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Change Terrain For Better Results

As runners we often get accustom to daily habits and routine, rarely venturing out to explore different environments for training.   There is often the excuse of convenience and doing what is comfortable, but whether you’re a runner who prefers to pound the pavement, tear up the trails or trot on the treadmill, chances are you’re tied to your terrain.  Changing up your running surface and breaking up the monotony is not only good for your mind, but beneficial to your body and paramount to improving your performance.

By changing running surfaces you are working different muscles groups that lead to physical benefits. The changes in surface also improve mental alertness and lessen stress.  For the road runners – pounding the pavement day in and day can be hard on your knees, consider retreating to softer surfaces to give your knees and shins a break.  By utilizing softer trails, not only will you keep those everyday aches and pains to a minimum, but you’ll recover quicker, strengthen your ankles and develop your lower leg muscles more rapidly. Softer surfaces also makes you use a lot of little stabilizer muscles that you may not use running on roads and harder surfaces.  By retreating to softer surfaces like open trails and parks you may often find that you train longer because of the fresh air and scenic environment.

I understand you must run on the roads to prepare and train for races, but vary your environments and learn to give your muscles a little break.  Running races on the weekends and open roads isn’t the only way to work on speed and timing for runs - reverting to a treadmill can do the same thing.  Running on a treadmill doesn’t have to be boring either, by varying pace levels and increasing and decreasing incline, it keeps your running interesting.  Using treadmills also allows you to monitor effort levels continuously and track pace.

Regardless of where you run, take the monotony of your daily routine, and find a trail or park you’ve never been to reduce risk of injury and have more fun! Find a new running partner and go with him or her on their favorite trails. With summer half way over, take advantage of the time you have when the weather is pleasant and enjoy running on different terrains.

 

Happy Healthy Running!

 

photo credit:

Archi Trujillo coveringphotostream

 

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7 Ways to Have a Healthy Heart

Did you know that February is National Heart Health month (America)? If you did, congratulations and if you didn't, well now you know! Did you also know that heart disease is the number one killer of women according to the American Heart Association? More women die of heart disease than cancer! And both of these diseases can be prevented through the food we eat/drink (or don't eat/drink) and exercise.

Here are 10 ways to have a healthy heart - if you are a woman or a guy.

1) Sweat! Get out of bed and do something active! Run, swim, walk, yoga, Pilates, lift weights, CrossFit, Kickboxing. Something that will leave you feeling alive and ready to have a fantastic day!

2) H2O! Make sure your glass or water bottle is always handy. Drink water all day long. The benefits of hydration are huge. Clearer skin, less fatigue, naturally moisturizes, detoxes ... go drink up!

3) Eat Earth Based Foods! This is such an important one. Limit or avoid processed junk (I refuse to call it food) all together. Buy as fresh as possible (farmer's markets are a great option). The less chemicals, food dyes, preservatives and nitrates the better. Straight from the earth (soil, trees, water) are the best option.

4) Be Happy! This may sound like a pie-in-the-sky thing, but it's not. Being happy is good - no GREAT - for your heart. Your perspective can make or break you. Choose - decide to be happy!

5) Forgive! This might be the hardest thing out of the list to do. It can be easier to be angry, bitter, hurt or mean. It takes daily work to forgive those who have wronged us. And sometimes we have to forgive ourselves too.

6) Slow down! Life isn't about how fast you cross the finish line, it's about who you help along the way. Help someone.

7) Breathe! Take a chill pill! Smell the roses around you. Take a nap.

Go live with a healthy heart!

peace, sweat, love: life

 

photo credit: quilting2009

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Eat For Health (Featuring Hemp Hearts)

When we typically think of food, we think of comfort food, sweet food, salty, foods we crave, foods we can't stand ... but how often do we think of foods for our health? Not a whole lot. And that should change. If you haven't read the last two Mondays articles How I Eat, I encourage you to go read them. I strongly believe that if we eat for our health, our obesity problems, diseases and other health issues would drastically improve for the better. When people start realizing how the food they eat affects them - either positive or negative - things will start to change.

Personally I eat for my health. When I'm not traveling, I try to eat anywhere from 15-20 veggies a day plus a few fruits. All fresh - not from a bag, can, box. Veggies are packed with tons of vitamins, minerals and nutrients your body needs. Veggies are my medicine.

I also eat natural "supplements" and superfoods like Brewer's Yeast, Organic Blackstrap Molasses, Chia Seeds and my new, recent favorite Hemp Hearts. I recently discovered Hemp Hearts at the grocery store and I couldn't be more happy with the discovery!

I've taken Hemp Powder and Hemp Milk for the past few years and love the benefits of Hemp. Let's discover them!

I know what you're thinking - isn't Hemp marijuana? No. They are in the same family (cannabis), but two entirely different things. For example, it would be like saying a Golden Retriever is the same as a Poodle. So you won't fail a drug test and you won't get high. There is 0.0001 THC in Hemp.  OK, now that we got that issue out of the way, let's move on :).

Why is Hemp so good for you?

It is packed with protein, EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids), Omega 3s and 6, fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin B6 (helps with stress), zinc ... the list is endless.

So when I saw Hemp Hearts I knew it was love at first sight. I couldn't wait to get home and try them! I tore open the bag and sprinkled them on my salad. Then had them on my sweet potato that evening and the combination was perfect. I have eaten them straight from the bag, poured them on Almond Yogurt (dairy free), sprinkled them on hard-boiled eggs, and the most recent experiment was eating them as I attempted to run another 100 mile ultramarathon a few days ago.

I enjoy the soft, delicate crunch and the taste! I buy the Manitoba Harvest brand Hemp products because they accessible at my local natural food store and I know they are a quality brand. If you can't find them at a store near you, they do ship.

I encourage you to give them a try!

Disclosure: At time of writing, I was not asked, paid or endorsing mentioned brand. I personally buy the products and share with you so you too can live a healthy life.

 

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Eat, Live, Breathe and Cook for Health

In observing (not judging) the nation, my Twitter stream, Facebook updates and other general interactions I have found that many people are confused with three things. Exercise. Food. Beverages. Three camps that people fall into.

Camp 1) "I workout and burn a ton of calories so I can eat whatever"

Camp 2) "I don't pay attention to what food I am putting in my body nor do I care"

Camp 3) "I sweat so I can drink sports drinks. OR I drink anything but (or very little) water"

While I wish I could shake some common sense into people and beg them to wake up, I can't. What I CAN do is live, breathe and show by example. See photos below of meals I have cooked and prepared.

First a few facts.

1) You can't outrun or out workout bad food and beverage choices

You might run a lot of miles, hit the gym and burn a lot of calories, but that doesn't equate to eating whatever. This DOES mean that you can eat quality calories. Like organic fresh vegetables, fruit, lean, farm-raised meat, nuts, water. This is how your body can recover. This is how your body feels alive and full of energy.

2) What you eat or don't eat DOES matter

Does your food come from a box, can, wrapper or package? Have you read the ingredients on the labels? Boxed cereal is not a health food. Other then foods like Hemp Hearts, Chia Seeds, whole food bars (like Lara Bar, KIND Snacks or Bearded Brothers), I try to avoid all packaged food completely. If you had a good workout, that doesn't mean you can "reward" yourself with a donut or burger or ____ (your choice). Look, I know it is challenging to avoid packaged food. If you do have to buy boxed/packaged/canned food, be diligent to read the labels. What you eat does matter. Make wise, healthy choices!

