Archives for motivation

What Motivates You?

Lately I’ve been asked this question a lot as it relates to running and overall fitness. I’m not gonna lie, it’s been a hard one for me to answer. Physical activity is just a way of life now, so I can’t imagine life any other way. I don’t need to motivate myself, I just DO it. But since it’s a topic that seems to interest many people, I felt a blog post was in order to help me dig deeper, and maybe help others in the process!

When I was looking for my answer, I turned to Mr. Zucchini Runner, thinking he could provide some insight into this perplexing question. He thought about an answer for a long hard moment, staring into space and finally said, “I don’t know. That’s a good question.”

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Looks like he was in the same boat as me…. but then he said, “What about… just not wanting to be overweight? That’s why **I** workout anyway.” And we both kinda laughed. But the more I thought about it, there was definitely some truth to that! I feel better when I’m not overweight (and I was getting close there for a while…)


February, 2011

We both were!


San Diego, Summer of 2011

Once we made serious efforts to clean up our nutrition, and made working out a part of our regular routine, we loved the results! It felt awesome to get out on our own two feet and legs and MOVE. Mr. Zucchini Runner even did a sprint triathlon – he is not a swimmer, runner or cyclist! He would rather play a team sport like volleyball, softball, or even golf or tennis. So while our initial motivation came from the desire to simply lose weight and be healthier all around, today’s motivation comes from the momentum we created 3 years ago. To keep improving our physical fitness and skills, to keep pushing ourselves past our current limits, to be better versions of ourselves today, than yesterday – that is our motivation.


Tempe International Triathlon, May 2013

Our latest challenges have been completing P90X3 at the beginning of the year.


After our first full round of P90X3, February 2014

And most recently, completing PiYo during the harsh summer months of Phoenix!

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PiYo has been a GREAT addition to my running routine.

Motivation is different for everyone – it comes from different places, at different times and at different intensities. Sure, there are some days I wake up and I don’t feel like going for a run or doing a workout – so I don’t. But I don’t beat myself up over it. I know I will get out and get moving another day; in most cases the next day or two. It is one thing to be motivated, and another to ignore the signals your body is giving you. I trust my lifestyle these days, knowing that listening to my body is more important than working out every single day. In the beginning, I couldn’t really take that luxury. Because before I knew it, one day off would turn into two, three and four. So in the beginning, I did have to make that extra effort to keep pushing through the workouts. Now I know, that if I workout less – I really need to focus on my nutrition. Nutrition is the key to good health, even more so than physical fitness – but that post will be for another day. 🙂

A special thanks to Bryan at for inspiring me to write this post! Head on over to his site for more motivational stories.

What motivates you?

My 37th Year is Complete…

Let me start out by saying I’m a HUGE believer in celebrating birthdays. I don’t understand those who don’t like to make a big deal about the day that brought them life on earth. It is incredibly significant; and a day – I feel – should be filled with reflection, new direction, (or renewed discipline towards ones goals), and lastly, I think it’s the one day of the year where it should be ALL ABOUT YOU. So, to celebrate me, I’m going to take you on a little journey of how my day has gone so far.

Earlier in the week, I knew I wanted to kick off the big day by working out for as long as my body would allow me. I just wasn’t sure WHAT I wanted to do EXACTLY. I still didn’t know at 1:00 a.m. either. (C’mon, I had to partake in the 4th of July fun too! Check out the app LongExpo for limitless fun.)

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Anyway, I had dashed any hopes of getting a really long run in, because I knew I wouldn’t be getting up before the sun, to beat the heat. The most sleep I could muster, and still get out the door at a “cooler” time, was 6 a.m. See below… I managed to get almost 5 hours. WOO HOO! You are starting your 38th year off RIGHT lady. (Can you see me rolling my eyes? I am.)


By 7 a.m. I was out the door and on my way to the trails. My mom had called to wish me happy birthday, so while I was half asleep and talking to her, I was also getting dressed for my run. I pulled out my road shoes… then I thought… no… what am I doing… I want to go on the trails. This is the summer of trail running! I’m coming for YOU South Mountain!!


A quick look at the map at the trailhead, “hmmmm what new trail do I want to check out today… I’ll take a pic to reference later…” (Don’t mind my nail polish, I’m testing out Jamberry nail strips compared to regular nail polish. I think Jamberry is winning, what do you think?!)


Yay for cloud cover!


It’s still hot though…

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Whew! Made it to the top… “I’ll take two pics and Photoshop them together…”


Same pic, just focused on the sky… no energy for Photoshop today folks… it’s my BIRTHDAY!


I just ran/speed hiked up that.


Can you tell how steep it is?


No? Maybe this will help…
Love conquering hills and mountains. I’m kinda weird like that…

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Tempe/Phoenix in the distance….


“Oh look! Maybe I’ll take that trail back! I think it’s Mormon Loop… that might be fun!”


Awkward lone selfie on the mountain. 🙂


Ok, back to running… I still didn’t know where I wanted to go for sure at this point…


But it sure was pretty on National Trail today… fresh rain last night made everything extra vibrant… and humid… which I actually enjoy! 41% is PERFECT cooling weather!


“My legs are tired. Maybe I should turn around…”


At this point I heard my Garmin alert me of “Low Battery” two times already. I started to think about how I like to plan things, to some degree and then at other times, I fly by the seat of my pants. I have a constant inner turmoil happening and it’s quite annoying! I was wondering why I am that way, and began to wonder if this run was a metaphor for the upcoming year. I told myself, all the heat and hard work would be worth it in the end, that the view at the top would be worth it. A great analogy for life if you ask me. Then I felt this cool breeze, sweeping over the trail and it made me think there was an open area ahead, where I would see my great view! I got excited and pushed up the hill.

