Vegan Marathon Munchies


As I’m gearing up for the Honolulu Marathon, my meal plan has taken shape, too. Long runs make me so beyond starving that my marathon training usually equates to months of marathon eating. It’s a vicious cycle, but it’s so freakin amazing. As a historically restrictive/borderline obsessive calorie tracker, the sky-high calorie burns from running feel like a free pass to Disneyland, in food form. Yes, please!

Naturally, though, you can’t realistically have your hard-earned cake and eat it, too. Or at least you can’t without repercussions. For me, staying light and lean makes running easier, so I have to strike a balance between my veracious appetite and what my body actually needs.

Here’s a quick snapshot of my proudly plant-based meal plan. Of course, every body is different, so this isn’t designed for anyone specifically – it’s just what I’ve found to work well for me, on and off of training season.

Meal 1: Pre-Run

I prefer to run in the mornings if at all possible so I don’t have to think about the impending run all day long. I like to have something light, so I usually eat 1/2 a banana for short runs. For long runs, I eat something like this – a piece of Dave’s Killer Bread or Ezekiel bread with powdered peanut butter (mixed with water, so it spreads thin) and a teensy bit of fruit. The fruit is important cause it gives me that burst of energy/wake-up to get out and run.

Meal 2: Breakfast

Best meal of the day, y’all! So, quick disclosure – if I do a long run, I do down a low-calorie protein shake right after. But most days I get to enjoy this beautiful cereal recipe from Engine 2 Kitchen . It’s packed with vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, good fats, complex carbs and protein to boot. Here’s my breakdown:

1/4 cup Grape Nuts, 1/4 cup old fashion rolled oats, 1/4 cup Uncle Sam’s berry flakes

1 tbsp. chia seeds, 1 tbsp. flaxseed meal

1 small banan, sliced; 1 kiwi, sliced; 10 berries of any kind

1/2 cup plant milk (coconut, almond, flax milk – anything!)

Afternoon Snack

Snacks are what I live for. Like, so seriously. I’m usually running around crazy, so for afternoon time I snack on something simple, like an apple with 1tbsp almond butter, carrots and 2 tbsp hummus, or a Larabar.

 

Lunch


I LOVE having lunch at home, where I can whip up a gigantic salad packed with a zillion veggies and topped with nuts, seeds, 1/2 cup brown rice or noodles, and some baked tofu or tempeh. Or a similar wrap!


Yet, alas, I’m usually running from meeting to meeting or apartment to apartment, so bae and I often end up eating out. Thankfully, Hawaii has tons of lighter options, so it’s easy for me to find a healthy, plant-based meal on the go. My faves are definitely summer rolls with tofu from any Thai/Vietnamese restaurant, or a veggie delight sandwich from subway on multigrain flatbread – swap cheese for avocado, and with as much veggies as possible.

 Evening Snack

I love love love snacks. My favorites around nighttime usually include fruit to satisfy my sweet tooth. I love sweet berries drizzled with pbfit (powdered peanut butter mixed with water) or bananas and peanut butter, or apples and almond butter. YUM!

Dinner


My dinner is literally the same almost every single night: grilled or sautΓ©ed veggies, brown rice or sweet potato, and a plant-based protein. My go-to’s are lentils, beans, tofu, or tempeh, but I sometimes spoil myself with a good mock meat. 

Dessert


Dessert is important, because i love myself. Lol. If I’m hungry after dinner, which I normally at if I work at night or had a long run that day, I indulge. I love a good vegan donut, some dark chocolate, or protein nice cream. 


Hope this helps!

Love,

Nicole

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Week 1 of Marathon Training!

marathon memeAs always, marathon training did not exactly get off to a smooth start this year (suspiciously, just likeΒ every year so far) but hopes are still high. I kicked off the first of my 12-week training plan to get ready for the fabulous Honolulu Marathon on December 10th. I’mΒ all about supporting my city and running on my own turf, through a course I know all too well by the time race day rolls around.

This marathon will be lucky number 5, and I’ve got myself on a pretty fun plan of preparatory races leading up to the big day. I’ve got my absolute favorite – the Xterra Gunstock Trails Half Marathon – at the end of October, as well as the Val Nolasco Half Marathon – which mimics the final leg of the real deal – in November.


