Race (and Life) Recaps

Wow!  Have I been the biggest blog slacker IN THE WORLD?!?!  Now that the new year has started I guess now is just as good a time as ever to catch up.  I’ve been busy running, not drinking wine (#SoberJanuary), and awaiting spring by perusing fashion sites and magazines to make a list of my must haves and wishes.  Here’s the scoop:


In December, I went on a family trip to Rome.  This trip was so full of site seeing and family that I only ran ONE day.  The funny thing is that I didn’t stress about not running, which is really not normal for me.  I knew that upon my return to the US that it would be full speed ahead for the Boston Marathon in April.  On the one day that I did run in Rome, it was through the gorgeous Borghese Gardens.  How could you not have a great run when the park is in the shape of a heart?


Ignore the graffiti… this was all over the place, unfortunately.

Once I returned from the trip, building miles was in full effect.  My speed sessions included hills… which are “speed in disguise,” so I’m told.  I also had some steady state runs which included a 10 minute warm up, 30 minutes from 6:44-7:03, and a 10 minute cool down.  Not going to lie… I knew from the first hill that I had a long road ahead of me after the downtime in Rome.  Plus… El Niño was hitting with full force leading to some runs on the dreadmill.  By the time my first long run rolled around, my legs were EXHAUSTED, but I had my Sushi Club girls to pull me through since we had plans to take Sushi Club to San Francisco for the Hot Chocolate 15k.  RAM Racing‘s Events are always a ton of fun and combining the race with girlfriends that love running and sushi is a combination that can’t be beat.



Sushi Club (L to R – Claudia, Laura, Marian and LLL) Next Meeting: 1/3/16


*** Sushi Club Notes:  It is our mission to eat at EVERY sushi place in Santa Cruz County.  While we hit nearly all of them in 2015, we weren’t organized.  In 2016 we have a rating system and plan to document the awesomeness that is Sushi Club.  Sometimes we have a “special guest” join us, but most often, it’s just the 4 of us.***

The plan for the Hot Chocolate 15k was to actually run 13 total miles.  My coach didn’t have any speed guidelines, the goal was to just get the long run done.  Race morning we took an Uber to the start and hoped for a quick warm-up, but that didn’t quite happen.  Claudia and Laura teamed up to run and Marian and I teamed up to run.  Marian and I said that we would go out around 8:00 minute pace knowing there were a lot of hills.  Wishful thinking… we ended up running in 1:10:39 (7:34 pace).  Actually, we were a couple minutes faster, but SF weather is tricky.  We didn’t anticipate that the sun would come out and it would get uncomfortably warm.  By the time we passed the 5k mark, we knew that layers needed to come off.  Since we were in this race for the sole purpose of fun, we stopped to undress… which is the exact reason why my results don’t come up.  I stuffed my top into my awesome Oiselle Aero Tights and that was the end of chip timing for me.  We had a good laugh at the time that we were pulling such a rookie move, but by the time the race ended, we were happy to have all our layers since it was freezing!


Race Expo Fun… This event was really well organized and despite the large number of runners, we were in and out in a jif.


With bellies full of chocolate we were all smiles at the finish… My guess is the photo bomber was just as happy since he looks pretty smiley himself.

Boston base miles continued through January knowing that each week was better than the week before.  In order to keep the training fun, I am planning to jump into some half marathons just to get the miles in.  With marathon pace miles starting, this is a great way to simulate a race without all the nerves that come with an actual race.  That is exactly what I did on January 30.  The Rotary Club in San Juan Bautista puts on the Mission 10 Miler each January, and this year, they added a half marathon.  With lots of climbing, I felt it was a perfect opportunity for doing an 18 mile run.  My Santa Cruz Endurance teammate, Benoit, is also training for Boston and he jumped at the chance to go with.  My plan was to run up to 6 miles at marathon pace (MP) and then settle into a comfortable pace for the remainder.  With all the climbs, I decided to do some of the miles at the beginning, go for effort on the hills, and then finish the MP miles.  The plan worked really well and between the MP miles, the warm-up and a slower cool down (with the company of Benoit and my pup Rosie) the average was 7:30 pace.  I’m really proud of this run for two reasons.  First, I executed my plan despite being tempted to be a bit more competitive (old me would have thought more about competing versus looking at the big picture).  Speaking of old me, on January 31st, 2015 I ran 6 miles at an 8:19 pace.  The doctors said I would probably be able to run 3 miles by the end of January.  With hard work, I surpassed that, but remembered the difficulty of that 6 mile run.  I seriously finished feeling happy/sad.  I was happy that I did 6 miles, but sad thinking that above 8 minute miles was going to be my new normal.  What a difference a year makes!  Being humbled has it’s perks because it makes you relax and appreciate the present.

