Queen of California

While this happens to be my favorite John Mayer song (tied with 5 others), it also seems to be a new identity I’m trying out. 7 weeks ago now, I packed up a few suitcases filled with vaccuum-sealed bags of clothing and my Vitamix… and that’s about it, jumped on a plane going west, and moved myself to the Bay Area! Working in San Francisco and commuting from Berkeley (soon to be Oakland), I’ve been enjoying a new life as West Coast Girl. Sunshine 90% of the time, bike lanes found as frequently as man buns (read: very), cafes with specially designed frothable almond milk, and starts up on every block. Literally.

When I moved, I decided to give myself some transition time. Not one to be well-versed in “giving myself a break,” I dove in head first. Most days for the first month, I came home from work and lazed at home. Going from a stressed college life to summer vacation to summer camp to a full time job in a new city is surprisingly exhausting. So I adjusted. I’ve been living with a60 year old Nigerian mom, whose social life is arguably more vibrant than mine. But most nights, we see each other in the kitchen, and then say goodnight as we head into our respective bedrooms. At 9:30pm. What can I say, I’m an old soul and a morning person. [AARP, where you at with my senior specials?] I also wasn’t exercising regularly. While I knew that exercise made me happy, I knew that stressing out about it had the opposite effect. So I ran when I was in the mood, took some Pure Barre classes, and explored Berkeley on foot. I even went for a beautiful hike in Tilden Park, which proved to be emotionally rejuvenating and the most glute work I’ve done in months. Dat booty.

My break also included active self-care. I didn’t journal, or meditate, or practice yoga, or reflect. I decided that being in autopilot for a few weeks was ok: My attention span is limited, so focusing on 1 big thing–getting used to the real working girl life–was all I could handle.

Now, I’m settled in. Life makes sense here, now. Next week, I move into a new apartment with a colleague and her sister where my space can be by own, and my commute is cut in half. I know I’m ready, because the reflecting has begun. I’m realizing my need to stay grounded by the people I love. My best friend, homie homie Allie, visited me this past weekend, and it was like for the first time since July, I could relax my shoulders, like I was breathing clean air for the first time. Being around someone who knew and loved me to the core reminded me who I am and how to love that person.

I am learning that having work life balance means actively creating life outside of work, not merely recuperating from work until you return. My creative brain must fire on just as many cylinders after 6pm as my strategic brain in the office before then. Fatigue is a result of more than exhaustion, but of not energizing myself in ways that matter to me.

I am reminded that my physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional strength all grow in tandem. When I trust and believe in my ability to get stronger, my body follows, I feel better, and I know myself on a deeper level. If I ignore my need to develop my strengths, they work against each other.

And I am relearning everyday that it’s ok for some people to not like me. That is simply confirmation that I am being authentic to my true self and not compromising my identity to be a chameleon. Being unliked by someone does nothing to diminish my value. Unicorns trump chameleons, every single time.

Over the past 2.5 years, this blog has taken many forms. In truth, right now I don’t know what this blog is now. I feel a strong pull to reflect and share my life, if only to help myself understand the innards of my brain, and to express my creative self. This post is surprisingly un-funny, which I’m teaching myself is ok: even Jim Carrey has had uncomfortable conversations with his mom, or sad confessions with his best friend.

I think my plan is to write about my food + fitness + life happiness / revelations. But we’ll see.

xo

Caitlin

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Write and Run 31: Day 2

Alternate title: “Here’s to Award Season! Day 1 of Many.”

Few people know the depth of my love for awards season. I guess that just goes to show how complicated my personality is. I can’t say I’m proud, but I love watching all the nominations, getting really into the drama of the competition, stalking the red carpet, who’s coming with whom, and the amazing speeches. I think it’s a combination of being able to get really invested in something that cannot really impact me negatively, like fantasy football, and the memories I have with my sister of watching. My older sister has always been ahead of the news when it comes to celebrity and Hollywood gossip, so awards shows were a big deal growing up. And because it was cool for Kelly, it was wayyyy cool to me too! In the past few years, we watched as many movies during the holiday season as we could, chat for hours on end with our aunt and grandparents of the merits of each film, print out ballots and take our best picks, then make delicious hors d’oeuvres for the big night and watch in silence (so as to catch every moment).

