My First Half-Marathon

This weekend I ran my first half-marathon and it was SO MUCH FUN! Now here is a little recap:

If you have been following my Instagram account for a while you know a couple things about me: 1) I LOVE to run 2) I ALWAYS get injured running. So when I spontaneously signed up for a half marathon 5 and a half weeks ago (when I was only running 3 times a week for like 3 miles each time), I set some pretty achievable goals (for me).

GOAL 1: Finish the race without injury.

GOAL 2: Finish the race without walking.

GOAL 3: Finish the race in 2 hours 10 minutes.

Now before I say how I did with those goals (although, TBH, you probably already saw how I did on Instagram), I have to say this thing was exciting for me. I have tried training for a half about once per year for the last 7 years… each time ended with injury.

I will admit, I made A LOT of mistakes in that time. And I truly believe that some of those injuries were for the best- I had a lot of unhealthy habits/ mindsets around undereating and over exercising that a bad injury snapped me out of and lead to the adoption of the healthy, balanced lifestyle I maintain now.

Okay, enough of the serious stuff, back to how it went! With the help of my incredible physical therapist (who is the reason I came back from running after a year of being plagued with injuries), I accomplished goal 1.

I came up with a pretty great expedited training plan to accomplish Goal 2. The mantra being “Slow and steady finishes the race.” And I am proud to say, I did not have to walk at all.

Now for Goal 3 (you should know I have a big ole grin as I type this), I sort of blew that time out of the water. I know I set a goal time that was really achievable for me, I trained by running between 9:30 and 9:45 pace. But I had no intention of breaking 2 hours.

Then the race started and I felt this unbelievable adrenaline rush. Seeing all these people getting out and running for the sake of accomplishing a goal or just staying active is so beautiful to me. Then to see everyone cheering for their family and friends along the course gave me this unparalleled energy. Before I knew it, I was not just on pace to break 2 hours, I was on pace to break an average 9 min/mile pace.

I ended up finishing in 1:55:53. The happy high I felt throughout and after the race made it one of my favorite experiences. I cannot wait to get out there and do it again!

Thank you to the Phoenix Marathon for the best first race experience I could have asked for, I already plan on signing up next year!

Moral of the story (because I love those)- sometimes the odds get stacked against you, but that does not mean you need to give up.

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Moral of the story #2: my boyfriend, though awesomely supportive, is not great at action shots and therefore I have no presentable shots from the race… but I am not the prettiest runner so that is probably for the best.

 

 

Her lean legs are not like mine.

I have done a really good job being happy and trying not to get down about myself or how my body looks in the last year. However, I do still struggle. As I said a couple days ago, I made a new year’s goal to continue to seek out my happiest self. I also made a New Year’s goal to run 1000 miles this year, nothing to ambitious, but something I would like to do. On New Year’s Day I woke up with my hips aching, which caused numbness in my thighs. I think it spawns from a spine deformity I have, but I am not sure and I feel like, though I could run, it would make things much worse. So on day 3 of the New Year, I have already slipped up on one goal. But this morning, after breakfast I slipped up on another one.

As I mentioned earlier, I still struggle. I don’t think about some things I used to struggle with as much. For instance, when I started eating more, I would panic each time I went to Einstein Bagels because I was so used to only get a fruit cup and coffee/ latte there (what used to be all I ate the first half of the day). But now I barely think about it when I order a bagel with cream cheese or a breakfast sandwich.

But there are other things that get to me. They get to me when I feel like I am failing or am anxious. I was feeling like a bit of an anxious failure this morning, because I was overly upset about not being able to run and because I am so anxious over my professional exam that I am taking Friday.

So as I was walking out of Einstein after breakfast, I saw a long lean girl in runner’s clothes. She had the ultra slim legs that I used to have. She may naturally have a slim figure like that, but I know I had to nearly starve myself to achieve the look. Either way- I was instantly aware of the size of my legs. That they have grown. That they are not sticks. That they have fat on them.  And as I passed the girl, she looked at my legs.

