Cherry Blossom 10 miler Race Recap

Did you even run a race if there’s no photographic evidence? I kinda feel like that right now. It’s taken me so long to write this race recap because I’ve been waiting for an email from marathonfoto to say “Your Race Photos are Ready!” Well over a week later, I decided to check the website and alas it’s like I played Where’s Waldo with the photographers. After skimming through hundreds of unclaimed pictures, I FINALLY found one of me at the finish line. So proof. I ran that race lol.

Other than the lack of evidence of my race, I have to say that this is a race I would definitely do again. From the beginning it was well organized, news letters from the race were constantly being sent out with tips on how to get to the course, how things were set up, changes to the route etc. Bib pick up was easy and I was well guided to the right area.

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Got a picture in before we rushed off to the start line! 

The morning of the race did not start off without a hitch though. I will say, it’s my own fault. I should have planned on getting a Lyft a lot earlier, because while I scheduled it out in time, of course so was everyone else and the demand was HIGH. I started to freak out a bit when it was going to take them a half hour to get to me, but thankfully we had two phones going and one of them finally worked. We arrived to the race, hurried and searched for a bag drop off, (which I don’t normally do but it was unusually chilly in DC that morning and we knew we needed extra clothes) and got into our corrals just in time.

The first few miles were kinda tough, not because it was a hard race, actually it’s a really flat course, but it is super crowded. Some of the roads were pretty narrow, and there were a lot of walkers in my wave. I know I’m not a faster runner, but I’m not a walker. I am solidly middle of the pack. So this is my only gripe about the race, I was not seeded properly and it made my time much slower in the beginning than what I would have liked. I honestly felt like I was walking the first few miles, but I didn’t want to waste energy weaving in and out of people. One of the things I’ve started doing while running and biking is listening to audio books instead of music. This helped keep my mind off the actual race and just focus on my book and my environment. (If you need a good book, I just finish “The Wife Between Us” and it was SUPERB!)

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Soooo pretty

After awhile, it cleared up a little bit, still a very crowded race overall, but more manageable. Like I said it was a flat course, so nothing challenging, but I will say it isGORGEOUS. This is absolutely the prettiest course I have ever been on. The cherry blossoms were in full bloom, the city was clean and water sparkling. As I ran under the arches of the trees that hung over the roads, I was in awe. It made the first frustrating miles kind of disappear and made me just enjoy running for the first time in awhile. Last year, as you know was full of heart breakingly bad races, injuries and tears. While, I’m still working on getting back to where I once was, this race gave me the confidence that I needed to keep working and make my come back in 2018.  So Thank you Cherry Blossom 10 miler for a great kick off to my 2018 race year! Up next is the Portsmouth Half Marathon this weekend!

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My one and only race picture! So happy to finish!
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Pretty Medal! Thank you Rachel Rakoff for letting me steal this one!
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C Joy hits the sea!

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated here, mostly because things in life have taken a turn. All good, but I needed some time to get adjusted back into life and my new routine. I’ve been back in Boston for about 3 weeks now after being out to sea for 5 days, with nothing but water and sun surrounding me. Before, I left I decided to make a change in my career, but that’s another story for another day. Today, while I stare out the cafe window at snow falling I’d rather reminisce about my trip out to sea. While I am about fitness and health, that’s not my whole life. I want to start sharing experiences that help my balance my life and keep me sane. Traveling is one of those things and 2018 is my year for it!

