Friday, December 16, 2011

Why do you run?

Since I started running last year, I've had a number of people ask me this question.  The answer?  Because I can.  And because I love it.

I used to hate running.  I used to not be able to run.  I used to think that running was for the crazies.  Who just up and decides to run 10 miles at dawn on a Sunday?  A crazy person, that's who.

I don't remember ever being as sore as I was the day after I pushed myself to run a single mile last March. I was also insanely proud of myself.  The pain didn't make me want to quit; I was determined to run just a little bit farther the next time.  One mile turned into two.  Two miles turned into a 5K, then a few more 5Ks.  A couple of 10Ks later, I signed up for a half-marathon.  Me!  A half-marathon!  I'd officially turned into one of those crazies.

Now 3 half-marathons later, I am still amazed after every long run at what my body can do.  Through running, I've found a little peace of mind, a little more appreciation, and a whole lot more determination.  I may not be fast, but I can still call myself a runner, and that is an AWESOME feeling.

Why do you run?

Friday, November 4, 2011


It's been awhile.  I finished a triathlon.  It was awesome.  I ran another half-marathon.  It was...not so awesome.  Instead of making lame excuses for being an absentee blogger, I'll leave you with a little something that sums up quite nicely how I've been feeling for the past few months.

I really miss John Mayer's pre-douche phase.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Back to Reality

So I've been back in the states for almost a week, but it feels like I haven't really gotten a chance to settle back in yet.  I spent a wonderful 2.5 weeks in Sweden and Greece - vacation was just what I needed to relax and recharge.

There was a lot of eating, a little drinking, and a year's supply of sand and sun.  Who knew Swedes could make delicious beer AND delicious pizza?  Also kind of cool that all of the restaurants with outdoor seating have blankets for when it gets really cold during the winter months (or for intrigued visitors from the States).

Even with all of that, I managed to get in a couple of runs in the Swedeland- kinda cool to map it with my Garmin!  The weather in Uppsala was a bit all over the place, but both times I headed out to run, the weather was perfect.  And I am ridiculously proud of myself for not getting lost, probably excessively so.

The running shoes didn't even make it into my suitcase to take to Greece.  Good thing too, because there was no time for running between laying out at the beach, eating, and napping.  Frothy iced coffee with ice cream everyday?  Yes, please!

One of the most gorgeous beaches I've ever seen:

And really, no European vacation would be complete without a stripper boat.

Now back to reality, unfortunately.  I'll be glad to get back into a running routine though...T-19 days until the AFC Half Marathon and T-40 days until the TriRock San Diego Sprint Tri!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane

That's right!  Tomorrow morning bright and early, I am taking off to spend some time in Sweden and Greece with my family.  I can't wait!

I probably won't post in earnest until I get back (almost 3 whole weeks!  but not that that's much different from my time between posts anyway), but be prepared for LOTS of pictures.

Wanna know something funny?  I'm still not packed.

Catch you on the flipside, jaaaaa!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

It Takes a Village

Last weekend, I took Tilly out for a spin with my running buddy.  We fuddled around for about an hour on the walking path at the city park and called it a day.  More practice needed.

Enter awesome 5-person team of wonderfully patient friends and co-workers.  After a couple hours of hand-holding and LOTS of encouragement, I can finally say that I know how to ride a bike!  Still pretty wobbly (and a little worse for the wear), but I am SO EXCITED to practice more.  Like ridiculously.

Best part?  Celebrating at Souplantation afterward.  With lots of muffins and cookies.  No, that's not what she said.  I'm just gonna chalk it up to carb loading for my Torrey Pines 10-miler this morning.  Check out this elevation profile!  Running up that dang hill makes me never want to run the La Jolla Half.  Ever.

I am totally getting froyo after that.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Who has two thumbs...

And still doesn't know how to ride a bike?  That would be me.  Hopefully that will change soon, since I signed up for the TriRock San Diego sprint triathlon in September.  Yea, I'm the genius who registered for a triathlon without knowing how to ride a bike.

