Monthly Archives: November 2011

Double Surprises

After our fun-filled day at the zoo, we had plans to go to dinner with my parents and oldest little sister Alli. My youngest sister Maddi had left that morning for the CIF XC Championships in Fresno and my brother Michael traveled up there with his old coach and teammates to cheer on the girls. My parents had planned to go up on Friday as well, but changed their plans at the last minute to enjoy a nice birthday dinner with Jason and I.

No one would tell me where we were going. They only told me to dress nice and take off my Garmin:

Alli has mastered the art of not standing up to take a picture and create Awkward Camera Angle Issue (ACAI).

I was so surprised when we pulled up at Fleming’s Steakhouse! I’d never been before and always wanted to go. Let me tell you – it DID NOT disappoint. Everything we had was so stinking good! The bread they brought out was amazing! It had cheese baked into the crust and two types of butter – a sundried tomato/lemony butter and one that tasted slightly garlicky with some other herds. Delish!

For dinner I had the lobster cob salad with tarragon ranch. I need a tub  of that ranch dressing. It was SO good! I also had tastes of my mom’s spicy risotto, Jason’s filet and Fleming’s potatoes (cheesy potatoes with jalapenos ) and Alli’s spicy calamari. Everything was superb!

I was so happy my parents were able to change their plans to have dinner with us! With 4 kids in the family, it’s not often that they get to relax and have a nice dinner with us “adult” kids 🙂

Dinner was, of course, followed by dessert. I’m not sure how it happened but the kitchen apparently mixed up who was bringing out our creme brulee so we ended up with 2 of them – not that I was going to complain about that mistake.

It was easily the best creme brulee I’ve ever had and it came with an entire bowl of chantilly cream on the side.The only proper way to eat it was to eat a spoonful of the brulee followed by a spoonful of the cream. Here is the aftermath:

Then, as I was full of dessert and thinking the night couldn’t get any better, they brought me this to take home:

That beauty is a gigantic (like 3 lbs!) slice of chocolate fudge cake with fudge frosting and chocolate shavings. UHHmazing!

I went to bed full and happy on my 25th birthday, totally not expecting the surprise I had coming the next day.

Saturday was spent testing out my Garmin, watching ridiculous amounts on NCIS on tv, and hitting up target for thank you notes and a box to store all my accumulated running accessories. I got to Jason’s in the late afternoon and we hung around and caught up on The League and Workaholics. By the time we ate dinner, I felt so tired and lazy I was ready to call it a night, but he insisted that we shouldn’t be so lame and go grab some late night happy hour drinks at Elephant Bar. I was so tired, but I agreed and we headed to E-Bar with Tiff around 9.

I was so surprised when we walked in and my friends were there waiting! Jason had planned the whole thing as a surprise birthday party for me. He even reorganized it multiple times – once when he found out my parents would be home on Friday so he moved the surprise to Saturday, and again when he had planned it for a place that I later mentioned I didn’t like… oops!

The Girls

Jr. High Friends!

I was so surprised and it was totally unexpected! I’m so grateful to everyone who came out to celebrate my birthday. I keep saying that I hope the whole year of 25 turns out to be as good as the first 2 days!

Side note question – has anyone found any incredible Cyber Monday deals? Express has 30% off everything online as do all the Gap property stores. Steve Madden has 30% too!


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Filed under Birthdays, J, Party Time

Lions & Tigers & Garmins

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and survived all the craziness of Black Friday weekend!

I had THE BEST Thanksgiving/Birthday weekend EVER! It started with the usual fun of Thanksgiving, which included massive amounts of food and pie:

I had to include my delicious Mimosa… some people drink wine with their Thanksgiving meal but I say there is nothing wrong with 5:00 pm mimosas.

We had so many people at our house to celebrate, it was great! I parked myself on the couch where the men were all watching football and after about 7 minutes of trying to be interested, I pulled out my current Harry Potter book and spent most of the day reading and having my sisters bring me more mimosas.

Friday was my birthday and I have to say that if my 25th year turns out to be as great as my first weekend then I have a lot to look forward to. I avoided Black Friday in favor of sleeping in and having one of my dad’s famous omlettes for breakfast. My family showered me with some incredible birthday gifts including candles and lotion of Bath & Body Works, a cute tank top that I already got to wear thanks to our 80* weather, some awesome new pink Nike running apparel and GORGEOUS diamond hoops. I felt SO spoiled!

Jason came over as we were finishing breakfast. We had plans to go to the LA Zoo because I’m really 5 not 25, and all I wanted to to go see large cats up close and personal. He totally surprised me with another amazing piece of jewelry:

A Garmin Forerunner!!!!

