Monday, April 17, 2017

New Blog Site

Thank you for continuing to read this blog. I am now blogging on my website:

Have a lovely day...

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Humbled Runner

A few days ago, I was brought down to earth, fell off my high horse, and ate Mr. Stanley’s dust. Yep. I was hummmmm-b-led… majorly, humbled.

It all started at dinner. All great ideas involve food. We were having a grand ‘ol time eating the love-filled meal I had cooked for us. Cafe Stanley’s "Carne con Chile and Beans" (I’ll share the recipe with you on my almost complete website) were extra delicious because they were made with my secret ingredient-extra love. Really, food tastes so much better when adding extra dashes of love. That day, my magic wand was swirling and swirling.

Anyway, my son was telling me about how his dad (a.k.a, my husband) had outrun the fastest runner on his baseball team at practice. This got us chatting about sprinting and racing, and well, I’m ultra competitive in non-running sports, so this topic was somewhat up my alley.

Running is for mind and body health ( oh, and writing inspiration)- a non-competitive sport for me. However, my competitive juices kicked in when we discussed sprinting. I was a sprinter, eons ago. Yes, like on a real track and field team. With an arrogant tone and demeanor, I said to my husband, “... oh, I can totally outrun you…” We had a fun exchange and I persisted with racing that lovely man who puts up with my weirdness ( I mean interesting nature). He said, “... I’m not racing you. I KNOW, I’ll win.” He smiled knowing his comment would irk my competitive side.

It did. I smiled because I love his playful nature, but was also a little bothered because I know I’m not the fastest endurance runner, but as far as sprinting short distances, w-ell,  not to be arrogant or anything, but, I can totally keep up with speedsters. I even said, “... well, you’re lucky, anyway, because my leg is starting to hurt…” Honestly, it wasn’t an excuse , in case, he agreed to race and I didn't win. My right quad was really starting to hurt.

Did We Race?
Nope. Not that evening. Trust me, I was ready to turn our neighborhood into a track. But, he declined.

Sunday Runday?
Usually, not for me, unless, I must switch up my running schedule due to mom/family responsibilities. It was Sunday ( a scheduled rest day). I was dressed for a run because I had taken a few days off after running a 20 mile run the previous Sunday and an almost 16 mile run three days after… I know… As I type that craziness, I’m cringing.

You see what I mean about having to switch up my marathon training schedule due to mom/family responsibilities? One of my super-smart-runner friends reminded me how difficult marathon training is (time consuming) when making motherhood my primary role in life. But, like most runners, we all have numerous life roles along with our running dreams (for me it’s to BQ). I have an incredibly supportive husband and son, but I can’t help it, I want to continue excelling at being a dedicated, fun, and present mom and wife, hence, running goes down on my list.

It’s crazy to switch up training as often as I do, especially, because it leads to injury. My husband caringly reminded me to be cautious of injury when I told him I was going out for a 16 mi. run so close to a 20 mi. run (he’s not a runner, but he’s a cyclist, so I should have listened). I wanted to listen. Honestly, I wasn’t being stubborn or a crazy-runner, I was worried. Worried I wouldn’t be ready for the LA Marathon since I’ve skipped several long runs because I want to be a great mom, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, and friend 99.9% of the time. I know, crazy...

Get to the Point, Karina. Your Posts are Too Long (This One Is Not)
Sorry. Ok, so we hop on over to the local high school  track. The plan was  to warm up, gently run and listen to my body. My husband and son joined me, hopeful a baseball game would be taking place at the adjacent baseball field. No baseball game, but since my husband  had been wanting to practice base running form with our son, they did that while I attempted running without pain.

