Quinoa Stir fry

Hola gang!

Sorry I went totally MIA this week. See I had a plan of what I was going to blog at the beginning of the week.

But it didn’t quite turn out how I wanted it to…

Chocolate Chip Toasted Macadamia Nut Cookies. Delicious, but flat as a pancake. I know they’re delicious because even though they turned out super flat I still managed to try them. I need to figure out what I did wrong, right? Right. I’m going to go back and retool this recipe before posting it but it will be back because the toasted macadamia’s were fan-tas-tic!

Don’t worry, I developed something delicious tonight to share with you: Quinoa Stir Fry

I went out Thursday night for Halloween and didn’t get home until after 4 am (-> so late but SO worth it) and I am still exhausted! Around 5 o’clock tonight I was puttering around my kitchen, thinking about getting takeout and trying to decide what I wanted that would be easy. Being tired and working on final exams prep all day was makes me lazy. Then inspiration struck! I’ve been a quinoa eating machine the past few days and I love stir fry so why not combine the two?!

For the oil I used coconut oil and I added chopped up carrots, lima beans, broccoli, and sliced Brussels sprouts with some grated ginger. I even made the sauce myself!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup quinoa

1 cup water

Chopped veggies (I had 1 1/2 cup of chopped broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots and lima beans)

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

Sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon honey

Tiny dash of toasted sesame oil

Instructions:

Heat and water with the quinoa in a pot and let cook until the quinoa has absorbed the water. Set aside.

In a pan bring the heat the coconut oil at medium high heat until melted. Add the veggies and the ginger and cook until softened.

In a small bowl measure out the soy sauce, honey and toasted sesame oil. Whisk until combined. Once the veggies have softened, add the sauce, combine, and move the heat to low. Then add the quinoa to pan, combine and then serve!

So delicious! I was puttering around my kitchen with some pretty low expectations but I can tell that this is going to be a Katherine classic. I’m obsessed with quinoa right now. It’s so easy to cook, filling and a nice change from my go to dish of noodles. I think this whole thing took about 20 mins to throw together.

I’m also new to using coconut oil and I really like it. I typically use extra virgin olive oil in my cooking but I like the hint of flavor that coconut oil adds to a dish. I need to figure out new ways to work coconut oil in to my meals.

Next time I think I’m even going to add an egg to make it resemble quinoa fried rice. Oh yes, that will be winning.

And because I am the height of excitement I am off to take a bath and crawl into freshly washed sheets. I have a 5k in the morning I need to rest up for!

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Seasonal Sunday

Hello friends!

It has been three weeks since I have had a regular weekend in LA.

First I went to Chicago and ran a marathon!

Then I went to San Francisco.

And I ate my face off.

While I had so much fun the past few weekends I was really looking forward to hanging in my hood this weekend and getting back into my routine.

Routine on Sundays means breakfast, iced lattes, farmers markets, and enjoying my hood.

It’s starting to cool down in LA. We don’t have a traditional change of seasons but the weather does crisp up a bit which is nice. I’m going to go ahead and count that as a change. Mmkay? With cooler weather comes oatmeal!

Doesn’t that picture just look like fall? I actually put vanilla in the oatmeal while I cooked the oats. Then I topped with granola, cinnamon, and obviously brown sugar. Oats without brown sugar? I would never!

Then I took to the streets and stopped at one of my favorite LA coffee shops, Café Luxxe.

Cafe Luxxe has several locations on the Westside and our former governor has been known to frequent them (and I’m not talking about Gray Davis).

I got my usual, an iced non fat latte. I pretty much never get a hot drink unless it’s below freezing. Even then, I prefer cold. My Mom does the same thing and I think it might be genetic.

After I moseyed on over to the Farmer’s Market. So much has changed since the last time I was there! It’s a whole new season!

What’s in season now?

Squash! I love butternut. Some of my favorite butternut squash recipes are butternut squash risotto, butternut squash potato pancakesbutternut squash ravioli, and honey roasted butternut squash.

Kale


Pluots


Persimmons


Grapes and Pomegranates


Brussels Sprouts, one of my favorites!


Yams


Peppers and Swiss Chard


Jujubes (Chinese Dates)

I love eating mostly seasonal produce because I can really tell when the seasons are changing. If I’m eating butternut squash, it’s fall!

After the FM I walked home through an art festival! I love my new neighborhood for having stuff like this just randomly happening on a Sunday afternoon.

