Race Recap – South Pasadena Tiger Run 5k/10k

Race Recap – South Pasadena Tiger Run 5k/10k

I cannot believe I am actually saying this…but pretty much since after Thanksgiving weekend, it has been FREEZING here in LA. Now, freezing by definition here means anything below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, so it doesn’t take more than a cooler-than-usual wind chill to cause misery.

Last Saturday, I made my way over to South Pasadena to participate in a 5k race I signed up for by “accident”. I intended to register for the 10k, but somehow during the registration process, I ended up enrolling in the 5k! I didn’t regret that choice however, since I’ve been wanting to PR in the distance at a race for a couple months now…at least since my last 5k race in Owasso back in August.

south-pasadena-high-school
My arms were numb at this point…

I was NOT prepared for the bone-chilling cold that kept me frozen on my way to So Pas. I had a long sleeve base and put a t-shirt on top to keep warm, but I still had to cross my arms in order to not feel cold (even if it was a placebo effect).

Fortunately, I made it to the high school where the race was taking place, and immediately found warmth in the school’s cafeteria, where packet pick-up was also being held.

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Packet pick-up inside a warm, insulated building (:

Ofcourse like every race I’ve attended as of late, there was NO BAG CHECK. UGH!

I loaded up my belt as much as I could, and put everything else that wouldn’t fit (i.e. the race long sleeve shirt) into a drawstring bag that I then tied so tightly around my chest that it looked like a bra (lol…).

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I’ve been needing more long sleeves…

In the time remaining until the race start, I stretched, used the restroom, and even did a warm-up around the track to feel like a “professional runner” and all.

For it being a local race, it had a pretty big turn-out. There were a lot of runners—especially those who were confident enough to toe the very front of the line. I kept it modest and didn’t stand too far in front, but I did stand within the front of the pack in hopes of finding someone I could pace with and hit a PR as a result.

They did a poor job with the send-off, since none of us even heard an alarm or someone signal us to go. I dashed as soon as the person in front of me jerked forward, and even though I had warmed up, I feared that I had pulled a muscle because I had started so abruptly.

Despite starting so fast, I held myself together and kept a consistent pace that did slow down as time went on, but still averaged at a 7:37/mi by the end of it.

The air was so cold that my lungs burned with each breath. In the past, I would have dreaded this immensely and would have found the situation to be unbearable. In this race however, I actually felt invigorated by it. I didn’t even mind a hill that came up around half way…before I knew it, I could see the finish line on the track in the distance.

I slowed my stride as I passed the finish and gulped down the first water bottle in sight. I stuck around to see if I had placed in my age group, despite there not being any good booths or post-race freebies. Most of the booths were fundraising-based booths for South Pasadena High School. Don’t expect me to bring money if you don’t offer bag check! 

booths
So many booths, no cash. The seaweed was free though.

An hour after my finish, they announced race awards. I learned that I did place, and I received a medal that was far from a shabby dollar store trinket.

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Yay! A race PR (:

To celebrate the speedy 5k finish, I took the train back one stop to Highland Park, and walked a few blocks down to a very much in-trend bakery shop—Mr. Holmes Bakehouse.

all-butter-everything
All Butter Everything…

It was 10am, and there was already a line. The Highland Park hipsters were already seated, munching and chatting while eating pretty little desserts by the box.

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“I got baked in Los Angeles”

I was seriously overwhelemed. I had no need to keep my phone photo-taking a secret—I whipped out my phone for all to see and captured every angle…especially of these baby beauties.

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Gourmet donuts and cruffins!

My eyes immediately landed on the creme-filled donuts. Something about their soft, sugary bread and fruity cream top spoke to me I guess.

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So classy, yet down-to-earth at the same time 🍩 💕💕 ✌️

I got a cranberry-filled creme donut and felt like a princess, even though I was still in my running clothes. I thought the creme filling would taste like frosting, but it actually had the texture of greek yogurt? It caught me slightly off guard, but it was still a delicious treat! Because of the random creme filling not really being the creme I expected, I didn’t feel the need to take home a giant box of their treats like I saw others doing. Perhaps one day I’ll come back just to try the cruffin though!

igotbakedinlosangeles_mrholmesbakehouse
Love how the theme is carried over even into the take-out bags! 🍩 💕💕 ✌️

When I came home, I just had to try another “dessert” even though I was on a slight endorphin/sugar high. Quest Labs released a chocolate chip protein cookie, but the appearance of the chocolate chunks spooked me out, haha!

questproteincookie
Not gonna lie, the new protein “cookie” from Quest Labs kinda spooked me out with all those chocolate chunks. Alien cookie much 👽 🍪 ? Overall, I found it to be thin, slightly doughy, and tasted more like a flattened out Quest CCCD bar. In that regard I guess it tastes alright, but this ain’t Lenny and Larry’s 😏

Overall, I wasn’t amazed by the concept or the outcome of their protein “cookie”. To me, it just looked like a flattened out version of their CCCD protein bar.

