15 Years Later (or Reflections On LA)

About 15 years ago, I moved to LA. My move was actually pretty easy as I was coming to LA to go to college at LMU. It was a pretty traditional move to college, I just didn’t know then that it would be pretty much my forever move from Northern CA to Southern CA.

I still remember moving down here with some really fun memories. My parents drove their car and my best friend Kate and I were in my car. My parents car was pretty much filled with everything that I was moving down with me. I’m sure I had way too much stuff (and honestly I don’t think anything is still with me that I moved down here 15 years ago), but at the time I thought I needed it all.

Packed Car

Since we were in separate cars, we needed a way to make sure we didn’t get too far apart from each other during the drive. Even though we all had cell phones at the time, we decided that we needed to have walkie-talkies in the cars. Kate and I had a lot of fun with those, but I still wonder why we had them.

When I moved to LMU, it was a pretty easy transition. I didn’t know anyone but I made a bunch of friends in my dorm and in my classes as everyone was pretty much in the same boat as me. I lived on campus during my freshman and sophomore year and I had a sublet in an apartment during the summer between (my winter break trip home was the longest I’ve been home since I moved here 15 years ago).

I had my own apartment my junior year and shared an apartment with my friend Marcus during my senior semester (because of summer school classes I took, I only had 1 semester of a senior year). I was in that senior year apartment for almost 6 years until I moved into the house that I’m in now. I’ve pretty much lived in a 5 mile radius since I got here, so there are places that I discovered when I was 18 that I still go to now.

I think as soon as I came back after my winter break freshman year, I knew I was meant to stay in LA. It felt like home right away to me and I’ve never regretted the decision. It’s so crazy to think that in 3 years, I will have lived in LA as long as I lived in my parents’ house in Northern CA.

In that car ride down here 15 years ago, I knew that awesome things were in store for me in LA. But there was no way for me to know then that I was finding what would become my home and I would have so many amazing opportunities and adventures here. But that excitement of moving down here has stuck with me throughout the years.

I still have “pinch me” moments where I have to wonder how I get to be so lucky. I have times where I joke that if I had known in high school that these things would happen to me in my 30’s that I wouldn’t have cared so much about all the silly things that bothered me in high school. I don’t live a perfect life (it’s pretty far from perfect), but it’s still so awesome to me and I have so many things every day that I’m grateful for.

I know that not everybody lives in the same place as long as I have. Lots of people went away for college and either moved back to where they were from or to another city after college. I’m lucky that my college move happened to be my move to my dream city. It made my transition from my hometown to LA so much easier and I think that is part of the reason why I love it here so much.

Here’s to my first 15 years in LA and here’s to whatever incredible adventures will come in the next 15 years! I could never imagined this life 15 years ago, so I’m not even going to try to guess where I could be in another 15 years!

Taking A Run Class (or Proof I’m Faster and Stronger)

Like I mentioned yesterday, I technically did 4 workouts last week. My Saturday workout wasn’t a regular class at Orangetheory, but instead one of the special classes they offer for members from time to time. This time, it was a 1 hour running class. So instead of the hour being split between cardio and weights, it was cardio only.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t feeling too sure about signing up. I actually didn’t sign up until Friday because I was going back and forth if I should do it. But there was one space left when I was there on Friday and I saw that as I sign that I was supposed to go. I had already talked to the coach, Dana, about it and she said that I could do it as a run/walk without too many issues.

While working on Saturday before the class, I was thinking that I made a huge mistake. I knew I couldn’t back out, but I was having some serious regrets. But I decided to try to have a positive mindset and hope for the best (similar to how I was feeling for the Dri-Tri). And by the time it was time for me to drive over to take the class, I was feeling a bit better about things.

I knew that there would be endurance, strength, and power work during the hour, but I wasn’t sure how it would go and was a little nervous that I wouldn’t know how to split things between running and walking. So when class started, I jumped on my favorite treadmill (number 11) and was walking to warm up.

The first thing we had during the class was endurance work which was really more like speed work. The plan was to try to bump up our base pace and push pace each time, but I knew speed work wasn’t what I needed. So for all the 90 second push paces, I ran at the speed I’m comfortable running at (pretty much between 4.5 and 5.0 mph). I walked during all of the base paces, but was able to run for all of the 90 second pushes.

