Friday, August 19, 2011

My running friends ... I'm Pregnant!

My dearest running friends. I apologize for my lack of blogging, though my excuse is more than awesome! I am pregnant. I am almost 6 weeks along and am now re-evaluating my running goals for this year.
But in the meantime, please follow my newest blog (which I will write on as well as here).

In this blog I will be exploring the possibilities of running while pregnant and what this wonderful baby will mean when it comes to my running. Hope to see you there!

Onwards and Upwards my fellow runners ... parents and non-parents alike!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A nice bowl of sore back muscles with a side of stiff arms for breakfast.

I love rolling out of bed in the morning and landing on sore legs. That's when you KNOW you had a good workout the day before. The kind of sore where you need to stretch before you make your way to the kitchen. The kind of sore where you groan just a little bit as all the memories of yesterday's workout come flooding back ... yes, I love that kind of sore :-)

This morning my mid back and triceps were a little tight from the swimming I did yesterday. That gives me hope that I will become a stronger swimmer since it seems I haven't really been using those muscles till now. I was thinking, now that I can make it from one side of the pool to the other that I should try to learn some proper technique. I bet I would use a lot less energy and become a better swimmer faster.

I'm back to running today. I am however going to wait until after my classes at the gymnastics gym because it is just too hot outside, even for the gym. There is nothing like working out to the max and walking outside into an oven ... I think I can wait till evening time!

I am back up to 4 miles ...finally! But I wanted to take my time after the knee injury (which has been feeling fantastic!). I will continue doing 5k loops and a few 4 milers next week before upping it to 5 miles. If this marathon is still going to happen this year then I really need to start making some plans because I am running out of time!

I have set up a pretty strong base now, so I can probably start building on my miles ... I need to planning now!

Upwards and Onwards my fellow athletes with sore muscles ... doesnt it feel gooooooood?!?!?!  :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

A fish, I am not ... :-/

I have been trying to get into swimming. I have been to my complex pool a few times now and hope to keep it up. I have spent the majority of my life not being able to swim and fearing the water, but I think that 24 years of that is more than enough.

I am not sure why I have not been able to swim. I have been in multiple swim classes through out my childhood, but it just never stuck. I am fine when I can stand but once out of my dept I start to panic. I also don't like having my head under water because when I cannot breathe, I also start to panic. Living in southern California by the ocean, this is a little ridiculous!

I can now swim clear across the pool, which I couldn't do when I first started, so I am definitely getting stronger and more comfortable in the water. I want to be a somewhat good swimmer for the mud run in 48 days just in case there is a little bit of swimming involved. Of course, just being able to swim in general is good!

Onwards and Upwards my fellow swimmers and non-swimmers alike!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gettin back into the groove.

It's been quite a few weeks since I wrote last. I have been pretty busy with work ... moving up to 'shift lead' has been taking a lot of my time and energy. But, not to worry, I have still been getting my workout on!

The week after I got back from Ireland was just an awful workout week ... Every time I tried to run I got no further than 10 minutes when 'runner's itch' just got too intense to continue. I have broken skin and bruised my legs in the past with the intense itch, so once it became to much I would start walking. But I managed to get past it! I am back to working out 5-6 days a week and back to running a 30 minute 5k. I did run it faster in the past, but getting to this point has brought my confidence back and is motivating me to continue.

Today I decided to back to the elliptical mashine. My legs were still pretty sore from yesterday's 5k and I wanted to give them a chance to recover. Though the elliptical machine is no walk in the park! It still gets my muscles working without that impact from running.

My eating habits are just about back to 'normal' now too. It took me a while to get away from the processed foods and sugary products. Now I am back to fruits, veggies, salads, whole grains and non-colesteral containing proteins. I have also weened myself off of flavored drinks, and am once again comfortable with water. Not to mention that I havent touched a drop of alcohol since I left the homeland. My body is happy :)  Though having said all of that, all the junk food I ate on my trip was completely by choice and totally worth it!

I have also started swimming. The weather has been so warm and sunny that it's not only a relief to jump in the pool, it's also an incredible workout thats low impact and works every muscle in my body. I never really last too long, but I hope to keep it up and use it as part of my training more and more often.

Anyway, long story short, I am enjoying getting my ass back in shape! It was frustrating to start out, but feels great now that I can see progress! Onwards and Upwards my fellow runners and swimmers, whatever shape you are in!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Coming to a close.

I cannot believe that the 3 weeks in Ireland are almost over. It has been an amazing trip, but with just two days left, the wind down has begun. I don't really have too much planned for today and tomorrow, though there are still a few things I want to do like go to the Arklow Beach just to see it again. I also need to go to the cemetery one more time.

I have absolutely no regrets though the running didn't go as planned. I didn't expect to be out partying as much and so end up being so tired in the morning and having such full days. But it's okay. I can just pick back up on my running when I get home. Dad and I did make a decent effort and there was a lot of walking in places like Dublin, The Giant's Causeway and Kilarney. So it's not like we sat around doing nothing the entire time. In fact we hardly sat at all unless we were in the car or the pub haha.

As they say, time flies when you are having fun. I finally finished uploading all the photos (to date) to facebook. It took me a while lol. Anyway, I am keeping this blog short as I can smell the last Sunday dinner at Ella's house mmmmm!!!
Onwards and Upwards!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What a week!!!

Holy Crap what a week! This is the first time I've had to sit down at the computer in a while. On Monday we left Arklow early in the morning and headed North past Dublin, into Northern Ireland and up to the very top to see the Giant's Causeway. There was the Causeway Hotel there, which is where we spent the night. Then the next morning we headed west towards Galway (going through Sligo, Mayo etc) before stopping in Lisdoonvarna, county Clare. That was the tiniest little town with the biggest character! We stayed in a cute little B&B there before driving a half hour the next morning to The Cliffs of Moher. We got rained on big time at the cliffs, but there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to see them. It was very very windy, but dad and I didn't care  :)  Then we headed into County Kerry where we stopped in Kilarney for the afternoon but decided to stay the night. Then the next morning which was Thursday, we drove along the south coast before coming back up the east coast to Arklow.

It was an awesome road trip! We saw a lot and did a lot. Then on Thursday night we went up to Rathdrum to spend some time with my Uncle, Aunt and cousins. There was a lot of drinking that night, including an Italian alcohol called Lemonchello that Sarah and Philip brought back from their honeymoon. It was amazing!

I also got to see Paul and his wife Anne very briefly (a quick drink in the pub) while I was in Rathdrum. Paul was one of my gymnastics coaches when I was here in Ireland so it was wonderful to see them :)

Then last night (Friday) I spent the night in Dublin with Stephanie Doyle, my best friend since the 5th grade and her boyfriend Keith. It was awesome. We had Chinese for dinner and I just about passed out while eating the prawn crackers mmmmm!!! Then we got dressed up and went into the city to drink and dance. It was a lot of fun. I think we got back to her house around 2:45am. Then today (Saturday) we went shopping before I came back down to Arklow.

It has been quite a week! Tonight we have a big family dinner down town ... kind of like a last big get together since we will just have Sunday and Monday left. I am sure there will be alcohol again tonight, which will mean I have been drinking almost every night for a week. I will need a big detox at the end of this vacation haha.

Not sure what will happen for the next few days ... but they will not be wasted, thats for sure!!!

Onwards and Upwards my fellow runners! Hopefully your liver is in better condition than mine  ;-)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I conquered Croghan Mountain!

