Sunday, February 26, 2012

Quinoa Johnny Cakes

If you know me, you know my obsession with True Food Kitchen and specifically with their Quinoa Johnny Cakes. It all started last May when my friend Sandy suggested we get brunch their after the Santa Monica Classic 10k. The johnny cakes were amazing and the quinoa added the much needed nutrition since it is a good source of protein, iron, potassium, and B vitamins. Since breakfast is the hardest meal to eat out (I'm starving when I wake up) I scoured the internet and found what appears to be the recipe on NBC's website!

The recipe leaves a lot to be desired in directions and since I had a scare the other day where I thought the page had been taken down, I decided to immortalize it and provide the extra information. I try not to buy too many ingredients and instead use what I have on hand so I used vanilla extract instead of paste, almond milk instead of cow's, coconut oil instead of canola, and regular quinoa instead of red. They still taste very close to the original in my opinion.


AP Flour 1 cup
Baking powder 1 Tbsp
sea salt 1/2 tsp
cinnamon 1/2 tsp
raw cane sugar 2 Tbsp

whole milk 1 cup
vanilla paste 1/2 tsp
organic eggs 2 each
expeller pressed canola oil 1/4 tsp (I used vegetable oil since coconut oil is solid at room temperature)
cooked red quinoa 1 cup

Expeller pressed canola oil 1 tsp (to grease the pan)
Blueberries 8-10 per pancake


Don't forget to cook your quinoa ahead of time! (I hate when recipes call for pre-cooked items. Inevitably I'll forget until it's time to add the item and then have to stop everything to prepare it!) 

Whisk together dry ingredients.

Add remaining ingredients and mix after each addition.

Use your preferred oil (coconut doesn't burn and has no flavor so it's perfect) to grease a large pan and add batter. I made mine smaller than True Food but I'm sure it would work with any size. Just as with regular pancakes, when you see the bubbles start to pop it's time to flip them over.

You can always flip them back if you like them a bit darker.

When both sides are to your liking, remove to a plate and add maple syrup and blueberries. True Food also adds greek yogurt if you want to copy them exactly.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

22 miles

I started the week off Monday with a free class at Cardio Barre in Thousand Oaks. They just opened so all weekend they had free classes. It was a bit of a trek but I enjoyed the class, it wasn't too crowded and the instructor was nice and funny. The ab work was killer!! After class I stopped by Fleet Feet Encino where they were having 40% off apparel and I picked up some presents for Rod and Joe. I gave the presents to them when I showed up to my appointment at Woodland Hills Physical Therapy and we modeled them together.

Tuesday I woke up feeling light headed. I ate my oatmeal but still felt really off so I went home at lunchtime and took a nap. I woke up feeling better but thought running the scheduled 6 miles was not the best idea so I decided to skip it.

Remember when 12 miles was a long run? Well this week 12 miles was just a regular Wednesday run. Except it wasn't. I mean it's 12 miles!! Practically a half marathon which I just did on Sunday and it took more than two hours. And that's at race pace... meaning I was in for about two and a half hours of running on a work night. Luckily my awesome neighbors decided to take it to the beach so I rode along with them since I couldn't even begin to map out that many miles on city streets. We took it nice and easy using Jack's patented run one mile, walk one minute technique. It was such an easy pace that I even took a phone call from Sarah while running. Talk about conversation pace! Jack and Andreia wore their awesome Nike Vapor Flash Jackets that they scored major deals on at Fleet Feet. 

We ran by some more filming, Cirque du Soleil's Ovo, the Santa Monica Pier, and tons of freaky Venice people. We even got some cheers from people at a boardwalk restaurant! It was a good run and I was proud to accomplish such a long distance during the week.

Thursday I had planned to go to yoga but I got a text from my brother that my sister-in-law was in labor! Krista Grace was born at 5:49 pm, weighs 7 lbs 3 ozs, and is 19 inches! I'm officially an aunt now! We stayed at the hospital til around 11:00 pm but mommy (and daddy) were exhausted so we went home. I hadn't eaten dinner yet so I stopped at Subway and by the time I went to bed it was nearly 1:00 a.m. This made me incredible nervous about my run on Friday.

