It really is…to an extent. Some of the bad things I’ve found some fun in include…

  • Running less. I’ve been experiencing some weird soreness/pain in my left hip or hip flexor. I still don’t even really know what it’s about. But I figured some rest would be good. This was initially really difficult for me because I get scared of not running. It keeps me sane, happy and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared of gaining some LBs and losing my fitness. But I found some joy in attending more spin classes, taking time to do some weight training and other fun ways to be active. Running less doesn’t mean no running at all! How can I pass up Saturday mornings to see this???
             
  • Boozing with less worries. Training a little more seriously for the Carlsbad half marathon never stood in the way of me and my weekend benders – but it was in the back of my mind that half marathon was my main focus. Even if it meant one shot instead of two or no Bloody Mary’s to recover on a Sunday morning.
                
  • Not blogging…for a little over two weeks. It is probably a sign of laziness, or a lack of anything exciting to talk about. I know I said I’d recap Carlsbad- but all I can really say about that race was that it was my favorite. I started to struggle around mile 9 and my goal was to keep my pace under 10:20 and I DID! I think all the speed and hill training really paid off. Also, reading everyone’s running blogs and taking their little bits of advice helped me to strategize on how I was going to exert my energy throughout the run. That was without a doubt the main game changer this time around. Here are some not so painful race photos. That guy in the blue is who kept me going – I was NOT going to let him beat me🙂

      

  • Watching the Bachelor. In my opinion, there is nothing politically correct OR okay about this show or what it does in ‘helping’ someone find their future spouse…BUT I CAN’T STOP WATCHING. You win entertainment industry. I used to feel really bad about it, but I’m pretty sure there are worse things😉

 

Ok FINE – the things listed aren’t truly THAT bad (or are they?). If you want the nitty gritty stuff, I randomly post inappropriate confessions on twitter (@jnellnicolle) or for a more visual notion some of you have even found me on Instagram, where you can clearly see my disgusting sense of humor, awful eating habits and track the small adventures that I forget to write about. 

What are YOUR confessions or ‘fun bad things’ as of lately?

I understand that the title of this post may be slightly confusing. But I promise…it makes sense.

This weekend I took off to San Diego (duh) – and it wasn’t to get my party on. Weird, huh? The reason for heading down south was for the Carlsbad Half Marathon! Honestly, I was really nervous but really excited for this race. I was nervous because I felt like I was undertrained due to the holidays (excuses, excuses) and I saw the rolling hills on that course. And I was excited because the weather forecast looked good (about 50 degrees and sunny) and my friends were running too! There is just something comforting about prepping for a race with other people.

Friday

I did an awful 3 mile run. Or maybe I should call it a ‘run-walk’. Either way, it wasn’t the best. You would THINK that I would have been really frightened by that. But I wasn’t. I just thought ‘ok great, the bad run is over’ – that way I could really bring it for Sunday! I also laid low and had a couple glasses of wine with girlfriends to stay calm and rested. That’s nothing new though…I’ve been laying low almost every friday since I’ve started training.

Saturday

I slept in and woke up feeling super refreshed. I drove to the expo and picked up everyones bibs and made my way to San Diego for dinner with my friends. Confession: I drank a beer. JUST ONE. The rest of the night was dedicated to eating carbs and hydrating with water and Gatorade. We played Sporcel for a bit, then hit the hay at 9PM- we had to be well rested!

I had a mini melt down consisting of nerves and self-doubt. Good thing I’m lucky enough to have friends who I could send frantic texts to and get reassuring and super encouraging texts back! That’s love people.

Sunday, aka RACE DAY!

I dragged my tush out of bed at 4:30AM and started eating a bagel. Haha, I hate running feeling the slightest bit full. So that was seriously the first thing I did. I had laid out all my clothing the night prior so getting dressed mindlessly. That was good, because I kept my mind focused on my race.

Pretty sunrise

We got there super early. At first I thought it was too early. But no, it was perfect. We got to warm up, check our gear and slowly make our way to our wave.

I’ll write a full recap tomorrow (hopefully), but I will leave you with this….

Long Beach Half-Mary – 2:27:35

Goal Time – 2:20

Carlsbad Half-Mary – 2:14:19

So yes, while the Harbaugh brothers BOTH lost on Sunday and we’re repeating another Patriots vs. Giants Superbowl….I was STILL celebrating with 5 schooners of beer!!!

Cheer!

Welp – my third half marathon in just around the corner. Literally. As in…FIVE DAYS away. And what have I been doing to prepare?

