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

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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?

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!

Weekend in Photos

Happy Monday! First of all, thank you all so much for your nice words on my last post. It was really encouraging to hear that other people have gone through the same struggle with seeing gains on the scale, especially while training for half marathons.

On to my weekend!

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It got off to a pretty amazing start, if I do say so myself: I stopped at Groce Out on the way home and got some wine cheese and crackers (my usual Friday night routine…I’m so predictable) and vegged out all night watching House of Cards Season 2 eps 5-8. So so so good!

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Saturday morning, I was up and out the door before 9am for my first long run in a couple of weeks (No long run last week since I was in NYC, but Joanna and I did fit in a 6 mile run one day which is better than nothing!)… It ended up being a beautiful 70 degree day! I ran 11 miles again and was SHOCKED that I ended up averaging 9:09/mi, which is my goal for my half marathon pace!

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Something happened and I totally just kicked it into gear for my last 4 miles or so. I think that might have been the point where I ditched my shirt! Haha EVERY week I’ve run more than 10 miles, I’ve taken my shirt off. Sista starts to sweat! And 8:28 for the last mile?! WTF?!

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Since I woke up so early, I actually had time to make it to the Farmer’s Market for the first time in weeks. I splurged and bought myself some daffodils and a chai latte because I was feeling so happy about my run. Treat yo self!

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After 4 more episodes of House of Cards (that’s 8 total for the weekend now, for those of you keeping track) I headed out to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Good times had by all as always!

photo 5The next morning I woke up and went to Davis to hang with Roger, and more importantly his pug Pierre, my favorite little gremlin 🙂 Look at those ugly teeth! It was another beautiful day and a perfect one for a nice long walk with the pups!

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After one last episode of House of Cards (the finale! AAHHHH) and a few other various tv shows, I headed over to dodgeball where I actually got a great workout in..and looked real cool wearing my new tube socks 🙂 We played a bit of water pong at the bar and then I came home to slow down, send my BFF a weekend update email, and mentally prepare for the week.

Another good one in the books!

Do you watch House of Cards? What do you think of Season 2? I liked it a lot more than Season 1!

How was your weather this weekend? We seriously lucked out!

Confession Time: Why the Scale Sucks

Today I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons and her Thinking out Loud link-up!

Rather than simply thinking out loud like the topic suggests, I am taking a page out of my dear friend Becky’s book and using the link-up as an opportunity to reveal a confession or two.

My confession: I am insecure about my weight.

When I started running in January 2011 (just 1.8 miles 2-3 times per week, mind you!), I was unknowingly embarking on a ~1 year long weight loss journey. That increase in cardio activity, paired with calorie counting/nutrient tracking, was definitely the key to my weight loss success.

I reached my ideal weight a little over a year ago. When I say ideal, I mean it was the weight I was at when I realized I had lost 2 pants sizes and was truly happy with how I looked (and more importantly, how I felt!). Starting at 136 pounds and a size 8, I plateaued at about 119 pounds and a size 4 sometime in 2012 and stayed there for most of 2013. I was coo with that, and I feel like it’s a pretty good size and weight for my body type. (P.S. Here’s my before and after pics just for funsies!)

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at the color run in august 2013 looking quite svelte!

Since so much of my weight loss success was tied in with my running, when I decided to run a half marathon a few months ago, I figured, if anything, I’d lose some more weight.

WRONG!

Over the past 3 months, I’ve gained about 8 pounds. For those of you keeping track at home, that would mean that I have gained back half of what I lost after college. At first, this felt like a huge setback. Some part of me (brainwashed by society, no doubt) kinda liked the fact that I was under 120 pounds. Anything with a ‘teen’ in it sounds skinny, right?

But the reason I decided to run a half marathon was not to lose weight. Upon further reflection, the main reason I signed up to run the half was to feel strong. The question I’ve found myself asking myself is: What makes me feel stronger: a number on the scale, or being able to run 11 miles without stopping?

after my sub 60 min 10k!

after my first sub 60 min 10k!

Um, NO BRAINER people. I feel like a bad ass any time I run for over an hour. Every hill I climb, every curb I hop over, and every mad dash to the end of my run…makes me feel amazing.

