A Little of This, A Little of That…

Happy Friday!

Unlike recent weeks, I wasn’t SUPER OMG DESPERATE for this week to be over. It’s been a relatively quiet week at work (busy for sure, but not OMG-wanna-rip-my-hair-out stressful) and I have kept it similarly quiet at home — I’ve been laying low and been in bed by 10:30 every night!

I decided on Monday to give myself a little detox, so I’ve not only abstained from alcohol for the past 5 days, but I’ve also limited my handfuls of cashews at work, and spoonfuls of Nutella at home 😉

In addition to the detox and walking/biking to work every day, I ran twice (3 miles on Tues & 5 miles on Thurs) and did strength building exercises twice (on Weds and this morning):

Wednesday’s workout has been my tried & true upper body workout for almost a year now. It was pretty much the only strength training I did (1x per week) while training for my half…It gets in some good upper body work, but the better benefit may be the core strengthening that comes from all those planks! If I have time, I also finish up with V-ups and regular ol’ crunches for good measure.

 

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Because I’m not doing Thursday dodgeball this season, I enjoyed an early bedtime last night and a rare 6:30am Friday morning wake up call! I’ve been doing the above workout for so long that I decided to look for a new GPP Fitness workout to switch things up. I did 2 rounds of Cross Sectional, and I did the V-ups, Stab Situps and high windmills from t-AB-ata. My legs are burrrrning from Cross Sectional!

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ANYWAY, I digress. This totally wasn’t meant to be a Fitness post! I just wanted to pop in and share a few things I’ve enjoyed this week, and even a fun HANDWRITTEN quiz that I yanked from Christina at Hungry Meets Healthy. Enjoy!

 

75 Thoughts Every Runner Has While Out For A Run

LOVE. IT. My favorite is the thoughts that go through your head when you jump over puddles. Also, all the thoughts that go on in the last mile of your run.

 

AdvoCare Spark

My Blend-turned-Real-life friend Becky has been pumping up Advocare products for the past few months…I texted her yesterday that I ran out of my beloved pre-workout supplement (fitmixer Clean Energy) and she happened to have just gotten a bunch of variety packs of Spark, AdvoCare’s energy drink mix. I ordered some and can’t wait to try it! I’m not big on supplements, but I do like using a pre-workout drink before my long runs. I’ll be sure to report back on how I like it! If you’re interested, be sure to visit Becky’s blog or click one of the above links to be taken to her store!

 

The 10 Most Important Things We Learned from How I Met Your Mother

As you all probably know, How I Met Your Mother ended this week. Sadface. While I can’t say I’ve watched since the start of the show, I did start watching from the beginning about 4-5 years ago and have been hooked ever since. I love the writing, I love how they’ve kept us guessing about the Mother, and I lovelovelove the characters. I definitely cried multiple times during the series finale, and I have mixed feelings about how it ended, but I largely agree with this article about what went down. {spoiler alert in the article, obviously!}

 

And last but not least… you know those handwritten quizzes they have celebs fill out in Cosmo? Welp, I found one for bloggers! If you’re interested in filling it out, you can print out the blank template here. Enjoy!

SBIZHUBC28014040412060Before you say anything about liking my handwriting, please take note that I toootally spent 5x longer than usual writing out every single word to make sure it was legible. HA.

Have a great weekend!

What do you do to treat your body when you need to detox?

Are/were you a HIMYM fan?

If We Were Having Coffee…

Hello, my little long-lost blog… it’s been a while!

After being blown away by all of your support about my half marathon, then getting my act together and posting my first recipe in months…..I went radio silent.

I’m not one to post religiously regardless of whether I actually have anything interesting to say; I like to go for quality over quantity, you know?

Sometimes, a girl is just busy. Said busy-ness can take shape in the form of working late, or running around to different meetings every other night…And sometimes after a long day at work, being ‘too busy to blog’ just means I need to veg out while watching How I Met Your Mother and Parks & Rec for 4 hours.

Let’s catch up, shall we? Let’s go on a virtual coffee date.

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If We Were Having Coffee…

…I would tell you about the afterglow of my half marathon.

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Even weeks later, I’m still trying to hold on to the feeling of accomplishment and elation that I had after the race. This is the best solo picture I got from the race photographers- can you tell I was approaching mile 13 and desperate to finish? Ha! I was super impressed that there’s even video of me finishing – I come in on the right side of the screen around :20 then cross the finish line and pretty much bounce right back off screen.

…I would tell you how excited I am for spring & summer.

Although I got really lucky that I trained for my race from December-March in mild conditions with barely any rain, I am more than ready for some spring weather! During race weekend and the weekend after, we had beautiful 75 degree days, but it’s been rainy and cold ever since.

I’ve been pretty lucky with my seasonal allergies this year (knock on wood)…Sacramento is NOTORIOUS for being terrible in the allergy department. Hopefully my luck holds up, because I’m making the switch from indoor Dodgeball to outdoor Ultimate Frisbee next month and I can’t wait to run around outside!

…I would admit to you that I totally went over budget last month.

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Just like in February, I was really close to breaking even during March. However, my monthly budget is actually $300-$400 less than I make each month, so ideally I should be saving that much. I spent a little bit more this month than last…Regardless, I am still $1,000 less than the levels I was spending in November-January.

