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Now It’s Christmastime

It’s my first full week of break! The first part of this week has been spent doing not so fun things (I was on call for jury duty today), but this weekend was fun and definitely put my in the holiday spirit!

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Finals over=champagne.

Friday night I went to my dad’s company Christmas party. I’ve actually been to more of my dad’s company Christmas parties than anyone in the company!

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It was a lot of fun and the food was of course delicious! After appetizers and drinks, we had salads and then a family style meal.

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I apparently missed snagging a picture of the meal, but of course I captured the flourless chocolate cake for dessert!

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And then Sunday was the day of the Silicon Valley Santa Run! This is my 4th year doing it, and the race’s 5th year.

The race was at 3pm so eating beforehand was different. I had my typical yogurt bowl for breakfast.

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And then oatmeal plus some chicken for lunch. Plus a couple of these guys: AMAZING. I’m obsessed with glutino’s regular yogurt covered pretzels and the peppermint ones are just perfect.

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Then it was go time!

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The weather report was not too promising, with rain threatening at the start.

We also brought psycho puppy for her first race experience!

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It was maybe a bit cold.

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I goal time was under 27:00, which I knew was very doable given I had hit that pace during a longer run earlier in the week. Unfortunately, my garmin couldn’t find me! I was running blind. In multiple senses, as about 5 minutes into the race the sky just opened up. It started pouring like crazy, and given it was already so cold, I couldn’t feel my legs or hands! And then the rain started to hurt more as it hit my skin than it should have. I couldn’t tell if there was hail on the ground or not, but then I noticed there were little balls of ice all over my shirt. There was nothing I could do but push through it; it was definitely the crazier race I have ever done because the weather just felt insane. Meanwhile, I had no idea of my pace but I think I was around where I wanted to be. From the ice, I couldn’t feel most of my body! My garmin finally found me with just over a mile to go, and the mile it clocked was right where my pace needed to be.

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Unfortunately, I don’t know my actual finishing time. I’m 95% sure my official time was wrong because it clocked me crossing the start line 6 seconds after the gun start, and there’s no way that is possible. I would guess it was at least 30 seconds, as the start was super slow. It was an especially small race this year thanks to the weather, and since it was small and the start was slow I’m wondering if it picked me up too soon. Ah well. It was still fun!

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There’s definitely something to be said for shorter races, especially when braving the elements!

After the race, we bought a cheese tamale and walked through the Christmas display.

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Then it was time to go home. On the drive back I tried to take a selfie with Chloe but all she wanted to do was a) sleep or b)lick my face.

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Now I feel in the Christmas spirit! In other news, I just found out that I got into the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in DC in April! It’s a capped race, so there’s a lottery to get in. I missed it last year but I got in this year and am SO EXCITED!

How do you get into the holiday spirit?

Nike Women’s Half Round 2

Hello! Guess what I did this morning? I ran a half marathon! WOOHOO!

This was my second time running the race. See my recap from a couple of years ago here. I didn’t LOVE it last time-quite honestly I felt it was overhyped. I decided to do it again this year though because I get automatic entry as a student, so this may be my last chance! #senior

A major change from when I did it 2 years ago was the route. They changed it up quite a bit, and I think the hills were a lot friendlier this way. Plus, last time I ran it I was trying to PR and this time I was trying to enjoy it, so that also helps!

I had zero expectations going into the race. I was still sick a fair amount of my training. I was too sick for my 11 miler. I didn’t want to push the pace too much also because I didn’t want to launch myself into a flare. The super good news is that it’s been over 3 weeks without a flare-the longest since I got sick many many months ago. I think there’s a good chance it’s gluten intolerance because I’ve been SUPER strict about avoiding it. Anyways, onto the race!

Since I needed to pick up my packet on Saturday, my parents and I headed up to the city Saturday afternoon. I found my name on the window!

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We picked up my packet and visited some of the expo. I didn’t love the way the expo was set up-it was spread out through several different stores in Union Square.

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We ended up coming across a food court in Macy’s (which I had no clue existed) and decided to eat dinner while watching the Cubs-Mets game on the TV there. I’ve missed almost all of post-season baseball this year! For dinner, we had Asian Box. I had a bowl with brown rice, Asian salad, pickled veggies, chicken, and a seasoning blend.

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It was good to get some veggies and carbs in pre-race!

There was also a Ben and Jerry’s, and I got a small scoop of pretty much the only ice cream I could eat-triple chunk caramel.

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We spent the evening watching TV, and I was in bed by 10:30.

The next morning, I was up bright and early! I actually felt pretty good. I think in some of my past halfs, I’ve woken up and was just not feeling a run. I think I was much better rested this time around! My current pre-long run breakfast is a Luna bar (Lemon Zest today) and a big banana. Then, it was time to run out the door!

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I was armed with sleeves made from cut up tube socks, but unlike 2 years ago, it wasn’t too chilly!

I had a friend running the race today as well, and we planned to try and meet up if possible. We actually ended up finding each other at the start!

We started out pretty slow-there was quite the bottleneck at the start, and I also wasn’t willing to push the pace. I ran music-less the first half of the race, and we somewhat chatted, and enjoyed the views of the city!

I took my first gu around mile 6. I’ve ALWAYS used Cliff chocolate gu, but I currently have zero tolerance for caffeine, and the chocolate gu has been negatively affection gem lately, so I switched to raspberry for race day (which I had tried all of once before…) and it worked like a charm!

According to the elevation chart, there were 3 main hills. Honestly, it felt like a lot of up and down for the first 2/3, so I’m not sure which hills were specifically defined. The notable hill was the hill overlooking the Golden Gate, which came at mile 10. Thankfully, this led into a huge downhill and with the downhill, I didn’t lose much time on the hill.

One thing I have to give to Nike is the fact that this race ends flat-nothing worse than a hill in the death miles of a race!

One thing I will say-the last 2 halfs I’ve done, I never hit that mile 10 wall when my legs just won’t move, and I think this is a big function of going slower. When I make my next PR attempt, I need to keep better pacing in mind because dying at the end=lost time!

Before I knew it, I was on the final stretch, running towards the crowds and the marina.

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And then it was over! I set a loose goal for myself in the middle of the race and I met it, which is good enough my me! It was my slowest half to date, but it was only 3 minutes slower than my previous slowest. That included a bathroom stop, so without that, it was probably only about 1 minute slower. I’ve run 6 halfs, and I’m nothing if not consistent on my times!

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It ended up being such a beautiful morning! Couldn’t ask for anything better weather wise-plus it’s FINALLY starting to feel like fall around here!

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I should probably also note that I ran with my flip belt. Given my illness issues, I carried all kinds of food-crackers, granola bar, gu. Gotta be prepared!

One thing I will note though-my watch clocked me in at 13.5 miles. I know you gain some distance with weaving, but there’s not way I gained .4, so I definitely think that course was long!

Overall, definitely a fun morning. Nothing is really hurting right now so I’m expecting recovery to go well! That, and I’ve eaten everything in sight today, which usually helps as well!

Have you ever run the Nike Half?

Giant’s Race 2015

Hello! Guess who did a race this past weekend?

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The Giant’s Race finishes in the Giant’s ballpark. It’s awesome. It was my first ever race! This year I did the 10k, not the half like I did the past 2 years. I had a hard time with my training for my April half┬ábecause I was so sick, that I was just not up for it. That, and I had no time or energy to train with work. This summer I was on my feet 8 hrs a day, and half marathon training plus that would have torn up my feet!

So, I settled on the 10k.

It’s so crazy to me. 4 years ago, I ran this race for the first time.

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I was about to start my freshman year of college. Where the heck did the time go?? When I ran it 4 years ago, I actually won my age group. I was in my best shape of my life at the time, and followed a strict training schedule to work up to that distance (at the time a PDR). This year, I ran the race about 7 minutes slower. Instead of moaning about how much slower I’ve gotten, I’m appreciating how my body has changed to allow me to run this distance without issue, essentially without training.

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I didn’t have any expectations for the race. I didn’t want to die, but I wanted to run a decent pace. I was actually a second away from my last minute goal time. I mostly just wanted to enjoy this race. It’s an amazing course-along the Embarcadero, under the Bay Bridge, and out past Fisherman’s Wharf. Bonus-the 10k is flat. The half marathon course actually goes to Chrissy field, with a fantastic view of the Golden Gate.

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The energy of the runners is amazing as well-lots of like-minded people (aka Giant’s fans). Plus, finishing on the field never gets old. I definitely enjoyed this race!

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After the race, I met up with my mom and grabbed a complimentary post-race beer, just because I could. Yayy for 21. I only had a few sips though because we had other plans for beverages that morning!

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There was also a little sandbag toss, for prizes. Of course, I had to take part. I nailed my first 2 bags right in the whole. I still have some softball player left in me, and walked away with some new sunglasses!

After my coffee exploration in New York, I figured I should use a trip to the city as an excuse to try some of the best San Francisco has to offer! I picked out a place, and it turned out they had gourmet and gluten free doughnuts! Dynamo Donuts. We arrived minutes before they opened.

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I had a chocolate raspberry and a lemon buttermilk gluten free donut. Both were delicious, and you definitely could not tell they were gluten free.

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Plus, OF COURSE a cappuccino. Excellent as well. Good coffee is just so much smoother, and without the bitterness.

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Overall, it was a great morning!

Tell me-where’s the best coffee?

Hellyer Park 5k Recap

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! It’s been a pretty busy one for my so far!

My weekend basically kicked off on Friday, since I only had one class. I began the morning with a nice little walk around campus. We have a “lake” that is empty 80% of the year, but actually has some water in it now! It used to be filled but due to environmental reasons it no longer is.

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It was such a great way to start the morning! I should go on more walks around campus!

Breakfast was eggs+a muffin.

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After class, I had lunch with my sister and mom at the dining hall. It was Parent’s Weekend, so my mom drove down fro a tour and then the sampling of dining hall food!

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I had a salad with a little salmon, delicious dijon brussels sprouts, and a piece of apple and bleu cheese flatbread and a piece of BBQ chicken pizza.

The rest of my day was very low key-I didn’t want to exert myself before a race! Dinner was out of my fridge-pumpkin soup with spinach and mushrooms added, topped with manchego and nutritional yeast, with a side of avocado and banana bread (separate!).

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I also made a little mug cookie-oats, Smart Balance butter, sunflower seed butter, and maple syrup. Yum!

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Saturday morning, I woke up ready to run! Pre-race breakfast was a homemade granola bar-although it wasn’t exactly in bar form because I was out of properly shaped bowls. It’s complicated. It consisted of banana, chia seeds, oats, cranberries, and a little maple syrup.

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The forecast for the day was rain, and given the fact that it rained for both of my 5ks last winter, I wasn’t optimistic. However, it held off and ended up being perfect running weather! Check out the dramatic sky-these 2 pictures were taken at the same time, at the same place, but of 2 sides of the pond.

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We got there with plenty of time to spare.

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Then, it was go time! There was a very large group of young girls running their first 5k. I think that’s awesome! However, it made for quite the hectic start!

It took me a little while to lock into my pace, but I was pretty consistent after that until about 2 miles, when my pace slowed a tiny bit. The course was out 2 miles, and back 1. Mentally, I actually really liked this! Its easier to break up that way in my mind! I ended up picking it up for the last half mile. I didn’t feel really tired until the very end, so I guess I’ll take it! I finished with a slightly faster pace than last month’s 5k-about 5 seconds per mile.

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Not my fastest, but good enough to earn me a bronze medal in my age group! Gotta love these small races.

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The rest of the day was pretty crazy. We stopped at Whole Foods for some post-race fuel, and then I rushed to the vet to work. I ended up working late, and had to rush to dinner with the family for my sister’s birthday!

We went to an Ethiopian place, which was delicious! For those of you not familiar with Ethiopian cuisine, it’s quite unique! Typically, all the dishes for the table are served on one platter. They serve injera, a spongy flatbread that you eat with the saucy foods. There is no silverware-it can get quite messy!

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After dinner, we headed back to my sister’s apartment for pineapple upside down cake.

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It’s been a good weekend so far!

Have you ever had Ethiopian food?

Guadalupe River 5k 2015

Hey guys! Today I ran my first race of the year-the Super Guadalupe River Run. I did the 5k! If you’re interested, here’s last year’s recap.

First of all-I ran 2 5ks last winter. Guess how many times it rained in California last winter? 3. 2/3 were downpours on my race days. Go figure. It hasn’t rained here since early December, but earlier this week rained popped up in the forecast today. Seriously-what are the odds?? It ended up being the perfect day though-clear and cool. When I left campus, it was 38 but it warmed up a lot by the 9am start.

I had initially wanted to shoot for sub 26:00 for this race, but on race morning I had few expectations. I probably didn’t eat enough the night before, and since my caffeine incident earlier in the week I haven’t had much of a stomach for food in the mornings. I ate what I could and drank plenty of water.

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Breakfast was a granola bar/oatmeal type of deal. I had it before my 5ks last year-it’s just mashed banana, cocoa powder, oats, and chia seeds.

Then, my mom picked me up and we made the drive down. I got there plenty early to pick up my race packet, so there was plenty of time to relax before the start.

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By start time, I was actually feeling pretty strong, confident, and ready.

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The game plan was to not go at death pace and to pace myself. This actually worked out really well! The race was fun, and over so quickly. Plus, I didn’t feel like I was really dying until the final push. There was another woman in just in front of me for the entire race, and I passed her right at the end.

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My official time was 25:59 (although my Garmin measured a short course-I’m not complaining!) I ended up placing 4th in my division, 3 seconds from 3rd (the person I passed at the end must have started just after me). Overall, it was a good race. This is probably one of my favorite races. The fact that the t-shirts say “I earned my guacamole” (because it’s always on Super Bowl sunday) may have something to do with it!

And like I said, it was a good effort but never death. I’m looking forward to hopefully improving more for my 5k at the end of the month! I should do more 5ks!

Afterwards, my mom and I stopped at Panera for lunch(?). It was 10:30am and I had already had breakfast, so that totally counts as lunch, right?

I got a hummus chicken power bowl, which I added avocado to.

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And also a blueberry scone. Yum!

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I spent the rest of the day studying and watching the Super Bowl. What. A. Game. Go Patriots! That ending was just INSANE. My dorm had a little Super Bowl party and we were going crazy!

This may be bad after the fact but who were you rooting for?