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Dream Big.

On a chilly Friday night, in Downtown Charlottesville, while waiting for Obama to give a speech supporting a Democratic Candidate for congress, I made a pact with a new friend to complete an iron man in the next 5 years. And now, it is written!

One (LONG) day,  I will swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles in succession.

I think as a total n00b at all 3 disciplines, this is a great thing to have in the back of my mind. Because in working to accomplish this goal, I will push myself and bend the rules in my head that dictate what I’m capable of. One day at a time. Just in beginning this journey this year this has already happened. Whenever I’m stuck I’m like: “Karen, you totally conquered hills bigger than this one, just keep putting one foot in front of the other.”

It’s also just fun to crack a smile and tell people, “Hey, I’m training for an iron man (COUGH in the next 5 years COUGH).

Ehhh, I’m a planner ūüėõ

Speaking of pushing yourself, yesterday I ran with an actual living human being! I’ve become such a gym loner – one who enjoys the temperature regulation and solitude of running on indoor tracks. But yesterday I risked it, and ran with someone far about my cababilities. I had to deal with things such as chilly temps, HILLS, dust, and chit chatting while working out. It was a little sad because I thought I was letting him down the whole time. And, when we eventually stopped, I was pissed….thinking….I didn’t even ¬†make it 2 miles!!! GRRR!

Umm, little did I know we actually ran more than I’ve ever run in my life. I mapped the work out as a 3.5 mile run and 1 mile walk. Dude! Once I looked at that map I was so proud and excited – I had trouble focusing on anything the rest of the night.

It’s great having fitness buddies – especially ones that can push you further than your mind let you go before without being a jerk-face. I definitely would have stopped at two miles…..But now I know I can do more . Yay.

Maybe this Charlottesville 10 miler in April isn’t a crazy pipe dream.

What are your fitness dreams that seem unattainable right now?



Hot Tub Time!

As of today I am officially training for the Charlottesville 10 miler in April! Yes, that’s a long way away. But, hopefully if I start thinking about it now I’ll be a BOSS by the time it comes around. And I’ve sort of gotten used to the fact that I’m really bad at following a training schedule when classes are in session. After seeing Pham’s video of the Chicago marathon, it made me really want to do a race that is full of cheering people and entertainment along the way – and everyone I talked to around here assured me the 10 miler is a blast!

I’ve really had issues getting the workouts in lately. Thankfully, former swim school buddies thought of the ultimate workout motivation:

Haha, I guess what really went down was something in the middle of those 2 extremes. We ran, we swam/cooled down/splashed around in the kiddie pool at the gym to get the body temp down a bit, and then it was hot tub time!

My run was pretty ruff, but I managed to run the 2 mile minimum I set out to do. I’m definitely out of shape though. It’s been a while since a run got me out of breath like I was today. But, one can endure most things for half an hour…especially when a group of friends is waiting in a hot tub for ya!

After I FINALLY (Finally finally finally! Yes, it had been way too long!) went to the grocery store. I’ll actually have stuff to eat for breakfast tomorrow! They had a lot of sales on Amy’s prepared foods, and I shamelessly stocked up. I’m ready and armed for busy schedules.

Then I made some pizza and watched the rocky horror episode of Glee on Hulu. It was pretty awesome – I especially enjoyed (guilty pleasure!) the version of Touch-a Touch-a with Will and Emma. And Rachel and Finn made an adorable Brad and Janet. It was great hearing those songs sung by Good singers, unlike Rocky Horror. But, both have their place :).

MMMM, it’s 10 PM, and I’m exhausted. I think I’m going to go with this and pass out : )


Triple Check.

MmmmM! I feel sort of like a triathlete again this week because I ran, swam, and went on a bike ride. SHAZAM! That’s 3!

The run was another 5K – The best part about it was that cardiovascularly I felt like I could have kept on going (which is kind of an ego boost for new runner Karen). But, despite that I had a stomach cramp from the really spicy curry fest I had for dinner. These occurrences reinforce the inkling that I SHOULD be getting up early in the mornings to run….it’s just so painful to even think about. I’m already getting up 2 hours earlier than undergraduate Karen….Ah, Adulthood.

The bike ride was just awesomely beautiful. I felt like I was in a virtual reality postcard…only…it was real reality! ¬†There were some steep climbs, but I never let myself quit….even during the seconds when my whole leg was experiencing a scary burning sensation. It was great to really enjoy the better functioning of my bike since her tune up too! Funnily enough, I’m still not used to the new bike shorts. I’m not used to having as much padding in the back and never fail to get stuck whenever I try to take a seat in the saddle. It would be cute if it wasn’t so annoying.

And the swim today was truly¬†cathartic. I think part of ‘Staying Sunny’ is having good habits in place so that when life gets you down, you cope with positive behaviors. Today I really felt like I left a lot of negativity in the pool (and hot tub!! win!). I swam for 40% more than usual and felt faster, especially my breast stroke. I left the gym feeling strong and ready for a new beginning. The dramas of the Summer seemed to have worked themselves out for the time being. The time at the pool was just a reminder that I need to keep focusing on becoming who I want to be and that I’m succeeding : ).

