Goodbye is Not Forever

Oh my readers…

You have been around and stuck with me for over 7+ years, if you have been with me from the beginning.  From the time when I was at my worst and trying to figure out my life in San Diego. Then you were there when I started traveling the globe in search of that field job that would break me of my eating disorder and help me understand what it meant to live and not hold anything back.  You have been there with me through thick and thin, and I thank you all for that from the bottom of my heart.

But as everything comes and goes in life, so much this blog.  At the end of the month it will disappear…but I know you will remember all my adventures, my stories, and I will remember all of you and all the support you have given me.  No way could I have made it through those ten plus years of suffering through an eating disorder without you to tell me every time I felt weak, that I could be strong; that I was someone you were looking up to.

Thank you all for being here for me.  I will continue to be here for you too, just not through the blog anymore.  We had a good seven to eight years…I can’t even remember at this point.  But you guys know you can find me on Instagram and Twitter, no more Facebook though.

I love you all and will miss you as I move on to see what else the world holds for me…I hope I still get to share my stories with you somehow.

<3,

Melissa

Posted in Home | 13 Comments

Mountains to Beach Half Marathon

Oh, how I have been anticipating this race for quite some time.  Remember when I first mentioned it back here?  I had some seriously high hopes for this race.  Santa to the Sea had gone so well in December when I PR’d by four minutes, that I was really really hoping that with training (from a group and coach) that I would be able to break that goal of 1:50.  Well, it didn’t quite work out that way, unfortunately.

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Oiy, where do I start?

So, I joined a training program, run by the local running I group I go on a lot of my runs with, ie. Inside Track here in Ventura.  I’ve made quite a few friends through the group and it makes running and training much more enjoyable. I had several friends that were really rallying behind me to help me get under the 1:50 mark and I was more than excited for it!

Everything was going great until I ran the half marathon at The Great Race.  Something in that race did me over and my legs, more specifically my calves, soleus and achilles tendon, have not been the same.  I spent a good two weeks resting up my lower legs and trying to get things back to normal.  It was hit or miss with how they felt; sometimes they were insanely tight and would be hard as rocks when I was done running, but other times they were perfectly fine.

About a month before the race I considered not running the race at all.  Not just because of my calves, but because I got a really bad stomach flu or something, and was knocked off my feet for over a week straight, dropping five pounds in the process.  I won’t go into too much detail about that part, but it took a pretty gnarly toll on my body and I was more concerned about getting those five pounds back than I was about running the race.  I was concerned about my health and my body enough to sacrifice my race entry and just be part of the cheering squad.  I anticipated not being able to get my stamina back up for a distance like that, along with not being able to maintain my weight while quickly upping my miles after a loss like that.  But, I took each day at a time and waited to see what I would decide.

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(BTW, did I mention I ran SoCal RAGNAR?
Oh yeah…post to come on that adventure too!
)

A week before the race I ran with my running group, who were doing eight miles, and I said that if I could do their eight plus two more miles I would do the race.  I was running slower than normal hoping that would help my calves by not over exerting them, and it worked. I ran those ten miles at a nine min/mile average and felt great afterwards!  So it was decided, I would run the race.

I took every precaution…ok, almost…before the race to ensure that I would be able to run it pain free.  I probably should have run a few less miles, but I had an event I had to do for work, so some extra miles were required, but it was all good.  Otherwise I felt great and was pretty excited for it!

So race morning Whit was nice enough to get up before 5am to drive myself and a coworker of mine to the start line.  The race started at 6am so we had to get up at the butt crack of dawn! Luckily the start wasn’t too far away so he got us there, hung out for a few minutes, then went back home to rest up and chill before we ran to the finish!

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Whit and I near the start when he dropped me off!

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Ready to run the half!

 

Because I had anticipated running  1:50 I was put into the first corral (there are only 4,000 runners total for this race between the half and full marathon runners) and although I could have started in the second corral which held the two hour pacer group, I decided to start in the first wave, but keep my 9 min/mile pace and really focus on just finishing the race.

I felt pretty good for the first few miles, but then, then inevitable happened: I could feel my calves start to tighten up.  They were feeling weird in various areas, but always somewhere where they had felt weird in the past.  Anyhow, I tried to slow down even more, going down to 9:30-10 min/mile pace but it wasn’t helping, and actually hurting my hips because I was changing my gait so drastically to slow down. So I tried to vary the way terrain as much as I could by running on the dirt on the side of the bike path which helped a little bit.  It also helped soften the ground by running on the dirt instead of the asphalt.

By mile 6 or 7 I was so frustrated with my calves I wanted to stop. I had so many things running through my head, was I making my calves worse? Would changing to my regular running speed make it better?Am I going to permanently hurt myself? I was on the brink of quitting, and it was killing me.

So, I basically gave into my need for speed, and sped up.  I figured, the faster I got this stupid race over with, the sooner it would be done and I could massage out my legs and take care of myself. Probably not the smartest decision, but I didn’t know what else to do.

