My Year of Running – 2014

540 miles in 2014!
540 miles in 2014!

I’ll start off by saying that it was a great success. I came in 2014 not knowing if I would even be continuing to run, thinking I wouldn’t make it work since working full time. The biggest thing I’ve had to do this year is to actually make time to exercise and what I’ve learned is that there is always time. I ended up becoming a person that just had to get up and go run because I just had to keep on adding the miles, striving to beat my own personal records month after month. I just had to work out. A year ago, I was about halfway there – now, I know I just can’t go back to how I used to be.

I took this survey from thedancingrunner‘s blog – I’ve been meaning to do this, and with the New Year on the horizon, what better time to do it? 🙂

1. Best Race Experience

You’d think I’d say the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, but as much as I love my hometown of San Francisco and how awesome it was to finally complete a half, my best experience was the Dairy Aire 5k last March. I chose this race because it was the first time I had ever placed FIRST in my age range, which completely took me by surprise. It was the first of more age group placing later on in the year. Winning that medal was a great achievement: from being always one of the last runners in my cross country team to finish back then, it meant a lot. This race was my 5k PR as well, and I still have not beaten it to this day… although, I’m really trying!

I'm in the middle, smiling a little too hard! :D
Unflattering photo, but whatevs. I’m in the middle, smiling a little too hard! 😀

2. Best Run?

My best run would not be a race. I would have to say my best run was my absolute first 13.1 mile run, which was back in late September. It was the perfect morning: grey skies, cool winds. I took my time, ran by feel, and ended up setting a PR of 2:30. This was faster than Nike, but I don’t really count it because I did take a lot of breaks (I had to eat!), which meant pausing my RunKeeper app frequently. Regardless, this was still my favorite run ever this year just because I felt so good afterwards, and it was the first time ever that I had run that distance.

When I ran two cities away. I loved this street!
When I ran two cities away. I loved this street!

3. Best New Piece of Gear?

My Yurbuds Race Case, of course! An ideal thing for those who like to run with their phone in their hand. Too bad it didn’t protect my phone well enough when I fell on the sidewalk. Because of how I fell, I used my hand to protect my fall, which ended up with me cracking my phone in the process.

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4. Best Piece of Running Advice You’ve Ever Received?

JUST DO IT. I’m not even kidding. Thanks, Nike.

5. Most Inspirational Runner?

MYSELF, DUH! Just kidding. To me, it’s a tie between the American elite runners, Meb Keflezighi and Shalene Flanagan. Meb because my goodness, HE WON THE BOSTON MARATHON (and with Sketchers.. I still can’t fathom how) and was just inspirational in his own right. He’s also incredibly humble and just showed that sometimes, running from the heart gets you through. Shalene because she tried so hard this year. Even though she didn’t exactly win the records she was reaching for, she still PR’ed in both Boston and Berlin. Pretty much saying, regardless of not winning both titles, she kicked ass. Living proof that while you can always strive for a larger goal, there are always other achievements along the way that you can attain.

6. If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be?

Food.
Consistent support and love of family, friends, and my significant other. (That’s a lot of words, actually)
Running.
Farts while running.
Achievement.
Ambition.
Challenging.
Successful.

🙂

I hope that you all have a great New Year – BRING ON THE BEER!

Till next YEAR! 😉

P.

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10k success!

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This morning I fought off my laziness and got to get a 10k run in. Finally!

I planned my route the night before, and decided to stay around the same area I had been. To make it a 10k though, I had to do 2 miles of the route uphill – which was honestly pretty tough. However, I felt that the cup of coffee I had before my run helped give me a slight boost.

At around the 4th mile, I managed to stray off my planned route a bit and go through the Claremont village. I had only ran past it, but never got a chance to really explore and see what was around. I saw many boutiques, small coffee shops and restaurants, and other specialty stores. There was even a farmer’s market today! It was really neat! The streets were small and there were a lot of people walking around, so I had to slow down a bit to make sure I didn’t run into people on accident. Anyway, it was nice to explore another part of my new community. 🙂

With less than a mile left, I decided to go on this small, paved trail called the Electric Trail, since it ran adjacent to the PG&E lines (I think that’s why it got the name). My running friend and I had ran on this trail before, and she had warned me to not go alone because it’s a pretty secluded area. Seeing as it was daylight, I thought it would be fine… that is, until I saw a person suspiciously standing next to a lone tree. I had never run so fast in my life. I didn’t bring any pepper spray or anything with me, but before getting on the trail, I did take one of my earbuds out of my ear so I would be aware of my surroundings. Granted, the person was probably just out for a walk but still – there was no one else around. Might as well be cautious. I definitely will not be running on that trail alone again.

