Twin 5Ks

I’ve been feeling sheepish.


Until I got some sense knocked into me. (By myself…)

I’ve run a few 5Ks this month.

I know I’ve talked about how I can’t run the NYC Marathon…but I’m okay enough to run. To do strength training. To go to Soul Cycle, which I’m addicted to suddenly. I can pretty much do anything except yoga, strangely.

I know I made the right decision because my knee and IT band still bother me at times. The last few days have been worse than normal, which doesn’t make sense to me. Bending my leg and holding (like warrior or pigeon poses) bothers me. So do squats. But I still feel like people think I’m making it up (literally zero people have said that, but I SEE IT IN YOUR EYES) because, how can I do all this other stuff if I’m really injured?

Who freaking knows. Still, minor injury or not, trying to train for a marathon in less than 8 weeks is not ideal for me. I know how my body reacts to increases in volume and it’s no bueno. So I’m trying to come to terms with not running my favorite race this year. I’m not quite there yet, seeing as every time I hear or read about it I want to throw a temper tantrum.

Side note: I feel like this injury is connected to my diet in some way. When I eat certain foods it bothers me more…but I have zero evidence to back it up. I keep telling myself I’m going to track what I eat and see if I see a pattern, but yeahhh that hasn’t happened. I’ve been googling inflammation-causing foods. Have any of you ever looked into this? My body has been hating me in general lately so SOMETHING needs to change…I just don’t know what.

Back to running: there’s a bright side! I may not be able to run double-digits, but I’m so lucky to be able to run shorter distances.

A few weeks ago I ran the Jet to Jetty 5K in Playa del Rey. It was on a course I’ve run multiple times; there’s a lot of local races on this same exact course. And every single time I run it I spend the majority of the time cursing myself out. The scenery is beautiful, but we’re running directly in the sun so it’s hot and I can’t see and I sweat so much that my sunscreen constantly runs into my eyes and I spend the entire race wiping my face off and squinting and I HATE IT SO MUCH (#RunOnSentence). In this particular race, I went out too fast, faded in the second mile, tried to pick it up at the end, and basically hated life. Andddd that’s pretty much my entire recap of this race.

Pretttty much hating everything at this moment.

Pretttty much hating everything at this moment.

Jet to Jetty 5K: 27:24, average 8:50/mi

Mile 1: 8:15

Mile 2: 9:20

Mile 3: 8:59

Last .10=:47

And then, there was this 5K from this past weekend, the LA Kings 5K. Being a Rangers fan, I felt like a traitor. But I wanted a race to run so I sucked it up and didn’t clap AT ALL for the Kings players. (Okay, I gave a little golf clap so I didn’t look like a huge jerk. But I wasn’t happy about it.)

I arrived a little early, so after a mile warmup I headed to the starting line with plenty of time to spare. The announcer kept asking us to take selfies with the people around us, so I awkwardly tried to look SUPER busy on my phone so no one asked me. (I am so not fun. I know this.)

I wore a Rangers headband so no one confused my hockey team fan-dom.

I wore a Rangers headband so no one confused my hockey team fan-dom.

It was humid but cloudy so not too brutal. The first mile I felt great, but I started feeling really dehydrated around the first mile marker. I anxiously waited for the water stop around 1.5 and when I got there, I stopped to walk and chug some water. I felt a little better after the break and was thrilled to know there was a (very) slight downhill coming up.

This beach view will always feel new and exciting.

This beach view will always feel new and exciting.

I took in the gorgeous scenery and crossed the finish line with the EXACT SAME TIME as the last 5K I ran. I’m like a wizard or something.

LA Kings 5K: 27:24, average 8:50/mi

Mile 1: 8:34

Mile 2: 9:10

Mile 3: 8:52

last .12 = :47

(BTW are we noticing a trend here? AKA going out too fast?)

la kings 5k race results

Afterwards I sprinted to the nearest coffee shop for iced coffee. (My favorite part of race day!)

So, that’s where I’m at now. Taking it one day at a time. Flying by the seat of my pants. Seeing where the wind takes me. I’m just one huge cliche.

What’s up with you? Tell me: Do you notice that certain foods mess with your recovery?

Sean Brock 10K Race Recap

I love Saturday morning races.

I’ve been finding it really hard to motivate myself to run alone here in LA – especially for longer distances. It’s been hard without the community I had in NYC. I don’t know of many routes around me so I’m constantly running the same paths…alone. I’ve made a few friends via Twitter/mutual friends but A) it’s hard when LA is so huge and there’s not really any useful public transportation and B) it can be hard to find someone your own pace.

Because of this, I’ve been signing up for random races just to give myself a little boost of excitement. Jen actually told me about this one down the street from me. Sadly it ended up not working for her, but I decided to go ahead and run it myself anyway. It was only a couple miles away (same location as the last one) and I couldn’t resist!

That morning, I was seriously debating doing the 5K instead – I’ve been telling myself I need to put in some effort to try and PR in a 5K one of these days – but I really needed the motivation to run longer and figured I should get my money’s worth, mileage-wise.

The race was to support the Sean Brock Foundation, created to honor the USMC captain who was killed in Iraq. The goal for this foundation is to provide scholarships to support the families of fallen or wounded service members. They had a really nice presentation of the flag and the national anthem, and it made me teary-eyed thinking about everything the members of the military have done for our country. (I was so mad that some people didn’t even put their hand over their heart or pay attention during the national anthem.) There were people in uniform at each water station and I tried to thank them all each time I passed, but that even felt almost silly – a small thank you in passing isn’t nearly enough gratitude to show!

They also had a kids run in which they chased a slice of pizza. Literally. It was the highlight of my day.

They also had a kids run in which they chased a slice of pizza. Literally. It was the highlight of my day.

As for the race: it was pretty uneventful, but in a good way. We ran along the water and did a couple out-and-back little loops. Most people did the 5K but there were a lot of walkers so it was a fun atmosphere – lots of cheering for each other! I decided to start off at an easy pace and treat it like a tempo run. Around mile 3 I turned on some more upbeat jams and started thinking about the NYC Marathon, as usual. IT ALWAYS WORKS. Every time I start visualizing it energy just seeps into me. My pace noticeably improved and I was able to hold on to it. Still, by the last mile I was definitely ready to be done. For some reason I was thinking a 10K is 6.1 miles, I HAVE NO IDEA WHY. I realized my mistake at mile 6 and was cursing myself for being dumb…and then the course was actually about 6.3 instead of 6.2 so I was getting rage-y…but as soon as I crossed the finish line I felt fine again.


The nicest 5K/10K medals ever.

I was pleasantly surprised to see my splits. After some thought I started looking through all my old race results, unsure of my 10K PR. I don’t remember ever really “racing” a 10K so I knew it wasn’t anything crazy (my half PR is the same pace and it’s more than double the distance, obviously!).

10K splits

Garmin Connect changed the column order so now distance isn’t next to time. And I can’t change it. It’s DRIVING ME INSANE. Avg pace: 9:07

It was in fact a PR! I feel like I paced it well and was very happy to see negative splits (+ the fairly even splits toward the end).

I don't have many pictures from this race soooo here's a Garmin shot?

I don’t have many pictures from this race soooo here’s a Garmin shot?

I just hope I can continue improving as I prepare for the NYC Marathon!

Ever randomly PRd without knowing? Do you have a great running community where you live? (DO YOU LIVE IN WEST LA AND WANT TO BE MY RUNNING BUDDY?!)

A (2) Week Training Recap

OH HEY. I don’t have a clever way to start this post so I’m jumping right in.

