Race Recap – Race for the Rescues 5k/10k

Race Recap – Race for the Rescues 5k/10k

Last week, the signs of a true fall began to take shape. Will LA finally have a fall that doesn’t feel like the depths of summer?? Only time will tell, but if the past week is any indication for what’s to come, maybe I will get to wear some of my sweaters gathering dust!

Early on in the week, I participated in the unofficial scavenger hunt for Halo Top, since they released 10 new flavors on the 10th. I managed to find a (now) older flavor the day before the new flavors were released, but since my second trip to Ralph’s was later on in the week, my options were down to Pistachio.

Halo Top Chocolate Chip Mocha
Halo Top Chocolate Chip Mocha

I have been looking for the Chocolate Mocha Chip flavor forever, and finally finding it made me feel less disappointed that I wasn’t able to get first dibs on the newest of the new. Even though the chocolate flavor wasn’t overbearing, I thought it was a boring flavor overall. The chocolate chips were minuscule, and looked more like small pieces of crushed nuts rather than actual chocolate. And because they were so small, it was hard to detect any flavor.

Halo Top Pistachio
Halo Top Pistachio

The color they picked for the Pistachio packaging was very eye-catching…just as appealing as the color of the smooth-textured ice cream itself. I had this on a Thursday evening after what was a rough day in lab. This flavor was the perfect form of therapy.

Lenny & Larry's Pumpkin Spice
Lenny & Larry’s Pumpkin Spice

On the cookie front, I took a break from my Lenny & Larry’s Snickerdoodle addiction to try a flavor that’s more in season—Pumpkin Spice! I’m sure it would have tasted decadent warmed up, but since the spice was baked into the cookie, it didn’t blow me away like Snickerdoodle has this entire time. At least I gave it a shot, but I guess pumpkin spice doesn’t woooooo me as much as it does other people 😛

On Saturday, I participated in a 10k and was excited to see if my speed workouts from the past month had any benefit. The race was being held in Pasadena, and while this wouldn’t have been a big deal when I was living close to DTLA, it now was since I moved farther out west. The total transit time via bus and metro train would have been a little over two hours, meaning I would have had to wake up at 4 just to make it to an 8:30am race!

I made a compromise with myself and instead of sacrificing sleep, I traveled to downtown by train and then took an Uber to Pasadena. I try to only use Uber or Lyft only when absolutely necessary (like when leaving the airport at 11pm at night for example), but in this case, time was of the essence and it was worth $13 for a 20 minute ride versus a dirt cheap two hour one!

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Rose Bowl Stadium on Saturday morning and race shirt.

The race took place near the Rose Bowl Stadium, so I knew the weather conditions and course would be far from breezy. When I got there at 7:30 though, it was still cloudy and the air was still cool. I picked up my bib and shirt, and since there was no bag check, I wore the shirt over the one I was already wearing. I couldn’t exactly stuff it in my running belt since that was already holding my keys and phone, and that alone causing to bulge and hang lower on my hips. This was going to be fun to deal with.

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Some of the booths set up

I spent the next hour or so admiring the canines, adoring the felines, and getting a light amount of fuel from Power Crunch bar samples. They were “supposed” to be for after the race but the volunteers were chatting with each other and not paying attention… hehe.

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Come for the run, stay for the fur

When it got close to 8:30am, all of the runners were asked to walk towards the race start. It took us forever to actually get started. Between the three Laker girls helping us stretch and the nonstop announcements by a local news anchor, a couple of us were getting very impatient.

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“You can’t sit with us” —–The Huskies

When we were allowed to start, the first thing I did was look for someone to be my pacer. My goal was to run under 8:00, between 7:40 and 7:50 since I knew I could reach that range based on how I’ve been doing at marathon team practices lately.

I was on my own for the first mile and a half in figuring out my right pace, but I eventually found my stride with an older, shorter woman with long, untied brown hair.

She was averaging an 8:08 pace, and I felt that if I pushed any further, me legs and lungs would not be able to sustain that for the next four miles. Knowing that running 7 something pace would not be a reality in this race was disappointing, but at least now I had a pacing buddy to help me from completely zoning out.

For the 10k, we had to run two loops around the stadium. There were at least two hills in one loop so running up inclines four times throughout this 10k was a challenge in itself. At the end of the day, I was happy with how things turned out. I averaged a 8:16/mi pace and ended up placing first in my age division! Funny thing was my pacing buddy also placed in her division. She ended up with a slightly faster time than I did because she took off in the last mile.

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Race medals!

After the run, I paced a bit, chugged a bottle of water, and consumed more Power Crunch bar samples. I walked around the tents and picked up a free bag so I could FINALLY put my stuff somewhere. My bladder said many thank yous after that!

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Free shampoo for dogs!

They had a cat/dog “fashion” show at the end so some fur babies could get some attention and hopefully a new home. I stepped on board the Catty Wagon instead, which was a mobile shelter for cats. I played with a curious little kitten for a while and then decided to head out of the Rose Bowl area into Pasadena for lunch. I didn’t have to worry about getting an Uber back because I was ok with taking the time to train/bus to lab. I had to stop there for a bit, but I wasn’t in a huge rush to get there.

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Sage Organic in Pasadena

I didn’t have my “restaurant list” on hand, so I wasn’t sure where I should head to once I got to Old Town Pasadena, but then I remembered that there was another Sage location I could check out. It had been a while since I paid them a visit in Culver City and Echo Park.

The Pasadena location’s storefront was quite small (bundled with other shops in a strip mall), and it could be easily missed if someone was not actively looking for it. Every table was empty except for one being occupied by runners from my race! Even the guy taking my order asked about the race since he noticed my bib and medals.

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Inside Sage

The menu was just as overwhelming as I remembered, but I felt like having something colorful and filling (like a salad bowl with protein) with some extra crunch. When I saw that they had Dill Cheese Tostadas on the menu, I was sold then and there.

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Dill Cheese Tostadas!

I only had to wait about 15 minutes for my food to arrive, and in the meantime I sipped on my water while trying to get pictures of the interior without scaring my racing brethren (haha). The guy who helped me at the counter brought over my plate, which had two small-sized tostadas topped with black beans, cojita cheese, veggies, verde sauce, and smooth avocado slices. There was also some nacho “cheese” on the side.

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Avooooooos

I tried to get everything all in one bite, but had to eat it layer by layer because it all fell apart. While the avocado was delicious and creamy, my favorite part was the hearty beans and crunchy tostada, despite being the size of the palm of my hand.

After lunch, I slowly made my way to lab, and then from there was more than ready to just go home and crash! I stopped by Trader Joe’s because I heard that they had a new (for them) RX Bar in stock…

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PUMPKIN SPICE RX BAR!

Pumpkin Spice! I mentioned how in love I was with Blueberry a couple posts back, and this bar was just what I needed to fuel up with on my way home…especially since I’ve been devoid of my weekly bar box 😛

Cats or dogs?

Or pigs 🙂 ?

Sage Organic Vegan Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Race Recap – The 6th Childhood Obesity Awareness Month 5K/10K

Race Recap – The 6th Childhood Obesity Awareness Month 5K/10K

This past week started off a bit stressing, but then ended on a surprisingly pleasant note. Our boss in lab decided to drop by the lab unbeknownst to us (he’s on sabbatical right now), which caused some anxiety among everyone as far as putting together reports just in case he asked for them. Turns out he was busy with other things, and even though I did end up having a meeting with him, it turned out better than I thought!

I have been loving these RX Bars lately! I've only tried two flavors so far, one of which was Blueberry. And the chunks of this particular bar was quite photogenic.
I have been loving these RX Bars lately! I’ve only tried two flavors so far, one of which was Blueberry. And the chunks of this particular bar was quite photogenic.

This left me feeling more relaxed going into the weekend, and actually feeling more motivated with my current projects as well. I did get home late though, and had a late (though delicious) dinner. I also had some Halo Top, and went to bed with a stomach that still needed time to digest. It was a frustrating situation: I wanted to sleep, and catch up on all the hours I missed this week, but I couldn’t fall into a deep sleep because of all the food that needed to be digested.

I even almost thought about missing the 10k I signed up for only because I wanted to sleep in. Fortunately I didn’t, otherwise I wouldn’t even be writing this post!

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Waiting for the race to start.

I missed getting up at the time I set originally on my alarm, but I still had enough time to assemble my things and get out the door. I caught a bus that’s final destination was my destination: Wilshire/Western. The location of Saturday’s 5/10k run was in Koreatown, and benefiting a Korean organization I believe. I wasn’t actually sure because I signed up for what I thought was “The 6th Childhood Obesity Awareness Month 5K/10K”, but there was no word of childhood obesity or the Let’s Move campaign. The race was benefiting some charitable Korean organization…I just didn’t know what it was 😛 ?

I spent some time warming up, but not as much as some other runners. There was a father-son duo, and they were stretching/warming-up so much that they were sweating by the time it was time to start the race!

We were supposed to be off by 8am, but of course things got delayed, and we didn’t get the signal to go until at least a half an hour later. The race course was a straight out and back, but done twice to account for the 10k distance vs. the 5k distance.

Unlike running in Santa Monica, running in the more urban areas of Los Angeles can definitely feel much warmer. I was running at a comfortable 8:20-8:30/mi pace, but my pace dipped into the 8:40-8:50/mi pace from miles 4-5. My legs felt heavier at this point, but at least my pace didn’t dip too much!

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Finisher medal…for LoveShare?? Lol Active.com didn’t say that was the name of the race when I registered!!

When I reached the finish, I was handed the medal which looked pretty cool, and I think helped me figure out what this event was exactly…

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A Ginseng drink samples I didn’t get to have because I accidentally broke the bottle inside my bag when shopping afterwards!

There was lots of water, ginseng drink, and Yakult/probiotic drinks to go around.

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Keeping it cool!

And several tables serving up watermelon, popsicles…and compression socks?? I’m talking about those leg mannequins, haha.

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Grab some watermelon and…socks??

After the race, I walked over to a small courtyard mall that was right across from the Wilshire/Western Station. It was there that I found Paris Baguette Cafe, the perfect place to replenish my glycogen stores!