5K’s and Mockingjays!

Friday afternoon, I finally got that long long long (looooong) standing goal of running a 5K over and done! Even though I finished, I definitely didn’t run under optimum conditions. My lunch was too acidic, and I got a sharp pain in my stomach halfway through. I can also say I gave it everything I had at the moment. I was a little out of training…hadn’t had a decent run in a couple of weeks. So, when I finished my left knee hurt and I might have strained a muscle in my calf. But, even though I’m a little more sore now than I should be, I’m glad I got that milestone behind me.

I hope my little success can show some of you out there that anybody can turn¬†themselves¬†into a runner with the right supportive shoes and determination. It’s all about initiating habits and pushing yourself a little further each time. I recommend the couch to 5K programs because they start out so easy that you don’t feel overwhelmed and the success in the beginning keeps you with the program and on to the end goal of 5K-dom.

But honestly, the whole process was a lot harder than I thought it would be….overcoming a knee injury early on, battling through a million colds and post-cold asthma-like crud for months afterwards, and times when busy schedules would delay training for a while and I felt like I was starting over again. But, in the end, I did it. I kept focussed on my goal….which is all I wanted really. And I think I knew all along that I’d get there EVENTUALLY! The next plan is to get a little more comfortable with 5K distance and then work towards 10K!

Me in all my post 5K glory, hehe

And as for my Sunday, it revolved entirely around the third (and final :/) book in the Hunger Games series: Mockingjay.



Coffee Shop:

And dinner:

I’m done now and totally have a head-ache from cabin fever and reading in the dim light. But, at least the book had a perfect conclusion. I won’t say any more because no one likes spoilers! Just read it, K? : )

Also, if you want to stay posted on my workouts, check out my dailymile account by clicking on the ‘Work Outs’ tab above. There I post all my running, biking, and swimming work outs since I don’t always get around to blogging them all.

Thoughts on Tri-Sport and Why I Work Out These Days

Being a ‘triathlete’ is exhausting, but¬†exhilarating. I use the quotes because I feel like I am such a n00b at all 3 diciplines that calling myself a triathlete is poser-like. But you can’t deny that I run, I swim, I bike (and I play :D). When one muscle group is resting, I tackle the other ones. And, I’m finding variety really is the spice of life. I can usually convince myself to do one of the three things even if I don’t necessarily feel like running. I think once my skill set gets a little bit more of a foundation that biking is going to be my favorite. You can make it as casual or as intense as you want to really.

I run because I want to prove that I can. Plus, I like running because it can be mindless if that’s what I need, and a good way to release stress in a positive way. I swim for the strength training (and for the hot tub….). I bike because I love it: going fast…mechanical nerdy noises…gadgets….pretty scenery….going on adventures. And, I have awesomely long legs, so I might as well use them.

So, here are my end of the week workouts:

Thursday: The plan was to bike, but thunderation killed that thought, so I met a buddy at the pool and we did some laps. I swam 550 meters and kicked 400 meters (with flippers). Swimming is still pretty exhausting to me. I have to take a mini break every 50 meters it seems, just to get my heart rate down enough so I’ll be able to have controlled breath during the swim.

Friday: Nighttime treadmill run at the gym. It ended up being treadmill because there was a cheerleading camp in the main gym. As soon as I opened the door to the track I was nearly knocked over by the sound of 100 pre-teens screaming and cheering. Yeah, I couldn’t do that to myself. I got my 25 minute run in (with 5 minute walking warm-up and cool down), but it felt like a struggle the whole time. I really don’t like the treadmill as much as I once did. I hate not being able to adjust pace constantly and I feel kind of clausterphobic on it.

But…The next run is the 5K!! Almost done! And, by done I mean, almost time to start working on the 10K distance ;)….

On the ‘Results‘ front, I haven’t weighed myself in weeks. I think I’m finally in a place where I’m not working out to keep myself thin or get thinner. One of my coworkers asked me, if there was a magic pill that kept you thin with no side effects, would you take it. For the first time in my life I’m in a position where I would say no. Numerical results (pounds/ inches lost) are great. And if they happen, I will feel good about it. But, now (Finally!) I’m working out for my personal well being – for the joy of challenging my body and to keep my energy level and spirits high. It’s such a healthier place to be. I accept and love my body for what it is, and relish the opportunity to train it and mold it slowly and ¬†naturally. I hope I keep this mental attitude for a long time. And I hope I find a way soon to help friends who have trouble with body image and self acceptance. Constantly critiquing and ragging on your body is not the way to live. I did it for long enough.

Double Dip Tuesday

So, apparently a way to sneakily end up working out twice in a day is to work out so early that you are half zombie and your brain violently regurgitates all memory of it….

