Excuses, Excuses

Everybody’s got them.

I’ve been making a lot of excuses lately. Mostly for me being lazy, not going running or working out. I keep telling myself I will when the weather gets better, but last weekend it was 68 and sunny and I did nothing. Well, I did celebrate Texas Independence Day with some good beer and chili. Yum.

texas beer texas chili


I have not been running in a few weeks, and with the beginning of Lent, I’m going to at least try and dedicate myself to keeping up with what I’ve started. Running, working out and eating healthy. No excuses.

What excuses have been holding you back?

Back At It

So last week I succumbed to cabin fever and went out for a run. It was wonderful. Well, mentally it was exactly what I needed, but physically, let’s just say I wasn’t fully rested yet.

The weather was perfect. And apologies to my friends still frozen up north who received this snap.

back at running

In retrospect, that might have been a little mean. Oops.

Still, I have not been wasting the sunny days, and even though my knee cut my run short, I was still able to get in a couple miles and work up a bit of a sweat.

The geese were also enjoying the weather, much to my distaste.


It felt good be out, but the plan right now is to do a little cross training and give my knee a little more rest. Right now I’m still on track to have my next race in the fall, and Adam has started training for what he hopes will be a full at Disney in January.

And with that, I’m off to work out. Yay weights!

Cheating is Good for You

So I have some good news for you today. It turns out, when it comes to healthy eating, cheating is good for you.

Wow, y’all. I can feel your skeptical looks from here.

Do I still have your attention?

Okay. First of all, the entire premise of this argument is that the cheat day is good for you as long as you don’t abuse it. This means cheating by ways of a cheeseburger and fries, not an entire pizza, breadsticks and a case of beer (guilty).cheat day!

A cheat day or meal is a planned splurge, a reward even. But the important part is that you do plan it. Don’t slip up and say to yourself, oh well, I guess that was my cheat meal because then you do not get the full benefit of it. If you slip up, recognize that and move on.

There a couple areas of healthy eating that the cheat day targets, and as long as you are eating clean through the week, having a cheat day or meal once in seven days will not derail you. I’ve been eating clean since April, doing one cheat meal a week, and it hasn’t stopped me. If anything, it’s helped me keep going.

Disclaimer: I do not pretend to be a dietitian or expert on nutrition. These are just my thoughts and what I have found to be true for me. I have, however, had my good friend (and former college roommate) Liz Kowalsky, who is a dietitian, read over this blog post and make sure that my logic is sound.

The way I see it, cheat meals serve one goal, but accomplish this goal in two different ways. The goal is simple: to indulge. Give yourself a break. Relieve some stress. Let loose. Have fun. These things are important.

  1. First, let’s talk about the physical benefits. Studies have shown that temporarily upping your calorie intake can increase your leptin production, boosting your metabolism for a short period of time. Leptin is the hormone responsible for maintaining energy levels, controlling hunger and may contribute to increased levels of dopamine production as well, which we all know puts us in a good mood. It also helps prevent stagnation. It’s the same reason you don’t do the exact same workout every time you go to the gym. By switching things up, you throw your body for a loop, thus making it work harder to do the same job it was doing before.
  2. There are also obvious psychological benefits. Getting one meal a week to indulge allows you to satisfy any cravings you may be having, as well as helping you develop a healthy relationship with food. Instead of assigning food into categories (as we are all so used to doing) like “good” and “bad”, it helps you relearn food’s role in your life. Instead of not allowing yourself to have a certain food because it’s “bad” for you, you can reassign it as a treat, or a once in a while food. Over time, this will help you keep those little slip-ups (we all have them) into a major derailing.

The purpose of cheating is not to have a free for all with your food. That’s not healthy. The idea is to treat yourself for your hard work all week. By satisfying a craving, indulging and not over-doing it, you can actually maintain a diet plan for a longer period of time if you schedule these cheat meals.

The important thing to remember is this: when I say that cheat meals work for me and might work for you, that is not me saying that they definitely will. Everyone is different, and having a cheat meal once a week might not work for you. If not, that’s fine. If it does work, that’s fine too.

What do you think? Do you use a cheat meal? Does it work?

Thirteen Point One

So I’m trying to come up with the words to describe this weekend, and frankly, I’m failing.

The trip was amazing. I love New Orleans and I really enjoyed exploring it all over again. The city was full of runners, I don’t think I’ve seen so much tech gear while sitting at a bar – or anywhere else for that matter.

Since I don’t really have the words, I guess pictures will have to do.


Adam, Erin and I at St. Louis Cathedral the day before the race.


Nothing makes you feel quite like a herd of cattle than being number 16,623 out of 28,000 runners.

It was very foggy during the race. At one point I couldn’t even see ten feet in front of me.

