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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.

  • Dancing With Myself

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    I’ve decided that I want my own nightclub in my next home. A place where Billy Idol can be blasted at 3:00 pm or 3:00 am and “Pour Some Sugar On Me” rules the sound system. A place where I can dance in my pink LuLuLemon “No Limit” Tank, white Victoria’s Secret boy shorts and have my own 2011 rendition of Risky Business. A place where there is no closing time and I am free to make my own decisions. Until I can afford that space I guess my living room will have to do. Well technically it’s not my living room but Ryan is kind enough to let me share his apartment until I can find a place.

    I have two dogs that I inherited from the non-committal 42 year old ex-boyfriend who preferred to give his Ferrari more respect than me. So I left, dogs and all. Until I can find a space I can call my own, the dogs are roaming “on the farm” in Fallbrook with my mom’s two Great Danes. It’s hard to find a place near my work and training area where I can have two dogs. So in the mean time I am staying with whatever friend has room at the time.

    I prefer stability. I prefer a space to call my own. I prefer consistency. But this is what I have right now and I am going to make the best of it. What I have learned is the value of true friends. People who have stood by me and opened their hearts and doors to me. I am grateful. Everyone knew I could do better and I deserved to be treated better but I guess it took me longer to see it because I was trying to create my ideal in an environment that could not sustain my desires. But I think it was really more than that. I think I truly felt it was OK to be mistreated. I mean seriously why would a man want to respect and care for a woman. Why would a woman feel a man actually deserved love let alone need to be loved. This was something I looked at deeply. The explanation was pretty clear as my parents obscure empty co-existence flashed through my mind. I took inventory of the relationships in my life. None of them what I wanted but rather what was deemed okay for me. I mean after all I was a serious athlete and there were certain things I just didn’t “waste my time doing.” I was told it was a bad distraction. I was told I didn’t have time for it. I was told there was no room for it given my serious training regime. I was such an obedient,conditioned athlete that I listened. So I was left with a relationship role model that only depicted lack of respect and disdain. Well fortunately for me there was a deep sense inside myself that said there was more for me. I deserved more. I deserved better. I deserved love. So I left. I left with my sense of self. I left with my respect. I left for good.

    It’s been quite some time since I’ve been in the passenger seat of the red Ferrari. Do I miss it? I miss that feeling you get driving along at 120mph, the wind blending the salty scent of the Pacific with the burning scent of exhaust. But that feeling wasn’t a free feeling. I was someone’s passenger. Someone who wanted to take me along for the ride, have me sit and enjoy and do as I was told and then they could drop me off at my house when they were tired of me. That wasn’t so free. I wasn’t smiling very much during those times. So much was missing and I felt like I was faking my way through life. Pretending everything was OK. Pretending I was happy. Pretending I could make do. I guess I was so used to persevering through intense two hour trainings and holding a 5:45 mile pace for 26.2 miles that I MUST be able to persevere through a relationship and get to the end. But the end of what. This was my life, not a race. So at that point I learned to separate Milena the woman and her needs from Milena the athlete and those needs. That is when I started to explore parts of my self that had been badly neglected. That is when I learned who I really was. That is when I learned what happiness is.

    Running has never been better. In fact, life has never been better. My running is truly an extension of my inner state of balance or imbalance. This inner state functions much better when I speak my truth and value myself not just as the athlete, but as the incredible woman I am. I am embracing this part of my life with passionate enthusiasm and I feel like I have been introduced to a new person. Someone I like a lot. Someone that deserves the best. Someone who is happy. It’s funny how it often takes a difficult circumstance to reveal the best in us. I guess that’s why we have triathlons, marathons and the Three Day Walk. I will let my perseverance rule supreme in those events, but when it comes to my next relationship, I am going to let love, respect and happiness be the center of attention but for now I will continue “Dancing With Myself” in the living room.

  • Baroness of Blunder

    Sometimes we learn the most on how to do something when we do it wrong a few times.  Yep I am definitely the diva of that divine saying and although I have managed to get myself into a lot of trouble, some good and some bad, by making a royal mess out of things, I can honestly say that I have always learned more when I embrace my mistakes.  I take that princess crown studded with errors, proudly put on for the day and take command of my kingdom that is in disarray.  And somehow, through the chaos, dust and confusion, my insight emerges with renewed perspective and passion for the project at hand.

