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 ran...it 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.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Um hi,

I may or may not be the girl that eats all the chocolate chips out of the trail mix and ends up with a bag of everything else.

I almost suggested that they should make trail mix just for that girl, but they do, it's called a bag of chocolate chips. Hah.

I'm in a jazzy sort of mood :)

...And a twenty minute free Vinyasa download from yogadownload.com was JUST what I needed today.


Camping: How to do it Gluten-Free Part 1

Over the summer, my cousin & I went up to Tuolomne Meadows for a week. This was a true test: I had gorgey new hiking boots and a body that hadn't been put through serious exercise (aside from running around after campers) in months. And I was stoked. Naturally, I didn't want to be the girl in the group with major digestive distress, or the high-maintenance girl that sits there moping about what she can and can't eat while everyone makes s'mores. Because really, who wants to be in a tent (or tentcabin, I'm really not the most woodsy person) with THAT girl? Please.

There's only one rule when it comes to pulling off a feat like this. Have a sense of humor! Really, you're going to be among pb&j sandwiches, CLIF bars, graham crackers, hot dog and hamburger buns, and probably a million pounds of crackers. You might as well take it in stride! 

How to Survive a Week of Camping and Hiking Without Major Health Meltdowns:
(catchy title, right? I thought so.)
  1. Explain your situation ahead of time. I told my aunt and my cousin my situation, and that I would be bringing my own specialty items, about a week before the trip. This let them pack for themselves and not have to worry about what I would like or wouldn't be able to eat. I ate my food, they ate theirs. Simple, and they don't go broke trying to accomodate me!
  2. Load up on fruits and vegetables! This one was huge, because fruits and vegetables are my body's favorite, and they bulked up every meal! Salads, check. Fruit in my cereal, check. Quick sugars, check. Easy side dishes, check. Do itttt.
  3. BYOFF. Bring Your Own Freak Food (I mean freak in the most loving way, as I'm referring to my own diet). Want to enjoy s'mores? Bring your own graham crackers. Need trail food? Stock up on GF energy bars. I took NUGO Free bars, which I wasn't too impressed with. The tastes were good; I tried the carrot cake and dark chocolate varieties, but the texture didn't suit. Too chewy, too rice-krispy treat-y, but soggy if that makes sense. I guess I should have spent more time planning that part out.
    1. Cereal, Bread, and Graham Crackers: I took gluten-free cereal with me: Nature's Path Crunch Vanilla Sunrise. Definitely a winner, but I don't eat cereal often. In terms of bread, I took millet and LOVED it (thank you Fitnessista!). Tasted rather like a scone, and scones are my ultimate weakness! Finally, the crucial parts. S'more ingredients. I searched Whole Paycheck long and hard, and ended up settling on Healthy Valley Rice Bran Crackers. Not graham-y, really, but they did the trick and I adored the taste! I could have made my own, a la Lauren, but I didn't have the time or the ingredients on hand. Oh well, next time!
  4. Go Anti-OPF. Unless you can be certain that what you are offered is gluten-free, stay away from Other People's Food. Exceptions: fruits, vegetables, water, most chocolate. It just makes things a lot easier.
Since this is definitely a lot of information to handle at once, I'm going to cut it here and come back later with a Part 2! Happy Tuesday? Sleepless nights are no fun :(
Elizabeth Lake, where the fish are so excited that they jump at you!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Here's to Life...

Let's just live, laugh, love, and marvel.
May Lake, Tuolumne Meadows.
We don't need anything more.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Freak Food CAN Taste Good!

It's autumn. Well, in case I needed an excuse. Of all the recipes I try out, it's about time I posted more of them! Chili will come later...when I finish licking my spoon of course! Anyway, I thought a little pumpkin loving might be appropriate. Finding a good recipe took a nice long time, but I finally settled on one and couldn't be more satisfied...I think I even used this recipe last time, but didn't add xantham gum. Oops. Delish, but crumbly. This time, NEVER FEAR! Like you would, really. Anyway, I adapted this recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies, and ohhh my, they were wonderful!
ALLLLL credit goes to Jamie from My Baking Addiction! Thank youuu!

My changes:

  • Added WAYYY more cinnamon than was called for (um, duh, it's me)
  • Used all light brown sugar (but left off 1/4 cup)
  • Melted the butter and mixed everything at once
  • Omitted the pecans
  • Um, MADE IT GLUTEN FREE? Oh yeah, that. I swear, sometimes I feel like taking a sharpie into the supermarket, crossing out the 100% whole wheat, & replacing it with 100% POISON. I won't, I promise. Look out though, San Diego. 
    • I used Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour. My apartment-mate bought it without realizing what it was, and I'm stoked.
    • The flour wasn't measured too carefully though...
  • Added a heaping 1/4 TSP of xanthan gum
  • Dumped a full bag of semi-sweet, not dark, chocolate chips. I live on campus, no specialty chips...
I wanted to take pictures, I swear. Well, no, I didn't, by the time I remembered:
Oops! Just kidding, I cut them up and shoved them in the freezer after snacking on a couple. I'm not the best food photographer, as my camera is from my freshman year in high school (seven years ago, I'm OLD). But here's a pretty shot of the blondies in the saran wrap?
Yummay. 