After an easy four laps ( a mile), my leg felt ok. Definitely, not 100 percent, but good enough to think I could keep running.  As I’m approaching my son and husband, I pause. My leg is ok and  endorphins and serotonin have kicked in, so the competitive side takes a peak. “Please, honey, come on, just once..., please?” I ask with a giant smile. I think he was tired of the pestering and agreed. Our son smiled when he saw us walking towards the starting line. As a former track and field star (ha!),  I take sprinting competition seriously. My husband agreed to line up at the start, like real track stars. I know, you probably feel sorry for my poor guy for putting up with me (sometimes, I do, too). You would like him-he’s super awesome and funny!

Guess who was on lane 3? My husband. I'm on the left (lane 2). I had to use a filter on these two pictures- It adds dramatic effect. Right?

This is me (in case you were wondering). My hair is a tad messy. I was wearing a hat, (sunny at the start) but by the time, my husband agreed to race, the sky was grey and felt a few drops of rain. Even, more dramatic... right?

We took our marks, got set, and he went. I went, too, but I totally ate his dust. Yep. I lost. I majorly lost  to Mr. Speedster and, now, I'm injured for who-knows-how-long.  Fortunately, the LA Marathon is on March 19th, so if I listen to my body and keep resting, I may make it to the start line injury free. Definitely, not at the endurance level I want to be at, but I know I will BQ. Not this year, or next, but,  I KNOW with my determination, I will run a Boston Marathon before I turn 60-for sure!

Hurting My Leg Was Not An Excuse
Even if I hadn’t hurt my quad, my husband is so darn fast, I still would have eaten dust. The man has gorgeous, strong runner legs, so instead of being a sore loser, I say, “... You see… you should totally be a runner… You were born to run…” His response was not nice, not nice at all, “Nope. Sorry, I hate running (ouch, right, runners?). I will never be a runner. But, I’ll happily cheer you on.” he ended with his beautiful smile. What a waste of talent, right? But, in his hey day, his speed came in handy as a baseball and football player.

While I’m mostly in awe of my husband's speed (he wasn't even giving it his all, either), I was a teeny bit (ok, fine, a ton) bothered he outrun me by a lot… But, I’m using the outcome as motivation to keep at my continual need for speed. Sprinting and long distance running use different form. I haven’t practiced sprinting form in years since my new running love is long distance, so, maybe, some of the loss is due to form, but, still, my husband is way… fast and super sweet. He reminded me of the changes in form, too, along with my leg injury as a reason for feeling like a tortoise . I may be a looser, but not a sore one. I admitted, even without leg pain, he still would have brought me down to earth, off my high horse, etc, etc.

I haven’t told my brother, yet. Not looking forward to his reaction. He would LOVE to know I’m no longer the fastest in the family. As a child and adolescent, it bothered  him to lose to me in our sprinting competition, year after year. He refuses to race me, but after this defeat, I’m sure, he’ll happily take the starting line with me.

Waaaa… I went from cheetah to snail… Waaaa…

OK, enough with the tears. I’m ready to get to work. Well, as soon as my leg feels better and this time, I’m definitely not skipping my post-run yoga sessions.

Ah, I can skip it today, I feel great. Who’s regretting those repeated thoughts, now, lady?

Again, I’m using this as motivation to keep improving as a runner. Plus, it’s fun for our marriage and our son can see how people of all ages need continual practice to improve and attain goals. Talent alone is not enough. He was born with natural talents, but as he develops, he must practice if he wants to continue excelling at his chosen sports and activities.

Lesson learned: listen to your body, rest, and always do post-run recovery (for me, it’s yoga).

Thank you for taking time to read my koo-koo mind’s adventures... Wait, if you'd like to read a fun anecdote, please keep reading. I promise, no politics in this post.


What is the point of this collage, Karina?

As I was waiting for my husband and son to finish up their baseball running form, I was feeling sorry for myself, worrying and imagining the worst. This is it, I'm not going to be ready for the LA Marathon. I should have listened to my body. I should have listened to M (my husband). I know better, I should have, this, that, and ... I could have spent minutes to hours thinking of the should haves, but that wasn't making me happy, so I made the decision to turn this negative into a positive.

