Thursday, December 29, 2016

Good-bye 2016, Hello 2017!

This year has flown by and I hate to say it, but I'm looking forward to 2016 being over and starting anew in 2017.  This year has been so hard for so many people and I am no exception.  I cannot wait for the new year!

Luckily, I got to end 2016 on a good note and spent some major quality time with my family for Christmas.  Our family rotates locations every year and every year a different family hosts the festivities.  This year, my brother hosted our Christmas party in Las Vegas, NV and our party theme was literally "Las Vegas". 

Y'all my family goes all out for Christmas!  We always have outfit changes, both group and solo skits, and games galore.  For this year's Vegas theme we had people dressed up as Elvis, the Jabbawockeez, Criss Angel, a bride and groom complete with bachelorette party, etc.  For the games we had a hula hoop competition and Minute To Win It type games (i.e. moving a cookie from your forehead to your mouth without touching or having it fall, moving as many skittles from one plate to another in one minute with your mouth and a straw, pencil balance and catch, etc.) along with our usual Apples to Apples, HedBanz, Pie Face Showdown and card games.  We had so much fun that everyone was up until 3:00 AM the next day.

My everything
Our "small" family gathering. And this wasn't everyone!
Jabbawockeez with Baby Wockee
After the family Christmas festivities, my parents and I got to spend some awesome quality time visiting Hoover Dam.  None of us had ever been there before so it was extra special to experience it with them.  After we got back from Hoover Dam, we headed out to dinner with my sister, brother-in-law, and baby niece one last time before I headed home the next day.  It was a fantastic trip and the perfect way to bring December to a close.

Hoover Dam
Last dinner with the fam

Now that I'm back home, I cannot wait to get back into my normal routine.  Typically, I post about my goals for the new year however my birthday post basically outlined everything that I want to focus on in 2017 so I feel like that would just be redundant.  However, I do want to share one other tidbit with you.

Some of you may have noticed that there's been quite a change to my sidebar and many of my ambassador buttons have disappeared.  In an effort to stay true to my goals for 2017 I decided not to renew most of my ambassadorships next year.  Don't get me wrong, I loved each and every opportunity to be an ambassador for amazing companies that I truly believe in and I wouldn't trade that experience for the world.  I just feel that with my focus next year, I can't fully dedicate the time and effort that I feel that an ambassador should and what those companies deserve.  If I can't give my 100% to an ambassador role, then I don't feel that it's fair for me to take a spot from someone else who can.  That doesn't mean that I love those companies and products any less.  I'll continue to support and promote every single one of them as I truly believe in their products as well as their mission statements, philosophies and approach.  I'll just be doing so in a more unofficial capacity going forward.  Who knows, if all goes well and I feel I've accomplished everything I set out to do in 2017 maybe I'll decide to serve as an ambassador again in 2018.  Time will tell.

How was your Christmas?  Any fun plans for New Year's Eve?  What will your 2017 goals and focus be?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Is it just me or has this year flown by?  I can't believe it's almost December!  I'm not ready!

This past weekend was Thanksgiving weekend and I had so much to be thankful for.  The four day weekend started off with an easy run on my local recreational trail on Thanksgiving morning.  Every day I am grateful to be able to run out of my front door onto one of the most scenic recreational trails in the country.  How many people can say they can run by the ocean every day?  It never gets old.

Afterwards, I headed out to San Jose, CA for Thanksgiving dinner with my Dad's side of the family.  Holidays are hard to parse out when you have a huge family so I tend to celebrate Thanksgiving with my Dad's side of the family and Christmas with my Mom's side of the family.

Per usual, we had a ton of food and I was actually smart this year and showed up wearing clothing comfy enough to allow me to indulge in eating all of the food.  Stretchy pants for the win!  Three (or five) platefuls later, and I was happily lounging on the couch in a severe food coma catching up with my cousins and cracking up at the usual shenanigans that tend to ensue when we're all together.  I laughed so hard that my stomach hurt (and not just from all the food I ate), my face was sore and I had tears streaming from my eyes.  Gotta love family time! 

All of the food (minus the dessert table) and my Auntie.  Isn't she cute?

