Santa Monica to Venice Christmas Run

Today I learned a couple of lessons about preparing for races and I set a new 5k PR.

Backing up. I woke up this morning at 7 am which was a nice wake up call for a race! Normally I’m up at 5 or 6 am on race morning. I was thankful for the extra 2 hours. I was thirsty when I woke up. I went out last night and had a drink. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem (I mean, I had wine the night before my half!)  but I woke up so thirsty. I downed a glass of water and felt full so I stopped drinking water, had peanut butter toast and a enough coffee to wake myself up (muhahahaha, I’m not telling you how much that is).

Lesson #1: Make sure you are properly hydrated. Instead of that fantastic St. Germain cocktail, order a water. Or chase it with several glasses of water. Normally for every glass of booze I order I get at least one glass of water. This didn’t happen last night.

go number 3289!

I got in the car and drove to Santa Monica with plenty of time. I wanted to save parking money and warm up my legs so I parked at Santa Monica Place and walked the mile and a half. I had plenty of time and felt totally relaxed. I brought a bottle of water and I meant to drink it but I forgot that it was in my bag. I got to the start line and started to look for the bag drop.

Lesson #2: Check to make sure there is a bag drop.

Yep. There wasn’t one. This lead to panic. The race organizer just looked at me blankly when I asked what I should do. Not helpful. I was also trying to find Kaitlin and Amanda and I just wasn’t seeing them which frazzled me. Then I figured out that I could stash my bag with the Primetime Timing people. Thank god. Remember that if you’re ever in a race day bind.

I finally caught up with Kaitlin. I felt all thrown off by the bag drama. I didn’t have a second snack and I didn’t have the water I brought. Yep. I only had one glass of water before the race. Poor choice.

Because I really wanted to PR I went towards the front of the line. I was next to a 60 year old man in swimming shorts, no top, and he had an Ironman tattoo. He looked hardcore. It was a lot for my mind to process in the accelerated state it was in.

The gun went off and the race started. The course went into Venice and back to Santa Monica on the board walk. The marine layer was pretty thick today but the sun peaked through. I cruised for the first mile and a half. My feet and legs felt awesome on the mostly flat course (after Malibu its going to take some serious hills to throw me). Since I wanted to PR I pushed myself for the first mile and a half. Around mile 2 the course turned back towards Santa Monica and we ran back along the boardwalk.

If you know anything about Venice, you know its a great place for people watching, which kept me entertained along the boardwalk. I needed it! After mile two I started to feel tired. I was super thirsty and hungry (probably because I was thirsty) and I felt winded. I was kicking myself for freaking out before and forgetting to hydrate. I walked through a water station.

Lesson #3: A 5k is really hard

During the last mile, while watching the surfers, people pumping iron at muscle beach, randoms eating breakfast, and smelling the smoke pouring out of the “medical dispensary” (for real, you can just tell you’re in Venice by the smell) I thought about how hard a 5k is. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that everyone can train for and run a 5k but it is much different than the distance running I’ve been doing. During a 5k I’m compelled to run as fast as possible unlike the half where the goal was just to finish. I have major respect for anyone who runs a 5k.

Before I knew I saw the blessed mile 3 sign and my reflective moment ended. I sprinted to the finish. I finished the 5k in 25:25, with an average pace of 8:10 setting a new PR!

Part of me really wanted to break 25 min. but, overall, I am very happy with my time. After grabbing water I went back and watched Kaitlin and Amanda finish their races strong! It was Kaitlin’s birthday and she wrote “its my birthday” on her shirt. Someone even sang to her while she was running. Best idea ever, kicking off your birthday with a race. There were some adorable dogs running including a dog wearing antlers, a golden, and another probably 60 lb dog being carried that last .1 mile by their owner!

After the race we headed back to Santa Monica for breakfast. I had steel cut oats.

There might have been some hash browns and an iced coffee too. And by might, I mean there were.

After breakfast I said goodbye to everyone and headed home. My foot felt a little twinge so I iced it on a bottle of gin and took it easy.

