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As a Registered Dietitian with a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, I thoroughly enjoy helping others achieve optimal health and peak fitness performance through creation of custom menu plans and personalized nutrition coaching with my company Fuel Factor as well as creation of custom sports drinks with Infinit Nutrition, I company I partially own and serve as Chief Formulation Specialist for. As a long-time athlete, having competed at the ITU, 70.3, and Ironman World Championships, I use my own practical experiences on the ‘field’ as well as the latest research in nutritional science as means to establish daily training and race/game day nutritional strategies for my clients. I am also currently working putting the wraps on research for my book, Performance Ingredients and Supplements for the Athlete, with a hopeful release by my publisher Human Kinetics late in spring 2013. I am currently expecting my first little speedster due to arrive in May of 2013. After she is born, I will be striving to knock 9 minutes off my current marathon PR of 2:52 to secure a spot at the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Reflections of 2012: A Year of Firsts

January: I kicked off the New Year with my first official beer mile, polishing off 60 ounces of Guinness and running a mile in just a smidge under 15 minutes. As I non-drinker, I was impressed I was still standing at the end though I did finish a good 9 minutes behind the leader and in stride with Goofy (yeah, the Goofy). Guess this proves I am never going to be a professional beer miler.
Blurry caption of me bringing up the rear of the pack with Goofy during my first NYE beer mile

February: Joined my friend Andy in his efforts to raise money for Got Your Back Network, a charity I hold near to my heart having worked professionally with and being friends of many who serve our country proud including my friend JT, a Navy Seal, who lost his life fighting for our freedoms in August of 2011. Got Your Back Network raises money for the families of fallen soldiers. For his 35th birthday, Andy ran 35 miles (I ran 21 with him and our friend Mike) and raised over $3,000 for the great cause.
Having fun with the Cardiff Kook and giving back to families of fallen soldiers
 March: My running kicked into full gear in March and I successfully conquered my first back-to-back racing feat, running San Diego Half Marathon (and finishing 4th overall in 1:21) and 7 days later trekking up to LA for a windy version of the LA Marathon where I finished 12th overall in 2:59. I dedicated both races to my grandpa, who will always be a huge inspiration to me and someone I will always try to emulate in life. He passed away just two weeks shy of his 102nd birthday and one week after I completed my back-to-back racing efforts in his honor.
Nearly 102 years of wisdom from this amazing man

Striding proud towards the LA Marathon finish in honor of my Grandpa
April: Joined my friend Mark to watch my first playoff hockey game at the Staples Center and while sadly it didn’t include our favorite team, the Chicago Blackhawks, it was neat to see the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the LA Kings, lay it on the Vancouver Canucks.
First NHL playoff game at Staples Center in LA
May: May was a busy travel month as I trekked up to Vancouver, British Colombia for the third year in a row to experience a brand new (gorgeous) marathon course that took us on the ultimate tour of the city, including a 10km trek around the famous Stanley Park seawall (picture snowcapped mountains and water on one side and large pine on your other side). I obviously was in awe of the scenery because I was able to knock another 4 minutes off my marathon PR, finishing in 2:52:01 good for 4th overall women on the day.  One week later, I travelled to St Pete Beach, Florida, to present on the topic of sports nutrition at my first major conference geared towards Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians. I took advantage of being on the East Coast and enjoyed a quick visit with friends in Atlanta.
Enjoying the scenery as I cruise to a new 26.2 PR in Vancouver
Adventuring with my friends Jono and Nick in Hot-lanta

Out on Atlanta with my college friends Angie and Allen

Captured the solar eclipse in Phoenix en route home

June: Am I really 36 years old? Certainly don’t feel it and I proved that by running my fastest 13.1 miles on home turf, finishing the San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half in 1:20, good for 7th overall behind some Olympians and professional speedsters. I also was busy at work finishing up work on my first book, The Athlete’s Guide to Sports Supplements, which I am happy to say is slated for release (finally) by Human Kinetics this upcoming June.  I'll keep you all in the loop on the official release date.
Bounding past my (younger) competition

July: Enjoyed celebrating wedding festivities for my longtime coach and good friend, Paul Greer, and his beautiful bride, Callie, which kicked off with none other than a 5k “race to the altar” and finished off with a gorgeous ceremony at University of San Diego and reception along the marina. It honestly was the largest congregation of “dressed-to-the-nines” runners I think I have ever seen. Also took part in Joggin' for Frogmen, an event that honors soldiers lost fighting for our freedoms and raises money for the Navy Seal Foundation and Special Operations Warrior Foundation. The event has raised over $50,000 for these foundations!!!

