Rock n Roll SF Recap

Hey guys! I just completed my third half marathon-Rock n Roll San Francisco! I decided to do this race for fun, not trying to PR because I felt like I was so caught up in the time last race that I didn’t really get to enjoy the race.
Let me just say, I clearly have a sick idea of fun.
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TALK ABOUT HILLS. I did the Nike Women’s marathon, which is known for its hills. Well, this was worse. But let’s go through it, shall we?

IMG_7257Saturday afternoon after a meeting, I sprinted home to get up to the city in time to pick up my packet. The expo was well run and not crowded. IMG_7259

Lots of protein bar samples too! I’m ALL about the free samples.

After the expo, I came home and had a pre-race dinner.


Strawberries as big as my face.


IMG_7269Plus scrambled eggs, roasted carrots, and toast with homemade raspberry jam (unpictured).



I really think I did everything right for this race. Perfect pre-race food, went to bed early, good pre-race breakfast.

Then, it was race day! As soon as my kitty heard my 4:20am alarm go off, he came running to greet me and cover me with fur help me get ready.

I slightly modified my pre-race breakfast of egg whites, cocoa powder, and banana by throwing some instant oats in there because I thought I needed more calories and carbs.

IMG_7272I also had some strawberries and sort of burnt berry compote on top. I may or may not have forgotten it was still on the stove for a couple too many hours…oops.

And then I put on my new race shirt! I LOVELOVELOVE it!

IMG_7236 IMG_7271

IMG_7275And then we were off! My parents dropped me off near the start just before 6am, the perfect amount of time to wait in port a potty lines and find my corral. The pre-race was very organized, and I had no problem getting into the correct corral. Plus, it wasn’t THAT crowded (or at least not when I arrived maybe!).

My first half, I wore short sleeves.The second one, I wore long sleeve Under Armour and ended up getting super hot and tossing it 2 miles in (it had seen much better days anyways). This time, I fashioned some beautiful and stylish throwaway sleeves out of my dad’s old socks.


Then, it was go time! As soon as we started, I knew I was feeling good. I was more than ready to tackle the first hill-which came up fast! I tossed my sleeves at an aid station around mile 2, but I would have earlier if I had seen a trash can! Hills have a way of warming you up quickly.

I crushed the first hill. It felt good, I kept a decent pace, and I thought about how much all my hill training had helped. Almost all of my long runs were at least somewhat hilly!

The second hill came up pretty quickly after the first, but we were rewarded with a view of the Golden Gate bridge from waaaay above. I definitely slowed down more on this hill! At this point, I was sort of thinking I could maybe PR this race, but I would see how I felt later on. Goal #1 was to ENJOY this race!

One of my biggest complaints about this race was how crowded it was. It was crowded quite a bit leading up to the bridge, but it was INSANE on the bridge. My legs were starting to feel heavy and I couldn’t keep pace at all in the crowds of people. I lost .07 miles just from weaving going one way across the bridge! It was very frustrating-but I had to remind myself that a) this was for fun and b) if I have my blog URL on my back I need to be a nicer person! (Not that I was rude….but getting there!)

The bridge was surprisingly and noticeably not flat. Very little of this race was flat. Another slight issue was that there was an aid station at mile 4, 8, and 10 but none around 5 or 6 because of the bridge, and 5 is where I normally take goo. I decided to take it early, especially since I was coming off of 2 hills! I took it at 4 and 10.

After it flattened out after the bridge, my legs were really starting to feel heavy and I knew I still had hills-lots of them-at the finish so I decided to give up on trying to PR and work on a) surviving and b) having fun.

Mile 10 and on I could only think of one thing: “What sick, sick person designed this course??” 2 giant hills already, and then the last three-ish miles as hills?  That’s just mean. My legs were already done and I was hurting. Since this was a for fun race, I walked a little bit on some of the hilly stretches, a few steps here or there. I knew that at that point I would end up with a time I was happy with anyways.

The ONLY saving grace about the course was that the last half mile was straight and downhill, and you could see the finish from half a mile away. I FLEW down that hill! I think I hit a sub 7:00 at some point!



