Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Favorites

I got up early this morning solely for the purpose of going out for a jog to see how my legs are feeling. Just as I suspect. Still sore. So I went on a leisurely 3 mile walk. I don't know why I don't do that more often. It was pretty awesome. I think I'll give it a few more days before trying again. I'm very excited to start training again. My next race isn't for another 3 months so I get to ramp up at a more reasonable rate. I'm already plotting my next training cycle. Which reminds me, I need new running shoes.

Friday! Why has this 4-day work week seem like the longest ever? I'm about to jump out the window. TGIF! I'm heading to Vegas this weekend. It looks like it is going to be about a billion degrees. Not sure what's on tap but I'll be back on Monday to share.

So this post was started yesterday but I never got around to finishing it so it is morphing from a Three Things Thursday post to a Friday Favorites post. That's some fancy finagling on my part. Plus, I only had 2 things to talk about so it all worked out. Have a great weekend!

1) Bananas - I can't stand bananas but I started eating one everyday as a snack or for breakfast. I did this the entire month leading into my recent marathon. For some reason, I felt like I was low on potassium levels but maybe that was all in my head but it couldn't hurt I reasoned. Some days I ate them straight up, other days covered in chocolate/nuts/PB. I have to admit that I liked them the best when they are covered in chocolate...and even more when they are also covered in nuts. I even blended it up in smoothies. There were even days when I would eat two just for good measure. I like my bananas when they are still showing a little tiny bit of green but I've been known to eat the yellow ones and even the ones with some black dots on them. So I guess they are not so bad and I feel like they are somehow helping me with my running. Maybe that's all in my head as well.

2) Protein powder - There was a time when protein powder was a part of my everyday routine. Primarily when I was lifting more in the weight room but then one day I just stopped using it. Mostly because I didn't like the way protein powder tasted. Any of them. Then one day after a week of hard workouts, I felt so beat up that I didn't think that I would be able to do my long run that weekend. That night at dinner, my husband and I exchanged our usual "sore" stories, which basically starts out with tales of our workouts and end with where and how sore we were. So I was telling him about how much more sore I was feeling lately and he told me that I probably needed to start taking protein powder again after my workouts. Blah! But then I remembered that awhile back I had purchased a giant jar of BSN's Syntha-6 Chocolate PB protein powder and it was just sitting there on my kitchen counter unused. I've forgotten how yummy it was. Yeah I said it, it's yummy! It's like chocolate milk or a milkshake if you blend it up with some ice. I normally mix it with some soy milk and a little bit of water because I don't like it too thick. I also have the Vanilla Ice Cream one and that one is also very good. Protein powder has been essential this past month with helping me recover quickly so that I can conquer the next workout. I'm glad I found one that I actually like the taste of.

Monday, May 27, 2013

2013 Mountain 2 Beach Marathon - Race Recap

Date: May 26, 2013
Location: Ojai to Ventura, CA
Start: 6:00am
Finish: 3:33:20  <-- ahhh!!! A new PR! Who am I? It's like I trained to do that or something. ;0)

Happy Memorial Day! I'm spending the day relaxing and recovering. I'm so elated with the outcome of yesterday's race that I can barely sit still to type out this recap. There is so much I want to say about why this race was so important to me but I will only site the top reason. Namely Boston. I wanted to qualify again and this time with no ambiguity. I wanted to run a strong race because I wanted the opportunity to be invited back to the greatest marathon in a great city with a proud tradition. Finally, I ran this race partially for my psyche. To release the last remaining traces of pent up emotions that I had carried around since April 15. When I ran across that finish line yesterday, I was overcome with such intense emotions that it overshadowed my physical discomfort. I felt like crying and jumping up and down in happiness at the same time. I ended up just pulling off to the side, covered my face with my hands and took a moment. When I found my husband in the crowd he gave me a big giant hug and told me how proud he was of me. It was just one of those days that will stay with me for a long time. A perfect day for chasing PRs and dreams.

