Shake Up Your Cardio Workout

Happy Monday! Not sure about you, but Cooper and I had a tough time getting out of bed this morning.

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He wasn’t very happy when I started to stir. Those eyes were begging for 10 more minutes of sleep!

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I would have loved to stay in bed this morning and cuddle with the covers for 10 more minutes, but I had a busy day of work ahead of me so I needed to get up. Since I was struggling to get going today, I decided to treat myself to one of my favorite breakfasts, an acai bowl and ice coffee from Brick & Bell.

Brick & Bell has the best acai bowl and it is my favorite place to get one in San Diego. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

9.29.14 breakfast

I won’t be working out today because Ray and I have a special date night planned to celebrate our 2 year wedding anniversary!

However, I did the below cardio workout from Tone It Up last Monday and loved it. The workout was fun, challenging, and went by really fast. My legs felt like jello by the end of it.

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I still can’t believe that Ray and I have been married for 2 years.

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It felt like just yesterday that we were exchanging vows in front of our families and friends.

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As a wedding gift, Ray gave me a framed photograph that shows the view from the beach where he proposed. I love the photo and every time I walk by it I can’t help but smile.

9.29.14 photo

Since the traditional first anniversary gift is paper, Ray and I bought some of our favorite photos from our wedding and had them framed last year.

It is a good thing that the traditional second anniversary gift is cotton because from the looks of things Ray is in need of some new socks.

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Cooper strikes again!


The Great Disappearing Act

I am sorry I have been absent for the last few months. I pulled quite the disappearing act, so I thought it would be a good idea to fill you in on what I have been doing with my life lately.

In April, I ran the La Jolla Half Marathon. I  ran the race at the end of April with Ray and my brother-in-law, Matt. I am happy to report that I achieved all of the goals I set for myself. I ran the entire race without stopping and finished it in 2 hours and 9 minutes (just under a 10 minute mile).

The three us before the race started.

La Jolla Half Marathon Start line 2014

I have been a beach bum.

sara beach day aug 2014

Did you happen to notice the huge chunk of my towel missing. I have Cooper to thank for that. He is still quite the chewer.

I traveled a ton. Cooper wasn’t too thrilled that we went on so many trips over the past few months. Now whenever he sees the suitcase he gets completely depressed.

Cooper sad packing 2014

Our travel has ranged from backpacking trips with friends, to hanging out in Cape Cod, to a road trip up the California coast.

In May, Ray and I went on backpacking trip to Havasupai Falls in Arizona along with 4 of our friends. Simply put, Havasupai Falls is magical. You hike 10 miles in the middle of the desert, through a canyon, past the Indian village of Suapi, and then out of nowhere there is lush greenery, waterfalls, and pools of crystal clear, blue water.  We spent three wonderful days exploring waterfalls, hiking, playing cards, and just overall enjoying the simpler joys backpacking has to offer.



In June, Ray and I along with our friends, Brian and Laura, hiked to the top of Mt. Whitney. Mt. Whitney is the highest summit in the 48 states on the North America continent and has an elevation of 14, 505 ft. The hike to the summit of Mt. Whitney starts at Whitney Portal and from there it is an 11 mile climb to the summit with an elevation gain of 6, 100 ft. Round trip the hike is 22 miles long and took us two days to complete.


The hike to the summit of Mt. Whitney was grueling and was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It was worth every step to see the view from the top and being able to take a celebratory photo at the summit.


In July, I turned 30! My birthday celebrations included beach days and fun dinners with friends and family in San Diego as well as a weekend away in Los Gaviotas.

Jen, Kristie, and I having a cocktail before dinner at George’s Ocean Terrance. Of course, I had to have a lemon drop martini!

Jen, Kristie and I San Diego 2014 2

The weekend before my birthday Ray and I headed to Los Gaviotas with a group of friends to celebrate my birthday, his birthday and our friend, Martyn’s birthday. Since all three of our birthdays are within a week of each other, we figured what better way to celebrate than a weekend in Mexico. Los Gaviotas is gated community in Baja that is just south of Rosarito.

Mexico 2014

The gated community includes a private beach, which has a beach volleyball court and a great surf break. I didn’t surf but I did play my share of beach volleyball.

Mexico 2014 2

Picture of the whole group at dinner in Puerto Nuevo.