Now that it’s February, I’m back to track workouts and tempo runs.  Plus… my first 20 miler is THIS weekend.  In regards to races to jump into, my MIL is visiting for most of the month so we have kept the calendar kind of open.  The one thing that is for sure in February would be that I am going to LA to watch the Olympic Marathon Trials!!!! This girl is really, really excited to meet up with my Oiselle Volèe teammates to cheer on Elites and the regular folks that are going to kick butt on Sunday at the LA Marathon.


BodyPump 96 was released at my club a couple weeks ago.  Holy cow is this a tough release!  My favorite track is probably the Lunges, but that may be just because I have a great fondness for Peanut Butter and Jelly.  I wish I was joking… in our home PBJ makes many appearances at lunch, dinner and snack time.  For the first time in a long time, each track either has a good song or just kicks your butt so much it’s hard to find anything not to like.  With New Year’s resolutions in full effect the club has been PACKED!  While the regulars always have complaints that their “spot” has been taken or they can’t even get into the class, I hope to provide gentle reminders that we were all once new to Group X.  I’m also happy to report that classes are still pretty darn full.  Here’s the trailer for BP 96… if you haven’t checked out a class yet DO IT!

In the personal lunge department, I started the year off with a Functional Movement Assessment/Screening at Paradigm Sport.  I’m sad to report that I didn’t do so well.  Seriously, I made it through grad school not once, but twice with a 4.0.  In addition, I somehow managed to exit undergrad with honors despite drinking my weight in Maddog 20/20 and Amaretto Stone Sours each weekend (don’t judge… we all had a dumb college drink).  If you haven’t heard of a FMS, here is a little blurb from the internet:

“The SFMA is the movement based diagnostic system, designed to clinically assess 7 fundamental movement patterns in those with known musculoskeletal pain. The assessment provides an efficient method to systematically find the cause of symptoms, not just the source, by logically breaking down dysfunctional patterns and diagnosing their root cause as either a mobility problem or a stability/motor control problem.

This systematic process allows clinicians to clearly match their intervention to the main problem of the patient. This model efficiently integrates the concepts of altered motor control, the neurodevelopmental perspective, and regional interdependence into musculoskeletal practice.”


The 7 exercises…

Here’s the thing… each exercise is worth 3 points for a total of 21 points.  This girl scored a 12… yep… a 12!  I knew that I’d have some trouble, but I was surprised at just how imbalanced I was.  The only exercises that I performed well on happened to be the Reaching and the Push-up.  I now have a plan from a trainer to work on these imbalances.  The plan includes some great stretching and core work as well as a variety of strength moves that use the TRX, tons of glute activation (bridges, step-ups, deadlifts), and general upper body strength builders (I can do 4 band assisted pull-ups.  Give me time and that band will go away!!!)  It’s been really motivating to see my weaknesses and know that each rep is getting me one step closer to being a better version of myself.  I’m 41 and if I want to run and be active for a long, long time, it’s best to take care of these imbalances before an injury keeps me down.  Been there… done that!


Thanks for sticking around this far.  Spring items are starting to pop up and there is really  just one trend that I am really in love with.  Give me time and there will be more, but for now, I’m eyeing the Statement Heel.  Color and patterns are everywhere right now and adding a crazy heel is just one way to make an outfit POP!  Since my post is getting so long, check out Fashionista’s post on the spring shoe trends.  You will also note that sneakers are still in fashion… which is great considering it’s marathon time again.  In the meantime, I’ve been in love with the pop of color that a fun heel can add to the simple jeans and tee or the LBD.  These blue shoes all catch my eye, but if I had to choose one it’d be the Ruthie Davis’… did you see the spike on the end??? Sexy!

Until next time (and hopefully that next time isn’t 5 months later)… Happy Laps, Happy Lunges, and may your Leather be comfortable!

Lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon – Race Recap

The trip was short, but the fun was endless at lululemon’s third edition of the SeaWheeze half marathon.  I’ve been a lulu fan since the beginning and could write endless blog posts just on this topic alone. If you’ve ever owned a piece of their gear, you can probably agree that the stuff can make life in the gym, on the road, or at the coffee shop better.  

