Tuesday I was back at Fleet Feet Encino after two Tuesdays off. We were scheduled to run 8 miles but the route worked out closer to 7 miles. The route included hills and a tempo portion. We all mused about how soon the race would be here and 8 miles didn't sound nearly as scary as it did when we began training last October.
I planned to attend Lululemon's run club this week so I took the night off Wednesday and literally did nothing. Thursday I joined the gang at Lululemon in Brentwood and met up with my friend Sandy. We started with a super fast 3.5 miles with a couple hill repeats at the end. Not just any hill repeats, we did Indian runs. If you're not familiar with this term, as I wasn't, it's when you run single file with the last person sprinting to get in front. When they get there the new last person does the same, and so on. It's extremely tiring, especially uphill! But hey, before all that fun started, I got two sub-10 minute miles in!
When we got back to the store we did some ab work and stretches then did a little shopping before the panel discussion. The panel included Scout Bassett (going to trials for the Paralympics), Lizzie Brenkus (top Ironman triathlete), Blue Benadum (elite runner and coach), Kate Martini Freeman (Coyote Running founder and coach), and Richard Diaz (founder of Natural Running Network). It was great to get each of their perspectives on running and some last minute pep talks for the marathon. It also made me realize that I could be a much better runner. Nothing makes you feel slower than killing yourself for a 9:13 mile and watching the rest of the pack pull away with ease. Especially hearing Lizzie talk about how she got into running to lose a little baby weight and in a short time was winning races. I know I can do better!
Friday I talked to Rod at WHPT about my desire to be faster. He agreed to work with me after the marathon and I'm so excited! I'm not looking to BQ or anything but I would like to enjoy running more and I think becoming faster is a key ingredient. Also at WHPT, Joe admitted to reading my blog so HI JOE!
Saturday I had big plans: drive the LA Marathon course, join Lululemon in Santa Monica for a 12 mile run they put together, and then eat brunch at my favorite Santa Monica restaurant, True Food Kitchen. I embarked on this journey with my neighbor, Andreia, and our teammate Lidia agreed to meet us at Dodger Stadium at 7 am to caravan to Lululemon with her friend Barbara. We got off to a rocky start because there was an event at the stadium so we couldn't get to the actual start of the marathon. Instead we started outside the stadium and since Lidia was running late we got started. Our first turn was to be on Broadway, a pretty major street downtown, however the directions made me think it would be sooner than it was and I was convinced we had passed it. We looked at the map and couldn't even find it so we drove around trying to figure out what to do until Lidia called and we finally found Broadway! We had eaten up about 20 minutes and it was pretty clear we wouldn't make the run in time but we were determined to drive the course since there may not be another opportunity so we pressed on. Soon we were climbing the first major hill at First Street and could see the Disney Concert Hall.
We decided to let Lidia and Barbara lead the caravan and boy was I glad! There were so many turns downtown and the course goes the wrong way down one way streets but Barbara navigated us seamlessly through to Hollywood where I was able to relax since I knew the area better. We drove down Sunset, through Beverly Hills, and when we got to the VA in West LA we realized that it was gated and we would't be able to check out the looming hill I'd heard so much about. Luckily Barbara saved the day again and maneuvered us onto San Vicente Boulevard where I felt completely at home. I'm so excited for the last 6 miles of the course because I know it so well and it feels like home to me (having lived on that street for 8 years). When we finally got to the finish line, we parked and got down to the beach for our run since it was far too late to join Lululemon.
We had 15 miles scheduled but the Lululemon run was 12 and we all had that number in mind so we agreed to see how we felt before doing the extra 3 miles. Well, it was a hot beach day and due to a little miscalculation, we ended up doing just under 11 miles. It was a gorgeous day though and I couldn't help stopping to take a shot of the pier.
When we finished the run we dipped our toes in the ocean which of course was freezing, I mean it's still winter. Then we got a passerby to take a group pic!
We headed up to the car and took one last shot of the busy beach below.
And now a fundraising update.... I got knocked out of the top spot but as of this moment I've raised $2,495 and firmly believe I'll raise $3,000. I'm so thankful to everyone who has supported me and the Center for Assault Treatment Services. Whether you've already donated or not, would you consider donating? Donate to make sure CATS stays open to offer 24/7 support to victims of sexual abuse and assault, donate because you think I'm crazy for running 26.2 miles, or donate to fuel my desire to be the #1 fundraiser! Whatever your reason, it's a good one so go for it... http://www.crowdrise.com/crystalarrieta