Here is the playlist that I listened to (I finished during the Peas).

Overall my 5th race was great! It felt great to run and to PR. I am definitely hooked on racing and cannot wait to run the next one.

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Malibu International Half Marathon

Today has been an amazing day. If you had told me a year ago that on November 14th 2010 I would be running a very hilly half marathon I would have laughed in your face. But today I did what I never thought I would do… I ran a half marathon!

The morning started really early… like 5 am! I rolled out of bed. Waking up for races is like waking up to go to the airport. I just roll out of bed and am excited about what I get to go do.

This morning started like all race mornings… with peanut butter toast and coffee.

And a long drive out to Malibu. We stopped for gas where Sunset meets PCH and got a beautiful view of the sunrise.

The first of many beautiful views.

We got to the drop point. My Mom dropped me off (naturally she went to Starbucks) and I got on the bus for the drive to the start line. I got to the start line an hour and a half before the start and clearly had a photo shoot (and blogged!)

I saw dolphins, a sea lion, and a pelican!

Once Ela arrived at the start line we had a photo shoot!

We can all this “before”:

As you can tell… it was really sunny.

I was glad we got there super early. I went to the bathroom twice, drank a zico (official race sponsor!) and dropped my bag with minimal stress. We also ran into other law students! The wait didn’t seem as long as I thought it would be and before I knew it the gun went off and I started running. The first two miles felt great! After that things got a bit more challenging.

This race was truly the most beautiful thing ever. Monica ran it too and she took some great pictures so you should read HER post as well. There were sweeping views of the coast line and it was breath taking. It was also very sunny and warmer than expected. When I finished it was around 80 degrees which is much warmed than I like to run in. The first 8 miles of so had very little shade so the sun was beating down. The people who brought hats were smart!

There also weren’t many mile markers which was good. I just ran and didn’t think about timing and I tried not to think about how far I had left to go. I looked at the view, enjoyed my music and kept running. I didn’t really think about anything but I had thoughts going through my head. I thought about other bloggers, people that inspired me to run (ahem miss Carolyn), running mantras, and how awesome the human body is. I tried not to think about how hot I was or the imposing hills.

Around mile 6 the killer hills started. Ela had warned me that they were going to be hard and I had seen the elevation map so I thought I knew what I was in for but MAN were they intense. Around mile 8 there was a hill, barely any down hill and then it kept going uphill! It is intimidating to be running towards a huge uphill.

I stopped at every aid station, which were placed every two miles. I also had two shot bloks. I intended to have more but the second one stuck to my teeth and it wasn’t very comfortable. After that I couldn’t get them back in my shorts and I actually ditched them at an aid station around mile 10. Because the race was so hot I was very thirsty and my lips were chapped. I also have to say, next race, I am running with my own running bottle! Lesson learned: always listen to your Aunt Caroline.

Half way through mile 10 we started to reach the top of the hills. There was only one small uphill after that which was nice. Best to end on a flat to downhill! We were running by bushes which were shading the view and they had butterflies! So pretty. Around mile 10 I was getting excited because I knew it was almost over. Between mile 10 and 13 I took about three short walk breaks to re energize myself for the final sprint.

Crossing the finish line felt amazing. This is a goal that I’ve had for a while and to finally have completed it… there are no words. Shortly after Ela crossed the finish line. We downed SEVERAL Zico’s and had a photo shoot!

The finishers medals were great! Very heavy. The novelty of medals hasn’t worn off. The finishers also got beach towels which we immediately utilized. I’ve never wanted to go into the freezing cold ocean so badly!

So cold! My feet needed it. I have some serious battle scars. I won’t go into it. It’s gross.

Then we continued the photo shoot.

And now a nice one…

After the foot ice bath that was the ocean we went to check our times. There was no clock at the end and I knew I was close to my super secret time goal which I didn’t tell many people because I didn’t want to jinx it… well good news…

I did it! 2 hours 11 mins. Average pace: 10:04!