3) Water IS important (not sports drinks)

You might run a lot of miles, hit the gym and sweat a lot. Yes, this includes sports drinks. 99 percent of the population doesn't need a sports drink and IF you do workout, that means you want to hydrate your body WITHOUT food dyes and toxins. Water is the best option. Add chia seeds for natural, pure energy. Also, stop drinking soda. You already know it's not good for you. Don't fight the facts.

4) Don't justify calories burned

When you had a quality workout, you can feel entitled to eat whatever. Remember this: you burn calories to live, not to eat (whatever). Resist temptation and opt for real, whole food. Your body will thank you.

People might wonder why they workout and still feel like crap. WELL, they are feeding their bodies crap! You have to eat healthy for life. Want to prevent disease? Eat for health. Want to have energy? Eat for health. Want to have clear skin? Eat for health.

If you buy packaged food, read the labels. Most meats are filled with nitrates, fake sugar and other toxins. Applegate Farms is a good choice for meat if you typically buy deli meats.

Be aware with the food you eat. Only you can be in control of your health. 

Here are some meals that I have cooked recently. I love buying fresh vegetables! Eat with pure, natural, whole food. You will feel fantastic!!

So there you have it. You see how and what I eat. I only drink water. And I train, race and live on this health plan. You can too :).

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Celebration Ride2 (Day 5) Long Beach to San Diego

Celebration Ride 2 Day Five (can I get an AMEN?!) Date: Oct 15, 2011

Route: Long Beach, Calif. to San Diego

Weather: Sunny, pleasant 

Overall feeling: Fantastic

Key highlights: First fight

Can not believe DAY FIVE is finally here! Four days ago it seemed like it would never get here! I was eager to get on the saddle. I cleaned the car out (can't stand a mess) had a delicious Gen UCAN breakfast and I was on the saddle! San Diego here I come!

It was already sunny and hot. Thankfully it is a California heat so no humidity! Score! The sunscreen got misplaced thanks to my cleaning the car (second time in two times). I didn't worry. I knew I could find some.

A little over two years ago I was in Long Beach for a sponsorship/work event and I had to get in a long run of 36 miles (training for a 100 miler). So I ran from Long Beach to Huntington Beach and back. It was indeed epic. The kicker was that I had planned to do the run in two stages. However, as I kept running I knew it was going to be extremely difficult to leave my hotel room. So I decided to keep running. The problem? I didn't have enough water/food for a 36 mile run. The solution? Ask and you shall receive. Read the recap on I ran 36 miles with the help of strangers here

So with that being said (written), I knew sunscreen would be a piece of cake. PCH is right along the coast and that means plenty of beach goers and parking. I kept my eye out for surfers heading to catch some waves. I rode through the small little towns and felt really strong. For Day Five, I was stoked! Finally, I saw a group by a car up ahead and I pulled over and asked if I could have some sunscreen. They said sure and then said keep the the bottle!! How super nice! So I slathered it on me and then stashed the bottle in my jersey pocket. Huntington Beach never fails me :). Took a photo op by the pier, then it was back to business.

The other kicker? And, pardon me for TMI, but I'm all about being real. But my period stared last night. As if I didn't have enough blood issues this week already! So I started having cramps. Of course I never get cramps. Go figure, I would get them on a 600 mile bike ride. So I had that demon to ride out.

I kept cranking. Or as Joshua would say "get some girl." I was really, REALLY focused on getting San Diego. Sometimes it seemed SO CLOSE and other times it seemed so far away. Maybe it was the cramps I was having - the theory that riding to make them go away is indeed a myth - or the 500 miles I already had in (on?) my legs or the heat, I was a little cranky. Yep, chipper Sarah, cranky :).

The good part? Three-fourths of the route today had no hills, so that was a welcome change! The route took us through small towns. We stopped at the Farmer's Market at one of them and got an Avocado and Pomegranate. HMM. I LOVE fresh produce! Back on the saddle and on we went. We were both tired. Cramming 600+ miles into five days was aggressive. And I guess it was wearing on us, because we had our first little fight. Aw. We are more than just two strangers!

I was riding at a pretty good clip when another cyclist pulled up beside me. He said "you're a strong cyclist! I've been trying to catch you for a few hours." That was a nice ego boost. He offered to ride with me and take me through Camp Pendelton and on down to San Diego. He was training for Ironman AZ, so he was also riding long today. Because Joshua couldn't follow us through the military base, we pulled over and Jeff gave him directions as to where to meet us. It would be a few hours, so I grabbed some food, stuck it in my back pocket, refilled my water bottles, ate some Tuna and then we were off. We kept a pretty good clip (18mph-22mph) over the course of the next few hours. Riding through Camp Pendelton was awesome. I'm a huge military supporter. There was a group training for what looked like a hostage situation. And some bootcamp type workouts also taking place. I really wanted to join in :). There were a few climbs going through the base. We passed a few cyclists (both guys for the record) on the climb and Jeff told them what I was doing. They said "whoa, you are riding well!" I said thank you :).

We finally got to the Joshua meeting spot, only I didn't see him. We kept riding. I had my phone with me so I wasn't worried. Jeff got me through the town of Carlsbad, then I said I had better wait for Joshua and with that, my riding angel took off.

I called Joshua and enjoyed a few minutes stretching my legs while he caught up to me. I really longed for a nap. But it was back on the saddle. I still had some miles to cover! The next few hours were kind of a blur. I kept my head down and kept on cranking. Even though it was day five, I felt really strong on the bike. The human body is amazing!!

Then it happened. Our first fight. For spending 24 hours a day for the past six days together, it is amazing that we made it this far! I made some flippant comment about staying on the right side of the white line. Totally my fault. Well, Joshua pulled the car over. And we were stalled for about 20 minutes. At one point Joshua was going to leave right there. To be SO close and yet SO far away. It seemed like getting to San Diego might never happen. Finally, he got back in the car and I got on my bike and away we went. I was riding even faster now.

Soon we were at the La Jolla hill. It's not a easy climb and after the week I've had, I was even less excited about climbing it. I knew we VERY close to San Diego. Just get up this hill I told myself. The views were amazing. I love it here! I wished we would've had time to hike/run around it, but we didn't. I made it up the hill. Cars were honking in support of me. In fact one guy pulled over and got out and yelled "welcome to San Diego"! Awesome!

My bike had been making strange sounds (like a screeching Turkey) and I couldn't describe it to Joshua. Well he finally heard it and he pulled over to figure out what the racket was all about. And then we made up. I gave him a hug and said I was sorry for getting angry. He said don't worry about it, we are both exhausted. Let's finish this :). I love this guy!

And then in the next few miles it happened. We were supposed to go right. But we went straight.

I kept climbing hills and thinking WTF. I thought I was done climbing ages ago! Finally, Joshua pulled up and was like I think we are going away from San Diego. So I just climbed for nothing? GRR. I pulled out the map, figured out where we were and how to get back on track. We threw the bike in the car and then drove back to where we supposed to be. Got back out and was ready to finish this puppy up. Riding into San Diego was surreal. I had no idea if the ride would even happen, much less get to this point. I thought of the past few days and thanked God for getting me this far. The sun was just setting. A perfect ending to a challenging, sweaty week. Rode into town, few cars and people clapped. Hoisted my bike in the air and took a few photos. Joshua and I hugged. And that was it.