Hosting Tyler during race weekend definitely meant dining out more often than usual. Plus, I have been really busy at work, which means that some days I don’t have time to go home for lunch. ALSOOO, the rainy weather has made taking Lyft a much more desirable option than walking or biking in the rain lately. Good thing it’s affordable! (especially if you sign up using my code 😉 )

I’m hoping that cutting out one night of dodgeball from my weekly routine, as well as drinking less and avoiding more than one Chai Latte splurge per week will keep me on the straight and narrow budget-wise!

…I would ask you which race I should run next!
rainy 9 miler / sunny 8.5 miler!

rainy 9 miler / sunny 8.5 miler!

I have been keeping up with the same running routine as usual- I run 3-4 miles on Tues/Thurs, and I don’t know if I will ever give up my Saturday morning long runs! I ran 8.5 miles last weekend, and 9 rainy miles this past weekend.

I want to run another half marathon in the fall, and the top contenders at the moment are all in October: the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in SF, and two possible Rock n’ Roll Half Marathons – in San Jose and Los Angeles. HMMM!

The only downside of doing a race in October is the fact that I’ll be training in the Sacramento heat in August and September. Typically, we get a good dozen or so 100+ degree days during the summers here…training in that heat would definitely present a challenge!

…I would probably talk your ear off about boys.

I’m not gonna lie – I talk about boys a lot. (Just ask Carly and Becky!) But for the sake of my own privacy, and that of any guys I date, the most personal details you’ll get on this little bloggy blog are about my black toenails from running or how much I pay for rent each month. 😉

Anyway, I had a realization last week: I have been single for 9 MONTHS now. For the first year+ that I had this blog, I was in a serious relationship. My ex was a big factor in why I started blogging, and a lot of my early posts involved meals I made for us.

I’m proud to say that I’ve achieved a lot of personal growth in the last 9 months. However, like any single girl in her mid 20’s, I often have frustrations about guys and dating…

Why do they ALL send mixed signals? Why is every guy on Tinder revolting? That text was totally flirtatious, right?! I mean, he used a winky face and everything. Is there a real Ted Mosby out there, and if so, why haven’t I found him yet?

IMPORTANT QUESTIONS, people.

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So that’s a little of what’s been running through my mind lately.

If we were having coffee, what would be on your mind?

Chocolate Flax Muffins

As much as I know you all love lurking on my weekend fun…I did not have it in me to bust out a weekend recap post this week! I knew that I probably wouldn’t have time to put up my normal post yesterday, because I have been insanely.busy at work. I was hoping to bring back Meatless Mondays, but didn’t get a chance to work out a shareable recipe in time…

However, if you really must know what I did this weekend… 😉 We had a couple of GORGEOUS 75-80 degree days and I took full advantage!

If you follow me on Facebook then you already know that, even though I’m no longer in half marathon training mode, I still did my usual long Saturday morning run:

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It was weird — but GOOD — to be running less than 10 miles. I got in a great workout, but didn’t feel like I was suffering the rest of the day, which was nice!

And if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you know that I followed up that run with some frisbee:

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I’m hanging up the Thursday night dodgeball knee socks for a season or two and putting together an Ultimate Frisbee team…Chris is pretty much a pro (he played competitively in college) and spent over an hour imparting his knowledge and showing me all his tricks. It was lots of fun! Slightly draining though, and much harder than it looks 😉

Moving on….I am happy to report that even though I don’t have a Meatless Monday recipe, I do have a recipe to share!! It’s been a while, eh?

It all started last week when I went to my beloved Grocery Outlet and snagged a boatload of good deals for less than $30.

As if finding that 6 pack of Luna bars for like $2.99, Greek yogurt for .60c a pop and a bottle of wine for $5 wasn’t enough, I was extremely excited to find a bag of organic milled flaxseed (aka flaxseed meal) for $2.99. Generally, healthy living blogger ‘essentials’ like flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp, and other such random gluten free shtuff cost a fortune! So I snagged the bag and looked for ways to incorporate it into a healthy, yet yummy, girl-on-the-go recipe.

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ENTER: chocolate muffins.

Every flax muffin recipe I found had some kind of weird combination of gluten free flours/meals, xanthan gum, non-sugar sweeteners, or other various products that most regular people on a budget don’t keep in their pantry. So I was largely on my own testing out this recipe and, after a few months of very little baking, was thrilled to realize that not only were these not terrible

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They’re actually really frickin good. Although I can’t call them “skinny” like my nearly fat free lemon poppyseed muffins…They do have less added fat than your standard muffin recipe (the majority of the fat comes from the Omega 3-rich flaxseed), not too much sugar (1/3 cup), and have a texture that’s not only incredibly moist, but has a little bit of chew in it from the flaxseed meal.

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I’ve been eating 1-2 in the morning with Chobani for a breakfast that’s packed with both protein and fiber. They are actually pretty healthy, at about 160 calories a pop. They have 8 grams of healthy fat (from the flax!), 3.5 grams of fiber, and almost 5 grams of protein.

But I won’t tell anyone if you slather peanut butter all over them.

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Chocolate Flax Muffins
Makes 9 muffins

1/3 cup (white) whole wheat flour
2/3 cup flax seed meal (or just grind up flaxseed in a food processor/coffee grinder/etc)
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate (chocolate chips/chocolate square/whatever you can find!)
1 extra ripe banana
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons oil

Preheat oven to 325F and grease a muffin pan. Don’t use paper liners- these guys are low enough in fat that they will stick to them!

In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients (flour through baking powder). In a separate microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate in 30 second intervals (or over a double boiler), being careful not to burn it. When it’s done, vigorously mix in the banana and mash until it’s fully incorporated. Add in sugar, eggs and oil and mix to combine.