On February 20th, I set out for my first time on a cruise! I’ve been on a ferry before to go to the Harbor Islands of Boston and I went whale watching once, but a CRUISE is a whole different story. When I got on board, my definition of rest and relaxation hit a whole new level. I spent this trip with my boyfriend, Patrick, it was a present for my 30th birthday (not sure how he’s ever going to top that one!) we set sail from Miami on the Royal Caribbean ship Navigator of the Seas, and this what our itinerary looked like:

Day 1: Miami

Day 2: Sea

Day 3: Costa Maya

Day 4: Cozumel

Day 5: Sea

Day 6: Miami

Embarkment

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Getting on to the ship was extremely organized, we got to the dock super early so we were some of the first people on board which was nice for this first time cruiser. I was so excited to check out the ship and explore which is basically a floating mini city. Our stateroom was on deck 8 stateroom 8616 and it was awesome. I honestly, often forgot I was on a boat sometimes, until I walked out on to our balcony and could only see ocean for days. If you go on a cruise, I really suggest you get a balcony, we used it a lot of pictures and relaxing with a drink.

Tip: even though I often forgot I was on a boat, I did get motion sick so remember to bring proper medicine.

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Everyday there were different activities that you can do on the cruise, and every night we were provided with the next days schedule. There is SO much going on, but honestly, we didn’t experience much of it because we were there to relax. We did work out one day in the very small over crowded gym, but decided that fitness was something we could take a break from for a short week. The pool, bars and food were our main focus of this trip.

Land Excursions

Cruising isn’t just about the ship though, we did get off the ship when we docked at different destinations. Our first stop was Costa Maya. I was super excited to stop here because we had planned months before to go snorkeling. This is a trip of firsts, and I had never gone snorkeling before and couldn’t wait to see ocean creatures that weren’t just at an aquarium. Sadly though, as soon as we got to shore we learned that the waters were too rough and snorkeling was cancelled. This was probably the most disappointing part of my trip, I got up early on vacation (6am) to get off the ship only to be told that we couldn’t do the one thing I was looking forward to. I was determined to still have fun though, so instead we signed up to swim with the dolphins. Not exactly seeing wild life out in the wild, but I have never done it before so it was a first!!!

The dolphins were really well trained to all the hand signals we were taught and we got got a TON of pictures of us kissing and holding them. Before we got in the water though, we had a safety talk as well as a lesson on how we can do our parts to help dolphins in the water, by not using so many plastic bags etc. It was nice that there was a little educational part even though I was sweating in my life jacket. There were two parts to the swimming. The first we would swim out to the middle of the huge pool we were in on a boogie board and two dolphins would swim up behind and push your feet so you went flying across the pool! The second one was you would swim back out and hold one arm out and a dolphin would swim up next to you so it was belly up, you grab its fins and it pulls you across the water. If you can’t tell from the pictures, I was ecstatic!!

Even though I was happy to still have fun in Costa Maya, I still wanted to snorkel! The staff on the ship was extremely accommodating to this. We originally had signed up to see the Mayan ruins in Cozumel, but after not being able to snorkel and learning that it was about a 6 hour round trip to the ruins, we decided to see if we could snorkel in Cozumel instead. Thankfully, we were able to make that change and went snorkeling in Turtle Cove and in the Cenotes.

Turtle cove was amazing, we saw several sea turtles up close, different fish and the reef that is out there. I was kind of disappointed we didn’t stay out there longer because I was having a blast. But some of the people in our group were slow pokes and we moved slowly to get in the water. Sadly, I am not high tech enough and we didn’t get any pictures, but I really enjoyed it.

After the cove, we went to the Cenotes which is an underwater cave. This was beautiful and I am so glad I got to experience this. The water was so clear and clean you could see straight down to the bottom. There were places you could touch and then there were places that dropped hundreds of feet. Surrounding us were so many stalagmites and stalactites that have been developing for hundreds of years. We learned the history of these caves and how there are hundreds of them connected by an underground river.

Food and drinks

Back on the ship there are several different places to eat. Some are included and some you have to pay extra. The Windjammer was the buffet style dining area that is included but we really only had a few meals here because I am not a fan of buffets. There was a lot of different choices and cuisines that catered to pretty much everyone here and it was good for a quick snack.

