ORB Wellness Sleep Complex Review

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ORB Wellness. All opinions and text are my own.

In my last post (sorry it’s been awhile!) I opened up about my battle with anxiety off and on over the years. One of the side effects of living with an anxiety disorder is periods of severe insomnia. As we know, sleep is super important to function like a normal adult. It’s especially important for athletes who want to perform at their best.

I’ve tried various things to help me get a good nights rest. Everything from shutting off electronics 30 minutes prior to bed to playing peaceful music, but during this period of intense training, I need more to insure I get that quality sleep which is why I was excited to give ORB Wellness Sleep Complex a try.

ORB Wellness is different from other sleep aid supplements in that it delivers essential nutrients, minerals, and compounds via a dual delivery system and an exclusive time-release technology.

It provides Melatonin, Valerian and essential oils to help you fall asleep and stay asleep and then vitamin B-12 via time-release technology to provide energy support when you wake up. No more groggy feeling you get from other sleep supplements.

I’ve been taking ORB Wellness nightly about 30 minutes before going to bed for the past couple weeks and have definitely noticed a difference in not only how quickly I fall asleep, but how much more RELAXED I feel when closing my eyes after hitting the pillow. I had no idea just how tense I was in bed until I wasn’t anymore.

I’ve been tracking my sleep for the last month or so via my Garmin watch. I average about 7-8 hours a night (although this last week was 6 due to being up with a sick toddler). My average time “awake” has gone down. Meaning the amount of time it takes to fall asleep has improved and less waking up in the middle of the night.

Before starting ORB Wellness Sleep Complex:

After starting it:

It’s still too early to judge the long term benefits and it’s not recommended to take this supplement continuously for more than 8 weeks at a time. I will continue to take ORB Wellness for a few more weeks through my training for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships and keep you all posted on any developments/improvements with my sleep patterns and if it’s affected my training/racing.

If you are interested in trying it for yourself, ORB’s Sleep Complex is available online for 39.99 or at your local Costco for 28.99. If you give it a try, let me know what you think!

Happy dreaming!

XO

Christina

USAT Age Group National Championships Race Report

I qualified for the USA Triathlon Nationals about a year ago by placing 1st in my age group at a local sprint. I haven’t raced many Olympic distance triathlons…I prefer sprints for going fast and now the endurance challenge of 70.3’s…however since this was a national championship race and I qualified to race the Olympic, I was stoked for this opportunity. It was only my third Olympic distance race.

The top athletes around the country compete at Nationals for a chance to make Team USA and compete at ITU Worlds. I had no expectations of qualifying for Worlds, but I did have some personal goals: (1) PR the Olympic distance ✔️ (2) PR the swim ✔️ (3) PR the bike (didn’t happen) (4) PR the run (didn’t happen, but close) (5) sub 3 hours (6) don’t come in last ✔️ 3 out of 6 goals achieved isn’t bad. Although I knew the competition would be stiff, I was in no way prepared for just how fast these ladies would be!

I flew in on Thursday and met up with two of my Team Betty teammates, Jennifer and Jill at the airport. Jill drove in so was playing chauffeur all weekend…she’s awesome! We headed to the Betty House shared by 6 of my teammates for the weekend. I had only met one of them previously, but they were all so amazing and I felt instantly at home.

Friday we checked in, picked up my bike from TriBike Transport and did a little shake out swim / run. There was some talk leading up to the race that the lake temps were dropping, but by race day the lake temps were still 80, so any hopes for a wetsuit legal swim were dashed. Glad I was able to get a practice swim in the lake. It felt like bath water and took away any nerves I had about my first non wetsuit swim.

Saturday morning I woke up at 4:00am and had my usual pre-race peanut butter toast with banana. We got to transition right when it opened at 5:00am. I was in wave #2 which went off at about 7:37 after a 30 minute delay to the start of the race.

