Posted in Daily happenings, Thoughts

A heart to heart

Disclaimer: This was a very emotionally charged post for me to write so please be kind. My life isn’t always rainbows, butterflies, and personal records. It’s often filled with anxiety and self-doubt and I thought it was time I let you in on some of that. 


Hello world. It’s been a few days since I’ve been back from a much needed mini vacation and although, I’m still not quite ready to return to real life, I thought I’d pop by to update you as to what I’ve been up to lately. A lot has been going on with me and I thought a mid month update was needed.

Graduate school – For those of you just tuning in, I’m a graduate student in the biological sciences. I’ve been in graduate school for almost five years now and this year will be my final year as I’m trying to wrap up in the lab. I‘m currently finishing up an experiment just finished what is hopefully my last experiment for my project and will be furiously writing my manuscript in the next few weeks in hopes of getting it published somewhere. In less than a month, I will be meeting with my committee, a group of principal investigators, that will decide whether I’m ready to graduate or not. I will present my work and they’ll ask me questions about my work. Questions on literature that pertain to my work may come up and I pray that I will know the answer to their questions. If they decide I’m ready and knowledgeable enough, I will have a couple months to write my dissertation (a very long essay on my five years of graduate work), submit my manuscript to a journal, perform experiments that reviewers may ask regarding the manuscript, and defend my dissertation to my committee, friends, family, and anyone else that really wants to come. My stress level in grad school? HIGH.

WritePhDcomics

Beyond graduate school – This year is full of uncertainty and doubt. What will I do after I graduate? Do I want to take a break after I graduate before doing a job search or should I start looking for a job now while still in school? I’ve practically been in school since I was 5 and have had some sort of income since I was 16. The idea of a break sounds nice and I still have a few countries on my bucket list that I want to visit, but I haven’t been unemployed in over a decade and don’t know how I’ll react to it. If I do take a break, how long should it be? As long as it takes me to find a job? What if it takes me 6 months to a year or even longer to find a job? Will I be okay? I haven’t been sleeping all too well the past few months and these are just a few of the reasons why. I’ve been in academia for so long that I don’t know what it feels like to be thrusted into the “real” world. It worries me. ThePlanPhDcomics

My 100 Happy Day Project – I’m sad to say that I didn’t finish this project. I was a third of the way done when I had a few days where it was too difficult to find that silver lining so I stopped recording. I will finish this project this year because I said I would, but I will have to modify the project so that it will be to find 100 happy days within the calendar year and not 100 consecutive happy days.

Long distance relationship – My better half left for a six to 12 month internship at the beginning of April. I guess I was hoping it’d be some elaborate April fools joke, but it wasn’t. He left and it’s been incredibly tough because I find myself alone again. Don’t misunderstand. I do get to talk to him, every day in fact. I’m incredibly lucky to be living in an age where we have cellphones, skype, and other ways of communicating with people living in other areas, but it’s still difficult. I put on a brave face every day, but by the end of the day, I’m drained because I miss him. I want to hold him, but this is simply how our individual paths are currently unfolding and I’m trying to accept that.

So there you have it – the more vulnerable side of me. I hope everyone has a great weekend and I’ll be back with hopefully some happier things to write about soon: 🙂 

Posted in Daily happenings, Running, Thoughts

Adios April, it’s May Time!

Another month has gone by and holy smokes, it’s May! That means it’s another monthly recap. This is my probably my favorite part about the end of the month. I get to look at my calendar and see all the things I did. It makes me feel productive. 🙂 Without further adieu, my recap of the month below. Disclaimer: This month was very running focused. You have been warned!

Races – This was probably a record breaking month for me in terms of races. I kicked off April with the Carlsbad5000, in which I broke a personal record.IMG_8513 I hadn’t PRed in the 5k distance in 3 years so this was a total shock to me and honestly, I’ll probably still be riding the PR wave for a few months. 🙂 The following weekend, I ran another 5k the Triton 5k at the university I attend. Then two weekends after, I ran my 13th half marathon at the La Jolla Half where I crushed my course PR and ran another sub 2 hour half marathon. Thats 3 sub 2 hour halfs now. Yay! Maybe I can qualify for the Boston marathon one day. A girl can dream, right? 

