Another Frisco Trip

Two weeks ago Joe and I headed up to San Fran for another trip to the Bay. This was my 5th time to San Francisco. Every time I go I fall more in love with the city.

This trip was based around our tickets to the 49ers vs. Packers game on Sunday but we decided to extend our trip to be Thursday until Monday. I was super happy about that because it meant I got to spend more time with Chrissy (one of my favorite law school people ever) and got to spend time with my cousin Mary who I haven’t seen in nearly 1 year.

Chrissy and I during 1L when we were young, innocent, and I experimented with bangs. #NeverAgain

We drove up on Thursday arriving in time to catch the Broncos vs. Ravens game (booo Ravens) at a bar. The bar was quiet and full of what seem to be mostly regulars. I love how Lagunitas is on tap at almost every bar in SF.

We also sat next to a very drunk man who told my boyfriend that he is blessed because he has a girl friend who loves football. Obviously, I will never let him forget it.

Thursday night we eventually got to Chrissy’s apartment which is really like a very nice hotel. There is a hot tub and a pool which needed to be taken advantage of. We also spent plenty of time with Penny. Penny is adorable but secretly a mischievous demon destroyer who kept putting the moves on Joe.

Penny snuggles with everyone.

Friday we went on a run and then headed over to Berkeley to see Mary. She took us to Sliver Pizza which was an amazing choice. They only have one pizza available per day. On that day the pizza was Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes, Fresh Corn, Mozzarella, Bulgarian Feta Cheese, Mexican Key Limes, Cilantro Garlic Olive Oil. I also had an IPA.

Feast your eyes.

The pizza was amazing. I know that Cheeseboard corners the good pizza market in Berkeley but this was damn good. I loved the potatoes and sweet corn but the hint of cilantro stole my heart. After we walked around Berkeley with my cousin and got some delicious ice cream because it was vacation.

Saturday’s major food highlights included a trip to the farmers market at the Ferry Building where I was reunited with my favorite blue bottle coffee.

 

While I waited in line at Blue Bottle Joe went over to Strauss Creamery for milkshakes. We each got our own because I cannot control myself and I would have drank the entire milk shake before he had a sip otherwise.

Saturday was hot and we spent the entire day at Chrissy’s rooftop pool.

For dinner the girls went to a small hole in the wall Italian restaurant called Café Sport. I loved the vibe of the restaurant. There were things hung on every inch of the wall which made the booths feel very private.

I don’t remember exactly what we had. I do know we ate a ton of garlic bread, pasta with beef sauce and ravioli.

After we saw Moonrise Kingdom in the park and then crashed after watching numerous episodes of revenge. Party animals.

The highlight of the weekend was Sunday and the Packers vs. 49ers game. I have a deep dislike of the Packers as a native Chicagoan and was very excited to be at the 49ers season opener. We tailgated with burgers and beer in the parking lot before the game.

The game was exciting, probably the most exciting NFL game I’ve been to. The game moved quickly and it was close until the end.

It was great to go to a game where every down felt like it was do or die. The game was very loaded for the Packers because we knocked them out of the playoffs last year and they came to play. The 9ers ended up prevailing and a fun time was had by all.

Fun Fact: an elderly grandmother Packers fan flipped off one of the members of our group at one point. Oh, Green Bay.

We headed back Monday. I love San Francisco. San Fran is probably the only place I would consider moving outside of LA and I was so happy to explore it with Joe and spend quality time with Chrissy. I always eat well there and I am so excited to go back.

I have my marathon in Long Beach in 5 days. I am planning on posting before then. Don’t worry everyone who gave me a hard time for not blogging enough over the weekend 🙂

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Marathon Training: It’s about to get real

I haven’t updated the blog on marathon training in a long time so let’s get into it.

I started training for the Long Beach Marathon the week after the 4th of July. Unfortunately I had a gnarly summer cold for the entire month of June that put me out of commission. I was pretty freaked out going into training about having a tiny base to build on and a week or so less than last training cycle. I started training enthusiastically.

About a week into training, I noticed a pain in my right hip area. I’ve never had a serious running injury before. I’ve had some slight platers facitus issues and some it band tightness. I assumed this “hip pain” was just that. After taking a day or two off and icing I attempted a speed workout. While I was on the tract the pain got worse. I realized, after consulting Dr. Google, that the pain was actually groin pain. Apparently the groin can be pulled from running uphill which I do a lot of in Manhattan Beach.

For the next two weeks I took it pretty easy. I swapped my long run weeks and made the following week a cut back week. I also amped up the swimming and cycling while making sure I iced my hip consistently.

Within two weeks I was doing the same track workout with minimal pain. I’m very fortunate that the injury wasn’t worse. My body is basically back to normal. I have been icing after all my runs and mixing in cross training. I also have taken to walking up the more aggressive up hills on my running course. Manhattan Beach has 2 steep hills right off the strand that I have been able to run up but I don’t want to push myself too hard on them and reinjure myself.

