Arroyo Creek Half Marathon Race Review 2015

You are looking at The Three Amigos. The Queens of Simi Valley.

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1-2-3 in our age group. Marta finished 2nd overall and I finished 1st overall. Official time was 1:27:09 🙂 Peter finished 3rd in his age group too. Awards all around! I love racing because it feels like a celebration of all those miles put in through training. On the way up to the race we talked about training, and the benefits of speed work vs. lots of miles. This race proved it’s those miles you put in. The more you run the faster you get. A few tempos here and there help, but it’s really about running consistently.


Peter at the podium. Yes, I stole this from facebook. He ran a 1:32:05!11242688_10105346867840800_928927201579014799_n-1Marta took this very artsy picture of us checking out our times after the race. Impressive with the reflection and all! FullSizeRender (55)

And here are my splits. Not sure if anyone besides myself is interested. 
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I went into the race feeling really positive. I didn’t feel nervous, but did feel a little “ugh I have to push myself today.” You know how much I love sticking to my comfort zone. Because I felt so relaxed, I broke the #1 race day rule and tried something new on race day. I had coffee and two slices of this awesome cinnamon bread from Trader Joes. Nice, sweet and carbolicious.


Yesterday’s carbs involved Kogi for lunch, and some pasta for dinner. Saturdays with no amigo running feel kinda empty.

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So the race. I never hit that 10 mile half marathon wall of wishing it was all over. I felt great throughout the race, and I know it’s because I just kept smiling and staying super positive during the entire run. I didn’t let any negative thoughts cross my mind, and I never felt sorry for myself. I really think this is crucial to a strong race. You have to smile and love the experience, and be thankful for being out there on the course. I was super excited about my time. I looked at my pace every mile, but didn’t look at my overall time because I love the surprise when you reach the finish line. I saw 1:26 on the clock and thought I might be able to hustle, but decided to save that for another PR 🙂 I’m super pumped about my time more than about winning because I broke my previous half marathon PR which I never thought would be possible because my previous PR was on a downhill course. I’m not interested in signing up for downhill courses anymore. It feels like cheating. I earned this 1:27, and I don’t need an asterisk next to my time. Being Cristina I finished and was pumped and proud of myself, but probably about a minute later I started thinking, “1:26…then maybe 1:25…” I don’t think I’ll ever reach a point where I’m ready to quit going for faster. I remember I used to think a sub 1:30 was official badass status. Well, I guess I’m a badass who is eager for more. Speaking of which, I need responses to my Boston question at the bottom of my last post…

Here are the sisters at the podium…


And our prize…I also won $20 at Sports Authority. I’ll take it!

IMG_1349In marathon training news, I’m feeling 1000 times more relaxed this training season. I think knowing Brent and Ellen are running New York with me takes the pressure off. With Boston I was so concerned with just getting to the starting line healthy because everyone was going to watch ME. I’m glad the attention is shared this time around. Alrighty, off to run errands before dinner at the new Simzy’s in Venice Beach. It’s a celebration of a great run and to starting the 2015-2016 school year TOMORROW!

Thinking of running this race next year?


  • Race day packet pick up. HUGE PRO!
  • Easy parking
  • Flushing toilet
  • Cute shirt (T-shirt. I haven’t been loving race tech shirts lately so I was happy with this.)
  • Small community feel
  • Lots of pacing options
  • Turn-around points where you can see your friends
  • Post race pancakes (sadly my stomach couldn’t handle them)


  • Not the most exciting course
  • It was kinda hard to get water. I never knew if it was water or gatorade.
  • Lots of turn-arounds (although I liked that)
  • Lots of dips and uneven pavement

Bestia, Beating Bordom + Boston?


So I lied. I wasn’t going to post until after the half on Sunday but I have to tell you about Bestia. Oh Bestia. You really are living up to the hype. Four weeks of professional development for teachers begin on Monday, so Cecilia and I booked a reservation for six of us two months ago in anticipation of needing a celebration before the craziness begins. It’s been hectic at work getting everything ready for the new school year. The warehouse atmosphere and Italian comfort food made for a fun Thursday evening with friends in the Arts District. IMG_1315We ordered a lot of food…

