I made a resolution to….


Posted by Lauren

I made a resolution to…. blog once a week!

I’ll probably work on posts Sunday mornings and then schedule them for Monday. But I’m a little eager to get the first one out :) so here it is. Who knows, maybe blogging once a week will turn into twice a week?! Dare I say it.

What’s new???? (Don’t worry, I’ve definitely kept up with reading my favorite blogs and can’t pry my eyes away from GOMI).

Okay. To start off, I’m going to share some photos from the holiday season. And by holiday season, I mean Thanksgiving because clearly that was yesterday and totally timely.

We did our annual Turkey Trot thing on Thanksgiving morning. Nicole had the brilliant idea to put on fuchsia lipstick before the race. At the time, I was all about copying her. But while running I was convinced I developed a pink clown smile.



I started running with Kyle, but around mile 1.5 I realized that he was taking it a litttttle too easy for my taste. I picked up the pace (not uncomfortably fast, but enough so those endorphins would flow) and finished the race in 50:41 (8:09 min/mile). Afterwards we met near the bananas (like always!) and saw our family friends, including Sarah and Jason, below!


I don’t think we have any pictures from Thanksgiving evening, but we had a really lovely dinner with all the staples. David’s creole stuffing, mom’s sweet potato casserole, pumpkin rolls for dessert, the horrible 49ers game, and wonderful friends and family.

The next day, Kyle and I put up a Christmas tree (see below). Ha! We found a tiny tree on display at Safeway so we bought it to decorate our apartment. Note the beautiful framed poster behind our tree…. it’s our 5 euro purchase from Oktoberfest this year (turned $130 framed purchase) and I’m in love with it.


Thanksgiving weekend we went to our aunt Cori’s house for an amazing brunch. Seriously, look at those quiches! It’s always so fun to catch up with our cousins Collin and Morgan over mimosas and bacon :)


It wouldn’t be a Thanksgiving “vacation” without some time with the Po5 crew. Remember that time we were all in LA over the summer? That was awesome. Unfortunately Katie wasn’t in town (and we missed her like crazy), but it was still nice to see 3 of my 4 high school BFFs.


The #1 thing that absorbed my life since September…. FANTASY FOOTBALL.

OMG. This marks year 3 of playing fantasy football and I’m still obsessed. This year I played in the high school all girls league, the college+ all girls league, and a work league. Turns out, I probably should just stick to one league and give it my all. While my work league team sucked, the college+ league team had a big comeback Week 13. It put me into 2nd place, which I was able to keep through the playoffs. Unfortunately I ended the season in 3rd place, but I’ll take it. CANNOT wait until next year!


Oh, and Nicole and I spent Black Friday picking out matching (early) Christmas presents for each other from MK. We settled on hers & hers laptop-carrying totes.


Next up: pics from various holiday parties!

Do you play fantasy football? How did the season treat you?


Thanksgiving 2013: Trot & Eat


Posted by Lauren

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! Nicole and I absolutely love this holiday – family, friends, Turkey Trot, being thankful, and FOOD!

My week kicked off with sorting/packaging oranges into 25 lb. boxes at Second Harvest Food Bank with my coworkers. You can read more about our time there on my company’s blog :) I was surprised to learn that Second Harvest serves 1 in 10 people in San Mateo/Santa Clara counties. The two hours flew by and a few of us mastered box-folding.



On Thanksgiving morning, most of our family met downtown for the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot. This race defines Thanksgiving for us and has been a tradition now for manymany years. The race drew a crowd of 28,000 people this year (rumor has it) and benefits local charities: Second Harvest Food Bank, the Housing Trust Silicon Valley, the Healthier Kids Foundation. This is the 9th year and they’ve raised $3.4 million so far!


Snapchat selfies to other friends running Turkey Trots in their respective cities. Look who decided to run this year for the first time ever. Kyle! My mom signed him up and said “Now that you will live with him you have to do couple activities with your family! Cheers, Mom”



The start line was paaaacked and (I think) this was the first time they used “corrals” to deal with the crowds.


Sometimes running in downtown San Jose can get repetitious because the Turkey Trot and Rock n’ Roll are basically the same, unchanging route. But then you see downtown lit up in a hazy morning sun and it makes you forget all that.


