It’s simple. Ride as many mountainous tours as you can. Each tour has a corresponding number of points designated by its elevation (Mountain Points). The more elevation you climb, the more points you will receive. Riders who reach 50 points will receive a King of the Mountains Badge and unlock the ability to purchase the Official King of the Mountains jersey. Plus each rider who earns their badge will be entered into a lottery to win $100!
You can check the chart out here and see how many points each run is worth and plan your run.
(If you know me as a wrestling fan, the analogy is well known)
SF Marathon training is going well. I had by far my strongest run in almost ten months this weekend. So I feel like everything is heading in the right direction. Adding OCR training and shaking up my training has been a life saver. I just wish this weather would stop making my allergies so cranky. I am going to do a blog soon on all the things I learned from my foam rolling class because its been helping so much.
If you read my blog from a few weeks ago you realize I had come to a point with my blogging, and being an influencer that I just literally have walked away from trying to be a health and fitness blogger because I was so sick of watching people so sick of watching people making obviously unhealthy decisions and inspiring people to go down that path.
Someone I look up to today was taking grief from others because she wanted to treat herself to the new Unicorn Frappuccino. She is an elite athlete who believes in moderation. She does not believe in the idea that exercise is punishment for food. There is no clean eating and not clean eating with her. She loves her body and lives her life.
Why is this not so easy for people to understand?
Actually I get it. Towards late last year I realized that I wanted to be in the same position as other bloggers and I was willing to lose my voice for it. We want to be the image of health and fitness, we want to be that inspiration. I knew better. But I was having the wrong conversation in my head that I was not good enough, not skinny enough or not fast enough.
I just had to remember. I need to be able to be healthy and happy. Chasing a standard. Punishing yourself for bad choices is not.
It is the same thing I was lucky enough to be taught by some amazing people and I get reminded of frequently. The last few weeks have helped me realize that I can re-balance in my eating. I do not need cake every day but having a treat is not bad.
AND THERE IS ZERO REASON TO BEAT YOURSELF OVER TREATING YOURSELF.
There is more.
It is also about listening to your body. Remember the blogger I talked about in the previous blog. While still dealing with stress fractures she ran/walked the Boston Marathon. She was cleared to walk off her crutches last Monday.
You heard me right.
And the thing is so many people are congratulating her. Congratulating her for something that is though impressive, is kind of insane.
Maybe I am not seeing it.
Ill stand by what I said in the earlier blog. The journey is never easy. But the journey is never black and white.
I have had the honor of working with Hedstrom Fitness for the last few months exploring their Kamagon Ball Technology. If you have been following my journey on Instagram you will understand that I have really come to appreciate the Hydro-Inertia® based resistance technology. It has helped me get stronger as a runner.
Hedstrom gave me a chance to attend the IDEA: Personal Trainer West to be able to fully immerse myself in the technology and get first hand experience learning from some of the top names in the industry. I also got my first chance to go deeper into their sister technology the BOSU Ball.
How does Hydro-Inertia® help runners?
One of the biggest goals we have with running is being able to move our body in the most efficient way possible. It provides a challenge that you do not see anywhere on the market that works your stability and muscle strength at the same time. The water makes traditional exercises unstable and forces you to engage all your muscle groups. It works your muscles while training your nervous system at the same time. This helps with speed, strength and overall fitness.
I am going to breakdown each class and what to me as a runner had been the take away.
Renegade Athletic Circuits Revisited
My first class workout session was Renegade Athletic Circuits Revisited which focused on how to use Surge, Kamagon Ball,and BOSU along with cardio circuits to address the needs to athletes.
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For runners specifically I think the two keys that I got out of this is how time under tension adds to muscle endurance. A lot of us are guilty about rushing through our muscle workouts. This is something we talked about in Surge Training later, but how many of us rush through our movements in weight training?
Combining time under tension and shorter more explosive movements which you can do with all of this equipment gives you a set up for an epic workout.
The combination with balance work with the Bosu and the Hydro-Inertia® will work your stability and cardio while your body learns to adapt to carrying the load.
I have not been the biggest fan of BOSU for a long time.
The problem is, I never realized how functional BOSU was.
I sat in on the lecture (some pain in my ankle was telling me to be cautious and not do the workouts) for two classes (101 BOSU Drills for trainers and BOSU for kids) which exposed me to how truly versatile BOSU is.
BOSU is integrated balance training that add instability to every aspect of your fitness. It forces all of your muscles to engage. And for kids, it is a great tool to add exploration and imagination to workouts with kids of all ages and it helps with basic motor skills.
You can take easy experiences and make them exponentially difficult with the BOSU ball. For example, one of my new favorites is a overhead press. Instead of just engaging your upper body, your entire body is involved keeping you stable.
For runners, this instability makes your body work harder and smarter, which is something we want in the long run for all of us.
This is the first time I have gotten my hands on Hedstroms Surge System. The Surge system uses the Hydro-Inertia® system I talked about before to help engage muscles. The Surge looks like a very large log like PVC tube with handles that is filled with water and like the Kamagon ball the weight is adjustable.
