I grew up in northern California, where it was consistently in the hundreds in the summertime. My dad didn't think he should have to turn on the air conditioning when we had a swimming pool in our backyard; it was our built-in air conditioner.
When you're at a public pool or in your friend's backyard, knowing that your kids can get in and out of the water and protect themselves can make all the difference in the world. Something as simple as being able to flip over and get to the ladder can save a life. You can start your kids in lessons as early as you want - it's never too soon.
Growing up, I was a little hippie kid. I went to some good concerts... Amnesty International with Bob Dylan and Tracy Chapman... The best concert I ever went to was this one at the Cow Palace my freshman year in college on New Year's Eve. It was Pearl Jam opening for Nirvana opening for Red Hot Chili Peppers.
I love KIND bars. My favorites are coconut and almond and the dark chocolate and sea salt because staying fueled helps keep me from getting sick or injured. Bananas have also made a great comeback in my life. My kids eat them all the time on the go, which has inspired my go-to pre-run morning meal of peanut butter and banana on toast.
I've been barefoot most of my life: either flip flops or barefoot on the pool deck. Although you'd think that would make me a good candidate for barefoot running, that doesn't work with me.
To be a champion, I think you have to see the big picture. It's not about winning and losing; it's about every day hard work and about thriving on a challenge. It's about embracing the pain that you'll experience at the end of a race and not being afraid. I think people think too hard and get afraid of a certain challenge.
Make sure that when you look at your plate, it's a beautiful blank canvas to start with, and you want lots of color on there. You want to make sure you have whole grains and protein. It should not be beige in color; it should be green and bright red, and orange and yellow.
With my son, falling off his bike is usually what makes him upset, so a hug goes a long way. But girls are more complicated; my daughter will get bummed out because her friend hurt her feelings. In that case, we'll talk about it. I'll tell her that she's a great friend, and that she needs to talk to her friends about it.
A great way to get all the right nutrients is to make a colorful plate - mix of good vegetables, carbohydrates, and protein. If you notice all your vegetables are green, change it up and add another color for a variety of benefits in one meal.
I slice up a ton of cucumbers, celery, carrots and red and yellow peppers. Keep them in your fridge so you always have something handy to curb your snack attack.
I have so much to learn when it comes to running. I just don't ever want it to feel like a chore. When I choose to sign up for a race or go out for a run, it's to make myself feel good, and I almost always do.
Boston is the cream of the crop of the marathon world. It has such history that you feel such honor just being a part of it. All the other races have pacers to get you to a Boston qualifying time.
The first lesson my kids got about the ocean was to respect it. You can never turn your back on the ocean when you're dealing with tides and currents - factors beyond your control. You have to be the CEO of your family on the water. CEO stands for 'constant eyes on,' and it's something I never forget.
I watched some serious '80s television. 'Alice,' 'Good Times,' 'The Jeffersons,' 'Family Ties,' 'Cheers'... every night it was eat dinner, watch 'Cheers.' I was actually on 'Jeopardy' with Rebecca Lobo and Dot Richardson, and we were laughing because I was just nailing every random '80s trivia question - sitcom, theme music, movie, you name it.
I used to carbo load. But then I ran my first marathon, actually on a whim. All I could think of was that I needed protein. I remember going to the grocery store and buying one of those roasted chickens. I remember downing a bunch of that and, yes, I had some carbs, but that's what I felt I needed.
My healthiest habit is eating a healthy breakfast every morning. I never miss breakfast. As a busy mom, there will be days when I'm cruisin' along and I'll look at the clock and I haven't eaten lunch. And I'll run downstairs, and I'll start shovelin' stuff down the pie hole, and I'll think, 'That was no lunch at all.'
One of my favorite workouts to do with my girlfriends is yoga. We are equally impatient with our yoga. We are those people who are sweating in the back, and we'll be in downward dog giggling and looking at each other. And I know what we're all thinking: What are we going to order for dinner afterward?
Quite simply, my diet has and will always be everything in moderation. People look at Olympic athletes and think they must cut out all those things everyone else indulges in, and speaking for myself, I never did.
When I got to college, I used to run on top of everything else, because when you gain weight in swimming, you have to do something else, like bike or run, to maintain the weight or take the weight off.
I lead by example. My kids know what sweat is. They've seen me come home from so many runs and asked, 'What's on your skin? How did you get it?' And I tell them, 'It's from exercise!' So now my son will come home from a bike ride, take off his helmet and say, 'Look, Mom. I'm sweating! I just worked out!'