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because I’m happy.

16 Apr

I have about a month left of law school – so weird.  Before bar studying consumes my life and this little blog goes on an inevitable hiatus, I’ve been enjoying frolicking around DTLA and doing fun stuff when I’m not pretending to study or working out. Here’s a little glimpse of what’s been making me happy lately…

Last Thursday, I went to a reception for admitted students to my law school who are also scholarship recipients.  I talked to a bunch of 0Ls about the perks of choosing Loyola and soaked in this epic view from the City Club. Major #swoon.

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I recently moved — but only a block from my previous apartment.  Jenn moved in with her fiancé, Daniel, and I’m doing the solo thing. So far, so good!  My mom was a HUGE help in moving me and helping me furnish the apartment.  My mom also spent the day with me last Friday to do some major furniture shopping.  I fell in love with this coffee shop at a random Habitat for Humanity ReStore. It was a steal, is one-of-a-kind, handmade, and all the money goes to Habitat for Humanity. Love. 10155400_10103002199040863_7297606057553916044_n

After #WESTWeekend, Whitney and I went on a walk and ran some errands together in Santa Monica. I love where I live SO much. 10155157_10103008183947063_195483132211681008_n

On Monday, I kicked off the week with a 3.5 mile run with Back on My Feet.  I love Team Homeboy and how we all support (and make fun of) each other.  At our turn-around point, I made Gordy, Brian, and Gavino take a selfie with me.

The funniest part of the morning occurred when I jokingly said “vamanizos” when a light changed and we started to run again.  My friend Andres immediately says “Gillian, you’re trying to hard to fit in.”  So funny, and probably true.

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love mah homeboys!

My DTLA Running Group — I started running with them exactly a year ago (the day after the Boston Marathon last year).  It has been amazing getting to know this diverse group of people who constantly push and challenge me to be a better runner.

unnamed-1As an added bonus, on Tuesday’s run my friend Kristina joined us.  Kristina is SUPER fast (she BQ’d at LA last year, and her 13.1 PR is sub 1:30). So that was pretty awesome!unnamed

What is making you happy this week? 

christmas 2 give 5k with BoMFLA [recap].

25 Dec

On Saturday, December 21st I rounded out the 2013 racing season at the Christmas 2 Give 5k in Elysian Park, for Back on My Feet LA’s first race!

I did not hate the location:

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We met up at Homeboy Industries in Chinatown and then carpooled to Elysian Park.

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with my Team Homeboy teammates, Brian and Alex.

I had signed up to pace one of our runners, so Alex and I ran with Luis as he competed in his first 5k ever. It was so exciting.

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about to toe the line with Alex and Luis.

Before the race started, we huddled together with the other Back on My Feet teams and did the traditional Serenity Prayer

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…and of course the Team Cheer: unnamed-2

Who are we? 

BACK ON MY FEET

How long are we going to run?

FOREVER

The course was really challenging — the first half mile was nice and easy, but the rest of the race was on varied terrain with lots of rolling hills and a few switchbacks.  No single hill was a killer, but it was definitely a taxing course — especially for your first 5k ever!

Luis ran really strong — clocking in a first mile of 8:36! His pace slowed a little as it got more hilly, but he crossed the finish line in a time of 30:15.  I can’t wait to see him improve as time goes on.

image-2Team Homeboy’s other athlete was Karla — and she had a personal distance record with the 3.1 mile distance.

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Drew and Brian pace Karla to a successful finish!

All of BoMFLA rallied together to help bring Karla in at the finish. So inspiring.

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My roommate, Jenn, and her boyfriend, Daniel also came out to support the cause — and they both ran strong races on the tough course.  They were repping’ Santa to the Sea in full force.  I so appreciate their willingness to let me drag them to all of my race events.

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All in all the race was a really fun and exciting morning.  We also got awesome medals and Brooks technical T-shirts, which are surprisingly cool looking.

Did you do a Christmas-themed race this year?

christmas 2 give 5k.

12 Dec

Whaaaat a post about a race I haven’t run yet?  This is because I want all of you southern California readers/bloggers to consider coming out to run this event — or to spectate it!

I’ve been running with Back On My Feet – Los Angeles for a little over a month now, and we’re having our first race on Saturday, December 21st at 8 am. The race is going to be held in Elysian Park and all 5 teams from LA will have runners competing. I am so excited for everyone (but I may be the most pumped for my team…Homeboy Industries).

