Author Archives: Heather

New Kicks, Same Game: Mizuno Wave Rider 18s (Review)

This  post is part of a sponsored campaign with Mizuno on behalf of Fitfluential. Opinions are my own.

MIzuno WaveRider18 Run

Over the past few weeks you may have seen a new kid on the blocks, making waves in the Bay. The Mizuno WaveRider 18 has arrived, with a sleek new design, just enough support and the influence of “Hado” at its back.

Hado –
intrinsic vibrational life force energy
that promotes powerful transformations.


As of last fall I’ve been a Mizuno-runner, through and through. I was converted by the 17’s, which have now run two marathons with me, blaze the trails with my Hayates, and save the Sayonaras for short races and/or Wednesdays…when we wear pink.

Now, my little Mizuno family has grown by two feet:  Mizuno WaveRider18_group1

Mizuno circle_waverider 18

They didn’t arrive in time for marathon adjustments, so I’ve used them in-between long runs to switch it up. We’re still getting to know this little black sheep, but the kicks have made a few first impressions:

- Lightweight – 7.8 oz, to be exact.

- Neutral – which is the only way I take my shoes.

- Balance – of fit and performance. They’re trained and designed to take the energy of your run and give you a smooth, sleek ride.

- Familiarity – the same, trusted Mizuno-patented Wave Technology that responds to your stride and provides support for your run. They’re also very wide-foot-friendly! WF gals know what I’m talkin ‘bout.

One thing to keep in mind: they feel a little tighter in the heel, and definitely take a run or two until they’re warmed up and ready to go. As with any new shoe, give them  an intro phase and take it easy! Throw in a few strides on your second or third run and let the responsive technology kick in.

Mizuno WaveRider18 Black

If you’re looking for a new yin to your foot’s yang, give the Wave line a try. I’ve yet to consider any Mizuno shoe a bad fit.


Filed under gear, new things!, running, running gear, training

District: Charged (MCM 2014 Recap)

As with every time we step up to a starting line to see what exactly this race day will bring, it’s over way too quickly. Anticipation fills months, weeks and days before the gun goes off.  Thankfully I know every mile on this course; I needed that small dose of familiarity and comfort. Otherwise, I’ve never been so nervous to go out and test the systems…

2014-10-25 21.09.46

I stayed with Anne & Matt on Saturday night so the trek to the starting line was very easy (pre-race pumpkin carving is one way to take your mind off the nerves!).   We arrived to the Rosslyn metro around 6:35 a.m. and parted ways. They hopped on the train to the Smithsonian stop (10K start); I followed crowds of runners in sweats on their way toward these familiar arches.

2014-10-26 06.58.50

Coach K and I worked out a very specific plan. I know from experience that you have to be careful in the beginning of this race, even more so than other marathons – I’ve never fully mastered the art of it. Even though I’d have to average out to 8:00 min/miles, the plan started with 8:30s. “There is more elevation gain in the first 2.5 miles of the MCM course than there is in the 5 mile stretch through Newton Hills on the Boston Marathon course.”  Round 3, and I still forgot how rowdy that Lee Highway hill is! Going up OR down too quickly will wreak havoc; take it easy. Save it. (Had a brief conversation about this on the plane coming back to CA last night; a fellow racer complained about how quickly/hard he went out on those hills, and the detriment it caused later. I hear ya! I’ve been there.)

This year was different; stuck to the plan, even though it felt a little slow, and put faith in what my legs are well trained to do with fatigue.

2014-10-26 07.56.22

Other tools in the game-day box: rainbows and a few mantras. This race wasn’t gonna go down without a lot of mental stamina.

Miles 1-8 were pretty unremarkable. We had beautiful fall views throughout Arlington and into Georgetown. It was warming up to the high of 65+ and everyone was happily in summer-style running gear.

A few things have changed since 2012, but the best upgrade was skipping MacArthur and turning right off the Key Bridge. We immediately headed into my stomping grounds: Rock Creek Park. You can’t have a bad run in RCP. The crowds were loud and dense, runners were happy!

Around mile 9 I needed my thoughts to calm down and the pace to feel a little easier. I needed mile 20 to be a little closer*, and I needed to zone out for a little while.

