Tag Archives: Running and real estate

10 Ways to Make Your Solo Runs Fun, Interesting, and Challenging!

“When you reach a dead end road, don’t despair. Instead, watch the sky, the swimming clouds, and the narrow paths that open up. After this exploration, pick yourself up and elevate your soul and mind with jumping joy.” Carmen Micsa

 

Jumping with joy!

 

Let’s be honest: it is always more fun to run with friends, especially those long runs. Yet, many times we need to run on our own for various reasons, such as time constraints, pace desired, coming back from an injury, and so forth.  This Thursday, May 11th, I had a terrific solo 6-mile run in the high 8s and felt so great after not having run for more than a month due to my tendonitis. While running, I usually listen to some of my favorite podcasts, such as The Hidden Brain, Runner’s World, The Moth, The Nutrition Diva, and a few others. This time, I was ready for a selfie running video, as an idea came to my mind. I wanted to explore running and exercising alone and how we can make it fun and exciting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ow3SAkci4DI

 

During my solo runs, I love to stop more often and capture the pretty views that unfold in front of me.

 

I took this picture at Ancil Hoffman Park on Good Friday before Easter. Only after I  looked at my picture, I saw the divine cross burning in the sky at sunset. I was thrilled with my discovery and took my time before getting back to my run.

 

Ever since I got into running, I felt that I needed to test my body and lungs on my own first. From that first day in 2015 when I ran down the street from my house for half a mile, or so, I have discovered different ways to enjoy my solo runs. It wasn’t always easy, since I am quite a social person and love company, but here are my 10 ways to make your runs solo more fun, interesting, and challenging.

  1. Turn your solo run into that much needed mediation in motion, which is why it is good to leave the headsets behind sometimes.
  2. Listen to interesting podcasts that you like, which feels like running together with an intelligent, fun,  and well-read friend.
  3. Make an appointment with yourself and write it on your calendar. You can write something like: “Running 6 miles tomorrow around Ancil Hoffman Park with my new podcasts to listen. ” By penciling the run on your calendar, you won’t dread going by yourself. It will almost feel that you are meeting someone and you have to stick to the schedule and be punctual.
  4. Combine workouts, such as speed workout with hill repeats, one of my favorite combinations. Another combo I like is tempo run on a hilly course.
  5. Wear a silly hat, or piece of costume around the holidays (Christmas, Halloween) and enjoy the smiles you get from other runners and walkers, as well as from the drivers passing by you.
Wearing my Santa hat and my Christmas top.

 

6.  Find a new running route and create as many different routes around your neighborhood to have choices and be excited to get out the door and start running.

7.  Solve whatever problems you are having during your solo runs and you will be amazed at your creativity and ease of finding the right answers and solutions.

8. Stop to talk to other runners and make friends, or even run together just like I did in Las Vegas when I met two wonderful guys from Canada. We ran down the strip up to Mandalay Bay Casino and Resort and it was wonderful to chat with them and run together. We have stayed friends and are connected on Strava.

 

Picture in front of Paris, Paris with my new running friends. They were kind, fun, and interesting to run with! They had the right pace, too! Runners are the nicest people!

 

9.  Allow yourself to be poetic  and philosophical when running in beautiful places. I love writing little poems in my head, coming up with my own quotes, which makes my run quite exciting and interesting.

10. Give yourself a weekly challenge, such as taking a beautiful pic of wild flowers, animals, taking a selfie jumping picture, etc. You can do the same challenge a few times that week and that will give you even more purpose and something to look forward to besides your tempo run, speed workout, or easy run that day.

 

Besides making your  solo runs more interesting as I mentioned above,  there are also three gifts that come from running alone:

 

In other words, running alone should be practiced weekly  for all the reasons above-mentioned and many more that you might have yourself, as well as to become mentally stronger for your races when you are mostly likely to run by yourself surrounded by the other runners.

 

  1. Running alone is the gift of solitude and peace that your soul needs on a weekly basis to recharge itself.
  2. Running alone is also the gift of gratitude, as it will teach you to be more humble and grateful for that great running friend and partner who helps you pick up your pace and lifts up your spirits the days you do run together.
  3. Running alone is the gift of good health and extended life, as it will offer you so many physical, mental, and spiritual benefits.

And to find out how running with others will make you a stronger and happier runner, stay tuned for my next blog.

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

 

Sacramento Hot Real Estate Spring Market – Difference between a Condo and Townhome

With our Sacramento real estate market getting hotter, many first time buyers and investors will turn their interests to condos and townhomes for a few reasons: they are more affordable, require less work, as some of the exterior and roof repairs are covered by the Home Owner’s Association, and offer more security features, especially the gated ones.  When I showed a condo to my cash investors last week, they asked me: “What is the difference between a condo and townhome?” Excellent question!

Just listed! Great condominium close to Sac State, Arden Fair Mall, and downtown!

 

CONDOS AND THEIR FEATURES

According to the article below from Realty Times,  “a buyer of a condominium owns his or her individual unit, plus a percentage of the surrounding property, including land and any amenities on the property (The word “condominium” is Latin, meaning “common ownership” or “common control”).

http://realtytimes.com/archives/item/20020-20000629_condotwnhome

  1. The condo shares more common areas.
  2. Common areas include stairs, driveways, walkways, hallways, parking lots, and Home Owner’s Association amenities, such as pools and club house.
  3. Only few condos have garages; most of them have shared carports.

TOWNHOMES AND THEIR FEATURES

 

As opposed to the condo, the townhome has a very distinct characteristic: owning the ground underneath the unit and having their own roof. Additionally, some townhomes look like a detached home and have garages, which is not that common with condos.

When I first got into the business, my first sale was a condo and then I kept selling quite a few others, so my nickname was “the condo queen.” I learned about each condo complex and sold a few townhomes, too. I am helping one of my clients who bought this condo with me 17 years ago. She used it as a personal residence and then turned it into an investment property. Thus, condos or townhomes can make great financial sense in a hot market, in which it might be hard to buy a home.

For more info on my new condo listing, check out the virtual tour, and feel free to call me for a viewing. This one will go quickly!

http://1520hoodroad.ihousenet.com/

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

5 Reasons Why Running and Biking Make a Great Cross-Training Team

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you have to keep moving.
Albert Einstein

My Biking Background

Before I became a runner, I used to love to bike places by myself and with our sweet kids who learned how to bike before they turned eight years old.

 

The kids and I doing a short bike ride around the neighborhood at the beginning of 2017.

 

I also used to bike to Sacramento State University when I did my Masters degree and loved the no parking hassle and getting my exercise done at the same time. I have also done a few century (100 miles) and 100K rides for Diabetes Tour de Cure in honor of my dear father.

After a long 10-hour century ride. I used to always get lost and my family worried about me.

 

Running and Cross-training

Yet, once the bug of running took a hold on me in 2015, I started to neglect my Specialized Women design road bike. With a sticker on the middle bar that reads in Japanese calligraphy, self-moving vehicle, my bike started collecting dust in our garage, because I had found pure joy and more freedom in running, not to mention an excellent way to burn roughly four times more calories.  I was thus preoccupied with my running Lunar 8 Nike shoes and my Brooks Cascadia shoes and following my training schedule provided by our racing team coach. At first, I was running 4 to 5 days a week, but then I increased to 6 days a week to cram more miles and get stronger, and yet more prone to injury.

Overusing our muscles doing the same repetitive motion will certainly lead to injury sooner or later, which happened to me last month in March after a tough track workout. Thank goodness, I can now start back running wiser and stronger after my tendon has healed. As I biked 20 miles today, I kept writing in my head, while feeling the wind, smelling barbecue meat cooking on the grills the day before Easter,  and watching the swollen and swift American River on my left side.

My 20-mile bike ride today instead of my 20-mile long run, as I need to build back up slowly with my running and marathon training for Mountains to Beaches at the end of May.

I even imagined a funny conversation between my bike and I that went this way:

Bike: “So, now I am good enough for a 20-mile spin, because you can’t run in your snazzy Lunar Glide shoes, huh?”

Me: “Uhmmm! You know you have been my first love ever since childhood.”

Bike: “Yeah? And running is your hot lover who gets you high all the time.”

Me: “Nonsense. I just love to run and maybe my Lunar Glide shoes and you can be civilized and share the roads and trails from now on,” I replied while listening to the Runner’s World podcasts.

Bike: “I guess we can… Pedal harder! You can get a biker’s high without getting too tired, or too winded!”

Me: “Sweet! Maybe biker’s high is a little more real than unicorns.”

While biking and not getting tired, I also came up with five reasons biking and running can be best friends:

  1. Biking is a fast and great way to do intervals and hills with less pressure on our body.
  2. Biking can be done during a class indoors no matter what the weather is like, or outdoors for more sunshine and vitamin D.
  3. Biking can be a great training partner during off season, during an injury that allows you to bike, or just as an addition to your rest, easy days.
  4. Biking will build up your stamina and endurance, as well as provide excellent cardio benefits.
  5. Biking and running can become best friends and help you with that PR when running your next race.

As for me, I have decided to balance running, biking, playing tennis, strength training, and aqua jogging to avoid injuries. Running 5 days a week should be enough. Running and swimming the same day if I choose so can give me two intense cardio workouts and less stress on my joints and body. It will feel as if I am training for a triathlon and maybe one day, I will actually do one! Cheers! Happy feet! Happy pedaling!

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

 

5 Worst Running Injuries I had in My First Two Years as a Runner and What You Can Do to Prevent Them

Romanians (Yes, I am Romanian American and quite proud of it) have a great saying: “smart people learn from the mistakes of others, whereas not so smart people learn from their own mistakes.” I would love for you to learn from my mistakes and know that learning from your own mistakes is unavoidable. Besides,  when things happen for the first time, it has little to do with your intelligence level: it has to do more with life’s constant element of surprise, or what I like to call an ocean wave sweeping us off our feet when we are least expecting it.

Balance

 

One of the things I think I am pretty good at is balancing my busy parent, professional, intellectual, and athletic life.  I feel that I can juggle things, because I use my calendar well and try to write down all appointments, all my to-do lists, and still have room left for fun activities. I also found out that as a runner, balance is key. I need to balance my workouts, the time on my feet, as well as make room for tennis and strength training. But what happens when you become a little too confident in your running abilities? Well, you tip the balance scales to the heavier training cycle of running, so you start doing two runs a day even after a race you did the same day, which I have done and felt great at the time. You know that your form is good, so you won’t get injured, but overuse injuries can creep up upon us. Our bodies take the beating up to the point of quitting, so that’s when we start having problems.

 

Five worst running Injuries I have had in the last two years

 

I always thought I had a stronger body than my body really is! And, yes! I am an optimist who likes to wear the rosy glasses often. Moreover, just because I have played tennis for 22 years and never got injured is not enough to proclaim the Herculean strength of my body. As a matter of fact, once I started to run in 2015, I realized how many weak areas I had in my body, starting with the ankle which I injured in my first month of running due to poor form and improper shoes for my feet (I was wearing the low Altra shoes that offer no support to our ankles), but bounced back in 4 days. Then the knees pointed out to me that I had developed IT band syndrome, when I felt pain on the side of my knees and runner’s knee when my knees hurt right below the knee cap.

