Tales From the Back of the Pack

Tales From the Back of the Pack

Friday, October 15, 2010

Starting over is a PITA

If there is ever a good week to have accidentally deleted your blog, this was not it for me. No, there is never a good time for that to happen. I thought I had a duplicate account and tried to delete the duplicate and ended up deleting my entire blog. My heart sank into my shoes, my face went white, I started to tremble. What a terrible moment that was.

A day or so later after taking some time to put it into perspective (and numerous frustrating attempts to deal with Google to recover it) I accepted that my blog was gone, that I had only had maybe a dozen posts and that I could start over again and in a short month be right back where I started. I'd only been blogging a month, it could have been much worse.

This week at work has been hellish. Keeping up with work, the CocoPuff and half marathon training has taken it's toll. I've barely had any time to come up for air. I haven't seen my BFF all week and for all I know I may have already been replaced.

But I'm back and I've missed blogland sooo much in the last 4 days. Funny how the world keeps spinning even when you're desperate for it to stand still.


  1. Wow! That just sucks! I wondered what happened. One great thing about the internet is it let's you connect with people that are totally outside of your daily life, but if something happens, the person just goes silent, and it is really hard to find out what happened. I am gla hat you are back!!

  2. Guess what I found in my google reader? Someones missing blog posts. I can't give you the pictures, but I hope this helps.


    Sep 8, 2010 9:25 PMFirst Forayfrom Tales From the Back of the Pack by Irene
    It's nice to meet you!

    After lurking around all your blogs for many many months, I've decided to take the plunge and create a running blog of my very own. Plus I'm hoping to win some of those really awesome giveaways. Not sure what I'm doing AT ALL, so I'm feeling a little insecure, a little out of my comfort zone, not unlike how it felt when I first started running. When I first started running I began by putting one foot in front of the other, I've seen people running after all, but the whole time out I was fretting about whether my form was right or wrong or whether my shoes and outfit screamed "slow ass ROOKIE!!!" or how far one single mile really is. One single mile is faaaar.

    Like everything else, now that I've been running for a few months, entered a few races, I know pretty much where I stand in this running business. I've got most of the right gear and I don't wander around wide-eyed and lost at the 5K's. I can pretty much size up other runners in the first hundred yards and can usually tell which ones started out way too fast.

    I'm intend get faster and fitter and hopefully make some friends along the way.

  3. Sep 8, 2010 9:25 PMConquer the Bridge Race Reportfrom Tales From the Back of the Pack by Irene
    This past Labor Day weekend I ran a 5 miler event in San Pedro. The highlight of the race was that the route took us over the Vincent Thomas suspension bridge. If you don't know the VT bridge, it is a pretty cool LA landmark (at least to us locals) spanning over the LA Harbor.

    I ran the first half of the San Francisco Marathon earlier this year, the half that takes you over the Golden Gate bridge. After running over the VT this last weekend, I believe bridge running is my new favorite route. Going to research this and see what other events are run over bridges. If you know of any off hand please let me know.

    Anyway, the Conquer the Bridge run was a small fun local event. The swag was cotton t-shirts in XL or XXL, no real goodie bag (probably because I was a late entrant) and medals only to the top finishers (that'll be the day). There were about 2000+ people running/walking, but I arrived separately from my support group and we easily found each other in the crowd. So 2000 runners must not be a lot of people.

    Local news channels were there covering the race live, which if you live in LA, is really no big deal. Actually, 'BD' who was waiting for me at the finish line with my baby CocoPuff , said the overall first place finisher was asked for a live interview on camera and he just waved off the reporter.

    I finished the 5.3 mile route in 52:36 according to Guther the Garmin. Here is a pic of me crossing the finish line. I wish for more finesse, better form and less body fat. Next breath: I am grateful for a body that allows me to run.

    I will definitely run this race again, because the bridge was way cool. And to make sure that my times are improving.

  4. A Day in the Life of Tales from the Back of the Packfrom Tales From the Back of the Pack by Irene
    A typical day for me:

    6:00am Alarm goes off and I hit the snooze a few times before actually getting out of bed. Not sure why I haven't changed the alarm, I never get up at 6:00am.

    6:30-7am I'm dressed and drive out to the local Greenway trail for a run before work. I down something carby like a bagel thin with peanut butter and honey or sliced banana before running (prepared the night before). I love those days that I have a little extra time before my first appointment of the day to get my running done without constantly checking my watch for time and conversely regret the days I've made an early appointment that makes me have to cut my run short.

