Monday, October 29, 2012

2012 Rock n Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon - Race Recap

Date: October 28, 2012
Location: L.A. Live
Start: 7:30am
Finish: 1:45:19


I ran this race last year and I apparently liked it enough to sign up again. I drove up to the convention center on Saturday morning to pick up my race packet. The LA Women's Show was also going on this weekend and I actually spent more time there than at the expo. It was an estrogen overload over there and based on the vendors in attendance, apparently LA women like chocolate, big fake jewelry, wine, hair styling, cosmetics and spa-ing. Did I cover everything? Anyhow, I saw Deidra Hall of Days of our Lives and Duane of Dog the Bounty Hunter but did not wanted to get in line for a photo. Celebrity stalking fail.

The race expo was organized but boring. The race shirt was pretty nice. My little sister was nice enough to model the shirt below. Not much came in the swag bag. I walked around the expo a bit but didn't buy anything.

The night before the race was our annual family Halloween party and this year we dressed up as characters from the video game genre. Fun times!

My youngest sister and I got up pretty early the next morning to make the drive to the LA Convention Center. We got to the parking structure before 6am but there was already a really long slow moving line to get in. I later find out why the parking lines were so congested that early in the morning. When I finally make my way to a parking spot, I parked and made my way into the convention center to look for the restrooms. As I entered the main hall of the convention center I see bright lights flashing and hear loud music playing and then I noticed that there was some sort of Hispanic/Latin concert going on and there were families there with little children and grandmas. Yeah, that's normal right, a family rock concert at 6am in the morning? Anyhow, the attendees of that concert were looking strangely at all the runners walking around dressed in Halloween costumes while we runners were wondering who the heck holds a concert that early in the morning. There you have it, the reason for the slow moving line into the parking structure as I had mentioned earlier. Moving on...

After grabbing a drink from the Starbucks inside the Convention center, I made my way back to my car to change into my costume and headed to my corral. Sister J and her future husband finds me shortly after I get there. They were dressed up in bride and groom costumes since they are getting married in a couple of weeks. Sister J and I were in the same corral so we stood around chatting a bit until the race started. I want to take a moment to mention that Skylar Laine sang one of the best versions of our national athem that I've ever heard. Shortly after that the wheelchair division was on their way and moments later they started releasing the corrals one-by-one a couple of minutes apart. As we neared the starting line, I told my sister to have a good race and we were off.

I wasn't sure what my goals were for this race even after I took my first step. I even sand-bagged my finish time a bit to my sister's surprise when she found me in her corral. Naturally I am always aiming for that PR but wasn't sure if I had it in me. I thought that I would formulate a goal based on how I felt in the first couple of miles. Turns out it was a good day for racing and I ran one of my fastest half marathon times. No PR but I also wasn't dying at the end so that was a good sign. I had a blast running that course because lots of people were dressed up in costumes and it was like one huge moving Halloween party. Plus, this was my 30th half marathon.

Putting my blue sparkle skirt to good use.

What's happening here? Obviously having too much fun running up an incline.

I found out later that Will Ferrell also ran the race. I really should pay more attention while I am running.


After I crossed the finish line, I went back to my car to changed into some dry clothes and headed back out to the festivities to look for my little sister. I've never stayed around after a race before so it was interesting to see what goes on in the aftermath. Apparently, lots of drinking, picture taking and rocking out. I ran into Emil near the gear check area and we chatted for a bit before parting ways. He ran a great race despite some minor setbacks.

So the reason why my little sister came with me to the race was because she was a volunteer. She did things like guard the corrals and worked at the gear check area. Woohoo for volunteers!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blaze Pizza & Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop

Long time no restaurant review. Oh, I've been eatin', just not talking about it. Just kidding. Well, I have a two-fer today to make up for the slack. Let's get right into it. Blaze Pizza and Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop are two fairly new restaurants that recently opened up in Irvine and Costa Mesa respectively. If you're looking for some new places to fill that void in your tummy, go check out these two places and don't tell me that I never tell you where all the good places are.