Of all the things I'm thankful for, I'm especially thankful to be blessed with the family that I would have picked for myself if given the choice.  I know how extremely lucky I am to sincerely love, and love spending time with, every single family member on both sides of my family.  What's even more amazing is that both sides of my family love, and get along with, each other!  It's a rarity that I never take for granted. 
Some of the fam.  We had a photo fail and forgot to take a pic with everyone.
The day after Thanksgiving was a planned family hike at Mission Peak in Fremont, CA to burn off all of the turkey day calories.  We were all anti-shopping and wanted to do something active outdoors so it was a perfect opportunity for some family bonding.  The majority of the family was still in a food coma state that morning so it ended up being a party of two and my cousin luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at it) got to share all of the miles with me.
It was so pretty!  I'm glad we decided to hike so that I could enjoy the view
Since my cousin isn't a runner, we agreed to hike instead.  I had only been to Mission Peak once before and ran it was during the hottest part of the day in the middle of summer.  Needless to say, I didn't get to enjoy the view at all.  I took full advantage of the fact that we were hiking and soaked in all of the views.  There were gaggles of wild turkey that would meander across the trail (I'm pretty sure they were thankful not to have been dinner the night before!), lots of cows lazily grazing on the hillside, and plenty of birds and rabbits.  I cheerily said good morning to every person (and every animal) we came across and made plenty of new friends along the way.  To say I was in my happy place was an understatement!
My new friend.  We were doing the mannequin challenge
In what seemed like no time at all we reached the summit and we took some time to soak in the view.  It was gorgeous!  Apparently it tends to get really packed up there so we were lucky enough to have hiked early enough to miss the huge crowd.  Per usual, I chatted it up with random strangers about all things running, hiking and food.  And of course I had to take an obligatory pic on the Mission Peak pole!
On top of the world

That view!
After a while the crowd at the summit started growing and we noticed that more and more people were on the way up so we decided to head back out.  Instead of going back down the way we came, we opted to go back down the opposite way on another trail that was considerably less crowded (we saw maybe 10 people along the way).  Much to my cousin's chagrin, I made the executive decision for us to run the entire way back. 

Don't let that smile fool you.  She hated me for making her run. HA!
Listen, I know I'll probably get some flack for "forcing" my cousin to run but hear me out.  I know her.  I know how far she can go, how much she can be pushed and what her personal fitness goals are for the upcoming year.  She's more than capable of running, and she fully admits that she loves how she feels afterwards.  All she needs is a little tough love to get her started.  So we ran.  A little over three glorious miles of mostly downhill and oh man were my quads burning!  I haven't bombed downhill that hard in a while.  By the time we got back to the parking lot and stopped my legs were jello and I loved it.  And my cousin who swore up and down that she hates running, ran the entire way and had the biggest smile on her face when we finished.  She did it!  I can't tell you how proud I was of her and, most importantly, how proud she was of herself.
Saturday was a rainy, dreary day.  Perfect for an active recovery day.  I hit up my local recreational trail for an easy walk/jog since my quads were shot.  I knew the soreness was only going to get worse the next day so an easy activity was the perfect way to try to minimize the upcoming soreness.
Sunday was a full rest day which was exactly what I needed because my quads HURT.  I literally cringed every time I had to stand up or tried to sit down cross-legged or with my legs under me.  Any thoughts of a downhill marathon being a fun idea were thoroughly quashed. 
So what do I do when I can't workout or run?  I eat!  I met up with my Uncle (who is also my godfather and second dad), Auntie and cousins for breakfast at a Filipino restaurant in Milpitas.  My cousin, who I consider my other brother, was in town from L.A. so I wanted to spend some time with him and the fam to catch-up.

Dad#2 and my second family

After breakfast we headed to my other cousin's home to hang out, catch-up and basically dote over the baby.  She is so dang cute and one of the happiest babies I've ever seen!  Playing with her made me miss my niece but thankfully I'll get to love on her soon when I visit for Christmas.  And of course I had to spend some quality time with my four-legged niece, Casey.  Sweetest dog ever!  I may or may not have tried to steal her but she didn't quite fit into my purse.

Casey!  Love my four-legged niece
As sad as I am that the long weekend is over, I am so glad to get back to my normal routine.  I'm realizing that as fun as eating all of the food is in theory, in reality it's not so fun.  I felt so sluggish and gross and my body certainly felt the impact of eating a ton of junk without the corresponding hard work out/run to balance it out.  Happy to be back to the grind!

How was your Thanksgiving?  Did you #OptOutside or brave the Black Friday shopping crowds?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

2016 Big Sur Half Marathon - Race Recap

This past weekend was the 2016 Big Sur Half Marathon race weekend.  I can't even begin to explain how much I love this race!  No matter how rough of a year I've had, this race always makes me happy.