Mexico 3

In August, we went to Cape Cod to visit my friend Farah and her family. When Ray and I lived in Boston it was our tradition to spend a weekend on the Cape with my friend Farah at her house in Eastham. Even though Ray and I live in San Diego now, we still make it back to Boston at least once a year for our annual Cape trip.  I have only missed one year since we moved, but that was because I was planning my wedding and was a bridesmaid in two other weddings. The Cape weekend is always full of great company, tasty food and wine, plenty of time lounging in the sun, and runs along the Cape Cod Bike Path. Even though Ray and I went last month, I am already looking forward to my trip next summer.

Farah and I in Chatham before dinner.

Sara and Farah Cape Cod 2014

In September, we took a road trip from San Diego to Berkeley. Our first stop was Santa Barbara. We explored the Santa Barbara Harbor and had the best fish sandwich and tacos from On the Alley.  The fish sandwich and tacos were so good that we made a special trip to Santa Barbara on the way back to San Diego just to eat there again! Of course, a meal full of fried fish wouldn’t be complete without ice cream.

Cooper and Sara Santa Barbara 2014

Ray and Cooper SB

Our second stop was San Jose to see my Dad and Mom. We celebrated Labor Day by going on a hike with my Mom and eating Chinese food and watching a movie with my Dad. The Chinese food was good, but the movie, Neighbors, wasn’t our cup of tea. I swear every time the three of us see a movie together it always ends up being horrible. Maybe we will have better movie luck over the holidays.

Mom, Cooper and I San Jose 2014

Our third stop was Samuel P Taylor for a two night camping trip. This was the first time Ray and I went camping with Cooper on our own. We (and by we I mean Ray) cooked great food, had s’mores for dessert every night, and went on a really fun hike.

Camping Samuel P Taylor 2014 4

Our last stop was Berkeley to see Ray’s parents who rented an apartment for the summer in order to avoid the Arizona heat.  One of the days the four of us ventured into San Francisco and we went to the Ferry building for lunch (I might have sneaked in a little shopping), we trekked to the top of Coit Tower, and we stopped by Pier 39 to see the seals.

View of Alcatraz from Pier 39.

SF 2014

Three of my good friends, Kirby, Kristie, and Jen, live in San Francisco and I was happy that Ray and I were able to squeeze in some time to see them. Jen and her boyfriend cooked us an amazing dinner of salad, steak, and pasta.  It is always so much fun catching up with them, especially over good food and wine. Even though I don’t see them all the time we are always able to pick up exactly where we left off.

When we haven’t been traveling our home has been a revolving door of family and friends visiting us in San Diego. Things have been busy, but I truly have enjoyed every minute of it. I only have one more trip planned – a girls night in Palm Springs this weekend. After that Cooper can rest assured that my suitcase will be safely stored in the closet (well at least for a little while) .

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting about my trips and adventures in more detail as well as my experience running the La Jolla Half Marathon. I promise not to disappear again.

Listen to Your Body

Hello! Things have been pretty quiet in the Moellering household this week.

After I completed jury duty on Monday, I worked from home for the rest of the day. It was nice to be able to relax on the couch while I answered emails and finished up a few projects. While I was working, Cooper spent his time grilling me from the other couch. Sometimes when he really wants to go for a walk he just sits and stares at you with this pathetic look on his face. I guess he didn’t understand what we were doing inside when the weather was so nice outside.

Cooper on the couch 4.7

After awhile he started grumbling and barking at his leash, so I gave in and took him for a walk. Cooper and I had a fantastic time walking along the ocean and checking out the beach scene, which was pretty packed for a Monday afternoon. It felt good to be walking outside and getting some fresh air and sun, especially since I had spent the majority of the day sitting in the jury lounge and courtroom.

cooper walking 4.7

Ever since my 9.5 mile run on Saturday my left hip has been bothering me a little bit. During my run I felt fine, but I noticed afterwards that my left leg/hip was pretty tight and felt a little sore.

In order to give me legs a break this week, I did a strength training workout that focused on upper body on Monday and I didn’t exercise at all on Tuesday. I was feeling pretty good on Wednesday and I had little to no pain in my left leg/hip area, so I decided to go for a short run.