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I am so excited to see how our team does.  I know they will love their first race!  I’ll be running (and hopefully pacing some of the team).  If you’re in the LA area, consider joining us — or at coming to cheer on the finishers at their first 5k.

Here are some details from the race website:

Join us for a fun and memorable 5k with a scenic cross country style course on a mix of dirt, grass and asphalt. The course is moderately challenging with about 3/4 of a mile of gradual hills. You will love the view of Los Angeles and the Dodger Stadium. Not only will you love the course but also the good cause of this race. Christmas 2 Give was created to make a change in the lives of others and this year we will fundraise for TNT the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. 

Awards: Custom medals will be awarded to all  finishers.

All event participants will also receive a t-shirt and a raffle ticket for a chance to win some great prizes.

You can register for the race HERE.

COUPON CODE RWU5k will save you $5 on registration!

See you out there!  (And please reach out via my blog or social media for more info!)

Of possible interest…

monday mojo.

25 Nov

Happy Monday everyone!  I thought I didn’t have anything blog-worthy going on and then I forgot that I am really good at being over-dramatic and hyperbolizing things. Alas, a blog post was born!

Today is the first day of #Elf4Health — a healthy living challenge taking over the blogosphere (hosted by Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean  and Elle @ Nutritionella).  The four-week challenge includes a task or goal for each day, and we have two different “elves” we’re matched with (each one for two weeks).

photo 3 Today kicked things off with “Meatless Monday.”  I was at school almost all day (finals season), so my cooking “skills” didn’t get to shine, but I can’t wait to try some of the recipes I’ve seen floating around.

Speaking of meatless Monday, this is my latest obsession: three eggs scrambled with some kale, topped with avocado and pico de gallo. Get in my belly.

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It has been fun starting to get to know my “elf,” Nicole @ Fruit ‘n’ Fitness, as well.  I’m looking forward to “unsubscribing” tomorrow — I get SO much junk mail and love Cori‘s idea to use a website called unroll.me.

In other news, I was the lucky winner of Whitney’s #Movember contest over at To Live and Diet in LA.  I showed off my Mustache Dache medal, made a dork of myself, and get to go to heaven Soul-Cycle for free! Thanks, Whitney!

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anything in the name men’s health and tapping. it. back.

On Saturday, my 7:30 alarm came mighty early —  Friday night consisted of my final trial in my Trial Advocacy class, a fabulous dinner with Aviva at Little Bear, and celebrating my roommate becoming a member of the CA bar!

I started the day by leading my DTLA running group in a 6.5 miler.  We met downtown, headed out to Boyle Height’s Mariachi Plaza, and high-tailed it back. We ran at about an 8:10-8:15 pace which was fun and relaxed. Noel snapped this great show on the 1st Street Bridge.

photo credit: instagram.com/nottirednoel

photo credit: instagram.com/nottirednoel

After my run, I scarfed down some oatmeal (with peanut butter + chocolate protein powder, a.k.a my daily staple) and headed out to teach a little spin. I LOVE when the class is full, the regulars are there ready to work hard, and people sing along.

Current favorite song for a seated hill? Sorry I’m not sorry…

I delayed starting the Wills & Trusts outlining fiesta by actually blowdrying my hair for once and taking a selfie.  The real star of this show is obviously my new iPhone.

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After logging 4+ long hours in the library teaching myself a lot of boring things, I picked up my friend Aviva and met my parents at a West Hollywood institution — The Troubadour.  My brother manages a band, Dewey and the Peoples, and they had a show there on Saturday (along with Cisco Adler and Radical Something).  The show was a blast and I had a great time.  It was also great to see my brother in his element.

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On Sunday, I logged some hours in the gym with body pump + spin, back to back. I love the regulars at my gym — they fill me in on the gossip and joke around, and push me to work harder.  A new friend of mine from law school happened to be in class so she suggested we grab smoothies at Juice Crafters afterward.

photo 1I’m all about refueling post-workout, and often opt for a smoothie from my gym’s smoothie bar (my favorite has banana and peanut butter, duh), or make the legendary Green Monster at home. Juice Crafters was pricier, but delicious.  I opted for the “Lily w/ Strawbs” which consisted of fresh strawberries, almond milk, dates, granola, walnuts, and probably something else delicious I am forgetting.