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When I only had a few miles left I just took off.  Mile 10 was my fastest and I’m pretty sure the 9 min milers that I was around were pissed because I cut an almost 8:00 min/mile split.  At this point my calves were actually starting to feel normal (goodness gracious!) so I decided to try and keep it up to the end, since there were only a few miles left.  Around mile 11 my tendon in my left foot (which I have been dealing with for years) started to really hurt so I had to stop and massage it.  I helped for a bit and as much as I wanted to stop and massage it again, I really just wanted the race to be freaking over!

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I was trying so hard to pick up the pace and when I could see the finish line, I was completely ready for it be over.  I got a nice little “push” at the end though! And when I mean push, I literally mean PUSH!  My friend from my track club had been behind me for several miles and when he saw me at the stretch to the finish line, coming up strong and fast behind me, he pushed my back to get me to come into the finish with him!

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And for the first time since my high school cross country days, I wanted to puke at the end of the race.  Actually, the last 50 feet or so of the race I don’t even remember running it. I think I kind of “blacked out” of sorts after my friend pushed me and the momentum just got me to the end!  Crazy when you think about it…because the last two things I remembered was speeding up when he pushed my back, and then the girl at the end asking me if she could take my shoe tag off my shoe.  I was like, what? I couldn’t even think straight!

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Whit, two of my coworkers and a friend from my track club were all at the end waiting for me, but all I could do was bend over against the seawall and hope I wouldn’t lose my breakfast.

20140525_080136It took me a little bit to get myself standing up right, but I pulled myself together and took a few pictures with my friends.  Btw, did I mentioned I was SOAKED?! Seriously, probably one of the most humid days we’ve had here in Ventura and it was race day.  I looked like I had jumped out of the ocean instead of wanting to jump into it!

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Half Marathoners!

I somehow didn’t get a picture of Whit and I, but he was there the whole time too, being a great water boy and support at the very end.  Poor guy had to stand there and hope I wouldn’t puke myself, and make the walk home!  I did take him out to breakfast afterwards though, since he had to get up so early and cart me around!

It was an interesting race to say the least. Obviously it didn’t go as I had hoped, but I had finished, which was my ultimate goal in the end.  I also had a slight goal of getting under two hours, which I did, so that was nice, haha!

When is the next race? I have a short 5k or 10k on the docket for this weekend, but otherwise I have nothing planned for the immediate future.  I am really worried about this calf thing as I’ve never had a muscle problem as bad as this before (like my piriformis back in 2010) so I want to make sure I’m not damaging myself!  In the mean time, I’m starting up Insanity again…or something along those lines.  I am thinking of finding something similar to it though, as I really do need that rush from moving fast! Of course!

 

 

Posted in 1/2 Marathon, 1/2 Marathon Training, Adidas Energy Boost, Hill Run, Hill Running, Home, injury, Mountains to Beach, Race Recaps, Races, Running, Santa to the Sea 1/2 Marathon, Speedwork, Trail Running, Ventura | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Great Race

Has it really been two months since I’ve posted? I apologize! I can’t even explain how time has gotten away from me in the past two months and just been nuts!

I would love to blame it on school, but in reality, I was only taking one class this semester so it wasn’t too time consuming. I have been very busy at work though ,and running has been at the forefront.  In addition, I ended up with a really really bad stomach bug that I felt like almost killed me and put me out of commission for a whole week.

Anyhow, we need to backtrack to the 22nd of March to the first trail half marathon I took place in! And what a race it was!  I did a ton of training for this race, specifically the trail part and working on getting my trial legs.  It was a tough race for sure! By the end I felt like I had used every fiber in my body to get to the end…under 2 hours. Whoa like whoa.

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As hard as I trained for this race it was still tough and it kicked my butt.  The race was technically deemed a trail race, but only half of it was actually on trails.  The first few miles were on asphalt, and the last few miles were too.  The hill listed above was all on the trail.  And it was KILLER.

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This was right before we left the asphault for the trail…

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This photo was taken just after we had gotten onto the trail.  At this point it was just a slight incline and not too bad. The trail was a bit rutty from the rains we had a week or so before but nothing we couldn’t handle.  I was setting a pretty nice pace and was feeling good, although I remember dreading the idea of reaching around to get my Gu Chomps out of my backpack to try and eat. I seriously hate fueling during races. Uggh.

Anyhow, by the time I hit the rocky parts I was getting tired…and not realizing how much more hilly parts I had to go. It was brutal, and add on the fact that it was a one track trail so it was hard to pass, I got stuck behind a few people and it made moving around quite difficult.  But I passed a few people, especially this one boy that I swear his ankles were going to snap with every rock he stepped on, and was on my way. I walked a big part of the gnarly long hilly part because I was just exhausted, but once I hit the peak, I was high flying by then.

That is when the asphault starts again and man, my calves took a beating…that would last for weeks to come (and I’ll explain that later).  We had a serious downhill that I tried to use to my advantage and I did, but I think I took it a little too hard. By the second mile of the three at the end of the race I slowed down my pace considerably because my legs felt so heavy and I lacking any serious power. But knowing the course and that the end was near, I booked it the last mile plus and BAM, the race was over.

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I grabbed my medal and then went to find my friends!

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Everyone else had a great race. It was tough, but man oh man one to remember!

And! I was lucky enough that my boss signed up myself and a few others from our store to visit the VIP tent and omg was I grateful for it. They had potatoes, which is now my food of choice after every race or long run! NOM Nom!