Watching my son and husband sprint back and forth on the track wasn't making me smile, either. While I love watching them play sports, seeing them practice my favorite sport (aside from baseball) without pain, made me sad. As I sat sidelined, I thought with a deep sigh: shoot! This is going to delay training, again.

I decide to turn away from their fun and took pictures of the beautiful sky. As I'm turning, my hair gets in my face to say hello. Hi, I reply and notice it's still dry and silky. How?! I was running and sitting in rain, a light rain, but it was wet and humid, my hair's nemesis.

No way... It looks like this with this rain?! As I'm finishing up the picture on the right, I hear my husband from behind, "...You're taking pictures of your hair, again?" "Yes. If I don't, my sister won't believe me." "Believe what?", he asked. "My hair. Look at it", I say while bringing it up to show him, "it looks good. "It always looks good", he replied. You see, how lucky I am... He is mostly sugar.

He had asked the question about my hair because as we were getting ready to run, I said with a giant smile, arrogant demeanor and tone, "oh, wait, I want to get a picture of us in our starting positions to remind you of my awesomeness..." I know, I know, I'm embarrassed for me, too. I definitely have a reminder, alright. His awesomeness.

The second set of pictures were to text my sister. We were blessed with uncooperative hair in the presence of moisture and humidity. She would want to see this rarity.

This is my typical look on rainy and humid days.

Not in spring, summer, or fall (my hair seems to only love warm/dry weather) But, too much beach and sun makes me sport this look:

I think mother nature was being kind to me. It was her way of spreading girl power. Our soul sisters are awesome when we need a pick me up. Mother nature often comes through for me, so she's one of mine. If I was going to be bummed about my leg and think up ways to up the ante on my training, I was going to do it while feeling stylish... Plus, injuries, always get me extra love from my boys...

Monday, January 9, 2017

Mirror, Mirror- What Do You See?

Girl Before a Mirror- Pablo Picasso (1932)

“Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”, asked the Evil Queen in the Disney classic, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Recently, while browsing my Twitter feed, I came across a thought provoking tweet from one of my favorite follows. An image and message everyone should look at and fitting for the start of a new year.

Living in Los Angeles, California, a.k.a., “beauty” capital of the world, I have met and interacted with some the most beautiful people in the world. Not the beautiful many people in Los Angeles aspire towards, the beautiful I reference and admire are beautiful minds and souls. Fortunately, I have a choice to surround myself with people who don’t place a beautiful casing as primary importance in their everyday lives.

Again, living in Los Angeles for over thirty years, I have seen some of the most beautiful casings in the world. Driving, walking, hiking, and of course, running anywhere in the vicinity of the beautifully diverse city of Los Angeles and it’s surroundings means there will be gorgeous women and men walking and strutting their feathers. I’ve even engaged in conversation, small talk, and glances with “beautiful” everyday-folks and the ones with a desire for stardom on the small or big screen, catwalk, and pages of fashion and external beauty magazines.

Yes, several of these beautiful, everyday people and stars have a beautiful mind and heart to match. However, too many of those gorgeous casings, not so much. In fact, it’s the everyday beautifully masked people that disappoint the most. It’s understandable why some of the aspiring actresses, models, etc. would not be pleasant since they are in daily competition with other women for roles, etc., naturally, they developed a defense mechanism in competition.

From observations and research of wild animals, competition is a way of survival. The fight for nourishment, leader of the pack status, and reproduction are a must in the wild animal kingdom. The same was true in hunter-gatherer days. We are not far removed from our ancestors, competition for the prize, whatever that may signal for each person, can evoke thoughts and feelings leading to unattractive behaviors.

When looking at your reflection, what do you see? Do you like what is reflected back? If so, have you always liked your reflection? If you don’t like what you see (again, I don’t mean physical beauty), are you ok with your image? I believe, at some point or another, we all dislike what is reflected back, but it is at that moment when we have a choice to continue forward in our internal misery or make necessary changes to love what we see in our mirror.

