When you can’t run, hike. 

My husband Dan and I love going on hikes. It’s an affordable way for us to spend quality time together and work out at the same time. We hadn’t been on a hike for a while since both of our schedules lately have been really busy. I saw a post on the Sacramento Bee’s Facebook page about a hike which is only about 40 minutes away from where we live. We decided we would give it a try. We are always up for trying out new routes. Personally, I will hike anywhere. Dan on the other hand prefers hikes closer to the ocean with cooler temperatures.

It was early morning on Sunday and we headed out to grab our usual pre-hike meal: Starbucks lol. I always order the oatmeal with fresh blueberries and Dan gets the turkey bacon breakfast sandwich (both really delicious). I usually pack a variety of snacks for our hikes. This time we didn’t make a stop at the grocery store before because we had a good variety already. I packed us crisp green grapes, water, almonds, and pretzels.  Our first stop was the Western States hike trail. I’m used to hiking in places with marked signs and typically a good number of other hikers. This trail was really secluded and made us follow colored gates, rocks, and unmarked dirt paths instead. To add to my hesitation, three dogs approached us at the start and one was barking at us because we were in its territory. It also peed on my car. Not cool. We made our way through the unmarked route where we found ourselves looking at each other like “do you feel comfortable doing this?”

It was a completely deserted trail and seemed as though if we didn’t return our disappearance would go unnoticed. The older I get the more weary I am of certain situations-clearly I’ve been watching too much Dateline. It doesn’t help that Dan is terrified of snakes and thinks they will go out of their way to attack him and eat him. I give him a pass at how ridiculous this sounds because he’s from England. We decided to head back to our car and find a hike with more people and at a location where our bodies could be found.       Because old running shoes are always cool but also kinda creepy. Like, did they walk barefoot all the way home?Midday we made our way to a safer trail. This is one of my favorite places to  hike in Auburn. You can choose from several different trails. There are easier ones for beginners and families, while we enjoy challenging ourselves more with an uphill hike mixed with squats. Most of the time we combine about 2-3 different trails in one day to total approximately 8-10 miles.    I love coming down to this rock taking a few minutes to reflect. It is truly a beautiful area to count your blessings and oh of course take muscle photos. Here is the uphill trail we followed. It was really tough but felt great. Not to mention it was really, really hot and we had to take our tops off. After making our way uphill we decided to head back down and hang out by the water while snacking.  Here are my cheap Asics from the Kohl’s clearance department that cost me about $30. I hate ruining my nice running shoes and always opt for a pair of old shoes. I need  better support but I’m also pretty cheap when it comes to some stuff. We always pack a pair of flip-flops in the car. Nothing feels better than taking off sweaty socks and letting your feet breathe.    Hiking is always a great way to spend time with friends and family-not to mention, it’s FREE. Even if you can’t get through as many miles as us it’s always great to see other people out there trying to live a healthier lifestyle. Check out these trails in Auburn and enjoy the summer!

#RunningforCarbs #ByeGirl

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Gotta keep up!

On Sunday, April 19th, I ran the Zoo Zoom 10k which helps fund the Sacramento Zoo. I decided to sign up at the last minute and since my cousin Aaron was in town from San Francisco, he joined me. I was a little nervous about this run because I over indulged the Friday and Saturday before the race. When I say over indulged I mean, I went kinda crazy.

I’m not much of a drinker (because I drank ridiculous amounts in college) and for some reason decided to drink Friday night when I went out with our family. Poor decision #1.  Around midnight that night, I also thought it would be a good idea to head to a local restaurant called Petra’s for a chicken pita, fries, and a soda. Poor decision #2. Petra is delicious but drinking and late night eating are never a good combination. Saturday morning instead of going on a run as planned, I walked over to Hot Italian for their breakfast pizza. Poor decision #3.  Now, I’m not saying that any of these things are poor decisions on any regular weekend. Enjoying a few drinks here and there along with delicious late-night eats is always fun. However, the weekend of a race-not so fun. My poor decisions one, two, and three, left me wondering if I should rename my blog “Running for Junk” instead.

