Tag: Sacramento

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!

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 πŸ™‚

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!

Race Recap – Women’s Fitness Festival 5k

Race Recap – Women’s Fitness Festival 5k

I had been patiently waiting for this race to come around. I was excited because I had heard it was a pretty huge event and it was called Women’s Fitness Festival. I love female empowerment and women supporting each other so I was ready to be surrounded by that kind of energy! Added bonus: my good running friend Stephanie from runstrongrun.com was running the 10k! I always love getting the chance to meet up with her, especially at races.

This event was created by Fleet Feet Sac and supports a very important cause. The proceeds benefit a local program called WEAVE (Women Escaping A Violent Environment) that helps women suffering from domestic abuse and sexual assault. You can read more about this program here. The Women’s Fitness Festival also has free health screenings for all participants and provides awareness and education on women’s health!

The night before the event, I made my shirt and laid out my #FlatMe per my usual pre-race tradition!

I got up at 4 A.M. to get ready. First things first? Coffee. I sipped it while I got dressed. This was my first time trying out Pro Compression socks. I looked in the mirror and felt a little silly wearing such tall socks but I think they are so cute so I was just gonna roll with it. I asked my husband Chris “How do I look?” and he let out a chuckle. He said I looked like a caricature of myself and that I looked cute haha!

Once everything was together, I hopped in the car at 5:30 for the trek to Sacramento. I feel like I beat the crowd heading down that early because I was able to park right across the street from the capitol building. Speaking of which, what a great backdrop to a race!

I slowly made my way over toward the event while enjoying the scenery and cool morning air. Then I met up with Stephanie!

She was hanging out with her awesome #runsquad of 6 other women! I introduced myself and we chatted while waiting for start time. Everyone was sharing their goals for the race and Stephanie asked what mine was. I told her that I just wanted to have fun and enjoy my run with no expectations. She responded “You’re going to set a PR. It’s just what you do!”

Eventually we realized we were all wearing Pro Compression socks and needed an obligatory sock circle photo!

We honestly did not plan this haha

After that we headed for the Start line!

This photo captures the spirit of this event. Over 4,000 amazing, strong women came together to celebrate each other and our love of running!

This was my first race where they had different pace times divided up. A few of us stood together near the 10:00 min/mile sign.

I knew I couldn’t run a 10:00 mile for 3 miles but I decided I wasn’t going to let the pacer out of my sight. This race was women only but the pacers were mostly men. They dressed the part and paced in drag! πŸ˜€

I figured if I could still see him, maybe I would get that PR Stephanie was predicting.

The cute girl in the pink glasses to the right of me is Alandrea AKA Mrs.motherrunner on Instagram! Go follow her!

The race announcer did our countdown and we all slowly shuffled through the Start line. It was very crowded so it took a while for everyone to get a little breathing room. Once we did, Stephanie and the other ladies took off like the speedy runners they are and I just kept my eyes on that 10:00 pace sign.

Like every race, I wanted to go fast but told myself go slow. It’s kind of funny how hard it is to do that! The course took us in a loop through the city streets. On almost every corner, there would be a big group of people, most of which were in costumes or had big signs cheering us on! At one point, I heard a girl on the phone telling her mom “I’m behind the girl with the black and white tube socks.” haha!

While I really enjoyed myself during this race, I ran harder than I had ever run. I only took a few very short (we’re talking less than 15 seconds) walking breaks. That last mile was tough but I could see us getting closer and closer to the capitol and that helped me push myself. I sprinted through the finish line and then I was so relieved when it was over! I have proof…look at this picture!

There were firemen waiting with our completion medals which I thought was really cool! After being handed my medal, someone handed me a water bottle and I found a grassy spot to sit and rest for a minute. After I hydrated and caught my breath, I headed for the Results laptops to check my time. Stephanie had called it. She had gotten in my head and manifested a new personal record for me! At 32:35, I had run this race a whole minute and a half faster than my previous PR set a only month before.

After reading my results, I decided to hit some booths before the crowd got too big. I loved being able to shop for running apparel and accessories after my race! I went straight to the giant Fleet Feet Sports Asics tent and got myself a running tank. Then I saw the Whole Foods tent across the street and walked that way. That’s when I bumped into a few of Stephanie’s friends and we decided to eat all together. We were served the tastiest granola I’ve ever had on top of some greek yogurt with fresh fruit on the side. For the next half hour, I got to know these ladies a little bit and they were so wonderful! I was just a mutual friend of Stephanie’s but they were taking the time to ask about me and share about themselves. They were incredibly nice and interesting women and it was so refreshing getting to know them!