Add wet ingredients to dry and distribute into ~9 muffin tins.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tops are set and a toothpick comes out clean. Use a butter knife to help release the muffins from the tin.

Eat fresh out of the oven or soon after. If you can’t, keep muffins in the fridge. Heat ’em up in the microwave briefly before eating if desired!

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Have you ever cooked or baked with flaxseed? What’s your favorite use for it?

What’s your favorite recent grocery store discovery?

Shamrock’n Half Marathon Recap

Well, my first half marathon has come and gone!

I have felt such a wide range of emotions throughout the past 3 months, in particular these last couple of weeks, and it’s kind of hard to put it all into words.

But here’s my attempt!

Pre-Race

As I said on Monday, I drank bottomless mimosas the day before my race………..don’t act surprised.

As much as I wish I could blame someone else for convincing me, or peer pressure, I just really love brunch and I really love mimosas. I definitely paced myself and alternated with water and food, but it was still probably not what all the fitness experts would recommend!

One piece of advice I read repeatedly was to not try anything new the day before/of your race. I’m pretty sure I had at least 1 drink the night before 80% of my Saturday morning training runs these past ~14 weeks. Sometimes you just need to unwind on Friday night! This may have been one fact I used to rationalize our brunch fun the day before. 😉

Another reason why I not only forgive myself for letting loose the day before, but also am kind of glad I am, is because I was seriously psyching myself out the week leading up to the race. Every night from Sunday til Friday, I had interrupted nights of sleep with crazy anxiety-induced dreams. Some were unrelated to the race (for example, about my personal life or work), some were race-related. I was getting serious pre-race jitters…I think the fact that I wanted to show Tyler a good time during his visit was a good thing, because it distracted me from the fact that all of my hard work and training for 3+ months was coming to a head on Sunday morning. If we hadn’t gone out with my friends, I would have been way too focused on the race and, knowing me, I would have been a mess the night before/morning of the race.

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We ended up going to sleep around 11 the night before with a 6:45 wake up call. I woke up at 6am and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I just laid in bed and thought about how excited I was haha. Once our alarms went off, I jumped out of bed, yelled at Tyler to wake up, and started getting ready. We had toast and peanut butter and a banana, I took some of my fitmixer Clean Energy, and around 7:15, Chris arrived and we were on our way!

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pre-race essentials

I forgot that a ton of streets would be blocked off for the race, but we luckily got on the road before the first wave shot off, and were able to get waved across 13th Street even though it was barricaded. We found parking close to Raley Field and as we walked out of the car and I sighed, “PHEW THAT WASN’T AS STRESSFUL AS I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE”, the boys looked at me like I was crazy for expecting parking at 7:30am on a Sunday morning to be stressful. Apparently I was a little on edge!

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do i look nervous? BECAUSE I WAS.

The Race

About 7,000 people ran in the (10th annual!) Shamrock’n Half Marathon, and we were in Wave 2 of 4, scheduled for 8am. After the gun shot off, we didn’t actually cross the starting line for almost 10 minutes. Everyone was basically bottle necking into the starting line.

Chris and Tyler don’t like to know how far they’ve gone, whereas I am pretty anal about knowing exactly how far I’ve gone and how fast I’m going. So when MapMyRun told me how fast we were going, I kept the distance to myself but let the guys know occasionally what our pace was. I made sure that we stayed slow for the first 3-4 miles because I did not want to go out too fast.

The entire race was packed. I felt like we were passing people up the entire time. This ended up being a good thing, as passing people up requires you to speed up a bit. Also, Chris, Tyler & I totally worked as an awesome team. We didn’t even have to say anything- one of us would make a move to pass up whoever was in front of us, and the other 2 would just silently follow.

 

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picture from a training run- this is the narrow path all 7,000 of us had to fit through!

The first 5 miles were all flat through Downtown, we were running around 9:15 min/mile, and I felt comfortable the whole time. We hit the bike trail in the middle of mile 5 and I hit my stride- that’s where I trained every week! We picked up our pace, but I was still feeling good.

Around mile 8, Chris got in a zone and darted ahead. I knew that a big hill was coming up and that we wouldn’t be able to catch up with him on/after that hill, so Tyler and I took some of my PROBAR energy chews (AKA LIFESAVERS!) and sprinted to catch up. That mile was my second fastest mile. (My fastest mile was Mile 13…but we’ll get to that later 😉 ) We got over the hill and, according to MapMyRun, stayed around 9 minute miles or faster the rest of the race.

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JACKIE’S TRAIN usually greeted me around mile 7 or 8 of my training runs… i didn’t reach her until mile 11 on race day.

After that, mile 10 was rough. It was on a section of the course with the most hills. From 11 on, I didn’t know how I was going to finish. I knew I was going to…but I was pretty sure I would need a wheelchair for at least 2 weeks after. I was lucky to have no side cramps, no knee pain, no nothing. But starting around 10 or 11, my feet/toes were killing me and my legs felt like jelly.

