Tales From the Back of the Pack

Tales From the Back of the Pack

Monday, March 30, 2015

See you next year Road Runners!

Just a few pictures from our awesome party! Saturday night was the LA Road Runners Marathon Celebration Banquet at the Del Rey Yacht Club. While this was my first year with the Road Runners, this wasn't my first marathon nor was it the first marathon for many of the LA Road Runner attendees.

It feels like in blog-land the entire world is running incredible distances, and ticking off marathons every other weekend. But in the real world, most people don't do that. So it's really nice to acknowledge (and celebrate) that we just ran a MARATHON. And running a marathon really is a tremendous accomplishment!

Plus after seeing most of our running peers at our very worst, it was great to see everyone all dressed up and smelling nice for a change!
Me & G (loria). I love this woman. Who would have guessed that from those first few weeks as we struggled to find a pace group, we would end up becoming inseparable running BFFs. Everybody else in our pace group swapped places each week and would run with whomever they ended up with in formation. But everybody knew that neither the place next to me nor Gloria was "available". We were always partners. 

L-R is Gloria, John's husband (forgot his name!), Pace Leader John & me. John and I cried tears of joy when we finished our 20 miler together. He and I had pulled away from the group (Gloria had dropped back and I was on my own when John pulled up next to me) somewhere around mile 16. He and I got a second wind and we picked up our pace and raced into Venice. We hugged and ran into the ocean together for an cold water bath. It was a beautiful day/run. Who knew running could be so dang emotional?

Ryan is the Road Runners coordinator. I always looked forward to seeing him weekly and witnessing how he wrangled 1000+ runners successfully (talk about herding cats!). He was that glue that holds groups together.

LA Marathon CEO Tracy Russell spoke & I am totally looking forward to running the marathon again next year. LA is hosting the Olympic trials so the marathon is being moved up a month to coincide with the trials. It'll be on Valentine's day! We were totally speculating about an I Love LA themed medal or something like that. After the speakers/dinner/ awards, we boogied to some awesome tunes & then said our final "See you next year" goodbyes.

See you next year Road Runners!

OMG, I'm working on this post while watching Talking Dead after the season finale of TWD. Wow, what a phenomenal episode! 1. I really thought Glenn was gone. 2. I can not wait to see how Morgan's role will play out in Alexandria. 3. Who are these Wolves and will Alexandria be ready?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A tale of 3 treadmills

I didn't make it out to run with the LA Running Club on Saturday. Instead I attempted to do a few miles on my treadmill at home. Except lately this mill feels like it's turning over too quickly or something. Like it's going faster than the speed indicated.
I can barely keep up with a 4.5 mph pace on this one (14:00/mi) and I know I should be able to go faster than this. So I gave up on my treadmill and headed over to the gym to use theirs.

I got lucky and scored one of the "good" mills on a busy Saturday morning at the gym. Cool!  I was cruising comfortably at about a 5.2mph (11:00 something) and had run about a mile and a half when apparently my overly large belly knocked the emergency stop knob out of it's little cradle. UGH! All my run data was gone. And to know that it was my stomach that knocked the red knob out of it's place....just an extra bit of humiliation to go along with the aggravation.

So I finally went over to the "regular" treadmills and finished up 2 more miles. For a total of almost 4 miles today between all 3 mills.
I was pretty mad by now and increased my speed for the 2nd mile, up to 6mph. Funny because I didn't think I could go that fast yet (10:00/mi) but the thing is, the faster you go, the sooner you're done. Imagine that!

The Puff takes an art class on Saturday mornings which is where she was while I was at the gym. Afterwards, we hit up the nail salon for a mani-pedi for mom and a pedi for her. THIS is why having a girl is way better than having a boy.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Finally, finally Friday

The Puff has been on Spring Break this week. Excellent mother that I am I totally spaced out and didn't plan anything special to do. I've been scrambling all week to create "experiences" for her to break the monotony of watching bad TV all day. It's FINALLY FINALLY Friday and we can get back to our normal regular scheduling on Monday. 

Came home to the Puff wearing her PJ's all day. She doesn't seem too upset about it, but still makes a mom feel like an epic failure.

It's been unseasonably hot today in SoCal. Is it still considered "unseasonably" hot when it seems to be getting and staying hot earlier every year? (Global warming who?) Today I cut my run short to 2 miles. 2 miles keeps me within the guidelines of Coach Kastor's post marathon recovery plan. I just couldn't get myself to go any further. 2 miles, 12:40/mi. I feel like if I'd run more, I would have slowed to a 13+/mi. 

Last night the niece/nephew's cashed in the rain check and we took them out for an ice cream treat to a place called Afters Ice Cream in Fountain Valley. It's one of those places that seems to be blowing up on social media and word of mouth. Their specialty is ice cream sandwiches with unique ice cream flavors and instead of cookies they sandwich your ice cream in a "milky bun" that's like a glazed donut sliced in half.  Then they heat seal the donut around your ice cream, so it's all warm/cold when you bite into it.
It was a delicious treat and I always love spending time with the nephews but I am seriously trying to get my weight under control and these kinds of outings don't help. I'll be posting my weight and food intake on the blog soon to have a way to be accountable and track my progress. 