Also, notice that I am carrying an armload of FREEBIES! Best part of races.

We said goodbye to Ela and her family and went straight to The Larder at Tavern for an insane post race meal. Emily and Catie joined us for a long meal and delicious meal. I started with smoked fish on rye toast with goat cheese.

I’ve never had anything bad at Tavern. I firmly believe that the entire menu is fantastic. This continues to affirm my beliefs. I love the idea of goat cheese instead of cream cheese and the homemade toast was incredible.

Speaking of incredible… these potatoes. Of course I ordered potatoes. Breakfast potatoes are the best ever!

Seriously… thyme, rosemary, the best I’ve ever had.

Then it was time for dessert. I turned to Catie and said “is it piggish to order 10 macaroons for us?” and she responded, “it’s your race day”. Well, you don’t have to tell me twice.

The spread: pumpkin and salted caramel macaroons, ginger molasses cookie, gingerbread with eggnog icing, chocolate covered honey comb, homemade snickers, chocolate sante cookie, and thin mints. Phew. Oh and I forgot to mention the Monkey bread we split while we waited! What? I was calorie debited!

Overall this has been an amazing day. Definitely more distance running in my future. I’m going to give myself some recovery time and then I will plan another distance race soon! Thanks for all the tweets, texts and comments in support. It really motivated me and made me feel the love! Off to watch the Housewives and sleep. Hope you had a good weekend!

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.

Santa Monica 5000

Good afternoon everyone. [edited to add: sorry to everyone who read that with a question mark. Post race = poor editing. Who do I think I am, Zoolander?] How was your morning? Mine was stellar!

I woke up this morning at the crack of dawn to run the Santa Monica 5000 10k! The alarm went off at 6:00 am (although in anticipation I woke up before it) and I rolled out of bed. I stretched out a little and then contemplated what pants I should wear for the race. Its been cool in LA the past few days and Santa Monica tends to be pretty chilly and foggy in the morning. After checking my phone and realizing it was only in the mid 50’s I made the executive decision to wear leggings, and I am glad that I did because it was in the mid to low 50’s for the entire race.

Getting ready this morning was super easy because I laid all of my things out last night so all I had to do was get dressed and grab a bag.

I ate a typical breakfast, peanut butter toast, and went to pick up my friend Ela who ran the race with me.

I also had an iced tea and packed a lara bar just in case I got hungry (I didn’t).

Ela and I drove to Santa Monica and parked near the finish which gave us about a mile long walk slash jog to warm up. It felt really good to stretch my legs a little bit before the race. I was very excited after we parked the car and walked over. There were people all over. I love seeing other runners!

We got to the starting area, went to the bathroom and dropped the bags. We gave ourselves about an hour to prepare which was the prefect amount of time. It was nice not to feel rushed before the start. We even had time for a little photo shoot.

It was freezing at this point.

We made our way over to the starting line and stood by the 10 min mile marker. I was really excited and my adrenaline was starting to pump! The race went off right on time.

Mile 1: Mile one was awesome (isn’t it always?) We were running along Main Street in Santa Monica which has shops. I ran, listened to Cee-Lo and window shopped. Because I had jogged a little to warm up my legs felt awesome. I was really enjoying listening to my music and feeling no pain! I ran past Ela and I was on my own.

Mile 2: I passed the mile one sign and started in on mile 2. I started to feel a little bit hot but not too bad. For a second I worried that I shouldn’t have worn leggings. My legs still felt strong. I started to fall in behind a lady in a florescent green pull over who I followed for the entire race. At the end of mile 2 was the first water station. I’ve never negotiated a water station before and let me tell you, I was a hot mess. I ran through the station spilling water all over the K Swiss rep who was handing it out. Drinking water while running at you race pace is a poor choice! It was not satisfying. Also at the end of mile two you passed the finish line, which is a cruel joke.

Mile 3: I checked my time on my ipod when I passed the mile three sign and I was at 26 mins which is around my 5k time. Knowing that I was maintaining my 5k time made me feel good and nervous. For a second I regretted starting so fast and worried that my time would plummet in the second half. My legs were starting to get a little tired but I no longer felt hot. I was still trailing the same women which was good.