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So stinking tasty!

So I can’t remember all the details of my race because well, it was two months ago, but it was one that has had some lasting effects.  Without going into too much detail, I think the uphills, downhills, speed and shoes are to blame for a two month lasting tightness in my calves that has had me on the verge of madness because they won’t heal.  I have found some remedies but they are short lived and since I have another half marathon, this being after a RAGNAR race that I still have to recap for you all, the best one thus far has been slowing down…a lot. It’s killing me because I am loving getting faster and working on my speed, but if it has to be done, it has to be done.  And just means I can get speedy later, right?! Yes!

Ok, that’s all for now…and I’m off to work on my RAGNAR Relay recap for you all :)  Now that, was a crazy race with now crazy stories and some new reputations for our team…hahaha!

Posted in 1/2 Marathon, 1/2 Marathon Training, Home | 5 Comments

Side Notes: The Next Step: Counseling

Side Notes: The Next Step: Counseling

I’m obviously slow to my own game here and never posted about therapy during NEDA week, but at least I’m writing about it, right?!  It just took me a while to find the time to sit down and talk about it. I wanted this to be a quality post, not something I just threw out there and say, “Yes, go to therapy.”  Although, essentially I will say that. :)

When it comes to eating disorders of any type, I have found through all the men and women I have talked to, believe they can cure themselves.  At one point, I thought the same thing too. I spent hours upon hours reading book after book about anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia, EDNOS (eating disorders not otherwise specified), emotional eating, overeating…you name it, I got my hands on it and read it.  I spent hours upon hours on message boards (when they still existed) on WebMD, communicating and trying to relate to other girls having the same problems.  But it really just wasn’t enough.

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You can read the words on the paper and believe, “Ok, that’s how I think. The book says I should just think the other way…so I’ll do that and I’ll be all better!”  I mean yes, you could think that and tell yourself every single day, but sometimes, it just doesn’t stick.  That’s what happened for me.

When I left you on my last post about how my eating disorder started, I talked about the turning point in my eating disorder and really, it was the start of my very long road to recovery.  A friend of mine in my dorm hall finally confronted me about my drastic weight loss and I say threatened, but obviously she was doing it out of her big ol’ caring heart, me that if I didn’t get some help asap by going to the school counseling center, she was going to tell my parents.  I was terrified and didn’t want my parents to know (although in reality they did, but they didn’t know what to say to me to help, that’s for a whole other post), so I went.

I remember vividly walking into the counseling center and my friend telling the receptionist that I needed to see a counselor. I was just standing there, terrified out of my mind when he asked, “Would you like to see someone today or at a later date?”  She immediately responded “TODAY,” while I said “LATER,” all at the same time.  We both looked at each other, then the receptionist, and she said, “NOW.”  I sat down with her and immediately spent what felt like forever filling out a bunch of paperwork, and then heading into the office of my new counselor.

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I remember the gentleman introducing himself, and me doing the same, and him asking how I was doing. I said fine, and then the tears came. I cried…and cried. Oh, and I CRIED.  He sat quietly and let me do my thing, knowing I would eventually say something.    At that point in my life and eating disorder, I literally could not say the word “ANOREXIA.”  I simply couldn’t.  I could say anything that was round-about, but not the actual word. I could mutter “Eating Disorder” but even that was hard and felt like metal in my mouth.

I was in denial, that was obvious enough.  I knew there was something wrong with me, but I didn’t want to admit it. I was supposed to be “perfect” (reference my last post for that explanation) and to admit that I couldn’t control my thoughts or my food was a huge failure in my book.  I don’t remember much else from that first session, just the majority of the time I spent crying over it, and then leaving. I don’t remember if my friend was still there waiting for me…but I remember the dread as I walked out of that office.

But, even with the overwhelming amount of emotions that meeting brought out, from my sadness to anger and frustration, I went back twice a week, every week, for the rest of that year.  I still struggled with going every time, I remember lying like crazy, and when I say lying I mean I told him things were better little by little, when really they weren’t and I was having a very hard time.  But to admit to an absolute stranger that you are afraid to eat because you are afraid to get FAT overnight, is not an easy thing to say.  I remember turning in fake eating journals with more food and less exercise than I had actually been doing, believing that I could do this without this man and there was nothing wrong with me.

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That was my second semester my freshman year of college.  It was a hard semester, both with school and with that counseling. I never told ANYONE where I was going except my friend that brought me there.  It bothered me that I was lying to my friends about where I was going, but at the time I was so ashamed that I was going that I simply couldn’t admit to them I was seeking counseling.  But my friend made sure I went, and I would.  I was scared every time, but I kept going.  I never really wanted to go, but I still went.  There was something pulling me to come back every single time…something I can’t describe. But it was there and I went along with it.

At the end of the semester I had three months off until my sophomore year and I knew the summer was going to be hard.  But my counselor and I agreed we would see each other first thing that next semester.  And as reluctant as I was to return to that office, I did.  And I did it my entire sophomore year.  I still tip toed around telling my friends were I was, but by going and talking about what was going on with my eating disorder, I was able to tell a few more friends, and most importantly, my parents.  Part of my was super relieved to have told someone, especially my parents, but at the same time I had admitted there was something wrong with me.