And for a moment, I was so ashamed. Why did I let my legs get so big? Why did I eat that breakfast sandwich? Why did I not run this morning? One irrational, angry question came flying into my mind, accusing myself for being healthy.

So I stopped it. Something I was never able to do a year ago and something I am very proud of. I turned the point of view from me to that girl.

What if she was looking at my legs out of insecurity? What if she struggled with what I used to? So I re-evaluated the situation, smiled at the girl, and walked out with my head held high.

What did that girl see? She saw a confident woman, with long non-stick legs, smiling and happy with all life has to offer her.

Her lean legs are not like mine. We are different. I am proud of who I am. And my legs are part of me, so I am proud of them too.

It’s okay to struggle, but don’t forget to stop and remember all the blessing in the life. Put your health and happiness first. And don’t forget to smile.

“A Smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose.”

A Recap Of 2014

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A little recap of the time between Jan 1st (left picture) and December 21st (right picture):

On January 1st, I made a 2014 goal to be happy. To actively pursue happiness. Things didn’t always go my way this year, but I was happy. Really, really happy.

I can’t even begin to express how much I’ve changed in the last year. At the beginning of the year, I was still working on getting myself to an appropriate amount of calories. I had already made the big jump to the 2000s and was gearing up for 2200+. Of  course my ultimate goal was to stop counting, but that was something scary to be conquered later. Today, I am no longer obsessed with numbers. I eat what I want, when I want- while emphasizing a healthy balance.

In the left picture, I worked out about 5-6 days a week. I ran some days and was really making huge progress with my weight lifting. I haven’t been working out a whole lot lately (seriously, only about 50 body weight squats a day) and that’s okay! I know I need to start working out again, because I feel so much better when I do, but my focus the last couple weeks have been to study and when I have a free moment, to spend it with family and friends.

In January, there were so many things I wanted to change about myself, but more than anything, I wanted to learn to love my body. Today, there are things I want to improve on (such as entering the gym again), but I’m also very okay with who I am.

In January, my body image was terrible on days I went off my macros or didn’t go to the gym (see the banana incident here), but I learned from those days (see pretty much any of my prior posts). Now, I have bad body image days, who doesn’t, but when I do I certainly don’t starve myself or take any extremes. In fact, it has been 1 year and 9 days since I intentionally went to an extreme just because of a bad body image day.

I transformed more mentally this year than ever before and for that I am grateful.

I am grateful for my health. I am grateful for my happiness.

And I am grateful for the wonderful people in my life that have supported me throughout this journey to regain my health and who I am (I am looking at all of you awesome people!).

2014 really wasn’t about the physical changes, it was about my mental transformation. A transformation I plan to embrace and adapt with for the rest of my life. If my goal for 2014 was to be happy, then my goal for 2015 is to stay happy, to spread happiness, and to continue to seek out what it means to be the best version of me.

2% Milk and the Little Victories

If you follow my Instagram, you may notice something missing from it lately- pictures of myself. I have been in a bit of a rut lately. I have bogged down by a busy school schedule, back-to-back-to-back injuries that prevent me from running or doing leg workouts, and now I have been sick for nearly two weeks. I may just be making excuses. I honestly can’t tell. My anxiety has been at an all-time high and I cannot seem to identify the source. Nevertheless, my body seems to be aware of the rut and now whenever I look in the mirror I just think- “meh.”

But I know I can’t do this to myself! I need to step back and do some re-evaluating and I seem to do that best in the form of a blog post because I feel the need to be as honest as possible on here.

I live an extremely blessed life. I am doing well in my master’s program because the material is just coming easier to me than any school material has in years. I have an incredibly supportive family and boyfriend. I have a job waiting for me when I graduate. And yes, I have had some unfortunate circumstances regarding my physical health recently, but it isn’t anything permanent and although I am not pleased with my body, it still by no means looks bad. I have not gone back to any restrictive eating habits (even though in all honesty I have thought about it), in fact I even conquered a food fear I did not realize I still had—2% milk.

