Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living

Posts tagged “fitness

Make the Hilton San Francisco Union Square Your Home for the Holidays!

amazing skyline

A few weeks ago, I was planning a business trip to San Francisco, and I did not want to hassle with driving back to Sacramento after dark. The event I was planning and would be working in the city was a catered food and wine event at a major car dealership, and I knew I would be exhausted by the end of the evening. That’s when I decided to stay overnight in San Francisco, preferably close to the dealership.

Lucky for me, I have been and stayed in San Francisco several times and have a bit of a history and relationship with the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. I have been invited to past events, such as the opening of their 46th floor lounge, CityscapeCityscape is located inside tower one of the Hilton (which also happens to be the largest hotel on the West Coast).

The Cityscape has a 360-degree view of San Francisco and beyond. Through it’s 14ft floor-to-ceiling windows, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, the Transamerica Pyramid, Chinatown, AT&T Park, the Marin Headlands, Nob Hill, Oakland, and giant barges on the Bay. Now that Cityscape Lounge is open to the public, it’s at the top of my list for must-see sites in the City. Below is the video I took inside the Cityscape last year. I am using it because the Cityscape was closed (for a private event) the evening I stayed at the Hilton, and I was not able to obtain any new footage. Enjoy!

I connected with the marketing team at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, and they were able to place me in a beautiful tower room with a patio overlooking Union Square. I was happy to be back and able to check in and relax in my room before I headed to the event at the dealership that evening.

Of course the rooms inside the Hilton SF Union Square are spacious, modern, and the beds are beyond comfortable, but it was the new amenities since my last stay that were really impressive. First, there is a touch pad tablet in the rooms that is personalized to each guest. You can basically explore the entire city and find things to do during your time in San Francisco. There are recommended activities and restaurants, and you can see several menus to check out exactly what a certain restaurant offers before you make a reservation.


Not only can you become a San Francisco travel expert from your room, you can also workout at any time of day or night (with just a swipe of your hotel key) in the newly-renovated fitness center on the bottom floor of tower one. It’s a 2,800 square feet Precor®-equipped fitness area with a Cardio Theatre personal viewing system, ellipticals, treadmills, and free weights. There is also a towel and water station so you can stay fully hydrated during your workout. I really enjoyed being able to tune into Food Network and watch live time as I put in seven miles on the treadmill, and I can proudly say I didn’t miss my gym in Sacramento the slightest! Can I move in with you, Hilton San Francisco Union Square? 😉

front of gym


gym 1

gym 2

gym 3


sauv blanc

There are refrigerators in the rooms, and you can purchase wine and snacks (like the ones below) at the lobby café/store (Herb N’ Kitchen, click for menu). I also tried the Turkey Cobb Salad for dinner that evening, and it was very satisfying.

If you are looking for more of a full service experience, you can head over to Urban Tavern which features a full menu of locally-inspired cuisine (click here for menu), and highlights 50 wines within 50 miles, Bay Area beers and indigenous spirits. I dined there during my last stay, and here are some photos of the delightful dishes Andy and I sampled!

Here’s the part where I post a bunch of pictures I took from my 44th floor room 🙂

skyline 2


skyline 3

skyline 5


tree in hotel

This is the most wonderful time of year to stay at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. The lobby is fully decorated with Christmas trees, just like the one above on the main floor of tower one.


breakfast two

breakfast one

After my workout, I enjoyed the breakfast buffet at Poached, (click here for PDF menu), located on the lobby level of the Hilton. Below is a You Tube video of items available (everything!) on the buffet. I was really impressed by the Congee bar with several toppings, as well as the availability of healthy items. (There’s also lots of pastry, cereal, bread, bagels, too, if that’s your thing.)

union square

Things to do this season!
There are lots of activities for the whole family during the holiday season, and the Hilton San Francisco Union Square welcomes you during this festive time of year. As you can see in the photo above, Union Square is fully decked out with lights and a Christmas tree, and they have their Holiday Ice Rink open for business! There’s even a package rate that includes accommodations, 2 ice rink tickets, and a Bloomingdale’s 15% savings certificate! Follow this link for full details/to take advantage of this offer!

A Charlie Brown Christmas LIVE!
A Charlie Brown Christmas—LIVE!
 at Davies Symphony Hall is an experience you won’t want to miss. The performance begins with a reception in the lobby, so make sure to arrive early. The lobby will be filled with festive decorations and activities, including gigantic Christmas trees and special Peanuts décor. There will be several performances beginning this Thursday, Dec 21st and running until December 24th, 2017. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

A Christmas Carol
Over at the American Conservatory Theatre, you can enjoy a performance of A Christmas Carol. Performances run Wednesday, Dec 21st-Sunday Dec. 24th at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater, 415 Geary Street. For more information, click here.

