Marathon Training: Week 3

Weeks until Mountains 2 Beach Marathon: 18

Sunday marked the end of marathon training week three. My body is still adjusting to the higher mileage, but I really feel like I’m improving. And have I mentioned how much I’m liking having a training plan where I know exactly what paces I’m trying to hit and how many miles to do (thanks, Coach Lauren!)? I had one especially good workout on Thursday, where I beat two new records: 5k time and fastest mile.

Monday – 5 miles + 100m strides

My legs felt pretty heavy from the tough runs of the week before, but I was able to speed up for the strides at the end. Ended up with 5.35 @ 9:36.

Tuesday – rest

Wednesday – November Project

We spent 30 minutes running stadium stairs, then 30 minutes of tabata workouts after. I was supposed to run a few miles after NP to get in 6 miles for the day, but traffic was horrible on my way back from the Hollywood Bowl and I didn’t have time. I made up the mileage on Friday, though.

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Squat jumps!

A sea of v-ups.

A sea of v-ups.

Thursday – 5 miles with 3 at tempo pace

This was the highlight of the week. I did a 1 mile warm-up at 9:37 pace, then 3 miles tempo (8:55, 8:29, 8:17), and a 1 mile cool-down at 9:27. The first tempo mile was up a hill so I lagged a little, but as soon as it was done, I felt like I was flying. I ended up setting a new 5k record (26:38 – my PR is 27:54) and fastest mile (8:17). I felt pretty damn good after this run!

IMG_1872Friday – 5 miles easy

Took this run fairly easy since my legs were feeling kind of heavy, and my right calf started cramping a bit and felt really tight. Ended up with five miles @ 9:36 pace. I made sure to foam roll and stretch that night, after I ate this cheese plate my husband made:

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We try to recreate our European adventures on the weekends.

Saturday – 8 miles

I decided to drive up to Santa Barbara on Saturday to see my family, with a stop in Ventura along the way to meet up with my mom, brother, sister-in-law, and my nephews. We ended up walking along the Ventura Promenade, which is where the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon ends. Now I have an even better visual to go along with my mental images of crossing the finish line. I get butterflies just thinking about it… I always run in the morning since afternoon/evening runs rarely go well for me, but I wanted a change of scenery so I waited until I got to SB to complete the eight miles. I didn’t wait long enough after I ate lunch to start my run so I had a sideache pretty much immediately, but luckily it went away around mile two. The first few miles felt just okay, but I got a boost of energy at mile five and felt really strong for the remainder of the run. I can feel myself getting stronger and stronger, and it feels awesome.

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Sunday – beach walk

My mom and I took a walk on the beach Sunday morning, and that was the extent of my exercise for the day. It felt good to walk barefoot on the sand for a couple miles, though, and try to get some color on this pasty white skin.

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Weekly mileage: 23.35

Marathon Training: Week 2

Weeks until Mountains 2 Beach Marathon: 19

This past week of marathon training went really well. It’s still so early on that it hasn’t QUITE hit me that I’m training for a full marathon, but I’m already seeing improvements. I feel like getting a coach was the best thing I could have done; it’s finally making me push myself and see what I’m capable of. I’m also realizing just how half-assed my training has been previously.

Monday – 5 miles with 800m repeats 

Speed workouts are extremely new to me (this might have been my first real one?) and I’m still trying to settle into a faster pace and getting my body adjusted to pushing itself. My goal was to hit 8:00-8:10 paces during the repeats, which I didn’t quite succeed at. The route that I take every morning has two hills and half the course is basically on an incline. This made the repeats tough, and I was paranoid about burning out so I didn’t push myself enough. An 8:00 pace still feels like I’m sprinting, so I know the more I do these, the better I’ll get (duh). My splits: warm up mile 9:38, four 800m repeats with 400m rest in between (8:35, 8:31, 8:42, 8:28) cool down mile 9:31.

I run by this every time and I finally stopped to check it out. Not actually Marilyn Monroe's handprints.

I run by this every time and I finally stopped to check it out. Not actually Marilyn Monroe’s handprints.

Tuesday – Rest 

Wednesday – November Project and 5 miles total

We did “couples retreat” at November Project, which is basically running up and down the stadium stairs while your partner does different exercises (burpees, wall sits, planks, etc.) and then switching. I was glad to have these other workouts to do, since I haven’t been doing any other strengthening exercises. That needs to change. I ran three miles @ 9:22 pace afterward to get to five miles total for the day.

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Big group!

