Winning! And Chasing the Bird Day 7, 8 and 9

Three things happened over the weekend:

1) I was selected as the first Chase the Bird Challenge prize winner on Facebook! Apparently I’ll be receiving an egift card to do a little online shopping. How fun (and unexpected) is that?!

2) My family and I found a new house we’ll be moving into in the next month. Woot! That takes a mound of stress off our plate knowing we have a great new place to land after selling our house. Yay!

3) I learned that once again, being flexible with my workouts can add a huge element of joy to them. I had planned to sneak away and go on a long’ish solo run, but in the midst of landing our new house, juggling our daughter’s ballet rehearsal schedule and multiple other responsibilities, my run never panned out. Instead, I had the joy of going for a walk through the woods with my husband on Saturday, which was sweet and relaxing.

Miss O chasing down a drop shot. I love playing tennis with my sweet bug. She's been playing since she was 4 and can now run me all over the court.

Miss O chasing down a drop shot. I love playing tennis with my sweet bug. She’s been playing off and on since she was 4 and can now run me all over the court. The best part is that it was her idea to play.

Then yesterday I played tennis with my daughter and her friend, who had never before played. I always find it fun and exhilarating to share a new sport with someone and see her joy at her first attempt.

Later in the evening, I ventured out for a short run near my house. After a heavy Mexican lunch earlier in the day with the girls, that’s about all this chiquita could manage. But it was SOMETHING. And that’s what this Chase the Bird Challenge is all about. Do something…ANYTHING…for at least 15 minutes every day.

Today, Day 9 of the Oiselle Chase the Bird Challenge, was absolutely awesome. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a run so much. Nothing epic, just completely carefree and gratifying. I ran 4.55 miles along the beach on a crisp, gorgeous morning. I felt rested and relaxed for the first time in ages, and even did some pick-ups and drills along the grass in the midst of my run, then finished at the track doing some stadiums, core and push-ups.

Monday is shaping up to be pretty freakin’ great! And it’s all because I’m putting fitness time back at the top of my priorities list. Now I’m off to conquer the rest of my foot-long To Do List.

Here are a few snaps from my morning run. No fall colors here, but I did feel the need to wear arm warmers with my tank top and shorts. 🙂 Sorry friends who are in the midst of snow.

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I’m listening to Pharrell’s “Happy,” which was so appropriate for this Monday morning. Feeling giddy! Hope you are too!

Until next time….

xo
Becky

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Conquering the BS Beast at She.Is.Beautiful 5K

In late September I had the joy of running the She.Is.Beautiful 5K here in Santa Barbara. Woohoo! Why it took me six weeks to finally get this blog post written is another story. Ack. This race is one of the best-organized, most fun, and supportive running events around. The pink “Girl Power” vibe alone is enough to lift you five feet off the ground.

Even though this is one of my all-time favorite races, I almost didn’t sign up this year. My running mojo has been in the dumper BIG TIME as I’ve dealt with a hamstring injury that’s lingered for months and months (feels like years now). I knew “racing” this 5K was not in the cards, so I thought, Why bother?

What finally got me to the starting line was multiple friends cajoling me to participate–to take part and “just have fun” like they were.

What a concept!

Somehow over the last couple years my competitive spirit has gotten the best of me so I’ve forgotten that it’s okay to just cruise and have fun during a race without feeling ashamed of how slow I might finish. Anybody else know that feeling? I’ve forgotten that it doesn’t always have to be about chasing after a PR. And furthermore, I’ve forgotten that nobody, I repeat, NOBODY, gives a rip about my finishing time (nor yours), so being embarrassed about our level of fitness is a big fat waste of time and energy, especially when there’s a whole lot of fun to be had just by participating.

Thank you She.Is.Beautiful (and my persistent friends) for reminding me to lose the Bullshit Beast (aka ego). When we do, it always opens up a bounty of beautiful and blissful running moments.

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My 3rd year in a row of running this fabulous race. Not my fastest time, not my slowest time, but my favorite time.

It was fun to celebrate all my super speedy friends too, like these ladies who pretty much swept the race. Desa (third from the right) took 1st Place Overall!

