Tuesday, July 31, 2012

End of the Month Recap/ Three Things Tuesday

It's the last day of July :( I can't believe my favorite month has gone by so fast!!! I actually feel like this whole year is going by too fast, but July was particularly swift this year...

Any-who...Today has been an extremely long day... so I am going to try to make this as short as possible (I know I've said that before...)

Here goes my Three things for this Tuesday....

1. So, I have been tracking my miles on Daily Mile for the past month and I really enjoy using it. It is like facebook, but solely for tracking your exercise.They have fun little calorie trackers (like how many donuts you've burned), and motivators you can send to friends.
For the Month of July I:

     Burned 91.28 donuts!!!
Completed 28 work outs in 31 days!!! (That's 90%)
Ran 132 miles 

I'm really proud of myself for these accomplishments. I have never completed that percentage of work outs before, and I've never logged my miles... but I'm pretty sure I've never run that many miles in that amount of time. I'm looking forward to trying to be it for the month of August.

2. I love watching the Olympics!!! (especially men's swimming.... THEY ARE SOOO BEAUTIFUL!!!).

I know I haven't talked much about it, and that's probably because I haven't been able to watch as much as I would have liked to. But I feel like every time I have been able to watch, the USA teams are competing! Coincidence?!?!? maybe not. I've watched some Volleyball, Swimming and Gymnastics, but I'm really looking forward to the Track and field events coming up on Friday :) I think USA has a wonderful woman's gymnastics team, and those girl inspire me... especially Gabby and Kayla!!! (I also just happened to watch them perform).

I just find watching all of the events to be so inspiring... and it makes me want to push myself even further than I already am. I cant even imagine what it must feel like to compete on an Olympic stage.

Who knows, at the rate I'm going, maybe one day I'll be "Christina Cummings, Olympic Gold Medalist"

3. On Tuesday Nights I volunteer with a Domestic Violence/ Sexual Assault agency as a client advocate. Basically I answer phone calls on our 24/7 hot line, and when necessary, I respond to hospitals that have patients who have recently been abused or assaulted (it's called an accompaniment- I accompany the survivor to the hospital). Tonight was my first Domestic Violence accompaniment. It sort of shook me to the core. It was unlike any experience I have ever had in my life. I had to watch a woman, only a few years older than myself) get 40 stitches in the right side of her face. Her partner decided to hit her in the face with a glass cup and shattered the cup... all over a 10 dollar bill..

I don't always get really emotional on accompaniments, but I almost cried about 3 times watching this poor woman experience this. She was in so much, and was going through so many emotions in the 5 hours that I spent with her... and all I could do was tell her that she did the right thing by calling the police.

I will never understand why any feels that violence and aggression is going to solve their problems. Experiencing things like this really makes me appreciate all the love, compassion and understand I have in my life. I was never hit as child, and hardly ever had a voice raised to me. I have been lucky enough to have a partner who treats me with unconditional love and respect. Tonight, I will say a prayer for my survivor and every man, woman or child who is suffering from Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault.

I don't want to end on such a serious and somber note... so here is a happy one....

Which Olympic sport are you looking most forward to seeing?!?!

Monday, July 30, 2012

My Very First Spin Class!

Oh, it's that time again... Time for Monday to come into the world and ruin all the fun of the weekend. Not that it means much to me, because it's technically my Friday :) Either way, I hope you all made it through your Manic Monday as smoothly as I have done mine <3

I hope you guys got to enjoy reading about my last race, because I am really enjoying the adrenaline high I am still feeling that I always get after completing a big run. The only thing that sucks about finishing a race, is that it makes me want to RUN MORE RACES!!! I've already been looking for more races to add to my already busy schedule and am left with ambivalent and longing feelings.

However, I think I found the race that I want to finish out my 2012-2013 season with. (I had to rename my challenge, because I will be running my 12th race in February... way before my June goal). I want to run the San Diego Rock n' Roll Marathon for my final event. However, I refuse to sign up for it, until I complete the Operation Jack Marathon in December.

I also found a fun run that I want to try. It's called The Color Run. Basically a 5k run where all participants are required to wear white and have PAINT thrown at them at every couple miles!!! There is one in San Diego in November, or I might wait for the July run in San Francisco (it's two days after my birthday!!!). I don't have the funds to register for anything now, so it will have to wait.

My Workout:

Either way, I had a pretty good day. Busy, but good! I decided last night that I did not want to do my Circuit Buster at home for Cross Training today. I'm not quite sure why, but I think my last one left a me feeling a little unaccomplished. I got it into my head that I needed to take a "Class". I didn't care what type of class, but I needed to be surrounded by other people who had a like minded goal and aiming for the same purpose: To kick our own butts and get fit!

