Never Stop Chasing Raspberries: Vineman 70.3 Recap + Blog Hiatus

Today’s post comes with a bittersweet note. You see, while this is my first half Ironman recap, it is also my last blog post. After a lot of consideration and restless nights, I have decided to take a blog hiatus. It’s been a little over a year since I started this blog, and I have completed all my goals from a 10k, half marathons, full marathon, sprint triathlon, and now a half Ironman…

Which leads me to my Vineman recap! After a long road trip up to Sonoma County with my friend Gaby all day Friday, the festivities began with a course preview early Saturday morning.


After the course preview, everything from packet pickup to eating dinner was a blur.  I remember the excitement on everyone’s face, but it hadn’t hit me that I was doing a half Ironman. I kept telling myself that once I cross the finish line, it would be real. Once the medal was wrapped around my neck, it would be real.

Race day morning started with an early wake up call. My body was surprisingly ready for what was ahead, more so than with other races in the past. Even though I woke up at 3 a.m. I somehow managed to get into transition 10 minutes before my swim wave started. Normally in that situation I would be freaking out, but I knew the drill: mount bike, put wetsuit and swim cap on, and anti-fog the goggles. Once I headed over to the swim start, all the girls in my wave started joking around in the water.  Everyone was happy.


After the horn went off, I started swimming with a big smile on my face. It wasn’t until the first foot hit me in the head, that I realized I where I was and what I was doing. That’s when I told myself to get my shit together and start swimming at race pace! So I swam as fast as I could. The swim course was perfect because it was a simple out and back. You could stand up at almost any point during the swim making this the perfect race for someone who isn’t as comfortable with swimming.  At the turn around point, I remember looking at my watch thinking that I wouldn’t hit my goal time. Then I remembered it was a shorter swim on the way back!!! I came in exactly on my goal time of 45 minutes.


The transition from the swim to the bike went pretty well with one small mistake. The transition zone was divided into two areas, and I headed in the wrong direction for a split second before making way to my bike. The bike course was absolutely beautiful! We rode through rolling hills of vineyards, forests, rivers and gorgeous wineries. Before I knew it, the 56 miles of biking were over and it was time for the run.


The run started out strong. I was able to stay on pace for the first 6 miles. Around mile 6, we ran through a vineyard. Butterflies and dragonflies were fluttering all around me! It was the stuff from a story book. There was even a mist machine! The aid stations were stocked with grapes, white nectarines, and tortilla chips. I’ve never been to a race with so many goodies. One might think this would be my best half marathon yet! However, I hit a wall around mile 7. My joints started to ache and there was shooting pain in my foot. I remembered this pain… it was the same pain I had during the marathon. That’s when I told myself to run from hill to hill. It wasn’t long before I came across mile 10, then mile 11, then mile 12… I was almost there! I made an effort to pick up the pace and run to the finish. The next thing I knew, the most beautiful finish line was right before my eyes! My total time was 7:07!


After all is said and done, I feel like I’m leaving the blog on a high note! I now know that I no longer need this blog to keep me accountable for living a healthy life. My lifestyle has changed for the good. I will continue to train for Silverman, and I just signed up for Oceanside 70.3!  And who knows?!  Maybe I’ll even do a full Ironman one day.  Anything is possible, right?!  #neverstopchasingraspberries

SMART Bars and Other Natural Fuel for Athletes

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Detour Bar, but as always, the opinions are my own.

Over the weekend I went on an epic bike ride with California Triathlon. A group of us rode up the Angeles Crest Highway for a beautiful 40 mile ride with over 4,000 feet of elevation. It was tough, but a great opportunity to try out some new fuel. I have been wanting to write a natural fuel post for a long time, and I finally feel like I have enough goodies to share.


Detour Bar sent me a few boxes of Smart Bars as part of a FitFluential campaign, and I must say I was very pleased with the bars. They sent me apple cinnamon and blueberry, and both flavors are delicious! Plus, each bar has only 130 calories, 10 grams of high quality whey protein, 4 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber.

I brought a few of the Smart Bars with me on the epic ride this Saturday to share with some of my Cal Tri friends, and they all love them! My favorite is the blueberry! The 10 grams of protein makes it a perfect snack on a long ride too.

Watermelon Juice – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I absolutely love watermelon juice as a natural drink for long bike rides and runs. Watermelon has electrolytes thanks to all the potassium and aids with muscle recovery. Plus, it tastes pretty incredible! I fill up my aerodrink with watermelon juice for just about every long bike ride.


Cinnamon Honey Sweet Potato Mash – One of my Cal Tri friends recommended this concoction to me. She swears by it and used it in all of her Ironman races. To make this recipe, simply boil and mash a sweet potato. Then mix it with a little honey and cinnamon. Put it in a small sandwich bag, bite the tip off the bag, and squeeze into your mouth. It may look like baby food, but it’s delicious!


Dried fruit like figs, cherries, apricots – The perfect natural source of energy. I absolutely love dried figs, and bring a few with me for long runs.

PB&J Squares – When I ran the Ragnar Relay, my friend Jen highly recommended running with a PB&J sandwich. She would cut it up into small squares, and eat a square at mile 6, 12, 18, and 24. I cut off the crust and try not to over-stuff the sandwich with peanut butter!


