Tag: running

Where Have I Been?

Where Have I Been?

Hello! I know I’ve been a stranger lately, but I’m back! After my (very first!) half marathon at the Urban Cow Half, I took a little break from blogging. (You can read about my race here!) I also took a break from running for almost a week so there really wasn’t much to blog about anyway. Then, the break continued because I honestly felt a little lost post-half. Having no direction after 8 weeks of training had me feeling unmotivated and wondering what to do next.

My first ever 13.1 sticker to show my half marathon pride!

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook then you know I finally got around to doing some onesie or twosie runs. I even threw some 4 mile runs in the mix. Overall, I feel good running regularly again! On the flip side, I’m still a little lost haha but it’s all good! So I’m gonna break down what I’ve been up to lately:

Moms Run This Town

My local MRTT chapter did a couple of special events this month and we had a lot of fun together! First, we got together for Love Your Body Day and ran in our sports bras to celebrate body positivity! This is something I’m really passionate about since choosing to love my body 2.5 years ago led to me losing over 100 pounds. (You can read about how my mindset changed here!) I love how empowered, strong, and beautiful these women are. We were all so happy to be a part of this event!

Loving our #beYOUtiful Momentum Wraps

Later in the month, we got together again for a Halloween run for the “Live Love Run” Virtual 4 Miler! Everyone dressed in costume – we had a cat, football player, storm trooper, Steampunk Ariel/Little Mermaid, and I was a ninja! I have to say…my costume choice wasn’t the smartest. It was really hard to breathe through that mask. It sure was fun though!

After our 4 mile run, we all enjoyed tasty treats! There was a whole spread with coffee, donuts, baked goods, bananas, and water. We got to hang out and chit chat and laugh and I love these ladies so much! I say it so much because it’s true. I can just pack them all up and take them to Germany, right? Our friend Misty (@disney_princess_on_the_run on Instagram!) is famous for her finish line jumps so we all knew we had to get a jump photo before the day was done. Behold, our glorious, gravity-defying leap!

Magnificent

Eating Vegan

I’ve been vegan for almost 9 weeks now! I really like it. I won’t say it’s not trying at times, especially when trying to eat out, but it’s pretty easy! I get a lot of questions about it which I enjoy. (You can read about how I came to be vegan in this post.) I’ve been photographing my meals because I’m constantly asked “what do you eat?!” and I’m going to make a post all about my new way of eating and hopefully show that vegan food is delicious and nutritious because it is!

Germany

After my half marathon, we basically dove into the deep end of Germany move preparations. For those who don’t know, my husband Chris got orders to Germany and we move in January. Time is flying! We had about a zillion appointments, passports, medical, dental, etc. Plus other preparations like buying entire winter wardrobes and overseas house-hunting. I’ve also been trying to learn German? That’s a question mark because I feel like I’m doing a terrible job haha. It’s hard! Plus, I’m using the Duolingo app which I like but it’s not very thorough. If anyone knows a better free/cheap app I can use…I’m all ears!

Shopping

Speaking of winter wardrobes, all of my warmer clothes from last year were too big. That is always like a 70:30 ratio of YAY:ugh. I don’t like having to spend the money on the clothes but obviously, being a healthier me is a great celebration! I had a little “Is this real life?” moment a couple weeks ago in the dressing room at Target because all the size Large tops I had grabbed were all too big. I had to go back and get Mediums! After being overweight since…forever, and previously wearing size 2/3XL shirts, this was like a dream. It still blows my mind! It was a nice non-scale victory!

One of my new medium tops in all its glory

Turning 31

I had my 31st birthday on November 1st! We celebrated a little early during Chris’ days off work. First, Chris baked me a vegan chocolate cake!

It was so yummy, we were all scarfing it down! My son Alex was asking for birthday cake all week long after that haha.

Later that evening, my friend Katharine was kind enough to come stay with Alex while Chris and I went for a night out. He took me to this great restaurant, Hook and Ladder, in Sacramento where they had their regular menu plus a whole vegan menu! I had a couple of tasty cocktails and the most amazing vegan mac and cheese!

It was a delicious dinner and then he took me to see the movie IT…just in time for Halloween! We never get to go to the movies (#parentlife) so it was soooo nice! He knocked it out of the park with my gift too. He got me these Jaybird bluetooth earbuds for running!

It’s great to have these because I was constantly pulling the cord of my old earbuds out of my phone or ears while I ran. He also got me a mobile charging pod for them. He said he was thinking of the future when I train for more distance races and I’m far from home for long runs. I thought that was so sweet! All in all, a fantastic birthday!