(See me in the black?)

When I crossed the finish line, I was happy with my time, happy to be done, and noticing how tight my calves had gotten!


It turns out I was only 40 seconds off my PR, and definitely on a more difficult course! I had a lot of fun running this-that being said, I think I’m going to stay away from super hilly races for a little while. My goal race is the Giant’s Race in September, which although it is in San Francisco, is still fairly flat.

Then, I hightailed it over to the chocolate milk tent and found my parents.


Chocolate milk in a bag…?

It was an absolutely beautiful day in the city. When is it EVER sunny in San Francisco??



I quickly scarfed down a free Powerbar (It was Vanilla, and actually really tasty!) and then walked over to the main stage (it’s Rock n Roll after all!) to watch the concert and find one of my friends who came to see the concert!

It was actually a well known (ish) band-The Neighborhood. I know exactly one song of theirs-Sweater Weather. I thought they sounded good but didn’t have the best stage presence. It was definitely the tamest concert I’ve been too!

IMG_7284 IMG_7285 IMG_7286

One thing about Rock n Roll SF-I feel like it was a bit deceptive. They sort of made it sound like there would be a live band at every mile. I didn’t have a problem with the entertainment, I just thought it was a bit misleading. There were no bands until mile 8-just a few jugglers every few miles. There were maybe 4 bands, and only 2 actually had amps and microphones and were playing.

After the concert, it was time for real food! We stopped at Panera where I got a Fuji apple chicken salad.



But then it was time for the real show. Has anyone heard of Bi Rite Creamery? It’s one of the best ice cream places in the area-it rivals Smitten (Nitrogen ice cream)! And since we were up there, it had to be checked out.

I got salted caramel and chocolate with bittersweet chocolate sauce.


If there every was a time for a double scoop, it was after a half marathon. This was really good! I liked the flavors, but my mom’s toasted coconut was amazing.

Overall though, I have to say that my favorite is probably Tin Pot, followed by Smitten. And no, I have zero problems becoming an ice cream connoisseur.

Overall, I’m really happy with how the day went! I went out there and ran for fun (hah) and am more than happy with my time!

So what’s next? Like I said, the Giant’s Race is my PR race. I’m considering doing the ZOOMA Napa half, but I’m concerned it’s going to be really hot! I’m also considering doing Rock n Roll San Jose in October. I will most likely not be doing the Nike again this year. It was a good experience, but not amazing and not something I would want to do every time.  My absolute favorite race I’ve done is by far the Giant’s race. It’s not insanely hilly, there’s a lot of crowd support, and it take s you through a whole bunch of sites in the city.

What’s your favorite race?

Speedy Feet-Life After Half Marathon Training

Happy Sunday! I’m currently holed up in a coffeeshop. It is such a beautiful day, so I biked off campus, books in tow, with the intention of spending all day doing schoolwork in a coffeeshop. However, I realized I forgot to bring several items critical to me actually doing my work, but I still want to spend a little time here, since I made the effort to bike all the way here. IMG_4942


A cappuccino, as always. I actually slept pretty late this morning. I stayed up late last night doing pretty wild things- helping my roommate start a food blog, reading my old blog posts, watching a Biochem lecture for fun, and rearranging my furniture at 1am. I’m clearly the life of the party. 

Also, I may finally be pumpkined out. For a snack, I had this:



Pumpkin bread, cottage cheese with pumpkin butter and sunflower seed butter, and a pumpkin spice chai latte. 




But I may or may not have had pumpkin bread for breakfast….

A few things though-this is the video I was watching: Sugar: The Bitter Truth. If you do anything today, please please please watch this! It’s one of my favorite videos, and this stuff is basically what I want to spend my life studying-and it’s been way too long since I last watched it!

Also-guess what? Instead of taking another Chem lab next quarter, I’m taking Human Nutrition, a higher level class than the Intro to Nutrition class I took last fall. I’m really excited-except that after I take this class, I’ll have taken all the Nutrition classes at my school. Yes, all 2. 

