Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Run of 2009!

This morning I had my last run of 2009 and it couldn't have been a better day for it.  After a dreary day of rain, clouds, and cold yesterday, today was crystal clear, sunny, and so warm.  It was gorgeous!

I headed out in shorts and a tee and ran down to the beach.  The warmth of the sun on my skin was intoxicating.  Everything seemed to shine brighter--the sky looked blue-er, the grass greener, and the ocean glittered like a million diamonds were strung across it.  I ran a little over three miles then walked home from where I was enjoying the beauty of the last day of the year.  I had my iPhone with me so while I was out and about I decided to snap some shots of my last run of 2009:
I love the contrast of the sky and grass in this one:

And this picture just made me laugh:

As opposed to perpendicular??
When I got home I stretched, showered, and treated myself to delicious In-N-Out.  Oh how I love In-N-Out  :)
Since I started running end of August, my total mileage from August to December is approximately:

August:  13.29
September:  24.7
October:  18.05
November:  19.32
December:  26.09
Total:  101.45 miles
There were many days when I didn't log my mileage or use my Garmin, but this is what I have recorded and I'm fine with it!  For a novice runner, I'm very happy with how much I've improved over these past few months, and I look forward to continuing to improve in 2010!
I hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year's Eve tonight!
Here's to 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Joys of Running at Christmas

My favorite time of year is Christmas time, always has been.  I love the crisp air this time of year, the beautiful lights and decorations that adorn homes, the smell of evergreen that consumes your home (if you have a real Christmas tree), peppermint mochas and hot cocoa.  And I absolutely love giving gifts.  There's nothing better than when someone opens a present to see their eyes and face light up with excitement.  Everything about this time of year makes me so happy.

This year was my first year running so I had the pleasure of experiencing Christmas from a new point of view--from the street!  I love running in the mornings, but many times I chose to run in the evenings after work just to run past and see all the beautiful lights around my city.

This house was decorated extravagantly complete with moving parts.  They probably will have a very high electricity bill for the month of December!  Worth it?  Absolutely!

This is one of three houses in a row that was decorated in a tropical theme, complete with Santa in a Hawaiian shirt and board shorts standing by a Tiki snack shack with his surfboard!  I love it!  (The first pic is kind of blurry, after all I'm running.  But the second picture I zoomed in on my iPhone and it came out a little better.)

Here is the house next to it decorated to the max:

And the third house in the row:

Pretty spectacular!  Watching the lights and seeing the different themes houses had made my runs so much fun that I almost forgot I was running!  I have not been a fan of running in December because my 5 am runs are 40-45 degrees and it's pitch black, which I don't like.  But running in the evenings with all the Christmas lights made running in December enjoyable and exciting!

Even though Christmas is over and 2010 is approaching, I have a couple other Christmas-related pictures I want to share.  After all, Christmas is my favorite time of year!  (Well, and summer...I LOVE the beach).

Disneyland is one of my favorite places.  It's the happiest place on earth.  My boyfriend and I have passes and we go all the time, many times on a whim.  So what could be better than one of my favorite places + favorite times of year?!  Nothing.  I give you Christmas at Disneyland :)

For Christmas, my boyfriend took me to see the Grinch at the Pantages followed by an awesome dinner at Ivan Kane's Cafe Was.  They had a live band and the food was great.  The fun thing was their Christmas the center of the room they have their grand piano and hanging above the grand piano was a Christmas tree!  And upside down Christmas tree complete with presents.  It was awesome.

And of course there's the boat parade in Naples:

Every year my Aunt choses a theme for her tree.  One year it was feathers so she decorated with elaborate feathers.  Another year it was snowflakes so she had beautiful snowflakes.  Every year it's something different.  This year it was MASKS!  So all the girls in our family got together before Christmas and painted the masks for the tree.

Last but not least, I give you our Christmas tree!

Oh Christmas, how I love you :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

2009 in Pictures...What a Wonderful Year!

Where did this year go?!  2009 seems to have come and gone in the blink of an eye!  As the year comes to an end, I have been thinking about the things that has happened this year…

After months of searching, I began my career as a Market Analyst in Investor Relations at an incredible managed care organization that provides health insurance to low-income families/persons.  I work with some of the smartest people and have a ton of responsibility, especially for someone just out of college (I graduated in 2008).

I celebrated my Grammie’s 90th birthday on the Queen Mary in Feb, and she is still going strong and approaching her 91st!

