Trying Something New

Hey interwebz, how’s it going?

This last year has been a difficult one…lots of struggles and changes. The biggest being that I was laid off from my job of thirteen years this fall. I’m only 31 and although I had several positions at the company over the years, it was the only company I had ever worked for. Though it is definitely a jarring change, it is a change that is long overdue and so I’m actually pretty pumped to see what the future will bring.

Aside from spending hours Netflixing Saved By The Bell (just kidding…sort of…), I’ve been sending out resumes. I don’t have a lot of experience looking for jobs or interviewing, so the whole process makes me very apprehensive.

I’m also nervous about my large wardrobe of clothes that are either inappropriate for work or simply don’t fit anymore.

(2 years of stress eating….really not good for the clothing situation. Two steps forward, one step back, eh?)

I realize that I HAVE  to do something about this so that when the calls start coming in for interviews, I’ll be ready.

Problem?

I am completely incapable of dressing myself.

Seriously. If there are no stained tees or yoga pants involved, then I really just sort of freeze up and panic.

So I decided to jump on the bandwagon and give StitchFix a try.

What is Stitch Fix? I will try to give you a quick rundown:

1) Register with the website and fill out a style survey.

2) Schedule a “fix”, which can either be on a reoccurring monthly schedule or a one time only deal. Once you schedule a fix, your credit card will be charged a $20 styling fee.

3) A stylist goes over your survey and comes up with 5 items of clothing and/or accessories/jewelry, packs them up in a box with suggestions on how to wear them and sends them your way.

4) Once you receive your fix, simply try everything on, and return anything you don’t want in the prepaid priority mail envelope included with your order.

5) Check out online — You’ll be able to make comments about your items so that any future fixes will be more accurate. In addition, if you take all 5 of your items, you receive a 25% discount. Lastly, that $20 styling fee? If you keep anything in your fix, it will go towards the purchase (ex. You keep a $50 blouse, you will only be charged an additional $30 at checkout)

And that’s about it!

So I just got my first fix yesterday:

Image

Cosie was pretty stoked about the whole thing. She figured she’d help me unpack….

Image

Image

Styling suggestions for the items I was sent.

Image

Bensen 3/4 Ruched Sleeve Blazer

Heartbroken! I saw the awesome color on this blazer when I opened my box and I reached for it right away. The material is SO soft and I loved the look and style of this jacket. The problem, however, is that it was WAY too small. Even though it was no where near fitting, I tried it on a few times and kept wondering how long it would take for me to lose 25 pounds. Ha.

One of the problems with me and blazers is that I carry a lot of weight in my mid section…even when I was 40 pounds lighter I couldn’t find a blazer that fit right. Whoever can find me a cute blazer that actually fits gets a prize. For reals.

Verdict: Sent Back

 

ImageImage

Donelle V-Neck Button-Up Cardigan

Right out of the box, I noticed a problem. A hole! Bummer!

I knew I couldn’t keep the sweater, but I did try it on. It was way too form fitting for my chunky mid-section. It was a definite NO. That being said, the material felt nice. Don’t know what the hole says for the quality of the garment though.

Verdict: Sent Back

Image

Mercer Houndstooth Print Henley Blouse

This blouse is a sheer material, but comes with a built-in cami underneath. The shirt fit, but it didn’t really do a lot for me. I sort of looked like a boxy rectangle. I did like the built-in cami though, as it helped smooth out my lumpy bits. I actually spent some time debating this item. Though I didn’t look great in it, it was something that is work appropriate and I really don’t have a lot of items that fit that bill right now. Maybe if it had been cheaper, I’d have kept it.

Verdict: Sent Back

Image

Thisbe Colorblocked Open Draped Cardigan

This item, was a winner. The material is lovely. It also is fairly flattering on me and very comfortable. I almost skipped out on it though, as I do have another open draped cardigan, which is also gray. This one, however, fits me so much better, so I pulled the trigger.

Verdict: Kept!

Image

Just Black Connely Skinny Jean

I also received a pair of black skinny jeans, which I didn’t take a picture of.

They were the most puzzling item for me out of the entire fix. Why? Because Alexa doesn’t do skinny jeans. Seriously, I don’t own ANY skinny jeans. I have a lot of weight in my thighs and my calves are huge. Skinny jeans have always just seemed like a big mistake.

But I gave ’em a go anyway.