I’m coming off a sprained ankle a few weeks back, so I’m treading carefully and doing my super boring ankle exercises when I actually remember to do them. On the bright side, my first long run – eight hot & steamy miles around Honolulu – went by super quick & easy. So, there’s that.

Anyways, I’m using this super flexible plan from He and She Eat Clean to train. I chose it because it’s 12 weeks (sweet!) and works in tons of cross-training, which is the only way I can mentally handle preparing for a marathon.

NB Marathon

Training While Injured


It’s been almost two weeks of non-soccer/non-running existence and let me tell you – the injured life is not a fun one. With lots of life changes like moving apartments & possible career shifts, it’s been a major struggle not being able to run through it all. Running is my mediation, my quiet, precious ‘me’ time, and I’m going a little bit crazy without it.

In a nutshell – resting ain’t easy.


To keep myself in shape for a busy marathon season, I’ve been supplementing as best as I can with bike riding, swimming, and lifting at the gym. The only good news is that I’m able to lift a lot heavier than usual because I’m not running. So, I’ve gotten to play around with compound movements like squats and snatches to keep myself strong.

I’ve also been stuck with the very boring task of ankle PT. I can’t explain why I hate it so much, but I totally do. I hate every second of it. I know it helps, but it’s so boring it’s like watching paint dry, except you have to be an active participant. Ugh.


Anyways, I just go cleared to ‘lightly jog’ for a few minutes and come back next week to get the final go ahead. I’m still benched from soccer, which starts this weekend, and banned from my Old Pali Road race this Sunday. So, for the next week, I’ll still be grumpy and difficult but hopefully will get my happy time back soon. πŸ™‚

Happy Healing!

Nicole

Coconut Chase 8K & Injured Struggles


I had an awesome time at the Coconut Chase 8K last weekend, where I breezed through two easy, beautiful loops along Sand Island’s beautiful coast. Locals tend to think of Sand Island as the greasy, industrial peninsula that is is, for the most part. Unbeknownst to me, there’s a picturesque recreation area that runs along the southern tip that’s a runner’s idyllic dream.


I felt very on pace that day and watched the revived few miles fly by. Since the race was so short, I never had the deep sense of panic that surfaces during the early miles of half and full marathons. This was my first 8K and I felt strong, sexy and fast.

After I got my results, I was ecstatic to learn I placed 11th in my age/gender group and hit between an 8:30-8:57 mile pace the whole time. For me, that’s huge. I’m a naturally slower paced runner, clocking in 9:30-10 minute miles with pride and effort. So, I’m definitely doing my happy dance over this one πŸ™‚


However, said happy dance is difficult given the injury that occurred very shortly after crossing the finish line. In typical all-or-nothing fashion, I went to play soccer and totally rolled my ankle. So much that I missed work and found it warm, buzzing, and swollen since that fateful wrong step.

I’ve spent the last few days going crazy not being able to run. I have another short but sweet 4.4-miler on Old Pali Road coming up on September 10th, followed quickly by my favorite race on the island – the XTerra Gunstock Ranch Trail Half Marathon in October. SO, I have a lot of healing and training to figure out in the very limited meantime.

My plan is to replace my runs with swimming and stationary bike workouts, coupled with physical therapy and weight lifting. Hopefully, I’ll be able to have more happy finish line moments in the next few months!

Happy Healing,
Nicole

Travel Tuesday: Kohalpur, Nepal


A short month ago, I embarked on my first faith-based mission trip to rural Nepal. I flew from Honolulu, Hawaii to Los Angeles, California, to spend a half-day with my family and meet the rest of the crew I’d be working with. A lot of my team I already knew, though – my aunt and two cousins, whom I adore and keep in touch with anyways. I’d met everyone else briefly through our zoom trainings and was thrilled to match the online personas to the people in real life.


Since I had only about 10 hours to visit with my mom, brother and sister, my dad, an airline pilot, breezed through international security and hung out with us at the gate before we boarded a brutal 14-hour flight to Guangzhou, China. AfterΒ Guangzhou, we’d hop on a five-hour flight to Khatmandu, Nepal’s bustling capital, and take a short and rickety flight to Kohalpur, where we’d be staying throughout our trip.