Monday, October 18, 2010

weekbeforerace-itis

It's an actual condition. It happens. LA Rock 'n' Roll is on Sunday and suddenly, my whole body hurts. My foot is bad again maybe, my shins are starting to act up again. My knees should start hurting within the next few days, and I fully expect my hips to follow. And then maybe something totally unrelated...my forehead will start itching and suddenly I won't be able to run properly.

Seriously, Google it. I swear it's an actual condition. And for everyone that tells me it's all in my head, well...Yes, it totally is. Utterly and completely, all in my head. Now, I could go into the question of pain being entirely in the brain (and mind, if you're a monist) because the brain has no actual pain receptors, and open up an entire line of research on the matter, but instead I'll say this: the week before the race, it IS all mental. Happens every time (well, with La Jolla I actually was injured so that doesn't count). It's completely common, and once identified, totally hilarious. What else can possibly go wrong? It's the week before the race, of course EVERYTHING will somehow find a way to blow up. Of course. 

That being said, I kept my workout light on the impact scale today. Half an hour on the stationary bike, some free weights, some weight machines. I walked for around ten minutes on the treadmill, intending to run, then took about ten minutes to tie my shoes properly. Finally got on the treadmill, and oh hello shins! So I listened, inclined it and ramped up the speed, and ran for a total of thirty seconds. Nice one, Courtney. Really. 

My schedule of Insanity got completely wonky (thank you, Fitnessista, wonky has become part of my vocabulary) from taking the week off, so I started again last Friday and just backtracked to restart Week 3. Today would have been the Fit Test again, which I did last Monday, so I just headed to the gym instead. You can bet Shaun T will be back in my life tomorrow<3

Off to study for my Neuroanatomy midterm tomorrow, and who knows, later in the week my eyelashes may turn purple. After all, it's the week before the race!

And remember, life is a beautiful thing:
Pothole Dome, Tuolomne Meadows

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Let's Change it Up a Bit

I've written a lot about things that bother me, and things that worry me, and things that I'm really excited about. But I realized I haven't really spent time lately to think about what I'm thankful for, what I don't want to take for granted. So here it goes:

Health and strength.

Blending of culture.

Natural beauty.
This is the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp. Breathtaking, isn't it?

Joy.

Simplicity.

Friendship.

Exploration.

Dedication.

Silliness.




There is so much more, and I'll continue this as time goes on.

...There is always something to be grateful for.



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Bug

Oh, the bug. The bug that makes you forget how much long long distances hurt and how painful walking, sitting, and even smiling were after your marathon. The bug that says, hey, that was fun, let's do it again!

It bit me.

All over, really. I mentioned before that I wanted to run with Team in Training in Nashville, and finally today I said I would do it. I wanted to so badly, and I'll have adequate training before then! After all, Team in Training doesn't assume that you've done this before. I guess I'll need green&purple bandaids to cover these bites! I'm ecstatic though. I'm going to start fundraising EARLY, and then I get to run another marathon, another pin for my jacket, and I get to visit HEAB's city! Heather, you can bet that I'll be taking major recommendations from your blog! 

I'm happy about this, really happy. I've been feeling demoralized for wayyy too long. That's the rest of this post...not as uplifting. But honest.
And again, I have to postpone the rest of this. There is a Latin translation of Petronius' Satyricon staring at me as if to say you can run, but you can't hide! I don't need to hide though, I'll take the running! Sorry, cheese factor skyrocketing, but my little joke...

&&Another night and I can't sleep. I blame the naps I took today, I can't let myself sleep from 3 to 5 pm! I think finishing this post will take a lot off of my mind and let me finally sleep.

But first...
HAPPY SWEET SIXTEEN KYLIE<3
Today is my sister's sixteenth birthday. Funny how that works isn't it? I turned around and she wasn't five years old anymore. She's got the exact same hands though, I could never stay mad at her when she showed me those cute little hands!

Anyway, I've been dealing with some seriously low morale as of late. It didn't occur to me that when I started running again, I wouldn't just be able to jump back in to my old comfort zone of six or seven miles a day. I mean I knew I'd have to go slowly at first, but I thought I'd be able to jump back up more quickly. As it happens, I lost a lot of physical fitness ability. It's hard to only run a 5k when my heart is with long, long, looonnng distances. At that distance, the endorphins have barely started pumping (because I wasn't ready to speed up, I just wanted to make it) and the pain has barely left. There isn't anything truly joyous in it, and there's no addiction factor.