Group Runs – I’m typically a solo runner. My schedule is just too unpredictable to schedule runs with friends, but this month, I made an effort to go out and run with others. I participated in two group runs this month and I had so much fun that you can bet I’ll be doing more in the future.

Adventure Runs, a scavenger hunt-like run held by Road Runner Sports, was the first group run I attended this month. These runs are held once a month and start at their store. At the start of the run, they unveil a map with locations you can run to in order to get raffle tickets. You have one hour to run so the faster you run, the more raffle tickets you can get. Once the hour is up, everyone returns to the start and Road Runner Sports raffles off prizes. If you’re over 21, they also have a beer garden. The best part? Everything is free. You don’t have to pay to run and the beer is free. What more could you want from a run? LOL.

My second group run was for a course preview of the San Diego Rock N Roll races that will be occurring in June. Movin’ Shoes, a local shoe store, organized this course preview and I thought it’d be a fantastic thing to try out. I’m running the half marathon in June and even though I had run it in previous years, I thought that it wouldn’t hurt to run part of the course again in preparation for the race. Plus, it would push me to get my ass out of bed early and log 9 miles before 9 am. (The full marathon course preview was 15 miles and that was just not happening for me. LOL).

I went into this run not knowing anyone and finished it with a few new friends. I also finished that run feeling like a champ and super grateful I didn’t opt for the full course preview. LOL. I also found out that Movin’ Shoes has weekly groups runs so I’ll be trying to make it out to a few more long runs in preparation for my upcoming races. Woohoo!

IMG_9104
RnR SD course preview done and a vanilla chai latte earned!
Mileage and Motivation – Last month, I missed my monthly mileage goal. This month, I hit it right on target. I logged 83 miles for April! I am still on track for 1000 miles in 2017! Hooray!IMG_9119I’m extremely happy at my progress this year. I was starting to struggle midway through March and was really doubting whether I could have hit all of my running goals for the year. Then, at the beginning of April, I got this pin along with a letter from a friend.

IMG_8733
A pin with my instagram/twitter handle on it
In her letter, she thanked me for being a constant source of inspiration for her and honestly, I was shocked. When I started running, I did it for me. I still do, but I’m glad that I can also inspire my friends to reach for their goals too. 🙂

Yelp Elite Event and another Clothing Swap – It may be hard to believe, but yes, yes, I do other things that isn’t running. Shocking, right? I have been a yelp elite member for several years now and I love going to their events. This month, I was lucky enough to get into their Flower Fields event. At the event, we got to taste delicious food and also frolick around the flower fields.

View More: http://actionbooth.pass.us/yelptbt
My friend Lindy and I
I also attended another clothing swap and got some new articles of clothing, two of which I’m wearing in the above photo. I love leggings and a cropped leather jacket suits me just fine. 🙂 Clothing swaps are the best way to donate clothes and get some new clothes in exchange AND it’s free! I mean, how awesome is that? This is especially awesome if you have a stylish friend you want to exchange clothes with. 😉

So there you have it, my jam packed April. There were other things I did, but didn’t want to bore you with the details. 🙂 How was your April? Do anything fun? What’s in store for May? 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

Ahhhh! It’s Taper Time for the La Jolla Half.

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the La Jolla Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

Yes, that time has come again. Tapering. Some people love it. Some people hate it. I personally LOVE it. A week where you can decrease your mileage in preparation for a race. Woohoo! My tapering strategy has changed over the years and I just wanted to say that I am in no way telling anyone how to taper. I’m still figuring it out and it’s a lot of trial and error.

