Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Birthday feet

Twenty-eight years and two days ago a beautiful thing happened. Yours truly was born! Two days ago I celebrated my birth with a 10 mile run. It was not as beautiful.

By "it" I mean both the run and my feet. I nearly had a mental breakdown at about mile 7.5. I was tired, facing yet another hill and my feet were burning! By the time I reached the top I wanted to cry. Literally.

Side note - I don't know what the deal is. I've never had issues with blisters or calluses before (I'm actually not entirely sure which one I have). My shoes aren't new. And the new, non-cotton, running socks I bought in an attempt to remedy my funky feet were of ZERO help. Tips anyone? I'm all ears.

By the time I reached mile 8, I'd had enough. All I wanted to do was stop, flop onto my stomach and kick and scream and cry like a two-year-old. I mean, I was mad! Instead, I acted like the twenty-eight-year-old that I was an told myself to, "Suck it up!" As it turned out, anger was just what I needed to power up THE NEXT hill. And my desire to get that freakin' run over with got me through the last mile or so.

The results - sore calves, a sore right hip and a super sore...shoulder? Your guess is as good as mine. The good news - there's nothing better than a little yoga and a bloggy rest day to recover.

Since my birthday run wasn't the most fabulous, I figured I'd give P's a try! (Don't let her fool you - she's anything but average!)

And since you probably don't want to see a picture of my feet, how about a couple from my birthday dinner last Saturday night?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I'm doing it for the kids

First off, a confession. I made a mistake. The Team Challenge Sports Basement discount event is on Sunday, November 14. (As opposed to THIS Sunday, November 14.) So now you have plenty of time to email me ( and request an invite!

Now for my second confession. I have been secretly toying with the idea of running a half marathon before the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon. (The one I've been officially training for.) My mileage is on track, and I'm anxious to get out there! I have been holding off, biting my tongue and quietly pleading with my hip to play nice. At the risk of jinxing it, I'll go ahead and put the following statements in writing: My hip has been feeling really good! I think I can do it!

I'm also interested in signing up for some hills. Yes, you read me correctly. After all the Benician hill running I've done, I've actually come to, that's not the right word...tolerate them. I figure I'll take it easy on Half Marathon #1 and see how I do. With more time and a flat course I can only do better in Vegas, right?

So here's my dilemma. I was fully planning on the US Half Marathon on 11/7. BUT THEN an email landed in my inbox this morning advertising the Malibu International Marathon on 11/14. (Of course I'm looking at the half). Here are my thoughts:

Malibu International (Half) Marathon

  • Well, I'm just way more interested in this one. I've been to San Francisco before. And I've run along the bay and across the Golden Gate bridge in 4 other races. Been there. Done that. It's lost it's thrill.
  • Let me start with a disclaimer: I fully recognize that they're all good causes. BUT. I like the Malibu charities better. Most of them have to do with kids. Education, kids with cancer, at risk youth, running programs for girls etc. I tend to get pretty on board with children related charities.

  • There's 9 aid stations, instead of 6, and they're serving coconut water! I can't seem to find the US Half Marathon fuel info, but if I were to wager a guess I'd put my money on Cytomax. Ewww...Cytomax.

US (which really means San Francisco) Half Marathon

  • Okay, I just checked, and there comes my third confession. The charity is St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

  • When it's all said and done, this will be cheaper.
  • I wouldn't have to persuade Jason that we need to go on a running related trip to Malibu.

What's a girl to do?! I need your help!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sports Basement Discount for Charity!

Get free lunch and 10% off your purchase at Sports Basement in Walnut Creek on Sunday, November 14 between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm. Another 10% (on top of your personal discount) will be donated to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation through Team Challenge.

If you're interested, shoot me an email at and I'll send you the Evite.

Digesting vacation

I'm back again! From the land of family, food and air conditioning.

Jason and I were in Pensacola, Florida since last Friday visiting his family. It was a nice break from the real world, as all vacations are. And we didn't do much besides eat, sleep, read and watch television. Just to be clear - this is exactly my ideal vacation. "What about sight seeing?" you say. No. I'm not into that.

Did I mention we ate? Oh boy did we eat. Pizza, cake, bacon, cookies, danish, more pizza, pumpkin pie, ice cream, hamburgers, french fries, milk shakes, more pie, and more ice cream. Among other things. Then I topped it off with an entire Chipotle burrito bowl on the way home from the airport yesterday that I'm still digesting. As pleasurable as it was, my body was definitely ready to get back into the swing of things today.

The good news is I was able to squeeze in my long run (9 miles) Thursday night before we flew out. And it felt great! I realized that I really like running at night. I might call this time of day evening during the summer when the sun stays out longer. But at this stage of the year, it's definitely night. And I have decided. Running at night is far better than running in the evening. Even if the time on the clock is the same. Only bummer is not being able to see (eh, details).

I was also able to squeeze in a run (6 miles) in Florida and make it back in time for yoga yesterday.

I made it to one of these twice in Florida. Once because it happened to be 3 miles into my 6 mile out and back run. And then again the next day to eat.

