Bladium GRIT Competition + GRIT Challenge Results

Performing burpees at the Bladium GRIT Competition at Bladium Fitness Alameda

Six weeks ago I began the GRIT Challenge hosted by one of my local gyms, Bladium Fitness. I started the challenge excited to incorporate Les Mills high-intensity GRIT classes into my workout routine while I trained to improve my half marathon race time. Check out my starting point here.

I began the challenge knowing that in order to succeed I would need to prioritize my nutrition and incorporate enough strength training to combat muscle loss from running. I also knew that dramatic results in only six weeks were very, very unlikely. Rather, this challenge would be a great way to try out new fitness classes and make some great beginning strides towards less body fat and the foundation for more lean muscle mass.

My Results

Having just finished the challenge, my body composition changed very minimally, as expected. However, my fitness level has definitely improved since introducing GRIT HIIT classes into my routine, and THAT’S what I’m excited about!

I call this challenge a victory because I had fun, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone (especially during the GRIT Competition I describe further down), and I made progress in what my body is capable of. While plyometrics still don’t come easy to me, I’ve made huge strides in my alternating jumping lunges, squat thrusters, and more.

I’m looking forward to continuing to incorporate more Les Mills GRIT classes into my routine and pairing them with lots and lots of resistance training.

At the beginning of this challenge, I couldn’t tuck jump to save my life. Near the end of the challenge, during the Bladium GRIT Competition, I did 20 in a row after already being completely exhausted.

So, what is this GRIT Competition, you ask?

A week and a half ago, I participated in the Bladium GRIT Competition, a relay-style team competition where several teams of four raced against each other to be the first to complete several different series of movements like sprints, burpees, overhead squats, and lots more. The winning team would win a whopping $500, so you bet there were lots of people excited to participate.

The competition was held at one of the indoor soccer fields at Bladium Fitness. We started with a quick warm-up, then began the first phase of the competition, burpees at every beep just to fatigue us from the beginning. The point of these weren’t to do more than anyone else, just to get us nice and tired before the real part of the competition began.

Each person had to go through a series of nine moves, 10 reps each, then tag the next person on the team who would do the exact same, until each person on the team went.

Here are the moves:

10x Plate​ ​Overhead​ ​Squat
10x Plate​ ​Row​ ​and​ ​Upright​ ​Row
10x Plate​ ​Lunge
10x Lateral​ ​Jumps​ ​Over​ ​Plate
10x Double​ ​Jack​ ​Pushups
10x Forward​ ​Long​ ​Jumps
10x Tuck​ ​Jumps
10x Backward​ ​Bear​ ​Crawl
10x Sprint​ ​Shuttle

Weighted Lunges at the Bladium GRIT Competition at Bladium Fitness Alameda

Then we divided up those same nine moves so that each person owned 2 or 3 of them and had to do 20 reps this time. We could choose to go in any order and strategize to play to our individual strengths, though the whole team had to collectively complete 20 reps of each move.

I did the 20x Plate Row and Upright Row, plus 20x Tuck Jumps.

Each team had a coach to make sure everyone was doing the moves correctly and the full number of reps, and our amazing coach, Coach Liz, even endured some of the hardest parts of the competition with us. Almost everyone struggled through the Forward Long Jumps and Backward Bear Crawls, and whenever she saw fatigue set in among myself or one of my teammates, she got right in there with us and finished with us to completion. Thanks for the encouragement, Coach Liz!

When were neared the end of the competition, everyone on my team was drenched in sweat and completely exhausted. I was so tired and focused on doing my best physically, as well as supporting my teammates, that I paid zero attention to any of the other teams and their progress. I was in a blurry bubble of adrenaline and fatigue that, honestly, didn’t go away until many, many hours later.

When our last teammate finished her final sprint of the competition, total joy and a huge sense of accomplishment set in. We were DONE! We weren’t first to finish, but it sure felt good to know we gave it our all. I was especially proud that I pushed myself to do something that scared me (i.e. team competition).

