Running my way through California

Its no secret here on the blog – or to anyone in my life – that I miss all my friends in Santa Cruz, like a lot.  So much so that half the time I day dream about quitting law school, selling all my stuff, and hopping on a plane and inviting myself to live in one of my friends’ spare bedrooms.  And trust me, there were a few times it was so close to happening I’m almost surprised it didn’t.

But, as luck would have it I was able to find my way back to Santa Cruz in mid-May after second semester finals were over, AND will be finding myself back there in August – and I’m pretty sure that’s what allowed me to get back on the plane last Sunday was knowing I would be going back…

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There’s no place like home…or Leslie’s home for a get together 🙂

Of course, in true runner form, the first thing I did when Meg picked me up from the Airport May 10, well after catching up of course, was head out with her and another one of the running wives for a few miles of my long run.  I finished it out solo b/c Meg had already run a 10k race that morning, and I needed to get 10 on the books on the Santa Cruz rollers to boost my confidence for Capitola Half Marathon on May 18.  And then we had Verve coffee…because we had to.

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Later, we headed out for delicious dinner + drinks downtown.

Meg & Me

Meg & Me

Sunday morning we had a late morning run with some of the running wives on the hills of Santa Cruz and a new-to-me path. We refueled in the evening with some delicious BBQ foods later a la casa de Leslie – who, btw, throws the best house parties around!

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Some of my running wives at the BBQ

w/ Claudia & Laura at the BBQ

w/ Claudia & Laura at the BBQ

I will admit the fact that I was in California, running in some of my favorite places made taking the rest days I was supposed to take very very difficult.  So difficult, in fact, that I wasn’t sure that my half marathon race was going to go well?  Usually I like to have 2-3 rest days during race week – and like to be about 10ish miles total shorter (including the race – w/ the exception of a marathon race week) of my previous few weeks’ total mileage.  But that quickly went out the window.

Monday I did take a rest day, and just hung out in Santa Cruz with the pups at Meg’s house while she taught or something ridiculous like that – I mean, what’s work?

Sami.

Sami.

And Monday night I got to have tacos (we don’t have real tacos in Virginia/DC) with a good friend, and see the Santa Cruz sunset. I had forgotten how beautiful it was.

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Santa Cruz sunset at Pleasure Point

Tuesday morning, it was back to running with Meg & Leslie before heading to San Jose to meet my nephew and hang out with my family for a few days.  Got in a couple solid runs, spent plenty of time loving on my niece and nephew and helping out my brother and sister-in-law and got to even go to the Giants game with my brother, sister and niece!

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Cutest little man in the world (I’m biased)

Hanging with my niece

Hanging with my niece

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Melting at the Giants game w/ my sister

Then it was back to Santa Cruz to hang out with PhD friends and run/eat some more good food on Thursday.

Drinks w/ PhD friends

Drinks w/ PhD friends

I also got to experience RecoveryPump…

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RecoveryPump insanity.

Friday it was more miles along the coast with the girls, chased with an evening of sushi and wine for girl’s night out!

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All the ladies – fancy and not.

The fancy ladies

The fancy ladies

After what felt like a solid week of eating, drinking and running nonstop, it was time to start getting mentally ready for the half marathon on Sunday…but since this post is already like longer than any post I’ve ever written, I’ll leave it here for now.  I’ll leave it on a high note from all the friendship, family fun, food, wine, and of course running that happened over my post-finals week in California.  It was easily the best week of 2014 so far.  And it finished with a wonderful race weekend at Capitola Half Marathon…

What is your best week of 2014 so far?  Or best day?

Folk & Roots Festival

If you’ve ever been to Chicago in the summer, you know that there is almost always a festival going on.  It was exactly that case last weekend, and one of the many festivals happening was the Folk & Roots Festival in Lincoln Square.  A festival put on annually by the Old Town School of Music to raise money for their programs (they offer inner-city school kids music courses, as the arts have been more or less cut out of many of the inner-city schools) and get word out about their programs.

We headed over to a bbq at Liz and Chris’ friends place early in the afternoon, where food was flowing.  I helped Liz make jalapeno poppers – real ones and vegan ones!  There were hot, but delicious!

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After the bbq we headed to the festival.  As a musician, I was a little too excited for the instrument petting zoo.  I was really excited for this, as I had no idea what it was, but happen to still not as there were no instruments there when we arrived.  So my best guess is as good as yours (weird instruments on display)

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(It seemed like more of a baby petting zoo to me….)

Then we headed into the crowd to find a spot to sit for a cajun folk group from NOLA, and then Rosie Flores, with special guest John Langford (who, btw, if you didn’t know – is British!)

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(the random two guys in front of us, one of who ended up unknowingly – at least for me…I was trying to take photos of the stage) posing for a super awkward photo…which makes sense as they were also dancing super awkwardly.  I wish I had video to share.  It was fantastic.)

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And Koko is in town from NOLA, so she joined us as well!

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Rosie Flores and John Langford!  They were awesome performers!  It was an amazing festival!  And because no night is complete without fishies…

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Yes, we’re classy ladies.

After an awesome day at Folk & Roots Festival (which I recommend to anyone and everyone!  Its kid friendly and cheap – suggested donation of $5!), we headed over to the Bad Apple for (more) food.

I had the Earthly Fare (or something like that) it was a grilled portabella sandwich with goat cheese, dressing, and fries.  I had it sans bun, and with a cider (yay GF eating!)

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The rest of the table ordered burgers and beer.  And everyone said these were either the best burgers or the second best only to Kuma’s.  So, if you’re coming to Chicago, and want a good burger + fries – I recommend the Bad Apple or Kuma’s  Corner (but at Kuma’s…go during the middle of the day, or you’ll wait 2+ hours).

