Gladiator Rock'n Run and #FoodiePenPals

This weekend was insane!!!

Left work Friday to go stretch myself out in a yoga class at the gym…


Pre-race yoga and my new kicks!

Didn’t need my new sneakers for the class, obviously, but I had to take a picture of them 🙂 I’ve still yet to run in them actually… haha

After yoga, the boy and I made some dinner.


Pre-race dinner: salmon, tofu, squash, mushrooms, string beans, edamame

I pan seared my salmon and we split Trader Joe’s Rice and Vegetable Bento Box which I found to be decent, but overall, pretty meh. All my veggies were mushy and kind of tasted the same. The boy liked most of the noodles and rice, but as a non-curry fan, was far from loving the curry rice.

My salmon, however, was spectacular. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked salmon myself and it was the perfect done-ness.

I only marinated it for about 5 minutes in some rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame and chili oils, garlic, pepper, cayenne and ginger, then pan seared both sides. One both sides were crispy, I turned the heat down a bit, stuck a lid on, and steamed that sucker for about 3 minutes. Perfectly tender, flaky and moist. NOM.

Got all my stuff together…


Prep: my number, time chip, sneaks and Nike tank

We went to bed pretty early, but I had a hard time sleeping. Nerves, most likely…

Woke right up the next morning to get ready and make breakfast though.


Gladiator breakfast: sweet and spicy scramble with a protein cookie and herbal chai

My eggs were pretty phenomenal. Mixed in leftover salad and a piece of plantain from our Jamaican meal the night before, as well as some ham, cheese and homemade salsa. Sweet, spicy and perfectly filling.

I also made some protein cookies this weekend; I’ll share the recipe tomorrow. They’re good, but nothing to freak out about yet. I will say, they’re very convenient to have already made to just grab a quick protein packed breakfast, but they’re more like scones or muffin tops; puffy and dense, not chewy like a good chocolate chip cookie should be. Back to the drawing board!

After breakfast we got ourselves into the car and drove down to Great Park in Irvine.

There were so many people! Some in costume, some in matching shirts, plenty of hot chicks with beer and muscles (my favorite combo).

Before I knew it, the group was assembling, we stretched and then were off!


Okay, so I was a bad team member and ran ahead. To be fair, I thought my trainer was waving me forward; apparently he was waving me back.


I finished about 20 minutes before everyone else, which gave me time to grab my first beer in 3 weeks (sorry Tony).


Cute face right? That's what I thought.

All jokes aside, I was glad I went on ahead. The adrenaline was pumping through my veins and I felt on top of the world. There were a couple times I wanted to pass out, but I just kept pushing myself harder. I went running with a friend of mine back in Miami about the time my fiance broke up and I remember that day being particularly hard. I couldn’t breath and I was stopping way too often to break down in tears. He ran back to me and didn’t baby me; he just said “Don’t stop running. Slow down if you need to, but never stop running.” That’s just kind of stuck with me since then and I still use that whenever I feel like I want to give up.

I haven’t checked my official time yet, but I finished in roughly an hour. For never having run in any kind of formal setting, let a lone a 7k with 17 obstacles, I was pretty proud of myself. I’ve always wanted run in something organized, but I never follow through. You can go back a year and find tweets where I say I’m “training for a half,” wanting to run in Warrior Dash and even recently toying with the idea of doing a Tri. But this was the first thing I’ve actually committed to and completed. I feel like I have no more excuses. Time to find a half and sign up.


Happy to be done!

After the beach we met up with one of the boy’s college friends down in Laguna Beach and relaxed which was AWESOME. Grabbed a tasty chicken and goat cheese sandwich from Whole Foods for lunch, laid out in the sun, then stopped at Habit for a salad and to split a milkshake for dinner 🙂

The excitement doesn’t stop there!

This month I joined Lindsay’s (aka The Lean Green Bean) Foodie Penpals program. If you want, you can check out what I sent my penpal over at Lauren Living Locally. I received my box of goodies from some foodie readers Adam, Karen and Jacey and they sent me a fun box of delish Silver Beach treats from Michigan!!!


Fun local MI items: purple sweet potato chips, hot pepper relish, FROG jam, plantain chips and an adorable knit chili pepper!

So far I’ve demolished the purple sweet potato chips (thick, crunchy and salty) and sampled everything else. I wasn’t having sugar on my “perfect 3 weeks” so I couldn’t indulge as best suited this awesome box. However, now that I can allow myself the occasional treat, I plan on trying some of that jam on my protein cookies and can’t wait to start grilling stuff so I can slather on that hot pepper relish!!! I love me my spicy foods, so that chili pepper is PERFECT. Plantains remind me so much of Miami… these babies crumbled up on a salad is heavenly. Adds the perfect amount of sweetness and crunch 🙂

Thanks so much guys!

If you’re interested in learning more about Foodie Penpals, here’s a detailed explanation of the program lifted from Lindsay’s blog:

-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
– Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

***If you’re in the UK, please contact Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt at to get involved!

Oh, and “perfect 3 weeks”? I haven’t thrown all caution to the wind. I still plan on eating clean, keeping alcohol consumption very low and steering clear of sugar. I’m a huge believer in the 80/20 principle; it all depends on the results you want and how fast you want to see them. So will I be chugging beers and cramming pizza in my face on a regular basis? Absolutely not.

But everyone should indulge every once in a while 😉




3 thoughts on “Gladiator Rock'n Run and #FoodiePenPals

  1. Hi! I happened to read your posts from 4/27 and 4/30 back to back and recognized something of myself in them. See if you can relate to what I notice about myself: I notice that whenever I am busy in healthy ways (exercising, socializing, making meals into an event instead of a solo venture, writing blogs, journaling, etc.) I feel pretty good about myself and even about my body. On days when I am alone with my thoughts, I tend to ruminate about any and everything. Lately, I try to stop myself from going down the dark path of negative self-talk. It’s too easy for me to slip back into that. So when I notice myself worrying about my weight or what I’ve eaten or not eaten, I tell myself out loud to “stop!” and I get up and find something to do or call a friend. What do you think?

  2. sexyflexi says:

    I am definitely the same way. I hate that I feel so dependent on being around other people, but it seems like any time I’m by myself, my thoughts immediately slip into negative, self-hate mode. I have a hard time battling it and am often too embarrassed to reach out to someone about it when it’s happening, or am just completely in denial. Last night I ended up down that path and tried to just journal positive things I want to do, but the urge doesn’t seem to go away. I’ve never successfully talked to therapists about this feeling so it’s one of those things I’m still struggling with.

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