  • 4-5 mile runs 3x a week
  • Cross trained once a week
  • One distance run on Saturday mornings

Okay- fine. I’ll admit I wasn’t very dedicated to that schedule. I mean, a majority of that training took place during the holidays!

Lesson learned: taking better precautions when signing up for a race shortly following Thanksgiving, Christmas AND New years!

However, there were a lot of upsides to that. It forced me to stay active during a time when I am the most lazy. Let’s face it- during the holidays all you want to do is hang with your friends and family…and most importantly eat and drink a ton! Having this race in the back of my mind kept me a little more focused and it helped me to make slightly better choices when it came to food and the amount of alcohol consumed.

After all the training and finally figuring out how the eff to work my Garmin I am happy to say that I think I’ve improved. It may not be a drastic improvement that will result in a kickass PR, but I know that I feel a lot better than I did before Long Beach. And once you find out a little more about what my weekends (and even some week days) have consisted of aside from some training runs…you’ll see why I’ll take what I can get!

Life other than running…

Work has been SO hectic! I thought I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off at the end of the year in hopes that things would settle down a little more once the new year started…BOY was I wrong! It’s been busier than ever and I kind of like it. At this point in my life, I think staying busy is the way to go. Sure, I may be exhausted at 11PM (that was never the case before), but I sure get a lot more done during the day. One step at a time…

My treats jar that my aunt gave me for Christmas has been really helpful when it hits 3PM and my mind is going crazy. I’m 100% sure that I’ve been reaching for peanut m&ms way too much, so in attempt to be ‘healthier’….I put it on a shelf that requires me to stand up if I want any.

See it...top left.

 

I’ve been partying. A lot. And my mom hates it (sorry Mom, but I promise it’s just a phase…maybe). But come on, all the college football bowl games were AWESOME…except for the BCS finals- don’t even get me started on my level of disappointment. I skipped a run that night for beer and nachos for LSU to not make it past the 50 yard line. Yep- apparently, that tangent was necessary.

Also, these NFL football games have been extra fun.

I’ve also made a lot of trips to San Diego…surprise surprise. And I had a lot of these:

VODKA RED BULL SLUSHIE

I know, it may not sound delicious, but I promise it is. I just love them so much. They are available at a total dive bar in Pacific Beach, but I can’t help it! But you gotta be careful with them…they really sneak up on you!

Other cool things about San Diego:

  • One of my best gal pals
  • A change of running scenery (I like to trick friends into waking up after a night of light friday night drinking to come with me)
  • It’s a huge city-town. It’s seriously a huge city with many small areas that give you a small town feel.
  • The people are fun.

This past weekend we had some fun with this little contraption…

SHOT-SKIIIIII

We created many fun memories with that thing.

Cinnamon Twist = slice of heaven

With all the amazing Mexican food available in San Francisco…a lot of the time I’ll end up Taco Bell just to have some Cinnamon Twists.

Post work and post run beers

This beer was consumed after I left work an hour early to knock out 5 miles and THEN meet up with everyone else for some brewskis. So in my mind..this beer (and the other 2 I had) were well deserved.

Random funny things…

This picture was created using the Justin Bieber BFF app on my iPhone. I saw my friend post a similar pic on Facebook and HAD to have my own. And yes, I did crop my friend out.

Gift from my friend for Xmas. So amazing - considering how over sized my calves are.

 

I know Christmas was a long time ago – but is there a present that still stands out to you today?

WHY DO I KEEP WATCHING THE BACHELOR?????

 

YAY! The holiday season is finally over. My secret wish was that life would slow down so I can catch my breath. But then I realized…I have a race coming up – in about 16 days.

The good news?

I think I may be a little more prepared than that horrible Long Beach half about three months ago. I have an idea of what I did wrong. This includes:

  • Over-thinking it:  I am all about researching way to get faster, or what kind of meal will make my tummy feel the best during my early morning long distance runs. But I learned that I need to try one thing at a time. Trying five different foods that are considered ‘running fuel’ and experimenting with too many interval sets is not productive. I need to learn how to pick something new to try…and give it time to get real results. In the mean time, I will still be snacking from this (on the comfort of my own desk) on a daily basis:

    Christmas gift via my aunt❤

  • I didn’t push myself hard enough: YES- being able to run (and not stop) 13.1 miles takes some mental toughness and requires people who aren’t athletically blessed enough to be ‘good at everything’ to really really push themselves. I guess hoping that I would magically become a faster run over time doesn’t really work. After purchasing my first Garmin, now I can really know how fast/slow I go. It’s definitely a challenge to not be obsessed with watching my speed, but it has definitely helped!

