Tuesday, January 29, 2013

CATS Comedy Night and Carlsbad Half Marathon

Monday we had amazing weather so I spent the day at the beach which didn't leave any time for working out. Tuesday was another rest day but finally Wednesday I was back at it with a trip to iRun MB for their first weekly run club. We had the option to run a 5k or 5 miles and Sarah and Mike agreed that we should do 5 miles. Unfortunately it became quickly apparent that we would not be running with the group as their pace was significantly faster than ours. Luckily I brought the directions along which we followed until we got sick of winding through the (gorgeous) Manhattan Beach neighborhoods and cut back to the store. It was probably about 4.5 miles for us. When we got back everyone else had already drawn tickets for the raffle of a pair of Newton shoes and 3 tickets remained for us. They had already called the number and knew that one of the 3 was a winner... and it was Sarah! Kinda boosted our spirits after being left in the dust. I will say they were very apologetic when they realized we had been left behind and I plan to go back next week.

Thursday I decided to go for a double workout to make up for my slow start to the week. I started off at Bar Method and thanks to the tips I got last week my hip flexor cooperated enough to get me through the class. I still feel I have a loooooong way to go considering the pregnant lady was getting lower than me but I was just glad I wasn't in excruciating pain... at least not from my hip anyways. After class I seriously debated going home but I thought about the quote I always see that goes something like "Going for a run is something I never regret." With that in mind I figured I'd just run to the end of The Strand and back without looking at my watch (of course I still set it though). I ran at a challenging but comfortable pace and without knowing exactly how far I'd be running. It was kind of liberating and I ended up running my fastest 10k!

Friday I didn't have time to squeeze in a workout but I did have time to go to the CATS Comedy Night featuring a hilarious comedian named Eric Schwartz! If you have a chance watch at least one of his videos, he is soooooo funny and very musically talented! He and his friends put on a great show and we raised nearly $800 in donations. I worked the door collecting money and also selling raffle tickets to win a pair of shoes donated by the awesome Trey Barnes of Fleet Feet Encino. I also got two donations on my Crowdrise page!

Saturday was awesome. You may recall that I was scheduled to run 20 miles this day but due to the Carlsbad Half Marathon the next day I ran it a week early and was treated to gorgeous weather. Well thank God for that because Saturday was rainy and miserable! I think one miserable rain run is enough for a training season so I'm soooo glad I got to spend the morning at Bar Method instead.

When I got home I packed up and headed down to Carlsbad to meet up with my cousin for the expo. It was really fun helping her prepare for her first half marathon! The expo was actually quite big and I found a new vegan nutrition bar to test out... they were so delicious I bought a whole box! I also got to try the ice cream from Sub Zero (oops, not vegan) which I had seen on Shark Tank a few weeks ago. It was good but just tasted like regular ice cream.

Sunday was race day! I don't normally travel for races (with the exception of Ragnar) so it was a little stressful having to get ready in unfamiliar territory, but I was so grateful to Carmen's in-laws for letting us stay over and avoid a 2 hour drive pre-race. We hit a lot of traffic trying to park but got out of the car with about 20 minutes to spare. This would have been plenty of time except for the super long lines at the port-a-potties. We could hear the first wave start while we were in line but thanks to the wave starts we had no trouble making it into the last corral which started about 15 minutes behind the first.

The in-laws, Carmen's husband and kids, and my dad all came out to cheer us on. We even saw her husband's cousin at the Lululemon station at mile 4. 

The course was so pretty, even though it was overcast. We were really lucky because it rained right up until we got out of the car and then was just nice and cool. Perfect running weather! Also the signs the spectators held up were hilarious! The one below is just one of my favorites but there were so many that had us cracking up.

My cousin did an amazing job! We finished in 2:39:20 and felt great. I was a wreck after my first half marathon but you wouldn't even know Carmen ran, she looked great the rest of the day. I'm so proud of her and can't wait to run more races together... including LA marathon 2014!