As soon as I started running my left leg/hip immediately started to bother me. I should have stopped running, but I was an idiot and didn’t. I figured that if I slowed my pace down and stopped at the halfway point to stretch that I would be okay. I was wrong. My run was a complete disaster. My iPod shuffle ran out of batteries, my body never loosened up, and I was super hot because I was wearing too many layers. Like I said it was a complete disaster.

I should have listened to my body and stopped running. However, I am a fairly competitive person and I hate when I have to bail out of a run or workout. I always think I can push through the discomfort and pain, but sometimes I shouldn’t and by moving forward with the workout I end up doing more harm than good.

I think the hills combined with the increased mileage has finally started to catch up with me a little bit.  In fact, I think the training for the half marathon is starting to get to all of us. Both Ray and Matt have been having some knee pain and Ray has also been dealing with plantar fasciitis.

I love this photo. Notice that Ray is icing his foot, playing with Cooper, and trying to find something to watch on TV all at the same time.

ray multi tasking

I am pretty sure that the culprit behind my leg/hip pain is a strained IT band, so yesterday I went to the gym to do some stretching and foam rolling. I am hoping that if I take it easy through this weekend and I continue to stretch, ice my leg/hip, and take Advil that my legs will be as good as new and I will be back to running next week.





You are not a dog

Some Mondays I dread more than others. It is always hard to get back into the work week after a fun weekend, but I was particularly not looking forward to today because I had been summoned for jury duty. Until today I have never had to report for jury duty, but from what I gathered by talking to those who had, it didn’t sound like a fun experience. I was at the Hall of Justice bright and early this morning armed with two books and my computer to help keep me busy and entertained while I waited to see if I would be selected for a jury.

While I was serving my jury duty, I spent some time searching for a quote to use for this weeks Monday Motivation and during my search I stumbled upon this quote:

Dont reward yourself with food quote

I started laughing as soon as I saw it because I do this all of the time.

Run 6 miles and enjoy a huge plate of french toast from Cody’s La Jolla (which, by the way is the best french toast I have ever had).

french toast

Go for a hike and enjoy a large ice coffee with vanilla powder from The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

ice coffee

Complete a strength training workout and enjoy a bagel and cream cheese with bacon (this also happens to be my cure for hangovers).


And I can go on and on. To be honest, sometimes when I have a reward in mind it helps motivate me to push through a challenging workout or is my incentive to do something active on the weekends instead of sitting on the couch. Although I think the quote is funny, it is something that I obviously don’t follow in my own life. I don’t think there is anything wrong with rewarding yourself with food as long as you are thoughtful about it. The key is to find a balance and strategy that works for you.

The first time I trained for a half marathon I used food as my rewards for completing runs a little too often, which I think was the culprit for why I gained a few pounds while I trained. This time around I am still using food as rewards during my training for the La Jolla Half Marathon, but only for completing  long runs and I am incorporating other types of rewards in as well.

Like getting a pedicure.

pedicure photo

Or treating myself to a Stitch Fix…check out my cute leggings from a recent fix.leggings


Sometimes my reward for working out hard or challenging myself is just knowing that I pushed myself and I made it through. Last Saturday Ray and I ran 9.5 miles and I completed it in one hour and thirty minutes, which is an awesome pace for me. We ran the middle part of the La Jolla Half Marathon course, which included the Torrey Pines Monster Hill (~1 mile at a constant 10% grade – and this is just one of the hills featured in the La Jolla Half Marathon).

This is a picture of the start of the Monster.

Torrey Pines Hill

When I finished I couldn’t help but think about how far we had actually run and how far I have come since we first started training. Just the idea of running up the Torrey Pines Monster Hill made me nervous and was enough of a reason for me not to do the race.  With a little time and work I have started to tame the Monster and I am feeling confident that I will be able to run the entire half marathon at my desired pace.

warm up quote

Previous Monday Motivation Quotes:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Monday Motivation & 2014 Fitness Goals

I hope everyone had a great weekend.  My weekend was pretty low-key, which I was very excited about since Ray and I have been out-of-town a lot lately. Yesterday, the weather felt more like summer than early spring in San Diego. Ray and I took a spin class in the morning, spent the afternoon at the beach, and ended the day at friend’s house for a BBQ. It was the perfect Sunday.

