Brendan and I recently returned from Spring Break in Puerto Rico. My 5 months of traveling back and forth to New York last year finally paid off. We flew to San Juan and spent three nights in the Sheraton in Old San Juan and then three nights West of San Juan at the St. Regis Bahia Beach!
I’m all about the whole “you’re in Puerto Rico… you have to try Puerto Rican (enter something I would rather not be eating/doing”. I get it. I also get being on vacation. I have a whole new outlook on vacation these days. It’s more like… I’m a young professional. Sometimes, I hate my job. Sometimes is right now. I would like to take some PTO, and that is valuable PTO, thank you. So f*ck your Puerto Rican (enter black coffee with creamer)… I’m going to Starbucks on my vacation. And that, my friends, I get from my mama.
But seriously now. This was the first time I truly needed a vacation in my life and really felt like it was something I was able to gift to myself. So we went from this…
We toured old Spanish forts…
Wandered the streets of Old San Juan…
Hiked to caves and cliffs…
Watched the San Juan Half Ironman!
If you know me at all, you know I immediately started researching sprint triathlons and bike prices. It was so inspiring. So exciting!
And then we went to the St. Regis…
…which was a stunning plantation-style resort. We stayed in a suite!
We went to the beach…
Hiked in the rainforest…
snorkeled and kayaked…
And played with iguanas!
It was really great! Then I flew home to Portland and did this!!!!!! Hop Hop Half Marathon…
A HALF MARATHON PR by 3 minutes!!!!!!!!!!!!!
AND… this is the first time I’ve placed in my division!!!
Every few days after I go for an especially good (or bad or average) run, I get all antsy and dying to sign up for a race. But then I look up all the upcoming races, and I remember that it is about to be freezing here. So then I forget about it for a couple days until I remember that there are other places… and destination races are the BEST THING EVER!!! But then I remember I don’t really have that kind of money… or friends… hmm. So nvm again for a couple days.
I just read SkinnyRunner’s race recap of the NYCM and I am DYING to do it. OMG it just sounds so amazing and so entertaining. Go read it now!! Plus, I am just super jealous of everything marathon training related because I listen to my mom’s training updates every week. Go Mom!
I ran 8 miles last weekend and I was pretty impressed with myself… mostly for deciding that I wanted to do that just for the heck of it even though it was super dee duper freezing outside. But also for doing it since my mileage has been pretty low. But it is fun to just play around with what feels good for now.
My point here is that I am looking for a race to sign up for. I was thinking about the new rock n’ roll in DC in March. But it’s during spring break and Brendan thinks it’s a lame spring break trip. Whatevs… I’m trying to come up with a race and place I really want to go to. I guess I might as well start local, though, since every race over here will be new to me. The big race vibe really got me excited about New York because I just really am ADDICTED to the positive energy at big races.
So that’s what’s up. Any good race recommendations? I’m thinking half or full. Go big or go home. My work will pay for half of the entry fee, so rock n’ rolls aren’t completely out of the question! Until then I’ll be fitting in as many runs as possible while the weather is nice!
I rallied up some friends from work and convinced them to sign up for a 10k with me! Yay. I haven’t run a 10k since high school just because I’ve focused on racing longer distances, so it was fun to change it up. Plus, I haven’t really run more than 3.5 miles since I moved, so I can’t even pretend like I could have run any further. In fact, I kind of died during the 10k.
My favorite things about the 10k?
Friends! It was so fun to go with a group of friends, and it was my friend’s first race and first time running more than 5 miles, so it was really fun to be part of that.
The Price It is SOOO much cheaper to register for a smaller local race. I just looked up the price for the Las Vegas Rock n’ Roll Half and I wanted to cry. Not sure if I’ll give in.
My not so favorite things?
The pace… it’s a nice challenge to try to pick up the pace, knowing that it will be a lot shorter than my other races, but it is really hard for me to run any faster, just because my muscle memory is so set on my distance pace. I would definitely have to add in some speed training if I wanted to make this my thing. I ran an 8:08 first mile and then I DIED.
