Look, Ma, I Can Cook!

It’s no secret that I am not a good cook. Or maybe it’s a secret to people who I haven’t tried to cook for (such as all of you), but trust me, to the people I’ve cooked for, it’s no secret.

What was I saying?

That’s right. Cooking. I’m not good at it and – probably relatedly – I don’t enjoy it all that much either. This could be partly due to the fact that I’ve lived in San Francisco, land of the impractical galley kitchen, for the past dozen years.

Our kitchen: perfect...for a toddler.

Our kitchen: perfect!…For a toddler.

It could be partly due to the fact that I have no dishwasher and when I think of cooking, I think of dishes piled up, waiting for me to wash them.

It could be because the grocery store overwhelms and confuses me, and because why would I spend time laboring over an elaborate dinner when I can magic food THAT I DON’T HAVE TO MAKE straight to my door?

I mean, really.

But that gets expensive and shockingly enough, it also gets old. You can only eat delicious artisan hipster pizza so many times a week before it starts to get…well, old. Unless you are a 3-year-old and then pizza NEVER gets old.

So, we needed a solution and we needed it quick, because this chick gets hangry. We needed something easy. Something quick. Something convenient and not expensive and, above all else, delicious.

Enter Blue Apron.

For those who don’t know, Blue Apron is a food delivery service, one of many that have become all the rage around here in the past couple of years. I’d heard about it here and there and had wanted to try it, but even that seemed like a lot of work (yes, I have reached peak laziness at 33 years old. Sue me). But Mister Jess wanted to give it a try and for $10 per meal per person, it seemed like a helluva lot better than what we were currently doing.

And you know what? I love Blue Apron.

I. LOVE. BLUE. APROOOOOOOOON (I hope you read that in Oprah’s voice, because I typed it in Oprah’s voice).

Let me count the ways:

  • We get to pick our three weekly meals online. And they’re delicious-sounding meals, things like seared cod and ribeye steak and juicy lamb and beef burgers.
  • The ingredients are fresh. Like freshy fresh, from their farm-sourced produce to high quality meats to sustainable seafood. They say all of this on their website, but from what I can see it’s not just lip service. It’s all true!
  • They only give you what you need. This is one thing that’s HUGE for us. As you can see above, our kitchen is puny. I don’t have room for a huge sack of potatoes or tons of spices. I need what I need just when I need it, and with Blue Apron I don’t even have to think about it.
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  • It’s easy. Seriously. It’s, like, really easy. There’s a one-sheeter with the ingredients needed (see above) and directions and you just follow them and BOOM. Yummy meal. In my mouth. In my tummy. Happy Jess.
  • It’s kind of zen. I chop and I mince and I bake and I stir and I dance along to my Spotify playlists and Mister Jess and Bug dance along with me, or they laugh and play in the living room, and it’s chill. It’s a surprisingly awesome, mindless way to wind down after a long day at work.
  • It’s effing delicious. And at the end of the day, that’s the most important part.

Look at these meals. That *I* cooked. Me. Jessica, the girl who ruined the recipe for Santa’s chocolate chip cookies, which I got from the back of a chocolate chip bag. So fine, baking is still not my thing.

But cooking? Cooking is officially my thing.

Fried catfish over dirty rice. Hi.

Fried catfish over dirty rice. Hi.

 

Grilled pork chops with poblano salsa and sweet potato mash. 'Sup.

Grilled pork chops with poblano salsa and sweet potato mash. ‘Sup.

 

Chicken and udon noodle soup. Stealth delicious.

Chicken and udon noodle soup. Hey, you. You were stealth delicious.

So, how about all of you? Do you love to cook? Hate it? Subscribe to a food delivery service like Blue Apron? Let’s chat in the comments! 

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

Imagine that, in this scenario, Carmen Sandiego is me. Because, well, she is. I mean, I am. We are the same person.

Okay, maybe I haven’t been quite as around the world as this stylish 80s icon, but I have been traveling pretty extensively these past few months.

I have to pause because that sentence isn’t something I thought I’d ever write. If you’d have told me a year ago that I’d be making multiple international trips, I would have laughed in your face. And then I probably would have had a panic attack just thinking about being on a plane for that long.

A fortune I got a week before my first trip. How did it know?!

A fortune I got a week before my first trip. How did it know?!

