California Christmas Trip & Life Updates

Took a long blogging break, but I’m back! The last couple months of 2016 flew by and were full of some wonderful times including my best friend’s wedding, Thanksgiving break, my school choir Christmas programs, and an amazing trip to California for Christmas.

img_0343Sandie girl was the lucky dog picked to travel along with us! We had her registered as an Emotional Support Animal, and so she was allowed to fly with us. I get anxiety while flying & she really did help calm me down. She was an angel the entire trip.

img_1035We landed in Oakland at midnight Cali time, and after getting the rental car, didn’t get to bed til 2:00am (4:00am Texas time)! The next morning we woke up, had breakfast, and headed out on the drive to Yosemite.

The drive is about 3.5 hours from Oakland up into the mountains. We enjoyed passing the time by singing Christmas carols the whole way. Mike is obsessed with Christmas music; he even listens to it in the summer (I’m not kidding).

When we arrived to Tenaya Lodge (which is where we had spent our honeymoon 3 years before) there was no sign of snow. It was in the 40’s and I didn’t think we’d see any snow on this trip. But Mike swore to me it was supposed to snow the following day.

We got to our cute little cabin and got settled in. Then we headed to the beautiful lodge to see my favorite part:

img_1072img_1037This amazing Christmas tree! (I know the 2nd picture is crooked, but I wanted to show the scale of it next to a person standing). It’s huge and real and beautiful!

img_0348We found a couple of chairs right in front of live music and enjoyed a glass of wine.

img_1066We got back to the cabin, lit a fire and relaxed the rest of that evening.

The next morning we took turns walking to the gym because we couldn’t leave Sandie alone in the room. Mike went first and when he got back he told me it was getting colder out and to bundle up. I walked the half mile to the lodge’s gym, which is very nice. I did about a 45 minute workout and as I made my way back to the lobby I saw that Mike had been right, it had started snowing! And it was snowing HARD. I was so excited we were going to have a white Christmas.

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I was in awe of the beauty. Seriously breathtaking.

On Christmas Eve we got to take aΒ wagon ride & Sandie came along too. They stopped at a beautiful little area where we enjoyed hot apple cider and roasted marshmallows.

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That afternoon the 49ers won their 2nd game ever and Mike was ecstatic. Sandie & I were super into the game too:

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We enjoyed the snow on Christmas day, taking Sandie around to take pictures and play in the snow.

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We had planned our trip to end with a couple of days in San Francisco. I was excited to head back to the city.

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We found a dog-friendly Happy Hour at this place called MoMo’sΒ . $1 oysters, yes please!

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The next day we decided to drive to Sonoma (my happy place). It was as beautiful as ever. We were just going to go to Sonoma Square, and as we were about to pass Viansa (my favorite winery) I made a comment that I’d wished we could stop there. Mike made a quick right turn and took me in! I was so happy!

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It was a perfect sunny 60 degree day & this place is just so gorgeous!

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Enjoyed some delicious wine & headed into the little town for lunch.

On our drive back we stopped at a lookout point for a Golden Gate Bridge pic too. πŸ™‚

img_1260It was an amazing trip that I’ll always remember & cherish.

And now…2017 and almost one month in! I’ve been back to work for almost 3 weeks and back on the regular routine. I’ve started tri training again, but I am not signed up for any triathlons yet. I am, however, signed up for the Austin Half Marathon on February 19. Need to start racking up some running miles on these legs!

I’m excited to represent Big Sexy Racing team this year, and was super happy to find out that I made Bronze All World Athlete status for 2017! So I HAVE to sign up for some Ironman-sanctioned events to enjoy my perks ;).

So there’s a quick little trip recap and life update!

TRI WITH JOY!

Jenna

A wonderful 5 days & Austin Half Marathon Race Recap

Riding home from a very enjoyable trip out of town. I headed to San Antonio with my parents last Wednesday for my TMEA conference. We had a blast. Not only did I attend some great music teacher sessions, but got to spend some quality parent/daughter time together!

I also got to meet up with some of my Gamma sisters for dinner, and it was so wonderful catching up and celebrating the soon-to-be Mommy, Ashley!

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Mike picked me up in San Antonio on Saturday, and then he and I continued on to Austin to check in for the Austin Half Marathon on Sunday.

We got to the Palmer Event Center and made our way around the massive expo. Ran into some friends too!

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Mike and I had a late lunch at Shady Grove and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

Had dinner at North in The Domain with friends we were staying with. It was delicious!

Race Recap:

Wake up call was 5:00am. Not bad! Got ready and had a Bonk Breaker for breakfast. We drove and parked in the capital (because we had the hookup πŸ˜‰) then headed out to the start line.

We kinda separated to find the pacers we wanted to run with. I hooked up with Alyse at the 4:00 marathon pacers, which said about 9:00 min miles (give or take).

The National Anthem was sung and then we were off! I had my Wahoo heart rate monitor synced up and figured I’d use that as my mile pacer to notify me. However, it never talked to me the whole time! I didn’t want to mess with it since it was playing my music, so I decided I’d run this race based on feel.

I think that was a good decision because before I knew it, we were passing the 5k mark, 5 mile mark, 8 mile mark; they were just flying by!

Alyse kept me on my toes; she’s so fast! And those hills were killer! The first super steep one was at mile 8. I’m not sure if my hill running technique was right (because I have absolutely no hills to train on at home) but I leaned into them and took long strides. Somehow that did the trick.

We got to the famous mile 12 killer hill and turned it up! That hill is quite a beast, but I did NOT want to walk. And I didn’t!

Once I saw the back of the capital I started booking it (the finish line was around front of the capital). Ran my heart out through the finish!

My goal was to do better than I did last year. Last year’s time was 1:58. Sadly, not only did my heart rate monitor not track, but my race bib didn’t register over all of the trackers throughout the race! Frustrating, but I figured out my time because I remember running through the start line at 6:00 minutes and the finish said 2:01. So with a little simple math, I figured I finished in 1:54! I’ll take that!

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Post-race is always the best. Yes, my legs were (and still are) super sore! But you gotta celebrate!

TRI WITH JOY!

Jenna