Malibu Half Marathon

The day of our Malibu Half Marathon, we woke up at 4AM and then drove out to Zuma Beach to get ready for our half marathon. We arrived at dark which meant that we had the chance to watch the most beautiful sunrise while we were standing along the Malibu coastline. Since we were there about two hours earlier than the race starting, we were ended up standing around taking photos and letting the anticipation build up of having to run 13.1 miles.

We eventually lined up and I decided that I would run in wave 2 which was the 2 to 2:30 group. When it was finally time to start running, we crossed the starting line and I began my 13.1 mile trek.

I first started the right next to the 2:20 pacers and started moving forward. I tried so hard to keep pace and make sure I was keeping steady but kept finding myself moving forward a little faster and eventually I was past the 2:10 pacers and catching up to the 2 hour pacers.  I never quite made it to them but I stayed well ahead of the 2:10 pacers for about 8 miles.

Around mile 5, I started seeing my friends on their way back from turnaround which meant that they were well over half way. I saw a steady stream of my friends running past me which encouraged me because it meant that I was closer to the turnaround which would mean that I was almost half way through.

When I hit mile 6, I had to start walking.  Running up the rolling hills really were getting to me and I had a hard time keeping pace up the hills and that’s when I started breaking down. The heat started getting to me, the hills were kicking my butt and I was starting to feel demotivated.  The 30 minutes I had planned between each of my energy chews felt longer and longer and I kept checking my watch which didn’t help with my motivation. By the time I hit mile 8, the 2:10 pacers had paced me and I knew that I was slowing down drastically.

At mile 9, I hit my wall. And by hitting my wall, I mean I ran face first into a wall of sadness and depression. I’ve heard about this wall but I have never experienced it before. This wall led me to walking and to the point of crying. All I wanted to do was cry and stop. I felt my eyes tearing up, my legs giving away and the blister on my feet starting to form. I felt demotivated, and my mind started to wander away from me into a very dark place. I wanted to call an Uber or a Lyft to come and pick me up, I almost wanted to stop by one of the volunteers and ask for help to get me a ride back to the finish line. I couldn’t stop thinking about how disappointed I would be when I didn’t finish, I kept telling myself that I regretted everything and that I wanted to end this. I was going to be an embarrassment to all of my friends and I couldn’t believe I had let people convince me to do this. That’s right, my wall led me to stop taking responsibility for my own actions and that’s when I realized what I was doing.  I realized that I was in a bad place and I had to move my butt and finish.

Around mile 10, I started running again, slowly but I started running again. The 2:20 pacers passed me, my legs started throbbing more than they have ever throbbed, my knees and hips started screaming but I needed to continue moving so I did. I tried to speed up and pass the 2:20 pacers, so I passed them around mile 11 but at mile 12, I was done.

I saw the line of spectators for mile 12 and so I started running again but I couldn’t catch up to the 2:20 pacers at this point but I knew I had to finish strong. I passed the last line of spectators and there was a brief moment where the we had to turn back around and there were no spectators so I started walking again.  As soon as I was within view of the fences, I started running again and eventually made my way across the finish line.

I ended with an end time of 2 hours and 23 minutes.

It was terrible but so good at the same time. It was terrible because everything hurt and all I wanted to do was sit down. But it was so good because I had just run 13.1 miles and I had finally finished something I never thought I could ever do.

I ran a half marathon

That’s all I have to report.

Actually no, I have so much more to report. I ran a half marathon and I feel crazy.

I decided in August that I was going to run a half marathon because my friends were doing it. I remember the day we decided to do this, we were sitting around the dining table in LA and we decided as a group to run the Malibu Half Marathon in November. So a group of us in Seattle bought tickets to LA for that weekend and signed up for the half marathon.