I’m waiting for the day a protein donut will come into existence. I’ll be even more shocked if they sell it at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. And you bet I’d be the first one in line if they were giving it away for free at a booth of a race expo 😉

Mr Holmes Bakehouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Race Recap – Race for the Rescues 5k/10k

Race Recap – Race for the Rescues 5k/10k

Last week, the signs of a true fall began to take shape. Will LA finally have a fall that doesn’t feel like the depths of summer?? Only time will tell, but if the past week is any indication for what’s to come, maybe I will get to wear some of my sweaters gathering dust!

Early on in the week, I participated in the unofficial scavenger hunt for Halo Top, since they released 10 new flavors on the 10th. I managed to find a (now) older flavor the day before the new flavors were released, but since my second trip to Ralph’s was later on in the week, my options were down to Pistachio.

Halo Top Chocolate Chip Mocha
Halo Top Chocolate Chip Mocha

I have been looking for the Chocolate Mocha Chip flavor forever, and finally finding it made me feel less disappointed that I wasn’t able to get first dibs on the newest of the new. Even though the chocolate flavor wasn’t overbearing, I thought it was a boring flavor overall. The chocolate chips were minuscule, and looked more like small pieces of crushed nuts rather than actual chocolate. And because they were so small, it was hard to detect any flavor.

Halo Top Pistachio
Halo Top Pistachio

The color they picked for the Pistachio packaging was very eye-catching…just as appealing as the color of the smooth-textured ice cream itself. I had this on a Thursday evening after what was a rough day in lab. This flavor was the perfect form of therapy.

Lenny & Larry's Pumpkin Spice
Lenny & Larry’s Pumpkin Spice

On the cookie front, I took a break from my Lenny & Larry’s Snickerdoodle addiction to try a flavor that’s more in season—Pumpkin Spice! I’m sure it would have tasted decadent warmed up, but since the spice was baked into the cookie, it didn’t blow me away like Snickerdoodle has this entire time. At least I gave it a shot, but I guess pumpkin spice doesn’t woooooo me as much as it does other people 😛

On Saturday, I participated in a 10k and was excited to see if my speed workouts from the past month had any benefit. The race was being held in Pasadena, and while this wouldn’t have been a big deal when I was living close to DTLA, it now was since I moved farther out west. The total transit time via bus and metro train would have been a little over two hours, meaning I would have had to wake up at 4 just to make it to an 8:30am race!

I made a compromise with myself and instead of sacrificing sleep, I traveled to downtown by train and then took an Uber to Pasadena. I try to only use Uber or Lyft only when absolutely necessary (like when leaving the airport at 11pm at night for example), but in this case, time was of the essence and it was worth $13 for a 20 minute ride versus a dirt cheap two hour one!

racefortherescues_
Rose Bowl Stadium on Saturday morning and race shirt.

The race took place near the Rose Bowl Stadium, so I knew the weather conditions and course would be far from breezy. When I got there at 7:30 though, it was still cloudy and the air was still cool. I picked up my bib and shirt, and since there was no bag check, I wore the shirt over the one I was already wearing. I couldn’t exactly stuff it in my running belt since that was already holding my keys and phone, and that alone causing to bulge and hang lower on my hips. This was going to be fun to deal with.

racefortherescues_1
Some of the booths set up

I spent the next hour or so admiring the canines, adoring the felines, and getting a light amount of fuel from Power Crunch bar samples. They were “supposed” to be for after the race but the volunteers were chatting with each other and not paying attention… hehe.

racefortherescues_2
Come for the run, stay for the fur

When it got close to 8:30am, all of the runners were asked to walk towards the race start. It took us forever to actually get started. Between the three Laker girls helping us stretch and the nonstop announcements by a local news anchor, a couple of us were getting very impatient.

ya_cantsitwithus
“You can’t sit with us” —–The Huskies

When we were allowed to start, the first thing I did was look for someone to be my pacer. My goal was to run under 8:00, between 7:40 and 7:50 since I knew I could reach that range based on how I’ve been doing at marathon team practices lately.

