Happiness is

For some reason those license plate frames that read ‘Happiness is (fill in the blank)’ have always erked me for some reason. But last night, I seriously had a moment where I thought to myself, Now this is happiness.

I was driving to get frozen yogurt at a shop I used to visit often before the yogurt craze began. As a kid, it was a family ritual to grab yogurt on hot summer evenings, or even on brisk winter nights. My mom was even a pro at memorizing the daily yogurt flavors, without even needing to call to confirm. Our new house is conveniently in the very neighborhood of this shop. Closer than my parents house even.

But as I made the familiar drive, I realized our new house is in a neighborhood of my fondest childhood memories. Happy, happy memories that I am overwhelmingly thrilled to relive again! The yogurt shop. The grocery store we once shopped in regularly. The park that leads to the river. The local pizza place my childhood best friend introduced to me. The list continues. I feel like I’m breathing in all these old memories and it brings me such joy. Especially because now new memories will be made here in this very place.

The new house we live in brings me such pure joy. My main wish list item was a big backyard because my childhood home had the best backyard. As I gaze from my kitchen table, I see such possibilities if the memories that are to come. Chris and I continue to add to the already large list of ideas to make this backyard amazing. I’m dying to just lounge under an umbrella and daydream about our future in that backyard.

So though those license plate frames may cause me to roll my eyes from time to time, I guess I can finally say I get it. I have found that happiness.

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Run now, sleep later

I awoke this morning already sweating.

Sacramento is experiencing a heat wave that we usually don’t get in June.

Multiple days of over 105 degrees, and no relief in sight.

It’s summer vacation – I should really be sleeping in.

Most people would have looked at the clock,

which read 6:56, and rolled back over and forced themselves back to sleep.

Me, on the other hand, decided that I’d much rather sweat while running

than sweat as I unsuccessfully attempt to go back to sleep.

(For my adorable little apartment does not have central AC.)

Though this early morning run was far from cool,

it was, in my opinion, the best way to start this day.

Since returning to running from an injury,

I haven’t quite gotten that feeling yet that I’m back where I used to be.

There was a time that I was approaching 9:15 minute miles

and was close to making that my norm for my training runs.

I was on the edge of breaking a 2 hour half marathon

and 3 miles was a joke of an easy run.

But now, my pace has slowed to a respectable 10:15-10:30 mile

but 3 and 4 miles are definitely challenges at times.

However, today was the first day that I ever felt like I could return to the runner I once was.

My knees did not ache, my pace was up, and I never felt tired.

I’m not sure if it was the haze of the heat or if my mind was just in the right place,

but this morning was one of the best runs I’ve had in a very long time –

to the point that I said a little prayer of thanksgiving when it was over.

Thank you for this run.

This run makes me feel clarity, feel strength, feel peace.

I feel ready for this day!

So cheers to feeling like the runner I once was,

and hopefully the runner I’ll always be.

Strong. Healthy. Free.

And now I will retreat to my couch,

where I can feel the cool breeze from the wall AC unit

and return to slumber.

Acts of Kindness

Well, December is here,

and with that, I’ve begun my month of Kindness project

as a part of my 30 before 30 bucket list.

I finally finished making my list of the 30 things I will do this month

in order to spread a little extra kindness to strangers

and the ones I love most.

I have to say, this took some research.

I wanted to keep this project low cost,

and I wanted each item to be easily attainable.

Now, I’d love to shell out a ton of money to brighten a stranger’s day

but that would leave me broke and not feeling so kind and cheery.

So though some of these tasks seem minor,

to me, they are enough to push me out of my daily routine

and do something nice and/or thoughtful for someone else.

Day 1: Send a note in the mail to a friend, just because.

Easy enough, right?  Shockingly, the hardest part was deciding who to send it to.

I have so many great friends that it was hard to choose just one person.

I have to admit, it felt a little funny writing a note to a friend

when it wasn’t her birthday, and she wasn’t getting married

or having a child.

But honestly, who doesn’t enjoy getting mail?

Like, actual mail, not bills, credit card offers or a catalog?

Here’s hoping this brightens my friend’s day.

Day 2: Surprise grandma with a visit, just to say hello.

My abuela has been on vacation in Miami since the beginning of November,

and it’s been strange not having her around.

She got back last night, and I knew a call to welcome her home

would have been sufficient.

But I knew an unexpected visit would have been that much better.

So this morning, I drove to her house and didn’t call her until I was around the corner.

Greeted by tons of hugs and kisses and squeals of delight,

I knew this was much better.

I showed her the skirt I sewed all by myself weeks earlier

for her to admire and praise with her ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs.’

She shared all the adventures of her travels

and I ‘oohed’ and ‘aahhed’ in jealousy.

Before we knew it, an hour had passed.

A phone call probably would have been quicker,

and probably, still, would have made her day.

But this meant more.

I could have gone to the hot yoga class I wanted to attend,

and called her on the way,

but this was more important.

Welcome home, Abuela!  You were missed!

30 before 30 – Kindness

Number 19 on my 30 before 30 list is

“Spend a month committing random acts of kindness.”

Well, tonight I decided that this December

will be the month I cross this one off the list.

I figured with the holiday season approaching,

this idea would go hand in hand with spreading holiday cheer.

