Los Angeles Trip and BIG 5K Recap

So this was technically Week 1 of Brooklyn Half training (3/12-3/18) but I was also taking a trip to LA with Gabby and didn’t manage to get in any runs before I left Wednesday 3/14. So this is mainly about our hikes and run in LA and all the things we ate!

We flew in early Wednesday afternoon, dropped off our stuff in Hollywood, then headed in a very long car ride to Venice Beach.

It was so nice to see and smell the beach! We then had dinner with some friends of mine at A-Frame, Roy Choi’s Hawaiian outpost in nearby Culver City. No pictures because we were starving but we had loaded fries, two kinds of spam musubi, Brussels sprouts, and crispy chicken.

The next day, we took off on a Runyon Canyon hike. We took what we thought was the main route but then realized we were on the Eastern side of it. We figured out that we could keep going around the rim and back down but we had no idea how steep it would be.

Making new friends on the way up

We made it! It was 2.8 miles roundtrip and 740 feet of elevation gain.

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Taking a chill break on the way down

After showering (I got some mud on my hiking leggings from bouldering and scooting down), we got some delicious ramen from Urban Ramen, bought snacks at Ralph’s, then walked to Hollywood to see the sights, namely the walk of fame and Mann’s Chinese Theater.

Oh, and some churros. Later on, I had dinner with a friend at Bowery Bungalow, then ice cream from Scoops in Silverlake.

On Friday, we headed to Universal Studios Hollywood. I was excited to see their version of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter after going to the one in Florida in January. It was almost exactly the same, down to the butterbeer (hot, cold, and frozen). We did the hour-long studio tour, which was super cool because I got to see Jaws in action and see the set of recent favorite The Good Place.

Plus, huge donuts at Simpsons World/Springfield.

We hit up the race Expo on the way back and got to see some more of Downtown LA. I got street tacos, finally (was on the hunt after seeing the LA taco episode of Ugly Delicious). And it rained, which we were totally prepared for in our hooded jackets and umbrellas.

On Saturday morning, we ran The Big 5K, which is sponsored by Big 5 Sports and is affiliated with the Los Angeles Marathon (the next day). We signed up sort of on a whim, figuring that we were in town anyway and it would be a fun race. We didn’t look up the course profile until the day before the race because they didn’t really highlight it on the website. Now we know why. There were some brutal hills, especially for this relative flatlander. It starts off in the parking lot of Dodgers Stadium, then around nearby Elysium Park.

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According to Strava/Garmin, you are climbing for 33% of the time. Most of the first mile started out great and I was on pace for a PR. There was a slight downhill coming out of the parking lots, then boom, climb #1 just before 1 mile. I chugged my way up and hoped that was the worst of it. But of course, what goes up must come down. Then back up again. Then down. Then up.

My grade adjusted pace for the first mile says it all; I went out hard then couldn’t hang on. Around mile 3, I got to laugh with other runners at what felt like an onslaught of hills. But I was pretty bummed that I couldn’t handle the hills.

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Glad to be done

 

Gabby and I grabbed our medals and snacks (she got the swag bag, I passed on it not realizing I could have had another Clif Bar). Then it was time to eat! I tried a pastrami egg and cheese burrito as well as a smoothie from some food trucks that were there. I was tempted by the taco truck too, of course.

We took a Lyft home, showered off, then headed back to Runyon Canyon for a gentler hike. We took the easy, paved road up this time then came down on the east side (where we had headed up on Thursday). It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday and so many people were out! It was impressed to watch all the runners, but we had a good time taking it easy and recovering. Lots of foam rolling that day! We had Korean BBQ bowls on the roof, coffee from nearby Blackwood Coffee, then I met with my friend Gina to hang out with her pup Riley and get donuts from California Donuts.

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Runyon Canyon Ups

Before we headed to the airport (I had a red eye), we stopped off at a mural that Mabelle had wanted to check out. And it’s right next door to See’s Candy factory and store.

Then I spent the extra time before my flight screaming at the Houston-Michigan basketball game and eating chilaquiles. I missed out on all the NYC Half action, but I’m going to enter the lottery for next year.

Mileage: 3.6 miles of running, most of it spent wheezing up hills. 4.6 miles of beautiful, sunny hiking.