I was on my own for the first mile and a half in figuring out my right pace, but I eventually found my stride with an older, shorter woman with long, untied brown hair.

She was averaging an 8:08 pace, and I felt that if I pushed any further, me legs and lungs would not be able to sustain that for the next four miles. Knowing that running 7 something pace would not be a reality in this race was disappointing, but at least now I had a pacing buddy to help me from completely zoning out.

For the 10k, we had to run two loops around the stadium. There were at least two hills in one loop so running up inclines four times throughout this 10k was a challenge in itself. At the end of the day, I was happy with how things turned out. I averaged a 8:16/mi pace and ended up placing first in my age division! Funny thing was my pacing buddy also placed in her division. She ended up with a slightly faster time than I did because she took off in the last mile.

medals
Race medals!

After the run, I paced a bit, chugged a bottle of water, and consumed more Power Crunch bar samples. I walked around the tents and picked up a free bag so I could FINALLY put my stuff somewhere. My bladder said many thank yous after that!

dog_walk
Free shampoo for dogs!

They had a cat/dog “fashion” show at the end so some fur babies could get some attention and hopefully a new home. I stepped on board the Catty Wagon instead, which was a mobile shelter for cats. I played with a curious little kitten for a while and then decided to head out of the Rose Bowl area into Pasadena for lunch. I didn’t have to worry about getting an Uber back because I was ok with taking the time to train/bus to lab. I had to stop there for a bit, but I wasn’t in a huge rush to get there.

kindkremesagepasadena
Sage Organic in Pasadena

I didn’t have my “restaurant list” on hand, so I wasn’t sure where I should head to once I got to Old Town Pasadena, but then I remembered that there was another Sage location I could check out. It had been a while since I paid them a visit in Culver City and Echo Park.

The Pasadena location’s storefront was quite small (bundled with other shops in a strip mall), and it could be easily missed if someone was not actively looking for it. Every table was empty except for one being occupied by runners from my race! Even the guy taking my order asked about the race since he noticed my bib and medals.

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Inside Sage

The menu was just as overwhelming as I remembered, but I felt like having something colorful and filling (like a salad bowl with protein) with some extra crunch. When I saw that they had Dill Cheese Tostadas on the menu, I was sold then and there.

dilcheesetostadas
Dill Cheese Tostadas!

I only had to wait about 15 minutes for my food to arrive, and in the meantime I sipped on my water while trying to get pictures of the interior without scaring my racing brethren (haha). The guy who helped me at the counter brought over my plate, which had two small-sized tostadas topped with black beans, cojita cheese, veggies, verde sauce, and smooth avocado slices. There was also some nacho “cheese” on the side.

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Avooooooos

I tried to get everything all in one bite, but had to eat it layer by layer because it all fell apart. While the avocado was delicious and creamy, my favorite part was the hearty beans and crunchy tostada, despite being the size of the palm of my hand.

After lunch, I slowly made my way to lab, and then from there was more than ready to just go home and crash! I stopped by Trader Joe’s because I heard that they had a new (for them) RX Bar in stock…

rx_ps
PUMPKIN SPICE RX BAR!

Pumpkin Spice! I mentioned how in love I was with Blueberry a couple posts back, and this bar was just what I needed to fuel up with on my way home…especially since I’ve been devoid of my weekly bar box 😛

Cats or dogs?

Or pigs 🙂 ?

Sage Organic Vegan Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Speedy for Smoothie (Bowls)

Speedy for Smoothie (Bowls)

Last Sunday proved to me why running in a group or with a team makes all the difference. I ran a little under 6 miles at a solid 7:30/mi pace, and was able to maintain my pacing without completely blowing out of steam! Marathon training has picked up yet again, and I’m trying to make all of the runs with my team high quality workouts.

Also working to not get left behind of the pack is a good motivator too 😉

I was really proud of my efforts, and for lunch had to walk at least another three miles once in Santa Monica. It was way too hot to be October, and I had to get to a place that offered something cool and refreshing pronto.

Kreation Cafe on Montana Ave.
Kreation Cafe on Montana Ave.

