Saturday, March 29, 2014

AFAA Certification

A few weeks ago I made the decision to get AFAA Certified for Group Fitness. This decision was based on my LOVE for fitness. It's sometimes hard to believe that I was the girl who told everyone "I can't work out. It's boring. I'd rather be chasing a soccer ball or making hoops." But lo and behold, I stand here and claim by GREAT love for fitness and exercising.

We were able to attend an APEX event, which was recommended to me and was also way cheaper than doing it online. For $99, you get a study guide and an pass to attend the certification. You can pay additional money for the book (which is highly recommended), a DVD (which is recommended) and a practice test. This costs about $100 dollars more. I lucked out and was able to borrow a friend's book.

Studying is crucial to passing. Although the APEX class will review things you need to know, you will not pass if you don't practice and know what they are talking about. A month is recommended, but if you have the time to dedicated a few weeks is fine.

I read all the blogs below, which shared great information about what to expect from an APEX event:

This is also a great video

Okay... here is my run down of what I experienced at AFAA APEX Group Fitness Certification

I arrived at the gym where APEX was being held with of course way too much stuff. Two yoga mats, a water bottle, a bag containing all my study materials, my wallet, my lunch. I looked ridiculous, but I was definitely prepared. You will need to bring study materials, your CPR certification, and a lunch. A yoga mat is suggested, but some places will supply them.

The first portion of the day is dedicated to learning about the muscle groups, planes of the body, the joint movement for the major muscle groups, and the AFAA 5 questions. Rhonda was our leader and she was WONDERFUL! I loved her so much! She was funny, direct, and made sure we knew our stuff.

After that you practice and review you practical. The certification is 4 part, 2/4 is whole group and 2/4 is individual.

Part of your practical is that you must demonstrate a warm/up, cardio, and cool down in 8 minutes. You will practice, but you must have a strong understanding of what you are doing. Basically your whole group will perform this together. It looks like Charlie Brown's Christmas where everyone is dancing differently. You may be doing grapevines, while someone else is doing jumping jacks.

For warm-up:
You need to have at least 3 different movements.
Arms need to stay below the head (hands on hips, reaching forward)
And one foot needs to be on the ground at all times. (no hopping, jumping) Think marching.

You kick it up a notch.
You movements can be the same but add jumps to them, like Jumping jacks.
Traveling and Adding arms is another way to increase intensity.

Cool down:
You should just be cooling the body down.
Think walk in place. Side step.

The next part of you group performance is muscle groups. There are 10 you need to know:
1. Pectorals
2. Latimiss Dorsi, Trapezius, Rhomboids
3. Biceps, Triceps
4. Quadriceps
5. Hamstrings, Gastronemius
6. Glutes
7. Erector Spinae
8. Adductors and Abductors
9. Deltoids
10. Abs

For each of these groups you need to develop 2 strength moves and one stretch. You will be tested as a group, but you are graded individually. An important element to this is that you need to maintain proper alignment. This is reviewed, but you should study it from the book.

On to the individual portion.
You will stand in front of your group and give a 1-2 minute strength, cardio, or flexibillty move with 3 levels. You need to give the following:
1. Eye contact
2. Strong Voice and Enthusiasm
3. Safety Cues
4. Breathing Cues
5. Cues for advancing the levels or modifying
6. Proper Alignment Cues

It's crucial that you practice this. You don't want to flub. I did pushups and started with a level 1 push up, just lowering your chest. Level 2 you extend your lever, buy pushing your hands foward but making sure they stay under your shoulders. (Level 1 you are in a square position). Lastly a Level 3 is a full pushup.

When the class completes this. You will be given instructions from your leader about the test. The written test consists of 100 multiple choice and matching questions. You need to get 8-% to pass. It is necessary to study for this. You will review about 70% of it in the class, but don't bank on being able to retain it all.

Herea re a few pics from the day!

Study UP!!

My new friend Leslie!

Ride off into the evening!

Our celebratory burger at Squeeze Inn!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My First Marathon in 26.2 sentences

This past Sunday, I did it. The 26.2 miler! I didn't run a race, I just created a route and wnet for it. Some may say foolish, but it was so rewarding and dare I say fun. I cruised to my tunes and carried my Camelbak and hit the pavement hard. Here is how it went.