I was SO surprised – and so excited I wanted to wear it to dinner later that night 😉

After reminding me that the animals were waiting and I could take the Garm on a run later, we set off for the zoo. I’ll just let the pictures do the talking here because I took about 700:

After the zoo, we tried stopping at Portos Bakery for lunch (best bakery ever!), but unfortunately it was closed for the holiday weekend. We settled on a sandwich place in the valley on the way home and after I got us a little lost, we finally ate lunch then headed home to relax a bit before the next part of my birthday extravaganza.

Birthday fun part 2 coming soon!

Did you do any Black Friday shopping?

What’s your favorite animal? I LOVE tigers. I think we spent 15 minutes watching the tiger walk back and forth while I took about 57 pictures of him. So beautiful!


Filed under Birthdays, Holidays, J, Mmm Food

Turkey Dash PR!

Happy Thanksgiving!! This morning my dad, brother and I ran the Annual Conejo Valley Turkey Dash. The motto is “Fitness Before the Feast” but I think the only thing I burned off was half the helping of stuffing I plan to eat tonight. Then there will be about 5,900 calories of turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pie (my Mom’s homemade pumpkin with home grown pumpkins).

We woke up bright and early to make the 20-minute drive to the race. My mom took these great pictures:

So tired/squinty/shiny

I was convinced my bib number was somehow a lucky number for the race:

My goal was to beat my previous 5k PR of 30:59 and run this 5k in under 30 minutes. I was hoping my PR playlist would help motivate me and pull me through so I could cross the finish line with a 29 on the clock.

The weather was perfect – cool and cloudy. We did a quick warm-up run at 8:10 then got in the line for the 8:30 start. 8:30 came and went and I was getting SO antsy for the race to start. Then some lady decided to push her way through and stand right between my Dad and I. That didn’t bug me too much until I starting smelling her – and intoxicating mix of Icy Hot and sunscreen. I cannot handle strong smells in such close proximity so the ten extra minutes it took for the race to start were aggravating. Finally, the gun went off at 8:40 and we took off.

I hit the 1 mile mark at 9:15 and felt pretty good. The 2nd mile had more uphill and I hit the 2 milk mark at 18:40 (my brother was done before I hit 2 miles with a time of 16:54, and he was taking it easy after not running for 2 weeks). I kept trucking along and I could feel the tinge of a side ache coming on, but I just kept breathing through it. I hit the 3-mile marker at 25 minutes and that’s when I know there was no way they set up the mile markers correctly because I did not run a sub-7 minute mile. Also, I could see the curve before the finish line and it was way more than .1 miles away. I started freaking out not knowing how far I really still had to go. I saw my brother on the sidelines right around 26 minutes and I figured I could make it under 30 if I kicked it hard so I gave him a thumbs up and started really pushing. I have no idea how many people I passed before the finish but I sprinted as soon as “Mr Brightside” started playing. When I crossed the mats at the finish the clock said 28:50, then I hit stop on my watch and saw it said 28:24. Um what? THEN, after waiting around for a bit they started posting the time sheets. My dad PR’d with a 26:08! Then I looked at my chip time:

Official Chip Time – 28:16

Holy-freaking-PR! I beat my previous time by 2:43! Way better than I thought I’d do. I went from a 9:52 pace on 4th of July to a 9:05 pace today. And I felt GREAT! If I hadn’t had that side cramp creeping up on me I think I could have broken a 9-minute pace. I can’t wait to kick butt on another 5k soon. I’ll be shooting for a sub-28 minute race.

I also feel a lot more confident about the half marathon coming up. I know 13.1 miles is way more than 3.1, but if I take it easy at the beginning I am really confident I can run it in close to 2:20. Anything under 2:30 and I’ll be super happy.

After the race, we hit up a gourmet breakfast restaurant where I pretended to be a professional still-life photographer.

So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to say that today I am thankful for my amazing parents that let me live at home rent-free so I don’t have to be poor, my hilarious siblings that always make me laugh, my wonderful boyfriend who is so sweet to me and put up with my 18 “I’M SO HAPPY I PRed!!!!” texts today, his great family that let’s me come over to drink their peach champagne and eat all the chocolate sprinkles in the house, my awesome friends that don’t mind my grandma habits of leaving them to go to sleep at 9:30 before runs, my dingo dog Heidi that drives me nuts but is so loving, and PRs. I am thankful for my PR today because it means I am spending my last day of being 24 in a very good mood instead of moping around and looking on for a late in the day Turkey Trot to redeem myself.

Did you run a Turkey Trot today?

What are you most thankful for?


Filed under 5k, Goals, Halloween, Running

PR Playlist

On Thursday, I’ll be running my last race as a 24-year-old.