My first  half marathon Run the Sly in 2015, my first year running. I wore the copper fit knee sleeves to protect my knees from hurting, especially during longer runs.
My first CIM marathon that I finished in 4:13, even though I pulled my groin muscle at mile 18 and had to slow down.

 

Although I always ran with my knee sleeves on for about a year, as if they had magical powers, I had discovered that I could run without them with no pain when I forgot to put them on. That day I ran freely without any “crutches,” so to speak and felt like Forrest Gump .

Next injury took me almost six months to clear, as I had developed Planter Fasciitis after buying running flats that had a lower heel drop than I was used to and due to my tight calf muscles. Every morning, the sharp pain in my heel felt like walking on needles or stepping on a nail, but once I started my run, I was pain free and kept on going.

Towards the end of 2016,  I also developed a mild form of shin splints, with pain running up the inside of my lower legs.  Shin Splints can happen to runners whose feet maintain ground contact too long, or if the foot lands too far in front of them. Higher mileage will also contribute to shin splints.

My fifth injury came on totally unexpected on March 21st, 2017 after I did some intense speed workout on the track. I did 4 mile repeats and felt great until I got home and started to limp badly. My husband asked me if I twisted my ankle, or my foot. I said “no.” My speed workout felt wonderful as always.  I just didn’t know what happened, but I was sure I would be like brand new by the morning. And, yes: my rosy glasses were on. I had no clue that I had developed one of the worst injuries that only affects 0.6 percent of runners from what I have read – see how special I am?

I had developed peroneal tendonitis on my right foot, which is extreme pain on the outside area of the foot right above the ankle. Unlike all the above-noted injuries that never stopped me from training and running races, this one left me limping and unable to run. Yes, I was smart to stop running, while resting and icing, but it was mainly because my injury forced me to do that. I have not run in two weeks, doing aqua jogging, stretching exercises, and foam rolling.

After two weeks of rest and doing aqua jogging, Pilates class, and core exercises, I have tried acupuncture http://www.acupunctureinsacramento.com for the first time in my life to attack the tendon and be able to restart my Mountains to Beaches marathon training coming up on May 28th in Southern California. It worked so well and I highly recommend it, but check about your injuries with your doctor first.

Do You Have Peroneal Tendonitis? Here is How to Fix it

http://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/peroneal-tendonitis-stretches#2

Although the article below talks about 5 most troublesome running injuries, which I had all, my sixth running injury comes and goes depending on how long and intense I run. I have had piriformis syndrome on and off, which is simply pain in the gluteal muscles, making it hard to maintain a certain pace, once it kicks in. I like to call this injury a kick in the butt, not figuratively speaking, as that’s the area that hurts and slows me down.

The 5 Most Troublesome Running Injuries

 

When it comes to healing all kinds of running related injuries, I recommend reading James Sullivan’s advice below and then read about my healing methods.

http://www.mensjournal.com/expert-advice/how-to-recover-from-running-injuries

 

CARMEN’S 20 HEALING METHODS FOR THE ABOVE-MENTIONED INJURIES AND ADVICE:

 

  1. Listen to my body and address the issue promptly.
  2. Read many running books and changed my running form after reading the Chi Running book by Danny and Katherine Dreyer. I highly recommend it, as I was able to apply the lessons and improve my form and speed.
  3. Read about the injury and take action to heal the body while running, if safe to run.
  4. Changed the type of shoes I wore and currently run in the Nike Lunar Glide 8, which are better for my feet.
  5. Changed my running shoes every 400 miles to avoid injuries.
  6. Rolling my foot on a tennis ball daily and often while working at my desk to get rid of Plantar Fasciitis.
  7. Using the foam roll often and doing different Yoga stretches.
  8. Doing weekly core and strength training exercises, such as squats, lunges, kettle bell swings, bridges, and so on.
  9. Doing hills to strengthen my body, especially my gluteal muscles.
  10. Running much slower on my recovery days to allow my body to fully recover.
  11. Running with friends to keep myself accountable.
  12. Using the sauna to loosen up the muscles and recover well from tough workouts.
  13. Using the Epsom salt baths after long runs.
  14. Not running the day before a race and especially before a marathon.
  15. Using the chiropractor once to realign my body.
  16. Using the acupuncture and common sense to heal the tendon.
  17. Not taking Levofloxacin or Ciprofloxacin antibiotics, as they can weaken the tendon and ankles, leaving one more prone to injury.
  18. Talking to other runner friends and asking for their advice.
  19. Staying humble.
  20. Being wiser about life and running – hopefully!

 

CARMEN’S 12 GOALS FOR RUNNING STRONGER AND INJURY-FREE IN THE FUTURE ALL THE WAY TO 100:

 

  1. Balance my tennis and running better, meaning that I won’t do a speed training session the same day that I play tennis. Instead, I will do an easy run the day I play tennis, or no run.
  2. Strengthen my muscles more.
  3. Do more stretches after my runs and ice more often at the first sign of soreness.
  4. Give up racing, if a small nagging injury is present and wait to be totally healed.
  5. Run mostly 5 days a week instead of 6, unless I am behind my schedule and my body feels healthy to handle the extra pounding.
  6. Do two easy runs a day when feeling good, but never a hard run followed by an easy one. After a hard run, or race, I can do aqua jogging to relax the body and muscles.
  7. Incorporate aqua jogging and biking into my weekly workouts for cross training and getting the body stronger.
  8. Listen to my body more and respond with rest when needed.
  9. Be flexible in rearranging my running schedule, if my body cannot accommodate a speed workout that day.
  10. Mix road and trail running, but avoid running too many hills on tired legs.
  11. Order custom orthotics for my high arched feet to take away the pressure from the calf muscles.
  12. Use acupuncture, deep tissue massages,  and active release techniques to stay strong and healthy.

 

I have tried Crossfit for a month and got my body stronger, while learning to incorporate some of the moves into my own strength training schedule, such as the deadlift move.

 

Although these injuries seem to be too much, I have enjoyed my running tremendously and highly recommend it to all my friends as the best mediation in motion out there. I have been successful at it, winning many age group races and even winning first female overall in the Gumby 5K trail run this year. I believe that with the right plan and improved running technique, I will continue to run many more races and marathons. Running is life!

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

Running Later in Life and How Running Keeps Us Younger, Healthier, and Happier!

It takes courage and determination to change at any age, but taking up running later in life to increase one’s health and fitness level is not what the every day person does.

Meet five incredible athletes all in their 70s who are not interested in joining any senior’s classes soon. Their passion and joie de vivre: running.

 

Last year while training for California International marathon, my third marathon since I started running, I had the pleasure and honor to meet these four amazing women Charlyn, Barbara, Carolyn, and Linda all in their 70s – so driven, radiant, humble, and truly inspiring.

 

Big 70 to 74 age group winners at Valentine 4-mile race this year. Carolyn in the red, Barbara in the middle, and Charlyn next to her.

 

We met during our Fleet Feet Fit track workouts led by our amazing coach Chad Worthen. Being the  gregarious and curious person that I am, I made friends with them and started asking questions. Charlyn amazed me first, as I talked to her and learned about her transformative and inspiring fitness journey . I even used her story on my mom to get her moving, which worked. My mom started running with me short half a mile distances the  summer of 2016. I have to say that her form was perfect  and that she did not want to run slowly. In 2017, a few months later after getting to know all these wonderful women, I have decided to interview them and learn about their extraordinary journeys.

 

Charlyn Frazier’s beginnings and progress as a runner

 

Charlyn Frazier started to run in February 2011 at the age of 66 after joining a local gym. She had played a lot of tennis in Southern California in the 70s and 80s, but after moving to Sacramento in 1990, she became inactive and put on a lot of weight in the next 21 years.  Luckily, her trainer at the gym suggested that she kicked up the cardio and try running.  

 Charlyn ran her first 5K race in 39:33. It was so exhilarating and she couldn’t wait to do it again.  Soon after that, she ran her first 10K in July 2011, her first half in October 2011, and her first marathon California International Marathon in 2012.  This was just the beginning of her enthusiasm and passion for running. As of February 2017, Charlyn has run 104 races, four of which are marathons. 

 

Charlyn finishing CIM 2016 with a big smile on her face. Another marathon in the books. Marathons are actually her favorite distance and she loves to train for them. Charlyn admits that  even though she is not nervous on race day, she is as excited as a child on Christmas Eve.

 

Her breakthrough in running came in January 2014 when she decided to join Fleet Feet Fit program. She immediately loved having coach Chad Worthen hold her accountable and give her positive feedbacks, while reminding her to get in her miles and stay focused during workouts. 

 

Charlyn wearing bib number 70 to match her age at the Urban Cow half marathon in Sacramento. What a joy!

 Charlyn’s advice to other new and seasoned runners

 

  1. Taking up running for the first time means to start out slow with short distances and work up from there. 
  2. Be ready to be amazed at how quickly your endurance and pace will build-up. For example, Charlyn finished her first 5K on May 30, 2011 in 39:33 and less than three months later finished a 5K in 36:08. Note that she set 5K PR at Run to Feed the Hungry in December 2016 with a time of 27:58.  
  3. It is very important to have a network of running buddies. It was a major step for Charlyn in her running journey when she joined up with Fleet Feet to train for her first Urban Cow Half Marathon. The camaraderie in a training group is a phenomenal motivator for setting that clock and meeting up on the road on a cold winter morning. 
  4. Meet and run with other runners who can inspire you to become the best you can be.  Charlyn has become friends with Barbara, Linda, and Carolyn all featured in this blog.

  Charlyn’s greatest accomplishments as a runner

 

  • In 2015 Charlyn finished 9th in Buzz Oates Run-Sac competitive division. In 2016, she finished 7th being rewarded with $75.00 and $150.00 respectively. She also earned a place on the 2016 Milestone 100-Mile Club having logged 116 miles in Buzz Oates races http://runsacseries.com/. This earned her a cool shirt, hat, and jacket! 
  •  Charlyn’s greatest honor has been receiving the Sacramento Running Association’s Award for 2015 Veteran Women Athlete – Marathon and SRA’s Award for 2016 Veteran Women Athlete – Road Running https://runsra.org/.

 

SRA (Sacramento Running Association) Achievement Award for Veteran Woman Marathon Athlete.

Barbara Rinker’s beginnings and progress as a runner

 

Barbara finishing the California International Marathon in December 2016 with a bright smile on her face. Running brings her so much joy and she loves competing. Her favorite distance is the marathon.

 

Barbara Rinker started to run at 50.