The husband and I rolled into Ventura around early afternoon the day before the race. We had stopped at the outlets on the way up and then went to grab lunch at one of our favorite restaurants Taqueria Cuernavaca.

From there we headed to the M2B race expo at Ventura High School for packet pickup. Clif is the title sponsor of this race this year so they were one of the few booths there. It's a small race. I remember the expo was located in what appeared to be a tiny broom closet at the host hotel the first year so this is huge growth. The race shirt looks yellow in the photo below but is actually a neon yellow/green.

We checked into our hotel and went exploring around the area for a good dinner spot. We ended up at the movies for a couple of hours before dinner. Totally unplanned but turned out to be a perfect race eve.

I set my stuff out the night before like a good little runner and prepared for bed. For the first time in never, I fell asleep and slept the entire night until my alarm went off. I'm still baffled by how this happened since I can never sleep the night before a race. Never. I woke up 3:45am feeling the most rested that I have ever felt on race morning. I was a little bit nervous but mostly excited to run. This is the third year I'm running this race as I'm quite fond of it. This race was actually a somewhat last minute addition to my race schedule. I had not planned to run it but when friend Darren informed me that he was planning to do it, I knew I had to be there to witness his first sub-4 marathon and he did it! After I returned from Boston, I was glad that I had signed up and was determined to do well.

As I had mentioned in a couple of other posts, my year started out pretty slow on the running/racing front. My fitness level was lacking because of my wedding and honeymoon. I ran the LA Marathon this year with very minimal training. It was a suffer-fest and a half. I only did it to keep my streak alive. After that race, I had about a month to prepare for Boston so there was only so much I could do with having to take a week off for recovery after LA and another week for taper. My training schedule has been a mess lately but I made the best of it. After I returned from Boston, my mind was scattered but I had a lot of restless energy that I channeled into my running. I had a little over a month to prepare for M2B and I was determined to make every run count. Every mile I ran this past month was with intention and purpose. For the first time in ever, I tried my best to actually follow a plan, not just pin something to my training board and pretend that I was following it. I pushed myself a little harder. I cleaned up my diet. I was on a crash course to get up to speed. It was taxing on me at times since I had never really trained this way before. This past month was my second highest mileage month since I started running. I was so happy when taper came around. I waited until the week before the race to taper since I did not have much time to play around with. I really wish I would have had another month to train for this race but it all worked out.

Race day was perfect! It started out a little chilly but eventually warmed up quite a bit towards the beach. The race started about 10 minutes late because they wanted to ensure that most people got through the porta-potty lines. This was the most porta-potties I've seen yet at this race. Movin' on up. I love this race for so many reasons. Seeing it grow from a couple of hundred runners to a couple of thousand in a few years is proof that this race is here to stay. Different name, same great race.

I started out the race with the 3:35 pacer. There were maybe 10 of us running with him for a majority of the course. Based on the splits from my Garmin, he was running too fast. He lost a couple of people along the way. I ran most of the course sub-8 minute miles which is too fast for me. I did everything I could to hang on. My husband was on course cheering for me at a couple of different locations. I always run faster as I get close to where he will meet me. His support is a vital reason why I am able to run a strong race. This course is one that runs along a major road in Ojai allowing for your support crew to cheer you on at many points.

