I Ran 17 Miles!

17 miles in the (marathon training) books. It’s funny because the last 2 long runs I’ve had, I had been totally dreading them. I was nervous and really doubting myself…and then they ended up being great runs. 

I was really nervous about this one because of the heat. All week it had been mid-high 90s, and humid. The day before this run, I struggled even finishing 5 miles. In fact, I ran/walked most of the last 2 miles in order to keep it easy effort.

I posted in the FitFluential Running Facebook group and got some good feedback from other runnerrs. Many advised me not to try to do the entire run outside due to the high heat. I would be running at 5 pm, so it would be a bit cooler than during the day, but still mid 90′s. 

So my mom and I decided to run indoors at the gym first, then head outside. We were kinda winging it. We didn’t know how long we’d run on the treadmill but the initial plan was only 3 miles. I felt fine running longer so we ended up running 6 miles on the treadmill before heading outside.

I changed my shirt real quick (#heavysweaterprobs) and then we continued with 6 miles outside. I’m glad we ran inside first because once we got outside the sun had gone down, BUT it was still pretty hot and muggy.

Before our run we left 2 water bottles on the route so we could stop every 1.5 miles and drink.

So anyway, we did 6 miles outside, then headed back inside (after another shirt change), and hopped on the treadmill as quick as we could to keep moving.

We were supposed to do 18 but finished at 17. The gym was close to closing and we needed to stretch and cooldown too. I felt really good though!

We wanted to do the last 5 miles at marathon goal pace (10:20-10:30) so we pushed ourselves a bit, and then I finished my last mile in 9:45. If only it felt so easy in the actual marathon! I’ll share some photos from my snapchat story (I’m @pattyrivas13 btw):



I’m so glad this run went well because this one and the previous 14 miles have been confidence boosters for me. I’m still kinda not sure at all how I’ll fare at Chicago Marathon, but here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Even though in my training for NYC Marathon I was close to 50 miles per week, I think this range (35ish) has been working well because I don’t feel too run down AND my shin pain has not been flaring up *knock on wood*

But I guess we’ll see!

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How do you handle hot runs? I made sure to take water every 2 miles and a salt pill every hour.

What is your least favorite part of long runs? Mine is just how time consuming it is…though I guess if you’re faster, that’s not a problem for you! ;)


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6 Healthy Foods To Keep In Your Dorm Room

It’s back to school season! Which  means fall weather is right around the corner…bring it on!

Today was the first day of classes at the community college I work and coach at. I love seeing campus full again and am always jealous of  first year students…such an exciting journey ahead of them.

If you’re living on a college campus, you probably only have a small fridge and microwave (if that) in your dorm. Side note: as a higher ed professional, we were taught to say “residence hall” instead of dorm, but I’m going to stick with dorm ;)

Even if you don’t have a fridge, you can still stock up on some healthy foods and snacks which will be perfect when you’re on the go or just hungry and lounging around in your room.

Keep reading and I’ll talk more about these items!

6 Healthy Foods To Keep In Your College Dorm!
Protein Powder

I love PlantFusion protein – it’s free of all major allergens and plant based. I’ve tried other plant based powders but didn’t like the chalky taste or after taste. PlantFusion has a variety of flavors (like cookies and creme!) and also has a nutritional shake called Phood, which is more of a meal replacement type shake. You can order samples of their different products on their website for just $10! Can’t beat that.

While I had never even thought to buy protein powder in college, it’s a good thing to have on hand. You can easily make shakes with just water, or if you do have a fridge, you can stock up on almond milk, fruits, etc. to make delicious smoothies for breakfast or snacks.

Nektar Honey Crystals

I should have added tea to this list but oh well. If you’re a tea lover, Nektar Honey Crystals are perfect for you! I have been working with the Nektar team for a bit, but genuinely love the product.

I have written about them before, and love that they are perfect for on-the-go. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve brought my honey bear (lol at that phrasing) to work and have it leak all over my lunch bag. They also just released a pourable bottle which is perfect for baking. If you bring tea to class (or oatmeal), pack a few of these packets and you’re good to go.