Training

It’s hard to find your groove again after being on a scheduled training plan but it’s been nice running little short runs again. I do want to be more scheduled about my workouts and incorporate strength training and speed work more often. I do best when I’m working toward a goal so I want to make a goal of a sub-30 minute 5k but it seems like I’m far away from that kind of time. Speed work would help me get there, it’s just a matter of committing and doing it.

Strength training would not only make me a better runner, but it would tone up my body. I keep hitting this wall with weight loss and I don’t think it could be nutrition because I am doing so well with food. I believe strength training would burn the excess fat and pull in the…for lack of a better word…flabbier parts of me. Women who have had a baby or anybody who has lost a considerable amount of weight knows what I’m talking about! I finally got motivated enough to do a strength workout this week and I’m trying to hammer out a schedule and get into a new routine!

Races

I have a few races coming up! Some shorties to keep me occupied until Germany weather allows me to train for another half. I might be doing the Hands of Hope Turkey Trot 5k but I have yet to hear back if it is a stroller-friendly race. I hope so! I have another Turkey Trot that I will definitely be running on Thanksgiving Day. It’s sponsored by my MRTT chapter and participants will bring non-perishable foods to donate! I will also be doing the Running with the Elves 5k in early December. It was my second ever 5k last year so I’m excited to run it again! Finally, I may be doing the Yuba Sutter Tri Club River Run 5k/10k. My in-laws will be in town so I’m not sure if I will have time to run it but I’m hoping I can! You can take the links I have here or see my Races page to see the events I’ll be running and hopefully join me!

So now you know I’m still here and still working on myself and setting goals and I hope you are too! Tell me what you’ve been up to in the comments below! Have a wonderful weekend!

My First Half Marathon!

My First Half Marathon!

I’M OFFICIALLY A HALF MARATHONER! I couldn’t be more happy or proud of this fact! After running 115 miles during 8 weeks of training, I ran my “victory lap” at the Urban Cow Half Marathon with 13.1 miles!

In last week’s post, I told you how I was having some serious hamstring problems in my right leg. My 8 mile long run was cut down to 3.5 and all my efforts to release the tightness were unsuccessful. Thankfully, a few days before the race, I tried a lying down hamstring stretch and felt it release! I was excited but still worried about it affecting my performance at the race. I continued doing this stretch a few times a day along with my usual rolling and stretching.

Because I was part of the Moms Run This Town HERD (team) I was invited to a special, early VIP packet pickup! On Thursday, I headed down to Fleet Feet Sacramento for this event and it was fun getting first access to all the special apparel and goodies created for this race! Plus, I got to bump into my friend Lisa who was there to pick up packets for almost our whole MRTT chapter!

Here we are with Howdy the cow!

After getting my bib packet and stocking up on gels and hydration powder, it was time to rest up for the race. On Saturday, I gathered everything together and laid out my Flat Christa.

Sunday morning finally came and although I was nervous, I was so ready and excited! My dad and I rode down to Sacramento together while my husband and son were going to meet us later.

Walking up to the event, the first thing we saw was the big She/Moms Run This Town tent! 12 Sacramento area chapters were represented at this race! We gathered for this awesome group photo.

I also found some ladies from my chapter and we all walked around sharing our excitement for the race.

Lisa, Kitty, Francine, and Gail – just a few members of my awesome running tribe!

We made our way to the start line but stayed aside while the first wave of the half marathon started. The first wave was for runners who could complete the race in less than 2 hours. While we waited for the second wave to line up, my friend Stephanie surprised me! She wasn’t intending on running this half but joined at the last minute. I was so happy to see her and feel her support!

Follow Stephanie on Instagram! @runstrongrun

Wave 1 finally cleared out and our wave lined up. My MRTT ladies all stood together and exchanged “you got this!” cheers and then they sounded the horn. It was go time!

Lisa and I ran together for the first 7 miles or so. We had so much fun chatting and checking out all there was to see! Costumes – like a man in a multi-color spiky wig and yellow legwarmers and the people running in full cow costumes! How did they not pass out from heat stroke in those things? Live bands jamming every few miles – we would dance, cheer and clap! Sights – like the famous yellow Tower Bridge and the Sacramento River!

My legs started to feel really tired around the 7 mile mark. I blame too much rest trying to avoid aggravating my hamstring before the race. I told Lisa to go on ahead because I was going to take an extra walking break. At that point, I honestly thought I’d rest a little and catch back up to her. Unfortunately, my legs never recovered and I started feeling a lot of pain in my feet, particularly on the soles. Lisa slowly crept further and further into the distance until I didn’t see her anymore.

But it was fun while it lasted!

