Eat your greens

Since I’ve been at the hospital all day, I’ve been doing a lot of snacking in place of meals.  Not my preferred manner of eating.  No big deal (well at least it shouldn’t be, except that I’m a disordered eater, but I don’t really want to talk about that right now.)  Anyway, when I’m in my own kitchen and not a waiting room outside the ICU, I love me some salads.  Salads are really great in the spring and summer months when the temps start to climb, but I crave them almost as much in the winter as well.  Most people think all salads are the same: boring, unfillling, a meal-starter, not a meal in themselves.  But I have become a master of salad combinations.  My salads are tasty and filling.  Here are a few of the salads I’ve been fueling with lately…

The 5 G Salad: massaged kale, sprouted lentils, avocado, broccoli, and cilantro in a orange-tahini dressing.

The Walnut Salad: walnut pate (walnuts, carrots, Bragg’s) on a bed of spinach and massaged kale with Ezekiel tortilla chips on the side.

Sunshine Salad: Grilled Sunshine Burger on a bed of baby greens and kale, topped with roasted sweet potatoes (these are delicious on salads!)…with orange-tanini dressing again.



Today I learned that hospitals are sad and scary places.

Today I learned that most doctors really have no bedside manner.

Today I cried out of sheer panic.

Today I sat and stared for a cumulative 5-6 hours.

Today I waited in a room with people as their family members died.

Today I was thankful that my family member wasn’t dying.

M. had his first brain operation today.  It went very well, but it has been a day of ups and downs.  They were able to shrink his AVM significantly.  What that means for future operations is still uncertain.  We know that he is stable and might even be able to go home in the next two days.  I’ve gotten to visit with him several times and he looks good, though I know he is in some pain.

I hope tomorrow is better, that he is more comfortable, and the doctors have good news for us.  Tonight I hope to get some sleep (likely on the floor of the waiting room).  My stomach is in a knot and I want more that anything to go running right now.  Just to be out of this waiting room in the fresh air.  I want to be as exhausted physically as I am mentally, to let my mind be quiet while my body moves, to be free and away just for a moment.

Marathon Training: Reconsidered and Revised

No.  I’m not reconsidering running another marathon.  A friend and I got selected a few weeks ago to run the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco and there’s no way I’m missing out.  The plane tickets are paid for, the hotel is booked, and I’m already planning what new running outfit I’m going to buy for race day (I feel a runner’s wardrobe post coming on).  Nope, not rethinking running at all.  I am, however, rethinking what its going to take for me to prepare for this marathon.  I didn’t train intensely for my first marathon in April, so over training and injury weren’t an issue.

I’ve revised my training schedule so that my brother and I can train together.  We’re working to cut our time by 15 minutes so he can qualify and I don’t have to run Boston alone (I’ll do it but I’d rather not have to).  The new training plan in intense.  We top out at 50+ mile weeks and thats more than I’ve ever run before.  I’m already thinking about what I’m going to do to keep myself healthy and get my body to preform at that level.  So, here’s what I’ve come up with.  I know that this is sort of a boring post, but I’m writing to get my ideas down and keep myself accountable.

1.)  Get sleep.  Lots of sleep.  I need 7 hours minimums every night.  8 is better.  I’m going to shoot for 10 hours before my long runs.  Sleep is the biggest factor in how well and how fast I run, so I really need to be responsible about getting to bed.

2.) Water.  Lots of water.  That whole 8 glasses-a-day thing isn’t going to cut it.  I need to keep my 24 0z bottle on me at all times and refill it 4-5 times a day.

3.) Yoga + stretching.  I need to be consistent in doing yoga on my two rest days each week.  This includes ab work and light weightlifting for my arms.  I’m finding that better core and arm strength make me an overall better athlete.  Thus, I’m less prone to injury.  A strong core is great for balance and strong arms help me power up hills. On days when I don’t do yoga I still need to squeeze in a few downward dogs and sun salutations to keep my legs loose.  I should probably also look into a dynamic stretching routine, I’m just a bit stuck in my ways.