I personally took the race easy, finishing in 49:38 / 8-min miles. Kyle and I ran together most of the race, except I used extra energy during the last mile and increased speed just a lil bit. Also, I wanted to get a photo of him coming in at the end :)




Sarah, me, Kyle, Nicole


Mom, Nicole, David, Sam, me

We hung out after the race with Sarah and her family. Right before Kyle left to play football, Sallie came up and said hi. That was a nice surprise! We all said goodbye and took the Light Rail back to Almaden. We ate some food, showered, and did a little prep work in the kitchen.


Brussels sprouts are a Thanksgiving must in our house. I cut them off the stalk (Nicole helped) and then sliced in half. I carefully rinsed them off and then tossed with olive oil, Nicole’s special veggie sesoning blend, and pumpkin oil.


David just came back from a trip to the Czech Republic, where he visited our other step-bro Nate. He brought us each a bottle of pumpkin oil and said that they use it on everything there. I opened it up and took a big whiff… it was nutty and reminded me so much of peanut butter. I decided to coat the brussels sprouts with it and I think they came out pretty good!

At 1 pm Nicole, Kyle, and I went to Nancy’s house to chill with my dad’s side of the fam. It was good to see everyone there – it’s been a while!!

We left around 3 and went back to my mom’s to help cook. When we got there, everything was basically finished! That was easy :)

People arrived around 4 pm and we had a big group of 20 family & friends this year!


We followed a Williams-Sonoma turkey recipe, which called for 40 mins breast side down at 425 and then 2 hours breast side up at 325. Maybe one year I’ll learn how to prep a turkey. Shirley is such a pro at it though.


Kyle carved the big bird. Miss Vegetarian Nicole helped hold the pan still and was a little freaked out by the process.

My plate… my favorite stuffing ever, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, ham, turkey, salad (?), brussels sprouts, and banana bread.



And Nicole’s plate:


We had a pretty nice dessert spread as well.

Apple crumb pie, berry pie….


…Kersten’s mixed holiday cookie platter, Kathy’s spice cake, and pumpkin pie of course.


We were all so stuffed at the end of the night. I even had to lay down on the carpet so my tummy would feel better. And that’s how Thanksgiving is done!

On Friday I slept in until 11 am (and it felt so so so good) and then made my way back to San Jose to spend the day with family. After lunch, Nicole and I went on a hike around Quicksilver. The 6.5 mile loop gives great views of south San Jose, all the way to downtown!



Nicole and I ran the last 1.5 (downhill) miles.


The rest of my day I folded laundry, ate leftover pie, and caught up on Hulu. Then I met Janae for some late-night froyo and girl talk. Loved every minute of it and now I want to visit in Utah so we can go skiing! :)

(Borrowed photo from Janae!)

(Borrowed photo from Janae!)

How was your Thanksgiving?

Ever done a turkey trot? What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?


Oktoberun Half Marathon, Redwood City


Posted by Lauren

Friday after work I went for a run around the neighborhood. My 5 mile loop took me past my old office (aww, the war room) and the popular Stevens Creek trail. Right around mile 3 my mom called and I made plans with her to run Sunday morning. Then, at mile 4, Kyle called and said that he picked up my race packet for Saturday’s 1/2 when…

he officially registered!!!!!

I was quite surprised!! A group of friends discussed entering the Oktoberun race in Redwood City a while back, but 2 people joined a different “team” and 2 people didn’t register due to knee/training issues. I wasn’t sure what Kyle would do, but it seemed like he was leaning towards signing up.

I was so excited to hear that he was finally interested in running 13.1 miles (because usually he thinks I’m crazy for paying $$$ to run that far).

I didn’t prepare for the race at all. See Exhibit 1Exhibit 3.


Exhibit 1: Aqui’s famous Sunrise Swirl cocktail (sangria + a paradise Patrón margarita in one dangerously tall glass) and a delicious BBQ chicken quesadilla with pumpkin seeds, jack/cheddar cheese, a side of mashed pinto beans, pepitas salsa and cotija cheese.


Exhibit 2: two gorgeous AOII sisters that I haven’t seen in forevvvvver, and really I just wanted to stay and talk with them all night.


Exhibit 3: After Aqui’s closed, we walked over to a busy bar for a little more fun. Thank you generous couple for buying the three of us a drink!

I got in bed at about ~12:30 and set my alarm for 5:15 am because I thought the race began at 6:30. I was so relieved/happy when Kyle said it started at 8 am and I had another 1.5 hours of sleep. Yessssss….

