Bit Again

Remember that time about 6 months ago when I said I never had any desire to run a full marathon ever again?

Well I guess the Marathon bug bit me again.

Sorry for BS-ing all of you, but apparently, I’m a huge, huge liar.

Oops.

Truth is – as much as training was a huge pain in the butt, I liked it.

I liked all the running and Pilates.

I liked loved the feeling at the end of a long run.

I liked seeing myself improve with every single run.

I liked the community of runners that I was able to meet and run with.

I liked starting weekends off with a run that made me feel refreshed, strong and happy all day.

I liked geeking out over splits and paces.

And now I want to do it again.

See you in October Nike. 🙂

Disclaimer: I know the Nike course isn’t awesome. I know it’s not for PRs, is full of hills and a lot of walkers, but quite honestly I don’t really care. I’ll be training smart with speed work, hill work and long runs. I’m running it for fun, with a friend, for a great cause, and in the city I live in. Quite honestly I may run it as a last long training run for a November marathon (I can’t go a year without a PR now can I?) but that’s still to-be-decided. That being said any early November fast full recommendations are appreciated and welcomed! 

Get Juiced

Something I’ve been entirely intrigued about, but not entirely sold on lately is the juice cleanse. I’ve been wanting to try one out for a while, but the timing was never right. I either had plans, an event, was in the middle of marathon training… the list could go on. Most of the larger juicing companies are located in New York or LA, and I wasn’t into the idea of getting fresh-pressed juice overnighted to me. (That being said, I hear awesome things about Cooler Cleanse and Blueprint Cleanse in NYC and Pressed Juicery in LA).

Then I found out that a juice cleansing company, Juice To You, opened a location (Juice Shop) on Union Street. While at the beach last weekend a friend was downing a juice from the Juice Shop and I asked her about it. She’d cleansed before and highly recommended it.

Consider my curiosity officially peaked.

I’ve seen the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” and I (shamefully) shell out $7 a few times a week for a 16oz fresh-pressed green juice from Plant, so I wasn’t a stranger to the idea of juicing. The idea of juice cleansing however was something I hadn’t tried.

And I really, really wanted to.

So last night I pulled the trigger. My stomach has been up in arms with the gluten as of late, so why not cleanse it all out? Remove all the toxins and all the crap, and see how it makes me feel?

Enter Juice to You – a San Francisco/Marin company with an outpost on Union Street (across from Lululemon… workout clothes and a fresh-pressed juice = win win win).

The company was started after their co-founder, Charlie Gulick was diagnosed with a rare liver disease after traveling in Central America. He was told he would eventually have to have a liver transplant. After many unsuccessful surgeries in attempt to manage his disease, he came across a world-renowned health institute where he took a holistic approach to his health. Charlie was placed on a strict regiment of juices, raw and vegan foods and treatments. He returned to the Bay Area and continued to maintain his new lifestyle. Charlie transformed his health and regained his strength, symptom free. Upon his return from the institute his family became his greatest support and they too benefited from his transformation. Drinking fresh organic juices daily was Charlie’s protocol for his health. It’s been six years and Charlie has not stepped foot into an operating room. While still monitoring his health, he has more energy than ever and feels great.

All information from Juice To You

I started to research.

Juicing

We provide the most nutrient rich cold-pressed juice possible. Using our hydraulic press, which gently extracts the juice right from the pulp, we maximize taste and nutritional value. Compared to other methods of juice extraction, pressed juice has a much higher nutritional content and is exposed to minimal oxidation, so the nutrients do not break down as rapidly. We are proud to use state of the art technology to provide the highest quality and best tasting juice.

We believe there are many benefits to drinking juice, from the tangible to the intangible. When you start your day with a glass of fresh juice, rather than sugary cereal, your whole outlook changes. You’re more mindful of what you eat, and how you feel, throughout the entire day.

Beyond the intangibles, possible benefits of drinking juice include:

  • Sharpens mental clarity
  • Increases energy levels
  • Improves digestive function
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Restores organ function
  • Normalizes body weight
  • Improves sleeping patterns
  • Balances pH levels
  • Reduces aches & pains
  • Clears complexion
  • Improves circulation
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Balances blood-sugar levels.
  • Cleanses colon

Cleansing

Juice cleanses give the body a break from food, while removing toxins and providing your body with the proper nutrients it needs to achieve and maintain optimal health.