I’m already focusing on pre-NYC Marathon training and maybe a little bit of trying-to-look-good-in-a-wedding-dress prep. I’ve had a great couple weeks of workouts, so here’s a mini recap, in case you like this kind of thing. I personally like to see how people start preparing for races and/or weddings and/or life so I figured I’d share the details on my informal training. There’s definitely not as much running as there should be, considering I have that little race to prepare for and all…but I still have 6+ months to go so for now I’m getting stronger through strength training and HIIT. The formal training will start soon. Okay? Okay.

new jersey beer

Overtraining is no fun. Drink more beer to counteract it. #lifefacts

Monday 4/6: 1 hour in a strength class (Fit On Studios, one of my new favorites) which included weight training, TRX, and about ten 50-meter running spurts.

Tuesday 4/7: 5 mile run, 9:55 per mile average. I barely remember this one.

Wednesday, 4/8: 1 hour in a class at Real Fitness, focused solely on strength stations. I like this class because you do three sets of 10 different strength exercises. In most classes you do one or two max, which I worry isn’t as effective. And they have SLEDS. My favorite.

Thursday, 4/9: 6.1 miles, 10:38 per mile average. SO SLUGGISH. I ran all around the marina in my town and started at beautiful scenery, so that helped. But I felt super tired and am pretty sure I walked during part of it.

marina del rey boats

Still don’t have any friends with boats. Still trying.

Friday, 4/10: 1 hour at another favorite studio, Poise. (Rachel is my favorite. Take her class if you live here!) This class included treadmill sprints and hills + full body strength and some HIIT. SO SWEATY. I’m guessing I ran about 2 miles but it’s hard to track because we get off and on constantly.

Saturday, 4/11: 2-hour hip-opening and backbends workshop at my yoga studio. I learned so much, including scorpion pose! Well, on the wall. Working on it.

scorpion pose

I don’t even know how this happened.

Sunday, 4/12: Run/walk with Bren! WOOHOO! We did a total of 5 miles, 3.3 of them running. So proud of him!

Monday, 4/13: Unexpected rest day – I had to work late. Looking at my week I guess I was due for some R&R, but I was in a groove and didn’t want to lose my momentum so I got super cranky. Sorry if you were in my path that day.

Tuesday, 4/14: 2.55 mile run. 10:23 per mile average. FELT AWFUL. Stomach hurt so I turned around early and called it a day. Didn’t even try to push through. Wasn’t happening.

Wednesday, 4/15: 1 hour in a TRX and slide board class + 4.5 mile progression run which felt AWESOME and perfectly paced. I’m so impressed with myself. I planned to start with a 10 minute/mile pace and drop 30 seconds each mile, which I did until the last mile. (Only 15 seconds faster but I gave it my all.) The last .5 was a cooldown.

progression run splits

Thursday, 4/16: NADA. Glorious rest.

Friday 4/17: Another hour at Poise doing treadmill and strength circuits. Love this place.

Saturday, 4/18: Pepperdine Coastal 10K. I signed up because the starting line was only a few miles from my house and I haven’t raced a 10K in a long time. It was a fairly small group of people – most participants opted for the 5K instead. (The 5K began at 8am and the 10K at 9am. I wish it was the opposite.) There was no shade so I was hot and cranky. I stuck around 9:25 for a couple miles, then to 9:38 when I felt like I was crashing…and then my JAM came on my iPod (some days I’m sick of it, some days I love it more than anything. Weird.) and I started thinking about the NYC Marathon and seeing my friends and crossing the finish line. That lasted a mile or so, in which I ran a 9:15. Thennnn I jumped back up to 9:39 and ended at 9:25. Also annoying, I wore sunglasses (I never wear sunglasses while running) and kept having to push them back up. Lame. I was so glad to be done.

pepperdine coastal 10k finish

finish coastal 10k


Gotta stop that Garmin, ya feel me?

Gotta stop that Garmin, ya feel me?

I’m a little anxious that I have to run a marathon at a faster average pace but let’s not talk about it right now.

Later that afternoon I went to another 2-hour workshop at my yoga studio in which I learned I suck at backbends AKA wheel pose. My instructor thinks my shoulders are so tight from all the swimming I did in the past couple years, but I literally haven’t been in a pool for months soooo who knows.

Sunday, 4/19: REST AGAIN. Went to the Clippers game with Brendan and drank beer and ate fries. Did a lot of snapchatting. (I’m @kararuns729! Find me!) Coolio was the halftime entertainment. Yes, GANGSTER’S PARADISE Coolio. Another great running jam. He sang and I sang and it was great.

Staples Center Clippers Game

Yeahhh we were really early.

AND THAT’S MY WEEK. Did you want to know all that? Probably not so hopefully you skipped to the bottom here. In other news, I spent this Monday morning watching the Boston Marathon and, as usual post-race-spectating, want to go run a million miles. However, I seem to have tweaked a glute muscle so I’ve been resting the past couple days and am upset. I was so focused on getting protein post-workout and recovering properly and then this happens. It’s getting better each day though so cross your fingers I can run soon. KTHANKSBYE.

My Fall 2015 Goal

An old colleague of mine recently passed away from cancer.

I was so taken aback when I learned he passed away. I was certain he’d be fine after treatment. I never realized how bad it was.

I’ve been so overwhelmed with emotion. Rage, mostly. I’m so angry that cancer still steals lives. After finding out, I cried for days. I haven’t seen him since I worked for the Jets, but always kept in touch through his weekly “Go Jets!” emails during football season and his fun Facebook posts…and of course, I could always expect an e-card on my birthday. But still, I felt like I couldn’t stop crying. I feel so much sadness for his family and wonderful wife, because even though I didn’t see them much over the past few years, they seemed to be more in love than just about anyone I’ve ever known. And their smiles were always wide, their positivity always abundant. It hurts my heart.

I can’t take it.

For the previous few weeks, I had been researching charities to run the NYC Marathon with. I’ve raised money for LLS 3x in the past and debated supporting someone different this time around. There are so many options. I wanted to support a friend who works for a charity. I also thought about supporting a charity that gives kids access to running and fitness opportunities, because these types of opportunities changed my life and I believe it’s so important to keep kids active. I wanted to support an animal-based charity because animals need a voice too. But this was a huge push to once again raise money for cancer research, so I began researching all the cancer-related non-profits. Where the money goes is so important to me, so I studied their websites like crazy, looking up margins and ratings and info on all the different programs.

And then, I was watching Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies on PBS. Crying my eyes out for the majority of the program, once again. When Dr. Brian Druker, an LLS-supported researcher/oncologist appeared on the screen, I gasped. I’m not sure why it surprised me, because his contributions are definitely well known in the cancer research realm. He might not be your typical household name, but working at LLS it was. He’s a big deal. I was reminded how knowledgeable LLS is at funding the right research projects and how much good has come from funded research. Case in point: An oral chemotherapy called “Gleevec” was driven by Dr. Druker and took the survival rate of a certain type of leukemia from 50% to 90%.  If you’re interested in his work, here’s a video:

And I know these cures that start with blood cancers are helping patients with other cancers, too. Research fascinates me. And if you need a little hope, it helps knowing there’s promise.

This one with Dr. June (another incredible oncologist) is the most ground-breaking of all. If you don’t watch the other video, watch this one at least.

(And here Emily is today.)

emily whitehead

Age 9

SO, there I was again, wondering what the F I’m doing sitting around doing nothing but complaining about it. I know people hate getting asked for money. Some people love to hate on charity runners. Others think it’s not worth it. Once, a guy told me that if a treatment saved one life, it wasn’t worth the investment. He only wanted to donate if I could tell him it would save X number of lives and compared it to malaria nets, a tangible item that you can count and know how many people are benefitting. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but if we can even attempt to save ONE LIFE, I say let’s do it. You never know whose life that might be. And I want my family, even if it’s 50 years from now, to have a better shot at living cancer-free.

