Race Recap – 32nd Skechers Performance LA Marathon

Race Recap – 32nd Skechers Performance LA Marathon

I find it SO hard to believe that a week ago, I ran my third marathon—and it ended up being a sub 4:00 one as well! So many things went well with this training cycle, and even though the race is over, this particular marathon has given me the encouragement to keep pushing my training to the next level and conquering more goals associated with this distance.

In the days leading up to the race, I actually wasn’t too hyped up for it. I had other things on my mind (lab work + lab “social” life), but I still made time to go down to the expo at the convention center late Friday afternoon on race weekend.

My third marathon expo.
My third marathon expo.

It was really just a routine visit. I wasn’t too excited about sticking around. To keep up with tradition, I found and photographed my name on the runner’s wall, picked up my race bib/shirt, and walked around the booths for just long enough to gather some freebies.

Trying to find/get all the samples I can.
Trying to find/get all the samples I can.

I didn’t gather much despite it being a MARATHON expo (just a couple mini Larabars and a coconut water), but one of my favorite booths was Clif bar’s. They had samples of their newest nut butter-filled bars and ginger ale/spearmint shot bloks!

Hello, Clif!
Hello, Clif!

After taking a picture with my bib at one of the booths, I decided to head home. I was actually feeling pretty hungry so the “carbo-loading”, you could say, commenced that night—with a Spicy Lentil Wrap from Trader Joe’s.

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Friday night turn down 😴 with a Spicy Lentil wrap from Trader Joe’s. I put this right up there with the grilled eggplant wrap!

Tahini sauce brings everything up a level, just sayin’.

The day before the race was a relaxing one, but because I was with E in Glendale, we did plenty of walking. I did try to keep hydrated and made sure to get home early enough to set aside my stuff for race morning and get into bed by 8:30pm.

I woke up the next morning at 3:30am (yes, it’s true), got my race gear together, and called for a Lyft since the rest of my teammates were taking a ride share service/staying at a hotel near the start with family. From Santa Monica, the drive was less than 20 min.

I got to the start with a good 2.5 hours to spare before we had to toe the start line. I had plenty of time to collect some free shot bloks and Clif bars, fuel up with “breakfast”, use the restroom, and warm-up. It was still very breezy and cool outside, so I stayed warm by huddling in a corner of one of the open women’s restrooms.

Waiting at Dodger's Stadium...
Waiting at Dodger’s Stadium…

I was waiting solo for a long while…my teammates did not show up until about 5:30am. Even then, it took me a while to find/get to them at the seats on the ground level. There were a a few of us who met at this point, and after a group picture, we immediately went to bag check and then the start.

I decided to start in the open corral with three of my teammates since I wanted to pace with someone from the beginning. Looking back, I feel like this strategy helped me immensely in getting that sub 4:00. It took us a while to get to a sustainable race pace since we were slowed down by the crowds of the open corral, but once we made it past downtown, I kept up with one of my female teammates for the majority of the race.

Everything felt great for the first half of the race. We were running down Sunset and I felt comfortable enough to talk with my teammate at an 8:47/mi pace. Once we made a turn in Hollywood however, things started to shift.

I felt a sharp pain in my right foot as we made our way down a steep downhill. I had a feeling that I got my first black (big) toenail, and despite knowing this, I tried to ignore it for sanity’s sake.

The next slip-up was my fueling strategy. I was so focused on hydration that I wasn’t sure when to start chewing on my bloks. In my last two marathons, I busted out the plastic bag between miles 11-13, but this time, I was more concerned about keeping up with my teammate. I also didn’t feel too hungry (in fact, my stomach felt a little bit “mixed”…in that, a bathroom stop would have been nice).

When we reached Beverly Hills, I began to second guess my earlier actions of not fueling up. I was starting to feel slightly fatigued, and felt like I had to push quite a bit to keep holding on with my teammate. I surprisingly managed to make it through miles 17-20 without giving up or writhing on Rodeo Dr!