Do you ever think about how we strive to improve and then slip into a comfortable habit once we have seen a noticeable difference? Well that little realization smacked me flat in the face when I was at Starbucks last week and ordered a nonfat latte only to hear, “We are out of skim milk—is 2% okay?”

I froze. Anxiety flooded over me. You would think someone just stripped me of my clothes and asked me, “You are going to have to run across campus naked to get your clothes back—is that okay?” All this over MILK. Really?! After a several second pause where I considered just walking away, I finally said that 2% was just fine.

I sat waiting for my latte and realized I hadn’t had 2% milk since junior high. Not in a milkshake or coffee drink. Nothing. Unless it was unknowingly baked into something, I hadn’t drunk it. I began to feel a bit proud of myself because there was a time when I would have walked away, but instead I just accepted it and moved on. I know the whole ordeal was silly, but it was yet another reminder that is always important to strive to better yourself and take time to reevaluate where you stand.

The point is I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and entirely appreciate of the beautiful things that surround me. So here’s to going out there, living life to the fullest, and celebrating the little victories!

Setting Priorities and Enjoying Vacation

This will probably be a part 1 of 2 thing… BUT here it goes!

In three days I leave for a cruise to Mexico. In order to prepare, I have admittedly been eating less processed foods and working out a bit more than I had been a month ago. I was just trying to peak on my confidence in a bikini. I wanted to be as “firm” as I could when I went on vacation. And this thought has me torn. Do I not think I look good enough in a bikini now? Is it some crime against humanity to have a little meat on my bones? Why did I instantly think “vacation- oh better slim up”?

I don’t think there is anything wrong with what I was doing physically (If you want to eat a little healthier to firm up a bit before a beach vacation then great- just don’t kill yourself doing it), it was more of the mental pressure I was putting on myself. I hit a breaking point when I went bathing suit shopping and all the bathing suits didn’t cover any of my butt and pinched at fat I didn’t want to believe I had (seriously though, why is the bathing suit trend to have 75% of your ass hanging out? I don’t get it…) and I started crying. In a target dressing room. Definitely not my proudest moment. 

So I called my boyfriend that night and let it all out. I said I hated that nothing fit and that I work so hard and my hard work just doesn’t show. I said I was dreading getting in the bikini and that I had initially wanted to get a “cute poolside bikini picture” but now that was out of the question. And here is what he told me: “Do you think Beyonce or J Lo fit in those itty bitty size bikinis?! Do you think they can get just any old pair of jeans or bathing suit bottoms? They are not the smallest women, yet they have some of the best bodies in the world! They have fat and muscle and look AMAZING! And so do you. Plus who says you have to be an extra small or a small to wear a bikini?! Just go up a size! You look incredible and you are healthy.” My rebuttal was that he was right, I just wished my size was more muscle and less fat. 

Less fat for this vacation. Looking firmer for a picture. Becoming “bikini ready”. And now I am sitting here thinking, “who the heck am I trying to impress?! Am I trying to get an effing swimwear modeling contract on this boat?!” Uh no…

So now I am re-evaluating and putting things in perspective. I have fat, but really nothing even close to excessive… just a healthy amount. I am also happier than I have ever been. I also am going on this vacation to have fun with my boyfriend, who thinks I look great in a bathing suit. And why did I want a poolside picture? To post on Facebook/ instagram- BUT WHO THE HELL AM I TRYING TO IMPRESS ON SOCIAL MEDIA?! Nobody. That’s who. I need to not focus on impressing others and just focus on having a great time.

The only reason I want pictures now is to remember this amazing weekend. And if I post them awesome! If I don’t who cares?! I am happy, in love, and going on a cruise with my favorite person… that’s a whole lot more important than having a poolside pic that shows off a six pack (that I most likely will never have-but I am cool with my tummy as is it because it isn’t half bad).

