Monday, October 13, 2014

My First Half Marathon

It has been more than 24 hours since completing my first half marathon. Many emotions and thoughts have passed since running under that inflatable finish line that I longed for from the moment I started running. The first thought that crossed my mind? Why did I sign up for this? I actually PAID to do this?! Why would someone who hasn't trained for a half marathon even attempt such a task? Let me enlighten you with this crazy idea and how it came to be. 

You may recall an IG post from last month about an epic 6.5 mile run I had. As with most of my longer runs, this was spontaneous. See, I don't always LOVE running. Some days I "feel" it, and most days I am trying to occupy my thoughts with anything other than "are we done yet?" That run started out as a 3-4 miler, but I was feeling good, so I kept up for 6.5 miles. That run left me with a slightly sore back, but I continued my normal workouts, and occasional treadmill intervals, never to hit the pavement after that "epic run." 

Then my son joined the Run Club. He was so excited to run a mile and a half each week, pushing to get closer to two, that I decided a challenge was in store. That was when I signed us up for the Rocky Ridge trail 5k. He did amazing. His Run Club continued to encourage students to sign up for the Run For Education, and I almost signed us up. The main reason I was hesitant? They didn't give a finisher medal to 5k runners. (Yes, I wanted him to have one!), so somehow that lead me to consider the half. They gave finisher medals for the half marathon, and the course was almost totally flat. Why not? How hard could it be? Right? 

Fast forward to Wednesday evening. Biting my fingers as I decided to take advantage of "rollback pricing!" (I am such a sucker). What did my son say Thursday morning when I told him I signed up for the half? "But mom, that's 13 miles!!!" ️Yes, I know son. Thank you. 

The following two days were agonizing. I would lay in bed, tired, but my mind busy thinking about how I was going to be running for two hours. Yes, along with not training, I wanted to complete my first half marathon by 1:59.  Doable, right?!��

The night before the race a got everything I needed ready. Clothes, race bib, SpiBelt, GU packs and inhaler (to appease my mother��). I woke before the sun was up and while my family was snug in their beds. I was quiet as a mouse. I hydrated well and ate half a banana. As I gathered my things and went for my truck keys, I noticed a note my husband had left for me! 

Just what I needed to calm my nerves! I CAN do it! I WILL do it! I tucked the note into my SpiBelt. I figured I could pull it out if I really needed some motivation. 

The San Ramon Valley Run for Education began in Danville and ended by the Fire Station in San Ramon. I parked my truck and realized I needed to go to the bathroom! Off to find porta potties. Thank goodness I got in line before the masses. Hopefully all that hydrating wouldn't come back to haunt me. 

At 7am, 15 minutes before the race began, I ate my first GU packet. I read online that you should have one 15 minutes prior and at approximately mile 5 and 10, and everyone knows if you read it online, it's true��. I knew it was going to be hot later, so opted for a tank and no jacket. To keep warm in the final minutes prior to the start, I did a little jumping up and down. I really wanted my body to stay warm. 

Finally it was 7:15, but no race horn sounded. Eventually they explained they were calibrating clocks and by 7:18am we were off. 

Here I was, the beginning of my first half marathon. I kept thinking about how much I was going to be running. Longer than I ever had. I realized pretty quickly that I wasn't in a "let's make it a big run" kinda day. Nevertheless, I kept on. I was averaging 8:50 miles for the first half of the run. A few times, I realized I was in a fog, my legs feeling heavier, and continued to push myself a little faster. By mile 10, the mile markers were obviously taking longer to reach. Was it my pace? Was I getting bored? I kept thinking about my friends that love running. I imagined they were there to tell me to suck it up. I never stopped. I ran with heavy legs and at mile 12, my husband called me. He was trying to explain where he was in relation to the finish line. Honestly, I was so confused, I just told him I would see him in 10 minutes. That last ten minutes was the longest ten minutes EVER! The course kept turning and I was now running passed the 5k runners and walkers. Children complaining about how long they had been walking. Walking! 

I rounded the final turn and at that moment the man in front of me dropped his bib. I attempted to lean down and whisk it up, and my legs buckled. I felt dizzy and realized I was about gassed out. I wanted to sprint the last quarter mile, but the tank was empty. I spotted my husband, son and daughter and choked up. Immediately I couldn't catch my breath. I tried taking a picture of the finish line, and then spotted my mom who had surprised me. 

