Everyone’s Story

Today has been a beautiful rest day. I woke up early to attend yoga at Baptiste yoga in Brookline, MA. It may have been one of my worst practices to date but to be honest it felt good to not care/mind. It was not due to the teaching or the studio. It was an internal struggle I couldn’t overcome. I felt weak from black light yoga the night before and just run down. I immediately came home and hit the hay for a nice two-hour nap. It was just what the doctor ordered.

After waking up from my snooze I did a little online research on different types of trail running products so I know what to look for once I get geared up. My fellow Janji Corps Members helped me out quite a bit while I was in over my head searching for the right watch for my ultra coming up in September. It felt amazing to have a group of people I could go to with questions and receive honest, judgment free responses. They really are rock stars.

As my online search continued I kept stumbling upon a recurring theme. We all have a story. We all struggle with something and we all find ways to cope differently. My original discovery was about my beautiful, amazing, and inspirational coworker Brittany Young. She finally let the cat out of the bag and announced when she was younger Barbara Rudow had written a book about her called Born to Run : The Brittany Young Story. The description of the book is said best by the author so I’ll just quote her rather than rambling on in my own messy words. 

“At the age of 7, Brittany Young had a horrible accident. Her legs and feet were burned so badly that doctors weren’t sure if she would ever walk again. Years later, after enduring thousands of hours of treatment and therapy, Brittany can not only walk-she can run! In fact, she is one of the top high school runners in the country. This is the remarkable true story of a determined young girl from Hawaii who simply wouldn’t quit. Her competitive spirit and natural talent transformed her from a burn victim to a competitive runner who was : Born to Run.” –Barbara Rudow

If that’s not totally inspiring I don’t know what is, I can’t wait to read this book and support Brittany at her event to raise $5,000 for her Boston Marathon bib. The event is being hosted in our Lululemon store loft on Newbury Street March 16th at 6:00pm. So if you’re hanging out in Boston please stop by and support her! Tickets are available on Eventbrite :

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/read-to-run-tickets-15920514688

She is even offering the option to have the book mailed to you with a love note. I’ve received a Brittany love note and let me tell you, they’re absolutely heartwarming.

This led to yet another amazing discovery, a video of Rob Krar openly discussing his struggles with depression.

http://gearjunkie.com/rob-krar-video

Hearing him speak so eloquently about what depression has been like for him was beyond inspiring. I think I may have watched this video about five or six times at this point. I can’t wait to not only meet him but also train with him this July. When people are open about things that are extremely personal I’m immediately drawn to them like a moth to a flame.

Today we get so caught up in our beliefs of what is right and what is wrong we forget that people experience things in different ways. No one sails through life without some kind of struggle whether it be physical, mental or both. We are also such harsh critics towards one another it seems we forget that we already have a critic living deep within our own brain space. We are our own worst enemy most of the time. I’ve been reading a series of books by Don Miguel Ruiz that has opened my eyes to this. The first book in the series is The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. The book uses Toltec wisdom to explain how to escape the voices we create within our own heads and the preconceived notions we’ve been raised to believe. The four agreements are :

four_agreements

The Toltec’s believed that if you followed these guides you would find ultimate freedom. I’ve been working on this for a few months now and I find myself most free while running. It’s the only time my brain truly finds stillness and quiet. I think that’s why it’s become such a force in my life lately. I have dealt with my own struggles and coped with them the way I find to be the most comfortable and natural. We all have something that grows within us that can turn dark and negative. By following the light we can find peace and joy. I know this might sound a little hippy-dippy to some people but I found throughout my yoga teacher training this is a recurring truth. It might take a different form for each person but it’s there and it’s something that should be addressed. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t forget you’re beautiful inside and out. Also, to have the confidence to not only find strength within ourselves but also to feel comfortable finding solace in another.

Welp, that’s my song and dance for the night folks. I would run through my vegan diet for the day but it was 99.9% raw fruit. I’ll blame the midday nap for throwing my meal plan off base. Anyway, good night friends!