A New Year’s Event with Seth McFarlane and the San Francisco Symphony
Sunday, December 31st, at 8:00pm, Davies Symphony Hall
Celebrate in timeless style with Academy and Grammy Award-nominated singer, songwriter, actor, producer, and director Seth MacFarlane, who brings a winning combination of rich crooning and cool pizazz that would do Frank and Dino proud. Watch him light up the stage with the San Francisco Symphony in a dazzling concert of finger-snapping jazz standards and holiday favorites conducted by Edwin Outwater. For tickets click here.



Another amenity I found impressive is the valet parking service. As you are checking out, you can text the code (ten minutes before you are ready to leave) on your valet ticket to the valet number (see above) and they will fetch your vehicle for you so you don’t have to wait for it.

With its state-of-the-art amenities and breathtaking views, it’s no wonder the Hilton San Francisco Union Square is my go-to place to stay in the City.

Cityscape Lounge is open seven days a week from 5pm-Midnight. You can find the Hilton San Francisco Union Square on Facebook here, and follow them on Twitter here. Tag them on social media with #hiltonfunionsq. Much thanks to the marketing team at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square for your hospitality. I’ll be back soon!

*I was given a one night stay, breakfast, and parking in exchange for this informative blog post.


Hyatt Regency Washington D.C. on Capitol Hill Home to this Year’s National Alopecia Areata Foundation Conference

This year marked the 31st Annual National Alopecia Areata Foundation’s Convention, and this year we convened in Washington, D.C.

What the heck is alopecia? Click here to find out.

Though many rallied at the Capitol to raise awareness and urge their congresspeople to consider legislation that would help cover wigs/hairpieces for a patient diagnosed with alopecia, the home of the convention was at The Hyatt Regency Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill, where conference attendees gathered together in support of each other, danced together, cried together, dined together, laughed together, learned together, and did nothing short of have a ball together.

You see, for alopecians, this is the most important event of the year where we can get together from all parts of the world and share our experiences. Because sharing and relating is medicine for the soul. The magic of the conference is that it provides a gathering place for people and their families from all walks of life who are affected by this disease.

NAAF empowerment session
I arrived very late on Thursday night, and did not go to Capitol Hill with the others, but I attended a workshop on Friday afternoon called Empowering Lives, Building Resilience, led by Dr. Renee Thomason.

Then on Friday evening, I was treated to dinner by Roti Meditteranean Grill (located in Union Station). It is only about 1/3 of a mile to Union Station (pictured below).

union station
Inside Union Station, Roti is located on the left side of the building, on the lower level.

roti in union station
If you have never tried Roti Mediterranean Grill, it’s pretty much like a build your own burrito place, but instead with Mediterranean food. What drew me to Roti is that they have a gluten-free/gluten-friendly menu with gluten-free pita bread. Probably enough said there, too. I am sure all my gluten-free readers are now just as intrigued as I was! 🙂

menu from roti
assembly line roti
So, I went with the salad with kabob, tahini sauce, and feta, cabbage slaw #becauseprobiotics!, and a side of hummus with an order of gluten-free pita bread. I would have dined in, but I was ready to head back to my room and relax. Plus, I had some yummy wine to pair with my meal chilling in the refrigerator.

So I scurried back like a hungry little squirrel and spread out my Mediterranean feast on the coffee table in front of the TV in my (rather extravagant for one person) hotel room.

chicken kabob salad from roti
I loved the chicken kabob salad because it was filling and healthy, which is how I like to eat even when I am out of town. I could not tell a difference between this pita bread and regular pita bread, and the side of hummus was enormous, and would be used on other food throughout the weekend thanks to the refrigerator in my room. If you’re curious about the wine, I packed three bottles with me to save money on beverages during my trip. Tonight’s wine was a Chardonnay which is a lovely pairing with grilled chicken.

You can find Roti Mediterranean Grill online here, on Facebook here, on Twitter here, and on Instagram here.