I walked over to the craft store during lunch break today to see if I could find a turkey hat to run in but they only had penguins and reindeer. I’m all over the Christmas music and Starbucks red cups, but why is there no love for the turkey 3 days before his big day?

Since I couldn’t find any turkey apparel, I decided to make a Turkey Dash 5k PR Playlist for the race. With the weather looking like it’s going to be on my good side on Thursday and the added benefit of 3.1 miles now being “short” in my list of running distance, I think a PR is in the cards for my last day of not being 1/4 of a century.

Thank you weather gods!

My best 3-mile run at home I came in with a time of 28:45 and I sprinted the last 2 minutes as hard as I could. Why? Because I got super pumped up by The Killers’ song “Mr. Brightside” and totally pictured Cam jamming to the song in her PJ’s with a glass of wine before falling madly in love with Jude Law (anyone else love The Holiday and watch it year round? Just me? OK.)

So naturally, I needed this song to start up right around the 25/26 minute mark so I can know exactly when I need to really start kicking to get to the finish line.

After much tweaking, calculating, and realizing that a 3:46 song was actually 3.75 minutes on the calculator and not 3.45 like i originally thought, I’ve now got this 5k PR Playlist ready to go for Thursday:

If I start hearing Cute Without The “E” before the tag is being cut off my shoe, I’m going to spend my Thanksgiving very mopey and drowning my sorrows in gravy. So here’s hoping I end 24 on a high note!


Filed under Goals, Music, Running

Turkey Pants

This morning my Dad and I braved the impending storm (and I did the impossible and woke up at 6:50 on a weekend morning) to get in a long run. The Holiday Half is only 3 weeks away and with Thanksgiving, a Turkey Trot and my birthday taking place next week along with all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday prep happening at work, I know the days are going to fly by.

We ran 9.27 miles in 1:40. It was cold and so windy but luckily the rain was nothing more than a light mist during our run. I was glad that I decided to wear a jacket and grabbed some a fleece earwarmer headband that I snagged at Target a couple weeks ago.

It was super nice running with my Dad. I didn’t use my iPod and it made time fly by a lot faster than being stuck inside my head with own crazy thoughts about what I’m getting myself into with this whole running thing.

I also got the chance to try out my newly purchased SpiBelt.


It worked so well I actually checked a couple times to make sure it was still on because I couldn’t feel it at all. My only complaint though, is I came home and started feeling the sting of a nasty bruise in the small of my back. I’m not sure if my Dad’s Blackberry that I carried in the SpiBelt was bumping against my back the whole time or what, but it definitely hurts right where the pack was. Other than that, I love it. It didn’t bother me once during the run and I can deal with a bruised back for a couple days if it means I get to run without carrying my phone and Gu Chomps and Nuun and debit card in my hands.

Although I am really hoping to run the half marathon in a faster pace than we ran this morning, I’m pretty pleased with how I felt today. Especially considering that my fueling last night looked a little like this:

Salt & Pepper Fries w/ Ale Ketchup & Garlic Aoli


Curried Chicken & Apple Salad / Mac & Cheese w/ Salt & Vinegar Crust, Jalapenos & Bacon

Unpictured: Ladyface La Blanche Wit and many bites of smoked apple duck sausage and bratwurst.

It was a good night chauferring these guys:

Will was super offended that I thought his shirt was a picture of Chuck Norris.

I do think they were a bit disappointed that the Danica Bus stopped running at 10:00 last night. They should have joined the party that rolled up in this beast:

Now I’m off to go find myself some Turkey Pants to get ready for Thursday’s festivities.

What are your best pre-long-run fueling tips? 

Anyone else doing a Turkey Trot?

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? I love the stuffing, apple and pumpkin pie and this super yummy broccoli dish we have. Also, my aunt’s creamed corn is pretty famous in the family and I usually reserve an entire bowl for it.


Filed under Holidays, Mmm Food, Running, Training

I’ll Probably Regret This Later

This could refer to so many things right now. I’ll probably regret the 18 mini Twix and Snickers I chomped at work today while battling Murphy’s Law. Seriously, try working in a job that has a large majority of their goals relying on 2 days in the holiday shopping season – stress much?

But that’s not what I’m referring to…

Tomorrow, I may regret the glass(es) of wine at dinner tonight… but no, that’s totally worthwhile and justified when laughing and catching up with old girlfriends (and it helps when the bill is discounted by, like, $30 randomly).

I also might regret blogging at 10:30 instead of sticking to my normal 9:40-in-bed-watching-NCIS schedule. But tomorrow is Friday, so I can suffer through one day of trying to not fall asleep at work.