She remembers walking from the 20-mile mark of the American River Trail to the Fish Hatchery as part of a weight loss contest with Weight Watchers to lose pounds and get healthier. Then the walk progressed to a jog next to her long-legged husband. She eventually got pretty efficient at jogging and signed up with Buffalo CHIPS together with her husband. After running her first 10K in 58 minutes, Barbara was hooked by the joy of running. She also realized that running is as mental as it is physical.

 

Barbara’s advice to other new and seasoned runners

 

  1. The more you move, the more capable you are of moving.
  2. Appropriate rest days are just as important as running and workout days.
  3. Barbara’s advice to women 60 and older:  “make yourself available to other runners; you could find them to be great confidence builders. Find a good training group and talk it up with others of like mind.” 
  4. A proper running schedule will help you set and accomplish your health goals and increase the fun in your life.  Heavy breathing is good for the soul and the lungs.

Barbara’s greatest accomplishments as a runner

 

  • Barbara has run 11 marathons: 9 California International Marathons, 2 Boston Marathons, and 1 Avenue of the Giants.
  • Total number of other races: 172, including 1 30K, 23 Half Marathons, and a mixture of 5 and 10Ks.

Carolyn Slavich’s beginnings and progress as a runner

 

Carolyn Slavich was 62 when she started running.  She decided to try running when her daughter ran the CIM that year. Carolyn started to run around the track at the tennis club with one of her tennis friends. She doesn’t think she made it even 100 yards the first time she tried it, but kept at it until she could run 5 miles. Her first races were Susan G Komen 5K and Run to Feed the Hungry.  When she was 65, Carolyn’s daughter talked her into doing a half marathon. Carolyn ran the Sacramento marathon half, which became the Cowtown and the Urban cow about five times.

When Carolyn was 70 years old, she decided to try a marathon. She looked for the perfect training program, but they all were for people faster than she was. Then she found Harry Tortuga training for the Urban Cow half and was able to combine that with a marathon training program she found on line. Carolyn completed her first CIM at 70 in 5:39.

Carolyn’s advice to other new and seasoned runners

 

  1. Running is very personal for everyone and the desire to start running has to be there for an individual.
  2. Carolyn encourages everyone interested enough to give running a try, because the end result is an amazing feeling, especially once runners reach their goals.
  3. Running certainly keeps you fit.
  4. Runners are such great people and running is such a wonderful social sport.

Carolyn’s greatest accomplishments as a runner

 

Carolyn Slavich’s 1st AG (Age group) place at the Shamrock’s half marathon in March 2017.

 

  • Carolyn has completed 6 marathons and Boston will be her 7th.
  • Carolyn is not totally sure, but she thinks she ran 100 races.
  • She attributes her running accomplishments to her coach Chad Worthen and the Fleet Feet FIT training.

Linda Hall’s beginnings and progress as a runner

 

 

Linda won 1st place in her AG at the ZooZoom 5K race on March 26 (5K races are her favorite).  We’re both displaying our stuffed animals that we received for placing in our AG. I finished second in my AG.

 

Linda Hall was 32 and just starting her first job as an assistant professor of biology at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts when she started running.  She was working in a high stress job, setting up her own research laboratory, competing for grant money, teaching really bright students, and living in a big city. Linda had a husky-shepherd dog (Nikki) who loved running around Fresh Pond in Cambridge.  Once Linda started running with her dog to and from work, she was hooked. Linda has been running for more than 40 years.

Linda did not run any races until she moved to New York City in 1979 when she joined the faculty at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she was a professor of molecular genetics and neuroscience. She joined NYC road runners and also Prospect Park Track club. Linda’s first race was Leggs mini marathon, which was really a 10 k race in Central Park. That year Dustin Hoffmann was in the movie Tootsie.  He ran in that race in drag and was just ahead of Linda. The crowd was cheering for him, which was an indelible moment.

 

Linda’s advice to other new and seasoned runners

 

  1. Buy yourself a pair of good running shoes and vow to wear them out (it takes 300-400 miles).
  2. Then buy another pair of shoes and keep going.
  3. Running is a great way to relieve stress and to solve problems.
  4. Running can teach us patience and to approach problems systematically: one step at a time.
  5. Nothing seems bad after a nice run alone or with friends.
  6. Listen to your body and don’t try to do too much, too soon.
  7. Find a group of friends who are a little faster than you and stick with them.
  8. Running is a great way to maintain your weight, but you still can’t eat everything.
  9. Have fun with running, but listen to your body and you can keep running for many years. …more than 40 years for Linda!
  10. Running teaches you the importance of running your own race, but also the importance of encouraging others.

Linda’s greatest accomplishments as a runner

 

  • Linda has run 7 marathons: NYC marathon (4 times), Marine Corps, Grandmas (in Minnesota), and the San Diego rock n roll marathon

Besides these wonderful and dedicated women athletes, I also had the honor to meet and interview David Ghent, who competes and wins in the Senior Games in the 70-74 age group, which used to be Senior Olympics.

 

My friend Andrea and I met David Ghent at the American River College track stadium. We started chatting with him and found out how much he loves to sprint. We also learned that he is in his 70s and living life to the fullest. His favorite event is the 100 meters dash.

 

David Ghent’s beginnings and progress as a runner

 

David Ghent is a different type of runner; he is a 73-year-old sprinter who loves sprinting due to the fact that it is over quickly. David has attempted distance running, but found out that he didn’t have the mental fortitude for it. David started sprinting for exercise and fell in love with it. He was sprinting at American River Junior College one day when this man asked him if he ever thought about sprinting in the Senior Games, which used to be Senior Olympics. The Senior Games are divided into 5 year increments from 50 years on up. David had never heard of it before, but started checking into it and decided to enter his first competition in 2014. He won three gold medals and has competed ever since.

 

David’s advice to other new and seasoned runners

 

  1. It is never too late to start something.
  2. People put too much weight into numbers when discussing age. It is almost expected that when one reaches a certain age, one is to stop living and “take it easy,” which is a big mistake.
  3. If more people could experience the feeling of when endorphins are activated into the pleasure center of one’s brain and the positive effect that endorphins have on the thoughts and feelings of the person, maybe more would choose to run.
  4. Joining a running group is such a positive and motivating environment. It is more enjoyable to participate in doing something with other like-minded people than alone.
  5. Completing a marathon doesn’t have to be the end all of a goal. Just go into it with the thought of moving, as they say from couch to 5K.

 

David’s greatest accomplishments as a runner

 

  • To medal is the ultimate goal, but to be a participant and take in all that the Games have to offer and meeting the athletes is truly a privilege. To witness a 92 year young woman shot put and a 101 year young man shot put, throw both the javelin and discuss, and to run and finish both the 100 and 200 meter dashes is truly inspiring.
  • Every two years there is the National Senior Games which are held in a different state each time. One has to qualify to participate and each state has their own qualifying events. David was fortunate enough to have qualified in 2015 which was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota and again this year in Birmingham, Alabama. He will be participating in the 50, 100, and 200 meter dashes. He failed to advance to the finals in 2015, but that is his goal this year in Birmingham.
  • David has run many 5K races and finished 2 half-marathons.
  • David’s big goal and plan for this year is to run and finish the CIM, which will be his first marathon. He hopes to erase that from his bucket list.

When it comes to running and exercising to stay healthy and happy, running can be a great outlet. After all, life is rarely a sprint; it is a marathon, so why not run your first marathon at any age and find more inspiration from others who have done it and have transformed their lives, one step and mile at a time.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog, and if you have your own amazing stories to share, please comment here.

http://nutritionfacts.org/2017/01/24/exercise-as-a-treatment-for-depression/

http://www.runnersworld.com/walking

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

Running and Real Estate- 6 Reasons Location Can Make or Break Your Fitness

Are buyers super tired of hearing about the importance of “location, location, location” every single time they work with a real estate agent like myself?  Do we agents sound like a broken record, or is there more to these three repetitive nouns?

I have to be honest and tell you that when my husband and I bought our home in Carmichael, CA, I was not much into exercise and I was definitely not a runner. All my husband and I knew was that we wanted to live in Carmichael – the rural feel and yet the central location of Carmichael appealed to us. We loved playing tennis and we did notice that the house we bought was within walking distance from Carmichael Park, which made us happy. Good location!

Since I became a runner, I go to Carmichael Park to play tennis or run. I also go for walks with our kids and play Pokémon Go, because we are close to it and it is convenient to get there.

 

IMPORTANCE OF LOCATION

 

I have been in real estate for 17 years and I always try to educate my buyers about the importance of location for two reasons:

  1. Buying a house on a cul-de-sac, one of the most desirable locations, because of reduced traffic, next to a beautiful park, golf course, bike trail, etc. can enhance the property value of a home and the well-being of its occupants, as it is convenient to  exercise.
  2. Buying a house next to railroad tracks, close to an airport, or on a busy street can decrease the property value of one’s home by as much as 20 percent. http://realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/slideshows/8-types-of-roads-that-can-have-a-big-impact-on-home-sales

Therefore, buyers who are more nature, outdoor, and fitness enthusiasts might want to work with an agent who understands the importance of location when it comes to easy access to the bike trail, a public track, close proximity to a fitness club, nature parks, and so on.

Sacramento has one of the best multi-purpose trails in the country. Jedediah Smith Memorial Bicycle Trail, known as the bike trail,  or  the Parkway,  stretches along 32 miles of parkway from Old Sacramento to Folsom Lake.
Ancil Hoffman Park, where one can watch deer, coyotes, and turkeys while exercising. The nature center and golf course are one of Carmichael’s hidden gems and treasures.

 

FITNESS CHECKLIST

 

As a real estate broker and fitness fanatic (I am an avid runner and tennis player), I recommend buyers the following checklist to make sure their new home will enhance their easy access to exercising whether it is biking, running, playing golf, tennis, etc.

  1. Use Google maps to determine the walking distance from your new home to the above-mentioned locations.
  2. Create your walking/biking/running routes and see how conveniently located you are from your new gym, for instance. I am 1 mile away from two of the gyms I belong to. I love to run or ride my bike there, which makes me feel that I kill two birds with one stone, because I get my run in and do strength training, or take various classes there.
  3. Rate all the homes you visit based on the exercise convenience factor. For instance, five stars rating means extremely easy access to parks, nature preserve areas, golf courses, tennis courts, and fitness clubs.
  4. Be realistic about the importance of your fitness goals and the convenience of achieving them based on the location of your home and decide if you can settle for anything less than three stars. Let’s say your new home is close to fitness club, tennis courts, and parks. That is a pretty good location, but as you go lower in stars, you need to decide if you need to keep looking for that three stars or higher fitness house.
  5. Be very clear and specific with your agent about your fitness goals and the location of your new home and make sure that you do not waste time looking at homes that are far from your desired criteria.
  6. After having your offer accepted and while in escrow, try some of your routes to make sure that your new neighborhood has a high walking score. Additionally, use this website to find the walking score of your new home https://www.walkscore.com/

To sum things up, I believe buyers should take the fitness factor seriously when buying a home. Analyzing a home’s curb appeal and all the remodeling should be done in connection with your ability to walk many places around your new home/neighborhood. Happy house hunting! Happy feet and happy to help you find that perfect FIT home of your dreams.

