Tag Archives: Running

Now Trending – Best Links Week of 10.5

This post is once again going up a little late. I don’t know where this week went (okay, I kind of do). I need to be totally better about forcing myself to be productive when I feel like it the least. I didn’t really have a ton of time to read blogs this week, but here are the best links I found.

Travel
People often ask me where to go when they visit SF. I should be an adult/real blogger and make a real list (it’s on my to-do list, I swear) but in the meantime, Well + Good is now in SF and has a San Francisco Healthy Lifestyle Guide.

Dying to go to Goa, no puns intended. Major gypset vibes.

A great post on whether or not traveling heals a broken heart. Personally – I think it helps.

Lifestyle
I really don’t talk about growing up in West Virginia a whole lot, but this photo journal of coal country really brings back a lot of memories.

Is the party dead? I think my lack of space and my need to serve ornate food and drink is why I only have parties when I’m home.

Running and Fitness
I should really start making cross-training more of a priority… 6 cross-training moves every runner should do.

Just because I run ~40 miles a week doesn’t mean I can eat whatever I want. I have some work to do to get leaner – and faster. I am really inspired by this post by this marathoner who talks about racing 25 pounds lighter

Food
Guess what… nutritionists wouldn’t eat Quest Bars. I’m personally not surprised.

A super informative piece on what you should know about baking with coconut flour from The Kitchn.

I haven’t seen a pumpkin spice angel food cake yet so this one from Ambitious Kitchen looks like it will be on my weekend to-do list.

Chat with me:
Give me all your tips for productivity, please! Are you so over pumpkin-spiced everything? Do you eat Quest bars?

Now Trending – Best Links Week of 9.28

One year ago (as I write this) I was running along the Embarcadero, prepping mentally for my interview with Old Navy. I was imagining my life in San Francisco, trying to really psych myself up for a complete life upheaval.

After my interview, I went to the Ferry Building and ate ice cream from Humphrey Slocombe because it was 80+ degrees and the world ends in SF once it’s above 75. (We don’t have air conditioning!) I had the entire day until my flight back to Pittsburgh and I didn’t have the mental brain power to really think about what to do, so I decided to walk the entire city and see in which neighborhoods I could see myself living.

I walked through FiDi, through Chinatown, into Nob Hill and Russian Hill and into North Beach. I kept walking until I ended up on Chestnut Street, which I had been to before (to go to Brandy Melville, ha!). I was overwhelmed by all the restaurants and shops and people talking about piling into Teslas. It reminded me of Shadyside in Pittsburgh. After a quick search of what neighborhood I was in, I immediately texted my boyfriend at the time, “I know where I want to live – The Marina”.

Happy one year of being the perfect neighborhood for me, Marina District. I love that I can walk to yoga and SoulCycle and run along the water and drink green juice and be a yuppie Marina Girl, eating $20 salads. As one ex-boyfriend doesn’t remember saying, you’re a bubble within a bubble.

Now that I’m done waxing poetic, here are the best links of the week. (Today’s featured photo is a Marina run, just FYI.)

Travel
Asia is my favorite continent out of the four I’ve visited. These Asian cities are must-sees in your lifetime.

I kind of love staying in Airbnbs more than hotels (because then I don’t have to forage for breakfast and have more space) but these fashionable hotels are on my list of places to stay.

Lifestyle
I’ve publically stated my need to be more confident. I loved this podcast with Molly Yeh where she said she even plays the comparison game sometimes. These tips from Camille Styles are also helpful.

I am planning on staying in SF for Thanksgiving this year and throwing a Friendsgiving. Studying up on these tips for how to be the hostess with the mostess.

I crazily enough have a few things I need at Ikea that I have to pick up in the next couple of weeks… I might grab one of the Raskog Kitchen Carts since there are so many uses for it (and it’s only $30!)!

Running and Fitness
Well, it’s official – the Treadmill was actually invented as a torture device. I’m really opening El Nino won’t be a thing so I’m not forced to run indoors. I moved to California for a reason, after all.