I’ve been afraid of flying for a long time. It didn’t bother me when I was little, but by my teen years I developed a pretty fierce phobia. I’d dwell on any impending flight for weeks, be physically sick the day of, and basically be panicky throughout the entire flight. My heart would race. My breath would shorten. My hands would shake, tingle, go numb. I’d feel like I was out of my body. I talked my way out of all non-essential flights, and some essential ones, too.

But when I started my new job last February, I knew I’d have to travel occasionally. It made me pause before I accepted the position. I thought, can I do this? And then I thought, can I pass this up? The “no” was stronger with the second question than the first, so I went with it.

Now that I’m on the other side of three opportunities to visit different countries, I realize how crazy I would have been to pass it up. How much I would have regretted it later. My fear of flying stems largely from a lack of control – I don’t have any power over what happens once I step on that plane – but the same can be said for every moment of my life. Maybe an airplane is just a really big, really loud, really high symbol of the lack of control we have over everything.

I’m not completely over my fear of flying. I still get the racing heart and the shakies, and turbulence still sucks, but I’ve made 6 flights across oceans – Pacific and Atlantic – and have dealt with that fear. I’m sure I’ll still get the racing heart and the shakies, but hey, at least I get to see the world in the process, right?

At any rate, I took some pretty awesome pictures (because of the scenery, not because of my skill) that I want to share with you all! I’ve taken two trips to France, which is the country of my heart I swear, and just got back from Seoul, which was amazing and so special since Mister Jess is Korean and our little Bug is half. It was so incredible to be there and see the heritage that is so inextricably part of him.

First, Korea!

One of the fantastic neighborhoods in Seoul we visited. For shopping purposes, of course.

One of the fantastic neighborhoods in Seoul we visited. For shopping purposes, of course.

Down we go...

Down we go…

Delicious tofu from a street vendor. SO. Good.

Delicious tofu from a street vendor. SO. Good.

Samwon Garden, an amazingly delicious Korean BBQ restaurant. We ate a lot.

Samwon Garden, an amazingly delicious Korean BBQ restaurant. We ate a lot.

These small plates, called banchan, came with every meal we had.

These small plates, called banchan, came with every meal we had.

More Korean BBQ. Seriously, we ate a lot.

More Korean BBQ. Seriously, we ate a lot.

You guessed it...more food. Shaved ice with mango and with strawberries. Incredible.

You guessed it…more food. Shaved ice with mango and with strawberries. Incredible.

The duty free floor in Lotte Department store (there is also a Lotte Hotel, a Lotte amusement park, etc. Lotte everything). This. Place. Was. Packed. I lasted less than 5 minutes.

The duty free floor in Lotte Department store (there is also a Lotte Hotel, a Lotte amusement park, etc. Lotte everything). This. Place. Was. Packed. I lasted less than 5 minutes.

Snail masks. Korean beauty is pretty incredible, if not a little...exotic. It was amazing to see all of the local brands. So much innovation coming out of this small country!

Snail masks. Korean beauty is pretty incredible, if not a little…exotic. It was amazing to see all of the local brands. So much innovation coming out of this small country!

Oops. Too much shopping. Next time I'll need to see more of the actual, you know, sights.

Oops. Too much shopping. Next time I’ll need to see more of the actual, you know, sights.

 

And now, Paris. Sigh. I wish I could rewind to being 20 so I could have lived here for a year. Truly the most magical city.

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The view from my hotel in St-Germain-Des-Pres. It was my favorite neighborhood. So quintessentially Parisian!

The pastries? Insane.

The pastries? Insane.

The famous Cafe de Flore.

The famous Cafe de Flore.

All the buildings were beautiful like this!

All the buildings were beautiful like this!

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"We are all Charlie."

“We are all Charlie.”

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A lovely winter day.

A lovely winter day near the Eiffel Tower.

Thar she blows! It was bigger than I thought it'd be (twss?).

Thar she blows! It was bigger than I thought it’d be (twss?).

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The Musee d’Orsay. Just spectacular.

The Musee d'Orsay. Just spectacular.

 

Hello!

Hello!

Just trying to blend in as one of those impossibly chic Parisian women (it didn't work).

Just trying to blend in as one of those impossibly chic Parisian women (it didn’t work).

Love locks on the Ponts des Arts.

Love locks on the Ponts des Arts.

Le Marais, my other favorite neighborhood. Such a beautiful place - cobblestone walkways, alleys filled with people, sidewalk cafes...and the shopping is AMAZING.