At this time the elite runners had looped around and were running by me. I saw a bunch of men go by and then I saw the lead women. I whooped it up a little bit when I saw her and I was pretty excited. You can take the girl out of Simmons, but you can’t take the woman pride out of the girl. Seeing her pushed me to run a little harder.

I also passed another water station. This time I walked through it and I was much less of a hot mess. Water station success! The course turned on San Vicente and I realized that the people who had already looped around appeared to be running down hill. I knew what that meant! My legs were starting to feel the running but I dug in and ran up hill.

Mile 4: Mile 4 occurred at the San Vicente turn around at 11th street. After the long uphill I was pretty tired but after the course turned it went down hill which was awesome! It gave me the kick that I needed to keep going. I pulled in front of the women in the florescent pull over.

Mile 5: As I passed the mile 5 sign I got excited and picked up my pace a bit. I was being passed by a bunch of people. I was running with a man who looked over at me and said, “we don’t like them anyways. Don’t worry the Kenyan is still behind us”. He made me laugh and it was exactly what I needed. By the beginning of mile 5 I was tired and was feeling a bit nauseous.  This guy helped me push through the final full mile. I could see the finish line in the distance and there were people cheering on the sidelines. I gave one of them a thumbs up (cause I’m a nerd like that).

Mile 6-6.2: I saw the mile 6 sign and wanted to start sprinting to the finish but the finish sign appeared to be really far off but before I knew it I was approching a photographer and I could see the chip time rug thing. I elongated my strides and sprinted to the finish!

My overall time was 54:05 which was 6 mins faster than the goal that I set for myself. I’m still waiting to see what my average mile pace was but I assume it was slightly under 9 mins. I am really happy with my time. I pushed my self really hard and I feel really good about how I finished.

Ela finished shortly after I did. We had our chips ripped off and walked around to regain our breaths. We headed to the Santa Monica pier which has a post race party. The post race party had some food but to be honest I didn’t really want to eat anything. My nausea had passed but I wasn’t hungry yet. I did manage to stalk the zico man for a recovery beverage. We drank zico and stretched out in the grass.

I’ve never been so happy to drink a zico! Unflavored is my favorite and it tasted like the best thing ever. Ela and I walked around Santa Monica place for a little bit to keep out legs loose. It was really, really cold at this point and we just wanted to get back to Westwood. So we drove home, showered and went out for post race treats which included a non fat vanilla ice latte from Coffee Bean which my other favorite recovery drink 😉 and a bagel with cream cheese! Nom Nom Nom! I love second breakfast!

Overall it was a good race. I ran pretty hard and in the future I am going to try to alter my running playlist so that I don’t have any of my “fast songs” playing for the first two miles. I figure that I could conserve energy and then go all out in the final two miles but the fact that my 5k time was about half of my 10k time seems like a good thing to me. I’m pretty proud of the fact that I maintained my pace in the second half. There is nothing like the high of finishing a race. I can’t wait to run another one!

Get Ready to Run

I’m back!

Tomorrow I am running in my first 10k, the Santa Monica 5000. I’m really excited to run the 10k! I think it will be a great opportunity to get more accustom to running long distance races. I hope I can figure out how to negotiate water stations etc. in advance of my half marathon in November. Because this is the first 10k I’ve ever run there is no pressure to set a personal record or anything. I just want to finish and enjoy the experience.

In preparation I made a delicious meal for dinner.

I breaded chicken tenders with panko and baked them at 425 for 35 mins. I also roasted potatoes, both red and purple, as well as my new favorite veggie, Brussels Sprouts.

I also made a honey mustard sauce.

I love me some honey mustard! I used the same recipe that I used for the honey mustard chicken I made a few weeks ago. It was a simple yet delicious dipping sauce for the chicken.