This morning at 8am, cousin Peter Byrne picked me up and we made the 10-15 minute drive to the base of Croghan Mountain. Here is a little information for ya:

Croghan mountain is 1,988 feet tall and lies on the border of Wicklow and Wexford in the Wicklow Mountains. The full name is the Croghan Kinsella Mountain, named after a historically powerful family that lived in the area. Croghan was also the site of Ireland's only gold rush when a nugget was found in river gravel on the mountain in 1795. The gold is now gone, but many poor people benefited from it at the time as the gold was retrieved by mainly local people. Three thousand ounces are known to have been found.

It took Peter and I close to an hour to reach the top and my goodness it was a challenge. There were some parts of the trail that were incredibly steep and made my lungs work! My legs were feeling okay, but the huffing and puffing slowed me down. The fresh, country air was awesome and taking deep breaths felt very nice. It was also nice to not have to worry about listening for rattle snakes, coyotes, mountain lions and bobcats. I didn't think twice before jumping into the long grass.

Peter is one fast walker! When we were going up the hills I was struggling to keep up at some points. But it was one amazing workout and I can feel already that I will be sore and stiff later!

When we made it to the top it was well worth the hard work. I stood at the very top and could spin 360* and see for miles. It was such a clear day though very windy. I would definitely do it again  :)

Onwards and Upwards fellow runners ... waaaay upwards  ;)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ah Runner's Itch, we meet again.

Dad and I finally made it out the door in our running shoes today. It had been 7 days since we'd both had a decent workout and so we didn't want to push it too hard. So we went out and my GPS watch was having some trouble finding me because it had to find a different satelite. It didn't find me till we were done! hahaha, so I'll have to guess on how far we actually went. We left Fr. Redmond Park, went through St. Peter's Place, up the Coolgraney road, past the cemetery and then through Fern Hill back to Fr. Redmond pk. We were gone no more than 30 minutes, so I'd say was somewhere between 1-2 miles. Perfect for having had a week off.
Coming down through Fern Hill though, I could feel the runner's itch starting in my legs. This is where the nerves on my legs are no longer used to all that oxygen moving through them and so they expand and contract at a very fast rate creating what feels like itching. It was intense to the point of where I couldn't not scratch it. I knew it was possible for it to happen since it's been 7 days and it is my own fault, but I never learn haha.

On a none running note ... My cousin Peter is a firefighter and after having coffee at Murphy's he took me out to tour the fire station. It was awesome :)  I've always wanted to tour a fire station and get into a fire truck. I took a few photos which I will post soon. The coolest thing was probably the jaws of life, which is freaking heavy for a tool that has to be lifted up by hand. I also got to try on Peter's firefighting coat, which was pretty heavy its self, but then again it was way too big for me. I very much enjoyed my tour  :)  Thank you Peter!

Tomorrow Peter and I have planned to walk up Croghan Mountain which is about 10 minutes out the road. So that will be fun and I will take some photos of the views  :)

Onwards and Upwards!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tornado's, Gymnastics and a Wedding, Oh my!

It has been quite the trip so far. The adventure started at Chicago's International airport on Tuesday night. We were sitting in the plane on the runway waiting for our turn to take off and the captain comes on the intercom and says that we need to wait and see what the lightning storm is doing up ahead of us. After a few minutes he comes back on saying that we we are expecting 65mph winds and so we are stuck and need to wait it out.
The rain started beating the outside of the plane and the lightning was all around us ... I closed my little window thing because I am not a fan of lightning. Then the airplane started shaking back and forth. The wind was insane!!! It went on for almost an hour! I was wishing that we could just go back to the terminal and get off the plane. I just wrapped myself inside my blanket and waited for it to be over. I also text Josh for a little bit of a distraction and comfort.
Once it calmed down the captain came back over the intercom and said that we had actually experienced 85mph winds. He said that the guys in the tower had to abandon the tower and that the terminal we had just left had been damaged by airborne luggage carts!!! So we were in the safest place possible. Once it was over we had to go back to the terminal to check for damage before taking off. The 7 hour flight from Chicago to Dublin turned into a 12 hour ordeal! Needless to say we were very happy to reach Dublin!

The first few days were kind of surreal. It was hard to believe that we were in Arklow. But it wasn't long before it felt like we had never left.
The wedding was amazing! Sarah (my cousin the bride) was beautiful and the whole ceremony was just gorgeous. I did a reading in the church and was excited to do a good job for Sarah and Philip. It did rain at the church, but the torrential downpour waited until we were all safe in the hotel where the reception was held. The whole set up in the hotel was lovely and the food was amazing! I thought they were going to have to surgically remove me from my dress after all that delicious food but luckily the band was awesome!
We danced the whole night away. The band played songs we all knew for a few hours before the DJ came in to finish the night. At one point the sweat was running down my face and my legs and feet were exhausted. It was the most fun workout I've ever had. Everyone got up at some point. I love my family!!! It was 3:30am before I crashed into bed and after 5am before my parents and some other relatives made it to bed!

The next morning I met Annemarie and we went to Cobra Gymnastics for old time's sake. We tumbled, did some bars and the trampoline. I am quite sore now but it was totally worth it and it was awesome to see Trisha, Simone, Nikki and all the new little kids  :)  I wish there were more sessions that I could join in on before I go back to the USA.

After gymnastics Annemarie and I went to her house in Gorey and had a good old fashioned slumer party. We bought a tone of junk food and set up the living room floor with the couch cushions and sleeping bags and just talked and watched movies until we fell asleep. It was awesome. You are never too old for a slumber party  :)

Anyway, it is after 1am here in Ireland now, so I should go to sleep and get ready for some more adventures! Loving my trip so far, though missing Josh!
Onwards and Upwards whereever you are and whatever you are doing!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Let's talk about something else for a minute.

I have been working out pretty regularly ... in between work, packing and other trip preparations. I am still only running 2-3 miles at a time on my knee but I usually pair it with the stair master or elliptical machine or something like that. Hopefully that will help my knee heel, which it seems to be doing just fine.

But just for a moment I would like to talk about the trip in another manner. Parts of the trip are stressing me out to the point of no sleep. I had to start taking the herbs 'valerian' just to fall asleep at night. They work great by the way! I've tried working out a little bit extra to work through the stress, but I guess that doesn't work for everything.

The first thing that stresses me is that Josh isn't coming with us. While my every minute will be filled during the three weeks, I will miss him a lot. We have never spent this much time a part (I think 2 weeks was the most). Though we will hopefully have email to stay in touch. So while that stresses me out a little bit, there is one thing that has really been on my mind lately ... Granddad.

This will be the first trip where he isnt there to greet us. I know that last time (6 yrs ago) was less than an ideal situation since he was in a hospital bed, but this time we dont even get that. Any time we have gone to visit, he was the first person we would seek out. There were always big hugs, a cup of tea and cookies. Unfortunately he passed away on our last trip. And two weeks after that we came home, so it was easy to pretend that he was still there and just continue with my daily activities. But at the the time I didnt even consider that I would, at some point, come back.

My granddad and I were very close. I was lucky to have gotten to spend so much time with such a great man. He taught me a lot, especially about faith. When we would stay with him for extented periods of time, he and I were inseperable. But now what ... ?

One thing that scares me a little is that I will, at some point, need to visit the grave site. The question is, will I do it alone or with someone. Well, rather than being afraid of the action, it's actually the emotions it will bring up that I am afraid of. What if I start crying and all those emotions of when he passed away come back?

Anyway, that is just something that has been on my mind a little bit ... to the point that I am dreaming about it regularly. But other than that, I cannot wait for the trip! I can't wait to see everyone :)

Onwards and upwards fellow travellers!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The suitcase is out ... so I can stop pinching myself.

Up until today the Ireland trip seemed more like an idea rather than something that was already planned and paid for. Whenever anyone asked me if I was excited I would say yes because I knew that is what they wanted to hear, but I honestly hadn't even thought about it.

