Tuesday, November 27, 2012

This is life. Try to take it in...

Do you ever have those moments where you look around you and wonder, “How the heck did I get here? Why am I so blessed?” I hope you have, because I have had so many of them lately that it could make my head explode. Can I  share in these joys with you? November has been an exciting month and I would love to tell you all about it. 

I’m sure you saw our last post about the Malibu Half Marathon Mekenzie and I ran a couple weeks ago. If you haven’t you can read it now it detail here A Race in the 'BU. It was a life giving, amazing trip. I had one of those “How’d I get here” moments happened when I was running the race. The sun was dancing on the ocean, surfers were unpacking their boards and hitting the waves. There were beautiful homes and rocky cliffs on my left and the ocean on my right. The contrast of the bright sunrise against the glittering water was almost too much for my eyes to take in. I took a deep breath and asked God to not let me forget that moment. I don’t think I will. I felt His presence so deeply and as I looked out into the vast ocean, I was reminded of how desparately I need Him. Blessed. 

Breath taking, right?

I had to leave on my trip to Malibu just moments before my sister gave birth to the newest member of our family, sweet Halle Marie. She is perfect. It’s amazing- life. How it comes into this world and how someone so small can have such a huge impact on my life. I love all nieces and nephews so much. And Halle is no different. I love that my sister and her family live here because it allows me to show up unannouced to hold that precious little girl and rock her to sleep. It’s pretty incredible that watching a baby sleep for hours in your arms can keep you so engaged. It’s like she casts a baby spell on me and instantly she has me falling more in love with her and wrapping me around her tiny finger. And it happens again, “How’d did I get here? Holding this new beautiful life in my arms.” In that moment I took a deep breath, remind myself of the joy of a new life and did my best not to squeeze the love out of the baby. Blessed.

Meeting Halle for the first time!

She has my heart

Just last weekend we got to have our Kenz back on CO soil. It was the Core Four back in each others arms- for an entire weekend. We ate delicious meals together and talked about the hardships and blessings of being single and being married. We laughed...A LOT! And shared beers and discovered our new found favorite called a Moscow Mule. Delish. We celebrated an early birthday for me and indulged in some free birthday dessert. As I was sitting around the table at my birthday dinner I had that weird moment happen to me again, “How’d I get here? Where did all these amazing friends come from?” I took a deep breath and another drink of my aprocot beer - trying my best  not to miss a moment of this joy. Because isn’t that what it’s all about anyway- sharing joy with the people in your life that you love the most. Blessed.

The Whole Gang 

Kenz & Me 

Core Four

Life is good. Really good. Share in the joy with the people you love most. And in those moments pause - take a deep breath and do your best to take it all in. 

Thanks for letting me share my life with you. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Race in the 'BU


Why Malibu?

Mekenzie: I am such a sucker for good marketing which is why when I saw the promo video for the Malibu Half marathon I was signed up in the same week. I really wanted my next race to be a destination race and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to run in a really cool spot.

Erin: After we did the Rock ‘n Roll half in Denver and realized that races happen is some pretty amazing cities, Kenz and I knew we had to find the perfect destination for our next race. Once Kenz sent me the video I was hooked. Plus, here in CO we are in the dead of winter and nothing sounded better than 70 and sunny on the beach! 

How was training?
Mekenzie: This round of training was the hardest it has ever been. The post college adjustment was a way bigger challenge than I had anticipated. Mentally, to prep for a challenging run early in the morning or after your body has been stagnant for an entire work day is tough. On a positive note, I did get to do a lot of training with my cousins which was a blast. I called it cousin run club. Three of my cousins were training for the Kansas City half that was just three weeks before mine so we were able to help motivate each other and it was great to be able to have someone to run in the dark with in those early cold morning hours.

Erin: I have to agree with Kenz on this one. It can be challenging to find time, more importantly the right time, to run. I somehow stayed more disciplined this training season than I ever had before, though. Maybe it was because I was fearful that my sedentary career was going to ruin all my hard work. I made time on my days off for my longer runs. When I was working I would bring my workout clothes with me so that I didn’t have an excuse to not run. If I walked in my front door I knew that I would find myself laying on the couch and taking a nap. There’s an amazing trail called Spring Creek right by my work so I would just hop on it after my shift. Once I was outside running it felt great to get my legs moving after a long day of sitting.