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And my friend Ashlee, rocked her race too, coming in 2nd Overall and running her first sub-20:00! The banner says it all…

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The sun was definitely shining down on all of us and helping light us up. Wearing a feather boa on such a warm morning? Mmmm…not something I’d probably recommend, but it was all part of the silliness. The funny thing is that somehow I managed to land 2nd Place in my age group (even though that wasn’t really the point of this day). It must have been my ridiculous get-up. One of the super speedy ladies in the picture above, DeAnna, took 1st in our age group, and 3rd Overall. Way to go D! You are an animal!

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Over 2,000 runners took part in this year’s event.

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Loved seeing so many young girls running their first 5K! Here, the Queen of Positive, Jenny Schatlze, helps celebrate this awesome athlete’s accomplishment.

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Best local pre and post-race expo EVER.

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Here’s to many more carefree running miles ahead!

xo

Santa Barbara Girls in Motion Running & Fitness Camp

I’m so excited to be coaching my Girls in Motion running and fitness camp again this July! Sharing my love of running and empowering young girls is truly one of the highlights of my summer!

All the details of this week long camp are below. I still have space available for girls ages 6-12 who want to join the fun and be inspired. For those who sign up with a friend or sibling, I’m offering a $35 discount for both girls. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. Here’s to a fabulous summer ahead of fun, fitness and flower power!

Girls in Motion Running Camp Flyer

An Exercise in Character Building

Today’s long run was a toughie. I felt “off” from the get-go. I’m fighting off a cold, got terrible sleep last night, and am still a little sore from yesterday’s yoga-pilates class as well as last Sunday’s 5K, something I jumped into with literally 5 minutes to spare before the gun went off….wah wah wah.

The worst part about this morning though, which I realize will sound ridiculous, was that I couldn’t find my iPod–one of my favorite gadgets when I’m out on the road for a couple hours. I tore the house apart for a good 20 minutes before I finally gave up and kicked my butt out the door sans music before I lost motivation. Grumpy doesn’t even begin to describe my mood.

As I parked my car on this cool, gray day, I told myself that 13 miles could either be great or suck, depending on what I made of it.

“Listen up creaky body, just take one step and one mile at a time. You can do this! No whining. Just freaking get it done!”

And so it went…from Hendry’s Beach up the steep hill on Cliff Drive, then into the Douglas Preserve and around the Mesa. I won’t lie, it was not a magical run by any stretch of the imagination, BUT I did get it done.

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The view from the Douglas Preserve with Hendry’s Beach below.

 

The best part? Because I didn’t have my iPod to distract me, my mind was clear to think. It pondered several things that have been jumbled in my head in the midst of my busy life. And the funny thing is that after about 4 miles, I suddenly remembered where I put my iPod–in Continue reading

Winning

Photo of Vicki's 3000m winner's shirt

“Winning isn’t always victory, losing isn’t always defeat.” ~Unknown

A few weeks ago I participated in a local 3000m race at Westmont College called Vicki’s 3000, named in honor of Special Olympics athlete, Vicki Paulsen. It was part of the Santa Barbara Athletic Association’s Grand Prix race series, which I’m participating in this year, and it was organized to help raise funds for the Special Olympics.

I have to admit I was apprehensive about racing in this event because I was still nursing a strained quad from the previous week’s State Street Mile. More to the point, I was dreading running 1.8 miles on the track because the track and I have yet to become BFFs.

Over the years she’s tried to lure me to her soft red surface, but then she’s either immediately bored me to death or kicked my ass, or both. I’ve been working hard to wrap my arms around speedwork and embrace the joys of the oval, but it has been a slooooww process.

This race may have finally changed my attitude.

I had a blast!

And I won my age group and received the awesome tank top you see in the picture above!

This shirt represents much more than winning my age group and running a PR though (it’s easy when your competitors aren’t able to show up and you’ve never run this distance before).