Race weekend started with a shake-out run hosted by The Treadmill in collaboration with Asics.  It was a gorgeous day in Monterey, CA and the turnout was great.  Nothing beats sharing fun miles with great people and amazing views!

Perfect shake-out run

I mean look at that view

After the shake-out run, I headed to the Big Sur Half Marathon Expo to pick up my bib and get a big hug from my favorite race announcer before heading over to LouLou's Griddle in the Middle for brunch with the Pink Hat Runner and the Trail Snail (the 3:00 and 3:30 race pacers).  Brunch was delicious as usual and the conversation revolved around all things race related.  To say we were excited is an understatement!

My favorite race announcer, Rudy Novotny
After brunch I spent the rest of the day prepping my race gear, propping my legs up and relaxing.  I literally did a whole lot of nothing!  I even fell asleep before 11:00 PM (a huge win for a night owl, insomniac like me!)
Sunday morning I was up as soon as my alarm went off.  A huge thing for me since I am the antithesis of a morning person.  I quickly got dressed, had my toast with peanut butter, and drove 10 minutes to my work parking lot.  I'm so grateful that my office is literally a 5 minute walk to the start line as not only did I not have to worry about finding a parking spot but I also had the luxury of waiting in a warm building and using real bathrooms before heading out to meet my friends at the start line.
At 6:20 I walked over to the start area to meet up with friends and before we knew it, it was time to start!  I was slated to start in Corral D but instead I opted to move back and start in Corral H with my friend who was running her first race since she became pregnant with her 18 month old son.  In fact, her very first run was the Friday before the race and she only got in 4 miles!
The first four miles of the race were crowded which is pretty standard for any race but the energy of the runners and the spectators were palpable.  Everyone seemed to be happy and having so much fun.  The weather was also perfect!  Cool and overcast in the beginning and but warmed up midway through the race with an accompanying light breeze and ocean spray from the waves to keep us cool.  I am not exaggerating when I say this is by far the prettiest, most scenic half marathon that I've ever ran.
As soon as we hit the mile 4 sign, my friend said "well, this is as far as my training goes let's see how the rest of this goes!".  You guys, she killed it!  Not once did she walk or slow down other than four really quick water stops.  At the mile 9 marker she said, "OMG I'm really going to do this!" and she did in a big way.  From mile 10 on, she sped up each mile and at the end even kicked it in to the finish.  She is such a badass!

We did it!

We met up with the rest of our friends at the finish festival and celebrated with some dancing in the plaza followed by beer and brunch to refuel and rehydrate.  Everyone had a great race and two of my friends earned half marathon PRs!

Happy finishers!

Waves to Wine Challenge Complete
The Big Sur International Marathon Events always put on a great race.  If you've never ran this one before, I highly recommend coming out and running it at least once.  I promise you it's worth every second and every mile!

Do you have a race that you ran happy the entire way? What is your favorite race to run?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Another Year Older

Well hello November! You got here much faster than I expected. I wasn't quite ready for you BUT I'm grateful you're here.

On Sunday I turned another year older and age always makes me introspective.  This last year certainly wasn't what I had hoped it would be.  Regardless, I've learned a lot and I have a clearer view of who I am, what I want and what I don't.  That being said, there are certainly some things that I'd like to focus on going forward:

1) Attitude of Gratitude. This year has been rough in a multitude of ways. I was frustrated and overwhelmed with everything and as the year progressed I found myself getting angrier and more pessimistic. You guys, it takes so much time and energy to be that angry and negative. I was constantly exhausted and mentally/emotionally drained. So unhealthy! For this year of my life I'm determined to be more positive and and generally happier.

2) Family. I became an auntie for the first time this year and every time I see my niece's little face it makes me realize how much I miss my family and how rarely we actually get to see each other. More family time will be prioritized and scheduled from now on!

3) Friends.  Friends are truly the family you choose for yourself and I've been guilty of not focusing enough on maintaining and building those relationships this year.  I am so grateful for the people in my life who have chosen to be my friends and I want to ensure that I continue to dedicate time and energy letting them know how important they are to me.

4) Grace.  For many reasons, this last year has felt like one big failure and disappointment.  I was beating myself up for not achieving what is considered personal and professional "success" for my age.  It was all a load of crap!  Life is too short to constantly be striving for others ideals of what life should be.  It's ok to not have things fall perfectly in line with what I envisioned.  That doesn't make me a failure or a bad person.  That's life!  Instead, I'll be focusing on what makes me happy, leaving myself open to opportunities as they come, and most importantly giving myself grace when things don't go as expected. 

