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 ๐Ÿ˜› ?

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 โ€“ Run/Walk to Fight Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases 2016

Race Recap โ€“ Run/Walk to Fight Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases 2016

Two weekends ago, I ran a repeat race! Last year, I ran California’s inaugural Run/Walk to Fight Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases, and I followed it up this year without actually planning for it.

Seeing that my last race was in April, and one that I didn’t find to my liking, I was looking to find any race that would fit my schedule. And since the Expo Line extended about a month ago, it has made it MUCH easier to participate in races occuring in Santa Monica!

Since the Run/Walk to Fight Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases was taking place in Santa Monica again, I was easily able to wake up around 6am, versus the 5am wake-up call I set for myself last year. Yes, I was also doing the 10×10 challenge so part of my reason for waking up earlier than usual was to add some miles to the 5k, but this year, I wanted to see how fast I could be in the shorter distance.

Checking in for the race on a bright day in Santa Monica!
Checking in for the race on a bright day in Santa Monica!

The goodies weren’t in a surplus like last year, and consisted of the basic fruit items, coffee, and a slim selection of bars (Kashi and mini Clifs). I remember bringing home a HUGE haul last year so I definitely was disappointed. Oh well…

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Fruity refreshments and waiting for the race to begin.

There were still many vendors specializing in compression gear set up at tables, looking to inform and guide those living with lymphedema on products that could be helpful.

Kathy Bates is the celebrity ambassador for Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN), and she honored a brave woman by the name of Marie with an Inspiration award. Marie’s speech was very touching, and it really put some perspective on the run/walk. The crowd that was present was definitely a mix of runners looking just to check off another race, and those suffering from lymphedema, their families, and friends. I think that while some of the runners’ initial intentions for signing up for the race were to just run, these thoughts softened after the speeches were heard. It definitely made me feel grateful for my ability to run.

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Race Shirt!

The race started around 9am, and I was worried that the weather would be unfavorable, but the ocean breeze actually made things much cooler. It was still mildly humid and I felt sticky throughout the run, but I was able to achieve my goal of running faster than last year. I ended up being the first female back, clocking in with a 7:56/mi pace!! I had several confidence boosts during my run, with people shouting out my bib number and a group of women runners cheering me on.

After the race, I replenished with water and then headed back towards downtown Santa Monica for some breakfast since it was still a decent hour in the morning. Upon seeing this chalkboard sign, I was immediately tempted to go in.

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Acai is calling out to me!

The Hive is a cafe that specializes in organic and superfood-enriched meals. The acai and similar bowls are just one of the spectacular-sounding goods offered here.

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Decorative wall art and fancy seating area.

Because it’s my latest obsession, I ordered a bowl with a dragonfruit base (that’s apparently mixed with some almond milk and banana according to the employee who took my order at the counter), mixed with the “power” mix of almond butter, cacao, and maca. I also had them add cacao nibs, granola, pineapple, goji berries, and bee pollen.

After picking a table in the corner by the window, I waited semi-patiently until my beautiful, cold bowl arrived.

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Dragonfruit bowl with power mix (almond butter, cacao, maca), cacao nibs and granola, pineapple and goji berries, and bee pollen.

The dragonfruit base had a slushie-like consistency, and the pineapple chunks had a tart flavor, but what I enjoyed most was the crunchy granola mixed with the chewy, gummy-like goji berries. The conglomerate textures caused my mouth to have a workout! So not only did I get my cardio in that day via a 5K, but also with my late breakfast, haha!

Even though my day started off wonderful, I soon had to head back in order to go into lab for a bit. It was disappointing having to cut my time in Santa Monica short, but it didn’t sting too much…knowing that I’ll be moving to this fun-in-the-sun place in less than a month is has allowed me to accept that fact that performing a balancing act with work + life now will pay off soon enough!

The Hive - Organic Cafe & Superfood Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Race Recap: Hard Rock Cafe 10k

Race Recap: Hard Rock Cafe 10k

By the time this post goes live, I will probably be on my way, or already in, Las Vegas…all so that I can run a half marathon that benefits a remarkable foundation. Obviously all of that deserves a post (or series) of its own, but to get myself into the racing spirit, I ended up registering for the Hard Rock Cafe 10k in Hollywood (at the last minute), which took place last Saturday.