Favorite part of the weekend:

Mekenzie: My favorite part of the weekend was the two hours of post-race bliss. Crossing the finish line is always so exciting. Two months of training and discipline coming to end in that moment is such a rush. The finish line was on Zuma Beach and it was 68 degrees. Erin and I grabbed our finisher’s towels, a free mimosa, and more free protein bars then we could hold in our hands and joined a bunch of other finishers on the beach watching the ocean, soaking up the sun, and taking it all in. It’s always a blast to talk about race details. Where our legs hurt, where our lungs hurt, the mentally challenging points of the race, our favorite mile, the friends we made along the way, the crazy outfits, the community cheering us along. I was full of joy and completely content all at the same time. That was the best part of the weekend.

Erin: I get goose bumps reading Mekenzie’s favorite part of the weekend. I would agree that it is up in my top moments of the weekend, for sure.  My favorite part of the weekend was a trip to a coffee shop called the Cow’s End. Clever name and weird atmosphere. It was a place we wanted to go to ever since we saw our favorite fitnessista’s (the Tone it Up Girls) post it on Instagram. My dirty chia latte (steamed almond milk, vanilla chia, and 2 espresso shots!) hit the spot and the funky vibe of this Venice, CA shop was fun to be a part of. But the best part was sitting for hours with my best friend, chatting about the trials and blessings of life. The good parts and the parts that make us want to cry. We talked about our dreams of being personal trainers and owning our fitness studio together. We have big dreams and it made my heart soar processing it all with my best. It was one of the most encouraging, heart-felt, up lifting conversations I’ve had. It was a blessing to share this with her. I cannot wait to chase after our dreams together.

Takin tips from some of our favorite fitness inspirations

Delicious coffee bevs at The Cows End

What else did we do?:

Mekenzie: We did all kinds of things. Erin has family in Studio City so we got to spend a lot of time with them. Breakfast plans was a must as Erin and I are quite the breakfast snobs.The Blue Plate in Santa Monica won our hearts with outdoor seating, fresh beet juice, great coffee, awesome scrambles, and a perfect little atmosphere. After breakfast we found the coolest farmers market. It put all other farmers markets I have ever been to to shame. We ended up buying our lunch there and trying all kinds of new unique oils and fruits. This was another highlight. The cows end was another hot spot for us. The “Tone it Up girls” inspired us to find this little Venice Beach coffee stop and we enjoyed delicious bevs and a long conversation there as we sat on the lookout for Karina and Katrina. These are just a few of the weekend’s adventures.

Beet Stashin

Erin: Because we were staying with my family and they were so generous to us when we were there, I really wanted to spend some time with them too. On our first night there all my cousins and their husbands and kiddos came over. We had delish Thai take out and chatting about the latest happenings in our lives. It was fun to introduce Kenz to our wild bunch, she fit right in! Driving along Pacific Coast Highway 1 was a highlight for me, too. I know, it seems a bit silly, but my eyes felt like they couldn’t take in that much beauty. God’s grace and unending love was beaming across the ocean and I had my best friend next to me belting out T-Swift songs. It was one of those seemingly insignificant moments that I don’t ever want to forget.
Santa Monica Farmers Market
Berry Heaven 

How did the race go?

Mekenzie: I’m super competitive and had to swallow my pride a bit when I realized I didn’t meet my goal for the race. The course had some pretty intense elevation changes and even when you weren’t climbing a very visible hill, you were always climbing. I could have done better with my hill training to prepare myself, but that’s okay. I’m so proud of Erin getting her best race time yet and I was so thankful to be doing what I love in such a stunning place.