    After my run, I head to the gym to shower, or continue my workout, depending on the day's meetings. I usually eat a more substantial breakfast of yogurt and berries (prepared the night before) in my car on my way to an appointment or drive through Starbucks for something. What did we ever do before Starbucks drive thrus? I shudder at the thought of an existence without Pumpkin Spice lattes. Yes, they're seasonal, but I soooo look forward to them all year--makes it all the sweeter when they're back.

    9am-5pm-ish Work work work and then home again. I'll have dinner at home or out with the Cocopuff, then an evening filled with tea parties, freeze tag, hide and go seek or whatever torturous other games she can create from her diabolical 4 year old mind. I'm usually successful at reminding myself to be in the moment because she'll grow up too fast. That always gets me through those "Mom, let's play Barbies!" times.

    If the morning's workout wasn't challenging or I feel I need to do a little more, the Puff and I will head out to the gym again for an evening fitness class or to log a few more miles on the dreadmill.

    Then I get ready to do it all again in the morning: re-pack the gym bag, make breakfast and/or lunches for me and the Puff, generally get organized for the next day.

    The above is what happens when the stars and planets are all aligned in my favor and everything in my world is going my way. Everyday there is an exception(s) to the above, whether appointments are cancelled last-minute, or I'm volunteering at the Puff's preschool, whatever it may be, we just roll with it.

    Thanks for the challenge, Shut Up and Run!

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  7. Stripped Nakedfrom Tales From the Back of the Pack by Irene
    Yesterday, while at church, my car was broken into in the parking lot and my wallet stolen. Likely the theives knew once I'd entered the building, you know, to praise God and all, they would have a good solid hour to to rape my vehicle and thrash my possesions.

    All the crap I hide in the center consoles was dumped onto the seats and rifled through and then left there (emergency tampons & pads, cigarettes that I was really REALLY holding for a friend) to embarass me in front of the police who came to take a report. Yes, Officer, I left my purse in in plain sight. Yes, Officer, I probably left the doors unlocked. Yes, Officer I am a dumbass.

    Driver's license, money, credit cards, are all replaceable. What isn't replaceable however, is my innocence, my naivete, my trust in human kind. WTF was I thinking? I live in LA for crying out loud. I chuckle condescendingly at people in small towns who leave their car keys in their car outside their house, who go to bed and leave their front doors unlocked, who know all their neighbors, their librarian, their grocery clerk by name. Who wants to live like that? Well, hmmm, maybe I do afterall.

    What an odd feeling to not have a credit card, driver's license, nothing to confirm my identity. Nothing to prove that I exist as a productive member of society, an active stimulator of the local ecomony. No money for the donut shop to buy the Puff a treat like we do sometimes after church. I felt like I'd been stripped naked...except being naked doesn't even bother me as much as this did.

    To add salt to my wound, this morning while the feeling of being invaded was still fresh on my psyche, I had no choice but to forgo my early morning run on the Greenway trail. I couldn't bring myself to leave my car unattended in an empty parking lot. Certainly thieves would know if they saw me leave my car and start running they'd have at least however long the average runner runs to do their dirty work.

    So this morning I drove to the gym instead, parked right in sight of the front doors, locked and double checked the doors, shlepped what's left of my valuables (Blackberry & laptop-I go straight to work after my runs) into the gym with me and begrudgingly jumped on the treadmill for a 3-mile recovery run.

    They won't get the better of me though. I'll be back on the trail again soon, with trusty Gunther the Garmin monitoring my progress. I'll be hyper-vigilant going forward. Never park at the same point twice in a row. Or maybe I will and keep 'em guessing. I'll run in a loop back and forth past my car and maybe even remember to lock the doors this time.

    But now I want to know: What do you do with purses/wallets & other valuables in your car when you drive yourself to your running trail?

    And to all you thieves out there: KARMIC RETRIBUTION IS A MO'FO'!

  8. Sep 16, 2010 3:34 PMDoin' Yasso. Or something like it.from Tales From the Back of the Pack by Irene
    Last week, I did my online research, calculator and pencil in hand, calculated and recalculated the numbers attempting to to figure out what the h*ll the Yasso 800's was all about and how I could incorporate them (him?) into my running "program".