There were 5 water/electrolyte stations, and I stopped at the last 3…One of the times I just took whatever liquid they gave me and dumped it over my head. Little did I know, it was electrolytes. Gatorade is so totally the new preferred hair gel of all the cool girls…

Our plan all along was to run together for the majority of the race, but it was every man for himself once we reached the last mile. Knowing that both of my partners were fit dudes upwards of 6 feet tall, I figured my chances of keeping up with them in a full on sprint was slim to none…which made me nervous for Mile 12 to arrive, because I knew we’d be splitting…

I started feeling terrible around mile 11. After having been the smiling face who sang out loud (and even did a little jumping leap to Frozen’s ‘Let It Go’ at one point) through most of the race, I had become silent and started taking really deep breaths. I think it was apparent that I was feeling it. Mile 11.5 ish was the point where I felt like I could cry of exhaustion and pain.

Chris (who had already run two 13 milers on the dreadmill) turned to me and told me a few things that I won’t forget: “This is what you trained for!”; “That’s 12! You’ve already ran 12 before, what’s one more?”; and “Finish strong!”

About 30 seconds later, he darted ahead lol…however, his words definitely helped. Also, the fact that he was wearing a bright blue shirt in a sea of green made him easy to chase spot! 😉 About half a mile from the finish line on the Tower Bridge, I saw my dad with his camera and my mom cheering and I couldn’t help but smile and give my mom a huge high five. If Chris got me through 12-12.5, my mom’s super charged high five definitely got me through 12.5-13.1. According to MapMyRun, I ran mile 13 in 8:14. DAMN! No wonder I felt like crap!

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my dad snapped this pic right as i picked up the pace to give my mom a GIANT high five

The finish line was on the 3rd baseline of Raley Field, and I was so excited to finish that I was leaping over orange cones on the side of the dirt path so I could pass people up. I finished, found Chris, grabbed my medal, and turned around to hug Tyler as he finished. WE DID IT!

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Post-Race

Whoever planned this run had a seriously sick sense of humor. We knew we’d finish on the baseball field, but we didn’t realize this meant we were going to have to CLIMB UP THE STAIRS to get to the food/beer/results stations. It took us a while (maybe because I made the boys pose for the above selfie….) but we got there eventually.

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We saw my parents and took some pictures, then found Yvette and Lisa who had come to cheer me on. Then we hightailed it to the concession stands to get our free snack bags that consisted of KIND bars, bananas, goldfish crackers, and Oreos. Everything tasted like the best thing I had ever eaten.

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After checking out our official times and rejoicing in the fact that we all finished under 2 hours (!!!), we were going to check out the Massage Envy station, but realized we weren’t the only ones with that idea, and headed for beer instead.

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Everyone told me what a great sense of accomplishment I would feel after my first half marathon. I knew it was going to be awesome, but nothing could have prepared me for the wide range of emotions I felt all day  Sunday. I have a feeling it will rank up there as a day I will definitely never forget.

I felt pretty weak the hours after the race, probably because I was subsisting on bananas and KIND bars, but once I soaked my legs in Chris’s freezing cold pool and got some food in me at our barbecue, it was smooth sailing from there.

I have [not surprisingly] been super sore the past 2 days. Lower back, hips, quads, shins, calves…all of the muscles!!! I walked to and from work on Monday to loosen everything up, and I’ve been doin alright ever since. I’m going to go for a quick 3-4 mile run this morning and I am excited to pound the pavement again.

After a rough year or two that has been defined by injury, health problems, a bad break up, and losing my job…it feels incredible to know that I really can accomplish anything I put my mind to.

Thanks for sticking with me and supporting me through this journey, dear readers! With how well my first half marathon went, I don’t know how another one could go any better…but if there’s any chance that finishing another will lead to me feeling like I did after this one, then sign. me. UP.

❤

 

St Patrick’s Day Weekend in Photos

So when I typed in the title of this post I thought that it sounded a little familiar… Turns out I did this same post exactly one year ago with the same title.

One difference? In that post, in my description of my Saturday morning run, I boasted that “I was running at a really slow pace (9:57/mi), so I decided to go for extra distance and broke 3 miles! For the first time since before Thanksgiving! :-D”

I ran a FEWWWW more than 3 miles this weekend…

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13.1 to be exact…

And I averaged 8:59/mile!!

I am definitely planning on posting a complete recap of the race itself, but it wasn’t the only great thing that happened this weekend! I had a serious case of the Sunday blues last night, and if Mondays weren’t my busiest day of the workweek, I totally would have taken today off to ice my legs/cry myself back to sleep because the best weekend ever had to come to an end.

It all started on Friday evening – My brother spontaneously texted me and asked if I wanted to check out our family friend’s food truck with him. They were parking at Bike Dog, a local brewery I’ve been wanting to check out anyway!

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The food truck, Slightly Skewed, has some awesome skewers. I got bulgogi beef and brussels sprouts, and split an order of smashed fried potatoes with my brother (they’re smothered with sriracha and an tangy cilantro sauce). Our longtime neighbor Ben came too and got pork belly…omg.

I also tried a half pint each of their Pale Ale and IPA. I decided to buy a half growler of the IPA to share with Tyler once he arrived!

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Tyler arrived from SoCal around 9:30 and I took him out to meet up with my friends, enjoy some beers, and see a couple of my regular Sacramento spots. It was nice to catch up since I hadn’t seen him since 4th of July when we both visited our former housemate in San Francisco.

The next morning, Chris picked us up to head to Old Sacramento for a surprise birthday brunch! My friend Danny surprised his girlfriend (our friend) Courtney. She had no idea that 20 of her friends were waiting for her at Rio City Cafe in matching TEAM COURTNEY shirts!