So today was my last full day off both jobs before my parents come down to fetch me for the trip so I decided to make the most of the day. I finally pulled out my suitcase and opened my closet wide. I didn't really know where to start, but 4 hours and close to 100 songs on Pandora radio later my suitcase was almost full.

I have all clothes I need and most of my devices charged and packed (camera, nook, Ipod etc). I may have gone a little overboard in the underwear department ... especially since we will be able to do laundry ... but then I decided that you can never have enough clean underwear :)   The toughest part was trying to figure out what running clothes to bring. I decided on two long running pants, 2 running shorts and a few t-shirts and of course I am bringing my water-proof running jacket! I will be wearing my running shoes while traveling since they are the most comfortable shoes I am going to need.

Here is a sneak preview of the outfit I will be wearing to my cousin's wedding. I was going to wear the boots, but then I found little shoes that I thought would look better (but I don't have a photo of that) and I now have a leather jacket to wear on top of the dress. I must say that it is the most sexy type dress I have ever worn in public, but I like it :)  Although I am slightly worried about the Irish weather ... !!! So needless to say, my wedding outfit was the first thing to make it into the suitcase!

Having a whole day off like I did today I would usually have spent a solid 90 minutes or so at the gym, but I got so into my packing that it just didn't happen  :(   I guess you cant win them all. But on a plus note, I was playing hip-hop the entire time I was packing and danced any time I moved from room to room. So that will count as my workout for today!

On a final note for tonight ... now that I am packed I am anxious to get on that plane. Though I will miss Josh very much for the three weeks, I cannot wait to see all my friends and relatives! I cannot wait to see my home town, eat the Irish food and run the Irish roads. Good thing I am busy busy busy this week or I am sure it would drag!

Upwards and Onwards fellow runners (and dancers!) ... I hope you have some fun running adventures planned this summer!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Father/Daughter Project :)

I love little projects. They are like a mini set of goals to be accomplished and they keep me motivated and moving! I love them even more when I am doing them with someone else! In this case, I will be completing my new little project with my daddy. It has been a while since we have done anything together like this, so I am very excited!

In 12 days we are leaving U.S. soil for three whole weeks to return to our motherland for my cousin's wedding and some quality time with those we miss. For my sister, my mom and I it has been six years since our last visit, for my dad it has been 11 years! So we decided that if we were going to visit, that we were going to make it worth our travel time, plane tickets and jet lag  :)  Although, the wedding itself is worth all of that, we might as well enjoy some vacation time.

While we are there we will, of course, spend plenty of time with our relatives and friends, but we thought it would be cool to do some traveling and sight seeing during the week while everyone is at work. It will be nice to become reacquainted with our home country and see some of the sights we never got to see while we were living there. I know two places on our list are Glendalough and The Giant's Causeway. I am very excited!

So I proposed a project to dad that might be fun for while we are traveling. There will of course be a lot of eating ... I cannot even begin to explain how much I have missed Irish food! So we should try to keep active in order to balance all the potentially unhealthy meals. The project is to get up early in the morning when we are staying in a new town or village and go for a run, whatever the weather. We will document every run with photographs and create an album called "Running through Ireland."

I cannot wait to get started! Dad really likes the idea also  :)  It doesn't have to be a long run, just a mile or two. In my perfect world, we would be able to run around places like The Giant's Causeway and have pictures of us in our running gear by the sights, but since most of these places are protected and are parks and all that, I think cute little village pictures (or cow pictures!) will be perfect.

Of course I will document it on here as well, including photos ... though I am not sure if I will be able to do that in Ireland or if it will be a project to complete once I get back. Either way, it will end up on here. So now, I am not only excited for the trip in general, I also cannot wait for this new project to get started!

Upwards and Onwards fellow runners ... where ever you are in the world!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sometimes wheels are just nicer.

I went rollerblading today. Josh and I finally had a day off together and decided to make the most of the gorgeous weather, so I put on my wheels and he hopped on his bike. We went on the same trail that Pam and I run at least once a week. It's near the house and mostly smooth so blades wouldn't be a problem.

We had to take a quick detour at the beginning so Josh could put some air in the tires ... the bike had been sitting on the patio for a while and with the change in moisture and temperature over the past few months, the tires were over it. It was pretty funny though, because when Josh hopped on the bike outside the apartment he described it as 'trying to ride through mud' ... in which case I thought he was doing well to keep up with me! There is no way I would have been able to move the bike through mud  ;-)

For those of you wondering ... yes, I did wear plenty of sunscreen and didn't get burned  :)   I even wore a longer t-shirt to make sure I was completely covered. I never want to burn like that again!

So I decided to wear my Garmin GPS watch to keep an eye on the work-out. At one point we were moving at a 6-minute mile pace. All I could think was, "Oh my gosh, there are people in this world who run whole marathons at this pace ... and we are moving fast!" I couldn't imagine ever being able to run that fast. My fastest time ever is a 7.5 minute mile for 3 miles ... and had the race been longer, I am pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to keep up that pace!

The trail also went a lot faster. It was kind of nice for a change. There are days when I struggle to run that trail and here we completed it in an hour. Sometimes wheels just make a world of difference. Oh, and because there was no real impact on my joints, my left knee didn't ache at all :)  Hurray!

So yeah, I very much enjoyed the afternoon with my love. Sometimes it's fun to just get out of the house and enjoy the great outdoors! Though I wish we had time to do stuff like this more often. I want for us to be an active family rather than a couch potato family. You learn so much about another person when you are out experiencing new things together! Not to mention, of course, the health benefits. Exercise should be fun ... not a chore.

Anyway, a good day indeed! May there be many more to come!
Onwards and upwards my fellow runners ... even if you did choose wheels today!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Post Race Laziness?

Good thing the post-race laziness only applies to my blog! I have been working-out quite a bit, though I did take a few much needed days off of running after the race. Usually by the time I've completed my race, I am a little sick of running, so I've been changing it up. I have been biking, using the StairMaster, the rowing machine, gymnastics and strength training. I have also been stretching more than before. In fact, I almost have my splits again  :)

I have also changed my eating habits a little bit. I had been eating a lot of protein in order to recover from all the long runs, so I cut down on the protein a little bit and upped my vegetable intake. I also dropped my carb intake a little bit, because I am a carb-oholic and was eating too much of that!
I have been bringing food to work such as 'add hot water' oatmeal and fruit ... and every once in a while some beef jerky, but ssshhhh, you cant tell them that! But every once in a while I do crave tempeh, seitan or just get sick of oatmeal, so I substitute out the carbs and put the dressing on the side. For example, one of my favorite things on the menu is the Scorpion Burger. But I say 'no bun' and 'onsd dressing' and 'add steamed kale'. So I get this:

And it is absolutely delicious! It also has carrots, lettuce, avocado and raw onions ... but I take the onion off.
So I am becoming a little less muscular and a little more womanly  :) 

I do still go on long runs. Pam and I run together once a week and go just about 6 miles. We dont run it all like we used to, we actually walk more now. Its funny how a little change in your diet can change your endurance level. But having a lot of protein on a regular basis cannot be good for my body!

So for now I am just enjoying the change in my routine, the new work-outs, the different flavours in my diet and a somewhat slower lifestyle. Once I am back from Ireland I will decide what race is next on my agenda and change everything up accordingly. After all, variety is the spice of life  :)

Onwards and Upwards fellow runners, rowers, gymnasts, hikers and the like!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Now what?!

It is always hard to know what to do once a race is done. It's like a lul ... a silence. The question always is, "Should I schedule another race now or should I just enjoy some pressure free running for a little while?" I think I will wait before scheduling another race. Though my running will not be all together pressure free.

