Why I hate the term 'self-care'

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I'm putting it out there: I HATE THE WORD 'SELF-CARE'.

I think it's annoying, overused, and frankly... weird. I want to punch it in it's face.

But yet, we're inundated. On social, blogs, publisher content, everywhere. It's like doing something for you has to be justified with a label like we shouldn't be doing it all the time Want to take a bubble bath? #selfcare. In the mood for an indulgent meal? #selfcare. Did you just get a *gasp* manicure/pedicure then grab a latte?

SELF-CARE, SELF-CARE, SELF-CARE.

I've even seen it extend into these weird rituals like "oil pulling" (swishing oil in your mouth), "tongue scraping" (your tongue) or "dry-brushing" (your legs). Seriously. I do not understand. 

HOW IS THAT ENJOYABLE? (Also what even is it? Pls keep it away from me.)

I try to practice common-sense and moderation in everything that I do. I love a cocktail or glass of wine, I indulge with delicious food when the moment calls for it (or doesn't, I'm like a beagle in which I'm highly food-motivated), I love to move my body, I try to make smart choices about what I put in and on it, and I schedule a monthly massage and bi-monthly facial. Because it's lovely and relaxing and... I want to.

I like to think I breathe deeply on my own, you know, to stay alive. I don't feel the need to download a meditation app to feel like I'm taking care of myself. Meditating for me is not relaxing.  It's stressful. Then I remember all the things I've already forgotten to do that day. Honestly I just end up thinking about everything but the actual act of meditation. My world record for meditating is approx. 15 seconds.

I don't need to label it or shout from the roof-tops when I'm taking care of me.

The whole idea of 'self-care' has frankly gotten to the point of distraction and over-stimulation vs. having the information to make solid choices that benefit yourself.

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So stop. Every time you do something for you, that you want, it doesn't need a label or justification. 

Do the best you can. Stop stressing out over what you can't control or that you're not up to snuff with the 'self-care people'. It's not good for you. 

Life is busy, and you shouldn't feel guilty for not carving out specifically labeled "self-care time" like soaking in a detoxifying bath for an hour with a face-mask on, some 'serenity candle' and a self-help book.

Taking care of yourself means doing what makes you happy.

Here are some ways to do it:

1. Spend time doing things you like

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Like literally anything -  spa treatment, calling someone vs. texting, a long walk, hanging with the people you love, hugging a stranger's dog (just me?), cooking/ordering/Postmates-ing your favorite meal. Make you happy? Awesome. Do more of that. 

2. Step away from the phone

The comparison trap is a real thing. "Healthy Influencer XXX" may avoid gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, and happiness while taking daily detoxifying baths and scraping her tongue with a torturous device and eating milk-thistle-ashwaganda-adaptogenic-mushroom-tea but that doesn't mean she's better than you and it certainly doesn't mean she's happy. Don't like matcha? Same, I abhor it. Drink your non-organic coffee. DO YOU.

Your life doesn't have to be up to 'Instagram standards' and it doesn't have to be some weird health 'trend' that sounds horrifying. You don't have to schedule time to have conversations with yourself about how much you love yourself either. 

3. Use your brain

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I'm fairly certain we all know things we should be doing for ourselves and things we shouldn't. We should make sure that we have time to rest and relax. We should make sure we eat delicious food and drink amazing wine. We should travel and explore new places, even if that's a walk in the opposite direction you usually take. We should spend time with the ones we care the most about. We shouldn't shell out thousands of dollars on cleanses or health trends.

We shouldn't force ourselves to like or do things we don't enjoy. 

So instead of self-care, just take care of yourself. 

You with me?

 

Hey, Hi, What's Up, Hello

Well this is embarrassing. 

Approx. 4 months since I last posted. YIKES.

Anyway, enough with the lallygagging about my lack of posts (Instagram is great to see what I've been up to tbh), let's just focus on the present.

At this current time we are just under 5 MONTHS FROM WEDDING DAY. 

I know, I can't believe it either. When did this happen? Why am I not tan yet? 

Anyway, we're fully in the throes of planning and it's been a LOT of fun. Unsurprisingly I am probably most excited for the food/wine tasting at our venue. #onbrand

We had our first round of festivities when friends threw an engagement brunch for us and two other newly engaged couples - fiance has a very tight knit group of friends and as such, the ladies have also gotten close over the last several years. With three couples getting married this year, we had quite a bit to celebrate (and so many babies to play with!)

But let's get to the real reason you're here. (As much I'd love to think so, it's likely not to see photos of me getting decked by a wave during our engagement photo shoot. I commit to my craft.)