    Like Bart. If I could be like Bart...
    I think I understand the concept but translating it into numbers on my Garmin is confusing. Still not sure that I have it right, so here's my best guesstimate for what it's worth: If I want to run a marathon in 4 hours and 30 minutes, then I should be able to run an 800 (=that is 1/2 mile, or two times around the track) in 4 minutes and 30 seconds. If I can run 10 of those 800's at that pace I will run a 4:30 marathon. Those ten 800's are run with a 400 break (one lap) in between each one and you move through that recovery lap half as slow as your 800 pace. That's the Yasso 800.

    Am I confused?

    But translated into actual footsteps? If I'm running a 1/2 mile in 4 min 30 sec then that puts me at a 9 minute per mile pace, which is about 6.6mph. (See why the paper and pencil are necessary?) So the 1/4 mile recovery laps (half the 800 distance) are supposed to be at half the pace of the 800, so a 3.3 mph pace. That's a really slow walk...more like a shuffle. I just couldn't do it, it was frustrating to have to walk at such a slow pace. Does the recovery lap really matter?

    I did 5 yasso's today at the speed of 9 mph or 6.6 min/mile. My recovery laps were at 4mph or 15 min/mile. And you know, it wasn't very hard at all. Which is why I doubt that I have this right. But I'll keep on with it because it gives my runs a purpose. And because, well, why not do it?

    And now I am going through the rest of my work day with images of the track and those dang numbers going through my head.

    who can walk these lines?

    Eating the rainbow today:
    R-strawberries with my yogurt
    O-hmm...maybe will do something with that sweet potato for dinner
    Y-1/2 banana pre-run & the other 1/2 for afternoon snack
    G-romaine salad for lunch
    BIV-blackberies in the yogurt, grilled eggplant in the salad

  9. Cross training and atypical Fridayfrom Tales From the Back of the Pack by Irene Sep 18, 2010 12:55 AM
    First things first: Shut Up and Run! is giving away a goheadband. It reminds me of something Bart Yasso would wear if he were Bret Michaels (Rock of Love). And it is something I would TOTALLY wear because my hair looks awful once I get a good sweat going. My hair is actually the least of my woes after a workout, but anything would help.

    I don't know why I can't look like this after I finish a workout

    maria sharapova

    Good luck vibes to me on winning the giveaway.

    Today was cross training day, I took a one hour strength class at the gym. I love cross training days because I get to do something fun besides running without feeling like I'm cheating on running. (Geez, does that even make sense? Like running is my boyfriend?)

    The Puff had a doctor appointment this afternoon. Had to have 5 (FIVE!) different vaccinations plus a flu shot. My poor kid was poked like a voodoo doll. She took it like a trooper, thank goodness, because I was a total mess at the sight of all those needles. Good thing one of us stayed calm cool & in control. Unfortunately it was the one of us who is 4 years old.

    can you spot the roygbiv's?
    Keeping it lowkey tonight, doing some laundry, some shopping at Trader Joe's for next week's groceries. Prepared and proactive! Plus I'm trying to eat the rainbow (not literally, but colorfully) every day.

    Have some new recipes picked out from Cooking Light mag that I am excited about trying this week.

    Tomorrow I have an 8-mile taper run on the schedule. It's a taper because I'll be running the Say No to Drugs Half Marathon at the Rose Bowl a week from Saturday. I'm excited about running my second half marathon and checking off the 2nd of 3 halfs to qualify as a Half Fanatic. Marathon Maniac is (hopefully) soon to follow, si Dios quiere! Eeeks!!!!

    Eating the rainbow today:
    R- tomatoes in my lunch salad and with dinner
    O-mandarin slices
    Y-pre-workout banana
    G-10 lb salad at lunch
    BIV-red grapes, and the last of the blackberries

  10. Sep 19, 2010 1:04 AMRunning gods make mischieffrom Tales From the Back of the Pack by Irene
    Woke up bright and early this morning at the crack of 9:30 am. (This happens with more frequency than I'd like to admit.) When I wake up this late I can tell by the amount of sunlight pouring in through the windows that there is no way I'm doing a long run today because it's obviously too hot out by now.

    This morning there wasn't any sunlight, but I stayed in bed a little longer just to make sure it wasn't coming out. I took my time getting dressed, ate a leisurely breakfast, spent a few minutes checking my email then drove out very slowly to my running trail. I really stalled that run as long as possible...I was sure the sun would be bursting out from behind the clouds at any moment and I didn't want to be caught miles away from my car when it happened.

