Friday Faves

Happy Friday friends! Any good plans for the weekend? I’m volunteering at a food distribution center tomorrow morning, and then we’re heading into the city for a date night :)0317170950_HDR

About the fake plant on my desk above – I wanted a plant for my office, but I don’t have any windows so I figured it would be a challenge to keep a real plant alive.  But then I remembered this interesting article about the soothing effect of artificial plants (in prison) so I picked one up from TJ Maxx.  I think it’s working :)

I listened to this audiobook on a business trip to Raleigh a few weeks ago and LOVED it.  Jim Gaffigan might be my new favorite comedian.

This jacket for spring.  I tried it on in the store a few weeks ago, and ended up buying it at half the price on Poshmark.

GoT coasters – I got them from Etsy as a surprise for Mike! I’m House Greyjoy all the way – who doesn’t want a kraken as their house symbol?IMG_20170218_192928

I made this recipe last week and it was a HUGE hit with both of us. So easy too – I just used red curry paste and coconut milk for the base, and subbed the veggies for what I had on hand (red cabbage, frozen edamame, mushrooms, kale).

I’ve spent a few days in Raleigh over the last couple of months on business trips, and have discovered there’s a ton of great restaurants/eateries in the city! This gourmet hot dog from Tasty 8’s was everything.  I’ve been told I need to eat some BBQ next…0216171149_HDRThe Sing movie soundtrack on Spotify.  We watched this months ago and I’ve been listening to the soundtrack several times a week ever since.  Fave song: “I’m Still Standing” – so good!

Speaking of movies, I watched Hidden Figures with my girlfriends a few weeks ago and it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time.  Such an amazing story – from the women determined to make an impact to the people in their lives and at work who supported them against the racist/sexist backdrop of the time to America’s ground-breaking achievements in space exploration.  ALL the feels.  I’m going to watch it again with Mike when it comes out on Google Play!

What’s the best movie you’ve seen lately?

Last Week’s Workouts: CycleBar

Hey friends! Hope you all had a great weekend. Ours was pretty low key – we went to a new cycle class on Saturday morning (more on that below) and then spent the rest of the day at Spaworld :) So relaxing.  We did some food shopping afterwards at Hmart, and I grabbed a few pastries from the bakery nearby for breakfast the next morning.
Sunday was church – I’ve been teaching Sunday School each week and watching the sermons during the week when I have time. My three year olds are so cute but MAN are they energetic! We grabbed dim sum afterwards with a friend, then came home to take care of chores and get ready for another week. Dinner was a Blue Apron winner – smoky cod with a roasted potato salad. I loved the butter, date, and garlic sauce on the cod and the pickled shallot on the salad. Here’s the recipe link if you want to try it!

Last Week’s Workouts

I mentioned in my last post that I haven’t been running much, thanks to an Achilles tendon injury that’s taking its time to go away. I’m confident that if I can just rest it for a couple of weeks with no long runs/ speedwork, it’ll be fine. It’s been fine with a few easy runs each week, so I’ve been alternating easy running with more intense cross training sessions in the form of Orangetheory, cycling, and classes offered at my UFC gym. And I think I might be in the best shape I’ve been in a while – I’m lifting heavy at OTF and interval classes at the gym, I’ve nearly doubled my max power output on the rower, and just a few weeks ago (when I was still able to run) I was hitting 6-7 mile pace runs at my marathon pace with little effort, despite running only 20-25 miles a week. When I start training again, cross-training is going to stick around as part of my regimen for sure.

Mon – OTF! It’s become my favorite way to start the week, because it forces me to work out first thing Monday morning, and that gets me into the habit of doing it the rest of the week.
Tues – 4 easy miles on the T/M (10:40 pace)
Weds – 2.5 easy miles (10:20 pace), and then my Achilles hurt so I incline walked for another 15-20 minutes.
Thurs – Daily Ultimate Training (DUT) class at gym – described as a high intensity boot camp. I tried it for the first time this week, and holy cow – we started off with 20 minutes of lunge variations using the TRX. My legs were DYING. Then we moved onto 9 minute blocks at three stations with two activities each, alternating 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off. One station focused on legs using squat jumps on the bosu alternating with a sled push; station 2 focused on abs alternating pikes with the TRX and abdominal holds, and station 3 was a arms/chest workout alternating a burpee/overhead press with chest flys on an exercise ball. Yea, I was sore everywhere for days.
Fri – 4 easy miles on the T/M (10:20 pace)
Sat – CycleBar endurance class (60 min)
Sun – rest

CycleBar Review

With long runs out of the picture for now, I was looking around for another activity I could do on weekends, maybe with Mike (who cycles a lot at his gym). We came across CycleBar, which is a spin studio that opened up a location in Arlington in November last year. They had an awesome intro package – 3 classes for $29, so we both signed up! I was pleasantly surprised at how it easy it was to book a class; other premium cycle studios often book up within hours of releasing their week’s schedule, but we were able to book a class the day before – maybe because the studio is still pretty new?

