Sunday, September 29, 2013

I Finished!


Today I ran my first marathon ever!
My goal was to finish in under 4 hours and I did it! My official time was 3:59.04. I had heard and read many horror stories about the disasters that many runners face during their first marathon. Needless to say there were many different terrible scenarios running through my mind during the first half of the race about what was facing me in the second half. But the shutting down of body functions, cramping, extreme terrible pain never really came!

Mile 1!

Mile 26!
I felt really good through the first 20 or so but then the course turned into quite the challenge. The race was advertised as a flat, scenic run. It was relatively flat, minus a few big hills around miles 11-12 and then the last 6-7 miles were very hilly and on very uneven trails. The focus became less on running fast and more on just staying on my feet. They did not lie about the scenic views, however. It was BEAUTIFUL. We were on top of some cliffs that overlooked the Pacific Ocean and we really could not have asked for more perfect weather.

Scenic Ocean Views!

Another more mental challenge I had to tackle was my GPS (runkeeper app) was relatively different than their mile markers. I was consistently 0.30-0.50 miles ahead of their mile markers, so my app would tell me I has farther along than the course mile markers. It then hit my that my average pace wouldn't match the official clock, so I had to do a bit of mental math throughout the race. I suppose this was a much needed distraction from the muscle pain in my legs.

My mom and amazing boyfriend were their to support me and acted as my "support team." They were there to hand me full bottles of water when my fuel belt was empty. Not to mention the 250+ pictures that were taken between the two of them.

HUGE Shout out to my AMAZING support crew!
I would not have been able to do it without them!
I also made two new friends on the course. I met them around mile 6 and they were hoping for a similar pace and time as me. We ran together for a long time and eventually I pulled ahead a little. When I hit the "mountain," Simon caught back up to me and we finished the race together. I think it definitely helped to have people to run with and push each other. Its amazing how easy it is to make friends with and bond with complete strangers when you're going through something as unique and almost crazy as running 26.2 miles. I hope I run into them again at more northern California races!

New Friends!
It really was a lot of fun and a great experience. I'm already in the process of picking out a spring marathon and figuring out how to improve my time to qualify for Boston 2015!

All smiles! Ready for the next one?!?!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fantastic Foodie Friday

So I was trying to decide if I wanted to link up to the "Five Things Friday" posts that many bloggers partake in. And someday, I still might. But tonight, I am a bit too tired to come up with 5 different things to talk about. So my amazing boyfriend, Jamie, suggested I do a Foodie Friday post. He's pretty much one of the smartest people I know. We recently came to the realization that we really are foodies. We like going out to different places, or even the same place over and over, and trying different things. Sometimes we even make our own creations.

Today we went to Burgers and Brew for lunch. Its a very popular burger place that also has a huge beer menu...hence the name "Burgers and Brew." I had a delicious portobello burger with tomatoes, lettuce, red onions and a roasted red pepper mayo on a wheat bun. Jamie tried their bacon and jalapeno cheeseburger. Unfortunately, I am still not used to taking pictures of everything I eat, drink and do. I hardly ever take pictures of anything in general (until last christmas, I didn't even own a camera!), something I really need to work on to make this blogging thing work! So unfortunately for this week, you get descriptions of the yummy food and pictures of the signage out front instead :)

 If you're ever in Sacramento, I highly recommend it!

My mom arrived this evening all the way from Connecticut to support me in my first marathon this weekend (ahh, I can't believe its already here!)

Anyways, we grabbed a couple of salads at Jacks Urban Eats, another local chain. They make amazing sandwiches and salads with really fresh ingredients. Their fries are pretty darn good too. Again, I failed at being a good blogger and didn't get a picture before I scarfed it down. So here is their salad logo from the menu, lets pretend I ate something like this...