Then at around mile 18, the pacer suddenly pulled off to the side. Something was wrong with his left leg. His female friend or maybe girlfriend or wife was on a bike providing support for him along the way. He ended up telling her to continue to pace us on her bike. It was all very weird but it worked for a little while. Then at mile 20 I lost her. So I followed this guy and girl that had been running together in the 3:35 group with me. I could tell based on their speed that they were aiming for a 3:30. After about 2 miles or so, I could no longer keep up but the pacer, the girl on the bike and those two 3:30 runners took me all the way to the home stretch. All I had to do was dig a little deeper and pull out every last mile I still had in me. It was a struggle and slog. My husband ran with me for a mile where the course flattens out to help ease me into the transition because he knows how much I've struggled with that part in the past. Then it was just a few miles of out-and-back on some residential street before hitting the final mile along the beach path. My husband waited for me on that path to run me in like he has done in the past couple of years. I was pretty much done. I mean it was time to take me out of the oven. I had to dig pretty deep at this point. He was talking to me but I could not say anything back. He just kept reminding me why I was there and what I had to do to get what I wanted. And then I saw the finish line, so close but so far. I ran. I could hear my husband cheering for me over the cheers of the crowd. I see the people surrounding the finish line. I kept my word to friend Pam that I would leave everything out on that course. And I did.

Big Cottonwood Marathon - Training Log (Incomplete training cycle)

Big Cottonwood Marathon - Training Log

Week of: 7/29
Monday: 4 miles
Tuesday: --
Wednesday: 4.5 miles
Thursday: 45 min spin
Friday: --
Saturday: --
Sunday: Rest Day!
Needed: --

Week of: 7/22
Monday: 4 miles
Tuesday: 3 miles
Wednesday: 2 miles
Thursday: --
Friday: --
Saturday: --
Sunday: Rest Day!
Needed: --
Total: 9

Week of: 7/15
Monday: --
Tuesday: 5 miles easy
Wednesday: --
Thursday: 6 miles
Friday: --
Saturday: 6 miles walk
Sunday: Rest Day!
Needed: 41
Total: 17

Week of: 7/8
Monday: spin
Tuesday: 6 miles tempo
Wednesday: 7 miles easy
Thursday: --
Friday: 6 miles pace, spin
Saturday: 11 miles (planned) - was feeling "off", only did 3 miles
Sunday: Rest Day!
Needed: 32
Total: 22

Week of: 7/1
Monday: 10 miles
Tuesday: --
Wednesday: 7 miles interval
Thursday: 6 miles
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: 17 miles
Sunday: Rest Day!
Needed: 37
Total: 40

Week of: 6/24
Monday: 3 miles, spin
Tuesday: spin, 6 miles track (3x 1600)
Wednesday: 6 miles tempo
Thursday: 6 miles
Friday: --
Saturday: 14 miles
Sunday: Rest Day!
Needed: 36
Total: 35

Week of: 6/17
Monday: --
Tuesday: 5.8 miles track
Wednesday: 6.5 miles tempo
Thursday: spin, strength
Friday: spin
Saturday: 10 miles
Sunday: Rest Day!
Needed: 21
Total: 22.3

Week of: 6/10
Monday: spin
Tuesday: 5 miles track
Wednesday: 6 miles tempo (7:20)
Thursday: strength
Friday: 5.4 miles easy
Saturday: Race - 13.1 miles
Sunday: Rest Day!
Needed: 30
Total: 29.5

Week of: 6/3
Monday: spin
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: 6 miles tempo (7:43)
Thursday: spin, 3 miles trail
Friday: 6 miles pace, spin
Saturday: 9.25 miles
Sunday: Rest Day!
Needed: 29
Total: 29.25

Week of: 5/27
Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: Stretching
Wednesday: spin
Thursday: spin
Friday: 3 miles walking, spin
Saturday: Rest Day!
Sunday: 5.5 miles
Needed: --

Total: 8.5

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I went to Disneyland last week! I haven't been in many years. I think I've ran through the park more times than I've actually spent the day. Okay, maybe that statement isn't all true but it has been quite some time since I've been here.

It was my niece's first trip to Disneyland. It was a treat to get to share this special day with her. She LOVED it and was so thrilled to meet her favorite characters...Mickey and Minnie! I would love to show you a photo of her being thrilled to meet her favorite characters but when she finally met them she was so mesmerized by their presence that she could not stop staring at them so the photos are mostly of the back of her head.