Le Marais, my other favorite neighborhood. Such a beautiful place – cobblestone walkways, alleys filled with people, sidewalk cafes…and the shopping is AMAZING.

There was lots of graffiti in the city as well, in certain areas.

There was lots of graffiti in the city as well, in certain areas.

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Sigh.

Sigh.

 

But at the end of the day (or 12, as was the case with my February France trip), there’s no place like home.

 

 

What is your favorite place to visit? Been anywhere fun lately? Talk to me in the comments! 

 

I’M SO EXCITED…AGAIN

YOU GUYS. I’m excited again. Or still? Probably still. A few months ago, I wrote a post about the things I I was obsessing over at the moment, and welp. I have new things. Things I want to talk about. Share. KANYE CAPSLOCK ABOUT.

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My hope is always that when I discover something new – a song, a book, a person (I know that sounds creepy, but just go with it) – and I tell my friends or Mister Jess about it, they’ll be sucked in with me and then we can talk about it ad nauseam. Sometimes they are. Sometimes they just stare at me. But that doesn’t stop me then, and it won’t stop me now. At the very least, people, you’ll know what I’m texting about with a slightly deranged smile on my face. At the very MOST, you will walk away from this post with some new things to like.

So? Let’s do this.

1. Montevallo. This album, by Sam Hunt, is one I’ve been obsessively listening to since it came out a few months ago. Now, about me: I love music. Like, any kind of music basically. If it speaks to me, I’m all in regardless of genre. I’m typically not super into contemporary country artists, but there’s something about this album and his voice and his lyrics that made me immediately obsessed.

Plus, this dude is like 6’4″. That’s tall. He looks like a hipster but he’s not. He sings songs about pick-up trucks and something called “summer feet.” It intrigues me.

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2. Beyoncé. She’s on the list forever. Her new music – “7/11”, “Flawless Remix”, “Feeling Myself” (she is featured on this Nicki Minaj track) – and her style and her fierceness and just her everything. Let’s hang out, B.

She's just laughing at a joke I told, nbd.

She’s just laughing at a joke I told, nbd.

3. Bar Method. My friend dragged me to a class the other day and I fully expected to hate it, because I’ve heard all about it and, to be honest, it sounded like my own personal hell. But while it was SUPER hard, and while I let out audible noises when the instructor would call out “20 more reps!” (are you KIDDING me, lady?), and while my body had the consistency of an overcooked noodle when class was over, I felt surprisingly awesome afterward. Really, really awesome. And then I went and had a kale salad because WHO AM I? I’m the girl who’s going to another class today, that’s who.

4. This quote: “And I said to my body. Softly. ‘I want to be your friend.’ It took a long breath. And replied, ‘I have been waiting my whole life for this.’” – Nayyirah Waheed

5. And this one:

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Things are hard sometimes. And when they’re hard, that means they’re teaching you something. The older I get, the more I prefer to look at challenges this way; it makes getting through it a helluva lot easier.

6. Life’s random delights. The other day I was standing on the corner of Market Street, waiting to cross. I looked over and saw this:

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For those of you who don’t know, these are lyrics to “Ignition (Remix)”, aka one of my favorite songs ever and a song that Mister Jess and I dance around the house to often. It was so random and unexpected and just…great. It put a smile on my face for no reason, except that I love that song and clearly someone else out there does too, enough that they pasted the lyrics to it on a light pole on Market Street.

7. My kid. Granted, I’ve always been obsessed with him, but he’s turning into such a human being and it’s getting even more fun to watch him grow up. It gets better every day, I’m telling you. I gobble up morsels of information about him as he reveals himself to me: that he loves Taylor Swift songs and when Daddy makes weird animal noises while he eats. That if a kid falls on the playground, he is the first person there to make sure he or she is okay. He is so sweet and full of goodness that my heart aches with it. Aches, I tell you.

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8. Humans of New York. This website represents the best, the most mundane, the hidden and most intimate of humanity. Brandon Stanton, who runs HONY, helps us remember that at the end of the day, we’re all just trying to make our way through the world, and that we all have baggage we’re carrying while we do it. And he’s doing some really incredible things right now. Really incredible.

So there you have it. My current obsessions. And while I am silly about my ardent love tendency to geek out, I also think being emphatic (to the point of evangelical) about things is important. It reminds us that even when the world feels kind of shitty and terrible, there are small joys to find every day.

