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Action, Tech, Triathlon

How to Set Up Suunto GPS Watch for Ironman Triathlon Race Day

July 30, 2017

Finishing an ironman (so I’ve been told, this will be my first attempt at a full Ironman!) is all about pacing yourself and not pushing too hard, too early. A key tool to making this happen? A solid GPS watch. In preparation for the upcoming Ironman Canada in Whistler, I set up my Suunto Spartan Ultra to help me monitor my pace, heart rate, and even the official route. Suunto makes this pretty easy to do through the movescount platform. Here’s how I did it:


Putting the course map files on your watch:

  1. Download the GPX file from Ironman’s website (race info > Course > Scroll to bottom for download links). GPX
  2. Log in to Hover over the “MAPS” section and click on “MY ROUTES”.routes screenshot
  3. Click the + and upload both the run and bike GPX file.SCREEN2
  4. Select the watch you want the routes to go onScreen3
  5. Sync watch by plugging your watch into your computer (SuuntoLink opens automatically after the watch has been connected).


Set up custom triathlon sport mode


  • Watch Metrics: I am keeping things simple for the swim. Pace, total distance, and duration are the three I care about. 4,224 is the number of yards in an ironman but this is unlikely to be accurate as no swimmer swims in a perfect straight line.


  • Sport Mode Settings: (Changes made to default settings)
    • GPS Accuracy: changed to “good – 26 hour battery life”
    • Autolap: Ironman Canada in Whistler is 2 laps so I’ve created the lap distance to be 1.2 miles.
    • I have turned off touchscreen for just the swim so I don’t accidently pause the activity. To be extra safe, I will also lock my screen before I get into the water in case things get rough with my fellow triathlete pals and a button gets pushed by mistake.
    • Display color: switched to low color. Since I won’t be looking at my watch during the swim, I won’t miss the pretty colors. 

Swim Settings



  • Watch Metrics: I don’t use a bike computer and will take my watch off my wrist in T1 and attach it to my handlebar mount. The default Triathlon sport mode measures things like power and cadence but since I won’t be using my power tap pedals in the race, I am switching things up a bunch.
    1. The first screen will have 5 metrics: Current Activity duration (bike time only), current heart rate, current speed, current activity distance (bike distance only), and total duration (swim + bike).
    2. Second screen will give me metrics for every hour of the bike. I will be able to see my average speed, average heart rate, and distance for each 1hr “lap” (I set my lap to be 1hr in the sport settings, see second screenshot)
    3. Third screen will be the most data heavy. Since my watch will be mounted to my handlebar, I will be able to toggle between screens pretty easily and analyze all 7 datapoints if I get really board! (Current activity duration (bike only), current speed, current heart rate, average heart rate, current activity distance (bike only), ascent, total duration (swim + bike)
    4. Fourth screen will be where I can see the course map and see where I am in relation. This will be helpful since IM Canada has two big climbs so I’ll know when they are coming up.

Bike Watch

  • Settings:
    • PODS to search: only HR belt since I won’t be using a power meter
    • GPS Accuracy: change to good to extend battery life 
    • Autolap: every hour
    • Touchscreen: on – I’ll mount to my handlebar and it’s easy to scroll through screens with touchscreen 
    • Color: back to full color

Bike Settings


  1. Run – In T2, I will take my watch off the handlebar mount and put it back on my wrist. I am using similar metrics on the run (and keeping those metrics in the same locations).
    • Metrics: The major difference here is screen 3 where I will only show one metric: total elapsed time. During the run, I will want to have the option to see pace, heart rate, distance, etc but the main thing I’ll care about is total time.


Running watch


  • Settings:
    • PODS to search: only HR belt since I won’t be using a power meter
    • GPS Accuracy: Best
    • Autolap: every mile

Run Settings

  1. Finally, plug in your watch and sync settings. And practice using your watch during training so you can get to know the buttons for transition and make any changes before the big day!