Thinking about those nights are so special to me, sharing something with my lifetime best friend. It’s not the same, being in NYC with other friends, other friends who talk during the show, who live tweet the reactions and only half listening, friends who don’t share my history of the awards shows. Who don’t get excited and wake up early to watch the Oscar nominations and then text each other about who got nominated for what.

I wasn’t expecting to talk about my sister in this post, but I guess it’s just reflective of a lot of things that have been on my mind recently. I’m graduating from college in 4 months, and then I’m planning on moving to the other side of the country. Which means instead of being a 3 hour drive from my sister and my family and my best friend from high school, I’ll be a 6 hour flight. I can’t help but wonder if this will just be a phase in my life, or if it’s the beginning of being a plane-ride away for my lifetime. A scary thought, for sure.

But instead of thinking about this sadness that I’ve been thinking about so often, let’s talk about running, shall we?

Today, I ran 6 miles. Initially, the thought was to do my run at 8 am, work at 10, and then be productive in my life from 3pm on. But then the alarm rang at 7:30 and the whole idea was laughable as I promptly shut it off. Oh well! I got out on the road at 3 for a not-so-chilly run (it was a sunny 36 degrees!) that was a little rough. My muscles have been incredibly tight since my stair sprints on Thursday night (even after masochistic foam rolling session yesterday), so my calves and shins felt much heavier than usual. And my hip was in incredible pain. So I walked a bit, ran a bit, and overall did 6 miles (even though 1 mile in I told myself I only had to make it through 4. Silly stubborn Caitlin.) But I did it! And after learning the hard way, I went straight to the gym to drain my legs, stretch, and roll ’em out. Man, I really do need to buy my own foam roller! But the gym is only 1 block away, so it’s not particularly urgent.

Now, post-Globes, I’m watching the post-show-show, press-room and fashion recap, while working on my internship work for our first meeting of 2015 tomorrow. I’ve developed a habit of relaxing during the daylight and toiling away at night time. It’s definitely impacting my early-bird tendencies and I don’t think I like it.

Tomorrow is cross-training, so I think I’ll do some yoga.

xo Caitlin

Write and Run 31: Day 1

Anyone who has been reading along the past 2 sporadic years (yes, all three of you) has probably picked up on my penchant for fresh starts, life epiphanies, obsessive habit-changing, and No Meat Athlete. I’m here today to continue business as usual.

Yesterday, I listened to one of the latest episodes of the NMA Podcast (my podcast obsession has only grown), and Matt talked about his new project with his sister, Write and Run 31. The concept is committing to writing and running every day in January. I was sold. I love doing things just to prove I can do them and grow and be challenged and watch myself struggle and overcome. What can I say, it’s a hobby of mine. It couldn’t have come at a better time, either. Over the past 2-3 months, I have struggled to get in miles. My ankles throbbing, my hip flexors compensating, my morale dipped. Every week, I got a little farther behind in my marathon training. Every day I didn’t train, I felt weaker. I hated feeling like my body was controlling my life, not the other way around. My confidence dropped and a voice in the back of my head nagged daily, “you’re not going to be in shape for the marathon. you’ll never heal from this.”

But here we are, in 2015. I’ve got new shoes and like my good friend Paolo Nuitini says, suddenly everything is right! With lots of rest, time off the streets, and understanding that sore doesn’t mean broken, I’m back. My muscles are back in that constantly-slightly-sore-zone that reminds me that I’m strong. My laundry is once again filling faster with sports bras, thermal leggings, and stinky socks. And I’m feeling great.

 

With my athletic mojo back and my marathon training on track, I heard the call to form habits in the creative realm of my life and couldn’t have been more excited. Over the holidays, I made most of my gifts for friends and family; scarves, drawings, and personalized wall-hangings. I picked up the ukulele. It made me realize how much I love exercising my creative mind, but how infrequently I prioritize it. Even now, writing this post, I feel at ease, relaxed, happy. (Which is helpful, because the Patriots’ current performance is causing me enormous anxiety. Pull it together, T.B.) And during my half-marathon training, my blog motivated me to get juicy stories out of my training. I wanted fun stuff to write about, so in turn my training became full of fun things!

So I am back back back, back again! And I’m excited. 🙂

Today’s Workout: Light bike-riding, lots of ab-work, and intensive foam-rolling. 2 days ago, I did a stair-workout and my calves and quads are still whimpering. Tomorrow is a 6 mile run, so I wanted to take it easier today. (I’m interpreting the “run” part of Write and Run as “training.”)

