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Project 365: Week 42

Back with another week of my Project 365… only 10 weeks left! The year has flown by. Granted, I didn’t start this project on January 1, but all of 2014 is flying by. Hard to believe we’re already in September! As always, please feel free to offer and CC (constructive criticism).

Day 288 (August 15, 2014): A peaceful corner

Day288_Cacti and BellsDay 289 (August 16, 2014): Prayers

Day289_PrayersDay 290 (August 17, 2014): Mission patio

Day290_Mission PatioDay 291 (August 18, 2014): Cherries

Day291_CherriesDay 292 (August 19, 2014): Oh Hello Friend

Day292_Oh Hello FriendDay 293 (August 20, 2014): Magnolia leaf

Day293_Magnolia leafDay 294 (August 21, 2014): Farrell’s Ice Cream

Day294_Farrell'sHope you have a great week, and Happy Labor Day!

 

 

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A tough 10 miles and sweaty eyeballs

Today’s long run was T.O.U.G.H. I know that it’s about 95% mental, at least for me. But, wow. I nearly gave up at mile 9. The advanced group had 10 miles on our slate today, so we took a bit of a different route to get our mileage in without having to do 3 loops of the park. Thank goodness. I don’t care much for loops, and if I have to do repeated loops, well… let’s just say I try to avoid that at all costs.

The first half of the run took us through an area with a view of a canyon. Don’t ask me the name–I can’t remember the signs I saw. It was beautiful, but there were a few steep hills out there. I may have moaned a few times. On our way back toward the park, we passed some fellow Team ASPCA members on the bike path.

photo 3At mile 5, we stopped to grab some water and fuel. I tried the Blueberry Crisp Clif Bar today. Meh. I wasn’t that impressed. I knew I wanted something that would be easy to eat in small bites and leave the rest behind for later. I didn’t feel much energy from the bar, but I only ate about a third of it. I also don’t use Gu gels. I think they taste awful and leave your mouth feeling dry, which is the last thing I want. Honestly, I’d rather not take anything for energy during a race. I know some people would disagree with that, but it works for me to just down some good old water and move on.

The second half of the run was nice, and we did a 2.5 mile out and back route on the Santa Ana River Trail. I like this trail, and the bike path is nice, too. The only issue with the bike path is that some of the cyclists are not that runner friendly. Even though we stick to our side of the road, they think they own the path. I could give you details, but you’d probably find it boring. Anyways, some are nice about sharing the path, others not so much.

photo 1After the turn-around at 7.5 miles, I still felt pretty good… tired, but good. But boy, when I hit 9 miles, I was really starting to feel it. I was so ready to give up. And usually I don’t feel that way, so I was pretty upset about that. I knew I could do 10 miles, and probably more, but my mind was saying otherwise. And I did do it… painfully for the last half mile and another .3 miles to reach the park again. But man, it was not easy. I know it shouldn’t be. It is a long run for a reason and these runs just make us stronger for race day, but I’m wishing I hadn’t let my mind take over like that. I was sweating so much, I even had sweat in my eyes. At least it’s done and I did finish! ;) With almost 2 months until race day, I feel ok with that and where I am. I’d like to break my 1:50 PR for this race, so we’ll see! Either way, the most important thing is that we’re running this race for prevention of animal cruelty. And if I haven’t harassed you enough, please donate! There’s still time! xo

photo 2What are your plans for this long weekend? Anyone racing? 

 

 

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I got smacked in the face…

… by a palm tree! Yes, you read that correctly. I was running today to get in my 5 training miles and I misjudged how low the leaves of a palm tree were hanging. Smack! Truthfully, it only grazed my forehead, but I don’t suggest running into a palm tree’s leaves. It doesn’t feel so great. Clearly, I laughed right after this happened.

Speaking of trees, it is h.o.t. outside and there is practically no shade to run in. If you run in the summer, you know what I’m talking about. Running on the shady (not to be confused with “shady”) side of the street whenever you can is a must. I should point out that it’s kind of humid here for typically being such a dry climate, but everyone we talk to tells us that this humidity is unusual for the area. Thank goodness. I grew up in one of the most humid climates I’ve ever experienced, and running outside at this time of year is practically not even an option there. So, I feel lucky that it’s pretty dry here, otherwise. Trees here don’t provide much shade for running, parking your car and leaving it for a while or reading a book outside. Palm trees and most any tree I’ve seen are just not big shade providers. :/ Typically we have a lot of clouds in the very early morning, but by 9 am, it’s sunny and there’s not a cloud in the sky.

