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In the spotlight: Shea Companies

2abluisfernandezLuis  Fernandez
Facility Manager


Favorite Fitness Activity:  Hiking and walking with my kids. (This photo was taken on a hike with my 10-year-old son, Louie.)

What is the secret to your success?  I have three kids ranging from the ages of 17 through 8. I want to make sure I'm healthy enough when the youngest wants to play catch or any other activity. I can't stop age. But I can at least better my health!

What is the biggest obstacle to moving more? Tiredness. There are days I think I just can't. But then I open my movecoach app and look at the standings! Health and family are my motivation...and trying keep my top 5 position [on the leaderboard].

What is the most rewarding part of the Shea Moves 750,000-Mile Challenge? Feeling good about yourself, and seeing what you can accomplish when you set your mind to it. I love this app and this challenge! I've lost 10 pounds since I started it.

What advice would you give to your fellow challengers? Keep moving! I know there are days you think you can't. But anything is possible! Before you know it, walking 6, 7 or 8 miles are just part of the day.


Share your movecoach success story here!

Click here to join the Shea Moves 750,000-Mile Challenge


Download movecoach moves Shea app for iPhone or Android.

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In the Spotlight: Genentech
Edited May Wittke
May Wittke
Genentech
Biomarker Operations Project Manager
PD Clinical Operations

Favorite fitness activity: Running with friends

Recent Milestone: I have lost 65 lbs since I had joined Weight Watchers in Feb 2016.

What is the secret to your success? I am a bit of a competitive person, so I get motivated by seeing others and having my own competition with them. I also started Weight Watchers when I signed up for movecoach, and running became a big part of my weight- loss journey. I had started a Couch to 5K app in January 2016, then two months later, once we had the movecoach app available to us, I started using movecoach for tracking my steps, running, strength training, circuit training, and other workouts.

What is the biggest challenge to moving more? After awhile, exercise becomes boring. I try to find new ways of doing exercises besides running. I started taking a circuit training class at our gym and doing HIIT videos.

What is the most rewarding part of participating in a movecoach Challenge? I get motivated by seeing all the new people signing on. I like that we are very much supported by our company to have a healthy lifestyle.

Best advice:  Don't give up! When you're not feeling up to working out, just don't think about it, and go for the run, walk, class...whatever it is to get you up and moving.  You never regret working out...but you do regret it when you don't.

Next goal: I’m training for the Mermaid Half Marathon in May, the 5K Bubble Run in July, then the Rock n’Roll Las Vegas 10K in November to celebrate my 40th birthday.

Share your movecoach success story here!

Click here to join the Genentech 500,000-Mile Challenge  

 Download movecoach moves Genentech for iPhone or Android.                         

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Originally posted by Dena Evans on Feb. 6, 2014

Don’t let your running and training be hampered by arbitrary tales that may lead you off track.  If you find yourself caught in the trap laid by one of these myths, it is time to set yourself free!

Myth #1:  If you don’t have time for the entire prescribed XXworkout, you should just skip the whole thing.

We all know the nagging pain of a day where the alarm didn’t go off, your toddler is sick, work is a fire drill, or the weather is garbage. The scheduled workout is Just. Not. Going. To. Happen.  In frustration, it can be tempting to bag everything and sulk.  Don’t.  Your schedule is the best-case scenario, and every single runner has had to punt and pivot now and again.  If the track workout isn’t an option, an aerobic run can still help clear your head, and keep you on track for either an adjusted workout day later in the week or next week’s tasks.  If the schedule calls for 45 minutes and you only have 25 minutes, your body will get a significant benefit from doing even half the work.  If you are taking an unplanned “zero” in the log, focus your mental energy on the positives – more freshness for the next session, accomplishment of the tasks and issues that have stolen your run time, and the confidence that a day or few off does not have to have a significant impact on your fitness level.

Myth #2:  Days off are for wimps.

Training hard is important to get toward your goal, but without recovery, your muscles don’t have the ability to adapt and recoup after the stress you have placed on them already.  Recuperation time allows your body to return to preparedness for the stimulus ahead and in doing so, get the most out of the upcoming challenge.  Running hard every day drives your body into a deeper and deeper hole from which it eventually becomes impossible to escape.   Build your schedule with some planned and regular rest, and the chances of you making it to the start line of your goal race will increase immensely.

Myth #3:  You will set a personal best every single race or you are not trying hard enough.