We then cheered on the other teams who were still finishing up, took some group photos, and called it a night.

I definitely took a rest day after the competition, but I’ve jumped back into a few more GRIT classes this past week. I’m also already so excited to participate in the next GRIT Challenge and Competition next spring!

*Bladium Alameda sponsored this post. However, all opinions are my own!



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Bladium Alameda 6 Week GRIT Challenge – Getting into GRIT

Bladium Alameda 6 Week Grit Challenge Fitness Challenge

I love a good fitness challenge, so I was so excited that the wonderful people at Bladium Alameda invited me to join their Bladium GRIT Challenge, a six week HIIT-focused fitness challenge that encourages participants to set exercise and health goals and work towards them in a supportive “we’re all in this together” atmosphere.

The challenge is complete with a before and after body composition analysis, fitness assessments, nutritional support, workout tips, and motivation from Bladium group fitness coaches via a members-only Facebook group, and for the competitive folksprizes for those who have the most improved body composition and improved athleticism at the end of the challenge.

Specifically, this fitness challenge is focused on incorporating several Les Mills GRIT and SPRINT classes into your weekly workout routine.

What are Les Mills GRIT classes?

Les Mills GRIT classes are 30-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) fitness classes. These classes are short, yet intense, and designed to keep your heart rate up and burn fat.

Classes include GRIT Strength, GRIT Cardio, and GRIT Plyo. Les Mills Sprint classes are also included in the challenge, which is a HIIT-style spin class that will leave you dripping in sweat after a mere half hour.

GRIT Cardio is a bodyweight-based workout that is filled with burpees, tuck jumps, mountain climbers, and all the things to make you want to melt into the gym floor and never get back up again.

GRIT Strength is 30 minutes of HIIT-inspired strength training using a barbell, free weights, and bodyweight. If you’ve ever taken BODYPUMP, Strength features lots of the same moves, but done faster and with no rest time between sets.

GRIT Plyo is another 30-minute workout involves lots of explosive jumping and agility work. (This type of workout is NOT my forte, so it’ll be fun to push myself here!)

GRIT Cardio 30-Minute Workout Results on My Apple Watch

My Starting Point

I had a DEXA scan done by BodySpec a year ago and was so excited to get another body composition scan as a part of this challenge. Nutrishop Alameda brought equipment into the gym so that all participants could take the 5-minute scan. All I had to do was take off my socks and shoes (and any heavy clothing), stand on a scale-like contraption, enter a few details about myself, like my height, weight, age, and gender, hold onto some small joystick buttons, and let the thing scan my body.

body composition scan machine from nutrishop alameda at bladium

My results printed out in a matter of minutes, and I snapped a shot so that I could remember my stats.

Right away, I was super excited to see that my BMR had increased by about 100 calories. This means that even if I were to literally lie in bed all day and not move at all, my body would automatically burn more calories that it would have doing the same thing a year ago. (Thanks, weight training!) I have also gained several pounds of muscle since my last scan (hence the higher BMR), and I have lost some body fat.

Honestly, I’m starting this GRIT challenge feeling comfortable in my skin, and I believe my mindset is in a generally good place. A huge reason why I workout is for mental benefits, and I eat lots of vegetables and “healthy” foods because I love and crave them, not as punishment.

However, I do want to improve my athletic performance and achieve a few other goals by the end of these 6 weeks.

My Goals for the Challenge

As a runner who wants to improve my speed, one of my main goals for this 6 week challenge is to lose body fat while maintaining my muscle. Less body fat means less effort to run, which should help me cross finish lines faster. GRIT Cardio and Plyo should be a huge help here!

In order to maintain muscle, I’ll have to maintain some level of weight training (GRIT Strength) + solo gym sessions, as well as properly fuel my body with ample nourishing food.

I’ll aim to take at least two GRIT classes each week at Bladium, as well as get in one or two short lifting sessions, and three runs. By combining the short 30-minute GRIT classes with a short lifting session, I’m setting myself up for five days at the gym each week, which should help give me two recovery days for yoga, foam rolling, and light stretching.