Leading up to that run, I only half prepared myself to run thirteen miles. But as we got closer to November, I started upping my mileage and not really following a training plan as much as just trying to run more miles. I got to 7 miles then I eventually got to 9 miles and then two weeks before my race, I needed to prove to myself that I could get to double digits in preparation for the race itself. I got to 11.6 miles and I knew that I could do it. I would be able to run the full 13.1 miles or at least run 11.6, then walk the last mile and a half. So after that, I only did one run and really enjoyed the tapering weeks.

On Friday, we flew in Burbank, sat down for our carbo load dinner of homemade delicious pasta and then prepared ourselves for the weekend. The entire weekend was spent with people that I adore and we tried to be off of our feet as much as possible. Even though a bunch of fun activities, I knew that running 13.1 miles was running through the back of my mind the entire time and I was getting more and more nervous.

On Saturday we spent our time eating regular food, going to the beach and eating decently healthy food that night.  We didn’t do anything too strenuous because we needed to make sure we conserved our energy for our run.

I would say that even though I had run 11.6 miles leading up to this run, I felt entirely unprepared.  I regretted not working out more or running more leading up to this run and the fear was really setting in prior to the run.

The things that were running through my head:

  • Would I even finish?
  • What time would I finish in?
  • Would I get blisters?
  • What if I don’t finish?

I knew that leading up to this race, I had actually done really well with time and had finished my long run with an average pace of 10:04 per mile so I thought that I could actually average that for my overall 13.1 mile run. I personally told everyone that my goal was to get done before the car had to pick me up so I would need to average a 17:45 mile. But deep down, I wanted to do well. I wanted my adrenaline to kick in and that I would actually maintain the 10 minute mile or even be better than a 10 minute mile. I wanted so badly to actually get done in less than 2 hours and 10 minutes. It was a goal I didn’t share with anyone but it was what I wanted to do.

But the closer we go tot he race, the more I wasn’t sure this was actually going to happen. The nerves were really setting in but what I wanted to believe was that my adrenaline would kick in and I would do so well.

Along with that, I was running this with four other friends and we had a cheer squad so I wanted to make sure I ended at a decent time so that people wouldn’t be waiting for me for too long. I had this fear of embarrassment of making everyone wait for me for longer than necessary. I definitely had a fear of embarrassment and I wanted to prove to everyone and myself that I could do this. But I kept wavering between believing I could do this and being terrified of failing epically…

Going to the Making of Harry Potter

As you might remember, when we were in Paris, we had found that the Makingof Harry Potter outside of London had extra tickets for Friday night. So we decided to buy tickets and go Friday after work before we left for home on Saturday. We completed our work day at the Shoreditch office, and then made our way back to the hotel to drop off our stuff then grab the Underground to the Overground to the train station to grab the bus.  It ended up being about a two hour journey to get all the way out to the Warner Brothers Studio where the movie had been filmed but it ended up being totally worth it.

If you buy a ticket for the Making of Harry Potter, you need to be prepared for the trek all the way out there.  It is listed as the London location but it’s definitely not in London and it is definitely a trek.  As soon as you get out of the train station, you’ll need to go outside to get on the bus out to the studio. It’s a pretty great tour bus though because they give you all the details when you’re driving the 15-20 minutes out to the studios so you know exactly what to expect and where to go when you’re done with the tour itself.

After we finally arrived at the Making of Harry Potter, we ran into the studio as quickly as possible to get our tickets scanned so that we could start our tour.

I have to admit, the instant we jumped off that tour bus, I felt like I was 12 years old again and could not wait to see the entire set that was available. We ran through the line to get to the front as quickly as possible laughing because we were so excited. I may or may not have yelled “is Harry Potter real!?” at my friend only to have her respond “OF COURSE!” I’m pretty sure we made a fool of ourselves in front of all the other people who were there, but no part of me is embarrassed of it because I was way too excited to be there.

Working in Stockholm

The next morning, we woke up early and started our cold trek through Stockholm city center to get to our office.  Our office is located right in the heart of the city center surrounded by all the cool shops and food places.  We definitely got lost and I was definitely freezing, but we eventually found ourselves at our office where we settled in for the day.