This is what I saw at the top… which does not look like much when captured with an iPhone camera. But I could see the mountain ranges off in the far distance much clearer than you can see pictured below.


I knew this was the furthest I’ve ever RUN on this trail and I already felt accomplished, but it wasn’t enough.


I looked at the trail ahead, and could see the South Mountain towers in the distance.


This is where my Garmin died. 🙁 It was a message that this workout wasn’t going to be about speed, but about the journey and the distance. (OR the message was “always charge your Garmin, even if you think it’s charged.”)


At this point I was thinking maybe Mr. Zucchini Runner could just come pick me up at the upcoming trailhead. Can you see the car? After all, I had little sleep, I was tired from all the uphill, and I didn’t really feel like turning around and going back the way I came. It was behind me, and I wanted to keep moving forward. 😉 Plus, my Garmin died.


Then I saw this…


AND THIS… if you click on the image, you will get a bigger image (I think) and you should be able to spot the trail that zigzags up the side of the mountain. “WHERE DOES THAT GO?!”


I was about to find out….
At the Buena Vista Lookout I examined the map and realized I was SUPER close to the OTHER side of the mountain where I first started trail running. I knew that loop so well! “I CAN DO THIS! AND EVEN RUN HOME AFTERWARDS!”

I called Mr. Zucchini Runner to tell him the new plan… well, I guess just the plan… since I was really winging it this whole time.
NOW I actually HAD a plan. And the call was an EPIC fail, since I had no cell service. “WHAT ARE THOSE TOWERS FOR THEN?!” LOL I sent him a series of texts that seemed to go through.


I took Corona de Loma Trail to meet up with Warpaint Trail. 🙂

This was where I started testing my inner strength. I grew up with very loving, yet protective parents. Everything was “be careful”, “are you ok”, “don’t do that, you will hurt yourself”, “where are you going”, “when will you be back”, “call us when you get there safely”, etc.  — all of this is ironic too — because they also raised me to be very independent. So, this was a test for me. A test of inner strength and a test to quiet that worried little girl who was always afraid she’d hurt herself if she did anything out of the norm.

Oh, did I mention I hadn’t seen a single soul since the mountain biker in that one picture? Yeah. The moment I got on Corona de Loma Trail, I knew it hadn’t been used in a while – definitely not today. There were shrubs growing in the middle of the trail, debris from the storm on the 3rd still and the trail didn’t have any new footprints or bike tracks. (It was easy to tell, because of last night’s rain.) At one point though, I did see coyote tracks. 8| Then I looked up to the left and saw the spot where I just was probably 30 minutes earlier when I thought “Where does that go?!” And then… I decided to trip and fall… AGAIN. (If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know the story already.)

Luckily, I caught myself so I didn’t hit the ground fully or too hard; but there was a little bush that wanted to blind me… and I did a wonderful job at bending my thumb nail backwards – a lot – while I was preventing the fall. Hey, rather my thumb than my face… gotta protect the face! It started to bleed immediately and I put pressure on it, brushed myself off and continued up the trail. No time to stop here and now!! It’s hot out here folks.

At the top, there was this view of Ahwatukee…


And this amazing view and trail would lead me to my familiar trail. (Still no signs of anyone… which I decided to attribute to the 4th of July festivities and not the heat.)

But come on, seriously? Look at this! I was on cloud 9. Hazy humidity and pollution ridden sky and all, this is my home. I’m lucky.


I started getting service again, so I was able to check my location on the Map app. I’m the blue dot. 😉


On the long, switch-backy, descent I managed to stop once and take a pic…


Once at the bottom, I took a pic looking back at what I just ran/hiked down.


I was so thankful for a normal, flat trail at this point. Not sure how much more my knees could take…


I stopped under a tree to regroup, cool off a bit, text Mr. ZR…


…and take my second serving of Energy Bits.


Then I took a cacti, running selfie… since I still hadn’t seen a SINGLE PERSON… at this point I was one with nature. Thanks for lending a helping “hand” cacti.


In the end, I finished with roughly 8.5 trail miles, with a freakload of elevation change. No wonder it was cooler at the top… hahahaha.

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Here is a snapshot of my Moves app. Purple is running, green is walking. 🙂 I was able to use this imagery, to map out the rest of my mileage on Daily Mile.


5.38 miles after my Garmin died… some of it was on the road… but it was getting unbearably hot for me at this point, so I called Mr. ZR to come pick me up…

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Deep down, I wanted 13.37 miles today. Should I do it? Should I?




I sweat through another 3 miles, at a 3% incline on the treadmill, at a comfortable pace. Music was my friend, while I pondered why some people are soooooo outwardly religious and others are far more subtle.


I was a happy gal, doing my cooldown walk. Feeling satisfied that I reached (as close as I could tell) 13.something miles.


My Fitbit was my guide, before I mapped everything out afterwards.


And just in case you were wondering… that’s not dirt under my fingernail! 🙂


Lastly, I wanted to do PiYo Sweat! If there were any sliver of doubt that PiYo was going to be good for my running, today sealed the deal.


By the end, I was DONE. Child’s Pose never felt so good.


And homemade breakfast never tasted so good. (Thank you Mr. Zucchini Runner for making exactly what I asked for, while I showered.)

I’m seriously lucky. 🙂 Bring it on 38th year, I’m ready for you!!


What about you? Do you celebrate your birthday or do you brush it under the rug?

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