A Weekend in Los Angeles

We found suuuuper cheap tickets with Allegiant Air, and flew out of Memphis on a direct flight to LA. Our goal? See as much as we could of LA, in 3 days, with a 6 month old. Ha, we realized it was a huge endeavor. But we were ready.

First, let’s talk this direct flight to LA from Memphis. You guys! Honestly this was not a bad flight at all! People like to bash budget airlines, but all I’m saying is for what we paid for these flights, (like $350 round trip for two!), we could sit in the lavatory for all I care. But really, not bad, not bad at all.

We were nervous about how Emerson would act on the flight. She honestly did SO GREAT. Laughed, smiled, and even slept some. Proud mama.Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

Touched down in LAX, sang some Miley Cyrus, and went straight to get tacos at Mondo Taco near Venice Beach. We had less than 3 days in LA, so pretty much every spare minute was accounted for.

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The one aspect of the trip we might do differently next time, and definitely would have done differently had we not had a baby with us, was take uber or public transportation rather than renting a car. Our rental car was the most expensive part of the whole trip, but ultimately, it proved to be worth it, as it gave us more freedom, and the ability to leave places whenever we pleased, especially if the baby started to get fussy. With that said, finding parking at Venice Beach on a Thursday night when there’s a concert is terrrrrible. Also, my phone died and Jon and I got separated amidst the masses. Lol you guys. Everyone was totally high and I eventually just asked a group of high school boys if I could use their phone to call my husband. They asked what his name was, to which I said, “Jon, why?” And they all started hysterically laughing. Lol, am I missing something here? They had eaten one too many hash brownies FO SHO… Anyways, we all got reconnected, and took a walk around muscle beach and did a lot of people watching. It was such a nice night, and Emerson was totally content just hanging out in the baby carrier.

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It was starting to get late and actually really chilly out, so we hiked back to where Jon parked the car, and made our way across town to our airbnb in Highland Park. We chose this area because I had read it was an up-and-coming cool spot in the NorthEast section, with merging cultures and great local eateries. Also, our airbnb was super affordable and couldn’t have been better! Highly recommend this place . We crashed and all three slept so well, which was actually something I was worried about. After debating about sleep arrangements prior to the trip, we decided ultimately not to bring the pack-n-play. Even though Emerson starts off the night sleeping in her crib at home, she always ends up in our bed as I nurse her at night, so we just left the pack-n-play at home, and hoped for the best. It wasn’t ideal, but lugging that thing around seemed awful, and we didn’t want to pay extra to rent one in LA, so we took a chance and all three slept in a queen size bed. It worked. Wasn’t perfect, but wasn’t terrible either.

On Friday, we woke up, put on a few extra layers (hello zero humidity!), and walked about a mile to get coffee at this place. It was such a nice morning, and we took the long way home to take in all the scenery and HILLS. IMG_3586IMG_3601

We explored more of NorthEast LA, stopped in some cool little shops, showed Emerson the plethora of cacti and why she should always love succulents forever and ever, and had lunch at Amara, a healthy little delicious kitchen! IMG_3620IMG_3615

Because I was racing Saturday morning, we decided to keep the rest of Friday pretty low-key. We took naps in the hammock that was right outside on our private patio, and then had an early pizza dinner before turning in for the night. Ps: also reading this book, as you can see in the photo below. It’s been really great for my mental game! IMG_1013

Saturday, I raced a local 5k (more on that later, but I PR’d wahoo!), and we had such a great morning in Griffith Park! We tried to hike to the Hollywood sign, lolzz it was like 8 miles round trip so we said, “nah, we will hike to the summit.” Then half-way to the summit we changed our minds and turned around and decided to go get brunch instead. ha! Regardless, it was beautiful and awesome to see the city below. Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

We originally were going to go here for brunch, because I had heard some really great things about it, but after seeing the wait was like 2 hours, we made a game time decision to go find sushi instead. Because Los Angeles=coastal city=the sushi has gotta be good, amiright. We were not disappointed ONE BIT when we walked into Sushi by H and looked at the menu. Explosion of deliciousness in our mouths. Hands down the best and most affordable sushi we’ve ever had. If you’re in LA, GO HEREIMG_3641 copyIf you haven’t caught on yet, our trip was pretty much centered around food lol. After our bellies were full of sushi, we went back to the airbnb, took a nap, read in the hammock some more, then got ready for our best food endeavor yet. C’mon, did you think we were going to forget about In-N-Out Burger? Our entire dinner was $7 ha!Processed with VSCO with b5 preset

Because I am a bottomless pit and gluttonous soul, especially while breastfeeding and after I race, I walked to get ice cream after our In-N-Out experience LOL. I am not sorry one bit. Ice cream from this place was NOT A BAD DECISION whatsoever. So so good. Jon opted for beer instead. But howwww?