What are you currently obsessed with or loving? Anything on my list? Anything NOT on my list? Let’s talk about it in the comments! 

 

My Mission, Should I Choose to Write One

Sometimes you hear exactly what you need to hear exactly when you need to hear it. Sometimes, even when you don’t know you need to hear it.

Today, I was sitting at my desk at work – you know, working, as you do – when my co-worker sent me a link to an article. We typically send each other things back and forth during the day. In the interest of being completely transparent with you, it’s usually Buzzfeed articles or celeb gossip.

But today, it was an article called “Creating a New Mission Statement”. Not our typical fare, to say the least. But I opened it and started to read it, and as I read it, I thought, “huh. This is exactly what I needed to read today.”

And not just today, but lately. For the last year or so. I’ve been pretty open about struggling with my body image on this blog. About how, after I stopped nursing Bug, I quickly gained the ten pounds that basically refuse to evacuate my body no matter what I do to it.

And, you know, continuing in the vein of being transparent, I haven’t been that nice to it. I’ve derided it. I’ve called it names. I’ve scoffed at its reflection in the mirror and called myself fat and stared at myself in windows as I walk down the street, thinking “you have really let yourself go, man.”

This is something I think about all the time.

Anyway, this article. This article is about the power of creating a personal mission statement. The article states that “in creating a mission statement, coaches say it is important to identify the underlying values that may motivate change rather than focusing on a single behavior.” When you tap into these values – the why and the what of your goal – you begin to understand intrinsically why it’s so important to you. “I want to be skinny again” isn’t digging deep, and that’s what I’ve been telling myself. That’s it. “I want to be skinny again.”

Well, that’s great. But why? Why am I so desperate to get back to this girl?


Ironically enough, this was the day I found out I was pregnant!

Ironically enough, this was the day I found out I was pregnant!

I don’t know. She is essentially the same girl I am now, except maybe a little happier.

So, I’ve decided to work on my mission statement. To dig deep and try to understand why I want to get “skinny” again. And maybe once I uncover all of it (which, to be honest, probably has to do with my looks tying in with self worth and people telling me I was beautiful when I was young and abunch of other self-esteem things that are way too crazy to get into here), it won’t even have anything to do with getting skinny again. Maybe it’ll have more to do with eating food that makes my body feel good. Or getting back into yoga because it calms my mind. Or doing bar method, because while I am in perma-FML mode while I’m doing it, I love it as soon as it’s over.

Maybe because it’s over.

Anyway.

As if that weren’t enough, the universe nudged me again today. I went on Tumblr earlier (kind of addicted, not even sorry) and was hit in the face with this:

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Working on it. We’ll see what happens. Hopefully I’ll be bringing my mission statement to you next post.

In the meantime, tell me what your mission statement is, or would be, or let’s just sing Bootylicious by Destiny’s Child. 

The Joy Hangover

Here’s me being honest: this time of year is a little depressing for me. I’m not sure why. Is it the Christmas decorations still hung up despite the fact that presents have been long-opened and people are crowding into airports, on their way back home after some quality cozy (or maybe crazy) time with extended family? There’s all of this anticipation, this celebration and glitter and family and presents and gratefulness and sometimes a lot of alcohol, and then it’s just done. I mean, yes, it happens every year and it’s wonderful every year, but I think this is what a joy hangover feels like.

Bye, Christmas trees, you are no longer needed.

Bye, Christmas trees, you are no longer needed. (source)

And then, of course, there’s New Year’s. Let me just be honest (I’m making a habit of it) and say that nostalgia is my kryptonite. If I read a book where nostalgia is involved, or watch a movie where nostalgia is involved, or think about my own instances of nostalgia, I’m a goner. So a holiday where the entire point is to think about what the last year has brought you, how you’re leaving it behind, and planning for future greener pastures? Dunzo. I can’t listen to Auld Lang Syne without getting extremely weepy.