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Paris Baguette Cafe

When I stepped inside, I was immediately overwhelmed by the selection! There were fresh savory baked goods stuffed with cheese, cold sandwiches, beautiful cakes, and cute confections (the array of macaroons though)!

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So much selection…

After much pondering and wandering up and down the aisles, I grabbed a wooden tray, a thin sheet of paper along with some metal tongs that they had near the entrance, and placed a cheese pretzel on top. One thing to note about this pretzel—one of the main ingredients is white chocolate! The bread has white chocolate added into it, so the bread part of the pretzel was actually sweeter than what you would expect of a cheese pretzel.

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A cheese pretzel…with white chocolate?

The cheese wasn’t off-putting at all, and overall was a unique savory confection. Even though I refueled, I felt very tried and physically drained, so much so that I took a two-hour long nap the minute I got home. Guess I needed some catching up from waking up early every day this week? Whatever the reason, it felt amazing putting in so much effort into my runs this week, and the completely crashing for the rest of the weekend!

Have you ever had a savory food item that was changed to taste sweeter?

Paris Baguette Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Race Recap – Santa Monica Classic 5k/10k

Race Recap – Santa Monica Classic 5k/10k

On Sunday, I ran the Santa Monica Classic, which happened to be a sold out event catering to 4K people! In the days leading up to the race though, I snacked on some new-to-me bars that refueled me after my weekday runs.

Sprouts was having a sale on Perfect Bars, so I tried two different flavors even though my first experience with the brand was horrible. Looks like their revamp of the brand and flavors had made a huge difference!

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Perfect Bar – Peanut Butter

The Peanut Butter flavor tasted like a cold, peanut version of cashew burphi.

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Perfect Bar – Almond Coconut

The Almond Coconut flavor had a mixed texture, and even crumbled a bit, but the flavor was still subtle and sweet.

The FitJoy bars have been a recent hit on social media, and even when I stepped into GNC a few weeks ago they were trying to promote the bars with free samples. I caved in and bought a box of chocolate chip chip cookie dough from Vitamin Shoppe the week after.

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Fit Joy – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

This flavor was particularly chewy, and gave my jaw a workout for sure! It had some crunch to it as well from the small chocolate chip chunks. I didn’t notice any weird after taste, and another added bonus is that these bars don’t have sucralose!

Back to the race though—itt was a celebration indeed! How could you ask for better running weather with cloudy skies overhead and a fair ocean breeze drifting in the from the west?

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The health festival the day before the race where I had to pick up my bib. They also had therapy dogs and oh were they adorable!

I ran to the race start since it made for a nice ~2.5 mile warm-up run from where I live.

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Running to the race start…

The starting area was already buzzing with activity, and since I had at least another hour before the 10k start, I found a patch of grass to sit on for people watching.

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Now to find a piece of grass to sit on.

I watched the 5kers take off, and soon after, the 10k runners made their way to the start line.

For the first mile, I was averaging a 7:45/mi pace even though my legs felt heavy. I wondered to myself if I would be able to pull this off the entire way, but that’s when the mental struggle butted in. If I was running the 5k, I think I would have been able to maintain that pace the whole way through, but knowing that I had double the distance of a 5k, one of my most immediate thoughts was “pacing, pacing, pacing“.

At Mile 3, just like I had expected, the heaviness caught up to me and I settled in at a 8:30/mi pace. Mile 4, which was on San Vicente, created an incline which slowed my pace quite a bit, but by Mile 5 on the turnaround, that “feeling of fatigue” seemed to vanish! Maybe it was because I was no running down an incline, but at least it helped.

I pushed through all the way until the finish, and ran under the arch with a final average pacing of 8:27/mi. I grabbed a hold of the first water bottle I saw in the hands of a volunteer, and guzzled it down within 10 seconds.

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Walking to the pier to get those freebies!

The race organizers where sneaky in that the runners had to head down to the pier to get their race shirts. To tide us over during the walk down to the pier, we were able to have Clif Nut Butter filled bars, bananas, and water.

After getting my shirt, I managed to only get a handful more of race goodies. For the race registration fee, I didn’t get much as far as snackables.

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Fruity freebies!!

Meb was there for a meet-and-greet, but I didn’t stop to stay hello. He was taking pics with the high school winners of the high school challenge between Santa Monica and Malibu high schools.

I needed to go into lab that afternoon, so I made my way home around 10:30. I got back 45 minutes later, and quickly got ready to go about my day.

Overall, I was very proud of my pacing and final time. There were a lot of competitive runners, and I believe the women’s top finisher in the 10k was an LA Marathoner top 10 runner/definitely elite status.

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Medal 🙂

I only hope that as I continue my training, I’ll become more competitive, faster, and stronger especially endurance-wise. I know I have it in me, but my recent injuries and mental mindset play a big role as well.

One thing I’m looking forward to is receiving help from a coach. I’m in the process of finding someone as I write this, and we’ll see how that turns out soon enough!