I didn’t buy anything but I got freebees from Pirate’s Booty!

Last night I also went back to yoga. Sunday just isn’t complete without yoga for me. Since I do yoga every Sunday I kinda feel like yoga resets by body, if that makes sense. I haven’t done yoga since before the marathon. Last night I felt like I was wringing my body out post marathon. This is going to sound so weird but I felt like I could still feel the marathon in my body. I felt a little bit heavy in my inversion but I think it’s because my arms haven’t been properly worked in a while.

I know the blog has been a little “food light, running heavy” recently but I’ve been baking and I hope to start bringing more food content back to the blog this week. I also have more marathon related writing to do, so there is a lot to look forward to.

What is your favorite fall food?

Law School Perks

Sometimes law school is a soul sucking experience designed to make you feel like you’ll never be right again.

Sometimes you get free things branded from West Law and Lexus, the two major legal research engines. For example, t shirts, water bottles, and free copies of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Evidence and the Constitution. Sexy.

And sometimes you win in a major way and you get free food and beer for making it to 3L.

And if you’re really, really lucky your professor will let you get food and beer and bring them into class.

Exhibit A:

Free tacos and beer!

In exchange they wanted a donation for the class gift. I almost asked if I could post date my check for 15 years from now. I restrained myself.

Also!

It wouldn’t be a blog post without a marathon update. No, I am not going show you another picture of me covered in water at mile 19+. But I will show you a picture of the amazing Chicago themed 26.2 sticker I affixed to my car the other day.

Yep. I’m one of those people now! I’m so glad I waited and ordered this Chicago specific one rather than getting a generic 26.2 sticker. It goes nicely with my red car and my Obama 2012 sticker.

I also did an excellent job of getting to Zumba directly after class today. On Wednesday I’m at school for 10 hours and normally am completely exhausted by the end of the day. During marathon training I always took a rest day on Wednesday but it was really nice to get out and get moving. I was still tired at the end of the day but I wasn’t nearly as exhausted as I usually am. I also went on a 3 mile run yesterday, my first since the marathon. I’m really glad I took a full week off after my marathon and I definitely need to train myself off walk breaks if I want to get faster. The temptation to walk was so strong on my run yesterday. Clearly this is a sign that I need to work on pacing and motivation in the future but for now it’s nice that working out is low pressure.

What is your favorite workout that I should try?

so here’s the plan stan

Get ready for a bazillion race photos…

Remember a week or so ago when I ran a marathon?

I thought so.

Post race my Mom looked at me and said, “So you’re going to give your body a little rest now?” And you know what. I am.

The last year has been an awesome running year for me. In the past year I have raced 73 miles! I ran my first half marathon and two others, including one where I ran it in nearly 2 hours.

I also ran my first marathon!

I’ve been running for less than 2 years and I’ve already accomplished some amazing things and I am very proud of myself. You can read my running story here.

I see running, races and fitness as a lifelong activity. I plan to be doing this for the rest of my life and I’m only 24. I have so many long term goals. I want to get faster. I want to do triathlons. I want to run more marathons. I want to go on yoga retreats and practice more. I want to try other fitness workouts like cardio barre and cross fit. There is plenty of time to get to all of these things and I cannot wait to explore them in the future and share them with you on the blog.

One question I was asked immediately after my marathon was “are you going to do another one??

YES. I promise you that I will be running another marathon!

When? After the Bar Exam. If you’ve been reading for a while you know that I am a third year law student which means that starting in May my life is going to become consumed by something called the bar exam. The exam itself is in late July and then I plan to do nothing for a while in August. While marathon training was an amazing self esteem boosting experience it was also stressful and anxiety provoking in many ways. This is not something I want to deal with while preparing for the bar. I will run another marathon but I’m thinking spring 2013, the LA Marathon.

So what is next in the near future?

Well, I took last week totally off. I was sore through Wednesday, went to San Francisco on Friday, walked all over the city on Saturday and traveled home on Sunday. I ate whatever I wanted but made the decision to go back to regular cleanish eating at noon on Sunday (exactly one week after the marathon). I eat chocolate once a day so it’s not really like my indulgent eating was that different than what I usually do but I knew I needed to give myself a deadline on treating myself.

Treat yo self.

Also, I may have signed up for another 1/2 marathon.