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I got the brisket hash and it seriously hit the spot. I was on the fence about whether I’d indulge in bottomless mimosas the day before our race, but my love of the orange juice & champagne drink got the best of me and I caved. Slow and steady was the name of the game 😉

It was an absolutely gorgeous 75 degree day. We were seated outside with a view of the river, the Old Sacramento St Patty’s Day  Courtney’s Birthday Parade came through, and we all just laughed and enjoyed ourselves all afternoon!

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Tyler and I walked the mile and a half back to my apartment (umm, maybe an even worse choice than bottomless mimosas the day before our race) to hydrate and take it easy before meeting up with more friends who were on a St Patty’s day pub crawl.

We didn’t partake in many more drinks, and split off from the group to get burritos (last minute carb loading!) and rest up. We had an opportunity for a quick reunion with our college friend Lindsey who was stopping through town, so I took them to LowBrau and we all drank ice water and caught up 😛

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We were home by 10pm with a 6:45 wake up call, so after pinning our bibs, it was off to bed!

I woke up at 6am and was too excited to go back to sleep, so as soon as I heard Tyler’s alarm go off in the other room I sprang out of bed and yelled “IT’S RACE DAY!”…I’m sure he was pleased.

After some toast, peanut butter, and bananas, Chris picked us up and we headed to Raley Field. I don’t know how the guys were feeling, but if they were nervous they weren’t showing it! I was bouncing off the walls with excitement and nerves…and also because I was freezing.

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13.1 miles later…we made it!

I’ll save the nitty gritty details for another post, but suffice it to say the race went extremely well. We stayed together most of the race, then broke off at mile 13, but we all finished within 1 minute of each other. Chris led the pack at around 1:57:08 and I followed at 1:57:37, with Tyler at 1:58:10 (major props toooo ChronoTrack).

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That being said, miles 11-13 were hard. Like, insanely hard. I knew I would finish, but I was so exhausted (probably because we were averaging <9 min/mile!) and I was convinced I would never regain feeling in my legs. Two things got me through that last mile: 1) motivating words of encouragement from Chris, and 2) a high five from my mom with about a half mile left. Even though 95% of my training runs were solo, I seriously don’t know how I would have done this without the boys. We were in it together!

After our finish line beers, KIND bars, and bananas, we went home to shower and recover. Luckily, Chris’s apartment complex has an [unheated] pool, which we lounged by while sticking our feet in. It was like an ice bath, and it was probably the best recovery tool I used all day!!

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The next best recovery tool: an end of season dodgeball/St Patty’s day barbecue! A few guys on my team asked me (the team captain) to organize it, and it was the perfect way to cap off my half marathon day. We drank straw-ber-itas, ate lots of meat (PROTEIN!) and veggie kabobs, played ladder golf & cornhole, and Yvette even brought a pinata!

I seriously couldn’t have imagined a more perfect day, and more perfect weekend.

I hope you all had a great weekend! Congrats to everyone else who completed the Shamrock’n!

For half marathoners- what was the highlight of your first half marathon?

What is your favorite drinking holiday? St Patty’s actually ranks pretty high on my list!

Fitness Friday — FINAL Half Marathon Training Update!

It’s here you guys…my race is THIS WEEKEND.

holy shit

CUE MAJOR FREAK OUT

After 14+ weeks of training, buckets of energy supplements and protein powder, hours of knee brace wearing, and many many early mornings…my half marathon is here!

To see why I chose to sign up for a half marathon, click here… and also be sure to check out training updates #1 and #2 and #3!

On Wednesday during my lunch break, I went to pick up my race packet (I knew they’d be slammed later in the week so I went as early as possible), as well as Tyler’s and Chris’s…

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forgot to customize my bib…. #fail

As I picked up our shirts, bibs, shamrock tattoos, and all.the.safety.pins, it really started to hit me. I’m running a HALF MARATHON this weekend.

I’m not going to lie to you guys- I’m really really nervous. I have had crazy dreams every night this week, which I’m convinced are anxiety-fueled.

But as I’ve talked to more friends who have run half marathons, my nerves have been calmed little by little. I know that I’m ready for this. I’ve been training diligently since December, and I’m on track to hit my pace goal. Here’s where I was last time I checked in:

Half marathon progress 2014-02-11

And here is my completed training plan!

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It was so weird only running 2 miles yesterday, you guys. I really wanted to go 3, but I convinced myself to stop at 2 because I knew I would be walking to work and that I had dodgeball later in the evening. Tapering is important!

Thoughts on my Last Weeks:

aches & pains

I’m happy to report that my knee pain has been minimal these last couple of weeks. It gives me a bit of grief from time to time on my shorter runs — probably because I’m running faster and on pavement — but otherwise it’s all good in the hooood. There were a couple of times where I was a little sore on Friday/Saturday or Mon/Tues from dodgeball on Sunday or Thursday evenings, but that’s nothing a little stretching can’t help!

This week, I ran a super speedy 5K (26:57, a new PR!) on Tuesday, skipped my Wednesday weight work out in favor of 45 more minutes of sleep and 8 Minute Abs, and a quick 2 miles yesterday. I’m hoping the extra rest will be a good thing come Sunday morning!