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Thursday – 3 miles

My plan was to run five miles, but I had horrible cramps and cut it at three. I knew I would be getting in some mileage at November Project Friday morning, so I checked with my coach and it was all good.

Friday – November Project

This was a crazy workout. We met in Echo Park at what is one of the steepest streets in Los Angeles (steeper than any in San Francisco). I was actually really close to skipping it, I couldn’t fall asleep until about 2am and setting my alarm for 5:30am was too painful. But lo and behold, my body woke me naturally right at 5:45, so I took it as a sign. I’m so glad I went though. I ended up running up and down the hills for a little over two miles.

Here I come.

Here I come.

Whoa mama.

Whoa mama.

So bad ass. We all wore black and had to be really quiet the whole time because it was a residential neighborhood and we didn't want the cops to be called.

We all wore black and had to be really quiet the whole time because it was a residential neighborhood and we didn’t want the cops to be called.

Saturday – 7 miles with a fast finish

You guys, I’m so proud of this one. I figured my legs would be jello and seeing the paces I was supposed to hit for the fast finish intimidated the hell out of me. I’ve always been a high 9- or 10-minute-per-mile runner, and it’s rare to clock a mile in the 8-minute zone. But I killed it! My splits: 9:30, 9:41, 9:29, 9:24, 9:43, 8:32, 8:29. This run was so fun.

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Sunday – Rest

I took it easy after my run Saturday morning and it felt really good. It rained all weekend so it was extra incentive to relax. Tonight I foam rolled and stretched and did some ab exercises, and that’s it.

Non-Running Stuff

Monday night, my company was invited to a private premiere of Portlandia at the Ace Hotel theatre downtown Los Angeles.

I hadn’t ever been to the theater before, and it was beautiful. We also had really good seats and I was basically sitting next to Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Kyle MacLachlan, Kumail Nanjiani, Aimee Mann, Tim Heidecker, Lorne Michaels… the list goes on. Pretty much anyone who’s been in a Portlandia episode was there, and there was a Q&A after they showed two episodes from the new season. I took one picture:

Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein.

Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein.

Wednesday night was spent at my friend Monika’s house, who was in town from London. She always brings me a big box of Maltesers (my favorite candy) and I always eat them all immediately.

Thursday evening I finally got to take a quick break at work (it’s been really busy still), and watch the sunset from the rooftop of our building.

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They filmed a Bud Light Super Bowl commercial next door and had this huge life-sized Pac Man game set up. We could hear the music and announcer pretty much all day and night from inside our office. I now have one reason to watch the Super Bowl.

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Here’s a video (with sound):

Thursday night we went to dinner with some friends, and we went back to Guisado’s, the taco place from last week. The same picture applies because I ordered the same tacos.

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I’m excited to get week three of training going!

Marathon Training: Week 1

Weeks until Mountains 2 Beach Marathon: 20 

I finished my first week of marathon training, and it’s going really well so far! I stuck to the plan, and since it happens to be the first week of the year, there is lots of talk everywhere of exercising and eating healthy, which adds a little motivation to this whole thing. I mean, I was already really excited, but it seems especially momentous since New Years happened in the middle of my first week. I felt pretty tired after yesterday’s run; last week was the most exercise I’ve done in a while, if I’m being honest. I have been running fairly consistently since 2012 and stuck to a couple Hal Higdon half marathon plans, but for the most part I became pretty lackadaisical about running once my body was in shape to run halfs without much training, and just ran whenever I felt like it. That’s most of the reason I wanted to hire a coach; having someone create a custom plan and someone I have to report back to is a big push for me to stick with it and complete every workout on the schedule.

Monday – 5 miles @ 9:54 min/mile

I became swamped and stressed from work the couple weeks before Christmas, and didn’t do much in the way of exercise during that time. When I started back, I stuck to 3 miles, and this 5-mile workout felt tough. I also wasn’t prepared for how cold it was going to be. It was 41 degrees when I started my run, so I wore three layers on top but kept shorts on. I probably should have put pants on because my legs felt frozen for the first few miles. My body has completely adjusted to warm weather, and it was kind of a shock to my system. I actually really like running in colder weather (I did nine miles last winter in Tennessee and there was ice on the ground and I distinctly remember it was a great run), but I guess my body just wasn’t quite ready for it.

yay for marathon training!

yay for marathon training!

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – November Project + 4 miles

We did 35 minutes of sprinting stadium stairs at November Project, and I ran two miles @ 9:25 min/mile afterward to get in 4.2 miles for the day.

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It was so cold and windy.

