Grand Canyon R2R2R (Rim to Rim to Rim)

Grand Canyon Double Crossing – Rim to Rim to Rim

Oct 3, 2012 – with David Martin and Ian Torrence

How many times in life have you seen people accomplishing amazing feats and you just watched, marveled, but never quite entertained the thought of “maybe I could do that, too?” Things so enormous, you never thought of what it would take to actually pursue it yourself? The first time I read about runners doing a Grand Canyon double crossing in a single day was a turning point for me – when I stopped being in awe and actually entertained the notion of “why not me?”. And not only in regards to doing the Canyon, but any extreme challenge that comes my way. This trip to the Grand Canyon held such significance for me, and to realize it with two of my favorite people made it that much sweeter.

Coming off of the TransRockies Run, David and I wanted to capitalize on the new found fitness level we achieved. Ian ramped up our training for a month and we set a date to do the Grand Canyon. The shortest round-trip route is about 42 miles, 24,000′ elevation change. It is also extremely hot at the bottom of the canyon and you have to be prepared to be completely self-supported. Preparation and safety are key, and those afraid of commitment need not apply.

We started our day at sunrise, around 6:15am, opting to descend in the daylight. The South Kaibab trail is steep and full of donkey steps. It’s a fun run down, especially with the rising sunlight dancing on the canyon walls. Each turns unfolds a new view and a yet older era of history. Your significance on Earth diminishes with each step as you feel smaller and smaller.

Crossing the Colorado River, you begin the long ascent up to the North Rim. We stopped for water at Phantom Ranch before heading into a spectacular box canyon. This was the last bit of shade and cool we’d have for many hours. Unfortunately, David decided to stop at Cottonwood. He wasn’t feeling that he’d make the entire journey so he wisely listened to his body and headed back to Phantom Ranch to wait for us. It broke my heart to carry on without him, but I knew it was the best choice for him and that I was in more than capable hands with Ian. Cottonwood is fairly far up the North Kaibab, giving David about 30 miles by the end – no joke of a day! I think it took a lot of courage and love for him to push me to continue on without him. I know he really wanted to do it and could have easily asked us to turn back with him, but he was more interested in seeing me realize this dream. That’s love!

Ian and I continued on up, stopping at each water stop to reconnect and refill. The climb to the North Rim was gorgeous, challenging, hot, and satisfying. At the top, we sat to celebrate – we were ALL IN at this point! The only way back was the way we came, plus we had to go get David. The trip was still long and incredibly tough, but I was smiling, embracing the idea that I would be completing this today. A burro train was about to start down the trail so we hurried out of there, packs not quite on, snack in hand.

The journey back down to Cottonwood and then Phantom Ranch was long and very hot. We later learned the temps were at least 105*, likely more in the exposed sun. The Grand Canyon is unforgiving to her visitors, but the people in the canyon are not. The caretakers at Phantom Ranch gave us food that was left by previous campers. We were so hungry that instant oatmeal and apples seemed like a slice of Heaven!

Now late afternoon, we headed back towards the Colorado River to begin the ascent back up the South Kaibab. This is a long, steep climb. No fancy words can make it anything else. The fun donkey steps of the descent became interminable switchbacks on the way back up. Our timing was impeccable, though. We watched the sunset as we climbed, creating the most spectacular colors on the Grand Canyon walls, spanning for miles. This was the breath of beauty I needed right then. After sunset, we put on the headlamps and pushed slowly onwards. With a headlamp on, your world is limited to just a few feet around you. At this point in the journey, that was about all I could handle so it was absolutely perfect. Listening to the sounds of nighttime canyon life, and occasionally turning off the lights to see the stars – it all helped keep me pushing forward. That, and David’s gentle encouragement.

We finally saw Ian’s light hitting those last few switchbacks and then turning off and knew we had finally made it. Three more turns to the top and we were there. I wanted to cry but had nothing left. I had dust tears of absolute joy, gratitude, exhaustion, and pride. I had completed an ultrarunner’s rite of passage, permitted by the Grand Canyon herself, done by my own two feet, led by Ian, and supported by the love of my life. I am so lucky!

