Cardiff Kook Run – 4 Mile Race Report

cardiff kook race Super Bowl 5k 10k

Last Sunday I ran my first true race after having Siena (we did a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving but walked it as a family). I ran the 4 mile distance at the Cardiff Kook Run, which is always held on Super Bowl Sunday in Encinitas. It’s named after the famous statue of a surfer called the “Magical Carpet Ride” that sits on the 101 but earned the nickname “The Kook” over the years. The race starts at the Encinitas sign, which happens to be just a few blocks from our old beach apartment. My normal easy run was “to the Kook and back” so when I saw that the race offered a 4 mile “kook distance” I signed up! I also figured 5Ks hurt and a 10k seemed too long for where I’m at right now so 4 miles seemed like a sweet spot (plus automatic PR!).

My training for this race was anything but regimented. The race took place when I was just over 4 months postpartum and I’ve been doing P90X for the last 2 months and trying to run 2-3 times a week on top of that. There’s been no speed work or long runs and I haven’t run a mile under a 9:30 pace in over a year. I figured this run would be a true test of my starting fitness level as I start to ramp up my training for all the exciting races I have lined up this year. I gave myself a goal of finishing with an average pace under a 9 minute mile. I figured it was a pretty achievable goal, but there’s no need to set anything lofty at your first race back!

Leading up to the race, I logged on to check out the course (which I pretty much already knew anyway) and figure out what time the race would start. I didn’t see anything at all about the 4 mile distance until I clicked through to the register button, which I found odd. I emailed the race directors asking when the 4 mile race started and never heard back. When I picked up my packet on Thursday at Road Runner Sports, they told me I was doing the 5k and I corrected them and said I was signed up for the 4 mile distance. They told me that it was the same start time and gave me my bib.

As far as parking and logistics for this race go, it’s as simple as it gets. The 5k started at 8 a.m. and we left our house at 7:15, parked and were standing near the start line just after 7:30, right as the 10k was about to start. I heard the announcer say that the 5k and 4 mile race would start at 8, so I took that as a good sign that my run would be supported.

My Biggest Fans!

My Biggest Fans!

I lined up about 4 rows back from the start and when the gun went off, I settled into a good rhythm. I recently lost my Garmin (I’ve come to terms that it’s actually gone now) so I used Mike’s, although I didn’t really know if it was showing me average pace or current pace on the screen. I saw something in the 7s so I knew I should slow down. I settled in and just enjoyed the fact that I was RACING again! I still didn’t feel like I was actually racing, given that I didn’t properly train or have a goal, but it was fun to be out there! A huge bonus of doing the 5k was that I got to see the lead 10k runners run by, including Oiselle Professional Runner and Olympic hopeful Steph Rothstein Bruce, who won the race (and I finally met her at the end of the race!).

After the 5k turned off, there was a route to continue. I saw some runners ahead and could only assume they were also doing the 4 mile race. However, I couldn’t see a turnaround sign at the Kook and I couldn’t see where the runners who had gone ahead of me turned around. When I arrived at the Kook, I saw the 2 mile marker sign and my watch beeped 2 miles but there was no sign to turnaround. So I just turned around and jumped into the very, very crowded section of runners who were coming back from the 10k.

I knew immediately I’d made a mistake signing up for this distance! I spent the final 2 miles of the race weaving through massive crowds of slower 10k and 5k runners. Given that this wasn’t any sort of goal race and I was enjoying the experience of running and checking out people’s costumes (the Kook statue is regularly dressed up in crazy costumes by local residents and therefore the race is also a costume race), I wasn’t upset about it.

cardiff kook race encinitas 5k

I picked it up the best I could at the finish and sprinted in, giving a high five to Mike and Siena (who was rudely sleeping) as I ran by. I looked at my watch and was happy to see I’d finished 33:20, which was an 8:18 pace on my watch. Not bad for someone who hasn’t seen an 8 minute mile since the California International Marathon in 2014 (speaking of which, my average pace for that marathon was faster than this 4 miler…haha!).


I decided to look up my official finish time and as I had suspected, the time came up as a 5k, not a 4 mile distance! I talked to the rep from the timing company and she said the race directors did not purchase an extra bib for the 4 miler and that my time would always indicate I ran the 5k. I asked if it could be changed and she said no. Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed that I had paid for a distance that was completely unsupported and my race results are inaccurate. I emailed the race directors to let them know about it, but I haven’t heard back.

Later that day we headed to Amber’s house for a baby friendly Super Bowl party. There were 9 babies there, 8 of which were under the age of 1 year! It was quite a scene and we had fun.


This isn't even all the babies

This isn’t even all the babies (Siena is really excited about it too)

So will I run this race again? Probably – because it’s so convenient, fun and I like supporting local races. BUT I won’t be running the 4 miler, that’s for sure!!!

Do you have a favorite local, small race? Have you ever had your official race time messed up? 

Is “Eating Clean” Going Too Far?

I listened to a really interesting podcast recently called “How We Learn to Eat” on NPR. It was recommended to me by a friend because the main topic of conversation is how our children learn to eat (fun fact: what you eat during pregnancy and while breastfeeding helps your baby’s taste buds get ready to eat those same foods later in life).

Toward the end of the podcast, the guest speaker discussed how she raises her teenage daughter to think about food. As someone who has suffered with borderline eating disorders and had a sister with an eating disorder, the guest speaker was rightfully concerned with how she should approach this sensitive topic when raising her children. As someone who has also had a disordered relationship with food at times, I was intrigued. She said that she tells her daughter in all aspects of life that “nothing is perfect” and hopes that her daughter will also translate that into her diet and self-confidence. She then related this concept of the absence of perfection to the recent fad of “clean eating,” indicating that even the phrase itself lends to an unhealthy focus on perfect eating.