One of the most recent times I was able to weigh myself, I looked in the mirror first. Was I happy with what I saw?

fun story: i took this picture last thursday, then took a picture of the picture on saturday to send to my BFF and pretend i wasn't on a plane coming to see her!

fun story: i took this picture last thursday, then took a pic of the pic on saturday to send to my BFF on snapchat to pretend i wasn’t on a plane coming to see her! #SNAPCEPTION

The answer was still yes. Since I don’t have a gym anymore, I do a lot of ab work. My legs are freakin’ tight and lean from all that climbing, hopping, and mad dashing. I proceeded to step onto the scale, see that I was still 8 pounds heavier than “normal”, and….did not really care.

The problem with relying on the scale to track my progress is that as my mileage increases, so does my muscle mass. Most of my weight gain is muscle. The only clothes that fit differently are my jeans around my thighs — which are HUGE and hard as rocks now, by the way.

What really put everything into perspective was the realization that even though I am only about 8 pounds away from my 2010 weight, I am still 2 sizes smaller. Basically, all of my weight is compacted into a smaller package than before, even though I weigh more now than I did 4 months ago.

There are other added benefits to building muscle that outweigh any disadvantages (pun intended). According to a recent issue of Women’s Health, one of the biggest misconceptions about women and building muscle is that if you stop weight training, it turns into fat. The fact is, muscle tissue and fat tissue are two completely different kinds of tissue: muscle by nature requires more energy to metabolize, meaning the higher ratio of muscle-fat your body contains, the more energy (calories!) it will have to expend to keep things running.  Sounds like a good thing, right?

This is a big reason why, though I still track my food pretty often throughout the week, my focus is less on calorie counting to lose weight and more on replacing all of the calories I lose on my workout days with calories from healthy protein sources. I am trying to teach my body to run 13 miles at once…the least I could do is properly fuel it!

So that’s my confession: I am not always happy with the number I see on the scale. But I am happy with what my body is capable of, and I feel so great physically most of the time that it is hard to let a big little number keep me down. 😉

How do you track your fitness progress?

Have you ever experienced muscle weight gain?

Fitness Friday — Half Marathon Training Update #3!

Haaaaappy Friday! Here I am with what may be one of my final half marathon training updates! Only 4 weeks left till my race, and I am feeling extremely confident and excited!

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!

Before I get to my update…I was really touched to have several friends tell me this week that my blog/running chronicles inspired them to start the Couch-to-5K program. I sometimes feel like my blog only serves as a journal for me and an accountability tool. I post things like my training plan and budget online not because I want to brag about how far I can run, or how little I can spend on groceries, but because it makes me more likely to stick to it.

So when my friends told me they were starting to run, I felt touched that I inspired them, but I also kind of felt like a phony — a lot of the time, I honestly still feel like a beginner myself. I decided to look as far back as I could at my MapMyRun stats. I couldn’t look all the way back at January 2011 when I started… However, I was surprised to see that there wasn’t that much of a difference in my distance and pace between June 2011 and June 2013.

Screen shot June 2011

June 2011 — 21 miles total, max distance 2.5 miles, 9:39 min/mi pace

Screen shot June 2013

June 2013 – 18 miles total, max distance 3.3 miles, 9:30 min/mi pace

This means in my first 2 1/2 years of running, I only increased my distance by about 1.3 miles, and stayed about the same speed. My running progress clearly did not happen overnight right when I started running, and I think it’s important for me to share that.

Fast forward to today — since June, I have increased my furthest distance by almost 8 miles. If you had told me in January 2013 that I would run 2 10Ks before the year was over, I would have never imagined that that was possible. Just goes to show how much I know 😛

ANYWAY, on with the training update!

Funny story- when I went to update my training log, I noticed something that I’m guessing none of you did either… I totally left an entire WEEK out of my training plan!

Check it out – after week 8 it skips from January 26th to February 3rd! Whoops.

Anyway, that’s all corrected now. I decided to cut week 1 out of the spreadsheet and start with the week of December 9th, since that was the week that I actually registered. Check out my progress:

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A couple of things to note: I had a bad head cold weeks 7-8. Running actually seemed to help because it loosened up the phlegm in my throat/chest, but I decided to skip my early wake-up to lift weights on February 1st. It was TOTALLY worth it!

Overall, I’m extremely happy with my mileage (and pace! I was taking it easy yesterday and ended up averaging 9:08/mi… what the what!?) and I’m feeling confident about only training to about 11.5 or 12 miles before the race.

Thoughts After 10 Weeks (or is it 11?):

aches & pains

My knee pain is pretty much 100% gone (!!!). It hurt on my runs this week only because I bruised it up pretty good at dodgeball on Sunday 😉 Note to self: invest in knee pads!

