Liz Wilson Yoga

California Dreamin’

By August 9, 2017 balanced lifestyle, Travel

Until recently, I’d only been to California twice. Once in college for a field hockey tournament in Santa Barbara, and another weekend in San Diego when I was debating where to move after Colorado.

And yes, there were those two trips to LA for BlogFest. Except for one afternoon in Santa Monica, both trips were largely contained in the downtown area and convention center. Thanks to Caitlin, I know there’s so much more to explore outside of DTLA. But I’d say we definitely made the most of downtown!

Speaking as a non-Californian, there seems to this aura around the Golden State, a California-versus-the-world mentality. I’m not saying that in a bad way, just that as an outsider that I’ve never really “gotten” California and it’s sunny aura.

When I think of California, I think of sunshine and palm trees, bikinis and blond hair, and celebrities and vineyards.

Yes, all those things exist in California. But there’s a lot more to it than that. I have lots of friends that are from, live in, or have lived in California. I hear the stories, but just couldn’t quite understand what made it SO special that so many hoards of people would live there and deal with the high cost of living, traffic, and drought.

I’ve had reason this year to spend more time in California and have been loving it! Without actually living there, I think I’m starting to get it. Sonoma in March was perfection. Sunny and 75 amidst the cold, rainy Portland winter was such an unbelievable breath of fresh air. I remember Nicci, who used to live in LA, telling me as we were packing up the car after the retreat and dreading returning to the gloom, “This is why people live in California.” Ah.

What wouldn’t be amazing about sunshine, trail running, and wine?

This past week we road tripped to the Bay Area for the Empower Race. Most people can’t believe that I’ve never been to San Francisco, and I’m right along with ’em. I was so excited about finally getting there with two longtime SF’ers. For our weekend, I got to experience the life of a California girl!

Hitting the Road

I feel like road trips are a very West Coast thing. I always think of winding along the coast on the 101 with the Pacific next to me and the top down, or driving through the desert with nothing but open road and cacti as far as the eye can see. Things are more spread out here. We have to drive longer distances to go for adventures. I myself have had some great road trips in Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming. But I always love hearing Caitlin tell stories of putting John Mayer and Tom Petty in the CD player and hitting the road for Santa Barbara and Joshua Tree.

Side note, last week on the drive down I listened to my very first podcast, thanks to my podcast-loving partners in crime and road trip buddies.

The Liquid Trifecta: Wine, Coffee, Water

It’s so important to stay hydrated while traveling. We made sure to keep ourselves well stocked with all the water and all the coffee. We made sure to bring some beans from our favorite PDX roasters with us. But never fear, Alyse, our resident coffee snob, made delicious coffee for us in Tahoe and we hit up some of the best places in the Bay Area for our caffeine fix (ahem, Philz!!).

Best way I kicked off my mornings (and afternoons) in Tahoe: Gerolsteiner bubbles and Four Barrel brew.

Thanks goodness for my sidekicks from Takeya (affectionately dubbed last week “Take Ya Everywhere”) and lululemon.

Not to mention all the wine toasts along the way after long days of travels and sweaty days of running.

 

#floaty and bikinis

I did mention bikinis were a big part of my California vision, right? We made sure to strip down and suit up to enjoy some Tahoe sunshine. Major plus, it was National Watermelon Day, which we got to celebrate with a huge watermelon floaty and a mini beverage watermelon floaty. And of course we couldn’t leave out our everyday unicorn floaty. 😉

Mountains AND Water

We made sure to get plenty of trail running in on our trip. In classic mountain form, our runs went straight uphill and then we got to stride it out on the way down. Talk about sweaty and dusty jello legs.

One of the best parts of California is the close proximity of mountains to the ocean, my one gripe about Colorado. We went from the beautiful mountains of Tahoe to the beautiful views of the Bay in just a 4 hour drive.

Lawn Lounging

One of the highlights of the weekend was upon our arrival into the city on Sunday we headed straight to Off the Grid in the Presidio. The whole lawn is full of people stretched out on blankets with friends throwing footballs (which Abbie thought was a personal torture directed to her), puppies playing, and kids breakdancing. Not to mention eating amazing food from the food trucks that lined the entire lawn.

Scrumptious Eats

Yum, yum, and yum again. I’ve heard tales of the delicious food in the Bay Area, and I have to say everything was super delicious. We met up with our Sweat Pink squad for delicious small plates and drinks at MUA in Oakland, ate our faces off at Off the Grid, downed some of the best pizza in the Marina, and ended all the eating with a huge slice of toast topped with two poached eggs.

Special shout out to Nic, the queen of the toasts! 😉

City Living

A former self-pronounced city girl, I love the energy a city has to offer. A lot of people predicted that I would love San Francisco and the Bay Area, and I have to say that they were right. I loved the funky vibe, the delicious food, beautiful architecture. People were nice and everywhere was dog friendly. There was so much diversity and culture. Having trails AND the Bay on either side of the city was incredible. As a current self-pronounced mountain girl, it made me wish that I loved living in cities because San Francisco would definitely be calling to me…

Sunsets over the water

Yeah, this is Lake Tahoe, but we still saw some beautiful ones over the Bay. I love those Pacific Ocean sunsets!

