20 Miles

This past Saturday I ran 20 miles. 2-0! It’s the furthest I’ve ever run, aside from the SF Marathon last year.

I get pretty anxious and nervous for long training runs. The night before any scheduled run longer than 10 miles I don’t sleep well (as in I wake up every couple of hours, typically in sweats, etc.) because I’m so anxious. And I’ve typically done the mileage I have scheduled many times before. But just because I’ve run a half marathon before doesn’t make the next any less daunting. Because I’m always trying to do better. And the risk of not being better than I was yesterday is scary. Because if I’m not improving, what does that mean? Am I injured? Is it a set back? Was my last run a fluke?

This past Summer I got really into running. Okay, I’ve been into running for the last 7 or so years, but this Summer I’ve become more social in my running. I started listening to podcasts, officially joined Strava, started going to workouts at Fleet Feet, trained my butt off with Team in Training, and joined the Oiselle Volee team. It’s been extremely fun and rewarding to connect with others over our shared passion.

My dear friend Peggy (she is one of my biggest running motivators) introduced me to a podcast called Run Selfie Repeat a few months ago that has changed my perspective. What Kelly Roberts, the host of Run Selfie Repeat, talks about in her latest podcast is giving yourself permission to succeed. Something that really resonated with me is this: “If you can give yourself permission to succeed… sometimes that means not giving up. Sometimes that means just showing up. Taking the time to believe that success is more likely than failure that’s a muscle we very rarely flex.” This. is. so me! I am always procrastinating my runs because I think it will be a bad run. Why? Why do I foresee a run ending badly? Sometimes it takes me hours to even get the courage to go for a recovery run. When I’m supposed to go slow and not hit any milestones. Why do we project or plan for the worst? Why are we always surprised when we succeed, even though we’ve practiced and trained to do just that? Why do we downplay our success? Is it because we are supposed to be humble in our accomplishments? I get that, definitely. But at what point are we allowed to be proud of our dedication to our goals and achievements?

Channeling all of this, I changed my perspective for my last very long training run. On Friday I made a conscious effort to stay cool and try to remain calm. Sure, I still woke up at 3 am, then 4:30 am on Saturday morning, but I calmly talked myself back to bed. When I got up at 5:45 I did my typical routine: coffee, with toast + peanut butter + 1/2 a banana. And I just chilled. That’s the thing, too, about training with a team. It’s still hard to wake up so early when you’d rather be sleeping, but you do it for them. So that you don’t let your teammates down.

What I’ve come to realize during this training cycle is that at the end of the day we are the drivers of our own success; no one else is going to do the dirty work for us. When we dare to dream of goals that seem out of this world, and then work our butts off, it’s a privilege to honor that dedication. How daring and bold it is to even dream up big dreams.

Despite the soreness, missed vacations, parties, and dinners, waking up at an ungodly hour every Saturday, physical therapy, etc. this is why I run. To know that I can dream up a goal and dedicate myself to achieving it. And I’m working on knowing that when I do achieve my lofty goals, it’s okay to be proud of myself. And if I fall short, remembering that it takes a daring dreamer to even put myself out there.

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Confidence & Perseverance

There are officially less than 8 weeks until the Chicago Marathon, and I’m feeling great about my training so far this season. I ran 18 miles this past Saturday (!) and the rest of my training includes running the Giants Half Marathon in a couple weeks, another 18 miler and concluding my long runs with a 20 mile long run. This leaves room for a 3 week taper and then the big day on October 8th.

I know I’m not alone in that I get nervous about my long runs. The thought of running that many miles at once is physically and mentally intimidating. I follow this training plan, and on this plan the long run distance starts at 6 miles and in the course of 13 weeks advances to 20 miles. Again, that’s 6 miles to 20 miles in 13 weeks! To reflect and think that your body has become strong enough to run 14 more miles in a single run is crazy and completely amazing.

That is why I love running so much. Because running is the development of both physical and mental strength. Running forces introspection; it teaches you to really listen to yourself. You are the only person at the end of the day who can make all of this worth it. What you put in, you will get out. No one can run the miles for you.

