Wednesday, September 30, 2009

...To Those Who Wait

After nearly a month since I took my comprehensive exams, my very impatient self found the below PDF file in my Inbox.

Me = doctoral candidate. Whew! What a relief! Now if only I can muster up the mojo to start on my dissertation...

In other "good things happen..." news, I ran 16 miles yesterday after I got off of work. The temp was below 80, slightly breezy. Granted, it was still hard for me to start up in any weather warmer than 60 degrees, but it got easier as I went on, and I finished in 2:41 (counting walk breaks). My fuel was one Clif Shot and two cubes of Clif Shot Bloks (getting rid of the old stuff). I have to say that the caffiene in the gel really helped me along because I was sleep-deprived from having class til 10 PM the night before (and I wake up before 5 each morning). I got home and showered just in time for a conference call about a client facilitation I'm taking part in next week!

In celebration, I am home early due to skipping the gym. Okay, not really. I just have no intention of working out after a long run like that. I have not run that much since March (made a failed attempt in April). Given that I am rebounding from the fitness loss I suffered due to injury, I'm happy about it regardless of the pace.

As usual, thanks to everyone for your well-wishes, support, and special thanks to those who served as my punching bags as I spent the entire summer (and the past two years, really) worrying about this exam.

I have quite a few food/bar reviews in queue. Please be patient with me, as work, school, and training are still time-eaters that I just have to deal with...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sore No More Sample

I could sure use some of this today!

***Disclaimer (and this applies to all samples I post): I have not necessarily confirmed the veracity of these samples, so I don't know 100% if they actually come or abide by their Privacy Rules.***


Fall Five Miler - Race Report

Above: The swag!!

In spite of my complaints, I did my 5-miler yesterday evening. When I got off my vanpool to get to the gym, I felt like I was going to pass out in what felt like 100+ degree heat and slightly smoky air. So much for Fall, huh?! So Cal is awesome.....?

I hopped onto a treadmill at my workplace's gym, turned the industrial fan toward me, and started off running an 8:57 min/mi pace. It was around 3:30 PM. My goal was to finish this run in 45 minutes, hoping to get it done before "The Ukrainian" showed up.

As usual, the treadmill TV kept me entertained. I was watching an episode of Full House on ABC Family. And also as usual, my iPod was on.

I felt pretty good as I rounded out the 5K mark. It was slightly after that point that "The Ukrainian" showed up early and asked me if I was going to FitMoves class. I said I'd be done by 4:15, but he was like, "Probably more like 4:18." Grr, he of little faith. By the last parts of my run, I was going 7.5 mph (8 min/mi) and finished the run in about 44:20. I spent a minute or so walking and headed to my class for 25 minutes of circuits.

Thus ended my little first-day-of-Fall race. I had to drive 30 miles straight away to a classmate's house to work on a project, so my post-workout nosh was half a Clif bar and most of a bottle of Vitamin Water. This was later supplemented by a few jelly beans and a cup of Honey Nut Cheerios with vanilla soymilk.

Today, I feel as though most of my body has been treated with a meat tenderizer, but oh well. I'm happy that I got this run done. I would have done somewhat less had it not been for this, so anything that can whip me back into running/racing shape is helpful. Thanks for the great idea, RunningLaur!


Original Post: Monday, September 14, 2009

Next Tuesday (September 22) marks the first day of the long-awaited autumn! I signed up for RunningLaur's Fall Five Miler as an incentive to run that day. I will post my "race report" above this entry, so for now, this post is serving as sort of a place-holder.

I'm not sure if I will run more than 5 miles, but the commitment I made was to do at least that.

And I did not promise to do this outdoors, either. I run around my workplace, and at the hour that I have time to go, people are starting to leave work and have had "sightings" that I don't exactly enjoy. Plus, all the exhaust from their cars heading home for the day can't be good for me.

Either way, any way to commit me to a run these days is much-appreciated...

Fall is great, though in actuality, I'm sure the weather will remain summer-like until Halloween. Which reminds me... I gotta get started on my costume -- I put it off due to not wanting to stress myself out too much while I recover from my exams and start vamping my next steps (dissertation, field hours -- i.e., looking for an internship in a tough market!).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Flew?

Yesterday, I ran 8 miles on a stomach that felt like it was carrying an ocean inside of it (ugh). I'm not sure what happened, but some combination of peanuts and baby carrots could be the culprit. I haven't really shaken that feeling since, and although I have still been able to eat, I've had to be selective about it.