Meeting Awesome People

We met some amazing people this weekend! A distinct “pro” to being in a really crowded area. Off the Grid was an amazing collision of squads. Jamie, Nicci, Alyse, and I met up with Jamie’s friend CJ, who also ran with us that morning. We found our PDX friend Robyn and her boyfriend with their squad, made up of some people we know and some new people we got to meet. Four of Nicci’s good friends that live in SF also met up with us on the lawn. Throw in three adorable pups, and our giant squad was complete.

We got to reunite with and meet some amazing people at our EMPOWER Race Series. Sweating and smiling faces are my favorite!

Getting EMPOWERED

Seeing the crew that pulled together around the theme of EMPOWERMENT was amazing! Women of all ages came out to run 5k or 10k and do all the yogas together. We saw PR’s made, new poses attempted on the mat, people coming to the event stag that made new friends. It was truly an inspiring event.

 

Girlfriends

Love, laughter, and my ladies.

 

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Hitting the #BlogFest highlights

By July 31, 2017 balanced lifestyle, Travel

I can’t believe it’s been a week since we’ve been home from BlogFest in Vegas. The week of decompressing and adjusting back into the world of Portland has flown by in a blur. It’s wonderful to get to remember specific moments of such an amazing weekend.

We kicked the weekend off on a high and sweaty note! I jumped into booth set up (after a big reunion hug with Jamie, Nicci, and Alyse), which of course included photobooth shenanigans (we had to test out the photobooth after all), swag bag unveiling, and breaking into the red vines. It’s always nice having a prep day with the team, to reunite, set everything up, get our feet under us, and enjoy ourselves.

The weekend was full of awesome educational sessions, team twinning, and funny faces.

It’s great to see how the information we discuss at BlogFest is applied by our community of influencers that have been blogging between months and years. While a new blogger may be full of fresh ideas, but eventually they’ll be putting to use Katy Widrick‘s session of making old content new again. Talking SEO might sound like another language at first, eventually Lindsay Valdez‘s top 5 SEO Elements will make sense. And everyone always loves learning about how to make money with their blogs; thanks, Amanda Vogel!

Contagiasm

This year’s keynote speaker was led by Todd Durkin. Talk about getting amped up! We saw him accept the Jack Lalanne award the day before in front of thousands of people (Elaine Lalanne even gave his onsie-clad booty a little slap as he completed the push-ups she challenged him to), and then we got to see him the next day in our BlogFest room. He’s incredibly inspiring, and has coined the term “contagiasm,” the idea of being contagious with positive energy. He believes, as I do, that what happens in the mind, body, and soul is contagious, whether positive or negative. He showed us videos of his workouts and personal videos he sends his clients that got me positively amped to get in the gym and get after it. He also talked to us about his life philosophy, that life isn’t a marathon, but a sprint. A series of sprints to be more exact. Moments in life cause us to go hard, so we much recover just as hard to prepare for the next upcoming sprint. We must take care of ourselves, physically and mentally, in order to be able to truly be present and give it your all.

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The best part of the weekend is always the community. This being my third BlogFest, I knew a lot of sweaty, friendly faces and immediately started running into them Wednesday afternoon upon arrival and lasted through Sunday evening.

The squad is always up for all the fun pictures.

We always love to sweat with each other! This year’s Strong by Zumba workout, led by Jeanette Jenkins, was ridiculously fun! It wasn’t a dance workout by any means, but we still got our dance on.

By the end, we were full of big smiles, dripping sweat, and about to be so sore for the next three days that we couldn’t sit down without assistance.

We made sure to get our dancing in, though! Our booth was right next to the Les Mills booth, so we could jump in on their workout demonstrations when the music kicked on.

Wouldn’t be BlogFest without a twerk competition…

Not to mention the IDEA World Dance Party! We had so much fun and absolutely broke it down! Plus, it’s always fun to see everybody all dressed up and not in sweaty spandex.

Friday night happy hour is always a fun occasion as sessions are over and we get to relax and catch up with people, and network with our awesome sponsors.

Come Saturday morning, coffee was a MUST! We went off the strip and found the cutest breakfast place and loaded up on avo toast and coffee. You know this place was good because they had a throw pillow with a llama in a VW van. Such a great segue back to Portland life.

We get to booth babe it up all day long on Saturday at the IDEA World expo. It’s always such a fun day in our booth with all kinds of shenanigans and walking around to other booths.

This year we celebrated Alyse’s birthday on Saturday night! We got all dressed up again, went off the strip for dinner, and returned to the strip to bust a move in true Vegas fashion.

On Sunday, the PDX team was flying out later in the evening. We were able to enjoy some sunshine by the pool and discover an amazing taco place off the strip. Such a relaxing day (in Vegas, no less!) after the craziness of the weekend.

What an amazing week in Vegas, full of sweat and friends. I miss it all already!

 

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Rest hard today to play hard tomorrow!

By July 27, 2017 balanced lifestyle, Local Living, Musings, Travel, Yoga

In a society that’s go, go, go all the time, it’s hard to prioritize rest, relaxation, and recovery.

Summertime is often such a busy time of year, filled with patio dates, music shows, hikes, trips, and all the things. I was warned it’s especially frenzied in Portland. There’s an energy in the air once the sunshine appears after months of rain and gloom. Not to mention we have daylight here from 5 in the morning until nearly 11 at night.

But there’s a theme in the air right now about slowing down. About resting. About recovery. Seriously, it’s everywhere.

