You gotta move or move on

Last last weekend, my AZ sister from another mister, Emily, came to visit me and go to Kenny Chesney’s Spread the Love concert. I was really excited to see Miranda Lambert and she was awesome. Sam Hunt also played…also amazing.

IMG_1140

We did yoga at the sculpture park and ate all the delicious food. I love having visitors and showing off my awesome city.

IMG_1108

Emily also helped me find a great new apartment! My lease was coming up real quick and while I had a plan A in place, things change and as Sam Hunt says, “you gotta move or move on.” Although Emily thinks it’s you gotta move TO move on. Thoughts?

Either way, I moved on Tuesday and I really like the new place! Err, at least what it WILL be once all the boxes are unpacked and Rigo has figured it out and calmed down a bit. He’s currently pretty sure I moved him and all our stuff there to leave him forever. My poor neighbors. Emily had a good idea to introduce him/alert the neighbors that he might be sad for a while in the new place and this is what I ended up with:

Rigo Intro

 

The new place is all of three miles away from where I was, but Seattle is full of unique neighborhoods so there’s a lot to explore. There are plenty of boring things that go along with moving, like packing and you know, moving, updating the DMV, blah blah blah. But there are fun things about moving too. My first month in the new place bucket list includes:

  1. Find my new running routes – easy 3-5 milers and longer loops for the weekends.
  2. Discover new restaurants. My new place is super walkable, so I have plenty of options for my new go-to sushi, burgers, coffee, Mexican, ice cream. Yum!
  3. Get to a November Project workout and running meetup. I’m much closer to their usual locations, so my typical excuse doesn’t work anymore.
  4. Find new walk routes for Rigo and check out the nearby dog park.
  5. Jump in a nearby body of water…I’m close to a few to choose from!
  6. Switch my holds to a closer library branch. I use the library ALL. THE. TIME. I used to just get ebooks, but I’m back on a hard copy kick and check out new release DVDs too. The new branch is walkable of course 🙂

What fun things do you like to do to settle into a new place?

 

Advertisements

Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

Last month I ran the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, what I thought was my fifth half, but my race page told me it was my sixth! I think I blocked out that one where I walked a lot of it. Oops.

You know how half marathons always seem like a great idea? I have signed up for races on a post-race high. I have signed up as a way to stay motivated through my training. I have signed up because I got a good deal on the entry fee. Whatever the reason is, there are always a mix of emotions between sign up day and go time.

I had some good training runs, I had some bad training runs, I burnt out on training with just one week to go to the Seattle RnR Half, but overall, I felt pretty ready going into race day. My main concern for a June race (a June race! That’s not even a thing in Arizona!) was last year for the RnR, race day was actually pretty hot. This year Seattle weather has been bipolar, switching between spring and summer weekly. Fortunately race day was looking more like spring – overcast and cool with a chance of rain.

I woke up early and walked to the start line because I live somewhere awesome. I was disappointed to arrive and hear the race was being delayed 15 minutes. Mostly just because I had dressed to run and it was a little chilly just standing around and I was there alone with no one to chat with. I was in the 11th corral, so after the delay plus waiting for my corral to start I was finally off at about 7:30am.

The course: Decently flat and somewhat interesting but with a few “run up this street a ways then run back” to get the mileage in, which I don’t love. I liked that it was different from the Seattle Half, which stayed north of the 90, and that it was through areas I don’t spend much time in.

The RnR: Honestly, the bands were not a huge pull for me, but I’m such a slave to marketing that I really liked the sponsored zones from Toyota and Alaska Air, they just provided something interesting to focus on for those small spots. The beer ticket I got with my bib seemed like a great idea on packet pick up day, but at the end of the race, I never really want it.

