Pregnancy workout (week 5)

During this pregnancy I’ll try to share suggested workouts for each week of the pregnancy. How you enjoy them! You can also follow us on Instagram @preggoonthego:


This is a great workout for any stage of pregnancy. Walking and swimming can be done by anyone -no experience required. But if you’re a first timer, build up from 20 minutes of walking/swimming and don’t pay attention to distance.

Feel free to include an extra day of cardio and an extra day of strength or Yoga. Remember that pregnant women should restrain from inversions when doing Yoga. If you’re planning on taking regular Yoga classes, make sure you tell the instructor you’re pregnant so that he/she can indicate which pose will work or not for you.

If you’re a runner, and cleared by your practitioner, go ahead and run during those walking days. Remember to always be able to speak in full sentences.

Final note, HYDRATE! Before, during, and after.


How to avoid viruses to avoid missing runs


Whenever we run long distances, especially when training for a marathon, we’re more prone to catching colds and other viruses. Long runs diminish our defense mechanisms, and this in turn could harm our training. Why? Because we typically begin feeling sick, we don’t pay attention and continue with our training, so we get more sick, and we have to miss even more training runs.

The rule of thumb, according to physicians, is that if from the neck up: it’s ok to run, but from the neck down: don’t. My rule of thumb? Listen to your body, if a stuffed up nose or a bad cough is not going to let you run comfortably, then walk a bit and try again tomorrow.

Regarding nutrition, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables (about 5 servings or cups per day are recommended) will give you enough vitamins, minerals, and antiinflammatories to prevent and get over colds faster.

Hydrate! Drink lots of water, not cold as it might inflame your throat a bit. Hot teas are a great choice for some relief.

If you’re traveling, get an extra dose of vitamins staring 5 days before your trip. A supplement such as Airborne, Emergen-C, or similar products are available to fulfill this need.

Get your good night sleep so you recover faster and are able to get back to the gym, track, or asphalt. And when you feel that you are recovering, always start with an easy run to gauge how you feel and how your body reacts to it. Do not start with a hard speed session or a long run to try to catch up. Trust me, you will catch up in no time.

You might feel that you’re missing out on your training and that you’ll be losing all that effort you put into it. But it’s better to skip a couple runs now -including a long run-, than to make that cold worse and having to miss weeks of training because of a severe cold, another sever virus, or even pneumonia.

Happy run!


There’s the Half Marathon.
Nice distance: 13.1 miles-21.1 kms.
Longest run during training: about 10 miles – 16 km.

There’s the Marathon.
Not-so-nice distance: 26.2 miles-42.2 kms.
Longest run during training: 20 miles- 32 kms.

Then… there’s the Goofy Challenge.
Distance: 13.1 miles + 26.2 miles= brace-yourself-for-39.9 miles-around-WDW-parks.
Longest run during training: 12 miles Saturday + 22 miles Sunday.

The Goofy Challenge has been running at Walt Disney World for over 10 years.  It is held on the second weekend of January every year during the WDW Marathon Weekend. On Saturday you run the Half Marathon over two parks and on Sunday you run the full Marathon around all 4 theme parks, the ESPN complex, and the Speedway.

How can you survive this challenge?

First, you should have the appropriate fitness level. Even though you might see people of all sizes (and costumes), it is recommended that you have at least completed a Marathon before you attempt this challenge. Your knees will suffer, your feet will suffer, your muscles will suffer, your lungs and heart will suffer. Running back-to-back long races takes a toll on your whole body, but if it is used to longer distances already, you’ll be more ready to handle the strain.

Can I walk throughout the course?

Yes. Walking is allowed and the time limits for both races are enough to let you walk a good part of the way. For the HM, the time limit is 3h30m. And for the FM, time limit is 7h00. This would be about a 16.00 min/mile pace, though a good 15.00 min/mile pace is recommended both in training and race day to avoid any last minute complications and being at risk of being taken out of the course.

My recommendations for your training?

-Sign up early. Registration starts in April and spots sell out fast.

-If you haven’t done so, make sure you are building a nice base where you are at least running or walk/run 3 times a week for 45 min before starting your formal training.

-Start training about 20 weeks prior to the Challenge. This would be around mid-end of August.

-For the first 4 weeks focus on building a strong base. You were previously running or walking/running 3 times a week for 45 minutes each. Work for these 4 weeks on reaching running 4 times a week.