Our next work was timed distances. The first thing we had to do was .25 miles, which I knew I could do. But since I knew I could do it, this time I did want to try to bump up my speed to see if I could get a bit faster. I was able to get my time down below 3 minutes (2:53 to be exact) and was feeling super exhausted and out of breath after that. We were supposed to then do .5 miles for time, but I knew I couldn’t run that and to run/walk it was going to be very tough because of how much I pushed it with the .25 mile. So I just walked it at an incline and tried to calm my heart rate down a bit.

Our next segment was strength, which is all hill work. I’m not ok with running on hills really, so I did this entire segment as a walk. I tried to keep my inclines up higher than normal, but I’m really having trouble doing anything beyond 12% incline. But this part went by pretty quickly for me so I’m glad that I didn’t have to just walk for too long.

One of the last segments was power work. This was short push to all out paces. Some of them were at inclines, but below 4% which isn’t too bad for me (4% is considered flat road for power walkers). For all the push to all outs, I ran everything. I did walk during the walking recovery, but I know that I ran a lot more than I have ever so that was pretty awesome.

To finish up the run class, we had a mile challenge. We had 8 or 9 minutes to get it done, and I knew I wasn’t feeling ok to do an entire mile (nor could I finish in that time). So I decided that I was going to push myself to do a half mile as a run/walk with 1 minute runs and 1 minute walks. This is the pace I feel like I might be able to do for my next 5K, so I really want to work on feeling more comfortable with this pattern and get my endurance up. It wasn’t easy considering how much work I had already done, but I was able to get it done and felt pretty great that I finished!

We had to keep starting and stopping our treadmills, but I knew I’d want to know my distance so every time we stopped I got a picture. And here’s what I ended up doing within the hour.

OTF Run Day

That’s 3.55 miles in 56:36! To put things in perspective, my last 5K was about 20 seconds slower than the class was and I did almost .5 miles more! That’s way more improvement than I would have expected! Since we had the treadmill segments broken up, I have no clue what time it was when I got to 3.1 miles but I still know that I am faster!

After class was done, I was so happy that I decided to go for it. It was not easy and there were times in the middle that I questioned doing it, but I know that I need to push myself like this. It’s only going to make me stronger and faster in all aspects of my life. While I’m still nervous about my next 5K, I’m feeling slightly better that it’s not going to be impossible and that I can at least run/walk part of it!

I’m hoping to start doing some non-Orangetheory run practice soon. I need to figure out a safe time for me to be running on the running path near my house (so during the daylight but not when it’s too hot). The more practice I can get in, the better! And this class was a great way to get that practice started!

Guess I Motivated Myself (or No More Feeling Stuck)

Last week I posted about feeling a bit stuck with my progress in running. It’s hard not to be frustrated with a plateau, and that’s exactly what I was feeling. I didn’t like feeling that way, so I guess putting it out there in my blog post motivated me to do something about it. This week I had some really great progress and I was able to continue to feel motivated and to do more than I really thought I could.

Monday’s workout was a run/row, but some of the run segments were a bit longer than I can do. When we were supposed to run .3 miles, I ran for 90 seconds (instead of the 60 seconds I usually do) and then walked until I got to .2 miles (I did in between what we were supposed to do as a runner and as a walker). Those 90 seconds weren’t easy, but I got through them and I felt so accomplished after that. The next run segment was .25 miles, which I know I can do. Again, this wasn’t easy, but it helped me remember that I’ve done this before and I could do it again. I did this .25 miles a bit slower than I have in the past, so that meant that this was the longest time I’ve run yet!

1:4 Mile

After doing that long run, I wasn’t able to fully run the last segments which were .2 and .15 miles. I was able to run a majority of those, but I know if I hadn’t pushed myself to do the .25 miles as a run I could have run those as well. Our rowing was between 150-300 meters, and since they were fast I did take some time between the treadmill and rower to catch my breath and prepare myself for the next thing I had to do. Overall, this was one of my best running days yet!

Once I got to the floor, I felt like I had already done a full workout, but I tried my best to continue to motivate myself to do more. We had a lot of upper body work with the straps and push-ups and we finished with abs (after which I was barely able to sit up). I surprised myself by how much I was able to do as well as how little pain I was in after class. Not hurting is a good sign and I know I was doing the right thing that day.

Wednesday was an endurance day, and we didn’t get to switch between blocks. I knew the treadmill work would be a tough day, but I was trying to focus on how far I could get the distance to be on the treadmill. My dream is to eventually get the treadmill to make it to 2 miles in class when we don’t switch, but I’m not quite there yet.

