And Now I Rest

At this point no running will help. The training is complete. Now I ice, stretch and rest. This morning I ran my last weekend run of nine miles at Lululemon. It gave me the space to reflect on how I’ve been feeling this past week. I have been incredibly tense and stressed. I haven’t been my usual self. I haven’t been laughing as much, I haven’t had as much energy, and I’ve been quieter than usual. Yesterday I almost bailed on a BBQ because I wanted to stay home. That’s SO not Cristina. Today during our run Ellen mentioned that often running bloggers are too positive, and don’t show any vulnerability. It’s always “I ran 20 miles and it was amazing then I had an incredible brunch with my BFFs and went to the movies. Life is just dandy!” So I’ll be honest with you and tell you that last week I haven’t felt like my happy self.

Brent named it when he said that when he’s talking to me he can tell that in the back of my mind I’m thinking about the marathon. It’s true. I’ve been googling all kinds of crazy things. I’ve utilized pretty much every marathon pace calculator out there, even this specific to the Boston course pacing plan. I’ve been reading forums with wind predictions, nutrition advice and taper tips. None of it will help.

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So what exactly am I obsessing over? Honestly, and those who know me best might disagree, but HONESTLY I am not nervous about time. Of course I want to do well. I really want to do well, but if things don’t go well I know I can always sign up for another marathon. I feel tense and nervous because it’s hard. Running a marathon is really hard. It will never be easy and I am scared.

Every week I pick a week focus. I write it on my moleskin and reflect on if that focus was prioritized Sunday nights before selecting a new week focus.

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I pick one for work and one for my personal life. For work it might be precise praise or sweat the small stuff (all you ed people know what this means) and personal might be focusing on going to bed earlier or spending quality time with Brent. This week my personal focus is to laugh, have fun and be present. I’ll be running a marathon in a week. Nothing is going to change that, and there is no reason to mope around and feel sorry for myself. It’s BOSTON! Also, my life is so much more than running. I have so much to celebrate and be thankful for. Here is everything NON running that happened this weekend.

Saturday 51 scholars and their families showed up to our first registration day for Equitas Academy. Here I am with Cecilia, my incredible School Operations Manager. I am so lucky to work with her! Our new families are so enthusiastic and thankful to join the Equitas community. I am humbled to work in Pico Union, such a welcoming community.

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Brent and I celebrated a big step for Equitas Academy #3 with KOGI! In the evening we went to Brent’s co-workers BBQ.

FullSizeRender Today Brent and I spent the afternoon at The Getty. Here we are rockin the sunglasses.

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We stopped by Playa Provisions on the way home for cookies and ice-cream. With all my travel it’s been a MONTH since I’ve been here. Too long.

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I finally used one of my Anthropologie gift cards. Bought this shirt. Note: That is NOT me in the picture below.

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Brent and I relaxed in the apartment hot tub then made smoky tacos with chipotle sauce. They look kinda gross here, but I swear they were good.

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With everything going on this upcoming week it won’t be difficult to focus on fun. We’re hosting our second registration night at Equitas, I’ll be interviewing a few Kindergarten candidates, Wednesday is happy hour night with K2 girls, I’m getting a massage, we’re having our Back On My Feet monthly meeting, and maybe I can convince Alaina to go on an evening beach walk?

Woah, I feel better already. Time to go prep my breakfast, pack my lunch and get ready for a HAPPY week!

The Final Week

A week from today Brent, Alaina, Gisele and I will be on the plane flying to Boston. I feel so honored to be a part of this historic running event. The road to Boston hasn’t been easy. I’ve had one failed qualifying attempt and a qualification that didn’t lead to a spot. But what has been most challenging is the hours and hours of training. The ten mile pace runs after an exhausting day at work, waking up at 6AM for Saturday morning twenty milers, and squeezing yoga into my busy training and work schedule to build flexibility and strength. Despite my pre-race nerves I need to remember that the goal was always to get to Boston. This is the (long) victory lap. Of course I want to push myself and do my best, but showing up on race day has always been the priority. I get to be a part of this!

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I’ve been asking for pacing advice from friends and course advice from Boston Marathon veterans. The #1 course advice I get is “You’re going to want to start fast. The fast downhill will kill your quads. You’ll crash on the Newton hills, and the final downhill portion is going to be incredibly painful. Start SLOW.” I’ve been warned over and over again about just how unique and difficult the course is. It got me thinking how Boston compares to San Diego, the course where I first ran a Boston qualifying time.