Our cleanses are designed to clean your system in a safe and gentle way as you continue your daily routine. We have carefully selected four different levels of cleanses, consisting of six pints of juice and two elixirs daily. In order to experience the benefits of the cleanse, we recommend to stay away from solid foods while cleansing.

An ideal time to cleanse is after holidays or stressful periods in your life, times when we often over-indulge in unhealthy foods, alcohol, and habits. The change of seasons (spring and fall) is also an ideal time to cleanse. Most people will cleanse whenever they experience signs of over-acidity in the body, which may include chronic fatigue, headaches, insomnia, depression, allergies, aches & pains, digestive problems, unhealthy skin and a weakened immune system.

And I’m sold.

I was extremely impressed with the level of detail the company provides to it’s customers. Their juice ingredient list is exactly the type of information I love to pore over, and exactly the veggies, fruits, and ingredients I use in my own kitchen.

My 3-Day Intermediate Juice Cleanse includes each of the following per day:

  • 16 oz Alpha Green
  • 16 oz Lemon-aid
  • 16 oz Beta Green
  • 16 oz Coconut Water
  • 16 oz Deep Green
  • 16 oz Almond Drink
  • 4 oz Aloe
  • 2 oz E3 Live
They equal roughly ~1200 calories a day, but the kicker is that none of these calories are wasted or empty. They’re all chock-full of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
I stopped by after Pilates yesterday, shelled out $9 (you get $2 back for returning their eco-friendly and re-useable glass bottles) for the A+ Deep Green and immediately knew I was making the right choice. This juice was amazing. Sorry Plant, they just owned you.
For a texture freak like myself it was smooth, it was cold, it was refreshing, and best of all, it was filling. I officially couldn’t wait.

My 3-day Juice Cleanse starts in about 10 minutes (with the handdelivery of my juices, I’m so swanky, I know) and I am so curious and intrigued about how it will make me feel.

Daily updates, information about each juice, and a post-cleanse recap to follow! 🙂

Oh My Gluten

It’s a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, and I’m espresso-ed, Pilates-ed, and green-juiced and ready to relax outdoors for the remainder of the day… as soon as I hit publish. I love springtime!

I know that going Gluten-Free is the trendy thing to do lately (although in reality unless you have some type of intolerance/Celiac’s you really shouldn’t because you miss out on a ton of vital nutrients).  But I’m being 100% honest when I tell you that never in my right mind would I have considered it. I’m not into any type of extreme deprivation to diet, or cutting out food groups. Just not my style. But after doing an elimination experiment (cutting out dairy for a week made no difference, cutting out gluten for a week made all the difference in the world.

Suddenly my stomach didn’t always hurt. I had more energy. I felt amazing.

Going back to the risks of going gluten-free… The Mayo Clinic is a great resource for all things health, and since I’m not a health professional, I figured I’d just take their advice. There are always risks if you cut something entirely out of your diet, and if you do, it’s important to be mindful about it and ensure you’re getting the right nutrients.

Not getting enough vitamins
People who follow a gluten-free diet may have low levels of certain vitamins and nutrients in their diets. Many grains are enriched with vitamins. Avoiding grains with a gluten-free diet may mean eating fewer of these enriched products. Ask your dietitian to review your diet to see that you’re getting enough of these key nutrients:

  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Fiber
  • Thiamin
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Folate

Not sticking to the gluten-free diet
If you accidentally eat a product that contains gluten, you may experience abdominal pain. Some people experience no signs or symptoms after eating gluten, but this doesn’t mean it’s not damaging their small intestines. Even trace amounts of gluten in your diet may be damaging, whether or not they cause signs or symptoms.

The reality is: I feel like crap when I eat gluten. And my stomach lets me know about it. And it’s painful.

I mentioned about a month ago that I was experiencing quite a few symptoms and that whenever I ate Gluten, it only intensified. I did my best to cut out Gluten but then weddings, celebrations, dinners out, etc happened. I’d say I cut it down to about 80/20.

No gluten! HAPPY HAPPY!

While in Boston last week I ate mainly gluten-free (lobstaaaah), save for a few bites of a Mike’s Pastry cannoli (can you blame me?), a couple of fried clams (when in New England…) and rye toast at brunch after a particularly grueling 7 mile run. It didn’t really bother me that much (or I was in denial because the cannoli was so damn good) so I thought maybe I was in the clear.

Then I gluten-ed the hell out of Friday. Whole Wheat home-made pizza, pita chips and hummus, rye toast at brunch… you get the idea. (FYI: Pure rye bread contains only rye flour, without any wheat, but what I had was definitely more of a sourdough rye).