Currently watching: Pats vs. Ravens. Boys are amped up. Edelman is a dreamboat. Crossing fingers and toes for this win.

Currently waiting for: Delivery.com. Hands down the best part about living in NYC is getting sushi and miso soup delivered to my building.

 

TGIF (and PMS, TBH)

Oh yeah, we’re going there.

I swear, I’m not talking about menstruation to be edgy or controversial to get more traffic. I mean, let’s be real we all know there’s like 1.2 people that read this blog.

It’s just that it’s incredibly relevant to my training as it effects everything i think/do/eat/say/feel for these 4 days.

So now that I’ve made this sufficiently awkward… let’s chat! Fun things to know about me: I am STRONGLY affected by my female cycle. Like, every cliche you can think up to the most extreme level–that’s me. Debilitating abdominal cramps, intense fatigue, ridiculously emotionally sensitive, weird cravings and a massive appetite, and yes, often bitchy (although I keep it to internal bitchy thoughts and rarely act on them.)

It’s taken me a solid 9 years, but I’ve finally reached the point where I can tell that when I’m really sad and emotional for 3 days straight, it means by best friend is coming to visit. And I’m not crazy. (Well, not for those reasons. LOL #truth)

Usually, it doesn’t actually affect my running in the literal sense of speed/pain/windedness. It’s all the other things that surround the run that tend to be impacted. Let’s take my half-marathon, June of 2013, for example. The day before the race, my mom + sister + I drove up and stayed in a hotel nearby. That night, long story short, my mom made me feel like shit and my sister wasn’t helping. I was sad/angry/hurt/angry all at once. But the morning of, I tried to shake it off best I could and keep positive (since that’s the cornerstone of my practice).

At mile 8, I got my goddamn period. And it didn’t just quietly announce itself. It stained my shorts in a big way. Looking back, it’s a funny memory because a) I don’t give a F and b) There’s one really cute photo of me thumbs-ing up, but I always crop out the bottom 1/8 because you can blatantly see my shorts.

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On normal, run of the mill, no race, just a training run days, my period most strongly influences my motivation. Typically, my emotions manifest themselves in self-loathing and self-doubt. My exhaustion coupled with my preggo-style bloating don’t help, and I often prefer to stay in bed than to get out on the street (or to the gym), even though my rational mind knows that exercise is *great* for helping menstrual symptoms.

It was really hard today to decide to put on my cold running gear instead of my PJ bottoms and crawl right back into bed. What is easy is using this physical and emotional discomfort as a crutch to fall back on as an excuse for being static. But I prefer to be in motion and to be productive, even if my present-tense hormonal self wants to be a sloth monster. And in the end, I’m so glad that I got to add happy hormones to the hormonal cocktail that is my body right now. Plus, getting outside today makes tomorrow’s run even more exciting.

BECAUSE, regardless of the state of my reproductive system…. today was my first run since Thanksgiving!!! I was very nervous, as I’ve been taking a break for the past two weeks due to my ankle pain (explained in my last post), and I feared it would come right back the moment I hit the pavement. But 2 blocks past, then 5, then a half mile, then 2 miles, and suddenly I had run 5k and only hints of shin pains had emerged. It appears as though I was back on the wagon!

(Despite an incredibly slow time. Like really slow. YOLO. Actually, not YOLO. There was a moment when I looked at my time, and I noticed I was being passed by what looked like a boys’ middle school running club. And I was embarrassed. Wow, 13 year old boys are passing me. I’m some runner. Dressed in this nice cold weather gear, I must look like a total poser who just rolled straight out of Nike [actually all my clothes are from Marshall’s/ TJ Maxx–call me a Maxxinista]. Then I had a moment of clarity: I’ve never run to be fast. I don’t care about improving my times. My motivation has always been self-love and confidence. So who gives a fuck if I’m at a snail’s pace? I’m making myself better. SO YOLO.)

The moral of this whole story: My brain is mush as the semester ends, and I’m hormonal, and I’m sleepy. BUT I’m sleepy after a 4 mile run, for which I am eternally grateful 🙂 🙂 🙂 AND I’m back on that training plan grind, so tomorrow is a lovely 5 miles in the sun! (Fingers crossed!!)