My friend and running coach, Michele, lives in Seattle and I had mentioned to her that we should do a girls’ trip to run this race.  Michele was quickly on board but stated that she would have to run for fun as she would be in recovery from a 50 miler.  Um… okay.  I understand. 

Originally, I thought that I would use my Wharf to Wharf training as a springboard for a kick butt race, but my summer bad luck did not let that plan play out.  So, like Michele, this was a race for pure fun… and a smidge of pace pushing.

After a flight into Seattle, Michele and I drove across the border into Canada on Friday.  We got to the expo a bit later than expected as there was some traffic just past customs.  The expo closed at 8:00 and we got there around 7:15.  Fortunately for us, there wasn’t much of a line and we got right in and right out.  At the expo, we were given a timing chip, a cute messenger bag (not of the highest quality, but cute and I’ll find a travel purpose for it I’m sure), a water bottle, and a plastic bracelet that served as our ticket to the Sunset Festival post run.  Oddly, the race didn’t have bib numbers.  I kind of liked this, but the former race director in me wondered how many people would bandit the race.  

Lulu teased us by showing pictures of the Showcase Store… take a look… isn’t it lovely?

SeaWheeze Showcase Store (pic from lulu IG)

SeaWheeze Showcase Store (pic from lulu IG)

Sadly, you had to get in line at 4:30 AM in order to get any goods.  Considering how late we got to the store, there wasn’t much left unless you can wear doll sized clothing, or you wanted to shop for your man (and he wears Paul Bunyan sized clothing).  Lots of race participants were really upset that the doors were open to the public and purchasers could buy 15 items each.  If you didn’t get to make a purchase, you can now go to eBay and pay double or triple the cost for an item.  It sounds like this has been a problem all three years so I’m crossing my fingers that lulu will listen and make some changes for future events.

After getting race packets, Michele and I headed out for a lovely dinner and some pre-race vino at Italian Kitchen.  Our meal was delicious and just the right amount for race day.  By the time dinner was all said and done, we headed back to the hotel in order to get some shut-eye before the 7:00 AM start.

Race morning, the logistics to get to the event were easy peasy.  We were just blocks from the start.  Once at the start, corrals were clearly marked and there were “Pace Beavers” holding big signs so runners knew where to jump in.  I gave Michele a good luck cheer and went to line up with the 1:40 pacers.  After the singing of the Canadian National Anthem we were off.

10,000+ runners ready to tackle 13.1 miles (pic from lulu FB page)

10,000+ runners ready to tackle 13.1 miles (pic from lulu FB page)

My intentions for the race was to run a 7:30 pace for most of the run.  I figured that sticking with the 1:40 pace group would be a good start… wrong.  The first mile was a 6:54 and the next two were under 7:10.  I decided to back off just a little as I didn’t have the training to sustain such fast paces.  This is the point that the race became a lot more fun.  I took the time to take in the scenes and make some friends along the way.  As for the course, the race starts and finishes in front of the Vancouver Convention Center.  It weaves along the coast and heads thru the city blocks until Burrard Street.  Runners get to cross the Burrard Street bridge which seemed to be the biggest climb on the course.  This part was fun as you could see the leaders making their way back on the course.  After crossing the bridge, there is a quick out/back past lululemon’s headquarters, and then back over the bridge… which means the biggest climb comes again.  While I am calling it a climb, it really wasn’t, but the pacer made a big deal about it so I went with it.  In California, where people call an actual mountain, “The Hill,” my idea of climbing is slightly altered.

Some things I will never understand, but this dude was out in front and I got quite the view while on the bridge.  Kudos to him for being so comfortable in something that looked solo uncomfortable.

Some things I will never understand, but this dude was out in front and I got quite the view while on the bridge. Kudos to him for being so comfortable in something that looked so uncomfortable.

Burrard St Bridge... I'm not a fan of bridges, but this was pretty.

Burrard St Bridge… I’m not a fan of bridges, but this was pretty.

The return trip on the bridge marks the 10k portion of the race.  Shortly after the bridge, runners are directed towards the magnificent Vancouver Seawall.  The seawall goes around Stanley Park (the largest park in North America… I didn’t google this.  Just took the word of the hotel guy).  When I visited Vancouver in July, I loved running in this park, and this time around was no exception.  The only bad part of this piece of the course is that there was a ton of energy in all the miles prior and the seawall was pretty quiet.  The volunteers at the aide stations did a nice job of cheering, and there were a few groups out there to cheer as well.

