Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Hood To Coast Experience! Time 'o life.

I've been TOTALLY procrastinating on this write up!  Probably because it was too intense of an experience to write quickly and I don't know what to leave in / leave out.  But...you've got a billion other (better) bloggers to read in HTC recaps, so I'm just gonna try mah best mmmm kay?   =)

I flew into Seattle Wednesday night to spend some time with Anthony pre-Hood To Coast.  It pretty much consisted of working even though I was on vacation and watching Game Of Thrones (new HBO series!) with him.  Thursday night, Nuun hosted a pre-race dinner. My heart went pitter-patter as I met so many bloggers that I knew only from internet pictures!

I have no idea what the appropriate way to meet new bloggers is.  I usually say "heeyyyy!  You're "X blogger!". And then I feel kinda awkward because clearly I've been stalking them online. But...usually they are nice and sometimes we even quickly hug!  Because...we kinda already know each other, right?

After dinner, we stole helped ourselves to a bunch of Nuun sitting on the shelves! Let's just say I will not be running out any time soon!


Van 1 of Nuun Platuun planned to roll out of the hotel and go to Mount Hood at 6:00 AM Friday.  We met in the lobby, took some pics, and got going!  My van was Alyssa, Lisa, Kerrie, Tricia, Caitlin (Nuun), and Alex (Nuun driver).  We also had a photographer with us some of the time.

We made our way to Mount Hood and after three hours of driving and getting to know each other better, we pull into this glorious place:

OMG Mt. Hood.  

Tricia was the first up to start the race, and she was definitely nervous!  As soon as the race started though, we tailed her in the van and she was kicking some booty down the mountain!  She finished her leg, and Alyssa took the "baton" (really a slap bracelet).  Unfortunately it was getting hotter and hotter.  After Caitlin and Kerrie finished their legs, it was time for this bunny to start running.

My First Leg
Let's just say it was hot and I was sweat-tay.  But my awesome van tailed me, pouring water on me as I ran by.  I was pretty physically uncomfortable, but the pure thought of running Hood To Coast made this leg awesome, despite the heat and hills.   My performance was nothing to write home about, something like 7:40 pace for 6.1 miles.

I handed the slap bracelet onto Lisa and she brought in Van 1, handing off to Jess in Van 2.  We met up with Van 2 in the Safeway parking lot and I drank copious amounts of milk to try to recover.

It was pretty cool to finally see Van 2 since we had been separated from them since the start.

I chatted with my awesome teammates and made weird arm movements as evident in the picture on the right.

Van 2 took off, and we went for some nice R&R at a pub in suburban Portland.  I had a delicious loaded baked potato.  Before we knew it, it was time to meet up in Portland to get going on our nighttime legs!


The next Van exchange was really in a strange part of Portland.  It appeared to be some sort of park next to a bunch of trains.  We got to hang out with the other teammates and the girls from AfterNuun Delight and also wear some really stylish night gear (head lamp and vest).

Tricia led off our awesome van again, but ended up getting stuck behind a train for like 15 minutes!  She decided to not try to climb over the moving train, but was still awesome.  Alyssa went off on her leg and went ridiculously under her predicted pace.  We were all starting to get tired by now (after having been awake 20 hours), but it was my turn to run again.  I took a caffeine enhanced Gu, and went for it.  

Leg 2
This was honestly one of the strangest running experiences of my life.  I was running somewhere in rural Oregon down a highway that was nearly pitch black.  The only things I could see were other runners in the distance (their flashing lights) and trucks along the side of the highway.  Occasionally, a truck would honk to "say hi", which was kind of fun.  I felt like I was on a weird infinite treadmill where I had no idea where I was or how fast I was going.  Good thing, because I wasn't going all that fast.  I think I averaged around 7:40 miles for the 7.1 miles.  This isn't great because the terrain was pretty easy and flat.  I'm gonna forgive myself though.  Extenuating circumstances!
I was both bored and excited at the same time, but before I knew it, I rolled into the next exchange point and handed off to Lisa.

Complete Confusion

I'm not really good with not sleeping.  I can do it, I just start going insane.  This didn't bode well for the nighttime hours of HTC.

We pulled into a sleeping area around 2:30 AM.  I was completely disoriented, and went to go lay on the grass by myself and thought it was a great idea to not tell anyone.  After 45 minutes into my adventure, I decided to start walking around like a zombie.

I ran into Alex, our van driver.  He told me the whole van was looking for me.  I then bit him and we all turned into zombies.

uhhh..just kidding about that last part.

Anyways, we all piled into the van to try to get to the next exchange point.  Traffic was horrible. We were seriously going about 1 mile/hr and runners were passing us on the side.   There actually was a guy walking around outside that looked like a Zombie. All of this would have been fine, though.
Except for the fact, that I had recovered from my run #2 by drinking a ton of milk.  And I had to pee like a racehorse.

For about 30 minutes I tried to hold it, knowing that going in the woods is well...not allowed in HTC.  Finally, I couldn't take it anymore.  At 4:30 AM, I sprinted out of the van into the unknown foggy Oregon countryside.  And behind an old abandoned house, I did what I had to do.  Rules be damned, I tried to hold it and failed.

According to my teammates, my sprinting into the fog with a roll of toilet paper was quite a sight to behold.

Sweet Sleep

We finally pulled up into the lot around 5:00 AM, and poor Alex had been driving for about 24 hours.  We put down a tarp, and got a glorious 60 minutes of sleep.  When I woke up it was light out.  The night before felt like some weird nightmare, and now that it was light, everything was ok again.

Go Time Again.  Beautiful.  

After a little getting ready and trying to be lucid, it was time for Tricia to lead us off again.  She had an adorable Camo dress (skirt shirt combo) and got ready to rumble.  We started driving into the hills in Astoria, Oregon.  Maybe it was the lack of sleep, but there was something breathtaking about the morning.