(But really, has there ever been a time in your life, when it was a horrible thing to admit there was something wrong with you and you wanted help with it? ABSOLUTELY NOT!  It is ALWAYS ok to ask for help. It has taken me many years to accept that fact and thank goodness for it!)

Anyhow, my junior year was kind of a cluster f*ck (pardon my French, but you guys know me, I’m real to the core about this stuff).  I spent my first semester living with strangers as all my friends were studying abroad or had left the school, but knew I had an adventure coming the next semester when I would go off to Australia and play around in the rainforest!

Well…it was an interesting semester.  I was doing better at the time I left, trying to focus on letting myself live a little and enjoying the moments as they came while I was off on playing around in this other country.  And I did, I was trying very hard.  But not everything went quite well that semester in other parts of my life.

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There are causes for relapse at every turn in your life if you’re not careful, and one of them occurred there.  It all has to do with boys, and of course when you’re 19/20 you don’t know squat about relationships still and are trying to figure thing out.  I don’t want to talk too much in detail about it, but lets just say heartbreak is not the easiest thing to deal with when you’re already struggling with an eating disorder.  So, I ended up having a relapse. I blamed the weight loss on everything else under the sun while I was there, and really, it worked.  But no one knew I was struggling with an eating disorder while I was there.  Everyone just thought I was sick with some sort of stomach something-or-other and whatever lie I could come with to excuse myself from eating. Horrible notion, right? Yeah well, that shit happened and I remember, it freaking sucked.

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For some reason I remember a lot of thought details from when this picture was taken. I remember a lot about how I felt about wearing that shirt and those pants; how I was afraid of how I would look in that picture and if I would be skinny enough (I HATE saying that, FYI).  I remember sucking in my belly as far as possible in hopes that I would have a skinny photo (It kills me to say that too).  I wish I could have been focused on the fact that I was playing with a didgeridoo that was hand carved and hand painted by an aboriginal who was trying to teach me again how to do circular breathing (when I played the flute/piccolo in jr. high I was able to do circular breathing).  I wish I had been focused on the rarity of the experience, instead of how people would judge me based on how I looked.

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By the the I came home from Australia and began my senior year of college, I was back down to my freshman weight and back to seeing my counselor twice a week. I MADE myself go see him because I had become sick and tired of feeling, well, sick and tired and guilty for every action I took…whether that included eating, exercising or whatever. I was overwhelmed with classes and I couldn’t afford to have this killing me in the background.

I started going less and less to my counseling meeting later in the semester and by my last semester I was going once a month.  This decrease in my attendance was kind of taken out of my hands as my original counselor was moving to a different department and would no longer be able to see me, but I did see him every so often to check in, sort to speak.  It was just enough though, to get me back on track, gaining some weight and working on my mentality towards recovery.

And really, in that end, that aspect is what it really boils down to. I had to be willing to go myself, to talk to this person for an hour or so whenever I had an appointment, and being honest about how I was feeling.  There is no bias when you see a counselor or therapist.  They are there simply to HELP YOU GET BETTER.  They are not there to make you feel bad, they are there to help you heal in whatever dilemma you might be having.  Until I was able to accept that, going to a counselor wasn’t going to do me any good.  Accepting the fact that I had an eating disorder too was a big thing. Like I said earlier, I was unable to say that I had “anorexia” when I started counseling and by the end it had gotten easier.  So had being able to tell people that I was seeing someone about the problem.

I had, and still to this day too, feel like going to see a counselor or therapist is so taboo in our world.  Let me clarify something for you, IT IS NOT A BAD THING TO BE SEEKING HELP FROM A THERAPIST OR COUNSELOR.  It is quite possibly one of the BEST THINGS you could do for yourself.

Do not feel ashamed.

Do not feel afraid.

Do not feel like you have failed.

You have to realize that you are doing something to make you better; to let you better yourself and let yourself heal so you can live the life you really want to live.  When you are able to accept these things, counseling will do wonders beyond your greatest imagination.  You will be able to THRIVE in your life and see things in a whole different light!

This is only part one of my counseling adventures.  Several years later after not seeing this counselor anymore I decided to seek out another therapist when I realized things were still not going quite right, but that will be another long post (which btw, if you made it through this novel of a post I applaud you!).

If you have ANY questions about this, please feel free to email me at trying.to.heal [at] gmail.com.  I am more than happy to answer any questions you have or more details about seeing a counselor.

Until next time…

Posted in Counceling, Eating Disorder, Eating Disorder Recover, Eating Disorder Recovery, ED entry, ED Side Note, Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Side Notes: NEDAwareness Week 2014

Side Notes: National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2014

It’s no mystery to anyone who reads this blog that I had an eating disorder. Ten very long years of my life were wasted and tortured through the recovery of anorexia, emotional eating, orthorexia and body dysmorphia. Sounds horrible, right? Yeah well, IT WAS.

But that’s not what I’m going to focus on this week. Yes, I will recount some of the days that were really bad and wish had never happened, but you know what, they happened, I see that and I’ve grown from every single one of those instances.  So for today, I will focus on the beginning…

The question I get asked most often is: How did it all start?