Those words struck a cord with me, as I have tended to use the phrase “clean eating” to describe the foods I strive to consume. I never really thought about what exactly those words imply. They imply perfection – as if anything besides these “clean” foods are dirty. Even the diet that I’m following for P90X – “100 Days of Real Food” implies that anything that isn’t on the author’s list of foods isn’t REAL and therefore is wrong. Perfection in anything is unachievable, and I think it’s important to recognize that perfection in our food choices is literally impossible. There is no perfect diet – even if you were to follow the “100 Days of Real Food” without exception, you’ll find another person who thinks your diet is wrong because it contains gluten, meat, or dairy, and by their standards, those foods are “bad.”

I used to use the term vegan or vegetarian to describe my diet but I’ve tried to limit it. I don’t want titles anymore – I try to explain that I eat “on a spectrum.” I don’t eat a lot of meat, but I enjoy a good burger sometimes. I don’t eat dessert every night (anymore), but I ate Girl Scout cookies last night. I don’t buy milk but I’ll drink a latte at a coffee shop. There are no off limits foods. We aren’t perfect and when we eat something that has more than one ingredient, it’s not “dirty.” It’s food.

I think we all strive to eat more healthfully and it’s easier to wrap our minds around certain titles – vegan, clean, paleo, gluten-free…. but are these titles creating more issues than they are solving? (Don’t get me wrong, a lot of people are vegan for moral reasons or gluten free for serious health reasons and I respect that those titles are necessary). I don’t know the answer to all the questions I’ve posed here but sometimes it’s important to take a step back and ask these questions. And to remember that in the end, food serves so many roles – physically, emotionally, spiritually – and we have no right to say that any one food is “good” or “bad” (Sorry Tony Horton, sometimes french fries ARE good!).

Do you put a title on your dietary preferences? Do you think we should call certain foods good or bad? 

Dear Siena – 4 Months


Dear Siena,

You’ve always been an engaged, active baby but this month you’ve been more squirmy, awake and alive than ever. You’re constantly wanting to be moving and grooving and don’t like being left out of anything which warranted your latest nick name, “Squirmy Worm.” You want to pick up everything you can and put everything in your mouth. You found new levels in your voice and now have a range of sounds that you use to communicate with us, including a high pitched scream that you use when you really want something or are very excited. You’re an incredibly friendly baby – usually even the scariest strangers can get a smile out of you, typically after you give them a quizzical look and check them out first.

Your Many Expressions!

Your Many Expressions!

You love music. Every time I want to make you smile, all I have to do is start singing a song (I’ve learned several variations of Wheels on the Bus and there are now so many animals living on Old McDonald’s farm). We’ve started two new sleep time routines and both involve music. The routine that I use when putting you down is that I first read you a book and then I put you in your crib (with white noise) and sing you “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” a few times. Your dad has his own routine, which always includes playing either the guitar or ukulele and singing to you. I’m pretty sure you prefer that over my singing, but either way, you’re mesmerized by music.


You hit some big milestones this month, including rolling from your back to tummy! It’s pretty funny because sometimes you do it and then get mad that you’re now on your belly. You know how to roll from belly to back but for some reason you don’t do the two together. Despite that, tummy time has become MUCH more pleasant. You now are able to get your head way up during tummy time and you play with your toys and or suck on your hand and will happily hang out for several minutes.


You absolutely love to stand up. Every time we have you on our laps, you push off into a standing position. You like to stand on anything and everything and even if we tried, we couldn’t prevent you from trying to stand. And you stand tall too – you’re now 26 inches long and in the 97 percentile for height! You wear size 2 diapers and are mostly in your 3-6 months clothes.

Practicing Standing (just for a second of course)

Practicing Standing (just for a second of course)

You let out your first giggles this month. I still wouldn’t say you’re full on laughing, but there are definitely giggles. Your range of sounds has increased dramatically and you use your coos and shrieks to communicate with us more and more, which means less crying to tell us your needs. You love to chew on everything you can get your hands on and you’re starting to drool like crazy. You grab my hands and any toy (or blanket) you can get your hands on and put them in your mouth, but your favorite thing to chew on is your own hands.


I was impressed you could hold this little egg!

I’ve noticed a big difference in the amount of stimulation, awake time and interaction you need now. You really don’t like to be left alone for long, but will play on your own as long as you can see someone in your line of vision or are intently playing with a toy. You also are becoming less content sitting in your Rock n’ Play (which is usually where I put you while I’m pumping or when we’re eating a meal). You arch your back and try to jump out of it. I ended up buying you a “Sit Me Up” chair and you seem to like it more since you are upright and can turn your head and see us even if we’re behind you.  You are happiest being held and walked around so that you can see what’s going on or lying on the ground on a blanket with a person and toys to interact with.

Your "Sit Me Up" chair

Your “Sit Me Up” chair

We still go to the lactation support group every week to chat with the other moms and get your weekly weigh in. Now, however, you get easily distracted while eating and it’s harder for you to focus while at the group. At home, you also tend to get distracted and will bounce off and smile at me or look at me. Now you also fuss a bit when you’ve had enough, pushing away and shrieking a little as to say “I’m DONE now Mom!” I’ve become good at nursing you in public (with a cover) and you take less time to eat than you did before, which makes extended outings much easier now.

The VERY Magical Merlin Suit.

The VERY Magical Merlin Suit.