I was actually pleasantly surprised….I could get them on! They were too long, so I had to cuff them. Then I looked in the mirror: I couldn’t figure out if I looked stylish and trendy or like a sausage.

I tried several different tops/sweaters/etc with them and I almost kept them. I mean, I wear yoga pants outside, which are skin-tight, and I don’t care about that, right? The deciding factor was that they kept sliding down in the back, which would force me to yank them back up. Maybe I needed a size up? Too much junk in the trunk?

If they had been cheaper, I think I would have kept them despite the fact that the fit wasn’t perfect. But when you’re unemployed, $78 is just too much for something that you’re unsure of.

These pants did, however, convince me of the fact that maybe I should try to find a good pair of skinny jeans that actually fit.

Verdict: Sent Back

Overall, I had a really good experience with StitchFix. Despite only finding one piece that I really loved in the box, I think the stylist got close to what I’d like to try. I’m definitely going to try this again, as the fixes are supposed to just get better and better as they get more information about what works for you. I’ve also made a Pinterest board, which I think will be helpful. If any of you have an interest in giving StitchFix a whirl, please use my referral link HERE so I can get a $25 credit and not have to go to any future job interviews naked!

NOTE: I am not affiliated with StitchFix in any way, shape or manner. I paid for this fix myself and am blogging about it only because it seems like the only thing I’ve had worth blogging about in months.

So this morning, the craziest thing happened.

I woke up, yawned, stretched and thought to myself, “I really want to go to the gym! I want to work out!”

I paused, shook my head a little and listened again, to make sure I was hearing correctly. “I want to work out! Rowing Machine! Treadmill! You name it, I wanna get at it!”

How….strange.

Seriously, I really don’t like to go to the gym. Like, at all. It’s tolerable if you watch Netflix on your iPhone, but otherwise, snoozeville. I’d rather go on a long walk, a short run or essentially do anything else besides go to the gym. This is why I wanted to make sure I wasn’t still dreaming or having some kind of psychotic episode when my brain told me to get up and go to the gym. It didn’t sound like me at all!

But it was!

And I wanted to burn some mad calories…so I did!

When I got to the gym, I had my heart set on the rowing machine. Someone had already snagged one of them, and as they are positioned really close together, I didn’t feel like using the other one. So, I wandered around and found myself in front of a Stairmaster. I don’t think I’ve ever used a step machine….well, unless you count me playing on one of my mom’s friend’s machines when I was a little kid. I ended up doing about 15 minutes on it. My arms were dripping with sweat when I was done…I guess it’s obvious that I don’t walk up enough stairs….

After the Stairmaster, I checked out the rowing machines and they were both free, so I went over there. I did about 18 minutes, though I had to stop a couple of times for water –I was super thirsty today. I was a little concerned about 5 minutes in because I started to have some really uncomfortable pain in my left knee. This isn’t unusual, as I do get pain in my left knee when exercising, but I didn’t like how much it hurt. Luckily, after about 7 minutes it got better and sort of went away. Maybe it just needed to get further warmed up?

Last, I hit up the treadmill. I was going to just jog for 15 minutes or so, but I ended up doing 30 minutes of sprints. I’m sure there are more efficient ways of doing them, but I was essentially just trying to run .25 miles as fast as I could, with really long recovery walks in between. I almost ran at 8 mi/hr, but thought I might go flying off of the machine, so I only did about .12 mile at that speed. Mostly I pushed myself at paces between 6-7.5 mi/hr. Those speeds are super fast for me, as even on race days I only average a 10:30 min/mi. The sprints were pretty addicting. Kept wanting to push myself harder. I would be about ready to end my workout and head to the stretching mats when an awesome Glee soundtrack song would come on and I’d think, “Gee…this would be fun to run to! Okay…just one more sprint!”

After some stretching I showered and hit the road. I had about 90 minutes to kill, so I went back down to Powell and the Westfield Shopping Center for fro-yo and Christmas shopping. I got pretty carried away looking at sweaters in Banana Republic…they were having a lunch time sweater sale with great prices. When I got out of there, I realized I had 15 minutes to get to work….either on the bus or on foot it takes 30 minutes. Oops!

I had planned to post about my last day in Orange County today, but I was much more excited about my weird workout enthusiasm. I’ll finish up tomorrow (promise!). For today, let me spend some time talking to you about spaghetti squash.

Yes, spaghetti squash.

