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.”

It’s Better on the Other Side

I can’t tell you how to get better. Whatever it is that’s holding you back, I can’t tell you how to overcome it. I can’t convince you to stop your unhealthy habits- that’s all is up to you. What I can tell you- is no matter how hopeless your situation seems or how much it just doesn’t seem worth the trouble to “get better”—it is better on the other side.

That being said her is a little recap of my past couple of years:

I am naturally thin but my weight has gone through a 25-pound yo-yo since I was 16. The lows and the high within that range were usually when I had some pretty unhealthy habits.

[October 2012] Almost two years ago, I hurt my knee and without running and other high-intensity cardio, I snapped. It was not just my inability to run though—it was that I felt lost. I had friends and a job and I have a great family. But I did not like who I was. I have always disliked little parts about myself (sometimes I disliked myself more than other times), but something in me just boiled over and everyday I began to loathe myself more and more.

I started to become obsessed with getting smaller. I began to crave the feeling of hunger, it was like some challenge that kept me engaged in my life and before I knew it I had dropped down to the size I was when I was 14/15 (I was 19 at the time).

I knew what I was doing was wrong, but part of me just didn’t care. Part of me was proud of how I could shut up my voice of reason for the sake of being skinnier.

People say that this kind of obsession is about being able to control something in your life, but I think its the opposite—its about surrendering control of your life to an evil little voice in your head. I think because I always felt like I had to be in control that I just wanted something else to “take the wheel” for a while.

I relinquished my emotions- I smiled, but I wasn’t happy. Bad things would happen, but I Wasn’t fully sad. I was kind of just numb.

[January 2013] I got to a point where it is not an even a debate of “should I eat this”, because that voice had already told me “no.”

I remember not wanting to gain control back over my health and happiness because it was so much easier being wrapped up in the sick numbers game of “how low can you go.”

[May 2013] But then there was the “bright light” in my life (here I get a bit cheesey)—my boyfriend. I had been dating him for few months and began to fall for him more and more. He made me feel like there was so reason to care. I didn’t want him to worry about me not eating enough or not being able to enjoy the little things like splitting a sundae.

I started to see that there was to life than being numb to the world. Did I really want to be so cold all the time? Did I really want to have inverted boobs? Was I really okay with letting my body waste away?

I wanted to be happy. I was with someone who actually made me forget about the little voice in my head and I was ready to take advantage of that.

[October 2013] Skip to last October, I had gained some of my weight back and was starting to get a little bit healthier physically and was starting to gain more control mentally. I found all these girls on instagram who had changed their life for the better by restoring their metabolism through reverse dieting. They all seemed so happy and I wanted to be like them. But I was scared. I did not lift weights, I ran. And Lord knows I was not comfortable with eating more than 1500 calories a day (still an enormous leap from my 600 calorie days). I tore three muscles in my right quad and decided that was a sign to turn to weight lifting and to begin my reverse diet.

[December 2013] The first couple months were a struggle, but around Christmas time it hit me—I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with memories of how I dreaded holidays because I had to avoid all the food and questions from my family. That is not how you make good memories. And starting that Christmas, I started to feel free.

[February 2014] I stopped counting macros in February. I made the conscious decision to focus on all the wonderful things in my life. Sometimes I would still stress about hitting my untracked macros and some days I would track again- but it slowly became less and less important to me.

[October 2014] In the last 8 months I have changed my workout routine more times than I can count. Sometimes I work out a lot and sometimes I workout a little.

I no longer fit in the same clothes I did when I was in high school, but I am okay with that because I am happier and healthier than ever.

I realized there are so many wonderful things in life and there is no way I am going to let a voice diminish all the wonderful experiences I will have.

I know I could never let a voice of negativity take over my life again and that is a feeling of happiness and a freedom that I wish anyone who feels trapped in an emotional, or otherwise negative, situation could feel.

If you feel you aren’t worth the change for the better- trust me you are.

If you think it isn’t worth the fight for your happiness- it is.

We all struggle through things, but it is through those struggles that we can appreciate the greatest happiness.

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

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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.