In just about 5 weeks my family and I leave for Ireland. We are going over there for my cousin's wedding. The dress I am wearing is quite small ... so I do need to stay in shape. But what is more important is that my cousin Peter and his firefighter friends want to run with me while I am over there. After-all, I cannot go for three weeks without running! So I must stay in running shape in order to keep up with the men :-)

I am excited for the trip. All kinds of new places to run and new people to run with it. It will be a nice little motivational push ... which is something I can always use after a race. It will be fun!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

'Born to Run Ultra Marathons' 10-miler: CHECK!

Courtesy of my Garmin Forerunner 405:

Miles: 9.46
Time: 01:58:45
Elevation Gain: 986ft
Location: Los Olivos, CA

First of all I must say that it was an awesome place to have a trail race. I have done a few trail races now - one in the mountains, one in amongst the red wood trees and now one on a ranch - all very different but all just as amazing as the others. People always ask me why on earth I would voluntarily run such difficult races ... even pay other people to let me run them ... but until they run (or walk) one themselves, there is no way I could ever get them to believe that it is 100% worth the experience.

The 'Born to Run Ultra Marathons' was awesome. It started at 6am and so I was up at 4am (yes, that time actually exists!). After some oatmeal and coffee my friend Sandee and I made our way to the ranch. I had forgotten how cold it would be. Having lived in Irvine for almost a year now, I had forgotten that inland takes a little longer to warm up than the ocean side cities. I guess I have been a little spoiled. I could actually see my breath! But less than 5 minutes into the race and I wasn't feeling cold anymore.

The first mile was awesome. It was a nice flat dirt road and I was surprised with my ability to keep up with the group. Everyone was chatting and just enjoying the first mile. This is the thing I love the most about trail runners --- They are more easy going, friendly and just all around great people. After that the group started to break up a little bit and the front runners were gone.

Coming into mile 3 I really had to pee. Yes, I went before the race, but I really had to go again. I considered going in the grass, but after seeing a rattle snake I decided against it. Figured it would make me run faster.

The trails were wonderfully clean and very runnable. That is, until some of the hills! There was one hill in mile 7 that I thought was never going to end. Because it was mile 7 my legs were already pretty tired, but by the time I reached the top of the hill they were jello! Though I cannot express how accomplished I felt, especially when I saw nothing but down hill trails ahead of me!

Some of my most memorable moments: 1) When the guy in front of me started passing gas and turned to the two of us saying,"Oh I'm sorry, I'm kind of squeaking." I ended up behind him later again I couldn't wait to pass him!  2) When I jumped a mile because I thought I saw a snake in the grass which ended up being a stick ... what was more embarrassing was that I stopped to warn the person behind me. He looked at me and said "are you talking about the stick?" I just laughed but he thank me anyway saying 'better safe than sorry!'

Something else that I truly love about trail racing is that people always talk to you as they pass you or as you pass them. Even if it's just "How are doing/feeling?" ... it is more than have ever gotten from road racers. I had a full on conversation with most people in passing. It was nice to break up the run a little bit and not to feel so alone when the run got tough.

Anywayz, I am starting to blabber a little. All in all it was a fantastic race and I am glad to have taken part. I can definitely say that I would take part in it again next year should it become an annual event. And I highly recommend it to other runners!

Sandee and I before the race.

Me before the race ... brrrrr!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Shirtless runners ... I judge you no more!

They sent me home early from work today because I wasn't feeling good (nausea, productive chesty cough and a headache). I have done all the resting I can do without getting restless and think that this is the next best thing. However, I didn't come here to complain about being sick.

So I used to look at female (and sometimes male) runners who hit the road shirtless and think, "The only reason they are shirtless is because they know they are physically perfect and are out to make the rest of us feel bad." Of course I only thought this because I wouldn't go shirtless myself and thought that the women out their in their sports bras showing their abs of steel were enviable.

Of course I will admit that I wish I had abs of steel. But until yesterday all I really did was judge them and secretly wish I was that confident in myself.

So yesterday I was out running in the afternoon. I thought it was a little chilly so I wore a long sleeved shirt over my sports bra. But just 7 minutes into my run I started to heat up fast and realized that the long sleeves were really not helping me. So after about 20 seconds of deliberating with myself, I took off the shirt and wrapped it around my waist. At first I felt a little self-conscious but then I realized how much faster I was running and how much more free I felt.

It felt like my arms had more range of motion and I wasn't heating up so fast. Not to mention the sun's warm rays hitting my stomach and back. It felt fabulous! I can honestly say that I will be doing that again and will no longer judge my fellow shirtless runners!

However, there is one thing I will continue to judge forever and will NEVER take part in. And that is the naked racers. Can you believe that there are entire marathons dedicated to the nudists ... EEK!

Onwards and Upwards my fellow runners .... whether you chose to wear a shirt or not .... as long as you are covered of course!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I Run Because... I Can: These Are a Few of My Favorite Teas Giveaway

I Run Because... I Can: These Are a Few of My Favorite Teas Giveaway

Who said you can't crave veggies!

My body is changing. No, not in the puberty sense ... more like in the 'foods it craves' sense. It is the most bizarre thing. As I may have mentioned before, my main job is at a Vegan restaurant by the name of Native Foods Cafe. I knew nothing about veganism before I started working there, but as time has gone on (6 months to be exact) and I am working more and more hours per week, I find that most days I eat completely vegan. That's not out of the ordinary seeing how my main meal of the day is at work. What is a little out of the ordinary, though, is that I look for vegan options on my days off too.
When I go grocery shopping I gravitate towards the tiny vegan section and find myself in Whole Foods and Trader Joes more often because the tiny section in Ralphs or Albertsons just doesnt do it for me anymore. When I buy smoothies and juices I find myself looking for that 'certified vegan' sticker on the back. Have I been brain washed or is my body settling into a more natural diet?

I went to Costco yesterday and got a giant box of Quaker Old Fashioned Oatmeal. I saw that Bob Harper from the Biggest Loser eats it every day and since I know that he is vegan, I know that it is safe food.


I have also stopped buying regular whole grain bread at the grocery store. There is a famers market across the street from my apartment every saturday morning and there is a German lady who sells vegan bread. Did you know that most European bread is naturally vegan? They also dont put sugar in their bread, so it's not grossly sweet. So I buy a loaf or two from her every week. She has many different kinds and that lasts me a few days. I love it!


I have also stopped drinking regular milk and soy milk. I have switched to Almond Milk.When it come to breakfast, I use the 'original unsweetened' but as a treat and for Josh, I get the 'dark chocolate'. Both are amazing! Besides drinking a lot of water I sometimes love these superfood juices. They are just FULL of fruits and veggies and just hit the spot on a hot day or after a long run. Of course I also drink the coconut water on a regular basis. And then if I am tired in the morning, there is nothing like 100% Kona blend coffee. Of course we get the coffee beans and grind them ourselves. It is just more fresh that way.

So as my diet has been naturally changing, and I have been craving more and more veggies and things like oatmeal and organic popcorn I have noticed that I am running stronger and recovering faster. So it's true what they say ... once you detox, just listen to your body. Because you body will crave what it needs! Having said all of that, I will still go to Outback Steakhouse for some steak and garlic mashed potatoes when the craving comes!

Friday, April 29, 2011


"A lot of people run a race to see who is the fastest.
I run to see who has the most guts."
-Steve Prefontaine.

I ordered the movie from Netflix on the recommendation of my wonderful Josh, and oh my goodness, what a fantastic movie. This guy was super human! Inspirational!

Toward the beginning of the movie I was a little dissapointed in Prefontaine's personality. He seemed a little full of his own importance and I was starting to dislike him. As 'normal' people, we want nothing more than the 'greats' in the world to be awesome people. We want them to be friendly, personable and someone we can relate to. And I have to be honest ... when he was first becoming famous, I felt it went to his head and I thought he needed some humble pie.