I thought by making a list of the 30 things I’d like to do

during this month of kindness would help me stay more accountable.

Who would have thought that making a list of

30 do-able things would be this hard?

I was only able to come up with 15 ideas so far.

Granted, I am trying to make most of the items cost free

so that I don’t miss my goal because it got too expensive.

I’m glad I started this list early…

that gives me about half a month to add the rest on.

Here’s a peek at the first five on my list,

but the rest are left to be a surprise until December.

1. Leave change in the vending machine at work,

enough for the most expensive item available.

2. Surprise my students with one night of no homework.

3. Be an extra, extra kind driver.

4. Leave a one dollar bill inside of a library book,

and then return it.

5. Send a friend a note in the mail, just because.

Can’t wait to share the rest of this adventure with you.

Stay tuned!

And let me know if you have any great ideas

of ways I can pay it forward during my month of kindness.

30 before 30…Beach Camping!

#10. Go beach camping.

There really isn’t anything better

than falling asleep to the crashing of waves.

I tried to take it all in,

the crisp air, the clear stars, and the soothing sound of the ocean.

Growing up, I didn’t spend a ton of time camping

so I can’t say I know all of the tricks of the trade

or even how to plan the ‘perfect camping trip.’

However, this was seriously everything I wanted

this idea of “beach camping” to be.

Though the weather wasn’t our ideal of perfection

(it sprinkled on and off throughout our stay)

it called for a little more creativity and resulted in a little more fun.

We spent most of our time either walking by the shore

or glued to the radio listening to the baseball madness

of the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s Game 4s

as well as the Sacramento Kings first preseason game.

We played cards, cooked delicious food, and enjoyed tons of laughs.

It says a lot to me when you can spend your time with just one person

and never feel like you need some “alone time.”

This was our fifth camping trip,

but our first one with just us.

And I’d have to say it was one of my favorites.

Brighton State Beach,

thanks for making my first beach camping experience

a good one to remember

and one I hope I get to relive and revisit sometime again.

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30 before 30… update

My birthday is about two and a half weeks away.
Which made me realize that I’m going to be 28.
Yikes.
I seriously feel like a 21 year old in this body.
When I was younger, I wasn’t ever one of those kids who dreamed
for the day that I could be “grown up.”
I’ve frankly been having too much fun as a kid.
And I still feel like one, but I guess I am one no longer.
But then again, I guess I’m a kid as long as I say I am.
And I guess I’ll decide to be “grown up” when I’m 30.
So you’ve seen my list before,
but now I’ve decided it’s really time to get down to business.
My new thought is that I’m going to try to pick one thing a month,
and if I can’t cross anything off, at least I can make plans of how I’m going to do it.
Here’s an update on my progress.
The ones I’ve done already are in bold.
30 Things Before I’m 30
1.     Run a full marathon – I have plans to do the California International Marathon as my first marathon.  Was supposed to be this year,  but that didn’t work out due to injury.  Boo face.  But, warriors don’t quit.  So a little injury is not going to get in my way.
2.     Run in a destination race (Races I have in mind are: a Rock and Roll series race, Bloomsday Race in Washington, etc.) – Did it! Ran the Diva Half Marathon in May of 2012 with my friend Jen in San Francisco.  The goal here was just to do a race not in Sacramento.  I’m sure to add more destination races before I’m 30, but technically, this item is done!
3.     Attend an NBA game in an arena other than Arco (Power Balance Pavilion)
4.     Bet on March Madness in Tahoe/Reno/Vegas
5.     Learn to make my Abuela’s ‘Arroz Con Pollo’ by myself
6.     Coach a youth soccer team
7.     Take a picture of our Old Fair Oaks brick and frame it
8.     Hike Half Dome
9.     Build and Grow a garden in my backyard
10.Go beach camping
11.Go to the Garlic Festival in Gilroy
12.Maintain my “Running My Life” blog – So far, so good!  I would say that I’ve maintained my blog pretty well since starting it in 2011.  The goal is to at least post once a week about running, teaching, or fun adventures.
13.Sew something I can wear (without Abuela’s help, or too much of it J ) – This one is also done!  I sewed a cute circle skirt a few weeks back.  My abuela went to Miami and gave me a mission: Sew something without her!  And I did! Boo yah!
14.Ride in a limo for a special occasion
15.Take a picture with all of my cousins in one photo
16.Decorate my house/apartment for Halloween
17.Visit the NBA hall of fame
18.Host a dinner party
19.Spend a month committing random acts of kindness
20.Plan a girl’s weekend
21.Get married
22. Go to Hawaii
23.Meet someone famous
24.Attend a boot camp or personal training session
25.Make an ice cream cake
26.Visit the corn maze in Woodland
27.Bake bread from scratch
28.Go on a road trip down Highway 101 – Did it!  This summer I went on a crazy road trip from Sacramento, to Olympia, WA to Portland, OR, and we concluded our trip with a drive on the Oregon coast on Highway 101!  It was beautiful!  Originally I had in mind to drive down the coast in California, but that trip still counts!  We were driving “down” the coast back to California.
29.Learn to play Craps
30.Volunteer to help with a race (host one, aid station, etc.)

 4 out of 30…not amazing, but at least some things are crossed off!

Hmmm…which one will be the next one I do???

Stay tuned!