There are many, many factors that contribute to a personal best day.  An accurately (or inaccurately) measured course.  A tail or head wind.  Hills.  A bad meal the night before.  How well recovered you are.  Your bout of flu last week.  Neglecting to hydrate along the route or beforehand.  The list goes on and on.   These are not excuses, but factors which can both enhance or diminish the yield from your training up to that point.  Your actual fitness plays the largest role, but smart training includes a slight cyclical effect where recovery periods are interspersed with hard training and tapering for goal events.  100% effort each time can be a good way to practice the significant demand your body will require when it is primed for a signature day, but even top level effort each time may not always result in a new level of achievement, particularly for experienced runners who have been through the train and taper cycle in the past.  Concentrate on the quality of your preparation, the execution of your plan, and when your body is ready, you’ll have good racing habits and attitude down pat.

Myth #4a:  The more cushioning in your shoes, the better chance you have of avoiding injury.

Most athletes do not need to purchase the shoes with the maximum potential padding, structure, or stability in order to stay injury free, and in fact these shoes can sometimes impede your stride from operating at its greatest efficiency.  Each foot and every person is different.  Consider getting a gait analysis from an experienced staff member at a reputable running specialty store in your neck of the woods, and adding that info to your reasoning as you choose your next pair of shoes.  Well-cushioned shoes have indeed helped many non-runners become runners through the years, but for many athletes, other choices may serve the body better.

Myth #4b:  The less cushioning in your shoes, the better chance you have of avoiding injury.

In recent years, thousands of runners have become enamored with the “minimalist” segment of the running shoe market.  These are typically footwear with much or all of the heel lift eliminated, or shoes meant to simulate running barefoot with various ways of wrapping around the foot or articulating the sole.  While incorporating barefoot running or minimalist footwear into a larger program to strengthen the foot and lower leg can be very beneficial, these decisions must be made in context.  Injury history, the restraint to gradually incorporate this type of running, and the availability of suitable and safe terrain must all be considered.  Again, minimalist footwear have been invaluable tools for many runners, but just because you want to be one of those runners, doesn’t mean you are.  Get some input from your experienced local running specialty retailer or a podiatrist, and don’t do anything all at once.

Myth #5:  Training for a marathon is a great crash diet.

Physical fitness is a great by-product of decision to train for a half or full marathon.  Weight loss may result, but the “goal beyond the goal” should always be sustainable, healthy habits.  Athleticism, strength, endurance are all aspects of your best self that need to come to the fore in order for you to reach your race finish line.  Explicit, short term dieting and caloric reduction while maintaining a schedule of challenging running tasks can be detrimental to your training and health at best, and dangerous at worst.  We want running to be a life-long, rewarding pursuit, but we also know it fits into a larger context of healthy diet, sleep, lifestyle, and fitness choices.  Incremental changes you can live with, while adjusting to training, can help ensure that this goal won’t be the end of your training, but just the start.



mikemachulaGuest blog post by Mike Machula

Starting my journey with runcoach was a lucky accident – using their training program this last year I not only set two PR’s in one race but I blew them away.  There must be something to the program when you run your fastest half marathon ever during the second half of a full marathon.

I first met the runcoach team at the Houston Marathon Expo in January 2015 and they told me this incredible story about how the average runner training on their program improved 7%.  They even claimed some runners felt strong at the end of their race and could have kept going.  I wanted to believe it, but I was little skeptical because I had trained so hard using a lot of other programs and never seen results anywhere close to that.  My goal for the 2015 Marathon was to break 4 hours. While I felt I could do it if I had a very good run (ran 3:56:57), I was not confident.  Thinking I might not make my goal, I figured runcoach might be the way to make it the next time, so I decided to give the program a shot.  I told them if I had anywhere close to a 7% increase I’d give them a glowing review.  I am now more than happy to keep that promise. I think my training story and results will speak to the success of the runcoach program.

When I started the runcoach program in February 2015, I decided I just wanted to maintain my current fitness level for a little while and ran three days a week.  Everything was going fine and I stayed with it consistently through the beginning of summer.  Vacations, kids activities and the hot Houston weather made it difficult to maintain the schedule in June, July and some of August.  In September, after chatting with coach Ashley about the Marathon being a little less than five months away, I ramped up my training to four days a week.  At this point I followed the schedule pretty religiously.

The training to me never felt overly strenuous.  That actually concerned me a little because I held the typical male belief in the back of my head that if you aren’t pushing yourself 110% and feeling it then you can’t be improving.  However, I really trusted the runcoach team to know better than I did and so I kept following the program.  The long runs were just that, long but not strenuous at all. I figured I was getting my improvement on the threshold and speed days.  Those runs were challenging but never to the point where I felt incapable of doing it.  Just when I felt like it might be too much, I completed the fast pace portion and had enough recovery time between sets that allowed me to keep going for the entire workout.

