Friday, August 31, 2012

August Foodie Pen Pals - Reveal Day!

I've been seeing this on the blogs and Twitter for a couple of months and was really interested.  So I decided to take a dive and get involved in it. So I signed up for the August exchange and I'm so glad I did, I had SO MUCH FUN.  What is Foodie Pen Pals?  This is from the creator herself, The Lean Green Bean.

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 
If you’re interested in participating for September, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. 
You must submit your information by September 4th as pairings will be emailed on September 5th!

So I got my package a couple of days before I left on vacation.  WHEW!  I was worried it would arrive while I was gone!  I was paired up with Michelle from San Antonio and when we exchanged emails I told her how much I've wanted to go to San Antonio and how I love spicy food!  I opened the box and look at the treasure trove she sent me!

Ooooooooo!!!!  Aaaahhhhhhhh!!!!  YUMMMMMMM!!!!!
She included two San Antonio postcards with descriptions of what everything was and their spice scale.  TOTALLY brilliant!

I received a jar of Raspberry Jalapeno Jam, she suggested that this be used as regular jelly, or to use over pork loin when you cook it.  I'm pretty sure I'm doing THAT this weekend!  Awesome idea!

She wrote on the card that this salsa is some of the best in Texas.  When I saw that I knew I had to try it.  Oh yeah, opened it right up from out of the box and ate it with some blue corn tortilla chips, I'm not ashamed! She wasn't kidding.  It's SO. GOOD!  The perfect amount of heat and tang with a little bit of sweet.  Only issues I see is my husband getting into it and eating it all himself (he's a self-proclaimed salsa fiend) and trying to get more.  It's seriously that good!


I was really excited to pull these two bottles out.  I have some great recipes that call for good quality BBQ sauce, so I know exactly what I'm doing with these!  Pulled Pork, anyone?

Mmmmm...honey from the Farmer's Market!  It's so sweet and smooth, it's out of this world!  Everything is so much better when it's not refined!

It took all of my will power NOT to open this jar.  I LOVE jalapeno chips and she said these are VERY spicy!  I have a taco night coming soon that these would be AMAZING with!
 My hubby really liked this one and I think this might make an appearance in a lot of what he will be cooking soon.  We LOVE our spices in this house and the blend of this mix smells AMAZING!

I've already emailed her my thanks but I want to say it again.  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU Michelle for a wonderful box and a great experience for my first Foodie Pen Pals exchange!  

If you are interested in joining the exchange, click on the link above.  I had just as much fun shopping for and sending my box as I did in receiving this goodie box.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I won!

So last weekend I won a giveaway hosted by Abby of Back At Square Zero.  The giveaway was for a free canister of Click Protein Powder!  I have been wanting to try this product for a while and after looking in my local retailers to see if they had any, was about to make an order online when I saw the giveaway.  I figured that I was going to get some regardless, so put in a few entries and hoped for the best!  I saw the post on her blog that I had won and I couldn't believe it, I was ECSTATIC!!!  I don't usually win things, so I was at a loss for words!  

So imagine my surprise when I came home and there was a parcel waiting for me.  I knew exactly what it was and couldn't wait to get it open!!!

Not only did I get a canister of their Mocha protein flavor (LOVE my chocolate!), but they also gave me a shaker AND a sample of the decaf Mocha flavor!  I was so pumped to see the contents of this box!  If it hadn't been so late in the evening I would have made a shake right then and there.  But then I would be up all night on a caffeine high.  No bueno!

I'm so excited to try this I can hardly wait!!!

Thank you Abby for hosting the giveaway and a huge thank you to Click for sending me such a fantastic box of goodies!  I'm so excited...I might make one tonight anyway.  I don't need to sleep...right?

"The Jam" Thursday - What is blowing up my iPod!

It's Thursday and that means it's one more day until the weekend!  It also means I'll soon be on my way to DISNEY WORLD!  WOOHOO!