I try to always remember to use sunscreen, because the sun is a bit brutal, too. And I laugh whenever I need to cross the street and wait for the light to turn red. Do you know about trying to stand in the minimal line of shade that the street light poles provide? Again, it’s laughable. And I bet the drivers who pass me are laughing, too. I’m ok with that. But if you can get that little bit of shade from a tree or pole, it feels about 10 degrees cooler (to me), and it’s glorious.

So, we’re halfway through our training cycle for the L.A. 1/2 Marathon. If you haven’t been following me or reading my blog, I’m running on Team ASPCA, and we have such a great team! Together, we’ve raised over $130,000 for abused and homeless animals. I’ve reached 1/3 of my goal, but I still need help! Please share my page with your pet-loving friends. And if you have a bit to donate, please do! Here’s my fundraising page. Or you can send a check–just e-mail me for where to send it. If your employer matches donations, that’s even better. You will receive a receipt for your donation for your tax records. Thank you!

And here’s the collage that our coach, Victoria put together after last week’s long run. That’s me in the teal shorts. Wish me luck this week… 10 miles on Saturday! xo

aspca oc_2

 

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No two runs are the same

No two runs are ever the same. And no run is ever “easy”. I was thinking about this today on my training run, which felt really good for the most part. It wasn’t easy, because it was pretty hot by the time I went out, but it was easier than other days have been lately. I decided at the beginning to just keep my mind in the moment, enjoy my surroundings and not think about the long list of things I have to do, especially with work.

I’m not sure if that made today’s run easier than other days last week, but let me tell you… Saturday’s long run was tough. Several of us on the OC team are in the advanced group, so we were scheduled to do 8 miles. Yes, I ran all 8, but only about the first 5 felt great. After that, we all felt it starting to heat up. This is why we meet at 7:00 am on Saturdays. In fact, as I mentioned before, this is probably why the park where we meet is packed before we even arrive.

Something that I kept telling myself on Saturday was that running is a very mental sport. Typically, if your mind is willing, your body will follow. This couldn’t be more true for me on most runs. I tend to be a very self-motivated person, and I usually don’t feel the need for any outside motivation when I’m working toward something. But the fact that we’re all running as a team to raise money to save animals from abuse and to relocate homeless animals makes it that much more motivating to get out there and get the job done.

Well, my mind was willing, but around mile 7, my body was tired. I made good time, but I’d really like to break my personal best of 1:51 in my half marathon this year, so we’ll see if I can get my mind in shape to keep up my speed to do that. As I said, each run is different from the last. Sometimes it’s hot, or extremely windy. Other times your legs just feel like lead. Maybe I didn’t get enough sleep? Enough water? Who knows? I certainly take my rest days, but you often don’t know what to expect when you lace up your shoes and head out the door. The one thing that is always true… the feeling after a good run is always great.

After  I finished my 8 miles, I knew I’d done what I showed up to do. I felt great, and I was ready to enjoy the rest of the day. Our coach was on vacation this past week, but 5 of us showed up, and we had a great time. This is such a fun group. Stay tuned for more updates and pet dedications coming up soon!

OC Team_081614

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2014 in Running, Team ASPCA

 

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Project 365: Weeks 40 and 41

I’m finally caught up! It’s been some time since I’ve been up to date on my Project 365, and it feels good to not feel behind anymore. I hope I can maintain it, but life is busy! Here are Weeks 40 and 41. Enjoy and please feel free to comment, as always!

Most of the photos for these weeks are from Santa Monica and San Juan Capistrano (as marked). We had a great time the last two Saturdays, hanging out and enjoying these places. Can’t wait to go back!

Day 274 (August 1, 2014): Moped reflections in Santa Monica

Day274_Moped reflectionsDay 275 (August 2, 2014): Santa Monica street mural

Day275_Santa Monica Street ArtDay 276 (August 3, 2014): Santa Monica Pier traffic

Day276_Pier trafficDay 277 (August 4, 2014): Santa Monica Pier

Day277_Santa Monica PierDay 278 (August 5, 2014): Fountain on Main Street in Santa Monica

Day278_Fountain on MainDay 279 (August 6, 2014): Farm fresh peaches (Farmer’s market in Fullerton, CA)

Day279_PeachesDay 280 (August 7, 2014): Red, red, red, green! (Farmer’s market in Fullerton, CA)

Day280_ApplesDay 281 (August 8, 2014): My personal coffice at one of my favorite places in Fullerton. This almond croissant was unbelievably good. :)

Day281_CofficeDay 282 (August 9, 2014): Super moon behind a palm tree (Placentia, CA)

Day282_Super moon with palm treeDay 283 (August 10, 2014): Camino Capistrano (San Juan Capistrano, CA)

Day283_Camino CapistranoDay 284 (August 11, 2014): Church –> (at the Mission in San Juan Capistrano, CA)

Day284_Church -->Day 285 (August 12, 2014): Mission Bell (San Juan Capistrano, CA)

Day285_Mission BellDay 286 (August 13, 2014): I shall rise again (Mission in San Juan Capistrano, CA)

Day286_ResurgamDay 287 (August 14, 2014): Mission Door (San Juan Capistrano, CA)

Day287_Mission Door

 

Have you been to Santa Monica or San Juan Capistrano? Which do you prefer (yes, I know they’re quite different!)? Which photo do you like the best of the Mission? I’m thinking of framing one.