I’ve been making more of an effort (okay, except the past two weeks) to stretch/foam roll on a more regular basis. My hammies have been tight so I’ve been doing these hamstring stretches for runners.

Food
One frozen banana… 20 flavors of ice cream.

10 crazy localized Dunkin’ Donuts. I had a choco butternut one in the Philippines once that I am still thinking about six years later.

Chat with me:
Do you remember the first time you visited the place you live? Are there stereotypes about your neighborhood – and do you fit them?

Now Trending – Best Links Week of 8.31

Photo credit: 1 /2 / 3

I’m writing this from my house in Pittsburgh (!!!). I started getting pretty homesick (aka missed my dad, grandparents and friends) a couple weeks ago and booked a flight home. Let’s talk about how nice it is to have air conditioning, an actual bedroom and your dad to take you grocery shopping and to cook your meals for you. But don’t get me wrong – I miss SF. My steps are so down right now (#fitbitanxiety is real), avocados are sub-par and I’ve done a great job running into people I’d rather not run into.

Also, this is totally late. Started this last night then didn’t finish it. I had a busy week (obvi) so not much time for reading, but here are the best links I found.

Travel
Last night I had drinks with a friend from college and spoke about my love of traveling to Mexico and Central America… I would love to go to Mexico City, especially because their food is more than just tacos.

I’m sure you caught this essay of a couple who quit their fancy advertising jobs to travel the world. Part of the plan as to make money with odd jobs as they went – and they are quick to remind everyone that their life isn’t as glamorous as Instagram makes it out to look.

I’m going to be spending some time in Los Angeles soon and I will have to hit up Sqirl during one of my trips there! I’ve actually been dying to go since I listened to a Podcast with the chef, Jessica Koslow, and she discussed why you need to use almond milk in lattes if you’re not going to use whole milk.

Twenty foods from around the world you need to eat before you die. This list is clearly totally subjective but it’s a good one.

Lifestyle
I often joke that I can’t wait to be 30 because I’ll have my life all figured out. At this rate, it isn’t looking like it, but these women speak about being 30 in Los Angeles. The thing that got me is that so many are East Coast transplants and love the West Coast lifestyle so much more.

Here’s what SF rent can get you in different cities. Not leaving anytime soon, but also depressing to know I could have a multi-bedroom home for the rent of my 600 square foot studio (albeit beautiful) apartment.

Do you have guests this holiday weekend? Some tips for feeding visitors.

Running and Fitness
Not to get a little dark on you, but this professional runner talks about how anorexia almost ruined her entire career.

Hungry Runner Girl has some great tips on how to rock your long run.

When you don’t necessarily want to do something, maybe think about how you “get” to do it rather than “have” to do it. I thought that pre-SoulCycle, post only four hours of sleep Wednesday and it made it so much more enjoyable.

Food
This article is a few weeks old, but it discusses why millennials are so obsessed with food. I actually may have to read this entire book. But yeah, I think my friends and I sometimes eat at places just to brag about it.

Back to food… it’s everywhere. And how do you say no to everything all the time? Sometimes you gotta give in – then keep on going.

Food scientists have invented an ice cream that doesn’t melt and is even more high protein – sign me up to be a taste tester, please.

I want to start cooking through crazy different ethnic recipes – maybe starting with these Azerbaijani Savory Pancakes.

I’m making these vegetable buns ASAP.

Upgrade your childhood favorite snacks with these homemade versions.

Chat with me:
Why do you think millennials are obsessed with food? How are you spending your Labor Day Weekend? What things do you miss when you aren’t home?

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?

Lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon 2015 Recap

seawheeze 2015 | almost getting it together

A little under a year ago, I hovered my mouse over the “Buy Now” (or whatever) button on the SeaWheeze sign-up page. At the time, I was living in Pittsburgh, no clue where my life was going to be in a year. I had been interviewing up and down the West Coast and it’s no secret I was absolutely frustrated with my life at that point. Committing to a race across the continent a year out seemed like a stretch because I didn’t know where my life would be in one month. Would any friends go with me? It didn’t seem like a trip that would be quite as much fun alone.