We walked into the gorgeous studio on Saturday morning, and it was as luxe as other premium spin studios I’ve been to, with more perks – they have the standard lockers and nice bikes, but they also give out free water bottles, towel service, free shoe rentals and the bikes come with data screens showing your gear level, RPMs, watt, and other info. The studio itself was really big, with stadium style seating and a good amount of space between bikes.

Source: Cyclebar

And the class? It was SO hard – the instructor told us which gear we should be in, so I couldn’t just “go by feel” (aka coast half the class lol) since I could see the gear on the screen. The class was a good mix of hills, speedwork, steady tempo songs, and a little bit of core work and arms using a weighted bar (hence the name). Mike and I liked all the aspects of the class, from the motivating music, use of lighting (they turn off the lights during steady tempos and turn down the lights for speedwork songs), and participant stats on the screen (you can opt out, if you want). It’s fair to say I was a sweaty mess after class :)
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Speaking of stats, they send you your stats afterwards, like OTF.  We had some rock stars in the class – I pushed myself hard just to stay in the middle of the pack!
Have you tried any indoor cycling studios? Any favorites? I know the price is insane and it’s definitely a cult, but SoulCycle is my favorite.  It feels like a party on a bike.

Life Lately

I’m still alive!

I know I haven’t blogged in a while – I started a new job (my first job change since 2008!) and my commute went from 10 minutes to 1 hour. The good news is that I really love my new job, and I’ve been fine with the commute thanks to audiobooks I’ve been borrowing from the library. And surprisingly, I’ve grown to love driving – so weird, I would have done anything to avoid having to drive just a few months ago.  Anyway, here’s a few things we’ve been up to lately!

We bought a new (used) car! After tons of research and visits to multiple dealerships, we ended up with a great RAV4.  It’s the car I use to commute everyday, and I’ve come to love driving it.

Lots of delicious home-cooked food, thanks to Mike’s new obsession with sous vide cooking, which is a method that uses a water bath to cook food to a precise temperature.  It’s super time-consuming, but all the meats he’s made have come out perfectly cooked.  My favorite dish so far has been the Asian pork belly buns (top right below).

We went skiing a few weeks ago! Well, sort of – Mike’s coworkers planned a trip to Deep Creek months ago, but the weather has been so freakishly warm here that there was no snow, lol.  No matter, we went hiking instead :)

More food – we discovered UberEATS.  Boru Ramen delivered within 35 minutes to our condo.  I might never leave the house again.

And finally…more food.  We went to Bad Saint in February, a Filipino restaurant that’s gotten tons of buzz in DC.  It also doesn’t take any reservations, so we showed up at 3:30 PM on a Saturday, waited two hours and just barely got into the first seating.  Whew! How was it? Honestly, I’d describe the food as interesting, but any given weekend, I’d rather be eating the bowl of ramen above ;)

On the training front, things were going great – until I injured my left Achilles on a long run about two months ago. Wah wah. I DNSed the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC half last weekend, and I won’t be running Reston in April.  But honestly, I’ve actually been happy doing lots of cross-training, especially now that the weather has finally gotten cold around here.  I’ll talk about what I’ve been doing to stay in shape (and balance out all the eating) next week!

Reston Marathon Training Weeks 1+2

My training cycle for the Reston marathon (in early April) kicked off two weeks ago! I’m opting for a slightly shorter training cycle this time around – 16 weeks instead of the usual 18. For most of the cycle, my goal is to get in a pace run, long run, 2 cross training sessions (like OTF or barre), and 2 easy runs. Here’s how the first two weeks went!

Marathon Training Week 1 (11.5 miles)

This was not a great start to the cycle; I did get in some activity throughout the week but I skipped 2 runs and cut others short because I wasn’t sleeping well due to some job stuff going on. Still, if I was going to have an off week, I’d glad it was early on in my training schedule.

Mon: OTF
Tues: rest
Weds: 2 mile MP (marathon pace) run on T/M (9:10 pace) – This was supposed to be closer to 4-5 miles, but I was having some problems with new shoes (fixed later on using a different lacing technique)
Thurs: Lavabarre
Fri: 6 miles on the T/M (10:31 pace)
Sat: 3.5 miles on T/M (10:35 pace) – My plan was to get in my long run (12 miles) on the treadmill before heading down to Richmond, but I did not feel well and cut the run short.
Sun: rest day

Marathon Training Week 2 (26 miles)

This week went much better; I started sleeping well again and I always love running in Cali so I got all my miles in, even though we were on vacation :)

Mon: rest day
Tues: 5 mile MP on T/M (9:13 pace) – this went surprisingly well; I thought I’d have trouble holding my MP pace for that long on the treadmill, but I took super short breaks every mile or so and it didn’t feel that fast at all.
Weds: OTF
Thurs: rest day
Fri: 5 miles in Temecula (10:08 pace) – Mike ran the first 3 miles with me, and then I did another two solo. The weather was slightly chilly and felt great!
Sat: 12 miles in Temecula (10:37 pace) – This was a great long run, considering how hilly the route was (probably 8-9 hills total). All the incline training we’ve been doing at OTF has been paying off though; I was able to run all but the largest two hills without stopping.
Sun: 4 miles in Temecula (10:33 pace) – I got in a few miles in the morning before we packed up and went back up to LA!