Thursday – 5 miles @ 9:29 min/mile

This run already felt better than Monday’s. I did three miles easy, then a fast finish of two miles. I couldn’t quite hit the 8:30-8:45 paces my plan called for (I don’t think I’ve ever hit those paces for two miles, but I’m ready to try), but I only got 2-3 hours of sleep the night before so I was a little tired. Splits: 9:43, 9:45, 9:59, 9:05, 8:54.

I had to get a new phone because I shattered my other one and it deleted my pictures, so here's one from my Instagram.

I had to get a new phone because I shattered my other one and it deleted my pictures, so here’s a screen shot from my Instagram. I got this shirt for free from Brooks a couple years ago since it was my birthday.

Friday – Yoga 

I was going to try to make it to November Project, but I made sleep a priority instead of waking up at 5:30am, so I missed it. It’s just as good though, they did hill repeats and I think my legs needed a little break. I got a 10-class pass for a local yoga/spinning studio called YAS for Christmas, so I went to my first class in the afternoon instead. The studio offers spinning classes, yoga classes, and half-spinning half-yoga classes. I chose the ‘yoga for athletes – core’ class, and I was the only one there so I got a private lesson. It was awesome. It had been a loooong time since I did yoga, and I felt it. I’m still sore, actually. I also haven’t done any upper body or core strengthening in a while, and that’s something that needs to change. One more thing, I got a new yoga mat at Whole Foods and my hands were slipping all over it during class… people that do yoga: is that normal? Do I just need to get a towel or something? I don’t remember my cheapo mat from Marshall’s ever doing that, so I don’t know what’s going on. Maybe my hands are just more sweaty these days.

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I did sweat. A lot.

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I’m so glad this place is 0.7 miles away from my house.

Saturday – 6 miles easy @ 9:44 min/mile

I’ve been having a hard time finding an easy pace lately; my pace has quickened due to all the stadium stair sprinting we do at November Project, and I find myself pushing a little harder on all my runs. I need to remember to slow it down and make the easy runs easy, so I can increase my distance comfortably. My stupid left knee starting hurting a bit during the last half-mile and I’m pretty sure it’s because I was tired and slacking on my form. I’ve been icing it and I’ll have to start wearing my compression band again just in case.

Total: 20 miles 

Looks like the weather will be back to normal this upcoming week and work will be starting up again which means more discipline about waking up early enough to get my runs done in the morning.

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One more question: are there any other How I Met Your Mother fans out there? Jeremy and I just finished the series last night and I’m feeling NOT GREAT about the finale. 

Christmas Workouts and The Start of Marathon Training

Christmas has come and gone and nobody is even thinking about it anymore, but I had some good workouts last week that I wanted to share, so everyone’s just going to have to deal. Christmas Eve morning was spent at November Project at the Hollywood Bowl, and I wore my special naughty santa Christmas sweatshirt (that I didn’t take off for the next couple days, apparently).

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This workout was SO fun because it was a scavenger hunt and we had to run around the Bowl finding letters and completing the exercises listed before moving onto the next, and finally trying to figure out what the letters spelled out. Many of the exercises included singing Christmas carols while doing burpees. It was also fun because I met fellow blogger Kaitlin over at California Endless Summer. I think this was my first real-life blogging meet-up! She’s a native Southern Californian but now lives in NYC and was visiting family over the holidays.

I stole this picture from Kaitlin.

I stole this picture from Kaitlin.

The whole gang.

The whole gang.

After November Project, I had to work at home for a few hours, but then we headed up to Santa Barbara to spend Christmas with my family.

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Mandatory sunset beach picture.

On Christmas, we opened presents with my family and then ate the feast my mom cooked and Jeremy, my dad, and I headed down to the beach to watch the sunset, per tradition. It was SO cold and windy (the coldest Christmas in memory).

My medal from the Santa Barbara Half Marathon I ran at the beginning of November finally arrived in the mail (there were delays and didn’t hand them out at the race), so that was exciting.

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Jeremy got me this awesome Nike tank that has the Santa Barbara Running Company logo on it, and I can't wait to wear it when it warms up.

Jeremy got me this awesome Nike tank that has the Santa Barbara Running Company logo on it, and I can’t wait to wear it when it warms up.

We have been drinking some incredible coffee ever since Christmas...

We have been drinking some incredible coffee ever since Christmas…

Christmas sunset.

Christmas sunset.

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The day after Christmas, I drove to More Mesa Bluffs to get a run in. I don’t know why I didn’t go here more to run when I lived in Santa Barbara. There were barely any people and I had the trails to myself pretty much (except for a run-in with a couple horses that forced me to run along the edge of the cliff and I was convinced I was going to fall to my death). I completed 4.11 miles @ 9:23 min/mile.