Then for dessert, I snuck down to the Hyatt’s bar, the Article One Lounge, and ordered this cocktail (below) The Ketel One Watermelon Cooler. The title describes exactly the contents of the drink: watermelon, basil, and vodka with a lime wedge. I sat with some other alopecians who were hanging out and having some drinks. I love our community and how you can just ask to sit with someone and you’re accepted. Wig or no wig. It’s whatever makes you comfortable and people understand and can relate. 🙂

strawberry basil drink
The next day, I headed out to explore Washington, D.C. via foot/running. I did a five mile run from my hotel to the Capitol building and down to the Washington Monument and back and below are the pictures I took during the run (while managing to get 5 miles in).

capitol under construction
washington monument close up
When I got back to the hotel, I finished my workout in the StayFit™ Fitness Center. It is a well-equipped gym with several treadmills, ellipticals, weights, a sauna, locker rooms, an indoor lap pool, and an outdoor sundeck. The gym’s set up reminded me of a greenhouse, as detailed in the picture (below). I ran three more miles and did 20 minutes elliptical thanks to the air-conditioning!! 🙂

Hyatt gym
Following my workout and gym time, I headed to another conference session: Ask the Experts. The Ask the Experts presentation was a panel of medical and research experts from a variety of fields to answer questions about the different aspects of alopecia areata including treatment and research. Though I don’t attend the conference anymore in search of a cure (I come for the camaraderie), it’s always interesting to hear the latest research.

NAAF ask the experts panel
Following the Ask the Experts panel, it was time to get blown away by the strength and courage of the panel during the Young Adult Perspective presentation. Seven young adults gave their testimony and answered questions from the audience about their experiences with alopecia. I admired this panel of kids (to me, now at 39) because they were diagnosed with alopecia during more formative years. I was diagnosed at 25 and never had to deal with bullying any of the weirdness an adolescent would have to face like these panelists surely did. They all gave helpful advice to audience members, especially the parents of children with alopecia, on what to say, how to react, and what to do to be a community advocate. It was a powerful seminar to say the least.

NAAF young adults panel
Then I headed back up to my room to get ready for dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, Article One. I had contacted the hotel the week of my trip to see if we could work together on a Paleo meal to feature here on my website. The marketing team for the Hyatt Regency Washington, D.C. was very receptive to my request. In addition, I received a room upgrade from a regular room that I paid for to an Executive Suite with many more amenities and a separate living room and sleeping area. My room included a refrigerator and a microwave, 2 televisions, and 2 different air/heating controls for the two rooms in the suite. The Executive Suite includes access to the Regency Club King room (a private access 11th floor lounge with dedicated concierge service, Continental breakfast, daily refreshments, evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvres). With the upgrade to Regency Club, I didn’t have to spend any extra money on meals during the day.

I snapped a pic of me all decked out for dinner (before heading up to the Regency Club for some early evening snacks and a glass of wine).

pre dance mirror selfie

Here’s what the Regency Club room looks like, along with the plate of roasted vegetables I had as an appetizer. How did they know sun-dried tomatoes are pretty much my favorite thing in the world? 🙂

executive club for ballers

appetizers from executive club
Following my visit to the Recency Club, I headed down to Article One for dinner.

article one front
The restaurant is very contemporary with vibrant reds/burnt orange and browns in its decor, and open to the hotel lobby. I was impressed with the open feel because you can still experience the buzz of the lobby, but still feel like you are tucked away for a private meal.

And a very special and private meal it was for yours truly, as I was treated by the Article One staff and Executive Sous Chef Ryan Ward.

I was thrilled with the amount of research Chef Ryan did on the Paleo diet, and I promise you if you have a dietary restriction, all you have to do is let the hotel know when you make your reservation. The staff will do everything they can to meet your needs and make your dinner a memorable one.

For your reference, here is the wine list at Article One.

article one wine list
Since I was informed what my dinner would be as I sat down, I ordered a glass of wine to pair with it. The Stag’s Leap Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon.

stags leap artemis
Then my meal arrived, served by the Chef himself. It was a Rib-Eye steak, cooked medium rare, with turnips and potatoes. There was also a decadent mushroom sauce (I ordered on the side). Let’s just call it mushroom ketchup because I used it as a condiment for the perfectly cooked bites of steak and tender turnips and potatoes.

rib eye potatoes and turnips
rib eye cooked perfectly
I took another shot to show how nicely my steak was prepared. (Annnd also to show off my nails, of course). 😉

Chef Ryan also put together a dessert especially for me with mixed berries and mixed nuts and seeds. I ordered a glass of Pascual Toso Brut (an Argentinian sparkling wine) to have with dessert.

article one dessert
After dinner, I headed back to my room to re-gussy up before the NAAF “Totally Rad 80’s Dance Party”. That’s when I found one last incredible gift from the hotel.

wine and fruit from hotel
The next morning, I headed out on another run, this time to visit the Lincoln Memorial.
I took the following pictures that day, and managed to get a nice 6 miles in:

lincoln monument side
lincoln monument
lincoln monument statue

reflecting pool washington monument
After my workout, which was again finished in the StayFit™ Fitness Center, I got my things all packed up and went down to attend the Closing Session led by NAAF Communications Director (and totally rad DJ) Gary Sherwood, Chief Development Strategist Maureen Smith, and the guest speaker, an NFL linebacker with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ryan Shazier.