Finally, I’d like to be more aware of how and why I eat over the next several weeks. I’ll be pushing myself to fuel my body with primarily nourishing foods that will give me enough energy to perform well. I’ll also try hard to avoid trigger foods, like chips and alcohol, but I’m not going to 100% restrict myself from anything. Meal prep combined with intuitive clean eating will be lots of help here!


Wish me luck as I continue into Week 2 of this GRIT challenge!

Have you ever participated in a fitness challenge? Would love to hear how you stayed motivated!


*Bladium Alameda sponsored this post. However, all opinions are my own!

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2017 Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon Recap

Running along the ocean in Vancouver during the Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon

I love running, and I love traveling. So it’s only natural that my wanderlust and wandering legs would combine forces and take me across country borders for my first international runcation, the Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon.

I’ve heard amazing things about the production of this Vancouver-based race and its enthusiastic crew of Lulu runners who flood online registration and scoop up every available entry within minutes.

However, I also know the race boasts a rather expensive $158 CAD race entry fee. So when a fellow runner tipped me off that Lululemon was giving away free race entries to people via Twitter, you bet I jumped online within seconds and was tweeting away my desire to get hooked up with a comped entry. Not only did I get one for myself, I got a free entry for Michel too!

Yoga in Vancouver during the 2017 Lululemon Seawheeze Package Pickup Party

The Lululemon Seawheeze is not only a half marathon, but also a yoga party, shopping extravaganza, and music festival all wrapped up into one femme-friendly package. The race occurs on Saturday morning, with the package pickup party and the opportunity to shop exclusive Lululemon designs going down the day before, on Friday. The yoga festival and concert happen Saturday evening, so the whole Seawheeze experience is a full two days of movement and fun.

Breathe In. Run Wild. Sign for the 2017 Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon

I showed up to bib pickup Friday late afternoon, so I missed out on the shopping frenzy, but I was still able to pick up my race bag (which included a Lulu bag and water bottle) and enjoy some yoga, free samples, and sunshine before grabbing dinner and settling in for a good night’s rest the night before the race.

We woke up early Saturday morning, excited to start moving, but once Michel and I left the hotel we struggled to find an open coffee location near the start line. I *require* coffee pre-race, so we wandered around (kinda) frantically until we finally found a Starbucks that opened 30 minutes before the race started. Crisis averted!

We made it to the start line (albeit a bit late), and took off into the wonderfully fresh and crisp Vancouver morning with the 2:05 pacer (Seawheeze refers to each one as a “pace beaver”) and her posse of goal-driven runners, just a tiny chunk of the 10,000 runners that participate in this race.

Lululemon Seawheeze 2017 Start Line in Vancouver, BC

Every few miles or so we passed a cheer station, mostly sponsored by local fitness studios, as well as musicians and entertainers lining the streets to motivate us forward. There was even a cheer station of police officers and firefighters who cheered us on with Super Soakers and Backstreet Boys hits.

Breathe In, Run Wild Seen along the course of the Lululemon Seawheeze 2017 Half Marathon

Nearly all of the race is run along the water, and the whole thing was spectacularly beautiful. But the most amazing part of the race was the final few miles, ran along the famous Vancouver Seawall and through Stanley Park (one of the most gorgeous public parks I’ve ever seen). To say the views were majestic would be an understatement. Ocean to the left, thick, lovely trees to the right. It was perfection.

Running along the Seawall during the Lululemon Seawheeze 2017 Half Marathon

Michel and I sprinted to the finish line together, and a minute after we crossed we were rewarded with the most legit half marathon medal I’ve ever received, some water, and a cold towel (nice touch!). After a few post-race photos, we were also given a pair of Seawheeze sunglasses and a Vega bar on our way from the finish line to our next destinationfree brunch hosted by Seawheeze.

Walking from the Lululemon Seawheeze finish line in Vancouver, BC to post-race brunch

Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon Finisher

2017 Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon Medal

For the number of people participating in this race, I couldn’t believe how well-organized the post-race flow was, as well as how quickly we made our way through the brunch queue. And best of all, seriously BEST OF ALL, I was so excited to reach the front of the brunch line and see that one of the four food tents was labeled allergy-friendly.