  • Chicken Liver Crostino: chives, marjoram, aged balsamic, sea salt
  • Marinated Olives: cerignola, taggiasche, castelvetrano, gaeta, picholine (that means nothing to me)
  • Mussels and Clams: housemade spicy ‘nduja sausage, fennel seed, preserved orange, grilled bread
  • Grilled Beef Meatballs: braised beet greens, soffritto, tomatoes
  • Burrata Pizza: san marzano tomatoes, castelvetrano olives, oregano, fermented chilies
  • Pistaccio Pici Al Sugo Di Agnello: Lamb ragu, saffron, capra sarda, fig leaf, ground pistachios
  • Casarecce al Pomodoro: twisted semolina pasta, tomato sugo, fresh ricotta, basil oil
  • Valrhona Fair Trade Bittersweet Chocolate Budino: Salted caramel, cacao crust, olive oil and sea salt
  • Maple Ricotta Fritters: Maple butter ganache & sour cream and huckleberry jam ice cream
  • Butterscotch Coconut Tart: Coconut Sorbetto
  • I Am Sky: Vodka, strawberry syrup, cucumbers, mezcal, sea salt, lemon, blue thistle and cucumber
  • Oh Snap: Cap rock gin, velvet falernum, gran classico, snap peas, mint, salt, lemon juice, cracked black pepper
  • Slot Machine: Bourbon, banana liqueur, cynar, smoked cherries, cardamom bitters, lemon juice, tobacco essence

Going with a big group was perfect. We had seven of us, so we were able to sample a bunch of different food and drinks. My favorites….Ahh that chicken liver crostino. It was so flavorful I didn’t even get a picture, but I stole one from instagram and it’s below. I loved the lamb ragu with the homemade pasta and this was one of the first pizzas in LA that rivaled pizzas I’ve had on the east coast. And for dessert, the chocolate tart was perfectly sweet. Alaina, remember that time a piece fell in my shoe and you ate it? Yeah. It was that good. And I’m such a beer snob, but I’m really loving craft cocktails lately. I think my favorite was the I Am Sky. I guess what I really loved about Bestia was the food tasted authentic Italian. It wasn’t all about the chic vibe of the restaurant, the food tasted home cooked and felt like it was made with love and passion. Cheesy, but I really did feel like I was eating someone’s work of art. I may or may not have already booked another reservation for November…We have spots for 8 🙂 We HAVE to go back because they were out of the bone marrow.

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OK, back to running. My co-worker Maria recently started running and asked me how I dealt with boredom. Boredom!? I never get bored running! I’m always running with friends, tempo-ing to music, or listening to nothing and just processing the day. Sometimes, especially on easy days, I like to listen to podcasts. My favorites, Freakonomics and This American Life. How do you deal with runner boredom? IMG_1272Isn’t Playa del Rey beautiful? Sighted on my Thursday morning run. Too bad morning runs end next week. Back to school! 

And while in Michigan I had to purchase Zingermans Marshmallows. This IS the marshmallow project in the Lowry household. I have to portion out Brent’s portion so he doesn’t eat all mine 🙂 FullSizeRender

And running wise I took it fairly easy this week…

  • Monday: Eight Mile Run with no watch
  • Tuesday: Five Mile Run with Marta in Venice/Santa Monica (8:35 Average Pace)
  • Wednesday: Off
  • Thursday: Six Mile Run with no watch
  • Friday: Four Mile Run with Back on My Feet

And last, I need your advice. Should I run Boston in 2016? I asked Brent and he looked at me like a crazy person saying it was an honor to run and I should run it ever year I can, but then tonight on the way home from work Mama was like “Good thing you’re not running Boston as a first year principal.” I really don’t know, and registration is in September. What do you think? Should I run Boston?

Oh and FINAL last, teachers..we’re ready for you!FullSizeRender (53)

Weekend in Michigan

Quick update before work. Before the craziness of school starts, I took a long weekend trip to Michigan. Ahh summer in Michigan. It really is magical!

FullSizeRender (52)So that I didn’t have to run long in Michigan, I ran 18 on Thursday morning before work. Sometimes I snapchat and run. Helps the time go by.FullSizeRender (51)

My route was awful. 3.5 miles out and back. 2 miles out with Brent and back. Another 3.5 out and back. Ran it nice and slow. The way a long run is supposed to go.


Running Thursday morning was worth it so that I could spend the weekend hanging out with these guys…

IMG_1258Colby even bought me a cake to celebrate the start of my birthday month. I just love Colby and Miles so much.

I did manage to get a little bit of running in on Saturday and Sunday. Wasn’t too humid, and it was a nice change of scenery. Mama wanted me to add a picture of me “coriendo en Michigan.”

Could my colors be any more obnoxious?
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And Detroit Airport, I’m impressed with your store options!


This week I’m running mostly easy miles. Ellen, Marta, Peter and I are running Arroyo Creek Half on Sunday. It’s probably gonna be hot, but hoping it isn’t brutal. Although it wouldn’t be a Cristina race without some bad weather conditions. Hoping to run fast! It’ll be my last weekend before staff arrives to school on MONDAY.

I’ll be back with a race recap on Sunday!