Monday, August 22, 2016


"You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run." 
-- The Gambler

Hellooooooo friends! This weary little friend of yours just returned from a whirlwind visit home over the weekend. I visited both places I refer to as "home" during this visit - Albuquerque and the Four Corners area. I left on Friday, and just returned this afternoon. And I'm E-X-H-A-U-S-T-E-D! Frankly, I think I might be sick. I'm really hoping that it's just this crappy air quality we have here in "beautiful" southern California, but man, I feel like crap. I actually didn't feel awesome while I was home - as you can see in the picture above, I was quite the swollen, sneezy mess. 

While I had every intention on running while I was home, I never got around to it. My friend, Miranda, even brought her running shoes to run with me on Saturday... but we opted for breakfast burritos and a split cinnamon roll from Frontier instead. We were up late-ish and I had a 3 hour drive ahead of me! Running aside, my vacation was anything but lazy. My mom and my sister and her kids went for a long walk at the park after the movies on Saturday, and I did a lot of walking during our trip to Rico/Telluride on Sunday. I haven't lived in the area in eleven years, though, and the altitude (and allergies) definitely got to me. Plus, I drove approximately 4 hours on Saturday, 8 hours on Sunday, and another 6 hours today. I'm pooped!

I should run tomorrow, but I think I'm going to give my body one more day to recoup. I always push too hard, and end up getting myself either injured or sick. I'll do my morning yoga and my morning/evening walks, but I think that'll have to do for tomorrow. Sometimes, you just gotta know when to let your body rest for a while, you know?

This trip, like many I've taken recently, was very eye-opening. It's hard not to think about life and your place in it when you're driving for hours and hours and hours by yourself (see what y'all get for not answering the phone?). But just as the lyrics above are relevant to running ("know when to hold them"), I think there are some other areas in my life that I need to let go too ("know when to fold them"). I often hold on to things/people longer than I should, and I also always give people too much credit when they aren't really acting like the friend I thought they were or that I needed. So, like any great gambler, I'm going to take these learnings and "know when to walk away," and close that chapter (or those chapters). It's never going to be what I want it to be, and I'm not willing to take the leap of faith to find out anyway. When I feel better later in the week, I'm going to "know when to run" in the literal sense... as a way of helping me cope with what I need to let go of so I can move on with my life. I've been stuck on a couple of things for longer than I should have been. (Word games are fun! And sorry this is so vague.)

Anyway, I'm sleepy, hungry, and not feeling great so I'm going to end this one here. While this probably reads as an excuse for why I didn't run this weekend and won't be running tomorrow, I hope you'll cut me some slack. I hope that I will cut me some slack too. Pushing yourself is great sometimes, but sometimes you gotta recognize when rest is more important too. 

I hope that you have a great week. For those friends who are training for Wine and Dine with me... wish me luck! My training isn't going as amazingly as hoped, but I hope to be back up and "running" with y'all soon! (Haha... I'm such a dork.). 

Until we meet again...

--- Becky

Monday, August 15, 2016

Princess and the Pea

"Often it isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, 
it's the little pebble in your shoe" -- Muhammad Ali

The worst part about Mondays is that Monday is always Monday. Rarely, if ever, do people get excited to greet it when it arrives. It's usually hardest when you had a great weekend - but sometimes a bad or boring weekend can make the impending work week difficult to bear too. I'm not sure what gives this week, but I'm already over it.

I intended to wake up this morning at 4:45am. Yes, this is early... even for me. My intention, however, was to wake up early enough to do yoga and still get my morning mile in with my dog. As with most of my best intentions, I failed miserably. Despite setting several alarms, I finally got up in a panic around 5:30am. So much for yoga! I quickly gathered Diego's things, jumped in the car, and headed to the park. I usually order my morning coffee or tea from Starbucks as we head back to the car, and today was no exception. I arrived - and my order was never received. UGH. It shouldn't come as any surprise that I rolled into work about 20 minutes late... forgetting my workout shoes in my gym bag, and forgetting my morning snack at home. 

I got home even later than I had expected. I picked up my dog, changed into shorts, and promptly crashed on the couch. When it came time for my evening walk with my neighbor, she had to wake me up. Ridiculous. We slowly did our evening walk, and I resigned myself back to my house even sleepier than when I left. When I finally called my mom to check in, I had no idea how to respond to her question about my day. My answer was... meh. 

My tardiness notwithstanding, today wasn't a bad day. I didn't have too many meetings, and only one meeting was less efficient than I had hoped. We had a fun lunch to say goodbye to my intern, and I even got answers to emails that I sent on Friday. I didn't work out, but I still got some walking in. All that, and I still felt "meh" about my day. It wasn't good. It wasn't bad. It just... was. 

Even though my workouts usually improve my mood, I've been fairly melancholy for the last few weeks for some reason. My weekend was uneventful and "boring," but I got to spend time talking to a few close friends and that was nice. My long run on Saturday was painful and hot (I need new shoes!), but my pace had improved since my last 6+ run in July. For every yin, there was a yang. Nothing was dreadful. What gives?