I guess you understand what I’m getting it. My goal is to run the NYC Marathon this year (and go SUB-4 AHHHH) and I’m officially signed up. I also want to make another tiny little dent in the fight against cancer, so I’ll be fundraising yet again with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If (WHEN!) I reach my first goal of $3,500, I will have personally raised over $20,000 in total (since 2008) for LLS, thanks to extremely generous family, friends, and strangers. THANK YOU. I hope you know how humbled and grateful I am for your past support of this very important mission.

Post-Ironman (struggling!) with a list of all my donors.

Post-Ironman (struggling!) with a list of all my amazing donors.

I still struggle with the “asking people for money” part of fundraising at times, but I remind myself that the money isn’t for me and it’s going to help someone who needs it. And if I’m running this much and this far, I need to use it for something positive. And hey, I don’t expect anyone’s support. Anyone can just say “no, leave me alone”. I won’t be mad. I totally get it.

Regardless, I’ll be on Staten Island on November 1st ready to race my heart out. (OH AND PS I’LL BE AN OLD MARRIED LADY BY THEN! CA-RAZY.) I hope that by the end of that day, at least one person is inspired or hopeful or just smiles because they know there’s a whole bunch of people out there trying to help.

nyc marathon finish line

As Phil Dunphy said…”and that’s why I run.”

…and if you want to join me in the race, I won’t be mad. Just saying.

Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon Race Recap

Going in to this race, I had no idea what to expect.

It was my first ever trail race. I knew it was in a super hilly area, but the race director mentioned it was the perfect course for a new trail runner. I couldn’t find a course map, and I know she’s known for her tough races so I was a little skeptical and prepared for hills (mentally, not physically, oops). I knew I’d be slower than normal but also secretly hoped I could randomly pull out something closer to my PR.

Sometimes my optimism is so laughable.

Brendan wanted to come for support (what a guy!) and I was so thrilled to have him there with me. On race morning we arrived at Griffith Park about 45 minutes early. No traffic, perfect directions, super easy parking with lots of available spaces = plenty of time to spare! The logistics of this race were so simple. I just walked up and grabbed my bib and race tank top (TANK TOP! My first race tank top. I think.), downloaded a couple new songs for my playlist, and spent the rest of the time fake-stretching (pretty sure I just did one 2-second quad stretch), chatting with Brendan, and watching the marathon start, which began 30 minutes before the half. Right before the half start the race director gave a mini speech about the course, I gave Brendan a smooch, and we were off! SO EASY. Races like this are fantastic. I totally love the energy and excitement that comes with huge races, but this was a perfect, no-stress small race.

My secret talent is photography while running, FYI.

My secret talent is photography while running, FYI.

Almost as soon as we started there was a set of stairs, so with everyone funneling to the staircase it got backed up. I ended up walking for maybe 3-4 minutes just to get to the top. For the first four miles or so the course was only up or down. I don’t remember anything flat – it reminded me of the running portion of the Rev3 Quassy 70.3. But of course I was all “I’m gonna cruise by all these people walking up the hills so I feel like more of a badass!”. Which basically just shredded my legs and set me up to crash later on. WHOOPS.

griffith park trail half marathon

Easy on the eyes. Tough on the legs.

There were also a couple downhills on which my life flashed before my eyes. They were so steep and because it was all dirt, I was convinced I was going to slip and slide and go tumbling down the hill head first in front of all these people. (REMINDER: Get trail running shoes.) Thankfully I stayed upright but my brain literally felt fuzzy from fear on one particular decline. I was trying so hard to focus on NOT FALLING that I couldn’t think of anything else. Does that even make sense? I can’t explain it.



Around this point I also was thinking about how heavy my water bottle felt and how badly I wanted to toss it off a cliff. It was bothering my shoulder (WTF?) so I kept switching it from my right to left hand, but it felt really awkward in my left so I’d switch it back about 5 seconds later. Great way to spend energy, I know.

I’m running out of captions.

The terrain leveled out for the middle 5-ish miles. BUT there was a portion that was mainly just sand, which is so brutal to run in. On the way out (it was an out and back) I felt okay; actually pretty strong despite feeling so tired. Although, in the back of my head I knew I went out too “fast” AKA didn’t conserve any energy for the second half. We turned around once we reached the second aid station around mile 6.5, and once I reached 7 I felt like I was barely moving. I constantly wanted to walk.  (THIS IS WHY I DON’T RUN ON THE BEACH.) I kept reminding myself that it’s so much harder to get back into a running groove after walking and it would slow me down so much in general. And Brendan was waiting for me. Soooo I kept shuffling along. I started focusing on reaching the girl in front of me and not letting the guy on my heels pass me. I seriously don’t know how I did it. My quads were already lactic-acid-y and I was randomly getting a blister on the top of my toe, which got me thinking about how different trail running really is from road running.

I hate you hills.

I was simultaneously thinking “holy shit this is so beautiful” and also “holy shit I feel like dying”.

Once I reached the third aid station (mile 9.5 ish? I think?) I stopped to drink some water and ended up chatting with one of the volunteers. He said he runs there every day and I was all “YOU’RE CRAZY WHY” but also slightly jealous of the gorgeous scenery and great workout.

At this point the hills started up again. I actually began wishing for hills because I could give myself permission to walk. (EXCEPT when the photographer was there, in which case I’d smile and wave and pretend I’ve never stopped running ever in my life.)

My legs totally wanted to stop moving but I kept shuffling along. When it got super steep I’d walk and text people like Brendan and Jen and my Dad and complain. And then basically sprint the downhill to make up time. Smart.

Just a little different from Central Park.

Just a little different from Central Park.

I like that rock because it looks like a pointy hat.

I like that rock because it looks like a pointy hat.

Once I realized I was a half mile away from the finish, I kicked it into high gear. (“High gear”.) The race organizer was out cheering which was SO AWESOME. It gave me a huge push because I follow her on Instagram and she’s like my new running idol.

I slowed down on the stairs again, but eventually came around the corner to the finish line with a huge smile on my face knowing Brendan would be there waiting and that I could stop running and go drink coffee. A few people cheered, I blew Brendan a kiss, and I crossed the finish line in 2:30:18. BUT MY GARMIN SAYS 2:25:50 so let’s go with that okay? Please?

splits griffith

I know, I know…moving time isn’t the same as actual time. Blah.

Let’s ignore the 13 minute miles and focus on the fact that the last .10 was a 7:25 pace. #HUMBLEBRAG

They had an amazing post-race spread of delicious-looking and it looked like such a fun time…but we left so we could get home and finish cleaning, etc before some family came from New York, YAY! (Brendan’s brother and his girlfriend came to visit and I basically fell asleep at 9pm after we ate tacos. SORRY GUYS.)

And then Brendan made the best scrambled eggs in the history of breakfast.

Yes that is a 1lb Reese's bunny in the background. THANKS MOM

Yes that is a 1lb Reese’s bunny in the background. THANKS MOM

I was on a running high for the rest of the day and totally want to run every trail race that exists now. I’m already planning on training for this same race next year and (hopefully) crushing this year’s time, now that I know how to approach a trail race. Well, a LITTLE better at least.

P.S. The photos from this race were only $4 to purchase. Such a nice change from the $25+ from big races.


Do you like trail running? How much does your time typically differ from a road race? Asking for a friend.

