Run Find Your Happy Pace

finding my happy pace in running and life

In a Running Rut? Need some Motivation? Aaptiv could be right for you!

This is the true story about how the app Aaptiv helped me to find MY happy pace in running again.

Backtrack to late last fall.

I had trained on my own for The Big Sur Half Marathon in November.  And by training I mean I managed the workouts, and the long runs etc, but my motivation was kind of in the pooper.  Like on a scale of 1-10 I was probably at a 3 or 4 at best but only because I was still running.  It wasn’t pretty and I wasn’t really enjoying myself at all.  I ran the half with no real expectations, no big hopes for a new PR.  I knew I would finish and chocked it up to enjoying the sights and sounds of my last Big Sur Half Marathon while here in CA.  Mission accomplished, in other words I got it done.  It’s a beautiful half for sure. Thank goodness.

Next up for me was the Star Wars Light Side Half in January.  Problem was although I was super excited to run the Star Wars themed race, I was still lacking any real motivation to continue to train.

Enter Aaptiv.

Changing word Unmotivated into motivated

Please note: I DO NOT receive ANY monetary compensation from sharing Aaptiv.  Nor did they ask me to write this post.  However I really and truly enjoy the app and use it regularly.  If you’re in a rut and lacking motivation like I was, or just want to try something new then this might be just the app for you

November 2016

My husband has been in a rigorous accelerated collage program to get his masters degree. In other words lots of time in class and even more time at the library.  That’s the reason we are in California so I’m not complaining just stating facts.  We also have three very active children, I work part-time at a local running store, and am responsible 99% of the time for making sure the kiddos get where they need to be, when they need to be there.   School, sports, scouts etc, etc. Like many of you my training is often superseded by family schedules.  Add in lack of motivation and you have a recipe for a running disaster.

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I had heard about Aaptiv online and had been curious about it.  I found out a local friend of mine had become an ambassador.  I contacted her and she hooked me up with a free trial, I mean what did I have to lose?  Except maybe my severe lack of motivation.  If this could help, then I was all in.

One word.  Wow!  I have to tell you joining Aaptiv has been a HUGE motivational boost for me!  It not only saved my half, but has given me a whole new outlook and joy in my everyday running and training.  In fact I was so hooked that before my trail period ended I not only signed up for the year I also applied to become an ambassador.

But before I go any further let me explain exactly what Aaptiv is?

Aaptiv is way more than a running app!  It’s a complete on demand, multi coach, fitness audio training app right on your phone.  It’s like having a coach in your pocket 24/7.  Chock full of classes you can do in your home, at the gym or take it with you outside.  The app has taken off since I have joined and now includes:

  • Indoor (treadmill) Classes
  • Outdoor Running Classes
  • 5k – full marathon training plans
  • Indoor Cycling classes
  • Yoga Classes
  • Strength Classes
  • Meditation Classes
  • Stairclimber Classes
  • Walking Classes
  • Stretching (classes are automatically suggested right on the app after each class, which I love because I can be a bit lazy when it comes to stretching)
  • elliptical classes
  • 7 minute quick HIIT classes
  • monthly challenges and so much more
  • there is also an Official Aaptiv Member Facebook page where you can connect with other members

In addition to choosing which type of class you want to take, filter options also include sorting by:

  • duration of the class
  • incline level (when applicable)
  • speed
  • difficulty level (green for beginner, yellow for intermediate and red for advanced)
  • classes by trainer (choose your favorite or try someone new)
  • new classes or classes previously taken

Classes are set to fantastic music too.  No stale old “who the heck is this?” music here.  You will find everything from Hip Hop and Rock to Country.  Everything from Foo Fighters, Brittany Spears, AC/DC and everything in between.  The trainers are motivating and informative, I love the extra push I get from having that trainer in my ear.

Back to my Half Training:

For the Star Wars Lightside I jumped into the half training plan at the appropriate week for my half schedule.  Weekly runs in the half plan include cross training / recovery days. (a complete explanation of the plans are available on the Aaptive website)  The half training includes days of speed work, tempo runs and even long runs.  Each day is led by a seasoned instructor who both motivates you and gives great information on how to prepare for your half.   Just click the day of the plan your on and go!  I was able to do most (and could have done all if needed) of my training on the treadmill because that’s what works best for me time wise.  The plan is great for indoor and outdoor training.  I not only performed really well at Disney I enjoy every single minute of that half!  Honestly.

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This was in between miles 12 & 13…see still smiling.

So what now?

