Back to December

It’s getting colder.

p1010263

There are more lights up on trees.

Our spirits are getting brighter.

p1010151

And I need more time.

But, I’m pretty excited to finally use/consume my chocolate Advent calendar!

 

Advertisements

I’m here, still

Because I don’t have the time to sit down and really write, I am typing this out quickly so that you know that I’m still here.

With a weekend trip to Disneyland at the beginning of the month followed by preparing for and hosting a bridal shower the weekend after, and now being thrown right into the “holiday season,” I haven’t had time to do my two favorite after-work extracurriculars: running and blogging.

Yes, since doing the Seattle Half the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I have run only two times!

And now looking back at this measly blog, I realize I have only published one post this entire month! (It’s kind of freaking me out that the month is half over!)

I owe you a blog post on:IMG_4196

  • Seattle Half recap
  • Disneyland recap
  • The rainiest run commute
  • Christmas-time?
  • Being a maid-of-honor?

OK, those first three I am definitely writing and posting before Christmas. That is my Christmas promise to you! The other two may happen. Or, not.

I plan to get lots of Christmas shopping and blogging done this weekend.

Good luck with all of your holiday preparations! May your to-do list be shorter than mine!

Halloween means Christmas is coming!

IMG_3897The only reason I like Halloween is that it is a stepping stone to the real holiday season.

Halloween to me just means that Christmas is coming!

And, this is a happy Christmas-is-coming attitude.

You might have been fooled by this post two years ago about my “sadness” with the evolution of the Halloween holiday.

But, just to make sure we are all on the same page, I am reiterating my sentiments today.

This year I am not going to any Halloween parties. I was invited to one last night but with a 5K this morning, I didn’t want to be out late. And, Joanna invited me to a P1030992friend’s party tonight, but I am just too tired from said 5K.

Plus, I don’t have a costume.

I’m basically the Scrooge of Halloween.
And, I’m OK with that.

But, invite me to your caroling get-togethers, ugly Christmas sweater parties, holiday drinking shindigs, white elephant gift exchanges and gingerbread house building competitions and you won’t receive a single decline.

So, let’s talk in November!

When fun running turns into actually sort of (holiday) racing

When it approached close to midnight, Phyllis and I knew that we wouldn’t be racing the Seattle Jingle Bell Run 5K the next morning. After all, we wouldn’t be getting ample sleep and we had just stayed up all night playing Wii Sports and drinking ciders (ahem, one each, but still!) Our arms were embarrassingly sore from all the “punching” at Wii boxing and my fingers were starting to cramp from all the button control pushing during Super Smash Brothers. We bid farewell to our gaming host, Bryce, and set off into a deep albeit short 5.5-hour slumber at my house.

Before we went to sleep we were in agreement on one thing: That was a fun evening and we will take the morning’s race easy. We will just have fun.

We arrived at the race area super early without meaning to. Parking was a breeze! Neither one of us had to use a portapotty! We had nearly?more than? an hour to spare before the race would start. It wasn’t freezing but it was cold pre-8am temps. I was wearing shorts because I never race in full length tights or pants.

Pre-run selfie

As the minutes ticked by, we started talking more and more about “racing the race.”

(Let’s be real. We both knew we were always going to race from the beginning. It’s difficult not to unless you sign up for a race with someone who is not a runner).

The faster we ran, the sooner we would be done. The faster we ran, the warmer we would be. The faster we ran, the more time we would have to hang out together before Phyllis’ ride came to pick her up.

Since the Jingle Bell Run is a huge fundraising and community event, I knew that we would have to push our way toward the front of the pack to get a “decent start.” I know we weren’t setting out to PR or anything — after all, this was supposed to be a fun run so no training had gone into this race — but we at least didn’t want to get stuck behind walkers or joggers.

Lots of participants were wearing creative holiday costumes. Phyllis and I had Christmas-themed T-shirts on and bows tied around our ponytails. I guess we were going to race this but at least we would look festive while doing it!

The gun went off and Phyllis and I still had to scramble and weave around people to get up to our pace of “pushing-ourselves-but-not-dying-because-this-is-supposed-to-be-fun.” Once we were in the expressway (where a majority of the race takes place,) we were in our rhythm and finally had space and weren’t crowded by other runners. As we ran in the tunnel, there was just the sound of footsteps and jingle bells. It was both peaceful and kind of creepy.

After the first mile, I was burning up. I was regretting my decision of wearing a long sleeve shirt under my T-shirt now that we were “racing.” Our first mile split was 7:40. Not too shabby.

But, I didn’t think I could maintain this pace. I was getting tired! My lungs had that harsh feeling from just running fast combined with breathing in and out the cold morning air. I told Phyllis she could push ahead if she wanted to, she said she was good at where we were at.