Peanut Butter

Does this even need an explanation?? Stock up on peanut butter! Eat it by the spoonful or spread of on apples and bananas. My favorite pre-workout snack is a piece of bread with peanut butter and sliced bananas on it. I also always add peanut butter to my oatmeal and overnight oats. Oops, just realized I should have added oatmeal to this list too!

Granola Bars

I love Nature Valley bars, but this new product is now my favorite granola bar (the simple nut bar). Minimal ingredients and a great snack to pack in your bag. Also good for pre and post-workout. When shopping for granola bars, make sure to read the ingredient labels…some are packed with random ingrediets and loads of sugar!


These are also another good snack option. I like them because they can be kept anywhere (cold, hot, etc.) without it going bad. So you can keep a few in the car or in your purse for emergencies. While they do have a bit more sugar than I would like, I’m comforted by the fact that it is all-natural. I like to snack on these before runs for a little energy boost.


These are a recent discovery of mine. I have tried the BBQ flavor and the restaurant style and both are delicious! If you love chips and salsa, try Beanitos. It’s a healthier alternative to other chips. I eat them with hummus as well. Dan doesn’t like beans so he’ll never try them, but I swear it does not taste like beans!

Have you tried Beanitos? Let me know if you do.

What would you add to the list? What are your favorite on-the-go snacks?

If you’re starting school, tell me what college you’re at! Maybe we are Big 10 rivals ;) #Rutgers


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Chicago Marathon Training Week 12

Another training week in the books. Felt much better this week! In week 11, I had to take a few days off to recoup mentally and physically. This past week I felt good on all my runs and had a great long run! However, still kinda am doubting how this marathon will go. I just feel like I should be ahead of where I’m at for being at 12 weeks. Though I have seen people who are doing their first 18-20 miler about now, so I keep telling myself I am not that far behind! Will be shooting for 17-18 miles this week.

Here’s how last week went:

Monday: off

Tuesday: 4 miles. I found a new park right by my house! This was a super slow run because I was on trails and ended up running up a mountain (kind of exaggerated but it was a steep hill, and at the top you could see NYC in the distance so it WAS kind of a mountain lol). I was actually pretty sore the next day…is this normal for new trail runners??


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Wednesday: 6 miles. Reaaaal easy. Didn’t wear a watch. It actually felt good to be able to chat with my mom while running – I never can do that! I used to think it was because of my asthma but perhaps I really was running too fast. I mean, multiple times I had to actively slow myself down to get back to an easy pace. I think the cooler weather helped too. Thursday: 14 miles. We meant to do 16 but since we went after work, it got dark. Sunset is now at 7:45, nooooo. I am SO ready for fall and fall weathe, just not for it to get dark earlier and earlier. Overall, I felt awesome on this run BUT afterwards and the day after, my knees were killing me. Not sure why. Took ibuprofen the next day and rested, and was fine by Saturday.


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Friday: off

Saturday: 4 miles

Sunday: 5.5 miles

TOTAL: 33.5 miles

This week I REALLY want to strength train at least twice. I think my mom and I both had knee pain after our long run because we have been neglecting lifting, and therefore our quads are weak. 

Also, I want to get close to 40 miles. I have said that for like 3 weeks now but I want to. I just think it will give me peace of mind.

Runners, when do you “peak” before a week? How many weeks out?

How long do you usually taper? I found in my last marathon that a 10 day taper was perfect. I think this time I’ll do 10-14 days.


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Chicago Marathon Training Week 11

Sigh. That’s how last week can be summed up. I’m not even going to write my daily runs, I just want to vent.

As I’ve said in previous training posts, I have been nervous that my training isn’t enough. I know many of you have said that running 30-35 miles per week is fine, and I can accept that, but what makes me feel like my training hasn’t been going well is the fact that my long runs are awful. I feel tired, struggling to breathe, getting side cramps…I have not had a good long run yet over 10 miles. Plus, I haven’t even done that many. I’ve done 10, 13, and 15. 

This past week I was supposed to do 17 miles but all week I was feeling exhausted. No joke, I would sleep at 10 am, get 8 hours of sleep, wake up tired. I would nap on days I could (perks of working from home I guess lol), and again, still wake up tired. WTF??

