Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Follow me on Wordpress! Same name, same me. Same daily insanity.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

So, what about the bad days?

Team in Training is without a doubt, the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’m a part of this amazing and supportive family. We sweat together, we wake up before the sun together, we have the same appreciation for spandex and Body Glide, and we can’t run by each other without congratulations and a cascade of “GO TEAM!” exclamations.

But we aren’t superhuman. Rockstars, yes. I’ll tell you right now that every member of TEAM is a rockstar and an amazing human being. But superhuman? Not in the slightest. We may laugh and love with each other, but we cry with each other too. Nothing about what we do is easy, but we’re constantly reminded of and inspired by those that suffer from blood cancers and would give anything to be able to wake up and run along the beach, plantar fasciitis, shinsplints, cramps, chafing and all. Glamorous, isn’t it? Totally.

But what about the bad days? When your body doesn’t cooperate? When you’re morale is dwindling and you don’t know how you’ll make your fundraising minimum? We have those days. Those sleepless nights. Saturday was one of those days. I had been sidelined with a horrendous shin splint for a month or so, and while I got quite good at Sun Salutes, this was NOT how my training was supposed to go. I spent four months sidelined, and was finally trying to claw my way back to my old self. So when I showed up at gorgey Moonlight Beach in Encinitas on Saturday, I was just hoping that with compression sleeves over kinesiology tape, I’d be able to run my heart out. But no such luck. After a mile and a half, I new there was no way I’d be able to continue: the shin pain was just too bad. I turned around and walked back, about as demoralized as it gets. There’s a sob story for you. See? We have bad days.

I sulked for quite a while, actually, and may still be sulking, but at the end of the day, no matter how much it wore us down, what we’re doing is bigger than our shins. We’re in this for those who consider shin splints a blessing in comparison to what they go through. For those who fight for their lives every single second and still have the ability to love. We do this for them.

So we do have bad days. They hurt, we cry, but each and every tear and ache is a blessing because we are fortunate to be healthy. We just have to see it through.
Chocolate Shop in the Pearl District of Portland. This is how I'm drowning my sorrows. That, and the vinyasa podcast I need to do.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Just a quick post tonight-I want to start off the quarter with good study habits! If, like me, gluten is a major problem, traveling is a scary scary thing. Of course, there are obvious conventions: don't eat bread, pasta, pastries, etc. But what about the more subtle things? Barley malt? Wheat germ? The things that show up in sauces and soups and spreads, leaving you with headaches and stomachaches later? Like I said, scary. And that's just in English.
I'm applying to study in France next year, which as you can imagine, takes a LOT of preparation on the nutrition front alone! Also, asking une serveuse ou un serveur to rattle off the ingredient list, while I adjust to full-time French, is nerve-wracking and tedious, let alone potentially insulting the to restaurant! 
But now...SOLUTION! Here is an amazing site dedicated to gluten-free travel, with free cards that explain your digestive system both politely and concisely! The cards are free, but a donation would be appreciated. I'm a poor college student, so I went with the second option and linked them! Miracles :)

Gorgey, no? Hello, seventeen year old Courtney. This was three years ago, after high school graduation. Yes, I'm twenty. Shhhh.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Jab, Cross, Uppercut, Hook!

Awesome new exercise trend: PILOXING! Strength of pilates, with boxing moves. I jabbed, crossed, hooked, and used weights to my heart's content tonight! While I'm home, my mom got be a student package membership to her yoga studio, which is $30 for a month of unlimited classes. Drop-ins are $7, but if you go to five of them, the package is paid off anyway. I've been going constantly to show my mom how appreciative I am, oh & I'm totally in love. I've been going to body sculpt, different yoga classes, and decided to try the piloxing class. I'm hooked! Too bad I leave for school on Sunday, I wish I could stay with that studio year round!

So what is piloxing? A lot of boxing moves, but the instructor, Nick, also focused on form. He reminded us constantly to drop our shoulders, tuck our tailbones, and engage our core muscles. At the end, he used pilates moves with short rounds of extended child's pose. It was incredible. The music all had a great beat, and a lot of it was Michael Jackson! Sweet deal. I'd definitely recommend it!

After piloxing, I stayed for the yoga class, which is the only class I've taken on Thursdays over winter break. Piloxing definitely didn't kill me-it was actually something I felt really strong in. After month 1 of Insanity, I felt like a lot of the moves were the same. Yoga, however, was extremely challenging. My arms were quite fatigued, so I found myself dropping into child's pose quite a lot. Downward facing dog just wouldn't hold for a long time, and neither would any of the warrior poses, but I'm glad I went.

Yoga was definitely a lesson in listening to my body. I've been bad at this over the years, pushing and pushing and pushing and hating the idea of rest or not going all out. Post-injury, though, I've started listening to what my body wants and needs-if it's exhausted, I'll go easy on it. If I need to modify something, or take a rest, I'll do it. Tonight I had to do a lot of that, and it wasn't as horrible as I used to think it was. I'm learning, slowly but surely!

And because no post would be complete without one of these:

Switching it up a bit with La Jaconde! Blurry but still, awesome! From the Louvre.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Love You, Neuroscience!

For the past few days I have searched the Internet for nerdy, cogsci-related pickup lines. I SWEAR it's not because I have a 4k word paper due on Friday, a lab due, a stats writeup, a midterm Wednesday, and quiz tomorrow. That CAN'T be it, right? Hah.

Disclaimer: I came up with NONE of these. 

If I were a neurotransmitter, I would be dopamine so I could activate your reward pathway.

My hypothalamus must be secreting serotonin because baby, I want you!

Hey baby, want to form a synapse with me and exchange neurotransmitters?

