Race Recap: Eugene Women’s Half Marathon

I don’t even know where to start other then…

I DID IT! I LOVED IT! I WANT TO DO IT AGAIN!

The Eugene Women’s Half Marathon was everything I wanted it to be and more. I pushed myself farther then I thought I could and I ended up finishing with the beautiful time of…

2 : 35 : 05

A full 20 minutes faster than I anticipated! 

So now that you know about the happy ending, let’s start at the beginning.

There was no race day pickup, so Steven and I spent Saturday day and night in Eugene before the Sunday race. It was so much fun making a little “vacation” out of it, and we loved exploring a little bit of the city. The race packet pickup was a breeze and was held in the gorgeous Fifth Street Public Market. I loved the race shirt, very cute and very pink! They little saying on the front is super adorable…

Courtesy of Eugene Women’s Half Marathon

Steven and I were lucky to stay the night at the Eugene Hilton, which was literally a couple blocks from the starting line. Like everyone has suggested, I laid out my race gear as well as my post-race essentials the night before so I didn’t stress in the morning. It’s such a great tip and I highly suggest it! Race morning I knew where everything was and all I had to do was focus on was the 13.1 miles ahead of me!

I was so nervous that morning. I had a bunch of texts in the morning wishing me luck, which meant the world to me! Steven and I went over to the start area so I could warm up, stretch, and soak up the atmosphere (and of course to take photos)! There were about 850 runners, all of whom were super supportive of one another. Definitely the best race atmosphere I have been involved in! 

Before I knew it, it was race time. And all I could think about was how hard I have worked to get to this point. I was a ball of excitement and was ready to take on my longest running distance yet! Quick pep talk with Steven (and of course more photos) and I was on my way!

I don’t know what came over me, but I was so confident and ready for it. I hit my stride and I just kept moving. The course was mostly along the Willamette River through some gorgeous parks and bike trails. Although I had no idea where I was in Eugene, I really did enjoy the scenery. Downside is that there weren’t that many spectators, but the ones we did pass were enthusiastic and encouraging!

There was a woman in a dark green shirt…and I basically stalked her through the race. This woman, who during the run I named “Lucy,” helped me keep a steady pace and really helped push me to keep going. I choose not to use my Nike+ app since this was my first half marathon and I didn’t care about my time. But thanks to “Lucy,” I had a killer time for the race!

Steven, being amazing, met me between mile 7 and 8 for some encouragement/Nunn/Banana. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was to Steven. The first part of the race, I just focused on getting to him. And seeing him gave me such a boost/hilarious set of photos of “Race Roya.”

Around mile 9 is when my body began to break down a bit. I was so tired and my legs were basically throbbing in pain. But I knew I just had to keep going and the faster I went, the sooner it would be over. Some walk/stretch breaks helped my legs recover a bit before I hit mile 12. I wanted that final 1.1 mile to be epic…and epic it was! My iPod shuffle gods must have been on my side because 3 minutes before the end, “We Will Rock You” by Queen came on! I couldn’t have planned it better myself! By the time I rounded the final corner to the finish, I saw Steven and heard the announcer pronounce my name perfectly!

It’s a moment in my life that I will never forget. 

I grabbed my finishers charm, a mimosa, hugged Steven, and cried.

I did it! I can’t believe how far I have come!

The post-race festivities were a lot of fun. They had copious amounts of food (hello mini bagels…), a live band, stretching areas, fun vendors, massages, a beer garden, and a photo booth! Afterwards, I had to take some much needed steps to feel like a normal human again, which included a lot of Olive Garden breadsticks and long, long naps.

I loved the Eugene Women’s Half Marathon and it is totally the perfect race to run your first half. It’s a no stress, flat race with a lot of great energy and spirit. I look forward to doing it next year…

And spoiler alert… I think I had already chosen my next half marathon!

A huge thank you to everyone who has supported me over the past couple months! I was so (happily) overwhelmed by all the calls, texts, and messages I have received. And again, to my mom and everyone who wore the bracelets, you guys rock!

And finally a huge shout out to Steven, who dealt with a nervous, crying, overly excited girlfriend for a weekend. He is the best boyfriend, race supporter, running photographer a girl could ask for! 

Long story short… I ran 13.1 miles and loved it. 