And there you have it. You're all caught up!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Turn that frown upside down!

I'm 'chicken pecking' this post. Typing with my right hand only. Because of this bad boy.

I sprayed hot oil all over my forearm flipping over a fish filet tonight. I can assure you there was much yelping, cursing, and maybe even a few tears. But I survived. Not only that. I refuse to drink from my glass half full of poison! Instead I will focus on the ingenious engineering behind the contraption (displayed above) that kept my arm iced all evening.

I will also focus on the marvelous product of my blood and sweat. (Not because I intend to become a food blogger, but to reassure myself that my sacrifice was not in vain.) Tilapia, kale, gold beets, walnuts, balsamic red wine reduction and goat cheese. Mmm!

Also-I will not complain about the poorly marked Team Challenge group run routes! So I ran past the turnaround for the second out of two runs this past Saturday morning? No problem. It makes for good post run fodder. I should listen to my teammate that said, "We need a GPS tracking device for Laura!" Perhaps it's time I bought myself a Garmin?!

Instead, I'll tell you about what an awesome run I had. I managed to keep up with a couple other runners this time, despite the extra distance and the rumbling in my tummy. No need to even mention how my antibiotic induced nausea progressed to full fledged diarrhea and vomitus Saturday afternoon. No need. (Who advertises their bowels over the internet anyway?) All that matters is that my affliction AND those meds are gone!

Gone in time for Tuesday yoga. And what a fabulous yoga day it was. One of the best I've had in a long time. Not only that. How big is the pain in my ass? Today I'm a 0/0!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Would you like fries with that?

Over the last several months I have lost around 15 pounds. And I feel very content with where I'm at now. Actually, I feel great. I have more energy, run faster, and love my body (with the exception of that pesky hip).

Let me tell you how I did it. I did not go on a diet. I did not count calories. I did not cut out all "bad" foods. In fact, I give myself one dessert everyday. At one point I baked a chocolate cappuccino cheesecake, with the intent of eating one piece and unleashing the rest on my co-workers. But then I decided I'd eat just one more piece before taking it into work. I did this for a few days before I said to myself, "Face it Laura, you're just going to eat this whole thing yourself." And that's what I did, at the rate of one slice per day.

I did cut out foods I knew I could live without. Like potato chips, fast food and that near-daily Starbucks white chocolate mocha. I also made a point to listen to my body. If I'm hungry, I eat. If I'm not hungry, I don't eat. If I'm full, I stop eating. Without consciously choosing to do so, I began eating less.

My objective all along was not to go on a diet that I would one day go off. Instead, I wanted to make a sustainable lifestyle change. I know I cannot part with sweets so I don't pretend that I will. This helped me kill the food angel and devil sitting on opposite shoulders. You know the ones that sound like this:

"Oh! Those french fries smell so much better than the salads!"
"No, you cannot eat french fries again today."
"What's the big deal? You know you want them."

I don't even think about it now because I already made the decision. Fries? No. Brownie? Yes. Second brownie? No. Piece of wedding cake, even though I already ate a brownie? Of course. I never pass on wedding cake.

On the exercise front, I vowed to run 1 mile a day. It's hard to make excuses to get out of 1 mile. Too tired? Please. It will take 10 minutes. Of course, my running has taken off a bit since this initial vow. But not for the purpose of burning calories. I have always been one to say, "I can't run 30 minutes a day, just to run 30 minutes a day." I like setting goals, putting together my training plans and the feeling of accomplishment that comes along with meeting those goals.

So that's what I did. Losing the 15 pounds or so (I say "or so" because I didn't actually get a good start weight) was actually easy. I lost it at a very reasonable rate of about 1 pound/week and then I stopped. I took this to mean I had reached my ideal weight. Interestingly (or perhaps not so interestingly, but rather logically), I am now at the weight that I was at through much of high school and college. I have weighed less and (obviously) more, but it all probably averages out to my current weight. Beautiful.

You would think that's a good end to this post. But it goes on...

When I was back in Colorado the other week I had this conversation with my mom:

"You look like you've lost a lot of weight."
"I have lost weight."
"How much weight have you lost?"
"Around 15 pounds or so."
"You're not going to become anorexic, are you?!"
"Mom! I'm eating RIGHT NOW." (I was eating lunch when we had this conversation.)
"I know. That's why I said, 'You're not going to become anorexic, are you?'"

While this conversation makes me laugh, I sometimes feel there is a societal double standard. If I eat a burger and fries for lunch and watch TV all evening, I'm overweight and unhealthy. If I eat a salad and go for a run, I'm anorexic. This is an exaggeration of course, but highlights the issue.

I bring this up after reading this article, basically describing healthy living bloggers as promoters of eating disorders. Needless to say, I find it infuriating. If I were a better person perhaps I would value it for initiating a discussion on balance. For me balance means (among other things) trading french fries in for brownies.

What defines balance in your life?

Friday, October 8, 2010

My glass is half full...of poison

I feel like my last several posts have reeked of negativity. So, naturally, I will keep with this theme.

I had an awful week! You already know about my unfortunate yoga practice on Tuesday.