-KS

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November Project, Black light Yoga, and Manwich

I don’t even know where to start with today. I had so many awesome first time experiences! This morning I hit up the November Project. If you haven’t heard of it it’s this awesome .. actually I’ll just quote the site so you can get a real explanation…

“November Project™ is a FREE fitness movement that was born in Boston as a way to stay in shape during cold New England months. Now present in multiple cities in across four time zones in North America, the movement is using a simple sense of accountability (verbal) to motivate and encourage people of all ages, shapes, sizes and fitness levels to get out of their beds and get moving. Our members vary from Olympic medalists, professional athletes, marathoners, triathletes, current and former collegiate athletes all the way to complete fitness rookies and recent couch potatoes just looking to kickstart their healthy life choices. If you think that you’re not fit enough to join the group, stop thinking and come see what the fuss is all about.”

It was AWESOME. We rocked out a 6k race this morning. I did pretty well it was my first time running outside since all this crazy snow in Boston. My body was like girl, what the hell you think you doin?? I responded…running…so shush. It was a short conversation. I did the race with my friend from work and then we hit up this little cafe Pavement Coffeehouse. I had a vegan breakfast bagel it was UNREAL. They put peppers, tempeh, lettuce, and some sort of vegan lox on it. It was actually heaven. I could eat 6 of them easily. So that was a fantastic morning.

This evening I went to black light yoga for the first time! So, so cool. I highly recommend it. The teacher is actually one of our Lululemon ambassadors. I asked her if I could interview her for my blog at some point so that will be bad ass. She was a really stellar teacher and her flow had me sweating like a you know what in church. I managed to sneak in some pics of what you look like in black light yoga..now picture this times like 60 because the room was absolutely packed.

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The bottom image is before they turned the lights completely off. It’s amazing how in your own practice you get when you can’t see what’s going on around you. I will definitely be going back. This particular class was held at Back Bay Yoga. Awesome studio, great vibes.

And now..drum roll pleaseeeeee..the vegan menu for today.

Breakfast was a green apple with vegan crunchy peanut butter before the run then the vegan breakfast bagel at Pavement. I ate I think like 3 bananas today, I couldn’t stop housing them. I’m telling you there’s something up with my bod I definitely need potassium so I’m saying alright let’s do this and just having at them. Finally, here’s the most interesting part of the day you may not know this but MANWICH IS VEGAN!

MANWICH + MORNINGSTAR FARMS MEAL STARTER GRILLER = VEGAN DELIGHT!!!!

I’m currently eating it plain with Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips. SO, so good.

Screen shot 2015-02-25 at 10.36.59 PM

Alright that’s all folks. I’m hitting up another hot yoga studio in the morning then going to the gym. I have the day off work so I’m taking advantage and getting my work out done early so I can relax and perhaps do some dishes for the first time in I don’t know about a week…woops. Good night friends!

-KS

Expectations vs. Reality

I think it’s pretty important not only in training but also life in general to understand that you’ll always have certain expectations of what something is going to be like. I find this to be extremely true when it comes to my work outs. I either think I didn’t do enough or it wasn’t fast enough or I didn’t hit a yoga pose well enough. I’m slowly learning to shed this viewpoint and listen to my body. When I did my yoga teacher training at Health Yoga Life this was a huge curve ball for me. I was always about pushing it to the next level and ignoring what my body was saying. I partially blame that on human nature and also on my competitive spirit. Nothing is more important than listening to what your body is telling you whether it be GET YOUR ASS UP AND RUN or GO. TO. SLEEP. Always listen.

Even today my game plan was to wake up early and hit the gym for a morning work out. Instead I spent my morning planning how to raise money for Rob Krar’s Ultra Camp in Arizona this July. Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a total waste of time it was actually time extremely well spent but at the same time I was disappointed with myself for not getting a couple miles in to loosen up.

**By the way if you want to support my journey to Ultra Camp please feel free to donate at http://www.gofundme.com/n4ecsk **

So what I’m trying to say is today ended up being a rest day, which is totally fine. I decided to hit up November Project for the first time tomorrow for a 6:30am 6k with coworkers/friends and then head to work followed by some black light yoga (again I still have no clue what black light yoga is so I can’t wait to report back).