If I were a Shwann cell, I'd squeeze areound your axon and give you a fast action potential.

If you were a concentration gradient I'd go down on you.

You must be the one for me, since my selectively permeable membrane let you through.

Hey baby, why don’t we instantiate a new Love object and pass in ourselves as the parameters.

Just being around you sets my synapses on fire.

Before I can commit to this relationship, I need you to declare your variables.

I checked your syntax and found no errors. Wanna go compile?

Baby, if they made you in Java, you’d be the object of my desire.

Why don’t we use some Fourier analysis on our relationship and reduce to a series of simple periodic functions

You just made me cross the action potential threshold...

I'd bind to your active site.

I think we should use an re-uptake inhibitor..

Let my ligand bind your G protein... I swear, you'll experience a cascade of reactions.

Friday, November 26, 2010

What a Rush..

...of gratitude! Happy Thanksgiving! I know I'm a little late, but that's okay. My mom was an angel: she created a 80-90% gluten-free feast and it all tasted so delicious! No one, not even my glutenivore family members, felt deprived! Bless her, she also created a vast array of healthy dishes that were fantastic and left us feeling content but not too full! 

Last Thanksgiving, I ran my 10K PR, which is around 56 minutes. Considering this was my first sanctioned 10K, not too shabby! This year, I was reminiscing about how much things have changed. I have yet to work up to a marked 10K, but I'm so grateful that I can be out and running without pain, and without fear! Today I just...went. I'm such a little principessa sometimes though, it's not THAT cold at home but I still went out in full underarmour! I just was one of those days when I just couldn't get comfortable in my shoes, so I ran from my mom's to my dad's with major shinsplints, stopping to retie them. It was casual and I have no clue how far I ran, or how long I was gone. No pressure, no worries, just some mechanical foot turnover and life was good! When I got back I did another twenty-minute vinyasa video to help with mindfulness. As I sat there in savasana, I felt so much gratitude rush into me: for my family, my health, my home, and life :) 

Happy Holidays from the Bay Area!

And of course...
Tuolomne Falls, I think. Near Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp.
If you haven't noticed, I'm obsessed with these pictures. They remind me that nature has such beauty, such simplicity, yet such perfection<3

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Camping: How to do it Gluten-Free Part 2

Well hello again. Back to the pressing topic of how to camp gluten-free. Unless you are allergic to bright stars and clean air, and if so I don't judge, sooner or later you're going to have to figure out how to do this. I would have posted this yesterday, but I had linear and nonlinear curve fitting code to write in MATLAB. So I'm going to assume we can all move on, yes? Yes. So here it is...

How to Continue to Survive a Week of Camping and Hiking Without Major Health Meltdowns:
(keeps getting catchier, I know...)
  1. Check, doublecheck, and triplecheck labels. Tuolomne had a great little general store: they had gear, maps, souvenirs, food, you name it. This was great: if you ran out of something mid-trip, or forgot to pack it, you could grab it there! But I have to warn you: you MUST check labels. Camping is supposed to be low-maintenance, not a banquet catered by specialty grocers. There is no "gluten-free" section. Still check, even if on the off chance the product is labeled gluten-free. I got lucky and found some rice chips that I still really enjoy, labeled and everything, but this is rare. You may look funny examining every ingredient list, but if something is wrong, it is YOUR digestive system in the woods and in the small, enclosed living space. 
    1. Be careful, gluten-free and wheat-free are two different things! Especially beware the word malt. Malt comes from barley, which is not wheat, but contains gluten. Malt is used in CLIF bars, Luna Bars, and a lot of other products. Will wheat always be on the ingredient list? No. Will this fool your digestive system? No. Will you have a very uncomfortable experience? YES. 
  2. Hold the bun. Here's a secret: burgers and sandwiches can be put on lettuce. You can either ask specifically for this, or just ask for no bun. With all the low-carb diets out there & your credit card in your hand, cashiers usually won't ask questions. It's economically sound as well. They don't waste the bun, which means they don't waste the money. 
  3. Just Ask. Restaurants are always tricky. This usually won't be a problem, but if you have a lodge or local hotspot, like the Tioga grill, you have to be smart about it. 
    1. Let them know what you can't eat. I asked a waitress about wild rice one night, saying, "You're going to hate me, but is there any form of wheat, barley, rye, spelt, or kamut in this?" She was a sweetheart: "You mean like, gluten?" Yes, that's exactly what I mean. She didn't hate me at all, and mentioned that a manager had Celiac so they were very aware of their ingredients. Wild rice did in fact have barley, so when she brought out the dish I actually ordered, she told me that she asked the chef and it was gluten-free! Except the two pieces of bread on top, to which she replied, "OH MY! The chef does that out of habit! I'm so sorry!" She went back and told the chef, who was horrified. Waiters and waitresses will  accomodate you if you're polite about it: they don't want a health meltdown any more than you do! And don't skimp on the tip, either.
    2. In the town of Lee Vining, right outside of the park, there is a Mobil Station. Yes, a gas station. In this gas station, there is a restaurant. Not a dingy little hot dog heater, a restaurant. Live music on Thursday nights, I think. When I asked if there was any flour in a certain dish, the cashier said no, but the cook asked me specifically if I was asking about gluten. Affirmative. Nope, can't have those! But he then listed the dishes that were safe for me to eat. Just be nice about your needs, and no one will have a problem accomodating you! I ended up with a salmon salad pictured above. Gorgey, isn't it? And it was devoured...

So there you have it...camping a la Courtney. I think the major lesson learned here is that you can still eat S'mores. Oh yes.

I built a cairn! Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp hike.
Yes, that's my shadow. Photography isn't my major skill...or any skill.