Once we reached UCLA/West LA territory though, we were hitting the Mile 20 mark. My teammate took off, but I listened to my body and just kept my pace. I stopped to take out my bloks and began to fuel up at this point.

Once I reached Mile 21, I felt a little bit better. Mile 22 was when we began to approach Brentwood/San Vicente—the last four miles of the race towards the SaMo finish! Honestly, this was the worst part of the race for me (up until 25.5!!) because I felt tired (mentally mostly), and irritated by anyone that said we were “almost there”. My pace wavered in the 8:50/mi range until it settled at 8:55/mi. I didn’t want it to dip into the 9:00/mi range, so I made sure to keep my walking breaks incredibly short.

By the time I got to Ocean Ave., I tried to let the crowds around me give me the final push I needed to finish fiercely. The finish line felt incredibly far away, but once I hit 25.5, I started to kick things up and go, go, go! The shot bloks were finally kicking in I suppose! When I crossed the line, I had run the race at a solid time of 3:53:57. I didn’t know of this time exactly until I read a series of texts from my Dad since he had been tracking me the entire run.

Bag check was much better this year!
Bag check was much better this year!

I was able to slow down to a walk, gather a medal and my gear at bag check, huddle up with a heat sheet, and take some fun post-race photos. I also collected as many protein bars as my arms could carry, and met up with my teammates at our designated family reunion area meeting spot.

People around me were still in a daze...
People around me were still in a daze…

I waited with my team for about an hour and a half just to congratulate, commiserate, and photograph the moment. The teammate I had ran with up until mile 20 ran a 3:46 marathon, and considering it was her first, she did a great job.

All of us took the train back to our destinations, and I got off pretty quickly. It felt so nice to be able to get back home at a decent time, unlike how it was the past two years fighting traffic to get to downtown! Now I had enough time to attend to my battle scars…

One ripe blister and gunmetal-polished toenail, came right up!
One ripe blister and gunmetal-polished toenail, came right up!

At least this small gem reminded me that I just did something pretty amazing that morning??

3rd time's a charm!
3rd time’s a charm!

Out of all the 26.2 distances I’ve raced, this one was the most painful, but also the most accomplishing. I had a goal, and luckily was able to meet it. It was a challenge, but a challenge worth giving up a smooth heel and big toe nail for. And if I only want to get better and faster at this monstrous distance, it’s only going to get more eventful from here!

Have you ever run a marathon/had a great marathon experience?

Would you ever consider running a marathon?

Have you ever had a black toe nail?

Make Out Everyday

Make Out Everyday

Last week was a shocker and after Tuesday, it seemed like there was a cloud of sadness everywhere that just would not dissipate. I am glad that people are still talking about politics, since I honestly believe that despite the strong emotions it can bring up, it is extremely important to bring awareness and question things that have a huge impact on how we live our lives.

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Something that picked me up during this somber week ~ I seriously had a loss of appetite after Tuesday’s events, so I’m glad its back and roared up again, haha. Despite the sadness that creeped up over me yesterday, I had to be happy about one small thing…finding the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Eatenlightened pint! I’ve been complaining about how it’s been hard to locate anywhere in LA, but I happened to find these stocked on the shelves at a Bristol Farms in Santa Monica (on Wilshire, right across from Petco, for those who are local and have been trying to find this elusive flavor yourself)! Sometimes it helps to eat your sorrows away, if it involves cookie dough chunks and a smooth, creamy ice cream πŸ˜‰

I also was feeling from physical exhaustion that prevented me from running higher mileage that week. My body craved extra rest, and I obliged. I’ve been pulling long hours in lab as well, so the extra rest was welcomed on all fronts.