My message to everyone reading this is to turn the switch on when you see amazing things. Go from “wouldn’t that be cool” to “I am going to do this”. Set a goal so big that you must recruit help to achieve it, and you have to grow into the person who can do it. If you are a parent, this is even more important. Set the example that dreams don’t stop at adulthood. By doing this yourself, you teach your children to set goals and work towards them their entire lives.

Thank you, Ian, for taking us on this journey. As we’ve talked about so many times before, it is about so much more than the running. You’ve given me one of the best gifts of my life.

“Sometimes the adventure lies beyond the race and the training can take you farther than imagined…” – Coach Ian

David, thank you for dreaming so big with me and loving me in such a unique way. I am very proud of you. What is next on our bucket list? Grand Canyon R2R2R = Check!

Our route from South Rim to North Rim and back to the South Rim

Gore-Tex TransRockies Run 2012

Gore-Tex TransRockies Run 2012

TransRockies Run – 120 miles, over 20,000 ft of elevation gain, through the Colorado Rockies, running with your partner at all times.

How do I put into words what this experience was? It has taken me over three weeks to absorb it and come to terms with my lack of eloquence. It was so incredible, I didn’t want to leave it, and perhaps writing about it would mark the true ending of one of the greatest experiences of my life.

I’ll start from the beginning, a year ago.

I was doing my fitness “thing” and David was getting revenge on the Malibu Triathlon. (He had trained for it two years prior, but a tumor in his chest and resultant surgery removing it and his right ninth rib took him out for over a year.) We talked a lot about finding something fun to train for and do together. I started doing research – adventure races? (I don’t love biking much anymore), marathons? (Please don’t make me run on the roads!), what? I had always loved trail running, despite setting it aside for 8 years, but it was completely new to David. We went for a few short runs and he really loved it! A little more research on my part and I found the TransRockies Run. I knew it would be PERFECT!! I showed it to David and he immediately thought I was nuts, that there was no way we could do it (his longest distance was a singular road marathon, me – 8 years off), and immediately handed me his credit card to sign us up! We were going to DO THIS!

We seek to live our lives to the absolute fullest, always pushing ourselves to set high goals in every aspect of our lives. We believe in leading the way with our kids, setting our very best examples. When kids see parents setting high goals, working towards them, and going out there and DOING something, they will follow suit! It’s amazing how that works!

A couple with big goals? Yes. Big goals with a stupid plan? No way. We hired coach Ian Torrence right away and got to work. We decided to chronicle our journey with each workout on YouTube, sharing it with the world. We were almost starting from scratch! But, this was an important piece of accountability.

We saw the most incredible places! We ran all over SoCal, up the CA coast, Arizona, Utah – Zion and Arches, remote areas of southern Mexico, the Bahamas, and extensively in Colorado.

We even moved to Colorado.

Our training was excellent and we were ready! And thus began one of the most incredible experiences of my life – right up there with childbirth and LASIK. I expected a grueling week, and something uniquely profound, but I was met with something of a greater magnitude than I could have imagined. We knew most of the courses from our preview runs, but being on the mountains for six straight days changes a person. You have a lot of time with your partner, but even more time with yourself. You can run and run, but you will always be with yourself, deep in your thoughts, finding clarity, learning what you’re made of (or not), gaining new perspectives on almost everything. Adding to the experience, if you’re lucky, is to do all of this with your life partner. To come to the end with an immediate embrace, tears, and kisses tells a lot about a couple!

We seemed to get better each day – physically pooped but our confidence started to soar. David’s doubt as to whether or not we could even do this turned into “how many minutes are we in/out of the next place?” We came home mentally/emotionally exhausted but feeling physically fantastic, ready to keep on running. I do know that I am forever changed and continue to just “be” with it.

I always talk about setting your goals high and going for them. Maybe I had never set my goals high enough before, but what I really believe is that at least once in life we all should set a goal so insanely high it seems far beyond ourselves, and then create a support team and plan to become the person you need to be to achieve that goal. You will find out who you really are and it will change your life!

As always, our adventures are best told in video. We didn’t get as much footage as usual during the 6 days – we were busy racing or resting – but the story is there.

