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.

spicy_lentil_Wrap
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?

Race Recap – Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run 2016

Race Recap – Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run 2016

My last race for this year was one I actually ran two years ago—this time fortunately fared much better in pacing! I also did not have to wake up early in order to have enough time to take a bus or train to get to the race start. I just had to wake up, go out for a “warm-up jog”, and within a half hour I was there!

start
Santa all smiles at the race start.

There was no bag check (of course), so there was no place to keep my race shirt, even though I wanted to keep it because it was a long-sleeve and actually pretty cute! The 10k and 5k race starts were staggered so that the 10k race started at 8am. The 5kers had a head start at 7:30am, and so the majority of the runners from that race were done by the time we started.

Santa cheered us on as we dashed across the starting line. I was able to keep a steady pace between 7:40-8:20 throughout the entire run. At first it felt my lungs were burning from the cold air, and my feet also began to feel numb through my socks, but after ~2 miles in, it began to feel easier to stick to a faster pace the rest of the run.

at-the-end-of-the-race
Bunch of people wondering what to do after the race has finished…and the DJ rockin’ out to his own jamz.

I finished at an average pace of 8:12/mi, and it felt so refreshing! I managed to guzzle down a half a bottle of water, and proceeded to walk by the small number of booths that were present. I also couldn’t help but notice the DJ who was there—he was very much into the music!

finish
Yay…okay, now I’m bored…

I couldn’t find much in terms of samples and post-race freebies…I even had to pass on some intriguing-looking marshmallows because they contained gelatin 🙁

couldnt-have-these-tho
Why is there gelatin in you?!

Since there was nothing much left for me at this point, I ended up walking from the finish point in Venice back to Santa Monica…really it was only a 25 minute walk, and from the beach, it was another 30 minute walk to lunch.

I actually ended up at a Medditeranean/Lebanese restaurant on Pico—Z Garden.

z-garden
I see you…

When I stepped inside, it was as if I stepped inside my best friend’s family’s house. There was a TV playing Arabic music videos and a whole glass counter full of baklava and other Middle Eastern sweet treats.

house
Such ample seating!

There was a handful of vegetarian items on the menu, and I decided to get the veggie kebab plate.

The dining area was in a expansive space, but I was their lone diner at the time. A few people came in for take-out orders while I was there though.

My plate came with a generous portion of Lebanese rice, a side salad, smooth, finely-ground hummus, a sour cheese I’m assuming was labne, pickled radishes, and of course my roasted veggies.

vegkebab-plate
Veggie Kebab Plate—-fit for a vegetarian ready to feast!

ALso had to have pita bread on the side!

pitaaaaaaaaa
Can’t forget the pita!

I was the ultimate fan of this hummus…and cheese side.

sidez
Hummus (and labne)?

I was finished by noon, and continued my walk home. I immediately did some laundry and organizing before crashing into a two-hour long nap. I didn’t leave the house until later that evening to visit a friend, since she’s moving from LA this week with her lab to a different university. It was bittersweet having to send her off, but I have to say I’m proud of myself for going out on a Saturday night for once. I even stayed out late enough to call for an Uber back home, haha.

pace
In good time 🙂

Are you a fan of holiday-themed events?

Z Garden Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Race Recap – Hard Rock Cafe 10k 2016

Race Recap – Hard Rock Cafe 10k 2016

Last Saturday, I ran the Hard Rock Cafe 10k once again. I paired it with a weekend voting adventure that ended up being more memorable than I thought it would. The turmoil I faced in the afternoon did not make me regret the race though!

halo-top-peanut-butter-cup
Over the weekend, I also tried the last Halo Top flavor I needed to try out of the ten new flavors! Caption from Insta —> The day has finally arrived! I tried out the last of the new Halo Top flavors—Peanut Butter Cup! Honestly I was expecting for there to be peanut butter CUP CHUNKS, but there was a hardened peanut butter swirl. In my pint, it was mostly at the bottom, and surprisingly didn’t have much flavor even though it looked like PB. While I did expect this pint to be more fantastic than it actually was, it was not too bad. If you were at the store and this and Oatmeal Cookie were your options, get THIS first!! Haha. 👉🏽 Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough > Pistachio & Black Cherry & S’mores > Sea Salt Caramel >> Red Velvet & Peanut Butter Cup >> Chocolate Almond Crunch > Cookies and Cream & Oatmeal Cookie. 🍦 And there you have it, my opinion on all the new Halo Top! Now please excuse me while I stock up on all the Cookie Dough pints 😏 .