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

Traveling and Running – 6 Tips to Explore New Places

Ever since I became a runner, I have changed the way I see the world. I pay more attention to details, I am more creative, and I love to see nature, animals, plants, trees, and new places and cities in motion.

My first breakthrough came last year (2016) when we traveled to the East Coast, and I got to run from the mountains in Tennessee to the beaches on Hilton Head Island. During that trip, I thought to myself that every city should have a running tour, as it is so much easier than creating our own tours when traveling to new places, although it feels great to be explorers.  Sacramento, for instance, has Sac Running Tours http://www.sacrunningtours.com that offers two 4-mile run tours: Capital City Highlights featuring Sacramento history and places of interest and Urban Art featuring the large murals, public art, and graffiti around downtown/midtown, which I went on last year ( 2016). Both tours are $30 each. They also offer personalized tours at any distance for individuals or groups.

Last month, our family traveled to Las Vegas. This article http://www.bootsnall.com/articles/10-11/running-while-traveling.html about running while traveling is right on. In my case, I chose to run up and down the strip in Las Vegas in the morning and late afternoon to experience all its bustling, music, street shows, and lights  at my own pace.

Not many people around during my morning run.
Yet, exploring busy cities and new places takes some preparation as well as spontaneity to make your running adventures even more fun and exciting.

 

  1. One of the best times to explore a new place is in the morning, as it is more tranquil, less traffic, and less busy.
Treasure Island Casino before its visitors show up. The stillness of the pirate ship and the uneventful dock made me enjoy it even more while snapping a quick pic.

2. Plan your route ahead either by searching online, Strava, MapMy Run, or even better asking the front desk at the hotel you’re staying, since they know the area and will have some great recommendations.

I knew that I needed to do a 10-mile run, so I fugured that running from Westgage Hotel, where we stayed past Luxor would get me close to my running and exploration goal.

3. Try to join local runners/running groups, or simply join other runners that you come across during your run.  Around mile two into my run, I was fortunate to come across two tall, handsome, and very polite Canadian runners who allowed me to run with them after I asked to join them. Making friends in a new city takes us beyond the geography of that place; it places us closer to the locals and visitors from all over the world, which makes  it much more rewarding and fascinating.

Enjoying the company of my tall Canadian friends who ran with me about 4 miles.

4. Best way to immerse yourself in the new place you’re visiting is to allow yourself to stop and smell the flowers, so to speak. In my case, I stopped to take jumping pictures, watch the street shows,  and visit the inside of the Bellagio Casino to delight in their Chinese New Year flower exhibit (the year of the rooster) during my two days of running and exploring Sin City.

Jumping with joy in front of Caesar’s Palace.
Watching the knife juggler who travels all over the world with his shows.
Exquisite topiary celebrating the Chinese New Year.
The vibrant red carnations sure make this stand out.

5.  The joy of running in a new place is to listen to its throbbing arteries, so leave your headset at home and be aware of your surroundings, while staying safe.

Looming casinos, shiny and bright.

6. Besides making us feel good, the joy of running in a new place is to bring your family back to some of  the sights and rejoice together.

Our family enjoying the water fountain show in front of Bellagio.
Our sweet children being silly in front of the Tour Eiffel Tower replica.

Traveling immerses us in the heart and soul of new places; traveling and running connects us to the deeper beats of new places we visit and revisit. Let’s strive to stride around the world!

Please share your stories and running adventures be commenting on this post. Happy feet!

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

 

 

 

10 Tips for Running and Having Fun in the Rain! Don’t Let the Rain Dampen Your Stride!

When it comes to running in the rain, there is no middle ground: runners either love it, or hate it! Unfortunately, I have been leaning towards the haters group and have stalled and waited around for the rain to stop. Today, I had no choice but to go out in the rain and wind, which makes it even harder. Yet, before leaving the house, I told myself that I needed to have fun with my 10-mile run, so I composed another rap song just like other times when I ran in the rain. Rain equates rap? You might ask. Yep! The tapping sound of rain inspires me to rap, for some odd reason.

 

Tips for Running in the Rain:

 

  1. Do not overdress, as a matter of fact underdress!
  2. Wear just shorts and T-shirt, if it’s not too cold, as clothes will get soggy and heavy.
  3. Do not rely on those expensive water proof or water resistant jackets; you will still get wet, so why bother?
  4. Apply glide, or Vaseline to toes, armpits, and other areas of your body that can get chaffed.
  5. Be ready to run in wet shoes and socks, which you won’t bother you, once you settle into your comfortable pace.
  6. Run at your comfortable pace, but allow yourself to be slower, especially if running in the wind and rain like I did today.
  7. Allow yourself to notice nature, animals, and people you meet, and that way you can be creative, such as coming up with songs, poems, etc. to make the time go by faster and have something to amuse yourself with.
  8. Watch the road and run in good traction shoes to avoid slipping and falling.
  9. Pat yourself on the back for sticking to your running schedule and for toughening it out, as you never know what the weather will be like on race day.
  10. Have fun during the run and relax with a hot soup, tea, or cocoa after the run. It will be all worth it!
American River flooding large portions of our Jedediah Smith Bike Trail.

Advantages of Running in the Rain:

 

  1. I was alone on the bike trail today with wild geese who seemed confused to see the closed trail.
    Wild Canada geese exploring the closed trail
    Geese staying away from the wet trail.

    2. I rejoiced in nature and all the bursting blossoms on the trees that reminded me that winter is almost over and spring is inching forward. I loved this blooming tree so much that I came up with a little poem:

    Flurries

“Kissing the bike trail

the soft, delicate petals

are not crushed by pedals

on this rainy, windy day. ”

Blossoms kissing the trail. A flurry of white.

3. The wind and rain act like resistance bands, so running in the rain is fortifying for the body and mind.

I had the rain, wind, and the hills keeping me in tip top shape today. Happy and wet feet!

4. You get to inspire others to exercise rain, or shine.

The River is quite high at the Harold Richey Memorial Bicycle Bridge. Harold Richey was also known as Mr. Bike Trail.

Disadvantages: None.

Go out and run, bike, or walk!  A little rain won’t melt your souls! On the contrary, it will fortify them.

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

Sellers and Buyers Pace Yourselves When Deciding to Get the PACE Energy-Efficient Program- 2017 New Laws to Protect You!

HERO AND PACE PROGRAMS – ARE THEY REALLY HEROES?

Do you ever feel satisfied and happy when you obtain something so easily that it feels unreal? Of course, not! Satisfaction and enjoyment come from some resistance, hard work, and some challenge.  And yet, when it comes to one’s home, the biggest investment in one’s life, many people have jumped to obtain the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HERO_Program, which is a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PACE_financing and continue to do so in order to retrofit their homes.

Types of residential and commercial retrofitting:

  • installing energy-efficient, water conservation retrofits
  • seismic retrofits
  • solar panels
  • energy efficient windows
  • energy-efficient heating and air systems
Installing solar panels is one of the most popular with homeowners

The PACE loan program was introduced in 2008 to finance energy and other retrofits with ease and very few requirements or disclosures. To qualify for this loan, homeowners need to have equity in their homes, so credit scores do not matter. It is also 100% financing with no money down from the homeowner. So far PACE sounds enticing and an amazing way to lower one’s utility bills by doing certain retrofits. Well, it really depends on your future plans, and if you have to sell the home, as this loan is designed to pass the debt unto the new homeowners, which might not make them happy.

HOW DOES PACE IMPACT BUYERS AND SELLERS?

 

  1. Due to the fact that repayments of the PACE loan are made through the property taxes.
  2. The house has higher property taxes than a similar home on the same street with no PACE loan on.
  3. Sellers will leave debt behind to the new homeowners who assume all these upgrades whether they want them or not.
  4. PACE is shown on the preliminary title report as a first lien.
  5. The property taxes will reflect the additional assessment fees incurred through the PACE loan.
  6. New owners assume the remaining assessment payments, or sellers are forced to reduce the selling price of the home to make the sale go through.
  7. Interest rates can be 3 to 4% higher than traditional loans.
  8. Having a PACE loan might be the only way for some homeowners to install a new HVAC system or new windows, but be prepared for the future impact when reselling the house, as it is not as easy to sell in comparison with a debt-free home.
  9. Are the upgrades worth it in the long run? Sure, they are, but think of how long you will live in that house before getting this loan.
  10. To sum thing up, pace yourselves when it comes to PACE and think of the future plans and the impact of trying to pass debt to the new homeowners. We all know that debt is not sexy!
Debt is a vicious circle

 

2017 NEW LAWS REGARDING PACE PROGRAMS

 

Under the new law, which took effect Jan. 1, entities that offer PACE financing providers are required to do the following:

  1. Provide homeowners with a standard written financial disclosure similar to the federal Truth in Lending Act disclosure.
  2. Give the applicants the right to cancel PACE contract within three days.
  3. It limits the amount a homeowner can borrow.
  4. It specifies that homeowners must own the property on which the home sits, be current on their mortgage and property taxes, and not in default or involved in bankruptcy proceedings.

When things sound too good to be true, most often they are, so be aware of the potential future hurdles when selling or buying a home under this program. Maybe try to qualify for a standard loan instead, as well as understand that it can take up to 20 years to break even on a solar system and that the money saved on energy bills is not that significant.

Do your homework, and let me know if I can answer any questions.

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

How to Lose Weight, Have More Energy, and Run Faster on Real Vegan Food!

Sports, Nutrition, and Energy

 

I loved sports since childhood and have been blessed with tremendous energy to keep going for hours, doing gymnastics, playing soccer, tennis, handball, basketball, and running, which has become my greatest passion next to tennis. Having been so fortunate to have all this energy, I never thought that I could increase my energy levels even more by becoming vegan, but once that happened, I was amazed. I also felt that I fully earned my nickname the “energizer bunny” that a lot of my friends bestowed upon me.  However, the main difference in my stamina came in 2012 when I decided to become pesco-vegan http://www.livestrong.com/article/98689-pescovegetarian-diet/ after watching Tamra, one of my tennis friends who is vegan eat after our tennis matches. She was my inspiration! One day after our singles match, I told her I was ready to become vegan, so she gave me many good pointers. I thus made the switch right away and turned fully vegan for the first month, after which I added the seafood to my diet.

The pesco-vegan diet

 

It follows the vegan diet, meaning no dairy products, no meat, no eggs, but adds seafood and wild fish, which are good sources of Omega-3s and are great for brain function.  In less than a month, after I changed my diet, my energy level doubled and I felt twenty years younger. I also lost weight, even though I was never big, but the belly fat after giving birth to our sweet children would not go away until I changed my diet and dropped from size 8 to size 4 in just two months.