However, fun development- I have a black toenail now. It was really painful for a couple of weeks but now it’s just ugly. I really hope it doesn’t fall off before the race! I have been pretty nervous about it so I embarrassingly went to my friend Chris (who signed up to run the race with me and Tyler! Yay!) and warned him I was about to gross him out, then asked if he had ever had a black toenail. His response: “I have one now!” LOL #runnerproblems

the course

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The entrance to the bike trail, and the hill of death that I’ll have to endure at the end of mile 7

Nothing new here! I have pretty much mastered most of the course. I don’t think there’s any part of it that I haven’t ran (or biked) on. That is an awesome feeling.

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abandoned bike trail on my 11 mile run in the RAIN

One thing I am a little bit concerned about on race day is whether I will be able to keep up with Chris, and whether Tyler will be able to keep up with me! Haha. Chris came with me on a long run last month and we run at a pretty similar pace, but he has already completed 13 miles several times before. Tyler is only up to 9 miles in his training, but he is a fit dude so I have no doubt he’ll be fine! Can’t wait to push and challenge each other during the race…and enjoy a beer together at the end. 🙂

lifestyle changes

I couldn’t believe how much more energy I had for my 11 mile run having gotten a full 8 hours of sleep and not drank the night before. Lately it’s always been one or the other — I either have a few drinks on Friday night, or just don’t end up getting a good nights sleep. But both at the same time? I need to make this happen more often!

I have definitely been cutting down on the weekday drinking (no more wine with dinner, sigh)…it’s just better for me in general, and easier on my budget! I can also confidently say that I am following the 80-20 model of healthy eating- most of my meals are extremely clean and involve Greek yogurt/fruit (breakfast) or beans/quinoa/bread/veggies (lunch and dinner).. Breakfast and lunch are clean every day of the week, and I’d probably say on at least 4 days my dinner is homemade and plant-based as well.

That’s it for now! Have a great weekend, friends!

What is your greatest running (or fitness) achievement?

Rainy Weekend in Photos

Hello everyone- this post is coming to you from a miraculously damp Northern California! I’m no rain lover, but we’ve been having he worst drought in years in California so 3 days of rain this weekend was a welcome change!

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The weekend started with a rainy walk home from work on Friday evening. You know it’s been a long week at work when everyone in the office stands up together and leaves at 5:30 on the dot on Friday night! That’s totally what happened this week, and I was more than happy to get a breather!

I spent Friday evening at my parents house doing laundry and watching the Olympic Opening Ceremonies… Yes, I am that cool 😛

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I woke up extremely refreshed on Saturday morning but I was really conflicted about whether I should run. It was only drizzling when I woke up, but it had been raining for 24 hours and there were 20 mph winds expected. I hadn’t increased my mileage in 2 weeks and I am likely skipping my long run next week, so I knew I had to do it…

I am SO glad I did. There was only a slight drizzle for the first 6 miles and my pace was SUPER fast. I chalk that up to a nice sober nights sleep 😉 At the end of mile 6, it started POURING. The front of my shirt was soaking wet so I flipped it around… And the other side soaked through even quicker! I probably looked like a crazy person out there!

I was only going to run 10.5 miles, but my route ended about a half mile from my apt and I didn’t want to have to walk home drenched in the rain so I went 11 miles all the way home. It was INCREDIBLE! I averaged 9:15 min/mi, and that was including a couple of stops at crosswalks (my phone screen and gloves were too wet for me to pause my GPS on my phone!)…Suddenly that goal of a 2 hour half marathon time is sounding realistic!

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As I often do on Saturdays, I spent the rest of my day replacing calories however I could. Epic omelette for lunch and tilapia for dinner? Yes please! I also finally found a deal on Quest bars and nommed on one for even.more.protein 🙂 Delish! The rainy day and my long run also made for a perfect excuse to lie in bed and watch Amelie ❤ A classic!

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Saturday night involved Olympics watching and Cards Against Humanity playing. Perfection!

