Lifestyle

United NYC Half Marathon 2017

March 21, 2017

IMG_0476Patiently waiting in the 30 degree weather to start (and this is just part of wave 2!) IMG_0600Action shot! This was the Times Square portion and I was so excited to see my family! (Downtown had also just come on via shuffle, the perfect song) 🙂

IMG_0623Me and my face! (This was one of the awesome signs my parents made for me!!!!)

IMG_0567Post race sass.

IMG_0574 IMG_0618Yesterday I did something I never dreamed was possible: I ran a half marathon. Not just any half marathon, the NYC Half marathon that goes through Central Park, down the West Side Highway, and finishes on Water Street in the Financial District.

My decision to run this race was sort of spur of the moment. After watching runners pass mile 25 during the NYC marathon last fall, I was feeling really inspired. So inspired that I said to myself “I want to do that someday.” At this point in time I had built up my running ability to the point that I was able to semi-comfortably run 6 miles without any official training plan. That alone was a pretty huge accomplishment for me because years ago I HATED running. Come end of the year and I decide what the heck, let me enter the lottery for the NYC Half, I mean they’re never going to pick me right?! Sure enough a few weeks later I see a charge on my credit card and things got real. After spending soo much money, sigh, on quality winter running gear (which was TOTALLY worth it!!), I started my 12 week training plan 2 days after Christmas.

Fast forward 3 months and past lots of both good and bad runs, and it’s me on Saturday night super antsy and nervous. I managed to actually get a good sleep that night despite being really anxious. The morning of the race was so cool. I left my apartment at about 6:30am after eating my usual bowl of oatmeal and blueberries an hour before and I immediately saw a couple walking across the street towards the subway dressed in running gear. It was still pitch black outside and for some reason seeing other runners out so early to head to the race really got me excited. And when I got on the subway it was just full of runners! Never have I felt so connected to other people on the train, haha.

A couple stops later all the runners exit so I follow suit (even though I thought I was supposed to keep going 1 more stop, nope!). As soon as I reach the top of the subway stairs all I see is runners coming in literally all directions heading towards security. Some people were even running because the bag check was closing in 10 minutes (luckily, since I live in NYC and my family came to support me I had no need to check a bag). It was pretty cold, but the windbreaker pants and old Vancouver Olympics track jacket I picked up at Goodwill the day before kept me pretty warm. The entire walk through security and to my corral was just really amazing. I had been to that part of Central Park a million times before, but I had never felt the sense of belonging and excitement that I felt in those moments. Like I just looked around at everything with a smile on my face, slowly breathing in an out to attempt to keep myself calm.

After making a pit stop at the GIANT WALL of porta-potties, I headed over to my corral to await the start. I must have stood there for a good 45 minutes, even though I arrived to Central Park 20 minutes after the recommended time. I talked to some women around me, 2 in their 40s and 2 in their 60s. All of them had run halfs before and were excited for me that it was my first race. They asked if I had a goal in mind, and even though I did (I really wanted to get as close to 2:00 as possible), I told them the truth: that I had a goal in mind but I was trying to forget about it and just finish/have fun since it’s my first race. Once the gun went off for wave 2 (my wave), it still took about 20 minutes before we got going. Once I could see the start I zipped off my $14 sweatshirt and threw it across the metal railing. When we were about 200 meters from the start the volunteers were yelling at us “GO! GO! GO!” and I was like “OH! OK!” so I started MapMyRun a good 20 seconds before even passing the starting line, haha! They were really trying to get people going, which makes sense because they had close to 20k people to get past that starting line!

At mile 1 I REALLY tried to take it easy since runners say the most common mistake you can make it letting the adrenaline get to you and starting way too fast. Well, come 1 mile later and map my run tells me my pace is 10:01!!!! (I had been training at a 8:45-9:30 pace so this is NOT where I wanted to be LOL). I kicked things into gear after that and past the first hill saw a giant yellow sign with my name on it! I knew this was the sign my parents made for me, but they weren’t supposed to be at this part of the race according to the plan we laid out the night before. Seeing them was AWESOME and I ran over will a smile on my face and I felt ready to go.

By the time we reached the 5k mark in Harlem I couldn’t believe we were already 3 miles in. This was also at the start of Harlem Hill. I had read that people start to walk here, but I didn’t believe it because I was like: that’s only 3 miles in!! But sure enough a handful of people starting walking up the hill. Granted it is very steep, but I had trained on this hill multiple times and my body new exactly how to handle it. I passed some people with ease, and I knew I could recover on the following rolling hills. Shout-out to the people who were cheering on Harlem Hill, it was great!

The rest of the Central Park run wasn’t too exciting since this was literally where I did all my training. I did pass a good number of people and tried to choose others to keep pace with. By the time we were nearing the exit of the park at mile 6 I was beginning to feel a little tired, but man did that changed as soon as we stepped onto the street that was shaded from the tall buildings.