It was so much of a last decision, that I treated it like a usual weekday run rather than a race. In fact, I had to get back to lab later that morning!

 At the break of dawn.
At the break of dawn.

I took the Metro Red line and made it to Hollywood/Highland around 6AM. After picking up my bib, I rushed into the nearest Starbucks just to keep warm. Others had the same idea, but also felt like they could squeeze in a cup of coffee before the 7AM start.

 Waiting to start.
Waiting to start.
 Early morning packet pick-up.
Early morning packet pick-up.

We ended up leaving around 7:10AM since the staff was still making sure all the roads part of the course were closed off.

The course was extremely flat, and all of it was on gravel road. I’m not sure if this contributed to the shin soreness that I started to feel, but I did feel unusually fatigued for most of the run. I did end up finishing at an 8:50 pace, but my legs felt much more numb and sore than usual.

 Post-race reunions.
Post-race reunions.

The medal was snazzy, but the race shirt was a little over-the-top and too baggy for my liking…

Medal and shirt.
Medal and shirt.

There wasn’t much in post-race goods either. Just pH-balanced water (lol), bananas, and Nesquik. Um, where were the bars??

 Healthy watuuurrrr lol
Healthy watuuurrrr lol
 Bananas...
Bananas…

Pleased with my overall time, and after stuffing my bag with bottles of water and Nesquik, I made it back to my apartment just after 10…and just as my roommate was getting up!

 Nesquik truck!
Nesquik truck!

Sometimes I may get frustrated with my tendency to wake up at the crack of dawn before most people have the energy to hit the snooze button on their alarms, but most of the time, I’m amazed with how much I’m able to get done in those early hours…races included ๐Ÿ˜‰

Do you like planning your races, or signing up for races as they come up?

Race Recap – Run/Walk to Fight Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases

Race Recap – Run/Walk to Fight Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases

I didnโ€™t expect things to be so slow and calm these past two weeks, but they surprisingly have been! With people gone on vacation, things have also been pretty slow and steady at work in lab. Of course Iโ€™ve been making sure to get what I need to get done each day done, but the demands have eased a bit compared to how things were last month!

And with that, racing on the weekends was a possibility again. Two weekends ago, it was a Fatherโ€™s Day Half, but this past weekend, it was a 5K for a very worthy cause.

At the time I registered for the race, I knew that I would be in the middle of a running challenge (that I voluntarily got myself intoโ€ฆmore on that in an upcoming post!), so I paid my dues knowing that I would have to allot some time on race morning to get a โ€œwarm-upโ€ in before the actual 5K.

To account for all this, I woke up on Sunday morning around 5AM, and got my things together. I was on the train an hour later, and ran from Culver City Station all the way to Crescent Bay Park. The distance was a little over 7 miles, and certainly overqualified as a warm-up ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Gazebo at Crescent Bay Park

I found the registration area set-up below from where I was standing, and carefully walked down the steps. I didnโ€™t want to risk getting an ankle sprain before the actual run!

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Once I got down to ground level, I signed-in, grabbed my bib and goody bag, and then hung around near the refreshments. It may have been a small turn-out and a tiny 5K, relatively speaking, but the goodies spread out for the taking were beyond awesome.

Fancy water bottles...
Fancy water bottles…
Bars galore...including Quest Bars! My dream come true!
Bars galore…including Quest Bars! My dream come true!

As for the vendors at the race, they stayed consistent with the theme of the race. Since the 5K was all about Lymphedema and Lymphatic Disease awareness, many of the vendors were compression materials/medical companies specializing in lymphedema treatment.

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Since I came super early, I took the time to scope my surroundings, despite it only being a small area to begin with. I also snacked on a few bars while doing so.

 Finish line/Start line in the distance
Finish line/Start line in the distance

As time went on, more people showed up and started sitting down near the portable stage. Before the race began, there were speeches, testimonials, etc.

