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Milena Glusac

  • For the Love of the Sport

    image3Ah what we won’t do for love.  Men have constructed monuments to show their undying devotion to the queen of their heart.  Wars have been launched to fight for the beauty at the center of the strife.  Thrones have been forsaken in order to be with the one that was not of royal blood.  I am sure you all have been at the place in your life where you could relate to the pure amore that was strong enough to build the Taj Mahal, launch a war in the name of Aphrodite or give up the Royal Crown. Yes what love can do, and what we won’t do for just a slice of it.  So as a runner at heart, I at the age of 36, was re-introduced to the love of my life, and it took the most serendipitous of events to bring me back to this love affair.

    Last Saturday was the Hollywood Half Marathon.  Vitalyte was the official on-course beverage of this inaugural event.  I was scheduled to race the 13.1 miles and it was going to be my official “comeback race” after having a seven year hiatus from competing.  I hadn’t been feeling very well the two weeks leading up to the event.  I was really troubled by a neck injury I had incurred in a car accident a while back.  Still undecided the day before the race, I was working at the expo and happened to meet Sean Astin.  He was trying to find the packet pick up so he could get his bib number.  I pointed him in the right direction and we started talking running.  Turns out he is a huge running fan and has multiple marathons to his credit.  We immediately became buds and I offered to pace him through the race.  He accepted.  So at the crack of dawn, the  next morning, I met Sean at the starting line for the 6 am start.  We had our game plan, and as his “coach,” it was my job to make sure he made it to the finish line despite a recent achilles injury.  I charted out our plan and told him he had to stick to the pace I set.  So as we headed out of Universal Studios City Walk and onto the streets of Hollywood, “Rudy” himself was skeptical of the easy pace I was setting.  “It’s ok Sean.  Running a race is like money in the bank.  Every mile upfront that you go out steady, buy not too hard, pays you interest that you get to spend towards the end.”  He loved the analogy and took my advice.  As we ran down Sunset Boulevard, I told Sean that this was the most fun I had ever had in a race.  We were snapping photos of us eating our Chia Surge Endurance Gel, waving at people in the crowd who were shouting “Rudy,” and singing happy birthday to the people like Loraine who were running in the race and had a neon green printed sign pinned to the back of her running singlet that said “It’s My Birthday.”  I had never had this perspective of a race before.  The middle of the pack. The place where the runner’s high never dies.

    As Sean and I made the turn up the big hill right off Highland Avenue and downed one more cup of Vitalyte, he made a quick surge and said to me “I’m putting on my headphones for this one.”  At that point we had two miles to go and I knew he was home free.  My brave student had headed my advice and now it was time to enjoy the homestretch.  I learned just as much from running with Sean as he learned running from me.  I learned about his “Run 3rd” organization.  He runs first for himself, second for his wife and children and third for you or whoever needs a little inspirational support.  You simply tweet a dedication to hash tag #run3rd.  What a cool concept.  I learned that the race is not always about the “race.” And I definitely learned that Goonies Never Say Die.

    We ran a great race and Sean ran exactly the time he was hoping for.  As we walked back to the awards area he turned to me and said, “I could definitely go for a chocolate crepe.  What are the odds of getting one of those?”  Well I am not only a great coach, but a really good observer and I noticed that there was a crepe place in the Universal City Walk.  So as Evan, our CEO, Sean and myself sat and ate our post race crepes (only after we drank our Complete Recovery), I confessed to them that this was the best “race” I ever ran.  They seemed surprised and wanted to know why.  “Because,” I said, “we all ran for the love of the sport and I had an amazing slice of it.”

  • The Countdown Begins to the 2012 Hollywood Half Marathon

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    In exactly 27 days I will make my competitive return to running after eight years of leaving the racing flats in a dusty box in the closet.  The Hollywood Half Marathon is a welcome event highlighted and marked with a star on my calendar.  Why am I looking forward to it with such raw enthusiasm?  Pretty simple...I feel I have unfinished business.