It was at this point in the race that I made the most friends.  In fact, I started talking to a guy only to find out that he grew up in the town next to my husband and they were actually really good friends in high school.  What a small world!!!  The two miles I spent running with Ian were my slowest miles (no jab at Ian’s speed… the guy just did an Ironman four weeks prior), but these were the BEST miles of the course.  I love chance meetings like that.  Finally, Ian told me he was finished and that I should carry on.  Since I was close to the finish, I pushed on through for a finish time of 1:37:34 (7:23 pace).  I was pretty happy with this result and felt like it was a good place to be going into training for the California International Marathon… until…

The summer klutz award goes to.... ME!

The summer klutz award goes to…. ME!

There was a post-race party in Vancouver that looked like lots of fun, but Michele and I had a very special soccer game to get to so we made the trek across the border after a shower, lovely lunch and celebration gelato. After a long day running, playing and going to the soccer game I tried to carry too many things down the stairs and took a tumble.

With Seawheeze barely in the rearview mirror, lululemon just announced that registration for the 2015 event will be September 10th.  I would definitely sign up for this race again… want to do it with me?  You can find sign up information here:  www.seawheeze.com

Final score:  8.5/10


  • Easy to get to packet pick-up
  • Excellent swag
  • Fair price considering the swag
  • Fun course with good aide stations
  • Post race brunch was healthy and had gluten free options
  • Cute post-race lulu hat for messy running hair and a cold, wet washcloth to greet runners at the finish


  • Disappointed that the coveted store was barren 
  • Early registration for 2015 (nearly a year in advance) is a bit soon
  • The pacers ran the race too fast – Most pacers try to get runners within a minute of the pace mark.  Nearly 3 minutes is a considerable difference.




Saturday Snippets

Each week, I read a bit, surf the web, chat with friends and make to-do lists that sometimes get accomplished, and sometimes don’t.  One of the many reasons that I started this blog was to give myself that little bit of motivation to actually do some of the things that I discover through the week.  So, I’m sharing some of my findings each week with you.  Here are my discoveries this week:

I’m a teacher and the Back-to-School advertisements, shelves, and chatter is coming full force this time of year.  After doing this gig for 17 years, I still love the first days of school.  When I was little, I loved going shopping for supplies and new clothes with my siblings and mother.  Still to this day, I can’t escape the aisles without throwing some supplies into my cart, but even more exciting, is that I still purchase myself a new outfit for the first day of school.  So… when these came in the mail the last week…. I couldn’t help but get excited for the new school year.

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale always comes at the perfect time, and J.Crew has preppy teacher written all over it.

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale always comes at the perfect time, and J.Crew has preppy teacher written all over it.

This week also happens to be a big week of racing in my neighborhood.  Some of my friends are heading to San Francisco for the San Francisco Marathon.  In particular, I’ve been watching in awe as my most steady running partner has started to own the road.  She has become a beast on the hills and is busting out quick miles while looking like running is her job.  I’m not going to divulge too much, because as a runner myself, I know how much having outside pressures or the feeling of letting someone down can jack with your mind, but I feel with all my heart that she is going to KILL IT!  The rest of my neighborhood, and lots of visitors, will be running the Wharf to Wharf here in Santa Cruz.  This is a HUGE race giving back a lot of dough to our local schools.  I’m excited to join my teammates and friends on the course this year.  Look for a follow-up post on the race shortly.  In the meantime, I stumbled upon this quote from i<3torun’s Facebook page and found it fitting for the weekend’s events.  


Finally, my hubby and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary this week.  We have plans to go to a Giants day game followed by a delicious dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.  You might say… Giants game… for an anniversary???  Don’t judge… we love our Giants (and I love Timmy a ton) and if you haven’t had the garlic fries then you simply can’t understand.  Yum!  Because I can’t eat garlic fries AND the whole anniversary cake (each year I have The Buttery recreate the top of our wedding cake), I have decided to have Juliette and Dietmar (special friends that also played a HUGE roll in our top secret wedding plans) come share the cake with us.  I’ve been dying to make this Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowl with Lime Quinoa recipe that I found on the blog How Sweet It Is.  I may need to make a few changes to accommodate some dietary needs, but I can already smell the deliciousness of this dish.  


