Juice Cleanse – Day 2

Hello! Welcome to Day 2 of my raw, vegan, Organic Avenue juice cleanse!

I am actually feeling remarkably well! But I think that has a lot to do with the coffee (with soy milk) I had this morning. I was having bad headaches from caffeine withdrawal yesterday and I just didn’t think it was worth it to go through that again today. Like Travis said, maybe it wasn’t smart to give up food and coffee at the same time. BUT, I have stayed on all vegan liquids for at least the last 36 hours! That is something, right?

This morning I had some really delicious grapefruit juice and now I get more Young Love juice, plus alkaline water (of course). I am going to cheat this afternoon and eat a “burrito.” I bought the Burrito Crudo w/ Chipotle Lime Dipping Sauce at the Organic Avenue store this morning when I picked up my juices. I have an intense boot camp class tonight (that I already paid for) and I feel like I won’t make it through it without some sort of solid fuel. I feel ok about this “cheat.” I am staying vegan and within the overall Organic Avenue program.

My thoughts today:

Negatives: I drank the coffee – bad girl. Last night I was very hungry and sort of listless, but more than that I was sick of the green juice. I didn’t even finish my last juice yesterday! Today I am hungry, but not terribly so. I am worried about how I will do at my exercise class tonight. Also, my skin is breaking out. ick.

Positives: I really feel great right now. I have energy and my mind is clear. I have NOT had any bathroom issues – which is better than what I was expecting. I am feeling encouraged right now to stick with this cleanse until Saturday morning! (With the addition of the vegan burrito, of course.)

Juice Cleanse… here I go!

Oh, boy. What have I done?!

A while ago I bought a coupon from Refinery 29 Reserve (a deal site like Groupon) for a half-price, three-day, Organic Avenue “LOVEdeep” juice cleanse. It is three days of pre-prepared, organic, vegan, raw, fresh-pressed juices. The cleanse promises that you will “get drenched with vital nutrients and watch your energy level soar as you lose weight and feel great.” Also, it was recommended by Gwyneth Paltrow, and you totally know that I am a sucker for anything GOOP-approved.

I usually NEVER endorse strange or severe diets. I think there is a lot of bad nutritional info out there and that no one should take things to extremes. That being said, I have always been interested in liquid cleanses (just ask my doctor/brother, Adam) and Organic Avenue seemed like a healthy version to try. I have always wanted to see what a cleanse would really do to me. Plus, I was drawn to the idea of losing a few pounds (of course) and not having to shop for or prepare food for a few days.

Let’s just consider my liquid adventure an experiment! I will document it all for you here…

Day 1:

This morning I ran four miles to the lower east side to pick up my juices (and took the train back). I was feeling enthusiastic and wanted to get in a work out before I officially started the cleanse, just in case I get too weak later in the week.

The cleanse instructions said that I should have eaten a raw salad last night in preparation… I had a veggie burger (and some fries), so that was my first misstep. Also, if I am being completely honest, I had a VERY small cup of coffee this morning with some soy milk. Not on the plan, but I had to have something before my run. At least it was vegan, right?

Ok, with all of my confessing out of the way, on to the first step of the cleanse…

Watch me drink my shot of Chlorophyll Elixir. Warning: green teeth! It really wasn’t bad… It is supposed to help “regenerate our bodies at the molecular and cellular level.” Ok. So far this morning (it is noon now) I have also had half of my orange juice and some alkaline water.

Organic Avenue was founded by Denise Mari, who was a phlebotomist I think, but is now getting her masters in nutrition, so there’s that. As part of the first step of the cleanse, one is supposed to repeat these positive mantras:

“I strive to see light.”
“Faith begins as an experiment and ends as an experience” W.R. Inge
“The only thing you have to remember is how fortunate you are.” Sri Ravi Shankar

Some of the literature from Organic Avenue is a bit out there, even more out there than mantras. For example, the welcome packet stated that: “we hold emotions in the body, and in every cell we hold memory. The liver holds anger, the kidneys hold fear, the gallbladder holds frustration. When we cleanse, these emotions have the opportunity of being released.” They also highly recommend colonic treatments, which I will NOT be doing as part of my cleanse.