Other than that minor issue, my training has been going well! Like I blogged before, I am doing my long runs on Monday’s. I’ve stuck to all of them so far which is great. This week I did a killer (for me) 16 mile run. The sun was out and it was a bit hotter than it’s been (this training cycle has been blessed with cool weather) but I felt like I dominated my 8 miles out and 8 miles back. I started slow which is great for me because I usually go out too fast. At the turn around I felt great, took a walk break and then headed back. The way back felt faster than the way out which is fantastic. It was also a beautiful day and I could see all the way to Malibu. I kept my watch on during the WHOLE run including my walking breaks and I did a 10:20 min/mile pace which I was pretty excited about.

Besides that, I’ve fallen off some of my training goals. I haven’t used hand weights in weeks, which is stupid. I really have no excuse since an arm burning takes all of 10 mins and I have weights in my bedroom. I also am getting in 3 to 4 runs a week. At least one of these runs is 5-8 miles with at least 1 shorter 2-3 mile run OR a 4 ish mile run OR both if I can get it in. I’ve also been pretty good at getting at least one bike ride a week in and while I haven’t gotten a swim in for two weeks, I’ve consistently been swimming once a week. I’ve also been taking 2 rest days a week typically which has been necessary. Running over 20 miles in 3 to 4 days makes my body feel creaky and I need the recovery time.

The past week or so I’ve been wondering how my training this time compares to my training 2 years ago, mileage wise. Luckily, when you have a blog you can go back and research these things. Last training cycle I was putting up similar miles and taking up a similar amount of rest days. However, this time around my midweek runs are longer. Also, I’ve been taking far fewer walking breaks. Last time I did all my long runs at a 10:2 run/walk pace. This time I’m only taking walk breaks as needed. Usually I walk at the turn around to shake out my legs and I walk every 45 mins to take in calories. I feel much stronger than I did last time and I’m starting to get excited about what I’ll be able to do on race day.

What else is new with running…. Oh! I finally got a hold on my fueling for long runs. I experimented with a few different fueling methods including sports beans, Gatorade energy chews and gel. Last time I ran a marathon I used Gu. The last half marathon I ran I used the Gatorade energy chews. I tried the sport bean thing but they really didn’t sustain me over the course of my long run. For my last run I used the G Series pre game drink, Gatorade energy chews and then the chocolate protein recovery shake. Overall, this method was the best. I never got hungry and I felt strong the entire time. I really liked drinking the protein shake after the run. I’ve done a terrible job of eating more to accommodate my hunger. I’ve been pretty hanrgy the last two or three weeks. This, hopefully, will help.

Goals

I’ve started to think about my race day goals. I don’t have solid goals set yet since I still have another month before I start to taper but I have the shape of goals forming. I think I should be able to set a PR pretty handedly in Long Beach. I also think I could run a sub 5 hour marathon. I’m holding off on setting other goals for now but I’m pretty excited about the way this race could turn out.

Running things I’ve been reading

Running has been almost all I’ve been thinking about for the past month or so and I’ve really enjoyed these three posts.

First, one of my favorite bloggers, Hungry Runner Girl, is going through a divorce. She wrote a post about how running makes us better at life. I couldn’t agree more.

I also really enjoyed this post from my spinning buddy Gillian about how running is mental. She’s right. With running attitude is everything.

I also enjoyed this post on the runners world website about how running steps can make you think about the years of your life. My marathon will take place when I am almost exactly 26 years and 2 months old. I am totally going to use this to push through those icky final miles. Finally, having a crummy time in my early twenties is good for something!

And now a photo of Izzy. Just because.

The end.

What I did on my summer vacation (minus the vacation)

I cannot believe I’m writing a blog post titled “summer” with all the fun life and food things I did this summer. Actually, I can because I’ve barely blogged in months. I was actually out to dinner with some of my best law school buddies last weekend and they asked if I ever planned on blogging again. I’ve been busy thing summer with all kinds of things and distracted. I do love blogging and I miss the role it used to play in my life. Hopefully I can find a way to incorporate it more frequently.

Izzy likes lobster in the summer.

I still owe a post on how marathon training is going (spoiler alert: I’m training) but this post is other life things and food happenings from the last few months.

First of all, this is my most proud cooking moment of the summer:

Beer can chicken.

This is so easy. You take a whole chicken, oil it up and season it, place it over a half full beer can. You can use any beer you want because the flavor doesn’t do any work on the chicken. Rather, the beer just keeps the chicken extra moist. Then you cook it on the grill over indirect heat for 90 mins.

It took a bit longer to make this chicken because we ran out of propane (whoops) but it was still probably the best chicken I’ve ever made. Plus, it sounds complicated but it really is incredibly easy to make.

Note: the beer can is supposed to go in the rear end of the chicken and not the neck. Inset your own can’t tell my head from my ass joke here.

Another major exciting thing that happened this summer: I bought a bike!

I had some special gift money that I’d been saving from my Grammy and I decided that it was time to invest in a bike. I went to Summit Ski and Cycle at the recommendation of Joe and purchased a Vitamin A bike from KHS. This bike is a hybrid bike that is between a road bike and a beach cruiser. I’ll be able to use this bike in sprint tri’s when I decide to make the leap. I should always listen to my boyfriends recommendations. He really knew what he was talking about sending me there. The guys at Summit were so nice and helpful. They walked me through all my options, let me test drive several models around the block and even went out of their way to make sure I got the best price possible. I tried out a road bike but decided to go with the hybrid instead. I haven’t biked in a long time. If I decide to be more adventurous than sprint triathlons then perhaps I will consider an upgrade. For biking around town, going to medium length rides and attempting a sprint tri, I feel I made a good decision. A few days later I went back to pick up my baby.