When I was helping my roommate figure out some blog things, I got sucked into reading some of my first blog posts. And possibly making fun of my past self a little bit. If you’re interested, here’s my first post. I think this was really great for me to re-read, because it reminds me of why I initially started blogging. 

I also read a lot of the posts from when I was rowing. It really made me miss rowing! I miss my teammates, being part of a team, and just in general doing a sport. However, there is a lot that sounds pretty torturous. Like my post titled “Cold and Wet…Again.” Key phrases such as “day 2 of our 3 workouts a day,” “it was sooo cold,” and “it started pouring while we were in the boat.” Yeah, given I’m such a wimp in the cold, it’s no wonder I got mono!

I read through some of the posts from last winter-I feel like my eating was a little more interesting, but I’m definitely in a much better place mentally now than I was then. 

Anyway, since I crave workout structure, I decided that I’m going to follow a Cross Country training plan in preparation for PRing a 5k in December. I’m actually super excited for this-there are lots of speed workouts, which are always fun, plus the runs are a lot shorter than my half training, so it will be a really nice change. I’m tentatively planning to always run in the morning, so I have some sort of structure in my schedule. Plus, that’s one of the times I know the track team isn’t practicing on the track. 

Also, if you’re wondering, the time I’m trying to beat is 24:58. I think it’s definitely doable-I hadn’t run much before that race, but I was in awesome rowing shape, so it will be interesting to see how fast I can get in the next 8 weeks or so. 

But I may or may not have ulterior motives than just PRing-last year I placed 5th in my division-and top 3 get medals. If I can break 24:00, I have a decent shot at placing. The only problem? I have absolutely no idea how fast I am right now-my last timed mile was 8:00, but that was when I was just coming off of Mono, and hadn’t run in many months. 

But here’s the thing-the only chance I might really have to place in races is while I’m still in the same age division-and in at my next birthday, I’ll move up a division. In my division, I was actually able to come in first in my 10k a year ago. So I think I need to run a ton of 5 and 10ks before I get any older! It’s definitely nice to have something different to train for-I’m really excited! I still miss my team sports though. There’s a running club, but my friends who regularly go basically told me I’d have to be able to run 10 miles at a 6:00 pace. Yeah, not happening. 

So, I mapped out a new running schedule for myself, and I’m going to spend the weeks leading up to my race getting fast, strong, and building endurance. One other thing I realized when I was reading my old posts was that I never really go into much detail about my workouts anymore-and my blog is called “FITNESS is Sweet.” So I’ll make sure to add more detail on those! I’m really excited for my new training-I start in a week, after one more long run. 

Sidenote-on my long run, if for some reason something goes wrong and I can’t finish, the place where I’d be when that might likely happen just so happens to be at my favorite froyo place. So even if I can’t finish, it’s a win-win, right??
And my roommate and I are officially the most popular people in our dorm.
We put out candy yesterday and it was gone within an hour, so I had to restock! I lovelovelove that I still get to buy Halloween candy, even though I’m in a dorm!

Bloggers-do you ever read your old posts? Thoughts on them?

So You Want to Run a Half Marathon

Hey guys! I wrote this for the little local fitness blog I run, and since I don’t have anything terribly important to say today, here it is!

While I may not be an expert at running half marathons, I know a lot about starting running a first half marathon, as I ran my first last summer. A half marathon is a great distance for runners looking to get a little more serious, but not able or willing to make the time commitment or endure the physical wear and tear of a full marathon. For new runners, I would highly recommend trying out a 5k (3.1 miles) or a 10k (6.2 miles) first to build an endurance base and actually decide if you actually LIKE running. 


Here are some steps to start you on your half marathon journey.