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The next day, I ran 3.4 miles @ 9:05 min/mile along beach paths near Santa Barbara City College, where I did stadium stairs after. My mom was walking on the track and took some pictures while I was huffing and puffing up and down the stairs.

View from the top of the stairs.

View from the top of the stairs.

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Side note: My Garmin has been acting up and not working properly so I wanted to do a factory reset to try to get it working again. I watched a video online and it said if I did a ‘soft reset’ it wouldn’t erase my data, so I did that. Well it DID erase all my data and I lost the workouts I hadn’t recorded yet. Good thing I was also using MapMyRun at the time and could manually enter them. But still, it was a little heartbreaking.

Anyway, I got back to Los Angeles Sunday and didn’t exercise since I was starting my marathon training plan the day after. So as of Monday, December 29th, I am officially training for my first marathon! I did 5 miles Monday morning.

First day of training for my first marathon!

First day of training! It was 41 degrees and I was wearing three layers on top. 

My marathon (the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon) isn’t until May 24th so I’ve got a good amount of time to build up my distance, and my coach Lauren of The Foodie Runner has created a plan for me and I’m so excited to complete it. I want to do weekly recaps on Sundays of my training; I think it’ll be fun to be able to look back on the entire process.

On New Year’s Eve, I went to November Project in the morning and we did 35 minutes of stadiums stairs, and I ran two miles after. It is so cold in LA right now, and I’m pretty sure it’s cold enough to warrant wearing big winter coats and not being made fun of by the rest of the country. I am so spoiled; I don’t know how you guys live in places with real winters that last for months. It’s been in the 30s when I wake up and the wind was blowing so hard during the NP workout. I DO love wearing my cold weather running gear though, I think it looks so much cooler than tank tops and shorts.

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It’s supposed to warm up to the 70s again next week, so normalcy will resume.

The rest of New Year’s Eve was spent enjoying this cheese plate Jeremy made, some sparkling wine, walking to a restaurant in our neighborhood for oysters, and going out with my friend that lives in London now. I made sure not to drink too much so I would feel good for my run the next day, but unfortunately I went to bed really late which always results in horrible sleep. I think I got maybe 2-3 hours. I still did five miles the next day with two fast miles at the end, and I think if I had been fully rested I would have reached my goal paces of 8:30-8:45.

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Jeremy’s cheese plate with chicken liver mousse and caviar and toasted sunflower seeds.

The rest of the day was spent eating… I had chilaquiles for brunch and the most delicious tacos from a place called Guisados for dinner.

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Hope everyone had an excellent first day of 2015!

Year in Review

Hello again, it’s been a while. Reentering the real world has proven more challenging than I was ready for. I’m finding it a little hard to find balance at the moment, but I’m hoping things will calm down in the new year. Working in e-commerce during Christmas is more hectic than anything I’ve ever experienced, and I started at my new job basically the week before Black Friday, so it’s been nonstop since. Running took a backseat the last couple weeks, and I wasn’t able to go to November Project. I got in this bad cycle where I couldn’t sleep because of stress so I’d be too tired to wake up early and run, but I had nothing to release the stress and energy, so I’d carry it all day and then into the night when I couldn’t sleep again. I know running and NP would have helped with that, but I was just too damn tired. And it was raining a lot and I was paranoid about getting a cold from the lack of sleep, stress, and the germs floating around the workplace. Excuses, excuses. BUT marathon training starts next week and I’m very excited about it. And I’ve been in Santa Barbara since Wednesday and already had some good workouts. I don’t usually make resolutions (except to become ambidextrous, which has been my goal every year since I was young for some reason), but in 2015 I’d like to: run my first marathon, break two hours in the half, celebrate my 30th birthday somewhere fun, and work on my French.

I like to do the year in review things, but this year is tough. I want to go back through each month in our travels, but I’m afraid I will just want to post every picture I took. I’ll try to pick a couple favorites.

January 

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Started the year out in Athens, Georgia. I was going to bootcamp and running, and was probably in the best shape of my life.

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Really happy to see friends in Georgia :)

February 

Ran the Mermaid Half and I was sick, but still managed to PR by a few seconds.

Ran the Mermaid Half while sick, but still managed to PR by a few seconds.

Moved out of our first apartment.

Moved out of our first apartment.

March

Ran the San Diego Half for the second year.

Ran the San Diego Half for the second year.

Started our trip in New Orleans.

Started our trip by driving cross-country to New Orleans.