Since January I have continued to use Aaptive 4-5 days a week.  I branched off from the plan and now include weekly classes like hill training, speed training and even cross training days.  I am so thankful to be excited about working out and especially running again.  I have found new motivation to work on getting better, faster, stronger all while finding my happy pace in running and life!

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Great run thanks to Aaptiv even with some hills!

Are you needing a little motivation or a change in your routine and want to try Aaptiv too?  Feel free to use my code

DARLENAKOLPAKCLUB (click my code for the website and enter it there)  

Cancel at anytime during the trial period if you don’t love it.  

Any problems or questions, just ask!

 

 

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Running and Hiking and Just Getting Out There!

Getting through our first “winter” in California hasn’t been too challenging.  Lets just say now I totally get why they say the average temp is 66 year round here.  There were just a few weeks of 30-40’s back in December and now we seem to be staying in the range of mid 40’s for a low and into the 60’s on a regular basis.  The only things keeping me from running outside regularly are family schedules and the fact it still gets dark early.  Otherwise I can totally see why runner’s, and people in general, love this area so much.

I have really buckled down on following a strict heart rate training plan for the last 4 weeks. (I had veered off being quite so strict in Oct-Dec due to my November half)  Most of these recent miles have been spent on the treadmill at night.  In all honesty it hasn’t been too bad.  In fact HRT running done on a treadmill makes it much easier to stay where I need to be.

Here’s a quick snapshot from one of my recent runs.  Not too shabby

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In the meantime the family and I have also continued to enjoy hiking with The Treadmill Trail Head group hikes whenever our schedule allows.  A few weeks ago we were able to visit an extremely popular running and hiking spot out at Garland Ranch Regional Park (click on the name to learn more)  in the Carmel Valley.  These beautiful 4,000+ acres of dog, horse, hiker and runner friendly trails do not disappoint.  Myself, my husband and our boys hiked just a small portion of what this beautiful park has to offer.  When I say small I’m talking 3 hours and that is nothing compared to all the trails offered out there.  Starting off with the main group we later broke off with a smaller group and hiked up to Snively’s Ridge.   I hate to admit it but there may have been a bit of whining on my part because some of the hiking was steep and at times and it seemed the steep would never end.  Note to self: request hiking poles for my birthday.  But as usually the view was totally worth the climb.  Check it out some views from the day.

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The much flatter part of our day. The Mesa trail

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Loved this moss covered tree.

View from the top. #worthit

View from the top. #worthit

 

Breathtaking in a totally different way than our hike a few weeks earlier at Brazil Ranch out in Big Sur.   Hiking in this part of the country is so widely assessable that I am grateful for The Treadmill putting all these great adventures together.  I much prefer hiking with a group over solo hiking.  I’m looking forward to my next adventure out here is California.  Stay tuned!

 

 

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Run, Hike, and Find Your Happy Pace!

How did you welcome 2016?  We had a pretty quiet night at home with family.  I worked early New Year’s morning but the place was hopping with runners from a local Resolution Run.  It was a busy morning but also great fun.  The energy of a new year and exciting new adventures were definitely in the air.

On Saturday the 2nd my husband, two of my kiddos along with a great group of local peeps headed out on a “New Year, New Adventure Run/Hike” with The Treadmill.   We headed out to Brazil Ranch 1,255 acres of rocky shoreline and rolling hillsides off Rt 1 just past the famous Bixby Bridge in Big Sur.

According to my GPS the hike was just over 5 miles up and back.  After a fairly good climb up the mostly dirt path (described as “moderate” in the trail book we own) we were rewarded with rolling trails, dotted with roaming cows and this…

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Absolutely gorgeous views of Big Sur.  Worth every single step.  I mean how often are you rewarded with a view like that?!?  And as if that wasn’t spectacular enough we were able to view whales spouting just off the coast.  Simply amazing!  God is quite the artist isn’t he!

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Like what you see?  Come Join us!  

The Treadmill is launching a new Trailhead Run/Hike initiative for 2016 and this was just the first hike of the year.

“Trailhead was born out of the desire to promote physical well-being and friendships through running & hiking while encouraging and participating in Environmental Advocacy. A family of runners, hikers, parents, children and friends of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds who cherish friendship, adventure, laughing, running & hiking while being surrounded by breathtaking beauty. We are of all speeds, abilities, ages, goals and experience.”

“Trailhead’s ultimate mission is to celebrate the area we live in, participating in what we love, with the ones we love.” ~ The Treadmill.