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Anyway.

I'm an... all-or-nothing person. We know this. I throw myself into workout routines and occasionally, or always, get hurt. Refer to: Stress fracture and torn biceps tendon. Fun times.

I promised myself I wouldn't let that type of mentality get the best of me in the weeks and months leading up to the wedding. Happy to say I've been committed to that mentality. 

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Instead, I've almost completely gone the other way. My workouts have decreased in intensity, almost ten-fold. I walk for an hour a day and I do barre classes 3-4 times a week. I love to alternate between getting outside and cranking up the incline on the treadmill at the Bay Club. (To be real, "cranking up" is approx. 3.5 incline).

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Frankly, I'm seeing both views (Exhibit A + B) I've never taken the time to see, and results. I feel toned and strong. It's actually astounding what not stressing your body to it's maximum capacity every single day can do for your overall well-being and sanity. I have invested in monthly massages and bi-monthly facials to baby my bod a bit - I'm going for consistency and longevity here. (Speaking of consistency, I wrote a post for the Bay Club's One Lombard blog about it and you can read it here.)

I've also been cooking like a maniac. I've been loving simple, easy, delicious and healthy recipes that don't require obscure ingredients or $$$ supplements. Cooking for yourself makes all the difference in the world. It also helps you afford said facials and massages.

I EVEN KNEADED PIZZA DOUGH WITH MY OWN TWO HANDS ON SATURDAY.

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Some recipes I'm loving lately?

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  • Skinnytaste Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken (Notes: It makes a TON - we serve it in lettuce cups, or with brown rice and roasted broccoli. I also 1/2 the sugar to 2T vs 1/4c).
  • Skinnytaste Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken (Notes: Crockpot meals are awesome for weeknights. Set it and forget it baby. This one is as easy as they come and is a great way to get your burrito bowl fix at home. I love it with avocado, cilantro and brown rice).
  • Skinnytaste 3-ingredient Pizza Dough (Notes: I'm still freaking out about this. It's flour, Greek yogurt and baking powder. I made the dough for a dinner-style pizza and it was light, fluffy and frankly, unreal. It also makes insane bagels. YES, BAGELS IN 30 MINUTES.)

 

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  • Steel Cut Oat Energy Bites (Notes: I never get satisfied by bars (it's true!) and I've made a point to make a batch of energy bites each week for us. They're so convenient to just grab-and-go in the morning or when hanger is just about to strike.)

 

  • Goop One-Pan Recipes (Notes: That Miso Salmon and Harissa Roasted Vegetables though. Added bonus? NO DISHES. Dishwasher-less households rejoice.)

Would definitely encourage you to check them out - they're healthy, easy, and make leftover. BONUS. 

What's the best thing you've whipped up lately? Hit me with it.

2017. What a ride.

Well hot damn. 2018. WE MADE IT. (I mean this both literally and figuratively).

Hope you had a helluva holiday season full of parties, celebrating, delicious food and beverages, hopefully some time off work to decompress, catch up on sleep and Netflix and spend time with family and friends.

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I'm thankful I work for a company that shuts down between Christmas and New Year's. A couple weeks off (+ a few PTO days to ski on the only fresh snow of the season so far) felt wonderful and was exactly what I needed after a very long 2017.

With a new year, always comes this need for change.

To change everything you didn't like about your yourself, your life, your job situation, your relationships, your diet and/or your fitness routine over the last 365 days.

Rather than focusing on what I want to change in 2018, I want to reflect on 2017, and then choose things I'd like to do more of in 2018.

Because each year will always have it's ups and downs, but rather than focus on the downs, let's just do more of the ups. Thankfully, Bay Club feels me on this (click through the photo to view the video).

A lot happened in 2017. To everyone.

But since this is my corner of the internet I guess we're talking about me today. So grab some coffee and a piece of avocado toast. Let's chat.

We traveled the country, and the world. A huge part of our lives is exploring other parts of the world, and more importantly, exploring parts of the world we haven't been to. 2017 brought us to Vietnam (new!), NYC, Boston, Tahoe, LA, Big Sur, Vancouver, Kauai, Telluride (new!), and Las Vegas. In 2018, we're planning on a big trip this fall (it rhymes with schmoney-schmoon).