Fitcation

If you’re like me, you have to sweat a little bit in order to really relax. So a fitcation is the perfect balance. Our upcoming EMPOWER Race Series in the Bay Area and EMPOWER retreat in Vancouver are the perfect opportunities to sweat, relax, and have a blast with a great group of people.

Jamie, Nicci, and I had so much fun on our road trip to Sonoma in March, and I can’t wait for all the fun adventures next week to SF! We listen to music, talk about crazy things, eat amazing snacks, stop for run breaks. It’s a great pre-cation to the retreat, an opportunity to relax a little before we have to turn it on.

Rest days

There are so many fun things to do in the summer! Hiking, running, biking, swimming, surfing, paddling… Most races happen this time of year, which means a lot of us are training and training hard. I love the energy that brings, but then there’s also the risk of overtraining. Alyse and Elle remind us to slow down and NOT overtrain! Alyse was so excited to be running, that she went a little too hard, to fast and injured herself. Now that she’s back to pain-free running, she’s taking it slow and easy to keep it that way.

Mix it up, stretch it out

We need to make sure we’re taking true rest days, but also cross-training, finding the right workout routine for you, stretching, and taking care of ourselves physically.

I’m trying to make more of an effort to roll out my sore muscles. In class this morning I got stuck lying on my Plexus Wheel (aka I didn’t want to get off of it). And I’m SO excited that we now have The Beam in the studio!

Post HIIT yoga Beam bliss!

After flying and traveling for weeks, I have so much neck and shoulder tension that lying and stretching on The Beam is going to just melt away for me. Brittney has some great ideas on unwinding after evening workouts, including gentle stretching using The Beam and a hot shower. So relaxing!

Get 20% off your own Beam with the code flex&flow.

Todd Durkin said so

When we were going hard at BlogFest in Vegas this past weekend, Todd Durkin gave our keynote speech. (He also won the IDEA World Jack LaLanne Award this year! Onesie goals, for sure.) A theme of his speech was the importance of recovery. Physically and mentally. If the guy who sends his clients videos of his workout at 5am to challenge them to get up and sweat tells you to unplug to get a break from life and take rest days to let your body recover, then you know how important it is!

Life is a series of sprints

This is a topic that my love and lady boss inspiration Jamie is dwelling on right now as well. I know it’s a real thing if she’s feeling the “slow down” vibe too. In that same keynote speech at BlogFest, Todd says that “life is not a marathon, it’s a sprint. It’s a series of sprints.” In order to get back from one sprint to sprint harder the next time, you have to recover hard between rounds.

Turn inward

Last month while I was home was a time of quiet. A time of turning inward. Of recovery from months of intense emotion and stress. I still got my sweat on, but largely felt low energy, didn’t talk much, and just wanted lots of quiet time. Without intentionally turning everything off, I naturally just slowed down.

Fuel up

I always need a good reminder to fuel up to hit it hard. Sometimes I get so busy running around that I either eat whatever is convenient or don’t eat. This week we’re getting nutritious and delicious with the #EBKitchenChallenge! We’re pairing Eggland’s Best eggs with some fresh summertime veggies, and featuring them in our own unique way. Join in for all the yummy inspo and you could win some awesome prizes! 

Disclaimer: I work with the aforementioned brands in affiliation with my role at Sweat Pink. All opinions are my own. I truly appreciate all of the brands that support the Sweat Pink community.

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The stoke level is rising

By July 18, 2017 Travel

I leave for Las Vegas for BlogFest tomorrow! I can’t believe it’s that time already. It’s going to be quite a switch for me, coming from a month of being in a bikini at the beach to a fitness conference in Vegas.

From quiet beach walks, sandy yoga sessions, bikinis, family time…

… to Vegas and BlogFest! Dancing, spandex, ENERGY, and maybe dressing up a night or two.

I’ve been pretty quiet lately, enjoying some restoration, self care, and lots of family time. Conference is all about upbeat energy, sweat, and FUN! To help me amp up for this energetic switch, I’m getting so excited about a couple of things waiting for me in Vegas!

Carrying out traditions

We’ve developed a couple of traditions over the last two years of conferencing that I’m excited to carry on this year. I love “then and now” pictures!

Todd Durkin’s keynote speech

The keynote speeches are always so inspiring! Two years ago Gabby Reece rocked our worlds, and last year Jenna Wolfe followed suit. If his goal setting tells us anything, I can only imagine the gems Todd Durkin is going to have for us this year!

Reunion

I can’t wait to reunite with my loves! Only one day now!

The pounce is going to be legendary, I tell you!

Reunion take two, three, four…

It’s always so much fun getting together with members of our community, IRL!!!

Twinning

We always coordinate our outfits as a team. #unicornsquad FTW!

This year the Sweat Pink team will be twinning it up in some awesome prAna outfits!

Booth shenanigans

The Sweat Pink booth always brings the noise!

I totally won this dance battle!

Drop it like a squat all over that Twister board!

Zumba

We love to dance! Sometimes it happens at official Zumba and Bollywood workout classes, sometimes it’s just because it feels right to shake our booties. (PS, Jamie looooooooves Zumba!)

Vegas shenanigans?

No matter where we are, LA, Indianapolis, Sonoma, we always have the best time!

We always fit in some fun run-plorations.

We find the best art.

