Weekend Reading: Have a Lovely Saturday!

have a lovely saturday


A recent observational study has tied high blood sugar to an increased risk in dementia. While this is a good starting point for further research, we should keep in mind that causation was not established and that there is no current explanation for the linkage. There is no proof that if you lowered your blood sugar levels you would also lower your dementia risk. Still, if it’s got you thinking about making some healthy changes and reducing sugar intake, here are 7 tricks to quit sugar.

I ask myself all the time, what makes a good running blog? And how can I keep the quality of mine improving? Take home message:

In fact, the researchers’ message to health bloggers is: combine storytelling with concrete health information.

Healthy Tipping Point has a great post up with tips from a Tri Coach on how to incorporate strength into your other fitness goals.

New York will be prescribing fruits and vegetables to patients struggling with obesity as part of the FVRx program. The program has had success in California and Texas, but $2 coupons for use at Farmer’s markets doesn’t add up to very much. I’d be curious at how many coupons are prescribed and how often.

Social Psychology

I’m an introvert, which does not mean that I hate being around people or am antisocial. It does mean that on occasion I need some downtime to process all the fabulous happenings.

Want to encourage follow through in your colleagues, employees, kids, etc? Encourage behavioral changes. Make the projects well-defined and easy to carry out.

You were busy yesterday, but were your productive? I’m definitely guilty of living for the fire drill.


One Pot Wonders: Pork Chops with Fresh Peaches and Basil

I’ve got a bag of coconut in the cupboard that is just asking to be used in this recipe with carrots and figs.

Simple snacks are my favorite snacks. Check out Julie’s Peanut Butter Fingers recipe roundup for some inspiration.

I wish I had never seen these totchos. Fivetenburger has some of the best tots ever, and I might have to make these happen.


This kitchen is amazing. Black, brass and white make for a bold combination.

I’ve been wanting a gold and natural stone necklace for a while but have yet to  swipe the plastic. This blog post is full of DIY inspiration.

Lisa Congdon’s pictures of Paris storefronts are so pretty. They make me want to fly to Paris on a cloudy day, grab a cup of coffee and go wandering.

Ashley Adores Fancy Things Friday included this necklace from Zara and I had instant want syndrome. I’ll take this, these and these too.


This surprise water balloon fight might be the best idea ever.

Robin Thicke’s summer hit, Blurred Lines, is all over the place right now. Here’s a gender reversed version that has been making the rounds. Did you know Robin Thicke’s dad was an aspiring singer at one point too? Check him out at a Crystal Light National Aerobics championship. Love that 80s workout gear!

Breaking Bad starts up this weekend, here are 20 random facts about the show to bust out at your viewing party.

A Craigslist missed connection worth reading.

What would all the unwritten words of your life say? Don’t let the important things go unsaid!

Have a fantastic weekend!

Always, Sierra

It’s a bird eat bird world + Dynamic Warm-ups

I drove to one of my normal routes for yesterday’s run and had to fight the urge to throw the towel in. I had plenty of energy, but everything felt stale.

And then I saw this.

turkey vulture

That would be a turkey vulture taking a break from its afternoon meal. How crazy/awesome is it that I happened to be in the right place at the right time?!

I get that this might be disturbing to some, and sorry if I’ve offended you, but I am a biology geek to the extreme! Anytime I see nature in action I find it fascinating. Turkey vultures and I go way back. In college, I conducted a research project that involved positioning decaying meat in the wild to see how turkey vultures located their food and how accurate they were. Turns out turkey vultures are one of the few types of vultures that can use smell to find their next meal (Note: my research was in no way affiliated with National Geographic…only in my dreams!).

I digress. After seeing this turkey vulture so close and getting to watch it do its thing, I got all geeked out and excited. Suddenly I was all about exploring, wandering off the beaten path so to speak, and I ended up having a fantastic and scenic run.

off the beaten pathup hillview from the tophappy memarinaback to the bottom

I’ve never been big on warming up before runs, but I’ve been working on it the past couple weeks. This article about dynamic warm-ups showed up in my inbox one morning, followed not too much later by this blog post. If Hungry Runner Girl is doing it, it has to be legit right?! I’m a fan of trying out anything that makes me as fast as Meb:

  • Gets my heart going
  • Opens up my joints
  • Gets my key running muscles firing (glutes especially!)
  • Tells my mind that it’s time to get down to business
  • Helps me be a stronger runner

I did a little research and came up with a routine that takes me about ten to fifteen minutes to complete…not too long that it’s tedious, and not so short that it doesn’t accomplish anything.

dynamic warm-up

A typical run before dynamic warm ups:

pre dynamic warm up

A typical run after dynamic warm-ups:

after dynamic warms

The thing to focus on here is the first mile pace. Granted, my general sense of pace has improved as has my overall fitness. But, knowing that I was using my first mile as a warm-up in past runs gave me an excuse to run them anywhere in the 12-13 pace range, so that’s what I did.

Also, pre-dynamic warm-up, my legs usually felt like lead for the first half mile or more. Lead legs are much rarer these days. Going through the dynamic warm-up really makes my legs feel springier and more responsive. Maybe it’s mental, but whatever it is, I’ll take it.

Here are the resources I used to put together my routine. The first video is from Hungry Runner Girl’s post:

Let me know if you try the warm-up routine!

Always, Sierra

Do you warm-up before runs? What’s your routine?

Do you like seeing nature in action?

What gets your inner geek going?