I will be running the Pasadena Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon! Now that have been around the block a few times with half marathon training I plan to use an intermediate training plan and working in some speed work. I would love to run a sub 2 hour half marathon. Pasadena is hilly but I’m going to give it the old college try.

The race isn’t until February and I don’t plan to start training until December. What will I be doing for the next month and a half? Well, I plan to try and go to yoga once a week, Zumba once to twice a week and run 2 to 3 times a week with runs from 3 to 6 miles. I went to Zumba and loved it! It was only my second class ever but I love the environment of Zumba. It’s very female positive and I love the fact that even though I’m not very skilled I can still have a good time. What I lack in skill I totally make up for with sass. I love any situation where it is socially appropriate to booty pop.

So that is the plan for now! I plan another marathon post or two regarding issues surrounding marathoning like fueling, my playlist, and post marathon reflections. Is there anything else marathoning related you’d like to read about?

San Francisco Treats

Oh kids. Buckle up for an insane post. I have been to the promise land (San Francisco) and the food is good!

Why did I go to San Francisco? Well, normally I wouldn’t go out of town once during a semester let alone twice, two weeks in a row. Last week, after coming back from Chicago, I made the decision to go to SF this weekend. My law school friend Chrissy has been living in SF externing and my college roommate and treat soul mate Carolyn was also going to be in town to run the Nike Women’s 1/2 Marathon. When another friend agreed to carpool it became clear that this trip was meant to be.

I drove up Friday, checked in with friends in Berkeley and went to a pot luck in the city. It was an awesome night and there are no photos.

Except this one:

Saturday, however, I made up for it. Chrissy and Kelly brought me to the San Francisco Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building.

It was love at first sight.

I even tried a new variety of apple: Hawaiian apples! It was sweet and crisp. In addition to the regular farm stand items they also had prepared food and the venders inside the Ferry Building.

Chrissy started me off with what was probably the greatest thing I’d ever eaten (Note that I said that statement a lot yesterday).

The first item we ripped into at 10:30 was this amahzing Porchetta sandwich with arugula from Roli Roti. The three of us split the sandwich and it was far and away the best pork sandwich I’ve ever consumed.

Crunchy, saucy, spicy perfection. We all split it and it was so so so so amazing. I would have this weekly if I lived nearby.

Then we moved to another stand, El Porteno.

First we got an empanada. I chose cheese and caramelized onion and again, we split it.

Again, cheesy perfection. I loved it and couldn’t get enough.

Chrissy they said that the dolce de leche cookie looked really good and maybe we should split it. This is why I’m friends with Chrissy. Obviously.

This was a delicious buttery cookie with dolce de leche caramel in the middle. It was as good as it looks.

Once inside I made sure to make a pit stop at Blue Bottle Coffee.

I’ve had this place on my radar for a while and, as a coffee aficionado, I couldn’t wait to check it out. The wait was long but I knew I had to try this coffee so I persevered and stayed in line. It was so worth it.

Smoothest latte of my life. Love this and if I lived in San Francisco I would probably quit Starbucks and Coffee Bean cold turkey and only drink this. I know that is an extreme statement but it’s true!

After the Farmer’s Market I said goodbye to Chrissy and Kelly for a while and I went on a walk through San Francisco to meet Carolyn at, where else, a bakery.

When I travel I really like to wander the city I’m, absorb the spirit and stumble upon new things. The walk to the bakery was three miles so I got to see a lot of the city everything from the Mission to city hall to the tenderloin which is famous for crime, drug use, and Hastings law school.

Streetcars.

City Hall. This building reminded me of Milk and made me want to run for office so badly it’s not even funny.

Trees near city hall.

Houses in the Mission.

After a long walk I made it to my destination, Tartine Bakery.

Tartine came heavily recommended from several people and Carolyn had already made one trip there so I knew I was in for some delicious eats.

I hopped in line and salivated at everything in the case.

Carolyn had already warned me about the croque monsieur and I knew that in addition to treats I HAD to order it.

I was not disappointed.

This may be one of the best things I’ve ever had to eat. A bold proclamation but I feel confident making it.

This sandwich is an open face sandwich with béchamel, gruyere, thyme and pepper. I want another right now so badly.

Oh, and it was topped with heirloom tomatoes.

Carolyn soon joined me and we ate our treats.

First I had a chocolate walnut cookie. Obviously, it was delicious.

We also got some delicious macaroons.

How adorable is it?

We decided, however, to take the treat up another notch.