Let me just say this was, I believe, a progressive disease for me.  I believe the influence for it’s development came from various sources, and started at a very young age.  I do not blame any single person or incident for it, but I know that words were spoken to me as a small child about my body that stayed with me for years.  There are stigmas in every culture that influence us, and each one is very different.  By being Asian, and I’m generalizing, there is a stigma to be thin.  You’re smart and you’re thin.  Basically, you are supposed to be perfect in every way shape and form.  What a thing to live up against, right? My parents pushed me to go be a good student and to work hard, but the concept of perfection was never there.  I put that on myself and it just got progressively worse over the years.

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I remember being in high school and like all teenagers, I wanted to fit in. I knew I could never be part of the popular crowd, so I found my niche in other areas of the school and everything went well. I remember some instances about food and worrying about being fat, but it never stuck. I remember lazy summer mornings after cross country practice and the first thing I would eat was a shake I made out of milk and mint chocolate chip ice cream.  I remember constant trips to cold stone with my girlfriends to gossip about our crushes and details about what we were going to wear to prom.  There was focus on how we looked, but not so much about how to obtain it if it were ever the case.  Pasta parties were held every single Wednesday or Friday nights depending on our running meets and there was never talk of consuming too many calories or carbs.  We ate to our hearts content.

Then along came college.  It was a rough start.  Any time you move away from home, your friends and your family is hard.  In doing that, making new friends (which had never been easy for me) and just recently losing a grandmother, I was in a rough spot.  I remember having my freshman roommate move out after four days of sharing a room with me because she had become better friends with a girl down the hall, and I was left alone. Talk about a blow in the first week of orientation; already rejected!  I got a new one, and made friends from then on out with other girls on my floor and in my core biology classes, but there was still that cultural stigma.

Ok, now I have to clarify something and I cannot lie about it.  Yes, there was this Asian stigma that I believe I always had to live up to, but there was another one just being at my school.  I’ll leave the name out (although I’ve said it many time before), but without pointing fingers, it was predominantly white, (skinny) female dominated and rich.  I had only one of those qualities (female) and it made me stick out like a sore thumb.  When I started college over ten years I was one of very few Asian girls on that campus.  My best friends that year, and throughout the remainder of my college career, were not white, they were from all different cultures including Hawaiian, Japanese, Cuban, Spanish, Syrian and Greek.  I wouldn’t say we were outcasts, but we stuck together.

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I loved my friends with all my heart, but there was a huge part of me that wanted to be part of this other group.  I could not make money appear overnight and I wasn’t going to be able to become anymore white than I already was (unless I pulled a Michael Jackson, lol) so I did the next best thing I could: I focused on losing weight to live up to their skinny standard.  But that wasn’t all as I have to include every detail, there was also a trigger point.

Going off to college everyone is worried about the Freshman 15.  I remember talking to my friends about in high school and discussing about how I was a runner and it would never happen to me.  Yeah, well it did, without me really knowing it though.  I had a new boyfriend at the time who didn’t give a hoot about how much I weighed, and without access to a scale and eating whatever I wanted like every college student, I gained some weight.  Not the whole freshman 15, but close.  And it wasn’t until Halloween of that year that someone close to me made a simple remark about my weight, how I was looking a little chubby, that the dam broke and it all began.

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It took me two months to go from a healthy girl of 130 to a dismal 100 or less.  I have very few pictures from those days as they are mostly in print form (I’m aging myself) but the summer after my freshman year I went to Maui to visit one of my best friends and the pictures still make me cry to this day.  I remember the pain I was in at the time, mentally and physically, and I’m so glad I’m not there anymore.

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sidenote 002 sidenote 003I had fun on that trip and you can see the joy on my face, but at the same time I was torturing myself with guilt and the concern about not being accepted if I wasn’t skinny.

And that’s how it all began.  But just as it began, there was a quick turning point to get me back on track.  That will come next…in my discussion about therapy.  And let me just say, do not be embarrassed about seeing someone about your problems.  It will be the best hour or so of your time, which you take for you and just yourself, that you could ever pay for….just saying.

Until next time…

Posted in About Me, Body Image, Confession, Counceling, Eating Disorder, Eating Disorder Recover, Eating Disorder Recovery, ED entry, ED Side Note, Guilt, Hawaii, Home, NEDA, Negative Thoughts, Recovery, Side Notes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A Few Things, Mostly Running and Side Note (Kind of…)

I say this time and time again, that I keep falling off the face of the blog earth and just…let you sit and wait. I can promise you, nothing too exciting is going on. It’s like I’ve finally fallen into a pattern with life, and that’s not a bad thing!  Basically life has consisted of the typical things I’ve been talking about: school, running, work…and repeat. Hah! It’s certainly keeping my busy! And all at the same time, exhausted!

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Driving out to an early morning run….

So a little detail on each of these things, if you have some time to let yourself get…a little bored. LOL.

I’ll start off with running, because that is probably the most interesting aspect of life right now. I’ve got two half marathons and a Ragnar coming up in the next few months.  Not until the past week or so has it really hit me how much I am concerned about these three races, but in a good way!