2hours, 10 minutes, 53 seconds after beginning my first half marathon, I was finished. My calves were cramping, my hips were hurting and my legs felt like bricks, but I was done! The first couple minutes after were filled with less emotions than I had expected. I was numb and didn't really know what to do. My husband walked up with a snack and some LifeWater. I was still trying to take a deep breath. I remembered I had flip flops in the backpack my husband brought with him, so I sat on a light post and switched my shoes. Not the wisest of choices. My feet fell flat causing my calves to cramp more, and I finally noticed I was full of blisters. The half mile walk to the car was almost as bad as the last mile I ran. As we got to the car, I stepped towards the CVS to throw something away and stubbed my toe on the cement that was sticking out of the ground. That was about the moment I declared this event "checked off my bucket list." I sank in to my husband's car, really sitting down for the first time. My legs were ansy and restless, but they were happy! 

So, here I am, 3 days post race, and I feel great! Monday was full of soreness and body aches, but I was back at TRX on Tuesday (really tried to get out of that, but thankful I did it). What is the conclusion? I can't wait to do it again! I want to train properly, run with friends and cross with grace. I am truly proud of what I accomplished and know what I am capable of. YOUR BODY ACHIEVES WHAT YOUR MIND BELIEVES! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Blueberry Protein Cakes

This combination has been my go to as a cold snack, but I decided to add some egg whites and make them in to "pancakes." The crispness was just the right touch! ���������������������� 
Measurements are approximate cause I'm just reckless like that! 
��1/2c cottage cheese (low sodium)
��1/4c oat bran
��1/4c egg whites
��1/3c blueberries 
��1/4tsp butter extract
��smidgen of stevia to sweeten�� Enjoy! 

I just cooked them in a pan like pancakes and vĂ³ila! 

Xo Shan 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Inspiration from my son

It is no surprise that the healthy lifestyle my husband and I live has rubbed off on our children. They talk about nutritious foods versus foods that don't provide many benefits, they know that exercise is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and they are always wanting to participate in the activities we are doing. Two years ago I ran a couple 10k races, and my son kept asking when he could run with me. He hadn't really ran more than a mile or two, so I really didn't want to push him in to something I thought could be too difficult for a 5 year old. Two years later, and he still begs me, so after joining his elementary schools run club, I thought it was time to put his skills to the test. I knew he could handle a 5k, so I decided to push him to do a trail run. Not just any trail run, but the Brazen Racing Rocky Ridge 5k! He didn't know what to expect, so why not start with something challenging?! He did great! Even straight up hill between miles 1-2 and him and his friend kept on trucking! I was one proud mama! Proud of his hard work and proud that I was leading by example. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

iifym and flexible dieting

I have been asked several times lately about iifym and flexible dieting. I have sent a few separate emails and realize this would probably be best explained on my blog so I didn't have to retype. Also, this gives me a great opportunity to make adjustments to my own research from time to time and fix the information which I have compiled. 

I personally love iifym because it gave me a great base that made life easier to "eat right" as opposed to a diet that I couldn't hold on to after it was over. You must first understand macronutrients before you apply iifym. Macros are the nutrients needed to fuel your body everyday. Whether you want to lose weight, maintain your weight, gain muscle, if you workout or don't workout. Science has proven that our body needs a certain amount of protein, fat, carbs and fiber every day. The amount you need may be much more than you've previously been eating, so sometimes you have to ease in to the new macro numbers. Let me give you am example ������������

Before I started counting macros, I was counting calories. I shot for 1200 calories and would get the lowest amount of carbs possible. Usually between 50-75 carbs MAX! I was beyond exhausted, had no energy, no patience and was just skinny. Yes, I lost weight, but if I increased calories or carbs, I gained weight, so I always went back to this 1200 cal calculation to lose weight.

When I first calculated my macros ( it wanted me to eat 1900-2200 calories and 150g of carbs!!!! I had to ease in to those calculations, but by about two weeks in, I was eating 2000 calories and 150g carbs and was getting leaner! I essentially ended up gaining weight, but because of muscle. I was losing more inches and getting leaner by eating more food!