Celebration Ride 2 was over. 600+ miles. Five days. Raising money plus awareness for Kids on Bikes. Many, many cities. Beautiful sights along the way. Great, kind people. Pain, blood, sweat and tears. It was hard to comprehend just what we did. In fact as I write this a month later I am still in shock of the accomplishment!

I got in the car and we were on the hunt for FOOD. Our one meal of the day :). Downtown was packed- it was Saturday night afterall. And since I had been in San Diego a few months ago, I suggested we go over to Little Italy. Along the way, we pulled over in a quiet area and I changed into dry clothes. Took a quick Action Wipe shower. That felt great!

Finally we found the Burger Lounge. I had my usual burger with no bun, no cheese and a big salad. I was SO, SO, SO hungry. We talked with the one of the guys at BL. Joshua told him what I just did and he brought us Sweet Potato Fries on the house. Yum.

Joshua and I sat side by side and talked about the last few days. They seemed so long. He put his arm around me and told me "I care about and love you like my sister. I just wanted you to be safe. I am so proud of what you have done. And you are one strong machine." I nearly cried. Like I said days ago, I could not have prayed for a someone like him to help me on this project!

It was nearly 8pm and we had to drive to our host family- Ben and Katie - for the night. So we walked back to the car and made the trek.

Got a wonderful hot shower and then fell into bed. I would get to sleep in and not hop on the saddle first thing :).

Celebration Ride 2 is over. (Sigh)

Full slideshow is here.

 

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Celebration Ride 2 (Day 4) Santa Barbara to Long Beach

Celebration Ride 2 Day Four! Date: October 14, 2011

Weather: Beautiful, then foggy

Body feeling: Great!

Woke up this morning feeling eager to get the ride started, but before riding, I had the great honor of talking with (note: not TO) kids at a local school in Santa Barbara. They were so attentive and excited to learn what I had to share! It made the 35 minutes go by quickly.

Then I quickly changed out of my skirt and into cycling gear. Oh the fun! The other thing I was excited about? I was going to have a riding buddy! So glad to have company on the bike (and I think Joshua was too). We met Jeff at the pier and then headed on our way south.

After an adventure getting to the PCH, we rode in unison. Jeff completed the Leadville Trail 100 MTB race in August so he is a great athlete! We talked - OK, I may have talked his ear off. But still we had fun. It was a tremendous asset to have him riding with me as he knew the area! It's nice to not ride clueless :)!

We rode to Ventura together, then he turned around to ride back to Santa Barbara. And he must have taken the nice weather with him because as soon as he left, the the fog started to roll in and it got chilly!

There was some construction in the one of the next cities over and Joshua and I got separated. Not to worry. I rode on and knew we would find each other eventually. Or so I thought. After about five miles of weaving in and out of traffic (trying not to get hit) I realized we might not find each other. So I find the shelter of a tree and called Joshua. Sure enough we were not anywhere near each other!

He came and got me and then got back on the foggy trail. I mean road. Riding into Malibu was extremely foggy. We stopped along the way and dipped our toes in the cold Pacific Ocean. Nice and refreshing :). There was more climbing coming in to Malibu. Oh they joy! Finally when I hit the 100-ish miles, I called it a day (it was getting dark anyway) and I gratefully retreated to the car.

We drove on and I enjoyed the view from something other than a bike saddle :). We finally got to Santa Monica and I was STARVING. Joshua took a nap in the car and I went to find some calories at the Urth Cafe kindly recommended to me by RaeLynn. I could have eaten there for days! Cycling 100+ miles each day burns a lot of calories let me tell you!

Joshua came and find me and we did a little walking tour of Santa Monica. The funny thing is that I was here in March and the weather was also ugly! (I would be back in 10 days, would my 3rd visit in a year be the charm?) Then we got in the car and hunted for a place to stay. The hostel we were going to stay at required that you have a passport. Joshua had his, but I left mine at home. Lesson: always take it with you!

So we drove on and on and on. Drove by LAX. Would see it again in 10 days. I called a few motels, but they all seemed sketchy. I just wanted to fall into a bed and go to sleep. Not worrying if I was going to be shot or not.

We kept driving. It was now raining. Finally we found a motel that was safe. And affordable. After a glorious, hot shower I crashed. Time to sleep! One more day of riding!

Full slideshow here.

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Celebration Ride 2 (Day 3) San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara

Celebration Ride 2 Day Three Oct 13, 2011 Route: San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara

Weather: Sunny and HOT (temp on blacktop was 120*)

Cell phone reception: Better, but not good

I can't believe I am on Day Three! After a great night of sleep, amazing breakfast, it was back on the saddle. I tried to write recaps from the previous days, but that was impossible. I was mentally drained and I needed every bit of focus to remain steadfast until the end.

It was sad to leave Martha's! We had such a great time!

Today's route was probably my least favorite of the three days. The PCH didn't follow the coast till the end of the day. Which meant that I was riding in between the mountains, baked, roasted, fried, grilled and melted in the sun. (Just trying to see how many adjectives I could use).

I rode through farm land and it brought back memories. I was raised on a large, working Organic Vegetable Farm (one of the first in the country) and I should clarify "raised." Raised = worked. Yep, child/teen labor :). Or a hard-working farm girl.

It was fun to pass the farms and actually know what was growing. Strawberries, artichokes, brussels sprouts, lettuce ... I should've pulled over for lunch! Ha! But soon the vegetable farms ended and it was riding in between brown mountains. Remember the baked effect? Yep. It. Was. Brutal.

We stopped in some small town for ice. And a fruit Popsicle. IT WAS GOOD. It practically melted in my mouth! A month later, I can still taste it!

The route today was pretty much all climbs. One climb was a 7%  grade. Sweet. It must have been about hour 5 when my mind was REALLY needing something other than brown, dry hills, hot blacktop and cursing the sun. So I asked Joshua if I could PLEASE use my iPod. Only one earbud though. He thankfully (whew) let me have it. It got me up the hills!

And soon enough I was riding by the Pacific Ocean once again. It felt amazing to have the salt water breeze on my sweaty, hot skin! Riding into Santa Barbara was flat. Kind of on a busy freeway. And just like that. Another 100+miles done. 3 days down. 2 to go!

Joshua and I had some time to walk around Santa Barbara, enjoy the most amazing sunset ever, run in the sand and take a walk down the pier.

We stayed with a family that evening. Enjoyed a hot meal, hot shower and went promptly to bed. Exhausted times 100!!

Slideshow here. Enjoy!

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Celebration Ride 2 (Day 2) Monterey to San Luis Obispo

Day 2 of Celebration Ride 2! Date: October 12, 2011

Route: Monterey to San Luis Obispo

Pain Level: HIGH

Route beauty: AMAZING

Cell phone reception: Null

After last night, I wasn't sure how I was going I was to ride another 120 miles, let alone sit on the saddle without screaming in pain. But this is Sarah we're talking about and she always forges on ahead! (Not sure why I am talking in third person. Anyway. :))

We checked out of the hotel and drove around the adorable little town of Monterey. It was a PERFECT morning - to sit inside the car. Kidding. We had our one meal of the day. I ate my eggs on the car hood while simultaneously changing into cycling gear. Joshua got the bike ready. A local bike shop opened at 9:30 a.m. and we were waiting to buy some desperately need shammy cream. Oh the joys of endurance sports! I quickly slathered it EVERYWHERE. Then Joshua and I said a quick prayer, hugged and I hopped on the saddle. Let Day 2 begin!

