I would say that over the past six months or so, I’ve been trying to solve an enigma that is, my hormones. Women’s hormones—no, they are not “TMI”, and they shouldn’t be. If I had to pick one thing that gets on my nerves , it’s when people follow women’s health/period talk with a TMI disclaimer. Way to normalize a totally natural thing, amiright? 🙄
I’ve noticed in this time that at least 1.5-2 weeks before my monthly cycle, I’d get really bad fatigue (like, getting up after 7am was a struggle—and I’m an early bird) and breast soreness. But when I noticed that it deeply effected my running efforts, I wondered if there was a connection. As soon as my cycle began and for two weeks after, running at “faster” paces with an proportionate amount of effort seemed easier to do. But it was a different story afterwards…
My “two weeks of hell” for this particular month began the week I returned from Tulsa, and seemed to subside by this past weekend. Oh, but the onset of the first week was an extreme compared to past experiences.
It began with breast soreness and fatigue, as expected. But then it was mood swings…I started to feel randomly sad and depressed throughout the day, and easily frustrated by little things. All of this combined was the perfect way for me to be set-off by even the smallest of triggers…triggers that I’d be able to brush off on a “normal” day.
And of course, I was in tears by the time Friday of that week rolled around. There was a conflict at work and I felt I was unfairly scolded to for something that had no basis in argument. Thankfully I had E to vent to, but I just felt ridiculously mad and was dropping F-bombs like nobody’s business. Like I said, I was mad, and I felt like my feelings needed to be released.
I did sleep on it, and did my best to let my feelings play out. I did my best to treat myself to the best self-care as possible.
This included lots of rest, thinking in solitude, and a refreshing lunch out with my sister and a movie that Sunday. We went to see Coco, and had lunch at the Tender Greens in Westfield Century City.
It was my third time visiting a Tender Greens location, and my second time getting the Falafel Plate. The first time I had the Falafel Plate was when my plate included a side kale salad (with garlic dressing + parmesan), a green dollop of hummus that looked like guacamole, tahini sauce, and a crisp crostini bread.
This occasion’s plate was quite different, but delicious nonetheless.
Seasoned veggies, butter lettuce , and a thin, lavash-like flatbread were included. The falafel has a nice crisp exterior, and a gorgeous green hue on the inside. The definition of a perfect falafel.
But even with that incident now a part of the past, and having a pleasant weekend with the sis to help de-stress, I still was experiencing those PMS-like symptoms, but even stronger. In addition to the fatigue and soreness, I felt a mild loss of appetite, strong headaches that lingered throughout the day, and a cloud of un-motivation hovering over me as the following week came up. I cut down on my running mileage that week as well, due to feeling unmotivated and because shin splints were popping up again for me. Ugh, would it ever stop?
After hearing me complain for days, my Dad suggested I address some potential vitamin deficiencies. He suggested I try taking a Vitamins B-12 supplement, and see if that put my energy levels back into balance. There was also the idea that Vitamin D could be something I may need to address as well, due to the demands of running and it being winter / less sunlight exposure and all.
I started taking a supplement on Friday, and decided to take the weekend off from running to rest up. Saturday and Sunday were pretty relaxing, and I even went out for lunch with E at a new place at the USC Village—-Trejo’s Tacos!
I got the Cauliflower Bowl, and E got some chips and guac along with a cheese quesadilla and pink lemonade. My bowl was packed with beans, seasoned rice (almost as if it was doused in a spicy ketchup sauce?? But it tasted good…), fresh greens, pico, corn, and a cream sauce.
I even treated myself when I got home later in the day—to a seasonal flavor of Halo Top, Gingerbread House.
It wasn’t a favorite of mine, but it was alright for a quick Saturday night dessert 🙂
This month so far has been a hectic and exhausting one for sure, but I’m glad that I’ve been quick to act and put my self-care first.
