This Week in LA…

I strive for balance with work, running and my personal life. Too often I see talented educators push themselves to the limit and leave the profession overworked, exhausted, and defeated. Our work as educators in the inner-city is too important. We can’t afford to lose smart, passionate and impactful teachers because they just can’t maintain the crazy lifestyle. I want to be like my mom, in my sixties, still energized and enthusiastic about improving my practice as a teacher. That means knowing when to stop, learning how to control emotions, and training yourself to have an on/off switch. You also know I worry about creeping into crazy runner zone. I keep the rest day sacred and try not to let a long run interfere with taking advantage of living in LA. Who wants to be married to the annoying “I have a long run tomorrow” wife? So what does striving for balance look like?

Monday: No school for President’s Day. Ran eight easy miles before meeting Mama, Papa and Carmen who were in town. The weekend consisted of hiking Los Liones, visiting LACMA, touring the Chinese Theatre, eating at Gracias Madre (AMAZING MARGARITAS, good choice Marta), spending time on the beach and relaxing at my parents hotel, The Inn at Playa del Rey. Oh how we loved the inn! The breakfast has a homemade feel, they do wine and cheese from 5 PM – 7 PM every night in their lounge overlooking the Ballona Wetlands and the baked goods they put in your room are nice treat. I wish I could do a staycation there, although I’m not sure it’s worth it considering I live a mile away.

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LACMA, Los Liones, Chinese Theatre and Inn at Playa del Rey

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We hit up beach yoga in Santa Monica on Saturday

Tuesday: Dropped Mama and Papa off at the airport at 6 AM then met Alaina at the Westchester Starbucks before driving to school! I got to work a little before 7 AM. The day consisted of working with my third grade reading group, second grade reading group, unit planning for third grade math, studying a potential phonics curriculum, completing a school-wide walk through and meeting with the instructional lead team at the Elementary School after-school. The meeting runs from 4-5, and the team knows I have to leave right at 5 PM to make it to track on time. This week we ran a bunch of 1200. Brent always cooks dinner on Tuesday. This week he made homemade pizza, otherwise known as the night to dig in the fridge and find random pizza toppings. I made mine with brussels sprouts, mozzarella, gorgonzola and spinach. I also hung out with Alaina while she was doing laundry across the street. I miss seeing her everyday!photo 3 (3)

Wednesday: The morning started early. It was my day off running, but Back On My Feet had a clinic at ALTUS Sports Institute in Santa Monica at 5:15 AM. SO EARLY! They taught us a bunch of exercises to help us stay strong as runners. I was happy that most of them are a part of my runner’s strengthening routine. Went straight to work and had a day filled with meetings. I got to demo a phonics lesson with a few kindergarteners which was super fun. I stayed at work later, and went straight to the Magic Castle for a night out with Brent, Gabe and Becca. Wow, the Magic Castle is an experience. Go if you ever have the chance! You need an invite, and even if you have an invitation from a member, theres a $20 cover and you have to dine there, but they have a magic shows throughout the castle that you pop into. Levitation, card tricks, mind reading. The magicians are just SO talented. I was out past my bedtime and didn’t get to bed until after midnight. CRAZY for me! You can’t take photos inside, but I found a few online to give you an idea of what it looks like. It has this awesome old Hollywood feel.

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Thursday: Two big cups of coffee gave me the energy I needed to start my day. I went to a training with Families in Schools to learn more about meaningful parental involvement. I met a ton of educators across the city, and got some great strategies to help me in my school design. The training took place at the Mercado la Paloma. After the training I ended up running into a KIPP LA tech team member and we had an impromptu lunch at a Vegan Ethiopian stand at the Mercado. It was nice to catch up and talk ed tech. Being away from distractions I was able to get some quality work in and was home around 5:30 PM and actually had the time and energy for a 10 mile run midweek! This is one of my highest mileage weeks, so I was glad to fit it in. I knew Brent was going to be coming home late, and dinner was already prepped from my handy dandy meal prep. I didn’t plan to run this as a tempo, it just kinda happened. Maybe it was the Ethiopian food that sped me up? Brent and I had dinner and I was asleep by 8:45 PM. Kinda embarrassing, but with our late night and with the hard run I was 2 (3)

Friday: A few of us from Equitas visited Endeavor College Prep. I was so impressed with their program. I especially enjoyed watching them implement Eureka Math, a curriculum I’m considering adopting. The best professional development is watching experts in action. In the evening it got down to 66 degrees, so I was able to pull out my boots Brent got me for Christmas before heading to our Tripel dinner date. photo 3 (2)

Saturday: Besides the 20 miler, Brent and I went to The Tasting Kitchen on Abbot Kinney in Venice for drinks and snacks. We split their burger and roasted carrots and sampled a bunch of their cocktails at the bar. I’m a big fan of the Road Runner cocktail made with mezcal. We’ve been here before for their 5 course tasting menu where they essentially cook whatever they are inspired to cook, and you don’t have to make any decisions. The tasting meal usually involves a homemade pasta, some sort of meat, a vegetable dish, and always has dessert. A few photos below from the awesome interior, our cocktails and some tasting menu items from times we’ve visited before. photo 5

Sunday: Just got back from Lululemon run club. Had an awesome run with Ellen. Meeting up with a friend for brunch in a bit. Will do some math lesson planning on the couch, and will take advantage of the endless supply of sweet potato black bean burgers I have in the freezer for dinner. I doubled the recipe two weeks ago, and with fluffy hawaiian rolls and some BBQ sauce they are really satisfying. I love having a freezer filled with ready to go meals. Maybe go for a walk on the beach after dinner and evening church?