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San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon 2013 Elevation Profile

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Boston Marathon Elevation Profile

These elevation profiles look similar. Starting downhill, evening out, hills around mile 20 and a slight downhill to the finish line. San Diego’s twenty mile hills look much more intimidating, and I was able to escape the dreaded wall. What was my strategy? I fueled early and started slow. Despite the excitement I started with 8:20s, cranked it up a notch around mile fifteen, and went crazy for the last 10K. Passing runners on that awful mile twenty hill gave me more energy and pumped me up. It made me feel stronger and able to push through the final six miles. Comparing these courses gives me confidence. I’ve done this before, I can do it again.

The big question is at what pace?

Back to Reality

Happy Easter! Spring break is coming to an end. Brent and I got back late last night from our Southeast road trip with Jackie and Alex. Jackie and I have been friends since fifth grade. We were Girl Scouts and Cross Country buddies at our school in England. Not sure why I have this on my phone, but here we are our senior year minutes before our final Cross Country Championships in Paris. Yeah, we’re fancy like that…running races in Paris.

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Jackie and I were bridesmaids in each other’s weddings and have vacationed together despite living so far apart (she’s still in England). Jackie was a part of my engagement story, a story I am too lazy to re-type. She took our legendary engagement shot in Trafalgar Square. We met last week in Mobile, Alabama and in six days covered Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee. I love a good road trip! Jackie and Alex are working their way up to Ohio to visit her extended family. We spent our first two days relaxing in the Gulf. Californians have a snobby attitude towards Florida, but the beaches were beautiful. White sands, warmer water, beach bars and fresh seafood. It was the perfect way to start our mini-road trip.

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After two days on the Gulf, we drove to New Orleans with a stop in Biloxi, Mississippi for a quick gamble and no luck. Here we are crossing borders making use of our selfie stick.

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The bulk of our trip was in New Orleans. It is such a fun city!!!! I loved the vibe. Snobby beer, good music, hipster food, warm weather. Totally my style. We stayed at a beautiful Airbnb apartment in the French Quarter (check out Brent in our living room above). If you haven’t tried Airbnb, use it. It’s much cheaper and you get way more space and great locations. We immediately hit Bourbon Street when we got there. It’s kinda like Vegas, you have to go knowing it’s going to be completely ridiculous. Grab a drink and wander around the street. Amazing people watching. That night we got some meh po-boys for dinner (go to Killer Po-Boy if you’re in town….so MUCH better) and ate dessert at Cafe Du Monde. The beignets are worth the hype. The next two days consisted of morning runs around the city, exploring the Garden District (super cute neighborhood with amazing restaurants and shops), visiting the WWII Museum, Jazz at Preservation Hall, and a “fancy” meal at Cochonphoto 2 (8)

We ended our trip in Memphis. As soon as we got there we immediately hit up Central BBQ for the best BBQ in Memphis. That pulled pork sandwich covered in BBQ sauce…drool. We met up with Singer/Songwriter Award Winning Lanita Smith at Central BBQ who I worked with at KIPP. She was in town visiting family and working on a documentary of her life. It’s only a matter of time before she’s super famous. Lanita is so talented and so humble. Memphis highlights included running into a Memorial Service for MLK at the Lorraine Motel where he was assassinated, listening to blues on Beale Street, visiting Graceland (home of Elvis+Elvis propaganda center) and the strangest duck march tradition at The Peabody Hotel. They have a daily ceremony where ducks come down their elevators and march down a red carpet to a fountain where they spend the day, then at 5PM they march back upstairs. It was so weird. Go see it if you’re ever in Memphis. Oh, and check out the weird postcard I found at the Elvis shop. It was a Spanish Omelette Recipe with his creepy picture. So strange. photo 1 (6)

Call me crazy, but on vacation I love a good run in the morning before starting my day. I covered lots of ground last week, running along the Gulf and the Mississippi River. It was a calm and quiet way to start my day. With all my long hard runs behind me, I was able to enjoy running without the stress of training for Boston (WHICH IS 2 WEEKS AWAY!!!!) Check out Ellen’s post on running while traveling.

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Today in LA I celebrated Easter with a morning beach run with these fasties and a dip in the ocean afterwards.

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Followed by church and brunch at Gracias Madre with my favorite buddies.

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Tomorrow it’s back to work and back to reality. Although I love being happy about going back to work. I’m excited to get back to planning for Equitas #3! Have a great week.