Thursday, April 26, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1) The NY Marathon Opening Day was yesterday and looks like I didn't get selected for the second time. I'm kind of bummed about this since some of my running friends from work are going. Oh well. I'll have to wait and see if I still want to go in 2013. 

2) It was Administrative Professional Day yesterday and Sister K sent me this really cute ecard! <3 My boss gave me a gift certificate to that place that rhymes with "tutu". He's just the best boss EVER!

3) I'm headed to Big Sur this weekend. There is probably a race involved with this trip. I'm not going to lie, I plan my vacations around races. Don't you? If you say 'no', you are not my people. Okay, you might still be my people but we are definitely not running kindred spirits. You don't want to be my kindred spirit of any kind? Yeah me either. Why am I having a convo by myself here?

4) Okay I lied, there is a fourth thing. I played tennis for the first time in a million years. I even dug out my tennis playing outfit. Which reminds me that I need to go and get a new outfit. Maybe there is something nice over at that place that rhymes with "tutu".

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

So Much Eating

And of course I have to talk about the food as it relates to the Ragnar SoCal race because all good races are fueled by good food as I always say. Ok no I don't always say that but I should.

The Wednesday before the Ragnar SoCal relay, I was sitting at Cucina Enoteca lamenting to M about how I had not started packing yet. I soothe my worried non-packed soul with some tasty Fruitti Di Mare Squid Ink Linguine and the Farmer's Chopped Salad (aka the world's best salad). M had the Roasted "Jidore" Chicken served with roasted asparagus and Swiss chard over fontina polenta. Everything is just so good here.

Thursday night after Ragnar van decorating party, the team went to Veggie Grill for dinner where I tried their new Buffalo Chicken Sandwich with a side of chili. It was good but I actually like their regular Chickin' Sandwich better. The sandwich was large. I ate half but that's only because I was saving room for their amazing vegan carrot cake. It was worth it!

Our first food stop during the Ragnar was at In-N-Out Burger. I had a hamburger. It was 11am in the morning and I had ran all of 2.7 miles so I wasn't all that hunger but this is always good.

At our second break during Ragnar we made a stop at a Subway Sandwiches and I ordered a 12 inch meatball sub on wheat with tomatoes and peppercini. I eat half and M ate the other half the next day. I forgot to take a photo because I was out of it by that point.

After we finished our last van leg, we all headed to the Original Pancake House for a late breakfast. I order the Blueberry Waffles. I ate the whole thing. I guess the hunger finally caught up to me.

Instead of driving back up to Irvine immediately following the Ragnar, M drove down to San Diego and we stayed at the Glorietta Bay Inn. It was about half a mile from the Ragnar finish line. That's the very bed where I passed out for 13 hours. It was comfortable. Cute little hotel that I loved.

They even brought milk and cookies during turn down service. The continental breakfast was pretty good as well. I liked this place a lot.

After crossing the Ragnar finish line with my #SMCOL teammates and checking into the hotel. M and I decided to take a stroll to find some dinner. I wanted some pasta. Ristorante La Terrazza was the first Italian place we came upon. The restaurant was upstairs but the hostess sat outside at the bottom of a flight of stairs and then would escort customers up into the restaurant. I don't know why this seemed weird to me but it did. Maybe it was due to the fact that I had not slept for 36 hours. At that point I was more tired than hungry but I wanted to eat something before I passed out.

I have to say that this place was not very good. The calamari was decent but my spaghetti and meatballs was just terrible. I haven't had spaghetti and meatballs in a really long time because I was trying to limit my carbs and this place was not a good way to waste my carb allotment if you know what I mean. Wish I would have just gone to sleep instead. What a terrible thing to say, right? The pasta was overcooked and the sauce was runny. I give it two thumbs down and I could have been easily won over in my tired state.

The next day, M and I went to pick up Sister K and D and we all went to the Blue Water Seafood Market and Grill near Seaworld. This restaurant appeared on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and it was actually M's idea to come here. His taste-buds have grown so much since I've met him. I might do a proper write up on this place if I go back another time but here is a short one for now.