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I hit the one year mark at my job. I work in advertising at a creative agency doing social media. I love it. It's exactly what interests me, I'm able to continue to grow my skill-set, challenge myself working alongside crazy intelligent people, and take part in some pretty awesome experiences. I'm constantly learning and trying new things. We also clearly, have no fun. (Exhibit: A)

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I got injured, but learned a lot from it. I have this tendency to be incredibly committed... to pretty much anything I'm passionate about. Fitness being one of those things. I started Kayla Itsines BBG (a 12-week strength program) last summer, and completely threw myself into it. I completed all 12-weeks, and then some. And then I tore my biceps tendon in my shoulder. It took me out of commission and into Physical Therapy for 8 weeks. I went from running marathons to walking. From doing weights to using gravity as my preferred weight of choice. But I let myself heal, I'm baby-ing it, and I rediscovered my love for The Bar Method. I'm also (slowly) getting my speed and endurance back thanks to HIIT sessions at The Bay Club.

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WE'RE ENGAGED. Seems the 10th year's the charm folks. On our last night in Tahoe, boyfriend popped the question, and we're fully in the throes of wedding planning. Gettin' hitched later this year and couldn't be more excited to marry him and start our lives together. 

So goals for 2018? Pretty simple.

Enjoy every day of every week of every month this year. This is a big year. For me, for boyfriend, for our families. I want to enjoy every part of it. And that's not to say there's some pressure I'm putting on every day to be perfect. But to find something to enjoy about every day this year.

Stay fully present. It's easy to dive into my phone in the evenings to catch up on the day's social media happenings. But my goal is to be more present. Put the phone away. Engage more. Ask people to repeat themselves less.

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Keep things in perspective. Ever get wrapped up in the details of... anything? I'll use wedding planning as an example. Getting into a tizzy over something you can't control or something that's so small it doesn't even matter. I want my mindset this year to be to not sweat the small stuff. Because I think as we've all learned over the last year, it's mostly all small stuff.

Be the best version of myself. I want to continue to grow as a person, a fiancee (omg), a daughter, a friend, a colleague and maybe even a pet-owner (!!) this year. I want to recognize areas of improvement, take constructive criticism with grace, and act accordingly. I want to enhance the areas of my personality that bring joy to others (I find myself funny, do you?)

Well there you have it. 2018 I have high expectations for you, but at the same time, I'm okay letting everything just fall into place. 

Let's go.

 

 

Holidays: Have Your Cake and Drink Your Wine Too.

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The holidays are hands down one of my favorite times of year.

EVERYTHING is festive, cities, towns and neighborhoods are all lit up, there are events and parties and cocktails, holiday treats and food... I mean the season has it's own genre of music for goodness sake. My favorite thing to do when I walk home at night is see all of the Christmas trees lit up in the windows of the Marina in San Francisco. It just makes you feel good

But I'd be remiss if, as someone who enjoys writing about health and fitness, I didn't acknowledge all of the anxiety that occurs for people during this "indulgent" time of year.

From Thanksgiving to New Years it's all about Turkey Burns, Turkey Trots, how to earn your cookies and then plump them up with so much protein powder and fake sugar that they don't even taste like a treat anymore.

It doesn't stop January 1 either - there's the post-holiday "detox", juice cleanse specials, Sober January and healthy New Year's Resolutions.

It's actually all a bit mad if you really think about it. 

What happened to just wearing a fancy dress, toasting with bubbly, and eating a damn cookie with the people you love? Or sitting at home with (spiked) hot chocolate watching Elf or Love Actually staring at your Christmas Tree?

Don't trip - we can get back to that happy, blissful place.

How To Navigate the Holidays (& Enjoy Them)

  • Don't Eat Like An Idiot

The holidays aren't a time for deprivation but you also don't need to buy into the idea of 30-days of gluttony. I promise you, a cookie here-and-there, or a piece of pie, or whatever your treat of choice is won't kill you. Having 5 every day probably isn't the smartest idea, but you didn't need me to tell you that.

(Also FYI: Paleo/Vegan/Gluten Free/whatever cookies? They're still cookies. Vegan Butter/Coconut Sugar/Honey/Maple Syrup/etc is still to be enjoyed in moderation. Even Almond Flour doesn't need to be eaten in excess.)

You don't need to throw every conceivable vegetable into a blender to make a smoothie the "morning after" either. Scramble up some eggs. Have a piece of fruit. Eat a salad. Snack on trail mix or a protein bar. That Cheese board at a party got you all googley eyed? Yeah same. Make yourself a plate, eat the cheese (and the crackers - grains won't actually kill you) and down your drink. Maybe refrain from eating the entire block of cheese. (Or don't, do you.)

