New season, new year. Plus belated updates

Oof, I've been a bad blogger... almost a month between posts! With the craziness of the holiday season, my blog fell by the wayside. But that doesn't mean my running was neglected as well! In fact, in the past month I think I've really turned a corner with my training and am feeling really good about things! Here's some updates from the past couple weeks...

First, USA XC Club Nationals... sorry to leave you hanging and never post a race recap. Long story short, I went out really hard and DIED big time... I got passed by about 50 people and 6K never felt so far. Club Nats definitely showed me that while I was in great aerobic shape, I certainly wasn't in race shape, and my fall training (drastically reduced in the wake of gallbladder surgery recovery, a big move to a new city, and a new job) left something to be desired. This fall was a lot like fall quarter of freshman year of college -- lots of change, upheavals, new challenges. In such a new environment, it's hard to be at your very best. Thankfully, fall has come and gone, it's a new season and a new year, and things are looking up!

Back to the race though -- while my individual performance was less than stellar, the team did quite well, finishing 13th out of 29 teams. We hope to significantly improve upon that next year, but for now, we'll take it. I had so much fun on the trip -- traveling with new teammates, exploring Charlotte, NC, freezing our butts off in 30 degree weather, sipping post-race peppermint mochas at Starbucks, dancing for hours at the post-race afterparty... fun times were had, new friends were made, and it was a wonderful trip :)

Back in CA, it was back to work. At my job, things were busy with our year-end appeal, and with running I upped my mileage and increased the intensity of workouts. December training highlights included:

     *3 X 10 minutes at tempo pace with 2:30 rest -- a challenging workout made much easier by the presence of teammates :)
     *14.5 mile long run in crazy SF wind and rain -- my longest run since track season -- the highlight of the day was a warm shower and delicious brunch following the run!
     *Hill repeats on Christmas Day (again in crazy cold and wet weather) -- Tempo mile, then 12 X 200 meter hill sprints with 200 jog recovery. Lucky me, my devoted boyfriend drove in the car alongside me while I ran :)
     *The last long run of 2010 -- a joyful 13-miler through Bidwell Park in Chico

A joyful Christmas runner!
I spent the holidays with family, celebrating with my mom's family in Quincy for a few days and then off to Chico for a second Christmas with my dad's family. Although Santa didn't bring me a car (hey, a girl can wish!), I did score some sweet running gear, including a much-needed new running watch. I rang in the new year on a rooftop in the Mission District of SF, watching fireworks explode over the San Francisco skyline, getting a new year's kiss from my wonderful boyfriend of 4+ years, and feeling incredibly thankful for all the good times in 2010.

NYE in San Francisco
As we counted down the seconds til 2011, I looked toward the new year with eager eyes. I'm excited for what this year will bring, both personally and professionally. Here's to fun times with friends and loved ones, good health, and fast running in 2011!