Running Recently

Surprise…I have a RACEDAY coming up! I feel like I’m always getting entries into half marathons at the last minute. One of these days I’ll actually sign up in advance, but once again, I now have a half on Saturday! I won an entry into the Griffith Park Half Marathon from Fit and Awesome. I’m SO PUMPED. I don’t have too much information on it, but I do know it’s all on trails. I thought there would be a million hills because it’s basically in the mountains, but in the interview on that blog, the race organizer says it’s a perfect intro to trail running and relatively flat. Still, I’m pretty sure I’m not prepared for what’s in store. But I know it’ll be really fun. Brendan and I, along with some friends (YES WE FINALLY HAVE FRIENDS) actually went on a hike at Griffith Park once that I thought was going to be 3-4 miles but ended up being about 10. There’s so many miles of trails there. Still, the views of LA are gorgeous and I can’t WAIT to be back there running my 11th half.

Some recent runs:

Redondo Beach St. Patrick’s Day 5K: I had been on an unintentional racing hiatus but while doing some wine-fueled research a couple weeks ago I found a bunch of local races. So, I ran a 5K last Sunday! It was one of the most beautiful races in which I’ve ever participated.

redondo beach 5K

These pictures totally don’t do it justice.

I realllllly wanted to sleep in that day but somehow made it to the starting line. Everyone was decked out in green except me. I was in all black. So festive, per usual.

The race was put on by a local running store and it seemed like such a happy, fun community. It reminded me of the races in Morristown (where I used to live in NJ). I definitely want to join some group runs one of these days. As for the race…it was an out-and-back course along the ocean with a quick portion in a nearby neighborhood added on. I was super dehydrated and had a brutal side stitch in the last mile, but otherwise it was fine. I just breathed through the sharp pain and it subsided after a few minutes.

finish line 5k

What you can’t see is the 9-year old I totally crushed in the finish line sprint. BOOM.

My splits were 9:02, 8:57, 8:47.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 11.10.03 PMLater that day we went to watch the LA Marathon. I was so overcome with emotion. Everytime I spectate a marathon I feel like crying. Happy tears, of course! But they always sneak up on me and I’m all WHY DO I WANT TO CRY RIGHT NOW?! I’m just so inspired every single time. Anyone else?

los angeles marathon spectating

That girl in the white was spritzing runners with water. Totally showed me up with her spectating game.

Track Workout: I also did some speedwork that totally sucked. It was really short, thank God, because I felt like crap. I did a half-mile warmup, 3×400, and a half-mile cooldown. I always think 400s are going to feel better than 800s because they’re just quicker by nature, but NOPE. Just as bad. I was struggling and squeaked out a 1:36, 1:48, and 1:42. Lora only had 3 on my training plan and when I started I was all “I can totally do more, blah blah blah maybe I’ll go for 5 or 6”. But after 3 I was DONE. My stomach was cramping so much so I did a half-mile cool down and bolted.

Orange County Long Run: Jen invited me to run with her on a trail in Laguna Niguel, so I met her early Sunday morning. It was so fantastic to see her again! She moved here from NYC only a few months after I did, and it’s always really nice to see a familiar face. We ran 9 easy, absolutely gorgeous miles, part of which were on trails and the rest on a paved path. It was overcast when we started so it was cool and quiet. I can’t wait to go back. Plus it was so amazing to have some company! The miles ticked away SO quickly; I almost couldn’t believe it when we finished.

laguna niguel

Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park

Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park

So heavenly.

aliso trail

There was one hill and I died. I seriously need to find more hills to run on.

laguna beach brunch

Anndddd the best part…the post-run brunch.

We went to The Deck on Laguna Beach afterwards. I ordered a fancy grilled cheese and it was pretty much the best I’ve ever had because A) it was delicious, duh and B) everything tastes amazing when you’re on the beach. Come visit me in SoCal and I’ll take you. I’m fun like that.

ALSO…the most important news of all…BRENDAN HAS BEEN RUNNING WITH ME. For the past few weeks we’ve been doing run/walk intervals for about 5 miles once a week. I’m so proud of him.


LOOK AT US RUNNING TOGETHER. Ignore my squinty-no-makeupy-eyes.

running on the strand

I also use this time to make him take running pics of me. For the good of the blog of course.

What’s up with you? How’s the running going in your ‘hood?

Running in 2014


2014 edition!

Every year I love writing my “year in running” review based on Miss Zippy’s questions. It’s so funny to look back and see my thoughts on the previous years. (Here are my posts from 2013 and 2012 if you feel like looking back as well.) I just re-read those posts and definitely feel like 2013 was a much better running year for me. Not that 2014 was bad, I just had less going on running-wise. (While the rest of my life was FULL of change.) Soooo…here’s to 2015!

  • Best race experience? Brooklyn Half. My first successful sub-2 half marathon. It was so awesome because A) hello, PR! and B) I pushed through and never gave up and C) I got to spend practically the whole day with Kim, who I can thank for getting me across the finish line in 1:59. The beers post-race weren’t bad either!
My cheeks hurt from so much smiling.

My cheeks hurt from so much smiling.

  • Best run? There’s a totally random run I remember from early this spring in New Jersey when I was just so blissful and happy. I’ll always remember that one because I was actually on a back road singing to myself out loud. (No, I don’t normally do that…) There was another track workout I loved in which I ran about 7 miles total (including a warm up and cooldown), the majority of which was speedwork. (Well duh, why else do a track workout.) It was so hard but I pushed through the uncomfortable-ness and felt SO confident after that run. I always love the track.
  • Best new piece of gear? The only thing I could think of isn’t necessarily a piece of running gear, but I use it for running. My Kate Spade cell phone cover with a POCKET. In NYC I would use it for easy access to my subway pass, but it’s also amazing for going on a run and bringing an ID, credit card, and some money (since I already bring my phone for music).  I love it so much.
  • Best piece of running advice you received? Maybe not so much “advice”, but hearing “you CAN do this” was exactly what I needed. When the seed was planted that I could run a sub-4 marathon, I began quietly believing it. And then I shared it with my (blog) world and everyone was full of positivity. Whether y’all were just being nice or truly believe in me, THANK YOU. Your “advice” to go for it and stop wasting time was all I needed. It may take awhile, but I’m on my way!
  • Most inspirational runner? Going back to KIM! She really inspired me this year and pretty much crushed 2014 by running her first sub-2 half and finishing her first marathon. Her dedication is so admirable!
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? A learning experience.

Some of my favorite photos: 

track workout day

Ashley and I. I will never not have a red face when running.

Post-Brooklyn Half celebration!

Post-Brooklyn Half celebration!

rock n roll los angeles half marathon

My first LA race!

denville tri

My one and only triathlon of 2014. (With Lauren, who just had a baby last week!!)

Williamsburg Bridge NYC

My last NYC bridge run for a while.

Bethesda Terrace NYC

Going-away race in Central Park!


Randomly found this picture, this race day was so fun too!

culver city running

Loved exploring new running routes in LA!

How was your “year in running”?

Random Life Updates

After that big post about my new goal, I totally disappeared from my blog. Whoops. But I’M BACK!

Things going on in my life:

– I’ve been doing a lot of bootcamp-y and high intensity type classes that involve fast treadmill running+ strength intervals. Similar to Barry’s Bootcamp, but a little different. I can tell it’s helping my regular running (hello, speedwork always works!) and now I just need to make it to the track for longer intervals.