IMG_0090Aside from the buffet, there was the Sapphire dining room which was more formal, also included but with limited hours. This is where we mostly ate, the food was more limited in choices but in my opinion, so much better. In the evenings, this is where the three course formal and semi formal dinners were held and we definitely ate there every night. Everyone is assigned to a table and a dinner time for this dining area. At first when Patrick told me our dinner time was 8pm I was appalled because it was so late! But it really ended up being for the better because it gave us time to relax, get ready and have a pre-dinner cocktail without rushing. These meals were a pre-fixe menu that changed nightly so we got to try a lot of different meals that we normally wouldn’t eat. One the second night of the cruise it was the formal captain’s dinner which everyone got dressed up for, which I was super excited for because we never get to get that dressed up.

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Tip: While there is food included, drinks are not. We got the unlimited drink package, and it was definitely worth it, I can confidently say we got our money’s worth!

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Would I do it again? YES! I had a good time except for when I got a little motion sick, and I got to go snorkeling even though it didn’t quite go as planned. We actually have already booked a second cruise for February 2019 to the Eastern Caribbean (Tip: you get a sweet discount if you do it on the ship.)

 

Where do I plan on going next? We hit DC in a couple weeks and I’m off to the Philippines in May!

 

 

5 Friday Favorites: Supplements

Yesterday I posted about how I pump myself full of healthy vitamins and foods. But someone asked exactly what do I take to get everything my body needs? When you’re training for a big race like I am or just working out hard for life, it’s important that you keep everything in your body working like a well oiled machine. While I try to get most of my nutrition from nutrient dense foods, sometimes I like to splurge on Mac and Cheese so I need a little assistance. Here are my five favorite supplements to use.

vitamin1. Daily Multivitamin. I like this gummy ones because otherwise I forget to take them. I tell all my clients they should be taking one, like I said above, I prefer that myself and my clients are eating a healthy diet to get all of these in rather than a pill. We are human and sometimes that doesn’t happen so a multivitamin just assures that it will. Taking one can help reduce anxiety levels and stress. It also helps our bodies do the daily tasks that is required like processing food into energy and keep our nervous system functioning properly.

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2.Iron supplement. I also added an iron supplement into my routine because this past summer I attempted to donate blood for only the second time in my life and for the second time I was turned down because of low iron. They advised me to eat more dark leafy greens and red meats, but I already do plenty of both. So I decided to try a supplement. It’s important (especially for us women) to keep our iron at a stable level because it can cause fatigue and weakness since iron plays an important roll in creating energy from nutrients. Female athletes are especially at risk for increased iron deficiency!

 

 

vegan3. Vegan protein. Every once in awhile I track my food and I noticed that I never eat enough protein, especially to sustain the life style that I do and while I would rather eat my food than drink it, there’s just so much I can eat throughout the day without feel sluggish. However, like many people my body absolutely cannot process the typical whey proteins that are so popular. I tried recently after a long hiatus and I became painfully bloated and embarrassingly gassy. So I decided to try a vegan protein, right now I am using Good for Life chocolate flavor and I like it a lot.  it’s creamy and doesn’t make me feel gross!

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4. Collagen protein.  A couple years ago I read about this type of protein which is the most abundant type of protein in our bodies, you can consume this through bone broth. But I started adding this to my daily morning shake because of several reasons: it helps with joint pain and degeneration, which with my background as a dancer, cheerleader and runner I definitely need the help and boosts metabolism, muscle mass and energy output. Who wouldn’t want help? This type of protein is easily absorbed into the body and won’t cause any bloating like the whey.

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5. Amazing grass green superfood. This lovely green powder is definitely not the tastiest, but it is really is a superfood. This stuff is a blend of wheat grass, barely grass, alfalfa, spirulina, spinach, chlorella and broccoli. This awesome combo helps create alkalinity in the body and decreases inflammation, plus all those greens can’t hurt!

 

 

Have any questions about any of these? Let me know!

70.3 here I come!

Hey readers!