This week, I’ll be jumping to 30 miles with a 14 mile long run on Saturday. I know I’ll be tired after getting back to DC, but if I power through this week, I’ll have a cutback week to look forward to in week 4 :)

Christmas in Richmond + Temecula

We’ve had a great winter holiday week, sandwiched by a weekend in Richmond over Christmas and now a late Christmas celebration with Mike’s family in southern California! I haven’t been great at remembering to take pictures, but here are a few from our celebrations :)

First Richmond with my family, where highlights included a candlelight Christmas Eve service, gingerbread cookie decorating, Christmas dinner at a random Japanese restaurant (what happens when you don’t make reservations and don’t feel like cooking, lol), and secret santa gifts.

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My Elvis cookie!

dsc04793 We stopped by the Jefferson Hotel, which had a gorgeously decorated lobby! No drinks though – they were really packed on Christmas day. 1225161718_hdrThis was our first year doing Secret Santa, and the results were seriously hilarious.  My brother bought me a single hand towel (I asked for a pair), and my mom ignored the price range completely and bought J a designer bag.  It’s okay T, you can buy me the other hand towel for Christmas next year ;)richmond-collageAnd now we’re in SoCal celebrating a late Christmas and New Years with Mike’s family! Our family has grown to the point that we don’t fit in his parents’ two bedroom condo anymore, so we’ve started a tradition of renting an airbnb with room for all eight of us.  This year, we found a lovely house in Temecula with lots of fun activities nearby; we took an archery lesson, checked out a brewery, opened presents, and ate – a lot.  temecula-collage dsc04798I’m managing to get in a few miles while we’re here too – we went for a run together this morning, and I’m hoping to get in two more runs before we leave – a long run tomorrow and a recovery run on Sunday.  I’ll check back in next week with a training log update – I have two weeks of marathon training under my belt already!

2016: The Year the Honeymoon Ended

If I can use a relationship as a metaphor for running, this was the year the honeymoon ended and the hard work began.

This was a pretty tough year in running/health for me.  I ran nearly 0 miles from January through March due to a bad hamstring injury, then spent the next several months adjusting my hyperthyroidism medication and dealing with my fluctuating weight.  I started to run consistently in the summer, but we had one of the hottest summers on record followed by record lows in December.  For all these reasons and sheer laziness, I ended up DNSing several races and definitely didn’t PR in any distances.

But here’s the thing – I didn’t quit.  Just a little over 4 years ago, I lined up at the start of my first race (a marathon!) and wondered how long this new hobby would stick.  It’s easy to stick with running when you’re setting PRs and running on rainbows and happiness, but my commitment to and love of running was well and truly tested this year…and I passed the test.  I ran over 800 miles from April – December, learned to embrace summer running, and changed up my routine and strategy again and again to keep myself motivated and improving.

2016 wasn’t a fun year for me and running, but we learned how to take a healthy break (with my hamstring injury), keep things interesting (add in cross training), and stay committed (during the hot hot summer, haha).  The honeymoon may be over, but our relationship is stronger than ever – and I can’t wait to see where we go in 2017 :)_DSC0445

Merry Christmas!

I don’t post on weekends, so this is an early Merry Christmas from me! We’ll be heading down to my mom’s place for a day or two to celebrate with sister J and mom! I think ice skating, gingerbread cookies, and a Christmas service are on the agenda.

But before we get into the fun, I know this holiday may bring on mixed feelings for some of you – this time of year can feel hectic, sad, disappointing, or even sometimes maddening (see: crazy relatives).  And that’s confusing when the world tells us that Christmas is a time of happiness and joy and we don’t know how to find it in ourselves or those around us.

So I just wanted to share a reminder that Jesus came to bring us peace, love and fullness of joy. If you feel like you’re not enough, He provides strength where we are weak and in God’s eyes, you are more than enough! If you feel lonely, your creator is reaching for you and longs to pick you up or walk beside you. If you feel sad, he feels your pain and grief and offers comfort.  If you feel stressed, he offers a spot to sit, rest, and be strengthened by his presence.

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Source: wiirocku.tumblr.com

I haven’t kept up with my devotions this year, but I downloaded the First5 app yesterday and am making it a priority to sit and rest with God a few minutes each morning going into this holiday season.  If you’re looking for a practical, applicable (and easy!) way to spend time with God, try the app with me :)