2012 Eugene Women’s Half Marathon stats:

Flashback: London Calling

The Olympics are over… I can’t even believe it! This was the first Olympics that I really, really got into. And I loved that it was set in London!

I have had a weird love affair with London. I have two really good friends who studied abroad for there and I was fortunate to be there for two weeks on a Europe summer study abroad experience.

How I would love to go back! Flashback to junior year in college!

 

 

 

Sidenote: I recently just met up with my good friend Ashley. We were on the Europe trip together and since she moved away after college, I only see her a couple times a year. Ash, we have grown up so much!

Weekend in Seattle

For our first dating anniversary, Steven and I went to Seattle. We had such a wonderful time that we decided to make it a tradition! This past weekend, we were complete tourists in a city we both have been to many times.

It’s always fun visiting Seattle because it’s like a big city version of Portland. I love love love love it!

Here are some highlights from our fabulous trip!

We had a fancy dinner at Palisade

We explored the city on foot

We went to the infamous gum wall 

We explored Pike Place Market

We ate and drank like Seattleites

We went to a (Vegas-themed!) Mariners game (which turned out to be an intense game!)

And we got “married” in the Chapel of Glove!

All in all, a wonderful little vacation with my favorite guy!

Eide Shoma Mobarak! Happy (Persian) New Year!

The G-E family in Iran, 2011

Today is the Persian New Year! Hello year 1391!

The new year, Nowruz (which means new day in Farsi) takes place on the vernal Spring equinox, which is usually sometime in April or May. This huge holiday in the Iranian culture represents the celebration of new life that comes during the Spring.

Nowruz dates back at least 3,000 years and is rooted in rituals from the Zoroastrian religion. It was originally celebrated in the geographical area of Persia, but is now celebrated in Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Tajikistan, Albania, Bosnia, Kazakhstan, Iraq, Serbia, and Uzbekistan.

The weeks leading up to Nowruz is traditionally when Iranians do their “Spring cleaning.” By the time Nowruz comes, the Persians are ready for their fresh start to the new year and a new Spring.

The most essential tradition of Nowruz is for every family to prepare the Haft Sin or 7 symbolic items that start with the letter S (in Farsi). The number 7 has been symbolic in Iran since ancient times and the seven dishes stand for life – rebirth, health, happiness, prosperity, joy, patience, and beauty.

Sabzeh - sprouted wheat or lentil growing in a dish, to symbolize rebirth.

Samanu -  a pudding made from common wheat sprouts that are transformed and given new life as a sweet, creamy pudding and represents the ultimate sophistication of Persian cooking. This represents fertility and the sweetness of life.

Seeb – apple, represents health and beauty.

Senjed - the sweet, dried fruit of the Lotus tree, represents love.

Sir - garlic, represents medicine and good health.

Sumac - crushed sumac berries, to represent the color of the sunrise; with the appearance of the sun, Good conquers Evil.

Serkeh - vinegar, to represent age and patience.

Mamani & Baba, 2011

The Persian calendar, which would make this year 1391, is one of the oldest calendars as well as the most accurate solar calendar in use today. This is because the calendar uses astronomical calculations for determining the year. .

According to some internet searching, Nowruz begins “at the start of Spring in the northern hemisphere: on the midnight between the two consecutive solar noons which include the instant of the Northern spring equinox, when the sun enters the northern hemisphere. The first noon is on the last day of one calendar year and the second noon is on the first day (Nowruz) of the next year.” (yeah…I definitely don’t understand that…)

Happy Persian New Year!! Let’s make 1391/2012 a good one! 

I came, I saw, I loved Iran!

Jameh Mosque in Esfahan, Iran

I’m back and I miss it already!

The past two weeks have been a crazy adventure that I will never forget.

In short; Iran was wonderful to us. Not only did we get to visit family (whom I miss and love dearly), but we also got to explore our heritage and learn more about my dad’s childhood. The food is delicious, the culture is rich and the scenery is gorgeous. I mean, what could be better than that?!

 

 

Some of my favorite memories of the trip are at Mamani (grandma) and Baba’s (grandpa) apartment. That’s where the family would convene for food, stories, and laughter. All three were plentiful during those days and nights. Mamani is the best cook, nothing can beat her traditional Iranian meals. Her food brought everyone together and those are the times that I will never forget. 

family

 

Baba's park

One of my favorite stories involves that little apartment. Across the street from Mamani and Baba’s apartment is a playground and park. Five years ago when we visited, that space was filled with weeds and broken concrete. During our stay we learned that my Baba actually created the park for the neighborhood children. The government wanted to put a mosque in that space, but Baba single-handedly lobbied for and created the park. My baba is an amazing man.