My first visit to a Kreation Cafe/Juicery was a great one. I cooled off with an irresistible bowl full of nutrient-dense fruits and healthy fats, on what was an extremely hot day. Made sense that my second visit was on a day just as hot.

Crowded quarters.
Crowded quarters.

Unlike my first visit, there wasn’t any seating on the inside…only patio and back seating. The line for ordering and pick-up also got scrambled since there were too many people waiting inside! I wanted to try a different bowl this time around, so from the two options I had left I went with the Jungle Bowl.

Random crystal rock by the cash register!
Random crystal rock by the cash register!

The wait was ridiculosly long however. I think I was standing for at least 20 minutes until my bowl was ready. I saw that three people who ordered after me got their meals before I did, so I thought that was a bit frustrating. I let that go when I did get my bowl though!

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A green swampy soup of sorts!

I sat at a table outside on the patio to enjoy this fully.

amaze_bowls
Jungle Bowl – Coconut milk, kale, spinach, mango, apple, almond butter

The color of the bowl reminded me of a swamp, with fruit bobbing throughout it of course. While it was a pretty bowl, the diced apple caught me off guard since I was expecting pineapple as originally stated on their menu. I didn’t really taste any hint of almond butter either. In all honesty, the bowl was less of a smoothie bowl and more of a slushie bowl—in other words, a disappointment. Looks can only take you so far…

Kreation Kafe 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!

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Perfect Bar – Peanut Butter

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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo Running Shoes

New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo Running Shoes

I mentioned in an earlier post (this one actually) that since mid-July, I have been dealing with a posterior shin splint isolated on my left leg. Interesting thing is, I found that using a compression bandage (like the one found at Walgreens) happened to help a lot! I’ve been wrapping it around the sore area a few hours before my run or the night before, and it seems to do the trick as I don’t feel the sharp pain I felt when I was running before. So a $2 bandage seems to be the solution versus a $20 Graston treatment—go figure! 

When the pain first appeared though, I went through a list of items trying to figure out what the problem was and how to fix it. I was thinking my now-older, orange Newtons, which had 500+ miles at this point, could be an issue, and I visited a local running store to get their opinion. The guy helping me out was pretty knowledgable, and helped me narrow down some options that provided arch support, cushioning, and some stabilization for my overpronation. I’ve had a tendency to over pronate since my high school tennis days, and while it’s not a major issue, having shoes that help prevent the pronation occur less can go a long way. 
 
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Color Selection: Black with Bayside & Lava
 
I ended up deciding on a pair of New Balance Vongos. When I put them on at the store, they had a cushy feel, and while the height was not exactly as extreme as my Hoka’s of past, they felt higher off the ground compared to my Newtons.  
 
The color combination also was eye-catching, so that was definitely a deal maker. 
 
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That criss-cross though
 
My Dad and I used to joke that New Balance shoes are “old people shoes”, and even Saturday Night Live made a skit about it. For me however, I don’t really care as long as they allow me to run properly, aid in healing my injury (that is now responding to a treatment!), and perhaps even help me to run faster! 
 
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Flat & spacious
 
At the time of this review, these shoes will have about ~150 miles on them. I also swapped out the inserts with some other stabilizing inserts for extra support just in case. So far, things are going pretty smoothly.
 
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These inserts already look pressed in lol

We’ll just see how things still are another 100 miles down the road 😉

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 – 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 – Run/Walk to Fight Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases

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

I didn’t expect things to be so slow and calm these past two weeks, but they surprisingly have been! With people gone on vacation, things have also been pretty slow and steady at work in lab. Of course I’ve been making sure to get what I need to get done each day done, but the demands have eased a bit compared to how things were last month!

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

At the time I registered for the race, I knew that I would be in the middle of a running challenge (that I voluntarily got myself into…more on that in an upcoming post!), so I paid my dues knowing that I would have to allot some time on race morning to get a “warm-up” in before the actual 5K.

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

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Gazebo at Crescent Bay Park

I found the registration area set-up below from where I was standing, and carefully walked down the steps. I didn’t want to risk getting an ankle sprain before the actual run!

IMG_0305

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

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

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

IMG_0311

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

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

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

 Seating area.
Seating area.

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

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

 Listening loud and clear.
Listening loud and clear.

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

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

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

I managed to lock in and finish at an average pace of 9:23/mi, and though this wasn’t top female finisher material, I was proud of my pace on sore quads. I was also grateful for have the ability to run day in and day out, and to find the time to run for a worthy and necessary cause.