1. "Wah-hoo, Let's do this." Started a little to fast, but raring to go.
2. "Slow and Steady." Slowed my pace a bit to more
3. "Excellent." It was so beautiful out. The sun was just rising."
4. "Go, Go, Go." Still trekking.
5. "You Don't Know You're Beautiful." This song got me pumped. Cheesy yes, but whatever works.
6. "20 miles to go." I can do this!
7. "You can do this." Feeling great!
8. "8 times 3 is 24. I'm almost a third done." Getting excited about conquering new ground.
9. "Done with the loops." I had to run a 2 mile loop 5 times before changing. It was brutal
10. "Did I just sprint." Waiting for a light to change
11. "Just keep running, just keep running." So close to the half marker.
12. "I'm gonna get to see my family soon." I was so excited that the miles kinda went by quickly
13. "Can't wait to see my family." Eager anticipation made this mile a quick one.
14. "Where is everyone." I was so anticipating my family to be cheering me on at this point.
15. "Oh, my gosh, there they are. " I later found out I was too quick for my husband to catch me and was able to cheer me on on my way back down the path.
16. "Ouch." This is when I began to feel uncomfortable, still strong, but 10 miles seemed really long at this point.
17. "I can do this." My family cheered me on once more.
18. "8 more miles to go." .
19. "7 miles to go."
20. "Just a 10k."
21. "5 miles to go, you can do this." I felt like people running around me knew I wasn't doing well.
22. "I hate this song." I became so reliant on my music. Typically I run without, but I wanted a change during this run. My mental state thrived on upbeat songs. All others created a dark place :).
23. "Why am I doing this?!" This was my wall
24. " Help." I had to call my husband for encouraging words and he once again drove over to tell me I could do it.
25. "Pricetag" This song got me really going. Bopping my head, picking up my pace. and really dancing through this mile.
26. "And we will never be ROYALS!" I was grooving to this song. Does running 26 miles make you kooky?! YES, yes it does.
.2 "SPRINT!!!!" Finish strong!

So there it is. Not quite 26.2 sentences, but short and sweet. Thanks for all the support.

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Daunting Night Before a Race

Since the beginning of the year, I decided to commit myself to accomplisheing the MARATHON!!! At first this idea seemed like a challenge, but no more that what I accomplished when I set out to do a half marathon. 

However, the hours of running, though I enjoy a schedule, its really taken alot away from family time. I'm sure that I will still run marathons in the future, but right now, with much on my plate, this was too much!!

I ended up cutting some of my training short, with my longest run being 21 miles and last week. I skipped the taper week. I know that your legs need to be fresh for a race...but I;m not running one.

What I mean is that tomorrow I will set out and run 26.2 alone, with just my family to cheer me on. My only reason for this was that there were no local 26.2 races, and I wasn't about to let all my training go to waste. 

So instead I decided to create a route that had helped me train for races before. Most of my long runs dealt with running in circles (totally boring), so as a treat I'm running around all my favorite routes. I'm really excited about this! I know that I created a beautiful path, so it will be great to see how it turns out.

I'm not focused on a time. It'd be great to finish in 4:30, 4:00 would be better, but I know that that I won't have the competition of others to keep me motivated.

Anyways wish me luck.

I'll be sharing all about it next week.

Here is my race attire.

Should I make a race bib?
Any ideas what I should enjoy after the race?

Monday, March 17, 2014

When Running Hurts

Yesterday I decided to do my long run. Unfortunately we weren't at our home so I couldn't get up early and run due to the unfamiliar area. What I'm about to explain is how running huts and sometimes sucks.

Marathon training has its highs and lows. On one hand you have a plan for running (which I truly appreciate) but you also have to stick to the plan in order to reach the goal, which can sometimes be a pain. Training for a marathon is a part time job. I am constantly thinking about my runs, what to eat to have energy, maintaing hydration, cross training, and dedicating 2-4 hours on the weekend to complete the long runs. 

So yesterday I needed to complete 21 miles. Since Spring Forward, waking up at 5 am is difficult and dark. So what was my plan???

Run 11 miles on the treadmill and then when the sun came up run 10.

A plan that sounded practical was not fun AT ALL.