Running down through Times Square was like nothing I’ve ever done before. There were so many people cheering and I was literally smiling the entire time. I totally forgot the fact that I had already run 6 miles and I felt like I was flying. Then I approached 50th street where I knew my family was waiting and ran by with my arms in the air, full smile, and blowing kisses. IT WAS SOOOOO FUN!!! Ugh, I want to run this race again just to experience that section one more time. I seriously almost unplugged my music to take my phone out of my pocket and snap some pictures because WOW.

Turning right to head towards the West Side Highway didn’t bring as much wind as expected (though there were 2 or 3 gusts that felt like they were pushing me back a bit), but running on down the West Side Highway was a huge mental challenge. 4-5 miles of just straight flat road when you’re approaching miles 9,10,11,12 is pretty rough. There wasn’t a lot to distract me from realizing that I was running a half marathon, and there weren’t too many cheerers along the way. It seemed like it was taking FOREVER to reach the Freedom Tower. I knew I had to pass it to finish the race but I swear it took forever to get there.

Once we reached the underpass for Battery Park, people starting yelling “WOOOO” in the tunnel and it was pretty fun with all the echos. It was the little kick that I needed to pick it up. Upon exiting the tunnel there was a small hill, which was brutal, then we were greeting by a sign that said 400m to the finish. By this time my tracking app had already told me I passed 13 miles about 5 minutes ago so I was exhausted and annoyed, especially because I’m terrible at estimating distances and although I knew 400m wasn’t super long, I really wasn’t sure how much longer it would be. UNTIL I TURNED THE CORNER AND FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS GOOD THERE WAS THE FINISH LINE!! (At this point Beast by Tungebaag & Raaban came out which really made me feel like a best lol.) I really have zero idea where it came from, but when I saw that finish line, I also saw my family and my boyfriend, and my body went into hyper gear. I sprinted the rest of the distance and passed at least 20 people along the way to the glorious finish line. I felt on top of the world, like I could do anything. Then to top it off, I got a medal, which in my state of euphoria I had totally forgotten about!! I wore that medal for the rest of the day because obviously.

After walking what felt like a long distance past all the bag check claims and people handing out toasty foil blankets (I love my blanket and am keeping it as a souvenir 🙂 ) I was finally reunited with my family and we took many, many pictures because this is just not something you want to forget. To say I’ve been bitten by the running bug is an understatement. As I was running on mile 11 along the highway, I though to myself “never again.” As soon as I saw the finish line and flew right through it, I immediately wanted to do it again and again. While writing this I am a total of 1 day post race and I’ve already registered for 3 more races which qualify me for guaranteed entry to next year’s NYC half. I am soo looking forward to a long year of running! 🙂

Fashion

BAREFOOT BLONDE!

September 24, 2016

img_3933After living in NYC for months, I finally got to meet the famous Barefoot Blonde! Amber is just as sweet and stunning in real life as she is on her blog; it’s always so nice when someone famous lives up to your expectations and is truly a really nice person 🙂

Lifestyle Travel

PARIS AND MY PUMPKIN CANDLE

September 8, 2016

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I’m pretty sure fall is my favorite season. I love the crisp air, throwing on jacket, and the sound of leaves crunching under my boots. I know spring is usually referred to as a “beginning” in a way, but I also see fall as opportunity for a fresh start. Personally, I’m going to use the change of season to change the direction of my blog. In the beginning, I loved the idea of having a space of my own similar to some of my favorite fashion bloggers. However, after a few months the idea of taking outfit photos and writing about my clothes seemed like a burden that only grew heavier as my friends and family would constantly check-in to see if I was “still doing my blog.” I felt this weird pressure to gain more readers and found myself commenting on other blogs with the hopes of redirecting traffic and following lots and lots of people on Instagram; the silly part of it all was I was putting this pressure on myself! The problem with my blog wasn’t the photographs or the writing, both of which I very much enjoy, but this restrictive boundary I had drawn for myself in terms of content and style. This blog is my own, so it should reflect me, not my take on what others out there have already shared. Therefore, I want to make this space a bit more casual. I want to be able to write about the silly mundane day to day things, like how excited I am about the pumpkin candle I just bought :), in addition to share unedited, un-posed, fun pictures that I just happen to like. With all that being said, I couldn’t resist sharing some pictures that I should have shared months ago from my most favorite place: Paris. Perhaps later on I will elaborate on all the amazing things Isaac and I did while visiting the city of love, but for now I’m happy to just say that this is a new beginning for this blog and I am very happy about it.

Uncategorized

LONDON ENGLAND

April 26, 2016

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IMG_0790 IMG_0806 IMG_0815 IMG_0820 IMG_0922 IMG_0927 IMG_0957 IMG_0967Lunch at Sushi Samba with an AMAZING view!IMG_2336 IMG_0985IMG_1056IMG_1066IMG_1081IMG_2381

It’s crazy to think about how long it’s taken me to sit down and write this post about a trip Isaac and I took over a month ago! But I suppose better late than never, right?

