Aquathon

A couple of years ago I did a half marathon and it was like..ya know..meh. I dreaded the training for it (“No sorry, I can’t do ANYTHING tonight.. I have to run 10 miles tomorrow..”) and then when the actual day arrived it took forever to finish and after I did, I spent the day laying on the couch unable to, well, move (shoutout to the parents for the care taking and brunch!). It was definitely one of those checklist items. I did it, so now I can move on.

But I liked the atmosphere. I liked pushing myself and racing against other people and trying to do my absolute best. When I started dating my boyfriend a year ish ago, he was just starting to get into sprint triathlons. This seemed mildly appealing due to the change of pace (not just running) and how quickly it was over. But, the bike investments and other gear kept me away. (how people train for biking while living in a city is beyond me, I’m far too afraid of cars).

This year he got into aquathons (swimming + running) due to our shared dislike of cycling (i.e. we weren’t very good, we like to be good at things). After months of talking me into it, I finally signed up and ran my first race. It was a 500m swim followed by a 5K. I signed up a week before, and swam and ran a few times before the big day (super prepared, clearly).

I ran with Five55 Series in Grapevine, TX. They have a really neat group of friendly faces that compete in these monthly races. A lot of people know each other from doing them and I look forward to joining the clan. It’s sponsored partly by FirstWave, a gym located in Southlake, TX dedicated to triathletes.

The race went surprisingly really well. They are still working on final stats (technical errors), but I believe I got 7th overall in the swim (men + women) and 2nd in women for just the swim portion. Hopefully the run times and final stats will be up sometime! I’m pretty addicted already. It was a rush to sprint at the end and try to catch the guy in front of me and so satisfying to take a cold sip of beer after all the hard work.

I can’t make the September race.. but you betchya I’ll be back for October. The added bonus of it NOT being 105 degrees outside is too sweet to pass up. Please enjoy my pre-race awkward thumbs up below. How else are you supposed to pose in the most unflattering of attire (one piece swimsuit)?

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Setting the tune for June

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I never really thought June would arrive. It’s so been so far away for so long that I assumed it would take another year or so for that pesky calendar to get around to it. Despite my resistance and by some twist of fate, here we are. June. June 4th in fact. I celebrated the end of May pretty fantastically packed with brunches, doggie dates, prosecco, mambo taxis, boyfriend time and present shopping. Which is really setting the right tune for June. June is busy busy and so expensive. My poor little credit card is not going to be happy with me after all the birthdays, brunches, wedding gifts, doggie care and travel expenses. You can thank me latter, BOA.

I’m also making some adjustments to my workout routine. As it turns out I am a pansy and anything above 83 degrees is too hot for me to get a good 6 mile run in – especially with that ferocious Texas sun beating down on my back and my dog’s black fur. And waiting till 8 or 9 PM to go running isn’t the best strategy for a good night sleep or a decent dinnertime. So I’m trying my absolute best to become a morning runner. It’s so hard. Like..guys..so hard. First off I can’t breathe in the mornings. My lungs are tight and don’t allow me to get a good breathe going. And then there’s the whole “this is so early and my bed feels like an absolute cloud” part of it that is a wee challenge to get around.

Monday was my first go at it and I loved it. It was so cool and crisp in the morning, there was hardly any traffic and I felt energized the rest of the day. But the real best part? I spent yesterday evening reading, cleaning and lounging – I even cooked a dinner that was more than a protein shake. Hell, I even read while I walked my dog – no small feat I might add. I’m still working out some kinks to the ol’ work out routine, but I am really enjoying getting my workouts done early. By 9 AM I already feel so accomplished and I am able to focus better while I’m at work. It’s also opening up my afternoons to be able to focus on a bit more on toning on my running days with some ab work, pushups and lunges.

So anyhoo, I am trying to welcome June in with energized open arms. It will be an exciting, tiring, expensive, draining and super fun month. Thank goodness for caffeine.