In regards to dieting on off days I try to keep it extremely light. I find that when I’m bored aka not doing a physical activity I tend to overeat for absolutely no reason. I recently started using the MyFitnessPal app again and it’s been awesome. I track my food and work outs and it helps me understand what my food has to offer. I used to use it but they recently updated it so it tells you what your food has to offer, for example when I put in spinach it says “this food has lots of vitamin c”. It’s pretty awesome. Today’s meal plan went a little something like this :

I started the morning off with an organic banana and some vegan crunchy peanut butter, easily one of my favorite snacks. I also treated myself to a Stretch Island Fruit Co. Summer Strawberry Fruit Strip. They’re the perfect little sugary treat.

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Earth Balance Crunchy peanut butter is AMAZING. It’s great with apples and bananas. Easily one of my top 10 favorite foods.

This little meal was followed up with a B12 pill. EXTREMELY important for anyone who is vegan/going vegan. B12 is vital for heart health especially if you’re training or very physically active. I get mine at Whole Foods they offer a vegan version. A little on the expensive side but well worth it.

Lunch was …you guessed it…another organic banana. I’ve been craving them like crazy lately my body must need potassium which is A-OK with me.

Dinner took place about 3 minutes ago, I inhaled a nice organic baby spinach and organic tomato salad with Organicville Vegan Thousand Island Dressing. If you haven’t tried their vegan dressings you’re missing out. They’re absolutely incredible.

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Well folks I just wanted to give a quick update before I snuggle into bed, watch some hulu plus and doze off. Also a huge thanks to my fellow Janji Corps supporters Run Colby Run and Starving Runner. They’ve definitely helped me out throughout this blogging process. Tomorrow brings some great new activities! Train on my friends.

-KS

The North Face Endurance Challenge Ultra Marathon

I woke up this morning feeling every muscle in my body was screaming JUST STOP at the top of their lungs. And I dig it. I forgot just how much the body grows and changes during training especially since I’ve never trained for something this vigorous before. I thought I should go a little more in depth about the race itself in this Tuesday morning post before I head out to the gym/work.

Here’s the race course :

Screen shot 2015-02-20 at 11.00.21 PM*

Maze Runner status.

Here’s the basic course description found on site :

COURSE DESCRIPTION : The North Face Endurance Challenge Series introduces a first-time expansion into the “mountain” region of United States at Park City Mountain Resort, located 20 miles outside of Salt Lake City. This race course will not only start at the highest elevation within the North America series at 7,000 feet but it will also climb to the highest elevation of 10,000 feet. The North Face Endurance Challenge cruises along the Wasatch Back, part of the Wasatch Mountain Range in the resort destination of Park City. Athletes will navigate this world-renowned ski destination using a mix of double and single track trail, ski runs, mountain bike trails and various dirt access roads. Bring your lungs and legs and be prepared to be awe struck.

Screen shot 2015-02-24 at 9.16.52 AM*

Yeah..I know. I want to be extremely honest about my emotions right now. I am SO stoked to be doing this race but also a little nervous. There’s things that keep floating through my brain space like getting lost, wild animals, getting lost, running out of food/water, getting lost, having my gear break, oh and getting lost. So you see there might be a pattern here. Luckily there is a pre-race panel  discussion so I’ll get more details the night before and I’m sure this will ease my soul a little bit. Plus it will be awesome to see who I’ll be running with slash trying to kick their butts. (Just kidding my goal is merely to completely this race within the time frame, however, if I end up whooping some ass along the way I’m not about to apologize for it).

Anyway back to the race facts. It starts at 5:00 am so headlamps are required, naturally. I can’t wait to rock that bad boy. Each person has 14 hours to complete the race. If they feel you are too behind they will pull you from the course. No pressure.

My mom will be traveling with me. Thank god. I like when she comes to bigger races with me for the comfort factor and honestly we just have a blast. She’ll be traveling to Vancouver with me as well in August when I do the Seawheeze half marathon. These runs have given us awesome opportunities to check out new and exciting places we otherwise wouldn’t see.