Erin: First of all the race was beautiful. I was amazed the whole time at how much beauty there was to be seen. I was just feeling so immensely blessed that I got to experience this race with Kenz. Physically, I felt pretty good the whole race. Kenz, is not exaggerating though, the hills and elevation changes were way more intense than I was prepared for. My hips got pretty sore and tight but overall I did well. I didn’t wear a watch and there were no clocks at the mile markers so I was clueless as to how I would finish. When I crossed the finish line, I was so excited to see my time. I PR’d by almost 6 minutes from last race. It felt so good, so accomplishing! Running half marathons is not an easy feat, and I am super proud that Mekenzie didn’t stop and finished the race. She really did have a great speed for the race but it just wasn’t what she was hoping for. She is one competitive girl. 
Our favorite race day breakfast. Gotta do Justin's!

Sassy and ready at 4:30 a.m.
GOOOHOOOOD mornin. 7:30 race start! 
Runners ready to run! 

Starting Line 

What’s next?

Mekenzie: The Core Four have talked about a spring or summer triathlon next. It’s nice to take a mental break from training, but we all know we love a good challenge and can’t stay away from training long. I think we are going to scope out a good sprint tri to complete together so if you have any suggestions we would love to hear!

Erin: I have always wanted to do a triathlon, so I could not be more excited than to set a new goal with the Core early this coming summer. In the meantime, I’m starting up my gym membership again at Miramount Fitness. They have amazing classes and I cannot wait to get my left hook back at kick boxing. I am also considering getting my Certified Personal Trainer Certificate (along with Mekenzie!) and becoming a fitness instructor.

 Until next time….

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Healthy Grind

It was my third day in a row of standing in line with fresh almond butter and Honey Crisp apples at Whole Foods. As I was checking out, the cashier expressed her love for apples basically introducing herself as 'apple connoisseur'. "Excuse me what?" I got so excited. One of my favorite things is learning what people love. I really wanted to take Ms. self-proclaimed apple connoisseur to lunch with me so she could tell me all about her favorite apple adventures, favorite apple recipes, favorite kinds of apples...
One thing I really love is coffee. Okay, I love coffee A LOT and believe it or not, coffee has multiple health benefits that must be recognized. So bear with me as a tell you about possibly one of my favorite subjects ever and convince you drink a cup for youself.
Coffee has its downfalls too. Jitters and anxiousness can come from cup for some. Of course, lots of milk, caramel, whips, and syrups that are lovely additions to the cup can ruin your efforts of healthy drinking and cause weight gain,. It also can become very addictive, but coffee brews brim with things like free-radical fighting antioxidants called polyphenols which protects the body against type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Caffeine is a nervous system stimulant leading to sharper focus and enhanced concentration. It can lift your spirits and is a great pick me up for a bad mood and bouts of depression.If you are anything like me, you set aside time from your daily routine to make coffee. I like to wake up extra early so I can sit and enjoy my cup on the porch or cozied up on the couch with a book. This addition to the day is a means of stress relief for me. Taking time out of the chaos we as a culture constantly find ourselves in to be still, to enjoy, and to rest is a health benefit all on its own. Finally, coffee is a stool softner. Not awkward friends, normal. Elmination is a part keeping the body healthy and a cup of coffee definitley does the trick.
 Finding your perfect cup is important when establishing yourself in the coffee world. You can't just start with Folgers and expect to have a good experience. Coffee quality is key. There are three ingredients that make up coffee quality:
1) Terrior: A French word tht encompasses the places coffee is grown.
2) Variety: The type of coffee that's being grown.
3) Craftsmanship: The human element of producing coffee. Craftsmanship is the ingredient we have the most control over.  
So don't settle for a cheap bean or a bad blend. Experiement! Dark or medium roast? Or are you the blonde type? Hot or cold brews to start your day? French press or pour over? You decide!  
 Here are a few of my favorite coffee choices: The sweet and the insigificant.
1) Pour over. Always my first choice. Please see my post for a "pour over how-to" Pour Over Coffee Method
2) Soy latte
3) Almond Milk latte (found at Whole Foods)
4) Americano with a pump of toffee nut syrup.
5) Holiday Bevs: Soy pumpkin spice latte in the fall and a peppermint mocha in the winter.
SO friends, put on your coziest socks, grab your favorite mug and get busy with a healthy cup of coffee to start your day!