This is what this shirt really represents to me:

1) Being surrounded by a running community of WINNERS. In my mind, winning is about giving your best, and about lifting others up so they can also give their best. There’s no more supportive running community than Santa Barbara. You might disagree if you live somewhere else, but come here and experience what I’m talking about and you’ll soon be nodding in agreement.

Photo of Becky Aaronson during Vicki's 3000m race at Westmont College This race was a perfect example of what I’m talking about. Vicki’s 3000 was divided into four self-seeded heats, with the elite runners going last. While I was busy running “pedal to the metal” 7 1/2 laps around the track, several elite runners were gracious enough to toss advice my way as they warmed up for their race. Simple reminders from people like Monica DeVreese and Nash Jimenez made such a difference in keeping my focus on the right things:

“Run from your core.”
“Lean into the corners”
“Keep your rhythm.”
“Watch your posture!”
“Use your arms.”
“Stride it out.”

2) This shirt also represents being completely wrapped in “running love” during this race–from the moment we took off to the last step across the finish line. Even if I had come in dead last, I would have still felt like a WINNER because everybody made me (and everybody else) feel like a rock star. I must have heard my name 50 times in the span of 13 minutes. Especially heartening was hearing all the kids I coach cheering, “Good job, Coach Becky!” “Way to go, Coach Becky!”

Photo of Vickis 3000 20143) It also represents seeing so many of those same kiddos excel in this event. Our running community is WINNING BIG because it is now offering more and more opportunities for kids to join running clubs and participate in numerous races all throughout the year. The SBAA’s Jr. Grand Prix race series is making a huge difference with this. Seeing these kids’ spirit and unbridled joy lifts us all a few feet of the ground as we witness the next generation of runners falling head over heels for the sport we all love so much. It’s going to be exciting to see where they take all of this as they get older.

Vickis4 copy4) This shirt also reminds me that showing up is always half the battle. There’s no chance of winning or seeing what the possibilities are if you don’t show up. Any time I’m dreading going to the track to do speedwork, or feeling uncertain about a race, I’m going to wear this tanktop, suck it up and remind myself that WINNING is a habit, and habits take hard work and dedication before they form into actions that are automatic and nearly always enjoyable.

5) The topper to this whole morning? Also WINNING a super cool raffle prize–a free whole-body cryotherapy session at CRYOHEALTH, something I’ve been wanting to try for several months. I’ll be sure to tell you all about it after I go into the deep freeze. They say there’s nothing like a -220 F sauna for recovery. We’ll find out! I may never go back to those measly little ice baths again.

CryoSessionPS: Did I mention one of the most exciting things? This sweet little event raised over $850 for Special Olympics in the span of an hour! Now THAT’S winning! Thank you SBAA and Dave and DeAnna Odell for organizing this event, and for being so generous with your time, energy, and raffle prizes!

You are WINNERS!

Turning a So-So “Grape” of a Race into a Fine Chardonnay

ChardonnayFinish2I know, I know, the saying is really “turning lemons into lemonade,” but since I’m referring to the Chardonnay 10-Miler I ran last Saturday, I’m going with the wine analogy. You get the idea.

It wasn’t my most spectacular race, but since a lot of good things came out of it, I’m choosing to dwell in the positive and “make wine out of grapes.”

First, let me backtrack a bit.

About three weeks ago when I was pushing it a little too hard doing 800s at the track, several ribs popped out of place in my back and strained my intercostal muscles (the muscles between the ribs). That probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but if you’ve ever experienced this, you know the piercing, knife in the back, can’t breathe feeling. No fun. And no sleep for days because every time you move, it’s like being stabbed all over again.

Training came to a halt just when I had planned to do my longest and hardest runs to get ready for this race.

It wasn’t until last Wednesday, four days before the race, that I could finally breathe deeply again and run in an upright position without pain. Thank you Stephanie and Larry for working your magic!

When I showed up to the starting line, along with 376 other runners, I was both happy to be there, and apprehensive, knowing I hadn’t trained like I had wanted, and worried that my back might blow out again. To add to it, of all stupid things, I had a knot in my calf that I could not roll out.

Waa waa waa. Yes, you can hand me some cheese with all of this whine-ing.

