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Friday night Andy and I flew into Oakland, where we then stayed the night in Benicia. Early Saturday morning we made our way into the City for a 7am meet-up at the Union Square Niketown for a shake-out run. We checked into our hotel early (like 6:45am early!) and quickly made it over to the Nike store.

First, we were all corralled into the store where we listened to and received some inspiration from some speakers such as Shalane Flanagan and Joan Benoit Samuelson. Then, they revealed the new Tiffany’s necklace for this year’s race.

In no time we were out the door on a quick 2 mile run. It was a fairly warm run, resulting in some sweat, which made me contemplate what I was going to wear for the race.

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After the run, a mix of the Finish Line girls and some other girls (who attended the Nike Track Club event at Del Amo in July) headed off to brunch (“and other fun things”) at Hotel Palomar. We were lead to a gorgeous outside patio where we were greeted with mimosas being served on a silver platter.

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The brunch was decorated beautifully, with a long, Pinterest-ly perfect table, set up with swag bags and our race bibs. There was a greek yogurt bar (I thought the only food), until I sat down and realized there was a full menu and meal coming, complete with dessert!

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It was a great way to meet and bond with some of the girls I’ve been seeing all over social media. And to build some camaraderie for the 13.1 miles we would all conquer the next day!

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After brunch, we all walked back to the expo and Finish Line presented their girls with even more special goodies. Fun printed pants and embroidered hoodies!!! @asheejojo is kinda a big deal yo!  Check back tomorrow for part 2.

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Big thanks to Finish Line for an amazing start to the weekend and the opportunity to Run SF!

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This past week I did absolutely no running. Instead, Monday night (after getting in from Chicago) I drove up to North County to pick up Piper from boarding and to also walk the Monday night run. The rest of the week I just took it easy and really enjoyed sleeping in (who am I kidding — I was already doing this, but just feeling guilty for missing my runs), and having a lot of free time after work.

And now…I take back any claims of retiring from running after November. With 2 weeks of “tapering” and 2 weeks of racing, my running desire has been reignited, and I already want to start planning my next full marathon (/next year’s racing schedule)!! Let me know any race suggestions you might have!

Tuesday, very exciting, I found my new house!! And then I met up with London and Chelsea for a single ladies date night (hahaha, sorry my titling) at Urban Plates before we went to see Gone Girl.

And Wednesday I hung out with London, Like The City again, and we hit up a local restaurant (Rimel’s) we both had never been to but agreed we probably should’ve gone to a longggg time ago. This will probably now be thrown into our mix of favorite restaurants: aka Encinitas Biergarden.

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Thursday, I had a tune-up at ART for my foot and also my hips and knees which started to hurt after Sunday’s Marathon. And almost directly after Andy and I went to the Smirnoff Ice “Ladies with Game” Tailgate Party where we enjoyed some surprisingly delicious “tailgate” type food and mixed Smirnoff Ice Drinks (like punch and sangria).

Friday Andy and I were off to the Bay! But not before I had to deal with some watch issues. Let me just say, REI has the best customer service. On Thursday night, my watch completely died and wouldn’t hold a charge. So Friday, right before my flight, I ran into the REI where I purchased my watch over a year and a half ago (I think March 2013), and they exchanged it for the upgraded 620! Umm, DREAM. This watch is lighter than the 610 and so much easier to read! The screen and settings make even more sense, and I’m already loving it.

Weekly workout recaps for the past 2 weeks since I missed doing a week in review last week…

Weekly Workout Recap (10/5-10/11):
Sun – Rest
Mon – 6 mi
Tues – Rest
Wed – 4 mi
Thurs – Rest
Fri – 2 mi
Sat – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 12 mi
Total Miles with Piper: 0 mi
Hours cross-training: 0 hours
2014 Miles YTD: 1229.8

Weekly Workout Recap (10/12-10/18):
Sun – Chicago Marathon 26.5 mi
Mon – Rest
Tues – Rest
Wed – Rest
Thurs – Rest
Fri – Rest
Sat – 2 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 28.5 mi
Total Miles with Piper: 0 mi
Hours cross-training: 0 hours
2014 Miles YTD: 1258.3

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photo 1 Sunday morning our wakeup call wasn’t too early. We stayed at Hotel Allegro so we were less than a mile to/from the start/finish. We got up around 4:45am, I blogged a bit, made breakfast, got dressed and walked over to the race start at Grant Park. We got there around 6:50am and were herded into gate 1. Andy and I had to go to the bathroom and ended up waiting past 7:20am (when they threatened to cut off entry into wave 1).

