Friday, November 21, 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Instagram post: Purple for daaaaaaays

I have purple hair now :)

My November Ipsy bag, featuring J. Cat Beauty's Wonder Lip Paint

November's Ipsy theme was Girl Meets Glitter. After not being terrifically impressed with the last couple of bags, I was pretty happy with this one, which had a nice variety of items:

- Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Argan Oil hairspray
- Be a Bombshell eye base in Submissive
- Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder in Universal, with a mini fan brush
- Elizabeth Mott You're So Fine Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Glitterati
- J. Cat Beauty Wonder Lip Paint in Mad Splatter

I also cashed in some Ipsy points for a full-sized bareMinerals 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow in Elegant Taupe:

I liked the smaller sized version enough that I didn't mind getting a full-sized one in taupe, because you know how I am about taupe :)

Swatches, top row: Elizabeth Mott eyeliner, bareMinerals cream eye shadow
Swatches, bottom row: Be a Bombshell eye base, J. Cat Lip Paint

In particular, I was most interested in the Lip Paint. If you look at the packaging, they are obviously meant to mimic OCC Lip Tars. But how did they perform in comparison?

It's VERY similar. There's a very subtle difference in texture, and I don't know if other shades of the J. Cat would be the same or not (because sometimes it's a matter of the finish or the materials used to produce the shade): OCC Lip Tar is definitely a liquid lipstick, and it spreads the way paint does, whereas the Lip Paint is more jelly-like, and spreads more like a gloss, albeit a very thick, very pigmented gloss. Aside from that very subtle difference, it feels the same on, but it doesn't have the same staying power (and staining power) that Lip Tar does - it definitely wipes off much, much more easily. Still, considering how it's, like, $5 a tube compared to $18, I think I'm going to be seeking out dupes for the Lip Tar shades that I couldn't justify buying before. It's buttery and moisturizing, and costs less than the average drugstore lipstick.

I did also try wearing the eye base all by itself - since it's a lovely gold - and the eyeliner. Both were largely unimpressive - not bad, but unimpressive. In my opinion, calling yourself a waterproof eyeliner means nothing to me if you can't last throughout a workday plus a strength session at the gym. Both items are things I don't mind adding to my stash, because they each serve a useful purpose, but I won't necessarily reach for them first.

Overall, I thought this month's Ipsy bag was better than previous months'. I think I will keep my subscription for longer.

If you would like to sign up for Ipsy and give it a try, you are welcome to use my referral link here.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Race recap: Mermaid Run SF Sirena 10-miler

Yep, the selfie game is STRONG with this one.
This past week was my first "off" week since maybe early September. Going into the race today, I'd only run four miles (though, I was coming off a 28-mile week). For various reasons, I was just really off my game this week.

But still, I was excited to run this. I did the inaugural Sirena 10-miler last year with my knee injury, and though I enjoyed the race anyway, it definitely wasn't a great performance. I was looking to redeem myself today, even with being off my game.

I woke up at 4:30am, which is not so different from my weekday runs, except getting up early to DRIVE feels way worse than getting up to run. I know that sounds weird, but seriously, once you start running, your body wakes up.

It was surprisingly not very cold when we got there. The last couple of weeks, my long runs in Los Gatos were 48 degrees at the start, and by general rule of thumb, San Francisco is colder than the South Bay, so imagine my surprise when I was fine with just my short-sleeve shirt (that I even had to roll up to make a makeshift tank top halfway through).

The first three miles for me were actually literally painful - I was limping-running. There are a few reasons for this that I can tell:

- I hadn't run since Wednesday
- I had two hamstring-heavy strength sessions this week
- My right shoelace was rather loose, which gave me killer shin pain (but was quickly and easily remedied), and
- (Probably the biggest reason) I finished my first mile in 12:15. This includes two minutes of walking and the slow slog through the starting chute, btw.

That last one, seriously! I went out way too fast. I didn't even realize how fast I was going - I just ran. But considering the first three reasons and the fact that my legs take at least two miles to warm up anyway, I should've known better and forced myself to slow down, even if I already thought I was going slow (which I wasn't).

So mile 1 was flat and straight, but miles 2 and 3 are the WORST. They're the two BIG hill miles, to get you up to the bridge, and considering how I was already in pain, I pretty much had to walk those, both up and down the hills. But it gave me a chance to warm up and gently work through the pain, and by the time I got up to the bridge, I was golden ;)

Too bad the bridge itself wasn't. Golden, I mean. It was quite shrouded in fog for almost the whole way. This is GREAT for running - it kept me cool and it kept me from seeing too far ahead of me (and stressing over how much further I had to go) - but it was not so great for trying to see the spectacular views (which, let's face it, why ELSE would sign up to run the Golden Gate Bridge?) But like I said, it made for great running conditions, and aside from worrying about slipping on the wet ground, I ran my BEST paces I've ever run in TWO YEARS (since the 2012 Mermaid SF, when I PRed my 5k time). At one point, I think I ran three consecutive miles at around an 11:40 pace, and I think at some other point, I actually ran an entire mile in 11:05 (or so says my Garmin). Again, keep in mind that this is my overall pace, and that I was running a 4/1 interval, so my running parts must have been faaaaaaaast. We ran up one side of the bridge, had to walk down stairs to cross under it, and then had to walk up stairs to get onto the other side. Stairs, Mermaid Series? REALLY?

It wasn't all gray, though. Once I reached the halfway mark, at Vista Point, the fog suddenly ended and we were bathed in sunlight. I could not resist getting out my phone for some pictures, because how often am I ever on the north side of the Golden Gate?

So, miles 4-7 take you up the bridge and back, mile 8 takes you gradually down hills and around Fort Point, and then miles 9 and 10 take you on the dirt/sand path to the finish. Those last two miles are pretty difficult because of the dirt, and because it just feels interminable.

I finished in 2:10:00 flat (I love when I get even numbers!), which was my goal time anyway, and this is pretty remarkable because I did the first three miles in 45:00 and the remaining seven miles in 1:25:00. So my average pace for the first three miles was 15:00, and my average pace for the remaining seven, after I was pain-free and sufficiently warmed-up, was 12:08, which is pretty darn fast for me, considering (again) that I do run/walk intervals. So yeah, at one point in this race, I ran a 17:58 mile, and at another point, I ran an 11:05 mile. Hills, man.

So yeah, despite the first three miles, I'm really happy with how I did today, and considering how my time last year was 2:47:33, I would say that I redeemed myself BIG TIME today.

Next on deck: THE CALIFORNIA INTERNATIONAL MARATHON, ON MY 32ND BIRTHDAY. We are less than a month away. Next week's Sunday run is the dreaded 20-miler, and then... we taper.




Finishers' necklace

Monday, October 20, 2014

What I am, and what I'm not

I'm never going to be That Girl.

Which girl?

Many girls. I'm never going to be any of them.

I'm never going to be someone whose entire life revolves around motherhood. I love my daughter, and I love being a mother, but I'm never going to be That Mom.

Nor am I ever going to be That Wife. Or any wife, for that matter. I have no inclination to get married, and I will not take my husband's last name if I do. I am no one's arm candy.

I'm never going to be That Cute Girl. Small, adorable, and loved by all. I'm large and surly. I don't know how to respond sometimes. My introvertedness shuts down conversations like a health inspector shuts down rat-infested restaurants.

I'm never going to be That Hot Chick. I haven't the faintest clue how to be sexy, and I'm not sure I'd be comfortable attracting that kind of attention. I don't actually like strangers looking at me. I'd rather be cute than hot, and I'm not any good at being cute.

I'm never going to be That Cool Girl either. I'm a mess. My calm face belies the turbulence that boils beneath, and though I may smile and nod at you for now, you can be assured that I will go home and postmortem our conversation with my best friend down to the minutest detail.

I'm not any of those Girls.

What I am:
never quick to pick on sarcasm because 99% of the time I'm very serious and sincere
uncomfortable not in my own skin, but in the masks I have to wear
constantly searching for kindred spirits
someone who internalizes everything and self-blames
someone who wants "to love, and to love, and to love, and to love"
more apt to wish good things for everyone else than for herself

I can never be That Girl.

I just... AM. I exist.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Race Recap: Rock 'n' Roll San Jose Half Marathon

My brain is feeling pretty fried right now, but the recap must be written!

I've never done an RnR race before, but I've known about the series for a long time and have had a couple missed opportunities, so I was determined to run it this year, and it was a lovely coincidence that this race happened to fall on the weekend that I was supposed to do a 14-mile training run. I figured, I could run the slightly-shorter distance but increase the pace a wee bit.

The good: My legs felt great. Well, my calves were a little tight for the first couple of miles, which doesn't usually happen on my training runs, but it wasn't enough to be really painful or cause any alarm. I ran it out and started finding my stride after that.

My legs never got tired. I know that sounds insane, but my legs felt strong the ENTIRE race. Usually they start to feel like brick by mile 9 or 10 and I have to do a sort of shuffle-limp through my run portions (or stop running entirely), which was what happened at Santa Rosa, by the way. Funny what consistent training can do, right? ;)

The bad: The heat was excruciating. I have been doing my weekday runs on my treadmill in my hot garage, so it wasn't as bad as it COULD have been, but it was still pretty bad - there were so many portions of the course that were run facing the sun, and by mile 9 or 10, my head was throbbing painfully and I was really dizzy - like, scary dizzy. I've never been a big fan of running in the heat, and even though I'm in much better shape for it than I have been in the past, this was still just unbearable. It was a strange paradox for me, to know that my legs were still holding strong at mile 12, but I couldn't let myself stick to my intervals because I was seriously afraid of passing out.

Luckily, though, the race people handled it really well. There was LOTS of water available at the aid stations, and at one point they also handed out icy-cold sponges, which I was so grateful for - I had taken to pouring water on my head to cool off (not wasting it - it was the remainder of the water in the cup that I didn't drink), but I would warm up again so quickly that it was hard for me to make all my run intervals. There were also volunteers armed with hoses to spray us down, and for most of the race, I resisted it because I didn't want to run in wet clothing (hello, chafing), but I finally gave in to temptation at the last water station, and the huge blast of unexpectedly-cold water (so cold, I gasped) ended up cooling me down enough to make the rest of my run intervals until the end. (That's how I know my legs were fine - because once I was able to really cool down, I felt GREAT.)

So yeah. Despite the heat, I actually made my goal time, which was "anything under 3:00," and low and behold, I finished in 2:57:56. Still not a PR, but a "season best," as we used to say in swimming. I haven't gone under 3:00 since the last time I PRed in May 2013, actually, so this is a huge accomplishment for me, and I'm very proud of it (although I will assert that if the temperatures had been more to my liking, I could've shaved off some more time). By the way, my 5k split was 7 seconds faster than the 5k I ran in May (and that was WITH a long-ish line at the porta-potties).

This bodes well. I am just about halfway through marathon training right now, and as long as I keep putting in the work, I should be all set for CIM.

Major shout-outs to my current and former co-workers who ran this one with me, some of them running this distance for the first time :)

Next race: Mermaid San Francisco Sirena 10-miler. I just realized that I don't have another half marathon until January. Which makes me kinda sad, actually.

Okay, now for some pictures.

Participant shirt
Shirt I bought at the expo that I ran in (I know, we're not supposed to do that, but YOLO)
Thanks for the tote bag, RnR!
Pre-race selfie. You can't really see it, but I'm wearing silver eye shadow because ROCK N ROLL
This medal is kinda cool, yo. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

All running, all the time

Running has taken over my life.

I'm halfway through my training program for marathon #3, the California International Marathon, and am running the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Half this weekend.

I've been feeling really positive about my progress. Things I'm doing differently: being CONSISTENT. I know that no one is perfect, but it's no secret that I lacked discipline and consistency the first two marathons, and of course, this is a gamechanger.

Consistency is key, not just in running, but in every aspect of my life. I'm being literal when I say that running has taken over my life, because every aspect of how I live has changed to help me be a better runner. Everything in health, fitness, and athletic performance is interrelated: as they say, you can't out-run a bad diet. But it's not just exercise and diet either, it's also how much you sleep, how well you hydrate, how stressed out you are.

In order to perform well at the marathon, I have to make all my training runs, especially my long runs.

To do well on my long runs, I have to do all my weekday runs. (Truly, this was always where I fell apart.)

To do all my weekday runs, I have to get up at 4:30am to run before work.

To be able to get up that early on a consistent basis, I have to go to bed really early.

To be able to go to bed really early, I have to make sure that I eat properly (things that don't upset my body) and at the proper time (not right before bedtime, if I can help it).

So I have to plan my day so that I can do all these things, and of course, hydrate constantly.

These ARE a lot of major changes for me, and I'm finding that... I don't really mind. I know there's a lot to be said in favor of small changes, things you can incorporate into your existing routine and are therefore more sustainable, but you know what? I have come to the conclusion that my existing routine was kinda crappy. I NEEDED to change, because if I were to continue doing what I was doing (sleeping 4-5 hours a night, eating stuff that my body didn't like, exercising inconsistently and then going all out and getting hurt), then I will continue experiencing what I was experiencing: constant illness, exhaustion, and depression.

I feel awesome lately. I feel strong, confident, and energized. And most of all, I feel proud and accomplished. I'm fighting my demons one day at a time, and for now, I think I'm winning.

I've sold my soul to the running gods, and I'm not sorry.