Even though my workout consistency has improved, and even though my run pacing is getting better, I feel very much like I've plateaued. I've racked my brain for the last hour trying to think about what's holding me back. 
  • Is it my diet? (Probably... there is definitely room for improvement!)
  • Is it my shoes? (Maybe... my new ones should be here by Thursday!)
  • Is it my energy, or lack thereof? (Could be... I'm always tired these days.)
  • Is it boredom? (Meh... I like routine for exercise, so I don't think this is it... yet?)
  • Is it my self-esteem? (Possibly... it's taken quite a few hits lately. Sigh.)
I've talked through the years about journaling, but I've not practiced it much lately. I recently read about "guided" journaling, and think I may try that for a few weeks. I have a lot of travel coming up in my schedule, and maybe one of those trips will be the reset that my body (and brain!) needs. Until then, I'm going to try to find that pebble in my shoe so that I can get it out and appreciate the journey instead. And if I can't find it? I need to find a way to tune it out, and focus on what I need to do to be successful in my fitness journey. Have you had this problem? How did you fix it? I may want to talk this out with you... If not, wish me luck!



Sunday, August 7, 2016

Moon Rocks (Visiting Vasquez Rocks)

"A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, 
bearing within him the image of a cathedral." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

If I can't make exercise fun, I won't do it. Well, I will do it... but I might not enjoy it. That's not to say that I don't enjoy traditional forms of exercise - I love yoga and weight lifting, and enjoy running (when I have a goal in mind). Aerobics classes, pilates, zumba, etc, however, have no appeal to me. And let's not even talk about sports... I don't think I could be an athlete if I tried. So what's a girl to do? Hike!

Lucky for me, my niece loves hiking as much as I do! She and I planned to do several hikes while she visited this summer, and we really got excited when the Girls Who Hike LA event at Vasquez Rocks was scheduled. I knew we both would enjoy it - the rocks and desert-like landscape is reminiscent of the places back home I like to hike, and would be more familiar to Katie too. Plus, Vasquez Rocks Park is a filming location, so you know this movie fangirl just had to visit it one of these days!

The Girls Who Hike LA event was loosely based on the same loop described by Modern Hiker on his post here. The trail we actually took is located on AllTrails, although I still haven't figured out how to read their trails other than via GPS. I was excited to take this particular loop, however, because it included a brief stint on the Pacific Crest Trail. The Pacific Crest Trail is a 2,600+ mile trail that runs from the Mexican/California border all the way to the US/Canada border in British Colombia. While mentioned often in literature, it's probably most famous for being the trail that Cheryl Strayed took in her autobiography, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.

I trusted that Kaitlyn would be up for the hike when I researched the trail before our adventure - the trail that Sharron planned covered a little under 5 miles total, and less than 1,000' foot elevation gain. I also figured that we were well prepared because I had been taking Kaitlyn with me for nightly 2-3 mile walks in the park after work every day. I knew it was going to be a hot one, so I made sure we had plenty of water for our hike too.

The hike was relatively easy/flat for the first mile or so. We could view the famous rocks throughout that first mile, and only saw one PCT hiker on the trail as we made our way out. We had a fairly steep-ish descent as we made our way down to the PCT junction, heading south towards the tunnel to experience that stretch of the infamous trail. This area was fairly rugged and overgrown, features that I really enjoy when I hike in the desert. Rocks, fossils, and other sediment were exposed in the sandstone, making for fun conversation between my niece and me.

After a brief break at the tunnel, we headed back the way we came and started our climb to the tops of the surrounding rocks of the park. This is where things started getting hairy for the less adventurous/experienced of our group. The only child on the trip fell during this portion of the trail, and my niece rolled her ankle shortly thereafter. I was glad to see I wasn't the only one breathing heavily during this portion of the trail, but a noticeable gap between the front of the pack and the back was starting to form. 

Somewhere around the famous rocks themselves, the front of the group left the back of the pack. It was better for all sides. As a back of the packer, I could sense the relief. The front group was more physically prepared for this hike, and I was worried about my niece and wanted to slow down too. Once the gap was realized, I noticed that we weren't alone in taking our time, taking pictures, and enjoying the stunning sky. Our back of the pack was around 1/4 of the total group, all determined to still enjoy the hike and fellowship with each other.

As we made our way back to the valley floor, however, some bit of panic set in. The path was not as obvious at the bottom as it was up top. Several of us tried to map the trail to see if we were still heading in the right direction. Two of the girls were very close to giving up. One girl sat down. We shouldn't have feared - our back of the pack leader was tremendous! She kept everyone calm, and cheered the group on to finish the hike back to our vehicles. (If you're reading this, Angela - THANK YOU!)

The temperature in my car read a very hot 95 degrees by the time we returned to it. My niece was hot, sore, and in pain, and as much as I wanted to join the girls for lunch, I knew it was best if we just headed back home. After the initial soreness died down, Kaitlyn and I talked about the hike. She actually really liked it! She was just woefully ill-prepared. That's my fault - I'm sorry Katie. (At least this experience helped me prepare for our much more strenuous hike at Pinnacles a few weeks later!)

As for me, this is a hike I really want to tackle again when it gets cooler in the fall. My hope is that the Sand Fire didn't destroy it - I'll have to do some research and see. This hike reminded me a lot of hiking back home, and that made me very happy. I'm not so sure that the giant group hikes are quite my speed, but it was fun meeting some of the other girls from GWHLA. I look forward to seeing them at the networking event in October. But for now... small group hikes are the hikes for me!

Take charge this week!

--- Becky

Live in the Los Angeles area (or visit often)? Like to hike? Consider joining us at Our website links to our blog, which includes hiking trail reviews, gear reviews, and more. Want to join our hikes? Informal meet-ups happen all the time and group hikes happen once a month. You can only get that info by joining our closed Facebook page. Our founder updates our Instagram regularly too - be sure to check it out!