This weekend, I took the first step toward triathlete-dom and acquired my first bike.  Exciting!  She is red and awesome and I named her Tilly.

Isn't she pretty?  Hey Tilly, don't let me down - I'm counting on you to get me through my first tri!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Race Recap x2 and Run-niversary

God I love alliterations!  Since we last chatted, I popped my Bay to Breakers cherry and ran another half marathon!  B2B was EPIC.  Briefly:

100K crazies in costume
1 run-in with the pavement (with battle wounds to boot)
21 nudies (count courtesy of BFF Monica)
4 American bison
7.46 miles of awesome.

Last Sunday, I ran the Rock n' Roll San Diego 1/2 marathon.  This time, I made it to mile 12 before I wanted to cry/quit/kill someone, so at least that's progress right?  I could've done without running up the freeway for 2+ miles, and I feel like the half marathon course could've showcased San Diego better - they don't call it America's Finest City for nothing! (On a semi-related note, I have officially lost my mind and registered for the AFC half marathon in August - should be interesting).  Also, wanna know what really sucks?  Sunburns.  Really bad ones that hurt more than your legs after running a half marathon.  I really wish I had a picture, but haven't really mastered the MySpace-picture-of-my-back-in-the-mirror thing, so it's probably for the best.

Alex and I flaunting our medals!

A year ago this past Thursday, I bought my first pair of running shoes.  Since then I have done 15 (15!!!) road races, including 2 half marathons.  I don't think I ever expected to fall in love with running the way I did this past year.  Sounds cliche and kind of lame, but I can honestly say that running changed my life.  For so long I loathed running, and now I can't imagine life without it.

Now for the triathlon I signed up next task is learning how to ride a bike!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Take Me to the Bay

Why am I still awake?  More importantly, why do I have such an aversion to packing before trips (and unpacking after them, for that matter)?  I am flying out to the Bay Area after work tomorrow to visit parents and to engage in the ridiculous shenanigan debauchery-fest that is Bay to Breakers.  Seriously, how did I grow up across the bay from SF and NEVER take part?  Oh yea, because I was antisocial and I hated running.  I am really excited to take part in a San Francisco tradition (even if it's one of thousands of inebriated hippies in inane costumes).  Not even the 60% chance of rain in the city on Sunday can get me down!

Did you know there is NOTHING on TV at 1am?  I did.

And I'm still not packed.

Friday, April 15, 2011

So I Suck At Blogging

Are you really surprised?  I feel like the past few weeks have been a whirlwind, so in the interest of time (and because writing out paragraphs seems really energy-consuming at the moment), I decided to do lists instead.

Awesome things
Friends visiting from LA (includes: trip to Stone brewery, froyo, a few episodes of Lockup Raw, slumber party, and family breakfast)
PR at Carlsbad 5000 (didn't feel very awesome while I was running, but who doesn't love a PR?)
Parentheses (if you couldn't tell by now, I think I have an overuse problem)
The weather.  Spring is here!
Peet's coffee

Not so awesome things
Work stress
Bum knee (my right knee is currently auditioning for the role of my left knee's fat twin.  Barring any medical miracles, it's looking pretty good for the part.)
Dumb neighbors
Being generally awkward
Did I mention my bum knee?

Pop Chips
Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi (yep, I'm 9.  So what?)
Mini bell peppers
Monster trail mix from Target (Try it.  For reals.)

I think that about sums it up.  In other news, I kind of like this top 5 idea (yep, I'm that original), so I may or may not try it again in another post.  Thoughts?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

New Year, New Start

Eideh shoma mobarak!  Last Sunday was the first day of spring, also marking the beginning of a new year for Iranians.  It is a time filled with peace, love, family, and delicious food.  I was lucky to be able to spend last weekend in the Bay Area with my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.  Here's to a happy and prosperous 1390!!  Yea we're a little behind on the times, don't hate!