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Also was happy to find this ~ What could be more thrilling than walking into your local Trader Joe’s and finding that they have the new seasonal Clif Bar, Mexican Hot Chocolate, in stock πŸ˜„ πŸ‡²πŸ‡½ β˜•οΈ 🍫?!? It didn’t have the extreme chocolate profile that is more evident in their other chocolate flavors, but it did have a spicy kick 🌢 to it which I felt about five seconds after the first bite! And with all the overpriced energy bars out there, purchasing this for only $0.99 was such a steal πŸ˜…. I also love how a portion of the sales from this flavor go towards an organization that is working to protect our winters and fight climate change πŸ‘ŠπŸ½πŸ—»

Saturday ended up being a rest day, and a day that my running team and I scheduled as a day for volunteering. We helped organize maternal and baby goods for a non-profit that distributes these items to low income expecting and first-time moms. It was a Saturday morning well spent, and obviously I had worked long enough to build up a strong appetite for lunch.

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Make Out Everyday, Culver City

Since I did want to go home as soon as I could, and face plant into a pillow for nap time, I decided to stop by a plant-based foods cafe in Culver City since it was on the way. I originally came by Make Out Everyday over Labor Day Weekend, but they were unfortunately closed at that time.

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Mexican Brown Rice πŸ™‚

I was in luck this time however. I used my ninja photography skills (haha) to capture the elegant interior decor, but the cashier had noticed a man outside who was going out of his way to get the perfect picture capturing the cafe’s logo from outside! I’m so glad that wasn’t me, haha!

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Interior of Make Out Everyday

It took a while for me to decide what I wanted to get, as there were all sorts of smoothies, latte “potions”, wraps, salads, sandwiches, small bites, bowls…I went with a bowl (no surprise) even though I was debating between that and one of the wraps.

My bowl of choice was the Mexican bowl, which had chopped lettuce, quinoa and rice mixed with chipotle crema, sunflower chorizo, and a dollop of mashed avocado. The garnish was fabulous too…I’m not sure what that watermelon-colored root vegetable is called, but it certainly looked pretty!

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Mexican Brown Rice bowl with guacamole, sunflower chorizo, rice with chipotle crema, salad

The portion sizes are small, so I wouldn’t recommend coming in with a voracious appetite. If you do, you may have to order multiple plates which doesn’t sound bad, but this place isn’t McDonald’s cheap either…

rice
It’s all in the details…

Sunday was a long run day in Santa Monica so I didn’t have to worry about waking up super early to carpool with my running team. After the run, I immediately went home and crashed. I planned to get some work done, but that didn’t happen to the extent that I had wished to. Oh well, I don’t think the time went to waste since I slept so soundly throughout the day and was sleepy enough to go to bed (for real) around 8:30pm.

I’m not surprised one bit that I craved so much sleep this week. I don’t see how anyone could have issue with that πŸ˜‰

Make Out Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Race Recap – 31st Skechers Performance LA Marathon

Race Recap – 31st Skechers Performance LA Marathon

On February 14, 2016, I ran my second marathon.

Caught at the right moment
Caught at the right moment

It has been less than a year since I ran my first marathon, and SO many things have happened since then. Even with all that has transpired, I am grateful that I was even able to run this insane distance once again!

My day began at 3am on Valentine’s Day. Once I stuffed all of my race day essentials into my gear check bag, I was off with my carpool crew. After picking up a few more people, we drove off to Santa Monica to park the car and load the shuttle buses to Dodger’s Stadium.

As we sat on the bus, some of my marathon teammates came up with running pick-up lines since it was Valentine’s Day. One guy had us all laughing with “I may be running 26.2, but I want 26.YOU”. It was definitely a light-hearted ride to the the starting line that would otherwise be an anxiety-ridden one!

Everyone in front of me was all quiet and thinking to themselves...everyone behind me was all laughs!
Everyone in front of me was all quiet and thinking to themselves…everyone behind me was all laughs!

Once we got to Dodger’s Stadium, we had about a half an hour to check in our bags and ready ourselves. We didn’t have time for a all-member team pic, so I immediately got into my assigned corral.

