Back in the US(S)A!

It’s a play on Back in the USSR (by the beatles), in case anyone didn’t catch that.

I’ve never been so incredibly happy to return to the US. Back to my family, my friends, my dog, and my routine.

After a 3 hour flight from Seoul to Hong Kong I had a 2+ hour layover, then my flight to JFK.   The captain came on and announced our travel time….15 hours and 57 minutes.  UGH!!!

It was a full flight, I was in coach, and all I wanted was to be home!!  3 movies later, several episodes of the Wire, more episodes of House of Lies, lots of napping and I made it!  By the time I got out of the airport, it was about 12:15a (which was 1:15p in Seoul, so 26 hours later).

Now it’s time to recuperate from all the travelling.  I took it easy today but hope to get back to things tomorrow.  I did manage to run 2 miles before leaving for the airport on Tuesday, so that was good.

I also did this…

confirmation

After my less than stellar performance at the Savin Rock Half, I knew I wanted to redeem myself.  And since I’m not starting from nothing, I’m thinking this should be an OK training schedule.

The half is June 26, so 88 days away, which means almost 3 months from now, which i’m good with.  I just need to come up with a plan so to the interwebs I’ll go.  This time I’m thinking I may just come up with something on my own, using my past two training plans as a guide.  We’ll see what I can come up with.

Enjoy your evenings!

I’m coming home!

This has been a long work trip.  Thankfully most of my trips are only a few days, at most a full work week, but this one came out to about 10 days, which is just too long for solo work travel.

But today was my last day in Korea and I’m heading home tomorrow!! (it’s 10pm in Korea)

Overall I really enjoyed my time in Korea and ended up enjoying it more than China.  Here are my thoughts/observations about the trip.  Please don’t take offense to anything, this was just my experience and not necessarily representative of an entire country.

  • China is dirty.  Shanghai was considerably cleaner than the smaller city I visited about 1.5 hours away.  You could actually smell the hint of chemicals in the air when you got off the train.  Shanghai is known for smog, so to return to the city and breathe in the comparably “fresh” air sums it up.
  • Some of the older Chinese have some really gross habits (smoking, coughing and spitting…lots of spitting, even indoors)
  • I didn’t see anyone exercising outdoors in China (perhaps due to the first bullet).
  • Shanghai is very diverse and you can find any type of food there, which was neat.
  • The drivers in China are nuts!  My cab ride to the airport was honestly the scariest car experience of my life.  I cried.  I’ve never cried in a car and hoped that i’d make it to the airport in one piece.  Traumatic.
  • Korea has lots of water and parks.  I saw so many people walking and riding bikes, which was refreshing after leaving Shanghai.
  • Korea also seems to be a really big fan of heated toilet seats.  They have the fanciest toilet seats I’ve seen and they’re all heated (even in public restrooms).
  • Both Shanghai and Seoul felt very safe, and I really appreciated that.

Overall it was a successful trip.  I will definitely return to Korea, but I’m not so sure about China.  Guess we’ll see what the wonderful world of business has in store for me for the future.

Today I’ll leave you with some food photos.

First, China.  These were cooked by a chef at a Chinese company I was visited.  They were made slightly more friendly to my American tastes but were still considered authentic.

Here’s some food from Korea.  Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of the earlier courses and there were a lot of them.  The food just kept coming and coming.  I even ate some stuff I’d never eat because I didn’t want to be rude.  (my semi-meat eating doesn’t really translate well to other countries).

So, looking forward to getting home and back to a routine.

Next up is the BAA 5K on 4/16.  Prior to that my OTF is supposed to open, so hopefully I can get there for a test workout.  I’m sure i’ll like it, just need to rationalize the extra expense.

Talk soon!  Have a great Monday!!!

More China

Here are the last of my China photos.  Enjoy (of if you’re not interested, skip the post).  🙂

The first set is from the Jing’an Buddhist Temple.

 

And these are from an area in Shanghai by the river called the Bund.  One side is historic buildings and the other side is the modern skyline, which is very well known.

 

And here’s a shot of Nanjing Road East, which is a pedestrian shopping area and is right near my hotel.

46

That’s it for now.  Have a great day, I’m off to bed!

Checking in from China

nǐ​hǎo

Well let’s just say it’s been quite the trip.  Here’s a super brief recap by day:
Monday – Monday magically disappeared due to the time change
Tuesday – Hello jet lag (didn’t leave my room)
Wednesday – Tradeshow fun, meetings with salespeople, and then dinner out in a nice area of Shanghai – We had Spanish food, how random?
Thursday – Bullet train to a smaller (and very polluted) city to see some manufacturing facilities
Friday – Food poisoning.  Good times!
Saturday -Today!  Finally able to venture out a bit.  Right now it’s the middle of the day and I’m taking a break.  Also because I prefer my hotel room toilet to the squat bins you find in public facilities.  Yikes!