Rewind to the weekend before last.  Remember I told you how much I hated Fiesta Island?  And how I was determined to redeem myself at the St. Patty's Day 10K?  Well, mission accomplished!  I was MUCH happier at the end of the St. Patty's Day race.  I still hate Fiesta Island (and still found it appropriate to spew obscenities at it during the race), but I didn't let it get me down during the run.  I kept pace with my running buddy, and raced my way to a new 10K PR!  The lines for pizza and beer after the race were reallllly long, so we settled for Souplantation brownies.  We also got leprechaun hat medals at the finish.  Win and win!

On Friday, I drove up to Agoura Hills for the Old Agoura 10K, rated one of the top 6 10Ks in the country by Runner's World.  It was my friend Monica's first 10K, and I was all too happy to oblige her request for a running buddy!  I have to say, this was the most challenging race I have done so far.  The scenery was gorgeous (think Santa Monica Mountains, country roads, horse farms) and did not disappoint, but the hills!  Oh, the hills!  They definitely tested my running mettle.  It was clear after the first mile that I wouldn't be anywhere close to a PR, but I was content with just enjoying the course, and not passing out on the wicked hills.  It also didn't help that I realized my iPod was dead right at the start line (after a nasty battle with the washing headphones made it, my iPod wasn't so lucky), so I ran with no music.  No music.  It wasn't nearly as unpleasant as I thought it might be, but I won't be leaving my music at home anytime soon.  

The start of the new year also happens to coincide with the beginning of my official training for the San Diego Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon.  1 week down, 11 to go!  Since I went crazy signing up for races, April is a 2 (possibly 3) race month for me.  This coming Sunday, I have the Carlsbad 5000 5K, the so-called "fastest 5K in the world".  Not intimidating at all!  I haven't run a 5K since December, but I've done a lot of training and racing since then, so I'm aiming for a PR.  

On April 17, as an homage to my humble running roots, I will be running the La Jolla Shores 5K.  The La Jolla Shores 5K was my first official race last year, so it holds a lot of nostalgic value and serves as a reminder to myself of how far I've come in the past year (both in life and in running).

I am really, ridiculously excited to start running outside.  Thank you spring and daylight savings!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Thin Line

I think part of the reason that I haven't updated as much as I'd like to is that I'm a little bit of a perfectionist. I always want every sentence to sound just right, everything to flow nicely and to be enjoyable to whoever is reading.  I always struggle with writer's block every time I sit down to write.  Including right now.

But I also realize that a big part of sharing a little bit of yourself with the world is just letting your thoughts out freely, without worrying about the little things.  With that said, I wanted to share this story with you, because it kind of hit home for me when I read it.

Every once in awhile, you read a story on your Google Reader, or in your daily news emails that really speaks to you.  You feel like the author was writing the piece just for you.  Tonight I opened my RunnersWorld nightly email and saw a link to Peter Sagal's A Thin Line.  If you've ever struggled with weight or body image in your life, you may find this story uplifting or inspiring; you may find it comforting to know that someone else has felt your struggle.  If you have a few minutes, take a peek at it, if not only for the fact that Peter Sagal is one of the hosts of Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! on NPR (he earns MAJOR cool points for that, btw).  Well played, Peter.  Well played.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Did You Miss Me?

For what it's worth, I sat down to write new posts 4 times this past week.  Each time, I felt like I was just going to vent and be snappy about everything that made me unhappy (at work, in the gym, in life), and let's be honest: who wants to hear me complain all the time?  I even get tired of myself complaining all the time.  So here is my attempt at a positive spin on last week's mayjah happenings.

This guy made me late for work on Thursday.  Oh hey, crazyface!  Didn't see you there behind the half-mile of backed up traffic and the jackknifed big rig!  On a brighter note, while I was stuck in said traffic jam, I was thisclose to winning zoo tickets on the radio.  And Mr. I-wanna-talk-to-the-President was admitted for a mental health evaluation.  No harm, no foul, right?

