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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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Why PiYO?

As some of you may know, last weekend I was in Las Vegas for the annual Team Beachbody Coach Summit. It was my first time attending since I signed up as a coach, almost exactly one year ago! It was an amazing experience to be among so many like-minded individuals; coming together for a common purpose. And to be completely and totally honest, I was attending to see if I still wanted to be a Beachbody Coach.

On the outside many people see that I’m currently chasing my dream of helping people lead THEIR best lives. But living it and seeing it from the outside are two completely different things, as it is with anything. I’ve been feeling a little lost with almost too many directions and paths to choose from. It is pretty paralyzing somedays. I’m in no way complaining about the good fortune and choices I have at my disposal, it merely makes the day by day less predictable, than say, for someone with set job hours. I’ve been pondering my next direction in life a lot… how badly do I want to be a mom? should I fall back on my graphic design skills, since it’s so easy and comfortable for me? do I pursue becoming a holistic nutrition coach, and solely coach people with their nutrition? do I pour my energy and efforts into becoming a Beachbody coach, which will encompass both fitness and nutrition coaching? Oh, and then there are still those part-time hours I’m putting in as a graphic designer for my “former” full-time employer.


I was hoping that by going to Summit in Vegas, I would gain some clarity. I’m happy to say that I HAVE. Being there for just 3 days, hearing the inspiring stories of those who have transformed their lives both physically and financially; learning more about myself and my personality and how I best function as a leader; I can’t quite put my finger on it all just yet. I just know I feel it.

Probably the most influential aspect of the whole event, was hearing Diana Nyad speak on the importance of never giving up. Nyad is a marathon distance swimmer, who just so happened to be the first person to swim from the shore of Cuba to the shore of Florida, oh yeah, and she’s 64 years old. Take a few minutes to watch the inspiring report below.

Hearing her speak for those 30 minutes on stage, brought tears to my eyes multiple times and she received a standing ovation when she was done. As she was describing her final, successful attempt to make that swim from Cuba to Florida, she mentioned a moment where her mind wandered to the stars above. She began pondering astrophysics and a book she had read by Stephen Hawking. The gist was this… we. are. so. insignificant in the grand scheme of the universe. The perceived problem of so many choices ahead of me, were just that, perceived. I needed to take my own advice — which I’ve said to my sister many times — PICK A PATH.

Being a coach IS that path. Whether it will always be with Beachbody or not – being a coach is my path. Not graphic design. I can’t be or do both, I need to pick one and be really good at it. We have one life, one short insignificant life it’s up to us to make it as significant as we feel it should be.

By now you mayyyyyyyy be asking yourself what on EARTH does this all have to do with PiYO?!? I’m glad you asked, because the answer is nothing really. Other than I wanted to shout from the rooftops that I finally feel like I’m back on track and not wandering aimlessly in the forest of life. I want to help the most people I can, and right now I feel the best way to do that is through the glorious internet! So without further ado, I’d like to share with you an amazing new workout released by Chalene Johnson and Beachbody called PiYO.

The very first thing Mr. Zucchini Runner and I did after checking into our Vegas hotel, was to get into this line for the live PiYO workout debuting at Coach Summit.


Yep, it wrapped around and around the whole building.


Why on earth would we wait in this line, just to workout? Well, we were so excited to try out this new, no impact workout, that we were willing to get a sunburn, sweat profusely and get dehydrated before it even began. Plus, we would be instructed by Chalene Johnson herself.

So what exactly IS PiYO?

No weights. No jumps. Just hardcore results. 

PiYO is a fusion of powerful Pilates and yoga-inspired moves with an amped-up pace, for serious cardio, strengthening, and lengthening–all in one workout. Here is a promotional video for PiYO if you are interested.

A note from the creator, Chalene Johnson:

“I wanted to create a super effective program that everyone could do–that would still deliver real results. I took the best moves from Pilates and Yoga, and turned up the pace to give you the hardcore definition, intense calorie burn, and allover strength you’d get from extreme programs–without jumps, without weights, and without destroying your body.” 

During an instructional “break”, we managed to snag a quick, sweaty pic!!


We did the workout called Drench (you can see a full description of all the workouts below) and boy did it deliver! I’m not really sure where I was looking here… I was working on 3 hours of sleep haha


Mr. Zucchini Runner after the workout – this is NOT just a workout for the ladies guys! Don’t let the ‘fusion of pilates and yoga’ fool you! We got sweaty.


Here is a breakdown of  the 9 PiYO workouts:

  • Align: The Fundamentals (40 min.): This workout breaks down the most important and effective moves in the program to help you perfect your form and get the best results possible. (This is only watched ONCE.)
  • Define: Lower Body (25 min.): Lengthen and strengthen your entire lower body—from your glutes and hamstrings to your calves.
  • Define: Upper Body (20 min.): Help shape your arms, carve out your triceps, and define sexy, strong shoulders.
  • Sweat (35 min.): A traditional PiYo workout that incorporates effective dynamic conditioning, fast-paced cardio yoga-flows, and bodyweight resistance strength training to help work your entire body.
  • Core (30 min.): This ab-centric workout hits your powerhouse from every angle to build a strong core, sculpted abs and obliques, as well as a strong back.
  • Strength Intervals (25 min.): No weights, no equipment, and no bulk!
  • Drench (45 min.): This endurance workout maximizes fat burning while it works every muscle in your body. It will not only leave you drenched—it will kick-start your metabolism.
  • Sculpt (30 min.): This workout uses varying tempos to keep your muscles under tension for different periods of time. This generates muscular endurance and metabolic changes that will transform your physique.
  • Buns (30 min.): Squat, lunge, burpee and “bowl” your way to a sculpted rear! Build those power muscles and kick up the metabolism to high speed.

For the rest of the day Mr. Zucchini Runner and I both kept noticing how stretched and open our hip flexors felt after the PiYO workout. It was unlike anything I had felt before – seriously! I was smart enough to grab this quick video, where Chalene explains why PiYO is so good for you, particularly runners or anyone who LOVES cardio activities.

Needless to say after the experience we both had at the live workout, I purchased PiYO that night. 🙂 IMG_4780

On the car ride home from Vegas, I had 6 long hours to think about everything that happened at Summit – including how great I felt after the PiYO workout. It got me thinking – what if PiYO is something every runner could benefit from? I wanted to start a test group versus my typical “challenge groups” and see if I could get runners to commit to the 60 days of PiYO to test out its effectiveness. Well, I’m happy to say, I have a group of 10 willing and able participants! As a matter of fact, I got such a great response that I wanted to be sure everyone was aware of this potential opportunity to improve their running. And to be clear, it’s NOT JUST for runners, but that’s what resonates with me MOST so that’s what I’m personally excited about. Anyone can benefit from these PiYO workouts. Whether you are new to fitness or a seasoned athlete, I urge you to give it a try if you are looking for something new! If this sounds like something you are interested in you can either email me or simply visit my SHOP page to purchase PiYO, and learn more about the purchasing options.

In the end, the whole Summit experience really recentered me on my original goal of being a Health and Fitness coach. Sometimes, you just need a little reminder to never give up. 😉

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