The Green Girl is Ready to Party in Las Vegas

The Green Girl is ready for an all-girls weekend filled with debauchery as she attends her first bachelorette party in Las Vegas.

I'll be leaving work early tomorrow to head out to Sin City.

Remember, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!


The Green Girl's Easter Signal Hill Trail Run

The Green Girl waited until the evening to go for her Easter Day run on Sunday.

I decided to get some hill work in so I headed over to Signal Hill.

The hill spans a two mile radius and is 365 feet above the city of Long Beach which surrounds it on all sides.

Besides the panoramic views and beautiful sunsets, my favorite part of Signal Hill is the trail system.

Walkways & Trails of Signal Hill

The hillside was spotted with vibrant spring blossoms.

The Panorama Trail wraps around the undeveloped north side of the hill and leads to Hilltop Park.

I paused here to watch the sun set. A number of photographers had their tripods set up.

I decided to follow the trails on the south side as I headed back home.

I couldn't stop staring at the streaks of colors across the clouds in the sky. Evenings will always be my favorite time of day to run.

At one time, Signal Hill was covered with a hundred oil derricks and known as 'Porcupine Hill' because of the prickly appearance of all the rigs.

As I ran by one of the dark green grasshopper-style derricks, I wondered how much oil is still being pumped.

Oil derrick light at McDonald's in Signal Hill
When I went past an abandoned with its horse head removed, I wondered if that section had dried up.

Since Signal Hill is known as an 'oil town', the McDonald's at the foot of the hill even features an oil derrick light.

On my way home, I thought about how Signal Hill is a residential dichotomy with its picturesque trails and giant oil derricks.


Sole Runners Second Pre-Season Training Session

Along with the other Sole Runners mentors, the Green Girl helped with the Sole Runners Pre-Season registration again this morning at Marina Vista Park.

Since this is the pre-season and we are welcoming new members, Coach Steve spent a significant amount of time going over the basics.

As he was describing the ideal foot strike, he mentioned a video that was shot at 300fps and uploaded to YouTube of the elite women at the Boston Marathon last week.

Coach Steve suggested we use Sharon Cherop and Caroline Kilel as reference for what our feet should look like when we are ChiRunning. He explained their toes were down, they had a midfoot strike and a high heel kick.

In contrast, Desireé Davila had her toes up, a heel strike, and was almost leaning backwards but she also had a very smooth upper body with little vertical oscillation.

Before we started our run, the mentors in our blue Sole Runners shirts lined up in front to help lead the body looseners.

It warmed up a bit but there was still an occasional breeze that cooled us off on our run through the picturesque neighborhood of Naples. The bridges over the canals created some gentle rolling hills along the running route.


Happy Earth Day from the Green Girl

The Green Girl hopes everyone had the opportunity to honor our planet for Earth Day.

I decided to take part in my employer's Village Green program by applying to become a Green Champion for my office, the CasITa.

As the Green Champion, it's my job to encourage my office to be as green as possible. The Village Green group is tracking our power consumption and the office with the most significant reduction will assume the title of 'Greenest Facility'.

I sent out an email with some conservation tips and asked for additional suggestions.

The CasITa now turns on only half the ceiling lights. When I see empty offices, I make an effort to switch off the lights. We recycle our toner cartridges and the company gave each employee a mug to minimize paper cup usage.

I need to continue to identify ways our office can reduce our carbon footprint.


CasITa-to-5k Transition to Bridge to 10k

The Green Girl wants to formally congratulate the CasITa-to-5k on their graduation from the Cool Running Couch-to-5k Running Program at the Children's Cancer Research Fund (CCRF) Kids 4 Kids 5k RUN/WALK this weekend.

I'm thrilled that one of the graduates, Brandy, will be continuing with the Bridge to 10k program. To maintain my clever naming scheme, I will be referring to this as the 'Brandy to 10k' training plan.

Brandy to 10k Training Plan
Each workout includes a 5 minute warmup walk and 5 minute cooldown walk
Week 1 Duration: 53 min.
Run 10 min/walk 1 min Repeat x 4.
Week 2 Duration: 57 min.
Run 15 min/walk 1 min. Repeat x 3.
Week 3 Duration: 63 min.
Run 17 min/walk 1 min. Repeat x 3.
Week 4 Duration: 66 min.
Run 18 min/walk 1 min. Repeat x 3.
Week 5 Day 1: Duration: 55 min. Run 22 min/walk 1 min. Repeat x 2.
Day 2: Duration: 61 min. Run 25 min/walk 1 min. Repeat x 2.
Day 3: Duration: 71 min. Run 30 min/walk 1 min. Repeat x 2.
Week 6 Duration: 70 min.
Run 60 min.

I'm really looking forward to going through the Brandy to 10k program. It's exciting to be able to share my love for running with others.


The Green Girl's Arbonne 7-Day Body Cleanse Review

The Green Girl decided to give the Arbonne Essentials 7-Day Body Cleanse a try.

The cleanse consists of a concentrate that is mixed with 32 ounces of water and then consumed throughout the day along with a normal, healthy diet.