Clearly, Carolyn and I sniffed out soft serve ice cream like a couple of bloodhounds. It was from Bi-Rite creamery across the street from Tartine.

This is good.

But this….

Is even better.

We sat down in Dolores Park, got a second hand weed high and ate our treats.

Pure excitement.

After treats we stumbled upon $2.50 sangria, had a drink and then made our way back to Chrissy and Kelly’s for dinner.

But first we had a friend photo shoot.

I love everything about this.

Then we went to Slanted Door for appetizer and drinks with Chrissy and Kelly…

And Osha for a pre race dinner for Carolyn. We had Thai food. I enjoyed dinner, my friends and was too busy having fun to take pictures. Even though there aren’t words I promise it was delicious. After dinner I said bye to Carolyn, foam rolled my legs.

Chrissy and I took her dog Penny on a long walk through Chinatown to North Beach, areas of the city I hadn’t seen. On the way home we were part of a police chase! You can read about our police chase here. Literally, we were standing on a corner one moment and behind a police line the next!

This morning I woke up and had to leave pretty early. I took one final spin through the Ferry Building this morning. I helped myself to another Blue Bottle Coffee and went to Il Can Rosso for breakfast.

I almost never order eggs but something told me to get the slow scrambled eggs with crescenza, chives, and garlic crostini.

I know, I know I keep saying this but these eggs are the best eggs I’ve ever had. They were drippy, cheesy and chivey plus the bread was fantastically toasted and added a bit of crunch.

Looking at this picture, all I want to do is lick my computer screen.

Don’t you?

I had no problems polishing this off.

And with that my first trip to San Francisco was a wrap! I wish I could have stayed longer and seen more but it was a great first trip to San Francisco. I foresee many more trips north in my future. I’m off to face plant in my bed because I have to go back to school tomorrow. All good things, like all good dishes, have to come to an end.

Chicago Eats

I ate a ton of delicious food while I was home in Chicago last weekend. For the most part I didn’t really blog my eats. I wanted to chill out with my family and not worry about photographing everything I ate. There were some important eats that needed to be documented. I also thought it would be a good idea to put some food on the blog before you start thinking that I’ve completely turned into a running blogger.

First, let me introduce you to cider donuts! I woke up Friday morning prepared to carb load on donuts. Runner’s World told me to.

I have been on the hunt for cider donuts since I moved to LA. What makes this cider donut so special you ask? Well, despite the fact that it just looks like a simple cinnamon sugar donut, in reality it is so much more. Yes, there is cinnamon sugar on the outside but the donut is made with apple cider giving the cake itself a little something extra.

See…

It makes the difference. I promise the sugar and the cider flavor are perfection together. I actually ate two because it’s been two years since I was able to eat cider donuts. Every bite was amahzing.

One more gratuitous photo?

Sure!

After eating donuts (and making a pit stop for cupcakes) my Mom and I finally made it to the expo to pick up my bib and peruse the booths.

First we took care of business: picking up my bib, verifying my d chip and taking pictures.

Then we noshed on gratuitous free things. Lara bars for me and peanut butter for Mom. We also picked up a shirt that has a map of the El train and says “run like El“. Best shirt ever? Hell yes.

After we went to Manny’s Deli for sandwiches and potato pancakes. Manny’s was heavily tweeted about by @mayoremmanuel (the fake Rham Emmanuel twitter account which I followed religiously) and was a fixture of my Mom’s working life when she worked down town. I had a huge corned beef sandwich. It was epic!

The next day we headed back downtown to pick up the little bro! The boats were going to winter storage.

After securing the brother we went to another Chicago classic for breakfast: Lou Mitchells.

Girls get Milk Duds at Lou’s. We also ate unphotographed donuts while waiting in line. They we not cider but they were so delicious: simple little donut holes with a light dusting of powdered sugar.

I decided to order the Katherine Classic breakfast: pancakes with a side of breakfast potatoes.

Holy crap so good! Potatoes were perfection and the pancakes oh the pancakes! These were some of the best pancakes I’ve had in a while. So light and topped with butter and a little bit of syrup. Oh my goodness best breakfast in Chicago!

I also had coffee, obviously.

Carb load complete.

You know what happened the rest of the weekend…

I ran a marathon!

Here is a gratuitous finish line photo…

And with my brother…

And nearing the end…

And this is what it looks like between mile 26 and mile 26.2 when you’re crying and about to finish a marathon. In case you were wondering. I know you were.