I started my day at 6:30 AM running around the hood with a couple grad student girls. Honestly, we all run at a different pace, but it helps to have someone to meet at a certain time to keep you accountable. I did what I wanted to – 2.2 ¬†mile run – and called it a day. And like that I’m 2 runs away from the 5K goal!?!? (Honestly, it’s ABOUT time).

I called my mom the other day and told her about my new bike. I think she was excited I was excited but also thinks I’m crazy (She repeatedly told me to be careful and not overdo it, oh mothers). She jokingly said, oh, pretty soon you’ll be doing one of those tri thingies…

And, well, actually, I swam today! I’m lucky enough to know a guy (name dropper) who swam in college and is willing to coach a bunch of grad students on how to be better swimmers. The group has been meeting for a while, but today was my first time.

I swam some freestyle, got some tips on how to improve said freestyle, kicked, relearned backstroke, and called it a day. I felt like the posture tips on my free are going to help a lot. I felt so much more efficient after 5 minutes of knowing the right way to align my body.

The best part was the hot tub after!! That’s some motivation to go back to the pool right ther.

So needless to say, I’m exhausted. The bed is going to feel like a little slice of heaven! I feel so good about today’s swim. I feel like I’m slowly aligning all the puzzle pieces I need to be able to do a tri one day. I’m lucky to know people who can help me in all the areas I need – running buddies, bike yoda, and swim school teacher. Life is good : )


Also, in case you want more VEDA, I have 2 new videos. Please excuse the fact that each one was taken after a workout, but, at least that fits in with the theme of my blog!

Day 2: Me describing what mornings are like (aka, my love for coffee)

Day 3: Me talking about things I’m bad at (I know, I didn’t think there were any either)

Summer is FLYING

So how in the world is it Sunday again already?! This is insane. And somehow I have yet to really get a post in about my week and eats/workouts.

Looking back, I don’t think I got as many workouts as I wanted to. Monday was classic tennis action and Wednesday I took a 15 minute nighttime run (+15ish min walk) around UVA’s campus. Tuesday and Thursday I ‘accidentally’ let bars call me away from my running shoes…

One of the more exciting meals of the week was Waffle Wednesday! My hoarder friend (hehehe) needed my judging eye to help him get rid of a ton of stuff. Having helped him move a month ago and saw the ridicule he got from all the ‘happy’ helpers, I knew he needed some serious help letting go. But, I’m glad I got a yummy waffle meal the unprocessed way.

waffle with peanut butter and berries!

And a fun yogurt mix on the side: Artificial sweetener free yogurt (which is way too hard to come by), frozen berries, coconut, high fiber cereal, and chocolate chips!

I got to test out a fun tip I read online – if you have trouble of letting go of things for sentimental reasons, take a picture of it! It takes up little room in the digital space and you’ll still be able to look at it and remember good times (or at least be comforted that you have the ability to do that….I doubt he’ll actually look at these pictures very much).

Though, I really think this was only phase 1, I’m proud he was able to trash as much as he did! Letting go of excess¬†belongings¬†always makes me feel a release – decreases my anxiety and I just feel less mental load. Plus, it’s way easier to keep tidy and organized and clutter free with less physical stuff.

Friday, instead of eating at my desk (ewwww), I decided to eat out in the sunshine! Why do I not do this every day?! All I was missing was a book.

Red pepper hummus + cucumbers + roasted tomatoes + house dressing on pumpernickel! Fab!

And look at the view. UVA is very pretty!

the lunch spot!

Saturday I traveled to northern Virginia to test out a bike! I did also make a last minute sanity stop at Ikea! I mean, I can’t be that close to one without going inside to ogle at all the nifty organizational tools and play bedrooms! While in Arlington, I got to eat at my first Whole Foods! My plate was pretty friggin yummy! I wish the Cville Whole Foods would get its act together and open a market.

Curry Tofu, Samosa, Vegetable Korma, Sundried Tomato Polenta, and Mediterranean Salad...Obvi I couldn't decide on a theme!

Ok, I guess I’m more or less caught up now. At least, caught up enough that I don’t feel like I wasted the effort taking the above food pics!

Today after church I got a…wait for it….2 MILE RUN IN! I went in saying I would let myself settle for 1.8 miles if I had to. And honestly, mile 15-18 were so suck inducing I thought I was going to quit. But, once I passed lap 18, laps 19-20 were cake and I finished strong : ) I’m now officially in my last week of Couch to 5K! And, I’m going to finish it this time, guys. Mark my words!

For dinner I ended up being lazy and eating a sammie at Panera since I had to go to lab later and was hungry post run. It was a Mediterranean sandwich: feta, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and such on sour dough. MMMM! I never knew a meatless sandwich could be so yummy until I became a veggie-almost-terian.

Anyway, I’m ending this disjointed post in hopes that this week I’ll be more with it! ¬†Tomorrow I’m buying a bike! AHHH!

‚̧ K