 

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Project 365: Weeks 38 and 39

I’m slowly catching up again, and here are two weeks of my Project 365. Feel free to offer CC (constructive criticism)!

Day 260 (July 18, 2014): Red rock formation (Utah)

Day260_Red rock formationDay 261 (July 19, 2014): Church doors

Day261_Church doorsDay 262 (July 20, 2014): Stained glass window

Day262_Stained glass windowDay 263 (July 21, 2014): Farmhouse lights, blue awning and brick

Day263_Farmhouse Lights, blue and brickDay 264 (July 22, 2014): Water glassesDay 264 (July 22, 2014): Water glasses

Day264_Water glassesDay 265 (July 23, 2014): Coffee and croissant. Every time I see this photo, I want another croissant and a latte. :)

Day265_Coffee and croissantDay 266 (July 24, 2014): Mexican Skeleton. This guy is in a great restaurant on Main Street in Santa Monica, CA called Lula Cocina Mexicana. Amazing food!

Day266_Mexican skeletonDay 267 (July 25, 2014): barcopa. This sign caught my eye because of the simplicity and the rich , but faded red wall behind the worn lettering.

Day267_barcopaDay 268 (July 26, 2014): Coffee chats

Day268_Coffee chatDay 269 (July 27, 2014): Salad delivery wheels. Apparently you can get just about anything delivered. ;)

Day269_Salad deliveryDay 270 (July 28, 2014): Pops of green

Day270_Pops of greenDay 271 (July 29, 2014): Bubble Beach Laundry

Day271_Bubble beach laundryDay 272 (July 30, 2014): The Galley Mermaid

Day272_The Galley MermaidDay 273 (July 31, 2014): Fork Santa Monica. Talk about cool signage!

Day273_Fork Santa Monica

Thanks for reading, as always. Have a good week, friends!

 

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Team ASPCA: Week 4 Training and the OC Team

 

Last Saturday was my first time running with the Orange County Team ASPCA group. We had such a good time! The group met up at 7:00 a.m. at Yorba Regional Park and we had a chance to chat with each other for a few minutes beforehand. I was one of three people doing the advanced training run (7 miles) this week, so after some dynamic stretching, we started the first leg together.

oc collageWe quickly spread out, as we don’t all run the same pace. So, it was nice to just soak up the cool air and views of the nearby Anaheim Hills on my own. There were some herons around the first part of our run on the Santa Ana Trail. And lots of people were out there early, trying to beat the heat. In fact, when I arrived at the park, I was shocked to see that the parking lot was full. It definitely warms up here around 10 am, so it made sense that people wanted to get in their workouts early.

Luckily, the course was really well marked with orange cones every half mile and water at miles 2, 4 and 7. I don’t typically drink much on my runs, but the sun and dry air made me pretty thirsty. I really enjoyed the trail, but was even more pleasantly surprised with the path through the shady and green park. If you know Southern California, you know it’s mostly dry and brown. So, this park is a little diamond in the rough. The outer path of the park stretches for 3 miles and brings you back to the area where we all parked. It definitely made the miles fly by.

photo 3

At the end of our run, we met back at the ASPCA table and snacked on trail mix, pretzels, gatorade and water. We also posed for the photo above with fans featuring Larry the dog. Larry is the mascot for the No Pet Store Puppies campaign to end puppy mills. He’s often spotted at ASPCA events, too.

Several folks brought their pups out to run with them on Saturday. One of our team members adopted her dog Lacey just two weeks ago so that she would have a running pal. :)

photo 2 (8)

Victoria, our SoCal coach, is a really energetic lady. She’s funny and extremely supportive of everyone, no matter their fitness level. Originally from London, she’s been living in California for the past 8 years. She frequently runs marathons and practices yoga. This is nice, because at the end of the run, she teaches a new yoga pose each week that is especially helpful for runners.

So far, thanks to some incredibly generous family and friends, I’ve raised 24% of my fundraising goal. Please consider skipping your soy latte (or your drink of choice) today and donating that $5 to efforts to end animal cruelty! To donate, please visit my fundraising page or send me a note if you’d rather donate by check. Every little bit helps! Thanks, friends!

Photo credit: 1) Victoria, 2) me, 3) Victoria.

 

 

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