There will be a bit of a break here while I'm on vacation.  I don't have a laptop or guest posts while I'm out.  It will be a vacation for my blog as well.  But you better believe I'll be back with a trip recap!  I know, I know, the trip isn't about fitness or running, but hey, it's about my life and having some fun

So again, today is Thursday, so that means it is time to present "The Jam" of the week.  This song has been on my running music list for a while and I can usually just zone out to it.  However lately this song has been a bit of a pace pusher for me, so it's nice when it comes on and I'm dragging a bit to help get me back to a good rhythm.  I blame the beat!  So this week I present:

Commander by Kelly Rowland and David Guetta

This song always gets me going and I just love it when it comes on during my run.  Hope you enjoy it as well!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Momentum Monday: Not Perfect

This past week I dealt with some deep seeded issues.  Namely two culprits: laziness and excuses.  As I watch people's Dailymile workout updates from the previous week appear on my Twitter feed, I become very aware that mine has not posted.  The reason: I. Didn't. Run.

Gasp! What the hell is your problem?

The answer is: I don't know.  I can blame life being too busy, things and events getting in the way.  The heat this past week was such a huge deterrent.  Uh yeah, it sucked to walk let alone try to exercise.  You broke a sweat breathing!  But I let it get in the way.  I let two of my biggest foes and the most influential in my life up till now, win and get the best of me.

So what am I going to do now?  Get down on myself for letting the "detrimental duo" get the best of me this past week?  Or am I going to cut myself some slack and start this week a new with a more motivated outlook?  Then I saw this and had to make it my Momentum Mantra for this week:

In general, I think we as runners, hell even us women, feel like if we haven't been perfect in something, that we have failed miserably.  You feel you've failed in your training because you had a great week of mileage, then Friday through the weekend you only logged a few miles instead of your weekly long run.  Or you feel like you've failed in your nutrition for the week because you indulge in some happy hour with friends you hadn't seen in a while and went over your calorie intake for the day.  Or you feel like you failed because life got in the way and you weren't able to cross off all the items on your weekly goal list.

We aren't perfect and life, if you haven't figured it out already, is far from perfect.  To expect perfection is non-beneficial to your goals, as when you fall short of your own expectations, the feeling of failure can derail you.  To demand determination though, that is where you can flourish and really get to where you want to be.  If you demand determination from yourself, that drive can propel you to go after those goals with pride and conviction.  Whereas expectations of perfection may stall your entire process.

So this week I'm starting anew with a new focus on my determination, not on perfection.  Anyone else with me?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"The Jam" Thursday - What is blowing up my iPod!

So today I'm starting something new that I would like to continue on a weekly basis.  Lately I've been finding songs that really motivate/lift my spirits/groove me while I run.  So I thought "why not share these musical gems with everyone, maybe they will like it too!"  So..."The Jam" Thursday was born!

Today I am sharing one song that has been blowing up my iPod and I turn the volume up every time it comes on in the car, at home and on my iPod.  It's got a catchy beat and I can't help but dance every time it comes on.  Which is actually strange because I don't actually like either of the artists on their own, however together it just works into a upbeat, poppy, get-up-and-move beat.  I'm sharing with you:


This song just gets my booty shaking and I'm instantly in a good mood.  There's just something about it that I can't get enough of!  Hope you get a chance to check it out and get some booty shaking of your own going on!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Liebster Award

Recently I have received this award nomination by three different bloggers.  I am incredibly humbled and thankful for the recognition of my little blog here and feel even more thankful to have gotten to know the lovely ladies who nominated me.  The nominating parties were: Amalia at Live. Travel. Eat. Run., Sarah at Mom Running on Empty, and Jesica at Run on Organic.  These three lovely ladies are all gems of people and have great content on their blogs, please take a look at and support them as well!

The Liebster award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.  It’s given to new bloggers by other bloggers, and the rules are as follows.
Rules for receiving this award:
1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Then answer the questions the tagger sent for them, plus create 11 questions for the people they’ve tagged to answer.
3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
4. Notify the people you have tagged.
5. No tag backs.
Since I have received three tags, I will be taking four questions from each of the nominations to answer, that way I don't bore you with a lengthy Q&A session about me.  Now on to the nitty-gritty!

11 things about me:
1. I HATE spiders! I'm a huge arachnaphobic.  One of the most endearing traits of my husband is his ability to deal with my freakouts when I find a spider and need him to kill it for me.  Seriously.

