SLO Marathon Ambassador. College Grad. Joy Chaser.

Leave of Absence [Life In The Fast Lane]

A blur. Life has been a total blur. 

A leave of absence from the blogging world, the health and fitness world, and basically the social world has left me in a completely new place. A new place you might ask?

A new city. A new apartment. A new mindset. A new social group, or lack thereof. A new stream of social media gurus that I now follow, including an increasing obsession with floppy eared furry friends. A new day to day routine. A new job. New coworkers. New life.

I have started a new life. And although some health concerns, some financial insecurity, and some self esteem issues followed me up California’s valley, I have a new life and it’s one I’m desperately trying to get my footing in.

With that being said, the direction of this blog is changing. Health and fitness will still be a large part of it, but it will be transitioning into a lifestyle blog. A lifestyle blog that looks at all aspects of life, including health and fitness, as well as other things. (Inspirations include sweatandthesweetlife and apartment34). 

So welcome, welcome to my new life, my new lifestyle, and my psuedo new blog. Glad you’re alone on the ride!

So, I know it’s been awhile and I’m still getting my bearings for this whole graduating in less than three weeks thing, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t enjoy this Wednesday. Here’s a fun remix of Turn Down For What featuring some furry friends. Trust me, you’ll like it.

Well, here they are: my official graduation photoshoot. Do you know what this means? In one month, I will officially be a college graduate. That’s absolutely insane! I’m left with a mixture of excitement, relief, and nervousness all in one but I think I’m ready to take on the adventure ahead. At least I have this kid by my side.

Courtesy of Paul Brenneman Photography in San Luis Obispo, CA.

{I am a runner. #SLOMarathon}

It’s taken me quite a few days to wrap my head around the experience that was the SLO Marathon race weekend. As I embarked on the journey of helping in the planning process, doing my senior project through the race, and knowing my personal goals of improving my running, I was probably in over my head to be honest. We can be honest here right? But regardless, I knew that this was something I wanted and was eager to embrace. 

Well, here it is. My tried and true race recap for y’all. Hoping the words flow smoothly because this race still brings an overwhelming sense of emotion to my soul. I am a runner. Never, ever, ever have I thought of myself that way. I was always aspiring, in training, or usually slacking on my training. The girl that can barely run a mile in high school P.E., or even barely run a mile with her cross country trained boyfriend. A girl I didn’t want to be. I wanted to be a runner, but let’s face it, I lacked the time, energy, commitment to toughness, and a bit of the motivation to truly become this ideal version of a runner. It wasn’t until the SLO Half Marathon that I realized I am a runner. 

I left my house early, around 5:55am to walk to the start line which was thankfully less than a mile away. Nerves and downright fear of what I was about to embark on started to overcome me. Being my second half marathon, and even on the same course, I knew somewhat of what I was in for. But that was also part of the problem: I knew what I was in for. I knew the deathly hills and beating sunshine were going to plague me for the next three hours, except this time, I’d be alone. I wouldn’t have Jake by my side, encouraging me to run, reminding me to stay in front of the pacer, calming me when I wanted to cry and quit. I had only myself to rely on this time. 

But something was different. 

I’m not sure what exactly it was. The Lord above was definitely on my side. I wore a tank top instead of a long sleeve and didn’t overheat. I had music, not necessarily upbeat and sometimes dumb iPod, but I had it. I had my snazzy Garmin watch and shoes that were light and airy. I had the other ambassadors that I recruited and managed running also. I had my mother, father, and boyfriend waiting for me at the finish line. And most importantly, I had a spirit of hope that I would go into this race and just try and enjoy myself. Boy, did I enjoy myself.

