Why I Started Blogging About Running and Fitness

Recently I was asked why I started blogging and after a long-winded explanation full of passion, excitement, and enthusiasm about how RunMileswithSmiles was born, I realized I wanted to put the condensed version on the blog itself. Blogging is one of my favorite ways to express my creativity while reading other people’s blogs offers motivation, inspiration, and support that is hard to find in other written pieces in my opinion. There is something organic and authentic that I really love about blogging. I truly love the blogging and fitness community and was very excited to join it with my own.

4 years ago (holy cow, has it already been 4 years?!), I realized I was in a very unhealthy place in my life. I had gained beyond the freshman 15 after my first year of college, I was staying up way too late, eating too much junk food, and it would honestly take me some time to try to remember the last time I ate a vegetable. While dorm food wasn’t the healthiest, I bypassed the salad bar way too often for one too many meatball subs with a side of curly fries.It also didn’t help that Anthony is a string bean and when we first started dating in college, I tried to keep up with everything he ate and drank. Needless to say, it was not a very good idea. I was feeling lethargic and struggled to walk from one side of campus to another (in my defense, our campus is HUGE). Don’t even get me started on how often I exercised because I didn’t want to walk to the gym. I was also going through a tough time emotionally. My father passed away unexpectedly from stage 4 cancer the first quarter I was in San Diego and it’s true. Everyone copes with grief differently and I coped with food and unhealthy habits that kept me from thinking about just how sad I was.481319_10150905793213213_1579529643_n.jpg

Sometime that summer after my first year of college, I decided I needed to make a change. My initial goal was just to lose some weight and start eating healthier. I started the Insanity 60 Day fitness challenge with Anthony and I was instantly hooked to the challenge and hardships of the fitness program. I don’t know what it was but something about how the physical pain of each 45-60 minute workout was greater than anything I was feeling about missing my dad or how everyday, it gave me a new obstacle to focus on, really drove me to push myself. No matter how hard the workout was, I was also having a ton of fun and also  made it a little competition with Anthony to see how far we could get without taking a break in between each interval. I guess I was always competitive!

When the challenge ended, I started to look for new ways to stay active and thought I would try running. I ran track briefly (like for a hot second) in middle and high school but for a long time, hated it because who wants to run in a 100 degrees with a 110% humidity in Florida?! Not this girl. In the very beginning, I had no idea how to get started. Do I run a mile? Half a mile? Go as long as I could until I passed out? Clearly all of the thoughts of a noob runner. I decided to start reading articles on Women’s Running Magazine, Competitor, and Runner’s World to get advice on how to get started. Then I started reading blogs and boom! Everyday I was inspired by the women in the fitness community with similar stories as mine and how now they have qualified for the Olympic trials or BQed or PRed their latest race. I loved reading their stories and it would constantly push me on my runs. I started to love running and pretty soon in that year, won my first local 5K and went on to run my first half marathon, the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll 1/2 in 2012.10689900_10152927000578213_1429947822932830115_n.jpgDistance races really hooked me from the start and since then, I’ve completed three marathons, multiple halves (including the San Diego Triple Crown Challenge), a Ragnar Relay (favorite running memory to this day), a duathlon, and joined a triathlon team to start making the transitions from just running to cycling and swimming as well. I wanted to start tracking my fitness journey and the improvements I made along the way, plus inspire and help others starting their fitness journey. It created RunMilesWithSmiles and opened up amazing windows of opportunity- hello blogging for Chobani and freelance writing for Women’s Running Magazine. I’m so happy I started this blog and hope to continue to grow and connect with more people through this amazing community. :)11150210_10153136017808213_1573105609976430211_n

A Great Day to Ring in 23!

