How to start your runner journey

Hey, friend!

Are you just starting your fitness journey, or even maybe already on your journey, but want to get more into running? When I first started working out I was starting at ground 0. I began my journey in January 2013 when I wanted to get in shape for my wedding. I used to be very active in high school, but lost all the motivation to workout when I was in college due to such a busy schedule between school and work.

I started off with doing my workouts at the gym and would randomly find things to do. I realized though, that if I really wanted to lose some serious weight (that I needed to shred) I would have to increase my cardio intensity. My husband (fiance at the time) started to push me and we would run outdoors. He would run in front of me and encourage me to run but all I wanted to do was quit after 2 minutes of running. So, I decided that I would change what I was doing at the gym and work towards increasing my running endurance. I started by combining the exercises I was good at, to improve my running stamina.

For example, I would do 15 minutes on the elliptical first. The elliptical is a great starting place because you are working your legs, but you have assistance from your arms to not get tired as quickly. After the elliptical, I would go another 15 minutes on the bike. In this case, all of my strength was being channelled from my legs, but without the weight of standing up so it helped my legs get stronger. After this, I would go 10 minutes on the treadmill. I would start at a slow pace then slowly get to a jogging pace where I felt comfortable. I did this over and over at least 3 times per week. Eventually my leg strength and stamina was strong enough to change the rotations: 10 min elliptical, 10 min bike, 20 min run. Then after that felt comfortable, I dropped the bike and did 5 min elliptical and 30 minute run.

As I got more comfortable on the treadmill, I started setting small goals. I would jog for 3 minutes, then run for another 3, then go back to a slower pace to jog, then go back up, etc. This is what helped me also not feel overwhelmed with being on the treadmill so long and it started to feel like a game with myself. There is also an app which I know has helped many people get into running which is the couch to 5k app. After I started getting more comfortable with running and working out overall, my husband and I decided to start signing up for races which continued to reinforce and push my running skills. 5k’s are such a fun way to push yourself and have a final race goal in mind. Once you get more comfortable with your running skills, running outside to leave the monotony of the treadmill will for sure inspire you to push harder on your run and even want to be outside longer. 

Any way you do it, getting into running is life-changing! There really is such thing as a “runner’s high” where it is just you and the path in front of you, with your sick playlist and endorphins running through your body. I encourage you to get into it and push your mind and body to complete a 5k!

Currently, I am working on improving my speed. I am working on small sprint intervals, as well as adding in some hills so I can work against the incline and help my speed.

What tactics have you used to either get into running, or improve your speed? I would love to learn more about your running journey!

 

XO,

Gina

 

The Art of Patience

“Patience is a virtue” .. the phrase I tell myself several times a day. I am a very high energy person, and somewhat a perfectionist, which causes me to sometimes be controlling over things or get anxiety because things in my life aren’t done quickly. It also causes HUGE DOUBTS! I think, “If I am not getting the outcome that I want, when I want it, then I must be doing something wrong.”… WRONG THOUGHTS! Let’s talk more about the balance between impatience and patience.

Why it’s great to be impatient

To get -ISH DONE! It’s proven that people with a sense of urgency will get more things done, be more effective and always be thinking of ways to do things more efficiently to get even MORE done. It also allows you to be more successful in life because you are looking for results quicker, so you are trying everything in your power to achievement, quicker.  Ed Mylett talks about time management and impatience in his Podcast episode “The Secret on How I get 21 days a week”.

Why you still need to learn patience

There is a learning theory by Ken Blanchard called “Situational Leadership Model”. This model teaches that there are 4 development levels that every person goes through when learning something new. Level 1 is someone with high commitment and low competence. Meaning, when you are really excited (highly committed) to take on a new task, hobby or skill but you don’t know how to do it because you have never done it before (low competence). Level 2 is when this really excited person realizes that the task is a lot harder than they thought, so their commitment level (motivation/confidence) on this task goes WAY down and decide they want to quit. They still don’t know how to do the task (low competence) and are deflated. THIS is the phase where my impatience starts to kick in. THIS is the time when I start telling myself that I am doing something wrong, that I suck, that I want to quit because this new thing is so hard. BUT I forget that I haven’t allowed myself to get to the final development level. It is key to remember that with every new thing, there will be a dip in your confidence and competence, it is NORMAL. So, if you push through and really try to master the skill, you will end up at development level 3. This is when you finally CAN do the task, but you are lacking the commitment. Maybe you can finally swim laps in a pool, but you need that extra reassurance and confident booster from others to tell you that you are doing a great job so you have the confidence to continue to work on perfecting your technique. FINALLY, after much practice and hard-earned work, you get to level 4. You become the pro that you thought you were supposed to be so long ago when you were pushing yourself so hard and doubting yourself. You can actually do the task alone, and are confident in it.. You are a BADA$$!