I have to admit that one of the things that I love about being in another country during the holidays is how things are decorated and the fun foods we get to try.  We had Swedish pastries for breakfast that were delicious and the entire office had holiday decorations including my favorite Swedish gnomes. If you haven’t seen the Swedish gnomes, you need to check them out.  They are my favorite little critters and I fell in love with them the last time I was in Sweden.

When we were done with our meeting, we grabbed the Arlanda Express and made our way back to London.  We landed in Gatwick, grabbed our Uber to our hotel and decided to grab some dinner in the restaurant of our hotel.

I have to admit that as someone who doesn’t drink and I’m not a huge fan of going out, being in the restaurant in our hotel, I was definitely overwhelmed. The hotel was the cool place to be for most people and so it was super loud and crowded with drunk people by the time we showed up from our flight. While I appreciated that all these people were out having fun and enjoying themselves on a weeknight, I definitely regretted deciding to stay in that hotel because all I wanted was to just relax when I travel for work and I wasn’t looking for anything too exciting.

If you find yourself in Shoreditch, Hotel Hoxton is the place to be whether you’re there to stay or just want to grab a drink.  I would definitely say that it looked like the cool hip place to be based on how popular it was and the wide range of people who were there.  As a business traveler, it’d be a good place to visit but not really a good place to stay.

Dishoom, London, Stockholm

We went to Dishoom, Shoreditch for dinner and it ended up being absolutely delicious.  I’ve always loved Dishoom brunch but had never been there for another meal so it was great to actually be there for another meal and actually try more foods. Unfortunately, they don’t take reservations so we ended up waiting quite awhile for dinner. We sat at the bar for a bit and ordered beverages, as someone who doesn’t drink, they have great non-alcoholic beverages so if you don’t drink, it’s definitely worth it to try out their non-alcoholic drinks. They have a good selection and they’re quite delicious.

When we were eventually seated, we made our way downstairs to the far back corner of the eating area and over ordered on dinner, as per usual.  The food was absolutely delicious and we decided to do family style so that we could order more food to try. Unfortunately, it took us about 45 minutes to get seated and then because the restaurant was slammed, it took forever for us to get our orders in and then the food took forever to show up. Finally, when it came time for our bill to actually show up, the manager had provided us a free dessert because of the excessively long wait times we experienced.  It was super nice of them because we didn’t feel the need to complain but they were well aware of it our mildly poor customer experience. That being said, the food made up for everything so I wasn’t too concerned.

The next morning, we made our way to our office in Shoreditch then after a few hours, made our way out to the Gatwick airport for our flight to Stockholm. We took an uber there, probably could have taken a taxi but it was actually mildly cheaper for us to take an uber out to the Gatwick airport. From there, we made our way to Stockholm for 24 hours.

The Gatwick airport is actually really easy to navigate and the Norwegian Air flight was super easy for our short flight to Stockholm.

After landing in Stockholm, we made our way to the Arlanda Express and grabbed the train into the city where we checked into our hotel. The Arlanda Express is about $20 USD and it is a great way to get into the city when you’re looking for a fast and easy route into Stockholm. Plus it takes you directly into city center.

When we were done checking into our hotel, we made our way to the main train station for dinner. Yes, I ate dinner at the train station because we were so tired and too lazy to actually go find another restaurant.  We ended up eating on the balcony of the train station at an Italian food place that overlooked the entire train station with their holiday lights. The food was actually really good for being train station food and plus, it was right next to our hotel which meant that we had minimal time that we had to spend outside which is great because it was freezing.

Finally, it was time for bed because we had an all day meeting the next day before our flight back to London.

Brief hiatus

Wow, without realizing it, I got a bit overwhelmed with life and took a brief hiatus from writing. In fact, I actually took a brief hiatus from a lot of things in my life in a good way. Things got very busy with work, traveling and my personal life that I lost track of time and what I usually do when I am trying to stay on track.