– I ran the Mustache Dache 5K the Sunday before Thanksgiving and it was SO FUN. My friend Courtney and I signed up because there was mention of free Lagunitas beer post-race (one of my favorites). And, you know, because it was a race and supported Movember. It took place in Studio City at CBS Studios, and I didn’t even realize the course went through actual TV sets until we got there. Such pleasant surprise! I totally felt like a tourist snapping pics. I took the race easy and finished in 27:53. Afterwards, we enjoyed some beer while listening to the band. They also had that bags game set up (or cornhole, depending on where you’re from) so we played a few rounds of that.  There were so many fun things to do and they all took place in the CBS Studios sets area…production place…whatever it’s called. I thought it was all so cool and I’m not even a big TV person like pretty much everyone here is. OH and there were all these tiny trailer-looking houses where I imagine they like, do makeup or something. (But I have absolutely not idea.) It was like a mini town that made no logistical sense whatsoever. Kind of surreal.

mustache dache 5K

Brendan tells me I was holding the mustache upside down. WTF.

brooklyn nine-nine set

I’m GUESSING this area has to do with Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

brooklyn nine-nine set

I know, I know. You totally think I was in Brooklyn. BUT I WASN’T. Mind-boggling.


Lagunitas had a new beer that was so delicious…but I can’t remember the name of it. Dang it.

– I was offered a new position at the yoga studio I was working at once a week – I’m now their new assistant director! It’s totally different than anything I’ve ever done but I’m loving it so far.

yoga studio

So peaceful. I love this place.

– We had some more friends in town over Thanksgiving. (Who’s next?! We’ve had someone every month we’ve lived here but December and January are looking a little quiet…) I feel bad because I didn’t cook anything and they cooked everything, but then again I don’t think anyone would have wanted me to cook.  It was weird to have a warm-weather Thanksgiving, but we had a wonderful weekend and I’m so glad they were all here!

marina del rey

Our favorite spot on the water. We make everyone come here.

marina del rey

Meet Tommy & Sam! It was about 60 degrees and we were all freezing. Don’t hate me for saying that, everyone in the rest of America.

marina del rey sunset

First Thanksgiving on the beach!

– Lastly, I got a horrible haircut yesterday. It’s too short and I’ll be hibernating as much as possible for the next two months until it grows out. Every time I get a haircut I hate it. It appears that no hair stylists can work with my hair. WHAT’S THE DEAL. Even my freaking ponytail looks stupid and I can barely make a bun.

Anddddd that’s about everything. How was your Thanksgiving? What do you do with a bad haircut that can’t be fixed? Should I invest in a lot of hats?

My Marathon Goal

Since I posted about my “secret marathon goal“, I’ve been feeling a little ridiculous. I’m not important enough to have “secret” goals and the point of blogging is to share these things, right? I guess I thought if I didn’t tell everyone, I wouldn’t have anyone telling me I can’t do it. I don’t wanna hear that. (Although when people tell me I can’t do something, it certainly adds a little fuel to the fire.) I decided to mention it in this interview with Everyday Hero so I guess the cat’s out of the bag. (What does that phrase even mean? Did someone put a cat in a bag once? BE NICE TO ANIMALS.) So, my goal:

Run a marathon under 4 hours.

My PR is 4:38 in the 2013 NYC Marathon.

nyc marathon finish line

I was so elated after this race!

Let me back up. I “consume” a lot of information. It’s a problem. I spend so much time reading and absorbing content and less time actually DOING things. I love learning. Especially now that I have more free time. (I didn’t even realize this was my problem until watching this video. I’m obsessed with Marie Forleo, by the way. All her videos are helpful and hilarious.)

In my “consumption”, I’ve read lots of stories about people who take hours and hours off their first marathon, but then talk about how they didn’t train for that one and were injured and dragging their leg along and walked the last 15 miles and forgot their GU or whatever and I’m all, “That’s my all-out-running PR on a perfect day and I hate you right now”. While still completely inspiring, these stories never particularly move me because even though I know the runners worked hard, I just couldn’t relate.

So as I was scrolling through Instagram on NYC Marathon day this year, I saw a post from a girl who went from almost my exact PR to a 3:59 in one year. I screen-shotted the text of her post because my mindset IMMEDIATELY changed. I could feel the shift and began thinking if she can do it, I can do it. I asked for some tips and she gave me the exact advice I give when people ask ME for tips: believe, get strong, do quality speed workouts and visualize. That’s literally exactly what I do when I have a goal and I’ve already begun doing this for my next (TBD) marathon. This girl inspired me to believe. I’ve been focusing on getting strong for months now and feel stronger than I ever have. I’ve been running faster. And when I’m having trouble falling asleep, I start visualizing myself perfectly executing a race. That’s usually the last thing in my head at night.

ragnar adirondacks

I ran Ragnar fueled on candy corn and one hour of sleep. I can do anything.

That’s how the seed for Ironman Lake Placid was planted. I saw someone who “looks like me” complete an Ironman. Someone who was a complete beginner. This quiet little voice in my head said “maybe you can do it too” and that was all I needed.

I’ve written about this this a lot; how when someone else accomplishes something, it opens the door for you to believe you can do it as well. And as I remember Ashley yelling to me out the car window while I was running my last Ragnar leg, “The body achieves what the mind believes”.


I’ll need help and time, but I can do this. I can run a sub-4 marathon. I’m surrounded by positive, encouraging people and with my support network, I CAN DO THIS. I know I can.

What’s your big goal? What inspires you?

Secret Marathon Goals + Life Updates

After watching the NYC Marathon on Sunday, I became SUPER motivated to run. I actually planned my run for the weekend around the fact that I’d be waking up early to watch the NYCM and knowing I’m always itching to lay down some miles after seeing other people racing. (I also now want to sign up for every race available. Spectating, even on TV, is dangerous.)

My plan worked: As I was running I was still getting updates from the tracking app with the splits of my friends who were crushing it on the streets of New York. And with my smiles came an increase in speed.

marina del rey trail

There are so many secret little trails near me! Love it.


Avg pace: 9:20/mile. I accidentally pushed the “lap” button, hence that random .08 split. It’s driving me crazy.

I guess you could call it a progression run, although I didn’t plan it that way.

As I was running, I was thinking about how incredible it is that by chasing your own dream, you give other people “permission” to chase theirs. I love watching marathons because they’re SO motivational for those on the sidelines. I mean, I teared up watching the NYC Marathon, and I’m really not sure why. It was one of those “why am I even crying?!” moments. I’m so inspired by the guts and determination that marathoners exhibit; I usually don’t witness anything like that in my day-to-day life. A marathon is such a huge platform to encourage change and influence others. I don’t know if I feel that way because I’m a runner and I know what it takes, or if non-runners feel the same way…but it’s seriously incredible.

Venice Beach Bike Path

View on my run. It rained and the mountains were so clear! Normally they’re blocked by smog or whatever gross stuff is in the air.

It renewed my excitement for marathon training and reminded me of a crazy-scary time goal I have. A goal that would require A LOT of dedication and focus and is wayyyy faster than my PR. But I want to believe I can do it. I DO believe I can do it. With time, of course. But I’m still too nervous to write it down and share it with the world. P.S. If you know someone who has taken a lot of time off their slowest marathon time, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE share. I mean, I’ve taken almost an hour and a half off my very first marathon…but can I continue dropping minutes? I hope so…but I’d love some real-world stories as encouragement. As Kacy Catanzaro explained when I interviewed her at the espnW Summit, once you see someone else do what you thought was impossible, it opens so many doors and so many more people will believe they can do it…and then will actually do it.

Now I just need to figure out how much time I need and what marathon I want to make my goal race.

In other news, I started a new job at a yoga studio! It’s only part-time, but I absolutely love it. My breath was taken away the first time I walked in; it’s such a gorgeous studio. We light deliciously refreshing-smelling candles (if “refreshing” has a smell, that is) and there’s an outdoor space with a little fountain that’s so peaceful. The people I’ve met have been so welcoming and kind and I’m really looking forward to spending more time there.

Manhattan Beach California

Even my drive to work is calming.

manhattan beach california

Walking from my parking spot. I think I take a new picture every time I go in.