The endurance work has been the hardest for me to do with my running, but I was not going to make excuses for myself. When we had 3 minute push paces, instead of walking the entire thing since I know I can’t run the entire thing, I ran half of it and walked the second half. So for every 3 minute push, I ran for 90 seconds. I did the same thing for the 2 minute push paces. I can run for 2 minutes, but I was feeling really tired so I wanted to pace myself. I’m happy with how much running I did in those long pushes instead of just walking. And of course, as I’ve been doing for a while, I ran all of the all outs.

When the treadmill block was done, I shut down my treadmill and was pretty impressed with what my distance had been in class.

Endurance Day

I wish I had noticed when I reached 1.55 miles because that is half of a 5K, but I missed seeing that. But I know that my speed is up so my times are getting better and better.

For the second half of class, we had some sprint rows of 300 meters, arm work on the straps, squats using the Bosu, and ab work. Again, it was another workout that I was exhausted at the end of, but there was very little pain so I considered it a big success.

Friday was another run/row day, and this time I was able to run all of the distances we had to do! We had to do .2 and .15 miles each time (there was also a .1 segment but I didn’t make it down the list that far in the time we had). I ran every single time and didn’t do any walking except to cool down a bit after the run. When I added up everything that I ran, I did .85 miles of running. Of course, this wasn’t non-stop, but I still think that that’s pretty amazing!

The rows between the treadmill time were between 100-200 meters so they were pretty fast, but I was taking a lot of time in between to catch my breath and to let my heart rate get down a bit (it was super high all during class). I didn’t take it easy during the floor work where we had to do lots of arm work (I worked with 25 pound weights), burpees, plank jacks, and hop overs. It was another exhausting but worth it workout.

I think I got myself out of my slump. I just needed to put it out there how I was feeling to realize that I was in control of my progress and I could take it to the next level. I wrote about 3 workouts last week, but technically last week was a 4 workout week. But the 4th workout is going to be its own post, because I attended the 1 hour run class at Orangetheory for the first time! And trust me, that is worthy of being its own post!

Working On A New Plan (or Self-Producing)

I’ve been super excited about a couple of projects related to acting that I’ve been working on. These projects are all things where I’m doing at least one thing behind the scenes for the project. There is one project where I had an idea and a friend is currently writing it so we can both star in it. And we are still in post-production for “Single Parent Date Night” and I’m still super excited about that as well. But one project that is closest to the next step has had a setback and I’m trying not to get overwhelmed.

There is a project that I’m working with a friend on that is a reenactment of a video we saw online. I don’t want to say too much about it because I don’t want to give it away, but it’s something that I think is going to be really interesting. I’m not necessarily going to be in this project (I might play someone in the background to fill the space), so this is the first project since the Twitter documentary that I’m involved in that I’m not also going to be an actor in as well.

I’ve been busy getting our actors on board and my friend who is helping me has been busy working on the script. We’ve had some issues with getting actors, but we’ve pretty much cast the entire thing and the script is ready to shoot now. But we’ve hit another issue with this project.

We are doing this project as a union project, and I wasn’t aware that no budget projects (literally we have a $20 budget) need to have liability and workers comp insurance on them. I’ve been busy making calls this week to find the pricing on that, and most of them in are the several thousand dollar range. For a project that was going to be shot for the cost of water bottles and snacks, spending over $1000 to insure things isn’t really going to be feasible.

So I’ve been working on a lot of options. Some of my friends have guided me to companies that may do reduced premiums on no budget shoots, so I’m contacting them to make sure they meet the minimum requirements we need to have. There is also an option to see if another production company who already has insurance will come on board and insure us. And the option that I don’t want to go with is to get rid of our actors and make the project non-union. I have no plans to make this non-union, so I have to figure out another way.

In the past, this setback may have stopped the entire project. I’ve actually said online while I was frustrated that this might be the end of this plan and I wanted to give up on it. But the reason I started this project was because I wanted to share the story with everyone and I can’t let that go. So I have to figure out another option to make this work and to do things on the terms that I have wanted to do them.

While this is the first time I’m self-producing a project like this, I’ve realized that the insurance issue has been a recent one so many people who have self-produced have discovered this setback as well. I was putting myself down for not self-producing sooner so I would have known about this, so knowing others have this issue make me feel a bit better and less like I’m unprepared. This is just how you have to do business and I’m glad that I have a supportive community around me that is helping with figure out the best option for me.