I am also now accepting name ideas.

I’ve been on a couple rides with Joe and a couple of rides alone. I’m mixing it in with my marathon training and so far I really love it. I’m still getting the hang of the gears and biking in traffic and the South Bay’s killer hills but so far so good!

Note: Another bonus, Summit offered me free tune ups for the life of my bike and gave me a discount on all the accessories that I needed to buy for the bike (they threw in the water bottle holder and a water bottle for free!)

I also managed to make it to two concerts this summer.

First I saw Geographer for free at the Getty! I highly recommend checking out the free concerts at the Getty. We had to pay to park (but it’s only $10 after 5) but other than that the concert was totally free. We did, however splurge on dinner at the Getty which was fantastic and probably slightly over priced. No photos but I had an adult grilled cheese with apricot jam and prosciutto. Some of my favorite things! We also smuggled wine into the concert in coffee cups.

#WineSmuggler

The show was pretty good and it made me excited to see more concerts. I took some videos that I posted to Instagram.

Luckily I didn’t have to wait long to see another concert. The second concert we went to was Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at the Hollywood Bowl. This was another great show.

Two world music acts opened the show: Oliver Mtukudzi and The Sun Ra Arkestra. They were both fantastic and so much fun!

Edward Sharpe was also just fantastic. I’m not as into their third album as I was into their first two but they did a lot of the first and second album so I was a happy girl.

Last major highlight of the summer: Last week was my birthday. That’s right: I’m officially old.

I started out my week long birthday celebration on the Saturday before my birthday. Joe made me homemade chocolate chip pancakes with bacon and mimosas. I even got to look at this cute dog while I ate.

After we went to Raging Waters, California’s largest water park! I had a blast but I was so tired afterwards.

On Thursday I didn’t do anything too special however I did meet up with Eric, Phil and Jessica for dinner the following Saturday. We went to a new restaurant: Louie’s in Mar Vista.

Louie’s is owned by the same people who own North End Caffe in Manhattan Beach. I love North End and my roommate works there AND had tried Louie’s so I was pumped. The owners actually came out to say “hi” which I really appreciated.

I easily decided to drink an old fashioned which is the drink of the moment.

For dinner Joe and I split bacon fries, the short rib po boy and the pork chop special. The prices are all between $4 and $16 and the plates are between being a full plate and a small plate.

The bacon fries were good. The bacon was in the form on a powder that is referred to as “bacon crack”. It was pretty good and Joe loved the tomato romalade sauce that it came with. They also offered ketchup which was cool cause some restaurants in LA are very picky about the sauces they offer. I usually don’t mind this (as long as the sauce is as good as the Father’s Office aioli) but I liked that they didn’t force their sauce on us.

I loved the short rib po boy. It was served open face with arugula, horseradish crème fraiche, and yellow tomatoes on the most delicious bun ever. I would order this 1 million times.

Then we had the pork chop. It was a pork chop with Japanese flavors with bread pudding and cranberries. It was a delicious take on a thanksgiving meal. Usually I’m not that gaga over pork chops but this was probably the most moist pork chop I’ve had… ever. It was off the specials menu.

I really want to try the desserts at Louie’s but it was a birthday party so of course I brought birthday cake! FYI- when you work at Susie Cakes you bring your own cake to your birthday party.

I ordered a 6 inch chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream on the outside and coconut butter cream on the inside. I love coconut butter cream with chocolate and we only do it by special order at Susie Cakes so I was pumped to have the combination for my birthday cake! It was so delicious. There are few food items I love more in this world than chocolate cake from Susie Cakes.

So that was most of the fun things I did this summer (at least the non running parts). I also spent the 4th of July in South Dakota (which is really fun, I promise) and went to a couple weddings. I’m really looking forward to the Fall. I have a trip to SF on the books for September, complete with my first 49er’s game and a trip to Chicago booked for October. Yes, Northwestern football and cider donuts are calling my name. Oh, and I’m running 26.2 miles through Long Beach. Should be a fantastic Fall! I’ll be back with a running update soon I promise.

Welcome to marathon training season

It’s that time again! Marathon training season has begun.

You might remember that I signed up for the Long Beach Marathon a few months ago. I was so burned out on running after Chicago 2011 but I am pumped to take on the challenge of a new marathon. I picked Long Beach because it’s close to home and has a beautiful course. Long Beach runs the same day as Chicago so I have the added benefit of an identical training cycle.

Because I can’t post this photo enough.

Well not exactly. I decided to hold off on starting training until after my 4th of July vacation. I was in South Dakota eating and drinking for a long weekend and knew there was no way I would want to run while on vacation or in the humidity. I had the never ending cold from hell for the entire month of June. I am a bit concerned that I started my training late this cycle. Based on my vacation and how I felt for the entire month of June I know my training would have been crummy. I’m trying to remind myself that where I am in July matters a lot less than where I am in September. Let’s just say I have a healthy level of concern about my training.