  1. Buy good running shoes. This is absolutely essential-it will make the runs much more pleasant and reduce the risk of injuries down the line. With so much running, it is quite easy for foot or knee pain to pop up-buying good running shoes is worth it. 
  2. Find a training plan. Depending on you starting running ability, go online and search for a beginner’s plan. There are a ton of great plans out there-I used Marathon Rookie.
  3. Find a race. I would recommend as flat a race as possible for a first half. Figure out when you need to start training.
  4. Look into ‘on the run’ fueling. 13.1 miles is a long time; most runners need to fuel during the race. I have used goo in the past, but some runners eat chews, granola bars, or fruity candy (like jelly beans or Swedish fish).
  5. Map out your training schedule. Know what’s ahead; this will help you plan your runs around your life, and the runs will be more likely to happen if they are laid out in black and white.
  6. Listen to your body. If something hurts, stop. If your legs are exhausted, maybe shorten your run. This doesn’t mean anytime you are tired you should stop-but if something is wrong, do not push it.

7. Just go for it! What do you have to lose?

Any tips to add?

New Loves and Eating a la Dorm

Happy Monday everyone! I got a great night’s sleep last night, so I woke up well rested and ready to tackle the day.

Being the smarty that I am, I totally forgot to pack my lunch until I was walking out the door. Down side? I had to wait until after class and going to the lab to eat. Upside? No tubberware to sit on my desk and grown weird things. 


A hummus salad, plus a million snap peas and a ThinkThin bar. Trader Joe’s has BY FAR the best snap peas! I ate a ton at dinner as well, and between that and freeze dried mango, I’m going to have to make a return trip soon!

After lunch, I headed out to get some Ochem work done. Guys. I have a new favorite place to study-my favorite cafe. It’s in the basement of a building, and they have amazing quick breads. Ok, maybe this new study place won’t be the best for my health, but it was perfect! Of course, I had to try their pumpkin bread. No shame.


I was there near closing-they close up the cafe, but there are still tables and chairs out in the open (inside). It was perfect-quiet, fairly deserted, and I had a table to myself to spread out. I liked that there were fewer people there than at the library-this may be my new study spot!

Which leads me to my next point. Being back at school has kind of facilitated a lot of reflection. Last year was rough. There’s no way of getting around it. I really realized that I’m in a really good place right now, both mentally and physically. Sure, I’m still working off the Freshman 15 (or for me, post-crew 15), but I have much better eating habits, and I know that in time I’ll get there. Being an athlete was hard-and this is going to sound kind of bad (sorry Mom and Dad), but I feel like one of the experiences I really missed out on last year when I was rowing was being a student. I have a tough class schedule with a lot of work, but I’m not stressed because I know I actually have enough time to get my work done. Before I went to college, I always imagined myself in a grandiose library or coffee shop for hours-something I simply never had time for last year. I have a lot of work this week…so I simply went to a cafe and worked for hours. It’s amazing to actually have time and energy to do all the reading, and take the time to understand the problems. While at times I miss rowing like crazy, I know it just wasn’t good for me to spend that much time doing. I feel like I have a good balance right now-I don’t have a ton of extracurriculars, and while I feel like “Oh, I should!”, I really don’t need that in my life right now. I’m happy where I am, and nothing really calls out to me. I guess I do a lot of things on my own-Intramural flag football, Crossfit, yoga, training to teach spin. Plus, I’ve had the time to just sit down with people in my dorm and TALK. Sure, there were a few nights last week where I didn’t get enough sleep, but some of the time was spent bonding with my hall mates over our love for guac parties. And that’s important too. As far as eating habits go, I’m in a better place also, but I’ll elaborate at that at the end.


Crossfit tonight was…interesting. I went to the later class, which I really liked because it gave me more afternoon time to work on Chem and it was less crowded. The strength portion was right up my alley- low reps and HEAVY. We went to 90% max back squats, 1 rep every minute on the minute. The WOD was a weird one-liners, atlas stones, and pull ups. First of all-I’m never going to the later class again if there’s any running involved. It was DARK. We had to run to faint chalk lines in the dark parking lot, and it was…interesting. I didn’t die. So there’s that. Atlas stones are definitely not something I’ve done before. You basically pick up a heavy concrete ball off the ground and onto your shoulder. These were hard! My “baby ball” got confiscated halfway through the workout, and it took me several tried to get the technique down for the heavier ball. 