Currently wearing: a Life is Good shirt with a cup of coffee on it and yoga pants because WHAT ELSE IS THERE (seriously thinking about burning my jeans)

Currently working on: Pinterest for work. I’m the luckiest girl alive.

Currently not working on: My final paper, which I very much should be.

Tuesday Morning Rain is fallin’ (aka the apocalyspe)

Let me just acknowledge the elephant in the room up front: it’s been a month + a day since my last post.

Ok, moving on.

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BUT ACTUALLY, the reason for my delay is more than just my busy schedule plus my procrastinating nature. Starting basically right after my last post, I began my training plan, courtesy of No Meat Athlete. For the first few weeks, it’s easy runs on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with a “long” run (basically 3-4 miles) on Saturday. The weather was starting to get colder, but I was persisting! Slightly out of shape, I was slow but kept it up.

Then, one Saturday (November 22, specifically, when the new moon was just moving into Sagittarius. Screw you, Sagittarius), my run was excruciatingly painful! After a minute on the move, my shins and my ankles were screaming in pain. I could only get 2 miles in that run, and even that was a stretch. What had happened? I made it through a full half-marathon training plan without injury, and suddenly with easy 3milers, I’m down?

Then I realized: I had done my previous run on a treadmill. Even that quick 2 mile run, though, was obviously a struggle. I felt my feet pounding down on the belt like a ton of bricks and my shins were feeling spicy. Prime example of why I hate that machine. I mean, I can barely keep up a 5.5 mph pace, and I end up finishing in pain and feeling badly about myself. Stupid machine.

The following week (after my outdoor sad 2 miles), I took some time off running and spent my time at the gym, doing the elliptical and the bike and stairs, since my ankle had shooting pains every time I attempted to run. Then, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I ran the annual road race in my home town with my best friend (she’s doing Boston, too!). Since I had nothing to lose, I tried running in my mom’s Nike Airs, which had arch support inserts in them. Not the best idea (they were practically cinder blocks compared to my Nike Frees), but then again, the pain I felt was comparable to what I would have in my normal shoes.

Moral of the story: it’s been 10 days since that race, and I haven’t run. I decided that it would be best to take some time off training and putting myself behind a few miles rather than pushing myself, hurting myself, and ruining my training altogether.

It sucks, though! Nothing feels so triumphant as finishing a run. Even when it’s tough! And it sucks to not see my mileage increasing along with my training plan, and to have to think about getting new shoes, but not knowing what type I’ll need, since my Nike Frees have served me well for the past THREE YEARS.

But pity party aside, I’m hopeful. When I walk to yoga, decked out in my workout gear, I’ll take a half a block and jog it, to see if my ankle does the whole “OH SHIT YOU’RE RUNNING STOP STOP STOP” thing. And it hasn’t been! Or at least, not so intensely. My plan was to get outside this afternoon and take a trip around a block or two (2 miles or so), but when I woke up at 7:30, the apocalypse was taking place outside my window. So I’ll push it back until tomorrow, which is supposed to be a 4 mile run. (OR NOT SINCE IT’S SUPPOSED TO SNOW. Make it Thursday.) I plan to follow my instincts and make that as long (or short) as feels right.

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But I’m back! For real this time. I recently started interning at an awesome website doing their social media, so I am very much in interwebz mode 24/7. Which is a good thing for this blog 🙂

 

xoxoxo cmoney

 

Currently drinking: chai tea w/ 3 bags + coconut almond milk

Currently watching: The Reed Report. The news is depressing

Currently painting my nails: Grease Lightning Grey, inspired by the weather

 

April 20, 2015

I’m back, ladies and gentlemen!

Because finally, I’ve got something exciting to write about.

I officially have a spot in the 2015 Boston Marathon.

Wait…. WHAT!!!???!?

I can hardly believe it but I will be running 26.2 miles in just over 5 months.

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And I’m lucky enough to be running for an organization whose mission is so in line with own. I’m committing to raising $5,000 for the American Medical Athletic Association Youth Fund, who works to fight childhood obesity with physical fitness programs for school-aged children.
If you’re interested in donating to the cause and helping to inspire me out the door on the tough days, anything helps!

https://www.crowdrise.com/amaabostonmarathon2015/fundraiser/caitlinrowles

Get pumped for some regular posts about running + eating + procrastinating + rambling about that senior-year-in-college-what-is-life stuff.

xo

*Insert James Franco Reference Here*

…because it’s “spraaang breeeeaaaaakkkkk!

Thankfully, my spring break will include none of the horror that movie did (seriously, it was the weirdest, most uncomfortable and messed up thing I saw all last summer). And finally, literally within the last hour, all of my midterms are submitted, and I can go into full on spring break mode!

No sunny, beach trips for me, though this vacation. My break will be a full one, spent babysitting, working, having out with my #1 soul sister, and heading home for a few days. I’ve had these past 2 days to be a sloth on my couch, and that’s plenty of laziness for my liking.

This week was pure insanity for me, from classes to midterms to my second ever all-nighter to my first ever conference call to club stuff to work, and my sleep pattern got super thrown off. It is with great sadness that I admit I am back on the coffee IV. My all-nighter was surprisingly fun, spent with 5 of my friends from work, where we occupied one of the hallways in the lower level of our library (open 24/7 down there). At one point, there was yoga. Downward Dog made an appearance in that hallway around 2 a.m.

Earlier that day, though, I had to embrace the incredible weather NYC was having. The climate has been more temperamental than *this girl* gets about 1/month, so the 55 degree, sunny weather was not to be passed up. I went on a glorious run over to the East River and for the first time since October, I rocked a T-SHIRT! My arms couldn’t have been happier. I also listened to Pandora during my run, which is the first time I’ve listened to anything running since October. It was a wonderful addition. I do love the peace and mental clarity that comes with running free of music/podcasts/distractions too, but there’s something lovely about that upbeat soundtrack cheering you along. (I switched between Jason Mraz radio, Eric Hutchinson radio, and Noah and the Whale radio). Since I was already full of firsts, I decided to hop onto the track I always pass by. Another great experience! I haven’t run on a large track like that since high school (the rooftop one on my gym is 1/7 mile and a completely different experience). It was so nice to stretch and do some ab work after my 3.5 on the grass soaking up some vitamin d.

But the real victory was yesterday. Another beautiful day, another t-shirt weather kind of run. After my weekly visit to my therapist (you gotta do it! so amazing!), I headed out on a jaunt over to my favorite running spot, the Hudson River. I took my music with me and scored big time with the Eric Hutchinson station. I decided to stick to a similar schedule as my half-marathon training, except without any sort of purpose. Basically, 2-3 5k-ish runs during the week and a long run on the weekend. I figured I’d go about 6 yesterday. But I felt so wonderful during that run, had so much positive energy coming from all around – the other runners at the park, the adorable puppies, cute babies (and their hot dads)(judge me), and coming from myself – that I didn’t turn around until mile 4. At mile 6.5, I knew I wanted to make it 8 miles because I was still feeling so great.

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Looking at this as I drained my legs against a light post just truly blew me away. Not because 8 miles was a triumph. But because of the fact that it no longer was a triumph. Exactly a year ago today, I decided I was going to run a half marathon. (Inspired by meeting a girl who had just finished the NYC Half.) At that time, running 5k was my ultimate limit. I can remember being terrified the first time I had my 5 mile long run. The week my long run was 8 miles, I barely got myself out the door. I remember, I planned out the route and did it at Central Park. After I finished that day, I felt such an overwhelming pride for having done something I’d never done before – 8 miles! And I was more sore/hungrier than ever. My stats for that run:

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A year later, and I ran 8 miles just because it was sunny out and because I *can*.

Boy, the things you can accomplish. The things that seem impossible right now can become something you mention in passing because it is so natural. Growing up, I was never a runner. And now, I can run 8 miles because I feel like it.

How freaking victorious is that?!

Now I have to remind myself that it’s ok to go for a 2.5 mile run. Not everything has to be groundbreaking.

On another, more tasty note, I celebrated PiDay! With caramel apple mini pies. I’ve still got one to go 😉

And I’ve decided to spare my instagram followers my obsession with food photographs, and have made a profile dedicated to my noms. And probably fitnessy stuff too!

Follow me @thevegesaurusrex 🙂

Look forward to some imminent insta’s of tasty vegan treats since it’s my friend’s vegan-versary on Wednesday! #CELEBRATEGOODTIMESCOMEON

love, lettuce, and legumes,

cait