    My personal life, running career and relationships have all taken their walk down the aisle in the castle of chaos but the invaluable rewards I have learned from the mishaps, well I wouldn’t trade them for all the gold in the land.  And the biggest gem in this collection of hiccups is this...at the age of 36 I now allow myself to make mistakes.  It is kind of like allowing yourself to have some dessert.  If you deny yourself for too long then pretty soon one day that Entenmann’s Butter Pound Cake and Oreo Cookie Double Stuffs look like a match made in heaven that need to be a part of your universe sooner than later.  A little dessert and little room for error on a rather consistent basis will keep your cravings away, help you learn a lot and most definitely make you a much saner royal ruler.

    My name is Milena Glusac and I am a world-class athlete, coach, account executive for Vitalyte and their line of sports nutrition products and part-time baroness of blunder.  I am a busy woman that sometimes doesn’t have it all together.  I know what it is like to try to balance work, training, dating, deadlines, timelines, biological clocks and dogs that act like kids.  I know you are busy ladies out there too trying to be it while while serving your noble court with a smile.  Well my series of blogs and women’s forum is intended to give you a place to land when you just don’t feel like you can find the time, strength or energy to make it all perfect all the time.  Join me by putting on your imperial tiaras of imperfection and take some time for yourself to be you. This is a terra firma that doesn’t judge, criticize or hold resentment.  This is a safe haven of rest from the world of expectations.  This is a bastion of respite where you are free to learn about the healthy lifestyle you want to create and get to know more about making time for you.  So as you read my series of blogs I encourage you to join the forum and take your seat with the other high priestesses of aberration because after all, this is about you.

    I don’t know about you but my iPhone 4GS alarm serenades me with the strumming noise of a guitar, encouraging me to wake up while it is still dark.  Every morning I go through the same cascade of questions as if I am trying to uncover the secret workings of the universe: It can’t be normal to be awake in the morning while it is dark?  How can it be that the drive through line at Starbucks is so crowded?  Will I get my Skinny Vanilla Latte quicker if I brave the frigid 61 degree 6:00 am San Diego weather and walk in?  So many questions race through my mind at this early in the morning.  The one thing I do know is that I need to meet my trainer Michael at 6:30 because that is my time.  Yep the space I have set aside for me and only me in my day.  I know I will more than likely misjudge a few things and make a few errors during my day but the one thing I won’t do is miss my early morning workout.  There is a reserved sign on this table for one and their isn’t any amount of caffeine deprived SUV drivers that are going to crowd me out of being on time for my date with me.  I have a horrible habit of being five minutes late everywhere.  I know it stems from my over flowing schedule and trying to fit twenty five hours of living into twenty four hours of space, but I am working on this because I have learned that I actually will get just as much done with a lot less stress if I learn to say no.  Yikes that small two letter word that for years just seemed to require more frickin guts, gumption and grit to blurt out than I thought was polite.  But I am past the “polite” phase in my life and am in the phase of being good to myself.  And if being good to me means stepping down from a few of my “responsibilities,” than I welcome my capricious antics with a big party and a few bottles of champagne, adorn my crown with a few new jewels of disregard, and cut some rug with the court jester.  Now this feels good!

    I am sure many of you have felt this way in your life at some point.  But how do you come to that space inside where you are taking care of yourself without being selfish and while still caring for the things that really matter in your life.  I feel, at least for myself as woman, that I wanted to make everything right, have everyone be happy and be looked upon as the good girl.  On the outside it appeared as if everything was perfect in my life.  I was the polite daughter that listened attentively to everything her parents expected, I was the perfect student who never caused a disturbance and the compliant friend that listened and smiled.  Whether it was my dislike for chaos or confrontation in my surroundings or just the dislike for having to defend my opinions that were contrary to those around me, this continual compliance eventually erupted in my physical being.