In between my last post and now, I’ve spent about half of my time in California between Los Angeles and San Francisco thus making it hard for me to focus on my life here in Seattle. That being said, no part of me is complaining about being in LA and SF because I made the decision to stay the weekends there to see my friends and so that means that I had a chance to actually catch up with people I haven’t seen in months.

So, now, I am back.

That being said, with the travel and the activities that I’ve been up to – my life feels a bit more chaotic and I’ve broken most of my good habits. Everything I was doing so well at have gone to the wayside and I haven’t been keeping a focus on things that keep me back on track.

I will admit that everything I had worked so hard on over the last few months since the new year have stopped because I’ve let my hectic schedule get in the way of all of my routines. It’s time to get back into the routine of being productive.

Things I look forward to in the fall

Now that it is almost October, I am so excited for all things autumn related. Like, absurdly excited. Seattle had a beautiful spring/summer season this year. We barely had any rain and it was super hot most of the summer.  The skies were blue, the grass turned brown from the lack of water, the temperatures kept everything nice and toasty.  The amount of people dealing with air conditioning units and fans increased. In fact, my fan was consistently running every night because otherwise I would have a hard time sleeping.

But now that we are at the point where it’s almost October, the weather is cooling down, the leaves are changing, the clouds are getting dark and the sun is disappearing.

Here are the things I’m looking forward to the most for this fall season:

  • Large and oversized sweaters – I love my giant sweaters. I wish I could live in giant sweaters all day every day. I cannot wait to bust these out and live in them for the next few months.
  • Booties – yes, I love booties.  Sometimes it’s weird to wear them during the summer unless you have the right outfit. But now I get to justify wearing them all day every day.
  • Fuzzy blankets – I have this fuzzy blanket that I keep on my couch and I love curling up with it to take a nap.  In the summer, it’s difficult to do because it gets to hot so now that it’s cooling down, I can curl up all day long.
  • Burrito-ing in my bed – I love wrapping myself in my blankets when I go to bed. In the summer it gets too hot so now I can bundle up.
  • Peppermint Mochas – I am not a PSL person. I love the peppermint mochas and everything peppermint related.
  • Color of the leaves – while I love the blues and greens of Seattle, nothing really compare to seeing the leaves changing colors and signifying that it is officially fall.
  • Soups and noodle soups – I plan on eating all the pho and ramen I can now that the weather is changing
  • Hot beverages in general – iced beverages give you less liquid cause places give you way too much
  • Darker colors – I love my darker colors and darker colored clothing
  • No sunglasses – I always forget my sunglasses and now I don’t need to worry
  • Books – curling up in the warmth of my home and reading makes me so happy. When it’s too hot outside, I fall asleep too easily.

Working on the train, Paris -> London

I have never been one to be super motivated to work while riding some sort of moving vehicle. I get motion sickness so it’s hard for me to read while in a moving vehicle which means that cars are usually really hard for me to do anything but sleep. But with the current job, I’ve gotten better about working on airplanes which is good and productive but airplanes are definitely different than trains. Trains are like a halfway between cars and planes for me. Getting motion sick on them is kind of hit or miss for me so on the train from Paris to London, I decided to try out being productive.

We got into our seats and settled in for the two hour journey through the water over to London. The trains actually do have wifi on them but it is definitely super spotty and really hit or miss in terms of how well it’s going to actually work. For whatever reason, my computer did not want to cooperate with the wifi and so I ended up having a hard time working on the train.  And as soon as we went into the tunnel, it got a little too rocky for me so I felt a little woozy. I ended up spending most of the train ride just staring out the window or trying to nap but I survived and that’s all that matters. Lauren worked the entire time and was super productive while I just sat there useless and trying not to vomit.