4.) Nutrition.  Diet is obviously going to be crucial.  For me, I’m going to have to be super diligent about getting in enough calories.  Specifically I want to 1) increase protein intake to help with muscle repair (right now I get in about 45 grams per day but I should really try to get that up to 60 grams) 2) avoid carby filler foods that I tend to munch on when I let myself get too hungry. (no more pretzel binges…bummer) 3.) I really want to try to get in more smoothies and juices post run as they are easy on the system and great for recovery.

5.) No Counting.  Always my goal, but I’m rarely successful in not counting calories.  Its the disordered eater in me.  I do it subconsciously…and I hate it.

Favorite things: May

The month of May has been consumed with finals, applying for jobs, getting ready for M’s surgery, and (because I like a challenge) moving into a new apartment…err…condo.  I will be doing an extended period of house-sitting for the next year.  Thats free livin’ my friends, free livin’.  Anyway, life has been busy and blogging, which is normally low-ish on my list got pushed even further down.  I have about 12 different post ideas though, so hopefully I’ll be posting a lot more in the next weeks.  It is summer after all.

Here’s a (short) list of favorites for this very busy month of May.

1.I was lucky to come across this cook book in the most unexpected of places a few weeks ago.  Laurel’s Kitchen is a wonderful book.  It contains a compilation of vegetarian recipes and detailed analysis of vegetarian nutrition for those looking to develop a more plant-based diet.  Actually, I take that back, I’ve already developed an intensely plant-based diet, and I learned a lot about healthful, nutritionally complete vegetarian eating.  The writers are clearly hippies, but wonderfully so.  All the talk about baking your own bread and saving helpless animals and meditation is charming, even a bit thought provoking?  Go figure.  The author also gives a few introductory chapters to explain where the inspiration for the food, the book, and the vegetarian lifestyle originated….in Laurel’s kitchen it turns out.

2. New cargo pants….in chocolate brown….in my size…on sale…for $10.99.  Nuf said.

3. A beautiful, sunshiny, sparsely furnished living room, with a big window and wood floors.  I’ve died and got to house-sitting heaven.  Seriously, there could be no more perfect place to do yoga.  That, and the minimalist in me, is the reason I’m not moving in anymore furniture.  One sofa and one chair is plenty.  And that room-sized rug?  Its staying rolled up in the corner…so there.

I got picked!


I’ve been keeping a journal fairly consistently (as in short entries twice a week…maybe?) for over a year now.  It came as a product of my counseling sessions with J.  She said writing down my thoughts and struggles would be essential  to my recovery.  I don’t like it.  Never have.

The biggest thing I’ve learned from journaling is that I am not naturally a contemplative person.  I struggle to sit and think  over my day.  I think this is because it forces me to confront the things that cause me anxiety, and also because I’m critical of what I have to say.  I almost never re-read entries after the day they are written.  Its just too easy to start editing myself, which isn’t really the purpose of a journal, now is it?  I wish.  I would feel much better about myself if I could just go back and scratch out a few lines and clean up my sentence structure.  You know, make myself sounds little more together, and a little less emotional.  But that would completely destroy the integrity of the journal, so I’ve kept myself from reviewing entries (for the most part, some spelling mistakes are just too glaring not to change).

Anyway, despite my general dislike for journaling, ocassionally it helps.  Sometimes confronting my anxiety proves especially rewarding and the act of writing really calms me.  Other times, I just come up with something really good to write about.  A few weeks ago I did just that.  Somehow, I don’t know how, I found myself sitting with my journal open (miracle!) composing a list of things I want to do with my life.  Normally, I would find such a list anxiety inducing.  I would feel inadequate for not having achieved the things on the list, and stressed out at the thought of trying to achieve them.  But on this particular day, no anxiety.  Only writing.