We then packed our bags and got ready for our 4:30 am wake-up call the next morning. Boo. But, wow! What an awesome 3 days. We truly packed so much into the trip, especially with our little munchkin. She did great. Besides screaming the majority of the flight home (cue eye roll….so sorry to the other passengers, yikes), we were really so proud of her and how she just went with the flow the whole trip. I think the flight home was probably just too much. Poor thing. She did finally fall asleep as we taxi’d to the gate lol. IMG_3651

And that’s a wrap! Whew, what a whirlwind of a trip, but so so awesome. We vowed when we had Emerson that we wouldn’t stop living, and we would continue to go on trips, and do as much as we feasibly could while raising our daughter. We hope she grows up with an adventurous spirit as a result 🙂  Until next time, LA!

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Wait, I’m pregnant?!

This is part 2 of 4 of my running/pregnancy/life catch up I’m doing on the blog.

Here is part 1 if you missed it!

Two lines. Seeing them on the pee stick was like having an out-of-body experience. I sat in the bathroom and cried for a long time. We called my mom and told her and my stepdad the news. It wasn’t anything like I had always imagined it would go, with balloons and a cute card saying “Congratulations, Grandma!”. Through tears I just muttered the words: “I’m pregnant.” Why did I feel so scared?

I took this the night I found out. I really wanted to be excited, but I mostly was just so scared.

When we started telling people the news a few months later, friends would ask if I took a bunch of tests to make sure, and honestly I didn’t even think about that. I just took 1? Taking multiple tests is a thing? I had no idea what I was doing (still don’t. does anyone?). I just knew I was pregnant and scared.

We posted this on Instagram when we announced the news at 12 weeks. lol.

The next 8 weeks, also known as the first trimester, are a bit of a blur when I look back. I was really sad. I cried a lot. I didn’t know how to handle the news. I realized deep down that this would be a blessing and all the things I knew I was supposed to say, but I constantly asked myself, “Why do I feel so empty? I am being given one of the greatest gifts in life, one so many women dream of, and something I’ve always wanted, yet I feel like my life is suddenly changing and selfishly I’m not ready for that.”

Because I know you’re wondering, and because I was very open about this prior to getting pregnant, no I was not on the pill. In fact, ironically there is a draft post that I never published on why I went off the pill and how it was one of the best decisions personally and athletically for me. I still stand by that. So, technically, I should have been prepared for what could happen. Duh. It was a decision my husband and I made together, and we still stand by our decision, except he handled the news of having a baby wayyyy better than I did. It literally took him 48 hours and then he was all, “THIS IS AWESOME I’M GONNA BE A DAD!” Perhaps I thought I was immune to Mother Nature. Regardless, it truly took the entire first trimester for me to feel connected to baby.

Honestly, my husband is the best there is. 5 weeks pregnant here. Already hitting up the fried chicken wing joints for dinner 😀

My running changed pretty much overnight. I wanted concrete answers to how training should go during the next 35 weeks. I poured over blogs and books and talked to people I knew who ran while they were pregnant. Everyone just said, “You’ll know what to do.” WHAT THE HECK DOES THAT MEAN? Tell me exactly what to do! Do I wear a heart rate monitor? Do I still train hard? So many unknowns. With the future of having a baby and how to be a mom being so unclear, I desperately wanted answers and something I could control. Releasing the death grip on having a set-in-stone plan for running was difficult. This would become a recurring theme throughout my entire pregnancy. I’ve learned so much.

We celebrated my birthday in mid June with a fun 5k downtown and a nice dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. Jon planned the whole thing. It was such a treat, and getting to tell my good friend Julia the news was great. She’s been such a huge support and a phenomenal friend over the last 8 months.

cheers to 25.

the Gibson Guitar 5k with Julia

As I approached the 12 week mark, I began to feel like the fog was being lifted. I did a happy dance when I made it a few days without crying. People asked me if I ever had morning sickness or extreme fatigue during the first trimester. I didn’t. A little nausea and food aversions, but nothing too terrible, honestly. I think it would have broken me had I experienced the physical pains on top of the mental. God is great like that.

I did eventually figure out a rough “plan” for running, one that worked for me. Because Memphis is insanely hot during the summer, I wore a heart rate monitor for the majority of my runs in the beginning. My coach still sent me weekly “plans”, but they were not set in stone, and I eventually became okay with that. Here’s my training log from a typical week!