My salad actually had spinach, quinoa, broccoli, black beans, feta, edamame, tomatoes and chicken. I added some avocado and garbanzo beans to it when I got home. My mom got the chinese chicken salad. They were both AMAZING and she couldn't stop raving about how good it was :)

I promise to be a better blogger and obsess about taking pictures of everything I eat, drink and do. If this foodie friday thing sticks, I will also talk about some of my favorite homemade meals, as well as those we enjoy at the hand of a more experienced chef.

What's the best thing you ate recently? Best thing you made?

Any big plans for the weekend?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Adventures of (insert cool super hero name here)

Today I was a super hero! (A nameless super hero because I don't have the brain power to come up with a cool kid super hero name).

First, I battled some cold medicine induced nausea with a rice cake and peanut butter (this has become my favorite snack lately).
Then I battled the ferocious north winds (gusting to 30 mph) during my easy 5 mile run. 

I had a meeting on campus this morning. It also happened to be the first day of classes, which meant taking on what seemed like a million undergrad bikers and drivers who forgot the rules of the road during summer vacation.

That's a lot of bikes!

And a lot of bikers!

I then fought the angry, money stealing laundry machines. Ok, they weren't really angry, nor did they put up a fight. But they do steal your money! $1.25 for a washer and $1.00 for a dryer, I cannot wait to get out of apartment living and into my own house where laundry will be free! (Minus the cost of water of course)

All of this was done while defending my body from the evil cold germs that have invaded my sinuses and are trying to sabotage my marathon. This was accomplished with the help of my side kicks-  emergen-c, cold eeze, green tea and chicken soup! We are still fighting the good fight, so stay tuned superhero fans to find out who will emerge victorious!

*Disclaimer: The ridiculous nature of this post is the result of a foggy head cold and dayquil induced state of delusion*

What evil super villains did you battle and defeat today?

What would your super hero name and power be? 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wednesday Workouts and Fall Favorites

I think I have decided that Wednesdays are going to be dedicated to non-running workouts, whether they be cross training or weight training, aka "Wednesday Workouts".

This week I am posting a strength training workout (legs and abs) from last week, as this week has been taper light on the strength training. This workout is comprised of most body weight exercises. There are three different sets, each done twice before moving on to the next.

It seems that everyone is very enthusiastic about it being fall, more so than in previous years. I have been counting down the days until fall for months, I even had it in my google calendar in capital letters. Being a fall enthusiast, I feel a bit "behind the eight ball" that I haven't posted about my favorite things about fall.

1. Cooler weather! Being born in Canada and raised in New England, these 100+ degree summer days in California are just not my thing. It also means the chances of rain are increased and there are big puffy clouds in the sky. Summers here are monotonous with the same bright sunny, cloudless days over and over. And yes, while its nice, a girl needs a rainy day every once in a while.
Pretty fall sky!

2. Pumpkin EVERYTHING! I've already talked about my love for the new pumpkin M&Ms, but i've also been burning pumpkin spice candles non-stop and using the glade pumpkin spice air fresheners.

3. Fall Decorations. Last year my mom made me a fall themed centerpiece for my coffee table. I took a picture of it and successfully recreated it this passed weekend.

This is my recreation!
4. Fall clothes. Whats better than curling up in comfy sweaters, scarves and boots.

5. Fall Foliage. Even though pink is by far my favorite color (if you couldn't tell), I absolutely love the fall colors as the leaves change. Having missed out on 4 years of a real fall while living in Miami, I have an increased appreciation for the beauty of the changing leaves.

PS - check out my "About Me"'s finally posted!

What are your favorite leg strengthening workouts?

What's your favorite part of fall? (I'm sure you've answered this a million times by now, so repeat an answer, or dig deep and think of something new!)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Treat Yourself Tuesday Link Up

A really amazing friend of mine started a blog a couple of months ago and recommended I try link ups to get myself more involved in the blogging community. (P.S. you should check out her blog, you'll love it!)

