The Barre Studio Hosts Graced by Grit

So are you as excited as I am about The Barre Studio opening in Capitola?! If so, come by Saturday to check it out, as well as one of my favorite workout brands – Graced by Grit. There will be a BBQ and a chance to check out the Barre space… can’t wait!

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Dashing the Dip and Dash

Last Sunday, I participated in my first Dip and Dash put on by Finish Line Productions. The Dip and Dash series includes three aquathons, swim then run of varying distances. Since I’m not a swimmer, it’s not a surprise that I hadn’t participated in one before. But my friend and teammate, Sam, wanted to use the swim as a practice and asked if I wanted to be part of a relay team with her. She’s swim around the wharf and I’d run the five miles on West Cliff. I jumped at the chance to be on a team with her and thought it would be a fun chance to see where my speed is at 6 weeks post marathon.

My plan leading up to the race was to run a pace similar to the 10k portion of the Capitola Half relay back in May. This meant about a 7:05 pace. I also hoped it would be fastest enough for us to win too. The two weeks before the race I added in some speed workouts for the first time in a month. I started with a reverse ladder workout: 2×800, 2×400, 2x200s and was not too far off from the times I was hitting earlier in the summer. The Thursday before the race I ran some 400s and a couple 200s around the harbor – couldn’t seem to find a time to make it to the track. They were not my fastest attempts and I thought about scaling back my goal to a 7:15 pace. This seemed the best idea when I woke up Sunday morning feeling a little sick to my stomach (I’m assuming this was thanks to Chinese food and ice cream the night before!).

I jogged down to the start and met up with Sam, where I learned that we were the only relay team. Sweet, we already won! Ha! She had a great idea that I run the Wharf as my warm up and then I could cheer on the swimmers as the same time (as well as get some good photos). I did a few strides at the end of my warm up and headed toward the transition area. Even though the pressure of winning was off, I still wanted to have a strong run. Sam came out of the water (which had some strong swells Sunday morning) and I grabbed the chip and made my way out to West Cliff.

Swimmers ready to start!

Swimmers ready to start!

Sam rounding the wharf

Sam rounding the wharf

Since I was the only runner, I made sure to encourage all of the race participants who were running on much more tired legs than mine. I felt pretty good by the time I started the race, stomach issues were gone. I started out too fast and did a terrible job of pacing (oh well): 7:03, 6:59, 6:56, 7:09, 7:15. I finished at 36:15 with an average pace of 7:03 – easily making it to my original goal. Despite uneven pacing, I was pretty happy with that. Since it was only my second 5 mile race, it also meant a distant PR ;)

I met up with Sam and another teammate, Dan, after the race. After some coffee and yogurt from nearby Picnic Basket, Sam and I collected our prize – a gift certificate for free Rudy Project sunglasses! Sweet!

Have you ever won a race because there was no competition??

Food Friday: Greek Festival

This week’s Food Friday post is a bit different. Instead of chatting about one of my favorite local restaurants, I’m posting about the an annual food festival!

Last weekend, the hubs and I made our way to the Santa Cruz Greek Festival (it was a long trek – about a 5 minute walk from our house, ha!) We had been a year and a half ago, but it was in May and that is apparently a much smaller event.

All photos in this post from Greek Festival's FB page

All photos in this post from Greek Festival’s FB page

The festival is held on Church street and has many Greek food vendors to choose from: gyros, vegetarian, pastries, BBQ, etc. The hubs picked up a gyro, I had stuffed eggplant, and we shared a salad. There is live music and beer and wine – we each had a nice cold beer on a warm afternoon. The food is really good and has options that are not usually at your typical Greek restaurant. They also don’t have what we might consider the traditional fare of falafels and pita bread.

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After hanging out with the music, we passed some of the vendors and the rock climbing wall  (so much to offer here) and tried some loukoumades. Yum! Loukoumades are basically like a donut (but not shaped like one) but with honey and walnuts. We brought these home to eat while watching the Niners beat the Cowboys.

