half marathon

San Diego Half Marathon Recap

I love this race. Not only was it my first half marathon two years so it will always hold a special place in my heart, but it’s always one of the most organized races I run. Everything down to the informative website, pre-race preparation email, expo, post-race activities… everything is planned well and the volunteers are SO nice and helpful. This year I especially loved it because I FINALLY broke two hours!!! I’ve been wanting (but not exactly training) to do this for a while now (maybe like a year and a half) and I finally did it. In past races I’ve just loosely followed a training plan and would just hope that I miraculously improved and broke two hours without putting in the effort needed. This time around, I’ve been busting my ass training for my marathon and working hard during training runs and November Project, and am really seeing improvement. IMG_3027 Anyway, Jeremy and I headed to San Diego on Saturday morning to meet up with my mom and grandma and head to the expo. It’s always held at the pier, which means parking can be annoying, but once you’re there it’s easy to shop at the expo booths or just go right and pick up your bib and shirts. Since it’s my third year running the race, they gave me an additional shirt, and they printed Legacy with three stars on one of the sleeves of both shirts. The women’s shirts this year were lavender color, so I asked if I could get the dark grey men’s shirt instead, since I don’t wear that many light colors. They were super hospitable and it was no trouble. They also gave out a backpack to put all your goodies in.

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Jeremy wearing the backpack they give all runners.

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Expo location.

The day before a race, I like to have a big bread-heavy lunch and a light dinner, usually a brothy soup. I’ve done this before my last three half marathons, and it seems to work well for me. We all stayed at a hotel downtown so we’d be close to the start and finish lines instead of having to wake up an hour earlier and try to find parking downtown SD somewhere.

All ready.

Flat Lily.

The race is always the morning of the daylight savings time change, so waking up at 5am really means it’s 4am for your body. It hurts, but luckily race-day nerves take care of the tiredness. Before a half marathon, I find that having a small cup of coffee (very important), a little oatmeal, half a banana, and half a Honey Stinger chocolate waffle at least an hour before the race starts sits well in my stomach, and provides enough energy for a few hours. After Jeremy and I left the hotel, we made the mile-long walk to the starting line, where there were tons of porta potties and an announcer getting ready to start the waves of runners.

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Ready!

I was in wave 7, which was a good placement for me. I didn’t see the 2-hour pacers since they were in an earlier wave, but it seemed like everyone around me was starting off at around the same pace. Once the race started, I was aiming for around 9-minute miles for the first half, but a fellow November Project runner saw my shirt and starting running with me during mile one. I never run with people and wasn’t sure how I was supposed to run at my own pace if she didn’t want to, so I ended up talking to her and slowing down to her pace. I kept looking at my watch and trying to ramp up the speed a bit (we were running around 9:30) but I didn’t want to be rude so I didn’t push it. I know that was silly because I wanted that sub-2 hour finish so badly and I should have just told her, but maybe it was a good thing for me to be so conservative in the beginning because I felt like I had a lot left in the tank the second half of the race, and I ended up breaking two hours anyway. It definitely made the first five miles go by fast, and it was a nice change to actually run with someone. I split off from her around mile 5 when she stopped to get water, and I sped up to try to make up some time. Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 8.10.30 AM

I kept up a good pace until the dreaded Washington Street hill at mile 10 came up. Last year I had to walk up a lot of it due to not being in very good shape, but this year it didn’t feel bad at all and I never felt like I had to walk at all. After the hill was done, it was about three miles downhill to the finish. I was able to really push it these last miles, and I’m super proud of my negative splits. While I was pushing those last couple miles, I ended up passing the 2-hour pacer and that moment was one of the best of my running career. I couldn’t stop smiling and I might have uttered a ‘f— yeah’ out loud… Official time: 1:56:47!

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Booking it to the finish line.

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The only time I’ve mastered the whole arm-up finish line pose and there were no official photographers to capture it from the front.

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Splits according to Garmin.