I never faced the idea that it would take such small steps to come back I guess. I don't feel quite like myself yet. It's completely and utterly demoralizing to not be able to do what I could yet. I'm working on it, but honestly, it's been hard. I got on the treadmill again, and it was like I had never run on one before. I'm only doing ten minute stretches of intervals, which are between six miles per hour and around six and a half, with a few seconds of seven. The first time, I just hopped on the treadmill thinking I would do five sets of 3x2 with my slowest speed at 5.9 mph (always averaging six mph). Well, let's just say I'm not there yet. But then I remembered that when I started playing with treadmill intervals (last year, because I was always scared of the treadmill!), I started with walking and running, not just running with varying speeds.

It really is back to the beginning. I want to get back up to at least a few six mile runs before training for Nashville starts, that way I can still feel a bit like my old self. It's difficult. Thoroughly difficult, because I'm letting my thoughts and expectations get in the way of true improvement. I know I'm not the only one who has felt like this, which is why I'm sharing this now. This is me, at this moment in my life, trying to face one of my demons. And it's hard. If there's one thing I know for sure though, it's that the rush of long distance running is completely worth the wait. I'm going to try to be grateful.

Speaking of being grateful, here is something I hope to never take for granted again:
May Lake (Tuolomne Meadows, California)
Exquisite and pure.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

No Big Deal or Anything, but...

I GOT TO HOLD A BRAIN!!!!
Yes, a real human brain. In my hands. In my twenty-year-old, Disneyland-loving, gluten-free, coffee-obsessed hands. 

The day started with my statistics class at 9, in which I fell asleep. Then my MATLAB class at 11, fell asleep again. Long week for sure. Then I got to my Neuroanatomy discussion section at 12 (while frantically studying for 1 p.m. Latin), where I not only found out that I didn't do quite so horribly on my quiz last week, but my TA also said okay, today is a LAB day. For this lab, we basically had to label brain structures on printouts of coronal, lateral, and sagittal views, and then describe some of the structures in a few sentences. All of this can be done outside of class (I'm 70% done anyway...), but then he held up a brain. A real brain. Just like that. Someone asked if it had gotten smaller because of the drying/preservation process. Only 10-20%, he said, not much. Then, as if it was nothing at all in his hands, held it up to his own head as a comparison. Just like that. 

There were other brains at the front of the classroom, a macaque brain, rat brains, and a few others I didn't pay attention to. I wanted the human brain. The animal brains were all soaked in formaldehyde, so I didn't get to pick them up as we were running out of gloves. Like I said, I wasn't paying any attention to them to begin with. The human brain was just...there. No formaldehyde, a different process. 

Part of me was grossed out, but the MUCH larger part was excited. This is what I study, this is what I love! I'll say it again:

I LOVE THE BRAIN!

Convinced? Me too. I used to be a Political Science major. I wanted to be a Civil Rights Lawyer. And now, I might still want to, but I found something to study that just thrills me. I never thought I'd be a science major, that's laughable. But I just love the brain! I love learning about it, I love neurons, I love the lobes, I love CT scans and EEG recordings and TMS research! TMS stands for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, and one of my professors does a lot of work with it.

So there I was, holding this brain. This thing that was so unassuming, so...well, so ugly actually, color-wise. It was this tan/yellow/dull shade, not the pink I had imagined. Then again, it was a dead brain. No blood flow or anything, no action potentials, no neurotransmitters, nothing. But the structures were there, the nerve fibers, oh my gosh the nerve fibers! All tangled, and the cerebellum, with its striations, was just sitting there! Just chilling out I guess. Chillin' like a villain. Cool.

And this unassuming organ, this ugly-colored dead organ, was once the key to someone's entire life! Still the key to life, just now in a more universal sense. The most electrifying, brilliant, incredible machine, and it was just sitting there waiting for me to pick it up at the front of the classroom! It's hard to even grasp the experience, the idea that I was holding something so complex, the key to the evolution of cognition, the neural processes underlying behavior, and the reason I can even approach this level of thinking! And I was holding it in my hands. 

...I'll never forget it. Ever.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock...

What you waiting

What you waiting
What you waiting for!? 
Thank you, Gwen Stefani, this pretty much hits the nail on the head. So here's the deal:
I'M SCARED.
There it is: honesty, brutal honesty. I'm scared to run again. I'm scared because I love something so much, and I can't have it taken from me again. This sounds dramatic, but here's the deal. Before running, I was a mess. I had just come out of my senior year in high school, after dealing with some intense issues (can't go into it yet, the blog isn't mature enough yet), which cost me my friends, my understanding of the way the world worked, and my knowledge of who I was to begin with. Not to mention, it KILLED my last soccer season, which prior to that had been everything to me. I played for twelve years, and the last memory I have of it is not being able to do what I used to be able to. Not being strong, not having any power in my body and watching my skills deteriorate, hating myself, wondering what was wrong!
So I needed something. I needed a new passion, something that would be mine. Soccer was over for me, swimming was a totally different story, and I was unhappy. Trying to adjust to a new, MUCH BETTER (I have the most amazing friends anyone could ask for) life, and I realized that all through life I had been uncomfortable with my body. I had always been active, but never took a liking to the idea that running was really effective! So I finally told myself to suck it up, because I was NOT about to gain the Freshman 15, thank you very much.