When I first started out, I was doing cardio kickboxing three to four times a week with short 3 mile runs in between. My kickboxing trainer told me to start resting on Wednesdays for a Sunday half. That sounded good to me. Less running? Hell yeah. LOL. Nowadays, my taper week goes a little something like this. I run the bulk of my miles on Monday and Tuesday. This usually ranges from three to six miles depending on how I feel. On Wednesday and Thursday, I try for shorter mile runs and on Friday, I rest. On Saturday, I do a three mile run to shake out my legs and on Sunday, I’m ready to go. I usually average 21 miles a week. The week leading up to a half, I average maybe 8 to 9 miles. *Edit* I know the total taper week plus the race equals 21 or 22 miles. LOL. Maybe it’s not a taper week at all? I’m still new at this! Only three years running. I’ll figure it out soon enough. 🙂 

Now my training for the La Jolla Half hasn’t been too bad. With all the races I’ve signed up for this year, I don’t really have a structured training plan for halfs. (The only structured training plans I’ll have for this year is for the Chicago marathon and for the Dopey Challenge too.) As mentioned earlier, I try to average 21 miles a week and some weeks, I go over and some weeks, I miss my target mileage by a lot. The last week of March and the first week of April wasn’t too kind to me mileage wise. I blame a lack of motivation, injury, and life. LOL.

All of that changed last week. Can you guess why?

A strava challenge started. Haha. I’m definitely the competitor type and the Runner’s World Boston Challenge was just what I needed to kick my butt back into gear. From April 8 to 17, I had to run 26.2 miles. Here was my initial thought process:

Run 26.2 miles in 9 days? Sure. Why not? Totally doable.

*2 days later*

Hmm. When did that challenge start again?

*Looks at challenge*

Oh crap. It started 4 days ago. I’ve skipped two days of running already. Hmm, should I still try for it? You at least ran 3.1 miles on Sunday. That’s still something. You got 23.1 miles to go and 6 days to do it. That’s 4 miles a day. That’s doable…I think. 

It is now April 18 and I’m proud to tell you that I finished that challenge two days ago! Woohoo! IMG_8848

Although I haven’t done any long runs in a month, I’m hopeful that my mileage the past few weeks will get me through the La Jolla Half Marathon this weekend. 🙂 Wish me luck!

If you still haven’t registered for the La Jolla Half marathon and would like to run it Sunday, April 23, use the code “BIBRAVE20” for $20 off their registration fee! 

Posted in Thoughts

My 100 Happy Day Project

If you remember back in January, I posted my resolutions for the year. As expected, most of those have kind of fallen by the wayside, but that’s okay. I’m still working on more than half of them and that’s still a win in my book.

Today’s post will focus on one resolution in particular – my 100 happy day project. You may or may not have heard of it, but it’s a very simple project. For 100 days, you take a minute or two out of your day and reflect on something that made you happy that day. It can be something small. Something someone said. Someone opening the door for you or even just a sunset that made you feel at peace. The purpose of the project is to help you focus on the positive things in your life. Don’t dwell on the negatives, but reflect on the positives. That’s what will keep you going.

A few years ago, I did this project. I was going through a really bad break up at the time and was in a complete rut. I was going to therapy, taking medications, and nothing seemed to work. So when I came across someone else’s happy day project, I decided to try it. For those 100 days, I took photos and videos of food, friends, and activities that I did and posted them on social media. The project doesn’t require you to. You can keep it completely confidential if you choose to do so. I chose to post on social media to keep me accountable. With each photo and video that I took, I felt better about myself and my situation. I really believe I came out a stronger person after the project was over.

I haven’t been having the best outlook on life lately, so I decided it would be a good time to begin a new 100 happy day project. 🙂 This time around, I will be recording myself recapping things that made me happy that day. It’s not as exciting as pictures, but I find that if I say it out loud, I believe it more. I’m almost two weeks into my project and I definitely feel more appreciative of things I have in my life. I may or may not show the entire 100 clips on here since I think that would be too long, but I may post a few here and there for you to listen to.

I will end this post with pictures from my first 100 happy day project. Oh how much I’ve grown since then. 🙂

So tell me, have you heard of the 100 Happy Day project or done something similar? What was your take on it? 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

The Carlsbad5000 – Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Rock N Roll’s Carlsbad5000 as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

It happened. I didn’t think it could, but it did. Today, I beat my personal record of 24 minutes and 36 seconds with a time of 23 minutes and 47 seconds. Yay!