Official results.

Official results.

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Immediately after finishing they filled my hands up with chocolate milk and coconut water and I didn’t have time to put it down before the picture…

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My two shirts and the huge medal that was dedicated to the military this year.

Along with the backpack from the expo, they give you a nice reusable tote filled with food and drinks.

Along with the backpack from the expo, they give you a nice reusable tote filled with food and drinks after the race.

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Three generations at the SD Half for the third time 🙂

As far as fueling goes, I had a Clif shot that I opened somewhere around mile 9, and I ended up taking in a little bit of it every mile, and only ended up eating about half of it. I didn’t feel like I needed any more than that.

I’m glad this race went so perfectly, and I’m excited to see what I can do at my next half. In other news, marathon training is still going well and we are now 8 weeks out from the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon… how did that happen? I haven’t done a training update in a while, so that will be on the agenda for next week!

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!

Dingle Half Marathon Race Recap

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With only a week to spare, I finally accomplished my goal of running a race abroad! On Saturday, I completed the Dingle Half Marathon on the Dingle Peninsula on the west coast of Ireland. I wasn’t expecting much (I set no goals other than to enjoy the scenery and finish feeling good) since my training has been a little sporadic and I never ended up following a plan even though I was thinking about it, but the race went much better than expected, and I was happy to find that I have kept up my fitness better than I thought. That, and the scenery was just so damn beautiful that it was easy to get distracted and the miles went by fast.

Charming Dingle with some ominous clouds in the background.

Charming Dingle with some ominous clouds in the background.

I haven’t written a race report since March (and I’ve had bad race fever ever since, and it’s even worse now after Saturday. I’ve been googling races like crazy) so I feel out of practice, and I’m not one of those people that can recall a race mile-by-mile. I’m actually really impressed when people can do that; I usually zone out or forget which mile stuff happened at. But here I go.

Pre-Race

Jeremy and I flew into Dublin from Bordeaux, France on Thursday (we spent a few days in Bordeaux beforehand then went to Spain with two friends from home, but that deserves its own post), and rented a car at the airport. We drove to Dingle, which is across the entire country. Jeremy drove and picked up the whole driving on the left side of the road thing really quickly.

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Driving across Ireland; Jeremy drove on the left side of the road like a champ.

Driving across Ireland.

We arrived in Dingle in the evening, and met our host and arrived at our perfect little house on the Dingle Bay. I don’t even remember where I found this lady’s email address because she doesn’t have a website or pictures of the house online, but it could not have been more perfect, and since she is just starting out the price was much lower than what she could actually get.

View from our little house.

View from our little house.

On Friday, we went to pick up my race packet from the harbor, and it was super fast and easy. There wasn’t really an expo since it’s a small-town race, but I didn’t mind because I don’t particularly care about expos anyway.

The view from our house.

View from the packet pickup.

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No lines!

We walked around the harbor a bit and I took my traditional pre-race photo.

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IMG_9819 After packet pickup, Jeremy and I drove around the peninsula on the road that the race would follow, called Slea Head Drive. I took some pictures since I figured I wouldn’t during the race.

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Needless to say, it was beautiful and I was getting pretty excited about running the course. There were lots of sheep and cows along the way, mixed with ocean views, cliffs, and countryside.

That evening, we took it easy. I had a lot of bread and a small salad for lunch, and then soup for dinner, which worked out for my race in March so I replicated it this time. I stretched some and wore my ProCompression socks, and laid out my stuff.

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My stretching view (I'm wearing the slippers my mom brought for me when we met up in France a couple months ago).

My stretching view (I’m wearing the slippers my mom brought for me when we met up in France a couple months ago. You can’t really see them but they are awesome).

Definitely forgot a sports bra.

Definitely forgot a sports bra.