2. I don't watch a whole lot of TV.  Well other than now with the Olympics on, I'm firmly glued to the TV until late in the evening.

3. I can't stand cringe-worthy comedies.  (ie. Will Ferrell movies) When you know what's going to happen when the character is right on the brink of doing something really stupid/embarrassing/harmful, I just close my eyes and look away.

4. I used to twirl baton.  Yes like the baton teams you see in hometown parades or the majorettes you see in front of marching bands.  I did both, twirled in a team AND was the majorette in my high school marching band. Until I joined the marching band as an instrumentalist.

5. I play the trumpet.  I learned in my Freshman year in high school (to impress a boy I liked who played the trumpet. I can't believe I just admitted that I learned an instrument because of a boy, how lame...but true.)  I ended up being pretty decent at it and continued to play throughout high school into college.

6. I LOVE college football!!!!  This all came from my years of being in my college marching band (see: above).  There is nothing like watching college football games, it is so much better than watching pro football! Why?  Because 99% of the college players will never see a professional career after they graduate, so you know they are playing for pride and from the heart!

7.  Fall is my favorite time of the year.  The cool crisp air, fallen leaves on the ground, decorating for the holidays, college football season (woot, woot!), scarves and hats, hot apple cider.

8. I was born and raised in California.  Bay Area is where I grew up, I lived in so many cities around that area that I just claim the Bay Area as my hometown.

9. I love wearing the color red.  My college friends would hiss at me for saying that, since our rivals are in crimson.  But I can't help it if I look good in red.  ;)

10. I'm allergic to honeydew melon.  Not any other melon, just that one, bizarre I know.  It also makes it IMPOSSIBLE for me to have fruit provided anywhere in public, be it a restaurant, catering or private party.  Just think about it, the main fruit filler for any salad or display is...honeydew.  Le sigh.

11. I LOVE rollercoasters!  My family and friends spent summers going to Great America, I had a season pass, it was awesome.  Just couldn't get enough of that adrenaline rush!!

Now onto the questions!
From Amalia:

1.What is your favourite thing about a community you’re a part of (virtual or real life community)?
I love that there is support and dissent, conflict and peace, antagonist and protagonist.  The two sides of any issue, debate or story is important to the outcome. Having likeminded individuals around you is good, but too much is never a good thing. Think of how people who opposed you have forced you to grow, be thankful for that opposition as you may not be where you are now without it.

2. When did you start your hobby (whatever your blog is about) and why? What made you start? 
I started my hobby of running in October 2011.  It was to push myself to do something I never thought I could do or wanted to do.  Then it turned into learning about the fellowship of running and the "tricks of the trade", and then just the plain love of the sport.

3. What is your dream job? 
To be an event planner.  I'm a project manager by nature and trade, so being an event planner/coordinator is a perfect fit. Reading about the BlogHer conventions and having gone to MamaCon in Seattle this year has really inspired me and cemented how much I really would love to have that as my full time job.

4. Do you like caffeinated beverages? What’s your favourite?
Living in the land of Starbucks here, caffeine is a way of life!  My all-time favorite is a hazelnut soy latte.  SO. YUM!

Questions from Sarah:

My favorite sports team is the University of Washington Huskies football team!!  BOW DOWN!!  I have jerseys from previous bowl games that I've been to that I wear to games and have thought about getting a logo "W" tattoo a few years ago; still might do that. ;)  

I have a large family and I want a large family of my own.  I have about 26 aunts and uncles and 50-60 cousins, my family breeds and is big and loud.  I also want to have a number of little ones myself.  I would love to have 3 or 4, but will take how ever many I can have, I'm not getting any younger (or so my mom says).

I am a huge introvert, or as I say, introspective.  I was taught at a very young age that you learn more when you are quiet and listen, rather than try to do all the talking.  I can form better opinions and arguments when I'm not the only voice I hear in the conversation.

I am a blend of my parents, with a lot more of my features coming from my mom.  I have the body structure from my Italian dad (what he calls good peasant stock, great, that translates into me being "thick") and the hair, eye and skin color from my Filipino mom.