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The race coming up the fastest is The Great Race of Agoura Hills. It is a huge race with two different half marathons, a trail and a street version, a 10k, 5k and kids 1 mile run.  I was conned by my coworkers into doing the trail version.  I think I may have been crazy at the time I decided to run that one.

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Do you see the madness which is this race?! I am stoked for it, and scared half to death at the same time.  But I have been giving this race, along with knowledge of my others coming up, a lot of focus.  A good focus though. I’ll explain…

Years before these kinds of races were all about hitting times (as these are too, but in a different way) and burning calories to stay thin.  I was always so concerned with beating my old times but not because I wanted to better myself, just because I felt that if I didn’t get a new PR, I was a failure.  There were a few instances when I didn’t PR and it was like a bat to my self esteem.  There was this mentality that I had to not only get the time, but look the part too.  All runners are super skinny, right?  Well, no longer.

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Now, it’s about bettering myself through good training, awesome fueling and patience in recovery.  I have already had some ups and downs with some little injuries since I started training for this race in particular, but by being patient, rational and remembering this is for fun and should be enjoyable, I have been able to come back from them.  I have been taking time to train with a group on Tuesday nights with speed work and running with coworkers on Saturdays in the hills and trails to prepare myself.  For instance, last Saturday I ran an 11+ miler with a group of guys from work and it was hard, but at the same time a relief to know that I could do it; not only physically, but mentally.

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The track practices and focus on my stride and posture have also been helping out too. I went for a five mile run earlier this week and without too much extra effort, I was flying down the beach path near my place!

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I am seriously stoked.  Like, no joke.  Saying this makes me feel kind of like a jerk, but I am so excited to see myself getting better and faster.  It’s like the hard work is finally paying off! But maybe it’s not so much about the hard work though, but doing it right this time.  Making sure I’m fueling right has made such a huge difference.  No longer is there worry about how many calories I now have to expend and then consume after the fact. It’s more along the lines of, “What is my body craving and need now that I’ve run a crazy amount of miles and I’m hungry!?”  And that’s how it should be, right?  HELL YES.

So along with this race coming up at the end of March, and Ragnar two weeks after that, my main focus after that will be the Mountains to Beach Half Marathon here in Ventura.  I have made a goal for this half that I am pretty stoked to try and beat: 1:50!

M2BCourseThis is the perfect race for that time of goal because it is slightly downhill for the majority of the race.  The last few miles are completely flat, which will probably feel like death, but I’m excited to try.  I have joined and paid to be in a training group that I’m hoping will keep my focused and enable me to beat that time!  Three years ago I remember being stoked to break 2 hours in the half and when I ran the Santa to the Sea Half in December and hit 1:52 it was like a light went off and I thought, why not really put something into this and break 1:50!!??

So that’s the running portion of this post…and now for some other random things!

I’ve been trying out some new hairstyles lately. I’ve been getting a little tired of my long hair and curling it, but thanks to some hair savvy friends and pinterest I have now discovered the easiest way to get that beach/wavy hair look and I’m digg’n it!

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Mom says it makes me look older…which might help at work since every customer thinks I’m just out of high school and not twenty yet…yeah yeah, I know, quit my whining. Anyhow, new hair due!

I also made an effort to actually bake something the other day too! I had my books out, digging around trying to figure out what to bake first and after putting it up on FB and Instagram I went with the first reply I got: APPLE PIE!  Who says this pie is limited to only the fall, huh?! TASTED AMAZING! And it’s vegan! WOOT WOOT!

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This is not going to last long in my place…Whit and I are going to eat it ALL.

And, last but not least, the obligatory Honey photo.  Happy weekend!

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Posted in 1/2 Marathon, 1/2 Marathon Training, Baking, Birds, Eating Disorder, Eating Disorder Recovery, ED entry, ED Side Note, Hill Run, Hill Running, Honey, Long Run, Mizuno Running Shoes, Mountains to Beach, Negative Thoughts, Races, Recipes, Running, Side Notes, Trail Running, Ventura | 16 Comments

Release

I know my last post was about birds…and that’s about all I have to talk about right now. I’m having a really hard time with the course I am currently enrolled in, so my stress level is through the roof (can someone say perfectionist?!). I’m managing (barely) between that, work, and training for two half marathons coming up and I realized yesterday how much it was taking a toll on me.  I haven’t been sleeping (ok, that is mostly due to my cat who has decided we need to wake up at 5am every single morning), my eating is ok (although my sugar intake makes me feel like crap), and my mood has just been sub-par.

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So yesterday I headed out away from it all. I finished an assignment, pulled the plug on the computer and turned off my phone.  I needed to be out somewhere peaceful, I knew nature was the remedy for that.  There are some settling ponds nearby that I have visited before, so I knew it wouldn’t disappoint.  I have a few favorite birds that hang out around there, and I found them with a goal of watching their behaviours and getting a photo of them. They aren’t the best because I don’t have my brother’s great macro lens, but I did what I could with photoshop afterwards.

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I’m hoping things will start getting better soon. I’m working on realizing how I respond to all of this stress now and it is a work in progress…

If anything had me happy for the past week was one of my best friend’s having her baby! Remember that baby shower I threw back in December?  She had her little one! Welcome to the world Baby Jazlyn!!