What does balance look like for you?

The Big 2-0!

Take my advice. Run your long runs with a bunch of people. It’s worth all the coordinating, adding on extra mileage if you’re running longer, driving to meet people to trun as a group. Before I joined the 10,000 running groups I run with, I’d head out for 20+ mile runs alone watching the clock, feeling sorry for myself, counting down the seconds, and being bored. I feel like a crazy person saying this, but today’s 20 miler was really FUN. It felt like an adventure. Marta, Gisele and I met at her place in Mid-City and ran three miles then met Ellen, Marianne and two of her friends and we all ran the last portion of the LA Marathon course down to the sea. We met a friend of Ellen’s in Santa Monica who ran the last 4 with us.

Check out our route:

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The LA Marathon is in three weeks, so the roads were packed with everyone getting their last long run in before tapering. There was so much excitement and energy as we passed groups of runners. We even ran into Brianna with Team Nutribullet in Beverly Hills. Team Nutribullet is so friendly and enthusiastic. They were super supportive when we passed them.

photo (7)Being the snobby LA runners we are, we stopped to use the bathroom at the Four Seasons in West Hollywood and had a water stop at Whole Foods. I snapped a picture of a kumquat tree. I love love love kumquats and feel the need to buy this tree. Marta also took a pic of me with my water bottle baby. Thankfully Gisele offered to run holding the bottle. I hate hate hate running with water packs. We ran the 20 averaging about an 8:20, which made sense for a slightly downhill route. Marta’s friend John saved us from ubering home by giving us a ride back to our cars. We looked and smelled beautiful. photo 3 (2)So how did it feel?

Friday Dinner: Squid Ink Spaghetti with Ground Shrimp, Red Curry Biscuits and a beer flight at The Tripel.

Friday Sleep: Slept from 9:15 PM – 6:15 AM. I need 8 hours, anything over is just wonderful! I woke up with a sore throat and a little sniffly, but my energy felt ok.

Pre-Run Breakfast: Two pieces of toast with lots of jelly.

Post-Run Snack: I was super organized and prepared and carried a peanut butter pack for right after the run. Is that whole eat 30 minutes after a long run for recovery thing true? When I got home I ate….get ready for very LA food….blueberries, granola Alaina brought me back from The Cheeseboard Collective in Berkeley, hemp and kefir as soon as I got home. There’s talk of happy hour later 🙂

Long Run Fuel: Gatorate chews and some cereal in a baggie. Didn’t feel like driving to Whole Foods or a running store for my honey stinger stuff.

Long Run Hydration: Random sips of water, water fountains, ran into Whole Foods for iced water.

Long Run Outfit: You guessed it…lululemon shorts, race t-shirt, target sports bra, my free lulu socks from run club, Nike visor.

How Did It Feel: Today was so fun. I love the running community. Everyone is so friendly and warm. Everyone out on the streets was supporting each other. I rarely looked at my watch to see how many more miles we had to run. I’m a little nervous for when the LA Marathon is over and fewer people are out running long. Gisele and Ellen, it’s gonna be us three!

Other Notes: I AM SO EXCITED FOR MARTA TO RUN LA. She is going to rock it!!!!!!! Such a strong runner. I’ll be waiting for you at the finish. Enjoy the taper. You deserve it. Also, still looking for LA Marathon donations for Girls on the Run. Seriously, any amount is GREATLY APPRECIATED. It is an empowering program for girls.

Three miles in meeting up at Ellen’s. Nice filter, eh?
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Rather thank making this the longest post in the world, I’ll be back to tomorrow with an update from my mid-week runs, a few more recipe ideas, LA adventures with the family and details on my big night out at the Magic Castle in Hollywood!

Oh, one last thing. Look what came in the mail!

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Two weeks ago while I was running my 6th 800 at track practice I saw a little girl running up ahead. My initial thought was, “How cute!” until it took a little longer than I wanted to catch up to her. When I finally passed her I shouted “Keep running. You’re going to be really fast!” A few seconds later I saw her mom look down at her stopwatch. She cheered, “You beat your record!” with a warm and encouraging tone. Running is empowering and builds confidence in our young girls. It teaches them they can achieve anything they set their mind to. Yes…I’m going to ask for money in this post, but it is for such a great cause. Ellen and I have just one month left to raise $1000 for Girls on the Run so that our girls can experience the power of running free of cost. We’re almost half way there. Click here to help us out!

Super Bowl Commercial

#likeagirl Super Bowl Commercial

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What Zelle has to say about Girls on the Run

What’s new in my world of running? Gisele and I ordered THESE Boston Marathon shorts to motivate us and get us excited about Boston. I don’t get to wear them until April 21st though! And I’ve managed to squeeze the following runs into the work week:

  • Monday: 4 Miles with Back on My Feet
  • Tuesday: Track Day! 1 Mile Warm-Up, Drills, 1 x 200, 1 x 300, 3 x 1200, 1 Mile Cool Down
  • Wednesday: Off
  • Thursday: 8 Miles 7:30 pace
  • Tomorrow: I’ll be at Back on My Feet

This weekend the mileage is going up to 19 😦 BUT Carmen, Mama and Papa will be in town so we’ve got all kinds of fun planned for after I finish my long run. Have a Happy Friday!