I got one in my CSA box about a month ago and last week I finally had a chance to cut into it. It was awesome!

spaghettisquashhalves

As you can see, it’s a pretty big fella. Once I got in there, I cleaned out all of the guts, then I sprayed a cookie sheet with PAM and placed the halves in the oven to roast for about an hour. Then they looked like this:

roastedhalves

I’m sure most of you know, but the reason spaghetti squash is called spaghetti squash is because when you scrape out the meat, it looks like strands of spaghetti. I had heard so many positive reviews, I was dying to dig in and try this guy out.

spaghettithreads  spaghettithreads2

Pretty neat, no?

One squash yields a lot of spaghetti strands.

bowlsofspaghettithreads

I got a gigantic bowlful from each half. I decided that I would use half for spaghetti squash pasta, and the other half would be turned into spaghetti squash pancakes.

Say what?

You heard me, pancakes.

I received Mollie Katzen’s recipe for spaghetti squash pancakes in my CSA box. I was intrigued. Due to what I had on hand, I ended up changing the recipe. Didn’t work out quite the way I would have liked. I skipped out on the onion and added an ample sprinkling of Garlic Gold Parmesan Nuggets to the mix. Next, I only had liquid egg whites, and while I should have measured them out, I eye-balled the amount. My batter seemed a little too soupy.

battersquash

How do you like my measuring cup? Super cute, no?

While I don’t think my version came out exactly right, they ended up being pretty tasty. I topped mine off with a healthy dollop of Fage Greek Yogurt and a drizzling of Trader Joe’s Cranberry Apple Butter. Delicious!

squashpancakes

The next day, I took spaghetti squash to work for lunch and decided to try out the pasta method. I didn’t have anything to make sauce out of, so I just used a store brand roasted garlic tomato sauce and then topped with some parmesan cheese.

spaghettisquashpasta

No, presentation isn’t high on my list when sitting at my desk.

The important part was that it was so good. I can’t believe I have lived this long without spaghetti squash in my life. I want another one…like now!

What is your opinion of spaghetti squash? How do you like to serve it?

I know all of you are busy catching up on all of the amazing Thanksgiving dinner posts that are out there.

I didn’t have Thanksgiving dinner.

(but they all look delicious and I am super jealous of you all.)

Since my family wasn’t really having a Thanksgiving dinner this year and because I didn’t have to work, I wound up having an untraditional holiday. My co-worker and I went to the race track.

The two of us are definitely gamblers at heart. We usually go to Nevada twice a year, but due to financial struggles, we missed out this fall. Whenever we pass Golden Gate Fields on our way back from Reno there is always a “We should go there sometime!” conversation, but as our work schedules conflict with race days, we’ve never been able to. Luckily, this year we both had Thanksgiving off and nothing to do. The plan was to get up and have him pick me up at my place at the same time we normally head for work.

Being tired and hungry when Thanksgiving morning came, we decided to stop off at a local 24 hour diner, The Lucky Penny, for breakfast before we headed across the bay.

coffee

I started off with coffee+cream. I don’t normally use cream in my coffee, but this cup wasn’t overly flavorful, so I indulged.

My friend Peter and I discussed what to have for breakfast. We both were in the mood for a typical eggs, pancakes and meat meal. There is one meal that comes with regular sized pancakes and another that comes with silver dollar sized ones. Recalling that the pancakes are normally the size of our heads, we opted to get the silver dollar sized meal. It wound up being gigantic.

morningspecial

Why yes, I would like some food with my butter…..yikes….

With our bellies full of reasonably tasty diner food, we hopped onto the freeway and made our way towards the ponies.

golden

Once we got there, it was time to figure out how to make this outing a little “interesting”. Peter had been horse racing before, but it was my first time. He had planned to show me the ropes, but as it turned out, it had all become digitized since the last time he had been….he didn’t know any more than I did! I guess we’re dumb, or something, but it took us nearly an hour to figure out how to place bets using the machines. Aren’t we a sorry pair? Luckily, we did eventually figure it out. Heck, by the end, we were old pros.

bets2 bet

Don’t worry. In all of the other races, I was betting $2….I just got a little excited with that first race…cough…

Once our bets for the first race or two were in, we wandered around the various areas in the spectators sections of the track. It was a fairly nice day outside. Clear and crisp.

ggfields

ggfields2

The problem was that it was also freezing. I don’t think it really got up past 45 degrees while we were there. After looking around a bit, we decided to get some coffee to warm up our hands.

cappuchino

I decided on a “cappuccino”. It came from a hot chocolate machine, cost $3.50 and tasted nothing like a cappuccino. It was warm though.