I forgot to just have fun! I am by NO means a professional runner. And yes, it would be fan-freaking-tastic to PR every single race, but it’s not worth being too serious about. I don’t ever want running to lose its magic to me. At the end of the day, it’s what makes me a little more sane and a lot happier. I need to find that balance where I can push myself to improve over time, yet still keep it fun. It would be a sad day when running stopped being fun. So while I will attempt to stay away from boozing at least 7 days prior to the Carlsbad Half Marathon…why change who I am? I will continue to dabble in some fun from time to time….

I really like wine nights with my BFFs

 

What I will continue to do up until January 22nd…

  • Logging the miles and tracking my time – I’ve been doing 4-5 mile runs on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Wednesdays are mellow with a quick 3 miler OR some sort of cross training. Saturdays are the dreaded slow long distance runs that I’m upping to 8-10 miles starting THIS saturday! And Sundays are rest days or yoga days.
  • NOT changing my diet – I haven’t changed my diet ONE BIT this time around. I don’t think too hard about what I eat – I’m just not completely stupid and eating nasty burritos from hole-in-the-wall places the before runs, or drinking tons of soda. Personally, I find that when I don’t think too hard about it, my runs are a lot of enjoyable and I’m lucky enough to have a pretty tolerable tummy.
  • HAVING FUN – I started to have a little less fun towards the end of my training for Long Beach. I need to not be bumming over a run just because it wasn’t awesome. It’s really about putting in the effort and allowing myself to really appreciate when it pays off!

Hopefully, this will all help me stay healthy because I’m aiming to run a lot more races this year!

Random hilariousness:

1. my ‘snack drawer’ is really getting out of control:peanut butter m&ms, peanut m&ms, swedish fish, nutella and 2 jars of PB.

2. My little cousin trying to figure out what my foam roller is for. Isn’t she the cutest?

3. Having a friend send me this because apparently, I’m a huge snorer (so sexy, I know).

What kind of tid bits did you learn from your last race?

 

 

Yep – I didn’t run today. Instead, I ran an errand and ‘accidentally’ drove home and opted to watch the documentary ‘Foo Fighters Back and Forth’. I caught 30 minutes of it yesterday before I decided to drink two gigantic margaritas at taco Tuesday and was extremely intrigued.  So I found out when it was airing again and set my DVR to record it. Today, at 5PM…watching Dave Grohl trumped running. But let’s quickly rewind…

Yesterday I went on the best run I’ve had…almost ever.

I always love running on new trail/path/route because I’m on my toes – entertained and paying attention the entire time. The was the first time I took off running straight from my office. But the area is actually runner-friendly with running paths that are well lit everywhere. The weather was also perfect. It started out around 60 degrees and ended around 57. Check out that 3 degree drop! It WAS a little faster than I usually go…and that may or may not have had something to do with one part where I almost stomped on a bunny and another when it was actually kinda dark and I didn’t know when or if the trail ever ended.

Total miles: 5.76

Time: 57:17.98

Pace: 9:57

Mile 1 – 10:14

Mile 2 – 10:19

Mile 3 – 9:45

Mile 4 – 9:53

Mile 5 – 9:43

.76 of a mile – 9:46

This is…really not bad for me. Which is why I’m letting the world know how slow/fast (depending on how you look at it) I went. The point is…that I felt like a million bucks after and I wasn’t even sore today. YAY!

Because everyone else told me about their Christmas…I’m going to tell you about MINE!

My mom’s family celebrates on Christmas Eve. We party into the wee hours (2AM) and all spend the night at whoever was foolish enough to host the huge group. I could give you a play by play…but you would seriously DIE of boredom. So I’ll give you little snips.

6 miles

Time: 1:00:26

Pace: 10:04/mile

This was what I saw during my morning run. It was bomb.com!

See- everyone really DID wear red and green as commanded via email.

  

  

2AM Delirium

If she can get married...anyone can.

Too much partying.

*Please make note of how adorable Zoey is at the bottom of that picture.

Though we may be pooped out/hungover…that didn’t mean Christmas was over!

We still had an appearance to make at my Dad’s family for ‘linner’…(dinner was at 3PM, WEIRD)

Below is a pic of me, my sisters and a couple of our cousins. BELIEVE IT OR NOT – we’re all related!!!

We can’t have a photo shoot without including the pups!

