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!

For Real This Time

Before Jeremy and I left for Europe, I decided I wanted to run my first full marathon abroad while my parents were visiting, and chose the Cork City Marathon in June. It was not a fully thought through decision, and no one had even planned transportation to get to Ireland. Shortly after, our plans fell through and we all decided to go to Italy instead. For about two weeks, I thought I was starting marathon training. In that time, I realized that training for my first full marathon while traveling would be really hard, and not all that realistic. So, technically I’ve been registered for a marathon before. But this time, it’s for real.

!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!

 

A few days ago, I registered for the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon on May 24th. I’d been wanting the Oakland Running Festival Marathon in March to be my first full for a while, but it just seemed too soon and I didn’t really feel comfortable with it. I researched different marathons for weeks, and finally decided on this one. The course starts downtown Ojai, and ends along the ocean in Ventura. It’s close to Santa Barbara so my parents can come, and it’s a holiday weekend so I’ll have an extra day to recover. It’s a pretty small field, but I’m hoping that won’t affect me too much. My next marathon will have to be a big one with lots of crowds to see the difference. I’m working on building a base to start training in January, and I’m pretty excited. The Ojai mountains are beautiful, and it should be a really nice course. It’s also touted as “lightning fast” because of the downhill elevation, but I doubt I’ll be running anywhere near lightning speeds.

I was worried about too much downhill at first, but I read every review of the race I could find and the consensus was that it's a gentle slope that you hardly notice.

I was worried about too much downhill at first, but I read every review of the race I could find and the consensus was that it’s a gentle slope and you hardly notice.

In the meantime, I have the Santa Barbara Half Marathon on Saturday, which I’m not really prepared for. I feel like I’ve said that for my last couple halfs, and I hate it! But with traveling and moving and all that, I’ve been trying to get back into a good running groove. I ran ten miles last weekend, and I did two out-and-backs from the house we’re staying in currently. I thought it might be boring to do this, but it actually made it go by faster because I could think about it in 2.5-mile increments. I also listened to the Serial podcast, which made it go by super fast. I highly recommend it if you want something to get hooked on.

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Found some leftover Halloween candy on the ground. I didn’t eat it.

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Tried these for the first time. It’s kind of fun eating jellybeans while running, although they stuck to the inside of my shorts pocket because of how sweaty I was… gross.

The Wednesday before Halloween, November Project was having a Not-So-Casual Wednesday workout, and I wore a dress shirt and tie. It got hot really fast.

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The only time I dressed up this year for Halloween. I felt like a server at Olive Garden.

The whole gang. I love being at the Hollywood Bowl for sunrise!

The whole gang. I love being at the Hollywood Bowl for sunrise!

Walking around and looking at the neighborhood's Halloween decorations.

Walking around and looking at the neighborhood’s Halloween decorations.

In other news, I’ve had a horrible stiff neck this week, and it’s been really painful especially at night.

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My stiff neck home remedies.

These feel nice and warm, but didn't seem to do much in the way of relieving pain.

These feel nice and warm, but didn’t seem to do much in the way of relieving pain.

My mom visited me here in LA and we went to lunch at Petit Trois – SO GOOD.

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There’s only counter seating, which I love.

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Ham and butter sandwich for me, Croque Monsieur for my mom.

Jeremy and I visited the nearby Golden Road Brewery, and had some nice lunchtime drinks and food.

Jeremy and I visited the nearby Golden Road Brewery, and had some nice lunchtime drinks and food.

It rained one day last week! It never rains here (hence the terrible drought) so it was great. And caused a fire-like sunset.

It rained one day last week! It never rains here (hence the terrible drought) so it was great. And caused a fire-like sunset.

That’s about it… Jeremy and I are heading up to Santa Barbara this morning to spend a couple days there before the race on Saturday. Hopefully I’m able to finish the race and not crash and burn at mile 7… wish me luck!

Weekly Workouts

Last week was another pretty good week as far as workouts go. I’ve got the Santa Barbara International Half Marathon coming up in a couple weeks, which for a minute I thought maybe I wouldn’t run, but the last couple weeks have changed my mind. I still think it’s going to be a struggle, but I’ll just focus on finishing half marathon #6 and trying to enjoy it. I’m tired of going into these races with half-assed training behind me, so I’m looking forward to ramping up the consistent training and maybe sub-2 during half #7.

Monday – Rest. I ran 8 miles the Saturday before then hiked on Sunday, so I took Monday as a rest day.

Tuesday – Ran 4.5 miles, average pace 9:24 min/mile. I ran along the LA River bicycle path for the first time. The path runs for many miles, so I only saw a small portion of it, but it’s a nice option to have. I do prefer Griffith Park though since there are more runners and more shade and it’s not directly on the freeway. There’s actually a 10K taking place this weekend on the LA River Path, but it’s pretty pricey ($65) so I don’t know if I can swing it. It ends at a brewery though, which I’m all about, and it includes a pint glass and a beer. We’ll see. The money goes to a good cause – The LA River Corporation – and the course is flat so I think I could PR…

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Wednesday – Woke up early and drove to the Hollywood Bowl for November Project. We did thirty minutes of stadium stairs with some strength work sprinkled in. I love seeing the Hollywood Sign behind the stage during sunrise.

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November Project LAX

After NP I drove up to Santa Barbara to spend some time with my family. I took the family dog Pez on a nice long walk on the beach.

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Pez refuses to touch the water.

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Thursday – I woke up in time to get down to the beach for sunrise, and ran 4 miles at a 9:27 pace.

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When I got back to LA, Jeremy and I enjoyed a pumpkin beer, my first of the fall season.

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So good.

Friday – Rest. Jeremy and I drove down to San Diego to spend the weekend with my grandma.

Saturday – I got a late start but still wanted to get a long run in. I ended up running 9 miles at a 10:11 pace. It was 70 degrees and humid, and I was sweating like a crazy person. It was tough, and I made sure not to stop (I paused quickly to take one picture, but that was it). When I was running in Europe I stopped a lot to take pictures and find my way if I got lost. I’m trying to cut that out so I can get more accurate results, which I did on this run. It was a tough one, and made me a little nervous about the SB Half in a couple weeks, but hopefully I can build up my endurance some more in the next week or so, and race day adrenaline will take care of the rest. I had a Salted Caramel GU with me and tried to eat it around mile 6. It really grossed me out and still does when I think about it now, and was only able to get down maybe half of it. I really liked this flavor when it first came out but I think I just got sick of it. Or maybe it was a really old one and it went bad… who knows. I’ll stick to the mocha flavor with caffeine.

Running along the bay near Mission Beach.

Running along the bay near Mission Beach.

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That night we had dinner with my aunt, uncle and grandma in Del Mar.

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Sunday – Rest. Not ideal, but we got back to LA late afternoon and I decided to take it easy so I could have a good run today. I’m about to go on that run and it’s a little hot out there, so hopefully it’s not too difficult!

Back To It

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During one of our hikes in Griffith Park recently, with a tiny Hollywood Sign behind me.

Last week was the first week in a while where it felt like I was finally getting back on track. I had a pretty good week of workouts, and now I feel motivated and ready to get back in shape. I ran a 10K last Sunday, and felt pretty sore on Monday and Tuesday so I didn’t do much in the way of exercise (so, not the greatest start to the week). But Wednesday morning was November Project, which brought more soreness after, but it was a great full-body workout.

On Thursday morning, I ran a little over 4 miles at a 9:40 min/mile pace, and it felt pretty good.

Found a nice trail near where I live and I saw lots of other runners.

Found a nice trail that goes by this golf course near where I currently live and I saw lots of other runners.

Later that day, my friend Liz (the same one Jeremy and I just saw in Spain and New Orleans) was in town, so we spent the day eating tacos and ice cream.

Crazy good shrimp tacos and fish ceviche from a taco truck called Mariscos Jalisco.

Crazy good shrimp tacos and fish ceviche from a taco truck called Mariscos Jalisco.

Portland's ice cream shop Salt & Straw opened in LA recently. If you're ever in Portland or LA, you have to go.

Portland’s ice cream shop Salt & Straw opened in LA recently. If you’re ever in Portland or LA, you have to go.

Frog legs from a cute wine bar called Mignon downtown LA.

Frog legs from a cute wine bar called Mignon downtown LA.

Liz tours with a band and Jeremy and I went to her show that night and didn’t get home till about 2am, so a 5am wake up call for November Project didn’t happen. And thanks to my high maintenance sleeping habits, when I go to bed really late I usually don’t end up getting much sleep at all, so Friday was spent recovering from a sleepless night.

On Saturday morning, I drove across the city to park in Marina Del Rey to get a long run in. I’m registered for the Santa Barbara International Half Marathon on November 8th and I really want to do it, even though I won’t be in top shape (or close to it). I set out to do eight miles and ran to the Venice Beach Boardwalk and back. I’ve been stopping to take pictures too often on my runs lately, so I wanted to cut back on that. I only ended up stopping once to use a public restroom next to Muscle Beach (not recommended, lots of crazies) and then quickly twice to take pictures (and I didn’t stop my watch). I felt pretty good until mile six where I started fading, and realized I forgot to bring any fuel with me. But I finished strong, and I hope to do nine miles this weekend, which will hopefully prepare me a bit for the half.

