Back on the training plan

Between Miles 3 and 4

You know how some runners have trouble taking time off of running after a marathon? Well, I’m not one of those people. After the Long Beach Marathon in October I took a couple of weeks off and only ran 3-4 miles here or there. Same thing with LA. Even though I knew I should rest and Marc (my coach) assured me it was okay to rest a bit, I felt weird not running a few easy miles. I tried to run and quit after a few minutes. I still had some mild pain and soreness in my quads. I stuck to the elliptical and kept up with my weight lifting routine. Two weeks after the marathon, I went out for another run. My legs felt fine, but I got winded easily. I feel like I lost a lot of fitness. I hope it’s just in my head.

I’d like to get back on track and be in PR shape or the Pasadena half marathon next month. I’m much better with getting in my miles and workouts when I’m training for a race. I don’t race too often to just run for fun, so I’d like to make it worth my time and registration fee. I ran Pasadena last year and liked the course. I achieved my first sub-2 there. I’m hoping to PR (ideally squeak in at 1:49:XX), but won’t sweat it if I can’t get in shape in time.


Unexpected results

Research talk

I spent a good chunk of my day on Saturday talking to potential freshmen at a fair for newly admitted students. When I spoke to the incoming science students about applying for [Program], I always highlighted the impact on grades, retention in the sciences and participation rates in undergraduate research programs. The students would nod, probably overwhelmed with all the information and opportunities they’d learned about. The students perked up when I introduced them to current students and alumni helping us outreach. “How did [Program] benefit you?” I asked one of the volunteers.

All 10 students who volunteered throughout the day answered the same. It wasn’t grades and research was secondary even though they’re all in labs and some are going on to grad school in the fall. Nope, they all stressed the great friendships they developed with other [Program] students.

I love working with [Program], but at this point I don’t expect many surprises. Each year we do the same thing, it’s just a different set of students. I was wrong. I know our students develop friendships in the program. That makes sense since they spend several hours a week together and have a lot in common. We measure a lot of things and evaluate all aspects of the programs, but I don’t recall ever asking about friendships developed through [Program]. The researcher in me wants to study this and interview our students. The student affairs practitioner in me feels like we’re doing something right.


Dodgers home opener

Dodgers home opener

In the morning when I was still contemplating whether or not I wanted to run or just head in to work, I got a FB message from my cousin Juan. He messaged several of our cousins to see if anyone was interested in taking a pair of tickets off his hands for the Dodgers home opener. I mentioned the idea to Sean and he was down. I sent off some emails to work/students and took care of some outstanding tasks. Our program director wished me a happy opening day even before mentioning the game. He knows I’m a big Dodger fan.

Dodgers and Pirates lineups

Since I was the first to jump at the offer, Juan gave me the tickets. We coordinated a meet-up between his place and mine in East LA around 11:30. Juan mentioned that we might make it in time to see the opening day ceremony beginning around 12:15. Although it was a little over 5 miles from East LA to Dodger Stadium, traffic was happy. Luckily, I know my way around the area (in car and on foot thanks to the LA Marathon!) and we found free parking off Sunset Boulevard and got to our seats in time for the ceremony.

The Beach Boys sang the national anthem

Along with the standard team intros and national anthem, the opening ceremony also featured tributes to hall of fame broadcasters Vin Scully (who had to miss the game due to a cold, first time in 35 years) and Jaime Jarrín, Nancy Bea Hefley (Dodgers organist), the 1962 Dodgers (who played the inaugural season in the new stadium), and a first pitch by Terry O’Malley Seidler (daughter of former owner Walter O’Malley), The Beach Boys sang a sweet rendition of the national anthem.

Clayton Keshaw on the mound

I’ve been to one opening day game/home opener before. This time was better. It was warmer, we had seats in the shade, most of the game was a pitchers’ duel, Andre Ethier hit the go-ahead homerun and the Dodgers won. Even emo Juan Uribe had a good game going 3-for-3.

The only downside to the game was the annoying group of about 10 people sitting next to us. I get that people are going to drink at games. I’m prepared for that, but I get annoyed when they interrupt my game watching by making me get up 25 times to let them through. One time a guy almost fell on me. Not cool. One of our neighbors was so drunk that stadium security escorted her out. I assume that’s what happened from overhearing the rest of the people who came with her.