South Dakota: big open space, lots of beer.

For my training plan I ended up combining a couple of plans. Last time I used Kelley’s team in training plan. This time I’m combining a bit of what I did for Chicago and also incorporating workouts from the Nike Chicago plan (for 2013) as a guide. I didn’t want to fully commit to an intermediate training plan however I wanted to step up my training a bit this time around. Last time my goal was just to cross the finish line. I used a run/walk method (10:2) for all of my long runs, didn’t time many of my runs or pay attention to pace, and managed to cross the finish line in 5:22. I also didn’t do any speed work. This time around I plan on incorporating speed work, paying attention to my pace on long runs. I want to trounce my prior time and set a big PR this time around. Any PR would be awesome but I would like to run sub 5 hrs.

A few weeks ago I put my time from Rock n Roll Pasadena last February (which I barely trained for) into the McMillan Running Calculator…

Oh McMillan, you seductive temptress… putting ideas in my head.

I would love to run the full that fast and do think I am capable of it, but I’m going to hold off on setting specific race goals until at least early September. I also want to see what kind of pace I settle into for my long runs before making any grand declarations.

As for training: I am currently splitting my time between two jobs (one where I sit all day and one where I stand all day). I also have wonky weekends that run Sunday – Monday unlike the usual Saturday – Sunday that most of the plans are tailored to. As such, I’ve planned to do my long runs on Monday and I have planned out all my long runs leading up to the race. The long runs are critical and I do not want to miss any. I started last week with 6 and I will peak in mid September with my 20 miler.

The only runs I have physically in my calendar are my long runs. All other workouts for the week will be planned out on Monday’s in light of my work schedule and other life things I have going on. While some love a strict calendar, the idea of knowing how many miles I am going to run on a random Wednesday in late August freaks me out and I want flexibility.

Here is how I am breaking down my workouts

Running:

I have decided I will run 4 times a week. I already have my long runs planned for Mondays. I also will be doing one speed work run per week on the track near my house. Finally, I want to get in two more runs, which will be done at an easy pace. For these runs I want one to be on the longer side and one will be shorter. I know this sounds vague. The longer one will be at least 5 miles and build up to 9 miles. I can’t make it every week but I imagine that some of the “longer easy runs” will happen with Run Club. I wasn’t able to go last week or this week but I am going to make an effort to be more regular because I feel like the group pushes me to work harder. The shorter runs will be 3 to 4 mile shake out runs just for fun.

I am going to get into the habit of running with my watch. This way I can watch my pace and have some idea of how I can perform on marathon day. I reread my Complete Book of Women Running from Runners World last month and brushed up on some Hal Higdon advice regarding pacing for long runs which should help.

Swimming:

I’ve been swimming weekly since May and I’ve really enjoyed the diversity that it’s added to my workouts. Plus, I live in Southern California walking distance from a pool and its summer. I plan to continue to swim weekly. Usually I do somewhere between 1500 and 2000 yards per workout and I plan to keep this up as cross training. I can build lung and arm strength and hopefully take some pressure off my it bands and knees

Weights:

I almost never do weights despite owning them. Last week I did an arm burner from Fitnessista in addition to my swim workout. I’d love to incorporate weights once to twice a week. Last time I trained for a marathon I didn’t do any weights. My legs felt strong but the rest of my body didn’t feel strong if that makes sense. Specifically, I felt like my arms were totally lacking any strength. I want that to change this time around. This Nike Chicago plan calls for once a week strength training.

Soul Cycle:

As you know if you follow me of social media, I am addicted to Soul Cycle. Because it is expensive I only go once or twice a month. I’ll probably continue this practice as a form of cross training. Plus, it incorporates weights, which goes along with my goal of keeping my entire body in shape. In addition, I am going to be buying a bike in the next week or so. I plan to do some casual biking just for fun as the summer goes on. Not training really, but still time spent being active.

So how did last week go?

Monday: 6 mile run at 9:23/mile pace

It was hot and I tried to take it really slow but I had new running songs and somehow slow just didn’t happen

Tuesday: Arm burner, 1500 yard swim

I did the arm burner before work and the 1500 yard swim after work. The burner kinda kicked my ass. The swim was great. I did a kick set, a pull set, and then alternating 100 yards easy/hard. Love swimming in the summer time. I’ve found that it’s hard for me to run and then spend 8 hours at my standing job so I’m altering my training plans accordingly.

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: 3 mile run, 10:00/mile pace

I’m still getting to know my neighborhood so I just ran for 30 miles on a new to me random route. So. Many. Hills.

Friday: 3 mile run, with sprints every 1/4 mile.

Short speed work, didn’t time it. Will next week.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Soul Cycle

I took Joe to his first Soul Cycle class. I’m definitely competitive and pushed harder because he was there. The weight routine was easy so I stepped it up to 2 lb weights which makes me feel like I can never go back to 1 lb-ers. Sunny is an awesome instructor and you should take her class if you haven’t already!

Weekly totals:

Miles: 13 (including swimming)

Workouts: 6

Overall I felt like last week was solid considering I didn’t workout the week before. This is not an ideal training week and after searching the #LongBeachMarathon on instagram I got concerned that I was too far behind. Trying to remind myself that it’s only July, I have the advantage of not feeling burned out, and I know (reasonably) what I am doing.