Always grabbin’ the booty…

Vegas, baby! 

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Two Worlds Collide, in Vegas

By July 13, 2017 balanced lifestyle, Travel

In one week from today, BlogFest 2017 kicks off in Las Vegas!

I simply can’t believe it’s that time again. It feels like we were just in LA for last year’s conference. With our amazing photo booth, protein shake shenanigans, DTLA run-ventures, so much sweat…

I had to start thinking about my packing for BlogFest early and very strategically. I’ve been away from Portland for almost a month now. I had to pack for a wedding, the beach, sitting in air conditioning for long periods of time, and BlogFest. Whew.

It was quite the packing process. I basically did my laundry (which had gotten piled up (imagine heaps of sweaty spandex) next to a hamper full of clean clothes) while I weeded through and purged my closets. As I went through everything I made piles of everything I thought I might need. And then narrowed it down to essentials and then whatever else would fit in my duffle.

Amidst all of the spring cleaning and organizing mayhem, I made sure that I included some key items for my trip and BlogFest:

(Not yet sweaty) Spandex

Even in the summer, spandex is an integral part of my wardrobe. No matter the time of year, I only do yoga in full-length pants (except on the beach, obvi). When preparing for something like BlogFest, you have to think through packing in terms of sweat sessions rather than days. At this conference we go from workouts into educational sessions, during which the air conditioning in the conference room is pumping! I hate when my sweat dries while I’m sitting in AC, to go from dripping sweat to freezing. I always bring extra clothes with me to change after workouts. Gotta keep it fresh!

The Sweat Pink team is going to be twinning in style with these awesome outfits from prAna!

Jake was a big help while packing!

And let’s not forget the assortment of Sweat Pink and neon pink tanks and bras that I’ll have with me!

Sunshine Screens

Even though I’m a sun addict, I make every effort to protect my skin. Coming from a month in the sun at home at the beach, I definitely have my base tan ready to go for the desert. But I also have my sun protection gear locked and loaded.

Polarized Sunglasses

We’re big fans of Sunski. Cute, polarized, and affordable! Jamie has also recently discovered Nectar and Quay Australia.

Sunscreen

I don’t step outside my house now without SPF on my face, even in dreary Portland. I’m also a fan of anything that helps me get out the door quicker and easier in the morning, especially on quick-paced conference days. Most mornings while at BlogFest we try to get an early morning run in and then head out for a long day of sweat and sessions. Enter FRÉ moisturizer with SPF, one of my favorite products! Get 15% off with the code SUMMERSWEAT.

Trucker Hats

I never head out for a run, or really to hangout in the sun at all, without a hat now. My Sweat Pink and Flex & Flow truckers are always my #1 run accessories that always make their way into my travel bag.

Bikini

Kind of the opposite of sun protection, but at least I’ll be wearing sunscreen! One of my favorite Vegas memories from 5 years ago is going to a pool party at the MGM. I don’t expect that we’ll have time to get “wild and out” at a pool or anything. But last year we got to squeeze in an hour of lying by the pool, which was the perfect way to get some time together as a team and decompress before the craziness of the weekend! Plus, I have some awesome pink pieces I love to mix together!

AfterShokz

I pretty much never go anywhere without my AfterShokz headphones. They’re a permanent fixture in my backpack / tote bag. The beauty of having them at a conference? They let you be as social as you want to be. You can listen to your sweat playlist and zone out, or jam out while still catching up with Sweat Pink friends. Get a pair now and you’ll get a free water bottle with purchase! 

A phone charger

We’re on our phones on Instagram all day long. Gotta plug in whenever we can! Extra batteries are also a great idea!

Beware walking while Instagramming.

Red Dress

When you think of packing for Vegas, you think sparkles, stilettos, and showing a lot of leg.

We usually try to go out one night as a team to celebrate and another to reunite with our Sweat Pink ambassadors. Cute outfits usually get broken out, an event to be relished for those of us that consider athleisure appropriate date night attire. (Leggings are totally versatile!)

At Fitbloggin last year.

At BlogFest two years ago.

But I was hesitant about what to pack for going out this year. How does the fitness industry do Vegas?! I was leaving Jamie’s house one night a few days before leaving and thought to ask her if we were bringing cute outfits for going out one night. Jamie’s response to me: “Duh, it’s Vegas.” So, I made sure to include one of my favorite dresses and pair of wedges!

Costumes

Pictures, pictures, pictures. We’re constantly taking pictures throughout the weekend. Selfies, photo booths, Instagram stories. All. Weekend. Long.

We have some awesome plans for our booth this weekend. Some fun props may or may not be included…

Wide angle lens

Jamie and Nicci gave me one the best presents ever for my birthday this year: a wide angle lens phone attachement! This amazing tool lets me fit even more content into my photo frame, as in I have fit nine people in a selfie! Yeah, amazing. (It can also turn into a macro lens for detail.)

Viking

I couldn’t fit one into my bag for this trip, so I’m hoping to be able to pick one up there. 😉

I think I’m all set for the ultimate fitcation of BlogFest! What’s in your duffle?

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It’s her birthday, AND she rocks the hell out of overalls?!

By July 12, 2017 balanced lifestyle, Local Living, Travel, Yoga

I remember sitting down at the bagel house to interview this adorable, curly haired, sweet girl as we were building out Flex & Flow. I knew immediately that I liked her, but I had no way of knowing how important, how absolutely integral to my life, she would become to me.

