Cheering at the LA Marathon


Congratulations to all the marathoners who completed the LA Marathon!  Joseph, my former running buddy, Tiffany, and I didn’t run the race this year but went out to the race course to cheer the runners and walkers on at Mile 11, on the corner of Hollywood and Highland.  We took the Metro Red Line from the Universal City station so we didn’t have to worry about traffic or parking.  Easy peasy.

After we spotted our friends, we walked to Mel’s Drive In for breakfast.  As much as I like to enter races and feel the sense of accomplishment when I cross the finish line, I was very glad that I was on the other side this year.  You need to be 100% committed to run a marathon and my heart wasn’t in it this year.  Hopefully I’ll be back next year!

After I returned, I packed up my bag to take the red eye to Chicago for work.  I squeezed in one last juice before I left.  I’ll be looking to Naked Juices to keep my juicing on track during the business trip!

Reflections

Breakfast (9:00 a.m.): Freshly-squeezed orange juice! Oranges came from my parents’ backyard. Tastes so much better than the grocery store kind.

Smoked salmon sandwich with onion slices, which looked like Rango.

Lunch (12:30 p.m.): My favorite onion salad with smoked salmon and avocado, accompanied by sourdough break toasts. I love Hojicha.

Snack (4:30 p.m.): Had the leftover Hawaiian plate from yesterday — marinated short ribs, rice, and some vegetables. I also had three scoops of strawberry ice cream … a total emotional eating.  I lost control.

Dinner (8:30 p.m.): Leftover onion salad from lunch, and a sandwich (same as breakfast).  I’m eating way too much.  I wonder if I’m depressed …

Yesterday’s half marathon made me fall in love with the city of Pasadena all over again. It’s a breathtaking little place, with so many historical beauty sandwiched between modern trends. Aside from having to walk about 1.5 miles to get to the starting line, the event was well organized (with lots of porta potties) and it was great participating in the race.

Every race is such a learning experience for me, and I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect …

  • Hydration: I got muscle cramps in several parts of my body, including Charley Horse at Mile 8 (eeek). I think it had to do with the constant inclines but it was also because I didn’t hydrate properly the night before. Drink more, stretch more. Yoga, here I come.
  • The Mental Game: During the latter part of the race (from Mile 9), I got weak and just gave up running altogether. I need to stay strong and motivated throughout the entire race, not just in the beginning. If I really, really tried, I know that I could have shaved at least five minutes, just on the last two miles alone.
  • Excuses: During Miles 10, 11, and 12, I found myself spending all my energy coming up with excuses as to why I couldn’t finish under three hours. Instead, I should have just ran.
  • Hills: I love hills …. I love hills … I love hills. I’m going to turn myself into a hill-loving machine!
  • Training: I need to do more … enough said.

Pasadena Rock and Roll Half Marathon

Another wonderful day – completed the Pasadena Rock and Roll Half Marathon with Tiffany and Shannon. Shannon ran her first running race, Tiffany reached her PR, and I survived the hills. YAY! The two rice balls I had for breakfast really helped me during the latter part of the race.

Lunch (12:00 p.m.): Hawaiian feast at Aloha Food Factory for the post-race celebration. The Macadamia pancake we shared hit the spot.

I ordered the Kalbi plate but I think my eyes were bigger than my stomach, especially after the run when your body is too tired to digest. I hardly made a dent on my lunch.

Dinner (7:30 p.m.): After every race, I go to a grocery store and allow myself to purchase anything I want. Instead of picking up all the junk foods, my body wanted the onion, avocado, and smoked salmon salad (my staple) with sourdough bread. So, that’s what’s for dinner! I had a glass of red wine to toast for the accomplishment!

I allowed myself to have a few scoops of Haagen-Dazs ice cream (vanilla beans and strawberry).

Time to relax and enjoy the evening!

I Eat, Therefore I Run

Lunch (1:00 p.m.): Lunch with Tiffany, Shannon, and Roya, at Le Pain Quotidien, after we picked up the race packet for tomorrow’s Pasadena Rock and Roll Half Marathon. Cob salad with grilled chicken (no blue cheese). Cup of coffee with cream and sugar.

Dinner (6:00 p.m.): Carb-load dinner at Torafuku with Tiffany, Shannon, and Saori.  Torafuku Omakase ($27).

Salad.

Amazing Kamado rice (I had seconds).

Assorted fries (shrimp and pork tenderloins).

Grilled cod and a side of seaweed tukudani.

Sashimi.

Sashimi in ponzu sauce.

Homemade tofu.

LA Marathon in Rain?

I completed the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday! YAY! This was my second LA marathon and my fifth marathon since I started my running endeavors in 2005. Although every marathon is different and each brings unique and special memories, I must say that this one is a race I won’t soon forget!

Los Angeles may have its share of earthquakes and high-speed car chases but the last thing people would expect from this city is a bad weather. Unfortunately, against all odds, the 23-plus thousand people who participated in the Sunday’s race were met with the severe rain and winds, making this race very, very ugly. Just image someone carrying a showerhead and pouring cold water on you for hours while you run! By Mile 4, my clothes and shoes were drenched in cold water, and forget about trying to look cute in front of photographers! All I wanted to do was just put one foot in front of the other and finish the run / walk as quickly as possible, while trying not to slip and fall flat on my face. We should have gotten a medal for finishing a bi-athlon because there was definitely some swimming involved!

