Monday, October 31, 2011

Anime Halloween 2011

We had a pretty low key Halloween party this year, mainly because I had stupidly signed up for a half marathon the next morning and because I am not as good as my sister at organizing these events, plus the baby is a light sleeper and kept my sister pretty busy as of late and she has always been the mastermind behind all these Halloween parties. Plus I ran into a snag with my costume this year. :(

P.S. This pumpkin was carved by this sister

I was suppose to dress up as Shampoo from Ranma 1/2 but at last it was not meant to be. Well I did manage to scrap something together at the last minute to savage my costume but it was far fetched. I had ordered some wigs and hair pieces from Hello Cosplay (an online anime costume shop) many weeks ago in hopes of getting it shipped from China in time for Halloween. The wigs had to be styled, they were not pre-styled. Apparently if you want anything from this website delivered to you in a timely manner you better order it more than a month in advance. Like two months! That's just insane. Three weeks after I placed the order, I emailed them to check when I could be expecting my order and it was at that time that they shipped it out! WTF?!? Oh another thing, there is no phone number on their site so you cannot talk to a live person. Basically, they had forgotten to send my order out until I emailed them and then instead of asking if I still needed the wigs since my party was about to come and go, they quickly sent my order out on the sly and quickly sent me a tracking number. Again WTF?!? I don't need it anymore because the party has come and gone! Baka!!!

So I had to use my own hair, which isn't blue/purple and looks nothing like the character I was suppose to dress up as. :(

At least the food was good! 

The brother-in-law's famous wings! Yeah they are famous! In these parts anyways.

Group photo time! We are so spread out. Group photo fail. Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

2011 Rock n Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon Recap

Date: October 30, 2011
Location: L.A. Live
Start: 7:30am
Finish: 1:45:56

You know I actually can't remember how or why I ended up signing up for this race. There was probably some sort of discount involved. You know how I like a deal. I've been so busy lately that this race just sort of sneaked up on me.

It's been awhile since I've been to the LA Convention Center.

I just wanted to quickly get in and out. 

Except after I picked up my race bib, I started looking around and did some shopping. Rock n Roll sure does knows how to put together a good line-up of vendors.

As I was on my way out, I noticed Kara Goucher sitting at the Nutrilite booth and there was no line so I went over to say hello to her. We chatted a bit and she signed a postcard for me. She was really nice and personable. Good luck at the Olympic trials in January, Kara!

After that I was on my way out again and noticed that Josh Cox and Deena Kaster was about to take the stage for a Q&A session. So I grabbed a front row seat and listened as these amazing athletes talked about racing tips and strategies. Josh said something during the session that really spoke to me. These are not his exact words as he spoke for several minutes on this one topic but this was what I got from it. He said that most people go out of their way to seek out comfort in life and that as runners we not only pay to race but we pay for discomfort. So when we are out there on race day during those last critical miles when we are uncomfortable and just want it to stop, that is the time that we need to push ourselves and embrace the pain! He said that racing and winning is about how much more discomfort you can tolerate than the next guy.

This was just the thing I needed to hear on this day. I am THAT person who will let up at the end because I just don't want to tolerate another moment of discomfort. I was fixated on everything he was saying about this "embracing the pain" speech because it really hit home for me. Thanks for the verbal kick in the rear! Josh finished 5th and Deena was first female across the finish line! She is just amazing!

As for my own race, I barely finished within the 1:45 time slot. I didn't have a goal in mind but for a brief second I thought I had a PR in me. I was just not committed to the idea at the starting line. It wasn't until halfway through the race that I noticed that I was feeling pretty good and decided to see if I could PR. I came up short but am still very happy with my time. I saw SkinnyRunner at the turnaround near mile 9 for me and 10.5 for her. She was dressed in this candied corn costume I think.