It’s definitely not enough to pay the bills so I’m looking for something else as well. It’s so weird to not be in a corporate/cubicle-type job. It’s not that I hate working in the corporate world, but I hate that my lifestyle is a lot less healthy when I sit at a desk all day. When I was working in NYC I didn’t move as much and I didn’t cook as much. Now I have so much time to do everything I love, but it does come with added financial stress which is super tough.

I’d love to become a health coach or something similar, but for now I just need to get back on my feet so I can pay bills, wedding expenses, etc. I’m inspired by my wonderful friend Erin who left her corporate job a couple years ago to pursue her passion for fitness and now has an amazing new job that she loves. And it’s absolutely perfect for her. I hope I can make that happen for myself.

Hmmm…what else is new with me?

On Halloween I started the morning with a November Project workout on the beach in Santa Monica. It involved pumpkin tossing and attempting to sprint on the sand which is freaking hard.

november project santa monica

There was also a watermelon involved.

This was my second time attending a November Project workout and I’ve made a couple friends already. I’m excited to continue going! On Fridays they rotate through different locations in LA and I’m bummed because the Santa Monica one was close to the only (I think) Dunkin Donuts here. (Yes, that IS a valid reason to be upset.) They’ve been there for a month and now they’re moving on to a new spot. Ohhhhh well.

Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel

THE FERRIS WHEEL LIGHTS LOOK LIKE A PUMPKIN. Someone had to point that out to me, I didn’t even notice.

Doesn’t the sky look ominous? It rained on Halloween night and I was overly thrilled. I’ve only seen rain once in the 2 months I’ve been here.

Tony P's Marina del Rey

This is what Brendan and I did on Halloween night. I also ate a bag of Kit Kats.

Andddd that’s all the excitement in my life right now.

What’s new with you? Does race spectating motivate you, too? Have you dropped a million minutes to get to your current PR? Do share!

Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon Race Recap

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I ran my 10th half, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon last Sunday!

The race started at 7AM so I left home around 5:15 AM. Even though it only takes 25 minutes to drive downtown, I was worried I’d have trouble with traffic off the exit and parking. I hit no traffic, took a few random turns and found FREE street parking about 1/2 mile from the starting line. It seemed a little sketchy (seeing as I was parked under a bridge in the dark, SMART) but when a couple people in front of me got out of their car with bibs on, I knew I was fine. I was super early so I hung out in my car for a bit and waited for some other runners to walk by so I could non-creepily follow them and not have to walk alone.

Downtown LA, rock n roll los angeles starting line

Downtown LA, bright and early!

There were no lines for restrooms, everything was clearly marked, and the race started right on time. At this point I felt like things were going TOO well and something bad was bound to happen. (Like my car being towed. I was afraid it wouldn’t be there when I got back – but, spoiler alert, it was. I always worry about my car even though I triple check the signs. #paranoid.) Why do I think like this?!

OH AND THE MOST IMPORTANT PART: The ASPCA was the official charity for the race and there were puppies everywhere. I couldn’t be happier.

rock n roll los angeles half marathon starting line

I have no witty caption for this.

I was a little terrified that my back-of-knee whatever it was would start bothering me and I’d be stranded in the middle of LA lost and limping. My muscles were definitely tight and I stopped to stretch a few times (and had a few random freak outs that it was going to get worse) but I survived and was, for the most part, totally fine. I never once felt that I want to be done now feeling and was just loving being out there running. I mean, it certainly wasn’t my best effort (my second slowest time ever, actually, if you’re keeping track) but this was a pretty last minute addition to my race schedule and I certainly wasn’t going for a PR. I just had so much fun. I stopped to take pictures (and tweet occasionally, oops), group texted with some friends from home, listened to the bands along the course, and walked through water stations in an effort to take it easy. (All while paying attention to my surroundings, I swear.)

I loved the course because I got to see a few different parts of Los Angeles. Even though we’re now a Bruins family, it was pretty cool to run through the LA Coliseum.

Running through the LA Coliseum

Boo. But yay.

Why must I always make this awkward face and hand gesture?

Why must I always make this awkward face and hand gesture?

downtown los angeles

I allllllmost felt like I was back in NYC. Almost.

The course was completely flat until about mile 7, at which point I realized A) there hadn’t been any hills and that’s awesome and B) I was currently on a hill. Since I haven’t really been running routes with hills, it felt extra hard. Thankfully there was only one other big hill. Otherwise, the race was flat and fast.

Well, fast for others, that is.

I, on the other hand, was positive splitting every mile. But I had absolutely no problem with that.

view of downtown los angeles from bridge

Running up this bridge/hill sucked, but the view was sufficiently distracting.

Eventually I stopped and chatted with my new friend Courtney who so sweetly came to cheer with her adorable dog Seamus.

cheer squad


I had no idea she was there and was extremely pumped to see her. I had excitedly texted her when I got to mile 11 saying I wasn’t going to crash and burn like I thought I would, and she let me know that she was right up ahead around mile 11.5! It totally made my day to see her and Seamus. She gave me the boost I needed to pick up the pace for the last mile, but as I was coming to the finish I got an annoying side stitch. I haven’t had one in forever and it was horrible! Randomly my Garmin says my 13th mile was 7:33 which is in no way, shape, or form correct. (It had a mind of its own the entire race. Maybe because of the buildings? Who knows.)

rock n roll LA

AGAIN WITH THE POSE. And a photo bomber.

My watch tells me I ran 13.7 miles total in 2:18:43 for an average pace of 10:07, making this my second slowest (but SO FUN!) half marathon.

rock n roll la medals

A woman stopped me to ask if she could see my medal, and then goes: “So, everyone gets one? You don’t have to win?” Nope, lady. You certainly don’t.

AND THEN…the best part. The finish festival. With free beer and wine and music! It was beautiful and warm and such a perfect end to the morning. Courtney, Seamus, and I hung out for a while and soaked up the California sunshine.

Staples Center Los Angeles

Post-long-run perfection!

pumpkin puppy


rock n roll los angeles music

That guy with the big head thing smacked me in the face with a feather while running. Just FYI.

What’s even better is that I felt fantastic afterwards. A little soreness the next morning, but my knee actually feels better than it did before. Was it fake-taper crazies? Maybe. But I’m so glad my legs feel back to normal! 

All in all, I 100% recommend this race and hope to be back next year!

Do you like to race for fun, or do you prefer to go all out every time?

Oh and PS, I finally found the Geico Gecko.


I don’t even care that this looks like a stalker photo. He’s just so cute.

NYC Marathon Tips

The other day I wrote an email to my friend Kim with some of my tips on running the NYC Marathon. (Go wish her good luck!) I’ve run it twice and have a lot of random thoughts about it, so I figured I’d share some of them here. Hopefully someone will find this helpful! (Or not. Whatever.)
  • Take time this week to lay down and think about what your morning will look like. (Wake up by X:XX AM, what you’ll eat and drink, the steps you’ll take to get to the start, waiting at the start line, etc.) If you think it might help, write it all out so it’s second nature on raceday. (I think it helps but I also have anxiety about being disorganized. I’m fun.) Write down a rough plan for when and what you want to eat/drink on the course too. It might not go that way (you body will tell you what’s up!) but it’s good to have a general idea.
  • Don’t bring a ton of stuff to the starting line. It will just be annoying and weigh you down.
The first year I ran it I brought all this crap. I used approximately 12% of it.

The first year I ran it I brought all this crap. I used approximately 3% of it. Really Kara? 5 bananas? 3 Gatorades?

