Scenes From the Weekend

Fresh Pressed Paninis

Homemade Cake Pops (thanks Ali!)

English Muffin Pizzas 

Gorgeous San Francisco night

Pre Race Essentials

First 5K

This is January?

Digging to China


DSE Arts and Sciences 5K Race Recap

Another Sunday, another DSE race. After discovering this hidden gem glaringly obvious oldest running club in San Francisco last weekend, I was back for more bright and early this morning.

The high point of 30 days of sobriety? (Today is day 21 if you’re keeping track as obsessively as I am.) Even if you stay out until 2am and go to bed at 3:15am with a 7am alarm set… you wake up feeling impossibly refreshed. I only hit snooze once then beelined to the Keurig (which, bless its little caffeine filled heart seems to be past it’s “acting out” phase”).

We were out late last night celebrating a very good friend’s (and soon-to-be GROOM!) birthday, and I didn’t get to bed until well past 3am. Woops. But alas being off the sauce for 3 weeks has given me energy I never knew I could summon.

I had a cup of black coffee with cinnamon, grabbed a mini Luna bar (Peanut Butter Cookie today, much better choice than last week’s Lemon Zest), my tune belt, phone, Garmin, and credit card/ID and hit the road.

It was glorious being up and about when the city was just waking up. I made it over to Golden Gate Park in ~15 minutes, found a parking spot a quarter-mile from the start, and strolled over. Registration, as always was seamless and took about 47 seconds. I did a mini jog around the block to wake my muscles up (not like they even went to sleep since I got so little of it) and finally ran into the lovely Cate! (Who placed 5th amongst the women and got a pretty little prize ribbon!)

We lined up at the start and suddenly, we were off! I wasn’t sure how this was going to work because I’ve um, never done a 5K before. I was used to starting off steady, but not sprinting, and then pushing hard at the end (in a half-marathon, the only race distance I have 5+ experiences in!) This was a bit different… everyone took off like a bat outta hell.

My iPod was ready to rock, my Garmin was satellite located, so I just did what any first timer does… I followed the pack and ran as fast as I could. The weather was just about perfect, but honestly a little chilly for my liking. The air was cold, and I could feel it in my lungs. It was either that or I’ve never run that fast for 3 straight miles before and my lungs went into shock and wanted to shut down. To-may-to, To-mah-to.

After last week’s 10 glorious sub-9:00 miles, and my tempo run on Friday, I was feeling ambitious. Overly ambitious maybe, but I wanted to push myself nonetheless. It was 3.1 miles. Let’s try for all 3 sub-8:00’s.

Mission freaking accomplished.

(Apparently the course was .02 short?)

Mile 1 started off at a much-too-fast-to-keep-up 6:40 pace, and I quickly dropped that down to the very low 7:00’s. It was tough, but not unbearable. Running fast isn’t supposed to feel like sunshine and puppies and rainbows right? (If it is, someone tell me because I’m clearly doing it wrong.)

Mile 2 I felt like I hit my stride, and got more comfortable. It was a fantastic feeling knowing that after 2 miles, I only had 1 more to go. I could get used to this running fast thing after all.

Mile 3 the wheels almost fell off. My Garmin actually did fall off, so I had to frantically stop to grab it try to put it back on, screw it, and just run with it in my hands. I had put it on loosely thinking I may want to take my long-sleeve off after the race started (I did), so I figured this would make it easier (it didn’t). Somehow not tucking the strap in its rightful place (who knew?) was a bad move, and it came unhinged. Thankfully, I did not.

Not kidding about the stopping. Oh what sub-23:00 could have been.

I was not going to let those sub-8:00’s slip away, so I pushed hard the last mile, Garmin in a death grip to the finish.

Garmin Time? 23:32

I feel fantastic about that time. It was my first 5K, I achieved all sub-8:00 miles (barely), and had another excellent experience with DSE Races. I’m already looking forward to the next one! 🙂

Oh also – new running songs to note:

Boyfriend has excellent taste in music. I have excellent taste in the iTunes Top 100. Therefore I look to him for quality playlists that don’t look like that of a high school sophomores. I’m newly obsessed with Ellie Goulding. She also performed at the Royal Wedding Reception. I’m not sure if that makes me like her or Kate Middleton more.