The amount of patience needed to get to the final mastery level is so high that most of us aren’t willing to wait that long, so we give up on ourselves or become anxious instead of continuing to work at what we want. Gary Vee is the #1 preacher about how patience is key to the success of anything that you do and he is SO right. Why? Because you have a whole learning cycle to go through EVERY TIME you try a new task, goal or hobby. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT saying to procrastinate because things take time. I am saying that you should put in the work over a period of time, but also know that the results will take consistent, conscious action towards your goal and with time, and lots of patience, you will achieve your desired outcome.

And the most important reason to be patient, is because you love yourself. As the bible reads in 1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient. Love is kind..” Regardless of your faith, the definition of love includes patience. Primarily in this case, love for YOURSELF should be a priority. Giving yourself grace for going through the steps and going through the process of becoming a better version of yourself requires love and patience… so do yourself a favor and CHILL on the crazy deadlines that you put on yourself! 

Hard work + consistency + self-love + patience = formula for success

 

XO,

 

Gina

 

Favorite Podcasts

Hey, friend!

As you’ve been able to tell by now (or so I hope) I LOVE to be productive and learn as much as I can to get ahead in life. I try to maximize every minute in my day by waking up early, completing my miracle morning routine, read different articles throughout the day and attend seminars whenever possible. However, the most effective and efficient way I learn is listening to Podcasts and Audiobooks. You can find a podcast about virtually ANYTHING. They are an amazing resource to keep you engaged on a topic that you want to learn more about. I have listened to podcasts regarding: murder mysteries, being a better triathlete, self help, growing my business, marriage.. Etc! By listening to at least one episode per day during my workout or my commute, I learn something new and it inspires me to continue to work hard every day.

I wanted to share some of my current favorite podcasts with you so that you can hopefully find one that really speaks to you and where you are in your life right now. My top favorites usually change every couple of months, just depending on what I am going through and need to hear. Here are my current favorites!

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  • Rise Podcast by Rachel Hollis: Her podcast talks about a variety of things from being a business owner, to being a woman and overall becoming the best version of yourself. Her podcasts have taught me more about productivity, chasing my passions and it is a great way to get FREE content from her live events which are pure FIRE!

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  • Rise Together Podcast by Rachel and Dave Hollis: I am married, so naturally this podcast speaks to me. Rachel and Dave go into some pretty serious #realtalk situations that you encounter as a couple! They also bring on guests to specifically talk about marriage and how to build a better partnership, better communication skills, etc.

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  • The MFCEO Project by Andy Frisella: He is your daily dose of tough love with a whole lot of F* bombs! If you are not comfortable with cussing, this isn’t for you. However, if you can tolerate it, Andy is so real in breaking down concepts and tactical advice to become the best version of “your OWN life’s CEO” (as he says) and nixing your excuses.

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  • EpowerHER Podcast by Kacia Fitzgerald: She is new in the space, but killing it! This podcast is for all women looking to live a better life and she and her guests provide you with the tools to take home and implement. Kacia’s energy is contagious through the mic and it will for sure get you going for the day!

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  • Super Soul Conversations by Oprah: Obviously the queen of interviewing had to be on my list! She has 2-3 podcasts, but I have only had a chance to listen to this one. These interviews are about working from the inside out – how do you learn more about yourself and your inner soul desires to bring deeper meaning to your life, in your own unique way. She has some high profile interviews of course, so it is great to hear from these very successful people and their lives and struggles.

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  • The Ed Mylett Show: Truth bombs after truth bombs! Ed is all about sharing tips and interviews that will take your life to the next level. He is a successful investor and businessman himself, and he shares how to implement his habits and skills in very tangible ways.

I hope some of my current podcast faves speak to you and you check some of them out!! What are some of your favorites? Why do you like them? I would love to hear more from you in the comments below!