Another unique thing about Organic Avenue is that they highly stress the importance of alkaline water, because as Mari says, “acidic leads to disease, alkaline leads to health.” Supposedly alkaline water is “a potent natural antioxidant” and “is over five times more hydrating than conventional and filtered water.” I don’t know if that is enough to convince me to spend $4 on 32oz of water… oh wait, it did! Also, I just drank orange juice… isn’t that acidic? I’m confused.

Positive thoughts so far: The orange juice was tasty and I am not hungry yet. I actually felt awesome on my run, but that was mainly due to the weather, not the cleanse. Right now I am feeling extremely pumped up and energized by the idea of the cleanse. I enjoy a challenge. Also, I love that all of my food for today is already prepped and in the fridge.

Negative thoughts so far: I have to go back tomorrow to pick up my next two days of juice because my order got messed up. boo. I am confident that the Organic Avenue juices are fresh and healthy, but the fact that they are unpasteurized makes me a little nervous. I don’t want to contract harmful bacteria! Also, I am a little concerned about some of the pseudo-science medical claims in the literature. For example it states things like: “Cayenne pepper can immediately stop a heart attack within 30 seconds” and they link to this site as their source. Not entirely legit…

Anyway, I will continue to report back on my juice cleanse experience!

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Have you ever done a cleanse? Was it a positive experience?

summer office

Negatives: It is hot! Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it’s summer and I love the sun. It’s just that sweating while typing isn’t the best. We have one window unit air conditioner cooling our bedroom, but it doesn’t cool the whole apartment. Therefore, I have been working on my laptop on the couch near the open bedroom door in order to stay cool… as seen above. It works, but I miss my big desktop screen. Also, I’m still sick. This bug is hanging on forever! I am really looking forward to that future day when I wake up without a sore throat.

Positives: Went to the dentist today. I still need to floss better, but no cavities! I got talked into buy a Waterpik. I hope it does the trick.

Extra Stuff: I am not entirely sure why, but I am obsessing over the new pink lemonade cupcake from Crumbs. I must try it!

life and times

My latest obsession: strawberries with chocolate caramel sauce. A very tasty dessert that is (at least half) healthy!

What else have I been up to? I’m still running. My training schedule hasn’t been as disciplined as I would like, but I keep on trying. Last Sunday, I ran a 15k race with Travis and a few friends. (Official photos below.) It was pretty much awful. I didn’t prepare well the day before and just felt terrible for the entire nine miles. I got upset. I yelled that I was never running again and I treated my friends poorly. Not my best day. But, I didn’t actually quit. I keep on trying. My runs this week were better. The twelve miles I ran this morning were even enjoyable. Strange.

So, what’s up with you?

february fatigue

I’m in trouble. I’ve over-scheduled my February and I’m already starting to feel burned out. Today was not a happy day at my office — thank goodness I work alone! Thankfully, I got to steal away some time for crafting. I made the two twin matchboxes above for my February Love Matchbox Swap. I’ve been hosting the same swap for years, but I still enjoy it. The matchboxes are such a quick project, but they are fun to customize and fill with little trinkets. It is fun to create pretty, little things. And to photograph them, too.

I was supposed to head into the city tonight for a social event, but I am “calling in sick” and cooking some healthy, hearty soup. I need a night to myself to relax or I am afraid I am going to get sick. It sounds dramatic, but I have a full weekend of running and a really busy next week, including the Etsy Success Symposium. (Swap-bot is a sponsor!) Fun!

cold

I thought I was the last person who’d underestimate the difficulty of running in cold weather. I’ve run in it before. I have the gear. (In fact, I just got some awesome, new, fleece-lined running tights that I love.) My Team In Training coaches have given us plenty of cold weather advice. And yet, the cold weather keeps kicking my butt.

Travis and I ran the Fred Lebow Classic on Sunday, a five-mile road race in Central Park. Oh, man. Was it ever cold! Despite the frigid wind and the frozen cups of water at the aid stations, the race went well. (Travis says it was because he was pacing me… blah, blah, blah.) Once you are running, the cold no longer bothers you, but before and after — that is what is killer.