Let’s fast forward to some of my thoughts on this race: Okay, A, you got this. It’s only the beginning. Start strong, but relaxed, don’t wear yourself out before the hills. You know what’s coming. Wait, people already are lined up for the porta potties at mile 1.3? Plan ahead people! Wow, why is there not a water station yet? I don’t remember turning down this street last year. Whew, running is hard. Shoot, I got a long way to go. Okay A, pull it together. Run till mile 3 and then you could take a break. Oh man, this is the part Jake wants me to run. Power up those hills, you can do it. Thank goodness, a 5 second walk break for water. Dang it, Jake never lets me walk on the downhill, better keep going. Those people can walk faster than I can jog. NO, don’t walk. Hey, it’s mile 4.5, I’m oddly feeling kinda good. What is this nonsense? You can’t stop now, at least go to mile 6 before you walk! I forgot how freaking hard this hill is to run up. Where is the shade? Should I have brought sunglasses? Where is the water? Oh, (teary eyed) look at this crowd cheering me on! Well it’s dumb to stop at 6 because 6.6 is halfway, better keep going. Wait, the top of the hill is the Clif station, run till at least there! Well, there’s no reason for me to walk down this giant hill so I’ll at least coast. Hey, I’m over 8 miles already. Wait, still 5 more to go? That’s a ton. Hmph. I’ve decided I’ll officially run until 10 miles and then walk. That’s a freaking huge accomplishment and Jake will have to be proud of me. Holy cow, mile 9 is the WORST THING EVER. WHEN WILL IT END? Oh my gosh, MILE 10. THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER (throws arms up). Hey, that guy specifically just cheered me on and the course is finally flat, I can’t walk now. Wow, am I going to make it all the way to 13.1? That would be absolutely nonsense. Hey, some shade! Wow, flat land is actually kind of really boring. Did I just say I wanted hills? Am I going crazy? This clif energy gel tastes funny and weird and good at the same time. Wow, where’s some water. I have to run up and down a bridge? Ouch, my arm, that’s gonna leave a bruise. Why does my iPod just stop sometimes? Don’t look at your watch! Don’t look at your watch! Shoot, still not done with mile 11? This is almost as bad as mile 9… Mile 12. There’s hope, praise Jesus! Wait, why are people passing me? How do they have stored up energy? I only have one speed at this point and that is slow. Can I steal her roller blades? Can I sleep now? Oh man, 12.5, got to be getting close to the expo area. Wait, I just freaking ran a half marathon. No, A, calm down, don’t cry, you’re not there yet. Pull it together, you need your energy to breathe and move. La la la I’m on the edge of glorrrryyyy. THIS LAST FREAKING MINI HILL IS DEATH. I cried in pain here last time. Hey, that guy is running the marathon and even agreed with me that this hill sucks. Look at the crowds! Where’s mom and dad? Where’s Jake?? There’s mom! Smile for the camera! Run a little faster A, this is the home stretch! Oh bummer, the clock is for the full. It definitely didn’t take me 3:03 to run a half. Why is the finish line so far away? Did Jake not wake up and get here? Where is he? Oh hey, I got my medal! I rock. Does walking at water stations count? I don’t think it counts. I’ll have to ask Jake, cause if not…

I. JUST. RAN. A. HALF. MARATHON. 

Props to you if you just sat through that entire thought process on the race with me, you’re a pretty cool cat too. Let’s just say, I’ve never ever been more proud of myself than during that race. I defied odds, of my abilities, of my past thoughts, of my training, of what other’s think I’m capable of. Praise God for being on my side. 2 hours, 37 minutes, and 17 seconds later, I ran a half marathon and I am proud. 

Think you can’t do it? Think again. 

It was good #SLOMarathon. I can’t wait to #RaceSLO once again next year. Those hills will be mine. Hope to see you there. Cheers. I am officially, a runner. 

xo, A :)

Today marked a very important day in the running community, one that signified strength, dignity, and revival in the hearts of many around the world. The annual Boston Marathon, hopefully not only inspired many new and burned out runners, but it also inspired me.

To be moved to tears by people I’ve never met running at a pace I’ll never come close to? Some may say I’m just a sap but it’s something about that runner spirit, the desire for victory, and the celebration of accomplishment with those around you.

In honor of the Boston Marathon, Shalane’s American Women’s record, and Meb’s takedown in the men’s category, Jake and I ran 2.62 miles to show we too are Boston Strong.

Couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the week leading up to the SLO Marathon (half). Let’s do this.

xo, A :)

My First 10K Race - #forthekids

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Yesterday, I had the pleasure of completing my first 10K race! It was one I didn’t train for, one that I’ve been waiting two years to do, and one that I got to do for free by being on a work team (the charity still got the money though!). MM4K is put on by a local non-profit, Family Care Network Inc., which serves foster youth on the Central Coast. Last year, I interned in the Community Resource Development Department planning all of the annual events, including this one. I was stoked to get to participate on the other side of the event, instead of just working at it (and being the first one there at 4:30am). I may like mornings but not that much. 

