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.


Cookie Overdose

Yesterday was such a treat! I got to take a nice, much needed study break to socialize with other blogger at a cookie exchange. I definitely ODed but it was totally worth it!

Why, yes. There were 6 people but we managed to produce 9 types of cookies. It’s how blogger roll. Also notice the lone cheese plate and veggie plate. You need something to chase the cookies with, right? I already know Kaitlin and Andy & Amanda. I also met Kaitlin’s roommate Mark and Melissa from Trying to Heal.

And the cookies? Amazing!

My peanut butter cookies from the Flour Cookbook

From left to right: Dough balls by Kaitlin, orange chocolate cookies by Mark, smore cookies by Kaitlin, behind that you can see brie (!), and in the corner the cutest mini chocolate chip oatmeal cookies ever by Amanda & Andy.

There was also peppermint bark by Melissa! All the cookies were amazing this might have been my favorite of the afternoon.

The last batch!

Lemon and strawberry wippersnappers by Melissa, and finally almond Cinnamon cookies by Kaitlin. Whew.

We ate cookies and chatted for three hours! Time flies when you’re having fun. It was great chatting with some awesome blogger (I guess now we’re friends) and eating!

Group pic! Thanks to Kaitlin for hosting and for letting me steal this photo!

Kaitlin’s house is totally decked out for the holidays and she has a real tree, named Douglass because he is a Douglass Fir obvi. This inspired me to get my tree out tonight! I had a 6 hour long final and after I was exhausted but I managed to find the energy to decorate.

I told Izzy that if she wore the Santa hat she could have a treat but she wasn’t interested so just stuck to setting up the tree.

Why yes, my tree is silver and mini and fake. It doesn’t have a name yet but I am open to suggestions!

My favorite part of the tree are the ornaments. Every year growing up my Mom would give my brother and I an ornament as a gift that reflected what happened in our lives that year. Last year was my first year in my own apartment and my Mom sent me some. Last year I got surfing Santa.

So cute! My other favs are my Frango Mint ornament (you understand that if you’re from Chicago), Raggedy Ann ornament, Starbucks cup ornament, martini glass ornament, Clara from the Nutcracker, skating ornament, and my ornament with my Senior quote from high school on it. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”, in case you were curious.

I also hung a wreath and Christmasfied my dining table:

Don’t you just love the holidays?

And now an announcement!

As readers know, I recently ran the Malibu Half Marathon and loved it! Running is definitely a long term hobby for me and I have been thinking about what race I want to run next. Well, I am ready to announce, my next race will be the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in San Diego! The race is in early June and several other bloggers are planning on running. It should be a pretty fun time. Since Malibu I have averaged between 10 and 17 miles a week. I am very glad I don’t have training pressure during finals but I am excited to run in another race! After the holidays I will post a training plan. Since this will be my second half I will probably complete more long runs. I am very excited, and I hope you are too!

Finals Day 6

Cookies consumed: Countless (+1)

Bagels consumed: 3

YouTube videos watched: 7

Finals taken: 1 (but it was the longest one! Wahoo!)

Long Run

Sunday I went on the last long run before the Malibu Half Marathon this Sunday!

Since then I have been compulsively checking the weather in Malibu for this Sunday:

Nearly perfect! I would prefer the high be 70, but I’ll take 74. The race starts at 8:30 and it will likely be considerably cooler, I would guess about 60. Should be great weather.

My last 10 miler was last Sunday morning. It went well. I pushed myself and ran the back half faster than the first half (it was also up hill). My hips were really tight afterwords and I am having some heel pain. I’m 100% sure it is plantar fascitis. I had a brief running stint early in college where I developed it and I can feel it coming back in my left foot. I got heel cushions and I feel pretty confident that it will not impact me on Sunday. I have an idea of a pace I want to maintain but the point of this race isn’t running a pace, its finishing 13.1 miles. Times goals are for another time.


We are out of Nike Ads so we’re moving on to other ads.

The plan for this week is a lot of stretching, wearing comfortable shoes (wore heeled boots today, whoops), and get pumped for Sunday.  I went on a 4 mile run today which was pretty awesome. My noise wasn’t running as much as it has been and I felt really, really strong.

I am very excited for Sunday. Some may know about my not so secret desire to run a marathon. Obviously these distances require advanced planning and I have to consider my schedule and as a student, and what is possible in the foreseeable future. Obviously, a year from this Summer I will be taking the bar and who knows what will happen in my life after that. For now, lets just say I am looking forward to challenging myself in the future.

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!

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!