Hopefully, once we get this project done and I figure out more of the legalities of self-producing, my next project and any more after that will become easier for me. While I don’t consider myself a writer, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be self-producing more often and creating the content that I want to see out in the world. I do have some ideas that I want to work on, and once I get over the hurdle of self-producing my first project I think things will just start rolling for me.

Going Back To Normal (or An Early End To My Birthday Adventures)

I’ve had a really great birthday this year. I loved having dinner on my birthday with my birthday twin and my birthday party was really one of the highlights of the year so far. I feel so loved and I’m so grateful for the amazing friends that I have in my life. I am so lucky.

Normally, I have a ton of smaller birthday adventures leading up to and following my birthday. That usually happens because when I have a birthday party a bunch of people can’t make it. So I end up meeting them for dinner or drinks on another date to celebrate with them.

But this year, my birthday party had such an amazing turnout that I’ve gotten to celebrate with almost everyone who I wanted to celebrate with at once! I’m not used to having everyone in one place (and it was so much fun watching everyone meet each other and make new friends), and it was really just perfect.

But because of that, I’ve realized that my birthday celebrations are basically over. I still have to pick up a couple of the birthday freebies that I love and I might get birthday pie with a friend, but I’m done with planning birthday outings beyond that.

It’s not a bad thing that I’m done celebrating my birthday. I’m totally happy to have just one celebration and have that be that. It’s just weird when for so many years I’ve pretty much planned a birthday month and I feel like I’m missing or forgetting something now. But then I remember how amazing this past weekend was and I feel like I got all the birthday I needed in that one night out.

It is nice to be getting back to normal so quickly. I over ate during my birthday and I want to get the scale moving back in the correct direction. I need to focus on my health and recovery and birthday adventures are not the best time to plan that (I’m aware if I go for birthday pie that I will have to not focus on recovery for that moment).

I’ve been able to really pay attention to what I’m eating and what my behaviors are like. I got into some bad habits last week and it’s tough to break them but I know I can do it again. I’m working on remembering what I was doing earlier this summer when things were working really well for me and doing those again. And hopefully I will be back on track again within the week and if not, I know I’m making steps towards that.

I’ve got some big goals in mind for the next month or so, and I’m glad that I will be able to put my attention toward those. One of my biggest goals is with my next 5K race, which is the first weekend of November. I know that it will be here before I know it, and I want to make sure I take the time to do what I want to do. Things are going well so far, and I want to make sure that continues and things only get better!

While I’ve loved having a birthday month to celebrate my birthday, keeping things short may be the best thing for me right now. I need to focus on “real life” and not celebrating and going out for lots of meals that are splurges. I’m not eliminating the idea of a birthday month again in the future, but for right now this ended up being the perfect thing for me.

Loving The Olympics (or Feeling Like An Athlete)

I’ve always loved watching both the summer and winter Olympics. I think it’s so amazing to see the athletes competing against each other and the fact that countries are coming together for a single goal. I think I love both the summer and winter games equally and I’m so glad I have a DVR now so I can record everything and watch them when I have a chance (I’m slowly making my way through the various events and I think I’ll be caught up soon).

During the winter games, I love all the skiing events. Even though I haven’t been able to be on the slopes for about half my life, I still consider myself a skier (I wonder how I’d do if I tried it again?). I miss the feeling of going down the mountain and feeling like you are flying and are alone in your own little bubble. It was such a sense of freedom and if I wasn’t high risk for breaking my hip I’d probably still be doing it.

And I’ve always loved gymnastics during the summer games. I think my love for watching the gymnastics really started during the 1996 games in Atlanta. One of the gymnasts on the team, Amy Chow, was from where I was from. And she trained at the gym where I used to take gymnastics class (I didn’t get too far into the sport, but I still can do a couple of tricks). Even though I didn’t really know Amy, it felt like someone who was just like me was out there winning a gold and it was just incredible to watch.

I also love the track events during the summer games. When I was in middle school, I was on the track and field team. I wasn’t a runner even as a kid, so I only did field stuff. And my 2 events were long jump and triple jump. I don’t think I was very good at either, but since there was a lack of participation in triple jump I did occasionally place because last place was still in the top 5. Watching real athletes do those events is so much fun because I remember how hard it was for me to do them.

But this year I’m looking at the Olympics a bit differently. This is the first time that I’ve been working on my fitness as hard as I am while the games are happening. Of course, some of the things are a little overwhelming like how they can do a 10K in the time it takes me to do 1.5 miles at my best speed. Knowing that I’m 3 times slower than an Olympian is a bit weird to think about, but I’m not frustrated by it.