Ryan Shazier. Photo cred: NAAF's Facebook page

Ryan Shazier. Photo cred: NAAF’s Facebook page

NAAF Conference Closing


I want to thank the Hyatt Regency Washington, D.C. for the room upgrade, as well as the custom Paleo meal and wine I enjoyed during my stay. Everything was perfect including the 24-hour room service (not previously mentioned), which saved me from starving on Thursday night after a late flight and arrival to the hotel. I recommend the Field Greens Salad with Grilled Chicken!

I’d also like to tell you about Hyatt Hotels in Washington 2016 Summer Offer, which is a great deal for anyone who wants to visit D.C. It is available for Hyatt Gold Passport® Members, and offers up to a 15% off stays at participating Hyatt Hotels in Washington DC through September 10, 2016.

Here is the link with more details about this offer:

You can find the National Alopecia Areata Foundation online here and find them on Facebook here.

You can find the Hyatt Regency Washington D.C. Capitol Hill online here, on Facebook here, on Twitter here and on Instagram here.

Beginning photo credit: NAAF’s Facebook page







Nike Women’s Half Marathon Entry Winner #2: Congrats to Karla!

Last month, Whole Foods Market, Nike and I gave away 2 entries to the sold out Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco.

I wanted you to meet the entry winners, so you might perhaps comment below and cheer them on for the upcoming race on October 19th! Maybe you’ll even look them up in the race results following the race.

The second entry winner is Karla Euler from Jackson, GA. I asked Karla to share a little bit about herself, her daily diet, and how she is preparing for the race:

I am a 52 year old US Army Vet, mother of 3 grown daughters and grandmother to two beautiful grandchildren, both age 5.  I grew up in Southern California and now live in Jackson, GA.  I work as a Deputy Court Clerk so I spend most days inside a building which drives me to spend my off days outside as much as possible!  I enjoy yard work, hiking, swimming, biking, pretty much anything that will keep me outside and spending time with my family 🙂

karla 2

 I have always tried to maintain a healthy life style and I did up until my 2 grandchildren were born. I found myself making many excuses not to eat right or exercise just so I could spend all my spare time with my grand kids. The Nike Women’s Half Marathon will be my first and has given me the motivation and determination to get myself back into a healthy life style. I have ran numerous 5k and 10k’s in the past, but I am super excited about the SF Half!!  I have been diligently training for this and have loved getting back into exercise and healthy eating. I have more energy overall and feel better physically and mentally both.

The following is a typical day of eating for me:

A Cup of Black Coffee and then out for a run; I find that I do better when I don’t eat before a long run as I tend to eat dinner pretty late at night.

Bowl of Oatmeal and a Banana, Black Coffee

Deli sandwich on wheat bread, cottage cheese with fruit

Baked Fish, yellow rice, garden salad, glass of milk

Additionally, I do take a multi-vitamin, fish oil, calcium supplement, and glucosamine tablet daily as well as drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

karla 1

Thanks to Karla for submitting her story to I am hoping to meet her on the day of the run and wish her luck in person! 🙂 Thanks to Nike and Whole Foods for allowing me to give two other women the chance to run in the race.

You can find Whole Foods on Facebook here and on twitter here. My local store is in Roseville on Facebook here.

You can find the Run Nike Women’s Series and more information on the race on Facebook here.

Nike Women’s Half Marathon Entry Winner #1: Congrats to Cathy!

You might recall a few weeks ago that Whole Foods Market, Nike and I gave away 2 entries to the sold out Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco.

I wanted you to meet the entry winners (I’ll be featuring one today and one next week), so you might perhaps comment below and cheer them on for the upcoming race on October 19th! Maybe you’ll even look them up in the race results following the race.

The first entry winner is Cathy Wiggs-Hong from the Los Angeles, California area. I asked Cathy to share a little bit about herself, her daily diet, and how she is preparing for the race:


Hi my name is Cathy.  I am a 34 year old mother of 3 girls ages 9, 4 and 1.5.  I am a stay at home mom with the girls now, but I previously worked as a pediatric physical therapist.  I love to be active, and enjoy all outdoor activities.  As a family, we love to go to the beach, the pool, and Disneyland.

