Monday, May 16, 2011

Now what?!

It is always hard to know what to do once a race is done. It's like a lul ... a silence. The question always is, "Should I schedule another race now or should I just enjoy some pressure free running for a little while?" I think I will wait before scheduling another race. Though my running will not be all together pressure free.

In just about 5 weeks my family and I leave for Ireland. We are going over there for my cousin's wedding. The dress I am wearing is quite small ... so I do need to stay in shape. But what is more important is that my cousin Peter and his firefighter friends want to run with me while I am over there. After-all, I cannot go for three weeks without running! So I must stay in running shape in order to keep up with the men :-)

I am excited for the trip. All kinds of new places to run and new people to run with it. It will be a nice little motivational push ... which is something I can always use after a race. It will be fun!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

'Born to Run Ultra Marathons' 10-miler: CHECK!

Courtesy of my Garmin Forerunner 405:

Miles: 9.46
Time: 01:58:45
Elevation Gain: 986ft
Location: Los Olivos, CA

First of all I must say that it was an awesome place to have a trail race. I have done a few trail races now - one in the mountains, one in amongst the red wood trees and now one on a ranch - all very different but all just as amazing as the others. People always ask me why on earth I would voluntarily run such difficult races ... even pay other people to let me run them ... but until they run (or walk) one themselves, there is no way I could ever get them to believe that it is 100% worth the experience.

The 'Born to Run Ultra Marathons' was awesome. It started at 6am and so I was up at 4am (yes, that time actually exists!). After some oatmeal and coffee my friend Sandee and I made our way to the ranch. I had forgotten how cold it would be. Having lived in Irvine for almost a year now, I had forgotten that inland takes a little longer to warm up than the ocean side cities. I guess I have been a little spoiled. I could actually see my breath! But less than 5 minutes into the race and I wasn't feeling cold anymore.

The first mile was awesome. It was a nice flat dirt road and I was surprised with my ability to keep up with the group. Everyone was chatting and just enjoying the first mile. This is the thing I love the most about trail runners --- They are more easy going, friendly and just all around great people. After that the group started to break up a little bit and the front runners were gone.

Coming into mile 3 I really had to pee. Yes, I went before the race, but I really had to go again. I considered going in the grass, but after seeing a rattle snake I decided against it. Figured it would make me run faster.

The trails were wonderfully clean and very runnable. That is, until some of the hills! There was one hill in mile 7 that I thought was never going to end. Because it was mile 7 my legs were already pretty tired, but by the time I reached the top of the hill they were jello! Though I cannot express how accomplished I felt, especially when I saw nothing but down hill trails ahead of me!

Some of my most memorable moments: 1) When the guy in front of me started passing gas and turned to the two of us saying,"Oh I'm sorry, I'm kind of squeaking." I ended up behind him later again I couldn't wait to pass him!  2) When I jumped a mile because I thought I saw a snake in the grass which ended up being a stick ... what was more embarrassing was that I stopped to warn the person behind me. He looked at me and said "are you talking about the stick?" I just laughed but he thank me anyway saying 'better safe than sorry!'

Something else that I truly love about trail racing is that people always talk to you as they pass you or as you pass them. Even if it's just "How are doing/feeling?" ... it is more than have ever gotten from road racers. I had a full on conversation with most people in passing. It was nice to break up the run a little bit and not to feel so alone when the run got tough.

Anywayz, I am starting to blabber a little. All in all it was a fantastic race and I am glad to have taken part. I can definitely say that I would take part in it again next year should it become an annual event. And I highly recommend it to other runners!

Sandee and I before the race.

Me before the race ... brrrrr!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Shirtless runners ... I judge you no more!

They sent me home early from work today because I wasn't feeling good (nausea, productive chesty cough and a headache). I have done all the resting I can do without getting restless and think that this is the next best thing. However, I didn't come here to complain about being sick.

So I used to look at female (and sometimes male) runners who hit the road shirtless and think, "The only reason they are shirtless is because they know they are physically perfect and are out to make the rest of us feel bad." Of course I only thought this because I wouldn't go shirtless myself and thought that the women out their in their sports bras showing their abs of steel were enviable.

Of course I will admit that I wish I had abs of steel. But until yesterday all I really did was judge them and secretly wish I was that confident in myself.

So yesterday I was out running in the afternoon. I thought it was a little chilly so I wore a long sleeved shirt over my sports bra. But just 7 minutes into my run I started to heat up fast and realized that the long sleeves were really not helping me. So after about 20 seconds of deliberating with myself, I took off the shirt and wrapped it around my waist. At first I felt a little self-conscious but then I realized how much faster I was running and how much more free I felt.

It felt like my arms had more range of motion and I wasn't heating up so fast. Not to mention the sun's warm rays hitting my stomach and back. It felt fabulous! I can honestly say that I will be doing that again and will no longer judge my fellow shirtless runners!

However, there is one thing I will continue to judge forever and will NEVER take part in. And that is the naked racers. Can you believe that there are entire marathons dedicated to the nudists ... EEK!

Onwards and Upwards my fellow runners .... whether you chose to wear a shirt or not .... as long as you are covered of course!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I Run Because... I Can: These Are a Few of My Favorite Teas Giveaway

I Run Because... I Can: These Are a Few of My Favorite Teas Giveaway

Who said you can't crave veggies!

My body is changing. No, not in the puberty sense ... more like in the 'foods it craves' sense. It is the most bizarre thing. As I may have mentioned before, my main job is at a Vegan restaurant by the name of Native Foods Cafe. I knew nothing about veganism before I started working there, but as time has gone on (6 months to be exact) and I am working more and more hours per week, I find that most days I eat completely vegan. That's not out of the ordinary seeing how my main meal of the day is at work. What is a little out of the ordinary, though, is that I look for vegan options on my days off too.
When I go grocery shopping I gravitate towards the tiny vegan section and find myself in Whole Foods and Trader Joes more often because the tiny section in Ralphs or Albertsons just doesnt do it for me anymore. When I buy smoothies and juices I find myself looking for that 'certified vegan' sticker on the back. Have I been brain washed or is my body settling into a more natural diet?

I went to Costco yesterday and got a giant box of Quaker Old Fashioned Oatmeal. I saw that Bob Harper from the Biggest Loser eats it every day and since I know that he is vegan, I know that it is safe food.


I have also stopped buying regular whole grain bread at the grocery store. There is a famers market across the street from my apartment every saturday morning and there is a German lady who sells vegan bread. Did you know that most European bread is naturally vegan? They also dont put sugar in their bread, so it's not grossly sweet. So I buy a loaf or two from her every week. She has many different kinds and that lasts me a few days. I love it!


I have also stopped drinking regular milk and soy milk. I have switched to Almond Milk.When it come to breakfast, I use the 'original unsweetened' but as a treat and for Josh, I get the 'dark chocolate'. Both are amazing! Besides drinking a lot of water I sometimes love these superfood juices. They are just FULL of fruits and veggies and just hit the spot on a hot day or after a long run. Of course I also drink the coconut water on a regular basis. And then if I am tired in the morning, there is nothing like 100% Kona blend coffee. Of course we get the coffee beans and grind them ourselves. It is just more fresh that way.

So as my diet has been naturally changing, and I have been craving more and more veggies and things like oatmeal and organic popcorn I have noticed that I am running stronger and recovering faster. So it's true what they say ... once you detox, just listen to your body. Because you body will crave what it needs! Having said all of that, I will still go to Outback Steakhouse for some steak and garlic mashed potatoes when the craving comes!