I’m hoping 2017 will end on a sweet and peacful note. Even though I won’t be around family, I’m hoping to spend some days with E sans work before she leaves, as well as planning to carpool with one of my friends to see my friend who lives in Vegas for New Year’s Eve. At least there are some exciting things coming up to keep me motivated 🙂
I’ve been sooo behind on blogging, but I have my legitimate reasons…how’s about moving, a birthday, and 24 hr+ working day/night for starters?
The week before my birthday/last week in my now-ex-apartment was a very rough one. My emotions were raw, and dealing with certain people with these already broiling emotions had me on the verge of waterworks. I did end up crying, but one of my co-workers was there to talk me through it and calm me down.
Even though tension was at an all-time high, I had some comforting snacks to get me through the tormenting week.
A shipment of ANSI Nutrition’s newest protein cheesecake bar flavors was a pleasant surprise to receive in the mail. Funny thing was, I first tried these on one of the worst work days of the week, so they just so happened to be the highlight of that particular day 😉
The Birthday Cake flavor was soft, and had a mild vanilla flavor to it. It could have used some sprinkles, but it was not overwhelming.
Chocolate Coconut was my favorite flavor from the three newest flavors. It had a tougher texture with the coconut flakes and chocolate coating, and to me, was more pleasant than the Chocolate Banana flavor.
The latter was decent, but since I’m not a fan of raw bananas, there was only so much banana flavor I could handle.
So it was no surprise Chocolate Coconut was my winner 😉
When move out day finally came around, I was successfully able to round up an army to help me move out…well, a one man army a.k.a. my Dad, who I hadn’t seen in 8 months!! Honestly, I don’t know how I would have moved OR cleaned my apartment without him.
Before any of the hard work though, we had dinner together at Yalla Mediterranean in Culver City. It replaced Daphne’s Greek, which I had intentions on visiting someday but I guess that just won’t happen.
Yalla was great though. After waiting in line behind a lady who wanted to sample everythannnnng, my Dad and I were finally able to order our plates. We both got the falafel plate and got to choose from plenty of sides colorfully placed alongside eachother at the counter bar. I picked the steamed veggies to pair with my falafel, along with a slaw, babaganoush, and a dressed beets and kale salad. There was some unpictured pita side, and a whole lotta YUM.
Our trays were incredibly nourishing, and enough to get us started with cleaning my apartment…at 9pm. We even managed to get my roommate to work, with all of us retiring at midnight. BUT, we continued to work as soon as we got up the next morning…
Have you ever had to move? What was your experience like?
This week in running was mild on the miles compared to the last several weeks. I originally thought I would be conquering a PDR on Sunday, but since many of the undergrads still had finals, they made Sunday’s run an optional long run day and reduced the mileage to 10 miles (even though it was less than that realistically). I was kind of bummed that it would be my last run with the team until next year, but at least I achieved a new 5K and 10K PR by running at 8:45/mi during the run! Despite having to stop at so many stoplights, running through downtown was a blast—even the especially challenging Bunker Hill area! It felt like my lungs were on fire!
Sunday – LSD 9.36 miler with the team at 8:45/mi [new 5k and 10k PRs!!]
My legs felt super sore the next day (possibly the effects of still breaking in new shoes), but even so, I managed to get in some more runs early on in the week before I finally gave myself some rest days. Thursday’s 4 miler felt much more tortuous than it should have been, so I cancelled Friday’s run and made it an “active” rest day by walking from Marina Del Rey to Santa Monica. Saturday was a complete rest day (besides the walking needed to get some errands/eating out done), in order to save my energy—and stay on track—with maintaining my long runs on Sunday and my marathon training schedule!
I made sure to spend the weekend after my last set of exams for the semester the way I wanted to, and I believe my expected plans meshed with how things really turned out most perfectly.
After running 5 miles in my new running shoes on Saturday, I took the bus to La Brea to drop off my old pair of Brooks before heading down Melrose towards the direction of the third Real Food Daily I had yet to visit. My first visit in Pasadena was so enjoyable that I literally forced my Dad and sis to try the Santa Monica location with me when they were here back in October. I fell in love with the almond “tuna” during that second visit, and immediately had a craving for it when I was studying for my final set of exams.