Went to Texas for the first time ever with our best friends!  I rode a bull!

My bf and I celebrated two years together in March!

My big brother got married in April!

My cousin had a baby boy in May!

I got a new car!  2010 Honda Insight!  Bye bye red bug.

I turned 23 and celebrated with my family and friends in June :)

The Lakers became the 2009 NBA Champs!

I met Dexter!

Went to see my boys play some baseball with my Dad, bro, and bf several times!

Then in Dec, my boyfriend and I had the most incredible trip visiting my old college roommates in New York.  NY at Christmas time is my favorite...the Tree at Rockefeller, the decorations all over the city, Central Park, the window displays down 5th...everything is magical, especially when you get to see the first snowfall of the year (which we did!) :)  Here's us in Central Park:

Meeting up with my old roomies in NY.  I lived with ALL these girls (plus Liz who is not in the picture) for ALL 4 years of college!  They are family <3

And Sean and I took my good friend Kelly to her first hockey game!  GO DUCKS!  (Thank you Sean for my fabulous pink and white Ducks jersey too!)

I also was asked to sit on a Board of Trustees for an independent school as the first alumnus to serve on the Board.  I am also Co-Chair of a fabulous Gala that will be held in May of 2010 for Nordstrom of Cerritos’s grand opening (they are closing the current store and re-building a new store with 20K more square feet!).  Nordstrom has partnered with the Long Beach Museum of Art, and the art director asked me to co-chair this event!  Proceeds from this event will go to LBMA which is fantastic because with all the budget cuts of California, the arts and education are getting hit the hardest.

Working 50-60 hours a week, serving as a Board member, co-chairing an 800-person Gala…wow, putting that in writing is shocking even for me to see!  This has to take a lot of time right?!  Yet I never feel overwhelmed (at least not usually haha).  I really enjoy everything I do and I am so blessed for this. I worked my bum off in school and I’m now doing exactly what I wanted regarding work, while serving my community as I have done my whole life growing up in Long Beach.  I have to hand it to my mother though…she is probably the most involved person I have ever met to this community.  She is an incredible mentor, in all aspects of my life – work, volunteering, personal, everything.

Anyways, in addition to my career and volunteering, I started to run this year!  In high school I played soccer but never wanted to run cross-country.  Anything over distances of 2-3 miles was daunting, painful, and just not fun for me. The past few years, however, I’ve always thought about what it would be like to be a runner.  Reading “Runner’s World” magazine I always thought to myself, “I want to do this.  I want to run a half-marathon!”  This thought was in my mind for a very long time until this year.  Thank you 2009 for being the year I decide to actually become a runner!  At the end of summer I went online and found a very simple 10 week Walk-to-Run training plan.  Now, months later, I am training for my first half-marathon which is only six weeks away!  Six months ago I couldn’t run outside on the pavement/asphalt for longer than 5 minutes without feeling exhausted.  Now I’m going to run 13.1 miles!  In the words of Bruce Springsteen “baby we were born to run.”

To sum up the year on the running front, in 2009 I ran my first 5K with my bro and cousins (baby bro won a pie):

my second 5K (in a velvet Santa outfit no less):

signed up for a 10K (January 2010), and signed up for a half-marathon (February 2010)!

I am so thankful for my ability to run.
I also saw some pretty sweet concerts including Ace Enders at the Troubadour in March:

saw The Get Up Kids in Las Vegas for their reunion tour in September:

saw Imogen Heap in November at the Music Box, and....
CHRIS CARRABBA (Dashboard Confessional) acoustic at the Glass House in Nov!!!

This year has given me so many blessings.  I did lose my doggie, Amanda, at the beginning of the year, which was so sad.  I know it’s not a person, but she was in our family for a long and healthy 16 and a half years!  She was a basset hound, and bassets live to be between 9 and 11 years…Amanda was 16!!!!!  The oldest basset hound on record was from England and was 16 years and 6 months old.  Amanda was the second oldest at 16 years and 4 months, just two months shy of being the oldest basset hound ever!  She was a goofball and a sweetheart, and I miss her all the time.

I’m so thankful that I’m alive to experience all that I have.  I’m thankful for my wonderful family, my fantastic boyfriend (who really is part of the family), my friends, my kitties, my career, my health, my ability to run, laughter, my house and the beautiful city I have grown up in and still live in, and so much more.  I am blessed.  Life is great and I couldn’t be happier.

2009 was an incredible year for me.  I can’t wait to see what 2010 has in store!!!!