LA Cancer Challenge 10k Race Recap

Today I woke up very early and ran in the LA Cancer Challenge 10k benefiting the Hirshberg Foundation. I left the house at 6:30, picked up Ela and we walked over to the VA grounds for the race. It was so early we could see the sun rise. I was also coughing a lot because of being sick. Ick. I’ve never been in the VA Grounds despite seeing them almost every day so I was excited to finally see another part of my neighborhood.

See the sunrise in the background?

I really liked the vibe of this race. First of all, because it was on the VA Grounds there weren’t any random people walking around. It was only race related people. There were also a lot of groups of family and friends wearing matching shirts and holding signs referencing people who had had pancreatic cancer.

We did the stretching thing, the bag drop thing and the bathroom thing before lining up for the race. The 10k didn’t have as many runners as the 5k which was nice. I like a smaller race.

One thing that bothers me, maybe I’m alone in this, is when people don’t line up by their actual expected mile time. There were FAR too many people at the 6:00 min mile and 7:00 min mile signs. I know its exciting to be near the front but it makes the first few miles a total mess.

The gun went off, it took a couple seconds to walk to the start line and we were off. As I mentioned yesterday, my main goal was to not kill myself in this race. I wanted to run a race I was proud of but I have a half marathon in two weeks so we didn’t need to win any awards here.

Mile 1-3: The course was a loop so the first loop was mile 1-3. I felt really good. The course was very hilly which was good because the half marathon will be very hilly. The first two miles were CRAZY packed. There were a lot of people who were running more slowly than where they lined up. I had chill music going for the first 2.5 miles. At one point I passed a women who was probably 70 running wearing a shirt that said “I’m running for my son”. I might have cried a little bit. Honestly, the first three miles were pretty similar which is why I’m lumping this review. There were some really sweet high school kids handing out water along the course and there were tons of aid stations. The last half mile before mile three was a hill. Mental note: mile 6 sign is on a hill. Ugh.

Mile 3: Mile three hit right after passing the finish line. I saw that I ran the 5k in 28 mins which is only one mins slower than my 5k time during my last 10k. As mentioned mile 3 was all hills. “So Fly Like A G6” came on my ipod and I pushed through. As you might know, I was sick all week and was coughing on the walk over. On the course I was spitting phlegm the entire time and my nose was running but no tissues so I just kept going.

Mile 4: Mile 4 was all down hill. It felt a lot like mile 3. At this point I was thinking “only two miles, you got this!” I was feeling really good at this point. I might have thrown up in my mouth a little bit which sounds a lot worse than it felt. I was passed by some barefoot runners. I wondered how all the gravel on the course was treating their feet. I passed a photographer and posed for him. I hope it turned out well 🙂

Mile 5: Mile 5 was great. Again, I felt well rested and I knew I would be able to sprint to the finish. The course went along the 405 which wasn’t very scenic. I started passing people that I have been running alongside the whole time. More phlegm. The last oh, .2 of the 5th mile was on a hill but at least at that point you could kinda see the mile 6 sign. 

Mile 6: Mile 6 was quick. Half of it was on a hill but then the course turns and you can see the finish line. I was able to sprint the last .1 mile. I finished the race in just over 56 mins.My first thought after finishing was that I really had to blow my nose.

Me and my first finishers metal!

Do I wish I ran it a little faster? Yeah. But you know what, I’m under the weather, didn’t run all week and I have a Half Marathon in two weeks. As Ela reminded me: “its about the Half, not the 10k”.

It’s good to have a supportive running buddy!

After the race we hit the post party! There were some awesome stands. We hit the Don Francesco’s coffee stand, a farming CSA stand, the Vitamin Water stand, the fruit stand and the bagel station!

There was also a rescue dog stand complete with costumes!

So cute! We also saw another dog dressed up on our way out!

Overall, this was probably my favorite race despite this being my slowest race. It really meant a lot to me that I was able to run this race. Seeing the signs, being surrounded by a community and thinking about my friend and her Mom was really moving. It really meant a lot to me that I was able to run this race.


LA Cancer Challenge Race Goals

Happy Halloweekend everyone! I went out last night with the Committee and there will be a recap coming at you soon but first I wanted to post about the race I’m running tomorrow: The LA Cancer Challenge.


The LA Cancer Challenge runs really close to where I live AND it benefits pancreatic cancer research. This is a cause close to my heart. My very good friend and Firm member Shahrin’s mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last December. Shahrin’s Mom is a strong and amazing women, traits she definitely passed on to my friend.

Shahrin and I Summer 09

It is really hard being across the country from your friend and her family when all you want to do is be there to support them. Shahrin did a walk for pancreatic cancer earlier this month, but I wanted to do my part across the country to support her and her mom. So here we are, the LA Cancer Challenge!