So today I am linking up with a great theme created by Olives n' Wine. I mean let's be honest, who wouldn't want to treat themselves to something special and then talk about it. Sounds amazing! I absolutely love the motivation behind it. Sometimes we focus on pleasing others so much (which isn't necessarily a bad thing) that we forget to take care of ourselves (which is necessarily a bad thing). Even if you only do something for yourself so that you have something to talk about on the link up, taking care of you, even just a little, is important for your mental and physical health. 

So here is how I treated myself today!

  • Because I have a head cold and T- 4.5 days until the Half Moon Bay Marathon, I spent the day on the couch working from home with a plethora of fluids and netflix. And of course, chicken and wild rice soup for dinner.

  • Last year, my mom and I went on a wine tour in Sonoma and I joined a wine club at the Buena Vista Winery. Today I received my September shipment! Of course that is more the winery treating me, but I paid for the wine, so in theory I treated myself and it arrived today, on a "Treat Yourself Tuesday!"

  •  And of course, what better way to treat yourself than froyo. They really need to change up their workers schedules, because the same kid is always working when I go (which is probably more than I should). I am about ready to drive farther to different froyo places just to mix it up so I don't become a regular at my local yogurt land.

How did you treat yourself today?

Any other wine lovers? Or maybe Froyo lovers? Or both?!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Taper Time and Funtastic Cupcakes

It's time to get serious about this whole taper thing. I have less than a week until the Marathon, pretty much exactly 5 and a half days. The last two weeks of "taper" have not gone well. As I've mentioned, I pretty much stink at cutting back the mileage. But this is the last week before the race and its crunch time. It's really time to rest up and let my body get ready for Sunday. I'm going to post my planned running workouts so that, maybe, by putting it out in the universe I will actually feel a need to stick to it.

Monday: (Already happened): 5 easy miles
Tuesday: Fartlek totaling 6 miles (with long warm up and cool down)
Wednesday: Arc trainer or walk
Thursday: 4 easy miles
Friday: 4 easy miles
Saturday: 3 easy miles
Sunday: MARATHON!!

Did I mention that I also seem to have developed a head cold? Yay for perfect timing! To be honest, I think this cold was a blessing in disguise because it is really forcing me to pull back and rest, rest, rest. That and consume a lot of vitamin C and chicken soup. As I wrote that last sentence, I was reminded of the "Chicken Soup for the _____ Soul" books when I was younger. They have a version for any type of person you could think of these days. So I did a quick google search and low and behold there is a "Chicken Soup for the Runner's Soul." Maybe in honor of the amount of real chicken soup that I will be consuming this week, I should buy  just bought it and will read it this week! Maybe I'll do a monthly book review?

That reminds me, I really need to come up with some sort of theme for these blogs posts. Maybe this will help reduce the amount of "stream of consciousness" that is currently plaguing my posts. My apologies...I'll make it my goal to occupy my would be running time with blog topic brainstorming time.

Today I made some yummy, funtastic funfetti cupcakes for the ladies in my program that took our preliminary exam this weekend. As part of our requirements, Ph.D. students must take a long essay exam to prove that they have a comprehensive knowledge of the theories and principles of Human Development. Essentially, you have to prove that you understand and remember the 2132908213091 articles we read during our first year classes. Its pretty much an academic hazing right of passage. But I digress...these cupcakes came out really well and they all seemed to appreciate the gesture.

Added to my "blogger to do list" during this week of reduced running, creating about me and recipes pages. Look for the recipe for these cupcakes on the recipe page, soon...I PROMISE!

Have you read any good books lately?

What are your favorite cupcake flavors?

Do you have any special "go to" cold remedies?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Today I am Choosing Happiness.

As I have mentioned, maybe more than once, this last week and a half have been a struggle. I don't think I have yet to put my finger on exactly why, but at this point, I don't think it matters. What does matter is focusing on happiness. The best way to get over feeling down in the dumps is to reappraise your attitude and choose to be happy. And yes, that is much more easy to say than it is to do. But research has shown that people who try to be happy are overall more happy and resiliency, bouncing back from the negative, is actually an important key to being happy.