Life is mostly beautiful, but we wouldn’t be able to experience the highs of life without feeling the lows, so don’t feel bad, discouraged ,or upset if, currently, you do not like your reflection. Our life experiences shape our current thoughts, feeling and actions. As children, we are mostly guided by our parents, guardians, and whoever is most important in our lives. However, as adults, we have the freedom to choose our own paths and actions.

If, currently, you dislike what you see in your mirror, reflect on what lead you to the dislike of your reflection. Writing it/them down helps. Next, write down what steps can be taken, today, to smooth out the rough terrain. Some of my biggest life decisions have been made by writing everything, dumping all thoughts, no filters. Only your eyes and senses are present, so go to town and purge everything cluttering your path towards self love. No need to take time writing in order. The goal is to spit it out as thoughts arise. Real and raw happens when we allow unfiltered thoughts to surface. Next, look at your list, what can be checked off immediately? Start there. Often, reading what is on our mind can be eye opening and cathartic. Baby steps, always, baby steps. Trying to run before learning to sit will make the journey unattainable, impossible, and miserable. Ultimately, leading to a quick turnaround to the old, familiar road.

The Evil Queen didn’t like the answer in her mirror. If today were your last day on our beautiful planet, Earth, would you be happy with the way you made yourself and others feel? In other words, what was reflected in your mirror.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Warning: Don't Party and Run

Related image
The Three Dancers- Pablo Picasso (1925)

I want to rock ‘n roll all... night... and party e-ve-ry... d-ay…

How-ever, as fun as that would be, there are minor factors preventing an all-day-every-day-party-life-reality: a. I’m a mom, b. I’m an adult, c. I’m me (I’m fun, but not a "party", party animal) and d. I’m a runner who loves to race.

Yes, we’re going to a par-ty, par-ty
Yes, we’re going to a par-ty, par-ty
Yes, we’re going to a par-ty, par-ty
I would like you to dance- par-ty (real Beatles version is “birthday” not party)
Take a cha-cha-cha-chance, par-ty (same here, my party was a super fun White Elephant Gift Party hosted by my sister and brother-in-law)
I would like you to dance, par-ty (again, should be birthday, not party, in case, you’re singing along, too)

But, somehow, the weekend of December 16-18th, I did party all weekend. But, not like a “rockstar party”, like a fun, semi-hip, mostly-dorky, suburban mom’s idea of party animal-good food, a little more good food, followed by..., what else, good food, a tiny sip of wine, here and there, coffee and tear emitting laughter, everywhere, and, of course-singing and dancing!

Let the mingling begin… cha-cha-cha-cha-cha...-par-ty!
“... when is your next race?” asked my sister’s lovely, oh, so... lovely best friend. Even if you don’t know her, can't you get a glimpse of her loveliness? A non-runner asking about my racing schedule deserves immediate adoration. Currently, she’s a non-runner, I say “currently” because I’m working my magic on her and my sister. Both would be fun race partners. Spending a few minutes to hours with them always ends in tear laughter. We all claim to be “Lucy”, not one of us will take an Ethel or Caroline Appleby role. A part of me would be ok with taking the Ethel or Caroline Appleby role since we can’t all be Lucy, but, come on, I’m totally a Lucy.

Anyway, this fun friend asking with genuine interest about my running schedule shows you her awesomeness. She really is a genuine and kind soul-love her! Again, her question, “... when is your next race?” “Tomorrow!”, I answered with a giant smile. “To-mo-rr-ow?”, she asked with a concerned and you’re here partying the night away expression. “Oh, but, it’s not a half marathon or anything, it’s
on-ly a 5k., I clarify with a swap of my right hand over my left tilting head, scrunched up nose, raised right brow while the left teeters down and a raised upper left lip, signaling, it’s no biggy.