As you may know, I am running the Malibu Half Marathon in two weeks (AH!) so my goals for this race are to take it easy. I want to approach this race as just another long run and not as a race. I’ve been sick all week and while I am feeling better, I went on a short run yesterday and it didn’t feel very good. My goal for tomorrow is not to try to smash my PR but just relax and enjoy it. I have started running a lot more since my last 10K. Part of me wonders if because my training base is so much higher now, I will complete the race much more quickly. I’m not sure so again, I am just going to play it by ear.

Speaking of playing… Monica asked what songs I listed to when I run. Here is my playlist for tomorrow:

Obviously I like to listen to a mixture of music. I will write a more extensive music post later but as you can see, I love pop and hip hop. I try to pace my songs, notice the slower songs are towards the front… this is to encourage me to run more slowly at the beginning. Right now my “clutch” songs are “So Fly Like a G6”, “Power”, “All I Do is Win”, “No Love”, and “Sexy Bitch”. Any kind of David Guetta can’t be wrong 🙂

I also did packet pick up today. We got the best swag bag ever!

Reusable shopping bag. Excellent.

Lets break this down: mini brown rice, coffee, a toothbrush (I know I’m a huge dork for being excited about this, but I need a new one), and sweatbands!

The t-shirts were pretty awesome too!

It a tech shirt! This is great because while I love a cotton race tee, it is so easy to sweat through them. I know, for all you non runners out there its kinda gross to hear that. After 12 miles my hair was totally drenched so a cotton tee would be a bad idea. I may actually wear my shirt tomorrow. I love new gear!

OK, I’m off to carb load!

Squash Pasta Bake

Because I can’t get enough butternut squash, I made another recipe. I know. I know. One of these days I will cook without butternut squash. One day.

I love making baked pasta because its hearty and it freezes and reheats well. Always looking for a way to get leftovers as lunch. I also like pasta bake because you can throw in whatever you have in the kitchen.

Last night I used eggplant, butternut squash, and regular green and yellow squash.

I chopped and roasted at 420 degrees for twenty mins with EVO, S&P.

While roasting I cooked the pasta. I used two servings worth of brown pasta.

While the pasta cooks, grate cheddar cheese. Multitasking people! Use as much of as little as you like.

Set the cheese aside and drain the pasta. Once the pasta is drained put EVO in the bottom of the pasta pot and cook the onion (1/2 cup) and garlic (1 clove).

Take the squash and eggplant out, once the garlic and onion are done cooking combine everything BUT the cheese. Then in a baking pan layer the cheese and the pasta mixture.


I let it bake for, oh, 25 mins? I set the timer for 20 mins and checked on it to see how well the cheese was melted.


Yum! I wasn’t sure how the cheddar and the eggplant and squash would turn out but it was pretty dandy!

I think the most essential step is pre roasting the squash and eggplant. It really gives it that extra something special. I would definitely make this dish again. I ate a little less than half and had the leftovers for lunch today. Pasta bake always reheats so well. I love looking forward to lunch.

In other news: my Halloween box from my mom arrived! No one puts together a holiday box like my mother.

I got this awesome headband.

Blair Waldorf meets Halloween anyone? I love it.

I also got some delicious dessert!

Chocolate Bon Bons!

They were huge! I only had one last night and I had one tonight.

They were amazing. Thanks Mom!

Tomorrow night is my big going out night for Halloween. I am going to be a witch in a business suit (Christine O’Donnell anyone?) and hit the bars and parties with my Glendale entourage.

This is really just continuing a theme. I present Halloween, Senior year of college.

Yep. I was Sarah Palin (note: this is pre weight loss). What can I say, I like to dress against type. For those who don’t know me I am a uber progressive liberal in a very progressive race studies program. I’m just a fan of irony. At this rate I’ll be Sharron Angel next year.

Butternut Squash Risotto

I cannot lie. I love butternut squash.

I think that it is my new fall favorite! I have gotten a butternut squash every week since the end of September and I love coming up with new ways to enjoy it.

Like ravioli…

or honey roasted…

or on flat bread.

Le sigh. Love affair ON!

I continued to celebrate my love of butternut squash with Butternut Squash Risotto from Everyday Food. I was running low on ingredients so this is an “eating for one” type of deal.

You need 1/3 cup of arborio rice, 1/4 of a shallot, 1 clove of garlic and 1 cup of vegetable broth. For the broth I boil water and pour into a liquid measuring cup and combine with the broth.

In a pot saute the shallot in EVO with salt and pepper for a few mins until tender, add the minced garlic for a min. until fragrant. Then add the rice and stir consistently for a few mins.

Add 1/4 cup of white wine until absorbed. Add the broth and butternut squash. For the squash I peeled the top of a small butternut squash. Then I roughly chopped it.