Since I didn't fuel up as properly as I should have post-run, my body feels a bit achy/beat-up today. I can't really tell at this point if I'm feeling ill or just tired from staying up too late to watch Heroes. I had a decaf latte and banana for lunch, though I honestly could have gone without anything if not for my gym time later and the long night ahead of me with a group project meeting. I still want to run my Fall Five Miler today and will give my utmost effort to get it, but it might have to wait.

So flu (not swine) shots are going to be offered at my company in about two weeks, and I am leaning toward not getting it this year. I've gotten a shot for the past 3 years in a row, pretty much after I started running. But I've never had a flu in my life (where's wood I can knock on?) and mostly just started getting it because I fear weakened immunity from running. Is this the right choice? Since I don't qualify for a swine flu vaccination, it seems like it would be very difficult to predict which other strains will be "popular" this fall/winter. Would I be better off getting the shot just for psychological reasons? I haven't had a real cold since the end of last year, so maybe if I continue eating healthfully......... do I even eat healthfully?? Hrm... still have two weeks to decide.

Yes, I know I have been posting a lot lately... at least compared to usual. It's a sign of something.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Nike Free - Naked Running Camp

Ah, another Monday. I have never liked them and grow to dislike them even more since Monday is school day in addition to work. Worst of all, Mondays always make me miss the weekend and wonder when the weekend will roll around once more so that I can finally just do what I want to during the day instead of being at the confines of this desk in this very dull city in which I currently work. Add scorching hot and humid weather to the mix and you have one very depressing environment.

Let me forget about Mondays for a moment. This video is pretty darn funny. Nike Frees are shoes designed to make you feel as though you are running barefoot.

I don't want to run barefoot. I always see people doing just that in races, and it looks painful. In addition to rocks and glass, I just think that I need bounce/cushion.

Anyway, enjoy!



Friday, September 18, 2009

San Francisco Half-Marathon

EVENT: San Francisco Half-Marathon (1)
DATE: Sunday, July 26, 2009
LOCATION: San Francisco, CA
RACE BEGAN: 5:31 AM (wave start)
FINISH TIME: 02:13:46


This race marked the greatest distance I have traveled to run a race (my "lucky" number 13th half-marathon), as part of the California Dreamin' racing series. This event offered a full marathon as well as two different half-marathons, of which I chose the earlier/former one because it traversed the Golden Gate Bridge, a sign of my tourist mentality.

San Francisco is a strange city. There is a lack of parking, and the houses are all up in each others' faces, and the wintery weather in the middle of summer just brought smiles to my sun-logged face (that is not sarcasm). But I had a lovely time walking through Golden Gate Park, going to the huge farmer's market, and eating ice cream (caring not to set off my stomach) at Ghirardelli Square. Thanks to my high school BFF and "The Ukrainian's" great-uncle & aunt for showing us around town and to Tea Time and M for taking us all up there! I could summarize this weekend as being full of car time, scratchers (yes, the gambling kind), gummies, cold and extreme heat, and pizza.

The night before the race, "The Ukrainian" and I mostly just watched TV and went across the street from our hotel to pick up some Indian food. I was unexplainably mopey, so I forgot to take a picture of it, but it was some of the best Indian food I've had... and best of all, no stomachache the next day! We took the food (garlic naan, some chicken glop, basmati rice, cucumber/tomato salad, samosas) back to our room. I took a shower and probably fell asleep at/around 8 PM.

The Race

Tea Time, "The Ukrainian," and I walked over to the start line with the Oakland Bridge clearly in view, and by around 5:30 AM, Bart Yasso was starting us off. It was dark and somewhat cold/windy, though not as bad as I had imagined it could get near bodies of water. I had rubbed a sample of Traumeel on my bad hip, though I did not feel it do anything, but was hoping it would help. In spite of my usual urge to run fast in the beginning, I was thankful that I had been able to run at all, so I held my pace back to something slower than 9:30 min/mi (I'm usually going much, much faster than this when I am well). Given that I haven't been able to run nonstop for more than 3 miles since last month, I was surprised as I reached the first major hill at mile 5 that I wasn't seething in pain yet. My hat was blowing off at this point, so I just held it for most of the rest of the race.

The highlight of the race, which was also the longest part, was running on the Golden Gate Bridge. We spent about 6 miles doing an out-and-back type thing on the foggy bridge. Being on it was certainly surreal. The bridge itself is not exactly flat, with long stretches of either slight uphill or downhill, but I was able to run that entire thing without stopping, going at a slow but steady pace. I thinik the beauty of the water and fog just distracted me from all that. I had logged over an hour before I reached the 6.5 mile point, which was definitely an indication of the slow finish time ahead of me.

