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A Scatterbrained Fitbloggin Recap

Fitbloggin Group

It has been an insane week, but I’m finally ready to sit down and mull over the awesomeness that was Fitbloggin!

I arrived in Portland a day early to hang out with the lovely Tasha of Lettuce Makes Me Fat. She took me to a phenomenal Vietnamese restaurant (Luc Lac, go if you are in the area!) and then we explored a bit of the area. Afterward, I showed her one of my favorite past times – hashing. I love sharing this craziness with others and was thrilled that she enjoyed herself . Seriously folks, if you like running, ridiculousness, and drinking, search for the hash house harriers in your city. They are some of the most welcoming and fun individuals.

The next morning I burst into my hotel room to ninja hug Kenlie and Martinus. It was great to be reunited with some of my favorite people (major shout out to my love Pinky who I got to spend a lot of time canoodling with). After catching up, I took the afternoon to explore more of the downtown area before trying out a pyrolates class. I went in a bit blindly and quickly realized why they called it PYRO-lates. Every part of my thighs and abs were on fire by the time the class ended (and for days afterward). It was intense, but fun to try something new. I need to get more burny workouts into my life, nothing proves that it is working like insane soreness the following days. (Is that a good or bad thing? Who knows.)

Firebrand Pyrolates Class Photo

I set a goal to attend every workout class offered this year at Fitbloggin, but disregarded how tough it would be to wake up at 5:30am each morning… I’ll admit that the workouts were by far my favorite part of the conference. It is great to try out new activities and joke around with friends. This year we got to “spank our bad kitties” again with Jeff of JumpSport. Lucky for me, he teaches a class in San Francisco so I’ll get to do it again sometime. And I realized that yoga isn’t as bad as I had recalled, this might be something I add into my routine.

Spank the Bad Kitty

This year we had a great fashion show coordinated by Emmie and I was lucky enough to be involved. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but I was quite excited to rock my Nux outfit. Outside the room I was overly confident, then as my turn arrived I felt the nerves coming on. I sauntered up to the stage and demanded confidence from myself. I don’t quite remember what I was thinking during the walk, but I do love this photo that was taken of me strutting my stuff. When I look at it I feel so confident and proud, and I think we all need to feel that way more often about our awesome selves. Take a moment to check out the greatness that was Maggie killing it on stage.

Fashion Show

Fitbloggin meant a lot to me this year for a multitude of reasons. It wasn’t just an opportunity to spend time with amazing people, but it was a moment to really consider what I’m doing with my health. I’ve managed to make some adjustments to my diet this past month and I want to think about what else I can do in the coming months as I reenter the working world. I want to make smarter decisions in both my eating habits and exercise. This is my year to make things happen, I need to remember that.

Overall I loved Portland. It had a nice urban feel, but it was easy to get out to nature. I’ll definitely be returning to do more hiking, kayaking, and site seeing. Who knows, perhaps I’ll end up in that area some day.

As for Fitbloggin, I’ll definitely be back! I’ve had a great time these past two years and look forward to meeting more amazing people next year.

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Never give up, never give in!

Back in July I (naively) registered for the Oakland Half Marathon. The San Francisco Marathon had a fantastic special going and I couldn’t say no (I’m a pushover and cheap). I almost forgot about this race up until two weeks ago when I started talking to Maggie about logistics. And I’ll be quite serious, I didn’t train properly. The longest run I had done prior to the half was 8 miles at a decent, but not optimal, pace.

Then last weekend the day had come and I readied myself (as much as I could). Maggie, her boy, and I went out for a serious carbo loading session before hopping into bed early. On Sunday we rose a bit late and sauntered over to the start line (a 1.5 mile walk away). We showed up just in time to make good use of the porta-potties and get into the corrals. I decided to stick with Maggie for the first few miles and maintain a steady, smart pace. My initial goal was to go slowly for the first four miles, take it up a bit for the next four, and then go even quicker for the last. Although I also recognized that my goals were a bit lofty and I wasn’t exactly prepared…

Oakland Half MarathonAfter two and a half miles Maggie she shooed me off to pick up my pace. I’m so grateful that she kept me consistent for the start. By avoiding my tendency to go out of the gate fast I was more energetic for the rest of the race.  It was around this point I found a mother, father, and daughter that were running together (this is why I need to date a runner). I kept my eyes on the family unit and let them set the pace. My favorite race tip – find someone who is going your speed and make friends (or just awkwardly follow them).

We were going at a pretty steady speed, one a bit faster than I had hoped for in the middle miles. By mile 8 I realized that I was keeping a pace faster than my PR. My body was feeling good and my mind was focused. I knew that I needed to keep it up to set a new record, and that was something I desperately wanted. I pushed on, following the cute little group.

