Put to the Test

Well… Saturday November 9 was the culmination of the “Shannon eat healthy tips.” I put all my research and “practicing what I preach” into play when I ran (AND COMPLETED) my 50K in Maryland. Now, I am not sugarcoating it at all. It was a rough five and a half hours! However, I firmly believe that all my training coupled with the food training really helped.untitled

Months before the race, I tried to eat healthier and follow the general tips I provided for you all in my blog posts! On my part, I knew that there were a LOT of slip ups (mainly involving a significant amount of icecream). But, generally my overall diet improved. With my improving diet I saw a general rise in my daily attitude and self-confidence levels. I relate it to the fact that I was proud of what I was doing!

As for my race, food and hydration went a lot harder than what I expected it to be. This was mainly because I was caught between my not being able to eat while running and my competitive nature that didn’t allow me to take the needed amount of time to stop and eat. Unfortunately for my body, my competitive nature won. The entire race I consumed a handful of M&Ms, a few pretzels and pieces of potatoes and some gel chews. The gel chews are probably what really gave me the energy to get through the miles 15-22. The only thing that helped me get from 22 to 31.2 was the “finish…or else” mentality. If I ever decide to run another marathon (or ultra) again, I really need to focus on the ability to run while eating. It will save a lot of time and stress in the long run (pun intended). Water was also a huge problem as I completely forgot to drink it. Water stops every 5 miles no waterwere a little too far apart and, after skipping one water stop, my body did start to hate me quite a lot. I was supposed to be getting 16 oz about every half hour, but I think I only got maybe a little over 32 oz the entire race. Oppps!

The feeling crossing the finish line, even with my bad race eating and hydrating, was still absolutely amazing. I completed the 31.2 course in 5 hours and 29 minutes! Not too shabby for an ultra newbie. My mom, who has never run more than 4 miles, also finished the last 10 miles with me which was AWESOME. I was mainly pleased with the “free” hat I got out of the whole thing and the experience! Will I be running another ultra anytime soon? NO. NO NO NO. My body is still wayyyy to sore for that. It was a ton of fun though, so maybe someday! I am still trying to stick with my food rules! So far so good and my post-race recovery is going very smoothly. Here are some recovery tips for anyone competing in a rather long athletic event.


  1. Chocolate Milk (for muscle recovery)
  2. Carbs (pasta, bread, granola)
  3. Sugars (honestly, at this point you deserve it) I ATE SOUR PATCH KIDS
  4. Rest and relaxation
  5. An ice bathmom i love you
  6. Lax ball (for deep tissue roll outs)
  7. A loving Mom to take care of you


I originally wrote this blog post last week and then realized that it would actually be my very last blog post ever THIS WEEK. 10 weeks certainly flew by. I hope that everyone learned a little from reading my short little blurbs every Friday. Writing about something that I am so passionate about was an absolute blast. I hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving break. EAT LOTS OF TURKEY (it’s actually really healthy!!)

happy thanksgiving

TED Talk Reflection

Everyone take a deep breath. The TED talks are done. If everyone was as nervous as I was for that darn little talk, the fact that we are all done is probably a huge relief. Whew! Looking back, however, it was an absolute blast. I was originally freaking out about the “memorization” aspect.  After watching both my group and the group before us give their talks, and hypothesizing that the next two groups did just as well, I firmly believe that we all aced that assignment!!

I really liked the talks that involved a quote from memory. It was especially memorable if the person did not look back at the screen once and completely recited it from memory. If I could add one crucial element to my speech, I would add that. It really showed preparation on the speaker’s part!

One aspect that I thought could be improved upon was the little glances back to the screen projector behind us. I know, on my part, the little glances back were more of a nervous tick than out of actual necessity. I knew what was going to be on the slide, but for some reason, I just had to glance back and confirm that the next picture was actually next. Quite a few people did that in our class. However, if that is the worst thing I can think of that happened, we all did pretty spectacularly as a group!