I was kicking myself for sure but tried to remember everyone’s advice to me to just have fun at my first half. I did walk quite a bit more the last half of the race because my feet were in serious pain. Around mile 10, I had that thought that I think most runners get during a race like this, “Why did I do this to myself?” There were also some thoughts like “How do people do FULL marathons?!” haha! I just kept pushing on the best I could.

Howdy greeted me at mile 10!

During the final mile, “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga came on which ignited a small burst of energy that had me running more. I came around a corner and was met by this arch with a great cow pun and the excitement of knowing I only had a half mile to go.

That last half mile was quick, intermittent spurts of running – walking – running – walking. My feet were screaming stop but my will to reach the finish line kept me moving! I finally got to where the end was in sight and I pushed harder. Lisa had already finished and she came back to run me in. I sprinted as hard as I could and raised my arms in victory as I crossed the finish line with a time of 2:52!

Words can’t properly describe the feeling of accomplishment that washed over me. I was handed my awesome cowbell medal and then looked for my family. My dad found me first, gave me a big hug, and I started crying. While we were hugging, I saw my husband pushing my son up in the stroller with a big smile on his face. My son gave me a big kiss and my husband gave me a hug and said “You did it!” Seeing my family proud of me felt so good!

That’s Alex’s proud face

I went to the beer garden to enjoy my complimentary Lagunitas beer but, sadly, I had forgotten my I.D. My dad then told me he’d buy me a margarita at lunch. Thanks Dad!

I could barely walk so I sat down to change into my OOFOS recovery sandals. I took off my shoes and found one of my Pro Compression socks had a small spot of blood on it. I was cracking up and making jokes about being a “real” runner now. I took my socks off and found 9 blisters on my feet. This was weird because I didn’t get blisters on any of my training runs and I wasn’t wearing anything different. Also, my foot pain started at the 7 mile mark so it wasn’t because I was running further than I ever had. It’s a mystery.

We slowly shuffled back to the car and went to the Mexican restaurant El Papagayo. I wanted to give them a shout out because they have a whole page of vegan options on their menu AND their food is really good! Maybe it was because I had just run 13.1 miles, but I’m pretty sure I had the best margarita I’ve ever had there!

After lunch, we headed home and I prepared my first ever ice bath. I was scared and for good reason. It was terrible haha! I dunked my lower half in the water, lasted one whole second, said NOPE and got out. It was wayyyyy too cold! So I swapped it out for an epsom salt bath instead. That was much more relaxing!

On race day, I thought “I’m not doing another half for a long time!” The next day, I was looking up half marathons in Germany haha! It’s seriously an addiction! I’m not sure when my next half will be since it will be cold and snowy over there but I’m looking forward to the next round of training and the fun journey that will come with it!

Beginning of The End

Beginning of The End

Happy Sunday, everyone! Today marks the beginning of the end…of training! Today is week 8, day 1 and one week from today, I’ll be running my first half marathon at the Urban Cow Half!!

In last week’s post, I left off feeling really invigorated from a successful 11 mile run up and down hills around beautiful Lake Natoma. My body was really feeling the effects of that run for a few days, especially my right hamstring thanks to the hills. I did a lot of hydrating, stretching, rolling, and massaging all week trying to work it out but the tightness wouldn’t release.

On Wednesday, against my better judgement, I did a speed run of 2 miles. I was feeling really good and just felt like going fast, what can I say? I ended with an average pace of 10:38 per mile which is much faster than I’ve gone in months.

The next day, I had 5 miles on the schedule for my training. One of my Moms Run This Town friends, Jenna, decided to pair up with me for this run! She is, in general, a faster runner than me. Although I was setting the pace for our run, I was subconsciously running faster than I thought I was and we ended up going an 11:34 average pace.

So here we have an already sore hamstring combined with two runs at 1-2 minutes faster pace per mile than what my body is used to at this point in time. Not good!

On Friday, I rested and prepared for the 8 miles I had on the schedule for my week 7 long run. I was excited to “only” run 8 miles which is just such a funny concept to me! A few weeks ago, that number was scary. Proof that consistency and pushing your limits can bring about such wonderful change!

On Saturday, I met up with more MRTT ladies for our long run. After 1 mile, I told my friend Lisa, “My hamstring hurts.” At mile 3, I had to stop and stretch it. At 3.5 miles, my hamstring had had enough and started cramping so I immediately called off the rest of my run. I walked back and when Lisa got back to me, we talked it out and I had to re-strategize my treatment. I had been rolling and stretching the entirety of my legs but really focusing on my hamstrings. My new strategy is to focus on my quadriceps. Additionally, I’ll rest, soak in epsom salt baths, and just stay positive that come October 1st, I’ll be primed and ready to take on 13.1!

Today I am resting. I have very few miles on the schedule this week to rest up for the race so I’m feeling really hopeful that my leg will be better!

