Holiday Weekend (Part II) + I Haven’t Trained For My Upcoming Race.

Hello! it’s been a crazy week already and I need a the weekend to be here already.

The second part of my short trip consisted in running at very low temperatures. My last run at Texas was of 4 miles at 51 degrees. Again, that is very cold for someone used to the South FL weather. Even though the cold went away after a couple of miles, I strongly think I didn’t have enough layers on to run on those conditions.

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Of course, having a lot of food was also part of the trip.

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Roasting chestnuts outside.

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Eating dessert. My cousin told me he took away all of the calories from this cheesecake 🙂

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Puppy sungles.

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And lastly, spending a lot of quality time with family which is absolutely the most important part of the holidays. Two years ago I left my home and my whole life behind to pursue a graduate degree and a better future. Even though the reasons are valuable enough, this whole experience had made me realize how can we take for granted the time we spend with our families. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to enjoy your holidays more than being grateful for the great company you have.

Now, back to running news. I have a 10K race coming up in two weeks and I’m zero trained for it. Even though I’ve run longer distances in the past, this will be my first 10K race. Should I freak out?

Even though I’ve been running a lot and building my weekly mileage, I haven’t been sticking to a training plan for pursuing any race time. My speed and strength trainings have been practically inexistent since a couple of months ago.  So, probably the best strategy right now is to focus myself on finishing that 10K without any fancy PRs.

Family visits and the end of the semester have been giving very little time to exercise. And I certainly would like to invest that little time into something I know I will really enjoy. At this point, running is more a need than a training for the next race. Isn’t that ironic?

Have you ever gone to a race without having the training you wished you’ve had? How did it go?

 

Holiday Weekend (part 1) + The Pursuit of Happiness.

Hello! And Happy Thanksgiving.

I came to Texas to spend the holidays with some of my family. I’ve had a blast.

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Yesterday was an amazing day. It started with 3.2 miles at 58 degrees. That’s way too cold for a South Florida Runner.

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Came back home to eat homemade croissants.

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Went out to the city.

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And then my phone died. It wouldn’t turn on anymore so I spent a good 16 hours without my phone. I don’t know how I survived, lol. Luckily the geniuses from the Genious Bar were able to fix it quick.

I’ve been thinking about happiness a lot lately. What is it about it that we all pursuing it?

Have you ever though on what do you need to be happy? Probably the answer to that is having a successful career, meeting the right person, having that handbag you’ve always wished, being pregnant, having kids, and so on.

Goals. Even though they are different for every individual, they are certainly what defines happiness for many of them. Is it your happiness attached to your goals? Think about it.

Sometimes we put so many expectations on happiness, than we end up loosing our lives on the pursue of it. The truth is that the moment to be happy is now, with whatever you have and whatever you’re lacking.

I wish I could say my life is perfect, but is not. As the rest of the individuals of this crazy world, my life is full of imperfections. However, I’ve learned the hard way to see happiness as a choice instead of a goal.

By being conscious of that,  we let go of the huge control we want to have over every single aspect of our lives and we just start mastering the art of happiness.

This doesn’t mean you would settle down with whatever you have without pursuing any goal. This means that you’ll be happy even if things don’t come out as you planned.

Have you ever tried to make the genuine choice of being happy?

If you haven’t, then remember: the moment to be happy is now.

What A Non-Conventional Venezuelan Has To Say About Trump’s Victory

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I still remember the first time I felt my first electoral disappointment. I was seven years-old when my Mom told me “Chavez won the presidencial elections”. I didn’t understand much about but I certainly knew he was bad. Eighteen years later, we (the Venezuelans) don’t know nothing more but disappointments when it comes to electoral processes.

Last night’s disappointment over Trump’s victory is something extremely familiar for Venezuelans who currently live in the United States. Not only because the democratic party lost the elections, but for seeing someone like Trump winning. Even though I believe Chavez and Trump represent two completely different ideologies of the political spectrum, they both projected the same thing: A speech of resentment. That is how endless comparisons started among Venezuelans.

Apparently, a speech of resentment is what will ensure you the victory if you run as for the presidential elections in any country. That is what Chavez did with the lower classes in Venezuela, after many attempts of failed social democracy models. That is what Trump did with the Americans, after two failed attempts of a democrat administrations. The solution from Chavez was to move farther to the left, whereas Trump’s one is to move farther to the right.

Nevertheless, Trump’s resentment speech is what concerns me the least. At the end of the day, what kind of politician does not use a rhetoric argument to win more votes? (Rational voters are a myth, and Bryan Caplan wrote a whole book about this).

What really concerns me about this new Trump era is that tyranny side he seems to posses. Almost one year ago, I wrote about my thoughts on Trump’s campaign (by that time we were still at the primaries), making special emphasis on the case of Vera Coking and he’s abuse on eminent domain. If you haven’t heard about this (and you’re able to read in Spanish), you can check out my post here. A case like this one had made me question if Trump really represents the traditional Republican values that I really cherish, or if he really will aim to protect the Americans’ individual rights.

However, at the end of the day these elections were about two evil candidates battling against each other. Was Trump the least evil of both?

How To Find The Right Fitness Goal For You.

Staying motivated to exercise is probably one the biggest issues I’ve seen in people who’s trying to make a change in their lifestyle. They normally would tell me something like “I wish I could exercise or run as much as you do, but I just can’t.”
There are people who can engage with physical activities without much effort, and there are some others that really have a hard time with this. The problem I normally see is a lack of the right incentives, which might be different for everyone.
If there’s something I’ve learned from my marketing classes, is that before creating a plan that can generate impact you need a strategy conformed by at least one goal. Later on, you’ll figure out how are you going to execute your plan. I think this applies for everything we do on our lives. And if you’re looking to engage in more physical activities or to have a more active lifestyle, then you need a goal. If you don’t have a goal, most likely you won’t have engagement or any consistency whatsoever.
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When it comes to establishing fitness goals most of the people would think that your main objective should be loosing weight or get more toned. The truth is that sometimes we engage with goals that are not causing the sufficient impact for us to execute a change. Because those goals are not fulfilling our genuine incentives. Changing your body might not necessarily be an incentive that really drives you to exercise more.
Everyone talks about loosing weight and growing your muscles. So you might think this should be your fitness goals, but is it really like that?
For instance, I’m not very good when I try to focus my fitness goals on changing how my body looks. I’m better when I stick to goals related to challenges that I genuinely enjoy accomplishing. Running long distances at improved paces are challenges that I like to see as my goals. Every other type of exercises I do, are about improving my running form and technique. The days where I actually have to make myself run are very few, because I’m genuinely motivated.
I could really enjoy a bootcamp class, lifting weights at the gym, or biking around the city. However, I know that those activities would not make me feel like running does. I could run everyday and be very, very happy. However, running is not for everybody. Yoga, Crossfit,  and being in the gym for hours is not for everybody either. You have to find what works for you.
This is where you have to ask yourself, what is it that really moves you? Probably you are looking to loose some weight but this might not be sufficient for you. You need to determine what physical activity gives you that extra incentive you need. Running a race, participating in Crossfit games, or hiking for days in a National Park can give you that extra boost. Having a challenge will increase your engagement.
Finally, don’t underestimate yourself if you think your goal is too small or too simple. Just because you’re not into that Fitness hype of lifting weights for hours in the gym, protein shakes, BCAA’s, and all that jazz, it doesn’t mean you’re lame. After all, if you start exercising your body and overall health will improve anyways.
On the other hand, if your goal is going big on that Fitness Hype in order to transform your body, thats great! But don’t overestimate yourself. Always keep your feed on the ground, being aware that not all days are perfect and neither are the results.
What goal do you think it will drive you to exercise more?
 

Post Hurricane Run + Friday Faves.

Matthew listened to my prayers yesterday. He passed fast and smooth, at least in the South Florida Area(My prayers are with people from Daytona Beach, St. Augustine and all the other affected areas). I thought the weather conditions were not going to be the most ideal ones. However, the weather today was perfect for an outdoor run. It was cloudy but not raining. Warm but not too warm. Windy but not at Chicago levels. Of course that I didn’t miss that chance of going for that outdoor run.

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3.11 miles at 11:50 average pace. I made sure to make this run a really easy one.  I didn’t want to burn my legs since I have a longer run scheduled tomorrow. By the way, I feel like I haven’t had a long run in like forever. So I’m pretty excited about that!

Now on to some of my favorites.

I know that putting together a list of your favorite stuff and post it on a Friday afternoon might sound kind of a cliche. We’re all used to that Friday Faves post from our favorite blogger. But, I do have some favorite stuff that I want to share with you! Cause when you like something too much, you just need to talk about it.

  1. Favorite eat: With time I’ve been realizing that I’m a sucker for Peruvian food. And this Lomo Saltado is something that the most I eat, the most I love. I don’t know how the heck do they cook that sauce but it tastes like heaven. Try one out next time you go to a Peruvian place.Processed with Snapseed.
  2. This week’s read: This is not something that I actually enjoyed reading. I’m putting it as “This week’s read” just because it really caught my attention to the point I stopped doing everything I was doing just to read this. The reality reflected in this article really impacted me and got me thinking about it for a few days now. The fact that this is only one portion of the terrible reality that Venezuela is going through just breaks my heart. So if you’re a believer in socialist ideas, please read this and reconsider your position.
  3. Favorite Music: It’s been a while since I haven’t posted a music playlist here. So when I took all the songs I’ve been listening to the most and put them together, I realized two things: 1. I really really like Drake. I don’t know what it with his his songs but I like every single one of them. 2. From times to times, I systematically listen to old music. Apparently I’m in one of those stages.img_7874

Any long scheduled for this weekend?

Thursday Thoughts: Waiting for Hurricane Matthew.

Hello everyone! How are you doing today? I’m stuck at home with no school and work.

In a regular normal situation I’ll be so happy because that would mean a lot of free time for going to run. However, I’m here waiting for hurricane Matthew to pass by.

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This situation makes me realize how much of an hyperactive person I am. I seriously can’t be at my house without doing anything. And the fact that I’m here right now doing absolutely nothing, makes me want to go for a run even more.

Dear Matthew: Please make your visit fast and smooth.

At least I get the chance to write in here while killing my non-running anxiety.

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My day yesterday consisted in a light hurricane prep. Even though I wasn’t really alarmed, I did want to get some water, non perishable goods, and some gas in my car. Because that’s what people recommends you to do when hurricanes are coming.

I stopped by the supermarket to get bottled water and found empty shelves. I went to two gas stations to get gas and all pumps were closed. At the end of the day, and after making lines of few minutes I managed to get all I needed for the hurricane prep. But I gotta say this experience was some sort of a bitter deja vu. I fell back home for a second.

Don’t get me wrong. The scarcity in Venezuela is juts the result of evil socialism. The very light scarcity of water and gas I witnessed yesterday was only the result of an over demand due to hurricane conditions. I really can’t compare both situations because they’re completely different. However, nervous people shopping around me was the thing that really brought me back home.

And then I realized how uncertainty can affect the behavior of human beings in a way that you can see similar effect in two completely different environments. I guess the sense of survival is something we all regular human beings have, no matter your ethnicity, race, or culture.

This can only make me question one thing: is there such thing as a relative truth? What is bad for one individual can be good for another one? I’m a huge believer that there’s an absolute truth, but I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.

Wow, I guess this is what happens when you give me free that I can only use writing. I start rambling too much.

Have you ever been in a hurricane before? How was your experience? 

Race Recap: 5K Zoo Miami

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Running 3.11 miles is never as exciting and fun as running a 5K race. Now I can understand why my Dad tells me I need to race more. The experience of racing is completely different to the one you get from going on a regular run.

On Sunday I ran the 5K Zoo Miami. Although we had an unfortunate surprise that I’ll tell you more about at the end of this post.

I had no time expectations for this race when it came to finishing times. Running a 5K distance is something I do all the time. But I was still kind of anxious. I still wanted to do things right and have an amazing race.

Me and my cousin woke up at 05:00 a.m. In the morning for our fueling. One mini bagel with almond butter, black coffee, and lots of water did the job. By 7:00 a.m. we arrived to the zoo and met up with the rest of our team.

In this race, runners were separated into the categories –> tortoises, kangaroos, rhinos and cheetahs depending on their pace. Since I was a Kangaroo I needed to go to a different corral than the one my cousin and friend needed to go.

The race was delayed by 10 minutes. And by 7:40 we heard the gunshot and started running. My initial strategy was to start slow and then run really fast after the second half. Well, I did all the opposite.

I started running and right after the first mile I checked my clock and realized that I had run that first mile in 9 minutes. Say what!?

I’ve never ran a mile that fast in my life. So I slowed down immediately in order to not be suffering further ahead. Then I knew something was wrong when I saw the sign for mile 2 just five minutes later. There was no way I could run a mile that fast. Five minutes later I passed the sign for mile 3. At this point I didn’t know what the heck was going on with the course distance, but I kept running. I finished with a sprint in 22:51 minutes, realizing that I didn’t really run 3.11 miles.

Runners were disappointed since the real distance of the course race was of 2.1 miles. No wonder why I got to the finish line as a Cheetah and not a Kangaroo. Despite this unfortunate surprise, I did better than I expected. Running the first mile in 09 minutes and 20 seconds set up a new PR for me. My splits of 09:20 in the first mile and 11:08 in the second mile, projected a 29 minutes 5K. The fasted one I’ve ran has been in 31:02 minutes. So, I was happy afterwards.

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I don’t know how I managed to be so fast that day. I think the energy from other runners really got me motivated. Also, seeing the animals around the zoo cheered me up a lot.

They had all kinds of refreshments at the finish line. Including ceviche from a famous restaurant in Miami. However, ceviche was too much for me at 08:00 a.m. So I just had a mini cinamom roll and coffee, which was absolutely delicious.

The experience of this race taught me I need to improve my ability to control my pace in races. I was lucky enough that this was a shorter 5K. Nonetheless, when I start racing for longer distances I won’t be as lucky if I start running fast, as I did this time.

Now I want to make a shoutout to my wonderful team. To my friend Carla for inviting me to run this race and picking up the material for me. To my cousin Ana Claudia, for waking up at 5 a.m. when she could’ve stayed sleeping. And to our friend Gustavo for listening to my non-stop anxious talk just minutes before the race.

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I’m defiently looking forward to the next one!

Have you ever got to the finish line and realized you didn’t really run the distance they told you the race course had?

 

 

Thursday Thoughts: National Coffee Day + What Socialism Does To Your Human Capacities.

Happy National Coffee day from the biggest coffee lover you probably read on the internet!

This day really made me think about what is my absolute favorite coffee in the entire world, and I got to say is the espresso macchiato. Surprisingly, I haven’t had one today but you know what? I don’t need a day to celebrate coffee. I celebrate it almost every day.

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Since today is Thursday thoughts, I plan to talk a little bit about something I’ve been thinking within the last few weeks. It’s about how our human capacities and the resources that we have to exploit them.

The other day I remember how much I loved baking, and how often I used to bake. My family was very supportive by eating everything I prepared. However, as the scarcity of basic products started in Venezuela, my mom asked me to stop. Products like All purpose flour was really hard to get in the regular market, and they became very expensive in the black market. So in consequence, it was easier and cheaper to buy a cake already made than the flour itself. And then I stopped baking.

Years passed by and I forgot how to make a single cookie. How awful is that? Unfortunately, in socialist countries people have to work with the extremely limited amount of resources they count on, to the point of loosing (or forgetting) some capacities in the way.

Free markets on the other hand, are free because people are able to trade goods and services without an artificial intervention of the government or its institutions. If one day you decide to produce mason jars because you like them and you think you have a talent for it, then you’d be able to buy all the materials and tools you’ll need in order to produce one. Nevertheless if you don’t have access to the resources you need, most likely you won’t invest your efforts into exploiting that talent you have.

Of course that I started baking again since I realized that I was capable of doing it, which leaded me to my next thought: In a country where you only pay a few bucks for a batch of flour and where you only have to invest 5 minutes to pick it up from the shelve and pay for it at the grocery store, there are no excuses to limit your talents or capacities.

In fewer words, if you look around you and see a wide range of resources to exploit your capacities, then your limitations (if any) are only set by your own mind.

If you feel related to what I’m talking about then start today to do something  you love, and cherish the fact that you’re free enough to do it!

 

New Strengthening Routine + New 5K Race!

Remember I told you I was starting a new training plan this week?

Well, yesterday was a strengthening day. However, since the plan does not indicate exactly what on to do on strengthening days, I went ahead and did my own research. After a few articles on Runner’s Word I realized that all the basics for runners strengthening exercises relies on squats, push-ups, bench dips, and planks.

So, I came up with a pretty nice strengthening routine that I was really curious to try — >which leads me to the following disclaimer: I’m not an expert or fitness trainer or anything like that. I designed this routine for myself and according to my needs and physical capacity. Do not try this without talking to your Doctor first.

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By the time I got to the 6th rep my arms were sore, which made me feel proud of my own routine.

In other news. I registered for a ZooRun5K today!

It was something completely spontaneous. One friend told me this morning about the race for this Sunday and we decided to run it together. I feel so anxious yet excited. I haven’t run a 5k race in such a looooong time and I’m curious to see how this one will turn out.

I don’t even want to set up a time goal because I don’t want to end up disappointed. I just want to enjoy the experience and RUN!!!!

The race course will be inside the Miami Zoo, so that must be a really nice atmosphere for a race. Another great thing is that those 5K will not collide with my training plan. What else could I ask for?

 

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