    I was forced to walk away from the sport that I loved because of a mix of personal family issues and severe health challenges that would keep me housebound for years.  During these past eight years there has been a slow burn deep inside that over the last year has intensified to a smoldering.  I so desire to experience that personal satisfaction that comes with finishing a race where you have left all of your sweat and soul on a 13.1 mile stretch of hard pavement.  I so desire to run with a body that is now strong, resilient and fueled by the best sports nutrition products on the planet.  Last time I raced I think I weighed about 92 pounds and my soul felt like it carried the weight of the world.

    Now I’m proud to toe the line at 110 pounds of muscle and carrying nothing but the personal triumph that comes with creating the life that I desire.  So this race, I can easily say, is a tribute to myself.  Not just Milena the athlete. But to Milena the whole person.  I’m just like a lot of you-balancing work, training, horrible friday night dates and awesome Sunday afternoon cocktails with my best girl friends.  I feel so blessed in my life because my full-time “real” job is based in an industry that I love.  Vitalyte Sports Nutrition is not only my employer but my greatest champion.  The products they have created for endurance athletes have allowed me, at the age of 36, to work full-time, train full-time and finish this chapter in my life that I feel has been unwritten for almost the last decade.

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    Last Saturday night I was at the Endurance Live Awards.  Competitor Magazine celebrated the greatest endurance athletes on the planet during this awards ceremony.  As I walked onto the stage during the “Parade of Athletes” I felt like a completely different person that I did ten years ago when I walked onto the stage during this same ceremony.  I walked with a confidence that only comes from experiencing both the depths of turmoil and the peak of success.  I truly feel the fact that I have not just experienced, but lived both extremes and the entire spectrum of intensity that comes with being plummeted from the pinnacle of victory to the trenches of vicious conquest, is the reason I can walk into any situation knowing I can not be intimidated, bludgeoned or scared.  No, I know I will own that line because the Milena that is running now is in charge of herself.

    My stress fracture is still there.  It’s not getting worse, but not much better.  You know, I can run three days a week and the other days I am in the gym cross-training.  I like the fact that I am making the most of what my body is able to do right now.  I am being resourceful, smart and determined to be there on April 7th.

  • My Time at Indian Wells 2012

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    My experience at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, CA has been amazing. As the account executive for Vitalyte Sports Nutrition, my purpose of being at the tournament has been to provide athlete support to the numerous top ranked ATP and WTA players that use our products.

    I have been an avid tennis fan since age three when my dad put an old, cut-down-to-size, wooden racquet in my hand and took me to the courts at San Marcos High School where he was the principal. Little did I know that in the next few years the quick and agile boy that was out there everyday on the court next to me with him dad, mom and brother would grow up to be the youngest ever French Open Champion.

    You have probably heard of Michael Chang. I knew him as the boy whose dad talked really fast and used to give me lessons while my dad gave lessons to Michael. My dad was a former professional player, so he really wanted my sister and I to take up the sport. My sister was really talented but gravitated to team sports like soccer while me, the steady one, loved the self-directed nature of tennis. So I grew up spending most of my youth at a tennis academy. Then one day I discovered I was pretty darn good at running. I still continued to play and played in college. My love of the game has only grown over the years. I used to make the pilgrimage to this tournament every year with my mom to watch our favorite players.

    Now I am sitting in the player’s lounge. I think that was Milos Raonic that just walked by. I’m actually having coffee with Janko Tipsarevic’s trainer and I just had my picture taken with thelegendary Vic Braden. Ok I am a tennis nerd I totally admit it. Because we work with so many professional players, my boss keeps telling me to keep it on the down low and be professional.

    So I guess running up to Andy Roddick and asking for his shirt is totally against company protocol! Anyways, the atmosphere out at the tennis tournament is amazing if you have never had a chance to experience it. The barren brown mountains in the background are an amazing contrast to the green courts and lush grounds of the tennis gardens. Plus the weather is out of this world. Eighty five and sunny. Ok more than sunny. Try really hot. But seriously it is March and it is twenty degrees in some parts of this country. I’m not complaining. And I’m definitely not complaining that I got to see Novak Djokovic, the number one player in the world, practice this morning. Well this tennis dork is off to watch another match and bring some Vitalyte to the players. I wonder if I’d really get in trouble if I asked Nadal for a lock of hair?