I wanted to talk a little bit about food because I’m going on 4 weeks or so of eating right again. It’s been so nice! I’ve also been pleasantly surprised at how easy making the switch to eating vegan has been. I’m so thankful for that!

No weight loss so far but I can tell I’m getting slimmer and you just can’t beat how good you feel when your body is getting the nutrition it needs! My goal this week is to heal, enjoy the rest, and prime myself mentally for my half! I can’t even put into words how excited I am for this race! What are your goals this week? Comment below! Have a wonderful week!

Runner Rebooted

Runner Rebooted

Happy Sunday, everyone!

In last week’s post, I let you all know that I’ve been taking control of my eating after slacking all summer. That evening, I was looking for inspiration for making healthy choices so I decided to watch the Netflix documentary What The Health. I honestly didn’t know what I was getting myself into but after watching it, I was an overnight plant-based eater AKA vegan. In years past, I would always tell my husband how I wish I could be a vegan or vegetarian but I always thought it would be too hard. Turns out, it’s a lot easier than I always thought it would be and I’m thankful!

Noodles & Company Japanese Pan Noodles – YUM

I’m not saying everyone should make this change or anything like that. Part of this blog is me talking about my nutrition and what helps me fuel for running or lose weight so I wanted to share this change in my diet. If you are interested in finding out more about plant-based nutrition, there is a wealth of information online. I watched these documentaries on Netflix: What The Health, Vegucated, Forks Over Knives, and Food, Inc.

Fajitas with sauteed mushrooms instead of meat – you can’t really mess up fajitas, right? So good!

Making this change put me out of commission for a few days due to withdrawal. I woke up with bad headaches like a hangover for 3 days and had no energy to exercise. So, I took 4 rest days after last weekend’s 9 mile run. On Thursday, I was feeling back to normal and joined my Moms Run This Town group for a 5 mile run!

This was one of those runs that just felt good! Eating well for 3 weeks, getting more sleep, and all those extra rest days had set me up for a great run. My first 2 miles were my normal 12:00-12:30 per mile pace but then I was trying to keep up with these speedy ladies for the last 3. Keeping up with them pumped up my adrenaline and those 3 miles were a 10:30-11:00 pace! I didn’t feel tired or worn out at the end either. I just enjoyed the runner’s high!

On Friday, I prepared for my week 6 long run of 11 miles (I’m training for my first ever half marathon at the Urban Cow Half!). I stretched and rolled all of my muscles and psyched myself up mentally for all of those miles. I even felt excited about it which was a nice change after my long runs had been feeling a little overwhelming before.

My MRTT group met up and carpooled out to beautiful Lake Natoma for our run! My friend and unofficial running coach, Lisa, ran with me the entire 11 mile loop.

This trail had a lot of hills! I’m used to running on flat ground so any hill is a lot but we climbed about 500 feet in elevation! Our legs, especially our hamstrings, were really feeling the burn. Lisa had to pep talk me during mile 8 because the hills were getting to me and I was feeling tired. She worked her magic, gave me tips, and reinvigorated me to finish this run! At mile 10, I was the one telling her “come on, let’s go!” so we did a bit of a switch. It was so fun and we finished strong with a 12:37 average pace!

That makes me so happy and excited to do my half at that pace, if not faster. Pace isn’t the goal of the race but I can’t help my competitive spirit and need to push myself 🙂

Follow me on Instagram!

Today begins week 7 of my training! I can hardly believe that this journey is almost over. It’s taper time meaning less intense exercise to rest my body before my half marathon. I’m pretty excited about the fact that my long run on Saturday will “only” be 8 miles haha! That is such a foreign way to think!

My goals this week are to rest up from this run (my hamstrings and shoulders are super tight today!), keep eating healthy, keep making myself go to bed at an appropriate time (I’m a night owl so it’s not always easy), and have a great 8 mile long run maybe with a slightly faster pace.

What are your goals this week? What is one healthier choice you could commit to making this week? Comment below! Have a wonderful week!

Runner Rebooting

Runner Rebooting

Happy Sunday! I’m a few days behind on my weekly post so apologies! Things have been hectic in our household because the Germany move is coming up fast and we had a few appointments. Juggling those, regular mom duties, and running took all of my time 🙂

I’ll start by talking about how on September 4th, I celebrated my 1 year running anniversary! I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity and encouragement to start running last year because it has changed my life immeasurably! Long story short, I’m healthier, more fit, more self-confident, and more ambitious. I feel so fortunate that I’m able to run!