Race Recap – Los Angeles FroYo Run 10K

Race Recap – Los Angeles FroYo Run 10K

For the first half of March, I experienced my first running-related injury that kept me out from running for about 1 1/2 weeks. It was groin pull, and it took me by surprise…causing my pace to slow down and my thigh to really feel aggravated. I did end up taking ibuprofen towards the later half of that week, and that seemed to help with the inflammation. I was worried that I wouldn’t be in top condition for a 10k I had signed up for a few weeks prior, but I was able to have enough time to rest up, and do a decent job on race day.

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One of my rest day snacks: a Lenny & Larry’s cookie topped with flaxseed and chia seed PB 🙂

This race wasn’t as intense as the LA Marathon, but it was a race that I wanted to enjoy running in, as much as eating afterwards…

Instead of waking up two hours earlier than the starting time just to take public transit, I called an Uber around 6am, and only had to pay ~$11 for my trip to the woods of Griffith Park. My driver was like “are you sure you want to be dropped off here?”, referring to the darkness/tall trees, but since I saw some runners in the distance, I said it should be fine.

And with an inflatable Menchie’s character in my view, I’m pretty sure I was in the right place.

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Welcome to the froyo run…

After showing ID, I was able to pick up some goodies that included shades and a hat. Unfortunately, no race shirt was being given away at this race.

Since I was still a little early, I wandered around the tent area aimlessly until it was about race start time.

The 10k began a little after a 7am, and consisted of two loops around an area of Griffith Park. We even managed to run through areas where some of my marathon team training runs took place. To be honest though, running in Griffith Park can get a bit boring after awhile, but there are plenty of hills to wake you up from the creeping mediocrity!

The length of the race actually ended up being closer to 5.4 miles rather than a 6.2 miler/10k. Even so, I ran it at a 9:24/mi pace, which I was happy with since I was still dealing with a lingering injury.

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FroYo Run 2016

Once I made it back down to the tents, I was able to redeem my free FROYO, pretty much the whole purpose of this run!

I chose to get a vanilla snow base, topped with oreo cookie crumbles and M&Ms. Other toppings like granola and almonds were available too, but c’mon, you can’t put that up against candy 😉

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Free froyo and toppings = dream!!

I LOVE how the medal was an actual spoon. When I came home that afternoon, I literally ripped off the ribbon and stored the spoon away in my kitchen drawer. Yup, this is my first “useful” race medal.

froyo medal
I totally just kept the spoon. Why hang something that has some usefulness?!

Since the race didn’t have a spectacular post-race party beyond free froyo, I decided to walk back into the city, and ended up in Glendale’s Atwater Village, where I was many moons ago chowing down on the most gorgeous Mediterranean platter (that also garnered many admiring eyes on Insta 😛 ).

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Classic counter

This time, I turned in the opposite direction to check out Hugo’s for some filling, brunch-y vegetarian Mexican food.

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Hugo’s Tacos, Glendale’s Atwater Village

Hugo’s Tacos also offers meat options, but I appreciate how they have good protein options for veggie peeps too!

Even though it was barely lunchtime, I opted for the nachos platter with soy chorizo and vegan cheese.

nachos tray
Nachooooooos

I ordered at the counter, waited at the bench in front, and my nachos were ready within ten minutes. I grabbed my tray and walked over to the side of the food stand, and found a table to sit down at.

The nachos looked great from the side, but oh so magical from the top…

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Bird’s eye, pretty eye.

By eating my nachos with a fork, I was able to add a good-sized dollop of cheese, cubed potatoes, spicy soy chorizo, and zucchini cubes onto each crispy tortilla chips. There was a refreshing green dollop of guac on top, and fine layer of white beans on the bottom.

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Vegan cheese, soy chorizo, white beans…what more can you ask for in a tray of nachos?!?

I felt perfectly full at the end of this meal, and did not feel like I had to waddle to the bus stop. I had replenished my depleted energy stores from my run in the morning, and refueled enough to go grocery shopping at the Sprouts in Burbank.

I even had enough energy to anchor myself to the table and finish up that 20-page paper that owned the rest of that weekend, too. 😉

Have you ever had to deal with an annoying running injury?

What’s your favorite froyo topping?

Hugo's Tacos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Race Recap – Mission Possible 10K

Race Recap – Mission Possible 10K

May is going to be quite a busy month for me! I’m going to be running experiments in lab that require me to be available pretty much every morning this month (including weekends), so I wanted to get two races in before my weekend mornings were ‘captured’…at least for now!

I’ve been maintaining my weekly long run routine from marathon training, but I decided to change things up on the weekend that I signed up for a local 10k: the Mission Possible run near Elysian Park.

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Waiting for the train at 6AM

The race start required me to wake up at the early hour of 5AM in order to make it on time. After planning things out the night before, I figured the best option for me via public transit would be to take the Metro Expo, Red, and Gold lines and get off at Chinatown. From Chinatown, I walked another 1.5 miles to the Elysian Park area.

Walking through Chinatown around 7AM on a cool, cloudy morning was actually quite peaceful. The streets were empty, and there was a still calmness in the air. Night owls may have their fun, but there is something so special about early mornings that makes me appreciate identifying as an early bird 🙂

On this short but sweet walking adventure, I made my way through Chinatown, walked up a hill through a residential neighborhood, and found a tunnel decorated with kids’ art that passed just under the highway. 

I soon found the A-frame that designated the race location. 