Butternut, Chive and Cheddar Flat Bread

Good Evening! Today was a low key, but busy day. I managed to squeeze in an 8 mile run in around 1:15 mins. But I couldn’t totally tell because I just used the clock on my ipod. It was nice to only run 8 miles (as opposed to say, 10) and I felt great afterwords. I drank watered down Gatorade and took two shot blocks at mile 4. It’s kinda awesome that I can run 8 miles pretty easily. Next weekend is a 12 mile run. Ah!

When I got back I was starving and enjoyed a cold chocolate milk and then Butternut, Chive and Cheddar Flat Bread. I used Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza crust, rolled it out with flour. Then I took roasted butternut squash, chopped chive, lettuce, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and grated cheddar cheese and combined in a bowl with a dollop of EVO. I spread the mixture over the dough and baked at 425 for 14 mins.

Delicious post run treat; This recipe is a keeper! We know that I love to put butternut squash on anything but the addition of the lettuce was a brilliant move. Cheddar is always amazing when melted on pizza dough. MMMM. Wonderful. The best part of finishing a long run is indulging in a nice treat.

There is something wonderful cooking in my oven right now. The smell is heavenly! Lets just say I’ll have a savory treat for breakfast tomorrow and to ship to my buddy Carolyn!

10 miles on 10.10.10

Hey there world! Is there a better day to run 10 miles than 10.10.10? I don’t think so! I put on my running legs and completed the run in 1:35. Yahoo! I want November 14th to be tomorrow!


Pre-run I had a piece of peanut butter toast (Ezekiel bread).


Mid-run I walked for a block and had a shot block.

And I drank Gatoraide. Word to the wise, water down your gatoraide. I didn’t and it kinda made me nauseous.


Post run I enjoyed my favorite recovery beverage:

Chocolate milk, and yes, I put salt in it 😉


For dinner I made roasted butternut flat bread. I used the leftover butternut squash and combined it with onion, garlic, oregano and EVO. I used TJ’s whole wheat dough, topped it with goat cheese and let it bake for 10 mins at 450 degrees.

Yum! This was delicious. I will be making more. Is there any dish that can’t be improved by butternut squash? I didn’t think so.


Hope everyone had a fun, restful weekend!

6 Miles + Pizza

Hey blog world!

Today has been an insane day. Between midterm studying, blogging like its my job, and cleaning I did manage to squeeze in a 6 mile run. I knew when I made my Half Marathon Training Schedule that I planned a taper week. Thank goodness this was it. After the 10 miler on Wednesday I needed a “short” long run. I had a great run. It was cool, overcast and wound up being super sweaty.

Afterward I was ravenous and I consumed several slices of pizza.

This pizza had onions, garlic, heirlooms, chicken and blue cheese with S&P on whole wheat crust. It tasted so fantastic after a long run!

Should be a busy week ahead. I have a midterm tomorrow, a special event Tuesday, and voting for Project Food Blog all week! Clearly I have to get a good night sleep. Hope you had an awesome weekend!

10 Miles!


I finally did it! Today I got back from school (and the midterm), laced up my shoes and went on a glorious 10 mile run which took me almost all the way to the ocean and back. On the way back I could see lightning in the distance and a rainbow. I was surprised because rain in September is pretty rare for LA.

Sure thing, with about two miles to go it started to rain.  Not going to lie, it was glorious. There is nothing better than running to goo music with light rain,  and the sunset behind you. I ran with a 10 min mile pace (which is my goal pace for the half) and I felt really good on the run. My legs weren’t tired at all and my knee doesn’t hurt. Overall, I feel better tonight than I have during all of my other long runs.

Oh, and about the Nike ad: I agree with everything it says, but if I missed birthday cake I would be upset about it.

**There is still time to vote for Left Coast Contessa and my baklava post to advance to the next round of Project Food Blog. Please vote here if you haven’t already. Thank you!**

New Sensation

I have a new favorite lunch this week.

Confession: I’ve had it twice this week already.

Introducing: apple, brie and prosciutto flat top.

Of course all the lovely toppings are sitting on a slice of sesame Ezekiel bread. The apples are organic from the farmers market and are of the honey crisp variety. Honey crisps are by FAR my favorites. So crispy and delicious! I like to toast the bread and then let the brie melt onto the bread. Holy melted goodness!

I don’t post my lunch very often because I tend to latch onto one thing and eat it several times over a week meaning that lunch tends to be a bit boring (unless of course I hit a lunch truck!). I also tend to make double portions of dinner and save half for lunch. Obviously this flat top is the flavor of the week.

In other news: I came home from school and promptly ran a little over 5 miles. For those that are keeping track, that’s a little over 14 miles in three days. I am a running beast this week!

Also, don’t forget to vote on Project Food Blog for me! Tomorrow (9/22 is the last day to vote!)