Lately

The past few months over here have been very hectic, full of new experiences and change in the best kind of way.

Between April and May Joe and I attended two weddings, moved in together, made solo trips to the Midwest for family commitments (I got to attend my little brother’s college graduation from the University of Dayton!), we got to visit with and entertain both my mother and my cousin Mary, all while plotting career transitions. It was a long and exciting two months that didn’t leave too much time for blogging, but a lot of time for experiencing.

Most importantly, I love our new home!

I may post more photos but we successfully moved into our two bedroom townhouse in the Mar Vista neighborhood of LA and so far I love it. We have a patio my mom helped me pull together when she visited, a big kitchen full of new appliances, a washer and dryer in unit (!!), and plenty of room for Izzy and Rudy who are now blended.

I also started a small garden on the patio. I bought basil and mint that had already started growing and started a rosemary plant and a spinach plant from seeds. So far everything is thriving. The spinach is really growing. The rosemary has a bit more of a ways to go. I’d like to add a few more plants. I don’t want to get too out of hand because I want to be able to use the plants as I grow them and not be overly wasteful. I also have some flowers, potted succulents and a lavender plant (my favorite scent).

The townhouse itself is great, but the person and animals I live with make everything perfect. Never in my adult life have I felt this “at home”.

I’m not sure Izzy and Rudy agree. Both of them had lived with the other species before we made the big move and they had also met each other before. On the day of the move Rudy went to day care to tire him out and get him out of the way. Izzy moved in first and had some time to get the lay of the land before Rudy came home. So far they mostly seem suspect of each other. Izzy could run the show if she wanted to but mostly she hangs back and watches Rudy. They spend a lot of time side by side but not interacting. I’m sure this will change over time and we’ve had to train both of them to live with each other. Izzy was trying to eat Rudy’s food, Rudy was eating Izzy’s food and digging around her cat box but I think we mostly have figured out how to stop that behavior.

Moving and having my own kitchen again has lead to a cooking renaissance. I’ve been working from home for the past few weeks so I have more time to devote to meal prep and I have to say I’ve been knocking it out of the park food-wise. More recipes will return to the blog!

In other news: I haven’t run in over a month!

After the LA Marathon it was painfully clear that I needed a break. I love running, I know I’ll run another marathon and I have plenty of running goals but after 2 marathons in 5 months it just wasn’t fun anymore. My body felt stiff and out of whack and I missed other forms of exercise. For my last month in Manhattan Beach I bought a groupon to Green Yogi on Highland Ave. I attended several classes there and overall loved the studio and the teachers. The staff was friendly, helpful and welcoming and I knew I would only be in Manhattan for one month so this worked perfectly. I kept running during March and April mostly because of THE VIEW:

I mean really? Just so ugly I can barely stand to look at it.

The moving month and the two weeks after were insanely hectic. I just tried to push through the final burst of activities. Once my schedule opened up and I was working from home I signed up for a $30 for 30 days deal at Yoga Salt, a new studio on Lincoln in Marina del Rey. I’ll admit, I was initially attracted to the $30 deal which is pretty unheard of in LA where a month of unlimited yoga usually runs $90 and up. However, I researched the studio and bit more and was very pleasantly surprised. It just opened last March and was founded by Tamal Dodge. I took Tamal’s class when I was going to the Yoga Collective several years ago and I really enjoyed his classes. They were very physically challenging, focusing on correct form for planks and strength building, but Tamal also focuses on mediation. This is clearly the template for the classes I’ve taken thus far at Yoga Salt.

I just finished my 30 days and I managed to take 12 classes. I can feel my arms growing stronger and my hips are much looser and happier than they were a month ago. I’ve taken three of the instructors and I’ve really liked all of them. I also love the impact that yoga has had on my mind. After 10 years of practicing various forms of yoga (from vinyasa to bikram) I’m finally getting the hang of focusing on my breath and letting my mind shut off, which can be tough for a type a personality. I’m getting stronger and I’ve dropped the 5 ish lbs of marathon weight I put on but mentally I’ve reaped the benefits as well.

I plan to at least keep practicing at Yoga Salt for the next month or so. I will eventually return to running but for now I’m all yoga with a few trips to the Culver City pool mixed in for fun. It’s summer. I feel like trips to the public pool should be mandatory. I was thinking I may try to train for the Long Beach half but right now I’m more motivated and focused by trying to hold arm balances and I’m more than ok with that for now.

That’s about it for now. I’m off to cheer for the US in the world cup! Who else is watching?

Camping in Ojai

Last February Joe and I went on a weekend camping trip to Ojai. I am so excited to share some details of the trip with you guys. Ojai is one of the more relaxing and beautiful places I’ve been in a while and our trip was fantastic. I love that California is filled with fantastic vacation locations.

I’ve wanted to check out Ojai for years. Ojai is about 90 minutes north of Los Angeles in Ventura Country. All of my friends who have gone to Ojai say that it is a very calming and spiritual place. Joe and I have been talking about going camping for our entire relationship but hadn’t organized ourselves enough to go. Joe’s birthday is right after Christmas so this year I decided to surprise him with a weekend camping trip as a joint birthday/Christmas gift. On Christmas morning I gave him smores ingredients with a card that had photos of all the activities I had planned for us. I preplanned most of the trip before I gave it to Joe. I know the activities he likes and this way he could just relax and enjoy a break.

I picked a camp ground, planned out our activities and our meals. Before we drove up Friday afternoon, I went to Trader Joes and Albertsons to get the essentials (i.e.: wine, cheese, firewood). We drove up Friday afternoon and managed to beat traffic.

Dennison Park

We camped at Dennison Park outside of Ojai. I read a few yelp reviews of this campground and knew it would be perfect for us. There were only 20 campgrounds and few people staying there the same weekend as us. We were the only people when we arrived so we had our pick of spots and snagged this one with a killer view.

It was only $20 a night. Each site had a fire pit, picnic table and there were toilets and running water nearby. The camp host came by in the early evening to introduce himself. There were only two other groups camping each night and we had barely any interaction with them. The tree cover kept the site pretty private. After setting up we commenced with our favorite vacation activities: drinking wine/beer, eating and generally doing nothing.

On night one I made salmon and baked potatoes. I’ve never camp cooked before so I went simple on night one. The potatoes were just wrapped in foil and cooked over the fire. After they were soft enough I cut into them and added cheese, garlic salt and pepper. For the salmon I made a simple marinade and cooked with foil over the fire. It was so nice to relax in the fresh air, under the stars. We (mostly) turned off our phones while on this trip so we just sipped wine and enjoyed being outside.

Day 2 we ate homemade cheddar scallion scones and then explored downtown Ojai tomorrow which is very small. We walked the whole thing and got coffee. After we did a hike in Los Padres National Forest and went wine tasting.

Rose Falls, Los Padres National Forest

For hiking we went to Rose Falls in Los Padres National Forest. There are many hiking trails around Ojai. I didn’t want us to kill ourselves with anything too long or intense but I wanted to end somewhere beautiful. The hike was on the short side, maybe only a mile, but the trail ends at a waterfall. It was a bit drier than usual because of the drought. Luckily the waterfall wasn’t totally dry. I highly recommend this trail. It wasn’t too challenging but the end product was beautiful.