The Race

The race didn’t start till 9am Saturday morning, which was great. We were only about a five-minute walk from the start, so I had a nice and relaxing morning. I’m not a good sleeper in general and the night before a race can be notoriously bad, but I slept really well the whole time we were in Dingle. It was definitely the best sleep I’ve ever gotten before a race (and our entire trip so far, I’m pretty sure). I set an alarm for 7am but I never actually need alarms to wake me up, and got up around 6:30. I ate some porridge (we thought it was oatmeal when we bought it) and a banana and a cup of coffee. We left the house at 8:30am, and I didn’t use the bathrooms before the race since the lines were long and I didn’t feel like I needed to. I got in the corral (there were no waves) and realized I was kind of close to the front after seeing how many people were behind me. The race started right on time, and at 9am we were off.

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The starting line, seen from the opposite side of the corral.

The problem with starting so far up in the corral was that everyone was running faster than I was planning, but I didn’t realize it. After seeing my time of 9:04 for the first mile even though I thought I was going much more slowly, I worried that I would screw myself over if I didn’t slow down. But I didn’t like getting passed by a bunch of people, so I kept up my pace. At around mile 4, I saw some portapotties with no lines and figured I should stop since I had to pee pretty badly, and it would be good to get away from the faster people so I didn’t hit a wall later on. This was the first time I’ve stopped to use a portapotty during a race. I didn’t think it would affect me by much, but I think I may have been able to PR if I hadn’t stopped. But that’s okay, I didn’t know at the time how strong I would feel later on.

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Seen on the course.

I ended up taking some pictures along the way, which really helped me mentally. For some reason it gave me a big boost of energy whenever I did, and it was actually pretty fun. During the first few miles, I was staying on the left side of the road to avoid crowds. A nice older Irishman sought me out to let me know that I should stick to the middle of the road since it was slightly slanted on the side and it would hurt my legs later on. I thanked him and moved to the center. My left quad ended up kind of hurting at around mile 10 and I realized I was on slanted road again. I moved to the middle of the road and the pain went away. I thanked the man in my head again.

Tiny runners on the cliff.

Looking backwards at the tiny runners on the cliff.

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Mile 10 marker.

I only stopped to walk twice, and for only about 5 seconds (if that) each time. I learned from my past half marathons that if I’m really feeling tired, I should stop and compose myself for a few seconds, and pick it back up. This worked, and the second time I stopped to walk on a hill, an older Irishwoman tapped me on the shoulder and told me there was a photographer at the top of the hill so I shouldn’t walk. I thanked her, and started running again. Everybody that I talked to on race day was SO nice and really made the whole experience that much better. I took a mocha Clif gel that had caffeine in it around mile 7 I think, and that gave me a much-needed boost of energy. The gels always take me a long time to finish, so I think I wasn’t done with it until a mile or so later.

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Pretty proud of these splits, especially considering I thought I would be running 10:30 miles or so. Mile 4 is when I stopped for the bathroom, and miles 8 and 12 had some killer hills.

I never ended up hitting a wall, and I was able to sprint the last half mile to the finish line. The race finished at a pub, and everyone was already drinking beer. I couldn’t find any water at the end and I was really thirsty. I finally found a few bottles under a table and grabbed one. My race medal broke a few minutes after I put it on, so a volunteer gave me a new one. My Garmin matched up pretty perfectly with the mile markers and I stopped it two seconds after I crossed the finish line, so I knew my official time would be pretty spot on with my watch. I finished in 2:05:45, one minute and 42 seconds away from my PR. I WILL break two hours soon!

The pub where the race finished.

The pub where the race finished.

Post-Race

There were buses waiting to take the half marathon finishers back to Dingle, so I waited in line and ate some snacks, and talked to two really nice people from Ireland that had just run. The bus took about 45 minutes because of how slowly the driver had to go on the small roads, but it was fun because the scenery was beautiful, and we were driving past the full marathon runners so we could cheer them on from inside the bus.

I met up with Jeremy back in Dingle, and he was waiting for me with chocolate soy milk and pretzels. The best.

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Finished!

True that.

True that.

 

I’m usually not that hungry right after a race, but it was different this time. I really wanted something salty and unhealthy, so we got fish and chips, calamari, and mushy peas. It hit the spot.

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We were going to go out to the pubs that night to hear some traditional Irish music and celebrate with all the other racers that had come into town, but I was way too tired and instead sat at our house, drank wine and ate cheese from a local cheese shop, which was made with seaweed. It was really good.

I know I should have been drinking beer since it's Ireland and all, but I had an intense craving for wine and cheese (aka I'm addicted).

I know I should have been drinking beer since it’s Ireland and all, but I had an intense craving for wine and cheese, and I deserved it.

Overall, it was a great race with some beautiful scenery, and I would definitely run it again. The weather was also perfect, it was pretty chilly and windy at the starting line but the wind died down and it was overcast and about 55 degrees and never warmed up. The shirt is also really nice, it’s a long-sleeved performance shirt that has a zippered pocket. It’s pretty big since I went with a unisex medium when registering for some reason, but I still like it.

The only things I didn’t particularly like were the fact that they handed out water bottles at each fueling stop (which were every three miles, which wasn’t that bad for me since I brought my own water), and everybody only took a sip or two and then tossed the rest, so there were basically full bottles of water everywhere, going to be thrown out. I also didn’t like that they didn’t hand out water at the finish line and I had run out of my own.

Oh man, for the first time ever, I took a few good pictures during a race (I actually tried this time). I’m going to buy a picture, I’m thinking this one:

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Or this one:

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 7.59.45 PM I swear I was sprinting as hard as I could in this one, but instead I kind of look like I’m la-di-da skipping to the finish line:

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Anyway, half marathon #5 was really great, and now I’m looking forward to #6, in Santa Barbara on November 8th!

Let’s Run Paris

A couple months before arriving in Paris, I started looking for a running group on Meetup.com since we’d be here for a good chunk of time. There were two, and one of them took August off for vacation, so Let’s Run Paris was the winner. Like I said in my last post, I’m pretty shy in these types of situations, but I knew if I didn’t go I’d regret it, so off I went on Saturday morning. Jeremy and I left the house super early to make sure we wouldn’t be late for the meeting near the Jardin du Luxembourg. The only other time I’ve been to the gardens it was packed with tourists, so it was a nice change when there were barely any people there so early in the morning. I took it as an opportunity to take some pictures…

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After we killed some time, I headed over to the café to meet the group. Everyone was so nice, and everybody spoke English. I talked to a few people who had moved to Paris from America, and after everyone arrived, it seemed like the majority of people there were expats. This also could have to do with the timing; lots of Parisians take August off for vacation. We took a group picture, and then were split up in pacing groups. I had to figure out which group I should run with; the options were 5 min/km, 6 min/km, or 7 min/km, which equals roughly 8 min/mile, 9:40 min/mile, and 11:20 min/mile. I’m in the middle of the latter two groups, but I went with the 6 min/km group, knowing that I could fall back to the slower group if needed. The plan was to do 15K (9.3 miles), running along the Seine, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, and more. The pacing group I went with ended up being really big (probably about 25 people?) and we had to stop at a lot of stoplights, but I didn’t mind since it was nice to catch my breath. It was a great way to see the city, it was free, I met some nice people, and I felt great at the end of the run. Success!

Here are some pictures I took along the way:

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IMG_9069And here are some from the Let’s Run Paris Facebook page:

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Pre-run.

 

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Running along the Seine.

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Taking over the streets of Paris.

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My “run happy” face.

Mid-run.

Mid-run.

Stretching at the Jardin du Luxembourg after we finished.

Stretching at the Jardin du Luxembourg after we finished.

Success!

Success!