Then mile 10.5 hit and I wanted to pull back. I was feeling a tinge of pain in my knees and out of breath. But at the same time I realized that slowing down meant I would give up everything I had worked hard for. It would mean giving up my PR. That wasn’t something I was interested in. I wouldn’t let that be an option. I put my head down and put my everything into those last few miles.

I thought of how great it would feel to see a new, lower number on my Garmin. I thought about how much I’d wanted this for the past few years. I thought of all the chocolate milk I would drink afterward as a reward. I used every trick in the book to make sure my mind stayed positive and focused on continuing hard.

I can’t deny that it was tough and took most of what I had, especially up the damned hill they put in the last stretch. In races past I would sprint the last tenth of a mile, but this time I didn’t have the energy to pick up the pace to a sprint. It was a great feeling to know that I gave it my all.

In the end I couldn’t be happier with how I did.  Looking over the data I found out that I took four minutes off of my previous record!! This deviates a bit from my chip times since, according to my Garmin, I completed 13.3 miles over the course. Either way it is a new personal record and that gave me a great runners high. Now I’m stuck imagining how I could have done if I’d trained properly. I’m definitely looking forward to doing even better in June at my next race.   :)

What are your thoughts on finding a pace rabbit? How do you react when you are feeling beaten in a race?

Spring Break Goals

When people hear the words “Spring Break” they typically think of college girls doing inappropriate things on the beach, but (un)fortunately that is not me this year. While I’m a large fan of traveling and doing foolish things*, I’m going to be spending this break focused on my future. To keep myself on track, I’ve set some goals for the next two weeks:

  1. Prepare at least three home cooked, healthy meals – I haven’t been cooking much in the past few months and I sure as hell haven’t been eating as well as I should. I made the decision that this week I’ll get back into the habit of preparing food at home. This morning I spent an hour at the grocery store picking up some healthy items, then this afternoon I managed to cook two great recipes (with only one major flub, hurrah).
    Major thanks to Laura for her delicious bulgur pilaf recipe and to Pinky for getting me hooked on these honey mustard burgers (seriously addictive). I had forgotten how tough it is to make several things in parallel, but it was worth it. Now I’ve got healthy meals for the next few days. Hopefully this is a habit that will last past these two weeks.
  2. Run three times each week – My running has been slacking since I returned from my races Phoenix. I have a half marathon this Sunday (with the lovely Maggie) and I need my body to be prepared. This morning I was able to get in a short run and I’m scheduling another two into this week. Thursday morning I’ll complete at least five miles and Friday is for speed training. Next week I’m hoping I can get four solid runs in so I can get back to my regular pace.
  3. Update my portfolio – As a designer, I need to have a portfolio of the substantial work I’ve done. I have started an online portfolio, which needs to be completely updated, and then I need to create a hard copy. This means I need to take some high quality photos of my work, edit them with Photoshop, and create an attractive layout in Illustrator. All in all it is quite an undertaking. Probably why I haven’t gotten to it yet. But the time is now and it will save me a lot of work in the future.
  4. Look for jobs – The most nerve-wracking of all my tasks. This will require me to scour the internet for positions in the Bay Area. At this point I’m uncertain what type of company I’m interested in working for, but I do know where I want to be. I’m setting a solid goal of finding three viable options and applying before the end of the week. I’ve also come to terms with the fact that it is tough to get a company’s attention through an online application, so I am going to do my best to connect directly with an employee. And of course this means some serious networking…
  5. Network and continue informational interviewing – I have two great connections in the area and I need to set up times that I can meet with both. Hopefully they will be able to guide me. But I also need to find people I’m less familiar with that could assist me in my job search. This means I need to buck up and attend events in the area rather than staying within my comfort zone. I’m incredibly nervous about going to these events, but recognize that it is necessary.

Of course there are a few other items I need to work on as well, like that hair cut I’ve put off for months and doing laundry, but I see these as minor in comparison with the other items. So here is to accomplishing all of the goals on my list and then some! (Wish me luck, I’ll probably need it…)

What are your goals this month? How did you get started on your job search?

*Okay, I got in a few nights of debauchery in New Orleans this past weekend. More information and a few too many photos to follow.

Rockin San Jose

This past Sunday was the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose half marathon. Last year I came within thirty seconds of my half marathon PR on this course and this year I initially had hopes to break that record. Sadly it came to my attention recently that this wouldn’t be possible. My legs have been grumbly for the past few weeks. Of course it didn’t help that it had been almost two months since my last double digit run. But I’m not the type to back down (especially after I’d already registered).

So I did everything possible to ensure a good race. I carbo loaded on Saturday with a simple bowl of spaghetti and marinara sauce. Went to bed uncomfortably early. I even had my legs taped up for the first time to help with calf/shin cramping. By the time I woke up on Sunday I was feeling fresh-ish.