I took Friday off to run with Sarah since she would be out of town on Saturday and asked me to keep her company. I was happy to help out a friend but also happy to run at the beach instead of Balboa Park for the millionth time. Sadly Sarah got a stress fracture earlier in the week and wasn't able to run on Friday after all. I briefly considered working and doing the run Saturday with the team but I had already planned my weekend around running Friday instead so I decided to stick with it. Since I had gone to bed so late I let myself sleep in and got to the beach at 10:00 a.m. I decided my goal was to maintain a 12 minute pace since I would need to run less than 11:27 minute miles to finish the marathon under 5 hours.

I had 22 miles ahead of me which was incredibly daunting but I broke it up into legs. The first leg was just over 6 miles and you can tell by my pace that I stopped at the car at that point to get water and eat the other half of my Bonk Breaker that I started before the run. Even though I was stopped, it was tough to eat. I didn't feel hungry and chewing just felt tiring but I made myself finish it. I got back out there and immediately regretting stopping. I had to warm up all over again even though my stop was pretty short but I finally warmed up and settled in. I was doing the same route as Wednesday and knew I could get at least 12 miles in the first pass of the boardwalk. I ran until it ended near Marina Del Rey and my Garmin read 9.6 miles. I conserved energy as much as possible but there was one photo op I just couldn't pass up.

When I got to the car my watch said 13.1 miles. I was thrilled that I only had 9 miles left for my third leg! I ate half of another Bonk Breaker and put the other half in my SPIbelt in case I got the energy to eat it later. I drank some coconut water and regular water and took off for my last leg. Again my body punished me for stopping but I was glad that despite both stops I was still averaging very close to 12 minute miles (I didn't pause my watch in preparation for the marathon where there is no pausing). When I got to mile 17 I realized that I only had 5 miles left and my body felt like it was on auto pilot. Not great but it was moving. I knew I would finish the 22 miles! Now it was just a matter of entertaining my brain while counting down the miles. When I got near my car again I was just over 19 miles meaning I had less than 3 left! I tried to do some quick math to see how far past the car I should run and it hit me... every ounce of energy was being utilized. Even some easy addition was proving difficult! I finally figured it out and pushed myself with the promise of that incredible feeling of accomplishment. I wanted to shout to every passerby that I was on mile 20... that I had a mile and a half left... that I had a half mile left!! That last half mile was amazing. I picked up the pace and tried not to freak people out as I started to get emotional. I hit 22 miles and walked the short remainder to the car.

I couldn't believe what I had accomplished! I couldn't believe that the girl who walked the mile in high school, who ran her first 10k just over a year ago, and who never ever thought she would do a marathon had just run 22 miles alone (and without music I might add). I forced myself to walk down to the ocean for my ice bath (I think the sand at Santa Monic Beach is the widest of any beach I've ever seen). It was cold but felt good. Oh and my pace was pretty much right on target.

This week it was announced that for a donation of at least $29 by 11:59 p.m. on February 28th you will be entered to win 2 passes to the photo bridge at the finish line of the LA Marathon! The timing was perfect because it had been six weeks since I made my pledge to save $10 per week and donate at the midway point. I hadn't had a chance to turn in my money yet so I figured I would make the donation online and try to win photo passes for my spectators. I'm currently at 76% of my goal and the marathon is three weeks away so please give anything you can at

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pasadena Half recap (and the rest of my week)

Started the week by meeting up with Gail Hynick, Special Events Manager at the Center for Assault Treatment Services. She made a donation/order for macarons to give to the nurses at her mother's senior home for Valentine's Day. These are the kind of people who work at CATS; kind, compassionate, wonderful people who care so deeply for others. I made another batch of hazelnut with Nutella filling and a batch of raspberry with cream cheese frosting filling (the kind that tops red velvet cupcakes).

After work I went to Woodland Hills Physical Therapy and got whipped back into shape after Saturday's long run. I couldn't do my usual Cardiobarre cross-training because I was too busy celebrating Galentine's Day but the plan was to make it up on Friday.

Tuesday I decided to forego running with the group at Fleet Feet Encino and instead run near home so I could get back and celebrate Valentine's Day with my sweetie. We had a 7 mile tempo run on the books which I had done before near home so didn't bother mapping it ahead of time. Unfortunately I came up a tad short but overall it was an amazing run! I started off faster than usual and instead of reigning it in I went with it and figured I would ease up once I got tired. Well I never really did get tired and even when I got to the 160 foot climb at mile 4, I only slowed down to what would be my usual pace with no incline. Maybe not the best idea less than a week before a race but I have to keep reminding myself that the marathon is more important and I'll have plenty of other chances to PR on a half marathon.

Wednesday I skipped my 10 mile run and planned to do 5 Thursday morning and 5 on Friday. I got up at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday and did the 5 mile run with Andreia and her husband Jack. I love that my neighbors run, knowing they were up early too gave me that extra push to get out of bed, into my running clothes, and out the door. We took it slow and easy and even walked since Jack subscribes to the Galloway method of training. We ended up splitting up though since they wanted to run 7 miles and I only had time for 5 so I sped up a bit at the end and barely made it back in time to get to work.

Thursday evening I went to yoga at Fleet Feet with Ko Ohka. For once in my yoga life, I was in the "intermediate/advanced" category of students and got to do the modifications to make the poses harder! I know it's all relative but still, it felt great. Also Ko said my strength and flexibility have improved which was so nice to hear.

Friday I went to WHPT where I got my foot taped to try to help my arch from acting up. I also talked to Rod and Joe about carpooling to the expo for the Pasadena Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon since they both had signed up. I went home and baked blackberry macarons for my aunt who placed her order back in December but was very patient and flexible with my schedule. I didn't end up running my other 5 miles or going to Cardiobarre, oops.

Saturday morning Rod and his friend picked me up and we then picked up Joe so we could all hit the expo together. While there I picked up a SPIbelt which is super awesome and NOT a fanny pack. It's a belt with a stretchy pouch that expands to fit my iPhone and at least one Bonk Breaker. It'll be perfect for the marathon! After I got home I still had 7 miles to conquer so my weekend total would be 20. I had to do some IT support for my mom who lives about 3.5 miles away so decided to run to her place. It's a little surreal running as a mode of transportation. It was a pretty good run though, I tried to take it easy to save my energy for the race.

Sunday was the big day (not THE big day, but half the big day). I started out pretty strong but tried to hold back a little since 13.1 miles is still a long way. Around mile 4 I saw my favorite sign, "Worst Parade Ever!" (Referring to the Rose Parade which is also held in Pasadena.) I had a good chuckle and almost missed Rod running in the opposite direction. He was on mile 8 - twice as fast as me! I kept moving and shortly before mile 6 came upon a band playing Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer which was disappointing because we were not halfway there! I had eaten half a Bonk Breaker before the race and decided to eat the other half at this time since I knew a water station was coming up (I love out and back style races, not only because you can wave to friends but also because you can see what's up ahead). It was my first time eating one while actively running and it was tough, but not more so than eating a gel. It was just that belabored feeling of trying to chew while trying to breath, but I got through it. I grabbed a water shortly after and tried the pinch technique to funnel it into my mouth while running. I got a fair amount in my mouth but wasn't thrilled about how much ended up on me.

Around mile 8 I saw a funny shirt that said "I ran, It rained, I wore cotton." I ended up seeing the girl later and she said it was her first half and she actually preferred trails. I had thought her shirt referred to last year's LA marathon but turns out it's by Running Diva and they have some really cute stuff! At the halfway point I was right next to the 2:15 pacers and one of them called out that if you were feeling energetic to go ahead and speed up gradually. I felt pretty good so I sped up a bit but we were on an incline so it was tough. I ended up falling behind a bit but thought I could catch them on a decline so I didn't panic. That was the last I saw them. I tried to stay positive by figuring there had to be a little leeway since they started in corral 6 and I started in corral 7 but I was pretty sure my 2:15 goal wasn't going to happen.