We spent some time riding some of the rides near the King Arthur Carrousel. I've been to Disneyland many times but have never rode on these rides (Mister Toad's Wild Ride, Snow White's Scary Adventure, etc.). There was something nostalgic about the rides themselves even though I've never rode on them before.

An oldie but a goodie...the revamped Pirates of the Caribbeans ride. I really liked the new additions. They were really life-like.

I even spent some time in Toon Town which I've also never done before. I can't drive there either. ;0)

A bug's view.

I played this game for the first time and as you can see, I'm not very good. Luckily, no one sat next to me to emphasis my lack of skills.

This was also my first time at California Adventures.

Of course I went to Cars Land. The ride was really fun.

And I ate all the things! No, not really. I was trying hard not to. I noticed that Disneyland now offers lots of healthy snack options like whole and cut fruit, trail snacks and other goodies that make it easier to not eat all the unhealthy things. It was a really fun day!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


It's been one month.

Remember the courage. Remember the spirit. Remember the departed. Remember the day.

Peace & Love.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hot May Days

This past weekend was Mother's Day. As if you could not tell from all the postings of mommy and me photos and/or brunch with mom photos via your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

We celebrated at home. Mom and dad invited the whole family over for Sunday dinner. They cooked an amazing meal! Yes, my mom cooked on Mother's Day, she just likes doing her "mom" thing.

We also celebrated my youngest sister's 16th Birthday!

Yesterday, I had dinner with Heather and Julie (virtually concocted Ragnar van-mates turned IRL friends). We chatted over pizza and salad. Obviously, it was an awesome evening!

If you live in SoCal and haven't noticed the heatwave, you must either have not stepped foot outside lately or desert temperature is your normal. It's even too hot for me and I tend to like hot weather and when I say that I like hot weather, I mean like 80 not 100. The heat just caught me by surprise seeing that it is only May. I had to suddenly switch my running schedule to the morning to avoid the heat.

After getting a "knarly" tan last week from a midday run, I decided to get my run in earlier today. It was still pretty warm out but I'm glad I got it done. I'm officially into my taper period so I'm just trying to get in some shorter miles at a faster pace. I feel a lot stronger than a month ago and definitely more so than when I ran LA. Mentally, I'm where I want to be and though I feel some anxieties about race day, I also feel excited and for the most part I'm confident in my training. I'm taking an unscheduled rest day tomorrow to do something fun!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

2013 PCRF Half Marathon - Race Recap

Date: May 5, 2013
Location: Irvine, CA
Start: 7:00 am
Finish: ~1:54

Happy Cinco de Mayo!! The weekend came and went so quickly that I didn't get a good look at it. Luckily, I was camera-happy and took a lot of photos.

We went to get some breakfast on Saturday morning at the Corner Bakery since it was across the street from the PCRF race expo where I went to pickup my bib for the half marathon the next day. I've been craving cinnamon rolls so this happened.

My family came down to spend the day with me. I love when they visit! We hung out and carbo-loaded at Kappo Hana. It was a great way to get ready for the race. If you are ever looking for an authentic home-y Japanese meal, this place might be what you are looking for. They had a lot of items on the menu that you don't normally find at any ol' Japanese restaurant. I can't believe that this was the first time I've eaten here seeing that it is not too far from me.

I woke up early (well early for me) on Sunday morning to get ready for my long run/race. Yes friends I had a 20-mile run on my training calendar and I was shaking in my Asics just thinking about it. Then, friend Darren got the bright idea last week to sign up for the PCRF and basically just do a 7-mile warm-up jog to the starting line since the race was practically in our backyards. I always thought people who did this was out of their minds and they are but this turned out to be the best idea EVER.

We started at 6am and got to the starting area almost in time. I said almost because by the time we arrived all the half marathon runners were already gone because this was a smaller race. We took a quick bathroom break, refilled our water bottles and headed to the starting line. It was at this time that we realized that the 5K or 10K was about to start and people were already lining up at the starting line. So we dodged and weaved our way to the front and ducked under the starting line tape and took off all by ourselves onto the course. We were the very last 2 people to start the half marathon. It was so weird to be starting a race all by ourselves. It was like a private race. So open and empty. I've never done that before. It was pretty cool!

