Race Recap – Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Halloween Half Marathon

Race Recap – Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Halloween Half Marathon

The last time I ran the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in LA was three years ago, when I had just moved to LA. I was excited to have it be my first run in my new home, and a half marathon at that. It was before my marathon racing days…my how time flies, haha.

Making my rounds at the expo like a pro :P
Making my rounds at the expo like a pro 😛

But with time, I’ve also become more jaded with the whole expo/lead-up to race day. It’s like everything is such a routine, with nothing new to expect…to be honest, going to expos for packet pick-up seems more like a chore for me now than an exciting thing to do. I even got in a long run before stepping into this expo because of my marathon training schedule. This race was just another opportunity to run and get some miles in while continuing on my Route 66 Marathon journey—which happens to be in less than two days upon publishing this post!!

Needless to say, I was in and out of the convention center within a half hour. I made plans to spend the rest of the day with E back in my neighborhood. We met up near Venice and Figueroa, and hopped on a bus to take us to Abbot Kinney.

The Tasting Kitchen, Venice
The Tasting Kitchen, Venice

We made our way through the crowds of tourists and Lululemon-wearing locals to get to The Tasting Kitchen, where we came across even more crowds of pretentious folk socializing over brunch. Would our grad student salaries get us much here? LOL!

We were eventually seated near the back, in the middle of two other groups: one couple and to our left, another pair of friends.

The menu was tricky to figure out. When our waiter came by, I just ended up asking what were the vegetarian options on their menu, since I couldn’t figure it out. He recommended the burrata dish, so I just agreed to get that, along with a plain biscuit. E got a sandwich that had a really long description and name, as well as a cream cheese and chive biscuit.

Our waiter walked away in a jiffy as soon as he got our orders, but came back pretty quickly to notify E of some unfortunate news: they had run out of cream cheese and chive biscuits. E was just like…”uhh, can I just get a plain biscuit?” and the “problem” was solved? Haha, at least the waiter offered to comp her biscuit.

Burrata with butternut squash, chopped hazelnuts, balsamic sauce
Burrata with butternut squash, chopped hazelnuts, balsamic sauce

When our orders came, I justified the price I was paying for the meal with the fact that the presentation was perfectly on point. Roasted butternut squash slices topped with bubbly burrata and chopped hazelnuts, coated with a balsamic sauce. Was I really in Venice, or some upscale restaurant in New York owned by a chef fresh from taping a series of Top Chef?

The biscuit was super flaky and he flavor was quite enhanced by the butter and salt. A great vehicle for mopping up the leftover balsamic sauce.

Buttery, flaky biscuit
Buttery, flaky biscuit

After lunch, we tried to forget how much money E and I spent on a mid-day meal and walked into a few shops along Abbot Kinney. We then walked towards the Venice Canals, and then ended up at the beach. We ended up walking a TON but the walk was made eventful with a bunch of gossiping and laughing. My legs were shot, but I was able to get home by 4 and spent the rest of the evening rolling out my legs and resting as much as possible before race day.

Fun day by the water <3
Fun day by the water <3

The next morning, I woke up around 4am. I had a couple minutes to roll out my muscles more, and wore some knee-highs to help with some form of compression (even if it was a placebo effect, it seemed to work, haha). I also remembered to take some ibuprofen the night before, and that seemed to help attenuate the soreness from yesterday’s events.

Got a free KT Taping at the expo which seemed to help! Also rolled out my calves and wore some knee high socks to the race :)
Got a free KT Taping at the expo which seemed to help! Also rolled out my calves and wore some knee high socks to the race 🙂

I didn’t have to spend money on a ride share service (yes!) since the Metro conveniently had trains running early Sunday morning with a stop close to the race start. I soon learned that other runners had the same idea when I saw them begin to board as we got closer and closer to DTLA.

As soon as I got to the start, I walked straight over to bag check, and luckily found some free snack bars to munch on as pre-race fuel. I also tried to keep warm by one of the heat lamps that a local restaurant in LA Live had set out, and waited until it was time to find my place at the start.

Morning, pre-race
Morning, pre-race

13.1 miles. It’s PR time…let’s do this!

When we were set to take off, I was able to gauge my pace so that I didn’t start off too fast unlike how I paced myself in the beginning at the Dodger’s 10k. I think I was a little ahead of the 1:45 pacer, but the pack eventually caught up to me at around mile 2.5. I stuck close to him, even though O felt like I was putting in a slightly harder effort for so early in the race.

Still, I felt good, my legs still felt fresh, and my shins were fine. Unfortunately, I began to lag at around mile 6, when we hit a steep hill in downtown approaching Koreatown. At that point, I was like, okay, I’ll just be a few minutes off, but maybe I can still PR.

I was able to keep my pace within 8:15-8:20/mi, even with water breaks. There were a ton of rolling hills between DTLA and Koreatown, all along Wilshire. At first, the hills seemed intimidating and never-ending—even though I was well-accustomed to the area and they weren’t really a surprise—but I felt strong overall and I was able to attack the upcoming hills with a newfound energy.

Race Finish!
Race Finish!

