Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Top-5 lists

I hope you've all seen High Fidelity. It is, seriously, one of the greatest movies ever.

I used to watch it constantly when I was in college. I watched it so often that I actually broke the tape on my old VHS, and although I have neither the VHS nor the DVD anymore, I can still quote nearly the whole movie by heart. I actually wrote a paper on the meta-fictional aspects of Rob's mix-tape creation process because I'm a total nerd.

Anyway, if you're familiar with the movie, you know that Rob Gordon has a slight obsession with top-5 lists.

Confession: I do, too.

Now, if I really wanted to do this right, I would now give you my top 5 top-5 lists, but that would just be crazy. I'll just give you a couple, starting with one I've been pondering since my post yesterday...

My Top 5 Reasons to Run WITHOUT Music

  • It eliminates influence on your pace. I find that I run to the beat of the music I'm listening to, not to my natural pace. Now, if you can find a playlist set to a beat that matches your natural pace, more power to ya! I, unfortunately, don't have one of those.
  • It eliminates distraction from your breathing. I think I breathe funny when I listen to music while running. Maybe I don't, but I don't actually have a clue! I can feel myself breathing, sure, and I can hear it sometimes when I focus. But, when I run without music, my breathing is often the ONLY thing I hear, and I like that. Breathing is so key.
  • It's safer. I live in an urban environment and have to run on the sidewalks lining busy streets, sometimes in the streets themselves, and it's good to be able to hear the action going on around me. I don't like stepping on dogs or smacking into strollers coming around corners (it's totally happened), and I certainly wouldn't like getting hit by a car! Keeping your ears open is important.
  • I feel more connected with my environment. Alright, here's my hippie reason. Music takes me out of my environment and into my brain. I find running much more enjoyable when I'm in the moment, and that means smelling the trees, checking out the squirrels, waving to the neighbors, etc. I remember to do those things more often when I don't have earbuds in.
  • I don't have to be scared of the rain. So, maybe this one's not applicable year-round, but it certainly is applicable in Georgia in April! The sky can cloud over and open up on you in a few minutes flat with little to no warning. My Garmin is waterproof, but my iPod, sadly, is not. This is actually the reason I started running iPod free in the first place!


My Top 5 Reasons That Spring Rocks

  • I love flowers! I really do. I love the smell, and I love the colors. When spring hits in Georgia, the whole state blooms. I love it.
  • I love spring clothes! Sweaters are fun, but I'm a jeans-and-a-tee-shirt kind of girl. If I can wear flip-flops, that's just a bonus!
  • I can exercise outside. I love being outside. It's not that I hate gyms, but I feel like real exercise (like running on the road and riding an actual bike) is much more organic and arguably better for the body. I don't mind that I'm going to sweat--it's worth it!
  • I much prefer drinking on patios than drinking in bars. I don't drink often, but when I do, I like to sit outside! When patio-drinking weather comes around, I'm one happy camper.
  • It stays light outside later. I love that Jeff and I can go biking after work now! It stays light late enough for us to squeeze in a good, long ride before the sun sets. Love love love it.


The Top 5 Things You Probably Don't Know about Me

  • I spent two years living in Asia. I lived in South Korea teaching Enlish for a year, then I lived in Thailand for six months before moving back to South Korea for another six months. I spent a lot of the time that I lived in Thailand backpacking around Southeast Asia.
  • I've been a vegetarian since I was 11 years old. How did I decide to go veg when I was just a kid? I didn't like what my mom made for dinner! True story. I later identified with the morals and ethics of the movement, but in the beginning, I just wanted to cook my own food.
  • I don't drive. I just don't feel like driving is a responsible decision for someone like me who lives in a city. I have a scooter, a bike, and two feet! I also have easy access to mass transportation. I'm sure I'll drive someday, but not until it's necessary.
  • I started college when I was 16. I'm not a genius, though! I promise. I was just in a really big hurry. I was bored with high school and decided I was ready to move on.
  • I really like trashy TV! Yep. I like reality dating shows, celebrity gossip shows, cooking competition shows, you name it! I'm fascinated by them. I've totally watched an entire marathon (or five) of America's Next Top Model, and I'm currently obsessed with The Biggest Loser.

