Wednesday, October 21, 2015

I ran SF

So if you've been reading along the last few weeks you'll know that I'm insane and decided to run a half marathon. Well I DID IT! and here's how it went (ps this one gets ril ril long and emotional so feel free to skip down to the end to pictures):

So last you heard from me, I think, was that I took a really great fall down a hill. Well, I won't show pictures because but that fall gave me some wonderful bruises on my left shoulder/upper arm, and right knee. Other than that there was no damage other than to my pride. I also can't run down that hill without getting super nervous but that's okay. I ran 5 miles that Saturday and continued to train as much as I could. Unfortunately for training and fortunately for every other reason I started a new job last Monday (the Monday before the race) so that messed up my training plan but at the same time kept me a bit more sane. The week of the race I only ran two times. Once on Wednesday where I ran a mile at a sub 9 minutes pace (new PR) because I was so antsy from sitting at a desk for 3 days straight. And on Saturday, the day before the race. Just a light 5k to loosen things up before race day (who am I???).

On Saturday we went into the city to pick up our packets and participate in some pre-race day fun. Unfortunately I wore some shoes that strained a muscle in my left foot which effected me on race day. More on that later. Basically we walked around the city with a TON of other women (and some men) who were running the race and buying all the Nike things. It was super fun and got us all excited for the race the next day. We came home and got to bed early so that we would be well rested for the race.

On Sunday we woke up WAY early (4:15am) so that we could get into the city in time for the race (started at 6:30). Right before 6:30 we walked from my mom's hotel to Union Square and waited in our heat section to start the race. My mom and I were in the last heat and even though the race started at 6:30 we didn't actually cross the start line until 7:15 (ish)

So like I mentioned earlier, I had some foot issues. While we were waiting I could tell that my left foot/ankle were kind of tight so I really wanted to start running to loosen up. About 2 miles into the race I could tell that running was not loosening anything up and that I was having a somewhat serious issue with my foot. Fortunately at that point I could still run. Basically the running plan was: run the downhill, flat streets, and minor uphill and walk the hills that wasted energy to run/walk when you needed to. Unfortunately due to the foot thing we ended up walking a lot more than would have normally been necessary. We did run more than half of the race but not much more than that.

The race course itself was amazing! Oh my goodness, running on the surface streets of SF, through Golden Gate Park, views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio and water front. You literally could not ask for a more beautiful course to run. There were water stations every 2 miles and most of them had little energy things like electrolyte waters, energy goo, mini power bars, and chocolate. There were also groups of people along the course cheering us along. Lots of them were volunteers but also high school bands, local music groups representing different cultures (an Indian dance group, a Mexican dance group, Japanese drums (2), Chinese dragon and dancing, etc) It was really cool and also motivating especially towards the end.

My mom and I finished the half marathon in just over 3 hours and got a nice goodie bag and of course our Tiffany's necklace. After finding Dan (who finished about 90 minutes before we did) we walked over to the medical tent to make sure my foot was okay. It is - just a strained muscle/tendon near the ankle that crosses the bottom of the the foot in the arch. Good news especially because we were worried it was a stress fracture. After resting/stretching/basking in the wonderful weather we were having we took a shuttle back to Union Square and showered at mom's hotel room and relaxed/ate back our calories.

Training for this race and actually running a the half marathon is one of the hardest things I have ever done. It was really emotional for me to be able to push myself the way that I did. There was a sign near the end of the race at the top of this killer hill (that we walked up because it was faster and my foot, grrr) that said something along the lines of "be proud of everything you are right now" and I about lost it. The combination of exhaustion (from lack of sleep and having ran/walked 10 miles at that point), pain in my foot, and just actually realizing that I had accomplished something that I really could be proud of was really overwhelming.