You slept so well this month! At three months, you were going through some sort of sleep regression and we couldn’t get past 2 a.m. wake ups. But then you rolled over in your swaddle so we switched to the Magic Merlin Suit. It made a HUGE difference in the amount of time you sleep at night and during naps. You now sleep 7-10 hours straight every single night (and lately more often on the longer side of that range) and then go right back to sleep for a couple more hours afterward. We recently moved your bedtime up to 8 p.m. and you generally sleep until 7 a.m. with one feeding between 4-6 a.m. Your napping has become much better and you now take three naps, one of which is usually anywhere from 2-3 hours long and the other two are usually roughly 1 hour. I try to have you sleep in the crib at least twice a day with one nap in the car seat while we’re on the go but it varies day to day.

At Beau's Birthday Party

At Beau’s Birthday Party

This month we had a lot of fun and went to four birthday parties and several dinner parties. We’ve been going on walks with our next door neighbors Amanda and Ellie (who is exactly 2 months younger than you), meeting up with Vicky, Cam and Emi (who is 2 1/2 months younger than you), and we have our weekly run with Allison and Beau (who is 1 year old). We go to our Dailey Baby workout every Wednesday and started going to an Infant Development Class put on by First Five San Diego at the Encinitas Library every Friday morning.

Playing at the infant development class

Playing at the infant development class

Siena wasn't sure what to think of Nolan and Jameson but soon she'll be able to play with them!

you weren’t sure what to think of Nolan and Jameson but soon she’ll be able to play with them!

We also went to a dinner party with the three other families (including Amber and Kairi) with young babies who are going to be heading up to Big Bear with us next month for the weekend. Last week we drove to Orange County to see my two high school friends Jill and Jenny and their sons Nolan and Jameson. We had a reunion with all the families from our Bradley Method birthing class (and got to hear all the birth stories!) and after that, many of the moms and babies from the group get together about once a week to hang out. You already have so many friends!

Bradley Method Birth Class Reunion! We all made it!

Bradley Method Birth Class Reunion! We all made it!

You also got to see almost all your grandparents this month. Your Grandpa Woyski came to visit while your dad was in Dallas (he went three times this month for work and it was hard being home without him) and stayed for three days. Your Nana and Boo babysat you twice so your Dad and I could go on a date night and your Grandma Christy, Great Grandma Ewing and Great Aunt Kerry visited for a day as well.


Grandpa Woyski (you were more interested in the guys sitting next to us at dinner).



It would be an understatement to say that I love being your mom. You fill me with so my joy and every smile melts my heart. It makes me so happy to see how happy you make your dad as well. It’s impossible to imagine our little family without you now. We love you!


So Much Running Excitement

Caution: Post written with major coffee and race registration high (it’s a thing). 

Going into this year, I wasn’t sure how much racing I’d do. I wanted to see how my body responded to training and see how my motivation was after having a baby. Plus, I had no idea how I’d balance training with working full time, breastfeeding and taking care of a baby. Well, after only one month, I’ve been hit with the race planning bug and it’s here to stay. The details will work themselves out.

la jolla half marathon

First, I signed up for my first half marathon of the year! The La Jolla Half Marathon has always been a favorite of mine, despite it’s difficult course. It is by far Mike’s favorite half marathon and after a few friends indicated they were signing up (and the prices went up on January 31), Mike and I pulled the trigger and we BOTH SIGNED UP! Of course I made sure my mom could come down and spend the night to watch Siena on race morning (Does this mean we’re going on a “race date”? Is that a thing?). I’m pretty excited for this race and I plan to use it as base building for races later in the year. If anything, I will do speedwork in the form of hill repeats once a week (lots of hills by our house), but I don’t plan to do a lot of intense training for it. I just want to build up my miles safely. More on my training plan later (i.e. once I figure out my training plan).

Team-2016 rock n blogNext, and pretty freaking exciting, is that I was selected again to be a part of the Rock n’ Blog team! This year a perk of being an ambassador is that we’re given a Global TourPass which means we can run unlimited Rock n’ Roll events! Of course, being that I do not have unlimited funds (plus a baby…), I can’t simply galavant all over the world running Rock n’ Roll races (this pretty much sounds like my dream – travel the world doing races) but I do plan to take advantage of this amazing perk as much as possible. Right now I’m pretty set on running the Carlsbad 5000 (April 3), the San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon (June 5) and I’d love to run Rock n’ Roll Las Vegas Half on November 13th (seeking travel buddies for this one!!!). I’ll have a lot more to share about Rock n’ Blog, including a discount code for all races, soon.

craft classic race discount code

If you remember, I’m also an ambassador for the San Diego Craft Classic Half Marathon (use code FITNESSFATALE for $10 off the half or $5 off the 5k) which takes place in July so that means I have plans for at least 4 half marathons this year. I’m going to have reunite myself with my love for the sunrise (or pre-dawn) run once I’m back at work.

new york marathon lotto

Last, I threw my name in the hat for the 2016 New York Marathon. I know the lottery is a long shot (about a 10% chance for non NY residents apparently) but this race is on my bucket list and I might as well start trying now. More on 2016 marathon planning in another post.


Will I see you at any of these races? Have you ever entered the NY Marathon lottery? 

Call Me Coach

p90x results phase 2 women

After the success I’ve had with this round of P90X (phase 1 results, phase 2 results), I’ve had people reaching out to me to ask questions about not only P90X but various Beachbody programs. It got me thinking about getting back into Beachbody coaching, something I stopped doing about a year and a half ago since I was so far removed from the programs as I got more serious about triathlon and marathons.

I’m happy to say I’m back in action as a Beachbody Coach! I’ve always enjoyed helping others and I still receive emails from people who have seen my first round of P90X results and want tips, advice or access to the nutrition excel spreadsheet I created. I also decided to become a coach because I’m interested in trying the 21 Day Fix and Hammer and Chisel.  And last, of course, it’s nice to make some extra money. I am currently taking 3 additional months maternity almost completely unpaid so every little bit helps!