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

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Yup, I’d say this was a worth 5K from all angles 😉

Do you or someone you know suffer from lymphedema or lymphatic disease? *This post wasn’t sponsored, but if you are interested in learning more about LE&RN, click here.

Race Recap: Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run

Race Recap: Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run

Christmas in July: that’s what it felt like on the morning of my first Christmas-themed race in Santa Monica!

 SaMo in December...yeah I'm not lying.
SaMo in December…yeah I’m not lying.

I signed up for this race around the time I decided on the turkey trot, and even though I knew it would be in the middle of what was supposed to be a weekend devoted to studying, I figured that a short & sweet race wouldn’t do any harm. A healthy study break is always a good idea 😀

funinthesun
This race had such a great turnout. I arrived about an hour before the 5k start, just as the 10k runners were making their way back in.

I woke up around 6AM, and took the Metro Line down to Culver City to transfer over to the bus that stops at Venice and Santa Monica. The trip took about an hour, and I arrived at the start site (close to the beach), and had so. much. time. to. kill. after picking up my bib and race supplies.

pickupstuff

The way they had it set up was that everyone’s name was assigned a number that we (the runners) were responsible for looking up before heading over to the registration table. At the table, we got our bibs, pins, cute longsleeve t-shirts, and a commemorative santa hat. 

Since I did have quite a bit of time before the 5k start, I used that time to people dog watch 😉

 The race atmosphere is attracting to so many dogs!!
The race atmosphere is attracting to so many dogs!!

Along with the energetic emcee, Santa & the elves were situated atop a podium near the finish, cheering and taking pictures with the crowd.

santa!

Soon, it was finally time to line up at the start, and before I knew it, I was off with the crowds on my second official 5k race. The route immediately led us over the Venice borderline, and the roads were absolutely empty—even the amount of cars parked on the street were at a minimum. Since there was no gear check, I had to run with a drawstring bag and belt, so that meant I had my phone near me, but I didn’t feel like taking pictures as I was running. You just have to trust me on this one 😉

I felt annoyed with the feel of my belt as I was running, but in the end, finishing with a 8:45/mi pace made up for it.

After being handed my medal, I walked over to the post-race tents.

samplesafterrace

A lot of the vendors were more focused on selling their products, but there were some noteworthy freebies. I was able to get some free apples (crockpot time!), a fig bar packet, and some electrolyte samples. I also got a one-week trial pass for a gym in the area, had my ears/hips/shoulders measured at a chiropractor’s tent, and took some water bottles with me before finally leaving. 

I stopped to pick up some groceries, and then headed back home. The rest of the afternoon/evening was spent pouring over a paper that required all of my energy and concentration. Still, I don’t regret choosing to spend my morning at a sunny Christmas-themed run. 

SAMSUNG

Have you ever participated in a Christmas-themed race?

MTR: Week 1

MTR: Week 1

Week 1 of “official” marathon training went by smoothly. Considering I ran a half marathon the weekend before, I found the 8 mile LSD to be quite tolerable—especially since my team ran it at Griffith Park! Here’s how the mileage this week broke down:

Sunday – LSD 8 miler at 9:35/mi, with the team

Monday – Rest

Tuesday4 miler early morning solo-run at 9:39/mi

Wednesday 4 miler at 9:06/mi, with the team

Thursday – Rest

Friday – Rest

Saturday4 miler solo-run at 9:21/mi


Total Mileage -> 20 miles

Running with a group has really helped me to stay motivated, and I’m not surprised that two of my runs this week were with at least some people on my team. I guess I even felt a little competitive on Wednesday, and pushed myself to not be “the last one” to finish out of a group of three guys!

As far as my training plan goes, I am following the one that has been given to us by the team captains, but I am adapting it based on my level/schedule. Since weekday runs are not mandatory like the Sunday long runs, I have some flexibility with when I want to run them. I’ve noticed that I usually have more energy/motivation early on in the week since I am able to get up early and squeeze in a run before starting my day. When Thursday and Friday roll around however, I’m usually (mentally) exhausted from classes/lab, and it’s harder to push myself out the door when I’d rather sleep in for an extra thirty-to-forty minutes 😛 

My long run goals for this training cycle are as follows:

longrungoals

The asterisk weeks are PDR weeks I shall be looking forward to! Too bad Week 7 also coincides with my third exam week. Ick…

Do you find it harder to motivate yourself as the end of the week nears?

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