Second stop: Charleston

Second stop: Charleston, South Carolina. 

Jeremy's first time in NYC! We had to hang out in this park until our Airbnb was ready and it was really cold and we were regretting bringing so much luggage on our six-month trip.

Jeremy’s first time in NYC! We had to hang out in this park until our Airbnb was ready and it was really cold and we were regretting bringing so much luggage on our six-month trip.

Visiting my birthplace (NYC, not Washington Square Park).

Visiting my birthplace (NYC, not Washington Square Park).

Made it to Europe! Our first destination: magical Iceland.

Made it to Europe! Our first destination: magical Iceland.

Icelandic ponies!

Icelandic ponies!

Our little home in Iceland. Okay I could post a million pictures from there but I'll stop.

Our little home in Iceland. Okay I could post a million pictures from there but I’ll stop.

April

Next stop: London!

Next stop: London!

Had our first housesitting assignment in the English countryside. Took care of four cats, three dogs, and some ducks and chickens.

Had our first housesitting assignment in the English countryside. Took care of four cats, three dogs, and some ducks and chickens.

Flew to Zurich after London, had somer really great runs around Lake Zurich.

Flew to Zurich after London, went on some really great runs around Lake Zurich.

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Visited the charming town of Bern, Switzerland.

Housesat in Geneva - I could get used to running in Switzerland.

Housesat in Geneva – I could get used to running in Switzerland.

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Spent a week in Avignon, our first destination in France.

May 

Started May by housesitting this massive three-story, eight-bedroom house in Azille, France.

Started May by housesitting this massive three-story, eight-bedroom house in Azille, France.

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Learned to drive stick from watching YouTube videos.

I'll never forget you, Lily the dog!

I’ll never forget you, Lily the dog!

Ahhh, Paris. One of my favorite cities in the world.

Ahhh, Paris. One of my favorite cities in the world.

Had some great runs along the Seine.

Ran along the Seine.

Traveled to Honfleur in Normandy with my parents.

Traveled to Honfleur in Normandy with my parents.

Visited the D-Day Beaches.

Visited the D-Day Beaches.

Drove alllll day and finally made it to Munich, Germany.

Drove alllll day and finally made it to Munich, Germany.

Celebrated Jeremy's birthday at the Hofbrauhaus.

Celebrated Jeremy’s birthday at Hofbrauhaus in Munich.

My parents at the Hofbrauhaus :)

My parents at Hofbrauhaus :)

June

Had a housesitting assignment in Bavaria, south of Munich.

Had a housesitting assignment in Bavaria, south of Munich.

Hiked a mountain for the best beer and pretzels I've ever had.

Hiked a mountain for the best beer and pretzels I’ve ever had.

Took an alpine coaster and had the most fun ever.

Took an alpine coaster and had the most fun ever.

Celebrated mine and Jeremy's one-year anniversary at a restaurant overlooking a lake in our little Bavarian village.

Celebrated mine and Jeremy’s one-year anniversary at a restaurant overlooking a lake in our little Bavarian village.

Took a day trip to Austria. Drank delicious beer.

Took a day trip to Austria. Drank delicious beer.

Running in Bavaria was awesome.

Running in Bavaria was awesome.

Drank more delicious beer.

Drank more delicious beer.

Hello Italy! First stop was Verona.

Hello Italy! First stop was Verona.

Stayed in a cool house overlooking Turin, Italy with my parents.

Stayed in a cool house overlooking Turin, Italy with my parents.

Drove to Tuscany, took a ferry to the coastal town of Portovenere.

Drove to Tuscany, took a ferry to the coastal town of Portovenere.

Toured the marble quarries of Carrara, Italy.

Toured the marble quarries of Carrara, Italy.

July 

Stopped in Pisa for a night on our way to Rome.

Stopped in Pisa for a night on our way to Rome.

Spent a week in Rome, ate more delicious food than I thought possible.

Spent a week in Rome, ate a lot.

Jeremy and I head to Rome (my computer decided to hide/delete all my pictures from Rome, not too happy about that) then onto Bologna for a week, a haven for delicious food.

Headed to Bologna for a week, a haven for delicious food.

Took a day trip to Venice.

Took a day trip to Venice.

Had some really great runs in Bologna.

Had some super awesome runs in Bologna.

Back to Germany! Spent a week in Berlin, where we got to celebrate the World Cup win with the rest of the city.

Back to Germany! Spent a week in Berlin, where we got to celebrate the World Cup win with the rest of the city.

Stepped foot in The Netherlands for the first time. Spent a week in Amsterdam.