I knew I had a free pass to Airobics, a one-hour boot camp style trampoline class, but every since my favorite instructor left I haven't been able to go back.

I had purchased a Groupon for 5 classes at this small dance/fitness studio near my house, Time 4 Class studio, MONTHS ago. I took a couple zumba classes and a yoga class there back when I first got it, but their prices are a little expensive (they're actually average, I just don't like paying to work out), so I never bought any packages. I thought that I could justify paying $15 for a class this one time, because I really wanted to do it. So, I checked out their schedule for this morning and they had a 9am Zumba and a 9am spin class.

Now, normally I would have picked Zumba all the way!!! But lately, I've been trying new things and liking them (minus Saturday night's dinner fiasco)... so I figured... Why not give Spin Class a try?!?!

After eating a quick breakfast ( 1/2 a banana and a glass of almond milk), and putting away the mass amounts of clean laundry I had sitting in my room (Thanks Mom!!!) I got dressed and headed over.

When I got there, I got the best news ever... I STILL HAD 2 FREE CLASSES!!! I have to use them up by this Friday (What are the odds?!?!). So, I decided to use one for today, and I haven't quite figured out how I am going to use the other class just yet.

When I got into the studio, it was just me and the instructor, Cassie. She was REALLY nice. She helped adjust my seat for and gave me some good pointers on form and pacing (There's Form and Pacing for this stuff?!!?! I thought we were just riding a bicycle!). She also made an awesome effort to remember my name and correct me throughout the workout. I always appreciate this, because my form and posture are pretty terrible, and I always worry about injuries.

Finally some other girls showed up (there was a total of 6 of us, including the instructor) and it was Time 2 Spin!!!

After about 5 minutes all I could think was, "What did I sign myself up for?!?!" And that was only the warm up! I mean, it was SOOO not what I expected but in a very good way :)  I think i broke the cardinal rule about working out, and I jumped out of the gate with a little too much umph! I had to remember that this was my first time, and that I needed to pace myself.

I found my groove, and made it through the entire class. I wasn't really a fan of this instructor's music choices. She played a lot of songs that I didn't really know or that didn't feel like they had a good, steady, RPM to me. But she did have some good ones. My favorite was sprinting to Madonna's "Ray of Light"... I haven't heard that song in forever!!! (I will be adding it to my run play list)

I felt like this class was really geared towards beginners, which was wonderful! I never felt like the class was going too fast, or that I couldn't keep up at all during the entire hour. The other nice thing about spinning is that you can set your own resistance. If I ever felt like I wasn't pushing myself hard enough, or that I was pushing myself too hard... I could adjust my own nob. You can't see what anyone else's resistance is set at, so you have no way to compare it :)
By the time I got done with class I was drenched in sweat and starving!!! ( I meant to take a picture but forgot :( ). I had to run a quick errand on my way home, so I was trying to get that done so I could go home and eat! Today was my Mom's birthday and I had to stop to get her something

I love my Mama, and I'm really sad that I didn't get to spend today with her... But I did call her at work twice, just to bother her. This woman means so much to me, and there is not a day that goes by that I don't thank God for giving her to me. <3

My Meals:

After my errands were run I ate breakfast, showered and headed to Job #1 (Chili's). For breakfast I had oatmeal, with peanut butter, banana and honey! Before heading to job #2 I had a DELICIOUS salad . I've been on quite the salad trip lately. They're easy to make and sooo filling. This one had:

Kale, Spinach, Tomatoes, Corn, Asparagus, Lentils, Tofu, Avocado, Brown rice, Cayenne pepper, and a little bit of Trader Joe's Soy Vay Teriyaki sauce.

I literally could have eaten 3 of these things... it was so delicious.

Then it was off to job 2. I had grapes as a mid day snack, and then had a  Grilled Yam and Vegetable kabob for dinner. Mom grilled them for me yesterday while her and my Step-dad made dinner for themselves... THANKS MOM!!!!

I finished out my day with a yummy blueberry, strawberry, Greek yogurt and honey parfait that I forgot to take a picture of and a late night snack of an orange. 

Another delicious day!

Tomorrow I am hoping to finish an 8 mile run (if I do not wake up to sore). As is, I am already feeling the spin class in my thighs, butt and lady bits.  We shall see.

Have you ever tried a spin class?!?! Did you like it?!?! What races will you all be running this year?!?!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Seashore Marathon/ MIni Vacation Part II

Happy Sunday Everyone!

I hope you got a chance to read all about my Half Marathon race from yesterday.... if not... GO BACK AND READ IT!!!! (just kidding).

I found a few more pictures, so I thought I should share....