Looking Ahead

New Year Quote

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I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions, but clearly we’re goal driven people around Finding Tiffany’s. I do believe in striving to my best self every day, and I’m excited to continue learning and growing in the year ahead. The new year holds exciting opportunities at work, plenty of occasions in the works to play hostess for people I care about and travel sights set on D.C. and Chicago.

2012 was the year of…

Career. I launched my first blog and received two job offers to start my first “real” job.

Travel. New York City, Austin (twice), Atlanta, Fayetteville, Boston, Norman (three times) and New Mexico.

Community. A best friend moved back, I met two roommates, bonded with coworkers, joined a bible study with 20 amazing women and reconnected with some old friends in the area.

Independence. My own apartment, a new car and bills…all paid by yours truly.

2013 will focus on…

Health. Commit to yoga, run, eat (way) less sugar and finally follow through on some long-postponed healthcare appointments.

Relationships. Practice intentionality by actually responding to Facebook messages and in a timely manner, remembering birthdays and embracing snail mail for cards and notes.

Creativity. Learn photography with my new DSLR, dedicate more time to watching documentaries and independent film again and continue writing and blogging.

 

What do you think about resolutions? Have you set any goals or themes for the new year?

 

Pouuur some sugar on me

For the love of all that is splenda, give me SUGAR.

My roommate and I decided to go on a two week, no sugar diet/experiment. We were both just kind of curious to see if we could do it, and if so what it would feel like. Would we be overcome with a new found energy? Would we shed 20 pounds? Would magic fairies raise our metabolism to a point of life-long fat burning power? Could we possibly kick that chocolate craving we have after just about every meal that only increases about one week every SINGLE month? We set out to find out.

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The first few days were painful. Rice Krispie treats, donuts, and chocolate cake were all offered to us within the first 24 hours. Worse is that we both work with a bunch of jokesters who find it highly entertaining to taunt us with Oreos instead of providing carrots. After those first few days however, it wasn’t so bad. We had already decided at the beginning to only cut out added or processed sugar. So fruits, milk, Simply Orange, and whole wheat grains were up for grabs. So we really did have a ton of options, it was just a matter of studying nutrition labels and consulting with Google.

I bought sugar free bread, cinnamon instead of brown sugar for my oatmeal, natural/no sugar added pasta sauce, natural peanut butter and jelly, whole wheat pasta, and a bunch of other over priced healthy things. Everything taste pretty much the same. The first week I was supposed to be carb loading for my half marathon that weekend. For me that meant eat pretty much what I usually eat, but I just wouldn’t have to feel as bad  about the copious amounts of pasta I so enjoy. Lunch was also quite difficult. You couldn’t have deli meat, so you either had to make chicken the night before, eat a very plain tuna sandwich or PB&J. I also found, however, that cutting out sugar alternatives, like Splenda, was imperative. Splenda makes you crave sugar. It’s like an endless cycle of fattening. You have the Splenda alternative to satisfy your craving for sugar in a no-cal way, but then a few hours later you’re drooling over some fudge with no idea what happened. To that effect, not eating sugar made me crave sugar less. This was a much healthier and happier endless cycle that I would much rather be a part of.

Going out to eat was a total pain in the tush, however. EVERYTHING is terrible for you. It took me 17 minutes to find something at Panera that wouldn’t break my new diet. I managed to avoid going out to dinner, and for the best. No one likes being that person at the table listing off all the things they don’t want on their plate. “Yes I’ll have the cheese burger. But with no bun, ketchup, mustard, and french fries. Oh and is your cheese all natural?” At holiday parties you had to turn down offers for dessert, and try your best not to offend. Especially when you’d be forced to explain why you are turning down a perfectly good piece of birthday cake and suffer through a 20-questions interview on “why the hell are you doing this?”