There’s an honesty about marathon training that gets overlooked. We need to listen to our bodies, treat them well, and know the difference between true fatigue and doubt. It’s often the most difficult part of training, making that rest day call. The days when your body is worn down and needs to recover. I’m sick right now, and it’s hard for me to accept when I have a 6 mile run on the schedule. But I’m listening to myself and trying to be kind.

More often than not, it’s not fatigue. Our bodies have become stronger. Instead, it’s doubt. It’s the place in your brain that will manipulate you to believe that you can’t hit your paces, that 18 miles really is too long, that you’ll just wing it at the end or the adrenaline will carry you on race day. So what is it that overcomes doubt and second guessing? You guessed it: confidence and perseverance. People start running for different reasons, but these two lessons are in my opinion the most valuable outcomes when you train for a race. Confidence to overcome doubt. Perseverance to try anyway, keep going and overcome. Listening to yourself, doing what’s best for you, accepting that you are human, and knowing that you are still strong and bad ass to even try in the first place is a gift.

I’ve loved being more involved with my Team in Training group this season. In case you missed it, I’m running the marathon with Team in Training to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. On Wednesday nights we have track practice at Kezar Stadium and Saturday mornings we meet up for long runs. While it’s challenging getting to the other side of San Francisco after work some Wednesdays and difficult to pump yourself up at that notoriously windy and foggy track, it’s thrilling to feel myself get faster each week. Our coaches, Joe and Megan, come up with the workouts and plan out our long run routes, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the variety. When I was training for the SF marathon solo last year, I would procrastinate my long run until 10 or 11 am and run the same route over and over. Our Team in Training long runs start at 7 am, and knowing that I have other people to run with and am done by the time I used to start has been a game changer.

I have some donations that I haven’t submitted yet, so I’m over halfway to my fundraising goal, too. I’m getting pumped for Chicago and have appreciated your support tremendously, checking in on how I’m feeling, asking about my shin splints, how my run went, etc. If you’d like to donate, I’d be so grateful and you can do so here.

Running does so much for my body and soul, and I love sharing my journey with you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support.

One Year

Today marks one year that my beautiful friend and roommate, Kate, passed away.

There are some days that I still can’t believe she is gone. I’m quickly reminded because of the void I, and all that knew her feel on a constant basis.

On this forum and in life I’ve talked a lot about who she was; a confident free spirit who let her heart and intuition guide her. She was one of the most self-serving people I’ve ever known, and she was who she was respectfully, honestly, and responsibly. She did only things that served her happiness, purpose, and truth. And she did that while simultaneously volunteering and mentoring, passionately pouring herself into her book, running, practicing yoga, traveling the world, going camping, etc.

What makes me the most sad is that there are people in this world who will never know her. There are so many who need her, who could have benefited from her bright light and they never will.

Kate was fearless. She was human, she made mistakes. But she lived knowing who she was, and if you had a problem with that it didn’t affect her much. I’m pretty much the opposite; I’ve always needed validation from others. As a result I’ve let the fear of judgment from others influence my decisions and feelings. But this year I’ve challenged myself to embody the Kate mantra; to do what makes me happy and live my truth. All I, or any of us, can hope for is that while we are trying to do our best, to live the best version of our happiest lives, we have the support and kindness from those we love most. And if we don’t receive that, recognizing we need to rethink those we hold close to us.

Kate has given me inspiration, taught me lessons, strength and courage every day. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her, miss her, or wish she was still living in our apartment. I know that’s how you can verify the impact of someone on your life when they are gone; when they continue to be a great life teacher after they’ve passed.

Kate has also given me the gift of new friends. Before Kate’s passing, I didn’t hang out with the Wisconsin Crew much, but that changed after our shared tragedy. Now this scrappy group of Badger alum are an integral part of my life.  I can’t thank them enough for their support, love, and friendship this past year.

With the anniversary of Kate’s death comes some good news. The book Kate was working on publishing, Fly With Maya, will soon be available for purchase. You can read more on the website, but in short it’s the amazing story of a girl who travels around the world, meeting engineers along the way on a hot air balloon. It’s a beautiful story of teaching a little girl that she can be anything she wants, even a typically male dominated profession like an engineer.