6/8/2015 Mon. 6 min easy, 12 min threshold, 6 min easy AM swim. 1000 warm up, 9×100 progressively getting faster, 6×100 with fins. very hard to get out of bed, but i was glad i did it.
6/9/2015 Tues. 10-14 x 90 sec. @ 5k effort with 2 min. recovery this went great!! to avoid overheating, i did the workout inside on the treadmill. 1 mile warm up. 12 repeats. started at 6:30 pace and worked my way down, last 3 were 5:50. Heart rate never hit 170! feeling good.
6/10/2015 Wed. cross train strength trained and biked a bit.
6/11/2015 Thurs. 6 min easy, 12 min threshold, 6 min easy this was my “test” run for saturday. i wanted to see what my heart rate could handle, so i started at 6:30 pace for the middle portion. eventually had to slow down pretty significantly to get my heart rate back down. saturday will be a nice little “trot” ha.
6/12/2015 Fri. 14-18 x 10 sec. @ 400m effort with 2 min. recovery did 6 min easy, 7 min at threshold, 6 min easy.
6/13/2015 Sat. cross train or complete day off Gibson 5k. just paced my friend Julia. 7 min pace. She didn’t race as well as she wanted to, but i felt great. it was really hot.
6/14/2015 Sun. 30 minutes easy nice and easy recovery run with friends!

The main thing was staying hydrated and making sure I could laugh during a workout. Initially, I was very focused on my heart rate and not going over 175 (my lactate threshold), but eventually I realized the laugh/smile/talk test was better, and let me be a little less rigid, without having to constantly check my watch or wait for it to beep to tell me my heart rate was too high. That’s how I gauged the intensity and when to back off. I also trained with a talented high school xc team during June and part of July, which really helped with motivation, and feeling like I wasn’t totally losing all my fitness. Those girls gave me more than they realized during those 6 weeks. I began to find a groove as I approached the second trimester, started feeling happy and confident that I could maybe do this motherhood thing after all!

This is part 2 of 4 of my running/pregnancy/life catch up I’m doing on the blog.

Here is part 1 if you missed it!

 

 

Snow Day Survival: Day 2

Because we are all getting a little cabin feverish over here . . . So I actually ended up going into work yesterday, and the photo above is how I felt about it. This morning I woke up and my … Continue reading

Post Long-Run: EAT ALL THE FOOD

 

august15Still to this day, after every Saturday morning workout or long-run, my favorite thing to do is get right in the kitchen and make a huge breakfast/brunch. Before we moved to Memphis, oftentimes my training partners would run home and shower, then come over to my place for the most massive post long-run brunch ever. Glorious. I wanted to share some recipes with you guys to give you a few ideas for a great Saturday morning brunch. Whether it’s after a long-run or not, I guarantee you all will love this menu. Here are the basics: carbs + protein + large cups of home-brewed coffee. WINNING.

First things first. Give me a coffee IV, please 🙂 For those of you who are intimidated by home-brewed iced coffee, this recipe is fool-proof! **Make sure to start brewing the night before, though!!

august3 august4 august5 august6august7 copyCold-Brewed Coffee

Ingredients

1/3 cup ground coffee (medium-course grind is best)

1 ½ cups water

Milk and Sugar (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a jar, stir together coffee and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight or 12 hours.
  2. Strain twice through a coffee filter, a fine-mesh sieve or a sieve lined with cheesecloth. In a tall glass filled with ice, mix equal parts coffee concentrate and water, or to taste. If desired, add milk.

Recipe source: Smitten Kitchen

Next up, dat incredible edible EGG.

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Pesto-Potato Eggs with Crispy Basil**

serves 4

Ingredients:

10-12 small red-potatoes or 4 medium sized regular potatoes

4 large eggs

1/3 cup basil pesto

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Scrub and thinly slice potatoes.  Toss potato slices with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper, and in a skillet, cook the potatoes 10-15 minutes, or until cooked and crisp on edges.
  3. Transport potatoes to a casserole-type dish, spoon in pesto, and toss to coat evenly.  Bake in oven for 10 minutes, or until brown on top.  Remove from oven, and carefully make wells in potato-pesto mixture.  Crack eggs in the wells, and top with salt and pepper.  Bake until eggs are set, 5 to 10 minutes.

Crispy Basil**

a handful of basil leaves and 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Carefully add half the basil leaves to the oil, and stand back while basil fries for about 30 seconds.  Once sizzling slows and the leaves have fried, remove basil with slotted spoon and lay on a paper towel covered plate.  Scatter crispy basil on top of the pesto-potato eggs and serve warm.

Finally, brunch isn’t complete without something sweet to top it all off. Coconut bread FOR THE WIN.

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Coconut Bread

Ingredients

2 large eggs
1 ¼  cups milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
5 ounces unsweetened flaked coconut (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Spray vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray for baking pan

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add sugar and coconut, and stir to mix. Make a well in the center, and pour in egg mixture, then stir wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Add butter, and stir until just smooth — be careful not to overmix.
  3. Butter and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan, or coat it with a nonstick spray. Spread batter in pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, anywhere from 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
  4. Cool in pan five minutes, before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Recipe adapted from Bill’s Café in Sydney.