Hope you enjoyed learning how I set my Suunto Spartan GPS watch up for Ironman Triathlon Race Day! What would you do differently? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Gear, Stuff We Love

Sweaty Bands: The headband that trumps all headbands

September 5, 2015

I was introduced to Donna Browning, founder of Sweaty Bands, during the Corona Light Wide Open beach volleyball tour back in 2009. Meeting her was a delight… she radiates positive energy and she’s just one of those people who you want to be around! What Donna didn’t know at the time, is that her products literally increased the enjoyment factor on ever single workout. 

Increase your workout enjoyment

Let me explain… up until my first workout with a Sweaty Band, I had struggled with taming my mane while sweating. Have you ever been in the middle of an intense workout and had your hair completely in your face? So annoying. So distracting. When your hair is out of the way, it’s one less outside factor to worry about so you can focus on your workout and having fun! I’ve tried it all – expensive lululemon headbands, cheap drugstore headbands, even pre-wrap headbands. 

The Pre-Wrap Headband

During my college volleyball days, the only thing that would keep my hair out of my face and from distracting me during practice and games was a DIY pre-wrap headband. Pre-wrap is a thin, foam-like material used by trainers and physical therapists as a barrier between skin and athletic tape. Its slightly tacky feel allows it to double as a no-slip headband. Soccer player Alex Morgan has made these pretty glam but back at Santa Clara University, we often only had the flesh colored pre-wrap to use for our headband needs.


There are two major problems with pre-wrap headbands. 

1) You have to make a knot at the base of your head to secure the pre-wrap headband. This always results in a few strands getting stuck in the knot and when it’s time to remove said headband, these strands are removed from you head as well. If you want bangs in the back of your head, this is a good option. For the rest of us, no bueno! 

2) Pre-wrap color choices, although better than they used to, are limited. Forget about prints. You are stuck with team colors. 

Enter the magical, ultimate problem solving headband.. the Sweaty Band.

Why Sweaty Bands are awesome:

  1. Sweaty Bands DO NOT SLIP. Period. The inside of the headband is lined with velvet and the thin elastic band at the base allows for the perfect angle to keep slippage at bay. sweaty bands
  2. Style Points. Sweaty Bands have always been super cute, but in the last few years, they have really stepped up their design game. Check out their website and sort through their hundreds of options! 
  3. Awesome team behind the brand. Team Sweaty Bands has an awesome leader Donna Browning and if you take a look at their instagram, you can see that everyone who works at Sweaty Bands really lives the brand! From team boot camp to yoga sessions at the office, they get it. 

So now you know why they are awesome! Here are all the ways I use them..

  • Biking: I always wear a Sweaty Band under my helmet to keep things under control, especially when we bike past a cool brewery and want to stop for a beer! No helmet hair here! 


  • Yoga: Not sure what it is about yoga, but if I don’t have a Sweaty Band, I turn into a frizzy mess. My go-to hairstyle while yoga-ing is a french braid with a Sweaty Band. That way, I can lay on my back, go into headstand, and do whatever other crazy bendy poses without having hair distraction. 


  • Spin Class: Even though you don’t have to deal with the wind factor when taking the cycling indoor, the sweat factor is strong! Sweaty hair is always better when it’s contained under an attractive Sweaty Band.


  • Crossfit: I dabbled in Crossfit for awhile and let me tell you, burpies & jump roping play havic with your hair. And since most Crossfit workouts are timed, you don’t want to waste precious time by having to re-do your ponytail. My go to: high pony with Sweaty Band. 


  • Running: I usually wear a hat while running outside (stay sun safe, people!) but I always wear a Sweaty Band under my hair. Similar reasons as why I wear a Sweaty Band under my helmet when biking.


  • Skiing: Notice a theme here? I like to wear Sweaty Bands under other types of head devices. What comes after a long day on hill? Après-ski, that’s what! I used to carry a touque (Canadian for beanie) while skiing to be lunch or après-ski ready, however touques take up precious space in your jacket or pants but now I rock a Sweaty Band under my helmet. Problem solved! 
  • Work: I’m usually running from a workout or rushing off to a workout. My hair isn’t something I usually spend a ton of time on. When I put my hair in a low pony and throw a Sweaty Band on top, I hopefully look a little bit more put together than I actually am. 
  • Extra-curricular: For all those other times you just can’t be bothered with hair in your face and you want a cute head accessory! 