The set-up was similar to that of Pasadena’s (they seriously need to make a bigger sign though—that small rectangle is easy to miss!), with an outdoor seating area and the cashwrap close to the entrance. I could tell it was a busy Saturday afternoon, and I was given a seat at a corner booth.
It was at this time I had my first unintentional celebrity sighting! I recognized the face of Sara Gilbert, but it took me a while to match up the name to her face. I also do not get starstruck very easily, so I didn’t do anything awkward like ask for an autograph or “ask her to take a selfie with me” like my Dad suggested via text 😛
I went ahead and ordered The Great Cardini salad, and when the waiter asked if I wanted blackened seitan, I made my move and requested the almond “tuna” instead. The request was accepted, and I excitedly waited for my dream bowl to arrive.
Perfection, no? And the almond “tuna”, just for kicks:
Even though it was “just a salad”, I felt quite full, and wasn’t sure if I would have room for the dessert I planned to have that day. I decided that I would wait a couple hours and gauge my fullness then. In the meantime, I killed time by checking out the Beverly Connection a couple blocks down. I figured it would be a good time to also do some holiday gift shopping!
I did get carried away with the shopping, but at least I was able to find something for one of my good friends before heading towards Beverly Hills. It was starting to get chillier around 4pm, and I wondered if I should keep on trekking. It was originally sunny enough for shorts, but I started to doubt my outfit choice for the day…
I did trek on though, and enjoyed the sights around me on my quiet walk to the Hills.
Once the shops started getting fancier, I knew I was in the right location to try and spot…Ice Cream Lab!
Again, it was in an easy-to-miss location, and I probably would have kept walking by it if I had not glanced up for a minute.
The inside of the shop was small, with the left side designated for seating and conversation, and the right where the ice cream was ordered and made. The ice cream is made using liquid nitrogen, and so everything is frozen on the spot!
For my ice cream flavor, I chose to go with one of their rotating flavors—the Beary Cinnful Horchata. I don’t think I’ve ever had a real horchata, but ice cream with cinnamon teddy bear graham crackers, cinnamon sugar, and cinnamon powder topping did sound warm and toasty—even though the resulting product would be freezing cold!
I had my ice cream in a medium cup (their medium is a small for some interesting reason), and I found it to be thick and flavorful, with chunks of cinnamon evenly mixed in. I snacked on this while walking over to the bus stop, and got frequent stares from people who were wondering why this girl in shorts was having ice cream when it was obviously getting colder outside? Or maybe they were thinking, “where can I get myself some liquid nitrogen ice cream?!”
Despite shivering at the bus stop as the sun was setting, I enjoyed my small cup of warmth (at least in flavor…)
Just as Saturday’s plans for fun rolled out with ease, Sunday stepped up to the “friendly challenge” as well. We had our last team long run for the semester, and had a run through downtown LA short of 10 miles. I then was able to make plans with one of my teammates to meet up for lunch in Culver City. Sage Vegan Bistro was our meeting point:
The entrance was confusing, since the only way to enter was through thegorgeous and greenoutdoor patio area:
I finally met up with my friend, and we were given a table inside.
Everything on the menu sounded delicious—I’m surprised we were both able to agree on an appetizer and entree to share. I definitely wanted our entree to be a pizza, since they are only available at the Culver City location. While waiting for our rolls and pizza, we chatted about running and other things…but mostly running 😀
Soon, it was time to dig into the TexMex Chimichanga Egg Rolls and BLTA Pizza:
My favorite part of the rolls were their extra crispiness. But the mango chutney sauce? It was the perfect sauce to top on the pizza crust!
Speaking of pizza—this was so good. It had a hint of sweetness that I’m going to guess is from the ranch sauce or pesto!