After my experience spilling water on myself, I decided to walk while drinking when I got water again around mile 10. After mile 10 I saw a big blow up arch that looked like it could be the finish line. It seemed really close but I figured it had to be an optical illusion. As I climbed another incline I realized it was just ahead around mile 11. I was totally confused and apparently Mike and my mom were too because there they were cheering for me. They too thought this was the finish. I knew it wasn't and they soon figured it out and had to trek over to the actual finish. It was nice to see them earlier on the course though. You'll also see a guy wearing jeans in the pic Mike took. I questioned him and he admitted that he jumped in at mile 8. Still, three miles in jeans??? Wow!

I got water again around mile 11 and again before mile 12, walking both times. Soon enough I saw the 12 mile marker and picked up the pace which was made easier by the slight decline - every race should do this. I managed to pass a few people which fueled me all the more to keep going. I saw the finish line and then Mike and my mom. I felt great as I cruised across the finish line and got my medal. I felt even better when a guy came up to me and said he was impressed that I didn't listen to music. He was trying to catch me but wasn't able to!

After the race I stopped by the medal engraving booth which cost $20 but seemed like a good idea. The guy at the booth looked up my finish time and said 2:14:xx! I started screaming and jumping for joy just as he corrected himself, 2:17:44. Now I wanted to scream again, but not for joy. He made me think I achieved my goal of coming in under 2:15. I was pretty bummed but it was still a PR so I kept my chin up and headed over to watch Sugar Ray perform while waiting for the engraving. For a one hit wonder type band, they actually played a lot of songs I knew. It reminded me of when I saw them open for 311 at 16 with my best friend!

I picked up my medal and headed to brunch with Mike and my mom. Later in the day I checked the official race results and my chip time was actually 2:16:52! I was simultaneously excited and annoyed. My medal now shows my time as nearly a minute longer than it should be. But at least I was closer to 2:15 than I thought.

And finally, on the fundraising front, I have now achieved 74% of my goal of raising $3,000. Not too much further to go and it all adds up so head over and make a donation to support victims of sexual abuse and assault at

With the help of my friends and family I was one of the fastest people to raise $1,000 - something I thought was impossible. Because of that, I got my name on our official marathon shirts!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Great runs this week, 5 weeks left!

Started Monday off at Woodland Hills Physical Therapy and followed it up with cross-training at Cardiobarre. Shortly after class started a clearly pregnant woman (not an ounce of fat on her, just a very round belly) took the spot next to me and promptly began showing me up. Granted I'm not a regular and she clearly was, but I still felt that I should be able to take her. Soon enough it didn't matter how fit the pregnant lady was because there was a commotion in the back and when I turned around a woman was laying on the ground. Face down. Her eyes were half open but not blinking and it was terrifying! I heard another woman say she had a seizure and someone went to get a wet towel. She woke up shortly after and said something about having seizures but never having passed out from one. She left and class resumed and it really made me appreciate being healthy. I just take for granted that I'll get through class, no matter how hard it is, but not everyone can make that assumption.

Tuesday I joined the gang at Fleet Feet Encino for another 8 mile hill run. We run mainly through neighborhoods and don't usually have too many issues with cars, however before we even reached mile one, three of us were nearly struck by a car! Keep in mind that all three of us were wearing headlamps and brightly colored clothing, not exactly easy to miss. Also, the car came to a full stop at a stop sign, then inched forward and stopped again seeming to have noticed us and letting us pass. Just when we were passing directly in front of the car it started to take off! I was the furthest ahead and grabbed Andreia's arm attempting to pull her with me as we all shrieked and tried to run faster. Luckily the car stopped before anyone was hurt but it's definitely the closest I've ever been to being hit. After that chaos the rest of the run seemed almost easy. In fact, I read in Thrive that doing something to shock your system (like loud music) can increase your adrenaline and cause your body to take more kindly to running. Not that I want to have near death experiences before each run, but if I can think of something safer it might not be a bad idea.

