Thursday Thoughts: Heaven in a Bowl and Running Things

1. I’m hoping WordPress’ auto-publish feature actually works. I’ve never used it before, but I have to this morning because I’m currently being orienteered. I’m shadowing at two different hospitals this summer, and I managed to get both of my orientations on the same day. So that’s why I’m officially MIA from the blog world this morning, except for a few stray comments here and there from my phone during downtimes.

2. I made a bowl of heaven yesterday afternoon.

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Heaven = Pineapple Chobani + mango pieces + cold barley.

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It kind of looks like a giant, unattractive blob, but it was the perfect mixture of sweet, savory, and textures. (I love texture-y meals.) You’ll be seeing a lot of variations of this on my blog in the future! (Although I do wish it were more photogenic.)

3. I’m really sad that my MCAT books have started arriving. This means I now have no excuse to not study.

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This is only about a third of them. The rest are going to be rolling in in the next few days. I’ll post a picture when I have all of them…it’s quite an impressive number. And it’s really a little bit depressing.

What makes it even harder to motivate myself to study is that I may not even want to be a doctor! Ahhh. Decisions, decisions.

4. Now that I’ve seen that old post, I have a very strong urge to go back and edit all of my old posts because they look absolutely tragic.

5. I finally ordered a foam roller last night. I always used the ones at my university gym, but I figured if I’m going to continue this running thing I need one at home. I’m definitely bringing this to college with me, too, because (1) I’m not spending $40 for nothing and (2) sometimes I just want to foam roll without having to trek to the gym.

Full confession: I didn’t foam roll or stretch or even cool down after my half. I definitely paid for it afterwards.

foam roller

Isn’t it such a pretty color?

Sidenote, if you’ve never tried foam rolling, you’re missing out. It’ll simultaneously be the worst and best moments of your life.

6. I ran yesterday! For the first time since my half! Just an easy-peasy two miles. It felt so good to be back out there!

DSC00817Can you see my socksies? ;)

My half lit a flame in me and I’ve been itching to run since I finished, but I had to wait until the soreness in my legs had (mostly) subsided.

7. The more impressive thing about my run yesterday is that I didn’t listen to music. I started running with my iPod in, and about a minute in, I just…decided I didn’t want to.

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This is huge for me; I’ve never run without music before. I even had one earbud in during my half. But the sounds of kids playing in the park, birds chirping, my breath, my feet hitting the pavement…it was pure bliss. Now, about that Garmin… ;)

I do want to participate in Cori’s Run Free For Me Challenge at some point before it’s over. Gotta get on that!

I’ll let y’all know how my orienteering goes. :) Have a fantastic Thursday! Hang in there; it’s almost the weekend! :D

Do you ever run or workout without music (or a watch, for you runners)?

Random question for all of you with a separate blog email: When you send emails to people, what is the name that’s shown? (i.e. full name, first name, blog name, etc?)

WIAW #2: English Muffins and a Whole Lotta Snacks

I haven’t posted as much food this past week as I typically do, so this will be a treat for both those of you who don’t follow my blog and those of you who do! :)

Thanks to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for the link-up!

So, without further ado, some notable meals from the past week include…

{Breakfasts}

DSC00643Hot oats cooked with egg whites, topped with strawberries and coconut peanut butter

DSC00660Toasted (whole wheat) English muffin topped with apple butter and scrambled eggs with spinach and cheese

DSC00689Pancakes the size of my face and as thick and fluffy as…whatever is super thick and fluffy

DSC00770English muffin sandwich with eggs, cheese, avocado, and apple butter

{Lunches}

DSC00604Quinoa with alfredo sauce, spinach, and spicy jalapeno chicken sausage

DSC00663Sweet potato fries and pomegranate Chobani

DSC00752Salmon, roasted brussel sprouts, and a sauce that you’re not supposed to know about yet ;)

DSC00774Barley with alfredo sauce and a salad consisting of cheese, spring mix, kale, broccoli slaw, and Italian dressing