Blaze Pizza is located near UCI in the University Center. I can't remember what shop use to occupy that spot but no matter because that area is now always busy. I tried to go here a week after their grand opening but the long lines made me make a hard right into Lee's Sandwiches for a quick bite instead. About a month later, I went back and this time the lines were more manageable.

So I did as I always do when I go to a new restaurant, I poured over the entire menu making sure that I get just the right thing because I do not want to have 'ordering regrets' later. You know what I'm talking about...ordering one thing and then lusting after someone else's food when it comes out.

So if you are feeling creative, you can build-your-own, if not, you can easily just pick something off their signature menu. If you've ever been to Chipotle then you'll be a pro at this build-your-own pizza thing. Same principle just with pizza.

I built this city beauty! A 'build-your-own' with veggies that I liked, which looks like mushrooms, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, pineapple, tomato slices, basil and sauce. Yeah, I basically like it all!

And the crust blazed a trail through my heart...

My boss came into work the other day raving about Greenleaf and shamed me for not knowing about it. Strange thing was, I did feel ashamed for not knowing about this amazing place. It's everything that I love about a restaurant. The decor is garden-like and what I can only describe as 'green'. There is a large community table at the center of the restaurant surrounded by regular tables. The food is very healthy and very delicious at the same time. They have a fresh juice bar and the service was lightning fast the evening I was there after work. I mean, we ordered and got our food in what seemed like 2 minutes.

Lemongrass Chicken salad - all the ingredients tasted so fresh. This salad had all the flavors of a tropical meal...grilled pineapples, sliced mangoes, shredded coconut. It went so well with the pineapple/kale juice that I also ordered. The salads are more expensive than your average salad but they are made with quality ingredients and the portions are large.

M ordered the Mexplosion! It had a wheat tortilla under the kind of like a salad burrito.

Blaze Pizza
4255 Campus Dr, Ste A120
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 725-0012

Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop
234 East 17th Street
Costa Mesa
(949) 200-3950

Guest Post: How to Start a Running Program by Caitlin Heikkila

Good morning! I'm back. I know, I's been over a week since my last post. I'm just the worst. I've fallen into the hole known as 'work'. Don't worry, I have a special guest post today by reader Caitlin Heikkila on How to Start a Running Program. I've been running for so long now that it is almost second nature to me. I often forget that everyone needs to start somewhere so why now start here!

Running is one of my favorite ways to exercise for many reasons, but my number one reason: it's free. I can run anywhere, and it’s a major calorie torcher. I always recommend adding jogging or running to your routine if you’re trying to lose weight, but it may not be easy to start without a little help. Here are 7 tips to help you rev up your running program and get fit.

1. Get some good running shoes. Choose something comfortable and designed for running. Make sure to try on a few different pairs for the ultimate fit.

2. Make a schedule. Physically write your runs on your calendar like you would a meeting or doctor’s appointment. You’ll be more likely to stick with it.

3. Warm-up. One of my biggest mistakes with running was not getting a proper warm up before training. It can result in injury, which really puts a stop to your fitness plans.

4. Start by walking. If you’re a running novice, start small. When you feel comfortable walking at a brisk pace, start jogging a little. Little by little, you’ll soon be a track star (or at least faster)!

5. Increase the distance and/or speed of your runs by 10 percent each week. You don’t want to do too much too soon, it can end in OUCH.

6. HYDRATE. Drink 8 ounces of water 15 minutes before you run, and bring some water with you if you can. Drink extra if it’s hot outside.

7. Cool down and fuel up. Make sure to stretch post workout too so you don’t get stiff. Try fueling with some protein like eggs, a smoothie, or Greek yogurt and berries.

8. Watch your calories. Just because you are running, doesn’t mean you can completely eat whatever you want. Fuel up but stick within your calorie requirements for the day.

9. Get support. There are plenty of free communities to chat with others who are starting a new workout routine. Check this one out and introduce yourself.

Caitlin Heikkila is the Community Manager at Everyday Health and is currently training for the NYC Marathon in November.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Simply Fun-due

Two posts in one week...yeah I'm a rockstar this week!

I got off work a bit early yesterday because I had a big date with nine fine ladies at Simply Fondue!

I've never had fondue before so this was pretty exciting! Alcohol infused cheese dips. I know, right?