I finished in 1:05:32, which isn’t my best time but I did sort of take my time wandering around the village. I also huffed and puffed a great deal for the first two miles. I definitely need to work on that!

However, my splits were good, and my average pace was 10:31, which is around normal for my 10k time.

10k

Overall, it was a great run! Happy that I’m getting back into doing long(ish) runs on the weekend. I’ve taken a long enough hiatus.

Hope everyone’s weekend went great! We have the NEW YEAR to look forward to this week!

Till next time,

P.

Christmas recap!

It’s December 26th, and my favorite holiday has come to a close. Although I missed my family this year I did get to FaceTime with everyone so it made me feel loads better, especially after seeing the kiddos play with all their presents at my Mom’s house. 🙂 I really do miss my family, and I haven’t seen them since late October. I’m planning to take a trip there soon, hopefully before my Germany trip! At least my car is in working order; let’s hope gas stays cheap next year at least!

I woke up early yesterday morning even though my boyfriend and I didn’t go to bed until 2am the night before. He decided to open my present for him then; unfortunately, mine wasn’t much of a secret and he knew I had gotten him a Lacoste cologne we’d talked about before. 😛 At least he liked it though!

After I laid in bed, scrolling on Instagram for a good 30 minutes seeing how everyone’s Christmas morning turned out, I finally got up to make breakfast. Seeing as it’s “the holidays” I made a pretty hefty breakfast of eggs with french bread + butter, plus some Almond Croissants from Trader Joe’s (because where else), and coffee. Jared and I just spent the whole morning lounging and eating, and at around noon we finally got ready and headed over to his parents’ house.

We pretty much did the same thing at his parents: lounging around and eating. We also opened some presents (yay!) and my boyfriend had surprised me with a new bracelet from Tiffany’s! Just when I think I know what he’s up to, he always manages to surprise me one way or another.

Still can't believe this. I really wasn't expecting this!
Still can’t believe it. I really wasn’t expecting this!

After opening the rest of the presents, we hung around for a bit more and I got to catch up on some Doctor Who since his Dad had it on. Before we knew it, it was dinner time.

His parents made some tri-tip steak, traditional German potato salad, and carrots baked in rosemary and honey. Of course everything was delicious and I had pretty much a second helping of everything (even the ice cream). Oh, holidays. Why must you make us all eat so much more?

Now, with Christmas over, it’s time to get back to the grind: healthier eating along with continued exercise. Which, of course, is why I got back on the treadmill today and ran a quick 5k. Oh, how I missed running! I haven’t ran since Sunday but I got a workout in on Tuesday. 3/4 workouts this week down so far! Tomorrow, I’m planning on doing 2 miles + weight training, which I’m really starting to enjoy more.

With the New Year close by, I realize how many others will be having New Years resolutions. My advice? Commit to something you know you will enjoy doing and try your hardest to keep at it, no matter what it is, and I can assure you that you’ll have a great year ahead. 🙂 Looking back, I remember the challenges I set for myself early this year. It’s hard to believe that I’ve followed through with my first half marathon and am now on my way to running 2 years in a row. I still need to reflect and make new goals with my running for next year… perhaps on another post? 🙂 Which reminds me: I need to sign up for my first 10k next month!

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas with their loved ones. 🙂 Till next time,

P.

Since when did the DREADMILL become my best friend?

Oh, winter. You have welcomed me with open arms long before it was actually… winter.

This weekend was holiday gatherings galore. Friday night, I had a gift exchange with my friends – which also came with glorious amounts of pizza, chorizo dip, and ice cream. The positive – I managed to keep on track and I ran a 3-miler that morning.

Running at the gym in the mornings isn’t too bad, really. I get to watch Good Morning America while I’m running, at least. I can’t believe I managed to get a run in and get ready for work before my coworker picked me up.

-sidenote – I got my car out of the shop on Saturday, so hooray, no longer carless!

On Saturday, I went to go to my boyfriend’s area manager’s holiday party. Of course, they had pizza and beers – and to my dismay (but not really), they had WINGSTOP WINGS. They even had my favorite Lemon Pepper – which is like crack to me. So while everyone was watching football (Niners vs. the Chargers) and playing round after round of beer pong, I was snackin’ away on wings.

So because of all this hefty, holiday eating, I knew I had to do a long(ish) run Sunday. After getting some last minute Christmas shopping done (I absolutely hated the mall yesterday; apparently tis the season for when people don’t know how to walk or drive), I headed to the gym. To my beloved dreadmill.