As a pesco-vegan, I used to enjoy wild-caught salmon with a variety of side dishes. Always buy wild-caught fish if you decide to eat fish.
Salmon and sweet potatoes

 

The Fully Vegan Diet

 

In December 2016, while taking a Pilates class at California Family Fitness with Linda, a vegan for more than 27 years, I decided to become fully vegan and not eat any more seafood. Last year, I had a phenomenal year in running winning seven races in my age group and setting 16 PRs (personal records) out of the 18  road and trail races that I ran,  and I never ran low on fuel or energy. I also got accepted into the Sacramento Fleet Feet Racing Team, so fueling my body properly is super important. I have fun making big pots of lentil soup, vegan burgers, salads, pizza using the fresh herbs dough from Trader Joe’s, and pasta.

Pasta with mushrooms and zucchini.

 

Lentil and mixed whole grains- Yummy!
Carbs are great for runners and all other athletes!
Salads are great and so easy to make! You can top them with beans for extra protein, tofu, Quinoa, and seeds. Delicious and so healthy!

While all this sounds good, you might wonder why you should accept my story. How about other runners or athletes? Do they share a similar story with mine? Pretty much so!

Interview with Josh Fernandez, writer, English Professor at Folsom Lake College, vegan marathon and ultra runner who is on the Sacramento Fleet Feet Racing team

Josh will run Boston this year, 2017!

What made you decide to become vegan?

“At first, it was my friend Toni Okamoto, who runs a website called Plant Based on a Budget http://plantbasedonabudget.com/.  One night, I was at dinner and I called her and asked her about being a vegan. That night, she convinced me that I could easily go from being a vegetarian to vegan. Eventually, we started running together and we ran the Running With the Bears marathon where I met one of her friends, a guy named Dave Wiskowski. He was really cool an ended up running a lot of the race with me. He is an ultrarunner and a vegan. Actually, at the time, he was a fruitarian. An ultrarunner who only eats fruit! I love weird stuff like that.  Anyway, he’s a really amazing guy. A true inspiration. Together, they convinced me that cruelty-free eating is the only way for me.”

 How did changing your diet affect your running?

“I became a vegan several months before the California International Marathon in 2015. I thought to myself, “Well, this will either help me or kill me.” I started eating a lot of avocados, veggies, and pasta. I could feel a difference in my body right away. I felt leaner. I had more energy. I started training with very little fatigue. I got this feeling that I could run forever. Maybe some of it was a placebo effect, but it didn’t matter. I felt strong. That year I knocked almost 20 minutes off my marathon PR and qualified for the Boston Marathon.” 

 Was your experience as a vegan only positive?

“Yes. I used to get tired every day at around 3 p.m., like this really low energy, sluggish feeling, especially if I was at work. At 3 p.m., I would literally rest my head on my desk and struggle to get up. Then I’d pound a coffee, which would keep me up all night. I don’t get that tired feeling anymore and I attribute that all to being vegan. Dairy, especially cheese and lard, weighs me down quite a bit. Cutting that stuff out produces really beneficial and exciting results if you’re an athlete.”  

 What is your favorite source of protein after a long run? 

“I love avocados. I really like to eat a big fat sandwich with avocados, spinach, bell peppers, cucumbers, and hummus. I wash it down with a smoothie made with kale, celery, ginger, apple, garlic and a scoop of Vega protein powder. I think when you’re vegan for a while, your taste buds morph, so even sort of gross food (like garlic in a smoothie) is somehow incredibly appetizing. That’s what my wife says, at least. “

 Any pros and cons of the vegan diet?

“The only con is when people invite you over to dinner, you have to engage in the awkward conversation where you let them know they’re either going to have to make a vegan meal, or you’ll just “bring something from home,” which never happens. But luckily, when you’re vegan, nobody really invites you to dinner, anyway.” 

Any specific advice for runners or anyone else looking to change their diet and become fully vegans?

 “My friend Toni suggested (since I really loved cheese, like in a sick way, enough that I would sometimes eat a block of medium cheddar for lunch) that I should become a vegan in phases–first you get rid of  milk, then eggs, then cheese, etc. So that’s what I did and it really worked. I don’t miss cheese anymore. When I’m craving pizza, Amy’s makes a really good frozen cheese-less pizza that hits the spot, since I don’t like the taste of imitation cheese. You’d think with all the technological advances in the world someone would engineer a cheese that doesn’t taste like toe fungus, but I guess that’s not really a priority. Anyway, I think everyone loves animals, so I would suggest that everybody go vegan. Don’t make me bust out pictures of what happens at factory farms.” 

 Why vegan vs. vegetarian?

“For me, it comes down to two things: health and compassion. I feel my healthiest when I’m not weighed down by meat and dairy. I also feel the most connected to the world when I’m not causing pain to other animals.” 

Now that you have two opinions on turning vegan, I urge you to find out what works for you as far as your diet, consult a nutritionist, read more about the vegetarian and the vegan diets, and embrace the change.  I wish you a healthier, speedier, and more amazing 2017. You can do it!

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

 

 

16 Life Lessons I Learned from Running in 2016!

“Running gives us the total freedom to be ourselves, while negotiating life one stride at a time.” Carmen Micsa

Physical Fitness Lessons

  1. When in doubt you can do something, just do it anyway. I have learned this lesson this summer during the week I ran 101 miles just to see what it is like to run like an elite runner. I had started my week with a 15-mile run on the American River Parkway in the morning. In the evening, I went running through Ancil Hoffman Park and doubted I can have a decent 5 mile run, but to my great surprise, I ran in the low 8s and felt great. It also helped to see a coyote roaming around and trying to beat the summer heat.
    On the American River Parkway
    Coyote prowling around Ancil Hoffman Park

    2. When the legs get heavy, stop clenching your fists and teeth; instead, lighten up! Anytime I am tired, I love looking up at the sky. The turkey vultures seem to  have the smoothest and seamless fight pattern. They glide effortlessly and float with grace. I try to imitate them, while making my body glide down the trail with ease and determination to  end the heavy breathing and my body’s fatigue.

    The ducks were quaking and moving while I was just admiring them and taking a break from my long run.

    3. When you feel sluggish, look for someone slower than you to make you look better. I remember being at the end of my run and getting into a desperation mode when I came across this steady and determined tortoise crossing the bike trail. I smiled big and understood that slow and steady is a good thing; yet, I still found enough strength to push a little faster and not listen to my tired body.

    Feeling as slow as tortoise? Get those legs moving!

    4. Body aches all over, but you still need to get your easy run in, which is by no means easy. I remember starting my group strength training class this summer to get my body stronger and avoid injury. After my first class, I got  super sore, as my bosy was not used to the intensity. The next day, I had to do a Fartlek run that started with a 2-mile warm-up. I felt the gluteal muscles halting my entire being and thought to myself that I could just skip this and wait till the next day to run. Yet, once I finished my first two miles and got into doing my Fartleks, I felt so much better and the speed agreed with me.  Moral of the story: find that sweet spot to push past pain and a tired body.

    I used to wear knee sleeves, but not anymore.

    5. Knee pain is making you wince and stop more often than you want. My knees used to bother me until I started to run faster and changed my form and cadence. The quicker turnover of my feet also alleviated the strain I was putting on my body, so every time I get tired, keeping my form as intact as possible is key. http://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/the-great-cadence-debate

Mental Lessons

6.  Relax the mind. Although this is only my second year as a runner, I ran 18 races ranging from 5Ks to 50K this year. I PRd 16 of them and won 7 races in my age group. One reason I enjoy racing so much is because I am really good at relaxing my mind. I know I will be prepared and I do not worry or stress about the outcome of the race. I try to enjoy every minute, while I visualize myself running at a great pace propelled by all the racers around me. I can honestly say that I am not nervous when racing, whether I run a 5K or a marathon, which is why relaxing my mind with positive images and a good pep talk really works.

Winning first place in my age group at the Fabulous 40s 5k run, which felt hard due to the heat, but I ran relaxed and was excited to see my results at the end.

7. Tell your brain stories. You might scratch your heads here, but the reality is that our brains will not distinguish between a true statement or a little white lie, which by the way you should not make a habit to use unless you need to make yourself believe in your ability to keep on running strong. For instance, my favorite mantra is “fresh legs,” which I tell my brain towards the end of a race when I am tired. My brain will accept the story; my finish will be much stronger.

My body was done after 7 hours of running my first 50K, but seeing my sweet Sophia at the finish line running next to me has activated my “fresh legs.”

8. Let the positive energy carry you over the mental threshold. At the beginning of a race, most of us possess this positive energy, but towards the end when legs are tired and want to quit, the energy decreases. My trick to increase and keep my positive energy consistent is simply to observe my breath, the sky, the trees, and anything else that will take my mind off any negative feelings or remarks.

During my first 50K Folsom Gold Rush, I kept my positive energy by noticing the harmony and perfect flow of nature.

9. Surround yourself with positive and vibrant people to boost your own mental strength. We runners underestimate the power of our own words and others, so in order to perform at the level we want, it is imperative to surround ourselves with the doers and believers instead of the naysayers. When our family and friends believe in us, our minds are like a well-prepared plot of land waiting to receive the seeds that will later will grow into healthy plants. Our minds are no different and need the same clearance and preparation.

Finishing California International marathon strong. I had so many friends and family who cheered on me and believed in me so that made my running the marathon easier and more enjoyable, as my mind received all the good vibes.

10. The power of distracting the mind and redirecting our thoughts. I can honestly say that all women who are mothers like myself will get this very easily. During long runs, I have learned to distract any negative objections my mind brings up, as well as redirect my thoughts to more positive images, such as celebrating at the finish line. Additionally, whenever necessary, I treat my mind the same way I used to treat our toddler kids by using the power of distraction. The beauty of this is that my mind will accept distractions when body and legs are tired, whereas our children who are older now detect any attempt to distract them when I change the subject.

Even stopping for a jumping picture can be enough to distract the mind and infuse energy.

11. Let imagination guide the mind. During my 20-mile race before running CIM (California International marathon), I used one of the signs someone made for us runners to fuel my imagination and to make me run at marathon pace the entire race. The sign read: “Pain is temporary. Facebook pictures are forever. ” I smiled when I saw that, because as the Facebook queen- ha!ha! I could totally relate to the sign. I even started to write my won FB post in my mind, which helped me continue my run at a strong pace without hardly any pain.

Feeling strong during my 20-mile race three weeks before my CIM marathon.

Spiritual Lessons

12. Running brings us closer to God. With every step and stride, we go through a giant leap of faith. We believe in ourselves and are grateful to the higher powers guiding us. Moreover, when I ran my first marathon in 2015, I felt that God attached angel wings to my shoes that helped me run non-stop for 26.2 miles.

Finishing the first marathon CIM 2015 was truly a divine feeling.

13. The Zen of Running. Running with calm and composure turns us into Zen runners.  It is easy to overreact and worry about things that are not under our control, but if we learn to harness the Zen in us and smile when things get tough, then we will enjoy ourselves more and will be stronger mentally.

Enjoying a trail run on a frosty morning and feeling Zen about my run and life.