I got spoiled with a TON of really thoughtful gifts that revolved around running, booze and peanut butter. That is all so perfect because those three things are exactly ME! It was an easy reminder of how lucky I am to have such a hilariously huge family and amazing friends that know me so well. I really hope you all had a LOVELY holiday filled with lots of moments that make you almost pee your pants and wish the holidays lasted a little bit longer! I’ll leave you with the Christmas card my mom sent out and challenge you all to keep a straight face when you see it.

First things first…my aunt is really strict and ‘Type A’- so in a mass family email regarding Christmas Eve, she demanded that we all wear ‘red or green only’. Seriously. People in my family write this kind of stuff and we actually listen. Not only do we all listen (yes, I have a red sassy dress ready to go!), but even the damn dog’s get adorned in the appropriate colors.

Isn’t Zoey the cutest? I don’t really know what that weird ruffle is about and I usually hate animals with clothing on…but she’s the exception to everything.

 

Now lets talk about how I forgot to run for FOUR DAYS IN A ROW. 

Ok, I lie. I didn’t forget.

Thursday… I was really too lazy to run after a long and mind boggling day in the office. And I like to believe that I was meant to stay in and pack for my weekend trip up to Big Bear because it ended up raining. The rain was a GLORIOUS thing because that meant that there would be plenty of snow on the slopes!

I actually probably should have sucked it up and ran on a treadmill because I was restless all night. Even after I was fully packed I kept pacing and I couldn’t even sleep. I would usually blame that behavior on excitement for a fun weekend away…but I don’t get excited for things like that until an hour before all the fun starts.

Friday… I met up with some friends who had a meeting in Irvine (near my office) to carpool up to the mountains! Aside from the HORRIFIC traffic that Southern California is famous for…the ride was full of awesome conversation and my boyfriend for the weekend…JOCKO! Isn’t he so handsome?

Other people arrived before us. So they got the hot tub going, set out some appetizers and opened a bottle of Jameson. I mean…could life get ANY BETTER? Well, the answer is YES. Because it started to snow Friday night and apparently Saturday morning too because we opened up the blinds and saw THIS:

Yep – we got a sweet ‘cabin’ right on Big Bear Lake. We also found frozen towels and buried beer cans and empty bottles of booze under some of that snow. That lovely picture above meant that we had some fresh powder on the mountain and I was stoked!

Most of my friends are seasoned snowboarders that hail from Vancouver, Michigan, Northern Illinois, Wisconsin and Montana. Then there was me. Seriously, the only California native. While I have gone snowboarding all zero times in my life, I stuck to what I know – skiing. Luckily, another fellow was a skier so I didn’t feel like a total doofus.

While some people rushed to hit up some crazy ass black diamond courses…I was smart and slowly made my way up to that point. Thanks to my favorite SD girlfriend for being oh-so-patient with me!

Ya know what else was cool?? The fact that it snowed for most of the day. It was like fresh runs constantly throughout the day. It was awesome. I actually liked the runs in the morning the best because there were less people to run into. And later on, I really couldn’t see and I was afraid of running into a tree or something. True story. You can call me a wuss, it’s cool.

We took many breaks. There are sweet bars in the middle of some of the runs, so whether or not we should have stopped to have a few brewskis and make friends was not even a question. Those bars are genius!

Later that night, after our family dinner, we decided to party like college students and play ‘Kings Cup’ (or Waterfalls or whatever you want to call it). Everyone sort of has their own set of rules they play with, so we did our best to combine everyone’s version. Below is someone who broke a rule- and the punishment was to sit with their forehead on the table until another person broke a rule. It was too funny to NOT post.

A picture that I was sad I was not fast enough to capture was the pic of everyone ‘Tebowing’ due to a new rule someone made up. Classic.

Sunday…it snowed again. Sadly, we had to get the heck out of our cabin by 10AM because the people we rented from are weird. Another sad thing was that we didn’t hit the slops again because we woke up to more snow. Somewhere on those piles of snow are snow angels we made post jacuzzi session.

While some people rallied and went to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the Packers lose to the Chiefs (can you believe it?) – my carpool buddies and I were smart and opted to go home and SLEEP. After two nights of too much booze and a day on the slopes…I WAS SPENT. Ya  wanna know what else was spent? My hamstrings and ass. They were sore as hell. And because I’m crazy…

Monday came along and I counted FOUR days that I went without running and freaked the eff out. So I made tonight’s gym session worth it:

4 miles on the treadmill with some weird intervals followed but a ‘butt blaster’ spin class. Yep – I wanted to die a little during the class. But I am so glad I went. It made dinner tonight taste that much better.

Do you freak out when you skip running/exercising too many days in a row, or is it just me?

