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.


Ventura Half Marathon Race Review

Last week Marta, Brianna, Ellen and I decided to sign up for the Ventura Half. We had been thinking about running this race but were indecisive mostly because Ventura is a good hour from Los Angeles. We also had not specifically trained for a half, but we’re glad we showed up this morning. Despite projected warm temperatures, the flat course made it a PR day for all of us! Marta switched to the 5K at the last minute. Her knee has been bothering her, and we need her to be ready for Ragnar Napa Valley in two weeks. She rocked it and placed second in her age group! Ellen and Brianna both PRed with a 1:43 and a 1:47 having done no more than a ten miler in preparation for the race. I finished in 13.1 in 1:31 (get it. 13.1 in 1:31?) and placed third in my age group. The results website isn’t working, but according to my Garmin I averaged a 6:59 which I was super excited about! Overall, it was a great race not only because we all PRed, but because the entire race was very well organized. We really had trouble coming up with cons for the race.

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After the race we grabbed coffee and breakfast in town. Marta and I stuck around to watch Kyleen, a friend from Back On My Feet finished her FIRST MARATHON! She was absolutely incredible. Today was a HOT HOT day, and she finished with a huge smile on her face. She has been running less than a year and is such an inspiration. She pretty much woke up one morning and decided she was going to go from non-runner to marathon runner and went for it. I was tearing up watching her cross that finish line. Kyleen, I am SO PROUD OF YOU! I better not see you at Back On My Feet this week. Take some well deserved time off!

After the race Marta and I stopped by the Camarillo Outlets and we went out for an early dinner at the Tripel with Alaina, Jared, Brianna and Brent (still my favorite restaurant). Today AGAIN reconfirmed my love for the half. Such a great distance. Any other great half marathons I should be running in the LA area?

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Thinking of running this race next year?


  • Flat Course
  • Start and finish at the Ventura Pier
  • AMAZING post race food and they didn’t run out (cliff bars, pineapple, watermelon, bananas, muffins, bagels, animal crackers)
  • Cute shirts
  • Easy parking all over town
  • So many OPEN porta-potties (this one earns brownie points)
  • Camarillo Outlets on the way home (I got Brent Puma shoes and I got Banana Republic jeans!)
  • Lots of water stations, which we needed on a hot day


  • If you don’t like out and backs, don’t run this course. I like them because you can see your friends who are running the race too!
  • Not super close to LA (but worth the drive!!!)


Southern California Fall Running Events

On June 20th I leave for New York City for six weeks. I’ll be finishing up my Masters in Educational Leadership at Columbia. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with the program cohort, but am feeling anxious about the workload. I’m mentally preparing myself for a summer of very little sleep and much less running. Any spare time will be spent with my sister Carmen and her husband Jim, as well as a few high-school friends from England.


Running with Matt and Meredith in Central Park

Aside from our coursework in Legal Issues, Resource Allocation, Organizational Development and Data-Driven Leadership, our cohort will be completing a New School Design Project. We have all been placed in groups of five and have been assigned the task of designing an high-performing, innovative school for urban students. Our comprehensive school application will be presented to and critiqued by a panel of leaders in the education world. The presentations will provide a space to share expertise on how to close the achievement gap.


Columbia University

Last summer I was lucky to squeeze in a 3 mile run before class. My pace was significantly slower, likely due to lack of sleep and humidity. I’m not setting summer mileage running goals. We’ll see what I can fit in. I’lll be excited to get back into the swing of things in August and will be ready to run some fun races in the fall.

I’d love your help in selecting fall races. What should I sign up for? Long Beach? Ventura? Malibu? What else is out there? Comment with your pros and cons.