After the wheelchair runners and elite women, the elite men and the rest of us were off! I was feeling anxious about my right foot, but once things got moving I didn’t feel much in terms of pain.

The course was pretty much identical to last year’s, and I was able to keep a 9:30-10:00 pace for the first several miles. I was carrying my handheld water bottle as well, so I didn’t feel the need to stop for water until after mile 6 or so.

It was relatively easy for me to zone out all the way through Chinatown, Downtown, Echo Park, Silverlake, Hollywood…all the way through Beverly Hills even! As expected, I felt myself slow down in pace as we reached Century City and Westwood. We thankfully did not have to climb that tortous hill near the VA like last year, but miles 22 and onward only made me feel slower and wishing I didn’t have 4.2 miles left.

I refueled with the same gummies and shot bloks as last year, but didn’t start chewing until ~mile 11-13. I went through all of my chewables by mile 22, hoping I would be able to snag a packet from a spectator like last year.

Unfortunately, no one was handing out unwrapped shot bloks past mile 22, but I found myself immensely hungry at mile 23! Two pieces of licorice happened to do the trick surprisingly.

Unlike the 90+F degree weather of last year, we were greeted with fog once we hit Brentwood. As we ran downhill on San Vicente, we could feel the cool, misty ocean as we approached the finish.

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Everyone looks so sad!

Making it to the finish line this year was not as grueling, but once I hit the stop button on my Garmin at 26.4 miles and slowed to a walk, I began to feel the achiness of my hip and foot tendons.

Just keep walking and standing...
Just keep walking and standing…

After grabbing some post-race snacks, a heat sheet, and my medal, I proceeded to the bag check trucks. Bag check was horribly organized this year, since I found all of the bags tossed on the ground.

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Dude, where’s my bag?

Honestly, anybody could have just grabbed a bag and left! There was also no organization such as alphabetizing the bags, so it took me a good fifteen minutes just to find my bag.

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No man! Don’t sit!

Once that was all done, I proceeded to find my teammates. Everyone who had completed the distance was sitting cross-legged with their heat sheets drapped over their shoulders, munching on mini Clif bars or animal crackers. I continued to stand because if I had sat, it would have been PAINFUL to get up!!

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Race patrol keeping the roads clear!

I was there for another hour and a half until everyone from my car was back. We hobbled back to the parking lot around 2pm, and got back into the city an hour later (just like last year).

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Someone got one of my teammates roses…oooooohooohooo

I actually had to go into lab that afternoon (!!) and so I took my sweet time with that. I normally stand for one particular experiment I have to do but on this day, I had to find a seat because my legs were begging me, haha!

I also reflected on my experience, my capabilities, and my newfound strength on Instagram, leaving this picture with a caption about how I ran this race in a much healthier state than probably any other race I have run before!

β™₯β™₯β™₯
β™₯β™₯β™₯

I’ve been thinking a lot about where I want to go with this running thing, and getting faster is one of my top goals. My time was slower by six minutes this year, but that can be due to so many factors. I am just so incredibly grateful that I was even able to run this race, and I hope that there will be many more marathons in my future, reminding me that all is possible when you work with and trust your body.

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Two sides to THIS medal!!

Have you ever run a marathon? Would you want to?

Race Recap: 30th ASICS LA Marathon

Race Recap: 30th ASICS LA Marathon

Ever since Sunday, I’ve been in ultimate bliss. Is that normal though? After all, I did subject myself to non-stop running for 4+ hours.

But yeah, I’d say it was a life-changing experience. No regrets here.

 The light at the end of the tunnel: sights seen after my marathon.
The light at the end of the tunnel: sights seen after my marathon.

The countdown to the race began the day before, since I had to make it to the expo at the LA Convention Center to grab by race packet and bib. Since the expo opened at 9am that morning, I wanted to get there as early as possible, and walked to the convention center from my apartment an hour earlier to account for waiting time, etc. 

