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Holiday Festivities

Hello! I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season! I wanted to catch up on my holiday adventures!

First, we’re going to step it back to just before finals week. I actually drove home the weekend before finals to go to my dad’s company Christmas party.

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I’ve never missed one, and I decided it would be a good break from school and studying, plus it would allow me to spend a day studying with my kitty at home! (And I re-listened to a lecture on the drive back.)

Of course, there was good food!
Salad:

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Snapper:

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And cheesecake:

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The next day, I baked peppermint bark muffins with a gluten free muffin mix I had lying around, plus Ghiradelli peppermint bark chips and chocolate chips.

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The next Christmas festivities occurred right after finals. I knew I was going to want to celebrate the semester, so I scheduled my annual Christmas cooking making with my best friends from high school.

Another bonus? One of my friends has a new kitten!

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Here’s our handiwork!

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Saturday night, my family and I went to a Dickens Christmas Fair. It was really cool! It was exactly what it sounds like. Lots of people were dressed up. There was food, things to buy, and performances going on.

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We were there kind of late so a lot of the food was gone. I had a baked potato and steamed vegetables.

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And a GF cookie.

Sunday, it was time for the Santa Run! It’s an afternoon race so it’s always awkward working out meals. I made my shortcut ginger butternut squash soup.

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We got super lucky! The weather was absolutely beautiful! Some years it’s been cold and/or rainy!

I was not super confident going into this race. My ankle is still bad (and likely will be for the foreseeable future). But I couldn’t miss this race!

I went out at a decently fast pace the first two miles, but sort of jogged the last mile. Unfortunately, eating gluten in Christmas cookies a few nights before had be feeling sick in the following days. Oh well, lesson learned!

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Not too bad of a time, all things considered!

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Embarrassingly, I actually re-rolled my bad ankle within the last .1 mile, but since my ankle issues are weirder than just a role, I don’t think it made any lasting difference thankfully!

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At the finish line, we grabbed snacks (chicken tamale for me) and explored Christmas at the Park. Apparently the 600 Christmas trees there this year was a Guinness World Record!

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I actually ended up pulling off a third place in my age group!

After exploring the festivities, we grabbed beers at a place we’ve stood outside in past years because they had heat lamps and it was freezing!

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On the way home, we stopped in Palo Alto to see lights on a famous street that apparently has been decorating since the 1940s! It was pretty cool! The decorations seemed like they were from another era—a lot of wooden figures.

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While in Palo Alto, we stopped at Sweetgreen. I got a salad with burssels sprouts and a delicious cranberry vinaigrette.

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Later in the week, my mom and I went to the Ferry Building in San Francisco.

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We stopped at Mariposa for lunch, a gluten free bakery. I had a turkey sandwich, and we split some muffins (the pumpkin chocolate chip is my favorite!)

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We also tried a couple of gourmet chocolates: Rose chocolate and burnt caramel.

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This post is getting super long, so I’ll save the remaining festivities, but I’ll leave you with some of my favorite kitten pictures of the week!

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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?

Santa Run 2014

Happy Monday! Is anyone else done with finals and on winter break yet? It’s an amazing feeling! It’s been a rainy week here in California, although I was lucky to get some sun for my 5k!

Yesterday, I did the Silicon Valley Santa Run, which is in its 3rd year. This is also my 3rd year doing it! It’s a fun race that raises money for Christmas in the Park in San Jose, which is a fun holiday setup they do every year.

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This year.

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Last year.

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2 years ago.

It’s turned into a fun holiday tradition for my family. There are lots of kids running the race, and tons of people dress up as Santa!

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I knew I wasn’t in the best speed shape, and an afternoon race (3pm start) was not ideal for eating, so I didn’t have too many expectations for myself. I wanted to stay in the 8:3xs and ended with a pace of 8:40, so I’ll take it. Th run flew by! 5ks seem so short!

At the finish line, we were greeted by “snow” plus milk and cookies.

We then explored Christmas in the Park.

To start-a chocolate tamale! It was really good-sort of like a corny less sweet brownie?

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I got a coin in the mouth!

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It was a really festive way to kick off the season!

For dinner post-race, we made a teriyaki chicken salad from Cooking Light, served with brown rice/quinoa.

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The red comes from heirloom spinach!

For dessert, I made gingerbread bars. I think I found the recipe on Buzzfeed?

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They were supposed to separate and be custard on the bottom, cake on top. It only sort of did that, but that was fine! They sort of had the texture of pumpkin pie.

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Since this post is long, I’ll save a food/what I’ve been doing recap for another time!

What have you done to get in the holiday spirit?

Preparations for Holiday Racing

Happy Friday! We made it! Yay! I actually was able to get my big assignment finished last night, which is a huge load off my shoulders!

This is what I made:

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Luckily we didn’t have to do any graphics for this assignment, and I just had to work on game play. I have played enough Yahtzee now to last a lifetime.

Not going to lie, I like days better that include 3 straight meals. It seems simpler and more in order. Which is weird. Either way, yesterday was one of those days. My morning began with an hour of spin on my own, followed by breakfast.

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I think the pancake was whole wheat cinnamon? Plus the typical yogurt bowl.

Then I settled in to a coffeeshop to work on the above assignment.

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I had coffee Mon-Thurs this week and I think about half of those days it was unnecessary. This was way too strong and I was WIRED.

Lunch before lab was same old, same old. My last freezer meal :'(

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After lab, I really wanted to go to Crossfit because it was squat day, and we’re following a specific program, but my feet were bothering me and I had a lot of work so I skipped it.

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Dinner was a mix of a whole bunch of things-edamame, potstickers (chicken and veg), butternut squash, barley, and teriyaki chicken. For dessert, I had hot chocolate cake with fudge. With ice cream in a separate bowl so it wouldn’t melt.

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I’ve gotten into the bad habit of having dessert at the dining hall more often than not, so something to work on. This was delicious though.

And those were my 3 meals!

Now onto running talk.

I feel like I’m not at all in speed shape, unfortunately. I’m doing a Turkey Trot 10k, and it definitely will not be a PR. On the plus side, I have been running 6 miles a lot lately, so the distance should be fine. In mid-December, I’m doing the Santa Run 5k that I’ve done the past 2 years. Last year I tried to PR this race (spoiler alert-didn’t happen), but this year I know I’m not going to be close because that’s in a month! That being said, some speed work is definitely in order. I’ve been doing Friday morning track workouts, although not super consistently. This morning was 10x400m, and I feel like in the last few repeats I was starting to get in the groove of running faster. I think next week’s track workout will be longer and not as fast, in preparation for the 10k. In addition, I think for now I’m going to make Monday afternoons (I only have 2 more of these of normal classes though) treadmill runs. These will vary somewhat, although for next week I’m thinking I’ll do 2 miles @ 8:00 pace, plus 10 2:00 intervals at 7:30. I did a shorter version of this last Monday, and I think after that I’m ready to kick it up a notch! To be honest, my main PR goal races will be in the winter-probably the same ones I did last year! So I have plenty of time. Right now, my running isn’t super focused, which I’m enjoying, but some speed workouts will be good for me!

What are your upcoming goals?

MIMM-Christmas in the Park and Santa Run

I’m linking up with the fabulous Katie today because this weekend has been fun and marvelous!  What could be better than getting in the Christmas spirit and spending time with cats and family?

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The first marvelous thing? I finished bringing my stuff home from school, including my plant. It’s a plumeria I got from Hawaii, and it’s thriving in my room. I guess the humid, warm climate that seems to mold everything is good for it? Proud plant momma right here!

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Then, my mom and I shared an amazing sandwich-turkey and avocado from Ike’s, which is kind of a big deal around here (and there’s one on campus!) Yum!

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Then I did some Christmas shopping. I’m really excited about some of my gifts this year, and I cannot wait to share it with you guys…after Christmas though!

Which brings us to Sunday. Sunday I did a Santa Run 5k. I did the 5k last year, which is the only 5k I’ve ever done. After finishing training for halves, I’ve been working really hard on getting faster. I had countless 6am wakeup calls for 30 degree track workouts. I really wanted to PR this race. 

For breakfast, I had something a little unusual-cottage cheese, cocoa powder, and a little honey, topped with raspberries and served with a persimmon.

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Before leaving for the race that afternoon, I had super light lunch-persimmon, more banana bread, and a little spinach bread-like stuff. I was more concerned about having stomach issues than being hungry since this was such a short race, and I remember being stuffed going into it last year. 

The race is in its second year-it benefits Christmas in the Park, and Christmas display the city puts up every year, which was ranked top 10 in the world! Here are some pre-race photos-everyone dressed up as Santa, but I wanted something more comfortable to race in, plus my parents requested I wear something that didn’t blend in so much as they had trouble finding me in my last race, so I wore my Santa Run shirt from last year.

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The race itself? It was tough. I was super nervous before the race, and they nervousness kind of turned to nausea as soon as I started running. I most likely definitely went out too fast; I didn’t wear my Garmin because I was worried it would freak me out, but I know my second half of the race was much slower than the first.

Lately during my races, I question why the heck I keep signing myself up for them! SO painful. At least halves are slower so you can enjoy the first half of the race or so comfortably and not be dying until the end…

I definitely did not feel as prepared as I should have been. I haven’t been out of breath in this way in a while. My endurance base? It’s great. I haven’t done much sprinting though, and that needs to happen. 

I didn’t PR this race. I realized that pretty quickly. My official time was 25:36, which is 37 seconds away from a PR. Here are some very unattractive running pictures:

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I felt pretty awful right at the finish. They were handing out cookies and milk (cute, right??) which i grabbed for my dad.The thing about 5ks though? You recover pretty quickly, so it didn’t take long before I was game to try a s’mores pizza. Because why not?

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It was pizza dough with nutella, dark chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers. It was delicious! And messy. Check out the aftermath.

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Walking around after the race, my calf started to cramp a little. Nothing major, just felt on the verge of a cramp. After some salt, it was much better though!

I also got a new friend.

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And here are some pictures from Christmas in the park:

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My sister ended up meeting us there and then inviting us to her place for macaroni and cheese. It just so happens my favorite froyo place is on the way home…

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A bit of tart with fruit, salted caramel pretzel, and pumpkin pie, with toffee, brownies, and chocolate pretzels. 

And after some time in front of the TV prepping for tomorrow’s trip (more in a second), a little snack that included cheese, crackers, and these guys:

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Have you guys had Jo-jos from Trader Joe’s? Get them. Now. They’re decadent and addictive. They’re basically chocolate covered oreos but in cool flavors-these are gingerbread and peppermint. 

So my thoughts on the race? While I’m a little disappointed, I’m not really surprised. Based on my training, I knew hitting my goal pace would be really hard. I have two more 5ks in the next few months; the race made me both want to never run a race again and train even harder at the same time. Races hurt. But if I’m in better shape they hurt less, right? Or I just go faster and they hurt just as much. I have a couple of ideas of what I can do to get faster. I want to do more sprints-I need to do more agility types of drills anyways because my ankles are weak. I need to do longer runs OUTSIDE at my goal pace-like without breaks in the middle. I love doing workouts with intervals, where you get to rest in the middle. But you don’t get to rest on race day, so I need to prepare myself for that as well. And I need to click with the nutrition. To be perfectly honest, being lighter means instantly faster because there isn’t so much to carry around. I’m heavier than a year ago, and while some of that is muscle, it still has to be carried 3.1 miles. For the next couple of months I may put weight lifting more on the back burner and focus hard on running. 

As for the trip-tomorrow I’m going to Solvang, a little Danish town near Santa Barbara, which should be adorable and Christmas-y. In preparation, we had to re-watch the Psych episode where they go there. I can’t wait!

What did you do this weekend?