    At the height of 5’6” and 80 pounds I just learned to be quiet about everything and literally wither away from the loudness that surrounded me.  Now eighteen years later I have dealt with those issues that drove me to retreat and disappear from the continual fighting and maturely face something and say, “this is not the right situation for me” and lead my life the way I choose.  Crazy how we never actually can get away from something we don’t face.  Now I just know how to face it straight on with my head held confidently high and running shoes laced tightly.  Instead of running from the uncomfortable situation first, I address it with poise and tact, then I go for my run and enjoy the time to clear my mind and take rejoice in my royal title of duchess of dominion in the land of controversy.  Yes dealing with issues as they arise and then proceeding with my life without staying off course for too long has allowed me to make sure I am still “taking care” of things as they need to be but assuring I will be there for myself when it is all over.  I no longer get lost in the clutter created by situations.  Instead, I take a seat high in my throne and take a deep breath because I know that I will always represent myself with dignity and have a fabulous time doing it.  After all we must remember what the role of court jester teaches us.  He was meant to help those lost in a world of burden  lighten their sense of “duty” by introducing actions of joy and laughter.  It is through mistakes and folly that we actually gain a greater perspective.  Follow me in this series of blogs, position your princess tiara perfectly (or imperfectly) on your head and let’s re-engage ourselves as empowered woman who want to live an active, fit and healthy lifestyle while still addressing all those early AM alarm clocks and long lines just to get a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino (should I end it here or add this last sentence...) It’s going to be a great journey fueled with a little caffeine, some sarcasm, a few stories of my personal struggles and experiences, and great tips on training and nutrition.

  • Journey Through My Closet- Milena Glusac

    My closet looks like the fatal hunting grounds where the couture of my past have come to fight their last battle.  Labels from all eras of my life are represented-Pink, Juicy Couture, True Religion, the $5 leggings from the inexpensive little shop off Grand Avenue around the corner from my condo.  They have all fought and served valiantly.  The KSwiss gear fared many miles with me during intense training and the electric blue chiffon club dress...yep we had many memorable cab rides.  And how could I forget the gold platform heels?  We stole the show at that epic outing Derek, Jill, Billy and I had last fall in Del Mar.  I think I can still make out the scent of chocolate martinis embedded in the leather.  So much has happened in my life in such a short amount of time I sometimes wonder how I have landed where I am.  And not just landed, but landed on my feet.  Yes I have suffered some bruises.  Usually a result of mixing stilettos, wine and great friends.  Definitely incurred some bumps too during my escapades.  The latest has stayed a year, the result of stress fracture the cracked right to the marrow of my bone.  Painful yes, permanent maybe.  As I sit amidst this melange of cotton, cashmere, lycra and linen, I am trying to decide what stays and what goes.  What staple pieces will I need to take with me to my new house.  Yes I am moving again for the sixth time in the last year and half!  What should I just toss out and never look at again.  I will leave those uncomfortable too tight and itchy items behind just like I left in the past the brutal scars of the eating disorder that almost cost me my life.  Finally, what do I want and need to add to my repertoire?  Maybe some new racing shoes for the Hollywood Half Marathon I will be running in April.  You know what I think I really need?  A black pencil skirt and some kick ass black heels.  Something I can wear to the Vitalyte office so I actually look the part of the account executive.  That’s what my title on my business card says “Milena Glusac-Account Executive, Vitalyte Sports Nutrition.”  Yes that is actually what I need to buy.

    That’s where I am in my life now.

    My name is Milena Glusac and I am going to tell you how I went from being the top high school distance runner in the nation to a seven-time NCAA All-American at the University of Oregon to a top ten world ranked professional distance runner and now to the account executive for Vitalyte Sports Nutrition who is making her comeback to the stage of professional athletics.  But the journey you are going to read about is circuitous at the very least.  There has been a lot of drama, a lot of pain, a lot of loss and a re-birth.  I am going to tell you all about that stuff.  It is part of what has brought me to where I am now in my life, I am not ashamed of it and I think many of you can even relate to my story.  Just let me try to find my favorite Victoria’s Secret Angel Sleep Tee and Seamless Little Thong in this monumental pile and then I will be comfy and ready to tell you more.

    To know me and look at me you might think, “Wow she’s full of energy, runs everyday, is up from 5:30am to 11pm, work work work non-stop go girl. She has it all together- the typical tan, fit California blonde with the constant French manicure." My life, however, for an extended period of time, represented a more melancholic menagerie of tumultuous events that shaped the landscape of my entire being for a decade and a half and I wasn’t the happy, up for an adventure, full-of-energy girl I am now.