The swim start was off a dock with all the girls in my wave lined up in a row in the water holding onto the dock. It was the first time I did this kind of start and it wasn’t bad. I didn’t get kicked or punched like I usually do in a beach running start and there were over 100 girls in my AG. It felt like a REALLY long swim. A few of my teammates mentioned they thought the course seemed longer as well. It was a pretty uneventful swim. I felt like I was swimming really slow, but managed to take 6 minutes off the time of my last Oly swim a few months ago without the buoyancy of a wetsuit and salt water.

Swim Time: 40:50

T1 was pretty long. A guy yelled at me I when I was running out with my bike that I still had my swimskin on. Oops 🙊 Lost too much time taking it off and running back to leave it by my rack.

Once I was on the bike I felt like I was flying, hitting 22+ mph no problem until I got to the hill I was warned about on Mile 7. I slowed dramatically. There was a sign that said “Welcome to the Nebraska alps.” Haha. It wasn’t the largest hill I’ve encountered in a race, but tougher than I was anticipating. Once I got over it my pace was right back up, but that didn’t last long. After the turnaround we were hit with strong headwinds. I fought to hold a 16-17mph pace and my legs were screaming the whole 12 miles back. I ended up with a 17.2mph avg which was super disappointing considering I felt so strong in my training on the bike going into this race having raced a sprint 2 weeks prior with a much faster avg. I had also dramatically increased my FTP since my last Oly race. Need to think about riding more hills before Santa Cruz.

Bike time: 1:26:20

T2 took too long at 3+ minutes. Not sure what I was doing? I popped 2 Clif energy gels and off to the run.

The run was on black asphalt with very little shade, but I felt strong. All of my Betty teammates started in later waves that went off hours after mine, so I didn’t experience the energy of seeing them and the cheering I did at Oceanside. I did spot my TriTats teammate Nate during the first loop and got a high-five which was awesome and gave me a huge boost! It’s a two loop course. After the first loop turnaround I was able to push the pace and held an 8:45 pace to the finish.

Although I didn’t PR the run (3 minutes off) I was happy it was a faster split than my last Oly AND I ran negative splits which is something I’ve been working hard on.

Run time: 55:26

Overall time: 3:09:37

I beat my previous best for the Olympic distance by 2 minutes which is great, but I couldn’t help feel disappointed that I didn’t reach my sub 3 goal. I finished 117/129 in my AG which was a blow to the ego, but it was a super fast field and I gave it what I had that day.

The next day I raced the sprint and it was HARD! I’ve never done back-to-back races. My legs felt so heavy and I just didn’t have it in me to push the way I wanted to. Definitely wasn’t a PR day, but the experience was awesome!

The best part of the weekend for sure was hanging with my teammates, especially since my family didn’t travel with me for this one. It reminded me of why I love this sport so much and how being a part of a team is beyond awesome!

Special thanks to the sponsors who make this possible @bettydesigns @rudyprojectna @tritats @irwincycling @jaybirdsport.

Up next: Santa Cruz 70.3 in just over 3 weeks!

Race Week and Betty Epic Camp Recap

It’s  race week! Oceanside 70.3 will be my first race representing Team Betty! One of the best things about being on Betty Design’s  #BettySquad17  is the amazing group of like-minded women I’ve connected with! I had the opportunity to meet about 40 of them at Betty Epic Camp in San Diego two weeks ago. This training camp was organized by five of my kick-ass teammates who did an amazing job bringing us together for three days filled with training, laughing, eating, drinking, dancing, singing, sleeping (not really) and bonding.

There were so many amazing photos taken of all the epic things we did, so I’ll just let them do the talking.

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Can’t wait for Betty Epic Camp, Part 2!

5 days until Oceanside! Ahhhhhh can’t believe it’s here! It you want to track me live on race day go to Ironman.com, click the link for Oceanside 70.3 and enter Bib #1562.