There was fog everywhere, and it was cool.  The land was green and hilly, and we all just had one more run to go to bring in Hood To Coast.

Even though everyone was doing a great job on their legs, I was very nervous about mine.  My last leg was a straight 3.5 mile climb and I wasn't sure if I'd be ok doing it.  I took plenty of Pepto swigs to try to be ready.

Finally, it was my turn.  And dude..it was GLORIOUS!

Handing Off to Lisa
It is hard for me to describe how beautiful the area was, or how many cheers I got running up that mountain.  The support, the scenery, and knowing I was on my last leg, made this an indescribable experience.

When I got to the top of the mountainn, I knew it was time to let it all go.  2.5 miles down, time to let it all out.  I went up the mountain at 9 minute miles, but I came down at 6:30 pace.
Every leg I ran was beautiful, but leg 29 (my third) is a reason to be the number 5 runner on its own.  Took my breath away.

The Finish
After Van 1 finished, we drove through Oregon to Seaside in a ton of traffic.  We kept getting updates about our teammates.  How Susan ran an amazing final leg.  How XLMIC, our last runner, was getting ready to run.

We made it to the finish in our van, and waited to see XLMIC bring it in.  And she finished the whole HTC under 28 hours, in 27:59.   When she finished, I told her that it is crazy to see how much she gives to each leg.  She said "I don't know any other way to run".  Amazing quote!!

I spent my time after the race primarily with Anthony as we drove to Portland.  I was pretty freaking disoriented and had to wake up in the middle of the night to throw up.  I'm telling you this not to gross you out (ok..maybe a little bit), but to say "HOLY CRAP WE PUSHED OURSELVES TO THE LIMIT!"

Now, a couple days later, I feel more recovered.
I know I will never forget this crazy weekend.  It was so cool, beautiful, challenging, and fun.

A special thank you to the companies that made this possible and so much more awesome for us: 
Nuun  (of course!)
And also....
Tommie Copper  (I am wearing your calf sleeves right now) 
Moving Comfort  (wore the Sports Bra earlier today!) 
Road ID
Flashbrite (reflective paws)
Buildasign (van magnets)
Jamba Juice
Jenny Craig

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hood To Coast In Numbers

I'm back.  And it was CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY!  And awesome.  I will do a full recap, but first let's do Hood To Coast in Numbers.

Because...I like numbers.  And so does The Count on Sesame Street.

400.  Number of total miles run by 2 teams of bloggers and Nuun employees from Mount Hood to Seaside, Oregon.

27:59. Total Finish Time of Nuun Platuun.

8:24.  Pace per mile of Nuun Platuun over entire race.

89.  Degrees Fahrenheit during our first legs Friday afternoon.   SWEATY SWEATY!

60.  Minutes spent "sleeping" Friday night on a tarp somewhere on a field outside Portland.    It was like a
scene from a Zombie movie.

2.  Hours rest of team spent searching for van keys in middle of dark field.   This awesome team member (moi) had no idea this was even occurring.

2:35.  Total time I spent running legs 5, 17, and 29.

1.  Times I sprinted out of the Van at 4:00 AM into the foggy Oregon countryside to do "you know what" because holding it was not a freaking option anymore.

6.  Hours Anthony spent in the car driving from Seattle to Seaside to hang out with me at the end.

6.  Cups of regular / chocolate milk consumed over 24 hour period for recovery. (delicious!)

5.  Tabs (10 servings) of Nuun consumed over 24 hour period.

24.  Hours after completing Hood To Coast that I ended up part of an Ultra Ragnar team with my awesome So Cal Blogger friends!

3.  Minutes I spent puking Saturday night in a random Garden Inn in Portland.  TMI?  Possibly.  Crazy what these things do to your body

9.  Place out of 40 of Nuun Platuun in the open women's division.

Infinity.  Amount we KICKED SOME BOOTY in Hood to Coast!!!


* pictures in post shamelessly stolen off Kerrie's facebook.  :)
** The key searching time is a total estimate.  I think it's about right though!

Friday, August 26, 2011

F Yeah Friday (Luckier than davy crockett)

By the time you read this I'll be on the moon in a van with 5 of my closest new internet blogger friends, ready to kick some HTC boo-tay!   I just came from dinner with all the girls, and it was so cool to meet everyone in person who I've been stalking for months!  

Right now, I'm probably getting ready to drive out to Mount Hood for the Hood To Coast Relay!  To prepare, I ate a bunch of watermelon.  I also created a twitter account.  Social media confuses me, but I'll try to "tweet" HTC updates unless a bear attacks us all!  In which case the update would be #bear_attack.  

So...follow me...but even better, let me know what your names are so I can follow you!  

Also, I'm not going to let a silly thing like running a 24 hour relay get in the way of my posting "F Yeah Friday" (a record of all things awesome in the week!).  
So here's what rocked my week:

1)  Dreyers (or Edy's depending on where you live.  I've lived in so many places I don't really know what name is which anymore) Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Sundae Ice cream.  
I would usually reserve thinking an ice cream is awesome for the likes of full fat Haagan Daas (Coffee) or Ben and Jerry's (SnickerDoodle / Peach Cobbler), but no, this bad boy has 110 calories and 4 grams of fat per serving and it's still amazing.  Go out and buy it.  And then write to thank me.  And yes, I do accept thank you gifts.    

2)  Relationships.  This weekend marks my 1 year anniversary with my boyfriend.  He's awesome because he's willing to "celebrate" by driving to the Oregon coast and greeting his sweaty unattractive girlfriend there.  

But here's what else is good:  You know that line in the movie "As Good As It Gets" where Jack Nickelson says to Helen Hunt "You make me want to be a better man."? 
When I first watched that movie when I was younger I didn't understand why that was such a great compliment.  My 16 year old self figured "You're hot.", or "I like your hair." made more sense for compliments.  But now I get it.  
And yes...1 year in, this is how I feel in my relationship.  He makes me want to be a better (wo)man.    
And that's pretty great. 