I had such a good run that I decided to join the group on Monday evening for 10K in a different part of the city. I went with the same 6 min/km pace group, and we ended up going a lot faster than we had on Saturday. I felt great though, running with the group made me run faster and push myself more than I ever do, and it made me realize that I haven’t lost as much fitness as I thought these past six months. I heard that the course was going to be really hilly and I knew I needed to practice those for the Dingle Half coming up, so I was looking forward to that. There were some steep inclines, but it didn’t feel bad to me at all, which gave me some more confidence.

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There were 27 of us in the pacing group this time, and our huge group ran by countless cafés where people were eating and drinking outside and it was funny to see everyone’s reactions as we barreled down the small sidewalks. We even got a bistro waiter in the middle of taking an order to run with us for half a block. Most people looked at us like we were crazy, but we also got some nice “Allons-y!” (“Lets go!”) shouts as well. I saw some new neighborhoods and some really pretty sunset views from Parc des Buttes Chaumont, but I didn’t stop to take any pictures.

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I never run at night and I couldn’t really sleep that night, but it was worth it!

From the group’s Facebook page:

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This Saturday, the plan is to run 21K (about 13 miles) and I’m a little unsure about it since that would be upping my mileage fairly quickly… but maybe if I join the slower pace group it wouldn’t be as bad. If anyone thinks it would be a big mistake, please let me know!

The Time Has Come

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A picture from the top of Galeries Lafayette during one of our recent Paris exploration days.

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Jeremy and I were hoping it would be later rather than sooner, but our return tickets home have been purchased. We are officially returning to the U.S. on Monday, September 15, four weeks from today. Judging by how fast the past few weeks and months have gone by, I know it will be here in the blink of an eye. Our big finale will be our Ireland trip, including my half marathon in Dingle on September 6th followed by a week in Dublin.

I'm definitely going to miss this.

I’m definitely going to miss this. I was too excited about it to make sure the picture wasn’t blurry apparently.

When we were planning this trip, we were optimistically thinking we could make it a whole year before returning, or at least until Christmas, but when we come back it will have been just shy of six months. Which is still a long time! It’s time for us to reenter reality and get jobs and settle down somewhere. I’m trying not to think about how much I’m going to miss Europe, and instead just enjoying the time we have left, and thinking about things I am looking forward to in the U.S., like:

– Being close to family and friends, and seeing my nephew walk for the first time

– Mexican food

– Having more than five items of clothing to wear

– Finding a running club

– Getting serious about training, and choosing my first full marathon to register for

– Being back in time for the Cancer Center 10K and the Santa Barbara International Half Marathon, both of which are in my hometown and I’ve run them before

– Getting back into strength training

– Hiking

– These shoes that I bought myself as a consolation for returning home (I got them on The Clymb – this is my personal referral link and if you sign up with it you get a $10 credit, and I get one too if you make a purchase over $25 – and with some credits I had, they only cost me $37! They are originally over $200):

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Mizuno Wave Prophecy 3

I know there’s a lot more, but that’s all I can think of right now. We’ll be flying back to Georgia, spending about a week there visiting family and friends, then driving back to Santa Barbara, hopefully making a stop at the Grand Canyon on the way.

I’ll have to do a roundup of all the things I’ll miss about Europe, but it seems like it would be too long of a list. All I know is that we will definitely be back in the hopefully not-too-distant future because there are a million places I still want to visit that we didn’t get to this time around!

On another note, I’m totally late to the game but I looked up myself on Athlinks.com and was so surprised to see two 5Ks that I ran in Georgia years ago that I kind of forgot about and had no idea what my time was. It was during my period of running while I was in college where I was pretty serious about it, but had no clue about technique or training or finding the right shoes or paces or wearing technical clothing, etc… But the races were in 2005 and 2006, which shows me that I took a whopping SIX YEARS off of running before my next race in 2012, and I’m happy to report I’ve been running consistently since 2012. My times for the races were 30:23 and 30:22. At least I’m a little faster now!