Photo credits in video include – Hunter Imagery, Klaus Fengler, Kelvin Trautman

As far as what is next? In the immediate future, we have a Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim run planned, but plans for after that are “in development”.

My sincerest gratitude to Ian Torrence, Melanie Haskell, Maksim Seredov, my boys, my entire team, the incredible runners I met at TransRockies, the Gore-Tex/TransRockies staff, and most of all, my love David Martin.

Goals and Gratitude

Goals and Gratitude

I hope you’ve been having a great Summer! It has been exciting and busy at our house! I woke up a few days ago to find an article that had been written about me. ME?! It was so humbling and eye-opening to see part of my life story through the eyes of someone else. This is the article –

It is not like me to share so much about myself because I’d much rather be learning more about YOU, but this gave me pause to have gratitude for the effect my life can have on others, so I want to share more about an extremely special goal that has occupied almost this entire past year and perhaps explain why you haven’t heard as much from me. I hope it will ignite a spark for setting some of your own goals.

 TransRockies Run 2012 – SETTING GOALS!

This coming week, my husband David and I will be competing in the TransRockies Run. It is a 6-day stage race across the Rockies, run as a team of two. We must run together each day – beginning together, coming to each aid station together, and finishing each day together. It is 120 miles long and has over 20,000 feet elevation gain. We just spent the last 11 months training with a coach to meet our goals – train injury-free, train smart, be prepared to do our very best.

WHY are we doing this? Have we lost our minds??

We work with coaches and customers every day on setting and achieving goals, but we also seek to live it. No matter what, we will always set high goals for ourselves, reaching beyond what we imagine to be our limits. We want to live by example, especially for our kids.

Training for this was no laughing matter! We made a video of every single workout, to share and for our own accountability. (You can see our journey here – and here’s a recent fave:

We racked up over 1,500 miles and over 150,000 ft of elevation gain. We came through with lots of bumps, bruises, bloody crashes, injured toes, a concussion, and other minor injuries, but a HUGE sense of accomplishment and passion for helping people more than ever because if we can do THIS, we can certainly help people achieve the goals that mean something to them.

But what is super awesome is that because of the level of fitness we had both achieved prior to diving deep into the run training, fitness levels we achieved ONLY thanks to Beachbody programs and products (David lost 70 pounds!), we were able to do this at all. Also, because of the time afforded us to train thanks to our Beachbody businesses, we were able to train at a high level, travel to and train in unbelievable locations, and share our journey with the message of setting high goals. The journey has been a catalyst for change for so many people we’ve met, and within our teams. While Beachbody offers outstanding lifestyle solutions, it also opens the door to so many more experiences. TRULY INCREDIBLE and HUMBLING!!

Now it comes down to a few more days of training and then we’re off to put the polish on the entire experience. Some steps will be fun and easy, many others will be muddy and painful, but no matter what, we have gratitude for the support we’ve received from everyone around us during the entire journey.

Set Your OWN Goals!

Continue to set high goals for yourself and please connect with me to share! I want to help you reach YOUR goals, no matter the size. If it is important to you, then it is worth working for! Send me a message!

And please follow us this coming week at and pray we don’t fall off any mountains! THAT is definitely among our goals!

Photo by Dan Dalstra

Chocolate Vegan Shakeology Review

Vegan Chocolate Shakeology Review

Have you tried it yet? The long-awaited Vegan Chocolate Shakeology is finally here and it is making a huge splash! I had the great fortune of getting a sneak preview taste test before the official release and was thrilled with what I tasted. Of course, my reviews are always more thorough and completely sugar-free, so I’ve waited until I’ve spent more time with it to give you my full review. You can count on always getting my 100% honest feedback!

So what’s the big deal? And, why vegan? What is the protein source and what else is in it?

