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.

*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

Everybody’s twerkin’ for the weekend.

After such an insanely  booked week, I was beyond ready for this lovely, quiet, relaxing weekend. Well, not *entirely* quiet and relaxing, but overall rejuvenating nonetheless.

Friday was Pure Barre!! My friend Jaime and I have been trying out different fitness trends (Jaime did an individual trampoline class, and we’ve been running and doing yoga) getting ready for Muderella, and since both of us had raving recommendations for Pure Barre. So we gave it a try! 7:30 Friday morning, we showed up to the studio, were set up by the sweetest instructor in the middle of the room, and for the next 55 minutes, had our butts kicked! If you were to look at us from the outside of the studio, I’m sure that most of it would look silly because the majority of the poses, you’re just *squeezing*. The pulses are all about moving your muscles like 1 or 2 inches. But MAN did we enter the “shake zone.” My prediction of muscular jello was spot on.

I can tell a workout is good when I find muscles sore that I didn’t know existed, and Barre was no exception. And because I’m a sucker for workouts and good deals, I snagged the new client special and now have unlimited classes for 1 month! I’ll be starting my month post spring break, so I can get the most out of it. Stay tuned for more, maybe I’ll have some sweet guns by the end of my month!
But *yesterday* was such an incredibly beautiful day! The weather was warm, and so after work, I went for a beautiful and long run. My legs were still pretty spicy, but these days, seeing the sun and feeling that little bit of warmth practically screams at me to get out the door and over to the Hudson River. Being in that atmosphere, with happy couples enjoying the sun, runners, bikers, adorable children and puppies PLUS the adrenaline of running gives me such joy that I can’t compare to anything. So that jaunt turned into 6.5 miles! Of pure magic. And another round of jello. But luckily, I spent my night “babysitting” (read: playing with the boys for 20 minutes, putting them to bed, and watching Frozen on the couch) and restoring.

When I went to bed late last night (read: 10:30 p.m.), I already knew I had to give my body a rest today. I ventured over to the far away land of Brooklyn and, after some subway incompetencies, made it to Le Pain Quotidien for brunch with my best friends from freshman year. My pot of coffee (yes, I am reintegrating caffeine into my diet……… my will power is nonexistent) and warm pear quinoa cereal bowl hit the spot, and conversation with beautiful women strolling through Prospect Park were needed refreshment.

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And as my friend  (read: fellow vegan athlete!) and I were walking back to the train station and talking about veganism, we ran smack dab into a vegan ice cream place. Taking it as a sign from something higher, we treated ourself.

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On my way home, I stopped at Whole Foods for some of my first Vitamix pantry staples. Almonds (for almond milk + butter), tahini (hummus, duh!), Nutritional Yeast (I ran out for the first time ever and have been lost w/o it), chia seeds (way too many for way too much $$$ but they will last and my health is WORTH it), and oats (read note about nooch). And somehow successfully managed not to splurge on any of these:

 

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CHOCOLATEEEE (*in the voice of dude from spongebob ep)

 

I made my almond milk, and it is abundantly clear that I do need to get a nut milk bag, because although it’s completely liquified, there’s a grittiness that’s just not tasty. Next up? Almond butter! Hummus! The chick peas are soaking, and I’m waiting to finish all my current jars of nut butter (though we all know that won’t take long at all).

Tomorrow? Back to classes, work, yoga, and getting my hair did! I’ve been rocking the roots for so long that they’ve taken on a new life.

 

Currently watching: Keeping Up with the Kardashians. I hate it but I just can’t turn it off. Judge me.

Currently eating: nothing because my sweet potato/green bean/red bean/balsamic salad was too good to eat slowly and it’s already gone

Currently procrastinating: writing my midterm papers because W/E (jk I’m just good under more pressure)

 

hasta la vista,

xoxo C

 

Day 77 (13.1 miles later!!!)

Happy Monday!

It was a pretty uneventful weekend…

OH WAIT THAT’S RIGHT–

I ran a half-marathon!!
After 77 days and 11 weeks of preparation, lots of running and tough motivation, some silly blogging, I’ve finally accomplished my goal.

I woke up yesterday morning with butterflies in my stomach. Saturday night found very little sleep, as I’d somewhat expected. My training plan explained that it’s more important that you get sleep *2* nights before the race because really, everyone’s nervous the night before the race and will inevitably be tossing and turning. I just couldn’t stop thinking: “I *know* I’ve prepared the best I could, but I just cannot fathom DOING this!”

But I woke up at 5:45 yesterday morning, turned on some JT to wake up my family and get myself pumped, made some coffee, drank my chia fresca that I’d made the night before, ate my bagel with almond butter and an apple, then headed off to the race.

Word for the wise: if you’re going to a race with 5,000 runners, there WILL be traffic, no matter how early you think you’ll be.

Fairfield had a sweet set up where you could park at the train station and shuttles would bring runners and spectators over to the beach. Oh yeah, the race started and ended on the beach. Thank God, too, because that 84 degree heat would have been unforgivable without the Long Island Sound breeze.

I made my way over on the shuttle, picked up my number (2453!!! my new lucky number), checked my bag, scrambled to find an open port-o-potty, and made it to the starting line with about 3 minutes to spare. But who’s counting?

starting line selfie made possible by my decision to bring crookshanks (my phone)

starting line selfie made possible by my decision to bring crookshanks (my phone)

It’s hard to describe how I was feeling when the announcer said “We are 30 seconds from starting, folks!” Somewhere between excitement, nerves, fear, and yet a sense of calm– I was ready to do this.