Of course heading out of Monterey on the PCH was uphill. My quads were quite thrilled, let me tell you! There was a short stretch where I had to ride on the freeway (again). But that was the least of my worries. There was a stray dog PLUS a homeless guy on a bike that were weaving in and out of merging traffic. I was just trying to stay upright and on my bike let alone trying to navigate where the dog + man would go next. Thankfully, I made it up the hill, past the dog and man and started a blissful descent down the hill. I love, love, LOVE descending! Going 40 miles on an inch of rubber is thrilling man! (I didn't realize it till later that night, but Joshua (and the other traffic) actually got stopped in the dog+man mess. Some police stopped traffic and were trying to rescue the dog.)

The climbs were a lot of fun leaving Monterey. But the beautiful Pacific Ocean kept me going. The road was narrow, shaded by trees and crowded with cars. Of course the breath taking sights didn't help any! Cars kept pulling over, so I had to keep my eyes and ears wide open. Note: I don't ride with music.

It was hard to keep riding when all I wanted to do was enjoy the views in front of me. The photos won't do it justice, but it will give you a glimpse of the glorious beauty!

I kept on cranking. Joshua kept on driving and protecting me. Surprisingly I felt pretty good. Praise the Lord for that shammy cream! My legs were tired, but nothing more then usual.

Thankfully with all the climbing it meant that there was also descending. The speed limit was 25-30 (for cars) but I hit over 40 mph on most of the descents. Exhilarating :). The road was very curvy, winding and sharp turns. With steep cliffs right beside me. It was hard to descend much faster!

During one pit stop, Joshua took off the areo bars I had on my bike. Riding without them made me feel like a real cyclist. Also, if I haven't said this before, Joshua was the most amazing person ever. EVER!! He took care of me, made sure I was safe, noticed if I was fiddling with my bike and fixed it...the list is endless. I truly met a wonderful person.

The other good news for the day? NO FOG!! Joshua and I were pretty stoked about it. The views were pretty amazing and we wanted to see them!

At some point during the ride two fast boys on fast, expensive bikes were in my sight. Yep. You know what I was thinking. :) Joshua pulled along aside me in the car and I shouted to him "I want to catch them." Joshua said "you are a machine. Make it happen." And so I had something else to do with my brain besides look at licenses plates. Catch the boys!!

Now, by this time I had well over 150 miles in my legs. But I was still climbing pretty well. And I was gaining ground. It took a few climbs and descents, but soon, they were in my grasp. YES. I panted up the hill AND THEN calmly passed them and FLEW down the hill. The adrenaline was rushing through my veins like a hungry tiger. Set goal and conquer.

Joshua and I pulled over for some more photo ops and the boys passed me. Which set goal No. 2 for me. Catch them again. We were quickly approaching Big Sur. I could see them up ahead. This section of the PCH had no shade and I guess they were looking for some, because within a few miles a shady spot appeared WITH a stream. They had pulled over and stopped to enjoy it. I forged on ahead.

We stopped at the only store in the middle of nowhere for some ice for my Gen UCAN refuel. Ice, sweet ice. It was hot out!! Quickly chugged it, ate some almonds and I was back on the saddle. But the guys had passed us. GRR.

Little did I know what awaited me (and them). A HORRENDOUS climb. It went on FOREVER. Words don't it justice. It's probably a good thing I've trained at altitude because this climb was a beast! Even Joshua felt sorry for me. There was no end in sight. Curve after curve, the hill was never ending. It can be hard to keep your spirits up when all you want to do is fall off the bike and sleep. Or eat. Or whatever. But you've got to keep with it. Everything always has a end. And I knew that even though this climb seemed like it had no ending, it would feel AWESOME to get to the top. Knowing that I didn't quit when it got tough. Or when my legs were screaming.

I also thought of the wonderful meal Martha was making for us!! And a shower. And a bed. I love the little things in life :). Especially when you are grueling it out on the saddle :).

I kept myself going by continuing my search for license plates. I shouted to Joshua a few of them. To which he replied "you crack me up. You are climbing a massive hill and yet you are looking for new states." What can I say, that's me :).

About halfway up the climb, I caught the guys AGAIN! And in fact they stopped and turned around. I broke them! Perhaps. Perhaps not. But I'm going with the former. Joshua later told me that "you could out-climb those boys all day long." Nice ego boost :).

Finally. FINALLY!! I approached the top. Not sure why it took so long! We pulled over and I had some water, refueled, used an ActionWipe, then reapplied some sunscreen and caught my breath. On to more climbs :).

Another descent, more climbs, more spectacular views- that's pretty much how the day went. Finally, I had had enough and I stopped the ride for the day. Another 100 miles was in the legs and I was spent.

We were spending the night with Martha and Curt. So we threw the bike in the car and drove to their home.

Along the way we stopped to enjoy the coast, the sunset, Falcons and the beauty of the California coast. We also passed the Hearst Castle from a distance. We saw zebras! Apparently they have a small zoo :).

Finally in the darkness we arrived at Martha's and just as she had promised, we were treated like a king & queen! Thank you Martha for everything. We had a great evening.

I was exhausted. So after a nice, warm shower I said goodnight and went to dreamland. Another day awaited me and I wanted to make sure I was ready!

Full slideshow below

Celebration Ride2 Day 2 (Monterey to San Luis Obispo)

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CelebrationRide 2 (Day 1) San Francisco to Monterey

Day 1 of Celebration Ride2 (Tuesday, October 11, 2011) Route: San Francisco to Monterey

Raising money for Kids on Bikes (please give to them - it would make the miles a little less painful!) And NO, it does not go to me.

The day started off calm, cool and collected. Joshua has been absolutely AMAZING in keeping me from freaking out. I could not have prayed for a better support person. Who has quickly become a very good friend. More on that later.

After having breakfast at the hostel, we had to go get the vinyl letters from the shop. Which didn't open till 9 a.m. First we had to get our car and drive over there. It was nice to walk through town before a VERY long journey!! Got the letters/sign and drove over to the Ferry Building. Our launching point for the ride. And one of my favorite places in the world. Love it here!

We had our work cut out for us. Assemble bike. Put letters on window. Drink some Gen UCAN. Get dressed for ride. And other little things that just add up over time :).

Joshua was busy getting the gear ready and I was his assistant. Perfect team. We were trying to put the letters on the back of the window and a friendly, helpful person - Jim - came over and started talking with us. Two seconds later he was pitching in and made the letters look perfect :). If you are reading this Jim, THANK YOU!!

I changed into my cycling shorts in the front seat of the car. Yes it can be done! And mentally prepared to be on the bikes for HOURS.

Jim stuck around for the ride departure, told me that he was proud of what I was doing and wished me & Joshua great success. A few photos later, I hopped on my bike and WE WERE OFF to San Diego!

Getting out of the city was not entirely a piece of cake. Since I have been to SF frequently, I kind of know my way around. We took the SF Marathon route from the Embarcdo, up past Crissy Field, by the Golden Gate Bridge, through the Presido, Golden Gate Park, Sea Cliff, then down past the Nike Women's Marathon finish line (which they were setting up for, btw!).

 

What this route meant was it was a lot of hills right off the start. My heart rate went from 0-100 (no, not true numbers) in a matter of seconds!