 Seating area.
Seating area.

The speeches began around 8:30AM, and were presented by speakers representing the Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) and BSN Medical. Apparently this race was the first of its kind being held on the West Coast, and its goal was to spread awareness of lymphedema, since ~10 million Americans suffer from it. It can be genetic, a side effect of cancer treatment (due to the removal of lymph nodes), or brought upon by trauma to the lymphatic system. Whatever the cause, it is obviously a very painful, challenging disease to deal with, and the speakers kept emphasizing the fact that it is often a disease that is โ€œhiddenโ€ by those that silently suffer from it.

We were introduced to a seven-year old boy who suffers from primary lymphedema in his left leg, and an elderly WWII veteran named Julius who had been suffering from the disease for years. Seeing what they had to go through on a daily basis—and realizing that there was no cure yet, just therapies for managing the condition—made the fact that our participation in this small 5K actually meant something.

 Listening loud and clear.
Listening loud and clear.

Kathy Bates, the national spokesperson for LE&RN, attended the pre-race ceremonies and gave a not-so-silent speech herself. She told her story—after a double mastectomy, she had lymph nodes removed and lymphedema occurred as a result. Since then, sheโ€™s been an avid supporter and fighter for lymphedema awareness.

After hearing all of the speeches, we were ushered to the starting line where a ribbon was being rolled out.

Once the ribbon was cut, a blow horn sounded and we were allowed to run! Even though it was a 5K, my legs felt dead at that point since I had already run 7 miles just an hour earlier. Despite this, I reminded myself it was โ€œjust another three milesโ€. The fact that it was a 1.5 mile out-and-back mentally helped push me through.

I managed to lock in and finish at an average pace of 9:23/mi, and though this wasnโ€™t top female finisher material, I was proud of my pace on sore quads. I was also grateful for have the ability to run day in and day out, and to find the time to run for a worthy and necessary cause.

Before heading home, I grabbed enough Quest bars to last me a full week (saving me almost $30 bucks!!!), as well as some other bar goodies I had not tried before.

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Yup, Iโ€™d say this was a worth 5K from all angles ๐Ÿ˜‰

Do you or someone you know suffer from lymphedema or lymphatic disease? *This post wasnโ€™t sponsored, but if you are interested in learning more about LE&RN, click here.

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜› .

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: Solano Resolution 5K Run

Race Recap: Solano Resolution 5K Run

Unlike last year, when my first race of the year was in May due to life events that were taking place in the first five months (that obviously took priority over running), I was able to participate in a race on the very first day of 2015.

Sure, it was a small one, but a race nonetheless.

 A small turnout to the race---actually looked and felt more like a giant group run!!
A small turnout to the race—actually looked and felt more like a giant group run!!

The race didn’t start until 11am on New Year’s Day, so I was able to wake up very casually that morning. I didn’t need the “extra” sleep though, at least as much as other people, since I went to sleep on NYE around 10pm (yes, call me granny!!)

Fueled by coffee and Quest bars, I spent the morning trying to keep warm at home until around 9:30am. After getting ready and getting my gear together, my friend met me at my house and we were able to carpool together over to the race.

When we arrived at the race location, we didn’t see any indication that a race was even occuring. We were worried that we mistook the location or that the race was cancelled, but after seeing an older man with a bib running a warm-up lap, he was able to direct us to the proper location.

I was able to pick up my race bib and shirt the day before, but I stood in line with my friend so she could get hers.

 Small line for packet pick-up.
Small line for packet pick-up.

We had to shuffle around to keep warm, and in the meantime, entered a raffle for a month’s worth of free produce. The tent was the only vendor tent in the facility.

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Volunteers were setting up refreshments.

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When it was approaching 11am, we were all called to gather near the rainbow balloon arch and to begin the race. There were no corrals, no pacers— just a swarm of people sharing the road for a no-pressure, out-and-back 5k run.

I ran beside my friend for the first 0.3 miles, but then my legs pushed me to go farther and faster. I clocked in just under 9 minutes for the first mile according to my Garmin, and was glad to get past the “weaving” stage of the race and to get into a rhythm.