I woke up incredibly early in order to catch a 5AM train. Ugh it was far from what I wanted to do in regards to getting to the race start, but I did make it to Hollywood and Highland, fortunately all in one piece!

walk
Early morning start!

I picked up my race shirt and bib, and seeing as there was no packet pick-up YET AGAIN, I had to wear the shirt over my current shirt. I also got a cappuccino from Starbucks in the meantime, before assembling with the other runners at the race start.

shirt
Race shirt and walking around the start/finish

The race began at 7AM, and the path was pretty much a 3 mile out and back in regards to the 10k. It was a run down Hollywood Boulevard, and we turned around at the border of Los Feliz. I honestly felt so light and free for the first three miles. My pace was sub 8:00 for a while and then slowly crept up after mile 3.

My breath and legs were catching up to me, but I didn’t feel so exhausted to the point that I had to slow down. I had a major dip at mile 5, but then had enough energy to kick it to the finish.

I ended up with a pace of 8:12/mi ! My current 10K Race PR!

Like last year, there wasn’t much in terms of goodies.

shorts
Bai and Nesquik were here this time…but something new were the Turkey Trot LA 2015 shorts!!

They had the Nesquik truck again, but they also at least had Bai and this guy giving out LA Turkey Trot 2015 shorts! Obviously I thought the shorts were the best of all the race goodies being given out, even if they were more like bloomers, haha!

medal
Ohh shiny medal!

I left for North Hollywood soon after since I wanted to get voting out of the way (lol) but overall I was glad with how the race ended up. My last race experience in Hollywood was terrible so Saturday’s race definitely made up for that ordeal!

What would be a cool post-race freebie for a company to hand out?

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!

race-reg
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!

medal
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…

ginseng-drink
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.

cold-drinks
Keeping it cool!

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

what
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!

pb_koreatown
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)!

carbheaven
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.

cheese-pretzel
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!

perfectbar_pb
Perfect Bar – Peanut Butter

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

perfectbar_ac
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.

fitjoy_cccd
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?

dogs
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.

smc_schedule
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.

waiting-on-the-grass
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.

walking-o-pier
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.

fruit_and_fruit
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.

smc_medal
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 – Owasso Marching Band Run to the Beat 5k

Race Recap – Owasso Marching Band Run to the Beat 5k

For about five weeks, I’ve been frustrated when it comes to running. After beginning to see improvements in my pace, and after finally getting into the 35-40 mi/week range, I began to feel posterior shin pain in my left leg. At first it was mild, and it came about during a week I was feeling tired all over, so I dropped my mileage substantially and took it easy. When the pain didn’t go away right away, I knew it must be an injury, and as much as I hated having to do so, I lowered my mileage for a few weeks after, and slowed my pace in order to not exacerbate the injury.  I even ended up sacrificing $45 that I paid as a registration fee for a 10K I was planning on running at the end of July, since that was when the pain really started to kick in and I decided it was best not risk making the injury worse.

It’s been something I’ve had to figure out on a weekly basis, and it’s something I wish would go away ASAP. I first had it checked out by a chiropractor at the IDEA expo as an area I could get free KT tape for. I then went to a running store to replace the Newtons I had run 500+ miles on, and got some suggestions from the sales clerk there on what I could do in the meantime to help my shin heal faster. This was about three weeks before I made the trip to Oklahoma, and with the pain still there (less intense on some weeks, and more intense on weeks I tried to increase mileage), I tried Graston for the first time. I’m not sure if it really helped, but the PT who conducted the procedure advised that I should notice the effects 72 hours after the procedure was administered. I’ll be keeping an eye on it as this week continues, but dealing with this injury (though now healing) has really dampened my enthusiasm even though at the back of my mind, I know that it is a temporary set-back.

Since I was in Oklahoma for a week, I did want to participate in a race since my Dad could attend as well. The Graston Guy (lol) said running on Saturday would be okay, and so I was able to participate in the “Run to the Beat 5K” in Owasso. The race was benefiting the Owasso High School Marching Band, and being a band geek myself back in the day, I was glad I was helping out a local band attend marching reviews, purchase instruments, and refurbish uniforms.