I really did enjoy this race and venue. The only thing I didn't like, was that they didn't have a really well marked trail (probably because there were so many races and different events started in different directions) and they did not have mile markers (I imagine for the same reason as stated above). Anyways, I wouldn't mind running another race for them.

But after the race, it was time to get down to some serious vacation business. Rachel and I headed out and ran some errands (any excuse to go to Target, is a good one to me) before beginning our afternoon of leisure.

Two Crazy Girls.. On a mission!!!

After Target, our first stop was to get a massage!!! Nothing makes a long run more worthwhile than having an hour long massage after. However, this was not an ordinary massage... this was THE GREATEST MASSAGE IN THE WHOLE WORLD!!! I mean... who knew Chinese reflexology is what it's all about?!?! And it was only $35. Thank you Sonny (my masseuse)

After our massages, it was time for Lunch! We went to a great restaurant right off the beach. I actually remember running past it during the race and thinking... that place looks nice".

They had patio seating that overlooked the water. It made for a great lunch view :)

They also had a great selection of food, and beverages. I ordered a cup of black bean soup, their grilled veggie sandwich and Rachel and I shared a pitcher of their Strawberry Blonde Ale. It was so light and fruity... and it hit the spot on this warm afternoon.

After lunch we took care of some more of Rachel's errands, and then laid out on the beach for a little bit. I didn't get to stay long, because I needed to get back in to the valley to celebrate my momma's birthday :) 

We went to a Middle Eastern restaurant called Emile's (pronounced Emily's). They're salad was AMAZING!

I haven't had beets in foreer, so this certainly hit the spot! In fact, I had planned on ordering a salad as my entree, but none looked like it was going to satisfy me. Plus, I was in a Middle Eastern Restaurant... how could I not order a Middle Eastern dish?!?!?! I ordered the Lebanese Mosakaa. (a dish of tomatoes, onions and zucchini served with pita bread on the side.

Thank Goodness I was full from the salad. Let me tell you, I should have ordered a salad. This dish was not good in the slightest. It had a very funny after taste. The portion you see missing is literally all I ate of it. Mom felt bad because I didn't enjoy, but I told her it was my fault... Next time, I go with my instincts and get the salad...

After dinner we stopped by my Grandmother's house for dessert. I had apple pie and berrie cake with Ice cream (sorry no pictures... I ate it too fast!!!). When we finally made it home I was wiped out.

All in all it was a GREAT day. I learned a few lessons:

1. Actually training to run a race makes the race easier
2. Chinese Reflexology massages are the SHIT!!!

I realy thought I had learned more lessons than that... but I dont think I did. Oh well, I can always add them later :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Seashore Marathon (aka Race #3 out of 12) Part I

Hi everyone!!!

I'm going to try to make this quick, because quite frankly... I AM EXHAUSTED, but I wanted to let everyone know the details of how my half marathon went today.

Friday Night

I told you I would try to take more pictures of people :)
Friday night after I left work, I drove down to my good friend Rachel's house. Rachel lives a little over a mile from the race start (in fact, I ran past her apartment 3 times during the actual race), so I figured this was the perfect place to stay. I got to her kind of late... Stupid 405 traffic... but when I arrived, we got straight to dinner (Yuuuuuum!!!)

For my "Last Supper" before the race, we decided to go to a restaurant that we had been to before called Steamed. This is an AMAZING organic, vegetarian restaurant that was built in an old house in downtown long beach. Rachel and I ate here once before a couple months ago, and I knew it was delicious.
For dinner, I decided to try their "Vegan Burrito". It had rice, beans, red onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, pesto  and guacamole. Thank GOD I did not eat the whole thing... but man was it delicious :) Of course, who could complain with such a lovely dinner companion :). I don't think she knows it yet, but we are going to have to eat here... EVERY time I come to visit her.
After dinner Rachel and I rented , "The Artist" from Redbox, and went home and watched the movie and drank some tea. Well, that lasted all of about 40 minutes. By 9:30pm I was ready to knock out, and in fact did! Rachel was kind enough to turn the movie off and let me try to sleep (she's such a good friend!!!)
I slept through until about 12:30, when I woke up for my first bathroom break. Needless to say, I was up just about every hour, on the hour, after that either having to go to the bathroom, or just from anxiety in general. I always get really nervous before a race, and I don't usually get much sleep. My alarm went off at 5:20, and I sprung into action.

Saturday Morning 

Since Rachel lives so close to the race start, I decided to walk over there and utilize the this opportunity as a warm up. Apparently, I also decided to use this time as a photo shoot opportunity. 
Look into my sleepy eyes
The best part of an early race, is the sun rise :)
The excitement and joy... before the torture 

Ok... I had WAY too much fun!!!
 "I'm so vain, I bet I think this blog is about me..." It's amazing what one girl will do at 5:45am in the freezing cold on her way to a beach run. If you look real hard, you can see the bike path that I ran on in the distance!