London was one of the places on our 4 city trip that I was most excited to go to. On our first day, we took the Tube (which is fascinatingly cleaner and quieter than the subway I am used to) to Westminster because Westminster Abbey was first on the to-do list. Since I didn’t do quite as much planning ahead as I had originally planned, to my surprise the first thing we saw when we emerged from underground was Big Ben! And may I just say that Big Ben is much more ornate and beautiful than pictures let on. After trying to take a picture that didn’t get one of the many many tourists also in the area caught in the background (I thought that since we were traveling in February there wouldn’t be that many tourists–I was very wrong), we headed over to the giant line at Westminster Abbey and popped open our umbrella to greet our first London rain shower. Just like Big Ben, Westminster Abbey was so much more beautiful than I had imagined, and so much bigger!

Day 2 in London was Valentine’s Day, and also the celebration of the Chinese New Year! We perused a couple of museums, explored the local festivals for the new year (and I proceeded to buy a very over-priced but totally worth it banana Nutella crepe), and headed back to our Airbnb before our very romantic dinner. Since I wasn’t really familiar with the area, I foolishly left our Valentine’s dinner reservation to a couple of nights before the actual day. However, we ended up going to a wonderful restaurant called The Delaunay at 10:00PM. Now I had no problem with a late dinner, however, being from New York we had never considered that the metro might actually close for the night. To our surprise, when we arrived at the Covent Gardens station the entryway was barred shut! Although this was a downer, there really was a bright side because we got to ride in one of those classic black London taxis and it was pretty cool.

We spent most of day 3 at the British Museum, where I proceeded to take lots of pictures of the Rosetta Stone. I also took this opportunity to break in my brand new pair of Doc Martens that I had purchased 2 days prior. I’ve had my eye on a pair of classic black Doc Martens for a while, but I figured since they are an English brand why not buy them in England?

I totally packed our last day in London full of the typical touristy things that I of course had been dying to do since day 1. We took a ride on the London Eye (the individual pods are SO much bigger than I had realized!), visited Buckingham Palace, walked over Tower Bridge, and I took a picture in a red phone booth. 🙂 My biggest surprise of that day was finding multiple giant white pelicans in the park near the palace; I was so confused yet pleasantly surprised after reading a sign that said “please don’t feed the pelicans.” I don’t know about you but I thought they were strictly a tropical bird!

The next morning we left to catch our train to Paris. I wanted to get a quick picture at Platform 9 3/4 to satisfy my inner Harry Potter obsession, but again with the tourists (silly of me to complain since I am in fact a tourist myself 🙂 )! The line for a photo at 8AM was 45 minutes long!!!! Unfortunately, we didn’t have that much time to spare, so I will one day have to return to King’s Cross to get that photo!

Travel

CLIMB TO ARTHUR’S SEAT

March 6, 2016

IMG_0287 IMG_0290 IMG_0300 IMG_0306 IMG_0318 IMG_0323 IMG_0327 IMG_0330 IMG_0340 IMG_0345 IMG_0356 IMG_0362 IMG_0381Beautiful kitty that we saw on our way home- like seriously handsome!

Coat: Eddie Bauer (old, similar here) | Jeans: ASOS | Sneakers: Nordstrom

On our last day in Edinburgh Isaac and I hiked to Arthur’s Seat. The forecast from the previous day had predicted clear skies and lots of sun, so I thought climbing up to such a beautiful spot would be the perfect way to end our stay in Scotland. As you can probably tell, that is definitely NOT the weather we got! Towards the beginning of our hike it was just very overcast and grey, and a little on the cold side. Fast forward 30 minutes and it began to start raining. Fast forward another 15 minutes close to the top of the hill and the rain turned to massive snowflakes! This was not normal snow. The snow flakes were so big that if felt like they were pelting us!

The pictures really don’t do justice to how difficult this “path” is to climb, especially when it’s wet and slippery. Towards the beginning things were pretty great because the start of the path we chose was paved, and then it turned to a clearly defined gravel path. But close to the top the path got very steep and slippery, and it was less of a path and more of a “find your own way” by climbing up clusters of rocks. Not surprisingly, by the time we actually reached Arthur’s Seat we were sweating from the climb and our jackets were actually soaked from the rain and snow. We probably stayed up there for 15 mins before we began to freeze and decide that we better start navigating our way back down. By the time we finished, my coat was soaked, and so was my shirt and undershirt under that! We ended up going to a cafe so I could get some tea to warm up (and steal Isaac’s sweatshirt that somehow managed to stay completely dry 🙂 ). I must say, one of my favorite things about the UK in general is that there is just an endless number of cafes that sell amazing tea and scones. Scones are officially my new favorite baked good.

You might have noticed that I chose to climb a muddy mountain in stark white sneakers. No, this was not the plan. I was originally planning to pack my Nike running shoes for this exact purpose, but the struggle of packing a suitcase for 3 weeks in the winter (hello bulky sweaters) meant that it was my sneakers or my pretty white shoes. You can see where my priorities lie. 🙂 I did get a couple of comments from other hikers about my footwear choice (all with smiles), but I think I did a pretty good job of keeping them clean, and I managed not to fall even once (though I did come VERY close several times, quite scary)!

Visiting Arthur’s Seat was really the perfect way to end this portion of our trip. The views are indescribable. I felt like I was on top of the world. Edinburgh is such a beautiful city (Isaac’s favorite of all we visited!), and seeing the city from this view was totally breathtaking.