Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My January

January is always kind of a depressing month.  The holidays are over, the lights come down, and it's usually drizzly and cold and still getting dark at obscene hours.  This January hasn't been too bad, however.  It's been incredibly perfect running weather (except for Saturday for the race, of course), the days have flown by so I haven't even noticed the Christmas lights are gone, and it seems to be getting lighter and lighter by the minute.

I do believe this sunset was at 5:05, not 4:00 as it was in December.

I've obviously been a little blog MIA, but that means that I have been more present in my actual life.  Well, sort of.

The highlight of January was the family reunion.  My great grandmother would have been 100 this month.  Her plan was to take the entire family to brunch at a fancy hotel in San Francisco.  She had taken her children and the grand children for her 95th birthday, but she wanted to include the great grandchildren (my generation) once she turned 100.  Unfortunately, she only made it to one month shy of 98.  She was the most incredible woman.  She was the strongest, most independent woman I've ever had the pleasure of meeting.  She also was the one who instilled a love of education into our family.  She was a speech writer for Wilson Riles, who served three terms as California State Superintendent.  Long story short, we wanted to still celebrate her memory and her 100th birthday, so we all went to brunch anyway.

My section of the family, minus four cousins.

We drove down just for the night on Saturday.  My portion of the family had rented a few hotel rooms in Alameda, which is across the bay from San Francisco.

No really, it's directly across the bay.

We didn't leave my town until 10am, which put us in the Bay Area around 3.  I was hangry, so I forced my mom to stop for lunch.  By the time we got to the hotel, it was sunset time.  Luckily, our hotel was approximately 16 steps from the beach.  So, we watched the sunset.

I also caught up with my cousins who flew in from Connecticut!

My brother drove up from SLO, which was super exciting.  After the sun set, we hung out in my grandma's hotel room and had dinner.  The kids still have their own table.  

No, I did not drink 17 diet Dr. Peppers.  I didn't drink any, actually.  But I did eat that entire veggie platter.

The hotel took me right back to 1991.  The TV was screwed down so that no one would steal it, because everyone wants a TV circa 1983.  And I tried to figure out what this thing was and why I couldn't take a selfie with it.  

We also practiced for the Olympics.  My brother made it through the Olympic Trials, but I failed miserably.  I was incredibly disappointed in myself.  Maybe I should stick to running local races.

Sunday morning, I hopped out of bed nice and chipper and ready to run!  Actually, I debated whether I really wanted to run in the drizzle and cold, alone in a completely new place.  But I forced myself out of the door and I am really glad that I did.

It ended up being a great run and it was perfect before hopping on the ferry to the city.  I hadn't ever taken the ferry before, so it was kind of an exciting experience.  And so much better than taking the BART underneath the bay.  Nope.  No.  No.  I do not like doing that AT ALL.

There was a little mishap with the tickets, and instead of getting off at the San Francisco Ferry Terminal, which is only two blocks from the hotel we were eating at, we got off at Peer 41, which is two miles from the hotel.  

If we look confused, it's because we were trying to figure out how many taxis we needed and how many of us were walking.  Of course, I opted to walk the two miles.  San Francisco is like a second home and I can basically get anywhere in the city without feeling lost.  Plus, two miles is nothing for me.  But I realized that, when walking, two miles feels like FOREVER.  We took a wrong turn and ended up in the jungle.

Okay, we made it just fine and had a lovely brunch with the entire family who I really don't see very often.

After brunch, we walked back to the Ferry Terminal and had some more quality family bonding time on a bench.

It was a lovely 24 hours in the Bay Area.  I'm so, so lucky I have the most wonderful family on the planet.  The rest of January has looked a lot like this.  

And this.

I have been working out a lot with that guy.  He's an aide at my school and we have become best friends.  He is probably my favorite person in the world.  Also, he's incredibly strong, but lets me look stronger by lifting smaller weights than me.  ;-)  He taught me that if I want to be taken seriously, I have to tuck my shirt in.  So, I've been doing a lot of that.

I also have been very creative with my Positive Thoughts in my classroom.  

January has been a pretty good month.  The weather has been beautiful, my workouts have been lovely, and I got to see a lot of family that I don't normally get to see.  

How has your January been?

Monday, January 19, 2015

The First Race of the Year

Well, it's January 19th and I've managed to post ONE blog post this year.  I'm off to a good start for 2015, aren't I?  In all honestly, my passion for my blog is almost zilch.  I read blogs every single day and stay up to date with everyone and try to comment as much as possible, but when it comes to sitting down to write my own posts, something stops me and it feels almost impossible.

Then, something exciting happens and I get my motivation to blog back.  The running club I am a part of had the first race of the year on Saturday.  It's a 5k and a 10k at one of our beautiful state parks.  The course is 2 loops, meaning you pass the finish line and go on to the second loop before passing the finish line AGAIN and running about a tenth of a mile before turning around and finally finishing.  You have to do the loops twice for the 10k, meaning FOUR times passing the finish line.  Also, it's hilly, so it's incredibly hard to find a groove.