But then he changed. He became incredibly relatable, making time for his little fans. Watching him run was awe-inspiring. I know he was one in a million, and that I could never run that hard or fast. But his attitude and courage was contagious. It is sad when the world has to lose someone so amazing!

I highly recommend this movie. Incase there is more than one version ... I watched the one made in 1997.
Onwards and Upwards fellow runners, and may you be inspired too!

Snakes, Bees and Coyotes, OH MY!!!

Yet another adventurous run with Pam yesterday. After we saw the snake at the beginning of the week and the coyote the week before I thought we had had our wild animal sightings for the year ... at least during our street runs. But no ... I was proven incorrect yesterday.

We were running along somewhere around 3.5 miles, and suddenly I heard buzzing around head so I looked up (I have a habit of looking down when I run), only to see 1000's - I am not exaggerating - bees!!! They covered the entire width of the bike path and were everywhere! All I could say was "Uh oh."
Pam thought I had seen another snake, but she looked up once I started slowly backing away from the swarm. I think Pam's words were something to the effect of, "Oh my God." and then she turned and moved away also. I really didnt want to get stung so once I thought I was away from the majority of the bees I turned around and ran a little bit.

We decided to cross the street and go around the swarm so we could at least finish our run. We warned the few people heading in that direction so that they could do they same. I had never seen anything like it! But my reaction was a lot more calm than I ever thought I could be in such a situation. I didnt scream, didnt wave my arms around to get them off of me, I just backed away slowly so as not to startle them. And thankfully my mouth was closed!

Then around mile 6 the coyote made a reappearance. He was not an adult coyote, but still a coyote none-the-less. Luckily there was a guy on a bike willing to go toward the wild animal making him go back into hiding. Pam and I quickly passed the area before he would have a chance to return. It is for this reason that I will not run that trail alone or with Brutus.

So another adventurous run to say the least! But I have gone for almost two years of running trails etc (especially in Los Alamos) without seeing any of these animals or anything else for that matter. So is it the area that I now live in? Is there a change occuring within the animal community? I am becoming afraid of solo runs due to all of these occurances. Hopefully it will be another long time before anything like this happens again!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hello Mr. Snake, thank you for the adrenaline rush!

Pam and I went for a fantastic run today! 8 miles of nothing but strong running. We didnt walk at all today, we just had two brief stops; 1) at 4 miles for a quick stretch and refuel, 2) at mile 7 to refill our water bottles at the water fountain. The weather was delicious! It was warm and sunny with a little breeze, I was glad I wore sunscreen!

I wanted to buy some arm-warmers online but saw that they were $30 and thought that without the rest of the shirt, that was a little steep. Then I found a comment section where one lady talked about making her own arm-warmers out of Target knee-high socks. I have plenty of those and so decided to try it myself. I got a pair of my plain black knee-high socks and cut the toes out. They worked perfectly! So I wore my running tank top and arm warmers, which once I warmed up was able to just rolled down and take off. So I will not be buying arm-warmers for $30 any time soon!

On the run, Pam and I were just chatting as we do and suddenly on the little dirt path next to us, there was a snake! I just pointed and screamed and ran the other way ... Pam screamed and jumped out of the way, which actually scared the snake back into the bushes. So thank you Pam for saving us! hahaha!!!

The snake was about a foot long, maybe a little bit longer and seemed to just be enjoying the sun. I am not 100% sure if this was the snake we saw, but it looked very very similar.

The caption with this photo says that it is a California Mountain Kingsnake ... but we werent in the mountains, in fact we were by the bay ... so I am sure it was a different snake, but I am no expert.

Anyway, it was an awesome run and we felt great! I hope to have another strong run like this later in the week along with some shorter runs.

Onwards and Upwards my fellow runners and non-runners alike!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Silly Survey Time

Found this survey and thought it might be fun to fill out   :)
Great way to get to know your fellow bloggers!

Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?
Closed, always closed. I have gotten out of bed just to close a closet door because it was open a few inches. Not sure why I do that.

Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotel?
Yes I do ... but I rarely use them once I get home, so it's kind of silly.

Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?
When I make the bed, I tuck the sheets in, but after being in bed about 30 minutes I untuck them so I can have one foot outside the covers.

Have you ever stolen a street sign before?
LOL no

Do you like to use post-it notes?
Yes, I use them everywhere  :)  They are awesome.

Do you cut out coupons but then never use them?
Sometimes ... but I use the majority of coupons I cut out.

Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of a bees?
Swarm of bees because you can get away from them by jumping to water or going inside ... there is no way I could out run a bear.

Do you have freckles?
I do ... everywhere!

Do you always smile for pictures?
Most of the time ... but sometimes I stick out my tonge

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Being late, and people who are two-faced

Do you ever count your steps when you walk?
Sometimes ... that is a weird question lol

Have you ever peed in the woods?
lol yes I actually have, in three different countries hahaha

What about pooped in the woods?
euw no ... I would have to be pretty desperate

Do you ever dance even if theres no music playing?
Yes indeed.

Do you chew your pens and pencils?
Nope ... I used to when I was a kid though.

How many people have you slept with this week?
My one and only.

What size is your bed?
Queen ... we need a king, I like to spread out ... as does my 25lbs dog.

What is your Song of the week?
The new Kei$ha song

Is it okay for guys to wear pink?
Of course ... I like a guy in a pink shirt

Do you still watch cartoons?
Does 'Family Guy' count? ... then yes

Whats your least favorite movie?
I never remember the names of the bad movies ... so I cant answer that one.

Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some?
In my vegetable garden ... if I had one.

What do you drink with dinner?
Usually water ... sometimes juice or a cocktail.

What do you dip a chicken nugget in?
I dont eat chicken nuggets, euw

What is your favorite food?
Anything vegan ... but I love all cuisines.

What movies could you watch over and over and still love?
Finding Nemo ... the Black Swan is a new addition to that catagory

Last person you kissed/kissed you?
My one and only  :)

Were you ever a boy/girl scout?

Would you ever strip or pose nude in a magazine?
Noway ... I respect my body and myself and could never do that.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?
Last week :)  I love writing letters.

Can you change the oil on a car?
No, but I really need to learn.

Ever gotten a speeding ticket?
Nope :)

Ran out of gas?
I came very close once, but nope.

Favorite kind of sandwich?
A big old veggie sandwhich, yummmm.

Best thing to eat for breakfast?
Eggs, banana and a whole grain bagel  :)

What is your usual bedtime?
Anywhere between 10pm-12am

Are you lazy?
I can be incredibly lazy sometimes.

When you were a kid, what did you dress up as for Halloween?
Almost always a witch

What is your Chinese astrological sign?
Umm, I'm the year of the Tiger ... is that what you mean?

How many languages can you speak?
English and German.

Do you have any magazine subscriptions?
Cosmo and Runners World

Which are better legos or lincoln logs?
Oooh most definitely legos

Are you stubborn?
Very! Ask anyone who knows me!

Who is better...Leno or Letterman?
Ive never watched Letterman ... so Leno.

Ever watch soap operas?
Ugh no ... they are so stupid.

Afraid of heights?
Only if there is a danger of me falling

Sing in the car?
Like a rockstar every day.

Dance in the shower?
No ... afraid I will slip and fall

Dance in the car?
Sometimes lol

Ever used a gun?
Only at a shooting range ... that was awesome.

Last time you got a portrait taken by a photographer?
Yes, for my senior photos at high school

Do you think musicals are cheesy?
Sometimes, but I usually enjoy a good musical.

Is Christmas stressful?
Not for me.