XO,

Gina

 

Getting the perfect gift for your partner

Can you believe January is almost over?! February is around the corner and most people are starting to think about Valentine’s Day and what to get their significant others. Personally, my husband and I aren’t huge on this holiday, but we incorporate a little extra special-ness into our date for that week. We are both thoughtful in the way that we prepare our “gifts” for each other. We try to center them around our Love Languages. If you haven’t read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman with your partner yet, I strongly suggest you do. If you don’t have the chance to read the book, I suggest you (and your partner) at least take the online assessment to learn more about yourselves.

After my husband and I learned more about each other’s love language, we were able to more effectively give gifts to each other that made sense and made the other TRULY feel loved. For example, my top two love languages are gifts and acts of service. This means that my husband shows me he loves me by helping around the house, putting gas in my car, buying me a little something that reminded him of me that day, getting me a nice gift, etc. He, on the other hand, loves words of affirmation and quality time. That means I try to reinforce my love for him through compliments, cute texts, ensuring we watch movies together, have dinner together every day, etc. Although the things I listed for him are things I also really enjoy, the other two will make me exponentially happier and feel more loved. When we realized we were completely different, it was like a light bulb came on and we communicated and showed each other love so much more effectively.

All of this said, as you think about some gifts for either Valentine’s Day or an anniversary, consider flexing your love language to fit your partner’s. Here are some gift ideas based on love language:

Gifts:

  • What has your partner been wanting for a while? Can you get it for them? Surprise them with a gift from their wishlist on Amazon.
  • Don’t have a big budget? Make something! The beauty of gifts is that the person wants something to show that you put effort and were thinking about them. There are some great ideas to make candles, a nice dinner with a lit candle(s), or even a picture frame with a collage.
  • A couple ideas for your man:
    • A new watch – There are so many different styles and price points now that are from very affordable to very pricey. Choose what fits you!
    • Nice shaving gear – Does your man like to take care of his beard? What about a nice shaving kit?
    • New shoes – Whether your man likes athletic shoes or boots, a new pair of shoes are nice. Socks are so in right now – so add those in too!
    • A gift card to his favorite place, or even a place you can share the time together – What if you give him a gift card to a massage you can go to together?
    • DIY – personalized calendars and photo albums are always a hit! Shutterfly already has their Valentine’s Day sale going and you can get a quality way to remember all the amazing times you’ve had.
  • No matter what gift you give, make sure to include a thoughtful note. The gift of time to put together  a nice letter is priceless.

Words of Affirmation:

  • Write a really nice card and ensure that you are affirming their qualities specifically. Instead of blanket statements like “I really appreciate you” say “I really appreciate that you help me fold laundry because I feel like we are part of a team and you love me.” Get really specific with WHY you love your partner.
  • Get creative and make a personalized gift for them that has reaffirming phrases such as “#1 dad”, “you are the best husband ever”, etc. You can even DIY this and make a jar of compliments. He can get one paper per day and get a new compliment on how amazing he is.
  • Make the days leading up to the big day a little more exciting! Send him daily texts and tell him why you love him. Writing a quick note and sneaking it into his work bag would also be a great idea to give an element of surprise 😉

Acts of Service:

  • What task does your partner NOT enjoy that you can do for them for one day? Take time to complete that task for them. Take it a step further and make a task jar – put little papers with different tasks they complete and they can “redeem” your help with them in the coming weeks.
  • Help your partner get ready for your date and iron their shirt. Maybe you are going out and their car is a mess. Clean out the car and take it for a car wash.
  • If you are going to dinner, offer to take care of making the reservation. With busy schedules, that can become a task in and of itself.

Quality Time:

  • Give your partner your undivided attention. If anything else, make sure that when you are with them on a date, or even just having dinner together, they know you are listening and actively engaging in conversation together. Yes, that means leaving your phone away from sight! If you have kids, get a sitter so you can give each other your full attention.
  • Plan a getaway or special night where you two will have fun. Here are some ideas:
    • Massage date – get a massage and enjoy a glass of wine after
    • Walk along the beach and have a picnic – collect seashells along the way!
    • Hike together – Enjoy a nice conversation at the top of the mountain
    • Mini staycation for the weekend and unplug to enjoy each other
    • Wine night and board games. You can even play cards and bet on each other.
    • Surprise them and decorate your room or living room with lights, balloons and rose petals to give your home more ambiance
  • If you aren’t very creative, buy a date night idea jar and pick out of the jar every time. This will allow you to keep allowing quality time moments to happen.