I came in through a different entrance, and so even though I saw the “Welcome Runners” sign from a distance…

enteringtheexpo

…I was redirected to line up outside through another entrance.

waitinginline

Even though the line looked incredibly long and made me wish I had come even earlier (or perhaps the day before…), the line started to move quickly once the doors “officially” opened at 9am.

Expo business went about as usual: I got my bib, race shirt, and made my way through the Asics pop-up shop in order to get to the actual vendor booths (and free samples!).

checkingoutexpo

I wasn’t able to find much in terms of take-home samples, but I did stop to write a note on the “memory wall”, check out the course route printed on another wall, and find my name mixed with other runners’ names on yet another wall…

la_marathon_expo

From the freebies I did manage to collect, I was able to grab some Nuun tablets, a free Megabus shirt, and some Larabar minis. The Clif bar tent had plenty of sample stations set up, but since they weren’t actually giving out packaged bars from what I could tell (just cut-up bars on toothpicks), I didn’t think it was worth standing in line. Plus, since the next day was obviously booked for me, I had to leave early in order to make sure I had enough time to get my domestic errands done (grocery shopping—ahh!).

After leaving the expo, the rest of the day was spent grocery shopping/taking public transit (because that sucks up a lot of time), and so I literally did not get home until 5pm. I was slightly concerned since I was out on my feet all day, doing plenty of walking under the hot sun, but I went ahead and quickly made a light dinner before resting up on the couch.

Around 8pm, I slowly began to gather my race day essentials, and got into bed at 8:30pm since my ride was picking me up at 3:15am. The plan was to park and catch the shuttle from Santa Monica to the starting line at Dodger’s Stadium.

β™₯

On race day morning, I woke up before my alarm could ring at 2:45am, quickly got dressed, and dashed out of my apartment to meet my ride downstairs. I was carpooling with two members of the team I was training with, and because of it was early morning on a Sunday, we had no traffic to fight.

We arrived and parked in Santa Monica a little after 3:30am, and had to walk over to where the shuttles were parked. A fellow runner was walking near us and commented that we wouldn’t need to warm-up before the race due to all the walking we already had to do!

Once we got on the shuttle, it was 4:00am. I began fueling with two Quest bars, and soon we were dropped off in front of Dodger’s Stadium.

SAMSUNG

Since we had “lost” one of our carpoolers on another shuttle, my other carpool buddy and I waited outside for him. In the meantime, we collected some freebies (water bottle, Clif bar minis, Clif shot bloks (!!!) ), which I stashed for later.

After finding our teammate, we walked inside the stadium to see if we could find the rest of our teammates. We didn’t really have a designated meeting spot, but since we had team shirts, we assumed we’d be able to find “our people” as they walked in.

beforetherace

I continued to hydrate and fuel with two mini Larabars, and a mini Clif bar. More of our teammates arrived, and we found an area on the floor to sit and occupy so as not to tire our legs.

SAMSUNG

Photographers came around and took our pictures. At one point, a man without a bib approached me and asked if I had an extra bib, which I found to be a strange thing to ask. But when he explained that he had arrived at the expo too late, and that the race organizers wouldn’t give him his bib since the expo was closing, I could understand his frustration and distress. Still, I didn’t just happen to have an extra bib lying around…

As time ticked closer to 6:00am, more and more of my teammates arrived, and soon we had enough members for a group picture. After getting our stuff checked in at bag check and using the porta-potties, our group shuffled with thousands of other runners to the starting line. A lot of us were first-time marathoners, so we didn’t have previous marathon times that would allow us to line up in Corrals A-E. Even though there was this separation between runners, I’m glad that I was still able to start with a group of familiar faces.

We gave eachother some last minute hugs and cheers, and soon we were off! I was able to run with two of my teammates (fellow ladies that “struggled” with me on a 13 mi LSD back in January) for the first mile, but they stopped to use a porta-potty after Mile 1, so from that point on, I was on my own for a while.