I ran a 15K on Saturday.  And I hated every second of it.  Not very organized, route was sucky, and did I mention I finished (almost) last?  It really was one of those races that sucks the love of running out of you.  I also have a St. Patrick's Day 10K coming up this Saturday.  I signed up for it without knowing that the route was just a shorter version of the 15K.  Boooo!  After some reflection and some encouraging words from my running guru/coworker Debra, I decided that I wouldn't let one sucky race experience get me down.  I am determined to take Fiesta Island by the horns this weekend.  Do you hear that, Fiesta Island?  I am taking you DOWN!  And then I will have pizza and beer to celebrate.  Everyone knows that's why people sign up for St. Patty's Day races anyway.  Who's with me?!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

ABCs of Me

On days like this when it is freezing and POURING outside, all I really want to do is curl up on the couch with my coffee and take full advantage of SVU marathons on TV.  Unfortunately, I had to be up bright and early this morning for work.  Boo!  In light of the fact that I would rather blog than work, I have a fun post today that might shed a little light on the blogger personality I hide behind.  Enjoy!

A. Age: 25

B. Bed size: Twin.  Yup, still rocking the twin bed almost 4 years after I finished undergrad.

C. Chore you hate: Washing dishes.  I'd rather scrub bathroom floors.

D. Dogs: Mmmm, yea I'm not really an animal person.  I like other people's pets.  My favorite is Alana's blind dog Lilly.

E. Essential start to your day: Shower. And coffee.

F. Favorite color: Green, orange.

G. Gold or silver: Silver. Hands down.

H. Height: 5'5".

I. Instruments you play: I used to play the piano.  Pretty well actually, but I haven't played since I moved out of my parents' house for college.  Sometimes when I go back to visit, I sit at the piano and really wish I could still play the way I used to.

J. Job title: Staff Research Associate.  Clinical research goddess has a nice ring to it, though.

K. Kids: No thank you please.

L. Live: Sunny (but not right now) San Diego, CA.

M. Mom’s name: Manijeh.

N. Nicknames: Where do I start? My family calls me Jay or JayJay, but I've pretty much been called everything under the sun: JBoxx, JBadd, JMoney, JBizzle, Jihad (thanks Alana).  The list goes on.

O. Overnight hospital stays: None, knock on wood.

P. Pet peeve: Bad grammar and spelling errors drive me INSANE.

Q. Quote from a movie: "That's the Persian can't hang with them unless you drive a BMW"  Name that movie!

R. Righty or Lefty: Righty.

S. Siblings: One older brother, and the sassiest 2-year old niece a girl could ask for.

T. Time you wake up: Usually around 6:30-6:45 during the week.  Around 8 on the weekends.

U. Underwear: Nice try!

V. Vegetables you dislike: Turnips.

W. What makes you run late: Running late really isn't my style, but it's usually traffic.

X. X-rays you’ve had: My teeth!  And I had a chest x-ray once when I was a kid.

Y. Yummy food you make: Dark chocolate marshmallow bark.  That's about it.

Z. Zoo animal favorite: Orangutans!

Had enough yet?  Happy Saturday!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fail x3

Four day weekend = awesome, right?  I'm gonna go with yes, minus a couple of noteworthy (and kind of special, of the paste-eating variety) fails.

On Saturday, after a STELLAR week in which I managed to finally break through my 2 month long plateau, I decided it would be a really good idea to make chocolate marshmallow bark.  8 batches of it.  I experimented with peppermint extract, extra dark chocolate, dried cherries, and dried cranberries.  The good news? Everyone at work is gonna LOVE me tomorrow.  The bad news?  I've had 8 batches of chocolaty marshmallowy goodness sitting in my fridge all weekend.  And then there were 7.