While I didn't finish in a way (or at the pace) that I wanted to finish this half marathon journey I did finish. Running/being athletic has never come easy to me and I usually give up before I can accomplish anything to truly be proud of. My body has never been as coordinated, or as fast, or as _____ as I wanted it to be. Especially my feet/ankles cause issues which make running significantly less fun. To push my limits and my body to be able to accomplish this goal of mine was and is a big deal to me. I definitely plan on maintaining an ability to run and will probably run other half marathons in the future (no marathons yet though, that's crazy) and I am excited to improve and to be more confident in my body's capabilities. I plan on pushing myself in other ways as well because now I know that I can do hard things. Not just at work or school but I can physically do hard things. I plan on developing my body as a tool and being more confident in what I can use it for. I'm really excited to see what I can do.

Anyway, I warned you that this was going to be a lot. I don't even know what I'm saying now. I think I need to write a post on mental recovery from running a half marathon (I almost had an emotional break down over pesto linguini at work the day after the race because I was so exhausted from the race... haha emotions, they'll get you every time). Well as promised I have pictures so here you go! 

There was like an hour long wait to take your picture in front of this
so we improvised
Name on the Nike store window
That's me!
Dan :)

A couple weeks ago we were at the Washington coast with my family doing
a puzzle of this building. It was horrible.
On camera :)

Golden Gate Bridge!

No wait for a picture during the race - not that we would have minded

Done and wearing our Tiffany's


When my mom was running marathons we would be
waiting for her at the finish line and watch her come in 
for the last 1/4 of a mile.
When we saw her I would always run out and run the last 
part of the race with her.
While that distance was much more enjoyable, running the
whole half marathon with her was really amazing.
My mom supported me through my stubborn not running phase,
my training, and the race.She kept me from over doing it
but also made me push myself.
I couldn't and wouldn't have done this without her. 

My times, if you're curious.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Summer Adventures 2015: Moving and Belize

So no surprise, we moved. We were a little sad to leave Provo but that lasted about 30 minutes. We love our family and friends there. We will miss our old apartment (it was really difficult moving from a 2 bedroom, nice, large duplex to a studio apartment in a high rise with college students for neighbors) and our old eateries (Bruges and Sodalicious, I love you). For the most part though we had outgrown Provo and were ready to move. 

Moving for us meant throwing out a TON of stuff (did I mention we live in a studio apartment now?) packing the remaining stuff in our cars and a Penske and driving 10+hours to Walnut Creek to stay with Dan's parents. Dan's parents flew out to help us drive the 3 vehicles which was so nice of them and then on top of that they let us stay with them while we were homeless for 3 months. 

The drive was long and pretty gross through Nevada but once you hit California it's pretty gorgeous. A few David Sedaris books on tape and old CD's combined with lots of caffeine were the real MVP on that drive. 

Once we got to our final destination we got to move all of our stuff that we didn't need access to for 3 months into a storage unit. Once we locked that baby up we were off on our homeless adventure. By the way when I say homeless I don't mean we lived on the streets. We traveled and stayed with family but we didn't have a place to call home for a long time. 

Our first trip of the summer (post moving) was to Belize! Remember Dan's saintly parents who helped us move? Well, they also took us to Belize for a dive trip for Dan's graduation present. It was easily the best diving I have ever done, which means about nothing but Dan agrees and he's been diving half his life. 

While most of our trip was diving we started off our trip with a mini tour of Belize. This included the Belize Zoo and a visit to Mayan ruins. At the zoo we were able to do a jaguar encounter where we sat inside a cage in the jaguar exhibit and the zoo keeper had the jaguar jump on the cage and play around us for about 10 minutes. We got to feed him (the jaguar) some meat and he licked the guys heads (something about potentially scalping people with long hair prevented us women-folk from getting our heads licked). The Mayan ruins were very cool and we were able to climb some and see the sacrificial tables. The sun, travel exhaustion, and man-eating bugs prevented us from doing too much else. 

After our mini tour we took a boat to the atoll we were staying on and did 3 dives a day for 6 days. It was glorious. Our day consisted of waking up, going to eat a light breakfast, dive 1, break 1, dive 2, break 2 and lunch on the boat, and dive 3 and the boat ride back to the resort for a quick nap/relaxation and dinner. We saw so much amazing marine life. Sharks, eagle rays, eels, fishes, turtles, octopus, shrimps and crabs. It was truly incredible. We even got to spontaneously dive/swim with dolphins. It was an experience I will never forget. 