The course led us through Chinatown, DTLA, and Little Tokyo for the first couple miles. In all honesty, the first 10k breezed by like the cool breeze and overcast skies that blanketed over us runners (<— at least the weather was like this for the first quarter of the race…). There were plenty of distractions early on in the race too—everything from people preaching about the bible over megaphones, to taiko drums, to chili dogs being served by locals at the 5 mile mark!

Miles 7-13 didn’t fly by as quickly, but did pass by at a steady enough rate. I was still feeling pretty good, making sure to keep hydrated with my handheld water bottle. I also ran through misting machines, and dumped cups of water over my head at every chance I could get.

We passed through Echo Park and Silver Lake during these miles, and approached Hollywood and Vine at around Mile 11, where I began to start mid-run fueling with some fruit gummies I purchased the day before from Sprouts. I fueled with the same bag of gummies periodically between Miles 11-15, as things started to heat up at Mile 15.

In Beverly Hills, a spectator had a sign that said “Even Pretty Woman cried on Rodeo Dr.“, and this spectator was standing right as we turned the corner at Rodeo Dr.! It was fun being able to run past designer stores, but since the sun was starting to rise higher, the heat was beginning to set in. Fortunately, ice was starting to be provided at aid stations, so I grabbed a handful and stuffed some cubes in my mouth. I looked like a chipmunk at least up until Mile 16!

People I spoke to in the past said Century City is one of the most boring/hard-to-get-through areas, but there was a decent-sized crowd there this time around. Miles 20-22 near the VA/Westwood were incredibly tough on the other hand. My legs started to feel extremely sore, and people all around me were slowing down to a light jog, or to a pained walk. It was also the “driest” part of the race, since there were no water stations in sight, nor were there any misting machines.

I still didn’t want to stop the momentum, so I trucked on in light jogger mode, even though it felt like I was exerting so much energy just to move one step. At one point, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to run the last few miles of the race!

Fortunately, volunteers and spectators made their presence again once I got into Mile 22. Some were even holding out full packages of Clif shot bloks, which I grabbed from one of the volunteers with much gratitude. Since I wanted to finish the race running, I stuffed all six bloks just before Mile 23 to see if that would do the trick and bring me back up to speed.

And it just so happened that it worked! I felt my speed pick back up, and found a fellow teammate in the distance walking through a water station around Mile 24. When she saw me, she said “Ready? Let’s finish this,” and we began to match ourselves in stride and accelerate our pace. We were one and strong for the next two-ish miles. I even had enough energy to flash a smile at one of the race photographers in the middle of the road, just before we turned on Ocean Ave.

Mile 26 was the defining moment. I thought we would make it across the finish line together, but my teammate stopped to walk and encouraged me to keep going. It was the hottest stretch of the race since the sun was beating down with no mercy…and there was no ocean breeze whatsoever!

But I made it. And according to Mr. Garmin, I have a new long distance PR and marathon time of 4:36:56. The finisher’s area felt like such a long stretch, and I actually was walking for quite some time before being offered a medal. Then I was offered a heat sheet, cold + wet towels, water, snacks, and a finisher’s photo.

 Crowds in Santa Monica, after the race.
Crowds in Santa Monica, after the race.

I met some of my other teammates in the family reunion area off to one side of the finisher’s walk. We hugged and congratulated each other, commiserated about Miles 20-22, and commented about what a phenomenal experience this all was. A few of my teammates commented on how I didn’t even look tired, and found it humorous when I replied saying I felt “sorta sore”.

I sat with my team, and hugged/congratulated my other teammates as they joined our group with smiles on their faces. We sat around and chilled until 1pm, which was when we had enough people to carpool with back home.

SAMSUNG

The traffic in Santa Monica was INSANE. We got to the car around 2pm, but didn’t even get on the highway until 3pm! By the time I got home, it was almost 4pm!! It was frustrating to have to push my marathon lunch plans forward as dinner plans, but I wasn’t going to let that bring me down from the happiness and accomplishment I gained from the glorious morning I had. Plus, I did get to celebrate with a superb veggie burger and exotic-flavored ice cream (more on that later πŸ˜‰ ), so I’m not complaining!