Did I mention I ran a marathon last weekend? Ha. Get used to looking at them.

As this post demonstrates, I love eating in other cities.

Guess where I’ll be eating this weekend?

Yep, I’m taking my first trip to San Francisco! In addition to continuing my post marathon victory lap I will be eating with my treat soul mates Carolyn and Chrissy. Should be a fantastic weekend!

I am a Marathoner! Chicago Marathon Race Recap

It’s official! I crossed the finish line at the Chicago Marathon after 26.2 miles. I can now call myself a marathoner!

I will start at the beginning. I had a 4:30 am wake-up call at my parent’s house. I barely slept the night before but I rolled out of bed with enthusiasm. The day I’d been preparing for had finally arrived. I stretched out, ate half of a peanut butter bagel, went to the bath room, trimmed my toe nails, chugged coffee, you know, all the race day essentials. I normally start race morning with a tired face but yesterday I was sporting my excited face.

FYI Repping for the summer intern crew with my t shirt

Ready to race!

My Dad drove me downtown. We’re really lucky because he works near the start time. We parked hassle free in his work parking lot and I got to use the bathroom at his office. Yay for not waiting in porta potty lines twice.

I also snapped this pic of Millennium Park (which is just north of Grant Park). It was still dark while walking over to the start line.

My Dad walked me over to the start line. My Dad stayed with me as long as they would let him but I said goodbye eventually and entered the park. 35,000 people were at the start line but it was so well organized. I was able to quickly drop my bag, hit the porta potties one last time and still lined up 30 mins before the start.

One of my favorite things about races is being up early enough to watch the sun rise in some incredible places like Malibu, San Diego, and Ventura. Now I can add Chicago to the list.

I got in line near the 11 min mile pacers. I mentioned before but I did not train for time. I took it easy on my long runs and I didn’t even think about doing speed work. Literally my goal was to finish and not to puke on myself. I figured since I run around 9:30 min miles in halves, 11:00 would be accurate for a full. I started to get nervous so I chatted up someone with an LA Road Runners chip on his shoe. I also saw a man with his face entirely painted like spider man. The girl next to me and I started to guess what would happen to his face by mile 5. There were so many people that it took 22 mins for me to pass the start line. Starting was amazing. There were tons of spectators and the noise in the tunnel that goes under the Standard Oil building (the tallest one in the above photo) was so loud.

My plan was to take it easy for the first 10 miles. The course was crowded which was good because it forced me to go more slowly than I might have otherwise. After mile 1 we passed the iconic Chicago theater, just before mile 2 we passed a water station. There were tons of spectators with great signs and the first 5 miles flew by me. Some of my favorite signs? “26.2 miles = 26.2 cupcakes” “if you have the stamina to run for 4 hours, call me!” “Run like you stole something” and “Run like your mother is chasing you”. I also saw some Occupy Chicago protesters. Not to be political but I’m a big supporter of the Occupy movement and I actually started cheering them when I ran by.

Just before mile 5 we hit Lincoln Park. I really had to pee so I pulled off at the first porta potties. I wasn’t the only one, there was a line which was ok. I caught my breath and talked to a stranger who told me that “sweat is nothing but liquid awesome”. So, so true.

I started cranking again after mile 5. I walked through all the water stations because it was HOT yesterday. I love cold, shaded running with no humidity so this was not my ideal conditions for running but I stayed strong. Just after mile 7 the course turned and headed south. At this point I saw a women laid out on the ground being fed a gel. Up until this point I had thrown my run/walk method out the window in favor of running with walks through water stations. After I saw her it hit me that the weather conditions are REAL and I needed to take it easy. I ended up taking 2 waters at every station and more to pour on my body. I also consumed 6 gels over the course of the race. I started taking walk breaks when I needed them but at that point they were few and far between.

At mile 8 we hit Lakeview AKA boys town! Easily one of my favorite parts of the course! There were out and proud ROTC members which warmed my heart. There were tons of people out partying including drag queens in cup dresses dressed up to by Lady Gaga and line dancers dressed up like cowboys. I loved this part of the course.

The heat started getting more intense after mile 8. There were people out with hoses and I ran through all of them. They also had sponges on the course and tons of water. I cannot overstate how amazing the people of Chicago were and how great the race execution was. It reminded me why I love the people of Chicago and why I am proud to be from there. Miles 8 through 13 are really a blur besides being hot and dousing myself in as much cold water as I could get my hands on.