Ever eat a pierogi?
No idea lol

Favorite type of fruit pie?
Oh apple apple apple

Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid?
Doctor, police officer and actress

Do you believe in ghosts?
hmmm yes and no

Ever have a Deja-vu feeling?
Oh yeah ... hate that feeling

Take a vitamin daily?
I take many ... want to make sure I have everything covered.

Wear slippers?
Occasionally ... but I prefer socks or bare feet

Wear a bath robe?
In the winter when its cold

What do you wear to bed?
It varies from full flannel pjs down to underwear depending on the weather

First concert?
Boyzone in Ireland when I was 12

Wal-Mart, Target or Kmart?
I am a total Target shopper.

Nike or Adidas?
Adidas by a million miles

Cheetos Or Fritos?
I dont really eat either, but every once in a while I crave cheetos

Peanuts or Sunflower seeds?
Peanuts ... I dont feel like I'm eating anything with sunflower seeds

Ever hear of the group Tres Bien?
No, but I am guessing that they are very good

Ever take dance lessons?
Many many dance classes ... ballet, contemporary, jazz, hiphop

Is there a profession you picture your future spouse doing?
He will own his own restaurant some day

Can you curl your tongue?
Yes I can :)

Ever won a spelling bee?
I have never even competed in one

Have you ever cried because you were so happy?
haha yes and I felt incredibly stupid
Own any record albums?
No i dont ... my dad does
Own a record player?
Nope ... but again, my dad does
Regularly burn incense?
No, but I have done it like twice in my whole life
Ever been in love?
I am in love right now <3

Who would you like to see in concert?
Coldplay ... they are amazing

What was the last concert you saw?
It was with dad ... either Genisis or The Chieftans ... I cannot remember which came last

Hot tea or cold tea?
I like both

Tea or coffee?
Coffee please :)

Sugar or snickerdoodles?
Neither ... chocolate chip cookies please

Can you swim well?
No, not at all really

Can you hold your breath without holding your nose?
Yes, but I am more likely to cheat

Are you patient?
I consider myself to be a pretty patient person.

DJ or band, at a wedding?
Live bands are way more fun

Ever won a contest?
Oh yes, quite a few ... I'm pretty lucky :)

Ever have plastic surgery?
No sir ... and dont ever plan to

Which are better black or green olives?
Neither thank you

Can you knit or crochet?
I can knit a scarf

Best room for a fireplace?
In a cold climate ...  the bedroom, very romantic :)

Do you want to get married?
Yes I do!!! :)
Who was your HS crush?
Hah, Logan and Gaston ... and I got to date one of em :)
Do you cry and throw a fit until you get your own way?
No ... thats not a very adult thing to do ... but I do try to make a compremise

Do you have kids?
No I dont
Do you want kids?
Very very much!
Whats your favorite color?
It varies on a daily basis ... depends on my mood etc
Do you miss anyone right now?
My grandfather always ... my parents and sister too

Did you watch, Next Great American Band on FOX?

Getting Excited.

I decided to look at the website for my upcoming race (3 weeks) to see if there were any updates. I knew that they had done a practice run a few weeks ago and was hoping that there were pictures. And there were :)  Looking at the pictires made me more excited for the run. It is absolutely gorgeous. Check out the photos they took!

I am also excited that there will be three people from the book 'Born to Run' joining us. Of course Luis Escobar will be there since he is the one who is in charge of the race. The other two are Barefoot Ted and Caballo Blanco. I am excited to be participating in the same race as them. Having read the book, it is possible that I will be a little star struck ... these guys are among the greatest Ultra-runners and I will be breathing the same air as them. If that doesnt motivate me, I dont know what will!

After talking to Sandee, I have decided that Monday (tomorrow) will be my last 8 mile run ... though I have a feeling that I may try to fit in one more towards the end of the week. After that I will do a few 6 milers and taper off in the last week with a few 3-4 mile runs. That way I wont exhaust my body.

Starting yesterday, I have been eating a lot more veggies, less carbs on the days that I don't run and keeping up with about the same amount of protein. I am not doing this to lose weight of course ... I am doing it because I want my body to be as strong and lean and ready as it can be. Though for anyone who has ever tried to suddenly increase their veggie intake etc, will know how hard that can be on the digestive system ... so it may take me a few days to get used to it! But it will be worth it! I have been eating a lot of kale, which is a superfood  :)  So I will be fighting cancer as well.

Anyways, work is calling. I will run about 5-6 miles after work in afternoon sun ... assuming the sun comes out! Oh, and Happy Easter to all who celebrate!

Onwards and Upwards!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Excuse me, can I have a ride, I'm sick of running.

I completed an 8 mile run by myself today. Pam had to coach at a competition but I still needed to get my 8 mile run in and I knew if I went to the gym and tried to do it on a treadmill that I wouldnt finish. That's the problem with running at the gym, it's too easy to just hit the stop button and go home. However, when you are out on the road or trail you still have to run back so why not keep going.

For the first four miles I listened to my Ipod and felt pretty good. I didnt take my first 20 second recovery walk until mile 3 and then made it to mile 4 where I stopped for a quick stretch and refuel before turning around. I decided to turn my Ipod off for the run back. I am so used to 'noisy' runs that I had forgotten how quiet it can get. I also forgot how much harder the run is psychologically when there are no distractions.

There is a a part of the trail that is completely isolated from traffic, it was also the part of the trail where I didnt see a single person for at least 5 minutes. It was creepy quiet. I used to run in silence all the time when I lived in Los Alamos. I didnt like to use my Ipod back then because of the narrow roads, traffic and actual wild life animals. Has the city life made me lose track of what 'quiet' actually is?

It was a psychological trip. Suddenly my thoughts were right there center stage. Unavoidable. A girl passed me on her bike and all I could think was, "Excuse me, can I have a ride? I am sick of running now."

I walked today more than I did on Monday, but I am not concerned because I was only 4 minutes slower which wasnt bad. I hope to run another 8 miles on Monday ... hopefully I will run a lot more than today :)

Keep running!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How tired can one person be?!

After my 8 mile run yesterday morning I was excited that I made it through my day without a nap and really feeling tired at all. I even managed to stay up until after midnight. But oh my goodness ... when I woke up 8 hours later for work, I was exhausted! I felt like I needed another 10 hours of sleep.
I was sluggish all day long and while at work I just wanted to lay down on the floor and take a nap. Since that wasnt an option, I just thought about coffee all morning/afternoon. Was this exhausted really from the 8 mile run 24 hours earlier?!

When I got home from coaching gymnastics at 7pm, Josh was all ready to go to the gym. I was hungry and irritable and just wanted to nap, but I put on my shorts, sports bra and running shoes and slowely walked myself out the door. I wanted to just say, screw it, and go to bed ... but Josh was so motivated that I just didnt want to kill his spirit. Oh and did I mention that I wanted 'In 'n Out' ... I know I mentioned it to Josh like 10 times. But he kindly pointed out that if I ate a double double and animal style fries that I would hate myself and feel like complete and total crap. I agreed and so we decided that we would hit Trader Joes on the walk home from the gym. Thank You Josh :)

At the gym there were no treadmills which was a good thing, because the last thing my legs needed was another run. My joints needed a rest after all that pounding the day before. So we hopped on the bikes for 20 minutes and pulled out a solid 7.2 miles. Though there were times when I thought for sure that I was grinding to a hault. I comtinued to complain and whine for a few minutes into the bike ride and then became too tired to even try forming sentences .... Thank you Josh ... again .... for being patient with cranky me :)

After a little bit (and I mean minimal) strength training (for me) we left and I got a healthier meal at TJ's. I'm pretty sure it was delicious, but I inhaled it so fast that I cannot really remember lol. Just kidding ... it was Indian food, which I love!
It is now 10:10pm and as soon as I post this I am going to bed. Thankfully I will just sleep in tomorrow (until 8:30am), go to work and come home ... I need to rest. Then back at it on Thursday :)

Onwards and Upwards fellow runners ... and non-runners of course!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Back on Track.