As I mentioned earlier Dan has been diving for half his life so he's pretty skilled and relaxed under water. He's pretty much a fish. Because of his ability to dive without struggles our dive masters had Dan do some lion fish hunting on our last two days. Lion fish are native to the Pacific Ocean where they have natural predators. They have moved to the Caribbean but do not have predators yet so they devour the reef fish and destroy the natural eco system. By hunting the lion fish it eliminates the problem and the dead lion fish is usually eaten by a grouper, eel, barracuda, or shark therefore creating a natural predator to create a balanced eco system. Dan really got into it and it made diving really fun for everyone because it would turn into a game of find the lion fish. Sometimes it was really difficult and there weren't too many. Dan was getting between 3-5 each dive (shooting/killing at about a 75% rate) but on the first dive of the last day we went to a dive site that was INFESTED! Dan alone probably killed 15-20 in 45 minutes and he was shooting/killing at about a 90% rate. We were also able to keep some of the killed ones to make lion fish ceviche (didn't eat that). I really love diving. As someone who has always loved marine biology being able to interact directly with the ocean is really a dream come true.  I look forward to diving and learning more in the future.

Anyway, hooray for pictures!

My view for 10+hours minus the trees for most of it. 

Storage units are the best and worst all at the same time

First stop in Belize

Inside the cage looking out

While the zoo keeper was distracting him we got to pet the paws and tail.
Terrifying and amazing at the same time.

Head licking

Outside of the cage looking in

Mayan Ruins!

The resort

Dive boat

After a long day of diving, sitting on the bow of the boat while driving back
was a dream. Especially when we saw Dolphins (3 times!)

Mangroves - always looked for manatees but never found any

Preparing the lion fish for eating. Also our dive master Jay

Don't touch the spikes!

Happy divers that just swam with dolphins and Dan's beard. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Training update

Because you all care :) this is an update on  how training is going

Well, training is training.

Here is my background in running. I did track when I was like 8-10 with a community track team. The Gliders I think? I'm probably making that up. Anyway, I never really liked it. I was pretty young on the team and also pretty slow. I couldn't do the sprints like most of the kids my age so I would do distance (the one mile). I would be running the mile with people a year or two older than me so in my age group I always won! Seriously, if you look at my medals/ribbons for races I have a ton of blue/1st place ribbons but those were all from races where I was the only person in the race in my age group. In any race that I ran with my age group I got like 8th or last/participant. (plenty of those ribbons as well btw.) So basically I always hated running.

Fast forward a few years and I was in high school PE and I could pretty much always run a mile because that's all you had to do. My running career consisted of whatever PE teachers forced us to do and volleyball practice. Basically nonexistent because running is the worst ever.

I held the same opinion of running while in college and went running a total of... 3 times, maybe, in the 5 years I was at BYU. Not including running 5ks for 4th of July and Thanksgiving with my family. By this last year I could barely run 1 mile straight and I was okay with that.

I've already gone over my crazy period where I decided to become a temporary runner so I won't go over that but here's how it has gone so far.

I can't say that I love running. BUT I also can't say that I hate running. I'm still slow, but I'm getting faster. I still can't run very far but I can run more than a mile, easy. In the past 3 weeks I've basically gone from only being able to run 1.5 miles straight to being able to run 4 miles straight. The 4 miles is still hard but I can run 3 miles with no problem.


This is a first. I have seriously ran like 10 5Ks in my life and have NEVER been able to run the whole thing. And now I'm like, yeah I'm gonna go on a quick little 3.25 mile run just to get a good run in and not ruin my training.

Does it feel good yet... no. Does it feel bad... still yes. But not as bad.

So basically training is going well. The goal for this weekend's long run is 5 miles straight. The goal by the race is to be able to run 6 miles straight.