Sample: Tuesday: 45 minutes. Thursday: 1 hour. Saturday: 45 min. Sunday: 1h40 minutes.

-For the first 10 weeks, focus on building a good strength base. Lifting weights, using your body weight, at the gym, or at home. Now is the time to start strengthening all those muscles that will take you to the finish line. Aim for 2 times a week of 30 minutes of strength training, focusing on your legs, abs, back, and glutes.

-After the first weeks you should continue increasing your long-run distance (typically Sunday) at a no more than 10% increase per week.

-On alternate weeks, have a semi-long-run on Saturdays before your long run that is half as long as the Sunday one. E.g.: Sat. 8 miles, Sun. 16 miles.

-‘Recovery week’ every 3 weeks. Run 3 days. Example: Tue. 45 min, Thu. 45 min, Sun. 10 miles.

-One day of the week (not the long run), focus on speed training. Intervals or tempo runs are ideal. Not a fan of speed work? Do some hills.

-Cross-training one day of the week, either substituting one of your shorter runs or as an extra workout day. Can’t spare one day a week for cross-training? Go ahead and cross-train on alternate weeks. 5 times a month is better than 4, 4 is better than 2, but 2 is still better than none, right?

Are you going to suffer?  Absolutely.

Are you going to have fun? Absolutely!

My recommendations for Race Weekend.

-Plan on getting your packet before 5 pm on Friday. The Expo is at the ESPN complex. It closes at 7 pm and I have seen runners rushing or not been able to get their packets because the got there at 6.55 or at 7.05.

-‘Carbo load’ on both Friday and Saturday for LUNCH.

-Keep your dinners light and safe: a sandwich is a nice choice. Keep it light, not very fatty. Eat something you know won’t upset your stomach or make you feel super full.

-Get a good night sleep both days. At least 7 hours. Remember that for WDW races you need to wake up super early (maybe as early as 3-3.30 am).

-Wake up early and have a good breakfast both days at least 2-2 1/2 hours before the start time. An example of a good breakfast is a combo of protein+carbo+fruit for minerals. My choice: half a bagel with PB and a banana.

-After the HM on Saturday -and again after the FM on Sunday-, head to the massage tent right after the finish. You can get a massage for $1 a minute. So, carry a few bucks on your race belt.

BETWEEN RACES (Saturday afternoon)

-Walk a bit on Saturday afternoon,but do not stand still for long periods of time.

-Compression socks are a must. Wear them everywhere.

-Drink lots of water until 2 hours before going to bed.

-Refuel very well. Have a nice breakfast post-HM (low on fat and fiber, but packed with protein, carbs, and fruit)= Think eggs, white toast, a couple pieces of turkey bacon, OJ, banana). Then have a full lunch (carbo load)= some protein and pasta, but skip the creamy white sauce and the shrimp, stick with red for today.

Can I stop and take pictures during the races?

Absolutely. There is so much amazing entertainment along the course. Characters, animals, acrobats, music bands, you name it! Just make sure that you trained appropriately so you can still get to the finish line on time.

Can I dress up?

It is almost a MUST! It is very encouraged to dress up for the WDW races. Make sure that you’ll be able to cover your distance in whatever you decide to use and that you don’t carry any props that might harm other fellow runners.

Are there awards for the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge?

No, there are no awards for covering the whole 39.3 miles faster than other runners. Is this a bummer? Absolutely not, this is WDW’s way of telling you to have fun and enjoy the races!

Do I get a special shirt and medal?

Not just one. You get THREE shirts and THREE medals. One for each race and a special one for the Goofy Challenge. And they are all AMAZING.

What is this RUN/WALK method?

The run/walk method was created by Olympian Jeff Galloway, who is WDW’s official coach. Click here to go straight to his training method for the Goofy Challenge. It is a very simple method in which you have walk/running intervals since the beginning of the race, and including in your training. This is a great training program for beginners.

I did use this training method for the first time I ran the Goofy and I think that the training runs during the week are far too short for all the long running that is done during the weekend. But one of these runs could be substituted for a longer tempo run, intervals, or hills. This is, if you’ve already experienced a marathon before.

I hope these lines helped you a bit on getting a feel of this Challenge, and I hope you try it at one point. Enjoy!

How to safely exercise while Pregnant

As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, all you can think of is a big belly, eating all you want, and then holding that baby in your arms and taking him/her home for the first time. But there’s a long way to go before all that happens. It is very important to take care of your body during this time.

For the next 9 months (or 8 or even 7), your baby will be completely dependent on your body for being safe and developing appropriately. Although some things might be out of your control, nourishing yourself healthfully, exercising purposefully, and taking appropriate rest are all things you can control and learn to do for your future child.

In my previous pregnancy (I’m about 8 months away from having baby number 2, yay!) I exercised throughout my pregnancy, and I researched about the ways we should or should not exercise. In this article I’ll be covering some of the most common exercises that are safe for pregnant women to do, and how to do them.

I ranked them in order of what I thought was convenient + safe +no previous experience required.


Walking is ranked #1 for convenience (all you need is to put one foot in front of the other, anywhere), it is very safe for about every one, and if you were not a walker before, it is now the time to start. Walking is a great cardiovascular exercise, meaning that you are working your heart and helping it be more efficient transporting blood and oxygen to your organs -and to your little one-. You will be able to burn off a few calories, and recover better postpartum.3111014204804

Where?   Walking outdoors is always recommended. The exception would be extremely hot weather, where the risk of overheating and dehydrating increases. In that case, if you don’t have a gym membership, head to the mall and get a good walk done in there. (Better yet, buy some baby goodies while you’re at it!).

Now, walking on a treadmill is a great workout, but be careful about losing your balance, or misstepping. Remember that we may become dizzy easier than before, and that we also become a bit clumsy. So, on the treadmill, never exceed a controllable speed or incline.

When? If walking is the only exercise you’re doing for the moment, you can aim to walk at least 4 or 5 days of the week (or 6, but always rest one day), for at least 30-45 minutes. If you can walk for an hour at an easy or moderate pace, wonderful. Just make sure you start short and slow and that you build up.

If you are alternating between walking and some other form of exercise, then 45 minutes 2-3 times a week should be enough.

NOTE: make sure you’re always able to speak in complete sentences while exercising.

#2. Swimming.

Swimming is a wonderful exercise for pregnant women. No previous experience required -except for making sure you won’t drown, of course-, and it is very safe, efficient, and brings wonderful cardiovascular benefits and swelling reduction. The only problem is that you need a bathing suit, a pool, and plenty of time to swim and then take a shower right after.

Where? I’m super afraid of ocean, lake, or river creatures, so I’ll be recommending swimming in a pool. The length is not really that important, if you really want to log 30 minutes of swimming, you’ll be able to do them anywhere. Inside or outside is not really an issue, just remember not to get into a hot tub.

When? Swimming burns a bit more calories than walking, so swimming 3-4 times a week is enough for a good 45 min-1 hour workout. I had not gone swimming for years before I took it up when I was 5-months pregnant with my girl, and 1 hour of swimming was a good time, just as long as you start slow, rest in between laps, and hydrate ALL the time.


#3 Strength training

What?! Strength training while pregnant? Yes. This is easy and necessary. We are not talking weight lifting body-builder-style, but using machines at the gym or dumbbells and a chair at home, or even your own body weight.

Healthy pregnancy.Why? Some muscles require strengthening to avoid certain pains during this time when you’ll be carrying around some extra pounds on your system. Your back, abs, legs, and specially your pelvic muscles will benefit so you can hold that pee in, and pop that baby out with more ease.

Where? The gym or at home.

When? Two or three times a week will do the trick. Now, if we talk kegels…. every day.

Here’s a great strength workout for you to try.


#4 Cardio machines at the gym (including steppers, ellipticals, stationary bikes, and stairs)

staying-active-during-pregnancyAll of these are fine during pregnancy. They are great for burning those extra brownies and they are wonderful for those days when you feel super fatigued, because you can jump on one for 10-15 min and when you get bored just try another one for an extra 10-15 min. No previous experience is required, but make sure that you start short and slow and that you always feel very comfortable with each exercise. Do not dismiss any aches or pains, as small as they might feel.

Where? The obvious problem is you need the gym. Or your own equipment.

When? Alternate with walking. Exercise with any of these machines 2-3 days a week for 30 min-1 hour and walk or swim the other 2-3 days for the same duration.


#5 Dancing

Dancing, whether at the gym or at home, is a great workout. You’ll burn some calories while enjoying yourself. If you are new to dancing, make sure you are not bouncing around too much, specially at the beginning and towards the end of your pregnancy. Also, be careful about your balance and falling. Other than that, enjoy!

Where?  Wherever!

When? Whenever! As long as you’re able to speak in full sentences and do not feel out of breath.


#6 Yoga & Pilates


exercise_364x200_138594956Better yet, Prenatal Yoga or Pilates. Specially if you are not regularly practicing these disciplines. These classes will help you with your posture, your ligaments, labor and recovery. Any prenatal class offered will be appropriate for you. These classes, when offered, generally tell you for which stage of pregnancy they are meant for. The instructor will be able to let you know how often you can do them. They generally last for 1 hour.


#7 Running -NOT for beginners-

Running is a wonderful calorie burner. But it could also take a toll on your joints, so taking it up while pregnant is NOT an option. Running during pregnancy is only recommended for regular runners who have been cleared by their practitioners to do so, and until their bodies can comfortably handle the bounce.

pregnant-runnerSo, if you were a regular runner before becoming pregnant, and your physician allows you to, please continue to run. What should change? Your speed, your intensity, your frequency. All these will need to decrease. A good rule is to measure by minutes instead of miles. For example, running for an hour pre-pregnancy might have let you log 7 miles. At the start of your pregnancy, 1 hour= maybe 6-6.5 miles. In the middle, 1 hour= maybe 5.5-6 miles. Near the end, and if your body allows it, 1 hour= 4.5-5 miles.

This is just an estimate. All bodies are different, and some women who frequently ran before pregnancy can barely run for 4-5 months, while others even run a marathon while pregnant.

Where? Outdoors on the track, or a park. The street is fine, but take extra precautions around cars. Indoors, the treadmill is fine as well, as long as incline is set to a maximum of 1-2, and you are careful about maintaining your balance and not tripping.

When? 3-4 times a week for 30 min-1 hour is enough to get good cardiovascular benefits for the week.


No matter what type of workout you choose, make sure you can speak in full sentences so you don’t exert yourself too much. Take care of your body, it’s the only one you’ve got. And have a safe and active pregnancy!

Is your child too young to start running?

Children are natural runners. As soon as they learn to walk they try to master balance in order to run places. Not only are they runners, they are fast runners. Have you ever tried to catch a child who is running away from you?

I got my daughter into running as soon as she was able to walk. I signed her up for a Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend event when she was 18 months old. It was incredible. Let me tell you a bit about these races:

WDW is truly a magical place. I’ve ran several of their races, and they are incredible every time. All races are super well organized, as are the Expos. But their kids’ races are something else. The ESPN complex inside WDW is where both the Expo and the Kids races are held. My daughter was in the 1-3 y.o. group, and they ran 100 mts. She was thrilled. I thought that, because she had never seen Mickey Mouse in person before,  she would be scared as Mickey was waiting for the kids and hi-fiving them at the finish line. But she was super excited, she hi-fived him, crossed the finish line, and then ran back for a second hi-five. All the kids get really nice medals, so that is always a plus.

After this race, she has run 4 others: another 100 mt, 2x 50 mt, and a half-mile this past Sunday. She’ll be running a 1 mile long race in January, when she will be 3 1/2 y.o.

How do we ‘train’?

For natural runners, children this young do not need ‘training’ per se. I believe this could only get them demotivated. This is my advise for mommies who would love to have active kids and get them involved in running:

  1. Start Early. The earlier they start joining you on races and runs, the more natural and normal it will seem for them to run.


A baby who has joined you in his/her stroller early on will have more of a chance of acquiring this discipline than one who has been left at home. The same goes for a toddler that you have taken to the park in a jogging stroller and who was then allowed to play and run around. Even more so for a child who you have taken to a 5 or 10k in the stroller and has cheered you on for the whole distance -or who has repeatedly asked when it would be over-… Even more so if you have a surprise kids’ races right after yours!

NOTE: If you plan on running with your infant/toddler, make sure your stroller is made for jogging.

2. Make it a game. There are two ways in which my daughter ‘trains’ (it is not training at all, but it helps us log in some running)

anab-corriendo-parqOne is in our yard. There is a tree on the far corner, so we both race to it, around it, and come back. We do that about 4 times. It is not long nor time consuming, but she loves it and she gets
to practice a bit of speed.