I wore my Nike Women’s Marathon shirt so I could cheer on A.Jay who was running her first FULL in SF today! OMG OMG! I wish I could be there for her… Plus, my mom and our crew of friends ran the Girlfriend’s Half Marathon in Vancouver, WA today. That was my first half EVER about four years ago! I was definitely sad to not be at either of those races today because I love female-focused races, but I don’t really think I could have gone the distance. Plus, it was fun to try a new distance in a new place with new friends!
Going for a run with my friends… to the ocean! Be back soon…
Last week Braedon and I spent at least a couple of hours in Target planning out the birthday present we were preparing for my mom. We wanted to display her race medals and some running pictures in the spare room upstairs, so that she could have an area devoted to her running accomplishments. I was planning to buy some kind of cute wall-hanging coat rack, but we couldn’t find one that we thought would be cute enough, so we got an over-the-door rack and hid it under a shelf, so that the medals are mostly just hanging. It did the trick.
I imagined it would be a temporary display because she might want to actually use all of those shelves and it wasn’t super sturdy. Mostly though, it just wasn’t exactly what I had wanted the present to be. But I couldn’t find the thing I had in my mind… until today. I was doing some catching up on my blog reading today after my mom and Braedon left for Portland, and I came across this post on Carrots n’ Cake on race medal displays. What!?
She found these super cute race medal hangers on Etsy, and I absolutely adore them. They are just what I was looking for. Now it’s too late and I can’t force it upon my mom, but maybe she will like it too!
How cool are those!? I think it is just a really clean look for something that can just be such a scattered mess sometimes. Plus, who doesn’t want to have a place to sit back and think about all those inspiring memories?!
For some reason I had quite a bit more success than usual with the photographers at Sauvie Island. I’ve written before about the brutal honesty of race day photography, so maybe they decided to go easier on me this time?
Here are the things I think lead to better pictures:
4. Do something interesting. Smile, peace sign, arms up, jumping, whatever. The more you look like you’re posing, the more shots the photographers will take.
5. Pass someone at the finish! The before-after on the other person’s face will be worth the shots for the photographer.
6. Look up a little so you don’t have 4000 chins.
7. When all else fails, find a photographer after the race and make them take a ridiculous number of pictures of you with all of your friends.
8. My best tip?! Go to races in beautiful places on beautiful days with all of your favorite people who make you feel fun and gorgeous.
P.S. Sucking in helps, too! lol I don’t think I really had to point that one out.
Sometimes I think pictures are just a load of crap. Everyone on the family vacation is fighting and yelling until the camera comes out and then… “CHEESE! We are so happy!” You show friends your vacation pictures and they say how fun your trip looked and you agree, “it was fun, wasn’t it…”
That’s why there is something oh so refreshing about race pictures…
No, I actually didn’t like the gravel road, I don’t have good running arm posture, I don’t smile the whole time I am running, and my shirt did not get along very well with my running belt during the race. I was really uncomfortable. Thank you, Helvetia photographer, for capturing that moment so honestly.
Or how about this one? It is true. I have a pretty bad heel-strike problem. I don’t lift my legs very high off the ground, and yes, I had a lot of problems with my race belt… we know!
Even when I know the cameraman is there snapping pictures, I still can’t keep my eyes off the ground. I know, my cross country coaches told me to keep my eyes up, but I blame them for all of the times I have tripped over a pebble while running! And yep, I am still a heel-striking runner! The other wonderful honest thing about race photos? I stole them from the website and everyone knows it!
There is something so honest about race photos. They just don’t lie and I can’t convince them to. I go into every race planning to smile big and run with high knees for the camera, and I fail miserably every time. They are always heinous.
I suppose the honesty works to some peoples’ advantage…
Yep, Braedon floats when he runs, and he can’t hide it from them either. Sad.
What a jerk.