This meal was HUGE! I roasted way more veggies and potatoes than I really needed to but they are so good. I breaded the chicken with panko before I baked it. Panko is by far my favorite ingredient to bread with because it comes out crispy and delicious every time. I ended up saving one of the pieces of chicken.

My meal was so delicious looking, even Izzy wanted a piece of the action.

Now, now… back away from the dinner!

In other exciting news… guess who I get to see this week?

Source

That’s right, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer! He is coming to UCLA to speak. Because there is limited seating there was a lottery to get seats and I got one. I am so excited I cannot even tell you. The Supreme Court is the pinnacle for attorneys and the Justices are kinda like rock stars. I’m even more excited because Breyer is one of the Justices I like (no offense to Scalia and Thomas).

In my google search for an image of Justice Breyer I found this image:

Source

Obviously this had to be shared! I’m hoping that my legal career will be empowered by seeing Justice Breyer and I really hope he reads us “Oh The Places You’ll Go!” Here’s to hoping!

Keep LA Running 5k

Today I ran my first race, the Keep LA Running 5k in Playa del Rey!

This morning I woke up bright and early (6 am on Sunday, ugh) and immediately put on pandora radio and started to stretch. Then I enjoyed some breakfast and suited up.

I enjoyed this 100 calorie larabar and I had this piece of peanut butter toast, which I only had 1/2 of.

And I geared up!

Then I drove to Playa Del Rey which is near LAX and on the water. The race course was downhill/flat. Never having run a race before I hung out a good distance behind the start and waited for the race to start. If your from so cal than your familiar with what the weather is like by the beach at 8:00 in the morning: very overcast, spitting a bit, and slightly more humid. The race got underway, I started my timer as I passed the start line. I felt really good when I started running and was passing a lot of other runners. I was only one song in on my ipod when I passed the mile 1 sign. This was kinda odd for me and honestly I think the mile marker was in the wrong place. There is NO WAY I ran a mile in under 4 mins.

I was feeling really good after mile 1. I kinda had to go to the bathroom but I charged onward. It felt like I ran forever before I saw the mile 2 sign. It was around this time that I wished I had a garmin so I could know exactly how far I had traveled and what my pace was. Especially at the beginning of the race I was telling myself to hold back so that I wouldn’t gas out at the end. The competitive side of me really wanted to push it, but I kept telling myself to hold back.

After I finally saw the mile 2 sign my legs were starting to burn a little bit and I was feeling tired. The people around me had thinned out so I tried to keep pace with a couple other runners. I could also see the elite runners approaching the  end of the course which helped me push. Then the course turned and went down hill. I kept pushing hard but I could feel my pace slowing down a bit. All of a sudden I could see the mile 3 sign and I got really excited. The course turned again and went down hill. I speed up on the down hill and suddenly my legs stopped hurting and I sprinted to the finish! My ipod said 25:50 and the official clock read 26:00. I know the official time is 26:00, but I’m going to call it 25:50 because I started pretty far back from the start line. The best part of a first race? No matter when you finish, its a PR!

Overall, I discovered that I love running races! I definitely got a runners high from the race today and I can’t wait to do it again. When I had to get up early today I was thinking that this better be worth it, and it SO was. I was also really happy that my first race was a low key 5k so I know what to expect when I run longer, more intense races.I was also happy that I started further back in the crowd. It was a major self esteem booster that I was passing people rather than being passed. I am so thankful for my body and the amazing things that it can do. I am beginning to really, really love my body. Since I’ve started running 6 months ago my confidence has boosted partly due to weight loss (16 lbs and counting) and glowing skin. Most of all, running gives me confidence where other parts of my life (ahem law school) might not!

Looking forward to the 1/2 marathon I want to be focused on setting a pace. The major takeaway from this race is that I want a Garmin or another type of race timer so that I know my pace and if I should slow down or speed it.  For a 5k I can basically run as fast as I need to but a 1/2 marathon is going to be a whole new ball game. I plan to do a lot of yoga for the next week or so and throw myself into 1/2 marathon training. I also want to run some more races soon. I cannot wait until November for another runners high!