Today was also foggy. And as it would turn out, the fog would not lift till 4:15pm!!!  Way down the coast!! So we didn't get to see the Golden Gate Bridge. Next year. :)

We made a wrong turn and had to backtrack. Then another bad direction and backtrack AGAIN. Leaving the city wasn't fun! Cars kept trying to kill me. A few people honked in moments of cheer, which was great.

Finally we were on a quieter road. But of course had some massive climbs. With the fog being SO ridiculously think, it blocked my view of the tops of the climbs. So I biked blindly. Fun.

We had to stop for gas and I was grateful for a chance to stop! I ate some almonds and had a half of a banana. Then it was back on the bike. PCH/ Highway 1 was getting close! Up a few hills, and there we were!! Let the adventure begin.

This section of PCH was really, really narrow and virtually no shoulder. Combined with the fact that construction was also going on, climbing was slow going. At one point I was riding (climbing a hill actually) with a semi on my right and a dump truck backing up on my left. I was a little shaky!! To say the least!

Cars were getting agitated and so Joshua had to pull over a few times to let them go by. It is amazing how slowing down for 9.7 seconds really gets drivers in a funk. Seriously, chill people, chill!! Joshua will have to tell you all about that though.

We stopped at the top of the hill and I refueled as Joshua took photos of the view. Soon I was back on the saddle and flying down the hill. That felt amazing.

The next 60 miles were kind of a blur. We had time to make and nightfall doesn't take a break. I was keeping a pretty good pace. If you have been keeping up to date on my little life. You know I've been sick for the past week. I had several nosebleeds last week. I told Joshua in the morning, that I prayed I wouldn't have any on the bike. Well that was about to change.

Did I mention that the fog sucked? It was cold and dark and I couldn't see in front of me. It lasted for HOURS. Literally. It didn't help my cough any, that's for sure!

I kept blowing my nose and then it happened. Red stuff. Blood. Damn. (Insert other word for what I really said). I tried to hold my nose, ride up hill and breathe at the same time. Not so easy. I finally pulled over to get the bleeding to stop. Joshua wouldn't let me go till it stopped. GRR.

Thankfully it stopped. Hopped back on the back. Then about two minutes and seven seconds later, I blew my nose and the OTHER side started bleeding. I shook my head, flung my hand down and kept on pedalling. Joshua pulled up beside me and said "it's the other side, right." He knows me SO well already! So we had to stop AGAIN. Time wasn't on my side and we had to be in Monterey by night fall!

Despite all these little things, the views- that we were able to see were AMAZING. The coast is so special!! I wish I could post all the photos Joshua took. They are magnificent!

We laughed at all the signs along the way. The "entering __ Population 313." Little things to keep my mind focused off the duty at hand.

Riding on. The climbs kept coming and the sun soon faded. I was in intense pain. Let's just say it felt like it would be a miracle if I would be able to give birth one day! I was also exhausted. We rode through Santa Cruz as dusk fell. The PCH suddenly turned into a insanely busy freeway. Safety was at an all time high. Just ask Joshua. After some hairy and close calls, we finally made it to Monterey. It was not an easy day. AT ALL.

When I finally collapsed in the hotel bed that night. I stared at the ceiling and wondered how the heck I was supposed to ENDURE 4 (blank) more days of this. Every muscle, bone, and fiber of my being hurt. HURT.

I hobbled to the ice bath Joshua got ready for me. Then we had dinner on the bed. Don't ask what it was. We were both STARVING. I called my friend Martha and told her how I was feeling. She told me to listen to Joshua. And with that we went to bed :).

Full slideshow below

Celebration Ride2 Day 1 (San Francisco to Monterey)

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Celebration Ride2 Road Trip (Denver to San Francisco)

Note: Celebration Ride2 was Oct. 11-15, 2011. I'm just woefully behind in writing. Forgive me! As I wrote yesterday, I have mixed emotions on the completion of Celebration Ride2 journey. So much in fact that I forgot to write about getting to San Francisco!

I don't like things out of order so I am frantically trying to write about the road trip from Denver, Colo., to San Francisco, Calif. I'll try to be be brief :).

After running the half marathon in Denver, I rushed to get the car (which was a whole mess in of itself) and then rush back to the house to get a shower and pack the car. Thankfully, Joshua took care of packing the car. He was a Godsend! We wanted to leave at 1 p.m. But we didn't get on the road till 1:45 p.m. And then we took the scenic route to Route 70. Go us.

To help pass the time, we played the license plate state game. We both guessed how many states we would find, which ones we wouldn't and how many provinces we would also see. It was a lot of fun! The catch was that we BOTH had to see them. Tractor Trailers didn't count. But motorhomes sure did!

Joshua was the driver for the entire trip and I was the co-pilot. We made a perfect team. For two complete strangers meeting less than 24 hours previous, we could not have asked for better travel companions! This trip will always go down as the best time of my life.

There was snow in the mountains as we made our way across Colorado. We didn't stop to make a snowman, but we could've. We drove on. And on ...

My legs were screaming for an ice bath. How fitting that the Colorado River ran right along Route 70?! So we pulled over and I hopped out, stripped out of my pants and into shorts and plunged into the FREEZING cold river. The water had to have been 25/30 degrees. Joshua took a few photos (see slide show below) to document the special occasion.

It was at that point that we realized we forgot to pack towels. We started making a mental checklist for Target.

We crossed into Utah just as the sun was setting. I couldn't stop taking photos of the beauty! As you will see below. We had to stop for gas in the middle of nowhere Utah. We found a license plate. You know, the BIG things in life :). I went in to pay for the fuel and the cashier said to never lose my smile. Needless to say, I ran out fast. It did feel great to stretch my legs though! Back on the dark, lonely highway. We were making great time (thanks Joshua).

I was tired so I put my headphones in and my sleep mask on and dosed for a little bit. The signs to Salt Lake City kept getting closer and closer. Such a good feeling when you have a huge task in front of you! And then before we realized it, we were leaving SLC! We didn't even get a photo. It was strange to be looking forward to a landmark and then poof! It was gone!

We continued to drive in the darkness of night. We were both drinking lots of water and well, um, nature was calling. And that's what car doors were made for! We also ran out onto the salt flats and it felt AMAZING to stretch our legs (like little kids). We kept driving until about 12:30 a.m. when we finally decided to call it a night in Wendover, Utah, at the Golden Nugget. The name probably gives it away, but it was quite the experience :). We were both so tired that we collapsed into bed (making sure our bare feet didn't touch the floor of course).

The next morning we dragged ourselves out of bed. Ready or not to attack another full day of driving. At this point I couldn't wait to ride my bike!

We got a kick out of the the state line. In fact, we slept in Nevada and ate in Utah! See the photo in the slide show below :) Back on the road, we hit construction work. And a lot of semis. And rain! Oh the fun!

The drive was pretty much looking at signs to the next major city, searching for new license plates for our list and cracking jokes. We finally arrived in Reno and we decided to get our one meal of the day. It was SO good. Then we got back in the car and hit a mix of rain/sleet/snow going up the Doner Pass. I dozed. We started seeing signs for San Francisco and we were VERY excited. Like little kids at Christmas. In Sacramento we hit a lot of traffic mainly because they didn't know how to drive in the rain. And so accidents were all over the place! I prayed for safety.

We REALLY wanted to find a Target and after much meyhem, we finally did. We quickly got the things on our list (we hit the baby department hard. Funny how endurance events are similar to a baby :) and hit the road. The area wasn't the greatest :).