All of the nice weather and sunshine made it especially hard to switch my brain into work mode today. Luckily, I was still able to finish up my work on time and make it home in time to take Cooper for a walk with Ray and watch the sunset.

For the next few weeks my workout routine is going to be a little different from what I am used to and is going to be focused on running.  Last year at Christmas time Ray, Matt (Ray’s brother), and I talked about running a half marathon together in the spring. The three of us spent some time looking at different options that would work with our schedules, would be easy to travel to, and that would have a pretty running route.

One of the only races that worked with all of our schedules and that would give us enough time to train was the La Jolla Half Marathon on April 27, 2014. I was pretty hesitant to sign up for the race because the course is pretty challenging.

Check out the course’s elevation map!

half hills map

The three of us signed up in early February before we could talk ourselves out of it.

half marathon

Up until now my fitness routine has not changed that much. Ray and I have incorporated a few shorter runs ( 3 to 4 miles) in during the week and have been running longer runs (5 to 6.5 miles) over the weekend. The race is not that far away and I really need to start focusing on training for the half marathon. My goal is to complete the race in under 2 hours and 15 minutes.

I think it is important to have fitness goals to work towards, especially goals that push you outside of your comfort zone.  Having and working toward a fitness goal was one of the tools I used to keep me motivated while I was trying to get back into shape and has been instrumental in maintaining my current weight and fitness level.

Last year, my fitness goal was to become strong enough to do one unassisted pull up (or chin up).  Sadly, I have not achieved this fitness goal yet, but I am not giving up!

My fitness goals in 2014 are to tackle the hills of the La Jolla Half Marathon course and complete one unassisted pull up (or chin up).

Fitness Goals Quote

What are some fitness goals that you are working towards this year?

Previous Monday Motivation Quotes:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Start the Week off Right

I can’t believe January is almost over. It feels like just yesterday we were celebrating the start of a new year. Time really does go by quick.

This past weekend my Dad came into town for a visit. The weather was awesome on Saturday and we were able to sneak in some beach time. Ray, my Dad, and I ventured to Blacks Beach with some of our friends. Blacks is famous for two main reasons –  its surf break and it is a nude beach. Not that I have anything against nudity, but I am happy to report that the other beachgoers on Saturday were not taking advantage of being able to be in the nude. It was a bit of a trek down to the beach, but the hassle of getting there was totally worth it. I can’t believe Ray and I have been living in San Diego for 3 years and last weekend was the first time we went to Blacks.

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It was cool to see the blimp that was covering the golf tournament at Torrey Pines circling above us.

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We spent a few hours hanging out on the beach watching the big waves and the surfers. There was also a game of horseshoes played, but I didn’t partake because I was busy taking a nap 🙂

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On Sunday, we all thought it would be a good idea to move around a little bit so we went for a short hike/walk in the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

hike torrey

After our hike, we decided to try a new place for lunch and ventured to Bull Tacos in Cardiff before taking my Dad to the airport. The food was good and very tasty, but the view was awesome. I think I could have easily stayed out there all afternoon enjoying the view and snacking on chips and guacamole.

cardiff bull tacos view

Since my weekend was full of lots of indulgences, I made an extra effort on Monday to get my week off to a good start. For me eating a nutritious breakfast on Monday morning is a great way to help me get back into my normal eating habits. I didn’t have time to go grocery shopping over the weekend so I ran to Green Acres, a cafe by my work, to pick something up.  Even though I was eating out I made sure to pick something that was on the healthier side and decided to get an acai bowl.  The fruit, acai, greek yogurt and granola were very tasty and totally hit the spot. It felt good to eat something fresh and light.

breakfast bowl

My workouts lately have not included much cardio so I thought it would be a good idea to incorporate some into my workouts this week.  On Sunday night, I spent some time looking for cardio based workouts and stumbled upon a few treadmill routines from WedMD and Self.

Check them out:

All of the workouts look awesome and seem like great ways to beat treadmill boredom while burning some serious calories.

For my workout on Monday I used the Gauntlet Workout from Self  as my inspiration.

Self Gauntlet-Treadmill-Workout

I made some modifications to the workout because I am not a fan of kettlebell swings and I wanted to perform more of a variety of strength training moves. Here is what I came up with:

Warm up run at a comfortable pace for 6 minutes 

Complete 3 rounds of Set 1 and then complete 3 rounds of Set 2.