So I thought I’d give you an update on my training! I wanted to wait until I finished a full month, but I am just closing up week 3 and I’ve had a minor set back (of course). But it’s nothing serious, it’s just that it’s January in New England and despite pumping my body with vitamins and healthy foods, I am sick. I’ve kinda been in denial all week, hoping that I could will my body healthy, but alas that is not how the body works. So here I am wishing I could work out right now but I am pretty drained.
If you follow me on instagram (if you don’t you should! click here!) you know that I started training for my second attempt at a half ironman. If you’re not sure what that is, this race consists of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike and a 13.1 mile run. In that order equaling 70.3 miles. In 2016, I attempted one, but while I was physically ready I was not mentally ready and I dropped out after the bike. I was sad at the time but I’ve come to terms with it. I haven’t really done any triathlons since then though and 2017 did not consist of much swimming, biking and just a little running. 097
23415140_race_0.25631262029953683.displayThis month, I am really just concentrating on building back up my endurance in general because fitness is one of those things that if you don’t keep working at it then you lose it very quickly. I certainly have lost a lot of it. But it’s super important to look. FORWARD and not back. Yes, easier said than done. But I know just in 3 weeks I have seen a lot of improvement so that makes it easier to not get discouraged. I am very much a numbers person so I love keeping track and seeing those numbers change.
While those three sports are my main focus, I am still sticking to a lifting program. I always talk about balance and for me, lifting even though I am an endurance athlete is super important to me. I like being strong, and in the end that will help me prevent this body from becoming more injured than it’s already prone to and get faster! I used to have the mind set that it was all one or the other, but it doesn’t have to be if you make the time and both modes of exercise are a priority to me!
But for now I am sipping my tea and curling up into a ball until I can kick this cold and hop on my bike! img_0168

5 Friday Favorites: Beauty Products

If you ask my boyfriend I’m most comfortable laying around on the couch in what he calls my grandma sweater and sweatpants sans make up. But every girl (and guy!) wants to still feel pretty though right?

Well, of course! Here are my favorite products to use so that I can feel confident in my skin and not load up on (too much) make up.

  1. Fre Skincare. OMG this face wash just after one use created miracles. My skin instantly glowed and the cracked skin on my eyelids from the cold quickly healed. It’s made for people that love to work out and protects your skin from break outs and damages caused from sweating it out. Want to try it out? Use my code CJOY for 20% off your first order!unnamed-2

 

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2. Dry shampoo. Specifically, Batiste dry shampoo. Sweating it out and washing  your hair almost everyday will take a number out on your strands. So I really try to only wash my hair when I go swimming because then you really need to get those chemicals out!

 

 

3. Burts Bees. I know most people have heard of this and use it, but why change what isn’t broken? Just like my eye lids, my lips crack bad. All year. This stuff is natural and saves lives from unkissable lips 😉images-2

images4. Too Faced Natural Eye Palette. I’m terrible with make up, once I realized my white eye shadow phase was not a good look, I kinda gave up. I don’t know how to apply it and I don’t like the overwhelming experience of make up stores. This one is fun because it comes with directions and I don’t look like a clown in these colors!

 

5. Biotin gummies. But this isn’t a beauty product you tell me? Well, think otherwise! Gummy-Bears-NutstopSince I started taking biotin gummies regularly, my nails are stronger and my hair is shiner and grows faster! Easiest beauty regime I’ve ever had!!

Why I don’t make New Years Resolutions

Last December, I took a big leap. I left an easy relationship (ie. not perfect) moved out of the area of Boston that I had lived in for 5 years and started over…again. Honestly, I’ve done this before because I am not the type of person to just settle if I’m not happy. I have never wanted to be one of those people that sticks with a job or a person just because it’s comfortable or easy. Sure, there have been hard times when I’m like, “Crap, I can’t afford groceries this week.” But I some how always make it through.

This is why I don’t make resolutions.