In memory of Kate, I encourage you to sign up to volunteer, cook a healthy meal from a cookbook you’ve never used, go for a run, arrange a gathering with family or friends, plan your next big vacation, or call a friend you’ve lost touch with. She did all of these things in a single day. If we could all be more like Kate, this world would be a much more wonderful place.

I try, everyday, to be more like Kate.

With love,

Brittny

Global Running Day

I love Global Running Day. I get sentimental on this day ever year, as it’s a time for me to reflect every year on my running journey, where I’ve come and where I started. I also hope it encourages at least one person who thinks they can’t run or running isn’t for them to give it a try. Because that used to be me, in a big way.

Running is such a big part of my life, and probably more than I realize. I obsess over, prepare, practice, train, and think about running every single day. When I’m not running, I’ve made the conscious decision not to run because my body needs recovery.

I get emotional when I think about running because I never thought I would be a runner. I’ve been running for 7 years, and up until last year I wasn’t comfortable labeling myself as a runner. I always thought running was something outside my wheelhouse; something that only people with a certain body type, who are naturally fast, confident, or gifted could do and do well.

Running is hard- there is no question about that. It hurts. It’s uncomfortable. It’s frustrating. But it’s accepting uncomfortableness that has been one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from running. I can’t knock seconds, or even minutes, off my race times without pushing myself to new heights. I have to be vulnerable and take a leap of faith to achieve higher goals. If I want to run faster splits or run farther distances, I have train faster and run more miles. I have to trust the process. Which is another valuable life lesson; as someone who likes being in control it’s scary to put your heart, soul, time and energy into something when you can’t be 100% certain of the outcome. We’re at risk of injury, sickness, bad weather, etc. We’re human after all. At the end of the day, when it comes to running the only thing you can control is the effort you put in. Even if numbers don’t prove it, when I train harder I gain so much; I have more discipline. I am stronger. I am healthier. I feel more like me.

I love geeking out over stats, the feeling when I know I’m going to PR, but most of all talking and bonding over running. Admittedly I prefer to run by myself; I can’t really talk when I run so it just suits me better to run independently. But I never regret it when I run with friends or attend a running meet up. I love hearing about other people’s accomplishments with running; to me, running isn’t competitive. We’re all just trying to beat ourselves; to be better than we used to be. Shoutout to my ladies Peggy and Kate, for the shared encouragement, understanding, love and support with running 🙂

More than any thing I’ve ever done, running has taught me so much about myself. Running has taught me discipline. It has taught me tenacity. Perseverance. Confidence. To be brave, proud of myself and my accomplishments. Running has made me stronger, both physically and mentally. It has guided me through some of the darkest moments of my life. Running has made me a better person.

So that’s why, after I swore I was “one and done” with the marathon, I’m running the Chicago Marathon this fall. My training officially kicked off this week, and I’m all sorts of nervous and excited. I’m also partnering again with Team in Training, which benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If you’d like to donate to my training page, please do so here.

And if not, that’s okay too. Thank you for reading. Thank you for your support and encouragement. It means the world to me 🙂

 

Japanese Salad Bowls

Since completing Whole30 and getting back from Southeast Asia I’ve been craving simple, nutritious meals that don’t skimp out on flavor. I’m also in the beginning of training season (I have two half marathons at the end of the Summer and am currently debating signing up for the Chicago Marathon) so it’s important to have a balance of carbs, protein, and fats. I’ve also been on a bit of an unintentional vegetarian/vegan kick, as I just haven’t really been in the mood to cook lots of meat lately.

I love Cookie+Kate and Minimalist Baker as sources of inspiration for vegetarian meals that are fun and flavorful. I made this Japanese Salad bowl as a combination of Minimalist Baker’s Buddha Bowl and Cookie+Kate’s Vegetarian Sushi Bowl, and it turned out so well I had it back to back nights for dinner this week. Here’s the recipe:

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Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooke Time: 20 minutes (45 minutes if cooking sweet potato)

Makes 1 serving:

Salad:

1 1/2-2 cups kale, stems discarded

1 Japanese sweet potato

1/3 C frozen edamame

1 green onion thinly sliced, stems discarded

1/2 bell pepper, cut into slices

1/4 avocado

2 tblsp olive oil

Sprinkle of sesame seeds

Dressing:

1 tblsp sesame oil

1 1/2 tblsp tahini paste

1 tblsp soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos

1 teaspoon sweetner (honey, maple syrup, agave)

1 tblsp water (to thin)

Directions:

Heat the oven to 400* and bake your sweet potato for about 45 minutes (you can always meal prep your sweet potatoes in bulk on Sundays and heat one up quickly in the microwave). I like to wash it, pat it dry then wrap it in foil and simply put it on a baking sheet.

