May Goals

Today is May Day, a holiday celebrating and welcoming spring and…. it snowed. Not just a little, but like 6 inches and still coming down. I find it very hard to get things done when it’s cold outside, so this is not helping my studying or general productivity. I did make it to the gym today and tried some squats with chains. The chains make it so the weight gets lighter as you go down (due to the chains hitting the floor) so you can get lower more easily, but then it gets increasingly harder as you stand up. It was fun, made me feel like a bit of a bad ass 🙂

ImageNow let’s talk about May goals. As I mentioned in my last post, I really wanna get my running back on point. I’m trying not to find it so depressing how slow I’ve gotten and instead just see it as another challenge.  So:

1) I’m hoping to get my speed up a bit so by end of May I am about 8 minute miles for anything over 5 miles, and under 8 for anything less than 5. I’ve been trying to do more hill work outs, so hopefully I can get faster at that as well.

2) I’d love to get my squat up to 135 with 12 reps still getting low.

3) Get my clean over 110 with good form.

4) Do an unassisted pull up from hanging position, no kipping.

What are your May Goals?!

Paleo Stir Fry and an outside workout

Finals have finally started with my first one this morning. I walked out feeling pretty ansy, so I texted my boyfriend that I was gonna go do hill sprints and he decided to join. We each did 15 hill sprints, mixed in with a total of 10 minutes of planking, 100 mountain climbers and 30 Rocky sit ups (well I did the ab work, he chose to do push ups instead). It was a much better stress reliever than grabbing a beer.

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This evening I was still a bit of a stressball, so I went for an easy 4 miler too to enjoy the warm night air. I’m beginning to fall back in love with running and it makes me so happy. I love when running feels easy (even if you’re going slow) and just care free. No better feeling.

Tonight for dinner I was asked to make a stir fry. I’m not a huge fan of stir fry, but it was still pretty good. If you like stir fry, I recommend it!

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Pale Stir Fry

Stir Fry:

1.5lbs chicken breasts, cut up

1.5 crowns broccoli

1 yellow onion

2 cups snap peas

1 bell pepper, cup up

3 carrots, sliced

Sauce:

1 cup coconut aminos (if you don’t have a soy allergy like me, go with the soy based aminos if you can’t find coconut, although that’s technically not pale)

2 tbsp grated ginger

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 tbsp crushed chilli paste (asian food aisle)

2tbsp coconut oil

1. Cook broccoli and carrots in pan for about 3-4 minutes until just starting to soften, then remove from heat.

2 Heat coconut oil over medium heat in another pan.

2. add chicken, cooke for about 5 minutes

3.  Add cut up onion, broccoli and carrots and sauce. Cook about 2 minutes

4. Add snap peas and peppers. Cook about 4-5 minutes or until done

Cold Run, Warm Paleo Chili

Sorry it’s been forever, guys, but I have exciting news! I’ve moved to Siberia for the indefinite future!

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Okay, not really, but considering that in the past week we have had about 20 inches of snow it certainly feels that way. I keep reminding myself that this means we won’t have as many forest fires this summer, but when your eyelashes literally collect snow and then freeze during your run, it’s hard to look on the bright side.

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I know, I know. I could have just run inside. But it’s been 6 long months of snow and treadmills and I’m pretty over it. At least I had a nice warm bowl of chili waiting to warm my belly at home.
This chili is DELICIOUS and if you are living someplace where winter may be overstaying its welcome I highly recommend making it.

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PALEO POBLANO CHILI
1 yellow onion, diced
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 fist of garlic, choppe
1 Poblano Pepper, roasted and chopped
3-4 lbs of rump roast, cubed
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tbsp paprika
2tsp cumin
2tsp chipotle
2 tbsp chili powder (I like it spicy…)
6 oz can of tomato paste
30 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes, diced

1) in a large pot heat coconut oil over medium heat and add onions and peppers. Cook for about 3 minutes or until onions become translucent
2) Mix spices and rub on meat
3) Add meat and Garlic and poblano pepper to pan with onions and peppers.
4) brown meat, about 2-3 minutes
5) add remaining ingredients. It will be a bit watery at first, but let simmer on medium-low heat for about 2 hours and it will thicken up

Stay warm out there, or for those who are actually experiencing spring – go enjoy it!