I genuinely believed that I couldn’t beat my personal record going into the race. For the past few weeks, my motivation to run dramatically decreased. Remember the plan I had for last week? Yeah, I barely did any of it.

Monday – 5.5 miles

Tuesday – 4.5 miles 3 miles

Wednesday to Friday – 2 to 3 miles a day zero miles

Saturday – 2.6 miles

The plan was to get the bulk of my miles in on Monday and Tuesday. Everything went according to plan on Monday and I was feeling good. I ran out of time on Tuesday and only managed 3 miles. I had some unpleasant news drop on me Tuesday night and I was out of commission emotionally Wednesday through Friday. I guess you could call that tapering in a way. Saturday, I came to the realization that despite encouraging others to sign up for the race, I, myself, hadn’t signed up for it. Wow. I couldn’t believe it. Luckily, there was race day registration and I decided that I would just sign up the morning of and it’d be fine. I managed a 2.6 mile shake out run that day as well in hopes that I wouldn’t feel too terrible on race day.

IMG_8508
Race Day Essentials

Race morning came. I ate an organic HoneyStinger waffle for breakfast and got myself to the race. Parking wasn’t too bad and I found a spot within a few minutes and made my way over to the registration area. Note that parking isn’t too big of an issue for the Carlsbad5000 because of the way the 5k races are spaced out. You only really need to show up an hour before your start time and by the time you get there, other runners will have already left giving you parking space. 🙂

IMG_8511
Ran into a HoneyStinger Truck on my way to registration. Yay HoneyStinger!

Registration was a breeze. I just walked up to a computer, swiped my driver’s license, swiped my credit card, and got my bib. I have never come across an easier registration process. Because registration was a lot faster than anticipated, I still had about an hour before my start time and decided to stay and watch the race before me (Master’s Women Ages 40 and Over).

IMG_8514
A successful jumping photo on the first try!

While I was waiting, I heard the announcer say that the fastest time achieved on this course for men was a 12 minutes and 59 seconds and the fastest time for women was a 14 minutes and 46 seconds. I kind of stood there in disbelief that there were people that fast out there. It definitely put me to shame.

Anyway, after the women ages 40 and up started their race, I ran into a friend from college. We caught up and as the sun came out, I started to feel a bit better about the race. I started to believe that maybe I could do it, but also believed that it’d be okay if I didn’t PR. The goal was to just enjoy the race and not quit.

The race itself was awesome. I’ve been really fortunate to be able to repeat a few of the races that I first ran 3 years ago. Back then, I only concentrated on finishing. That was the goal. I was so set on proving that I could do something that I forgot to “sit back” and enjoy the course. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still set on finishing each race, but I’ve found that taking in all the sights is a really a great way to see a city (and enjoy the race), even if I’ve lived in it almost all my life. We started the race by crossing some train tracks, then turned left on Carlsbad Boulevard and headed towards the infamous Carlsbad sign. I was moving my little legs as fast as I could, dodging people left and right. There was a bit of a bottleneckat the beginning, but once we were on Carlsbad Boulevard, it cleared up a bit. Mile 1 had passed easily and my strava app announced that I was running at a 7:23 min/mile. At that point, I had an “oh crap” moment. I started out way too fast. I somehow reasoned to myself that if I could just keep the pace for another mile, maybe it’d be okay. If I gassed out during the last mile, maybe it wouldn’t matter as much and I could still PR. So I kept going and pumped my arms as fast as I could. While on the course, we got to see views of the Pacific Ocean and I thought that it was a shame I didn’t visit the ocean more often. I assure you, that will change this summer. We then made a U-turn and made our way back up the street. This is when I started to gas out. I was having a hard time breathing and people were passing me, but I just told myself to give it everything I had left and ran to the finish line. At the finish line, I was greeted with this pretty medal and post-race goodies.

