QUESTION: “Are we supposed to be Cross-Training?”
This is such a great question and I’ll try and be brief.   The bottom line is to avoid injury, and the best way to do that is by erring on the side of caution, taking it slow, starting below your comfort-curve and incrementally building up your workouts to your own comfort-level before going beyond what you already know you can do.   There are a few factors to consider when you are trying to decide whether you want to do cross-fit and what kind of cross-fit you should be doing:
1. You need to know where you are at, currently, in your fitness.   We sometimes get caught up in where we WANT to be instead of taking inventory of where we actually ARE – try and know the difference, think about it constantly, and adjust your cross-training goals accordingly.
2. You need to align your training and fitness with your specific goals.
a: If you are just working toward crossing the finish line, you might not want or need to do much cross-training, although it would certainly be helpful if you could add in a little bit.
b: When you have a specific time goal or even a general time goal, you might need to bring varying forms of strength and flexibility training into your routine – very important to have both strength and flexibility when you tackle speed workouts since muscle strain and ligament/tendon stress is at its highest when we exert ourselves in these intense bursts.   Building these tissues up slowly and consistently can at least get you to the starting line, injury free!
c: If your goal includes weight loss, cross-training could be very effective in giving you alternative workouts that are better geared at fat-burning and toning.   I would also highly recommend your team-mate Nicki Mazzioti for nutritional coaching:
QUESTION: “What kinds of Cross-training should I be doing?”
To answer this question, ask yourself the following:
1. “What do I enjoy or would I enjoy?”   Just because someone else really loves Yoga doesn’t mean that you will love it too – by all means, give it a go if you’ve never tried it, but maybe you would prefer a nice bike ride instead.  (Swimming, Walking, Hiking, Dance, Zumba, Weight-Lifting, Boxing, etc.)
2. “What weaknesses or challenges do I face and what can cross-training do to help me address those weaknesses?”   I’ve already said that my core is really weak; my abdomen, my hips, my lower back (Core workouts 1-2 times a week).   I would also like to do things that help me maintain or maybe even lose about ten pounds (Full-Body strength training to add more muscle.  More muscle equals more muscle to feed and that equals higher metabolism, followed by weight loss), and I need tons more flexiblity in my calves, my hamstrings, my hips and my lower back (Yoga everyday!).
3. “What if I’m injured?”    Tread lightly here.   I’ve dislocated both of my shoulders (a long time ago) and I continue to have left-chain leg issues (calf, knee, hammies, hips and glutes).   Whether it’s my regular workouts or cross-training, I’m very careful and aware of these areas in my body and I approach them with respect and caution – I urge you to do the same.  It just isn’t worth it to drive yourself hard through injuries.   For me, I avoid swimming not just because I’m no good at it, but something about the motion of the arms causes my already weak shoulder sockets to pop out – my goal then is to do upper-body and specifically shoulder workouts (and surrounding areas) to strengthen that part of my body and rehabilitate those joints.   Someday, I hope to get in a pool and get proper coaching to improve my efficiency and form – just as soon as my shoulders can handle it.  Cross-training allows me to approach these injuries in new ways and target the areas that have had problems in the past – bringing me to a more well-rounded full-body fitness someday.
I would add that foam-rolling, deep sports massage, and targetted stretching are part of my cross-training routine specifically in response to my left-chain issues.
Bottom line: Be Careful and always consult a professional for any medical issues or question you may have.
I would love to hear from you!
Q: What forms of cross-training do you love?
Q: What did I miss in this article or what did I get wrong/did you disagree with?
Q: What did you like about this article?
Thanks so much – may you remain injury-free and happy running 🙂
This blog was inspired by the Destination U “DU-OV HalfM – Fall 17” group – training for the Tucson Half Marathon and the Veterans Day Half Marathon.  Thank you “Team Tomato” for your dedication, consistency, and can-do attitude.  You rock!

The Crossroads


Where will you be in five years?

You will be somewhere.  Alive or dead, in five years you will be somewhere.   Hopefully, you will be alive, and then the question becomes; will your destination be a well-designed destination, or will it have no design at all?


Today.  You are at a crossroads.   Crossroads are powerful things; they are religious and full of meaning.  They are spiritual and can signify calamity, uncertainty, and risk but they can also signify choice, freedom, and hope.   And today – you are at a crossroads.

You have a choice to make.

Just by showing up today, you have made a choice.   You did something today you’ve never done before and that led you here, to this new place with these new people.  That’s not easy.  It’s not as comfortable as many other things you could probably think of.   I imagine eating ice-cream and watching Netflix might feel more comfortable than this.   I imagine doing some quasi-work to excuse myself from not doing what I said I was going to do might feel better than this in the short-run.  I imagine there are worse places I could have chosen too, but I made a choice – I came to the crossroads and I made a choice to be right here, with you all.