The 11 miles on the treadmill were seriously brutal. I have the hardest time with pacing and always find myself running slower than normal. Or even running slower, but with less energy and feeling exhausted. 

After 2 hours on the treadmill, I had just about had it with running. 

Why Why Why? did I commit to this.

However, the first few miles on the pavement in the morning, felt heavenly. I'm sure I looked ridiculous because going from a moving conveyor belt to hard pavement is quite an adjustment. 

The only thing I can relate it to, is if you have played Guitar Hero for a while and then stop, you can still see the moving keys that the game provide.

Anywhoo, by mile 15 I think I hit a wall. I was so disappointed with myself. Last weeks long run was beautiful and serene. An easy 19 miler in comparison to yesterday's run. 

I felt defeated and exhausted. I just kept telling myself that I would feel amazing after it all. Knowing that I completed that run was a VICTORY.

I was able to finish the 21 miles, but it hurt and it was hard. But even though running that far and that long, I came away with still appreciating running. 

So yes, running does hurt sometimes, probably more my pride than any body part, but I continue to come back to it because of all that it has taught me. 

It has helped me to be a better woman, a better athlete, a better mom and wife. And even though guilt sometimes occurs on those long runs, I know that my healthy habits will keep me around to hopefully one day see my kids running races.

Are you a runner? What was your most memorable run?

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Fitness Friday: Marathon Madness

Happy Fitness Friday!
Hope all is well! We are enjoying some sweet weather here in California. Cool mornings with very warm afternoons. Spring is beginning to make its way here. Despite the lack of rain, I'm eager to begin running season. Although I ran through Winter. I just think that Spring is the true beginning of running. It was in April of 2010 that I headed out one Spring day and decided to go for a run. From that moment on, running has been my favorite.

Which lead me to running races, 5ks at first, followed by 10ks and a few halfs. I always told myself that running marathons was too much. No one can seriously do that and enjoy it. I focused on speed and running goals like a half every month (on my own, not races). Somewhere in those months I began thinking about doing a marathon. I'm not sure if it was the push of those 13 miles becoming 14 and 15 miles or the idea of doing one more hardcore thing before we have another Hurley.

So 2014 rolled around and I decided to start training for a marathon on Jan 1 ,2014 with no race in mind, just chose a plan on Nike plus app and started trekking. The ideal timeline would have put me at running in late April. But I was determined to speed things up. And although this goes against a lot of things, I've trained for a while at high mileage. So far so good. Last week I ran my 19 miles and felt wonderful. This week it's 21 and may have to be on the Dreadmill?! Yikes!! Any suggestions??

I found this video and thought it was so true about marathon running:

This week in fitness:
Saturday: 5 miles, 1 hour barre
Sunday 19 miles, 1 hour zen barre
Monday: Rest and Ballet Bootcamp by Sweaty Betty
Tuesday: 5 miles, 1 hour barre
Wednesday: 3.25 miles (speed work)
Thursday: barre videos, 6 mile run, 1 hour barre routine

Friday: 1 hour double shot barre

Here is some inspiration to get you through the week. 

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lilly Bug is 22 Months

Another month gone, another month older. I can't believe how close we are to TWO!!

My sweet Bug, 
You are a beautiful, patient, kind, sweet little one. You are a great communicator and listener. You make me laugh everyday. Your scrunchy smile makes me laugh so hard. We pray each day for your health and spirit. We pray that you will be bold voice, resisting peer pressure, and showing kindness to everyone. My dear, life is a gift because of you! We love you forever and ever.
Mommy and Daddy
 Becoming more social and talkative. 
Always has something on her mind.
Patient and persistant when it comes to fine motor tasks, such as turning a page. 
Likes to stack blocks.
Loves music and dancing (squatting and thrusting are favorite moves).

 Can roll her arms around in front of her. 
Likes "If your Happy and You KNow It," "This Little Light of Mine," "The More we Get together" (she likes to sign and say Happy), and "Skidamarinkadinkadink" (she likes to say I Love You).
Will grab your leg and give you a big kiss (or bite, but only sometimes:)
Gives hugs around your neck.
Prefers that Mommy give her water.
Shows her nails to everyone she meets. 

Night time routine:
brush teeth
veggie tales

Loves to play at the park.
Love stairs
Loves gymnastics.