Speaking of LA marathon, it's a month and a half away! I'm really hoping I can at least break $3,000 in donations for the Center for Assault Treatment Services. My goal was $4,000 but it's been slow going and I've been so busy it's been hard to put in the time I wanted to. I'm so thankful to everyone who has donated though. CATS does amazing work and unfortunately their services are a necessity for many. Any amount is appreciated! DONATE HERE

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Two Months til the Marathon

Monday I met up with my awesome friend Sarah for a 3 mile run. Sarah's not just any friend, she's my LA Marathon 2012 partner! She's been gone for a few months and it was so good to have her back and run together. She has an amazing way of talking while running so much that you don't even realize how many miles have passed. Love running with her!! Monday was also the start of Lululemon's run-a-thon so when my GPS watch wouldn't acquire satellites I resorted to the old MapMyRun app so my miles would count.

Tuesday we planned to meet up again for a run but first I went to Bar Method. It's weird, I totally expect to have a bad run every once in a while but I actually had my first bad Bar Method class! For some reason it seemed like every exercise was either irritating my hip flexor, knees, or shoulders. I just couldn't seem to keep up and left feeling like I didn't get a very good workout. I'm hoping it's just like running and my next class will be awesome! And since I ran 4.5 miles with Sarah after I wasn't too concerned about not getting a good workout in.

I took Wednesday off but Thursday I went to Bar Method. Class was pretty rough since my hip flexor was hurting more than ever. The one thing I love about Bar Method above all other barre classes is the instructors really understand body mechanics so mine was able to give me modifications that helped me finish class. I didn't feel completely awful though, I managed to do all 50 of my push ups on my toes.

Friday was another rest day. Except I didn't rest. Last year I would have made sure I ate super healthy, no drinking, and in bed extra early to be ready for a 20 mile run. But I didn't do any of that and didn't even drink enough water which I'm usually super diligent about. Part of it had to do with the fact that technically this should have been a recovery week so if I "only" ran 15 it wouldn't be a problem. The schedule calls for 20 miles next week but I'm doing a half marathon so it was either get the 20 in this week or the week after next.

I figured I'd shoot for 20 on Saturday and see how far I could get. I was really lucky that my friend Kasia was willing to join me AND willing to run at my much slower pace. Unfortunately she is tapering for the Surf City Marathon so she only had 8 miles to run which meant only 4 miles together. She did an amazing job slowing down for me yet the miles flew by thanks to our conversations. Once we said goodbye I tried my best to stay slow but it was really tough. Thankfully the path didn't have as much sand this week so it was easier to run. I ran well into Marina Del Rey and it was an amazing warm day.

I decided to fuel every 7 miles and was able to keep running while eating my Vega gel. At mile 14 I walked a bit so I could eat my Hammer bar. When I started running again my left ankle felt awful. I had to walk again but even that was painful so I stopped and took my shoes off since they felt too tight. I did some stretches, prayed, laced up, and started walking again. Very quickly I tried to run again and felt great! I got to mile 17 before I started dragging again. I decided to look for someone to potentially pace me as a distraction. At mile 18 a guy passed me just barely and then slowed to my pace. I caught up and asked him how far he was running. He explained his route which worked with mine so I continued to run with him and make conversation. I had no idea how much it would help to have "fresh legs." The mile flew by but at that point he said he was going to walk so I was on my own again. It was downright hot by this point and I just wanted to be done so I increased my pace and my last mile ended up being my fastest!

It was such a beautiful day I wanted to take pictures constantly but also felt it was important to take as few breaks as possible so I only took a few. Around mile 9 I heard a splat and saw a seagull up ahead so I figured he pooped. Then I saw him eating the supposed poop and realized he had dropped a clam and was eating the contents! I was so impressed I stopped to take a picture of the evidence.

At this point I was also running along Ballona Creek and got to see the college crew teams practicing. I ran all the way to Admiralty Way before turning around which was actually 10.15 miles. Last week I had to run off The Strand to get my full 18 so I wanted to make sure I'd finish on The Strand this week. The beach was packed, it looked like a summer day and really hard to believe it's January! 

I finished a bit too fast considering Peachy had recommended running at a 12:30 pace to avoid injury. My target pace to finish the marathon under 5 hours is 11:25 which means shaving more than 30 seconds per mile off my pace from last year. I definitely feel a lot better than my training runs last year so I think I've got a good shot.

Sunday I drove out to Lululemon in Calabasas and turned in 28 miles which means $140 for SOS Mentor. Their mission is to educate, motivate, and empower underserved Los Angeles youth to make healthy eating choices, live an active lifestyle, and become health advocates in their communities. Definitely something I can get behind and all I had to do was drive a little out of my way. On the way back home I stopped at Black Dog Yoga for a restorative yoga class. It was extremely different from any yoga class I've ever taken. No downward facing dog, we didn't even stand up! We used bolsters, blocks, and a blanket and held poses for 5-10 minutes. I nearly fell asleep multiple times. So sure, it wasn't much of a workout but it was pretty nice to spend 90 minutes without a phone, tv, or computer and just focusing on breathing.

Overall it was a pretty good week on the running front, however fundraising seems to have stalled for the moment. I have managed to remain in the top spot having raised over $2,073 and our team is closing in on $30,000 however my goal is $4,000 and our team goal is $50,000. We are hoping for a big boost on Friday the 25th at CATS Comedy Night. If you can't make it but still want to donate please click Donate Now in the top right or just click HERE.

Monday, January 14, 2013

18 miles all by myself

Monday I started the week off at Bar Method. A difficult class as always. I can't believe they have Level 2 classes that are even harder!

Tuesday I went to Body Dynamix to get my hip flexor worked on. It's just the right one that really bothers me. Dr. Eddie used this crazy jackhammer type instrument to loosen up my muscles or something. I swear he explains it much more technically than I do, I just have a very short memory. He also showed me some stretches for my hip flexors. He thinks it might be from driving which would explain it only being my right hip flexor that hurts.

After that I went to Fleet Feet to join Team CATS for their training run. We ran about 5 miles in the VERY STEEP hills and finished it off with hill sprints! It was very humbling to see that despite the hill training I have incorporated, I've got a looooong way to go. Back at the store we wrapped things up with 5 minutes of ab work.

Wednesday I got to do something a little different. I heard that a restaurant near my Bar Method studio was hosting a Top Chef style Mayor's Cook-Off and attendance was free. It was also a Blue Zones Project event so I wanted to support it. In order to attend you had to make a Blue Zone pledge which could be anything from quitting smoking to attending a faith-based service regularly. The event was so much fun! The mayor from each of the Beach Cities (Manhattan, Hermosa, and Redondo) was paired up with a well-known chef from a restaurant in that city. Each team had to create a plant-based cold dish (apparently the cold part was more to do with city laws) and the winner would be selected by a panel of judges. Unfortunately I couldn't stay the whole time in order to make it to Bar Method for class but I was glad to hear that my city, Redondo Beach, won the overall challenge for most people taking the pledge. Manhattan Beach won the cook-off.

Thursday I took a rest day and with 18 miles looming I decided it was best to rest Friday too. So that brings us to Saturday. Well, let's backtrack a moment. All week I had been hearing reports of freezing temps for the weekend. Not just "freezing" but literally below 32 degrees. I decided to allow myself to start my run at 8:00 a.m. instead of the usual 7:00 a.m. in hopes that it would be slightly warmer. This was also the reason that when my alarm failed and I didn't get out of bed til 8 I wasn't too concerned. Boy was I in for a shock when I finally got out of my car to run and realized I didn't even need gloves, let alone the jacket I had brought just in case.