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Pre-Training for Brooklyn Half 2018

Me: “I’m going to take my current weekly mileage and add just 3 miles each week for four weeks to build to the perfect starting point for Kara Goucher’s 10 Week Half Marathon training plan by March 12 (10 weeks out from Brooklyn Half).”

Also me: Hates running in snow and slush, loves sleeping in, prone to AM intestinal distress and lethargy, traveled to Boston during a Noreaster, underwent personal tragedy in early March.

After 3 very down weeks in January and February, I did indeed start a slow, safe build-up to the high 20’s/low 30’s from the very low 20’s. There were some mild aches and pains, and I was convinced that my sore foot meant I had Morton’s Neuroma. I missed a run here and there on the 5x/week plan, but am feeling good overall.

I’m still looking for a March 5K and April 10K as tune-ups. I had originally thought about racing another Half Marathon in March, but they kind of snuck up on me and my long run mileage is only around 7 miles. Why try to race one when I’m not happy with my volume yet? Speedwork has been going well and I’m seeing lower times on the treadmill and around the park, though I’m keeping my easy pace well into the 10:xx range. I’m also cross-training decently at the gym and with coworkers. I can now do full-body pushups with good form! Not many, but a few.

2/19 – 2/25: 24.8 miles. I raced the Al Gordon 4 Miler which was my first NYRR race ever back in 2015. I got a PR of 33:47 (8:27 pace per mile) but had very uneven pacing. Super slow first mile up the hill, too-fast miles 2 and 3 down the hill, then a struggling final mile over the mini hill to the finish on Center Drive. Looking at my hill grade adjusted paces below though, I guess it wasn’t so bad after all.

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Finishing Kick

2/26 – 3/4: 25.6 miles, including Mile High Run Club’s The Distance and a run around Boston. The Noreaster largely kept me confined to the hotel gym, but the treadmills there had video footage of running around New Zealand and Hawaii, so I stayed fairly entertained. I was hoping for a run along the Charles River or to do Jamaica Pond’s Parkrun, but the latter was cancelled due to the wind and rain. I got to run along the Muddy River and Boston Common on Saturday morning with friends and end at the Tracksmith store. I was too sweaty to try anything on, though.

3/5 – 3/11: 15.8 miles. Ah yes, the week where my chickens came home to roost, in terms of life things and grief and puking my guts out. Managed to get in some easy Prospect Park loops and a few on the treadmill when I couldn’t stand the winds, but no long runs.

also there was snow. I did do PPTC’s International Women’s Day Run but skipped the post-run food in favor of getting groceries.

Other January and February Running & Food

I took a few weeks mostly off running after the Austin 3M Half. So this is mostly going to be a food post! I know that’s y’all’s favorite anyway,

1/22 – 1/28: I had a few easy runs but was definitely sore for a couple of days after the half and the shakeout. 17.8 miles total. I also used my guaranteed entry for the Brooklyn Half in May. It’s my current half PR (1:58:54), though I didn’t race one in fall during marathon training. I’m of course hoping to shave a few minutes off of it, depending on how training goes.

I led the 10 minute mile pace group at the PPTC new member run for 6 miles. We ended it at Dekalb Market Hall, which I’ve been to at least half a dozen times. I have a few favorite stations (name jian bing with scallion pancakes) but love trying new dishes as well.

Me and some of my hardy pace group at the end

I ended up trying the namesake Doner Kebab from Kotti Berliner. It was enormous and delicious and super messy. The boyfriend’s super healthy roasted veggies and chicken are in the background. He was detoxing from the (unpictured) cookies from Chip at Gansevoort Market AND the two types of red velvet cake the day before.

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1/29 – 2/4: A week of desserts (and a nice cold loop of Central Park on Saturday). I had cakes and pie (green tea and Earl Gray crepe cakes from Lady M and matcha custard from Four and Twenty Blackbirds), more matcha crepe cake at Patisserie Tomoko, and cereal-blended ice cream from Milk and Cream Cereal Bar.

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2/5 – 2/11: I only ran once! I donated platelets on Tuesday after work and volunteered at the Empire State Building Run-up on Wednesday, so I earned $50 in race credit to use with NYCRuns. I’m still trying to pick out a spring 10K to use as a tuneup for the Brooklyn Half or maybe a 5K as well.

