OC Christmas fun, priceless friends + a big decision

We had such a wonderful time as a family this weekend. 
It seems like every single day I am thinking about how big the kiddos are getting and that we have to enjoy every moment.

One of the highlights of the weekend was going down to Newport Beach for the annual Christmas Boat Parade.

As soon as we arrived on Balboa island, we ran right into one of my dearest friends and her family. Such a fun surprise! This is pretty much how we always look when we see each other...

My friend Kristin is such a gem. She is an AWESOME runner, a pediatrician, mom, wife and just an all around super star! 
She has graciously allowed me to share with you a bit about her running story:

-At 17 years old when Kristin was a senior in high school she ran her very first marathon. 
I think that is pretty amazing! Most high school seniors are not training for and running marathons.

- She has run 6 marathons to date - including the LA Marathon, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Boston!

-Kristin's marathon PR is 3:38 

-She ran Boston, her dream race, in 2007, in pretty tough conditions.  A nor'easter hit the city and runners were faced with sleet and snow flurries at the start of the race. Kristin told me that it was her slowest marathon ever and yet it was still an amazing experience (true runner talk).

-She has made some of her best friends from running and through running she got to know her husband (who, by the way, is a terrific guy!).

I love our friendship story. 

Kristin was my son's pediatrician when he was born. During one of his first check ups, Kristin and I discovered that we were both passionate runners, among many other common interests, and that is where our friendship began :)

Now, seven 1/2 years and five kids between the two of us later, she is one of my closest friends and she and her husband are godparents to our middle daughter.
One of the things I love about Kristin is how much we both LOVE running. We can seriously talk for hours and hours about running, training for races, how we manage our running with kids, getting up in the super early morning for our runs (she is up every morning at 5:30 for her run), nutrition advice, cheering each other on in various running endeavors, planning races together, going on 20 miles runs together, etc. etc.

Aren't running friends the best?

Okay! Back to the parade :)

If you have never experienced this parade, definitely put it on your "must see" list if you live in Southern California or plan on visiting during the holidays. 
The parade has been hailed as "One of the top ten holiday happenings in the nation" by the New York Times.

It is such a fun event for the whole family! The parade takes place on the very charming and quaint Balboa Island in Newport Beach. Everyone is out with their family and the whole island is lit up with Christmas lights.

The kiddos had so much fun and we saw some incredible boats decorated so beautifully...

And we had so much fun, we hardly noticed the crazy traffic on the way home...

But instead took in all the festive sights of the Christmas season. We are definitely going to make this parade a yearly tradition for our family.

This weekend we also finally got to have some special time decorating our tree. Decorating the tree is one of my favorite Christmas traditions.

Happy Winter Solstice!

I love winter - roaring fires, hot cocoa, making snowmen with my kiddos, cross country skiing...

Stop. I have to talk about cross country skiing for a moment. In the past few years, I have developed such a love for XC skiing. The wonderful thing about it is that last winter my son tried it for the first time and loved it!

...ice skating, holiday time, lots of warm good food... the list
goes on and on.

Yeah. Okay. 

We don't get any much of a winter at all here in Southern California, but I still love these things anyway and try to get to snow as much as we can.
I am originally from Ohio and my Dad still lives there. I always love talking to him about the weather. 
He loves to send me pics like this:

to entice me to move back and experience REAL winter.
It is really beautiful there...

This weekend I also made a big decision in my running life.

I have been giving a lot of thought about working with a running coach. I haven't had a coach since college and have been feeling in the past few months like my running could use a real boost.
I had a great summer of running on my own and using a helpful training plan, but there is a lot of fine tuning I want to work on so that I can reach my ultimate potential as a runner.

So, I am happy to say that I am now working with Coach Mark Hadley. Coach Hadley is going to coach me through my injury and when I am back to running in the coming weeks, guide me to the Boston Marathon.

There are so many unknowns at this point - will the MRI in late January come back with good news? Will I be back to running? I am optimistic that the answer will be a resounding yes! I will be so excited to see what I can do with my training and how my body will respond.

Saturday I spent an hour at the gym on the elliptical machine. 

Later that evening, my knee was protesting and after talking to coach decided that the elliptical was not going to work for my body right now.

So, it will be pool running and biking for me!

Total bike mileage today = 7.81 miles. I did an interval workout with a good amount of hills thrown in for good measure followed by stretching and some core work.
One thing is for sure - biking seven miles and RUNNING seven miles feels completely different.

Prescription = 43 days of no running (6 weeks)

Day 14 of no running = 29 days left!

Check out this article from Maximum Performance Running about the top 5 reasons for hiring a running coach.

Have you ever worked with a running coach? 

How did it help your running?

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas week!

Happiness Is Running Life!



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