Because of my tardiness I missed my chance to run with a partner so I faced 18 miles all alone. This was also due to the fact that I chose to run on The Strand rather than the Venice/Santa Monica Boardwalk. Thankfully the change of scenery helped pass the miles quickly. It was also packed with people which kept me entertained. I'm not kidding, every volleyball court was taken and I had to run around people constantly! You would think it was a summer day if not for the slight chill in the air. There was even a surf competition going on due to the King Tides. I didn't take many pictures because I wanted to keep up the momentum but I allowed myself to take a couple at the halfway point and again at the half marathon point when I walked to eat a Hammer nutrition bar. That was also where I saw the hang glider crossing and hang gliders poised for take off. Looks like fun!

Sunday I wasn't as sore as I thought I would be. I did some laundry and realized I have some very bright workout clothes. Fun clothes definitely makes working out more fun! While I was cleaning up I put my New Year's Race medal on the rack Mike made me for Christmas. Later in the day I met up with Lauren and Kasia at Black Dog Yoga. Lauren invited me to join them but warned me the class was intermediate. I am no yogi but I really wanted some girl time so I went anyways. The class was really tough but I hung in there for the entire 90 minutes (my first ever yoga class that long). After we rewarded ourselves with a delicious dinner at veSTATION which included fresh coconut water!

Although I didn't receive any donations this week, I've been helping team CATS prepare for our Comedy Night! Eric Schwartz aka Smooth-E is hosting an awesome night to help us raise money so I created a Facebook invitation and Evite to get things organized. If you are in the area please join us! Don't forget to call the bar to make reservations.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy New Year!

Monday was New Year's Eve and I started the day off with a visit to Bar Method in Hermosa. Then, since I had taken the day off, I took Mike and Weezer up to Portuguese Bend Reserve for a 4 mile trail run/walk. It was a beautiful day and a great way to prepare for the new year!

New Year's Day I pretty much napped all day. I think it was more to do with the workouts on Monday than any New Year's Eve partying. Either way I allowed it since the next day was back to work. Wednesday I really wasn't in the mood to run and got home later than expected but I forced myself out the door and went exploring my neighborhood. Despite living here since May I've seen very little of the surrounding neighborhoods. I usually drive a few minutes to run along the beach or on trails. My main concern was just getting home quickly but it ended up being a great run. I did a lot of exploring without getting lost and I even found a private road with gorgeous homes stacked nearly on top of each other. Almost looked like a studio backlot. I logged a little over 3 miles before returning home.

Thursday I decided to try something that has been a goal of mine. I want to be able to run from home to Bar Method and back. It's about 3 miles each way which is doable but harder than you'd think. I started by parking about a mile away and since I was running late I ran much faster than usual. So fast that I actually logged my fastest mile at 8:02 min/mile! I was pretty worried that this would make for a really terrible class but it wasn't any harder than usual (which is REALLY hard). The run back was quite a bit harder but definitely not my worst. Overall it was a pretty successful evening.

Saturday was the day of the New Year's Race. The race started at 9pm but the expo (and packet pickup) ended at 5pm so I planned to meet friends at 2pm and spend the day Downtown. The expo was pretty small and not very exciting but the bib pickup was quick and easy and that's more important to me. I met up with Sandy and she showed me how to purchase a TAP card and take the subway to Shojin for a super early dinner. Then we went to Babycakes for dessert. Both were delicious!

We had about 4 more hours to kill and had talked about seeing a movie but decided to listen to our bodies and instead chose to nap in the car! It was very reminiscent of a Ragnar Relay. When we woke up we got our race gear on and headed over to the start line where we ran into some friends and waited in the corral for the race to start. It started about 15 minutes late but the weather cooperated and it wasn't a big deal.

The course took us around Downtown LA with a good chunk of the mileage coming from the Dodger Stadium parking lot. Although that part was a bit tedious, it was worth it to get to run on the field inside the stadium! The course was pretty hilly but I felt pretty good thanks to my recent hill training. Didn't have a PR but still had a good time.

