Sunday, March 30, 2008

Race Report: Embarcadero 10K

I'm very proud of myself. Despite waking up with a slight hangover (not having to drive to party last night = tequila shot + beer + margarita), I managed to get myself together and up to SF by 8:30AM this morning for a local 10K race. A very big accomplishment since originally, I was going to ride up with my friends (it's an hour away) but as I woke up when they wanted to leave, I told them to go ahead without me and I would try to meet up with them if I could.

And somehow, I did manage to rally to get up there in time. Luckily, it's a small race held by the local running club. I would guess there were about 150-200 runners there. So registration and all that was a breeze ($5 - what a deal!).

The course was an out-and-back on Embarcadero, starting at Aquatic Park and then turning around right at AT&T Ballpark. It was a beautiful day and perfect running weather so I knew it would be a good run. I started with my friends but as good ole Garmie revealed I was doing a sub-9:00 pace in the beginning, I quickly hung back and tried to take it nice and easy. (Funny how races totally mess up your perception of your running pace.) I hadn't been training for this 10K so there would be no racing, I just wanted to get 6 miles under my belt again.

Normally, this is a very tourist heavy route but it wasn't too bad today except for the last mile - where you go right by Pier 39 and all the Fisherman's Wharf stuff. I had to do a lot of weaving then. But the worst part is running past Boudin Bakery and smelling all that freshly baked bread - torture everytime!

Here are my mile splits:

1: 9:48
2: 10:15
3: 10:10
4: 10:14
5: 10:31
6: 10:20
7 (0.2): 1:56

Total: 6.2 miles, 1:03:12, 10:12 avg pace

Not a PR but I'm pretty proud of it considering my current fitness level. I just need to keep it up this time! No trips this month (yet) so hopefully I will get back on track.

We all received cute ribbons, too - check it out:

(I'm second from the right.)

Afterward, we went to Lori's Diner for a post-race brunch in Ghiradelli Square. We sat out on the patio and enjoyed the nice weather as well as the view of the triathletes doing their swim training at Aquatic Park.

On the way out, I picked up a Chocolate Velvet cupcake from Kara's Cupcakes to have when I was back home. Ohmigosh, it was delicious! The frosting was like chocolate mousse and the cupcake itself was so rich and moist. Yum! Perfect post-race treat.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Back in the saddle again...

I'm actually getting back into running. Woo-hoo! I haven't exercised at all since my disastrous pre-Easter 4 mi run and trust me, I'm feeling it. (As in the waistbands of my pants... *sigh*)

So I went to the gym on Wednesday and did about 30 min on the treadmill. I am horrible at treadmill running so I had to alternate between running and walking. You'd think it would be easier - you've got a fan keeping you cool, your own personal TV for channel surfing, easy access to water... but still I struggle. So after that I did a little bit of elliptical followed by some arms and ab work. All in all, a good time at the gym which I really needed because I had been so stressed at work all week.

Today, I had to talk myself into getting out there to run. It helped that I had a new running outfit plus I added a new fun tune to my running mix. Finally, I hit the trail. I know it's been awhile so I didn't worry about my pace and stuff. It was tough... but it was nice to be out there again. Here are the splits:

1: 10:27
2: 10:39
3: 11:03
4: 11:01

Total: 4.00 miles, average 10:48 pace

Definitely room for improvement!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tales from Cleveland: Chapter 3

Technically, I am back from Cleveland BUT I do have a few more tidbits to share from the holidays with the family.

Thanks Mom! Even the grown-up kids got Easter baskets this year - and it was the good stuff, too. All Malley's chocolates - hometown goodness.

Of course, at this point, my sister and I had already made a big batch of Puppy Chow Mix which meant I had LOTS of yummy sweets to bring home.

My family and I enjoyed a nice brunch on Easter Sunday. We were all pleasantly stuffed afterward but then later that evening, we decided to go out for a low key dinner at this restaurant/bar joint, Herb's Tavern. Personally, I feel this place is a classic Cleveland joint - very homey and old school, wood paneling, those stained glass wall decor items, lighting fixtures made of wagon wheels with bulbs attached, etc. Dated decor but very comfy. Lots of OSU and Cleveland Browns stuff, as well.