If a Running Heaven exists, it was the 10th mile of this race. It was basically a perfect downhill that curved around the water, cool mist and slight wind taking the edge off my tiredness. I was wishing that I felt this good every time I ran, but no dice. And then the last two miles of the race were filled with tiny street hills that felt like mountains. Tea Time tried to encourage me, but I didn't have much left in me. I may had been able to push harder, but my spirit was not in it because honestly, I was just happy because I knew I was going to cross that finish line. When I finally got to that finish line at Golden Gate Park, I wasn't feeling like I was dying like usual (though that pic I have posted here can beg to differ).

I feel like a need a nice massage for my soreness this morning (and a cure for my sniffles... what gives?), which is a normal outcome for a half-marathon. My hip feels the same as it did in the days prior to my race, and I really hope for a full recovery (soon!) so I don't have to do any more races with that level of undertraining. All in all, the lack of time pressure forced me to enjoy myself, and I really gained a new respect for myself and regained faith in my overall physical fitness (or the Traumeel or Phiten necklace).

Above: Size-comparison for the medal... ha ha!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

GU Energy Sample

Hope this works for you! I've never tried any GU products before (I know, strange!), so I'm looking forward to giving them a test-run. I'm currently an Accel-Gel slave!

I was peppy this morning in spite of waking up at 4 am. I got more restful sleep than I have in a while. The lack of sleep and tired legs made for one cranky person. I heard somewhere that sharing a bed does not make for good sleep, but I beg to differ. Though it could all just be relative. And when will I stop waking up feeling like I've been hit by a bus?

So tomorrow, I am going to attempt a 12-miler. If I finish this distance, which I should, no matter how slowly, I will have done 37 miles this week, which is high for me even whilst training for a marathon. I've been coming along pretty decently out of my two-month injury, though I honestly felt burned yesterday when "The Ukrainian" started his run after me and beat me sometime during mile 5 (of my 6.2 mi run and his 10 mi run). I'm still very much out of shape. Things are coming along better than if I had completely not run during these injurous months, but in many ways, my lungs and legs feel like they are starting over.

Before my next race (half-mar), I'd like to attempt a 16-miler. Post-race, I have a month to get to my 20-miler for the marathon I'm doing on December 6. So the rough plan: run half-marathon, do 15-miler, 18-miler, and 21-miler (the extra mile is for good luck and is optional), with one week cushion in case I miss one. I'm counting on myself not to get injured again. Like a cold, it seems like I've been slammed with one every year, so I am hoping I am immune for now.

I am potentially/most likely running 3 marathons within 6 months, with this being my first, so I'll figure out the logistics of training for the other ones later.



Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Run @ Work Day

One of the trainers at my gym e-mailed me the magazine clipping above.

According to Competitor Magazine, this Friday, September 18, 2009 is "Run @ Work Day."

I usually run at work... inside its gym on a treadmill... between 3 and 5 PM. But I believe this article is trying to promote running during lunch outside. This is something that I used to do (see previous post where I mention this) but have long stopped.

At any rate, I sometimes do run on Fridays but very short and fast, followed by circuit training (the main focus of the day) and more running/biking. Though not knowing about this event, I was planning on doing my long run this Friday, anyway, since I have an obligation that will keep me from working that day. So maybe my rendition of the day will be called "Run from Work."


Speaking of Competitor, they are sponsoring the Las Vegas Marathon, which is less than 3 months away now. My classmate got me all excited about it (although she's not running this one) last night just because she's just such a passionate runner who doesn't care about getting a good time... just having a good time.

So thanks, K.C., for reminding me what running is and is not. Off the top of my head:

Running is...
  • fun

  • something you should be able to do without too many "aids" if you are a healthy individual -- and if you are often hurting, it's a sign to back off
  • a chance to go out and do something solo without looking too weird

  • an excuse to travel

  • a chance to bond with people through shared experiences and the limitations of the human body (I had a dream last night that I was chatting w/people at the start line of a marathon, though that same dream also involved me not passing one section of my comprehensive exams and then some gang-bangers messing with my car in the parking lot and getting tazed for it -- yikes!! that's what happens when you're in class late and can't sleep due to distractions in the room!)

  • a character-builder

  • a healthy challenge

  • something that teaches you discipline of all sorts

...And isn't...