I’m lucky enough that I have quite a few people in my life that I can do everything with: have fun, talk about serious life issues, turn to when shit is hitting the fan, fart in front of and talk about embarrassing things… Nicci is one of these amazing people!

A running buddy.

It’s hard to believe that she didn’t run that much when we met, because we run together all the time now! We tend to be on the same page with our runs (aka, chasing after Jamie, Abbie, and Robyn together). A few weeks ago I was late to run club after not being able to cross the river in Portland. She waited to run with me, letting the rest of the group go ahead. Just LOVE running with her!

Yogi love.

It’s stating the obvious for me to say that we love doing yoga together. A lot.

Work wife.

I have a lot of inspiring work wives (5 to be exact (we are a team of 6 awesome women, hehe)), but with three of us in Portland together, we get to have work dates together a lot. Meeting at coffee shops to work always helps motivate to GSD. I’m also lucky enough to get to work on a lot of projects with her.

Fashion inspiration.

I mean, I don’t know many people that can rock overalls and a top knot the way this girl can… Not to mention the way she rocks crop tops and jorts!

Travel buddy.

I’ve gotten to travel all over the west coast with this girl, and it’s always a blast! Snack on snack on snacks, run adventures, #stopdropandyoga breaks (even random roadside ones, and then our friends drive by us and catch us in the act)…

From Seattle and Bend to LA and Sonoma…

Even in her angsty teenager moments (sitting in the backseat on her phone), we love her!

Plus she always snaps the funniest photos of Jamie and me sleeping!

Adventure day buddy.

We love taking time off by stripping down and getting in the sun by the water! And snuggling puppies.

Toast. And cheersing.

From french fries and beer to avocado toast and coffee, she’s always up for grabbing something delicious! When we first met, she was vegan. A few months of watching Jamie and me devour cheese and ice cream on our dates changed her mind, thank goodness. Plus that night with the brie…

Dance party buddy.

Dance party, foal roller battle. Potato, poe-tah-toe.

Silliness.

It’s always good to have people in your life you can be plain silly with…

 

I’m so bummed I’m not in Portland to celebrate with her right now. But I promised I’d tackle her when we reunite in Las Vegas next week. We do have a history of tackles!

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I’m definitely not the only one that loves Nicci…

Happy Birthday, Nic! Hope your day is filled with popcorn, honey mamas, and French fries. Thanks for always being up for adventures and snacks– love you! – Robyn

Happy Birthday, Nicci! You are a ray of encouraging sunshine sunshine and positive vibes and always determine to push and sweat a little more. So glad I met you! Have a great day xx – Emma

Happy Birthday, Nic! My favorite braided, overall-wearing friend – you are one of the kindest, warmest humans I know, and an absolutely mistress of leg torture on gliders. Glider torture notwithstanding, I am so happy that we are friends and have gotten to know each other these past two years. May our shared love of paprika and friendship continue for the years to come! Have a wonderful day! – Tasha

Happy birthday to the only person I know who can rock overalls every day no matter what. Your smiling face makes HIIT yoga and hilly trails runs more fun and I’m so happy to call you a friend. I hope you have the best day filled with ice cream and cider (and more cherries?) because you deserve it!  – Kelsey

She always has a smile on her face even when she is sneakily making everyone sweat in her class! – Elizabeth

Sweat Pink LOVE!

Happy birthday to my favorite yogi in overalls! Thanks for being a total rockstar (and babe!) on our Fit Approach team!! Wishing you a day filled with all the yoga, smoothies, cold brew, and nature your heart desires! Can’t wait to celebrate with you at BlogFest! – Courtney

Nic! Happy happy birthday! Thank you for being the most mermazing, dirty-dolphin dancing, sweat pink and flex & flow sister! Can’t wait to celebrate with you in Vegas, Vegas-style. (Um, what? I don’t know. We’ll find out). May this be the BEST birthday ever! – Alyse

Happy Birthday, Nicci! I hope your day is filled with all the sweat, smiles, rosé, and chocolate a girl can dream of. You are such an integral part of the Fit Approach team, and I’m so thankful to work with you on exciting campaigns, HIIT Yoga, events, and beyond. You are basically my left and right hand, and keep the strategy moving forward. Thank you for your constant dedication + heart & brain power that moves the #sweatpink community forward, onward, and upward. In addition to being an amazing business partner, you are an incredible human being. You are always so thoughtful and positive; your personality and presence radiates good vibes everywhere you are (even through the phone!)! Basically, you are a unicorn in human form. Thank you, thank you! Happy birthday queen, Nic! xo. Becky

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Mix it up to #KeepRunningWild!

By June 30, 2017 balanced lifestyle, Yoga

I wish I could run every day. As much as I’d love that, my body just won’t have it. I wish I could ski every day. I wish I could bust out a badass flow on my mat every day. My body just won’t have it.

My body just isn’t capable of going hard in any of my favorite activities every single day. Not only does it crave diversity in my sweat sessions, it always performs better when I mix it up. And rest.

I’ve learned to not only accept the benefits of cross training, but to really love it. Bootcamp sessions with friends are fun, restorative yoga is relaxing, HIIT yoga and spin classes are about the sweatiest I’ve ever been, boxing is incredibly empowering and therapeutic.