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Once I saw a small pack of runners, volunteers, and spectators gathered near white tents, I knew I was in the right place. That, and the “LA Mission” banner that was hung up on the park’s tennis court fence were my clues.

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The race was run by the LA Mission, and profits from the race went towards this charitable organization. It was also relatively small compared to the other races I’ve participated in as of late. The turnout actually matched closely to what my New Year’s 5k was like.

before the start

The race was so small and simply-organized, that there wasn’t even an official bag check area. I thought there would be since I had emailed the race director earlier asking specifically about this, but unfortunately it was not in existence on race day! Fortunately, one of the volunteers manning the timing table allowed me to keep my bag with him under the table, so things did work out in the end 🙂

There was a 10-minute group warm-up held by a fitness instructor before the race start, and soon after warming up, all of runners (and walkers) huddled close to the start line. We were off a little after 8AM, and for the next hour, I undertook this course:

Rcepath

There were turns, hills, gravel roads, wind gusts, and small “bursts of ennui” that would pop up now and then, but there was one part of the race that made up for all of the above. A little after mile 1 (and around mile 5 after the halfway-point turn), our eyes were treated to the most fabulous view of LA—downtown LA to Union Station to East LA could all be seen in the distance, and the entire view certainly would have made for a lovely panoramic picture!

The thing that I love about 10ks is that just as soon as you start to feel the boredom kicking in, the race is halfway over! Haha. That being said, I still managed to enjoy the latter part of the run even though my legs were slightly irritated with me for running in my gym shoes rather than my Hokas…

When I got back and passed the finish line, I was immediately handed a water bottle and a medal. I was surprised that we even received participant medals since it was a tiny race to begin with, but I had no issues with that!

outsideafter race

On the other hand, the freebies were lacking since each runner only got one Luna bar in their goody bags. I was able to grab another water bottle though. There were a couple sponsor tents on the grassy part of the park, but from what I could tell, nothing free was being given away 😛 .

I decided to head back to Chinatown Station around 10:30AM, and looked forward to another (cool down) walk.

 Walking back from race // View from Chinatown Station
Walking back from race // View from Chinatown Station

Six hours had already passed since I had woken up, and now people were slowly making their way onto the streets. Shops were starting to open up, and life was blooming once again on a Saturday morning.

And while I wanted to take a nap, I held out for a few more hours so I could get grocery shopping done, as well as get started on what would be the paper that took me 14 hours total to complete! Still though, it was nice to squeeze a short-but-super distance into my schedule, and support a local organization at the same time. 

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Have you run any local races lately?

Race Recap: Brazen Almost New Year’s Race

Race Recap: Brazen Almost New Year’s Race

I was hesitant to make my last run of 2014 a trail run, but given my options, I had little choice. Despite having numb hands at the end of the run (even with running gloves on!!), it turned out to be an okay run…but certainly not one I would consider running again if given the choice.

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The race start in Lake Chabot—fuh-ree-zing temps!!

I woke up around 6AM, and assembled my cold gear essentials together while sipping on some coffee before heading out the door. At least the freezing temperature gave me the opportunity to try on a new pair of Mizuno gloves and some new socks (definitely was in need of some new socks 😉 )!

morningraceprepp

It took us about an hour to get to Lake Chabot in Alameda County, where the race was held. By the time I got to the tents, the half marathoners were already on foot. I was desperately trying to keep warm, so I could only imagine what they were feeling like!

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Even the SKY looks frozen!!

The 10k didn’t start until it was close to 9AM. My legs were feeling sore from running in my old gym shoes from previous days’ workouts, since I didn’t pack my Hoka One Ones, but I didn’t have any other choice but to run in my flatly-padded shoes. Oh well, I just had to suck it up and brace myself for the steep climbs ahead. 

The first 2 miles were manageable. I was running at a consistent 9:20/mi pace and it was mostly flat up until we crossed a single-file bridge. At that point, there were hills to run up climb. It got to a point where the hills were so steep that running seemed impossible, and it literally turned into a hike. There were so many defeated looks plastered on the faces of runners around me, but I tried to put the obstacle into perspective: this was a hill that had to be conquered, and after reaching the top, I told myself that I could get back to running business.

We had a turn-around a little after mile 3, and it was all downhill from there—literally. The steep climbs turned into precarious slopes, and having good balance and control of your legs was more than necessary…it was mandatory for survival. Needless to say, I was relieved when I saw the single-file bridge again in the distance, since I knew flat grounds were near. From that point on, it was smooth running to the finish. Of course, my legs felt beat up (mostly from the shoes I was running in, plus the added intensity of the hills), but I guess the heavy finisher’s medal made up for it…

medal

There wasn’t much in post-race festivities and freebies, but there was a huge buffet lined up with sweets and savories:

buffet

Nothing on the table struck my fancy, and instead, I made my way over to the Naked Smoothie truck parked near the entryway to the park.

nakedsmoothies_truck!

Along with giving out samples…

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…they were giving out free t-shirts with four decals of our choosing! Gotta love free t-shirts—especially ones that can be used as PJs 😀 

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It took about 3-5 minutes to prepare a t-shirt and get it pressed with the decals, so I was in line for a good forty minutes. It was worth it though, and with my Dad standing in line as well, we were able to pick up one for my sister. 