Questions from Jesica:

9. Beach or mountains?
Oh tough one.  I love the view from the mountains, but the tranquility of the ocean cannot be matched.  I would say beach.  I can never get enough of the sound of the waves crashing onto the surf.  Just. So. Relaxing!

10. Day or night? 
Again, tough question!  I love the night when I'm in Vegas, but prefer the day when in Hawaii.  I guess it depends on where I am, but if I'm at home I would say night, I ADORE sleep!!!

11.  Favorite item in your refrigerator/pantry? 
Right now I'm digging quinoa.  You can make a batch so quickly and makes putting a meal together super easy!  Also you can have quinoa sweet or savory.  Breakfast quinoa, just do it.  You won't regret it!

12. Lover or a fighter?
I'm a lover, a peacemaker by nature.  However I'm also a Taurus and I will defend and fight for something I believe in with all the fibers in my being.  It's a fight you don't want to be a part of.

Now it is my turn to pick some nominees! You’ve just been tagged! (Most of you might have way more than 200 followers like the award description explains, but I wanted to send you some love anyways!  Now none of you should feel obligated to participate but I'd be honored if you did and I look forward to learning more about all of you!)

My questions for the 11 nominees:

1)  What fuels your desire to run best?  Encouragement or discouragement?

2)  Have you lived in multiple cities?  States?  Where was your favorite?

3)  What was your favorite subject in school and why?

4) What is your proudest achievement to date?

5) Who is your favorite musician/band?

6) What piece of exercise gear (running skirt, compression socks, etc) can you not live without?

7) What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started running?

8) What is your absolute favorite thing to do?

9) What race is on the top of your bucket list?

10) If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation where would it be and why?

11) Do you have a phobia?

Thank you to the ladies that nominated me and if anything, you all learned something about me and I would love to learn more about you!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Momentum Monday: Never Too Late

In watching the Olympics over the past two weeks I've been in awe of the atheletes and their accomplishments.  I actually found a great appreciation for the type of training and strain the bodies of the track athletes go through, now that I've begun running myself.  I look at what they have accomplished during their lifetimes, how ever short or long it may have been up to that point and marvel in their dedication.  To persevere through injury, personal issues (public or private), and still have the drive to follow their dreams and perform on a global stage.

I wish my journey had started sooner, maybe I would have been further along in my progression and possibly, achieved more than I have already.  Or possibly the opposite might have happened, I would not have stuck with it as long as I have so far.

I think life tests us in different ways and we meet certain challenges at particular points in our lives because we've had experiences with something else that can better prepare us for this challenge we now face.  Maybe if I had started my journey earlier I might have given up and never tried again.  I don't know what my path would have been, and trying to figure it out will only drive me crazy.

Which leads me to my Momentum Matra for today:

Being a late bloomer in life in regards to health and fitness, I believe wholeheartedly in this quote.  It is NEVER too late to begin respecting and loving your body and to lead the life you want.  Far too many influences in this world are out there to tear you down, make you feel like you aren't worthy of happiness or the life you want to live.  These social influences are there to try and sell you something, whether it be a product, a procedure, a cure-all medication, all with the promise to make your life better and make you happy.  When the one thing you need to invest in to make the change you want is a change in attitude. 

Believe you are worth it.
Believe you can do it.
Believe that you can live the life you want.
Believe you deserve better.

Only then will you be able to reap the benefits.  Now is no better time to start believing in yourself and each other.  We are our biggest allies in this journey to better health and achieving our fitness goals.  Be your biggest fan and believe it is never too late to make that change.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Do you eat before you run?

Today was a lesson for me about my hubby.  He's been bugging me about going out with me when I go on my runs, saying he wants to get in better shape and spending the time together would be great.  

Okay then, game on.  

So for weeks I've been inviting him to go on runs with me, but he always has a reason/excuse for not going with me. 

Okay, fine, you'll go when you want to go, I'm not going to push you.

So this morning I told him I would be going on a run and he can join me if he'd like, it was only a couple of miles and we would be back in time for him to shower change and hit the road.  He agreed and asked if we would be eating beforehand.  I told him I was just going to grab a small pack of fig cookies and then head out.  He shrugged it off and did the same thing as me.