We finished! My final time was 2:47:07. Adam finished in 2:11:34. I am so proud that he beat his goal by 20 minutes. And yes, I am only wearing one shoe. I got a really bad knot in the ball of my foot around mile 11 and I was working on getting it out when my mom wanted to take pictures. It certainly made the last couple miles more challenging than they normally would have been.

New bling! And yes it’s on beads because New Orleans.

My cousin Erin has a lot of pictures of people during the race, but I was too busy trying not to die to take pictures. All five of the runners finished the race and I am so glad I got to spend the weekend running with my cousins.

Next time though, I go to New Orleans and actually drink – without running 13.1 the next day.

Next up:  Columbus Half Marathon in October and maybe the Plano Balloon Festival Half in September. That depends on if it conflicts with ALC 2014 though. I’m definitely going to train differently. More short runs, and getting my long runs up to 12 miles will make the last third of the race a lot easier, I think.

Music! My favorite song during the race was I Can Lift A Car by Walk The Moon.


Great Expectations

A lot of people talk about how running changed their life. It changed everything for them, and that’s amazing.

It does not do that for me.

It did change one thing, however.

It didn’t change my body (boot camp did that), it didn’t change my outlook or my lifestyle. I haven’t fallen in love with it the way others have, and that’s okay. 

It has changed my expectations for myself. I haven’t had concrete goals since before graduating college, and really those goals were very institution centered. They weren’t just my goals, they were my parents goals and my friends’ goals.download

But with running, I have my own goals. Goals that I alone am responsible for. Run.

Setting and reaching these small goals over the last few months has been huge for me, and it’s really given me perspective and set my expectations for myself a lot higher than year-ago-Julia would have. Now, 8 miles doesn’t seem that far. Well, it still seems far, but not impossibly so.

Now, as I’m resting for a race tomorrow (Polar Dash DFW 10K, my first of the year), I’m taking time to reflect. I like who I have become in the past few months, and though I’ve hit some obstacles recently, running has kept me sane and kept me focused on my goals.

These are my Friday thoughts. Happy Friday, and happy almost birthday week!


How Do You Eat An Elephant?

This post is brought to you by one ass kicking, brutally honest conversation with Allison. Thank you thank you thank you for getting me to shut up and get going.

During this conversation, Allison said something that got my wheels turning. How do you eat an elephant? I promptly replied “One bite at a time.” because that’s the answer.


But it got me thinking because as I started my long run, I was feeling a little intimidated. I know I’ve done so much already, but I’m starting to feel worn out and tired. Seeing that long run scheduled on my calendar was just a little daunting.

So I guess today I’m rephrasing the question. How do you finish a long run?

You put on your shoes, pick a playlist and step out the door. One foot in front of the other at whatever pace makes you comfortable – or uncomfortable, depending on the kind of week you’ve had.

Allison also reminded me to be grateful. Be grateful for what I’ve accomplished and what I can do, even if I don’t feel it is enough to accomplish my goals. With two weeks to go before my half, the nerves are settling in hard. My last couple long runs have been just short of painful, and I had to end this weekend’s 12 miler early because my trusty old achilles started hurting badI didn’t want to push it, so I settled for 9 miles in the sunshine. But still, I’m trying to be more grateful for what I have accomplished in such a short amount of time. I’ve been working very hard, and in the span of three months I’ve gone from 2 mile runs to run/walking 9 miles twice now.

This week starts my tapering runs. Today I did 3 miles on the treadmill, plus some weights and abs, which I haven’t done since I finished boot camp at the end of December. Tomorrow I’m hoping to get out again and do 4.5 or 5 miles. This weekend is a slow 8 miler (maybe at White Rock Lake if the weather is nice?) and I’m actually looking forward to it.

I also got word that my awesome friend Ashley will be playing with her band on the half mile course in New Orleans! I’m really excited to see her again and hear her play (sort of) for the first time!

Two weeks until I run 13.1. #gulp

The Healing Power of Running

I’ll be honest. It’s been a tough couple of weeks. First my grandfather passed away, and then I lost my job. Now, as I begin this new chapter in my life, I’m finding I’m taking the lessons I’ve learned on the pavement to heart.

“I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought.”
-Arthur Blank

I don’t want to dwell on the past. I want to focus on the tasks at hand. Going on interviews, getting my runs in, preparing for New Orleans and being with my family. That is what’s important to me now.

In the mean time, here is what I look like when going for a run in 30 degrees with 20 mph winds. I don’t wish these conditions on my worst enemy.


I don’t think Erin knew how soon I would need the headband she got me for Christmas. Also busting out my still-technically-inaccurate Polar Dash Finisher fleece.

For the record, I’m wearing compression pants, a sweat wicking tank (adidas), a tech tee, sweatshirt and fleece. The hood of my sweatshirt was up for the majority of the run because the wind was insane. If you are wondering about a birthday present for me, I could really use some warmer running pants.