14.  Running is humbling. We as runners know that every race can take a sharp turn in a good or bad direction, so we  try to stay humble and not let our minds take off with too much elation and excitement.  As Lao Tzu says in one of my favorite books Tao Te Ching: “The further you go, the less you know.”

A humbling view from one of my trail runs through Cronan Ranch. The view left us in pure awe.

15. Running is serenity soothing the mind, soul, and body. When calmness turns into serenity during my runs, I experience an exhilaration similar to being on the peak of the tallest mountain. My poem about serenity that I wrote after one of my runs can also attest to this indelible feeling:

Serenity

“The crowns and branches of the trees

dip themselves in a pool

of serenity.”

The flowers at the edge of the river brought peace and serenity to my run at the beginning of spring this year.

16. And last, but not least, running is my meditation in motion. With every stride, I feel the pulse of the earth underneath my feet. I meditate on the mundane, the nature around me in correlation with God’s amazing grace, life and death. When I meditate and run, I am in sync with the world around me and feel so ALIVE. Running is LIFE.

The blooming trees in spring offer the perfect backdrop for my meditation in motion.

 

With all the lessons learned in 2016, I feel that I am barely scratching the surface of life and that the further I go with my running, work, being a mom, wife, professional, writer, friend, the less I know. I ran 1,649 miles in 2016 and looking forward to running even more in 2017. Namaste! Happy 2017 filled with wonder and many spiritual wanderings.

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

 

 

Run, Eat, Pray, Love! Thoughts about Running my Second California International Marathon with a 26 minute PR From My First CIM!

RUN

“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.”

I am using Elizabeth Gilbert’s book title Eat, Pray, Love book as part of my blog title together with a few quotes from her book, because I am deeply interested in the philosophy of running and what it takes to razor time, so to speak, when slashing and shaving your old PRs (personal records).  And, yes I shaved 26 minutes from my first marathon, finishing CIM in 3:47:47 and only missed my Boston qualifying time by 2:47:47 minutes.

At the start line, walking to my 3: 43 pacing group.
Trying to stay warm at the start line. We had the best weather we could have asked for.
With my friends Karen and Nikki and our pacers 10 minutes before the start.

To run a marathon well it takes dedication, hard work, perseverance, and many good choices, such as how to train, what to eat, what to wear, and, most importantly, what and how to think  about an upcoming marathon.  As the above quote says, I selected only positive, radiant, and confident thoughts during all my months of training and before the marathon. I also visualized myself smiling and running , such as in this picture taken by our sweet son Alex when I came by our house around mile 14. I also smiled and tried to defeat “the wall” coming up at mile 20 – see video below, as my quads got tight  and slowed me down enough to lose my pacing group. The video below was taken by Robert Fausett, the son of one of my good tennis friends, Janice Cowden.

Smiling and running. Waving at my family at mile 14 . Picture taken by our son Alex Micsa.
Smiling and running. Waving at my family at mile 14 . Picture taken by our son Alex Micsa.

 

https://www.facebook.com/robfausett916/videos/1343230939042508/

EAT

Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.”

During my intensive 3-month training with Fleet Feet Fit, a more customized and demanding training group than Fleet Feet CIM training program, I constantly worked on my nutrition and what made me feel well-hydrated and fueled.

I don’t know about you, but I love to eat real food during all my runs, but especially during my marathons. I have discovered what works for me and I am happy to share with you so that you don’t have to choke and get a stomach upset on gels and other highly engineered foods. Not only do I like to eat real food, but being pesco-vegan, I have even more restrictions. The pesco-vegan diet follows the vegan diet, meaning no dairy products, no meat, no eggs, but adds seafood and wild fish, which are good sources of Omega-3s and are great for brain function.  In less than a month, after I changed my diet in 2012, my energy level doubled and I felt twenty years younger.

Favorite marathon food I ate every 5 miles during CIM. I did not eat the fig bar, but ate the other two.
My favorite breakfast before long runs. I add a little blueberry jelly on top and also eat a banana.
Post run bar that’s healthy, has little sugar, and has my favorite ingredients: dark chocolate and nuts.

 

PRAY

“There’s a crack (or cracks) in everyone…that’s how the light of God gets in.”

I am a firm believer that God is present in my life and trust his/her timing, guidance, answer to my prayers, and his/her amazing grace. Whenever I pray for something and ask God to help me accomplish a higher goal, a loftier pursuit, or something as difficult as running a marathon, I ask God to help me if he/she thinks I am ready for the next step. Pushing for things that I am not ready for can end in disillusionment. However, by letting the door cracked open, I invite just enough light, wisdom, and sunshine that my heart, soul, and mind needs.

I was listening to a podcast and the author said this quote. I turned my back and saw God’ radiant light and reveled in this sunrise. Running is mystical and answers many of our prayers.

 

When running a marathon, I feel that praying is particularly important and gives us the extra strength we need to conquer the marathon beast lurking out around mile 21, or so. I also believe that running

a marathon is the most humbling experience that reminds us to stay grounded and run in the moment. We all have goals, but we need to understand that our times can derail up and down, more likely down depending on the day, the course, and our physical and mental preparation.

In my case, during the CIM I started to really feel my sore quads, especially the left one around mile 20, which made me slow down, lose my 3:43 pacing group,  and reevaluate my goal. I accepted that I would probably lose the Boston qualifying time, which needed to be 3:45, but I really needed 3:42 to make sure I got accepted, and that I needed to continue to run strong to get a big PR from my last Pony Express marathon that I ran in May, and an even bigger PR from my very first marathon, last year’s CIM.

I prayed, ran, and stayed focused not even hearing my name being called by friends and spectators, or seeing my friends’ special signs for me all the way to the finish line.

Sign made by my awesome friend Holly and her daughter. I gave Holly a high five at Fair Oaks and Arden and loved seeing them cheer on me and the other runners. Cheering gives us energy.
At the finish line with our son Alex. So special!
At the finish line with my husband and our daughter Sophia
At the finish line with Andrea, my friend and amazing training partner.

LOVE

“Zen masters say you cannot see your reflection in running water, only in still water.”

“What does love have to do with running a marathon? ” You might ask. The answer is: everything! When you run with joy and smile through the miles, you feel an immense love for others, for yourself, for exercising, for being together, and for the whole world. Another aspect of our love for running is the stillness of our minds and thoughts while hitting the pavement and while fatigue wants to steal our joyous stride.

During training for CIM, the love for running with our training buddies and our dear friends keeps us going during those four weekend of running 20 miles to be well-prepared for the marathon.

During a 20-mile training run- jumping with joy with my amazing friend Andrea.
Running track with my crazy fit runners Adam and Romero.

Running with love and appreciation for our families, friends, and our happy feet will make any marathon training and race so much more meaningful  and give us a new perspective on our lives. And when in doubt: run, eat, pray, love, and then repeat for your next marathon.

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

The Serendipity of Running – How to Live a More Creative, Productive, and Joyous Life!

 

Running is serendipitous!

 

Ahh! You might exclaim! The author is trying to invoke serendipity to make us run more! Well, she will need to work hard to make this happen!

purpleserendipity_nob8

It might be just the opposite, I would add. One aspect of Walpole’s original definition of serendipity, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serendipity often missed in modern discussions of the word, is the need for an individual to be “sagacious” enough to link together apparently innocuous facts in order to come to a valuable conclusion. How many times do you go on a run expecting a typical run, but then things turn out serendipitous? Are you able to detect these moments easily, or do you just run along and miss them?

seren_def_nov8

 

Serendipity at Ancil Hoffman Park

For instance, I had a really fun run and hiking coincidence one weekend when I was still pretty new to running.  Our kids wanted to relax and stay home with my husband, but I decided to go on a 2-mile run to Ancil Hoffman Park right after the cleansing rain. Once I got there, there was a group ready to go on a hike, part of the meet-up group Trail Mix. I asked them if I could join the hike. Our energetic and youthful guide, a man in his late 70s, who still does speed walking races and is super fit, said yes, so I  went on a 4.5 mile hike all around Ancil Hoffman Park (my total for the day: 2-mile running and 4.5 mile hiking, which was just great). The people I hiked with were delightful and quite cheerful. We all enjoyed seeing deer, a jack rabbit, turkeys, and relished the scenery.  I love exploring and experiencing new things, as well as being open to serendipity.

Deer grazing
Deer grazing

Another time, I woke up earlier than my normal time on a weekend, because I had a busy day, but I still wanted to get my 5-mile run in. I decided to run through my slice of Paradise, as I call Ancil Hoffman Park .http://www.regionalparks.saccounty.net/Parks/Pages/AncilHoffmanPark.aspx

As the sun gently pushed its way through the tree branches, the artist I listened to on my Ted Talk podcast said the following Egyptian proverb: “Anyone who wants to see the sunrise clearly needs to wipe his eyes well first.” At that moment, I stopped on the trails and took this gorgeous sunrise picture. I love the spiritual and meditative side of running.

As I ran down the trail, I turned around and saw this beautiful sunrise. I stopped and snapped a picture, smiling at the serendipitous moment.
As I ran down the trail, I turned around and saw this beautiful sunrise. I stopped and snapped a picture, smiling at the serendipitous moment.

 

Serendipity at Jensen Park

 

Another time, I went on a quick 4-mile run after finishing all the activities with the kids. I ran to my beautiful Jensen Botanical Garden. http://carmichaelpark.com/jensen-botanical-garden/

Once there, I noticed the colorful tulips surrounding the old oak tree in a circle of love. At that moment, I smiled sheepishly and came with my own diagnosis: ORD, obsessive running disorder- ha!ha!

The beautiful tulips surrounding the majestic and old tree in Jensen's botanical garden
The beautiful tulips surrounding the majestic and oak tree in Jensen’s botanical garden
Spring tulips

Symptoms: increased happiness and productivity at work and life, lots of joy and satisfaction with life, tremendous energy and endurance, laser beam focus, increased concentration and efficiency, exploration of life’s many trails, routes, vistas, etc.

Cure: More running and more meditation in motion.

Time frame for cure: When patient turns 100 years old- ha!ha!

Towards the end of my run, I stopped and talked to one of the gardeners. She immediately offered to give me a tour of the community garden. As I entered the garden, to my left, there was the Misca family garden, which is not our family (we do not have a green thumb – ha!ha! and our name is spelled with a c before before the s), but another wonderful Romanian family. Right away, I appreciated the serendipity that running brought along into my life, as well as the sounds, the smells, the thoughts, and the people I met along the way. Pure bliss.

I pray that God allows me to kick up my heels till I’m 100 to enjoy the serendipity of running and to spread the joy. I also pray that you do the same. Happy feet!

Please post your serendipitous running moments under the comments for our contest. The best one will win a $5 Starbucks gift card.

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

Ten Steps to Start Running at any Age!