I departed from Palo Alto early to avoid traffic and found that it was incredibly easy to find parking near the start and finish line. With time to spare I went to find Maggie, the awesome chick I met at Fitbloggin. We had discussed the possibility of running with one another and, although she didn’t know it at the time, I had hopes of using her as a pace rabbit.

At the halfway mark my lower back began to ache. I’ve never felt something like that before and I didn’t know how to react. All I knew was that Maggie was kickin’ butt and I wanted to keep moving. She had mentioned that 50-75% of the way through the race was her toughest point, so I did my best to move along smoothly. And we did. And it was good.

Each time we passed a stage, I did my best to rock out with them. There was a lot of 80s music, which was fantastic. I may not have been alive when the songs were topping the charts, yet I know each and every one. I haven’t always loved the performances on a race path, but this time it really helped keep my spirit up.  By mile 10 I was letting everyone know how awesome they looked. When spectators said, “You can do it!” I replied, “We are doing it!!” It was probably the  most glorious race I’ve run. And as we reached the end, I made sure everyone knew what I was looking forward to the most. Chocolate milk. *

We crossed the finish line three minutes slower than my PR. Perhaps we could have pushed to make it, but I’m not dwelling on that. Maggie set a new record for herself and I am so glad I was there to run with her. Scratch that. I’m so glad she was there to run with me. I learned quite a bit from this race and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

Expectations and goals change naturally overtime. No, I didn’t set a new personal record, but I did finish the race with a huge obnoxious smile on my face. I pushed my body to move faster than I had planned and didn’t let myself slow down for any small excuse.  I worked hard and felt great. And isn’t that a beautiful thing?

What is the craziest thing you’ve seen someone do during a race? How do you handle a change in goals or expectations?

*Dearest fellow runners, I apologize if my enthusiasm was distracting or annoying to you. Sometimes you have to psych yourself up to push yourself harder.

Fitbloggin Part 2

And now that I’ve had a full week to process all of the awesomeness that happened at Fitbloggin (and to dive head first into grad school), it’s about time I complete my recap.  Right?

Check me out, I’m tramping!

Saturday started off with another bang. I dragged Melissa down to bounce on some tiny trampolines. Supposedly it was a fitness class, but it felt more like child-ish behavior mixed with inappropriateness from the instructor. I kid you not, he told us to “hit your bad kitty”. I’m still uncertain what he was referring to. So we jumped, then got on the floor and did some awkward dance moves. Afterward I was shocked at how much I was shvitzing. But I didn’t have much time to relax since it was absolutely necessary to Zumba! Although many people didn’t tramp, I swear that everyone got in on Zumba. It was a huge ball of fun. Who doesn’t love dancing? And let me tell you, all our sexiness rocked that dance floor conference center carpet.

After a seriously necessary shower, I ran away to the Natural Products Expo next door. Let me tell you, there is nothing life a conference center full of  natural food products… I spoke with so many vendors and picked up a bit too much. Fortunately my bunk mates were more than willing to take some free samples with. I met some great companies, who you’ll probably here about in a little bit, and learned plenty about the industry.

Then I jetted back to Fitbloggin so I could LiveBlog for the best (and most teary jerking) discussions of the event – When You Have a Lot to Lose. It was absolutely beautiful to hear each person’s story. It made me really reconsider things in my own life. The rest of the day I spent with the great roomies. We had crabcakes (naturally since we were in Maryland), had a slight fiasco with a patio umbrella, and enjoyed the reception where Robby won a KitchenAid mixer (that will be mine!). We spent the rest of the night relaxing around the grounds. I got picked up by Biggest Loser star Mark. Okay, that is a lie, I jumped into his arm and he couldn’t do much about it. Fortunately he was a good sport.

Our entire room woke up early on Sunday to prepare for the 5k. I had made plans to run with Maggie the day before and she was a perfect running mate. In fact, I’m hoping she’ll pace me for this weekend’s half marathon. Melissa was even kind enough to slow down and stick with us for the entire thing. Somehow having these two awesome ladies around me made me push a little bit harder.

The entire event ended on a high note of hugs and see-you-laters. Then off Pinky and I ran to the airport. It was sad to part from everyone and return back to California, but I knew it was time. The next day I started classes and TA-ing a class with a bunch of rowdy and confused engineering undergrads. This promises to be a very hectic and frustrating quarter. But I’m up for the challenge (as long as I can fit some training and healthy eating into the schedule). I’ve made some changes to my habits, in fact I’m even staying up later these days! But more on that soon.

What are your big plans and goals for October? I’m hoping to rock two half marathons and drop all those pounds I gained this summer.