After putzing around, it was finally time for our race day to begin. I watched them set up the gates…large tractor like vehicles kept moving them around the track depending on what distance each individual race was. Interesting.

gates gates2

Eventually, there were horses.

raceprep

prance

They sort of mill around and do a stroll around the track before it is time for them to enter the gates. I made many attempts to get pictures of the race, but it all happens so fast. Never really got a good shot. Did get a few nice pictures of horses though.

horsewinner2 horsewinner

Number 2 was the winner. Those people had “sponsored” that particular race and they got to take a professional picture with the winner.

At some point our greasy spoon breakfast started to wear off and we went in search of a snack. Our options were limited. There aren’t that many concessions choices, plus not all of them were even open due to the holiday and its low attendance. Peter really likes peanuts, so we wound up with a bag of those. We almost killed the whole bag.

peanutsbag

insidepeanuts    peanutshells

Then we resumed looking at the horses.

horses4

Number 3 was my choice for a winner. Came in 3rd. Oops.

horsenumber3

Overall, I had a good time, but unfortunately, we learned that neither Peter nor I have the gift. We only won $2.60 a piece. We spent MUCH more than that. Fun is great, but I sure wish my wallet didn’t look like this:

emptywallet

Ouch.

What did you do for Thanksgiving? Ever been to the race track?

I awoke Tuesday morning, suffering from a case of deja vu:

Why is there no food in my house??

Okay. Fine. One more OIAJ day, since I had leftover oatmeal from Monday.

In the mix: Steel Cut Oats w/banana & ChiaFresh, three halved strawberries and a sprinkling of Scharffenberger cacao nibs. Nutella jar full of win.

After breakfast, I pretty much did nothing for several hours. I knew I should get up, exercise and do some chores, but I definitely had a case of the blahs. Sometimes I feel guilty about not accomplishing anything on my days off, but I have to remind myself that tons of people do nothing on Saturday and Sunday. Tuesday and Wednesday are my weekend, and if I’m burned out from my work week, there ain’t no shame in vegging.

After some guilt, I decided that I would allow myself to wallow for most of the day, as long as I got up and did something active for at least an hour. I thought about what it would be and then I decided. While Monday wasn’t the right time for it, Tuesday was. I was going back to the gym.

For a class. A Zumba class.

I haven’t done very many group exercise courses at the gym. It was one of my goals in 2008 to incorporate them into my routines, but other than Cardio Kick, I never really got myself to show up. I can’t help it. Group exercise intimidates the heck out of me. I’m not coordinated in any sense of the word and I have a hard time getting the moves down. This is why I prefer to exercise on my own. I run alone so I don’t have to feel bad if I’m not as good as my running partner. I work out at the gym alone so that I don’t have to feel competitive or embarrassed. Group exercise definitely is outside of my comfort zone.

On the other hand, group exercise, when I can make myself attend, can be really fun. I had a pretty steady ritual with Cardio Kick for a few months in 2009. I was never any good at it, but the time went by quickly and it certainly kicked my butt when I stepped up the moves with jumps and higher kicks. With this idea in mind, I made myself go to Zumba. I told myself, while you may be a total spazz, you will at least be getting exercise and who knows, you might even have fun.

Aside from watching a few youtube videos of gym based Zumba classes from some gym on the east coast, I really had no idea what to expect from a Zumba class. I really am not a research, study, make detailed plans kind of exerciser. I mean, sure, with running I’ve read up some…as I have with strength training (not that I strength train….but, you know, I’ve read about it…). When it comes to classes, however, I might just look at an example of what a class might look like, and then decide if I think it would be fun. I don’t expect group exercise classes to burn tons of calories…I just assume that it’s something to get me off my butt for an hour. No matter what, that can’t be a bad thing!

My Zumba class was taught by this really energetic guy. I guess there are a lot of regulars in the class, as when he came in, he started greeting people by name and explaining to them that he had a new routine to try out. He also giggled and showed the class that he had notecards, explaining that working out a new routine makes him a little nervous and he wanted to be sure he didn’t mess it up. I thought that was kind of cute and endearing.