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Luckily we were in corral E (the last of wave 1) so we didn’t miss out on anything.  I might be the weirdest person but I did not have any emotions towards the start of the race. I think it helped that I’ve never run a marathon before so I wasn’t stressed with time or performance. I just wanted to finish. I think with half marathons, I’ve gotten to the point where I always want to be better, and that usually means running faster for a long duration of time.

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The race seemed to pass by effortlessly. 6 miles in and I felt like I hadn’t even started running. Mentally I tried to start the race over at this point, with only 20 miles left.

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Around mile 8 we saw Devon holding my self-made cheetah sign, and she also snapped an epic picture of us!

Andy and I hit the halfway mark at 1:56. We were pretty consistently under 9, and even got down to 8:20. So we decided to keep it closer to a 9 minute pace until mile 20. At the end of a half marathon I always question, how would I ever be able to do this again, but it was kind of a positive thing to be “halfway done.”

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I actually felt really good until mile 18 and even wanted to dance (thank you to all my snapchat friends who entertained my interpretive dancing to my marathon playlist the night before). I felt like once I got to mile 20, it would be home free (even though I had never run past 20 miles in a training run).

Mile 20-21 I started to cramp up, but then a decline presented an opportunity to stretch out my legs and hips. Andy and I ran together until 21 and then we kinda zoned out. I pulled ahead but then she caught back up around 24 and peeled away.

At mile 22 I thought I would just beast it to the end and picked up the pace. I just tried to imagine the mile repeats we’ve been doing Wednesday nights for speed work and just told myself, only 4 more miles. This worked, however, for only 2 miles until mile 23/24 when I felt like my body seize up.  24-26 were the most painful miles and my body felt like it started to go numb. I actually contemplated whether I might be having a stroke because sometimes I like to be a hypochondriac/overly exaggerate.

After many, many people have told me, there really is no way to prepare or describe the type of pain you will endure in a marathon. It truly is mental once you get to a certain point. I just wanted to be done but at the same time I didn’t want to stop because I was so close.

The finish line (or what I thought was the finish line) was AWFUL. From mile 25 you could see a huge Bank of America screen that looked like it would be the finish line. However, the end was still another half mile away, with 2 turns and an incline.

I ended up taking only 3 Gu’s (30 min, 1:15, 2 hours). Towards the end I started to feel really full because I kept taking in water at every station. But it gave me something to look forward to and something to refresh me. Kind of like in yoga when you breathe to release certain areas of tension, I just imagined the cool water going to release the tight areas of my body.

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The amount of participants, crowd support and aid stations were huge, amazing and really well put together. Running through a new city and 29 different neighborhoods kept it exciting and made it feel like an exploration. And the course was as flat as you could ask for. This is definitely a marathon I would consider running again.

After some anticipation that Sunday would rain, it ended up being the perfect day (especially for running). I think it’s the only time that I have barely ever sweat. And I ran 26.2 miles!!

I honestly didn’t hate the marathon, and I’m already looking to do another! I enjoyed the long weekend runs and the race itself was fun (until 24). I didn’t want to set too many expectations for myself for the first because I wanted it to be enjoyable and I knew there would be some factors (physical and emotional) I couldn’t prepare for. Now I feel like I’ll be better prepared, especially for the later miles.  I kinda gave up with training the last month or so (neglected my recovery runs) and now knowing what to expect from the marathon might push me to train harder.

The only thing I didn’t like about this race was that my GPS was so inconsistent. I hardly relied on it for pacing except to check my mile splits. After running through a tunnel within the first mile, and maybe the interference of the buildings, the pace was unpredictable.  It would range from over 10 minute miles and dip down to 7’s. I just ran primarily by feel and it seemed to turn out well. I successfully completed my first full marathon in sub-4 (3:56:09) and without any walking breaks!

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Mile splits recorded by my Garmin (3:56:01):
1 – 8:50
2 – 8:43
3 – 8:52
4 – 8:35
5 – 8:33
6 – 8:36
7 – 8:45
8 – 8:46
9 – 8:55
10 – 8:52
11 – 8:46
12 – 8:53
13 – 8:19
14 – 9:02
15 – 9:03
16 – 9:01
17 – 9:06
18 – 8:49
19 – 8:58
20 – 9:12
21 – 8:50
22 – 8:23
23 – 8:37
24 – 9:15
25 – 9:35
26 – 9:51
Last .5 –4:40

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Saturday we kept it low-key. Andy made us some thick and delicious 3-ingredient protein pancakes. Then we spent the rest of the afternoon taking pictures around Lincoln Park/Chicago.