Of course, I’m still loving gymnastics and watching the athletes throw their bodies in the air in ways that seem impossible! I even got into watching diving and trampoline because they have similar elements to gymnastics with the flips and twists. To think how hard they must have trained to get their bodies to do that is insane and sometimes I have to pause my DVR just to get into my head what I just saw.

But this year, I’ve discovered an event that I didn’t really care too much for before but this year has taken on real meaning to me: rowing. I do rowing all the time at Orangetheory and I know how long it takes me to do certain distances on average. Yes, we use a rowing machine, but it’s a water rower so we do have to move the paddle of the machine through water to make it go. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s as close as you can get to being on the water.

I didn’t know this before this year, but all Olympic rowing events are 2,000 meters. That’s a distance we do from time to time at Orangetheory and I know that I will never look at 2,000 meters the same way again. To know that technically I have the endurance to complete an Olympic distance blows my mind!

But the craziest thing to me about watching the rowing was seeing the times that the athletes were getting. While they were faster than I can do (about 2 minutes faster than I can do), they weren’t as much of a difference as I was expecting. And I know some people at Orangetheory that can row 2,000 meters in a similar time to what these athletes did.

Olympic Rowing

Of course, my immediate thought was to message my friends who I know row that fast and joke that they need to start training for the next Olympics! I don’t know how much slower they would be on the water versus the machine, but it still gave me something to think about.

I know I’m not close to being an Olympian, but to know that I’m not 3 or 4 times slower than them makes me feel pretty amazing. I’ve said before that I am starting to feel like an athlete in training versus someone in the gym working out to lose weight. But having this knowledge about rowers makes me think that even more.

I’ve still got a few more days of Olympics to watch and I can’t wait to see what happens. I’ve been so inspired already and any extra inspiration that I can get would be awesome!

The Best Birthday Party! (or Wine Bar and Breakfast Bar)

This past Saturday was my birthday party and I have to say that it was one of the best birthday parties I’ve ever had in my life! Planning a birthday is stressful for me (worrying about if anyone will show up, if it costs money if people can afford it, hoping that everyone gets along) so while I love having a party I hate having to plan it. But I decided to go for something easy again this year and had a gathering at Bodega Wine Bar where I’ve had my birthday before.

I have to say, the staff at Bodega Wine Bar are amazing! I worked with one of their party coordinators and she was really easy to work with and didn’t require me to do too much. All we had to figure out was how many people would be there so we could figure out what reserved section would be best. I figured that maybe 10 people would be there and I loved the horseshoe section where my party was before so that was set up for me.

I set up a Facebook event for my birthday and about 7 people said they could make it, so I figured it would be a fun and relaxing hangout with my friends. And since it was my birthday, I decided to go with a really fun outfit and wore a tutu I got at Kiyonna a while ago (this picture is from the end of the party so I’m looking a bit wrinkled and my makeup and hair are not as done as they were at the beginning).

Birthday Outfit

A friend drove over to Bodega with me so I wouldn’t be there alone when I arrived. But it turned out some of my friends were already there! And by the time we sat down, even more people had arrived and we were starting to fill up our reserved section.

Usually with birthday parties like this, people arrive throughout the evening and there is a flow of people leaving and arriving throughout the evening. But this time, it seemed like almost everyone was there within the first 30 minutes! We quickly filled all the seats in our section at the bar and started to have to grab more chairs for everyone to sit down!

Most of the people at the party didn’t know the others who were there. But so many of them were people who I wanted to introduce to each other and everyone seemed to be getting alone and having a great time seeing the few people they knew and getting to know the people that they didn’t. Every so often, I just had to sit back and look at how awesome it was to have so many people there to celebrate my birthday and to watch everyone just having an awesome time!

And of course, we had to get a group picture with almost everyone who made it. The picture isn’t the best quality, but you can see that everyone is happy and it was an amazing turnout (I’m all the way in the back).

Bodega

We had some food and drinks but mainly we were all just talking about the most random stuff (like Disneyland or podcasts) and everyone was joining in on the conversation and enjoying being around everyone else.

As we got closer to 10pm, most people were leaving (some had come in from the valley and they didn’t want to be out too late), but there were a few of us who weren’t ready to end the night yet. Then we remembered that Nighthawk Breakfast Bar (which closed down shortly after I went there) just reopened in Venice that week! So we got into our cars and drove over to Venice and hoped that we could get in so we could have some of their amazing food!