I’m thinking about taking Tyler on a bike ride tomorrow so he can see the course (it’s on a bike trail), but I’ve been reading that vigorous activity is to be avoided the day before the race. Any insight??

lifestyle changes

cleaneats

I have been consciously trying to put only good things into my body for the past 2 weeks, and I think I’ve done a good job. I ate lunch out again (see bottom left) at a new vegetarian restaurant in town, but chose a grilled cheese with garlic & swiss chard and a side of beans. Protein! Fiber! It could have been worse 😉

There may have been a couple of orders of fries in there (and more than a couple of spoonfuls of Nutella…), but hey, I’m not super woman! Nor do I claim to be. I feel much stronger and healthier knowing that I’m not restricting myself. Plus, lately I’ve been rationalizing any extra food I consume during the day as HALF MARATHON FUEL.

As much as it pains me to not celebrate St Patrick’s day this weekend (my Irish grandma would be ashamed), especially with Tyler coming to town to visit and run the race…Abstention (or at least moderation) is the name of the game today and tomorrow.

I did indulge in some drinks last night after dodgeball because it was the last night of the season and I’m taking next season off- but I am so glad I did, because I had a great time with my friends as always! And I was home in bed before midnight 🙂

Plus, how could you say no to hanging out at the bar with that adorable minion face?!

race day

We are in Wave #2 starting at 8am on Sunday. Not too early, which is nice! The high temp for the day is going to be 80 degrees (yippee!) but I’m anticipating it will be high 40’s-low 50’s when we run. Regardless, I’m probably going to run in shorts and a tank top because sista gets sweaty!

I think the race is going to be extremely fun, with 13 live bands playing all over the course. So much for that running playlist I made, right? The reason I signed up for a half was in large part due to how much fun I had doing the Run to Feed the Hungry on Thanksgiving- it was an extremely popular race with tons of onlookers, participants, people cheering, live music, mimosa stations… I’m expecting this race to be a lot like that 10K. There are 4 waves worth of runners, so it’s going to be a packed course!

Here are some things I’m going to try and remember for race day:

  • Don’t start too fast– this was a problem for me in my 1st 10K because I wanted to pass everyone up
  • Use the aid stations– I’ll also have some PROBAR energy chews, but dehydration is no joke
  • Focus on finishing, not the time– Though my goal is 2:00:00, I know that the real accomplishment is just finishing. I’m also going to have to try not to push myself too hard to race the boys I’m running with, haha.

Since I didn’t customize my bib, I’m also planning on writing things on my body…Possibly some kind of mantra on my hand, maybe my name on my arm/shoulder. We’ll see how I feel on race morning 🙂

Wish me luck!!!

For those in Sacramento wanting to watch the race, there’s a great page on the Shamrock’n website listing all the best places to spectate. Hope to see you there!

Any last minute advice?

Do you have any good (succinct) workout/running mantras that inspire you?

Weekend in Photos

Hellooooo March weather and Spring time!

I know everyone hates springing forward because of the hour of sleep lost (the sleep lover in me can definitely hear that!), however it is arguably my favorite weekend of the year because I love having longer days! Don’t have to lug my bike light to work anymore or walk home in the dark– yippee!

I might (key word: MIGHT) miss my pre-sunrise 6:30am runs though once it starts to get lighter earlier again. Those were kind of nice 😉 …..NAH who am I kidding?!

Anyway, let’s jump into it!

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Friday was a weird day at work- half of the office was out, we went to a weird free breakfast event so I skipped lunch, and the day just seemed to drag. So the end of the day selfie was a given 😛 I came home to my new Fabletics outfit in the mail and IMMEDIATELY tried it on – will definitely be sharing more about what I bought soon!

I then cozied up with a plate of crackers and cheese (I also had a bowl of roasted veggies) and painted my nails while watching a classic: THE PRINCESS DIARIES. Oh, a green face mask may have also made an appearance. Yep, I’m 12 years old at heart. Did anyone else have a fat crush on Erik Von Detten as a preteen??

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A chill evening in created ideal conditions for my Saturday morning run. My internal clock was still on weekday time and I woke up at 7am 😦 after lying in bed as long as I could, I got ready and was out by 9am for my run! As you can tell by the sweat, it was a HOT day. It ended up being in the mid-70’s later on and I was definitely feelin it!

It was a good one- 11.5 miles at race pace. I was actually averaging a bit slower than I wanted from miles 3-6ish, but I picked it up for the last couple of miles and averaged a whopping 8:30 for mile 11- then I spotted my friend Danielle and pretty much sprinted my last half mile (8:19 min/mi) with her boyfriend Noel 😛

This week is tapering week, so that was my last long training run! Cannot believe race time is almost here! It’s forecast to be 80 degrees on Sunday- good thing our wave starts early.

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Afterward, I walked to the Farmer’s Market to get my favorite salsa and flowers (I love daisies!) and of course a dirty chai 🙂
Then, I convinced my mom to come along for an impromptu Macy’s trip. Great/terrible decision… I love shopping with my mom, but she is a bad influence! She talked me into getting a couple of dresses. Luckily we had coupons 😉 However, I went with the intention of replenishing my BareMinerals moisturizer and left with everything you see above, including BB cream, which I apparently use now….

I don’t have any pictures from Saturday evening, but it involved one final Sacramento Beer Week event (Yummy Dogfish Head beers at BarWest), followed by a quick game of pool (props to Chris for knocking in the 8 ball 10 minutes into our game!), and an epic Beatles listening sesh. I instituted a 10pm curfew for the weeks leading up to my race, so I was home and in bed by 11!

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On Sunday morning, I woke up at 8am (meaning 7am…merrrr) to make a full farmers market trip with Yvette. It was actually kind of crazy how much cheaper some of the vendors are at the big Sunday Farmer’s Market! I might have to switch up my routine! We stopped at Yvette’s parents house afterward and got treated to breakfast (and lots of fun stories) by her mom.

