Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Confessions of a Runner

Let me first start off by telling you all how much I love summer! I know many people dread the hot humid July days, but I adore them. What can I say, I am a true summer-lovin gal.

Megan inspired me this morning with her talk on the journey of her running experience. I got to thinking about my own experience with running and thought I would take a moment to share it with you all.

How it Began……

I was NEVER a runner. In fact, I despised it. I was the girl who would dread running the mile in gym class and probably ended up walking most of the thing. I was always active and played sports, but running was never up on my list of enjoyable pastimes. As I got older, I developed a passion for working out and started to delve into other forms of exercise. I joined the gym and found enjoyment in other forms of exercise equipment. This is also where I found my love in the Elliptical Trainer. I may have hopped on a treadmill for a few min every now and then, but I still avoided running at all costs.

During my junior year of college, I met my best friend Jen who was a marathon runner. I was amazed at her stories of running 26 miles and literally could no comprehend how one person was able to possess that kind of endurance. As much as I admired Jen’s passion, I still wasn’t quite ready to develop my own.

Last March, Toly and I bought our first home in a wonderful little townhouse complex. One of the benefits of the complex was that it held a gym on site that we could use whenever we wanted. Shortly after we moved in, Toly and I decided to check out the gym, as we were both interested in getting a little toned before our wedding. The gym was tiny. It had a few weight machines, a bike, a step climber, and low and behold, a tredmill. We would go a few nights a week to lift and one night, I decided to hop on the tredmill and test the waters once again.

I think I probably ran for about 10 min and felt exhausted, but for some reason, I realized that I didn’t despise it as much as I thought I would. Sure it was a love-hate relationship, but as much as I thought I couldn’t do it, I knew that I didn’t want to give up.

So everytime we would go to the gym, I would run just a little more each night. I’m not sure on the exact progression, but I would image it went something like this…

1 mile for the first few weeks
2 miles after a month
3 miles after 2 months….and so on.

For awhile, I was stuck at 3 miles and felt comfortable with this 5k distance. Then one day, I wanted to see if I was able to do another mile, so I pushed myself and did it! Once you realize that your body is able to accomplish a distance goal, it’s hard to go backwards.

Running was actually enjoyable after many months of working up to that point. I started to become more aware that if I wanted to keep up with this, I needed to invest more time into studying the proper way. I sought out advice from Jen, began reading blogs (that is when I found Caitlin’s blog and was introduced to the entire blogosphere of health and running), and began reading running plans.

I completed my first 5k Race on Thanksgiving Day and quickly discovered the fixation of racing. Since then, I have raced in 2 additional 5 k’s, I have another one this Saturday, and I plan to be doing a 10K in August. This is all leading up to my “big” race of my first ½ marathon in September.

Let me emphasize, running is not something that you can just dive into. It took me almost a year to train my body to the point where I am able to compete and experts suggest training for at least a year before you enter any marathon running. One of the most important advice I can give anyone who is thinking about taking up this hobby would be to start slow!!!! Don’t kid yourself into thinking your body will let you run 5 miles right away if you’ve never ran before. You will only injure yourself and possibly cause more damage than good.

Running is not for everyone. As much as I would love to have the companionship of my hubby along on some of my runs, it is just not his thang! He hates it, and probably always will. I’m lucky that he enjoys other forms of physical activity, like lifting, biking, hiking and sports. No matter what you choose, make sure that you are doing it because it’s something that you love. As challenging as it may seem, if you stick with it and realize that you actually might enjoy it, you will realize that it’s hard to turn your back on something that you love.

So that’s my story. It continues to grow as I continue to grow in my running relationship. Although it hasn’t always been a picture-perfect tale, it has been one heck of a ride!

Now, on to my food creations of the day!

This one is a collection of many different recipe ideas I have come across. The falvors of grilled eggplant, tofu and tomatoes were the inspiration, all concocted to this….

On the menu: Grilled Eggplant and Tofu Stacks

To make: I sliced eggplant into rounds, salt and peppered them and grilled until done. I also threw in some zucchini because I happened to have some on hand.

I marinated the tofu in a sauce of basalmic, garlic, Dijon and soy. Once the tofu marinated for a few min. I, grilled it for about 5 min of each side.

To assemble the stacks, I started with a piece of eggplant, then tofu, smeared on some pesto, zucchini, tomato sauce, and repeat. Goat cheese topped my tower of veggies and into the oven for about 10-15 min just to melt the cheese and heat up the veggies.

The outcome was outstanding! A mountain of vegetable goodness.

On the side: Panzenella- Fresh tomatoes, cucumber, fresh basil, feta, evoo, and balsamic. Toly had the meat-a-terian version of chicken/pepporoni parmesan.....

Dinner was divine! So fresh, light, and summery.

Speaking of summery, my dad just provided me with some huge squash from his garden. Does anyone know what kind these may be? I'm really not sure sure, I think the yellow is spaghetti but I'm not too sure on the huge green one?!?!?

Okay I’m out for now. But I want to leave you with a though-provoking question:

If you were the owner of a restaurant, would you refuse to serve an obese person any un-healthy menu item? A restaurant owner in CA is being sued for this! Wow, that is pretty controversial, don’t you think?

Night lovelies!


  1. What a great story! :D

    Thanks for the shout out!

    That is crazy that guy is being sued?! how is that even legal?

  2. Thanks for sharing your running story! The veggie dinner looks simply awesome! I am definitely trying that!

  3. The big yellow squash are def. spaghetti squash- they are the best!! That big green one looks so familiar and I swear the name is on the tip of my tongue... ugh, just can't think of it!!

  4. Thanks for sharing your story!

    I love all that squash!

  5. okay your running story has got me inspired! i am working on running for more than 5 minutes at a time right now....

  6. Oh I love your story. I just started running in January and I LOVE IT! I am running an 8K this weekend. A year ago I didn't think I could run a mile. I love the confidence running brings.

  7. Girl you are so inspirational! Question for ya - when you started running (or even now) do you experience any pain? I enjoyed running when I was starting to get into it, but was always plagued with pain. Even now I try to go for a short jog and my knees ache for days after (specifically my right - I have a misaligned kneecap). hmmm

    Oh and that's crazy that guy is being sued! I give him crazy credit for actually sticking up for what he believes, and sticking up for that person's health, but at the same time - did he really have a right to do that? I know so many times when I'm at restaurants or when I used to work in food industry places, I always used to want to tell customers how bad the food is that they're getting - but you just can't. Ya know?