Put a lid on that pot and stick it in the oven, heated to 400 degrees for twenty mins.

After twenty mins take out of the oven, stir and top with Parmesan.


Yum. Creamy and butternut squashy. I love anything with both butternut squash and parm. It was also so easy and quick! Definitely a new fall staple for sure!

New Distractions, New Discoveries

Today was a day of new discoveries and new distractions from my cold. I am feeling better than yesterday, probably like 70%. If I am at 90% tomorrow it would be amazing! I think I felt so much better because I allowed myself to sleep in today which meant I had to miss my early class. I was sad I missed it (I know, I’m a nerd who actually likes going to class) but I really needed the sleep.

I finally emerged from my apartment after being home for almost 24 hours. After my class I didn’t want to go home, but I wanted to get out of the law building and I needed to get some reading done.

That was when I made a new discovery.

I decided to take a detour into the botanical garden on campus. What a delightful little find! You walk past the clutch of medical students smoking outside their building and there is a beautiful, serene, secluded oasis in the middle of the city.

I walked down the path for a while and enjoyed the fresh air.

Can you see the turtle?

After walking for a while I picked a place to sit (there are benches throughout the gardens) and I did my reading.

It was so nice and I didn’t want to leave so I read a little more than the assignment for tomorrow. After a while it was time to head back to the real world.

I had a new distraction waiting in my mail box when I got home: Izzy’s Halloween costume!

Last year she was a Spinx:

Doesn’t she look happy about it?

This year: Izzy will be a ballerina! We immediately had a photo shoot!

Obviously some bribery was necessary to make this shot happen.


"What am I wearing?"

and my personal favorite:

Ah, gazing out the window and contemplating life. Sorry no food today (sick = can of soup), but I have a fantastic fall dish on tap for tomorrow so stay tuned!

Do you dress up for Halloween? If so, what are you going to be?

Sick Day

Yesterday after I hit publish on my blog post I felt something coming on. Sure enough,today I woke up feeling like crap, and after keeping my head up through my 9:30 class I decided it was time to honor my body and go home. I haven’t been sick in almost two years so this fatigued head cold really is knocking me down. But really, what is the point of sitting in class, barely able to focus, passing the germs around? No point.

Someone was very excited when I came home at 11 am…

Actually, she looks suspicious in that picture. Oh well.

Mid day I emerged from my couch to get some sick essentials.

Does anyone else remember these? I remember them coming in a box and I would eat them all the time when I was sick (and even when I wasn’t sick!)

I remember them looking like this:


So yummy. I also stopped by Jerry’s Deli for matzoh ball soup.

Obviously this sick day fave came with bagel chips…

Bonus: I flirted my way into a free ginger ale from the counter man at Jerry’s. Left Coast FTW!

Besides ginger ale I enjoyed another sick day favorite: tea!

My mom makes the best honey tea ever. I might have to have some before bed. Of course it isn’t the same when I make it but its worth a shot.

I am starting to feel a little bit better and I hope to be at 70% tomorrow. I hate missing school. I know the golden nugget of wisdom that will make or break exam season isn’t going to happen tomorrow but I hate missing class. I also have a really busy weekend with a 10k and many Halloween events so I hope I was able to head this cold off at the pass today. Fingers crossed please!

12 Mile Milestone

Today was the day. It was time for the longest run on my training plan (not to mention my longest run ever!)

But first: some inspiration by Nike.


Pre run I had the GREATEST GRILLED CHEESE OF ALL TIME! It included shallots, cheese, and tomato and was cooked on my fantastic new grill plan.

So good. Maybe not the best running fuel of all time but eh why not?


Pre run

Then I headed out, settling into a nice, natural pace. I didn’t time myself because I didn’t want to be thinking “oh I need to go faster” at all. Not timing myself takes the pressure off the already pressured situation of running a new distance. I made it all the way to the ocean and along the coast. The weather was overcast but it was such a personal accomplishment to run all the way to the ocean that I didn’t mind. At mile 6 I walked for 5 blocks and had three shot blocks.  I wish I brought more because around mile 9 I was pretty hungry.

At mile 10 I ran into two guys who were training for the LA Marathon. They were running 8 miles. I kept just behind them for the final two miles which kinda made me feel like a rock star. And before I knew it, I was sprinting across the final intersection and it was all over! I went 12.1 miles overall and I really believe I am going to be able to finish the half. Nothing is more empowering than running a long distance. Nothing.

post run

Post run I immediately ate a new to me flavor of larabar.

As much as I love the wall of Larabars at Whole Foods, I normally get my larabars at Trader Joe’s because they are slightly less expensive and lets admit it… I need to avoid Whole Foods because otherwise I will go from poor grad student to broke grad student.