Hoping your Saturday is full of joy and the chance to do something extraordinary!  Enjoy!


Wharf to Wharf 2014 – It’s so close!

Before I even moved to California, my husband (the anti-runner) said I should check out the Wharf to Wharf.  Excitedly, I asked if he would run it with me.  Nope… I was informed that he’d be eating pancakes, drinking mimosas and cheering near the five mile mark.  While that sounded great, after I’d looked up the race, I knew my mimosas would be coming a bit later.  After all, that Top 100 status intrigued me.  So that’s how it started in 2010.


With that Top 100 jacket and my mimosa...

With that Top 100 jacket and my mimosa…

Now, it’s 2014 and I’m trying to go for my 5th Top 100 in my 5th attempt.  But this year, the race will be different since I’m in a different space, and Mile 5 will simply not be the same.  Let me elaborate….

In April, I put all my eggs in one basket hoping for the race of a lifetime at the Boston Marathon.  While prepared to come away with a shiny new PR, Marathon Monday was not my day (again… if I puked on you at Mile 15… I’m truly sorry!!!).  That’s okay… it’s part of being a runner.  Things don’t always go as planned.  After regrouping from the disappointment of my Boston performance, I told my coach that Wharf to Wharf was my “A” race.  She and I determine what runs I use to “get my mind right” and what runs I “better have my lungs hanging out my nose at the finish line.”  The Wharf to Wharf was to be the latter.  Mid May we started to incorporate twice weekly speed workouts, one long run and 2-3 easy runs.  All was going as planned and I had a “get your mind right” race scheduled for June 14th.  Then… my Achilles Tendon decided to scream at me to stop.  The race turned into pacing my friend, Jim, followed by three days of zero running.

Jim (on Rt), Brian and I before the race.  Jim finished 1 minute faster than expected!!!

Jim (on Rt), Brian and I before the race. Jim finished 1 minute faster than expected!!!

This was just a bump in the road, right?  Yes.  I did lots of yoga, got massages and some chiropractic treatment and I was up and running again.  And then….  this happened.

Broken hand… courtesy of tripping on a speed bump while running.

Broken hand… courtesy of tripping on a speed bump while running.

So here we are… within weeks of the Wharf to Wharf… and I have a cast on my hand.  On the bright side, the cast and I got to travel to Vancouver, CA where I got to run a bit and do the Grouse Grind… until my Achilles started to shout again.  Fortunately, it’s not shouting as loud as the last time.  After all these mishaps, I’ve thought a lot about the big picture of running.  Here’s what I have concluded:

Running, like life, doesn’t always go as planned. There are highs, and there are lows, and with any luck, we come out stronger, tougher, and wiser.  I am still running in between mishaps, and my times are within the ranges my coach sets for me.  There’s still a good chance of a Top 100 on July 27th.  Regardless, I will do what my mom always said, “Do your best.”  I may not come away with a W2W personal best, and that’s okay.  It will be my best on that day.  And lucky me… I get to run with 15,000 others that are doing their best on that day too.

One of the things that makes this race so awesome is the amount of people moving and shaking on and off the course.  I mentioned earlier that my husband hangs out around Mile 5 (36th Ave).  During all of these past races he has cheered alongside our sweet pal, Zeuf Hesson.  Together, they manned the high-5 zone, the cartwheel zone, the run backwards zone, etc. all the while cheering for each runner as if they were the only person out there.  I’m usually spent at this mile, but seeing Adam and Zeuf always gave me a push to the finish line (they also had coffee or mimosas nearby… jealousy could have played a role too).  Mile 5 will not be the same as Zeuf lost her long battle with cancer in December.  She’ll be there in spirit, so I encourage you to do something silly… or at least smile… when you get to 36th because if she was there in person… you probably really would do a cartwheel.

My husband, Zeuf and I after the 2013 Wharf to Wharf...

My husband, Zeuf and I after the 2013 Wharf to Wharf…

Best of luck to all those pinning on a bib this year!  I hope your race is fun, filled with smiles, and that you accomplish your goals.  To those cheering and volunteering… THANK YOU!  And just a little PSA… please don’t bandit the race (money raised goes to our local schools so pay the dough and be legit) and please, enjoy our city and beaches, but please, please pack your trash.

What are your Wharf to Wharf plans this year?  Please share!