The Nike Women’s half marathon will be my second half.  I’ve completed many shorter distance races, but have actually come to enjoy the training and actual race of the 13,1 miles.  I try to eat pretty healthy in general, as I am still nursing my youngest child, but I often find it difficult to keep it as healthy as I’d like because of how busy I am.

I find that when I food prep I eat much healthier, that is something I am striving to get more consistent with.  I’ve also noticed that when I “eat clean” I feel so much better both physically and mentally, that is real motivation for me to try and keep it up.

The following food journal is what I ate today and is pretty typical of what I normally eat.

Breakfast: Yogurt with strawberries and blueberries
Snack: Baked mini flat pretzels and dill havarti cheese, honey crisp apple (shared with the littlest)
Lunch: Grilled chicken breast with side salad
Dinner: BBQ’d hamburger with lettuce and avocado, baked sweet potato fries


Water throughout the day, as well as a multivitamin, glucosamine supplement, calcium, and a broad spectrum antioxidant supplement.

On days that I run, I also have a protein bar or shake following my runs.


Thanks to Cathy for submitting her story to I am hoping to meet her on the day of the run and wish her luck in person! 🙂 Thanks to Nike and Whole Foods for allowing me to give two other women the chance to run in the race.

You can find Whole Foods on Facebook here and on twitter here. My local store is in Roseville on Facebook here.

You can find the Run Nike Women’s Series and more information on the race on Facebook here.

River Run for Youth Wrap Up

finish line
Last Saturday, I ran the River Run for Youth in West Sacramento. I wanted to circle back and report on what a great time I had at the race, and give a little bit more about its beneficiary, Collings Teen Center.

I asked Gary Fox, executive director of Campus Life Connection (the non-profit organization that administrates Collings Teen Center) for some more information about the center itself and about how the idea for the River Run for Youth began.

Can you tell me a little more about the services Collings Teen Center provides?

Gary Fox:
The Teen Center offers afterschool options including: tutoring, recreation, field trips, camps, competition, free afternoon meal and service projects. The age for the teen center participants is middle school through high school. The program is for any young person in the West Sacramento area and it is free.

How did the idea of a 5K come to mind as a fundraiser?

Gary Fox:
The idea started with a group of people who wanted to do something to support the center and the next steps included talking to several people who have been doing runs to find out how to put one together, who should we talk to about managing the event and helping with logistics, where should we hold it and who should we talk to about participating.

How did you get Capital Road Race Management and Fleet Feet involved with the race?

Gary Fox:
Both groups have been very helpful and responded with coaching and ideas when we approached them to do a run.

Are you hoping to make the race an annual event?

Gary Fox:
We are planning our next year’s event now, having learned so much from this first year we are excited about the possibilities for the next one.

Besides running the race, how can people donate to Collings Teen Center? Also, do you take volunteers?

Gary Fox:
We encourage people to visit and see what is going on and how the program impacts young people, we accept donation of cash, but we also accept food, clothing and other items as needs arise. We are always looking for volunteers who will be consistent and build relationships with young people.

Thanks, Gary!

dinger 6 min mile
I mentioned that I ran in the race (3.1 miles) as one leg of 11.25 miles I ended up running that day. I finished 2nd in my division (30-39) and took home a nice glass tumbler and medal for it 🙂 Below is my Garmin readout from the race with a map of the course.

river run


Speaking of the course, I will say it’s a not a flat one.  There are some hills in there. And if you’re a good cross country runner, you would really like it, as only about 1.5 miles of the race are on paved roads. The rest is gravel and dirt. 🙂 And you finish right on the baseball field, which is again, dirt. 🙂 Below are my official results:

race results

Here’s the link to the rest of the official race results: CLICK HERE

raley field
If you have the chance, come out and run with us next year!

The Collings Teen Center invests in the lives of young people in the West Sacramento Community. Our purpose is to Embrace, Engage and Empower.

Designed to be a safe place where young people will always feel welcomed to hangout after school, a place where computers, basketball, games and activities are blended with tutoring, community service, educational seminars, and trips outside the area, job training and connection to men and women who are leaders in the community.

Young people need caring adults in their lives that will be a positive influence, listen to their issues, encourage good decisions, and celebrate their successes.

You can follow the River Run for Youth on twitter here and find them on Facebook here.

Raley’s Presents River Run for Youth 5K Run/Walk on Sat, Sept. 20, 2014 at 8:30am!

The 1st Annual River Run for Youth sponsored by Raley’s will take place on Saturday, September 20, 2014 at Raley Field, West Sacramento, California.  The event includes a timed and untimed 5K Run/Walk and a FREE ¼ Mile Kids Race.  Stick around after the main event if your child wants a chance to run the bases!