NOW WITH THAT BEING SAID, this is how I plan to enjoy my vacation:

Phone off and away

Working out ONLY if I want to

Eating what I feel like (without over-doing it- no tummy aches from over-eating!)

Enjoying poolside drinks

Dancing my heart out at night

Putting away school work 

Not giving a flying f*ck what anyone else thinks (except my boyfriend, but he loves and supports anything that makes me happy- so I don’t need to worry about that)

ROCKING THE HELL OUT OF THE BIKINI BECAUSE I SAY SO AND NOT BECAUSE I FIT SOMEONE ELSE’S STANDARDS

Chai Spiced Cinnamon Roll French Toast

No I am not kidding. Yes it is a thing. And it is healthy. And it is perfect. It will take you a lot of time. It is worth it.

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Dough

¼ c water

¼ c unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or go bold with some coconut milk)

3 tbsp sugar free maple syrup (or agave nectar or regular maple syrup or honey)

a few dashes of sea salt

1 (¼ oz packet) yeast (about 2 ¼ tsp)

1 tbsp butter substitute (I use Smart Balance light with flaxseed OR for a coconut theme go for coconut oil), melted and cooled to room temperature

1 large egg, room temperature (or to make it vegan, a vegan substitute should be fine)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp maple extract

½ tsp of almond extract (or if you are koo-koo for COCOnut then use 1 tsp of coconut extract)

2 c whole wheat pastry flour, plus (quite a bit) extra for kneading

Filling

½ tbsp butter substitute (once again I use Smart Balance light with flaxseed or coconut oil), melted

¼ c sugar free maple syrup

1(ish) tbsp ground cinnamon

 

French Toast Coating:

½ cup of egg whites (or two eggs)

¾ cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

¼ T of vanilla extract

¼ T of extract of choice (almond, maple, or coconut)

½ – 1 T of chai mix (for the recipe I used, click here)

 

Le Steps:

 

  1. To prepare the dough, combine the water, milk, maple syrup, and salt in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 40 seconds or until warmed (about 100-110°F, make sure it is warm enough).
  2. Wisk in the yeast, and let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes until frothy (this is a word the original recipe used but I witnessed no frothiness, maybe I just didn’t warm the mixture enough).
  3. Wisk in the butter substitute, egg, vanilla, maple, and almond extracts. With a wooden spoon, stir in ½ cup of the whole-wheat pastry flour at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. (It took mine about a cup and a half)
  4. NOW LET THE KNEADING BEGIN (I hope you have strong hands because this takes a while): I kneaded the dough in the bowl because I have a large nonstick bowl, if you don’t then knead the dough on a well-floured surface. Continue adding dough (slowly) while kneading until the dough stops absorbing the flour and the dough springs up lightly when pressed you’re your finger. This took me 10-15 minutes.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball. If you kneaded the dough on a floured surface, the coat a clean, dry bowl with nonstick cooking spray, and roll the dough ball around inside until completely coated. Place a clean, dry towel over the top, and leave the bowl in a warm draft-free spot to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  6. Roll out into a 15” wide by 10” tall rectangle on a nonstick surface (to achieve this, I floured a thin, flat towel). Brush the surface with the melted butter, leaving a 1” border on the two longer edges. Whisk together the maple syrup and cinnamon, and brush on top of the melted butter, still leaving a 1” border on the two longer edges. Carefully roll the dough into a log, starting at one of the longer edges and rolling towards the other longer edge. Refrigerate the log for 20 minutes.
  7. Lightly coat two 9” or 10” round baking pan with tall edges with nonstick cooking spray. Drizzle some additional maple syrup and cinnamon on the bottom of the pans. Using unscented dental floss (DO NOT USE A KNIFE- I didn’t have unscented floss so I literally used mint floss that I cleaned the mint off of), slice the log into 10-12 (I like mini cinnamon rolls so I think I made 14) equal rounds. Drape a clean, dry towel over the top, and place in a warm draft-free spot to rise for 60 minutes or until doubled in size.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Once the cinnamon rolls have risen, drizzle with MORE maple syrup and cinnamon, and bake for 14-18 (if you make them small, they require less cooking time) minutes, or until the top feel firm to the touch. Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before serving (unless you are French toast-ifying it, then read on)
  9. Let the cinnamon rolls cool completely in a shallow bowl, compine all the “French toast coating” ingredients.
  10. Cut a few cinnamon rolls in half and dip both sides in the coating.
  11. Place the cinnamon rolls onto a heated (and cooking spray coated) pan (I cooked mine on just higher than medium heat)
  12. (optional) To give them additional crispiness, bake them in the over at 450 F for a couple minutes
  13. top with whatever pleases you and enjoy!!