3)   Winning Stuff!  Are you one of those people that never wins anything in contests?  
....I am NOT one of those people.  I am luckier than a leprechaun!   
Off the top of my head, I've won a sled, a hunting rifle, a refrigerator, and now...an ipad2.  
Apparently I won one of those "guess the number of gumballs" contests at the conference I attended last week.  

The kicker?  An hour after I got that email about winning the ipad2, I went to go get gas.  Sitting there at the pump on the ground was a $20 dollar bill.   Amazing!  

Weekly Workout Recap
Saturday:  3x1 mile at 6:11 pace, 1:45 rest between each.  2 mile warmup / cool down.  4 mile run later in the day.  
Sunday 30 mile bike ride
Monday 5 mile easy run
Tuesday  2 miles in warm up / cool down, 3.1 miles of...2 miles at 7 minute / mile pace, .4 miles at 5:52 pace, .7 miles around 6:35 pace.  
Wednesday: 16 mile bike ride
Thursday:  4 miles easy
Friday (pending!):  6 miles...hopefully run hard
Total Mileage:  29 running miles, 46 biking miles. 

Soooo....what was awesome about your week?  

See ya after the relay!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hood To Coast! These are my confessions...

This morning, I was in no mood to work out...yesterday was just one of THOSE days.

But XLMIC had crafted a "5k workout for the mentally weak" for me  (ok I made up that name, but essentially it's 2 miles at 10k pace, .4 miles at mile pace (I picked 5:52...ridiculous), and the remaining .7 somewhere between 5 and 10k pace...meant to push you when you usually give up.  This completes a full 5k.).
It was pretty freaking difficult, and at mile 2.4, I wasn't able to hold the pace, but it was a pretty cool workout!
AND some dude next to me on the treadmill called me "impressive".   Although he may have been referring to the impressive quantity of sweat flying off my body.

It's Finally Time For A Hood To Coast Post!!   Yay! 
I've been pretty quiet about HTC, although I am ridiculously excited / nervous about it.  I've also been pretty silent about our sponsor, Nuun.
There are a couple reasons behind this:

1) I'm pretty reticent to talk too much about any one product on my blog, even if they are giving me an awesome opportunity.  I don't like getting pushed products, so I try not to do it very often to you.

2) Confession Time:  I HAD NEVER TRIED NUUN BEFORE BEING ON THE TEAM!  I first heard about it when I heard about this contest on Blonde Ponytail's blog.  I'm not usually big on sports products (besides Luna Bars which are too delicious not to eat).
But now, I truly do like it.  I like that it's refreshing and low calorie.  I also like the environmentally conscious aspect of the packaging.
But I especially like the functionality. Ever since I've started working out with sports drinks (Gatorade, Nuun), I feel a lot better afterwards.  I used to get weird blurry vision lines post workout, and now I don't anymore.  So...two thumbs up!  Would drink again!  

Ok enough product pushing.  But please know that it's honest product pushing =).

What are you actually RUNNING at Hood To Coast?
Funny you ask.   I'm on legs 5, 17, and 29.  Apparently it's the death march legs.  Here are the predictions based on calculations that someone smarter than I am came up with!

Leg 5
Distance: 6.08
Rating: VeryHard
Predicted Time - 46:44
Predicted Finish Time:  4:23:46 PM
Pace - 7:41 pace.
Comments:  LOL you guys are FUNN-Y make this route straight up!  7:41 pace on these hills....negative, Ghost Rider.

Leg 17
Distance: 7.13
Rating: Medium
Predicted Time - 52:02
Predicted Finish Time:  2:15 AM
Pace - 7:17 pace.
Comments:  Looks like I'll be finishing this leg as everyone else is heading home from the bars on Friday night!

Leg 27
Distance: 6.11
Rating: Very Hard  (aw man, again?)
Predicted Time - 47:53
Predicted Finish Time:  11:39:06 AM
Pace: 7:50.
Comments:   I'll be done just in time for Saturday morning brunch!!

Hood To Coast Checklist:
Besides the normal stuff, I am bringing Diet Coke, and possibly Captain Morgan.   Unless anyone else has any preferences they'd like to email me.... =).

Any relay suggestions?  I've never done one before (besides a 4x800m) so I'd LOVE to get advice :). 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pippa Middleton Shocker!

I am not usually one to post twice in 24 hours, but this was too important to wait.  
I was at the grocery store last night when this little headline caught my eye: 

Padded Pippa?  Butt Scandal? 


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Head2-Toe-N-Lululemon (controversial clothes)

If there's one item of clothing that really starts some debate in the running world, it's the running skirt.
You gotta love or hate it!
Or be kind of indifferent about it in my case.  If you want to wear clothing that looks inefficient but is super cute, I ain't gonna stop-ya!

However something else in the running clothes world tears me up inside.
Good old Lululemon. 

When I think of Lululemon, my first thoughts are of annoyance at myself for not buying their stock when I first heard of them.  I woulda had a ga-zillion dollars!

My second thoughts are much more...conflicted...

Point 1- Dislike
Lululemon started as a yoga store and moved into running.  Probably when they realized that there are even more image conscious women with disposable income who run than do yoga.
Lulu put a greater emphasis on looking cute and reduced their emphasis on athletic performance.   They introduced annoying marketing phrases like "Friends Are More Important Than Money".

Good thing, Lulu because one could easily spend all money on two items in your store.  

One phrase printed on the bag of my latest purchase said "Stress is related to 99% of all illness".
This one really irritated me.  Go tell someone's sick grandma that and I bet you'd feel like a jerk.

Indeed if there is one segment of the population that is not stressed, they are the upperclass, primarily Caucasian (I have never seen a lulu ad featuring a non-European decent looking woman, which is another issue) yoga-ers who shop there.