Now sidebar: I have been playing around with my pre-run eats and have them narrowed down to a couple of things, one is a piece of toast with almond butter, fig spread and sliced banana on top.  It's easy, lots of good natural fuel for my body to use during my workout.  I have also been eating the fig newton snack pack as a pre-run snack before my runs in the afternoon.  They actually give me a pretty good fuel boost, don't weigh me down or make my tummy upset and pack less sugar and chemicals than gels and chews.  

I had never tried having the fig cookies before a run in the morning, so I was curious to see how my body would react to it.  So we ate our cookies, grabbed the water and set out.

Now mind you my hubby and I haven't run together in months.  I think the last time we ran together was in December, so I wasn't sure how he would do on this run.  It was only 2-3 miles, but it's a steady grade up to the out and back point.  His pace is naturally faster than mine, his stride is also longer than mine as well, so I had to really push myself to keep up with him.  It was actually a nice change of pace.  Hahaha...that's a knee slapper!

We got through almost half of the run and he was petering out...and quick.  So I suggested that we turn around and head back.  Since it was downhill going back, it wasn't too bad.  There is one final hill climb (pretty steep, actually) just before we hit home, then we were done.  He walked up the hill and I ran it.  When we met up at the top he told me that he was feeling light-headed.  
Okay, no worries, drink the rest of the water and we'll walk it off.

We got into our place and he was getting worse and feeling like he was going to puke.  He took off his shoes, I got him outside in the cool breeze, sprinkled a patch of salt on his hand for him to lick up and drink the other half of a container of coconut water I had in the fridge.  I needed to get electrolytes in him and pronto!  Water and coconut water mix is what I had him drinking.  He was progressively getting better, but still not 100%.  He felt good enough to shower and change.  I made him a PB&J sandwich for him to munch on and some ice cold water, which he took with him as he headed out the door.

Just before he left he told me that he needs to eat before he exercises.  ::hit palm on forehead::  Why didn't you tell me that before?!?  It  makes sense looking at it now.  I don't eat as much as my hubby (think: he eats twice as much) and his metabolism is pretty quick, even for his age.  (Oooo...he's gonna hate me for that comment. Oh well!)  So a small amount of fuel is perfect for me because it will give me the boost I need until I need to refuel again, whether it be after a short run or during a longer run.  So the fact that his body was zapped and he started to feel poorly when we got home, makes sense, his body had consumed the fuel and needed more before we got half way through the run.

So, moral of the story is: with my hubby, he needs to eat something more substantial before he runs, whereas with me, I can have something smaller and still be properly fueled.  Lesson learned.

Question for you:  Do you eat before you run?  What do you usually eat?  Is there a tried and true meal you eat before you run?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Grand Plans

When I came up with the concept of this blog it was to create a place where new runners could come and benefit from information that I was craving for when I first started running.

What type of shoes are good to run in?

Can I wear the race t-shirt during the race?

What is race fuel?  When do you take it and what kind is the best?

Is there racing etiquette?  Is there running etiquette?

All these questions (and more!) I wanted answers to as I started running and trying to find my way into this seemingly exclusive club known as running.  So after months of milling it over the concept of a blog, I decided to dive right in and do it. 

I would be bold. 
I would be smart. 
I would be funny. 
I would be informative. 
I would have a place where new runners could have a safe haven to come to and get answers to questions like "what is a PR?" without fear of being ridiculed for asking a "stupid" question.

Then as the blog started to take shape it grew into more like my journey with beginner's knowledge and story morals sprinkled throughout.  To say I feel lost about the direction I need to go is quite an understatement.  When did I lose my ground, my drive and my confidence in what I was doing here?  When did my plans change?

I tried not to mimic the style and feel of this blog to anyone else's, we all need to be our individualistic self and shine like only we can, right?  Though I feel like people don't get my sense of humor most of the time and my italicized asides to myself (note: what is going on in my head) seem to be lost on most people.  Though I think they can be funny as hell sometimes.  Shhh...stop talking about me, and quit talking about yourself like you're Stuart Smalley.