Cross training allows your body to work, sweat, and get stronger in other, dynamic ways. If all I did was run on the beach, my muscles would only get strong in one way. And would get overworked. And so bored. As would I.

So let’s talk cross training favorites:

Spinning

This is a great way for me to sweat impact-free. I know a ton of runners and athletes that train on bikes. Spin classes and circuit training on the bike are no joke! I never thought bikes could be that challenging until I started doing Burncycle classes and sprint circuits, not to mention mountain biking in Colorado (the very little I did).

Surfing and Swimming

I love how long and lean I feel after surfing or swimming. You’re using your entire body for free style, my favored stroke. Swimming laps in a pool is wonderfully meditative for me. And surfing, while I don’t get to do it very often and I totally suck at it, is one of my favorite activities. When it’s flat out I love paddling around on my board in the ocean. And then I Superman splash in a wave every so often, aka every time I catch a wave.

Boxing

I thought boxing would be great therapy. Since finding out about my dad’s illness, there are times I just want to punch the s*** out of something. Boxing inherently allows me to do that! It’s also incredibly empowering. As I’m alone a lot around town, out running, traveling, it gives me a little extra something to whip out of my back pocket in case something happens. (Don’t worry, I’m not itching to start a bar fight any time soon.) But it’s also a great workout! We work agility with foot work, stamina with long combinations, core and shoulder muscles, and general badassery.

Power Vinyasa and HIIT Yoga

I’d say Power Vinyasa is definitely one of my main activities. But it makes for great cross training for running and all of my other sports.

Now HIIT yoga is it’s own entity entirely. You would think working in HIIT circuits to a yoga flow would be that challenging but holy s*** would you be wrong. And it never gets any easier! It’s always kick butt, you think you’re going to puke or die at various times throughout the workout, but you’re always glad you did it. I’ve noticed my running endurance has improved greatly in the last year of doing HIIT yoga!

I love that HIIT yoga weekly workouts are now available! Subscribe now and get your sweat on anytime, anywhere!

Bootcamp and PT

Squats, burpees, pushups, and weight training are classics for a reason. They work! I have my physical therapy exercises I do for my knees. Outside of that I love going to bootcamp classes at Flex & Flow. Tasha and Jamie kick my butt every time, but we have so much fun every time, even as our muscles are burning.

When I can’t make it to classes, I need a little inspiration. Sometimes I’ll work circuits into my runs and bust some lunges, squats, and pushups. I’ll participate in challenges, like the #AthleteInside Challenge with Designer Protein, The Vitamin Shoppe, and Zorn Fitness (today is the last day!).

Hiking and Skiing

Nothing works my quads like hoofing it straight up a mountain. Especially if I have all my ski gear with me when I’m skinning.

Paddling

Standup paddle boarding works it all: core, arms, balance, coordination. Using your core is kind of the secret to paddling, and helps save your shoulders. Not to mention, it’s beautiful being out on the water! Sometimes it’s calm and an easy paddle, sometimes I feel like I’ll never make it home fighting against wind and current.

What’s your favorite way to cross train??

Disclaimer: Part of this post is sponsored by Designer Protein. All opinions are my own. I truly appreciate all of the brands that support the Sweat Pink community. 

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Only Child Syndrome, the run edition

By June 29, 2017 balanced lifestyle, Local Living, Travel

One of the best parts of being an only child is that I learned to LOVE my alone time and doing things by myself. I do love being around people and doing things with my friends, don’t get me wrong. But I love quietly curling up with a book, not having to fight over what to watch on TV, not having to share my bowl of popcorn (which I am capable of doing, thank you very much), being able to coordinate family trips easily, and largely being an independent person.

This has definitely translated into my workouts. Take yoga for example. I prefer taking class over a home practice. I like the inspiration and motivation I get from being surrounded by other yogis in a class, but you’re still on your own with your practice on your mat.

For the longest time I only ever ran alone. Some of that was from being intimidated about running with others. What if they were faster than me? What if I needed to stop and walk?

Some of that was liking the “me” time. I didn’t have to talk to someone else. I could be quiet and listen to music and let my mind wander. I didn’t have to debate on routes, coordinate meet ups, discuss distances. I could run how and where I wanted to.

I still love to run by myself. I find it is truly a moving mediation.

I now also LOVE to run with my run buddies! While training for my second half marathon in college I started doing some of my training runs with race friends. In Colorado, Misty got me into trail running. I’d go out a lot by myself but would also run with her at least once a week. Now in Portland, I run with Jamie and Nicci a ton throughout the week when we can coordinate our schedules and our Flex & Flow run club every Saturday!

There are two big reasons I love running with buddies.

One: It’s so FUN! Miles fly by as we chat it up on the trails. Laughing about farting makes the uphill sections way more manageable. (Runners talk about farting and pooping a lot.) We usually have dogs with us, and it’s always such a joy watching them race around us in the woods.

I love when it’s just two or three of us, and our big run club groups! It’s always fun to start and end together as a big group, and usually we’ll naturally split up some as the run progresses. Big sweaty group coffee dates Saturday mornings after getting our miles in is one of my favorite parts of the week.