The race I ran today was put on by a company called Rocket Racing Productions. They create much smaller venues, so that runners, like my self, can pay LESS to do the thing we love to do :) There were no time chips, no official "starting line" and the path was not exactly clearly marked. However, they still put on a GREAT race!

The track started with a three mile loop (1.5miles out and back) and then ran into a 7 mile loop (3.5 miles out and back). Then It turned back in to complete another 3 mile loop until you hit the finish line.

I started the first three mile loop feeling pretty strong. I wasn't cold, I had some pretty good energy and I was ready to rock this race. There were only about 40 participants in the race in total, so it was difficult to find someone to try and pace with (aka my target). I started out pretty strong. In fact, I was worried that I may have started too quickly and was going to burn out towards the end. I finished the 3 mile loop in what felt like NOTHING. 

I had two targets at this point. One was an older woman who was running directly in front of me for quite some time, and a woman my age who was pacing right behind me for most of the race. We we passed the aid station at the 3 mile mark the older woman stopped for water and I ended up passing her. But the younger woman managed to pass me up and made her headway. I COULD NOT CATCH UP WITH HER. 

I paced her for quite some time, but always managed to be a couple yards behind her. The first 3.5 miles of that 7 mile stretch were BRUTAL. There wasn't a lot of racers near me, The sun began beating on my back, and overall I just started to feel over it. To be honest, I thought it was going to be the end of me. The only thing that kept me going was finding all the other racers and giving them words of encouragement, and high fives, as we passed each other. By the time I made it to the turnaround point I had somehow passed the girl I had been tailing. 

This was exactly the confidence boost I needed! Shortly after that I popped my first Shot blok and drank some water to refuel. The only problem with this 3.5 mile stretch of the race.. was that we were running directly into the sun. After a couple minutes... I also realized I never put any sunscreen on this morning (Bad Christina, Baaaad!!!). Even with the sun blinding me, I made it through the next 3.5 miles pretty smoothly and began my last 3 mile loop. I was giving as many thumbs ups, "You got this" and "You're almost there"s that I had pushed myself. 

Before I knew it... I was at the finish line, and much sooner than I ever could have imagined. I finished the race at 1:51:59 seconds. To be honest... I am convinced that it was not the appropriate mileage for the race. But, Either way, I finished it, and I took the 3rd place spot for the female participants (saaaaay whaaaat!?!?!). I felt absolutely comfortable at the end of it. I felt like I could run a few more miles!!! This is a much different feeling than when I finished the Disneyland Tinker Bell Half Marathon in January. i believe my exact thought was... "There is NO way I could go any further". At the end of this race I thought... "Man, I am ready to start training for my first Marathon"!

I'll share the rest of my day with you guys tomorrow... Right now, It's time to pass out!!!! (zzzZZZZzzz)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Final Run Through

Thursday, Thursday, Thursday....

Well, it is hard to believe that I had my last run today before I run the Seashore Half Marathon in Long Beach!!! I have a really good friend who always asks me, "Are you ready for your race?", a couple days before an event. And most often I reply with a somewhat hesitant and less than enthusiastic, "I think so..."! And that is genuinely how I feel.

I mean, I really do not know that I am ever ready for a race until I start running. This isn't my first Half Marathon, but it is the first that I have actually trained for. I am really hoping that I complete the race in under two hours... but to be honest, I would be happy as long as I beat my 2:13:00 record from the Tinker Bell Half Marathon I ran in January.

All I can tell you is that I am ABSOLUTELY excited to spend tomorrow night and Saturday morning/ afternoon with one of my best friends in the whole wide world, Rachel Davis. She lives only a few minutes from the race event, so she is graciously hosting me for the evening. I never get to spend much quality time with her, so I am REALLY looking forward to spending almost a complete 24 hours with her.

I've been packing for my overnight trip, but from the look of it, you would think that I was staying for the entire weekend. (And this doesn't even include the food I'm bringing OR my toiletries, or shower stuffs for you non girl scouts). Is it weird that I am bringing my own food?!?!?In my defense, it's only a couple items, and mainly what I need pre, during and post race. I am also packing enough clothes because I have to go to work at 4:00pm on Saturday after my race. Bummer... I know :/

So today was a pretty good day. I started with a delicious bowl of Kashi/Cheerio cereal, almonds and half a banana. This is what I usually have on my Thursday and Friday morning drives to work. The trick is, I eat the first half of the banana before I leave the house :) I enjoyed this with a big glass of. This is one of my favorites drinks right now. Especially since I apparently gave up drinking coffee! That right, I haven't had a single drop of coffee in almost two weeks. It's amazing how easy it is to give something up when you're really not trying... However, I think I might  have to break this to make it through the ENTIRE day on Saturday... but we'll see :)

For my mid-morning snack, I had an orange (my favorite). But for lunch, I actually did decide to try to mix it up a little bit. I made a yam and steamed/grilled together Kale, corn, lentils, asparagus, cauliflower and both yellow and orange carrots. Of course, i use some Trader Joe's Soy Vay to season... It was SOOOO GOOD!!!