  • all about speed

  • something that should fully substantiate your life (i.e., there should be [much] more to life than this!) -- and the corollary to this = just because you run doesn't mean you're better than anyone else!

  • an excuse to use steroids, or other performance-enhancing drugs that harm the body more than help

  • a fad

  • something that should be done to lose weight, as there are much more effective ways of doing that (nothing worse than those "runners" who are making the rest of us look bad/vain/obsessive/etc.)

  • that expensive, compared to some other sports

Sunday, September 13, 2009

All Weekends Should Be Like This

So this weekend was the first one in a while during which I got up early to go running. I did 10 very slow miles that required walk breaks to complete. Slow or not, it's been done and will hopefully instill that habit back into my sleepy self. This rounded out a week that also contained a 6- and 8-miler! The hip has not protested much, so I hope it keeps cooperating as I feel like I'm starting all over again in getting in half- and full- marathon shape!

In other weekend events, I went to LA Greek Fest on Saturday and had a good time with free Greek yogurt, Greek rice, and salad -- perfect post-run fuel (minus the sip of Greek beer I had while watching the UCLA game)! Since I didn't really get any good pics at the 'Fest (I didn't want to take pics of the beautiful Greek church, even though it seemed allowed), here's a kinda rare self-pic, resting on perfectly fake grass!

"Dinner" was a teaccuino from Real Food Daily in Santa Monica. It was overcast there... reminding me of how much I can't wait for Fall!! "The Ukrainian" and I paired this lovely coffee-like beverage with its steamed vanilla soymilk and blend of spices with a vegan chocolate buttercream cake.

It was quite good, especially since I haven't had any baked goods in quite a while. It tasted better when eaten as a complete cross-section rather than just tasting any of the layers on its own.

I'm so glad to have such an open-minded compainion who will eat vegan food with me and open my mind to things and not just blow through everything.

Today (Sunday) has been full of rest and nothingness (overzealous snacking, public television, Glee, Crime and Punishment, and quick outlining of dissertation research), but I don't have too many days like this, so I should just suck it up. =) Plus, I have school tomorrow, which means not only do I do the 4:30 am waking thing, but class ends at 10 pm. Combine that with work and gym time and you have one tired gal.

Finally... here's my celebrity sighting of the weekend:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Greens+ Chocolate Energy Bar

It's good to be back at work, I think, after nearly a week of being away. Yes, I spent more time away for an exam than any vacation I've taken within the past three years (which included the end of undergrad and other times where such a break really should have been in order!).

Anyway, on one of my days off, I went to Ralph's and procured this never-before-seen bar for $2.79. This is much more than I am usually spending on bars, but my curiousity and stress drove me to this apparently vegan bar. [Note: Actually, considering the stake of the exam, I did not have an urge to overeat or anything, which warrants a pat on the back for me! However, since then, I have seemingly become a bottomless pit (though being very careful about that) even though I've been sleeping as much as I should be -- finally!]

I wish I had remembered to take a picture of a cross-section (it was melting in the heat and looked unappetizing anyway), but imagine a chocolate outside with a green inside! The texture was chewy, and no, there was no taste of veggies in there at all. It mostly had a subtle sweetness. It reminded me a lot of other protein bars (the chewy part of it, anyway), and there was no spirulina, whey, or other weird aftertaste.

On a related note, Diana from Greens+ sent me a package of Chia seeds, so I will be getting to that this week and reviewing it later.

Yay for a short week! I am going to be off for half of the day on one of them because I team that I am on is leading a focus group for a non-profit. It's been a while since I've worked with a client, so to speak, so this should be good.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Random Photo Entry 5

The unofficial theme of this entry is "DONE!" And no, I didn't make this all jumbo-sized on purpose.

Above: This is a really old screenshot of the first time my virtual restaurant (Restaurant City) reached the top rating (50.0). This is how backlogged I've been!

Above: More backlog... From July 4th -- a zucchini bread that I baked.

Above: This was the stack of papers I tossed in the recycle bin this morning. Now that I have (presumptiously) finished with my exams in grad school, I am no longer afraid to let go of this stuff. Of course, I kept some stuff for future reference, but besides this stack almost hurting my back to carry, I am happy to get some extra space back!

Above: This is a necklace that "The Ukrainian" brought back to me from Hawaii. I think it's very pretty!!

Above: One night recently, I whipped up a small pot of pumpkin oatmeal with just a tiny bit of Splenda but otherwise no sweetners. It tasted great cold!