There was a longer trail but after the mile out, exploring around the waterfall and walking back along a small creek we were OK with not spending hours going on a much longer hike. The falls was truly beautiful. I would love to hike this trail again. While hiking we met a nice golden retriever and took photos. The falls were tall and beautiful. I wish we were able to go when the water was flowing more. We were able to stand in what should have been a water bed. Pray for rain.

Old Creek Winery

After hiking we went to Old Creek Winery. Again, I researched this winery online and liked the reviews. The winery is on a large, open ranch. There were dogs running around and the vibe was very laid back and relaxed. There was an outside sitting area and a building where they do the wine tasting. For $10 we got 10 pours.

Great policy!

The verdict? We loved it! I highly recommend Old Creek. Joe and I were keeping tabs on which wines we liked and I think were starred about 6 bottles which is way more than usual for us. Usually when we got wine tasting one or two bottles are good enough to want to buy but at Old Creek there were several we absolutely loved. I even liked the Rose which I am not typically into. The women who poured for us was so nice and personable. Overall, we loved Old Creek and will be making return trips.

California, I love you.

After the winery we went back to the camp ground to eat more wine and snacks. Saturday night dinner was campfire pizza which I burned. Still need to work on some of my campfire cooking skills.

Sunday we drove back to LA through Ventura where we grabbed a delicious diner breakfast.

We really loved escaping for a weekend to Ojai and camping. Joe and I both love camping and are OK with going for 2 days without a shower so I think there will be a lot more camping in our future. I highly recommend all the places we went to in Ojai. I could not have imagined a more relaxing vacation and I really hope we are able to camp out again soon. As far as budgeting goes, I managed to cash out my tips from work and that paid for almost the entire trip. Campsites are cheaper than hotels and I loved being outside and seeing all the stars at night. Even though we went in February it wasn’t too cold and luckily there wasn’t rain while we were camping (unlike the time I camped in a tornado rainstorm with my dad as a small child). We came back to LA recharged, relaxed and with more wine than we left with. I’d say that it was an excellent vacation.

The 2014 Los Angeles Marathon

Marathon #3 is in the books and boy was it a doozy.

TL;DR version: I overloaded myself the day before the race, got sick the morning of and struggled in 80 degree heat for 26.2 miles. However I finished with a time of 4:53 mins, only 3 mins shy of my PR and in the top 1/3 of overall finishers and top 1/4 of women! I loved the course but didn’t think the marathon organizers did a good job of preparing for the heat. Just a warning: I basically clawed my way to the finish and it wasn’t pretty. Consider yourself warned.

Here is the long version:

The past week has been a whirlwind. The Monday before the marathon I started an awesome new attorney job that I am very happy about. Due to the timing, I had to work my final shift at Susie Cakes on the Saturday before the marathon. I was more than happy to do this (I will miss Susie Cakes a great deal even though I love my new position and am happy to be working as a full time attorney) but it made for a very draining week. I also packed looking at apartments with Joe and going to downtown to get my bib into Saturday. I had so much going on Saturday and I didn’t plan my eating well. When I overload myself with activity things usually fall through the cracks which is what happened. I also didn’t eat dinner until 9 pm Saturday night which was also probably not the best plan but since I worked until almost 8 it was somewhat unavoidable.

Speaking of things falling through the cracks, I woke up at 4:30 ready to roll for the race. I stayed at Joe’s the night before the race because he was graciously driving me (again! Best boyfriend/spectator ever!) and I realized as I was getting dressed that I forgot my sports bra. Total fail. I was upset with myself for forgetting such an integral element of my running ensemble. I went to go make our bagels instead. The smell of the bread made my stomach turn and before I knew it my dinner was making a reappearance. As this was happening I became terrified that I wouldn’t be able to finish the race. Throwing up your dinner the morning of a marathon is terrible for numerous reasons. Obviously, it leads to dehydration which isn’t ideal especially when you plan on running 26.2 miles in 80 degree heat. I also had no food in my tank as a result. This impacted my whole race. Obviously, I managed to get my hands on a sports bra and made my way to Dodger Stadium.

The sunrise, stolen from Gillian

I didn’t have too much time once I arrived at the start line. I was able to pop into the porta potty and tried to squeeze into a corral. I was unable to get into my seeded corral (based on my finish time in Long Beach) but I got into the open corrals between the 4:30 and 4:45 pacer which was where I wanted to be. After the national anthem (sung by a guy from the Voice who struggled and sang the wrong words) and some words from the mayor the race was underway. They played “I Love LA” after the gun was fired and I choked up like a total goober. LA may not be the city I was born in but moving to and living in LA has changed my life in immeasurable ways and I have strong feelings for this place.

The start from Dodger Stadium was very crowded which was annoying but downhill which felt nice.

Miles 1-5: Dodger Stadium, Downtown LA

Unsurprisingly I felt good for the first 5 miles. I knew that was I dehydrated and that the heat and sun were going to kick in eventually. I made sure to stop at every water station and was consistently monitoring the stomach situation. I took my first gels 30 mins in. Usually I hold off taking gels until I’ve been running for at least 45 mins but I had no gas in the tank food wise and knew I needed to fuel. I really enjoyed running through downtown. We got to run through Chinatown, by city hall and the concert hall. There were a decent amount of spectators out which was fun. I fed off the spectator energy and I loved seeing people out watching the race and having fun with it.

The LA Marathon course is billed as “25 landmarks over 26 miles” but this race could have easily been 50 places Katherine has been since she moved to LA. I distracted myself throughout the race by trying to spot all the places I’d been before and remembering fun memories from them. Downtown reminded me of going there for work; countless times I’ve been there for dinner/drinks with friends, and seeing The Glass Menagerie at the Ahmanson Theater with my mom’s cousin. Downtown features many rolling hills, the worst of which is a two part beast as you go into Echo Park (I believe? Parts of the experience are hazy). I allowed myself some hill walk breaks and spent a lot of time monitoring my health.

Miles 5-9: Echo Park, Silverlake, Los Feliz

The course continued into some of my favorite LA neighborhoods: Echo Park, Silver Lake, and Los Feliz. I have a TON of memories in this part of the city and the spectators were out in full force so it was a fun part of the course. We ran by the Echo Park and saw plenty of bands and people out cheering. I egged on the crowd in Echo Park yelling: “I can’t hear you ECHO PARK” and the spectators responded which is always fun. There were also a lot of fun signs in this part of the course. My favorite was: “If marathons were easy they would be called your mom” and “you run faster than the 405″. I ran by Mohawk Bend in Echo Park and wished I was drinking IPA. I ran by Thirsty Crow in Silverlake and remembered fun nights there.

When I got to the Vista Theater I spotted Joe! I was so happy I was able to catch him. I gave him a high 5 and kept moving.

There was still a decent amount of cloud cover at this point and I was more or less happy. I started to feel a bit of soreness in my legs at mile 8 which I knew was going to start up eventually. I continued to monitor my stomach. There were a few moments where it felt sloshy and I was burning through my Gu’s fast but overall I still felt OK. I didn’t feel bad burning through my Gus so quickly because I knew that there were more on the course and I was seeing tons of spectators with orange slices, pretzels, and twizzlers. Also, there were a randomly large number of girl scouts on the course selling cookies. NOT FAIR. I wanted cookies but had no money to buy them with and also, how would I carry a box 18 or so more miles?