The people of Tehran were so kind and friendly to us during our two weeks. From taxi drivers to shop owners to the city dwellers we met on the streets, everyone welcomed us with open arms and wide grins. There was a waiter at Hotel Niloo named Reza who left a lasting impact on my family. With his upbeat disposition and his accent-filled english, Reza greeted us every morning with his happy nature and questions about the United States. I learned as much from him as he did from us. 

Other highlights include…

My cousin Keyvan’s wedding, which was just one giant party! Their traditional Iranian wedding ceremony was beautiful and my family had so much fun at the reception. Kara and I were asked to be a part of the ceremony and I was extremely honored to be there for their big day! Congratulations Keyvan and Behnaz!

 

 

Our trip to Esfahan, Iran was perfect! Our hotel (which was straight out of Aladdin) was gorgeous, I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful it was. We had a full day to explore the historic city and trust me, we got to explore the entire city! The mosques in Esfahan are breathtaking and we learned so much about Iranian architecture and craftsmanship during our stay. My cousin Sarah joined us on our trip, she is such a wonderful person and I miss her so much already!

 

Getting to just spend time with the family was amazing. From our joyous greeting to the airport to the tear-filled goodbyes at Mamani and Baba’s apartment, our time with family was plentiful and truly incredible. My Amoos (uncles) are hilarious and my cousins are some of the best and most talented people I have ever met. I loved spending time with them. 

Side note: I got pneumonia during the trip! With some brilliant timing, I was sick for the first half of the trip and even got to experience a trip to an Iranian hospital! We joke that my hacking cough was the soundtrack for the first half of Iran.

This post is basically a love letter to my family and the city of Tehran. The past two weeks have been incredible and I know I will continue to gush about this trip and the Iranian people for the next couple months.

My pictures are up! Check them out at Iran: 1 and Iran: 2

dad with Mamani and Baba

Azadi Tower in Tehran, Iran

 

 

brb, I’m traveling to Iran

Yes my dear friends, I am headed to the wonderful and glorious Tehran, Iran to visit family!

I am excited/anxious/ready/unprepared/thrilled for my upcoming adventure. We are seeing my dad’s entire side of the family in Tehran, as well as doing a site-seeing excursion in Isfahan, Iran.

I am extremely lucky to be able to experience my culture up close and personal. The sites and sounds of Tehran are truly spectacular, and it’s going to be great to experience it all with my family. This will be my second trip to Iran. I was lucky to be able to go with my dad and brother in the summer of 2006. Some highlights from that trip…

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Fun Fact: Did you know that Iran is the fourth largest country of bloggers? Not only am I going to visit my cultural roots, but maybe I can talk to a blogger or two over there!

I will have Internet over there, but I probably won’t be blogging. Feel free to send some love my way via e-mail or Facebook!

“Ba’adan mibinamet   بعدأ میبینمت” — See you later!

“Iranian Thanksgiving”

If there is one thing I know as an Iranian-American, I know that Iranians LOVE to eat.

Iran trip 2006

I grew up eating Iranian food. From shami to “Iranian salad” to kebabs & saffron rice, Iranian food is an ever-present food genre on the Ghorbani-Elizeh menu. My dad keeps his secret spices tucked away above the fridge away from prying hands. Many of his spices are hand-picked,  packaged by my grandmother Mamani in Iran. Although I never realized it growing up, cooking Iranian food allowed for my dad to share just a little of his culture with us.

Yesterday my parents had some of us over for an “Iranian Thanksgiving.” My dad cooked all of his favorite dishes, each of them accompanied by a story or an anecdote. It was the first time Steven and Kian’s girlfriend Brittney had ever had Iranian food and they were definitely in for a treat!

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Here’s an easy recipe to my favorite Iranian side dish. As children, we always called it “Iranian salad.”

Zalad Sheraze

"Iranian Salad" or Zalad Sheraze

1/2 cucumber – diced

1 tomato – diced

1/4 onion – diced

4 tbsp of fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp of olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Mix and serve chilled

Ta-Da! Welcome to the world of delicious and fresh Iranian food!