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.

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.


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 :)

An Icy Weekend + Training Log (5 Miles)

Last week was the first week the temps really dropped around here and icy conditions + my gym being closed for renovations = no weekend miles. So we had a cozy and lazy weekend at home with Kitty and watched a million episodes of Walking Dead :) The highlight of our weekend was our small group holiday potluck on Friday, complete with an AMAZING homemade cake (one of our members is training as a pastry chef). So, if I ever get tired of this whole running thing, I know what my next hobby will be ;)

(Dec 12-18) Training Log

Tues: OTF

Weds: 5 miles on T/M (10:44 pace)

Thurs: OTF – tough rowing segment; 400 meter row alternating with 10 medicine ball thrusts; my legs were dying by the end!

Fri-Sun: rest days. I forgot my little gym was closed for renovations this weekend, and it was cold, windy and icy outside, so I decided to take a rest week.

In hindsight, I wish I had just signed up for a guest pass to the big gym near our place and got my runs in, but one week off isn’t the end of the world (and I still got 2 OTF classes in). I start marathon training this week, so that was the last week that I could skip so many runs without impacting a real training schedule. From now on, I’ll make sure I have backup plans each week to get in my mileage no matter what the weather :)

Friday Faves

Hey friends, hope you all had a great week. It’s been so chilly around here, but it looks like the weather should get a little warmer this weekend (morning temps back in the 20s…) so I’m looking forward to getting off the treadmill and getting to run outside! Here’s some things from this week:

Pizza spaghetti squash – SO good. No real recipe; just split and baked the squash for 40 min or so in the oven (at 375, I think?), then topped each side with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, and capers (for me). We have more mozz, pizza sauce and pepperoni leftover, so I think this meal will make another appearance this week :)img_20161207_183108

Rock’n’Roll race sale (yesterday) – RnR had a big sale on all their races yesterday, and I signed up for the DC half! It fits perfectly into my training plan for my early April marathon.

A new mug from Target – Target is also having a sale off their Threshold line of products (20% off with code THRESHOLD), so I picked up this cute mug to drink tea at work #mugaddiction51145084

Double chocolate and peanut butter mug cake – I had a major craving for something sweet on Monday night, so I looked up mug cake recipes and decided to try this one (swapped out the nutella for PB because that’s what I had). I’ve had some dry/overly sweet mug cakes in the past, but this one was a winner – moist and well balanced in flavor. Will definitely make again!1212161828a_hdr

This photo of Kitty – We’ve finally started turning on the fireplace again, and Kitty is one happy cat. After I saw her doing this, I got out a fleece blanket so she’s not stretched out on the wood, lol. I think winter is her favorite season.1212161215_hdrWhat treat do you turn to when you have a sweet tooth?

Weekend Highlight and Training Log (24 miles)

We had an eventful and fun weekend, starting with a long run, a visit to Union Market, bowling, and hot pot with friends.

Milk, pasta, knives at Union Market
Milk, pasta, knives at Union Market

But we also lost Lucy on Sunday.

I mentioned a while ago that my dear cat Lucy was diagnosed with either lung cancer or asthma several months ago. Her coughing and vomiting was well controlled with steroids, until this past weekend. After seeing her suffer for two days with no improvement, we decided it was time to bring her in. The vet gently confirmed that her symptoms were consistent with cancer (not asthma) and walked us through the process for putting her to sleep. I got to hold her body one last time as the sedative took effect and she fell asleep in my arms.
1219151419a I cried my eyes out for most of the weekend, but I know we made the right choice and that we gave her a good home and lots of love for all the time we had her.  I hope she’s in cat heaven now, eating all the salmon and canned pumpkin her heart desires.

(Dec 5-11) Training Log

Mon: rest day

Tues: Orangetheory @ Rosslyn – the rowing section was tough!

Weds: rest

Thurs: OTF @ Pentagon City – loooved this class and studio.  We did a fun mini partner workout at the end of class, where one person rowed 200 meters while the other two ran at all out speed or did jump squats. It’s much closer to work and the layout doesn’t feel as crowded, so I’ll probably take most of my classes at this studio.

Fri: 6 miles on T/M (10:31 pace) – I added a little speed to this workout – 1 mile w/u, then 1 min fast/4 min recovery; 1 fast/3 slow; 1 fast/2 slow, 1 fast/ 1 slow, then repeated the fast/slow intervals two more times.  I finished with a cooldown jog till I hit 6 miles – I liked how fast this workout went!

Sat: 10 miles outside (10:00 pace) – this was a cold and windy run, so I bundled up in my warmest layers.  I think this was my fastest longish run all year, thanks to the numb legs ;)1210161042_hdr

Sun: 8 miles on T/M (10:55 pace) – I couldn’t sleep because I knew we had to take Lucy to the vet later that day, so I got out of bed and went downstairs to run around 6 AM.  My legs were a little sore from the long run, but I just kept an easy pace and felt great.

Friday Faves

I feel like this week went by much faster than usual; anyone else feel that way? I made it to two OTF classes this week and my butt (literally, my butt) is so sore. And my back. And my abs. And my calves. I want to slather myself with bengay and go to sleep now. But first, Friday faves!

Holiday socks/ pajamas
I’m all about socks and slippers around the house this winter. I got this cute pair from Target and I slip it on as soon as I get home every night! I also have and love this flannel plaid lounge shirt – so cozy and festive.1201162019a_hdr

Candy Cane tea
Let’s continue with the holiday theme, shall we? This was an Aldi impulse buy and it is really good. Mint flavored teas are perfect after dinner – I feel like they aid digestion and stop dessert cravings.1205161806_hdr

We’ve been sucked in, and it’s SO good. Mike and I have fun making outrageous predictions about a character’s future actions or past or who’s controlling everything behind the scenes. I was shocked when he correctly predicted a major reveal in one of the last episodes (but we’ve also had a bunch of terrible guesses, lol).465_1024x411

Secret Santa website
Both our families are doing Secret Santa this year, and after several failed attempts to draw names from a hat without someone picking him/herself or spouse, I did some googling and found this secret santa website! It has all the features I could think of: you can tell it to exclude certain matches, people can fill in their wishlists for their secret santa, and the administrator can go in and see who has logged on and entered items into their wishlist.  Oh, and it’s free ;)captureAlso – winter is coming.  YASSS.