My stomach was furious with me Saturday.

So here’s my honest-to-goodness pledge. No Gluten. 7 Days. Assess after the fact. 

It’s occurred to me that I need to stop half-assing it and really limit the gluten for special occasions (Mike’s Pastry will always be a special occasion in case you were wondering). I always feel 100% better when I don’t eat gluten, even if it’s just for a few days at a time. When I add gluten back into my diet, without a doubt my stomach goes on a rampage.

Luckily there are substitutions for just about everything. Flour, pizza dough, bread, cookies, even beer!

Wine. Making gluten-free people happy since… forever. (If wine does have gluten in it, just let me live in my bubble of denial please.)

Is it worth it to give up some of my favorite foods, and to have to be a little higher-maintenance at restaurants? Or to not annihilate the bread basket? Absolutely. I hate feeling crappy, and I hate when my stomach is pissed at me. We should be friends.

I have a pretty solid plan in mind to not eat gluten for 7-days, and to get all the crap out of my system to start fresh. Details tomorrow 🙂

If you eat gluten-free- I need tips! What are your go-to’s? What are hidden sources of gluten that I probably don’t even know about?

The Last Boston Run

As I write this it’s Saturday morning and after a very long 6.5 hour flight yesterday, I’m back in my city by the bay. Boston, I love you, but you just can’t beat San Francisco. It’s so good to be home.

Boyfriend and I have a relaxing weekend planned, and since the temperatures are in the 70’s, a lot of outdoor time! We went for a quick 2 mile run to get the heart pumping (2 miles in 16:18 – HOORAY!) and did some quick ab exercises outside before the crowds, and heat got to be enough and we deemed it brunch time.

My flight out of Boston yesterday was in the late afternoon, and since I apparently don’t adjust well to the time change, I shot out of bed around 7:30am yesterday ready to explore more on foot. (I will add that I do adjust to time changes once I return to California – I was up at 7am, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning. Thanks jet lag, you’re the best.)

I decided to run along the waterfront to start, passing the North End, and running until I was at an intersection leading me either into the South End (to represent my Irish roots), or to continue into what my parents and uncle later told me used to be referred to “The Combat Zone” to get over to the Boylston/Newbury Street areas and Back Bay.

Clearly I chose the Combat Zone.

There were a few blocks I would deem pretty sketchy, but then I was back on my beloved Boylston, running past the Four Seasons, and swinging a hard left onto Dartmouth Street to run by Copley Square, the Fairmont, another Equinox (two in one city? You Bostonians have it so good), checked out all the shops, ran by the Prudential Center, the Boston Public Library, and then down my new favorite street in the country (earmuffs Marina Boulevard) – Marlborough Street.

I thought about hitting another state, but my parents would probably disown me if I ran into Yankee territory. 😉

Yes I did find the first church in Boston.

My favorite street – Marlborough.

Fairmont Copley Place

Boston Public Library

Frog Pong in Boston Common

The brownstones, the brick sidewalks, the dogwood, the lilacs, the tulips. I was in a runner’s-high-fueled-heaven. I even picked a favorite after going back and forth between about 7.

Feast your eyes on this beauty.

After getting slightly lost, and wondering why the eff I was at a bus station, I completed just over 5 miles (look at those sub-9 beautiful splits!).

I ended my run with a very large climb up Beacon street (my San Francisco hills are so much harder than this thought was quickly silenced) and found the original Cheers location.

I swear this hill was much bigger than it appears. My hill-elitist self was totally shamed.

I ended up back at Quincy Market where I had planned to meet up with my mom and Uncle (my dad hit the gym) for Starbucks so we could walk over to the aquarium to see the seals. Best possible Boston tour guides? Parents and relatives who lived there for 30 years. Even though it was around 9am, I was like a deer-in-headlights watching the massive fresh cookies be displayed.

We strolled over to the aquarium to see the seals being fed, and I made a new friend.

I’m planning to construct a salt-water pool in my future back-yard so we can be reunited again.

Then wandered into the Bill Rodgers Running Center to gawk at all the Boston Marathon paraphernalia. The man won 4 Boston Marathons and 4 New York Marathons. I’ve won… exactly nothing. One day my friends, one day. (By that I mean run Boston, not win anything.) The signed gloves below are from past marathon winners.

My only Boston running regret is that I didn’t get to the Charles Rivers to run along there, or over to Cambridge to see Harvard and MIT. We went to Cambridge last year but I just have a feeling it’s even better on foot. Next time!