    This was the temperature when I parked and started out on my run this morning. Overcast and cool. Wow, that's so odd, but I'll take it! The running gods were smiling on me! I strapped on the iPhone and took off.

    Just a short hour later, however, those gods were smiling AT me. Or rather, laughing their asses off. HA! AS IF I was going to get to run in 60 degree weather when I had the nerve to roll out of bed after 9:30. Who do I think I am?

    The 8 miler I intended to do today was cut off at 6 miles. I don't do hot weather. I'm way impressed with people who live in those super hot states and still manage to get outdoors to run. Ah, well, I'm satisfied with the miles I did get in and in a way I'm thankful the gods played their little trick on me or I wouldn't have done any miles at all today.

    I went home to shower and change into a light sundress before heading out again for some fun. And guess what happened? The sun tucked itself back behind the clouds and the temp was down in the 60's again for the rest of the day. I froze my toes off.

    Went to Santa Monica to watch a quirky indie film El Superstar (produced by George Lopez). It's about a white guy who is raised by his Mexican nanny and blessed with a singing voice by la Virgen de Guadalupe. It stars all the usual Mexicans and since it is probably only relatable to Hispanics, we felt obligated to go see it.

    We were the only ones in the theatre. We each sat in our own row.

    Quiet evening at home tonight. Two nights in a row. I need to get a life.

    Eating the rainbow today:
    R- Strawberries in my yogurt
    O-baked sweet potato for dinner
    Y-pre-run banana,
    G-I didn't eat anything green today. Odd. Green is usually the easiest color to eat.
    BIV-Grapes for snack, blueberries in my yogurt

  11. Sep 22, 2010 1:20 PMThe Day of Restfrom Tales From the Back of the Pack by Irene
    Sunday is my rest day. This past Sunday the Puff and I went to church in the morning, then to my brother's house for Sunday Linner, laid around his house all afternoon, ate up all the brownies and monopolized his 70" television with 10,000 HD channels until we were asked to leave. Sundays are great.

    BUT Sundays inevitably lead to Mondays. The Day of Rest melts into DayS of Rest and Mondays become a no-running day more often than not.

    Ahh, but Tuesdays! Now Tuesdays is where it's AT!! By Tuesday morning I can.not.wait. to start running again and yesterday was no different. I couldn't wait to hit the Greenway Trail:

    the most scenic part of the trail is on the bridge overlooking the traffic below.

    While every other part of the country is experiencing the change of seasons with all the pretty colors of Autumn, the only indication I have that the seasons are changing is that Starbucks brings back the Pumpkin Spice latte. In SoCal, it always looks like this on my running route.

    Yesterday's run was a 5 mile tempo. It was one of those runs that felt pretty dang great from start to finish. The kind of run that makes you feel like, "Yeah, that's right. I can do this. It's easy. I'm THAT good."

    Honestly, I'm not sure what tempo means, or why it's called tempo. I am a fairly new runner and the words I've been learning in runnerland--well, I need an entire dictionary just for running terms. I believe a tempo run is one that you do slightly faster than your marathon pace. While I don't know my marathon pace because I've never run a marathon I aim to run my first marathon in 4:30 or less or a sub 10 minute mile pace. Yesterday's run went like this:

    Mile 1 10:09

    Mile 2 10:02

    Mile 3 9:36

    Mile 4 9:25

    Mile 5 9:30

    I'm almost certain the above numbers mean I had mostly 'negative splits' which is a positive thing in the running world. So confusing.

    After work the Puff, the Pug and I went for a bike ride on my Greenway Trail. Not much "green" on the Greenway Trail. But at least we don't have to dodge cars most of the way.

    The Puff sat on her bike and pretended to move her feet on the pedals while I was bent over wogging, pushing her bike with one hand on her handlebars and the other holding Pete's leash for the entire 2 miles up and back along the trail. A bonus 4 miles logged for me!

    The Puff spotted this "jungle" during the ride and wanted a picture of herself with the "jungle". We really need to get her out of the city more often.

    Today's workout is cross training. Tomorrow is #6 YASSO'S! Looking forward to it!

    Are you EXCITED about your workout?

    Eating the rainbow today:
    R-grape tomatoes in my cous cous
    O-nectarines in my yogurt
    G-artichoke hearts in my cous cous
    BIV-eggplant marinara over grilled chicken breast for dinner tonight.