Lululemon Seawheeze 2017 Brunch Box - Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free

Post-race brunches are often bagels or pancakes, so being gluten-free, I usually just get half a banana, or I don’t even bother waiting in line for free food. However, I was so freaking excited to pick up a brunch box that was gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-freeand no, it wasn’t just a piece of fruit and some lettuce. We’re talking gluten-free banana bread, people!

Lululemon Seawheeze 2017 Brunch Box - Gluten-Free Chia Pudding with Jam, Gluten-Free Banana Bread, Fruit, Chocolate, and Other Lululemon Free Swag

After enjoying some of the brunch, stretching out, and getting a few more photos, Michel and I headed back to the hotel to shower, change, and explore the beautiful city of Vancouver.

We returned to Stanley Park later that afternoon for the Sunset Festival, which included some outdoor yoga, food, drinks, games, and a concert featuring Young the Giant and Cold War Kids.

All in all, it was a perfect race and perfect day!

What I enjoyed about the Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon

  1. A well-produced race that felt organized and efficient
  2. The most beautiful course I’ve ever ran (truly!)
  3. Free Lululemon shorts with race entry
  4. A full weekend of pre- and post-race activities
  5. It’s not a local race for me, so I was able to enjoy a fun runcation.
  6. Free gluten-free brunch option
  7. Lots of free goodies in addition to the Lulu gear

Tips for Next Year

  1. Plan to be ready to buy tickets the minute they go on sale, or prepare to not get a guaranteed race entry.
  2. Follow Lululemon on Twitter. Maybe they’ll give out free race entries again next year?
  3. Save some money for this race. The entry fee is hefty, plus if you’re a Lulu fan you’ll want to shop the exclusive “runners only” shop. On top of that, if you’re coming from the states, remember to fold in travel costs.
  4. Take photos along the course. It’s a good one.
  5. Plan your morning coffee strategy ahead of time, or stay at a hotel that provides non-janky coffee at an early hour for guests.

Have you ever ran the Seawheeze Half Marathon, or do you have an interest in doing so?

Want to run your first half marathon? Here are my top 10 training tips!

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Prosciutto and Fig Salad Recipe

prosciutto and fig salad over arugula with walnuts and feta cheese

When savory prosciutto is combined with sweet figs and peppery arugula, wonderful, magical, and sexy things happen—like this salad. 

Elevated, yet simple, this prosciutto and fig salad recipe comes together in no time, and is perfect for impressing special people—or just yourself. (Fun fact: I chowed down on this salad post-trail run and still in my sweaty workout clothes, so no fanciness needed to enjoy!)

If you’re not a fig person yet, you gotta get on the train. They’re in-season from June through September, and have a luscious, partially crunchy yet smooth texture, with a sweet, honey-like flavor that was made for this salad recipe.

I’m a huge fan of fruit in my salads, so this one hits the spot and still lets me satisfy my craving for something a bit more salty and savory. Plus, the poppy seed dressing adds a nice crunch that goes well with the texture of the figs.

Because this salad contains olive oil, walnuts, and feta cheese, it’s quite filling. Yet, this dish still feels light and can be the perfect complement to a heartier main course.

Give it a whirl and let me know what you think! I’m also working on transforming this salad into a gluten-free pizza recipe for my carb-loving boyfriend, so stay tuned for how that experiment works out!


For the Dressing

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp honey

1/2 tsp poppy seeds

1/8 tsp kosher salt

For the Salad

4 cups baby arugula

4 ripe figs, quartered

3 oz feta cheese, crumbled

2 oz prosciutto, torn into pieces

1/4 cup walnuts, toasted


Combine the oil, vinegar, poppy seeds, honey, and salt, and whisk together.