OK. So it wasn't a huge variation from my regular meals, but I did make it a little different :)
In the afternoon, I had some grapes and a little while later I had some celery and peanut butter. One of my favorite guilty pleasures. On my way to my run I had myself some "overnight oats". I had a 1/3 cup of oats, 1/4 cup of almond milk, 1/4 cup of blueberries and a tablespoon of honey. I put them all together last night and let them sit. I had seen recipes for this before, but I did not believe that it was going to taste so good! I think this is officially going to be my new favorite snack. It gave the oats so much more flavor, and I feel like it kept me fuller longer. I'm going to continue to keep looking for fun combos to try :). 
Dinner was a carbo-loading feast!!! I had a small piece of my vegetarian lasagna that my mom froze from my birthday (still really delicious) and add a half a cup more of pasta to add some base and half of a vegetarian sausage for protein. I also made a small spinach, zucchini and tomato salad to accompany it with. Sorry I didn't take a picture, but I was STARVING when I got home. I finished the night with a Trader Joe's Caribbean Fruit Floe Popsicle.

For my run, I had only planned on running the 5 mile loop at Balboa Park, but due to a grave error in judgment, I ended up running a little more than that :/ I'm really hoping that I do not pay for my mistake come race day, but I have a feeling that i am going to be OK. 

This run was a little rough for me and I'm not quite sure why. I have a theory that I am just not an evening exerciser. By the time I get to my work out, I am so tired, and I feel so weighed down by everything that I have eaten so I feel like I do not have as much push as I do when I get up and complete my run first thing in the morning. 

Either way, I finished my run at just under 5.2 miles and finished it in 46:16. So, once again, even though I felt like I was running through mud, I was still keeping a 9 minute mile pace. This is what I am aiming for on race day (and you're usually at least 15 seconds faster per mile on race day)... So I guess you could say that           


I most likely wont be able to post tomorrow, so I will see you at the finish line :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Big Run Wednesday!!!

Happy Hump Day to those of you who has a normal Monday-Friday work week. For me, this is my Sunday and I tried to make it as "Sunday-ey" as possible. I slept in a little bit today and woke up at quarter to 8 to get my run out of the way. I headed to Balboa Park with the intention of just doing a 6 mile run. I started with a light, energy filled breakfast:

My hand looks awful manly in this picture...lol. I had half a banana, 8oz silk, pure almond Vanilla milk and I decided to try the Clif Shot bloks I bought. I took a picture of too, but I only ended up trying one.

All and all, it was pretty good. It was like eating a really large, and sweet gummy bear. The texture was a little different that I was expecting, but overall it tasted pretty good. As far as the energy goes, I think it did the trick. My only problem with the bloks is that they get stuck in your teeth. I spent quite a few minutes trying to get it all out of my teeth. But, I'm planning on trying to let it melt in my mouth longer on Saturday instead of just popping it into my mouth and chowing down.

Like I said, I had scheduled to do a 6 mile run today, but that somehow turned into a 7.2 mile run. The weather was so nice, it motivated me to just keep going. 
My six mile run consists of two 3 mile loops around the park. My first lap was amazing! It was overcast (and chilly) which is always a beautiful way to run. I finished in just over 27 minutes. At the beginning of lap two, the sun finally decided to come out. It wasn't too warm though, and was still very comfortable. 

I'm not sure if it was the weather, the excess amount of sleep I got yesterday, or the Shot bloks, but I decided that I wanted to run more than my 6 mile. All through mile six I was really pushing myself In order to try and finish my run with a 9 minute mile average. I pushed on and doubled back to complete my seventh mile and felt great! Now only that, but I finished in 1:03:55.... under a 9 minute mile average!!!

I was really happy with my run, which is amazing, but I was beginning to feel defeated after last weeks runs. I have however gotten this horrible blister on my heel from my new shoes. I'm trying really hard not to pop it until after Saturday, because I dont want it to hurt :(

I ate my oatmeal, cinnamon roasted almond, honey and the other half of my banana for my post run breakfast and headed to The Suicide Prevention Center for my volunteer shift.

A couple hours late I ate a spinach, lentil, corn, asparagus, avocado and tomato salad with half a cup of grapes for dessert. Within A few hours I was hungry again so I had an orange and a 90 calorie Chewy Granola Bar (Smore's flavor... YUUUM!!!)