I'm finally tired, it's time for bed. I'll finish this off tomorrow, as it won't save properly.
I'm truly horrible sometimes. I know this isn't the next day, or the day after, or even the day after, but a full THREE days later and I'm finally finishing this up. 
There it is. Honesty and clean: I started running because I was unhappy with both my life and my body. I ran/walked two miles: running everything but crosswalks. I did this every day, and then added more distance so I was running three miles a day, eventually without any walking! 
Somewhere along the line...I fell in love.
My body changed, my mood changed, and my self-respect shot through the roof. It was wonderful! Sure, it was hard. There were days when it just didn't feel anything close to pleasant. But hey, that's love right? I think? Not every day is perfect? Right.


...So that's what I lost for four months. And now, I know I'm okay, but I'm scared to lose that again. I feel like I'm hiding behind Insanity, if that makes sense at all. I use Insanity as an excuse to not run, and it's not like I'm not getting exercise, quite the opposite. But I go to bed thinking about running. I'm just...scared. Clearly I'm healed, and healthy again, because I can do intense plyometric workouts, and I can run a couple miles at a time. It's only fear now, that's really all it is and I know it. Baby steps. Okay, I can do this.


I'm taking the week off of Insanity because I didn't have proper shoes (I know, I know, you think this wouldn't be an issue) for it: I used old running shoes in place of cross-trainers. Bad idea, because my left ankle is now very unhappy. I rolled it at Disney, but haven't had any pain running, just doing plyos. So I think I'll get my butt on the treadmill again :] Let's get rid of this fear k? K.



Saturday, September 25, 2010

And Now I Present...

My first successful batch of protein ice cream! It was supposed to be chocolate-cherry, but it's a bit more chocolate-y with a hint of cherry. Complaints? None here :]
Thank you, HEAB, this is so much fun to eat!

&&tasted absolutely wonderful after Shaun T's Plyometric Cardio Circuit! I LOVE INSANITY!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sweet Solitude

Sometimes I wonder why it's so hard to just unplug, you know? I have an hour between two of my morning classes, and it's not worth it to go all the way back to my apartment (on campus, but still) and walk all the way back. When I schedule my classes that way, my first thought is What am I going to do with that extra time? Where do I go? It's silly, really, because I'm lucky enough to go to one of the most beautiful universities EVER, imo, and here I am making a big deal about not knowing how to spend an hour. I've gotten better, I'm sitting in my favorite spot on huge stairs that form benches (they have a separate staircase) on the side of a major campus center. So far, I'm the only person just sitting here, as most people prefer the tables and chairs that line the frozen yogurt shop or the student services center. I like my stone benches though, they're relaxing purely for their simplicity, their lack of defined use. There's a fountain in the shape of our school's mascot at the base of the stone benches, so I get to feel the breeze, the San Diego autumn heat, and hear the splash of water. 

It's eternally wonderful, and yet, whenever I sit here I feel the need to have SOMETHING going on. My Blackberry next to me, perhaps, or even blogging, like now. The only time I brought a book, I called my dad to talk anyway. Why is it so hard to step away from interpersonal connections and just breathe? It seems like I constantly need stimulation, something that has only gotten worse over time. I am in medias res, or in the middle of things, with a lot of things. My morning, my adjustment to being back at school, and a book that my grandmother sent me called Gifts of the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. She writes a very poignant chapter on solitude, and how we must take the opportunities to step back from our daily lives and take time to just be. Alone. Unplugged. Because we can't give life everything that we have, we can't develop interpersonal connections, unless we can find peace alone, in her case on a secluded beach, in my case on stone benches next to a fountain. 

I've started to rejoice in the solitude I get from yoga. Yes, there is an instructor, yes there are classmates, fellow souls seeking the same peace that I'm seeking, but each stretch is a test of personal limits, of inner strength just as much as outer. Running can give me that solitude as well. But still, I often find the need to be plugged in, especially to my iPod. If I'm at the gym, on a machine, I don't have the time to think, nor the desire. I send text messages, try to read Runner's World, and just generally try to find connections. Outside is different. There is music playing but after the first few miles I don't hear it. I try to work out kinks in my thoughts, subtle but disturbing nuances in my day, and any lingering emotion that I want to work through. I think it's gotten harder since I had to sit out of long distance running, because I wasn't accustomed to not having an hour or more daily to just pound the pavement and think. Now running is clouded with worry...what if I'm not healed? What if I'm just angering fate?

Soon, I think. Soon I will be able to put miles and miles down and not worry about my body, because I know I'm capable of great things. Starting with taking time for blissful, sweet solitude.

I'll leave you with this last picture, something my mom took on her cell phone, as a reminder to take time to relax and reflect, and to be eternally grateful for natural peace.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nashville, in my dreams?

