Running updates

I’m running again! There’s a few things going on in my running world and I don’t even know where to begin.
I’m officially started my marathon training for the Marine Corps Marathon. I’m starting so early because 1) I am a super slow runner, and 2) I lost a lot of fitness when I took my 3 month break, so I need the extra time to build up my base. I am following Jeff Galloway’s plan again, but on my own right now. Perhaps next month I will sign up for his e-coaching services again.
For the past month I’ve been going to physical therapy for my knee. When I started running again this year, I still had the same knee pain that prevented me from finishing the Jeff Galloway Half Marathon. The physical therapy has worked really well. It turns out that I don’t have a knee problem, I have a glutes, hamstrings, and arch problem. Weak muscles in those areas were causing my leg to turn in, thereby putting stress on the tendon around the knee. I’ve gone twice a week for 4 weeks and really feeling improvement. It’s interesting having the therapist watch and correct my form when I’m doing basic exercises that I’ve been doing for a while. Turns out I’ve been doing so many things wrong and that’s why my muscles weren’t developing. While the $25 co-pay each time is a little painful, it’s cheaper than personal training sessions at a gym. Last weekend I did 5.5 miles last weekend, pain-free and I can feel that I’m using different muscles in my legs and feet.
Last night I did a 1-mile time test, the Magic Mile, as he calls it. My time was crappy compared to what my potential used to be but better than I expected for that day.  I didn’t think I could run well because I was tired from starting work at 6 am that day, and I’ve been eating like shit. Yep, I fell off my diet wagon too. I’m disappointed in my time because if I want to actually improve from my 6 hr first-time marathon, I gotta get my speed back.
Brian: Do you want ice cream?
Me: No thanks, my stomach isn’t feeling so good.
Brian: Because you already ate a donut and a brownie today?
Me: …..
Regarding my eating – I did a good 3 weeks on a low-ish carb diet, eating around 50g carbs. I felt awesome; the scale was going down, I wasn’t bloated or hungry and I still had the energy to power through my workouts. Then one weekend, I cheated and ate a lot of rice. Then the cravings came back, and I just kept shoving carbs, and breads, and then sugars into my diet that whole week. I had a headache that went off and on for days, and got worse whenever I ate sugar and wheat. For example, on Monday I ate carbs like a normal person but I didn’t eat carbs at dinner. The next morning, I noticed I was finally feeling better. Then I ate a donut and brownie during an office party and my headache instantly returned. I’m not one of those people that lies or makes up having a sugar or gluten allergy, but I had to admit that eating shitty food was making me feel shitty. Man, being healthy ruins everything.

I have my first 5k of the year coming this weekend. I can’t believe it’s so late. I’ve felt bummed about missing all of the races I’m seeing every weekend and it’s finally my turn. Bonus, it’s in Florida!

How to Make Rose Hips Toner

brewing supplies
Remember when I grabbed these dried rose hips at the home brew store? After coming home and doing my research, I found that rose hips are packed with vitamin C. Also, rose face products are all the rage these days. I’ve mentioned before that vitamin C is a tried and true ingredient for healthy skin and wrinkle prevention. After thinking about all of the possibilities, toner seemed like the easiest thing to try first.

Since this is going on your face, it would be best to use organic rose hips, free of pesticides. Mine were not since it was an impulse purchase.

 diy rose toner
I’m such a commoner, none of these ingredients are organic.