    I graduated from Fallbrook High School in 1993 as the top high school female distance runner in the nation.  I had full-ride athletic scholarships being thrown at me from distinguished universities across the country: Stanford, UCLA, Villanova, Berkley, University of Arizona, Providence, Syracuse, University of Texas, University of Florida, Clemson...the list goes on.  I chose to attend the University of Oregon.  After all, it was the mecca for track and field. I remember I was sitting in my senior science class when I made the decision.  The choice just came over me and in my daze I said to myself, “I’m going to the University of Oregon.”  I didn’t really know why other than that is where I was going to go.  Later on the choice would become dangerously serendipitous.  At the University of Oregon I became a seven-time NCAA All-American and I also competed for the Ducks at the PAC-10 Championships in tennis.  I was a busy student-athlete.  I was taking sixteen units or more each quarter, competing in cross-country, indoor track, outdoor track and tennis.  I went on the graduate with a double-major in psychology and Spanish in three and half years and then completed my Master’s Degree in psychology in the next year and half while I finished my eligibility in track and tennis.  I had been forced to red-shirt a season because of bilateral femoral stress fractures.  Later on I would find out that the twelve stress fractures I amassed during my career had been a result of a genetic bone issue that eventually kept me bed ridden for several years.  I knew my five year stop at Oregon had a purpose in my life for reasons I could not even explain.  It wasn’t like me to trade the sun and surf of Southern California for the constant rain and cold of the Northwest, but something I couldn’t explain was pulling me there.  I spent nights crying and begging my dad to help me transfer to a warmer climate and someplace closer to home, but he insisted I stick it out because I would lose too much eligibility if I transferred.  So I persevered, as I was accustomed to during my races.  Just push through, get it done, drive, go, surge, kick, finish.  I did just that.

    But my unhappiness unveiled itself in my 5’6” 85, 83, 82, 80 pound frame.  I confidently assured everyone, from my coaches to friends to family that I was just fine.  Yep, didn’t need help, didn’t want it.  You know I’m a distance runner, I’m “supposed” to be small.  Well small and close to death are two different identities and I really DID want help.  What I really really really wanted was a female I could relate to.  Someone who didn’t treat me as an athlete, but treated me more like a daughter who could reveal her true emotions, passions and desires.  All those “feeling” were just to be put aside though so I could just push through, get it done, drive, go, surge, kick, and win.

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    That is when I met Karen Nelson, counselor at the University of Oregon.  Truly a divine intervention.  I remember her perfectly manicured french nails, soft soothing voice and compassion that was a constant with every meeting.  That was all I needed.  Not a lot.  Just someone to talk to the person, not the athlete. So I left the University of Oregon and at graduation my parents finally revealed something to me.  I had been conceived in Eugene, Oregon when my parents were there exploring a job option for my father twenty-one years prior.  Ironic, so ironic.  I traveled back to my starting point so I could find my self, the non-athlete self, while the athlete excelled.

    The next few years I spent regaining my health and I eventually clawed my way back to the top in distance running.  This time at the world stage.  A few new pieces would be added to the melancholic menagerie and a few old ones would re-enter:  The eating disorder would resurge as I entrenched myself in the world of running and a family environment that was crumbling due to infidelity and financial decline.  I would see my father’s clothes slowly disappear from the closet, one garmet at a time until I uncovered the new closet they were being transferred to.  It was hard confronting your childhood best friend and hero but once again I just pushed through, got it done, drove, went, kicked, and finished.  That was one of the few times I didn’t feel I had won anything at the end of a race.  But, I got it done.  And so I put my head down, toed the line at my debut marathon at New York City that year in 2001, smoke still swirling up from the destruction of the Twin Towers a few months prior, and I ran through Central Park to the finish line at Tavern on the Green.  Thirteenth place. That year I would win three national championships and continue into 2002 as a top ten world ranked road racer.  But as the demands at home weighed heavier and I took on a parent role, running didn’t feel so good.

    I would suffer multiple stress fractures as a result of my genetic bone disorder and be bed ridden for many years due to the chronic bone inflammation.  I constructed a plan in 2007 to move from Fallbrook to the beaches of Del Mar, CA.  Deep down there was something pulling me towards the ocean.  I knew I needed out and needed to build my own life away from the drama of the family.  I did just that.  I had a business venture that failed and I lost a lot financially but during those years I was able to do something I hadn’t been able to do since those conversations with Karen Nelson at the University of Oregon.  I could reveal my true emotions, passions, and desires.  No judgment, no finish tape, no getting it done or surging.  Just being me.  Not the parent or the athlete.  Just Milena.

