The Big 2-0…NYC Edition!

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m currently training for the 8th marathon, the New York Marathon. Today was a big day. Our first twenty miler. A twenty miler is never easy. It’s always scary. It always hangs over your head the week before. It always feels so good to be done. Ellen and I met in Venice and set off on our adventure across West Los Angeles. Not gonna lie, I was kinda nervous about this run for several reasons.

img_1609-01. My hamstring has been aching when I run. I found a spot on my quad and in my glute that was super tight and foam rolled it to death this week. With hamstring pain it’s rarely the hamstring, instead something else pulling on the hamstring. You know you’ve found the spot when you roll it and feel your hamstring ache a bit. Everything really is connected.

2. We didn’t have a route planned.

3. Some of our cheer buddies who were going to jump in for a few miles weren’t able to make it.

Much to our surprise, the run went really well. Ellen and I had a lot to catch up on with our new jobs and all, and my hamstring felt 10000 times better. The route ended up being nice, and we were able to meet up with Brianna and run a few miles with her. I love running with Brianna. Her stories help the miles fly by. Random fact, did you know there is a pop-up barber shop in the VA?Because I’m so NOT stressed about NY, I haven’t been good about long run notes. Here is my attempt to reflect on the run…

Friday Dinner: Israeli CousCous with Spinach Hemp Pesto + Roasted Veggies

Friday Sleep: Went to bed at 9PM. This whole getting ready for school starting on Tuesday exhausted me. I was so tired.

Pre-Run Breakfast: English muffin with peanut butter, honey and banana

Post-Run Snack: Peanut Butter Chocolate Rice Krispy from Groundworks on Rose

Long Run Fuel: Swedish fish + pretzels. I didn’t eat enough before and during. Hence the Rice Krispy treat immediately after the run.

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

Long Run Outfit: Polka dot lululemon shorts, Run Vancouver shirt, target sports bra, random socks, Nike visor. No chafing which is always nice.

How Did It Feel: Today was a major confidence boost. It felt hard, but the right kind of hard. I did a pace tempo run last night so I went into the run with tired legs, forcing me to slow down. The last two miles were harder because I was getting hungry.

Top Tip: 1. Never underestimate the power of a foam roller. 2. Don’t forget to load up on the carbs the day before a long run. Yesterday was hectic at school, and I had lunch at 11:30am, and didn’t eat again until dinner at 7. I was to busy to even realize I should be snacking throughout the day. Felt it the last two miles.

And a few more photos from my birthday and the week…

Getting pampered!Lululemon Run Club Mom, Kathy.
  The lovely Brianne.   Team EQ3 planking 🙂 Didn’t expect this on a Wednesday night at RunMDR’s six year anniversary run. Apparently stress (good “I’m about to open a school” stress) makes you run faster. FullSizeRender (62)

Our beautiful college doors. Our scholars have some CREATIVE teachers!
KOGI! Best post long run meal.  Roy Choi showed up!

And now that football season has started, the evening will consist of Trader Joe’s snacks and beers on the couch. Until next time!

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

Back in LA!

Peaches & Herb’s “Reunited” has been stuck in my head since last Monday. I flew into LA late last Sunday night, and early Monday morning flew with the KIPP Academy of Opportunity staff to Houston for the KIPP School Summit. I was greeted by Ashley and Alaina who were already in Houston for a leadership training. They surprised me with balloons, flowers, wine, cards and a cute graduation stuffed animal. I love those girls! Summit was such a fun way to celebrate the end of such an intense summer. We went to an Astros Game, bonded as a KIPP LA region at Lucky Strike, Karen delivered the best Art PD session, we were inspired to go from Good to Great by Jim Collins, celebrated 20 years of KIPP with Mary J. Blige and Common and were encouraged by our little KIPPsters to keep fighting the good fight. The experience was truly inspirational.

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KIPP School Summit 2014!

We got back to LA on Friday afternoon. I did piles on laundry, went grocery shopping, ran a nice slow beach run and ate Kogi at First Fridays. It felt so good to be back on the beach. Saturday morning Brent, Ellen and I ran ten miles on the beach and ate brunch with Sarah, Alaina and Anna at Playa Provisions (restaurant review coming soon). Sunday morning I was back at Lululemon for my 43rd run with Kathy and the Lululemon group. We ran our nice eight mile loop.

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Ellen and I at Playa Provisions

And this morning I was back at CLARE Foundation’s Back on My Feet group. So many of the runners have improved in the past six weeks. A bunch of them are gearing up to run the Long Beach Half Marathon in October. I’m signed up too! Right now I’m sitting on my couch drinking coffee before heading over to school for a day full of meetings. School starts in a week! photo (30)