But the determination I used to push through this run tells me that I will get over these obstacles. I will be stronger, I will be better. I will finish this run. Mile by mile, I can feel my life return to normal. Mile by mile, I am regaining control of my life.

Running Song of the Week

I love Fitz & the Tantrums and this week they made me think. Tell Me What Ya Here For. What are you here for?

One Year Ago

It’s the new year, and with recent events I’ve been prone to a little reflection.

time lapse

Everyone say hi to my mom!

2013 was an incredible, amazing year. I didn’t lose any poundage, but I did gain so much knowledge about myself. How to eat food as fuel, what my body is capable of, the importance of paying attention to my activity levels.

Talk about one heck of a year. I mean last night alone, I ran 4.5 miles. Four and a half miles. I’ve gone from a size fourteen to a ten and gained so much confidence and comfort in my own skin. If I look happier  in the most recent picture, it’s because I am so much happier now that I’m healthy. I’ve refocused my life on what is important. Spending time with my family, friends and on myself have helped me adjust to a new city and a new life and allowed me to focus on my career without getting lost in it.

Okay enough reflection. 2013 was awesome, and here is how I am going to make 2014 even better.

  • Run in 2 half marathons. I’m already signed up for one (duh, it’s all I talk about), but I want to schedule another one for the fall. I’m thinking either the Air Force Half Marathon in Dayton in September, or the Columbus Half Marathon in October. My co-conspirator Allison has already approved this idea.
  • Run in a total of 6 races 10K or longer. Right now my running comfort zone sits between 3 and 5 miles, so I want to push myself this year and run in four 10Ks in addition to the two halfs. I’m already signed up for the DFW Polar Dash at the end of this month, and I’m going to register for the Austin Statesman Capitol 10,000 in April. Anyone know any other good 10Ks in the area, let me know!!
  • Try something new. I’m thinking Krav Maga. Maybe Bar Method. Who knows? It could be anything, and that’s the beauty of  it.

So there it is! My list for 2014. Here’s to another great year full of new adventures and learning experiences along the way.

On Fuel and Recovery

I will be totally honest with y’all. This weekend’s run sucked. It was long, and slow, and while the weather was fantastic, my legs were just not in the mood for a five miler through the hills of North Texas. Yes, I measured and there was a hill that had a 62 foot incline over the span of a mere .8 miles. 


I may be a little bitter because I hate running hills so much and there will be zero hills in New Orleans so I don’t see why I should be forced to run on them at all. Okay maybe I’m a lot bitter about this.

In all reality, the major suckitude of my run this weekend was my own damn fault and I know it. In a rush to get my run done and over with (and head out to get my Christmas shopping done with my friend Pamela), I failed to properly prep for my run. Which means I went out without eating breakfast or even having a glass of water. Oops. It did not help that my dinner the night before consisted of sushi, and while super delicious and full of protein, not ideal for carb loading before a run.

As a result my legs felt stiff and heavy and did not want to move. My knee was aching and it took a lot longer than usual to loosen up. Lesson learned, breakfast is good, carbs are good. Right. Fuel. That thing I keep talking about.

Luckily I did make it through, as hard as it was. I guarantee you if I was on the treadmill I would have quit, but one perk of running outside is that if I want to get home eventually, I have to finish my run. I got home and chugged a protein shake and felt instantly better. It was magical and just proved that all I needed was to fuel up properly.

Partly as a result of my poor nutrition before my run, my legs and feet felt beyond stiff for the rest of the day. I was coming to the realization that I would have to ice down every muscle from the thigh down if I wanted to walk on Monday.

And that’s how I ended up in my first ice bath.

Which was kind of magical. I mean it hurt like hell. Like holy hell it was COLD. And it took me forever to warm up afterwards, because well, I had just submerged the lower half of my body in just-above-freezing water for twenty minutes. But I felt amazing the next morning. Very minimal stiffness in my calves, zero pain in my feet or knees. This may become a Sunday night ritual for me.

RSOTW: Today’s song is What You Know by Two Door Cinema Club. It speaks to me mostly because of the opening lines:

“In a few weeks I will get time
To realise it’s right before my eyes
And I can take it if it’s what I want to do
In a few weeks I am leaving, this is starting to feel like
It’s right before my eyes
And I can taste it, it’s my sweet beginning

6 weeks until New Orleans.

RSOTW: Schizophrenia by Jukebox The Ghost

I realize I’m long overdue for sharing a running song with y’all. So here is my most recent favorite jam: “Schizophrenia” by Jukebox The Ghost.

It’s fun and upbeat, and the lyrics are basically what it sounds like in my head as I try to convince myself to get through my runs. It’s got a good beat that goes well with a medium pace, as well as lyrics that go with my breathing pattern around mile 2, so it’s easy for me to sing along as I run. Yes, I sing to myself when I run, you got a problem with that?

Anyway, have a listen.

What’s your favorite running song? Post a video in the comments!