Travel woes

Guess what? I signed up for another round of e-coaching with Jeff Galloway. For the past 2 months I’ve been trying to start my marathon training for Marine Corps but I’ve been aimless, despite making my own schedule so I am putting myself in Jeff’s hands. A perk is that past coaching clients get a generous discount, so it’s only $175 for 6 months of coaching. I filled out my questionnaire and I’m anxiously waiting for his instructions.

Last week was great, fitness-wise. I did two short runs, a long run, and two weight sessions. I was happy that I fit in all of my workouts despite the holiday and celebratory things I had going on. I went walking along the beach:


And tried not to fall off of a rock:


Diet-wise, I was terrible. It’s really hard to be consistent in my diet when I’m always traveling. I can be perfect with my diet when I’m at home, but then I have to travel again and everything gets thrown off track, and it takes a week after I return to get back on it. I hate this cycle and I don’t know what to do about it. I was spoiled before that when I had access to a fridge and kitchens, but I’m kind of lost when I don’t have that. I need to get it together like, yesterday, because my summer schedule is hectic. From the beginning of May til the end of Sept, I’m going to be in this “away for one week, home for 2 or 3 weeks” cycle. Exciting for my life adventures but bad for diet and exercise consistency.

I think exercise won’t be too bad, since I have hotel gyms. It’s just the long runs and track workouts will be difficult. Food is the main difficulty. Even if I try to choose healthy lunches, restaurant salads can be a mystery as far as calories go. Then I’ll have dinner out with friends every night and I don’t always get to pick the restaurant. I did alright last summer when I had to eat clean during my travels because of the magazine photoshoot so I just have to do it again but on a more difficult scale. If the first step is recognizing that there’s a problem, it’s a start?

Next Stop – New Orleans

After I left Florida, guess where I flew straight to?


*trumpets* New Orleans!

I had an amazing time! I didn’t very many pictures because I spent a couple of college years in New Orleans, so I’ve seen it all before.

All I did the whole time was walk, eat, drink, and eat some more. No matter how many times I visit, there are still places on the list that I have yet to eat. This trip, I finally made it Cochon, and I went to their sandwich shop three times.


This was the best meal of the trip and it came from King Creole Food Truck. You’re looking at grits with smoked pork and a fried egg on top, chorizo dirty rice, and crawfish poutine.

king creole food truck

courtyard brewery new orleans

New Orleans is of course home of the cocktail. I’ve only become a fan of true cocktails within the past few years, so this scene was new to me.

The Sazaerac Bar:


And Cane & Table:


Out of all the places I’ve travelled to, New Orleans was the most difficult to try and eat healthy. I was in vacation mode, so I wasn’t trying to stay super clean but a lot of times I wanted a light meal and the places that my group chose didn’t always have a healthy option. I remember one day I craved a kale salad. Who goes to New Orleans and craves kale salad?

Since I traveled with a group, I saw way too much of Bourbon Street and didn’t do as much cultural stuff as I would’ve liked but man it was fun and relaxing.

As soon as I came home, my in-laws came to visit so it was all restaurant meals again. I think it was like 10 straight days of restaurant meals and I feel huge! I’m so ready for a few kale salads.

This back-to-back trip is the kickoff of my fun summer, since I’m home for a couple of weeks before hitting the road again. I’ll be in and out of Washington DC all summer so there will be many more adventures to share.

Chocolate Sundae Run 5k

It’s been a while, eh? After four whole months of not getting on a plane, I’ve been on the road again and will be away a lot this summer.

First stop was to visit my grandparents in Florida. I was only there for a few days and just hung out around the house and the pool. I even cooked for grandpa – a steak banh mi sandwich. It was my first time making this sorta thing and came out deeeelicious.

Ace Bakery lemongrass steak banh mi

It was also really tasty in salad form. Unfortunately it’s still not low carb because there is sugar and honey in the marinade.

Ace Bakery lemongrass steak banh mi

I went shopping in the little towns of Winter Park and Sanford, and saw this in an antique store:

antique computer

Amusing, no?

I also brought home some of these bourbon marshmallows. They are boozy and sugary, and I’m now inspired to try and make some marshmallows.
wondermade marshmallows
I was even able to fit in a 5k race. This was my first 5k of the year; I don’t think I’ve gone this long in between races since I started running. It was the Chocolate Sundae Run in Sanford, FL and it was a great race. It took place on a college campus, so the roads were completely closed and since it was Florida – it was flat as a pancake.

Since the course was so easy, I was really hoping I’d be able to PR but I came up short. I took it easy during the first two miles but when I tried to turn on the gas at mile 2, I felt a little twinge in my knee. I did a long slow 7 mile run the week before with no knee pain, so I was surprised to feel it at 3 miles. I guess something about the speed makes it act up. I finished with an average pace of 11:25, which is annoying because it means I lost all of the progress I made last year :( My best last year was under 11 mins per mile.

On the plus side, I had a lot of fun. I ran with a team of family and friends, so they made it fun. The race itself was also very well produced. There was face painting and bouncy castles for the kids, a free tech shirt, and everyone got a chocolate sundae at the end. The medal was even an adorable little spoon:

Chocolate Sundae Run 5k

Yes, I’m wearing a tiara because my teammates made me.

It looks like there are more Chocolate Sundae Runs throughout Florida so definitely check it out if you have the chance.

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.