Fortunately, there was a table available when we got there and we were quickly seated and checking out the menu to see what we wanted to get.

Nighthawk

My friend Elisa wasn’t able to get to Bodega but was able to join us at Nighthawk. And then I realized that the 4 of us (me, Elisa, Michelle, and Dani) who got the season tickets for Pantages for next season were all together for the first time ever! And not only that, Saturday marked exactly 1 year until we are going to be seeing “Hamilton” during opening weekend in our season! That is something to celebrate and we tried to get a photo to acknowledge that.

Hamilton

None of us really wanted to have drinks since we drank at Bodega, but we had to get some food for sure! Michelle and I have both been craving the Benedict Fries since we went to Nighthawk the first time. So of course we got those to share with everyone. And the last time we went we were tempted by the Tower of Bacon, but didn’t have room in our stomachs so we got that this time as well. The fries were better than they were before and the bacon was super delicious, but we wouldn’t have called the bacon a “tower”.

Tower of Bacon

We all enjoyed the food so much and it was the perfect way to end the evening! Even though Nighthawk was not the original plan, it worked out so well and I’m so glad we decided to make a stop there after Bodega! It really made my birthday so amazing and I had the best time!

I’m so grateful for my friends who were able to make it out to celebrate with me and for the ones who couldn’t make it but were celebrating virtually through texts and Facebook messages. I really had the best birthday ever and I’m hoping that this means that this year is going to be the best year ever as well!

Working On Pushing Things (or Hoping I Am Stronger)

I’ve been feeling a bit stuck in my workouts lately. I think it’s because I was doing so amazing when I started running and was able to make huge jumps in my progress with very little effort. Now I’m feeling a bit in a slump because I’m not progressing like I feel like I should and I don’t know how to get better. I know that I’m being really hard on myself, but that’s just what I do. So this past week of workouts, I really tried to make some baby steps in my progress to feel like I’m at least moving forward and not being stuck.

Monday’s workout was endurance, strength, and power and we did get to switch between blocks. Those days are becoming one of my favorites (I think run/row days are still my favorites) because the blocks are short and I feel like I’m able to recover between each thing. For the endurance block on the treadmill, we had some long push paces. The push paces were 1 minute, 2 minutes, or 3 minutes. I ran for the first minute of each push (I know I could probably run the 2 minute one too, but I was scared to overdo it) and then walked the rest. I did run all of the all outs and tried to bump up my speed a bit each time. For the strength block, since those are hills I had to stick with walking. I can run a bit on hills, but I’m not really good at doing that. But for the power block we had 1 minute pushes and 30 second all outs and I ran for all of that.

For the floor blocks there was a lot of focus on arms, but we also got to do some sprint rows. I’m getting much better with my form for the rowing, especially with sprints, so I was happy to get to work on that a bit more. And I was able to finish up the workout with a block of ab work which was a nice way to end things.

On Wednesday, we had a strength day but we did get to switch between blocks. The blocks were pretty short, so they weren’t too bad. Most were under 5 minutes. I didn’t run most of the treadmill time because things were at an incline, but I did try to walk at a higher incline than normal. I did run the all outs (they were on a flat treadmill) and I also ran an all out that was on a 3% incline which was a nice challenge. Since I usually have my treadmill at 4% or higher while walking, 3% while running wasn’t too bad.

When I was on the floor, I took the fact that it was a strength day to heart. I wanted to do better than I normally do, so I decided to stick with 25 pound weights for my arm work. It was really tough for some of the moves, but I didn’t want to go down to the 20 pound weights (which is what I usually use). I had to take breaks during some of the sets, but I was able to get them done with the heavier weights and it really made me feel great! I still remember when I started how I was using maybe 10 pound weights and thought the 12 and 15 pound ones were so heavy. I’ve totally made progress from where I started.

Friday was another day that had endurance, strength, and power but there were no switches between the blocks. For the endurance block, I decided that I was going to walk the 3 minute push but then tried to run as long as I could with the other push paces. For the 1 minute one I was able to run the entire thing and for the 2 minutes one I ran for just about 90 seconds before I walked the last 30 seconds. 90 seconds isn’t the longest I’ve run, but since I’m doing mostly 1 minute runs knowing that I ran a bit longer than normal was good. I need to remember that 30 seconds of more running is still more running.

For the strength section, I walked everything except the all outs on the flat treadmill. I do think I could have run some of it, and I think I need to stop doubting myself and just go for it. The doubt is stopping my progress and once I get over that hurdle, maybe I won’t feel as stuck. But for the power block, since they were short pushes to all outs (with walking after), I ran all of that and felt very accomplished when I stepped off the treadmill.

