OC Half Marathon 2017 Recap

WHAT A RACE! I cannot believe I completed my 3rd OC Half Marathon, my 2nd as an ambassador. Crossing the finish line on Sunday. I was beyond thrilled to be crossing. The race started very rough but I really pushed myself to get a PR of 4 minutes. My training for the OC Half was not as much as wanted but of course incorporated plenty of speed work thanks to Orangetheory.

We parked at the start line as we have found over the years, it works the best for us (meaning I HATE waking up early). As we were getting our gear ready it started to not only pour, it started hailing. We were in shock because just days ago we had 90 degree weather as we sat by the pool. We tried to wait it out until we had 15 minutes to go and needed to get moving. The rain was a slow drizzle as we made our way to the start line. As we were waiting in lines at the porta potty, it started pouring. Not gonna lie, I may have stayed in the porta potty longer than needed just to avoid the rain. We got stuck in one of the last corrals and ended up starting about 15 minutes after the first wave.

The first few miles were crowded but I stayed a steady pace for the first few miles. At miles 2ish, you turn the street and hit the mansions alongside the beach. It is my favorite part of the race and the time when it started pouring again. I was trying to run around puddles until I got splashed by someone else so I decided to embrace the rain. My clothes were soaked, my shoes were heavy filled with water but around miles 4 I realized that despite the rain, my body felt good. At miles 6, I realized my pace was still very steady and no aches or pains had started yet. Around miles 5 is usually where my back or knee starts to hurt so I enjoyed the fact that I was not hurting just yet. By miles 7, the thought of a PR really started to pop into my head. Thankfully by this time, the rain has stopped as well. Between miles 8 and 10, I just kept telling myself a PR was in site. The mantra that kept me going through was “You are going to hurt after either way, you might as well hurt with a PR.” After Ragnar (maybe one day I will get to that recap), the hill at mile 11 seemed like nothing. It even seemed smaller than I remember. By mile 11, I was start to ache but being that close to the finish line, I put on my favorite songs and pushed myself to the finish line. I crossed the finish line 4 minutes faster than my PR and 14 minutes faster than last year.

At the finish line, I got my favorite – chocolate milk, along with the other snacks before taking a few pictures. I met up with the hubby and some Orangetheory friends. We did not stay too long after the race because we were wet and just wanted to get back to our car to change into dry clothes. I really felt this race was even more supported than last year. As usual, it ran flawlessly. From sign up to race pickup and actual racing, it just ran perfectly.

As I crossed the finish line, I was filled with such amazement at what my body continues to accomplish. This race reminded me why I run, sign up races and genuinely like running. It has made me excited to do more races in the next few months. For now, I am going to bask in my PR and enjoy our vacation to Puerto Vallarta this weekend!

Thank you to the OC Marathon for having me as an ambasssador for another year, to the race coordinators and the wonderful volunteers! 

Thinking Out Loud Thursday: Celebrating Changes

Since we have gotten back from Spain (one day I will actually recap that amazing trip) I have been focused when it comes to my workouts. I have been not only been working out at least 5x a week, I include one day of double workouts and have been working on strength training! As I’ve been cleaning up my eating significantly as well by cutting back on desserts, giving up diet soda and reducing snacking, my weight has only gone down by 6 lbs. That 6 lbs. came off in the first 3 weeks while I’ve stayed the same weight for quite some time now. In the past, I usually fall off the wagon and give up a few weeks into a new routine, especially when I was not seeing changes on the scale. This time around though I’ve noticed a huge difference in myself in how I’m viewing these changes.

Celebrating Changes Besides the Scale

 

Celebrating The Changes Besides The Scale

Working out and eating healthy is not just about the number on the scale. It is more about creating a lifestyle that is healthy, realistic and enjoyable. The scale is just one indicator of weight loss. The difference this time around for me is my mindset. The fact that while my weight isn’t dropping that doesn’t mean my body isn’t changing. I’ve started to celebrate other gains in my lifestyle change and it has made all the difference. Some of the changes I have seen beyond the scale:

1) Increased weight during strength training – This past week at Orangetheory, I used 30 lbs. dumbbells! When I started at Orangetheory I was doing 15 lbs. The increase in weight for that one workout alone should have resulted in celebration but it’s not the only gain I’ve seen. As a whole I was averaging 10-12 lbs. when I started Orangetheory but my average is 20-25 lbs. which shows just how strong my body is getting. It makes me excited to see what my body is capable of!