I was completely wiped out after Sunday’s race. Dehydrated, tired, brain dead. And I feel some version of the same thing after all my cold weather runs. The cold drains you in a less obvious way than the heat. You don’t really know it is happening until you get home and pass out on the couch. At least the sun is honest with you while it is sucking your life force.

Tonight, I ran in falling snow, which was actually fun. The snow is supposed to keep falling all night, which may mean it will be a few days before I can get outside and run. I’m ok with that. I’ll take advantage of the break and stay cozy inside!

UPDATE:

Some extra action shots from the race…

That is one of my TNT teammates, Molly, running with Travis and me.

New Year’s Eve

My husband and I are not the most intense “party people,” and often we spend New Year’s Eve at home, watching the countdown on tv. This year, I was determined to do something different. I heard about the New York Road Runners’ Midnight New Year’s Eve Run and immediately started convincing my friends to sign up for it with me. Past midnight runners told me to skip it because the January weather often made the race horribly cold, but I was undaunted. Little did I know that Travis and I would be spending New Year’s Eve day traveling back to New York from Kansas and barely make it to the race! It was a little stressful, but we made it!

The race started at exactly 12:01, January 1st, 2011, in Central Park. Tons of fireworks were shot off at the start — they lasted for 20 minutes! I was impressed that they went all out for a road race. My friends and I all wore our free 2011 crowns (sponsored by Emerald Nuts, btw) throughout the race and had fun checking out the other runners’ costumes and watching tipsy party-goers make their way home through the park. We were lucky that we had great weather. We weren’t in any hurry and it took us nearly an hour to complete the four mile race (when you add in the 15 minutes it took just to reach the start line). Afterward, we pigged out at a 24-hour diner in the village. Yum.

I would highly recommend running the midnight run if you ever want to do something unique for New Year’s Eve in NYC. It felt great to be doing something healthy with friends as the new year rolled in!

a half is much easier than a full…

Running the NYC marathon was an awesome experience – painful and challenging, but rewarding and inspiring. The best part of the entire experience was training with Team in Training. I am so thankful to everyone who supported me in my fundraising so that I could run with Team In Training and help the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ultimately find a cure for cancer. I really can’t say enough about how supportive and inspiring TNT is. It is a great way to achieve your fitness goals, meet new people, and do something good for others…. I want it to continue to be a part of my life…

Here is my exciting news: I am doing a second season with TNT! This time I am training for the New Jersey Half Marathon in May. I am excited because this season I am a mentor — a returning member who helps out the new runners. Of course, I am still raising funds for the LLS, but family and friends do not have to panic. My fundraising minimum is much lower this time around and I won’t be pressuring anyone to donate. (Unless, of course, you want to!) I hope to host fun, local fundraising events with my “mentees” this season which should help me reach my monetary goal.

I chose to train for the half marathon instead of the full this time around to give my body a break from the super-long distances. I also want to try to work on my speed just a bit and hopefully fit in a good amount of cross training. The less grueling training schedule will also allow me to be more available to support my mentees.

I actually plan to do quite a few half marathons this year. Each borough of NYC has their own half marathon and I plan to do them all. If I run nine official NYRR races (and volunteer at one), I can automatically get accepted to run the 2012 NYC Marathon! It is quite the extensive running plan, but 2012 is my goal for now… Do you think I can do it?

Mutter Museum

My emphasized area of study in my grad program was “museum studies.” I learned a lot about museum operations and exhibition design. Contemporary exhibition design practices call for elaborate interactive exhibit sets that engage users in a variety of ways — kind of like Disney Land, but with educational components. We learned all about the importance of incorporating auditory, visual, and hands-on elements in each exhibit so that all learning types would feel welcome. One professor even went so far as suggesting olfactory elements (yes, smells) to entice viewers. (smellers?) We learned that nobody wants to visit a museum that just has a bunch of “old stuff” and long description labels on display… no one, that is, except me.

For me, the only reason to go to a museum is to see things you can’t normally see and learn things that you can’t normally learn. I love authentic “old stuff” and detailed scholarship. I am the type of person who actually tries to read all of the panels of object descriptions in a museum. I am so intrigued by the notion of cabinet of curiosities that it borders on obsession. The Mutter Museum, in Philadelphia, is something of a medical cabinet of curiosities that has been maintained and displayed for over 200 years.