On Thursday I barely finished a 2 mile run. Like I ran 1.75 and walked the last bit. I was supposed to go out for 5 miles.

So Friday, the day I needed to do 17, I did 6 miles. I got another wicked side cramp that turned into heart burn (?????). I mean, I tried a new fueling product (Gen UCAN), but drank that an hour before my run. Maybe I needed more time to digest. What sucks too is that Gen UCAN is pretty pricey, so that money was wasted on a 6 mile run.

But let’s focus on the positive. One positive I can tell you from this is that the running community is amazing and supportive. I vented on reddit and the Fitfluential Runners group and got great responses from fellow runners. I decided to take the weekend off from running and start back up today.

I also spoke to Coach Marc…which is another great reason to have a running coach! After my crappy 6 miler on Thursday, I wrote him a long email as I was sitting in my car, about to be in tears because of frustration. I knowwww…a bit dramatic but I was feeling so annoyed and frustrated.

He replied and told me to take time off, and then we went back and forth with strategies for this week. Basically, I need to stay within my easy pace zone for runs, which I struggle to do. I just don’t want to be running in the 11:40s. But it is possible that pushing myself to run faster in this heat and humidity is what has caused me to feel flat.

So this week I plan on sticking to longer, easy paced runs (as opposed to track workouts) and trying to get those 16-18 miles in. 

My weakness is long runs. I hate long runs. But you have to do what you hate in order to get stronger right?

So my questions to you fellow runners are:

  • Do you think I have enough time to get some stronger training in? I have a time goal for Chicago. I don’t want to “just finish” and feel terrible during the race because of my training.
  • How do you motivate yourself on long runs? I run with my mom so it’s not like I’m alone, I just really don’t like running for hours on end unless it’s in a race lol
  • Have you ever had to take time off during marathon training because of fatigue or exhaustion?

Thanks in advance for your help. Here’s to hoping this week is much better.


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How To Prevent Black Toenails (Besides Bigger Shoes)

If you’re a long distance runner, you know black toenails are common. We all joke about it.

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But hey, it happens.

My mom has suffered from black toenails/toenails falling off since we started training for longer races. No matter what, it would happen. She tried sizing up in shoes…and sizing up again. But nothing helped.

Then we went to the local shoe store, and a new guy was working who gave us THE ANSWER!

Do you get black toenails? Here's a tip for stopping that from happening!

The sneaker store employee told her to rub BodyGlide or Vaseline on her toes and toenails before the run.

She has been doing that since, and has not had throbbing toenails or black toenails. He told us that sometimes black toenails happen because of the friction between your toes and socks. It is similar to getting blisters.

So now you know…

Other tips for preventing black toenails include:

  • Trying a bigger shoesize. You should have about a thumb’s width space in the front of the shoe (from your biggest toe).
  • Trim your toenails regularly.
  • Wear wicking socks so your feet are dry. Wet socks (as with any wet clothing on your body) can cause chafing and blistering.
  • And a tip for your feet in general: don’t get rid of your callouses! I hate that part of pedicures anyway so I have no problem asking them not to do it. But yes…leave your callouses alone. You need those to prevent blisters :)

Do you get or have you gotten black toenails? Or lost toenails?

What other things would you say are “runner probs?” :) Hmm…I’d say chafing in general. Despite using BodyGlide I still chafe around the outlines of my sports bra…so attractive!


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What To Pack For College – Fitness Edition

Can you believe it’s almost September?? My cross country team has their first meet in 2 weeks! I’m so ready for fall weather, and especially fall running. My ranking of seasons goes: fall, spring, summer and winter. I just hate how much I sweat in the summer, blegh.