Sister K and I shared half a dozen raw oysters. They were great! We also shared a small Cioppino Soup. I didn't like it as much as I thought I would because the only seafood in there was fish. It would have been better with some shrimp or scallops or something. The fish that was in there was very good. It was not overcooked and dried like it can be. Sister K and I both ordered the Red Crab Sandwich. The sandwich was very big. We were so full. I thought I was going to burst. M ordered the beer battered cod tacos and they were amazing. Get that if you go. It was amazing!

On Sunday afternoon, I drove Sister K back home and we managed to align a visit to see my niece, Sister S and the B-I-L. We went to dinner at Sam Woo. Sister K and I were not that hungry because of the large sandwiches we had for lunch but somehow when we showed at this place the delicious aroma of the food was all it took to get our stomachs going. We followed dinner with a visit to Half and Half tea house.

So much eating went on that I am just getting over it. I probably should go for a run later.

Monday, April 23, 2012

2012 SoCal Ragnar Relay - The 203.5 Miles Journey From Strangers to Friends (aka Huntington Beach to Coronado Island) - Van 1 Shenanigans

Date: April 20-21, 2012
Location: Huntington Beach to Coronado Island, CA
Start: 5:45am 6:00am
Finish: 35:06:22 (average pace 10:21) // 413th Overall Place
Bib #: 39
Team Name: So Much Cooler Online // 18th Place in the Regular Women Open Division (Source)
Runner Position: 6

April 19th (4:45am): Van 1 arrives at Huntington Beach to check in. It was so early and still dark outside but everyone was already buzzing with anticipation.

Then we found a Starbucks tent and that buzz grew.

We found our stoic volunteer Josh and thanked him for being so super for taking the 2am shift at the starting area. You rock Josh!

Even this blurry photo could not conceal our excitement to get this show on the road.

To conquer this road to be exact.

Team So Much Cooler Online officially started the race at 6:00am with runner 1 (Shannon). Since it was still dark outside she had to wear her reflective gear and sexy miner headlamp. See her there? No? She's the one in the skirt right next to that orange cone/pole?

Then I spent the next 30-hours in a van with these lovely ladies. They get two thumbs up from me for being the best van mates ever!

In this artistically decorated van!

We spent 30 hours, morning, noon and night doing a whole lot of this...

Running through these places, just to name a few...

During our breaks we dined at fine places like In-N-Out...

...we bummed some shade from strangers in exchange for popsicles in the 90+ degree heat while decked out in our matching awesome J'Adore Hardcore running tops from Run Pretty Far.

We cheered on our fellow Ragnarians!

We tried to thank every volunteer we could for enduring such long hours in the heat of the day and the dark of the night!

We witnessed a marriage proposal at exchange 27! It was emotional. I cried a little bit and I'm made of stone.

And even at 11pm at night, when all the world is probably in their nice warm beds, we were still smiling to be in such good company doing the one thing we all! At least I think that is why they are all smiling. Right, guys?

Thank you to our wonderful sponsors (Nuun, PRO Compression, Bic Bands, Run Pretty Far, Aspaeris, and Running Skirt) for helping team #SMCOL rock the 2012 Ragnar SoCal relay in style.  

The Ragnar SoCal relay managed to turn a bunch of chicks I met online into 5 of the most amazing friends a girl could ask for. Cheers to that! Special thanks to Sarah (#SMCOL team captain) and Heather (co-captain).

Thirty-six hours and 203.5 miles later we were still all smiles! Even after van "funk", sleep running, real/not real, #SMCOL and #RagnarSocal, fist bumping the Cash4Gold dude (aka Shannon's boyfriend), the internet machine, #eatallthethings and #packallthethings, Shannon getting cozy with me in the back of the van at 3am, leisure start time, "smooth" transitions, Becka shaving in a parking lot in Corona in 95 degree weather, magic pants, wanting cooked food, #VanAwesome, Shannon and her gorgeous Ragnar-induced hair, kills on the hills, something about bottling the van funk into a perfume, and so many other things that I just cannot remember at the moment.

One word: EPIC!!!

