Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Life Lessons from a 50k

This post was originally written in 2016, but the lessons remain the same, if not not greater. 
On November 2016, I ran my first 50k. On November 14, 2020, I ran my first 50 miler. 

Throughout the training I was taught a lot of valuable lessons which can be applied to everyone even if you don't run. Have you trained or worked for something that required a lot of blood, sweat, and tears? Started your own business? Are you just trying to make it day to day? Then this blog post applies to you as well.


Anything worth having is worth fighting for. Great things happen when we step outside our comfort zone. Having the courage to set and try to accomplish something crazy such as running a 50k, allowed me to grow as a person in so many ways. By having courage, we can learn a lot about ourselves and what we are actually capable of. Are we limiting our potential because of the fear of failure, or not being able to see things through when times gets hard. Are we looking at the amount of time and work we may have to put into something and it seems impossible or difficult so we often times throw in the towel.


Determination can take us far in life,  vowing that no matter what,  we will accomplish what we set out to do. That yes, there will be road blocks and obstacles to overcome. It may take time but we will see it through. We are resolved to run the race set before us. Training for an ultra takes a lot of determination. When others were out spending their afternoons doing something fun and my weekends were filled with long runs, determination got me through. And it was all worth it in the long run.


Perseverance and determination go hand in hand. You can't really have one without the other. Times will get tough. You will run out of energy or be completely exhausted. Training was long. Back to back long runs were sometimes difficult. My body was tired, and sore, but I kept on hitting the trails. Sometimes, I wanted so bad to just sleep in and I craved my Sunday afternoon naps. My feet hurt. During the race when both knees started hurting  and it was hard to run,  I could have not finished. And I am sure nobody would have blamed me.  But I was determined to perserver, so I took each step at a time. I may have slowed down in order to do so, but I still made progress towards the finish line. And that is true in life too. No matter how slow we have to go, or when we just have to just take it day by day, forward motion is movement. Progress is progress.

Life is sometimes more of a mental game than anything else. When we let our mental capacity become clouded with doubts, we start believing them. I remember the 18 mile run that I did where everything was going wrong.  The camel pack was too hot and heavy. It chaffed and moved around too much. My music wasn't working and the Spotify app wouldn't load. We were not running in the trails at that time, so I was not distracted by beautiful scenery. I had discarded the pack after about mile 4 or 5 with Amber's niece. I had no back up water. It was hot, I was thirsty, and the sun was beating down on us. Those next  13-14 miles where filled with negative thoughts, and self doubt. Every little problem was amplified because I had nothing to distract myself from me. But I kept going. I wanted to quit, I wanted to throw in the towel. What was I thinking? Who do I think I am?

Isn't that a lot like life? Maybe your health or fitness journey? Have you ever wanted to throw in the towel? Give up on a dream or a career? Have you ever lost faith or blamed God? Friends, we have all been there before. Falling down is not failure if we get back up. Baby steps are still steps in the right direction. Discouragement will come and there may be days where we just throw our hands up.

Remember, life is like training for an ultra not a sprint. It doesn't matter how long it takes you, just keep your eyes on the finish line.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Gifts for the Runner

Are you having a hard time looking for gifts to give your loved one or friend? What do you get for the person who seems to have everything? What about the runner in your life? To help you with your dilemma, I have compiled a short list of things to help you check them off your list.

Gifts that motivate:

Wearable fitness jewelry is all the trend right now. The jewelry not only survives the rigors they may put it through, but it serves as a good reminder when they may want to give up or throw in the towel. It can help them push through and remind them of what they are capable of.

Momentum jewelry offers motivate wraps, suede cuffs, and shoe charms that can help encourage or motivate your friend during a hard race or workout.

Gifts that will help them recover:

1. Who doesn't like Epsom salts? It helps sooth tired and achy bodies after some serious training. Menthol and Eucalyptus scents are also great when you are sick or recovering from a flu or cold (Tis the season!) Lavender scented salts help relax and calm you after a hard or stressful day. And now you can find bubble bath/Epsom salt combinations from Dr. Teals! Epsom salts are sold are inexpensive gift items and can be picked up at Wal-Mart.