Her follow up question, “... what are you running it for?” My triathlete brother-in-law was in the room at the time of the question, I turned to him for camaraderie and understanding when I paused, trying to give an understandable response  to a “current”, non-runner, but all I could express was the truth, “ fun!”, I replied with enthusiasm as I looked  forward to the endorphin/serotonin release the next morning. Of course, my brother-in-law smile-laughed in agreement since all koo-koo runners understand the real reason we love running is the fun and joy of being able to run and endorphins/serotonin (a natural high for those of you not familiar with running).

Party’s Over...
It was about 9:30ish PM at that point and I no longer live a hop-and-skip away from my sister’s home, so I understood her concerned response. “Ok, well, we need to get you ready and hydrated…”, she said with a nurturing tone and gentle caress of my left arm (arm caress was because she loved the texture of my dress). You see…, how sweet and awesome she is, she was concerned about my race preparations and there I was laughing away and having a great time. Ask my brother, the poor guy’s left arm-shoulder was probably sore from the pounding it got. It was his fault , if he wasn’t so funny, I wouldn’t be pounding his arm-shoulder as I laughed. And, he agreed to sit next to me when I tapped the saved seat, next to me. Who doesn’t want to sit next to the funniest brother in the world during a super-fun-White-Elephant-Game (fun, unique version)?! You know, I had a good time, I was sitting in between my hilarious husband and brother. Not sure they were equally pleased, but, oh, well, I had fun.

O-k..., fun is over.
Now, to try and pry my son to leave the fun he and his cousins were having. He’s too good to me, he knew I needed to prep for my race the next morning, so very minimal effort was needed, this time.

This pic is from Thanksgiving, but I was wearing the same shoes, a similar dress, and sat in this same spot at some point for the B-Family-Super-Fun-Unique-White-Elephant-Par-ty. Cute shoes, right? Stylish, comfortable, and runner friendly heels (at least, that's what I tell myself). No full pictures to share from the actual party because, well, half of my people didn't agree to have their images posted. Fi-ne... I'll respect their wishes...

Bedtime? What bedtime?!
I didn’t get to bed until… after midnight.

Droon..., droon..., droon..., droon…

The dreaded sound of the alarm when all you want to do is snooze, “...just two more minutes…Aurgggg..., I’m sleepy…"

Wait! I have a race in Dodger Town! In seconds, my sleepy eyes doubled in size as I ran downstairs… Shoot! Shoot! Shoooooot….

Brrrmm. Brrmmmm. Brrrrrmmm. Coffee is ground, and ready for brewing.

Typically, life pauses until I’ve had the first sip of the glorious brew. Except for that morning, I needed to be ready and out the door in less than thirty minutes if I wanted to leisurely pick up my bib and enjoy views of Dodger Stadium with my son and husband.

Surprise! Your family is TIRED, too.
In case you forgot, we had been in party mode the night before and as much as my boys love to support me, they were a little too pooped to jump for joy at the thought of freezing their bottoms as I ran past them once or twice.

Immediately, after considering their probable desire to continue snoozing on a chilly, still dark, early morning, I suggested skipping the race to my husband. I had to pull his arm (ha!). He agreed, only if our son agreed, too. I’m sure he was hoping our son’s exhaustion outweighed his super support of my running.

I sprinted into my son room's to ask the BIG question. Still half asleep, “... b..u..t… Mom, aren’t you going to be sad if we don’t go?” Love him! “No, honey, of course, not! I totally understand. You’re tired, don’t feel bad, honestly, I’m pretty sleepy, too, so don’t even worry, go back to bed.” See, easy-peasy, no guilt for either of my boys and off I was towards Dodger-Stadium-Adjacent-Race-Location.

Shoot, shooot, shoot…. According to the WAZE app, I was supposed to leave my house fifteen minutes ago. At the current time of departure, my arrival time was estimated at just shy of 4 minutes before 8AM (start time). How does that happen? Why can’t other people start their Saturday morning trips later?