It’s a waste of time to wait for a certain day of the year to make a change. I make changes that are aligned with my goals and MY timeline, not the calendars. In the past when I have tried to make resolutions it was more like me going through the motions rather than really working towards a goal that is important to me.

What I prefer to do at the end of one year and the beginning of another is to asses how that year went and what I can work on throughout the next year. A lot of these things aren’t measurable and I don’t really know if I’m making progress until a certain situation may come up and how I react.

So what has 2017 taught me?

-I need to stop caring so much about what others think about me. It’s a huge source of my stress and it’s kept me from my own success.

I DO NOT NEED TO KEEP UP WITH THE JONES’. A lot of my friends in this industry are rocking it. They have amazing blogs and social media and are killing it. But as you can see I struggle to keep up and that’s OKAY. I have a different path, still fitness but I chose to go down a management path because it fits my end game better.

No days off is unhealthy. I did so many races in 2016, I was constantly training and missed out on some of the important things in life because I always had some race or training plan to stick to. Where did that land me in 2017? Over trained and injured so none of my races went well. 2018 I will be more selective so that I can live life.

-I love fitness, but there’s more to me than just fitness. Someone told me this year that they like me because I can talk about things other than fitness, I love musicals and ballet, I’m well read. I think I forgot this about myself because the first thing that everyone wants to talk about these days is health and fitness. How about that latest Ruth Ware book?

What am I working on in 2018?

Killing a 70.3. I’m not trying to keep up with anyone, this is for ME. I need to cross that finish line not because I’m trying to impress my followers, but because I crave it.

Reading more. Every year I set a goal to read 24 books a year, so 2 books a month. But it’s been just any book to get that number. This year, I want to read for fun, but I also want to read to grow. Whether it’s a classic I haven’t read or a self help book to help me grow, I want to read more so I can become the best version of me.

Travel more. Like most people I want to see places and learn things. But I’ve let other life things get in the way (work and races). So this year you get to see me explore the Mayan ruins, visit my family in the Philippines and traipse around Italy.

I’m excited for what the future months hold. I love that I can look back and see how much I’ve grown in a year because day to day it’s really hard to see and some times even I get discouraged. So when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, remind yourself how far you’ve come and that progress is still progress.

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5 Friday Favorites: Podcasts

1.Well-Fed Women (Formerly the Paleo Women Podcast)

This podcast is hosted Noelle Tarr and Stefani Ruper, who are extremely funny and you should expect witty banter (I laugh to myself on my long runs when I listen to it). But don’t let that fool you. They are EXTREMELY smart and well read. They cover topics from empowerment for women by women, health issues that most women don’t want to talk about, fitness and body image. With over 100 episodes there are so many topics that they cover, I’m sure you’ll find something that applies to you.

2. Mind Body Musings by Maddy Mood

I just recently discovered this podcast because I happened upon her instagram and her life experiences really speak to me. She talks a lot about escaping perfectionism and expectations, and stop wasting our lives with overthinking. She does talk a little bit about health and fitness because she comes from the body building world as well, but she really focuses on self care to be the best you.

3. The Body Love Project with Jessi Haggerty

The title of this one says it all. I share the same outlook as her when it comes to diets and body image in the fitness industry. My favorite episodes so far have been “F*ck your fitspo with Sarah Vance” and “Melissa Carmona on Body Image across cultures.” Jessi is real and honest and doesn’t try to sugar coat anything which I can really appreciate.

And lastly

4. Bigger Pockets

Not really my favorite, but I’m into it because it’s helping me learn about a different way of earning money without really having a traditional job. Can I please retire by 35? K thanks.

5. Case Files

Ok, this is my guilty pleasure. I love shows like CSI and Criminal Minds, but now that I have SUCH a long commute (compared to me 10 minute walk) I don’t have much time for TV. So this supplements that for me! This podcast covers real crimes, solved and unsolved that have happened all over the world. It’s pretty interesting because there are some that were really big in the news and others that I can’t believe that it wasn’t bigger news!