My long time coach, Paul Greer, and I at his pre-wedding "Race to the Altar"

Remembering our fallen brave

Running proud for our fallen soldiers en route to the overall win
August: It was back to my travelling ways as I trekked up to Edmonton, where I not only ran my 3rd sub 3-marathon of the year but also clinched my first overall marathon victory earning myself a nice little paycheck for the effort.  Instead of relaxing like many do after a marathon, I rewarded my effort by spending several days hiking and exploring the absolutely stunning Canadian Rockies of Banff and Yoho National Park with my brother Kevin.  And, one week later, I decided to check another “must try” race off my bucket list, joining 11 other amazing runners and people for the infamous Hood to Coast Relay, which takes runners on a 200 mile journey from the top of Mt Hood in Portland to the cute coastal city of Seaside, Oregon. Definitely a memory that will last forever and I am happy to report that my team, the Slug Hunters, were the fastest mixed team to cross that finish line!!!

Winning the Canadian Derby Edmonton Marathon
Takkakaw Falls, Yoho National Park
Lake Louise, Banff National Park

Team Slug Hunters atop Mt Hood

September: It was back to running-themed wedding festivities as I joined my good friends, Lyndsey and Jon, for their Disney wedding in Orlando.  It was such a neat idea to have the reception in coordination with Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival and close the fun day with an amazing dessert party and fireworks display.  After indulging on dessert (yeah, dietitians do indulge too), us runners do what we do best…”run it all off”.  The next day, the wedding crew hit up some of the local parks and then raced the Tower of Terror 10 mile race where I am happy to report the bride and I swept the top 2 spots before hitting up the thrilling rides at Universal Studios.
The beautiful bride and I at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

October: The biggest news of the year came a day after returning from Orlando, where my boyfriend Dan & I learned we were expecting our first child, a girl, in May of 2013.  It explained a lot of the fatigue and nausea I was playing off as “being at the peak of marathon training”.  Ha…rookie mistake.  Our little speedster-to-be joined me for my 4th and final marathon of the year in Niagara Falls at 8-weeks pregnant. While the morning sickness made for an interesting 26.2 (I puked 3 times the back-half), I thoroughly enjoyed the journey that took runners from historic downtown Buffalo, New York, across the Canadian border, alongside the Niagara River which was laced with beautiful fall colors, and ultimately to a finishline backdrop that included the scenic Horseshoe Falls with a rainbow halo.  I can guarantee my little girl and I were the fastest duo out there as I finished 4th overall and while not at the speed I had originally anticipated, apparently 3:07 is not too shabby for being pregnant. Dan & I couldn’t be more excited to meet our little tough-as-nails girl this spring.

It's a girl!!!

Beautiful Niagara Falls
November: I enjoyed closing off my third year of helping coach high school cross country at Bishops, a private school in downtown La Jolla.  It is such a pleasure working with these kids and neat to see our boys team clinch their highest finish ever and our lone girl’s qualifier, a freshmen, post a huge PR at the California State XC Championships in Fresno over Thanksgiving weekend. Dan and I also had fun taking on Thanksgiving, starting off with a "gut check" 10k trail turkey trot and finishing with a full home-cooked turkey dinner for my visiting parents.

Enjoying some quality time with the p's in Old Town
December: To cap off a brilliant year of firsts, I was recently recognized as San Diego Track Club’s Runner of the Year for 2012.  SDTC as well as Saucony, with whom I have been sponsored by for 3 years now, have truly been a second family for me and I look forward to many more racing successes to come.  I am now back in Chicago where I am enjoying quality time with family and friends over the holiday.  I have so much to be thankful for this year and am beaming about the great things to come in 2013 and beyond.
Dan & I on a holiday sunset cruise

Next goal? Qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials!!!

Wishing you health, happiness, and lots of fun adventure this holiday season and into the New Year.

Love always,