Miles 9- 15: Hollywood, West Hollywood: The Struggle Begins

I continued on my merry way into Hollywood. Hollywood is a fun part of the course because there were many spectators and also you get to run down Hollywood Blvd. Usually I avoid Hollywood and Highland if I can but it was fun to run down the street with no one else there. There were some Michael Jackson impersonators on the course which was a welcome distraction and there were some AWESOME bands.

As I reached the halfway point, the clouds opened up and the sun came streaming through. This is where things started to really go downhill. If I’m being totally honest, I never felt great during this race but I felt good enough for the first half. My stomach was alternating between cramping and hunger the whole time and I was definitely at a major disadvantage having thrown up and being dehydrated. I was able to handle the stomach struggles until the sun came out and the temps went up. I held a sub 10 min mile pace for the first 10k and it felt easy. I kept a 10:30 pace through 20k. After the sun came out at the midway point all bets were off. There was no official timing mat at 13.1 but I was there at 2:15 or so which was right on par with my goal of running sub 4:45 (maybe 4:30 if the stars aligned).

I made it to West Hollywood, which ended up being my favorite part of the course. The whole time I was running down the sunset strip I was thinking of old memories with my friends (3L Hollywood Bar Review and our epic walk down Sunset Blvd for hot dogs after the party?) and smiling. The course cut down to Santa Monica Blvd. and there were lots of spectators and drag queens out cheering. This part of the course did a great job of distracting me from the fact that I was getting hotter and hotter and starting to feel awful. I was drenching myself with water at every opportunity and trying to stay positive. I stopped worrying about time goals and just tried to soak in the experience and stay positive.

Miles 15-20: Beverly Hills, Century City

The course left West Hollywood and went into Beverly Hills. The most exciting part of Beverly Hills was running down Rodeo Dr. Other than the course was pretty dull. Again, there was a strong spectator turn out.

By the time I reached Beverly Hills I could no longer ignore how bad I felt. I actually grabbed a full water bottle from a spectator because I was in need of hydration. I got Vaseline from the medical tent for my arms and legs. At one point I looked down at my hands and they looked as swollen as they had at the end of Long Beach (if you don’t recall, I took advil before that race and had to make a trip to the medical tent because my hands were so swollen post race). I knew I needed salt because I was developing symptoms consistent with a mild case of Hyponatremia. Hyponatremia occurs when sodium levels dip. Your fingers will swell and you generally feel a little cloudy which was consistent with how I was feeling physically. I tried to get salt tablets from the medical tent but they didn’t have any which was annoying. Instead I started taking pretzels from whomever I could grab them from. I didn’t even want to eat the pretzels. I was sucking the salt off of them and then spitting them back onto the course. I realize how gross this sounds in retrospect but in the moment I felt like I had no other choice.

Here is an example of me being OVER IT

Also in Beverly Hills, I realized I was down to my last pack of Gu. I decided to take pretzels/orange slices as needed from spectators and save my Gu for the VA when there would be fewer people on the course with snacks.

The spectators in Beverly Hills were great. I was sad to miss seeing Cindy because I read all of her LA Marathon race recaps to psych myself up for the race, knew she would have pretzels (which I was desperate for) and her adorable son with her. The spectators at the beginning of Century City were awesome and out in full force along several nice down hills which boosted my mood. By the end of Century City there were fewer people and I was gearing up for big hills in the VA.

Miles 20-26.2

I had been warned that the VA was the most challenging part of the course. There aren’t many people around and the hills can be daunting. I’ve run 5ks and 10ks on the property before so I knew exactly what to expect. In fact, as I turned into the VA I knew that the rest of the course traveled down roads I’d run many times before. There were a handful of injured vets out which was heartening. I ate my last Gu and started to amp up the walk breaks. I knew that when I hit Brentwood I would want to run more.

Sure enough, we left the VA ground and entered Brentwood, my old stomping grounds during law school and where I started running 4 years ago. There were more spectators out than I remembered cheering with in past years. My eyes started to well up and I outstretched my arms. The whole race I had been telling myself “just get to Brentwood“. I knew once I was there I’d be able to feel the finish line pulling me in. I felt like I was home. I saw my friend Gwen by the Coffee Bean where she and I first met. I pretty much threw myself into her arms for a hug and yelling something about feeling like shit as I hugged her before running off. I saw some spectators not cheering and I bellowed “I RAN 22 MILES TO GET HERE I CAN’T HEAR YOU BRENTWOOD!”

I continued down my old running path from Brentwood into Santa Monica. Physically, I felt terrible: it was hot, my fingers were swelling, my stomach hadn’t settled, my head felt light, and everything hurt. However, after I reached Brentwood it was like I was running outside my body. I didn’t feel like I was inside myself if that makes sense. It was a weird disconnect I’ve never felt before. I started to cry after I got into Santa Monica. I was counting down the blocks, from 26th to Ocean, and listening to “Shake it Out” by Florence and the Machine thinking off all the time long runs I’d gone on down this road and how they healed me and helped me process life. Distance running is therapeutic for me. Distance running on San Vicente taught me that I was capable of awesome things when I doubted myself through law school. Distance running let me drain out my feelings during many tough personal times. Distance running reminds me of the type of person I aspire to be: one who resiliently tackles challenges and never gives up. Running is a catalyst for my life and San Vicente is where I realized this truth a couple years ago. To finish such a hard race on that strip of earth meant the world to me.

Just after mile 25 I saw Joe again which lifted my spirits. I was happy knowing he was nearby and that the end of the race was coming. I started to catch some glimpses of the beautiful Pacific Ocean. I turned onto Ocean and knew I only had 8 blocks left to run.

I had checked my watch at mile 24 and realized that a PR was out of the question but that I could still come in under 5 hours. I was unable to run the whole final mile. I just didn’t have it in me physically. My body felt awful, the swelling fingers scared me, the sun was draining me and I was afraid I would push only to end up falling over 50 feet from the finish. The year I ran the Chicago Marathon in similar hot weather, a man died 50 feet from the finish line so my fear wasn’t totally unfounded. Once I was a block away I started booking it towards the finish line. Finishing was one of the greatest releases I’ve ever felt in my life.

You can watch me finish if you’d like.

Side note: There was a man who crossed the finish line just before me. He then gave his cell phone to a race volunteer, ran back onto the course, grabbed his baby from his wife who was watching at the finish line, and ran BACK across the finish line with his kid while the volunteer took a photo. Just ridiculous.

The Finish Line

I staggered across the finish line, checked my watch and realized I missed my PR by three minutes and I was totally OK with it. From the beginning I knew I had to dial down my expectations and reassess my goals. I was happy to cross the finish line so close to my PR and not require any trips to the medical tents. I will never take being able to finish a race for granted, that’s for sure. When I got my results I realized I finished in the top 1/3 of runners overall and in the top 1/4 of women. Typically I finish middle of the pack so it was kind of cool to see I did so well against the rest of the field.