My toes felt numb despite wearing my thickest running socks possible, but at least my armmwarmers were doing their job! My legs were feeling numb as well, and pretty much the only parts I could feel were my ice-cold hands…and my bladder (even though I visited the bathroom several times before starting!!)

After the turnaround at 1.5 miles, I kept an eye out for my friend, and we exchanged a gentle high-five as we passed eachother. I continued to keep a consistent, just-under-9-minute-mile pace, and as a result, continued to pass more runners.

I was relieved to see the mile 3 marker in the distance and dash towards the rainbow arch.

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The volunteers did their part to cheer and congratulate, and I gratefully accepted a water bottle. One of the volunteers commented that I looked way too relaxed. I sort of hope so, since I am in the middle of training for a marathon ๐Ÿ˜‰ !

It was a small event, but the classic fare of bagels & bananas were served. I grabbed my share, but gave it to my Dad to munch on.

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My friend finished soon after, and scored herself a new PR with a 31-and-something total time (at least according to my dad’s phone stopwatch ๐Ÿ˜› ). We took some pictures, and then headed back to the car. The plan was to stop at Peet’s and get some post-run coffee.

 Keepin' it real with a cardboard box trash receptacle. Recycling was right next to it  :)
Keepin’ it real with a cardboard box trash receptacle. Recycling was right next to it ๐Ÿ™‚

It was my first time having a cup of Peet’s coffee, and I was able to split the blend of the day with my Dad while my friend got a coffee for herself. It was around noon, but the shop was quite busy. We spent some time inside before heading back into the car for home.

 I wish I remember what the blend of the day that day was...
I wish I remember what the blend of the day that day was…

The rest of the day was spent lounging around the house, and being as lazy as one can be on a holiday. Hard to believe that the holidays are officially over, and that it’s time to get back the work! At least I can say 2015 has started off well.

Hey, when a run is involved, how can it not ๐Ÿ™‚ ?

How did you spend the first day of 2015?

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ )!

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…

nakedsample

…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 ๐Ÿ˜€ 

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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. 

outsidebacheesos

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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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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! ๐Ÿ˜›

What was your last race of the year?

Bacheesos on Urbanspoon

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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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?

MTR: Week 5

MTR: Week 5

Week 5 in marathon training has been a long & busy one. I have not been exhausted from the runs, but more so from the last week of classes and looming exams this coming week! We also had some crazy weather shifts in LA (raining early in the week), so that sort of influenced my mood in regards to getting out the door to run. 

Despite all of these fluctuations and changes, I did manage to rack up some quality runs over the week, including a speedy 5k race. 

 A 5k over the weekend, and new shoes---posts to come :)
A 5k over the weekend, and new shoes (!!!) —detailed posts on each to come ๐Ÿ™‚

Sunday – LSD 12 miler (in the rain!!!) at 9:27/mi 

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday 7 miles total [ 1 mi warm-up at 9:03/mi + 6 miler at 9:09/mi]

Thursday –  3 miler solo morning run at 9:36/mi

Friday – Rest

Saturday – 5k race at 8:45/mi


Total Mileage ->  25.1 miles

Since I was up in Nor Cali for the Thanksgiving weekend, I ran a 12 mile LSD on my own. The team scheduled an optional 11 miler for that weekend, as I learned later, so I’m sort of proud that I ran that additional mile (because every mile counts ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Monday was a travel day, and Tuesday was heavy rain day in LA, so those events put a damper on my running plans.

On Wednesday, there were some light showers, but I did push myself to go out for a run with the team—more like one other individual—and ran a 6 miler that seemed longer than it was. Thursday was another solo run that I just wasn’t feeling. Friday’s rest day put things in order so that I could run a rock-solid 5k on Saturday. I chose to run the shorter distance because a) the later start time meant I could coordinate it with the bus schedule and b) a 13 mi LSD was on the schedule the following day!

Does the rain interfere with your running plans? 

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 ๐Ÿ˜€ !

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), 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 ๐Ÿ˜›

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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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Did you run a turkey trot this year?

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