Tag Archives: Fitness

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Now Trending – Best Links Week of 12.7

Photo credit: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Happy Friday, pals. This is my last weekend of the year in the city. It feels weird that as much as I’m looking forward to going back to Pittsburgh and seeing my family and friends, I also feel weird leaving San Francisco for two weeks. What will I do without all my friends here and SoulCycle and my therapist and my physical therapist and good coffee and good avocados and being able to buy wine at Whole Foods? That’s when you know you’re home, friends. And when I return to San Francisco, my cousin Jaimie will be here!

Here are the best links I found this week, between press events and drinking a very good bottle of wine with my friends to celebrate work and life and sleeping terribly.

Travel
Cuba is still high on my travel list… but some of these other up-and-coming travel destinations are earning a spot on my list, too.

11 tips for sleeping on a plane. I mean it’s the most uncomfortable thing ever but I’ve gotten pretty good at the red-eye.

Lifestyle
The science behind the five dumbest things you do when you’re drunk. College Cassie lost a lot of keys, made out with boys who were not quite up to par and definitely texted exes. Oh wait, I still do that. And eat two slices of pizza. Oy vey.

A mash-up of the 50 top songs of the year. The number of times I have listened to all of these songs running and in SoulCycle the past year is insane.

Blogging
Why Instagram captions are the new blogging.

The best food props from the Food52 Shop. I basically want them all.

Running and Fitness
How often should runners really strength train? Twice a week and on the same days as you run, especially a hard run. I’ve been working on my strength since I can’t run. It’s not that I hate it, it’s that I hate making the time for it.

This article penned by someone who used to make fun of SoulCycle… and now they can’t quit. I got on my phone to sign-up at 12:01 p.m. (1 minute after sign-ups opened) on Monday because I was in a meeting… and got wait-listed or on the worst bikes (aka not front row) for every class I wanted. Not real life!

Food
I would be lying if I said I haven’t been craving a bagel for approximately months but I know a West Coast bagel won’t kill that craving. An interesting article though on the rise of the San Francisco Bagel, typically made of sourdough!

This couple Instagrams different types of breakfast from around the world… and I immediately began Googling to see where I could find all of these foods in SF.

This post feels pretty personal — ManRepeller talks about talking about food.

I want this Milk Bread in my life.

Chat with me:
What breakfast food from a different country do you want to try? What up-and-coming travel destination do you want to visit? What do you think about the rise of Instagram as blogging? How can I improve my sleep?

Now Trending – Best Links Week of 11.30

Photo credit: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

After a solid few weeks of sleeping eight hours a night (that’s what happens when you can’t get up and run in the morning) I’ve totally stopped sleeping again. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. But it’s bordering on midnight as I write this and I’ve watched one too many episodes of Scream Queens (my total guilty pleasure show ) so I should get to bed.

Enjoy the best links I’ve found this week – I need to get my beauty rest incase I see my BF Jake Gyllenhaal out and about in SF filming Zodiac 2.

Travel
Kind of surprised by the most Instagrammed spots in every state. Mostly that Milan Puskar Stadium wasn’t the most Instagrammed spot in West Virginia… and that the zoo was the most Instagrammed spot in Pittsburgh? Say what?

The final frontiers of travel. Is it completely crazy I kind of want to go to South Sudan? (The answer is YES.)

The six people you meet on vacation. Does that mean we all fall into one of these archetypes? I suppose I’m some awful combination of the first three.

Lifestyle
We’re all busy this time of year (and in general, right?) and sometimes our calendars get mad over-whelming. Some tips for organizing your calendar,  including that it’s okay to say no to things you don’t really want to do, schedule a day all for yourself each week (I do that!) and outsource where you can. (Google Express or Instacart anyone?)

I’ve basically not started any holiday shopping (shocker) and for those of you in my boat, here’s a guide to perfect gift baskets.

Saving money is way more important than most of us millennials realize but don’t fall for these money saving myths.

Blogging
I need more food props in my life. Loving this list of essential food props for bloggers by Georgie from In It 4 the Long Run.

Running and Fitness
Basically I take anything elite runner Tina Muir says about running as the gospel. Her Gift Guide for Runners was giving me some ideas of what to ask for myself!

This Amish kid is running marathons faster than me in full Amish regalia in PA of course.

Food
100 years of dinner in the US in three minutes. I feel like they are totally spot on.

I’m back on the overnight oats train… definitely going to make these Snickerdoodle Vegan Overnight Oats from Food Faith Fitness.

Cornbread French Toast. That’s all there is to say.

Chat with me:
Have you watched Scream Queens? What meals did you at growing up? What do you think is the most Instagrammed spot in your state? What are you up to this weekend?

Race Recap: Nike Women’s San Francisco Half Marathon 2015

It’s been a marathon and two half marathons since I haven’t run a PR (the marathon was by default, but still) until today (I ran a 1:55, which I guess I should include in this). I don’t know what was up with my race, but I wasn’t there mentally or physically at the Nike Women’s San Francisco Half Marathon 2015.