  • Move, Every Day

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Exercise doesn't have to be this planned-in-advance or thought-out event. It doesn't have to be at 6am every day and you don't have to track it on your FitBit or your Apple Watch. You don't have to be dripping sweat to make it a "workout". 

Exercise is simply, moving. Walk to work. Bring your lunch? Me too because San Francisco is expensive AF. So rather than spending my lunch time going out to eat, I take 30-60 minutes, grab a co-worker and go for a walk. Member of a gym? I love The Bay Club. Download a movie or read a book or magazine on your iPad on the treadmill at the gym. Pop into whatever class happens to be going on at the time you're there. Call a friend (preferably with a dog), grab a coffee and take a stroll. Rent a bike and cycle. Go skiing or snowboarding. Even easier, go sledding or shovel snow.

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It doesn't need to exhaust you, make you "crazy sore" or take up more than 60 minutes of your day. It also doesn't need to cost you $35 every time you do it.

  • Don't make more work for yourself

I don't meal prep. I know, the HORROR. But frankly I don't want to spend hours in the kitchen on a Sunday and then another hour doing dishes. I also don't want to eat the same thing multiple times a week. I rarely enjoy eating leftovers.

Instead I receive 3 GoMethodology meals a week (KRISTINECIARDELLO1 gets you off the waitlist) and I'll either eat them for lunch or dinner. They're clean, packed with organic/grass-fed/wild/etc protein and veggies, and they have the best sauces that I couldn't possibly make myself. (Or I could, but just choose not to?)

Feel like you need something to detox? Go purchase a juice at your favorite juice-shop.

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Just can't motivate yourself to move? Sign up for a boutique fitness class. Those cancellation policies are there to discourage you from not showing up. Literally you just walk through the door and someone else tells you what to do for an hour. It's a win-win.

So don't freak out, don't drop a G on a 30-day post-holiday juice cleanse or 30-pack of classes somewhere. Don't think you can't have your cake and drink it (wine) too. 

You can. And I hope you do.

Yep, I'm Injured.

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After a year of really, really great destination half-marathons (Brooklyn, Vancouver, Kauai), I'm taking a break from running for a bit.

So let's just get it out there - I didn't run the NYC Marathon because I'm injured.

I am still raising money for St. Jude's Children's Hospital (technically I've deferred to next year) and would so, so, so appreciate any donation you're able to give. Donate here.

Amazing how saying it... doesn't make it any better at all. Imagine that.

I'm not good at being injured or having physical limitations. I'm really bad at slowing down.

And yet, I've had to do just that. 

My runs have turned into long walks.

Weights are 1-2 lbs and nothing overhead. 

I'm the one modifying exercises at Pilates. 

Cutting to the chase, I have a Biceps Tendon Tear.

What does that mean?

The Biceps tendons attach the biceps muscle to bones in the shoulder and in the elbow. 

Your shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint made up of 3 bones: 1) the upper-arm bone (humerus), 2) the shoulder blade (scapula), and 3) the collar bone (clavicle).

The biceps muscle has 2 tendons that attach it to the shoulder and travel the entire length of the upper arm and insert just below the elbow. There is a "long head" of the biceps muscle and a "short head".

A tear can either be partial, when part of the tendon remains intact and only a portion is torn away from the bone, or complete, where the entire tendon is torn away from the bone.

The cause?

Likely overuse and a result of wearing it down overtime. I changed up my fitness routine to include a lot of weights this summer/fall and a lot of overhead exercises. Most of them repetitive. Specifically I was doing Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide - there's quite a bit of overhead exercises, push-ups, burpees, etc.

How was it diagnosed?

I noticed about 6 weeks ago that I was having this weird, intense, non-muscular pain when I would lift my straight arm out in front of me. Reaching up to grab anything hurt. Even driving was uncomfortable (spoiler: you apparently use your shoulders for EVERYTHING.) After a couple of weeks of rest didn't change anything, I went to an Orthopedic Specialist, who, after a practical exam and an ultra-sound for imagery, confirmed it was the Biceps Tendon. Whether it's a partial or full tear remains to be seen. (If there's no change/improvement after a couple more weeks of PT, an MRI can confirm that full extent of the injury).

What next?

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I've received a cortisone shot from my Orthopedic Specialist, and have been going to Physical Therapy 2x a week for the last few weeks. A mix of the Graston Technique (really pleasant), UltraSound Therapy, and Rotator Cuff/Mid and Lower Trap strengthening exercises.