Around mile 13.1 I knew that I needed to start taking my 10:2 run/walk ratio. I had maintained an 11:40 pace for the first half. I actually had a negative split between the 10k and half way point which I was proud of.

I hit a major second wind between mile 13 and mile 18. I was in my groove and some of my more clutch songs came on my ipod. I was still walking through water stations. I ran through every sprinkler. Trick of the trade: tell the person with the hose that you love them and they will spray you down extra! There was a woman at Malcolm X Community College who literally hosed me down for a full 30 seconds. I was SO grateful. I really liked this part of the course because it went by an area where my Mother used to work that I’ve seen/heard about for years, the Greek Islands, a restaurant my Father frequents, and the United Center (home of the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks). The cool thing about this course was that I saw many parts of the city and was about to put them together better than I was able to before.

Also memorable, at mile 16 I passed a police station with a large sign with pictures of police officers. The sign read, “These and 500 police officers killed in the line of duty will keep you safe for the next 10 miles”. I nearly burst into tears but I suppressed it and decided to save the emotion for later when I would really need it.

By the time I got to mile 18 I kept thinking about how I was going to see my family at mile 19 and that I wanted to look strong when I saw them. Mile 19 is in Pilsen, a heavily Mexican area and there were TONS of spectators turned out with tons of decoration, noise makers and music. They really pushed me. At mile 19 my brother David jumped in with me. I have never been so happy to see my brother in my life. I needed him to push me. He also had my camera with him and he started snapping away.

Seriously, can you see the pure joy on my face?

I hit mile 20 and all I could think was this is the farthest I’ve ever run before. David kept me motivated and I am so thankful that he was with me that that he is my brother. He kept pushing me but was very supportive at the same time. I cried on him (very briefly) twice and he kept supporting me.

At this part of the course we were South of downtown but had a great view of the city.

I have a confession: after I run 18 miles I start to get a little crazy. Like singing along to the songs on my ipod and quoting lines from Arrested Development. I had warned my bro about this and his reply was something to the effect of “you’re always weird”. Excellent. He played along well because after mile 20 I started singing along to Britney Spears, Eminem, Deadmau5, and David Guetta. Yeah. At one point on the course I was running, and singing the lyrics to “Sofi Needs a Ladder”. I think my brother actually sang along to something like Britney or some rap song (I can’t really remember which it was). My brother even yelled at me to “turn my swag on”. I’m pretty sure everyone who saw me thought I was crazy but that’s ok because I’d run 20 miles. I stopped caring.

And for you Arrested Development fans: I saw a guy with ice and I actually yelled “You can’t have a party without ICE!!!” Yep. I’m that girl.

At mile 22 my brother and I entered Chinatown which was another one of my favorite parts of the course. There were tons of spectators and groups out supporting the runners.

This is my favorite picture that has ever been taken of me hands down. I will love this forever. I look at it and I cannot believe that that is MY back with my back muscles at mile 22 of a marathon. I can still feel how I felt in that moment and I hope I will never forget it. My body felt sore but I felt so mentally tough. At no point did I think I couldn’t do this or that I wouldn’t be able to. I was determined to make it to the end and I knew that I could. I’m proud that I finished but I’m even more proud of myself for never doubting my ability to finish and staying strong. I know that I will take that into everything I do in the future. That picture makes me feel strong, I did it all by myself FOR myself and I never want to let that feeling go.

At mile 23 we were going to meet up with two of my friends from growing up: Brenna and Claire. I’ve known them forever and it made me so excited to know that they were going to meet up with me and boost my spirits for the last 5k.

With my friends after mile 23. David actually stayed in and ended up running 7 miles like a CHAMP!

My friend Claire was a division 1 athlete in college and a great coach. She really pushed me to keep running when I was sooooo wanting to just walk the majority of the last three miles. She knew I had more in me and she wouldn’t let me give less than I had left in me.

Seriously my crew was so awesome. See that girl in the yellow tank top? Looking at us and totes jealous.

By the end of the race I was totally drenched in water. The temps actually felt colder near the finish line because we were running up Michigan Ave and were closer to the lake. It was sweet, sweet relief for the final few miles.

I was taking frequent walk breaks but was always telling myself when I would start running again and Claire held me to it. Seriously she has a talent. I want a recording of her voice in my ipod for future races and long runs. She would not let me walk because she knew I could run. At mile 24 there was a cheer zone and someone on a loud speaker saying, “You are about to finish. THE. Chicago. Marathon!” It made me push harder.