My other concern about doing a RnR race is the crowd. These are well-attended races because they are well organized (great aid stations!), but I imagined craziness on the course. Yes, the start was a bit overwhelming but the course was totally fine and I had plenty of space. However, I’m really glad I didn’t have to use the port-a-potties! No patience for those lines 🙂

I felt good throughout the race and knew I was maintaining a good pace, although my Nike Run app was slightly off in tracking the distance, so I wasn’t 100% certain. I got tired/bored around 10 miles, but the last two were great and super fast. I was able to book it the last quarter mile and came around the corner to see the finish line and also my awesome boyfriend with his daughter on his shoulders cheering me on. Clock time was off because of the corral, but I found out my official time later that day…1:56:40! I FINALLY got my sub-2:00!

I thought I was ready for it at the Seattle Half because I had been running some fast intervals and strength training. That got me close, but what pushed me under was the training I’ve been doing since the beginning of the year – just running consistently faster in my training runs. My standard 10-minute pace now fluctuates between 8- and 9-minute miles.

I took this picture at the finish line and think I look sups cute and like I barely worked out at all, so perhaps next time I push even harder?

RNRphoto

My next time I actually signed up for before this race! It’s going to be the ORCA Running Iron Horse Half in North Bend in August. I joined the ORCA family this year as an ambassador and am excited for my first race with them! If you want to sign up for any of their great races – they just added one at Alki – use the code: PRETTYACTIVE16 to get 10% off!

 

Seattle Half Marathon 2015

Last Sunday, I ran my first race in Seattle! And my first COLD race!

I had my eye on the Seattle Half Marathon for a while…but the last weekend in November in Seattle?! I had my concerns. Also, it was Thanksgiving weekend and I wasn’t sure what my plans would be. When I decided to stay in town AND found a Groupon for the race, it seemed meant to be so I signed up.

I was feeling like I was in great shape from OTF and regular runs and then, as it usually does, life got in the way. I traveled and started a new job and my routine was knocked off kilter. I still got in my long training runs – a miserable 12-miler in the cold rain two weeks before and a much better 10-miler one week before – plus a few OTF-style sessions in November. My real concern was the weather.

The weather for race day turned out to be pretty great – cold (low 30s) and overcast, but no rain (or snow)! I wore one layer, gloves and an earwarmer plus a throwaway jacket I ditched after about two miles.

The course was great, basically a big loop around central Seattle – through downtown, on the freeway, through a freeway tunnel and on running trails so close to my place that I didn’t even know existed! Plus, minimal hills – score! I started off kind of slow, maybe a combination of needing to warm up, the crowd and awareness that I have a tendancy to start off too fast, so yeah, basically I did the opposite, but then I just kept picking up pace and it felt great.

My Nike app seemed to be running a little short distance-wise so I was not 100% sure where I was in terms of meeting my goal of under two hours, but I had an idea I was close. Spoiler alert, I didn’t make it, but I did beat my last PR by 5:30 and get pretty close to a sub-2:00! I finished in 2:02:15. I think I ran a great race and while I can maybe see a few opportunities where I lost those extra two minutes, I’m happy with that time!

IMG_0373

Nearing the finish line at Memorial Stadium (in black and white).

At the end, I was happy to be done running and a little stiff. I didn’t immediately have the typically runner’s high reaction of signing up for my next one within 24 hours, but this week I started looking at options and training plans to break the barrier!

 

 

Funemployment, Month One

I remember making a list when I was younger of the things that went wrong on a specific day. I don’t remember what they were, but I do remember making the list, looking at it and realizing none of it was really all that bad. That Debbie Downer moment aside, I think I’m a very positive person. I think life is good. I think I’m lucky and that people who think they’re lucky are luckier, so it’s kinda a twofer. I acknowledge that life isn’t all sunshine and glitter, that blips happen, but they don’t really get to me. Kinda something like this:

a0b5582698a6dd1cd98621be17bccfcb

I had a big one recently, but the closed door pretty much immediately felt like an open window.

At the beginning of September, my job was eliminated. I was upset and frustrated and anxious, but I also felt strangely fine with it and completely confident that it was all going to work out – and it has.

Well, I’m still looking for a new job, but finding good opportunities. Oh my goodness, it is so much easier to look for a job when you’re actually living in the city. But, spending all of my time looking for jobs and worrying and stressing out will not get my anywhere, so I’ve been enjoying this “early retirement.”