XO

Christina

Ironman Oceanside 70.3 Training: Week 8

Bib numbers for Oceanside are out and it’s starting to feel real! If you have been following along and would like to track me live on race day go to the Ironman website on April 1st and enter # 1562 for live updates. If you are racing make sure to head over to TriTats to order your Irontats so you can #looklikeapro 🙂

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This past week was a test/recovery week. It was one of those weeks where a couple great days gave way to some not so good ones. This ended up affecting my mental game more than I’d care to admit, causing me to cut short a few of my scheduled workouts this weekend. It started with a series of events which threw off my run test on Wednesday, then Thursday I smashed my swim test which put me on a total high, only to be knocked down again with my run retest on Friday. By the time Saturday came around for a long brick, I just wasn’t 100% in it. I cut my ride about an hour short, but completed the full run. I figured since it was technically a recovery week with less training hours scheduled overall it was a good week to have an off week. We all have off days/weeks. Just have to keep pushing forward. While I’m stuck in the pits I sometimes forget all that I have accomplished so far and 8 hours is still a lot of work put in. Here is a breakdown:

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I’m grateful for a fresh new week and it’s shaping up to be a good one! This weekend is Team Betty Training Camp. I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. It will be 3 full days of learning, training and lots of extras (massages, makeovers and photo shoots!) with a group of amazing women. Can’t wait!

Have you done a training camp? I’d love to hear your experiences.

26 days and counting to Oceanside!

XO

Christina

Ironman 70.3 Oceanside Training Weeks 3 & 4

Made it through my first test week! Things have been a little more hectic than usual at work and the family was sick with a nasty cold last week (I caught it too), so missed recapping week 3. Nothing too noteworthy happened. I completed my week 3 workouts feeling good (except one missed trainer session due to feeling run down with the cold).

This past week was test week, which means I had to perform a 15 mile time trial on the bike, a 5k run as if I was racing and a 400/200 meter timed swim. Overall I’m happy with the results. I showed improvement in all three sports, and most notably with my swim times! If you have been following along my journey, you know the swim is my weakest link and the most frustrating to me, so to start seeing some nice gains and feeling more and more at ease in the water is a huge win!

Here is a little snapshot from TriDot of my training this past week:

week-4I took a non planned rest day on Thursday because my body was telling me it needed it. I just did not have the energy to get on the trainer. Glad I listened since I felt totally refreshed and ready to go on Friday. My swim time trial reflected this. On Saturday, I got out on the road for the first time since November and it was awesome! Sunday we headed down to the beach for one of my favorite local races, the Super Bowl 4-Miler. K volunteered to push the boys in the double Bob so I could race it and try to beat my old PR from 2012 on this course, which I did by almost 3 minutes and finished 6/32 in my AG! And 7 minutes faster than my 2015 time (2016 I pushed the boys in the BOB). Super fun race and I got to meet one of my Team Betty sisters, Elke, who raced in Kona last year and is totally bad ass!

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Just under 8 weeks to Oceanside and feeling good!

XO

Christina

Ironman Oceanside 70.3 Training Week 2

I’m really loving the new training plan and having a coach. After just two weeks on this new program I already notice a big difference, especially in my trainer workouts. All last season I was pretty much flying blind with my trainer sessions. I had no clear direction or goals during my workouts or power/cadence/HR data to reference how hard I was actually working. The zone 4 and 6 interval workouts this past week kicked my a*@s. I used to think I pushed myself decently hard on the trainer, but I now realize my legs have much, much more to give. Same with the run intervals. Most of my runs and cycles the past couple months have been fairly easy, so my body is definitely trying to adapt to the change up in intensity this week. I’ve been conking out early every night and sleeping very deeply. All good things that will hopefully lead to new PR’s and pushing beyond the limits I previously held for myself.

