Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Back on track and Santa to the Sea Half Marathon recap

HELLO! Long time, no write...I know, I know.

It has been a long time since my last post. My groin injury really sucked the life out of my running and writing. It has been a tough second half of the year. Here goes a quick re-cap...I'm sure I will fill in the details over the next few posts:

I was on cloud-9 after my Salsa Dash 10K. I was super high on my great time and how great I felt during and after the race. I was going to use this run as my base to decide how to approach my half marathon in December. I was feelin' good!

Then came the injury. Pretty much sat on my butt for 2.5 months. End of October came around and I finally felt ready to start jogging. Things were looking good. No pain. YES! I was back on track...and then came the knee issue. Same leg as my groin pull. Major knee pain within a couple miles and would not stop. This prolonged the slow return to running. How was I going to train and pull of my half marathon in less than 2 months?!?

Well, I managed to get all my long runs in...but they were all VERY SLOW and full of pain. But I was able to get through an 11 mile run two weeks before the half so I decided to go for it.

Santa to the Sea Half Marathon arrived this last weekend. Sunday morning arrived and I was ready to go with my knee brace and ibuprofen tucked into my running belt. All I wanted to do was finish under my time from last year (which was a terrible experience).

I started out WAY too fast, thanks to a friend of mine who thinks 9:20 is a good "warm up" pace...HA! 9:20 per mile IS speed for me. So I ran with her for 2 miles and then said goodbye. She finished right at 2 hours!

I slowed down big time. I was not going to let my mind overwhelm my body and what I knew I was and was not able to do. Mile 3 came around, I was feeling okay. The first 3-4 miles are always super hard for me. There is a war going on in my mind during those first miles of "Ouch, this hurts and is no fun. I would rather be in bed" and "No, just have to do this! Keep going" and "WHAT AM I THINKING!?! 13.1 are CRAZY!"

Then mile 4 comes around and I start to feel warmed up. I tap into that runner's high and try to find my groove. But at mile 4 this last Sunday, my knee was screaming to please stop. It was terrible. I jogged along praying that the pain would go away, but no luck. So I popped 3 Ibuprofen at the water station and praying for pain relief ASAP.

The pain continued for the next 4-5 miles, but I was determined to not stop. Walking = GAME OVER for me and my knee. Beyond my knee though, I felt great! Mentally I was on track. The rest of my body was holding up just fine. Other than the knee, I was running comfortably.

Then glorious mile 9 came around! Everything started falling into place. After my intense hunger pain at mile 8 disappeared (the entire mile I was day-dreaming of food and for about a quarter mile, I talked to another friend I found about all the yummy foods I was craving), I suddenly realized I was going a lot faster than I had been for the last 9 miles and my body wanted to go faster. AND, no knee pain...absolutely gone while I was running. It actually hurt to walk! So I had no choice but to run. The last 4 miles I was cheering, chatting with everyone I ran alongside, thanking volunteers who controlled the angry traffic jams as we ran through major intersections of the city. And before I knee it, I could hear the finish line. Then I could see it. The last 0.1 was a full out sprint...I wanted to be done!!!!

Crossed the finish line at 2:15:27, a 10:20/mile pace. Not bad. 10 minutes faster than the year before. At the finish line, I felt really good. Tired legs, hungry belly, but good.

My third half marathon, but the first I can say I actually ENJOYED.

So, what's next? REST! Get this knee back to normal. I am also having some pain in my right foot so that's no good either. As soon as this foot pain goes away (it is actually quite intense, but the foot looks fine) I plan on continuing my regular running schedule. Next race...don't know and right now that is okay with me! I will be enjoying running for running, not running for racing :)

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Broken down, and being re-built

It is amazing how God works in our lives.

These last few weeks have been difficult to say the least. Emotionally. Physically. Mentally. Spiritually. They have been weeks full of busy schedules, uneasy feelings, exhaustion. Relationships slipping, insecurity rising.

This last week and a half was the toughest. I was broken down. I felt like a bunch of pieces scattered around, with no way of piecing myself back together. And today it all came together.

Before I go further into my humpty-dumpty moment, I must make a confession. When things started getting tough, I took it all on by myself. And I was on "go" mode 24/7. I took no time to stop and think. No time for reflection. No time for prayer. Every day I told myself, "Vanessa, figure it out! Get it done. Fix these problems." My conversations with God were Vanessa-focused. If you know me, you know that I am a bit of a control-freak at times...yes, even with God. I know, that is not a good thing.

Throughout this mess, I kept asking myself, what did I do wrong? What did I do to so-and-so person? Where did I mess up that would cause this? While there are several things that we can always do to do things better, after my reflections both alone and with my husband, I just could not pin everything on myself. So then the question of why really stands out. Why would this happen to me? Why would God allow these moments that are so painful to happen to me?

God wants us to depend 100% on Him, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Not when hard times come. Not when we can't figure out the solution on our own. He wants us to surrender ourselves and everything that has to do with us to Him ALL THE TIME. He shows us His love and care for us by the "little things" in our lives. Happy moments that He gives us, He wants us to see how He is providing for us, giving us no reason to doubt Him. He is our Provider.