Your turn! Tell me your top 5 movies of all time. I need to add some movies to Jeff's NetFlix queue! :-) I hope you're all having lovely weeks!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


School is kicking my tush this semester! Wowsers! I've been writing this paper on the lunacy of the Supreme Court in the 1880's for days and days, and I'm nowhere close to finishing. Sadness. The paper has been the reason for my absence from the blogosphere as of late. I'm on page 17 of 30 at the moment. Yikes.

Don't worry, though--I've still found time for training! Last Sunday was my first real long run! It was just a six-miler, but it was farther than I've ever run before! I felt awesome when I finished, like I could do anything.

And, I ran it without my beloved iPod!

I've been running music-free a lot lately. I try to do at least one of my runs each week without my music-making friend. I like the sort of communion with nature that I get from running without music. It makes it easier to focus on what's going on around me, and it helps me focus on what's going on inside me, too. It's pretty zen. I dig it.

I think I'm going to look up some podcasts or books on tape for my longer runs, though. I do get bored from time to time! Any recommendations?

By the way, LOVE the loop on my tank's shoulder strap to thread my headphones through. LOVE. That's some genius technology.

Another thing I love? My new Garmin Forerunner 305!

I run so much faster now that I can see my pace spelled out on my wrist. Who knew something so small could help so much? I love knowing exactly how far I've ran, too.

Anyway, must get back to paper writing.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Getting triathalon-readier

I'm getting better at biking, and it makes me so happy! Granted, I still ride slower than molasses, but I'm upping my distance a bit with each ride, which is cool.

Yesterday evening, the darlin' and I set out and rode 15 miles.

That's farther than the distance I'll be riding in my first triathalon in August!

Completing a triathalon was the first fitness goal I set for myself. The triathalon I'm doing is on August 14, about a week before my 27th birthday!

It's a short sprint triathalon, with just a 400m swim, a 13.6-mile bike ride, and a 5K run. I'm nervous about it, even though I know I shouldn't be. I'm going to incorporate an 8-week triathalon training program into my marathon training starting June 28th. Until then, I'm just going to continue building up my strength and speed in the different events.

You can see my triathalon training plan here.

I started with a Hal Higdon triathalon training plan and worked it around my marathon training. It's going to be complicated, but I don't think it's going to be impossible. Actually, I think it's going to be amazing!

There aren't words for how proud of myself I'm am now. I never thought I'd even get this far! I thought it would take me a year to get fit enough just to finish a triathalon, and, here it is, a few months later, and I can already complete all of the events separately!

It's an amazing feeling.

I'm not just going to complete the triathalon; I'm going to DOMINATE.

I'll leave you a picture of another favorite veggie shirt. :-)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cross-training for motivation

Cross-training is good for the body, but, for me, it's good for the brain, too.

Cross-training helps me motivate myself to finish my workouts because each sport has something to offer the others. I struggle with different mental obstacles in each sport, and I find power to overcome those obstacles by focusing on how easy those obstacles are in the other sports. Confused? Let me explain.

Take swimming, for example.


With swimming, I struggle with remaining distance. I can swim for ages, and as I've discussed before, I don't find it boring or tedious, but often when I hit my half-way point I become overwhelmed with the thought of how far I have left to go. Swimming doesn't have the landmarks that running and biking have--it doesn't have hills to crest, turns to make, or sights to pass. Because of this lack of reference points, it's hard for me to comprehend the distance in the same way I can in other sports.

How do I get past it? I remember my half-way point in my regular runs. I know that when I hit a mile and a half in my tempo run, I'm just cresting the hill at McLendon and Candler Park, and then I have a short hill to run down before turning onto Oakdale. I can visualize it, and I know that after I pass that point, it feels like I'm almost done. It's almost literally all downhill from there!

Thinking about how easy the last half of my run is gives the mental ability to finish my swim.

Now, let's talk about running.

With running, I struggle with hills. I read a lot of running blogs where the authors talk about how flat it is in their area and how they have to make a point to train on hills before they go to races in other areas--not true for me! My neighborhood in Atlanta is hills hills hills. Most of them are okay, but some are definitely daunting! Just looking at them from the bottom stresses me out.