The Huffington post recently posted this article about the habits of supremely happy people. Most of the time you have to take things on the internet with a grain of salt, but this article seems to be backed by a plethora of research, reporting findings from a few recent studies from the field of Positive Psychology. Being a researcher in clinical psychology, I was always a bit skeptical of this new field of "Positive Psychology" everyone seemed to be talking about. Even just the name seemed to scream "don't take me seriously." But having read a few peer reviewed papers on positive psychology theory, I must admit, I was wrong. We can really learn a lot about how to improve the quality of life for everyone by studying the positive and fulfilling aspects of life.

Here are just a few of the habits that father of positive psychology, Dr. Martin Seligman, has found to be related to increase happiness...

  • Surrounding yourself with other positive people
  • Smiling when you mean it
  • Cultivating resilience
  • Trying to be happy
  • Being mindful of the good things and appreciating the simple pleasures
  • Devoting some of your time to giving and listening to others
  • Unplugging, being spiritual and connecting with others on a deeper level
  • Looking on the bright side
  • Exercising and being outside
So now to focus on the positive events from the day:

Being pampered with facials and beauty tips from a Mary Kay consultant. A good friend won the party and invited me and a few other girls to join her. It was such a great chance to spend time with some good friends I don't get to see too often and of course, get a free facial. I had never actually had a facial before, and my skin felt so amazing afterwards. She even has me partially convinced that being a rep for Mary Kay could be a good side job to support me during grad school.

Healthy Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Muffins. I made these healthy whole wheat pumpkin spice muffins with a spiced glaze for the party. Everyone loved them! Check out my recipes page (when it goes live of course) for the recipe!

A Rainy Day. Today was the first real rainy day around here in many many months. Ever since I moved to Davis two years ago, it has hardly rained. The weather seems to always be warm and sunny. This New England girl seriously misses variable weather, and today we got it. It even thundered!

'Canes Win. Saturday during fall = Miami Hurricanes football. Today they dominated against Savannah state.

Yummy Dessert. What's better than chocolate froyo with strawberries and carob chips? I have been frequenting my local Yogurtland a lot lately. Do what makes you happy right?!

What happiness habits do you practice?

Which new behaviors are you going to adopt to increase your happiness?

What's your favorite dessert indulgence?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A full moon kind of week...

It's only Thursday, but the entire week seems to have been plagued by yesterday's full moon. While it did make for a beautiful setting during this morning's early run, it has made for a not so beautiful week, thus far.

My stress and anxiety levels have been higher this week due to "drama" at work and in my personal life. Exhaustion seems to be higher than normal and despite this, sleep seems to have become an elusive concept. Not having the extra energy needed to let things role off by back exacerbates the everyday frustrations. I am willing to chalk it up to that beautiful moon and the crazy it seems to bring out the crazy in life.

Taper anxiety seems to also be high this week. When I was a swimmer younger, I used to love taper. It meant spending less time swimming and more time playing pool games, gossiping with my friends and goofing around.

But now, it means less time pounding the pavement, working out the stress from life. I am not good at following the taper schedule, adding in extra miles far too often. Which then leads to more worry that I am not backing off enough. So to settle my worrying mind, I have convinced myself that as long as I take it easy next week, the week leading up to the marathon, everything will be just fine. Stay tuned to see how well this works out for me...

Increased anxiety not only leads to extra miles on the road, but also more comfort foods. These have been my favorites this week:

     ~ Chocolate Halo Top Creamery Ice Cream - Its all natural, made with only natural, organic  
        ingredients and much better for you than regular ice cream and most frozen yogurts. And its

       ~ Pumpkin Spice M&Ms - Not exactly healthy, but so yummy, especially when you're anxious for
          fall to arrive.

There are two days left in the week, and I am determined to turn things around!

Have you had any new comfort treats lately?

How do you push through the tough weeks?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Little Black Cloud Kind of Day

Today was one of those types of days that define the saying "when it rains it pours."