I’m gettting my fitness on, using the remaining classes from my yoga Groupon and (sadly) using the last month of my Orangetheory Fitness membership. I recently found my two favorite trainers and have been soaking up as many of their classes as I can. I’ve been running routes I’ve been meaning to check out and upping my mileage because why not and OMG the hiking.

IMG_4529

First snow of the season – Green Mountain, September 2nd!

I’m tracking my hikes on the Washington Trails Association site since that’s where I scope out all the trails and put links on my PNW Hikes page, which has grown considerably in the last month! Summits and lakes and swims in those alpine lakes, which really just means talking myself into jumping in, dunking and getting out, but hey, I did it!

Yes, even this one on this chilly, foggy day!

Yes, even this one on this chilly, foggy day!

I also visited Bellingham and Hansville. I cheered on the Sounders at CenturyLink. I went kayaking in Lake Union. I went to the Seattle Art Museum and have spent some time wandering around downtown and Pike Market Place. I took Rigo to a dog beach on Whidbey Island and he loved it.

Double Bluff Beach

Double Bluff Beach

I would have gotten around to these things eventually, but filling a potentially unhappy time with things that just make me so happy has been the absolute best.

So, that’s been my first month of “funemployment.” No doubt, more adventure awaits!

My Latest Visitors

I spent this weekend on the Kitsap Peninsula. It requires a ferry ride, so just that in itself is pretty great. Life is a little slower there and it was a great place to seemingly say goodbye to summer and hello to fall. Saturday was gorgeous, sunny and warm and we spent the afternoon outside playing lawn games, then enjoying a bonfire long after the sun went down. On Sunday, I woke up to an overcast sky, dropped temps and football!

While the summer here has been amazing, I’m looking forward to a real fall. With sweaters and rain and apple picking and baking and tea and fall foliage, which is already starting to show up on some of my hikes.

IMG_4638[1]

Hike to Melakwa Lake

Before the summer ends, though, I have to share one of my favorite weekends I had this summer, when my parents came to visit me! It’s already been a few weeks since they were here; they came out in mid-August. When in the F does the time go?

They have visited Seattle a few times before – with me when I was looking at schools here and when they traveled through on their Alaskan cruise – so I tried to come up with some outside the tourist box ideas of things to do.

On their first full day, I had to work, so they did some exploring on their own before we went to the Mariners game. I don’t remember who they played, just that there was a second it seemed like they had a chance, then they lost big time! But, everyone stuck around because it was the last fireworks game of the season. It was a ton of fun. If you go to a game, I’d recommend upper level on the first base line, it gives you great views of the field and the city.

IMG_4449[1]

Saturday morning we took the ferry to Bainbridge and walked around the town. They have a great farmers market on Saturday morning and just a ton of cute shops to wander.

11907170_953614501369669_7796197864109882315_n

On their on-their-own day, my parents found the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room. It’s really close to my place, but I’d never been there, so we went there on Sunday morning. It’s pretty incredible! The coffee is crazy fancy, which is a little overwhelming, but I love that it’s authentic coffee, not fluffy coffee. I could spend a long morning hanging out there!

Then we made our way to the Seattle Center to check out the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. Again, overwhelming! The art is gorgeous and there’s so much of it!

Then we needed a little break. I was calling the days they were here “active rest” because we were hiking all over town and that was plenty of exercise to keep me sleeping soundly at night!

We went to check out the Ballard Locks, which allows large boats to go between the Sound and Lake Union. We were there for a while watching them load up the large locks, then filling it up and letting the boats go through.

IMG_4463[1]

Definitely falls into the unique category for tourists, but I thought it was fascinating. There’s also a salmon ladder to help the little fishies go between, I still want to go check that out soon!

That night, we stayed in and my mom and I made chicken and waffles! Yum. I got to test out my new waffle maker and learn how to make our classic family meal from the pro.