Stepped foot in The Netherlands for the first time. Spent a week in Amsterdam.

August

Spent all of August in Paris.

Spent all of August housesitting in Paris.

Nicole came to visit and I turned 29!

Nicole came to visit and I turned 29!

The best cheese plate in the history of cheese plates (at Restaurant Astier in Paris).

The best cheese plate in the history of cheese plates (at Restaurant Astier in Paris).

More incredible runs in Paris. Joined a running group and did a 13-mile route one Saturday morning.

More incredible runs in Paris. Joined a running group and did a 13-mile route one Saturday morning.

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Took a train at the end of August to Bordeaux, to meet up with our friends Liz and Alain.

September

Alain drove us all around Bordeaux to visit the historic villages in the region, then eventually we drove to San Sebastian, Spain, with a stop in Biarritz, France along the way.

Alain drove us all around Bordeaux to visit the historic villages in the region, then eventually we drove to San Sebastian, Spain, with a stop in Biarritz, France along the way.

Mine and Jeremy's first time in Spain.

Mine and Jeremy’s first time in Spain.

Flew to Dublin, drove across the entirety of Ireland to get to the coastal town of Dingle.

Flew to Dublin, drove across the entirety of Ireland to get to the coastal town of Dingle.

Completed my first race abroad! The Dingle Half Marathon.

Completed my first race abroad! The Dingle Half Marathon.

Drove to the Cliffs of Moher.

Drove to the Cliffs of Moher.

Spent a week in Dublin, tasting fresh Guinness and visiting the Jameson Distillery.

Spent a week in Dublin, tasting fresh Guinness and visiting the Jameson Distillery.

Said goodbye to Europe, headed back to America.

Said goodbye to Europe, headed back to America.

Drove back across country with stops in Georgia, New Orleans and El Paso, Texas, until we reached Santa Barbara.

Drove back across country with stops in Georgia, New Orleans and El Paso, Texas, until we reached Santa Barbara.

October

Moved to LA!

Moved to LA!

Started November Project.

Started November Project.

November

Signed a lease for a new apartment, got settled in Silver Lake.

Signed a lease for a new apartment, got settled in Silver Lake.

Ran the Santa Barbara Half Marathon, got hit by a wave afterward.

Ran the Santa Barbara Half Marathon, got hit by a wave afterward.

Started a new job downtown LA.

Started a new job downtown LA.

December

Had a wonderful Christmas, put a picture of myself in pajamas on the internet.

Had a wonderful Christmas, put a picture of myself in pajamas on the internet. And finally got my Santa Barbara Half medal in the mail. 

Phew, there you have it. The extremely abbreviated Cliff’s Notes version of the most adventurous year of my life.

I’m All About that Base

Hello! Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. Jeremy and I went up to Santa Barbara to spend time with my family, and it was really great. It was about 80 degrees and I spent lots of time at the beach.

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I really love being in driving distance to Santa Barbara.

Traditional post-Thanksgiving beach walk.

Traditional post-Thanksgiving beach walk.

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We were instructed at November Project to take a picture in our shirts and tag it #np_tsa and it took me a while before there was no one around so I could take a selfie without anyone seeing.

We were instructed at November Project to take a picture in our shirts and tag it #np_tsa and it took me a while before there was no one around so I could take a selfie without anyone seeing.

Lots of selfie outtakes.

Lots of selfie outtakes.

This guy is SUPing (stand-up paddleboarding) with dolphins.

This guy is SUPing (stand-up paddleboarding) with dolphins.

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I can’t stop with the beach photos.

From a few weeks ago - three of my favorite things: the beach, Pez the dog, and coffee.

From a few weeks ago – three of my favorite things: the beach, Pez the dog, and coffee.

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The local running store was having a Black Friday sale. It’s the only sale I attended.

I got this Oiselle shirt, socks, and an armband for my iPhone 6.

I got this Oiselle shirt, Smartwool socks, and an armband for my iPhone 6.

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Almost done…

Okay this is the last one.

Okay this is the last one.

Anyway, I got a new job and I started a couple weeks ago, so adjusting to that and moving into our new apartment has been… a lot. But everything is good and exciting and moving to a new city is SO FUN. I highly recommend it. My job is downtown L.A., which is not too far from where we live (I was worried about a one-hour commute at least if I got a job anywhere on the west side of the city), and it’s fun to be downtown around lots of cool bars and restaurants and old buildings.

One view from the new office.

One view from the new office.