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The weekend ended with our dodgeball championship game, which came down to the wire- we started off down 1-3 and pulled off a 4-3 comeback victory! (Editor’s note: we did come back to make the score 4-3, but we actually ended up winning 5-4 in an overtime victory. Ahem, thanks for the correction ALEX GRAVES) I have such a great time playing on Sundays because my team is made up of some of my closest dodgeball friends — many of whom I’ve been playing with for well over a year! It helps that Sundays are a little less competitive than the Thursday A league, and we use a smaller, lighter ball as well 🙂 Check out the play by play on the Xoso website here!

I’m now ready to take it easy this week- both with half marathon training and my social life- to prepare for Sunday’s race. Tyler is coming up on Friday night and we (+ Chris) start running at 8am sharp on Sunday morning!

Have a great week!

Do you have a favorite farmer’s market?

Any pre-half marathon race week tips?

Friday Favorites + A Call for Running Songs!

Happy Friday everyone!

I really can’t believe how fast the weeks go by when my workdays are busy. When getting through each day feels like a huge accomplishment, it kinda sneaks up on you when 5 are already under your belt!

I’m linking up with Katie this week to share my Friday Favorites! Enjoy!

Favorite Pup:

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My love for pugs is well-documented on this blog. I died when I saw this. Died.

Favorite Splurge (but not really): Fabletics

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So I’ve mentioned a few times on here that I am obsessed with workout clothes.

Somehow I came across Fabletics on Facebook last week and I realized they were having a special – all new VIP members could get any outfit for $25.99! After taking a quick lifestyle quiz, I got my suggested outfits — every single outfit was super cute, and some included up to 3 pieces! (top, bottoms, and a headband or sports bra!) I got the one above (except I chose a top that was white & green, grey/teal shorts, and yellow headband).

Unlike most subscription services, you aren’t automatically charged every month for signing up to be a VIP member- at the beginning of each month, they send you an e-mail with outfits that fit your needs/taste, and if you don’t see any you like, you can opt out. The normal price for VIP members is $49.99 per outfit, which is still a steal!

Click here to check it out and sign up – did I mention it’s free to join? #free.99 #myfavoriteprice

Favorite Text:

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You know you have a problem when you text your friend that you’re going to Grocery Outlet and she already knows what you’re going to get 😉 I’m so predictable.

Favorite Half Marathon Apparel:

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I found these two shirts on Etsy and have been surveying Facebook and my friends all week about which I should wear to the Shamrock’n Half Marathon next weekend… Which one do you think I should pick?

Favorite Visit:

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My uncle Bobby was in town from Florida for a quick work trip earlier this week and my dad and I got the opportunity to meet up with him! We were going to meet him at his hotel, but in Bobby’s words, “I see pictures on your blog every week of you drinking beers all around town…I want to get a beer with my niece!!!” Jeez, twist my arm would ya?!

We went to Tank House, a new-ish BBQ joint in Midtown. Sacramento Beer Week is still going strong and they were featuring beers from Anchor Brewing, a somewhat local San Francisco brewery. Thanks for treating us to a fun evening, Uncle Bobby!

Favorite Song to Run to:

Pharrell – Happy

Who doesn’t love this song right now? If you just raised your hand, you officially have no soul. This song never fails to put a smile on my face and a little pep in my step!

Speaking of music that puts pep in your step… I need your suggestions!

I used to have a running playlist, but it was only about 30 minutes long. This was it:

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You’ll notice it is EXTREMELY outdated, haha.

When I started running longer distances this summer, I gave up the running playlist in favor of just playing my iPhone’s library on shuffle, since that would never run out of music!

However, I have noticed that upbeat music seriously makes a difference in my pace and motivation when I run, so I am putting together a playlist for next weekend’s half marathon! (OMG- NEXT WEEKEND….)

Last night I asked my BFF for some of her favorite songs, and added a few that I’ve enjoyed running to during my long runs these past few weeks:

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Basically I will run to anything that is

  • A) motivational (Stronger, Born This Way, Survivor, anyone?),
  • B) Fast-paced (Mean and Toxic both fit into this category), OR
  • C) Happy go lucky enough to make me wanna sing or dance while I run (Happy, Marry You, and I Love It for sure!)

So, now I ask you:

What are your favorite songs to run to?

Healthy Grocery Shopping on a Budget – February Check in!

So I’ve got bad news and good news about my budget this February.

The bad news is… I went to New York for 4 days and spent a lot more money than I would have in Sacramento…mostly on some delicious food.

The good news, however, is three-fold! First off, I looked at my average spending over the last 6 months (not including February) on WellsFargo.com, and I spent $700 less in February than my average, and $1,000 less than last month (!!!). That’s including my trip to NYC (not including airfare, which I paid back in December). Secondly, I was finally paid my first installment of unemployment benefits last month, and on Monday was paid 3 of my remaining 4 weeks. This will help out a lot, especially since I took two unpaid days off for my trip, and will definitely be a welcomed supplement to my income. I have had a HELL of a time getting through to EDD on this (obviously, since I’ve been employed since mid-January now and am just now getting paid for November/December…), including about 35 phone calls in a <25 minute time frame last week to finally get through to an operator. Third and finally, I broke even this month. This is a huge victory for me, considering the 2/3 pay cut I took a couple of months ago. It means that I have started to really adjust my spending!

