Mud and Chocolate Trail Run? Yes, Please!

Mud and Chocolate

Chocolate?  I know that got your attention!  I got home a day early from Banff and went on Running in the USA’s website to see this 3 mile trail run for last Saturday morning.  I was all over it!  It was perfect weather for a run – cloudy and just a couple sprinkles.

Mud and Chocolate 1

It was held at Robinswood Park in Bellevue.  That was my first time at that park.

Mud and Chocolate 2

See?  Really pretty location and perfect for those just starting out with trail running.  The trails are relatively flat not real “rooty”.

They had a kids dash first that went around the pond twice.  I was really impressed with Nina from NRG Running (who put on the event).   She explained to the kids where they would be running and to save some energy by starting at a slower pace.  Here she is below cheering them on!

Mud and Chocolate 3

At the end of the race they all received a chocolate medal and chocolate milk.  They were all so proud.  It was really cute!

Next, it was the adults turn.

Mud and Chocolate 4

Mud and Chocolate 5


At the end, we got chocolate medals too and chocolate bar from Seattle Chocolates. Yay, us!  There was also a treat table set up with chocolate truffles, donuts, and other yummy choices…

Mud and Chocolate 7

Would I do this race again?  Definitely!  Nina said her goal was to have a fun event to get people excited for fitness and running.  It also helped raise money for the Ben Towne Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

As I was walking back to my car, I overheard a couple ladies say this was their first race of the year, they liked that this one was shorter than other trail run races, and that they were excited to do more.  That is great to hear (as a personal trainer myself).

There are a couple more Mud and Chocolate trail run events coming up this year that you can check out here.

Do you trail run? Ever done a race for yummy chocolate?

A Family Trip to Banff


Banff 2

We made the trip to Banff National Park last week for some family adventure.  Here’s photos and the to do’s and not to do’s for all ages.

1.  Mountain bike up from the village to Lake Louise.  The amount of people up there are insane!  You’ll want to bike it.  You can rent bikes down at the village if you don’t have your own.

Family Banff Trip 1

2.  Rent a Canoe at Lake Louise.  This was my favorite part of the trip. You get away from the crowds and enjoy the view in peace and quiet.  It is $45/half hour & $55/hour – but completely worth it. We did the hour and went down to the other end and back with stops. We still made it back easily in 45 minutes.  Here’s a photo of my husband teaching our little one how to turn the canoe…

Family Banff Trip

We did witness a teenage girl drop her phone while getting out of her canoe, she cried. Hold on to your stuff in transition!

Another note about Lake Louise, the trains run right through the village – all night long. I’m not sure about all the hotels there, but the Mountaineer Lodge was just ok. Between the trains and hearing your neighbors, we wouldn’t stay there again. We were originally going to go up to Jasper too, but with the wildfires and road closures, we decided against it.

Our mountain views were hazy everywhere we went because of all the wildfires, like this photo below…

Family Banff Trip 11

3.  Drive up to Moraine Lake later in the afternoon (4 or 5pm).   Less crowds, simple as that.  I’m sure early in the morning would be great too.  Here I am, jumping for joy…

Family Banff Trip 3

Family Banff Trip 2

The water was so blue. I wished we could have done more hiking, but with signs like this…

Family Banff Trip 4

we decided to pass!  There are a couple of short hikes along the lake that you can do without restrictions.

Speaking of wildlife, I had heard from so many people that we would see a ton, I was disappointed.  We did see one moose while biking at Vermilion Lakes, one ram, one deer, and a few mountain goats on the side of the road.  That was it!  So bummed.  I did like the bike ride at Vermilion Lakes too.  Another thing worth doing!

4.  Camp at Two Jacks Campground near Lake Minnewanka.  We did two nights (all I can handle in a row). That was fun, and they actually had campfires allowed when we were there.   I was freaked about the bears, so I slept in the back of the truck (again, no bears seen).

5.  A must do short hike with the family is Johnston Canyon Falls Hike.  It’s 3 miles roundtrip (and paved).

Family Banff Trip 8

It is really crowded.  We planned on doing this one early, but didn’t get there until 11am.  Oh well. Once you get into it about 1/4 mile, the crowds did thin out.  Above photo is the lower falls.  There are cool catwalks all along the way…

Family Banff Trip 9

and you must go to the upper falls.

Family Banff Trip 10

6.  One thing you can probably skip, is the Cave and Basin area.  We stumbled upon it and checked it out.  The cave is ok, but smells disgusting.  We then took our bikes on the path to Sundance Canyon to check it out.  What they don’t tell you, is that there are a ZILLION mosquitos!  Here’s us on the way up, before we knew what we were getting ourselves into…

Family Banff Trip 567

Look how happy we are.  I should have taken after photos.

My strong suggestion is to just go up to this bridge, then turn around. My son and I have about 50 bites each – no joke. We did have bug spray on too! After the mosquitos, I was done camping for the trip. We went down into Kamloops for one night, but the wildfire smog was really bad. So, we decided to come home after that.

Our hearts do go out to all those that are affected by these wildfires.  :(

Have you ever been up to Banff for a family vacation? What things did you do?

Summer Fit Style

Here’s some summer style to inspire you to get outside and be active!  These photos are all from my athletic wear board…

Just click photo to pin for yourself!