All in all. I highly recommend the experiment. I felt great. I think this is largely thanks to a lack of guilt. When you get to bed that night you feel good about every food decision you made ( except when we were offered chips and queso, both naturally sugar free. We went to TOWN on those ). That’s not easy feeling to come by as a girl. The downside of it all was the Monday-post experiment. Donuts, Rice Krispie treat and a Sprinkles cupcakes for dinner? Don’t mind if I do. As a result of two days of complete binge sugar eating, I’ve taken the experiment up again, but a little more laid back. I want to cut desserts out from my daily diet and save the calories for special occasions where I won’t feel guilty about having a slice of delicious, specially made, birthday cake. I think it is often easier to cut things out completely, than it is to eat in moderation. It stops that “oh I’ll just have one. Okay and maybe another. And I mean I worked out this morning so…” This next experiment will also be playing perfectly into my new post-half marathon work out routine that incorporates weights, hot yoga and less running. Let’s just hope this doesn’t fade faster than last year’s “Do 50 sit ups everyday” resolution. I like to think of this as less of a resolution, and more of a lifestyle change. If I’m going to Find Tiffanys in 2013, I want to do it looking and feeling great.

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An apology to my knees

I apologize to you, knees. After the years of tennis drills, pivoting and sprints I put you through, it just never ended. Your joints are growing weaker, but I pressed on. Icing you, heating you, bothering you. You creak and ache to be heard, I would silence you with two easy pills from the grocery store. I hope you’ll forgive me as our runs shorten and become less frequent. But till then, thank you for your hard work.

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I have finally physically recovered from my half marathon on Sunday’s Dallas Marathon (formerly, White Rock Lake Marathon). Really this just means that I shouldn’t continue taking the elevator to my third floor apartment because I’m afraid my knees will give out. Excuses have expired, and it’s also time to start working out again.

My mother ran several marathons in her day and my brother just kind of winged the New York marathon without much preparation. So in the scheme of things, a half isn’t much. But I don’t care. It felt amazing.

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If you are thinking about training, that’s awesome. It is so unbelievably rewarding. Crossing that finish line means more than anyone who has never run one before can imagine.

I used Marathonrookie.com to get me on track. One of the first steps the site suggests is determining why it is you want to do a half marathon. When I first asked myself, I honestly didn’t know why. I just knew I wanted to just do it. After completing it, however, it all seems so obvious. I signed up for the race while I was job hunting. Searching for a job is a complete beast. You don’t have any control on what happens. You can work hard, stand out, try to excel but at the end of the day, it’s out of your hands. Running a half marathon was completely in my hands. I could either train hard or not. I could either finish, or not. I could just do it, or not. It was something I had complete dictation in my life (well. Me and my shins, knees and hips).

What I loved most was overcoming those runs that seem impossible. The ones you dread to start, hate the first couple miles, and then all of a sudden you’re listening to a great indie song and the rest of the world and your legs melt away. We refer to this as The Zone. Each time you overcome the runs getting closer to the race, it makes you stronger. Everytime you set out to run, you’re running longer than you ever have before. You know that if you get through those shit runs, the next run could be an amazing one that feels like free therapy.

The things I definitely recommend are finding good equipment, determine your trails, and to assess if you want a running buddy.

For me, the tank tops, running leggings, shoes, arm band, and water bottle belt were among the best purchases I made this year. Each aided me to succeed. Most people say that it doesn’t matter what you wear when you run. Well, screw that. I am pretty sure that when I knew I looked like a serious runner, I felt like a serious runner. 13.1 miles? Bring it. The gear also helped me physically (water) and helped me focus on running and less on my shorts riding up.

As far as trails go, I loved running around White Rock Lake. It was such a good excuse to go to a beautiful part of Dallas. I’d always drive around a bit afterwards and find an excuse to stop at a coffee shop or a quick lunch. For my weekday runs I actually just used Google Maps to determine my path and distance. Minimum crosswalks and less cars are what you should look for. Personally, I chose not to have a running buddy and never regretted the decision. I was doing this for me, and not so much for a good time. I did meet a group of ladies on the DART on my way to the race that were all running together and were so excited, it was adorable. So if you’re looking for a more social aspect, there are several in the Dallas area to join.

All that to say. I ran. I finished. And I feel fantastic. Cheers.

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