I'm laying off any type of intense exercise and instead doing a lot of walking, Pilates, and some barre. Running for any longer than 30 minutes aggravates it, so ultimately, running a marathon was out. The Bay Club and ALL the cardio machines, all the rollers, thera-bands and mat Pilates classes are essentially saving my life.

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How's it feeling?

It feels like it's getting better and that my range of motion without pain is improving but then there are days where it's totally painful again and I feel like I'm back at Square 1. The cortisone shot should apparently last ~3 weeks and it's been about that, so I'm a little worried that the "feeling better" was merely just the Cortisone actually working vs. the tendon getting better.

So that's where I'm at. Taking it a day at a time. Trying to baby it, while also doing my PT exercises every day, walking pretty much everywhere, and modifying as needed at Pilates or any other class. 

And honestly, if something doesn't feel right, don't push through it. I'm guilty of that a LOT but it got to a point where I knew something was wrong and I needed to get it checked out.

The end goal? To avoid surgery at all costs.

Stay tuned....

 

When Too Healthy, Isn't Healthy

Well, it's been a minute. It was a busy summer and it's still full-speed ahead as we get into fall. I wrote this post a couple weeks ago and it's just been sitting pretty in draft status. For no real reason at all, other than I just wasn't ready to hit "publish".

But as I see Instagram spiral into "healthy" rabbit holes, I wanted to speak what's been on my mind. So like, YOLO right? (You only live once mom...)

Sometimes, too much of a good thing isn't a good thing at all.

We practice moderation, but sometimes even our moderation needs to be moderated.

I remember back in the prehistoric days of "clean eating" when we didn't eat solely gluten-free this or grain-free that.

When dairy wasn't the devil, but rather celebrated for being delicious.

When gluten was something no one cared about, and the only people who avoided it had a legitimate medical condition.

When we ate a salad here and there but didn't live off of them.

When every possible vegetable and pricey supplement didn't make it's way into a smoothie.

When eating dessert, having a glass of wine, or downing a cheeseburger (of, holyshit, not-grass-fed meat) wasn't followed by a "#cheatday". 

Ahhhh.

NOSTALGIA.

I remember, when I was training for my first marathon in 2011, the idea of nutrition was suddenly presented to me. Prior to training for an endurance event, I ate a massive and delicious sandwich from a local spot (Focaccia), every single day with a bag of chips and a Diet Coke (turkey, smoked gouda, greens, balsamic, toasted on a wheat roll in case you're wondering).

I ate "well" by my own personal standards - boyfriend introduced me to smoothies in the AM or I'd have bowl of cereal or a Greek Yogurt with granola and fruit. Maybe some almond butter banana toast as a snack, maybe a sandwich with a side salad at lunch, an energy bar in the afternoon and then a sensible dinner. 

I didn't nitpick every goddamn ingredient that I was consuming. If I had bread or grains at one meal, they weren't suddenly off limits for the rest of the day. I was never "starving". I ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was satisfied. I still do. 

Yet I see more and more people getting sucked into the idea of the "ingredient perfection" mentality. There's actually a term for that, it's called Orthorexia. It's "obsessive behavior in pursuit of a healthy diet." 

And I'm calling myself out right now for having been there, albeit for a short period of time before I got some sense knocked into me. Would I die if I didn't eat the most perfect quality of foods 24/7 like the "wellness gurus" do?

Now before we go any further, I'm not a doctor, I have zero qualifications and I'm not attempting to give you medical advice. A simple Google search can give you this information. I'm not trying to tell you how to eat or what to eat or anything of the like.

Let's be clear.

There's also a whole slew of other things that have surfaced as this "wellness movement" has grown legs and taken the F off, specifically on digital publishers' sites and on social media. Calorie counting, eliminating entire nutrient groups from one's diet, shilling out HUNDREDS for supplements not actually regulated or legit, and the "...If they ate it and posted it on Instagram, maybe I should too..." mind-set.

Wrong.

You don't need to eat the way you perceive someone else does. Ever. What works for them probably doesn't work for you. What works for me probably doesn't work for you. Instagram is, in actuality, probably 10% of a person's actual life or consumption. I will promise you I post a fraction of what I am actually eating, or what I am actually doing. Because I'm busy doing it, eating it, and experiencing it.

People post what they want you to see, just like you do on your own feed. Just because someone else ate or didn't eat this or that and has a bajillion followers doesn't necessarily make it healthy, doesn't necessarily make he/she an expert, and doesn't necessarily mean... anything. Seriously. It's a social media post.