Savory meals included Peruvian roasted chicken, Korean fried chicken and japchae, barbecue eel bento box, and the breakfast ramen + char siu pancakes at Talde. I’m trying to rein in my portion control now that my mileage is lower, but it’s hard!

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2/12 – 2/18: On Monday, I brought in Fruity Pebbles marshmallow cookies to work. Then on Tuesday, I teamed up with a coworker to get some packzi from the Polish point of Greenpoint. We got a variety of fillings, from raspberry jam to Boston cream to rose jam. And this was after having a few supersize bao from Great Northern Dumpling in Flushing.

Nothing says romance like undercooked red meat. We went hard at Gallagher’s Steakhouse. Prime rib, oysters, filet mignon, coconut cake, and more.

It’s been all restraint since. I got back on my running game a bit, logging 21.7 miles for the week over 4 days of running. This included a 3.33 mile loop of Prospect Park as part of the Cherry Tree 10 Mile Relay with my teammates/friends The Crystals. Yes, they’re both named Crystal.

 

Austin 3M Half 2018 Training Weeks 9 and 10

After hitting a one-week mileage PR 12/29/17-1/5/18 of 39.5 miles in 7 days, my training motivation slipped and my planned 2 week taper kind of became a 3 week one without a final long run. Whoops!

Week 9: 11.2 miles over 3 runs. Final “long” run of 5 miles, where I found some money. I also ate some really delicious things with my friend Lori on account of her instagram @girleatsnyc.

Banh Mi and Chicken Poutines at 375 Fries

Donuts Galore at Stax Ice Cream

Ube Ice Cream in a Fruity Pebble and Condensed Milk Glazed Donut at Stax

Week 10: My travel began to Austin for the Half. But first, Disney World! And Universal Studios! I ate everything.

I walked around a lot in Orlando but didn’t hit up the fitness center. I did eat Mickey ears ice cream, Dole Whip on top of pineapple upside down cake, and half the menu at Le Cellier steakhouse in EPCOT Canada.

Dole Whip made even better with pineapple upside down cake (had this twice in a day)

Dumbo Forever

Ears and more ears

I flew from Orlando to Austin on Wednesday the 17th, just missing an ice storm by a day. I did a shakeout run on the hotel treadmill once in Austin but hadn’t brought enough cold-weather clothing for their surprise post-ice storm cold snap.

Austin 3M Half Expo

Getting our bibs at the Expo

I also ate a lot of queso and brisket.

Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ

Torchy’s Tacos Visit #1

Banana Pudding at Holy Roller

17.1 miles including the Half Marathon and a cool-down mile afterward. Race recap to come!

Weeks 15 and 16 of Richmond Marathon Training: The Taper Weeks, 10/30 – 11/10

I drafted this on the train home to Richmond on 11/9 and meant to post it on 11/10 but was busy carb-loading and furniture shopping. I’ve changed almost nothing to keep my original feelings of nervousness intact. I also took no photos on my runs in this two-week period, which really says something.

After my midweek 20.5 miler on the 25th, I was cooked physically and mentally. But I still had another 2.5 weeks to go before the big race. I got what Elle calls the Taper Lazies (as opposed to the Taper Crazies). I wasn’t crabby or antsy, but I did want to eat everything. Oh, and I moved apartments in this time which sort of rechanneled a lot of would-be running-related stress into moving stress. 5 days later and I still can’t find my speed shoes!

10/30 – 11/5: Just a couple runs once the long run DOMS ended. I wanted to try and get that 10-mile run in that I had missed, but it made more sense to just do 8 one week out before shortening my runs. I spent Sunday the 5th in my favorite race activity of cheering my heart out during the NYC Marathon. It was so inspiring to watch my friends and teammates crush it. Well worth the spitting rain and cowbell blisters. I had some celebratory drinks and cookies with folks afterward and was overcome with excitement.

Cheering my heart out at Mile 7 of NYCM

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More cheering and Levain cookies at Mile 21

11/6 – 11/10: A few treadmill 3-milers Monday and Wednesday, then just 2 Thursday before packing and hopping on the train down to Richmond. Compression socks on just in case (to be laundered and worn again after the race). On Friday the 10th, I did a slow 3 mile shakeout with my Dad riding alongside on his bicycle to calm my nerves. With 11 miles this week and fewer runs (but longer ones) the week before, I was definitely worried I was overdoing it too late in the game.

