Week 1 of Marathon Training!

marathon memeAs always, marathon training did not exactly get off to a smooth start this year (suspiciously, just like every year so far) but hopes are still high. I kicked off the first of my 12-week training plan to get ready for the fabulous Honolulu Marathon on December 10th. I’m all about supporting my city and running on my own turf, through a course I know all too well by the time race day rolls around.

This marathon will be lucky number 5, and I’ve got myself on a pretty fun plan of preparatory races leading up to the big day. I’ve got my absolute favorite – the Xterra Gunstock Trails Half Marathon – at the end of October, as well as the Val Nolasco Half Marathon – which mimics the final leg of the real deal – in November.


I’m coming off a sprained ankle a few weeks back, so I’m treading carefully and doing my super boring ankle exercises when I actually remember to do them. On the bright side, my first long run – eight hot & steamy miles around Honolulu – went by super quick & easy. So, there’s that.

Anyways, I’m using this super flexible plan from He and She Eat Clean to train. I chose it because it’s 12 weeks (sweet!) and works in tons of cross-training, which is the only way I can mentally handle preparing for a marathon.

NB Marathon

Half Marathon Training & Coconut Chase 8K!

As all runners know, the onset of fall means one thing, and one thing only: RACE SEASON. The marathon organizers were kind enough to at least schedule most of them in the fall, during the cooler, breezier, and run-friendly weather that autumn brings. Not to mention the magical experience of running through a cacophony of swirling red, orange and yellow leaves. Even here on the island, where the leaves don’t change, the weather sure does. It’s cooler and windier and way less intense than the terrible month of August. Ugh.

Normally, I’m gearing up for the Marine Corps Marathon, which I’ve sadly decided to forgo this year. In January, I suffered a difficult back injury that kept recurring due to my refusal to stop playing soccer and rest. So, as injuries tend to do, I ended up unable to do anything for quite some time, and missed the critical buildup period for my MCM training plan 😦

Instead, I’ve spent the summer building back up to my normal strength and speed and have signed up for a litany of fun, short-distance races throughout the fall. The first being the Coconut Chase 8K along Sand Island, which kicks off this Sunday (yay!). It will be followed by a buildup of races each month, ending at the Honolulu Marathon in December:

  • Coconut Chase 8K (August)
  • Old Pali Road 5-miler (September)
  • XTerra Gunstock Trails Half Marathon (October)
  • Val Nolasco Half Marathon (November)
  • Honolulu Marathon (December)

I’m thrilled to test out the short-distance waters and build my confidence back up after being set back by such a tough injury. I’m prepping right now for this weekend, which will be my first short-distance race I’ve ever done. Surprisingly, I’ve stuck to full and half marathons and not really dabbled in anything less. As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve started to consider smaller races and shorter distances.

Wish me luck on my race this weekend! It’ll be along the beautiful shoreline of Sand Island, an easy, hot, and flat terrain.

Happy Running!
Nicole

Maunawili Falls Trail Run


I’ve been seriously lacking on my training plan. A week off turned into three weeks, which is now four, and I have an XTERRA Half Marathon at Kualoa Ranch next weekend and a full marathon in DC at the end of the month. I’m pretty sure I trained wayyy too hard for the first two-thirds of the plan, and fell of the wagon for the home stretch. Or maybe I just got tired/bored/over it.

Either way, I’m staggeringly unprepared for both of my upcoming races. Especially the one lurking just around the very close corner of next freakin weekend. Anyways, I found myself with a Friday afternoon off right near Maunawili Falls, a fun, muddy trail through the windward jungle to a winding river, swimming hole, and waterfall.


I quickly jumped in my car and took the winding, narrow road to the trailhead. The drive itself is gorgeous; all hanging vines, chirping birds and golden sun rays breaking through the dense green everything. I changed out of my coaching gear and put on my clunky hiking boots and took off on a slow jog toward the trailhead.


I wanted to jog/run through the majority of the hike to ascertain how a trail race might be different than on eon the road. Since it’s my first time – EVER – I have absolutely no clue what it will really be like. I’m assuming a lot less people and water stations, a lot less clear course markers, and a much cooler, calmer, and more serene experience. I’m also assuming that it will be more physically difficult to run the same distance on irregular terrain that a flat, smooth road.