Crossing the bridge over to Venice.

Crossing a pedestrian bridge over to Venice.

Venice Pier.

Venice Pier.

It was a long haul to the beach for my run, but it was totally worth it.

It was a long drive across the city to do my run by the beach, but it was totally worth it.

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On Sunday, Jeremy and I went hiking, which was the second time hiking since we moved to Los Angeles. We’re really near Griffith Park, which is a HUGE park with tons of trails. The Hollywood Sign is also located in the park, and you get nice views of downtown LA and the sign. The hike was four and a half miles and provided some really great views.

IMG_0393 IMG_0378 IMG_0370 IMG_0364 IMG_0358 IMG_0352All in all, it wasn’t the best week of training by any means, but you gotta start somewhere. Hopefully next week will be even better!

A 10K and My First November Project Workout

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I ran the Cancer Center 10k last weekend in Santa Barbara and it made me realize how much fitness I’ve lost recently. I actually did a pretty good job keeping in shape while we were traveling, and had an enjoyable half marathon in Ireland at the beginning of September. Since then though, I haven’t run that many times, and I got sick and didn’t do anything for a week. I was hoping the 10k would be one of those runs where you surprise yourself and have a great performance, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. The first mile of the course or so is downhill, and I got excited and went out way too fast. The 10k course is two 5k loops, and by the time I hit, oh I don’t know, mile 3? I was spent. It wasn’t pretty, but I managed to finish strong and pass a few people in the last quarter-mile. IMG_2033

Half the reason I run this race - big breakfast buffet from the local Four Seasons Biltmore resort.

Half the reason I run this race – big breakfast buffet from the local Four Seasons Biltmore resort.

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There were pain au chocolats, croissants, mini quiches, sausages, bacon, bagels, frittatas, etc.

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Pretty excited to be wearing a different shirt to run in for the first time in seven months.

This is the third year in a row that I’ve run this race, and I like it because it’s a local, small race, and in 2012 it was my first ‘real’ race. Last year I set a 10k PR and came in fourth in my age group. This year I also came in fourth in my AG but I was a couple minutes slower.

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2012 finished in 60 minutes; 2013 finished in 56:07; and 2014 finished in 58:26. Nice chronological bib order though.

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This year’s splits: not pretty. I never run miles in the 8 minute zone, no wonder I crashed and burned quickly.

Anyway, it was a good wake-up call to get my butt back in shape if I want to start training for a marathon and break two hours in the half soon, which I was hoping to do this year but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. I’m trying not to get too down on myself though and trying not to compare my performance to this time last year, but instead just keep in mind that it is a slow progression and I’ve got to stick with it.

November Project

Yesterday morning, I arrived at the Hollywood Bowl at 6:30am for my first November Project experience. I’ve heard a lot about it through other people’s blogs and finally set my alarm at 5:30am to make it there. And it was just as fun as everyone says it is. I’ve done a few group runs/classes before, and I’m pretty quiet and keep to myself since it always seems like people have their own little group that has been established. But as soon as I arrived at the Bowl, people were introducing themselves to me and giving me hugs, even though it was still dark out. Hugging is a big thing in November Project, and I didn’t mind one bit.

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The entire hour was really fun, we started with a group huddle and some warm ups, some zombie tag (where a few other people and I had to act like zombies and whoever we tagged had to do five burpees), some freeze tag (but instead of freezing, again more burpees), then we partnered up and one person ran stadium stairs while the other did a series of exercises like push-ups, wall sits, planks, burpees, etc. I got such a good workout, and am feeling it today. I haven’t strength trained in months, and I used to do bootcamp when I lived in Santa Barbara, so this seems like a good way to get some strength training in once a week at least. November Project also meets on Friday mornings at 6:15am, but it’s all the way at the Santa Monica Pier, which would take 35 minutes or so to get there, before finding parking. BUT I really want to do it (last week they ran in the sand then jumped in the ocean afterward), so I’m going to try to make the trek either tomorrow morning or next week. My friend Liz is in town today and we’re going to her show tonight (she tours with a band), so it depends on what time I go to sleep tonight.

From November Project LAX’s Facebook page:

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What happens when it’s somebody’s birthday.

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This guy got the Positivity Award yesterday, he is about to embark on a ten-month walk across the continent of Europe. Way to show me up, man.

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Group picture. I’m in front of the flying baby.

Off-topic question: blog friends, is it worth it to go self-hosted? I’m sure I know the answer, but I was curious what people think about it. I would also pay someone to migrate my stuff since I’m spending all hours applying for jobs and it hurts my brain to even think about doing it myself. Thanks for any advice!