I had planned a 5-mile run, so I went ahead and did so. I got a little annoyed because there were kids that left the kids area and started messing with the weights. So while I was shuffling around my first mile, I was fumbling and grumbling wondering where the heck are these kids’ parents?! It turns out their dad was swimming and once he got into the gym he wasn’t happy that they weren’t where he left them either. I have to admit, I felt a little Scroogy but hey – no kids under 16 allowed without adult supervision. I mean, what if these kids were playing with heavy weights and someone got hurt? It can get dangerous.

Anywhoo, with the kids gone, I focused on finishing. I absolutely hated how everything on the treadmill just takes a little longer. Like, instead of a slow 31 min. 5k, I run it in about 35 minutes on the treadmill. I guess there is widespread knowledge that treadmill time is much different from road running time. But still, that sucks. After watching news on TV and listening to a mix of EDM and T. Swift for an hour, I finished. I changed up the incline throughout my run, from 0.5 to 1, then back towards the end.

..... I guess.
….. I guess.
Obligatory photo of my shoes proving that I worked out for the day. :p
Obligatory photo of my shoes proving that I worked out for the day. :p

I was planning on just making some soup for dinner beforehand, but after the gym I was starving. I ended up making some curry with potatoes, peas, and ground pork for dinner.

I used a paper plate... don't judge me!
Yes, I used a paper plate… don’t judge me!

The curry sauce was from Trader Joe’s – I wasn’t too happy with it. I used the Trader Joe’s Green Curry Simmer Sauce and it wasn’t like regular green curry; it was really tangy. I would stick to their Yellow Curry instead.

After dinner, I indulged in a bit of ice cream that my friends had left on Friday. Only a couple bites – I swear!

This flavor is a bit sweeter than the Stracciatella, but I liked the bits of Tiramisu!
This flavor is a bit sweeter than the Stracciatella, but I liked the bits of Tiramisu!

Overall, it was a great weekend full of holiday spirit (except my Scrooginess at the gym), and it felt so good to get a run longer than 3 miles in last night. With that out of the way, maybe I can get away with some elliptical workouts tomorrow instead. 😉

Happy Monday!

Till next time,

P.

Crave.

I’m craving to run. Really, I am.

But lately, I’ve been craving everything.

  1. I’ve been craving a cup of coffee or hot chocolate or hot tea every hour.
  2. I’ve been craving to go binge shopping at Sephora.
  3. I’ve been craving to buy a new pair of running shoes – I mean, I actually do need new ones since mine are starting to wear out..
  4. I’ve been craving to just roll into a ball and sleep and just watch movies or play with my Nintendo DS all day.

What is it with the holiday season?!

Christmas is officially one week away, and while I should be excited – because duh, Christmas – I had my great misfortune last night on my way home from work: my car completely died. 

And where did I manage to park until my car completely died? In an auto center plaza. Well, ain’t that a Christmas miracle. At least I wasn’t on the freeway doing 70 when it happened. It’s been at the shop since last night, and today I found out the cost to get it fixed. Let’s just say, it was a punch to the gut.

Goodbye, savings.

Especially since I just paid to renew my passport yesterday.

But I try to look at the bright side. At least my vehicle didn’t stop in a dangerous place and I didn’t, you know, die, At least I had some money saved up – which all is now going towards fixing my POS car. Sigh.

More things on the bright side: I managed to make my first salad in a jar for lunch today! Hooray!

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I also managed to cook some yummy fajitas for dinner as well tonight.

... with a beer, of course.
… with a beer, of course.

My Christmas get-together with my girlfriends is tomorrow evening! I actually just finished making my (really unhealthy, cough cough) chorizo dip – all I have to do tomorrow is pop it in the oven! So excited… I mean, it’s also a Secret Santa so I’m excited to see who got who and of course, who got me! I just hope my Secret Santa likes her present as well!

Tomorrow is, thankfully, Friday. Since my friend is picking me up for work tomorrow, it’s going to be an early start. My last workout was on Monday – a measly 2 mile tempo run and some weight lifting. Ugh. I know. But, to compensate for it, I have been eating smaller portions as well as piling on the veggies and fruits all week. Meh. I try.

To make up for what I’ve missed, tomorrow morning I’m planning on doing a 3-mile run on the treadmill, a 5 or 6 mile run on Saturday or Sunday, and then just some time on the elliptical on the day I don’t run. I need some good workouts in my life! 

I hope that everyone’s week has been better than mine so far, and that all your vehicles are all maintained well! :p

Till next time,

P.

With December comes too much comfort… and extra cups of coffee.

I don’t know what it is about this time of year, but lately, I’ve just been wanting to curl up in a blanket on the sofa, watching Christmas movies next to the Christmas tree.