That being said, I don’t plan to make this a Beachbody blog and you aren’t going to see me posting every day trying to get you guys to buy things. As I’ve said before, my blog is about my journey and I try to be as authentic as I can, and selling you something I’m not even interested in trying myself is never something I’d do. However, since I do love P90X and I’m excited to try 21 Day Fix and Hammer and Chisel, I’ll be sharing my experience with them here. If sales come out of that, great, if not, hopefully you just enjoy following along as I use these programs to get stronger. There will be plenty of running and baby related posts as well.

My website and Beachbody username is the same (FitnessFatale – but I have a new user ID. If you’d like to switch and add me as your coach simply call or email Beachbody Relations at (800) 240-0913 or at and tell them to change you to me, FitnessFatale, Coach ID #975540. If you’ve never bought anything through Beachbody before, if you use my website to make a purchase, I’ll automatically become your coach. And, as always, if you’ve already purchased a program but still have questions, I’m more than happy to answer them!

Have you ever done a Beachbody program? Are you interested in hearing about 21 Day Fix or doing a 21 Day Fix challenge with me!? 

Postpartum P90X – Phase 2 Results

Home stretch ahead! We’ve officially started Phase 3 of P90X, the final 5 weeks. I’m now 16 weeks postpartum and I couldn’t be happier with the way my body is changing and how I’m feeling. I saw some great results during the four weeks of Phase 2 and I’m hopeful that the final five weeks turn out even better!

p90x phase 2 results woman

I’m not doing P90X exactly as mapped out again this time. Because I have a running race on February 7th (and because I love to run), I’m trying to run 3 times a week, with at least one run of 5 miles and usually two 3 mile runs with the stroller. My friend Allison and I have made a standing Saturday morning “long run” date and we also run with the strollers on Tuesdays. Sometimes I just end up running twice, but I’ve been able to get that 5 mile run in. I don’t do P90X Kenpo (although I did do it during recovery week this time) and I also attended two 45 minute Dailey Baby classes (which is mostly body weight strength training). Instead of P90X yoga, I went to hot yoga classes at Yoga 6 every week (which although is sweatier, is actually an easier yoga class. P90X yoga is one of the hardest yoga classes I’ve ever taken!).

My P90X Fitness Routine (not all of these workouts happen every single week): 

Running with Allison, Beau and Siena

Running with Allison, Beau and Siena

  • Monday – Rest day/walk.
  • Tuesday – Chest and Back or Shoulders and Arms & Ab Ripper. 3 mile run with Allison.
  • Wednesday – Plyometrics and possibly Dailey Baby class
  • Thursday – Shoulders and Arms or Biceps and Back and Ab Ripper
  • Friday – 3-4 mile run.
  • Saturday – 5 mile run with Allison & Hot Yoga.
  • Sunday – P90X Legs and Back & Ab Ripper.
Siena loves Dailey Baby classes

Siena loves Dailey Baby classes

I’m well aware that this kind of fitness commitment would probably not be possible if I were working full time and I’m taking advantage of my maternity leave while I have it. Mike also understands and appreciates my enthusiasm for working out and watches Siena on Saturdays so I can do my hot yoga and run with Allison. My plan was to get back in shape before I go back to work so that I can maintain my strength and focus on running races for the rest of the year (the marathon itch is getting strong). Luckily Siena sleeps and naps pretty well and enjoys the stroller so I’m able to get in all of these workouts while she’s sleeping and I’m getting enough sleep to have energy to do them! There has definitely been times when she wakes up early from a nap and I have to cut my workout short, but usually I’m able to time it pretty well.


While I’ve continued to use the 100 days of real food plan (explained in this post), there were more exceptions made this month as we had a pretty packed social schedule and lots of parties.  I don’t think it impacted results significantly and the occasional treat keeps me happy and motivated!

P90X Phase 2 Results: 

p90x results female phase 2

  • Weight Lost: 5 pounds (Total weight loss in 8 weeks: 8 pounds)
  • Inches Lost Off Waist: 3/4 inch (Total: 1.75 inches)
  • Inches Lost off Hips: 1 inch (Total 1.5 inches)
  • Inches Lost of Legs (measured thickest part): 1 inch (Total 1.25 inches)

I’ve continued to see strength gains. I’m now able to do 30 push-ups in a row (on my feet) and I can do the Ab Ripper without taking any breaks at all (with mostly the advanced moves!). I can tell that my legs and glutes are much stronger and the wall squats aren’t nearly as hard as they were in the beginning. I still am not even close to an unassisted pull-up but I’m consistently doing more and more assisted ones. I’m using 12 pound weights for bicep curls (started with 10s), 10 or even 12s for most tricep work and 10-12s for shoulders and 20s for all back exercises.  I’m still writing down my reps and weights every week and trying to beat the previous week each time, ensuring that I’m not half-assing any workout.

Do you like to work out at home? 

My Breastfeeding Journey

I have to start by saying that I almost didn’t publish this post. I wrote it and it was therapeutic to put it all down but I second guessed it. My breastfeeding journey has been hard. I’ve felt so many emotions – joy, fear, shock, discomfort, pain, happiness, betrayal, sadness, disappointment and the worst, embarrassment and shame. I was scared to post this because I thought about the internet trolls and what they might think. But then, I decided I don’t care. I want to share my story because I know there are women out there with the same struggles and I want to offer them some comfort and possibly, hope.

A great start to breastfeeding in the hospital

A great start to breastfeeding in the hospital

Breastfeeding is hard. I actually had no idea how hard it would be. I had talked to friends, read a book (The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding) and learned about it in our Bradley Method birthing class, but nothing could prepare me for the real thing. We were fortunate and Siena latched on right away after her birth, despite it being a bit traumatic (after 45 hours of trying to get out, she had to be whisked over to the other side of the room immediately to have her lungs cleared because she had her first bowel movement in the womb). Thankfully the nurse helped us awkwardly find the right position for her to latch and eat and we had several more nurses and lactation consultants help us in the hospital during the next day and a half. Siena seemed happy to eat and our latch seemed to be good.