But, I think in my case, He saw that I was not looking 100% to Him all the time. Only when I "needed" Him. And just like any earthly parent would, sometimes when you have a rebellious/reluctant kid you have to let your little one, let him or her fall down, and allow your child to realize that maybe he/she should have held on to mom or dad's hand and not be so reluctant to listen.

For the unbeliever, this next comment may not sound very good, but it is my honest feeling and I want to share it. God is allowing for me to be break down, to be broken down by the situations happening in my life. Note, HE is not doing the breaking! God is in control of all circumstances and yes, allows things to happen in our lives, even the yucky things. Why is He allowing this? So HE can rebuild me in His image. The Vanessa He knows I can be when I have Him with me. AND, I am so thankful! Last week I heard the Lord in my life like I had never heard Him before! Loud and clear. The way He spoke to me made perfect sense to me. No it was not a light from the sky or a vision. It was in my daily life, daily routine that He spoke to me time and time again. What did He tell me? He said, TRUST ME! SEEK ME! BE FULL OF ME! This week I broke down. Yesterday I was 1 million little pieces scattered everywhere. Today, I am a pile of 1 million little pieces. Still broken, but at least all in one spot. Tomorrow perhaps my reconstruction will begin. Maybe not. I don't know. But He knows! And I trust that He will build me back up in His perfect timing.

Yesterday, in the midst of my broken and scattered state, my husband sent me this verse from one of my favorite books of the Bible: So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now so that you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised." Hebrews 10:35-36 (NLT).

Patient endurance...I love that. Something I am not good at, but something I am loving to learn. Being broken into a million little pieces and knowing that I cannot build myself back together will be a perfect place to practice my patient endurance.

I share this with you because I can only imagine the difficulties we all face in our lives. Times are difficult. For those of us that know the Lord, wait on Him. My pastor once said that we need to wait on the Lord...He is ALWAYS waiting on us. We should be waiting on Him. For those that are not believers, I encourage you to seek the Lord. If you do, with all your heart, you will see/feel/hear/smell Him. FYI, the Lord is already there, next to you. Every, single, day He is there, waiting for you to let Him in. Love is a choice and He wants you to choose to love Him. Believe me that what I am facing right no joke. So many things happening at the same time. Some good. Some not so good. All of it scrambled up into one huge feeling of chaos. But, within all of this I can confidently say that I am not afraid. That confidence is in and comes from my Savior. Not me. Not my husband. Not because I am a "good" person. Only because of Him. Seek Him. Open your heart to Him...I promise you will not be disappointed.


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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I need to RUN!!!

Quick, frustrated post...

I am at the doc's office (non-running issue...though, I should get this injury thing checked out again), and I am catching up on my blog reading. Reading about people running makes me want to RUN! Almost 5 weeks since I have run. AAAHHH!!! Swimming occationally has been nice, but it is just NOT THE SAME! Please God heal this injury! I need to run...even if it is just around the block!

Rant over. Thanks.

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, It's off to hike we go...

This is a good picture of how we were feeling at the end of this weekend...

This photo was taken as we walked into our place. After a 2 hour hike and running up sand dunes,
the grown-ups are pooped but the kid is apparently ready to repeat!

Yes, this was a weekend spent outdoors in the hot SoCal sun. After two days of being up and about, my ischiogluteal-blah-blah-blah injury is not very happy with me...but after 16 days of doing nothing, MAN this felt soooooooooo good! I will gladly take the hurt comes the recap.

Saturday morning, I went on a quick one hour hike with my husband and father-in-law. It was HOT!

Later that day, my hubby and I did some laps at the pool which I think really helped me pain-wise with my injury. I woke up this morning (Sunday) with almost no pain.

Today I took a group of 24 people on the same hike I went on this Saturday, only this time we hiked for 2 hours...with a bunch of kids! They all did awesome...but I'm sure the gold-fishy snacks I gave them at the half way point helped a lot! When you've got kids with you, gold-fishies win them over every time!

See the person with the white shirt next to the person with the white cap way at the top?...
okay, look to the right of them and you see ME...well my left arm. Wanted to go up more but
the hubs said no more :(
My loves.

Since we weren't tired enough after the hike, we decided to drive over to the sand dune/hill near by.

Okay, seriously this is hard. Fun, but hard. But a great workout too. But if you don't like sand getting EVERYWHERE, I do not recommend this. You will fall, you will slide, you will be covered in sand. 

Ran to the top...little K is on her way!
But we made it! Little K took a bit longer...she decided to collect pieces of cardboard on the way up in hopes of building a sled for the way down...not very successful, though. 

She made it!

YAY! Feelin' so good and enjoying a beautiful evening.
I'm tired. I don't smell very good either. An entire evening of sweating...oh, I forgot the mention I helped my brother bathe our family's English I have a bit of smelling dog on me too. Off to shower.

Hope you had an awesome and totally blessed weekend like we did.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer Lovin'

I have LOVED this summer. I normally don't like summer time. I think my dislike for the summer time has been due to the fact that summer time is hot, I am usually on a weird and too short break between the tortures of college life, working short/awkward jobs, moving a lot, and did I mention the heat?