Keepin' it healthy by grillin' our food. So delicious! Now if only that garlic smell will dissipate out of my car, clothes, purse, hair, pores. That garlic smell has some hang time.

So if you must know, I live to eat dessert...yeah yeah the company was fun but THIS... I don't know what went on after they brought this out because all I saw were rainbows and butterflies and all was right with the world again. Yeah it was pretty much the exact same feeling that Skinnyrunner had when our waitress informed us that they were offering discounted martinis.

Rollin' Deep tonight! Thanks for a lovely evening ladies! Sometimes I forget that there is more to a Wednesday than work, thanks for reminding me about Fun!
Left-side front to back: SkinnyRunner, StridingMom, Me, Julie and HauteRunninMama.
Right-side front to back: Lil_yogini, Pam (fondue dinner mastermind!), HMGiraffy, Kaitlyn and HungryGazelle.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Weather With You

Popping in for my once a week update. :-D

So did you blink last week and missed the rain that passed through SoCal?

It was short lived but left a beautiful rainbow.

Now it is back to being like summer again. Kind of hard to get in the Halloween spirit when it is 90 degrees outside. It was stinkin' hot at the pumpkin patch this past weekend. Those poor wilting pumpkins and kids.

That's your weather report, now back to our regularly schedule program. All running, all the time. So over the weekend I ran the total mileage of a marathon in the course of two days. I ran 6 miles on Friday as a warm-up to a 20-miler on Saturday. You'd be surprise to know that it has been at least a year since I've ran a 20-miler. I know, right? I don't run them often enough considering that I am supposed to run a couple of them every training cycle. Anyhow, I set out not-so-early on Saturday and managed not to die. Okay, it wasn't that dramatic. It actually wasn't all that bad. Not as bad as I had anticipated.

Miles for Mokie <-- Click on that and find out why I am holding up this goofy paper.

Later that evening after my long run, I slipped into a pair of 4.5 inch heels to go to a wedding and there was dancing involved. Now that was painful!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

First Birthday

My niece turned one this past weekend! Seems like it was only yesterday...

Right photo credit to Sister K

Her special day was filled with flowers, balloons, lots of yummy food, presents, family & friends, Hello Kitty and even a pink cake! My sister did such an amazing job decorating the HK themed party. It was perfect! Happy Birthday E! I love you so much!

Monday, October 8, 2012

2012 Long Beach Half Marathon - Race Recap

Date: October 7, 2012
Location: Long Beach, CA
Start: 7:05am
Finish: 1:50:02

I don't even know what to say about yesterday's race. I came, I ran, I went home. First race of the season and apparently my legs have forgotten how to "race" over the summer. I'm not even sore today. I realized as I was nearing the finish line that I still had gas in the tank. A sure sign that I was not pushing myself hard enough out on the course. I'm disappointed in my performance but will use this race as a wake-up call to my legs. I ran some pretty consistent paces...but for a marathon. I have another race coming up in a couple of weeks and I need to get my head back in the game.

For the most part, the weather was cooperating. It was still warm but it could have been worse. I must've forgotten how to hydrate myself during a race over the summer as well because I was sweating a lot out there and did not drink enough until near the end when I realized that I was really thirsty. I picked up the pace a bit after I finally stopped at a water station and drank 3 cups of water. My head was really out of it yesterday. You would think that after having ran so many races that this stuff would be second nature to me but apparently "use it or lose it" was what I learned yesterday.

And since I sucked, I thought that I would make mention of people doing some awesome things yesterday!

A couple of my blog-gy/Ragnar buds were out on the course yesterday handing out refreshments like the incredible spectators that they are. I'm just sorry that I did not see them. Maybe they are glad they did not see me. I would have hugged them with my sweaty self. Hi Heather and Julie, you guys rock! 

Blogger friends Sarah of OUAL PR'ed in the half and Monica of Run Eat Repeat PR'ed in the marathon. Sarah of Skinnyrunner and Pam both introduced Chicago to their speedy legs. 

Also, congrats to my IRL friend Rich who PR'ed his half marathon time by 20 minutes!! 

Borrowed from Heather

Friday, October 5, 2012

My Birthday in Photos