My running has felt a little lackluster lately, especially last week. I was on a good run of workout weeks, but last week I slacked. I did five miles in Santa Barbara on Friday that felt good, but I think that was one of two runs last week… oops. My main focus right now is building a good base to start marathon training on January 5th (!!!!!). I’ve enlisted the help of Lauren from The Foodie Runner as my coach for marathon training, and I’m so excited to get started. I am really looking forward to having a training plan, and especially one that’s specifically made for me. I think having someone to keep me accountable and encourage me is going to be so beneficial. I’ve been exploring our new neighborhood a good bit on foot, and am really glad the Silver Lake Reservoir is nearby, it makes for a nice loop. There are also lots of super steep roads around, which will come in handy if I have any hill workouts to do. I’ve been getting a little bit faster, most of my runs are now under 9:30 minutes/mile, so at least there’s that.

Neighborhood view - I love seeing the Hollywood sign.

Neighborhood view – I love seeing the Hollywood sign.

The local reservoir.

The local reservoir.

There are a good amount of "secret" staircases in L.A., and I found one of them the other day.

There are a good amount of “secret” staircases in L.A., and I found one of them the other day.

They made for a nice view at the top.

They made for a nice view at the top.

Jeremy and I have also been exploring the restaurants and bars in walking distance to us – this was a really important factor when choosing an apartment. Los Angeles is not known for its walkability, but we can venture out easily and find lots of places to visit within a two-mile radius.

One of the local Mexican restaurants.

One of the local Mexican restaurants.

Where we got breakfast burritos.

Where we got breakfast burritos.

I’ve still been going to November Project every Wednesday morning, and I’m so excited because starting this Friday, it’s being held at Echo Park Lake, which is a 5-10 minute drive from me. I need that cross-training!

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One of our workouts outside the Hollywood Bowl.

Our yearbook photos arrived.

Our yearbook photos arrived.

There’s also a studio nearby that’s called YAS Fitness Center, which is half spinning classes half yoga for athlete classes (one class is thirty minutes of one then switches to the other), and they are having a special right now so I think I’ll buy some classes. I haven’t done yoga in a long time (or stretched much) and I know spinning is a great cross-training exercise. Otherwise, I’m going to keep working on my base, hopefully running 20-25 miles a week until January 5th. I keep getting butterflies when I think about marathon training; I know I have to strengthen my mental game for the race too, I’m feeling pretty scared of the distance at the moment.

A few more pictures for good measure.

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My favorite juice at my favorite beach.

Sunset from our new porch.

Sunset from our new porch.

I want to jump in.

I want to jump in.

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Hope everyone has a really great last month of 2014!

Santa Barbara Veterans Day Half Marathon

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This was my second year running the Santa Barbara Veterans Day Half Marathon. It’s my hometown race, so I’ll likely try to run it every year I’m able. Last year when I wrote my recap, I had just started blogging and it was my second half marathon ever. I ended up expending all my energy right before the biggest hill of the course at mile 10 or so. I crashed while running up the hill (I didn’t allow myself to stop, but people were walking past me faster than I was shuffling), and the last few miles were painful. I also didn’t realize we had to run a lap around the track at Santa Barbara City College right at the end, and that hurt too. This year, I was hyper-aware of saving energy for the hill, and it paid off. I was also treating this race as just a long run, since I didn’t feel super prepared. But, let me start at the expo.

Shake-out run on the beach.

Shake-out run on the beach two days before the race.

Before

I have gotten this exact sandwich for lunch the day before two half marathons and they both went well, I think I should stick with it.

I have gotten this exact sandwich for lunch the day before two half marathons and they both went well, I think I should stick with it.

Santa Barbara sure is pretty.

Santa Barbara sure is pretty.

Like I’ve said before, I don’t care too much about expos. I enjoy them I guess, but it doesn’t matter to me if they are big or small; I usually just walk around a bit and get my number and shirt and leave. I hate to say anything negative, but I haven’t had the best luck with volunteers at the SB Expo. Last year was not quite as bad, but this year the lady handing out the shirts was pretty rude. The shirts are a baby blue, and made of non-tech material. I ordered a women’s medium, and there is no way I can squeeze into it. Last year the shirts ran a size small also, but they were aware of it and gave everyone a size up. This year I asked the lady to switch out my shirt and she basically just coldly said “No.” I’m sure she had a lot of people asking her the same question and maybe that’s why she was short with me, but I don’t think it would have hurt to smile or something. Anyway, a lot of people have been complaining on the race Facebook page about the shirts, so hopefully they’ll get some different ones next year. People were also upset because the medals were held up in a port in Long Beach and didn’t arrive on time, so they’ll be sent out in the mail at some point. I can’t even begin to imagine how much work goes into putting on a race, so I’m not about to go say something nasty on the Facebook page, but these were just a couple unfortunate things.