I REALLY REALLYYY want to run Rock 'n' Roll Nashville. I mean, there's always fear of injury, and since I'm still at the 5k level who knows where I'll be in November, when the TNT season starts. I mean, it would be through TEAM, of course, so I'd be insanely well-trained, but I just came back from a MAJOR injury. I think since I can run short distance, do yoga, and do Insanity, my foot is okay, but I'm terrified that I will reinjure it. I had to drop out of the Nike Women's Marathon, which is actually coming up, because I wouldn't have been trained and realized that it would be too much too soon. I was so excited for that, because Alumni Fundraising worked out for me. If I do Nashville, I think I'd have to do full fundraising because I'm a college kid. I can't afford things like that you know? I'd really love to mentor, and that would give me a discount, but we'll see. 

But after dropping Nike I picked up LA Rock 'n' Roll Half, which will be inaugural, a week after Nike, and I'll be with the same two lovelies I did Disney with. Thirteen miles fly with them, and suddenly I don't care whether or not I PR, or whether or not I'm hitting a negative split. I'm really excited, because it will be my second Rock 'n' Roll this year (and ever...haha) so I get some heavy medal (teehee!). 

Hey there, sexy...

I originally started this blog post about something totally different, but hey, no surprise, running takes over<3

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Aversions and Water(melon) Babies

All right, when watermelons go out of season I think I'm going to lock myself in my room and cry for a few days! I can seriously eat half a watermelon at a time, and sometimes, that's all I want to eat. Which leads me to think about aversions. 

Are there any foods that just make you cringe? I'm not talking about lifetime aversions, but foods that you've had as a regular part of your diet and now just can't stand?

Well, it's been like that for me alllll summer. For some reason, I couldn't handle most things that weren't raw, and while it's true that I LOVE the raw diet, I usually go about 60-40 % raw to non-raw. I will eat fish though, easily. And I live on sushi when I can, even if the rice isn't raw. But lately I've had a serious inability to eat bananas and eggs. No clue why, I just can't bear to really consider them. 

This happens to me a lot I guess, but it's just a bizarre thing. And lately eating dairy has been a chore, except cheese. I can't give up cheese :]]] I did buy some Nooch at WHOLE PAYCHECK (thank you, Fitnessista). Whole Paycheck is the bane of my existence, I also got my hands on some vanilla stevia, GUAR GUM (sooo hard to find this summer!), Pamela's gluten free flour, and my new lover...
oh hayyy baby ;]
(& Source!)

But back to my other baby. The watermelon. Through all my aversions and pretended gagging, I've become quite the watermelon myself. I eat it for breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, not dinner because by then I'm okay for dairy, and EVERYTHING!

Here's the thing about watermelon, comes with quite the belly! And I don't have the bananas to calm it! Oh well, I love my watermelon babies. Seems like I've constantly got a watermelon baby. I should start naming them I suppose. Maybe not. But seriously, it's a perpetual state of watermelon pregnancies. Yummy.

...But the next time I mention babies, it'll be because I constantly swoon over CCK's recipes<3

&& I love you Shaun T. I'm currently a total wimp, but I have serious optimism about improvement! I love the way all the people in the videos are showing REAL effort, with the need to rest, the swearing, and the sweat. Amazing.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Let me be Phoenix, please.

Sooo, that was some hiatus right? What was it, FIVE MONTHS? Classy, Courtney, classy. Start a blog and then abandon it. But I have some exciting news, so all my nonexistant readers will forgive me righttt? 

I CAN RUN!

I want to go around shouting it, singing it, dancing to it! I CAN RUN I CAN RUN I CAN RUNNNN! When I returned to the Bay (BAY AREAAAAA), I went to see the podiatrist. Well, after three different x-rays, she told me that she saw no fracture and that I had to sit out for a month or two. That's it: rest for a month or two. I held back tears in her office and promptly went to see my mom (she works at the same facility, though I won't say where) and collapsed in HER office. Cue tears, hysterics, screaming, etc. I thought my life was over. I seriously sat on the couch for a good two days after that just crying. I mean I had already been out for a good two months and running isn't just my stress release, it's my hobby! I love going home because my old trails are there & I know exactly how to add miles & I occasionally see people I know drive by :] And how insensitive, just tell me to sit on my butt? What about physical therapy? Nope, no referral. I was pretty angry, let me tell you. Right after the doctor, I went to see my sister's chiropractor. She's a bigshot soccer player, and gets hurt like I used to pre-running days (which I can't even remember!). The chiropractor's husband gave me a tough love speech, which said get in the pool NOW because sometimes you have to do what you don't want to do until you recover. He said I needed cardio, because I had to be going CRAZY. Then his wife set me up with ultrasound technology right on my sesamoid bone, muscle stimulation therapy (my toes DANCE, I'll try to put up a video), and deep heat. She also did some adjustment.

Well, I went to see her for a while, and I really think she helped relieve the inflammation/irritation. I meant to get in the pool and swim a lot, but I really only had time to go twice, as I worked from around 7:30 to around 6 every day! Love my job :] I went to the gym just to lift more often than that of course.