A Quick Reflection on the Boston Bombings

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For four years Copley Square and Boylston Street were my home, the place I felt most comfortable in the world. I went to high school 4 blocks from the Boston Marathon finish line, at a school that let us come and go as we pleased during free periods and lunch. My best friend and I would wonder around, complaining about the small problems that seemed overpowering in our teenage minds, trying to seem older as we sipped lattes in the Starbucks that 10 years later would be destroyed by yesterday’s bomb.

Yesterday shook me up in ways I’m still trying to come to terms with. When I first saw the news headline that two bombs went off, my train of thought was immediately “Are my parents, sister, and brother-in-law watching at the finish line? Or somewhere else? What if I just lost my whole family?” I frantically tried calling their cell phones as the lines repeatedly went straight to voicemail, tears filling my eyelids. When I finally reached my Dad he confirmed they were all fine. Even so, I still couldn’t shake that feeling of panic that I could have just lost the people I loved most in the world. Lucky for me it was only a feeling, nothing permanent, although I did call my mom multiple times yesterday just to hear her voice.

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I’ve read a lot of people’s mixed reactions to this event. Some people point out that this sort of thing is common place in some parts of the world and that we are lucky these are so rare. This is true and we, as Americans, are incredibly fortunate to go about our day-to-day lives with very little threat to our well-being. The fact that more people die through self harm or obesity related illnesses than are murdered makes us very fortunate. The fact that these events are rare makes them no less tragic and heart breaking, but it should encourage people not to hide and not to fear going out in public. You are still far more likely to be harmed driving to work every day than in a mass attack.

On a smaller scale, it is also a shame that 4,000+ people who trained day in and day out for years to compete in this prestigious race did not get a chance to finish. For those who did, who may have been dreaming of this day their whole life, it will forever be tarnished by this horrible event.

Similar to 9/11, the Aurora Shootings,  and smaller scale events that happen every day, I find the most important thing to do is look to those who risked their own safety to protect and help strangers in need. Those qualities are inspiring, and if there is any message to be taken from this horrific event it is the reminder that the number of good people in the world far outnumbers the bad.

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On (Not) Conquering Trail Running

A couple friends of mine recently signed up to attempt a 50 mile trail run in Fort Collins in May. I randomly ran into them this past saturday on the trail as they stormed past me and my dog and my roommate, jumping over rocks with ease.

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They inspired me with their wildman ways,  so for todays 6 miler I decided to hit the trails for at least part of it. Luckily, I live 2 miles from trails leading up into the Rocky Mountains, so I ran over there and was off!

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I was cruising for the first 1/4 mile or so, and then we started the steep ascent into the mountain and I died. My pace slowed, my lungs began to burn and I was hurting.

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This does not even begin to convey the steepness. Or maybe it does, and I’m just a pansy. Either way, I texted my trail running friend when I got back and told him he was even more crazy (and inspiring) for signing up for 50 miles of that. He reminded me that you have to approach trail running with a different mentality. You are going to go slower, especially when avoiding rocks and running up steep hills and just to stay calm, enjoy the scenery and the challenge

Hope you all had nice Wednesdays!

Planning for Success (Includes 1/2 Marathon Training Plan)

Guys, I’ll admit it. Past couple weeks I’ve fallen off the wagon. I could blame it on being sick, but in reality I’ve been lazy. I just haven’t been that motivated to cook/eat clean or work out that much. In fact, I haven’t really been motivated to do anything, including the piles of reading I have to do for school.