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Sunday morning errands… Freeport Bakery, a stop at Yvette’s cafe for a dirty chai, a Target trip (where I spent $80 on valentines goodies and workout clothes… TOTALLY not budget friendly!), and a drive out to Winters

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We ended up in Winters for Yvette’s family shindig… Her cousin and aunt organized a blind wine tasting, complete with cheese boards AND homemade Filipino food! It was super sweet to be included! And of course the Olympics were on the tv as we nommed… This is going to be par for the course for the next couple weeks for me 😉

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After food, cheese & wine, Yvette & I jammed back to Sacramento to make it back in time for dodgeball theme night. We decided on pajamas and some of us recycled the onesies from last weekend’s pub crawl…I opted to play in my favorite slippers and Yvette’s awesome fuzzy bear hat. Unfortunately we looked better than we played, and lost for the first time in 2 seasons! Womp womp.

Being busy at my new job has created an interesting challenge for me to actually plan my blog posts ahead of time since I can’t really work on them too much at the office. I did pretty well with a full 3 posts last week! The fact that I even got this post up before dark is pretty impressive. I really do love writing for pleasure and connecting with people this way, so hopefully I can keep up my schedule 🙂

Have a great week!

Do you ever run in the rain?

What has your favorite Olympic event been so far?

Fitness Friday: My Running Routine

I’ve never thought of myself as much of a stickler for routine. I’m definitely more of a “go with the flow” type of person, and I love a good surprise. However, in recent months I’ve found myself falling into quite a few rituals, and many of them involve my running and fitness habits.

Because I’m totally voyeuristic in my own blog reading (I love “Photo an Hour” posts like this and this, and I especially love seeing other people’s pantries, like when Emily posted the best.vlog.ever here), I assume that others are as well.

So without further ado, follow me on a journey through how I prepare to run anywhere from 3 to 10 miles… 🙂

First of all, every single run I’ve done since mid-November has been in the morning. When I was unemployed, that meant “whenever I woke up”, so I’d usually run around 9:30 or 10am. Same thing goes for the weekends, except I tend to take my sweet time on Saturday mornings, so sometimes I don’t get out until closer to 11. These days, I wake up at 6:30am on Tuesdays and 6am on Thursdays to run 3.1 and 5.4 miles, respectively.

how i fueled before my first 10k in september!

Until this month, I ate before every run. Always a piece of toast…usually with some kind of nut butter on it. Since I’m now waking up at 6-6:30am to run before work, I have been trying out fasted cardio during the week. I don’t really have an opinion one way or another about fasted cardio…I haven’t noticed much of a difference in my energy levels, weight, muscle mass, etc… MAYBE a little bit of weight loss, since I’m not eating before and after my runs on Tues & Thurs. It’s mostly just a convenience thing for me.

However, I always eat before my long runs on Saturday. I ran 10 miles the last two Saturdays, and I kinda think it would be foolish to not fuel before a run like that!

To avoid cramping, I eat immediately when I wake up and do the rest of my getting ready while the food digests 😉

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I use fitmixer Clean Energy before any run that is 4 miles or longer. I just like that it really is CLEAN energy: raspberry ketones, green tea extract, etc. I never feel groggy before my runs, despite the fact that they’re usually before sunrise. This stuff definitely perks me up, and I credit it for keeping my pace up!

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For the days when I’m running after sunrise, sunscreen is a MUST for me, at the very least on my face! This summer, I also started running with a hat when the weather calls for it. I had my first basal cell skin cancer on my scalp a little over a year ago, and with my family history it’s not likely to be my last so I’m not taking any chances!

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Nowadays I have been running in long sleeved shirts with a hood…AND thumb holes…AND my convertible gloves-to-mittens. Oh and I have about 6 of those headbands in different colors! They keep my ears warm, my ear buds in place, and my hair out of my face!

The funny thing about wearing all of that is I usually shed it throughout my run. I do it as like a reward to myself… “OK Katie, once you get to 2 miles, you can take off your hood…” “Great job! Now at 3 miles you can take off your gloves…” “Alright, now at 4 miles you can roll up your sleeves….”

…Umm, please ignore the fact that running has generally just become an excuse for me to talk to myself for anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes in the morning…

Also, I can’t run without music. I used to have a running playlist, but as my mileage increased, the playlist became too short and I started playing my whole library on shuffle instead 😉 These past couple of weeks I have started off my Tuesday morning 5K with Taylor Swift’s “Mean” because it is a seriously catchy and fast tempo song, and when I listen to it while running I start off at a 9:15/mi pace! I’ve been trying to break my 5K record of 27:07, but I can’t manage to break 27 minutes! Maybe I need to make a “fast running” playlist 🙂

Do we share any of the same running habits?

Do you eat before running? Any thoughts on fasted cardio?