Between the two of us, the pizza and rolls were the right portions for a Sunday lunch. We agreed that we should meet up for lunch sometime again soon, and I added that it would be fun to do something like this especially after the long runs!
So then we parted ways, and I went for a long walk up Sepulveda, so that I would eventually get to Sawtelle for dessert—another cold treat, this time at Blockheads:
My hour plus walk (that was somewhat uphill) got me hungry again, and waiting in line for more crowds…ah, it’s something that I just had to get through!
The walls had some cute penguin-themed art:
And who would not want to take this little cube guy home?
When I finally got up to the counter and figured out the exact combination of shave ice + toppings I wanted, I was glad to be handed this after everything was pushed to completion:
It had an interesting texture—creamy like fro yo, but had the shredded appearance of shave ice. No wonder this place was so popular…
The rest of the day was spent finding (and purchasing!) a gift for my other friend, and then taking two buses and the rail to get home. I guess I underestimated how much walking (and running!) I did that day because by the time I got home, my legs felt like they had been on one demanding adventure…and not even a food-related one 😉 !
How do you treat yourself after making it through a challenging week?
Week 5 in marathon training has been a long & busy one. I have not been exhausted from the runs, but more so from the last week of classes and looming exams this coming week! We also had some crazy weather shifts in LA (raining early in the week), so that sort of influenced my mood in regards to getting out the door to run.
Despite all of these fluctuations and changes, I did manage to rack up some quality runs over the week, including a speedy 5k race.
Sunday – LSD 12 miler (in the rain!!!) at 9:27/mi
Monday – Rest
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday– 7 miles total [ 1 mi warm-up at 9:03/mi + 6 miler at 9:09/mi]
Thursday – 3 miler solo morning run at 9:36/mi
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 5k race at 8:45/mi
Total Mileage -> 25.1 miles
Since I was up in Nor Cali for the Thanksgiving weekend, I ran a 12 mile LSD on my own. The team scheduled an optional 11 miler for that weekend, as I learned later, so I’m sort of proud that I ran that additional mile (because every mile counts 😉 ). Monday was a travel day, and Tuesday was heavy rain day in LA, so those events put a damper on my running plans.
On Wednesday, there were some light showers, but I did push myself to go out for a run with the team—more like one other individual—and ran a 6 miler that seemed longer than it was. Thursday was another solo run that I just wasn’t feeling. Friday’s rest day put things in order so that I could run a rock-solid 5k on Saturday. I chose to run the shorter distance because a) the later start time meant I could coordinate it with the bus schedule and b) a 13 mi LSD was on the schedule the following day!
1. I am so glad Urth Caffe has 5 locations for me to check out and that they have such an extensive menu. I’ve already crossed the WeHo location off my list, where I was thoroughly impressed by my Sunday afternoon dessert.
2. Speaking of which…this tiramisu? Out-of-this-world-insanely delicious.
3. Everybody in WeHo had the same idea as I did: 3pm tea time on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
4. I may have taken more than my share of stevia packets. Sorry, I’m not ashamed.
5. All I was missing was a leisure-reading book and a sun hat. I’m also surprised I didn’t go back for seconds…
Okay, now for some things non-tiramisu-related 😉
6. In about 5 months time, I’m going to be doing this. I never thought about doing it so soon, but there is really no time like the present. The topic most definitely deserves a post of its own…
7. I busted out the baking pan and made these last night. Shhh—it’s a surprise for my Dad and sis 😉 . Also plan a separate post detailing what they are/what’s in it!
8. Speaking of family, they are arriving tonight and I still am not sure what to do with them for the weekend (haha). How do you pick when there is somuchstuff going on in LA?
9. I’ve finished week 2 of my first lab rotation, and have been feeling completely exhausted. Like, napping-at-6pm-seems-like-a-good-idea exhausted. The work itself is not tiring, so I guess it’s just because my routine is changing again, and that’s causing some form of subconscious stress?
