Nike Half Marathon

Last year around this time, I ran my first half marathon and this past week, I completed my third at the Nike Women Half Marathon! I don’t think any race matches the energy of the Nike Half – the loads of free samples, the expotique, and the lovely necklace at the end make this event more than just a race.

Knowing that I already have two half marathons under my belt, I was a little less nervous this time around but equally as excited. To be fair, I was a little over-confident in my running abilities and slacked on on my training this time. I was also experiencing a lot of hip and other joint pain during my runs so I took it easy.

First off, the expotique; I stocked up with enough chocolate truffles, luna bars, and Neutrogena products to last me a while :).

We were forced to take a cheesy coursemap picture.

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The Race

I don’t know why but I didn’t bring my A-game to the race. It could have been a combination of fatigue, mental exhaustion (two half marathons in 3 months is a first for me), and the weather to be honest. It was surprisingly warm for SF and that threw me off. Regardless, it was still fun and here’s a quick recap.

Mile 0-2.9: Unlike last year where the race went through the Embarcadero, this time it went through downtown and then the Tenderloin which made me chuckle a little bit – not the most scenic beginning. We started with some mild hills which were a good way to warm up but then…mile 2 we hit a decent-sized hill and I started to think “ I’m not ready for this yet!”. It was only mile 2 and I was already breathing heavy – this was not looking good.

Mile 3-7.9: A majority of this was through the Golden Gate Park which was beautiful. What I mainly remember from was the time was thinking “Keep up with the pacers – don’t let them get away!” At one point during these miles, I already felt like taking a short break (what was happening to me!) but I kept on going.

Miles 8-Finish: Through the Presidio, the Marina and DONE! I could start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel  at mile 8 but it was no time to rejoice as I still had 5 miles left. All was going well until I hit the largest hill that came at mile 10! I’m already pretty tired and then I’m faced with this giant hurdle. Once that was over, it was all downhill/flat from here. The last two miles were fine but I didn’t really have enough energy to sprint. With mascara smeared all of over my face (thanks sweat) and legs feeling like jello, the end had finally come.

What differs drastically from last year’s race and this year’s race is that last year I had no expectations in regards to my time but this year I did. I was hoping for PR but I’ll take what I got; I ended finishing in 2:05:39 . This just means I have a goal to works towards for next year.

To wrap it up, I received my coveted Tiffany’s necklace, took my oh-so-necessary picture with the firefighters, and grabbed some more free food before I was ready to leave.

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Same as last year, I thought I’d share my running playlist from this race.

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Three Years Later

It’s funny to think about how many seemingly-useless facts we store deep in the repository of our brains. These facts stay hidden for the most part, but they are brought to life at the perfect moments.

It’s those moments when you are catching-up with a friend after three years that you all of a sudden remember the name of the adorable dog that your Spanish teacher would bring to class. Or you remember the time you hosted a gongfucha tea session in the dorms. And on a more nostalgic note, remember the last time you saw each other: at FSM sitting outside in the cold during dead week.

I hadn’t seen Ruri since she graduated and moved back to Japan. However, a few weeks ago she IMed me saying “Akansha I am in Canada!” Although normally I wouldn’t think Canada is close to California, I was so stoked because it was a lot closer than Japan and made it much easier for her to visit!

Since we only had a day to explore the city – we made sure to make it meaningful.
From Fort Mason to Dolores Park, we covered a lot of ground. Our first stop was Delarosa. We shared a feast of mussels, meatballs, pasta, and salad!

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After meandering for a while in the Marina we decided it was time for dessert which leads us to our next stop: Tartine. Not only are their pastries delicious, they are also perfect for hipster instagram shots.

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One thing Ruri reminded me not to do is take this city for granted. After playing tourist for a day, I was almost mad of myself for binge-watching Netflix for five hours the weekend before. This place is beautiful and I vow to take full-advantage of it!

Good company, good food and soon-to-be great memories!

-Akansha

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My Go-To-Breakfast: Oatmeal

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Yep, I’m writing a post about oatmeal because it is that good. Sometimes my bowl of oats in the morning is my motivation to get out of bed. I personally think that some people get the wrong idea of oatmeal because they associate it with mushy, overly-sweet instant oatmeal.