5) Travel and Adventure. In 2013 - 2014 I traveled so much. I had so many adventures that took me to Oregon, Chicago, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C. This year with so my much going on I didn't travel at all. The only trips I took were to Vegas to visit family. I didn't realize how much I missed having travel adventures until recently. Next year it's on! Who knows, maybe I can manage to even get an international stamp in my passport.

Do you ever set goals for yourself for your birthday?  What types of things are you focusing on?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Mermaid Series + SisuGirls = #WOMANPOWER

Hi everyone!  I know it's been a while since I've been on this blog and I wish I had a better excuse other than life got in the way but...well, LIFE!

As far as running goes, I've been running more but it's nothing that I could call consistent.  Training has been haphazard at best.  Yes, I have a marathon coming up. No, I am not anywhere near ready.  But you know what I'm ok with that!  I'm going to celebrate my birthday by running/walking/dancing for 26.2 miles and I'll be celebrating a PR for my age no matter how I cross that finish line so I fully plan on enjoying every single step.

I also have some really exciting news to share with you.  I'm thrilled to announce that I have been given the opportunity to represent the Mermaid Series as one of their events ambassadors. For those who aren't familiar with what the Mermaid Series is, here's their mission statement directly from their website:

Mermaid Series is a welcoming community that inspires women from all backgrounds to realize their full potential.

Mermaid Series strives to serve as a catalyst for change in women's lives as they set and discover new goals for themselves in fitness and in life.  We are committed to the pursuit of each Mermaid's healthy lifestyle. 
Mermaid Series events aim to provide a positive and encouraging environment, inspiring each Mermaid Athlete to cross the finish line. 
A community of women inspiring, encouraging and cheering on each other to achieve their fitness and life goals.  How awesome is that?!
I'm a mermaid!
In addition, I've also been given the honor and privilege to serve as a SisuGirls Champion.  For those who are unfamiliar with what "sisu" means and what SisuGirls is about, here's a quick explanation directly from their website:
Sisu (see soo) is a Finnish term loosely translated into the English language as strength of will, determination, bravery, perseverance and acting rationally in the face of adversity.  Sisu is about taking action against the odds and displaying courage.  Deciding on a course of action and sticking to that decision against repeated set-backs is sisu.

Sisu is a mindset, a spirit and a characteristic we can develop.  

SisuGirls is a global community passionate about developing bravery, confidence, & strength in girls.

We want girls to have the bravery to try new things, the confidence to step out of their comfort zone and the strength to persevere when times are tough.

 #SisuGirls #livecorageously

I am beyond excited to be representing two phenomenal communities who emphasize motivating, encouraging and empowering women and young girls. With all the negative, horrible things pervading the news recently it is so refreshing to be a part of communities that are focusing on building and lifting each other up instead of tearing each other down.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Running Is Hard

I have to be honest, I've been struggling with my running lately.  I slacked off a lot on my running and training this year so I'm no where near my ideal running shape.  However, for whatever reason I had it in my head that I'd just pick it back up in no time.  Easy breezy.

What I didn't anticipate was how out of running shape I really am.  It's so frustrating to feel like I'm pushing pace just to look down at my watch and see I'm running up to 1 min/mile slower than my pace last year.  Not to mention the fact that I'm sucking wind and wanting to walk on single digit runs.  I'm supposed to be an ultra runner for goodness sakes!  Why is it so hard lately?

After a particularly suck-tastic run where I literally wanted to stop after one mile, I had a little sit down with myself to see what the heck is up.  Here's the thing:

1) I'm out of running shape.  Point blank. End of story.  I didn't run much or very consistently for months.  I did it to myself.  Why did I think I'd immediately be able to pick up where I left off?  It took time to get me to this point, it'll take time to get me back to where I was.  Time and hard work.  There are no shortcuts.

2) I'm working out. A lot.  I've been loving all of the new workouts I've been doing lately and I'm especially loving the results (hello arm definition!).  Unfortunately, the reality is the body can only do so much.  If I'm busting my tail to get back into running shape and working out like a fiend at the same time my body isn't going to be able to rest, recover and show results in the same way as it would if I was focusing on just one or the other.  That being said, I refuse to give up my workouts.  They've been a tremendous stress relief for me and I absolutely love seeing the changes in my body.  I just need to find that sweet spot when scheduling my runs and workouts to allow adequate rest/recovery and readjust my expectations on my progress.  No more "RUN ALL THE RUNS" and "DO ALL THE WORKOUTS"!  Easier said than done. 