What iifym means is the body actually does not differentiate between white carbs and brown carbs. For example, you have heard brown rice is better than white rice? Well, science says all carbs break down in to glucose the same way. (Keep in mind, brown rice will absorb slower keeping you fuller longer). The point is, you can lose weight eating white rice or white flour the same as brown rice or complex carbs. Some people have taken this literally and somehow poptarts have become the mascot food of iifymers, because they can "fit" the carb grams in to their days macros. Of course a poptart will not keep you as full as a bowl of brown rice.

This is the debate about clean eating vs "flexible dieting" Of course clean eating will fuel your body the best, hitting your macros with flexible dieting will still give you the same results and allow you to not feel guilty when you indulge in a Froyo, or glass of wine, or a poptart!!!

Although I usually fuel my body with nutrient sense foods, it is still great to be able to enjoy a treat and make it fit my macros, with the added guilt I once felt from eating these foods. As a result I have less time off the wagon and more time focused on eating healthy. Essentially eating the foods to fuel my body. 

For more information and most accurate science based take in macronutrients, please refer to as well as Dr. Layne Norton has a bachelors in BioChemistry and his PhD in Nutritional Science. He has the most accurate account of the science behind fueling our bodies. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hazelnut Cream "Nutella"

I bought some raw hazelnuts last week and have been wondering what I wanted to do with them. I figured starting with a cream was the best base for more recipes in the future. This recipe is simple and easy for even a beginner. 

Roast 1.5c hazelnuts (approx 300g) in oven at 350° for 10-15 minutes. When they are cool, run under water in a strainer to remove as much skin as possible. I found the hazelnut skins to be a bit difficult to remove. I rubbed as much as I could and didn't stress about the rest. I couldn't tell a signifigant difference in texture. 

Blend hazelnuts with 1 cup cold water on high. I blended for about 4-5 minutes to create a frothy and creamy texture! 

If you want to make milk, you could add additional water and use a cheese cloth to separate the milk from the residue. I left mine thick and creamy and added the following. 

2tbsp raw cocao powder
4 packets stevia
1tsp vanilla extract. 

There are so many wonderful things I wanted to do with this mixture. You could place it in your ice cream maker and make "Nutella" ice cream. You could add a bit of water and make a coffee creamer. I decided to freeze the mixture in candy molds to use in my protein smoothies. 

Let me know what YOU do with your hazelnut cream! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Vanilla Chai Overnight OIAJ

I am at that point with the foods in my cabinets when everything is nearing the end of the contents, and a serious nutrition store shopping spree is in need. I am out of all my good protein powder and flax seeds and had just enough oats to make a quick overnight oats for tomorrow morning. It had a vanilla base, so I decided to add some chai tea to mix up the flavors! Hope you like this simple concaucion. 

Start by brewing some Chai tea. I use Twinnings for most of my hot tea, and love the spice from their Chai. I only used 1/4c of water to brew, because I wanted a nice strong flavor. Allow to steep while putting together your oats. 

In a mason jar mix:

1/2c Bob's Gluten Free Oats
1/2c egg whites
1/4c Fage 0%
1tbsp Chia Seeds
1/3 Medium banana 
2tbsp Vanilla Coconut Coffee creamer
1/4tsp vanilla extract
2 packets stevia (I use Truvia)

Mix together, including the 1/4c brewed Chai. Cover and refrigerate till morning. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Protein Fudge

I've been wanting to make protein bites (balls) for sometime now, and thought it would be easier to make fudge. I can see this recipe evolving in to something fantastic. These turned out good, but the possibilities are endless! 

��6tbsp coco-nut butter (I used YouFreshNaturals White Chocolate Cake Batter)
��1/4c SF pancake syrup (I use Walden Farms)
��1 stevia packet
��1 scoop protein powder (I used Vega plant based Vanilla)

Mix all ingredients and spread in a small container lines with parchment paper. I was actually out of parchment and used plastic wrap which worked just fine. 

Place in fridge for a few hours to set. Cut in to desired portions. I cut mine in to 16 small bites sizes. 

Macros or each piece; 
43cal 3.4f/1.9c/2.1p 

You can up the amount of protein if you choose a different powder. Vega only has 15g of protein per scoop, where as Pro7eun has 34!