The 10K was from Morro Rock to Cayucos Pier, all on the beach! I knew it was going to be tough but I was stoked to get to participate this year. I even decided that 10K is my favorite race distance. Hello future planning and training!

Overall, I feel that I kicked butt. I had a bit of a mental battle along the way trying to beat someone I knew, and every time I fell behind I would beat myself up a bit. However, I overcame (and beat her, go me!) and feel accomplished. I finished within my goal of 1:20, holla, and didn’t feel completely crippled afterwards. Sand helped absorb some of the impact that I usually get on pavement. It was a sweet training run for next week’s SLO HALF MARATHON in which I could quite possibly and literally die from not training, but that’s not important right now.

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What’s important right now you might ask? Kicking butt and celebrating the victories in life. That’s right, I said it. Go out there, do your best, learn from your mistakes, and get going because the day ain’t gonna wait for you. Take charge. 

xo, A:)

P.S. My roommate ran it and got 100th overall. She’s a boss. 

sassyfitblog:

Today is the 1yr Anniversary of the #BostonMarathon bombings.

Even though they tried, You Cannot Destroy the Will of a #Runner.

"It is now time to take back our finish line, to take back our race, to take back our city. It is time to run again" - Dave McGillivray, Race Director of the Boston Marathon

We are #BostonStrong!

Reblog to share.

That Cross Training Thing…

Well let’s be honest here folks, I haven’t really trained for the upcoming Miracle Miles for Kids 10K and San Luis Obispo Half Marathon which are the following two weekends. What I have done however, is try to reorient my mindset and get to a (somewhat) healthy place before these feats I am about to endure. 

To me, that means:

  • Get active to continue conditioning.
  • Try to run a little.
  • Try to work on my healthy eating issues (more to come on this later).
  • Get pumped for the events.
  • Continue promotion the SLO Marathon for ambassadorship, for senior project, and for fun. 

So what did I do this bright and early Tuesday when I have every morning off of work this week? I got my lazy, overweight butt out the door on a solo hike with the hopes of finding some peace, getting a good caloric burn in to help with some eating issues, cross training and increase cardio strength for these upcoming races, and enjoying the beautiful nature that I live around for the following ten weeks. That’s pretty much exactly what I did.

Cue: BISHOP’S PEAK. 2.5 miles of trail and rock climbing, 1400 feet of elevation, and one killer view. 

I ventured out at 7:00am this morning, among the fog, on an upward ascent to above the layer of fog to greet the sun and warmth, as well as a killer view at the top. It wasn’t until after I left that I started having the what if I get hurt by myself, what if I climb up on a rock and can’t get down, what if I get bit by a bug or snake, what if I fall and die, I don’t want to have a helicopter have to rescue me thoughts. In the end, it all worked out okay though, praise the Lord.

It was a mental toughness building activity. There were many times I wanted to quit. I knew it was tough, having done this classic local hike at least 5 times beforehand over the last 4 years, but it still is intimidating, especially to someone not in the best shape (like me)! However, among some iPod issues, and sunny glares, I made it to the top of the climb. The part I forgot to mention is that if you want to scale some additional sketchy rocks, you can get to the BEST view. You should know though, that I don’t always go up on these rocks because I’m not the best at getting back down off of them. I’m not afraid of heights but I am afraid of falling to my death. Yes, those are different!Trust me, it involves some strong wrist strength and butt sliding down incline rocks to get down (which has paralyzed me in fear while people watched and waited for me to climb off them in the past). I did it though, and dang, am I proud. 

I spent some time on the rocks taking pictures, reflecting on the hike upwards, reading some Bible verses, thanking God for a body that could still make it up there, missing some good friends that I’ve done the hike with, and praying for some safety on the way down, especially on those rocks! It was a sweet, sweet time of self discovery, peace searching, and motivating myself to get my butt off of my chair and stop being so lazy. I know we all need these types of moments.