Owasso is a town about 20 minutes north of metropolitan Tulsa, and the drive reminded me of the drives I used to take on the way to Sacramento when I lived in Nor Cal just a few years ago…

Sunrise and new running shoes to help with my pronation.
Sunrise and new running shoes to help with my pronation.

The race, and race-check-in, was taking place at Owasso High School, home of the Owasso Rams. The weather was about 20 degrees cooler than predicted, with gray clouds looming overhead and with rain being in the new forecast as well.

Race Check-In
Race Check-In

Packet pick-up was underwhelming, but I did get a new race shirt along with promo cards for other local races I knew I would not be able to attend, since they would be taking place from September-November.

Packet Pick-Up
Packet Pick-Up

A fun run took place on the football field starting at 7:00am, which I assumed was about a mile based on the times people were finishing. By the time the last person was in from the fun run, everyone else began to assemble for the 5k race. I positioned myself close to the front, since I wanted to set myself up to run between an 8:20-8:50/mi pace.

Getting ready to begin
Getting ready to begin

One thing that distinguished this race from all of the Cali races I’ve run was that an actual hunting rifle was used to signal the start of the race, rather than a blow horn or…something less intense? Haha. A few girls in front of me covered their ears with their hands, knowing that the rifle was going to be LOUD. The guy holding the rifle looked so serious, as if the sanctity of the race depended on his ability to shoot the rifle, which I thought was absolutely comical.

Do you see the hunting rifle in his hands?! (Okay maybe not...the picture is blurry, haha)
Do you see the hunting rifle in his hands?!

When we were given the motion to take off, I could feel my shin slightly act up when I initially pushed off, but once I got going, the pain subsided. I was averaging a 7:45 pace (!!) for the first 0.6 miles, and for the first mile, ended up with 7:56 or something like that. As the race continued, my pace slowed slightly, but I was able to maintain within an 8:20-8:30/mi pace for the rest of the time through. I was pushing, but not so hard that I was going to keel over.

The last turn had us go around the football stadium bleachers in order to cross the same finish line the fun run runners crossed, which was next to the football field and on the track. I finished with an 8:23/mi pace according to my Garmin, and while it wasn’t as speedy as my last 5K back in June, I was very ecstatic with my performance and time, given my shin troubles in the past weeks.

Start/Finish on the Football Field
Start/Finish on the Football Field

There wasn’t much in race freebies other than water bottles, bagels from Panera (though they did have a wide variety of flavors available), bananas in the raw (ugh), and one table for an energy drink whose name I already forgot.

My Dad was patient enough to wait until everyone crossed the finish line so that the “award ceremony” could begin. Small medals were given to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers in male and female age groups. With my time, I ended up getting second in my age group.

After the race, we drove back to Tulsa for some breakfast since it was 9:00 and all we had that morning was some coffee. We went to an old favorite, Old School Bagels, and it was just as lively as I remember from last December.

BAEgels
BAEgels

It was warm enough to sit outside this time around though (even though the clouds above begged to differ), and my Dad and I split the same two bagels as we did last time: a savory honey wheat bagel with egg and cheese, and a sweet cinnamon bagel with Nutella. I also had a couple sips of his black coffee. They were playing the women’s Olympic triathlon on one of the TVs they had outside, so all of us on the patio had our eyes glued to the screen as we ate.

Love this.
Love this.

After breakfast, we proceeded with our Saturday wrapping up some errands, napping, and getting food ready for a dinner we were having with some family friends later that evening. The rest of my Saturday seemed to go smoothly since my mind was put at ease from the results of the race. Even though the pain isn’t completely gone yet, I was still able to run at a solid pace despite it. I think that mentally gave me a confidence boost, as well as assurance that it will eventually heal.

 I was also grateful that I was able to run a race with my Dad in attendance after almost a year! The last race he saw me run was the RNR Las Vegas in November, so having him waiting for me at the finish line was a great motivator as well. Hopefully I’ll be able to find a local race taking place around the holidays so he can attend again, but until then, I’m looking forward to a fun and challenging fall racing season (if my shin continues to cooperate of course)!

Have you ever had an annoying exercise-related injury?

Race Recap – Run/Walk to Fight Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases 2016

Race Recap – 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…

snackssss
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.

shirt
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.

bowl
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.

hive
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.

acai_bowl
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 – Hollywood Half Marathon

Race Recap – Hollywood Half Marathon

Last week, I ran the Hollywood Half, but it was far from being one of my favorite half marathons to-date. You’d think that a race with a steep race fee and that was super hyped-up would offer a more memorable and enjoyable experience, but for me, that was not the case.

My irritations began with the mandatory packet pick-up that had to be done on Thursday or Friday, since they were not offering race day pick-up…

packet pickup
Packet pick-up at Hollywood Palladium.

That meant I had to leave lab early enough to catch the red line and make it in time to the “expo” to pick up my packet at the Hollywood Palladium.

This so-called expo had absolutely no freebies, but oddly enough, they had ample seats for teeth whitening?

clean
Teeth whitening at an running expo…hmmm

The lack of freebies made me an irritated kind of hungry, and I stopped at Trader Joe’s before catching the red line back to head back home. Once back at my apartment, I went to sleep early in order to get up at 4am to have enough time to arrive by the 6am call time.

Even though I woke up on time, had all of my things laid out, and felt amped up for the race, I got off at the starting line (Hollywood/Highland) only to realize that I had to walk an extra fifteen minutes BACK to Hollywood/Vine to drop off my bag because their gear check was at the finish line. No where on the website or in the e-mail did I see any clear explanation of gear check…yes, they said there would be gear check at the finish line, but they didn’t say participants had to DROP OFF their stuff at the finish line and then walk to the start…how is that a fair assumption when so many other races offer start line gear check?

Needless to say, I got my warm-up run in, running just under a 9 min/mi pace. Unfortunately, this didn’t stay during the race.

My pace maintained within the 9:20-9:50/mi range, with me averaging a 9:40/mi by the end of it. It definitely wasn’t my best, but there were many inclines, and—the major drawback of the course—HARD GRAVEL PAVEMENT. It was the first time in my years of running that my knees acutally felt sore from the constant pounding on extremelt flat, gravel streets.

Another unpleasant thing about the course was the random detours off of Hollywood in order to make it a 13.1 mile course. I understand that in order for it to be a “Hollywood Half” that keeping it within the constraints of Hollywood Blvd would require off-shoots into random neighborhoods, but still, it was far-from-thrilling race course :/

By the time I reached the finish, my knees were ready to hug me. I grabbed some water, my shiny medal (probably the only good thing of this race…), and a handful of snacks when I should have grabbed more because once I left the finisher’s zone, they didn’t allow runners to reenter.

race
Cheesy photo-ops 😀

I walked down the strip of road to see if there were any freebies to offered post-race. Besides some fizzy drinks, an energetic emcee, and a food truck that was NOT giving away free food.

stage
Run MC – He was energetic and very good as an emcee!
drinks
Literally the only booth that was giving out edible freebies (carbonated drinks….)

I realized I would be better off stopping by the Starbucks close to the red line station for my post-race breakfast. Other runners agreed based on the line curling around near the door.

cookie and coffee after race
Had to get me something I actually wanted…this hit the spot post-13.1 miles!!!

With my caramel macchiato and butterfly cookie in hand, I found a seat by the window and chatted with my Dad over the phone rehashing the not-so-stellar race experience.

view from the window
View from the window!

If there is anything I learned from this race, it is to not do it again (unless they make several changes), and not assume that any race with a pricey fee will be of good quality…even if the race organizers think it has celebrity status :/

medal
The medal was very pretty though!

Have you ever paid too much for something that was over-hyped only to be very disappointed by it?

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.

cookie with pb
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.

menchies
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.

froyo
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 😉

froyooooooo
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 😛 ).

counter
Classic counter

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

hugos_tacos
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…

nachos
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.

veganized monster nachos
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 – Rotary Ten Chocolate Run (& More Food)

Race Recap – Rotary Ten Chocolate Run (& More Food)

While I was visiting my sister in Fresno, we didn’t just eat, but when we did on Saturday night an Sunday for lunch, we had some amazing burgers, fries, and pretzels.

But before all that, I was able to run in a local race on Saturday morning: the Rotary Ten Chocolate Run. My sis had to be present for a writing exam to get out of an upper-divison writing requirement, and so I drove myself to the race. It was in the same location as the half marathon I ran in September, but this time, I had to walk even further into the park. I barely made it before the starting time, and I was already warmed up!

shirt
Rotary shirt.