Began exluding dairy due to ezcema (obviously not in these pics).
Loves to be holding something.
Loves to carry Larry, Melvin, Baby, or Kaylee doll around.
Likes to empty out cabinents and make piles of food.

 Loves to blow the whistle
Can blow bubbles.
Likes to walk and balance with help on anything that resembles a beam.
Beginning to demonstrate Mother Hen-ness (which I love)
Likes to take EVERYONE outside and walk with her.
Loves to explore and climb on things.

 Likes to put shoes on by herself by holding on to the wall.
Like to put pants on. 
Enjoys emptying her entire dresser and putting things in piles. 

Loves her friends Marin, Hailey, Hudson, Gavin, Aliyah, and Julian and all those at gymnastics.
Is a GREAT sharer.
Sweet and kind.
Gets super excited when she hears the garage door open, knowing that Daddy is home. 

 Majorly teething
Had a rough couple of nights of sleeping.

Thank you Bug for making life so sweet!

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Fitness Friday: A Word about Cross Training

Happy Fitness Friday!

It's March already! Thank goodness we are finally seeing rain! Although this pushes out my longing for beautiful Spring runs, I'm glad the rain has finally showed up.

This week I wanted to share about how to cross train when running. I'm really not a gym rat. I do love gyms, but when I'm a member of one, I usually stick to the cardio machines and classes. It's too intimidating to be among large men throwing their weight around (literally and figuratively speaking). You know those guys that throw their barbell down creating a huge crash and then groaning. What is with that?!

Anyway...cross training is super important for runners. I think that yoga or pilates/barre is the best. Running can be hard on the knees, IT band, feet, back, you name can hurt on a run. Stretching is super important, and like last week I said I'd do more to stretch. Little by little I'm getting there. I really love yoga for it's ability to slow me down, be less competitive with others and strive to balance. Barre, my newest obsession, is similar to pilates, but incorporates weights, ballet, and some yoga. I love barre because you focus a lot on hip flexors and legs, which is what I struggle with on my runs: tight hips.

Walking is of course a great path to take. I struggle because I can't differentiate walking as an exercise and walking as a sign of surrendering during a run.

Swimming: I miss that the most from gym memberships, like Cal Fit, that have pools on site. There are some great workouts that can really up your running game. Pool running is very popular, but I'm still learning about that. I can't quite wrap my mind around how silly I'd look and I keep thinking I won't be very coordinated.

Biking: Again, this would be another great one. With kids, it's hard to cross train and train for that matter, but strapping them to a seat while they enjoy a ride is a great way to get in some miles that can help support your training.

Whatever it is make sure you stretch and warm up, just like running. What a bummer to get injured cross training preventing you from running. Errr! That would be the pits.

What is your favorite way to cross train?

Saturday: 17 mile run
Sunday: 2 Barre classes
Monday: 5 mile run
Tuesday: Beach Barre (Beach Babe video) and Barre class (skipped my first run in my marathon plan :()
Wednesday: 6 miles
Thursday: HIIT the Beach with Tone It Up, Barre class (skipped my second run in my marathon plan:()
Friday: 5 mile run

Are you training for anything? How much do you follow the training plans? 

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Yummy Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Being the health nut that I am, I'm always on the lookout for vegan, low sugar sweets. But most of the time I find vegan or gluten free this to be loaded with sugar. This makes me upset.
I received a cupcake recipe book at my shower and came across a recipe for Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes. 

The first time I made these I didn't add sugar. The second time I cut it in half, which was still a whopping cup for 12 cupcakes. I noticed that the first batch was more cocoa-y and the second batch was much tastier, as my husband ate a few (That is a HUGE victory!).

Here is my adaptation to the recipe found in 500 Cupcakes:

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 TBSP of cocoa
Pinch of Salt

Wet Ingredients:
1/2 cup applesauce (I used an organic TreeTop apple sauce pouch)
2 cups cold water
2 tsp of white vinegar
2 tsp of baking soda

Additional: 1/2 cup Ghiradelli 60% dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, wet ingredients in medium bowl. Then combine the wet with the dry ingredients and add 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips. 
Spray muffin tins. Add cupcake mixture to muffin tins, about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing.


Do you have a fun vegan recipe?
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