On Monday, I took the day off work to share my love of Pacific Northwest hiking with them. I researched a few hikes to find something lovely and manageable and landed on a 3-mile hike in Mount Rainier Park, Tipsoo Lake and Naches Peak.  It had a little elevation, a lotta awesome views of Rainier and we ran into a handful of PCT hikers heading to Canada! It was also very dusty and a looong drive, but worth it!

IMG_4476[1]

And then, because it’s beautiful and because in Washington, you can go from mountains to sea (Sound), we spent some time at Golden Gardens, a beachy beach in Ballard, where we saw some seals playing not too far out from shore.

IMG_4493[1]

We ended their trip with a tradition started on my last two trips to Seattle before my move – a last meal at Ivar’s on Lake Union. With great views of the city, the lake and of course, seafood, it’s a great way to say goodbye to my city love (only this time, I didn’t have to say goodbye).

I told them we were knocking out everything in the city because next time, I want to take them to the San Juan Islands, or maybe the Olympic Peninsula. There are just so many wonderful options!

Seattle Expectations v. Reality

The idea of moving somewhere new is often accompanied by the idea of starting over. Before I moved to Seattle, I thought a lot about the why. It’s a big change and I wanted to make sure I was doing it for the right reasons and with appropriate expectations.

I knew it wasn’t going to be a complete fresh start, after all, I’m still me. I changed a lot around me, but a simple move wasn’t going to change who I was. If I wanted to do that, that would take some work. I guess the potential for new things is the whole idea of a fresh start.

Here are some ideas I had of how my life in Washington would be different and how that’s working out for me:

I would be an amazing runner. Well, no. There are certainly more opportunities to run – better weather at any time of the day and fun, new exciting routes, but I have yet to pick up a five mile a day habit.

I would write all the time. Well, since I’ve moved here, the weather has been amazing and decidedly “Arizona winter-like” so my ideas of sitting at the window watching the rain, drinking tea and writing the next great American novel have not quite happened. Yet. Everyone keeps telling me this weather will not last. I’m pretty sure I brought it with me from the desert and it’s here to stay. Also, I don’t have a table at which to write.

Also, I would read all the time. When not inspired to put pen to paper fingers to keyboard, the rain would surely inspire me to curl up and devour books in solid chunks. Yes and no. I’ve made up some ground on the lack of books I read in January, but I haven’t spent a whole day reading…again, the weather is quite uncooperative. My favorites this month: This Is Where I Leave You and Big Little Lies.

I would be so city chic. I couldn’t figure out my fashion in Arizona and I can’t figure it out here and that’s okay. Tell that to the five boxes of online shopping orders sitting on my bed.

My dog would become a city boy and come everywhere with me in this dog friendly city. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. No. In the city, Rigo is even more scared and neurotic and bossypants. I’m working on this.

I would be super social. My job pretty much requires it and as a social introvert, I can hang, but I’m quite aware of when I need my alone time to recharge. However, my friend Robin who once upon a time relocated to Arizona has told me I must say yes to social invites until I have three friends, so I am getting out there. I knew people before I moved here, so while I’m being social with them, I’m afraid they don’t count toward my new friend tally, so for now I’m going to say I’m 0 for 3, but still going for it. My March is full of book clubs because this girl knows how to party.

Speaking of…I would have dance parties pretty much all the time. No. I have yet to push away my coffee table and dance it out.

I would be a terrible (scared and timid) city driver. No. Well, I’m actually the terrible (zipping around and driving fast) driver in a sea of pretty nice and courteous drivers. Normal in Arizona = asshole in Washington. Got it. I also assumed I’d be scared of parallel parking as I’ve never really learned how to do it. Now, a month in, by trial and error (but no dinged bumpers), I’m really good at it and I just want to do it all the time. But not on hills.

I would live in an amazingly beautiful place. Yep. There was only one day when I was coming into Seattle from the east when the water and city came into view and I was like, meh, seen it, and I realized it was far too soon to be unimpressed by the beauty and start taking it for granted. Even growing up in Arizona and being there for the last five years, I would still look around and remember how pretty it is, in its own right. It was a “pretty” I got used to, which is why I think Seattle, being so different, is just gorgeous. I can’t wait for spring and summer when there will be even more green!