We started off with some warm ups, with arm movements and hip swaying. I must admit, I felt a little awkward. I have no dancing skills, whatsoever. I don’t really ever….shake….anything. At least not intentionally. I got over the weirdness pretty fast though, as everyone just seemed to be having fun. We moved from the warm up into several numbers….some hip hop…some more pop….some traditional. The teacher showed us each of the moves, broken down slowly, several times before we took things at tempo. I was really appreciative of the fact that this was a new routine week, as everyone needed a few extra tries before moving up to tempo. After every song, the class would clap and we would receive praise for our efforts. That was cool. I like praise. My ego is fragile, you know.

All in all, it was a fun way to kill an hour. I never really got my heart rate up too high, but I attribute some of that to the fact that I was still struggling with the moves a little bit. I think I would do it again. It was a fun, comfortable environment with everyone moving at their own level. I need to be able to move at my own level. Seriously. Afterwards, I debated running upstairs and trying to get in on that Intro to Yoga class that I always mean to attend. Problem was that I wasn’t sure if it had started yet, and I didn’t want to walk in all sweaty to a class that was already getting their zen on. Maybe next week.

Afterwards, I did this:

What? You don’t end your workout routines with giant cups of frozen yogurt? Your loss!

In the mix (wow..two mixes, one post. can you dig it?): Mostly tart froyo with a dab of cake batter, raspberries, mint chocolate cookies, a couple of hunks of cheesecake and crushed almond rocca.

I actually had no intention of having this much…but the yogurt and topping dispensers sort of exploded into my cup. Oh well. Sorry for the unattractive picture, but I was in a mall, armed only with my iPhone. Plus, DIY froyo just typically isn’t all that pretty.

It tastes good though.

I meant to post this last night, but I was still feeling kind off. I had no interest in the internet so I opted for watching The Biggest Loser, Parenthood and a ton of episodes of Glee from Season 1. It may’ve not been a productive evening, but it made me happy.

Feelings on group exercise — yay or nay?

 

 

First, the delicious:

I ate way too much food yesterday. No apologies from me, however. After my wonderful Fleet Week fare at work I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have one more treat. I was on my 4 mile walk home when I passed by my favorite, Loving Cup, and got this:

IMG_2412 

Chocolate fro-yo with Nutella blended in, topped with Oreos. Sinfully amazing.

I almost thought that my dessert was going to hold me over all night and I wasn’t going to need any dinner, but at about 7:30 or 8pm, my stomach started growling and I realized I was going to have to cook something after all. Originally, I had been planning to make some type of pasta, but that just sounded too heavy after everything I ate yesterday. In the end, I decided to try making something I had never made before.

Balsamic Strawberry Omelet

IMG_2413

I halved several strawberries and mixed them with about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sugar.

IMG_2416

After a few minutes of cooking them in a greased (just with cooking spray) frying pan, they started to thicken up a bit. The smell was out of this world.

IMG_2384

Then I took two of my fresh CSA eggs (the first two in the first row, actually) and made up an omelet in a clean frying pan. At this point, I would like to show you an amazing picture of omelet making, but since I typically screw up omelets and wind up with scrambled eggs, I was concentrating and had no time for photography.

I can, however, show you the finished product:

IMG_2417

I topped it with a few uncooked strawberries.

I must say, this is one of the best things I’ve ever cooked. I can’t believe how simple it is either. If you’ve never tried fruit in your omelet before, I suggest you try it out, stat. I also implore you to get some fresh eggs. These eggs tasted unbelievable. Really, the eggs they sell at the store can’t compare.

Secondly, the dilemma:

Soon after running my first 5K, I knew I wanted to run several more races this year. One of the races that I thought would fit my schedule was the “Run Wild for a Child” 5K. The course is located very close to my house and the Panhandle, my normal running area, is part of the route. I figured doing it would be a no brainer.

I was looking around at the site the other day and I checked out the course map. I realized that the course that the 10K (the race has both a 5K and a 10K event) runners will be taking is almost identical to the route I wound up on when I got lost in Golden Gate Park last Tuesday. It’s actually the route that I would sort of like to eventually be part of my running routine.

I started thinking: I know I can already walk the 10K distance comfortably. The course is close to my home and I could actually train running the actual race route. If I didn’t feel confident enough by race day, I could always ask and see if I could drop down to the 5K.  Why not try to run the 10K instead?

The thing is, I’m barely at the point where 5K feels comfortable. It still feels slightly difficult. Doable? Sure. No doubts. It still leaves me wiped out though. I really don’t want to push myself to run a longer distance race before I’m ready. I really don’t want to do too much too soon.