With that it’s time for brunch and a relaxing Sunday. Hope your weekend is ending on a high note! (And you’re enjoying this amazing SF weather!)

Saturday Survey

I’ve seen this survey floating around for a while and thought in honor of Saturday, I’d share my answers! Have a wonderful day 🙂
1. What is one of your favorite ways to spend your Saturday?
Sleep in, go for a run, whip up a big homemade breakfast with boyfriend (preferably involving Applewood Uncured Smoked Bacon), be productive so Sunday is perfectly acceptable to be a lazy, lazy day 🙂

2. Name your top three favorite TV shows.
Gossip Girl, Modern Family, Chelsea Lately… and newly: REVENGE (it’s like Gossip Girl on steroids. SO GOOD.)

3. Would you rather be in pictures or take them?
Both – I love to take photographs, but I also love to be in them

4. Why do you blog?
I love, love, love to write, and I love, love, love fitness and nutrition and sharing ideas, workouts, training plans, finds with everyone. It’s a great way to spread ideas!

5. Share five websites you visit regularly.
Gmail, Facebook,, CNN, NY Times (Fashion and Style section)

6. If you could have lunch with one person from your Twitter list, who would it be?
Chelsea Handler. Hands down.

7. List a few of your favorite snacks.
Kind Bars, Greek Yogurt and Berries, Hummus and anything that I have in the kitchen acceptable to dip into said Hummus, TJ’s Savory Sweet Trail Mix, a big bowl (x3) of cereal

Look at all that delicious, crunchy, Peanut Buttery goodness!
8. Do you have a pet? If so, what kind?
Not yet… I’m hoping that changes in 2012. Said desired pet rhymes with schmack schmrabrador.

9. Which three material possessions would you struggle to live without?
Macbook Pro/iPhone (same brand so I’m counting them as one), Vitamix (now that we have one, I can’t live without it), Lululemon Wunder Unders (you can wear them to workout, errands, lunch, under boots/sweater, they’re so damn multi-functional)

10. What’s your favorite drink?
Morning: Black Coffee, Green Tea, Water

Night: Wine (post-February 8!), Water, Chocolate Milk (I would drink this 100x a day if I had a steady supply with me at work.)

11. Do you enjoy cooking?
Very much. Am I good at it? TBD, I’m learning and improving!

12. Do you have children?
Nope, but we will hopefully have a dog in the near future!

13. What are your favorite hobbies?
Reading, running, pilates-ing, exploring

14. Would you consider yourself to be shy or outgoing?
Shy at first… then I don’t shut up once I’m comfortable. I need to feel out a room before my humor comes out in full force.

15. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would you change?
I overanalyze e-v-e-r-t-h-i-n-g (headache? it’s probably fatal. a noise in the middle of the night? the building is probably going to collapse on top of us, etc) and tend to be a bit of a perfectionist.

16. Who is your favorite actor/actress?
Actor: Ryan Gosling, Colin Firth

Actress: Sandra Bullock, Emma Stone, Meryl Streep

17. What’s the coolest thing you’ve done this week?
Thus far… Managing to score a seat on the bus 3 out of 5 days this week. That’s an accomplishment in itself.

18. Do you live near your family or far from them?
Immediate family is within an hour’s drive, extended family is across the country in Massachusetts, Atlanta and Kansas.

19. List three of your talents.
Making people laugh (whether on purpose or inadvertently, I’d take either as a success), knowing the word to every single song I’ve ever heard (don’t you want to ride in the car with me now?), knowing the name of every single dog breed I’ve ever seen (pathetic or talented? You be the judge.)

Can you name this dog?

20. What is your greatest attribute?
Compassion for others


Tell me something about yourself! Hope you have a great weekend!