So you’re convinced! You have to try Sweaty Bands! Get your own Sweaty Band & save 15%


Food, Health, Recipes

DIY Protein Bars

July 11, 2015

Since I work for a company that makes premium, high-quality protein powders, it’s fun to experiment with recipes that include protein powder. As of late, I’ve been creating DIY protein bars on the weekends to enjoy during the week. All the recipes I’ve found online all boil down to the five steps below. So each Sunday, I create bars using ingredients I have on hand or that I’m particularly craving using the formula below. Enjoy! 



I usually bake with Designer Whey (my favorite!) but have been recently experimenting with the 100% plant-based Essential 10 Protein. I like it because it’s soy-free, vegan, and non-GMO. Please let me know what protein bar combinations you come up with using my formula above. Enjoy! 

Food, Gear

Local San Diego Treasures & Treats

June 25, 2015

Tyler and I love discovering the local brands that inhabit San Diego County. In addition to the hundreds of amazing breweries, SD is beaming with awesome brands that embody the laid back, healthful, and socially conscious lifestyle that is so prevalent in the area. Because Tyler and I both work for local brands, we love to support fellow California-based brands. I am stoked to share two great local brands who’s products I was actually fortunate enough to win in an instagram contest! 

Treasure: STRGHT skateboards// Headquartered in Vista, Ca, STRGHT skateboards are handmade and focus on classic and vintage board shapes and modern innovations. My STRGHT board (pictured) features hand etched multi-layer artwork that will last a lifetime. The texture of the artwork acts as grip tape. No more replacing grip, or having ugly dirt spots from your shoes after you ride. Watch how these boards are handmade here: video.

Treat: Perfect Bar // Headquartered in San Diego, Perfect Bar is a family operation that focuses on high-quality, whole-food ingredients. Each bar contains 20 superfoods so you can be certain you are getting a perfect dose of vitamins and minerals. Because Perfect Bars contain organic honey, you will find these bars in the refrigerator section. I can usually only eat a half a bar at a time because they are so incredibly dense and packed with natural sugar. If I’m prepping for a huge bike ride, a whole bar is awesome. Portion control is key with these bars! 


Cheers to local San Diego treasures and treats. 

Cheers to #NeverLastRun

Bike, Food

The Scents of Post-Workday Cycling

June 16, 2015

Tyler and I try to squeeze in a ride or two each week after work. One of the most surprising parts about riding at this time, especially in the summer, are all of the scents, especially the food scents! The scent issue is compounded by the fact that I get extremely hungry on bike rides! It’s not too bad at first as we leave our house but we are turn south along the coast from Carlsbad to Encinitas, we pass several oceanfront campsites. I don’t usually have an above-average sense of smell, but I’m telling you, it’s something about the time of the day mixed with the increased hunger from cycling. I can literally smell the difference between Oscar Mayer, Nathan’s, and Kirkland Signature brands os hot dogs. When we finally get past the campsite and into Leucadia, my nose (and growling stomach) have a bit of a break then it’s time to turn around and do it all again. At this point, most people have moved on to dessert and I smell s’mores. Lots and lots of s’mores. Finally, on the home stretch, we have the pleasure of riding past a San Diego institution: Pizza Port. Not only do I smell the delicious Pizza but I smell the hops in the freshly brewed beer! Torture I tell you, simply torture.

The lesson learned here: even if it’s a quick 25 mile post-work ride, bring snacks! I like PROBAR Bolt Organic Energy Chews or Skratch Labs Fruit Drops



Gear, Hike

Salewa Firetail EVO Mid GTX Hiking Boot Review

June 4, 2015

Our last backpacking adventure through the Sierras brought us into new areas, and brought my feet into new hiking boots. This is my Salewa Firetail EVO Mid GTX Hiking Boot review.

Getting new hiking boots can be a trying experience. Since everyone’s feet are different, it’s hard to base your decision solely on reviews. So I did mine based on reviews, and how awesome the website is! 