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I drove several hours down south to see her as soon as I heard my friend went into labor.  I told her that I would and I was fortunate enough to have the day off so I made the trip with a huge grin on my face.  I could not be more happy to be Jazlyn’s Auntie and can’t wait to spoil the heck out of her!!!

Posted in Birds, Field Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bird Banding Time

It has been a whirlwind of a week! But lets take it one step at a time, ok?

I headed out to Riverside last weekend to partake in one of my favorite activities ever: BIRD BANDING!

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Can you tell I was a little excited?

I had to drive two hours to get there and although it was hard to get up that early, it was totally worth it.  And no, I did not curl my hair just for the banding…that’s crazy. It was from the day before for work.

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I not only got to hang out with a great friend I hadn’t seen in far too long, but my brother’s girlfriend also came for a little bit and I got to have her hold some of the birds too!

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We ended up catching 12 species by the end of the day, with a total of 166 birds.  I didn’t see some of them, but I got a chance to extract and hold my favorite little birds of all: HUMMINGBIRDS!

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There was a certified hummingbird bander there processing the birds, and you can bet I was at their shoulder with every chance I had.  I have been wanting to band some hummingbirds since I worked alongside another hummingbird bander back in 2009 in Texas…I was insanely jealous this guy was able to do what he was doing.

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I learned a lot of the details about hummingbird identification while you have them in the hand. I have gotten pretty good at ID’ing them by listening to them (although I still find myself confused more often than not, aggh) and by some of their identifying markers when you see them perched/flying/eating, but it’s a whole different ball game when you have them up close.  At this point, you can look at certain tail feathers (like seriously, an individual feather) to determine what species, ages, sex, etc.  It was so exciting and I’ve been diving into my hummingbird books since!

I got to take out quite a few birds and obviously spent most of that time exclaiming and geeking out.  Duh.  Lots of goldfinches, sparrows, wrens, hummingbirds…yay!

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Overall a great banding session (though low in numbers compared to other times where we have caught over 300 birds in that amount of time) and I was happy to have gone. The next one is in March so make sure to look out for more bird photos then! :)

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(Two Red-tailed Hawks flying the skies near the banding site)

Posted in Banding, Birding Thursday, Birds, Environment, Field Work, Home, Hummingbirds | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

XTERRA Boney Mountain 6km Trail Race

I finished my first trail race! And boy was it a race to remember! I had so much fun though! When is the next one? LOL.  That’s what every runner says after a race, right?! Haha! Yay for Boney Mountain!

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I wasn’t sure how this race would go because I caught a cold a few days ago, basically prime time for me to be cutting back on my miles…and boy did I.  I ran on Tuesday, and that was the last day I ran until this morning! Yikes! I’ve basically been in bed sleeping and trying to eat (you know I’m sick when I have no appetite!) while going to work for a few hours here and there, but it has been tough recovering from this sickness. I hardly get sick, so when I do, it’s usually pretty bad. I don’t have a full on flu, but my tonsils feel like they’re the size of the Titanic.  Sooooooooo I bought a new Nike top from work to keep me warm:

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Nice thick top for after the race!  Kept me…kind of warm. I mayyyy have been shivering and loosing circulation in my fingers at one point.  Oops.

Anyhow, race morning! I met up with two of my friends to carpool to pick up our bib numbers and chips, then head to the race start to see off the people running the half marathon!  We got some pre-race photos to compare to our “I didn’t die!” photos taken afterwards.

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We saw our friends off, got a review of the course and before we knew it, we were off and running!  I didn’t take any pictures myself of the trail or it’s surroundings, but one of my friends got some great ones. The area was scorched back in May and I only wish I could have run through the area when all the manzanita were around and in their gorgeous blood red color.  They are some gorgeous plants!

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At the start of the race I was all about just finishing the race, and my motto with my friend was that we just didn’t want to die! HAHAHA! We certainly didn’t!

As much as I knew the one plus mile uphill would be tough, I knew the one mile downhill was actually going to be the tougher part for me.  Many people have a hard time with long downhills on asphalt hurting their calves or quads, it KILLS my sides. I don’t get side stitches per-say, but the worst muscle cramps, in which I have to either slow down significantly or just flat out stop.  I was just past the one mile marker when the pain got really bad and I had to hold onto my side.  But I made it to the bottom, and for the first time in…EVER, I was thankful for some uphill!

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Mile two made things a little better with the uphill that came with it and I took on as much as I could. My legs were still pretty fresh from the downhill, but the pain in my sides was excruciating.  I slowed down by a minute knowing that I had a mile ahead that was completely uphill and I wanted to feel ready for it.  But boy, was I not ready for it!

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My splits do an awesome job of showing you how much I walked during that third mile.  I was having a hard time breathing at this point, probably because my throat felt like it was on fire but I had a cough drop in and it helped a lot.  I was just not feeling well at this point and tired.  Havng a cold will do that to you!  I was hoping I would be able to run up the hill as well as I had a few weeks ago, but that didn’t pan out very well.