Saturday morning we parked in downtown Redwood City (just 3 freeway stops away, holla!) and made our way to the uncrowded start line. I forgot my Garmin at home, so this post lacks the normal Garmin stats, elevation charts, and mile splits. What a shame.


Not sure who/what this tiger (??) mascot is, but I’m diggin’ his shoes.


Ok, so shortest race recap in SCS blog history:

Miles 1 – 3 run from Courthouse downtown to the Bay Trail. Miles 3 – 6.5 run north on Bay Trail. Turn around. Miles 6.5 – 13 repeat that, but backwards. According to the website, this course is “flat, scenic, and largely off-road, perfect for a personal record.” Apparently we ran “north next to Bair Island in the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge… [and continued] into Redwood Shores where [we ran] on a gravel trail next to picturesque Steinberger Slough.” The part they don’t tell you is that for a majority of the race you run 5 feet away from Highway 101. While that’s not 100% my idea of picturesque, the views of the Bay were very beautiful and we saw a couple of pretty birds along the way.

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How did I feel?

Well, I think I found a new running buddy. Kyle is FAST! He kept us at a 7:35-7:40 pace for the first 10 miles. It was hard for me to maintain that pace for a few reasons. 1. Last weekend’s San Jose 1/2 took a lot of running juice – not sure if I was ready for another 1:41 time. 2. No morning coffee… I usually like some caffeine. 3. Did you see Exhibit 1 – 3 above? Getting in bed past midnight, prolly not the best idea. 4. I really had to go to the bathroom the second half of the race… I’m talking about the sit-down-and-read-a-newspaper kinda bathroom visit ;)


So, around Mile 10 I stopped in a portapotty and encouraged Kyle to run ahead. He was in great shape and I knew he was capable of an amazing time. I didn’t want him to wait for me and I knew I was low on energy. Sure, this was his FIRST half marathon. And yeah, he didn’t actually TRAIN for this race. But he’s in great shape from soccer (2 games/week) and runs almost every other day of the week. Plus, he kicked ass during The Relay and the Oakland Relay. His finish time: 1:40:24!!


I finished up in the bathroom, took 2 cups of water from the adjacent water station, and started the last 3 miles alone. Instantly I felt that “wall” people talk about. My legs felt like lead and I couldn’t control my speed one bit. I crossed the finish line as confidently as possible around 1:46:47.

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Announcer: “Next up, look at this. Number TWO THREE THREE, Lauren… Well done Lauren, lovely socks.”

At the finish line…


Coffee cake from the infamous Hobees… I had the pumpkin one.


No water bottles. Jugs of water + cups are fine by me.


Bagels, oranges, bananas, and chocolate milk.


We changed into dry clothes, stretched, and then hung out with Kevin, Savannah, and Alayna. We all waited patiently for Oktoberfest to start.

It was also Kevin and Savannah’s first half marathon!!

They were on my team for the Napa to Santa Cruz Relay this year, but I strangely haven’t blogged about it yet….


Oktoberfest details!

– many beers of German and Bavarian origin, American ales, lagers, IPAs, and pilsners
– 12 breweries there to educate, pour and celebrate the very best OktoberFest
– at least 5 German food pop-ups serving bratwurst, giant pretzels, and tasty strudels
– live entertainment with a 4-person Bavarian band (The Internationals) and dance performances by Golden Gate Bavarian Club


I really need to restart my accordion lessons.


Look at my fancy beer socks. And my fancy beer-balancing on beer socks.
Best beer of the day? The Stiegl Radler. Only 2.5% but so extremely refreshing because of the grapefruit.


Our group got cheap tacos at a nearby taqueria and then called it a day…


$1.50/taco…. not bad. I chose carne asada, lengua, and al pastor.


13.1 miles? Check. 3.5 beers? Check. 3 tacos? Check.


Amazing job to the first time 1/2 marathoners — Kyle, Kevin, Savannah, and Alayna! Congrats :)


San Jose Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon, 2013


Posted by Lauren


Oh San Jose Rock ‘n Roll… I have so many things to say about you.