Then I ate pizza, which didn’t make the blog BUT it was on white crust instead of whole wheat, because I live on the edge.

Now I am finishing up my calorie replenishing bonanza with Tina’s Sweet Potato Cookies, sent to me by Carolyn via our baking exchange. They are amazing, and also all gone.

Yum! I am off to watch Desperate Housewives. Am I the only person still watching it? Hope you all had an awesome weekend!


Blogger Love!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a blogger meet up with some LA area Healthy Living Bloggers. We met at Real Food Daily in Santa Monica, which I have been dying to try for months.

Real Food Daily features vegan and organic food. I have heard high praise from my friend Molly who claims it has the best fake bacon of all time. I tried it and it was pretty freaking good.

I was so excited a few weeks ago when Monica contacted me and asked it I wanted to attend a meet up. Of course I said yes.

Attendees included: Ameena @ Fancy That…Fancy This, Andy & Amanda @ Two Boos Who Eat, Brittany @ Pretty Fit, Pretty Healthy, Pretty Happy, Deb @ Smoothie Girl Eats Too, Erika @ Health and Happiness in LA, Jenn @ Girl Heroes, Kaitlin @ Kaitlin With Honey, Katie @ A Joy In Class. Everyone was super nice and you should check out their blogs! Add to your google reader!

It was so refreshing to be in a room with a group of people that are all bloggers! Everyone talked about food, photography, running, the blog community at large, and the Foodbuzz Fest (I wish I was going so bad!). The healthy living community is so supportive. I’m glad I get to be apart of it.
For lunch I made sure I got something with fake bacon. I settled on the club sandwich:
This sandwich was bar none the best vegan food I have ever had. All the ingredients were very fresh and Molly was right, amazing fake bacon. This sandwich didn’t stand a chance.
After lunch we headed outside for more photos.
Benefit of hanging out with bloggers? I’m not the only one taking a copious number of pictures.
This is Amanda, Kaitlin and I. We are talking about running a half marathon together. I hope it works out because they are both awesome! It was a total trip to meet both of them because I love their blogs and communicate with them all the time over Twitter.
Overall, the blogger meet up was a huge success! Thanks again to Monica for organizing it. We should do it again soon!
**Special thanks to Amanda and Andy for letting me use some of your pics**

Takeout Time

Sometimes you just have to waive to white flag of surrender and order takeout. Don’t you agree?

I went out last night to Bar Review at The Abbey. It was a blogger vacation night so no pictures. I got home at a reasonable hour (1:30 am) and was able to sleep “late” til 8:00 so I thought I would feel fine today. However I tossed and turned all night long. I think I got a total of 3 hours of sleep or so. Ugh. So awful. I ingested enough coffee to stay awake through Evidence and then I crashed.

Mid crash I went on a 4 mile run to break in my shoes. It was not my best effort. 1.5 miles in I realized that I couldn’t maintain my pace and slowed down. I turned some less intense running music and tried to chill out.

When I got back I realized I had no energy for cooking so I decided to get takeout from Thai House in Westwood. I rarely get takeout. Normally I can wander around my kitchen and figure out something to roast. Tonight I just wasn’t having it. So I started with Mint Spring Rolls:

The mint rolls are so fresh and they have shrimp! Can’t argue with that.

I also ordered an old standby, Pad See You with chicken:


I also got my cookies from Carolyn and they are fantastic. They completely made my day. I will photograph them tomorrow because I am sitting on my couch with a blanket and I am some dirty dishes and a shower away from face planting in my bed. At 7:30 pm. I know. I’m so cool you just can’t handle it. Party. Animal.

Special Delivery

Something is winging its way to Boston…

What do you do when you are cooking way too many treats? Send them to your good friend Carolyn obviously. Don’t worry, I’m getting treats in return! I can’t wait. I have found that when I bake I need to share with the people around me. I live alone and if I don’t share then I will eat them all myself. While I would like to live on an diet of creme fraiche, I don’t think that is a good idea for nutritional purposes. I can’t wait to get my box from Boston!

In other news: I got new running shoes! I logged way too many miles in my prior ones to still be wearing them to run. I’ve had some minor heel problems recently that really drive home the point that I needed new shoes. I had been wearing New Balance 1064’s which I love. They were pretty special because I ran my first race in them and did my first really exciting long runs in them. I need to stop. I’m starting to sound like a horder. I would have liked to get another pair of 1064’s. However, they are very expensive so I bought Brooks Ghost 3 instead. I went to FrontRunners in Brentwood and they were very helpful.

Apparently a lot of people really love these shoes, according to the Runner’s World forums. I wanted to try them today but it was rainy and I didn’t want to sully them in the mud.

I will report back after I have run in them!