On the other hand, since I have no races longer than 5K out in front of me, there’s not a lot of incentive to push myself farther and become capable of longer distances. Maybe a goal like this is exactly what I need to try to inspire myself to do better.

I’m not sure.

I don’t have to register for quite some time, so I can think on it. Just not sure of the right decision for me.

How do you decide what race distance is realistic for you? What factors do you consider?

Many young adults (Wait…am I still considered a young adult? Eeep!) can’t wait to get away to strike it out on their own, and while the idea has always been appealing to me, I just can’t bring myself to leave.

When your hometown is San Francisco, how could you?

I am one of the few, the proud — a NATIVE San Franciscan. That’s right. I was born here. At Kaiser Permanente on a late spring day in 1982. While I did live on the peninsula for a bit, I never really left. I attended all K-12 grades in the SFUSD. I went to City College of San Francisco and then later to San Francisco State University. For the several years that my identification said I resided in San Bruno, I actually lived in the city.

The city has everything.

So I must consider myself lucky to be able to avail myself of so many amazing things, right?

Absolutely.

I must always be taking advantage of all that my city has to offer, right?

Um, well…eh heh….

It’s true. My city is a huge mecca of activity, culture and opportunity.

But really, I hardly ever take part in any of it.

This is something that I’ve been trying to change since I moved out on my own. I’ve been trying new restaurants and exploring the places that San Francisco is known and loved for.

Places like, for instance, Golden Gate Park.

The only part of this massive park I’ve ever spent any time in is the area right adjacent to the Haight Street entrance. There’s a playground there with these huge cement slides. You grab a piece of cardboard, climb up the stairs/hill, throw a handful of sand down ahead of you and slide down. It’s tons of fun. This is also the area where the big carousel is. My father took me here a lot as a kid and I hung out there later with friends for birthday parties and such. Until yesterday, this was pretty much all I knew about Golden Gate Park.

Yesterday I decided to go run in the park. I consulted a map, briefly, but didn’t make any really concrete plans. I figured I’d walk to the park, do maybe a 3-4 mile jog/walk, and then head home.

Things started off well.

I decided to eat a Glo Bar on the walk to GG Park, as my breakfast had long since worn off. This was my first time trying this flavor and it was one of my favorites! It reminded me vaguely of a Thin Mint Girl Scout cookie in granola bar form. I liked it a lot.

I had a really pleasant walk to the park.

(I packed some cash in my Spibelt in case I needed to stop off for a drink or calories at a store. It was a good thing I did.)

Golden Gate Park was beautiful yesterday.

Unfortunately, soon after the Rose Garden, I somehow got off the beaten path. I took a wrong turn. There were points in there where I was in completely forested areas where it was dead silent and I was alone. It was a pretty dumb move. I kept thinking, “Wow. If someone leapt out of a bush and killed me, no one would find me for weeks in here….”

Eventually, however, I got back on track.

When I finally got out of the park I was waaaaay farther away from home than I meant to be. I had been jogging/walking/hiking for over five miles! I exited at Lincoln and 19th Ave and started the walk/jog home. I was getting very hungry, so when I hit 9th Ave, I crossed over a street to Irving and hit up a Starbucks. I tried ordering a Vivanno, but they were out of bananas! Noooo! I ended up ordering a tall mocha frappuchino and they threw in some whey protein powder for free, since they couldn’t make what I wanted. It helped a lot.

Needless to say, after covering 7.75 miles, I was exhausted when I got home. I showered and then plopped myself down to ice my knees. I didn’t have any ice though. Problem. What did I have?

My ice pack was "fat free" and a "good source of fiber".

Then afterwards, I turned my ice pack into dessert.

My ice pack was delicious!

Are you a meticulous route planner when preparing for a walk/run, or do you like to just go out into the world and get lost?

I’ve been postponing making a first entry in this blog, as the decision of what to say first was weighing heavily on my brain. I went through tons of ideas and just couldn’t pick out where to begin. Luckily for me (and hopefully you!), something happened yesterday that ended all of the useless planning.

I ran my first race!

Now in the blogging world, that may not seem like such a big accomplishment. But it is. Let me explain.