And before we go any further, people offer advice and opinions all the time on what's healthy, and what's not. It works for them. You can listen to it, take it to heart, or ignore it completely. But I urge you to consider the qualifications.

Are they a doctor, nurse, or Registered Dietitian? Yes? LISTEN. The amount of schooling and education they have to go through to get that title isn't a joke. 

Are they a wellness or fitness enthusiast? Yes? Maybe take that with a grain of salt. I'm not discounting anyone's opinion, but when it comes to doling out health advice, consider the credentials.

I currently eat whole foods that fuel my body and don't make me feel like shit as much as I possibly can. Simple as that. I believe you should to. But do what you want.

As the kids say, do you.

I also eat dessert (dark chocolate every single day) and well, I really like wine.

You shouldn't ever be proud of yourself for going to sleep hungry (you'll sleep terribly- this happened to me one time when I was jetlagged in London and it ended with a Luna Bar at like 3am - I'm not sure if it was 3am London time or PST but there you go), and you shouldn't ever eliminate entire macronutrients from your diet unless told so by an actual medical professional. 

But again, it's easy to get sucked in. I've been there.

I used to buy into the idea that gluten was essentially the 5th circle of hell.

That dairy would make you miserable.

That carbs should be limited in order to live a healthy life. 

Because it on the internet, so it was definitely true, right? 

SO NAIVE KRISTINE.

I eat a diet naturally low in gluten, but I eat it (HELLO PIZZA NIGHT). Smitten Ice Cream and burrata cheese are two of my favorite things. Grains? I'd be a real hangry bitch without 'em. Not to mention my athletic performance would majorly suffer.

I eat real foods with real ingredients. That don't use chemicals or processed things. But if I happen to down something that does? That's cool too. 

I lived until age 17 without consuming a single salad or vegetable of any kind (truth), I'm fairly certain some Cheez-It's here and there won't actually kill me. (Or they will and you can just tell me... told ya so.)

My message to you, reading this, is that no, you do not need to buy into every single health trend you see on the internet. You do not need to stress over it or fill your brain with the idea that more more more is always better. You do not need to feel like you're constantly trying to keep up or comparing yourself with people you don't even know and probably never will.

You know what's healthy.

You know what's not.

You learned that growing up, when your parents told you to, "Eat your broccoli" and, "No you can't have ice cream for breakfast".

You know you should probably try to move every day.

You do you. (Damnit millenials, you do know a thing or two.)

 

Let's Fly A SeaPlane to Tahoe (via Blackbird Air)

Not a secret that we spend quite a bit of time in Lake Tahoe. We love it.

The biggest pain in the ass is all the strategy that goes into GETTING THERE. Seriously - if you don't leave by like 9am, you hit crazy traffic - Bay Area, Sacramento, heaven forbid there's an accident (or 12) in Davis and Vacaville to slow you down even further. 

Then it's like make sure you've got a full tank of gas, snacks packed for the 4+ hour trek you're about to make, playlist loaded, etc, etc. Let's not forget the 3+ bathroom stops because I drink water like a goddamn camel.

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BUT THEN WE FOUND A BETTER WAY.

We've been so curious about the seaplanes that do tours of the SF Bay and leave from Sausalito. So after Googling one night, we saw that Blackbird Air now offers a 75-minute FLIGHT from Sausalito to Lake Tahoe VIA SEAPLANE. 

No BS.

Here's how it works.

  • You download the app.
  • Create a profile.
  • Pick your locations (currently it's just Sausalito --> Tahoe) but you can also go Palo Alto to Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, New York to the Hamptons, etc. 
  • Pick your dates (further out you book, and on off-days the cheaper it is)
  • BOOK YO FLIGHT

Then you show up 15-20 minutes before take-off, with 15lbs or less of luggage. Board.

FLY.

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75 minutes later you literally land ON LAKE TAHOE.

A Zodiac boat takes you to shore in Tahoe City and you're like thisclose to Jakes on the Lake for beers and truffle fries. Which totally beats airport food. 

It was EPIC.

In Flight:

  • You're at about 7500-10K feet the entire time so you have cell service, you can use a hot-spot for WiFi and actually get work done if that's your thing
  • Noice-cancelling headphones are provided with microphones
  • The incredibly informed pilots let you know exactly what you're flying over and juicy little tid-bits and fun facts. 
  • Since you aren't flying crazy high, you never get the ears popping, "I need gum, NOW" feeling
  • You can talk to other passengers with your headphones on
  • The ride and landing is incredibly smooth. Smoother than most commercial flights.
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The take off is one of the most gorgeous views I've ever seen of the San Francisco Bay but the descent ON to Lake Tahoe?