Vegan Shakeology Superfoods and Protein Sources

Beachbody has put a lot of thought and time into this new Shakeology formula and it shows! There are over 70 whole foods in the bag, but I want to highlight the new ones:

Coconut Nectar – Provides natural sweetness, delivers amino acids, vitamins and minerals
Luo Han Guo – Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years, aids digestion
Himalayan Salt – Contains 70 trace minerals, delivers essential electrolytes
Moringa – Five times the amount of vitamin C as oranges, more vitamin A than carrots and tomatoes, more chlorophyll than chlorella
Konjac – Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years, aids digestion, absorbs water resulting in the body feeling fuller

And the protein sources? They are 100% plant-based! Bio-fermented sprouted brown rice protein and pea protein are the main protein sources. These two together create a balanced protein. Other protein sources within Vegan Chocolate Shakeology include Sacha Inchi, Chia, Flax, Quinoa, and Amaranth. WOW! Your total protein per serving is 16g with just the product alone. These vegan protein sources are much easier for the body to digest, provide significant nutritional benefits that whey does not, and they open the door for dairy-intolerant people and vegans to enjoy Shakeology.

How does Chocolate Vegan Shakeology Taste?

As you’ve likely seen in my previous reviews of other Shakeology formulations, I’m super picky about both taste and texture. I’m VERY happy to report that I am really enjoying this new formulation! While not quite as smooth as the non-vegan whey protein due to the nature of the vegan protein sources, it isn’t so present as to bother me. The flavor, in particular the level of sweetness, is what struck me most. I really didn’t feel that the non-vegan formula was sweet until comparing them side by side. The new vegan formulation is a richer, deeper chocolate that has a deep earthy flavor. They are quite different. We have gone through two bags at our house now, and have found a fun way to make the switch from non-vegan to vegan. Have a look to see my initial taste test review and what we’re doing with it:

So, what are you waiting for you? Shakeology offers a Bottom-of the-Bag guarantee; you can use it for 30 days and if you’re not happy, return the empty bag for a refund!

To read more about Beachbody workouts to go along with your Shakeology, read my last blog post.

P90X Back & Biceps/Ab Ripper X

Post Birthday P90X Back & Biceps/Ab Ripper X

We had the BEST time on my birthday at our first Tough Mudder! As much as I love doing P90X, the Mudder trumped it. Sorry, Tony!

So, are you looking for a really great, classic moves, back and biceps workout? If so, this workout, one of the main discs in the P90X series, is the one for you! Alternating between back and biceps moves, it will leave your arms and back a floppy puddle of mush at the end.

Is P90X Back & Biceps appropriate for women?

I asked myself this very same question when I started, especially the first time when I couldn’t do a more than a few pull-ups without a chair. And then I asked myself again the next day when my arms hurt when driving the car! Ha! Anyway, with patience and practice, I’ve gotten stronger and so can you. Unless you’re taking steroids or something, you will not bulk up into He-Man and you will feel so accomplished and proud to see those guns popping in a very feminine way. Also, it will strengthen your back and really give beautiful balance to your entire body. Don’t be afraid to do this work! Many women shy away from P90X in favor of working on just the lower body and abs. Guess what? A great upper body accentuates everything you’ve got going on!

Another fantastic option for learning proper pull-up form is the pull-up assist band. Unlike a chair, this keeps your body aligned properly, is safer, and allows you to adjust how much of your own weight you are lifting. Very cool! I got one recently and can’t wait to play with it more. While I’m able to bust out a bunch of pull-ups now without assistance (thank you P90X!), I think this tool will help accelerate my progress even more. You can connect, one, two, or three of the red bands you see here, adjusting the tension.

P90X Ab Ripper X

Get familiar with this one because you’ll be doing it a lot in P90X! It is short, to the point, and oh so effective. I LOVE core workouts, so this one is really fun for me. If you are doing this part of P90X on a hard floor, I HIGHLY recommend a super soft mat. In a pinch, grab a bathmat, towels, anything soft and put it on your yoga mat. I use a really great mat from, but only for floorwork. It is far too soft for the P90X standing work and will get torn up from your shoes.

Want more abs? Read my last blog post.

Are you ready to dive in? Let me help you get started with P90X!

Insanity Insane Abs

Insanity Insane Abs

Part of the Deluxe Kit that came with my Insanity, Insane Abs is no joke! Having done it a few times, I thought I’d do a video review of it. As you know, I have a lot of fun making video reviews of products, particularly Beachbody products. David films and then I edit and do the rest. Super easy production paired with royalty-free music (most of the time) and away we go. Never in a million years did I think this review would turn out to be my most popular – most views and most comments. I have the strangest song with it that gets the funniest comments – “Sweat On Ma Face” by Cipre. I have no idea who they are but the song made me laugh.