{Dinners}

DSC00612Quinoa with marinara sauce, broiled salmon, steamed cauliflower, and sauteed sprouts

DSC00676Annie’s White Cheddar pasta shells, steamed green beans, and sauteed cabbage

DSC00756Healthy bagel bites (cheese and pizza sauce on top of a toasted whole wheat English muffin), steamed cauliflower, and sauteed romaine lettuce

{Snacks}

DSC00609Toasted English muffin with coconut peanut butter and sliced kiwi

fruitFruity snacks: blueberries, dried mangoes, and the biggest orange I’ve ever seen

DSC00621Green lemonade smoothie

smoothieGreen smoothie with spinach, blueberries, banana, and plain greek yogurt

DSC00780Parfait: 2% plain greek yogurt, blackberries, granola

DSC00784Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabar

Things I noticed while writing this post:

1. I eat a lot of English muffins

2. I eat a lot of snacks

2a. Most of my snacks are fruit

…this is actually the first time I’ve had this realization. I suppose there’s much worse things I could be eating. ;)

My Race Bucket List

Now that I’ve officially knocked out my first actual race, I feel more comfortable sharing this. I’ve always had a race bucket list, even when my relationship with running has been rocky.

1. A marathon in the World Marathon Majors: Boston, Chicago, New York, London, or Berlin.

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Will I ever qualify for the Boston? Maybe, maybe not. Am I okay with maybe never running Boston? Yes, because I know that I’m not a natural runner and maybe the qualifying time will never be in my reach. But there are other big races out there, and I’m going to make darn sure to enjoy them!

2. A 10-miler, half, or full in Disney–or more?

rundisney

Because I love Disney World like nobody’s business. (Yes, I am and always will be a kid at heart.) And how cool would it be to run through Disney? Super cool. Any other answer you may have had is wrong.

Disney also has 2 challenges above and beyond the full marathon. The lesser of the crazy ones (because a full marathon isn’t crazy enough) is the Goofy Marathon and a Half Challenge. According to Disney:

goofys challenge

Participants run the half on Saturday and then the full on Sunday. (Doesn’t that sound like so much fun?) You get 3 pieces of bling–1 for each race, and 1 for Goofy’s Challenge specifically.

goofys challenge medals

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Disney is debuting the Dopey Challenge in 2014. If you complete the 5k, 10k, half, and full, you can officially say you’re Dopey enough to run 48.6 miles worth of races in 4 days.

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If you complete it, you get six pieces of bling–one for each race, one for Goofy’s Challenge, and one for the Dopey Challenge.

Will I ever be Goofy or Dopey enough to complete one of these? I won’t lie, the idea is incredibly appealing, if nothing else but to say that you did it. (Plus, it’s Disney. You can’t go wrong with Disney.) The reality, on the other hand… ;) only time will tell!

3. Nike Women’s Half or Full.

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Because (1) the full is in San Francisco and the half is in DC, and running in San Francisco or DC would be absolutely magical and (2) the medal is a Tiffany’s necklace. And they’re handed out by studly firemen. Uhm, yes please!

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I’ve also heard that Nike does an excellent job of putting on a good race, so I guess there’s that, too. ;)

4. Nashville’s Country Music Half or Full.

nashville country music marathon

Since going to Texas for school, I’ve become a huge fan of country music. Since becoming a huge fan of country music, I’ve wanted to go to Nashville. Since becoming a runner (it still feels mildly weird to call myself that), I discovered Nashville’s Country Music Marathon. I listen to country music while I run anyways, so I might as well get the live thing, right? ;)

5. The Houston Half or Full.

houston marathon

This is definitely something I want to do before I graduate.

I had several friends and professors who’ve run Houston, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. I’m stuck in Houston for at least the next 2 years anyways, so I might as well enjoy it. :)

6. A trail race.

trail race

I like running on roads and through cities more because it’s much more entertaining to me than staring at trees for hours on end. But, one of the things I love about running is being so connected with nature, and where better to do so than on a trail in the middle of nowhere?