    Are you eating your rainbow today?

  12. Sep 23, 2010 6:07 PMIn Bart I Trustfrom Tales From the Back of the Pack by Irene
    Today was week 3 of the Yasso 800's. This means I am up to 6 Yassos now. I vaguely recall mentioning in an earlier post that they were kinda easy. Today Bart himself reached his hand through my treadmill and slapped me upside the head for thinking that they were easy. Today the Yasso's weren't that easy, no not easy at all. But I perservered through it, and now they're behind me until next week.

    1x800 4:17
    2x800 4:13
    3x800 4:17
    4x800 4:20
    5x800 4:20
    6x800 4:00- just wanted to get it over with already

    Average pace was 7mph and 7.5mph for that last 800. And I felt great afterwards although my knees sometimes feel like they belong on an 80 year old woman instead of a not-yet-40 year old one. But I'm still following the pied piper. Still trusting what Bart says about me running my first marathon in a sub 4:30 time.
    Tomorrow is another rest day and then Saturday morning I'm running the Say No to Drugs Half Marathon at the Rose Bowl.

    While I loooove baseball and my LA Dodgers I am yet one more girl that is just not into football. HOWEVER, I once had the opportunity to visit the UCLA football locker rooms at the Rose Bowl and walk through the team tunnels and onto the grass and it was....very cool. Unfortunately it was an experience wasted on me. The entire time I was there I was thinking of a dozen other people I knew off the bat who would have appreciated that whole thing.

    It would be fun to get to do that again on Saturday but I'm not not holding out any hope.

    Are you fall races coming up and/or done? Are you ready??

    Eating the Rainbow today:
    R grape tomatoes
    O carrot sticks
    Y nothing yet
    G romaine & spinach salad
    BIV grilled eggplant and frozen blackberries

  13. Sep 25, 2010 11:50 PMRose Bowl Race Disasterfrom Tales From the Back of the Pack by Irene
    Today was my half marathon at the Rose Bowl. Woke up at 5am, and BD was already at my house to pick up the Puff (thanks BD!) so I could run my race. Nice! I dressed, ate a quick breakfast and drove 28 miles to Pasadena.

    The scenery was great around the Bowl with the sun just coming up over the hills. Laker girls were on hand for the pre-race warm-up. Hooray.

    Once the race got started it went pretty well for the first 4 miles or so looping around the Bowl on the running trail. As we got into miles 6, 7, 8, 9 the flat fast asphalt suddenly turned into a very difficult trail of dirt, sand and loose rocks, which I don't recall there being any mention of beforehand:

    Besides this trail being very steep and difficult to run, the elites started to pass us right about here and at some points there was no room for us to both be on the trail together. We literally had to step off the trail and into the bushes every time we heard a volunteer shout RUNNER COMING DOWN so that the elites could get past us on their loop back. I always hate to lose my momentum, slow as it is.

    I really started to get a bad attitude about this race here. It was increasingly feeling like we were being punished for choosing to participate in this race. We'd paid a fee of $75 to run this little event, and what did our $75 buy us? The race t-shirt was a crappy white cotton men's shirt. Strike one. There were no road closures. We were having to weave through the regular "civillian" traffic that runs daily in this area including walkers, strollers, bikers, dogs, rollerbladers. At some points I couldn't see any other racers around me and was seriously wondering if I was even still in the race. Strike two. The water stations ran out of water before our last loop. Out of water in this heat?? Steeeriike threeeee!! And the icing on the cake is that there were no electronic timing chips. Really, where was the money spent?

    After the weird off-road gravelly sandy trail part, the route took us around the Rose Bowl twice more before heading into the finish line chutes. There hadn't been anything very interesting to see the first time around, the third loop was just agonizing. And by now the temperature had gone from 59 to almost 90 degrees.

    Afterwards, I indulged in the "free" pancake breakfast and inhaled a Jamba Juice smoothie. Nice!

    That helped adjust my mood during the drive home. And I needed the fuel because immediately after running a half marathon I had to attend a funeral, then had to rush over to meet the Puff at her cousin's birthday party and after THAT I had a church function/dinner. Shouldn't my world stop when I run a half mary?

    Does your world stop when you do a long run?

    My time was 2:24. I was hoping to do much better than this, but I'll take it. It was one of those races where I felt I could have done better if only it hadn't been such an odd route or such a hot day, but that goes with the territory. Is there ever a perfect course, perfect day, perfect race?