Then I almost lost it at work on Wednesday. I had to console myself privately with phrases like, "Just breathe Laura. Just calm down and breathe." I blame my near loss of cool on a co-worker I will, well, not name because this is the internet after all. Anyone who knows me in real life will, undoubtedly, know who I am talking about. And you will also secretly wish I had lost my cool. Because, let's face it, no one likes nasty, unnamed co-worker.

Thursday I developed an(other unnamed) affliction. I will spare you the gory details and share just a few bullets:
  • It's not serious. So that's good.
  • It is uncomfortable and somewhat inconvenient (Read - As of now, I still plan on going to the Team Challenge group run tomorrow morning, but I'm a little worried about how running for longer than 30 minutes is going to go...especially with the fever I appear to be developing.).
  • I am now on prescription strength antibiotics.

Okay. Now that that's out of my system, I'll try to drink a little from the other half of the glass.

How big is the pain in my ass? I dare say my hips are at a 0/0. (I should clarify that the pain I experience is muscle pain and not joint pain.)

It's Friday. Which means I don't have to work for the entirety of the next two days.

I noticed this little rose peeking out from behind the fence just outside our kitchen window this afternoon. Can you believe it grew that tall? Credits go to Jason, my husband and gardener extraordinaire!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Weighing the pain in my ass

More on the topic of yoga funk...boy was I in one yesterday. It occurred to me, just as class was beginning, that I really didn't want to be there. My first thoughts sounded something like, "Are you kidding me?! I have another 90 minutes of this (you can fill in the blank)!" Weird, I know. I usually love yoga.

After much time and consideration, I have concluded that my angry feelings stemmed from frustration. Frustration with my hips. And yes, I mean hips in the plural sense. My hips hurt so I rest. My hips start feeling better so I workout. When I workout I hurt my hips. It's a vicious cycle I just can't seem to kick. I really want to get up off the couch and I can't. It's so demoralizing.


I can't blog about my hip every day, but I know you are all very interested in keeping up to date. You may be asking, "How big is the pain in your ass?" Well let me tell you. In number format. Beginning with the left hip, followed by a back slash, and concluding with the right hip. For example - yesterday I was a 3/1. Today I'm a 1/0. I guess things are looking up?

0 - No pain. Party time!
1 - Pain that's so subtle anyone else wouldn't even notice. But I notice because I know it can very easily turn into a 2.
2 - Noticeable pain, but nothing bothersome.
3 - Not too bothersome, but I'm starting to get worried this will turn into a 4.
4 - Ouch.
5 - Debilitating pain. I'm walking with a limp and need a little help doing things like rolling onto my side.
6 - Now this is a serious pain in my ass. No joke.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Into thin air

I'm back!!!

I've been missing from the blog world for the past week while back in Colorado. Once a year big oil flies me to the mile high city so I can interview students at my alma mater, the Colorado School of Mines. And while I very much enjoy the free trip home, the recruiting itself is so exhausting! Interviews all day, dinners at night and now a bunch of write-ups to squeeze into the middle of my actual job. Don't get me wrong. I love meeting the "kids" (That's in quotes because, really, I'm still a kid.). It's just a lot of work. It's amazing I found time to workout!

Tuesday I (very frantically) crammed a run in between interviews and dinner. It was a pretty uneventful 4.75 miles at a, roughly, 10:15 min/mile pace. It was also on the treadmill. I used to run on the treadmill all the time. And I used to prefer running on the treadmill. Well I don't know what I was thinking. I was so bored!

Thursday I drove across town to one of the two Bikram yoga studios in the Denver metro area. And it was well worth it. It was pretty, clean and smelled like roses. Okay, maybe not roses. But it did not smell like funk. And by funk I mean gag inducing body odor. (For those of you living in the bay area and considering trialing Bikram yoga - I will say that Funky Door is pretty true to its name. If you catch a whiff of my drift. That's why I go to El Cerrito Yoga.) Luna, the yoga instructor, was positive energy packaged up into a human being. If I lived in Denver I would definitely be a regular at Bikram's Yoga College of India - Westminster.

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early (specifically 6:00 am) and went for a 6.5 mile run with a friend of mine from high school who I haven't seen since, well, high school. I had such a great run I actually didn't want it to end. (Say what?!) The weather was cool, the course was flat and the company was awesome! And I felt pretty pleased with myself for keeping up the 10:00 min/mile pace at altitude.

In fact, I felt so good about this run I decided to do another one on Sunday. A bigger one. Back at sea level and on my home turf, I decided it was time to face my fears head on. What did that mean? I ran a non-stop 8 miles, in the middle of the day, and I didn't scope out the hills ahead of time. Not only that. I started up THE hill - the very hill I have been planning all of my runs AROUND for the past four months - at mile 7.

And it was TOUGH! But still a success. I didn't stop. I didn't walk. I told myself that if I could do the Oyster, I could run up a hill (or two...or five). I didn't get a headache from dehydration. And I averaged a 10:01 min/mile pace. Once again confirming that it's tougher to climb a few feet on foot than a few thousand by plane.