I wasn’t set up for success for this race. I haven’t been doing very many tempo runs or any track work. My core/strength-training has went down the drain again. Then I made the executive decision to “run by feel” and not look at my watch. Well, I already know I am a person who needs personal accountability and not looking at your pace is a really great way to not hold yourself accountable.

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I aired my frustrations with myself in the group text with my dad and uncles (which is my favorite group text, by the way, because they are all hilarious) and this really resonated with me: “You are repeatedly doing what very few could even do one time.” My dad on the phone later asked my overall place was and when I did the math and still finished in the top 6%, I had to let the shitty feelings go.

Instead of the same sob story of me not putting in the work to get results, I’d like to talk about what this race meant to me. I ran this race last year while in San Francisco looking at apartments (one year ago Sunday, this year’s race day, my dad and I sat at the Intercontinental and decided I should sign the lease for this apartment).

Running has been a huge part of my life for over 12 years. From high school cross country to crossing the line of my first marathon this year, running has defined me for over the past decade. I have days where I love running so much it’s gross and I days where I wish I had never laced up a pair of shoes in my life. Running has been a really integral part of my life in San Francisco. Every inch of this course I have covered on some run in the past year, some parts most days of the week (the final two miles).

Last weekend Chrissy and I did a 13+ loop from our apartments to Golden Gate Park then through the park back to the Marina. I told her it was weird the number of monumental conversations I can acutely real that have happened while running.

So, this race. same course as last year. From Union Square to Alamo Square, where my friend Kitt was cheering on runners after the hill on Mile 2 and who I was so excited to see, down the Panhandle to Golden Gate Park where Emily was with the rest of the San Francisco Road Runners. Golden Gate Park, seeing two of my closest friends in the city and thinking of all the conversations I’ve had in that damn park made me very introspective.

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I was just not feeling it in the Presidio, despite being strangely excited to run the hills in the morning. I run down Lincoln a lot on my runs with San Francisco Road Runners so it felt strange to think about how much I just love killing that downhill. I used to really love running to Baker Beach when I first moved here, too. When I was feeling slow I just kept telling myself “head up, wings out” (my mantra from Emily) and thinking about flying.

I knew in the last two miles I just needed to dig in and finish it strong. I couldn’t let people keep passing me in my neighborhood on my normal route. It also felt weird to me to run down Chrissy Field on the road (I usually run up it on the sidewalk then back down on the sand trail along the beach). I had this weird feeling of hating all these other people on something that is typically so peaceful to me. BUT it was super nice because I know how I feel on my daily runs and how much I had left so I knew to leave everything on the course.

Looking at my mile splits, I was more consistent than I have been – just consistently slower. My slowest mile, which was a mile uphill, was 9:38. I had absolutely zero 7:XX-miles, which is a difference from 3-4 sub-8 miles from my past few races.

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Things that were great: Race swag (the necklace this year was super cute and so was the tank), organization (people want to say this race was run terribly but I’ve run some terrible races and Nike consistently puts on a good race), the course (hard but super scenic… if you’re coming to SF to run this is the best race to run sight-wise, crowd-support (they had Lincoln Blvd and the hill from miles 9.5-11 stacked with cheering people) and finishing four blocks from my apartment.

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Things that could have been better: Communication from Nike (but coming from my background, I know communication is shit when plans aren’t finalized… so there you go), more water stations (!!), finish line things were WAY better last year and at DC… oh, and I miss the “Expotique” but as a marketer, completely get why they wanted to drive traffic into their stores.

Would I do it again? Probably, because I get race FOMO. It’s a little pricey, so hoping by next year some brand wants me to run it on behalf of them (if it’s still in SF, which I’ve heard it’s moving on south to LA).

To end the morning, #brunchedsohard with Kitt and Chrissy at NOPA which is my fave restaurant in the city.

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Chat with me:
What situations make you introspective? What does where you live mean to you? What were you up to this weekend?

Now Trending – Best Links Week of 9.7

Photo credit: 1 / 2 / 3 

This week marked two years of blogging for me and I didn’t even acknowledge it on the blog. I feel like that was a total missed opportunity. Happy second birthday, little blog. I never imagined what the next two years of my life would bring the night I sat down and wrote my first blog post. I’ve made some really amazing friends thanks to this blog, had the opportunity to travel and attend awesome events and so much more.

This week has been crazy busy with being in Pittsburgh, coming back to SF, blog events, dinners with friends and work and life in general. Here are the best links I scrapped up Thursday night for you.

Travel
I would like to think I’m pretty pro at flying. I’m (sadly) mainly loyal to one airline, can sleep most, if not all, of a red-eye and my carry-on is always overflowing with everything I could ever need. Do you have the same habits of savvy flyers?

I’ve had the post-vacation blues all week, even if my vacation was only Pittsburgh. Five days with my family and friends wasn’t nearly enough. Maybe I’ll make a quick getaway with one of these fall travel destinations.

I’ve learned everything I know about myself from traveling. Okay, maybe that is extreme, but I’ve learned a lot from traveling. The Kitchn team talks about what they’ve learned (food-wise) on their travels.

Lifestyle
If you ever mention a movie, chances are I haven’t seen it. I don’t have the patience to sit still for two hours or to actually commit to a movie. Maybe I’ll actually watch one on Netflix with this website to help you find a movie that doesn’t suck.