Maybe that’s why I’m feeling a little melancholy right now, on top of my joy hangover. The week that stretches between Christmas and New Year’s sometimes feels like a bated breath, or a pause in my life’s movie. Where I’m still living, of course (because, hello, 2-year-olds wait for no man) but at the same time stuck between the year I just lived and the year I’m about to dive headlong into.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what 2015 will bring me, with this weird mix of optimistic expectation and trepidation. 2014 was filled with a lot of new things: new job, new friends, and new places visited, which was a particularly big milestone for me. I never, ever thought I’d get to see Paris, because that required a 12-hour flight over the freakin’ ocean, and no thanks. Except…actually, yes please. It was amazing. Eye-opening. Weirdly liberating, to cast off a preconceived notion about myself (no, Jess, you could never travel internationally. You couldn’t handle it, etc. and so forth).

Yep, I was totally here. At the Eiffel Tower.

Actually in Paris.

I am ACTUALLY. IN. PARIS in this picture.

In this week of suspension and with this tentative new bravery, with all of this change still looming in my rear view mirror, I wonder what 2015 will bring me. Good things, I hope. Probably some flip-side-of-the-coin things, because that’s life, after all.

So, as much as I hate goodbyes – man, I really hate goodbyes – I’m saying it to 2014: You were great, 2014. Nice knowing you. See you never again, unless time travel becomes a thing. And when January 1st comes, I’ll wake up in this new year, press the play button, and go.

How was your holiday season? Big plans for New Year’s? Do you get the Christmas week ennui too? Talk to me in the comments! 

See Jess Run: Volume 4

Sometimes when I run or walk, or do whatever it is that I do for exercise, I like to slow it down a bit. And I don’t mean actually slow it down – although, yes, sometimes that as well. I mean, I like to scroll to the playlist that has the slow stuff. The stuff that makes me breathe a little deeper and be a little more present in whatever I’m doing.

Since I haven’t shared a playlist in a while, and because I need a little inspiration to get back out there on the road, I put together this playlist of songs that, while not your traditional workout music, is actually a really awesome companion to whatever your workout routine is. It just digs a little bit deeper than Britney (who I love!).

Hey, we all need a little reminder to slow it down every once in a while, right?

[8tracks width=”300″ height=”250″ playops=”” url=”http://8tracks.com/mixes/5079416″]

Do you prefer to run to fast music or slow? Any recommendations for tracks to add to my playlist? Talk to me in the comments! 

Putting Up a Fight…And Winning!

Well, so far.

A few weeks ago I blogged about how I was going on a diet. And the next day I went on said diet. And that same day I asked myself, “Self? Why did you go on this diet?” The day after that I seriously pondered the link between lack of carbs and homicide. But I kept going. And going. And going on phase 1 of the South Beach diet, which lets you have yummy things like lean protein and veggies and dairy (THANK GOD) and nuts and beans and blah blah blah no carbs blah no sugar blah blah what the hell am I going to eat blah blah etcetera.

At any rate, I kept chugging along. And what do you know?

It’s working! I’m down 6 pounds. I’ve actually been down 6 pounds for a couple weeks and have basically plateaued, but you know what? That’s okay, because I’ve lost 6 POUNDS!

Other interesting things to note: when I sneak a bite of something that’s not-so-healthy, I immediately feel it. As in, “wow that was good in my mouth but no me gusta in my stomach.” It seems that my body likes the good stuff I’m feeding it, and now that I’m feeding it 90% good stuff, the bad stuff sticks out even more. I’m surprised by this revelation because I felt like I was always going to have to battle against wanting to eat the crapola foods.

Of course, I say this having just snuck a piece of brownie. But I snuck JUST a piece. That was enough, and yeah, my body’s kind of eh about it. But my mouth? Looooved it.

The best part of all of this is that I’m starting to feel good about my body again. The second best part of all of this is that my co-workers are telling me how great I look. I’m still the same size I was before. I don’t think my body looks insanely different. But my clothes fit better and I’m definitely slimmer and the scale and I are really starting to mend our relationship.

So there it is, people. I’m winning the fight so far. You were all so lovely with your words of commiseration and encouragement that I had to update you.

And, may I submit into evidence this before (left) and after (right)? Both taken in work restrooms, I’m sorry to say. I wish I had a more beautiful backdrop but alas.

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I’m going to keep at it and fight the good fight. If any of you out there are dealing with the same thing (and I know you are!) I hope this encourages YOU, since you were all so wonderful about encouraging me.