I was able to speed up towards the finish, and it seemed like my fatigue happily vanished. I finished the (technically) 13.3 mi course at a pace of 8:18/mi. Even though this course seemed less painful than the one I ran three years ago, I wouldn’t call this year’s course a fantastic change. I still prefer it to the one I ran in the past though.

The weather conditions were perfect: not too hot, not too cold. Transportation was easy to manage, the race loot was decent, and the medal had a snazzy design.

Race medal and shirt
Race medal and shirt

I didn’t PR, but I was happy with my outcome given the shin and calf soreness I was feeling leading up to the race. I also saw it as a great warm-up/race condition-simulating run for marathon prep. We’ll see how much it functioned as the latter come marathon race day this Sunday!

The Tasting Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Winter Break – Part 1

Winter Break – Part 1


I thought my first post here should be an update. It seems like forever since I “actually blogged”, since I’ve only been blog stalking lately.

But it feels great to be back starting fresh, just in time for the New Year!

Let’s do this part one update numbers style…

1) I was pretty much on my toes for the first five days of vacation only because final grades were pending! I learned about O Chem first, and was very happy with the result ;), as well as my upper-div. English class and Cell Bio class (hey, if I didn’t do well in this class, I’m not sure what I would have done…considering I am a Cell Bio major :P). The only sour grape was my Embryology class, since the super old prof gave me a B even though I put in much more than B effort…there’s always something when it comes to college grades…

2) We went crazy in our squash purchases.

Welcome to the Squash Family

I thought our little squash family was too adorable. But the family was soon broken since my craving for baked squashes needed to be appeased. Lil’ acorn was the first to go ;).

Kabocha followed, and tasted sweeter and better to be quite honest!

Baked Kabocha!

I love how nature designed these squashes—they make the perfect bowls!!

3) I also found some time early in my first week of vacation to do my annual collage cards for friends. Every year, I keep a stash of tags from clothing and clippings from magazines, and get to work on making fun greeting cards for my best friends and fam. I also had enough to spare and made over some notebooks for next quarter. (And I was also weird enough to save my Quest Bar wrappers and like the energy-bar-fanatic I am, taped them to one of the notebooks :P!!).

Collaging Notebooks

4) I kept my “first week of vacation bliss” going strong by pounding some pavement…and I really mean pounding because I’ve had some minor metatarsal soreness. It’s in a really weird spot too (like at the point between the bottom of my third toe and the top of the ball of my right foot?). I don’t really mind since I was able to log 28.4 miles for the week, which is a first for me! I also ran my longest run to date during this week: an 8.4 mile in 90 minutes. I have yet to run a half marathon distance on my own, but I plan to before my race in June! My second week of vacation however was not as accomplishing. I logged a measley 9.1 miles (total for the week), but I was active through other activities (Zumba anyone ;)). Laziness/rain got to the best of me, but whatevs! I plan on logging 30-35 miles this coming week (hopefully!) just to see if I can and to give myself a challenge ;).

On the day I ran my long run, I challenged myself mentally by allowing myself to “go above” my comfort zone and consume more calories by having some egg nog gelato for dessert. The “challenging” aspect of this was I consciously knew how much more calories I consumed, when I usually just call it a “calorie-free” day when I know I’m going above my comfort level. This was the first time in a long while that I actually logged the extra numbers and knew I was pushing at my self-imposed calorie boundaries. I surprisingly was not overcome with guilt—in fact, I was satisfied with having something extra after dinner. The thing I have to work on however is being okay with eating this amount even if I didn’t have an intense work-out…one step at a time though!

5) I have been craving for ZUMBA for the past week, all week! To be honest, I was the biggest critic ever when it came to ZUMBA. I used to tell my Dad that I would never be caught in a room with those “soccer moms” and “wannabe hip hop dancers”, but my attitude changed when I really saw how much fun everyone was having, not to mention the dance tunes were really catchy!

I’m the kind of person that has a straight face when dancing though, unless I’m with my friends! When I’m with my friends, I can really get into dancing and have a goofy face while going through all the moves—not so much in the gym :P. I also don’t have much to “shake” (haha) so I sometimes just have to stand in place when everyone else is shaking their bootays and such :P. I don’t care though, since a lot of the dances require fast leg movements and I’m there for my dance music fix (loving jumping up and down when a good beat is blasting).

6) I got some lovely gifts on Christmas Eve (our family doesn’t celebrate the holiday religiously, just the gift exchange). I’m not a jewelry wearer, but I got these cute bracelets from my Dad and a friend:

Presents 2012

The one from my Dad was on sale at Kohl’s apparently (haha) but really sweet. It’s hard to read, but it says “A daughter is a little girl who grows up to be a friend”. Awww

My other favorite gift was an energy/nutrition bar collection that my sis put together. These were eaten over the span of three days, some of which swam in some greek yogurt as my breakfast! Gotta love my sis for putting up with the hints I gave her at Raley’s in the natural foods/bars section 😛

So that’s what’s been happening over the course of my winter break so far! I have pretty much one week left till school picks up again, and I plan to spend it with my bestie from the Bay and other bestie (who lives near us but we rarely see) and just enjoying every single relaxing moment!

I’ll be back with a “part 2” update, and more posts to come! I have a feeling 2013 is gonna rock :)!

What have you enjoyed most about winter vacation/days off work?

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