This race was awesome and it isn't even because I particularly liked the course because I didn't. This course ran over parts of the old LA Marathon course which brought back so many memories for me since it was my first marathon but it comprised of two out-and-back routing with some inclines towards the back half when you really don't want any (see elevation chart).

I liked it because logistically it was perfect...for me at least. I got up at 5am this morning and was parked inside the convention center parking lot by 6am. I had a lot of time on my hands to work out my nerves and stretch. The 7:30am start time is ideal for me since it lets my body wake up a bit. I used the bathroom twice inside the convention center and they were CLEAN! Plus it was warm inside there when the outside temperature was still a bit chilly. The corrals were organized. The volunteers were top notched. The bands were rockin'! A beautiful sunrise race start with perfect starting temp that eventually warmed up quite a bit though. I found the whole experience to be quite pleasant and would not mind running this race again in the future.

And as always, Rock n Roll knows how to rock the bling!

Mile splits, inconsistent on the back half. 

Mile 1 - 7:54           Mile 8 - 6:17 (probably going downhill)
Mile 2 - 8:09           Mile 9 - 7:45
Mile 3 - 7:53           Mile 10 - 8:25 (this must be around the bridge)
Mile 4 - 8:01           Mile 11 - 7:41
Mile 5 - 7:59           Mile 12 - 7:55
Mile 6 - 8:14           Mile 13 - 7:21
Mile 7 - 8:06           Last .1 - 6:45

I ran wearing some cat ears. Surprisingly comfortable.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How Many Miles Was That?

Every once in a while someone will ask me that question after a Spin class. How many miles was that? I always say, 'how many miles did it feel like to you?' because honestly I have no idea. Every person in my class are at a different fitness level with different goals. I really like that about Spinning. We all work at our own fitness level towards our own goals. We currently use regular Spinning bikes which means there isn't a pedometer attached to produce a mileage reading. So even if I had my Garmin on, it would say 0 miles even though I am drenched in sweat.

This is where I've been on most days. This photo was taken months ago and there are now twice as many bikes in there. There are currently 20+ bikes. I was really nervous when I first started teaching but now it feels almost second nature. Almost.

I was at the drugstore the other day and picked up this Oxygen magazine to browse while I was waiting in line to checkout. I use to have a subscription but then I got bored with it and stopped it.

I was flipping through it and noticed that it made mention of Spinning! The article pointed out that Spinning is 'tough on fat, gentle on joints" compared to running. This is hard for me to swallow as a runner but I have to agree with this point. It is also really fun to do intervals on a Spin bike and the more fit you get from Spinning, the more fun the routines become. Putting together a good playlist is key to keeping your class focused on the ride. I taught a beginners class last week to a couple of gals who had never been to a Spinning class and when I told  them towards the end of class that we had already been at it for 50 minutes, they were amazed and commented that 'time flies'. I am sharing this article because I am happy that Spinning has a place in a weight training/fitness magazine. I use to weight train more often so this is close to my heart.

I was looking through my camera from recently and noticed that I haven't been very good about taking photos. Might as well since I do not have much time to blog. I found this photo of a conference I was at last week.

And a photo of what I ate for breakfast that day.

I took this photo for my sister. Moby signed and drew his signature art work on the Seabird vegan food truck.

I also went out for dim sum this past weekend. I haven't been to dim sum in a long while.

It hit the spot! Unfortunately, this was the only photo I have. A lone BBQ pork steamed bun.

That's all I have for now. I can't say that the frequency of posting will improve because it likely won't until late December. In the meantime, keep running, Spinning, lifting or whatever it is that gets your heart pumping and do it with gusto! Yeah!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Random Eats

Things have been busy at work lately which is why I haven't been blogging as much. The end of the year has always been a busy time at work for me so expect more delays in my posting. Despite being busy at work I've somehow found time to cook more often. Getting home late most nights always makes me just want to whip up something quick at home rather than go pick something up. So here are some dinners I've thrown together recently. Nothing fancy, just proud that I made myself food.