The Mutter Museum is an arm of theThe College of Physicians of Philadelphia, founded in 1787 and the oldest professional medical organization in the country. The Museum was originally organized in 1858 using the personal medical collection of Thomas Dent Mutter, a professor of surgery at Jefferson Medical College. It was originally intended to be a teaching library for medical students, but as its collection grew (now with more than 25,000 objects) the museum moved into its current larger building and was opened to the public.

The museum collection contains everything from medical instruments and wax models to fluid-preserved anatomic specimens and skeletons. There is a collection of over 139 human skulls, shrunken heads, and even preserved fetuses. It is intense.

I was very much looking forward to visiting the Mutter Museum and was afraid I had hyped it too much in my own head, but it did not disappoint. I am very interested in things relating to health and medicine and I am glad I got to visit the museum with my brother, who is nearly done with medical school. He explained many things as we spent four hours touring the exhibits.

We were intrigued by the iron lung on display (and the fact that, as of 2008, there were still 30 patients still using them) and we took our time at the exhibit on criminal and forensic pathology. We weren’t as excited about the collection of animal skulls, but the human skulls were mesmerizing. I learned a lot about tumors and infections from the collection of disturbing wax models, and I was stunned by the pieces of tanned human skin. I am glad that we saved the section about genetic abnormalities for last because the preserved fetuses made me very sad and worried about the health of my own future children… I told you, it was intense.

In school we endlessly debated the ethical questions surrounding museum collections. (Like, should museums retain items taken from other cultures? And, who gets to decide what is museum worthy and what is not?) The questions get even more complicated when you are dealing with actual human remains. Some believe that displaying human body parts is disrespectful or even religiously blasphemous, and I am sure that the Mutter Museum has received its fair share of criticism.

Personally, I am thrilled that the Mutter exists for laypeople like myself who want to learn more about medicine and take more responsibility for their own bodies and health. I definitely rely on doctors as the experts, but I also want to be as educated as possible when it comes to my health. I am so glad that the Mutter has preserved their historic collection so that the humans whose bodies are represented in the collection can continue to educate visitors. Of course, many of the humans who are included in the collection did not get to decide whether or not to donate their remains… which is where things get tricky. So, for future reference, I am putting this in writing: I want to donate my body to science, education, and/or art.

Overall, the Mutter Museum was an amazing and somewhat overwhelming experience. I learned a lot about what can go wrong with the human body and also about man’s attempt to fix those problems. I definitely recommend the museum to anyone who is open to viewing human remains.

If you are interested in the Mutter Museum, check out their website or follow them on Twitter. Photography is not allowed in the museum, but occasionally professional photographers are allowed to interpret the museum through their camera lens. You can see some of those photos here. The Mutter also has an incredible museum store. It includes commissioned fine art and craft items, plus unique gift items exclusively created for the museum using images from the collections. I ended up buying quite a few things, including the fine art photography book.

Wow. I ran the NYC Marathon.

My 2010 NYC marathon play-by-play…

Much to my surprise, it was easy getting up at 4 am yesterday. I had even gotten some sleep! Incredible. I was so happy and excited in the morning. I ate 1/4 of a bagel with jam, drank a bit of coffee, and packed up my gear bag. I rode in a car with my friends, Becca and Amber, to the Team In Training bus and we were all in great moods. Go team!

Those of us in the same wave set up camp together once we arrived at Staten Island. (Above is Monica, Ruthie, Lauren, Amber, Fitz, me, Hannah, and Becca.) It was chilly, but definitely not terrible. We all had on multiple layers of clothes and plenty of hand warmers and blankets.

Lauren bought the two of us matching sleeping bags. (We had to carry out the twin theme to the finish line!) I am glad that I had it because it kept me cozy, but we had to toss them before the start of the race. (All of the clothing and blankets tossed on Staten Island by the runners will be donated to charity.) At the “athlete village” before the race, we all ate a bit, hydrated, went to the port-a-potties, nervously chatted, and basically waited for our turn to run.