2) Better sleep – This one is huge for me. I have struggled with insomnia for a very long time. Over the past year I have celebrated any night I would get 5 hours of sleep. Since the New Year, I am averaging closer to 7 hours. Not only am I getting the quantity of hours, the quality of my sleep has improved significantly. I fall asleep faster, I stay asleep throughout the night and wake up much easier every morning. The feeling of taking a hot shower after an intense workout and hitting the sheets is the best!

3) Increased energy – Energy goes hand in hand with getting more sleep but also helps to continue productivity throughout the day. I am rarely hitting the afternoon slump and find myself more alert throughout the day. I have even added a double workout day on a regular basis because I have the energy to complete more intense workouts.

4) Increased happiness – Granted not every day is a perfect day but as a whole, I am much happier. I have said it before, I will say it again, Elle Woods had it right. Endorphins really do make you happy! Naturally throughout the day I find myself more patient and happier. Even if I am feeling stressed out, anxious or upset, I work my feelings out instead of resorting to unhealthy ways of coping (i.e. eating junk food). Remember you will never regret a workout.

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Tell me: What changes besides pounds lost have you seen from working out? 

Linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for Thinking Out Loud Thursday!

Podcasts I’ve Have Been Loving Lately..

When I started my previous office job, I went through a phase where I got sick of music. I would listen to the same songs over and over. I ended up coming across some of  my favorite podcasts during that time and have been hooked ever since. I have listened to many podcasts, usually giving a podcast at least a couple of episodes before deciding if I would continue with it. There have been some podcasts I have listened to since the beginning of their start, others stumbled across and become obsessed. All of my current favorite podcasts can be found on Itunes!

1) The Skinny Confidential : Ask Him & Her 

I have mentioned this podcast multiple times on the podcast and social media. Lauren and Michael are HI – LARIOUS! Every one of their podcasts makes me laugh but also leaves me with smart business advice. They offer business advice, perspectives on real life situations, travel planning and amazing guests.

Favorite episode: Episode 12 “Live from Florence, Italy” 

2) Zero to Travel 

Jason hosts an amazing travel podcast that combines two of my favorites together (see below). I love that his travels include less of the tourist destinations as well as relatable content such as how to find travel deals, cycling around the world and how to quit your job and travel (oh how I wish I could).

Favorite episode: “How to Quit Your Job and Travel The World: Zero to Travel” 

3) Extra Pack of Peanuts Travel

This podcast is the best podcast for wanderlusters! It is so hard to say my favorite episode because every single one is educational, insightful and interesting. Travis, along with his wife and fellow podcaster Jason  from Zero to Travel discuss their current travels, top lists and travel tips. For any upcoming trip, this is the podcast to listen to!

Favorite episode: Either “Top 32 Cities in the US” or “Top 10 Travel Wishlist” 

4) Blissful Bites

Nicole’s podcast is a must listen for any blogger or entrepreneur! There are inspiring and successful business people who share amazing insight to the business world. Every time I listen to her podcasts, I feel ready to tackle the world!

Favorite episode: Episode 120 “FF You NEED to stop doing this!” 

5) The Lively Show 

Jess offers such an uplifting podcast that I binged listened to once I heard my first episode. What I love most about her podcast is that I feel like I am just listening to a friend chat about life, relationships and work life.

Favorite episode: TLS #149 “Your Questions Answered – Travel Tips, Highs & Lows”

 

Tell me: What is your favorite podcasts?

 

Cycle Workout & Playlist

Although it seems my life has been all Orangetheory lately, I have actually still been teaching cycle twice a week. Cycle was my first love and will always be one of my favorite group exercise formats to teach. After teaching for over 3 years, sometimes it seems like I have heard some of the same “workout” songs a million times (I am talking to you Sandstorm). The other day I made a point of picking artists that have a song I normally use in playlists. This time I looked for songs that aren’t as common or overplayed. I ended up not only finding new songs that have high energy and a strong beat but being reminded of songs that I had not heard in a while. Today I am sharing my latest cycle workout and playlist.

Cycle Workout & Playlist
Cycle Workout & Playlist

Warm- up / Hey Brother – Avicii 
Standing Climb / Hair – Little Mix
Jumps (up/down) / Heart Attack – Demi Lovato
Seated Climb / Kids – One Republic
Standing Sprints on the Chorus / I Cry – Flo Rida
Jumps (up/across the saddle) / A-YO – Lady Gaga
Across the Saddle Climb / Into You – Ariana Grande
Jumps (up/across the saddle/ down) / Bring It Back – Shy Carter
Seated Climb / Tightrope – Walk The Moon
Seated Sprints on the Chorus / Find You – Zedd
Jumps (up/down) – HandClap – Fitz and the Tantrums
Standing Sprints on the Chorus / Applause – Lady Gaga
Seated Climb –> Standing Climb / In My Head – Jason Derulo
Jumps (20 secs up/ 20 secs down) / Somebody Loves You – Betty Who
Cooldown on the Bike / Try Me – Jennifer Lopez & Jason Derulo
Cooldown off the Bike/ I Love You Always Forever – Betty Who

Tell me: What was your first love when you started working out? 