Athleta (Mesh capris)

Athleta Summer 2014, LA, CA

New Balance (Fresh Foam)

New Balance

Nike (Nike+ Sportswatch GPS and Epic Run 3.5″ Shorts)


Fabletics (Norwalk tank & Dili shorts)


Under Armour (Rollick Hoodie)

UA Rollick Hoodie

Roxy (#POPsurf High Tide Style)


prAna (Katarina top & Cecilia knickers)


Victoria Secret (Sports bra back details)

Victoria Secret

Have an active and healthy weekend!

Mini Cherry Cobbler Recipe

Mini Cherry Cobbler

Rainier cherries are in season again! Yay!!  If you can find them, they are worth the extra couple bucks.

Rainier Cherries

See…don’t they look yummy?  Try this mini cherry cobbler recipe with few calories and lower fat than a typical cobbler.  The best part is that you get just a taste and don’t have leftovers begging you to over-indulge.

Mini Cherry Cobbler

Modified from blueberry cobbler recipe shown at bottom of this post.

  • Servings:  2
  • Calories: 145
  • Fat: 3.6 g
  • Carbs:  26g
  • Protein:  3g

Filling ingredients: 

  • 20 Rainier cherries (pitted)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 small lemon zest and juice

Topping ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
  • Dash salt (less than 1/8 tsp)
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • Dash baking soda
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon lowfat sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon 1% milk
  • Dash sugar


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl mix all filling ingredients together.  Place filling mixture in two mini custard bowls.
  3. In a small bowl mix the first 6 dry ingredients together.  Cube the butter mix into dry ingredients.  Mix in the sour cream.
  4. Split the mixture and spoon topping on the filling.
  5. Brush topping with milk and a dash of sugar.

Ready for the oven…

Mini Cherry Cobbler 2

  1. Bake for approximately 30 minutes until topping is brown and filling is bubbling.
  2. Cool for about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Top with a tablespoon of vanilla ice cream (for an additional 35 calories).  Do it – I was bumming that I didn’t have any ice cream for that extra yummy contrast of hot and cold.
  4. Enjoy!

Mini Cherry Cobbler 3

The original recipe was from the ’06 version of the Complete Cooking Light Cookbook.
Mini Cherry Cobbler 1

Total Body Training On The Road

Don’t lose your strength when you are on the road with vacations and business travel this summer.  All you need is a resistance tubing. Look for tubing that has sturdy handles. The cheap plastic handles are annoying and you won’t use them. There are some good choices of tubing with foam handles on Amazon here.

This workout will train the entire body.  *Go through it once for a quick 5 minute workout or a couple times to really feel the burn!

Training On The Road

Here’s more details of above exercises:

 1.  Bicep Curl – Squat – Overhead Press

Targets front of arm (biceps), hips, thighs, shoulders, and core.

  • Start standing tall with your arms up in a bicep curl position. Perform one bicep curl (down and up).
  • Go into a squat, pushing your hips back.
  • As you come back up from the squat, raise your arms overhead (works shoulders).
  • Lower arms back down and repeat the bicep curl.
  • Repeat sequence for up to 1 minute.

2.  Side Steps

Targets the hips.

  • Stand on a tubing with your arms at your side.
  • Take a huge step to the right and bring your left foot in.
  • Take a huge step to the left and bring your right foot in.
  • Repeat side to side for up to 1 minute.
  • Make your resistance harder by bringing arms up by your shoulders, crossing the tube (switching handles), or taking bigger steps.

3.  Back Rows

  • Sit, kneel (shown above), or stand tall with the tubing anchored around a stable surface.
  • Start with tension on your tube and pull your elbows back, pinching your shoulder blades.
  • Slowly release and repeat for up to 1 minute.
  • Keep your shoulders retracted and depressed.

4.  Chest Presses

  • Sit (shown above), kneel, or stand tall with the tubing anchored around a stable surface.
  • Start with tension facing away from the anchor point with tubing below your arms.
  • Press your arms out and slowly release back in.
  • Repeat for up to 1 minute.
  • Stay tall and keep your shoulders retracted and depressed.

5.  Tricep Kickbacks & Low Reach

Targets back of the arm (triceps), hips, thighs, and core.

  • Start in a staggered stance with your weight even on both legs.
  • Anchor tubing around a stable surface (anchor “how to” shown here)
  • Start with tension and straighten out your elbow.  You want to feel this in the back of your arm (triceps).
  • Bend elbow again.
  • Now bend both knees and reach for the floor – keeping your back straight and chest open.
  • Bend elbow again and repeat tricep kickback.
  • Repeat exercise sequence for up to 1 minute.

More workouts that are good for travel and small spaces here:

*Consult your physician before starting any new exercise program.



In Bloom

Everything’s blooming – check it out!

In Bloom

In Bloom 1

In Bloom 2

In Bloom 3

And it’s round two for the wisteria blooms…

In Bloom 4

And round two for my weeds (which I refuse to take a picture of)! When it comes to weeding, do it in small doses and stretch every 10-15 minutes.

Gardening Stretches

Hold each stretch for about 20 seconds and even out both sides of the body. Breathe, relax, and enjoy your garden!

Cardio on the Road!

When traveling, it’s not always easy to fit in fitness.  Here’s a quick video showing about 10 cardio drills you can do just using tape and about two feet of space.  You can get your kids into it too (watch the end of the video)…


*Do each drill for about 1 minute, repeat each exercise a couple times through and you have a 20 minute fitness routine.  Add Core Training On The Road for a 30 minute workout.

Stay fit this summer!

*Consult your physician before starting any new exercise program.