In my last post, I talked about how my 7 mile long run hadn’t gone all that well thanks to tummy issues. My week 4 long run on Saturday Sept 2 went much better! I skipped my morning coffee and ran 8 miles fueling with a peanut butter GU gel. I did 4:1 intervals (run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute) and it helped a lot! I was able to run more consistently with set walking breaks. I ran it with my Moms Run This Town group and I was able to pull a 12 minute per mile pace so it was a great run through and through.

I love these ladies!

I also used this run as my #RunForTexas Virtual 10k! The ladies who started it (Follow them on Instagram! @moremilesmorefun and @live.love.run.repeat) did so hoping to raise a few hundred dollars and ended up raising over $50,000 to help victims of Hurricane Harvey!

Here is a rundown of my workouts for Aug 30 – Sept 9:

For my short runs this week, I had a really random mental block. The thought of running 5 miles was overwhelming and I struggled with both runs. I still don’t understand where it came from but thankfully I was able to muster up the mental fortitude for my week 5 long run. I had 9 miles on the schedule so my strategy was to set my Garmin watch for intervals and then I wouldn’t look at my watch again until I thought I was at my halfway point (to turn back). I ran totally based on feeling and my strategy worked! I had some toe pain that I had to keep stretching out in the last 2 miles so that slowed me down and I ended up with a 12:54 average pace. I’m glad because my goal is to keep my pace under 13 minutes for my half. I’m feeling confident that I can do that!

I had done a couple of test runs in the Asics Pursue-3 shoes I’d gotten but the toe box was definitely too small so I returned them. An employee at Fleet Feet Sac re-measured my feet and we tried several pairs of shoes and I finally ended up with the Brooks Addiction 13’s! The difference is amazing and nothing beats having the right pair of running shoes.

After slacking on my eating this summer, I was finally able to summon the motivation to crack down and get my nutrition back on track. I’ve been doing well for about 2 weeks now so I’m hoping for some weight loss soon. After my half marathon (I’m running my first half at the Urban Cow Half Marathon!), I’m planning to reduce my mileage, cross-train more, and really zone in on fat-burning and weight loss!

What goals are you currently working on? Leave a comment below and be sure to subscribe as well! Have a wonderful week!

Back in the Saddle

Back in the Saddle

Ending week 2 and going into week 3 of half marathon training feels like a nice turn around! I was having increased shin pain last week (you can read about that here) which led to me taking 2 unscheduled rest days before my long run on Saturday. I wasn’t looking forward to doing 6 miles because of the pain that I was sure would follow. Except it didn’t.

Last week, I wrote that one of my goals was to be extra diligent with stretching and rolling. I kept true to that goal, especially on my long run day. There was a lot of extra calf stretching and shin massage. I think it made all the difference because I had zero pain. I’m going to continue this extra self-care and hopefully it will keep the shin splints at bay.

Speaking of my long run, I headed out with my Moms Run This Town group for my 6 miles. Almost all of us are training for the Urban Cow Half Marathon which is really nice so we can all train together! What’s better than running with friends on a long run? Not much, except maybe brunch together after!

In case we hadn’t had enough fun together, that evening we all met up again. It was Misty’s birthday! (Follow her on Instagram! @disney_princess_on_the_run) We grouped up and walked the Gone For a Run’s Run Now Wine Later 5k!

The birthday girl was kind enough to let me use her pictures!

It was fun strutting around town, chatting and laughing. At the end, we headed into a local bar and shared a drink and some great conversation! I told the ladies how glad I am that I pushed aside my shy feelings and fear of running too slow back in March and joined MRTT. If you have a running group you’d like to join but you’re worried about something like that, don’t be! Join! It has been such a gift to interact with these awesome women who inspire and motivate me.

On Tuesday, I had 4.5 miles on the schedule. I woke up feeling really energetic and had a good feeling about my run. It was overcast and cool outside, so even though I didn’t run until 9 A.M., it was perfect weather! Normally, it would already be way too hot. I don’t know what else to say except I just felt good! I hadn’t had a run that good since my “Best Run Ever” that I blogged about back in July.

Yes, I had to take walking breaks. Yes, I went “slow.” However, I can sense my endurance rebuilding and it feels great. Also, I’ve been making an effort to post my average pace for my runs since I’ve gotten back into it.

I feel like I’ve seen and heard a lot of runners lately worrying about how “slow” they are. One person’s slow is another person’s dream pace. There is too much negative self-talk floating around about speed. My runs have been averaging about 12:00/mile lately. I want to be faster like everyone does, but I’m not in a rush. It takes time. I just ask you to be okay with where you’re at. Don’t compare yourself to others or let self-doubt creep in. Just keep working and you’ll get to where you want to be!