Snowboarding or skiing?

 

 

 

 

Hey – remember when I used to blog? Let’s try to get back to that. Hopefully I’m not the only one getting swept away with the busy holiday season. As things cool down (who knows when that will be)…I do plan on stalking blogs on a regular basis again. I just wanted to let you all know that I have NOT fallen off the face of the earth!

So what have I been up to lately? Or at least since I last posted….

I went to Boulder. And this is the freaking weather that I flew into. For a girl that has only lived in southern California…this was rather ridiculous. I almost laughed when my plane landed and the pilot said ‘Welcome to the Mile High City, it is 1 degrees outside’.

I also drove in ice and snow for the first time in my entire life. All you east coast/midwest/snow people can start laughing now. Anywho, this was my first time traveling for work and my first time traveling by MYSELF! This was a big growing up move people. I’ve flown to Rome by myself, but at least I was meeting people I knew and staying at a place where all my friends were. Nope- not this time. I flew to Denver, drove to Boulder and stayed in a hotel alone. All other colleagues were staying elsewhere. Upon check-in, which was around 7PM, I was still wide awake so I went for a short 3 miler in the hotel gym and watched Hart of Dixie. If you don’t already watch it – you should really start. And yes, I did call my mom about 5 times in one night and video chatted with my sister. Like I always say…baby steps people.

This is what I woke up to. Snow! It was also a warmer…23 degrees. WOOHOO!

I don’t usually recommend snapping photos while driving…but I don’t see snow often. It’s kind of a big deal to me.

Because it was ‘warmer’ and I packed more running clothes than normal clothes…I thought I’d give the cold weather running a try. It was actually quite pretty.

And what did I learn?

  • my face gets FROZEN…as in I wasn’t sure if my face was moving or showing emotion once I walked back indoors
  • I love running in cold weather more than I thought – I liked sporting my long sleeves, pants and ear warmers
  • It took me almost twice as long to really warm up
I did 4.15 miles in icy 23 degrees. I kind of wish I took more pictures. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to go back.

Once I thought that I was a ‘real’ blogger because I talked about a particular topic (running). Then I thought I was one because I talked about how much I loved food and music. And then I really thought I was a running blogger when I bought my first Garmin. Now, I really really am a blogger because I met another one…IN PERSON. OMFG. I had tentative beer drinking plans with some colleagues later in the evening – and I could only kill time alone for SO LONG. I immediately thought of one blogger who I knew was in the Boulder area and shot her an email. After I sent it…I was HORRIFIED. Because it very well could be: creepy, weird, dangerous…the list can go out. Well, Thao at SnapShotsofHappiness was so kind and suggested an awesome micro brewery to meet at for dinner. And it was so fun and glad I took the plunge!! I got to taste my fav IPA ever (Mountain Sun FYIPA) and nerd out about running, food and much more with another blogger.

Me with beer – that’s nothing new.

My sampler. People should also warn me about how fast one can get drunk in high altitude. YIKES.

After my dinner – I met up with colleagues at a few other micro breweries in Boulder (if I remembered the names or took pics, I would have shared them). The night was kind of a blur due to the 3 other samplers I had… But I DO remember safely getting dropped off by a cab, packing and waking up at 5Am to make my early flight! I figured that I should really take advantage of my youth while I have it. So partying late into the night on business trip, hopping on an early flight home and then straight back into the office in Lululemon sweats…its TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE (for now).

Even though I logged a good amount of running…about 7 miles…while I was in Boulder, I still was feeling puffy. It may or may not have had something to do with all the booze I drank. And even though I was feeling like a stuffed sausage, and I was moody, tired and unmotivated and surprised my friends still talked to me. Then one of my BFFs sent me this:

And ya know what? Bitch was right? We’re BFFs for a reason. I was a moody, negative Nelly all day…and when I finally got my run on the next day, I was a whole new person!!! Sometimes, you need a swift kick in the ass to get moving…but little sparks of inspiration do the trick too.

Seeing this little ray of sunshine on my desk also helped me get into the Christmas spirit:

I have 3 baby cousins who are born on Nov. 30 (boy), December 10 (older girl) and December 12 (little one)…and yep, they’re all siblings! Crazy, right? So to celebrate and steal them away all to ourselves, me, my mom and sisters took them for a day of shoe shopping with a side of caffeine free blended mochas and chocolate croissants at the mall!

They are seriously…the light of our lives (other than Zoey!).

Here are the two pretty girls in their new sparkly Toms!

I still run…

And I’ve actually started running more regularly! This past Saturday I completed a solid 6 miles at a 10:13/minute pace.