I spent the rest of the day hanging out at school — it is finals time.  The last two years I have been crazy-diligent about being on top of everything, but I have slacked more this semester.  I have two finals in early-mid December, so the next few weeks is Operation: Learn Everything I Should Have Been Learning Since August, and Haven’t.

Just a heads up my posting might be even spottier than usual…

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at least this is the view from campus…

Hit me with:

Your favorite meatless recipe.

Your favorite smoothie.

Have you ever done an internet/blog/twitter “challenge”? 

link love friday.

22 Nov

Here’s how my morning went down:

5:03 wake-up call for Back on My Feet with my Team Homeboy people.  Love them.

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Yes the extra 3 minutes are a game-changer.

We met up and did our run — some of the team is already up to 3 miles! I ran with Louis (who has perfect attendance) on a challenging route in Elysian Park.

I came home and fell back asleep for two hours.  No, I am not TOTALLY lazy.  I am a law student with a flexible schedule. I have a final tonight (Trial Advocacy) and want to not be sleep deprived, so morning nap FTW!

Now, I’m captivated by a special on the History Channel about the JFK Assassination.  Today is the 50th anniversary of that date.  Even though I wasn’t alive when it happened, it is undeniably fascinating. My Dad and I were chatting about via email, and he said this:

I still remember the second-grade teacher, Mrs. Russell, a polio victim, limping into my first grade class and whispering the news in my teacher’s ear. They sent us right home.

Before I get all trial-ready and practice my closing argument again, I wanted to leave you with my favorite links from around the web this week:

* Today is the last day to sign up for the Elf 4 Health Challenge via The Lean Grean Bean! I’ll be doing it — join me!

challenge accepted.

challenge accepted.

* This post about hugging made me smile.  I’m not a huge hugger (personal space, duh), but my experience at BoMF so far has definitely made me more huggy. The video in this post is so sweet — it made me tear up. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?

*This list of How You Know You Live at the Gym (Yes, I have a favorite front desk attendant).

*This toolish prank some Harvard kids played at Yale.

*This Kimye video. (No, not Bound 2.  I have a lot of thoughts about that one). You know, this one from SNL: Waking Up with Kimye! (The bit with the Kardashians playing their favorite instruments? Amazing).

Not technically a link, but I’m reading this book  (non-affiliate link, I’m not that cool).  It’s called Pink Ribbons, Inc. and is about the idea of cause marketing and how philanthropy has turned into a profit-driving mechanism for many companies.  I’d definitely recommend it — and I just learned there’s a film version. MUST find that.

What’s your favorite find this week from the world wide web? Link me, por fa! 

Alright, I’m off to do some final prep and crush this trial.  Have a great weekend!!

[Edited to add:  I’m thinking happy thoughts for those in California awaiting bar exam results!!]

spin. run. repeat.

19 Nov

I’m sorry I’ve been so MIA this week!  I wish I had an excuse other than laziness.  Yes, law school finals are approaching, but I’m a 3L remember.  (Read: I am actually nervous about how laidback and relaxed I am feeling as finals approach.  And don’t think that’s because I’m already prepared.  Not even close.)

Anyway, here’s what’s been going on in my fitness world the last week or so:

Running with Back on My Feet LA.  You can read more about my experience here.  I am loving getting to know all of the members, and watching them grow and gain confidence.

I also had a lot of fun last Thursday at a BOMF Happy Hour in the Palms/Culver City area at a swanky little bar called Oldfield’s Liquor Room. It was a cool little spot and fun to meet some of the other volunteers from other BOMF teams.

BoMFLA

BoMFLA

Spinning. My blog friend (now real life friend) Katherine  came and took my class and wrote the sweetest blog post about it. I am so grateful for the support of the blog and fitness communities, and I love that Katherine and I became friends through our blogs. We’re so 2013.

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Me and Katherine.

My Saturday class was also stocked with supportive friends — my law school friends Armita, Jackie, and Alexis all came and crushed it, and my friend Dominique (who I know through my BFF, Whitney) came and took her very first spin class , ever, with me!

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Me and Dom.

The most amazing healthy fat combo, ever. 

On Thursday, I had dinner with Whitney at Tinga, a bougie Mexican place in Santa Monica.  The best thing we have both have ever experienced was guacamole with BACON in it. Yes, you read that right.