What ethnicity do you drink like? According to this, I drink like a Bulgarian because I drink ~3 glasses of wine a week, the Chinese because I don’t drink milk or soda, an Equatorial Guinean because I don’t typically drink liquor, an Afghan because I don’t drink beer and an Eritrean because I don’t drink juice. Where does my 20 bottle of San Pellegrino a week land me?

Running and Fitness
Who wants to do this 30-day kettlebell challenge with me?

I need to get back on the strength training train (pun not intended). I was doing 15 minutes at least 3-4 times a week until this past week which isn’t a lot, but is an improvement on 0 minutes 7 days a week. Erin’s Bicep Burner Workout looks like a good way to get back into it.

Oh, just as I mention 15 minute core workouts… here’s a great one from Pumps and Iron.

Food
These grain free naan are making me want to buy cassava flour like, right now.

The days are getting shorter… which means you can sleep in longer, right? Prep these make ahead breakfasts perfect for fall on the weekend and hit snooze without having to sacrifice breakfast.

Are State Fairs anything other than redneck, no matter what state you’re in? These state fair foods look like insanity and 5,000 calories each.

Um, so I want these paleo funnel cakes like right now.

In case you missed it…

carrot cake cookies gluten free | almost getting it together

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cookies

Healthy Recipes You Can Make with Freekeh

10 Healthy Recipes You Can Make with Freekeh (and a Giveaway!)

Chat with me:
Which of those state fair foods look amazing to you? When was the last time you were at a state fair – and what did you eat? Any travel plans for fall?

Now Trending – Best Links Week of 8.24

Photo credit: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Let’s talk about something I’m really tickled with myself about – the fact I “run commuted” to work this week. Chrissy and I took everything we needed to get ready for the day on Thursday to our office on Wednesday, ran home from the office Wednesday night and then ran back to the office on Thursday morning. Despite there being way too many tourists/pedestrians on the way home Wednesday night and my frustration getting a little vocal, it was awesome. The worst part of my day was completely non-existant. I think the run commute is going to have to happen at least once a week.

Since I was sick last week this post didn’t happen (I know, you’re all really torn up about it) so I have like, a bazillion best links to share with you. Okay, maybe just twelve because I wanted to save you from having 15+ browser tabs open. You’re welcome.

Travel
I think taking a solo trip is something everyone should do at least once. Here are 15 Destinations for Women Traveling Alone (I can vouch for Hong Kong since I used to spend time alone in the city when I was living there!).

Skip the basic bitch London, Paris and Rome when you go to Europe and check out these other cities in Europe (disclaimer: I have been to London, Paris and Rome and they really aren’t basic but I have a sense of humor to keep up here).

Holding onto this list of places to elope. JK I already know where I’m eloping – The Seychelles, providing they are not underwater by that point.

Blogging
I’m honestly kind of bad at e-mails. I always read them right away then don’t respond because I typically want to give a thoughtful response… which means I don’t stay on top of them. I need these tips to keep my inbox from stressing me out.

I’ve started going to a lot more PR and press events since moving to SF. My first one was admittedly scary… but these tips for events are sure to help.

Running, working all day then coming home to “work” more on freelance articles, this blog and more makes me really not want to get shit done sometimes. Loving these tips for staying motivated even when you don’t want to do anything.

Running and Fitness
I admittedly do not get to yoga as much as I did when I lived in Pittsburgh and as often as I need to… here’s a good reminder of why to get your butt to yoga.

I want to visit the invite-only Nike Training Studio in NYC. Can someone make this happen?

Here’s what your workout looks like with emojis.

Food
I really need to get out of my salad rut for lunch and these 10 Sandwich-Free Lunch Ideas might do the trick.

Someone please make me these divine looking Blueberry Pancakes from Clinton St. Baking Co.

Incase you didn’t know, it was my girl Davida’s birthday yesterday so I’m making her Healthy Cookie Cake to celebrate until I can drink champagne with her in SF next month.

Chat with me:
Have you ever done a run commute? Have you ever traveled alone? Would you ever travel alone? What does your normal lunch look like?

How to Recover From a Half or Full Marathon

nike women's half marathon dc | almost getting it together

I’ve finally done it. Five plus years of racing half-marathons (okay, two and a half years racing half marathons and the previous three were spent intermittently running halves and more than halfway hating them) and I ran a race, PR-ed, and was basically not sore (just a little stiff) the next day.

SeaWheeze recovery may have been a fluke but nevertheless, after a lot of experimenting, research and practice, I think I have how to recover from a half or full marathon down to a science. Remember though, I’m not a fitness professional so these are the tips that work for me but everybody (and every body!) is different so you may have a couple of trial-and-error periods before you find what works best for you.

How to Recover From a Half or Full Marathon

Kaiser Permanente 2015 San Francisco Half-Marathon| almost getting it together

This is what great post race recovery looks like.