  • Wine and Guys

    It’s 7:48pm, you just finished a Cardio-Kick Boxing class at the local 24 Hour Fitness. Not only are you slightly annoyed because the dude next to you in the class (yes the one wearing the Dolphin shorts and a t-shirt that was ten sizes too small with the saying “I hated math then I found out about Pi”) thought that you would seriously fall for a Friday night date request to a revival of “Bye Bye Birdie.” I mean seriously, all you really want is a date with a great, reliable guy who actually takes you to a place where pleather is not the appropriate attire and his debit card doesn’t get rejected because it is in his mother’s name. Your lack of satisfying dating experiences has you irritated and famished. You scavenge the annals of your cupboards only to find a seriously outdated can of green beans, a rotting garlic clove and a box of bouillon that still says “Made in the USSR” on the label. Sister it is seriously time for a cupboard/dating makeover. Wouldn’t a great chicken, fig and crimini mushroom with sauté and a fuji apple and arugala salad be much better than that the lone TV dinner that is frozen over with so much ice you will have to make a run to REI for an ice climbing pick to break it free! Pair the chicken dish with a great organic Pinot Noir from Trader Joe’s or break the wine “rules” and go bold with my favorite Cabernet: 2010 Spiral Wines Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. I guarantee you, as soon as you start dining better and raising the bar in the epicurean department, you will raise the bar in the guy category. You are taking a bold step by putting organic produce and free range meat in your refrigerator. You are committed to taking better care of yourself inside and out. So here is my recipe for the killer chicken dish and I will follow it with a killer recipe on how to find a great date.

    All the following can be purchased at Trader Joe's:

    Chicken and Fig Sauté: 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped (Fresh ones-not the ones from your cabinet please!) 1/4 white onion finely chopped 2 tbsp. artichoke tapinade 2 tsp. extra virgin organic olive oil 4 figs chopped 1 can white kidney beans drained 1 cup of crimini mushrooms sliced 2 boneless skinless free range chicken breasts cubed

    Sauté the garlic and onions in the olive oil until translucent Add the artichoke tapinade, figs and mushrooms Sauté for one minute Add the chicken and cook uncovered, turning chicken periodically until chicken is done Finally add the drained kidney beans and cook for two more minutes

    Fuji Apple and Arugula Salad: 1 bag washed arugala 1 organic fuji apple cored and diced 1 bag of cut and diced butternut squash 1/4 cup goat feta 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds 1/8 cup walnuts

    Combine all the above ingredients in a salad bowl and toss with the following dressing:

    1/4 cup of organic extra virgin olive oil 1/8 cup of balsamic vinegar pinch of salt and pepper

    Now open that bottle of vino, turn on TBS and watch Sex in the City, the movie, and vow to yourself that this New Year, not only will you be committed to a great workout routine that is feasible and a healthy diet, but your are committed to some great dates with guys that aren’t friends of your little brother. So now that you have mastered a great recipe for a fantastic dinner, here is my recipe for finding a great date.

    All these items can be found in your closet, in your best friend’s closet or in your address book: That sexy pair of heels you haven’t worn since the trip to Vegas with the girls Your favorite little dress A couple of your closest girlfriends-NO guy friends or little brothers allowed on this outing An open mind with no objectives other than to meet some cool people and have fun with your friends.

    Take the above to the newest restaurant hot spot and order a Cosmo at the bar. My favorite spot-Burlap in Del Mar, CA. The best Cosmo I have had and a great mix of people. When you have your defenses down and are ready just to have a great time and meet cool people, you will be surprised what happens. You’d be mesmerized by the number of guys who feel the same about dating that you do and when you move men out of the “evil and moronic” category in your iPhone list, you will see a whole new world of options open up. Lighten up on your “must have list” and take a closer look at the important aspect of any relationship, whether it is friends, partners or even training. They all have a few things in common that are important-consistency, it contributes to your well-being, and it makes your life happier. And of course, they all pair nicely with a great glass of red after a long day! I look forward to sharing more  in my next blog. Cheers!