How do I get up them? I think about going up those hills on my bike. Now, I'm not the best biker, but the hills are definitely easier biking than running! If I put my bike in my easiest gear (smallest cog in the front, largest cog in the back), I can get over the hills without problem. I'm going super-slow, but I'm still going! That's what I think about when I'm running--I think about just going. One foot in front of the other. Left, right, left, right, left, right, and I'm up! I remember that I don't have to go fast to get up the hill; I just have to keep moving.

Thinking about how easy it is to crest hills on my bike makes it easier for me to crest them running.

Lastly, there's biking.


My issue with biking is lack of power. My hamstrings and booty are pretty darn strong, but my quads leave a lot to be desired! Sometimes mid-ride I start to get stressed out about how weak my legs are and how hard it is to push faster and harder.

How do I push harder? I remember how powerful I feel when I'm swimming. I wish I could explain in words how powerful swimming makes me feel! I think it's because there's no gear involved--it's just me propelling myself without assistance. Also, I can feel all of my muscles move and push, which is awesome. Remembering how strong I am in the pool reminds me how strong I can be on my bike, too. I may not be as strong as I want to be, but I'm still pretty darn strong!

So, thinking about how powerful I am in the pool powers me through my ride.

Do other sports help you in your mental training? I'd love to know what keeps you going!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Race recap, part 2

So, I learned a few things about me and racing on Sunday. Well, I learned a lot of things, but I'll just tell you about a few of them! Being my first race, I was starting from scratch, but I thankfully got a few things right!

Things I got right:

  • I dressed in layers. I didn't know what the temperature would be at start time, but I knew it was going to be right on the cusp of long-sleeve temperature and no-sleeve temperature for me. I wore both and was able to make the decision at start time.
  • I got a little caffeine buzz. I finished my double-dose of green tea about thirty minutes before the race started, and I felt it gave me just the right amount of jolt by start time.
  • I got some good sleep the night before. The night before the race, Jeff and I went out for dinner with some friends, picked up some soy ice kream on the way home, and watched that week's episode of Vampire Diaries off the DVR. I got to sleep by about 10 and woke up at 6. I felt well-rested and ready to go.
  • I picked someone who was running slightly faster than I thought I could, and I kept up with him. I needed something to keep me at the pace at which I found myself (see the third bullet point below), so I picked a dude who was keeping a pace faster than I had ever run before, but a pace that I thought I could handle. It kept me going when I wanted to slow down. There's definitely a competitive urge in my heart!

Things I did not get right:

  • I ate beforehand, even though I usually don't. Ouch! I woke up about 2 hours before start time, so I thought maybe I should get something in my belly. I ate some raw oats mixed with peanut butter and raisins, which is one of my favorite breakfasts. Wow, it hurt later! I'm not used to eating before running, and I could definitely feel it. Next time, I'll wake up earlier or try eating something with less protein and fat.
  • I didn't drink enough water the day before. I tried to drink a lot of water on race day, but I don't feel like I was fully hydrated from the day before. I need to drink more water. All the time. Everyday.
  • I got all excited and tried to pass everyone in the first mile. When the gun went off, I realized that I was surrounded by grannies and people with strollers. Ack! I spent the first half-mile dodging the slowpokes and finding an open spot, but, when I found one, I didn't want to stay there! Passing people is addictive, and it was the first time I had really experienced it! I wanted to pass more people. Before I knew it, I was running at a much faster pace than I planned on being at, and it hurt to maintain it. Worst part? I had nothing left to give at the end, so I couldn't kick it into a higher gear for the last half-mile, which I had planned on doing. Bummer.

Anyway, now I know! My next race isn't until May 22nd, but I'm super-excited about it. It's called the Warrior Dash, and it's a 3.22-mile course with 11 obstacles.

Click here to see the course and obstacle map for the Georgia course.

It's not a very serious race--it involves warrior helmets, silly constumes, a moustache contest, and free beer at the end--but it's going to be awesome! I'm doing it with my little brother Ian, some of his fraternity brothers, a couple friends from law school, and a ton of friends from my old corporate job. I'M GOING TO BE A WARRIOR!

Alright. Back to work. I'm in the midst of a 30-page research paper on the idiocy of the Supreme Court under Chief Justices Waite's and Fuller's watches.