Anyway, upon arrival at the restaurant, look what we saw!

Oh yeah... as soon as we walked in, you could hear a painful rendition of "You Light Up My Life." Yikes!

But we stuck around - this place is known for having the best burgers in town after all! Not only that - it was great for people watching. (I was particularly fascinated by a table of "regulars" seated near us that were all exchanging coupons when not doing the karaoke thing.)

You could tell that pretty much everyone that went up to the mic were all friends and were regulars at Herb's. It was a probably a nice surprise for everyone when my brother (not a regular) went up to sing. Unlike me, my brother actually has a nice voice and he did a good job with Joe Jackson's "Is She Really Going Out with Him?" I was so proud when everyone cheered and clapped for him afterward. Heehee! And not to brag too much, I noticed the whole joint quiet down a lot more when he went up to sing a second time (this time "Over my Head" from The Fray). And that says a lot because it was quite a rowdy bunch there for an Easter Sunday.

And that pretty much wrapped up the weekend. Actually - the bulk of my time at home was spent playing with my 9 month old nephew and catching up on lots of bad TV with my sister. Good times, good times.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Tales from Cleveland: Chapter 2

You gotta love the midwest where the arrival of spring is joined by 7 inches of snow.

This Cali girl is thrilled though... there was no snow when I was home for the holidays for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Instead, I get a White Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Tales from Cleveland: Chapter 1

Just like death and taxes, it is always certain that the hottest dining spot in town on Good Friday will be....

wait for it...

Red Lobster.

Well, that's the case in northern Ohio anyway - where even a 5:00PM arrival will require you to endure an hour and 15 minute wait before you can dive into those tasty Cheddar Bay biscuits that I adore so. But it was worth it - yum, yum! (Plus, our Red Lobster is adjacent to the mall so I was able to do some window shopping to kill time.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What I've Been Up to (besides not running)

It's been awhile since I've had anything to update on my running blog which is unfortunate.

The second week of my work trip was just as crazy as the first. Sure, I was able to get a 7.5 mile run in my second day of Tokyo but that's the only running I did during those two weeks.

Week 2 in Review:
  • Sunday: Run in the morning, get Starbucks fix, work on Monday's presentation with boss, then meet boss and VP for a fun sushi dinner
  • Monday: Four meetings (the most of any day on the trip!) plus a skipped lunch which meant I had nothing in my system between 10AM and 7PM besides a small cup of coffee - that was about the closest I've been to unleashing the evil beeyotch Audrey in a work environment. Hungry Audrey is a very cranky, unhappy Audrey. But the evening ended with a very delicious dinner ($100/person - yikes! Good thing we weren't paying)
  • Tuesday: City hopping begins again! Leave Tokyo, take 90 min train to Sendai, lunch and meeting in Sendai, then take 90 min flight to Osaka, have fun dinner that night with team
  • Wednesday: Meeting in morning, then take 2.5 hour train to Fukuoka with fun boxed lunch and beer, another fun dinner at night where I started learning some conversational Japanese
  • Thursday: Meeting in morning where I introduced myself and began my presentation in Japanese, lunch, followed by 90 min flight back to Tokyo, had yet another fun dinner with team, followed by a stint at a karaoke joint (I surprised myself by actually doing some solo "singing" - normally I only like to torture my family, not people I actually work with!)
  • Friday: Our last customer meeting! I am embarrassed to say that I was a bit hungover that morning but managed to get it together by the time we arrived at the customer site. After lunch, boarded a 2 hour shuttle bus to the airport, mooched access to the VIP lounge with my boss, then took the 9 hour flight back home.

Once I arrived back home (because of the time difference, it was Friday morning again), I was a big. old. slug. I mean, I already know I'm a couch potato at heart but I even impressed myself that weekend with how lazy a person could be. I almost called Safeway to deliver some groceries. (Safeway is about two blocks from my home.) I completely caught up with my DVR with all the shows I missed - American Idol, Lost, Project Runway, Jon & Kate plus eight, even The Oscars! I caught it all. I even got hooked on a new show, In Treatment, since it's on one of the HBO channels 'round the clock.

Anyway, as you can imagine, no running that weekend. Then I get back to the work - where there were eighteen million things going on and I was working late every night and struggling to get up early with the jet lag and the time change. No working out then either.