Physical Touch:

  • Make sure that you are constantly touching your partner…. That may come off awkward in public, hu?! LOL JK but seriously.. Touch your partner when you are around them – it can be a gentle hug, hand on their leg, playing with hair, back rub, hold hands more often etc. Physically staying connected is very important to these people.
  • Spice up your life! Get a new piece of lingerie to make your physical time together a little more exciting.

What is yours and your partner’s love language? How are you going to cater to it on your next special day together?

 

XO,

Gina

 

“I am” .. awesome!

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of the situation and feeling that you are just “too” __ (insert your word) for that situation? I constantly do. In talking to other friends, it seems like we all go through this negative self talk that we are too much or too little of something for the opportunity that life gives us. I will explain more in the following examples:

Over the past 6 years I have battled different thoughts in my mind about how I am “too young” to be doing something. I was too young to be a manager and handle large responsibilities in my career, or advising others that were older than me, or talking in front of others that were several years my senior. All of these things that I associated with responsibilities or actions that were people “at least 30 years old”. But what is the reality? The truth is that I got these opportunities and chances that made me incredibly UNCOMFORTABLE to grow. And as much as I didn’t want to accept it – these opportunities weren’t just randomly given or presented, they were earned because someone saw something in me – the real me, not the one I was thinking I was supposed to be – that forced me to stand up to the plate and to the new responsibilities.  So no, I am/was not too young, I AM a hard worker that is at the right place in her life for that new challenge.

Thinking way back -this also happened to me back in high school. I was the girl who was “cool” – I was on the dance team, cheer, but also almost a straight A student, taking AP classes and getting into UC Berkeley. In high school terms – I had to be ditzy to be a cheerleader and super quiet to be a smart girl. I was definitely “too outgoing” to be smart and “too much of a bookworm” to be a cheerleader/dancer. Writing it on paper is almost comical, but it’s so true. I didn’t know how I should have been to appear to be the right person, but the truth was that I was, and AM, a unique blend of both. However, being worried about being “too” much of one stereotype rather than the other caused some real mix of emotions for me. Not until I realized that I was supposed to be me – a silly, outgoing, nerdy, studious girl – was I able to realize that I AM who I am and that is exactly why I am unique.

And of course – the famous – I am “too flabby” to wear that cute dress and cute bikini. Because – body shaming is a real thing, right? It still continues to be an issue for me. One that I am working on actively. But the reality is, I work my hard on my body but I also like to have fun with it. I love to have a couple drinks, dance, complete several races per year, eat healthy but some pizza and chips are also in the mix.. So yea, I do have some flab. But I also enjoy every moment with it so I am not “too flabby” for that outfit, I AM a strong woman who enjoys balance in her life and that is reflected in my cute dress.

My point is.. SO MANY TIMES we end up telling ourselves, or at least I do, that I am just “too” something that I cannot enjoy the moment that I am living because I get so caught up on how I should be showing up in a certain situation, rather than just BEING. You just ARE who you are because you are supposed to be a unique human. You are supposed to experience hard things that make you uncomfortable to shape you. You aren’t “too” anything for a situation. You are a badass that can take on a challenge and are ready for it. It was meant for you. Instead of thinking about how you are “too” something for a situton, what if you change your mindset and say “I am”. “I am at the right point in my life for this challenge’, “I am a fun smart girl”, “I am grateful for the experiences I get to have in my body so I should show it off in a way that makes me happy”. These thoughts of being “too” will continue, but it is my (and your) job to change my mindset to appreciate what “I am”. And for sure.. “I am awesome”!

 XO,

Gina

Tips to stay organized

Hey boss babe!

Do you struggle with like a million things going on in your day and you think.. “Oh my goodness! How am I going to get it all done?” My corporate life and personal life demands me to be able to juggle a million things at once and I am able to do this through a variety of techniques that I wanted to share with you that can likely help you out if you find yourself in the same situation I am in:

  1. Plan my week on Sundays: {mostly} Every Sunday I sit down and plan my week. I plan my workouts, chores, meal prepping, social commitments, dates with my hubby, blog writing and other tasks that need to get done. This helps me visualize what my week will look like. It also gives me a chance to look at where I stand with my monthly and annual goals. Reconnecting with them is so important to ensure I am going in the direction I want to take my life. 
  2. Daily to-do lists: YUP, I said DAILY. These tend to be at work. Although it takes time “away” from my productivity, it actually allows me to be most productive in the areas where I need to be. If you are paying attention to your A priorities and getting those done, then none of the others really matter. When I write my to-do list, I list the top things at top, then the ones that can potentially wait on the bottom. Then, I prioritize the things at the top and literally write 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. This leaves no question in my mind where I should start. If I get through those top ones, then I move to the items at the bottom. As the day progresses, more things come up and I write them in and decide.. do these need to be a 2a, or is it on my B list and can wait until tomorrow? This practice allows me to realign everyday and check things off.. literally! It gives me such a sense of accomplishment and that also makes me happy. 
  3. Use my calendar: I have a personal and a work calendar. Why? Because both areas of my life need to be balanced and planned out. In my work calendar, I use Outlook and block off time for things that need my 100% attention. I also use the “follow up” reminder function in Outlook a lot so that rather than me having to remember everything, it pops up and reminds me instead. My personal calendar is in my iPhone and it keeps track of every activity going on in my life so that I am not double booked.
  4. Color-coding: I am a visual learner and will ALWAYS prefer a visual and a flow chart. I use colors for my calendar and email so I can sort emails, see in a quick snapshot where I am spending my time that day/week and prepare accordingly. I also use colored pens to allow me to track where I am with things (I am a total sucker for school supplies!). 
  5. Break things down into bite-sized items: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! That holds true for larger, multi-step projects and items. If your goal is to complete a triathlon, you’re not going to jump in and do all three sports every day, right? Set a realistic completion date of your project/goal and work backwards. What are the small steps you need to take in order to reach it? Who are the people that need to be involved in helping you reach that project/goal? What does their schedule look like? What are the other variables that could interfere with you achieving success? How do you plan for that and ensure that you have incorporated that into your small steps? By taking these small steps, you are avoiding overwhelming yourself and can plan for a successful outcome.

Hope this helped, boo! Interested in hearing about your tactics to stay organized and on track!

XOXO

Gina

Make girl time even more fun!

Hey girl, hey!

I decided to dedicate a whole log to spicing up your girlfriend time because girl time is an absolute MUST! Many times we get caught up in life with significant others, family, etc and although you want to spend some time with your girls, you either don’t make that a priority or don’t want to make it the same thing over and over. My friends and I have a great routine going where we get together and try to make each gathering a little different to add to the fun that we have together.

Here are some ideas on to how to make girl time, an even more fun time!

  1. Try a new eatery/cafe – This is the most obvious one, but why not go try a new coffee shop, craft cocktails, new restaurant or even the new brunch special. You can make girl time any time of the day or day of the week. Trying out new places in the morning, midday or afternoon is possible. It is also affordable if you look for specials at these different places in advance. Yelp is very accessible with that if you search “(insert type of food) specials”.
  2. Try a new workout class/studio – The magic of going to a gym/studio for the first time – 99% of the time, the class is FREE! My friends and I love to go to different studios around San Diego just to spice things up! You can find the promos usually directly on the websites of the gyms, or Groupon will have some great deals! You can go grab a juice or a coffee after and reflect on how fun your class was!
  3. Try something outdoors – Hiking, walking on the beach, a run on a new route you found or even a swim could be nice! This way you are both working out and having a great time to catch up.
  4. Rotate each other’s homes – Going to someone’s house can get boring if you’re just sitting there, but what if you spiced it up? Decorate a season or holiday-specific theme and have everyone either make a drink to match it or have a dress-up theme. If you’re way less maintenance, hang out at the pool, fireplace, or just the living room and have a super fun playlist and speaker ready to go. Every time you go to someone else’s home, you get a whole new vibe and can try a new things.
  5. Mixology night – Have every girl bring the ingredients to their favorite drink and take turns making it for each other. If you want to save some money, make it around one liquor at a time. For example, tequila night can have margaritas and palomas. This brings some fun and variety into your day.
  6. Potluck – Who doesn’t love to try a variety of foods? What if you had a potluck, picnic style with your girls? Each brings their favorite dish and with a sheet and go to your nearest park or bach and you can all hang some good music. In our group, we have a baker so she always brings the baked goods and everyone else switches it up. If you aren’t much of a chef like myself, stop at the nearest grocery store and there are SO many pre-made foods ready for you to go. Especially at Costco.
  7. Chick flick night – Obviously there are those movies that are best with friends! Go to the movie theater on either a matinee (to save some money) or rent the movie and make some treats to enjoy. Wine and either a charcuterie board or a crudite board is always a great idea!