I confessed to my hubby that sometimes I just don't know how to be strong.  In my running, in keeping up with changing my lifestyle by breaking those long standing bad habits, in being vulnerable and writing this blog.  Sometimes I feel like throwing in the towel and closing shop on this whole thing, claim defeat and trudge on.  But then there are times when I'm inspired by the blogs of the wonderful people I follow and how they have helped me to do something or get through an obstacle just by taking their experiences and applying it to my own.  Or get inspired by their progress, their wit, tenacity and zest for life.  Then I feel like maybe I can add something to the world that can inspire or help in ways that I could never have imagined, just like others have helped me.  Giving me that little nudge to just keep going and press on with what it is I am doing.

Maybe this isn't all for naught and this is somehow part of the plan for me and this blog.  I have found that in theory grand plans can be grand, but that the implementation starts out small, in hopes of building toward that grand plan you envisioned.  This is still the beginning for me, I just hope my plans aren't too grand to achieve, where ever those plans may take me. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Momentum Monday: Mileage

Saturday was my families Annual BBQ where all our family and friends come out and have a day of good food, good laughs and good times.  My parents cook up quite a spread and my sister and I help them out with set up, serving and hosting in general.  It's a long day on our feet, but it's well worth the time we get to spend with good people.

Prior to the prep work of the BBQ, I came over to my parents with the intent on going for my weekend long run and taking my parents dog with me to tire her out before the party.  So my route was an out and back 5 mile run from my parents place.  With my water bottle in hand, fuel tucked into my sports bra and the dog on a leash in hand, I was out the door and heading into the heat for my run.  It was in the low 80's by that time and that is HOT for the PNW!

My goal was to complete the whole 5 miles and get back home to help with the set up.  I had just run the Seafair Torchlight 8K the weekend before, so the mileage didn't seem too much for me to do.  I was just trucking along and about 1/4 of the way done with the route when I realized that I've been going downhill a lot, meaning I've got to climb all of that when I head back.  That's when the doubt started creeping in.  Oh crap, maybe I should stop now and only do half the route! But I told myself no, that I can do this and to keep going.

So when I got to the turn around point I took a minute to get some water and head right back in the direction I'd just come from.  Then as I was starting my first incline it dawned on me, I hadn't taken a walk break during that whole leg out.  I'd gone 2.5 miles without stopping or feel like I was dying and needed to stop.  That little realization just fueled me for the rest of my run, well and my fuel too which I took after that first incline. 

The whole way back I felt like I was flying.  My legs felt great and almost like an out of body experience where I couldn't feel anything, like I was floating.  I ran the whole way back as well, I just couldn't believe it!  It was the most efficient and consistent run I've ever had and I was dragging my parents dog behind me all the while.  Ugh! NOT taking the dog running next time, she is just too slow! HA! Never thought I would say that!

I'm just so thrilled that my body is accepting the mileage, that 5 miles is becoming a distance that my body feels comfortable running.  It is astonishing to me the ability my body has to change and adapt to the training I'm doing, I am awe inspired and can't wait to keep pushing my limits.  Which leads me to todays Momentum Mantra:

I may not be the fastest runner out there, but I'm not going to stop.  I'm going to keep going and pound the pavement to work on increasing my mileage.  I'm so proud at what I've accomplished and I can't wait to keep increasing the distance!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Race Recap: Seafair Torchlight Run

Wow, I can't believe how long it took me to get this recap out!  I'm usually so excited to recap I get it out the very same day.  Though to say my week has been busy would be an understatement.  I've been fairly absent from blogging and Tweeting as's just been one of those crazy weeks!  Now that it's over, I can finally talk to you about my 8K run during the Seafair Torchlight Race.

So first off, something different about this race was that it was an evening race.  The gun time was 6:30pm, my first ever race that wasn't in the morning.  So I was nervous about how to hydrate, what to eat (what not to eat) and how to spend my day leading up to the race.  I kept to staying around the house that whole day, drinking lots of water and eating stuff that didn't have too much fiber.  Finally it was time to get to the Seattle Center before it got incredibly crazy busy with all the people coming downtown for the parade (there is a huge parade that started right after the last person crossed the start line).