And off we went! I kept reminding myself during that first bit not to let my adrenaline get the best of me and to keep my pace– even if I felt unstoppable. That’s one thing that NMA always stresses to be aware of because you’ll be sorry for it 10 miles later. So I jaunted along that first mile, smiling at the spectators and their awesome signs (my favorite of which was a little girl holding a sign that said “Worst Parade EVER” lolz). I finished mile 1 in a little over 11 mintes: exactly on track. I wasn’t very thirsty but heard the voice in my head reminding me that the ideal is 1 cup of water every 15 minutes. In this heat, even with as much shade as there was, I knew it would be essential. You know what’s ridiculously hard? Drinking out of a paper cup while running. I’m putting it on my top 5 most challenging things list.

I had overheard someone saying at the starting line that there were 2 big hills at the beginning, so as I was running my second mile, I kept an eye out. Then there it was– a total monster. But whatever, I’ve climbed some huge hills in my town training, so I just went into it with a positive attitude. And then it was done!

I kept about the same pace and when I hit mile 7, I started to get excited. Over halfway there!!! AMAZING! Holy crap I’m half way to becoming a half-marathoner. But that means there’s still 6 to go… To keep my head in a positive place, I turned that around by saying yeah, then at the end of this mile it’ll only be 5, and then when I finish 9, just 4, then after that I’ll have done 10 which I’ve killed before, and it’ll be less than a 5k left!!

At mile 9, I remembered that I had gotten my period the day before. Oh yeah, I’d almost forgotten because in terms of my reproductive system, I felt physically awesome. Next port-o-potty I came upon, I stopped, took care of business (thank God for my waist pack and the room I had to bring stuff) and made my way. I hated to stop to waste probably 30 seconds of my time. But oh well!

The last 3 miles (or no man’s land, since never before had I run more than 10 miles), I started to feel like I really was about to finish a half-marathon. Except then every mile felt like they were taking forever. I kept thinking I’d be coming up on mile 11 when in reality it was probably only 10.3. But it really started to feel real when the spectators started saying things like, “this is the last corner!” “You have less than 2 miles!” “you’re about to do what you came here for!” And I was READY.

Suddenly I turn the corner and see the huge crowds. I can’t see the finish line though.

Embarrassing Caitlin moment: I saw the huge banner that was the starting line and in my moment of adrenaline thought that was the finish line. So I get that “sprint this last bit and give it all you got because it’s all you need!!!” run going and people are cheering, and then I pass through it, and everyone around me is still shuffling along. That’s when I see the huge firetruck ahead with the American flag and hear the announcer up *there*. Oh. Guess I need to find another energy store!

I did when at that moment I saw my mom and my sister cheering me on. I booked it until I crossed the line and then that was it. I DID IT!

Holy crap. I just ran a half-marathon. I actually started crying a little. Then I started to feel the muscles in my legs in a way that I never knew was possible. But then I realized that my mouth was crazy dry and my shorts were a mess, so I limped to the water station and the bathroom then reunited with my family. They were so proud of me and frankly, I was crazy proud of myself. I still am. I ran a half-marathon. WHOA!!!!

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The saint that she is, my sister had my Vega bar waiting for me and I demolished it, as well as a banana and some “orange drink” that they had. I wish I had seen the baguettes they were giving out.

On our way back home, we grabbed smoothies at a cafe I had wanted to try called “Catch a Healthy Habit.” RIf you’re ever in Fairfield, GO THERE. I had a minty-chip smoothie with added avocado and protein. Deeeelish.

The rest of my day entailed a 3 hour car trip, bringing my sister to the doctor, and overall eating everything in sight. I literally could not be satiated. I can’t even begin to explain how much I ate. It got to the point where I was distressed at 10 last night because I just wanted to stop eating.I guess that’s what happens when you run for 2:27:58

After I watched Nik Wallenda cross the Grand Canyon (arguably the most stressful event of my short life) I slept like I’d had anesthesia.

 

Things I’m really happy about re: the race:

1. I don’t think I could have been better nutritionally prepared. I didn’t feel any hunger or energy fatigue once throughout the race. Afterward, my stomach wasn’t the slightest bit upset (other than being completely ravenous all day) and there was no indigestion.

2. I never stopped jogging except for my 1 bathroom break and to actually get a sip of water without spilling it all over myself. Throughout the race, most people I saw stopped to walk parts of it. I’m sure their times weren’t any better or worse because of it since they were probably able to run faster when they were running, but my goal was endurance. I kept telling myself “I didn’t come to walk a half-marathon, I came to run it.”

3. I kept a positive attitude the whole time. At mile 2, I overheard a spectator saying “They look a lot different when they come around the second time,” meaning that when runners passed by his house again around mile 11, there was a lot less cheer. I told myself that I would look just as happy as I did the next time around, and that’s the attitude that fueled me throughout the race. I started with a smile and I finished with one too! And frankly I think it’s the only thing that pushed me to the end. I know that as soon as I would have told myself it was too hard or that I can stop if I want to, my body would have physically tired. Telling myself I could do it was what made it true.

4. My muscle soreness is almost entirely gone. My glutes and my quads are a little spicy, and my left knee is feeling slightly weak. But other than that, I’m sure I could do a full workout today (even though I’m not because hey my body deserves a break… it earned it!!) And I owe my body’s recovery 100% to my veganism and my training.

5. 3 months ago, I set a goal that seemed so far off and impossible. Running 4 miles was a stretch. But I did it! It’s proven to me that anyone can become a runner, or accomplish any goal they set– truly. I can remember 8th grade gym class, when we had to do “The Mile.” It was a treacherous day that I struggled to overcome and felt terrible after. But here I am, a half-marathoner!

Now I have to figure out what to accomplish next!

My half-marathon blogging is over, but I may just continue sharing my health and fitness stories on here. But we’ll see.

Because now, I’m taking a movie day. Brave? Good Will Hunting? This is the End? All of the above?

thanks for reading and letting me be weird and sweaty,

xoxo caitlin