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At the expo, I ended up buying a new handheld water bottle (I grew to hate my other one) and some Body Glide from the SB Running Store stand. I bought the Nathan SpeedDraw Plus for $25 and even though it seemed a little pricey, I’m really glad I got it. I used it during the race for the first time, and it was so much more comfortable to carry than my other one (the Nathan QuickDraw Plus). I also picked up a sample of lemon-lime Clif Shot Hydration Drink Mix and put it in my bottle to drink during the race. I don’t know why, but I always try new stuff during half marathons and luckily it’s always worked out for me. I will not do this during my first marathon, don’t worry.

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That evening, I met my friend Liz on the beach and we drank a beer and watched the sunset (at like 4:30pm). We then met Jeremy for a drink… I wasn’t planning on drinking any alcohol the night before the race especially since I hadn’t been sleeping well and was exhausted, but hey it worked out.

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Carb-loading, right?

My mom made fish and sweet potatoes and green beans for dinner, and then I went to bed early.

During

I didn’t sleep at all really, maybe a couple hours, and the 5am alarm was rough. I had a small bowl of oatmeal with half a banana and a cup of coffee, and Jeremy and I left my parents’ house at 6:30am so he could drop me off at the start. It’s a good thing we didn’t leave any later because they closed off the roads about five cars behind us. The race started at 7:15am and I arrived at about 6:55am. I used a porta-potty (there were no lines at the ones near where Jeremy dropped me off, but long lines at ones closer to the start), and headed to the starting line.

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There were waves but the chutes were so small that nobody could really squeeze in, so I just found a place near the back and waited. The weather was pretty warm and I didn’t need a sweatshirt or anything. I usually don’t bring my phone during races, but I wanted to listen to a podcast for the first half at least, so I stuffed it in the pocket of my handheld water bottle.

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The only picture I took during the race.

I’m not good at remembering specific miles, but I do know that I drank a good-sized cup of water at each aid station because of the heat, and I drank about half of my electrolyte drink I was carrying. I ate half a Clif Shot mocha gel at about mile 8 and threw the rest away (I don’t think I’ve ever been able to eat a whole one). I listened to the Serial podcast for the first nine miles or so, and that made it go by pretty fast. I didn’t feel too tired and I kept a steady pace. All the volunteers handing out water and Gatorade were really nice and that part of it seemed a lot more organized than last year. During the last mile before the big hill, I put my music on and tried really hard to start building up energy. I was following a girl (not too closely) that was dancing and singing along to her headphone music, which helped. As soon as the hill started, Eminem’s “Survival” came on and it was the absolute perfect song to hear at that moment. The lyrics, as cheesy as they are, helped me so much and I felt really strong and started passing people left and right.

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I’m embarrassed these lyrics affected me so much, but I’ll take motivation where I can get it!

I ended up walking for about 15 seconds to catch my breath near the top (the hill is loooong) but then I knew the last two and a half miles or so were basically downhill to the finish. I pushed those last few miles, and got a nice burst of energy when I saw Jeremy near the finish line. The finish was so much better than last year; spectators could line the course and we didn’t have to run a lap on the track. Official finish time: 2:09:36. I didn’t have a specific time goal for this race, but I was hoping to finish under 2:10. Last year my time was 2:04:22 so I haven’t lost too much fitness thankfully.

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After

After the race, I went to put my feet in the ocean and asked a lady to take a picture of me. I ended up getting hit by a wave right as she was taking it. Whoops. The water was pretty cold and it felt SO GOOD.

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Pretty much the only thing I can stomach after a race is something salty, so I found some fries from Georgia’s Smokehouse food truck immediately.

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McConnell’s has the best ice cream ever, I’m sad I didn’t feel like eating any.

Jeremy and I drove back to LA that afternoon, and I celebrated my race by eating chips and salsa and wine. I used The Stick to roll out my muscles and iced my knees.

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And then we got breakfast burritos the next morning from this cute little place in Atwater Village that we heard about from an Anthony Bourdain episode.

IMG_0754 The next half marathon I’m registered for is the San Diego Half on March 8th, which will be my third year running it. Will I finally break two hours there?! I sure hope so. In the meantime, I’m going to focus on building a strong base to start marathon training in January, and losing the weight I gained in Europe (oops). Hopefully the SB Half medal comes in the mail soon!