It’s exactly what I’m doing right now.

I’ve also been wanting to sleep in more, so I’ve just been going to the gym right after work. Surprisingly, I got 4 miles on the treadmill earlier this week – I usually get bored after 2!

AND… since we got a Keurig in the office, I’ve been having two cups of coffee a day: one in the morning, and in the evening. The extra caffeine has me staying up much later, then resulting in me not being to wake up as early.

But I’ve been bargaining with myself. I’ve trained hard all summer and have been consistent with my training / running, why not enjoy a little down time?

But of course, that doesn’t mean to stop running altogether. 🙂

I haven’t ran outside since the race last Saturday, so today I decided to go try a new route. The treadmill really can’t replace running outside – it’s just so much better! Instead of waking up before 8 (like I usually do), I slept in a bit, enjoyed some pancakes, and didn’t get started on my run till about 11. An upside to this time of the year: running any time during the day because it’s cold out! 

After my run, I went to Trader Joe’s and did some grocery shopping. Right when I got back, I couldn’t wait to eat some snacks – I was starving! I also had to wash it down with a post-run beer. 🙂

Pita Bite Crackers are my absolute FAVORITE! They go with everything. TJ's Tomato Basil Hummus is also delicious - I also used it as a dip for the cherry tomatoes!
Pita Bite Crackers are my absolute FAVORITE! They go with everything. TJ’s Tomato Basil Hummus is also delicious – I also used it as a dip for the cherry tomatoes!

Once again, Trader Joe’s prevails.

I still haven’t signed up for the 10k in January.. I should get on that before registration goes up!

I hope everyone’s had a great weekend so far!

Till next time,

P.

RACE DAY: 2014 Reindeer Romp 5k Recap

So yesterday was pretty exciting: I ran my second 5k in two weeks!

It was a beautiful morning yesterday, overcast and cool – which meant, no sun in my face!

I took my time getting to the park, and got there with about 15 minutes before the horn blew. I had stumbled upon the Kids 1k. It was so great seeing all the little ones run up around the town mascot!

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Off they go!

The race definitely had more people this year. I managed to get into a spot towards the front. It was really cool seeing everyone so festive: some were wearing striped socks with tutus, some wore bells around their ankles. I ended up wearing the t-shirt they gave out from the first year they hosted it; the shirts this year were a neon green color, but when I picked up my race packet, I chose the red one from 2012! Much more festive, I think.

The horn blew, and off we went. I sped on right from the beginning, thinking I should’ve warmed up properly before the race. However, I managed to maintain a good pace and my time for the first mile was 8:29! 

Of course, the second mile was a bit tougher, but I decided to save some of my energy and go a bit slower. Right before the second mile, there was a group of Christmas carolers – as always, each year they sing for the runners to keep spirits high!

Mile 2 time: 9:32

After the second mile, I was starting to get tired. My cup of coffee + toast with peanut butter that I had that morning supplied me with just enough energy, and by this time my energy was depleting. I was running alongside a little girl, and I noticed her getting tired and started walking. Since we were close to the finish, I rooted for her to keep going, and she gave me a half smile and continued to run. 🙂

Alas, I finally saw the finish line. I ran like hell and finished in 28:21. I was a bit bummed because I was really hoping on breaking my old PR last spring on this course (27:56), but it was my second fastest 5k this year so far so I was happy about that!

I got my cute little medal right after I crossed, then went straight towards the food and took a cup of water and chocolate milk. After that, I waited until the times were posted up.

I scrolled for my name – found it – my eyes swooped to the official time and then to the AG place: THIRD!!! I was ecstatic! Last year, I had placed 4th in my AG – I was so, so close. But this year… I did it!

Since I had some time to kill before the awards ceremony, I took another photo (as I will plan on doing every year now) with the giant Rudolph!

Rudolph kept toppling over, so there was a man behind working to hold him in place! :p
Rudolph kept toppling over, so there was a man behind working to hold him in place! :p

During the awards ceremony, I had a spectator take my photo with my medal and Santa. I wish she hadn’t zoomed in though, the photo ended up being quite blurry:

Santa and I!
Santa and I!

Afterwards, I headed home and showered – but not before taking a photo of my new bling!

Third Place medal + Finisher's Medal!
Third Place medal + Finisher’s Medal!

Overall, the race was great and the course was wonderfully flat. I just really hoped on getting a PR!

Meanwhile, it’s time to plan for the next race. I’m thinking of a 10k next month, since I still haven’t ran a 10k race! I need to kick the new year off with new goals, after all.

Till next time,

P.

[EDIT] I just realized, I did PR for the fastest mile time this year! Whoo hoo!!!