New year. New stuff!

New(ish) blog.

This year I’m making it a priority to get this blog up and running. I’ve also been thinking of ways to make it more relevant to a wider audience. That’s why I’m shifting gears and will also be sharing more lifestyle posts outside the scope of running. I live in a great city and want to share all of my new discoveries in addition to my daily likes and dislikes.

New goals.

My goals for the year include being healthier, achieving more consistency with my running and posting here at least once a week. I’m also working on improving my coding abilities. If you’re interested in coding and haven’t heard about code year, you can check it out here. Hopefully with my sweet new coding skills I’ll be able to customize the look & feel of this blog without having to pay someone to do it for me!

New races.

nwm-wdc-half-header

Lastly, I’ve already accumulated a few new races and new distances for this year. The first is the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in April. The longest distance I’ve run is 7 miles so I’ll definitely need to get my butt in gear to finish strong. Less than a month later I’ll be toeing the starting line for the Nike Women’s half marathon in DC. I’m super excited for this race because first of all, it’ll only be women racing. Talk about girl power! Secondly we’ll be racing through the streets of  downtown DC. I’m definitely banking on this to totally distracted me from the number of miles I will have run. (More to come on my training plan).

So that’s it! I know it won’t be easy but I’m determined to see everything through!

What are your goals for the new year? Any tips for keeping the blog momentum up?

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my favorite running app

Yet again I’ve neglected the blog, but here’s my attempt at revival. I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while since I use this particular app on a regular basis. So here it goes..

My favorite running app, hands down, is RunKeeper. I absolutely love it. The interface is super straightforward and easy to use. I also love the auto-emails and alerts they send me whenever I accomplish something, or even when I’ve been slacking. I’ve stopped running with my iPhone recently, and therefore haven’t been using the mobile app. However, the online tool is also great. I just plot all of my running courses and plug in my start/stop times and it calculates my average pace, speed, calories burned and total feet climbed.

What I find especially useful are the Fitness Reports. I love seeing how many miles I run each month & this definitely motivates me to increase my milage going forward. So far, I’ve run 42 miles in 2012! I’ve also been contemplating signing up for RunKeeper Elite so I can see the advanced Fitness Reports, but I’m not sure if there’ll be value-add that is useful to me…

Overall, I can’t say enough about this app. It’s the first thing I recommend to friends who are starting to pick up running!

Lastly, I just had to share my most recent run. This was the longest distance I’ve run in DC. The weather was perfect and the run was great.

behind the scenes at Boxwood Winery


This past weekend I had the opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the wine making process at Boxwood Winery in Middleburg, Virginia with some fellow DC bloggers and DC Wine Week Ambassadors. Our tour guide was the wonderful Rachel Martin, Executive Vice President of the winery.

Some background
The vineyard is located on the highest elevation of the 16 acre property, and after analyzing the soil it was decided that Bourdeaux varietals would be planted – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Bordeaux and Malbec. All of the wines produced at Boxwood are blends.

Growing grapes
The first step in wine making process is to grow a good grape. To do that, Boxwood Winery uses a high density planting plan to maximize the ripeness in each berry cluster. Vines are planted close together to create competition, which forces the plant to be more efficient in where it puts its energy. Right before the grapes change color, half of the fruit on the vine is dropped so that the maximum energy of the plant is going into fewer clusters. As a result, grapes that are more ripe and sweet are produced. Oh and mother nature also has to cooperate; that means no monsoons. All of the grapes are hand harvested and only the clusters that have less than 50 percent damage get to move onto the next step.

Fermentation
Next is the fermentation process. The grapes go into a tank and yeast is added to convert the sugars into ethanol and carbon dioxide. Because the ethanol pushes the grapes to the top of the tank, they need to be pressed down to extract the remaining juice. It’s important that pressing is only done once the maximum aromatics, tannins and flavors were gotten from the grapes.  The juice then gets blended depending on what kind of wine is being made, and continues fermentation in another tank.

Aging
In about 21 days, right before the juice turns bitter, it gets extracted and put into an oak barrel for the year-long malolactic fermentation process. The barrels are airtight and the proteins in the wine are broken down. Once the malolactic fermentation has started you can actually hear the wine bubble in the barrels because of the CO2 that is created.


Bottling
Once the following year’s wine is ready to be put in the barrels, the wine is then bottled. Boxwood Winery actually has a bottling machine at the facility which is usually rare for wineries of their size.

And there you have it: the wine making process in a nutshell! The only thing left to do now is to enjoy a glass; I sure did. Most of Boxwood’s wines are available online and reasonably priced. Or if you want to book your very own tour of Boxwood Winery, click here. Lastly, I just want to give a quick shout out DC Wine Week for this awesome opportunity and urge you to check out some other great events going on throughout the week!

hills

 Well I made it to DC! The unpacking is almost finished, and we only have to make 1 return trip to Ikea. (We bought a Full bed frame instead of a Queen, and a bookcase in the wrong color… oops!). We won’t get internet til tomorrow, so that why the gap in posts.