I received the Salewa Firetail EVO Mid GTX Hiking Boots on a Tuesday, thinking that I could then wear them a few days prior to our trip in order to soften them in. The moment I put them on, I knew those “breaking in days” were not going to be required.

Salewa Firetail EVO Mid GTX Hiking Boot Review

Right off the bat, you’ll find that the Firetail Evo is incredibly light. Compared to most boots I have owned and tried, these ones are among the lightest. Lightweight does not mean a compromise of strength, rigidity, or features.

The boot comes with a standard width insole installed, but can be replaced by a narrow foot insole that removes some volume. I have a wide foot, but for fun I swapped out the insoles to see what it would feel like. It wasn’t the right fit for me (I have a D almost EE), but I can see how those with a C and under width might require it.

The Salewa Firetail Evo uses material from all the brands you would expect from a high performance boot. The Gore-Tex® membrane will keep you dry, and the Vibram® sole will keep you in check on those wet or loose rocks/roots.

 Salewa Firetail EVO Mid GTX Hiking Boot Review

The shape of the boot is very different from traditional hiking styles. With the laces almost coming to the base of your toes, you can really fine tune the fit. I wasn’t really too sure on the color at first, but it has grown on me (I am usually a more black and white can of guy). 

Salewa Firetail EVO Mid GTX Hiking Boot Review

 Our 25 mile loop in the Sierras had us in many different weather systems, perfect for testing equipment. We had to ford rivers and waist deep snow, we got caught in hail storms, and it snowed every night. The boot performed perfectly. Although they did get a little wet by the end of the trip, I didn’t think any other boot wouldn’t have. 

This was my first purchase from Salewa, and I certainly can’t wait for my next.

Gear, Triathlon

Sprint Tri Packing List

May 6, 2015

Leading up to last weekend’s sprint triathlon, I had a few panic-infused, gear-related dreams where I forgot key items. These dreams were the worst part of the whole ordeal, way more mentally taxing than the training! I must have been especially concerned about forgetting my super rad goggles because  I knew they would give me the extra courage (via style points, obviously. ha.) that I would need to get through my first open water swim.

Alas, nothing was forgotten and things went smoothly. I did, however, rely on a packing checklist that I used while gathering my things the night before and also that I reviewed morning of for peace of mind. It really took the anxiety out of the whole packing experience and set me up for success day of. I was also super pumped that I packed essential items for post-race like a brush and body wipes so I could go from finish line to brunch & celebratory mimosas quite easily.  

Please let us know if I’m missing anything! CLICK HERE for a printable checklist.

Food, Health, Recipes

Smoothie Bowl

April 26, 2015

With all of my wanna-be triathlete training, smoothie bowls have been the highlight of my morning as of late! I love the texture of the toppings vs. your typical in-a-glass smoothie. It’s also a great way to sneak protein and delicious super foods like hemp hearts, bee pollen, maca, and chia seeds into your life. And, depending on how much time you have, you can get really creative with the topping design (it’s kind of soothing, like one of those stress relieving mini gardens with the rake). OR just throw the toppings on, which, let’s be honest, is my usual go-to move!



Chocolate Protein Smoothie Bowl
Serves 1
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
  1. 1 scoop Aria Women's Wellness Protein Powder
  2. 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  3. 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  4. 1/2 banana
  5. 1/2 avacado
  6. Handful of spinach (fresh or frozen)
  7. 1 teaspoon maca powder
  8. 1 teaspoon cocao powder
Topping suggestions
  1. Sliced banana
  2. Sliced strawberries
  3. Hemp hearts
  4. Chia seeds
  5. Goji berries
  6. Unsweetened coconut flakes
  7. Bee pollen
  1. Blend base ingredients together in a high speed blender.
  2. Add toppings of your choice. Get creative and enjoy!
  1. Add additional almond milk if base is too thick.
  2. Or if too thin, add more blueberries.
  3. Enjoy!
Never Last Run