But this summer has been WAY different. First of all, this is my first summer that I am not exiting/entering school...YAY for big-girl life and stability! Second of all, it is not just me alone anymore. I got my little family keeping me super busy. Summer is way more fun with a 7 year-old and a crazy hubby. And finally, I think it is all the vitamin D I have been getting from the sun. I am normally never outside during the summer, but this summer I have been in the sun a whole bunch. I know there isn’t major proof out there demonstrating if vitamin D influences mood/mental health, etc., but there must be a reason why depression rates are much higher in places where is it always rainy/cloudy. All I can say is if you’re feeling blue, put some sunblock on and get outside. I have been eating my lunch outside on the porch of my office and in those 10 minutes (yes, I only take 10 minutes…I’m supposed to take an hour!) I feel re-energized for the rest of the day…well, at least until 3pm when I then walk a couple blocks to Starbucks for my 100th cup of coffee.

Being outdoors has been wonderful. Running. Taking little K to the park, swimming, the beach. It has been great.

Plus, I have these two who make every moment entertaining. We have spent a wonderful summer together. Being out. Being VERY busy. Being active. 

My monkeys. Balcony B-B-Qing.

But, I have to admit I am thankful that it is almost time to go back to school! This is the first time ever that I am so exited for school to start!

On a related note, my ischio-whatever injury is getting better. I have had to be very patient with this, and if you ask my loved ones they will tell you patience is not exactly my "forte". But these last couple weeks of no running, no anything really, have given me more time with my familia. We have been so crazy busy this summer. Every weekend we've had multiple things come up. I thought summer time was supposed to be relaxing. So these couple of weeks of no physical activity for me has allowed me to be there for them. Going to swim practice. To hang out and watch a movie that is not PG with my husband.  Even though this injury frustrates me at times, deep down I feel it is a blessing in disguise. 

Hope everyone is enjoying a healthy, happy, and I'm sure HOT summer. Stay safe.

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ischiogluteal bursitis...what the heck is that?

Ischiogluteal bursitis...don't ask me to say it out loud.

Well, however you pronounce it, that's what I'm dealing with...or at least something very similar. Some groin/hamstring pain. At first I thought it was a pulled groin muscle (had all the symptoms)

It hurts where it says ischiogluteal bursa.
Where it says hamstring huts there too.
Image source

Let me tell you, this is no fun.

This is an "official" doctor diagnosis. When I went to see my doc today about something else, I mentioned to her my symptoms and she thinks this is what I've got. FYI, I LOVE my doc. In her single/pre-mommy days, she ran a lot. She has amazing stories about running in Jerusalem. She is totally into my running and is very encouraging of me pushing myself and slowly but surely making my way to longer distances. Okay, back to my ischio-thing. 
What are the symptoms:
Pain and tenderness at the ischial tuberosity (YES)
Pain when stretching the hamstring (YES)
Pain when flexing the knee against resistance (YES, YES, YES)
A gradually onset of pain following a sprinting session (You bet!)
Pain which may be aggravated by sitting ( should see my impromptu standing work station in my office).

My doc asked it I wanted to get some imaging done of my injury (MRI, X-ray, that kind of thing). I said no. We have a pretty good idea of what this is. And even if this is not the correct diagnosis, I know that the recovery/treatment is still the same no matter what this pain is:
  • Rest (NOOOO!!!!)
  • Apply ice or cold therapy to reduce pain and inflammation (AAAHHHH!)
  • See a doctor or physiotherapist if symptoms persist.
  • Carry out hamstring strengthening and rehabilitation as pain may have caused weakness through muscle inhibition (Boring!)
Okay, I am exaggerating a little bit here. But the whole "rest" thing has not been fun. As of tomorrow, it will have been an entire 7 days that I have done absolutely no running in the last 5 months! I think the most I have gone in between runs these last 5 months has been 3 days MAX! Just when I was starting to dig all this running, I have to stop. No fun. Ice...also not fun. After that first ice bath I took (if you haven't seen the video you can find it here), I am not looking forward to them...though it really did help the recovery after that long trail run. See a doctor, kind of already did that. Strengthening and rehabilitation, not so bad.

The actual pain is starting to subside, so from what I have read it is a good time to start stretching more. I will also be swimming since I am so bored and need to be doing something...anything with no impact (walking even hurt). As of today, I think it will be another week and a half before I can go for a run (sad face). But I really want this to heal as fast and best as it can since I have also read that this can become chronic if I don't take care of this now.

I think this means the 10K I was planning on running in September will be a no-go. But, I have my eyes set on a 10-miler later this year.

Stay safe.

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Quick hello: Harbor Lights # 4 + new PR (BARELY!)

So we are nearing the end of the Harbor Lights series. Last one is this week. Last week I decided to run the 5K while the hubs did the 1/2mile swim + 5K.

The hubs did awesome! Best time so far.

I barely finished under my old 5K time @ 26:40. I am surprised since I was not feeling it before, during or after the race. I have to admit, I am not loving the 5K is HARD! More than anything I find it mentally tough...which is probably why I should continue to race them. They really challenge both my physical and mental ability. Find you pace quickly, hang onto it, don't let the mind, the wind, or fast people side-track you...easier said than done.