So here’s what they suggest you bring to the race, in my opinion the last item is the MOST important.


WHAT TO BRING:

-Directions and/or map to race start, parking location or shuttle pickup location

-Bib, timing device and safety pins

-Headlamp or flashlight (mandatory for all GORE-TEX 50 Mile Participants)

-Change of clothes and shoes for the Finish Festival

-Appropriate clothing based on the weather forecast <– SO I guess I shouldn’t wear my ball gown

-Appropriate equipment based on weather forecast

-Bag to store your belongings at the Finish Festival

-Water bottle or hydration pack

-Required medications, inhalers or EpiPens <– You better believe I’ll be fully loaded with inhalers

-Sunscreen

-Sunglasses or hat

-Anti-chafe gel

-Watch/GPS device

-Cell phone (limited reception) or camera <– I’m banking on my dad getting me a go pro so I can get some awesome shots while on the go (no pressure dad..but seriously) I think it would be an awesome way to capture the experience

-Cash for food and beer <– I don’t need to explain how important both of these items will be

-ID for beer garden <– Again absurdly important

-Ibuprofen or pain reliever <– Aka a gallon of Advil

-GAME FACE


SO yeah, there’s the gist of it all. I’ll be purchasing my trail running gear once winter is over, I have a feeling companies will roll out some awesome new products/colors for spring. I am looking at Salomon trail running shoes and an Osprey trail pack. I found out about the Osprey backpack at work actually. One of our guests was wearing one so I basically sprinted over to her to talk about it. She gave it an A+. In regards to the watch I’ll be wearing I already own the Nike + Sportwatch but I’m going to see what else is out there. I LOVE this watch for standard racing etc. but I have a feeling I might need something a little more intense considering the elevation/lack of reception etc.

http://www.salomon.com/us/

http://www.ospreypacks.com/

In regards to headlamps and all the other bells and whistles I’ll be heading over to either REI or Eastern Mountain Sports and getting some advice in that department. But if any of my readers have any suggestions toss them my way.

Alright, over and out. Today I’m thinking a nice light jog. I’ll be incorporating a ton of yoga throughout my training and plan on hitting up two different studios this week. Tomorrow is a black light class which I’ve never attended so I’ll keep you posted on what that’s like! Neon-y I imagine. The other is your standard hot power vinyasa flow. Thanks for reading!

-KS


*All images pulled from http://www.thenorthface.com/downloads/pdf/50Mile_UT.pdf

First post!

So I finally decided to take the leap and create a blog. With the help of my fellow Janji Corps Members I decided to go with WordPress. Definitely a good decision. I will basically be using this as a gateway into my training, diet, and general thoughts throughout my training process for my 50 mile ultra marathon.

I will be doing The North Face Endurance Challenge in Utah.

http://www.thenorthface.com/en_US/endurance-challenge/park-city-utah/?stop_mobi=yes

Only 215 days until race day, now to some people that might sound like a lot, but when you’re trying to get in peak performance to not only run 50 miles straight but also do it at a maximum height of 10,000 ft there’s something to be said for patience when it comes to training.

I would say today was my first real leap into the training I would like to do regularly. I started out the day with a 6 mile run (on a treadmill, no way in hell I’m going to even attempt to run in Boston with this crazy weather right now) then hit up a spin class and did an extra 3 miles. My ultimate game plan is to add 10 miles per month so by the time the race rolls around I will be more than comfortable with the distance aspect.

Luckily I have the support of not only my friends and family but also my coworkers and fellow Janji Corps Members which is amazing. It’s like a never ending support net, few people are that lucky. The vegan community also has my back because I will be doing my training 100% vegan. I actually got extremely lucky and found some Odwalla bars that are vegan which is a perfect source of protein for my training!

http://www.odwalla.com/ <–Check them out! And while you’re searching the net check out Janji!

http://runjanji.com/

Well I think that’s enough rambling for me today. There’s plenty more where this came from amigos. Good night and may tomorrow bring light feet.

-KS