I used to be overweight. I’m about 5’6″ and at my heaviest, I weighed about 232 lbs (though my doctor told me after I had already accepted this as my start weight that I had actually weighed closer to 240 lbs at a previous visit…). As you can imagine, I was really unhappy. All of my pictures looked a lot like this:

vegas05.jpg

Now as you can see, this girl to the left is smiling. Heck, she even is giving the thumbs up sign. But she isn’t happy and it shows. I literally felt trapped in this body. I always felt tired and sick, though at the time, I had no idea why. You see, I had always been this way. My whole family is this way. Overweight, unhappy and lost.

I won’t get into the weight loss story here, as that is a post in itself. The fact of the matter is that this girl to my left had a saying: “Alexa doesn’t run.” I really used to say that. My co-worker is a very serious, competitive runner. He does crazy things like run the Boston Marathon. He was always encouraging me to give it a try and I would just say with a very serious face, “Alexa doesn’t run.”

You see, running and I have had it out for each other for as long as I can remember. In elementary school, I wasn’t capable of running in the relay races because I would have coughing attacks. They may have even been psychosomatic, as I got teased relentlessly for being slow. I was always the last picked for teams in gym and in middle school, the thing I despised about P.E. the most was the dreaded mile run. I think I only passed it ONCE. In 6th grade. With a D- time. Eventually I gave up even trying to run the thing and I would simply walk the 2.5 times around the block that the mile comprised. Most of the time, the gym teacher would say something like, “Oh jeez. We don’t have time to wait for you if you’re not going to even bother to try. Just sit down.”

Hey, works for me. Now instead of having to run around the block, I only had to walk around it once! Score for the fat kid!

grad.jpg

Anyway, since those youthful days of shame and teasing, I have changed. About 3 years ago I started on the path of cleaning up my lifestyle and I lost somewhere in the ballpark of 90lbs. I’ve put maybe 15lbs back on over the last year, but I’ve maintained most of the loss and I certainly didn’t give up on the healthy lifestyle. Though I have had lapses, I’ve still tried to keep myself active. I walk 3+ miles to work when I can. Last year, I learned how to swim (yes, you read correctly, at 27 years old, I didn’t know how to swim…and I live in a coastal area…). I have a gym membership. I hike. But running? Eh….no.

oneleg.jpg

I tried to like running. I went back to my old middle school and made myself run around the block. Sort of battling old demons, you know? Nope. Still hated it. I tried to get into it on the treadmill several times, but I just couldn’t make myself finish C25K. I hated the treadmill. How boring. A couple of months ago, however, I decided to try something. I had a theory. Maybe I didn’t need to face old demons or run in place for 30 minutes. Maybe I needed a whole new experience. So I put on my running shoes and took off for “The Panhandle”, a stretch of park in San Francisco that, well, looks like the handle of a pan. I tried to jog it. It was painful. I had to stop a lot….but you know, I didn’t hate it. Over the next few weeks, I kept trying and I got better.

Hey, maybe this running thing isn’t so bad.

I’ve been doing this run for a while now and I’ve gotten myself up to a 2.5-3 mile course. Only problem is that I still have to take walking breaks. These breaks really slow my pace down and they sort of made me think that I was no where near ready to run a race. But all around me, people in the blog would run races. My co-worker runs races. Maybe I could run a race. I ended up picking a really small 5K to try — The Marina Green 5K. It is put on by a local running club, Dolphin South End Runners. They put on a race almost every week that is low key and cheap (read: $5 for a non-member!).

I went back and forth about whether or not I would show up. I had been feeling pretty sick on Saturday and I got NO sleep the night before the race, thanks to my cat Cosette (Cosie, for short!) finding a moth in my apartment to hunt all night. Cosie, I love you, but you are too darned loud!

cosie.jpg

In the end, I decided to go. Though it is my normal tendency to not tell anyone about my goals in case I fail (yeah, I know, unhealthy…), I actually had told several people about my intent to run this race, so I really didn’t want to let anyone down. Most of all, I didn’t want to let myself down. After all, there was nothing to lose…no matter what my time ended up being, it would still end up being my PR, right?!

So I decided to do this thang!

Breakfast: One slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and 1/2 banana. 1 cup of coffee (not pictured)

breakfast.jpg

Observing the crowd:

runners.jpg

Nervous…I am going to run a race?! What?!

nerves.jpg

Finished!

170 out of 205 runners; 33:17 total; 10:44 pace

(and I ran the WHOLE thing! No walking breaks, baby!)

finished.jpg

The moral of this story?

Alexa DOES run!