Running my way through California

Its no secret here on the blog – or to anyone in my life – that I miss all my friends in Santa Cruz, like a lot.  So much so that half the time I day dream about quitting law school, selling all my stuff, and hopping on a plane and inviting myself to live in one of my friends’ spare bedrooms.  And trust me, there were a few times it was so close to happening I’m almost surprised it didn’t.

But, as luck would have it I was able to find my way back to Santa Cruz in mid-May after second semester finals were over, AND will be finding myself back there in August – and I’m pretty sure that’s what allowed me to get back on the plane last Sunday was knowing I would be going back…

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There’s no place like home…or Leslie’s home for a get together 🙂

Of course, in true runner form, the first thing I did when Meg picked me up from the Airport May 10, well after catching up of course, was head out with her and another one of the running wives for a few miles of my long run.  I finished it out solo b/c Meg had already run a 10k race that morning, and I needed to get 10 on the books on the Santa Cruz rollers to boost my confidence for Capitola Half Marathon on May 18.  And then we had Verve coffee…because we had to.

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Later, we headed out for delicious dinner + drinks downtown.

Meg & Me

Meg & Me

Sunday morning we had a late morning run with some of the running wives on the hills of Santa Cruz and a new-to-me path. We refueled in the evening with some delicious BBQ foods later a la casa de Leslie – who, btw, throws the best house parties around!

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Some of my running wives at the BBQ

w/ Claudia & Laura at the BBQ

w/ Claudia & Laura at the BBQ

I will admit the fact that I was in California, running in some of my favorite places made taking the rest days I was supposed to take very very difficult.  So difficult, in fact, that I wasn’t sure that my half marathon race was going to go well?  Usually I like to have 2-3 rest days during race week – and like to be about 10ish miles total shorter (including the race – w/ the exception of a marathon race week) of my previous few weeks’ total mileage.  But that quickly went out the window.

Monday I did take a rest day, and just hung out in Santa Cruz with the pups at Meg’s house while she taught or something ridiculous like that – I mean, what’s work?

Sami.

Sami.

And Monday night I got to have tacos (we don’t have real tacos in Virginia/DC) with a good friend, and see the Santa Cruz sunset. I had forgotten how beautiful it was.

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Santa Cruz sunset at Pleasure Point

Tuesday morning, it was back to running with Meg & Leslie before heading to San Jose to meet my nephew and hang out with my family for a few days.  Got in a couple solid runs, spent plenty of time loving on my niece and nephew and helping out my brother and sister-in-law and got to even go to the Giants game with my brother, sister and niece!

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Cutest little man in the world (I’m biased)

Hanging with my niece

Hanging with my niece

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Melting at the Giants game w/ my sister

Then it was back to Santa Cruz to hang out with PhD friends and run/eat some more good food on Thursday.

Drinks w/ PhD friends

Drinks w/ PhD friends

I also got to experience RecoveryPump…

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RecoveryPump insanity.

Friday it was more miles along the coast with the girls, chased with an evening of sushi and wine for girl’s night out!

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All the ladies – fancy and not.

The fancy ladies

The fancy ladies

After what felt like a solid week of eating, drinking and running nonstop, it was time to start getting mentally ready for the half marathon on Sunday…but since this post is already like longer than any post I’ve ever written, I’ll leave it here for now.  I’ll leave it on a high note from all the friendship, family fun, food, wine, and of course running that happened over my post-finals week in California.  It was easily the best week of 2014 so far.  And it finished with a wonderful race weekend at Capitola Half Marathon…

What is your best week of 2014 so far?  Or best day?

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Saludos de Peru!

Hola! I’m currently sitting on a bus, where I have been for 12 hours, heading back to Lima from Arequipa. Wait, what?!

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I arrived here last Wednesday, June 18 and will be in Peru for just over a month. I’m down here for a good friend’s wedding, and will be traveling before and after, with Lima as my home base. So, since I have already been here for a week, I thought I’d give a little sneak peak on what I’ve been up to:

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Trail Running in Pachacamac (full race recap to come)

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Running in Lima (sense a theme?!)