The signs to San Francisco kept getting closer and we couldn't be happier!! As I have said many times before, I love San Francisco. And I couldn't be happier that Celebration Ride2 was starting from here! Within the next half hour, we could see the lights outlining the city. Almost there, baby! It was of course dark when we arrived. And getting late.

We were staying at the hostel (a frequent guest there I might add) and- happy moment- I successfully navigated our way there WITHOUT a map or directions. I somehow have this uncanny ability to "know" where things are. I'm a human GPS. HAHA.

After checking in, parking the car, eating some food at the hostel kitchen, getting a PRIVATE room upgrade, Joshua & I took a night walk around the city. It felt so wonderful to stretch our legs and clear our minds. And get mentally prepared for the next 5 days that lay before us.

And with that, peace & goodnight from San Francisco!

Two slide shows below. Enjoy!

Celebration Ride2 Road Trip (Denver to San Francisco) Celebration Ride2 Day 2 (Denver to San Francisco)

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Celebration Ride 2 (Mixed Emotions edition)

Perhaps it was driving 3,128 miles in nine days. Or running a half marathon then jumping in the car to drive to San Francisco. Or from seeing some amazing, breathtaking sights along the epic trip. OR maybe it was meeting a complete stranger 18 hours before the adventure that cared for me beyond comprehension. This wasn't an ordinary road trip. This road trip had a mission - as is par for the life I attempt to live. I like to celebrate my birthdays by giving back AND that has a sweaty, challenging piece to it too. This year the plan was to ride my bike from San Francisco to San Diego. And raise money for Kids on Bikes (still time to donate, btw!).

The project was pushed back twice. The first time because I couldn't find SAG (Support And Gear). Rescheduled it and then a dear friend suddenly passed away. Rescheduled for a third time. I guess three times is a charm, because it finally worked. The trip was six days away and I still didn't have SAG. In the back of my mind I knew something would turn up.

I had posted three weeks previous on Craig's List requesting to share a ride to California. I said a prayer and let it be. Then I was traveling in San Jose and I received an email - someone was interested! I left him a voicemail and he - Joshua - called me Monday morning. I was barely awake - being on PST time :).

We talked for a few minutes and by the end of the phone call, I not only had a ride to California, BUT also SAG support. A true answer to prayer. The ride COULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED without Joshua. Joshua was a former bike mechanic, worked for a non-profit, Trips For Kids, and always wanted to drive down the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway, Route 1). We both scrambled to get things together. I flew back from California and was STOKED that it was really going to happen!

During the week I started getting sick (traveling and racing nonstop was catching up with me), but focused on the tasks at hand. Joshua had an '86 Toyota pickup truck and we were going to use that for the trip. But when he arrived at my place Saturday evening, we started talking and concluded it would be cheaper and safer if we rented a car. Cue chaos. So at 7 p.m. that night I scrambled to find a car to rent. Never mind that I had to run a half marathon in t-minus 10 hours!

Several people were skeptical that I would drive with a stranger. However, I have always had an inherent good or bad gut feeling. This was a good gut feeling. I always live life on the edge and I have absolutely no regrets. I have more stories then you can shake 97 trees at. (They will be in my book.)

Anyway, back to the story. Joshua and I meet for the first time on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011 at 7 p.m. We clicked instantly and I knew it would be a great trip. I just didn't know how great it would be.

The next day after getting up early, racing a half marathon, picking up the car, getting a quick shower, trying to make sure we remembered everything we would need for the drive plus the bike ride, Joshua and I left Denver, Colo., for the first leg of the journey.

Now anytime you start out on a road trip, you wonder how you will get along. Add two complete strangers to the mix and the stakes are even higher. However, Joshua and I were alike in so many ways, it was almost scary. Not only was he also health conscience, but he was also a cyclist. We also had very similar childhoods and I think that might be why we bonded so quickly. And our sense of humor was dead on.

He drove and I was the co-pilot. We marveled at the sights driving through Colorado. We stopped so I could skinny dip in the freezing cold Colorado River. Afterwards we laughed hysterically at the husband of a nearby couple who was in complete awe of what I was doing. Note: I was discreet. We started the license plate game. Which was a ton of fun!!

We watched the most amazing sunset in Utah. We walked the Utah salt flats at 11 p.m. We laughed when we finally arrived in Salt Lake City and it was gone before we knew it. We drove on to the Utah/Nevada boarder line and spent the night in Wendover, NV at the Golden Nugget. One of the eight buildings in the town (?). And the buildings were all casinos, by the way!

The next morning we tried to find something healthy to eat. Which was a task in of itself, but still we laughed. We continued the drive onward. Joshua at the wheel, me in the co-pilot seat. A perfect match. He liked to drive and insisted he do so.

We drove through miles and miles of mountains, semi-trucks, random small towns and herds of cattle. We started envisioning what we hungry for. And we really wanted a Target. We forgot towels. So for 1200 miles we looking for a Target. Finally in Vacaville, Calif., (we laughed at the name!!) we finally found one.

The other thing about us? We both love Kettle Corn! Yes, perhaps that is my one and only vice.

So here it is, almost five weeks post-ride and I have yet to wrap my head around the epic week. Partly because I am sad it is over. Partly because I am sad Joshua is no longer by my side. And partly because I am exhausted!

However, I have hope that whatever is supposed to happen will. And I'm already planning for Celebration Ride3!

Stayed tuned for the epic recap!

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Celebration Ride2 (at start of day 1)

I will write about the 30 hour/1271 mile drive from Denver, CO to San Francisco, CA later. Right now the machine (that would be me) is about to embark on a 600 mile bike ride down the coast of California. In 5 days. On barely any sleep. Worn out legs. And I'm sick. Let's just say the odds aren't in my favor.  But that's the thing with passion. You just don't believe in something because it is easy. You believe in it no matter what. And you will do WHATEVER it takes to get the job done. You might have to make modifications and adjustments along the way. But remember the 11th commandment is to never give quit/give up. And that's what my life is all about. It has not been easy. But if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. 

So here I am in San Francisco (one of my favorite places in the world) getting ready for another journey. So many emotions running through my head. But I always come back to these few things:

I can't wait to get on my bike and start riding.

I can't wait to be able to raise a bunch of money (a secure and direct donation page, btw) for Kids on Bikes.

I can't wait to leave a positive impact on the world.

I can't wait for an ice bath at the end of each day. :)  

But I also want to interject this. This ride project isn't about ME. Sure, I might be the one grueling out the miles on the saddle. But I am just clay in the potter's hand. I've been called to make a difference in the world. And if one person or a million join me, I will still do what I am called to do. Because keeping the faith is what it is ALL about.

And how do I know this? Well, the mug I grabbed for some hot herbal tea at the hostel this morning just happened to have Ephesians 3:2 on it. Could. Not. Be. More. Fitting. "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us."

Make sure you follow Generation UCAN and myself on Twitter and on Facebook for during the ride for photos, updates and other findings during 600 miles. :)

 

Peace, love, sweat & faith!

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Compression Love!

I love a lot of things. Like my bike, running shoes, olives, mountain peaks, people and compression gear. I started wearing compression shorts and socks (full length) for running ultras and fell in love with them. I guess it was love at first sight (or sweat) :). And I should also state that I not only wear compression for races, but also for recovery after long, long runs and rides, plus flights.

