Ventura Half Marathon Race Review + Our Little School


Before I jump into all things running, I need talk about our beautiful little school. Yesterday we had our first Community Meeting of the year. At this weekly event we invite parents and celebrated one scholar from each homeroom who exemplified our school values over the course of the week. Yesterday was the first day that felt somewhat smooth. I need to make a huge poster next summer that says “It gets better” and hang it up in my office.

August and September are insane. Lower elementary is so different in the fall than middle school. Middle schoolers start compliant and eager, and gradually start testing you, while elementary school kids need a lot of socializing. On top of the regular get school running craziness and learning the new personalities of some of our more difficult students, we have our annual audit at the end of the month and this week our permanent facility project is going to city hall for a public hearing. We’re rallying a huge group of parents to join us at our hearing so that we can be sure to get approved finish our project by the 2017-2018 school-year.14305278_10104883651110857_2912348494288250708_o.jpg

The Saturday after the first week of school I was so ready to sleep in , but I couldn’t make it past 5:30 am. I was lazy all morning. By lazy I mean I had a huge bowl of granola, two cups of coffee, and worked for four hours. It was so nice to get uninterrupted work done on the couch. Saturday night Brent and I went out for dinner in Costa Mesa at the #2 Jonathan Gold restaurant, Taco Maria. It did not disappoint. Worth the drive down to Orange County. I carbed up with the 4 course meal (and margarita-ed) up and was ready to run on Sunday. IMG_5259.JPGSunday morning Gisele, Ellen and I met up to make the drive to Ventura for a 6:30 am start time. I wondered what my Mexican food would do to me on race day (I might swear by it now). We ran into Shannon at Starbucks in Ventura, one of the Marina girls I run with. She was there to support Emily and Alison, going for a BQ on the day before registration. Spoiler alert, they did it! Emily finished in 3:23 (she needed a 3:40) and Alison finished in 3:27 (needing a 3:35).

I was screaming like a crazy woman watching them cross the finish line. So so happy for them! I also ran into Kristine Rezny, our counseling intern back at KIPP who now works full time at a Green Dot middle school. She’s coming back from injury, but is also a Boston Qualifier and will be there in 2017. Boston’s gonna be a big ole party this year! Ellen, Gisele, Alison, Emily, Kristine. Can’t wait for this year’s nerd convention. Screen Shot 2016-09-17 at 5.58.07 PM.png

So the race, I was definitely going to try, and I was excited to see what I had in me. Even though I won entry to the race last minute and didn’t pay to participate (SO GRATEFUL!) I don’t see the point in going to a race and taking it easy. Why not just go for a run? I ran the first two miles on feel. 6:25ish. Turns out that was the pace of the day. I was in something like 5th place, and ran the first 5ish miles with a pack of guys. I was scared to be running what is fast for me stayed positive and eventually passed them.

To keep me calm and take my mind off the race, I cheered for the marathoners who we were passing. They started 30 minutes prior, so we were passing the 4:30-5:00 pace groups. At the turn-around I had worked my way to second place. I felt nervous because the girls I passed looked like “real runners.” They were more intense looking than me and visibly seemed to be taking the whole race more seriously.


My arm on the right with the man pack. 

Gisele saw me at the turn around and shouted “you’re in second!” Around mile 9 I came up to the first place woman. It’s really awkward passing someone for first. I turned to her and said “Thank you. You’ve been pushing me. I hope I don’t fall apart!” I wondered how much she hated me for talking to her, but I ran into her after the race and she was so sweet! She goes “You didn’t fall apart! Congratulations!” Gotta love the running community.

The last 4 miles were lonely. Being an out-and-back course, I had passed everyone on the turn around and there were no other runners in sight, but I just held it and only allowed myself to look at my pace, not the total time. I finished with the 5Kers, looked down at my watch and saw 1:24:06. Finishing 1st out of 900ish women felt pretty darn good. Granted, I’m pretty sure all the fasties were at the Santa Monica Classic 10K, happening the same day. I couldn’t believe the 2 minute PR and was so happy with how comfortably hard it felt. Gisele looked so strong finishing in 1:27, and Ellen made her 1:36 look easy. She’s definitely got a sub 1:35 in her. Next up, Long Beach on October 9th!

Thinking of running this race next year?


  • Flat course
  • Start and finish at the Ventura Pier
  • Great energy!
  • Free photos
  • Race day pick-up for an extra fee
  • Lots of post race food
  • Cute shirts and performance hats
  • Free parking all over town
  • Lots of water stations with nuun


  • If you don’t like out and backs, you’ll hate this course. I like them because you can see your friends who are running the race too!
  • A good hour drive from LA


And I have to leave you with photos from my post-long run brunch. We’ve been to The Tasting Kitchen for dinner, but never for brunch. Short rib hash was the perfect recovery food. Carbs. Iron. Deliciousness. And yummy cocktails that I imagine aren’t great for recovery, but make life fun.


The Teacher Life

Week 1 at Equitas Academy #3 is over! FullSizeRender.jpg

It was an exhausting week, but so rewarding. We love our new scholars and their families! Here we are at 7:00 am on the first day of school greeting our scholars at the gate. Can you guess the first grade line vs. the kindergarten line? Those kinder babies look a little scared.

We tried to plan for everything. Of course somethign always goes “wrong.” Dismissal was a mess, but by Friday we came up with a smooth system.

Last weekend we did our final Target run for snacks and backpack bins (that we learned DON’T fit all their backpacks).