You had to go back to readjust your Santa leggings, didn’t you? You didn’t have time to eat your breakfast, but your leggings are in place.

Shoot-again! I forgot the bag of shoes I was bringing to donate. I turn off my car, quickly get out, sprint inside my house, inhale the smell of coffee and buttery, vanilla french toast I still haven’t tasted, reply to my husband's question , “...the bag of shoes, bye, I love you, guys!” I yell as I slam the door, actually, the wind slammed it.

Another, sprint to my car.

I should have just spent the night at my sister’s house.
Remember, she’s a hop-skip-away (not really, more like 15 min)  from the race location and I had to drive miles and miles. Fortunately, I’m familiar with the area or so, I thought, because I got lost… Yes, me! A huge, HUGE Dodger fan, who has been to that vicinity many, many, many times, and I had no idea where the exact race start was located. Major auuurgggg… Baboom. Baboom. Babooom. Baboom-baboom-ba-boom-boom-boom-boom-boom-boom.

What in the heck is happening to me?!
Ms. On-The-Ball is turning into a mangled tangled spool of thread. Thank goodness for organized race planning on the part of Christmas To Give race organizers who knew runners like me would be running amuck on Saturday morning during Christmas party season. They had signs with balloons , guiding us to the starting line. Ba. Boom. Ba.Boom. Phew, thank you!

This pic was snapped on my way home. I had no time to stop and snap on the way to the race. Don't worry, I didn't stop traffic, aside from me, there were no vehicles, anywhere, in sight.

No other vehicle was visible, I was starting to panic, worrying I had passed the location. At the realization, full blown Karina-panic mode kicked in. The race was starting in nano-seconds and I was still driving to a location I had no idea existed and I’ve been an Angeleno and avid Dodger Stadium visitor for decades. Back to ba-boom-ba-boom-ba-boom-booooooom-thump-thump-thumpppppp-thhhhuuuuuummp.

I see two other vehicles looking equally lost and panicked. I saw them a few more times, which was not a good thing because it meant there was no parking and at that point, I could hear the loud speaker giving course instructions. I was missing my first ever race because of my need to laugh and have a ball with family and friends?! Nope. Not happening. Finally, I found a spot, way, way down the hill, closer to the trail/park entrance, but I found a spot, so what did I do? I hauled b-u-t-t. Skreeech... halted my fresh-soled-short-distance shoes like the emergency stop on the spin bike to jog-walk-run-wa-jo-jo-wal-run-wa-fast walk. Why the chaos, lady? It was a steep hill and darn those hills for not liking me, I wanted to enjoy the race and not feel out of breath before I even crossed the start.

The top of the hill is visible. I made it!

“Ms. the race start is behind those giant trees..” that was kind volunteer #1 upon seeing panic in my face. Hearing the MC cheering on the runners forced me to jam up that small hill. Waaaa... I was so late…

Finally, again, I’m standing in what I thought was the bib pick up line, but lo and behold, it was only a kids craft table?! No!!! I was way late! “Oh, no, Ms., you pick up your bib, over there.”

Ok, now, finally…

Super cheerful volunteer #3, “Oh, hi, Ms… (yeah, I know, I don’t know what is up with the Ms. thing either. Apparently, I look like a Ms. without my cutie by my side. Or, a ma'am couldn’t possible be as lost as me.) “I’m so sorry, I’m so late. This is the first time I’ve ever been late for a race.” I spewed all that in one breath as I tried to pin my bib without panic. As I’m re-pinning, I realize I need to run with the goody bag the relaxed and cheerful volunteer handed me and my wallet ( I ran out of the car with it in my panic and no husband and son to help me with either).

