How I Got to 13.1 Miles

I need to start by telling you all that I am not a runner. I’ve never been a runner. I grew up hating running/jogging, and any activity involving those things. In high school, I was the kid who walked the mile in p.e. with my friends. I used to act like it was because I was just too cool, but really I had horrible asthma and absolutely hated running and didn’t want to feel miserable. Yesterday I ran 13.1 miles. I started running in May to get ready to run a 5k (3.1 miles). I was only running on a treadmill at the time and got up to about 2.5 miles before going to run the 5k. When I started, running one mile was difficult for me. I’d want to quit the moment I started, but I kept going so I could finish the 5k. That day came and I ran the whole thing straight through (mostly because I had a friend with me telling me I wasn’t ALLOWED to stop). I did a few more 5ks over the next month or so and they started to get easier and easier.

This photo was taken after my first 5k.

So  I decided to start training for a 10k (6.2 miles) at the end of June. That number sounded HUGE to me. I ran every week and got to the point where I ran 4.5 miles outside one time and figured I was ready for the 10k. That race was at the end of June right in my neighborhood, which has very little shade, so I was huffing and puffing and getting sunburned the whole way. At the end I said to my friend “That wasn’t fun. I’m done. I don’t need to do that again.” And I took a month off of running. I went to Hawaii and planned on running, but I didn’t. Finally, in August I decided I wanted to get back into it. I started running again with a friend who lives in my neighborhood. We ran early in the morning before work and pretty soon we were back up to 6 miles. So, we registered for a 1/2 marathon on Halloween weekend. Each week we ran in the mornings and then did long runs on the weekend. We had good weeks and bad weeks depending on how busy we both were at work. Some days I would get out there and two miles would be extremely hard for me and some days six miles would be easy. On the days when running two miles was difficult, I’d want to throw in the towel. If two miles was hard, how the hell was I going to do 13.1?!

But, we didn’t quit, and a few weeks ago we did our longest run and got all the way up to 11 miles. We were very proud of ourselves. After that long run we both got so busy with work that we only ran 2-3 times in the following 2 weeks up to the race. We were also training on completely flat ground the whole time because there are very little hilly areas in Sacramento and none in our neighborhood. I was nervous about that because I knew our half marathon would have hills, but we didn’t have time to drive for 30 minutes to find them each time we ran. My nerves were warranted because yesterday, there were hills. Lots of them. And the worst one of all was at the very end of the race. How cruel is that?

Five miles into the half marathon I was dragging already. I was dreading the next eight miles ahead and questioning if I could even finish when I saw my dad waiting for me ahead, which meant my mom and husband were waiting for me too. After I noticed my dad was wearing a ridiculous shirt that read “My daughter kicks asphalt” I noticed that it wasn’t just my parents and my husband waiting for me. My best friend, her fiance, and their roommate and my good friend, were all there and ALL wearing their own ridiculous shirts. As silly as it might be, I got all teared up. 13 miles may not be a big deal to many people, but for me, it was a huge deal and having so many important people there who understand and appreciate how hard this was for me really meant a lot. AND their shirts were hilarious. Apparently the runners were loving them the whole way!

“Worst parade EVER.”      “Your feet hurt because you kick so much @$$!”

“You can’t run from your problems”        “My daughter kicks asphalt” “It could be worse. There could be FIVE bridges”

“You Rock!!” (of course, my mom’s is the sweetest)

Around 10.5 miles I was dragging. I knew the last mile was going to be extremely hard for me and I would want to walk. So, I text messaged my husband and asked him to meet me at mile 12. He showed up with my dad and they ran the next 1/2 mile with me and then took a short cut to the finish line so they could see me cross. Having them there pushing me along really helped. Then I bared the big hill on my own and made it to the finish and got my medal.

Lindsey and Me after the race.

If you want to read my past posts about training for the half, click on these links- To Run, or Not to Run? , 1/2 Marathon Update , 1/2 Marathon Update 2- It’s Getting Close!

Finishing felt pretty damn good. I guess I am a runner now?

Advertisements

Destruction in Cinque Terre

Today I read some very sad news. The villages of Italy’s Cinque Terre were hit by a horrible rain storm that caused flash floods. So far I have read that six people died. Restaurants, shops and homes have been flooded and destroyed. People have been evacuated by sea and many people will be homeless.

This photo was taken from The Globe and Mail.

Natural disasters happen all the time and each time  my heart goes out to the people who have to live through them. This is the first time a natural disaster has happened in a place I have visited and truly love. I blogged about Cinque Terre a few months in my excitement to go back and visit soon.  I visited Cinque Terre when I was studying abroad in college and instantly fell in love with the area and decided it was one of my favorite places in the world. I was in the middle of planning a trip back there with my husband in May of 2012 when I stumbled upon the sad news.