I made it to the top of the hill and was ready to catch the downhill to finish the race off.  The last part was a slight downhill and I was ready to take it! I had a few younger girls in front of me that I was determined to beat (one was super young, maybe 12?!) and about the last half mile or more I had a guy that I passed and he was determined to not let me beat him. My friend was within sight and I was trying sooooo hard to catch up to him, so I was using the guy to keep me strong and fast.

I finished strong and passed everyone I wanted to! I crossed the finish line at 41:26 for 4.3 miles!  I came in second (out of fifteen) in my age group (25-29), 14th in women, and 49th (out of 179) overall! What the what!? I was certainly not expecting that!

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 We did it, we lived through the race! WOOT WOOT! I was actually feeling pretty good after the race and was already talking about the next one! But I had some cheering to do for my friends that were running the 1/2 marathon on the mountain!

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They all did so great! I couldn’t have been more excited and proud of my friends!  It takes some serious mental and physical strength to run the race they did; it was not an easy one at the least!  We had a good group there to represent Inside Track, the group that I run with and train on Tuesday and Saturdays!

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And of course one of my coworkers there to represent Road Runner Sports!

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Such a great race! Again, WHEN IS THE NEXT ONE!! I’m stoked for it…as I’ve got 11 more races to run this year as part of my yearly goals!

By the time I made it home, I was STARVING. I could barely eat much before and after the race, probably from not feeling very well, but boy oh boy, my appetite came back with a vengeance at home! I picked up two vegetable rolls at Whole foods, along with my favorite vegan scones and went to town!

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So much salt, so gooooooood!  I finally showered to clean up and warm up (really, I was kind of frozen by the time I got home) and immediately threw on my new shirt!  My medal is hanging with my bib, along with the bib and medal from the 1/2 marathon I did last month!  I need to get one of those running medal hangers that I’ve seen everyone purchasing!

20140112_132447 And now, for sleep.  And a good back massage.  My back is killing me…along with my abs and every other part of me.  Whew!

Posted in Home, Race Recaps, Races, Running, Trail Running, XTERRA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

In 2014

2014 is going to be an awesome year. I can feel it already.  No longer will I have obstacles to hold me back; I’ve got all the freedom in the world to do what I want this year! WOOT WOOT!!!

I have several ideas for this year:

1. Make up my mind for my degree in GIS at USC.

I have been on the fence about whether or not to pursue a full master’s degree or stick with the professional degree I’m currently on course for with my school work.  The degree only encompasses me taking a few extra classes, defending a thesis through these classes, and taking the GRE.  I’m torn because I don’t really believe that having a degree over the professional certificate will make much of a difference in the environmental field I want to go into…but who knows.  Degrees seem to be mattering more and more these days.  I’m just so stubborn and don’t want to take the GRE.

Two maps from my final project last semester!

Two maps from my final project last semester!

2. Join my brothers in running one race a month.

My brothers want to run one 5k/10k a month and I’ve decided to join them! I don’t know that I’ll do those two race lengths specifically but I plan on doing at least one race a month! My first one is actually in about a week and a half and it’s a four mile trail race! I’ve been trying to train for it and as it’s going ok, I know I can do better. I think I’ll do at least one half marathon this year…and I say I think because the last one was so….not so great.  I was under a high amount of stress at the time, which potentially twisted my colon and caused some serious pain and issues for the race.  If I time the next half right, I’m hoping it will go much better! And I can get in more training since I flaked on a few of the long runs due to school!

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Look at my friend photobombing my finish line photo!

3. Bird at least once a week.

I’m sure you all understand my love for birds…it’s obvious.  But I don’t do it enough. I whine and complain about not being able to do it more, but it’s my own fault because I get tired and lazy.  Being a member of the local Audubon Chapter and a member of the Western Foundation for Vertebrate Zoology, I have no excuse not be to get my butt out there and learn all I can about birds.  I also think it’s going to help my stress levels with school and work.  As awesome as work it, being cooped up inside 4 walls all day can really affect my mood. I am having a blast, don’t get me wrong, but not being able to be in nature as much as I used to kind of hurts my little nature heart! So at the end of the week I plan on posting about all the birds I saw throughout the week or a bird list on a trip I went on..and hopefully some pictures since I got my own Canon Rebel for Christmas this year!!

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4. Keep listening to my body, trusting it, respecting it and helping it get even stronger.

Recovery doesn’t just stop when you realize that your ED is basically gone.  It keeps going because you have one and only one body and you still have to take care of it 24/7.  Since my mentality has finally changed and nothing is off limits these days (well, other than the whole vegan thing) I feel so much better. No longer does the guilt exist to create any tension with food, but instead exists the freedom to eat anything I want because my body wants it.  When I eat what I want, what my body craves or needs, I feel a million times better and you can see it.  Now if only my sleep patterns would follow along the same tracks….yikes. Gotta work on the sleep too!

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And along with all of the comes building more muscles.  When I cross train during training for a race, there is so much less fatigue and aches and pains in my legs, and my hip/piriformis especially, so I plan on do at least two days of some sort of cross training a week.  Right now I’m trying to get in at least two Insanity workouts but have ideas for some other workout plans with friends in the near future!

So that’s what I’ve got on tap for 2014!!! What kind of ideas do you have for your brand new year?!??!! There are so many possibilities!!!!

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