    Milena-Glusac-2011

    And that’s when I came alive.  Running became a joy again and a lot less painful.  The melancholic menagiery, well I threw it out and replaced it with amazing friends, a few surfboards, a snowboard, convertible red beetle, two basset hounds and an amazing job as the account executive for Vitalyte Sports Nutrition.  There is still drama in my life but it usual involves trying to balance full-time training, work, weekend expos, writing and coaching jobs and of course a few chocolate martinis and platform heels.  Now I can happily say I am one true Southern California girl who happens to be able to run pretty damn fast, loves shopping at Victoria’s Secret and will always be sporting the French manicure while driving my Beetle.  Oh and for the couture left on my closet floor...I got rid of everything that no longer fit and I can’t wait for you to find out what I bought for last Sunday’s San Diego Track Club’s award dinner that I hosted.  It was quite a night...

  • Vitalyte and You

    Vitalyte and You

    What Vitalyte are You? It sounds like an odd question, or at least one that comes from someone not fully understanding the English language, but that odd little question is at the heart of what we do at Vitalyte Sports Nutrition. What Vitalyte are You represents our understanding that all natural electrolyte replacement drinks are not just for high performance athletes, but for everyone.  We all need to stay hydrated and what better way to do than with a great tasting glucose based sports drink not weighed down by artificial colors or flavors, and with the correct ratio of electrolytes for the fastest absorption possible.

    Vitalyte Sports Nutrition was started in the late 1960’s when Bill Gookin, a marathon runner and biochemist, got sick at the Olympic Trials on Gatorade.  As a biochemist and athlete, Bill went back to the drawing board to create a product that he could drink during competition to replace electrolytes and stay hydrated. What started out as one man’s attempt to gain a competitive edge, turned into a sports nutrition revolution.

    More than 40 years later, Vitalyte Sports Nutrition is still an industry leader in sports and lifestyle nutrition. We design our products to promote a healthy active lifestyle and whether you are a world class marathon runner or triathlete like Vitlyte Athlete Milena Glusac, or someone who has just begun an exercise program, we have the sports nutrition products to help you achieve your fitness goals.

    So the real question becomes; What Vitalyte are you?

  • The Modern Women

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    My name is Milena Glusac and I am a world-class athlete.  I am also the account executive for Vitalyte Sports Nutrition, a coach, fitness consultant and thirty-six year old single woman who is balancing a full schedule with training, work, clients, basset hounds, dating and friends.  My color coded daily calendar looks like a cross between a rainbow and that crazy art style where you flick paint at a canvas until you get something resembling skittle barf. Sometimes it is a lot.  I mean sometimes it is “Oh my God I needed that double-shot non-fat sugar-free latte five minutes ago” a lot.  I am sure there are a lot of you women reading this that can relate to the “hamster wheel” feeling that comes with always running and never feeling like you get anywhere.  As a fitness coach, I often hear women say that at the end of the daily juggling act, the one thing that always gets left out is me. The modern woman can sometimes be a modern martyr. Not by choice, but by consequence of the schedule that demands we wear 15 hats throughout the day. The mother, the worker, the wife, the neighbor, the girlfriend, the cook, the chauffeur are but a few of the different roles we play in our waking hours. The modern woman has become so adept at taking care of everyone except herself. That’s why I am here.

    Modern_Woman-Endurance

    What will follow over the next couple of months, and maybe longer depending on how well this is received, will be my story and what I have learned as a result of being a professional runner, a business woman, and sometimes really bad judge of men. I would love to share my experiences with you and how I went about changing things for the better.  My series of blogs is going to be about my journey from elite athlete to modern woman and how I found a healthy balance of work, fitness and play.  You will learn my twist on the standards for nutrition, hydration, and how to set realistic fitness goals.  But you might also read some entertaining blogs about my experiences on a first date or how to really handle the commitment phobic “boyfriend.”

    So go grab your Starbucks and find that quiet five minutes in your day (even if its in the bathroom with the door locked while your family waits for breakfast) to take a trip with me.  If I’ve done my job correctly, you learn about nutrition, great fat burning workouts, how to get a killer butt and matching abs, what bra to wear for a specific event and even why you should never eat a salad the night before a big race. In addition, and with a little luck, you’ll hopefully laugh with me, cry with me, and come to know me as another woman and friend looking for a small reprieve from the hamster wheel.

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