About a half mile into the trail, I realized that the physical effort was much more profound than a road run. I was jumping, climbing, slowing and stopping, picking my way through muddy patches and across rivers and over and under fallen branches and trees. Yes, it was more difficult and hilly than I had hoped. But it was so much more fun, peaceful, and personal. I kinda loved it so much I would go every single day if I could.


Out of breath, hot, with no water or wind – I said to myself in between pants, this could really be a thing for me. I DIG this.

We’ll see if I still feel that way after XTERRA – but for now, I feel like I’ve healed my broken relationship with running just by taking it off the road and into the jungle. 🙂

Happy Running!

Nikki

Slow & Steady Wins the Race(s)


I’ve never been one to post (or even support) transformation photos. They’re equally discouraging & misleading; simple things like time of day, lighting and filters can turn a normal tummy into cut abs. Along with other nonsense overloading Instagram, like wraps, cleanses and crash diets, transformation photos give the illusion that immediate results are expected & achievable. Its just. not. right.

The harsh reality is that lasting health and weight loss take time, consistency, and a lot of patience. Between these two paradoxes, it’s easy to feel lost, or hopeless, or impatient, angry and frustrated, as many people are. But with enough time and consistency, transformation do happen.

Big magic just takes time.

When we see problems in our lives, we tend to think ‘big’; giving up entire food groups, or food altogether, or thinking we have to run six days a week to look or feel ‘healthy’. In reality, we should be thinking small. It might seem insignificant whether you grab a croissant or a banana with your coffee this morning, but over enough time, that choice has a powerful impact. The difference between the pastry and fruit is thousands of calories and grams of sugar over enough time. That croissant might make you feel sluggish every day, so you drink more coffee or soda and indulge in a heftier lunch. We’re effecting the lives of our future selves, and it’s not even 10 a.m.


I came to this epiphany after finding a Facebook photo of myself after my first half marathon two years ago, exhausted and beaming with pride. Because I see myself in the mirror every day, I don’t notice the subtle changes occurring. I was so stunned by it that I scrolled through my phone to find a picture of me running my last half marathon a few weeks ago – was that really me?

I realized that, because we live with ourselves every day, we don’t see the magic happening. I’ve been running consistently for two years, and my love affair has positively impacted all areas of my life. I seriously cut back on drinking, ate more healthfully and started playing soccer, which in turn caused weight loss and my own transformation. It happened organically and naturally – so much that I didn’t even notice it.

The takeaway: Positive life changes happen with consistency, time, and joy. We improve our lives on our own accord when we truly love what we’re doing. I think we all make the mistake of shooting for weight loss first, when it’s actually just a side effect of finding activities we enjoy and loving ourselves enough to take care of the bodies we live in.

A Week Without Running


I have a confession: I love exercise. I dig it, savor it, cherish it, crave it, revel in the endorphine-induced highs and bask in the DOMS-laden lows. I arrange my life around my workouts, and absolutely enjoy pushing my body and self physically, emotionally, and mentally. Just like coffee, I need my daily fill of exercise to stay healthy, happy, and, well – ME.

I finally went to the doctor after a week long miserable cold and was prescribed NO exercise for an entire WEEK. Zero, zilch, nada, not even a tough yoga routine. It’s unfathomable and sounds like torture, but it is my fault. Since I refused to rest and recover properly last week, my cold escalated into full-blown bronchitis teetering on the edge of pneumonia. If I don’t rest, I’ll be out for months – which is the only thing more impossible than getting through the next week without stepping foot in the gym, ocean or track.


Taking a step away from my vices makes me take a hard look at who I truly am. Yes, I love working out – but it’s not just the act of it that has me hooked. It’s the fact that I’m perpetually building towards something – a greater, faster, leaner version of myself – that gives me purpose and positivity each day. Fitness makes me more focused, happy, and driven in other areas of my life. Taking it away leaves me clinging to a more stripped-down, bare and true version of the woman I’ve become. And it’s important that I love her, too, even if she can’t run ten miles this Sunday at race pace.

It’s great for our health when workouts become so ingrained in our daily lives that they represent a part of our well being and identity. But fitness alone, whether its body weight or shape or leanness, shouldn’t predict our happiness. The key is to be happy with you are first and foremost, and utilize exercise as a daily act of self-love. That is true success – and the health and happiness we should all strive for.