Now I need to have some real talk about cross-training. I know that cross-training is incredibly important for a lot of reasons including strengthening muscles and helping prevent injury. I also know that I have been severely lacking in this area for many months! It’s just so much easier to walk out the front door and go run. I had decided, for my half training, that I was going to swim twice a week to cross-train. Out of 5 swims that should have happened by now, I’ve gone swimming twice. I hated it both times. I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt and keep at it. That didn’t happen haha. What happened was that I did nothing on my cross-training days and I am not happy with that! So basically, I need to get my crap together and figure out another way to cross-train. I like yoga but I’d like to do something that makes me break a sweat. That will be my goal this week!

What are your goals? What’s your favorite way to cross-train? Comment below!

Run, Swim, Walk, Run

Run, Swim, Walk, Run

Last week, I blogged from beautiful Napa Valley! I made a goal to enjoy the rest of our vacation and keep running easy. It was a pretty simple mission and, boom, mission accomplished! Our getaway was the perfect mixture of romance for me and Chris and great family fun for Alex!

Life with a crazy, upside-down toddler!

On Thursday, I had a 3.5 mile run on my training schedule so I got up early and headed to Downtown Napa. (I’m training for my very first 13.1 at the Urban Cow Half Marathon!)

We had eaten at a restaurant in that part of town so I’d had a glimpse of the beautiful historic murals, river views, and interesting street art in that area. I just knew I had to run there!

After my run, we had some family fun in Sonoma and then headed home. We absolutely loved our vacation and I wish it could’ve lasted longer. We definitely need to go on family vacations more often!

On Friday, I had a 30 minute swim at 5 A.M. on the schedule. However, after getting less than 6 hours of sleep three nights in a row, I chose to sleep in. After some much needed rest, I did a half hour YouTube yoga session in my living room! With it being my first week back to running, I was needing the stretch anyway so it worked out.

On Saturday, it was time for my week 1 long run! I suited up and headed out the front door for 5 miles.

How can you not enjoy a run with this view?

I wanted negative splits and I wanted to take things slow as I have been, so I walked a good portion of the first mile to warm up. I continued to take walking breaks as needed throughout the remaining 4 miles. Somewhere between mile 2 and 3, I ate an energy gel and it helped get me in the groove to finish my run strong. I did achieve negative splits going from 13:37 in mile 1 to 11:31 for mile 5. As you can see, I’m definitely taking things nice and slow.

On Sunday, my beautiful mom flew in from Washington to stay with us for a couple of weeks! It’s the last time we’ll see her before we move to Germany later this year so it’s an extra special visit.

Alex and I picked her up in Sacramento and we spent some time in the city. We had lunch at a delicious taqueria and hit up my favorite running store, Fleet Feet Sac!

Alex only had eyes for his Grammy.

I grabbed a basket and loaded up with an assortment of new gels to try in all different flavors.

I’m excited to experiment with these as I train to see what I like for my half marathon! What’s your favorite gel brand or flavor?

On Monday, it was a 5 A.M. swim again and this time I got up and went. Fortunately, I can use one of our local pools for free! Unfortunately, it’s not the best quality. First of all, it was very dark.

Yes, that’s as lit up as it got. There were two lifeguards out there watching me so it wasn’t because somebody forgot to turn the lights on. There’s a second reason it’s not the best pool around. I had been thoroughly warned that because this is an outdoor pool, there would be little buggies from time to time but I was not expecting the little friend that came to visit. A mouse jumped in and wanted to swim some laps! I’m not much of a scaredy cat so I just moved out of the way and let the lifeguards scoop him up with a net. I guess if I want to keep swimming free, I have to accept I’m sharing the pool in the dark with some critters. I’m not exactly thrilled about it but it’ll do for the next 7 weeks.

When we were planning our visit, my mom told me that she wanted to exercise together because she is on a weight loss journey of her own. She has lost 45 pounds in the last year! (You can read about my weight loss journey here!) So after my swim on Monday, we went for a 2 mile walk.

On Tuesday, I headed out for a pretty 4 mile run. Along my route was a giant, beautiful sunflower field so of course I had to check it out 🙂

I definitely struggled with this run. There was quite a bit of walking but I had an overall pace of 11:57 which isn’t terrible for me. I’m used to running very early when it’s cool outside. This run, however, didn’t start until about 9 A.M. so even though it was nice weather, it was a lot sunnier and warmer than what I’m used to. It was a hard run, but hey, I got it done!

I have still felt that feint, dull ache occasionally in my shin that, as I previously posted, has never gone away. It’s not bad yet, but I can tell it has slightly increased in discomfort since I started running again. I’m looking into a new pair of shoes which is a bummer since I just bought the shoes I have back in May. I’m looking at the Asics Gel Nimbus 18s because I’ve worn Asics in the past and they were on a list of shoes good for shin splints. I’d love to hear any opinions on shoes good for this!