GUYS. I a literally SO CLOSE to being able to do a pull up. I can basically do a kipping pull up-I’m sure I could do it if I spent a little time trying and getting my timing down (I only tried like 2 times and was only inches away). I want to be able to do pull ups SO BADLY. I’m going to do a little work on the assisted pull up machine tomorrow after spin. 

I also want to discuss dorm eating a little bit. I’ve been avoiding the dining halls a lot more this year-or I get back after they’ve closed (like tonight). I don’t trust myself to make good decisions on a regular basis-it’s just easier and less to worry about if I don’t put myself in bad decisions. With that being said, my eating habits are definitely more on the snacky side. I just focus on getting a total of all my food groups in, and to refuel accordingly after workouts. For example, tonight I wasn’t super hungry so I made hot chocolate with almond milk and a scoop of protein powder (and cocoa and honey).


For a vegetable, I ate a ton of snap peas. These were my carbs:


This is one of my more unconventional meals-I do a ton of egg scrambles too, although dinner is usually at the dining hall.


I would like to cut down my sugar intake a little, especially the later at night sugar-I struggle the most with any free food. It isn’t conducive to sleeping, and isn’t really necessary. I don’t really have many sweets in my room (besides pumpkin pie filling and pumpkin butter), so it’s really just the sweets available in life. I’m not super concerned though-my mood is for the most part good, which means I’m not eating enough sugar to screw up my hormones. College really just is about making good choices-not necessarily perfect choices. For example, I skipped out on cookies at my sorority meeting, but I’m getting boba with my sister later tonight because we haven’t talked in weeks. It’s also about planning ahead-packing enough food to get me through the day.

And onto ONE last topic-my love for running. I actually have fallen in love with running. This love didn’t come until I was running my last race.


Throughout the training for my first half, I really had to will myself to get out there on those runs. Now, I don’t mind them at all-and I look forward to the long runs. It probably helps that I’m in way better running shape than when I began training for my first half-but I’m really loving my runs. I seriously felt like I was FLYING on my 9 miler. And I cannot accurately describe how excited I am for my race coming up. I’ve gotten so much faster and stronger since my last one! Looking beyond my half…I kind of don’t know what to do with my life. I have some short races planned-I want to PR my 5k in December, but beyond that, nothing. I kind of don’t want to lose all the endurance I’ve built, but my body could probably use a break. I’m tentatively searching for a half for late winter/early spring. Another thing-my running would probably be better if it was my priority…and while I do love it, weight lifting really has my heart. This means my runs are usually with more tired legs, which stinks at the time, but come race day when I’m well rested, it definitely helps!

WHEW that was a lengthy post! I’ve paused 2 times writing this, and now it’s late so…that’s all folks!

What difference has a year made in your life? Favorite form of exercise? MUST DO race suggestions? I kind of want to do Rock n Roll Las Vegas…

MIMM-Hills, Sweets, and Pigeons

Hey guys! Happy Monday! Today is going to be a big studying day-I have my health Psych final on Wednesday and I have a ton of reading to do! Since I have so much fun to share with you all, let’s make it a MARVELOUS Monday!

Thank you Katie, as always 🙂


As promised, Saturday night held delicious cake. My sister and her boyfriend came over for dinner to celebrate his birthday. They came straight from their run-they got lost and ended up running 17.5 miles. Craziness! We went to our favorite local fancy restaurant. I even wore a dress-who am I?

ImageThe happy couple, and the delicious food. For my main course, I ordered salmon on a bed of couscous. It was superb. 

ImageFor the birthday cake, we made German Chocolate cake. It’s delicious, but so, so rich.


More marvelousness-my first attempt at coconut yogurt.

ImageI’m thinking this collage would look better if I waited enough to take a picture before digging in…

I mixed together unsweetened coconut, chia seeds, and vanilla kefir, plus a drizzle of maple syrup. Since I didn’t have any vanilla yogurt, just kefir, I added the chia seeds for thickness. Overall, this was pretty good. I think it’ll work better with regular yogurt though.

Sunday marvelousness?

We family and I drove up to San Francisco to scout out the route for the Nike Women’s marathon. On the way up, we stopped for sandwiches.