Aaaand, now I realize that many of my expectations of city life and Seattle life have come from pop culture – The Killing, SATC, 10 Things I Hate About You, Fraiser, Grey’s Anatomy, Sleepless in Seattle.

Overall, I wouldn’t have wanted it to be exactly how I pictured it in my head. The ups and downs of real life are much better!

Life’s Short, Live Somewhere Awesome

The last few months have been…eventful. Moving out of Arizona has been on my mind for a few years now. There are many wonderful things I love and (spoiler alert) will miss about Arizona, but it didn’t feel like where I was supposed to be.

My two favorite cities could not be more different from each other, but last year I started looking seriously at Seattle and San Diego as my next new home. Having a job I liked in Phoenix gave me flexibility to be patient as I applied to new jobs in those cities. As an out-of-state candidate, I felt like a huge long shot, but I found a few opportunities that were great fits and finally got some traction in December and an offer right around the new year.

January was a total blur of every kind of stress imaginable, but three weeks ago, my condo was packed in an ABF UPack moving container (highly recommend it, I had a great experience with them) and en route and my mom, my dog and I hopped in my trusty little Corolla for a three-day, 1500 mile trip to the Pacific Northwest.

It’s been everything I’ve expected – and more, and less – but for the most part, it’s starting to feel like home.

10363849_802469542993_8729113964453825995_n

A morning walk around Lake Union.

Oh the Places You Will Go: Seattle

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love Seattle and my most recent trip only made that more apparent. I was there for the bachelorette party of a great high school friend who went to UW, so she knew all the ins and outs. We stayed in a cute little house in Capitol Hill that had this hanging in front of the, ahem, porcelain throne: seattle so trips to the loo were quite educational. We hit a bunch of those neighborhoods because the secret is, they’re pretty small and obviously pretty squished together.  Even on my morning runs, I made my way through at least three or four. My friend, April, doesn’t actually live in Seattle anymore, but she loves the city too and has a handful of college friends who do still live there, so it seemed like a pretty great place to party. And by party I mean, I already admitted I was up to run in the mornings (by like 8), so yeah. SeattleOn Friday morning, we started with a short walk to breakfast #1 – eggs, bacon and the like – before heading out to be touristy at Pike’s Market, where we had breakfast #2 – Piroshky’s (pastry), #3 – two doors down at Beecher’s (mac and cheese, which I am quite enjoying here) and #4 – donuts.Seattle Breakfast3

The forecast was calling for a nice day on Friday and cold rain for the rest of the weekend and it was indeed gorgeous, so we went to Alki Beach in West Seattle (new to me) and had a beer at Duke’s across from the beach until we were hungry again and had some clam strips. Seattle Alki Beach Friday night, we got to meet up with some of the other bridesmaids (just the four of us out-of-towners were staying in the house) for tapas, which turned into Mexican. Seattle gets a bad rap for their Mexican, but it seems like if you get to the right neighborhood, there are plenty of trendy foodie places popping up and my carnitas burrito was delicious.Don’t judge but after that, the bride was ready to go home. We had cake waiting from Dilettante and it was a perfect night cap.

Seattle RunEarly bedtime meant I was able to get up and run. I didn’t really have a plan, but soon realized the streets were looking familiar and I was heading back to Pike’s Market, so I might as well keep going to the water, run the stairs and no, surprisingly, I didn’t stop for donuts again. But now I wish I had. It was only five miles round trip. It actually felt like it took less time to run there then drive!
I got back in time to meet the girls at the coffee shop right down the street – Katie’s, adorable – for an Americano and then went to Gas Works Park (another new to me), which had a gorgeous view of the city. Seattle GasworksSeattle View from Gasworks What kind of classy 30-year-old’s bachelorette party would be complete without wine tasting? That was our plan for Saturday. We drove up to Woodinville , starting at Chateau Ste. Michelle. Seattle Winery Lucky for us, not so lucky for her, the matron of honor is pregnant and now I firmly believe that every bachelorette party should come with a built-in DD. We actually paused for lunch and then just hit one more small tasting room before heading home anyway. I was truly among my people. April had actually woken up with a tummy ache (gee, I wonder what it was from?), so we cooled it on the eating three meals for every meal thing. We got a spattering of rain when we were driving back to the house, but it cleared and was still gorgeous.

