Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Oops, time to catch up!

Training keeps you busy, sometimes too busy to blog! I'm not giving up though, I'll just give a (hopefully) brief synopsis of the past month. After my last post, I did my first double digit run in a really long time! I fulfilled several macaron orders to thank those who made donations to the Center for Assault Treatment Services:

The following week we had 11 miles on the roster, however I signed up for the Santa Monica Venice Christmas Run. Since it was only a 10k, I met up with my dedicated running buddies at 6am to knock out 5 miles before the race. It was beautiful seeing the sunrise and running along the beach:

After the 5 miles we set off for the 10k:

I kept a very comfortable pace and took tons of pictures in hopes to make an epic blog post but we all know how that turned out. During the race we saw one of our fellow Fleet Feet training buddies, Melissa, so we took a picture after we all finished:

Here I am crossing the finish line with Sarah and Lauren! Still need to order the digital image.

And here I am with my awesome running buddies:

The following Tuesday at our 4 mile tempo run, Lauren, Melissa, and I all wore our race shirts:

Of course I've been keeping up with my Wednesday runs which have included running in extreme winds and almost always running with a group that is much faster than me. Luckily Jason always slows down for me. Even though it's tough, I enjoy attending the fun runs at Fleet Feet Encino because they always have great sponsors like Saucony and we often get to try out shoes or apparel:

The fun run group is pretty small but it has grown a lot from when I first started and hopefully it'll get to a point where Jason can join the speedy folks because I'll have my own pace group to run with.

At the Brooks fun run I won a super cute tech tee!

Thursdays have still been my yoga day with Ko Ohka and I definitely feel I'm improving. I've also been going to Bar Method once a week (for the most part) and bought a Groupon so I can keep that going. And of course I'm still going to Woodland Hills Physical Therapy twice a week to keep the aches and pains at bay.

This past week has been especially hectic with Christmas so I skipped Bar Method AND yoga but I did attend all my runs. Tuesday Coach Trey promised us "a team of special guests" that he booked 4 months in advance to come work on our injuries so we were super excited to see what was in store. Of course I had my suspicions about the build up and they were confirmed when we returned from a gentle 3 miles to find Trigger Point rollers:
Trey is awesome and conducted a great foam rolling class to help us roll out our injuries. Every runner needs a foam roller!

Wednesday I drove out to Santa Monica to join my girlfriends from church to run 6 miles. We had such an awesome time chatting and running along Ocean Ave and back down the boardwalk. We planned the run to end up in the heart of downtown Santa Monica for happy hour and stumbled on a great place called Pourtal. The wine was fantastic and the atmosphere was perfect.

Finally Saturday, Christmas Eve, was the day I had been waiting for. We had 14 miles on the roster which would be my furthest run to date. I was also super excited because my dear friend Lorie was joining me for the run. She is an amazing runner and easily kept up with the front of the pack. She did drop back for a bit to chat with Sarah and I. It was fascinating to listen to the two of them talk about science stuff, they are such smarties! It also made that part of the run fly by with a sub 10 minute mile in there. Of course this didn't bode well for the rest of the run and again I struggled with pace but ultimately pulled off a 10:30 overall pace. I have such a hard time balancing efficient running with carefree running but so far I seem to be managing to complete my runs without too much thought. I took my first ice bath after the run. A few folks at physical therapy recommended it and I decided no better time than my longest run. I didn't actually use ice, just cold water but it was still excruciating. Just for a few moments though, it wasn't too bad after the initial shock. I think it helped but we'll see how this week goes.

As for fundraising I've hit a bit of a dry spell after my climb to the top 3. I'm currently about $300 behind my faux nemesis Lauren (aka LoMo). I'm still determined to reach $2,000 and I know I can do it! I'm still taking orders for macarons or anything else your heart desires (within reason). Don't forget to make those tax deductible donations before year end... Saturday!! Just go here: http://www.crowdrise.com/crystalarrieta

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Month End has been kind to me

After a weekend without a voice I got it mostly back for my last day off. Monday was my usual combo of Woodland Hills Physical Therapy and Bar Method. It was the last day of my unlimited month and Alison tortured my body so good! I was actually sore on Tuesday which doesn't happen very often. I also bought 5 more classes when I was there since they were having a Black Friday special for $50! I really prefer Bar Method to all the various barre type classes I've taken.

Tuesday I did a 5 mile tempo run with my training group at Fleet Feet Encino. Well, it really was 5 but Garmin took a while to locate satellites. I took my warm up mile super slow, was aiming for 11:00 min/mile and ended up with 10:50 so mission accomplished there. Then I sped up shooting for 10:00 min/mile since my "race pace" is estimated at 10:43. I'd say I did pretty well, then I caught up with a couple girls who were doing 9:30 so my 3rd tempo mile was at that pace but it felt great! In fact, when I "slowed down" for my final cool down mile I still did that in under 10:00. I really gotta focus on starting slow because it helps so much! After the run we did our usual ab work with a little thigh strengthening thrown in. My favorite social media expert Ashley took this pic of my neighbor Andreia and I looking like twins after our run:

Wednesday was an amazing day. It started when I got home from work and found TWO emails from Crowdrise indicating that I had received donations. I was thrilled! Then I left for the fun run at Fleet Feet and boy was it windy! I've never run in that kind of wind before and the group was pretty small and full of fast people so I was pretty nervous. Luckily Jason, one of the amazing coaches on our team, was sweet enough to slow down and run with me. I pushed pretty hard since I knew he was doing me a favor and even though it was pretty miserable, I had a great pace overall! By the time we got back stop lights and street lights had lost power, it was pretty crazy! Asics sponsored the run and provided new Gu flavors and some other bars that were really yummy.

When I got back from the run I found TWO MORE emails from Crowdrise and then ANOTHER one!! Yes, that means I raised $190 in one day! I'm now at $1,355 and my original goal was just to reach $500 by today. I am just floored at everyone's generosity and so happy that I'm able to help an amazing charity like the Center for Assault Treatment Services. Training and fundraising has been a huge blessing in my life! It feels great to know that my friends and family are showing their support in such a positive way. It also makes me feel really good that people want to order macarons from me! I got my 6th order today! So if you'd like to help me reach my ultimate goal of $2,000 please visit http://www.crowdrise.com/crystalarrieta and if you are interested in ordering macarons (LA area for now, but I'm working on shipping options) here is the info:

Monday, November 28, 2011

2 Months Down, 4 To Go!

Well, I was able to eat my Thanksgiving meals! I even went to Bar Method Thursday morning and it was packed! There were 18 people in the 8:15 a.m. class and two of them were men (rare but not unheard of). I warned Katelin ahead of time that I was still a little sick and to go easy on me and she obliged. Since there was so many people and several new ones it was pretty easy to fly under the radar but I still felt like I got a great workout and it erased any potential guilt about the feasts to come.

Friday, ahem, I mean Black Friday, I slept in and turned on the news just in time to hear the horror stories of people doing terrible things for deals on electronics. I was glad I didn't bother going out and instead headed over to Fleet Feet Encino for 20% off the whole store! They opened at 9:00 a.m. which was greatly appreciated and I finally purchased compression socks:
And I also got a much needed pair of pants:

I wore the pants for my 8 mile run Saturday and they were great! It was a pleasant morning, not bitterly cold like it has been lately. I didn't have to wear my gloves or jacket! My pal Sarah joined us for the run and she made the miles fly by with conversation. After the run we did our usual stretches and strength work.

Then Coach Trey had us do flying jumps!

Then we finished up with a team picture!

Sunday night I fulfilled my first order of fundraising macarons with my lovely teammate Lauren! It was so much fun to have her there to help me make them. I'm still just $35 away from $1,000 raised for the Center for Assault Treatment Services and any donation of $26.20 or more will get you your own order of macarons if you are in the Greater Los Angeles area. Just go to http://www.crowdrise.com/crystalarrieta to make your donation and send me an email to let me know. Then you will be as happy as Lauren!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A few workouts before Thanksgiving

Wow, can't believe we are on week 8! Monday I recovered from Sunday's 7 miles at Woodland Hills Physical Therapy. My right shoulder has been acting up so that got a little love and I was encouraged to sleep on my back instead of my right side (wonder if that's why my right hip has issues too). Right after I rushed over to Bar Method to catch the 6:15 class. We did pretzel again and I have to say I think I'm improving! When class was over I heard some of the 7:30 students talking about Cardio Barre and how they don't like it. The consensus was that you are pretty much asking for an injury and the classes are so large there is no way the instructor can make corrections. I still have 8 classes to use up there and I can't wait to burn them up and commit to Bar Method completely.

Tuesday at Fleet Feet Encino we had a lesson in cadence followed by 5 miles in the hills. Cadence is how many steps you take per minute but has nothing to do with pace. To prove that Coach Trey has us take 180 steps per minute standing in place. That is said to be the most efficient cadence which was determined by studying elite runners. Taking so many steps means taking shorter steps which leads to a midfoot strike (how we run when barefoot). Obviously you don't want to have to count your steps while running so you can download a metronome app and just run to the beat. The idea is that eventually you'll just run that way without the metronome.

After I got home Tuesday I called my brother back and he shared some really interesting info with me. He told me about the history of the marathon! "The event was instituted in commemoration of the fabled run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides, a messenger from the Battle of Marathon (the namesake of the race) to Athens." I had never heard that before! Once we hung up I read the Wikipedia entry and couldn't believe it took so long to establish the distance. It also got me thinking about the NYC marathon and I found out you can get guaranteed entry by committing to raise money for a charity. Something to really think about.

And as for Wednesday, I was planning to join Fleet Feet for the fun run but instead I'm sitting here on the couch miserable because I'm sick. I'm not the kind of girl that ever loses her appetite and I have none! I'm kinda stressing because tomorrow is Thanksgiving and some of those dishes I only see once a year. I've eaten 2 Chewy bars, an apple, and a little chicken noodle soup and it's 6:30pm. I usually eat that much before lunch! Luckily my mom is going to bring me a burger and hopefully the protein will whip me into shape. 

Lastly, an update on my fundraising. I'm at $965! Just $35 more and I'll get my name printed on my jersey. That's not much right? And don't forget any donation over $26.20 will also get you baked treats (if you are in the LA area or can think of a cost efficient way to ship). So how bout it? http://www.crowdrise.com/crystalarrieta

I have no pics so far this week but here's one from last week when I won the Nike towel:

Monday, November 21, 2011

How do you eat an elephant?

I love my Bar Method workouts so much so I'm really trying to go twice per week. Because of mine and their schedules though, this resulted in a double workout for me on Thursday. First I took the 6:15 class with Elika which went well. Then I headed over to Fleet Feet Encino for yoga with Ko Ohka. It was a nice small class and Ko does great corrections which are always greatly appreciated.

Friday after a visit to Woodland Hills Physical Therapy I spent the night preparing for our fundraising garage sale. My neighbor Andreia (who is also training for the marathon with Team CATS) and I held our joint garage sales Saturday morning and they were a HUGE success! Together we raised nearly $500 for the Center for Assault Treatment Services. I was shocked at how busy we were and what people were willing to buy. Thank God we only had a quick light sprinkle then it cleared up. I had to snap this picture in one of the very few breaks between customers:

Since we had to skip our group run Saturday morning, Andreia and I planned to make up the 7 miles together after the garage sale. Well, we were so wiped out we decided to postpone it to Sunday. Of course you probably know that Sunday it was POURING! I was really regretting not knocking out the run in better weather but knew we had to press on no matter what since you can't control the weather on race day. But wouldn't you know it? The rain stopped about 30 seconds before we left the house! We had a great run, luckily Andreia and I are pretty evenly matched on pace. The air was so nice and clean and the cold felt good after about a mile. We passed by lots of beautiful trees turning colors for Fall. I don't know why people say California doesn't have seasons. Look at this!

So now for the elephant eating... that saying was quoted at church on Sunday and I thought it was so fitting for both running and fundraising. You run a marathon a mile at a time, you raise money a dollar at a time. Every goal can be broken down into smaller, tiny goals that are so manageable you can't help but keep moving along. That's why I've decided to up my goal to $2,000! Right now I'm at $965, almost 50%! You can help me reach that goal by going here: http://www.crowdrise.com/crystalarrieta

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kicking off Week 7

Started the week off right at Woodland Hills Physical Therapy then headed over to Bar Method and took class with Alison. Class went so much better this week than last week. We did pretzel again and it was tough but I felt good after.

Tuesday was our 4 mile tempo run with the training group at Fleet Feet Encino. With the stop light in there it's kinda tough to tell but the first and last mile were warm up and cool down, respectively, and the middle two were tempo (faster). It was really cold and kinda weird since Trey wasn't there but the staff still guided us through a great run and Jason led us in some awesome ab work after.

Wednesday I joined Fleet Feet for the fun run which was sponsored by Nike this week. I had fun running with different people along the out and back course and ultimately ended up with a girl who runs much faster than I do. I went back and forth between feeling like I wanted to slow down and feeling like I could run forever which gave me just enough juice to keep up. After the run Nike gave us shirts that say "Outrun the weather" and raffled off some swag. I won a super soft gym towel! We also had fun trying on the Nike Vapor Flash Running Jackets. It's pretty ridiculous how reflective the material is. So reflective that the flash from a camera makes the rest of the room look dark in comparison (you can tell the lights in the store are on in this picture of me):

And great news... I've raised $840 for the Center for Assault Treatment Services! I am so overwhelmed by the generosity of my friends and family. My goal is $1,500 right now but I'm starting to think about upping it because I think I can raise that by the end of the year and I still have until March. I'm so happy that CATS exists and is working so hard to break the silence. Especially with the terrible scandal at Penn State it is comforting to know that CATS is not only helping victims but also doing community outreach to help with prevention. CATS runs off of donations so please go here to help them out: http://www.crowdrise.com/crystalarrieta

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Jam packed week 6

Am I the only one that bounded out of bed last Sunday morning to watch the ING NYC Marathon? I woke up early due to the time change and figured I'd check Facebook on my phone before going back to sleep. Well, I saw that the marathon had started and was streaming online so I popped up and booted up my ancient laptop to watch the elite runners from about mile 7 on. It was so exciting, I can't even imagine finishing that distance in just over 2 hours. I visited NYC for the first time last year and got up early on the last day just to have the chance to run in Central Park. I thought about entering the lottery for the race this year but decided that LA should be my first marathon and just as well since I ended up being injured for some of the key training months.

Monday I visited Woodland Hills Physical Therapy feeling pretty pain free. Of course they know how to poke and prod to point out pains you didn't know existed but overall I'm feeling really good which I am so thankful for since back in July I was in agonizing pain just trying to run a few steps. You might be thinking that sounds like a long time, and it is, but it's all my fault. The funny thing about recovering is that the less pain you are in the less likely you are to do your exercises outside the office, then you end up in pain all over again. Just like how you are supposed to finish antibiotics even if you feel better. I'm terrible about it so I've become somewhat of a lifetime patient. It might also be subconscious because I love those guys and look forward to my visits!

After PT I met up with my friend Ashley at Bar Method. It was a super challenging class since we had to do Pretzel. The instructors at the Encino location are super friendly and give lots of corrections. We went to the 7:30 class which was pretty packed on Thursday but maybe people stayed home for MNF because it was a nice size class.

Tuesday I skipped the group training run at Fleet Feet Encino since it was my boyfriend's birthday, but I joined the fun run group Wednesday for what was meant to be 5 miles. I ran with one of my training buddies, Vanessa, and we chose to do 5 miles from our options of 3, 5, and 6. Once we got out to Balboa Park we realized that even with headlamps it was very dark. So dark that Vanessa started to fear for our safety so we agreed to turn around once we saw the group again (luckily this was an out-and-back course). We still managed to get pretty close to 5 and we only had 4 on the schedule so I was fine with it. I ran at Vanessa's pace which is a little slower than mine so it felt great and I was able to chat the whole time which always makes a run go by faster.

Fun run group

Thursday was my day to make-up the Tuesday 4 mile hill run. I was able to convince (with hardly any effort) my training buddy Lauren to join me even though she had already done the run Tuesday. She brought along her friend Joseph who is also training for a marathon but his is in January. I was already off to a rough start when I realized that my watch wasn't working (later determined it was just a dead battery, phew!). We set off on a very chilly night and headed for the hills. The route consisted of our normal hill which we run twice with a little twist... instead of reaching the top and heading down, we had to do another steeper hill before heading all the way to the bottom, only to repeat the cycle. It was grueling and I have to admit to walking a few steps of the steeper hill. It was madness! I was glad that we had yoga after the run since I would surely need a good stretching.

Ko Ohka led us in yet another amazing class. I struggled a bit because my hips were cramping in poses that normally don't bother me, but he suggested that it might be due to my strenuous run immediately prior. However I did actually benefit quite a bit from being so warmed up and was able to reach far beyond my toes!

I don't normally workout on Fridays but since I have unlimited classes at Bar Method right now I figured I'd get up early and take advantage. It was a pretty rough class, I don't think I hydrated enough but I managed to finish. I followed it up with Woodland Hills PT which was also pretty rough however I was thrilled to find out that they will be ordering FIVE dozen macarons (or possible some other treats) from me to support the Center for Assault Treatment Services!

Saturday morning we ran 6 miles. If you clicked the link you may be thinking that I actually ran 8 miles but that's because I restarted my watch when I was trying to lock it and didn't realize it until I was driving! I hate that. Now that I only show instantaneous pace, average pace, and distance on my watch I can't tell if it's still running when I stop the timer. Just one more thing to think about! It was supposed to rain but it hardly did so that was nice. Afterward we talked and stretched.

We also saw a coyote on the golf course after the run.

And finally, some great news... I've raised $700 for Team CATS! I'm starting to really think I'll meet my ultimate goal of $1,500. If you'd like to help please visit: http://www.crowdrise.com/crystalarrieta

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Week 5 in the books

Yoga was canceled on Thursday so I invited my training buddy Lauren to join me at the Bar Method. Although she shot me a few death stares during thigh work she liked it as much as I do. Such a great workout and great cross training for runners!

Saturday we ran 5 miles again (well technically 4.72) and finished up at Fleet Feet Encino for an appreciation breakfast! The run wasn't as good as last week since I went out a bit too fast as usual, but it wasn't terrible other than being bitterly cold. Once back I skipped the stretching and went straight for the chatting! I saw Gail Hynick from the Center for Assault Treatment Services and we talked about fundraising ideas.

The breakfast was awesome, it was so sweet of everyone at Fleet Feet to pitch in and we also got to celebrate Team CATS raising over $10,000! Personally I celebrated reaching my $500 goal and got a hat which will come in handy for those sunny Saturday morning runs. My next goal is to reach $1,000 by the end of the year so please visit my donation page to help out if you can: http://www.crowdrise.com/crystalarrieta

Some of my favorite training buddies showing off our sparkling cider party favors.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Williams Sonoma Pumpkin Butter Dessert Squares

Three years ago I was in Kansas City for five weeks for work. There wasn't much to do so we went shopping and happened upon Williams Sonoma where they were handing out samples of the most delicious pumpkin dessert you could ever imagine! It was to promote their super pricey pumpkin butter and thankfully they were handing out the recipe so I snapped it up. I've since made it more times than I can count and every time I get asked for the recipe so here it is! I use Trader Joe's pumpkin butter which is less than half the price and just like the WS version you'll need two jars.


1 package yellow cake mix; set aside one cup
½ cup butter, melted
3 eggs, large
1 1/3 cups pumpkin butter
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp sugar
¼ cup butter, softened
1 tsp cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350°F. Divide yellow cake mix, placing all but one cup in a mixing bowl. Stir the melted butter and one egg into the cake mix. Press the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9” x 13” pan. Mix the pumpkin butter with two eggs and milk. Stir the reserved cup of cake mix with the flour, sugar, softened butter, and cinnamon. Mix together until crumbly.  
 Pour pumpkin filling over the cake mix crust. Sprinkle crumble over top of the pumpkin layer. 
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Cut into 2” squares. Serves 24.

Also I'm sure you'll be happy to hear that I've now raised over $500 for the Center for Assault Treatment Services! Everyone has been so supportive and generous, I'm sure I'll reach my next goal of $1,000 by the end of the year. Please help me reach this goal by donating here:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween and tour of CATS

Monday was pretty exciting and busy. I got up and went to Woodland Hills Physical Therapy early enough to make the 9:30 class at Bar Method in Encino. It was my first class there and Alison was the teacher. She was great and really pushed me but in a nice way. It was a nice surprise to see the founder, Burr Leonard, there observing the class. She looks so great and was taller than I expected! Even though I was covered in tattoos for my Halloween costume I just had to get a picture with her.

Later I headed over to Van Nuys to take a tour of the Center for Assault Treatment Services. I can't believe this place exists and I've never heard of it. It's sad that it's necessary but thankfully it does exist for those in need. Can you imagine being sexually assaulted and having to wait in an emergency room for hours competing with gun shot wounds and other life threatening issues? And imagine how much worse that would be for a child. CATS provides a place to go that is dedicated to serving victims of sexual, physical, and domestic abuse. It is so welcoming there with murals on the walls and toys for children so it really doesn't seem like you are in a hospital. Their nurses are experts in this field and know exactly how to fill out the lengthy forms and how to collect samples properly - a process that can take 2-3 hours. It is just incredible that this place exists and runs off of donations! I am so motivated to raise even more money now! Speaking of which, how bout checking out my donation page: http://www.crowdrise.com/crystalarrieta (I'm giving away the pair of adidas shoes I won to the first person who donates at least $75 - you must be able to pick them up from Fleet Feet Encino where they will professionally fit you).

Finally I headed over to Fleet Feet to get some new shoes. I was just going to get my normal Asics Kayanos but Trey had me try a less cushioned version which I really liked since it felt lighter. While I was there I also picked up some socks and Superfeet High Heel Insoles. I've already used both the flat and the heel versions and they are great! Also I got $5 off my purchase for showing up in costume on Halloween.

Tuesday we had a 4 mile tempo run. The first and last miles were the warm up and cool down. Oh and I found out my estimated marathon pace.... 10:43/mile! I'm so excited, I'd be thrilled if that was my pace! We followed up the run with stretching and core work as usual.

Wednesday I skipped the fun run at Fleet Feet and just did my 3 miles in the neighborhood. On my way back I stopped at CVS to pick up my inhaler which I found kind of ironic. I'm thankful my asthma is pretty minor though and controllable with an inhaler. I try to take it before each run but even when I forget it's not too bad.

This picture is from a few weeks ago but I haven't posted it yet so here's Trey and I shivering before a chilly Saturday morning run. He's such a great coach!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A very eventful week 4

Nothing really went according to plan this week, including my blogging, so this might be long. This past Monday was the only Monday in October that I had to work but I was determined to get to Woodland Hills Physical Therapy AND Bar Method. Unfortunately the timing just didn't work out so after PT I went home and did my Exhale Core Fusion DVD. It's not nearly as intense as an actual class, but it's definitely not easy and at least I did something for cross training.

Tuesday was a 3 mile hill run and we ran with Fleet Feet Encino's LA Rock n Roll Half Marathon group for their last run before the race. It was tough but I ran the whole thing and the downhill is always a nice payoff. It was a little more interesting too because they were filming at one of the huge homes South of the Blvd so there were lots of security guys and drivers hanging out. They must have thought it was pretty strange to see a huge group of runners trudging up the hill. One of the security guards cheered me on though and it's crazy how much that helped!

Wednesday I joined Fleet Feet's fun run which was sponsored by adidas. We ran 4.78 miles and I ran with Jim. He has run at least 20 marathons and is full of advice. The miles flew by listening to him talk and he really motivated me for the marathon! When we returned to the store they raffled off a pair of adidas shoes and I won them! I'm so excited because I'm going to use them to raise more money for the Center for Assault Treatment Services. Thursday I skipped yoga because I had dinner plans and Friday is a rest day.

Here I am Wednesday with Jason from Fleet Feet modeling our head lamps. Great for making sure cars can see you and also making sure you can see the ground.

And here I am after winning the shoes!

Saturday we ran 5 miles around Balboa Park. I worked really hard to start slow and it made a HUGE difference! So much of a difference that I ended up running one of my fasted 5 miles ever. And it's all thanks to Trey and Jason at Fleet Feet. Trey has to constantly remind me to slow down and Jason told me about negative splits (running slower in the start and gradually speeding up). I felt so full of energy all the way through the run and never felt like I wanted to walk. Here I am with Andreia, Lauren, Roxanne, and one of our running coaches, Antonio.

And finally, an update on my fundraising. If you can believe it I have raised $400 in three weeks! I am so thankful for everyone who has donated, I'm going to meet my first goal a month early and I haven't even really started yet! I still have the shoes to give away, a yard sale planned, and I'll be taking orders for baked goods. Also I'll be handing out this flyer Mike designed for me:

 I think he did an amazing job, especially since I gave him pretty much nothing to work with. He even came up with all the wording! It was also his idea to add a QR code, hopefully people know what to do with it (if you scan it with your phone it will take you to my donation site). Speaking of which, feel free to stop by my site now and make a donation: http://www.crowdrise.com/crystalarrieta

Sunday, October 23, 2011

3rd week down, 21 more to go!

Well after my trouble with Garmin on Tuesday, I up and completely forgot it for my Wednesday run! I know you were dying to analyze the stats but you'll have to just settle for my brief synopsis: 3.75 miles in the hills.  I ran with Mandy who is in the Half Marathon Training Group at Fleet Feet Encino and running her race at the end of the month. I was only scheduled to do 3 miles so I fulfilled my duty and didn't feel too bad about declining the alternate route which would make it a full 5 miles.

Thursday was another whirlwind but I got some amazing news! I rushed over to Woodland Hills Physical Therapy after work and told my PT Rod about my training and fundraising. I didn't even have to ask and he offered to donate to the Center for Assault Treatment Services AND said all his staff will order treats from me! You can help make a difference in the lives of victims of sexual abuse too by going here: http://www.crowdrise.com/crystalarrieta

After that great news I grabbed Subway on my way to Fleet Feet for yoga. It was a nice small class with Ko Ohka and he finally got me to do down dog with my weight on my thumb and forefinger rather than the bottom of my palm. I also got to do my favorite pose, the dancer's pose!

Our Saturday morning 4 mile long run felt better than last week's but I still think I went out too fast. I had to really work hard to keep running the whole time but that's the nice thing about running with a group, you find strength and endurance you never would if you were alone. I think this was also true for my neighbor, Andreia, who I convinced to try out the training group and join our team. She did great and it'll be so nice to have someone to do some of those solo long runs with! Below is a pic of some of my running buddies after our run: Bobby, me, Melissa, and Andreia.

This weekend I managed to raise nearly $100 for CATS! It was much easier than I thought it would be and it's just so amazing how a little from each person really adds up. I also noticed that my donation page requires a minimum donation of $10 so if you would like to donate less please let me know and we can set something up through Paypal or I will meet you somewhere. I'm so touched by the generosity of my friends and family and excited about what the money can do to benefit victims of sexual abuse in the San Fernando Valley.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

These are one of my most crowd pleasing baked items! I found them when I was browsing TasteSpotting one day and I'm glad it's that time of year again that I could bring them back. The recipe is from Annie's Eats which is  filled with amazing recipes! This one is all about timing so read the recipe a few times and plan your strategy before you start. I made a few changes to the order of things that I think will help.
For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1¼ cups vegetable oil

For the topping:
½ cup sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil. Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours. I've been toying with the idea of just combining the cream cheese and powdered sugar and putting it into a piping bag. This would cut down on time and I think ultimately be easier.

To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend.

To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.

Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces.

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Had to get a shot of my awesome new bowl for my mixer. It's HUGE!

To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons). Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely. Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.

Enjoy! Please also take a moment to check out the fundraising progress I've made and consider making your own donation to help change the lives of victims of sexual abuse: http://www.crowdrise.com/crystalarrieta

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Technology is only as good as its user

Welcome to week three of training! I started yesterday off at Woodland Hills Physical Therapy but skipped Bar Method because I was feeling lazy. I took the dog for a walk instead which is actually still a pretty intense workout because it requires a lot of upper body strength to keep him from running.

Today we had our first tempo run at Fleet Feet Encino. We did 3 one mile loops and our fearless leader Trey is going to use our times to determine our expected marathon pace. I would love to tell you my time based on Garmin but I made TWO mistakes that prevent me from knowing what it is. First I forgot to allow enough time for it to locate the satellites so wasn't able to start it until about a quarter mile into my run. Then I completely forgot to stop it! You can see my route here and I walked all the way back to the store before realizing that it was still going! Good thing Trey was timing us but I'll be totally in the dark til he gives us our results on Thursday.

I'm hoping his prediction will help a lot because I'm terrible at pacing myself. I have no idea what pace I can maintain for any given distance. Sometimes (rarely) I'll run 3-4 miles at a comfortable pace and realize I averaged 9 minute miles but then other times (most of the time) I can intentionally try to maintain 9 minute miles for 3 miles and feel like I want to die. I say my most comfortable pace is 10 minute miles but even that can feel exhausting sometimes. I would be thrilled if I could keep a 10 minute pace for the marathon. I'd even be happy with 11 minutes. Hopefully I'll get some good news Thursday and while we are waiting feel free to visit my donation page:  http://www.crowdrise.com/crystalarrieta

So far I've raised $65 toward my first goal of $500 by Thanksgiving so I've got a ways to go. I've gotten some really good fundraising ideas which include taking orders for my famous macarons, cupcakes, and cake pops so let me know if you are interested and I'll be sending out emails with more info soon. I'm also looking into getting a tour of the Center for Assault Treatment Services. It’s the only program of its kind serving victims of sexual abuse in the San Fernando Valley on a 24/7 basis. The CATS team collects evidence, like DNA, to help law enforcement catch the abusers, and provides counseling to help victims begin the recovery process. I'm thrilled to be helping raise money for them and hope I can surpass my goals!

I finally got around to ordering a picture from the last 10k I did, the Santa Monica Lexus 5000. Highlights my poor form but still a pretty good picture and it's all I have to share today so deal with it.