Once I moved to the floor, we had a couple of arm moves and I used my usual 20 pound weights (my arms were feeling a bit off because I slept funny the night before and I didn’t want to push too much). We also had sprint rows of 150 meters and I was able to improve on my time each row. While those parts of the floor work was good, we also had a couple of things that aren’t that easy for me. We had some lunges which sometimes are fine but my hips weren’t loving them at the end of the workout. I had to hold on to the wall to get my balance several times and I was feeling a bit stuck and sometimes couldn’t seem to switch legs. We also had pop jacks which are always so hard for me and Friday was no exception. Fortunately, I didn’t get my hips stuck on those and I just pushed through and was glad when I was done with them.

Reflecting back on the last few months of workouts, I really have made incredible progress even if I sometimes find it hard to see. Maybe before my workouts I need to review what I was doing a few months ago and seeing that what I’m doing now would have been impossible for me back then. Even if I am stuck in my progress, there is still progress that has been made. And I really want to focus on that idea instead of the negative.

Almost Free Birthday Dinner (or Spending My Birthday With My Birthday Twin)

My actual birthday was a pretty low-key day for me. I had to work both of my main day jobs (10 hours total) that day and since it was a weeknight I really didn’t have much planned to do that day. I debated about going to workout that afternoon, but I ended up deciding against it. But I still wanted to do something fun on my birthday and it ended up being the day I went to my free dinner with my birthday twin!

We ended up making this plan about a week ago when I got the email about the free birthday meal. I texted Joanna to ask her when she wanted to go for our dinner, and she asked me when I was free. I knew I was free on the evening of the 9th, so I asked her if there was any chance that she was free too. And by some awesome fate, she had also been looking for something to do that night of her birthday! So we decided that it was meant to be that we had our birthday meal on our birthday!

The birthday deal at Truxton’s has changed in the 7 or so years we’ve had this tradition. It used to be a free entrée and free dessert per person. It was easy to plan what to eat then. Now, it’s $20 toward the meal so we have to plan accordingly so that we make sure we don’t go over the $40 we get (we are so set on making sure our meal is totally free).

Free Birthday Dinner

We got to Truxton’s about the same time and headed inside for our awesome birthday meal. As soon as we sat down, we took out the birthday deal emails so we could give them to the waitress. She didn’t seem too upset that she got the table that was there for a free meal (which is what I’m always afraid of) and she totally understood our desire for a free check because it was our tradition.

After we ordered, Joanna and I opened the birthday cards we got for each other. I was thinking that somehow we might each buy the same card, but we got different ones for each other and both cards were perfect!

Birthday Cards

For our food, we did things a bit differently since we weren’t stuck to just doing 2 entrees and 2 desserts. Like last year, we got the monkey bread to start. It was super delicious and we were both so hungry that I totally forgot to get a picture of it before the plate was empty!

And for our food, we were both torn on what to get. We were debating it back and forth (with me checking the total on my phone to make sure we stayed under $40) and we both were thinking about getting one of the sandwiches that was new to us. Since we both were thinking of getting the same thing, we decided to get a big salad and one of the sandwiches and split everything.

Dinner

It ended up being so much food that we couldn’t finish so it was a good plan to split things like this. I have a feeling that this might be a part of the new tradition. And of course we had to get dessert. They always have amazing desserts at Truxton’s so anything we got would have been great. But the giant cookie with ice cream on top sounded super tempting and we decided to go for it.

And even though neither Joanna nor I asked them to put candles on the dessert, they did that for us since they knew it was both of our birthdays. That was a nice touch and we both enjoyed it!

Birthday Dessert

And yes, we pretty much finished that entire cookie between the two of us. It was a big splurge, but totally worth it to me.

When we got our bills, we noticed that there was a slight difference than normal. They had to split the checks because there can only be 1 birthday coupon on each bill, and since things were split up it wasn’t totally free. We were under $40, but because of the split we owed under a buck.

Almost Free

While the tradition of the totally free birthday meal didn’t quite happen, we are still super happy with the deal. We got all that food for under a dollar and we still got to feel awesome leaving a giant tip (we left $30 on what was technically a $37 bill).

We sat around allowing ourselves to rest a bit after eating so much food, and then we decided to walk for a bit before we both had to get into our cars. I checked out my phone to see what time it was (I still had a bit more work to finish up after dinner) and I saw that it was 8:09 on 8/9 which was pretty cool.