My family and I hope to participate in as many hikes as possible and take full advantage of the area while we are in California.  If you are local or will be out in the Big Sur/Carmel/Monterey area and would like more info click here for The Treadmill to be directed to their website for information on hikes and more (coming soon)

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Race Recap: Big Sur Half Marathon On Monterey Bay and a 5k to Boot

Back when I was still living in Virginia I signed up for The Big Sur Half Marathon mainly for two reasons.

  1. To keep myself accountable as far as continuing to run once we moved
  2. Because its one of America’s most beautiful half marathons

Mission completed.  I’m still running and it truly was an absolutely beautiful run.  Here’s my recap of the weekend:

5k

Late Friday night I decided last minute to run the Lighthouse 5k on Saturday morning.  The 5k is part of the Half Marathon weekend and because well why not right?  Back in VA there are plenty of events with multiple races on the same weekend.  Why not make one for myself.  The course is a short walk from my house and my youngest would be there for the annual Cub Scout pancake breakfast.  So bright and early Saturday I made my way down to Lover’s Point and signed up at walk up registration.  I decided to use this flat beautiful course as a shakeout run, nice and easy.  It was a perfect cool sunny morning for a run along the beautiful coast.  In the end I was pleasantly surprised that I completed my shakeout at a pace I use to struggle to complete a 5k at.  Could those training hills be working?  Or did I go too fast and possibly jeopardize my half?  Eeek!  

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Saturday Night.

I met up with a few fellow Sub 30 Club friends who came to town for the Half Marathon.  We had dinner in downtown Monterey with some great food and conversation.  It’s funny how runners can just meet up and talk for hours and hours isn’t it?  Awesome peeps!  Highlight of the night, we each got to sign one of the famous Sub 30 Flags.  The flag is being sent all around the country to subbers for good luck and comradery from the main group of almost 4,000 running buddies.  What a great boost for Sunday’s race!

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Subbers and I from the Sub 30 Club

 

Race Day:

I had plan A, plan B and the no fail plan C for Sunday’s half.

  • Plan A – shoot for a new PR of at least one minute
  • Plan B – shoot for an even better PR
  • Plan C – if it doesn’t happen, enjoy the ride!

California has brought me some new running buddies along with lots of hills to train on.  Hills are something that are hard to find in Virginia Beach.  So for the past 4 months I have learned the love/hate relationship of running them.  Oh and Palo Corona, which is more of a mountain really.  But I digress, in my mind if I have been running all these hills then they must have a pay off at some point.  At least I sure hoped so!  Thus my quest for a new PR.

The half itself is run like a well oiled machine.  The folks at BSIM (Big Sur International Marathon) sure know what they are doing.  Everything from packet pick up and the shuttles to/from the race were easy to find and navigate.  Volunteers were plentiful on the course as were water / Gatorade etc.  I even had the joy of having my oldest volunteering on the course!  Getting a hug (and some water) at around mile 8-9 from my son was amazing 🙂  The course has a few uphill climbs, but nothing close to what I have trained on so I did fine.  There was live music and DJ’s along the course, and post race grub was also plentiful.  But the real winner of the race… the views along the course.

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I was blessed to bump into one of my Wednesday night running buddies in he starting corral.  I told her about my hopes to PR, she graciously volunteered herself and her husband to pace me for my goal.  Saki is awesome, and a machine, for real.

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Saki and I in the starting corral

And by the way her husband is an awesome pacer!  The two of them had just come off a 10 mile trail run the previous day and were taking it easy for the half (lucky for me!)  Her PR for this course is a 2:01!  So we decided on a plan of staying with the pace group for the first half and then seeing how I felt at the turnaround.  *Except for a quick stop (yes I failed and got in the corral to early and had to pee!! Ughh.)   We stayed with the pacers until just after the turnaround.  side note:  If that port-o-potty stop had cost me my PR I would probably never forgive myself.   After the turnaround (just about mile 7 1/2) we slowly and steadily we made our surge.

Mile 10 is usually my hardest mile, and this half was no different.  I started with my self-doubt.  “I can’t PR, I have to walk blah, blah, blah, etc” Then I started to hear the pacer’s voice from the group we had broken away from.  I may have used a few choice words, which I shall not repeat here, out loud and decided “That’s it!” “I do not want to hear them again!”  Off I went.  Did you know being mad really can make you faster?  I thought about God, my Mom and my I run 4 buddy Logan.  I wanted to do this for all of them and myself.  I kept repeating their names in my head.  Saki paced me until sometime around mile 10 1/2 – 11 and then sent me on my way.  I was in the zone and the last two miles ended up being my fastest miles of the entire race.  I really appreciated Saki more than she can ever know.