Here's the greatest part: I mastered balance ball pushups to jacknives! I felt strong again, like an athlete again :] 

Two weeks before the Disneyland Half Marathon, I started running again. Let me tell you, I am OUT OF SHAPE! I mean, I had to sit for four months! Hardest 5k of my life, that first one. No joke. But I did it. And I'm still at the 5k level, which KILLS me, because I'm through and through a distance runner. So it's rather demoralizing to know that I have to start all over again, but I will! The Disneyland Half Marathon, which I did NOT have time to really train for, was a total blast! Ran a bit, walked most of it, but I was with two of my friends who didn't train fully! We sang Disney songs and came in at around 3:26.

Welllll, my PR from La Jolla (including crazy hills and horrid injury) was a 2:16, so I didn't quiiiite beat that this time. But it was amazing! So much better, and such a lovely race! Helped that my mom, sister, sister's bf, and my bgf (best guy friend) were there at the finish line! At La Jolla, I was totally alone...It's funny though, every time I do a half I think, well that was fun, but I love fulls so much more!

So this summer involved a lot of summer camp, weights, breakthroughs, and even a return to yoga at the very end! LOVEEE. And not to mention, I split a pair of my running shorts, that used to be soccer shorts & that I've had for six years, down the center while working with my speed trainer. My mom called him the minute I came into her office in hysterics and said PLEASE HELP! So I had three amazing, can't walk for four days sessions with him, thank you mom, I love you so much!

Wow, what a long explanation of my hiatus & summer! I guess as long as I wasn't running, I couldn't bear to blog. But now I'm back. With yoga...

So call me a phoenix. Those were some pretty rank ashes, some pretty dark, teary days. But I rose up! Now there's some possible scartissue but I can handle that...

&&Lastly, I started INSANITY finally :] FINALLY. Day 2 done, ouch. Marry me please, Shaun T!



Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Blue-bee-bears!

Finals week is almost over! Just one more final, tomorrow, and I'm free for summer! I really do love the quarter system, even with the three sets of finals...
So I was REALLYYY sunburned from job training (summer camp!) this past weekend, so it's been a stretch to even sleep on my back, let alone throw a sports bra on! Today was the first day that I've been able to, so I got my booty to the gym!
Started with weights: 12 lb. dumbells for lat. raises, serving trays, bicep curls...the usual routine.
Then on to the elliptical. Now, I cry around 3-5 times a week over my stupid injury, because taking running from me is like taking life from me. YES, I am that dramatic. So today I taped around my foot, hoping it would help (a little...) and printed out the Fitnessista's Boredom Buster elliptical workout. THANK YOU FITNESSISTA, I NEARLY DIED. It was amazing! I've never felt so good from an elliptical workout before! After that, I did a bit of legwork with weighted machines (I don't normally do those, but I was in the mood I guess-I usually use my own body weight). Then 20 minutes on the recumbent bike, as my foot had started to twinge at the end of the elliptical cooldown. 
Headed over to the balance balls and did a few reps of the ab roller & about 13 balance ball jackknives. I WILL get better at them, I swear!

So I took the plunge...I ORDERED INSANITY! I'm totally stoked, when my foot heals I'm going to sweat my way through Shaun T's brutality. Loveee.

Nourishment today...well half a pot of weak coffee, a BUNCH of green tea, and a small protein shake, or drink, because it was RIDICULOUSLY thin, made from 1 scoop Designer Whey Vanilla, a small banana, around a cup of ice, and maybe 3/4 to a cup of skim milk. Very nice :]

Post workout:
In the words of the Fitnessista herself, GLORIOUS!
1.5 liters of water (which I'm still working on), a container of blueberries (goodbye portion control), and an almond & cashew KIND bar. Bars are relatively infrequent, especially after I realized that both CLIF and LUNA have gluten...explains how I felt when I used to eat them as meal replacements. And I ran out of my stock of mini LARABARS from the JDRF walk fall quarter. But this was a treat :]

Oh & to clarify the title, my sister, who is now 234239832x cooler than me, and a few inches taller despite being four years younger, used to say the cutest things! Now she's too cool to be a dork with me...usually :]
But she used to call cigarettes "smokers," and when she wanted to be carried, she'd say "carrot me up." Very direct, to the point. They should have let her write the dictionary...
Anyway, she was always the blueberry fan, it was a texture thing for me. Crazy, now I'm addicted. Somehow in her genius brain she mixed up the syllabic sounds and instead of saying "Blue-berr-ee" said "Blue-bee-bear." Freaking adorable. Oh and strawberries were "Straw-bee-bear." Love her<3

Off to shower and study for my last final of sophomore year! Goodbye half of undergrad, wow.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Happy National Running Day!

Yes, it's National Running Day!
(aka Courtney wants to smack someone because she's still injured :[)
Anyway, this week has been somewhat hectic, but I managed to get two beach runs in over the three day weekend! Ten sets of 1x5 minutes (walkingxrunning). It feels SO good to be running again, my body just knows it and loves it! It's almost a blow to my pride to be running such low mileage, but the interval is there to keep me from getting bored going back and forth, and the sand makes it harder anyway. No pain at least...But since it's barefoot, I have to be careful because my feet get roughed up pretty nastily. In all honesty, I'm a little scared of trying to put on running shoes, because even my XT shoes hurt sometimes. 

