Amanda Elliston

Amanda Elliston

Kenzai Member
Assistant Trainer
Chisel Intro!

Sorry for late update! This is my fourth program, and I am pumped to start my back to school routine here in San Francisco with the added challenge of getting more ripped and ready for trail blazing with my students and self.

I can't think of a singular toughest physical challenge I have faced, but giving birth is up there. I actually asked my midwife to compare late stages of labor to where I was in a marathon. Maybe another one is overcoming my fear of heights and rock climbing on cliffs jutting up from Lake Superior. Horrifying. That makes marathon running seem easy.

My booming or hearty laugh is something I prize, and I love to hear stories (maybe that's why I am an English teacher).

Okay, let's get the Chisel going!


Summer Running at Altitude

I am happy to say, I overcame some big fears about venturing out to find mountain trails during my epic road trip from San Francisco to Colorado, south to New Mexico, and west to Arizona. Now in Connecticut, it felt heavenly to run 20 miles in a light drizzle at 1000 ft. Looking forward to next program to help me complete Big Sur trail race.


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Update false start epic finish 

After reading through I realized I ran farther than 22 Km-so maybe I was speedier than this post suggest—running sub pace for last three km.
I knew this ending of program would be a challenge because I had not registered for race for this precise ending—a marathon looms in late September. When I knew I would be in the road for a work trip, I ran a couple days before final run with the thought that maybe I could squeeze in 22 km on trails in beautiful Ashland, Ore, but only managed 12 very hilly Kilometers and chickened out because I got turned around. Today in Portland I tried again in beautiful Forest Park, a sluggish —too much car time and non-diet compliant food—uphill first 11 km , then at turn around I managed negative split (is that correct) hitting my goal pace on the downhill! I made it. No PR, but on a trail path, I don’t know my PR. I learned a lot about day before fueling— fewer veggie for easier start, and don’t hold back when on unfamiliar path. There is a reason PRs are set in real race conditions. Crowds/community gives one a push! Thanks to Kenzai for keeping me going: half complete! Yay!


I knew this ending of program would be a challenge because I had not registered for race for this precise ending—a marathon looms in late September. When I knew I would be in the road for a work trip, I ran a couple days before final run with the thought that maybe I could squeeze in 22 km on trails in beautiful Ashland, Ore, but only managed 12 very hilly Kilometers and chickened out because I got turned around. Today in Portland I tried again in beautiful Forest Park, a sluggish —too much car time and non-diet compliant food—uphill first 11 km , then at turn around I managed negative split (is that correct) hitting my goal pace on the downhill! I made it. No PR, but on a trail path, I don’t know my PR. I learned a lot about day before fueling— fewer veggie for easier start, and don’t hold back when on unfamiliar path. There is a reason PRs are set in real race conditions. Crowds/community gives one a push! Thanks to Kenzai for keeping me going: half complete! Yay!


We Got This!

Final week, and my goals: keep diet on track, run each workout with clear intention, and shrug off negative self-talk.


I have been running a long time, mostly to lose weight, and as a recovering jock (confession: I haven't recovered!), I also hit some PRs in those years. I ran regularly and routinely, and well, it got a little dull. Something clicked, though, when I started Kenzai Run last September and then KB1 this January-April, I felt so much stronger and fitter. So, my competitive, former jock-self just needed someone, like a coach, to tell me when to run a little faster and when to hit the track. I hit my pace this week for pace run, and I think I can get my mile time down. Can't wait to test it out! Keep it up, friends.


Long Run Goodness

The long run this week felt great; no achilles pain, and I kept a consistent pace at around 20 seconds slower than my assigned pace. Is this what I should aim for? I am pretty hungry all the time, though, and that bums me out! I don't know if this hunger is about stress at end of school year (I'm a teacher), or just the hunger that comes with training. And, with this week's diet change, I am a bit more worried about staying on point.