Let me teach you how to do it right:

  • ½ cup of old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Almond milk (I like to cook my oats in water + almond milk)
  • Berries
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Sliced almonds
  • A pinch of cinnamon

The best part is that oatmeal is good for you! Oats are high in soluble fiber, berries are loaded with antioxidants, almonds are a great source of vitamins, and flaxseeds give you your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids!

If I feel like I need more protein in my diet, I add a couple of eggs to my breakfast and I am good to go!

Hopefully I can convert you into an oatmeal lover like me.

Happy Monday :)

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Labor Day In Tahoe

Tahoe has a different feel over summer. The quaint cottages and evergreen trees that were once covered in snow seem a little bare. Skis and snowboards are replaced by mountain bikes and kayaks, and the crisp cold by a warm bright sun.

Sun. Oh how much I missed you living in foggy San Francisco. But I digress.

I love Tahoe because it allows you to create the feel of home away from home. Stay a cabin, bring a book for an evening read, cook a nice little feast and then watch movies at night. As much as I try to do these things back at home, I get caught up in a never-ending routine. I almost need an excuse for good-quality relaxation.

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We stayed in the north, just a short drive away from the lake. Suprisingly, we didn’t spend that much time near Lake Tahoe. Instead, we hiked a couple of miles to a set of different lakes near Squaw Valley. There was a steady, moderate elevation gain throughout the hike and it got a little rocky around the way, but the end was completely worth it.

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In the evening, we had dinner at Manzanita at the Ritz. I ordered chilled avocado soup that was surprisingly tangy but delicious.

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After dinner, we made our way to the lake to watch the sunset.

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One thing I learned about myself: I cannot skip rocks if my life depended on it.

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Exploring the City – One Jog at a Time

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Wow, first of all, thank you guys so much for all the positive feedback on my last blog post! It feels great to be back to blogging.

Today I want to talk about my love/hate relationship with running. I cannot even begin to explain the mental battle that fires off first thing in the morning:

Rinngg Riingg. Alarm goes off.
(looks out window) Ugh it looks so dreary and cold outside, I think I’m better off getting 30 minutes of sleep.
– No you idiot, you’re already up so get out and go on your run.
(wastes some time lying in bed) Ok fine.
– Good.
– Oh shit, I’ve been debating this for the past 20 minutes, if I leave now I will be late for work.
– Stop making excuses, maybe its a 3 mile run today instead of 5. Now go go GO!”

Unfortunately, it’s a regular occurrence.

But one thing that keeps me coming back to running is the sense of adventure I feel when I run outdoors. There is no better way to explore the city than by foot and it’s amazing what kind of cool things I discover during my runs.

One morning, without paying much heed to my route, I ran past Fort Mason, Ghirardelli square, and Lombard street. I felt like such a tourist – yet such an efficient one! I also came across a cute little garden.

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the golden gate

The best kind of runs are the ones in which I get lost. First I cover more distance than anticipated (win) and I discover something new (double-win). During one long-run, I traveled the long windy roads and somehow ended up in the Presidio. Not a person in sight, it was just me and Mother Nature.

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How did I leave the busy streets of San Francisco into this quaint historical haven?

It’s almost impossible for me to go on a run without taking pictures.

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Change

Pensive

During the past few weeks I’ve been debating whether I want to come back to this blog. So much has changed in these past few months that I felt like I couldn’t do justice to blogging.

What do I say? How do I get back to this blogging business?

I’ll start with this:

I become quiet during change. Quiet as in I disappear from this blog for 5 months. Occasionally, I would take this blog out of the dark depths of my closet, wipe off the dust, and draft a post. But the posts never came to life. Other times I would take a quick peek to see if people were still stopping by. It was encouraging to find that there were still a few stragglers who would come across my content.

Last time you heard from me I recently I moved to San Francisco. Well I’m still here and I’m slowly adjusting to life in the city. I’m finally taking the time to enjoy and explore it. I’ve also switched positions at my company which has put me on a very different career path. Finally, I’ve been forced to come out of my comfort zone when it comes to my relationships. I’ve surrounded myself with new friends and a new lifestyle. I’ll be honest it is kind of scary, but exciting.