Place the arugula in a large bowl, and top with prosciutto, feta, figs, and walnuts. Drizzle with dressing, toss, and serve. Enjoy!

prosciutto and fig salad over arugula with feta and toasted walnuts

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Half Marathon Training Plan + Carb Cycling

Running a track workout for half marathon training

I spent most of my weekend getting some much needed rest, creating an updated vision board, and outlining a new half marathon training plan and carb cycling program for the next eight weeks. It was exactly what my stressed and rundown brain and body needed to wake up this morning feeling wonderfully rejuvenated and ready to attack my goals.

The training plan I created culminates with the Virgin Sport San Francisco Half Marathon on October 15th. This will be my 13th half marathon (woohoo!), and my goal is to PR.

I was lax in training for my last two races, which I’m totally okay with. Priorities shift and life happens. However, after cocooning away this weekend, I knew by yesterday afternoon that I was ready and motivated to kick up my training for this upcoming half.

A PR for me will involve training not only hard, but smart, resting mucho, and prioritizing good nutrition. To help with this, I’ll be sticking to my training plan as best as I can (I promise to not forget you, hill runs!), avoiding alcohol (I’ll miss you, wine!), and experimenting with carb cycling.

My Carb Cycling Plan

Put simply, carb cycling is eating more carbohydrates on some days, and less on other days. I’ll be eating more carbs on days where I’ll need the extra energy (i.e. HIIT workouts and long runs), and fewer carbs on days where I’m resting or doing something light, like a recovery jog. I’m starting this cycle with three “lower carb” days, three “medium carb” days, and one “high carb” day and will re-examine and potentially tweak it after a few weeks.

I’ve never played with my carb ratios like this before, so it’ll be exciting to track my energy levels and see how it affects my training.

I’ll also be prioritizing nutrient-dense foods throughout training. My starchy mainstays will be regular potatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas and other fruits, gluten-free oats, and some rice, and I’ll still be loading my plates with lots of greens and other veggies, in addition to protein and healthy fats.

My 8 Week Half Marathon Training Schedule

As for my training schedule, the plan is to train six days each week, but to always listen to my body and rest if more downtime is needed.

My primary focus for cross training days is to strengthen my glutes, quads, and hamstrings, and I will also be striving to improve my mobility, especially in the hips, as much as possible.

Weekly Plan

Monday: Speedwork

Tuesday: Cross Training (Strength-Focused)

Wednesday: HIIT Workout

Thursday: Hill Run

Friday: Cross Training (Strength-Focused)

Saturday: Long Run

Sunday: Rest/Yoga

New to training for a half? Check out my Top 10 Tips for Training for a Half Marathon.

*No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice.

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Essential Running Gear for Half Marathon Training

Essential running gear includes Takeya water bottle, shower pill body wipes, momentum jewelry wraps, SPIbelt, my apple watch, energy gels, sunglasses Nuun Energy, and my Apple EarPods

When it comes to half marathon training, the most important thing you can do for yourself is buy a pair of running shoes that fit you well and that are right for your run. But besides some good kicks, there are so many other pieces of essential running gear out there that can benefit you before, during, and after your run.

As a running newbie, I was hesitant to invest in many training accessories, as I never really knew when I’d get sick of the whole running thing. But after completing my first half marathon, I could no longer deny that the running bug had bit me hard. I soon found myself spending hours wandering the aisles of my local running and sporting goods stores, and spending my hard earned cash on moisture wicking running socks and foam rollers.

And as I trained for half marathon after half marathon, I learned that buying the right pieces to help you prepare for, endure, and recover from a longer training run were key to better and happier performance.

Now, when I pack my bag or get ready before heading out the door to put in some mileage, I make sure to bring a few pieces of essential running gear so that I can thrive while training.


When I run by myself or hit the treadmill, a good playlist is everything. My Apple EarPods work well for the shape of my ears and allow me to listen to the beats that keep me moving for miles.

Insulated Water Bottle

If I drive to a trailhead for a run, I always keep this Takeya Insulated Stainless Steel bottle (filled with water, of course) in the car to sip on pre-run and enjoy post-run when hydration is critical. It keeps my water cold for hours and hours, so even if it the bottle sits in a hot car for two or more hours, your precious water will remain just as cool and crisp as when you filled it.