Despite our great start, we’ve had a very rocky road. Siena lost about 9% of her birth weight by three days after birth (which is actually in the normal range, although since I had no fluids during labor, you would actually expect her to have lost less) and we were asked to return to the pediatrician at 6 days old. We were happy to hear she had gained 6 ounces in 4 days but when we returned for our 2 week appointment a week later, I cried in the doctor’s office as we discovered she had gained only two more ounces in the last week and still had not reached her birthweight, despite the fact that I was literally nursing her around the clock, often for over an hour at a time (I tracked the time using an app and would spend about 8-9 hours nursing her a day). My nipples were raw and I would cringe every time she latched, but I was told that some pain was to be expected and it would get better with time. I figured the long nursing sessions were an indication of cluster feeding and personal preference, although I had a nagging feeling that something was not right (Siena was soiling the correct number of diapers, up to 10 a day, so that was convincing me there wasn’t a problem).

One of my biggest fears about motherhood was that I would unable to breastfeed. I was immediately told to pump after every feeding, to take fenugreek pills and also supplement (ideally with the pumped milk), which only made me cry more, since I was pretty dead set on exclusively breastfeeding for an entire year. I immediately pumped after the next feeding and no milk came out which freaked me out and made me think it was useless to pump. A friend gave us 5 ounces of breastmilk to use to supplement since I was very hesitant to try formula, and I cried the entire way to her house to get the milk. We gave Siena one ounce in bottle and she drank it so fast and ferociously that she immediately threw it all up. More tears. I felt like a failure as a mother (those crazy post-partum hormones probably did not help the situation).

I contacted a lactation consultant who told us to wait on the supplementing until she could see us given that Siena was actually still gaining some weight.  Meanwhile, I started trying every natural milk booster known to man – I was downing Fenugreek like it was my job (still am and I smell like Maple syrup for it), made lactation cookies, bought lactation pills, drank a ton of water and ate plenty of protein and fat. There is a prescription drug that can boost supply, but I decided I would not try it since the side effects were pretty severe (including depression, no thanks!). We met with the lactation consultant a few days later and weighed her, with clothes on, and discovered she hadn’t gained any weight since our pediatrician appointment 3 days earlier. We also weighed her before and after a feeding to see how much she was getting from me, and it was about half of what she needed.

The lactation consultant said it was time to supplement, but she was confident it was temporary. She sold us a supplemental nursing system which would allow me to supplement without giving Siena a bottle (a small bottle of milk connected to a tiny tube which you position on your nipple and allows small amounts of milk to flow through when the baby sucks). She also told me to start pumping after every feeding and that it would take some time but I’d start to see more milk come out (which I did, but it was never more than a half ounce).

Supplemental Nursing System

Supplemental Nursing System

The lactation consultant also diagnosed Siena with an obvious upper and deep lower (which isn’t as obvious) tongue tie and told me that it was causing the long nursing sessions, painful nipples, misshapen nipples after the baby unlatched (shape of a tube of lipstick) and the lack of weight gain. Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand, and since Siena wasn’t able to effectively suck, she wasn’t stimulating me to produce more. She gave us the contact information of a pediatric dentist who specialized in tongue and lip tie repair using an apparently mostly painless procedure using a laser and we got an appointment for the very next evening. The dentist confirmed both tongue and lip tie and we did the surgery right then and there (it took less than 10 minutes to perform). They promised an increase in my supply quickly, although it would take days (all changes in supply typically take a few days to kick in).

So began an incredibly labor intensive nursing routine. The entire process took roughly an hour and we did it 8-9 times a day, including in the middle of the night. Here is how it went:

  1. Mix and heat up formula or donated milk (we later found a friend who generously pumps extra milk for us so we don’t have to use formula regularly. Sometimes we used formula because it’s convenient on the go or we are out of the frozen milk). When Mike was home, he did this for me which saved a ton of time (he also woke up in the middle of the night to do it even after going back to work).
  2. Put milk into supplemental nursing system (we started with 2 oz per feeding but found she really only seemed to need one ounce at a feeding).
  3. Feed baby on breast without supplemental system for at least 15 minutes. Feed baby on other side for at least 10 minutes and then attach supplemental system and allow her to eat until it was gone. Total nursing time was usually 35-45 minutes.
  4. Pump for at least 10 minutes.
  5. Clean supplemental nursing system. (I store my pump parts in the fridge so that I don’t have to clean them more than once a day – major time saver).
  6. Repeat.

At first, I always used the supplemental system and I always pumped, even in the middle of the night. As time went on, I got more and more milk from pumping (especially I found if I as able to wait about 10-15 minutes after nursing but it’s not always manageable to do so) and Siena started to get more milk. I started alternating the supplemental system with bottles and eventually switched just to bottles for supplementing. At first, we’d notice she’d spit up a lot more if we gave her a bottle (even with a newborn nipple), so the supplemental system was worth the extra time and effort. Eventually, her stomach got bigger and she was able to handle the bottles much easier.

I kept up with this process and continued to go to the weekly lactation support groups. The lactation consultant assured me that a baby Siena’s age only needed about 3-4 ounces of breastmilk per feeding (Fun fact: as your baby gets older, your breast milk changes to suit their needs. You actually won’t need to give your baby much more volume of breastmilk as they age because of this wonderful quality of your milk) and eventually I was getting her 2-2.5 oz every time we went (more in the middle of the night and early morning when my supply was higher). For a while I stopped being as religious about pumping, especially if I was in a rush to get somewhere or had guests over, but there hasn’t been a day that I haven’t pumped at least twice since she was 2 1/2 weeks old.