A huge takeaway for me is there is a huge difference between strength and power.
Lets take a look at the basics
Power = force x velocity
Strength = load x displacement x time
Breaking it down for runners. Power is the short term game, but its the strength or the time under tension that is something that I really think a lot of runners forget about.
How the Surge plays into this, is the water gives you both the ability to work on power and strength by using the water. You can work through the movements in the slower pace and force your body to adapt to the load. But you can also force the water to move at a faster rate and work from the power game.
I have talked about the Kamagon Ball before, it has helped encourage me to get back into the non-running part of my game. But I did not understand how multi-faceted the ball really is.
The Kamagon Ball works 5 different functional movement patterns.
Bilateral: Bend and Lift, Hip Hinge
Single Leg: Gait, Lunge, Step-up, Single Leg Stance
Rotate: Spiraling Movement, Rotation (in sync or out of sync)
This value here is well beyond running. It makes your body more functional well beyond fitness and will help you move better. It will also allow you to have more mobility and to address stability.
Now, let me address something. I know it looks like a kettlebell but it is far from it. The two handles allow you more surface to work with so many possibilities and angles. And we have talked about the water before as well, it goes back to the idea that the water makes the load unstable and allows you to engage more muscles and your nervous system.
I learned a ton of new exercises that will allow me to further my exploration of the tool box.
I knew when I started to work with Hedstrom that their product line was going to be amazing for me as a runner but being able to fully immerse myself in what is capable opened my eyes and encouraged me to research more ways to be a stronger runner.
Thank You Hedstrom Fitness to giving me the opportunity to attend the IDEA Personal Trainer West. They asked that I would blog about what I learned in their classes. But I am a believer in the product and look forward to learning more.
First off, quick update on training for SF. I feel like I am making progress right now. Due to allergies and a combination of things a majority of my running has been on the treadmill but I am okay with it. I am making small speed and distance progress with every run. I am patient, it will all come together. I will do another update later regarding that.
But the main topic of this blog is for me to voice something I don’t get. I will probably offend someone by saying what I am saying and I may sound like a bully. But I made a promise to get back to the basics this year. And I am doing that.
I won’t call out the blogger in particular. But there is a blogger who posted something the other day about how she is injured and won’t be able to run X event, she does not understand why and she is afraid of letting readers down.
Here is the thing;
She does multiple runs of 18 miles sometimes back to back. She does not take rest days that any of us can tell what so ever. Her eating has made some readers question if she has an eating disorder. By all indications she should of been injured a long time ago. She was living on borrowed time. I feel for her totally. Injuries suck, they derail out goals and plans. (I just dropped out of a race I was supposed to do in April because my doctors was 110 percent against the idea). People freely admit they compare themselves to her in terms of their workouts, their nutrition.
If you are stopping yourself and saying whoa, pull up and have a drink of wine with me. (Or an Appletini, its a wrestling thing)
Reading a lot of blogs like I do, I started noticing a trend. We as healthy living or running bloggers (depending on the ball park) are so hyper-focused on clean eating/bad eating, we beat ourselves up when we are not perfect, we are making sure we get out workouts in, ect. Do we think about the kind of influence we are on people or are we so worried about ambassadorships, ad space ect that we don’t care?
I know when I took myself out of the ambassador game last year it was because I was so busy trying to look good and blow everyone away I was running myself into the ground. Running had all of a sudden become unfun and I was comparing myself to other bloggers. I was not eating the way they did, I was not training the way I should. I kept two (SF and my new adopted Hedstrom Fitness, along with my affiliate stuff)that made sense for my goal where I am at.
If this is what fitness and running blogging is about, I bid you all goodbye now.
Let me be blunt.
I have never considered myself an inspiration or role model. There are some days that I want a hamburger and I walk up to Dairy Queen (live 6 blocks from one, seriously) and get myself one. I don’t do it all the time but I never tell myself I can’t or its dirty. I work with a talented running coach who helps make sure that I am not over training. And I think he was ecstatic when I walked away from a bunch of my commitments.
I was also taught early in my weight loss journey that not only moderation is key, but its okay to give yourself a break. Its okay to indulge, its okay to say “Hey my body is saying heck no today, its time to give it a break”. You just have to make sure you are in balance and it is not an all the time thing.
Could I be thinner, faster, prettier? No doubt, but I am happier in my own skin.
This week basically starts the training cycle for The San Francisco Marathon for me, and the training plan. It is kind of that moment where you realize the next few months are going to be nothing but hard work, doing whatever it takes to get to that goal of the finish line on the Pier in SF.
I think it hit me why I have not done this in awhile. Actually my last marathon was the full two years ago in SF. Not to go into the specifics; I swore off marathons after that point. For me coming back to SF was like literally unfinished business.
I am not certain I have a time goal for this. I just want to be really see the finish line stronger then did the first time.
After talking to a friend today I realized most of this was mental. I have a great training plan from Club Hill Runner (got to give love to my coach) and I am still doing my OCR workouts and I think the combination works well for me and pushes me.