We went to a cute stone-oven pizzeria, Via Tribunali, for dinner and it was perfect for sharing with a big group and sampling everything, yum! And then, mostly because April was wearing a bachelorette sash, we went to a club. At 9pm. We stayed long enough for it to fill up – with other bachelorettes, way-dressed down kiddos (WTH) and creepy old guys – but they were playing music from the early 2000s, so our inner college girls had a lot of fun!

Seattle Run2The next day, I got another run in. This time I had a plan, I wanted to go to Lake Washington via Madrona. The neighborhoods to get there were adorable. I wasn’t even mad they had a TON of hills! This side has a great view of Bellevue.

Another Katie’s Americano before heading out to meet a big group including spouses and babies for brunch at Cafe Flora. April apologized about 10 times because she didn’t realize it was completely vegetarian. As a former vegetarian, I didn’t really notice, but some of the carnivorous guys were like “babe, we’re stopping somewhere on the way home.”

The forecast was again a lie and it was another gorgeous day in Seattle, so with the whole afternoon to kill before our flights, we hit Golden Gardens Beach. It was actually so warm, I wish I had changed into my bikini or at least shorts, but I had to do with pants and a tank top. I actually got a bit of a sunburn enjoying a beer (shh) on the beach with some new friends and two cute pups. Seattle Beach2A trip to Seattle wouldn’t be complete without seafood, so we stopped at Ivar’s to eat on the patio.  The weather did eventually start  to turn while we were finishing up there and driving to the airport, but it was awesome it stayed so perfect for our weekend – my favorite bachelorette party so far! Can’t wait to see everyone again in a month at the wedding!

City Love: Seattle Edition

I LOVE SEATTLE. That is all.

Okay, that’s not actually all.

I visited Seattle for the first time as a senior in high school when I was thinking about going to college there. I ended up in beautiful (for different reasons) Thousand Oaks, California instead because the Cal Lu campus just felt right for me…and it was, but I knew it was far from over between me and Seattle.

My favorite things about Seattle are:
1.  Hills (although that might change after I attempt to run them)

2.  The “city feel” that Phoenix and LA are missing because they’re so spread out.

3.  Cozy, overcast days (I would probably never get anything done if I lived there…except A LOT of reading)

4.  Seattle Aquarium and the otters and seahorses.

5.  Pike Place Market and the way the donut stand smells and the apples taste.

6.  That when it’s sunny, which it has been on more of my trips there than not, everyone is so happy and talks about how beautiful it is. I’m led to believe that this has given me a skewed view of the actual weather sitch in the city, but I’ll take it.

7.  Coffee, coffee, coffee

8.  That my friend Lisa is getting married there this weekend!  Lisa and I are good friends because she crouches down to my height when we take pictures together we lived together senior year in college and she taught me to love margaritas.

Yes, this weekend is weddingpalooza part two. As all bridesmaids know, weddings are not just weddings, they are rehearsals and dinners and primping seshes and brunches, but with just 56 hours in Seattle, no excuses, I’m cramming it all in to soak up my city love.

I’m staying in the University district, which is something new to me.  I’ve driven through on past trips, but I’m excited to stay there and get a new perspective 😉  The cute boutiquey hotel I’m staying at loans out bikes for exploring, how awesome is that?!

I’m also excited that last week I won a gift certificate from Rachel Wilkerson to GrubHub!  The service is established in Seattle, but not Phoenix (yet).  How’s that for timing?  I learned after my sister’s wedding that post-party take-out is pretty much the best thing ever. Thanks Rachel and GrubHub in advance for sponsoring the bridesmaids’ late night munchfest!