On Sunday, my friend and old coworker Elle excitedly told me that Maz Jobrani was going to be at the House of Blues on Tuesday night.  I kind of love Maz Jobrani.  Self-deprecating humor is pretty much the key to my heart, and Maz does a fantastic job of summing up my entire childhood in 3 minutes here.  I jumped at the chance, and bought tickets.  Too bad he won't be at the House of Blues until the 24th.  THURSDAY.  Not tonight.  How both of us missed this I'm not sure, but I'm glad we figured it out before I left the house and sat in traffic for an hour trying to get downtown.

Yesterday, after my mediocre run (Note to self: running into the wind on a grade is not the best idea you've ever had) I decided to self-medicate with graham cracker frozen yogurt.  Standard.  I'm pretty sure the people who work at Golden Spoon would only recognize me in my workout clothes.  I walked back out to my car, unlocked it, and opened the driver's side door, only to be greeted by the inside of a car that....wasn't mine.  It was a MESS.  After having a mini flip-out and screaming on the inside for a little bit, I realized that my car was actually two rows over.  This little incident cost me a bit of my dignity and my froyo spoon.  Maybe here is not the best place to admit that I had an extra spoon in my purse.  Even more reason to self-medicate.

This (shortened) workweek promises to be busy, but at least I have Maz to look forward to on Thursday night!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Playing Hooky

No, not really.  I am home from work today, and people have been coming in and out of my house to survey and repair the water damage from a roof leak in my guest bedroom.  The last time this happened (yep, it's happened before...San Diego drainage systems FTW!!), my own bedroom was out of commission for a couple weeks.  Not an ideal situation, but at least I have my own room this time!

I flew up to the Bay Area to visit my parents this past weekend.  For some reason, work was more draining than usual last week, so it was realllly nice to just take a break and spend some time with my family.  On Friday night, my parents picked me up from the airport and we went straight to Yoshi's.  We hadn't been there in ages, and it didn't disappoint.  We decided to also get tickets to the jazz show after dinner, which is wholly unlike my parents.  The George Duke Quartet played a pretty sweet set.  I've never really listened to jazz, but it was so smooth and uplifting, and really enjoyable.

I also got to spend some quality time with my niece.  Who knew that a 2 year old could love Bieber and Usher?  She was a ball of energy and so much fun!  She talks up a storm and would love nothing more than to eat ice cream for every meal.

Yesterday, I bit the bullet and registered for the Sue Krenn 15K.  What have I gotten myself into??  I guess we'll find out in a few weeks!  Since I started running and doing races last year, I've realized that I really enjoy the longer distances.  I've already finished one half marathon, and it's already time to start thinking about a training plan for my next one, the Rock n' Roll San Diego 1/2 Marathon!  Is it weird that I geek out at the thought of making up my own training plans?  Too bad I can't be that excited about studying for the MCAT.  Le sigh.

Here is to hoping that I can make it through the rest of this week with my sanity intact...wish me luck!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Going Home

So the plan for this post was to put up some pictures from last Saturday's Super Run.  After taking a peek at all of them, I decided that this was the only blog-worthy shot.
This was probably around mile 4-5.  We decided to mug for every camera we saw, and this was the only winner.  Sad but true.

I've spent the past few evenings making Valentine's day goody bags for my friends and coworkers.  I can't wait to pass them out tomorrow!  I started making valentines on a whim a few years ago, and the habit just kind of stuck.  I even took a few for my trainer and the rest of the gym staff tonight, since apart from work and home, the gym is where I spend the most time.  You would think that taking bags of candy into a gym would be taboo, but I guess not.

Tomorrow afternoon I will be flying up to the Bay Area to spend the weekend with my parents.  I am ridiculously ready for some down time, and even more excited that we are going straight from the airport to Yoshi's in Jack London Square for some tasty eats and cool jazz.  Saturday breakfast with Ava (my niece and the sassiest 2 year old on the planet) is also on the agenda for the weekend.

I suppose now would be a good time to start packing my things...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pay it forward

As I mentioned in my last (and first, ha!) post, I ran my very first half marathon on Jan 23.  I woke up that morning feeling amazing and ready to take on 13.1.  I met up with my coworkers Debra and Melanie at the starting line, and we all warmed up and stretched together.  As we waited our turn to finally cross the start, I turned on my music and danced around, C+C Music Factory style.  I really just wanted to get going.

After the start, Melanie pulled ahead as I settled into my pace.  I felt really good.  In fact, for the first 9.5 miles or so, I felt like I was on top of the world.  Right around 9.75, things began to fall apart.  All of a sudden I felt mentally drained.  I could feel tears welling up.  My legs kept kicking just fine, but my mind was telling me to quit.  I don't know that I could explain it any other way.  And then I did what I had been determined not to do.  I walked.  With tears in my eyes and badly wanting to give up, I ran/walked the next two or so miles.  I felt so defeated, like I had somehow failed because I hadn't run the whole way.

Right around the mile 12 marker, I saw Debra.  She had finished and come back for me.  It was as if she knew all the thoughts flying through my head.  "TURN THAT FROWN UPSIDE DOWN!!  YOU'RE ALMOST THERE!!  FINISH STRONG!", she said, as she started jogging alongside me.  She ran with me during the entire last mile, providing the moral support that I so desperately needed.  During the last quarter mile, Debra's husband Zac also joined us.  Their support along with the hundreds of people cheering in the finishing chute gave me the last oomph I needed to finish strong.

I don't think I could ever describe to Debra in words what her encouragement meant to me.  She has been a sort of running mentor for me, and to have her support was really amazing.  After thanking her profusely, her response to me was (in Facebook comment form, of course) "Anytime girl!  Pay it forward!".

And so this weekend, I did just that.  A friend of a friend found out that I was running in the Super Run 10K on Saturday.  She had wanted to run, but didn't have anyone who wanted to wake up that early on a weekend.  I had never officially met her before, but I invited her to run with me if she wanted.  We met on race morning; her goal was just to survive a 10K, my goal was to just get in a good run (and get the t-shirt, obviously).  So we jogged, chatted, and encouraged each other.  She finished her first 10K race, and I KILLED my PR by more than 3 minutes.  Win-win situation.  She told me after the race that if it weren't for me, she would've found a million excuses to stop.  I almost didn't tell her that I needed her there as much as she needed me.  I'm glad I did.

Dear universe, please consider my debt of gratitude paid forward.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Just getting started

Following in the footsteps of my newly relocated friend Alana, I've decided to start blogging.  I'm not sure if I'll have any kind of rhyme or reason to said blog - my instincts say not so much.  I really like the idea of taking some time out every few days to jot down my ramblings, so I'm making it a goal for myself to blog at least twice a week.

Work has been a little rough this week.  Waaay too much work and not nearly enough time.  Did I mention we had a full schedule today AND half our department was out sick?  Thanks to job stress, my workouts have also suffered this week.  It has been the biggest chore to just get myself to the gym, let alone slog through a half-arse cardio and strength routine.  I've been trying to get to bed earlier (I fell asleep before 11pm last night!), but I still wake up tired and with headache.

I'm looking forward to the weekend for a couple of reasons: #1...the Super Bowl!!  Packers vs. Steelers makes for a pretty sweet matchup!  If you're thinking about rooting for the Steelers, I'm pretty sure we can't be friends.  Another reason I'm excited for this weekend is the Super Run 10K.  It'll be my second road race this year (my first was the Carlsbad half marathon...I am officially a half-marathoner!), and it'll be nice to get back into the swing of not-crazy distance running.  Just me, my headphones, and the lovely scenery of Fiesta Island.  Well, maybe minus the lovely scenery part.  I'll just stick with me and my headphones.

My bed calls...wish me luck on my run this weekend.  Aaaanndddd...GO PACKERS!