Slice the bell pepper into strips and throw into a cast-iron skillet with a dash of high heat oil (I love avocado oil). Sauté for about ~10 minutes, depending on how much you like to cook your bell pepper (you can always have it raw). Heat a pot of water and boil the edamame for about ~7 minutes. While these both cook, slice the green onions and your avocado. Massage the kale with olive oil and a dash of salt (this will help take the bitterness out of the kale and trust me it makes the world of difference).

Once your sweet potato is done heating wait a few moments to let it cool and slice it into rounds. Using the kale as your base add the edamame, green onions, bell pepper, sweet potato. To make the dressing, simply add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the salad, and you’re done!

You can always double the recipe, add your choice of meat or fish, add sliced cucumber, carrots, etc. The possibilities are endless! Enjoy!

With love,

Brittny

Life, Lately

I’ve taken the last couple of weeks to resume normal life after Whole30. I’ve been adding back in foods and ingredients that I wasn’t eating (dairy, gluten, legumes, alcohol etc.) and have been adjusting pretty well. I did have ice cream a couple nights last week and woke up in the morning to find my hands were super.swollen. So weird, but that’s the only major difference I’ve noticed.

For the next couple weeks I’m laying low and gearing up for a trip to Thailand and Vietnam in Mid-March. It’s a small group of us from the Machu Picchu trek I did in 2015, and I’m SO FREAKING EXCITED. My friend Peggy should seriously quit her job and become a travel agent, as she has planned this entire trip for us and I couldn’t be more grateful. So I’m finally going to buy a real camera and download podcasts/books (recommendations are welcome!)

I recently discovered Fresh Air and I have to say I love Terry Gross. She has such a calm yet inquisitive interview candor that I feel makes the interview interesting and the interviewee comfortable. My favorite so far is an interview she did with Barry Jenkins and Tarrell McCranney (the director and playwright of Moonlight, respectively). I saw Moonlight a couple weeks ago and I’ve thought about it every day since; it’s left an impression on me that I can’t seem to shake. The film tells the story of Chiron, and his life in three different stages; all stories have profound layers of both pain and beauty, and themes and revelations about Chiron that all fold together so methodically at the end. If you have time, go see it before the Oscars- I think it will get a few surprise wins. That and Manchester by the Sea. While the circumstances and settings of both movies are starkly different, they are so very similar in telling stories of incomprehensible trauma and how we cope.

I realized earlier this week that I’ve seen 5 of the 9 Oscar nominated films for Best Picture: La La Land, Arrival, Hidden Figures, Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea. Hey, I had to do SOMETHING while I was on Whole30! Anyway, now I’ve made it my mission to see all 9 films before the Oscars on February 26th. I’m seeing Lion tomorrow, and will fit in the rest somehow this weekend/next week. Once I see all the movies, then I’ll give my predictions for wins 🙂

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These are some cookies I made from Shalane Flanagan’s Run Fast Eat Slow cookbook. Majority of the recipes are gluten free and vegan, and these cookies were AMAZING.

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I finally ran that half marathon I’ve been talking about repeatedly, and unexpectedly PR’d 🙂 My chip time was 1:55:49 and I’m really happy about it! The race started off a little slow (weaving in and out of crowds, deciding how hard I could push myself, etc.) but I found my bearings shortly after mile 2. Around mile 7 I realized I could PR, and miles 8-12 were on the great highway, so relatively flat and boring but I took advantage of the flat road. I PR’d by 2 minutes and was also really happy to see I had negative splits the whole race. Since I only trained for about 6 weeks, I’m going to contribute this Half’s success to Whole30

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Enjoying a Mango IPA at Barrelhouse in SLO. I’m not one of those girls who “doesn’t drink beer” but I really have not been feeling it lately. But this Mango IPA is by far my favorite beer out there; it’s slightly sweet, light, and extremely tasty. If you’re ever taking a drive through the central coast I really recommend stopping for one.