Race Beneficiaries
The River Run for Youth benefits Collings Teen Center.
A non-profit organization investing in the lives of young people in the West Sacramento Community whose purpose is to Embrace, Engage and Empower.

Race Features
Cotton T- shirts (click here to view the race shirt); Scenic river course finishing inside Raley Field; Timing by Capital Road Race Management; Ideal weather; Delicious post-race food and access to the Raley Field Kids’ Corner.

A chance for any child who wants to run the bases will take place after the main event!
All participants in the Kids’ Race will receive a finisher’s medal. Race shirts are not available for the Free Kids’ Race.
There will be an awards ceremony at appx. 9:30am.

Start Times
¼ mile Kids race (10 & under): 8:00 am
5k Run/Walk: 8:30am

Please arrive early allowing plenty of time before your race start.
Walkers and strollers will start at the back of the timed participants.

Sorry, No Refunds

Register online. CLICK HERE

Race Day Registration
You will be able to register on Race Day starting at 7:00 am.

On Site Registration & Packet Pickup
You can register and/or pick up your race packet on Friday (9/19) from 10am to 7pm at the Collings Teen Center and on Race Day.
NOTE: Pre-registered participants may also pick up their race packets on Race Day starting at 7:00am.

Race Timing
Timing will be provided by Capital Road Race Management.

All participants in the ¼ mile Kids Race will receive completion medals.
Trophies will be given to the overall 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers of the 5K. Awards will be given out to the top 3 finishers in each age division of the 5K.

Age Divisions
12 and under, 13-18, 19-29, 30–39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, 80+

Awards will not be mailed so please listen for your name at the award ceremony approximately one hour after the start of the 5K race, if you think you finished in the top three in your age group. If you fail to pick up your award on race day, you can pick up your award at Collings Teen Center. Please call the Teen Center to coordinate a time to pick up your award.

Time Limits
¼ mile Kids Race: 20 minutes
5k runners/walkers will have a ONE – hour time limit to complete the course.

Water Stations
There will be one water station at the halfway point (appx.) of the 5K. The water station will be supported by local volunteers and will include water and a sports drink.

Driving Directions
Raley Field is located at 400 Ballpark Drive, just west of Old Sacramento and the Sacramento River.

Folsom, Fair Oaks, Rancho Cordova, etc.)
Business 80 West to Jefferson Blvd/Fifth St. Exit
Keep Right to exit at Fifth St.

Interstate 80 Eastbound to Capital City Freeway (Bus. 80/US – 50) to South Lake Tahoe.
Exit Jefferson Blvd./Downtown Sacramento.
Keep to the Left and take the Downtown Sacramento exit.
Turn Right on Fifth St.

Interstate 5 Northbound to Business 80/US – 50 Westbound toward San Francisco
Exit at Jefferson Blvd./Fifth St.
Keep Right to exit Fifth St.

Interstate 5 Southbound to Hwy 50/I-80 Westbound
Exit at Jefferson Blvd./Fifth St.
Keep Right to exit Fifth.

Please click on the link below to view the parking map at Raley Field.

5K Course
Start Line – On 5th St. at Raley Field between Tower Bridge Gateway and Ballpark Dr;
Mile 1– On Lighthouse Dr.; between Watercolor Ln and Marina Wy
Mile 1.5 (appx) – water station
Mile 2– Located on the River Walk; between the Pers. Building and the Pyramid Building
Mile 3 – Located on the warning track at Raley Field; SE of the centerfield gate.
Finish Line – Inside Raley Field!!

Certified 5k
The River Run for Youth 5k is distance-certified by Fleet Feet Sports. Official race timing by Capital Road Race Management.

The Collings Teen Center invests in the lives of young people in the West Sacramento Community. Our purpose is to Embrace, Engage and Empower.

Designed to be a safe place where young people will always feel welcomed to hangout after school, a place where computers, basketball, games and activities are blended with tutoring, community service, educational seminars, and trips outside the area, job training and connection to men and women who are leaders in the community.

Young people need caring adults in their lives that will be a positive influence, listen to their issues, encourage good decisions, and celebrate their successes.