  14. Sep 28, 2010 6:42 PMIt's Too Hot To Runfrom Tales From the Back of the Pack by Irene
    Summer is in now in full swing in SoCal, finally, with record breaking heat waves. Problem is that SoCal just doesn't know how to do extreme weather. They say Angelenos can't drive in the rain, and this is absolutely true. The reason for this is that we are so unaccustomed to having rain fall here that we go on about our drives as if the rain weren't pouring down diminishing our visibility and making the roads slick. You can expect a minimum of an hour added to your usual commute time when it rains due to all the car accidents.

    Similarly in the extreme heat, people think they can go on about their regular business and are shocked when all the airconditioners working overtime simultaneously will cause power outages around the city.

    Or, like me, will get outside to run and be totally dumbfounded when we realize it just is physically impossible to run in this heat when you're not acclimated to it. You just can't, you will die.

    I've been feeling a litte run down since my Half marathon on Saturday. Throat felt raw and my knees were achy. Sunday was a rest day which helped some. Sunday tagged Monday as a rest day and that helped a little more. But now it's Tuesday and I NEED TO RUN. In addition, I've recruited some friends to take up running again and will have company for my upcoming races. I need to make sure I'm not left too far behind.

    But did I mention it's too hot to run?

    So I had to pull a Moonstruck Cher today and slap myself to 'snap out of it'. I finally made up my mind to drive to the gym to do a few miles just to loosen up and I'm so glad I did. When do I ever regret a run? Never. I had a great tread mill workout in an air-conditioned gym.

    4 miles, 37:38

    It may not be much compared to some, and maybe even not much compared to what I've done before, but there is something about running that makes me feel like I'm Superwoman. Makes me feel like I accomplished something. I ran 4 miles today...in 38 minutes. I love saying that. Swimming or biking might have the same effect for me but neither of those activities are as convenient as running. I'll stick to running.

    How did your run make you feel today?

    Eating the rainbow today:
    R-strawberries, tomatoes and marnara sauce
    G-spinach, lettuce, cucumbers
    BIV-blueberries, eggplant in the marinara

  15. Sep 30, 2010 8:34 PMKeep on keeping onfrom Tales From the Back of the Pack by Irene
    Wednesday's cross day was looking to be a big DNF but luckily the Puff was willing to be bribed to go to the Kid's Club with me last night and I did a great strength class. I love it when my world is working with me.

    Today was week 4 of the Yasso's and I'm proud to report they are DONE. 7 Yasso's down and a whole week to forget about the sweat and tears. I overslept again today (surprise surprise) so I hit the gym to get them done. Because I was using the mill and not the track, I came up with a super sophisticated system to remember which Yasso I was on:

    It looks something like this _ _ / _}_ /_ _}/_ _/}_ _/_ }_/_ _} The 2 horizontal lines each represent a lap, together a half mile or 1 Yasso run in 4:30 (9min per mile pace), the slash is a recovery lap and the squiggly line marked each mile. So I knew that at exactly 5 miles I would have finished 7 Yasso's. I know, super stupid, but it worked. Small minds...

    Truthfully, I do like this Yasso business and I'm looking forward to finishing them up in the next few weeks. I had an epiphany of miraculous proportions today while I was running that once I was finished this series, I could always start over again at a faster pace. I'll say it again, samll minds...

    Working up a sweat 5 days a week whether it's running or crosstraining is just so physically gratifying. There have been numerous times over the past few years that I've fallen off the exercise wagon. There have been times when I didn't put on a sports bra for weeks at a time. I'm delighted to find myself bitten by this running bug and I'm riding the wave for as long as it'll carry me.

    Eating the rainbow today:
    R strawberries (sour, end of the season)
    O carrot sticks
    Y pineapple chunks
    G grilled zucchini in my salad
    BIV grilled eggplant in my salad, frozen blackberries

    Tomorrw is First Fridays in Venice, where a whole bunch of LA gourmet food trucks convene and we can hit them all up in one fun location. This month I've got a my crosshairs pointed at the Crepes Bonaparte truck and the grilled cheese truck. I've got a fistfull of cash and I'm ready to binge!

  16. Run, Eat, Shop, Repeat!from Tales From the Back of the Pack by Irene Oct 2, 2010 2:44 Yesterday was cross training day--step class! I love me a good step class. I used to think Step class was like the 90's version of Jazzercize (not that I ever actually did any jazzercising) but I've come to learn that step class is NO JOKE. It's an awesome way to work up a sweat and feel spent without hurting in all the wrong places like in a spinning class. Spinning classes are for....men. IMO.