 

For the inspiration for this recipe, click here.

If you are lazy, just use bread and the glorious french toast mix. If you hate french toast (weirdo), but love chai then replace the cinnamon in the cinnamon roll recipe with chai mix! This recipe is versatile- I gave it underlying almond flavor, but you can also give caramel or coconut flavors and it should turn out really tasty too!

 

Reclassifying

“If you see the world and yourself through a lens smudged by negativity then you’ll find much misery. If you look outwards and inwards through lens brightened by positivity you’ll find much to be happy and appreciative about.”

I haven’t written in a while and I regret that, but life caught up with me and sadly I didn’t have time to post anything.

A few little updates before I reveal my revelation. I started intuitive eating on February 1st and have found it remarkably freeing. It causes me anxiety often and I do keep a slight mental count of what I am consuming, but all in all it is nice not having to record everything. It feels like I am sort of feeling “normal” again.

I have also gotten so busy with school, work, and the organization I volunteer with that time to workout has all but disappeared. I still plank for at least 5 minutes a day with a 5 minute bridge hold, but instead of having the goal to workout for at least 90 minutes 6 times a week, my goal is to workout for 60 minutes 4 times a week.

Through all of my chaos I have had a revelation (REVELATION TIME!!):

I (and this goes for you all as well) am in control of me. I have thought this before, but I don’t think I really understood or practiced that control to its full extent.

I still freak out sometimes about silly things. For instance, I nearly had a panic attack because I ate an entire banana with my Greek yogurt after my weight workout and I didn’t go for my run. A voice in my head told me I didn’t deserve the banana because I didn’t run. How silly does that sound?! I mean it’s a little banana for goodness sakes! Its good for me!

I vocalized why I had gotten so anxious (and was crying) all of a sudden to my boyfriend and before he could even say anything—I started laughing. I was essentially crying over a banana. And I know that the reason I was able to get so upset over a banana goes so much further than the fruit itself, but in that moment, all of the mean thoughts that have plagued me for so long just seemed so menial—laughable really.

I am not saying that those issues with food and body image are a joke, but I am saying that we can reclassify the negatives. We do not have to give in to an irrational voice that wants nothing more than to harm us.

Rather than letting those negative thoughts control us, laugh at them, fight and force them out with positivity.

There was a time when that banana would’ve ruined my day, but after giving it a good laugh, I had a near-perfect evening. So I challenge you to reclassify the rough stuff:

Why see going out to eat as something scary? Reclassify it as an opportunity to enjoy time with the ones you love (or if you are like me, as a time to catch up with a good read).

Why dread working out? Reclassify it as something to make you feel your best and become a stronger person.

Why stress over school or work? Reclassify is a chance to learn and better yourself through hard work.

I know these types of things are easier said than done, but positivity is always worth a try and you may just realize how much more you enjoy life when you turn the negatives into positives. After my first round of tests this semester, I realized exactly how real the power of positivity was. I didn’t let myself get overly stressed out and I lived in the moment of my studying rather than let myself become overcome with anxiety. I was more productive and far happier. 

