Glimpse of Winter

Glimps of Winter

A little frost and winter weather just in time for the holidays.

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Garden of the Gods 10 Miler Race Recap

I did it!! I finished this race!! I was waaaaay slower than my PR and finishing at 2:09…but I’m done πŸ™‚

Pre-Race: Honestly, I’ve been pretty relaxed in terms of my prep for this race. I want to challenge myself but I want to do it on my own term. In the training department, I had a schedule to follow but I wasn’t very good at sticking with it during certain weeks. I had several great practice runs (and it forced me to work on hills) and overall, I became a lot closer with my running friend, B (added bonus). Although I had everything planned out, the two weeks leading up to the race was just absolutely nuts in terms of “life.” Two days before the race, I managed to squeeze in some time and picked up my bib at a local running store. This race also marked the first time that I drove myself to a race, ran it, and then drove myself home (my husband usually drives me and I will force him to cheer me on). I’m usually very excited by the prospect of running a race so I always do a little outfit planning the night before (mostly in anticipation of the weather). This time, however, I just sort of winged it the morning of the race.

The Course: They weren’t kidding when they said HILLS on the course. This is the most challenging course I have ever run on. The hills were frequent, some very large, and the altitude was an added bonus. I had decided beforehand that I was going to run/walk the course mainly to deal with the frequent uphills. I also need to make sure that I don’t push myself too hard because I had “other” things to do in the days following the race (I will go into this later). Despite that this is not an easy course, it was BEAUTIFUL. I had my phone with me and managed to snap several pictures on my run (yes, I wasn’t there to win the race). The view was simply amazing!! I hope I will have the opportunity to run this race again next year and with more prep, maybe I will beat my time from this year.

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Afterthought: It’s amazing for me to think that I only ran my first race (ever) Spring 2012. That was only a little over a year ago! A year later, I have two 10 mile races, one half marathon, and several 5Ks under my belt. I love this feeling of growth! I love that I’ve found something that I truly enjoy in the midst of all that goes on in our live (career, bills, relationships, marriage…you name it)! It’s an awesome knowledge that I can continue to challenge myself physically and mentally through my runs. Running will always be my sanctuary. I’m leaving for California on a short work-related trip starting tomorrow. This time, I won’t be brining my running kicks with me because my legs will need a little time to recover. I’m already thinking about my next race though – what distance and what location? I have several in mind, including the Santa Barbara Half, but I’m definitely on the look out for others.

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B and I post race!

It was indeed happy running!

Wordless Wednesday: The Rocky Mountain National Park Edition

Last weekend, the spouse and I drove up to the Rocky Mountain National Park. The weather was gorgeous and it’s just a joy to be surrounded by nature. Here are some pictures from our day there:

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Above the tree line, there is still ice/snow…and lots of it!

 

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Except the weather was warm so people were wearing shorts!

 

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Crazy high snow banks on the side of the road

 

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Breathtaking views

 

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We chanced upon a herd of elks…it was amazing!

 

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Nature

 

How has your week been? Happy Wednesday!!

Armed Forces Community 5K and Some Reflections on Running

My gosh, do you ever have one of those weeks when you just have no idea where time went?? That’s this week for me :/ Well, I want to get this blog post in before more time slips by – I don’t want to be in serious blogging debt. My original intentions was to post at least twice a week so I’m gonna stick to that!

Anyways, I have a couple of pictures from the 5K race I ran last Saturday. The spouse was my photographer…and he’s sweet for doing so. Having said that, I almost had a heart palpitation when I looked at my photos on the car ride home – my wonderful spouse had assumed that my dslr was on automatic setting and took all photos with no adjustments to the camera itself. Anyways, I had a bunch of over exposed photos that I attempted to salvage with an editing software πŸ˜‰

I really had a good time at this 5K. I wasn’t worried about my time and I wasn’t worried about my fitness level. Unlike the 5K run I did last September, I didn’t feel like the altitude was a big challenge and I ran my usual 10:30 min/mile without pushing myself. I know this is not a very fast time, and I would like to be at the 10:00 min/mile one day. But sometimes I do feel like running is about how you feel at a particular time in your life. I want to push harder but I also need to feel that I’m ready for speed work. I’m always in awe of professional or semi-professional runners – because I can only imagine the dedication, hardwork, and motivation one needs to put on hundreds of miles in preparation for a race. I have nothing but respect for these individuals.

One thing I’ve noticed recently in relation about my running is what I eat and how it affects my body. I love bananas and would often eat them for breakfast…but lately I’ve noticed that they are not very good foods for me to consume before running. In fact, it gives me really uncomfortable stomach cramps after I start moving 😦 Maybe I’ll just have to save them for post-runs. I think simple carbs with some protein is perhaps the winning combo for me. Another thing that I noticed is I can’t drink soda if I’m training because it also gives me gastro-intestinal issues 😦 Unfortunately, I do have some Coke Zero around my house (my husband packs one in his lunch) but I will have to avoid them if I am planning on running that day (just drink water, right?). I guess you are what you eat…and what you eat will have an affect on how you feel when you run/exercise…

And here are the pictures… πŸ™‚

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Approaching the finish line…

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I kinda love my shoes πŸ˜‰

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Woohoo!!

Wordless Wednesday: The Army Spouse Edition

It’s a rainy Wednesday here and I’ve been working slowly but steadily on my dissertation πŸ™‚

A couple days ago, I finished going through some photos I took last week. I was really honored to have the opportunity to photograph an Army spouse event! These ladies were awesome and I loved how the photos turned out. I hope you’ll enjoy them too!

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Denim and Diamons – Army Spouse Dining-In

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A little western and a little sexy

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Ladies having a good time

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And some dancing too!

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Army spouses! These ladies are absolutely amazing!