My dog thinks Corporations reading is boring too.

My dog thinks Corporations reading is boring too.

I definitely go through phases of being super motivated, I can totally do this, I’m a rockstar, YAH!… and then I just burn out. It’s hard once you lose that drive to try to find it again and re-motivate yourself to be the best version of “You” that you can be.

There’s a two phase plan I used to try to get myself back on track when I fall of.  Phase 1 starts with watching this video, which always makes me want to go take on the world This. Very. Second.

Then I look up and see it’s cold and grey outside and I decide the world can wait.  But no one ever got what they wanted out of life by watching Grey’s Anatomy reruns for hours on end, so then Phase 2 kicks in. Success doesn’t just happen. You have to work for it. You have to plan for it. So, I make a plan. I make it detailed. I make sure I stick to it.  It’s hard to fall off track when you know exactly what you are supposed to be doing at any given moment.

I’ve been really slacking in the cardio department. Like, really slacking. Like, I’d probably be wheezing after a mile or two if I went for a run. Since one of my 2013 goals is to  break a 1:45 1/2 marathon time, we can’t have that. So last night I sat down and drafted a training plan. It’s an easy one, one just to get me back into the grove of running. I still want to keep my lifting, so I scheduled Three “PT” (Personal Training) times in there, along with interval runs to work on speed, hills, and tempo runs.

Week Mon Tuesday Weds Thursday Friday Sat Sunday
Week 1 PT 2 Mile Tempo PT 2 Mile Easy REST 4 Miles &PT 1 Miles Easy
Week2 PT 3 Mile Tempo PT 3 Mile Tempo REST 5 Miles &PT 2 Miles Easy
Week 3 PT 3 Mile Tempo PT 3 Mile Interval REST 6 Miles &PT 2 Miles Easy
Week4 PT 4 Mile Tempo PT 3 Mile Hill REST 7 Miles &PT 2 Miles Easy
Week 5 PT 3 Mile Interval PT 4 Mile Easy REST 8 Miles & PT 2 Miles Easy
Week 6 PT 4 Mile Interval PT 3 Mile Tempo REST 9 Miles &PT 2 Miles Easy
Week 7 PT 4 mile Tempo PT 3 Mile Easy REST 10 Miles &PT 2 Miles Easy
Week 8 PT 2 M. Hill, 3M. T PT 4 Mile Tempo REST 11 Miles &PT 3 Miles Easy
Week 9 PT 5 Mile Tempo PT 3 Mile Interval REST 9 Miles &PT 2 Miles Easy
Week 10 PT 5 Mile tempo PT 4 Mile Interval REST 1 Mile EZ RACE (?)

As of now I haven’t registered for a race, but I know in a month or so I’ll start looking some up.  I’ll have another week’s worth of groceries/recipes this Saturday to help get me back into making my own food again.

I know I’m capable of more than I’ve been giving the past couple weeks in school, in working out and in life. I’m ready to get back on track. I’m ready to be successful.

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Phoenix Rising

On March 23, 2012 I broke my ankle. Breaking a bone seems like a pretty standard event, a couple months of inconvenience and then you’re back in the game. But, in my case, the experience changed my life. Not the way it happened (it involved some high heels and too much alcohol…) but the series of events after that lead to surgery, paralysis and finally recovery.

I had been in Los Angeles visiting a friend for her birthday. The morning after I broke it, I located some crutches and headed out to Joshua Tree National Park for a camping trip.  I didn’t bother wrapping my ankle, I didn’t elevate it, I didn’t even ice it.  I just thought it was a bad sprain and didn’t want to ruin the fun trip I had planned by causing a scene.

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When I finally went to the doctor almost a week later it turned out I had broken my ankle in two places. I had two options: I could cross my fingers and hope it healed, with a possibility of it healing improperly and a risk of developing arthritis early, or I could have surgery to install a plate and screws.

