August 17, 2012


Alternately titled: "What the hell I've been up to". I know it's been a while since I've updated this thing, and I owe you guys a post! These last couple weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, mainly involving my big move to San Francisco. Well, I'm finally here and loving it so far, but before I get to that, let me back up.

After (reluctantly) returning from a wonderful vacation in Santa Cruz, I headed to the city to check out a potential apartment. I'll admit I was getting a little nervous about finding a place since I had less than a month til school starts, and after sending out dozens of emails I'd only heard back from a few people. The place turned out to be amazing with two great people living there, so I crossed my fingers and headed back to Sac.

Meanwhile I was trying to get in some running, but with the crazy heat wave we were hit with it just wasn't appealing. I did partake in my local Color Run, but even that wasn't enough to light a spark. I took the opportunity to switch things up a bit and went for my first ride post-Ironman, had a little reunion sesh with Jillian, and got my namaste on at bikram yoga (I know hot yoga seems unappealing in the heat but it actually felt amazing!). I also managed to spend multiple hours watching the Olympics. While there were certainly specific highlights for me (hello women's triathlon finish and gymnastics gold!) anything Olympic was good for me. I couldn't get enough! While in Santa Cruz I got in a 12 mile long run, so I was hoping to keep building my long run from there and just run what I can/feel like during the week. My pace is still slower than usual and I fatigue much sooner than I'd like, but I'm still trying!
back in the saddle!
Olympics on both screens
12 miles on the Santa Cruz coast
With that said, I've come to some decisions regarding the Portland Marathon this October. Originally my plan was to make it a PR attempt, specifically aiming to finally go sub-4 hours. I figured post-Ironman I'd have a great fitness base and be ready for a hard, mileage-heavy training cycle to get me ready, but alas, that has not been the case. My body has taken much longer to recover than I expected, and honestly, my heart just isn't in it. Don't get me wrong, I still desperately want that 3:xx (my 4:01 PR haunts me!!), but I know it's not wise to push yourself when your whole heart isn't into it. I'm a little disappointed and frustrated, but I've mostly come to terms with my decision. I'm ok with this year being "the year of the Ironman", because that's pretty freaking huge! I have time; there will be (many more) marathons in the future. I'm still planning on running Portland, but without the pressure of a big time goal. I'm looking forward to the exploring the city, visiting some friends, and just enjoying the experience stress-free.

This decision has actually taken a lot of weight off my shoulders. I know once school starts (next week!) I'll be pretty busy, and trying to fit in a strict training plan would be challenging. Instead I'll be sort of "winging" my training. I plan on gradually increasing my long runs up to 20 miles, and then do whatever I can/want during the week, hopefully running at least a 3-4 times on weekdays. I also love that this gives me the freedom to do other workouts, too. I always feel guilty doing something else - like yoga or strength training - when I'm training for a race since I could be using that time to run, but I'm enjoying switching things up lately. I do hope to also start spending some time on the trails since I'm signed up for the North Face 50k in December; and that's also not conducive to training for a fast marathon. I'm especially looking forward to exploring the trails with this local trail enthusiast!

So getting back on track, I found out a few days after applying that I got the place in SF (!!!) and thus the whirlwind began. I wouldn't be moving in until the 15th, but I had tickets to the Outside Lands Music Festival in Golden Gate Park that weekend so I headed back to the city for that. My bff came with me and I met up with a couple other friends and had an amazing time. Incredible music (including the one and only Stevie Wonder!), great food, and an awesome atmosphere made for a very memorable weekend.
 gourmet tots!
festival food : )
Stevie Wonder!!!

While there I attempted another long run, but without knowing a route I ended up all over the place - on trails in Lands End, running up hills in the Presidio, and eventually found my way to the Golden Gate Bridge. The run took for-e-ver because I had to stop so many times to check the map (and take pics) and I only ended up with 11 miles, but it was a great run nonetheless. It was a lovely, cool morning with plenty of fog, and I discovered some really great places to come back to. And holy hills - my quads and buns were burning by the end!
I spy the Golden Gate!

With Outside Lands over I headed back to Sac and had two days to pack up all my shit. We somehow managed to get it done and after a super loooong day Wednesday I was all moved in! So far my impressions are: shit it's cold here! and parking really sucks! Seriously though, I'm loving it so far. It's different, and I know there will be a lot to get used to, but I know with time I'll fall into a routine and things will be familiar. I'm still exploring my 'hood, and yesterday evening went out for my first run as an SF resident. I'd heard about a nice running route around a nearby lake, so I ran the mile and a half to Lake Merced. I wasn't planning on going all the way around it (a 4.5 mile loop), but as I went I was feeling pretty good and like the idea of seeing the whole thing. It was a nice little route, although the fog was super dense, and I know I'll definitely be back. I finished up with 7.5 miles and just a wee bit proud of myself since I only intended to do about 5.
keys to my new place!
little jaunt around Lake Merced

Now that I'm here and fairly settled I hope to get back to more regular posting. I wouldn't expect any weekly training recaps for right now, but I do hope to write more as I explore my new city on foot and navigate the many adventures I'm sure I'll encounter in the coming months. Also, I know many of you are bay area residents yourselves, so if you're ever up for a run (or coffee or lunch or whatever) let me know! I'd love to meet you - even though I feel like I already know so many of you : )

August 6, 2012

The Color Run (Race Report)

Many of you have probably heard of these "color runs" that seem to be all the rage lately. When my friend learned that the series was coming to Sacramento a few months ago, she insisted we sign up. I figured it looked pretty cool, and being in the midst of hardcore Ironman training, it was nice to consider a race that was not only short but also whose focus was on fun. That friend then up and moved to Colorado (boo, Erin!), but fortunately a couple other friends from work had signed up, too.

As I've mentioned a few times, lately running has not been going so smoothly. My body hasn't bounced back as quickly as I'd hoped post-Ironman, and my motivation has been M.I.A. Even though this was a 5k, and it wasn't even timed (in fact I'd say the majority of people walked a good chunk of it), I still had some apprehension going into it, like I have with all my runs lately. Basically wondering, "Is this finally going to be the run where it clicks again?" When something that usually feels fairly easy and natural becomes challenging, it becomes hard to enjoy. I only mention this because it most likely influenced my opinion of this experience.

Anyway, I met up with Courtney and Bethany in midtown and we decided to drive halfway and park so as not to worry about parking downtown. We made it with plenty of time to spare and immediately were surrounded by thousands of people dressed in (temporary) white. We wanted to start close to the front to avoid the crowds and not have to wait around all morning, and we lucked out when we spotted a coworker at the Girl's on the Run booth. They were gathering the GotR group to start in the very front to kick off the race, so we hopped in with them and found ourselves in front of the start line!
the before shot

For those of you who may not be familiar with the Color Run, it's a 5k where volunteers at every kilometer squirt you with a different colored powder, leaving you very colorful by the finish line. It's a very casual run, certainly not a race, and it attracted nearly 15,000 people of all kinds. As I mentioned before, these kinds of races have been getting a lot of hype, but for a few reasons, I wasn't very impressed.

The race started out fine, and was surprisingly not crowded at all. I know this was mainly because we started at the front, but also because we ran the whole thing whereas a lot of the other participants walked some or all of the course. While I thought this would actually be a good thing, it actually made it feel kind of lonely, especially considering the type of run this was (the more the merrier!). A few times we found ourselves running down the middle of the street with virtually no one else around us! The first color came up pretty quickly: yellow! You could see the cloud dust of color up ahead and as we approached we just closed our mouths, squinted our eyes, and made our way through. It only lasted maybe 20 yards, and when we emerged on the other side we had a nice dusting of yellow powder.

The rest of the race went by pretty quickly. I didn't wear my Garmin and there were no markings on the course, so I had no idea where we were, other than by kilometers based on the colors. One thing I noticed after the second color (pink!) was that these powders have a not-so-cool reaction to sweat. They turn into something resembling food coloring, bleed together, and leave you looking more dirty than colorful. The pink on my face turned into a red, giving me a lovely zombie look to sport. The powder also had a knack for getting into unwanted places, like the mouth, ears, nose, and cleavage.

We finished around a half hour and came down the finish chute all alone, meanwhile thousands of people were still waiting in waves just to start! Apparently one of the best parts of these events is the finish festival, but since so few people were done, there wasn't much to see or do. We were about to leave when we saw a crowd growing by the stage, opening individual packets of color and releasing them into the air! It was actually a pretty cool sight to see, so we decided to stay for a bit and enjoy the music and dancing. Honestly I felt pretty gross at that point as my colors had dried into a brown mess, so I was happy when we called it quits and walked home.
the aftermath

Anyone else done one of these events? What are your thoughts?

August 3, 2012


So what was supposed to be a 5 day vacation somehow turned into twice that. I just didn't want to leave! I'm finally home though, and in an effort to squeeze out a little more vacation goodness I'll share some snapshots from my days in Santa Cruz. It included pretty much everything that makes a vacation perfect: sunshine, beaches, relaxing, fresh air, sleeping in, good food, running, family and friends.

Highlights included running the Wharf to Wharf, hiking in the Forest of Nisene Marks, an ocean kayaking adventure, lots of beachtime, playing in the waves with my pup, spending evenings glued to the Olympics, eating dessert every night, riding the rollercoaster at the Boardwalk, shopping, watching numerous sunsets, hitting up the local Farmer's market, taking a day trip to the Gilroy Garlic Festival, and running along the coast of Santa Cruz and Capitola. Like I said, I just didn't want to come home! It's days like these that make summer one of the best times of the year. Enjoy!
Wharf to Wharf
Forest of Nisene Marks
 can you spot the pups?
 The Boardwalk!
dad won me a honey badger!

Santa Cruz Farmer's Market
 downtown Santa Cruz
 long run views
 lemon cider
 flaming garlic!
 fresh mint ice cream
 street art
 run to Capitola