All photos of the race are thanks to the running club's photographer!

I woke up on Saturday and knew my mental space was not in a place to run the 10k.  I'm usually the girl who goes for the longer races, but not for this course.  About one minute into the race, I realized I had made the correct decision.

It was a "warm" day.  Everyone was saying before the race started how warm it was.  I was standing there in my layers, shivering wondering what the heck everyone was talking about.  But, after a two mile warm up, I understood.  It was super muggy and hard to breathe.  Everything was sticky.  My first mile was sub-7, but then I got to some uphills and my body said no thank you.  It was not my day to race.  I cross the finish line in 22:18, my personal worst.  It was a combination of the hills (I need more vert!), the mugginess, and my mental game.

Can you tell the finish was on an uphill?  So much for the kick!  I still was second woman and 10th overall out of over 100 people.  So, I guess it wasn't too terrible.  I did not feel happy about this race at all, though.  I cooled down with an awesome running lady and we decided to do the 5k loop again.  We joked the entire time that we were running the 10k, just with a little break in the middle.  Of course, my fast friend won the 10k, coming in just over 35 minutes.  Yes, he did just run a 2:38 marathon a month ago.  Yes, he is 34-years-old.  

After the race was the club's annual party.  There is a drawing and pizza and beer.  They also hand out the circuit awards.  You have to run 6 races to complete the circuit and if you win each race in your age group, you get a special award.  I was a terrible person this year and stole it out from under Karen.  Luckily, she forgave me and we can still be friends because I really like her.

I woke up really sore in my lower back.  Apparently the downhills didn't like me so much.  I met up with the above runner friend to do a slow recovery run on the beach.  We took it very seriously and threw a frisbee the entire time we ran.  

If you've never thrown a frisbee before while running, I highly recommend it.  It made the miles fly by, even though we were going slow.  We even had a record of 12 completions before one of us dropped it.  Our record standing still was only 13...  We are obviously better frisbee players while running.  And the beach was ugly, as usual.

It's been a great 2015 so far.  I will be back with a post about what I've been up to this month.  Maybe even tomorrow?  

Have you run any races this year?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year!

Okay, I know it's already the 5th (what?!), but you can say Happy New Year for the entire month of January correct?  I don't actually know the rules of these things, so I am going to say Happy New Year anyway!

I am not a fan of New Year's Eve.  I actually really despise it.  There have been a few really bad New Year's Eves in my life and since then, I have decided that it's just another day.  I went for a lovely run with some amazing people and finished the year off with a nice round number (even though I had to end on a half mile exactly to get that number).  

The rest of my day was spent a lot like this.

I read 12 books in 2014, so that's pretty awesome!  One book a month isn't too bad.  My friends who also hate New Year's Eve decided to come over and have a game night.

I mean, look how happy he is to not be out at a bar with 6 gazillion other people.

My very best friend also joined us.  She's super stoked on New Year's Eve.

We only ended up playing Cards Against Humanity and then sat around talking.  Midnight seemed to roll around really, really slowly.  Usually it comes up pretty quickly, like when I am not paying any attention and knitting while binge watching Netflix.  But I wanted to go to sleep at 10 that night.

My mom didn't make it until 12.

Everyone left promptly at 12:02 and I was asleep by 12:15.  Our neighbors thought it would be fun to shoot off fireworks until 2am, but luckily, I was able to sleep through it.  Mostly.  My dad had brunch ready for us kids the next morning.

And I spent a lot of time with this little one.  My favorite activity to ring in the New Year.

Then, I did my second favorite activity.

It decided to be 60 degrees on the 1st of January, so I took full advantage of it.  My run felt fantastic, but laying on my dad's floor for 20 minutes afterward felt even better.

On Saturday, I decided a rest day from running would be a good idea.  So, I went hiking with my friends instead.

As it is well known, nature is my happy place.  Luckily, I live where the nature is abundant and absolutely gorgeous. 

We went about 6 miles and chatted the entire time.  It went by way too fast.

The weather has been amazing, once again.  After a week of full-on storms and then a week of freezing (literally) cold, it is so nice to have temperatures in the upper 50s-low 60s.  

Yesterday, I spent my last day of vacation exactly how I hoped I would.

I never thought I would be getting my runner's tan back in January, but I'm not upset about it.

Today, it was back to the grind.  It's always a little nerve-wracking to go back to work after two weeks off, but it was just like riding a bike.  I met up with a friend for a beach run after work to de-stress.  It was super ugly and I don't know how I handled looking at the view for the entire run.

Where are all the buildings and strip malls?!?  I was really offended.

I feel so lucky that I live so close to the ocean and am able to run on the beach.

2015 has been pretty good to me so far.  Let's hope it stays that way!

How has your 2015 been so far?