2016, the year I ran a marathon

2016, the year I ran a marathon

Subtitle: and gained 20 pounds of fat post-race.

As I look back on this year of one of my greatest, if not the greatest, accomplishments, I beam with pride. As I look at this girl now, in front of me, with no motivation and even less muscle than when the year started, I wonder what happened to that motivation that so aptly came with January 1, 2016. While I know post-marathon blues is a real thing, I also know (and convinced myself pre-race) that I am better than that.

I find myself starting over every day. I’ve convinced myself that I’m at least making a conscious effort. I’ve forced myself to work out, if even only two or three days a week, I make my salads for lunch, even if I have a cookie to go along with it…or two or three… I know I need to go back to my routine and my healthy habits, and I know I’ll get there – I just find my head spinning in circles as to when that will happen as I quickly undo years of hard work. YEARS.

Evoke’s 30 Day Challenge, I very impatiently await my return to you.

Picking a Familiar Path, and Then Running a Similar Course

"I Guess This is Growing Up"

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Again, college is worth it for your career and life if you do it well and take the right steps towards making the most out of it. Inspired by her dad’s history as a roadie for punk and jazz bands, and her own love of music, Sara knew entertainment was where she wanted to be in terms of having a career one day. So she did the smart thing and started early, becoming the editor of the paper in high school and working for the Las Vegas Review Journal. She said that by the time she got to college, it was time to do something not on the opposite side of the spectrum, but familiar, “Since I had already had a bunch of experience with print, I chose the PR route so I could expand my skills. I ended up loving the PR side a lot more because I would…

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Run to Eat or Eat to Run?

Run to Eat or Eat to Run?

Quick update with a side of relief: doctor says my feet could just be inflamed, but at worst, show signs of plantar fasciitis. I’ll be resting for a few days, icing three times daily and upping my Ibuprofen dosage. Positive thoughts will have me back in no time, right? 

I’m a creature of habit so of course I have certain routines down. One of them is doing all of my meal prep for the week on Sundays – breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. It’s a nice stress reliever and sets me up for success every week. If it’s there, I’ll eat it. If I’m unprepared, I’m more likely to eat out, spend more money on food and eat rather unhealthy. Plus, I get more time to myself when all I have to do is pop my portioned food in the microwave.

Breakfast happens to be my favorite meal of the day. Nothing warms my belly more than the scent of eggs in a pan or bread being toasted. I typically go for two types of breakfasts – either a sandwich or a scramble. If I start my day with a workout, I’ll up my protein and carbs. If I’m getting ready to run, I’ll eat toast with peanut butter and a banana. I don’t count calories, I eat clean and am always focused on what’s going to fuel my body for the day. What’s my workout? What mindset do I need to be in? How does this food make me feel?

There’s so many cliches I can fit in here – like breakfast is the most important meal of the day, or that you need food to fuel your workout but I’m going to make it even simpler than that: I just like to eat!! Here’s a few ideas for meal prepping a week of breakfasts – try one, try both, switch up and savor the flavor:

  • Thomas Double Protein English Muffin with two sunny side up eggs, two slices of turkey, and low fat cheddar cheese seasoned with salt, pepper and red pepper. Enjoy open-faced.
    • Switch up: instead of cheddar, you can also try plain whipped cream cheese
    • Protein: up the amount of turkey or use Canadian Bacon
    • Good fats: Add a slice or two of avocado
    • Make enough for the week, wrap in tin-foil and pop in the toaster oven for a few minutes to heat up.
  • “Sara Scramble”(at least that’s how I have it in MyFitnessPal) – brown a pound of lean ground turkey, add in six eggs, a carton of egg whites and all the veggies you want. I usually go with green and red bell peppers and spinach. Season with salt, pepper, cilantro and red pepper.
    • Split into mason jars for the week so it’s pre-portioned and ready to pop in the microwave
    • After you’ve reheated, add goat cheese or feta cheese and a couple tablespoons of fresh salsa (always check the ingredients!)
    • If you’re eating after a workout, add an English Muffin, dry, for carbs.

For other meals, I really like these containers from Amazon.com. They are durable and compact, making it easy to store plenty of meals on one shelf in my fridge.

Star Wars Half Marathon Playlist

More recently, I’ve been listening to The Nerdist or just random shuffle during my runs, but as I approached Race Day, I couldn’t help but feel I needed certain songs to keep me going. If you know me, MOST of these songs should be no surprise and the amount of New Found Glory, albeit a lot, is probably less than what most would imagine. I’ll admit – I made this playlist in a hurry and I miss the days when my running list was really, really good. Thanks to a loss of …. everything …. my stored music is a little less affluent these days. But still – thanks to these runs for pacing me and pumping me up through 13.1 miles of Southern California.

  • Paramore – Ain’t It Fun
  • Kelly Clarkson – Catch my Breath
  • Paramore – Fast in My Car
  • New Found Glory – Selfless
  • Sheppard – Geronimo
  • A Day to Remember – The Downfall of Us All
  • A Day to Remember – I’m Made of Wax Larry, What Are You Made Of?
  • Fall Out Boy – Centuries
  • Paramore – Grow Up
  • A Day to Remember – NJ Legion Iced Tea
  • New Found Glory – Summer Fling, Don’t Mean a Thing
  • New Found Glory – Something I Call Personality
  • New Found Glory – Belated
  • New Found Glory – Boy Crazy
  • New Found Glory – Ballad for the Lost Romantics
  • New Found Glory – At Least I’m Known for Something
  • New Found Glory – Over the Head, Below the Knees
  • All Time Low – The Beach
  • All Time Low – Let it Roll
  • Allister – Overrated
  • Andy Grammar – Honey, I’m Good
  • The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Parade
  • Blink 182 – Roller Coaster
  • Blink 182 – Easy Target
  • Britney Spears – (You Drive Me) Crazy
  • Every Avenue – Where Were You?
  • Finch – Stay With Me
  • Good Charlotte – Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
  • Good Charlotte – The Anthem
  • H2O – Role Model
  • Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American
  • Kelly Clarkson – People Like Us
  • A Loss for Words – JMR
  • Nsync – Dirty Pop
  • Nsync – It’s Gonna Be Me
  • Nsync – Bye, Bye, Bye
  • Panic! at the Disco – The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicides is Press Coverage
  • Panic! at the Disco – London Beckons
  • Panic! at the Disco – Time to Dance
  • Panic! at the Disco – Camisado
  • Panic! at the Disco – Sell You Beautiful
  • Walk the Moon – Shut Up and Dance

Now here’s a little story I’ve got to tell…

Now here’s a little story I’ve got to tell…

Over the weekend, I took a break from training and instead participated in a 5K fun run ahead of a night of holiday debauchery – the Santa Dash. Unintentionally, I ran my fastest 5K in three years: 29:48. As I rounded the corner of the last half mile, my pace was such that I wanted to ‘kill’ everyone in my path and see how strong I could finish. (PS; ‘kill’ in the running world simply means you passed another runner and I slayed.)

I felt awesome. I ended up finishing #36 overall and walked back to my car reflecting on my running journey and how I never thought ‘just a 5k’ would be like ‘just brushing my teeth.’ Seamless, easy, routine, but not twice daily.

I should note for those that don’t know, I used to be really, really overweight. Running was one of the many life changes I’ve made that helped me shed 75 pounds (depending on the day). I played soccer for eight years as a kid, but perfected my position at Goalie so I wouldn’t have to run. When I got to high school, I quit during the first day of tryouts because they wanted me to run a mile as my warm up. 

A few years ago, a friend introduced me to Couch to 5k. Every other day, I’d spend my lunch break at the gym (and the rest of the afternoon smelly… note to self, future blog post: tricks to working out on a lunch break and not return looking like a hot mess.) The app does just as it pretty much says – helps you go from not running at all, to completing 3.1 miles (or 30 minutes) without stopping. The first few weeks went by pretty quickly and soon enough I was consecutively running 10 minutes, 20 minutes, one mile, two miles, three miles… I was unstoppable. And, I was hooked – as noted by all the different 5K Fun Runs I was signing up for.

How it works:

  • 3 times a week
  • 30 minutes to include: warm-up, walk/run combo, cool down
  • Each week, total running-to-walking ratio increases until you can run 30 minutes straight
  • The app will queue you when to run and when to walk
  • Voila! You can even create your own playlist to go along.

