Mind Games

Before I jump into anything running related, I am the proud aunt to Rexetta Judy Weber! Carmen’s baby was born on Friday morning and was named after our Grandma Johnson. I can’t wait to be in New York next weekend! I am so happy for Carmen and Jim. Get ready for lots of baby pics!

In my running life, last weekend I signed up for a 10K that was going to be happening about a mile from my apartment. I was hoping for a little race adrenaline but I got this email 😦


During my Wednesday evening run I saw this on the beach path. Thank you very much fuel tank. I was really wanting to get some speedy miles in. You also made me detour like crazy getting to Venice for my Saturday morning run.

Saturday morning we ran one of those perfectly awesome long runs. Ellen and I started at Gjusta for post-run pastries, and ran our way up San Vicente to pick up Marta and Bri. We did the Bristol hill past Sunset, ran back down San Vicente and picked Lauren up before venturing into the Palisades. I love going out and exploring with my running buds. Check out these awesome tropical looking stairs in the Palisades.

I think the run was so enjoyable because there was no pressure. I wasn’t concerned with pace, I ate my shot blocks whenever I felt like it, I drank water whenever we found it, and I didn’t think about how my legs felt. I just ran and busted out a 6:40 for my last mile just because. When I’m training for a specific race I think too much.

They say running is 90% mental, and over the years I’ve learned a lot about how to tackle mental barriers and discomfort during a race. I’m no expert, but I’ve come a long way. Everyone has their secret sauce, but this is what has worked for me. It’s not foolproof. Sometimes I’m just not feeling a race and my mental plan doesn’t work. We’re allowed to have bad days.

Before I even get to a race, I do a lot of visualizing. This is SO embarrassing to admit, but I found this email the other day while searching my inbox. I thought long and hard about sharing it because I worried I’d be judged, but I’m pretty sure only Marta, Ellen, Alaina, and Brent are reading this 🙂 This photo was taken at the LA Marathon in February. Ellen and I ran the marathon as a relay team, and we finished in just under 3:10 as a team. Alaina is my best friend. I tell her everything, so when I saw my marathon foto picture with that finish time, I just had to share my new goal. Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 7.54.24 AM.png

In my training I spent a lot of time thinking about that moment I would cross under 3:10. When I got bored running endless miles, I’d visualized Hereford and Boylston. I recognize this is my hobby and that there were 243 women who finished ahead of me at Boston, but this was my goal, and I thought about it a lot before the race.

During any goal race I expect discomfort. I don’t wonder if it will come, I know it will. I acknowledged the effort and shift my mindset from “This is hard and I want to quit” to “It feels so good to work hard.” I remind myself how lucky I am to be running, and repeat my mantra. I always have a mantra. Even if it’s just a dinky local 5K. Maybe it’s “You were born to run” or “You eat hills for breakfast” or “You know you’re a good runner.” Whatever it is, I repeat it to myself while jamming out to fun music.

I also remind myself of all the miles I put in before the race. In a marathon, for example, when I’m at mile 16 and still have just over ten miles to go I tell myself “Ten miles. You’d run that after a long day of work.” I think a lot about the hours of training while I race.

I realize I’m painting a rosy picture. Sometimes a mental plan fails. Sometimes I ask myself why I even bother running. What do you do to trick yourself into embracing discomfort and loving the struggle?

OK, now onto the random pics.

Having fun taking panorama pictures of my hood.

FullSizeRender.jpgIMG_3930.JPGAt school we’re getting ready for next year with curriculum planning. 

And our scholars are really improving their writing…

I’m off to meet Gisele for a few miles in Manhattan Beach, followed by date day with Brent, and 2016-2017 schedule writing with Alaina. Have a happy Sunday!

LA Marathon Relay 2016 Race Review

What a fun running weekend! Nothing like Olympic Trials to get you pumped up for a race. This morning Marta, Brianna, and Sarah ran the full. Ellen and I ran the charity relay for City of Hope, she started the race and I took us to the finish. This was the first year Skechers sponsored the race, so I’m excited to fill you in on the experience! Here we are at the start. My eyes look tiny. I look like I slept 2 hours because of my dumb stuffy nose.

LA’s course is amazing. It’s the BEST way to tour LA. Start at Dodger Stadium and end at the ocean. The only part that is no fun is Century City and West LA. Ugh…those miles drag.

This is slightly out of order, but after Ellen and I finished we went back to cheer for our friends. Here we are with Marta…I guess technically not a friend, a sister :)… taking her across the finish! Marta ran a smart race. I’m so proud of her. She was nursing some injuries, so took the race easy…which honestly is often harder than pushing yourself. It’s hard not to let endorphins push you faster than you should. I loved crossing the finish line (again) with my two best running buddies! Ran into Jim at the start. He flew in from NY for the marathon. Missing the 5 degree weather for some 80 degree running! We worked together at Campus Information Centers at Michigan.

After dropping the girls off, I rushed to the half way point to find a parking spot and get warmed up a little bit. With racing there is ALWAYS a random emergency. This time it was no hair tie. Had to make a quick CVS stop.