Around 4pm Andy and I checked into Hotel Allegro, and before we knew it, it was time for some pre-race grub. We walked around in 5 circles before we finally came to our destination: Trattoria No. 10. By this time it was already dinner time (6-ish) and we luckily scored 2 seats at the bar (otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to eat). No pictures were taken during this dinner because hanger set in and we literally went to town, bread and all.

By the time we made it back to the hotel room, it was just about time to sleep.

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Sunday was race day! It was an incredible run (recap to come!) and I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Post-race we slowly walked our way through the finisher’s area (with ice in our pants).

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When we got back to hotel it was an immediate double ice bath. This was so painful but I had to do it after Andy yelled at me this would be the only way I would be able to function later (and now I’m so glad I listened).

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We finally made our way out to brunch/lunch/dinner at Giordono’s where we popped bottles and ate some legit deep dish pizza.

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Afterwards we made our way over to the Skydeck which ended up being a lot of waiting for not too much in return. I attempted to take a picture of Andy and was scolded and called a “Mister” by the photographer. We did end up scoring some free pictures though after giving the salesman a “compliment” for his work bingo card.

Then we thought we wanted dessert but really all we wanted to do was eat again. So we ended up at the hotel restaurant (Chicago 312) for some light bites and bread.

It was quite a day, running up until around noon and doing a little sightseeing at night. It was time to hit the sack and wonder how sore I would be the next day.

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Monday I woke up at 6:45am when Andy left for the airport. I wasn’t able to go back to sleep so instead I just watched tv and attempted to blog. Even though it was early, the hours seemed to pass by and I finally finished packing and got ready to go out for a coffee. I felt surprisingly well and walked a little over a mile round trip after picking up an iced coffee from Intelligentsia and strolling by the bean again for a solo selfie and the surrounding Millennium Park.  Before I knew it, it was time to head to the airport!

Check back tomorrow for my last little snippet of Chicago (the Chicago Marathon race recap!).

And the winner of the Athleta gift card is Jordan Dunne for following @asheejojo on Instagram.  Please email me at dailycup.asheejojo@gmail.com!

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It’s been a while since I’ve had a vacation (I think DC qualifies as my last extended weekend), so Chicago was the perfect excuse to spend a couple extra days exploring. Since my friend Devon now lives in the city, it made life so easy. I didn’t have to do any thinking and my planning (aka what restaurants we should eat at) which was kept to a list (that I might have recited to our Uber driver one night). My mentality (in general) has changed from anal control freak to go with the flow. This was also partly due to the fact I didn’t have time to finish my complete itinerary of restaurants which typically includes address, neighborhood, hours, stars, dollar signs, type of cuisine. And also because I don’t have a “personal assistant” (ahem, KIM) to pawn this off on :-P

Thursday I arrived around 4pm and hitched a 1 hour Lyft ride with Habeeb. While trying to avoid throwing up in his car (from the constant stop and go motion mixed with boredom/trying to text) he told me of all of the sites to see – Lincoln Park Zoo (do not miss the tigers!), Navy Pier, Planetarium, Millennium Park, and more.

By the time I made it to Devon’s house, it was already 5pm. She was suffering from some food poisoning from the day before so we laid low and just hung out on her unbelievably comfortable couch.

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Friday morning we woke up and were ready to take on the day. We started it off with a run to Lincoln Park Zoo, strolled around some of the exhibits, and then made our way back up to her house along the lake.

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Using an app called “Popular Pays” (gives you free items depending on the number of instagram followers you have), we scored some free lattes from Intelligentsia!

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After our little excursion, we headed back to clean up before we met up with Andy and her husband, Joey, for lunch. They decided on Eataly (one of the places on my list), which houses a high-end market and 9 different restaurants to choose from. We had a hard time deciding, but finally set our sights on the La Birreria (because my life = beer now, duh). The food was spectacular, and the beer (even after I said no drinking until after the marathon) was refreshing.

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After lunch, I was involved in a street show where some guy jumped over 5 1/2 people (actually 6 since one of the persons was a “boy”).

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We made our way to Millennium park, took some iconic “bean” pictures, and then headed off to the ultimate Niketown. Andy and I scored some ChiMarathon gear and I picked up an additional long sleeve to wear race day, just to be prepared.

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Afterwards, Andy and I parted with the group and made our way to my second coffee shop for the day- Dollop. The temperature had dropped and we were in desperate need for something to warm us up, so we looked for the closest “cute coffee shop.”

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After some mexican-inspired drinks to warm us from the inside-out, we made a late decision to visit the expo right before it closed. We picked up our packets, made some signs (for ourselves), and then headed back to Devon’s house. Many Lyft attempts and Uber rides later, we were back, showered, and ready for bed.