Prior to the break, I’d been training for my “summer of halfs”. I had registered for five half marathons, with the goal of finally breaking a 1:45 time. I wanted to get back to running and training as soon as possible, so without doing any research or asking for a second opinion I opted for the surgery.

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The surgery was relatively easy. To the disappointment of my friends, I came out of anesthesia without any “David After Dentist” type moments.  I had no doubt in my mind I was on the fast track to recovery.

Then, two weeks later I woke up to the scariest moment of my life.

I couldn’t wiggle my toes.

I couldn’t feel myself touching my toes. Or my foot. Or my calf.  The next week was a blur of trips to my surgeon and two neurologist, all of whom told me the same thing.

Somehow, I had nerve damage and had been left paralyzed from the knee down.  No one could give me answers as to how it had happened. No one could tell me if I would ever regain feeling or movement again.  Without the ability to flex your foot or lift it up so that your toes clear the ground, it is impossible to walk unassisted.

So began the hardest four months of my life. I’m currently a law school student, and I found out about the paralysis about  three weeks before my final exams. Somehow I managed to make it through them, smile on my face, while secretly lying awake at night thinking of all the things I might not ever be able to do again. Run. Hike.  Dance. Climb. Walk.

I went to physical therapy four times a week to receive electroshock therapy. My therapist would send shocks through my leg, watching my toes curl and foot twitch before my eyes as I felt nothing.  I remember sitting in the physical therapy room, tears streaming down my face as I watched a girl running on the treadmill in the gym just outside the office.

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My surgeon recommended I get fit for a special brace that fits under your foot and runs up the back of your calf. It was smaller than the boot that I had been wearing, and would allow me to walk. If my nerves never came back, I would have to wear it everyday for the rest of my life. The man who took the mold for my leg and foot told me that he had never seen someone come back nerve damage after this long.  He told me it was a lost cause.

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The day after I got fitted for that brace, I was at physical therapy doing an exercise that involved watching myself in the mirror as I wiggled the toes on my good foot, then tried to wiggle them on the paralyzed foot. The level of frustration was high as time and time again I tried to lift my big toe and nothing happened.

Then, finally. It did.  My toe twitched.

My therapist screamed in excitement and I just stood, staring at my toe lifting about two centimeters off the ground.  With new motivation, I started practicing my PT exercises at home constantly. Within two weeks, I could wiggle all my toes and I could feel my finger touching the top of my foot, even though it was a bit tingley. Within three weeks, I had about 40% of the flexibility in my ankle back.  Within a month I went on my first run.

Five months after the initial break, I stepped on the treadmill hoping to make it a quarter mile. I made it three.  I barely made it out the door of the gym before I burst into tears. I went home and lay on my floor, sobbing with relief, and joy. I hadn’t realized just how terrified I had been at the possibility of paralysis.

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(First run in 5 months post paralysis)

The weeks and months immediately following were life changing.  I had always considered myself an athlete and a go-getter. I had moved from Los Angeles to Colorado a year earlier with hopes of living the true “Colorado Active Lifestyle”, and escaping the clichĂ© LA life I had been involved in. I had wanted to go hiking, learn to snowboard, run marathons, triathlons, try CrossFit. But I hadn’t. I was still drinking too much, eating a diet of “low-fat-highly-processed” foods that didn’t nourish my body and  I wasn’t pushing myself outside my comfort zone. I wasn’t committing myself fully to physical things I wanted to achieve. And I had almost lost the chance to ever achieve them.

So I decided to change.

With the help of Chef Katelyn (chefkatelyn.com), I became inspired to try the Paleo Diet. I cut out all processed foods, and began learning what to feed myself to reach my full potential.  I got an amazing trainer and started training harder than ever before, incorporating lost of weigh lifting, HIIT exercises and long distance cardio.  I learned to climb. And snowboard.  I stopped talking about it, and finally decided to BE ABOUT IT.  And now, I couldn’t be happier.