We waited through the elite start, wave 1 start, and wave 2 start before we could make our own way to the starting line on the Verrazano Bridge. It was craziness moving with all of the crowds of people to the start line, but the starting system was actually very well organized. Although, it took Lauren, Fitz, and I about five minutes to get to the start line after we had heard the gun. But once we got there, all there was to do was start running. It was exciting!

This is Lauren and I at about mile 1 on the bridge. Look how happy we are! It was incredible on the bridge. The bridge itself is huge, but in the distance, across the ocean (river, maybe) you could see Brooklyn and Manhattan — so magical. We planned to stay together and try to stick to an 11-minute/mile pace in order to finish in under five hours, and at mile 1 that seemed like an easy plan! We had heard that men liked to pee off the Verrazano Bridge — I have no idea why — and we did see one older guy pull off to the side to do just that… I guess I can confirm the rumors!

Coming into Brooklyn was awesome. The spectators were everywhere with signs and drums and high fives. We saw our coach, Alison, around mile 5-ish and we were having a ton of fun, meeting our time goals and talking about how great the crowds were. We had no problem running the 7 miles to my street in Park Slope. Travis was there and he snapped this silly photo of us near the McDonald’s. I can’t get over how happy we are!

Fort Greene was the best spectator neighborhood in Brooklyn. Tons of people were out and even full brownstones were decorated with balloons and signs. We saw some friends there and were still feeling good. I think I was feeling entirely optimistic until mile 10. My legs started hurting at that point and I remember thinking two things: “If it was easy, everyone would do it” and “gah – 16 more miles?” It was too early to be having those thoughts!!

Queens was ok. Lauren kept me going at a reasonable pace, but we were slowing. Subway Jared passed us, but we made it to the halfway point and then over the Queensboro bridge to Manhattan at around mile 16. The bridge was brutal — a long uphill — but Lauren kept me distracted by talking about cute boys. (btw: Neither of us liked Brad Pitt’s scraggly goatee with the beads…)

I was hurting bad by the time we were on First Avenue in Manhattan. I was still holding out hope that I would get a second wind and that my legs would just go numb, but I was struggling already. I had really, truly believed that the bad pain would not start until after mile 20. That is when it had started when I ran my previous marathon… you know, ten years ago. Lauren did her best to encourage me, but when I saw Travis at mile 18 I cried and cried. I was so glad to see him and so disappointed that I was already in so much pain.

A police officer offered to take our photo and I am so thankful he did! Travis was so amazing out on the course and I was so happy to see him each time. He had a super-long day yesterday, too, but he never complained and he was so sweet to me throughout the whole race process. Anyhoo, I had to keep running, so Travis sent me on my way up to the Bronx. Lauren was still feeling good and obviously had more energy left than me. I kept telling her to keep going and run ahead, but she stuck with me. But once we got to mile 20 in the Bronx, I told her she had to go. She still had a chance of finishing in under five hours if she went for it, and I wanted her to run her best race. There was no way I was making it in under five hours at that point.

So, I was alone in the Bronx and hurting. Six more miles to go. I sent my last tweet on my quickly dying phone and set my mind to finish the race. This is my chant: “I am ok. I am ok. I am strong. I can do this.” A Team in Training coach that I didn’t know ran with me for a while and I gave him a hug. I was so thankful for any encouragement! My sweet parents had entered a digital message via the SupportYourMarathoner.com site and I saw it on the big screen!! It said, “Run, Rachel, Run!” and I cried. I think I was still in the Bronx… but I am not sure. The pain made it hard to appreciate all of the wonderful spectators, but I definitely knew when I hit Harlem! Harlem was wonderful. There were organized groups of spectators with mega horns and a gospel choir. I cried there, too. oof. My TNT coach, Kara, found me at some point when I got back into Manhattan, but I don’t know what mile it was. She said that I still had color in my face, which was good… ha! My gait was definitely messed up and I probably looked awful!

Travis took this photo as I was climbing the killer hill at around mile 23. I was dead, but Mary, one of the TNT mentors ran with me quite a ways up the hill and carried my water bottle for a while. That is something I did not expect: my arms got very tied of carrying my water bottle! I had never had trouble with it before, but by the end of the race I could barely lift my arms and my shoulders were very tight. Strange! We found Travis and he gave me a kiss. My breath was probably rank — all that stale Gatorade and Gu! Ick.