Food, Recipes

Never (Ever) Last Run Coffee

April 2, 2015
Never (Ever) Last Run Coffee
Serves 2
I recently started supplementing my diet with Maca due to it's various health benefits including increased energy and women's health. When I looked up recipes online, I saw that many people add it to coffee or even use it to replace coffee. The recipe below is my spin on maca coffee combined with a spin on bulletproof coffee.
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Prep Time
7 min
Prep Time
7 min
  1. 4 cups of hot coffee
  2. 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or MCT oil
  3. 2 teaspoons gelatinized maca powder
  4. 2 teaspoons cacao or cocoa powder
  5. 1/2 cup warm dairy milk (I use almond milk)
  6. Sweetener (I use 1 pitted date, stevia, or honey)
  1. Prepare 4 cups of coffee to your liking (I use a french press or 4 Nespresso capsules. If you use Nespresso, add 2 1/2 cups boiling water to create about 4 cups of liquid)
  2. Pour coffee into high-speed blender like a VitaMix or Magic Bullet
  3. Add remaining ingredients and blend for 45 seconds until very frothy
  4. Pour yourself a cup and share one with a friend. Or, take one to go. Either way, enjoy!
  1. •Try adding a dash of cayenne for heat and energy.
  2. •The maca powder, which is a superfood that originates from Peru, acts as a natural creamer and gives a sense of enlightenment. It also balances the hormones and provides steady energy to the body.
  3. •Cacao, or raw chocolate powder, stimulates dopamine in the body and acts as a stimulant, while providing incredible energy and focus.
Never Last Run

Our Dog Jasper

March 25, 2015

Here’s a fun fact about our dog Jasper – He’s from Mexico. Although we didn’t know about his origins initially, it was an added bonus and makes us a truly international household (Tyler is from Canada and I am from the US of A). We discovered Jasper through an adoption group called Animal Rescue Without Borders. When we found him online, his name was Shiloh and his description said that he would end up to weigh about 50 lbs. As I write this post, Jasper is three and a half years old and weights a healthy 115 lbs and we love every ounce of him! 

Why a dog? 

I never had a dog growing up. My mom said it was because she was attacked as a child but admittedly, she’s more of a cat person so who knows her true motives. (To be fair, my mom loves Jasper and even took him for a walk by herself last time she visited!) Before you start feeling sorry for me that experienced a childhood without a k9 buddy, let me just tell you about my experience as a proud member of the 4H club. Growing up in a rural part of Northern California had certain unique benefits, one of them being the 4H culture. From the third grade through 6th grade, I raised sheep and showed them (and eventually sold them!) at the county fair. So my childhood was filled with lots of cats and several sheep. Fun! 

When Tyler and I got married, I was traveling a lot for work and the company he works for had a “dogs ok in the office” policy. He wanted a buddy to hang with when I was gone. I had seen Tyler around his family’s dog and after he showed me all of the tricks he had tough Brewster, Tyler proved to me that he was pretty much a dog whisperer. So we were set to adopt a dog…

What happened next? 

Tyler began tracking several dogs online (who knew such a thing existed? It was like online dating but for puppies). We were looking for lab mixes and when Tyler saw that a Pet Co in San Diego would be showing the dogs, we thought it might be a good idea to check it out and turn in our paperwork. I should mention that we had been married for a mere 1 month at this time and were staying with friends in San Clemente. So we cruised down to San Diego and saw little Jasper/Shiloh. The person running the dog showing asked us if we knew he was from Mexico and quickly followed that up with a statement that went something like this “If you want the dog you are holding, you need to take him home now. Otherwise he will go back to Mexico and it’s unlikely he’ll come back to the US”. Not the most ideal thing to hear as you are holding a 2 month old ball of adorableness. The lady didn’t seem to care that none of our paperwork was filled out and that she didn’t check out home to make sure it was suitable for a dog  (good thing because at this time we were technically homeless!). So off we went with our new puppy. We broke the news to our friends that we were staying with on the drive home – they were cool with it but had just remodeled their home so we quickly changed locations until our home in Carlsbad was ready to move into. It was quite the experience being “homeless”, having half our stuff in storage, being newly weds, and having a brand new puppy.

Speaking of puppy..  

Jasper didn’t stay a puppy for long. From the beginning, everyone commented on the size of his paws. When he was less than a year old, he was tipping the scale at 100 lbs.

Jasper’s adventures