FYI, I'm injured. Groin pull. Ouch! This pain started about 2 weeks ago and I had very minor discomfort, so I was silly enough to keep running. This last Harbor Lights was the last string. Friday morning I woke up in a lot of pain. So now I am on complete rest. Most activities hurt like getting dressed, walking, getting in and out of bed. Good thing I have high pain tolerance...thanks, Mom! I am hoping the pain will start to calm down in the next couple days so I can start swimming while I wait for full recovery. We will see. I am determined to be smart about this and not make it worse! Patience, Vanessa. Plus, it really does hurt. I learned my lesson. Hopefully this will be history next week so I can start up again and get ready for my next 10K. Pin It

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hubby does triathlon

Sunday morning we rolled out of bed at 3:30am to get ready for my hubby's second sprint triathlon. Second year at the same event.

The night before, I packed PB&J sandwiches, water, yogurt, milk (for the little one, of course). And the morning of the event, we packed up the car with tri equipment and loaded up the kiddo.

FYI, little K loves getting up early for race days! Getting up when it is still dark, putting on warm/winter clothes, taking pillows and blankets and a teddy bear into the car, watching crazy people jump into freezing-cold water...what's there not to like!?!

Our drive to the race was about 45 minutes. We arrived around 5:15am. The hubby got down first to check-in and claim his spot in the transition area...I waited in the car and let little K sleep a bit more. 5:45am, woke up the kiddo, had "breakfast" in the car, walked over to the race, and hung around until the start time.

Luckily, it does not take much to keep us (me and little K) entertained for an hour. We danced, told jokes, made up stories about the people walking by, danced some more, picked out our favorite bikes entering the transition area, danced some more.

7am arrives and the hubby's wave goes in first. Go green caps!

Swim: 440 yards
Bike: 6.5 miles (shorter than last year...why, not sure)
Run: 5K

The swim is definitely his toughest event, so good thing that is first. But over the last 3 weeks he has been doing a half mile swim once a week and that has helped him get ready these last few weeks. He comes out of the water and off to the bike. Little K and I run following him from the shore to the transition and watch him jump on the bike. As he arrives, we cheer him on as he grabs some shot blocks and heads out of transition for the run. Again, little K and I run over to where he will pass by twice before heading down to the beach for the major part of the run. Little K and I get a pretty good workout too running around on the sand, following our guy around the course.

 The hub's finishes 1hour, 3 minutes. 82 out of 240. He is in a pretty tough age group, 30-34, so 13 out of 21 is pretty darn awesome! And honestly, this is with VERY minimal training.

My husband is just awesome! I think that this is only the beginning of his triathlon life. He is great for this sport. Not only because he can handle each of the events well, but because of his mental strength and will power. I think he will be doing one more sprint this year (I haven't told him that yet...I will let him know after I sign him up!). Over the next couple years, his plan is to nail the olympic distance (roughly 2x the sprint distance).

My husband is a little crazy...but I guess so am I. Starting these new sports less than a year after we get married, with a kid, and new jobs/schools/schedules, and on a tight budget. But we are so happy! Little K is also enjoying this crazy life of watching us get more serious with our new hobbies and is participating in just about any kids 1K we find (more about little K later).

A year ago, a friend of mine let the hubs borrow her bike (same bike he used this year) to compete in this tri, and here we are one year later...and this is only the beginning. Thanks Kristin. This is all your fault :)

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Trail run + first ice bath video

Whoa! What a loaded weekend! Here we will recap Saturday morning/afternoon.

We start this recap with the Saturday morning long run. Normally this long run takes place along the beach, but this Saturday we mixed it up a bit. Thanks to one of the group members, we went on a trail run. My first trail run. A 12 mile trail run. Please note, I have only run this far 2 times EVER...both during a half marathon race and both times I was not happy by mile 12. My original plan was to do 3-4 miles in and back to do a total of 6-8 miles, but I was feeling good at 4 miles...what's another 2, right? So, I kept going with the group, 6 miles in and 6 miles out. Around the fifth mile in, I was beginning to think that maybe it was a bad idea. What was I thinking? Could I really do 12 miles? I can handle 6 miles...but would I last the 6 miles back?

Well I did! And it was AWESOME!!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVED IT! 12.4 miles in 2 hours, 9 minutes. For me, that is a great time! My best half marathon time (on a super flat course) is like 15 minutes slower. So, considering this was only my third time running this far, it was on a trail, AND it had a slight incline, I am stoked!

Thank you friends!

On my way home, the most intense hunger came over me. I met little K and the hubs at our favorite neighborhood diner/restaurant/cafe and had the most delicious french toast, eggs, bacon, toast, coffee.

And I won't lie, it hurt...the run, that is. Sore hip flexors, calves, hammies, knees. But nothing an ice bath can't fix!

But first let me show you my awesome tan...

Yup, dirt tan!

Okay, now the ice bath video. First, the ice bath was not MY idea. I just wanted to sit in some cold water, let my legs relax and get out. Well, my lovely husband had other plans. Once I was in the tub, he ran to the local corner store and bought a little bag of ice.

Before you watch...yes, I am wearing clothes. I'm actually wearing a jacket along with all my running clothes...HEY it was cold!

Please enjoy the video of my little family torturing me, courtesy of little K (her idea to record this event). She thought this was the funniest thing EVER. Probably thinking, "How much crazier can this lady get?"

FYI, the ice bath helped a lot! Later that day, I was able to attend a birthday party wearing heels and the next (today) day, very mild soreness. I think I will continue with the little bag of ice for a while and slowly graduate to more ice.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Get that run done!