What races do y'all have coming up?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

FIRST race recap EVER!

I just finished my first race! It was the Radiant Systems Sprint for Cancer 5K. I brought along my darlin' Jeff, who's an excellent photographer, and he helped document the event!

It started out pretty cold! We got to Atlantic Station in Atlanta at 7:00 AM to check in, and it was about 53 degrees with some wind. I originally planned on running in a long-sleeve shirt!

I had goosebumps on my legs.

We had a long time to wait before the race started. Jeff took some photos of the racers and race area.

I spent the time trying to focus.

Luckily it warmed up enough by my race time for me to shed the long-sleeve shirt and run in a tank. Not only was it more comfortable for me, but Jeff loves taking pictures of my fish tattoo. :-)

We're off!

The race went through a neighborhood in Atlanta called Atlantic Station. It has some nice shiny buildings and just a couple mild hills.

Check me out, yo! I'm a runner!

I finished in 29:11. Now, y'all probably think that's slower than molasses, but that's soooooo much faster than I usually run! I was hella proud of myself!

I got this rockin' shirt, too. Not much to look at, but it has my mom's name on the back of it in the "In Honor Of" section. She's my everything.

Her name is in the second column, fourth down. Kim Makins.

Things I learned from this race that I will elaborate on later:

  • Don't eat before running if you're not used to it! Ouch!
  • Drink a ton of water the day before as well as the day of.
  • Don't get all crazy and try to pass everyone in the first mile!
  • Pick someone to keep up with who's just a little faster than you.

Okay, that's all for now, folks. I need to eat some lunch and take a nap!

One last thing before I go. This post would not be complete without a picture of my darlin' photographer. :-)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Zen of Swimming

I had a nice 1-mile swim yesterday (1600m) at my school's pool. I'll admit it--sometimes I'm afraid of the school's pool. There are often students in it who don't know how to swim or don't understand the concept of lanes. Eek! But, if I get there early enough, the pool is incredibly peaceful.

One of my roommates used to come with me to swim, but she stopped a few months ago, citing too much schoolwork as the reason. She recently confessed to me that the real reason is she finds swimming boring!

I couldn't believe it! I was relaying this information to a colleague in my Arts & Entertainment Law class last night, and she confessed that she too finds swimming boring!

She said the back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth of it is mind-numbing, and you can't hear anything except your own breathing and the splash of the water.

Funnily enough, those are the things I love the most. I love the zen of swimming.

If you too find swimming boring, here are my tips to make swimming an enjoyable, relaxing activity:

  • Have Goals. Some might argue that having goals takes away the relaxing aspect of swimming, but it enhances it for me. Doing anything aimlessly stresses me out more than it relaxes me. I'm not suggesting you should have strict distance and time goals that you refuse to budge from, but I am suggesting that you decide the distance you're going to swim beforehand and have an idea of the time in which you'd like to finish it. Swim with a purpose.
  • Alternate between Focii. I find the times that I'm most bored (or ready to quit) are when I've been counting strokes in my head for the last 20 minutes and am starting to notice that my strokes are sagging and getting fatigued. When I switch then to focusing on my kicking or on my core, I gain a little power back. Sometimes I'm not actually as fatigued as I think I am; I'm just focusing on each minute detail so much that I'm worrying about everything.
  • Breathe with a Rhythm. If you're a seasoned swimmer, you probably already do this. I, personally, inhale on every third stroke and exhale in short bursts on the other two strokes; it keeps a rhythm for me. It not only keeps a rhythm for my breath but also for my heart, my strokes, my legs, and my mind. I find I have a much more peaceful experience when my body hits a rhythm because it starts swimming on autopilot and I can allow my mind to wander a bit.
  • Feel Powerful. Swimming really gives you a chance to feel all of your muscles working at the same time--think about that instead of making your grocery list or worrying about work. I find that I finish swims feeling much more rejuvenated when I spent the swim thinking about swimming instead of thinking about work and other stressors. Don't just think about your form, either; think about how powerful you are! Give yourself a pep talk and remind yourself that you're strong and capable.