In November, two months prior to the marathon, I had a run that convinced me the program was actually working.  The day was supposed to be an easy 5 mile run at a 9:30 pace.  It was a pleasant evening but nothing special. I set out my 5 mile loop around the neighborhood and I didn’t pay much attention to my pace.  At mile 1, my GPS watch vibrated and I looked down to see I just ran an 8:00 pace.  I didn’t think much of it and kept going.  At mile 2, the watch vibrated and showed a 7:35 for the previous mile.  At that point I was a little surprised because I felt really good – like I was running my normal pace.  I kept going and at mile 3, I completed a 7:40.  Now I’m thinking to myself, the last time I ran a sub 8:00 pace over 5 miles was 5 years ago (I remember the day well because I’d accomplished a goal). Knowing I had 2 miles remaining I decided to keep up the pace and ran the 5 miles in 38:30 (7:42). Five years of running and I had never been able to repeat it and on that November day I did it without really even trying.

A month later, during my longest training run, I knew the training was working because at mile 20 I felt like I had a lot left in the tank.  I had two more miles to go and I decided to pick up the pace by a minute per mile and see what would happen.  I had no problem finishing at that high pace and could have kept going for much longer.

Race day in Houston was a perfect January day (45 degrees, light wind and sunny).  I started out intentionally slow for the first few miles to conserve energy.  Everything felt great as I picked up the pace to around 1:10/mile faster than my training pace.  I kept it there for the rest of the race.  At mile 8, I remember thinking to myself this can’t be right because it feels like I just started.  I had to remind myself to take my energy Gu and often was surprised that the next water station came so quick.  Halfway though I continued to feel good and missed setting a half marathon PR by 1 second (1:50:24).  At mile 17 nothing happened.  The previous year that’s the point I really started to become aware of my legs. At mile 20 I started thinking I hope I can keep this pace up.  I had no idea what the wall would do to me at this pace or when it would come.  Around mile 23 I felt the energy drain, but it wasn’t that bad.  The previous year I slowed way down, but this year I managed to keep the same pace. I just had to concentrate on doing it.  I would compare it to the same concentration it takes to force yourself to walk as fast as you can. Not bad at all.  With a mile to go, I felt a million times stronger than the previous year, picked up the pace and ran my fastest mile of the marathon.  I finished with a time of 3:40:20 (which happens to be a 7% improvement from the previous PR).  Incredible!  Thanks runcoach!



Mark is a lifelong runner who got his start in high school and continued to run competitively in college. He ran his first marathon in 1968 and has run 56 total marathons. Mark found runcoach in 2015 through the Detroit Marathon.  Mark’s most recent finish was 3:30:19 at the Detroit Marathon where he placed first in the 60-64 year age group! He recaps his experience at Detroit and his approach to training below.

Mark’s Background:

  • I ran high school and college
  • I ran my first race in September 1968 (I've been running a long time)
  • 23 of my first 24 marathons under 2:50 (24 of 25 if you count a 50K that I went through the marathon at 2:48
  • Family issues resulted in sitting out of marathons for almost a decade
  • As I get older, the days that feel great are getting fewer and fewer
  • Fighting through those tough days is one of my biggest challenges
  • Doing the Tuesday and Thursday workouts have really helped me get my focus and quantity of good days up

Race Day:

With temperatures near 36° the morning of the race, I was concerned that the marathon would be brutal. Luckily there was virtually no wind which is really good for the marathon. The light snow flurries added something to talk about.  The gun went off and after about a mile and a half I settled into a hard comfortable pace. On the return to the US (editor’s note – The Detroit Marathon cross into Canada for a portion of the race), I didn’t expect such a warm tunnel. Another thing to worry about, I was afraid that I would be cold getting back outside. It wasn't bad. My workouts gave me the confidence and strength that I could hold the pace, but you're never sure. To my surprise, I continued at the same pace beyond 22 miles.  This was my 56th marathon, my 32nd since turning 50 and I still fear those last several miles. Although my legs were still doing pretty well, I started losing focus. I walked through a water stop and when I saw others walking up a hill, it looked like a good idea. I walked about 20-30 seconds up the hill. I never did get back on my pace, but was pleased with my run. Maybe next time I’ll fight the urge to walk.

Editor’s Notes:  We think Mark’s perseverance and resolve are awesome.  The fact that he walked through a water stop late in the race is a successful trait that we’ve observed even at the highest levels.  Mark’s commitment to the sport and his health is a great example and we wanted to share it with all of you.



lambstuffedpeppersTime for an easy gourmet meal that is quick to prep and clean-up, but packs some great flavors and nutrition.  Enjoy this dish for lunch or dinner as it’s sure to impress your family or guests.  We take African spices of cumin and cinnamon and pair with some tasty ground lamb or buffalo, adding in short grain brown rice for a balanced and satisfying meal.