Is Insanity Insane?

What is the workout like? 30 insane minutes! There are cardio moves that will get you into the fat burning zone while targeting the core, but there are also plenty of slower, focused moves that will leave your core ON FIRE! Plan to not laugh for a few days afterwards if you aren’t used to challenging core work. Otherwise, if you’re looking for a great addition to your core workout rotation, Insanity Insane Abs is a must!

Buy Insanity Deluxe Kit

You can see the details and get your own copy of this workout paired with Insanity MAX Interval Sports Training here – Insanity Deluxe Kit.

Read my last blog post.

Are you ready for Insanity, Insane Abs?

P90X2 – Injury or Great Workout?

P90X2 – Injury or Great Workout?

We all know there is no magic pill for health and fitness. No magic wand and no secret potion. It takes time and it takes dedication. It also takes consistency in what you do every day and attention to all the components that factor into the whole picture.

Do at-home programs really work and are they safe? Let’s take a look at P90X2 to learn more.

A lot of research and careful planning went into the creation of P90X2. Over a decade’s worth of results from P90X, its predecessor, were in and adjustments were made. Beachbody has created a scientific-based program that is far more adjustable to your needs, keeping it very safe, and EFFECTIVE!

The P90X2 Cake

Think about baking a cake. You have to have all of the ingredients, and in the correct proportions. You have to prepare the pan. You have to place it in the oven on the proper rack. And the oven has to be set at the right temperature. Right? If any one of these things is off, what will you get? A yucky hockey puck or maybe a burnt mess, right? All of these elements have to be just right to get the result you want.

The same is true for your health and fitness. The ingredients in this case are your nutrition and program. It is so important to eat clean, get the right foods, and eat frequently. Next, you have to pick the right program for yourself. With the help of a Beachbody Coach, like me, you first have to define your goals and assess what your current level of fitness is. Beachbody programs come in all shapes and sizes, and there really is something for everyone, so the more specific you are here with your goals and preferences, the better. The beauty of P90X2 is that it is appropriate for so many levels and includes rehabilitative modifications so even those recovering from injury can still get the best workout.

Temperature, in this case, is your frequency and intensity with your workouts. P90X2 is meant to be a stand-alone program. It comes with a calendar telling you what to do each day. Please FOLLOW THIS and listen to your body!! It teaches you how to be flexible with it and add more recovery days when needed, stay in a phase longer for more work in a certain area, and maximize your results, etc. Unless you are a trained/professional athlete, don’t attempt to do doubles or combine it with other sports you’re doing thinking that you’ll get there faster. You won’t. You’ll end up injured, and your results will be LESS than if you had just done it as prescribed. This is like turning the temperature up to 500° with the hopes that you’ll get results faster. You’ll end up burnt, injured, and your systems will not respond to the work.

OK, so the pan? That is your body. Prepare it by stretching properly both before AND after your workouts. P90X2 teaches stretching and uses the foam roller for myo-fascial release. This is SO GOOD for your body and feels amazing! No other programs have this built in, and two of the packages come with a foam roller included.

P90X2 Cool-Off

This brings us to the final element. Your cake needs to cool before you eat it. This is your rest and recovery period. P90X2 is based on a 5-day workout week followed by an active recovery day and a full recovery day. For the active recovery day you get to choose something that is fun for you! Go ride a bike, run, walk, swim, jump on the trampoline, whatever! The workout is just a small part of your total approach. Proper rest and recovery is crucial! The workout is to break you down and create microtears in the muscles. The rest period between is where the real gains are made. If you just plow into more workouts before the recovery gains have been made, you’ve missed out on the benefits of the previous workout. You’ll be spinning your wheels, going nowhere fast. Also, getting enough sleep is important, too!

When you piece P90X2 together you end up with one amazing program that really delivers! For more information on purchasing P90X2 or to have me as your coach and DO IT WITH ME, please contact me at

That’s it, folks! I’m off to go bake my perfect P90X2 cake for the day!