But first, what is the big deal about compression? And what does it do for you? Compression (gear) is designed to help increase oxygen blood flow, lessen inflammation and reduce DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). It also helps promote healing and keep the muscles from swelling.

Tommie Copper reached out to me and sent me some samples of compression gear to try out. And I was delighted to product test it!

They have a variety of compression gear: shirts, knee, ankle, calf and gloves. The material of the gear is super comfy and lightweight. Wondering why is copper in the name? Glad you asked! The material actually has copper in it. The copper is designed to promote healing, according to Tom Kellish founder of the product. Now you know!

The compression gear is great for after a run, ride, swim or anytime you need a need to give a little love to your muscles!

My only wish is that they made full length compression socks and shorts. I bet in the future they will. :)

Go get your compression on!

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National Bike Month

Its no surprise that I am in love. With my bike that is. I love riding and hope to pass on that love with everyone I meet! Since May is National Bike Month, here are a few facts that I thought you might find interesting. Thanks to the Colorado Trek Store and People For Bikes for sharing them with me!

  • If you bike four miles round trip each day instead of driving, you will save about 66 gallons of fuel per year.
  • The U.S could save 462 million gallons of gasoline a year by increasing cycling from one percent to 1.5 percent of all trips.
  • If you bike four miles each day instead of driving, you will burn 36,000 calories in a year the equivalent of over 10 pounds of fat.
  • 50 percent of trips Americans make are less than three miles.
  • $8,000.00 spent on average owning and operating a car.
  • Three hours of riding per week reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke by 50 percent.
  • $10.00 saved each day by commuting 10 miles round trip by bicycle instead of car.

Will you fall in love - with a bike?

Photo is of Sarah Stanley on the start of her ride from Washington D.C to New York City for Celebration Ride.

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Dear Santa (From an Athlete)

Dear Santa, I know you busy at the North Pole. Besides checking all the good boys and girls lists you're probably shoveling snow. Or do the elves do that? Anyway, I'm not your typical person. I like to sweat. I might not always be crazy about getting up at 4am six days a week (day seven I get to sleep in till 6am- go me) but its fun. Kind of like flying all over the world. Kind of.

Anyway, since you might not have heard of "gu" or "shot blocks" or "technical clothing" I thought I would give you a few suggestions. Call me your Ms. Claus. Or your wing lady. Yes, I went there.

#1) Food! I like cookies & milk too. However they are in the forms of flavors vs the actual treats. Honey Stinger, Nuun, Hammer Nutrition are good things to keep my tummy happy.

#2) Accessory's! Just like you I need to keep warm in the winter. So hats, gloves, masks, socks, shoe covers (for cycling) would really make my run & ride enjoyable. Just make sure the gloves & hats are "technical" so I don't keep the sweat on me ;)

#3) Watch! Anything Garmin makes is great. I need not write more. Just make sure its for my wist or bike, not a car!

#4) Jacket! A good windbreaker will make me nice & toasty on the coldest of days. Mountain Hardware has some awesome ones. Or Brooks Running, North Face or New Balance. Not that I looked or anything ;)

#5) Local gym or Masters Swim Class. Cross training is critical to my success as an athlete. Having access to weights, yoga, Pilates or a swimming pool would make me very happy.

#6) Don't chafe! Nothing is more painful then jumping into the shower and screaming so loud that you can hear me at the North Pole because I am chafed. Men have nipples. Women do too (everyone seems to forget about that obvious fact). And anywhere a seam is in contact with my skin is a prone spot to. So perhaps a lifetime supply of Body Glide is in order.

#7) Gift Cards. If you can't shop, its okay. I will gladly accept gift cards. Perhaps REI or my local running/cycling shop.

#8) Race Entry. Race fees are enormous. And if its a full Ironman, then let's just say that if I enter I will be begging for food before I even start training. So ask me what race(s) I am doing and you sign up (and pay) for me :)

#9) Safety! I want to be safe on the road. If something were to happen to me I want my friends or family to be able find me. RoadID makes this possible.

#10) Orange Laces. I want to make a statement. What better way to do that, then by wearing orange shoe laces? For just $10.00 they be mine. And this gift isn't just about it, it will help provide kids running programs (Orange Laces) in schools that don't have them. And that's what Christmas is all about right- spreading cheer & helping others!

So, Dear Santa (or his elves) I hope this list helps you. I can't wait to hear jingle bells and the swoosh of your sleigh. I hope you enjoy the Hemp Milk and Gluten Free Chocolate Cookies I will be leaving you ;)

With love and cheer,

A very excited & happy runner, triathlete or cyclist

Sarah Stanley is a professional endurance athlete who hopes that Santa will bring her a lifetime supply of athletic goodies so she can continue to help others. For more fun, sign up for her monthly e-newsletter.

Photo by Loren Javier

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October Challenge (no monsters here)

For the month of October, I'm promoting a challenge. It's called the Burpee Challenge. Do one for every day it is. If its the 8th, do 8. Very simple. And I want you to join me. Why? To get your heart pumping! And it's all part of my mission to get the world active.

To participate just do the workout, use the hashtag #burpeeChallenge on Twitter. And please invite your friends! The honor system will be used. No cheating. No rules. Just sweating!

Here is a video that will show you how to do them. You don't have to do the jump. You can do the pushup on your knees. Again, the point is just to get active!

On November 1st I am going to pick a winner and they will receive a box of Nutrilite sports nutrition product.

November will start a new month & a new challenge.

Ready, set, sweat!

Photo by Tambako the Jaguar

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Support Your Girls (and win!) Ladies Only Edition

UPDATE: You can win a t-shirt AND a sports bra! It's Christmas in October! Happy Monday! Last week I told you to stay tuned because TODAY I would announce a special treat for you presented by Moving Comfort.

Moving Comfort is my FAVORITE sports bra. I have been wearing them for the past five years. For all the high impact activity I do, these are the best bra's!

In honor of October Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Moving Comfort, industry leader in sports bras and women’s-specific fitness apparel, is pleased to announce Support Your Girls® Pink Project 2010, the latest installment of their successful philanthropic campaign. In honor of October National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Moving Comfort will donate five dollars from the sales of their limited edition Support Your Girls Tees ($30.00 MSRP) to Bright Pink.

This could be yours!

Based on the success of last year’s campaign, Moving Comfort has doubled their offerings with the design of two new tees in hot pink and deep aubergine. The tees boldly feature the words “Support Your Girls”, shadowed by Moving Comfort's mantra, a fit woman is a powerful ®.

“We are honored to continue our partnership with Bright Pink through the Support Your Girls 2010 campaign,” says Julie Baxter, Vice President of Moving Comfort.  “Bright Pink provides young women with the tools to take control of their breast and ovarian health. This proactive approach fosters ‘fit and powerful’ women nationwide, a mission that is near and dear to our hearts at Moving Comfort.”

This could be yours!

Support Your Girls tees will be available October 1,2010 in stores nationwide and online atwww.movingcomfort.com/supportyourgirls. Visit www.movingcomfort.com/supportyourgirls to purchase on line or to find a complete list of participating retailers.