After the mile 25.2 sign I started pumping my arms and running as much as I could. Before we turned the corner onto the uphill that leads to Grant Park and the finish line Claire and David got pulled off the course. Brenna was running behind up and by some fluke she was able to cross the finish line. They kept trying to give her a medal! While she did not accept a medal she did accept a free beer (wouldn’t you?) I had no idea about this until after the race.

I walked up the uphill and pushed to the finish line.

I crossed the finish line with my arms extended, took a heat blanket and started to cry but it was a glorious cry because I WAS A MARATHONER!

It took me 5:22 mins with an average pace of 12:17. I held a sub 12 min mile pace until after passing 30k. I gimped around, got my medal, had three sips of free beer before discarding it and hobbled to get my bag from gear check. I love the lakefront and Grant Park.

I made a call to the friend who inspired ME to start running because I wanted her to be the first to know that I had finished and went to the family reunion area to reconnect with my people.

Pain is temporary but pride is forever.

It still hasn’t totally hit me what I did yesterday. I have a runner’s high and a sense of earned pride. Like I said, I am most proud of myself for staying really mentally tough the whole time. I never hit a wall. I managed to push through the whole thing and I could not be more proud of myself. This feeling is going to be with me forever and this moment can never be taken away from me. I know that I will take it into other parts of my life like studying from the bar and other personal challenges I face. I started running at a time in my life where I was struggling emotionally and yesterday made me feel like I’ve conquered everything and nothing will ever hold me back.

After the race I went home and promptly ate about a million treats that my mom baked, Cape Cod chips and local fall beer. It was everything I wanted and more.

Thank you to all of my family, friends and reads. I have felt so much love throughout my training and especially in the past week. You all are the best ever. Special thanks to my family and friends who jumped in with me. I cannot express how much your support means to me. I feel so blessed to have so many loving and supportive people in my life. I’ll have more posts about the marathon coming up including my future plans for working out (after a well deserved week off!).

Mile 22: Chinatown

There are no words to describe today.

Ok. There are some words but I’ve been up since 2 am LA and I ran 26.2 miles today so they’ll have to wait. This race was perfect. From the spectators, the people of Chicago, the course, the orchestration and the people who jumped in with me. I could not ask for more from my first marathon.

Today I am proud to call myself a marathoner.

And I promise, there will be more tomorrow. But for now, I sleep.

The Road to Chicago

On Sunday, October 9th I am going to be running my first full marathon: the Chicago Marathon. As we speak I am en route to Chicago so I thought as a special treat on the blog I would share my running story.

source

As you might have gathered from the blog, I grew up in suburban Chicago. I pretty much left when I turned 18 and never looked back but I am so happy that I am running my first full in my “original home” (as opposed to one of my two subsequent homes, Boston and Los Angeles). It’s actually rather funny since most of my running in the Chicago area occurred in gym class and I absolutely hated it. I think I actually may have faked sick to get out of running the mile once while in junior high. I had two brief periods of running in college but it never stuck until January 1st 2010.

On New Year’s Day I decided to start the year off right with a run. It was something that I had done before. In past years I set crazy goals for myself like, “I’m going to work out every day!” None of that happened in 2010. I just decided to go out for a short two mile run. It was really hard for me but something clicked. I was just coming out of my first semester of law school and some crazy personal life drama. I needed something to focus my energy on. I barely worked out after I moved to LA but in January something shifted.

During the spring of 2010 I continued to run, no more than three miles at a time. I loved running outside, something that I could do year round in LA. I started to lose weight that I had gained over the years and liked the results. Around that same time my former college roommate was training for her first half and a law school friend plated the idea of running a half together. At first I thought, “no way in hell am I that person who is going to run for 13 miles. Insane.” I’m glad they did it. By June I was registered for my first half and I ran it in November 2010. Training for a half marathon gave my running a sense of purpose that my running didn’t have before.

The race was hard due to hills and over 80 degree temperatures but I remember turning to my friend Ela and I turning to each other and saying that after a short break we felt like we could run more. The marathon seed had been planted.