  • San Jose, hometown race!!!
  • 2006 – inaugural race – my mom ran (this was before she got me into running)
  • 2007 – mom ran again… I stayed in school like a good statistician
  • 2008 – my time was 2:11:56 (ran with my momma)
  • 2009 – October I had terrible calf pain (bruised and “burned”) that kept me sidelined
  • 2010 – my time was 1:41:58
  • 2011 – was a DNS – I got terrible shin splints from Oktoberfest the day before the race
  • 2012 – was also a DNS – we had a family emergency that took us all (minus David) out of California and we were unable to do this race
  • 2013 – my time was 1:41:54 (4 seconds faster than 2010 time! LOL)
  • For some reason I thought I’ve finished this race more than 3x but I guess I’m getting confused by the Turkey Trot, which covers a lot of the same route

How about I start with Friday?

After work I avoided the happy hour treats (pizza from downstairs and beer pong on the conference / ping pong table) so that I could get a run in before Sunday’s race. I did a giant loop around downtown Mountain View that put me at my gym ~mile 5. I did a few leg and arm exercises and then ran back to work. Seven pretty sweet miles.


Saturday Morning – Let the carbs begin!

Kyle and I grabbed a stack of pumpkin spice pancakes from Crepevine in downtown Mountain View. We walked there – hoping to actually get pancakes from the local fire station. Turns out I read the fundraiser sign wrong and the pancake breakfast was at Firehouse #4, not #1. My bad. Our Crepevine pancakes were only oookaaayyy. We made a promise to order an actual crepe next time.


I quickly packed my race gear and drove down to San Jose for the expo. I did my very best to not miss the TweetUp that Brian (@PavementRunner) organized.


Of course this crazy lady (=mom), skipping none the less, distracted me for a little bit. My mom and David arrived at the expo around 12:15 and gave me extra quarters for my parking meter. I ran out of the expo, a few blocks to my car, and somehow cut the side of my toe along the way. Not sure how that happened but a bloody toe kinda surprised me when I got home.


The expo was great! It was nice to chat with Twitter folk before the race and hear about their past and future races (Paris! Vegas! Chicago! oh my!). I picked up two boxes of Power Crunch protein bars in the peanut butter creme flavor (these). OMG they are sooooo good. It’s like a white chocolate Reese’s peanut butter cup made love to a Little Debbie bar. I ate one on the way home, one on Sunday after the race, two on Monday, one Tuesday, and one today. #addicted

Around 6:30 my mom, David, and I went to Los Gatos for a feast of more carbs Italian food!


I Gatti

25 E Main St, Los Gatos, CA


The {running} Lovebirds

This dimly lit, white-tablecloth Italian restaurant had an impressive menu. Indecisive minds chose to order family style so we could try a bit of everything…


Top to bottom:

  • PEAR CARPACCIO – Sweet Pear, Wild Arugula, Pt. Reyes Blue Cheese, Polenta Croutons, Toasted Hazelnuts, Warm Honey Shallot Vinaigrette
    > polenta croutons = genius
  • PROSCIUTTO & SCALLOPS – Special of the night… with mashed potatoes and almond slivers
    > I looOOoooVe scallops, a little too buttery though
  • LAMB LOLLIPOPS – Grilled, Port Glaze, Garlic Potato Puree
    > port glaze was perfect
  • [unpictured] SPAGHETTI & MEATBALLS – House Made Meatballs, Ground Chuck, Veal & Pork, Veal Bolognese, Grana Parmesan
    > balls were a little dry (TWSS) but the veal bolognese helped


  • MAHI MAHI – Special of the night
    >> probably wouldn’t order this again, wasn’t bad… but it didn’t WOW me



Reppin’ the original PHS Dance sweater (jk I stole it from Nicole’s closet) but still… it was really nice out weather-wise and the race started at 8 am. You should really consider signing up for this race because San Jose is like destination #1 in CA (ha!) and the conditions are always perfect ;)


I split up from my mom and David and joined Corral 3. We started ~4 minutes after the gun, and off I went on the familiar streets of San Jose! I didn’t have any goals for this flat and fast course, just go out and have a good time. Surprisingly, I decided to put my headphones in my pocket and run without music. The course has a handful of bands and cheer squads, but usually I just mute iPod music when I run by them. Not this time!

Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 3.16.56 PM

You wouldn’t know it unless you look at the elevation, but Mile 1 – Mile 2.5 represents a 30 ft elevation loss. Couple that with the excitement of a race and the thrill of weaving/passing people, it’s no wonder why my first few miles are my fastest. I leave no juice in the tank for the end, but that’s fine by me. We ran towards San Jose State University, made a left to run in the neighborhood north of downtown, and then took another left at Mile 2 to go through Japantown. There was great crowd support from SJSU fraternities here. I kept my 7:23 pace until Mile 5, even hitting low 6 for 200m or so when I passed the start line at mile 4.5 (and the 1:45 pacer) I’m realizing that crowd = running motivation.