Therefore, I urge you, no, I DARE YOU, to try it. Do something you don’t do very often. Try a new type of exercise, go on a solo journey. It’s incredibly rewarding and something to be proud of once you’re done (or heck, while it’s still going). Pick some good songs, or rely on Pandora (don’t trust iTunes radio…), put on some shoes, find a nearby, safe trail and go for a solo walk with the goal of finding a moment of peace and clarity among the craziness of life. That is something that money can’t touch, obligations can’t ruin, friends can’t always cultivate, and something you definitely need. 

xo, A :)

PS - Online registration for the SLO Marathon (4/27) ends THURS APRIL 17. For $10 OFF, use 2014AMFRIENDS code!! Register here!

This won’t be health and fitness related unless you personally count it as mental health, but I wanted to update y’all on a significant part of my life. Just yesterday, this kid and I had a LOT to celebrate!

Monday marked two important moments. First, April 7th officially means this kid and I have been together for two and a half years! Although this means engagement for a lot of couples around us, we are working on strengthening our relationship and fostering contentment with life and each other. We celebrated at my favorite local cafe with their waffle night (can you say Nutella and banana yummyness?). He took me to dinner and down memory lane to three important spots in our journey towards dating the night before. What. A. Cutie.

Second, this one got some important news. He found out he passed ALL three of his Social Science CSETs and rocked one of his credential interviews which means he is most likely accepted! This is important because it’s a) a big deal when he was concerned about not passing/getting in and b) at the school/location that’s ideal for both of us. Aka the school in the city I want to move in post graduation… aka not long distance…. aka a happy heart for me! (Now I just need to find a career there…) Regardless, I took him to his favorite BBQ joint before waffle night to celebrate that.

Although I might be struggling with some emotional stuff today, I’m remembering to be grateful for the big important things that happened yesterday and continue into my life today.

Choosing joy.

xo, A :)

75 Thoughts Every Runner Has While Out For A Run

Confessions of a Bad Runner #oops

Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there. But today, I’m pouring out my heart (and guilty conscience) and hoping that some of you can relate.

I haven’t been running. I haven’t been training. I’ve barely even exercised. Now, some of this has been due to sickness. I definitely caught that two week nonsense going around about a month ago. I was out for another week for a virus. All the time around that though? I’ve been a slacker contrary to my friend and fellow SLO Marathon Ambassador SlackerRunner.

I haven’t run and the half is in less than one month and I haven’t run more than three miles in who knows how long, and let’s be real, I’m terrified. I know I have to get back in the game, get running in any way I can. I have to accept my inadequate planning and my health’s poor journies, knowing that the goal of doing better than last year’s time. Now I’m focusing on doing okay for the beach 10k the week before.

What do you do when you’ve been a bad runner?

You pick yourself back up and you get to it. I’m getting a good night sleep, putting on my new running shoes (more on that later) and getting out on the road. Slowly, but surely, I will get where I want to be. That’s the goal.

What RACES have you added to your Race Calendar for 2014?

I just posted my 2014 Race Schedule on my blog here, but am looking for more potential races to run! I already completed a 5k, and have a 10k + half both coming up in April. I’m a race ambassador for the SLO Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K which is the half I’m doing. Otherwise, my schedule is done after April! Contemplating NWM in October but not sure if I think it’s worth the money. What races should I check out?

SLO Marathon (& discount$!)

Interested in running a half marathon or marathon at the end of April? Interested in getting a DISCOUNT on said marathon/half? Interested in running in the “Happiest Town in America”? Then you should consider…

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The SLO Marathon & Half Marathon on April 27 in San Luis Obispo, California - the sunny Central Coast! Small Town, Big Race is our motto and we want you there! It is only 47 days away but MAN, is it going to be a good time!

San Luis Obispo is known as the “happiest town in America” due to its climate, relaxed ways, proximity to the beach, green hills, adventurous spirit, enthusiastic college kids, and great small downtown. Join me as we run through downtown, hills and wineries to complete the 3rd annual SLO Marathon! I’ll be running the half, but you can run the full too if you want.

DISCOUNT: As an ambassador, I get to give you guys the good stuff. Ten Dollars OFF. That’s a steal unavailable anywhere else so grab it while you can. In check out, use the deal 2014AMFRIENDS to get the discount. Don’t miss you chance!

Join me on a nice sunny run through San Luis Obispo. 

xo, A :)

the noms: my g.f. secret weapons

Not feeling like vegetables and fruits 24/7? That’s okay because even if you’re Gluten Free like me, there’s alternatives to spice up your diet.