After devouring that seriously delicious granola and seeing a few more booths, we were finally ready for our ultimate race reward: The Mimosa Garden.

Just imagine the sound of angels singing here

We went through the line, got our drinks, and found a table where we continued to enjoy each other’s company.

The mimosa was pretty small but it was SO YUMMY. I was bummed I couldn’t have another!

Stephanie had been enjoying the booths but caught up to us when we finished our drinks. We had to get a picture together with our beautiful medals.

Alas, it was time to part ways. Chris and Alex were waiting for me at home. I told everyone how nice it was to meet them all, said goodbye, and headed home. Also, my socks? They were great! My legs didn’t burn and my toes didn’t go numb. These were issues I’d been having when running 3 or more miles. They’re really comfortable too, not constricting! I always wear them on longer runs now!

I recommend this race to all women! If you can’t attend this race, I encourage you to find an all-women race near you! I absolutely loved participating in an event that celebrates females. I’ll be moving to Germany at the end of this year so unfortunately I won’t be able to attend this race again. It’s a huge bummer! So I need you all to go for me so I can live vicariously πŸ˜€

My Perfect Runner Mother’s Day

My Perfect Runner Mother’s Day

I’m starting Motivation Monday by appreciating my calf muscles in this photo! I’ve always been very self-conscious of my legs. It feels so good to see them getting leaner and getting stronger!

It was week 1 of my accountability group on Facebook. These ladies have helped me immensely for the past 7 days! I was really struggling to get back to good habits after my super feastΒ but my accountability buddies turned me around. I had the same usual temptations: Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer, bag of chips on top of the fridge, uneaten portions of my son’s meals, etc. Knowing that I was telling other people everything I was eating helped get me back to healthier eating and I lost 2 lbs for the week!

I’m SO thankful for the women who joined πŸ™‚

I didn’t run muchΒ this week thanks to my old Asics running shoes. My (still)Β sore knee and occasional foot pain (think bone-hitting-pavement level ow) made me less and less inclined to get out and run. I didn’t want to make things worse before I got new shoes for Mother’s Day.

Here’s my workout rundown for the week:

Speaking of Mother’s Day, I hope you all had a great one! My husband and son treated me to a nice day πŸ™‚ When I woke up, the house was totally cleaned and they had made me breakfast and a homemade card. The card was even interactive with coloring pages for Alex to color as we read it. After breakfast, I got a quick 1 mile run in, then we all got ready and headed to Sacramento to Fleet Feet Sports to buy my new shoes! I had been waiting for this day for about a month so I was very excited!

This store was everything I had been dreaming of! Walls filled with shiny new running apparel, shoes, and accessories.

They also had a kids table full of toys to keep Alex entertained. What a great idea! He absolutely loved it and my husband didn’t have to chase him around to keep him from making a mess of the store while I was getting fitted.

An associate named Garrett helped me and he was so friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful! If you have a Fleet Feet store near you, I highly recommend them. Unfortunately, they didn’t have my size in stock in the color I wanted so I didn’t get to take a pair home. Luckily, though, they were able to order them from their website and ship them directly to my address. They should be here in 3 or 4 days!

After Fleet Feet, we went out to lunch and then headed home and played in the back yard. It was a perfect Mother’s Day πŸ™‚

This morning I walked out the door at 5 A.M. and ran my One Awesome Mother Runner Virtual 5k. I had never run a virtual race before but it was kind of nice to do it on my own time! I was able to participate because I’m part of the Moms Run This Town community. I ordered my bib packet on goneforarun.com and it came with a cute medal! After my run, I posed with Alex because without him I wouldn’t be a Mother Runner and he’s the reason I keep going on my fitness journey!

With the prospect of new shoes and no pain, I’ve been getting the itch to increase my running distance. First, I was looking into what 10k races I could do but then I happened upon a link to a review of The Golden Gate Half Marathon. The idea of running The Golden Gate Bridge instantly appealed to me. The entire 13.1 miles would be beautiful! It would be quite a challenge, especially because there are a lot of hills, but it wouldn’t take place until November 5th giving me plenty of time to train. It just seems like a dream race that I don’t think I can pass up!

In the meantime, I’ll be running the Run Around the Rice 5k this weekend! Check out my Races page to see what other events I’ll be running! What are you looking forward to this week? Comment below and be sure to subscribe to my blog via email to see future posts! Have a great week!

%d bloggers like this: