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!
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.
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!
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 🙁
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.
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.
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.
ALso had to have pita bread on the side!
I was the ultimate fan of this hummus…and cheese side.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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?
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!
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!
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!
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…
There was lots of water, ginseng drink, and Yakult/probiotic drinks to go around.
And several tables serving up watermelon, popsicles…and compression socks?? I’m talking about those leg mannequins, haha.
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!
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)!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
I ran to the race start since it made for a nice ~2.5 mile warm-up run from where I live.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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…
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 :/
Have you ever paid too much for something that was over-hyped only to be very disappointed by it?
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.
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.
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.
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 😉
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.
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 😛 ).
This time, I turned in the opposite direction to check out Hugo’s for some filling, brunch-y vegetarian Mexican food.
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.
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…
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.
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?
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!
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??
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.
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.
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.
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 😀
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.
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…
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 😀
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.
There was seriously already a line out the door minutes before the restaurant opened.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Quick, what would you pick from these options: burgers, fries, or pretzels?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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).
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!
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.