Their marketing just really gets me...in a bad way.

Point 2 - LOVE
Now after you listened to the angry FasterBunny, let me say, I have two items from Lululemon:  A Yoga Pant (Groove) and a Running Shirt (run for your life) I just bought.  They are both AMAZING.
There are no items I could rather wear than these.  In my opinion, Lululemon makes amazing products.

I did a workout on the treadmill that totally kicked my butt yesterday (repeat miles at 6:11...I almost died) and went on a freaking awesome group bike ride today.  In between, I hand washed my new lulu top so I could wear it both days.  Functional and cute for sure!

I even got invited on a women's group bike ride mid week.  Maybe they were impressed with my outfit?

So here I am...still completely torn about this store.  For me, as annoying as I find some aspects of how they market themselves, Lulu's product wins.  It's expensive, but ultimately probably worth the investment.  As long as they keep making great stuff, I will have to make a trip there again. I'll just decline the ridiculous bag that comes with purchases with inspirational phrases on it.  

How do you feel about Lululemon?   Discuss =).

Friday, August 19, 2011

Who really ends up with Mr. Big anyways? (F Yeah Friday)

Another week, another dollar, friends.  I am getting really pumped to run Hood to Coast with my Nuun teammates next week!
But...I'll do a whole Hood to Coast post later.  I am a procrastinator, so no need for any blogging or preparation until the 11th hour!

 It's time for.....F Yeah Friday!  (A celebration of all things awesome during the week)

1) Cuban Food:  Holy crap, y'all.
I've always been a fan of Cuban food, but let me tell you about my two separate culinary-heaven experiences this week.  It started out on Saturday with Ropa Vieja at Versailles in Venice Beach.  What's Ropa Vieja?
Tender Shredded Beef in a Tomato-y delicious sauce.  My description doesn't do it credit though.  Run, don't walk to your closest Cuban establishment and try it.
Just kidding, smoking is BAD-4-U
THEN this morning, I met a friend for breakfast (who meets people for breakfast during the week...craziness) at Porto's in Downey.  There were a million tempting pastries but I got a rum soaked dough ball with cream on top.  I know this also doesn't sound THAT amazing, but let's just say that the moment Cuba opens the borders, I will be the first one brunching with a dough ball in one hand, and a cigar in the other.

2)  Jet Blue:  My flights to and from San Francisco were both delayed.  Annoying?  Yeah.  Worthy of compensation?  Probably not.  But they emailed me a $25 dollar gift certificate to apologize.  Nicely done, nicely done.

3)  Sex And The City Repeats:  Whenever I get home from work, I often kick back and catch up on some good old SATC.

Uhhhh...Sex and the City went off the air years ago.  
Whatever dude, it's still a great show.  I watched SATC at it's height in the early 2000s when I was in college.   I loved the idea of the disposable cute boys, $600 shoes, and brunches at hip places in NYC.   It's a fantasy world!  BUT while I am willing to accept all other ridiculous parts of their lives, I just can't come to terms with Carrie ending up with Mr. Big.  He was charming, but put her through so much and was totally a jackass!

I bet most of us had our Mr. Bigs in our lives:  An unattainable - emotionally unavailable - gives you just enough to hang on - totally does it for you -guy.  

In what parallel universe does anyone actually end up with that guy? Do you know anyone who did? 
I know its bad TV, but I want Carrie to meet some dude 100x better and nicer than Mr. Big and that's how the series ends.  Possibly with a choreographed dance routine to Beyonce's "Single Ladies".
If ya liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it.  

Alright alright enough about Sex and the City...I'm not ready to make this blog a relationship blog...yet.

Weekly Workout Recap.  All-in-all a good week:
Saturday:  5 miles easy, 2 miles at 13:20 on the treadmill 1% incline.  Legs felt dead.
Sunday:  30 mile bike ride
Monday:  4 miles easy
Tuesday:  1.5 miles of easy, 5x1000 @ 6:00 min / mi pace 1.5% incline, 3 minute rest.
Wednesday:  Ridiculously slow 6 miles.  Stopped to cross streets 1 billion times.
Thursday:  1 mile warmup, treadmill tempo of 7 miles (at 1%) alternating 7:24, 7:13, 6:58 pace every 5 minutes to keep the boredom away.  Amazingly felt easy.
Friday:  5 miles easy.
Total Running Mileage:  34.5.  Biking Mileage:  30.

What was awesome about your week??

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Is this what it means to be an adult?

I'm back from my conference!  I learned a lot about marketing. 
(I work in marketing, this wasn't about marketing my little blog, that would be RIDICULOUS =) ).

I also learned about the food selections of San Francisco.  They are great, but I can never live San Fran because there are not enough places that sell ice cream.  

I had a great blogger meetup with Average A and Marjorie who are on my Nuun Hood To Coast Team!
Pics or it didn't happen?

Stolen from M's blog since I set my picture cable free in San Francisco
Dude it totally happened. 

Being at this conference also was stressful and tiring.  Is this what adulthood is?  Always being overextended?  
I'm thinking yes.  

Sometimes I feel like a 16 year old stuck in a 29 year old’s body.   Not maturity wise, but like Freaky Friday style (the version back when Lindsey Lohan was cute and sane) where I'm just waiting to be switched back. 

What is this “responsibility” you speak of? 
Billz?  Jobz?  Life?   
Responsibility sucks yo.  But it’s here to stay.   It’s not ALL bad though.   Remember all the stuff you WANTED to do as a kid but now you can?  Some of it's pretty awesome...

 -  No asking to eat junk food.  You just freaking do it.
-  You wanna go somewhere?  Sweet…just get in the car and drive.
-   Going on dates with boys is a-ok.  You can even kiss them! 
-  Coffee and booze.  'Nuff said. 
  Cereal for Dinner.  no harassment about bad nutrition. 
-  Being able to do a 200 mile 13 person relay in Oregon just because you want to!