Set 1

Set 2

Cool down – run at a comfortable pace for 5 minutes.

I made a cheat sheet for myself so I would remember what I was supposed to be doing and for how long since there are so many different parts to the workout.  I also setup a mat and dumbbells as close to my treadmill as I could in order to make running back and forth between the two easier.

cardio blast routine

I worked up quite a sweat. My arms felt like jello from performing the arm exercises, which made them feel extra heavy while I was running. A workout routine like this one would be hard to do in a crowded gym or if the treadmills are not located close to an area you could do the strength training moves. It was also a little annoying have to restart the treadmill so many times. Next time I would increase the interval time on the treadmill and limit the number of times I performed strength training moves.

Overall, I enjoyed the workout and I am glad I tried it. The workout was challenging and kept me from getting bored. Plus it felt extra good to sweat and workout after a weekend filled with lots of eating out and rich food.

What are some of your favorite ways to start the week off right after a weekend filled with indulgences?

First Run of 2014

Over the holidays, Ray’s brother was talking about running his first half marathon and asked if Ray and I would be interested in running it with him. Ray and I ran the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in 2011, but since then we have only done a few 5ks and 10ks and our running has been pretty sporadic. With all of the running talk over the holidays and the wonderful weather we have been having in San Diego, I thought it was time to grab my running shoes and go for my first run of 2014.

running shoes

I have not been running since I completed the Father Joe’s 5k Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving (which by the way was a ton of fun), so I thought it would be best to ease myself back into running and not push myself too hard.  I decided to run from Windansea Beach to La Jolla Cove, which is about 3.5 miles.

windansea run LA Jolla Cove

I love running this route because you spend the majority of the time along the ocean, which provides you with amazing views and great people watching. I always find that the views and people watching are excellent distractions and really helps the miles fly by. The route is mostly flat, but does have a few hills!

windansea la jolla cove run 1

While I was running to La Jolla Cove the other day I couldn’t help but think about the first time I ran the route.  It was the first run I did in San Diego after Ray and I moved from Boston and oh boy did it kick my ass.  Ray discovered the route and one weekend he dragged me along with him. I struggled through the whole run especially on the hills and had to walk multiple times. By the time I finished the run, I was red, hot, dripping with sweat, and almost completely out of breath. I swore I would never run that route again! After I recovered from the run, I was mad that I had let the route get the best of me and made it a goal to run the whole thing. I couldn’t let the hills get the best of me! It took some time, but eventually I worked up the strength and stamina to complete the run without stopping.

It is funny that three years later that route is my all-time favorite run and I am able to complete it easily. I actually look forward to the hills now! After my run, I was a little hungry so I threw together a post run smoothie to hold me over until dinner.

In the mix was:

– 1 serving of chocolate protein powder

– Half a banana

– 3/4 tablespoon of peanut butter

– Approximately 1 cup of almond milk

– Ice


I will admit it isn’t the prettiest looking smoothie, but is was super tasty and hit the spot!

Did you know that if you workout at a moderate to high intensity level a post workout snack can help you replenish your muscle’s glycogen (sugar or energy) storage and repair muscle tissue? According to Ace Fitness, your post workout snack should be consumed within 30 minutes of your workout and include easily digestible carbohydrates and protein. The American Dietetic Association recommends that your post workout snack include 1-1.5 grams carbohydrates and 10-20 grams of lean protein per kilogram of your body weight. I didn’t strictly follow these guidelines when I made my post workout smoothie, but my smoothie did have a good mix of carbohydrates and protein and wasn’t too high in calories.

Even though the Windansea Beach to La Jolla Cove run isn’t as challenging as it once was for me it still gave my knees quite a workout because they were sore afterwards.  If I am going to run a half marathon this year I need to keep my knees in good shape, so I iced them for 30 minutes.

knees with ice

At first Cooper kept trying to still the ice pack from me, but he lost interest quickly and passed out next to me.

cooper asleep on bed

While I was icing my knees I picked up an old version of Health magazine and noticed an interesting article on Walking vs. Running that I must have missed on my first read through. I was surprised to know that with some extra time you can achieve the same calorie burn from walking as you do from running.

walk vs run

Later today I am going to my first Pilates Reformer class. I will let you know how it is.

Enjoy the rest of your Friday!