By the time we left the race grounds, it was nearing noon and we had agreed to meet my cousin at Bacheesos in Oakland for lunch. With my sis and I away at school for the past couple months, we had not seen her since summer, and so I was looking forward to the opportunity to meet up with her again!

The restaurant was on a street corner, and even though the sign(s) were tiny, we were able to spot out its location before finding parking. 

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Parking was (surprisingly) free, and so we proceeded to walk towards the restaurant without having to pause and sift for spare change. 

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We met my cousin inside, and found some seats near the wall. The interior was spacious, and a lunch buffet was already line up. 

bacheesos interior

The lunch buffet offered a grand selection…

bacheeso's buffet

For the first pass, I got a variety of veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, beets, bell peppers, eggplant discs), pita bread, hummus, a yogurt-based dip, and a generous dollop of moussaka. At first I confused the potato-laden dish for babaganoush based on appearance, but when I actually tried it on my plate, I found it too bland for my liking, and didn’t go back for seconds of that. 

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Speaking of seconds though, I did go back for more of the veggies and eggplant discs. I also had some scrambled eggs with the hummus, and what a combo that was 😀

2ndsand3rdsatthebuffet

Once we had our fill at lunch, we went back to my cousin’s place and hung out for a while. Along with catching up, we played a cards and had some coffee before leaving in the early evening. To round out the day, we stopped for some froyo before heading home.

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Ending the day with a fun cup of frozen yogurt! Flavors here are: original tart, peppermint stick, and fancy french vanilla! 😛

What was your last race of the year?

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Race Recap: Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run

Race Recap: Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run

Christmas in July: that’s what it felt like on the morning of my first Christmas-themed race in Santa Monica!

 SaMo in December...yeah I'm not lying.
SaMo in December…yeah I’m not lying.

I signed up for this race around the time I decided on the turkey trot, and even though I knew it would be in the middle of what was supposed to be a weekend devoted to studying, I figured that a short & sweet race wouldn’t do any harm. A healthy study break is always a good idea 😀

funinthesun
This race had such a great turnout. I arrived about an hour before the 5k start, just as the 10k runners were making their way back in.

I woke up around 6AM, and took the Metro Line down to Culver City to transfer over to the bus that stops at Venice and Santa Monica. The trip took about an hour, and I arrived at the start site (close to the beach), and had so. much. time. to. kill. after picking up my bib and race supplies.

pickupstuff

The way they had it set up was that everyone’s name was assigned a number that we (the runners) were responsible for looking up before heading over to the registration table. At the table, we got our bibs, pins, cute longsleeve t-shirts, and a commemorative santa hat. 

Since I did have quite a bit of time before the 5k start, I used that time to people dog watch 😉

 The race atmosphere is attracting to so many dogs!!
The race atmosphere is attracting to so many dogs!!

Along with the energetic emcee, Santa & the elves were situated atop a podium near the finish, cheering and taking pictures with the crowd.

santa!

Soon, it was finally time to line up at the start, and before I knew it, I was off with the crowds on my second official 5k race. The route immediately led us over the Venice borderline, and the roads were absolutely empty—even the amount of cars parked on the street were at a minimum. Since there was no gear check, I had to run with a drawstring bag and belt, so that meant I had my phone near me, but I didn’t feel like taking pictures as I was running. You just have to trust me on this one 😉

I felt annoyed with the feel of my belt as I was running, but in the end, finishing with a 8:45/mi pace made up for it.

After being handed my medal, I walked over to the post-race tents.

samplesafterrace

A lot of the vendors were more focused on selling their products, but there were some noteworthy freebies. I was able to get some free apples (crockpot time!), a fig bar packet, and some electrolyte samples. I also got a one-week trial pass for a gym in the area, had my ears/hips/shoulders measured at a chiropractor’s tent, and took some water bottles with me before finally leaving. 

I stopped to pick up some groceries, and then headed back home. The rest of the afternoon/evening was spent pouring over a paper that required all of my energy and concentration. Still, I don’t regret choosing to spend my morning at a sunny Christmas-themed run. 

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Have you ever participated in a Christmas-themed race?

Race Recap: Run to Feed the Hungry

Race Recap: Run to Feed the Hungry

When your Dad is the one who reminds you that you have a race to run on Thanksgiving morning, and that it would be best to hit the hay after an 8 hour bus ride from LA, you know that running a turkey trot on Thanksgiving is now tradition. This particular race marked my third consecutive turkey trot (and also apparently has the largest amount of participants of all turkey trots in the country!), with my first ever turkey trot also being my first ever race! Hard to believe that was just two years ago 😀 !

morningprep_itwasntthiscold24hrsago.
Woke up and got ready to brace the cold with my armwarmers (!!), a cup of black coffee with a splash of milk; walking to the race start in 40 degree-ish temps.

I was able to wake up on Thanksgiving morning without too much resistance. I went about my pre-race routine and “fueled” with a coffee since I didn’t feel too hungry. Off in the car we went, with the heater on full-blast to combat the chilly temps outside.