3) I'm exhausted.  Work has been uber demanding lately and with the higher than normal stress levels I've developed really bad insomnia.  I'm talking 3-4 hours of sleep max on the daily.  No one can maintain a high level of activity without adequate sleep.  It's just not physically possible.  So naturally my runs have been more of a sufferfest than they should be.  I'm still trying to figure this one out since I've always had insomnia, just not to this extent before.

4) Poor diet and hydration.  I admit it, I am horrible at eating clean.  I love food.  All food. And quite frankly I lack the self-control and discipline that it takes to stick to a regimented clean diet.  I've also been really bad at drinking enough water for some reason.  I am getting better at eating healthier and hydrating consistently throughout the day but this has certainly impacted my ability to run.

5) Comparison trap.  I know I talked about this before here but I still struggle with this.  It's hard to see my friends cranking out amazing workouts and runs while I'm struggling with my own.  Trying to drown out the "I'm not strong enough" or "I'm not fast enough" or "I'm just not good enough" is a constant battle and it's HARD.  I end up grumpy and unmotivated and borderline depressed which typically ends with me sitting on my couch stuffing my face with junk.  Not helpful.  Tears have even been shed.  So dramatic! Lately I've even been logging in more solo runs than usual, even though I'm a consummate social runner, in part because I hate feeling like I'm holding everyone back from getting a good run in.  I honestly feel bad.  Thankfully my friends won't listen to any of that crap and insist I run with them anyway.  Still, I beat myself up way more than I should.

Hell, I even feel that way about workouts that everyone seems to love but I can't seem to get into.  I have to fight the "something's wrong with me" mentality.  Lord knows I keep trying to go to those classes/workouts in the hopes that I'll one day miraculously "love it" too.  Maybe I just have to come to terms with the fact that those workouts may not be for me and focus on the classes/workouts that I really do love and make me feel good.  And along those lines, I need to remind myself that I don't need to do 2-3 workouts and runs a day just because it feels like everyone else is.  As long as I'm cross training and running and doing it in a healthy way, that's all that matters right?!

Bottom line: STOP WITH THE COMPARISON TRAP ALREADY! Yes I'm yelling at myself.  I need to focus on doing me, regardless of what that means.  And if people judge me because of that then that's their problem not mine.

Ultimately, I just need to get it into my brain that my running (and workout) level is different from where it was.  It doesn't mean that I'm no longer a "runner", it just means that I have some work to do to be where I want to be.  In the meantime, I just need to be kinder to myself and allow myself some grace as I work towards where I want to be.  I'll get there.

And since you've been awesome enough to read through all of that, here are some really pretty pictures of my super early morning run the other day:

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

2016 Run In The Name of Love - Race Recap

Father's Day was a beautiful day in my neck of the woods. Since my Daddy is currently enjoying retirement in the tropical climate of another country I figured the best way for me to celebrate was by running a race on his behalf.  Makes sense right?!

Here's a quick description of the race straight from the race website:

"The original Run In The Name of Love was held in Charlottesville, VA, a benefit race memorializing Brian James Love, an outstanding young man from Carmel, CA. Brian was a scholar, musician, athlete and leader. He was captain of the University of Virginia’s snowboarding team. During team practice one afternoon he hit a tree and died instantly, three months prior to graduation. Brian had been secretly training to run his first marathon to surprise his “marathoner mom.”  In an effort to capture his generous spirit and contagious energy, the students, led by Melissa Georges, honored Brian and his dedication to the university and the community by organizing and participating in the first Run in the Name of Love 5K.

The proceeds were donated to the Arc of the Piedmont, an area charity with which Brian had been associated in life. The Arc of the Piedment is a non-profit organization providing advocacy, hope and support for people of all ages with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Significantly, Brian had volunteered his time and services to this organization and had risen money through student government to further its cause.

Brian’s mother, Susan Love, traveled to the university to lead the students in the race every year of its existence. However, she had a dream and a goal to move the race from the East Coast to Brian’s hometown. Through dedication and determination her dream is now a reality.