Some stuff just doesn’t fly anymore, and that list is a lot longer than this first one.  

Anecdote:  I remember when I was about 8 and was wearing a barrette with a bunch of tulle coming out of it.  I asked my mom if she wanted to wear it and she said she was too old to wear a poofy hair clip.  It blew my mind that anyone could ever be too old to wear such a fashionable piece. 

But now I get it.  

It doesn't fly to: 
-      Dance through the aisles.  Back in the day, I’d practice my iceskating routines through the grocery store cereal aisle nearly knocking over the fruit loops and wearing nothing but tights and the tiny skating skirts.  I think they’d call security if I pulled that stunt these days.

-      Free sample binge.  Ok ok…I’m pretty sure you’re not even supposed to do this as a kid, but I remember the glorious days of grabbing about 10 samples at a time.  Now I can only do this when they’re not looking.

-      Sibling Torment:  Sneaking up on your siblings when they aren’t looking and trying to scare the living crap out of them. 

-      Pretending to be a shark in the pool.  This one we CAN do but it’s rare.   I never cease to be amused by a bunch of random people lying by a pool and no one is actually in it or interacting with each other.  How exactly is this different from setting up a chair on your sidewalk by yourself?

Candy Bar Themed Shoes = Awesome
Singing in the middle of a presentation if it gets boring:  I totally wanted to to this all week. 

-      Hide and Seek, Tag, and Capture the Flag.  Can we please play this at Hood To Coast?  It's "interval training". 

-      Eating 10 Candy Bars in one sitting:  When you do this as an adult, it’s a binge.  When you do it as a kid, it’s awesome.

-      Leggings and fluffy boots like Uggs.  Wait….nevermind.

What did you do when you were a kid but that doesn't fly now (without getting crazy looks)? 

Do you support my initiative to be able to make eating ridiculous amounts of candy socially acceptable again? 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I won't play, I love the Bay just like I love LA

I know these quick photos I took walking to my hotel don't do it justice, but San Francisco, you are one beautiful city.

I think I love every city I've ever been to.  Or every place.  But San Fran almost feels like a wonderful foreign country to this adopted So Cal girl. The buildings, the bridges, the weather, the really aggressive people soliciting you on the street....

Although I realized as I was riding the BART that I was being a bit snooty in the way only someone who lives in Orange County can be. 
While this extremely high quality photo on the right doesn't do it justice I'm was wearing a pink Lacoste polo with a leather jacket.  I almost called myself a D-bag.  

Why am I in San Fran?
I'm up here for a Search Engine Marketing conference so that I can learn how to better Stalk market to you online!  I am nervous about it!!  If these one thing that stresses me out, it's talking to strangers without safety net of The Faster Bunny blog.  And sadly, I don't think these people will be impressed that I'm on the Hood To Coast relay team.   Maybe if I offer them some Nuun.... 

But surely they will find me just as charming as you all do, righhhtttt?

Marjorie, Alyssa, and I are meeting for a blogger dinner tonight so if you're a Nor Cal. blogger, email me and COME!!! 

Travel workouts are always interesting.   I am looking forward to a nice outside exploratory run tomorrow, today I treadmill workouted it.   I am completing all of these really hard workouts (yay) but I still feel a bit out of my league.  But maybe one day, 19:59 5k you will be mine. 
5x1000, 400m rest, 1.5% incline, 6:00 Mi pace.  

I was sweating up a storm.  While the workout room was pretty full, surprisingly no one wanted to get next to this stampeding sweaty buffalo as I grimaced through my 1000s.  Hopefully no one from the conference was there and will recognize me today.  
"Heeyyyy!  You're that sweaty girl!!"

I will leave you with my favorite workout song, "No Hands".  Pop rap, I love you.  In my mind, Waka saying "I'ma make it thunderstorm" refers to the sweat beads flying off my body as kill myself on the 'mill.  It's wonderful. 

Waka Flocka Flame

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What does a "Real Woman" look like?

Where do these freakin' weekends go?  Out the window apparently.  This morning I went on a bike ride with my crew at Surf City Cyclery. And for the first time in 4 bike rides, I didn't crash, get lost, or get a flat!  Yes yes...big prize for me.
What's amazing about biking is that I can go for 2 hours and feel great afterwards.  Run for 2 hours and I feel like I just got beat up by a bear.  Many of you bloggers (and lurkers?  I love that I have no idea who reads this thing) run LONG distances regularly.  So if you run 10+ miles on a weekly or more basis, please let me know how you escape feeling...un-mauled.

I also killed some time watching Good Morning America yesterday morning.  They did a segment on a website that is becoming very popular:  My Body Gallery.com.  The concept is that you can can see pictures that "real women" posted of themselves and and view by body type, height and weight, etc.  It's meant to show "real women" instead of fashion models.

What is a "real woman"?

Our perception of beauty has changed over time:

Sure, both women are thin and gorgeous, but I'd say one looks pretty attainable and one not so much (ahem, Miranda...stop makin' me look bad).  

So then sites like My Body Gallery pop up to combat this emphasis on ulta-thinness.  Or the Dove campaign. Remember that?  
Apparently the Dove campaign was ultra successful, and I'm glad it was.  While I'm pretty sure these women were still airbrushed, it's nice that really pretty, normal looking women were featured.  

So why haven't we see more of this?  Why is there the trend to feature skinny models with big boobs and with major airbrushing in their features?  

Since I can't believe that the entire fashion and fitness industry WANTS women to feel bad about their bodies, I think the answer is that skinny sells.  The industry serves us these pictures because we women see them, and want to look like models, and purchase accordingly.  Hard to know what came first, the Chicken or the Egg, but we're in a vicious cycle now.  