Whole30 Graduate

For the month of January I did Whole30. I gave you a week 1 recap and then didn’t give you a week 2 or 3 recap. My bad. But! I’m happy to report that I stuck with it for 30 days straight; I haven’t had grains*, gluten, soy, dairy, alcohol, added sugar or legumes. 95% of the meals I ate in the month of January I cooked. That’s right; to ensure I was compliant with Whole30 I cooked almost all of my  meals at home, and if I did go out to eat it was to grab a salad, or the like. Needless to say it was by far the healthiest month of my life.

So, was it hard? Ab-so-freaking-lutely.

Would I do it again? Probably.

So why exactly did I do this?

Well I’ve mentioned here before that after the marathon, running took a back burner in the fall. Combine that with going out quite a bit on weekends and eating all.of.the.things, come December my body was in desperate need of a break and reset. I was feeling extremely puffy and bloated, and it started to affect my mood and my self image and confidence. Unfortunately, it got to the point where I was the unhappiest with my body than I’ve been in years.

Emily brought up the idea of doing Whole30 for the month of January and I told her she was crazy. But, due to the aforementioned feelings above, I knew I needed a hard reset and to do something I’d never done before. I had been putting off my health for months, letting vacations or fun events be an excuse. But in January all my weekends were free and the excuses had run out. It was time for me to focus on making myself healthier and happier. So while Whole30 was a bit of an extreme way to set out to accomplish this goal, desperate times call for extreme measures.

What did I learn, exactly? Well, over the last 30 days I’ve gained a lot of perspective. I think a lot of people share this mentality when it comes to treats: that a bite won’t kill you. But for me, a bite turns into 2 or 3 bites, and I regret all of them later. “Treats” weren’t special anymore and I wasn’t saving them for what they are; a special food to celebrate a birthday or a really shitty day. Not to celebrate that I got of bed that morning and was a functioning human. Before Whole30 I was taking the “treat yoself” mentality a little too liberally. I was saying “yes!” to everything out of fear of feeling FOMO or looking silly (I don’t know about you, but when something is in front of me I have a really hard time saying no). Yes, I’m that girl who enjoys the half of a cupcake for a few minutes and then is on the bus home after work regretting it. But what I realized was underneath that was disappointment in myself that I didn’t have control or that I let FOMO get the best of me.

I had to learn to get comfortable saying no. Instead of giving in I remembered my goal and why I was doing this in the first place; why I was on this restrictive diet and reset. I would remind myself “You’ve had a cookie before. What you haven’t done before is said no to indulgences that you’ll regret later.” So with that, I politely said no more times than I ever had before and explained I was doing Whole30. And you know what? Everyone supported me. And I began to be okay with “missing out.” I put myself and this dedication to my body and mind first. I’m really proud of that. Perhaps the most important learning and accomplishment of Whole30 is that I have more willpower and determination than I’ve ever given myself credit.

Taking the time to mindfully think about the foods I was putting into my body was also a welcome perspective. I’ve circled back on the realization that my food is my fuel. You already know running and my performance is important to me. So, yes, while I did PR the morning after a day of day drinking last fall, I’ve also been able to wake up every day for 30 days without the excuse of a hangover to skip my morning workout. I’m also someone who gets MAJOR anxiety after they drink, so that anxiety relief has been amazing as well.

So did I lose weight? Yep. About 6 pounds. And while I’m thrilled, I’m more grateful for the loss of anxiety, learning to put myself first, and getting comfortable with saying no. It feels great to accomplish something so big for me personally to start off the year.

I bet you’re wondering if I’m eating a donut as I’m writing this reflection post. Not exactly. I’m following the Whole30 reintroduction and will start to slowly add back in the foods I haven’t been eating. So instead of a donut I’m eating homemade granola. And it is GLORIOUS! On Friday I’m going out for sushi and am adding back in legumes, and after my race on Sunday I’ll have my first drink since January 1st.

Cheers to 2017 already off to a healthy and accomplished start : )

*Disclaimer: I was eating quinoa for a few days there. As I’m training for a half my body needed some type of grain carb.