7. A race in the mountains.

mountain race

I’ve been obsessed with the mountains (hello, Colorado!) since I first set eyes on pictures of them. I got a small taste of what mountain life would be like when I visited colleges in Vermont and Massachusetts, and even those pale in comparison to the Rockies.

Where are some places/races that you want to run? If you’re not a runner, if given the opportunity to do some active activity (yoga, walking/hiking, anything!) in any place in the world, where would it be?

Cleveland Half-Marathon Race Recap

Previous related posts:

My Thoughts While Running

Scenes from the Race

{The Expo}

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I can’t tell you exactly how seamless getting your bib/shirt is, because my mom did that (she works very close to where the Expo was being held, so I had her pick up my stuff for me). I can tell you, however, that they’re very accommodating. I went back the next day because my mom had gotten the wrong size, and they were more than happy to honor my request.

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The Expo wasn’t super packed, but it was a little hard to navigate. Things kinda seemed to be spread all over the place. There were a lot of businesses and organizations there, including Fleet Feet Sports, One More Mile, Vertical Runner, the Cleveland Clinic, other races, and charities.

I didn’t stick around too long at the Expo, mainly because I knew that if I did, I would end up buying a ton of stuff I don’t need. Some notable treasures that I did find (but did not buy) include:

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A booth dedicated to the Vitamix. The guy was giving demonstrations, and you bet I gobbled up 3 cups of the green smoothie he was making.

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These funny stickers.

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{The Course & The Race}

Wake up call was at 4am so I could get some food in my belly: my favorite Larabar flavor and instant oatmeal in a mug (everything about that last part screams classy, dunnit?). 4am is too early to make real oats, so instant it was.

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The start time was 7am. We arrived at 6am, and twiddled our thumbs for a bit (and took some gorgeous sunrise photos).

The course started and finished at the FirstEnergy Stadium, aka where the Cleveland Browns play.

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There were pace groups in 30 second intervals (8min/mi, 8:30, etc.). I wanted to try to keep a 10:00 pace for the entire race, so I originally wedged myself in between the 9:30 and the 10:00 pace group, hoping that being slightly ahead would give me an extra little kick of motivation.

The course went through some of the more notable parts of Cleveland, including Edgewater Park (with beautiful views of Lake Erie!), Ohio City, West Side Market, Progressive Field, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Great Lakes Science Center.

rockandroll

A large part of the course went through highways and streets with views of the old, dirty, run-down industrial part of Cleveland, as well as some of the older historical neighborhoods of the city. Although both of these are a huge part of Cleveland’s history, they didn’t make for the greatest scenery.

I don’t actually remember exactly what we passed when, which makes this a pretty poor recap, huh? I was just so focused on the energy and the excitement (and nearer to the end, the exhaustion) that I don’t remember a whole lot else, hah.

I came out FLYING because of the adrenaline. I ran my second mile at a 9:09 pace!…and then after miles 6-7, I began losing steam. I hit a gigantic wall at around 9.5 miles, and that wall never came down. I ended up walking for about 0.07 mi during mile 10 and another 0.1 mi during mile 11.

The course was a bit more hilly than I imagined. Granted, the hills weren’t huge. And I suppose the elevation was pretty even when compared to some other races. But for someone (me) just starting out, the “hills” were killer.

elevationmap

There was Powerade and water every 1.5ish miles, and Gu gels at mile 9 (and another for the marathoners later down the road). I got a little bloated from too much water near the end of the race.

The first 12.7-ish miles were run with the marathoners, and then we broke off to finish while they continued on. The marathon did go through some other major city streets and sights that the half didn’t.

coursemap

Other than in the last mile or so of the race when we were actually downtown, crowds were pretty small. However, they were loud, extremely excited, and had some pretty funny signs. The last mile, the crowd support was insane! It was great motivation to kick it up a notch and finish strong.

My official time was 2:08:01, for an average pace of 9:46 min/mi. My 10k split was a 59:08, so the 2nd 10k was significantly slower.

garmin

Before life got in the way, I was secretly aiming for a sub 2-hour, but I had to adjust my expectations (stupid life). I’m totally cool with that though–I finished strong and I did the best I could with the situation I was given. I can’t ask for any more than that!

