Tales From the Back of the Pack

Tales From the Back of the Pack

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Labor Day Weekend

Yesterday's Labor Day was exactly how I want to remember spending the Last Day of Summer: with family & friends at the beach. 
BD and the nephew invited me & the Puff (mostly the Puff though, but they said I could come too, ha ha) to join them for a day at Seal Beach. 

A day at the beach with someone else besides me to do all the heavy lifting? Heck YES! 

BD does NOT: 1. start his day late.  We were the first ones on scene yesterday. As much as this is annoying when you have to wake up at the crack of dawn on your day off, it's nice to be able to claim the perfect spot for the day. 
and 2. show up to the beach unprepared. The EZ up, the chairs, tables, cooler, towels, blankets. It's tiring just thinking about it. On our last day at the beach I schlepped all of the above myself. It's not fun. I was so thankful the boys were on hand to carry it all. 

Before the crowds arrived, we had the surf all to ourselves! Slowly but surely came the masses.
The nephew is freshly out of a relationship, so all of a sudden he does not mind hanging out all day with his old Auntie & Uncle and 9 year old cousin. I'm loving it. He'll have a girlfriend again soon and then we won't see him for a long time. Ahh, to be young and handsome!
After fighting the rip tides all day we treated ourselves to In-N-Out Burgers on the way home. Double-double and fries--both animal style,  is the way to go. Plus a chocolate shake for the Puff.
While we were eating I looked out the window at the cars in the drive-thru line: it was my brother and nephew Peter! Lol...everybody had the same hankering yesterday! I made my brother wave like this until I could get the picture just right. The sun was so bright that either the restaurant or his car was being washed out. I'm lucky that so many people in my life will humor me for my little blog. 

And well, after all the fun we had yesterday, I just couldn't get up to run this morning. I was way too exhausted. And sunburnt! Somehow I forgot to apply any sunscreen to the tops of my feet and to one spot on the back of my neck. Both areas are sore and hurting today. 

I will try to run again tomorrow. I will definitely run tomorrow morning. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Worst to First

This past Friday was First Fridays in Long Beach. The First Friday of each month is an opportunity for the locals to check out local businesses by strolling up & down the sidewalks in the uptown neighborhood. The local businesses usually stay open late & put out samples of their wares.

BD and I took the Puff and my nephew to First Fridays to take a look around.
The nephew insisted on photobombing but I was pretty unhappy about the cap he showed up wearing. SF Giants are the mortal enemies of the Dodgers. But, he was respectful & turned his cap around for me so I could get a picture and not have to stare at the SF all night. So, I still have to love him.

We walked around a ton and ate dinner from a few different places: pizza slices, tacos, baked goods, etc.
The Puff was being actively recruited by these Roller Derby Girls! She was a little overwhelmed by the attention:
We all had a lot of fun in the 'hood before BD took the Puff to his house for the weekend.

These pants went from worst to first in the span of about 4 months and 3 seconds! My mom gifted me these yoga pants for Mothers Day this year. I know she thought I would wear them for running, as though all exercise clothes are created equal. But the length of these pants are just uncomfortable and they totally bug me when I'm running.
Since I don't yoga, the pants have sat at the bottom of the drawer for all these months.

Well, I have had the epiphany to fold them up above my knees and VoilĂ  they are now my newest favorite running shorts!!
And once again I didn't wake up with the real runners this Saturday morning so I took my butt to the gym around 1pm and ran 7 miles! I was super proud of SEVEN!! Go Me!!

And since I was on the treadmill I was also able to pass the time watching my new favorite obsession: ESPN's 30 for 30 series.
Thirty documentary films by 30 different directors all about a (different) specific time in sports history. Even if you don't like sports, there is something for everybody in this series.

Later on Saturday evening we had tickets to the Coliseum for the first USC game of the season. We took the train to the stadium. Yep, there's mass transit in LA, baby!! Sort of. We drove all the way into downtown LA, parked in a public parking lot and then took the train the final 2 miles to the LA Memorial Coliseum.
The Coliseum is enormous! it seats like 90,000 people and it felt like it was pretty close to capacity.
We were with a group of about 14 people so it was a great time. I don't really follow USC or football in general but it was a super fun night & I am always up for new experiences! This one was a good one!
Now off to prepare for a day at the beach tomorrow.

Hope your Labor Day is a great day!!!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Running Free and RUN FREE (Finally!!)

It's been a minute since I stepped foot into my 24 Hour Fitness gym. So long, in fact, that I was super proud of the forethought I had in double checking my lock combination BEFORE hooking it into the locker and clicking it locked with all my valuables inside.
I remembered the combo!
I should have woken up early to go out on a run today like the good, REAL, runners do, but the pillow won out so I headed to the gym around mid-day to reunite with my old special treadmill.