I love feeling like, though I can’t control the stressors in my life, I can control the stress I feel. I handle things as they come and know that the only things that define me and my happiness are the thing I let control me and my happiness. So take a deep breath and trying looking at the world through a positive lens.

“Get going. Move forward. Aim High. Plan a takeoff. Don’t just sit on the runway and hope someone will come along and push the airplane. It simply won’t happen. Change your attitude and gain some altitude. Believe me, you’ll love it up here.”

Life is meant for LIVING.

“Don’t exist.
Live.
Get out, explore.
Thrive.
Challenge authority. Challenge yourself.
Evolve.
Change forever.
Become who you say you always will. Keep moving. Don’t stop. Start the revolution. Become a freedom fighter. Become a superhero. Just because everyone doesn’t know your name doesn’t mean you dont matter.
Are you happy? Have you ever been happy? What have you done today to matter? Did you exist or did you live? How did you thrive?
Become a chameleon-fit in anywhere. Be a rockstar-stand out everywhere. Do nothing, do everything. Forget everything, remember everyone. Care, don’t just pretend to. Listen to everyone. Love everyone and nothing at the same time. Its impossible to be everything,but you can’t stop trying to do it all. Make this moment your reckoning. Your head has been held under water for too long and now it is time to rise up and take your first true breath.” -Brian Krans
I have done some incredible things in my life. I have been to more countries than I have states, which has resulted in endless adventures. I have sky dived, cliff dived, been on a canyon swing, climbed Mayan Pyramids, and even swam in the Blue Grotto!
This past summer I backpacked through Germany, Austria, Belgium, and Spain- an experience that SHOULD HAVE topped them all. I don’t want to live my life with regret and though there are a few things I have done that I am not proud of, I also feel I learned a lot from them. My back packing experience, however, is probably my greatest regret.
I saw some of the most incredible cities and sites but I did not care- I let my anxiety take over my trip and I severely diminished the experience for both myself and (for the real reason I regret how I treated the trip) my brother. Even if part of the experience involved bad luck, I can not deny that the real problem was my bad attitude.
The previous summer I studied in Florence, Italy and had the best six weeks of my life. I had a very anxiety filled year leading up to that experience, but I still allowed myself to let loose and enjoy every moment of my trip. The attitude I upheld during my study abroad experience is the one I will carry with on all my travels from here on out. I want to live, experience, and thrive.
Life is too short to hold back and be bitter. There is so much to see and learn in this world and you simply will put a hindrance on living if you let a negative attitude determine your outlook. Smile and experience all that you can! Take risks, be bold, travel, and try to discover all you can about yourself and the world around you because chances are, you will like what you find!
And a quick montage of my travels the past few years (I don’t have many pictures from my back packing trip because my camera broke on the third day):
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The Perfect Weekend.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

This weekend was so perfect it didn’t seem real. I took three days in a row off of work. I killed my Friday back workout.  I took Saturday as a much needed rest day. I destroyed legs on Sunday. I didn’t count macros. I ate healthy and not-so-healthy foods that I love and I am positive I met or exceeded my calorie goal of 2200.

I spent the entire weekend with my boyfriend (we didn’t get much time to relax together over Christmas break because he was busy studying for his CPA exam): we watched movies, went Costco sampling, had a party with friends, ate pizookies, went to incredible restaurants, and just RELAXED— a serious fairytale weekend.

I didn’t worry about if I was eating too much or too little. I didn’t care about if I looked “fat.” I was so far from self-conscious. I was simply comfortable with myself in the moment.

There is so much more to life than an obsession with size, weight, calories, and how much one can exercise. I love to workout. I really do, but when I don’t take to take the pressure our of working out—I begin to hate it. Last weekend I was dreading my workouts because I went too long without a rest day. I was working out because I felt like I had to and not because it was something I wanted to do. Since my rest day, I can honestly say I ENJOYED my workouts.

My point is life is about LIVING. Take time to enjoy the little things and spend time with the ones you love. Take time to focus on yourself sometimes and be sure to live in the present.