Hopefully these ideas inspire you to get together with your girls and switch it up! Check out some pics below!

What is your favorite girl time activity?

 

XOXO,

Gina

 

How to train for your first triathlon

I constantly hear others refer to me as “crazy” or respond to my next goal by “oh boy!”. The nice thing about that is that it reassures me that what I am setting out to do isn’t the rule, it’s the exception.

In 2018 I set a goal to complete my first triathlon. Granted, it was a sprint tri (5k run, 1/4mi swim and 10mi bike) – no iron man or anything REALLY crazy;  but a triathlon race nonetheless. I was inspired by watching elite athletes that completed Iron Mans and decided I wanted to try something new. At this point I had only ran half marathons. I didn’t own a bike nor did I know how to swim aside from a doggie paddle. I dedicated 60 days to train for my tri sprint and although I would recommend at least 90 (if you are already active), it is something that is doable if you are committed. I didn’t hire a coach or join a club which I also think could have been beneficial for me. Nonetheless, self-training is possible! This is how I did it:

 

  1. Buy your ticket – yes, this is step 1. Why? Because you have a goal and are less-likely to bail if you already spent the money on the ticket. You have a specific deadline for a race, therefore can work backwards and train yourself with a goal in mind. I have never done a tri before, so I chose the sprint distance because it was realistic rather than trying to jump straight into an international distance.
  2. Set a schedule – As I mentioned before, my only athleticism really stemmed from running. According to the different blogs I read, you should complete every sport 2-3 times per week. The sports that you are less great at should definitely be 3 times per week. Another thing to keep in mind for all sports is that strength training shouldn’t be taken for granted. Lifting some weights, doing ab workouts and sustained body strength movements are imperative to build up your overall muscle and endurance. This said, my schedule went a little like this:Monday: Run (1-2 miles) and weights (15-20 mins)
    1. Tuesday: Run (1-2 miles), bike (5 miles) and swim (250-500 meters)
    1. Wednesday: Bike (5 miles)
    1. Thursday: Swim (500 meters) and weights (15-20 mins)
    1. Friday: Rest
    1. Saturday: Long training day – Swim 250 meters, bike 11 miles, run 3.1 miles
    1. Sunday: Rest

 

The days and regimen would change per week, but I would try to mix it up as much as I could to have a ratio where I was swimming 3 times for sure. I am a morning workout person, so I would try to do both workouts in the morning. If it wasn’t possible, one would be before work, then the other after. I also believe in balance and working out 5 days per week vs 7. I think it is nice to have 2 days off to relax and allow your body to recover. These are great days to roll and stretch because that is what recovery is all about! I also found a lot of value in watching YouTube on various techniques for swimming. I listened to various triathlon Podcasts.. YES THEY EXIST! And they were another great tool in learning more about the community, as well as different tips and tricks for training. There are so many great people on Instagram as well that serve as motivation on a daily basis, so start following different hashtags to gets tips and training ideas. Don’t forget that getting your mind right is also part of your schedule and training plan.

3. Grab your gear! – As I mentioned before, I had nothing aside from my Asics to get started on this journey. I went to a local sports store and bought my swim cap, goggles, and bike shorts to start off. I still wasn’t sure what type of bike I would buy, but wanted to start cycling so I got the basics to start with indoor cycle. A few things to note when buying your gear:

  • Try on your cap! I have very long hair so I had to make sure the material I was buying fit my head.
  • Buy lighter tinted goggles. I would have never thought the tint of the goggles would make a difference, but I made the mistake and bought dark purple goggles (they were cute too!). There was nothing WRONG with them, but you felt like you couldn’t see the full swim area, which was definitely not something you want for your first tri. Especially if you are swimming in the bay which is already dark; there is no real comfort in seeing nothing.
  • Check the ratings on your bike shorts online, but don’t get too stuck on them. Gel vs non-gel, etc. try them on and if they are comfy, buy them!

