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.

Pin It

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.

Pin It

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. 


Pin It

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.
Pin It

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Workin' the Water Station - Ojai 2 Ocean Marathon

Volunteering with new friends from the running group representing Walden Surfboards.
Last water station, less than a 1/2 mile away from the finish line.
A week ago today, I volunteered to work a water station at the local Ojai to Ocean (O2O) marathon and 1/2 marathon. Man, was it fun! Although it was super early and super cold for those of us standing around, I had a great time with some new amigos I have made recently  from a local running club (more about the club in another post).

We were suppose to be mile 9 for the half marathon and mile 21 for the full, but our table was placed in the wrong place and we ended up being less than a half mile away from the finish line. A great spot for us a spectators, a terrible/awkward place for the runners. But whatever...we worked our water station. Along with offering water and gels, we started offering "showers" too. That's right, splashing runners on their way to the finish line. I think we enjoyed it more than the runners. Who doesn't like throwing water at people. 

Being less than a half mile away from the finish line, you see ALL KINDS of stuff. People looking strong and focused, and others looking not so great. You can definitely tell who trained and who didn't train. I remember being in pain entering mile 12 and all I could think of was, "Man, I hope I didn't look like that!" It was a great reminder of why I need be faithful to my running schedule. The next time I run, I want to feel great at the end. Not like I am about to fall over and pass out. 

One great part of working the water station was seeing my amiga finishing the half marathon. Just days before the race, she asked me if I wanted to run with her number because she just didn't think she was ready for the entire half marathon (she had a baby like 3 months ago). I told her no, that she should do it, even walk/run it if she couldn't run the entire thing. Well, she ended up doing it, and she ended up running the entire thing, and she ended up with a great time! I ran with her from the water station to the finish line. Very motivating. She is responsible for lighting a "running fire" in a few of us and we are thankful to her for it.

The elite runners were so amazing, of course. But what I found to be even more amazing were those "regular" runners looking so awesome at the end of their race. I know I will never be an elite runner...I don't think I'd ever want to be. But I want to be good at running. I want to get stronger and faster and have respectable times when I race. And at O2O  I saw "regular" people like me finishing at great times with smiles on their faces as they made their way to the finish line. I think THAT is amazing. Being a regular person, living a regular life, and finding the time and dedication to train hard in order to accomplish great times is WAY more inspiring to me than watching the elite runners. I watch elite runners and my jaw drops...How is it possible to do that!?! I watch "regular" runners and I feel a smile form across my face...I can relate to that person. I can see myself somewhere in that person and I think that MAYBE, if I work hard, MAYBE I can do that too. 

O2O...nice course, nice people...nice for me to MAYBE run next year?!? Maybe :)

Pin It

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I RUN for tacos!

Today is National Running Day!

Why do I run? That is a very good question. I think there are a lot of reasons why I have stuck with running. First and foremost, I do love to eat. Who doesn't, right? I don't love fast food or very bad food, but I do have a love affair with certain foods. Like tacos. I love tacos de asada with lots of cilantro and lemon! I could eat them every single day if I let myself. In general I love carbs...bread, bagels with lots of cream cheese, tortillas, them all! So even though I don't consume them everyday, I run so that when I do go and have 4 tacos de asada, I enjoy them guilt-free.

I run for my health. I want strong bones and a healthy heart to live life to its fullest. I run to be a good example to my little K and future children (that's right, MORE kiddos...K needs a little bro or sis). I run in hopes of someday being as fast as my husband...or at least faster so that when we run together he might finally break a sweat. I run in search of my "hot bod" that is hidden under these love handles. I run because it is hard! I run because my little K wants to run a race with me and her dad someday. I run for those few moments where my mind is quiet and all I hear are my feet hitting the ground. I run to give thanks for this incredible vehicle I have been given.

Photo credit to Saucony Facebook page.
Today, in celebration of Running Day, my hubs and I ran 3 miles (wanted to do 6, but the pulled hammy just wasn't letting me). Well, I ran, he jogged. Got out of the apartment and went for a really fun run together and discovered a new running path on our side of town. We talked and laughed the entire way. Also, today was the first time I used my Garmin. It was really great! It was the only thing I had with me. No cell phone to track my pace, with annoying headphones and cords bouncing around just in case I got a call or wanted to listen to NPR. Just me and hubs and my Garmin. Despite it being a tough day at work, and having lots of things taking up brain space in my head all day, during my run my mind was blank. During those 30 minutes running, not one thought came to mind. I was only focused on my running. It was AMAZING!!!! Thank you GOD! 

I am happy. I am happy that I ran with my man. Ran with my Garmin. Ran with joy. Tomorrow, I have presentation and a training I am planning at work. Then, a run. And to top it off, some tacos.

Happy running!

~VB Pin It

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

There's ALWAYS time for a run

I know! It is B-E-A-UTIFUL! 

This past memorial day weekend we decided to do what every southern Californian does on a sunny 3-day weekend...HIT THE BEACH...TWICE! We were so blessed with amazing weather. The beaches were packed! Families were everywhere. Grilling, laughing, splashing around in the cold ocean water, playing football, was beautiful. 
My lovelies. 

As I get into this new running habit, I am finding that you realize there is ALWAYS time for a run. Before, there was NEVER time for a run. But now, running is incorporated into the rest of the's like magic (something my little K would say). Magically, running is included in the planning of our beach day. Pack K's bag, pack a lunch, pack change of clothes, pack running gear. 

I love that this (running) is getting easier. Not easier in the effort it takes to get one foot in front of the other (that is still VERY difficult), but getting into the running mentality. I think I am breaking through this barrier. The "lack of motivation" barrier. The ability to motivate myself, encourage myself, push myself, be proud of myself. This has been the greatest barrier so far. It has been so difficult that I have never gotten past it and never had the "pleasure" of experience a new breakthrough. I know I am not 100% past this barrier, but I sure am making progress pushing and finding my way through it.

Nothing like playin' on the swings
after 3 miles of running against
the wind.
As I have mentioned before, one of my biggest reasons for running is my little K. She is my everything! As she gets older, we are trying to teach her to push hard through the things that are tough. My hubs and I are noticing that K is falling into the trap many kids now-a-days fall into...laziness. And it is no one's fault other than our own. So it is time for a little nudge. She is now running more. Somedays she is super excited to run. Other days she gives us the look of death when we tell her we are going to our running park. "Tough nuggets, K. You're going." And, in just a few weeks we have already seen a change in her mind-set while she runs. She doesn't give up. The words "I can't" are officially bad words in this family. Seriously. 
They are NEVER permitted and when they are uttered, that person gets the ugly look from the other two (yes, the grown-ups are subject to this rule as well). And after she finishes running and I keep going, I hear her cheering me on. Screaming my name so I can hear her loud and clear. Go Vanessa!!! You can do it!!! And once I finish I get, "Good job...I am so proud of you" from my little K...WOW! Those words are so sweet. How can I give up after that. She is my jewel. 

Beach days, work days, lazy days, long days, whatever...I have to get my run in. If not for me, then for her. 

Oh Garmin is here!!! Yay! Now I just need to figure out how the heck to use it... Pin It