An interesting thing in this new Tridot training is their proprietary technology called EnviroNorm™  It basically converts physical performance outcomes into a base value by factoring out variants such as temperature, humidity, elevation, elevation change, and wind.  I’m still not positive what it all means, but when I check the EnvironNorm box it gives me a race predictor time of 05:35 (T1 and T2 not factored in) for Oceanside. Possible? Maybe?  Depends on conditions that day? Interesting stuff. At the end of the day I would be happy with a time of 6:30, or let’s face it, just finishing at all after my experience at Superfrog. Oceanside will be my first chance to put this all to the test and maybe even surprise myself.

Here is a breakdown of my training hours this past week:

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I missed one easy 20 minute run and fell a little behind on completing my full swim sessions (only because I do them on my lunch break and it’s a hustle to complete the workout, shower and get back to the office for meetings!) I’m going to try to get to masters at 6:00am for at least one of my swim workouts weekly although it will still be a hustle, it always is, but getting it done the best I can!

On to week 3!

Happy training!

XO

Christina

Ironman 70.3 Oceanside Training Week 1

Happy Monday! Now that the offseason is over and I’m back on an official training plan, I’m going to start up my weekly training recaps again. They help me to stay accountable and even if no one reads them (although I hope some of you do!), it’s fun to go back and see what changes/progress I’ve made from previous training cycles. The big change this cycle is I now have a coach and a whole new approach to training through TriDot. The thing they promote that really caught my attention is proven results with less training. Say what? I always thought to achieve big gains you had to increase the intensity AND volume of training. As a working mom time is so very precious to me (and probably most people) so if there is a way to get results with less overall hours, I’m all for it.  TriDot’s technology mines your collective data to design and “prescribe” training. Your plan adjusts according as you enter the results of your workouts. It’s a dynamic and continuous plan design process. Pretty cool right?

Week 1 is off to a good start. I completed assessment tests for the swim and bike and those scores were used to create the basis of my training plan for Oceanside. I used my recent 5k race for the run data part.

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As you can see, 9:20 hours were planned and I completed 7:47 for an overall achievement percentage of 92%. Not bad, but obviously the closer to 100% I can get , the better. The plan will recalculate accordingly as my fitness improves. According to their calculations based on my fitness today, my estimated finish time for Oceanside is 6:04. My goal is a sub 6, so I’m not too far off. Just have to do the work.

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Only 11 weeks to go! Excited to see where this new plan takes me!

Happy Training!

XO

Christina

Looking Back and Moving Forward

2016 has been a remarkable comeback season. I crushed some pretty epic goals; kicking off the season with a 3rd place age group finish in my first triathlon after giving birth, then completing my first marathon, going on to take a 2nd place age group finish at my next sprint tri, followed by my first age group win, earning me a spot at USAT Nationals in 2017 and completing at least one race every month in 2016. This year was not all highs though. I also recorded a disappointing DNF at my first 70.3 attempt.

What really is more meaningful than all the accomplishments and failures though, is the gratitude I have deep in my heart for these experiences and the friendships and connections I have made through this sport. I had the opportunity to represent some great companies, but what I found more valuable than the products themselves is the people I met through these ambassadorships. I joined two new awesome teams for 2017: The Betty Squad and TriTats and super excited for what new adventures, friendships and opportunities 2017 will bring!

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I have solidified my 2017 race schedule and personal goals, of course, but the most important thing I reflect on every year when I get too caught up in the planning and goal setting, is to remember at the end of the day it’s about collecting moments, not medals and PR’s.

With that said, here is my schedule for 2017:

January

  • Resolution Run 5k/10k

 February

  • Super Bowl 4 Miler

March

  • Desert Triathlon – Olympic Distance
  • Solvang Metric Century (this is a maybe)

April

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 May

  • Belgium Waffle Ride (Wafer)bwr
  • Alcatraz Challenge

June

  • Santa Barbara Half Marathon
  • Breath of Life Ventura Tri

July

  • Goleta Beach Tri

August

  • USAT Olympic Age Group Nationals

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  • Santa Barbara Triathlon

September

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October

  • IM 70.3 Arizona (maybe) or possibly a fall marathon

If you will be at any of these races, please let me know! I’d love to connect!