It’s weird how much faster I started to run now that I have been tracking my speed as I go. Last time, I was running shorter distances at a slower pace more frequently. This time, I’m testing this running 3-4 miles during the week faster less frequently. I’m sprinkling more spin classes and cross training in there. So far, so good. But I guess I’ll find out more in January…

Another weird thing is that I think its time for new shoes. This is without a doubt the fastest I’ve ever burned through shoes! Definitely exciting…maybe I really am a runner now🙂

I’m kind of stoked on the cooler low 60s weather that we’re experiencing here in Orange County. It actually rained Monday and Tuesday this week! Rain weather = soup eating & Bon Iver listening. I decided on some awesome ramen.

Some things to look forward too:

– attempting snowboarding/skiing in Big Bear this weekend!!!

– CHRISTMAS SHOPPING – I AM SO BEHIND

How is all your xmas shopping going?

Any fun winter/xmas trips planned?

Do you run everyday? or cross train or take rest days?

Ok- I finally feel like the holidays are here!!!! Christmas decor is up all the mall, it’s now consistently ‘cold-er’ here in Orange County.

I’m going to brag about the most fun concert I’ve been to! I know, I know – I JUST went to a Cold War Kids concert that I probably also said was ‘the most amazing concert ever’, but Thursday’s concert takes the cake FOR SURE. My lovely friend made an inebriated purchase on StubHub (aka overpriced tickets) to a ‘sold out’ My Morning Jacket concert at the Gibson Amphitheater. My friend also knew that I’ve been dying to see them forever. So when I was invited to go – my life started to feel more Christmas-y. Oh yah, my friend also failed to mention that we scored kickass seats.

How awesome is that??? For a short 5 foot nothing gal, it’s quite a treat to be able see everything and be so darn close! I cannot tell you enough how much I adore live music. My Morning Jacket certainly did not disappoint. His voice is pretty astounding and their sound just resonates with you for awhile after hearing them. When a concert has that kind of effect on you…I’d say it’s a damn good thing!

I took Friday off from work because:

  1. I have so many hours of paid time off racked up its ridiculous
  2. I went to an amazing concert Thursday

I really did intend on making Friday ‘super productive’. But that did not happen. I slept in, went to breakfast with friends…went back home…napped…and finally made my way to the boardwalk for a 4 mile run around 3PM. I almost forgot what the beach looks like at that time of day – I passed maybe two other runners. It was bizarre. I’m so used to seeing familiar faces and passing more runners than I can keep track of! The subtle change in scenery made it enjoyable. I think I’m starting to fall back in love with running. Maybe its because I’m not sick anymore and I can actually breathe, or maybe its because I’m finally getting back into my groove. Regardless, it’s nothing to complain about. I was encountering too many less than stellar runs and started to get a little discouraged. I’m really glad I’ve pushed past that!

My Friday of nothing concluded with some Christmas shopping and watching The Descendant with my baby sister, Justinne. Oh yah, and we ate a lot of ice cream.

Sorry for the blurry picture – I’m not too great with iphone pictures. I really liked the movie! I forgot how handsome George Clooney is and the storyline was interesting. The emotions were conveyed pretty perfectly and I went home feeling bitter sweet. It was definitely sad, but as always, there is a silver lining.

Saturday I went to my first of many Christmas parties! I tricked my friend into taking me to his company’s gnarly, Western themed Christmas party at the beautiful Laguna Cliffs Marriott in Dana Point. College football, an open bar, my best San Diego girlfriend and dancing – HOW COULD I SAY NO!?!?

But first things first – in order to consume extra food and booze that evening, I made myself knock out 6 miles. I haven’t done a run that long since the Long Beach half – so this was a big deal for me. I love the winter time because I don’t have to get my tail out of bed at the butt crack of dawn to beat the heat. So I get to run in the sun (yay!) AND cooler weather. It’s a win-win and it was SO FUN. I surprised myself – for some reason, I really didn’t think I’d be able to hang. So I was stoked when I heard my watch beep for the 6th time. This was a sure sign for the good night ahead of me🙂

We started pregaming at 3PM. I should also mention that the party started at 6PM – whoops.

This morning, I woke up with a horrendous headache and immediately decided that the morning jog I wanted to do was OUT OF THE QUESTION. Instead, my fav SD gf ordered breakfast from room service and cried while we watched The Help. I also drank a lot of water.