I ran with Pam this morning. What a change in the weather! We went from 87F this past weekend to overcast and 60's this morning. Never the less, I still ran in my shorts, but I did wear a long sleeve shirt under my regular t-shirt and was glad I did. It's funny that I can almost always wear shorts and the cold doesn't bother me, but if my arms, back, stomach or chest are cold it's all over. Anyway, long story short, it was the perfect running weather and I wore the correct attire which is half the battle.

Instead of just carrying water with me today, I prepared electrolyte drinks and chomps for both Pam and I. Any time we have run 6 miles I have run out of gas half way and struggled to get back, so this morning I ate and entire protein bar (20g protein), drank some coconut water and prepared my running snack. We planned to run 8 miles today and so I needed to be ready.

When we got to our usual turn-around point (for a 6 mile run) we were both feeling strong and decided that we were good  to add another mile before turning around. Once we reached mile four we stopped to stretch, eat and rehydrate for a few minutes. The electrolyte drink really helped to make me feel like I could just keep running. Although I noticed that both of my knees were feeling a little stiff so I focused on stretching them out.

Then we turned around and ran the 4 miles back. I was surprised at how good I felt. We did walk for a few minutes at mile 6 but then ran the rest of the way. We completed the run in 01:34:48 which was really good considering that it was the first time in a long time that we have both ran that far.

My knees were a little achy at the end of the run and it hurt for me to step down, but after my shower and after resting for a while they felt better. Tomorrow I plan to hit the treadmill for 30-45 minutes and do a little bit of strength training. I am hoping to do a long run again on Friday. But I need to remember to listen to my body. I am hoping that this long run has put me back on track for my 10 mile race in a month :)  I know I wont be 100% ready, but I want to know that I will at least finish!

Anyways, Onwards and Upwards fellow runners!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Learning when to rest.

I didn't run today ... and the guilt was enormous. Even though I worked out every other day this week except Thursday, the thought of taking another rest day this week made me feel bad.
I was exhausted at work today, but I think that was due to the allergens in the air ... after it has been really hot and the winds start blowing, the pollen just seems to run right up my nose and into my sinus cavities. So when I got home I just lay on the couch for a few minutes and fell asleep ... when I woke up I decided it was to be a rest day.
Another reason for today being a rest day is that I have 8 miles planned for the morning. The day before a long run should be a short run day or a rest day. So hopefully that means I will run well tomorrow.

So now I just need to find a way not to feel guilty for resting and just enjoy my rest day. Obviously I know it's good for me ... so why can I not just accept it.

Any advise would be wonderful :)
Keep running my fellow runners ... or rest ... depending on the day!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I keep getting sucked back into gymnastics!

I dont know how this keeps happening, but I keep landing myself back in some kind of gymnastics class. This time it had been about 1.5 years since I did any kind of gymnastics ... and I mean including little handstands and cartwheel ... seriously! Even forward rolls would make me dizzy. I honestly thought I was done doing any kind of gymnastics. I even got to the point of not touching the bars even when I was coaching due to my hands now being callus free and wonderfully soft :)

But a few weeks ago I was coaching my level 2's and was trying to explain a new move. I can usually get away with talking them through it, but one girl said, "show us." --- I thought about it for a few minutes, contemplating whether or not I might break a hip. --- I went for it. I did a lovely roundolf with a high flying rebound at the end ... and it felt good.

I then started to think about my upcoming trip to Ireland. Whenever I visit Ireland I always visit Cobra Gymnastics where I used to train as a tween. I was thinking, "Wow, wouldnt it be awesome if I could still do gymnastics when I visit." I guess I decided that the answer was yes, because for the past two weeks I have been participating in 'open gym' at the gym where I currently coach. Last week I just stretched and conditioned and did basic skill to get my body back into it ... and then couldnt move for three days. Last night I pushed through the psychological "there is no way I can do this" and got 80% of my tumbling back. I even surprised myself with a kip on bars (the first move every gymnast does to get from the floor onto the bars). It felt great! Though I am a little sore today.

Of course I have also still been running. I do have that 10 mile trail race in a month to train for! I figure that the gymnastics is helping with my upper body strength and core strength which is important. Though I need to make sure I dont get hurt! In the mean time, I am just having fun :)

Onwards and upwards my fellow runners and gymnasts!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

7am trip to the gym.

I got up at 6:30am, ate half a protein bar and hit 24hr fitness at 7am. I wanted to get my run in early today because I work at both jobs today and was afraid I would be too tired by the end of the day to put on my running shoes.
3/4 way through my run on the treadmill my Ipod died ... I always forget to charge it ... and I was forced to run in silence for the remaining time. During that time, while trying to distract myself from my aching legs, I noticed something. Looking around the gym I noticed that the 7am scene is quite different from the 7pm scene. There were a lot more older people, but more interesting than that was the fact that there were no college girls with perfect hair, brand name work-out clothes, and full face make-up pretending to workout. There were also no college men in shirts two sizes too small watching their muscles contract as they lifted weights. It was refreshing.
For once I didnt feel like little miss frumpy girl with my hair in a knotty mess, target sweat pants and a tshirt two sizes too big. I just felt like I was there along with everyone else getting an honest work-out in. Every single guy and girl in there had sweat running down their face. I am thinking that I might do my long run work-outs in the early morning more often  :)
My only complaints with this morning's workout was that I had mentrual cramps the entire time, making the whole run a little uncomfortable. However, if I could run 5 miles in 53 minutes with cramping, then it means tomorrow's run will be more comfortable and I will hopefully be able to go for a little longer.
Anywayz, time to start my day!
Onwards and Upwards my running (and non-running) friends :)
Have a beautiful day!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gettin my sore ass out the door!

Look at this ... two days in a row  :) 
After two days of not running due to being so sore from gymnastics, I finally got myself out the door today. My shoulders and quads were still a little stiff, but I knew that I just had to get them moving and I would be fine.
When I started running I felt really heavy and kind of sluggish but after about a mile I got into the grove and just took in one step at a time. It was a beautiful day out, somewhere in the high 70's when I hit the road, and somehow that always makes me want to run more.
The thoughts of running one of my regular routes was a little off putting though, so I put on my Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS watch and just ran. I ran a completely different and sponaneous route. I went around a nature reserve that's near my house. I wasnt completely sure how long the run would be but it was just nice to have something different to look at. The run ended up being 3.64 miles, which was perfect for a first day back after some recovery time.
After running into a coyote on the Brown trail run last week, I've been a little scared to go that way by myself. Even though it has only happened once in the 100's of times I've been on that trail, I have some how convinced myself that it will happen again. But I am sure I will get over that soon!
Anyways, Onwards and Upwards  :)
Keep running!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Where does the time go???

Oh my, I cannot believe my last post was back in March ... Where does the time go?! Well luckily my time has been spent working and running as well as spending some time with my family, so I havnt been lazy or anything.
My running is going well ... though I may be just an inch behind where I would like to be as far as milage goes. I am up to running 6 miles approximately 3 days a week and running at least 4 miles on my other running days. I was hoping to add a mile last week, but that is okay. My race in May is a 10miler. It is also a trail race which is why I have been focusing on trail running on Monday's and am hoping to be running 12-13 miles per run before race day, just to ensure that I will complete the race. Though I have never dropped out of a race before, if it is anything like last years 13 miles trail race (SB Mountains = 90F at least!) then I need to make sure that I am completely prepared.
Pam has been both an awesome running buddy and motivator. There are days that I probably wouldnt make it outside the house without her!