Did Good, Feeling Really Good: Alex’s Million Mile Wrap-Up

What a month! We walked, we ran, we rode. We made lemon food and wore yellow clothes. We talked about it here, there and everywhere. All with one goal- to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

This has become my favorite time of year for our little corner of the internet. Running for a cause, and seeing the momentum build among our community of friends is nothing short of amazing. Watching our miles and donations climb every day, exchanging shouty-caps texts with Mer because we’re so excited about our team’s successes, seeing that my own local friends have joined our team or donated, reading Megan’s almost daily Facebook posts just pushing for more donations (Megan really should go into professional fundraising because she’s a rockstar, and not at all pushy about it, either.) And of course, the running. I am actually running regularly again and it feels almost as good as my donation to ALSF did.

I just have to say it again- WHAT A MONTH!

First, I have to thank our team. Together, we logged 1,871.13 miles. We all deserve a refreshing glass of lemonade!

But that’s not all…

Together, we helped raise $2,070 for childhood cancer!

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation has funded over 450 projects with the goal of curing pediatric cancer, so you know those funds are being used for something GOOD. I’m raising my glass to you, Team Scootadoot:

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Thank you. Thank you, very much.

At the beginning of the month, we told you about a few rewards we had…

For the second year in a row, our top fundraiser is Megan! Her posts to Facebook and Instagram were funny, heartfelt, and obviously very effective. Megan, you’re the BEST! I’m sending you big hugs from Florida.

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Our next award goes to Bonnie, for logging the most miles this month: 193.90! High fives to you, girl!

And finally, the winner of our random draw for our #onwednesdayswewearyellow campaign is Jenn! I like your style, Jenn!

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Thank you, Megan, Bonnie, and Jenn! We’ll be in touch to get your prizes to you. We’re so grateful to have you on our team!

On a personal note, our #journey2amillion was exactly the push I needed to start running regularly again. And it only took two weeks of that for Meridith to convince me to run the Disney World Half Marathon with her in January. Looks like we’ll be having a lot of virtual runs over the next few months.

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This is my last blog post for the foreseeable future. I love my Scootadoot chicks! When I say we all became friends within minutes of meeting, I really do mean it. But life is beautiful and crazy here, and I’m a girl who likes to volunteer for all the things, which leaves very little time for me to share my story on the internet. I’ll still be running and reading though (especially here!)- link your blog for me, please? I’ve enjoyed talking running with all of you, and I thank you for reading. Happy Friday, runner friends!
 

Putting Up a Fight

I like to do things the hard way. I would list all the things I do the hard way, but we would be here for a long time, and who wants that? Not me, and probably not you.

But lately – well, probably longer than lately – I have been struggling with my weight. Like a full out tug-of-war with the scale, with food, with my body. And I know I’m making it harder than it needs to be. I know that I am making it bigger than it needs to be, because in the grand scheme of things I need to lose 10 pounds. That’s it. It’s not a lot, and I still fit in all of my clothes, and I don’t think people I know think to themselves, wow, she’s really let herself go. If they do think that, I hope I never realize it.

My anaconda don't...want to be this big.

This is how I walk down the street. Just kidding. Kind of. 

I’ve talked about this before here, so none of this will be news, but it’s something I’m continuing to grapple with and sometimes I just have to put it out in the universe so that I can make heads and tails of it. I am slim by nature, but having a baby wreaked havoc on my body. I think to some degree it’s still in trauma mode. Maybe some hormones are evening themselves out. Maybe my metabolism is just different.

Whatever the case, I can’t eat like I used to. I can’t step on the scale (which I do too, too many times per day), grimace at the number, and just cut back on my calories for a few days until things get back to normal. The struggle with the number on the scale is a much tougher one now and I resent that. I resent that I’m 145 pounds instead of 135. I resent that I catch my reflection as I pass by a mirror or a window and my gut reaction is ugh. I hate that 10 pounds is dictating how I view myself as a whole. But it is, and I either have to say “fuck it” (excuse my French, I am practicing for Paris in December) and be okay with this new body, or I have to fight against it.

I am going to be very honest and say that my choice right now is to fight against it.

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I realize, on some rational level that is buried beneath all of my irrational, illogical, vain levels, that my body isn’t terrible. That I am not defined by how big my thighs or butt are, or what jiggles when I run. But I think that maybe I’m just not there yet. And for what it’s worth, my diet could absolutely be better, so it’s about both losing weight so I can be skinny again (there’s the vanity part of it) and about feeling good about what I’m feeding my body (healthy thoughts!). It’s 70% about being skinny and 30% about being healthy, but hey. We all have to start somewhere, right?