So I got to the Seattle Center and the place was definitely hopping!

Long line for the porta potties already!  Though  people never seem to remember that there are actual public bathrooms open at the Seattle Center that is cleaned frequently and ALWAYS empty.  It's nice to know so you aren't waiting in a long line for a stinky Honey Bucket.  Eck!

View of the post race beer garden hosted by Michelob Ultra.

Now it's time to get ready for the race!  This is my second 8K I've done and I prepped for it a bit more than I had my first, so I was feeling more confident this time around.  The "starting gun" this year was the cannon from the Seafair Pirate boat, it was a pretty cool way to start the race.

Then we were off to run through the streets of downtown along the parade route crowded with thousands of people.  I for one didn't like it.  I'm not a fan of running along routes with crowds because when you stop to catch your breath, or if you need to adjust something, people heckle you.  I'm in this race to race myself, not the marathon runner who is a serial short distance race runner to get the free prizes.  So that part bothers me and I want to be in the zone running the race without people crossing the street right in front of you.  I almost tripped three times because spectators were running from one side of the street to the other through the race! So inconsiderate, just WAIT!  Anyway, I digress.

Around mile 2.5 there was a water station, boy I couldn't wait to get my hands on some water!  It was hot that day and I was so parched!  At that point I also took my mocha ClifShot, much earlier than I had planned on.  But I felt my energy starting to drain and I didn't know if we were going to have another water stop on the course, so I took it.  I'm glad I did because we turned the corner and had this ramp to climb.

Ugh!  It was tough, I had to walk it, the grade was just too steep for my fatiguing legs.

However that climb did give us a pretty incredible view! 

Then we had this next incline on the course. Seriously Seattle, are you trying to kill me! These inclines on this course are brutal! 4 total hills in the last 2 miles of the run. You guys play dirty!
A look at where I had come from and a pretty view of the skyline.  From this point on there was one more water station where they had water and Nuun available.  Thank goodness! I was thirsty and the electrolytes were appreciated!  Then there was the second to last hill to the finish.  Anyone living in Seattle knows the hill going from Western to 1st Avenue on Broad, it's one that makes you a bit nervous if you have to stop on it in a stickshift car!  It's pretty steep, EVERYONE was walking it.  I tried running and got about 1/3 to 1/2 way up then had to stop. Then you turn the corner and go up the final hill to the finish, luckily it was right at the top.
Don't I look delirious?  Yeah, I felt it too.  I was nasty sweaty too!  But I had finished and I was proud of myself.
The view of the beer garden afterwards, the line was huge and the area was packed, nonetheless, I went in and claimed my free Michelob Ultra.  I could only get through about half of it, it was just too much after that run.

So the synopsis from the run: 
- My time was pretty similar to my first 8K, 1hour and 2 minutes.  Not terrible, but not great either.  I kept around a 12 minute/mile pace.  Though with the more running I had done I hoped it would have been a better time, so I was kinda bummed about that.
- It was an evening race and it was my first.  I realized that I don't like late day/evening races. I don't feel as fresh and energized to pour myself into it.  I felt myself not giving all of my energy to this race and I was surprised at myself for this.  I didn't feel fatigued as much as I usually do after races.  So I was wondering if my endurance is getting better and I just didn't push myself enough, or I conserved my energy too much by not pushing it.  I don't know, something I'm still trying to figure out.
- Big crowds along the route; not a fan.  I've got enough pressure with all the faster runners running around me and picking me off, I don't need more from the crowds of people watching on the sidelines.

Overall, it was a fun experience.  It taught me a lot about how far I've come and also highlighted some very apparent holes in my training.  Mostly, I need to get going on the longer distances and I need to incorporate tempo training to get faster.  Anyone have any suggestions?  :) 

Now I'm looking forward to and training for the IronGirl in Seattle on September 9th.  I'm running the 10K, so I'm working on getting a consistent base of mileage so I don't fade so quickly during this race and I can't enjoy it a bit more.

Question for you:  Do you have any races coming up that you're training for? Have any tempo training suggestions?