Santa-Monica Venice Christmas Run 10K 2016 Race Review

I’m going to be that annoying person who says they’ve been too busy to blog. It’s true though! I have 3 draft blog posts that were never published. I’d start writing but with my computer open I would watch my growing inbox and feel guilty about not responding and not being productive. So yes, I’ve been too busy to blog, but definitely not too busy to run. Running makes me a better principal. Sometimes it clears my mind, and sometimes I use a run to reflect and build an action plan in my mind. Anyways, the annual Santa-Monica Venice Christmas Run was my reason to get back into blogging. This was my 6th year in a row running the race, and I’ve always said it’s my favorite (non-marathon) race. With a 1st place finish out of about 1400 women, even more reason to love the event. Because I’ve got lots to do tonight, my goal is to finish this post in 20 minutes. Here we go. Don’t judge the typos 🙂

Ellen, Anna, and I at the start of the race. FullSizeRender_2.jpg

Yup, I love this race. Hard not to smile with all the Christmas spirit, costumes, and running on the beach. I never go into this race stressed or with a crazy goal. Yes, I always want to PR but that’s mostly because I rarely run 10Ks. I also don’t train specifically for 10Ks, so I can’t be too upset if I don’t PR.

This photo was taken just after the first mile. I was in 3rd place and 1st place was quite a ways ahead of me. Considering I’d just clocked a 6:11 mile, I didn’t think there was much of a chance of working my way up, so I just smiled and thought to myself it would be nice to have a top 3 day. 50086408_race_0.8425811077171016.display.jpg

Yeah, not all of my photos turned out as well…

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The race wasn’t really too eventful. Around mile 1.5/2 I caught 1 and 2, and made it to 1st place. Turns out they started too fast. I ran pretty consistently between 6:18-6:22. This course has a bunch of turn arounds which is annoying for pacing, but great for seeing friends. I got to see Peter, Ellen, Anna, and Bri several times on the course. By mile 4 I knew unless something went terribly wrong I’d win the race. My pace was feeling hard, but not impossible, so I kinda just held it. I didn’t have huge motivation to dig really deep. I felt content and soaked in all the energy from the runners and spectators. My official time was 39:40.FullSizeRender_3.jpg

Finish line smiles.

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I made friends with the second place finisher. Hoping to get together for a run sometime soon! Here we are with our big ole box of chocolates that we got at the awards ceremony.FullSizeRender.jpgAnd here is the original running crew. Ellen and Bri. So many miles spent together 🙂

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Post-race Ellen, Anna (the other Anna) and I went to Gjusta for brunch and Brent got back from after a week away in England that evening.

The next day was a recovery run and some yoga at Athleta in Santa Monica. They gave us gratitude notes and there was a dog in our class. Gotta love LA!

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OK, all out of time. Thinking of running this race next year?

Pros:

  • Flat course
  • SO MUCH CHRISTMAS SPIRIT!
  • Free photos
  • Long sleeve shirts and medals
  • Lots of bathrooms
  • Lots of parking options both free if you’re willing to walk from neighborhoods and lots if you want to be right by the finish or start
  • Beach running
  • Big race with 10,000 runners doing both the 10K and the 5K making for a fun atmosphere

Cons:

  • Turns are kinda annoying in the 10K if you are really trying to go fast, but I personally like seeing the other runners so I think it’s worth it
  • Start and finish about a mile away
  • Less freebies this year 😦
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5 Free Things to do in LA + What’s Been Cookin

I want to start this post by congratulating Andrea on finishing her first marathon at the Banff Marathon yesterday! The video Alaina posted of her crossing the finish line was awesome. She looked SO strong! I’m hoping Andrea posts a review on here 🙂 The pictures of Banff look absolutely beautiful! HUGE congratulations. You’re in the marathon club!

In non-running news, Brent and I leave for Argentina TODAY! We’re celebrating our 5 year anniversary. In anticipation of spending lots of $$ over the next week, we tried to keep it low key this past weekend. Low key doesn’t have to mean boring. Los Angeles has plenty to offer without spending much. Here are 5 things we did this weekend requiring little to no dinero.

1. Lounge by the Pool: I’m lucky to have a pool at my apartment. If you don’t, chances are someone you know has a pool. A few magazines, sunscreen, a water bottle and I’m good for a few hours. The only thing I was missing was a sister, a BFF, and maybe a margarita.

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Saturday…

And again on Sunday :)

And again on Sunday 🙂

2. Lululemon Run Club: Always free. Always fun. Nothing like starting your Sunday morning chatting with friends and looking at houses you’ll never be able to afford. No Ellen this week though 😦 She’s off vacationing with Anna. This weekend we ran up Rodeo Drive instead of our usual route to look at the fancy cars for Beverly Hills’ Annual Concours d’Elegance. Another free thing to do if you’re into cars.FullSizeRender (29)FullSizeRender_1

3. Walk to the Beach: Do I really need to convince you? Who doesn’t love a nice walk on the beach. Brent and I kinda cheated yesterday and spend some cash. We got ice-cream and popsicles at Playa Provisions11136634_1646959868873727_8967178481304431201_n11138163_1637208449848869_7368755579268481107_n178351_10101748624174953_644579353_o

4. Athleta Summer Solstice Free Yoga in Santa Monica: Not sure how I got on the Athleta Santa Monica email list, but I’m glad I did. Today they hosted an awesome event in Tongva Park right next to the pier. The class was led by Liz Arch a Primal Yoga. It was a cool mix of martial arts and yoga. After sweating in the sun, Marta and I walked over to the Athleta store for free yoga mats, free juice from LA Juice, and some Kashi goodies. I’m not a juicer, but the Sunset Greens was so refreshing on a hot summer day. I love that they provide events like this for the community. Not all of us can afford $20+ yoga classes at studios! Get on the email list at Athleta to learn about other free community events. FullSizeRender_3 FullSizeRender_2 orig

5. Star Gazing Meet Up: No, not LA movie stars, like stars up in the sky. Sorry. No celebrity sighting to report. Brent and I have been to Venice Stargazing twice now. Basically it’s a bunch of people with telescopes who set up and you hang out and look up at the sky. Super chill, and it’s a come and go kinda thing. No pictures this time, but below are some photos of when we went in April. Today we went with Jared and Marta. Got a good view of the Moon and Jupiter. FullSizeRender (30) FullSizeRender (31)

And What’s Been Cookin’

I adapted this Tomato and Burrata Tart slightly. I’ve made it twice since last week. Again, not really a recipe, more a concept. Vicolo corn pizza crust (I’ve seen them at Whole Foods, and have wanted to try. Nice and thick. Delicious corn flavor.), fig jam as the sauce, cherry tomatoes above the jam. Cooked at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes so that the tomatoes roast and get some color. I then topped the tart with prosciutto, basil leaves, burrata and drizzled it with balsamic reduction from Trader Joe’s.

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Mama and I made these Zesty Shrimp Tacos a few weeks ago. So quick, so tasty, and great for the summer.

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And this is my latest overnight oats combination. Warning, it’s about to get VERY LA. Mix 1/2 cup oatmeal, gogi berries, chia seeds, cocoa nibs and lots of cinnamon. Stir in 1 cup of cashew milk and top with some raisins, a spoonful of peanut butter, blueberries, and a few banana slices. It’ll thicken up overnight. FullSizeRenderNext update will be from Buenos Aires!