My dad apparently missed me at the finish line. Dad: “So I took pictures of other people finishing instead.” He’s a gem. :P

DSC00721The finish line, 5 minutes after I crossed it. Thanks, Dad!

There were a lot of people with Boston shirts or blue&yellow, and it was really cool to see the support. Before the race, the announcer also gave a small tribute to Boston via intercom. I also wore blue and yellow in support.

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{Post-Race Noms and the Medal}

The post-race food was a ton of snack-y things. Water bottles, giant bottles of chocolate milk, bananas, pretzels, and popsicles were given in the Finisher’s Corral.

Beyond the corral, there was live music and vendors gave out a crapton of free food and drinks (including a Beer Garden!). I’m pretty sure I had half my bodyweight in Robek’s smoothies. ;)

robeks

The medal is super colorful, which basically means I automatically think it’s super cool. The guitar in the center spins! (Dork alert.)

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{A Blooming Addiction to Racing}

I always thought running a race would be similar to my long runs.

I finally understand why people are addicted to racing. The adrenaline and the excitement is absolutely incredible and completely unparalleled. The feeling of crossing the finish line is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before, and it’s the most amazing feeling.

I’ve already started looking up races for the near future. There’s a 10k/10miler on Father’s Day that my dad and I are going to do together if he finds out he’ll be back from his business trip by then (we don’t know when he’ll be back yet). There’s also a different half/5k the day before that.

Even if my dad isn’t home on Father’s Day, I may do the 10 miler by myself for kicks and giggles because I think it’d be slightly easier on my body, but I’m not going to lie, the itch to do another half is so strong. We’ll see! :)

Scenes from the Cleveland Half-Marathon

My recap post is already incredibly long, so I’m posting these photos separately. The full recap will be posted tomorrow morning, but in the meantime, feel free to enjoy these gems. :)

DSC00764Close-up of the shirt. I think it looks pretty snazzy.

DSC00707Milling about in front of the Great Lakes Science Center.

DSC00708The finish line, a little after 6am. How pretty is the sky?!

DSC00716A boat in the harbor.

DSC00711Last-minute adjustments to my bib.

DSC00714Apparently, my dad got so bored while I was warming up that he took pictures of me warming up.

DSC00725Near the finish line, medal in hand!

MIMM #5

I can’t believe I’ve been doing MIMM for 5 weeks now! As always, thanks to Katie for hosting!

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I ran my first half-marathon yesterday!

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I wrote a post yesterday about some of the thoughts that were going through my head as I was running. If you missed it, check it out!

The last few miles were absolute hell and stairs and me aren’t friends right now, but it was so worth it. I’m already planning for another race in about a month! (It’ll either be a 10 miler or a half.)

Look for a race recap either later today or tomorrow! (Yes, I know I said that yesterday, but stick with me here.)

To make up for the copious amounts of calories I lost, I ate copious amounts of froyo.

froyo

On Saturday, I went because it was on the way home from the race expo. Yesterday, I went out with one of my best girlfriends from high school, and we somehow ended up there. ;)

Speaking of food, oatmeal returned this morning!

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I will never get sick of hot, fluffy, egg-white-laden oats. Especially ones that include peanut butter.

I came home yesterday after froyo to find Rosie sleeping like this.

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Fun fact: dogs will only sleep on their backs when they feel secure and comfortable. Dogs in the wild never sleep on their backs because it leaves their throat, heart, and stomach vulnerable to attack.

The weather is finally warm (maybe even a little too warm…) and flowers are in full bloom.

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Summertime, I’m ready for ya!

While playing outside and enjoying the (hot) weather with Rosie-poo, we found eggs in our front yard!

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My sister thinks they’re from geese, but we don’t know for sure.

I also have become insta-obsessed.

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Although I will admit, most of my pics are of food and Rosie. If you want to follow me, you can do so here.