Photo from the National Post

Cinque Terre consists of 5 little towns, or villages– Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. When I visited in 2007, I hiked through the towns with a backpack on my back and my camera in hand. I was amazed by these little towns. They had so much charm and character and such beautiful, beautiful views of the Mediterranean. Italian music played as we walked through the towns and enjoyed the scenery. I felt like I was in a scene from a romantic Italian movie.

These photos were all taken on my 2007 trip in Italy.

As an out-of-shape college student walking through these towns I remember wanting to give up and hop on the train to the last town, essentially skipping the three towns in the middle. It was hot, I was tired, and I was carrying a huge bag on my shoulders. The sun was beating so strongly on us and of course we were not dressed appropriately for the trip. I was wearing heavy long jeans and an uncomfortable tank top and sweating like crazy. But my roommate at the time and I decided to deal with the heat and heavy bags because we wanted to be able to say “I hiked through ALL of Cinque Terre” and that is exactly what we did. We didn’t want to miss any part of these towns and now, more than ever, I am glad we didn’t quit.

We kept going until we reached the very end of the last town, Monterosso, and we could see the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. We hadn’t brought our swimsuits but the water looked amazing. We stopped at the first little street vendor we could find and bought over-sized t-shirts and towels. We changed and ran into the water. It was the best feeling to know we kept going until the end and were able to enjoy a little relaxation before hopping on a train back to Torino where we lived.

In the latest article I read, the Mayor of the small town said “Monterosso no longer exists.” I can’t imagine what it must look like now. It’s hard to picture the beautiful place I visited being destroyed by flooding.

My thoughts go out to the people of these little towns and all the other areas in Italy who have been affected by this natural disaster. You had a beautiful place to call home and I hope you can rebuild your lives shortly.

Have you been to Cinque Terre? What was your experience like?

You can read more about this on CNN.

Warm Apple Crisp

A friend of mine at work brought me a bunch of apples from her parent’s apple tree last week and I have been dying to make something with them. I haven’t had a lot of time to cook or bake so I thought a warm apple crisp would be easy and delicious.  It only takes a few ingredients and is so easy to throw together.  If you remember from Triumphs of a Terrible Baker, I cannot bake. But this was so easy even I couldn’t screw it up. I started with about 9 apples. Then I peeled, cored, and sliced them.

Then combine 2 tbsp. of flour, 2 tsp. of cinnamon, and a 1/2 cup of white sugar and pour them over your apples until they are coated.

Combine  1 cup raw oats, 1/2 cup brown sugar (I used dark because it’s all I had), and 2 tsp. cinnamon. Slowly add small chunks of butter or margarine and mix until oat mixture is crumbly. Then place apples in a large baking dish and cover with oat mixture.

Bake for 55 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve warm and top with cool whip, whip cream, ice cream, or eat by itself!

David Garibaldi’s ‘Rhythm and Hue’

David Garibaldi is a very talented performance artist who paints amazing portraits in front of a live audience while jumping, dancing, and spinning to music played by his DJ. He calls his show “Rhythm & Hue.”

First off I need to say that I can take absolutely no credit for the photos in this post.  The photos were all taken by my very talented friend, Bre Thurston at an event I helped plan for the CMA Foundation in Anaheim last weekend. Like I said in my post titled *Crystal Gala* it really turned out to be an amazing event. David Garibaldi painted four paintings on stage with his DJ, DJ Joseph One and the crowd loved them. I mentioned before that the DJ is my brother and he travels around performing with Garibaldi. I could not have been more proud to watch him up there on stage. I have seen them live a few times before, but it always makes me happy to see him doing so well. Here are some of Bre’s photos from the evening, you can find more on her site.

This photo of David’s pants covered in paint is my favorite of all the photos Bre took that night. It doesn’t even show his work or how talented he is, but I love how artistic and colorful the photo is. I think it does a great job representing “rhythm & hue” because you can tell by the splatter everywhere how much movement goes into each performance.

This is another one I love. It shows all of his paint brushes and the beautifully colorful mess he made while performing.

DJ Joseph One

How cool is this one? This is in the middle of David Garibaldi painting the CMA logo. He paints Einstein upside down and then at the last minute flips it over so everyone can see the final image. The crowd LOVED this one.

Garibaldi and Joseph One are performing at the Crest Theater in Sacramento on October 26th. Go to  Garibaldi LIVE  for tickets!

And click on Bre’s website for more photos from the Gala!

