Spectating the LA Marathon

Greetings blog followers! It’s been a minute since I posted. You see March is the busiest month I’ve had in a while. In fact, it is busier than April and May are going to be.

Obviously, I went to Vegas, partied it up and didn’t really sleep after what was a trying week for reasons my Vegas post explores.

The following weekend found me on a school trip to an Indian reservation in Northern Arizona. The trip was quick and very exciting. I’ve taken several classes in Federal Indian law and Tribal law. I had never been to a reservation before so that was an exciting experience. Before leaving there was a little bit of drama. My car battery died and Izzy the cat became rather ill. I rushed her to the vet where they hooked up a cat iv, injected her with a ton of stuff I can’t pronounce and did blood work. I was very scared and concerned at the time but she’s OK now. She gets to eat a fancy vet Rx diet which she loves. Girlfriend takes after her mother and loves the fancy.

Saturday I woke up early and took a professional responsibility exam I need to pass in order to practice law. It was an early morning and a long day. I also have a final exam in Federal Indian Law 2 this Thursday. So it’s been a busy few weeks. Running and working out has been on the back burner as well. I’m excited for things to get back to normal around here.

Thus, I was really glad that there was a fun event to look forward to on Sunday morning: Spectating the LA Marathon!

I knew that rain or shine I would be watching the marathon. The course runs two blocks from my apartment so I had no excuse. Plus, I love marathons and cheering so it was an easy decision to head down to the course early.

The weather was near perfect. Highs in the high 50’s, sun and clouds. No kidding, the night before it HAILED in LA. Well, it sounded like hail and I was too horrified by the noise to investigate further. I grabbed a coffee early and waited outside of Starbucks for people to start passing by.

Pretty soon the wheelchairs came cranking by.

Can you imagine doing that for 26.2 miles? I’ve run a marathon and I can’t imagine doing that for that long.

Before we knew it the lead elite women was passing us by!

The light is terrible in this photo and you can barely see her but she had a comfortable lead in front of everyone else including the men. LA does a “gender challenge”. That is, they start the women ahead of the men. Women’s marathon times are slightly slower than male times. The LA Marathon averages the time between when the men finish and when the women finish and then start the women that degree ahead with the idea that by the end it could really be anybodies game. Men win some years and women win others but YAY for the ladies for brining in a win. Fatuma left no one in her wake. We were stunned watching how big the lead was between her and the other runners. She almost hit a course record!

We had to wait a bit over 5 mins (which is a long time in elite marathon running I feel) before the elite men came though. I actually missed the lead man. He was running close to the left side of the road with a motorcade. I did catch the second place man, behind the biker.

Then the regular people started coming through and that’s when the real fun began! I was with my friend Chrissy who is a Boston Marathon cheering alum. We were prepared for the mass of runners. Things were pretty loose until the 4:00 marathon pacer passed us so we were able to call out many runners by name. Some looked like they were dying but many looked great and even were pumping up the crowd and yelling back at us.

I mostly stuck to yelling names but also yelled at people to tell them that they were headed to the downhill. One reason the LA Marathon is so appealing to me (besides being my adopted hometown) is the final three miles are along my usual running route. The way to the ocean is a slight decline, just enough to give runners that little something extra.

We also yelled names and cheered extra hard when we saw people run by in UCLA gear, encouraging on our fellow Bruins.

Several people had funny things written on their bibs, like “Forrest” (as in “Run Forrest Run” from Forrest Gump). Some had saying like “Run old man!” Those people were by far the most excited to hear us yelling their names. I also saw people in shirts of races I’ve run. I cheered extra hard when I saw them. I saw a guy in a Chicago marathon shirt and I yelled out “HEY CHICAGO!” and he winked and gave me thumbs up. It was fun!

More than anything, watching the marathon reignited my desire to run. Between everything I’ve had going on the past few weeks I’ve feel off running again. I’ve gotten some short and unsatisfying ones in but nothing long and not following my plan for the Pasadena 1/2 in May. Sunday reminded me how much I love to run. For me, watching was fun but I really wanted to get out on the course. I know I am going to run another marathon and I want it to be LA 2013. Time will tell and lots can happen in a year but that is my intention now.

Inspired by the marathon I went out for an easy 4.5 mile run. I held an easy 9:27 pace. It was great running in the footsteps of the marathoners and thinking over my goals. Like with the first marathon I ran, I know I can achieve them but no one is going to hand them to me. I need to put in work and I’m feeling energized and ready to get started again.

Also! There will be a delicious blog worthy recipe on LCC this week (I know it’s been a while). I made it last week and it has melted gouda cheese. What’s not to love about that?


viva las vegas.

This post might win the award for cheesiest blog title ever. Oh well! It stays!