To cap it all off, the Voice is on tonight! I’m so excited to hear the top 10. I think I’m rooting for Danielle right now because she’s just so darn cute and I’m a sucker for country. Plus, she’s 16 (so young!) and she already has an incredible voice.

What’s been marvelous in your Monday?

Thoughts of a First-Time Half-Marathon Runner

I’m so, so glad I ran today. I can’t believe I almost didn’t!

My official chip time was 2:08:01, for a pace of 9:46 min/mi. I’ll do a full recap of the actual race either later today or tomorrow, but I thought this would be a fun little post. :)

Before the race:

What am I supposed to do for the next 6 minutes till the gun goes off?

It’s taking forever to get to the starting line.

I hope that it won’t be this crowded during the actual race.

Oh, look! I can see the starting line! It’s not that fancy…

Mile 1:

I thought this was supposed to be a relatively flat course. What’s this hill doing here?

Maybe putting my phone in my back compartment wasn’t such a good idea. It’s kind of heavy.

9:46 split. I’m feeling gooood.

Mile 2:

I wish I had more to look at besides the industrial wasteland that most of Cleveland is.

WATER. WATERWATERWATERWATER WANT WATER.

I’m going to try drinking water while running. I have such a good momentum going!

…note to self: walk when drinking water, unless you want to be soaked in water and sweat by the time this is over.

9:09 split? Girl, you’re on fiyah!

I LOVE ADRENALINE.

Mile 3:

This is such a pretty park! And I can see the lake!

Laughing to myself as I see a runner running for the bathrooms in the park.

Mile 4:

Should I eat something soon?

I’m still flyin’. Adrenaline is possibly the greatest thing ever. Besides froyo, of course.

Poster: “The Indians play at 1pm. Run faster!”

Mile 5:

I should eat something before I hit a wall. Gu Chomps, to the rescue!

I need somewhere to put this plastic bag that I put my chomps in. There are already gel packets on the ground, so, uh… *throws bag on ground*

Mile 6:

Adrenaline’s starting to wear off. Good thing I’ve got glycogen!

I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR THESE HILLS.

There’s a twinge of soreness in my foot…that’s probably not a good thing.

Poster: “Worst parade ever.” (I actually saw a few of these, so maybe they’re not as original as I thought they were. Still made me laugh!)

Mile 7:

You’re more than halfway there! Wahoo! Just keep chugging along.

Mile 8:

5 miles to go! You got this!

It’s really hard to chew and huff and puff at the same time.

Mile 9:

4 MILES!

Well, hello, wall. I wish I could say it’s pleasant to see you, but I’d be lying.

That 9:09 mile was a bad idea.

Slight knee pain has joined slight foot pain.

Mile 10:

Big. Fat. Wall. Is. Still. There.

Mile 11:

2 MORE MILES. LET’S GO LET’S GO LET’S GO.

Poster: “Wall?! What wall?! All I see is a road!” You’re funny, and you’re awesome, but I also want to slap you.

UPHILL. NO.

That 9:09 mile was a terrible idea.

Poster: “Keep running! Free beer in 2 miles!”

Oooh, look, Jacob’s Field! (It’s actually called Progressive Field now, but old habits die hard.) That means I’m close, right…?

Mile 12:

ONE MORE ONE MORE ONE MORE YOU CAN DO THIS!!

Oooh, pretty lake view!

That 9:09 mile was a ridiculously terrible idea.

I must have passed the Mile 13 marker by now…right?

Mile 13:

Just kidding, there’s the Mile 13 marker. GOGOGOGOGOGOGOGO SPRINT YOUR LITTLE HEART OUT. SPRINT AS IF A PACK OF STARVING LIONS WAS CHASING YOU.

Why is the finish line seem like its not getting any closer? Also, that’s a really disappointing-looking finish line.

Finish line:

FJWOFJWIOGHWRGOHEJKGEHRGUHFIOFJWEIOFJWEIGOHRWIGOHERGOHWOFWEIFOJWEFSKDFJGOIHWFW

I can’t walk straight.

FOOD. GIMME FOOD.

So…when’s the next race? ;)