None of that really happened, but somehow I did manage to keep putting one foot in front of the other just fast enough to maintain an 8:00-8:15 pace.  I managed to carefully barrel my mind behind the wall, keeping it with me, not against me.

Choose courageNot comfort. 

MCM 2014_haines pt MCM 2014_mile 17
Photo credit, obviously:

There’s no explaining needed here – I think those faces speak for themselves.  I also think miles 10-17 of most marathons will always fall similarly along the spectrum of “uncomfortable”, no matter how the day is going.

In these moments: Your focus shifts from miles, paces, nutrition and frequency of aid stations to pour all the energy you can mightily muster to shut off the mind. It’s ready to quit long before your legs are trained to.

Right after we passed the Capital I briefly walked through the water station to dump blissfully chilled H2O on my head. That would be the last luxury of a  ‘break’ my legs got.*Kate was waiting for me right where I expected her (mile 19.5), with all the energy she reliably carries on the run.

Kate’s mission would be to pull me through 7:30-45s during the last 10K. I refused to verbalize that those numbers weren’t in the cards (not that I had the energy or lung capacity to speak, anyway), or concede to any thought that it wouldn’t happen. Physically, I knew. But when you give up mentally, it’s a different kind of failure. She’s a smart cookie – I knew she would know, and we’d do what we could with what was left.

We’ve done this before, she knows the drill! BEAT. THE. BRIDGE.

That freaking bridge….

Miles 20-22 are too familiar; people are suffering to tackle the undulations of the 14th street bridge. If they’re in my head, they’re also trying to fathom HOW IT IS SO LONG and hoping with all hope that it ends soon.

As we came down and off the ramp, we were joined by two strangers. Jeff was wearing the same TAD visor and accompanied by his friend, as instructed by Katie. He immediately said “We’re here to pace you to Boston!!”. Oh, man. I WISH that’s what you were going to do, Jeff, but that math is not working in my favor at this point. This was the moment I realized there would be none of the usual mile 23-25 intermittent walk breaks – not a chance of letting down any guard, even though there was also not a chance I was hitting my goal. When two strangers and one kick-ass friend give up their morning to run with you? You put on your tough-girl pants and you run.

Those three. They should probably never know what was going through my head, but they SHOULD know that they did an incredible thing. The success of the day: there wasn’t a single point in the last 10K that we stopped, paused or mentally quit. Instead, we ran a pace that felt like walking but was actually, miraculously, pretty consistent.


And then there was the “Mile 26” sign. And the crowds couldn’t possibly have been any thicker, louder or more amped up for us! And there was the hill this race is famous for.

And then it was done.

MCM 2014 Finish

MCM 2014 splits


I’ve had to let this one sit and sink in, and am still not completely done processing it. But a lot of strong people have been quick to remind me there is always something to pull from any race day, and this is no different. The about-to-puke finish feeling , some HR data and my barely-moving-today legs have plenty to say. I ran exactly what I could and I did it well enough to keep running through every mile. It’s not exactly what I wanted, but it’s how this day played out. I got to charge through my favorite city on one of my favorite days and with one of my favorite people. Success!

2014-10-26 12.12.56  2014-10-26 12.19.40


Filed under about me

And now we run…

We’re here. Two days out!

It’s time to think less and feel more. To trust the training and know everything that could have been done has been done. It’s time to calm the crazies and just enjoy these few short days in the District. Feet up, mind off. Heart and legs? Jumpy, filling up on a steady adrenaline drip, and totes ready to go.

2014-10-17 06.28.12


The Coach passed along a quote that encompasses the decision made multiple times throughout any race, if not pretty much every second of every mile:

Courage or comfort.MCM 2014


Those two truths are coming along with me to starting line on Sunday morning. The only thing that’s left to do? Run.

To all racers joining the MCM party this weekend – run strong! Have fun! High-five the Marines and spectators! Remember the hills at the beginning, the bridge in the middle and the sweet finish line that’s waiting for you at the end. See ya out there!