So I was runner 6 in Van 1 of the 12-women team So Much Cooler Online and these are my data taken from my Garmin.
Leg 6 (9:52am on April 20, passed 9 runners): 2.7 miles flat, starting to get warm out 80s.

Mile 1 - 8:07
Mile 2 - 10:15 A group of us got stuck for 2 minutes waiting to cross a freeway on-ramp. :(
Last .63 - 5:04 Forgot to start my Garmin until I had already left the exchange, rounded the corner and ran down a couple of blocks. D'oh!
Finish: 23.27

Leg 18 (11:53pm on April 20, passed 26 runners): 7.4 miles, giant terrible 2-mile hill around Escondido w/ 600 ft of elevation gain at midnight. Hated it!

Mile 1 - 9:16
Mile 2 - 11:43 Slow slog up the hill. It was so foggy. Could only see a couple of steps in front of me with the aid of the trusty headlamp. Hated this part so bad!
Mile 3 - 10:21 Still going up
Mile 4 - 8:41 Awful steep downhill. Even worse than the uphill.
Mile 5 - 8:51 Elevation started to go up a bit again
Mile 6 - 9:37 I suck!
Mile 7 - 8:46 Just get to the end so that you can stop running dummy! <-- Note to self
Last .5 - 4:37
Finish: 1:11:54

Leg 30 (9:23am on April 21, passed 19 runners): 4.2 miles, 1.5-mile hill w/ 400 ft of elevation gain around Torrey Pines. Hated it also but not as much as Leg 18.

Mile 1 - 9:04
Mile 2 - 9:58 More hills, awesome! Not!
Mile 3 - 8:39 I'm done with this. Going to just give it all I have left so that I can go shower!
Mile 4 - 8:40
Last .19 - 1:20 Hauling a$$ like there was a shower at Exchange 30.
Finish: 37:43

I was so tired in this photo but so happy at the same time to have gotten the chance to run another Ragnar with a group of amazing blogger friends! After sleeping for 13 hours straight (hey just like the last time I ran Ragnar) I just might want to do this again! Runner for hire!

Thanks Ragnar, Teammates, Volunteers and Loved Ones for making all this possible! I am grateful for everyday that I get to do the things I love surround by great people! Peace out, end of story, the end!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Ragnar Games

It's like the Hunger Games but not. Remember that scene in the movie where they thoroughly bathe the tributes before they released them out in the woods. Yeah that's how I felt just now. I just took my last shower for the next 36 hours. So fresh and so clean.

Here's one last photo before we hit the road. Our 12-women team So Much Cooler Online (#SMCOL) met up this evening to decorate our vans. Van 1, the van that I am in has a very early start tomorrow morning. I should be in bed. Why am I still typing? I will take some better photos during the race.

Then we had dinner at the Veggie Grill. Then I realized that I had not finished packing so I rushed home and 2 hours later, I am finally done. Now I'm going to go and try to get as much sleep as I possibly can for 4 hours. G'night!

It's Time to Rag & Roll!!

The time has come. I can't even remember when OUAL recruited me for this. It was a along time ago. Long before track parties, before sparkly skirts, before ankle drama, before back problems. It was a simpler time when I thought that I had all the time in the world to get my act together.

Luckily I made a list and will check it twice this evening. I've shopped, laundered and did all the pencil to paper planning I could do. I have another early wake up call tomorrow.

I'm mostly packed! And thanks to Team #SMCOL sponsors Nuun, PRO Compression, Bic Bands, Run Pretty Far, Aspaeris, and Running Skirt just to name a few, I will be running in style! High Fashion!

Check out my legs! No, not those legs...these legs! I have 3. They look tame, except for that jaunt through Torrey Pines. Fun stuff! I eat hills for midnight snack! No, not really.

Follow me on Twitter (@Borntorun77) for Team #SMCOL Van 1 updates. I will be tweeting ALOT because to be honest I have one of the least amount of mileages to run in my van. Check out my teammates blogs for more write-ups about how they are preparing to run this 200 mile relay race through the heart of SoCal. They are like freakin' out! Me too, I'm just not telling you. D'oh.