I did totally biff it on my run this morning. This morning's 5K, which I decided to do as a light run (WHO AM I???) I started of good. I use the Map My Run app and have it tell me pace/distance every .5 miles because I can't stand to wait longer than that. I was keeping a good pace. 1st half mile was 11:13, 2nd was like 10:48. I maintained about an 11:00 minute pace almost to the 2.5 mile. The trail I run has some good gradual hills and then one really steep hill that I run down and a less steep hill I run up and they're both really rocky so you have to watch your step, especially going down because you're just flying. On the steep down hill I wasn't paying attention and my foot caught a rock and I went down and rolled. Luckily there were two construction workers right at the bottom of the hill to watch me go down the hill. I had one head phone in but could hear them ask if I was okay. All I could do was just lie there and reorient myself. Once I realized I was okay and not breathing in dirt (and that my phone wasn't broken) I got up and told them I was fine. They probably think I'm insane and uncoordinated. They asked if I needed a ride back and I declined, really I was fine. And then, like a crazy running person I took off to finish the last 3/4ths of a mile. Finished that at a pretty good pace too :) but that's because it was down hill. Running back was super fun because I was COVERED in dirt which was slowly turning into mud with my sweat. Yum. Mud sweat.

After getting back to my apartment I was able to analyze the damage a bit better. Nothing too bad, a scrapped knee and shoulder, and some good bruises. Nothing too bad and mainly just sore but I was filthy. Some how dirt had gotten into everything so I was just muddy and dusty.

Here's the thing, I'm probably gonna go running again tomorrow... just probably not running down the same hill. Again... WHO AM I???

Summer Adventures 2015: Arizona

Like I mentioned in the previous post we did a TON of traveling this past summer.

After Dan graduated in April there wasn't much keeping us in Provo. We were already planning on moving and had lots of summer plans set up already so we decided to basically fill our summer with vacations and visiting family and be homeless for a couple months until we could move into our apartment at Stanford.

Our first adventure was going on a road trip with my family(and grandparents) from Utah to Arizona and back the first week of July. Now most people would tell you that going to Arizona in July is dumb and they're right but it wasn't much hotter than being in Utah and there were way cooler canyons in Arizona than in Utah so overall worth it.

The first thing we did was drive from Provo to Flagstaff, AZ. Flagstaff is at a higher elevation than most of AZ which makes it much more tolerable heat wise. It's also close to the Grand Canyon.

We spent the next day hiking in the good old national park and then drove to Page, AZ. There's pretty much nothing in Page except Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend, and a Dam. But there's a little known gem called Antelope Canyon pretty close by and that was by far the coolest thing we did on the trip.

Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon which means it's basically just a crack in the earth. When you get to Antelope Canyon all you can see is flat earth for a few miles and then as you get closer you see that there's a large crack in the earth and then you climb down some stairs and you're in this amazing canyon.

After Antelope Canyon we drove out to Joseph City (founded by my ancestors) and Holbrook (basically owned/ran by my relatives). I have hundreds of relatives (only counting the living ones) that live in Arizona so we spend a lot of time visiting places that were of historical importance to my family. Both my grandpa and grandma grew up in Arizona and both are basically professional historians of the area so we were able to learn a lot from them.

When we left Holbrook we drove through the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert National Parks. This was especially interesting since my grandpa worked at the Petrified Forest during the summer when he was in college.

The main purpose of the trip was to visit Ganado on the Navajo reservation. When my grandparents were first married they lived in Ganado and both taught school there. This is also where my mother was born and lived for the first 6 years of her life. Not only were we able to visit a Navajo reservation with an expert (my grandpa was a professor in Native American Studies specializing in Navajo nation) we were able to see a place that has significance in my family's life.

After spending time in Ganado and at Hubbell's Trading Post (a national historic site) we went to Chinle (pronounced chin-lee) and hiked Canyon De Chelly (pronounced due- shay). Canyon De Chelly is beautiful and has amazing ruins at the end of a very easy hike down into the canyon.

After Canyon De Chelly we were on our way back to Utah to celebrate the 4th of July in Provo the true Westover way.

....and pictures!

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon (hike)

Grand Canyon: Duck Rock

Grand Canyon: River

Grand Canyon

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon from the top

Horseshoe Bend

Joseph City

Huge storm in Holbrook

Petrified Forest

Petroglyphs in Petrified Forest

Painted Desert

Hubbell's Trading Post

Canyon De Chelly

Canyon De Chelly Ruins

Canyon De Chelly