And with the creation of this celebration in Brian’s hometown, Run in the Name of Love has expanded in scope. In addition to organizing and implementing a first class event, the goal for Run in the Name of Love is to raise money for JUST RUN, the Big Sur International Marathon’s outstanding youth fitness program.  All participants are encouraged to 'Run in the Name' of someone they love, either as a memorial or as a tribute to someone who is loved in life."

Race morning was warm and I knew heat was going to be an issue for me before I even got to the race venue.  Once I got to the start line I quickly found my "running tribe" and said hello to everyone I knew along the way.  I also made some new friends as I waited for the race to start, including some of the cutest four legged runners I've ever seen (the race has a 2k which allows dogs and strollers.  This dog obsessed runner was in heaven!).  Nala the husky puppy was my favorite!

My running tribe
The start line

Once the race started, we were off!  The race is a net downhill point-to-point 5k that starts at the Sunset Center and weaves down along the streets of Carmel before hitting the finish line at Carmel Beach.  It is a beautiful course and the views can't be beat.

My original plan was to try to actually race since I haven't ran a hard 5k in about a year but the heat made me nix that idea really quickly.  Instead, I ran with my new friend Tessa who just started running again.  It was her first 5k in several years so it was fun keeping her company and getting to experience the race in a different way with her.  She killed it on the course and crossed the finish line with a much faster time than she expected!

So pretty! 
As soon as we crossed the finish line we found our friend Ben and all waited to cheer in our other friends that were still out on the course.

We did it!
I was practicing my senior portrait pose & sporting major runner's tan
After the race the entire group headed out for brunch to celebrate Father's Day. Granted, Kyle was the only dad but that's ok.  We cheered to all of our dads with our bottomless mimosas before we tore into our food.  Man, the rungries are no joke! 

This is why I run. FEED ME!

All in all, Father's Day was great.  Gorgeous weather, great event, amazing friends and good food.  I'd like a repeat soon please!

What did you do to celebrate Father's Day?  Hopefully you had an amazing weekend!

Monday, June 13, 2016

A Week In My Sweaty Life

It's taken me a little while to bounce back after Nanny Goat, mostly because I had to get healthy again.  Once I was feeling well it still took me a little bit to feel normal enough to jump back into my usual workout and running routine.  Man, being sick sure is draining!

This week I finally feel like I've hit my stride with running and working out again.  Instead of a full blown write-up, here's a quick synopsis via pictures:

Stairs! 10 rounds of stair repeats to be exact.  My calves hate me.

Old pic 'cuz I'm a bad blogger

Barre courtesy of Physical Kitchness where she kicked my booty.  My calves really hate me.

My legs were screaming

Barre BURN courtesy of Staci.  This is my first time taking this class and I loved it!  I forgot how much I love this type of workout format. We did an outdoors warm-up that consisted of mobility drills including walking toe touches, toy soldiers, high knees, butt kickers and suicide sprints. Then we headed into the studio for a five round progressive workout (reps of 10-20-30-20-10) that consisted of push-ups, supermans, tricep dips and jump squats per round. We ended with a fun abs routine of russian twists, mountain climbers and uneven arm planks (which were new to me).  My arms (and legs) were J E L L O!

Staci killed me. I want her arms. #goals

Ended the day with a sunset 10k run + 1 mile cool down walk.

These are a few of my favorite things

As much of the sunset as I could get through the fog
4 mile hard run with hills followed by a 3 mile walk with the crew.

Run Happy
I love these faces!
R E S T.

6 miles of trail running with Heather and Eric. So happy!

Sweaty post run smiles

Chrissa's last barre class.  She killed me.  I am going to miss her classes so much.  I'm bummed that she's leaving us to move to sunny San Diego with her gorgeous family but that just means I have to make a road trip out to SoCal to take her classes out there right?!  In the meantime I'll just stalk her blog.  Not that that's creepy or anything.

She's pregnant but still does better than me. I'm ok with it.

Also, ever since my dehydration scare at Nanny Goat I've been drinking water like crazy!  I have this lovely water bottle at work which is an obnoxiously bright neon color that screams DRINK ME.  It sits right in front of my screen and boy do I make sure to drink my water with that thing right in front of my eyeballs.

So bright!

How was your week?  Did you get all of your workouts and/or runs in?  What kind of workouts do you like best?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

2016 Nanny Goat - The race that wasn't

Nanny Goat. The course where I ran my first (and only!) hundo.  The place where I met so many amazing running friends who I still keep in touch with to this day.  The 28 hour party. The race that will forever hold a special place in my heart.

After massive burnout from running all the races in 2014 and trying to regain my passion for running last year by racing less, I was fully convinced that there were going to be little to no ultras over the 50k distance in the plans for 2016.  I actually had no intention to head out to SoCal for Nanny Goat this year however that changed after a night of watching the Barkley Marathons documentary on Netflix while simultaneously drinking a few glasses of wine and texting/chatting with some ultra running friends.  The next thing I knew, I was on Ultra Signup and registered for the 24 hour event. FOMO is real y'all!

Nanny Goat offers both 12 hour and 24 hour events.  Any runner who reaches the 86 mile cut-off within 24 hours then gets an additional 4 hours to complete 100 miles.  I figured since I signed up for the 24 hour event why not attempt another hundo.  I could use another buckle in my collection right?!

Unfortunately, life had other plans in store for me.  I couldn't get in the training or mileage I needed for proper 100 miler training but being the stubborn runner that I am I was fully convinced that I would be able to power through just on sheer determination and stubbornness. 

Then I got sick on Wednesday of race week.  Really sick.  No matter what I did or how much rest I tried to get I was still under the weather when I headed out to Riverside, CA on Friday morning.  Unfortunately for me, I underestimated the craziness of Memorial Weekend traffic and spent almost 7 1/2 hours screaming at crazy drivers from my car.  So relaxing...but not really. 

I made it to Riverside in one piece and met up with my amazing friends Terri and Louie who were so kind to let me crash in their hotel room with them.  We headed out to dinner at Applebee's and it was great being able to catch-up.  I could tell my appetite still wasn't normal since I only ate half my dinner (unheard of for me!) and I knew I was dehydrated since I didn't drink water consistently on the drive so I was a little worried for race day.  I told Terri I wanted to at least get a 50k in but I still had it in my head that I was going to try for another 100 mile attempt.

After dinner we headed back to the hotel to prepare all of our race day stuff and relax.  Terri is the best crew ever!  She helped crewed me when I ran Nanny Goat for the first time and she's also crewed me at other races since (including the infamous 2014 Run-de-Vous race that reached 104 degrees and I was *thisclose* to throwing myself on the ground and having a massive meltdown).  She literally has anything and everything that a runner can possibly want or need for an ultra and is always ready for an encouraging word or tough love as needed to get her runners to reach their goals.

As soon as we all had our race prep done, Louie was down for the count and fast asleep while Terri and I stayed up a bit having girl talk.  We both suffer from insomnia and the curse of uber sensitive hearing so we kept each other company while cursing the very loud hotel guests meandering up and down the hallways that were incapable of figuring out how to use their key card. 

After what felt like 15 minutes of sleep, we were woken up by the alarm.  It was race day!  As usual, race day excitement had me up and out of bed and bouncing around like a crazy person.  In no time at all, we had our cars loaded up and headed out to the race venue.
Nanny Goat is held at the Sexton Horse Ranch where the owner, Shelli Sexton, and her family have been kind enough to allow us crazy runners to take over every Memorial Day weekend for our shenanigans.  The excitement was palpable as soon as we arrived.  Runners were everywhere and I had the time of my life seeing and catching up with running friends and making new ones as well.

I'm always being asked why I put myself through the "torture" of endurance events like marathons and ultras and without fail I always say that there are many reasons that keep me coming back but ultimately the people are the best part.  It's the people that make the running community so amazing and they're truly what make every race fun.  The ultra community especially epitomizes that.  I have seen people hit the highest highs and lowest lows at ultras and I've seen complete strangers rally behind one another and pick each other up (sometimes literally).  If you've never been to an ultra I highly recommend that you go and at least spectate once in your lifetime.  It's such a beautiful thing to witness. 

Look at those happy faces!
Shrina, Terri, Me

Robert "Latin Heat" Manon, Momma T, Me

Michael, me, Karen "Eviltwin" Vollan and Deo behind us
Soon enough, the RD was ringing his cowbell to get all of the runners into the Goat Pen.  Nanny Goat has one of the most unique starts of any race that I've ran in that all of the runners are literally corralled into a horse pen and the gate opens to signal the start of the race.  Once those gates opened, all of the runners were off!
Diana, Marathon Mich, me in the starting corral/horse pen

Michael, me, Diana

Me, Diana, Jeff
I positioned myself towards the back of the pack to 1) keep myself from going out too fast and 2) prevent myself from getting ran over by the speedsters.  Luckily, I fell into pace with Diana and Giovanni and we all chatted for the first several miles. It's always great to have company as it helps the time pass so much faster.  Giovanni was nursing an injury so he was race walking.  What was hilarious was his race walk pace was just as fast as our run pace!
Me, Diana and Giovanni

I knew within the first several miles that it was going to be a struggle to make this race happen.  My body was fatigued and I felt really weak since I wasn't recovered from being sick.  Added to that was my allergies going berserk from all the dust/dirt/pollen/animal dander on the course.  I had to stop and walk much sooner than normal and quickly revised my race strategy to a walk/run.