I found my cousin, Juan, at the game a couple sections over

Nevertheless, I’m thankful Juan gave us the opportunity to check out our first game of the season. I’m lucky to have several cousins who are generous and love the Dodgers as much — quite possibly more — than I do.


A few days in Lake Arrowhead

Lake Arrowhead sunset

Early last week, my brother Adrian called and asked about my plans for the week. He was on vacation from one job and spring break from the other. He and his girlfriend, Alexis, had rented a condo up in Lake Arrowhead and invited Sean and I to join them for part of the trip.

“We’ll probably be just sitting around eating, drinking and relaxing.”

I liked the idea of going up to the San Bernardino Mountains. I used to go pretty often in high school and college with church and school groups, but it’s been nearly 10 years since my last trip with family. I wasn’t sure if I could get away during the busy first week of spring quarter, but I was able to leave early on Thursday and take Friday off. Sean and I drove up Thursday afternoon. Traffic was light due to the holiday weekend.

Capirotada - so delicious!

We made a pit stop at my mom’s for to-go burritos and capirotada (Mexican bread pudding, a Lenten tradition). I’d been craving capirotada for weeks and dug into some leftovers my Madrina Chilo left behind when she visited my grandparents. I’d like to believe she knew I was stopping by and left this for me because I’m her goddaughter.

Highway 18 up to Lake Arrowhead

We arrived at the condo just in time to enjoy some views of the lake at sunset from the balcony.

First view of the lake from the balcony

Adrian and Alexis were great hosts. There were no luchador fights, just a lot of smiles and good drinks.

First game of Taboo

Ping pong time

First round of king's cup

As Adrian promised, there was a lot eating, drinking and games. We played card games, Taboo, Uno, ping pong and king’s cup. It’s a good thing we were all staying in the condo since no one was going anywhere after king’s cup.

Brief walk along the west end of the lake

Brief trip to Lake Arrowhead village for food & drink

The condo is right on the lake and is a short walk away from Lake Arrowhead Village. Each day, we walked along the lakefront path to the village for groceries and drinks. On Friday evening, Alexis’ co-worker and friend drove up, our group grew to six.

Looks nice, but it was still cold

It was a little too cold to kayak or go swimming in the lake, but we did spend a lot of time on the balcony just staring at the water, sipping sangria and enjoying some time in the sun.

Good Friday sunset over the lake

Although I’ve been to Lake Arrowhead many times, I’d never stayed so close to the lake. We didn’t take advantage of the proximity due to the cool weather, — there was still some snow on the ground — but it was nice to be able to walk out from the bedroom and be immediately by the water.

Alexis and Adrian

I’m thankful to the little brother and Alexis for the hospitality.


South Campus changes

South campus student center

When I first started at UCLA, the tour guides who worked with the orientation program told us that the Bomb Shelter used to actually be a bomb shelter at the height of the Cold War. Of course, it was located in the Court of Sciences near the engineering and science departments because in case of a nuclear attack, it’d be more important to save and engineering or physics professor than one in the humanities or arts. After the Cold War, it was converted in to an eatery with different food options for students. Something like that. Freshman orientation was a long time ago.

The myths about buildings and campus landmarks were all intended to get us to better remember the campus.

I should get out of the office for lunch more often, especially with this lovely area a few steps away

The Bomb Shelter was razed a few years ago to make way for a snazzy new Court of Sciences Student Center. The LEED certified building opened up a couple of months ago. I walk by often, but hadn’t actually checked it out since I always bring my own lunch.

I still haven’t visited any of the new eateries or been in the building, but I like the outdoor changes. The grassy rooftop might become my go-to spot when I need to get out of the office after staring at the computer too long or freezing with the always-too-cold AC. I like the nearby botanical garden too, but that area is shaded and sometimes I want to sit in the sun.

Sometimes I get tired of being at UCLA forever (only have myself to blame on this one). Other days, I appreciate that being around a long time lets me see the changes. Yesterday was one of those days.