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I’m so happy that I made the decision to run 26.2 at this point in my life. The experience gave me the challenge I needed to take my long distance running and endurance to the next level, to treat my body with more respect in terms of fuel and strength, and it’s even made me more confident. I met a lot of great people by training with a team, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the support of my family and friends.

My Dad was glued to his computer, tracking me online. When I finished the race and checked my phone, there were about six messages from him with encouraging words as I progressed along the course at different times. Reading those messages made me feel so elated and loved, even though he was not physically there to give me bear hug at the end of the race (and to help me pick up some extra post-race freebies πŸ˜‰ ).

first_marathon_love

My marathon withdrawls are not as strong as I thought they’d be, but I am taking it easy with the running for this week. My current plans are to continue as though I’m training for a marathon, making sure I maintain the endurance I’ve built up with those 13-20 mi LSD runs, but I think my current goal will be to work on a new half PR (sub 2:00 please!!). Next on the agenda, find some races…

Would you ever run a marathon?

How did you feel when you crossed the finish line of your first marathon?

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 πŸ˜€ !

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 πŸ˜‰ ), 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. 

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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 πŸ˜›

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 πŸ˜€

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…

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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!

SAMSUNG
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 πŸ˜€

SAMSUNG

Did you run a turkey trot this year?

Race Recap: Hit the Road Jack

Race Recap: Hit the Road Jack

I signed up for this race about a week and a half before the actual date, after I was well into my half marathon training plan. It originally conflicted with an LSD run, but with a little shifting here and there, I was able to make room for this little, local 10k. But because my LSD run and the race were back-to-back, you better believe my legs were so sore in the days following…

I only had five hours of sleep the night before, so it was harder for me than usual to roll out of bed and get ready. I did though, and managed to have a couple of minutes to have some yogurt with cinnamon Chex and chocolate peanut butter. Looking back, I’m not sure if I should have though!

We found parking near the plaza where the race start was, in a cozy section of downtown Sonoma.

cozydowntownsonoma

We had to walk through a park to get to the start/finish line, and the park itself was a beautiful sight with tall trees all around and freshly mowed lawn. The weather was cloudy and cool—perfect for running.

beautfiulparkk

I was able to pick up my bib the morning of, and that went on without any issues. The race jersey-material shirt was super cute too!

race_registration

There was a lot of standing around before the race started. My Dad was almost recruited into volunteering. It turned out that they had enough people to pull from their volunteer pool, so he just ended up with a free shirt of his own. Haha!

activity!!

The distances offered that day included a 2.2 miler and a 10k. Runners in both races had a combined start. Once we were off at 8AM, that’s when I knew this 10k wasn’t going to be much fun. Despite the beautiful scenery of cozy country-style homes and vineyards aligned on the course, my bladder was full and completely making its presence well known—in greater intensity than my previous race. I completely tuned out from my surroundings, and had to slow down so that my bladder stayed calm until I got to the finish. As a result, my average pace for the race wasn’t near my regular race pace. Once I crossed the finish line though, I no longer had to use the restroom. Typical…

Booth browsing was the next thing to do. There was a Krave Jerky booth, but I didn’t make my way over there due to the non-veg. goods πŸ™ Where was the tofurky jerky, huh?

jerky

The buffet had the usual goods of bagels, coffee, orange slices, bananas, and generic granola bars (Costco brand, Quaker, etc.)

buffet

I got samples I actually liked from this tent:

boothwhereigotmyracegoods

The race could have been a lot more enjoyable than it turned out to be, if it were not for the full bladder issues, but at least I got some quality freebies out of it and a cute jersey race shirt. The freebies I brought home were few in number, but new-to-me, and I was excited to try them!

racegoods.

Has one specific thing (a nagging injury, full bladder, etc.) distracted you so much that you found a race unenjoyable?

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