Workout Wednesday: 12 Days of Christmas

Happy Workout Wednesday! I can’t believe we only have 4 days until Christmas. Luckily, I am pretty much done with shopping and starting Friday I get to enjoy some time with family. One of the hardest things during the holidays is to continue eating healthy and getting workouts in. During the holidays, however is the time you should be working out to control your stress level. Today, for Workout Wednesday, I am sharing a workout that you can do in your home in between wrapping those presents and prepping for the season. You do not need anything more than a set of dumbbells to complete this holiday themed workout.

Equipment Needed: Dumbbells
Directions: Complete 2-3 rounds of the exercises, top to bottom

12 Days of Christmas

12 bicep curls
11 shoulder presses
10 tricep dips
9 dumbbell lunges
8 dumbbell squats
7 bent rows
6 reverse crunches
5 side dips (each side)
4 straight leg crunches
3 pushups
2 mountain climbers
1 burpee

Added challenge: Complete this challenge as a add-on workout. Starting at 1 burpee, complete 1 burpee. Then complete 1 burpee + 2 mountain climbers. Move on to 1 burpee + 2 mountain climbers + 3 pushups until you have worked through the workout. 

Tell me: Have you completed all your Christmas shopping?

Run Revel Recap

As I sit writing up this recap, I am sporting compression socks and KT Tape after having just taken some ibuprofen. On the same note, I am still riding the high of getting a half marathon PR at the Run Revel Canyon City Half Marathon! I went into this race with the goal to utilize the net loss on this course and finally get that new PR.

Revel Race Start

On Saturday morning we made our way to the race at 4:30am to be bused up to the start line. Boy was it cold at the start but the race provided blankets (wow did they work), beanies and throw away gloves. The sunrise from the start was beautiful as we made our way to the start line. I read from past runners that the race just starts without warning. Even despite my constant warnings to my husband to be ready to just start running, I was still shocked when someone at the start line shouted “we are going.” The first few miles I was expecting rolling hills so I told myself to take it easy for the first few miles. Although the first 4 miles had a lot of downhill, there was a net gain which I felt early on. But I stuck with telling myself to maintain slow and steady through the first 6 miles and evaluate how I feel after.

A Rough Finish

After miles 6 there was a net loss but still some notable climbing and where my shins starting feeling the rolling hills I had done. At this point, I was still on track to hit a PR with a few minutes to spare so until miles 10, my goal was to maintain a steady pace and leave myself at least 5 minutes to work with in that last 5K. Thank goodness I had that buffer because it saved me in the last 2 miles. At miles 11, I started hurting. I would alternate walking and running but at this point, everything started to hurt. My knees would hurt when I ran but my shins and feet hurt when walking. When I got to mile 12 I realized this was going to be a push to the last second. As I rounded the corner in the last mile, there was a small climb in front of me and I thought my PR was out the door. Thankfully, the hubby finished (he PR’d again this half) before me and told me that after the last small climb it was a downhill finish. I chugged (VERY very slowly) up the last climb and gave everything I had in the last .20 miles into the finish line. I have never run so fast and as I crossed that finish line, I am so happy I did because I PR’d by 3 seconds. Seconds are seconds and it was a PR no matter what.


Although tough at times, this definitely is one of my favorite races. It was very well organized, offered a beautiful course and heavily supported. The expo was very easy to get in and out (even though it was more like a packet pick-up with limited amount of vendors). In the bag received with my bib, I also go the cold weather items mentioned above which came in handy at the start line. There were aid stations about every 2 miles with water, Gatorade and some offered fuel. Although the mountains did not allow for spectators until the last 1 miles, the scenery more than made up for that. I stopped a few times to snap a picture because it was so gorgeous. Overall, this was one of the best races I have participated in and the new PR only made it better!

Tell me: Would you rather run downhill or uphill? I always thought I loved downhill but with my knees and shin problems, I would prefer uphill!

“Those are just excuses”

“I haven’t worked out in 4 days”

“My legs, arms, mouth, fill in the blank are sore”

“I am tired”

“It’s too late”

These are just a few of the statements my husband heard on our run last night. While some of them were true, half way through I started spouting off some of them to him. He simply said, “Those are just excuses.” And yes they were. He said that, I started running again and did not stop until we finished. Did I struggle? Yes. Was I tired and sore? Definitely. But did I finish? YES! I tried to use my excuses to justify not doing it when I was capable just standing in my own way.