After the run we gathered at the store for ab work. Coach Trey commented that I had improved over the past few months at the "leg up" exercise where you put your legs straight in the air and lift them straight up. When I started training I would lift but nothing would happen. Lately though I've managed to get some air! It still burns my abs but as a teammate said, that's how you know it's working!

I actually did the Wednesday run on Wednesday this week. I'm so lucky that my neighbor Andreia is a runner too and also training for the marathon so we set off on our 8 mile run together. It wasn't the speediest run but considering our elevation gain was 400 feet I think we did pretty well. I ate half a Bonk Breaker in addition to some carrots and hummus before the run and I felt great! Unfortunately Andreia didn't eat quite as well and was struggling toward the end. I've definitely been there and must say that working on my nutrition (eating better and increasing my calories) has probably had the biggest impact on my runs.

Thursday I went to Fleet Feet for yoga with Ko Ohka. I walked in and was shocked to see at least triple the normal crowd. I had forgotten that Fleet Feet's 5 and 10k programs had started up and those trainees were there to take advantage of their free weekly yoga. Since most of them had never taken yoga before Ko took the class very slow and easy. It was kind of nice because for once I felt like I was a star student and not just hopping around trying to keep up. After class one of the girls from the marathon training group mentioned that I had lost weight and was looking toned! Talk about ending class on a high note, that really made my day!

Friday I went to WHPT for my usual pre-run workout. The gang was in an extra silly mood and Rod walked in while Mike was working on my right arch wearing a latex glove on his head! The pain had been pretty tough to get through so I appreciated the laugh.

Saturday morning came earlier than usual this week. Coach Trey had suggested we do our 16 mile run at Zuma Beach for a change of scenery. Even though we had just done 20 miles at the beach last week and it wasn't a huge success, another run at Balboa Park sounded even less appealing so I jumped at the chance. I looked at the satellite maps online and the boardwalk looked dinky so I emailed Trey and asked if he knew something I didn't. He said he'd never been there! Now I started wondering if I should just run at Santa Monica again for fear of the unknown. Luckily one of the run/walkers in our group did her homework and said we could accomplish the run in three loops all on boardwalk or through parking lots (which would likely be empty on an early, rainy Saturday morning as had been predicted). My confidence was renewed, especially knowing other runners would be there so I convinced Sarah and Andreia to join me and we met up at the beach at exactly 7:00 a.m. I wore shorts again, a different pair this time, to test them out and also to test my ability to wear shorts in cold weather. We took off and at the end of the parking lot came across a film crew. It was a nice distraction to see what they were up to on each of our three passes. We also ran by vans for the Biggest Loser Resort and saw the trainees about to head up a steep hill at the end of the parking lot. We saw plenty of other runners which was encouraging that we weren't crazy for being out there. We kept a really good pace, almost all miles were sub-12 minutes! I was really happy about that. After the run, Sarah, Andreia, and I headed down to the water for our ice bath. It was extra freezing this time since we didn't have the 70+ degree weather of last week. Also the waves were gnarly so we had to quickly dunk before getting sucked out to sea. Overall a great run and I'm glad we got in the water again.

After a nap I got up and made hazelnut macarons with nutella filling for my awesome friend Wie who made a contribution to support the Center for Assault Treatment Services. I'm so excited, they came out awesome even though I've never made hazelnut ones before (traditional macarons are made with ground almonds). If you donate $26.20 or more, you too can have your very own batch of homemade macarons! Just go to

Monday, February 6, 2012

20 miles and $2,000!

This won't be long because I skipped cross-training this week and I didn't take any pictures. I still went to Woodland Hills Physical Therapy on Monday but since I had to work it was just too much to consider Cardiobarre after.