Two: It’s so INSPIRATIONAL! It’s such a great way to get inspired and motivated. I wouldn’t be trail running without Misty. Her personal goal and encouragement of me got me out on the trails and running! Jamie always challenges me when we run together. Her pace, her distance, her mountain goat legs racing her up the hill. Whenever I think I can’t go any more, I see her up ahead of me (if I can still see her) and I did deep to try and catch up. Same goes with all of our run club runners. I like to think that we constantly push and support each other, to run faster and farther while also taking care of yourself along the way.

I also prefer exploring new trails with someone else. Trail systems can be complicated and woods can often be deserted. I’d hate to get lost out running by myself or injured badly and stuck somewhere alone. Some of my favorite trails to run on in Portland I’ve discovered through Jamie.

Our first trail run together!

Never have I felt so empowered (and sweaty) as I do with my run tribe. Join in with us; have fun and get EMPOWERED with us in August! We’re offering a special discount this week for the EMOWER Race Series in the Bay Area! Use the discount code SWEAT to get 40% off! 

 

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Friday Five: 5 things my mom and dad were right about

By June 16, 2017 balanced lifestyle, Local Living, Musings

I find as I get older that my mom and dad were right about so much. Whether it’s safety while out running or that jerk I dated in high school, it all comes back to the advice they gave and the lessons they imparted.

So rather than go into the trials of my dating experiences (wine would definitely need to be included for that!), let’s talk safety. It is still Runner’s Safety Month after all.
And I’ll just go ahead and say it. “Mom and Dad, you were right.”

My face normally when I admit someone was right. 😉

Don’t run with earbuds

I was doing a lot of running around cities while in college. I found listening to music helped me pump up for my run while also blocked out city noise. This the era of the iPod, I used earbuds. My mother forever fretted about me not being able to hear my surroundings.
Thanks to AfterShokz headphones, I can listen to my run playlist and be aware of what’s going on around me. These wireless, Bluetooth headphones rest outside of your ear canal and use bone conduction technology to play music. Not to mention, they’re sweat proof.
Check out some of my inspo for my running playlists! 

Be visible

I love dressing in all black. It’s easy to match, doesn’t show sweat or dirt or coffee, and can be so versatile. My dad always lectured me on being in all black in the woods. I grew up in the mountains of NC where hunters abound. He always wore bright orange anytime we went hiking.
I still love dressing in all black, but have tons of colors to add in and gear to bring with me to stay visible when on the trails!
– neon tanks
– run tights with reflective detailing
– head lamp for night / early morning runs
– neon run jacket – essential for al of our rainy day runs in Portland
Who Am I? Id – This band contains contact information in cases of emergency, is fluorescent for daytime visibility and has LED technology and reflectivity for nighttime visibility. (Get 20% off with the promo code whoami at checkout!)

Notification

I tend to go out running, hiking, and skiing alone a lot. Just like my dad. There were days he’d be out in the woods with the dogs and he late getting home. Pre-cell phones, my mom and I always worried about what could have happened.
I always try to tell someone where I’m going and what time I should be back. On one of my solo skins this winter, I knew the way down was not going to be good. It was my normal route at Mt Hood, a narrow trail that isn’t maintained. So it can get really bumpy and uneven. That day it was pretty much straight ice. I was not looking forward to “skiing” down a narrow, bumpy ice chute. I called Nicci to let her know where I was and who she should call if she didn’t hear from me in an hour at the most.
Now I can take that to the next level. Now I can always be a press of a button away from notifying my network if something goes wrong. My Wearsafe Tag clips on anywhere, my shirt, my shorts, my run pack, my waterbottle, and is linked to the app on my smartphone. If something goes down, I can just press the button and get in touch with help.
Fit Approach is giving away two Wearsafe Tags! Head over to join!

Protect your skin

My parents were of the age before sunscreen. My mom always tells stories about lathering herself in baby oil before laying out at the beach with her girlfriends. My dad even had some potentially cancerous cells removed from his nose a few years ago. So I have sun safety drilled into my head.
– hat: I never leave for a run without a hat.
– sunglasses: polarized for extra safety!
– sunscreen: bonus when my moisturizer has spf in it, like FRÉ! (Get 25% off FRÉ products with the code SWEATPINK at checkout!)

BE PREPARED

Being prepared and aware is kind of the big theme, yeah?

Hydrate

Water water water. My dad is forever chugging water, alternating coffee and wine of course.  My Nathan handheld water bottle ensures that I’m always hydrating when it running. I also just got a camelback bladder for my run pack. I’m so prepared for some long, hot, sweaty summer runs, and that Southern humidity.

Always have my phone

I’ve been in a couple of, well, we’ll call them situations. Nothing bad or scary or anything, just some uncomfortable moments. It makes me really glad I’m attached to my phone. Anything that makes it easier to have access to my phone makes me happier (easier access to photo taking all the time!) and feel safer.
– my Bluetooth AfterShokz headphones
– pockets in my run tights! – I honestly can’t buy run tights without the side thigh pocket anymore. So life changing. Some of my sports bras even have them!
– pocket in my run pack
– pocket in my Nathan handheld
– Wearsafe Tag – allows me to access my smartphone’ network even if my phone is packed away

Layers

My dad is the king of layers. Anytime we are heading out for an adventure, we always have a lively packing discussion. When going out on the trails, you never know what you might need. The weather might shift and you need a puffy, or sudden rain comes in and you need a shell. He taught me it always pays to be prepared and I couldn’t tell you how many times that has come in handy!