Ingredients in the Arbonne 7-Day Body Cleanse include:

     Astragalus root extract improves immune function
     Astragalus Fucoidan extract improves immune function
     Milk thistle protects liver from toxins
     Aloe vera relieves digestive issues
     Nettle leaf detoxification of chemicals
     Cascara sagrada natural laxative
     Buckthorn colon cleanser
     Slipperly elm bark relieves inflammatory bowel conditions
     Meadowsweet natural antacid
     Agave natural sweetener
     Inulin promotes colon health
     Chlorella broken cell removes toxins
     Blue green algae antioxidants
     Spirulina whole cell algae vitamins, minerals, amino acids
     Nori-sea weed vitamins
     Red marine algae boosts immune system
     Senna leaf extract natural laxative
     Cascara sagrada bark natural laxative
     Rhubarb natural laxative
     Psyllium natural laxative

According to the manufacturer, Arbonne, the supplement cleanses and detoxifies your system, supports the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and assists with the gentle elimination of toxins.

This was my first experience with a cleanse or detox so I was worried about 'accidents'. My Arbonne consultant, Jessica, assured me it wouldn't be that bad but I still had my concerns.

I strategically started the cleanse Sunday afternoon so I could stay at home and close to the bathroom. I opened the little bottle and gingerly sniffed the dark brown liquid. It smelled like a bottle of vitamins. I poured it into a 33 ounce bottle of water and shook it up. It tasted vaguely of watery date water. The rest of my Sunday was uneventful.

I woke up at 4 am having to go to the bathroom. Instead of the usual solid consistency, it was watery. I kickboxed in the morning without any problems but I was a little nervous when we had to do crunch after crunch and then reverse crunches in between. I started the cleanse after my breakfast. It tasted exactly the same as it did the day before - vaguely of watery date water. I was ravenous and ate more than usual all day long. I had two more soft bowel movements in the afternoon and one more in the evening.

This time, I woke up at my normal time having to go to the bathroom. Again, it was a much softer consistency. I drank the cleanse after breakfast again. It tasted a little less like watery date water - or maybe I was just getting accustomed to the flavor. I was hungrier than usual but nothing like the day before. I didn't experience any cramping on Monday but I did get cramp indicators which led to two more soft bowel movements in the afternoon and one more in the evening.

It was another waking up at normal time and then going to the bathroom morning before I kickboxed. I drank it after breakfast and it tasted even less like watery date water. I had read about all the weight loss so I weighed myself on the scale at work. I had gained three pounds and wondered if it had anything to do with my Monday binging. So much for that. The bowel movements were proceeded by slight cramping, still soft, and at about the same frequency.

Another uneventful morning. The cleanse tasted more like water than watery date. I had read a lot of people weren't hungry during the cleanse but my appetite had not decreased. And after working way too many hours, I had a hard time measuring my energy levels. One reviewer had mentioned she was able to work out harder and longer with no muscle fatigue or soreness. After work, I went for a run but my chronically tight calves were well, tight. I had the usual slight cramping which alerted me to the upcoming soft bowel movements.

My crazy work week completely threw me off schedule. In the back of my head I wondered if this cleanse was the one thing keeping me healthy on so little sleep during such a stressful week. I didn't get to drink the cleanse until lunchtime. I was relieved to see I was back down from the three pounds I'd gained. In the evening, I started cramping and I had several slightly more solid bowel movements. I couldn't believe I only had one more day left - the 7 days went much quicker than I'd expected.

I went for a short run in the morning and then started drinking my final cleanse with my breakfast. Then, I did a half hour of TurboFire and another half hour of P90X. Saturday was uneventful until the evening - I had about five bowel movements - all semi-solid. Surprisingly enough, Saturday ended up being my roughest day.

Sunday, the day after, I had to visit the bathroom a few times in the morning but I was fine the rest of the day. I weighed myself on Monday and I had gained back the three pounds that I had hoped I'd lost for good.

Two days post-detox, it's hard for me to say with certainty if I feel more energetic. After all those trips to the bathroom, I feel like I must be 'cleaned out' but I can't say for sure.


CasITa-to-5k Kids 4 Kids 5k Race Report

The CasITa-to-5k graduated from the Couch-to-5k training program this morning at the Children's Cancer Research Fund (CCRF) Kids 4 Kids 5k RUN/WALK.

The race benefited the Children's Cancer Research Fund (CCRF). The CCRF is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing national support for pediatric cancer clinical research and improving the medical environment for all children.

Raadio Disney provided the pre-race entertainment.

The Start Line was in front of L.A. Live, across from the Staples Center.

Davis Gaines from The Phantom of the Opera performed the National Anthem.

By the time the race started at 10:00, it had warmed up significantly.

The course was fast and flat but there were stretches with no shade to provide respite from the intense sun.

The route looped so the first time around, you were forced to run past the Finish Line.

We took multiple walk breaks and tried our best not to overheat. We poured cups of water on ourselves to cool off.

We managed to sprint the last quarter mile to the Finish Line. According to Mr. Green Garmin, we finished in 41:18.