So we're doomed to an eternity of 13 year olds with crappy self esteem huh?  

Kinda...but I think there's something we CAN do.  I'm not a mom, but I know that if I have a daughter, I plan on de-emphasizing appearance as much as possible.  Sure, it's hard in a world of Disney Princesses and fashion magazines, but I hope by emphasizing her worth in intelligence, sports, music, and eventual career prospects, I can help her to aspire to be so much more than being like that Miranda Kerr picture.   
Way easier said than done? I'm sure.  

But I'm hoping if I do my job right, she'll prioritize her achievements over wanting to be skinny.   And hopefully Disney will come out with a Princess who is not all that cute and works as a lawyer or scientist or something in the meantime.   Although unfortunately, that movie probably wouldn't sell.  

Friday, August 12, 2011

F yeah Friday!

A friend suggested that I start writing WTF Wednesday.  But I'm already probably grumpy enough on this blog, so instead we're putting a positive swing on it and starting "F Yeah Friday" to commemorate all things awesome within the week!   

1)  Blogger Posts
A. Terzah interviewed Adam Goucher and Tim Catalano.  I've been an AG fan for years. And Adam Goucher gave me training advice and congratulated me on my race.  I nearly died of happiness.
For you hipsters out there, this is like Thom Yorke of Radiohead commenting "nice tunes" on your You Tube guitar video (ok not exactly, but still).
B. Angry Runner's "Healthy Living Blogger" Comic.  If you're sensitive to Healthy Living Blogger Stereotypes or her blog, skip it.  But if you like funny funny stuff, read it.   It's all in good fun, IMO.

2) Ergonomic Chairs
I've had a lot of back pain lately.  And no I'm not 80 yet.  I blame my bike crash a couple weeks back, although I might just be turning into Quasimodo.  
Basically I got a new chair at work and 2 days later, I'm almost 100% better.  I never believed in ergonomic chairs and stuff like that but my life has improved 100 fold post purchase.
This is what I got, if you're curious:  Chair.  It'll change your life.

3)  Lightweight Trainers:  I've worn the Mizuno Inspire for about ten generations now.  And I love them.  A couple weeks back,  I decided to invest in some lightweight trainers (Mizuno Elixir) for speed workouts.
I feel like I'm "walkin' on sunshine".  They are light, but still supportive...and beautiful.  I wouldn't recommend changing to a lighter shoe if you're injury prone, but I'd recommend these to anyone else looking to get some speedwork in or to have a supportive racing shoe.

Here's the weekly workout recap:
Saturday:  40 minutes elliptical + 20 minutes trying to learn to swim
Sunday:  5k Race + 3.5 Miles in Warmup / Cooldown
Monday:  4 mile run, easy.
Tuesday:  Tempo: 1 mile easy, 6 @ 7:13 pace. 
Wednesday:  2 miles, 20 minutes of swimming
Thursday:  2 miles in Warmup / Cooldown.  3x1 mile with 90 seconds rest at 6:18, 6:15, 6:15.  This was hard for me!  
Friday:  15 mile bike ride, ended with flat tire!  But so happy to have my bike back :).  

Total:  24 running miles, 15 biking miles.  Super low mileage, but acceptable due to high intensity running!  I'll take it!  

What's was awesome about your week?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Guide To Text Messaging Essentials. OMG.

Patience is not one of my virtues.  Maybe this is a product of being part of the "me!"  "Now!" Generation, but I love instant gratification.  But since I existed in the dinosaur times before cell phones, text messages confuse the bajesus outa me.  When I first got a cell phone, I didn't realize I was getting text messages for about a year after I got it.  Who knew that "mailbox" icon meant something?   Oops. 

Communication Rules Used To Be Simple 
1) Don't call friends after 9:30 PM.
2) Say "hello, this is Margot, is blah blah blah there please"
3) If someone calls you, call them back.  If someone gives you a gift, write a freaking thank you note.

Which brings me to the question of the day:  What's ok in the text message world? 

Is it ever ok to not respond?  Is it ok to get annoyed when someone takes a day to write back?  And then send them a message that says "Why the (#@)(#&@ didn't you reply to my text?"  My mom never taught me these rules.  And sadly, she never taught my ex boyfriends these rules either. Likely because my mom has never sent a text message in her life.  So I'm gonna have to fend for myself here.

Unusual Stuff
A friend:  "I just got in a car accident" = CALL BACK ASAP (AND TEXT BACK IF CALL NOT RECEIVED)
Random creepy dude at 2 AM:  "What are you up to?"  or "Thinking of you" = IGNORE IGNORE!
Good for Text Messaging?  Probably not, but keeps life interesting.  

Long Conversations?
Because I'm a texting curmudgeon, I think having a long conversation via text message is silly.  If you want to discuss long details of something, unless you're Stephen Hawking or we're at work, just pick up the phone and call me.  I can talk like 60 words a minute.  That's faster than can I text.  And I bet it's faster than you can text too.
Good For Text Messaging?  Not really.

Figuring out location or logistics?
Love it.  Unless it gets complicated.
Good for Text Messaging? Abso-freakinglutely

Mass Texts?
These are usually either religious / motivational, fundraising, or to wish you a "Merry Christmas!".  I have no idea what the etiquette is when clearly someone texted their entire phonebook.  Maybe to SPAM your whole phonebook too.  Pay it forward.
Good For Text Messaging?  Unless it's a Holiday wish, you're probably annoying your friends.

Response Time?
This is a tricky one.  I feel in most instances, a response within a couple hours is the way to go.  But I'm also guilty of responding to people a day or two later.  It's easy to see a text and then forget about it.  But most people have their phones on them all the time.  And replying takes like two seconds.  So if you regularly reply to me 5 days later, you are communicating that I am the world's lowest priority to you.   Or that you're a time traveler and it's hard for you to keep these things straight.