For dinner I have a vegetarian Chik'n pattie with Kale, BBQ and mustard. For my side dish I roasted a Sweet potato and made garlic squash and broccoli.  It really did not satisfy what I wanted for dinner. I'm really not a good cook, and this is why I usually make the same foods over and over again.

I have so much prepping to do before my race this weekend, especially since I am staying with one of my best friends Rachel for Friday night into Saturday afternoon. I will be leaving my house at 6:30am on Friday and going straight to her house from work. I wont even get back home until Sunday morning at 1am!!! Mini vacation. I have to pack all of my gear, food and clothes by tomorrow night! Now, I just wish I had the energy to get it all done :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Three Things Tuesday

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Sorry I wasn't able to post yesterday. The internet at work was down, and I was not home until around 1:30am, and the last thing I wanted to do was post a blog... It's been a busy week so far, and it is only going to get busier. So, I am enjoying as much time as I can relaxing today.

I still was able to find a few items for Three Things Tuesday.

1. I bought a new bathing suit!!! I haven't had a new one in about two years and I figured it was time to get one. Although, I always hate the way I look in two piece bathing suits, I keep trying to convince myself that I am going to be OK and look amazing. After trying it on today, I wish I could say I am 100% comfortable in it, but I am not there just quite yet! I ordered another top that matches the bottom, but it is on back order until next week... so maybe I will like it even better once I try that top. I'm looking forward breaking my new suit in while in Long Beach this weekend visiting with my best friend and running the Seashore Half Marathon.

2. I finally finished the third book in the Hunger Games series, "Mockingjay". I highly recommend all three books in Suzanne Collins' thrilling series. For those of you that don't know what these books are about I'll give you a quick breakdown.
The first book, The Hunger Games, completely sucks you in and makes you fall in love with the characters. We meet our heroine, 17 year old Katniss Everdeen. The setting is a post apocalyptic world comprised of 12 districts that are run by a capitalistic government, fittingly named The Capitol, that hosts an annual event called The Hunger Games. Two tributes, children between the ages of 13 and 18, are chosen from each district to fight to the death in the event, where ONLY ONE can survive.
The second book, Catching Fire, is BY FAR the best book in the series. It keeps you guessing and turning pages through the entire novel. Katniss is romantically torn between her long time friend and hunting partner, Gale, and her Hunger Games partner, Peeta. You watch their story, along with the intervention of the capitol unfold!
After having inhaled the second book I was resistant to completing the third book, Mockingjay. It took me much longer to finish the book, but when I did I was in utter shock. In an attempt to bring down The Capitol, a revolution has begun and Katniss is at the forefront of the rebellion. The book exceeded my expectations and its reputation

Collins has a great imagination, and took a wonderful idea for a story and turned it into a masterpiece! I am half tempted to begin reading the series over again from beginning to end. I know there are things that I missed, and I want to go back and find them.

3. This is something small, but I enjoyed so much, that I thought you all might too :)

They're Celery Flowers! Fruit and Vegetable art is so much fun. One of the cooks that i work with at Chili's made these for us the other day, and I thought they were the coolest thing ever!

As for workouts, I ran a quick 5 mile run on Monday and did a painful Circuit Buster!!! today. I think I completed a few too many squats and lunges during my Saturday workout, and was still a little sore going into them today. Tomorrow I have a light 6 mile run because I'm saving my big run for Saturday's race.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Setback Sunday.

Hi Everyone,

I am writing this blog entry with a little shame and a small amount of disappointment. However, I started this blog with the intention of being COMPLETELY honest, so here it goes...

Last night, I had a minor set back in my program. For whatever I was not able to control my cravings, slipped, and overate to the point of binging. This happens to me every once and awhile, because even the strong have their weakest moment, but this is the first time it has in about a month. All evening I had been hungry and wanting to eat, and for the most part I was able to control my cravings. It was in my final hour that I just could not fight my demons anymore and gave in :(. The worst part was, it was primarily on healthy food. I will spare you all the horrific details (nobody needs to be THAT honest). It wasn't like an enormous bender, but it was enough to make me wake up feeling extremely guilty for what I had done.

To look on the bright side, because there always has to be one, I DID NOT PURGE! I thought about doing it, and even began preparing in the bathroom to do it, but I dug REALLY deep and stopped myself. I knew that it was much more important for me to hold myself accountable and accept the consequences of what I had done, then to engage in even more shameful behaviors.

Do not get me wrong, I am not proud of what I did, but I have to forgive myself for my moments of weakness. If I don't, I will only continue to plague myself with guilt, hatred and shame. So, that is what I have decided to do in order to help myself move forward from this event and not dwell on my shortcomings. (That and admit it to all of the people that actually take the time to read this).