10. This week has been crazy in terms of free stuff. We had a vendor show on campus the other day, and I was able to pick up some things that always come in handy (reusable shopping bags, pens, etc.). We also got to go around to different booths and get a card stamped for an entry to win an iPad mini. And of course, there was free food. My favorite was a small bottle that looks like something you’d find in a lab cabinet, but it actually had Hershey’s Kisses in it!
Last Sunday ended up being a low-key day, despite my plans to head to SaMo for a run and a brunch at some new-to-me place. I guess the heat from the previous day’s adventures got to me, as well as the voice inside my head telling me I should do some studying so that I wouldn’t be playing catch-up later in the week. I was also feeling a bit of loneliness, and honestly, I just didn’t feel like stepping out on a solo adventure that day.
But a close family friend must have sensed my thoughts, because she sent the most adorable sign accompanied by a lovely letter:
Snail mail can provide the best solutions sometimes…and so can free food. On Tuesdays, my apartment complex gives out free food, and so I spent 45 minutes in line to get a cup of the one thing that was vegetarian. There were also mini tortillas available, but that became a huge no-no to grab since the cooks placed them on the same surface as the chicken/beef that was being cooked for taco fillings.
At least this rice made for a decent, packable lunch for me to bring to school the next day. Mixed with some tahini, it was actually not that bad.
The rest of the week went by so quickly, it all seems like a blur now. Between studying, eating, and sleeping, I also had to make a trip out to meet a potential lab rotation mentor for my first rotation on Friday. I’m not surprised that my busy schedule has already started to effect me. Even though I had plans to go for a morning run before 9 am on Saturday, I just did not want to get up. Instead I slept in until 8:30, made myself a cup of tea-infused hot milk, and finished organizing my laundry from Friday night.
I still managed to get a weights work-out in at the gym, and after slowly getting ready, decided to continue with my plans for the day: lunch in Pasadena!
To get there, I started off at Union Station in order to connect to the Gold Line. After learning that fare prices are increasing starting on the 15th, I knew I had to make the most of my trip! It also got me thinking…why did they have to wait until after I moved to increase prices?
The time it took me to get from Union Station to Lake Station was about 24 minutes, but with a growling stomach and a sleepy head, it felt much longer. And after getting off, the heat wave outside felt unbearable—but I had to remind myself, food was waiting for me just a mile ahead!
I got into such a heavy rhythm of walking that I almost missed my destination. If I had not turned my head at the corner, I would have missed the discrete Real Food Daily sign!
I stopped to take a look at the menu outside, and went in confidently with my order in mind.
At the counter, I ordered an item from their salad selection, specifically the Mediterranean Bowl. Flatbread and feta sounded so appetizing at the time, especially alongside a cool salad.
Since the inside of the restaurant was packed, I volunteered to sit outside, which wasn’t so bad at all since there was shade and I had the whole area to myself.
Out of all of the vegan restaurants I’ve visited in LA so far, this establishment has to be the quickest in terms of food delivery. Despite the busy crowds, my food came to the table within ten minutes.
I loved the almond feta dollop in the middle, and did a pretty good job of “eating my veggies first” so I could save the feta and coat my bread with it.
It took me a while to get to the bottom of the bowl, but the mission was accomplished.
I also took my time eating because I wanted to savor my time in the shade before absolutely having to get back out in the sun. You’d think that after I heard about how there would be a heat wave over the weekend on the news, I’d make plans to head west and cool off at the beach, but no—I go and do the exact opposite and head even more east.
Oh well. The sights in Pasadena are well worth it.
I made my way down Colorado Blvd. to eventually get to the Memorial Park Station. As I waited for the train, I admired the intriguing artwork hanging from above:
I made it back to Union Station within 20 minutes, but had to wait another hour for a shuttle to get back home. In the meantime, I people-watched…since there are some pretty interesting characters using public transport 😛 . There was this one guy trying to sell off his day-pass or something, and it got serious enough that a lady reported him to security and from there…it just turned out interesting. Such is city life!
Is there a huge heat wave right now where you live?