I also found this hilarious picture of me and my friend Patrick after the 5K in 2006, during which I was absolutely miserable and hot and it was really hard.

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Cool outfit.

Here’s to making the most of the next four weeks!

Life in Paris

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The past few weeks (we’ve already been in Paris THREE WEEKS, how is that possible?!) have been pretty great, minus the week I spent in bed sick. I’m finally feeling healthy again aside from some residual stuffiness – it’s been the longest cold ever – and our days have been filled with exploring the city, eating delicious food, a visit from Nicole, and running.

Whirlwind Sightseeing Tour

Nicole had only been to Paris once before and it was in high school, so I wanted to make sure we walked around a lot and saw a good amount of sights. I love the size of Paris; it’s a big city but totally walkable. And you can always hop on the super-efficient Metro if needed. Many stores/restaurants are closed in August since it’s when most Parisians go on vacation and the city is filled with tourists, but it is still great (obviously).

Jeremy and I took Nicole to Le Perchoir for her first night, a rooftop bar overlooking the city.

Jeremy and I took Nicole to Le Perchoir for her first night, a rooftop bar overlooking the city.

On the Metro.

On the Metro.

Finally celebrating my birthday with a champagne picnic.

Finally celebrating my birthday with a champagne picnic.

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At Parc des Buttes Chaumont.

Sacre Coeur at night.

Sacre Coeur at night.

Supermoon over Paris.

Supermoon over Paris.

Supermoon in our hood.

Supermoon in our hood.

Pont des Arts.

Pont des Arts.

Sacre Coeur from a distance.

Sacre Coeur from a distance.

Jardin du Luxembourg.

Jardin du Luxembourg.

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Right before it started raining at Jardin du Luxembourg.

Right before it started raining at Jardin du Luxembourg.

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Drinking wine on the Canal Saint-Martin, one of my favorite things to do here.

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Musée des Arts et Métiers.

Musée des Arts et Métiers.

Another shot from the super cool Musée des Arts et Métiers.

Another shot from the super cool Musée des Arts et Métiers.

Food

Jeremy and I spent the first couple weeks here resetting our bodies, since we were feeling sluggish and puffy after eating unhealthy (albeit delicious) food and alcohol the past few weeks/months. It helped a lot abstaining from alcohol, dairy, and sweets. When Nicole got here, I was ready to indulge in the deliciousness that Paris has to offer, and it did not disappoint.

No trip to Paris is complete without late night crepes.

No trip to Paris is complete without late night crepes.

The hugest raw salmon burger and French fries.

The hugest raw salmon burger and French fries.

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Close up of this incredible salad.

Close up of that incredible salad.

Veggies cooked in delicious butter.

Veggies cooked in delicious butter.

We ate this falafel hours after Nicole arrived.

We ate this falafel hours after Nicole arrived.

Nicole and I had a lady date at Laduree complete with tea and macarons.

Nicole and I had a lady date at Ladurée complete with tea and macarons.

The interior of Ladurée.

The interior of Ladurée.

I want a macaron hat.

I want a macaron hat.

Some birthday treats.

Some birthday treats.

Delicious goat cheese from the local fromagerie.

Delicious goat cheese from the local fromagerie.

Running

I feel like I’ve made some progress lately, and I’ve had some nice runs the past week or so. Nicole and I went running a couple times, which was fun since I haven’t run with anyone in ages, and I got in nine great miles on Monday. I feel better knowing that maybe I won’t suffer too much during the Dingle Half in three weeks (!!!).

Me and Frimeuse the dog.

Me and Frimeuse the dog.

This one felt good.

This one felt good.

It's been raining a lot lately, but it's been perfect running weather.

It’s been raining a lot lately, but it’s been perfect running weather.

Seen on my run.

Seen on my run.

My training has been all over the place and I’m not really following a plan, so we’ll see how it goes at the race in a few weeks. I am planning on joining a running group tomorrow morning for a 15k run, which I’m a little nervous about since I don’t know anyone and I’m shy in these types of situations, but I really want to do it. Hopefully I won’t lose my nerve!