After the run and the stroll we refueled at North 26 in the Millennium Hotel with delicious espresso and egg white omelette. Mine had spinach, onions, mushrooms and cheddar. The food was so good and the service was absolutely wonderful. Definitely recommend North 26 – the food is fresh, it’s not heavy, and they will make any substitution your little heart desires.

With that it’s time to enjoy the weekend! Hope you have a great one!

A Run to the Monstah

I officially love running in Boston.(Which is probably a sign I need to get faster when I run marathons so I can someday in my life run the Boston Marathon.)

This morning I set off for what I figured would be another quick loop around Boston. I wasn’t feeling especially ambitious or energetic. I hadn’t had coffee or breakfast. So I started off down the street. The first mile clocked in at 7:37.

Then my little venture quickly turned into THE BEST 7 MILES I’VE EVER RUN.

(I did a 1-mile warm-up while Garmin was locating the satellites)

It also felt like I ran for about 7 minutes.

Something about running in a new city with new sights, and absolutely no idea where you’re going or where you’re headed – it’s so exhilarating and exciting. You see more than you would ever see in a car or a bus, and notice all of the little things and places. I love it.

I set off on the same path as yesterday – through Boston Common and Boston Public Garden. From there I just kept running – down the Commonwealth Mall (where I picked out no less than 11 houses that I will one-day own as my “Boston Vacation Home”. Not to be confused with my Cape Cod home of course.)


I ran down the mall until it ended, and took a left on whichever street that happened to be. I stopped at the corner of Boylston and whatever street I happened to be on and thought the area looked familiar.

I popped into a Fire House and asked someone where Fenway was. They mentioned it was about a mile away so I took off in the direction of everyone’s favorite Green Monster.


To preface, my parents were born and raised in Massachusettes for 30 years. I was born here and lived here for 3 years (none of which I remember), and my extended family is here. Our whole clan is crazy for the Red Sox, so from a young age it was ingrained in me that when you go to Boston, you go to the Cathedral. (AKA Fenway). There really is something so darn cool about that place – so much history. I love it.

After my loop around Fenway, and past the CITGO sign, I headed back towards the hotel to meet my mom for a much-needed latte.

The rest of the day was spent visiting family and catching up with everyone. Dinner tonight was at the always delicious Legal’s Seafood. We went to Legal’s while in Boston last year and had a great time. It was a must-visit this trip as well.

Added Bonus? GLUTEN FREE BREAD. And it doesn’t disappoint.

I ordered the Seared Ahi with a spicy wasabi cream sauce and cajun spices and it was unbelievable. I’m just starting to get into seriously raw fish, and this was so flavorful, and so fresh. (Apologies for the awesome quality of my iPhone photos)

Did I mention they go to great lengths for their Gluten Free guests? Well done Legal’s!

With that it’s time to relax and watch some TV… hope you have a great night!

A Very Boston Morning

Hello from Boston! The land of lobstah, chowdah, and, as far as my Boston-native family is concerned…. the Red Sox. Sadly the Red Sox are out-of-town this week, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t load up on the other goods at Union Oyster House last night! (Yes I know it’s a tourist trap, and yes technically I am a tourist, and what can I say? I’m a sucker for a little bit of history, and this being the oldest restaurant in the US fits the bill.)

I’m of the mindset that the best way to explore a new city is on foot or by bike. So naturally I Google-d a Pilates Studio, found it was about 1.5 miles from our hotel, signed up for an 8am class, and set the alarm for 7:15am (a lovely 4:15am California time).

This morning wasn’t quite as easy to wake up as yesterday was (hello time change) but the excitement of being in a new city, and the whole pre-pay for Pilates thing forced me up and at ’em. I set out of our hotel to tackle the 1.5 miles to the Pilates studio, and had one of the most fun runs I’ve had in a long time.

It was absolutely beautiful out as I ran through downtown Boston, cut through Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden, and finally ended up on Newbury Street in front of Boston Body Pilates.

The class was excellent. It was classical Pilates, and focused on a lot of foot work, glute work, legs, and abs. There were about 10 reformers and a Cadillac in the studio, but only 4 of us in the class, making it an almost semi-private, and allowing the instructor to really be in tune to our form, and able to make necessary adjustments. I thought she was fantastic – she was very in tune to posture and alignment, and every single adjustment she made to my exercises was spot on.

I left feeling strong, and totally rejuvenated. A+ Boston Body Pilates. If you’re ever in town I would definitely recommend this studio.