I had a few complaints about the race organizers lack of preparation for the race. One of my main ones was that we had to walk several blocks to get water after the finish. I could have used water and electrolytes immediately. There was a runner being carried by volunteers to the water after the finish line, no wheel chairs in sight. This is completely unacceptable. I also read later that Gatorade ran out along the course. The aid stations were looking thin when I rolled through and I finished in the top 1/3 of runners. I ran Chicago in comparable heat and LA was much more miserable because the organizers were NOT prepared. In Chicago there were sponges and ice available on the course in about 10 different spots. In Chicago there were fire hoses every mile spraying down runners who wanted it. I only saw 2 fire hydrants open on Sunday. I was pretty ticked off at race organizers on Sunday and I feel strongly that they should have been better prepared.

I managed to get my medal, grab water and food and reunite with Joe. It means so much to me that he is supportive of my hobby and helpful although I promised him no more 4 am race wake up calls for a while.

This race was, without a doubt, the toughest marathon I’ve ever run. I am so proud of myself for finishing even though I didn’t break my PR. Had my stomach cooperated and the weather been nicer I would have been able to bust a big PR. Such is the marathon. You never know what is going to happen on race day. Much like life, you cannot control circumstances. All you can do is prepare as best you can, remain positive and resilient, adjust expectations when necessary and treasure the course you are privileged to travel.

Thoughts and Reflections on Preparing for the LA Marathon

Race day is almost upon us. One week from now I’ll be cruising along the LA Marathon course.

To say that I’m excited about the LA Marathon is a massive understatement. I’ve watched the marathon for the past three years and I’ve wanted to run LA for several years. Coming off the Long Beach Marathon in October my body felt strong and my schedule opened up enough to allow for training. I took the rest of October and November off of serious training (although I did still run occasionally). In December I made the official decision to run LA. Luckily I still had a decent amount of running endurance left over from my last training cycle.

Yes, this photo is getting posted again. Deal with it.

I didn’t really dig into my marathon training until the first week of January. January through early March isn’t that much time to prepare for a full marathon. However, I was able to start my long runs at 10 miles and hopped right in to relatively strong mileage. I think running two marathons in reasonably close proximity helped my training. I knew what to expect and my body felt great the entire time. Maybe it was the back to back training cycles, but my body felt more comfortable with the discomfort of training. I knew when I needed to snack so I wouldn’t get hangry, my hips ached less and the quality of my runs improved. Overall, the whole experience has felt very low key.

Throughout training I was able to keep a relatively consistent schedule which looked a little something like this:

Monday: Long runs (between 10-20 miles in length, adding two miles during building weeks, 2 step back weeks with lower mileage)

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Tempo Run (5 miles or 7 miles, easy warm up mile, faster miles with run club, easy cool down mile. If I had to guess my average pace was 9 min/miles)

Thursday: Easy Run (usually between 4-8 miles)

Friday: cross train/speed (800’s, building in length, all done sub 4:00)/ rest

Saturday: cross train/speed/ rest

Sunday: cross train/speed/ rest

Friday through Sundays I kept flexible. Between the three days I attempted to get in cross training, speed, and a rest day. I was able to consistently get in my speed and rest day. Crossing training wise I alternated between spinning, occasionally weight sessions and hiking. There were a couple weeks where I ended up with an extra rest day. Three rest days while marathon training is kind of a lot but I’m going to be honest, it improves the quality of my long runs.

Hiking.

Within the running world there is a conventional wisdom about how you have to train and sometimes it’s easy to get sucked in comparing training and worrying about getting in enough miles. However, I’m never going to be a runner who easily runs 60 miles a week. My body just isn’t built that way. The past two marathon training cycles I’ve struggled to reach the 40 mile mark. I’ve been able to achieve that goal by incorporating biking. My bike was stolen last fall (out of my locked garage, don’t get me started, I’m still annoyed) so I generally ran lower mileage throughout training. I may have run fewer miles, but I had more weeks of higher mileage. I ran 4, 30+ mile weeks, maxing out at 35. I felt great the whole time. My paces were faster. I took fewer walk breaks on my long runs, and I incorporated speed work and tempo runs throughout training. It worked for me.

~

I’m in full on taper mode now, which feels great. I am in a moment of life transition right now. I start a new job tomorrow which will help me keep my mind off tapering and hopefully keep any marathon anxiety at bay. I am so excited to finally make the trek from Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica that I haven’t put too much thought into my goals. My overall goal is just to enjoy the run. I don’t think I’m going to do another marathon for at least the next year so I want to soak in the experience as much as possible. This marathon in particular means so much to me. I started running in West LA during a tough time over 4 years ago. My main goal is to enjoy every moment of this run, especially the final miles in my old stomping grounds.

But hippy dippy feelings about running aside: I would love to PR (obviously). I ran Long Beach in 4:50, and was pacing to a 4:45 finish until mile 20. I think I may have a PR in me if only because I added in more speed work, I’m familiar with the final miles, and this training cycle built on my last training cycle. If I can’t PR, I would like to break 5:00, and if I can’t do that I would like to beat my Chicago Marathon time (5:22). I would also like to run the entire final mile. Perhaps I can do it this time without the assistance of other runners on the course.

I’m ready and excited. More than anything, I cannot wait to feel the magical marathon feeling. I cannot wait to challenge myself and reach the goal. It is a truly addicting and intoxicating feeling.

I’m ready to run my city.

Goals for 2014

Happy New Year!

I spent most of the week before new years running, relaxing, and ruminating on 2013 and the goals I want to accomplish in 2014. I didn’t write a post like this last year. I think the New Year’s 2012 post where I declared that 2012 was the year I would pass the bar burned me a bit. However, I have some goals for this year and I want to share some of them with you. I’m leaving my personal and professional goals off the blog because I don’t want them on the internet for the entire world to read forever.

With no further ado, my health/ fitness/ food related goals for 2014!

Train well and run a HAPPY marathon on March 9th

I want to look like this

Not like this…

On March 9th I will be running the LA Marathon. I have had the LA Marathon as a goal race since I started running. I’m so pleased to finally be taking it on. I just ran the Long Beach Marathon in October. Running marathons close together in time gives me some advantages. I remember vividly how training went and how I want to improve moving forward. This means more speed work, tempo runs with running club, and keeping myself accountable with the food I choose to fuel with. I’ve been dreaming about speeding down San Vicente in the marathon for years. I want to set myself up so I feel great about it when it finally happens!

Explore South Bay

I’ve loved living in Manhattan Beach for the past year. In 2014 I’ll be moving and taking a big step forward in my personal life. Likely that will include leaving South Bay and moving back to LA proper. Nothing is 100% decided yet but because the possibility of leaving South Bay is on the table I want to enjoy every moment I spend here and appreciate Manhattan Beach for the amazing place that it is. That means: more strand runs, more time at the track near my house, and exploring more restaurants that I’ve wanted to try in South Bay.

Return to the Farmer’s Market

The farmers market in Manhattan Beach in on Tuesday afternoons which is sometimes difficult for me to make. I desperately miss going to the farmers market weekly like I used to and I want to make sure that I incorporate it again. My schedule is flexible enough that I should be able to make it on other days of the week.