According to the Runner’s World magazine, there are eight crucial steps to help someone start running.

http://www.runnersworld.com/get-someone-running/8-steps-to-help-someone-start-running?cid=NL_QOTD_-_09092016_8StepstoHelpSomeoneStartRunning&utm_source=RWD07&utm_medium=email&smartcode=YN_0000988866_0001568475

I agree with all their steps, but I have come up with my own 10 steps to help you start this amazing journey. First, I need to share with you my mom’s story and how she started to run at 63 years old after never having exercised in her entire adult life, other than taking short walks to get places she needs to go, since she does not drive.

Mom’s Running Story

On Wednesday evening, September 7th, 2016, I came home elated from my track workout with Fleet Feet Fit running group that I joined to prepare for the California International Marathon that I will run this December, hoping to qualify to Boston. I sat next to my mom and told her what a great workout I had. I also told her that we have a few ladies in their 70s running with us and that they  were amazing. I added that running makes your knees stronger and that’s when my mom clicked: “I guess I should start running, too.”

I was speechless, as my mom usually refuses any kind of physical activity, but then I realized that this was the moment that I was waiting for: my mom’s desire to change and try something new. I immediately transcended my surprise and shock and replied: “Awesome! We’ll go tomorrow morning on a very easy run/jog/walk around our neighborhood.”

“I’ll be ready and wear my good shoes,” my mom said.

The next morning after I dropped the kids off to school, my mom and I took off, after doing a few stretches. My mom started to run with a straight back, relaxed shoulders, and a perfect stride. She ran about a quarter mile, after which we stopped and walked a little bit. Once she started again, I took this amazing video of her first run ever at the age of 63 (she’ll turn 64 in December), which shows that we don’t have to be athletic, strong, gifted, or special to start running. We just need a gentle push, the motivation to better our health, our bodies and minds, and the desire to try new things, as you never know what you like if you don’t try and experiment with life’s joys and surprises.

In reading about Dr. Walter Bortz’s exercise dictum in the Runner’s World magazine: “It’s never too late to start, and it’s always too soon to stop,” I knew that my mom’s timing was perfect and was so happy for her. Her lower back and knees have been giving her a hard time for many years, so she decided to get her body stronger, which is what we all need to do: counter any weakness in our body with new strengths that come from running. We can overcome an aging body and can sharpen our minds at any age.

Carmen’s advice and 10 Steps to Help Non-Runners  Start Running:

 

  1. Share your running excitement with your non-runner friends by showing them your Strava app, telling them about your beautiful running routes, your races, etc.
  2. Do not ask your runner friends to start running unless they are very open to trying new things. Instead, let your friends ask that they go running with you, or let think them it was their own idea to start running at their own pace and in their own way.
  3. DO NOT tell your non-runner friends that running is EASY like I did with one friend I turned away from running, even though I meant to say that it is easy to go out wearing a decent pair of shoes and just run.
  4. Encourage your friends to start slowly and with only one mile or less on their first official run, as well as to take walking breaks until they build up their stamina and strength.
  5. Emphasize the need to go to a specialty shoe store, such as Fleet Feet in Sacramento to be evaluated by a running specialist and buy the right shoes, as they will make or break your non-runner friends.
  6. Encourage them to join running groups after they can run for at least 30 minutes without stopping. Running with others builds confidence, excitement, and most importantly, commitment.
  7. Encourage them to eat real food and hydrate properly.
  8. Challenge your stubborn non-runner friends to a 5K race by telling them that it is too hard for them to do it and see their ambition go up.
  9. Encourage your friends to read articles in the Runner’s World and other publications, watch videos, and learn more about nutrition, as knowledge is power.
  10. Share the mental, physical, and spiritual benefits that come from running and be your friends’ running ambassador to help them change their lives with running.
Running with my mom! What a special feeling and moment! Running is life!
Running with my mom! What a special feeling and moment! Running is life!

 

My mom's second run on the American River Parkway.
My mom’s second run on the American River Parkway.

And if you wonder about my mom’s commitment whether to run or not to run, please watch this video. Running is a CHOICE to feel infinite JOY. Running is also a CHOICE to be healthy and strong. Running is LIFE.

 

HAPPY FEET! RUN WITH JOY!

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

Running is Oh, so Easy, and Oh, so hard!

“If you want to become a runner then get onto a trail, into the woods, or on a sidewalk or street and run. Go 50 yards if that’s all you can handle. Tomorrow, you can go farther.”

Scott Jurek

My first month as a runner when miles felt double and sometimes triple the distance.
My first month as a runner when miles felt double and sometimes triple the distance.

That’s pretty much how I started running down the street for like a quarter mile in March 2015, after which I increased the distance, my stamina, and so on. Therefore, if you hear me say running is easy, I refer to this aspect of running that allows great flexibility, a road right outside your home, and a decent pair of running shoes.

A month after I started to run, I ran the Zoo Zoom 5K race and finished third in my age group. I guess running is easy- ha!ha!
A month after I started to run, I ran the Zoo Zoom 5K race and finished third in my age group. I guess running is easy- ha!ha!

 

RUNNING IS EASY

I don’t know how many non-runners I can convince with the above-mentioned statement before I actually make them run away from running, but I will explain my reasoning and my positive affirmation about running as an easy, healthy, and even highly enjoyable activity.

  1. Most running takes place right outside our doors, so we don’t need any special places to start running.
  2. Running is easy to do on your own.
  3. Running does not require much planning, as you can always lace up your shoes and bolt outside your home.
  4. Running is plain fun every time we decide to venture outside of our homes, our worlds, and our comfort zones.
  5. Running is powerful, as it opens our hearts and souls to new possibilities, while we continue our journeys down the path of exploring life with curiosity, mindfulness, and awareness.
  6. Running is social and can bring people together.
  7. Running is blissful and puts us in a great mood after we are done.
  8. Running is healthy for the mind and the body.
  9. Running helps us live longer.
  10. Running makes us smarter.
  11. Running makes us happier and more content.
  12. Running is an easy way to explore new places.
  13. Running is time efficient.
  14. Running burns a lot more calories than other activities about three times more than biking, for example.
  15. Running makes us sleep better.
  16. Running increases the good hormones in our brains.
  17. Running takes us closer to nature.
  18. Running brings us closer to God.
  19. Running is healing.
  20. Running is LIFE.
Enjoying nature and the deer at Ancil Hoffman Park, my own running Paradise.
Enjoying nature and the deer at Ancil Hoffman Park, my own running Paradise. Picture taken by my friend Holly Macriss.

THE HARD, THE BAD, THE UGLY, & THE STRUGGLE

One of my good friends from Sac State Kellie Edson shared this wonderful story about the butterfly and the chrysalis and their metaphor for life’s struggles. So powerful! It applies to running, too, as we struggle sometimes, but then we finish our short and long runs, our races and marathons as changed people, light, beautiful, and victorious!

“Along a dusty road in India there sat a beggar who sold cocoons. A young boy watched him day after day, and the beggar finally beckoned to him.

“Do you know what beauty lies within this chrysalis? I will give you one so you might see for yourself. But you must be careful not to handle the cocoon until the butterfly comes out.”

The boy was enchanted with the gift and hurried home to await the butterfly. He laid the cocoon on the floor and became aware of a curious thing. The butterfly was beating its fragile wings against the hard wall of the chrysalis until it appeared it would surely perish, before it could break the unyielding prison. Wanting only to help, the boy swiftly pried the cocoon open.

Out flopped a wet, brown, ugly thing which quickly died. When the beggar discovered what had happened, he explained to the boy “In order for the butterfly wings to grow strong enough to support him, it is necessary that he beat them against the walls of his cocoon. Only by this struggle can his wings become beautiful and durable. When you denied him that struggle, you took away from him his only chance of survival.”

The butterflies swarmed around and filled the day with the beauty of their colorful wings.
The butterflies swarmed around and filled the day with the beauty of their colorful wings.

From this story, here are 10 hard and yet beautiful aspects of running:

  1. Running is hard, or I should say challenging, since I don’t like to use the word hard.
  2. Running is a struggle on some days depending on our mood, pace, environment, weather, the alignment of the planets, etc.
  3. Running reminds us of our own fragility before we can feel our strength.
  4. Running leaves us breathless literally, not figuratively.
  5. Running takes a lot out of us.
  6. Running can take a toll on our bodies.
  7. Running takes courage.
  8. Running is not for everyone, and yet we were born to run.
  9. Running means getting outside our comfort zone and that’s challenging.
  10. Running is sweating.
The love of running!
The love of running!

Yet, when we run, whether it feels easy or hard, we can all ask ourselves: “How can we disrupt our complacency and satisfaction with things we do on all levels of our lives?” Answer: “By gently pushing ourselves to do more and to require more of ourselves, as we are all perfectly capable of reaching higher professional, fitness, intellectual, and any other goals we set our minds on achieving.”

HAPPY FEET! RUN WITH JOY!

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!

Folsom Gold Rush 50K – My first ultra marathon

Two weeks after I had run the Pony Express Marathon, I ran Folsom Gold Rush 50K, my very first ultra marathon. Although experts recommend about 30 days before running another race after a marathon, I refused to accept this wise advice. Instead, I chose to view my marathon race and big PR (personal record) as a perfect training for my first 50K race (31 miles). Besides, one of my trail mix friends John Bressan made the perfect point when he cheered for me at the marathon finish line: “Remember, all you need to do is finish your first 50K, as it will be a PR, for sure. Your goal is to qualify for Boston, so you don’t want to injure yourself. ”

THE WEEK OF MY ULTRA MARATHON- PHYSICAL AND MENTAL PREPARATION

Another Trail Mix friend Sharon Hampton who has been running races for over 30 years offered me the best advice that I would pass onto other runners who wonder whether they should rest the week of the big race, or whether they should run lightly. Sharon urged me to do the following:

  1. Rest the whole week of the race and let your body fully recover from running so that you can have enough stamina for your big race.
  2. Fuel, hydrate well, and eat some extra carbs, as your body will need it and use it.
  3. Last, but not least, my favorite advice she offered: do not even think of the total distance. Instead, focus on running from one aid station to another (fuel at each aid station) to break miles into smaller increments and finish the run strong.

With most trail races being on Saturday, I was glad to run my biggest and longest race I have done in my life one day earlier than road races, which happen mostly on Sundays. I did not run at all the week of the race and I just gobbled up my carbs. Even though I viewed my taper as being lazy and not working hard enough, deep down the voice of reason kept me honest. I had to acknowledge the hills, the rocks, and uneven terrain, the heat, and the long distance. Moreover, I had to trust that a rested body would find more strength and energy than a tired body.  I continued to load up on brown rice and Quinoa pasta, fresh fruit and vegetables, some salmon, and my vegan pancakes that I made with almond milk.

As to the mental preparation, I did the following:

  1. I kept my entire week on a positive note, avoiding any negative interactions or situations.
  2. I visualized myself running with a big smile while my sweet husband and our kids were waiting and cheering for me at the finish line.
  3. Buoyed by my recent marathon and quick recovery, I had total faith and trusted that I could complete my first ultra, as long as I did not get injured and kept my focus on the breath and positive mental images of crossing the finish line strong.
  4. The big d-word DOUBT was banished from my mind and vocabulary and replaced with BELIEVE.