We eventually got into London then caught the tube to Shoreditch where we settled into our hotel room then got ready for dinner.

We stayed at the Hoxton in Shoreditch which ended up being a mildly bad idea. The bar for the hotel is actually a hip spot for people to hang out and so when we got to our hotel, we had to wade through a bunch of loud people who were definitely on their way to getting decently drunk. Luckily the rooms were decently soundproofed.  It was my first time staying at the Hoxton and the decor is great and super hipster. I especially loved the little breakfast bags that we were provided where you pick what you want for breakfast, mark it on the bag, hang it out on your door handle and the next morning you have some food available for you. That honestly may have been my favorite part of the hotel. Plus, their instant coffee was actually really good too.

After we settled into our rooms, we decided to head over to Dishoom Shoreditch with one of my friends from college. I was so excited to finally go back to the that restaurant and get to try it for dinner. It was a meal, three years in the making.

Business in Paris

After an evening of delicious Korean food in Paris, we went back to the hotel to get ready for our meetings the next day.

We woke up bright and early to grab breakfast at our hotel which was delicious and so fitting of the personality of the hotel. Our beautifully decorated hotel came with a very hipster-esque breakfast filled with avocado toast and freshly squeezed orange juice. I felt very hipster and cool in my fancy hotel with my fancy millennial avocado toast.  It was a great way to start off our day. After breakfast, we made our way to some meetings we had in the city which included checking out some additional startup space around Paris.  It was really awesome to see other spaces in the city and compare them to Station F.  I mean, in general, it was really cool to be able to see so much of the startup ecosystem in that city and the spaces that are available to support new startups.

After our meetings, we began our journey back to our hotel to get ready for our the next leg of our trip. But before we could leave Paris, we wanted to get one more meal so we found a cute little restaurant near by to grab lunch before we caught our train.

We both opted in for the mussels and fries because why not? I have recently developed a love of clams and mussels. So much so that I feel like I have to order it all the time when I see it on the menu even if I’m not necessarily feeling the seafood.  It just always sounds good and then I have trouble controlling myself.  It’s hard for me to share…

When we finished our delicious meal, we made our way back to the hotel and go to the train station to make our way to London.

We got to the train station a bit early so we just sat around and waited. If you haven’t been to a train station in Paris, just a heads up, they don’t post the gates until a very short window before the actual boarding. I’ve seen it as long as 45 minutes before but as short as 15 minutes before boarding time. Since we were heading to London, they opened up boarding about half an hour before and we made our way through customs. Definitely had to go through the standard process of filling out the customs form and then going through border patrol. It was hilarious because our border patrol agent decided to tell us what was wrong with our company or rather how awesome our company was but it was doing a bad job of supporting those in Belgium because shipping was too expensive.  Unfortunately I don’t work on that part of the business and felt very awkward listening to his complaints but he let us through and we started our journey to London.

Korean food in Paris

It’s not every day that you decide to get Korean food while you’re in Paris.  To be honest, usually when I am in another city, I always try to eat the local foods. In the case of Paris, I usually would have gone for Parisian food or French food in general. I mean, I would have gladly settled for a dinner full of pastries and butter for dinner. Even with my love of pastries, we decided that we wanted to get Korean food. Actually we were more motivated by trying to do karaoke and that eventually made our way to Korean food instead. We found a place called Soon that was actually within walking distance to our hotel and had great reviews for their food so we decided that this would be the place for dinner.

We ordered bulgogi and Korean fried chicken as appetizers and I decided that I wanted to get the bibimbap. I can’t say that I had the highest hopes for how good the food would be for that dinner but it ended up being absolutely delicious. The bonchon was well made and delicious and the bulgogi was very well done.  I did also love the Korean fried chicken.  To be honest, I’m not sure I really spoke while I was eating the chicken. It was so good. But I do have an absurd love of fried chicken in general.

We ended up eating there for a few hours and ended our evening with great conversation and good food.