Why Today Is So Darn Great


Today started out on a great note, and I have high hopes for the rest of the afternoon/evening/night. Allow me to explain:

  • The sun decided to show itself for the first time all week, radically improving my day from the second I walked out the door. (I’m convinced I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder).
  • After passing out into a coma-like state 30 minutes into Jersey Shore last night I slept like a freaking baby. I’m pretty sure I woke up once or twice but I was so tired I honestly don’t remember it.The headache that was plaguing me all day yesterday magically disappeared this morning as well.
  •  I decided to switch up breakfast (aka I was being lazy and didn’t feel like making a smoothie and cleaning the blender – my life is so hard.) I picked up a latte at Starbucks and devoured a Whole Wheat English Muffin, Justin’s Honey PB Packet, Banana, Cinnamon, Pumpkin Pie Spice and honey. My all-time favorite flavor combination. Really the only reason I mention what I ate is because it was that good and I wish I had more of it.
  • Evidently it had what I needed. I went to the gym at lunch and ran the 4 collective speediest miles of my life.

Mile 1: 8:03

Mile 2: 7:24

Mile 3: 7:13

Mile 4: 8:24

Full disclosure – After a fast ru non Monday and a HIIT run on Tuesday, I was planning on a leisurely 6ish miles while watching Episode 5 of Revenge on my iPhone. (Yes if you’re keeping track that would be 4 episodes completed in a 12 hour period yesterday. It’s that’s good.) However, the Hulu+ app was having “technical difficulties” loading so my plan was thwarted. Luckily I had my 10-miler playlist locked and loaded (Pitbull/Chris Brown’s International Love is my new running song of choice) so I put that on instead… and ran like a darn banshee. The right music is essential to running fast. I have no idea where that speed came from. I hope it stays a while.

  • I have a haircut appointment after work, and not only are the dead ends about to be gone forever, I will not have to blowdry (the arm strength it takes to do this is unreal), or curling iron my hair, only to have it go flat within .3 seconds of stepping outside in the fog. The last part will happen but at least I just had to sit there unmoving for the first 2 steps of the process
  • Even though I’ve decided to become an outcast not drink for 30 days, I am beyond excited for a double date boyfriend and I have planned with two very good friends tonight. Even if I will be drinking water and mocktails. I’m also beyond excited for all of the food I will be able to put away thanks to said lunchtime run. Running fast makes my appetite insatiable and I love it.

So tell me – what was the best part of your Friday?

Detox 2012 – Halfway There

A couple of weeks ago, I made the rash proclamation (in the midst of quite the hangover) that I was going to detox from all things alcohol for 30 days.

I’m very happy to announce that as of today, I’m 18 days in and going strong!

February 8 will be known as Wine-Eve.

How It’s Going:

I don’t really drink at all during the week, but on weekends I like to enjoy some adult beverages, be it going out to dinner and drinks, having a glass or two of wine while watching a movie on the couch, a beer while watching sports, going out out in the evening, etc.

The weekends have far and away been the most difficult part. I want a glass of wine! It’s social, its fun, it’s relaxing, and it tastes so darn good! I went over to Lexi’s for dinner on Saturday night and sipped on sparkling water while we enjoyed a massive sea food feast that she and her boyfriend put together. The bottle of Sauvignon Blanc they opened was literally making my mouth water. A crisp white with scallops, crab cakes, halibut and cod? Is there anything better?

Boyfriend and I are going for dinner and drinks this weekend with friends, and a birthday party the following night – sticking to water will be a challenge (not hard, just not fun), but if I’ve come this far, I’m seeing the 30 days through. I’m an incredibly disciplined person (I definitely learned that about myself while marathon training!) so I’m not having trouble sticking to it per say, I just wish it would be over already so I can have some delicious drinks! 🙂

Boyfriend has been my biggest supporter when the going gets rough! (Read: I really wanted a glass of wine last Friday night when it was pouring rain and we were watching a movie on the couch). Every time I tell him I’m ready to throw in the towel, he encourages me to keep at it – to which I’m very thankful!

What I’ve Noticed

While I’ve significantly upped my veggie intake, I’m also craving sweets like nobody’s business. I usually end dinner with some dark chocolate, or the last of my Candy Cane Joe Joe’s stash. I don’t need much, but I do like to end my meal with a sweet bite.

The past two weeks I’ve been savoring and enjoying said sweets more than ever. I haven’t really increased the amount I eat, but I’m definitely looking forward to it more than I ever have. On Friday when I was sweet craving, boyfriend whipped up some homemade hot cocoa using milk, vanilla extract and the last of our favorite Vosges Mo’s Dark Bacon bar. (End result = unreal!)

