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:

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:

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:

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:

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.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dad's Meatloaf

So my dad is pretty awesome. He's one of those people who was meant to be a parent and just did a really great job raising us (obviously, right?). One of his many talents is cooking. We could have 3 food items in the house and he'd whip up a wonderful meal, and only dirty one dish in the process! My skills are nowhere near his but since I'm an adult now and have to make my own meals I figured I'd take a stab at one of my favorites, his meatloaf.

I tried making a recipe once called "Dad's Meatloaf" and it tasted nothing like my dad's. I should have stopped when it said to add tomatoes but I pressed on and was sorely disappointed. I should have just asked my dad for his recipe so a few weeks ago that's exactly what I did (via text of course cuz my dad's hip like that). I finally got around to making it tonight and it tasted pretty darn close to the real thing which tastes pretty fantastic if you've never tried my dad's meatloaf.

I started with the basic meatloaf recipe from Quaker Oats but also included brown sugar, Lipton Soup Mix, and bacon per my dad's text.

1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
3/4 cup Quaker® Oats(quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup catsup
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or soy auce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 package Lipton Soup Mix
1/4 cup brown sugar
enough bacon strips to cover loaf

I ended up doubling the recipe so pretend there is an extra egg in the picture above. Since my dad doesn't measure anything I had to guess at the amounts for the brown sugar and soup mix and think that I'll use a whole packet of soup mix and 1/8 cup of brown sugar next time (for recipe as shown, not doubled). Also I would cut the onions back to 1/2 cup or less in the future. 


Heat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients in large bowl; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape meatloaf mixture into 10x6-inch loaf on rack of broiler pan.

I don't have a broiler pan and my attempt at using a wire rack was pretty abysmal so I just used a metal pan. Mike helped me mix the ingredients and shape the loaf:
Then I draped bacon strips over the entire loaf and tucked the overlap underneath. I combined 1/2 cup of ketchup with 1/2 cup of brown sugar and  spread that over the top. I think I'll put the glaze on first, then the bacon next time because I removed the bacon and with that came the glaze. I suppose if you are planning to eat the bacon and not just use it for flavor then problem solved!
Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until meatloaf is to medium doneness (160°F for beef, 170°F for turkey), until not pink in center and juices show no pink color. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Cover and refrigerate leftovers promptly and use within 2 days, or wrap airtight and freeze up to 3 months.

 For the double loaf it took about an hour and 20 minutes to reach 160 degrees. Mike helped me move it to another pan to cool while I prepared the rest of the meal. We got that trick from his mom who said that if it cools in the same pan it will soak up all the fat that dripped off.
 The end result isn't all that beautiful to look at but boy did it taste good! I steamed some broccoli and made rice pilaf to go with it.
 If I made you drool, please consider donating a few dollars to support the Center for Assault Treatment Services which helps children and adults who are victims of sexual assault:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Want to see something gross?

Even though we only had to run 3 miles as part of the training schedule on Wednesday, I decided to run 5 because I really wanted to do the Fun Run at Fleet Feet Encino. I was really glad I did because I met a really nice girl and we kept each other company on the dark course. I ran a little slower than usual and we stopped a few times but there will be plenty of time to work on speed over the next 22 weeks. Also the nice thing about taking it easy is I felt great during the whole run and after.

Thursday I went to Woodland Hills Physical Therapy after work and then straight over to Fleet Feet for yoga with Ko Ohka. I love that yoga is included in our training program! I also love that the class is specifically for runners. There's no gumbies doing crow and hand stands to make you feel like a tool. Everyone is pretty much the same level and Ko is really great at making sure we know exactly how to hold the poses. I can't really say the same for all the other (free) yoga classes I've taken. It's amazing how much different warrior feels when your hips are square.

Now for the gross part... Friday I gave blood. I've been doing this for at least ten years and feel like it's such an easy yet totally necessary way to give back. Doesn't hurt that I get to take 4 hours off work and there is a Red Cross right next door to my office! Ready for the picture???? How bout a $5 donation first? Who knows, the blood I gave may save your life one day!

That stuff on my arm is iodine, not blood, FYI. Check out that fat needle! It actually doesn't hurt, there is only a sting when the needle goes in cuz of the iodine. It takes about 10 minutes and when you're done you get juice and snacks. Pretty awesome right?

So the next day (we're on Saturday now, sorry for the novel) I met with my training group and we ran 4 miles. Just about everyone I talked to said it felt longer. It really did, it was one of those bad runs that make you appreciate the good ones. In fact, I didn't even know how bad it was til I got home and realized that I had chaffing on my right thigh. I've never experience chaffing, even training for my half marathon. I've worn this running skirt before for longer runs and never had a problem. I've read all about how to prevent chaffing but didn't bother following any of the advice because it wasn't necessary. What I really need advice on though is how to treat it. It doesn't hurt all the time but soap and water hurts and I can't exactly stop showering. Also I'm afraid when I run on Tuesday my sweat will make it hurt. Should I wear a bandaid over it?

Okay I'll wrap this up now, here's a pic after my Saturday run.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Week 2, Run 1

So far so good! I started my second week of training off right at Woodland Hills Physical Therapy and followed it up with cross training at Bar Method in Agoura. Unfortunately it was my last session at that location because my two week deal is up. Not to worry though, I have an unlimited month at Bar Method in Encino waiting for me! There are so many deals out there, I've tried Pure Barre, Pop Physique, Cardio Barre, and Dailey Method. I'm a big fan of barre type workouts because they are tough but manageable and you feel like you are working every muscle.

Today I ran with my training group. We did a 2.5 mile hill workout. I'm no fan of hills but it wasn't terrible. Trey, the owner of Fleet Feet Encino and one of our coaches, also included a core workout after the run. It was very challenging! I must say that training with a group is infinitely better than training alone. We have a really great group and for most of us it's our first marathon so very exciting.

So turns out I actually do have some pictures from last week! Here's my training group:

And here's our core workout last week:

Thanks for visiting, please consider donating to the Center for Assault Treatment Services located here in the Valley. I'm raising money for them here:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Where have I been... and where am I going?

Ah ha! Caught you! You thought I had given up on my blog! Well ya, actually so did I. But I didn't stop being curious. In fact, after my last post (in August 2010!!) I got curious about running. So curious that I was too busy/lazy to blog about it. I ran my first race on December 11, 2010 and less than a year later I have completed my first week of training for the LA Marathon!

On Tuesday October 4th I ran 2 miles with my training group at Fleet Feet Encino. Having already completed a half marathon this might seem like no big deal but I am grateful for the slow start because with running comes injuries. I've been plagued by various pains that have, at times, prevented me from running. I've made friends with everyone at Woodland Hills Physical Therapy because I'm there so often.

On Saturday October 8th I ran my first "long" run of 3 miles. Again, not a long distance, but it was actually really tough because I had to meet my group at 8am and it was COLD! I was also sick earlier this week so I had some residual asthma symptoms. I averaged 9:35/mi which is usually pretty comfortable for me at that distance but at the end of the run I felt really winded and even a little light headed. Luckily that faded quickly and I was able to do the post-run stretches and strength training with the group.

Now this isn't a "running blog" so I know there is a ton of detail I'm not posting but I'm not THAT into running. I don't even consider myself a runner. I was the girl that walked the mile in PE in high school. Granted I'm a really fast walker, but running is faster. It wasn't until a few years ago that I decided I should learn how to run so I could get my workouts done faster. I did the amazing Couch to 5k program which got me running 3 miles without stopping, and then I stopped. It wasn't until I saw my cousin Carmen and her husband finish a 10k last September that I thought it would be a good idea to run further. Since then races have really motivated me to keep running and the feeling of accomplishment afterward is really rewarding.

So that's the background. I'm gonna try my best to post regularly about my training and hope that you might be willing to donate to the cause I am raising money for: I'd appreciate any suggestions regarding fundraising (or anything else really). I'll also continue to post about all the things I'm curious about, like macarons which I managed to find the perfect reliable recipe for.

I didn't take any pictures of my training runs but here's some from my previous races:

Santa Monica/Venice Christmas Run 10k 2010

Agoura Great Race Half Marathon 2011

Santa Monica Classic 10k 2011

San Diego Chargers Bolt to the Q 5k 2011