Due to the craziness mentioned above, I haven’t made it to the gym once this trip.  May try for later today, but we’ll see.

There have been a few bumps in the road but i’m doing my best to enjoy today.  Tomorrow I’m off to Korea for a relatively quick trip before heading back home on Tuesday.  I can’t wait!!

Here are some photos of China, most of which were taken at Yu Gardens in Shanghai (or on the way to or from the gardens).

I put captions on a couple, but maybe you have to click on the individual photos to see them.

Heading back out in a bit to do some more sightseeing, so stay tuned for more photos.

Once this trip is over I will get back to the fitness aspect of the blog, I promise.

Enjoy your weekend!

Half Marathon #2 is in the books!

savin2015

This past Saturday was the half that I had been “training” for since January.  In case you missed it, I put training in quotes because while I did sign up for a training program with a group, I also spent about a month with a chest cold and then suffered from an extreme lack of motivation.

But…I had signed up for it and since my sister was coming up to run it, I was going to suffer through it.

She came up on Friday and after a ton of back and forth we took her to our favorite noodle place, Mecha.  We all ate way too much and went to bed stuffed.

The half started at 8 but we needed to pick up our bibs between 6:30-7:30.  My sis had wanted to have time to run a couple miles beforehand, so we planned to get there at 7.  Silly me hadn’t mapped out the distance before hand and while I thought it would take 30 minutes, the GPS was saying 45, so we were late to start.  Then when we got there we sat in race traffic trying to get to the parking lot.  Eventually we gave up and just parked on a side street.

It was chilly.  I think the actual temp was around 30 or 32.  I hemmed and hawed on what to wear and even brought alternates with me to the race.  That turned out to be a good thing because about 15 minutes before the start I decided to change my top.

It’s a small race (maybe 500-600 people) so there were no corrals or anything formal.  We headed out to the start. My sister to the front and me to the back.

I knew it was a hilly course, but since I like hills I wasn’t too worried.  I also had heard that the hills were in the middle, which sounded OK to me.  Off we went!

I felt OK, although I did periodically wonder how I was going to finish and I set mini-goals for myself.  Like run 6 without walking, or run 4 and then walk for a minute.  They kept changing so I didn’t really stick to any of them.

Miles 1-3 were flat and easy, along the shore.  Then we took a right turn right into a hill.  I powered through the hill and into a water stop.  At that water stop I made the decision that i’d take water at every stop and walk it.  At my last half I didn’t have enough water so I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen this time.

After that first hill was a nice downhill and then the real hills came.  I want to say there were probably 5 or 6 of them and they were insane.  As I came to the hills I had to ask myself if I should run them.  I knew I could run them but I also knew that I was way under-trained and successfully running a hill would probably mean I’d pay the price later in the race.  So I made the big decision to walk the big hills.  That’s a decision I wouldn’t normally make, but I went with it, since the goal here was to finish and not be too miserable.

Around mile 6 my stomach started gurgling and I actually had to take advantage of the porta-potty at the 6.5 water stop.  Unfortunately there was a cop ahead of me, so I had to wait for him too.  I felt better after that and felt somewhat OK till about mile 10.5 when everything started to hurt.  At that point I alternated between running and walking.  I met up with my sister somewhere around 11 or 11.5 and she ran/walked with me for a bit.  It was really hard last 2 miles, but I pushed through it and did manage to finish.

I ended up finishing about 10-15 minutes slower than my last half, which was OK considering I was fully prepared for that one and not at all for this one.

Yes, I would have loved to somehow magically sail in and run an awesome race, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen.  The goal of this race was literally to finish in one piece.  Not at all glamorous, but still a goal.  It was a learning experience.  🙂

Now my sister on the other hand, she is AMAZING and ended up finishing as the 4th woman and the 1st in her age group.  Her time was something like 1:29:29.  So impressive!  She blows me away with her running skill.

After the race we headed out for pizza and cocktails and then I took my sister to the train station and she headed home.  The rest of my day was slow moving and a little lazy and I needed to pack.

Because right now i’m in China!  (I didn’t take many pictures to begin with but any of them are on my personal phone, which is off while i’m here.)

