  

Flat runner!

I truly don’t remember much of the first 13 miles. It was so enjoyable. I met up with a local friend about mile 9 and ran with her for a bit. I started doing run/walk intervals in earnest about mile 14 (4 run, 1 walk). I can’t decide if I should have started them sooner (most training runs I began with them at mile 6/7) or just held off. 

Mile 3 selfie


With the varying weather, it was super hard for my body to regulate my body temp. I wore a long sleeve over a tank, and kept switching. 

About mile 19, my nutrition started a war in my stomach (puking would have felt so good), but I think it was largely a product of being overheated and uncomfortable–when I took my wet, heavy long sleeve off, I felt less claustrophobic and my stomach calmed down. 

Wine wine everywhere and not a drop to drink at the plentiful water stops


I did a lot of math on the long hill between 19/20. I figured that if I could hit mile 21.5 at the 4 hour mark I could have a chance at hitting my A goal of a sub 5. As I got closer and tilt of the road continued to beat up my left hip, I hit the fork in the road–hit my A goal of a sub 5 race (I was on track if I could hold a 12 min mile, which was a stretch and would HURT. See, the great Tiburon Half shit show of 2015 (where I completely fell apart emotionally because I could not hit my goal on my exhausted legs despite my best efforts) or I could let go, embrace the walk breaks, and do everything I could to make the last 5 miles happy (a la the great Two Cities  Half redemption run of 2015, a mere 28 days after Tiburon)

Don’t let this victorious leap fool you. I was miserable at the end of the Tiburon half. I was upset, heartbroken, and toting around a great big bucket of failure.


I chose to run happy. It was the best. 
Except Mile 22 which was f***ing cold. Enjoyable, but cold. 

I ran it in to find that my brother, SIL and 3 year old niece were waiting for me with a sign. It was so awesome, and my niece was so excited.* 

* The excitement could have been for the chocolate milk.

I finished under my c goal (<5:30). I haven’t looked at my time, but don’t really plan on it. It was such a wonderful weekend–everything I hoped it would be. You could feel the love, joy, sadness, support, everything so acutely. 

Oh, and I was suckered into signing up for the Santa Rosa marathon in August with their $20 off registration and bottle of wine offer at the expos. Bottoms up! 

Tiny Little Ladders

I’ve been trying to get the most out of teaching with watts, and I was pumped when Keiser posted a drill for their M3i bikes using power as the primary metric. 

This coincided perfectly with interval ladder day, which is the profile on tap for today! The Keiser line up consists of 4 tiny little ladders rather than staying on each timed rung 3x in a row. 

The drill: 

  • 30/60/90 seconds, highest wattage you can achieve
  • Recover for 30 between each round

 On this playlist, there was room for 2 sets of 2 rounds each. Each round takes approximately 11 minutes to complete. If you find yourself short on time, this is a great way to vary your workout—two sets with a hill in the middle would round out a solid 30 minute set.

 Here’s the full play list—Enjoy!

Warm Up 

  • I’m Coming Out Diana Ross
  • Castle on the Hill Ed Sheeran

Run on Chorus 

  • Still Into You Paramore

Quick Hill 

  • Like a G6 Far East Movement

Round 1 

  • Crazy in Love Beyonce
  • Pump It Black Eyed Peas
  • Monkey Wrench Foo Fighters

Hill 

  • Live your Life—Feat. Rihanna T.I.

Recovery 

  • Dear Future Husband Megan Trainor

Round 2

  • Hello—Club Edit Martin Sloveig 
  • Part of Me (CPR Remix) Kitty Punch

Timed mile (Gear at 6 on a 1 – 10 scale, ride a mile as fast as you can)

  •  Rocketeer Far East Movement 

Small Hill 

  • True Love P!nk 

Cool Down 

  • Ho Hey The Lumineers

 

 

The 5:30 am crowd loved it—the toughest parts are focused in the first 35 minutes of class, which is a must when the class thins out toward the end. 

 

Give it a try and let me know what you think! 

Back to Work, Ducks in a Row

It’s been a while! I had every intention of doing a proper 2016 recap and a look ahead at what 2017 has in store. Better late than never, right? 

 

2016!

January: Flew across the country for a magical weekend running the Charleston half marathon with 25 amazing women. It was a complete leap of faith to go because of my own insecurities, but the running that brought us all together was an incredible bond that continues.

 

Also, the beach house was AMAZING.

 

February: Valentine’s Run! Such a great race, from the “Love You a Latte” shirts my friend and I made to the chocolate, flowers, and massage at the finish line. LOVE

 

After many years of taking so very much from the running community, I volunteered for my first 5k and had a blast. 

 

March: San Joaquin River 10k—my first trail 10k! In many places, it was really more like fast hiking. The trail running experience was awesome—rainy, cool day, muddy trail, and BURRITOS AND BEER at the finish. This is the number one way to my heart.  

 

I also upped my race photo game. 

April: Footloose in the foothills 10k. Fun race, very informal, BYOPLPB (bring your own parking lot party beers) 

May: Finishing the school year. No time or ambition to race.

June: I have long said that if I ever come in dead last in a race that I am going to turn in my running shoes. 

 

Well, I came in dead last in my hometown 10k, which was an experience onto itself. Read about it here.

 

July: Volunteered for the Fourth of July 4 miler. 

August: SAR Wild Run 10k. My favorite race of the year (so far!) 10k up in the mountains at 5k elevation, where the burgers and beer at the finish line make for one awesome party. 

 

September/October: It’s wedding season. No time for racing, just prep for Two Cities (Holy cow, I never did a recap) and hyperventilating because I signed up to run the Napa Valley Marathon in March

BUT!  I did my first big bike to-do, the Valley Girls Ride!  44 miles is the longest I’ve ever ridden, and it was amazing!  

November! My favorite! Not only does November mean the Two Cities Marathon and Half (recap to come!), but I also participated in the Feat to the Beach 200 Mile relay (OMG, recap to come. What on earth was I thinking?!?!?)

SLO-Mo is right!

December: Jingle Bell 5k. My friend and I ran 7 miles before the race (AWESOME!), but I forgot any type of nutrition so the actual 5k SUCKED. I’m still working on the nutrition thing.

 

ALSO—Fleet Feet Fresno sponsored a Candy Cane Lane run to see the local light show, and it was one of the most beautiful, magical experiences I have ever had. Simply gorgeous, and, after a long tough semester, was the one thing that FINALLY pushed me into having some Christmas Spirit. 

 

 

So, that was last year. Seeing it all typed out makes me realize what an awesome, amazing year I had lacing up my running shoes, and makes me excited to tackle 2017. Bring it! 

Here’s to making your water count!

I am so excited to announce that I have been selected as a Nuun Ambassador for 2017!  

I was first introduced to the product by some running friends, and was thrilled to get some during a secret Santa gift exchange. After the first tablet, I was OBSESSED. Drinking things with sugar in affects me so negatively, and this was a breath of fresh (lemon lime flavored) air. 

 I quickly got my husband hooked—he works in construction, and it can get pretty hot in the California sunshine. Incorporating Nuun into his daily hydration made a huge difference in how he felt at the end of the day. 

 

Here’s to year of poppin’ tabs and crushing goals!

Fast and #Fancy

I spent an awesome weekend visiting family up in Marin county.  While I was there, I snuck in a few classes at SoulCycle Marin.  I can get pretty stuck in my usual class profiles, and taking these classes gave me so many ideas on how to mix it up. 

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️


It was also a good reminder that it’s not all about hills–sometimes, you just gotta go FAST.  

Feed the Soul, Feel the Oo


So first thing on #nevermissamonday morning, it was time for a brand new shiny profile and brand new shiny playlist.  


The objective of this playlist–keep it a consistent 80+ rpms for the first 30 min and worry about climbing in the last 20 min. 

Warm up 

  • You Shook Me All Night Long  AC⚡️DC
  • Bounce Iggy Azalea

Pickup speed in chorus on song 1, then loop through standing/seated sets (30/30, 30/20, 30/10, 60/30, repeat x 3)  all at 80+ RPMs 

  • What the Hell Avril Levine
  • The Time Black Eyed Peas
  • Love Me Like You Do (Dynamix) Ellie Goulding
  • Hello (Dynamix) Adele
  • Fourth of July Fall Out Boy

Drop speed to 70 RPMs, increase gear and climb

  • Hymn for the Weekend Coldplay

Power sprints–medium heavy feat, 90+RPMs 

  • Levels (Skrillex Remix) Avicii 

Hill set–Recover for 1 min, begin to climb and jumps on the chorus of song 3

  • I Need Your Love Calvin Harris 
  • Girl on Fire Alicia Keys
  • E.T. Katy Perry

Speed up to 80+ RPMs 

  • Bad Reputation Joan Jett

Maintain that speed and increase gear for two 50 second power sprints to finish it out

  • Stay the Night Zedd

Cool down 

  • Build me up Buttercup The Foundations
  • Some Nights Fun.

FUN playlist, great workout.  

And for a special fun surprise, my necklace from Sing To Me Jewelry arrived! 

 

I love having a pretty and fun necklace to wear every day and during workouts, and found this on Etsy.  I’m in love–hope it holds steady through all the sweat.  

Imagine this flipped


Get out there, y’all!  Never miss. Monday and make it GREAT! 

Ashleigh Lawrence

Ashleigh Lawrence - Personal Trainer and Strength Coach

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