Filed under DC, Goals, marathon, running, things I Love

Salad Towers: Salmon, Squash, Seeds & Sesame Toppers

My brain and your eyes could probably take a break from all this incessant MCM talk. Today’s a mind-taper day, and a reminder that there’s another big aspect of training – well, life, in general – that has gone mostly unmentioned here. THE EATS.

Working from home allows for more flexibility with meals. If I were in the office, you’d still see a lot of pumped-up salads, they just wouldn’t be plated quite so nicely. And they wouldn’t be consumed in the backyard sunshine – my way of supplementing lunch with some Vitamin D. I choose a salad for lunch because it ensures a huge vegetable serving, is completely versatile for flavors and toppers, and gives me a high volume of healthy foods.

WIN, Win.

Let’s walk through a basic salad construction….

I don’t consume meat or poultry, but protein is always part of the salad equation here. I opt for one or more of the following: fish (usually leftover from the night before – baked/grilled), pumpkin seeds, chopped nuts, hard-boiled egg and/or avocado.

You don’t have to have “greens” to make it a salad, but I usually do. I buy the organic mixed greens from Trader Joe’s and may mix in some raw kale, arugula and/or spinach for extra nutrients. Then I pile on the rainbow! My goal is to have at least 3 colors in my salad, which may come from peppers, onion, carrots, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, dried/fresh fruits, avocado and/or leftover roasted veggies from last night’s dinner.

At the end, I go for a little flavor with a “dressing” of sorts. I never do a store-bought dressing, nor do I take the time to mix anything together. I keep it simple: fresh lemon squeeze, drizzle of EVOO or a drizzle of Sesame oil.

Here are a few salad towers I’ve created lately:

2014-10-20 13.09.51

The season hasn’t changed much here in California, but the display at Trader Joe’s suggests it may officially be fall. And therefore we have squash.

Tower toppers: leftover roasted salmon (seasoned with chili powder), roasted kabocha squash (seasoned with cumin, salt/pepper), chopped cucumbers, red peppers and carrots, sunflower seeds. Dressing: sesame oil.

2014-10-15 12.37.26-2

If there’s only one thing you takeaway from this post: you cannot have too much avocado on your salad.

Toppers: tomatoes (still farm-fresh at the farmer’s market!), cucumbers, avocado, red pepper and sunflower seeds. Dressing: lemon squeeze, salt & pepper.

2014-10-14 12.07.38

I like to have my salads with a side of brain-puzzle, too.

Toppers: baked Mahi Mahi (seasoned with dried green chile powder), chopped carrots, cucumber and pistachios. Dressing: drizzle of EVOO.


What are some of your go-to weekday lunches?

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Filed under health, Nutrition, recipes, training, what to eat

{MCM} Run Playlist: {I’m} Ready!

It’s never a given that I’ll run with or without tunes, but I looove me some music. Some days they join me and make a big difference, but on others the silence is more than welcomed. What is a given?  A few go-to playlists that create a party in my head on a daily basis, and provide a  much-needed boost during many miles.

Spotify nearly tops the list of “best things technology has created”, IMO.

I usually start with one song that catches my attention and seems to have a “new” beat/feel/jam, and place it at the top of its own playlist. It inspires the title and all songs that proceed it on the list.

In this case, “I’m Ready” got the party started. Starting a new training plan, in a new city, with a new approach? This fit the bill. I’m ready. (This is an improvement from Chartlottesville’s playlist, “Hurtbox”. In hindsight, very appropriately titled.) Try to listen without moving just-a-little-bit to that catchy beat – not a chance! The list that followed has been in my ears for every long run since. It’ll dance and jam with me right through 26 miles of DC*….

 Spotify_Ready Playlist

Sptofiy playlist Ready_1 

Spotify playlist Ready_2

Spotify Playlist Ready_3 

Spotify Playlist Ready_4

*For those with high attention-to-detail: no I don’t plan on running a 2 hr 55 min marathon, but I do plan on jammin’ until Kate hops in to join me!

The lists are never final – pretty good chance I’ll toss some GirlTalk in there for another boost – but this one is close. I’m feeling pretty pumped about pressing “Play” on the starting line.

Any suggested adds? Favorite hits as of late?


Filed under marathon, music, training