It started by oversleeping. I have been so exhausted lately from all of the miles I have been logging and it seems to be taking its toll. I decided to skip my morning run today because realistically I skipped my rest day yesterday and did an easy 5 miles to work the ickiness out of my legs from Sunday's long run.

I decided to get to work on the mountain of work I had to do for lab. Unfortunately, I fried my computer a while ago and the fan no longer works. So after about 10 minutes of use, it got so hot that the data entry I was working on overwhelmed my poor little machine. It was hot enough to fry an egg on it and was making sounds resembling those of a ticking time bomb. Having to take breaks every few minutes to let it cool down was very frustrating.

I soon abandoned this project to do some reading instead. While reading, my tea and water had gotten low so I wondered into the kitchen with iPad in hand. With a full mug and glass in hands and iPad balanced on my arm, I turned to leave my kitchen, when SPLAT went my iPad. This was the result...

This poor thing has been my life line and saving grace, especially because my laptop is on the fritz. Anyone who has ever cracked their iPhone or iPad screen can attest to the fact that it isn't an easy or cheap fix. I now have a decision to make, buy a new one or go through the hassles of getting this one fixed.

Later on in the day I decided that I should probably make lunch, even though my heart was still broken by my injured iPad. And then this happened...

Yep, that's an entire container of Garbanzo beans, on the floor. Apparently today was not the day for my fine motor skills. 

But it eventually started to turn around. My amazing boyfriend surprised me and brought me these to cheer me up...

He really is a sweet guy and knows me so well :) What girl doesn't love surprise flowers?!? Especially when they are pink!

Once it cooled down, I went for a nice easy 5 mile run to cheer myself up some more. Aside from my stomach revolting against me, it felt nice to get out and run while the sun was setting. It felt like I was getting closure on a not so splendid day. 

Here's to a better day tomorrow!

What do you do to turn around a day that seems to be nothing but frustrating?

When you wake up exhausted, do you push through and do your planned workout? Or listen to your body and take it easy?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Overachievement at it's Finest

Hi Friends! I'm back!

From procrastination nation to overachievement, I am posting two days in a row! I know, I can hardly believe it myself. But before you get your hopes up, I admit up front, I have no idea what to discuss today. I suppose I should come up with weekly topics like all the cool, real bloggers do, someday ;)

Seeing as how I am officially in taper maybe this would be a good time to discuss the psychic nature of Runners World Magazine. I just received my October 2013 issue and there was a great article about how to handle the anxiety of taper. Before my last half marathon, I thought I was going to go crazy and how no idea what was wrong with me. Every time I stepped on the pavement the rational part of my brain knew that I needed to take it easy to rest up for the race, but the emotional/crazy part of me just wanted to run and run and run.

And here we are again, taper time and the battle between the rational and the crazy. Although this time now I know that the crazy in me isn't so crazy but actually a normal crazy!

Here are some of my favorite highlights from this well-timed dos/don'ts article:

  • Don't unleash the crazy on others - warn your friends and family that you may be a little more on edge during the next couple of weeks.
  • Do have a new goal lined up for after your current race, it will give you something to look forward to (aside from the race you have been working so hard for), that this period of reduced mileage and reduced addicting endorphins is temporary.
  • Speaking of those addicting endorphins, the stress and anxiety of taper may be the result of the reduced endorphins our brains are experiencing. Because of the physiological response our brains have to these feel good hormones, taper can be equated to an addict going through withdrawal. As a psych grad student this not only appealed to my scientist side, but also made so much sense, I don't know why it never occurred to me before!
  • Do something else you enjoy! Despite what we all may believe, life does not revolve around running. Get a hobby, see a movie, or spend time with loved ones!
And if all else fails, there is always chocolate. For me, I ended my evening tonight with chocolate banana froyo in my runner girl mug with dark chocolate chips.

Amazing runner girl mug I received from
a great friend for my birthday!