Race report and separate ~training schedule feelings~ posts to come after the marathon!

Week 13 of Richmond Marathon Training, 10/16-10/22

I’m writing this the week after and the night of completing my long run. I was in a wedding in Arizona of one of my best friends, so that took precedence over training for several days. But it was AMAZING. And all of the food was on point. And we saw sunrise over the Grand Canyon.

10/16: Evening tempo run in Prospect Park. 1 mile warm-up, 2 miles @ trying to get to goal half pace of 8:48, 2 miles cool-down (1 uphill, 1 downhill).

10/17: Rest day

10/18: PP loop with the Brooklyn Beer Runners, then a pumpkin beer at The Sackett.

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I’m in the back, chugging

10/19: Rest day due to 6:30am flight to AZ. Sonoran hot dogs for lunch and some of the best tacos in my life for dinner.

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El Guero Canelo

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Tacos El Suahero

10/20: 5 miles on the treadmill in the early AM, then wedding time. All I’ll say about this is we wore up the dance floor and ate tacos and pie.

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9 kinds of pie!

10/21: I had hoped to get a few easy miles done but had clearly transitioned to AZ time. Then we drove to Sedona to get sucked into the vortex and catch the sunset. Then we got dinner and REI supplies in Flagstaff.

Iconic Sedona McDonald’s

Took my shoes off to ‘ground’ myself

10/22: Sunrise! Grand Canyon! We walked between viewing spots as the sun rose then I got my National Parks passport stamped. Second national park this year!


In N Out for Dinner


Total: 15.2 Monday – Sunday miles due to postponed long run. (38.7 if we move the Wednesday LR to Saturday as per the NYRR Virtual Trainer.)

Week 11 of Richmond Marathon Training, 10/2-10/8

5 weeks left until the marathon! Alert! This was supposed to be another higher mileage week with the longest run to date at the end.

10/2: 3.7 miles at home while my Dad rode his new bike alongside. This was awesome! I’m already plotting future bike ride/long run routes for home.

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10/3: Tempo park loop at night.

10/4: Rest Day

10/5: 3 on the treadmill, then off to Chicago. I wish I had woken up earlier to do a few more miles but had gone out the night before.

10/6: ~4.2 miles along the Chicago riverfront, which my Garmin then Strava turned into the following “6 mile” route. It felt great, though! And it was fun to see so many other runners. I was really glad I took the architectural river tour last year, as it really helped me get my bearings.

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I ran across maybe 3 of these bridges

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Rainbow Cake from Goddess and the Baker & Nutella Brioche from Eataly

10/7: Longest long run of this training cycle so far: 19 miles along the Lake Front Trail to its northern terminus, then onward up to Loyola before turning around. I was trying to avoid the part of the Lakefront below the Chicago River because the big pre-marathon 5K was happening down that way. I still saw a ton of runners doing shakeout runs and others doing their long runs and felt that great sense of community that comes from getting up before dawn to do our thing.

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Sunrise along Lake Michigan

Obviously my Garmin paces aren’t exact, but I felt really good almost the whole time and was throwing down a lot of miles at goal marathon pace of low 10:xx. I flagged a tiny bit at the end, then Beyonce’s “Freedom” came on. Then “Formation”. Then I put on the Sleigh Bells – “Demons (Diplo remix) and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face or tone down the speed in my legs. It was one of those I FREAKING LOVE RUNNING kind of runs and exactly what I needed after a sluggish Bronx 10 Mile and extra 7 miles.

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Then I went to Pizzeria Due for some pepperoni deep dish and a Goose Island 312. I didn’t realize Pizzeria Due was related to Pizzeria Uno. Whoops. Gotta say, Lou Malnati’s was better.

10/8: Spectating the Chicago Marathon. I walked at least 8 miles and found PPTC folks at 3 different spots. I got Italian Beef from Portillo’s and quite a few beers after.

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Total: 36 miles M-Sun miles out of a prescribed 41 Sunday-Saturday. I need to get my Sunday recovery runs back into rotation! I’m happy to have gotten this many, but only have 1 more week that will be higher than this.