We finally caught up to the last person on the course about half a mile in which was kind of a relief.  Plus, we managed to pass the part where the 5K/10K course diverted from the half before they started so we were in the clear from being run over by the speedy folks. Since we started late, we were 7-minutes behind the main clock the whole time and for some reason we didn't get a chip time. Not sure if that was due to us starting late or not. The results show my time as 2:01:09 but I think I finished in 1:54. I'm guessing because I didn't bother to reset my Garmin for the race so I only have data for the entire 20-mile run which was 2:57. I'm not really too concern since this was supposed to be a training run.

Believe it or not, this is my first time running this course in it's entirety (I paced friend Darren a couple of years ago for a few miles). I know, weird, since I live nearby but I liked it. It wasn't too hilly but it isn't completely flat either. It is a great event for the whole family to take part in. There is an event for everyone of all fitness level. The post race festivities included rides and games for the kids and even some food trucks. I didn't hang around too long to check it out but it looked like a good time. I did run by Heather and her daughters who were cheering near the finish line. I love the family vibe of this race. It's so awesome to see moms, dads, kids, friends and neighbors all coming out to participate. I have to say that this was the best and most fun 20-mile training run I've ever done. I would do this race again. I mean just look at that fabulous medal!

Oh and I finally got my Boston Stands As One shirt in the mail this past week so I wore it to the race. It is cotton but who the heck cares. Plus, I strangely like running in cotton shirts.

My reward for finishing up my run today...dim sum!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Newbury Street

Newbury Street was one of the first places I visited when I got into Boston. Having not slept coming off a redeye flight from the west coast, my sister and I decided to explore the city in lieu of sleeping. I was too excited to sleep anyways. We started out walking down Boylston towards the Boston Commons and eventually ended up on Newbury Street. Newbury Street runs parallel to Boylston to the North.

As I walk down the streets of Boston, I notice that there are quite a few churches and they are all magificant works of architectual design. Not as old as anything you would find in Europe but it has so much more character than anything you would find in Orange County where I live. It is one of the elements that makes this city so charming as I mentioned before.

Another thing this town is not lacking are cupcake shops. There are a couple on this street alone. We stopped into Georgetown Cupcake because what vacation would be complete without cupcakes? They had a large variety of cupcakes and their display case was very visually appealing. I only had one so I feel ill-equipped to make a definitive statement about the store as a whole but the vanilla birthday cake flavor that I did try was very moist.

Not sure why I'm sharing this photo except for the fact that I thought that it was so neat that Sabra hummus was out on the street passing out free samples of pita chips and hummus.

This city is just so welcoming to runners during race weekend. They really know how to make you feel special.

Need some retail therapy? This street does not disappoint. High-end, boutique and chain stores line almost every inch of this street.

This chocolate shop was pretty amazing! I didn't take any photos inside because I wasn't sure if it was allowed but trust me I saw some stuff that I should have taken home with me.

We came upon a roasted nut cart and of course we had to buy some...

...I mean just look at this deliciousness! They have these carts on almost every street corner in New York City but this was the first one I saw in Boston. My sister took this photo. Thanks Sister K!

The clothing store on the top floor in this photo has everything I wish I already owned in my closet.

I love this outfit!

Another cupcake shop that we went into but did not try.

Everything checks out though. Maybe next time!

Johnny Cupcakes is NOT a cupcake shop. They sell clothing! @_@ Don't mess with me like that.

I don't eat a lot of candy but I love candy stores! This one was jam packed with candy. Of all the things in the shop, the thing that fascinated me was a large slinky? Which was not even made of candy! Clearly my priorities are messed up.

I don't even know what this store sells but I love the name! I know for a fact that if I lived nearby that I would be hanging out on this street all.the.time!