More Late Runners
The couple driving around in front of me, arrived as I was in my pinning-panic mode, “We are so sorry, we are so late” I hear them say to the young woman volunteering. Her response was carefree and relaxed, again,  “Oh, no problem, at all..., it’s chipped timing, so don’t worry.” Easy for her to say, she’s not on the other side of thirtysomething, us thirty-plus runners tend to take this racing thing a little more seriously, especially, when we have Boston qualifying dreams. That clock only tick, tocks away... after thirty.

After an internal conversation on how to best hold onto my goody bag, and wallet, oh, and chapstick to ward off raisin lips, I cross the start line-alone. That felt weird. I’ve never done that before. It felt like I was running out my front door, until I caught up to the end of the line. “Two loops, two loops before you make a left.” said the volunteer. “Ms., is that your first lap?”,she asked as I tuned right, where the first lap runners are meant to run. “Yes.”, I stop to answer. But, I thank her for thinking it was my second, apparently, I looked fast in my Santaish get-up.

First lap-easy, pea-sy. Hills, eat my dust.
You know the saying, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch”?
Clearly, I forgot it because right when I thought my lack of preparation for this race wasn’t going to stop my speed, it put me in my place. This was my s-l-o-w-e-s-t 5k-EVER! A PR on the slow spectrum, for sure...

On a regular morning, this race would have been a little tougher than a normal 5k race because of the vacillation from pounding on concrete to trails. It was a fun combination of road and trails. But, sluggishness from lack of sleep, sprinting to get to the start, and well, my love-hate relationship with hills, made for a not-on-the-track-to-Boston pace. Not to mention, the narrow paths. With my luck, risking running past someone was not a good idea. The trail paths were a bit splish-splashy and I’m accustomed to road running. Plus, my snow colored sweater leggings are super cute and I didn’t want to ruin them with mud.

You see... narrow path, right? Would you risk slipping if you're mostly athletic, but sometimes clumsy? I didn't think so. Anyway, I had time to pull out my phone while holding my wallet to snap this picture. I ran past my car while on the race path, threw in the goody bag, but held on to the wallet since my key was attached. Hence, my slowest 5k PR!

Hmmm…., think , think  think, Karina.
How to  turn negatives into positive? Hit my head with the palm of my right hand, “D-uh, Karina, remember from Algebra class, eons ago, a negative times a negative equals… a positive?! Oh..., yeah..." I turned my morning negatives into spreading cheer. After all, I was dressed like jolly ‘ol Santa, I might as well, act like him. No beard or Santa hat, but definitely a cute and stylish red, white and black runner version.

Remember, the lovely couple arriving late to the running party? I spotted them on the course, trying to snap a picture of themselves with the beautiful views behind them.

Tan, tan, tan, tan…

In comes superhero-Santa-runner-Me!

I stop my already slow pace to ask, “Would you like me to take a picture of you?” They smiled and the woman replied, “Sure! Thank you!” They were an adorable couple and  racing buddies… How lovely, right?

I resume, ultra-slow pace and spot a runner who seems to be feeling like me, but instead of speeding up to pass her since narrow road was coming up, again, I slow my pace when she senses me behind her. Why would I do that? Well, if she’s anything like me, when I see runners run past me, I feel even more sluggish, and since we were both sensing unkindness from the the all-terrain course, I decided to let her feel the joy of not having another runner pass her by. Anyway, it was a comfortable pace. But, a few minutes later, all those rainbow colored thoughts were thrown out the door, I have a habit of going all out, full sprint, Des Linden style, as soon as I spot the finish banner. Once I condition myself, it’s tough to veer away.

Major eek….
The time on the finish line clock was well over my usual 5k time (clock was at 40 something minutes), but I had forgotten, I also started way after the clock began ticking. Phew! I’m ok, with having a much slower time than usual, but not that one… Remember, I have Boston dreams.

Who cares about final race time when you are greeted by this lovely table...? Not me, at least not at that moment. I'm blogging about it, so, clearly, a medium size, OK, fine, an xxxx-large part of me cared.