Enjoy this video of the littlest nephews latest T-ball game. TOTES ADORBS!!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

McFarland USA

The Puff asked if she could scooter alongside me on my run Tuesday. I immediately had brief flashbacks of trying to run alongside her about 4 years ago when she was first learning to ride her bike with training wheels. 

I spent the entire time then running and leaned over her handle bars, trying to guide her bike along and every few feet pulling her forward. Not the most productive run for me, but fun for the Puff, so that counts for something. 

Anyway, fast forward a few years and it's the Puff, now on her scooter, leaving me in her dust. Thanks a bunch, Sweetness! She did generously pause and turn around every once in a while to make sure I hadn't passed out or anything. 

Good run today. Still following the below advice from Coach Kastor for post-marathon recovery: running 20-40 minutes every other day until April 15th. I'll probably start to kick up my runs before April 15th, but the way my run felt today, I hate to go against the program. I feel like I'm doing something right.

After my run, my sister and I took our own 2 kids and our niece/nephews (our older brother's kids) to the local drive-in theater to finally watch McFarland, USA.
 I first took my nephews to the drive-in a year or so ago and they totally loved it. I'm always ecstatic to find something we can do together with the niece/nephews, because now that they're teenagers they want less and less to do with their 2 old aunties. But I'm not ready for them to grow up and be off doing  their own thing yet. The drive-in was perfect for a Spring break night out.
Getting situated in the car before the movie. Claim your spot!
Intense racing scenes in McFarland, USA
And what a FANTASTIC feel-good movie it was!! McFarland USA is based on a true story about a cross country team in McFarland, CA. McFarland is a tiny dusty town in the Central Valley where the residents are mainly farm workers (pickers). It's a pretty bleak place. But of course the success of the cross country team puts McFarland on the map. Super inspirational movie for our family at the drive-in.
Drive in casualties, the littlest ones feel asleep an hour into the movie, of course.
Afterwards the nephews wanted to go out for milkshakes but this Tia Irene had to work today, so that was a rain check for another night (we got home well past midnight). I don't mind though because that's another excuse to have a night out with my awesome niece/nephews. 

Next run is on Thursday! Until then,happy Wednesday! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hot Chocolate 15K/5K San Diego Recap

We left the condo a little too late (around 6:20am) still having to stop for gas and get some cash from the ATM. Family is definitely great, but trying to move efficiently when you're with a group of people can be impossible stressful challenging. Petco Park was only 1.5 miles from our condo, but we didn't get very far away from home before we found ourselves in a solid line of cars.
Lots of runners wearing their HC hoodie.Californians are cold weather wimps!
The 5K waves started at 6:45am. We pulled into the jammed parking lot around 7:05am and thought we would probably be running the 5K alone (which was fine since we had our timing chips) but we quickly realized the 5K waves were still being sent off. We actually made it to the start arch just as the last wave started, literally we were the last of the 5K people to cross the start line. This race was massive--much larger than I'd imagined. There must have been thousands of runners.  

This race overall was a ton of fun and super well organized. And being that there was chocolate everywhere, I thought the volunteers were even a little more enthusiastic than at other races. Coulda been my imagination. Just before the first water station there was a guy handing out chocolate chips. Funnily enough, it was GREAT. I popped a few into my mouth and felt pretty good from the sugar rush or from the novelty of it. 

But the HILLS omg. The route was way hillier than I knew San Diego to be. There was more than one hill that felt like it was straight outta San Fran. They killed me. I walked up the uphills and tried to make up the time on the downhills. That sorta worked out ok. 

I finished this 5k in 42:05 13:33/mi. I'm ok with that and can attribute the slow time partially to the number of hills and the amount of walking I did plus weaving around people. Starting out dead last, I was pleased with the number of people I passed and that I caught my "rabbit" with more than a half mile left in the race.  
There was a really cool KidZone at the finish area. The Puff would have loved it, but she also loves to sleep so I don't regret that she missed this. But I'll know this is available the next time we run a Hot Chocolate run.
Arizona Cousins
Of course, after the run, we got our awesome cup of YUM! A big mug containing a bag of mini pretzels, a marshmallow, a banana, a rice krispy square, a wafer cookie and chocolate sauce to dip them all in. Your own naked fingers work great for dipping too! In the center was a steaming hot cup of cocoa. 

This was worth waking up for. Being the sucker that I am Because I love my kiddo, I saved my mug to take home to the Puff. 
Besides having my sister in San Diego, my cousin and I have lots of family there as well. We met up and all went out for breakfast at World Famous in PB (aka Pacific Beach). 

Maine lobster eggs benedict, thank you
After breakfast we tooled around the B's (PB, IB, MB) and La Jolla, took some fun pictures and called it a day. We made it home late in the afternoon, just in time to get ready for the week ahead.