If you want to follow my training, I’m going to try to consistently post on Daily Mile and I’ll probably blog about it a little bit too.

ETA: I went on my 8 mile run on Monday and despite being slightly fatigued from Soul Cycle managed to pull a 9:08 pace out over 8 miles, even splits! I am quite pleased with this progress.

I believe that is about it for now. I plan to update the blog with some notes about training. Not sure if I want to do weekly posts or what. I’ve been slowing down on the blog, as you may have noticed. I just have other things that are taking my attention. I’d rather write when I feel like it and not feel compelled to keep up with some self imposed schedule. I have a good food post going up soon and I have an event at Pinkberry on Thursday that I will write about.

Seasoned marathoners: any advice? I’m always game for more.

Victory Lap

So as you could tell from my last blog post, I PASSED THE BAR EXAM!

Finding out that I passed was the proudest career moment of my life thus far. I worked really hard, twice, to achieve this goal. I had a huge smile of my face for several days after finding out the results and I still look at the screen shot I took of the screen telling me I passed because I can’t believe I really did it. I checked my scores with my boyfriend, drank a bottle of prosecco in celebration, and then went out for drinks and dinner to celebrate. It was probably one of the best nights of my life!

I also made a baller thank you breakfast for my boyfriend.

Behold:

This is my breakfast special: a layer of hash browns, with an egg scramble with onion, pepper, cheese, bacon and sausage topped off with avocado and more bacon on the side. I made a variation for myself that was the same but instead of scrambled I had mine sunny side up which is my new favorite way to eat eggs.

Last week my Dad was also in town on a stopover before going to the Grand Canyon for Memorial Day so we continued the celebration with several meals out at Circa in Manhattan Beach and Pecorino in Brentwood. When I was in high school if I made the honor roll my Father would take me out to dinner. Food is the best incentive ever for me so I obviously strove to make the honor roll every semester of high school. He declared our dinner at Pecorino to be the “final honor roll dinner”. It was nice to be around my old stomping grounds. We even popped into Tavern for a drink.

I was very anxious about bar exam results in the weeks leading up to May 17th. I started to work out more in order to distract myself. In addition to running I expanded my cross training. I start marathon training for Long Beach the week after the 4th of July. My working out hasn’t been focused since February and I definitely haven’t done a “long run” since then. Here is a rundown of what I’ve been up to.

Spinning

Thanks to hanging out with Gillian, I’ve been spinning more than usual. The week I got bar results we met up for a #SoulDate and went to Huckleberry after.

I could not love their brisket hash more.

Over out matching orders of brisket hash we decided to expand our spinning horizons and check out Fly Wheel. Fly Wheel is similar to Soul Cycle in that it’s a very expensive spinning class. However, the first Fly Wheel class is free! Obviously, we were in a Fly Wheel class about 10 days later.

Source

The Fly Wheel studio was very open and bright. The shoe rental is always free which I appreciate. When you arrive at the studio you sign in on computers and there is both cold and room temperature water available.

Gillian and I were attracted to Fly Wheel because of the torq board element. Basically, each bike has a little computer. You can control your “torq” or resistance and you also can see your RPM’s while you bike. The instructor tells you about where you should be in torq and RPM as you progress through the class. At the end of class you can go online and check your stats. There is also a leader board at the front of the room. At various times in class the instructor told us to sprint and put the leader board online.

As a competition junkie, I loved the torq board. It made me push way harder in class. Gillian loves competition as much as I do and for the class we went 1 and 2 on the torq board. Gillian got the number 1 spot. Unsurprising because she is a total badass and just ran Rock n Roll San Diego yesterday (her first) in under 4 hours.

Overall, I enjoyed Fly Wheel. I like that I can track my stats and I loved that the shoe rental is complimentary and how open and welcoming the studio is. The price of Fly Wheel and Soul Cycle are the same but Fly Wheel comes with more free “extras”. Let’s be honest, if I’m spending that much on a spinning class, it’s nice for them to throw in the shoe rental. I loved being able to track my distance and calories. On the whole, I think I like Soul Cycle more than Fly Wheel but I’ve also been doing it longer and have my favorite instructors etc.

Swimming

I’ve wanted to get back into swimming for a while and I finally bite the bullet and bought a swim suit online. I managed to find one at SwimOutlet.com for only $22. I decided to jump on it. Living in Manhattan Beach and South Bay there are tons of open pools with cheap lane swimming. Going into marathon training I want to have plenty of cross training options lined up for myself. Luckily it is pretty inexpensive to swim laps at the pools near my home (think $4). Way cheaper than Soul Cycle. Clearly, I need cost effective cross training options.

So far I’ve checked out the Hawthorne pool and one of the public pools in Manhattan Beach. I’ve loved both! Both are clean, there are always open lanes and they have kick boards readily available. I’m starting to look up beginner swim workouts. I’m not technically a beginner. I swan club at Northwestern when I was in middle school and I played water polo my freshman and sophomore years of high school. I wasn’t super talented, but I enjoyed being in the pool and spending time with my friends. I liked the occasional two a day work outs a lot less. I haven’t swum in a long time so I’m easing back in and looking up workouts online.