Check back for part 2 tomorrow!

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It’s 5am race day and I’m alert, eating the best oatmeal ever.  I had the best night’s sleep ever before a race and I even just got some hairspray delivered to our hotel room, fo’ free!  I’m excited but not nervous because I have no expectations except to finish and finish within a reasonable amount of time (~4 hours plus or minus).  Next time you talk to me I’ll be a marathoner :-P

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-Hanes sweatshirt (throwaway)
-Ipod shuffle
-Tri-berry Nuun
-Injinji socks
-Target gloves (throwaway)
-Breakfast: Oatmeal, almond butter packet, banana
-Sol Raiz Organics maca capsules
-Gu: Espresso Love, Salted Caramel & Chocolate Peanut Butter
-Amphipod Profile Lite
-Adidas Supernova Glide 6 Boost
-Garmin 610 Forerunner
-Body Glide
-Lululemon Power Y Tank
-Lululemon Runder Under leggings

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Well, my month of unlimited Pilates is over, and now I’m looking for the new, next best cross-training thing.

One thing that’s been put on my radar (although it hasn’t entered the San Diego scene yet) is fitmob. fitmob is a fitness app currently based in the Bay Area (sign up for 7 days FREE!) and offers fun & challenging workouts with top trainers. There are a variety of workouts from cardio to strength training, dance, and yoga. These classes are offered during all times of the day, both indoors and outdoors.

Unlike gym memberships, you pay exactly for what you use, and if you workout more, then you pay less (talk about an incentive to get fit!).

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It’s a great way to get active in your community and meet new people. fitmob also offers group training options, called MobTribes, to make personal training more affordable (70% less than most one-on-one training sessions) and more of a group effort!

I’m excited to try out fitmob when it comes to SD.

Fitmob is offering one reader the chance to win a $25 gift card to Athleta to inspire your workouts!

Enter to win here:a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends Midnight, October 15th

Make sure to enter a valid email address so that fitmob can contact you!

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Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by Sverve. However, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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With the first warm days of fall settling in, London and I decided to pack up a seasonal picnic for this week’s Happy Hour Made Healthy. Hitting the park just before sunset, we stumbled upon the perfect lighting (oh hey, natural sun flares!) for the most unintentionally romantic picnic. Cue John Mayer’s cover of “XO”.

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Inspired by London’s bursting ripe pomegranate tree, we kept the menu simple with a touch of special- pomegranate seeds are like nature’s bling! With the blanket spread and basket opened, only a few minutes of easy prep made this healthy picnic so relaxing.

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We popped a bottle of Rose I brought back from Napa, topped each glass with a splash of sparkling blood orange San Pellegrino, and floated a handful of fresh pom seeds! For snacks, an assortment of cheese (look for smaller cuts of “leftover” cheese, perfect for picnics) paired with sliced pears, and crackers spread with almond butter, all sprinkled with ruby red pom seeds.

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Sprawled out on the grass on the first day of fall, enjoying the fresh air and toasting to friendship, it was another successful Happy Hour Made Healthy. Skip your traditional happy hour this week and take some time to unwind outside before the darkness (daylight savings) arrives!

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Hai ppl. Somebody plz come amputate my legs after yesterday’s event. I walked so much I’m pretty sure I don’t even need to run a marathon now :-P

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Yesterday was probably the biggest obstacle of the month – planning and navigating our biggest event for fall. Luckily, some longer work days last week yielded a very successful Taste & Art Stroll!

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Last week, would you even call what I did running?  Saturday I barely ran enough to earn my breakfast, and then spent the rest of my day eating my way around San Diego. This included brunch with Grahamela at Snooze and lunch with my family at Sea 180 in IB. I didn’t have to give my cousins too may pointers when it came to food pics, looks like they’re way ahead of the game ;-)

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Also, congrats to some of my friends in my running group who killed it at the St. George Marathon this past weekend (ahem, J-DAWG!).

Now I’m looking forward to a jam-packed week while I finish my Chicago research.  Please feel free to send me over any foodie recommendations!

I also need playlist ideas, what to wear in Chicago, outfit inspiration and someone to pack my bags…

Weekly Workout Recap:
Sun – Rest
Mon – 3.5 mi
Tues – 4.5 mi
Wed – Pilates + 8 mi
Thurs – Rest
Fri – Rest
Sat – 7.5 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 23.5 mi
Total Miles with Piper: 4.5 mi
Hours cross-training: 1 hour
2014 Miles YTD: 1217.8

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