  • I needed some throwaway pants and a sweatshirt, gloves, and a headband. Some people bring a blanket or an old heat sheet to sit on, but honestly I was fine just sitting on the ground. Bring a throwaway water bottle, breakfast, whatever you’ll need to stay hydrated and keep from getting hungry while you’re waiting. (Although I could barely choke down half a peanut-buttered bagel because of nerves/excitement.) I brought hand warmers but didn’t use them. If you’re checking a bag, make sure to pay attention to when it closes. I missed my bag check. (GUESS I FORGOT TO WRITE THAT ONE DOWN.) But FYI even if you miss it, you can still take your bag and leave it on the “last minute” table and they’ll put it on the right truck (at least you could last year. Don’t plan on this though.). Crisis averted.
  • Get to your corral early! Don’t wait or you’ll risk getting shut out of your wave like I did. (UGH.) For me this part was really hectic so make sure you give yourself enough time to get to your wave start. Keep your warm clothes on and toss them to the side of the bridge when you start.
verrazano bridge, starting line of the NYC Marathon


And then…you’re starting the NEW YORK CITY MARATHON! Not many people get this incredible experience and this small moment of excitement and apprehension is over really quickly. Soak it in, girl! (Or guy. Whoever you are.)
  • My strategy was roughly to run the first 10 miles super easy. Like painfully easy. So slow that you’re just itching to speed up. For the next 10 bump it up a little faster, and the last 6.2 just crush it (whatever that means for you at the time).
  • You’re most likely going to want to speed way up at the beginning, especially when you come into Brooklyn. Brooklyn is totally underrated. The crowds are AWESOME and I wanted to sprint through. Rein it in!
  • At some points in BK it might get more congested because the roads are smaller and the crowds are pretty big; try not to weave in and out of people constantly if you can help it.
  • Your watch will probably go crazy on the Queensboro Bridge; mine did and those couple miles were definitely off. The paces/mileage will be so wrong but they’ll adjust themselves once you’re off the bridge. Still, I actually love this part because it’s so quiet. No spectators, just the sound of feet. You have time to collect your thoughts and think about the upcoming miles. And then you’ll start hearing the crowd on the streets below…
  • Enjoy 1st Avenue! I just smiled and waved a lot. You’ll want to speed up here because of all the excitement, but just remember at the end of 1st Ave it gets much quieter. You’ll probably want to conserve a bit of energy for that lonely-ish portion.
  • Around mile 20 I saw a sign that said “f*ck the wall” and I started repeating that to myself. (SORRY MOM & DAD.) It put me in an attitude that was like, YES I’M AWESOME I’M GOING TO DOMINATE THE REST OF THIS RACE instead of getting down or succumbing to negative thoughts because I was tired and this is a notoriously tough part of any marathon. The fact that I started out super slow really energized me…and feeling energized is SO MUCH BETTER than feeling like crap. It feels amazing to be running past the people around you and to have spectators yelling how great and strong you look, as opposed to shuffling along miserably.
nyc marathon mile 20

I love this picture because it was taken at mile 20-21 and I’m not faking this smile.

  • 5th Avenue is another amazing part of the course with lots of spectators. If you’re running with music, TAKE YOUR HEADPHONES OUT when you get toward the end of 5th Ave, or at least when you go into the park. Seriously. Just listen. It’s the best feeling and even though it was getting super tough, I simultaneously didn’t want it to end. Soak it in! At this point I was just looking forward, focusing on putting one foot in front of the other and repeating to myself to stay strong.

Last year, this was one of the best days of my life. I’m so excited for those of you running. Stay positive. You’re going to rock it.

Are you running the NYC Marathon? Let me know so I can stalk track you and virtually cheer you on!

Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half: Pre-Race!

This Sunday is the Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon (benefitting the ASPCA! Yay animals!).

My little pal, Wyatt. He lives in Iowa. I miss him so.

My little pal, Wyatt. He lives in Iowa. I used to be Wyatt’s best friend but he replaced me with my Dad, which is a little hurtful. It’s still a sore subject.

Half marathon # 10 for me! I’m so thankful to have a race to focus on. I feel more like my old self. The night before a race, race morning, running, crossing a finish line…that’s my jam. Plus, I get to run through a part of Los Angeles I’ve never seen before. I’ve been sticking to the west side and haven’t really ventured downtown yet, minus my visit to the expo with my friend Courtney. (I think the course is downtown…ish. I should check on that. Minor details.)

Los Angeles Convention Center, downtown LA

Palm trees always make a photo better, amiright?

rock n roll la half

Just me and my guitar player friend.

I at least know the starting and finish lines are around here because we saw everything getting set up.  I feel better now that I (sort of) have an idea of where I can park. Parking, for me, is the worst part of race morning. Especially if you’re not familiar with the area and road closures. I mean, I can drive anywhere in New York City without a problem, but put me in a new city on race morning and I’m all crazy.

rock n roll los angeles

The Staples Center is on the left. Not a bad place to finish a race! I’m already excited for my free beer.

Rock 'N' Roll LA Course Map

This map means basically nothing to me. I have no idea where anything is in this city. All I know is it’s a couple different out and backs. I think.

Anywhoodles, I think my favorite part of the expo was the guy dressed as the Geico gecko. I just love him and his adorable little face. (The cartoon. Not the guy in the costume. I don’t know what he looks like.) I didn’t take a photo with him because I prefer to not stand in line with 7-year-olds and, well, he’s a cartoon character…but I wanted to.

They did give me this sweet bag with his picture. And t shirt

They did give me this bag with his picture, which is super helpful because they charge you 10 cents per paper bag in California. That was quite the surprise. And here’s an awkward picture of me in the race t-shirt. It’s an actual tech shirt and I really like it, but no one is here to take my pic. Hence the weird selfie. You’re welcome.

My race goal is pretty much just to finish and have fun. And find a friend to have my free beer with. (DID I MENTION EVERYONE GETS A FREE BEER AT THE FINISH LINE? This is why you run races.) Ever since I fell in Runyon Canyon I haven’t been feeling 100%. I’ve been feeling…something…behind my right knee. It’s not painful per se, but when I fully extend my leg or twist and put pressure on it in a specific way (I’ve been testing different movements. I should prooooobably stop that.) I feel some soreness. I also have the biggest knot near (on?) my IT band, so perhaps that’s the culprit. UGH. Injuries are the worst and the mere thought of them makes me all rage-y. Like the diligent little runner I am, I’ve been focusing on stretching and foam rolling. I’ve done a few extra yoga classes (too many, my shoulders are soooo sore) and have been heating (icing makes it hurt, what’s that about?) but I’m still a little iffy. I took a couple days to rest completely, which SUCKS, because I just wanted to get outside and get moving. I’m feeling much better today but am still slightly nervous I’m going to get stranded on the middle of the course with no way to get home. Not because I’m currently in pain, but because you just never know what your body’s going to decide.

My last half marathon which was perfect and wonderful and a PR. Ahh the good ol' days.

My last half marathon which was perfect and wonderful and a PR. Ahh the good ol’ #sub2 days.

I’m totally okay with run/walking it and taking it easy; I just don’t want to do any more damage. It’s frustrating because I’ve been focusing a lot on building strength and staying flexible. Lots of strength classes, high intensity, lower intensity, functional training, yoga, and of course running. Did I do something wrong, or was it really just the fall on my hike? Do I need to get better at recovery? Nutrition? SOMEONE TELL ME. I guess this is just another learning experience that will help me in the future, right? RIGHT?!

Annnnd that’s my dramatic saga for the day. I’m gonna go put on every piece of compression gear I own and work on my playlist. Whatchu up to? Know any good jokes? Gimme some! 

10 Miles + A Visit From Family

You know what’s good for the soul?

Visits from family.