I closed out of the browser and went back to doing whatever it was I should have been doing at work, reaching out to bloggers or answering e-mails or paying attention in a meeting. Then in October I moved to San Francisco, met Kay and she invited me to come run SeaWheeze with her in June.

Thursday night I flew in to Vancouver, got in decently late (because I was too impatient to wait for a taxi so I decided to take the train and then service was stopped for a medical emergency and a nice Vancouver resident helped me get on a bus) and pretty much went straight to bed. Since I couldn’t technically go to the SeaWheeze Showcase store when it opened at 8 a.m. since it was runners only and you had to show your ticket with your ID, I slept in (for me, meaning 7 a.m.), went for a little shakeout run and then headed to the race expo to meet Kay and her mom to get the wristband for the race.

In case you aren’t clued in, part of the reason SeaWheeze is so special is the exclusive gear at the Showcase Store. Each year the race has a theme (this year’s was science) and you can buy your favorite Lululemon silhouettes from Pace Shorts to Speed Tights to Scuba Hoodies in exclusive prints that match back to the theme. This is Black Friday for the yuppie crowd. People begin queuing up at 8 p.m. the night before.

By the time I finally made it to the showcase store at 4:30 p.m. or so, most things were sold out. A few good pieces remained in a 2 or 4 (luckily for me) and I scored a new workout bag (instead of using an old Longchamp like a real jerk), a singlet and some socks because I go through them quicker than I do laundry. Uh, also the US Dollar is really strong right now so, okay 30% off Lululemon.

Back to the race expo – it wasn’t crazy when I got over there around 10 a.m. so we walked around, sampled really good kombucha (Rise), 49th Parallel Iced Coffee and goodies from Vega then I waited in a line to get my hair braided because the line didn’t seem too awful to wait in at the time.

seawheeze 2015 | almost getting it together

SeaWheeze Race Expo

By the time I had finished all that, it was nearly noon and I was due to a lunch with the Vega team and a few other influencers at 12:30. I quickly showered and walked to Forage, a Vancouver restaurant that focuses on food sourced locally. I was excited to meet Trevor from the Vega team whom I’ve worked with and is absolutely wonderful to me. The rest of the Vega team was amazing and I also got to meet a few other bloggers, including Angela from Cowgirl Runs! I’ve been reading her blog for years so it was great to meet her in person.

seawheeze 2015 | almost getting it together

Angela from Cowgirl Runs and me at the Vega lunch!

Friday evening Lululemon throws a free yoga class for all participants – and the community – at Jack Poole Plaza. It was really restorative and it felt great to stretch after not doing enough yoga lately/traveling/walking like 13 miles on Friday.

seawheeze 2015 | almost getting it together

Kay and me at the Friday night yoga session.

Saturday morning I woke up at 5:45 a.m., did my pre-race ritual of making peanut butter and banana toast while getting dressed, eating and reading some running blogs and walking to the start. I had a feeling I should over-estimate my pace since I had heard this was a race a lot of beginners run so people often don’t place themselves in the right corral. I found the 1:45-1:55 corral, tried to get close to the front and after the Canadian anthem, we were off pounding the streets.

The first part of the race was so congested but I was actually surprised at how people were actually respectful enough to self-seed correctly in this race. I’ve seen people walking within the first two miles of a sub-2 hour corral group. I’m going to chalk this up to this race being mainly Canadians and them being so polite and respectful.

I had decided I wanted to run for fun and try not to look at my watch too much. The 1:50 pace group was in front of me and I just didn’t want to be around a ton of people and I was feeling good and before I knew it, I hit the first mile at 7:40 (aka not looking at my watch obviously did not work out). Typically in the past this is where I tell myself I have no business running that pace and to slow down but I decided to just see how long I could keep it up.

Since SeaWheeze is in Canada, obviously, the race is marked in kilometers. It’s funny to go from 13.1 to 21.1 (or something along those lines) when thinking about how much of a race is left. I had expected this and also thought not memorizing the distances would force me to not look at my watch (fail).

