Summer Vacation Workout

It’s that time of year again!  My clients are leaving me behind (did I mention I will train you all day if you pay for my travel expenses?!?!?) and heading to their Summer Travel destinations. Cape Cod. Vermont. Rhode Island. Ahhhhh!!!!  I. LOVE. SUMMER!!!  Well, just because you are on vacation that DOESN’T mean you stop working out. Remember, it’s a LIFESTYLE. No gym? No problem. No equipment?  No problem.

Here is a workout you can do anywhere. Ideally you will start by marking a spot on the beach or grass with a towel, water bottle, etc.  You will the sprint for ONE MINUTE and mark that spot. These will be the spots you will be sprinting back and forth to. Enjoy. And remember, I will TRAIN FOR TRAVEL 😎




Push Up Challenge


This can be done as a modified push up also (from the knees)

Remember, each push up should end with your elbows 90 degrees and your back completely straight with the core engaged. Your head should not be down, rather looking about six inches ahead. Your chest should go low enough where it could hit a fist on the floor. 100 half-a** push ups do less than 10 proper push ups. DO NOT CHEAT YOURSELF!!!  

(A great link for motivation on doing exercises with the proper form)

your goal is to do 100 push ups. 

As soon as you lose form and/or cannot do any more PROPER push ups, you stop and do 20 squat jumps. You then go back to where you left off (let’s say 18) do as many as you can (let’s say you get to 24) then do 20 more squat jumps. You continue to do this until you get to 100 push ups. 

Summer Solstice 5.5 Mile Trail Race

Photo Courtesy of Hartford marathon Foundation

Photo Courtesy of Hartford marathon Foundation

Not long ago I mentioned to someone that I follow a local runners blog.  Right away she responded, “I’m sorry, but to me she is way too self-absorbed.  Get over yourself”  I have learned to let people judge without feeling the need to defend, however, I couldn’t help but think, “Is this what people think about me when I write my blogs?”  Maybe.  Probably.  But as I drove out of the parking lot of Gay City State Park on Sunday, after racing the 5.5 mile Summer Solstice Trail Race, I thought, “I need to get my thoughts out there.  I need to blog this.”

So, why do I blog my experiences?  For a few reasons.  One,  I love to write.   Whenever thoughts overwhelm my head I write them down.  More often than not it is in my personal journal, however, when I think it is a topic others may benefit from I put it out on the world-wide web.  I know there have been so many times I have read others blogs and thought, “so, I am NOT the only other person who feels this, thinks this, etc.”  So, here are my thoughts about Sunday’s race.

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Like almost every race I do, I went into this race thinking I set the bar too high last year and would have a hard topping that performance.  (You can read about that race experience at the blog I wrote for  mission FITNESS, “Who Was Pushing Who”).  I came in 3rd place with a 7:29 pace for 5.5 miles.  For the TRAILS, this was a stellar pace for me.  However, upon checking in I knew one of the top finishers from last year was not competing, since she was working the event.  This was the girl I CHASED last year the whole race and placed 2nd, right ahead of me.

This year was nice because we had A LOT of mission FITNESS people running the race, many of which did my Intro To Trail Running Series.  It was also nice because toeing the start line next to me was my brother, the owner of mission FITNESS.  My childhood hero, my fitness inspiration.  Whenever I do a race knowing he will be at the finish line, it drives me a little harder.  I want him to be proud of me when he sees me finish.

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“Racers ready?” BANG!  We took off.  I found myself at the front, staying with the leaders of the pack for the first half mile, as we ran up the pavement park road that would lead us to the trail head.  Doing a quick pace (6:45ish) up a gradual hill, mixed with the anxiety of the race, left me short of breath as we entered the woods.  As usual, once I hit the single tracks I calmed down a little and settled into my pace.  At about 1.5 miles in while on a double track, I ran along side another runner for a while, who complemented my pace and told me I was in first (I knew this) and he had just passed the 2nd place girl, who was a little behind me.  I felt good.  My stride felt comfortable, and my heart rate was starting to settle.  I had a confident feeling that I may win this race.  However, I kept thinking of the blogs I’ve read….”it is mentally draining to be the one being chased.”  I knew I would have to maintain the lead the whole race, and that would be tough.

On the access trail I opened up my stride, and felt like I was doing a good pace.  I didn’t look back, but just hoped I was opening up the gap between the 2nd place girl and myself.   We detoured around a pond, and took a turn.  As soon as we took the turn, it didn’t feel right.  I didn’t pay attention to the arrow (rookie mistake) because I was just following the guy in front of me.  I panicked.  I stopped dead in my tracks, and as I did about 5 people who were right behind me, including the 2nd place female, passed me.    Urghhh.  This was the start of my mental “breakdown”.

