Running These Days

Since Long Beach I’ve decreased my mileage significantly. It feels weird to come home and run maybe 3-4 miles, or none at all. When you live in sunny LA and you love to be outdoors it can be tempting to just keep training. I know this “break” is good for me. I want to be toeing the line at Boston for as long as I can, and staying patient in my 30s will get me there. Today I was feeling especially inspired with the New York City Marathon. I met Kathy and Ellen at our Beverly Hills Sunday morning spot. After our run we used our iphones to watch the elite women in their final miles. We really are running nerds. (See photo below) What an incredible marathon debut from Molly Huddle. I want to be her when I grow up!

With the extra hour I was able to go on my run in Beverly Hills, watch the marathon finish, and be back in time for breakfast at 9:00. Brent, his dad David, and I went to Playa Provisions. Coconut Chia Seed Pudding and a Matcha Latte for me!

It was fun having David around this weekend! Yesterday we went downtown to the Escape Room. David knowing morse code and Brent being a math/puzzle genius helped us escape with 3 minutes to spare. With only a 10% escape rate, we have a reason to brag.

I can’t believe I’m posting this picture. Yes, we are running nerds. Ellen and I dug out the Ragnar Nerd gear while pacing Lucy at the Halloween Rock n Roll Half Marathon here in LA. She ran just over a 2 hour half. Congrats Lucy! I promise there were others dressed up.

Ellen and I have been getting together during the week to do short speed workouts. I know, I know, I’m on a break. But break is relative.I’m not running as many miles during the week, but I am running some of them fast. This past week we ran 5 approximate 400s (we just picked a short route on the beach) and 8 sprints of about 150 meters. I’ve never run that short, so it was fun to see my watch creep into the 4 minute mile range. It’s fun to feel like a kid and just sprint! This week we’re thinking of doing a few mile repeats. 

I’ve also really gotten into the Run Fast Eat Slow cookbook. Made the Pecan Butter Truffles (yeah, I went with the drizzle effect when I knew I was going to run out of chocolate sauce) and Ginger Molasses Granola. 

And I’ll leave you with two random photos.

  1. The Chorizo + Papa Taco from BS Taqueria. I promise there is a tortilla under there. So rich, but so good!

2. One of the many reasons I love my team. We’ve faced some challenges with difficult students and our temporary site, but this is how our team responds to challenge. Impromptu love in the work room.

Have a great week!

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 🙂

Boston Marathon 2016 Race Review

120 years ago the Boston Athletic Association, inspired by the addition of the marathon to the Olympic games, decided to celebrate their tenth anniversary by organizing a marathon. It was held on Patriots’ Day, the 3rd Monday in April, commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The inaugural race was 24.5 miles long, running from Ashland to Boston, and had only 15 participants. In 1908 the Olympic distance for the marathon changed to 26.2 miles, and soon after the Boston Marathon adopted the famous course from Hopkinton to Boston. Today Boston is the world’s oldest annual marathon. It was an honor and privilege to run the historic course alongside 30,000 other runners for the second year in a row.

If I had to choose one marathon to run for the rest of my life, it would be Boston. I hope to be in my 60s loading the bus in Boston Common talking about how much the marathon has changed over the years. Here I am at the finish line not pretending to be a tourist, but holding up 2 for my second Boston.

I want to get into the entire weekend, but first, I know whenever I read a runner blog race recap I scroll all the way to the end to see their time, THEN read the post. I’ll save you some scrolling. Official time 3.09.43. 10 minute PR. Sub-3:10 goal met on a sunny day. Thank you Michelle for pushing me to train smart and run hard. I couldn’t have done it without you. I won’t be training for another race without your support!

I had SUCH a fun time on Saturday and Sunday, a great race was the icing on the cake. Gisele and I went to Shalane’s Run Fast Eat Slow book promotion event. We went on a shake out run on the Charles River, and Bart Yasso led a Q&A with Shalane and her college roommate Elyse who is the book co-author. $30 to run with Shalane, a t-shirt, the Q&A, and get her book sent to us when it comes out in September. Totally worth it.

Trying to open my tired eyes.

  This is when I awkwardly told Shalane we were in LA cheering at the Olympic Trials. It was 4AM LA time. My eyes weren’t quite open yet, but I had to snap a photo with Bart Yasso. Was tempted to say “Damn you Bart Yasso!” Bart’s a witty guy. I’m a fan.
We then hit up the expo. Lucky 11102. Here’s that nervous smile of “I hope this bib makes it to the finish with me.”And hit up the finish line for more elite runner sightings.