We had to park in a nearby car garage (didn’t have to worry about fees like in LA though 😉 ), and then had to walk about ~0.5 miles to the actual race start. There were already a bunch of people standing around—taking pictures with the inflatable turkey, picking up their race packets, and using the well-positioned porta-potties. 

preracestarrrt
Pre-race decorations and activities: inflatable turkey, banner, porta-potties line-up, t-shirt pick-up.

After walking around, I found my spot at the crowded race start.

waitingatthestartline
The shirts were more light red than pink…

And at 8:15am, we were given the signal to GO! I was able to keep a consistent and speedy-for-me pace throughout the entire 10k. The course was quiet and residential, and I appreciated the fresh air in this locale, compared to the inevitable car/bus exhaust I’ve been having to inhale on my weekday runs in DTLA 😛

I did have to deal with a slightly agitated bladder towards the end of the run, but I was able to keep my mind off of the fact by keeping my eyes glued on the surroundings. A lot of the families living in the houses we were running by were stationed outside with encouraging posters and fun costumes. There was one family giving out orange juices AND mimosas around mile 5. In fact, I would say it was easier to get a cup of OJ along the course instead of water. Who would have thought? 

In the end, I was able to shave off 30 seconds from my current 10k PR. Running below 9:00/mi never felt so good 😀

race!
After the race, we had to walk from the finish line over to the post-race area and get our water there instead of right at the finish. Sorta awkward…

The only thing better than actually running a good race was of course the megaload of freebies I scored. Clif was a major sponsor of this race, and so there were mini Clif bars galore. Ask me exactly how many bars I walked away with, and I will plead the fifth…

somanyfreebies
A bakery also offered out pumpkin cake bites!

I also tried to meet up with a friend who ran this race as her first 10k! Unfortunately due to miscommunication, we weren’t able to get together, but I did see her eventually over the holiday weekend. And of course, there will be other races we could run together, since I think she found this 10k to be quite an accomplishment. I’m certainly proud of her!

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What’s a race without outdoor music?

Once we got back from the race, it was nearing noon so we really had to get started with Thanksgiving cooking! After laying out my loot and taking a quick nap, I helped my Dad in the kitchen, and about 2 hours later, was able to refuel with a delicious feast along with my family 😀

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Did you run a turkey trot this year?

MTR: Week 4

MTR: Week 4

Hard to believe that one month has passed in regards to my marathon training! In all honesty, it feels like my normal running routine so far, but the LSD miles are packing on—and fast.

Sunday’s LSD run was literally a surprise to me until about half an hour before the scheduled run, since the email notification for our group was down. We ended up carpooling over to Dockweiler State Beach, so we were pretty much in the same area as the Woodchips run from last week.

I was bracing myself for a 11-miler, but when one of the captains “cheerfully” announced that the day’s run would be a 12 miler, I felt as though I should be both smiling and grimacing: smiling for the fact that I would have an extra mile tacked on to my total mileage for the week, and grimacing about the idea of running an additional mile I hadn’t “mentally” prepared for. But the run went well overall though, despite some minor aches in  my thigh/knee area after mile 10. 

TURKEY TROT craziness!!!
TURKEY TROT craziness!!!

Sunday – LSD 12.6 miler at 9:40/mi, with the team

Monday – Rest

Tuesday –  5 miler solo run at 9:24/mi

Wednesday – Rest (although 8 hours on a bus doesn’t seem as restful as it sounds…)

Thursday –  10k race! and ran my fastest 10k to date at 8:43/mi

Friday – 3.3 miler solo run on “old” routine route at 9:21/mi

Saturday – Rest


Total Mileage -> 27.1 miles

The highlight of my week though was the turkey trot I participated in! Recap soon to come, but to summarize, I was able to beat my current 10k PR from this race with a pace of 8:43/mi! Friday’s run was a 3.3 miler on a route most familiar to me since it was the one I always ran on before moving to LA. The rest of the day was spent napping/catching up with old friends while doing homework at Starbucks/watching movies. I would definitely say Week 4 turned out to be a great running week in regards to my marathon training progress 😀 !

Did you do any running over the Thanksgiving holiday? 

Race Recap: Davis Moonlight Race

Race Recap: Davis Moonlight Race

Last weekend, I ran in my first night race. Actually, it ended up being more of an evening race, but if I had instead raced in the Half Marathon Wave 2, then I may have finished under the moonlight. Nevertheless, the race was still a new and enjoyable experience.

Since my race was at 7:30PM versus AM, I had to take a different (and perhaps more careful) approach with fueling on race day. I had a late lunch as a result: a piece of flatbread made of plain pizza dough, with a side of steamed veggies flavored with spices and coconut flakes. I also had some greek yogurt with Kashi cereal (unpictured). 

 pre-race fuelage
My favorite go-to lunch—be it pre-fuel or post-fuel depends on when I go running in the day!

After my meal, I took a 45 minute nap before leaving with my Dad, friend, and sis around 5:00PM for the race venue.  Along the way, my Dad wanted to make a pit stop at a roadside produce place since we had the time. Also on the “things to do before the race” list was getting my eyebrows threaded, and dinner for the gang. Since I didn’t want to eat anything too soon before the race, I got my eyebrows threaded while everyone had sandwiches from Subway. All of this occupied our time until around 6:30PM, when at that point we actually drove over to the race venue. 

 market along the way
Roadside produce pit stop.