My Next Race

photo-8 copy 2Happy Monday! Thanks everyone for the birthday and get well wishes, I’m feeling better and hopefully the celebrations can happen soon! Jeremy and I explored Paris a bit more over the weekend, although I tried to keep things nice and easy, as to not overdo it when I wasn’t 100% better.

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The Louvre.

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Jardin des Tuileries.

 

Place de la République right after a big rain storm.

Place de la République right after a big rainstorm.

Jeremy and I had to get pictures taken for our Navigo Decouverte public transportation cards for the month and you're not allowed to smile. They look like mugshots.

Jeremy and I had to get pictures taken for our Navigo Découverte public transportation cards for the month and you’re not allowed to smile. They look like mugshots.

Yesterday, after taking an entire week off, I was feeling well enough to try to run (I adhered to the neck rule, if your symptoms are only above the neck it’s okay to run, below the neck it’s not, to summarize). I was planning on doing an easy three miles to see how I felt, but I ended up running six. Originally it was because I was feeling surprisingly good and wanted to keep going, then I got lost and ended up so far away from our apartment, it turned into more miles than I had anticipated.

Seen on my run.

Seen on my run.

The back of the castle near our apartment. It was such a nice day.

The back of the castle near our apartment. It was such a nice day.

This morning, I finally registered for a race! I haven’t run a race since the San Diego Half Marathon right before we left for Europe in March. I had big plans on running a ton of races while traveling, but it’s been so hard to find ones that actually coincide with our trip, and in many countries you need a signed doctor’s note to run, which I don’t have.

Originally, I had my eyes set on the Budapest Half Marathon in September. Jeremy and I booked an Airbnb there and it seemed to be good timing. We then booked an apartment on the island of Zakynthos in Greece to travel to after Budapest. Well, we booked these things way back in April, before we had any idea how our travels would unfold. It was stupid. We had high hopes that it would be super cheap to get to Budapest and Greece, and it would take us all the way into October. After checking pretty much weekly for prices of airfare to both places, it was obvious that it was going to be way too expensive. It was a bummer, but a good lesson to learn (namely, don’t get so caught up in the excitement of travel and pictures of the turquoise water in Greece that you neglect to think about practical stuff like exorbitant travel costs and logistics). One crazy thing about the Budapest Half Marathon is that the cut off time is two and a half hours. That is insane! I ran the SD Half in 2:15, and I was taking it easy, but still… I’d be at the back of the pack.

So, I was on the lookout for a half marathon again. After we leave Paris at the end of August, we are traveling to Bordeaux to meet up with some friends. I saw online that airfare to Dublin from Bordeaux was pretty inexpensive and Jeremy and I had talked a lot about traveling in Ireland, so I did a quick search of races in early September. Serendipitously, the Dingle Half Marathon lands on the perfect weekend. The Dingle Peninsula is on the west coast of Ireland, and it is sister cities with Santa Barbara (where I’m from), so I’ve been hearing about it since I was young. It was fate! We quickly figured out that we could make it work, so we booked plane tickets to Dublin, and we’re going to rent a car and drive to Dingle. After the race, we’ll drive north some, and then land back in Dublin and spend a week there. I’m pretty excited!

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 The course looks beautiful, and it runs through countryside and along cliffs going into the ocean.

Pictures from the event’s website:

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I am so excited to finally have a race to look forward to, and to train for. I am no way near in shape enough to PR, and apparently the course has many brutal hills. I’m not concerned with my time at all, I just want to enjoy the scenery and the experience of running a race in a different country.

Dingle itself looks like an extremely charming coastal Irish town filled with colorful pubs and B&Bs. There’s even a dolphin that lives in the harbor (by choice) named Fungie. I just want to hear some traditional Irish music being played next to me at a pub and drink a Guinness. Only five weeks to go!