Oh and in case you're wondering...yeah I'll still be cute after all this, just you watch! Now I have to go and find my MAC concealer. See you on Coronado Island!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Halfy Birthday

My niece's 6-month birthday was last weekend. I know, I am a week late and a dollar short but I finally got around to posting about it. I know this is Ragnar week so I should really be posting about that but isn't she cute? We threw her a small half birthday celebration. With lots of purple and pink! I cannot believe that she is already six months old. She has grown and changed so much. She loves to bounce up and down and when she is really happy she makes these little happy screaming noises.

Partial photo credit to Sister K

And what kind of party would it be without food! On the menu was Italian sandwiches, mixed green salad w/ buffalo moz, strawberries, cookies and cupcakes! Sister K was the mastermind behind this little celebration. She even did all the menu planning. All delicious by the way. Youngest Sister K helped prep the food. I just came along for the ride. :D

In celebration of the baby's half birthday, we also busted out the Beaba Baby Food Maker that Sister S got from Sister K at the baby shower to make some apple sauce. The baby is already on rice cereal but this was her first taste of apple sauce. She was not a fan but I think she will grow to like it. It tasted really fresh and creamy. I was really surprised at how creamy the apples came out. The Baeba is a neat little gadget for making preservative-free baby food. It steams and purees fruit, veggies and meat into really creamy baby food. Sorry, I was sleeping on the job again and forgot to take a photo of the actual apple sauce.

It was a warm day that day so the baby waited until late afternoon and then donned her wide-brimmed floral hat and little pink shorts and headed out to the garden to watch her papa weed the flowerbed. Look, she found her toes...a big 6-month achievement!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Of Running Shoes and Chocolate Cake!

You either clicked over here because of running shoes or chocolate cake. Don't worry, I won't disappoint you but first I just wanted to say "Ay chihuahua"! Yeah, it's been that kind of month. Busy, crazy, like a chicken with it's head chopped off. Maybe I should say something like "Great Dane" instead of something about a chihuahua. My blogging has definitely taken a big hit but I promise you that you will be hearing a lot more from me. For example, by this time next week, I will be running the 2012 SoCal Ragnar Relay and I will have a lot of down time so I will be all over the social media front. The weekend after, I will be headed up to Monterey for the Big Sur Marathon! Lots of exciting running stuff coming up. I also have a ton of restaurant reviews that I've not had time to write up but I did take some drool worthy photos so look forward to that as well.

Ok, first up...running shoes! I didn't mention this or better yet I hadn't had time to mention about this until now but I hurt my lower back a couple of weeks ago doing cross-fit. I've hurt my back before from doing HIIT but this was a first for cross-fit related injuries. Being the hypochondriac that I am, I went to see a chiropractor to make sure that it was not something really serious. It turns out that I have a subluxation (commonly referred to as a "pinched nerve") of the L5 region of my spine. So not super bad news but I have been put on a correction program to realign my spine. I'm not new to chiropractics. I've had problems with my sciatica and my back before as I mentioned above and chiropractics has brought me a lot of relief. Anyhow, after my recent chiropractic evaluation my chiropractor informed me that I have a serious pronation problem and that I am majorly flat-footed. I always thought that I had a normal arch with moderate pronation.

So I went to see this guy and told him of my pronation, flat-footed woes and he came back with these... not that bright yellow pair but these! ASICS GEL Kayano 18! They fit nice. I miss me some stability cushioning as of late. This is my very first pair of ever so I will let you know how I fair with these. They (people at the store) tell me that it is perfect for a major heel striker like myself. Man, I have all kinds of running problems.

What better way to drown my running problem sorrows than with new running shoes and chocolate cake? There are no better ways. Have you ever tried the Killer Chocolate cake from French's Bakery in Costa Mesa? No? What the heck are you waiting for? It is *the* best chocolate cake I've ever had and I am not even a chocolate cake fan. I know, the horror! But be warned, it is not for the faint of heart, only eat this if you want death by chocolate. It isn't called the "Killer Chocolate Cake" for no reason.

It also comes in cupcake size. You know, for when you want that close to death experience. ;)