I have been so crazy with my client. But it has been a good thing.
I have been working with the Wolfpack Ninja’s on the promotion of their Ninja event. It has been a challenge for me because I have had to learn how to bring my writing to an event style level but I have also gotten to work with the people who have inspired me and for years as I have watched their American Ninja Warrior journey’s.
I really do love the work that I do. I am spoiled. There are days that I question it. But I am learning how to embrace my skill and talent for it.
I think making the decision to cut back on some of the extra commitments this year as the best feeling ever. I really feel like the focus is back to being me, running this blog for me and just opening the door out to more opportunities. There are some things coming down the pike that I am really happy for.
Sometimes you just have to jump.
OHHH as an aside, because lord knows I said I was going back to things that made me smile. As a wrestling fan I have never smiled harder.
You ride Dragon Hunter to a million points. I know this seems hard but if you do it right you can actually accomplish this in one to two rides. (I can do it in one if done right). It is all about strategy.
Riders that earn 1 million points on the Dragon Fit games (or Proving Grounds on vintage chariots) will receive the Dragon Hunter Badge, unlock the special edition Dragon Hunter Jersey, and be entered into the Top 100 Lottery for a chance to win $100.
The fitness center – “team” – with the most points will win the official Dragon Hunter Trophy.
For the second year in a row I had the pleasure of serving as a pacer for the Hot Chocolate 15K in Seattle. The one thing I learned last year is that this course is tough.
And that has not changed.
The experience starts at the expo which takes place at the Seattle Center Exhibition Center. The one thing I have always enjoyed with this race series is how easy it is to get from bib pick up to goodie bag (your hoodie) and on your way. There is a small vendor area which includes a place to shop for all of your Hot Chocolate gear.
Last year it HAILED on the back of the pack. This year the weather threw it’s own challenges again. There was a cold wind and it was wet at points and the forecast actually had called for snow.
The start line is organized into corrals, being I was in the back of the pack, the corrals are not well maintained. And it does take some patience to make it to the start. But being able to see the space needle first thing in the morning is a breathtaking sight. You want to make sure you stay warm on this course.
I went into this with a 1-1 run walk plan, I knew from what I learned last year that this course is really scenically beautiful but it is tough. You get some gentle rolling up and down hills in the first two miles, going out under Pike Place Market and through the Alaskan Way Viaduct before you are hit with the hill that never ends.
The Aurora Avenue out and back gives you quite possibly some of the most scenic views of Seattle you will see but for the two miles it is almost a straight up hill climb, and if you do not know that it is coming it will hit you like a ton of bricks before you turn around right after the mile 6 point. The nice thing is it takes you downhill after.
The course is well supported and you get a chance to eat chocolate at a few of the water stops. You finish thorough the main concourse of Seattle Center which is fun. Especially as you are finishing almost next to the space needle.
After the race you get to cycle through to get your medal, water and the famous post race chocolate, where you get a cup full of snacks and chocolate to dip it in. They organize the lines so you are not waiting long for everything and this years medals continue to be one of my favorites. They look like small chocolate pieces.
I will be back, I keep learning every time I am working on this race how to think on the fly and be a pacer. This is a tough but well organized race well worth it in the end.
Ill do a full recap on the pacing adventures at the Seattle Hot Chocolate 15K adventures later.
Here is a confession:
Running stopped being fun, blogging stopped being fun, volunteering stopped being fun.
Part of it has to do with just being burnt out on volunteering, and the whole rushing around to try to advertise, market to brands, try to be an ambassador ect.
And as for volunteering, it got to the point it was dishearting to volunteer anymore. The events I was volunteering with just drained the fun out of me. And I honestly didnt feel like I was making a difference. I even gave up one of my absolute favorites this year.
It literally stopped being fun.
The other part, and I hate sounding this way. There are some bloggers who work really hard and deserve to get some amazing opportunities. They are true inspirations and they are the picture of health. And there are some people out there that literally you have to ask yourself if the company really understands what they are doing. Watching bloggers who their own readers are calling them out for eating disorders, or disordered view of exercise, but yet companies flock to them.
The second I started to say no, it felt like the pressure was off and I started to have fun again. I also started to take advantage of my work situation and I have been adding in some modified obstacle course racing workouts which have been a really big challenge, but also in its own way, it has been a lot of fun.
A friend of mine told me several months ago that if I was not having fun, was it worth doing.
What has become really fun to me has been getting more involved with the Hogwarts Running Club. The entire focus is about not only Harry Potter which is a win. But it is about using running to not only improve our lives but the lives of others less fortunate.
We do virtual events to raise funds and awareness for different charities. Each house has their own common room (though I hang out with the Faculty) and everyone motivates one another. We also use the Charity Miles app to continue to push for our running to give more.
Adding to that coming back to The SF Marathon. I did say yes to being an ambassador this year, because it has always been about partnering and working together for such an amazing event. And I really want to have a marathon this year. Its been two years and it is time to go down this road.