I always want to apologize to those who read this, because I feel that I have let you down. I know it sounds silly, but I hold myself to a standard by writing this blog and I feel that YOU ALL deserve better from me. I feel that I have learned my lesson, and will hopefully remember this feeling the next time I think about binging.

To moving forward!!!

I slept in a little bit this morning, probably because I was up until 2:30), and woke up at around 10:00am. My first initial thought was, "Damn, it is going to be too hot for my run!". After I had already upset myself with my evenings behaviors, I was completely disappointed with the fact that I did not wake up early enough to run. This automatically put me in a foul mood.

Tyler spent the night at my house last night, and could immediately see that I was upset and asked what was wrong. (He's so good!). I told him that I was really mad at myself for sleeping in too late to go for my run. Being the amazing Boyfriend that he is, he looked me in the eye and said, "Just Go Do It."

All I needed was this little kick in the pants to get up, get dressed and get out of there!!! I am so lucky that I have a better half who knows how much this means to me. I felt much better after my run... It was really hot, but not as bad as I had anticipated. I was really glad that I took water with me... or I honestly believe that I might have died.

After my run Tyler and I took a trip to Trader Joe's to pick up some MUCH needed staples. Tyler refused to let me take a picture, so I took a picture of the shopping cart. I got Sweet Potatoes, asparagus, blueberries, sausage, grapes, Trader Joe's Japanese style Fried Rice and Kale. I have been reading a lot about the health benefits of and it has many of the same benefits of spinach, only INTENSIFIED... So I figured I would pick so up and try to start using it in my meals.

We came home and made the Japanese Style Fried Rice for lunch, because I was WAAAY to tired to try to put anything together, and we didn't have enough time to go pick something up from Sharky's (our favorite guilty pleasure) before I left for work. We've had this before and it is Amazing!!! brown rice, tofu, edamame and seaweed. DEEEELICIOUS!

The rest of my day I spent feeling dehydrated and tired. Lesson learned: get up early to run!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I miss Cartoon Saturday.

Awww Saturday....

What happened to the time in my life where Saturday meant sleeping in, watching cartoons and eating a GIANT bowl of fruit loops while spending the remainder of my days in my pajamas?!?!?!

My Saturday consisted of Waking up at 6:30am, spending the morning with Tyler (not complaining), doing a work out, having a brief Target shopping run date with my best friend from out of town and then prepping my meals to go to my night shift. I AM WIPED OUT!!! Don't get me wrong, I had a great day... but I am just so exhausted.

Anyways... My workout for today was another variation of my CIRCUIT BUSTER!!! cross training routing. I mixed riding the stationary bike for 15 minutes with 5 minutes of strength training moves. I tried another set of workout from the Nike Training Club app that I downloaded the other. Today I tried 5 minutes of their "leaner legs" work out : 

1min alternating step back lunges,
1 min drop squat jumps,
1 min dead lift,
1 min jump wood chops,
1 minute side lunges with rotation

This set incorporated a lot of moves that I already do, so I thought it was good for my first time. However, I did find the Jump wood chops a little difficult. They're basically a jump squat that you do with a weight. When you come up, you bring the weight above your head like you're chopping an axe. I had to do these pretty slowly. 

For round 2 I completed the first 5 minutes of their "Core Crunch" work out:

1 min V-Ups
1 min Full extensions
1 min Suitcases
1 min Side Plank Crunches
1 min Frogger with Swivel

The app states that this should be done with a medicine ball, but I found that I could do all, except the suitcases, without it. Most of these moves are ones that I have NEVER used before, so this set left me feeling a little hard on myself. I actually think my mistake might have been starting with working on my leg workouts. I was having trouble holding them up for the the full extensions and the suitcases.I had the most trouble with the Frogger's For whatever reason, I just could NOT get it together for this one. Overall, I plan on trying this set again. You know what they say... Practice makes perfect!

For my third round I decided that I had tried enough "New Stuff" and did my normal Circuit Buster!!! routine (10 sit ups, 20 lunges, 25 squats, 30 crunches, and 80 jumping jacks). I finished off my workout with 10 more minutes on the bike.

Over all, I hate cross training days compared to just going out for an hour long run, but I know I need to do more strength training. I will try something new Tuesday, and hopefully it wont be so rough on me :/ This is a picture of me struggling through my work out...

After my workout I made a DELICIOUS Morning Star Chick'n Salad with corn, tomatoes, avocado and mushrooms.

