Sunday, March 26, 2023

Race Report: Victory Half Marathon 2023

Whew, finally getting this one out into the world!

The deets:

Brazen Racing is well known in the Bay Area for fun, inclusive, reasonably affordable, and extremely well-organized events, with the vast majority including a 5K, 10K, and half marathon. Most of them are trail races (including some real doozies!), but they host a few flat, paved events as well (including Hellyer in the South Bay and the Bay Breeze/Summer Breeze races at the San Leandro Marina). It is always a really fun and supportive crew, and their races are known for such perks as big beautiful medals (including age group winner medals), cool shirts that you'd actually consider wearing *not* only for running, free photos taken by volunteers stationed on the course, and an epic post-race spread.

Why did I sign up for this race?

I didn't have anything on my spring race calendar until the USATF Masters 10 Mile National Championships on April 2nd, and I wanted to run *something* in the 10K-to-half-marathon ballpark between New Years and then just to see where I was fitness-wise. My criteria were a) late Feb/early March, b) 10K, half, or something in between, c) mostly flat-ish course, d) reliable organization, e) fairly close to home, & f) not too pricey. That's a lot to ask for in one race! So I actually felt very lucky that I was able to find even ONE race that checked all the boxes.

Victory starts and finishes at Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, just over the bridge and a bit down the freeway, about 30 minutes from me. It's a really pretty area of Richmond with some gorgeous waterfront views (a lot of which you get to see on the course). All three courses are mostly out-and-backs and pretty close to totally flat. I have run the 10K at Victory twice before (2017 and 2020) so I felt very comfortable with the logistics (getting there, parking, the course, etc.).

Brazen has always put on some of the highest-value "low-stakes" races in the Bay Area--if you just wanted to run and have fun and see what you could do, it's always been hard to do better in terms of price and what you get for it. Alas, inflation has of course come for us all of late, including race directors. So prices have gone up a bit. But prices have gone up everywhere, so Brazen is still a QPR winner any way you slice it.

This year's prices for the 5K/10K/Half:

  • Until 12/18/22: $58 / $67 / $83
  • Before 1/22/23: $63 / $72 / $88
  • After 1/22/23: $68 / $77 / $93
  • Race day: $73 / $82 / $98

And then what happened?

Monday, March 13, 2023

February 2023 Reads!

Oof, hi friends, long time, no post. I have a race report almost ready to publish BUT in the mean time, please enjoy this missive covering my February reads. Hang on to your hats, last month was a doozy. 


(8) First Born by Will Dean (368 pages, 2022). Audiobook. Outgoing, extroverted Katie is at Columbia on a full ride, while her mousy, introverted, pathologically anxious twin Molly hides from the world back in her London condo. But when Molly's parents call to tell her that Katie has been murdered while they're visiting her in New York, Molly must steel herself to fly to the U.S. to support her parents and the investigation of Katie's death. This took a super interesting turn riiiiiight at the end but there was a lot of kind of boring stuff in the middle and I came very close to not bothering finishing it.

(9) Run Time by Catherine Ryan Howard (373 pages, 2022). Audiobook. Another mystery/thriller with a twenty-two-year-old woman at the center. Once a rising star, recently disgraced actress Adele Rafferty has left her native Ireland for LA in a desperate (and thus far unsuccessful) attempt to revive her career. When she's offered the lead in a small, hush-hush indie horror film back in Ireland out of the blue, the deal seems almost too perfect. But soon Adele starts to feel as if the eerie events of the script are happening around her for real, and it seems as if her tumultuous past has somehow come back to haunt her. Reasonably entertaining but I've liked previous works of hers better.

(10) Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl (336 pages, 2018). Audiobook.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

January 2023 Reads!

 ...And just like that, the cycle begins anew. 👵 ➡️ 👶 Welcome back, readers!

I got off to a solid start in January in terms of reading. Here's what was on my nightstand / in my headphones this month:

(1) The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan (336 pages, 2012) (psychological drama, lgbtqia+). Paper book. I can't remember how this book got onto my 'to-read' list but about a quarter of the way through, I was like, "You know, this book realllly reminds me of a different book I read ages ago." It bugged me so much I had to hunt that book down and guess what? It was The Red Tree, by Caitlin R. Kiernan. The story is presented as schizophrenic India Morgan Phelps's attempt to make sense of some very strange recent events by writing things down, since she can no longer trust her own memories. Plot points include a tumultuous new relationship with a gamer girl, the suicides of her mother and maternal grandmother, and her encounter with a vicious siren, a wolf, a feral little girl, or something altogether else. This was a really interesting well-written book but it was also very, VERY strange.