After I got these essentials to start, I decided that I wanted to get a semi-nice bike although I could live without one. I set myself up for alerts on Offer Up and found a great deal! I bought a Fiji that was 2 years old but in great condition. I immediately took it to the bike shop to get a tuneup (bike shops I went to did this for free – so it is worth it!) and they semi-taught me how to use the gears and take the tires on/off. I also got myself a helmet and found a trail where bikes were allowed without cars so I can train in peace. Outdoor cycle is so different than indoor, so make sure you train on both!

If you are going to buy a wetsuit, don’t do what I did. I bought a surfer wetsuit, which is a completely different material than a tri wetsuit. Look into the race info and there will likely be a discount on the wetsuits through them. I am yet to buy a tri one (I need to sell my other one) but know it will be beneficial. The price for both, when on sale, are comparable in the $70-85 range. If you decided to buy a tri suit (which I didn’t), then depending how warm you feel in it and when you are racing, you may not even need a wetsuit, but that is personal preference.

  1. Find a friend that can do at least one sport with you – I was lucky to have a swimmer friend who would swim with me once a week for about 3 weeks and that really helped with my confidence. Even if you have support in one area, it will encourage you in all others. This is another reason why joining a club would also be a great idea!

 

  1. Have long training days – Although this may be difficult, having one long training day is necessary. Training the sports right after each other like you will on racing day makes a difference. I thought I was fine with my running so the bike/run transition was going to be a breeze (I used to run 13.1 miles for gosh sakes! What’s a 5k!), but after biking 10 miles, that 5k becomes a lot more challenging. You can also tell in these training days where you start getting tired and need the extra boost. I am not the type of person to take pre-workout. I just make sure to eat enough food to fuel me through the race; however, after training I noticed that I need a boost after biking. I bought some caffeine jelly beans and popped 2 and felt like a champ through the running portion.

 

  1. Eat! Yes, you are going to be hungry so make sure you are eating enough protein and healthy carbs (oatmeal, beans, rice) to keep you fueled on a daily basis. Also make sure to have food right after working out and hydrate! After every long training day I would buy an electrolyte replenishing drink such as Pedialyte and a protein bar so I had something in my system within 15 minutes or working out. Not staying up with my nutrition when I used to run halves was one of my biggest mistakes and I learned my lesson for this sport!

Learn from my mistakes

Being self-taught, there are obviously things I learned along the way that I would change, so learn from me!

  • Get all of your gear as soon as possible. I got my wetsuit 2 weeks before the race and it was so different swimming with it on vs just a bathing suit. It is heavier, my arms were less mobile AND I forgot I need to wear my clothes under it so my swim experience was completely different.
  • If you think you are going to do a tri again, get a tri suit. I don’t have one but think it is worth it and will buy one for my next race. If you aren’t buying one and are using regular bike shorts and a shirt, train with that ON.
  • Train at the location you are going race at (if possible). I did all my swim training in a pool which was great, but swimming in a salty bay with seaweed was very different. I only gave myself 2 chances prior to race day to really feel the experience and I should have done it sooner.
  • Get bike shoes! I still need to get mine, but buying shoes with pedals will help you feel more secure on your bike.
  • Join a club – self-training is a commendable thing, but nothing serves you better than joining other people who enjoy doing what you (want to) do. This will also help with things such as learning better techniques for all the sports and learning how to use gears on a bike (again, another thing I still need to learn).

 

All of these things said, I LOVED my first tri. I felt so inspired, strong and happy. I plan to complete the San Diego Triathlon Triple Crown with my first race in May 2019 and put into action all of the things I learned from my first tri. I hope these tips help you out and you are inspired to take on the tri challenge!! 🙂

 

Cruise tips

Wanna cruise like a pro?

It had been a long while since I last went on a cruise and boy, did I enjoy it. The various offerings of food, entertainment, relaxation and sun make a cruise so much fun! The last time I went on a cruise I was underage and relied on my parents heavily to take care of things, but this time I had to take things into my own hands and do some research. There are a few things I did and others I wish I would have done, so here are my tips for your next cruise!