This morning I got my butt out of bed to get my run done before my Friday began. This is near impossible since I am pretty much glued to my bed from the minute I get in it every night! I am a sleeper! I LOVE TO SLEEP. I do love the idea of being a "morning person" and am working on joining the earlier risers club, but so far it has been tough!

However, I normally cannot get a run in after work. The only day I manage to do this is on track nights with my running amigos. Usually, my evenings never turn out like I planned in the morning. And on the days where they do go as planned, I am just WAY too tired or simply have no interest in pounding the ground for 45 minutes. Running at lunch is not really an option since the meaning and timing of "lunch" changes quite frequently due to my work schedule. I also do not own a treadmill and do not have a gym membership. These obstacles use to lead me to say, "I just can't find the time to run." But now, I realize there is one option I have not seriously considered...morning runs.

Today was my first week-day morning run in a LONG time. It also happened to be the foggiest morning my neighborhood has experienced in a while. I do not like to get out of bed early when it is foggy...that is perfect sleeping weather! But I did it! I got up! Hardest part done!

My foggy running path.

Lots of bunnies at this location. This one stayed
put long enough for me to take a picture.

When I finished my 4 miles, I felt so accomplished. And on the drive home, I felt so good knowing I was done! AND yes, I drive about 5 minutes to a local running path that is safe for running/walking...running to this location from my home (and my neighborhood in general) is not very safe for running.

I got my run DONE! I think that will be my new morning motto. "Get that run done!" No more stressing about whether or not I am going to get out of the office early enough to go run. Or, not feeling guilty that I spend all my "free time" running and not spending that time with loved ones. I know running is good for me. It makes me a better wife, step-mama, employee, just a better person. But I think there should be a balance and running should not take up time that should be spent doing other things. That's why morning runs seem to be the best fit for me to get my run done.

Plus, there is something quite nice about running in the morning. It is quiet. The day feels so clean and new. Even with cars driving by and people walking around the path, the morning feels calm. At 6:30am, you feel the "youth" of the day. It is also a really great time for me to work on memorizing bible verses. Today's Running with the Word verse was Galatians 2:20. This is a verse my pastor recommended I memorize and meditate on when I shared with him that I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed with a few things. It is a beautiful verse and reminds me that I am not living this life on my own.

So, I encourage those of you who "can't" find time to run, try getting your run done before your day starts. Before the world gets up and starts pulling at you from every direction. Get out there and greet the young day.

Happy Friday!

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Race Rundown: Salsa Dash 10K

My first 10K race and I have to say I am REALLY happy!

The night before I could not sleep (as usual). Got into bed at 10:30pm, tossed and turned and was a complete chatter-box until about 11:30pm when my husband pretty much told me that just because I'm not sleepy doesn't mean he isn't (point taken). Got out of bed, and went to the living room to read my running magazines. Finally around 1am I was nice and sleepy.

5:20am: Alarm goes off, and I'm wishing I had fallen asleep earlier! Got up, got my fix of caffeine with a piece of toast with peanut butter. Got myself ready while the hubs and little K slept.

6:10am: Time for the family to get up, get fed, dressed, packed and OFF WE GO! Out the door by 6:50am.

We arrive to the start of the race around 7:10am. Race to start at 8am. Lots of people, ready to go. Found all kinds of people I know. Friends, family, and co-workers.

One thing I have learned is that I really need to warm up. I can't just "Go" like some people. So I jogged about a mile before the race and got my legs nice and warm. My plan was to take it easy the first half and then go for it the second half. So I took it very easy the first 2 miles and stayed between 9:10 and 9:25 per mile. After the first mile I was so tempted to pick up the pace, and follow the glad I didn't. I just kept reminding myself that I needed to take those first miles slow and ease into the race. Mile 3 was a bit faster, but I still kept my excitement under control.

The race was 2 loops around the same path (the 5K only did one loop around). As I came around to start my second loop, I saw (and heard) my little family. I felt good! This is when I told myself, "Okay, NOW you can go for it." I ran on how I felt...and I felt good. Mile 4 was awesome. A little after the mile 5 marker, I got a sharp pinch/cramp feeling around the top of my left hamstring/lower butt area...not a surprise, this has been bugging for a while now. I just slowed to a walk, gave my leg a good shake and rub, walked out the pain for a bit and I was back on! I had told myself early on that if this were to happen NOT to let it discourage me. Once I returned to a run, I looked at my Garmin and saw that my time was in the low 50s. "Is this possible? Could I really make it under 57 minutes?" My next thought was, "Crap! What if my Garmin it totally off?!? What if I lost connection? What if I am nearing the one hour mark?!? This is too good to be true!"

The last bit of the race, I found a comfortably hard pace that my legs could hang onto, and when I knew I was only 0.5 miles away from the finish, I took off! I rounded the last corner and gave it everything I had!
Rounding the corner to the finish!