XO,

Christina

Off-Season Thoughts

If you are a goal-oriented type “A” personality like me, you probably have a hard time slowing down. Taking a break these past couple weeks hasn’t been exactly easy, but I know a few months of reduced training and giving my body the rest it deserves is the best thing I can do right now. I achieved many of the goals I set out to accomplish in my comeback season, from completing my first marathon to scoring my first triathlon age group win and qualifying for the USAT National Age Group Championships, but it didn’t come easy. I put my body through the wringer. Even for the most seasoned athletes a break or shift in training is necessary. The off-season is also a great time to learn a new skill or pick up an old one, spend time with family and friends (and thank them for all their support, babysitting, and cooking when you were too tired), and understand that it is natural to go through a period of post-race apathy.

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Being on a break from heavy endurance training doesn’t mean I am stopping my training completely. I’ve just shifted my focus away from a regimented schedule to “whatever I feel like” on any given day. Last Sunday I took a yoga class at my favorite studio, Power of You OM and it was OMazing! I’m a certified RYT 200 yoga instructor though this studio, yet my yoga practice has taken a serious backseat this year. I plan to add more yoga back in my life during the off-season and into 2017. It seriously has so many wonderful benefits for athletes! I miss teaching too, but my “me time” is more limited now that I’m a mama, so that’s taken a backseat too.

Another focus for the off-season is strength training. I’ve been doing Katie Hart Morse’s daily 10 minute strength workout the past week and it’s been so easy to incorporate in my routine. Strength training is that thing I know is important, but can never manage to stay consistent at. There really is no excuse though. Finding 10 minutes really isn’t hard to do. I have even squeezed a few of these workouts in while watching the boys at the playground. You just have to get creative. J

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The off-season is a good time to experiment with new products and nutrition. If I’m being totally honest, my nutrition this season wasn’t great. My calorie counting days are long gone, but I definitely could be making healthier choices and refueling properly after every workout. That should come easier now that I’m stocked up on Designer Protein (Get 20% off Designer Protein with my referral link here). I have a goal to lose 5-10 pounds before Ironman Oceanside 70.3 training revs up in January. With the holidays coming up it will be hard to lay off the treats (I have a serious sweet tooth!). The extra temptation along with a reduced training volume will make it all the more challenging to meet my goal. Here are some tips and strategies I plan to follow:

(1) Stay Hydrated – Being hydrated curbs sugar cravings and can prevent overeating. If you notice a craving for junk food use that feeling as a trigger to first drink a full glass of water.

(2) Stop Eating When you are Full (or right before you feel full). Makes sense right? Why do we insist on putting ourselves in a food coma on Thanksgiving?

(3) Create Healthy Versions of Your Holiday Favorites – most holiday favorites can be reinvented into a healthy version. My friend Jen just posted a recipe on Instagram for “Peanut Butter Be Special” dipped apples that I plan to try out this weekend: Organic apples dipped in a mixture of melted peanut butter (or almond butter), coconut oil, maple syrup, & vanilla, then sprinkled in sea salt. Yum!

(4) 80/20 Rule – This is a rule that inspires eating 80% nourishing, healthy food, and allowing 20% of food intake to be indulgent or less optimal. It’s okay to indulge every once in a while. For my family that’s Friday night  🙂

(5) Say no to food pushers. This is a big one for me. My mother-in-law lives next door and is constantly stopping by with yummy treats. I don’t want to hurt her feelings so I always graciously accept. I need to learn its OK to say “No, thank you.”

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Hopefully sticking to these strategies will help me stay on track this off-season. Speaking of indulging, SUPER excited about my new Cervelo tri bike, Rochelle! The cards lined up and I scored an awesome deal. Can’t wait for all the great things we’ll do together in 2017, but until then it’s all about enjoying this time off and the holidays with my family.