From the time I left my parent’s house for the airport to when I arrived at my hotel in Shanghai took about 26 hours.  Ugh!  I flew to Hong Kong (15 hours) and then had a 2+ hour layover before my flight to Shanghai.  That flight ended up being delayed and then it took over an hour to get through customs.  Ugh!

Thankfully I scheduled today as a flex-day, meaning there wasn’t anything I HAD to do.  Jet lag hit me pretty hard and I haven’t even left the hotel room all day.  Fresh start tomorrow is what I’m hoping for.

And by the way, you can’t use Google, gmail, facebook, or instagram in China.  So odd.  I’m completely lost without Google Maps, especially in a new city.  Thankfully my work phone is an iphone so there are no issues there.

I’m off to order room service for dinner and then call it a night in hopes of feeling better tomorrow.

Have a great week!  Will try to post some photos when I can.

Random Ramblings

My mind is all over the place this week!

Work is nuts, the half is on Saturday, and then on Sunday I leave for a work trip to China and Korea.  Holy cow!  I feel a bit like i’m in survival mode and am hoping that my 15 hour flight will allow me to just relax and breathe (and watch a million moves and read a lot of books).  Just typing this paragraph was exhausting.

So let me dump some of my random thoughts out….

I will probably never Stitch Fix.

Stich Fix is totally the rage on the interwebs and it sounds like a wonderful idea.  Thing is, it’s pricey and I my friend, am cheap (or shall we say frugal).  I read a blog write-up on it and one pair of pants they sent were almost $100.  I’d never.  Again, seems great, just not for me.

These may as well list crack in the ingredients.

salted

Holy cow!  I bought a bag of these on a whim yesterday (on sale for $1.88!).  I figured a little sweet treat would be nice.  These were SO much better than expected that after eating a few too many I actually gave them away to a coworker.  If you are capable of exercising restraint, give them a try.  Or share them.  So good!

My sweet treat (not guilt inducing like above)

fiber one

Fiber One Cinnamon Coffee Cake bars.  So good!  Yes, they are probably full of bad for me artificial ingredients, but for an occasional treat, I’m OK with that.  Be warned though, these are pretty tiny.  If you like to take small bites and savor, you’ll be fine.  If you like to take big bites and scarf your food, this will definitely leave you unsatisfied.

Books

I don’t like to spend a lot on books.  I’ll buy them if they’re less than $8, or I’ll borrow them from the library.  Given two 15 hour flights, I wanted to be armed with lots of books, but once again, my frugality was a little limiting.

Here’s what I have lined up on my tablet:

Kind of a random three, I know.  These were all borrowed from the library, so I was limited in what was available.  Quite a few of the books I wanted were not available as of last night.

Any recommendations?

So I think that’s it for now.  My brain is just full of stuff related to work, running, and travelling and it’s so overwhelming.

Have you ever taken a 15 hour flight?  Any tips?

Happy Monday!

It’s HMW!  (half marathon week, just made that up)

Last week was pretty good for me.  Although I did plan for 5 miles on Thursday and that didn’t happen.  It got dark strangely fast on Thursday so I guess it worked out for the best.

Saturday morning however, I did succeed in running a total of 8 miles!

I met my friend around 8am to do 5 miles together.  As i’ve mentioned, I’m typically a solo runner, so this was rather different because she actually wanted to talk!  So I left the ipod and headphones at her house and went out sans music.

It wasn’t too bad.  Definitely slower, but not too slow.  It was in the low 40s on Saturday morning, so it took me a little longer to warm up.  My legs warm up quickly, but my lungs do not.  That said, once they warm up, i’m good.  So we chatted.  It was nice and I appreciated the social aspect of the run and the fact that it gave us time to catch up while still being productive.

She’s quite a bit faster than me, but I appreciated her willingness to come down to my level.  She told me she doesn’t mind the slower pace as long as it’s pretty constant, which isn’t really an issue with me.  Steady Sally.

Once we finished the 5 we grabbed some hydration, hit the bathroom, and then headed to another part of town for a Shamrock Shuffle.  This was a FREE 5K!  Given that it was free, we of course didn’t expect much.

The 5K started at 10a and by that point the sun was shining and while still chilly, it was a lovely day.  For the 5K we split up and went with music.  She did well and I was pretty happy with myself as well.  My average pace was 9:59 and I know I could improve on that if a) I hadn’t run 5 miles before hand and b) I pushed myself a bit harder.  I’m a little encouraged for the BAA 5K in a few weeks.

But I completed 8 miles with no walking and feeling fine.  It was a little encouraging in terms of my attempt at the half on Saturday.