HIKE MORE!

The last time I hiked… I believe this was March 2013.

There are so many trails nearby, and hiking is such a good way to enjoy the city and embrace an active lifestyle. I think I only hiked once last year. I can do better.

Eat more protein, fuel smartly during training

Steak and sweet potatoes.

Last but not least, I want to be more careful about what I put in my mouth during training. 4 years ago when I was losing weight I was pretty rigid about my diet. As I started to run more I relaxed a bit. With marathon training my food becomes a free for all of humongous portions, late night snacks, and nearly daily bags of chips. This time around I want to focus on eating a diet that isn’t 70% carbs. To this end, I have started using the Lose It! app on my iphone to track my calories. It’s been helpful so far. I ran 10 miles yesterday, logged the run in the app and was actually surprised by how quickly I was able to work back from the deficit. I think I’ve been over eating during training cycles. Also, because I’m tracking what I eat, I’m more conscious of my protein intake. I want to be clear; I am not tracking because I am on a desperate quest to lose weight. Not that there isn’t some holiday weight that I would like to see go away, but rather I also want to make sure I’m eating enough throughout the day. I am notoriously hungry the day after my long runs which will never fully go away but I think it would help my hunger if I ate a more protein rich diet.

What are your food and fitness goals for 2014?

The Off Season

Things around these parts have been pretty workout mellow for the past almost two months.

Izzy wanted to say hi.

Coming off the Long Beach Marathon I was looking forward to having a week or two off. I took the week after the race as a zero week. I didn’t run at all. I took the whole week off and basked in the PR glow. The week after the marathon I went on three runs. The first run back was necessary. Not running is a struggle for me emotionally. I also went back to run club after a brief hiatus. I was ALMOST talked into running the 5 mile route. Thank god I didn’t go for it. After 3.1 miles + 1 mile to meet the group my legs were tired.

Rudy wanted to say hi too.

In the weeks that followed I got into a regular non-training flow with running. I went on about three runs per week. None of my runs were longer than 5ish miles but it was enough to keep my focused.

Throughout the first 20 miles of Long Beach I could tell I was running a sub 4:45 marathon. During October I thought about how GOOD I felt running the marathon and ways that I can improve my training without drastically improving my weekly mileage. There are many ways to improve and I decided to dabble in each of them during the end of October and November. For starters, I can focus on speed.

I’ve been to the track a couple of times to run in November. I know Yasso 800s are the best way for marathoners to improve speed. I’ve only been to the track twice in the past month but each time I did a set of 3 800’s. I was able to complete each set in under 4:00 and they were progressively faster. This is fantastic news. I need to build up beyond sets of three but it was nice to get back to the track. The track is also fun because Joe likes to run on the track too. Although he doesn’t run very much he is fast and was able to run a 6:12 min mile, with even splits. I am jealous of his raw talent and determination.

He and I also ran the Downtown LA Turkey Trot together. This was one for me. I know that Joe’s idea of fun isn’t waking up at 6 on a holiday to run but he humored me. I really liked the race. It was well organized. We were able to prepay for parking, pick up our bibs and hats and get in line for the 5k very quickly. The course was nice. The first part was hilly and went by the concert hall. It was my favorite part of the course. After there was a less exciting out and back portion. We took it easy. I think it took about 30 mins for us to finish. It was fun to run low key, no ipod, not thinking about time, and just having a good time.

Other ways I can improve my running? Paying attention to my splits and pacing my training runs accordingly. Run club usually steps in as a tempo run for me with a warm up and cool down mile to and from the meeting point. I don’t have a gps watch but I know generally where the mile cut offs are and I can pay significantly more attention to my runs so my “easy” runs don’t end up being hard runs.

Finally, and this is a big one, I could do some- AND- core and strength work. When I trained for Chicago yoga helped. I want to try some yoga studios in South Bay however; the cheapest option is to strength train with weights I have access to and my own body.

To that end I went and lifted weights with Joe in his garage. He also memorized the Ab Ripper X routine so we did bench press, some hand weights and Ab Ripper X. It was embarrassing how sore I was after one weight session. Clearly being that sore is a sign that I need to develop some level of upper body strength.

I also downloaded the Nike Training Club app and a yoga app. I am still playing around with them. I like the Nike app and the workouts are challenging! I plan to write another post on the apps at a later date. I’ve been working in weights with Joe, the Nike or Yoga app, or hand weights + abs a couple times a week. I’m not sure I’m seeing improvement yet. Something is better than nothing, right? I also want to get back to the pool. The Manhattan Beach pool is outside and I haven’t been recently because the temperature has dipped below 70 but I want to try and get into the pool more.

Finally, I started tracking my food and nutrient intake in Lose it! again. I struggled after Chicago with still eating like I was training for a marathon even though I had stopped training. This time around I gained marathon weight and I wanted to be sure I didn’t gain more post marathon. I also have been watching my nutrient breakdown. I eat many carbs and very little protein. I want to work on this and eat a more balanced diet. I think it will help me in the future.

Speaking of the future…

Registration complete. I’ve been dying to run LA for years and I am stoked to finally be taking on 26.2 miles in the city where I fell in love with running. The final miles are down San Vicente blvd. which is where I trained for my first few distance races. Running has meant so much to me over the years. Running LA (and THOSE final miles in particular) makes me feel like I’ve come full circle. I know those miles will be the most emotional I’ve raced before and I cannot wait!

This weekend I’m headed up to San Francisco for the Niners vs. Seahawks game and I have a post about recent EATS in the works. I know. It’s like 2 years ago all over again!

Gillian’s Spin Class

Last night I had the privilege of attending my blog friend turned real life friend Gillian’s spinning class at Gold’s Gym.

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Gillian and I met almost 2 years ago through our blogs. We hit it off and have been eating, spinning and expo-dominating together ever since. Gillian is a 3L at Loyola Law (yay lawyers) and also just got certified to teach spin. She has taken on a few classes at Gold’s Gym downtown and is killing it as a spin instructor. I’ve never been to a fitness class taught by a friend and Gillian and I have very similar taste in spin classes (Laura Crago’s Soul Cycle class for life, although now that Soul Cycle is raising their prices that will be very few and far between) and we like the same type of music when working out (more beats please) so I was very excited to take her class.

First of all, Gold Gym downtown is very nice and totally surprised me. I thought Gold’s was going to be full of obnoxious bro-ey weight lifters and very bare bones as far as gyms go. I could not have been more wrong. There was a fancy locker room and pool, a couple very nice studios for body pump and spin, and plenty of machines. Everything was very up to date and fancy.  Obviously, my impression of Gold’s was completely off base.

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Gillian’s class was fantastic. If you go to Gold’s you should check it out. She had us doing several sets of sprints, hill climbs and jumps. The jumps worked the core muscles, the hills challenged my legs and the spring forced me to push through fatigue. The music was heavy with beats, hip hop and remixes of popular songs which I really enjoyed. I was dripping with sweat after one song.  Gillian also worked arms into her class which I appreciate because I will take strength training where ever I can get it.