Two is at a nearby park. We usually go on my bike. The playground is located in the middle of the park and there is a 1/4 mile loop around it. So I let her play for a while (warm-up),
and then I ask her to join me to run a loop, which she happily agrees to. This does not mean she’ll be running the straight loop. She’s THREE, and a GIRL, so picking up sticks and flowers along the way is the norm. After that loop she goes down one of the slides and I ask her to race me. So, we do a second loop. Then, playground again for about 5 minutes and sometimes she’ll agree to a third loop, which we usually walk. Other times she just rather keep on playing. But we did log a few running minutes, which was great.


3. Focus on the prize. Kids LOVE prizes and new things.

So, telling them they’ll be getting a new t-shirt and a medal out of a race might do the trick! My girl feels on top of the world after a race. I think she’s starting to understand that it is actually an accomplishment… Plus, we DO make a big deal about it.

4. Lead by example. Now, after all has been said, I think this would be my most important advice. If you’re getting your child(ren) to run, you have to show them that you’re willing to go the distance too. anab-carrera-disneyChildren learn from actions, and their biggest heroes are their parents or guardians. Whatever goes on in your household, they’ll think is what is normal and what should be done. If a child has parents who wake up late, do not exercise, and who are always in front of the TV or PC, these parent won’t be able to get these kids running. Ever. Unless they are being chased by something bigger than they are.

Unless your child is a rare case, you must show him/her that getting out there and running is fun and that it is part of a healthy lifestyle. Go out there early and run, run races, run at the playground with them. Plus, running like a child could be one of the most fun you will have running.

NOTE: I use RUN because it is what I love and do. If you thing is walking, dancing, swimming, playing tennis, etc, I’m sure all of this applies as well.

Facts about TCM

A couple of days ago, exactly Sunday October 9th, I ran my fifth marathon in Minnesota. The Twin Cities Marathon holds the title for “The most beautiful urban marathon in America.” In a later post I’ll tell you about my personal experience running my fifth marathon, but for now, I want to share some facts about this marathon in case you’re planning on running it someday… and you should!

  1. Great variety of views and buildings throughout the entire marathon

One of the things I enjoyed the most was the variety of architecture and different landscapes along the way. The Participants Guide has a chart with all the landmarks you’ll be seeing in every mile. From bodies of water to parks, churches, and houses. You start off in downtown Minneapolis, right next to the amazing new US Bank Stadium. Off you go through Minneapolis and run by the Basilica of Saint Mary’s (first basilica in America) and the famous Sculpture Garden -which was closed for renovation, but will be open next year-. Then off you go to run along several beautiful lakes and many lakefront neighborhoods. Then you’ll run across the Mississippi river, and enter St. Paul, where you’ll run through many neighborhoods and finally St. Paul’s Cathedral (smile when you hear those bells! You’re close to the end, my friend!). Every couple of miles you’ll be changing scenery, which is very refreshing when you’re running for such a long time.


2. The whole 26.2 miles is a ginormous cheering zone

This is coming from a person who has run in the happiest and most magical place of Earth, aka Walt Disney World, more than a few times, including 4 half-marathons, 3 marathons, and a marathon relay. If there is a marathon with a larger cheering population than at WDW, I would say it is certainly in Minneapolis-St Paul. No matter which precise mile or km or centimeter you were at, at least dozens of people were there cheering for you. Hundreds of children hi-fiving runners along the way, hundreds of posters encouraging strangers to keep on going, hundreds of spectators generously handing out gummies, candy, fruit, and more.


3. The only incline IS NOT between miles 20-23

The Incline Chart on the Participant Guide showed mostly a declining course with a progressive incline between miles 20-23. The teeny tiny inclines shown on the chart were not so teeny tiny in real life. And they were ALL ALONG THE WAY. I kept listening to some spectator yell ‘just top this little hill and it’s all downhill till the finish’. That I heard about  10 times at least. Make sure your training includes running continuously uphill at least once a week. BIG inclines were never a problem, just the number of climbs here and there all along the course.

Taken from the TCM 2016 Participant’s Guide


4. Beware of the LOW temps

Minnesota is cold most of the year. I was expecting around 48ºF race day, according to previous years and to weather forecasts. But then, after I had already packed, a day before leaving for Minneapolis,  I rechecked the weather and a bit more cold was expected. On race day we sang the National Anthem before start of the race at 36ºF. Talk about COLD -specially for a person who lives in South Florida-. The marathon had WHITE flags throughout the course. I remember they said it would warm up at some point and they would be able to replace those with Green flags. I only remember seeing white flags (at least until mile 18 all white).