I’m Boulder bound tomorrow afternoon!!! This is the first time that my company is sending me off to help lead a training/user group for our software (NERD ALERT). I’ve been to Boulder once before when I visited my college roommate and her family in Denver. I still haven’t finished packing…and I really need to get on that. But I never know what to pack!!! I am the worst. And on top of that…I don’t own any real winter clothes. Yikes! I’m hoping that I will be able to brave the cold and head out for a run. Anyone familiar with the area with suggestions on where to go?? 

I’m hoping I’ll be able to document and blog my fun from there…so we’ll see.

 

What makes you feel more Christmas-y?

Parties, concerts and seeing my family.

Do you travel a lot for work? 

 

I’m really thankful. I ate a lot, drank a lot and laughed a lot. My Thanksgiving was excellent.

It had been a really long time since I’ve seen my family (total shocker, seriously) so I was really looking forward to our Thanksgiving dinner this year. This Thanksgiving dinner was particularly special because it was planned by me and my sisters for the first time EVER. Lucky for us, this was a ‘small’ Thanksgiving with only 20 people in attendance – baby steps, people. Well, us Abaoag gals don’t mess around or half-ass anything…check us out!

Flowers done by my old lady sister, Jamie.

Cooler flowers arranged by Edith (aka, mom). She’s fancy.

And more importantly…I HELPED. Yep, Thanksgiving morning I woke up, ran a miserable 6 miles and saw this:

Running right after being sick = NO BUENO. I was sniffling and couldn’t really breathe. So I failed and walked about 2 miles. Actually, it’s not a fail. I read Bald Guy Running’s latest post and so yah…it was NOT a fail. There was an attempt, I logged about 3 slow miles and listened to my body. I do plan on getting back into my normal 4-5 mile runs during the week and one distance run on Saturdays. Let’s pray for this annoying and nasty cold to go away!

I should also mention that the highlight of the run was not only the cool sky but all the hot surfers that came out to play. The swell was pretty sweet that day.

Followed by my run…I got home and cleaned (booooo), played sous chef to my baby sister and helped set up…BIG DEAL for those who don’t know me. Here’s some proof. I’m not even posing. I was really doing my thing and my mom took this picture. Let’s get serious, I would NOT usually let people snap a photo of me looking all nasty like this.

Me & my niece, Zoey.

Drinking a Boddington and checking on the turkey. Yes, THIS picture is totally posed. I didn’t put anything in the oven on Thanksgiving.

What’s the deal with the awkward place cards??? Well, Jamie took awesome and ugly close up photos of everyone one night at dinner on our family cruise. We really had no idea when those pictures would come in handy – they were such a pleasant surprise for everyone.

We sat down for dinner around 6:30PM, and continued to laugh, talk and drink until around 10:30PM. I don’t know that many families that can chill around a dinner table for 4 hours and LOVE EVERY SECOND. Talk about Thanksgiving.

Starting the baby off young! JUST KIDDING – that brat only drank apple cider, NOT my wine. I’m too greedy to share wine anyways. Also, we think our dogs are human and let them sit at the dinner table.

 

My mom and her babies. All grown up…(except Zoey).

After Thanksgiving – I decided to not eat….

And drink a lot instead. And watch a lot of college football.

(obviously, that is sarcasm. I have the appetite of linebacker – regardless of how much turkey and potatoes I ate the day before)

My best San Diego friend’s family was in town from Michigan – since she’s met all of my family…it was only suitable I met hers! Saturday morning I dragged her butt out of bed at 7AM and made her endure a lovely 2.5 mile run along the boardwalk in Pacific Beach. Cold air is so hard to breathe in…how do you east coasters do it?!? Why run so early? Well, the football games start at 9AM over here and we HAD to get to the bar and get a table. Priorities.

We watched her alma mater (Michigan) beat Ohio State and loitered in and out of the bars in Pacific Beach seeing friends and watching more football. Also, I had a lot of these…

The good thing about day drinking is that you pass out early, and wake up feeling not hungover. So what did we do? It was Sunday, so we headed to the PB Ale House and decided to try their sangria. Apparently, a glass of each wasn’t enough because we ordered a carafe of both the white and red sangria (both delicious by the way).

  

The result? Two 20 somethings giggling down the street thinking it was suitable to stop into the liquor store and pick up some 40s. The weekends are when I regress back to college. Pardon the greasy hair. I now realize that just because you’re NOT hungover doesn’t mean that you can skip a shower and not wash your hair.

Another moment of realization…I have another half marathon in about 8 weeks. So while these college-like weekends are fun, I should probably tone it down.

Random things that made me smile a lot.