8:9

We walked for a bit and then headed back since Joanna had a bit of a drive and I had to get home to get to work. But it was a super awesome birthday hangout and I’m so happy that I got to spend my real birthday with my birthday twin! That doesn’t usually happen so it’s pretty special.

And of course, we had to discuss what our next crazy birthday twin adventure would be. We will have our usual cheesecake outing, but we are also thinking about doing something for our half birthday (which would be in February). So we might be having another amazing birthday twin celebration on our half birthday which would be so much fun!

There’s still more birthday adventures to come. My birthday party is this weekend so I’ll let you all know how it goes next week. And while I don’t have any other birthday adventures planned yet, the month isn’t over so I might think of some more things!

A Day In San Diego (or Celebrating An Anniversary And A Birthday)

Even though I was out pretty late this past Saturday night, I got up early on Sunday morning so I could head out for the day. My parents were down in San Diego visiting my grandma and this past Sunday was their 34th anniversary! So since they were so close to me, I drove down so I could spend the day with them (and with my grandma and aunt).

Growing up, it was pretty cool that my parents’ anniversary was only 2 days before my birthday because we could celebrate them together or back to back. But I don’t think I’ve seen my parents on their anniversary since I moved to LA so this was a pretty special treat! Plus, as I joked to them, we all saved money on stamps not having to mail cards to each other.

My drive down was pretty uneventful (thankfully) and I got there just around lunch time. My parents had found an apartment to rent for the weekend so we had a nice place to hang out for the day. It was pretty close to where my grandma lives so my aunt was going to pick her up and bring her over to be with us. But before they got there, I got some time with my parents and the dog.

I know I just saw my parents 2 weeks ago, but it was really nice getting to see them. And I hadn’t seen Tucker since April and he seems to have gotten bigger since then! My grandma and aunt were supposed to arrive about 30 minutes after I got there, so my parents and I went for a walk in the neighborhood where they were staying so I could stretch my legs and the dog could get some energy out.

Tucker

It was a nice day for a walk and I loved being right next to the ocean. And of course Tucker loved getting to check out all the other dogs that were out on their lunchtime walk.

Right after we got back to where my parents were staying, my grandma and aunt showed up. We all hung out outside enjoying some food (I brought leftovers from the night before) and catching up with each other. I hadn’t seen my grandma or aunt for a while, so it was good to get to see them again (I won’t see either again until Thanksgiving but that’s not too long from now).

We all gave my parents their anniversary cards and they opened them and shared them with everyone. My parents do homemade cards for each other and we got to see what cards they made this year. And then I opened my birthday cards (I only opened the ones from my parents, grandma, and aunt since I didn’t bring the others with me) and shared them with everyone as well.

After opening cards (and thanking my grandma for my birthday check that will help me fix some more stuff on my car), we just spent the afternoon relaxing and enjoying time as a family together. I’ve really come to appreciate the quiet time I get to spend with my family since so many times when we are together it is for an event and things are a bit crazy and hectic. Just being with each other is a nice change.

My mom cooked dinner that night (it’s easy and usually better than going out) and we had a pretty early dinner since my parents knew I didn’t want to drive back too late. My dad, aunt, and I discussed how we might have even more family joining us this year for our Thanksgiving morning workout at Orangetheory and we are pretty excited about that. It should be a fun workout (as always) and I’m so happy that we started this new tradition with the family.

After dinner we spent a little bit more time together and then it was time for my aunt to drive my grandma back home. After they left, I stuck around a bit longer because my parents were giving me their leftovers from what they had cooked that weekend in San Diego (I’ve been eating their leftovers all week!). They also had some stuff for me to take back home (mainly donations to take to My Friends Place) so they helped me pack up my car.

I should be seeing my parents again in October (I’m hoping to make it to Tahoe since it’s been a while since I’ve been out there) so it’s not going to be too long before I get to hang out with them again. And as I said, Thanksgiving is coming quickly and I know I’ll be with them for a few days then as well.

Overall, I’m so happy that my parents just happened to be in San Diego on their anniversary so I got to spend the day with them. It was a nice way to spend the day and since I’m used to driving to San Diego just for the day, it wasn’t bad to drive down and back within a few hours. And even though it wasn’t my birthday, it still felt like I got to celebrate my birthday with them which is something that hasn’t happened since I turned 18. Hopefully we can celebrate their anniversary and my birthday together before another 15 years pass.