(2) Survive the Night by Riley Sager (336 pages, 2021) (crime/mystery/thriller).

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Unscheduled rest days? We do that here. (Victory Half Week 7 of 8)

Monday morning I dragged my suitcase up my front steps at 10:00am, so bone-deep exhausted I was almost sick with it.

Actual footage

I'd left DFW airport (Texas) at 7:00am central time; this meant setting an alarm for 4:00am, but it turns out you don't actually need an alarm when you're awake all night (like literally allll night, not even even a bit of light dozing). It's not that I didn't try to sleep but I often have a hard time sleeping when I have an early alarm, and unfortunately none of my usual tricks (melatonin, diphenhydramine, reading) were helping.

So yes. Up at 4:00am, out the door at 4:30, returning my rental car at 5:15, at the gate for my flight at 5:45. (It wasn't boarding until 6:30am so I was earlier than I needed to be, but that's because everything went perfectly and you can never count on everything going perfectly when air travel is involved.) 

After ~3 hours of fitful airplane sleep, I touched down at SFO, took an Uber home, said hi to my cats, and tried (in vain) to get some real sleep on my couch. (My bed wasn't made and I was not not NOT in a place to make it. So, couch.)

The kitty welcomed me back home and by 'me,' I mean 'my body heat.' (She's like one of those sea creatures that can only thrive in the extreme heat of hydrothermal ocean vents.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Road Warrior Kitchen: Chopped Veggies in Dressing

Here is the thing. We already know we should eat more vegetables and that it's good for us both as regular people with bodies and as runners. But if you are like me, you don't necessarily default to vegetables. That means that when we are extra tired or busy or annoyed with the world or we forgot to buy groceries this week, vegetables are probably the first to go.

Over the years, though, I've found some strategies for getting back on the veggie bandwagon when I don't necessarily feel like just crunching on raw celery sticks; today The Road Warrior Kitchen is bringing you one of them.

Consider the watermelon radish

You may be thinking, "But Angela, chopping vegetables is not a recipe. Everyone already knows about chopping vegetables and some people even do it regularly."

True enough, friend. Everyone knows about chopping vegetables; not everyone knows how to make chopped vegetables delicious and attractive and if you have not yet mastered that voodoo I am here to help.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Bad Puns, Solid Workouts (Victory Half Week 6 of 8)

There are certain running puns that make my eyes roll so far back in my head I'm in danger of losing them. "In the long run." "Back on track." Anything involving the word "half" when you're running/training for a half marathon.

But here I am, about to say that I am {cringes} "back on track" this week after last weekend's minor shit show. And I wasn't going to say it, but then I was going to write something about how it feels getting back on the track again after a hiatus, and {sigh}...

Welp. Here we are. Back on track.😬

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

You Are Invited to The Road Warrior Kitchen!

Hello friends, welcome to The Road Warrior Kitchen!

Let me disabuse you of the notion, should you be harboring it, that we are here at The Road Warrior Kitchen to learn all the finer points of sports nutrition. I have written some about that in the past based on work with a for-real sports nutritionist, but a) I'm not truly an expert at that stuff, & b) I don't find it that interesting to write about.

On the other hand, a big topic of conversation between my various groups of running friends is more like, "How do we balance the logistics of eating *generally* in a way that supports our training with all the bullshit of real life, AND is also delicious?" 

I always love hearing what recipes, hacks, strategies, whatever that others have in their arsenal and seeing if maybe they can work for me. Perhaps you will learn something that works for you! Or perhaps you will share a hack of your own in the comments. 

Before we begin, let me provide a bit of framing. I want to be clear that Road Warrior Kitchen is not about describing *THE* one true way of cooking/eating for runners, even just for me. But it will obviously reflect my personal beliefs, preferences, biases, experience, likes/dislikes/etc.

So please understand the points below as a kind of lens for understanding what does or does not show up in the Road Warrior Kitchen and why I cook & eat the way I do.