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Checking out art/environmental acts on the beach

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Trekking at Colca Canyon outside Arequipa (and then being unable to walk normally for two days following the ridiculous trek that happened in less than 24hrs)

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Wandering around Arequipa and getting some breath taking views

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Taking lots of selfies in front of beautiful views because I am traveling alone (well, I was, I am no longer)

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Sitting on buses for far too many hours, wearing the same clothes for multiple days (this photo was either from earlier today or last Sunday…I’m not sure)

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Getting views like this, of the cathedral in Arequipa.

I am loving this much needed break, and taking advantage of all that Peru has to offer. I can’t believe that over a 1/3 of my trip has come and gone! Time flies!

If you want to follow along regularly on my adventures, follow me on Instagram. I am posting there whenever I have Internet access and have taken photos with my phone.

Do you have plans to travel soon? Where are you going? If not where is one place you want to go?!. I just spent four hours talking to a Brit about the last ten months traveling around the world, and now more than ever I want to visit India, Nepal, and Indonesia.

The B2B Half Mary Challenge (Part 1)

Back in November when I ran the US Half Marathon in San Francisco, and ended up with a time way off my expected and normal running pace due to some GI issues that landed me in bed for 72 hours straight of pure misery, I decided I was going to redeem myself at the US Other Half on the same course on April 8.

The small minor detail that had slipped my mind as I pressed the ‘register’ button on Active?  Oh yeah, that I had already registered for my second annual Santa Cruz Half on April 1 (the one I PRed at in 2011).

Commence my personal B2B Half Mary Challenge.

My training (if you can call it that) was lackluster as the winter quarter was really stressful for me at school (you could tell by my serious lack of posting) and then I left for a week on the slopes with my family, right before the Santa Cruz Half.  Talk about how not to take it easy during ‘taper week.’  I instead decided to kill my quads and calves in every way possible.

Evenso, I approached April 1 with two goals in mind: sub-2 hours (at the very least) and (preferably) a PR (meaning <1:53).  I also had another side goal: help pace my friend Maggie to a sub 2-hour half for her first race.

Race day came, and we were ready.

Maggie, her bro and I at the start (not in that order…)

I love the start of this race: could you start somewhere more picturesque?  I think not…

Maggie and I started off a little faster than I would’ve liked (~8:00/mile pace), but I got her to scale back to an 8:15-8:30 pace for the first 8 miles.  She’s a speed demon and probably could’ve rocked it, but I wanted to make sure she stayed conservative and didn’t burn out at the end.

(I spy a girl with a black shirt, orange shirt and black compression socks…)

After the 8 mile point, I realized that my running shoes were absolutely shot, as my ankles and knees started killing.  Like killing to the point where running was painful.  It was in those moments that I told Maggie to run her race, that she had the sub-2 hour in the bag as long as she stayed ahead of me (no matter what her pace), and I took it into my own hands to attempt the sub-2 myself.

I was in pain.  A lot of pain, but I didn’t want to see the 2:xx mark again.  So, I started run/walking (I was running in the above photo just for my parents…hey, gotta make em proud no matter what 😉 ), and am happy to say that I made it in in 1:57:27.  No record breaking here — but still, sub-2.

Oh, and btw, Maggie killed it: 1:51:27 and her brother made it in sub-2 as well!  Way to go — awesome first half marathons!!!!

Though my race wasn’t the best, it also wasn’t my worst.  And I have to say, I mentally battled the entire race: partly because I was afraid I had undertrained, and party because I was frustrated at how crowded the paths were.

Short race review:

IMHO the Santa Cruz Half Mary has gotten a liiiiitle too big.  The bike path into Wilder and the paths along the coastal bluffs just aren’t made for that many people.  It was extremely frustrating trying to run around people.  I love the race, I love that its local, but I hated the crowds.  They need to downsize…or have corrals/pacing markers for people to line up by.

Regardless, still love the scenery — its a gorgeous course.  Hard to beat, that’s for sure!

So I can’t complain too much.  But, if the race gets any bigger next year?  I’m gonna have to pass…

Anyway, with the 1:57:27 in my back pocket, I was happy, but I wasn’t done with my PR pursuit.  I knew that it would be rough to do it just a week later at the US Other Half in SF.  Mostly because of the SF part, if we’re being completely honest: hills == death.

Stay tuned for more of the B2B Half Mary Challenge…

And while you’re waiting, some fabulous raceday photos for your viewing…

And the most un-photogenic race photos award goes to?!