I had some issues switching from spinning in clips to spinning in regular shoes but after a song I got the hang of it. I wasn’t sure how long the class was going to be so I tried to pace myself. Gillian was very clear about when to increase resistance and by how much. I kept at least one extra turn on my resistance throughout the class and at some times increased my resistance even more. My legs felt strong and capable throughout class and I am sore today. I feel like people being sore after your class is a major sign of win so congrats Gillian.

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Gillian has a serious talent for teaching spin and if you get a chance you really should try and take her class. For me, it is super motivating to see her take on spin certification and teaching while in law school. She’s passionate about spinning, got certified, went after teaching opportunities with tenacity and strives with every class to get better. She definitely motivates me to focus up on the things I’m passionate about and taken them on! Gillian teaches at Gold’s on Wednesday night at 7:45 and Saturday morning.

I have been a very negligent blogger recently (blah blah blah). People are telling me that they  miss my blog. I will be posting more… probably mostly fitness based right now because that’s whats on my mind but I’ll try to get some food in there for ya. 

Long Beach Marathon Recovery

It has been 8 days since I ran the Long Beach Marathon.


I cannot lie, the first two days after the marathon were pretty uncomfortable. I spent most of Sunday afternoon watching football, resting, hydrating, and napping. I had Joe stretch out my legs for me which was very kind of him. I got a great nights sleep. Monday was pretty uncomfortable. I didn’t do too much of anything all day (luckily I had the day off) and my legs needed the day off. My feet were in pretty rough shape too with blood blisters and a toe nail that finally came off yesterday. I felt much better when I woke up Tuesday but I had to stand all day at work on Tuesday which really tested my legs. Sitting, bending, and walking up and down stairs was very uncomfortable and walking for 6 hours or so didn’t help the situation.

Wednesday and Thursday were much better and by Friday I had no soreness. I decided to wait until today to go on my first post marathon run. I’m really glad I waited. I probably could have tried earlier but my legs would have been very fatigued. The rest was necessary. I did a simple 4 mile out and back on the Strand and it was a fantastic run. No groin or ankle pain thank goodness! My legs were still a bit on the tired side.


Official photos are in! Running hard on the beach path.

Moving forward my running plan is just to do what feels good for the first month post-marathon. Last time I ran a marathon I was frustrated by how tired my legs still felt a few weeks out so I’m just gonna do what feels good for at least 1 month and then assess how I feel and where I am. I have to say: I have a burning desire to run the LA Marathon. I’m putting that decision on hold for a month so I can let the PR glow wear off a bit. I just know that I haven’t reached near my potential in training. There is so much room for improvement in my training meaning there is a lot of room to set a new PR. This is very enticing to me. No decision today but it’s on my mind. There are other training options on the table (get fast at a half marathon? Tri?) but I have plenty of time to figure out what I want to do.

In the meantime I’m focusing on doing what feels good, although after setting a new PR running feels pretty damn good right now. My other post-marathon goal is to focus on nutrition. I definitely use training as an excuse to eat like a glutton and I’ve gained some non-muscle training weight. Not a big deal. I’m just using Lose It! to track what I’m eating. I also am breaking down the nutrients in what I’m eating. I think if I eat smarter I will become a better runner.


Oh hey, a marathon photo.

In other news: I worked over my reported splits with my statistician (my dad) and realized that there is NO WAY the splits for mile 20 onward are accurate. 4 15 min miles followed by 2 5 min miles? Completely impossible. I was a bit bummed my stats weren’t accurate. My dad seemed to think I likely ran 13 min miles 20-24 and 9 min miles 24-26.2. I tell him all my times when I run so I trust his judgment. He also pointed out that I ran Long Beach 9% faster than I ran Chicago.


I believe I likely ran a 9 min mile for mile 25 and the .2 nub of mile 26 thanks to the above tattooed man. Thanks bro.

People keep telling me that I am a very photogenic runner. I assure you that I am not and if you look at my official race photos you can tell. Not my most flattering. I look like I’m running a marathon and not paying attention to the photographers. This is probably a good thing. Who wants to be the jackass holding up the race and posing ridiculously for photos? These race photos were exceptionally bad.


See I am not always photogenic.

Also, Gillian requested that I post my running playlist so here it is.





I repeat many songs while I run. This time around I was really into “Black Skinhead” by Kanye West and “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Throughout my training I started putting 2 or 3 new songs on my training playlist. I did this for the race with 3 songs from the original Jock Jams. I am ashamed to admit how excited I was when “Pump the Jam” came on. Yay 1990’s. I hesitated to put “Shake it Off” by Florence and the Machine on my playlist but I was glad I did. It came on around mile 23. That song reminds me so much of the first time I took the bar exam. It reminded me of the frustrations I’ve had in the past year and really motivated me. Finally, I made the playlist extra long because I just wasn’t sure how long I would be running for. “Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill was the last song that played as I ran downhill to the finish. “Rebel Girl” is one of my favorite running songs. I heard it start, I got excited but got so swept up as I was booking it to the finish line that I stopped listening to the music. Being so into a moment that you forget music is playing? Priceless.

Long Beach Marathon Race Recap

My second marathon is in the books. I conquered the Long Beach Marathon yesterday with a 32 min PR.

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All photos after the above one were taken and edited by Joe who is way more talented with a camera than I will ever be.

This is a long post. If you want the short version: I ran hard, finished in 4:50 beating my B goal by 10 mins. I didn’t walk during the final mile, completing one of my non-time specific goals. I may have injured my ankle but I finished with a big smile on my face.

But let’s go back to the start.

Pre Race

I woke up at 4 am on Sunday morning. I stretched, covered my body in body glide (I was hoping to avoid the chafing issues I had in Chicago), got my hydration game going, took some Advil (I know, I know, and it came back to bite me later) and hit the road with Joe. I don’t want to gush too much but he woke up early with me, handled all the driving, parking, and communication with my friends who showed up to spectate, plus he was my personal race photographer, assistant after the race when I was hobbling around and was just 100% proud and supportive while doing it. It was his first marathon experience ever and I think he enjoyed it but not enough to run one himself. He is just a fantastic human being.

We made it to Long Beach quickly. I hopped out of the car and walked to the start line. I was able to easily hop into the porta potty line and navigate around the starter area. One of the benefits of the Long Beach Marathon is that there are only 5,000 runners. Far fewer people than run the Chicago Marathon. It was still dark outside. I stretched out a bit more and hopped into the corral. Because there are so few runners the entire corral system is open for the full marathon.

Unfortunately there was a delay starting the race because the course was not clear. The race ended up starting 17 mins late. I had to go to the bathroom again but was unable to access the bathroom because the porta potties were lined up on the other side of all the bicyclists who were doing the bike tour. During the delay I chatted with a nice lady who was running her first marathon. She was from Georgia. I was a bit nervous and, like last time, talking to a stranger calmed me down.

Finally we were off!

The Race

It only took 2 mins for me to get to the start line. Everyone around me started running before they reached the timing mat. WHY? I was going to walk for as long as I could before I had to run. The start was crowded but I managed to spot Joe just as I was passing him. He didn’t see me at first but managed to get this photo. Where’s Katherine?