Diana and Giovanni were going strong so they both took off but luckily I ran into Donna and Shrina and joined their party for several miles.  These two are hilarious!  If you ever have a chance to run with them at a race, I highly recommend that you do.  They were wearing Bitch 1 and Bitch 2 shirts and it seemed like they knew everyone on the course.  I felt like I was escorting running celebrities since everyone was yelling hi to the two "bitches".  It was great!  I also got to share some miles with my fellow Altra Ambassador Jenny (check out her Nanny Goat race recap here) which was awesome. 

Me, Donna and Shrina (their shirts said Bitch 1 & Bitch 2. Hilarious!)
At around 10:30ish the overcast skies dissipated and the sun started beaming down on us.  Heat is my kryptonite.  I just don't do well in it.  My run/walk turned into just a walk and I let the two B's go ahead since I just couldn't keep pace at that point.  The great thing about Nanny Goat is that inevitably you run into others who are either running or walking at your pace so I joined up with Robert "Latin Heat" Manon and Michael for a few miles.  I also entertained myself by trying to spot as many Altra shoes on the course as possible.  It was fun seeing so many out on the course!  

Somewhere around 2:30 or 3:00 I felt a little dizzy so I decided to sit for a little bit in a chair in the barn and wait for the weather to cool down.  I forced myself to eat and drink but it took a while for me to feel ok to get back out on the course.  It was at that point that I told Terri (a.k.a. Momma T) that I was downgrading to the 12 hour event.  There was no way that my body was going to make it for 24 hours, much less 100 miles.  The hardest part was trying to get back up and going.  There's a reason it's called the "Chair of Death".  Once you sit down, it's nearly impossible to convince yourself to get back up!

Thankfully, somewhere around 4:30 Shrina and Donna came back through the barn and Shrina managed to convince me to head back out with them.  I managed to hang with them for a few miles before I had to duck into a lovely porta potty.  That was when things got real. 

I'm going to get a little TMI here so sorry in advance to my readers who get quesy easily!  Anyone who has run an endurance event knows that trying to hover in a squat position over a porta potty so you don't touch anything is quite a feat on fatigued legs so that in and of itself took a herculean effort on my part.  Checking your bodily fluids and waste is also critical for endurance events as it's the primary indicator that you're fueling and hydrating properly.  So imagine how freaked out I was to notice that I had blood in my urine.  Blood in urine is an indicator of extreme dehydration and I have never had that before even when I ran in triple digit heat!  Then when I tried to stand back up I got really lightheaded and dizzy and I had to steady myself for several seconds before trying to walk out.  At that point I was done.  I still had time on the clock to keep going but I was too scared to go any further.  I walked back into the barn and told Momma T that I was calling it and immediately plopped myself in a chair pouting.  Momma T is an angel and immediately got me the most amazing tasting Cup o'Noodles ramen to eat and water to drink.  I swear at the time it was the best tasting ramen ever!

As disappointed as I was about my personal performance, I loved that it provided me an opportunity to spectate the other runners and cheer on/help crew them each time they passed through.  It was awesome to see the race from the other side of the fence so to speak.  I could tell which runners were feeling good, who was hitting a low and who needed some help (whether that meant fetching food, water, chocolate, ramen, etc.).  As my friend Leigh Anne and I discussed our respective races and cheered on the runners that came through, we reflected on how being the non-runner at that point offered a lot of perspective.  It was eye opening to see not only what the runners go through but also what sacrifices the families, friends and support crew make to ensure their runner makes it across that finish line.  It was one of my biggest takeaways from the race and for that I was grateful.

At the end of the day, my race may not have gone as planned but I still showed up and gave it all I had.  That day I didn't have a PR or another 100 mile effort in me, but whatever I did have I left it all on the course. I earned my finisher's amulet.  And for that, I'm proud.

 Have you ever had a bad race or a race that didn't go as plan?  What did you do?