I’ve held back for a while but I am finally back.

Cheers to a new beginning!
-Akansha

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Napa Getaway

I’ve been craving a quick getaway, a mental break from my daily-routine. I didn’t want the hassle of planning big vacation; I just needed something easy and enjoyable nearby. My solution: Napa.

I had NEVER been wine tasting in Napa and considering that I now live an hour away, I knew that was completely unacceptable.

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There was one winery, called Ehlers Estate that I absolutely adored. The wine was exquisite, but the decor of the winery took it to a whole different level. The winery looked like it belonged in a Anthropologie catalog: rustic, vintage, and spruced up with few bright chairs and cushions.

ehlers estate

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Dinner was at Mustards Grill. Outside of the restaurant, they had a cute little herb and flower garden. I insisted on taking pictures!

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Napa, I don’t know why it took me so long to come visit you, but now that I have…I’m officially hooked.

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Another Place to Call Home

After I graduated college I moved back home. Logically it was a wise decision: I did not pay rent, I enjoyed home-cooked meals everyday and I had a short commute to work. But even with all those I wasn’t fulfilled. I was subconsciously relinquishing responsibilities, losing a sense of independence and felt like I was breaking the linear progression of adulthood.

I love my hometown and I want to keep it that way. But in order to keep loving it, I know I needed to move before I was unhappy. Where did I choose to go? San Francisco!

Two weeks ago, I moved into a beautiful apartment with two lovely ladies in the Marina. Although I do cook my own meals, pay a good amount for rent, and commute 1 hr 15 mins each way to work, I’m already happier.

Coffee table

The first week was a bit chaotic with the move and it took some time to get situated to make my apartment finally feel like home. My room is still a work in progress but the rest of the apartment is starting to take on a warm, cozy feel. My apartment does not make me feel like I’m living in a big city but rather, I feel like I’m living in a quaint cabin on the country side.

Living Room

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My favorite place in the apartment has to be this bookshelf tucked into a tiny nook in the living room. The literature, the cook books, and the candles make it want to curl up against it with a cup of tea. However, I can’t take credit for this because I only contributed about 4 books to this entire shelf. My roomies Jessica and Hanna were the masterminds behind this.

Bookshelf

books

colorful bins

I’m fortunate that I have one more place to call home while still having my original home a mere hour away! I’m excited to start a new chapter in my life by living in the city.

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I’m Moving to San Francisco!

sanfranI know I know it’s been ages since I’ve posted but I’d like to share some exciting news…I’m moving to San Francisco! Sure I’ve always lived quite close to the city but I know there will be a completely different feel living there.

I found a beautiful apartment in the Marina which I’ll be sharing with a two lovely ladies. I can’t wait to show you the place and share my adventures with you in the city.

But until then, for the next couple of weeks, I may be going back into blogging hibernation while I sort some things out.

Stay tuned!

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New Year’s Resolution: Take Action

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I’m  taking a new approach to my New Year’s Resolution by choosing a theme for the year rather than an actual resolutions.

Because let’s face it,  I’ve never stuck to a New Year’s Resolution because I never had a plan of action.

I was  rebel when it came to New Year’s Resolutions – was I suddenly going to become more motivated when the clock changed from Dec. 31  to Jan 1st? Yeah, I didn’t think so. I like setting my goals whenever they time seemed appropriate.

My theme this year is to Take Action

It’s time for me to reflect rather than try something new. I still have a list of resolutions from 2013 in the back of my mind and not much progress has been made. What has been holding me back? I could probably create a whole list of things but in the end do those excuses really matter? I am going to keep it simple by thinking less about the past and spending more time taking action now  & in the future.

This blog  is a great example.  Blogging is very dear to me but  at times i hesitate to write new posts because “I don’t have time” or “I’m too tired” or I think my next post may criticized because it is not good enough.

I am getting rid of that attitude . In 2014, I will stop over-thinking and will start doing.

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