After I ate I met my bff, Talia, at Target to pick up some essentials. While I was there, I started thinking about what I was going to use to help fuel me during my Half Marathon THAT IS IN LESS THAN A WEEK!!! I don't usually fuel on a run, not even with water most of the time, but it is recommended by pretty much every athlete when running for longer than an hour. I figured I would at least look at my options, and I came across these little guys....

They are pretty much caffeinated, sugar cubes!!! I think I have tried them before, but I cant remember. I got the two flavors that Target had (Strawberry and Black Cherry). For 3 blocks (there is 6 in a pack) you get 50 mg of caffeine, and 100 calories with 24 grams of carbohydrates. Since I am hoping to complete the Half Marathon in 2 hours... I'm thinking that at the end of hour I should chew my first and then eat another one at 1:20, and my last one at 1:40... Most of the reviews on them are positive, and they are 95% organic.... I am excited to try them this week and see how they stand up to the test :)

Well, tomorrow is another 5.28 mile run, I only have 4 more runs to get this right before the half marathon.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Happy Friday! (For what it was)

Today was a really rough day for me emotionally. I woke up this morning with the news about the shooting in Aurora, Colorado. Although I've never been to Colorado, and I did not know anyone who was harmed in the shooting. I still took the news very hard. I will never understand what causes someone to blindly cause harm to another person. My heart goes out to everyone who was personally touched by this tragedy.

Listening to the radio announcements on my way into work this morning really got me thinking about how precious life is. We go around blindly expecting that each day we are going to wake up  and have the opportunity to continue to do what we have been doing. The truth of the matter is that you really never know what is going happen at any given moment.

I hate that events like this have to happen to remind of me this simple fact. I spent the majority of the morning thinking about the things that I am Grateful For (so much in fact that I had my clients do an entire exercise on it in group today).

I'm Grateful for My Family. They have really showed me the true meaning of unconditional love. They have supported me through everything I have ever done and been my rock in some of the most difficult times in my life.

I'm grateful that I have found the Love of My Life. This man has stuck with me through every up and down, and he still loves me for all of my imperfections. Without him, I do not know who I would be today....

I'm Grateful for all of the Opportunities that I have been afforded in my life... most recently the chance to attend UCLA and earn my MSW.

Finally, I am Grateful for the fact that I gained the understanding that striving to be healthy is far more attractive, admirable and worthy than striving to be skinny. It has taken me a very long time to really understand the difference and importance of these two things, and in many ways I am still working on this. But today I can say that I am healthy and comfortable in my own body for the first time in a long term. I am also grateful that I figured this out before suffering a detrimental health concern. 

Enough of the mushy stuff... I am also Grateful that I am completing my workouts!!! Yesterday was a nice recovery day. I planned a 3 mile run and some strength training. The idea was to complete the run as fast as I could (aiming for a race pace run 25-26 minutes). I was PUMPED during my run and really felt like I was flying. I was disappointed when I looked at my watch and saw 27:02 :(  There really is not feeling worse than that moment. I mean, a 9 minute mile is nothing to turn my nose at, but I thought I was giving it more. These last couple races have me nervous about my Half Marathon next weekend. I'm hoping I can get it together by then :/. Either way, I boosted confidence by doing an ab workout for 15 minutes after. 

I found this AWESOME app that is FREE for iphones. It's called Nike Training Camp (NTC). It's basically a set of 15, 30, or 45 minute exercises that are timed and organized precisely. When you start the workout the automated "coach" gives you tips on how to increase the effectiveness of your workout, and alerts you to when the round is almost over. There has to be over 100 exercises when you look at them all together. Yesterday, I decided to try the Ab Burner. 

It was 1 min of toe touches
          1 min of Russian twists
          30 sec plank
          1 min modified side plank
          1 min crazy Ivans
          30 secs recover  .. you repeat this 2 more times for a total of 15 minutes

It was a pretty Intense 15 minutes, but a really good mix-up from my regular ab routine.

Now, if you're anything like me... you have NO idea what most of these workouts are. Thankfully NTC provides you with little videos of insanely toned women modeling the exercises. I also like that it is a timed thing, and not about how many reps you complete. It allows you to go at your own pace and improve as you go. I'm really excited to try other workouts and continue to work on my strength training and toning.

In Food News... I've been slightly obsessed with using corn in my salads lately. It's summer time, and for some reason I always crave more corn. I think it reminds me of BBQ's, pool parties and other good stuff. Plus, its delicious and good for you!!!

I also got a little creative with dinner tonight :)... OK, so it's not really creative, but it is outside of the box from what I normally make. Veggie Pasta with Vegetarian Italian Sausage....IT WAS DELICIOUS!!! I actually thought it was a little bland, but Tyler assured me it was good! That was only after he made fun of me because I prefer to eat my food out of a bowl than off of a plate. 
How do you like to eat your food?!