My last and final victim before heading back home to prep for my tamale making/dancing party
I was enjoying a post-race donut when I spotted a runner trying to find the perfect angle to snap a picture of himself with, again, those gorgeous views. I walked over to him and asked if he wanted me to take a picture. He said, “Oh, yes, sure.” Ha.Ha. He thought I had asked him to take a picture of me. When I clarified, he laughed, too, and was appreciative for the offer. See, now he has a picture snapped by a semi-pro photographer. Ha!

Before making my final trek down the trail to my car, I had to take a few pictures of the gorgeous view of Dodger Stadium from the race start and finish location. How did I not know about this place?! I knew the race was Dodger Stadium adjacent, but I was thinking a different park. See, there is always something new to learn about places and people, including, the ones we have known for years.

I think of Gingerbread Baby and Gingerbread Friends by Jan Bret each time I see this medal. Two of my son's favorites when he was younger. I loved reading and acting out those books with him.

Deep adoring sigh... Dod-ger... Stadium... You are be-au-tiful from every angle. Perfection.

Two of the culprits for my race-morning chaos. a. the sweater-Santa-leggings (you know that story) and b. sunscreen. How I knew I was running way late that morning: "Weren't you supposed to leave 20 minutes ago?", asked my husband as I returned a second time to apply sunscreen. "Yes.", I answered. "And, you are applying sunscreen , it's cloudy?", he said with a shake of his head and sigh. "I know! But, hello, there will be sun, later and skin cancer doesn't care about weather." In my defense, yes, I delayed by applying sunscreen, but as you can see from the white spots on my legs, I applied in haste, so not a lot of extra time was used up warding off skin cancer, Mr. Stanley... This is the only picture I have of my Santa-ish outfit since my personal photographers were cozy and warm at home.This pic was snapped as I picked up all  hand-held items I dropped when snapping pictures of the views. I was in haste because the kids race was happening and I was blocking the right side of the path as I picked up my dropped items. Y-eah-embarrassing...

Images I was capturing when I dropped everything...

The not-used-during-baseball-season Dodger Stadium entrance next to the race location.

The entrance I thought was next to the race start when I left my home way late. Lesson learned, Ms. Research-everything-but-important-details.

After, another, long drive-I’m home!
“Honey! I found a place with gor-geo-us views of Dodger Stadium and YOU don’t even know about it!, I exclaimed with giddiness. He knows everything… So, it felt awe-some to share new information with him.

No!!!!! As I’m chatting up a storm with my husband, I realize, I forgot the donation bag of shoes in my car. Lack of sleep, haste, and fogged memory from the latter made me forget the most important reason for signing up for that race. I felt terrible, but, they were still donated, so maybe someone closer to my home was in need of those shoes.

Gift from my sister's lovely best friend for our Tamale Making/Dancing Par-ty... Fun. Fun. Fuuuunnnn...

Stop feeling jealous of my Christmas Eve outfit. I can sense the greeness and green is not a good color on you. I know, I know, I'm stylish in running and civilian clothing, so I get why you would be jealous.You are forgiven. My brother-in-law said I looked like a character from That 70's  Show. If you look at my super-cute coat peeking on the left, you can see why, the look is very circa 1970ish... Hence, the 1970's filter to match.

Homemade, de-lectable champurrado made by my multi-talented mom on Christmas Eve to go with a freshly made batch of tamales. I can taste and smell it's gloriousness as I look at the picture. I dare you to find champurrado as good as hers. In fact, I double-triple dare ya...
Guess what the above 3 pictures have in common? You'll never guess..., so I'll tell you. They are all involved in fun, juicy future posts and stories... Par-ty... cha-cha-cha-cha-cha-cha...

Is it just me or do all you racing-runners experience a little bit of chaos on race day? If so, I’d love to hear some of your stories. If not please, please... share your racing wisdom, I often feel like I'm in an episode of I Love Lucy on race day.