I only missed 1 running day since the big move, but I’ve been keeping up with my training  schedule this past week. The one thing I didn’t expect was that DC is HILLY! This is great for training for the Boston Marathon, but not great when my knee pain flares up mid-run. My routes have only consisted of running up and down Connecticut Ave which guarantees that I won’t get lost but next week my goal is to complete 2 new running routes. Stay tuned.

creating a habit

Learning how to convert running into more of habit instead of a chore is challenging. I must admit that some mornings are a struggle to actually get out of bed 90 minutes earlier than necessary, and go for a run. I’ve learned to push through the mornings because once my run is finished, I feel a million times better. Today I got up and completed a 4 miles run at a much faster pace than usual. During my run this morning I started thinking about all the things that helped me to turn running into more of a habit.

Before I get into the details, I must give #propz to my good friend Jenn Staz for inspiring this post. She’s currently doing a ‘Become a Runner‘ series that I think is awesome and I wanted to share my take on her 1st post, The Routine.

Here’s what I came up with:

Set-up an automatic alarm. I set an alarm that goes off at 6am three times a week. Just knowing that an alarm will be going off in the morning puts me in the running mindset the night before.

Keep track of your running progress. Runkeeper has a great iPhone app that maps out your route using a GPS signal, in addition to recording your average pace and mile splits. Another reason why I love Runkeeper is because they send you email updates whenever you break a personal record. Those small accomplishments give me a boost to keep going.

Get a running partner. You’re always less likely to break a running plan when someone else is relying on you. Plus you’re likely to be helping your partner to keep up their running commitments as well.

Tell your friends about your plans. For me, I’d rather share my progress instead of an excuse as to why I didn’t run. Also, making a bet with a certain bf has also motivated me to keep going. Especially if you are competitive, like me, having a small bet with a friend can entice you to actually keep up with your running.

Lastly, set a goal. Signing up for a race gives you something to work towards each day. Since I’m planning to run a half marathon in October, I’ve got a training plan all laid out. Missing just one of my running days will throw off my entire schedule.

It’s not easy, but following these simple steps can help motivate you into actually keeping up with your running plan; so far they’ve worked for me!

dc update

Moving to DC in t-minus 10 days! I feel like the only thing I’ve been doing for the last 2 weeks is packing. I’ll be happy when the big move is done and I get settled into the new apartment, the new routine, and actually living with the bf. I feel like I’ve been counting down to that moment forever. The one last thing on my to-do list before the move is to actually scout out some good running routes. Living in Boston for so long, I’ve come to know this city like the back of my hand. Running in DC, and not getting lost while running is DC, is certainly going to be a challenge. Good thing I run with my iPhone!

Posted in dc

july numbers

Well it’s August 1st and the numbers are in! I ran a total of 38.5 miles during the month of July. I don’t think I’ve run this consistently – ever. My morning jogs 3-4 times a week have morphed into habit and I love it. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this good. I must admit that in the beginning it was a struggle to roll out of bed at 6am to go for a run (okay maybe some days it still is) but by the time I’m on the last mile, I’m feeling good and glad I made it out the door. Now for August my goal is to run 50 miles in total. Each week I’ve been increasing my mileage so I think it’s definitely possible. The one risk is my big move to DC mid-month. First off, moving is exhausting in the first place. Then being in a new city and learning how to navigate it is definitely going to be a challenge; but I’ll be sure to post updates. (Now if only blogging could become a habit as easily as running is!)

quick update

Posting on a regular basis is going to be harder than I thought. I really need to set aside some time after work to devote to this blog, otherwise it’s never going to last. And doing it at 10:30pm (like I’m doing right now) just doesn’t cut it. Anyways, here’s a brief overview of my training so far. For the month of July, I’ve run 28.7 miles so far. Thats a 701.7% jump from June! Each week I run 3-4 times, (either M,W,TH,S or T,TH,S) and the distance varies. I’m slowly increasing my distance while trying not to aggravate my “runner’s knee” (more on that in another post). The bf challenged me that I wouldn’t be able to keep it up for another 3 weeks. The competitive side of me jumped on the chance to prove him wrong. Looks like I’m on the right track to doing just that.

my goals

So, I’ve been here a few times before. I’ve had a great idea for a blog, and all the good intentions to keep it going, but somehow, one way or another, I lose interest and the blog kind of dies. But not this time. This time I plan on sticking to it, especially since it ties in so closely with my other personal goal: to run the 2012 Boston Marathon. The farthest I’ve run before is 7 miles, so 26.2 is quite the jump, but it’s something that’s been in the back of my mind since I first moved to Boston in 2004. I’ve never really actually considered running it, or more like I never thought I could actually run it and finish it, but I think this year is the year to do it. My heart is set on running the Boston Marathon, even though I’m moving to DC in less than a month. For the time being I’ll be “Running Boston” but will make the transition to DC, once I make the big move. I figured this would be a great place to share how my training is going, and my new discoveries in DC.  Enjoy!