There really is nothing better than chocolate when I'm feeling stressed, anxious, or happy! Who needs an excuse to each chocolate, anyways. For me its an essential food group all in itself.
Yummy "froyo" - I swear it tastes better than it looks in this picture.

What do you do to conquer taper stress and anxiety?

How do you find a balance between knowing you need to rest up and just wanting to run for many miles?

What are your "guilty" foodie pleasures?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Procrastination Nation and Future (lofty) Goals

"If procrastination was in the Olympics, you would take home the gold medal!" - my mom to me on a regular basis throughout most of my life. 

And while I hated hearing that phrase uttered by my "nagging" mother like a broken record, or so it seemed to teenage me, she was 100,000,000,000% correct. 

The latest victim of my procrastination plague...this blog! I procrastinated actually starting the thing, coming up with any excuse I could to delay the start of it. I procrastinated writing my second this post after having completed the first one. I procrastinated the "about me" page and updates that I promised in my first post. And that's just the blog related procrastinations, excluding those related to cleaning and organizing my apartment and the mountain of work for my thesis and lab work. I will break my procrastination habits...someday :)

The one area of my life that seems to have gone untarnished by my bad habits is running. Even if I am up late doing work, or have somewhere to be early in the day, I will still roll out of bed bright and early and get my run in before the day starts. The days that I don't run first thing feel so wrong. I can't think straight and just don't know what to do with myself! Maybe I'm addicted to the endorphins and can't function without them...isn't that one of the major signs of addiction? Oh well! A runners gotta do what a runners gotta do.

And this runner has decide she has gotta do the Boston Marathon. I have officially decided to set my sights on Boston 2015! My first ever marathon is in two weeks. The goal is to finish in under 4 hours, well above the qualifying time, and get one under my belt before buckling down and getting serious. I realize its going to take a lot more focus, speedwork, fine tuning of eating habits and just an over all better training plan. Hopefully connecting with the running community will help me achieve my goals, and yours too!

But for now, I am off to fight the evil procrastination monster!

Are you working towards a running or fitness goal?

Any other procrastinators out there? How do you fight the evil monster?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ready, Set, GO!

After months of debating, thinking and planning, I have decided to start a blog. I have been reading and following other blogs for a few months now, fueled by my love for food and running. I've seen how many different people have come to love sharing and connecting with others over mutual passions and I want in!

My goal for this blog is to talk about my adventures in the kitchen (hence the 'Pink Sugar'...) and on the (running) road (...'running shoes'). I am a self proclaimed amateur baker and runner. I suppose I run so that I can bake semi-guilty free. I mostly bake for other people, but you can't expect to bake for others without taste testing. After all, you don't want to serve something that doesn't taste good, right? Someone has to be the guinea pig, might as well be the chef!

I began running consistently during my junior year of college and ran my first half marathon the spring of my senior year. A month and a half later, I ran another. Needless to say, I had been bit by the running bug. And now I am gearing up for my first full marathon in a few weeks. It has become a huge passion of mine and I want to learn as much about it as I can. To read more about me and my running history, check out my "about me" section. Well, check it out once I get it up and running.

This is probably the perfect time for my first disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm doing! I grew up in the age of technology, so I am not completely unfamiliar with computers. But to say I have any clue as to how to operate html code would be an overstatement. I refuse to let that hold me back any longer, as I am already late to the blogging party, and admit that this blog will be a work in progress. So bear with me and check back to see my latest updates!

If the promise of "watching" me stumbling to try to figure out technology isn't reason enough to follow along, I also hope to use this space to discuss my navigation of the world of distance running and healthy living. My giant sweet tooth will also make guest appearances, sharing recipes and yummy creations in the kitchen.

I am aware that there are a gazillion other bloggers out there that share my motivations and themes, so heres another food and fitness blog, to connecting with those that share in these awesome, yet sometimes crazy, passions and also those who can share their passions and obsessions in return (i'm never opposed to being swept up into a new craze!).