President Trump

*Warning: Semi-liberal post. If you’re offended by these opinions, I advise you don’t read this post*

I’ve been interested in politics since I was a little girl. I can’t remember how, or what exactly sparked my interest, but I remember writing a history paper in 7th grade about JFK. I did TONS of research on the young president who came from a family of wealth and privilege. Even then, I wasn’t ignorant to his extra marital affairs but instead focused on his legacy; how a young, Catholic senator from Massachusetts captivated our nation.

This history/political science interest continued on to high school, where I had a history teacher named Ms. Feinberg. Whether she knows this or not, she had an incredible impact on how and why I think the way I do. She graduated from Columbia undergrad and Stanford graduate school. She wasn’t married, had frizzy hair, and didn’t dress all that well. And she was the first female role model I had who’d put her education first. Above getting married, her looks, etc. And while I don’t think this was ever her intention, her liberal rhetoric poured over into the way she taught. I thought she was incredibly smart, and I challenged myself to be more like her.

I went on to be a Political Science minor in college, and was fortunate enough to be going to school in Colorado in 2008; a swing state that has a caucus nomination process. The night I went to caucus was one of the most important and rewarding experiences of my life as an American citizen. I went to the local elementary school where I sat in a classroom with about 35 other voters. When the facilitator asked us to raise our hands for who we were nominating for the Democratic party, about 12 people raised their for Hillary Clinton, and 23 or so raised their hands for Barack Obama.

I raised my hand for Barack Obama.

A couple of weeks earlier, Obama held a rally at the University of Denver on a weekday morning. A classmate and I left at 6:30 am, made our way down to Denver, and arrived at 7:30 am to see 20,000 people lined up outside the DU Hockey Arena. 20,000 people. The arena could only hold 9,000. Some people left, but we heard muffling of people going onto the soccer field where he would address those who wouldn’t be able to get in. We beelined for the soccer field, and were some of the first ones on the field.

He came out with Caroline Kennedy by his side, and I felt a moment where life had come full circle. From that braces and pimpley preteen who was infatuated with this woman’s father to then, a woman in college attending a political rally.

He spoke about change. He spoke about hope. He was charismatic, kind, warm, and smart. It felt like everything he was saying I was looking for. My vote was a no brainer.

Flash forward 8 years, to Election Day 2016.

Maybe I’ll blame the fact that I chose to write my first history paper on a democrat, or maybe I’ll blame Ms. Feinberg. Or the fact that I was born and raised in the most liberal city in the country. I even have republican parents! But I can’t help it. I am what you would classify as a liberal. I believe in women’s rights. I believe in equal pay. I believe in a woman’s right to choose. I believe in gay marriage. I believe in civil rights. I believe in social welfare programs. I believe in universal healthcare. I believe that global warming is real. I want to protect our national parks. I am willing to pay my fair share of taxes and sacrifice part of my paycheck to protect and advance these initiatives. Because I believe we are all in this together. But I also want to say, that I support our troops, our veterans, and those who fight for our country. I think you can be “Republican” on some issues and “Democrat” on others. I’m not sure there isn’t anyone in this country who doesn’t think we need to make veteran affairs a top priority. So if that makes me by definition a liberal, then so be it.

I’m here to say, and I guess the point of this post, is that I am sad today. Sure, I am sad my party “lost.” I am sad that Congress is made up of a Republican Majority. I’m afraid these leaders will take away some of the rights I believe should be non-negotiable. But with that, I understand there are transitions of power. I know that “my party” isn’t always going to be in power.

What I am sad about most is there is a man in power, the leader of the free world, my, our, YOUR POTUS- a man who degrades women. Who mocks the disabled. I am sad we are transitioning from a dignified, respectable, and graceful president to a man who has shown little to no empathy or tolerance for those of different religions, cultures, and circumstances than his own.

About a month before the election I heard an interview with a republican couple from North Carolina. They were swing voters who were leaning towards Trump because of their religious values. What was making them swing and doubt their vote was Trump himself. The husband worked for an international company and did a lot of business overseas. He was embarrassed by Trump and was afraid of losing business if Trump became president. They spoke about the bible, and how God loves all of his children, no matter their immigration status. I’m sure they ended up voting for Trump, but for those reasons I can understand. They voted for him because the values they hold dear he supported. But they did not support his demeanor and candor.