SPECTACULAR.

Seriously. Hands down one of the coolest things we've done in a while. And we arrived in Tahoe refreshed, not stressed out, and ready to weekend.

Want to take flight? Use code PL7TW for $25 off your first one! 

 

 

How to Race-Cation Like a Pro

Fact: It's been 4 months since my last blog post. I make no promises that I will be posting on a regular basis, but, I'll try?

So there's this thing I like to do.

It's all about travel + exploring a new city/country/town... whilst running 13.1 miles through it.

THE RACECATION. 

Yes, it's a thing. 

Here's how it works: 

  1. You find a race or endurance event of some kind in an appealing city/country/town.
  2. You recruit friends for said race.
  3. You book bibs, travel, plan the weekend out together.
  4. You dominate - the city/country/town and race.

This year, two amazing girlfriends and I did just that in Vancouver, for SeaWheeze, Lululemon's annual Run Yoga Party weekend. It's a half-marathon (run), yoga (...yoga), music festival (party - including an outdoor cycling class put on by Ride Cycle Club, which was AMAZING) and essentially the greatest love letter to the company's hometown, Vancouver.

The course is 13.1 miles (21.1km) along the SeaWall in Vancouver. It's stunning, mostly flat, full of aide stations, cheer stations, and so many distractions I literally got to mile 10 and thought to myself, "What in the actual f*ck, I'm ENJOYING every step of this run."

We ran the race last year, and let's just say our logistics and planning left... things to be desired. Trying to secure cabs in a different country, lack of Uber, lack of air conditioning, other guests in the Air BnB Guest House complaining we were "awake too early".... etc.

This year though, this year we NAILED IT. And you can too. 

Here's how.

How to Race-Cation like a PRO. 

  • Book a convenient hotel: We stayed at the Westin BayShore, and it was perfect. We arrived late Thursday evening and the last thing we wanted to do was deal with an Air Bnb - figuring out keys, WiFi, etc. We got to the hotel, checked in, and conked out. The hotel was exactly a 10 minute walk to/from the start/finish and the convention center, there was a Starbucks downstairs, and all the amenities you'd want. It was also a ~25-30 minute walk to Stanley Park for the Sunset Festival since the arranged transportation had 1 hr+ lines. Convenience - worth paying for.
  • Avoid the crowds: Easier said than done, but frankly, the "SeaWheeze Showcase Store" for us personally, isn't worth it or a draw of any kind. Especially when you work out in black/grey/white/navy only and don't do prints or bright colors. It's also absurdly overpriced (although not surprising). Instead, enjoy your day in Vancouver then pick up your race packet and do the "expo" thing before you go to dinner Friday evening. You'll be in and out in under 20 minutes and not waste your day. (That said, take advantage of the USD to CAD exchange rate and shop your little heart out everywhere you can.)
  • Book reservations in advance. I scour Eater in every city I travel to, ask friends for recommendations, and check out all the popular hashtags on Instagram. As such, we've been to Fable for our pre-race dinner every year, and inhaled a bomb brunch post-race at Forage. That said, 10K people are in town for the race weekend, so plan accordingly. (Places for next year: Hawk Nightingale)
  • There is no Uber in Vancouver. NONE. Taxis are hard to hail, so schedule them in advance.
  • Get an International Plan on your phone. Most places have free WiFi but relying on that is annoying. For $40, I was able to add my unlimited talk/text/data for 30 days. 
  • Know what else you want to do where you are. Last year we headed to Whistler post-race to go zip-lining. It was AMAZING. This year we explored more of the city. Plan plan plan.
  • ENJOY THE WEEKEND. You're in a fantastic city with friends to exercise, explore and soak in everything you can. Eat the local food and desserts. Drink the wine. Pit stop for a beer and fries. I can honestly say I've never had multiple drinks the night before a half-marathon and now, I don't ever want to do it any other way. YOLO.

In just under 3 days we explored Vancouver, ate amazing food, listened to live music, ran 13.1 miles together, and had a hell of a time. 

SeaWheeze 2018, let's go.

It Takes a Village

So now you know my run plans for the upcoming year. (Full disclosure I'm sure more will be added.)

I am OMG FREAKING OUT excited to run TWO races in New York, run the scene of my very first half-marathon - the SF Half, go back to Vancouver for SeaWheeze, AND RUN A RACE IN HAWAII. Kauai, specifically. (Hawaii is my favorite place on this planet.)