This weekend, my mom and I will be participating in the Gone For a Run Run Now Wine Later Virtual 5k with my Moms Run This Town group! I’m really looking forward to doing this with her and it’s going to be a fun time with my MRTT ladies!

My goals for the week are to keep running easy, be extra diligent with stretching and foam rolling, make sure I get up for my 2 swim sessions, and I have my long run of 6 miles on Saturday! What are your goals for the week? Comment below! Have a great one!

Running and Wine-ing

Running and Wine-ing

I finished up my resting this past week and prepared to run after taking 3 weeks off. I was still feeling feint, dull aches in my shin at random but the pain was pretty much gone.

On Saturday, I ran in the EMPOWER Race 5k near San Francisco. You can read all about my fun experiences at this event in my Race Recap! It felt so great to run again! I was a little out of shape and had to walk here and there but being back out in the fresh air and getting that runner’s high again was amazing! I was worried my shin splints would flare right back up but they didn’t. Yay! I’ll only be running 3 days a week on my training plan so hopefully they’ll stay subdued or even go away completely now that I’ve given up the streak and I’m not running or walking every single day.

Sunday was officially day 1 of my first half marathon training! It was a rest day so I used it to pack for our vacation to Napa.

Hey…I have my priorities straight.

On Monday, Chris, Alex and I loaded up the car and made our getaway to wine country. We’ve been having a great time here (yes, I’m blogging from Napa this week!) That evening, I did my first cross training session. I went for a 30 minute swim in the pool where we’re staying and it was tougher than I thought it would be! At the 15 minute mark, I was ready to quit haha but I made it through my full 30.

I’m already an OOFOS addict!

On Tuesday, I went on a gorgeous trail run by the river.

It was an easy 3.5 miles because I’m taking things slow and not jumping back into running head first. I’m trying to stay injury-free. I just enjoyed the beautiful views, fresh air, and feeling good running again!

Later that day, a nanny came to watch Alex while Chris and I went out kid-free for the first time in almost a year.

We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in style, heading to Stags’ Leap Winery first, grabbing a delicious pastry at Bouchon Bakery next, and finally to a fantastic dinner at Brix restaurant!

My goal for the week is to enjoy the rest of our vacay and easy runs. I have a long run of 5 miles on Saturday and my mom will be in town to visit starting Sunday! What are your goals this week? It’s prime training season for fall races! I’m training for the Urban Cow Half Marathon. Are you training for a race? If so, which one? Comment below!

10 Years

10 Years

This week was all about resting and planning my upcoming half marathon training! I can’t run but I can fantasize about running 😀 To prove how good I’ve been resting, here’s my weekly recap:

This is a photo I took on the way to Lake Tahoe! More about that coming up…

On Wednesday last week, my friend Stephanie (from runstrongrun.com!) invited Alex and I for a walk together.

We had a great 5 mile speed stroll and I loved catching up with her! We don’t get to do that very often. We were even twinning in our matching “I Run This State” shirts!

Later that day, my friend since 8th grade (AKA 17 years ago!) Michelle came to visit me! On Thursday, she kindly walked my final miles for July with me!

It felt great to finish my goal mileage for July!

I’m going to echo my posts from Facebook and Instagram a little bit right now because I think it’s important. I had to walk about half of these miles. As much as that sucks, I’m still so proud of them! I would rather have run them but guess what? It takes effort to get out of bed and get dressed and go walk too! A mile is a mile no matter how you get there. It’s better than not moving at all!

In last week’s post, I revealed my plan to walk out all my July miles as fast as possible and then rest. Once my miles were done, I started my 9 day rest period in style with a day trip to Lake Tahoe! Talk about relaxing 🙂

This was my first time since childhood wearing a swimsuit in public. I had a split second of insecurity before walking down to the water where everyone could see but I chose to not care what anybody thought of my legs because they are amazing whether they look it or not! I’m telling you, loving your body is so much better than hating it. It’s so freeing!

Alex LOVED the beach!

I’ve been resting, icing my shin, and stretching a lot in between mom duties the rest of the week. I’ll be going on my first run in almost a month this Saturday at the Fit Approach EMPOWER Race 5k! After that, next Monday, my husband, my son, and I will be heading to Napa! Chris and I are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary on August 13th so we planned a few days in beautiful wine country.

Our wedding day 10 years ago.

While in Napa, I’ll officially be starting my Urban Cow Half Marathon training!