I know that there are people who don’t agree with me on what I value. But then again, I don’t know them personally. I live in my liberal bubble. I only travel to the coasts, to big cities. I am amongst people who would fight for my right to be paid equally. I am amongst people who would fight for my right to get birth control. I don’t know people who are sick and tired of our government. Who feel like this isn’t their America. The people I know thought our government was working just fine under President Obama. Sure, they may not have been happy all the time, but I don’t know anyone who is happy about the man we are going to have in office for four years.

I know there are disgruntled Americans. I know they are out there. Because they have made their voices heard. I just want to know if they are proud of our new president’s demeanor? Of his temper? Of his Tweets?

Because I believe you can still respect a leader in power who you don’t see eye to eye with. You can still respect someone you don’t agree with. You can still be kind. You can still be graceful.

I’m hopeful. Because if we lose sight of hope, we have no dreams to hold on to.

My best friend sent me this quote, and it encapsulates everything I’m feeling today: “Loyalist to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”- Mark Twain.

“Whole 30” Week 1

Last Monday I started Whole30. If you haven’t heard of Whole30, I’m sure you’ve heard of the “Paleo” Diet. And if you haven’t heard of Paleo, you’ve at least seen a meme of people talking about the latest fad diet they’ve either tried or are currently on. Not to diminish Whole30 as a fad diet, but you know what I mean. Anyway, Whole30 is basically a more intense version of Paleo that lasts for 30 days. It’s no grains, dairy, soy, added sugar, legumes, and alcohol. People use Whole30 to lose weight, obviously, but also to reset their metabolism, learn which foods that may be causing them discomfort, and change their relationship with food.

Ah, relationships with food. I won’t get too far into it because that isn’t the point of this post. But here’s a quick rundown: when I graduated from college and moved home, I noticed that point blank I was chubby. I tried the South Beach Diet in combination with starting to run. One of those lasted for a few weeks, the other I fell in love with and still torture myself with today. When that didn’t work, I stumbled across Tone It Up, and this program spoke to me. A program led by two women whose main goal is in the name: to help women tone up. I purchased their nutrition plan and have essentially been trying to live by the lifestyle for years now: 5 meals a day, eating fruit and carbs in the morning, leaving fats for the afternoon, and eating lean, clean, and green dinners. Sure their stuff can be cheesy, but there are millions of Instagram tags and posts of women who are bonding over a shared goal of getting healthier. I find that the program empowers women and is a safe platform for encouragement and community. The world needs a lot more of that, in my opinion; a space for women to share their insecurities, to know that they are not alone in their struggles with loving and accepting their bodies.

When Emily moved in last August, we discovered that we both followed Tone It Up, among other things: a shared bond over our love of fitness, yoga, healthy and indulgent cooking, Lululemon, acai bowls, Taylor Swift, etc. We’re sort of the two most basic girls in San Francisco. And it’s lovely.

Flash forward to December, and Emily decided we would be doing Whole 30 in January. I quickly said yes, because over the last few months I’ve gained about 10 pounds. Since the marathon, running has fallen behind and I’ve consistently felt bloated and puffy. I’ve let fun weekends and trips be an excuse to indulge, while not making my health a priority. I’ve wanted this for a while; a reset, some discipline, an accountability partner, and to get back to a healthy place with food again.

So! Week one went great. I’m really proud of my self for outlining all of meals, grocery shopping, and meal prepping on Sundays. I will say, I AM EATING QUINOA! I’m training for the Kaiser Half on February 5th, and I need some sort of carb other than sweet potatoes to fuel my training. However, that is my only deviance form the program, and I feel really great. I feel less bloated, have a ton of energy, and I’m not really missing anything too much. Sure, I had to walk away from my coworker the other day when he had mac and cheese for lunch, and I was eyeing the mint flavored Oreo’s at work today (and I don’t even really like Oreo’s!), but I’ve been able to get over it quickly. It’s all about remembering why you started. Here are some of the meals I ate last week:

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Lunch: kale, avocado, whole30 approved mayo with tuna, roasted butternut squash and cauliflower

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Dinner Cauliflower rice bowl: cod, roasted butternut squash, and avocado

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A dinner my friend Mandy made! Whole30 butter chicken, roasted zucchini and brussels sprouts, salad, and quinoa

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Breakfast quinoa bowl: quinoa, sliced almonds, chia seeds, cashew butter, frozen cherries, and unsweetened coconut flakes

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Sunday Supper: short ribs, quinoa, and mashed sweet potatoes

I’m planning on following Whole30 until February 5th (or at least not consuming alcohol until then) so I’ll keep you all posted each week!