So to get race-ready for a pretty GD full calendar, you already know I’ve consulted the pros at The Bay Club to get my running form in check, strengthen my glutes and core, and ensure I have enough variety that I don’t over-train, get bored or get injured. I hit the Bay Club a few times a week for neuromuscular strength training, and early morning treadmill runs. I've come to this weird realization I actually like the treadmill at times. 

(I like running on a beach much better, as evidenced. I like anything on a beach much better, as evidenced.)

To the surprise of no one, I also rely on a bevy of my favorite San Francisco fitness studios.

I LIKE CLASSES. I love the community. I like being with my people. When it comes to weights and yoga, I'll do the work, I just like when someone takes the "thinking" out of it. Or the "everything" out of it when it comes to yoga because they are the pros and I am (very clearly) not.

So it’s like this – bear in mind this is to be half-ready. Marathon training will commence in July – at the baseline of being fully half-trained.

Mondays: Short run (5-6M ) + strength

Tuesdays: Cross (SoulCycle) + Yoga/Pilates

Wednesdays: Mid-length Run (7-8M)

Thursdays: Cross (SoulCycle) + Yoga

Fridays: Barry’s Bootcamp (Speed-work + full-body weights; usually ~3 miles)

Saturdays: REST

Sundays: Long run (10-12M)

This works for me because:

1) I love boutique fitness. Hi, have you met me? I love a fitness community. (OMG weird did I mention that already?) Running can get real boring. I love it, but it’s true. It’s also pretty solitary when you’re not a big group runner. 

2) SoulCycle gives me HIIT training on a bike, strengthening my glutes and core. Also it’s a dance party in a candlelit room to my favorite music with my favorite humans.

3) Barry’s gives me a chance to work on my speed (sprinting at 10.5-11.0 MPH), and also to work on my strength with heavier weights than I’d ever use on my own. I get comfortable being uncomfortable here. (In a good way.) They also make delicious smoothies.

4) Yoga. Stretches everything. Loosens everything. Good for the body, but also for my Type-A mind to just relax and shut up for a minute. I don’t love yoga, but I know it’s a necessity. (Also I recently found out I can in fact do a supported handstand). I know.

So that's the (completely complicated and full) plan I've been following/will continue to follow. Forever.

JK, just until those long runs start getting into teens and then 20-something territory some summer/fall.

For once, I'll be living in the moment and reveling in those "shorter" distances. (All relative folks.)

 

Run Run Run

BEEN A MINUTE, HASN'T IT?

Since we last "chatted", boyfriend and I have been to Vietnam and back, Tahoe a time or two, and balancing everything from work to workouts to life in general.

Vietnam was amazing and frankly, deserves it's own post, which will be coming, trust me. Or a series of posts. We hit the city, the beach, an ancient town... and more beach. Because we're beach people. What'd you expect?

On the "me" front, I've been working my tail off base-building my mileage and training for the Brooklyn 1/2 Marathon - happening 30 days FROM TODAY. I literally can't tell you the last time I went into a race trained and prepared. I kid you not, maybe 2013? It's been a bit. 

I spent January - March building up my running base again. I ran, I SoulCycled, I swam, I hit the gym, I ran some more. It was hard. (<--Pity Party for 1).

When you don't run, you unsurprisingly, lose running fitness and endurance. The muscles you use to run, aren't in use and ergo... need a little time to come back to full force. 

So I consulted a team of professionals at The Bay Club through their Endurance Training Center, Breakaway Performance. Trainer Dave and Coach JD analyzed my running gait (heel striker and pitch-my-body-backward no more), gave me drills to do several times a week (high knees, butt-kickers, karaokes, combinations of the three) and a training plan that included:

  • Running (clearly)
  • Neuromuscular Strength Exercises (when your nerves and muscles work together in compound strength exercises which involve more muscle groups and in a format which involves slower movements, more control and focus)
  • Cross-training (I see you SoulCycle)
  • Ample rest.

It was ROUGH at first. I didn't feel like the runner I once was. That's a TOUGH pill to swallow. I had those dark and twisty thoughts that asked if a full marathon was even possible. My paces were abysmal. I got discouraged but I kept at it. I know what it feels like to be out of running shape and I detest it as much as I love when a run feels effortless.

I would come out the other side, stronger, leaner and faster than before.

This week, it all finally clicked. My long run has hit 10 miles, my paces have dipped below 9:00, and I'm able to hold my form for longer and with less fatigue.

Which I'll need because I've got BIG plans this upcoming race season.

Ya ready?

Happy running (training, swimming, biking, etc)!