Friday, May 24, 2019

Still Blogging

Helloooo.

Does anyone read blogs anymore?

In an ideal world, I would refresh and revitalize this blog.  I'm not exactly sure how that would go, as my life (and focus?) is so drastically different than it was 13 years ago when I first started publishing here.  So I will start by trying to update more and go from there... might possibly try to clean up old posts as well.

While you wait (HAH), you can check out my latest hobby..... drumroll.... handlettering!!  What in the world is that, you ask?  It's basically word art. 

It was a goal of mine to try to learn modern calligraphy this year, so at the end of December, I bought this lovely book, a couple of pens, and started practicing.  And once I started, I became interested in mixing fonts, mediums, etc.  So it's been quite fun learning.  The best part of this is that I can chip away a little at a time, so I can do something here and there, which is important because... well, two small kids occupy the majority of my life space right now.  I'd eventually like to use these powers for good... erm, I mean... I'd like to make things and be useful in my kids' schooling adventures.

Check out my progress on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/julien4l/

I have a forthcoming post regarding my latest fitness endeavors.  Nothing too crazy, but if you want to see this mom of two ride the strugglebus, stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker 5K

EVENT: Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker 5K
DATE: Sunday, February 17, 2019
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
RACE BEGAN: 08:00 am 
FINISH TIME: 0:29:45

This is my first race report in two years.  This was not intentional. In March 2017, I was supposed to run a half-marathon, which had been a postponement of a 2016 race.  I guess it wasn't meant to be.  In 2018, the day of the Firecracker run, I had my second child right on the morning of the race.  Leading up to that, I was willing to participate if I had been able to, but alas, the Year of the Dog medal will allude me until she's 12.

I registered for this race late because I wasn't 100% sure I was going to attempt to make a comeback, but somehow I pulled the trigger.  The kids would have normally come with us, but with an unusually cold (by Southern California standards... mid-30s) winter, we decided to drop them off instead.  We grabbed our bibs, and I walked over to the start line just as things were starting, very casual.  "The Ukrainian" did the 10k, so he waited while I ran, and after I was done, I collected post-race goodies and watched lion dancers.  I decided long ago that the 10k on those hills was too much for me, especially now that even 5k is not easy.

I feel like this course changes every time I run it, although it's always hilly for the first 2+ miles.  I also feel like it was less scenic than usual.  And I was definitely more out-of-shape than usual. Since I had Baby #2, I ran a handful of miles in the summer and then only started gearing up for this race a few weeks ago.  I'd run about 1.5 miles twice a week, then 2, and I did the full distance once and wanted to collapse.  Luckily, I live in a hilly-ish area, so I was able to keep running during the entire race, though there were many bottlenecks where I was shuffling along. I probably could have avoided this by coming to the start line earlier and wiggling toward the front, but I was just glad to have made it out there instead of stressing out over stuff like that.











If you have been following for a while, this was my sixth Firecracker run, so I'm over halfway to my goal of collecting all 12 Firecracker Run medals.  This race is always so great -- casual, and great shirts!

2019 -  Pig
*2018 - Pending - Dog
2017 - Rooster
2016 - Monkey
2015 - Ram
2014 - Horse
2013 - Snake (we did the bike ride that year!)
2012 - Dragon

Running this really made me miss my pre-kid life.  "The Ukrainian" and I don't spend a lot of time on things we enjoy anymore, so it was fun to get out and do something together.  There are some talks of more to come this year, so stay tuned! Also, I guess this means I'm going to run a little more consistently.  I've wasted a perfectly cold winter not running because I've been sleep deprived and unmotivated until the weeks leading up to this race.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Rough January

It's been so long that we are already in a new year, and so far, it has been a survival game around here for various reasons, some of which I can't go into, but among them:


  • The heat went out at our house, during what is probably the coldest and rainiest month we've had in balmy Southern California in years, and we are weak and unconditioned (also need to keep the kiddos warm).
  • One kid had the flu -- I didn't know it at the time, and even urgent care didn't diagnose, but when two other kids in the class are diagnosed at the same time, it is pretty much a given
  • I've been touring elementary schools, and boy, is that a major time commitment.  The schoolsin the district are very hit-or-miss around here, so I feel the need to be informed.
  • "The Ukrainian" is working a ton, so I'm bearing the brunt of the kid duties, keeping their stuff in stock, meals made, etc.
  • It's kind of the worst of all worlds with the baby feeding right now, who is 10 months old.  So I have to pump, nurse, do formula, make table food, purees, sippy cups... so much work!
So I haven't really been working out much, somewhat due to poor sleeping around here and also because I'm feeling run down from fighting off this flu(?) and a year of no sleep.

The good news is, I hit pre-pregnancy weight late last year without really trying, so any efforts from here on out will be focused on strength and stamina.  And also, I've been eating a bit better without willing myself to, so that's all going to help me for when I do actually try to invest in my physical fitness again.

To be continued...