ImageThe first half of the course is almost identical to the first half of the Giant’s Race, but instead of starting at the ballpark, it starts at Union square and heads downhill. The difference comes around mile 6 when, instead of turning back like in the Giant’s Race, we climb. A freaking. Huge. Hill. The worst hill is Mile 6, with the peak at Mile 7. Imagine the hills of SF, and how high they are. Now start from sea level and climb to that height in a mile until you’re at the top of everything. That’s a brutal hill. To be fair, it is a really great view. But somehow I don’t think I’m going to be thinking about that at the time…

After the peak, there’s a significant downhill. As in, you have to slow down to go down unless you want to go head over heels. I personally thought that was by far the worst hill, but according to the elevation chart the next one was equally significant. 

The verdict? I have a lot of hill training in my future. And this is really not a good race to try and PR. Apart from the hills, apparently the first few miles are super crowded with walkers, so I can’t really get ahead on my pace. But I’ll train for a 9:30 pace in my tempo runs and see what happens. 

More good news-we’re going to stay at a hotel the night before the race. It’s literally at the finish line, so my parents can drive me to the start and then wait at the finish line. AND, we got the last 2 rooms (for my sis and her bf too). Score! Transportation was going to be a big issue!

Marvelous-amazing ice cream. Since we were in the city, we stopped at Smitten, a place that makes nitrogen ice cream from scratch in front of you.

There was a pretty sizable line when we got there-and it wasn’t exactly in a building. The store was kind of out of an old shipping crate. Very hipster, if you ask me. But let’s just say there was a reason for the line.

ImageI spent the entire time in line debating about whether I should get salted caramel ice cream with TCHO chocolate sauce, or TCHO chocolate ice cream with caramel sauce. My dad solved that problem by ordering an extra chocolate in a cone for the family to share (pictured above).


That was BY FAR the best ice cream I’ve ever had, ever. Without a doubt. I was IN LOVE with the chocolate ice cream-I would order that instead of the caramel next time. It was the smoothest ice cream I’ve ver had-apparently flash freezing with the liquid nitrogen prevents any ice crystals. It also had a hint of salty flavor. I could eat that every day. And, the cone tasted like a crunchy, light sugar cookie. If you’re ever in SF, you need to try this place! Order the chocolate 🙂 Plus, TCHO is the SF chocolate.

The salted caramel was excellent as well. Just not quite as good as the chocolate. But just look at that!


We sat on a bench inside (ish) the store to eat. The pigeons were awfully…’friendly.’ They would just walk over you feet to get to crumbs. So glad I wasn’t wearing flip flops-one decided to take a bite out of my shoe!Image

Marvelous is…grilled peach and chicken salad

ImageMarvelous is….cats. I petsat for one of my neighbor’s two cats for almost two weeks last summer. One time, when they were supposed to be taken care of by someone else who didn’t do it, they came and waited at my house. Well, yesterday, an entire year later, they came and waited at my house again. I’m not sure who was supposed to be feeding them, but they remembered me from a year ago! Crazy!

Marvelous is…rowing workouts. I’ve been trying to work them in again. I did a really short one before spin yesterday, and I did 12×2:30 today at differing speeds. It feels good to get back on the erg again! Maybe this is why I had a rowing dream last night. But last night I also dreamed about softball and Crossfit-those three things pretty much sum up the last year of my life, from beginning to end. Wow. 

Marvelous is…a new challenge! I’m taking a 7 day no sweets challenge! I kind of love doing these. I was thinking about doing one earlier, but….I didn’t really want to. I guess when I don’t have a problem overeating sweets I have no desire to do a reset, but lately, it’s been feeling like it’s time, and I’m ready. I’ve started eating desserts out of habit, not because I want to. This will give me a good opportunity to really rethink what I’m putting in my mouth. And as you can see, I wanted to wait until after that ice cream! 

Ok, that’s that for what’s marvelous! Have a great day!

Have you ever had nitrogen ice cream? Any sports you miss? Bird fears? Has anyone run the Nike Women’s Marathon in SF? I would love advice!