Tuesday I joined my teammates at Fleet Feet Encino for an 8 mile hill run. It wasn't quite 8 miles but it went pretty well because I paced myself behind a couple girls and didn't let myself push ahead when I had the energy. Still, later in the run, they were able to pull away and I couldn't keep up which was pretty disappointing since I felt like I had been very disciplined by slowing down early. This doesn't bode well for my upcoming race. No, not that one, the Pasadena Rock 'n' Roll Half! I'd really like to finish under 2 hours but don't think I have the pace to pull it off. After the run we stretched out and did ab work, then had a meeting with our Ragnar Relay team. It was really exciting to talk about the different legs, how hard they are, and whether they'll be run in the dark or not. I haven't decided which runner I'll be. The most I would have to run is 21 miles over two days which I feel comfortable about, however many of my teammates are much stronger runners so I may just let everyone else choose and I'll pick up the slack.

Wednesday I absolutely could not fathom running if I had any hope of preparing the house for our Superbowl party so I chose instead to run Thursday morning. I went to bed a bit later than I meant to but "only" had 6 miles on the books so wasn't too concerned. I was pretty lazy when I got up Thursday morning and at one point even considered going back to bed (after eating a bowl of oatmeal and getting dressed - I'm a really good sleeper) but knew I wouldn't have time to make up the distance and was afraid skipping it altogether would sabotage Saturday's long run. I chose to run two approximately 3 mile loops so I could stay close to home and not have to go too deep into the hills or city. I didn't quite complete a full 6 miles but was near my house so cut it short and I'm glad I did because I ended up being 20 minutes late for work! I think this will be my last morning run because the mileage just gets longer for the next few Wednesday runs and I clearly can't be trusted to wake up early enough.

Thursday night was yoga at Fleet Feet with Ko. My balance was really off but I was still happy I got to see my twin (not biologically, but we have so many of the same possessions it's almost scary)!

Friday was a day I should have been doing everything in my power to prep for Saturday's long run but instead I hardly ate much (and what I did eat included cupcakes and wine), didn't drink enough, and went to bed late! The only saving grace was my trip to WHPT where Joe kindly avoided anything too strenuous and used ultrasound on my right arch that has been bugging me lately.

Saturday was the big day, the big 2-0! Since I was already going to be on the Westside Friday night, I suggested to Sarah that we run along the beach instead of with the group. This would also give us the opportunity to start our run later since we were out late (for us) Friday. We got to the beach around 8:30 a.m. and were off. It was nice and warm and since I hadn't trained in shorts at all so far, I donned a pair on the off chance that I needed to wear them for the marathon. I would never consider wearing something that had not been tested on a long run. While the Southern California native in me relished in the warm weather, the runner in me cursed it around mile 10 when I succumbed to a walk break. Sure it could have been any of the other factors leading up to the run but I think the weather was the most significant. We had to stop very frequently at water fountains due to the heat and the fact that I refuse to carry water. This wasn't so bad, I would rather lose a few minutes on water fountains than be weighed down the entire run, but once we ran out of boardwalk and headed into Marina Del Rey we quickly realized that we had no idea where our next water break would come from. It was pretty worrisome at one point and we again chose to walk until we could assess the situation. Luckily we found a path and a nice family assured us water was just ahead. This actually got us to run at a decent clip since we were really thirsty by this point. We finally finished the run and on my suggested took a quick dip in the ocean! If you don't live in LA you probably think I'm just trying to show off that we go to the beach in February but you should know the ocean is still about 57 degrees, not pleasant at all. However I was determined to get an ice bath immediately after the run and thought we should take advantage of our surroundings. Walking on the sand was a nice little massage for our feet and even though the water was freezing, I was really glad we got it done.

Another great accomplishment this week was reaching my goal of raising $2,000 for the Center for Assault Treatment Services! That doesn't mean I'm done though, that just means I can officially increase my goal to $3,000, an idea I'd been toying with for a while. I've got six weeks til the race which isn't much time to raise $1,000 but I still have plenty of friends and family who haven't donated yet so maybe it's not so crazy. If you would like to help me reach this seemingly outlandish goal, please contribute here: