Why I run and a first time for everything…

Jessica Wagner

Disclaimer #1:  This may be a long rant or this may be a lot of helpful advice (or both ;)!

It seems that after high school or college, we lose sight of goal setting or how to improve our lives without someone telling us what to do next.  I felt this way in my first year out of college.  I was on my own in California - few responsibilities outside of my job and no one to hold me accountable for improving myself.  When I started running consistently again and training for races, I magically remembered how to control the rest of my life.  This wasn’t a coincidence.  Similar to the mentoring programs I described in my first post, training for races and running gives us a model for goal setting in other areas of our life.  Signing up for a race is like making the decision to change an aspect of your life.  You set a goal, start training and use self-discipline to stay on track - same thing you’d do to reach your other goals.

When I say I’m a runner, people often say they wish they ran more or they can’t run long distances.  My advice if you want to start running:  sign up for a race then START TRAINING!  It doesn’t have to be a long race.  Try a 5k first, or if you’re a super new runner, try a one mile fun run.  There are so many different race options out there that there’s no excuse for not doing one.  Just search by your zip code - you’ll find a dozen local options and at least one of them will be $40 or less.

Some people don’t want to "pay to run".  If you feel that way, maybe you need to try a race.  Once you've done one, you'll understand why people pay to do them.  The atmosphere is intoxicating.  I compare the feeling of being at a race with going to a music festival.  Everyone’s happy, friendly and bonding over the fun, grittiness, and heat (or cold).  The bonus of doing a race is that everyone has adrenaline coursing through their veins.  Note: This comparison comes from dozens of races and two years of Coachella camping under my belt.

Disclaimer #2:  I am not a certified trainer, a physical therapist, a doctor or a nutritionist.  These are all my OPINIONS about health and running.

Now sign up for a race and start training!!  End of rant!

This has been a week of firsts for me…

I had my first solo Asian market experience on Wednesday.  Although I’ve been to Asian markets before, I’ve never done all my primary grocery shopping there.  It just so happens that this market is the closest grocery store to our house.  It’s also wayyyyy cheaper than any other stores around.  Since I mainly buy produce, they pretty much had everything I needed (and so many things I didn’t need but bought anyway).  Their tea selection was impressive, but an even crazier isle was the freezer section with a million different types of dumplings!  And if I liked seafood, this would definitely be the place to buy it.

(Teas galore)

(My mouth was watering at all these perfectly ripe avocados)

I got all this for $34!!

 I even got some amazinggg wafers for free at checkout (you know I’m all about free stuff right now).

Another first…I rode my bike to work on Tuesday for the first time.  I biked around Philly a lot in college and around Long Beach in California, but I never depended on a bike as my main form of transportation.  That’s about to change!  By biking, I not only save on fuel/tokens, but my commute time is cut in half!  My legs are still aching, so it probably won’t be an every day routine at this point, but it’ll happen one day.  I also never realized how people bike around the city.  I’ve noticed over the past few weeks that there are more people biking now than when I lived in Philly a few years ago, but on my bike, I REALLYYY noticed it.  I even hit some bike traffic near South Street…

(Six or seven bikes deep waiting for the light to change)


I’m hoping the whole bike thing also preps me for the Philly triathlon, which is only a few weeks away.  I’ve wanted to do this triathlon for five years now (ever since I started college in Philly), so this will finally be my year!  I did a lot of triathlons in California and I really miss them.  They feed my desire for positive energy (see above explanation about races) and diversify my races instead of only running all the time.

(My last triathlon in October of last year - Playa del Rey, California)

My last first (ha) happened this weekend when I went to my first wedding as an adult.  A friend from high school got married and she planned the most perfect wedding.  Even the rain held off until we got inside.  She’s super crafty, so she hand-made the gifts and decorations.  Aren’t they beautiful??

In other news, something is eating our lettuce box.  I’m thinking it was the squirrel that suspiciously ran away when I opened the deck door today.  I need to find a way to stop this, so if you have any ideas, let me know!


Sunday the 17th was exactly three years since I had moved to California.  It’s funny how things can change so fast.  It really does not seem like that long ago.

(This is the building I thought I’d be working in - FYI, I was wrong lol)


That’s all for now…hope you’re surviving all this humidity!!  Chase is certainly ready for the pool to be open for business.

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