Chicken Zucchini Roll Ups

Growing up I was never a huge fan of vegetables. You can ask my mom about that. So she would have to either bribe me, some how force it into a meal (hello stuffed peppers) or sneak it in (veggie filled spaghetti sauce). Things have changed a lot since then, but getting enough vegetables in every day still continues to be a struggle for me because, if you’ve followed me for awhile you know, I don’t like salads. So I have to think of creative ways to slip it in each meal.

Ingredients:

1 medium zucchini

2 cloves garlic

1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

1 egg

Juice from one lemon

1 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs

1 lb chicken cutlets

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Shred zucchini by hand or I used the food processor and drain out any extra liquid. Chop the 2 cloves or garlic and mix it in with the zucchini and cheese. Spoon mixture to center of one of the cutlets and roll up. Beat the egg and add lemon juice to it. Dip cutlets into egg  mixture and then into the bread crumbs, place in baking dish seam side down. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until juices run clear.

Five Friday Fitness Favorites: Christmas edition

It’s the return of my 5 Friday Favorites! This week is my Christmas edition for Fitness Junkies looking to add to their Christmas lists. Okay, maybe some of these things are just what want for Christmas but that’s just because I haven’t gone shopping for myself in awhile!

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1.A versatile gym bag. This is personally at the top of my wish list this year. For the past couple years I’ve lived close to work so I usually load up a backpack when I’m walking around the city so that I don’t end up ruining my posture. But now that I’m not doing that anymore and I need to bring more with me for the day I want something that will hold my life. Gym clothes, lap top, chargers, books etc. I currently have my eye on this one: (Lululemon)

 

2. Fitness tracker. Okay, I know this may be so 2015. But in this world of technology, I love stats. I like to keep track of my runs, swims, bikes and other work outs. I like to know if I sat in my office too much during that day and didn’t move around enough. I do have a Garmin 920XT, but it’s huge and bulky so I don’t wear it a lot, something that is gym proof but slim is ideal for every day use. Particularly this one: Nike watch

 

Brooks Ravenna 8 Running Shoe (Women's)

3. Shoes. Basic. But really. You shouldn’t be wearing the same pair for everything. I don’t walk around the city in my running shoes and I don’t run in my lifting shoes. You need different support for every activity. This is going to kind of a personal thing, so I suggest you get  fitted and try on different pairs to know what you like. These are my go tos: Brook for running and Reebok for lifting

 

 

4. Nutrition. Whether you’re an endurance athlete or a power lifter, everyone likes some kind of supplement to help with their performance and we go through it quickly. Being an endurance athlete that likes to lift, I get a little bit of everything. My favorites: (nuun, BCAA and vega one).Image result for nuun

 

5. Sweet tunes. Last but not least. I have no idea who doesn’t work out with music. A crazy person I guess. But a Spotify or Itunes gift card would definitely come in handy.

 

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

Tacos are definitely a staple in our house, and not just Taco Tuesday. There can basically be tacos any day that ends in a Y. But on our mission to eat healthier we’ve been trying out different recipes and since I’m not a fan of following directions (hence why I don’t really bake…that would be a disaster!) I like to change things up and make them my own.

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs chicken breast
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2.5 tsp dried thyme
  • 1.5 tsp sugar
  • .5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • .5 tsp red pepper flakes
  • .5 tsp salt
  • .5 tsp ground pepper
  • juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • avocado
  • Mango salsa (I used Newman’s Own, but you can make it homemade or buy it)
  • cilantro

Combine Chicken, garlic and all the spices with orange juice and lime juice in a slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 hours. Once cook, shred the chicken while still in the juices. Warm the corn tortillas on both sides in a skillet over low heat. Spoon the chicken onto tortillas and dress with salsa, avocado and salsa!