I PR’d by almost 3 minutes!  Which for me is huge!  So hooray for hills, I might be getting older but I am also getting a bit faster 🙂  And I have to admit there were also some tears of joy at the end of the race.  And as if it wasn’t already a great day I got to meet the Kara Goucher!  She ran the race and had come in first for the women with a 1:11.  An additional bonus was I actually got to see her on the course.  She is amazing.

Here are some additional pics from the day.  First California Half (and 5k) in the books!

 

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Kara and I…she may be my girl crush

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Sub 30 “Dark Side” Flag. Post Race

 

 

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Thought for the Day – Give it YOUR All

Running about so much more than speed.  It’s about being the best you that you can be, and giving it your all.

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Motivational Monday – The Historic Half – What I Learned About Me

Quick Motivational Monday and Historic Half recap in words and pictures:

 

Things learned from a truly hot and hilly half marathon.

  • Hills are tough, I am tougher
  • I need more hill training in my life
  • Take Gatorade at the water stops on a really hot day, even if you hate it, you need it (done)
  • You can accomplish much more than you think.  Less doubting..more doing
  • Challenges are good and make you a better person & runner
  • HRT (heart rate training) truly does improve your endurance
  • I finished and it wasn’t about my time it was about my effort
  • When conditions aren’t ideal, run smart
  • Marines are good motivators
  • Bring on the next one!
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Done!

 

God is good, life is good  🙂

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Not the first or last but, the biggest hill of the half

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Making our way up Hospital Hill

 

 

 

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On course entertainment – downtown Fredericksburg

 

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Motivational Monday – Humble Yourself

How often do we ask for things from God yet do not humble ourselves daily to Him in prayer?  I often get caught up in life and miss taking the time to pray and seek His face.  Yet he has told us how important it is, and how much he loves to hear our prayers.

Take your time and pray…thank God for each day.

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Motivational Monday – Thank you Morgan

This is going to be a little bit of a different Motivational Monday post for me.  I hope you will read it, take it to heart and let your kids and families know how very much you love them.

Last week a friend whom I graduated from high school with lost her young daughter in a terrible car accident.  I never meet her daughter in person, but watched her grow up throughout the years in Facebook posts and pictures.  Morgan was a beautiful vibrate young lady, with her Mother’s winning smile that could light up a room…even through pictures.  A daughter, sister, dancer and friend to all who loved her.

An unimaginable tragedy, yes.  A parent’s worst nightmare, yes.  It shakes the “normal” order of life and breaks the hearts of not only those who loved her, but all of us who have kids of their own.  It’s one of those things in life we will never be able to explain, ignore or wish away.  A time to pray for the family and for us to turn to and to trust in God the Father.

But what would be worse would be to let her death stay just that a tragedy.  Instead I will use her memory to take a look at my own life and my children.  To surrender myself and everything I love to the sweet mercy of the Almighty.  Am I sure my children and family know how much I love them?  Do they know above all things in life they are my treasures?  If not I better get it right and fast.

Morgan although I didn’t know you personally I thank you for reminding me about putting my life in perspective that the most important thing in life aren’t things.  I know you rest in the kingdom of our Father and I can’t with to meet you there someday.   You shall not be remembered by me for the loss but for the smiles you shared, the love you brought to your Mother and family and this important reminder to me.

So I beg each of you to take the time to step away from the things in life that consume us so much more than they should.  All the “small stuff” that we sweat over.  All the time that could be spent on the most important things in our lives, our kids and our families.

Psalm 46 (NIV)

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

I found this quote on-line by Tony Dungy who had also tragically lost his son back in 2005.  I thought it was a perfect for today’s Motivational Monday.  I hope you have a blessed week.  Make sure you take time for the ones you love, especially your children.

MMMorgan

 

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Motivational Monday – March 30, 2015 – Worrying

I stumbled across this quote quite accidentally.  Have you ever heard for Corrie ten Boom and her family?  I had not either but I am very excited to learn more about this amazing Christian woman (and her family) who helped many Jews escape persecution by the Nazis only to end in the death of her own family members.  Find out more on this Amazon link. 

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Motivational Monday March 23, 2015 – Starting Point

One of my favorite books ever is “The Purpose Driven Life” (what on earth am I here for) by Rick Warren.  If you have never read it I highly suggest it.  It’s a really good read weather you are a new Christian or a lifelong believer. Or if you are on the fence about God and the meaning for your life.  I really don’t think it would disappoint.

Thought for the week….

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