ShowerPill Body Wipes

These body wipes are literally my favorite thing ever. If you’re a girl (or dude) on the go, with a full day’s worth of plans after a long Saturday morning run, use one of these bad boys in lieu of a full shower and you’ll feel fresh as can be. The wipes themselves are super durable, large in size, and kill stinky germs without feeling too harsh on my skin.

Momentum Motivate Wraps

Okay, so Momentum Motivate Wraps aren’t necessarily “essential” for every runner, but I love wearing them when I run a longer distance and fatigue or mental exhaustion is likely. All I have to do is look down at my wrist and she “she is strong” to keep killing my run and make it to the end with confidence.

Running Belt

For years I ran with my iPhone in my hand. But then I bought a SPIbelt, started placing it in the zippered pouch instead, and my life changed. I found out that I could run so much more efficiently without my stride being hindered by holding a phone. Plus, this nifty piece of running gear can also carry my ID, keys, or anything else. The best part? It really does stay put and doesn’t bother me one bit while running.

Energy Gels

Okay, okay, I normally don’t advocate for ingesting packets of sugar. But when running double digit distances, I always have one of these at some point in the run for carbohydrate supplementation. I’ve trained for a half marathon on a Whole30, opting for mushed up banana instead, but, for me, energy gels are the most convenient way to deliver glycogen while running longer distances.

Fitness Tracker/Smart Watch

I use the Nike+ Running App on my Apple Watch to track my mileage. While the app can be glitchy, it’s just so easy to look down at my watch and see my distance, pace, and run time, and I use it for every single run.


If you’re going to be outside in the sun for a while, protect your skin with sunscreen and your eyes with a pair of sunglasses. I got mine for free after running a 10K, but I love them because they stay on my face while running and my bank account won’t shed a tear if I ever lose or break them.

Nuun Energy

When I’m kinda lagging on energy, I pop a Nuun Energy tablet into my water. These guys have electrolytes and caffeine, are great for alleviating post-run cramps, and they don’t taste overly sugary. My favorite flavor is Cherry Limeade.

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Chicken Chile Verde Recipe

Chicken Chile Verde Recipe

I’m a self-proclaimed taco connoisseur, I always have fresh salsa in my refrigerator, and I’m certain that my last meal would include either al pastor or homemade tamales.  My love for Mexican food runs deep, and I love it all.

But my absolute favorite is chile verde. This slow-cooked pork shoulder dish cooked in a sauce of tomatillos, chile peppers, onion, and garlic is my go-to at any Mexican restaurant. I love it sopped up with a few corn tortillas or mixed with black beans, but it’s also the perfect street taco or burrito filling.

I’ve made chile verde at home once before, and it was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever cooked. So when I saw fresh tomatillos at my favorite veggie stand at the farmer’s market this morning, the craving struck again and I knew I had to make a fresh batch this evening.

Roasted tomatillos, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, and onion

I adjusted this recipe from Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes, opting for organic chicken thighs over pork shoulder. The original recipe also calls for the option of adding either roasted Anaheim peppers or canned green chiles. I used both because I love my recipes to have a little extra spice.

Cilantro for Chile Verde

This chile verde is pretty simple to prepare, and you can even prepare a double batch of the tomatillo sauce and freeze half for later so that you can have chile verde all. the. time. Which you’ll definitely want after trying this recipe.

From the moment I began roasting the tomatillos, to letting everything simmer for about an hour, my entire apartment smelled absolutely heavenly. The flavors meld together perfectly in this dish, and it tastes even better on Day Two.