    Sometime during the workday, I realized I had to work Saturday (today). Boo to work on the weekends! and a bigger BOO because I won't be able to run Saturday morning. So after work on Friday I headed back to the gym for a second time to run 4 quick miles on the treadmill before

    heading out to Venice Beach for FIRST FRIDAYS. The first Friday of every month many of the gourmet food trucks around LA convene in Venice Beach along Abbott Kinney Blvd and I get to participate in two of my favorite pastimes: eating AND shopping.

    First on the agenda was to hit the Grilled Cheese Truck hard and early because this line will get hours long if you dilly dally. Plus you run the risk of the trucks running out of food before you get to the window. Here is a picture of the scene when we first arrived (we were 10th in line). About an hour later the line was no longer a line but a HOT MESS of people and mass confusion


    Signature grilled cheese with cheesy mac, BBQ pulled pork and carmelized onions.


    The grilled double cream brie with pears and honeyed walnuts. BLISS!

    And the Puff also spotted herself a truck, Cool Haus, waited patiently in line and scored herself an ice cream sandwich. Vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies. She is a classic kind of ice cream sandwich girl.

    The shopping was also lots of fun, walking up and down the sidewalk going in and out of the cute eclectic shops. Venice is a unique place with a great, laid-back vibe. Not something everyone enjoys, but I absolutely do.

    I actually crossed someone off my Christmas list last night. SCORE!

    Someone I love may or may not be receiving a pair of cowboy wellies for Christmas
    Another First Friday gone until next month. I'll try to convince myself that all the window shopping I did while eating copious amounts of food truck food negated the calories we consumed. One can always hope.

    And if the walking isn't enough, this Sunday is General Conferences which means no Church which means I'll have time to get a long run done this weekend after all. I'll be able to run in the morning and then come home to watch the meetings on TV in my sweaty running clothes. A WIN/WIN!! unless you're sitting next to me.

  17. Oct 4, 2010 11:44 PMWhat a difference a weekend makesfrom Tales From the Back of the Pack by Irene

    I had such great intentions to get a long run in on Sunday. Church even kindly cooperated by starting at 9am instead of 8am this weekend. But to no one's surprise I never made it out the front door Sunday for a run. Come to think of it, I don't remember if I ever changed out of my slippers the entire day.

    Today's run was do or die. I had to get it done or have a big FAIL on my conscience. And guess what? I DID IT. The best part? I kept a great pace the whole way! On the mill, I can bust out 9:30min miles all day, but getting out onto the trail it's a whole different story. Outside I can never keep any kind of steady pace, nevermind a decently fast pace. (If there's a secret to it, someone please tell me!)


    Today's run was just so sweeet. My legs made their decision as to how far they were going to go totally independent of my head. They carried me for eight miles and I unofficially (& barely) PR'd with a sub 10min pace. Maybe it's the Yasso's I've been doing or maybe it was the fact that I rested and ate crappy food all weekend and my body was screaming to get back into our normal healthy routine. Whatever it was, I'm ecstatic about the results.

    Sweet runs like the one I had today are the reason I keep running. While I wish I could have more good runs, I do realize that if I did, they wouldn't be as sweet.

    After a gluttonous weekend of Foodtruck food, Dodger Dogs (see you next season, boys!) and mom's famous fried fish tacos, I'm ready to get back to Eating the Rainbow today:

    R grape tomatoes and strawberries
    O peach
    Y banana, pineapple
    G baby broccoli
    BIV frozen blueberries, grapes

    Hope your runs are Sweeeet!

  18. Oct 7, 2010 2:06 AMAnd another one down and another one downfrom Tales From the Back of the Pack by Irene
    Another week's Yasso bites the dust. Today was #8. !!! I felt strong throughout the set, which ended at 5.75 miles but I walked another .25 miles so that I could add an even 6 miles to TallMomontheRun's October Challenge.

    I'm looking forward to finishing this series up in the next two weeks and then starting a new set of Yasso's at a slightly faster pace. Is it bad luck to be thinking that far ahead? I can't help it, but hope I'm not jinxing myself. If I can pick up the pace in another set of 10 Yassos, I may start to feel more comfortable with expecting myself to hit my dream marathon time of 4:30. Those recovery laps really help to mentally get through the 1/2 mile intervals. As you run, you're thinking "I can't hold this pace" but the beauty is you don't have to because you're going to be taking a break in just a little while. This stuff is brilliant.