I usually pack a change of underwear inside my gym bag because mine get sweaty after a run and I had to go back to work, but today I forgot. I'd read recently some other (female) bloggers admit to going commando when they work out so I decided to join the club. Maybe it's not a big deal, but it was my first time running free... and I liked it!
I caught another episode of House of Cards during my 3 mile run on the treadmill. I am going to have SERIOUS WITHDRAWLS when I'm finished with all the episodes! 

My right calf felt super duper tight during this run so I took some time to foam roll the crap (literally) out of it. I wish I was better at doing the things that are good for me.  
After work, I headed downtown (Long Beach) to the Art Theatre where we had previously gone to see the Amy Winehouse documentary to 
 finally, finally, see this movie: 
I'd invited my girlfriends and thought I'd given them the background story on Run Free. I promised them a good movie. When we got there they claimed to have no idea what we were supposed to be watching (whoops!) so I was worried they would find the film totally boring and unrelate-able. After all, they 1. aren't runners and 2. don't shelve their copy of Born to Run  right next to their Bible the way I do (because they don't own a copy of Born to Run). 
My good friend Val (not pictured but he is HERE on another post) joined us too.
I'm objective enough to admit that I know can't speak objectively about this movie. At all. I LOVED LOVED LOVED every minute of it. 
The story was entirely about Micah True, the main character in Born to Run. But it also included all the other characters (and more) that were featured in Born to Run. Seeing real footage of them, of Manuel Luna and Arnulfo Quimare, and of the towns set deep in the Copper Canyons, was like watching the images I've had in my head for years come to life. 
And, I kid you not, the girlfriends also LOVED it. Maybe not as much as me, but we were all talking about our favorite parts for quite a while when the movie was over. My heart was warm and fuzzy all over.

It's now available on DVD HERE

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Killing two birds with one run

With school starting so early in August for the Puff, I feel like she gets short-changed in the summer vacation department. This weekend I made plans for us to have a mini getaway to San Diego. 
We haven't been down to SD since our Hot Chocolate run in March.

On the way down, our first stop was 60 miles south to the Mission in San Juan Capistrano. I hadn't been here since I was a little kid and I remember how much my mom loved it. I thought I'd relive that childhood memory with the Puff. 
Well, it was a nice thought but unfortunately it was super hot & humid. The entire day we just wilted out under the hot sun and moved through the humidity like we were swimming in molasses. 

The mission had crafts for kids like arrowhead necklace beading, adobe brick making and panning for gold (which they didn't have when I was a kid). 
While we were there the memories of my own visit 30+ years ago came flooding back: And the reality was that I remember it being a super boring old church, that my mom really had a great time, that I couldn't figure out why she liked it so much, and that I still don't know the answer. It might just be one of those cultural experiences that are beyond my level of enlightenment. It wouldn't be the first! 

We toured the grounds and hit all the important numbered exhibits. At the end of our visit I asked the Puff if she learned anything and I got the usual "Not Really." Sigh. This kid...  
We drove on to my sister's for dinner & to spend the night. In the morning we got up & went to Legoland!
Legoland has been haunting me since I gave birth to the Puff. I knew I would eventually have to drag myself there and fork over a small fortune so that my kid could not claim she'd ever been deprived. #firstworldproblems Luckily I had an awesome friend who gave me a couple of tickets and had a couple extra for my girlfriend and her daughters. 
Legoland was exactly what I'd thought it would be. A place for very very small children. I think the Puff's window has already been shut to Legoland. She's nine. We found a couple of rides that weren't too baby-ish and she appeased me by letting me take her picture on them.
The rocks were singing We Will Rock You. haha
Legoland was super clean, neat and friendly. It was well-tended almost like Disneyland but not in that weird manic Disney-sanitized kind of way. It was just normal-clean. The employees were friendly but not in that weird "Castmembers" kind of way like at D-land. And surprisingly, we weren't bombarded with all the Please Exit Through the Gift Shop nonsense (like at Disneyland).

After the baby rides, we spent the rest of our entire day at the Legoland Waterpark, which was perfect on such a hot day. If' I'd actually paid the full price of admission, which by the way is $100, I would have been pretty upset to waste the day at just the water park. But really there wasn't much more for these 9 & 10 year olds to do here.

The Park closed at 6pm and the Puff and I drove back home. It really was a great weekend, no matter how cynical I try to sound about it.

And on the running front, today I decided to keep the run indoors. My excuse was that it was too hot to run outside. Really it was too hot to run inside too, but I've recently picked back up on my House of Cards binge watching and the treadmill helped me to kill two birds with one run today.

The other exciting development on my run today was that for the first time ever, I decided to run completely BAREFOOT! Initially it was because I was too lazy to go out to my car to get my running shoes but also because I've been wanting to try this for the longest time--ever since reading Born to Run several years ago.

The treadmill belt actually got too hot to run on it barefoot for very long. I had to keep stopping & starting. I finished just over 3 miles and felt great about it.

I'm not brave enough to attempt to run barefoot out in the real world yet because...well, EWWWWW.
But I thought this was a great toe-dip into the barefoot running water!