Flights are pretty brutal, and 14 hours is even tougher. Thankfully, I packed plenty of melatonin, vegan protein bars and protein shakes, along with some small kine snacks. I downed some melatonin and magically slept almost the entire flight.


As you can imagine, we were all jetlagged, grumpy, groggy and gross by the time we finally made it to our quaint little hotel in Kohalpur’s busy center. Kohalpur is a small, third world city, nestled amongst a jigsaw of smaller towns and farmlands. I’d already fallen in love with Nepali food thanks to the wonderful Himalayan Kitchen in Honolulu, and I got to rekindle and deepen that love with our first beautiful meal at the hotel. I knew that I’d be spoiled rotten with gorgeous breads, curries and rice throughout our trip, which I loved.


Each day, we launched from the hotel and ventured out into our various villages, which I’ll get into on the next post πŸ™‚ This was such an overwhelming, humbling, healing, and once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’m thrilled to share πŸ™‚

Happy travels,

Nicole

Half Marathon Training & Coconut Chase 8K!

As all runners know, the onset of fall means one thing, and one thing only: RACE SEASON. The marathon organizers were kind enough toΒ at least schedule most of them in the fall, during the cooler, breezier, and run-friendly weather that autumn brings. Not to mention the magical experience of running through a cacophony of swirling red, orange and yellow leaves. Even here on the island, where the leaves don’t change, the weather sure does. It’s cooler and windier and way less intense than the terrible month of August.Β Ugh.

Normally, I’m gearing up for the Marine Corps Marathon, which I’ve sadly decided to forgo this year. In January, I suffered a difficult back injury that kept recurring due to my refusal to stop playing soccer and rest. So, as injuries tend to do, I ended up unable to do anything for quite some time, and missed the critical buildup period for my MCM training plan 😦

Instead, I’ve spent the summer building back up to my normal strength and speed and have signed up for a litany of fun, short-distance races throughout the fall. The first being the Coconut Chase 8K along Sand Island, which kicks off this Sunday (yay!). It will be followed by a buildup of races each month, ending at the Honolulu Marathon in December:

  • Coconut Chase 8K (August)
  • Old Pali Road 5-miler (September)
  • XTerra Gunstock Trails Half Marathon (October)
  • Val Nolasco Half Marathon (November)
  • Honolulu Marathon (December)

I’m thrilled to test out the short-distance waters and build my confidence back up after being set back by such a tough injury. I’m prepping right now for this weekend, which will be my first short-distance race I’ve ever done. Surprisingly, I’ve stuck to full and half marathons and not really dabbled in anything less. As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve started to consider smaller races and shorter distances.

Wish me luck on my race this weekend! It’ll be along the beautiful shoreline of Sand Island, an easy, hot, and flat terrain.

Happy Running!
Nicole

Finding My Path & Purpose

 

Life has been a blur these days. If you haven’t noticed, my posts have been few and far between, yet so much life has happened between the cracks. I’ve quit my dream job as a Development Coordinator at a non-profit, and started my own business with my boyfriend. I went to Germany with my family, embarked on my first faith-based mission trip to Nepal, and have gone vegan. I’ve changed up my life, and every step has been for the better.

Going to Nepal absolutely deserves its own post – if not several – but I will say this: it was incredibly humbling and healing. My faith and relationship with God have deepened and strengthened, and I felt my head clear and my heart open to the path and purpose God intends for me. Part of that includes having confidence in my business endeavors and the abilities I’ve been gifted, and cultivated in the professional sphere.


Another part of my deepened faith is a recommitment to veganism. In working to make a positive impact in Nepal, I had a difficult time coming back to normal life in Hawaii and working for myself. I wanted to keep working for good and for God, and reducing the harm I contribute to is one way to do so.


My goal in this life is to do as much good and as little harm as a I can, to people, the planet, and other creatures alike. That includes treating others with kindness and patience, and understating where their hurt comes from. This love for other people – even strangers, far away, and very different from myself – is what’s continued to drive me to recommit to a plant-based diet. For the animals, yes, but also for the people living in communities polluted by animal agriculture, those working under harsh conditions in factory farms, etc. We all spend our time and thoughts searching for our purpose. While mine isn’t completely crystal clear, I know I’m meant to do good in any way I can. Right now, and through the rest of my days.

To more posts and positivity,

Nicole ❀