Onion and jalapeno for Chile Verde

Chicken Chile Verde Recipe Served

Chicken Chile Verde Recipe

(based on/adapted from the Chile Verde Recipe from Simply Recipes)


4 lbs organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 1/2 lbs tomatillos

6 garlic cloves, not peeled

2 jalapeños, seeded and ribs removed, chopped

2 Anaheim chiles

1 can diced green chiles

1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped

2 yellow onions, diced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tbsp dried oregano

2 cups chicken stock

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Peel and wash the tomatillos. Cut them in half and place on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, along with 6 unpeeled garlic cloves and the Anaheim chiles. Place under a broiler for 6-7 minutes, or until the skin of the tomatillos is slightly blackened.

Once the tomatillos, peppers, and garlic are cool enough to handle, remove the skin, stem, and seeds from the peppers, as well as the skin from the garlic cloves. Add all the roasted goodies to a blender, as well as the cilantro, jalapeño, and green chiles, and pulse until all of the ingredients are chopped and well combined.

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season cubed chicken thighs with salt and pepper, then brown the chunks on each side, working in batches. Once chicken is browned, set aside in a bowl.

Add onion and minced garlic to the dutch oven and sautée until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the chicken back into the pot, as well as the tomatillo sauce, chicken stock, and oregano. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the chicken is tender and the flavors have melded together nicely. Season to taste and serve with tortillas and/or rice and black beans.

Chicken Chile Verde Recipe Served with Tortillas


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Where to Hike: Wildcat Gorge Trail at Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley

Wildcat Gorge Trail Tilden Park Berkeley

Tilden Regional Park in Berkeley boasts a small farm (with goats!), a lake, a botanic garden, and almost 40 miles of trails for hiking and biking. If you’re in the Bay Area, it’s a wonderful place to visit for some fresh air and forest bathing.

Last Monday, Michel and I took off for the Berkeley hills right after work and enjoyed a short spur-of-the-moment hike to alleviate some workday stress and talk about the things we always talk about while outdoors – how much we love California, what our current fears and dreams are, and what we think about alternate realities.

Together we explored the Wildcat Gorge Trail, a moderate 4-mile loop hike that Michel had heard good things about. While the afternoon was a pretty sunny one, by the time we arrived at the trailhead the temperatures had chilled and the fog was thick.

We parked at the Island Picnic parking lot and started down the Selby trail. We had to navigate around a fair amount of muddy steep inclines at the beginning of the hike, but once we reached Lake Anza, the trail was relatively dry and had a few manageable hills.

The hike features some beautiful redwoods, a steam with some mini-waterfalls, gorgeous canyon views, plus a few killer mediation spots.

We’ll definitely be back!

Forest Bathing in the Redwoods

Looking up into a redwood tree

Wildcat Gorge Trail Tilden Berkeley - Beautiful Opening

Wildcat Gorge Trail Berkeley

Tilden Park Berkeley



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Thoroughbred Treadmill Studio – A Treadmill Workout You’ll Love


Treadmills and I have a love-hate relationship. The use of one is obviously awesome for working on intervals and prepping your body for hills, since, you know, you can control your speed and incline manually. In fact, running hills on the treadmill in preparation for the San Francisco Nike Women’s Half Marathon saved my butt (literally) for the notoriously steep Mile 10 haul of the race.

But until this past weekend, my opinion has always been—and I think many people will agree—that treadmill workouts are just kind of boring, and not as enjoyable as getting an outdoor run in.

However, that opinion was rocked last weekend. I took a 45-minute treadmill class at Thoroughbred Treadmill Studio in Mill Valley on Saturday, and no joke, this was seriously one of the most fun and rewarding cardio classes I’ve ever taken.

Think of it as SoulCycle, in terms of energy, but on a treadmill instead of a bike. About 45 minutes of working out in a darkened room with awesome music pounding, as well as an instructor guiding your incline and speed, led to a super sweaty, super satisfying workout that flew by faster than any treadmill workout I’ve ever attempted.

Our instructor, Jake, was very motivating, helped everyone get oriented with the treadmills before the workout (which all had a thin, black cloth veiling each machine’s screen), and explained that the studio blocks the screens to urge each of us to run not according to numbers, but by feel. So, throughout class, instead of telling everyone they should be at a 5.0 incline and running at 7 miles per hour, we were told to start at a casual pace, then add and subtract clicks to the incline and speed throughout the session.