Because you run along many lakes and open spaces, there is cold wind blowing and even though it might feel refreshing, it can take a toll on your breathing. The back of my nose and my throat were extremely cold and sensitive. It was very hard for me to breath because of this, and it lasted, along with a tremendous headache, for more than a couple hours after the race had ended.

Taken from the TCM2016 Participant Guide


5. No ‘Runner Funnels’ whatsoever

Every time race officials release your Wave/Corral, it is pretty normal to take a while to pass slower runners, and the courses tend to narrow a lot, so ‘Runner Funnels’ are expected in most races. I can say I did not encounter any on this Marathon. I started almost in the back of Corral 2, and the pacer warned us about possible congestions along the way, specially at the start and on water stops. None of which were a problem. Two thumbs up!


6. Excellent water-sports drinks stops

-There are water stops about every 2 miles.

-They were not congested at all.

-Volunteers were perfectly spread out on one side of the road.

-Cups perfectly placed on their hands.

-Sport drinks at the front, water at the back.

-Amazing volunteers, a lot of them, all of them super happy and willing.



7. No Finish, No shirt

I suppose that if you’re certain you’ll be finishing the Marathon this is not a problem for you -except for the fact that you have to go to the Shirt Tent after running 26+ miles-. Now, this is what is really called a bragging right.

I remember I met a guy once who was wearing a NYC Marathon shirt. So, I went up to him hoping to get some tips since I was training for my first HM. Turns out this guy had broken one of his toes -or that’s what he said- and he never even finished training for the marathon, but a friend picked the shirt up for him and he wore it around… Whatcha think about that?

On another note, I LOVED the shirt! Bright yellow with a big 26.2 on the front. By Brooks, so the material is great as well.

SHIRT: 8/10

8. Very complete EXPO

I’ve been to several Expos. This one was similar to some others, I loved the venue, but a few extras:

-Lots of free GUs. These are my go-to energy products for racing, so I was HAPPY!

-Lots of equipment I had not seen on previous Expos, such as ellipticals and others.

-Lots of free COFFEE. One of the big sponsors was Caribou Coffee, so lots of coffee at the Expo, at the Family Events (my daughter ran the Half Mile), here-there-every where.

EXPO: 9/10

9. Free transportation for runners?

The event documents explicitly say that transportation would be free on Sat and Sun for runners if you have your BIB. I don’t know about the METRO, but I rode the bus to the start line and believe me… I paid.

FREE TRANSPO: 0/10 (in my experience)

10. Experienced pacers

I can say I was very happy with the 4.15 pacer. Right before the Start he gave us directions, explained to us that he would be running even splits, that the Start could be a bit difficult, he explained about potty breaks, how to catch up to him, water stops, etc. The Clif pacing team I know has experienced pacers, so I’m glad they ran with us this race.

PACERS: 10/10

11. Super easy SWEAT BAG drop off and pick up

This was amazingly well organized. UPS had trucks with BIB number ranges next to each Corral for runners to drop off their sweat bags. They closed about 15 minutes before the Start of the Marathon and they took all the bags to a spot right next to the finish line. It couldn’t have been more perfect and easy.

SWEAT BAG D.O./P.U: 12/10

12. Entertainment along the way

Even though there’s a big cheering crowd along the way, entertainment I would say was not up-to-par. We had a couple bands, a couple of radio station stalls… I think that was about it. The cheering was amazing, can’t complain. But, I would bring my iPod if I were you.


13. Immediate Results and Runner Tracking

My family tracked me using the link provided on the TCMevents page and happily reported the tracking was great and that it showed the marathon map and where I was at, along with my time and prediction for the next checkpoints.

As soon as I got to my hotel room, about an hour after finishing, I already had an email showing my results.




Over all, an amazing experience. I don’t think I’ll be running TCM soon, mainly because of the climate and wanting to experience running in different cities. But I did love it!!


If you’re interested, just go to the Twin Cities Marathon  web page to check out all the info.


A work conversation about running

I had always heard and read of how non-runners react to runners’ process of thought.