Today in fact, I went to the pool and completed an even 2000 yards. I did a warm up, alternating sets of kicking and pulls, a ladder, 200 yards of kicking and cool down. I realized I was going to be 200 yards shy of 2000 so I tacked on the kicking workout because I was so close to 2000.

Anyone out there swim? Any workouts you want to share?

Running

On the running front, I finally went to a running group in Manhattan Beach last week. I ran a mile to the store, 5 miles in my group and a mile home. Holy hills. My legs were DEAD the next day. I usually do not run in groups but I really dug this run in particular. I’ve been struggling to stay motivated, especially on the hills in my hood.

On Saturday I partook in a running and yoga class on the beach with the same running group. We did the run on soft sand which was more challenging than my usual run.

And finally, I am putting together my marathon training plan which will start in July! I’m taking this month to base build. Basically, I don’t want to feel dead after the first few weeks of training and I want to be able to hit the ground running next month. I’m piecing together a plan based on Hal Higdon and Nike. I want to do plenty of cross training and allow of rest days that will work with my schedule. What marathon training plans have you used? Any suggestions?

Russian River Brewery and other highlights from Santa Rosa

Almost a month ago I made my second trip up to Sonoma Country. Better late to blogging about it than never blogging about it, right?

You might remember that I went to Sonoma for the first time last summer. I loved the time I spent there and have wanted to go back since. Last month I had my anniversary with my boyfriend and to celebrate we decided to take a trip with north to drink beer, taste wine and eat. These are our three of our favorite activities so we’re perfect for each other.

We drove up on Friday with the one goal of getting to Russian River Brewery before happy hour ended at 6:30. We were successful and made it in plenty of time!

I’ve wanted to go to Russian River for a very long time. I’ve been a Pliny lover for years and I wanted to try new beer as well. Going to this brewery was on the top of my agenda and let’s be honest, what guy is going to protest his girlfriend dragging him to a brewery? No guy I’d be interested in. The happy hour is an amazing deal: almost all the beers are only $3.75 a pint! That alone, on top of the amazing quality of the brews, was enough to get us in the door.

Round 1 was Pliny the Elder. I also tried Little White Lie before finishing off with another Pliny.

Side note: I got highlights! Do you like?

We ordered beer bites as well. I believe we had the Drew beer bites (with pepperoni and pepperoncini’s) and the Pliny beer bites (with white cheddar and jalapenos). Beer bites are essentially pizza cut into little bite sized pieces. Perfection!

Between the three rounds of beer and the beer bites I was stuffed! Love when I get to eat a dinner that is 90% gluten.

The next day we continued our trip with wine tasting. We mostly kept it local to Santa Rosa. We loved the Paradise Ridge winery. Check out how beautiful the property is…

Everyone we encountered there was so nice and lovely. They gave us a number of recommendations of places to go throughout the rest of the day which was very kind of them. We surprised ourselves and did something uncharacteristic, buying a bottle of sav blanc!

We went to a total of 5 wineries throughout the day. Our other favorite winery was Hook and Ladder. The pours were generous, flavorful (not too sweet, except for the port, obviously) and free of charge. The people taking care of us was really nice, chatty, and laid back. We ended up buying a bottle of the Pinot Noir at Hook and Ladder which I cannot wait to open.

I was pretty relaxed all vacation. How could you not be with all this beautiful scenery?

On the way back to LA we stopped off for mango drinks (which were thick, creamy and delicious. If I could have this for breakfast every day I would!)…

San Francisco

And Tartine, because I cannot enter the city without stopping for a morning bun and a hello to law school bestie, Chrissy.

Road trip fuel.

Overall, it was a very relaxing vacation. Next time I go I really want to hit up the Bear Republic brewery and Lagunitas! Any other suggestions?

This week better be boring & the LA Times Festival of Books

Oh friends, so much has happened since the last time we spoke. Last week was one of the most chaotic weeks I’ve had in a long time. I had a pretty crummy week outside of the bombings on Monday is Boston. In addition, the whole Watertown standoff actually took place 2 blocks from one of my closest friend’s homes. I was totally on edge all day Friday and was so happy when the police were able to arrest the suspect alive. As happy as I was, the whole situation left me feeling bizarrely homesick and emotional on Saturday. I know it’s weird to say you want to be in a place where tragedy is unfolding. I have so many friends left in Boston. I love the city so much. I moved there by choice when I was 18 and I didn’t leave for lack of love.

Compared to what everyone in Boston went though, how I feel is almost nothing. I tried to spend time just snuggling this baby and tried to keep myself busy.

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In an effort to distract myself, I decided to hit up the LA Times Festival of Books on Sunday. I’ve always wanted to go but for the past three years I’ve had finals around this time and just never got it together to go. I definitely needed the distraction on Sunday to pull me out of my funk so I decided to trek to enemy territory (aka USC) to check out the festival.

So here’s the deal: the festival is free (after you pay $10 parking). There are booths with authors, book stores etc. all over the campus. Then there are various stages hosting free events with various authors (more on that later) and finally there are “conversations” on various topics throughout the festival. The conversations only cost $1 to attend! I was perusing the list of speakers and I saw a panel on Guns in America. The panel featured a UCLA Law professor whose class I never took but whose writing I’ve followed, Adam Winker, and Constitutional Law all star Erwin Chemerinsky. The panel was rounded out by Paul Barrett.