Time, 54:40 (8:48/mile). My Garmin was right! I am so proud of my time! My goal was to come in under an hour, and praying I could get around 57 minutes, so this time is way better than I expected. At the end, I felt terrible-enough to know I gave it my all, but well-enough to enjoy the rest of the day, feel proud of myself, and know I worked really hard to feel capable the whole way through. I remember running my first half marathon last December and feeling miserable. Bodily pain on top of mental pain...not know how in God's name I was going to finish that race. That was a terrible feeling and I remember telling myself that I would NEVER feel like that again. If I'm going to run, I going to run right! During the Salsa Dash 10K, I felt physical exhaustion. I know I was pushing hard. I know that I really did push my body. But I was not IN PAIN. No agony. Mentally, I felt good! I am learning that being physically ready is only part of the formula to a successful race. Your mind has to be ready too. I think these last few 8 mile long runs with my buddy Brandy have really helped. I kept telling myself, "If this were any ordinary Saturday morning, you'd be running 8 miles...6 miles is a piece of cake." This thought-process really helped! The was no feeling miserable, no agonizing pain during the Salsa Dash...just a tired and hungry body and a happy spirit.

I honestly surprised myself on Saturday! Pin It

Friday, July 20, 2012

Harbor Lights 2012 and a new PR!

NEW PR!!! 26:50 for my 5K!!! YAY! Felt like I was going to DIE, but I hear that's a good thing...I can confidently say I gave it my all.

Harbor Lights is a 5-week race series. It raises money for a local high school's cross country team, and it brings out lots of families. They have a Swim/Run component (1/2 mile swim + 5K), a 5K run only, and a kids 1K. Every week for 5 weeks. Live music, food, raffles. What more could you want for a Thursday night :)

The hubs is doing the swim/run race since he is getting ready for his second sprint distance triathlon at the end of the month! A funny thing happened last week. At check-in the hubs reads a sign that says "1/2 mile swim" and starts saying, "Half mile swim!?! Half mile swim?!?" I'm like, "Yeah. What's the big deal?" (FYI, I am the one who signed him up for this). Apparently the sprint triathlon distance is 1/4 mile swim and that's the distance he has been focusing one. Oops! 

Off the go!

As you can see, I don't know much about triathlons or swimming for that matter...we are learning these things as we go. He ALMOST didn't do it last week, but at the last minute he decided to go for it...and today he did WAY better (still waiting on the official time). 

All done!
Little K is also doing a weekly kids 1k. She is doing great. Today she said she tried so hard she felt like she was going to throw up! Alright! Family trend!!! We are giving it our all!

Next Thursday we are at it again!
This Saturday I am running my first 10k race! Wish me luck.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Year #1 as Mr. & Mrs.

On July 10 last year, I made the craziest, coolest, smartest decision...I got married! It was such a wonderful day...something I will never forget. It was simple, like us. On a budget, like us. With lots of "do it yourselves", like us. I remember the entire month of June and the early days in July, we had major "June gloom". Cloudy, cold, sad looking. I prayed and prayed that on July 10 the sun would poke its head out for just a bit. Well the sun shined down on us that day, and it shined hard (thank God I ordered fans for our guests).

And this wedding was not a wedding of two, it was a wedding of three. This was little K's wedding as much as it was mine. She was part of just about everything. She gave her opinions and made suggestions on just about everything, from flowers to food to her dress to where on the property we would get married. I loved that she felt that was her special day too. And it totally was her wedding too. That day God didn't create a married couple, He created a family.

My father-in-law told us yesterday that the first year is the hardest. Yes, I won't lie, it was tough for all three of us. From the big issues of holidays and money management to the not so "little" issues like folding towels a certain way (the hub's won this one) and agreeing on the proper way the toilet paper should hang (over the top, of course!). But here we are, with towels folded and the toilet paper hanging correctly and we are happy...
Celebrating year one.

AND we each are 10 lbs lighter! Marriage has turned out to be the best diet. All kidding aside, this last year we have both encouraged each other to be active, find something we like doing and do it. The hubs has taken up triathlons, and obviously I have taken up running. Although we are super busy with work, school, little K, church, and loved ones, having a "hobby" that we can do independently and as a family has been something that has made us closer. Something we can work towards together, encourage each other, push and challenge one another. 

July 10, 2011 was the day God blessed me with a wonderful husband who makes me feel so loved, cherished, and important, and the most thoughtful little girl who has colored my world pink and purple and has flipped everything upside-down and inside-out. We were so fortunate to have lots of help from our loved ones to make this day so memorable. A wonderful ceremony by the pastors of our church, great food by our favorite Mexican restaurant, the best mariachi one could ask for, beautiful flowers just the way me and my little K imagined them, and a cake that even I ate (I don't usually like cake but this one was the bomb!). And of course, family and friends that helped organized, brainstorm, glue, write, fold, stick, tape, and a million other things I'm sure I am forgetting. 

If you had asked me 10 years ago what my life would have been like at 27, I most certainly would not have painted this picture...

This life is WAY better than anything I had ever imagined.

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Friday, July 6, 2012

I own my domain!

Just a quick FYI, I now own my own domain. drop the "blogspot" part.

Nothing really changes. But now, my blog is MINE :) 

SEE! No "blogspot" ending. YAY.

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Trip Week Recap

Home sweet home! There's nothing like being back in your 'hood'. Conference is over. Loved it...but glad to be away from the downtown LA traffic, the constant ambulance and police car sirens, and noisy hotel guests running around in the hallways.

Here is a recap of the week:

My morning walk.
First of all the conference was wonderful. Lots of interesting and informative discussions regarding migration and health, things near and dear to my heart. My hotel was only one mile away from the conference center so I walked on Tuesday and Wednesday (Thursday we were at UCLA). What a beautiful (and very warm) week it was! But it was perfect for city-walkin'. It has been a long time since I've been in the "city" environment...being able to WALK to my destination and WALK to pick up was very nice.

On my way to the conference center I walked through Olverita's Village to mainly to get away from the sun and into some shade! Tuesday evening I was a bad girl and got tacos! Could not resist. Tacos speak to me. Wednesday I did better and got a healthy sandwich. I also picked up a little something for my little K.

Little K's gift.

During my morning walk. Peaceful.
Thursday was interesting. Back at my alma mater...UCLA. The conference was held in the same building I "lived in" for two years during grad school. It was a bit strange, but also nice to know that I was free from papers, exams, and the dreaded comprehensive exam!

At the end of each day, I'd arrive to the hotel and head directly back down to my private gym...hotel rooms make people lazy. It really was my private gym every day I went in there.

My private gym.
I really don't like treadmills...or what I have heard many people call it, the "dreadmill". I just don't like the feeling of not going anywhere. I am putting all this effort into getting one leg in front of the other, and yet there I am, stuck in the same spot. I know that for many, treadmills are a life-saver and I'm sure they make training a lot easier. And perhaps someday I will own one, but I definitely do not prefer the treadmill over outdoor running.

I got to the gym each day! Miracle. Actually, it wasn't that hard to do. I felt motivated.

Monday I did an easy 3 miles. Tuesday I did a short "kinda" 5 mile progression run followed by 20 minutes of strength training. Wednesday I did 4 miles alternating running flat and on an incline. Thursday I did 1 mile warm up, 40 minutes of strength training, followed by 1 mile running hard. By Thursday night, I was ready to go home.

Eat night ended with eating dinner in my room while stretching and watching the Olympic trials...cable for 5 days! For those who may not be aware, we don't have cable. The hubs and I each have not had cable for quite a few years now. For me the cable ended when I started grad school. Too busy and too poor for cable. And then I realized, I don't really miss TV. I definitely don't need it. And there is more junk on TV than ever before...I don't want to spend our money on junk. I am sad that I won't be able to watch the Olympics, though. Perhaps we might have to get cable just for this...we'll see.

Tomorrow, AM long run with the group.
Total mileage this week should be around 20 miles.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

13 lbs in 13 weeks Challege

Is it possible? Shed 13 pounds in 13 weeks? Well, I'm gonna try.

I am participating in a challenge to lose weight, put together by a blog I follow. In these 13 weeks some people are going to lose a marathon (26 lbs...2 lbs a week) or lose a half marathon (13 lbs...1 lb a week). Week one weigh in was today. I am happy to report I went down 1.2 lbs. I know I need to push a little harder since it will get harder to lose weight as the weeks go on. And to be honest, I am at a weight right now that is "technically" a healthy weight for me. My BMI a week ago at the beginning of this challenge 23 and now is 22.8. The healthy BMI range is a BMI between 18.5-24.9. You can use the following link to find your BMI, Granted, BMI is just one way to get a very general idea of one's overall health, and for a better idea it is always best to consult a physician.

What more do you need for motivation
than the Olympic Track & Field trials!
So, I'm going to WORK IT! Last week was actually a pretty terrible week workout-wise. Didn't run as much as I normally do, and I was feeling exceptionally tired and drained. This week I am also in a tough situation, not very conducive to weight loss...I am out of town for work. But, that is no excuse to not lose weight. More on this later in the week. I did get 3 miles in today.

The good thing is that last week I listened to my body and rested...a lot! Thursday my legs were tired!! Friday we took little K to see the movie Brave. I liked it. It was nice to see a "different/new" kind of princess. Saturday, I woke up not feeling well so it turned into a hang around the house/laundry day. Sunday, I was fighting a headache but I met one of my husband's cousin's and his wife who were visiting from Arizona. The rest of Sunday was dedicated to getting rid of the headache and spending time with the hubs.

I think the resting did me a lot of good because my energy level is much better today than it was last week. This is my first experience with being away from home and trying to keep up with a workout scedule, so we will see how this goes. I know that traveling is a common "excuse" people use as to why they can't lose weight, OR a way to justify weight gain when they are suppose to be shedding pounds. I hope the much needed rest will help me stay motivated and push hard this week to workout say goodbye to another pound.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Track Tuesdays

ME? Track workouts?...who would have thunk it? 

About 5 weeks ago I had the brilliant idea of joining a local running group. When I finally put it into my schedule I was super pumped. The night before I set everything out, all ready to go so that when I got home the next day from work all I had to do was change and head to the track! Even the morning of, I was so determined I was going. 

Well, by the time I got home that day my enthusiasm turned into fear of the unknown, and that unknown told me, "You're not going". So I tell the hubs, "I don't think I feel like going to track". HA! My hubs knows me too well. He knew what I was up to. Eventually I confessed that I didn't want to go because I was scared. 

Long story made short, I went. AND, the hubs went with me! 