Over the past weekend my law school friends and I took a much needed hiatus from school. We all had had craptastic weeks and the vacation was in order. We all were moderately sick from the virus that seems to live in the law school. I had a supremely crappy week because my family dog, Wally, had been put down. He was old and in declining health but it was still very sad.

Him and David, Christmas 2010. I might write more about it later depending on my mood etc.

ANYWAYS. A vacation was in order. My friend Chrissy and I had never been to Vegas before and an old friend of hers, and a Vegas veteran was also heading out there for the weekend. It was the perfect time to go. Thus, 3 friends and I packed up the car and headed east to Las Vegas. The drive was uneventful. Nothing interesting was happening in Barstow (shocking, I know). Before too long we arrived at the Palazzo Las Vegas.

We got a fantastic rate for a great room. We were pretty fortunate to have such a baller room.

And our view!

After we arrived we walked around a bit, toasted to our vacation and enjoyed dinner. Overall I think the food in Vegas was a bit subpar (with one notable exception that we will discuss later in the post!).

After dinner we spent an hour getting ready and then went to see trance dj Cosmic Gate at the Cosmopolitan.

The show was awesome. Probably the best dj I’ve ever seen. I haven’t seen many djs yet as I’m just getting my feet wet in trance/house music but the show was fantastic. Walking back to the hotel and seeing the strip at night was pretty special too.

Despite going out the night before I woke up early on day 2 and went for a long walk along the strip while my friends slept in. I explored The Forum and chugged Coffee Bean to wake myself up. Lucky for me there was a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf right underneath the elevators that lead to our guest rooms! As per usual, I was on a first name basis with the barista in under 12 hours.

My friends and I mellowed out in the hot tub and by the pool all afternoon.

My happy place.

We even sipped pina coladas poolside. I also finished reading Vogue with Adele on the cover. I didn’t check my email and my phone didn’t have reception. The lack of reception was frustrating but in retrospect was relaxing.

After pool hanging for 6 hours and working on my tan Chrissy and I went on a mission to the one restaurant I really wanted to check out: Bouchon Bakery!

OK, so we have a Bouchon bakery in LA but I haven’t been to the LA outpost yet and Amanda is always talking about it so I felt like I needed to check it out. I was not disappointed. The Bakery is located in the Venetian which is connected to the Palazzo so we didn’t have very far to go.

My other happy place. Ignore my damaged hair. Vegas is very dry and I had yet to dump an entire container of conditioner in it. SIDE NOTE: I was not prepared for how dry it is in Vegas. Within 5 mins my lips were chapped. I didn’t have chapstick or lotion and was completely unprepared. I swear, we had to leave due to dehydration and tiredness. Luckily I used bb cream on my face which is the only reason my face looks hydrated. This is kind of a random recommendation coming from this blog but I am obsessed with BB Cream. It moisturizes, has SPF, foundation, treats acne and prevents aging. Basically it’s a miracle cream.

I looked though the case but I only had eyes for one thing…

Macrons! I picked up coffee and pistachio to try. Both were delicious. Next time I want to try a croissant. They looked so good!

After snacks we went to dinner. This meal was pretty decent. We kept it simple and just went to a restaurant on the casino floor at the Palazzo: Zine.

After dinner we went out again (hey it’s VEGAS!). This time we checked out XS at the Encore.

Can I take a moment to say, despite being dehydrated and tired we all look extra pretty in Vegas? This is a not humble brag. I’m not sorry that I’m not sorry.

This time only the ladies got in (cover for the guys was crazy inflated and the line was very long) but we still managed to have a good time. The DJ wasn’t as fantastic as the night before but was still pretty good. We danced and had a good time. My only gripe about Vegas clubs (besides the insane cover the guys had to pay) was the fact that many people in the clubs didn’t really want to dance but more just wanted to take pictures of themselves in the club. It’s all well good in my opinion just don’t do it in the middle of the dance floor. Enjoy the moment, ya know? I did take one shot as we were leaving the club.

After we walked back to the hotel and got chicken and waffles. They were also delicious! The skin was so crispy which, in my opinion, is the mark of great chicken and waffles.

We left pretty early on day 3. We had a long drive back to LA and while I loved Vegas I was pretty tired and ready to be home again.

Chrissy and I did wake up early for a walk down the strip again.

It’s so weird seeing Vegas in the morning. There were some walkers and runners and people still making it home from the night before. We were able to see some more of the exterior of the casinos. I wish I’d walked around more but hey there always is my next trip!

On the whole, I really liked Vegas. I can see why people don’t come here for more than two or three days. I think in the future I would like to research more food options. I was thoroughly unimpressed by the food options. Perhaps I didn’t know where to go but I thought it was overpriced and just not that great overall. I also would like to check out some shows next time and come at a time when I can take full advantage of the resort amenities at the hotel. The pool at the Palazzo was very nice but it was a little cool to do anything other than lay in the sun and hot tub.

Have you been to Las Vegas? Any recs for the next time I go?