  • Foam Roll and Stretch Immediately After
    I know, you just finished a race (yay!) and want to celebrate/shower/eat everything but please trust me – just spend ten minutes foam rolling and stretching. You’ll thank me the next morning when you can get out of bed. It really helps while your muscles are still warm.
  • Get Protein As Soon As Possible After Finishing
    I carry a Vega blender bottle and Vega Recovery Performance Protein with me in my checked gear bag. If I can get my hands on coconut water or unsweetened almond milk, or think to stick a mini bottle in my bag, I use that – if not, water works, it just isn’t quite as tasty. You make lots of little tears in your muscles running hard and this helps repair them.If you don’t want to drink protein, eat something really protein heavy like eggs on avocado toast, chicken, or just really anything with a lot of protein but the protein shake is just the easiest and best solution I’ve personally found.

    how-to-recover-from-a-long-run-almost-getting-it-together

    My favorite protein shake ingredients.

  • Hydrate
    Just drink water and when you think you’ve drank enough, drink more. This goes without saying.
  • Eat Wholesome, Real Foods
    Okay, you ran 13.1 miles or 26.2 miles and you feel like you want and deserve to eat anything you want – but please don’t. Eat lots of veggies, lean proteins and whole grains. Maybe have dessert, a beer or an extra glass of wine that day. Definitely eat a little extra – but don’t eat processed foods, burgers, pizza, ice cream and everything ever terrible because you burned 1000-2700 calories, not 7000, and your body wants wholesome things to recover – Doritos don’t help rebuild muscle and replenish carb stores.
  • Schedule a Massage
    After my first ever half-marathon, I could barely walk the next day. Then I got a massage and somehow, I could walk a little better once I left. Now, after most races I get a massage. Some races have complimentary massages afterwards (SeaWheeze, Nike Women’s) but do yourself a favor and just schedule a real 60 minute massage.I’ve gotten Swedish, hot stone, deep tissue and sports after races and I’m pretty sure deep tissue does the best for me. If you’re in a major metro area, there are now even apps where a massage therapist will come to your house or apartment with a massage table so you don’t even have to hobble down stairs to get worked out. I’ve used both Zeel (you can save $25 on your massage with code AGIT) and Soothe and both were awesome. You can pick your therapist gender if that matters to you, the type of massage you want and then they come over, have a speaker with spa music, set up the table and work out all the lactic acid.
  • Wear Compression Socks
    It might be the placebo effect, but every time I remember to wear my compression socks after I get out of the shower, I’m less sore the next day. They are really worth the $40 or whatever investment.
  • Go to Yoga
    Yes, in addition to the massage, go to yoga. The massage works all the junk out of your muscles and yoga stretches you back out. There is nothing like half-pigeon the day of or day after a race.
seawheeze 2015 | almost getting it together

Race day yoga at SeaWheeze.

  • Have an Easy Active Recovery Day
    This is my new thing – I don’t take a full recovery day the day after a race. I’ll go to SoulCycle, go on a hike or go on a short, easy run (leave that watch at home!). Every second typically hurts but it gets your muscles loose and moving and really helps with recovery.
  • Get Some Sleep
    Go to bed early the night of your race. If you’re anything like me, you’re typically falling asleep on the couch at 8:30 p.m. Alternatively, I’ve also drank an entire bottle of wine and been up until 1 a.m. and really felt like shit the next day because race hangover + improper recovery + real hangover = the worst.

Chat with me:
What are your half or full marathon recovery tips? What do you do in the hours and days after a race? What are you training for right now?

What to Pack for a Destination Race [+ a Vega Giveaway!]

what-to-pack-for-a-destination-race | almost getting it together

Races are a great excuse to visit a place (Tokyo Marathon is on my running bucket list, personally).  When my good friend Kay offered me the chance to travel to Vancouver to run Seawheeze obviously the only answer was yes, right? I have wanted to visit Vancouver for a while now, I wanted to run Seawheeze but couldn’t pull the trigger on signing up without knowing I would have a friend going with me (says the girl who loves traveling alone) and Kay is one of my favorite people so I couldn’t say no to a weekend of running, yoga and Lululemon.

Besides races in Pittsburgh and San Francisco, I’ve run a few races in other places – DC, Ragnar, and a few in Georgia/Florida/Virginia before I started blogging. I usually write out a list of everything I need for race day since I’m such a basket case about my pre- and post-race routines.

This list is meant for race-essential things. Obviously I hope you know to pack street clothes and other things like that. Also, pack all these things in your carry-on bag. If you put your running essentials in your checked bag when flying to a destination race, you’re asking for trouble.

What to Pack for a Destination Race

what-to-pack-for-a-destination-race | almost getting it together

My Race Day Destination Race Essentials

Race Day:

  • Top: I usually always wear a Nike Dry Fit Tank.
  • Bottoms: Lululemon Speed Shorts, always.
  • Shoes: I race in Mizuno Wave Riders 18. I might wear my Mizuno Wave Enigma 5 this weekend though.
  • Socks: I totally forgot my favorite socks when I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon. Make sure you pack the ones you want.
  • Sports Bra: Typically Lululemon Free to Be or Free to Be Wild (pictured). They leave funny tan lines (warning) and are made for yoga but I’m basically flat chested so… I don’t need much support.
  • Hat/Sunglasses: Self explanatory. I don’t run in sunglasses but I also forgot my hat during Pittsburgh and immediately regretted it. It keeps the sweat out of your eyes.
  • Arm Band
  • Garmin (and charger!): I use a Garmin 10 and it’s the most basic model. It’s perfect for what I need day-to-day – milage, pace, time of day and time running.
  • Hydration Belt/Race Belt (if you wear one): I don’t (anymore)
  • Throwaway Clothes (if the race is going to be cold)
  • Sunscreen: UV protection is no joke.
  • Gels: I’ve used the Vega Endurance Gel (pictured) because it’s all natural… it’s date based, not sucralose or whatever based. I use Gu as well – honestly, whatever sounds good that morning.
  • Pre-Race Food: Lately I’ve been eating gluten-free toast with a banana and peanut butter before a race. I used to eat oatmeal – it’s really whatever I’m feeling that morning, but both work for me. Oatmeal is great because you can pack it and make it in a hotel room with the coffee machine. Justin’s makes individual nut butter packets you can take and uh, if you have to have me tell you where to buy/how to pack a banana there’s bigger issues at hand.
what-to-pack-for-a-destination-race | almost getting it together

Race day essential foods!

Post-Race:
Pack these things in your checked bag

  • Post-Race Recovery Food/Hydration: I always have a shake of coconut water/almond milk/some mixture of the two and Vega Sport Performance Protein after a race/long run. I’m rarely as sore the next day and it helps curb the runger/gives me a ton of protein. I’ll also drink Vega Post-Work Out Recovery Accelerator or Nuun.
  • Compression Socks: Might be the placebo effect but wearing them makes me less sore the next day typically. Especially when flying – my toes turn into Vienna Sausages (ew).
  • Change of clothes (including under things!) and deodorant: Duh.
  • ShowerPillThese basically make you feel like you took a shower. Obsessed.
  • Flip-flops or comfy, open-toed shoes: Forgot these during the San Francisco Half-Marathon and regretted it from the time I realized it at mile 11.

My friends at Vega are helping me celebrate Seawheeze this weekend by giving away a Marathon Training Kit that is worth over $300! It includes two Performance Proteins, Pre-Workout Energizer, Post-Work Out Recovery Accelerator and Hydrator (think calorie free Gatorade or Nuun that you put into your water).

Vega Sport Bundle - Full Marathon | almost getting it together

Win this Vega Sport Bundle – Full Marathon below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you’re looking to win other things this week, head over to Running with SD Mom and Erica Finds for even more giveaways.

This post has affiliate links – thanks for supporting the brands that I love! Vega provided the giveaway but I love the brand and mission so all opinions are my own!

Chat with me:
Have you ever ran a destination race? What are things you must pack? Do you have any race-day rituals?

Now Trending – Best Links Week of 7.27

Photo credit: 1 / 2 / 3 

I don’t have any fun stories for you this week like living through an earthquake. Since I’ll just sit here trying to be funny for 30 minutes, I’ll spare you and just give you the best links I found this week.

Travel
I want to visit NYC just to eat at these restaurants featuring food from far off places like Tibet, Venezuela and Sri Lanka.

I’m not the “all-inclusive resort” type… but these all-inclusive luxury resorts that are affordable (they’re making that term very liberal) look pretty awesome – especially the one in Utah.

Marisa from Uproot From Oregon’s Glacier National Park To Do List makes me want to pack my bags for Montana even faster than I typically want to pack my bags for Montana.

Lifestyle
I hadn’t heard of a cooking club until this article from The Kitchn… and now I want to start my own. SF friends, who is going to join?

Being an adult is hard. You have to do things like pay rent and do your own laundry and clean out your fridge. These tips for keeping a home are really great (and I follow most of them!).

Do you think you’re a rational person? I don’t think that I am and this test tells me I’m definitely not.

Running and Fitness
I’m a huge fan of Runner’s Connect podcast, Run to the Top. I’ve been listening to Podcasts all week running slow, stiff recovery miles. I mentioned earlier this week I’m trying to lose weight right now and these eight nutrition tips for runners are great.

A collection of awesome running tweets. Fun fact: before I

Food
These Protein Waffle Ice Cream Sandwiches from the Vega team definitely have to happen soon. I’m thinking this weekend?

Despite realizing my diet is basically 40% fat (a little high), I still refuse to ever give up nut butter. Here are 12 Awesome Homemade Nut Butters I rounded-up for Brit + Co.

Here’s what your favorite ice cream flavor says about you. Mine depends on the day but I guess if someone told me I could only have one flavor the rest of my life… maybe mint chocolate chip?

Let’s keep the ice cream theme going today since summer (for everyone not in California) is almost over. Here’s ice cream and wine pairings you should try.

Chat with me:
What does your favorite ice cream flavor say about you? Do you keep your home clean and tidy? What’s the most interesting regional food you’ve eaten?

Race Recap: San Francisco Marathon 2nd Half-Marathon

Originally, I had planned on this being a goal race. I thought running a 1:45 half-marathon was an aggressive, but achievable, goal. I ran a 1:51 in March not really training so I thought if I focused on speed work and was a little brave, I could run sub 8-minute miles.