On Sunday morning, I made sure we got to the race super early since Aaron hadn’t registered yet. I hate being late and not having enough time to visit the porta potties multiple times. The weather was perfect and we made it early enough to watch the animal costume contest as well as the start of the 5k race.

The picture above cracks me up because Aaron suggested I tilt my head back since I was wearing a hat-clearly, I didn’t get it. And what’s with my odd little grin?

On our way to the car to drop off some of our personal items, we saw my running buddy Abby! She was running the 5k with her daughter Stella (who is in the stroller and was not feelin’ our photo op). Abby and I run together almost every weekend and it’s always a treat to see her, unexpectedly, at races.I have a pretty good idea of how fast my cousin runs since we’ve completed several races together (two half marathons in San Francisco and a Thanksgiving Day 10k). I really had no specific expectations for this race-I hadn’t set a goal. I just thought it would be a beautiful day, to spend time with my cousin, doing something we both love. We started the race together and I soon noticed we were running at a 7:50 min/mile pace.  I was really just trying to keep up with him. I think he was going at a “slower” pace to take it easy on me. Meanwhile, my little legs were working hard. I told Aaron with excitement (and shock) that if I stayed with him I may set a personal record. At that point, Aaron wanted to help keep me on track and continued to lead the way. He stayed about two steps ahead of me which kept me motivated. It was pretty funny that I decided not to wear my earphones because Aaron didn’t have a pair but we quickly realized that we were not really in the “talking and running” mood. We were FOCUSED!

I typically run with music but this day I focused on my breathing and soaking in every minute of the beauty that surrounded me. Running for me is a great time to reflect on my blessings. Many times while running I name all of the things/people I am thankful for and feel inspired to keep moving.

 Overall the race was terrific! I got a PR for both my 5k and 10k.  Aaron and I couldn’t stop smiling and I literally could not thank him enough for motivating me. It’s a very rewarding feeling to finish a race strong. It made me realize that I run better and faster when I go into a run with zero expectations. After my last half marathon, I felt disappointed because I had not finished “fast enough”-which is silly I know, since I STILL completed 13.1 miles. I’m convinced that not setting any expectations for the ZooZoom and feeling relaxed and grateful, is why I was able to set personal records in both distances.

   To my surprise I ended up placing 4th in my age group. I was shocked when I saw this! I started singing and dancing to Dan while we were driving. I’m in a tough age group: 25-29. It has really fast women and for once I was a part of that group. It felt good knowing that my hard work day in and day out is paying off. I wasn’t the fastest and know about a dozen people who can beat my time but I was still proud that I was able to achieve top 5 at a race.

 

  Later that evening, Dan and I went to a food trucks event for dinner-as a treat for my run. I ended up back at William Land Park where Sacto MoFo was hosting a food truck night. There was live music, bounce houses, picnic areas, and of course FOOD. I couldn’t decide what to eat-everything looked and sounded delicious!  We walked around in circles until I finally let my belly do all the talking and we decided on sea food. I ended up ordering a lobster roll. Back in my flight attendant days, everyone would rant and rave about lobster rolls (specifically the ones from Boston) and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Sadly, I was disappointed. Our meal cost about $35 and we were both still really hungry afterwards. Dan ordered cajun shrimp tacos. Poor guy was sadly disappointed as well. Even though our food truck experience wasn’t great we still had a good time chatting on the grass and enjoying the beautiful weather. I hope the lobster rolls in Boston are much better than the one I had.

I do a lot of self-reflecting on days when I run. Before the race, Aaron and I sat in the car and talked about what it felt like completing a marathon. We both agreed that it was the hardest thing we’ve ever done and our legs hurt in places we never knew could feel pain. Our conversation ended something like this:
Aaron: “I just feel like if I can do this…”
Me: “You can do anything?”
Aaron: “Exactly!”
Me: “Me too.”

I’m fortunate to have family and close friends who share my love for running. This feeling, both Aaron and I shared of accomplishment, will forever be embedded in my heart. I can apply it to any aspect of life and that’s one of the magical things about running. And ultimately, if I can do it, you can do it too.

#RunningforCarbs #ByeGirl