Also, for you HP fans out there (I am so excited for the final movie – going Saturday morning to see it in 3-D at the IMAX!), they had butter beer – beer with a shot of butterscotch liqueur.  Even though I’m not eating gluten, I had just a teeeeeeensy taste of it – it was delicious, and how I would imagine butter beer to taste.  Yay Harry Potter

Are you seeing the HP7P2 movie this week?  Opening night?  3D?  Dressing up?  I won’t be dressing up, or going to the midnight showing cuz I’m an old lady and would sleep through it, but I am just exploding with happiness to be going on Saturday – can’t wait!  Don’t spoil it for me though if you see it before then Winking smile

T-2 Weeks

The past week has been a whirlwind for graduate school.  Our first Macro problem set was due (if you don’t know what this is, its probably for the better…as you probably are saving HOURS of your life.)  All in all, I probably spent a full work week on the homework alone – oy vey.

Then at the end of the week, after having some absolutely beautiful (and extremely hot) weather during the week it was determined that what Friday night needed was a BBQ.  And boy, was it ever a BBQ.

The table spread (before the meat, the non-meat, and more people brought goodies…)

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And then once the bbq-ing ended, the ridiculousness ensued.  Copious amounts of beer were consumed by all (and I had more than my usual 2…but then again we were at the bbq for about…9 hours?!), and I have come to have a true appreciation for Lagunitas IPA.  Some evidence of the ridiculousness.

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(I’m pretty sure I was asking for my camera back…)

And getting artsy at like 2am.

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And then Saturday I made up for missed sleep by napping in the afternoon, and then tackled Macro problem set #2.  And all it has really made me want to do is curl up in a ball and cry.  This will probably be my only post for the week, its a lot longer and harder than last week’s.  C’est la vie (of the graduate student).

And then today, today was the big day – my last long run before the marathon.  I’ve decided to have two ‘taper’ weeks so that my knee recuperates from the the long runs I’ve been doing (17.08 two weeks ago & 15.65 last week).  So, my goal was 20 miles.

Pre-run, I had a Vega Sport for hydration.

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And some raw oats with Probiotic Soy Yogurt, stevia, PB&Co Dark Chocolate Dreams and a banana.  While that sounds like a lot of food, I had it all about 1.5 hours before I started my run, and it settled quite well, so I think I might be sold on an idea for pre-marathon fuel. I also took an S!Caps pill (a buffered electrolyte supplement)

Then, I headed out from my house.  I decided that this run needed to incorporate some hills to prepare me for the hills of San Fran.  What I didn’t realized, is that I underestimated the steepness and intensity of the hills in the first 5.5 miles of my run.  Although the first 5.5 miles went swimmingly, 4.5 of it was uphill..and the average incline was about 4-5%.  At one point it even got up to about an 8%.  And after the first 9 miles, I had to go back to my apartment to change socks so that I didn’t get blisters on my insoles.  I used body glide and I still sweated too much.

And things were going fine until about mile 12…when I had to wait for a stoplight and my muscles started to tighten up… The hills were wearing on my legs, but I recuperated until mile 16.  And at that point, my muscles yelped and said “the mountain wins today!” and it became difficult for me to even walk – and I had 3 miles left to go…most of which, was back up the mountain.  So I would run a little, walk a lot, run a little, walk a lot.  And eventually I made it back to my apartment, very very sore.

All I have to say is lots of ice, tylenol, water and more ice have occurred and it still hurts to walk, sit down and stretch.  I definitely overdid it on the hills.  Lesson learned.

The icing…thank goodness for frozen peas!

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Still happy to have accomplished 19 miles (one way or another!)

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(Can you tell I’m a Twins fan?!)

Anyways, the stats:

First 3: 32:05 (up the mtn)
4: 8:41 (dwn the mtn)
5: 11:55 (up the mtn again)
6: 10:22
7: 9:11
8: 9:46
9: 9:40
10: 10:40
11: 9:55
12: 13:12 (I waited 3 minutes for a light…)
13: 11:49 (lights again)
14: 10:38
15: 10:48
16: 13:09 (the pain started…)
17: 14:57 (the walking began…)
18: 13:05
19: 15:57

Total: 3:35:57, average 11:21

But, you can definitely see where things went completely wonky.

During the run I had two packs of Sharkies, 3 gu, 44 oz of Gatorade & 30 oz of water.  I also had another S!Caps around mile 10, and one more post race.

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Post race fuel included whole wheat pasta with chicken sausage, mini bell peppers, spinach & garlic with pasta sauce.

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And an apple.

And dinner included two Orowheat Sandwich thins and two eggs.

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The Orowheat thins were topped with Lite Smart Balance and…a preview of the greatness that is to come: Homemade Strawberry Preserves!

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It was gifted to me at the BBQ by my future jam & canning instructor, Kat!  And I will hopefully learn how to make my own homemade jam by the end of the month!

And of course, massive quantities of water have been consumed.  And a Coconut O.N.E. water.  Lemon-lime style.

All this was done while chatting with Mr. K (he comes to visit on Friday!!!!) & Macro (you can see my homework in the background of most of today’s photos.  Its taken over my apartment.)

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And with that, hope you all had a wonderful weekend and Happy Monday in a few hours!

Have you ever had an injury just a few weeks before a race?  Were you able to complete the race?  If so, what did you do to help your body heal quickly?!  I really need some advice so that I can do my best in two weeks at the Nike Women’s Marathon with Julia!!!