When Siena started only waking 2 times a night, I stopped supplementing on the 2nd feeding (usually around 5 a.m.) and she seemed fine. Then, as her first stretch got longer and eventually she only woke to eat only once over the course of 10-11 hours, I stopped supplementing in the night at all.  By her 2 month birthday, I was only supplementing about 1-2 ounces at each feed (usually just 1), about 6 feeds of the day, for a total of about 8-10 ounces a day, about 2 of which were my own pumped milk and the remainder was donated breastmilk.

Sometimes she even holds her own bottle!

Sometimes she even holds her own bottle!

In mid-December, after a discussion I had with the friend who gives me her extra breast milk about the difference in her supply using a hospital grade pump (Medela Symphony) versus the normal double pump that insurance provides (Medela In Style), I went to the local hospital and rented a hospital grade pump. It’s TBD if my insurance will cover the cost (I have a prescription for it from my doctor) but it’s worth it (about $80 a month) we use our HSA account to pay for it. I became even more serious about pumping and saw a quick increase in my supply. At the next lactation support group I was over the moon when she ate 3 ounces in 20 minutes (which means in the middle of the night and morning when I’m very engorged I’m sure she’s getting more like 4-5) and the lactation consultant and I both agreed that I could try slowly backing off the supplementing.

The Beastly Pump that is the Medela Symphony

The Beastly Pump that is the Medela Symphony

I’m happy to say that most days we’re only supplementing during the last two feedings of the day. I am now pumping more milk between feedings, 2-4 ounces for the day, which means that Siena is only taking about 2 ounces of donor milk on most days, sometimes more if she seems extra hungry or if we are out and about and bring a bottle and I pump (I still notice that my breasts aren’t completely emptied when I just pump – a baby is the best way to empty the breasts and will always be more efficient than a pump).

At 3 1/2 months old, Siena now only feeds for about 20 minutes per session, sometime longer for comfort. She is able to go about 3 hours between feeding in the morning and sleeps a 7-8 hour stretch every night (once 10 hours!) and then another 2-4 hours immediately afterward. In the afternoon and early evening I feed her more frequently to ensure she’s filling up when my supply is lower. I always feed her more if she seems unsatisfied or fussy after a feeding, but I’ve been happy that it rarely happens. She’s on track with her developmental milestones and gains weight every single week. I’m confident that although she’s a smaller baby on average, she’s happy and thriving.

We’re SO close to being supplement free. I’m not sure it’ll happen, especially given that I’m going to back to work in 2 months and know that’s another hurdle with my supply issues (as I said, the pump doesn’t drain the breast as efficiently and many women see a decrease in supply when returning to work) but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m ok with that. Right now this works for us, and warming up a couple bottles in the evening isn’t an inconvenience. Not supplementing during the day has given me a lot more freedom to go out and know that I have what I need to feed my child without having to worry about warming bottles. This journey has been HARD, but it has been worth it. I cherish my time breastfeeding Siena (and it stopped hurting a long time ago) and I’m glad that I didn’t give up during those hard times. I really wanted to at times, but I didn’t.

Happy Girl!

Happy Girl!

This experience has also given me a lot of perspective on feeding babies and on motherhood in general. Before having a baby, I was so set on exclusively breastfeeding for a full year and I couldn’t imagine why people would formula feed. But, as I’ve shared my story with more moms, I’ve come to realize that more moms than not have some sort of breastfeeding issue – whether it be a strong letdown that causes baby to choke, mastitis, supply issues, baby refusing the breast after taking a bottle at daycare, latching issues, severe nipple pain from a tongue tie… the list goes on. Before I was a mother, I wasn’t aware of how hard it can be. I do not judge how any mom chooses to feed their child. A fed baby is a happy baby. And a mom who isn’t constantly stressed out about feeding her baby makes a happy baby and a happy mom. Sometimes exclusive breastfeeding just doesn’t work out. And sometimes moms just don’t want to breastfeed. And that’s ok. We’re all still great moms, no matter how we feed our children.

Moms, how did breastfeeding go for you?

The Changes I Made in my Diet for P90X


From Good On Ya Cafe in Encinitas

P90X is a great workout program, but in order to get the results that you really want, you have to follow a nutrition plan. The first time around, Mike and I used the P90X nutrition plan and followed it very strictly (more on that in this post). As I explained in my first post about this round of P90X, we’re not doing the traditional P90X diet like we did the first time. Instead, we’re following a more whole-foods, low-sugar based approach based on the 100 days of Real Food plan.

We already eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains so this diet wasn’t really a big change in what we eat for each meal. The biggest change has been what we eat (and where we eat) when we eat out (no more regular pizza night or fish tacos and french fries!) and the elimination of sweetened coffee creamer, desserts, alcohol and bread from our day to day diet. We started with the intention of one full cheat day a week, where we would be able to eat whatever we want all day, but due to the fact that we’ve had a lot of parties and events lately, it’s been more like 2-3 cheat meals a week, rather than one full day of splurging. Alcohol seems to be the thing we “cheat’ with the most, although the 100 Days of Real Food

does actually allow for beer and wine in moderation and we typically only have 1-2 drinks.

Of course I had my complimentary champagne cocktail before my birthday massage!

Of course I had my complimentary champagne cocktail before my birthday massage!

As for maintaining my milk supply while breastfeeding, I’ve been tracking my food most days using MyFitnessPal. I try to get a least 100 grams of protein a day, plenty of healthy fats, and I never eat less than 2,000 calories a day. I also drink a TON of water since I’m working out hard. My supply has not dipped.


