Favorite Posts of 2013 And Just Those Simple Moments

It’s the last day of 2013 and so it’s time to reflect, or least pretend to. I already shared some of my 2014 goals and to dos. I even got one of them done, last weekend. Yup, no more donation bin in my closet!

So I thought it would be a nice way to wrap up with a year in review for the blog. I used Google Analytics page views to see what your favorite posts were and I thought I would share after some of my favorite 2013 moments. Not all of them had posts.

2013 Favorite Posts Based on Page Views

Favorite Moments 1

Lessons from running a marathon in the rain – Success and failures – I got enough views on this post, to warrant a letter asking me to remove watermarked race photos. Fair enough. So yea, use your imagination instead. Since it was pouring rain, I didn’t have any photos of my own and I wasn’t about to pay a small fortune per photo either.

Stuffed-Peppers

Quinoa Chicken Stuffed Peppers – Agreed! This is one of my favorite recipes as well.

Winter-Running-Layers

What to wear for winter Runs – All the way back from January, but it’s making a comeback just like the brutal winter.

Meet the TARC 50 Milers – One of my favorite posts that I put together. I wanted to see how others were training for their 50 miler. I loved reading all the answers.

How to find race discount codes – A 2012 post that keeps coming up on search results. Everything there still holds true. Sadly, marathons are not getting any cheaper.

Slow-cooker-balsamic-chicken

Slow-cooker Balsamic Chicken ❤ my slow-cooker

2013 Favorite Moments

Running My First “Ultra” 6 hours race – 28 (official) miles in the snow

My first Triathlon – It was a sprint, but not too shabby for a girl who learned to swim in 4 weeks

Favorite Moments 2

Running Tony’s first FULL marathon! The first one is always special 😉

First Marathon

Hiking Mount Washington

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Hiking Bryce Canyon – And of course all the other national parks I saw that week were not too shabby either!

Bryce

My trip to Myanmar – I’m still working on posts, but words can’t describe how amazing the trip was

Favorite Moments 4

 

I don’t know what 2014 will bring, but 2013 was a great year!

Tell me one of your favorite moments from 2013!

Christmas – A celebration of traditions

Technically I’m Jewish so growing up I never celebrated Christmas. At the core, I don’t follow organized religion, but I think everyone is allowed to have faith in whatever they want. However, for the past decade or so, maybe even longer, I’ve celebrated the holiday either with Tony’s family (4 years) or one of my amazing friend’s families who take me into their own for the day. I’ve always had fond memories of the holiday because for one there is never any school or work on Christmas. Also, I there’s presents and the surprise of giving and receiving. And most of all the food is awesome. Every family that I visited does Christmas a little different and I have never been disappointed. I love Christmas food! I’m partial on Thanksgiving (not a big turkey fan) but Christmas food no matter what people cook is always delicious!

Regret nothing

And don’t worry, I still celebrate Hanukkah, but that was a while ago and I was on vacation so I missed it this year. Although sweets and latkas can be eaten daily if you ask me.

On Christmas Eve, Tony and I spent it with his nephews and family. They all wear PJs and of course I had to bring my own. There was lots of great food and of course I was too busy eating to take photos. I also don’t really post photos of other people, unless I know they’re okay with being put on the blog, so lots of photos of me you’ll get instead!

Pjs and cats

The cats were definitely plotting something against me on Christmas Eve after this photo shoot.

Coffe

We started Christmas day with a nice blend of Coffee from Tony’s nephew and wife in our new Le Creuset mugs we got for ourselves when we visited the outlet last week. Visiting the Le Creuset store made me want to get rid of all our kitchen items and transfer our house into a beautiful red stoneware and cast iron heaven. But I decided I should not break my piggy bank yet. I do have the Dutch oven thanks to Tony’s parents and I love love it.

Table

While drinking up my coffee, I set the table. Tony’s mom does all the cooking, but we host so lay out, drinks and other easy tasks we take care of.

And then it was time for what I do best:

Christmas Run

It was 16 degrees outside and no one else would bear the cold but I loved it. I ended up running on a lot of roads since the sidewalks are frozen in parts and it can get exhausting hopping and sliding around. The sun was shining and the streets were empty. It was peaceful and a nice way to sink in a few quiet moments to myself before filling up my belly with food and laughs.

Christmas Meal

Tony’s mom serves up amazing food. We started with Italian soup, followed by home made manicotti, and then the finale beef bourguignon (I dare you to try to say that 5 times).

Jack Sleeping

While everyone ate, Jack took a little nap on the couch next to us all. Our other cat Oliver was hiding.

Cat Gifts

Tony’s mom cooked some of the meats (no spices) for the cats as well, so they had a mini feast of their own all week.

Liana and Jack

The star of the night was of course Jack.

My favorite elf. We opened up some great gifts. Things for the house we really needed. Other highlights include a road ID my brother got for both me and Tony. And an amazing weekend in Vermont, including the Vermont City Marathon from Tony!

Family Photo Tony, me, his parents, sister, my brother and father

Dad and Oliver

And just like that, before I knew it, the day was over and I found my dad and our other cat Oliver, that’s always hiding upstairs and never ever comes downstairs, napping with my dad! Maybe they’re kindred spirits?

Cat Cuddle

So of course, after everyone left, and was sleeping, I cuddled with the cats as well, my first and only time I got Oliver onto the first floor. He’s very skittish!

 

Do you celebrate Christmas either with friends or family?

What’s your favorite gift that you gave or received? I gave Tony a soda stream and I’m excited cause I’ll get to use it too =).

Weekly Recap – RnR Nola Training

Ahh, a new week, always so full of energy and plans. Or maybe it’s the rest day that I start with that always leaves me perky at the start and nappy by the weekend.

Monday – 8 miles
I pushed back rest day til Tuesday because I had my holiday party that day and would have no time during lunch to run. It must have been my lazy Sunday of the prior week because I went up to average pace of 7:32 per mile on incline 2. There was one mistake when i hill the cool off button at mile 7.1 and had to restart my run for .9 of a mile to go. Total time, one hour!

Tuesday – Rest Day
Well, I didn’t have my holiday party due to the snow, instead I ate a lot and waited in traffic and broken trains all day. Nothing kills a workout, like a nightmare commute.

Wednesday – 11.1 miles
Have you ever just woke up angry. Angry at the world. Or maybe the 30 minute commute that took you 3 hours. Stress, and exhaustion getting to you. Yea that was my Wednesday. My first run was self medicating, incline 3, 8:15 average pace for 8 miles! 66 minutes. I had extra time once again while waiting for my holiday party so I ran another 5K, 7:28 pace, while watching Hart of Dixie. I still felt cranky, but I guess it was just one of those days. At least I took it out on great running.

Thursday – 8 Miles
7:33 pace on the easy home mill. Felt a bit unmotivated all day, but still made it through. This time, watched Biggest Loser. I can’t say if I love or hate the show.

Friday – 6.2 
Just a Friday evening 10K on incline 3. 8:06 pace at the workgym after work. Should have taken it easier. Maybe I would have had more spunk left by Sunday.

Saturday – 18.2 = 2 hours 32 minutes
The sun was blazing, the snow was melting and my legs felt like dancing. I ran through Malden, Melrose & Wakefield in the early afternoon. I was glad that it took me a while to go out, because by the time I left the house, the sun was shining. I love running in sunshine. My average pace ended up being around 8:21 but that includes several light stops, and frogging around cars, people, snow, and pools and puddles of melted snow. It was probably as close to trail running as you could get while still being on concrete. Or maybe more like hurdling of snow banks. And somehow, with all the wetness around me from the melting home, I made it through 16 of the 18 miles before my feet got wet.

Sunday – 4 Miles
I had plans on running 8.5 to get back up to 60, but it was such a dreary day. The streets were still wet and covered in Snow and I had absolutely no motivated. Maybe I wore out my running mojo for the week. I settled on an easy 4 miles on the home treadmill. 7:34 pace and an episode of Carrie Diaries.

 

Total Miles – 55.5

Total Feelings – Sore, I think all the snow hurdling made my muscles tried =(

14 To Dos for 2014 – An anti-resolution post

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. If you want to make a change in your life, don’t wait until the start of the new year to postpone, make it now. After all, if it’s a lifestyle change, shouldn’t it be made now and not at an arbitrary time of year? If you want to change something, or do something, do it whether it’s in the winter, summer, may, or today.

However, we use the calender to mark time, and sadly (or gladly), 2013 is ending and a digit will need to be updated every time I write the date. Hard job for a girl who likes to still sign off as “LK 12/20/2012.” So here’s 14 things I want to do in 2014 because I don’t have enough of 2013 left to do them all.

14 goals for 2014

14. Do more yoga – I used to take bikram classes, than I got lazy.. need to go back, because the fact that my 5ft tall hands can’t touch my toes is sad.

13. Spend 1 day a week where I don’t eat sweats – For the sake of my teeth, I really need to cut some sugar out. Tooth fillings are pricey and dental plans suck.

12. Try a new recipe every two months – Monthly would be a stretch, every two months, i think I can pull off. Slow-cooker counts.

11. Hate the MBTA a little less – I can’t fix it, need to just realize Boston commute sucks.

10. Run 3,000 miles – I’m down to 2,600 miles for 2013, what’s an extra 400?

9. Read 12 books – one for each month. Always a goal, one that I rarely complete. Although, if you ask me, I think Game of Thrones should count at 3 books each and then I would be set.

8. Visit a new U.S. National Park – 2013 brought me Bryce Canyon, Zion & Grand Canyon, I probably won’t top that many in 2014, but a new one would be nice, more than nice. You know, before the oil companies and fat oil dogs destroy them all.

7. Bike a century – I barely made it for 50 miles, how bad could 100 be?

6. Donate my donation bins – These been sitting in my closet too long, if I can get them out before 2013 is over, even better

5. Do a 100 push-ups – There’s an app for that and I got no excuse

4. Join a Master’s swimming class for Triathlete – http://www.runtomunch.com The class I took at the Y was a waste of time, but I’m hoping to find something better that also works with my schedule. Sadly the better Y classes are at 8:30 and I don’t live in Boston

3. Swim 2.4 Miles – I want to be an Ironwoman – but I got some work to do.

2. Complete a 50 Miler – Pinelands Running Festival in May 2014, hoping for a better year than my 2013 attempt

1. Complete a half Iron-man – I’m signed up Pumpkinman in Sept 2014!

What’s one of your goals for 2014?

My Year of Running – 2013

Miss Zippy posted her annual Year of Running link up and since this blog is about running when it’s not about eating, I had to join into the party. So fashionable late, but still arriving me 2013 moments.

Best Race Experience:
My races tend to kinda be a solo battle. I will chat and socialize before and after, but everything from start to finish is a battle I hold on my own and I like to avoid casualties. However, when I ran the Adirondack’s Marathon in September, I had a very special buddy! It was Tony’s first! My first race where I didn’t run for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I would love a PR, but crossing someone across their first marathon finish line is something else.

I tend to be selfish and don’t like to give up my own races, but it was worth it. We crossed the finish line in under 4:30, under-trained, but still successful. Now Tony is signed up for RnR NOLA in Feb & Atlanta marathon in March. So, yes, one marathon not race, but I’d say a worth investment for a marathon buddy.

Best Run:

It’s technically a race, but since I’ve never truly raced on a trail, I’ll call this my best run of 2013.

Cape Cod Fatass 25K 4

My friend Katharina introduced me to this Fat Ass event and I hope to return every year I can! The actual Fat Ass is 50K (31 miles) but you can opt for 25K (15.5 Half ass) like we did. I hope to be back in 2014 in full Fat Ass mode! It’s a free event on a beautiful (but difficult) sand dune trail and it probably nothing like any other run I do all year.

Best new piece of gear?  

There’s nothing about what I’m wearing that I don’t love. All are new from 2013 from the Mizuno Wave Sayonara to Pink ProCompression Socks to my Reebok shorts, but if I had to pick one? Reebok PWR hot shorts! Modesty aside and weather, it’s all I would run in if I could. Finding clothes that fit a 5 tall lady, is hard work, and when I find those pieces, I don’t let go.

Best piece of running advice you received?

My friend Gail said something along the lines, if the mind is going, it’s electrolytes, if your body is feeling tired it’s calories. She’s only ran like a gazzillion marathons, so I’ve applied this philosophy for fueling and so far it’s working.

Most inspirational runner? 

Fauja Singh – 102 and still running! I hope that’s me in the future.

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

New distances, new places, new terrain, old and new great friends

Yangon – Airport Rides and Botataung Pagoda

After our 36 hours of flying through 6 airports, we finally landed in Yangon, Myanmar. It took probably 2 hours to get through immigration because all information at customs was being entered manually.

Jet-lagged and delirious, the 10K drive from the airport to our budget inn took an hour.

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Compared to any other Asian city, you will notice no motor bikes and instead old 90s? 80s? Toyotas living out the rest of their lives. Motorbikes are illegal, and there’s various rumors of why. One version about the ban is that a person on a motorbike made a threatening gesture to a military general; another is that a motorbike rider distributed pro-democracy leaflets, and the third is that a general’s son was killed while riding a motorbike.

Furthermore, in May 2003, a ban on using car horns was implemented in six townships of Downtown Yangon to reduce noise pollution. In April 2004, the car horn ban was expanded to cover the entire city which is why in stand still traffic, on a hot regular day, it is still fairly silent.

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I heard that Yangon, had some colonial architecture, but compared to what I saw in South America, it was decaying at best. Although, I heard most of the property is being renovated as foreign investment grows. Maybe in half a decade, they’ll be colonial buildings worthy of a photograph beyond a depressing, neglected sight.

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The exchange rate at the airport was about 970 Kyats for $1 so when we exchange 100 dollar bill, we got 97 single notes, making Tony feel like a baller.

We stayed at Hnin Si Budget Inn. We paid about $27 for a double room, but the current rate is now $35 or maybe even more since we left in November. The room is bare at most, kinda like a box with a shared mixed gender bathroom. As mentioned before, lodging in Myanmar is disappointing at best where you have two options, a $300 hotel, or an overpriced (by Asia standards) simple guest room. We opted to save money on lodging so we could travel more.

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By the time we got settled in, the sun was already set. Walking around the barely lit streets was a challenge. There wasn’t sidewalks where we were, as much as just concrete slabs to cover up sewage, so instead you walk besides the cars, hoping that there’s way too much traffic for the cars to go fast enough to hurt you. We walked by this tree house looking thing that I thought was cool.

We walked around noticing, a high rate of donut shops around us, but besides that, limited eating options near by. While I can be pretty adventurous with food choices at times, I didn’t want to spend the rest of my trip in a bathroom so we opted for the most cleanest, western friendly place we could find. “Japan, Japan” was to be our dining of choice before we passed out into sleep. Probably our most disappointing food selection of the trip since we went in blind.

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The next morning we woke around 6, had some basic breakfast at the inn (fried egg and worst toast ever). I’m not sure if locals ever eat bread in Myanmar because the only thing worse than crappy wifi in the country, was the crappy bread. But it was free and with no food poisoning history, so I’ll take it. IMG_9589

It was around 6:30 AM and we walked over to Botataung Pagoda, about a 15 minute walk. Already, the locals were out and about. I guess there’s no such thing as lazy Sunday?

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Fun or sad fact, but the original Botataung Pagoda was actually destroyed in WWII, and this amazing structure we walked around is a replica.  Within the stupa was this hall of mirrors that also holds some ancient relics from the original pagoda. It might also hold an ancient buddha hair or something.

Entrance for foreigners is $3 USD, where you must walk barefoot and I scared together whatever clothes I had that covered my knees and shoulders, not an easy task when its already 90 and humid by 7AM.

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Above are just a few shots out of the 300 or so I took within the span of 2 hours we walked around. Although Botataung Pagoda is only the third largest in Yangon, it was the first one I saw on this trip, so everything amazed me. Even reflecting back on everything I saw during my trip, this was probably one of my favorite Pagodas that I visited.

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After the morning visit to Botataung Pagoda, we took a cab to the airport for another flight to Mandalay. Above and below are just some snapshots I took from the car as we drove.

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Besides buses, most common mode of transportation are pick up trucks.

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We got to the airport a little bit early so we snacked on some dim sum bites while we waited.

Returning to action week 2 – Weekly Recap

Maybe, I’m getting ahead of myself, but I feel like I’m almost back to my running shape before I took a 3 week break. It only took about 10 days to return to my old running habits and familiarity.

Monday – Rest – I was actually limping a bit after the Cambridge 5k. My left knee swelled up a bit from the beating of the final mile. Luckily, everything was back to normal by Tuesday.

Tuesday – 6.5 Miles
Incline 3, 54 minutes for an average pace of 8:19 or so. I’ll take it. Best part, my knee didn’t bother me.

Wednesday – 11.1 Miles
I returned to double runs. 8 miles after work and 3.1 before work. 7:20 pace on the homemill for the 5K, 7:51 pace for the 8 miler on incline 2 on the workmill.

Thursday – 7 Miles
About an hour of running, incline 3, 8:34 pace. I guess, the double duty runs from Wednesday made me more tired than I would admit.

Friday – 4 Miles
Had very little free time, 7:30 pace on incline 2 at the workmill.

Saturday – 15.1 Miles


13.1 Beautiful miles outside in the snow. Yea, I spent my whole morning avoiding my run and by the time it reached to 2, it started to snow and I was finally out of excuses to avoid my run. I did the final 2 miles on the treadmill because the snow was starting to stick and it was getting a little too icy for me. It was 15 degrees, but besides my hands, the rest of me was never cold.

Rocking the snow stache’

Sunday – 6.5 Miles
It was a little too icy for me to run outside, so I rejoined my Hulu Plus membership and caught up on weeks of Glee. 49 minutes of so to run 6.5 miles at a 7:30 pace or so.