And you made that same choice so here you all are.

You will encounter many crossroads along the way, and this might surprise you but, whatever direction you decide to take when you get to that point, you will always end up at some version of yourself – in five years, no matter which way you turn.   It is inevitable.

The version of yourself that you will encounter in five years will be the result of the direction you went when you made the choices you made today, and the choices you will make tomorrow.   The YOU! that you will discover in five years will be the result of all the excuses and justifications or the sum of all the hard-work and hard-choices you made to get there.

This program really is that important.  You really are that important.   The stakes are high, and you have some hard choices to make if you really want to be the best version of yourself; Destination YOU!

OW! It’s working!

I want to talk about something for a second here because it’s come up from a few of you and we all need to be on the same page. So here it is – credit Brown’s Boot Camp – Weight Loss and total body fitness (correct me if I’m wrong) is 75% diet/nutrition and 25% Physical Activity.   What does that mean?   It means that if you start working out or increasing your workouts but you do nothing about your diet, odds are stacked against that you’ll reach your target weight and maintain a healthier body composition.
Great bodies are made in the kitchen, not in the gym and not on the track.
Think about that for a second. What percentage of your effort goes into your diet and what percentage of your effort goes into your workouts?    We tend to think that when we get out there and run or lift or whatever it is we’re doing, and we get a nice sweat going, that we are putting all of our effort into our workouts and that’s the place for it, but what about with our diets?   What does it look like to put our effort into what we eat? Have you ever thought of it as effort?   I don’t know about you but for me, it’s hard to be hungry and have my body just craving some carbs SO bad.  I get hangry!   Irritated.  It sucks to eat a scheduled meal that looks big but leaves you hungry for more.  How can it be that I just ate all this food and I’m still hungry?   Normally, I would reach for something..anything to feed my craving.   Normally, I’m not really even hungry anymore, I’m just craving something sweet or filling despite feeling in my stomach that I really am full.   If I eat anything else, it’s just stuffing myself.   What I’m driving at is that not eating when you want to and what you want to and as much as you want to when that is what you’ve been doing up to this point is one hard battle to fight.   And you have to keep on fighting it, everyday, all day, with little moments in between where you learn to make yourself busy and forget about it for a minute.
You may not break out into a sweat, but that hungry feeling and those cravings are as much an effort to deal with and resist than pushing yourself to run a 5k everyday.. or a marathon.   It’s almost impossible.   You have to think of little tricks to help you cope with it.   One of my favorites is the Mohammed Ali pushups quote adaped for dieting; “I don’t start counting my pushups until it gets hard!”.   In dieting and watching your portions and food balance, when it gets hard.. is when it starts counting.   When you’re body is lurching with food-cravings and driving you insane, that’s when you’re losing weight, burning calories, getting tougher mentally.. that’s when it’s WORKING!   That’s when you KNOW it’s WORKING.  Getting the signal that what you’re doing is working – even if that signal is pain or discomfort or irritation – still feels good and you can feel a little jolt of accomplishment.   Just don’t get too comfortable because the next craving is right around the corner.

Not showing up!

By the way, this isn’t going to be a guilt-trip kind of blog.   If you’re braced for a verbal/written tongue-lashing, you might be disappointed.   It isn’t that we don’t need a kick in the pants sometimes, but that’s not my job here – that’s your job.   But you have another job too, and that’s what I want to talk about today.

We all have this script in our heads of ‘how things should be’.  In running races from 5k’s all the way up to ultras, we have this undefined image of how the race ‘should’ go.   Of course, things never quite turn out the way we plan though, do they?  We go out too fast, the weather is awful, our knee is bothering us on race day, we trip somewhere along the way or take a wrong turn, we can’t quite seem to dig ourselves out of a recursive negativity.   All these things and more can happen in races, they can happen to our plans, and they can happen in life.

Not only can they happen.. we all know, they will happen.

So something happens and our plans get wrecked.  We can’t make it to a meeting we wanted to go to, we can’t find the will to leave an aid station and continue on our journey or race, we can’t figure out how to write a proposal or create a strong elevator pitch for an idea that’s been knocking around forever.   But at that point, it stops being about that thing, whatever it is, and starts being about you.   Who you are.  How will you handle this setback, defeat or failure.  What will you DO, now?

And the funny thing is, it was ALWAYS about you, the whole time.