There was a 2 mile walk, 2 mile run, 5 mile run, and 10 mile run. I chose to register for the 5 miles run because I didn’t know how I would feel almost a week after the marathon! Despite some lingering foot and inner thigh tendon pain, I managed to run at a solid 9:10/mi pace. The course itself was only 4.3 miles, and much shorter than 5 miles. Because of this, our paces were calculated to be much faster than what they should be. They posted my pace as being 7:56/mi (!!) Wouldn’t that be nice??

race stuff
Race goodies!

Even though they said my pace was much faster than what my watch reported, I still ended up winning first in my division (and it was still legitimate with my Garmin time, 😛 ).

The race was a good way to slowly get back into running again after an arduous marathon. My walk back to the car was a very long cool-down walk, but once I met up with my sister again around 12pm, we had lunch, went shopping for a bit, and then retreated to the newly-built Campus Pointe for dinner.

mad duck
Mad Duck Bistro

My sister was excited about taking me to Mad Duck Bistro, and I could tell it was a popular pick among the locals and students because it was CRAZY PACKED. Like the night before at Yard House, we waited a little over an hour for seats.

madduck
Mad Duck interior

Mad Duck is known for their hand-crafter burgers and pub food. My sis got a custom-made burger subbed in with a juicy veggie patty. I was considering getting a burger as well as there were a variety to choose from, but I felt like getting a pub pretzel instead. Because that was just what I was in the mood for.

custom burger
Custom veggie burger!

Along with her burger, my sis got the kettle chips with ranch sauce as a side. I took some of those, and was glad she made the decision to get them and was thoughtful enough to share 😀

kettle chips with dip
Kettle chips with ranch.

My pretzel was perfect! It was brushed lightly with oil and sprinkled with salt. It came with some spicy mustard and cheese sauce on the side. The size was just right and I wasn’t too full or too hungry afterwards.

pretttzel
A Mad Duck pretzel

After dinner, my sis and I watched some episodes of Lisa Ling’s documentary series on her computer, while snacking on two of Arctic Zero’s new chunky flavor pints.

Banana Pudding was not a favorite of mine. Thinking that the banana flavor would die down after a while, I thought I would find this flavor eventually tolerable, but that was not the case…

arcticzero__bananapudding
Arctic Zero Banana Pudding

I did fall in love with Brownie Blast however. My sis did too, and I urged her to visit her Sprouts more often (where I actually bought these two) to get some and treat herself after her exhausting days of school! She seriously works around the clock—I don’t know how she does it but I am super proud of her 😀

arcticzero__brownieblast
Arctic Zero Brownie Blast

I went to bed (in a sleeping bag on the hard carpet floor…) around 10, and had a restful night’s sleep despite waking up at 2am needing to use the bathroom, a fire truck driving by in the middle of the night, and shifting myself around trying to find the right position to sleep so as to avoid the most amount of aches in the morning!

On Sunday, my sis and I took it easy getting ready in the morning, but hurried as it got closer to 11am so we could head over to another popular Fresno lunch spot—The Dog House Grill.

menu
Dog House Grill menu

There was seriously already a line out the door minutes before the restaurant opened.

eatingggg
Really high ceilings.

Even though the restaurant looked small on the outside, there were high ceilings that made the eating space look larger than life. No wonder this place is always busy during all business hours!

Ordering our food was an efficient process though. After simply making a purchase at the counter, we were given the freedom to find seats, and once our orders were ready, all we had to do was bring back our receipts to the side counter for our food.

My sister tried their veggie sandwich for the first time, which had all the fixings of the veggie burger, but instead of buns was sandwiched between two slices of sandwich bread. She wasn’t a fan, but I was certainly a fan of the veggie burger.

veggie sandwich
Veggie sandwich

It was piled high with sprouts (!!), melty cheese, a golden veggie patty, onions, tomato, and lettuce. Each bun also had mayo and BBQ sauce spread delicately on the insides.

burger
Veggie burger

The bun was so soft and chewy…I think my sis told herself never to get the sandwich again after being reminded about the burger buns!

garden burger
Inside of veggie burger!!

We also split a basket of fries with ranch and BBQ sauce. It was a mighty big basket, and we felt STUFFED when we were done. It definitely kept me satisfied (and sleepy) on the train ride home!

fries_and_sauce
Fries with ranch and barbecue

Quick, what would you pick from these options: burgers, fries, or pretzels?

Dog House Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...