Prior to the plan we were either eating oatmeal or eggs and toast with either peanut butter or avocado on top for breakfast most days. With the new plan, we’re still eating oatmeal a couple times a week but with just a touch of honey instead of brown sugar. Most days we eat 3 scrambled eggs with a lentil/tomato side dish (1 package Trader Joe’s precooked lentils with spinach and half of Trader Joe’s bruschetta mixed in). This gives us 32 grams of protein at the start of the day. We really love lentils so this kind of weird breakfast actually tastes really good to us! Sometimes we’ll have leftovers from the night before with our eggs, like a roast butternut squash dish or something similar.

By far the hardest change has been giving up my creamer in my coffee. I used to use a generous portion of hazelnut flavored “natural” creamer (just cream, sugar and the hazelnut flavor), but now I use half and half and a tiny bit of honey. We actually started using full fat coconut cream and I just couldn’t get behind it. I almost considered giving up coffee all together if that was the alternative.

Biggest Change: No more coffee creamer and toast. No more weekend bagels and flavored lattes. 


Lunch is where the meal planning really comes in handy. We used to eat avocado veggie sandwiches a few days a week but don’t anymore since we aren’t buying bread. Two days a week I make us big salad with 1 can of tuna (I have to limit it to two times a week because I am breastfeeding and the mercury levels are dangerous above that much) and a mustard dressing. Other days we will eat leftovers or a big portion of a chili or soup I made (Scott Jurek’s Winter Chili has by far been my favorite and I’ve made it four times) and a simple side salad with avocado. The tuna lunch gives us another 45 grams of protein for the day.

I stopped buying store bought dressing because even the simple vinaigrette I was buying at Trader Joe had added sugar. Instead, I make my own (which can be stored in the fridge for about a week, but usually we eat it all before then) using the following recipe (double, triple or quadruple it as needed, but here are the ratios):

  • 1 tbsp olive oil (sometimes I use a flavored garlic one and it makes it even better).
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2-1 tsp dijon mustard, to taste
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • Optional if available:  juice from half a lemon

Biggest Change: No more sandwiches or weekend burritos. 


  • Fruit: Banana, orange, or pear
  • Organic greek yogurt with berries. I stopped eating dairy regularly when we tried the vegan thing a few years ago, but I’ve slowly been more accepting of organic dairy products.
  • Protein Shake: 1 scoop Vega protein, 1 cup almond milk (this is probably too processed for the 100 days diet but making my own almond milk is just not in the cards), 1 tbsp flax seeds, fruit of choice (I either do a  whole banana and ice or just frozen berries).
  • 1/4 cup almonds, pumpkin seeds or cashews
  • 1 oz of cheese

I’ve never been one to forget to eat a meal (who are these people and are they lying!?), but with a baby, I definitely snack less often. I think sitting at my desk all day made me snack out of quasi boredom! I’m usually busy between meals so there is less time to think about it or prepare something. Fruit or nuts are definitely my go to!

Biggest Change: No big changes. I stopped eating KIND and other protein type bars when I was pregnant so I didn’t have to worry about cutting that out. 


Breakfast, lunch and snacks don’t seem to vary that much but for dinner we have a lot more options. I haven’t changed a whole lot of my dinner recipes since most of them were made up of whole foods anyway. One big change is that I’m buying and cooking fish now, which I didn’t do before. I haven’t purchased meat or fish to cook at home in 3 1/2 years so this is a big change!

A P90X friendly meal - Salmon with mango salsa, green beans and spaghetti squash

A P90X friendly meal – Salmon with mango salsa, green beans and spaghetti squash

Some of my favorite dinners:

  • Salmon or mahi mahi with a homemade mango salsa (mango, cucumber, lime and tomato), veggie and quinoa, couscous or roasted butternut squash.
  • Butternut squash tacos in corn tortillas with black bean corn salad on top (black beans, corn, diced red bell pepper, lime, cumin and chili powder).
  • Tempeh and veggie stir fry with homemade rice vinegar and soy sauce based sauce (most prepackaged asian sauces contain a crazy amount of sugar and it’s very simple to make your own!).
  • Lentil Spinach Cashew Curry with brown rice.
  • Tempeh and veggie burritos in whole wheat tortillas (La Fe brand has minimally processed whole wheat tortillas, found at Whole Foods) served with homemade guacamole.
  • Scott Jurek’s winter chili plus a side veggie or salad (this makes plenty for leftovers throughout the week).

Biggest Change: Not a lot of big changes but no homemade pizza or pre-dinner chips and guacamole. Less beer and wine with dinner. 

Eating Out 


Good on Ya Deli – all organic and local!

Our go to eat out option is Chipotle burrito bowls made with brown rice (no cheese or sour cream) or Urban Plates salmon plate with quinoa and veggie side dishes (or for lunch, the Kale Coconut Tofu salad). Whole Foods is also a great place to get healthy lunches. There is also a delicious organic restaurant in Encinitas called Good On Ya that Mike and I really enjoy as well. We have definitely been eating out way less since starting P90X and despite buying expensive fish 1-2 times a week (usually the wild fish is $15/pound or more), we’re saving money on food.

Biggest Change: Healthy places only! 


  • Fruit.

Unlike the P90X nutrition plan, which allows 4 oz of frozen yogurt or something similar, the 100 Days of Real Food plan doesn’t allow for any processed sugars at all, so fruit it is. I’ve been surprised at how little I crave sugar and it gets easier the longer it’s been since I’ve had it. It should also be noted that P90X Phase 1 diet only allows one piece of fruit a day, and we eat as much as we want. I typically have 3 pieces of fruit per day.

Biggest Change: No more chocolate or ice cream after dinner! 