What do you do to fight off boredom in the pool? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Well, I'm just about done with my morning green tea, so I think it's time for a run! Check out my awesome coffee cup this morning:

This is my last run before my race on Sunday. I'm running in the Radiant Systems Sprint for Cancer 5K in honor of my mom. It's my first race! I'm so excited! I'm not quite up to racing pace yet, but I hope the adrenaline on race day will give me an extra push.

Hope you all have an awesome Thursday!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Time to get to work!

I finally got all signed up with Team in Training for the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco!

Check out my fundraising page here!

I (and my mom, too) would love it if you could help with a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! The LLS funds research and development for new cancer medicines in the hopes of finding a cure. One of the drugs they researched and developed, called Rituxan, is the drug that saved my mom's life! It helped put her lymphoma into remission, and it will extend her remission for up to five years!

My mom is a fighter, and my family has hope that she will live a long and happy life with us. PLEASE HELP US GIVE OTHERS HOPE, TOO.

Meeting my fundraising goal is going to be tricky, but I have faith that I can do it. I have some ideas, but not nearly enough, though! Please let me know if you have any thoughts!

This year I'm going to enlist the help of some law school friends and my little brother's fraternity. Also, last year I organized a pub crawl to raise money for the LLS, so maybe I'll do that again this year. I got this shirt for the occasion:

I'm hoping that I can get some of my artist and jeweler friends to make some pieces that are either lime green (for lymphoma awareness) or purple and green (for Team in Training) to raffle/auction at my Mom's school.

Anyone have some fantastic fundraising ideas?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Protein cookies = win!

So, the darlin' and I had an awesome time at my Barrister's Ball on Saturday! I will admit, sometime it's nice to get dressed up. Half my friends didn't even recognize me! I wore makeup and everything.

My dress was about two sizes too big (so it goes after you lose a lot of weight, eh?), but I think it worked for the occasion.

Sunday I went for a killer 5-mile run! Before I left, my darlin' made me breakfast. So sweet!

The run was awesome! I was worried that it was going to be rough, after having been up late drinking and partying at the ball, but it was surprisingly easy. I used my new NikePlus wristband to record it, and that helped a lot. It's nice to know how far you've gone and how far you have to go! Knowing my pace helps me push harder, too.

Monday went by in a breeze. The only notable things? First, I went on another bike ride--6.5 miles this time--and it rocked. I can't wait to add more distance next time. Second, I wore one of my favorite veggie shirts. My darlin' got this for me at Comic Con in San Diego last year. It says, "Save a Cow. Eat Tofu."

I have a host of cute veggie shirts. I'll have to post pictures of more of them!

This morning, I made my FAVORITE Peanut Butter Oat Protein Cookies. They're soooooo good!

  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 2 scoops (2/3 of a cup) protein powder
  • 1 cup oats
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons PB2 + 1 tablespoon vegan milk product (or just use another 2 tablespoons peanut butter)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Start by mashing your bananas.

Add in the other ingredients.

Mix it good. The batter tastes SO DELICIOUS.

Form the batter into four cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake them for 20 minutes in the preheated oven. YUM!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Oh, Saturday...

I love Saturdays! Despite the fact that I have to sit in the library at the reference desk for 8 hours, I still love every minute of the weekend.

This morning, I found some new flowers poking out in my front yard. What could be better?

I showed up at work with my usual bag full of food.

Today's booty features some awesome oatmeal with peanutbutter and raisins for toppers, some quinoa with lentils and mushrooms, baby carrots, orange slices, and the last of Mom's cornbread. YUM!

For lunch, instead of running, I went swimming! Yay! I love swimming. It's my first love when it comes to exercising. I've been a swimmer since I was a baby.

This is like my second skin.

I swam 1200m (~.75 miles) in 25 minutes, which is a good pace for me. It's comfortable. I have a 5-mile run tomorrow that I want to knock out of the park, so I didn't want to push myself too hard today.

My coworkers think it's so funny that I carry my camera with my everywhere now. I think it's funny that they think it's funny!


Tonight is the Barrister's Ball, also popularly called Law Prom. It's our formal event for the year, hosted by the Student Bar Association. I'm going to wear a dress! Ack! I'm not a girly-girl by any stretch of the imagination. I'm terrified of dresses and even more terrified of heels, but my darlin' somehow talked me into going to the Ball this year. I'll post some pictures tomorrow!

How are you spending this lovely weekend?