Here we have my gluten free secret weapons, as I like to call them, that help satisfy either my sweet tooth or my cheesy tooth. 

1. Annie’s GF Bunny Crackers

They’re delicious, sweet, fairly inexpensive and definitely satisfy a sweet tooth. Pictured here are the cinnamon ones, but the chocolate chip or the mixed bunch (chocolate and vanilla) are delicious too. They honestly don’t taste much different than the originals. I always take a box on a long roadtrip. They usually can be found at most stores such as Target, Albertsons, and Safeway.

2. Amy’s GF Frozen Mac n’ Cheese

Love cheese like me? Love pasta like me? I know when I had to go gluten free I was afraid of having to give up pasta, but this frozen meal satisfies all those requirements, plus it’s super cheap! I love them when I’m in a rush between class and work and class again. Pop ‘em in the microwave for about 3-4 minutes and voila, you have a yummy lunch right there! They also make a GF, soy free, dairy free version if you have even more dietary restrictions.

3. Betty Crocker GF Brownie Mix

It absolutely makes my heart leap for joy that the bigger baking companies are starting to invest in making GF alternatives. I am a huge baker and am stoked that Betty and Pillsbury have created pretty tasty version of some of their famous products. This mix, along with the cookies version, and Trader Joe’s GF Brownie Mix definitely satisfy my sweet tooth when I’m looking for some yummy dessert.

It’s all about the tools you have in your tool box. Make sure you’re prepared when a sweet or cheesy craving comes your way.

xo, A :)

training essentials: slo marathon

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Hello lovelies!

As of yesterday, I am officially registered for the SLO Half Marathon on April 27, 2014 and as one of their ambassadorsI will be sharing about my training experiences on this blog. Lots of running information to come (if only I wasn’t out sick so I could run!).

Today I bring you my training essentials: slo marathon style. 
Everyone has their favorite gear, or the best running attire in their closet so I’m sharing what’s in mine (and what I can afford).

Let’s talk stores. Everything in this picture and basically everything in my workout attire comes from one company: Gap Inc. I would love to have a closet full of lulu and nike but it just ain’t possible on a college girl’s budget. So here’s the skinny on my favorite, good, inexpensive workout clothes.

1. GapFit Sports Bras

  • They’re cute, stylish, thin, and comfy! The best combination in my book. GapFit & GapBody offer a line of comofortable intimates and sports bras that can be good for running, dance, yoga, silks, really anything your heart desires. I currently own two and my favorite one is teal and black. My secret to affording GapFit? Gap Outlet. I bet there’s one near you. Between the already lower price, sales, and my GapCard exclusive deals (wink) I don’t think I paid more than $8 for each one!

2. GapFit Running Jacket (with THUMBHOLES)

  • I generally gravitate towards black running attire, it’s slimming, right? This jacket is the best, zips all the way up the front, and has THUMBHOLES. Probably still my favorite fashion invention to date: it keeps your hands warm, your joints free and I think you just look plain ol’ cool. That’s right, I said it. 

3. GapFit Running Tights

  • For those of you like me who can’t find pants tall enough, these tights are. Even at 5’9” which isn’t too tall relatively speaking, these bad boys go all the way down to my ankles, keeping me warm when it’s cold but not too warm when it’s hot. No zippers (besides a key pocket in back) and no drawstrings. Again, the outlet price is a steal, they sell for $22 at the outlet and I’m pretty sure I bought them half off. I even have two pairs.

4. Asics Running Shoes

  • I’m probably not the first and definitely won’t be the last to tell you that investing in a pair of good running shoes, planned for your running trends, races, and joints are your best friend. Running Warehouse offers all the latest styles lower than their normal retail rates. If you have the chance to visit the store in SLO, they fit you in shoes, videotape you running on a treadmill and pick a shoe that best fits all your needs. These babies got me through the half last year, countless other runs, and even help me coach gymnastics. Love ‘em and sad it might be time for a new pair. 

Well folks, there you have it. You don’t have to spend a bucket load to get cute, versatile, high quality workout clothes. They’re available locally for cheap and good deals! My other favorite place to look is Old Navy (a subset of Gap Inc.) for their workout clothes. I have lots of capris for coaching and sports bras from there as well. 

Happy shopping and happy running. We’ll get through this week together and fashionably!

xo, A :)