So there you have it! We follow this plan most days, but there are good days and bad. We aren’t perfect but having lots of healthy food in the house to eat at all times and not having junk in the house has helped, especially since it’s not often convenient to step out to get something. As with every diet, social situations are the hardest and we have definitely not been as strict as we were during the first time we did P90X, but overall we’re doing pretty great. Within days of changing our diet I felt better and now after nearly 2 months of it, some of our old, less healthy habits are slipping away.

Are you following a new diet in the new year? Have you ever done a whole foods type diet like the Whole 30 or the 100 Days of Real Food? 

An Easy Way to Get Happy (& a Giveaway!)


What makes you happy? Is it doing things for yourself or for others? Studies show that gratitude is one of the surest ways to make YOURSELF happier (and luckier!), while at the same time making someone else’s day. Gratitude is so powerful that it can even make you a more creative thinker, in effect making you more successful in every aspect of your life. Building a “gratitude habit” is the mission of my husband Mike’s new company, Handwrittn.

Handwrittn is a monthly subscription service that delivers beautifully designed “blank” cards, along with stamps and envelopes, to you door each month. Every month there is a new theme and your shipment will contain four different and uniquely designed cards that align with that theme. You can use the cards any way you’d like – a thank you for a gift (the most obvious), to wish someone good luck on a big race, presentation, or test, to express sympathy, to congratulate someone, or to just simply let a special person know you’re thinking of them. Mike’s blog and newsletter (sign up here!) can give you even more ideas on who to and how to write these special notes. No matter, what a handwritten card impacts two lives. 

Handwrittn officially launched just this month and the first shipments go out next week. If you’d like to be included, be sure to sign up before Wednesday to be one of the pioneer members! To celebrate, we’re also giving away one free set of cards to one lucky reader (if you are already a subscriber, we’ll refund your money for the first month). You don’t have to sign up for the membership to receive your cards – we’ll just get them to your door.

handwrittn subscription service for cards A sneak peak of this month's designs. The theme is bicycles (no, it won't always be a fitness theme).

A sneak peak of this month’s designs. The theme is bicycles (no, it won’t always be a fitness theme).

In order to enter the giveaway, please do each of the following:

  1. Comment on this blog post that you’d like to enter the contest.
  2. Share Handwrittn on at least one social media platform (mention @fitnessfatale on Instagram and @handwrittncards on Twitter; if you share on Facebook and win, we’ll just ask you to screen shot your share for us).
  3. Sign up for Handwrittn’s newsletter here if you haven’t already (top bar of all pages or on contact page).

I’ll announce the winner on Friday and all you’ll have to do is give me your address and you cards will be in your hands by February 1st!

handwrittn stationary subscription service

I couldn’t be more excited for Mike and this journey. I’d love nothing more than for you to check out his website, read his blog and if you love it, spread the love for his company. Even better, sign up! Trust me, you’ll be grateful that you did.

Do you write thank you cards? When was the last time you received a card in the mail? How did it make you feel? 

Shout Out to My “Blog Friends”

WordPress just informed me that I’ve been with them for 5 years. 5 years (first post here – Carlsbad race report, the time I broke 2 hours)!!! I never would have imagined that I’d stick with blogging that long, but I guess it makes sense because I have always loved writing. This blog has never been something that I let stress myself out or that I use to make money (although it has afforded some great perks at times). I don’t put pressure on myself to get a certain number of readers, likes, comments or shares. I just do what I do, and if you like it, then I like you and if you don’t, I’ll still like you. This is just my corner of the internet.

Blog Friends at the Eugene Marathon

Blog Friends at the Eugene Marathon

The most rewarding thing about blogging, other than the intrinsic joy I get from putting pen to paper (errr… fingers to keyboard), is the friendships it has created for me. I’ve made REAL LIFE friendships from this blog. I call these people my “blog friends.” Some of this friends I’ve actually met in real life (met up for a run, saw each other at a race, shared hotel rooms or long plane rides, and one even came to my wedding), others are close enough that we text or e-mail without ever having met, and others are those who I feel a sense of friendship with just by the mere fact that we read and comment on each other’s blogs.

Page, Asia and I at our post wedding 5k

Page, Asia and I at our post wedding 5k

I usually am drawn to blogs that are written by people who don’t make a living off of them – the ones that are just real people doing their thing (which in this case, is usually running and/or triathlon) and writing about their version of it. I don’t like to read a lot of sponsored posts (although I will at times if they seem genuine or I’m interested in the product), which is why I don’t write a lot of them and tend to shy away from blogs full of them.

Flying to Bend for Oiselle Bird Camp with Sarah

Flying to Bend for Oiselle Bird Camp with Sarah

The reason I love to read other blogs and become friends with random strangers from the internet is because we share the same passion – running. Despite living in beautiful and very active San Diego, most of my friends don’t run. I have a few running buddies (hello Asia, Brooke, Amy and Allison!), but it’s sometimes difficult to coordinate schedules and training cycles at times (plus, pace  is an issue when you’ve got some super speedy friends!). Plus, I really like to read about what people are doing to get faster and get in their minds as they prepare for a big race. I love to read a good race report where a fellow runner has achieved their goal, or be able to commiserate with them when they don’t.

Kate has been a great blogging friend who now lives in Encinitas!

Kate has been a great blogging friend who now lives in Encinitas!

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of bloggers come and go. People drop off and don’t come back, but usually if they’ve become my friend (hello to my first “blog friend” Robyn!), we still keep in touch, via Facebook or the occasional e-mail or text.

So will I be blogging in 5 more years? I’d guess not, but 5 years ago I would have said the same thing. We’ll see how long this ship sails, but for now, I’m happy to go along for the ride with all of you! Cheers to blog friends, past, present and future!

Do you make friends on the internet? If so, who was your first blog friend? What kind of blogs do you like to read?