So today was my first day at the gym all week, because Saturday & Monday were beach days, and Sunday was a lazy-Courtney-has-bad-habits-and-will-feel-disgusting-tomorrow day, and on Tuesday I had a ten page research paper due for one of my general education classes (six quarters of it one lecture from being DONE!). I should have started it wayyy before Monday night, but since the course requires a prospectus to be turned in week six, I had a good start and copied & pasted much of the structure. From there I just filled it in! My topic was women & family in the Third Reich. Heavy, I know, but I wanted to approach Germany during Hitler's years from an angle I didn't know much about. Well, I finished that at four in the morning, which is TOTALLY not the way I do things, I swear. I need to be in bed by midnight at the latest, and I LOVELOVELOVE days when I crash at ten. I'm a failure of a college kid. Just kidding!

So after turning in the paper, I pretty much slept all day, and didn't make it to work out :[ I HATE rest days, even if I know I need them. This morning I was up for my usual 7:30 gym sesh, which I nearly fell asleep through anyway (thank you sleepytime tea, really). Around ten minutes of lifting 12 lb. weights (heavy for me, but I wasn't getting results with 10 lbs.): side arm raises (lat raises?), bicep curls, serving trays (from Seventeen Magazine, love their small tips!), and a few other moves that are a part of my normal routine. I do about 20 reps of each, and I know I should tweak it, but in the early morning before classes, this routine works! Then hopped on the elliptical for 28 minutes of intervals, followed by an extra 2 minutes to round it out & a 5 minute cooldown. I was studying for my Latin quiz at the same time, while trying not to drool over Supernatural, which was on TV. 
Jensen Ackles=LOVE!
(Feast your eyes!)
Aww yeahhhh. Jensen Ackles, marry me! In a non-stalkery way. Or at least let me work out with you! 

Hopped on the recumbent bike for what was supposed to be 25 minutes, but my foot/injury twinged so I cut it to 20. Not fun. Came back & made a protein shake for breakfast/lunch with a bowl of pineapple, a LOT of mango, 1 scoop Designer Whey, a bit of vanilla extract, and a glass of milk. It was 1%, WAYYY too rich for me but once in a while I can deal. It wasn't my favorite, but fruit servings + protein...works for me!

And lots of pushups.

So off to Latin, hello release from world! Then back for a 30-minute pilates DVD & the rest of my shake. Nothing like a final the week before finals week to add a bit of stress :/.

So I had a bit of a meltdown. I've been dealing with this foot pain for over a month, in fact, I ran the La Jolla Hlaf Marathon with it, and no, it did NOT numb out. Thirteen miles of burning, shooting, horrendous pain. Lovely. Every so often I feel like I've reached my breaking point with it: I miss running! It keeps me sane, focused, and reduces a LOT of anxiety. Not to mention the double-cut quads I used to rock! There were a few tears, unfortunately, because not only am I off running, but the pain can be triggered by a lot of other things as well. No Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred, no plyometrics, and the bike and elliptical are left up to fate. So very frustrated. I'm okay now, with the promise of physical therapy once I get home. Maybe looking at pictures of this gorgeous specimen will cheer me up:

(More feasting!)
Hi, I know we don't know each other, but I currently love you. Ahh.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fudge with Lindsay!

My friend Lindsay is in town for a few days, and we have been experimenting in the kitchen like crazy! So far, we've made macaroons and black bean dip. Neither of which looked spectacular, so no pictures, but they tasted AMAZING! Tonight we thought it would be a good idea to try out raw, or at least semi-raw semi-vegan recipes. And we found...FUDGE! 

We found the recipe here! Thank you, Wasabimon! So cute, I love gluten-free blogs :]
We made some tweaks, so the recipe is as follows:
1/2 C Coconut oil (we melted it in the microwave for about 30 seconds)
1/2 C Cacao powder (We used Trader Joe's Cocoa Powder)
1/2 C Maple syrup (Grade A!)
1 tsp Vanilla extract (definitely doubled. Or tripled. Vanilla extract is amazing!)

1/2 C Chopped almonds
Generous shake of cinnamon, of course!
We didn't have almonds, so instead stirred in about 3/4 of a cup (whatever suits your tastes!) of Justin's Maple Almond Butter...ohmygoshyum!
(Picture Here)
Melt the coconut butter, stir the wet ingredients in with the dry, and mix! We then softened some almond butter and swirled it in, along with some of the leftover macaroon pieces that I just randomly threw in.
SO. GOOD.
It began to solidify as the coconut butter cooled, and then the addition of warm almond butter melted it all over again! We almost couldn't wait to let it cool, but we poured it into an ice cube tray and put it in the freezer to set. Result: Fudge that tasted strongly of cocoa, but with maple, and melted in our mouths!
Okay, I absolutely had to post that recipe, but now back to a paper due tomorrow (today, oh no!)...