At Mile 5 I took a bathroom break at a portapotty in front of the Shark Tank (GO Sharks!). It maybe added :20 rest time, not bad. I made sure to still be ahead of the 1:45 pacer for good measure. We passed by “The Alameda” (shops) and then ran a boring part of town until Mile 7, where we passed by fancy homes. I really like this part of the race because I imagine what it would be like to have $3 million to spare for an overpriced Silicon Valley home… oh, and there’s always a great band here too.


Miles 7.5 – 9 are also kind of boring and there’s a slight incline. Max elevation clocks in at 118 feet so there’s really no room for complaining on this course. Mile 9 was my slowest of them all at 8:01 avg pace. By this time I was ready for the race to be over and I knew that if I could dig deeeeeep inside me I could maybe squeeze out a 1:40+seconds… but that didn’t seem like a good idea considering I have 2 more half marathons this month (!!) Instead, I averaged 7:49 for the remainder of the race.

So many memorable spots on the last half of the course:

  • Mile 9.5 – Rose Garden where we took photos for dance team in high school
    189471_4864777028_346_n(back row, third from right)
  • Mile 10 – Lincoln High School where we had many dance competitions
  • Mile 10.5 – Cross the street where my high school bff Vanessa’s family lives
  • Mile 10.75 – Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, 6th grade field trip spot
  • and of course, Mile 12.5 the SAP Center where my beloved San Jose Sharks play!


I bobbed & weaved a bit too much, so I still had ~ mile to go after passing the tank. I kept thinking “are we there yet??!” At Mile 12 I kept thinking about form and a longer stride and a faster stride and water and just finishing and finalizing my fantasy football lineup (#truth). I had a slow pace alert of my Garmin that let me know when my pace rose above 8:25. It went off only a handful of times towards the end of the race, not counting water stations.

san jose rock n roll race photo

And then…. the finish line! Sprinted in sub 7 to an official finish of 1:41:54. That’s 4 whopping seconds faster than my finish time in 2010.



Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 3.29.45 PM


Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 3.17.27 PM

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(Incline is very much exaggerated here. I wish I could change the axes.)


Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 3.17.49 PM

(start off fast, end tired. that’s how you’re supposed to race, right? :)

I love where the race ends… the Tech Museum!


I grabbed my finishers’ medal, a water bottle, and then headed to the sides to use my remaining 4% battery to finalize my fantasy football lineup. I picked up Kerley from the Jets and only had time to place him on one of my teams. I made the wrong decision to start Eli Manning instead of Russell Wilson but overall everything worked out and I won both of my games! Even when my other team had a benched QB (RG III) and the temp replacement I put in scored a laughable 2 points (he tore his right ACL mid-game and is done for the season). I sure know how to pick ‘em.

My phone died. So I ran over to Starbucks and asked my step-bro Ben (he works there) to text his dad and tell them to meet me at the “L” sign.

Photo Cred: PavementRunner.com

While I waited for David and my mom to finish, I ran into my Ragnar SoCal teammate Rachel and Mr. PR (PersonalRecord) PavementRunner. It was great to catch up with Rachel, hear about Brian’s 1:37 race, and meet some of his SF run club friends like Jennifer of KineticFix. I’m sad I missed Sonia the Mexigarian, but by the sounds of it she had a pretty fulfilling, PR-worthy race experience.

p.s. all the links in that paragraph point back to their recaps – I love reading race recaps!!
p.p.s. like this one by Jacqueline, who did the Mermaid Duathlon on Saturday and covered 11 extra miles while still smiling. You go girl!

I finally ran into the lovebirds and they said they had a pretty great race…


lovebirds san jose rock n roll

Except Shirley thought there were too many walkers in Corral 5.

Welp, that’s another race for the books! I really should update the Races Page… EDIT: I DID!


And might I add that next year will probably be a very ROCK n ROLL focused year. I’m thinking Chicago, St. Louis, Vegas, San Francisco…. the list goes on.

What’s your absolute favorite thing about race day?
Post-race brunch!! We went to the San Pedro Square Market and had burgers and hot dogs :)

Do you race with headphones?
SO many people sported the Jaybird bluetooth headphones and I heard someone say they made them feel nauseous

Rock ‘n Roll fan? Who’s your band?