This race had so many different start times that I almost freaked out about misreading my start time. By the time we got to the parking area, we could see the runners from Wave 1 of the Half Marathon already running towards us, full speed ahead. 

Wave 1, Half Marathon
Wave 1, Half Marathon

Because the lot we were headed towards was full by the time we got around the runners, my Dad dropped the girls and I off, and we slowly made our way around the DMG Mori building towards packet pick-up—doing our best to keep our steps within the boundaries of shade. 

 walking to pick-up
Walking towards packet pick-up.

After receiving my bib and shirt (which was in a lovely shade of blue!), I shuffled the girls to an area of shade near the start line. We also had a clear view of the wall of porta potties, and the bouncy houses behind us. We were rooted in this area when the start for the kid’s fun mile was announced. Despite the weather being quite hot, the kids were full of energy and didn’t seem to complain at all. They all just seemed to be focused on the getting to the finish, where a ribbon and sno-cone were waiting for their arrival. 

 getting to where the action is
Kids assembling for the fun run // bouncy house // porta potties

All three of us were beginning to get antsy with just standing around, so I suggested that we walk past the bouncy houses, since I sensed a couple of booths were stationed behind them! And indeed there were—boxes of things from free mini body washes to mini trail mix packs were being handed out. Being a group of cheap, frugal girls headed back to school, you know we stocked up!

 snack line
The booth with the most freebies.

As we delved further and further into the booth fair, we found ourselves getting lost in the crowds. How could it be avoided when there were masseuses ready to have people sign up for post-race massages, and sweaty kids standing in line for their post-race sno-cone treat?

 crowds, massage, sno cones, new balance
Unavoidable crowd // Massages—being given before the race too?! // Kids in line for sno-cones // New Balance

It took some time to persuade the girls to get into the freebie revelry, but once I had them each approach the KIND bar booth and get a KIND bar “for me”, they were soon victims of the freebie-collecting bug 😉 .

So of course the freebies quest kept us busy until I had to head over to the start line. We left right on the dot at 7:30PM with a sun still high in the sky and the air as warm as ever—it was, after all, 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The 5kers were instructed to hang back until 7:45, since the roads would be packed for the first mile or 2 with just 10kers and wave 2 half marathoners alone.

Mile 1 – Navigating in between hundreds of runners can be quite the challenge, only because it’s so annoying. Right when you think you’ve found “your space”, you land right behind someone running 30 seconds slower than your target pace. I thought that with all this navigating, my pace would be slowed, but it was actually quite the opposite. (9:07/mi)

Mile 2The heat was beginning to catch up to me, and I came across the first water station where I grabbed a cup and drank it down chipmunk style. I still managed to maintain a consistent pace, according to Garmin. (9:02/mi)

Mile 3 – I was starting to get bored. I finally got the space I wanted, but I was now running on a woodsy park trail, and it was difficult to discern when it would end. (9:16/mi)

Mile 4 – I approached the second water station with my eyes directly oriented towards a specific volunteer. I couldn’t get all of the water in my mouth, so I ended up just splashing it on my heated skin and bib. It then looked like I had an awkward area of sweat on my shirt, but I just had to keep going. Given how warm it was still, I had to assume that my shirt would dry in no time at all. (9:19/mi)

Mile 5 – The end was so near…we pretty much looped around and ran back across a bridge that we had to cross in the very beginning. There was a nice breeze sweeping over all of us runners, and the sun was just starting to set. If I had my phone with me at the time (and the dexterity), I would have certainly taken a picture of the gorgeous view from the bridge. My pace quickened up again, thanks to the descent. (9:05/mi)

Mile 6 – Why does the last mile always have to be so tough? I was ready to call it a day, surprised by the amount of sweat I had perspired over the past hour. I don’t think I sweat that much in a race ever…not even during my half marathons! (9:05/mi)

According to my Garmin, I completed the race with an overall average pace of 9:06/mi. Looking at my pace chart, it looks like I had a lot more speedy spikes after the 3 mile mark…

 timingoffthecharts
Speedy after mile 3.

After gulping down large water bottle (and surprisingly not getting a scolding from my bladder!), I learned that it was around 8:30PM and I was more than ready to head home. The girls were already waiting in the car, and so my Dad and I walked about a half mile to get to where the car was parked. As we were driving back, I could not resist taking a picture of the evening sky. It had finally started to cool down, and rolling down the windows as we approached the highway was definitely a good idea 😉

 sky after the race
The sky after the race.

Once I got home around 9:30PM, I had my late dinner and admired my shirt.

 da shirt

As well as the goods that (my friends and) I collected.

 fooods
I think I’m good on deodorant for the next couple months…

For my first “night” race, it was a pleasant-enough experience. Based on recaps I read about this race from past years, this year was relatively mild, though perhaps only by a smidgen since I crossed the finish line with probably enough sweat to fill five water bottles. Sorry if that’s TMI…I might be exaggerating too 😉

Have you ever run a summer evening/night race?

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