Despite the late afternoon start time, I felt solid and steady pushing a bit faster for my pace run 4:44/km. Hamstrings are sore and an old achilles tenderness is nagging again. I wonder if it's the week of backpacking and wearing hiking boots, which seems to aggravate my achilles pain. When I hit the road this morning for the distance run, I just didn't have the gas or motivation to match pace run strides. I made it, though.
The diet is harder this time around, too, I used to more pre-workout snack and post workout snack.


Day 8 Woes

I tried to nail all the exercises today after work, but the ankle strap requirement left me frustrated. I don't have the ankle bracelet, or do I just use the bands? Then, I had to resist the chocolate mousse cake the kids and I made for my husband's birthday. I managed to keep my indulgence (self anointed) to just one bite. After keeping it strict since I graduating from KB1 in April, I am finding it hard to restrict myself again. Need that balance in exercise and nutrition. Day 9 will be on point!


Week One Down

Ran Bay to Breakers first ever bonus edition--15K. It was windy, but I kept a sub 8 pace throughout, even with a grumbling gut. Calves cramped a bit afterwards, too. Looking forward to figuring out how to maintain faster pace for longer runs. Week 2, bring it on!


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YES: Embrace Balance and Maintence! 
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On vacation, so I am a little late in posting, and finding the words is hard for me. This KB1 journey has shown me that persevering through injury, hunger, and long workouts has given me not only the body of my dreams but the science and tools to keep my the muscle, the strength, and the energy for a lifetime. When I get questions about how to get arms like mine, I smile and say, "hard work." There's no magic pill, no magic exercise. Kenzai and the community are wonderful combination of support team and teachers. I am excited to pursue to new adventures both physically and mentally, and I am pulling for balance and maintenance in my future. Thank you, everyone, for your encouragement. Here's a photo from my first day of vacation, Day 91!


Okay KB1ers, this is the last leg of the race! I've maintained diet and workouts, but it's not easy at all. The reps, the sets, and the cycles make me nuts and HANRGY, but when I see and feel my strong body, it's worth it. Onward!


Fears about maintaining

I still can't quite believe the we're entering week 12. I still can't quite believe how strong and lean I am. AND, I can't imagine that I can maintain it. A quiet and persistent panic has been percolating: How will I manage my hearty appetite once I have total freedom to choose my portions and food? I know that I am a stress eater, and I know also that I am an ATM thinker, both of which have pushed me into, at various times in my life, the binge and purge cycle, and the manic exercise cycle. So I am both thrilled and terrified with the changes in my body size and strength. While I know I can rely on Kenzai. I want to rely on myself.


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I did it! Despite, or in spite of, injury, diet, and fatigue, I finished my first full marathon in over 15 years. This fall when I joined Kenzai Run, I noticed how much a difference the strength training helped my aging body (i.e. slower); my endurance increased, my stronger upper body could pull my tired legs, my recovery was quicker, and my speed increased. I joined Kenzai Body 1 after I had signed up for the St Patrick's Day race, and I was worried the workouts and diets would be too strict to finish strong. Boy was I wrong!

It was a beautiful misty morning in Napa Valley State Park, the trail was slippery, and hail pelted down briefly around mile 20, and I reveled in all the natural beauty. My car was fully loaded with my veggies, egg whites, and protein, and my only indulgence was the red wine at dinner--I think finishing first overall deserved one glass of red. Now, onward to through next three weeks.

My only worry is that I'll slack off. Nah! I want to get 10K PR. Let's Go For It KB1ers!


Peaks and Valleys

A hilly week. After surviving (diet and exercise intact) a first weekend away in a long while, I came back Monday a little sleep deprived. Despite some HANRGY moments, I've stuck to diet. The carbs deficit took it's toll on my willpower by end of week, but a new love affair with sweet potato and banana has developed.

My workouts are solid, but with the added sets and reps, it's been harder to motivate all the way through the end. My household schedule and work schedule have ramped up, so this contributes to a little less motivation to push through hardest last set.

That said, my legs are feeling good, and I hit the trail on Saturday for my big event! I'm nervous, but I know how strong I am. Thanks, Kenazi. I'll share my diet worries after week 10 . Go For It!


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