We received an MVP Finishers Flyer with a section for autographs on the reverse side and a reusable goody bag full of candy, snacks, and sports nutrition.

I was pleasantly surprised by the All Star Carnival. It featured several carnival games, multiple bounce houses and mazes, a giant slide, a Ferris wheel, and a swinging pirate ship. There was also an arts and crafts booth where you could make art to be given to children in the hospital.

The Yum 4 My Tum food court featured food from In-N-Out.

The race was extremely well organized and there were lots of volunteers. The course was clearly marked and there were ample support staff at all times.

It was great to see so many families with small children participating in the race. I saw a number of strollers with bibs pinned on.

Numerous runners had pictures of the child they were honoring on the run printed on their shirts.

It was the perfect graduation day for CasITa-to-5k.

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
You are the guy who'll decide where to go.
Dr. Seuss


Sole Runners First Pre-Season Training Session

Along with the other Sole Runners mentors, the Green Girl helped out with the Sole Runners Pre-Season registration this morning.

I enjoyed welcoming the new members and seeing familiar faces return. A lot of the runners take the winter session off and then return each summer.

The $160 Sole Runners registration includes a 3-week pre-season, a 21-week professionally coached training program, multiple one hour group ChiRunning lessons, mentor-led weekday runs, a Sole Runners technical training shirt, a copy of the ChiRunning book by Danny Dreyer, weekly training articles, and sponsor discounts. There is also a discount for early birds and alumni.

Coach Steve opened with an overview of the program. He also shared some basic running tips and tricks.

Before he began the ChiRunning lesson, he explained the philosophy behind Danny Dryer's method.

After the introduction, he led everyone out onto the grassy field.

He started off with the ChiRunning pose. People were paired up with partners and the mentors walked around to assist.

Once everyone was relatively comfortable with the concept of the pose, Coach Steve had everyone do an exercise where they leaned forward while their partner supported their weight.

He demonstrated how this 'lean' would allow gravity to pull them forward once their partner moved out of the way.

Towards the end of the lesson, Coach Steve showed them how to incorporate everything they had learned into a slow, controlled run.

Following the ChiRunning lesson, we all went out for a short half hour run in the warm late morning sun.


Newport Beach Back Bay Loop Trail Run

The Green Girl joined the Sole Runners for a run around the Newport Beach Back Bay Loop Trail this morning.

The Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve covers 1,000 acres of marshlands and bluffs. It's a natural estuary - a partially enclosed body of water where fresh and salt water meet.

The scenic 10.5 mile trail winds around Upper Newport Bay.

The Back Bay Loop Trail Run also connects to the the 22-mile Mountains to Sea Trail which winds past Peters Canyon Reservoir and into the mountains of Weir Canyon.

The paved Back Bay Loop Trail path is shared by walkers, runners, cyclists, and even horseback riders.

It was a beautiful morning for a run. The air was cool and crisp. The sky was a brilliant blue.

My body was ready to run this morning. I fell into a comfortable pace from the start and I didn't have to work through that warm-up period.

My calves even felt good after I had religiously massaged them all week with Peaceful Mountain Muscle Ice.

I happened to fall in stride with another Sole Runner, Tanya.

The miles flew by as we chatted and admired the beauty that surrounded us.


How to Survive the Most Critical 5 Seconds of Your Life

The Green Girl just finished reading her birthday present to herself, How to Survive the Most Critical 5 Seconds of Your Life, by Tim Larkin and Chris Ranck-Buhr.

The book focuses on mental rather than physical preparation. It analyzes and dissects the mindset needed to survive a violent encounter and examines how one goes about developing that mentality.

The authors warn early on that there are two kinds of people who will not benefit from this book: '...those who think violence is never justifiable, and those who think violence is the answer to everything.'

The book starts off by pointing out the important differences between antisocial and asocial behavior. The clear distinction is that you can walk away from an antisocial individual but asocial violence is unavoidable.

The book was written with a male audience in mind but I feel the information is useful for both sexes. It forces you to look within and ask yourself when faced with imminent danger and the possibility of death, do you have the mindset and willingness to employ the tools available to you?

Vulnerable points with methods of attack by eXtreme Fellow


Sole Runners Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve Run

The Green Girl joined the Sole Runners for a short run at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve this morning.

As I was heading south on Pacific Coast Highway towards Bolsa Chica, I saw cones lined up in preparation for the Run Seal Beach 5k/10k.

Turns out some of the Sole Runners ended up getting stuck in the race course traffic closures so our group got a bit of a late start.

I didn't have my trusty Mr. Green Garmin with me so I tried to listen to my body.

We spotted California Least Terns, Common Loons, Snowy Egrets, and a female Northern Pintail duck watching over her ducklings in the water below.

Bolsa Chica Stewards led youth groups in wetland restoration. They planted potted plants, pulled weeds, and watered.

Cheery yellow beach primrose spotted the marshlands. We also saw a cluster of bright orange poppies.

The wetlands had a calming effect on me. I took in long, deep breaths, and exhaled all the stress and tension in my body.

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. Ralph Waldo Emerson
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