The conversation was very interesting. It only went for 1 hour but I wished it went for two. Professor Winkler started by talking about the history of gun regulation and gun culture. Then the discussion turned to the history and interpretation of the second amendment and the gun regulations that just failed to make it out on Congress. The whole discussion was very fascinating and enlightening. All of their books are going on my must read list.

After the panel I made my way to the food trucks. I quickly decided to grab a pork belly burrito from the White Rabbit Truck which serves Vietnamese food. I sat in the glorious sunshine and ate this delicious burrito.

After lunch I walked around in the sun, checked out the booths and bought some discount books.

I managed to snag some awesome books including the Tartine cookbook! I was actually at Tartine 1 week ago (separate post) and I am pumped to dig into the book.

After about an hour of aimless wandering I made my way to the cooking stage. Ludo Ludebvre was doing a cooking demonstration out of his new book Ludo Bites. Ludo is known for his tiny restaurants and pop up dining. I’ve blogged about it before, but I am a huge fan of the Ludo Truck. Ludo made smoked veal tartar.

Don’t know that I’ll be smoking veal tartar in my kitchen anytime soon but it was great to see Ludo work. He made his own mayonnaise which seemed really easy with the help of a food processor. He also said that he could change the recipe from veal to tuna, which I would consider doing. I’m just not too keen on cooking veal. He also did a Q and A after the demonstration. Ludo really likes to cook with butter. Can you blame him? I love French food and his new restaurant Trois Mec is now on my must try list.

Overall, I had a really nice time at the book festival. I wish I had planned more in advance and attended more of the conversations! I highly recommend checking out this event next year if you didn’t this year.

For Boston.

It’s been a hard day.

Almost 9 years ago in the summer of 2004 I made my first trip to Boston. I remember vividly stepping off the T at Hynes Convention Center and into the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston. It was love at first sight. A year later I moved to Boston to attend Simmons College.

As a student I would walk though the city and want to pinch myself. The city of Boston is a truly beautiful place: the cobblestone streets, green grass in the Public Garden, and even the dirty water in the Charles River. I learned all the streets, restaurants, and bars. I studied in the Boston Public Library and shopped in Copley Plaza. I attended Trinity Church and practiced yoga at Bikram Yoga Copley Square. I ate my graduation lunch at Stephanie’s just off Copley Square. Without a doubt, my favorite weekend in Boston was Patriots Day. Usually the weather is beautiful, the Red Sox are playing, people are out and about. Patriot’s day is a holiday and we would always be out and about watching the race. Hell, when I lived in Back Bay I lined Boylston Ave. a block from the explosions and watched the race. Patriot’s Day is the best day of the year in Boston.

A few years later I began running and fell in love with the marathon distance. For those who run, you know the Boston Marathon the way that I do. It’s a runner’s Holy Grail. You have to qualify in order to run. It’s the oldest marathon. It’s a marathon that Katherine Switzer integrated for women in the 1960’s. As a runner the Boston Marathon is a big deal but as a former Bostonian and runner, it holds a special place for me.

That’s why today has been a traumatic day. I wasn’t in Boston but this attack feels intensely personal.

We run marathons to test the human body and spirit. After months of training we take on the challenge of a 26.2 mile course. By the end, with the finish line in sight, we push ourselves with the knowledge that the people who love us and support us are at the finish line. Finishing a marathon is an emotional experience. So much goes into the race and the high at the end is unparalleled.

Seeing the terror at the finish line, blocks from my former home is horrifying and saddening. I cannot see or hear about the trauma occurring to the victims without getting emotional. I cannot hear stories from witnesses referencing parts of Boston I love without getting emotional. I know that if I were still living in Boston I would have been out watching.

However, I am not surprised at reports of runners continuing running from the finish line to Mass General to give blood. I am not surprised at many of my friends posting that they have beds open for those who have nowhere to go. Luckily, everyone I know is safe. Seeing the outpouring of love today has helped make a difficult day a little bit less difficult.

Marathons are about communities coming together to support runners and the idea that amazing feats are possible. Marathons are about celebrating achievement and hard work. They are overwhelmingly happy occasions. I don’t know what else to say. I love Boston. I love marathons. I hold the great hope that the city and the running community will rally around those injured and the families of those killed and the Boston Marathon will be great again.

“Triumph over adversity that’s what the marathon is all about. Nothing in life can’t triumph after that” -Kathrine Switzer

LA Marathon Day + an announcement

Hey everyone!

For most people, Sunday was exciting because it was St. Patrick’s Day. I, on the other hand, woke up bright and early and excitedly drove to my old hood to spectate the LA Marathon!

This is my third year watching the LA Marathon. I watched it two years ago from inside Starbucks to avoid sitting in the torrential downpour that was happening. I had just registered for the Chicago Marathon and I remember thinking to myself, “what the hell have you gotten yourself into?!”

Last year I watched with my friend Chrissy. We both went to college in Boston so we have years of Boston Marathon spectating under our belts. The weather was great and we had a lot of fun.