Thankfully this week I also saw progress with fundraising! My parents both made donations and now I'm more than halfway to my goal! Still a long way to go but hopefully more donations will come in as the marathon draws closer. My next race is the Carlsbad Half Marathon which I'll be running with my cousin Carmen who inspired me to get into running races in the first place! I'm so excited for her and hope I do a good job keeping her motivated throughout the race. It's 3 weeks away!!

If anyone would like to make a donation, I'm more than willing to wear another costume so make your suggestions in the comment section on Crowdrise (or you can mail me a check with a note indicating your suggestion). Click the Donate Now box at the top right of the page or contact me for info on sending a check or making a cash donation.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Operation Jack and Miserable Rain Run Recap

Monday was Christmas Eve but I still managed to get to Pop Physique to use up a deal I bought for 2 classes. Little did I know it would be the hardest class I've ever taken! I was so sore after!!

I took Christmas as a rest day but Wednesday I volunteered at a race for the first time. The race was for Operation Jack which had a half and full marathon option. It's also the only local marathon and runs almost entirely along the ocean. It raises money and awareness for autism and all started with Sam Felsenfeld, Jack's dad, after his son was diagnosed with autism. In 2010 he ran 61 marathons to raise money and awareness! I got to meet Sam when I arrived at the aid station! Despite never having volunteered at a race before I was chosen as the captain of our aid station. It was so much fun!! It was pouring with rain when I woke up but it cleared up nicely, although it was still cold and windy.

Watching all those runners really wore me out and it was so chilly I just wanted to be inside so I went to Pop Physique again with the plan to run the following day.

Thursday I knew I definitely needed to run but first I cashed in my Daily Candy deal at Bar Method in Hermosa Beach. There were only five of us taking class and most of them were also instructors so the class was really hard and I got a lot of corrections which I like! Then I finally went over to Portuguese Bend Reserve to get my run in. It was a gorgeous day which kept me moving despite the steep inclines on the second half of the run.

Well I typed this once and the Internet ate it and it's already not an experience I wanted to relive but here goes... Saturday I was scheduled for a 17 mile run. I met up with Barbara and Tooney in Santa Monica and nearly right away it started to sprinkle on us. No big deal, it actually felt kinda good... until it was a freezing downpour for 16 more miles! It was going okay though and around mile 8 I started walking so I could eat my Vega Endurance Gel  and drink some water. The girls kept going but I figured I'd either catch up or see them when they turned around on our out and back course. Well, I later learned that they stopped at the restroom thinking I would catch up around the time they got out but somehow I must have passed them! I never saw them again which made things really miserable. I ended up walking a lot until I got so cold that I was forced to run. Along the way I also lost my hairband so my hair kept getting caught on my jacket and pulling. I tried to tie it back with my soaking wet headband but it kept falling out and I had to take my gloves off every time to put it back so my fingers were frozen. I had already decided that I would cut the run short by going up the Montana stairs instead of going all the way to West Channel and backtracking to the car but I didn't know how much mileage that would shave. Turns out I got 15.3 miles in which is pretty close and considering how awful it was I think I deserve credit for the whole 17!

Sunday I got up early and went to Bar Method in Palos Verdes. Luckily with my deal I can go to either Hermosa or PV studios and since the early class at Hermosa was Level 2 I figured I'd rather drive out of my way than be subjected to even more torture than usual. Unfortunately I had a hard time finding the studio so I was late for the first time EVER in a barre class. Luckily the girl at the desk was super nice and didn't make me feel bad. The class was good and I got out in time to make it to church as planned.

Lastly, things have remained pretty quiet on the donation front. I'm hoping this will ramp up in the new year and that I still have a shot at making my ultimate goal of raising $4,000 by race day. I definitely need to devote more time and effort though. I haven't even been able to get my blog posts out timely! I'm really grateful for all who have donated though and supported me and this wonderful charity that does such good work!