After Pilates I set off back toward Boston Common, made a quick pit stop at Starbucks (for my new favorite Grande Americano – seriously where have I been on this drink?) and a latte for my mom, and met back up at the hotel.

Total miles? Around 3-ish

Time? About 30 minutes (picture stops, stoplights, and city running included)

A friend of mine had recommended The Paramount for breakfast and it did not disappoint. My mom and I walked up to Beacon Hill, admiring all the gorgeous houses, apartments, and flowers! The lilacs, the dogwood… oh the dogwood. Beautiful.

Breakfast was excellent. Apparently on weekends the line is out the door, but we were able to sneak right in on this lovely Wednesday morning. I ordered an egg white omelet with spinach, feta and mushrooms and a latte. On the side came home fries and wheat toast (respectfully declined, sorry Gluten). Thanks for a great recommendation Frankie!

Our day was spent visiting relatives, and spending a lot of time with my Grandmother, who hasn’t been feeling very well as of late. We had a wonderfully full day of family visits, and re-visiting old spots (like the first place I ever lived after being brought home from the hospital).

My dad flew in this evening so we all met at the hotel to get situated and then headed to the North End for dinner. Frankie once again came through with a delicious recommendation with Lucca – great food, great wine, and even gluten-free pasta. Win. Win. Win.

Our night ended with two very simple words: MIKE’S PASTRY.

This place is a must-see. My very Italian great-grandmother used to pick up goodies here. And just like that the chocolate chip cannoli has replaced any and all desserts as #1 on my list. Gluten has never been so worth it. My parents and I split one of the massive cannolis and ohmygod. I’m seriously debating a recurring monthly order. Think they’d ship to San Francisco?

Please don’t judge me for bringing a to-go box on the plane with me on my flight home.

Run in the Morning? Yeah OK.

So today I did something totally out-of-character – I ran at 6am.

And I loved it.

I somehow got myself out of our cozy, warm, bed to throw on my running clothes, fire up the Garmin (welcome back old friend!) and set out for 5 wonderful, beautiful, amazing miles.

Seriously, I’m not joking when I say I could get used to this. It’s 10:52am and I’m completely done with my run for the day. This is incredible. And I didn’t even have to shower at the gym.

The weather was perfect, the sunrise was in full effect, the bay breeze was just enough, and it was a peaceful, perfect run.

One of the main reasons I absolutely despise morning running (aside from the obvious of waking up at an ungodly hour) is running in the dark. I’m sorry to those of you that like it, but I just don’t find it enjoyable. I don’t like not being able to see where I’m going, and I sure as hell don’t like not being able to see what’s happening around me. The only time I actually enjoy running outdoors is in the early morning (which is ironic since I apparently hate running before work) when the city is just waking up, and the tourists on their death-mobiles (bikes) are minimal. Every other runner gives you a “good morning” or a nod of acknowledgement, and even the bikers are nice (which in my experience, is a rare, rare occasion!)

I swear, I could get used to this.

I know there are all types of studies that completely contradict each other – running in the morning is better because you’re fresh and you can focus completely on your run, or running in the evening is better because you’re well fueled and hydrated throughout the day. I think it’s best to just determine when your internal body clock is most productive, and stick with that time. For me – I’ve always been a lunchtime or evening exerciser because it’s a routine, and a habit I can stick to. I have to go directly after work, because once I’m home and relaxing, I get tired, and once that hits, there’s no way I’m going to get a run-in. But after this morning’s run, and with the lighter mornings… it might be time to change that up. Are you a morning or evening exerciser?

The reason for incredibly early run was because I had a plane to catch and figured if I’m going to be sitting for the next 5.5 hours, I may as well have done something active for myself this morning.

We are headed to Boston, and it just didn’t feel right arriving there, without at least a few miles under my belt this morning. (Edited to add: this post should have gone up while I was flying the friendly Virgin America skies but genius forgot to upload the pictures first. Oops.)

My splits were surprisingly speedy for not having eaten in 12 hours, and not having had my beloved caffeine. I also very obviously went out far too fast and had to slow down the last mile or so, but I’ll still take it. Garmin, it’s good to have you back on board.

And speaking of active and speaking of my new-found interest in trail running, I ran the 4 miles of the Tennessee Valley trail yesterday and ohmygod I want to do this every single day. Aron, I’m talking to you, can we please trail run together?!

With that it’s time to go find some fresh chowdah and lobstah rolls – when in Boston afterall!