IMG_8526
I was also one of the first 250 finishers. 🙂

I was so happy to get that medal that I had almost forgotten to stop my Strava tracking. When I did check my Strava data, I was in shock. I had PRed again! Hooray! Maybe it is all in my head? I don’t really know. I’m just eternally grateful for this fortunate event.

Anyway, back to the medal. If all medals were like this, I’d run all the races. It’s a smaller medal, but I don’t mind it at all. I think the size actually adds to its appeal. Post-race goodies included an orange, water, gatorade, crackers, and some other refueling items I didn’t get. After finishing, I skipped the beer garden and caught up with some friends that came to cheer me on.

The Carlsbad5000 was a great way to kick off April and with the way that March ended for me, this was something that I desperately needed. Maybe next year, I’ll be crazy enough to do the all day 20k. IMG_8527

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun? Run any races? Or just tell me a random fact about yourself. 🙂 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

The End of March and my Run Streak

March is ending and so is my run streak. Well, actually, it ended already. I just didn’t announce it. Let’s recap shall we?

Networking – Yes, I kicked off March with another round of networking events. I met with someone at Technical Support for an informational interview and gathered quite a bit of helpful information. I think I’m narrowing it down a bit everyone. 🙂 I also attended a speed networking event held by AWIS, the association of women in science. I learned a lot and hope to continue meeting new people from the field.

GloZone LA – I took a night trip to LA to celebrate a friend’s birthday at GloZone LA. Glozone LA is a glow in the dark play area. For a few hours there, we were able to play mini golf, laser tag, and rock climb and because we went during adult night, there weren’t any children running around. It was just grown up fun. That day also happened to be the day I came down with a nasty respiratory infection. Screaming to someone standing right next to you because it’s too loud does wonders for your throat.

Medieval Times – When I was in middle school, our class took a field trip to Medieval Times. There was jousting, sword fights, and food. The boyfriend has always wanted to go so I decided to take him here before he leaves for Texas for a year. It was everything I remembered it to be and more. The food was delicious. I had a cup of tomato bisque, some garlic bread, “baby dragon” aka roasted chicken, and soda. The best part of the food was that it was eaten without utensils. Medieval to the end! 🙂 The knights were extremely guilty of bad acting, but I actually found that more enjoyable. Unfortunately, our knight didn’t do so well in the jousting round and he was the first to die. We cheered for him anyway. 🙂 

More Escape Rooms – Even though February’s escape room scared the crap out of me, I’ve been hooked on escape rooms since then. I did two more this month – one at QuickSand Escape Games and one at Escapology, both of which are in San Diego. QuickSand Escape Games is my favorite escape game. I’ve been to two of their rooms and I can’t wait until their third comes out. The puzzles are extremely logical and the decor is true to their theme. We were able to escape Escapology, which I thought, was a bit easier because it is a chain and is probably geared towards families. The one thing I reallly liked as Escapology was that there is a ranking system based on the time you get out. We were able to get out with a little over 13 minutes to spare and were the top team that week. Woohoo. I think we’re ranked 24 overall, which is still pretty awesome. 🙂 Again, if you haven’t done an escape room yet, please try it out. They’re so fun. I’ve already done six. LOL.

San Diego Half Marathon – I ran one race this month and it was the SD Half. Read all about it here. Spoiler alert – I beat my PR. 🙂

Run Streak – On Thanksgiving day, I started the Runner’s World Run Streak challenge. The challenge required that you run at least 1 mile a day everyday until the first of January. On the first, I decided I would keep going and see how long I could last. The answer was 120 days. This month was kind of a rough month for me personally, with a lot of unexpected changes and looming deadlines, and on day 121, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I’m sure that I could have run a mile on day 121 because I actually did run on the following day, but I just didn’t want to anymore. It felt more like a chore the longer I did the streak and to be honest, I actually feel happier since I am now choosing to run because I want to and not because I have to. I don’t regret participating in the run streak and I admire anyone who does them. It takes a lot of time and effort and the people who do them are amazing. I learned a lot and will recap in a later post.