Ellen ran a half PR, finishing her half of the race in 1:36. SO FAST! I took off here on Sunset and Ogden.

My plan was to sub 1:30, but I had a dumb cold and cough this week so I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it. I also had some failed tempo runs, so I wasn’t super confident. I went out there and 6:45 just felt super comfortable. I felt great the whole time. No balls to the walls racing today, just a strong effort. Boston is the goal race so I didn’t want to go crazy. I need to work on middle miles. I doubt myself so much then bust out fast miles at the end. I also want to publicly apologize to runners who had to deal with me blowing my nose throughout the course. I was a snotty mess with bunches of paper towels in my pockets.

The second half of the course.

Nothin like finishing on Ocean Avenue. Bri finished the race in 3:38. 4 minute PR for her!
Yay! Another LA in the books! Too bad I look disgusting in this photo. I poured 3 water bottles on my head to keep me from overheating.

We went back to cheer for Sarah who finished her FIRST marathon! She killed it! Just started running 6 months ago!

We ran the last mile with her. It was so inspirational watching her push herself to her limit. She kept repeating “I can do anything for 15 minutes. I can do anything for 15 minutes.” Sarah can forever say she is a marathon runner. So incredible. 

Post race festivities consisted of Gjusta, of course. I was too hungry to take photos of the food.

Thinking of running this race next year?


  • OK this won’t be the case next year but it was the day after the Olympic Trials!
  • Point-to-point course that takes you through Hollywood, West Hollywood, down Rodeo Drive, through Brentwood and ends at the ocean
  • Nice medal
  • Good post race snacks (teddy grams, cheez-its, bananas)
  • Easy registration process and you can sign up at the expo
  • If you live in LA, so many familiar faces on the course
  • Ice at the end and lots of cooling towels
  • So much support for ALL runners, new runners, fast runners, slow runners


  • I love my Skechers running shoes, but the apparel at the expo wasn’t great
  • Logistics can be hard for a point-to-point course you’re not from LA and don’t have a bunch of friends willing to drive you around
  • Usually hot
  • Century City/West LA portion of the course SUCKS
  • Traffic in Santa Monica after the race

Rest Days, Fartleks+Fast Finish

It wouldn’t be Sunday afternoon without a little blogging. El Niño has finally made an appearance in California. We’re in desperate need of rain, so we welcome the wet weather. Los Angeles is beautiful regardless. Check out the clouds on my Friday evening seven mile run.

I’m loving having someone write my training plan. For years I’ve had pretty much the same routine. Easy Monday, track Tuesday, off Wednesday, tempo Thursday, 5 at 5 on Friday, long Saturday, and Lululemon run club on Sunday. I’m enjoying challenging myself with new workouts, and feel like the plan has me work smarter not necessarily longer and harder. Monday I had a 8 mile run with 3 x 8 minutes tempo. It was a wet mess outside, so I ran on the treadmill which was SO mentally challenging. I hate the treadmill, especially for speed work because I feel like I am going to fall off, but it makes me appreciate running outside SO much. Wednesday I ran a fartlek run with some fast bursts, and Saturday I ran 14 miles with a fast finish. Ellen, Lauren and I ran an easy conversational 8:30-8:45 pace, we then planned a four mile route to finish at our meeting spot (Ocean Ave + Alta) and took off. It’s amazing how quickly you can go from nice and easy to fast mode. Yes, mile 14 had a slight elevation loss, but I was still super excited to be running a 6:14 at the end of the long run. 

Tuesday was my rest day. I feel like runners don’t respect the rest day enough. We hate it, and try to make ourselves busy by staying at work late, going to yoga, going on a hike or a long walk. We aren’t good at resting. Tuesday I came home, was in my sweats by 5:30 and just sat around the entire evening. I watched Clueless on Netflix and started Making a Murderer (I still prefer Serial, but it’s definitely worth watching). To be honest, having a full on rest day with no evening plans and Brent staying late at work was kinda boring. I went to bed really early, but my running felt strong the rest of the week and I wonder if pure rest and laziness on Tuesday helped.

A few more of my recent kitchen adventures. Sticking to the resolution. Chili, black bean+spinach tacos with the mole I made last weekend, and lentil bolognese with spaghetti squash.

This morning I also switched things up by going to yoga at The Yoga Collective in Venice with a bunch of Equitas friends. Years back Alaina and I took classes with Jackie here at a tiny studio in Playa. Jackie was just starting her yoga career, and it was often just us two in her class. She was so good at differentiating for our needs, something we really appreciate as educators 🙂  Since then Jackie has become a popular yoga instructor in LA. We were so excited to be reunited with her again!  yogacollectivestudio-1

And you can’t be in Venice during brunch hours and NOT go to Gjusta. Today I tried the bialy egg sandwich. We went to Blue Star Donuts afterwards. Got the old fashioned and maple bacon for Brent and I.



Sunday evenings feel very different now that I don’t experience that Sunday night “I don’t want to go to school” anxiety. Yeah, I wouldn’t mind sleeping in a little bit, I would love to take a lunch break and go out with my colleagues, and I’m always always envious people who can run before work, but I actually have fun at work, and LOVE what I do. What a strange concept.