  • Harmony

    Your alarm rudely awakens you at 5:30 am with the audacious blare of Adele’s “Rollin’ in the Deep” that your twelve year old downloaded for you while you were busy cooking dinner, helping your fourth grader diagram sentences, and taking two phone calls from your hysterical mother who can’t find her Shih Tzu for the fifth time today. You are fatigued. You are tired. You are exhausted. Any you have every right to be. You are balancing the dynamics that many modern women struggle with: Work, family, the in’s and out’s of daily life. There isn’t much left in your day for you. When there is, you are just too tired to make it to the gym or out the door for that run you keep telling yourself you will get to. Well it is time that your Nike’s don’t look like you just took them out of the box even though they are five months old. They are crying for some TLC and would do just about anything for some scuff marks or even a ripped shoelace. Something to show them you care. But no matter how many pep talks you have with yourself, how many times you say “I will get to it just as soon as I finish...,” or how many motivational reruns of Dr. Phil you watch, you just can not seem to gather the energy to get out the door. Well I am going to offer you a few ways, that during the new year, you can decrease fatigue and increase your endurance and help to bring some much needed energy as we start 2012.

    Remember in my last blog we discussed setting realistic goals. Now that you have determined that your goal is to decrease fatigue so you can have some energy for your own workouts, how do you go about getting to your goal. These are three steps that I have utilized throughout my career to help me refocus on goals I have set. First, I always de-clutter my environment once I have set a goal. I determine the factors that are keeping me from achieving my goal and if there is anything in my immediate surroundings that I can remove, I do so immediately. For instance, you have determined that one of the reasons you are so tired is because you are not getting to bed early enough. Determine the factors that are keeping you up late. Then, make the adjustments necessary so you can get into bed on time. Sometimes you have to be creative. For example, I turn off my phone and do not answer calls past 9:00pm. My mind needs to wind down and it is time to go into rest mode. Whatever it is can wait until the morning when I am better suited to deal with it. I also clear space in other aspects of my life once I have my eyes focused on a goal. I make sure my closets are in order, paperwork filed and gone through and everything organized. The clear space in my physical surroundings makes it easier for me to go from A to B to C through out my work day. Being organized means I spend less time looking for things and more time training. Hey I have even put boyfriends out with the recycling because the relationship was too distracting and not adding the support and encouragement I needed during the times I was working towards a goal. Now I am not saying that your kids, husband, pet fish and dog should be waiting out on the curb at the next trash day. But instead, anything that you can determine that is actually not healthy for you needs to be re-evaluated.

    Ok, you have cataloged, codified and classified. The shelves are standardized and everything is accounted for. What to do next? Once I have created more space for myself, I immediately feel my stress levels decrease. With increased breathing room I can finally carefully choose what I want to add back to my life. At this point, you should be focused on reintroducing those aspects that add value to your life. Let’s say you have set the goal to have more energy so you can finally start working out. You have tailored everything accordingly in your life and you are ready to start your workout regime. Something that would be of value to your goal would be to add a training session per week with a personal trainer. This will help you reach your target faster.

    You have harmonized your life and added those things that bring increased worth. One final step left. Add the extras that make a difference. Now you are finally at the place where you have the energy and time to add the “extras” to your life. For instance, taking the time to make a healthy breakfast before work will definitely give you more energy than your old 10:30am habit of two jelly-filled donuts at the office break room. Having your water bottle that sits on your desk at work filled with Vitalyte instead of triple-caff, extra-bold, quadruple pressed coffee, is a much better hydration solution. Slipping on your Nike’s and heading out for a walk or a run instead of putting on your slippers and heading to the couch for a few hours of TV when you get home is a much healthier option. It is true that one positive change leads to another and even though there are times when you would really like to leave the kids outside next to the Hefty Cinch Saks, now that you are less stressed, less fatigued and more energized, when those moments do happen, you are better equipped to handle them. Happy harmonizing and look for my next blog about what to cook for that healthy breakfast.

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