Anyway, end of August means back to school time! If you or someone you know is heading off to college, then you’ve seen the packing checklists. But I wanted to make a fitness edition one! With the help of my sister, who is a college student, here are a few ideas as to what you can pack for college to be prepared to be fit and healthy (scroll down for full checklist & pin it!):

Big Water Bottle

I love having a big, reusable water bottle. You can easily track your water intake and the bigger the bottle the better (obviously). You can find fun water bottles at places like T.J. Maxx or HomeGoods, WalMart, or Target. This is the one I have been using a lot lately, which is from WalMart, and I like that it’s like a normal water bottle:

Aladdin Water BottlePhoto Source

You can order it online or find it in the store for like, $3-$4. If you like infused water, you should check out fellow fitness blogger Diatta’s infused water bottle…perfect to add in fruits or lemon to flavor your water!

Fun Workout Apparel

I’ve done numerous posts on finding cute workout clothes on a budget..check them out here, here and here. You can shop on a budget at places like Old Navy, Forever 21, T.J. Maxx, and Marshall’s! I would definitely recommend Forever 21. You can find great pieces ranging anywhere from $8-$20, and a lot of their pieces are very similar in feel and look to lululemon! Here’s another post I wrote specifically about Forever 21 and a picture of my workout gear:

Forever 21 Activewear


If you plan on running a lot, a FlipBelt will be key. You can find my review on it here. It has multiple pockets and does not move around at all. You’ll be able to fit your phone, gels, keys, ID, etc. It could also come in handy for football tailgates so you don’t have to worry about carrying around a purse or have anything in your hands :)

Protein Powder

Protein powders are perfect for making smoothies and quick post-workout recovery shakes. It’s good to have it handy for when you’re on the go and running to class. Here are some of my favorite smoothie combinations

My favorite protein powder would have to be PlantFusion. It’s a plantbased protein powder and tastes great. I have found others to taste chalky and not that good unless you add in things like bananas or almond milk. PlantFusion is great on it’s own, and they actually just came out with single serving sample packets and bottles!

And here is my full checklist!

Want to be fit and healthy in college? Here's your college packing list!

What would you add to this list?

Are you or do you know someone heading to college? Sometimes I wish I could go back in time to relive those college days! :)


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Chicago Marathon Training Week 10

As I mentioned in my last training update, I’m kind of freaking out about Chicago. Only 8 more weeks of training! I guess what’s going on is I’m comparing this training cycle to my last marathon training cycle in 2013, where I was hitting 50 miles at this point in training. This past week I ran 33 miles (maybe 34. I don’t know, but I’ll get into that).

I feel like I should be running more, and it IS my fault for not doing so.  I didn’t run the day after this week’s long run because my body was just so physically exhausted, I knew I needed a rest day. When you get 10 hours of sleep and are STILL tired, and then nap for 2 hours and are STILL tired, I think it means you need to just take it easy…right? I know I could be running more miles daily, but I have also been a little conservative because of my shin issues.

I keep telling myself that yes, I ran 50 miles in my NYC Marathon buildup in 2013, but I also ended up not being able to run for 2 weeks because of severe posterior tibialis tendonitis. I read somewhere that the best buildup is, “running as little miles as possible where you can still win.” My “win” will be if I can finish this marathon feeling strong like I did in 2013.

I just really, REALLY don’t want a repeat of my 2011 marathon where I barely finished and puked at the end. Ugh.

Anyway, here’s last week’s training:

Monday: 6 miles. Track workout. I talked more about this specific track workout here. 12 400 repeats with only 25 seconds of rest…killer! Thanks Coach Marc ;)


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: 6 miles. Easy run on one of my favorite running routes. Check out the contrast between fall and summer! I love running on this road in the fall.


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Thursday: This was where the mileage started suffering. I THOUGHT I was going to run 15-16 miles Friday, so my mom and I only ran 3 miles this day. Story continued below…

Friday: 3 miles. Ugh. I was supposed to do the long run but oops, didn’t wake up on time. Woke up at 8, and by the time we got dressed, ate, drove to where we were going to run, etc. it was 10 AM. We started the run with every intention of finishing the long run, but ended up deciding to just wake up earlier Saturday morning to get it done. 

Saturday: 14-15 miles?? I’m glad we waited to run today because we got to check out Summer Streets in NYC! Park Avenue is closed to traffic from 7am-1pm and they have rest stops all along the way (and water fountains). Perfect for long runs and fueling/hydration.