You can follow the River Run for Youth on twitter here and find them on Facebook here. Hope to see you on Saturday! 🙂

Fueled by Whole Foods! (Nike Women’s Half Marathon Series)

So, I finally had time to get out to Whole Foods and start using the gift card they gave me to feed myself during my half marathon training (the Women’s Nike Half Marathon in San Francisco on October 20th). For about $65 dollars, here’s what I bought:

  • 1/2 Gallon So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk
    (will use in smoothies, sometimes morning coffee)
  • 1 pound bag frozen raspberries
    (will use in protein shakes with protein powder, ice and coconut milk)
  • 1 package Diestel sliced herbed turkey breast
    (love their products, a healthy splurge indeed!)
  • 1 head of organic cauliflower
  • 1 small block of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    (.25 pounds or so, my biggest splurge on the list!)
  • 3 pound bag frozen triple berry blend
    (will use in protein shakes with protein powder, ice and coconut milk)
  • 2.87 pounds of broccoli crowns
  • 1.17 pounds of organic bananas
    (will use in protein shakes with protein powder, ice and coconut milk)
  • 1.82 pounds of Grenache grapes
  • 1 pound of Organic Girl Super Greens
  • 1.5 pounds of parsnips
  • .75 pounds of coconut flour
    (will use in occasional treats after long runs)
  • ,75 pounds of almond meal
    (will use sparingly to make gluten free bread or occasional treats)
  • 1 orange flesh honeydew melon (my favorite fruit!!)

This was my awesome dinner tonight, almost all of it made from the ingredients on my shopping list today from Whole Foods. It was a Diestel Turkey salad (2 1/2 slices), on a bed of Organic Girl Super Greens (dandelion, arugula, spinach mix), 2 hard boiled eggs, 1-2 Tbs grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, eggplant “croutons” and studded with about 1/2 cup of organic Grenache grapes. I don’t typically use dressing because the egg and cheese make everything so flavorful I don’t need it. 🙂

As far as the running goes, I have an app called Runkeeper to log my daily mileage. Here’s a look at my run this past Sunday. I wanted to put in a long run on the roads because I had not done one in a while. I was even wondering if I could make it past 10 miles! Followed by the map are my mile splits:

run map

1 mi: 9:05
+12 ft elevation climb

2 mi: 9:07 +1 ft elevation climb

3 mi: 9:01 -10 ft elevation loss

4 mi: 9:18 -3 ft elevation loss

5 mi: 8:44 -18 ft elevation loss
(water stop at 5.25 miles)

6 mi: 8:59 +23 ft elevation climb
(ran kinda through the mall and through the tunnel into Old Sac… AWESOME)

7 mi: 8:09 +15 ft elevation climb

8 mi: 8:20 -5ft elevation loss

9 mi: 8:35: +4ft elevation climb
(water stop around 9 miles)

10 mi: 8:36 -3ft elevation loss

11 mi: 8:47 +4ft elevation climb

12 mi: (last .24 of my run in front of the Sacramento Zoo) 9:38 -8ft elevation loss


I am planning on running a short race the first weekend of October, but otherwise will mostly be concentrating on building my road tolerance and endurance.
If you would like to check out my profile and my running on Runkeeper, click here.

Look for another post using my groceries from Whole Foods, coming this week and more on my training as well!

You can find Whole Foods on Facebook here and on twitter here. My local store is in Roseville on Facebook here. The Nike Women’s Series is on Facebook here. Now get out there and go running! 🙂

The Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco: I’m Running with Whole Foods!


I’ll never forget how I felt after my first half marathon. Or how I felt right before it. I was so intimidated. I had never run a race longer than 9.3 miles (In November 2011, The Hot Chocolate 15K in Chicago), and I distinctly recall not wanting to run another step after that event. But, in May 2012, I ran the Border Energy Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon in just under 2 hours (1:58:49).

You can tell from the picture just how elated I was to even finish the race! Under 2 hours part was only icing on the cake. 🙂

So now, after running three half marathons, I’m very excited to announce that my fourth half marathon will be the Nike Women’s Half Marathon on October 20th in San Francisco, and I will be running on behalf of Whole Foods!!

Annually, 30,000+ people come to San Francisco to run the Nike Women’s Marathon (benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society). This year, the race will celebrate its 10-year anniversary and Whole Foods Market will be the official grocery sponsor.

I am particularly excited to run in a marathon that happens to be the world’s largest women’s foot race (though men participate too). I also heard a rumor that there will be a Tiffany & Co. finisher’s necklace for every runner at the finish line. And that firefighters (IN TUXEDOS!) will be handing them out. Oh. My. You know I’m only in this for the jewelry, right? 😉

Over the next 6 weeks until the race, I will be working with Whole Foods and keeping track of my food and training right here on my website. During that time, I will be sharing recipes and some of my workouts. I most likely will post in a weekly format to give a breakdown of what I ate and the miles I ran. I feel so honored to be journaling this race and the time leading up to it. A big thanks to Whole Foods, as they are funding my groceries until the race as well!

Here’s a map of the course (highlighting the full and the half).