Homemade Toner from Rose Hips

.5 oz dried rose hips
4 oz distilled water, boiling
.5 oz witch hazel
.3 oz (2 tsp) vegetable glycerin
empty bottle
1) In a mug, pour the boiling water over the rose hips and let it steep for 20 minutes. Strain your rose tea. You can discard the solids or eat them. They’re chewy and actually kind of tasty – like sour gummies without the sugar.
2) Pour in 2 oz of the rose tea into your empty bottle. Add the witch hazel & glycerin and shake it up.  Done.
Going into this, I really had no idea what to expect.  I have dry skin and I didn’t use toner before because I never felt like it made a difference, other than making my face feel tight and dry. Also, since I cleanse with oil, most toners make me feel like I am stripping away the oil I just put on. This toner was way different. Even though my witch hazel was not alcohol-free, the glycerin made it moisturizing. During the winter months I felt like I had to coat my face in argan oil or Weleda before bed; however using this toner made my skin feel normal before the moisturizer step. Argan oil even feels like too much after using the toner.
I used to rinse my face with water in the morning (no soap) but I have begun using the toner in the a.m. to refresh the skin and clean off any serum I used the night before.
By the way, witch hazel sounds exotic but it’s a neat and common skincare ingredient. You can see that mine came from Target. When I had acne problems in college, I made a toner with only witch hazel + ground aspirin pills and it worked really well. The glycerin was also easy to find in the first aid aisle of any pharmacy.
I love this toner and I don’t even have anything to sell ya. It’s moisturizing and the vitamin C is will fight off wrinkles. I know for sure that some of the vitamin C in the dried rose hips made it into the toner because I used pH test strips to check for acidity. This batch made around 3 ounces lasted me almost 3 weeks. I estimate that less than $15 worth of ingredients will make a year worth of toner.

Look leaner by wearing the right size

Or: How to Lose 10 lbs in 30 Seconds!

I recently learned a neat lesson in how clothes fitting can drastically improve your appearance and I have photo evidence to show you.

I was shopping in Athleta and saw this dress for only $25. It was a little bit different for me but I grabbed a medium and tried it on anyway. Every woman thinks they’re kind of a medium right? Here it is:

finding the right size

Even though the form fitting skirt was different for me, I thought the bottom half looked fantastic. Plus, it’s really comfy and feels like pajamas! However, the top half seemed off. A belt could have helped but since the skirt part was ruched, it wouldn’t make sense. I hemmed and hawed over it for a long time, which is why I took a picture. Whenever I have doubts about something, I take a snapshot to try and get a more objective look. Please tell me I’m not the only person who does that.

The saleswoman probably wondered why I was in there for so long with one item, so when she asked me how I was doing, I came out to show her. She grabbed another dress, threw it at me and said “Here! Try a different size!” She gave me a smaller size, and I couldn’t believe when I was even able to get it over my shoulders:


Huh. The skirt had a little less wiggle room but really not much of a difference. However, the top looked way better! Here they are side by side:

size comparison

Size Medium vs Xtra Small (it runs big). I couldn’t believe that a different size could make that much of a difference, and I don’t normally grab size S as my first choice. This could even pass as one of those bullshit “I lost 10 lbs in 1 week” transformation scams.

As someone who used to be fat, I never think that sizing down can help me in any way but now that I’m getting used to my new size, I guess I can do that. So don’t be afraid to size up or even size down if you’re unsure how an outfit works. By the way if you’re interested, the dress is still available here at Athleta – the Tulip Long Sleeve Dress. As you can see, it’s one of those items that looks better on the body than it does on the hanger.

Low Carb Toolkit – A Spiral Slicer for Veggie Noodles

This year, I started counting “macros” in addition to just counting calories. Starting in January, my carb goal was 140g carbs per day. This was set by my trainer, and is also similar to what is prescribed in The New Rules of Weightlifting for Women. While 140g of carbs was satisfying to eat, I don’t think it works best for my PCOS hormones, which are known to do better on even lower carb diets.

Last week I began lowering my carb count even more, to about 75 g (total carbs; usually 50 g net carbs). Cutting out fruit was hard – I had been eating at least one piece of fruit per day. Other than that, it’s not really that difficult because I was already moderate with carbs. Nevertheless I was giddy when Native Spring gave me this complimentary vegetable spiralizer to try. It’s basically a giant pencil sharpener that makes vegetable noodles in seconds.


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2015 Marine Corps Marathon

I’m in!!!



I tried to start back up with running about 2 weeks ago, and it’s been hard. Yesterday I did a run/walk of 3 miles and it felt like I would never be able to race a 5k ever again. And now I’m committed to 26+ miles! It’s crazy how 2 years of running plus a 3 month break can set me back to zero.

Oh well, no turning back. See you in October!

PS Could I be living in DC by then? It’s a possibility.