I’m starting South Beach phase 1 today because my mom recommended it and I am clueless when it comes to diets otherwise. Bye, carbs. I loved you. And sugar. You were cool, too.

Sometimes I like to use this blog as a bit of a diary so that I can see if anyone else feels some of the things I do. I am introverted by nature and can get so caught up in my hamster wheel of a brain that I lose track of what makes sense and what doesn’t. So I use you all, along with my trusty friends and husband (who is so sick of hearing about this that I can no longer talk to him about it), as my barometer for where I am on the scale of hey, that’s normal and Dude.

 

Anyone else struggling with some stubborn poundage? Do you have words of advice? Or woulds of encouragement? Healthy snack ideas or recipes?! I will take them all! 

Race Recap: Disneyland Half Marathon

We went.

We ran.

We conquered the Disneyland Half Marathon.

And it was AWESOME.

Now, I feel like kind of a fish out of water writing this race recap because I’ve never written a recap for a half marathon before. So as I’m typing this, I’m thinking “what do I even say about this weekend? How can I put into words how fun and hard and great and tiring and rewarding but also pretty insane and let me not forget how HOT it was?” I’m sure someone who’s run multiple half marathons before (ahem, Cam, Meridith, Victoria, Brooke, ahem) could – would! – be more eloquent about it. But all I can do is tell you that it was fun. And hard. And great and tiring and rewarding and completely insane. And very, very hot.

Well, I can tell you some other things, too. Doing a half marathon isn’t something I thought I’d ever do. I loved running when I was little – the burn of my lungs and the wind whipping through my hair, the adrenaline pumping through my veins and that lovely soreness in my calves from pushing, pushing, pushing myself. But adult me definitely lost the love of running. It’s no secret that I still don’t love it, even (or maybe especially) during my training for this half.

All that said, this will probably remain one of my fondest life memories. I reclaimed the feeling of loving running and turned it into something else: the love didn’t come from the burn or the wind or the exhilaration of running. The love came from the pride of actually doing this, and doing it with two of my most wonderful friends by my side. How awesome is that?

With all of my personal musings out of the way, let’s get to the important stuff: the actual race! Not that I didn’t know this before, but I got to see firsthand what an amazingly well-oiled machine the Disneyland Half Marathon is. I mean, these people are not fooling around. From the expo (during which I spent much money at Raw Threads) to the race itself, everything was executed without a hitch. For people who have run Disney races before, this is probably not a surprise. But I have to admit that I’ll probably be ruined for other races going forward, and the seamless execution of every event last weekend is only one reason.

I’ll get to the other reasons…right now!

Prior to flying down to Anaheim, I checked the weather and saw that it was supposed to be in the mid-80s on race day (Sunday). Cue me freaking out because I hate heat. I have a zero tolerance policy for heat. If it’s above 75, I’m complaining. Needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway), I was worried about how the temperature would affect my performance during the race. But Meridith assured me I would be fine, and I agree with her on most things, so I decided to agree with her on this as well.

At any rate, we all rolled out of bed at 4 in the morning on race day and got dressed up in our SUPER CUTE Timothy Q. Mouse inspired costumes that the ever-talented Cam made (stay tuned for a post from her on that!).

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Do the bustle!

 

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Were the riding crops our favorite part of the costume? Maybe. Probably. Okay, yes.

Once we were dressed and had a pre-race donut and some water, we headed over to the park to the start line.

As did about 16,000 other people.

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Yeah. It was a little busy. We had to make our way cattle-call style to the J corral, which we would later come to call the “JUST LET US GO ALREADY” corral. Because we had to listen to the announcers’ jokes and “Let It Go” when they released corral A. And then we had to listen to the announcers’ jokes (the same ones) and “Let It Go” (the same one) when they released corral B. And then C. D. E. F….you know the rest of the alphabet.

"OMG, DUDES, LET US GO."

“OMG, DUDES, LET US GO.”

And let me tell you: I didn’t know the words to “Let It Go” before this race, but by the time we were given the go ahead, I sure knew every word.

LET IT GOOOOOOOOO.

LET US GOOOOOOOO.

And they did!

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The course took us through Disneyland and California Adventure, then through the streets of Anaheim, before eventually looping us back into the park for the last mile. And while the miles inside the park were infinitely more entertaining, there were sights to see in Anaheim, too. More on that later.

For now, the park!