I did gymnastics for the first time in 1.5 years on Friday night. I thought it would be good for some core training as well as upper body because I spend most of my time running. I took it easy, did some conditioning as well as some handstands, cartwheels and trampoline. I also took advantage of the vault runway and did multiple 60ft sprints just to work some different running muscles.
Needless to say I have been very sore both yesterday and today. It is mostly my shoulders, which I was expecting due to my decreased muscle mass in that area. So the past two days have been all about walking and stretching. Tomorrow I will be back out running :)

I know I always say this, but I will try to post more often, especially coming up to the race. But no promises.
Onwards and Upwards!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Not a good week.

It has been a week of bad decision making, negative emotions and stuff beyond my control going wrong. The idea of this blog is to write it all down and let it all go as of midnight tonight. So starting tomorrow (Monday) a wonderful week will start.

My motivation to workout has been non-existent. On Monday I went to a morning yoga class and then made excuses for every other day of the week. So for the whole week my exercise consisted of standing at work and the little bit of working out I do while I am coaching gymnastics. At the beginning of the week I thought, "Well, running is supposed to be fun, so I will take a day or two off because my mind clearly needs a few days." But that obviously turned in to a whole freakin week.
So my lack of exercising made me feel guilty and lazy which lead to mood swings (which were already bad enough with Aunt Flow in town) and then to bad eating decisions. When I run, I tend to crave food that is actually good for me ... food that fuels my body so that I can perform better. But because I was getting into a lazy pattern, I was sleeping more and craving sugary foods and coffee. And of course I caved to almost every craving.
I attempted to go to the gym last night, but they closed early for cleaning. I was 9pm, so it was too late and dark to run outside. Today I also attempted the gym, but that fell through and I remained on the couch for the evening. In order to make sure I get back out tomorrow, I text Pam. We are running together at 11am.

The whole student loan thing came up again this week. After they had declined me due to my immigration status a few months ago, I had put it behind me and started looking for other options. But last week a letter came in the mail to say that I had been accepted for the loan after all. I afraid to get excited. Dad called the loan company to see what it meant. After they explained to dad that all I had to do was accept the terms etc I called them to get ready to do so. I started getting excited thinking that I was finally going to return to school and finish my degree. Then on Friday morning I get a voicemail from the loan company saying that they were ready for my signature and that they just needed a few documents.
My heart sank at the word 'documents' because I knew they were talking about my permanent resident card, which I do not yet have. The tears started rolling before I even called them. I didnt want to call because I wanted to hold on to that tiny bit of hope they had given me. But I plucked up the courage to call. After a ten minute conversation I had come to realize that I was not getting the loan. I was devastated all over again and cried on my drive to work. Fool me once, shame on you ... fool me twice, shame on me.
A few months ago I told them to cancel my application ... they obviously didnt. It feels like they are dangling my future on a string in front of me and it is just out of reach.

So that has been my week. I am now taking a deep breath and hope that midnight will bring me to the greener grass. But dont get me wrong, there were some wonderful moments in my week ... My anniversary, I love my job at Native Foods and I love coaching gymnastics. So may my jobs and my love continue to fuel my life :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

ABC's of me.

A fun little blog so that my Blogger friends can get to know me a little better  :)

A~Age: 24

B~ Bed Size: Queen

C~Chore you hate: Laundry, because I have to plan my whole afternoon around it. But I do love having all those clean clothes once it's finally done.

D~Dogs: 1: Rat terrier mix named Brutus.

E~Essential Start your Day Item: A filling breakfast, whether it's cereal, eggs, or something more. I cannot leave the house without breakfast. If I do, it better be because we are going to Ihop or something.

F~Favorite Color: Don't really have one. I like all colors ... but most of my clothes are black.

G~Gold or Silver: Silver or white gold. I am really not a fan of yellow gold.

H~Height: 5 feet 1 inches ... well, almost haha

I~Instruments you play: I have tried and failed to learn many instruments. I will leave all the musical stuff up to my sister.

J~Job Title: Student/Server at a Vegan restaurant/gymnastics coach

K~Kids: Brutus is my only child.

L~Live: Irvine, California

M~Mom’s Name: Paula

N~Nicknames: Little Taco (which was shortened to LT), Mini ... those are the main ones.

O~Overnight Hospital Stays: Absolutely none :)

P~Pet Peeve: When other people make me late. Taking food off my plate without my permission. Talking on your cell phone while ordering food with me (at the restaurant).

Q~Quote from a Movie: My all time favorite comes from 'Finding Nemo' --- "Just keep swimming ..." because it can be applied to anything in life. 

S~Siblings: One little sister, Laura who will be 18 this month. Guess that means she isnt so little any more.

T~Time you wake up: Different times everyday ... but anywhere between 7:00am - 10:30am ... It just depends on my work/running schedule for that day.

U~Underwear: Necessary. But I will happily admit that I chose comfort over style.

V~Vegetable you Dislike: Do pickles count? --- I like almost every single vegetable that I have ever tried.

W~What Makes You Late: Facebook! Or sometimes walking to dog.

X~X-rays You’ve had Done: ummm, dental, foot, chest ... so 3.

Y~Yummy Food you Make: I love experimenting with vegan and vegetarian dishes. My seasoned roasted carrots are pretty awesome  ;)

Z~Zoo Animal Favorite: Elephant, hands down! 

Personal Record :)

I cannot believe that it has been almost a week and I am only getting here to write about my 5k race now. Last Saturday, February 26th, I had a 5k race. It was called the Hope and Harmony 5k and it was benefiting cancer patients.My goal for this race was to beat 30 minutes, which I did twice during my training. Almost a year ago I ran a 5k race in just over 34 minutes, so just to beat that would have been cool.
Anyway, long story short, I totally blew my last time and my fastest training time out of the water! My fastest 5k training time was 00:29:40 ... I ran the race in 00:23:44!!! Can you believe that?! I ran three 7.5 minute miles in a row. I have never ran a mile in less than 9 minutes before. I guess the training has been paying off and determination has a lot to answer for!

L-R: Travis, Lisa, Amanda and Myself before the race.

We had perfect running weather. It had rained all night long and stopped just about two hours before the race started, so the air felt clear and crisp. It was a little chilly though, so layers were necessary. Feeling pretty confident I stood near the beginning of the pack with plans to stay upfront as much as possible.
In the first mile quite a few people passed me, but having trained quite a bit, I knew my pace and stuck with it, even though I felt like I was being left behind. I just had to stay in my zone. My friend Pam, who I have been running with, told me that when it starts getting psychologically tough (around mile two), just focus on passing one person at a time, and to count every person that you pass. I did exactly that.
Around mile two, a lot of people that had passed me started walking. Having kept my pace, I didn't need to walk. So I started counting all the people I passed to keep my mind off of my tiring body. I passed a total of 14 people before I was just keeping up with the people running the same pace as myself. By the time that happened I was in my groove and there was no longer a need for distraction.
I remember only one person that I was keeping up with. It was a male runner probably in his 40's. I only remember him because of his lime green shoes hahaha.
I remember rounding the last corner and thinking, "What? I'm finished?? Noway!" I couldn't believe that I had completed the race already. I crossed the finish line and suddenly felt exhausted, but the runners high set in almost immediately and I felt great.

Getting ready to cross the finish line.
My finishers Medal

I was a great race to start off my year. I have plans for a 10k race on March 26th and a 10 mile race on May 14th. So I am upping my miles slowly and Pam is sticking right by my side  :)
Onwards and Upwards my Fellow runners!
Keep Running  :)