This week my real goals are to stretch and hydrate.  I’ve been sore and dealing with some calf pain, so I want to do all I can to get my body to feel as good as possible going into this race.

How’s everyone feeling about upcoming races?  What’s your favorite distance?  Pre-race dinner?

Will pop in later in the week.  Enjoy!!

Staying positive

Good morning!!

I’ve spoken to a few people this past week about my upcoming half.  And while a few of them have never done a half, it still surprised me to hear that everyone seems to have faith in me being able to complete it.  Some people said, you can always walk.  Some people said, just do what you can.

Everyone is right.  My goal was definitely not to half-ass the half, but as I’ve said before, it is what it is, and all I can do now is deal with the bed I’ve made.

I haven’t given up though and am still trying.  🙂

I ran 3 miles on Monday at the gym.  Taught spin on Tuesday.  Yesterday I ran 4 miles outside because it was soooo nice out.  Work nearly killed me, so I left early, got home and changed, took the dog out, and then hit the road.

It felt good.  Maybe it was because I was so stressed/frustrated with work, or maybe it was just being outside in nice weather, but it did feel good (after the first mile which wasn’t the best).

The route I did was sort of an out and back.  I’ve run these roads before but never as an out and back like this.    Because I still felt good at 3.3, I decided to go for 4 which made it a slightly stranger route, but left me with about a .2 walk home, which was a nice cool down.

4 miles

While I don’t use MapMyRun while running, I do like it as a tool for looking at my run afterwards, especially the elevation aspect.

The image above shows the elevation in terms of grade, which is especially interesting to me as i’ve started to use the incline function on the treadmill at the gym.

The steepest part of the run yesterday was a 3%, which is pretty much inline with what i’ve done on the treadmill (3% or 4% max).  The longest stretch of hill yesterday was a little over 1/2 mile.  While it wasn’t awesome, it overall wasn’t as bad as it’s been (i’ve had to stop and walk part of this hill in the past).  So i’m a little encouraged by the fact that I felt pretty good.

Tonight I’m planning 5 outside again.  No running tomorrow, and then a total of 8 on Saturday (5 in the morning and then a 5K).  I feel like if I can do 8 I can eek out an extra 5 the following week.  Right??

So that’s my running world.

In other blog stuff, I’ve decided to get back to product reviews, like I had done in the past.  Anything from gels/fuels to snacks to meals.  I love trying new products and hope that me sharing my opinion adds a little bit of value to this blog.  Guess we’ll see.

To end with a not-so healthy recipe, here’s a shot of the s’mores brownies I made a few weeks ago.

smores1

This was one of those facebook video recipes and it was really easy.  Put a layer of graham crackers on the bottom of the pan then pour prepared brownie mix over them.  Cover with marshmallows and sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Then bake.  That’s it!

For some reason it didn’t cook evenly which meant that some pieces were fully cooked but others were still gooey, which everyone seemed to love, so i’d say it’s a win (even not fully cooked).  Personally I loved the texture of the marshmallows!

Have a great day!!

 

Still Here

Yes, I am still here.  Hard to believe, I know.

I fell off the blogging wagon because quite honestly, I just didn’t have much of interest to say or report.

Right now I’m doing a stellar job of perfecting “how not to train for a half-marathon”, also known as “what not to do in preparing for your second half”.

The half is in less than two weeks and me getting through it is going to be some sort of miracle.

spnge

My motivation is shot and I’ve been running WAY less than I should.  Were it not for the fact that my sister is running the half, I’d probably bail on it.  But instead I’m going to do whatever I can to get through it.

Good or bad, my other half is having the same issues as me, so at least we can suffer through it together.  Who knows, maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised.

I think in hindsight, the winter is just not the time for me to train for something.  Sure, if I wanted it badly enough it wouldn’t matter.  But I don’t want it that badly.  I’m not the hardcore runner girl that so many other people are, and that’s OK with me.

I’m trying to make these next two weeks good in terms of running and we’ll just see how things go from there.

I’m also thinking about registering for another half in June, but need to make sure i’m doing it for the right reasons.  Or maybe I’ll stick to shorter distances for now, guess we’ll see.

I do have a 5K on Saturday and then the BAA 5K in about a month.  So at least I’ve got a few things going on.

And to make things that much more interesting, the day after the half I get to hop on a plane for 15+ hours to China.  Good times!  Hoping i’ll be extra tired and actually able to sleep on the plane.

So that’s what’s going on with me.  Hope everyone is having a good week!

Have you ever been in a similar situation where you had to do a run/race unprepared?