Tag Archives: running

So, uh, this is awkward.

10 Mar

Hi.

Remember me? That girl who was super good about updating her blog every day for more than a year and then disappeared for about seven months? Uh, yeah, it’s been a while.

I needed that long break. Not only was last semester my busiest by far (taking an extra class AND having an extra job on top of your already busy schedule is not for wusses…or for people who actually value their sanity), but I also felt mentally drained. My creative juice felt sapped, and writing in this blog had turned into just one more thing on my to do list.

So I took a step back. A break that I thought would last just a couple weeks turned into a month, then the semester, and then a full seven months. Yikes. It feels embarrassing to come back after such a long absence, but I miss it! After gentle prodding from a few readers (and by a few readers, I mean mostly my mom, sister and sweet friend Becky), I decided to start writing again. I probably won’t be writing as much as I used to, but I will be stopping in at least a couple times a week.

Let me give you the quick overview of the few blog-worthy things that happened in the past few months:

Most importantly…I got a cat! I got Homer from the Austin Humane Society back in September, and since then he’s become my clingy, best cat friend. He likes road trips (we drove from Texas to California and back over winter break. He weirdly liked it.), hiding those little mouse toys somewhere in my apartment, sleeping on my head, and giving kisses. Yep, he’s kinda the best.

Oh, he also met Trixie over winter break. He thought she was pretty great…she agreed to tolerate his existence after three days of him bothering her. That’s all we could really ask for.

IMG_3331Baby Homer with his giant ears in his favorite sleeping spot…the bathroom sink.

IMG_4376A more recent photo of the best friend cat. Hanging out.

I also completed one of my big fitness goals and ran a half marathon. It took months of training, but I managed to run the thing in less than two and a half hours without walking, which was my overall goal. I don’t think I have a marathon in me, but completing a half felt pretty darn good, especially because I couldn’t even run two miles together two years ago.

I’d love to run another one, but I’m going to have to figure out how to do it so all my joints don’t feel like combusting that night.

smile medal head tiltThis is what I look like when I’m exhausted and sweaty, but pretty darn happy!

The other things that made me happy:

  • A long overdue NYC trip to see some friends in the fall
  • Some time in LA around Christmas
  • Ringing in the New Year in SF
  • Lots of family time both over the holidays and to celebrate my grandma’s 90th birthday
  • Visits here in Austin from a bunch of awesome friends
  • A baby blue Kitchenaid mixer as a gift from my mom for Christmas (OMG you guys)
  • Reading a ton of books.
  • My first pair of real cowgirl boots
  • Actually seeing all the best picture Oscar nominations for the first time ever. Her was my personal favorite
  • Seeing Kendrick Lamar live at ACL Fest (Best. Concert. EVER.)
  • Witnessing first hand the insanity that is a University of Texas home football game
  • Discovering the joy that is a fried puffy taco in San Antonio
  • Six (? I’ve honestly lost count) days with either delayed or cancelled school due to stupid amounts of ice
  • And the biggie…BEING TWO MONTHS AWAY FROM GRADUATION AND STARTING THE REST OF MY LIFE OMG. So, would anyone like to hire a librarian/archivist? I’m available…

So yeah. That’s what I’ve been up to. Anyone still out there? What is going on with you? What did I miss? Any internet gossip you want to share?

Hope you’ve all been well. It’s good to be back.

28 New Things: Run a 10k!

15 Apr

If you have been following this blog for a while, you may remember that I started running about a year ago, along with some other healthy life changes. Over the course of the past year, I have logged hundreds of miles, turned down countless cookies, and have lost almost 40 lbs. I will write about my weight loss at another time because, believe me, I have many, many thoughts on it, but for now I want to focus on what I’m most proud of. At some point in the past year, I became a runner.

I have run miles in the rain. I have run in the Texas summer heat. I have tripped and fallen hard in the middle of the road. I have dodged cars in LA and clueless pedestrians on the Town Lake trail here in Austin. I have watched the sun set over lakes and creeks. I have found new little corners of my favorite cities. I have entered the running zone where all my heart and lungs suddenly seem to get it, and I feel like I can run forever. I have started runs feeling anxious and sad, and I have ended those same runs feeling invincible and light. If you’re curious, I wrote about many of the reasons for why I run here.