Adding to my sweet tooth – I saw a movie post-dinner on Saturday (Contraband – highly recommended! Just be prepared to see Mark Wahlberg in the role he plays in every, single movie he does – the reformed bad boy) and bought a scoop of Dreyers Cookies and Cream to take in with me. I don’t even know why. I just wanted it. I was craving sugar.

Sidebar: I completely forgot how much I love Cookies and Cream Ice Cream. I’m not sure I’ve had it since about middle school.


The biggest positive I’ve noticed from going on 3-weeks of not drinking is how much energy I have, even when “tired”. I sleep incredibly soundly, and wake up alert and ready to go. (Or as alert as one can be pre-8am). My runs have definitely reaped the benefits of this – I’m training and running faster and stronger than I have in months. I’ll attribute some of it to not being burnt out from marathon training, but the surge in energy has to have something to do with the no-alcohol credo I’ve imposed on myself. I ran a 10-miler on Sunday, and I’m thinking about a 5K this weekend. I’ve never raced a 5K before, so why not now?


Many people have asked me if I’ve lost weight or if I hope to lose weight during this little experiment of mine, and the answer is I don’t know if I have, and no, I’m not trying to. I don’t weigh myself (ever, I go by how my clothes fit) but my diet and workouts haven’t changed since giving up the sauce. I try to eat clean 80% of the time, and indulge in the good stuff 20% of the time. I don’t particularly want to lose any weight, but I imagine I’ll become a bit leaner over the course of the 30 days by not adding in extra alcohol, mixer, and late night food/munchies calories. Simple math right? But it is most definitely not a goal.

14 days (and two more weekends!) to go! I got this 🙂


Ready for a run that will get your heart pumping for 30 minutes?

I went to the gym on my lunch break today with zero reading material. I just wanted to put on my headphones, and run. Fast.

So I bring you the Speedy HIIT Treadmill Run. (Adjust the speeds to suit you)


Running at 10.0 mph on a treadmill is a 6:00 minute mile. I felt like a badass running at the speed (even if it was only for 20 seconds at a time). You will too. The last couple of HIIT runs I completed, I made my sprint at around 9.5. Today I felt like pushing myself. Try it – for 20 seconds, you can do anything.

If you’re not familiar with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), the New York Times has a great article here.The article also gives a very simple explanation of it:

Basically it’s alternating short bursts of high-intensity exercise with easy-does-it recovery. For decades, serious athletes have used it to improve performance. But new evidence suggests that a workout with steep peaks and valleys can dramatically improve cardiovascular fitness and raise the body’s potential to burn fat. Best of all, the benefits become evident in a matter of weeks.

I will attest to the fact that it really helps wth speed. It’s a pain to be crazy attentive to the treadmill’s time (when usually we’re trying not to look at it), but it also makes the time fly by. Since the marathon I’ve been incorporating 25 minutes of HIIT into my runs (one run a week), as well as a tempo run once a week, and I’ve already seen my splits get faster. My (Hello 10 glorious sub-9:00 miles on Sunday!) My plan is to keep up a HIIT run, and a tempo run twice a week, and hopefully bash that 1:50 1/2 Marathon Goal in the first half of this year!

An added bonus? You get all of the heart-pumping benefits of a looooong run, without having to be on the treadmill for an hour. 30 minutes and you’re warmed up, HIIT-ed, cooled down, and ready to go.

After HIIT-ing for 25 minutes, I cooled down with a 6-minute walk (at a very, very slow speed). I was a red-faced, sweaty mess, but I felt amazing. A lovely shower (and a pat on the back for getting into the locker rooms before the yoga and spin classes got out), and I was back in the office within an hour.

Efficient lunch indeed.

Hope you have a Happy Tuesday!


Race Recap: DSE Waterfront 10-Miler

The first race of 2012 is complete! (And I still can’t feel 2 of my fingers).

About a month ago, I crawled out from the rock I’ve been living under, and discovered the Dolphin South End Runners Club, San Francisco’s oldest running club. I also discovered they hold a race just about every weekend in San Francisco. For $8. (If you’re a member it’s $3, which is less than Starbucks charges for a Grande Nonfat Latte.)