In the first mile I started telling myself there was no way I would be able to do the half marathon (Run Revel) on Saturday if I was struggling already. My negative thoughts spiraled into thinking that I haven’t trained enough and I should back out of the race. Until my husband snapped me back (as he does 99.784715% of the time I act mildly crazy), I was letting my excuses lead my thinking because of one tough run. Sometimes we try and reason with ourselves by making excuses. What does that get you? Absolutely nothing. So the next time you feel the excuses starting (this applies to everything beyond fitness), stop and ask yourself – Are these just excuses? to stop the cycle and focus yourself back on track.

OC Marathon Coupon Code 

I am not in training mode for the OC Half Marathon yet but it will be here before you know it. The OC Half and Full Marathon 2017 prices increased on November 1st but if you missed the price increase, I have a coupon code to share with you today. You can get the same price before the price increase by using the coupon code below:

oc-half-marathon-coupon-code-2017

Tell me: What is your most used excuse? Mine is always “I am too tired”

Why you should change up your workouts

It is no secret, I love many types of workouts. I am a lover of running, Orangetheory, cycling, yoga – just to name a few. Although I love a lot of different types of workouts now, this was not always the case. When I started working out many years ago, I would go to the gym 5x a week. I started every workout with a 15 minute warm up on the stair-master which would be followed with some ab and light weight exercises. I would finish my workout with 30 minutes on the elliptical. I did the same thing every single workout and as you can imagine I got very sick of my workout after awhile. In addition, I saw very little results. My weight stayed the same and my muscles were non existent. As I began studying fitness, I really started to understand why it is necessary to change up your workouts. Besides just the simple concept of how boring it is to do the same thing everyday, there are actually benefits to keeping your workout routine changing. My workout routine now a days is a healthy mix of cardio, strength training and daily active living. I am never bored to workout and do it because I want to, not because I feel that I ‘have to.” This has made all the difference for my workouts and fitness level.

why-you-should-change-up-your-workouts

Today, I am sharing my top three reasons for “Why You Should Change Up Your Workouts” whether you are new to fitness or a seasoned athlete.

  1. Keeps your muscles guessing : This has been one of the things I have been most surprised about when constantly changing my workouts. I still get sore from workouts and still find myself thinking “Oh I didn’t realize how much those muscles are underused.” By changing your workouts up, you are preventing your muscles from forming muscle memory. When you are doing the same workout, your muscles get used to the movement therefore reducing the work they have to do. There is a reason that cross training can be seen in almost any workout plan whether it be marathon training or weight training. Cross training is beneficial to build strength and flexibility in muscles that are not being utilized in your main training.
  2. Help to break through plateaus / increase results : This goes hand in hand with keeping your muscles guessing. Whether your desired result is to lose weight, tone up, increase muscle mass, increase stamina, etc. if you are working towards a goal, you want to see that goal come to fruition. Doing the same workout will increase quality of life and contribute to healthier living but will not produce strong results. When I used to “lift” weights, I would use light weights and do very few reps. I never thought about what I was trying to achieve. Currently, I am working towards increasing muscle and decreasing body fat %. Since adding heavier weight resistance to my workouts, I have actually started to see my muscles pop up in the places I want them. By adding variety to my workout, I allow my muscles to repair when I am not strength training, shed body fat when I am completing cardio and provide the results I am looking for. In addition, by changing your workouts you help break through plateaus by increasing more calories with new exercises, challenge your body with new movements and help push you to the next level.
  3. Beat workout boredom : How boring would life be if you were required to do the same thing every single day? The same concept goes for working out. If you do the same thing every time you workout, you will get bored real quick. This often results in new gym members stopping a new workout routine because they get tired of the same workout quickly. Part of the reason I love Orangetheory  is that you never get the same workout every day. I thrive on different formats, exercises and points of focus from each workout. In addition, I use my apartment gym, the cycle studio I teach at, the streets to run and any workout outside I can when time and weather permit. I still love all the workouts I have been doing for 2+ years because they are a portion of my workout, not the only way to improve my fitness. Finding the things that you like to do for fitness will help you want to workout and beat that workout boredom.

Tell me: Do you follow a workout schedule or do whatever workout you feel for the day? 

I am an OC Ambassador.. again

Over the weekend, the husband and I ran a local 5K race. The race was rough. It was hot and it was significantly uphill but the post race high kicked in immediately after. It has been 5 months since I ran a race (the OC Half marathon) but this was the perfect start to my upcoming races. I have been doing consistent running at Orangetheory which made the sprint to the finish line yesterday feel just like an all out pace. Outside of Orangetheory I have been running at the gym and am excited that it is finally cooling down at night for some outdoor runs. In terms of races, I have a lot of exciting stuff to look forward to.