I had honestly never actually met someone who liked running more than me. I had read about it on other people’s blogs and on running magazines. I’ve met plenty of runners, but I don’t think they got how big running is for me. It’s my balance, my time, my calm, my happy place. It’s my priority on most days.

I teach ESL at a language institute, and I have amazing colleagues in this place. One of them, Roxy, happens to share my passion for running. She’s got my admiration since I learned a few things about her: she is a mom of four -including a special needs child-, she works 25-hours a week where I do, she takes care of her home and husband, and she wakes up at 4 am 4 days a week to run. She’s a marathoner who just got sponsored by her running club. I love my job, but it makes my day a bit brighter knowing that we can exchange a little comment her and there about our training. When you have children, they are on the top of your priority list, but running is at least top three.

A couple of days ago Roxy and I were discussing my upcoming trip to Minnesota by the copy machine and a third teacher, Nikki, stood by us. She asked what we were discussing, so I told her that I was traveling to Minneapolis. She asked ‘How come?’, ‘To run a marathon,’ I replied. I then added: ‘and it’s on my birthday’.

Nikki’s expression was unlike any other I’d seen.

And then Roxy said: ‘Can you believe that?’

Nikki: ‘Poor you! You have to run a marathon on your birthday.’

To what I replied: ‘Have to? Are you kidding me? I GET to run a marathon for my birthday!’

Roxy added: “Can you believe how lucky she is? That would be the best birthday present ever!”

-Now, this is someone who understands my way of thinking.-


Then, Nikki asked how long that marathon was, and I told her ‘26.2’.

‘What do you mean twenty-six? Twenty-six kilometers? That’s too much!’

‘Ehhh, it’s actually 26.2 MILES.’ , said Roxy.

‘You people are crazy. But to run all that you must be practicing a lot.’

And Roxy and I proceeded to explain about how it is called Training and not Practicing. I didn’t know that it actually made such a big difference to us runners. But that got me thinking about other things that bother me about running vocab. Like how people ask you if you went JOGGING this morning. Or how my mother in law asks we how long I WALKED yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, I love walking… but man, if I ran 10 miles, I actually RAN 10 miles. Or how some people still say the ran a ’10k MARATHON’. (I was actually guilty of that when I completed my first 10k race. Someone corrected me and I thank them for it!)

Do you know anyone who’s not aware of standard race distances, such as the Marathon? This guy does:


When to buy your first running shoes

I still remember what I felt the first time I tried on my first pair of running shoes. White and gold Asics. My feet felt so free and so light. The toe box felt AMAZING and I felt like I was flying. Of course I was not used to wearing shoes that were a size larger than my regular shoes, so I felt like I was going to trip every time I climbed the stairs. But I got used to that pretty quickly.

This pair of running shoes I did not buy before I started to run. I did not buy them before my first or second race.

I started walking-running 2 weeks before my first 10k using a pair of Nikes that used to be my brother’s. A couple of years before. But because I did not know how important running shoes were and because I thought this 10k race would be a once-and-done deal, I did not even think about buying running shoes. Or a running bra. Or running shorts. Or a good watch.

With absolutely no idea what I was doing or what I needed, I embarked on this running journey. I ran for a year and a half, about 3-4 times a week, 3-5 miles each day, and about 5 10k races, using those shoes. Blisters were part of my life, but because Dr. Google said that it was completely normal for runners -especially new runners- to get blisters, I thought I was ok.  runn-shoes

Even though this might have been a terrible mistake -and I ended up with more blisters in a year than I’ve had over the next 10 years altogether,- I don’t regret waiting to get my real running shoes. I made sure I would be pursuing running long-term before committing to buying shoes, outfits, books, magazine subscriptions, etc. I waited exactly until I accepted a friend’s challenge to run my first half-marathon.

I know a lot of people who decide they want to pursue an activity/hobby. They go and buy absolutely every article and gadget specific for it, they tell everybody their plans to take this up, only to end up trying it once or twice. What about everything they bought? It is left in a corner in the garage gathering dust. A very good example of this is my husband. A friend of his was selling a road bike. These things are super expensive, but he was selling it for $600, which my husband said was a bargain. He wanted to take up cycling, so he bought a million little gadgets, cycling shorts, shirts, helmet, shoes, and gloves. He bought the bike, tried it once… and a year later he sold it to another friend (after it had been sitting on our basement for 364 days, unused).