Wordless Wednesday

There’s this road I often take to get to my husband’s office. It’s usually hustle bustle with cars and soldiers on crosswalks. Yesterday, I drove down the same road around 7pm and it was suprisingly peaceful and quiet. It reminded me of this Army journey we’re on – it’s a wild and hectic ride puntuated with moments of serenity and beauty.

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GOG 10 Week 3 Training Update

So this past week was a little better in terms of training although I didn’t keep a good record of what went on each day. Basically, the total mileage of the week wasn’t very high but that was somewhat planned. I was able to get three decent (but shorter) runs in with a combo of some strength and yoga. My friend B and I were able to go out to GoG park again and we did approximately 5k while we were there. Boy, the hills are really killers…there was a steady uphill climb that lasted approximately a mile. I had to transition to walking on part of the hill. Grrr.

Honestly, I feel that I’m behind in my projected training progress (did I mention that I’m a chronic undertrainer???) but I guess that’s one of the many lessons running teach me – I can’t be perfect but I can keep trying. I also feel that there’s a lesson about patience somewhere in there; progress is cumulative. In spite of the days I feel lazy and discouraged, I do love running. There’s nothing like the high of finishing a 5+ mile training session…and know that you can easily handle another 5 miles. SIMPLY AMAZING.

On other running news, the weather has been gorgeous these past couple of days. It felt so good to run with shorts and a simple running top (and not all bundled up like I usually am). It reminded me of those warm Southern California days when I was able to run with a long sleeve shirt and shorts (and never lose my tan) all winter.

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B on a training run in the GoG Park

Aside from the graces of good weather, I also added new kicks to my training gear. I know all the warnings against changing footwear mid-training but I’ve been working on my running form for a while now. After some research and soliciting the opinions of runner friends, I decided to see if a more minimalist shoe will help with my tendency to heel strike. Earlier this year, I suffered from horrid plantar fasciitisΒ on my left foot. After going back and forth between getting better and then getting worse again because I ran, I finally just had to stop running for 6 weeks to let it heal. My doctor told me my injury is possibly related to heel striking (aka poor form).

I went down to a local running store and tried out at about 5 pairs of different “minimalist style” running shoes. Of the bunch, I really liked the Inov 8 F-Lite Series – I ended up going home with this shoe. I’m still trying to figure out how to run effectively and efficiently with my new kicks.Β I took them out for a spin this afternoon (have I already mentioned that the weather is glorious??), and I can really see myself getting used to this. Heeding the suggestions of fellow runners, I’ll be taking my transition slowly and will be going back and forth between the Inov 8 and my Nike Structure.

Since I’m a newbie at all this running shoes stuff, I would love to hear your opinion about running shoes!Β Do you run with minimalist shoes? What kind of shoes do you wear? Do you love your shoes?Β 

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New running shoes πŸ™‚

Happy Running!!

Photos from New Mexico

 

Last weekend, the Spouse and I thought we could both use a breather from our day-to-day routine and the crazy weather here in Colorado. After a brief search on the internet, we decided to head down to Taos, NM and stay at a B&B in the area for a couple of days. This trip was everything we had hoped for – nice weather, cozy and unique lodgings, delicious food, and the beauty of nature. We explored Taos, ate at several amazing restaurants, and enjoyed a drive with the sun roof open. Can’t wait to go back!

Somewhere on the “Circle of Enchantment”

 

Vietnam Veteran Memorial State Park

 

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Love the architecture! This is the entrance to the chapel.

 

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San Francisco de Asis Church

 

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Full view of the San Francisco de Asis Church

 

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Wild Rivers Recreation Area

 

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Looking for the Rio Grande

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GOG 10 Training Week 2 Update

How about we call it the “not training” update? Between the craziness of Boston, weather in Colorado, and going on an out-of-town trip, my training runs have been few and far between. I’m not even going to really go into detail but basically I did a couple of short runs and I only have lukewarm feelings about them. Honestly, I couldn’t really tell because the weather has been so sucky and I’m kind of a wimp when it’s cold.

With the snow (and crazy wind) still coming in Colorado despite the fact that it’s late April (even as I type!!), I am seriously considering a gym membership at a location near my house (read: less than 5 miles). Currently, my gym access consists of the fitness centers available on military bases. The closet one to me is an airforce base approximately 10 miles away. I guess it’s not that far but considering the time and effort it takes to go there, get on the treadmill (if there’s one open immediately), and get changed afterwards, I’m already feeling defeated and tired!

It looks like the weather this week may be a repeat of what was last week – cold, rain, SNOW, wind during midweek with a slow warming trend towards the end of the week. I really got to get over my inability to go on training runs during poor weather. I can do all the weights I want in my house but at the end of the day, I’m gonna have to RUN for 10 miles up and down a bunch of hills at elevation and that youΒ have to train for. Fortunately, I saw my friend B at a baby shower yesterday and we decided that we need to get together again for a training run in the GOG this weekend. We’re both busy (her even more so because she has kids) but I hope we can find a good time to go together.

In other news, I had an amazing weekend in Taos, New Mexico! It was the trip that both the spouse and I desperately needed – to get away from town, away from the busy-business of our work + everyday life, and to focus on ourselves. So I guess instead of “me time,” we had some “we time.” For those of you who haven’t been to New Mexico, it’s so worth a visit. I am just so facinated and inspired by the Southwest in general. Last Novemeber, the spouse and I visited Santa Fe. It was not hard for me to understand why so many artists (including Georgia O’Keefe) were drawn to New Mexico and were willing to spend years lost in the beauty of this region. I promise I’ll write a little more about my trip later this week but here’s one of my favorite photos from this weekend. I love old churches and the San Francisco de Asis Church is one of the most photographed churches in all of New Mexico. As you can see, it’s definitely unique!

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