2. Foam rollers and tennis balls are also great for sore muscles and feet. Tennis balls can be purchased at your local Wal-Mart or Sports Store. Foam rollers come in all shapes, sizes, and prices to match your budget. They are in most sports stores or you may be lucky and find one at Wal-Mart (Can you tell I am a fan of the one stop shopping in Wal-Mart!)

3. During a long run or after a tough workout, I like to recover with Zensah compression sleeves. I have been using the sleeves for the last five years. They have several options of socks, sleeves, bras, bottoms,tops, and other gear to choose from. The compression works to stabilize muscles, provide support, and helps to prevent injuries.

Gifts that help memorialize an important date or race:

Gone for a Run offers personalized products from everything to coffee mugs to Christmas ornaments like the ornament above. It is virtually a one stop shop for runners with some really cute things. Prices vary.

Gift Baskets/Bags:

Gift baskets can match almost any budget and are so versatile. You can put as much or as little as you want together. They can be themed or you can just fill them with an assortment of items. Gift baskets filled with lotions, foot rub, aloe socks, fingernail polish, nail files, PlowOn Gum (natural energy gum), Protein cookies from Lenny&Larrys, hot chocolate packets, or candy is a great way to help a runner pamper their feet from all the abuse they put them through, and warm up after a cold Winter run! Gift cards to a sporting goods place, Sparkle Athletic,  or your local running store are great too because what person wouldn't want new running gear.

You can even through in a handy water bottle from Simple Hydration. Its unique shape lets you tuck it into your sports bra, flip belt, hydration vest, and more.

No matter what you give your friend or family member, I know that they will be grateful with. Remember, it doesn't have to be complicated. Maybe it means taking them out for coffee.

Most important of all, don't forget to make memories and be present this holiday season.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

ActivMotion Bar Review

I love finding and trying out new tools or gear that I can incorporate into my workouts. As a runner, I try to find new ways of strength training, so that I can become a stronger and faster.

I was recently sent a 6 pound ActivMotion Bar in exchange for a review. I tried different moves with the bar, and I can tell you that you get a great workout using it. Even though this is a #sponsered post, all views are my own opinion. Trust me, if I did not like something, I would let you know.

The ActivMotion bar really challenge you because they are  filled with ball barrings that move and shift when you tilt or move the bar. This action works your core as you have to stabilize and activate your midsection. It also causes you to have to balance. After my first workout, I started to feel soreness in parts of my core that I haven't felt in a really long time.

There are so many exercises and moves that you can do. I stuck with some of the basic moves of regular lunges and curtesy lunges but threw in some single legs dead lefts as well.

By lifting the bar above my head, I added resistance to a common move. It made the move more challenging and I could feel more of a burn in my legs, arms, and core. The further the bar is from your body, the more challenging the exercise becomes.

You can choose from as light as 3 pounds all up to 18 pounds. To learn more about the bar, check out the following video.

Intrigued? Curious about trying the ActivMotion Bar for your self? You can get 25% off through the holidays! Use code "fitapproach25" at checkout. This code will be valid until January 7th.

Be sure to check out their Youtube channel for workouts and tutorials once you buy your ActivMotion Bar such as this 10 Minute Core and Balance Routine. 

Why not give your self the gift of fitness this year. - Michelle

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Turkey n Taturs 50k 2018

It is always hard after all your training comes to a close and your race is over. I mean, what is next?!  It is almost a surreal feeling.

Amber and I had a great time on our running vacation. We were kids less and husband less. We shopped, ate some great food (5 Star Mexican restaurant and gourmet burgers with  fried pickles) after our race, got a massage, and took our time before heading back to the real world. It was so bittersweet for it to end.

Once again, the people that put on Turkey n Taturs  and volunteered at the aid stations were fantastic. and Turkey Mountain is always beautiful this time of year.

Our course did not just stick to hiking trails but sent us climbing/scrambling up rocky hills. Right before our last aid station we had to walk up three hills. One of which is infamously named "Lip Buster."  The course itself seemed more technical and challenging this year and the rain the night before did not help. No one was expecting for the two inches of rain. We ran through lots of mud, small creek crossings, and over slick rocks and tree roots. I tend to be a little cautious when it comes to  tricky sections. And fortunately, I did not roll down a hill like the third place runer did.

The storm messed with some of the trail flags directing runners. In fact, Amber and I were the only ones who managed to stay on course, which is ironic because it is our emo to get lost on the trails, lol.

We made good time and were feeling strong when we came down the mountain for our first loop around mile 15. Our nutrition was on point. I slowly ate my gels, downed pickle juice and coke shots, ate lots of pickles, sampled a few M&M's, chewed energy gum, and constantly hydrated with NUUN.

Then around mile 26 (once again - about the same time during my first 50k), I began to have issues where my left knee would seize up. I would have sharps pains behind my knee and around my knee cap that would come and go. Once, it subsided, I could comfortably run. But after two miles, the pains came more frequent and the pains were sharper. When I would step a certain way or go to jump over something, they would come again. But I refused to stop and walk. I would drag my foot and try to put most of my weight on my right side, which really was making my right side very sore and tired. There were moments were I would get a sharp burning pain and a popping sound  that would cause me to cry out. It felt like I had torn something. But I continued because I thought that perhaps it was just a pinched nerve and not an injury.

The last aid station was a welcoming sight. During the last couple of miles, I just tried to breathe through the pain and may have cried a bit. I was really mad that it was slowing down our time. When we came down the mountain and I saw the bridge,  I was overcomed with emotion and pride/relief. I may have cried coming through the finish line and and we hugged and ugly cried it out. We had finished our second 50k!

Even though we had slowed down that second loop, we were still in the top 50% and we had PRed by almost two hours!!  We trained harder and smarter this time around and it paid off. Here is hoping the third time around, there will be no issues.

Being an ultra runner is all about pushing past the pain, negative thoughts, and comfort zones. You really third about how much that you are capable of enduring.

Have you ever thought about running an ultra? I promise that it is not as scary as it seems.

- Michelle

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Back at it Again

Hey! Well, It been a while, but I am back at it again.

Training for a 50K again. Now that school is back in session, Amber and I are training for the Turkey n Taturs 50k in Tulsa Oklahoma on November 4th. Turkey Mountain is calling my name! I miss that place and I left a part of me on the course two years ago. Wow, I can't believe that it has been so long!

This time, we are going in it wiser and smarter. Last time, we started out too conservative the first three miles. Plus, I wasn't wearing trail shoes but my favorite Brooks shoes. Everything was going great until six miles from the finish. You can read the full recap here to find out what happened.

To counter any injures, I will be uping my strength training and doing plyometric workouts to get me ready for the technical trail.

I am getting emotional just thinking about it! I am so pumped and a bit nervous. I have done it before, but you need to respect ultra races, especially trail ones. I grew so much during our training  physically, spiritually, and mentally. You can check out my post on how much you can apply training for an Ultra to life: Life Lessons from a 50k. In fact, I highly recommend it, but don't take my word for it. 😃

What races are you training for? Do you prefer trails or road races?

- Michelle

Sunday, August 19, 2018

2 Foods that Help with Muscle Soreness

This week has been a dozy in activities and the added stress has made recovery a little slower. To help aid in my recovery, there are a few foods that I  like to call upon especially when I am training hard.

1. Watermelon

Research has shown that the specific amino acid known as L-Citrulline, naturally occurring in watermelon, may help improve blood flow, while also reducing arterial pressure. According to a small study conducted in Spain on the bioavailability of L-Citrulline, athletes were given watermelon juice as part of their fluid-replacement regimen. Preliminary data shows that those participants that consumed the juice after a 24-hour period had a reduction in muscle soreness and recovery.