Anyway, I have not included the expenses from my New York trip on my budget breakdown for this month because, like last month, I basically considered them one time purchases. It was vacation, after all! Last month, I didn’t include my Macy’s card payments and a few other purchases (e.g. my replacement iPhone)…and I think that was largely why I stayed within my budget. The absence of a Macy’s credit card payment and some self control when it came to online shopping apparently really went a long way in managing my budget this month.

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I did make a pretty big splurge at Target right before Valentine’s Day (see above), and an impulse Kate Spade online sale purchase (about $150 total between the 2), but I generally kept it light on any other miscellaneous purchases this month. And besides those 2 slip ups, I didn’t go shopping!

Otherwise, I think my adjustments from January’s budget (the fact that I took half of my restaurant budget and put it into the dodgeball bar/entertainment categories) were smart. Check it out:

foodbudget february

Groceries

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I unfortunately only made it to the Farmer’s Market once this month. It was rained out one week, I was in New York for another week, and I was just plain dead from a long run the other week. I have, however, been taking major advantage of the Safeway Just4U app when I shop at Safeway. Check out how much I saved on my grocery bill when I went this weekend- I spent $56 and saved $33!

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Yes, you’re reading correctly, I got 2 jars of Nutella for $2.99 TOTAL! #score

Miscellaneous purchases included a six pack, one bottle of wine, and some nail polish and fake eyelashes from CVS 🙂

Going Out

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Stayed within my dodgeball bar budget this month! This is surprising, considering how often I end up getting the above “dinner” on Thursday nights… IPA and a basket of fries. Of course, this usually supplements a pre-dodgeball protein bar/banana/snack. OK, that doesn’t make it much better, does it? 😛

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Last week, I treated myself to my first lunch out since starting my new job. It was a rainy day so I couldn’t bike, and I didn’t want to walk all the way home (walking there and back takes up about half of my lunch hour) so I decided to treat myself! Pasta salad at at Ambrosia never disappoints…it is a lot more pricey than my usual stir fry at home though, so it may be a while before I do this again 😛

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The bulk of my going out spending this month was thanks in large part to a few birthday parties and Sacramento Beer Week. I need to either learn how to get guys to buy me drinks, or how to stop being the hero and offering to buy rounds of drinks!

This month will be a different story, as I am hereby swearing to be a hermit these next two weeks leading up to my half marathon! I am most likely passing up on a trip down south to the Democratic Convention this weekend, for fear of not being able to do my last training run or doing something stupid and injuring myself a week before my race.

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I still stayed more or less in my overall food budget this month. If you add in my New York trip, it’s a different story…However, even including my trip, I broke even, and for that I am super proud of myself! *pats self on back*

What was your last big splurge?

Getting bought drinks at the bar– what’s your secret? 😉

Weekend in Photos

Happy Monday and happy March, friends!

I’m so stoked it’s March. I am a spring + summer lover for sure…Despite the fact that California barely got a winter (drought, anyone?), I’m excited for longer days and sunny skies!

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This is the only picture I have from Friday night- a group of friends and I went to check out some Sacramento Beer Week festivities and (as I learned would soon become the norm) the event we wanted to go to was SUPER crowded, so we grabbed a beer at a nearby dive bar instead. My friend Shannon came along and I introduced her to the magical world of Snapchat 😉

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On Saturday morning, I suited up for an 11.5 mile run. I ran into my friend Liz (who’s also running the Shamrock’n!) on mile 1, and we ran our first 6 miles together. We were so busy gabbing that we ran at a slightly slower pace than I’m used to, so I decided after we separated that I would go for distance instead of speed, and busted out a 12 miler instead of my planned 11.5. It felt good overall, but my legs were definitely feeling it by the end. I will probably not do another 12 miler before the race!

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That afternoon, my mom cashed in on her Christmas present and we went to a Paint Nite event. It was a really fun time and we enjoyed some yummy beer from Drake’s Brewing Co. while we made our masterpieces. My mom is actually an artist and art teacher, so I knew hers (on the left) would turn out great… I don’t think mine was too shabby either, though!

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Saturday ended with some selfies, a yummy cocktail courtesy of Miranda, and this weekend’s bad decision: greasy hotdogs at 2am. Totally not Healthy Living Blogger approved…but guess who doesn’t care? #THISGIRL

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I woke up abnormally early the next morning and indulged in my favorite time of the week… GROCERY SHOPPING! Yep, I am that cool. I went kinda crazy and ended up buying so much that I needed to get a cart. I looked like a hot mess walking the 4 blocks home with 3 bags of groceries, a 12-pack of toilet paper, and a cup of my newest guilty pleasure (a dirty chai).

P.S. I had a BUY ONE GET ONE FREE coupon for Nutella. WHAT THE WHAT?!

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Beer Week was still going strong and I had plans to get lunch at Burgers and Brew, where they were tapping a keg of the rare Pliny the Younger from Russian River Brewing. The line was CRAZY long and most of us had already tried the beer at some point throughout the years, so we opted to just have lunch and taste some mini samplers of the other cool beers they were featuring!

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I spent the rest of the afternoon resting up for dodgeball by watching SNL. Then it was off we went! We won 8-2 (and are in the championship game next week!) and I had a great time watching the Oscars afterward at the bar. I may or may not have been belting out Wind Beneath my Wings with Bette Midler…anyone else?

What is your favorite kind of beer?

Favorite Oscar dresses? I loved JLaw, Sandra Bullock, and Amy Adams!