Crab cake, raspberry and sauteed mushroom salad w/ mixed green salad in a honey balsamic dressing.

Turkey burger with sliced tomato, pickles, guacamole, mayo on sandwich thins. 

Another shot of the turkey burger with the top bun on. I've been eating a lot of these turkey burgers lately. Particularly every night. They are so simple to throw together and easy to take to work for lunches. 

Tom yum noodle soup with chopped napa and baby bok choy, soft boiled egg and cut up turkey burger. That turkey is dominating my life right now. That's what happens when you shop at Costco for turkey burgers.

Tonight's dinner was beef tacos with chopped tomatoes, guacamole and chopped mixed greens (sub in for lettuce)

This was a delicious stew my parents made over the weekend. I died! It was so good!

Another random photo I found on my camera today:  Clif bar was giving away these Peppermint Stick bars to their Twitter followers and I snagged one! Score.

I don't even know what this is about! Puppy time-out?!?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

2011 Chapman 5K Recap

Date: October 15, 2011
Location: Chapman University
Start: 7:30am
Finish: 23:18 (New 5K PR!)

The last time I ran a 5K was back in 2008 at the Corona Del Mar 5K. I almost threw up that day. I think that is why that was my one and only 5K race ever. I am just not a fast runner and doing sub 8 minute miles is challenging to me. Then one day on Twitter I saw that fellow Ragnar teammates Sarah and Heather had signed up for this race as part of Team Sparkle. [Insert: I finally met Sarah and Heather in person. It's nice to meet people who are just as they seem on their blogs. I've missed out on the last couple of meetups but made up for lost time today. It was so nice to meet you both. I promise to make every effort to attend any future gatherings. Looking forward to getting to know you and the other teammates better.] So I went on the Chapman 5K website and liked what I saw. Plus, I've always wanted a Sparkle skirts so this was a win-win all around. I wasn't very familiar with the area around Chapman University as I've only been here once for a food festival. I liked that it was flat and fast. I've been running so many hilly courses this year that I don't even remember what flat and fast is like anymore. This race may be the beginning of my foray into 5 and 10Ks again.

I woke up at 5:15am this morning to get ready. I didn't want to be late. I've been jaded by marathon traffic and crowds one too many times. I managed to get out the door at 5:50am and arrived at Chapman U around 6:15am...way too early! I had a lot of time on my hands so I walked around the campus taking photos. It's been awhile since I've done a 5K and forgot how nice logistics can be at a smaller race.

They are still setting up the finish line here. 

Coach's Oats sponsored the post race oatmeal bar complete with brown/regular sugar, cinnamon, raisins and fresh berries! It was delicious, I need to buy some for the house. I inhaled my bowl of oats shortly after crossing the finish line. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of the actual oatmeal bar because my camera was in my car after the race but it was such a nice touch to have a warm meal after a race.

It is starting to get light outside.

The finish line all ready to go. This was about 30 minutes before the start of the race.

This fountain again but with more light. 

This is actually a photo of me back home after the race but I wanted to show off my really cute new purple Team Sparkle skirt! 

I asked Teddy to help me model off the medal but he was being a real jerk this morning. 

I had a really good time at this little race. So many students, community members and runners alike came out in full force to race the streets of Orange this morning. It was very organized. I've forgotten how pleasant it is to maneuver around a small race. And as much as I love running for 4 hours at a go...running for 23 minutes and getting a medal for it is pretty sweet!

Group photo courtesy of Team Sparkle.

The following two photos are also courtesy of Team Sparkle.

The race shirt.

The goodie bag, which was actually a reusable drawstring bag...

...and look at this! An iPhone armband...score!!! Best goodie bag ever!

In conclusion, this race was well organized, had a flat fast course, good on-course support, yummy oatmeal bar at the finish, medal for running 3 miles and best goodie bag ever! I mean what more can you ask for? I shall be back!