There is a river trail right next to where we’re staying so I’m hoping that’s a good trail to run on! If not, there’s also a gym with treadmills (not as exciting of an idea…) Once I’m back home, I’m excited to get back to running with my Moms Run This Town ladies. I’m also nervously excited to do some cross training in the form of swimming! I’ve never swum as exercise but I love swimming so I’m excited 🙂

What are your goals this week? I’m going on vacay so mine is to enjoy Napa! I’m very excited to start running again but also really nervous about these shin splints not really being gone. So aside from enjoying our vacation, I’ll be listening to my body and easing back into exercise and training. Have a wonderful week!

Race Recap – Marysville Peach Festival 5k

Race Recap – Marysville Peach Festival 5k

The Marysville Peach Festival 5k is a small event benefiting the Feather River YMCA. The race is put on by my former gym Training Zone and is attached to the popular local Peach Festival held every summer. The night before the race, I picked up my bib packet and sorted through all the goodies.

Then it was time for my favorite part – Flat Christa 🙂

I must say it was nice to be running in an event only 10 minutes away from my house for a change. I was able to “sleep in” until 5:30 A.M. when I usually have to be up at 4 for races. I got myself and everything ready to go and grabbed a few of these healthy oatmeal cupcakes I had made.

I was going to be racing with Alex in the stroller for the first time ever and I needed some breakfast to go. Best of all, Alex really liked them! He’s a somewhat picky eater so I call that a win. Here is a link to the recipe (side note: I skipped the chocolate chips and added cinnamon and chia seeds instead.)

We made the short drive over to Marysville, parked, and made our way to the Bok Kai Temple where everyone was meeting outside for the race. I found a couple of my Moms Run This Town friends there!

We caught up, talked about our goals for the race, and discussed how awesome Pro Compression socks are in both cuteness (that’s important, right?) and running benefits.

We headed up to the starting line and found another MRTT friend of ours!

We started chatting with her but we soon heard the announcer say that all walkers and runners with strollers had to head to the back of the pack. Off Alex and I went. I kept looking around through the crowd trying to find my friend Kelsey who was supposed to be at the race but I couldn’t find her. Before I knew it, the race was starting.

Alex wasn’t feeling the sun

I wish I would have ignored the instruction to stand in the back and stood in the middle like normal. When the race started, it was a slow shuffle like every race to get going. The problem was that the road was very narrow, only about 3 runners wide. I was unable to pass people in the grass like I normally would since I had the stroller. It took over half a mile to finally get my own space where I could run freely.

I had gone into this race knowing I was going to take it slowly. First of all, I was pushing the stroller. My 26 lb son + stroller + a bag full of toys and snacks = probably 40+ pounds. Second, it was hot! We didn’t start until 8 and the temperature was already pushing 90*F with little to no shade on the course. Third, hills. Eww hills. I’ve run this course once before so I knew there were a few steep ones. Fourth, I have a minor case of shin splints in my right leg that needs to heal before I start Half Marathon training. For all these reasons, I was in no way expecting to set a personal record.

Crossing the bridge

The course is slightly longer than a true 5k at 3.4 miles in length. We started on a levee, ran downhill past a park, uphill and across a bridge, down another levee, turned around and went back. Taking it slow was nice! I just enjoyed the views of the river, ran when I could, and walked when I couldn’t. The heat definitely got to me and I walked more than I thought I would. The hills were rough and I blame that mostly on the weight of the stroller. The final hill going back up to the first levee was the worst! I even took a picture to commemorate the horribleness haha. This photo does it zero justice…it looks so flat but I promise it was a big one!

Once I made it to the top, everything was great! Having zero pressure to achieve any sort of time was nice. I was pressing on and along came Kelsey running the other way! I had assumed she didn’t make it so I was happy to see that she had. I kept creeping along, crossed the finish line, and felt completely satisfied with my effort. There was no chip timer and I forgot to stop my Garmin when I finished so I have no idea what my time was and I’m totally fine with that. I was expecting a fun run and that’s exactly what I got!

I found my MRTT friends at the end and a couple of them had set some new PRs! I congratulated them and we got to talk for a bit while I waited for Kelsey to finish. I knew I wanted to say hello to her before I left. I don’t know what her time was, but it must have been fast because I feel like I wasn’t done long before she came speeding through the finish line!

After she got some water and caught her breath, she explained that her bib had been given to someone else so she had to go through a whole ordeal to get a new one and started the race 10 minutes late. In an unexpected twist, we got to spend the rest of the morning together enjoying the Peach Festival! She even treated me to a Sonoran Hot Dog which was SO GOOD.

SO. GOOD.

We meandered around for a couple of hours browsing the booths and sampling all the tasty treats. Alex enjoyed all the people, looking at toys, and playing with a balloon Kelsey got for him!

All in all, it was just a great day with a fun race and I loved having Alex with me. It was especially nice getting to see a lot of friendly faces! Plus you can’t beat devouring ALL the food after a hard run, right?

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