I was supposed to do a 12K this past Sunday but gladly skipped it. One, I wasn't ready and two, I would have had to wake up around 5:30AM to make it to the race on time and that definitely wasn't going to happen as I had been struggling to get up before 7:30AM all week. I've been very sleep deprived lately so I was not going to miss my chance to sleep in.

Turned out to be a good idea because even though I didn't race on Sunday, I still laced up those running shoes to get back into the game. The weather was really nice on Sunday out here but maybe just a tad too warm for running (I only needed a tank and shorts).

I thought about maybe doing another 7.5 mile run like I did in Tokyo. However, as soon as I started running, I knew that wasn't going to happen. I felt AWFUL. So sluggish and out of shape. Two weeks off and look what happens! I checked my Garmin, and sure enough, I was over an 11:00 min pace! I wasn't even doing any hills. :(

So I decided to take it easy and limit it to 4 miles. This is my usual short easy run distance. But on Sunday, it was not easy. I ended up taking *two* walking breaks to drink water. That's pretty pathetic for a 4 mile run. My pace was a little better toward the end but I was ready to be done.

I believe I finished right around an 11:00 min/mi pace for the 4 miles. Oh well. I guess the good thing is that I at least got out there. Everyone's running blogs have been so inspiring lately... I hope to have some good news to share soon, too!

But I'm going home to Ohio for Easter this weekend... we'll see if any running happens while on "vacation". (I put it in quotes because I'm sure I will be doing work while there. Poop.)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Running in Tokyo

I'm now at the halfway point of my two week business trip in China and Japan. Here's the thing - I like to travel, I do. But to be honest, I 'm just not very good at it because I. AM. EXHAUSTED.

The week in review:

Sunday-Monday: 15 hour flight to Hong Kong, ferry to Shenzhen
Tuesday: Meetings in Shenzhen, fly to Hangzhou
Wednesday: Meeting in Hangzhou, 3 hour cab ride in mini-van to Nanjing
Thursday: Meeting in Nanjing, sightseeing in the afternoon, fly to Beijing
Friday: Meetings in Beijing, dinner that night - two nights in same hotel, yippee!
Saturday: Early morning flight to Tokyo, try to meet with boss and his friends for dinner but fail miserably

So now it's Sunday and I'm trying to not think about the fact that I still have another whole week of meetings that again will be in a different city every day. (I believe I have two train rides and one flight in my future.)

I brought running gear with me on this trip and every morning, I thought about heading to the gym. And every morning, I either decided to sleep more or do some work instead. So today is my one and only completely free day so I decided to take advantage of it and go for a run. I do have a 12K in two weeks to get ready for!

My hotel offered jogging maps which came in handy. I decided to do a 2 mile loop near my hotel. As luck would have it, I ended up running into my boss who was just finishing his run. He decided to run with me for a bit which was nice of him since he's a 6:00 min/mi dude and I'm more of a 10:00 min/mi chick. But he only joined me for a little bit (thankfully, since I had to pick it up a bit just to be at his slow pace!) I wasn't sure how far I would go once I was on my own but it was nice that it was such a short loop because I just kept running along... I am very happy to say that I ended up doing a 12K! It was perfect running weather (45-50 degrees?) and there were a couple little hills to keep things interesting.

I didn't take any pics on my run because there wasn't anything interesting to see. The park I was running around was surrounded by high walls. I did take a pic of the nice view from my hotel, though:

My new running shoes worked well, too. Right before my trip, I picked up some Nike Air Trail Pegasus shoes. I wanted some running shoes that also looked cute and could double as my travel sneakers. These did the trick!

I don't think I'll do any sightseeing today. I did a lot during my last China/Japan trip so for now I just want to rest and catch up on some work. I'd like to get out for a bit to at least enjoy the nice weather and maybe partake in some treats from home... like Starbucks!!!

On a side note, special thanks to Leana for her update on registration for the 2008 Nike Women's Marathon. Looks like I'll be doing two lotteries this year!

Update: I *did* get my Starbucks fix - caramel frappuccino, yum! (And I ran into my boss there as well! I can't get away from work, can I?) It's close enough that I might head there tomorrow, too, heehee.
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