So we got to the track and while I waited to see where the group met up, I decided I just wanted to "watch" that day. That's when things got really bad. The hubs could not believe it. All this way, dressed and ready to go, and now I want to WATCH!?!?! Then he got all serious. I knew I was in for it. The guilt was too much. He shamed me into walking over to the group. I walked over there like a little girl, forced by my dad to go and play nice. And just when you thought the worst was over, he hung around to WATCH me. Lap after lap after lap, there he was leaning over the fence, making sure I didn't stop or try to sneak away to the bathroom. Well, it has been 5 weeks that I have been going to track days and I'm so glad I walked down there to meet the group that first day :) And yes, I did thank the hubs for "encouraging" me to do it. 

So track is pretty fun, until the exercise for the day starts. Then it is just a good way, of course. 

I know that track workouts are meant for speed work, but I'm not really "fast" yet. Brandy put it well when she said our "fast" isn't much different from our "slow"...they just kinda blend together :) 

So yes, I go slow...slowest in the group, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! I am happy to take over that title from Brandy...the self-proclaimed "slow one". Sorry, lady! You're going to have to settle for second-slowest now. 
Watch out...if you blink you might
miss me!

I think running in a group can be intimidating for many. It was for me. "What if I'm the SLOWEST one?!?" Well, turns out I am, and it's not a terrible thing either. I figure one's experience with a running group really depends on the dynamics of the group, and this group welcomes all abilities...really. It is really great to be welcomed just as you are. No questions about how fast or far you run. No "looks" as people lap you for the twelfth time on the track. Quite the contrary with this bunch. The more you get lapped, the more cheers and encouragement you get. There are perks to being slow :) 

The amazing thing is that is just a few weeks of going to track workouts, I already feel a difference in my running. I run more comfortably. I enjoy running more. AMAZING! I also join this group for a weekly long run (details to come another day). 

So far, so good. I'm really enjoying Track Tuesdays. 


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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Race Rundown, City Impact 5K

27:33 finish time. Honestly,
my best time so far :)
This was fun! WOW, did I really just type that!?!

Yup, I did. Let me tell you why.

I ran with a bunch of people I knew. For now let me just say that I am assistant director of a local Mexican Folk dance group (more on this later as it does consume a large part of my life throughout the year). A few of us from the group signed up to run/jog/walk this 5K. It was so wonderful talking with everyone before the race, taking pictures, goofing around, and not really thinking too much about what we were about to do. Since the course was a loop ("go 'n' come back" path), we all saw each other during the 3 miles, cheering, giving high-fives, being excited for each other. I also saw a bunch of my new amigos from my local running group who ran the 1/2 marathon. I love cheering people on...I will cheer ANYONE on. Need a cheerleader? I'm there for you! I usually go back out to the course and cheer on those that are reaching the finish line, so being able to find familiar faces to cheer for was an extra bonus.

With my mom and
little K.
This was the first race my mom participated in. GO MOM! Honestly, I will say she could have gone far as a speed walker. She is a little lady, but takes strides like my 6'4" joke. As she approached the finish line, me and another friend went out to finish the race with her. We honestly had to jog next to her because we could not walk as fast as she did. Let me tell you that walking fast is HARD! She is a super incredible woman and her story is amazing...but that deserves a post of its own in the future. I will say she is a great example of how to have faith during extremely hard times. She is my hero.

Look at her go.
And look at that smile!
Those are my legs on the top
right-hand corner.
This was our first race as a family. GO RUNNING FAMILY! The hubs was able to run due to a friend of ours not being able to make it. So the hubs took his number. THEN, our little K ran her very first Kids 1K...and did awesome! I ran about 100 ft behind her on the way out. I wanted her to get her rhythm, find her pace, clear away from all the tiny ones that were running as well. Every few minutes she would turn around to see if I was there. I would yell, "GO K. I'm right here watching you!!! You look great!!! Keep GOING!" And she did. She reached the lady that marked the turn around point, and that is where I joined her. Side by side we ran, and little K was FOCUSED!!! Breathing, correcting her posture, looking straight ahead. I asked her, "How do you feel? We are almost there." She says, "I feel good. My legs don't even hurt." YES! That's my girl! As we reach the finish line I asked her if she wanted to run under the blue finish sign alone or with me. "I want to do it alone." Officially a big girl. At the start of her race she was nervous and shy. By the end she was determined and on a roll! "OK, K. When you turn the corner you run hard all the way to the end!" I am so proud of her. She is already asking about her next race. YES!!!!!!!!!

This was a great day.

City Impact 5K time 27:33, 8:53/mile. Pin It

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Paletas de Coco...the taste of summer!

Paletas de coco (or "coconut popsicles" for my English-speaking amigos) remind me of hot summer days. Playing with my brother in the front yard of my dad's house. Hearing the bells of the paletero (popsicle man) coming down the street. Running inside to get my dad. The three of us running back out before the paletero passed our house. Hoping he had the flavors we liked (it really stunk when he didn't). My dad would buy what seemed like a hundred paletas (probably more like 10, though), especially if he had a lot of the ones we liked. My brother would always get the chocolate flavored paleta. I always got a paleta de coco. Refreshing. Sweet. Delicious. Just the way summer should taste. 

Sitting together. The three of us. Eating paletas. 

Today, we had paletas de coco...thank you, Trader Joes! 

This brought back some wonderful memories of my childhood. 

Paletas...they do this thing to families...bringing them together....slowing life down for just a moment to realize just how refreshing, sweet and delicious "it" all is...

FYI, today is little K's last night as a first grader...I can't believe it.
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