That morning before the race, I kept trying to get myself fired up, but wasn’t feeling an ounce of race day adrenaline. Normally I’m wired and ready to go, but I just wasn’t “feeling it.” AT ALL. Not even after a big slug of coffee.

I gave myself the old “Suck it up Buttercup” pep talk several times, but finally decided that my body was trying to tell me something. So instead, I gave myself permission to “just run” instead of “race,” listen to music, enjoy a beautiful 10-mile cruise along our gorgeous coastline and see what happened.

So what did happen?

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Running, Racing and Dream Chasing

HappyFeetWhen 2014 rolled around, I knew it was going to be a great year. I could feel it in my bones.

Something was starting to burn deep inside me again—the desire to compete and make fitness a priority. Let me rephrase that…the desire to make MY fitness a priority.

I’d spent so much time over the last year and a half organizing and coaching all my kids running teams (peek at my coaching page if you’re interested), on top of writing and juggling all the things moms juggle, few hours were left in the day for my own running.

Oh, I’d run here and there, start then sputter, get pulled away, then start again, repeating an endless frustrating cycle of mediocrity as I fought to maintain my baseline fitness. I even joined in races when I wrangled enough time and energy, but I was definitely not operating on all cylinders.

And the thing is, I know without a doubt that if I don’t make health and fitness a priority, I feel off kilter—like a wobbly top spinning full speed ahead, bumping from one thing to the next. I put everybody and everything ahead of myself. I say, “Yes” to too many things. I volunteer more than I should. I don’t get enough sleep and often make bad food choices.

I’m embarrassed to share with you how much chocolate I consumed…not to mention red wine…and coffee (lots of coffee)…all those treats, which temporarily make us feel giddy, decadent and “rewarded,” but also pack on an extra 5-10 pounds if we’re not careful.

When the ball dropped in 2014, I was more than ready to say, “Enough, girlfriend!” and take decisive steps to get back to center and reclaim my own personal fitness goals.

Screen shot 2014-04-05 at 3.22.24 PMThe first thing I did was join the Santa Barbara Athletic Association and entered their Grand Prix race series.

“What’s that?” you ask.

The SBAA is our fabulous local running association, which has created a fun way for its members to compete against each other in races all throughout the year. You simply sign up in your age group and gender and race in designated 5Ks, 10ks, and half marathons throughout the year. Points are awarded for whatever place you come in, and at the end of the year, whoever has the most points in each age group is crowned the winner.

It’s simple enough, but believe me folks, this took a major dollop of courage, considering I wasn’t feeling worthy of signing up for this group yet, let alone racing at my mediocre level of fitness—especially since some of the top female runners in all of Santa Barbara happen to be in my age group. We’re talking 5, 6 and 7-minute milers. Gulp.

But I took a deep breath, swallowed my pride and jumped into the mix.

And guess what? It’s the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long, long time.

It has been nothing but fun, and most of all it has given me some much-needed goals to help me stay focused on making my own workouts as much of a priority as those I create for my kiddos.

I don’t know about you, but without a race goal dangling in front of me I find it easy to bumble aimlessly through my workouts or opt for coffee and a good book instead of a track workout or a tempo run on mornings when I’m feeling less than motivated. Perhaps you can relate?

After joining the SBAA, I also joined the Santa Barbara Cruisers, a running group coached by Super Stud master’s runner, Nash Jimenez. We’re talking a 64-year old speed demon who still runs a 5 minute mile. Not only does he coach the Cruisers, but he also coaches many of the elite runners I previously mentioned.

Nash had generously offered to coach me from the first day I started working with him in 2012 (we coach the Kids Corner Coyotes running team together), but I never took him up on his offer. I was always way squeezed for time, and quite honestly never felt ready…that is until a few months ago.

That tiny step of joining the Cruisers added one more layer of commitment to my fitness goals and launched me even farther into this super supportive running community we have here in Santa Barbara. Not only that, it finally dragged my reluctant butt back to the track for some much-needed speedwork—not something I’ve ever enjoyed on my own.

So how has it gone so far?

Continue reading