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

-        1 ¾ cups cooked short grain brown rice

-        4 medium to large bell peppers

-        1 pound ground lamb or buffalo

-        4 cloves minced garlic

-        ½ cup currants (look near raisins)

-        2 teaspoons ground cumin

-        1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

-        2 ½ cups vegetable juice (eg V8)

-        ¼ cup chopped mint

-        Zest of an orange

-        ¾ teaspoon salt

-        ½ teaspoon pepper

Cooking

-        Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-        Wash and cook brown rice as desired (boiling on stove top or in rice cooker)

-        Cut tops off peppers and de-seed.  Put peppers into over on cookie sheet or other casserole dish for 15-20 minutes

-        Cook beef in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up beef until no longer pink, 4-6 minutes

-        Stir in currants, cumin and cinnamon, cooking for 1 minute

-        Stir in rice and cook for 30 seconds more

-        Remove from heat and stir in ½ cup vegetable juice, mint, orange zest, salt and pepper

-        Spoon beef mixture into peppers, pour remaining vegetable juice into the pepper and serving dish and microwave for 1 minute.

Nutrition

-        Calories: 451

-        Carbs: 48g

-        Protein: 36g

-        Fat: 12g



brown_riceWe began with a great breakfast to jump start your day, then a tasty chickpea and egg dish for lunch or dinner. Now we have a flavorful vegetarian dish, perfect for lunch or quick dinner when you are on the go.  This is another crock-pot meal, so you can just throw everything in and have it ready when you get home in the afternoon.  It stores well in the fridge or freezer, making for a healthy, sustaining meal that is packed full of great flavors.

Brown Rice Quinoa Fennel Risotto

This dish, prepared with brown rice and pecorino, creates a gluten and cow dairy free recipe, while vegetarian, packs a lasting satisfaction with the addition of quinoa along with fiber.  Just 30 minutes to prep, then slow cook for 4-6 hours.

  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, cored and finely diced, plus 2 tablespoons chopped fronds
  • 1 cup short-grain brown rice
  • ½ cup Quinoa
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms - $1.69
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, or “no-chicken” broth
  • 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • cups frozen French-cut green beans
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • 1/3 cup pitted oil-cured black olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Coat a 4-quart crock-pot with cooking spray.  Crush fennel seeds and combine with diced fennel, brown rice, carrot, shallot, garlic, green beans, olives, lemon zest and mushrooms in the pot.  Add broth, 1 cut water, wine, and stir to combine.  Cover and cook until rice is chewy and risotto is thick and creamy.  On high heat 2 ½ hours, or low heat 4 hours.

Before serving or storing, stir in pecorino.  If it too dry, add water to loosen.

Servings: 6

Nutrition: Calories 353; Fat 8g, Carbs 56g, protein 14g



chickpea hashLast week we helped you make your own mixed fruit steel cut oatmeal, now we want to fuel your lunch or dinner!

Our next meal to help fuel your life, and make eating well easy for you.  This recipe takes a just a short amount of prep work, and cooks in one non-stick skillet.  Quick to cook and quick to clean up!

Bringing together some great tastes with vegetables, shredded potatoes, curry and ginger.  Topped with an egg completes the meal with a healthy dose of protein.  Easy to prepare and inexpensive on the wallet too.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups frozen shredded potatoes - $1.69
  • 2 cups chopped baby spinach - $1.99
  • ½ cup chopped onion - $0.99
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger - $1.50
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder - $1.99
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil - $5.99
  • 1 15 OZ can chickpeas, rinsed - $1.50
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini - $2.99
  • 4 large eggs - $3.00

Total cost: $21.64

Servings 4, Calories 382

What you’ll need: cutting board, 10 inch non-stick skillet with lid, cutting knife, can opener, measuring cup, measuring spoons, vegetable peeler, spatula/turner

Prep

  1. Start by cutting the spinach, onion, ginger, and mix with the potatoes, curry powder and salt in a large bowl.  Now chop the zucchini and open and rinse the chickpeas.
  2. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet on medium high and pour potato mixture in, pressing into the bottom.  Cook for 5 minutes, do not stir.  You want a crispy layer on the bottom.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low.  Fold the chickpeas and zucchini into the skillet, breaking up the crispy potato.  Press into a layer in the skillet and carve out 4 holes in the potato.  Crack eggs one at a time into the holes gently.  Cover and cook until desired egg type.  Soft yolk approx. 5 minutes, longer for fully cooked.

This is a great meal to satisfy your needs for a busy day.  Easy to make and clean up, so no excuses for ordering takeout.  You can even have extra for lunch on the go the next day.  Reheats in 2 minutes.



We're 2 months into the New Year.  Seems like a good time to revisit the goals we set on 1/1/15.  Here's a look back at a great article by Dena Evans from 2010.

Goals seem like a good idea at the time.  They motivate us to start, they provide good fodder for conversation, they keep us organized.   However, if they are truly going to be accomplishments we look back on with pride, these goals must also include the risk that we might not pass the test.



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