We were hiking in shorts and tanks just hours before! brrrrr!

And lose the jerk. 😉

Thanks for always watching out and, in the end, being right, Mom and Dad! What were your mom and dad right about?
Disclaimer: I was provided with products by AfterShokz, Wearsafe, Who Am I? ID, and FRÉ. All opinions are my own! I truly appreciate all of the brands that support the Sweat Pink community.

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Discovery, love, and squats: #KeepRunningWild

By June 15, 2017 balanced lifestyle, Local Living

There was a brief time when I didn’t run all that much. I ran my way through college, playing club field hockey and running two half marathons. Lifelong knee problems really kicked in my last year of college. The summer before I did a NOLS course, backpacking for weeks in the Lemhi Mountains in Idaho with a huge pack on my back. I had a brace with me, but that didn’t stop fluid from building up in my knee, causing some pain on the three week trek.

Elevate!

After spending July in the mountains, I returned for my last year of university. Two of my running buddies from my half marathon in Lisbon decided to run another: the Battleship Half Marathon in Wilmington, NC. Training went well, the race went well, but my knee never really felt the same after that.

I finished out the school year running and playing field hockey. The summer after I graduated I completed my 220-hour yoga teacher training. I decided to devote the summer to yoga and swimming. Well, a physical therapist told me to. But still, I was thrilled that for the first time I got into really good lap-swimming shape!

That fall I moved to Colorado. I dove headfirst into the “ski in the winter, hike in the summer” lifestyle. The town of Breckenridge is at 9,600′ elevation, making anytime I attempted running, even on the treadmill at the gym, really difficult. I continued to swim laps (um, SO hard at altitude) and cross-train at the gym, but just wasn’t running all that regularly. For about two years.

I would run when I was home in North Carolina or traveling, but honestly thought maybe I was beyond my running years. At 24 years old. HAH!

After my third winter in Colorado, I was nervous for the summer. I’d fallen in love with uphill skiing, one activity that gives me a rush very similar to the runner’s high. I love hiking, but it’s not quite the same. I was nervous about missing that level of adrenaline and exertion over the summer.

My knees were sore after skiing 90 days in six months, so I turned to physical therapy. When I made the comment that I used to run all the time and assumed I’d passed my running prime, my therapist scoffed at me. He was determined to help me recover from skiing and get me back running.

We started a regimen of Graston and dry needling (holy hell the pain!), gave me a taping technique to keep my kneecap in place, and assigned me exercises to do to strengthen my glutes, hamstrings, and quads. I left for a month in Costa Rica, where I ran and did my PT every day.

Dry needling – targeting muscle tension rather than energy fields like in acupuncture

Post-dry needling heat packs

Upon returning to Breckenridge, my roommate Misty announced that she was going to train for a trail half marathon and invited me to go on a run with her. I was hesitant as I had never really done any trail running and was nervous about slowing her down. But it was beautiful out and she was insistent. It was only three miles, but kicked my butt regardless! And absolutely hooked me!

All summer long I ran the trails. I discovered a trail system near town that had some long flat sections, a rarity for Colorado trails that are known for being straight uphill / downhill. Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely still hills, but I could find my stride on most of this loop.

I ended up doing quite a few training runs with Misty. One was on the Colorado Trail at Copper Mountain. 6 miles there took us into a section of the woods covered in ferns and moss that made me think of the PNW. Foreshadowing!

One of the most memorable was her long 10 mile run. If you’ve been to Breck, the route will make sense to you. We ran up the Burro Trail, connected to Wheeler, crossed over the saddle of Peak 10, and down the access road. A lot of the Wheeler section was a hike as it was super steep. But at the end of the run, we felt SO accomplished! And sore. And starving. I ate so many sweet potato tater tots and cheese curds while lying prone on our living room floor.

I’ll forever be indebted to Misty for motivating me to get out running on the trails.

I’ll forever be indebted to Nathan, my physical therapist, for making it happen! His work got me running 3-7 miles probably about 5 times a week, plus running stairs at work at the restaurant and summertime hikes.

How did he do it? Here are my go-to PT exercises to keep my knees happy and my legs strong!

Squats

Duh.

One-legged squats

To kick these up a notch, stand on a step to dip down further in your squat!

Warrior 3 dips

Hover your right foot off the ground. Keeping your left leg straight and strong (no hyperextension in the knee), move fluidly into a warrior three position. Rise back to standing, engaging your standing leg hamstring. 8-10 reps, switch sides.

Walking lunges with a twist

From standing, step forward into your lunge, and then twist through the thoracic spine in the direction of your forward leg. Step your back foot up and lunge on the other side.

Side steps with a band

Break out the resistance band! Lower the booty into a squat, and step out to the side with your band around your calves. Keep moving in one direction for 8-10 reps and then switch to the other direction. Keep the squat the whole time.

Standing leg raises with a band

YAY glutes! You might need to grab a counter or a wall to help balance here. Stand upright with the band around your calves. Slowly kick your right foot back at an angle against the band. 8-10 reps and then switch.

Leg presses

I no longer have access to a leg press weight machine, so I have to find creative ways to get these in. 😉 Thanks, Nic!

Keep in mind, the exercises were given to me by my physical therapist for my specific knee issues (aka, I am not a trained PT), but they’re good exercises to add to anyone’s, especially runners’, strength training routines.

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