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

I thought we did 15 miles, because according to Strava we did. But then when I mapped it out on mapmyrun.com,  it was 14 miles. So who knows. Check out these lines on my Strava map. Can anyone tell me why this happened? Poor signal? Now I’m annoyed that we didn’t get the mileage that we needed to.


Sunday: Off. Was going to run 3-4 recovery miles but I was so exhausted. I slept till 10 am, then Dan and I went to the Mets game, and I no joke was falling asleep in my seat. I probably did doze off for like 10 minutes. Then I slept on our whole drive back home (1.5 hours). The plan was to run when we got home but I was just so exhausted. I figured those 3 miles wouldn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.


I don’t know why I’m still feeling like I need to be in the 40-50 range. Many of you have told me you’re in the same range as I am. I was even googling “Chicago Marathon Training Week XYZ” last night to see what other people are at. I really can’t tell you why I am so nervous about this!! Next week’s goal is to hit 40 or surpass it. That will make me feel better I think.

Anyone else freaking out in their marathon buildup? What are you most nervous about come race day?


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Today is my birthday! But honestly, woke up feeling kinda blah.

I know it’s kind of silly. I know that it is because I have said the same thing to Dan every year. Each year on his birthday he is bummed about being another year older. I’m like “come on! It’s your birthday! Be happy!”

For some reason, this year I didn’t wake up feeling happy or excited…and I am always excited for my birthday!

I guess I just can’t believe I am 27. I know, I know…it’s not old, etc. I know that, but I just also feel like I’m getting older. Yes every year I am getting older, but this is the first year it’s “hit” me.

But then once my family started calling me from Paraguay, it made me feel better. I thought to myself, I’m so lucky to have people who love me and take the time to remember me. 

Yes it’s another year older, but I am thankful for so much. And that’s what I want to reflect on today.

Things I’m Thankful For:

  • Another year on this planet
  • My family…my immediate family here in the US, but also the rest of my family in Paraguay. I don’t get to see them often, but we try to talk on a regular basis
  • My supportive boyfriend who always knows how to make me laugh
  • My health and the ability to be active
  • Those who has supported me as I have built up my own business
  • And all the things we all should be thankful for on a regular basis…my home, food, my job, etc.

My mom and I started the day with an easy 3 mile run. I meant to take a picture of us but I forgot! Tonight we’ll be going out bowling or mini golfing…not sure yet.

Another year in the books!

Do you love, hate or are indifferent towards your birthday?

What’s the best birthday gift you’ve ever gotten? (could be anything!)


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Why I Love 400 Repeats + Backyard Workout Video

On Monday I had a track workout that might have been the most challenging track workout I’ve ever done. It wasn’t so much that I felt like I was pushing myself to the max (like some workouts where you “go to the well”) but it was just a non-stop workout with minimal break…Thanks Coach Marc!

My mom and I did a 1.5 mile warmup, then 12x400s at 2:05 average per lap with only 25 seconds break in between, THEN 2 more 400s at 1:50ish but with a longer break, then 1 mile cooldown. We were supposed to do 4 total of the 1:50 laps but we only did 2 because I was so beat I couldn’t hold the pace any longer.

Running those 400s at 2:05 was hard I knew I wasn’t running 100% effort. The hard part was that as soon as you finished, you only had 25 seconds before you had to go off again. My sister went to be our official timer :)

I started the first few closer to 2:10, just to get a feel. I have never done 12 400s in a row…let alone with such little break…so I was kind of nervous.

This was the exact workout I needed though after a few iffy weeks of training where I just felt slow and off. I wanted this as a confidence booster. I love 400 repeats and they always make me feel fast and strong. Here are a few reasons you should incorporate them into your training too:

  • Even if you’re marathon training, 400s (or any track workout) will benefit you greatly. It will help improve your speed, strength and leg turnover. With shorter breaks like I did, you’ll challenge yourself to hold a faster than marathon pace pace (did that make sense?) so that your usual marathon pace will then feel “easier” come race day.
  • There are all sorts of variations of 400s you can do based on what you’re training for. Coach Marc is the perfect person to ask about this. You can do faster 400s with more breaks in between, slower 400s with minimal break, or a combination of both. Even many elites do combinations of paces. For example, I’ve seen videos of Brenda Martinez‘s workouts where she’ll do sets of 400s or 800s, then finish with a “tag” aka a 400 at 100% effort. Like I said, it all comes down to what you’re training for.