For a refreshing drink, place chopped melon in a blender with ice, lime juice, and sugar substitute such as stevia or agave nectar (to taste) for a tasty afternoon refresher or you can try my DIY Watermelon and Coconut Sports Drink

2. Cherry Juice

Concentrated tart cherry juice is my main go-to. Most grocery stores or Sams/Costco now carry tart cherry juice. Tart cherries are rich in phytonutrients and anthocyanins. They have natural anti inflammatory properties which fight free radicals, repair cell damage, and block the inflammation-causing enzymes which your body produces during exercise. Drinking tart cherry juice helps to reduce muscle pain following long runs or hard workouts, and aids in recovery. Tart cherries also contain melatonin which helps with falling asleep quicker and improves sleep quality.

Cherry juice tastes great blended into a healthy smoothie or mixed with apple juice.

 Have you ever tried a drink made with watermelon or tart cherry juice?


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Stinky Problem

It's embarrassing and sometimes unexpected.

It’s a taboo subject  to talk about in public but everyone deals with it. And sometimes it is the butt of many jokes. But today I am getting real on the blog. #realtalk



Tummy issues.

It brings with it discomfort and can stem from your gut health/bacteria overgrowth, and or food sensitives/allergies.

It can make you look five-10 pounds heavier or like you are pregnant. #foodbaby #megabloated
According to the American Nutrition Association, 70,000,000 people everyday suffer from some form of digestive issues.

Enter in the triple force from Plexus. 

I was originally a big skeptic about these products. There is a lot of over the counter  products that claim that they can do this and do that. Butt hey only took care of one area of gut health. They all miss a key ingredient. I know because I have tried everything, even staying away from certain foods. But nothing helped.

I was discouraged and felt like I would always have to feel this way. But I had finally had enough! I had enough with the chronic boating and discomfort, gas, always feeling full when I was actually hungry (if that could make any sense), having a distorted belly that couldn’t fit in any of my clothes ( if I bought a bigger size, then they would  fall of me), irregular bowel movements, running to the bathroom a lot during the day, and even constipation. And I felt tired ALL of the time with brain fog and concentration issues.

It made family functions uncomfortable, I preferred stretchy waist bands, and my work days seemed extra long as anything seemed to trigger the symptoms. Let me tell you, it is hard  and painful when you have to sit with people all day and have to  hold back, if you know what I mean. I am just thankful for scrub tops that hide my midsection really well.

Finally, I pulled the trigger and tried this  TriPlex Microbiome Activating Combo for 30 days and this is what it did for me.

I was down four pounds without making any changes to my diet or exercise. While I had a few flare ups,  I had more energy and felt the best that I have felt in a long time. My bloating was down, my skin cleared up a little. The constipation was gone, my mood was better, I was more productive and took less naps. 

The reason why it worked is because of several actors. Chitosanas, an enzyme only contained in this probiotic, actually breaks down the barrier protecting the yeast. The ProBio5 kills off yeast overgrowth, which prohibit vitamin and minerals from being absorbed. Yeast overgrowth can make you feel sluggish, crave sugar, feel bloated, and can cause constipation or other IBS symptoms.

Slim’s microbiome formula helps feed the good bacteria helping it flourish. It increases Lactobacillus by 365 times and the Bifidobacterium by 290 times. It supports a healthy glucose metabolism, balances out your blood sugar from the Alpha lipoic acid and other ingredients, helps with your energy, and increases the metabolism microbes by 257 times. Not to mention the drink tastes amazing and only has 5 calories. I really enjoyed the convenient single serve packets.

The BioCleanse really helped get things moving and balanced out my bowel movements. I stopped having upset stomach followed by constipation.

Our gut health is directly tied to our immune system, mood, and overall health.  I plan to keep on taking the ProBio5 to completely heal my gut. I am really looking forward to being able to enjoy social functions more and not having 90% of what I eat end of causing me discomfort.

Have you ever tried Plexus? Are you a skeptic too? 

Disclaimer: I was not paid or endorsed for promoting these products. This post contains my views and personal experiences with Plexus. It is not to take the place of any medical advice.