Above: Finally, the best for last. I went to go pick up my diploma this week and was slightly in awe that there was actually one for me. Still can't believe it! Hopefully I'll have another one of these in two years!


I am attempting to spend this three-day weekend thinking as little as possible after those nine hours of testing over these past two days. I will worry about my next steps next week, but for now, I am excited to not feel guilty every free moment I have that I am not studying. I must say it is a really weird feeling, and I hope that although I still have class, dissertation, and field hours to worry about, I can start functioning like a normal person again soon. Life never seems to slow down these days, me having to divide my time on limited energy between everything. But... I (presumptuously) won't have to study for another test for the rest of my time in grad school.

Also, during this week, I ran two honestly wonderful 6.2 milers, though the hip protested (a little bit) later, I am hoping that I can spend more time running again!

Last night, "The Ukrainian" and I spent the evening at the mall where we had a nice, healthy dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and then played at Dave and Buster's. It was something we do periodically but was extra fun since I slowly getting more relaxed as the realization of "complete"ness settled in. I won 500 tickets spinning a wheel (I never win those big prizes!... he also got lucky because he kept finding money on the floor all night!).

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Gotein: reviewed by Tea Time

Today I am reviewing Gotein - which is a play on words for "protein on the go". So I came across this stuff because one of my running coaches works for Gotein. He gave some samples out and even made some for us after practice one day. I have to start by saying that I have a love/hate relationship with protein powder. I love how they are a convenient snack and great for recovery after working out but I hate the way that most of them taste. You know what I am talking about...that weird chalky after-taste. With most protein powder, I just use my blender and add fruit and such to cover up the chalky protein taste. This is not very convenient when I am not near my blender obviously. Now I am not paid to say this but Gotein is just great stuff. It seriously taste just like chocolate milk when I shake it up in my shaker cup with just water. It is yummy enough for me to have as a snack. I also love that it comes in it's own single served pack that you can empty into your water bottle or shaker cup...whatever you drink your water out of. It mixes really well. I think the other thing I hate about some protein powder is that no matter how much you shake it or stir it that it is still is nasty to drink powder clumps. So I love this stuff. Currently this comes in only 3 flavors: chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. I love the chocolate one if you can't already tell. I've seen Gotein being sold at various supplement and health stores but if you don't see it in your store, I have a discount code if you are interested in ordering this online.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Recoverite Review

Hello readers - since my sister is hard at work studying for her exams this week (Good Luck!), I thought that I would fill in and do some posts for her site. So here is my review of Recoverite from Hammer Nutrition. I have a couple more reviews that hopefully I can post this week.

Recoverite: reviewed by Tea Time

A long time ago, I had placed an order at the Hammer Nutrition website and got a bunch of samples of all their products. Hammer is pretty generous with their samples. Hammer makes alot of great products for endurance athletes. One of my favorite Hammer products is Endurolyte. I still use it to this day and don't know how I ever managed without it. It has saved me from lots and lots of cramping. Their products are pretty pure which means that it may not taste that great to some people but works well. So I was looking through my sample stash one night before one of my long runs and found a sample pack of citrus-flavored Recoverite. I thought I would try it out just to see what it did. So after my long run of 12 miles the next day, I opened this up and mixed it with cold water (you really should use cold water or cold sport drink as warm water is not the greatest thing to mix with this - it will work in a pinch I guess). I discovered that I am not a big fan of the citrus flavored. Regardless of the taste, this stuff works well. I ended up buying more of this stuff but in the strawberry flavor which tastes pretty good mixed with some Gatorade. The next day I was not as sore as I had thought I would be since I am slowly building up my milages again. I really like this stuff, especially since it doesn't contain a lot of sugar. I've been using Recoverite after all my long runs and still love it. I recently went out and purchased a container of Ultragen by First Endurance just to do a comparison as I had read that Ultragen works better among cyclist. Unfortunately, Ultragen does not come in individual serving packets for me to sample which is why I had to purchase the container size one. I will be doing a review for that once I try it. Ultragen contains more sugar but supposely works better for recovery so I am excited to try it. I will be taking it out for a test this coming weekend. I purchased the fruit punch flavor so hopefully I like it because there are alot of servings in that container. Sorry, I didn't list the ingredients of these products, you can click on the link that I provided if you are interested. I am just no good at listing ingredients. Have a safe and good run!

Note: I should mention that you should take this and any other recovery drink within a 30 min window immediately after your workout to maximize recovery.