Intended For Someone Else:
Probably best to tell them they got the wrong number.  Although I've always been tempted to play along and see how long the person takes to figure out they texted the wrong person...

Agree or Disagree with mah texting policies?  
Anything text related you want to vent about?  
What's the most ridiculous message you remember getting? 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Crazy about Pippa, What's Next, and REI

Anyone else watching "Crazy About Pippa" on TLC?  I can't decide whether I want to watch it again and again because it's so awesome or throw my TV out the window because it's so dumb.  

I like her though.  Because apparently she likes to have a good ol' time.  So Pips, consider this your invitation to come bar hop in good old Cali. 
It's Miller time.  

Enough about Pippa, let's talk running!  
Alrighty.  I've got Hood To Coast coming up, a 5k in September, some sort of Triathlon sometime in the Fall after I learn to swim, and a half marathon in October.  

But all I can think about is trying to re-5k PR.  Somewhat due to people way more talented than me like Sarah and Cait saying "buck up and run sub 20 now".  (I'm paraphrasing, but in my head, this is what was said, ok?).  So I typed paces in this calculator for 5k workouts and typed in 19:59 as goal pace.  Can I do it?  Eh, probably not, but I may as well kill myself trying (sort of like 50 Cent's "Get Rich or Die Trying"). 
This 5k PR impluse resulted in a 6 mile tempo treadmill run at 1% incline and 7:13 pace today.  It wasn't exactly easy, but more it was just boring.  If "Crazy About Pippa" had been on it woulda been a whole other story....

What about biking?  Shouldn't you do that more if you want to do a Tri?  

Bike is still in the shop (getting it tomorrow!! yay!) but I missed out on an awesome OC blogger date to go to a basic bike care class at REI tonight.  I learned a lot, but got hungry mid class and there aren't a lot of food selections at REI.   Who says you need to have a race to eat Honey Stingers.  God they are delicious. 

Even though the class was free, a trip into REI is most definitely not for me.  I am unable to walk outa that beautiful store without purchasing so much stuff.    Their "free class" plan worked ;). 

Check out my new REI schwag to be used for Hood To Coast!

Head lamp, nifty "runners wallet" to put on wrist (total impulse buy!), and reflective vest.  Nuun is supplying reflective vests for us, so buying was not a necessity.  However, back in high school winter track, we all ran in the dark and were required to wear them on runs.  No one ever washed them.  The smell of those vests still haunt me.  So while I am sure my HTC teammates smell nothing like the 15 year old boys on the TJHS track team, I am taking no chances.  

Pippa or Kate? 
What race food (like my honey stingers) do you want to eat as a snack it's so freaking good?
Do you think it's a good thing that I bought my own reflective vest just in case my HTC teammates smell ?  ;-)

PS:  Check out my guest (food related) post going up Weds at Tara's blog!  I swear the recipes are good!  

Sunday, August 7, 2011

OC Fair 5k Recap! Runnin' with Clownz.

Orange County 5k Race Recap:  A dream come true for me.  Please forgive the melodrama of this recap!    This PR means a lot to me.  And gosh dangit, I'm fairly proud of myself.

Woke up at 6:20 and saw it was cloudy and cool.   I do terribly in the heat, so I was pumped to race. 

I met up with Pam, who was running the race as well and we stood in a ridiculously long line to get my bib.  I think the race was a ton bigger than last year's so they weren't prepared for the crowds.  

Pam and I hung out in the starting corrals which was awesome because I tend to get a little psycho nervous before races.  Having her there to talk to definitely helped me not having a nervous breakdown.  We agreed that no matter how many races we do, we still get butterflies at the start.  SO true.  I will never stop nearly peeing on myself out of nerves in the corral.  

The race was a bit delayed due to the crappy logistics, but it didn't really bother me.  More time to procrastinate actually racing!  

Finally...we were OFF!

Start:   For the first time in the history of the world I went out at the pace I wanted to.   Possibly due to getting "unwarmedup" from standing the corral so long, but I'll take it.   

Self Talk: "Strong but relaxed...strong but relaxed..."

First Mile: 6:38. 

The course started curving in and out of random exhibits.  It was pretty cool, actually.  I felt like I was in a video game and some crazy clowns would come out of the booths and start chasing me.  

I was keeping pace with a long haired dude running barefoot.  Normally I like hippies, but this guy kept on boxing me out every time there was a curve.  No idea if it was on purpose or not (probably not), but I got frustrated at some point and muttered "seriously dude?" after trying to pass for the 1000x time.  Then I felt bad and rude.  I doubt he was trying to be a jerk, but racing sometimes brings out a weird aggressive side of me.  

Self talk:  "Relaxed...keep pushing!  No slowing down from that first mile!"

Mile 1.5:  Water station.  I take water, throw it on myself and then throw the cup on the ground.  Then I see a trash can.  For the second time in a couple minutes, I felt rude.

Mile 2: 13:20  (6:42 second mile)

Self Talk:  "You're never going to PR...I can feel you slowing down...just admit you suck at running" 
Then:  "Stop doing this to yourself, just focus...".  

Mile 2.5:  
Self Talk:  "Only about 4 more minutes to go.  You can run for 4 minutes.  That's less than 1000 meters.  You CAN run 1000 meters, can't you?"

I ridiculously started quoting Pre in my head:  "To give less than your best is to sacrifice the gift, to give less than your best is to sacrifice the gift..."

Mile 3:  20:03.  "Go Go GO!!"

How I felt. 
Final Time: 20:39, 4th woman.  
So happy!  
Pam also kicked some booty coming in just a hair after me and PRing as 5th woman.  We didn't run the race together, but it was awesome having her there!  She is ridiculously nice and supportive!    

Post race, I decided to see if I won any sort of age group prize.  
After asking a couple volunteers about prizes who gave me confused looks and asked "You got a race t-shirt, right?", I figured it was a lost cause.  :). 

Last Thoughts: I don't want to over dramatize this race, because I fully realize that running a mid-20s 5k, is not really that impressive.  I didn't set any records or save any lives.  At the same time, I've been running for 14 years and have never broken 21.  And it's always bugged me.  And I finally did it.  

So this race feels almost as good as a BQ to me.    

I celebrated by getting a mini donut from Starbucks and trying on everything in the store at the local Lululemon.   It was awesome.   

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Triple Tangent uh....Saturday....(Bachelorette winner!)

The winner of the bachelorette contest is HauteRunningMama!  Four of you got the top 3 right, but I random number generated for the winner.  So email me, Momma and get yo schwag :).

Now For Triple Tangent Saturday Night!  

1) Guilty Pleasure Movies:   As sucky as it is to be in a long distance relationship, there are a couple of perks.  One is watching girl movies by yourself.  I am spending my Saturday night in watching The Notebook.  For the 500th time.   It's on Oxygen and it's glorious.

If you don't love this scene, I just don't have anything to say to you....

Indeed, it was not over, Noah.  

2) Old Lady Gardens:  I did some other old spinster stuff today, like starting a garden.  Which made me realize one more glorious thing about Southern California:  you can start a freaking garden in August.  Hell, I could probably start one in January if the plants were ok with being a little chilly now and then.

I've always been kind of into plants and here's why:  My family had a garden growing up.  And also, believe it or not, I spent most of my childhood without a TV (I learned the characters on Saved By The Bell as an adult to escape ridicule).  Whenever the Burpees Seed catalog came in the mail, while every other kid was watching Full House, I was memorizing all the hybrid strains of tomatoes and their disease resistances.  Truth is stranger than fiction.

My new plant assortment includes one tomato, one pepper, and oregano.  If only I could grow some mozzarella cheese, I'd be in for a tasty snack.  I've got a daddy plant from a few weeks back that I'm sure will take care of the little ones:  
Daddy Tomato and little plants

3) What the heck is up with this 5k course?  Like a good prepared runner, I took a look at the course of the 5k I'm running tomorrow.  It's on the OC fair grounds, and frankly the course looks a bit like a carnival itself.

Course in red.
A little different from the normal out and back course...eh?

What's your guilty pleasure movie?
Do you grow stuff?
Will you please think fast thoughts of me tomorrow morning?  I really want to do my best like whoa

Friday, August 5, 2011

Mental Vs. Physical Racing. Chocolate Espresso Cookies!

Because you really need a post workout photo of me
Self Talk Before Race: "Margot...give it all you've got. Go out slow, it should feel easy, and gradually push more and more until you kick some boot-ay".

Self Talk Near End of Race: "This sure is painful. Any particular reason you went out ridiculously fast again? Ya know..it's ok that ten people just passed you just let'em go. I know you'll be mad later, but...for now this slowing down sure feels goooddd".

Self Talk After Race: "Goddangit! Why didn't you just push a little harder through that last mile! Don't listen to angry-near-end-of-race self!"

Topic of the day: The mental side of running...in particular the mental aspect of being prepared to race.

There's a Pre quote where he said "I am going to work so that it's a pure guts race. In the end, if it is, I'm the only one that can win it". or even better his quote of "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." (Love him! He was a pretty interesting dude!)

These quotes are SO inspiring, both in running and in life, but how do ya get those guts and give it your best?
While I'm no authority (maybe the the opposite of one?), here's what helps me to feel ready:

1) Feeling Fast: Knowing you've done the training. Having done some confidence building kickass workout recently.
2) Feeling Mentally Rested: Whether this means you've gotten plenty of sleep lately, or just haven't done a hard run in a couple days, I think being pumped to race and ready to take it on plays a huge part. At least for me....
3) Having Competition or Inspiration: You pick what works for you. People are different and either being motivated by beating the some random reality TV star in front of you, or knowing your family is there to cheer you on (this helped me SO much in Boston) can help a ton.
I see all the time on blogs "I'm only competitive with myself". Screw that. If being competitive with the dude ahead of you helps you do your best, go for it.

Why write about this topic now?  Well...it's selfishly motivated, of course :).  I've got a 5k this weekend, and I'm feeling physically fast, but mentally so-so! Luckily, I've had a couple quality workouts this week that helped me feel more confident:

1) 5x1000m @ 6:11 Pace at 1.5% incline on the treadmill. 400 m rest (prolly like 3 minutes).
2) 12x200m @ about 41-42 seconds (except when I ran a 39 because there were a bunch of army dudes on the track that I couldn't help but race), 200 meter jog rest. Then I decided to do a mile at 5kish pace (ended up doing it at 6:38) to see if I could do it without straining. I did and the mile felt controlled. Big confidence booster.

What makes you feel mentally ready for a race (or even a workout)?

If all this running talk doesn't do it for you, perhaps a Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies recipe will!

I made these last night to send to my brother for his birthday. Great, except that his birthday was July 28th. Sister of the year award right here!
I got them off this blog, but made a couple changes based on the comments. Here's my version. I think they are pretty tasty, although I'm not 100% blown away. They're a little more "adult" (nothin' XXX rated about them) than the average cookie, and would be awesome with coffee.

2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder (I used super ground coffee. If you do this, make sure it's ground fine like instant coffee so it dissolves in the batter)
1 tsp vanilla
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (I'd cut this in half and add walnuts next time)

Preheat oven to 350
Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Then, add eggs one at time. Add vanilla

In a separate bowl mix together dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder. Make sure ingredients are well combined.

Slowly add dry ingredients to butter / sugar mixture. Mix everything until the ingredients are fully combined, but do not overbeat. Stir in chocolate chips.

Cook on baking sheet @350F for for 15 minutes (blog says 10-12 but mine needed to cook longer, so this time varies).

Enjoy your super charged snack!