Brendan’s brother Dennis and his girlfriend Katherine were in town for a few days and we’ve had the best time. It’s so nice to have family in town to explore with. Sadly they left last night and now I’m lonely and have no one to force me to leave the couch during the day.

venice beach

Here they are! Hi guys.

I really didn’t make any effort to work out from Thursday through Sunday. (The beach was calling.) But on Monday morning I finally convinced myself to wake up early and beat the heat to run the miles I had been skipping out on over the weekend. I ran along the beach and sang to my iPod and enjoyed the quiet of a Monday morning in Southern California.

Manhattan Beach running path

All to myself!

rowing team

I creeped on the rowers a little bit. But doesn’t this look so peaceful?!

I ran an easy 10 miles, and let me tell you, it feels pretty dang good to be back in the double digits. Here’s the data if you’re into that sort of thing.

10 miler splits

Average: 10:20/mile

In mile 9, Below My Feet by Mumford & Sons came on and all of a sudden I just felt like crushing it. I started picking the pace up as much as I could. I was sure I’d get a mile in the 8s but considering I haven’t been training for speed I’m not too upset.

Oh, PS did I mention that Competitor Group offered me a complimentary entry into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon on October 26th?! Since I’m exploring LA as a new resident, I figured what better way than to run a race through the city, so I reached out and they liked my idea. So amazing. I’m thrilled to have another half marathon back on my schedule. It makes me feel much more like myself. So, I’ve been bumping up the long run distance – last week I ran 8 miles and this week I went for 10. It boosted my mood so much. My muscles were definitely tired when I finished – you know, the feeling one gets after a long run – but otherwise I felt good. I just felt like I needed some foam rolling, which I seriously need to get better at. (Please someone come over and make me do it daily.)

And then I fell down a mountain.

Well, more like a small hill on top of a mountain. Coincidently the day I posted about my first trip to Runyon Canyon, Brendan, Dennis, Katherine and I decided to take another trip out there. We were hiking and yoga-ing and gushing over the view and taking photos…

yoga in runyon canyon

HOW ABOUT THAT SHORTS TAN LINE?! (Dennis, here’s your photo credit.)

runyon canyon

6 years and one day from our first date!

…and when we started walking back down and some guys were behind us and I felt rushed and then clumsy me slipped down the hill. My knee went first, my ankle twisted behind me, and now I’m laying on the floor in our living room with an ice bag on my back-of-knee. It doesn’t hurt normally; only if I twist my leg into a specific, random position. Naturally I keep doing it to check if it still pinches, which probably isn’t the smartest idea.

I’m hoping it’s the lesser of the two evils and that whatever the muscle is is just over-tired from running and hiking. If I’m out of commission, I seriously don’t know what I’ll do. (Yes I do, I’ll cry my eyes out and whine until it stops.) But let’s not focus on that, mmmkay? I went to yoga at Exhale today and all was well, so I’m cautiously optimistic.

I’ll leave you with a gorgeous sunset photo from last night. We sat at the beach waiting for the sun to sink into the ocean but it was randomly cloudy for like, the first time ever in the history of Southern California. So we started walking away. And as we were leaving the beach we saw this scene that pretty much looks exactly like a painting:

southern california sunset


Enough about me, tell me about you! What’s the next race on your schedule? 

A Random Assortment of Runs

I haven’t talked to you all in so long. I really have missed you, I’ve just been so preoccupied with 1) packing up my life in NJ 2) Traveling to Iowa 3) Being in my BF’s wedding 4) Moving across the U.S. of A. 5) Officially becoming a California resident.

So I’m gonna back up a few weeks and share some of my really great (and not so great) NY/NJ runs that I’ve been wanting to tell y’all about.

#1: 29th birthday run

After tacos and wine with Beth, I decided I couldn’t not run on my birthday. When I got home around 9 PM I headed out for a carefully chosen 2.09 miles. (I was aiming for 2.9 but hey, I didn’t have the best pre-run meal.)

birthday run splits

Is that an 8? I haven’t seen that in awhile. #BirthdayLuck

#2: Brooklyn Bridge run

I decided to go on my last-for-now sunset Brooklyn Bridge run one night after work. (Spoiler alert: I ended up running it again.) It was contemplative and nostalgic-feeling and everything I hoped it would be. I took a lot of pictures.

NYC, you gorgeous city, you.

You gorgeous city, you.

Considering I was dodging tourists the entire time, I was pleasantly surprised by my splits.

brooklyn bridge run splits

#3: Random long run when I got lost

I dropped my car off to get an oil change and then ran to find the location of the Warrior Dash in Morristown because a friend was participating. I ran toward the park and followed all the cars going into the parking lot. I ran all around looking for the actual course. I was unsuccessful. I did end up getting lost, walking, and having to conquer a hill with 160 ft elevation gain over the course of a mile. Oodles of fun. Post-run I sat at Starbucks while my body told me I wasn’t quite ready for a 6.5 miler. I hadn’t been running “long” distances AT ALL.

starbucks iced coffee

This is my attempt at an artsy photo that illustrates how thirsty I was. Also: pineapple coconut water. Thumbs up. Ask for it over ice.

long run splits

#4: Run when all the town’s drinking fountains were turned off

I always share my good runs. I need to share my crappy ones too. Social media tends to be a highlight reel of all the awesome things happening in someone’s life. Yay! I love the positivity! But when it comes to blogging, especially fitness blogging, I think it’s important to share the good with the bad so people understand that everyone is always climbing a figurative mountain. I hate to see people get discouraged because they’re comparing themselves to someone else who seems to have the most perfect runs/workouts/what have you every day. When really, those people are dismissing the crappy stuff, because who wants to see that? Well, I think it’s necessary. Here’s my lazy, humid, cranky positive-splits. My effort level was at, like, an 8. I felt like I was sprinting. And seriously, why are my (old) town’s drinking fountains NOT ON IN AUGUST?!

run splits

#5: A two-bridge run

On my very last day of work, my coworker Meghan (Hi Meghan!) convinced me to join her and a couple friends on an easy run from downtown NYC, over the Williamsburg Bridge, and back over the Brooklyn Bridge. It was an absolutely gorgeous night and we passed the time by chatting and taking in the phenomenal views.

My first Williamsburg Bridge run. So glad I checked it off the list before I left!

Are those soda cans above our heads? Totally didn’t see that before.

Naturally I couldn't get a signal for awhile  so the actual distance was about 8.5 miles.

Naturally I couldn’t get a signal for awhile so the actual distance was about 8.5 miles.


#6: My last NYRR race for while AKA the best but saddest day ever 

I somehow convinced some friends to run the Join the Voices 5 Miler. In Central Park. In August. It meant the world that people actually showed up to run with me. We took it easy and I crossed the finish line hand-in-hand with Beth. Is that not the best race recap you’ve ever read?

It was just a little hot. We were just a little sweaty.

It was just a little hot. We were just a little sweaty.

And then we took a series of jumping pictures.

GB had a little trouble...

GB had some trouble…

AND THEN we went to brunch.

The lady on that truck totally photo-bombed us.

Couldn't love them more.

Couldn’t love them more. I also couldn’t open my eyes, evidently.

And ate ice cream.

Duh. What else would we do.

Duh. What else would we do.

Annnnnd detoured to help Beth buy a mattress.

That's not what you do on Sundays?

That’s not what you do on Sundays?

I ended that day visiting Brendan’s family, eating a huge slice of NJ pizza on my porch, and taking one last evening stroll through town.

Beautiful Morristown.

Beautiful Morristown.

I officially left New Jersey last Monday and headed to Iowa for a week. I’ll fill you in on that later because I know you’re dying to know.

What’s your favorite post-run activity? Do you like to read about bad runs or would you rather just get the details on the good ones?