SYG T-Shirt

ABOUT BRIGHT PINK

Bright Pink (www.bebrightpink.org) was founded by Lindsay Avner who, upon graduating from college, learned that she tested positive for a mutation on the BRCA1 gene, an inherited alteration in the gene that can carry with it up to an 85% increased risk of breast cancer. Vowing not to let the disease strike her, as it had three generations before her, she opted to have a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy, one of the youngest patients to opt for the procedure. Lindsay’s personal experience inspired her to create Bright Pink, a national non-profit organization that strives to enlighten and empower high risk, young women to take control of their breast and ovarian health by providing education, support and a sense of community for a better, brighter future.

Okay, so here is the exciting part, you CAN WIN one of the shirts! Simply answer the following question and "like us" on Facebook Moving Comfort & Sarah Stanley Inspired .

THE QUESTION

Moving Comfort believes that a sports bra is an essential piece of workout equipment. Aside from your sports bra, who or what is your favorite workout partner?
Post your answer & the winner will be picked on Friday, October 15, 2010.
Happy workout! Happy winning!
#SYG2010

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Celebration Ride Philly to NYC (part two)

I am sure you are on pins and needles- did I eat a cupcake? No, of course not. Smart ass. After cruising through Princeton, NJ (I swear I'm smarter now!) it was on to other towns. I forget the names. They all blended together. It was getter hotter and hotter, but I cycled and trudged on. I knew my window of making it to the city was creeping ever closer.

Since the route changed from ferry to land (can't cycle on water!) and I had to get into the city before dark, I decided to ride as far as I could before I had to throw the bike in the car. Along with myself.

The route was the NJ Turnpike and the Holland Tunnel and that is bike illegal. So yes, technically I did not ride into the city. Bite me.

It was about 5:15 pm and I was running riding out of daylight, gas (in my legs) and just TIRED. Oh and I was approaching 271 miles! I was about 5 miles away from the Turnpike so I radioed to Mike to pull over and let me in! I was disgusting, exhausted, famished (I had nothing to eat other then gels/blocks/water/sports drink!). No sooner did I get in the car and guess what? WE WERE AT LGA! Another freaking AIRPORT! What bike routes and airports have in common, I'll never understand, but I was so tired & happy I was in a car that I didn't really care what was around me.

I was praying ALL day that the traffic gods would be merciful. And they were. PTL. The sun was going down and it was a beautiful drive to the Holland Tunnel. Once on the other side, I jumped- more like gingerly hopped out. Grabbed my bike and headed down Canal Street to 8th Avenue. I was almost to the damn finish line!

I FINISHED! Me and Michelle

I wish I had a video camera following me down the New York City streets. It was a perfect evening. Twilight skies. Taxis trying to run me over. Limo drivers trying to offer me a ride. Weaving in and out of people walking their dogs. Smelling cupcakes, hot dogs, pretzels and city air. Thinking back over the miles I just covered. ON BIKE. WITH MY LEGS. And lungs.

New York City!!! 276 miles later!

Thinking of the over 1,500 kids faces I had the HONOR of speaking giving hope to. And oh yes, my birthday. Might be unconventional, but that's how Sarah Stanley rolls. Here I was. In the city that never sleeps. NEW YORK CITY!

276 miles! 18 hours, 27 minutes. I DID IT!!!

The finish line crew!

A few friends met me at the finish line- for which I was very grateful! Thanks Daniel, Susan, Michelle (plus hubby & family!), Christopher & Erica. And all the folks at New York Running Company! I was VERY thrilled to sit on something other then a saddle!

THE FINISH LINE!

And just as soon as it started, it was over. A lot of sweat, blood, a few tears, lots of smiles and some laughter too.

The hotel (which was a whole story in itself) bed & comfy pillows sounded like heaven. And couldn't come soon enough! I was SO tired, I didn't even take an ice bath! Imagine that! And just like that, I was out. Celebration Ride = success = one exhausted, but very happy chick ;)

Happy pedaling ya'll.

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Celebration Ride Philly to NYC leg (part one)

Back to reality. Run Half Marathon- check. Cycle to NYC- must do. So after hiking, aka: walking as fast as I could,  back to the hotel,  striping my sweaty clothes off, downing some Roc2O, throwing my helmet & gloves on and looking longingly at the very delicious bed (complete with AMAZING pillows- the kind that makes every sore muscle melt away). I hopped on my bike. Legs had no idea what else was in store for them that day. And good thing. I watched people coming back from the race. I was kind of envious of them. I wanted to do the whole brunch-gab-eat-rejoice-I've-finished-hang thing too!

So around 11:45am, I started off. Another new thing for the ride today was that Mike got radios. A little secret. I have always wanted to work for the Secret Service or the CIA, so having a little ear piece made me feel like I was a super secret rider. Or something like that.

The plan was to have Mike radio directions to me because of the route issues we had the previous two days. And for the most part it worked. Except for when we had interference  with the Spanish, Chinese, Thai and dog channels. For whatever reason one town we rode through had dogs barking. Perhaps it was a sign to ride faster? Or get out of town!

The ride out of Philly was for the most part uneventful. And I was quite grateful about that. The route we mapped out had me riding on some fairly busy roads (and a TON) of lights so I made sure the car stayed close behind me.

My goal for the day was to make it New York City. And not die. But that's always my goal. The finish line was slated for 6:00pm-7:30pm. So the need for me to ride fast was not an option, but an necessity.

The weather was quite hot today. No Code Orange. But was in the high 80's and the sun was in full force.  I was glad I snagged some sunscreen at the VIP tent after I finished the race!

Seeing the country side through the eyes of a bike is a very interesting perspective. You smell things. You see the land. You feel the land. The people. But I'll save that topic for another day. Back to sweating.

Run For Something Better final mile race

Riding through Trenton, NJ was pretty interesting. Terrifying might be a better word. And frustrating. The road I was riding on went BOTH ways. Know the bridges with grates and you can see through them? Well, yeah, I had ride over it, not once, but THREE times. It made me dizzy. And nauseous. Finally, after getting past that speed bump (no pun intended) I was on Route 1 North. A very busy road. Think Route 95, but only bike legal. Notice I said legal, not friendly.

There were MANY times I was thankful for having a SAG vehicle, not only for gear, food and what not, but because it was the only way to tell people what the hell I was doing. The back window became not only a story teller for my journey, but a buffer between me and roadkill.

My story, safety and SAG

I had several insane roads to travel on. 18 wheelers, mini vans, small cars, dogs, cats (kidding), groundhogs, squirrels (not kidding)  were only part of the navigation & riding for my dear life.  Remember Mission number 2 of the day? Not to die? Well that was at the forefront of my mind. AT ALL FREAKING TIMES. Having to defend yourself with metal going flying 65MPH will quickly make you not fall asleep. No matter how tired you are.

I was pretty glad to make it off Route 1 (and many other roads) safely. Because the next part I was really excited for. I rode through Princeton, NJ! Such a cute town! And the people were, oh my gosh, FRIENDLY! A family in a minivan pulled up beside me and we chitchatted at a stop light. We played leap frog over the course of the next few lights. Then, just as I was about to head out of town, they gave me a WATER BOTTLE! Its the little things in life. I will probably never forget that kind gesture. That's what I am talking about people. Helping others. It doesn't have to be a HUGE thing. But small, simple and impactful. It changed my day!

Happy kids at one of the schools I spoke at.

My legs were pretty tired- okay, screaming was more like it. I kept watching the minutes and the miles tick on. I was starving. I was dirty. I was cranky. I was tired. If there ever was a time I wanted a cupcake, ice bath, now would be the time. 6:00pm was looming ever closer. Would I make it to New York City? In one piece?

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