Hey Meb! I feel like RunSelfieRepeat

Finding my name on the wall of entrants in roughly 10 seconds. I think it’s a record.

Stopped at EVERY massage station at the expo praying they could magically solve my glute hamstring issue. Gisele goes, “Don’t you know tightness magically disappears on race day!?” Spoiler alert, it doesn’t.

New Balance, either you have a great sales pitch or an awesome product. I’ll be trying you next time I need a new pair of shoes.   North End for the last supper.
 Can you guess what we eat on the days leading up to the marathon, and immediately after? 

Fast forward to race day. Gisele and I met at 6:45am, and walked to Boston Common to load the busses. I needed her to keep me calm. She’s such an experienced marathoner.   We’re going on a field trip! And they drop you off 26.2 miles away from Boston. The bus ride feels like forever, and you’re just thinking I have to get back on my feet!First Boston tip, leave when they call your wave. Don’t wait too long. There are bathrooms by the start, and the walk from Athletes’ Village to the starting corrals is nearly a mile. With the crowds it feels like longer. That walk is when you start freaking out and contemplate ways to get out of actually going through with the task at hand.
So the race. My dream goal was a 3:10. My “I’d be happy” goal was a 3:15. Michelle encouraged me to start at a 7:10 pace. The first three miles were so congested, it was hard to get in my groove. People were bumping into each other left and right, but around mile 4 I started to get my groove. Brent (BEST SPECTATOR EVER) took the train from Boston to Framingham and saw me at 6.6. I could sense his relief that I was OK and smiling. Spectating is stressful because you’re not in control!

Around mile 8 my glutes felt tight. I could feel my stride wasn’t great, but I just kept thinking 1 more mile. 1 more mile. I held on, and there was never any pain, just a ache and what felt like a slightly off stride. I honestly didn’t know if I’d be able to finish, but I just took it a mile at a time. 8-20 were mentally tough. I wanted so badly to make it to the finish line, and I wondered what the later miles would do to me. I saw Brent at the half. Somehow he managed to catch a train to Wellesley. He said he could tell my smile was a bit more forced, but Michelle told me I shouldn’t feel great at the half if I’m setting out to PR so I didn’t panic when I was kinda tired at the half. Brent then found a prime spot at the TOP of Heartbreak Hill (turns out it is FAR more heartbreaking when you’re running 7:10s), so he saw me a grand total of 3 times! Impressive for a point-to-point course.

Another Boston course tip. Don’t look at your watch in Newton. Heartbreak is one of 4 hills in Newton. Your pace will slow down. Just don’t even look because it will discourage you. I ran a 7:27 up Heartbreak but still averaged a 7:10 pace for the entire race. Boston is a tough course. You’re up and down the whole time. It’s really hard to get in the groove.

Here I am at mile 16 starting to believe I was actually going to make it. I ran this mile in 6:59 thanks to a little downhill action.
And here I am digging like a dog. I looked at my watch and knew I could make it under 3:10 if I hustled down Boylston. My iPod died at mile 24, and that was a beautiful thing because the roar of the crowd took me home, and I could hear the announcer calling my name saying “Here comes Cristina Lowry from California!” This is embarrassing to admit, but I cried when I finished. The race officials asked if I was hurt, and I just told them I was happy. I’m not going to pretend like I felt amazing the whole way. Yesterday was hard. My hamstrings were not happy with me, and by the end I was just pumping with my arms thinking about all the people cheering for me across the country.
Goodness it was worth it. I’m a proud owner of a sub-3:10 marathon, and I didn’t do it on a flat course. I did it at crowded Boston on a sunny day and I know this isn’t the most humble thing to say, but I’m proud of myself. I have no interest in running another marathon anytime soon, but when I do I’d be happy if it was here again. 

A few more Boston tips…

  1. Watch for the railroad tracks in Framingham. No need to trip 6 miles into the race.
  2. Don’t panic if you forget something on your way to Athletes’ Village. Runners are really nice, and very prepared. People were sharing food, muscle cream, sunscreen. You name it.
  3. You also can rely on the friendly people of Massachusetts for more fuel along the course. I stole some pretzel rods and twizzlers along the way.
  4. I said it before, but don’t check your watch in Newton. Not worth stressing about slowing down.
  5. For your final pre-race pit stop, walk to the corrals. The lines are shorter there.