When those curveballs come, you need to find the original script – “So those plans got smashed.. what gives me the best chances of moving forward?”.   That’s how you show up, even when you couldn’t “show up”.   You brush yourself off, you take on this new challenge of forgiving yourself, accepting it for what it is and nothing more, and you let go of that self-abusive, useless and even damaging thought process.

Letting failure tear you down is the worst two-for-one deal you could ever take – but you don’t have to!

Who do you think you are?

Tell me.  Why can’t YOU do this or that.  What is the big goal, the impossible goal YOU have set for yourself?  Is it Boston?  Is it one mile?  Do you think it’s impossible for YOU to run a mile in under six minutes?   Seven minutes?   EIGHT?   Why are you so unspectacular? When the question hangs in the balance, will you always say “NO!”.   You will always say no, but you’re only saying it to yourself.

Who are YOU to think you could achieve these goals you never even considered?   Other people scoffed at you and you scoffed right along with them.   You sided with your critics.. against yourself.  You keep doing that.   Why should anyone stand up for you when you won’t stand up for yourself?


Is that what you want?   To stay where you are?  Mediocre?  Playing the “At least…” game? I’m on to you!   You say, “At least I can be kind despite my obvious disability, or I can cover up my weaknesses by working harder than anyone all the time,.. I can hide this by doing that!” as if it is all somehow mutually exclusive to you being successful in goals you never dreamed of having.  “I’m not good with numbers and I’m not witty and I get nervous when people are talking to me and things get awkward.. but at least I can be kind to everyone I meet!”.     

Why can’t you be all the good things?

So, we begin to dream of being the kind of person who doesn’t apologize for their weaknesses and who stops trying to settle their weaknesses with their strengths in some kind of life-balance sheet.   But we’re still not free because we think, “Who do you think you are?”.  We level this age-old accusation that “YOU are NOT worthy!” or “You really don’t actually think you can do this, do you?  HA!”.

But you are worthy.   We are not afraid that we are inadequate.  We are afraid that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us” ~Marianne Williamson    Read the entire thing.  Meditate on it.  Stay on each phrase.  Stay.

And I have to say, if those thoughts aren’t occurring to you, you are nowhere near your boundaries.  You are playing it safe.  You have not pushed yourself or dreamed big enough to scare the shit out of yourself.

You are capable of so much more.


Guest blog: “I hate Running”

“The thing that I love the most”

Emily, aka “RobotLeggs”

I recently came across an article entitled, I Hate Running, which resonated with me on a level I didn’t expect it to. It inspired me to further examine what I also love and hate about the thing that I love the most: running.

It really is a relationship in and of itself. Running is a thing or a hobby or an obsession or whatever you want to call it, that millions of people have a relationship with. Like most relationships, it has its peaks, valleys, and all the stages in between. If you’re lucky, it gives back what you put in. Some days it’s easy, some days it’s damn hard. Some days, reality matches your hopes and expectations. Some days, you want to quit before you even start. Running, for me, encapsulates how I want to approach life – by really being alive and experiencing, accepting, and appreciating it for what it is each day, whether it presents itself through love or hate.

Sometimes, thoughts and feelings of love and hate flow through my body simultaneously, as if they’re in an epic battle to see whether the other will back down and give up. Those are the most defining moments, those moments when you’re right on the edge of your physical, emotional, and mental pain threshold… and you want to quit. But you know that this is where growth happens. This is when all your best – or your worst – qualities surface: either your perseverance, courage and grit; or your fear, lack of confidence, and self-deprecating monologues. As it is in running, it is in life.

Thank you, Emily for this great blog.  You really capture the way I feel about running and how, just as in life, it can be simultaneously challenging and totally rewarding. 

You’ve got this!

It’s so freaking easy to get discouraged.  Here we are in late January and, for many, that New Years gym membership is already getting dusty.  The new bike is hanging safely from the garage ceiling.   We’ve started eating sweets again, or whatever.  

For some, you’re on the she and getting closer to tipping over.  Not sure how much longer you can hang on.  

I have a message for both groups. “It’s not too late, you aren’t beaten, don’t give up!”

Maybe the change is being super stubborn.  Maybe you’ll have to tweak some things and try again. Maybe you’ll need to do something completely different.  But. Don’t.  Give. Up!

Your new attitude is “I’m going to have a healthy lifestyle even if I don’t see improvement!”  You won’t always have motivation or the will to follow through but giving up is just something you don’t do.  You get back up, you dust yourself off, you try again.  You will accept yourself where you are and keep doing the work to get you to where you want to be, he’ll or high-water. 

Trust me.  Relentless forward progress will yield results.  I promise. 

You’ve got this!