Side note: the weather was flawless for running. The temps were in the 60’s and there was cloud cover for most of the race. Much more pleasant than it was in Chicago two years ago.

The first 6 miles of the course took us out over a small bridge, over to the Queen Mary and around back south on the bike path. I decided quickly to think of the race as 4- 6 mile segments. The first one was very nice. Obviously, it was the beginning of the race and we could see the sun rising over the ocean. Within a mile I knew I had to stop to use the porta potty and figured I should do it sooner than later. Stopping running is always easier first thing in the race. Like my last marathon, I was jealous of the men who could just pull to the side of the road and go. I waited in a short bathroom line and was on my merry way.

I was conscious of the cardinal rule of running: Don’t go out too fast. I had picked up a 4:45 pace band from the expo and I wore it with my running watch. This is the first race I’ve done with my running watch. I let my body pick the pace for the first 6 miles. I wanted it to be slow and maintainable obviously. I was running probably about :30 per mile faster than the pace band but the pace felt easy.

The major highlight of the first 6 miles was seeing Julie Weiss. Julie was featured in Spirit of the Marathon 2. She lives in Santa Monica and ran 52 marathons in 1 year to raise money for pancreatic cancer. She is a total badass and pretty inspirational. I yelled her name instinctively upon seeing her. She didn’t hear me but her friend (who is running 12 marathons in 1 year) did and pointed me out. I ran alongside them for about 1 min and we chatted about the 2011 Chicago Marathon which we both ran. It was a pretty cool running celebrity sighting.

I felt great during the first quarter of the race and I saw Joe standing at the mile 6 sign. I was so excited to see him.

After that I was a little weary because I knew I still had a long way to go and wouldn’t see him again until the final miles. The route went down the bike path. The sun was peeking out through the clouds and it was breathtaking. My only complaint is that the path was narrow and some girl had her unregistered boyfriend riding alongside her on a bike. It annoyed me and pushed me to get in front of them.

The second quarter of the race flew by. I was doing my usual routine, taking energy chews ever 45 mins or so and grabbing water from the stations. I ran while I fueled until the halfway point.

Around mile 8 I started to get hungry. I didn’t want to blow through my gels too fast so when I saw the Long Beach Tri Club around mile 8 or 9 with glazed donut holes I took full advantage. I was a bit nervous about taking a donut during a race because I’ve never eaten one while running before but I was hungry and decided to ditch conventional wisdom at eat the donut hole. I took it slowly and it felt good in my stomach thank goodness. Best race treat ever!

The miles between 9 and 17 flew by. I hit the half point, and headed towards Cal State Long Beach. I ran down “the hill” which would come back at mile 21. That portion of the course was out and back so I saw the elite runners which was cool. I was feeling great, staying positive, and having an easy time holding on to my pace. I started to walk through water stations after mile 13 and taking two cups because I was thirsty. I was careful not to over hydrate.

At mile 17 we ran into the CSULB campus. This is where my pace started to wane a bit. The area around the campus was duller than the rest of the course and there were some rolling hills. I did appreciate the frat bros who came out to cheer. Some were even dressed like zombies! Spectators really keep me going during a race. I rely on them to keep me moving. The course was pretty thin with spectators but it made me appreciate those that came out more. I decided to dedicate mile 18 to my best friend who started me running, Carolyn. She is my bicoastal bestie and ran her first half 7 months before I ran my first half. I didn’t think I could run 13.1 miles until she encouraged me. She’s been dealing with injuries over the past couple of years and hasn’t been healthy enough to run NYCM so she’s been deferring her entry fee. Thinking of her helped me push through mile 18.

Before I knew it I was at mile 20. I was so relieved to see the mile 20 marker. Only another 10k to go! At this point in the race I felt WAY better than I had in Chicago. I was tired and sore but I knew I was going to at least PR. I started to take walk breaks. I kept them short but I knew that my pace was dropping. At mile 21 I walked up the big hill because I knew I needed to conserve energy. My brain was yelling “run!” but I knew it would only burn what little energy I had left. I was glad to reach the hill because we were running along the out and back again. I could visualize the rest of the course and I knew my spectators would come up eventually. Funny and gross thing: around this point in the course there was a road kill squirrel in the middle of the course.

Around my mile 21 walk break I felt a tick in my left ankle. It was mild but not the type of pain you’re supposed to experience during a marathon. I’ve never had any ankle pain while running and my right ankle felt fine. This is how I knew my left ankle was not ok. The whole thing caught me off guard. I knew that the moment I finished I need to get to a medical tent and I hoped it wouldn’t get much worse before then. The pain went away after I started running and I didn’t feel it at all after mile 24.

I kept trotting along, taking a run/walk approach to get to the finish line after mile 21. I could tell from looking at my pace band that I was not going to make a sub 4:45 finish but I knew if I kept battling I could get my sub 5 hr finish I wanted so badly. Instinctively, my mind went into battle mode. I dug deep and thought about my friends who couldn’t run marathons, the people who died or were injured at the Boston Marathon last spring, and passing the bar on the second time after failing it the first time around. These were my main motivators through the final miles. I thought about how much I wanted to see Joe and my friends who came out for the race. I thought about my post race meal. Hell, I thought about anything that would keep me going when I wanted to quit. At mile 22 some guy on the sideline said “Katherine, carry me on your shoulders”. It’s hokey but his words helped push me. I started to think running the LA Marathon in March isn’t a crazy.

Mile 23 came and I started to think about how close I was to the finish. I baited myself with thoughts like “this is just a simple out and back on the strand. You eat those runs for breakfast. You can do this!”

Around this point in the course the half marathoner course met back up with the marathon course. This was not my favorite thing. Almost all of the half marathoners I saw at that point were walking. They were supposed to stay to the left of the course and there were even cones to mark it but they were bleeding pretty heavily into the marathon course and I had to expend a lot of energy in the final miles bobbing and weaving around them. This was probably my only major complaint about the Long Beach Marathon. The half marathoners split from the full marathoners after mile 26 so they didn’t clog the marathon finish line which was nice.

At mile 24 I saw Joe, my friend Gwen and my coworker Melody (whose husband ran the half and set a big PR). Melody had an awesome sign that said “Batman never ran a (half) marathon”. I have never been happier to see three people in my life.

Around this time I fell into pace with a man who can only be described as my marathon angel (he is the shirtless tattooed man in the above photo). He saw me walking after mile 24. I never truly “hit the wall” but miles 23-26.2 brought me close. I was so ready to be done. The tattooed man said something to the effect of: “run girl, we’re almost there!” I obeyed his ordered and stuck with him to the finish line. At mile 25 I remembered my goal and told him “do not let me walk”. I ran 80% of mile 24. At mile 25 I ran and did not stop until I hit the finish line! Everything in me walked to walk. My legs were screaming. My fingers were swelling. I wanted to walk but every time I said “go on without me!” tattoo man refused to leave me. I asked him to let me walk at least three times. Each time I asked him to go on because I felt like I was holding him back and, let’s face it, I really wanted to walk. At mile 25.2 I saw the big Jet Blue extra mile sign and I could see the message of encouragement Gillian left me!