This morning marked their 4th race of the year, the Waterfront 10-Miler and 5K. I’d never raced a 10-miler, but knew I wanted more than a 5K, so I decided to give it go.

The race had a more casual feel to it, and thus I had a more casual preparation than I usually do for races.

The race started at 8am. I rolled out of bed around 7:05 to gulp down a cup of black coffee. By the time I had inhaled my coffee, synced my latest running playlist (Glee’s version of “We Found Love”, “I Like It Like That” by Hot Chelle Rae, “Moves Like Jagger”  and Pitbull’s “International Love” were some of the latest additions), and gotten dressed, there was no time for breakfast. I grabbed a Luna Lemon Zest Mini (in the dark, had I known, I would have reached for the White Chocolate Macadamia) and set off for the start.

Damn you Adam Levine and your stupid Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show live performance to make me like your stupid song.

My walk to the start was the epitome of a San Francisco morning – runners, bikers, people walking their dogs (oh how I envy you pet-owners), in the silent, fog-filled city. It was beautiful, calm and peaceful and it almost made me want to become a weekday morning runner. Then I remembered how much more I like my bed.

I got to the start around 7:45 and I could already tell it was going to be a great race. There were no lines to get bibs , everyone knew each other and were saying hello (aside from new kid over here), everyone looked like they were really there to run and the race had just the right amount of people.

The weather was perfect – overcast, a little foggy, and (completely ball-parking it) low 50’s. In my opinion, it doesn’t get any better than this for running weather. Luckily since SF has no summer (wah wah wah) it’s like this almost year-round.

I ended up running into one of my very speedy friends, Danielle, and then found one of boyfriend’s friends, Matt, who decided last night to run the race as part of a training run for his upcoming half-marathon.

Is there a saying regarding running with faster people makes you faster? If not, there should be. I had a secret goal for this race to run all sub-9 minute miles. I’ve been working on speed, intervals, and shorter distances so I wanted to put it to the test. Running with a faster friend is exactly what you need to make you run faster than you think you can.

Since Danielle could probably beat Kara Goucher in a 10-miler, Matt and I started off running together. I have no idea our splits for the first 1.45 miles because I forgot to turn on the Garmin until we were passing through the start, and then mixed in with 400 other Garmin’s, it had a little trouble getting situated. Oops.

That being said, the rest looked like this:

Welcome to my life, sub-9 splits. We are going to get along just fine.

I held on to the 8:xx pace as best I could, and it (strangely) felt comfortable. It was one of those runs that reminds you why you do this day in and day out. It felt fantastic. I kept up with Matt until around mile 3.5, when he took off in the 7:xx range, and then I just tried to keep him in my sights and keep my pace under in the 8:xx’s on my Garmin.

There was a Cytomax/Water stand around Mile 4 and then again as we passed it around Mile 6 (the course was an out and back) and I took a cup of Cytomax both times. Not eating breakfast = necessary sugar/carbs. I felt hungry the entire race, but never like I was about to run out of steam. In hindsight, I should have eaten more pre-race, and dragged myself out of bed a little earlier. Live and learn.

Right around Mile 8.5 we hit Pier 39/Fisherman’s Wharf area (aka tourist central) and a little weaving happened, but thankfully it also started raining around that time, so the droves of tourists were minimal.

With just under a half-mile to go, I picked it up as best I could and crossed the finish line in 1:24:11. I think that puts my average pace around 8:32, and I couldn’t be happier with that time. First 10-mile race is an automatic PR right? Now I have something to work towards beating in my next 10-miler in April!

The post-race highlight? The spread of goodies at the finish line! I inhaled a few handfuls of food before trekking back home (via Starbucks for a latte) in the rain.

+ 12 minutes and 1.29 miles. (Also – that is rain, not sweat.)

Official Time: 1:24:11

Thanks for a fantastic race DSE – I will definitely be back for (several) more this year! Now it’s time to cheer on the Niners to victory! I’d love a reason to actually watch the Superbowl for the game, rather than the commercials/halftime show! 😉

Have a great Sunday!