I slept like a baby Monday night AND last night because this workout really tired me out. No joke, I could have gone to sleep at 8 pm last night if I didn’t have stuff to do.

Anyway, I also put out a new workout video on my YouTube channel today! It’s a workout you can do right in your backyard, and it targets your lower body (with some cardio thrown in). Check it out:

Make sure to make it higher quality on YouTube by clicking 780 or 1080P :)

Let me know if you try it out!

Do you love or hate track workouts? What’s your favorite distance?

If you’re on YouTube, please subscribe to my channel! Will be adding many new videos :)


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Chicago Marathon Training Week 9

I seriously can’t believe we are now half way through training. I don’t know why but I don’t even feel like I’m training for something. I don’t know how to explain it but I don’t feel that same anticipation and readiness like I did before NYC Marathon. It feels surreal. I’m thinking it’s because it will be my first marathon/race in general that is outside of the tri-state area. One I have to fly to! :-O

Anyway, last week’s training was decent. I hit 30 miles. I know my goal was 35 but I skipped my 5 miler yesterday because of this weird twinge I’m having in my left shin. It started after my long run and hasn’t fully gone away. I have been icing, stretching and massaging meticulously.

Here’s last week’s training:

Monday: 6 miles. We did a 2×2 mile tempo workout with a 1 mile warm up and cooldown. We were supposed to stay within 9:30 range, and I did for the first 2 and kind of the the third but really fell off on the last one. Mile 1: 9:29, Mile 2: 9:33, Mile 3: 9:44, Mile 4: 10:30. We took a 5 min. break between each 2 mile rep. Honestly, almost gave up on that last one. It was killer. I did this same exact workout during Philly Half training and had the same results (really falling off on the last rep).

I also posted this picture on Instagram on Monday, wanting feedback:


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Here’s the caption/question I asked: 

Alright runners I need your advice. Trying to fix some muscle imbalances that I know I have but just don’t know how to fix it.

As you can see in picture 4, when my right leg steps, my left hip drops. However, you can see when my left leg steps, my right hip doesn’t really drop. So does that mean my right hip is weak?

Also, why does my leg kick inwards before straightening out? Also hip weakness? Coach Marc has told me to do running drills and core, which I NEED to be better about.

What are your favorite hip exercises? I mean, do clams really work because I really never feel it!

Thanks in advance for your input :)

Tuesday: Off. Took a 2 mile walk.

Wednesday: Easy 5 mile run.

Thursday: Long run. Ran 10 miles before the NYC Runs 5K in Central Park (recap here). Total 13.25 miles. I was REALLY tired after this. So I would have to run 13 MORE miles to finish a marathon??

Friday: Off. Took off because of that shin pain. It was really sore Friday.

Saturday: Easy 6 miles. Felt fatigued and pace fell off in the last 2 miles.

Sunday: Off. 2 mile walk instead. Like I said, shin still hurting


I don’t know. Honestly I am kind of stressing a bit. My long run did not feel strong. I also feel like 30 miles isn’t enough to run a marathon. I know I am just getting in my own head. I know I have 9 more weeks to go and still have time. But I just don’t know, at this point, how I will do in the marathon when I can’t even do 6 miles without feeling really tired, out of breath and slowing down in the last 2 miles of a 6 mile run??! Granted, yes 2 days earlier I ran 13 miles and my body is tired. I am trying to give myself my own pep talks haha.

Is anyone else freaking out or has in the past? 

My goal for this week is to get as close to 40 miles as possible, and strength train/do core 2 times minimum. I have a 16 miler this week which also is making me nervous because I’m thinking how am I going to get through that??

Like I have said in the past, it seems my mental strength is just not there. It is something I need to work on.

Please feel free to leave any input, tips, mental tips, etc. in the comments – I would greatly appreciate it!!


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