The good bad and ugly about the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K San Diego: 
  • Great volunteers, really enthusiastic, I even was not annoyed by the MC
  • Love the chocolate being handed out everywhere, this was fun
  • Great signage-I didn't miss any mile markers! Gatorade and water stations were clearly differentiated
  • The race t-shirt was an awesome jacket
  • the Mug o' Yum....was YUM
  • KidZone! 
The Bad: There was not much to complain about but
  • Parking was a drag. I know we were running late but there was so much congestion. Perhaps reserve lots that aren't all right at the start/finish? 
  • The Hills. They were brutal
The Ugly: 
  • this is weird to comment on but there's a picture above of runners going under a freeway overpass. That area stank of urine and who knows what else to the point that I had to hold my breath going through there or I'd have passed out from the fumes. Not sure what could be done about that. it was gross. 
Overall this was a great race and a great weekend. It's these kinds of races that get you excited about the next one. Bay to Breakers, here we come! 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Road Trip & Hot Chocolate 15k/5k San Diego Expo

Black Fish is all I can think of anymore when I see Sea World. So so sad.
Not sure why I thought it would be a good idea to sign up to do a 15K run a week after the LA marathon. Actually I do know why I did it: I haven’t run with my Arizona Cousin since last September and we only seem to make time to see each other when we’re going to run together. If I remember correctly, we signed up for Hot Chocolate 15k/5k San Diego before I knew I was running LA. 

So yesterday morning Arizona Cousin hopped on to the I-8 headed south, while later in the afternoon, BD the Puff and I hopped onto the I-5 south and by the early evening we had our mini-reunion in San Diego. I've decided I'm dropping from the 15K down to the 5k however, because some parts of me are still weirdly sore. I know I can do 3.1 m but I'm not sure I should push for 9 on Sunday. 
Puff and I with the Hot Chocolate mug.

Scored some sweet slippers at the expo! 
The expo itself was small but high energy, good music playing and fun vendors. There was a guy handing us chocolate pieces as we walked in. The Puff exited the expo and re-entered a few times so she could score some chocolate each time she walked in. She gets that kinda thinking from her mom, fo' sho'.  

One really cool thing they were doing for Bib Pick Up that I haven’t see before: they print the pertinent Bib info onto a thermal sticker, then stick that onto a blank numbered bib right as you stand there. They scan the sticker and your newly assigned bib number into their system so that it all matches up. 

This means you don’t have to search for your name and pre-assigned bib number on an endless list taped to a wall outside and then get into the correct bib line according to your number or last name. Any bib pick up station can get you your bib. WOW. Rock n Roll needs to catch up—there was an ENDLESS bib pick up area when we ran RnR Vegas last November (and I got into the wrong line and had to queue up TWICE). 

After the expo we "checked in" to my sister's San Diego Airbnb place for FREE-99! Family really is the best. All we have to do is clean the place up ourselves when we "check out". That's a great deal.  

After dropping our bags we ventured out for our pre-race carbo load dinner at RK Sushi and then we called it a night. Being with family really is the best.

 Good luck to everyone running Hot Chocolate San Diego today! See you at the finish with all our yummy chocolate treats! CAN NOT WAIT!!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Virtual 5K shake out run and The Parable of the Cat and Dog

Friday was the last day to complete Kristina's Virtual 5K race to raise money for Team PAWS. So of course, Friday was the day that my lazy procrastinating butt went out to run!

This run was actually kinda fun. I haven't had one of those in a while, so I was due. It also served as my first shake out run after the marathon.

I've been less and less sore in the days since the marathon. I've had a massage--not sure that helped a ton, but maybe I'd be more sore if I hadn't.

I honestly was afraid to actually go for a run. My right foot was sore in a way I'd never felt before. I was really enjoying my recovery days and hoping I could stretch them out as long as possible.

In my defense, I actually have a good excuse to have put off running this long. I'm supposed to be resting for 7-10 days post marathon. The below is directly from the fingertips of Coach Kastor:

My run yesterday was around the neighborhood where I work in Long Beach. I took a new route today and I was rewarded by the most curious thing: 

See the below run-of-the-mill strip mall with the Trader Joe's and dry cleaners? That wasn't the curious part. I shop there all the time. Neither was the sidewalk next to the run-of-the-mill strip mall. I never walk there because I'm always in my car. 

Except today I was not in my car but running right over the sidewalk and saw this stamped into the concrete:
Once there was a cat
"Once there was a cat who prowled the night. How beautiful are the moon and stars thought the cat."

There was a whole entire story parable stamped into the concrete all the way up the sidewalk about a cat who loved his night. Then there's a dog or something that runs in the day time. And the cat thinks the night rules and the dog thinks the day time is the best. And the cat thinks the dog is trying to steal his night and the dog thinks the cat is trying to take over the day. And they are suspicious of each other. Naturally. 

But then comes a snake. And surprisingly the snake gives them both some good advice and the cat decides the dog is alright and vice versa and I don't remember now how the story ends. It was like a whole half mile of sidewalk that I was reading! 

It seemed like a meaningful parable that would be good for me to know and pass along to the Puff or something. Too bad I've forgotten most of it. I'll have to go back & see if I can get some more pictures. It was a lot of sidewalk. 

When I got back to the office telling of my find, nobody knew what the heck I was talking about. Nobody walks anywhere around here!!! Such a shame. It was a cool surprise anyway!