I felt like the mile 26 sign would never come but it finally did. At mile 26.1 we turned the corner and headed downhill to the finish. Tattoo man pulled away and I ran to the finish, crossing the line in 4:50:50. That is an 11:06 min/mile pace, a 32 min PR and more than a min faster per mile than my Chicago Marathon pace.

For the record tattoo man did turn around after he hit the finish to give me a high five. I thanked him profusely for getting me through those final, most challenging two miles.

Post Race

I staggered through the finisher chute grabbing my space blanket, water, medal and food goodie bag. I ambled around the crowd near the end of the finisher chute (for the record, people crowding the finish chute… please step back. You’ll find your people and I just ran 26.2 miles so please get out of my way I’m having a hard enough time walking as it is).

I went to the medical tent where I got iced and reprimanded (rightfully so) for taking Advil before a race. My body but most noticeably my fingers were very swollen after I finished. It scared me. The medical tent is not somewhere you want to be at the end of a race. Joe was outside the medical tent and it felt so good to be reunited. Gwen came up to us pretty soon after I got out of the medical tent.

We headed over to Beachwood for a post race lunch of beer, tater top casserole and a ham and brie sandwich with Oliver and Melody.

YUM.

I spent all day yesterday taking an ice bath, watching football, taking an hour and a half long nap and generally relaxing. I drank 3 vitamin waters per the medical tent doctor’s orders and got almost 10 hours of sleep last night.

My splits

I knew the even splits I wanted were shot to hell after mile 20. The Long Beach Marathon website breaks them down in this really cool way.

Overall, I am very happy with my performance. Passing almost 300 people in the back half? I’ll take it! It would have been really amazing to hit 4:45 but I set a HUGE PR and I haven’t set a PR since June 2010. I’m basking in the post marathon glow, hobbling around and enjoying plenty of treats. My ankle feels OK (for now) and I plan to rest all week and then slowly ease back into running next week.

Thanks to everyone for their words of encouragement! I feel blessed that people read this blog and give me encouragement. It really means a lot to me. Thank you!

Long Beach Marathon. It’s Happening.

Hello Everyone!

As promised, I’m posting on the blog before the Long Beach Marathon. I realize that I haven’t blogged a lot about this marathon training cycle.

This is my second marathon. When I trained for my first marathon in Chicago everything felt like such a big deal. Every long run was a personal distance record. I challenged myself and my body in brand new ways. You know the old joke: “How can you tell that someone ran a marathon?” “Oh don’t worry. They’ll let you know”? That was me to a T. I have a blog which really is pretty much just a license to talk about ones self. After weeks of training race weekend finally arrived. I traveled to Chicago and was reunited with friends and family and ran my first marathon. My only goal was to finish, and I did, in over 5 hours. The whole experience felt epic and monumental.

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This time around I was committed to training but I talked about it less. Because I’ve taken on the distance before, the training felt less exciting. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I knew what to expect and I went into my long runs more confidently because I knew what to expect.

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THE GOOD: 

Unlike last time, where I trained with a 10:2 run/walk ratio, I focused on just running this time at least on my long runs. I’ve dealt with some on/off groin muscle issues which has led me to walk uphills on my runs however, my long runs were spent predominantly, well, running. I took far fewer walk breaks and was able to maintain a 10:50 pace on all my long runs. I even ran 12 miles two weeks ago at a sub 10:00 min mile pace. The average pace for my long runs was 10:30. I committed to walking the uphills due to the groin injury and walking every 45 mins for taking in Gu because I cannot run and also eat at the same time. Other than those short breaks, I just ran.

EDIT: this should read that I maintained at least a 10:50 pace (my 20 miler). Most of my training runs were done at a 10:30-ish pace)

I also had 5 training weeks where I covered over 30 miles thanks to added cycling. I challenged myself over labor day weekend and did an 18 mile bike ride followed by an 18 mile run the next day. Since I started training 12 weeks ago, I had 10 consecutive weeks of over 20 miles logged. This is pretty big for me. I’ll never be one of those people who can log 40-60 mile weeks on the regular. I’m just not built that way.

Given the effort I’ve put in though, I’m fairly confident I should be able to walk away from Long Beach with a PR, hopefully.

THE BAD: 

There isn’t anything BAD to report. On my run Monday my foot cramped up and started to hurt but it loosened up after walking and it didn’t bother me on my final run yesterday. I wish that I had done more (or lets face it- any) strength training during training. The week I was in San Francisco I didn’t get a long run in and I treated it like a step back week. Part of me is worried thinking I should have done another substantial long run of 16-18 miles. Its easy to second guess training during taper. I’m trying to stay confident right now and trust the process.

GOALS:

I’m so hesitant to announce goals for fear that I won’t meet them. However, I feel great about the pace I was able to produce on my long runs. I know the speedier runs I did with my run club are going to help me.  You never know what will happen on race day or during those final miles but here are my goals:

A+, over the moon goal: 4:45 or sub 4:45.

I picked up the 4:45 pace band at the expo today and plan to wear it during the race. This would put my pace at around 10:50 min miles. I feel this is do-able because long runs are to be done at about :30-:45 seconds slower than desired marathon pace. Additionally, I plugged my most recent half marathon time into McMillian and I was predicted to run a marathon in 4:25. This feels WAY too optimistic BUT I ran my 12 mile run 2 weeks ago at the same pace so there is hope I suppose. Can you tell I am rationalizing all my goals? It’s a marathon, a lot can happen. 

B goal that I will still be very happy to achieve: sub 5:00

This is big. A marathon with a 4 in front of it is a big hump to get over based on last time and I would be setting at least a 22 min PR which would be a huge achievement. I will be happy with running anything faster than 5 hrs. 

C Goal: Sub 5:22 (or 12:17 min mile)

Anything faster than this is a PR. Hurrah! 

D Goal: FINISH with a smile on my face

It’s hard to run 26.2 miles. Any day your body is fit enough to achieve this is a great day. I need to remember this. Amen. 

Non Time Goal: EVEN splits, no walking in the final mile

Last time I ran my pace dropped like a rock in the final 6 miles and I struggled to run. I noticed this trend in my early races, that I crap out and start to walk and kinda bag it towards the end when I’m tired. I’ve done a great job in the past two races I’ve run of not giving up near the end and pushing hard. I want to do that in Long Beach no matter how tired I feel. 

Expo: 

Today I hit up the expo with Gillian. Gillian and I were twitter friends turned blog friends turned real life friends. She is running the half and so we decided to take on the expo together.

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Overall I really loved the expo. There was enough to see without it being overwhelming. I was able to buy more body glide (essential) and also check out the booths with out being swept away in a crowd. Its nice to hit an expo with another runner so we could catch up on life, blogs we like to read, get off my internets, and races we want to run in the future.

I also really liked the t-shirts which are blue v neck tech tees. Unlike my Chicago Marathon finishers shirt it is not tiny. I cannot wait to wear it on the strand.

After we went to Simmzy’s of Long Beach for beer and burgers. As usual the food was bomb.

I have to work tomorrow for 6 hours but otherwise I’m putting my feet up and carb loading.

Thanks to all the people who have followed along with me and given me encouragement. If you want to track me my bib number is 3374 and the website is here.