Comfort in a Bite-Sized Ball

Hey everyone! Turns out I made the right choice in flying out early because my original flight (scheduled to leave today) was definitely cancelled from the snowstorm. Instead, I woke up to a nice and lax day.

Jennifer and I woke up so that I could take her to work. On the way, we stopped by Starbucks to get some caffeine and food.

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I totally forgot to take a picture of my breakfast, but I got their chicken sausage and egg white wrap, which was a lot yummier than I was expecting.

After dropping her off at work, I drove back to her place to get some work done and go for a run. Can I just say how nice it is to be able to run in a tank top and shorts at 10am??? In February??? I was nervous to run because I hadn’t stuck to my training plan and didn’t run for 3 days.

Well, being at sea level is a helper, but not as awesome as I was hoping for (I was expecting superhuman running ability…haha jk….kind of…). The run didn’t feel completely easy because my legs were heavy, I was getting hot, and I was breathing harder than I’m used to. Now for the good news: I ran several miles at under a 10 min/mile pace! I’ve done that on a treadmill set at a decline, but never during one of my outdoor runs. No wonder I was breathing in a semi-uncomfortable zone!

My legs are feeling more fresh and loose (sounds kind of dirty), and I’m digging the help of extra oxygen no matter how small the difference. Once I got back to take a shower, I literally had streams of sweat pouring off of my face, which promptly turned into rivers once I took my hair out of a ponytail. Yum…sweat.

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It’s a good thing I can clean up nice. Here’s a picture with my new haircut sans curls and post shower. It’s a good thing I shower frequently…

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I went to pick up Jennifer and her friend for lunch afterwards. We went to a Korean restaurant in Fullerton near her work that was just okay, but it temporarily satisfied my desire for Korean food. I’ll  be meeting up my aunt in Koreatown on Sunday for the good stuff ;)

Anyway, let’s rewind back to my post-airport dinner because it was so yummy.

Will Work for Balls…Potato Balls That Is

Jennifer took me to Porto’s Bakery last night because she said their potato balls would steal my heart.

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It was founded by a Cuban couple, so the menu has a good selection of Cuban-style sandwiches and baked goods along with more standard bakery/deli fare.

We started with two potato balls for each of us because Jennifer said that I would not be satisfied with just one.

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She was right.

Oh. My. Yum! To put it simply, they taste like shepherds pie in ball form, but that almost sounds insulting. They’re these deliciously seasoned smashed potatoes stuffed with an amazing meat blend and then fried to a beautiful, golden crisp. I’m in love.

Jennifer got their tuna melt as her main meal, and I went with their steak torta served with a side of fried plantains.

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It was delicious, too! It came with guac, black beans, and the other typical burger fixins, but was beyond a burger. Although I was in love with the sandwich, I really just wanted to eat a platter of the potato balls. For real, they were that good.

Well, Jennifer is almost off work again, and I’m sipping down another cup of coffee before I pick her up from work. We’ve got to head back to the airport to pick up my friend who’s flying in from Utah. Then we’re off to hit the town either in L.A. or Newport Beach. See you tomorrow!

Question of the Day: Should I put on my headphones during my first half or no? I really want to savor the experience, but I don’t know if listening to spectators is enough. Share your thoughts!

Tips for First Time Racers

Greetings from no-man’s land! It’s been hectic over here with it being the end of quarter at work. I didn’t get off of work until 7 last night and then went straight to Best Buy to purchase a new laptop!

My computer screen has been cracked out for a long time now (maybe 6 months?), so I had to connect it to the tv in order to use it, which is really inconvenient and annoying. I figured this week was a good a time as any for a new tech toy since I’ll be in L.A. for 5 days, and I wouldn’t be able to blog without a functioning computer.

Anyway, I only have time for a quick-ish post today, so let’s get to it.

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Tips for Your First Race

If you’ve been following my blog at all for the past couple of months, you’ll know I’ve been training to run my very first half marathon, which is also my very first race in general. Straight from couch to 13.1 is how I roll ;)

One of the commonalities I’ve noticed on running blogs is the frustration that experienced racers feel in the corrals and on the course, often times due to newb racers (like yours truly). Honestly, I haven’t been worrying much about the race itself because I know I’ll finish. What I have been worried about is race etiquette and what to do on the course. I don’t want to get spit on, step on GU, crash into someone (or someone crash into me), and the various other annoying things that could happen. I know I probably can’t avoid these 100%, but I wanted some tips for making the most of it all.

Enter Sarah aka Skinny Runner! I emailed her last week to ask for some tips for newbs because this girls runs races like they’re nothing…and fast. She’s known for her hilarious, self-deprecating humor and her crazy running skills. Funny stuff aside, she was kind enough to actually write me a long, detailed email with her most helpful hints even though she probably gets asked this all the time, so I thought I’d share a condensed version with you folks over here. Enjoy! [I'm hoping I have an ugly (and good) race photo to send her as a thank you. She posts up bad reader photos that people send her, and I don't take good candid photos that's for sure.]

Tips a la Skinny Runner (quoted when I copied n’ pasted from the email)

1) “Start in the right corral according to the time you are going to run, not your wishful thinking time.” 

 -She said you could move up to a slightly faster corral time if you’re feeling really strong and prepared that day, but to stick to what you trained for. If you start in a too-fast corral, “you get passed by a bunch of people which is demoralizing or you start off way too fast and then blow up at the finish”. Yeah, that doesn’t sound fun, so I’ll stick to my slow-mo corral spot.

2) “If at anytime you need to stop and walk, stretch, whatever, move over to the side of the course, preferably the right side.”

-“Dont ever just stop in the middle of the road, you could get hurt, someone could hit you from behind, etc”. Nuff said.

3) “When going through aid stations, you don’t have to grab the first cup.”

-Being that I’m running a really large race, she noted that there will often be around 30 people giving out water. Therefore, keep on chugging along until it gets less crowded. Also, ” it’s just less energy you’re having to expend and lessens the risk of colliding with someone.”

4) Look around you before you spit, throw your cup/GU, and other things of that nature.

-” Generally its best to toss it to the side of the road and not just drop it.  also if you have to hawk a loogie, spit just look behind you before you do.”

5) Did I mention starting in the right corral? No?

-She emphasized that this is by far the best way to go.

6) Run your race.

-My personal trainer gave me this tip as well. Basically, don’t pay attention to how people around you are running. Run at the pace that you trained at and do what you planned to do. If you’re like me, you’re obviously not going to win anything or even place, so I’m only competing against myself.

I hope that this information is useful to some of you out there training for your first (or second) race. I know I’ll be keeping these in mind as I line up at the start on Sunday (ohmygahhhh it’s in less than 5 days)!

Question of the Day: What tips helped you the most during your first race?