Two miles down, one to go.

We continued on.

Once we exited the expressway, I knew we were at the homestretch. But, as soon as we made a turn onto the main road, I had a sudden gag reflex. I coughed up spit and was 75 percent worried I was actually going to throw up! But, how can this be? I never throw up from racing! I’m not even going super fast!

I slowed down and let Phyllis fly on ahead. I was not going to throw up during a fun run!

I somehow gained composure and hacked up some spit and took a few deep breaths. I could see the finish line. It was time to get on my horse and go. With probably about 200 meters left, I sprinted to that finish line. And, in the nick of time, I caught Phyllis. We came in one second apart! Me at 24:15 and she, 24:16. Not too shabby.

Post-race photo

Post-race photo

It was painful, but fun. Racing with friends can make any race fun and any fun run even more fun!

I’d say we concluded 2014 racing the only way you can: To actually sort of race a fun run. (And jingle all the way while doing it!)

Welcome, holiday season

I’m all for the holidays but I’ve never been into Halloween. Dressing up in costume never appealed to me. I wasn’t a kid with a sweet tooth so the candy didn’t attract me either. (I’d rather trick-or-treat for bags of chips than tons of candy).

Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014

So, now with Halloween good and done, we can focus on the real holiday season.

My cousin told me that yesterday, Nov. 1, Starbucks was serving up their drinks in their holiday red cups. I finally got mine this morning.

Holiday happy!

Holiday happy!

Then it was a drive just outside Seattle to hike to Annette Lake. A leisurely 7.5-mile jaunt that was easy on my post-8-miler legs. It was grey when we started but the rain thankfully held off. Yellow and red leaves were either on trees or fallen on the ground. Ah, November!

Annette Lake

Annette Lake

When we arrived at the lake, we were surprised to see trees dusted with snow on the mountain tops up above. Winter’s coming, folks!

The weather was cool but not cold. The sun made a few casual cameos.

(Another) #SundaySelfie

(Another) #SundaySelfie

The welcoming of the holiday season arrives with November.

My mom already bought me a chocolate Advent calendar from Trader Joe’s. I got really excited and then sad with the realization that I have to wait an entire month to actually start using it.

“I need a countdown to the countdown to Christmas!” I said to my parents.

I’m so ready to get this holiday season started.

Let’s bundle up in scarves, wear long spandex tights on our runs, eat lots of food — and celebrate.

Whatever you’re celebrating, it’s the most wonderful time of year, right?

Small rant – Holiday edition

So, it’s December 27th.

Christmas is over.

Hanukkah is over.

We are in the midst of Kwanzaa (it began Dec. 26 and ends on Jan. 1).

No matter what holiday you are celebrating/have celebrated, I am sure your (Facebook) feed has been inundated with pictures of “all the goods.”

And, frankly, it’s kind of appalling. (Do this anymore and I may have to block you).

Display your happiness through the friendships and relationships you have — through the people — not through the things that these people give you. Besides, by posting these materialistic things, who are you trying to impress anyway?

I was at the University Village (an outdoor shopping center) last night and numerous tags remained hanging on a wall. These were tags that had children’s “wishes” written on them. These are kids who probably were not going to be receiving much this holiday season. Many wanted toys but I was surprised by the number of them who were just asking for warm clothes for the winter months.

Meanwhile on my Facebook, people are posting the car, the high-end jewelry, the designer bags they have received …

Sure, I like “things” (and nice things from time to time) but I do not feel the need to post about it for my 600+ “friends” to know about.

Gifts are nice. Giving gifts can even be more fulfilling than receiving. But material goods are not everything.

It has taken me 26 years to fully realize this. I’ve always known it, but it’s different to actually feel it. “Things” are not what make Christmas, or the holidays — or even life.

It is the people we choose to surround ourselves with.

Hopefully, others do not have to experience a tragedy or have to see their loved ones experience something tragic to realize this.

Sometimes, without meaning to, we forget.

And, we just need that little reminder.

So, hug them tighter. Laugh with them louder. And, eat the bounty.

Find and accept the love around you.

Running to Christmas

Let’s be honest, it’s not as dazzling and magical as it was when I was 6 years old.

But, it’s a part of my childhood.

That’s why I ran to see those specific houses all lit up with the candy-cane decorations adorning the lawns. It’s Candy Cane Lane. It was in the low 30s last night but I didn’t really care. I was going to go take a visit to a piece of my youth.

 

 

Maybe that’s why people enjoy the holidays so much. It brings them back to a time that can only be recreated with (now) LED lights  and a spinning carousel.