The San Francisco Marathon is broken into two half-marathons for those who don’t want to take on the whole 26.2 miles. You can run the first half which takes you from the Ferry Building down the Embarcadero, down Fisherman’s Wharf, through the Marina, into the Presidio and across the Golden Gate Bridge, through the Presidio and into the Inner Richmond then into Golden Gate Park where the first half of the marathon ends.

After running the Pittsburgh Marathon, I considered signing up for the full San Fransisco Marathon but realized I wanted to take a break from full marathon training and didn’t really want to run all the hills in the SF Marathon. I heard the 2nd half-marathon was faster, flatter and less crowded. Also it begins at 8:15 a.m. as opposed to 6:00 a.m. and I’m all about two extra hours to sleep.

Friday when I went to pick up my bib I texted Chrissy telling her I had full-marathon FOMO. She told me she had half-marathon FOMO and knowing Kay wasn’t planning on running anymore, I coordinated getting Chrissy to pick up her bib so she could run with me. It also gave us an excuse to eat lots of carbs like acai bowls and sourdough polenta bread and Delarosa pizza together the day before.

San Francisco Marathon 2015 | Almost Getting it Together

This is a margarita pizza with Burrata and it was totally worth it.

Sunday morning Chrissy came over to my place and we took an Uber to the start at Golden Gate Park. We got there really early which was nice. I’m usually at the start line like 5 minutes before the start so it was good to be able to relax, hang out a little bit and not feel rushed and stressed. I got into my corral for Wave 2 (which is actually everyone who is a sub 9-minute mile pace who isn’t a seeded athlete) and saw the 1:45 pace group. I stood with them for a couple moments, looking at the others in the group.

San Francisco Marathon 2015 | Almost Getting it Together

Chrissy and I pre-race.

This is where I get a little real. I’m going to preface the rest of this post with saying I’m really hard on myself. Really hard. Like the fact I ran a PR then cried because it wasn’t good enough for me. I had dinner with my ex a couple weeks ago when he was in town (albeit after he showed up unannounced) and he looked across the table at me and told me to stop being so hard on myself.

I thought about the number I saw on the scale that morning. I thought about how frustrated I’ve been with myself lately – not training hard enough, drinking and eating out more than I would like to, and the fact I’ve gained a couple “San Francisco pounds”. Yeah, all my clothes still fit and I’m still a size zero but I just felt terrible about my ability to run sub 8-minute miles in that moment. So I decided a 1:50 was still a PR and if I felt good after the first eight miles, I would leave that pace group.

The best thing about the 2nd half-marathon is that it is much smaller than the beginning of the full marathon and first half-marathon – around 5,000 runners as opposed to 30,000+. The beginning wasn’t as crowded as the last several races I have ran. You start out and soon after, the full-marathoners are running along side of you.

The course splits right away – the full marathoners stay to the left and the half-marathons stay to the right. I was looking at the signs and trying to get over to the right because I understood why the course was splitting – the full marathoners had already ran 13 miles, were in the zone and the half-marathoners were fresh. Being a respectful runner (post on that coming soon), I tried to get over to the right… and in the process, hit a traffic cone separating the two sides.

Before I knew it, I was on the ground. Both knees, head, left elbow and my right hand all made contact with the pavement. “I guess I’m done” was the first thought that went through my head. The second thought was that I ate pizza for dinner the night before, toast for breakfast that day and I had to run all of that off. I picked myself up, felt my elbow and decided I was just going to keep running. My knee hurt and was a little stiff and I decided I just wasn’t going to look down at it because I didn’t want to know how badly I had scraped it.

I stayed with the 1:50 pace group the first three miles and realized their pace was kind of all over the place, not a steady 8:24. This is where I say my friend Lesley is the best pacer ever. I also asked Emily if I was right in my thinking and that pacers should be running even splits (she agreed). I decided I needed to run my race, not anyone else’s and left them.

I saw one of the pace group leaders from San Francisco Road Runners in Golden Gate Park cheering on the runners. He either told me I looked strong or told me I looked covered in blood (TBD on that one) and in that moment, I really felt like I was home. I struggled all winter and spring to feel like San Francisco was home and I can’t even explain how happy I was to be running in the city in that moment. I rode that high the next few miles.

Around mile 9 or 10 I started to feel vaguely annoyed for a couple of miles. I was disappointed in the San Francisco community for not coming out and cheering on the runners. In Pittsburgh, a city full of obesity and whatever, there are people cheering basically every inch of that course. Yes, there are a few dead zones but for the most part, people are out and cheering and excited. There wasn’t much difference in running during the SF Marathon and running on a Saturday morning.

I was also super annoyed at the water stop volunteers. I know they are volunteers and I am so thankful they gave up their Sunday morning to be there, but they were not concerned with giving people water. They kind of just stood there or were talking and took forever to grab waters off the table. I decided in this moment that I really need to not run a race in SF and volunteer at a race to give back to the community.

A couple notes about this course – it isn’t flat. It’s flat for San Francisco but there’s a hill going into the Haight and then 16th Street has another much more brutal hill that takes you to Potrero Hill. From there, you have another hill that takes you into the Dogwatch and Mission Bay. We ran past my office and lots of people tailgating for the Oakland A’s/Giants game. Nothing like smelling hot dogs during mile 11-12 of a race.