For the most part, and this is coming from someone who lives in San Francisco, the SeaWheeze course is relatively flat. You run from the Vancouver Civic Centre to Kitsilano, the home of Lululemon, back across the bridge and into Stanley Park where you run along the Seawall and the Pacific Ocean. It was absolutely gorgeous. Lululemon did a great job at having entertainment along points you really needed a booster on the Seawall, including a unicorn on a paddleboard. I really wish I cared less about running good [for me] times and stopped to take a photo.

Another really cool moment of entertainment was riders from Method Cycle (what I guess I would say is Vancouver’s answer to Flywheel), riding on the bridge to Kitsilano.

So, since this is already at like 1000 words – about mile 11 I started hitting the wall, feeling awful, forced through and ran a 1:50:37 – a 5-second PR. Which, you know, I wasn’t unhappy with for not really trying too hard and every little PR is a step closer to 1:45, right?

seawheeze 2015 | almost getting it together

I really need to work on my form when I’m fatigued.

Kay and her mom were cheering me on at the finish line and after I grabbed the Runners’ Brunch (a really tasty liege waffle, grapes, cherries, a strawberry yogurt and an unremarkable quiche), they waited in the massage line with me for about 30 minutes. Saje, a natural wellness brand of essential oils in Canada, was sponsoring the massages. It was fine for a free massage after waiting for 30 minutes – basically she stretched me out – and I really was not sore the next day, so I’m going to say it helped.

The SeaWheeze events culminated in the Sunset Festival where there was a yoga practice led by Alex Mazerolle, a local instructor and studio founder. She was awesome. Really funny and a solid vinyasa practice that was really restorative after running 13 miles that morning. Next time I’m in Vancouver I’m going to have to take one of her classes. There was also food, beer and wine at the festival, a local maker’s market and St. Lucia and Yeasayer preformed. Basically a baby Wanderlust from what I understand.

seawheeze 2015 | almost getting it together

This is me looking snarky in tree pose.

If you want to really get a good feel for the SeaWheeze experience, I suggest watching their video recap. I’ll tell you that I have a reminder set on my phone for September 16th when registration opens for 2016 if you need any more convincing to register.

Stay tuned for a post on what to eat/drink/do in Vancouver once I get around to writing it… I still have a trip to Mexico that I haven’t written about. Eek.

Chat with me:
Have you ever ran SeaWheeze? What race is on your bucket list? What makes or breaks a race for you?

Now Trending – Best Links Week of 8.9

Photo credit: 1 / 2 / 3

I’m currently writing this en route to Vancouver to run SeaWheeze this weekend! I’m so excited and also feeling like I completely forgot something. I think writing this post on things to pack for a destination race helped remind me of a few things (i.e. hat). Plus, if you haven’t entered yet, I’m doing an awesome giveaway with Vega on said destination race post so check that out!

Even though my week was a little busy, luckily for you I had a solid plane ride to find the best links of the week.

Travel
Where you should travel based on your horoscope sign. I know, I’m too California-astrology-weirdo for my own good, but the Pisces one is spot on for me (beach with activities for days because I’m restless + love water).

Traveling together can really make or break a friendship. Here’s what you should look for in a travel buddy.

Lifestyle
So… you want to write a food blog. This satirical post is SPOT ON. If I ever start asking dumb questions at the start of my posts, someone punch me.

I feel like I’m really good at being super positive and upbeat at work for the most part, even though most days it’s kind of stressful. Here’s how you can be happier at work.

Looking for a cool gift sometime soon? Buy something made in your state! I’m 100% surprised WV’s “gift” wasn’t Fiesta Wear.

Uh, I want to throw a pop-up dinner party. I seriously need to plan something for my one year SF-versary/SF Nike Women’s Half.

I really don’t wear my jumpsuit enough… but here are some tips on how to pick the best jumpsuit for you!

Running and Fitness
Want to run your first half marathon? I rounded up a bunch of great half marathons for first timers for Brit + Co. Also if you want to run a Rock n’ Roll race use promo code RUNTOGETHER15 for $15 off!

In honor of Seawheeze this weekend, the Vega team pulled together tips for race day from some of their bloggers (including myself).

Kind of obsessed with this article on what professional athletes eat to perform their best. In another life, I would have been a sports nutritionist.

Susie basically summed up everything I’ve wanted to write lately about when you’re a pacer/coach/whatever, your workout isn’t about you anymore, it’s about them. 

Food
I’m pretty sure I could give up any meal except breakfast. “Not having enough time in the morning” is no excuse to skip the most important – and best – meal. Make one of these 55 (!) Make Ahead Breakfasts from The Athletic Avocado.

I kind of wish I were basic and didn’t care about being a size 0 so I could drink all of these Frappuccinos. I used to kill those in middle school/high school.

Can someone come make these Gluten Free Cinnamon Blueberry Bagels for me? K thanks.

Chat with me:

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?

How to Run Farther: Tackling a New Distance

How to Run Farther - Tackling a New Distance | Almost Getting it Together

A couple weekends ago I had the brilliant idea to go look at my high school cross-country times which were embarrassing to say the least. I told Emily about it the other day and she reminded me that we really peek as runners in our early 30s. I’m glad I didn’t peek at 16 but if I could go back 10 years, I would be placing in the top 10 of races instead of last (true story). Sigh.

I bring this up because I never fathomed running more than a few miles. 3.1 miles sounded ridiculous to me 12 years ago… and now I typically don’t leave my house for less than six. How did I learn to run further?

How to Run Farther: Tackling a New Distance

How to Run Farther - Tackling a New Distance | Almost Getting it Together

A very scary sign to see the day before your first marathon.

  • Start with Small Steps
    Not literally, but figuratively. Never increase your milage more than 10% in a week, so if you’re currently running 10 miles a week, add a mile your first week and so on.
  • Cross-Train
    I know there is a serious correlation in my improvement as a runner and the integration of cross-training in my workouts. I used to run 5-6 days a week and never really do much of anything else. Now I run 4 days a week, go to yoga 1-2 times a week, go to SoulCycle once a week and usually hike once a week. Yoga keeps my muscles happy and limber and SoulCycle and hiking moves my body in ways running doesn’t.
  • Be Ready to Go Outside Your Comfort Zone
    Running any distance doesn’t necessarily always feel good. Some numbers are very scary when proceeded with “miles” – 3.1, 6.2, 13.1, or 26.2 to name a few. It’s going to hurt but it’s going to be worth it. Running is 80% mental and anyone who tells you differently is lying.

How to Run Farther - Tackling a New Distance | Almost Getting it Together

  • Strength Train
    If you expect your body to be able to perform longer and harder than it is used to, you need to incorporate strength training. Runners really need to focus on core and back strength because that’s what holds you up when you’re on your feet for hours at a time – and your form is the first thing to go when you’re fatigued.
  • Get the Right Nutrition
    I’m going to let you in on a little secret – running further distances makes you really ravenous, all the time. Basically the only time I’m not hungry is when I’m sad. (I’m always one break-up or stomach flu from my goal weight.)
  • Do Your Research
    There are lots of training plans, nutrition plans, blogs, books, etc. focused on running further distances. I don’t think there is any right one, but set aside some time to do some research and be open to testing out something new.
  • Listen to Your Body
    I know that running any more than four days a week burns me out. If you’re feeling sore, tired and starting to hate running – back off for a few days and take these steps to get out of a running rut.
  • Focus on Recovery
    Recovery is so, so, so important. There’s no point in increasing your distance and pushing yourself if you undo all your hard work by getting injured because you aren’t recovering properly. Foam roll, go to yoga, eat anti-inflammatory foods and follow my other Long Run Recovery Tips.
How to Run Farther - Tackling a New Distance | Almost Getting it Together

Invest in a foam roller if you’re going to start increasing your distance. I love the Rumble Roller.

Resources

Chat with me:
Do you have a new distance you want to run? What tips do you have for runners wanting to increase their distance?