I watched a very nice TED talk about ‘Keeping your goals to yourself.’ It perfectly illustrated this practice. When we tell everyone our goal -running for instance- we release a hormone that satisfies our need to work towards it, and we feel much closer to our goal without even getting out the door. I teach English to adults and I hear my students telling each other  about their plans to start exercising or to take up yoga… they never get them done. I am convinced (through my own experience and others I know) that heading out to buy everything available for runners will NOT make you a runner. First become a runner, and then go get the expensive shoes…



My First ‘Run’

Eleven years ago I wouldn’t have dreamt of running a 5k, a 10k, or anything else. Little would I know that eleven years later, a week without running would be non-existent in my life.  Let me tell you how the story begins.

I was 23 and I had heard people talking about 10k races and about marathons -which I thought were the same thing-. I was born and raised in Venezuela and this running era had just started down there. Maybe 3-5 races per year were all we had. I heard about these people I knew who ran for 10 kilometers: ‘they must be super human!’

Then one day my brother was selling tickets for a 10k. The money would go to a wonderful charity that gave food to poor families. Always in favor of helping, I decided to buy one from him. Then he said: ‘why don’t you run the 10k? You could always walk if you get tired.’ And the more I thought about it, the less frightening it seemed. What was the worst thing that could happen? I would have to walk. The only problem was that the 10k was 15 days away.

Logging walking miles -or kms- was not a problem for me. Now, running was completely new and unknown. I searched the internet and found a ‘Couch to 5k’ plan, which had a run-walk format. The plan required 1min running, 2 min walking x5 for a week on alternating days, then 2min running, 1min W for week2, then 3min R, 1min W for week3, and so on. But with 15 days to go, I ran-walked every day and instead for weekly cycles I had to do 3-day cycles.

Come race day, I was prepared to run 5 min, walk 2 min until I could and then walk the rest. I had a very good companion by my side who pushed me from the start. I started jogging and after 5 min I was prepared to stick to my schedule and take a walk break, but he told me to push. Alright, I’ll walk after min 10. Minutes 12, 14, 20 went by and I was still running.

New plan… I will walk at the half-way mark. I was ready to stop. I was tired and a side stitch at km 6 was the perfect excuse. ‘Come on, you don’t need to stop, you’re almost there.’ I think that the moment I really believe I could do it was after km 7 (mile 4.5). After Km 7 I knew there was no point in stopping, so I just trusted and kept the pace (which I now know is called ‘pace’).

My first finish line was fantastic. Crossing it made me realize that I had discovered a new world. A new world in which people actually do something productive on Sundays before the rest of the world has woken up…


A New Challenge

After 15 full weeks of marathon training, I am already looking for a new challenge. A new race? Mmm… considering I haven’t even run the marathon (Sunday, Oct 9th!), and considering I already signed up for another one in January, that is not the kind of challenge I am referring to. I am looking for a new challenge for 3 reasons: I like running for FUN, I like running LONG, and I’m tired of following 16-week boring marathon trainings.

I have been running for a few years -11 to be precise, -but I’ve always tried to do it for fun. Looking for diversity in races is my passion, be it trail runs, relays, night racing, stroller running, back-to-back races, etc. But being competitive is definitely not in my nature, and I’m super happy about it because I rarely feel frustrated after a race (except for that ONE time, meh…) .

Also, I have always liked running long. I love Sunday mornings when I have an 18 or a 20 miler, I set off from home super early and run…and run… and run to my parents house, 19-21 miles away (depending on the route I take). Or setting off and then meeting my family 4 hours later for lunch at a restaurant 20 miles away. To me, this is the good life. And, believe, everything on that menu looks three times as good…

Now, the problem is that training for a marathon requires getting up at 4.30 or 5 am 3 times during the week to run before making lunch boxes and going to work to log in some miles that are not half as fun as those super long ones. But they are they only ones that will help us support those weekend 20-milers. Now, getting up early is not an issue. My problem is getting up early to run a run that I don’t really enjoy that much after approximately the 8th week of training, when the weekday runs are long.

This last part is what I’m trying to change. I read an article a couple of weeks ago (I’ll insert the link when I come across it again), about different ways to log in running miles in different ways and through different activities. This is the journey I’m taking for my next marathon training, I want to share it with you. I know I’m not the only one getting bored 4 weeks before the marathon!