Mileage – I fell short of my goal this month and was able to only run 81.6 miles, 1.4 miles shy of my goal. I was struggling a lot with personal issues this month and it really affected my running to the point where I have wanted to just stop running altogether. Here’s hoping that April will be a better month for me.

So that was my March. How was your March? Do anything interesting? What’s in store for your April? 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Do you Smellwell? – Product Review

Disclaimer: I received SmellWell to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

Do you remember the lyrics to “Low” by Flo Rida? It came out a decade ago and I still remember the iconic lyrics

“Shawty had them Apple Bottom Jeans (jeans)
Boots with the fur (with the fur)
The whole club was lookin’ at her”

Why bring that up? Well, I hate to admit it, but I was one of those girls. Yes. Me. I had the boots with the fur. LOL. In my defense, I got those boots a few years before that song came out. I thought I was so cool. LOL. Anyway, I brought those boots with me to college freshmen year and boy, did those boots cause some fights among my roommates, but not because of the physical boots. It was because of how they made my feet smell like CRAZY after a few hours of wearing them. My feet would sweat and all that bacteria would stay in my boots. I would always have to wash my feet thoroughly to get rid of the smell and I’m pretty sure that the smell just got worse overtime because I couldn’t wash them.

After trying out SmellWell for a few weeks, I now know that I could have easily solved the smell/bacteria issue in my boots with these pouches. Damn’t! Ten years too late. I could have avoided so much drama back then. LOL. IMG_8070

Anyway, Without further ado, here’s my breakdown of the pros and cons.

Pros

Removes moisture and odor – If you know anything about bacteria and fungi, you’ll know that they LOVE a moist environment. These pouches are designed to remove moisture and prevents bacteria from growing in your shoes. It might not be as obvious in running shoes since socks are used to wick away moisture, but it’s very obvious in ballet flats. I actually stopped wearing my flats and put them away in a corner of my desk hoping that the smell would go away. A few weeks would go by and the smell would still be there so I just gave up. I put them away in a corner and forgot about them.

IMG_8187

When I got these pouches, I remembered my flats problem and decided to give the pouches a shot. I wore the flats for a few days and of course they started smelling again. I would put the pouches in at the end of the day and by the next morning, they’d smell great again.

Versatility – These smellwell pouches don’t have to be used in just shoes. I do cardio kickboxing from time to time and sweat A LOT in my gloves. I just put the pouches in my gloves after a sweaty one hour work out, let them sit there for a night, and ta-da, I had really nice smelling gloves. LOL. I know it sounds silly – making my gloves smell nice, but I actually throw my gloves, wraps, and clean clothes into one bag and if I can decrease bacteria exposure, I will. I haven’t been traveling lately, but you can bet that I will DEFINITELY be using these in my travel bag. 🙂

IMG_8293
They fit great into my kickboxing gloves
IMG_8495
To keep the dirty clothes smell to a minimum; also, because I sometimes don’t do laundry in time and I need to re-wear a smelly top

Shelf life – These babies last approximately 3 – 4 months depending on what you’re putting them into. The more moisture these pouches soak up, the shorter the life span so unless you absolutely need to put them in wet shoes, don’t. I haven’t personally tested them in rained on shoes, but I have a feeling they probably work fine.

Variety: These pouches do not come in varying sizes, but varying colors! They have zebra patterns, camo, and if you just want a plain one, they have black, which is the one I chose. Each order comes with two pouches, one for each shoe, glove, skates, etc.

Cons

Size: They only have one size, which could be a problem if you have something larger that needs a lot of deodorizing. Maybe a spray would be better in that case?

If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask me about these or come talk to the rest of the #bibchat (Twitter) crew on Tuesday, April 4th at 6 pm PST. They also have a Spring promotion right now where you buy 3 and get 1 free! 🙂 Get them for all the smelly people in your life. Haha. Just kidding. Sort of.

Also, here’s what other BibRave Pros had to say about them.

Lindsey – Katherine