Once we got to my office in Mission Bay, I knew there was about a mile and half left until the Ferry Building. I ran this part of the course a lot during marathon training. I kept telling myself the faster I ran the faster I could get medical attention for my knee. Other thoughts during this time were “my feet hurt and I forgot to put flip-flops in my gear check bag”.

I had been trying not to look at my watch and just run by how I was feeling but looked down and I had a little less than a mile left and my time was 1:43. I had thought I was going to hit sub 1:50 until about that moment. I crossed the finish line at 1:50:42 and the only thing I could think was, “where the f*** is the medical tent?”. I realized as everyone looked at me that I probably looked pretty gnarly and looked down at my leg that was essentially, covered in blood.

I think I have really bad-ass tendencies when it comes to injuries. I used to be a total baby and would cry and have someone patch me up but as I started doing more sports in which I get injured and beat up (surfing, particularly), I started caring way less. The only time I was really upset by falling in recent history was in Nicaragua because it happened 30 seconds into my run, I ripped my headphones and knew salt water was not going to feel good in my wounds and then last spring when I tripped and got a black eye. But I was totally self-concious of my bloody leg. I grabbed a heat blanket to try and cover it up so people wouldn’t look at me or ask what happened. I was just thinking “you finished a race not like some battle this isn’t normal”.

San Francisco Marathon 2015 | Almost Getting it Together

Ferry Building finish line from the Lululemon after party.

Here is another qualm with the organization of the race – the finish chute was long but directly after, people were just congregating. There needs to be a family reunion area like there is in Pittsburgh so runners can actually get out of the chute. Medical tent was still nowhere in sight, I was pissed off by my time and I had a ton of things in my hands (races, please be like Nike and give out bags!) and just wanted someone to clean out my wounds and to call my dad and cry over how disappointed I was in myself.

Finally I found the medical tent after grabbing my bag from gear check. Some nice doctors from UCSF assured me I might not scar and I wasn’t the first person who had fallen running. Some lady who was sitting with her husband asked if I had falling running and I said yes, in the first tenth of a mile and she told me I was strong and brave. YOU’RE RIGHT, I AM. I told her thank you and continued to feel like a bad ass.

Afterwards, I decided to head over to the Lululemon After Party to meet Chrissy. This is where I say I am so lucky to be a part of this community in SF and to be friends with the wonderful Kristine who is killing it in her new role on the Community Team at Lulu. They were doing screen printing at the expo, had a mindful mediation set-up and then an awesome VIP after party right on the Embarcadero, steps from the finish line. I was able to use a real bathroom to clean up and change into my new Lululemon SF Marathon screen printed shirt. They also had a super great swag bag, lots of drinks (including tons of coconut water), food, massages, stretching stations and more. I stretched out for a few and ate some smoked salmon and drank a Vega recovery shake since I knew we were getting brunch with Kay afterwards.

San Francisco Marathon 2015 | Almost Getting it Together

My first ever flash tat at the Lululemon after-party which then turned into a discussion about favorite SoulCycle instructors and eating Blue Barn/Rustic Bakery after.

As the Lululemon party started wrapping up around noon, Chrissy and I decided to walk the 1.5 miles to Huxley, a super small, super talked about restaurant in the Trendyloin. They are known for the avocado toast with uni so I figured no time like after running 13+ miles to make reservations to indulge. The three of us split the housemade yogurt with fruit and granola (amaze), baked eggs and avocado toast with uni (obvi).

San Francisco Marathon 2015 | Almost Getting it Together

Will run for avocado toast.

All in all – this is the first race (other than the Montour Run Half-Marathon) that I’m not sure I would recommend to people. I don’t think it was very organized for a big city marathon. I think I might volunteer next year rather than running either the full or the half.

Overall: 1:50:42 (8:27/min pace – but my watch told me 8:17 and 13.3 miles so….), top 16% overall, top 8% of women (you really realize you’re racing with a lot of guys at this pace), top 10% of my age group. Things I should be proud of, I know, but still, so disappointed because I know if I just get a little bit of guts and a little bit more work ethic, I have faster miles in me. There’s always Seawheeze next month…

San Francisco Marathon 2015 | Almost Getting it Together

Chat with me:
What’s the most badass thing you’ve done recently? Are you too hard on yourself? What races would you recommend/not recommend?

Yoga for Runners – Christine Bullock’s Fave Five Poses for Runners

christine-bullock-womens-health-next-fitness-star

I’m so excited to have another “Cool People Doing Cool Things” feature with a an amazing woman who is originally from Pittsburgh as well, Christine Bullock! Christine is currently living and working in Redondo Beach, California and is competing to be Women’s Health’s Next Fitness Star.

Practicing what she preaches, Christine Bullock has turned her expertise and passion for fitness, nutrition, and beauty into a dynamic lifestyle business. As an accomplished ballerina who started dancing at age three, Bullock has a lifetime’s worth of knowledge and insight into the importance of a consistent athletic routine and ongoing healthy eating habits. Passionate about helping others attain health and happiness, she has spent over 17 years working with health and beauty industry leaders all over the globe and has counseled and trained thousands of people to improve their health and well-being both inside and out. Bullock has certifications in Pilates, Barre, Yoga and Pre & Post-Natal, and is also certified as a Nutrition and Wellness Counselor.