  1. Before you book – Personally, my husband and I  tend to be very active on our vacations, so we weren’t sure how we were going to like the cruise with 3 days at sea. We took a 7 day Eastern Mediterranean cruise with Carnival  and really enjoyed it. We would do another cruise, but likely 5 days long with 3 stops if we could. During this cruise, we liked the excursions we took (visit the forest, Snuba, waterfall adventure and a beautiful beach) but we also really enjoyed the relaxation that came with it. Bottom line: always think about your travel preference (active/relaxing) when booking your cruise to ensure you don’t get bored/overwhelmed. The days at sea are really relaxing and although there are things to do, you may feel a little cabin fever so if you don’t like a ton of downtime, then choose a cruise with less sea days. If you love the down time and enjoying all the boat’s amenities then a longer cruise or cruise with less stops is best for you! If you are traveling in a large family group, look into group rates. Large family groups are common on cruises due to the price and convenience, so try to get the most for your money and get that great rate!
  2. Read the FAQ’s about your drinks very carefully – Whether you are a big drinker or not, buying drinks on the cruise can get a little pricey. Personally, I do not drink soda, only with alcohol, so that made no difference for me but there is a package for those that do and want to get “bottomless” soda. Remember that on a cruise the water, tea and juice is included but not everything else. There is also a “bottomless” alcoholic beverage package that you may want to buy if you plan on drinking more than ~5 drinks per day on the cruise. If you are a heavy drinker consider buying the package. Keep in mind, however, that you will likely not be on the boat much on the days you dock. Make sure to weigh your pros and cons on each end. In addition to this, also check the amount of drinks you can bring with you on board. We cruised with Carnival and they allowed 1 bottle of wine or champagne per adult. Take advantage of that! You may also purchase a case of waters which is convenient if you don’t want to drink tap water – whatever works for you!
  3. Print your luggage tags and boarding passes– Although many places don’t care for paper, some allow you to print things upon check-in at airports, that was not the case with th cruise. When we checked into our cruise at the Miami port we were expected to have our bags tagged up and our tickets printed. Make sure you have yours pre-printed if needed.
  4. Decide if you will get WiFi – In our particular case, we had to get work done so we bought WiFi. It is pricey and the connection is pretty bad. This is a plus or minus on your cruise depending how you see it. If you really want to unplug, you can. If you need to get work done or still use social media while on board, you can… at a slow pace. This is another perk if you are going wit family because the kids are forced to interact and engage without electronics.
  5. Explore your excursion options PRIOR to getting on the boat – Do some research on your destinations – what are top things to do there? What do you want to ensure that you see and do during the time you dock? Your time is short, so you want to ensure that you make the most of it. The ship will have some excursions available on their site, so look through them and the reviews to make sure you are picking what best fits your interests. It is best to do this before the cruise so you can just relax onboard and avoid lines, as well as avoid lines on board to book the trips. Remember that there is no Wifi on board unless you purchase it so your research capabilities are limited once onboard.
  6. Lanyards are key – literally! You are given a card that is to be used as a room key, credit card and ID for the entire time on your cruise. Everyone either buys a lanyard or has one with them to facilitate carrying the card on you. They sell lanyards on board and they are expensive, so if you already have one, take one lanyard per person to save you some money. This also allows you to leave your wallet and other valuables in the safe in your room.
  7. Get to know your boat! – Once you are on the boat, you want to know where things are. Walk it deck by deck and explore what is on each deck. You start to get a feel and open up your mind to the different things to do while onboard and it helps you better plan your days out at sea.
  8. Read your daily itinerary – The great thing about the boat is that every day there are a ton of things going on all day, for all ages. Carnival has an app that you can use onboard where you just favorite things and it will remind you when they are starting. It doesn’t require an internet plan to use it, so it is very convenient for a variety of things such as dining options, show times, location of things, etc. Checking your itinerary on a daily basis also ensures you don’t get bored and engage while on the boat.
  9. Pack smart – When packing, try to use the smallest luggage you can possibly pack all your things in. Your space is limited, so you want to ensure you aren’t tripping over your bags in your room. I would even recommend packing the small travel sized toiletries so you are comfortable in your shower. Always pack a light jacket regardless of the destination. They are blaring the AC, so you want to ensure you aren’t freezing. Also check how many “formal” nights your boat has. These fancy dinners are nice to go to because there is entertainment, photographers everywhere and it’s fun to dress up with your family.
  10. Enjoy! – Our favorite part about going on a cruise was that it was a worry-free vacation since everything was done for us – food, transportation, room service and cleaning service. Entertainment was awesome and it was given to us for such a low price. We got to see some great ports, just enough to do some fun excursions and we relaxed a lot which is what we needed. There is a gym on board so you can still get your workout in to help offset all the yummy things you are eating, which is also great!

What cruises are you considering in your future? Do you have any additional tips?

Ahoy!

XO,

Gina