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Mustache Dache.  On Sunday morning I did a little race in Elysian Park after one of my DTLA Running Group friends suggested it.  I was more nervous for a 5k than I am for most half marathons (running fast is scary).

I had a lot of mixed feelings about the event — namely, the race was 0.5 miles short so the total mileage was 2.66 miles. (not a 5k).  While it was awesome to see a 18:55 on my Garmin, the race is essentially meaningless because of the distance.  What the race lacked in legitimacy it made up for in fun, though.  It had an impressive pre and post race expo, and a Sierra Nevada beer garden. We easily spent 5x as much time at the beer garden then we did racing, but whatever.

Things that are jokes, this alleged pace per mile.  Try again, Mustache Dache.

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Hahahaha.

I’m happy with my place and “time” (my miles were in the 6:45-7:00 range, I think).   All in all, it was a fun event, just poorly managed.

Champagne Brunch at Barnsdall Art Park.

After my “race,” I met up with my friend Armita, Eric, and Eric’s friend Alex for an event at Barsndall Art Park. For $25, we sipped on 3 different champagnes, and had a delicious lunch from a food truck they brought in.  Also, the weather in LA is (still) gorgeous.

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That’s all the news for now — on deck for this week is my final trial in my Trial Advocacy class — and you guessed it, more spinning and running (and probably drinking).

back on my feet – los angeles.

11 Nov

On October 28, 2013 Back on My Feet opened its 11th chapter nationwide, in my home of Los Angeles. For those of you who haven’t heard of Back on My Feet, it is a non-profit organization (or as the founder likes to call it, a “for purpose” organization) founded with the belief that it can help individuals living with homelessness get “back on their feet” through running.

I first heard about this organization through Ericka @ The Sweet Life and vowed to get involved if it ever came to LA. Fast forward a couple of years later, and I am perusing the Expo at the Long Beach Marathon with Katherine and lo and behold, there is a BOMF LA booth! I chatted up the guy and signed up to become more involved.

On the morning of October  28, I attended a launch breakfast at the JW Marriot in DTLA (my fav building, ever).

amazing place-setting.

amazing place-setting.

It was crazy-inspiring to get to hear BOMF founder, Anne Mahlum, speak.  She started BOMF in Philadelphia at 26 (!) and is really amazing. Here’s a TED talk which is VERY similar to the speech she gave at the breakfast.

And this inspiring video made me almost tear up 3 separate times.  Sorry I’m over using the word inspiring, but unless you find a good synonym its gonna stick.

Anyway — I went to an orientation a week later (also at the J-Dub…loooove) and I also got two of my DTLA Running Club friends, Kendra and Andres, to come too! We had an hour meeting where we met some of the LA staff, learned a little bit more about BOMF, and officially signed up.

BOMF LA has 5 locations:

We went out for our very next run the following day with our team — Homeboy Industries!

Homeboy is an incredible organization (and somewhat of an LA institution). It was founded by Father Greg Boyle in 1992 and has the mantra “Jobs Not Jails.”  Homeboy assists high-risk youth, former gang members, and individuals who just got out of jail with a variety of free programs — like mental health counseling, legal services, tattoo removal, curriculum and education classes, work-readiness training, and employment services.  They also have a bakery and diner at their DTLA/Chinatown location.  The individuals at Homeboy aren’t homeless — they all work at Homeboy Industries — so it is extra demanding for them to be there at 5:30 ready to run!

You may have even seen their chips and salsa at your local grocery store…

source: flickr

Another cool Homeboy fact: Homeboy Cafe and Bakery will be opening soon in the American Airlines terminal at LAX!

We meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5:30 am for a short run.  We say hello and goodbye with a hug, and start and every run with the serenity prayer and the official BOMF cheer.

I have gone on three runs so far with the team and am really liking it so far. Getting up when it’s still super dark is rough, but it is so great for so many reasons. I am loving squeezing in a small workout early, but more than that, it is incredible to be a part of something so much bigger than myself.

I have gained so much from running and I know it has made me a more confident, determined, goal-oriented, and successful person.  I know that Team Homeboy will benefit immensely from becoming runners, and it is so awesome to see them start to develop a love for the sport.

There are so many great things about this organization and I look forward to sharing them on the blog.

If you’re interested in learning more about running with Back on My Feet in Los Angeles, click here.

What is your favorite way to give back?

How has running impacted your life?