Frozen Grapes – You can’t go wrong with frozen grapes! They are like little tiny drops of sunshine. Instead of putting skittles in your bento box, freeze a few grapes! They are amazing!


Salted Peanut Butter Dates – Dates? Yes Please! Salted Peanut Butter? Can I get a Hell Yes!? Love the combination of sweet dates with salty peanut butter. If you are a salty sweater like I am, you will be thankful for the salted peanut butter.


 There you have it! All my favorite natural fuel for athletes!

LA Tri Series Triathlon

Happy Monday my friends! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. My weekend was awesome because I completed my second olympic triathlon on Sunday!

IMG_3985_sI am going to start by saying I went into this race with low expectations because I haven’t been training as much as I would like… especially with running. I kind of dislike despise hate tolerate running now. Something happened after the marathon, and I just can’t get back into the groove.

Anyways, this race went better than expected! I finished exactly on my goal time of 3:30:00! Cool beans.

IMG_4058_sThe swim was a little daunting at 1,500 meters because that was the longest I have ever swam open water. For the first half of the swim I couldn’t get into a rhythmic breathing pattern, and I wasn’t kicking my feet… at all. The second half of the swim went really well! There is something about seeing the swim finish banner on shore that kicks your butt into gear. My total swim time was 36:33.

IMG_4116-sBoth of the transitions went very smoothly with only a few minor glitches here and there. Yay for not knocking over expensive bikes!

IMG_4166_crop-sThe bike was a hilly 25 miles with three laps around the lake. I took the first lap nice and easy saving energy for the second two laps.  The Bear told me that I can get a triathlon bike once I can pass all of the mountain bikes during a race. Guess what?! I totally passed them all! While I am not getting a new triathlon bike next week, I am definitely in the market. My total bike time was 1:44:50.

IMG_4343-sThe run was hard… so hard. It was about 90 degrees out when I started the run, so I definitely got my sweat on during this race. I stopped to walk up a few short hills, but overall, maintained a decent pace throughout the run. My total run time was 1:06:05.

IMG_4348-sThe biggest lesson I learned during this race is that I need to train a LOT more before Silverman in October. Hills, hills, and more hills will be the name of the game over the next 5 months!


RnR San Diego – Bike Medic Volunteer

Yesterday I was very fortunate to volunteer at the RnR San Diego Half Marathon and Marathon as bike medic support with California Triathlon. It was my first time riding a marathon on a bike and I have to say it was pretty darn cool.

At the start of the course, about 12 of us Cal Tri members gathered to provide assistant to runners in need. It was really neat to see all the runners jet off at the start of the race line.

Meb, who won the Boston Marathon this year, led out the 1:30 minute pacers. Meb is in the yellow hat in the center of the photo below.image

My friend Lucy and I ended up riding with the half marathon runners, and we rode the first 8 miles with only one person in need of help. Once we reached mile 9, where the marathoners joined the half marathoners around their mile 20, everyone was hurting.  Lucy and I rode back and forth between mile 20 and 24 handing out water, salt, Gu, and spraying pain relief.


The funny thing is, before now, I never even noticed bike medics on the course during any of my half marathons or full marathons, but boy, were we out there working our butts off!

It was a ton of fun volunteering at RnR San Diego, and everyone was very grateful for our support. Such a cool experience!

Adventures for the Soul: Solvang & Santa Barbara

I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Mine started out pretty fantastic. After celebrating my birthday on Friday night with the Bear and close friends, I woke up early Saturday morning for a mini triathlon with some of my Cal Tri buddies. It was a blast and great practice for open water swimming.


We may have gotten in trouble with the lifeguards for swimming outside of the buoys to a dock about 250 meters away from the shore.

20140524_114646-sTo our defense we asked if we could swim outside of the buoys… though we may have left out how far outside the buoys we planned on swimming! ;-) Totally worth it!

My Memorial weekend adventures didn’t stop there. On Sunday the Bear and I drove north to a little town called Solvang, a great little Danish community that was founded in 1911. 20140525_144052-sWe strolled through the town enjoying all the little shops and eating a  few Danish pastries…

20140525_144842-s… and pretending to be a Danish soldier!

IMG_3913-sAfter our trip to Solvang, the Bear and I stopped by Santa Barbara on the way home. As it turns out, every Sunday there is a Art Show right on the boardwalk.

20140525_165001-sThe Bear and I cruised the pier where we ran into this little guy…

20140525_163526-s… the Bear likes to take pictures of me taking pictures.

IMG_3950-sFrom the pier, we may have spotted the Little Mermaid walking on land.

20140525_162417-sAnd I finally got the Bear to pose for the camera!

20140525_163159-sOverall, we had a wonderful weekend! I wouldn’t have changed a thing!

One Year Ago Today…

… A girl started a blog called Chasing Raspberries. Little did she know that it would change her life. You see, this girl would go on to run her first 10k, two half marathons, a full marathon, multiple duathlons and a few triathlons leading her way up to training for a half Ironman.  All because of a silly little blog that this girl started a year ago today.