I am not by nature a very spontaneous person. I like to think things out, have a plan and know that if I commit to something I’m going to be able to fully execute it. That was the approach I took to thinking about the marathon. During my fall finals in 2010 I discovered the movie Spirit of the Marathon. The idea of a marathon had already been marinating for a while but the movie made me more motivated to set a date for a marathon. I knew I wanted to have plenty of time to train. I knew that I didn’t want to worry about intense training during law school exams or during the bar exam (which I will take in July 2012). Fall 2011 was going to be the time to do it. This was even better timing because I was already signed up for my second half marathon, which I would run in June just before most fall marathon training plans kick off. In January of 2011 I made my final decision: I was going to run Chicago. It made sense: perfect timing, holiday weekend, fantastic spectator support and plenty of my own personal spectators, my parents still live in Chicago so expenses would be low and there wouldn’t be the ordeal of dealing with a hotel. I signed up the first day registration was open.

I ran throughout the spring of 2011 with my eyes mostly set on a half marathon, which by the way I totally owned beating my old personal record by 9 mins.

The post PR glow

My post San Diego runners high was just what I needed to get me excited for and carry me through marathon training. I spoke to several friends and even got my paws on a Team in Training training plan which I adapted to meet my needs. Obviously I went into marathon training already in half marathon shape. My training didn’t really feel like training until early August. A trip to Boston followed by moving and having family in town threw a wrench into the month of July. By the end of the month I really still felt like I was just trained for a half marathon but I was building muscle, stretching in yoga, taking care of my body and getting into the best shape of my life.

That all changed in August when I took on a 14 mile run, a 16 mile run, and my third half marathon. September brought another 16 mile run, my 18 mile run and an epic 20 miler. I didn’t even feel sore after my 20 mile run and I knew that I was ready for Chicago.

Throughout my training I took a very conservative approach. I did not train for time. My motto on long runs was Billy, Don’t be a Hero. For me, just completing my first marathon is a huge achievement. In the future I can train for time but for now, proving that I can run a marathon is enough for now. I don’t feel like my running story is that extraordinary. I set a goal for myself and took a measured approach at achieving it. The marathon for me is about achieving anything I set my mind to. Working hard will bring you everything and this marathon is proof of that. Regardless of time, crossing the finish line on Sunday is going to be a moment that I know I will never forget.

Thank you to all my friends. The support I’ve gotten in the past few months has really been overwhelming. People from all parts of my life have cheered me on and supported me and it really means a lot to me. I’ll be thinking of all of you while running in Chicago!

Chicago Marathon Training Week 15

Second to last week of training is in the books!

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 4 mile run

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: 4 mile run

Friday: rest

Saturday: 8 mile run at a 9 min mile pace! Finished feeling fantastic!

Sunday: yoga

Total miles: 16 miles

Observations:

  • I really loved this week of taper. I did a few easy runs and I can feel my legs starting to feel fresh again. My 8 miler on Sunday was particularly fantastic. I did my 10 to 2 run/walk ratio and felt amazing and despite all the walking finished with a 9 min mile pace which is faster than my fastest half marathon. My body felt great the whole time, no foot pain, no leg soreness. This taper thing is amazing.
  • I meant to go to yoga on Friday but I went to Mohawk Bend instead. Whoops. It was totally worth it. I had two double hops beers, pizzas, bacon wrapped dates, and a glass of wine. It was so worth it.
  • My excitement level for next weekend is off the charts. I leave for Chicago on Thursday and I’m excited not only to run the marathon but to go home. I haven’t been to my hometown in almost a year.

My plan for the rest of the week:

  • The next several days I’m going to ice my knees, roll my foot on my ball to loosen it up and get organized to go to the race. I already put my body glide and blister preventing foot powder in the mail. I was paranoid that TSA would take them away from me. I planned to carry on all my race day items and I have to carry on all my books for this semester (because law school never takes a break and I’ll have a crap ton of reading to do over the weekend). This is too much for one carryon bag so I made the executive decision to just carry everything on, hence the mailing of anything TSA might take away from me.
  • I plan to do one short run on Monday and maybe a short run or yoga session on Tuesday. I read this month’s Runners World and they said for first time marathoners it’s best to take it very easy in the week before the marathon.
  • Mentally I’m getting prepared too. I am very excited for the race and my trip home. I want to harness that energy and focus. I’m excited to see family and friends before and after the marathon as well as along the marathon course.
  • The blog is likely to be a bit focused on running this week, I promise recipes, restaurants and famers market finds will return in the near future!

Experienced Marathoners: I need you words of wisdom! What advice can you give me pre-marathon?