Pumpkin Banana Oatmeal

I’ve been making pumpkin oatmeal the last few mornings and I have decided it is my new favorite breakfast. I cooked the oatmeal with a sliced banana, a little almond milk, and two large scoops of pumpkin puree. Then I mixed in some flax-seed and topped it with a little granola, a small scoop of peanut butter, chia seeds, and one day I added shredded coconut. I think it is the perfect warm breakfast for fall.

 

Crystal Cove

I grew up visiting the beaches in Monterey, CA and always swore my favorite beach was there until a few years ago. In 2009 my parents moved from Northern California to Southern California and lived in Orange County near Crystal Cove Beach. Every time I came to visit over the next two years we went to that particular beach (they only lived there for two years before they came back to good old Sacramento).  This beach quickly became my favorite in California. It is such a beautiful, quiet beach with trails for running and biking and for some reason the weather always seems to be perfect there. I love having my parents only a 30 minute drive away but I really miss having a place to stay right near by favorite beach. Here are some of the photos I took while they lived there, although this was before I had my Canon so they aren’t my best! The photo above is my favorite of them all.

Hearst Castle at Night

Like I blogged about in my post, Fancy Schmancy, my husband and I were recently invited to the Friends of Hearst Castle Enchanting Evening on our anniversary weekend. It was a beautiful black tie dinner by the Neptune Pool. I have been waiting for the professional photos to appear on the website, but in the meantime I thought I’d share a few that we took from my iphone and my husband’s blackberry. Of course, they didn’t turn out to be amazing photos, but you’ll get the point. It was an amazing evening!

The centerpieces were beautiful, even if my photos didn’t do them justice! White star-gazers and lots of greenery.

Synchronized swimmers came out during dinner and put on an amazing show, twice! I don’t know how they got in that pool- it was SO cold out! I took so many photos of the Neptune Pool while we were there. Even in the fog and the cold it was such a beautiful backdrop to dinner.

Of course I took a photo of my favorite part of dinner- the dessert! We had three small bites and they were all delicious. My favorite of the three was the mocha flavored ice cream sandwiched in between two chocolate cookies. Yum! This is us at the end of the night. We were FREEZING but having such a great time. (sorry for the blurry photo-blackberry in the fog)

*Crystal Gala*

You may have noticed I have been slacking on my blog posts lately. That is because I have been incredibly busy working on putting together a huge black-tie crystal gala for 600 people that took place on Sunday. The dinner started with a cocktail reception with a step and repeat (shown below and photographed by the beautiful brunette in the photo, Bre Thurston) and red carpet. Everyone then moved into a large ballroom decorated with white hydrangeas and manzanita trees dripping with crystals and enjoyed their dinner. During dinner videos honoring the award winners were played, speeches were made, drinks were poured and photobooth photos were taken. David Garibaldi performed with his DJ, Joseph One (who also happens to be my very talented brother) and we then auctioned off his paintings to benefit the foundation. We ended the dinner with a performance by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and then an after-party at the House of Blues in Anaheim, where DJ JosephOne kept the crowd entertained for over three hours. The event went amazingly well and I was happy to be a part of it all. This is the only photo I have so far, but I will get the rest from Bre and post them here!

A Twist On An Old Dish

Years ago I saw a nutritionist who suggested I eat steel-cut oats every morning for breakfast. After six months of the same.meal.every.day I got so sick of oatmeal that I couldn’t eat it for years. Recently a friend told me about the blog, kath eats real food and I love it! She blogs about eating oatmeal and it looks amazing, so I gave it a try! She cooks the oatmeal with fresh bananas and then adds lots of toppings! I made both of these with bananas, and then topped it off with a little peanut butter, chia seeds, coconut, and chocolate covered almonds. SO delicious.

Pumpkin Smoothie ‘Soup’

I recently stocked up on a few cans of pumpkin and am going to try to use it up in as many ways as I can think up. Last night I wasn’t hungry for a big dinner, so I decided to make a pumpkin smoothie. I wanted to add a few toppings to the smoothie to give it a little crunch, so I served it in a small bowl and ate it with a spoon, just like it was soup. It was delicious!

Here is what you will need:

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1 whole banana

1 cup ice

1 cup (or more, depending on the consistency you like) soy milk, almond milk, or regular milk!

1/4 raw oats(not necessary, but I like the texture it gives the smoothie)

1/4 cup non-fat vanilla yogurt (I used plain and I think vanilla would have been better)

2 tbsp. brown sugar

Toppings-

2 tbsp. flax-seed

handful of granola of your choice (I used a chocolate hazelnut granola and it went so well with the pumpkin!)

Directions:

Put all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.

Pour into a bowl and top each serving with 1 tbsp. flax-seed, a pinch of cinnamon, and a little granola.