Meridith and Cam told me that characters would be available to take pictures with as we ran through the park, so we made sure to take advantage. I thought there would be more characters – maybe a princess?! – but the ones we did snap pics with were great. I can’t really complain about having the entirety of Disneyland to ourselves, can I? Plus, the cast members – ALL OF THEM – lined up along the side of the course and cheered us on, gave us high-fours with Mickey Mouse gloves, and were just generally awesome. We had such a huge cheering squad.

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Scandalized by our whips, Jafar?

 

Juicy tidbit: my army guy broke character and said “whoa” when he saw our riding crops. In my unofficial poll during the race, I noticed that the menfolk tended to respond very favorably to our props.

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The castle!

 

We continued our jaunt through the park, keeping up a pretty nice clip for the first four miles.

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And then…WE TOOK IT TO THE STREETS.

Of Anaheim. For a lot of miles. At that point, we made a group decision to take it easy and just enjoy the race. We all had various physical pain points and none of us were looking for a PR. So we slowed it down to a fast walk – sometimes a prancercise – and took in the sights, the spectators, and the great, awesome signs.

An approximation of our fancy walk.

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Adorable Hawaiian dancers!

Mariachi dancers!

Mariachi dancers!

Classic cars. There were SO many! We asked for a ride, but alas.

Classic cars. There were SO many! We asked for a ride, but alas.

I have to say, I totally appreciated that we weren’t left high and dry when we left the park. There were dancers and high school bands and cheerleaders to cheer us on as we made our way back toward Disneyland. And once you hit a certain mile – in our case I think it was around mile 8 – we really, really needed to hear people cheering for us. For strangers to get up super, super early to do that…well, it really touched me.

And let me NOT forget about the awesome signs we saw along the way:

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My absolute favorites of the race. Hands down. Great reminder. I needed reminding at that point.

Getting back to the weather: we had overcast skies and even a teeeeeeeensy breeze until we hit mile 8. And then the sun decided it wanted to shine its hot little death rays on us. Of course, this was the part of the course where we were running next to a dried-up reservoir type thing on our way to Angels stadium. I think Meridith asked multiple times, “WHO DESIGNED THIS PART OF THE COURSE?”

Not our favorite part.

Not our favorite part.

Yeah. Hot.

But THEN we got to Angels stadium which, despite my fervent love for the Oakland A’s and thus my fervent loathing of the Angels, was really, really cool. The stadium was packed with Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts and their cheering parents and it was just so damn awesome.

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RIGHT? RIGHT? HOW COOL IS THAT?

Of course, we had the 16-minute mile pacers breathing down our necks, and this is kind of the part where it all went to shit. The track we were running on was super narrow and the 16-minute mile pacers were yelling that we were behind schedule and everyone needed to MOVE MOVE MOVE, so people started panicking and pushing and I got separated from Cam and Meridith for a few minutes while people acted like bizonkers.

But then we reunited and it really DID feel so good. And we kept going. And going. And going. And encountered more high school bands and cheerleaders and amazing spectators and I just forced myself to take it all in despite the fact that I was hot and tired and starting to hurt.

And then: Mile 12. We hit it. We got back into the park. We were almost there. People were TELLING us we were almost there. Meridith asked, “How almost there is almost there?” but no one would tell us. Just that it was almost. So close.

 

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Ring the bell for energy! We totally did. Not sure it worked. Malfunctioning bell?

Finally, someone took pity on us and told us we had less than half a mile. That kept us motivated until we crossed the finish line, which I have no pictures of because we were just so happy to be DONE.

And then we were! Done, that is. And my feet were so thankful, because dude. 13.1 miles. That’s a LOT of miles.

We got our awesome medals and Meridith put mine on for me, which was adorable.

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AWWWWWW.

I whipped this race (get it?)!

I whipped this race (get it?)!

We did it! Couples finish together!

We did it! Couples finish together!

 

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My first half marathon in the books. Thank god for Instagram filter.

We wandered around the finishers area like zombies for a bit, picked up Meridith and Cam’s Dumbo Double Dare medals (because they had run the 10K the day before like crazy people), drank all of the water and some bananas, and then made the painful trek back to our hotel.

I can’t tell you how not fun it is to have to walk back to your hotel after you’ve just completed a half marathon. But we did it. And then we did this.

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So yes. We went. We ran. We conquered. And we had an amazing time.