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SCE Whale to Whale

Just over a week ago, SCE (my super awesome running club) hosted the 3rd Whale to Whale “race” of the year. The Whale to Whale has been our little local tradition. We start at the Long Marine Lab Whale and then cruise the 6 miles along West Cliff and the Boardwalk to finish at the Natural History Museum Whale in the Seabright neighborhood. We don’t shut down the roads and it varies from 10 to 30 (ish) participants. The entry is just $10 and is used for the club or various community involvement (we’ve collected canned food, donated to the Baker/Butler Scholarship Fund last year, etc.) and we have a small prize for the top 3 men and women finishers.

At the start of Whale to Whale (all photos credit of SCE)

At the start of Whale to Whale (all photos credit of SCE)

While I have been to the other two races this year, I haven’t run it in quite some time. This time around I really wanted to run it again but knowing I really haven’t done any speed, I didn’t want to race it. Luckily, another team member and my friend, Sam, felt the same way. We decided to make it part of our long run. We started just past the “finish line” and weaved over to the start, getting in just under 8 miles before we began the race. It was a beautiful run along the water and we even saw a whale in the bay. So this year it was more of a whale to whale to whale ;)

Running as a pack on West Cliff

Running as a pack on West Cliff

After signing our waivers and paying our entry fees, all the runners headed to the start. This time around, there seemed to be more of us “fun running” rather than speeding through the course. This meant lots of time to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while as well as seeing an otter and some dolphins playing in the bay. All the sea creatures were out for this race!

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When we got to the finish, the three women decided to hold hands and all come in for 3rd place together. (I wish I had a photo of this silliness!). We hung out for a bit but after 14 miles, but I was ready for some food and a shower so headed home soon after.

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If you haven’t joined us for one of these events, check out the SCE FB page or our website to find out about the next one!

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Back to School, Time for the Barre

You have probably noticed that the blog has been a little quiet lately. Well, summer for me is over and it’s back to the grind. I am back teaching Monday through Thursdays and also trying to make a real dent in my dissertation progress… Important tip: never ask a grad student when s/he will be finished or how his/her research is going. We don’t know and not as well as we hoped… that’s the answer ;)

Anyway, usually the first week back at work means I have a lot of busy work. I try to have my lectures pretty much outlined and ready to go for the semester, so then week by week I’m making edits and tweaks to them as necessary. But the first week is filled with lots emails and giving out add codes for students as well as following up with students who missed first class meetings. It usually also means fixing what isn’t working on Blackboard (our education website). So blogging doesn’t always happen.

But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been busy with other life stuff! Running of course continues (look forward to recaps later this week on the 3rd SCE Whale to Whale and the Dip and Dash). The hubs and I also got some fun new furniture (that the pups have approved!).

Sami prefers to share the hubs's new chari

Sami prefers to share the hubs’s new chair

Gus can't decide which book to use in the new reading chair

Gus can’t decide which book to use in the new reading chair

 

And also, I’ve been training and practicing for the soon-to-be-open Barre Studio in Capitola! My friend is opening it and I am learning to be an instructor for it. Before I ran, I danced. I took classes for about 17 years in tap, jazz, and ballet. So the barre was a second home to me. But after injuries and college, I stopped taking classes regularly and a few years later fell in love with running. But I never forgot how tough all the barre workouts were or how fit I felt during those years. So the barre fitness classes are great for me and I’m really excited for the philosophy that The Barre Studio will be implementing. They have that fitness element, with small, isolated movements to strengthen muscles but do not require the technique (or talent and grace) of dance. Anyone can come in and find the workout to be doable but also challenging. I can’t wait until the Studio opens! But in the meantime, you can check out its brand new website (you might recognize Leslie or me there too!)

Getting my plank on for the Barre Studio website

Getting my plank on for the Barre Studio website