Learning the basics of the class structure, as well as how to use the treadmills

We started with a warmup, moved into ladders and speedwork, then ended with a well-deserved cooldown—with an emphasis on the well-deserved part.

Thoroughbred partnered with Represent Running and Under Armour to offer this class for free, and it was great to meet the founder of Represent Running, JT, before class, as well as get a sweat sesh in with fellow Represent Running ambassadors Christina and Charla, among tons of other runners.

I had an amazing time and will happily make the trek back out to Mill Valley from Oakland for another treadmill workout at this studio. I’m hoping I can get a few more sessions in before the Across the Bay 12K in on July 10th.

Reasons Why I Totally Recommend Thoroughbred Treadmill Studio:

  1. The treadmills are AMAZING. Thoroughbred exclusively uses Woodway treadmills, which are the best treadmills out there, by far.
  2. The verbal guidance from the instructor was on point. Throughout the entire workout, our instructor, Jake, emphasized the importance of “beautiful running” and reminded us that the best runners in the world never look tired. Even when they’re surely nothing but exhausted, their posture is great, chest is out, and shoulders relaxed. Hearing Jake remind us to focus on running beautifully helped me tremendously during that workout and has stuck with me throughout each run I’ve done this week.
  3. The music was great. I’m super motivated by music when I workout, so hearing some good remixes of Missy Elliott, Rihanna, and more were the perfect backdrop to the run.
  4. Everyone was so nice! From check-in, to finding the locker room, to getting used to the treadmills, working out at Thoroughbred was such a lovely experience. Plus, our instructor gave out high fives to everyone individually before we made our final and fastest push of the class. Thanks, Jake!
  5. The classes are perfect for all levels. Whether you run a 7-minute mile, or you’re more of a casual jogger wanting to get a little faster, everyone can move at their own pace during class and push themselves on their own terms.

Learn more about Thoroughbred by checking out their website, then trying a class out for yourself (the first class is only $15!).

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How to Start Your Week on the Right Foot

Running across the Golden Gate Bridge

I’m super guilty of getting the Sunday Blues—that dreadful feeling that rolls around on Sunday afternoon or evening and leads you to start thinking about how your days of weekend bliss are waning, a present mind goes out the window, and all you can think about is how Monday is just around the corner. Well, Monday doesn’t have to suck. With a little preparation and mindset shift, you can feel rested after the weekend and be thankful for the coming day—another day to do the things you love and make an impact on the world. Here are a few things I recommend doing to start your week off on the right foot.

Morning Meditation

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes morning meditation is not at the top of my to-do list. However, whenever I do prioritize it, I definitely notice an uptick in the quality of my day. Sit in silence and do some deep breathing before heading out for work, use an app like Headspace for guided meditation, or repeat a simple mantra for a few minutes to set the tone for your day. I also follow my meditation with prayer for the perfect beginning to my morning.

Meal Prep

Can I express to you the joy I feel when I open my fridge and see containers of prepped healthy and delicious food? Like, there is literally nothing better. I instinctively feel like a rockstar when this happens and I know I’ll have lots of nourishing options for when hunger strikes either during work or for dinner. Take some time out of your Sunday to meal prep and you’ll feel just as great, I promise!

Work It Out

While you’re waiting for your veggies to roast in the oven, pack your gym bag and book a class with your favorite instructor for Monday. Whether it’s in the morning, afternoon,or evening, make time to move. Even if you take an active rest day you can plan to take a nice morning walk just to get some fresh air and get some gentle movement in before you begin your week.

Make It Fun

We make Monday out to be this dreadful day, but why can’t we be just as excited about it as we are Friday—if not more? It’s the first day of the week and can really set the tone for the rest of your week, so make it special! Plan to meet up with a friend for lunch, treat yourself to a new workout, or buy yourself some flowers on Sunday so that you wake up to a beautiful bouquet. Take the stigma out of Monday and it’ll feel a whole lot better.

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