I don’t remember much about the last three miles. We went in the park and there were a lot of spectators and lots of people cheered me on individually, shouting “go team” or “go Raquel” (lots of people read my name as Raquel…hmmm). All I remember thinking is “PAIN!” and “gosh, I can’t believe all of these lovely New Yorkers are seeing me in this sorry state!” I am sure I looked like I was 90 years old, hobbling along. Plus, I was crying… and grimacing… and clenching my fists in weird ways. I tried to think of all the things that make me happy. Crusher, Christmas, Cupcakes… then I started naming my family and I started crying too hard and had to stop. I tried to think about Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor and how I should be strong like them (they are my fave movie characters, btw), but I didn’t feel strong. Thinking back, it seems so ridiculous that I was having so much trouble, but I was. It was incredibly difficult.

We had to leave the park at the south end. I saw a group of girls from my Team, which made me happy. My friend, Jessica, jumped out and ran with me almost into the finishing chute! As I inched closer to the finish, I remember thinking that I should sprint it in and hold my arms up for a good finisher photo… but I couldn’t quite manage it. I “ran” across the finish, but I am not exactly looking forward to the photos… ugh.

It was getting dark by the time I finished. My official time was 5:29:19. Much slower than I had wanted, but I guess it is acceptable. Everything from the weather, to my outfit, to my food prep had been perfect and I definitely gave it all I had. Maybe my pain threshold is too low. Maybe my legs just aren’t built for running. Maybe I should have done more strength training. Who knows. I finished and I was very happy to stop running. Sadly, the pain didn’t really stop.

After we crossed the finish line, we got medals, and then foil blankets. Then, we had to keep walking. It felt like we walked for miles. We had to walk by all of the trucks with the checked gear bags. I picked up my bag and continued to hobble toward the exit. When I got the chance, I lay down on the ground and put on my sweats and jacket, then continued on. I had to walk all the way to Amsterdam Avenue and 80th Street to check in with my Team. I had no choice. My phone was dead and my emergency plan was to meet Travis there, too. So, I kept hobbling.

When I made it to Amsterdam Avenue I saw a Crumbs cupcake shop. You won’t believe this, but I just felt pulled into the shop. I bought two big assorted boxes of cupcakes. I think I was delirious! I didn’t eat them, I just clutched the bag as I made it down the street. I finally made it to the Team meet-up spot and Travis was there waiting for me. Lauren and Amber were there, too. Seeing everyone really perked me up. Travis and I ended up having dinner with his cousin, Aaron, who was in town and came to meet us. It was fun, but I was exhausted. We tried to get a taxi home, but there were none, so we ended up riding the trusty R train back to Brooklyn.

I had been sure that I would attend the after-party Sunday night. I was so optimistic before the race! I think I was remembering how I had felt when I ran the San Diego marathon when I was 19. It was also tough, but I recovered quickly then. I was able to go to that after-party. I didn’t go to it this time. I was too dead and it was getting too late. I hate, hate, hate to admit it, because I wanted to be stronger now than ever, but I guess my 19-year-old self was more capable. That makes me feel sad. I really tried hard to commit to my training 100% this season and had hoped I would gain just a small amount of speed this time around. Oh, well. I finished.

I want to feel proud and happy. And I do. The marathon is an incredible personal journey and challenge. It sounds strange, but you have to get to know yourself really well when the going gets tough. I am proud that I kept running (and I think I can say I “ran” the whole thing, even when walking may have been faster) and that I faced the pain. It is also incredibly heart-warming to see the spectators out cheering everyone on — they cheer for the elites and the back of the pack alike. I don’t really know why any of us (other than the elites) choose to take on the marathon, but it is amazing to have so much support and to see the whole city come out for the event. It was an incredible, life-affirming experience.

Thank you so much to everyone who sent encouragement and to everyone who was out on the course keeping me going! xoxo

Ooo! Also, this event made me love Team In Training even more! If you are thinking about training for an endurance event, I can’t recommend this organization enough.

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More photos are in my NYC Marathon Flickr set. And, you can see 20 funny marathoner costumes here – people are so funny! You can search for other runners’ results here.