So how to celebrate a year running? Enter the Longhorn Run 10k of course!

I dragged myself out of bed at 6:30 AM (why do all races have to be at such ridiculous times?!), ate some breakfast, then headed down to the UT campus where, even though it was a stupidly early hour, the celebrations had started.

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Nothing is done by halves in Texas, so there was a very sleepy looking marching band there and a DJ. The race began with the “Old Smokey” cannon being shot, which is ridiculously loud, and then the ridiculousness continued with FIREWORKS being shot off a pedestrian bridge and confetti being shot out of cannons by the Texas Cowboys student group. Really. It was just kind of awesome.

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Look at those happy cowboys and their confetti!

The race itself went well. I did go a bit too fast at the beginning, trying to keep up with an 8:30 pace, but after the first mile I fell into the 9:15ish crowd, and that seemed to be the sweet spot. I managed to finish without walking and without feeling like I was going to die…success!

I crossed the finish line with a time of 57:19, more than 3 1/2 minutes faster than my goal. I got a bit emotional as I walked away from the race. This is something I never thought I’d be able to do, and I did it. This year has been tough for a lot of reasons, but I have accomplished a lot, and this race was a perfect example of that.

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Almost exactly a year ago, I ran my first 5k race and came in just under 35 minutes, which was great for me at the time.

This year, I ran a 10k in 57:19, which was the top third for all the women racers. Yep. I’m feeling pretty darn good.

And I’m beginning to look at half-marathon training plans. Yikes.

28 New Things: Color Run!

7 Jan

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The secret to happy running? Hire a ton of people to throw colored corn starch at you.

Seriously. Even though I may have been out VERY late the night before celebrating the end of the semester, my awesome friend Emily and I got up early on Saturday morning to run the Color Me Rad Austin Color Run 5k.

We started with white shirts (and awesome sunglasses)…

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…and ended up completely colorful:

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The race is untimed, so, if you’re a bit crazy about running times like me, you can just relax and enjoy yourself instead of obsessing about running a sub-30 minute 5k. This gives you plenty of time to chat about important topics such as Kate Middleton’s pregnancy and laundry tactics for getting cornstarch stains out of tennis shoes.

Oh, and you may look a bit beat up after the race, as all the colors wash off easily except for blue, which just fades to a nice bruise-ish color.

It’s all worth it. I’m already plotting my next 5k adventures. Anyone up for an obstacle course next?

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Why I Run

27 Aug

Post run legs — a little bit dirty.

Since I trained for that 5k race back in April, running has become an almost daily part of my life. Sure, there are days when I would much rather lie on the couch with a book or stare at the ceiling for extended amounts of time, but I (almost) always manage to force myself to put on my running shoes and get out the door.

I was terrified that when I moved to Austin, I’d have to give up my runs because of the heat. And yes, it is a different game here. You have to get up super early or wait until it’s pretty late or suffer the consequences. I sweat more than I thought a person could. I literally lost two pounds of water weight during one run. And yet, the runs are always worth it.

Why do I run?

  • Endorphins. I know that when I’m sad, stressed or anxious, I need the run the most. When I run, I concentrate on my steps and on my breathing, blocking out all other thoughts. I get a break for at least a half hour, which is enough to usually get me out of my funk.
  • The chance to check out my neighborhood, new trails, new streets. I love finding little pocket parks, beautiful homes and streets I had no idea existed. Fair warning — if you have a cute house and you leave the curtains open at night, I may try to get a peek from the road to see your decorating style. I don’t slow down or anything, cause I’m not a SUPER stalker, but you know, I just want to see what’s on the walls. Geez.
  • My legs — they’re getting stronger and more defined every day. My shorts and skirt collection has expanded quite a bit since taking up running. Not that I want to show off or anything…
  • Alone time. Even if the trail is full of other sweaty, panting runners, I get to listen to whatever music I want (aka my dirty, dirty hip hop collection). Or, if I’m feeling fancier, I can put on that podcast I’ve been meaning to listen to and really concentrate on it.
  • Routine. It’s comforting to have a carved out time for health every single day. Even if I get nothing else done on that day, at least I went for a run. I feel accomplished.
  • Cute workout clothes. Nike shorts + Old Navy tank top + sneakers + kicky ponytail = heyyyyyyy girl.
  • People watching. So there’s this phenomenon in Austin where about half the men don’t wear a shirt when they run. Sooo there are lots of guys who really, really should think about wearing a shirt, and there are a select few who, well, make the run a heck of a lot more interesting.
  • Pushing through my limits. I never thought I’d be able to run two miles together. Or run an 8:30 mile. Or, gosh, a 10k race (ok, I haven’t yet, but that’s the next goal). And I can! My body is capable of doing amazing things, and the only way to find out how far I can go is to push myself to go for it.
  • Being part of the running tribe. I love nodding to other runners, exchanging looks of pain or contentment, depending on how hot it is. I love seeing the new runners as well as the iron men who are charging up the trail like mad men. I love seeing people of all shapes and sizes. I love feeling like part of a group. An insane, open to pain group.

Take it from this 100% anti-running girl turned runner — it’s worth it. Every sore muscle, every side stitch, every sweat stained shirt, they add up to toughness, resilience and general badassery. I’m so happy I found this.

5k! DONE AND DONE!

30 Apr

I have knocked one of the items on my LA list — running the UCLA 5k!

No, I did not wear these glasses while running. It would have been too intimidating to the other runners.

Please note the post-race sweaty sheen, the pink face, and the look of absolute excitement! Oh, and please ignore the goofy hand gesture.

For years, I had a tortured relationship with running, thanks to PE. PE is torture for high schoolers who aren’t naturally athletic. Straight up torture, both physically and emotionally. You already are insecure about your fitness? Cool. Let’s make you run a timed mile in front of your whole class and prove that you’re slow. Oh, and then you get a bad grade. Done and done. Ugh. Hate. I promised myself that I’d never have to run again, after I graduated from high school.

That promise went out the window when I was 20, out of shape after studying abroad and eating tons of delicious British cookies, and without a gym membership.  I huffed and puffed my way around town, walking a lot, running a little, but all in all, I kinda liked it. It gave me time to zone out and listen to music, plus I always feel better after a run.

Since then, I’ve had periods where I’ve run more than others, but I’ve never been that serious about it. A 5k always seemed to be just out of reach. Sure, it’s not that far of a run, but you have to put some effort into training if you’re half slug like me. And I always had something better to do — Say Yes to the Dress marathons, eating Speculoos out of the jar, painting my nails different colors…important things.

I finally had enough about two months ago. No more excuses. I’m healthy enough to run a 5k, I just need to put in the effort! So, March and April became a haze of four to five time a week runs. I finally finished the Couch to 5k program I started in 2006. (I was able to start from the middle weeks, so I didn’t have to do the whole 8 week program). I actually tracked my times and distances. I pushed harder. I didn’t give up and walk nearly as much as I used to. And it worked.

My friends, I have now completed a 5k with an offical 34:57 time, three seconds faster than my goal. I ran up hills, I was cheered on by a very sweet boy (who got up EARLY on a Sunday with me with no grumbling at all!), I was passed by folks pushing strollers, and I passed people in very serious looking athletic gear. It was crazy.

Most importantly, I didn’t walk once. Every time I wanted to, I reminded myself of all the hard work I had put in. I couldn’t let myself down by walking, even for a few seconds. So I didn’t. And it was awesome.

Petty Fear of the Week: Investigation of my Workout Playlist

2 Apr

Petty Fear of the Week:

I get murdered while running, and investigators see that the last five songs I played were “Baby” by Justin Bieber and “Shake, Señora” by Pitbull…on repeat.

I don’t think my family could take the shame.