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What are your off-season plans? How do you stay healthy during the holidays?

XO

Christina

The Legends Triathlon Race Report

I wasn’t planning to do any fall triathlons after Superfrog 70.3 this season, but after that race ended in a disappointing DNF, I HAD to do one more. After riding such a high in my triathlon comeback season landing on the podium in each of my races leading up to Superfrog, I didn’t want to end the year on such a sour note and let months of training go down the drain. I needed a redemption race.

I searched online and there wasn’t another 70.3 distance race on the west coast (that I could find), so an Olympic distance was the next best thing. I almost settled on Morro Bay Triathon until a fellow triathlete and mama I met through Instagram, Diana, suggested I do the Legends Triathlon with her. Calm lake swim. I was in!

I honestly didn’t pay much attention to the bike and run course terrain, I was just happy there would be no threat of large swells in the swim. The race took place at Bonelli Park in San Dimas, just outside Los Angeles.

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K and I drove down from Santa Barbara at 5am and arrived with plenty of time to spare. The race started at 8:00am. My wave was 3rd with all women racing the Olympic distance (around 20 total). It was a pretty small group and the start was smooth sailing. After the swim start I had just experienced at Superfrog, it was such a relief. I got in a nice rhythm and just swam, no panic at all, in my zone. I might have zoned out too much because I slacked on the sighting and ended up drifting too far to the right after passing the first turn Buoy. I felt totally calm the whole time though. I didn’t go too fast. I wanted to save my energy. I was actually enjoying this swim and for once wasn’t just wishing for it to be over. It wasn’t my fastest swim and the course was a little longer than 1500 meters, but I consider it a victory.

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There was a small, but steep hill up to T1. I forgot to pack my body glide and struggled with geting my wet suit off around my ankles. I usually never sit down, but it was the only way I could get it off.

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I guzzled water and on to the bike. Just before the start Diana informed me that what we had thought was a flat course was actually hilly with two very steep descents. Since Superfrog was a flat course, I hadn’t done much training on hills. I’m a scared descender. I’m that girl  barely hitting 20 mph while everyone else flies by at 40-50 mph.  The first hill was right out of the gate and the decent was long. I hugged the brakes most of the way down. It’s a three loop course, so I had to do this descent two more times. Great. After the initial deep descent it’s all rolling hills. There was very little flat straightway. I never got into a good groove. I went a little faster the second loop down the hills, but I was still getting passed a lot. It was getting hot and by the last loop there were a lot less people on the course. I thought I was for sure dead last. I was never so happy to finish the bike. My legs just didn’t have the strength.

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I tried to keep up with my nutrition on the bike, but I was seriously suffering as I entered T2.

The run was a cross country style course with terrain consisting of trails, asphalt and dirt. I haven’t done a lot of trail running this year and there were a couple sneaky hills mixed in. It wasn’t my best run by a long shot. I had to walk portions of the hills and water stations. The heat was getting to me with temps pushing 90 and my legs were shot from all the climbs on the bike. I just kept shuffling forward telling myself quitting was not an option. Around mile 4 I realized I had seriously missed staying on top of my nutrition and although my stomach didn’t want it, I forced down a GU. It gave me just the little boost I needed to take it home those last couple miles to the finish line. I was so relieved and so happy to cross that line.

I passed one girl in my AG on the run, but I definitely wasn’t thinking there was any chance of a podium spot let alone 1st place.  Apparently I wasn’t the only one suffering and the course was challenging enough to others (in my age group at least) that even with my less than speedy time, I managed to snag 1st in my AG. Turns out there were only 3 of us and 1 was a DNF, so that girl I passed on the run was the only one I had to beat out. 🙂

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Although it wasn’t my best race, I’m so glad I did it and ended the season on a high. My mind is already thinking about 2017, but my body needs a break. I’m looking forward to lots of yoga, working on building strength and  improving my swim technique during the off-season. Then 2017 look out, I’m coming for you!

XO

Christina