I do love me some Dinozzo…

The thing I might regret come tomorrow is my decision to declare this to the (blog) world:


Yes. I am clinically insane. I’ve decided to attempt to participate in this ridiculous challenge that includes running at least a mile a day from Thanksgiving to the New Year.

Now, one mile really isn’t much. Three years ago I would have looked at anyone determined to run a mile a day like they were out of their mind. Today, I see a one mile run as merely a 9-10 minute (depending on my mood/food I ate/weather) blip in my daily schedule. I’ve reached that whacked out runner’s mentality where anything less than 5 miles seems “short” and “easy”. The challenge for me will simply be finding the motivation and time in each and every day for over a month to change out of my boots and leggings, put on workout clothes, and get going. Whether that means waking up a few minutes earlier to run before work on days that I have after-work plans, or knocking my 3-day-per-week elliptical workout down by 10 minutes to fit in a treadmill run, I just need to do it.

This half marathon training is, and I kid you not, the first thing I have attempted to do since high school that I have (almost) seen through to the very end. I set this goal and as of December 11, I will have achieved it. So why not get a little crazy and force myself to run every day for 19 more days after the half?

Seriously, what am I thinking?

I don’t know how this is going to go, but what I do know is that if I seriously step up to this challenge and meet my goal of running 1 or more miles a day from Novermber 24th (5k Turkey Dash – check) through December 31, then on January 1 I will be treating myself to one of these breakfast every day for a week.

Is anyone else planning to partake in the Runner’s World Run Streak? If so, please tweet me @@GTR_Danica every day during the month and yell at me to get my butt out the door and run.


Filed under Goals, Running

10 Things for Tuesday

1. Catching up on workouts – I ran 3 miles on Saturday followed by 30 minutes on the elliptical and a legs workout. I wanted to do a long run but when I woke up to the rain I decided to hit the gym and save the 10-miler for this weekend. So unhardcore I know… Sunday I was lazy and yesterday’s workout consisted of a 50-minute elliptical session that was intense.

2. I love the holidays and everything about them, and I am listening to Christmas music already, but I really feel it’s a little early for this:

Get it together SVTC. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet.

3. The above picture was taken while tripping around our local “Mall”. I put it in quotes because it barely deserves to be called a mall. They couldn’t even keep a Forever 21. And the stores they do have choose to stock very odd assortment of items. I go to Macy’s and can’t find a single cute sweater or dress that I saw on the website, but I did spot this gem:

The bow is bigger than the headband part – which mean’s the bow is bigger than the wearer’s head. NO.

4. I finally got my haircut after almost a year:

I went to a new place thanks to a great deal I scored online ($19 for conditioning treatment + cut & blowdry). It barely looks any different because I just asked her to clean up the ends but I’m happy to not have frizzy split ends now. And the place was too darn cute:

It looks like a little house! It’s a historic building so they can’t change the outside (which I think actually used to be a house) so they just rolled with the theme and made it the cutest, coziest salon.

5. I have a new obsession. I tend to find something I really like, eat/drink it every day for 3 months straight, then burn out completely. Right now, that thing is hot cocoa:

J makes the best homemade hot cocoa, but since I can’t get him to get up extra early each morning to make me a cup and bring it to my house before I leave for work, I had to settle for some cocoa from the cafe at Gelson’s. Not J’s amazing recipe, but still tasty for $2. I especially loved the sprinkles.

6. I finally bought new cross-trainers for the gym since my old ones were covered in mud after the Gladiator run (and were about 100 years old). Now I can finally stop wearing my Brooks for elliptical days.

Nordstrom Half-Yearly score!

7. I loved the Twilight books, but I only saw the first movie and hated it. Such bad acting! Needless to say, the only Breaking Dawn hype I care about will just be seeing the pictures of Rob in US Weekly and People from all the red carpet events. I have decided that R-Patz needs to just keep his mouth shut and be pretty. I liked him better as Cedric Diggory anyways. I don’t know why they had to kill him off in HP. So sad.

That ring came off of a cupcake from a 25-year-old man’s birthday. Love it.

8. I found my dream car:

Why yes, that is a hot pink Mini Cooper.

9. I love this time of year because of weather that makes my drive home look like this:

10. And finally – my birthday is in 10 days! I’m going to be 1/4 of a century and that is freaking me the you-know-what out. When I was a naive little 15-year-old, I totally believed I’d have my life all figured out by this point. How wrong I was. But regardless, I have fun, love my life, like my job most of the time, have the best boyfriend on earth, live at home for free (seriously, major perk), and I’m pretty darn happy. I’m also determined to make 25 the best year ever. So here’s to my last 10 days of being able to round down to 20 and not up to 30.

That is not my cake but I would like it to be (hint hint)…

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Filed under Birthdays, J, Party Time, Weekends!, Workouts