Although my latest LA Marathon experience was miserable, that does not mean that I didn’t love the race itself. The course took runners from the Dodger’s Stadium to the Santa Monica Pier with famous landmarks at virtually every mile! My favorite parts were running through Silverlake and checking out restaurants, and hi-fiving cross-dressing cheerleaders in West Hollywood. I am amazed and thankful for the volunteers who came out to provide us water, Gatorade and cheered us on, despite the weather!

This year, I participated in the run with the LA Road Runners, an official LA Marathon running group that helps beginner, intermediate, and advance runners train for the race. My sister also ran with them with the faster group.  There are numerous running groups (from serious runners to recreational walkers) and experienced Pace Leaders lead each group every Saturday for six months. I ran with one of the run / walk groups (Run / Walk 3) and I had an absolute blast. I missed lots of the Saturday long runs but my team members were all wonderful and they truly made this experience the most memorable one! It was truly an amazing experience meeting them and training with them. I will definitely be back next season! Meeting them alone made all the water puddles and muscle cramping during the race all worth it.

I’m not sure what the shelf life is for an excuse “I just ran a marathon” before I have to walk away from junk food but I’m going to use it as long as I can. So far, I’ve had three pieces of Domino’s pizza, Buffalo wings, two cream puffs, and a handful of Nilla Wafers. I will start eating healthy again, but I’m going to milk this for just a little longer.

Carb Load Paradise: Torafuku

Last week’s Los Angeles marathon was such an amazing journey for me, perhaps the most memorable amongst the three previous races. The last three were marvelous too, of course, but this one was particularly significant for several reasons.

First and foremost, this was my sister and my first full marathon together. We didn’t run together during the race but we shared the stress before the race, and the celebration afterward. And thanks to her expert guidance, I was able to cross the finish line safe and completely blister free (this was a pleasant surprise, especially after I suffered a blister on my foot the size of Texas after my last marathon). We ran together a lot during our weekly personal training session and she corrected my form frequently. I have no doubt that that was the reason I was able to complete the race completely injury free!  I’m sending a big thank you and an even bigger congratulations to my sister for completing her first full marathon! biggrin

The second reason why this race meant so much was because I met my “marathon angel.” Let me explain. When I was at the starting line at Dodger’s Stadium waiting for the race to start, I met this gentleman and started up a conversation. He was a soft-spoken, kind man, in his 60s. We parted ways when the race began but we found each other at mile 6 and ran together for about seven miles. We pushed each other, cracked a few jokes along the way, and encouraged each other to keep going. At around Mile 16, I got the second wind of energy and he wanted to slow down the pace a bit, so we parted ways, promising to see each other at the finish line. Unfortunately, our paths didn’t cross again but I will always think of him as my marathon angel because I would have never been able to enjoy the run as much as I did without his presence. I searched for his results afterward and saw that he crossed the finish line about 10 minutes after me. I hope I run into him again at other local races someday so I can congratulate him, and thank him for his kindness. 🙂

Last but not least … the carb load!  As you know, the marathon experience is never complete without a proper carb load the night before the race. After we went to the Expo to pick up our bibs, grab some freebies, and drive around the racecourse, my sister, friend N, and I headed over to Torafuku on Pico in Los Angeles (next to Westside Pavilion) to load up on its famous white rice cooked with an iron metal pot called “kamado.” I had not been here before but have heard the buzz around it for a while now so I was very excited to check the place out.

I knew I had to keep the dinner fairly light to be in the best condition for the next day’s race but when I saw the Fried Assortment of shrimp, katsu (pork tenderloin), and croquette, I had to have them (what marathon?).

The white rice was delightful. It was not sticky like the ones I was accustomed to, and each rice grain had a wonderful bite to it.  And the fried shrimp, pork, and croquette were perfectly golden, unbelievably crispy, not at all greasy.  We made our dinners into a combo by adding $6 and got a bowl of rice and miso soup in return.  It’s not a bad deal, considering I had just experienced one of the most delicious rice I’ve ever tasted! 🙂

My sister ordered the grilled Jidori free-range chicken which was flavored very simply with salt …

And N ordered Black Cod Fillet which were perfectly oily and subtly sweet.  Delicious!

We all ended up ordering another bowl of rice each with dinner. My sister and I took a few rice balls to go to eat for breakfast the next day. They were pretty steep in price at about $5 each but I truly believe it was the salmon and mentaiko rice balls that gave me the bust of energy at the latter part of the race!

Torafuku
10914 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles,CA 90064
★★★★★

A Date with My Body: LA Marathon

My body and I went on a 26.2-mile adventure on Sunday, running and walking through the streets of Los Angeles with 25,000 fellow participants of the LA Marathon. Although I was in the sea of runners for many, many hours during the race, I felt like my body and I were alone, talking, laughing, and learning about each other. My body is someone I’ve spent the last 30-something years with, 24-7, but I felt like I still learned a new thing or two about her that day. I love her. I really, really love her and appreciate her for everything that she does for me, every day. She is tough, tenacious, thoughtful, generous, patient and very forgiving. I am so happy that I get to spend the rest of my life with my body. She is truly my best friend and I promise to take care of her for the rest of our lives.

We headed over to a local grocery store after the marathon,  and I gave my body permission to eat whatever she wants in the entire store.  I thought she would grab a pint of Hagen Daaz or a huge bag of chocolate-covered pretzels, but instead, we walked out with three grapefruits, two mangoes, a jar of peanut butter, a bottle of pomegranate juice, and spicy tuna roll with brown rice. I will admit that I was a little shocked by her selection … but she did walk out with two bottles of red wine. That’s my girl. 🙂