    In between those last two Yasso's I'll be running the Long Beach Half Marathon October 17th. I can't wait to run this race!

    I am more excited than nervous about this one because this is my home turf. I know this city. I own this city. :) Having lived here for many years, especially when I was young and single and lived in the downtown area where this route runs, I feel a powerful sense of belonging to this city. I've walked, run, bussed, taxi'd these streets for 20 years. I think many people who live here feel the same sense of belonging. I've been in various parts of the country, even overseas, and have randomly bumped into people from Long Beach. And the conversation ALWAYS goes like this:

    #1 Where in Long Beach do you/did you live?
    #2 We have an apartment at 1st and Alamitos
    #1 Oh, really? I live at 3rd and Cherry. We eat at that SuperMex on 1st and Alamitos all the time.
    #2 We love SuperMex! We're friends of the owners.
    #1 We know the owners too! I went to high school with their daughter.
    #2 I am thier daughter's god mother!

    Or some variation of the above. Seven Degrees of separation are reduced to only 1 degree if you live in Long Beach. In a city of half a million people, that's pretty impressive. Running through my old neighborhoods should be fun and nostalgic.

    Tonight we went out to see another independent movie, Kings of Pastry. It's documentary about another type of marathon, a 3-day PASTRY marathon in France where the winners are awarded the highest honor of the pastry world. A pastry olympics (does that sound like an oxymoron?) of sorts which made the Food Network's "challenges" look like kindergarten play.

    I always love a night out during the middle of week, don't you? I hope your week is going just the way you want it to. :)

    Eating the Rainbow today:
    R grape tomatoes
    O peach slices
    Y ?? Missed this one today. Does popcorn count?
    G Artichokes and baby broccoli
    BIV figs, yummm

  19. Oct 10, 2010 (5 days ago)Running and conversationfrom Tales From the Back of the Pack by Irene
    I would have described Friday's run in 1 word: BLECH!

    Road construction on the running trails, noise noise noise
    I went 7.5 miles and only did that many miles because I'm afraid of falling behind on the 83 miles I need to log this month for TallMom's October challenge. I do my best work with a deadline.

    In just a few short but dreadful miles I had reached the point mentally and physically where I was about to call a taxi to drive me back to my car. One of the perks of running through a densely populated, ok overcrowded, city is that you can always call a cab or hop on the bus to save your tired butt.

    Another perk of running through city streets is that when you have to make a potty stop along the way you don't have to resort to going in the bushes. Or in your pants.

    1 of 2 of McD's along my running route. This one has the nicer bathrooms.

    I would have said BLECH! except for the fact that my little sister called halfway through my run all the way from three time zones away, Virginia and saved the day.

    Ericka had called just to chat and apologized for interrupting my run. She was about to hang up but I realized she was just what I needed to keep going: some company. I begged her to keep me company until I could get back to my car. For the next 3.5 miles Ericka chatted my ear off about her work, school, life, marriage, blogging, our family, Pete the dog, and just about every thing else under the sun. She didn't let me get a word in edgewise, and the way I was huffing and puffing I couldn't have managed much conversation any way. She got me all the way back to my car and took my mind off the ache in my knees and foot.

    Run and done. Thanks Ericka! Call me anytime.

    Ericka & I on the Dipsea trail when she lived in Petaluma.
    This got me thinking about something I haven't tried yet: running groups. I don't know where they are or how to pick one, but they should be easy enough to find. I've seen people running in twosomes and threesomes and it looks kinda fun, kinda like a party. I'm going to look into the running group thing. It may be the thing for me.

    Do you run alone or in a group? What do you prefer?

    Saturday's mileage: 1.5miles. I may be sliding into a funk a week before my LB Half. Figures.

    Eating the Rainbow today
    R frozen raspberries
    O fresh Peaches
    Y banana
    G frozen spinach and frozen peas
    BIV fresh figs and grapes

  20. I have all of the blogs I am reading set up to be sent in my google reader account. It archived your blog once I started follow you. Your blog was gone from blogger, but the still existed in my reader as if you had sent them to me as e-mails. I am going to follow my own blog the same way just as a back up.

    I am really glad that you came back and found my blog again!