I quickly continued running, and passed her again.  Looking back, should I have held back a little? Maybe.  But I was pissed and charged ahead to get back ahead of her.  So, the race continued with her on my heels.  I could LITERALLY hear her breathing for the next 4 miles.  My legs started to get tired, and as we hit the muddy, swampy areas I was losing my footing easier than I should have.  I was mentally breaking down.  I started to think about the 12 miles I ran that past Wednesday, which shouldn’t have been a factor.  With each hill I fought the urge to just let her pass and let this mental game of being chased end.  I felt like Katniss in the Hunger Games.  I battled with the thought of trying to pull ahead with a mile to go, or easing back and trying to “recover” to give myself enough energy to pass her at the end.  However, I knew a “slower” pace would hurt just as much as my “fast” pace, so I decided:  go as hard as you can for as long as you can, and hopefully that will get you the win.

I have never WON a race, and I wanted this so bad.  I wanted it because I felt I deserved it.  I’ve had the lead the WHOLE race.  I wanted it because I knew all my MFers who ran the 3.3 mile course would be at the finish line.  I wanted to win it for them.  I wanted to see the look on my brothers face when he saw I WAS THE 1ST PLACE FEMALE!!!

summer solstice 2013

A t mile 5, with 1/2 mile to go the girl who was on my heels the whole race passed me.  I stayed about 5 feet behind her, thinking that upon exiting the woods and hitting the pavement I would sprint to the finish, beating her.  I kept telling myself, maybe she made a push too soon and you will repass her.  We hit the pavement, for the last .2 miles to the finish.  You dream of this moment.  That moment that “something takes over you” and you go harder than you knew you could.  Well, I went as hard as I could, but it wasn’t hard enough.  Nothing “took over” but a downhill finish, making it tough to do anything spectacular.

As we sprinted down the hill I heard a Mom tell her young child, “Look!  Cheer!  That’s the 1st Place Girl!”  It hurt.  I was the 1st place girl in the woods for 5 miles.  Then she stole my thunder for the crowd.  Irrational thoughts, I know.  But, I’m a competitor.  It hurt.  Then the second punch to the gut….they were holding up the banner for her to run through when she finished.  This never even crossed my mind during my daydreams of winning.  Dammit.

I ended up finishing 2 seconds behind her, for a 2nd place finish.  I ended up with a little slower time, a 7:31 pace, but the WET trails mixed with my moment of being turned around may account for this.  This last 24 hours I have had a lot of “what ifs”.  What if I didn’t stop and let her run by.  What if I allowed her to keep the lead for a while?  But, these are all learning experiences.  I am new to this trail race world, and I will take all of these thoughts and images with me while I train for my next races.

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I will dream of that 1st place banner being held for ME, while my brother cheers me on, and I will do what it takes to make those dreams a reality.

“Some wish for it, others work for it”

2000 Rep Challenge


The other day I completed and posted a 1000 rep challenge.  I took me about 45 minutes and I woke up the next morning feeling sore all over.  I quickly realized that this was another great way to get my workouts in at home, while making  it interesting.  To make it even better, I had 3 clients who follow me on Twitter see and complete the workout too.  You have no idea how happy it makes me to help people workout by giving them ideas, and it quickly reminded me why I made this blog to begin with.

So, yesterday it was cold and rainy (like the first time I did one of these challenges) and I told myself that when I got home I was NOT going to lay on the couch, but create and post another challenge.  Accountability and motivation!  So, here it is.  I had to up the anti.  2000 Reps!  It took me about 1 hour 15 minutes, and if I didn’t have those squares to check off I guarantee I would have stopped 45 minutes in.

Note: I used the 25lb Kettlebell for the Russian Twist

Each square is 10 reps, except for the top which they are 20 reps each.


Cricket: On all fours, knees bent, jumping off hands and feet together so all 4’s are in the air.

Shoulder Slap: Push up position, left hand right shoulder, right arm left shoulder (each slap is 1 rep)

Shoe Clap: on all fours, knees slightly bent, jump feet off the ground, shift weight to hands and clap feet in the air.

Sit and Stand: Sit down, lift both feet a few inches off the ground, plant feet and stand (do not rock)

Workout Challenge #2

imageI constantly have clients telling me they never get the same workout as they do when the are working out at the studio. Whether they are on vacation, at home, at college, etc. their workouts just don’t come near the ones with me. I know a lot of this is being in the presence of  a very energetic class, or having me (your personal trainer) not giving you an option to stop. That being said, no matter what I do I will never be able to replicate the exact energy of the mission FITNESS studio.

However, I will give you some challenges you can do and I recommend you find a friend (or group of friends) to do them with.  This will help you push harder and prevent you from stopping when you get “uncomfortable”.  I also would love for you to leave a comment with your time or questions/comments!

Tuesday Challenge

20 Kettlebell Swings (35lbs)

20 Plyo Jumps (20″ high)

20 Shoe Claps

20 Wall Balls (goal height 9 ft using 14lb dynomax ball)

20 Burpees (chest must hit ground)

REST 1 minute & REPEAT for 5 rounds total.