OC Marathon 2017

I am so thrilled and honored to be a part of the OC Ambassador team again for 2017. I don’t know yet if this will be the year I will do the full marathon but the half is a likely race. This will be my third year completing my favorite half marathon to date. This year they are adding the “OC Combo Crush” which is a challenge to complete the 5K on Saturday and the full or half marathon on Sunday. This lover of medals would love three medals for two races!! Be sure to sign up online and chose ‘Samantha Bruce’ under ambassadors.

OC Marathon Ambassador 2017

Run Revel Canyon City

Our next big race on the books is Run Revel in November. This is my first Run Revel and I am thrilled to be running with the husband. I have been ensuring that my training involves a significant amount of stretching my calves and KT Tape to prevent shin splints. Especially being that the race is downhill, I want to ensure my shins are kept in the best shape I can to prevent injury.

Ragnar So Cal 2017

Our So Cal Team from 2015 is getting back together. We entered in the lotto where I thought the chances were small that we would be picked but we were lucky to be picked. The team will be re-uniting in April and while I am not looking forward to a lack of shower for the weekend, I am looking forward to redeeming myself from the last race. The beach, spring weather and running 200 miles – it sounds so crazy but so exciting.

Happy Monday!

3 Lessons I Have Learned at 27 Years Old

Over the weekend, I celebrated my 28th (I still don’t know how that happened as I still feel 22) birthday in one of the best ways possible – doing things I love with the people I love. Saturday started with an Orangetheory Day Out at the beach. It was a great way to get to know students in my classes as well as people I work out with each week. Plus, the weather was the perfect day for the beach. Sunday started with teaching 4 Orangetheory classes followed by celebrating my birthday with my family which included my favorite dinner (chicken pot pie and mac and cheese – talk about comfort food). I took off from work on Monday to spend the day at the spa with the hubby. We had mud baths, got a massage, lounged at the pool and relaxed to the fullest! Although the birthday celebration isn’t over just yet, this weekend was everything I could have asked for.


Reflecting on my 27th year, I was pretty quick to say good bye to this year. While there were some very high highs, there were some very low low’s. Throughout the year though, one thing has remained the same – I have been blessed immensely with an amazing family, supportive friends and the best thing in my life, my husband. While I treasure the amazing places we visited around the world (Portland, Miami, Thailand, Greece, New York and Boston), the gorgeous wedding we got to celebrate with family and friends and the exciting opportunities I have had this past year, I am so incredibly ready and excited for 28! This year my goal is to “do what what makes me happy!” Life is too short to do anything else but that. I have been fortunate this past year to do many things that I love and I look forward to a year of continuing to do those things as well as many more.

As I have reflected back on my 27th, I wanted to share 3 important lessons I have learned in the past year at 27 years old:

  1. Love what you do – I have seen both sides of loving what you do and not this year. I absolutely love teaching cycle and coaching at Orangetheory. I mean why else would I willingly wake up at 6am on a weekend? :) Teaching brings me joy, keeps me sane and gives me back as much as I put into it. On the other hand, sadly I have witnessed what it looks like to not love what you do. It definitely puts life into perspective and creates some growing pains. Most people have to work for themselves or their family so why not at least do what you love each day?
  2. Give everything a try at least once – I think this goes with #1 because how else are you going to find what you love? I enjoy making lists of things of activities I want to try. This has led to me finding some things that I love and bring me so much joy (paddleboarding baby!) while experiencing others that are not for me. Trying everything at least once helps to expand your horizons, learn new skills and meet new people. So why not try that new fitness class, sport or food you have been wanting to try?
  3. Throw your timeline out the window – I was talking with my best friend about the “timeline” that people make for themselves and/or others. These timelines group everyone in the same category but people are rarely in the same spot in life. At 28, there are some people married with kids, there are some still sleeping on a futon, others have reached their dreams, others are still trying to figure out what that is. I always thought I would be married at 23 with 2.5 kids, a white picket fence home and a stay at home mom. Life sure did not work out that way but guess what? I am so happy it didn’t and I threw the timeline out the window to let life just happen. Like my favorite podcast host says (Lauryn Evarts of The Skinny Confidential) “Stay in your own lane” and focus on yourself.

Tell me: What is one thing you haven’t done that you want to try? I still have a few things on my life list to try – a barre class, Crossfit, surfing and a duathlon are top of my list this year!