Monday, May 24, 2010

My Usual Protein Shake!

As of now, I am fine with dairy, so I use milk and whey protein in my shakes.

Standard Base:

1 Scoop Designer Whey All Natural French Vanilla protein powder

~ a cup of nonfat milk, maybe more. I use a full glass ( I guess you could use water, I'm not sure about almond milk or soymilk, it may not blend in?)

1 banana, usually frozen ( I use a full banana)

cinnamon: this is occasional, but if I put it in, I use a very generous shake!

occasional splash of vanilla extract, if necessary

Usual add-in:

~ 1.5-2 cups frozen mango

I've added spinach before, but I would recommend having a higher-power blender, as I got a few millimeter-sized bits!

Fresh strawberries work well too, but I haven't found a blueberry version I'm satisfied with. Looks like another visit to Show me Your Smoothie!

Seems caloric, but I usually drink this over the course of 3-4 hours for lunch! Keeps me full and the potassium in the banana keeps the belly bloat down!

-Courtney :]

Homemade Facials...MAYBE not my thing?

Happy Monday! Just kidding, please don't virtually slap me. Well, today started with me oversleeping Latin class, throwing on whatever exercise clothes I had that were clean, and heading off to my 1 p.m. lecture on the political, economic, and social craze that was 1989. Starting with an all-too-brief discussion of Tiananmen Square. Have you read The Forbidden City by William Bell? Well that should give you an idea...ANYWAY, on to the rest of the day.

Probably ate too much oatmeal last night (hello seven hour drive back to school with barely any food), and woke up feeling rather discontented. Seems to be a trend with oatmeal, I rarely feel good after eating it. Non-certified gluten-free oats anyway. So perhaps the best plan is to avoid them for a while until I can find them without possible contamination. So this morning I decided to get rid of them. How? FACE MASK TIME! Now what they don't tell you is that if you aren't particularly skilled at home beauty products, like me (dabbled in homemade lip balm and lotion as a kid), oatmeal mask = cement. So here I am, with a mixture of weak coffee, lemon juice, liquid whey from the yogurt, oatmeal, and a small amount of milk turning my face into a construction site. Awesome.
Please tell me why the mound of cement paste on my face adds like a bazillion pounds to it? Cool. Not sure when to wash this off...

So after waking up in an irritated mood, not being able to find my other pair of skinny jeans, and missing Latin, I wasn't too eager to eat or drink anything except a nice pot of coffee. I know, I know, stop drinking coffee around noon, or at least by 2 p.m., but give me a break today. Hold on, give me a minute to wash the paste off my face, it's starting to get really hard! Oh boy.
Okay, so face is nice and smoothy smooth, after having to wash that off with a SPONGE. Clean of course. I would have preferred to just be able to EAT the oats, but hey, at least I didn't waste them!

So along with my pot of coffee, nourishment today has consisted of a Fuji and fifteen pushups. I do pushups every time I want to eat something, to determine whether or not I'm actually hungry. I'd do the glass of water thing, but I already drink like 289238473927 cups of tea a day anyway. So if I am legitimately hungry, I eat something and just have stronger arms/shoulders/etc.

Update on metatarsalgia. Which is officially the devil. Pain in my foot is gone (as it should be, after 2400 prescribed mg of Ibuprofen a day for ten days), for the most part, but I'm scared to jump back into running too soon. So no running for me for the next three weeks, until I'm out for summer! Hello nightmare. Sidenote...my face is now tingling pleasantly! I hope that's okay...

So instead of running, I go crazy. I guess I'll be the most intense fan of The Fitnessista's elliptical workouts, not that I wasn't her biggest fan before! I know I currently have no readers, but one day I will, so CHECK HER OUT!

The rest of the day: ZUMBA! I missed last week's class because I went home for a Crohn's and Colitis awareness walk (my friend was diagnosed this year), and her Monday class is one behind my usual Friday sesh. It's totally packed, but she said that as long as I only do this ONCE, it's okay. So here goes, Zumba TWICE this week :] Then some pilates, just a half hour DVD.No more coffee. And oh yeah, the group paper for Psycholinguistics. Shoot me now. Just kidding, I guess I just need to sit down and write it.

Looking forward to the days when I can just run whenever I want! Soon!

PEACE AND BLESSINGS (find Tracy on YouTube. Some people should NOT have webcams.)
-Courtney :]

edit// threw in another Fuji, & a small banana with almond butter and cinnamon (cinnamon goes on EVERYTHING). Don't you hate when nothing sounds appetizing?



...& pilates may not happen, seeing as I'm still sore from weights this weekend, and Zumba was HARSH today! Dinner should be an eggbeater omelette with mixed greens, avocado, and salsa. Still haven't started my paper. Score.
Dessert: fifteen more pushups & a Fuji with almond butter and cinnamon. Some days, I just have to give up a diverse diet for the only things I can tolerate.