-quit counting

-travel to Europe

-qualify for and race the Boston Marathon

-practice yoga regularly

-establish a daily prayer + journal time

-wear a bikini

-get married

-graduate WashU

-get a job that scares me

-live in a new city

-maintain my Spanish speaking

-allow God to show me my purpose

Go! St. Louis Marathon 4/11/10

So, I’ve been slacking for the past two weeks on posting “facing fears.”  But I think running my first marathon can count for two weeks worth of fear facing.  I certainly worried about it for two weeks.  So, here’s a race recap.

I woke up at 3:00 am with a nervous stomach.  I didn’t need to be up until 4:00, so I occupied myself with mundane tasks, like washing my roommates dishes, making coffee, sweeping the kitchen floor, pretty much anything to keep my mind off the race.

At 4:30 M came over and sat with me while I ate my traditional pre-long run breakfast: oatmeal with banana and peanut butter.  It was less than appetizing that early, on a knotted stomach, but I got it all down.  Then I stretched some more and got on my team jersey, running shorts and new bondi band (worked awesome by the way…more on that in my next post).

My brother S, who was also running, and my mom showed up at 5:30 and we were off to the metro station to ride downtown to the start line.  It was still dark, and both Sean and I were definitely freaking out about what we were about to do.  We got to the start, no problem, though the metro was jam packed with runners.  We used the bathroom (johnny on the spot of course), ate our bananas (actually S sucked down some energy gel, which is nasty stuff), and got in line with the 8 minute pace group.

Here’s a view of the start, actually about a fifth of the start.  There were nearly 20,000 runners participating in the half and full marathons.  Only 3,000 or so were running the full, which was intimidating to say the least.  At exactly 7 am we were off.

Miles 1-9 were a breeze.  They went by quickly and I didn’t feel at all fatigued.  S and I stuck together and maintained 7:30 pace.  At 9 miles, the 15,000 half marathoners turned around to finish their race, and the full marathoners headed out on a large loop around the city.  Seeing the half marathoners turn back was surreal.  Usually I am in that group.  Usually I marvel at the full marathoners and can’t imagine going so far.  This time I branched off with them and a wave of fear, excitement, and adrenaline washed over me.

Miles 9-14 went  by easily as well.  There were some pretty significant hills, but it was manageable.  S and I did this section of the race at 7:45 ish pace.  At mile 14 we were still looking pretty good, see…

all smiles and good strides.

At about 15 miles S decided to drop back to 7:30 pace, but I knew that if I was going to make it all the way I would have to stay at 8:00 miles.  S went on and I was on my own.  I was nervous to be running alone (S keeps us on pace with his Garmin), bu I have a pretty good sense of pace, so I started cranking off  the miles at 8:00.  I thought for sure that by 18 miles or so I would crash, but I held on.  From miles 15-21 I held consistently to 8:00 pace.  I was shocked.  I started to hurt at mile 21, as evidenced by the grimace on my face, but the pain wasn’t bad enough to slow me down and I was able to push through for the next few miles.

Lest I fool you, the marathon was not all sunshine and rainbows.  At mile 23 I caught up with S.  He was starting to struggle.  I was really hurting and my pace by 23 had slowed to just under 9 minute miles, but I was holding up a bit better than S at this point.  I slowed a bit while S and I got ready for a final push.  Then we hauled our asses through the last three miles together.  It was all hills and beating sun.  It was one of the more painful moments of my life, but I’m really proud that we pushed through.  No walking and nothing slower than 9:00 pace.  I stuck with S and we crossed the finish at exactly the same time.  3 hours 30 minutes 3 seconds.  It was amazing, and so fun to finish with my brother.  I don’t have any great photos of the finish.  It was super crowded, but here a photo of the two of us, virgin marathoners no more!

I’m so proud of how I finished.  The icing on the cake…?  I qualified for the Boston Marathon!  It was sort of my secret goal to qualify, but I didn’t really think it would happen.  I finished 10 minutes under the cut off, inthe top 20 women and the top 200 runners overall!  I’m already looking for my next marathon.