Hello everyone! I’m officially 23 and I have got to say, Blink 182, what were you talking about? Plenty of people like you when you’re 23! I’m so thankful for all my wonderful friends and family who messaged, emailed, texted, or called me. Makes you really appreciate all the wonderful people in your life even more! FullSizeRender (5)Since it was a work day, I was spent most of the day answering emails but took a short lunch break to go to Cody’s La Jolla, a delicious brunch place in Downtown La Jolla with my roommate. They had the best hand cut onion rings to start with. IMG_0021For the main dish, I got their chopped salad. It’s one of the first times I’ve ever gotten a salad for brunch but I knew that I would be indulging a lot the rest of the day and weekend to celebrate. If you are ever in San Diego and need a good brunch place, let me know! I am your girl. FullSizeRender (6)After lunch, I worked until 4:30 and started getting ready for my first track practice back after my injury. I was really nervous because I know that I get really competitive, especially at group practices but had no idea where my fitness levels were in terms of track workout paces. Happy to report that I am not completely out of shape and was able to keep up with the majority of the team throughout the workout. IMG_0024It was a beautiful day to run. Anthony and Elle came as well because Anthony wanted to do a mile trial time. Don’t tell him I’m telling you all, but for someone who does not run very often, he had an incredible time for his mile- 5:54 min/mi! Now we are slowly but surely trying to convert him to the dark side, I mean light side, of running and triathlon ;) FullSizeRender (7)My coach is awesome at taking action shots. Do not let this picture fool you though. I was dying on the inside and struggling to keep my 6:30 min/mile pace. Surgery and injury really takes a lot out of you! You just have to remind yourself that you have time to get back into it and you are doing this for fun. There is no rush and you’ll be back in no time. IMG_0025We were nervous to take Elle to our workout because we didn’t know how she would do tied up. She cried a couple of times but there were enough people on the team like coaches and friends, who gave her attention and eventually, she was just having fun chewing sticks on the sidelines. We can’t wait til our little sidekick can run too. As a reward, we let her dig a huge hole near the track after… Don’t tell the school! IMG_0029After track, I figured the best way to refuel was with Sprinkles Cupcakes… I definitely used my birthday as an excuse;) Somehow forgot to take a picture of my cupcakes but remembered to take one of Elle with hers. Love that Sprinkles makes cupcakes for dogs as well. IMG_0037Ended my birth date night with a cup of Yogi tea. I love the little quotes that come with their tea packets. I definitely needed that. IMG_0034Oh and on the topic of celebration, my sister one uped my birthday yesterday with a middle school celebration! She is graduating and going to high school in a couple months and one of 14 who got straight A’s all throughout middle school! She got a special trophy and everything. So excited for her and love watching her grow up, even if it’s from afar as she is in Florida right now.

Spending the rest of the weekend celebrating with Anthony, friends, and family. What do you have planned?

Since We’ve Last Caught Up…

Hello everyone! Sorry for the radio silence. Typing with one hand and under painkillers made close to zero sense in terms of how long it took to crank out a single blog post + literally… made no sense because what was I trying to say in any of my posts?! We sure have a lot of catching up to do in that time period so let’s get to it! IMG_3037I’m officially out of my sling and no longer have staples in my collarbone! The two weeks after my surgery, kids in elevators looked scared to enter if my collarbone was exposed and I would feel like Frankenstein every time I looked in the mirror. It sure is a relief to have them out and gone! I really feel like I’m on the road to recovery now and have a nice little battle wound to prove it. That and how sore my shoulder is with two days of physical therapy a week.IMG_3028Ben & Jerry’s vegan line of ice cream. Oh. My. Goodness. I have yet to find a vegan ice cream I’m thrilled about because to me, none of them tasted close enough to the real thing. Then this baby came into my life. You can’t tell the difference and I’m scarfing down each pint way too quickly. Chunky Monkey Vegan Ben & Jerry’s, you’re the next one on my list!IMG_3120My best friend from high school was in San Diego for 24 hours! She is a big shot I-banker in San Francisco and we both went to college out of state so didn’t get to see each other much the last four years. However, the moment we saw each other, we knew nothing had changed and had so much to catch up on! I cannot wait to see her again when I’m in San Francisco next month for work.IMG_3086 Celebrated a great Breakaway Training coach’s birthday two weekends ago. It was nice to come out of my injury cave and to see my teammates in going-out clothes, not just running shorts and spandex! A couple of glasses of El Camino sangria didn’t hurt either ;) IMG_3103We’ve had Elle for over a month now! She is the greatest puppy in the entire world and her 4 month birthday is in 4 days. I will have a puppy-raising update then :) All I can say right now is that she’s our world!IMG_3136 And the most important update of them all… I FINALLY RAN OUTDOORS YESTERDAY! Only 2.2 miles but after not running for a month and not knowing how the surgery was going to feel with the impact, I am so happy with the progress! It has felt absolutely incredible and I’m over the moon with the progress I’ve made the last couple of weeks. 2 more days until my breaking my collarbone monthaversary! Hoping I’m back on the bike in a couple of weeks as well.

How has your week been?

Training for any upcoming races?

Vegan/ dairy-free ice cream lovers! Any other amazing brands/flavors of dairy free ice cream I should try?