Training – the Vegan Way


My schedule is  a fitness junkie’s dream: I have two half marathons, two full marathons, a Spartan race and a long season on two different soccer teams crammed into my life before the end of December. While I’ve got lots of training and recovery plans in the works, it only makes sense for me to shift to the most wholesome, healthiest, and ethical diet possible. For me, that’s a vegan diet – whole foods, plant based, and focused on the unprocessed foods I already love. From fruits & veggies to legumes, beans, nuts and seeds, I’m stoked to fill my plate with a powerful array of macro and micronutrients that’ll put my exhausted body at optimal health and recovery speed.


Plus – sorry about it but veganism is pretty badass. From endurance athletes to mma fighters to pro soccer & basketball players, a plant-based diet is the way to go 🙂

I’ll be dutifully blogging my progress, training times and go-to meals as I get through this crazy next few months! I’m happy to share this beautiful way of living, especially when I’m blessed to live on a tropical island with gorgeous farmer’s markets all year long. I may not be an elite or professional athlete, but I am an athlete – and just like abs, endurance, speed and recovery are built in the kitchen.


I’ve gone vegan before, but always fell off the wagon for convenience reasons. I also was a poor, starving college student at the time, so my diet was more junk food vegan than exploring the endless, bountiful world of plants and whole-foods substitutes. Now, however, I’m a working professional that can afford the vast array of veggies, nuts, seeds, sprouts, legumes, beans, starches, and grains that comprise a healthful diet.

I’m proud to tackle this new lifestyle and incorporate it into my training & nutrition. It’s a peaceful, mindful, and of compassionate way of living – and I truly can’t wait to make it my own.

Here’s a few infographics on veganism & athleticism, and the potentials for getting strong & sexy the plant based way!

Being Fit Makes Injuries Easier

imageHere’s the truth: being injured sucks. Although the kick ass, beautiful wave that put me here was worth it, I’m not enjoying the down time as much as I thought. I have, though, had plenty of time to think. Through all the Netflix-watching, sleeping, and being lazy (trust me, there’s been plenty of all three) I’ve realized something kinda awesome.

Most likely due to my residual rest-day-phobia, I expected my muscles to jump ship and crawl away after a few days of, well, resting. I was totally paranoid about it, but too tired and sleepy to care. I didn’t have much of a choice – my leg is banged up & cut in all the worst places, such as behind my knee, under my booty, and on my shin. Basically, moving too much is a no-go.

Stuck or not, I was surprised when I glanced in the mirror and noticed my still-toned, healthful reflection staring back at me. I looked just as fit as before, if not better. In fact, aside from my poor leg, my body felt pretty darn splendid as well. I might feel like a little kid stuck inside on a perfect summer day, but my body’s obviously enjoying its little reef-induced vacay.

Maybe a little rest is all I need.

In fact, I know it is. I’ve been healing fast – like, fast fast. Each morning I wake up excited to see just how much more I’ve recovered. I could barely sleep the first few days and now, a couple more in, I can put weight on my foot. Most likely, I’ll be crutches-free in a few more. I’ve had my fair share of injuries, and I’ve never recovered this quickly. Not even close.

As one of my co-workers kindly pointed out, I’m doing something right. I’m healing, handling the pain, and the rest of my body is cooperating. Somehow I don’t even feel unfit from laying around since the weekend; I feel like it’s the right thing to do. For the first time in my life, I’m listening to my body and respecting what it needs. And you know what? It’s working.6ad75f2fa5c3a863bcf97a6844bddfd2-1

It’s refreshing to know that all of the healthy eating, lifting, running, and working out have paid off in the deepest way. I’m not just fit, or trim, or have a certain look I’ve been drooling over on Pinterest – I’m a healthy person, down to the core, and I’ve earned it. I’m healthful to the point that something mildly traumatic (i.e., being slammed into a reef wall) is no big deal. I’ll heal. And it feels so wonderful to know that every extra mile, rep, and bowl of veggies was totally worth it.

After this past few days, I’m a bigger believer in the power of a plant-based diet than ever before. I love watching my body heal and feeing proud to have taken such good care of it. Veggies and legumes truly do have everything we need – healthy fats, fiber, good carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, all the goodie-good stuff. Training matters, for sure – but it’s what we eat that determines how our bodies respond to the abuse we put it through.  

I think we all get so easily caught up in our short-term goals that we forget our endgame is the same: to be as healthy and happy as possible. It’s something no one can buy, take shortcuts or cheat their way to achieving. It’s hard-earned, priceless, and something no one can ever take away.

To good health & endless happiness,

Nikki

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