This year, the weather was great for marathon running. I got there early, met up with a friend and camped out from 8:45 until noon with coffee and New York Bagel. This year I didn’t personally know any runners but I was excited to see the crowds and the elite runners, especially Deena Kastor. I have professed love for Deena before on the blog. This is mostly based on my 100 viewings of Spirit of the Marathon.

Speaking of lady runners, I love the gender challenge that the LA Marathon does. Basically, they start the women 18 mins before the men. That number is based on the average length of time it takes women to finish vs men to finish. The winner of the gender challenge gets an extra cash prize.

Obviously, I was stoked with the lead women went by before the dudes!

Look at her! It’s like she’s just chilling, running a neighborhood 5k. I should note that I was sitting just in front of mile 22. This is the point when people look and feel like death! Aleksandra Duliba zoomed by like it wasn’t anything. She ended up winning, the next women was at least a minute behind her. Then came Deena!

Deena looked like she was hurting a little bit, and she was in third place. Should also be noted, Deena looks like she weighs about the same as a feather. She basically could float to the end.

Moments before Deena came by, the men passed. Unlike the women, the men were in a pretty tight pack and they were totally battling it out which is so much fun to watch.

Neck and neck! I love watching the elites!

After the elites, the other runners started to pass by. I love cheering on marathons almost as much as I love running them. Usually I pick out something about someone’s shirt or their name if they have it on their bib and yell something about that to them. This year, I saw a guy in a Guinness shirt taking a walk break. I yelled at him that he was 4 miles away from a cold Guinness and he started to run again! Success!

Other interesting people to pass me by:

Robin!

This woman in an Irish outfit!

There were a bunch of runners dressed up for St. Patrick’s Day which was fun to watch. I can’t say that I’d ever run a full or a half marathon in a costume, but as a spectator it’s fun to see.

Obviously, there was a ton of media coverage in LA about the marathon. However the best thing I read all week was this article in the LA Times about a judge who helps runners in the Midnight Mission on skid row in downtown LA train for the marathon. I was very inspired by this article. Running can be a transformative experience and this article is definitely worth a read. Thanks Gillian for bringing it to my attention.

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Yesterday was a great day. Every time I watch the marathon I remember how I felt when I finished my first marathon. I love the feeling I had when I crossed the finish line. I felt like I was soaring. The feeling was on par with finishing the bar exam, finishing my first half marathon, setting a PR or graduating from law school.

This past year has been so exciting, but at the same time frustrating. I’ve prioritized the bar exam over running. I wanted to run the LA Marathon but when I found out I didn’t pass the bar, that plan was put on hold. Working, studying and training for a full would have been overwhelming. I was so glad I ran the Pasadena Rock n Roll Half. It gave me the emotional boost I needed to finish my studying strong but I still wished I was able to run LA.

Because my career has been up in the air I had been hesitant to set any solid race plans. What if I get a job and don’t have time to train? What if I don’t pass the bar and decide to retake in July? It’s easy to put off any kind of plan until you have these big questions worked out. At the same time, this uncertainly about career has been going on for almost a year. I could be unemployed for a while. I feel like I’ve been putting things I want on hold. Sometimes it’s necessary. For me, training for a marathon and studying for the bar would have been too much. However, I don’t want to put off doing things that make me feel good about myself and make me feel fulfilled until some uncertain date in the future.

I have several running goals I want to achieve but I haven’t really committed to any of them. Until now.

I’ve been contemplating this move for a while, and I am so excited to make what will hopefully be a glorious return to marathon running on October 13th in Long Beach!

I choose the Long Beach marathon for several reasons. First, I researched the race and almost everything I read was positive. The course is mostly flat, there were a good number of water stations and the race seems to be well executed. Obviously, Long Beach will be way different than Chicago, which is a major city marathon. Nothing will compare to running in Chicago (crowds, supporters, it being my hometown) but I’m excited for a different experience. Now that I live in South Bay, the race is pretty close to where I live. Hopefully I’ll have a bunch of friends watching and cheering me on. Also, for a marathon the entry fee was not outrageous as far as marathon fees go.

The final perk that helped me make up my mind was the fact that there is a half marathon being run on the same course as the full. Thus, if there is a disaster of some kind and I cannot train for the full I still have the option to run the half. I don’t expect that I will need to do this. I take signing up for a full marathon seriously and want to train for the distance. I’ve never really had an injury that has precluded my running a full. However, if I get a job that demands me to work 70 hours a week in August and my training is derailed I still can opt into the half. If there’s a will, there’s a way and if something comes up that derails my training, I’ll deal with it when it comes up.

Overall, I am really pumped to take on this new challenge. I cannot wait to be able to say I run marathons (plural!) I didn’t do any speed work when I trained for Chicago and approached the race with a casual run/walk method. This time, I want to train a bit more intensely and set a real time goal. Because I ran Chicago in 5:20 I should be able to PR in Long Beach if I put in the work. Thank you, countless minutes spent noodling with race pace calculators! Plus, I get to log tons of miles along the ocean front which is one of my favorite things to do right now.

Oh, and I can’t wait for my legs to look/feel this bad ass again.

Congrats to everyone who finished the LA Marathon yesterday! You guys are amazing!