On a final note, I was really impressed with the wide range of topics that we all thought of to depict a paradigm shift! There were presentations from super heroes, to Priuses, to tattoos! Fascinating!

I would like to applaud everyone for their amazing presentations. Good luck with the paper writing (that will probably be done over break), and I hope everyone has a wonderful and fantastic Thanksgiving!

TED talk Media

Picture this: Someone begins a presentation with a Big Mac and an organic veggie presentation. Sounds intriguing right? I am thinking about starting my TED talk off just like that. By referencing the fast and organic food in front of me, I think that I can catch the audience’s interest and provide a visual representation (and probably smell) of what my presentation is about. I really liked the example TED talk showed with an instruction of someone using a phone. It really made the audience focus on his presentation and really helped them relate it to their daily lives. I think that my having the food in front of me in a visual representation, it will also have a similar affect.

I was unsure about using video clips in our presentation, but obviously the movie “Super-size me” has some great clips (all of you remember him puking out of the car window after only a few weeks of eating McDonalds). However, I think the time limit for the presentation is already short enough that I might want to simply stick to the usual TED talk theme of using photos. I plan on using photos that show just why the public fell out of love with fast food. For example, the photo sequence of a big mac over the period of several weeks created a stir when it was originally published. The public finally SAW and didn’t just HEAR how many chemical preservatives were really incorporated into fast food.

I know that I might have a blank slide or two when I am describing a shift, and I know that I will absolutely be using some graphs or statistics to support my paradigm shift. However, I think the transitions from topic to topic will go fairly smoothly.

Also a confession on my part; this week was absolutely jammed packed full of tests so THIS WEEKEND IS WORK ON TED TALK WEEKEND! That is all.


The Happiness Project: Food Journals

This week I decided to impart not only a little eating advice, but also a reading suggestion! My study abroad experience last year was obviously a very tough year with constant daily struggles. About 5 months into the experience, my Mom told me about one the books that she and her book club were reading that, after reading it, really made a difference in my daily Ecuadorian life. The title alone peaked my interest. For those of you who haHappinessProjectve not read “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, READ IT. I command you.  The story line is of self-improvement and trying to create a happier life by focusing on one small thing a week at a time. During her journey, Rubin decided to focus one week on keeping a food journal. After she had succeeded with other mini happiness projects in past weeks, she figured that by keeping an eating journal, she could try to focus on healthier eating which would contribute to her overall happiness. Although it is all written down in the book, the summary of her experience was that keeping a food journal is hard stuff!


Now, many of you might think that a food journal is something that only body building overly-health conscious people do. False. Even if you are simply trying to shed a few pounds, a food journal can be a crucial element to success! For Rubin, the journaling really made her realize just what she was putting in her mouth and what could be eliminated. Unlike calorie counting, the journal really makes you aware of WHAT you are putting into your system and not the calorie count of it. Her experience showed her that her handfuls of M and Ms throughout the day actually were quite frequent and contributed a large amount to her diet. “Grazing” aka going through your fridge and random times during the day and eating a little bit of this and that can be deadly to anyone who is trying to lose weight. By keeping track of her foods, Rubin became more conscious of what she was eating. She was able to eliminate the majority of grazing and only snacked occasionally. Success!


Keeping track of your food is a pain in the neck, so you have to make it a habit! I decided to give the food journal a test trial this week and see what happened. I quickly realized the recording after every meal was impossible. I am always running every which way and am always late for something so do not have the time to write anything down after a meal. I was, however, able to remember my foods of the day and write it all down before going to bed. It was an effective method. Usually I manage to squeeze in handfuls of sour patch kids or chocolate throughout the day but keeping a food journal really helped me to limit my personal food grazing!

food journal2

So this week’s challenge, keep a food journal. Section off part of one or your notebook with three columns for breakfast, lunch and dinner (with spaces in between for healthy snacking) and record your food for the week! It will really make you conscious of what exactly you are putting into your mouth on a daily basis! Start your own personal happiness project!