Buffy the Vampire Slayer and 12 Movies that Motivate

They’ve added all the seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Hulu and I cannot stop. Was anyone else obsessed when it first came out?

buffySeason 1, Episode 7 Angel…so good! {watch it}

Between the witty repertoire, the delightful nerdy realness of the Scooby Gang, the passionate back and forth between Buffy and Angel, Giles and his stuffy/mentory/well-meaning English accent, what wasn’t to love? It’s hard to believe the season finale was 10 years ago.

And then there was Buffy. She was cute, she was stylish, she had attitude and a quip ready at the drop of the hat plus she could kick some serious ass. If the shit hit the fan and vampires started popping up left and right, I wanted to believe I could be just as bad ass. I was not the super athlete as a kid, but watching episodes of Buffy always inspired me to run or do some push ups or to at least walk faster to the chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.


Season 2, Episode 1 When She Was Bad {watch}

And those are the great books/movies/TV shows/stories, right? The ones that draw you in and make you want to be the main character or get you motivated to take the world by storm. Here are some other TV shows and movies that always get me fired up to be better, stronger, fitter.

1. GI Jane – Those push ups. Enough said.

2. Clueless – Cher is flawed and even more loveable for it. We get to watch her harmlessly superficial ways blow up in her face, leading her to become increasingly self-aware and to start on a sincere but awkward journey of sel-improvement. Every time I watch it, I get inspired by the idea that while there are always concrete steps we can take to improve ourselves, some flaws should be embraced.


3. The Guardian – The training those in the Coast Guard go through, the physical stamina and endurance they have to develop, the courage they show every time they get sent out in rough seas…so inspiring. Whenever I watch movies like this I wonder, would I make it? Could I push through the pain, the doubts, the panic? Movies like this inspire me to find new limits, or do away with them altogether.

4. Alias – One of my biggest creep factors is anything having to do with the dentist and/or my teeth being yanked out of my mouth. When the first episode aired and Sydney Bristow survived mouth torture just to become a super cool double agent, I was hooked.


5. Mulan – Clumsy Mulan pretends to be a man and joins the army, taking her father’s place and saving his life. She struggles to find herself while pretending to be someone else, and becomes fit, strong and brave. And she saves the day!

6. La Femme Nikita (TV Show and/or movie) – If you couldn’t tell, I’ve got a think for spies and conflicted heroes. The back story of La Femme Nikita differs a little between these two versions, in one she’s innocent and in the other she’s a guilty juvenile delinquent. In both she faces high pressure situations and has to rely on her strength, skills and coolness under pressure to come out on the other side alive and with some sort of her integrity intact.

7. Chasing Mavericks – Say what you will about this movie, but Jay Moriarity displays an impressive single-mindedness in pursuing his passion. That kind of dedication and focus is something I aspire to.

the real Jay Moriarity surfing on his last trip to the Maldives

8. Highlander – Ok, this one might be a stretch but am I the only one who thinks sword fighting is pretty awesome? Cutting heads off, kinda ew. But swinging a broadsword? I could get down with that.

10. Terminator 2: Judgment Day – Linda Hamilton’s arms…and those sun glasses.


11. Hunger Games – This one couldn’t be left out. My favorite thing about Katniss, and this movie, is that she becomes a hero not by choice, but out of necessity. She doesn’t spend her life training for the Hunger Games, she spends her life struggling to survive from day-to-day. She’s gritty, she’s real, she’s focused on getting the job done, and she’s fiercely devoted to those she holds close. And she’s awesome with a bow.

Always, Sierra

Have a Lovely Friday!

geese family

Excuse the minimal posts this week. Between the holiday and work events and hanging out with lots of amazing people, I haven’t had as much time for writing as I would like!

1. Need inspiration for a blank wall? My faves are #2 and #10.

2. Immortality by Stephen Cave has been added to my reading list, this quote’s got me hooked.

“The American novelist Susan Ertz says, “Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.” I think there’s a lot of truth in that: Actually, it’s the fear of death rather than the love of life, often, that’s motivating us. If people complain that they don’t have enough time, why do they watch so much TV? It doesn’t seem, actually, when we look at the way people behave, that lack of time is their problem. On the contrary … when you look at how much time we waste, [it seems] that life is already too long — so long that we become complacent and we waste great swathes, so many hours. And, in fact, being conscious of the fact that our time is limited is what makes us really value and appreciate the time that we have.”

3. Can’t workup the motivation to get going? Two 90-year old men run a 100 meter dash. I hope I’ve still got it when I’m in my 90s.

4. Never be bored again! 100 DIY ideas.

5. The Oakland Museum’s Gallery of Natural History is having a grand reopening this weekend. They’ve spent the past year+ re-imagining it, and it’s going to be awesome. Even better, this Sunday is free admission!

6. Try something new! Starting June 5th at Jack London Square, Les Mills will be hosting “Workout Wednesdays“, hour-long complimentary classes in anything from martial arts to strength.

7. I would take these wedges in all of the color combinations, but the coconut tan is my fave.

8. OMG. This music video is ridiculous, I couldn’t take my eyes away. NSFW.

9. Treadmill running vs. Outdoors running

10. The new season of Extreme Weight Loss has started, and the first episode features twins. I think this show is a bit too scripted/cookies and milk/unrealistic/try hard, but I find it inspiring to see what the human body is able to accomplish. Anyone who takes determined, focused actions to change their lives for the better in any way deserves major props.

Our friends are getting married this weekend, and I’m so excited that we’ll be there to help them celebrate their love and committment. Have a great weekend!

Always, Sierra

What do you have going on this weekend?

Do you prefer treadmill running or running outdoors? Does weather change your choice?

Do you watch Extreme Weight Loss?