1. Zoey’s new cousin!!!! My aunt and cousin got a new puppy!!!! No name yet, but its a girl and she’s an adorable lab mix. I honestly just stared at this picture for a few minutes about 10 times today.

2. My friend sent this to me. It’s the sunset from his roof in Hermosa Beach. Tough life he leads.

How do YOU cope with bad runs???

I drink a beer and cry in my bed. Ok, actually, I just have a beer and make sure to over prepare for my next run. Or, I take a break from running and go to a spin class or do another form of exercise.

What random things have you smile a lot lately?

Puppies, awesome sunsets and knowing that I have an EXCELLENT couple of weeks coming up!!!!

Ok fine, maybe life hasn’t really been THAT exciting. But I actually did get sick. And anyone who actually knows me and my family will know that I almost NEVER get sick. Usually I’ll encounter a short cold or minor headache for a day, but nothing I can’t get over in 24 hours. But today, my immune system failed me and I woke up to a gnarly fever and the inability to swallow without pain. BOOOOO. What I realized is that sometimes, you need to give your body AND brain a break from time to time. And this whole silly sick day might be nature’s way of telling me to slow down. Plus, it was really fun to snuggle with Zoey.

So let’s play catch up shall we?

Half Mary #3 Training

I planned on kicking up my training at ‘full force’ this week. Yesterday, I started to feel a little cold coming along and I was warned by my sister to not run and rest. But did I listen? Of course not. I think I’m cool and tough and hard core- so I knocked out 4 miles at a 10 min pace. Apparently, it’s really cold over here in Orange County in the evenings, so to prevent getting sick (HAHA, the irony) I hit the treadmill. I felt good. It’s always lovely to sweat it and and I really didn’t feel any sicker. Boy was I wrong.

Oh yeah…I think I can finally call myself a runner. I finally purchased a Garmin. Holy hell right? It arrived late last week and I took it for a spin (or run?) Saturday afternoon because I chose to sleep in. What did I learn? I need to take my time in the beginning and not run like a crazy to prevent positive splits. Once my pace starts getting less embarrassing..maybe I’ll start sharing those minor (actually major) details with you all.

I wisely took today OFF from all exercise and any movement at all actually. Hopefully I feel a little better tomorrow and can at least get some form of exercise in there. In a perfect world, I’d be in tip top shape by Thursday so I can eat a ton for Thanksgiving and start the day out with a 5 miler with my best friend. I’ll keep you all posted.

Now for something exciting…I WENT TO A CONCERT!!!!!

And it rocked my socks off. My cousin and I went to a last minute show by the Cold War Kids at the legendary Troubadour in Los Angeles. If any of you EVER get the chance to go to a show here…GO! It’s a super small and intimate setting…and I’m ALL about those when it comes to watching bands play.

For anyone who cares or knows who the Cold War Kids – they are UNREAL live! I’ve seen a glimpse of them once at Coachella this past year, but didn’t get to stay for their whole set. This was really a treat. Their singer has a ridiculous voice and their sound is so distinct.

Also, I’m in love with the singer.

They played a full 2 hour set (with THREE encores, that’s how much love we were giving them) and we didn’t get out till about midnight. And what’s a late night out with good music without some late night food? My cousin is kinda cool and agreed to indulge in some Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in the heart of Long Beach. Man, that place is a heart attack in a room. But SOOOO delicious. We seriously both felt like we were going to yack and die after eating our food…in the best way possible!

Sorry about the horrible lighting. But the place has pink neon lights everywhere.

Exciting thing #2

I saw Breaking Dawn with 3 of my aunts, my good girlfriend, sisters and 3 gal cousins. It was an absolute trip. Of course, the movie was so bad it was good (like 80s music). I will not complain about watching the handsome vampires and werewolves either. Some candy made the experience better too…

Don’t worry people- I shared most of that with my family because I’m oh-so-nice.

Exciting Thing #3

A good friend got these in the mail…

YEP – we’re going to see My Morning Jacket Play at the Gibson Amphitheater next Thursday!!!! If you don’t know who they are …look them up and let me know what you think. They have become one of my favorite bands as of lately.

Exciting Thing #4

THANKSGIVING – DUH. Since I’m not trusted with cooking…I’m in charge of the drinks (this is expected). However, I don’t like to half-ass this type of thing so I might have to go all out. Stay tuned for the coolness that I produce.

Random thing that made me laugh…

My sister is ridiculous and heartless.

 

What do you usually contribute to Thanksgiving/Family dinners??? 

 

Aside from the holidays…what exciting things are coming up for you?

 

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