2016 Running Recap

One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2016 was to run one race a month. I’m happy to say that with the exception of August I stuck to my resolution! These races were a combination of painful slow running, sensational fast running, frustration, weaving between crowds, cold and hot weather, etc. Some were unexpectedly easier than others, while some were annoyingly harder. I considered sleeping in and ditching a lot of these races, but I held myself accountable, which is another unexpected accomplishment from this resolution. Here’s my list of races for 2016:

January: Hot chocolate 5K

  Foster City 5K

February: Chinese New Year 10K (3rd year in a row!)

March: Get Lucky 5K*: 25:13/top 2 women!

April: Guardsmen 10K

May: Girls on the Run 5K

June: San Diego Rock n Roll Half Marathon*: 1:56:22 (first time breaking sub 2hours!)

July: San Francisco Marathon

August: No race, still miserable from the marathon and was seriously debating if I ever wanted to run again

September: Giants 10K*: 53:37

October: Run 10 Feed 10

November: Oceanside Turkey Trot 10K

December: Timed 5K on December 31: 26:02

*PR!

As I admitted above, a lot of these races weren’t exactly pretty. In particular, the half marathon in June was the toughest; not from a physical aspect, but because I was in a really emotional headspace. I was going through a lot of change that left me in a sensitive state of fragility and self conscious with uncertainty. I also added on the pressure that if I wanted to do well in my first marathon in July, I had to run this half easily. The combination of my vulnerable state of mind and PR stress resulted in me using the race as a way to hold on to the part of my identity that I was most proud of, while simultaneously fighting feelings of nervousness and doubt. Every race I repeat to myself not to give up, but this race that voice quickly turned into nagging and reminding myself that in 7 weeks I had to run double the mileage. The internal competition within myself reached an extreme point. I was pushing myself so hard. In most of my other races, it’s typically my mind that gives me the extra push when my body feels exhausted. But this race it was my mind that was trying to keep up with my body. Giving up wasn’t an option, and my body was stronger than my mind. It was a time where I was truly appreciative of all of the training I’d ever done that had lead me to that point.

The best and most surprising race of the year was the Giants 10K. To be honest I was pretty hungover, as the day before I was celebrating Erik Davis’ birthday playing some good old fashioned sloshball (aka keg kickball aka drinking lots of beer while playing kickball) in Golden Gate Park. Considering it was my first race since the marathon, I had no expectations for this race (quite the alternative since June). Maybe it was all of the carbs from the beer or the fact I was running a familiar route, but I quickly found my stride after mile one, and continued to feel better with each mile. I didn’t wear my Garmin for this race (that’s how much I was winging it), so when I looked up my race results and saw that I PR’d by a full minute, I was pretty stoked.

These two races ended in PR’s and were so obviously different. It just proves that at the end of the day not every PR, accomplishment or success was traveled on a yellow brick road to get there. I guess that’s a metaphor for life too, right?

Admittedly, running has taken a back burner the last few months. To put it simply, I just haven’t been into it. I’ve felt and seen changes in my body as a result, and feel sluggish and slow. Quite the contrast from this past Summer when I was in maybe the best shape of my life. But it’s not all about how I look physically. As a creature of habit I feel so much more stable when I have a routine. It feels SO good every time I cross off another interval, fartlek, track, tempo, or long run. Training for a race and goal, and knowing what I need to do to get there gives me a sense of security and accomplishment.

I’ve made it no secret here that 2016 was a tough year, for many reasons. So in an effort to make 2017 better, a couple weeks ago I decided I would start training for the Kaiser Half Marathon on February 5th. I look forward to sharing with you all a bit of my training progress in the new year!

Here’s to more miles, happiness, and health in 2017 🙂