IMG_3118A year ago, a girl found this blog, and thought “I can do that!” She started to eat real foods. Foods that come from the earth without processed chemicals. She experimented with new recipes, and discovered what fresh tasted like again.


A year ago, a girl discovered what having muscles looked and felt like after she started going to a personal trainer. She gradually went from working out three times a week to six times a week. She completed a 50 push up challenge, flipped 300 pound tires, and learned to stand on her hands.


A year ago, a girl started to document her journey toward a healthy life. She started to run. Not because she particularly enjoyed it at first, but because it made her feel powerful and alive. She created new friends along the way, and discovered new sports like swimming and cycling.

IMG_5789_smA year ago, a girl discovered a new passion that would completely change her life forever!

A huge THANK YOU to all the Chasing Raspberries readers. I look forward to sharing another year of Adventures for the Soul with you!

Watermelon Lime Sprizter

It has been a long time since I posted a recipe on the blog. Frankly, I haven’t been cooking as much as I would like lately. With all the triathlon training I have been up to, preparing meals has been the last thing on my mind. Trader Joe’s is a life saver with their pre-made salads and grilled chicken.

20140502_155605-sFinally I made some time in the kitchen to create something ice cold and refreshing. Did I mention it’s been a hot beast here in LA? Lucky for me, watermelon is starting to be in season!


5.0 from 1 reviews

Watermelon Lime Sprizter
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4-6

  • Small seedless watermelon
  • 2 cups chilled sparkling water
  • Juice from one lime
  • ½ cup ice cubes

  1. Combine watermelon, the juice from one lime, and ice cubes in a blender.
  2. Once liquefied add the sparkling water, sitr and enjoy!


This recipe is so simple! The watermelon and lime are wonderful compliments for each other. This refreshing drink would is perfect for those hot summer nights.

20140502_155716-sRecently I learned that watermelon juice is a natural cure for muscle soreness too! Throw a little watermelon juice and water into a water bottle, and you are good to go on a long bike ride. Plus, watermelon is full of potassium so it doubles as electrolytes!

Have you ever tried watermelon juice? What’s your favorite watermelon recipe?

Tri Events Triathlon

On Saturday I raced in Tri Events Championship Triathlon and it was a blast! Bright and early the Bear and I arrived at transition where I met my California Triathlon teammates. I have to say this triathlon most definitely did not go as planned. There were signs that it would be an interesting race from the very beginning.

IMG_3432-s IMG_3437-sAll the photography is by the loving Bear!

IMG_3451-sWhere’s Jillienne?

The swim started on the north shore of Bonelli Park. I started out very enthusiastically and thought the swim went really well considering I haven’t done much open water swimming. However, after looking at my watch I actually swam almost twice the distance I was supposed to. As it turns out, it’s a good idea to stay as close as possible to the buoys! The swim took 23 minutes for .96 miles.

IMG_3482-sThe transition from swim to bike went smoothly. I knew I was behind because everyone else had already left with their bikes.

IMG_3508-sI tried to make up time on the bike, but the hills got me. I maintained a 14.4 mph pace for a total of 1:08 minutes for 16.4 miles. Not my fastest, but also not my slowest for a hilly course.

IMG_3533-s IMG_3593-sThe transition from bike to run was… interesting. When I put my bike on the rack, the entire rack fell down!!! Luckily I caught it with my arm, preventing damage to several $3,000 triathlon bikes.

IMG_3611-s(Calling for help as I was holding up the rack!)

A nice gentleman helped me fix the bike rack, and then I was off on my run. The run was slower than I would have liked.

IMG_3662-sMy brick training was at a faster pace than I ran on Saturday. I stopped to walk up two different hills, but I couldn’t pick up the pace. It was all I had in me on Saturday. I finished 5 miles in 50 minutes.

IMG_3874-sI am always learning something new in each triathlon race. I look forward to using my new knowledge to my advantage at the Tri Events Triathlon next month!

Sweat Pink Ambassador

Big news! I am thrilled to announce that I am now a Sweat Pink Ambassador!  I had the privilege of meeting Jamie, one of the lovely founders of Sweat Pink, when we ran the Ragnar Relay together last month. After speaking with Jamie about the community, I just knew I had to be an ambassador.

Jamie and her cousin, Alyse, co-founded Fit Approach (the parent company of Sweat Pink) to create a sisterhood of fitness minded women. Fit Approach is a place where women encourage each other to become their best self. I think their Mission Statement speaks for itself:

We believe that kicking ass is best done in pretty shoes. We’ve learned that real women sweat, and sweat hard. We know that assertiveness, strength, and ambition are the ultimate feminine qualities. We concede that sometimes it takes hours to get ready, but we’re also no strangers to just rolling out of bed and going. We’re convinced that we run faster in pink shoelaces. We believe in pushing ourselves, and we believe in giving ourselves a break, too. We’re all about the rush of endorphins and the thrill of the challenge. We’re all for looking great and feeling even better. We’re committed to finding our best fit, and making it stick.

We sweat pink.

I am so happy to call myself a Sweat Pink Ambassador and look forward to being part of this wonderful community of strong women!