THE DAY OF THE RACE

After a good night rest, a hearty pancake and banana breakfast, and careful preparation for my 50k race the night before, my sweet husband dropped me off at Skunk Hollow in El Dorado Hills from where our race started on the Darrington Trail.

My husband parked and stuck around for a few minutes to make sure I had everything I needed. To our surprise, we met Shawn, one of our soccer friends who works with my husband. He congratulated me for upgrading my running. My husband beamed with pride and joked around with his friend, while I thought to myself: “Isn’t what our lives are all about? Upgrading our old selves to newer and better ones?”

My husband gave me a big hug and a kiss. He wished me good luck and said we would keep in touch so that he knew when to wait for me with the kids at the finish line. I spent time talking to other runners and was happy to get some great advice from Karyn Hoffman, an amazing runner, pacer for marathons,  tremendous athlete, and an icon in our Sacramento running community.  She advised me to start slower and then pick up my pace and pass people. She knew my rabbit style of running fast from the beginning, which was not conducive to the length of the course.

At the start line of my first 50K run
At the start line of my first 50K run

THE FIRST HALF OF MY ULTRA

I did not start slowly at the beginning of the race, as I knew my engines would slow down later and wanted to make sure that I would make good times for all the aid stations, but Karyn was right. Starting slower ensures more strength later. The first 8 miles of the race were technical and the rocks seemed to bare their sharp edges like sharks. I almost fell at least five times, but managed to catch myself. I kept running to make a good time for our first big aid station at Skunk Hollow, where I ate banana, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and used the restrooms.Lake_May14

 

After this quick stop, I ran strong and passed a few runners heading towards Salmon Falls on winding trails flanked by exquisite views of the Folsom Lake. The lupine, vetch, and golden California poppies crowned the meadows and reminded me why I fell in love with trail running: nature at its best, as well as my desire to match nature’s outer beauty with my inner beauty. During my run, I constantly reveled in nature’s sheer magnitude and stopped to take pictures while power hiking a steep hill, taking a short break, and thinking of a little poem about the trails that I wrote after the race.

The Song of the Trails

The trails enchant and attract

the runner’s soles into their deep forests

like a siren’s song – inimitable and unforgettable.

Lined with rocks, protruding roots,

multicolored wild flowers, and poison oak

the trails chirp the song of the wild at heart.

 

Oh, the beauty and serenity of wild flowers!
Oh, the beauty and serenity of wild flowers!

THE SECOND HALF OF MY ULTRA

After 15 miles of running, I kept my focus on avoiding falling by all means, as well as looked forward to hitting all the aid stations. At mile 16.1,  I reached New York Creek aid station and made sure I ate bananas, pretzels, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. At this point, my mind started to show up signs of fatigue, or was it my body getting tired? Having  a black belt in Taekwondo, I knew that I had to use my mind to control my body, so I told myself that I needed to run steady to hit mile 20 strong. From there on, I had to keep running a meager 11 miles- ha!ha!

The trail flanked by wild flowers! Pure bliss!
The trail flanked by wild flowers! Pure bliss!

The views of Folsom Lake kept me company and comfort. The blue sky and water,  peaceful and tranquil images, followed my strides and gave me renewed hope and energy. Yet, the hills seemed to multiply at every corner, leaving me breathless while climbing them.

LakeHills_May14

At mile 22.9, I crawled to Brown’s Ravine aid station and felt every muscle in my body having something to say to me, but I was not interested in listening. However, I felt a little lonely running by myself and only talking to people at aid stations, so God probably heard my prayers and sent Leslie Niels my way around mile 23, or so.

BrownRavineSign_May14

A young woman with a happy and steady stride, Leslie seemed to be especially strong on hills, so I followed her. We started to talk about our running problems, as well as curse the endless hills. Leslie was doing the relay and running the second half of the race, which was music to my ears, since her legs were not as tired and she could propel me to finish a race that was the most challenging event I have ever done in my life so far. I am sure harder events would come along, but this was my first.

Leslie, a super athletic and fun person to hang around, pointed out that after this race, we can definitely call each other “bad ass” ultra marathon runners. Yeah! We both repeated those words that had become the running leitmotif of the day. The “bad ass” mantra empowered and emboldened us to keep running, while joking and commiserating with each other.

At mile 28.9, Leslie and I reached Folsom crossing by the American River bike trail. I texted my hubby to tell him that I was 3 miles away. To my great delight, the last three miles were all on flat and fast surface, so I powered through with Leslie running right behind me a little slower, as by now her blisters gave her trouble. I could tell that every stride Leslie took hurt her, but she continued to maintain her joviality and positive attitude. I also felt that we both functioned as perfect crutches for each other and that really made our finish smoother and stronger.

Leslie and I about 3 miles from the finish line! Yeah!
Leslie and I about 3 miles from the finish line! Yeah!

As we turned on Sutter Street in Old Folsom, I knew the finish line on 200 Wool St. was around the corner, so I felt a strong surge in my cadence and pace. Clip-clop, clip-clop! Just like during Pony Express, our daughter Sophia joined me and ran with me towards the finish line, making my day. Our sweet son Alex was again the race photographer taking great shots of me. My hubby was beaming with pride. He hugged and kissed me right after I crossed the finish line. Wow! I did it! I ran my first 50K in 7:11 and felt pretty good. I could walk, so that was a good sign.

Crossing the finish line of my first 50K race!
Crossing the finish line of my first 50K race!
My beautiful family celebrating with me!
My beautiful family celebrating with me!

Leslie finished seconds behind me. We both hugged and congratulated each other, as well as promised to keep in touch with each other.

In the end, resilience and perseverance shone through, reminding me that there is always more I can give and that human nature is just as resplendent as nature.

For more info on ultra marathons, please check out these links:

http://www.norcalultras.com/

http://marathons.ahotu.com/calendar/ultramarathon/california

http://www.ultramarathonrunning.com/races/usa.html

For info on real estate, please go to my website http://www.dynamicsacramentohomes.com. Also mention this blog when buying, or selling with me, and receive $100 gift card to Fleet Feet, or the store of your choice. Other discounts and offers apply, so feel free to contact me. Happy to answer any of your running and real estate questions. No strings attached!

Global Running Day and My Birthday!

To me, June 1 is not only special because it is my birthday. It is also the International Day of Children in my native country Romania, as well as in many European countries. This year, June 1st became even more special, as it was Global Running Day, so I had at least three big reasons to celebrate, and who doesn’t want to find reasons to rejoice?

And if you missed having a great runch (Run+lunch), or even running to your work place if close enough, there are still plenty of events you can sign up and more info about Global Day of Running.

http://www.runnersworld.com/motivation/

For ideas and info on International Children’s Day and how you can celebrate this day with all the young and adult children in your life, check out:

http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/resources/i/internationalchildrensday.asp

My birthday run and celebration made me jump with joy and appreciation for being a runner, as well as being in great shape and health. My good friend Holly  Macriss was kind to make my birthday special by driving us to Pilot Hill from where we took the Magnolia Ranch Trail and ran to Cronan Ranch and back.

Holly and I at Magnolia Ranch, celebrating my birthday and Global Running Day
Holly and I at Magnolia Ranch, celebrating my birthday and Global Running Day

Although we started our run around 9:20 a.m., we could already feel the heat.  Later on that day, temperatures hit 100 degrees, so we decided to enjoy the scenery and walk the long hills, as we needed to conserve our energy. The American River views followed the trail and sure dazzled us. We felt grateful we chose to do a trail run that day, so we could revel in the beauty of nature, as well as be in perfect running unison with millions of people who were running in amazing places all over the world.

Rivers are the quintessential symbols of change and running or going with the flow
Rivers are the quintessential symbols of change and running or going with the flow

AmericanRiver_June1During our run, we came across horse riders and mountain bikers, as well as a dead gopher snake and a bobcat that ran in front of us and disappeared into the thick bushes and trees. Once we reached Cronan Ranch, we could really feel the sun’s heat on our necks, bodies, and legs. We joked around about our run and my birthday celebration in 100 degree weather. Holly said to me: “I think it’s hot enough, so you can blow out that candle, Carmen.”

“Good one, Holly,” I replied and laughed. It was good to redirect our attention from the heat and our tired legs by resorting to laughter and joking around.

The highlight of our fantastic 8-mile trail run was our stop by an old movie set that had been used to shoot some big Western movies.

CarmenMovieSet_June1

“Wow! Being part of this old movie set sure makes my birthdays special,” I told Holly, who smiled, knowing that I was thoroughly enjoying my birthday and global running day.

Towards the end of the run, the sun turned into a fire-spitting dragon, but we did not melt or wilt away, as we came across a creek and cooled off.

Beating the heat!
Beating the heat!

We finished our run back at Magnolia Ranch, after we headed to Scott’s Seafood and Grill and had a great birthday lunch.

What an honor to have my birthday on Global Running Day and The International Day of Children! Cheers to all the Global Runners out there! Make every run special and make every mile count! Happy strides!

For more information on running, please contact me here, or e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com. Also for more info on real estate, please visit my website http://www.dynamicsacramentohomes. com.

 

 

Running for Real Estate-what’s in a blog’s name?

When our work and hobbies intertwine, we feel satisfied and happy. Having been in real estate for 16 years, I have learned to appreciate the dynamic aspects of my profession and the diversity of the people I meet and help buy or sell, for which I am very grateful. In other words, I am always stimulated and do not get bored with my work the same way running cannot bore me, because of the variety of workouts and the many physical and mental benefits that come with it .

Talking about real estate on Real Life Lending radio show.
Talking about real estate on Real Life Lending radio show.

Title of my blog:

Ancil Hoffman trail run with deer in the background. Pure bliss!
Ancil Hoffman trail run with deer in the background. Pure bliss!
  • It describes two passions: running and real estate.
  • Running and real estate have one common denominator: it is dynamic, which matches the name of my real estate company that I founded in 2010, Dynamic Real Estate.
  • Running and real estate are both adrenaline driven, especially when my buyers get super excited about becoming homeowners. As to running, we all know about runner’s high, which is pure bliss and increased endorphins that runners get during a run.
  • Running and real estate are both enriching on a financial level when my clients acquire equity in their homes and a spiritual level for runners, who find running the perfect meditation in motion, as I like to call it.
  • Running and real estate are super powers, as they change people’s lives.
  • Running and real estate are great securities for the future. Real estate can build up one’s portfolio and increase wealth, especially when clients take advantage of the lows and highs of the market, whereas running can increase one’s physical and mental well-being, which can add quality years to someone’s life.
  • Running and real estate are year-round affairs, especially for us living in California and being able to run year-round.
  • And last, but not least, running and real estate are LIFE. A positive, dynamic, joyous way of living.

For any questions on running, or real estate, please contact me at 916-342-2446, or e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com. Also don’t forget to follow and subscribe to this blog! Happy feet!