It means even more to me that I was given an entry into the race because I am not an elite runner, but more of a “bridge” runner that can connect people doing this the first time to people of an intermediate skill level. Remember, I didn’t do anything more than walking until I was in my late 20’s, and I didn’t start racing competitively until 2 years ago. And now, I’m on a team, too–The River City Rebels. So, if I can do this, so can you!

Is anyone else running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon or the Marathon? I am really looking forward to it. I have my hotel picked out and am already getting butterflies!! Let’s do this!

You can find Whole Foods on Facebook here and on twitter here. My local store is in Roseville on Facebook here. The Nike Women’s Series is on Facebook here.

FITzee Foods Serves Pre-Portioned Paleo-friendly Meals

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To be honest, I didn’t really think the meals Andy and I were sent from FITzee Foods were going to be that much to write home about. I have NEVER liked frozen food meals (Lean Cuisine, Weight Watchers, etc) because quite frankly, they all taste God-awful. Also, I believe in taking the time to cook something free of additives and preservatives that are in most frozen meals. Blech. However, since FITzee Foods meals seemed to be atypical of the aforementioned brands, I agreed to have some shipped to me for a review (even though I was a little concerned about their flavor, texture, etc).

After some trepidation, I thawed out our meals from FITzee Foods, heated them up, and tried to plate them the best I could for a picture. I will admit I even made a salad and parsnip chips as a back-up meal in case the meals were inedible–by the way, the salad and parsnips ended up being great side dishes. Apologies to FITzee Foods for my slight doubt of their product. 😉 Blind tasted, I would not have known the meals were pre-packaged or frozen.

FITzee Foods‘ meals are prepared daily with fresh, organic, and all-natural ingredients. All meals and snacks are available in a variety of specifically portioned sizes to fuel each individual’s unique lifestyle. All you need to do is heat and eat. They have a full menu with breakfast, lunch, and dinner that caters to special dietary needs, including meals that are Paleo-friendly. They also list the calorie content of different-sized portions for each item. The meals can be picked up in their store in San Diego, or shipped nationwide.

The two meals we tried were the BBQ Pulled Pork with Garlic Red Potatoes and Creamy Spinach (557 calories) and the Thai Coconut Curry Chicken (447 calories). I couldn’t believe how fresh the meals tasted after being frozen for at least a month. The Thai Curry still had vibrant flavors of cilantro and red curry paste with a coconut milk broth, and the BBQ Pulled Pork was sweet, spicy and tender, and the spinach was a fresh bright green. The medium-sized meals we sampled were the perfect dinner portion for a female about my size (5’1″, 120-125 pounds). Since our taste test, the company has added a few more Paleo options I am looking forward to trying.

You can find FITzee Foods on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here. To see some customer ratings, you can check out their Yelp page here. You can order online from their web store here.

Great Pumpkin 5K in Folsom is October 28th!

The Great Pumpkin 5K will be held on Sunday, October 28th, 2012 at 9:00am in Folsom, California.

Course Description
The course starts in the parking lot of 2304 E Bidwell Street and is run on the paths of the Humbug Willow Creek Trail along marshes, creeks, and oak woodlands.

Race will feature disposable chip timing. Jogging Strollers are allowed.  Please start at the back of the pack and stay to the right side of path.

Aid stations at the halfway (1.6-mile) point, stocked with hydration and smiling faces!

Race registration is $35. You can register by going here. Registration available online until midnight, Friday, October 26th. You must register no later than Thursday, October 18th to be guaranteed a shirt and size. Provided the event does not sell out, we will accept registration at Packet Pickup race morning.

However, finisher awards, shirts and sizes are not guaranteed for late registrants, so register early!

Packet Pick-Up
Race morning at 2304 E Bidwell Lot (Race Venue), 7:30am to 8:30am Race Day. Plan to arrive no later than 8:15am in order to pick up your packet.

All participants receive entry into a raffle to win one of many great prizes provided by ERT’s generous sponsors and partners.  The raffle will be held before race start so you do not have to wait around after the event if you need to hit the road. (If you have time–great! Hang out and enjoy the refreshments and cheer on the other runners.)

The race will start immediately following the raffle at 9:00am. Refreshments will be provided for all runners and walkers following the race.

All participants will receive a race shirt and custom finisher award. Late/Race Day Registrants are not guaranteed shirts and sizes. Awards will be given for top 3 male and female finishers, and top finishers in age divisions 14 and under, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, and 70+.  Depth of awards will be determined by the participant field.  Award ceremony follows the race.  All winners must be present–awards will not be available for pickup or mailing after event.

You can “like” Elemental Running on Facebook here.