Focusing on functional anatomy and movement science using dynamic movement to rebuild a balanced high performance physique, Christine integrates the most progressive exercise techniques used by world-class athletes into one powerful program designed to help increase strength, torch calories, boost metabolism, increase energy, all while balancing mind and body. Her workouts include functional training, high intensity drills, stability, plyometrics, flexibility, Pilates, yoga and core. Christine also teaches the importance of food quality, quantity, and preparation. She says, “20 minutes a day, no props needed, so no excuses!” The key is no boredom and no burnout. Her workouts are fast, functional and effective.

I asked Christine to create a series of yoga poses that are great recovery stretches for runners – I thought she would be the perfect person since she combines cardio and yoga into many of her workouts! Read on for a note from Christine and

Thank you Cassie for featuring me on Almost Getting it Together and giving me an opportunity to reach out to my hometown crowd while I take on Women’s Health’s Next Fitness Star competition. I am so excited to be one of the five finalists in this national competition! Not only do I get to grace the July/August flip cover of Women’s Health with the other ladies, but most importantly I get to share workouts, my fitness philosophy and more with you all! Please visit http://thenextfitnessstar.com/christine-bullock to join me on this journey, get fit, learn and vote!

I had to go with Steelers colors for my Pittsburgh fam — if you love the look, head to Carbon38.com — use code Christinebul50 for $50 Off First Purchase of $200.

Running is an awesome practice — with nothing more than your body and a pair of sneakers you can build mental and physical endurance, a sleek physique and a strong, healthy heart. I created this short yoga series to help ward off overuse injuries that can often plague runners. These moves will also provide increased flexibility for better form while running and feel-good stretches for relief post-workout.

Cow Face Pose

Christine Bullock Women's Health Next Fitness Star - Yoga for Runners - Cow Face Pose

This is a deep stretch that releases built up tension in the outer hips. Runners will also love the gentle ankle stretch that comes with this pose.

Start in a seated position and begin to cross your legs deeply so that your bent right knee is stacked on top of the bent left knee. Both knees should be in line with your chin. Make sure your heels are equidistant from each hip. Scoot your heels forward to deepen the stretch while keeping both sit bones connected to the ground.  Sit up tall, engage your core and breathe into the stretch. Switch the crossing of your legs and repeat.

Wide Legged Forward Fold

Christine Bullock Women's Health Next Fitness Star - Yoga for Runners - Wide Legged Forward Fold

This is a vital stretch for runners to release tension in the hamstrings. The mild inversion is also a great pre-run energy booster.

Begin in a wide legged stance with feet twice as wide as hip width distance apart and parallel. Engage your abs and extend your arms out to a T.With a flat back, hinge at the hips and fold forward. Allow your head to hang heavy to decompress your spine. Grab onto your calves and gently deepen the fold. Shift your weight forward into the balls of your feet to increase the stretch in your hamstrings.

Downward Dog Calf Stretch

Christine Bullock Women's Health Next Fitness Star - Yoga for Runners - Downward Dog Calf Stretch

This pose is a wonderful mild calf warm up for runners. It gently loosens tension in the calves and wakes up the whole body.

Begin in plank position; arms shoulder distance, feet hip distance and core braced. Keeping the spine and legs long, pike your hips to the sky. This is your downward facing dog. Evenly distribute your weight in your hands and feet and scan your body to ensure that you are engaging throughout. Now cha-cha your knees — bend one knee and push into the ball of that foot while extending the other leg straight and pushing through the heel.

Runner’s Lunge

Christine Bullock Women's Health Next Fitness Star - Yoga for Runners - Runner’s Lunge

The name says it all — this yoga pose allows runners to open up, stretch and relax the quads and hip flexors. Allow your body weight and breath to deepen you into the pose slowly for great results.

Begin in a low lunge with your left leg forward and right leg back. Start with your left knee stacked directly over your left ankle and your right leg extended straight back. Push through the right heel, while pulling the right hip forward and the left hip back. From this position walk your left foot six inches left and six inches forward. Bring your left arm to the inside of your left thigh. Breathe. Alternate sides.

Half Bow Press

Christine Bullock Women's Health Next Fitness Star - Yoga for Runners - Half Bow Press

This deep stretching pose opens up the front line of the body. It is a wonderful stretch for the hipflexors. The pose also gives runners a much needed opportunity to counteract the closed-in chest position that is common while running.

Begin face down on the floor with arms extended to a T, legs hip distance apart and tops of feet resting on the ground. On an inhalation, use your back muscles to lift your chest and prop yourself onto your forearms. Keep the neck relaxed and draw your shoulder blades and elbows back. Then bend your right knee and draw your right arm back to capture your left foot in your hand. Breathe into the pose and use your palm to push your foot close to your glute. Alternate sides.

Head over to the Women’s Health Next Fitness Star page to vote for Christine every day now until August 3rd! 

Chat with me:
Have you voted for Women’s Health’s Next Fitness Star yet? What are your favorite fitness poses? Do you have any questions for Christine?

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