We also picked up our pajama day outfits .

Week one is all about teaching routines. Check out this awesome line. A beautifully straight line is the key to my heart.

We also teach Equitas cheers and chants.

And teach our scholars the importance of washing their hands. Our scholars may have developed a fear of green glitter.

By Friday we were getting a little loopy and tired. Lily’s outfit was poppin.

I mostly ate Mendocino Farms couscous for dinner while doing all the work I wasn’t able to do during school hours. I did manage to make pizza by Thursday night. Turns out grilled corn and mushrooms on pizza is good.

And made Shalane’s fish tacos Friday night. The mango avocado salsa was yummy, but the cod I bought wasn’t the greatest quality. Gonna splurge next time. 

I’m never too busy to run. Last weekend Gisele, Ellen, and I hit up Palos Verdes. It’s so beautiful there. On Monday I ran to Venice beach before heading to school for final preparations. The guy on the right was getting greased up. Big labor day competition at Muscle Beach.

And Tuesday I did a bit of a tempo run. I haven’t been running tempo runs for a few weeks because I’ve been doing this whole “run whatever you feel like with no pressure” plan. Every once in a while I’ll pick it up for a mile or so, but I haven’t done speed in a while. Tuesday after-school I needed speed. It was one of those days. I ran 4 minutes easy 4 minutes hard. It was exactly what I needed.

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And today I ran an easy 4 because I won an entry to Ventura half tomorrow. Brent and I are going to Taco Maria for dinner tonight. It’s #2 on the Jonathan Gold list, and it’s a prix fixe meal. About to find out what Mexican food does to my stomach at a half. I can’t be too upset if it doesn’t go well, and I’m not about to change my dinner plans for 13.1. I’m definitely going to try tomorrow and treat it like a hard tempo, but I honestly can’t be mad if it doesn’t go beautifully. Best case scenario, I learn that tacos and margaritas are my go-to foods the day before a race. Time to get ready for dinner 🙂


I celebrated my 31st birthday on Monday. 30 was so good to me. School. Running. Travel. Family. I couldn’t have asked for a better year. There’s a lot of pressure for 31 to live up to 30. The final days of 30 weren’t particularly balanced. So far 31 has been a little crazy too. You know my life is a little out of whack when I’m not blogging on Sundays. I love taking the time to reflect on the previous week, and if I don’t make time for that it’s a good sign I’m taking too much on. But August is a busy time in the ed world, and I know calm is coming. Probably not till October. But it’s coming! And I love spending time at EQ3. I enjoy the process of gearing up for a school year. Check out our growing team 🙂

Summer Professional Development is now officially over. Our teachers participated in dozens of sessions. I felt a little hypocritical leading the work-life balance session. Balance means sometimes you swing in one direction, right? Last week was especially booked with a Neighborhood Council Meeting Monday night for our permanent building approval process and Parent Orientation on the evenings of  Wednesday and Thursday. I didn’t get what I need to be balanced. A nice post-work run, cooking dinner and having dinner with Brent, and some time to unwind on the couch. This week was pretty insane too. School starts Tuesday, and we had to finish moving into our new location while preparing lessons and content for our new grade-level.

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Oh, back to my birthday, check out the beautiful cake they got Cecilia our new yoga teacher and I from JJ Bakery. We’re birthday twins 🙂

Here are a few shots from some of our sessions this summer. Here we are book studying at a staff. This summer we read Helping Children Succeed. Highly recommended.

More team building. I had challenges in ziploc bags and a bunch of materials. As a team they had to build something. Here is the first grade team building a fashion accessory .

Coleen came to Equitas to lead us in Dynamic Mindfulness training.

We also spent a lot of time physically moving into our new site. Screen Shot 2016-09-03 at 8.57.03 PM.png

And coming up with logistics and transition plans. IMG_4988.JPG

Summer has been a lot of work, but play too!

Last weekend I went to Michigan to see the family before school starts. When in Michigan you have to stock up on Zingerman’s.

Colby and Miles 🙂

We did an early birthday celebration at Bestia. Check out this lobster toast!

I always go with cocktails at Bestia.

And the new carpool which now includes Cecilia, our new Playa buddy, means more morning coffee dates.

Summer in LA means time at the beach. Brent loves his boogie board. 

Marta, Brent, and I went to Gjelina on the night of my birthday.

And this mushroom toast. Oh my goodness it had chunks of garlic and the bread was so crispy and it was smothered in mushrooms. Gotta love the Jonathan Gold spots.

We had our Growing Greatness launch the school year party on Thursday. Here we are invading the photo booth.FullSizeRender.jpg

2 days until the 2016-2017 school year officially begins. I can’t wait to welcome our scholars back. And I love spending time with these lovely ladies…


Yup, we’re the unicorn and fairy school.

Oh, and because this is a running blog I should probably throw something in running. Got my photos back from San Fran. Here I am getting to the finish. race_2167_photo_40233316.jpg

Here we are with Nike Run Club in Santa Monica. Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 6.53.38 PM.png

Didn’t really expect to have a photographer on my Saturday morning run.

So my intentions for 31. This year I hope to focus on taking time for rest and practicing mindfulness. I love being restless and being on the go, but I really need to learn to slow down and relax. I’m going to try to do something daily that is calming and specify it in my passion planner. Yesterday Cecilia, Alaina, and I got massages. Today I’m going to church. I’ve recruited teachers to join in on mindful mornings on Wednesdays for some meditation. We’ll see how this goes, I just know I need it. Especially this time of year.

Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!