So, to all those who cringe at a mile, or to just running from your car to the front door during a rainstorm, my advice to you – there’s an app for that.

8 Ways to Get Through an 8 Mile Run

Training runs greater than a 10K are what start to get my nerves going. Can I do it? Ugh, it’s so far. Procrastinate, procrastinate, procrastinate. Nonetheless, it needs to be done to get closer to that end goal. Today’s mileage: 8 miles. Course: Double Diamond to Double R, to South Meadows, to Veterans, to Steamboat Pkwy and finally back to Double Diamond. A perfect 8 miles.  Here’s how I often survive the trek:

  1. Listen to a Podcast. Today was actually the first time I chose chatter over tunes. Thanks to The Nerdist, Chris Hardwick, Daniel Radcliffe, Allison Tolman and Kelly Carlin, I found myself laughing through 90 minutes of frigid cold pavement pounding.
  2. Brush up on your boy band dance moves. My playlists are known to have a few Nsync and BSB tunes so if you ever see me out on a run, don’t take it personal if I’m motioning and mouthing “Bye, Bye, Bye.”
  3. Plan an errand mid-course. Something quick like making a deposit at the bank. Jog up to the ATM, do what you need, and keep on going. Long runs take time – gearing up, stretching, recovery and of course the actual run — so take advantage of where your feet are taking you and double dip.
  4. Stare at something pretty and zone out.
  5. Count how many times you almost get hit by a car because the driver is texting. Spend a quarter of a mile cursing them.
  6. Use a gel for an energy boost half way through. In the past, I’ve used Cliff Blocks, but might have gotten too used to them as they no longer have an effect on me. Right now, I’m testing out a GU variety pack I ordered off of Amazon and find that I prefer the fruity ones over desserty ones.
  7. Channel your inner B. Rabbit and have a rap battle with yourself. If your trail is secluded enough, don’t hesitate to belt that ish out. (Side tip: if you can’t rap/talk aloud without huffing and puffing, you’re running too fast.)
  8. Run with a friend. It never hurts to have someone along the way to motivate you. Even if you both have your headphones in, their presence alone keeps you on pace, focused and finished in no time.

These Mizunos Were Made for Running

Advice is everywhere. Blogs, trainers, magazines, friends, stores… some consistent, some tailored, some perhaps the worst you’ll ever hear. The one thing I constantly hear that I couldn’t agree with more is that your shoes are the most important part of your success. I learned the hard way.

DSC_0717Three years ago, my bestie Adam and I decided to run the first ever Reno 10 Miler. And when I say “decided,” what I really mean is that three days before the event, we probably had too many glasses of wine and said “Hey, it’s only 10 miles!” Only…

Being the -frugal- person that I can sometimes be, I was currently training in a pair of black and pink Nikes that came from the running section at the Nike Outlet Store. Those count, right? By mile five, I could feel blisters at every curve of my foot and the mad desire to just give up. What the hell did I get myself into? I did make it to the finish line but not without putting out my hands and saying, “I’ll take that advice now.”

I made the trek to Reno Running Company and instantly made a connection with the team. After being fitted for some sweet Saucony’s, I was in heaven. It was like running on pillows. It was almost instantaneous that I realized running didn’t have to be painful. Running on hypothetical pillows was worth the three digit expense. By the way, I don’t think I’ve spent more than $50 on a pair of heels or other girly foot covering in my life.

Those Saucony’s took me through my first half marathon with power and stride. On my next trip to Reno Running Company, I graduated to a lesser-known brand in Mizuno and have bought nothing else since. Protecting your feet – and in turn, the rest of your body – has to be one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned as a runner. I’m no preacher, but praisith those who made protective feathers for my feet.

Getting fitted is actually pretty fun, too. I try to support local as much as possible, so RRC is definitely my store of choice. The process is simple – what will your shoes be for? Compare your feet to Godzilla’s (at least in my size 11 case). Let’s test your running style. Here’s a few options. Run around the block. Will that be cash or Visa?

To note, I ran the Reno 10 Miler again this year, and because I didn’t have to limp-run-walk-die-limp-run-walk for over half the course, I beat that first year time by 15 minutes.