Across the Bay 12K Race Review

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 3.54.30 PMYou know that tempo run or track workout you’ve been “meaning to do” for dayssss now, but every other little thing just keeps getting in the way? Yeah, that’s been me with this race recap. But I’ve finally laced up my blogging shoelaces, so to speak, and am here to tell you all about my most recent race – the Across the Bay 12K.

Hosted by Represent Running, this is the second race in the Run the Bay series, the first of which (the San Jose 408K) I ran and wrote about back in March. This race, like the name implies, is a 12K (about 7.5 miles) that starts in Sausalito, spans across the Golden Gate Bridge and along Crissy Field, and ends at Aquatic Park in San Francisco.

The race begins with a big ol’ uphill to get up to the bridge, but it was actually ideal, as it spaced the crowds out. After that, it was pretty flat or downhill until the very end at which there was one final climb up Fort Mason, then a glorious decline that took you straight to the finish line. And best of all, YOU GET TO RUN ACROSS THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE!FullSizeRender 2FullSizeRender 3I ran this race with my boyfriend Michel (thanks for being so supportive of my running passion!). Since the race was a point-to-point, there were buses organized to take us from the finish line to the start line. We arrived a bit late, but after a short warm-up and a quick photo we eagerly jumped in with the third wave of runners and crossed the start line.

I have to say, the weather couldn’t have been more beautiful the day of this race. There wasn’t a bit of fog in sight, and a bunch of whales were even spotted right by the bridge (to cheer us on, obviously).FullSizeRender 4Michel and I ran the race together, which was great. With nice weather and someone to talk to and laugh with while you’re running, the course is incredibly enjoyable and the time just flies by. We didn’t run for time, but sometimes you just have to go with the flow and enjoy the experience without being competitive. And take lots of running selfies…IMG_4454 2
After we ran past Crissy Field, along Marina Green, and up that annoying Fort Mason Hill, we descended into Aquatic Park and sprinted to the finish line to be rewarded with 49ers-inspired medals, water, and bags of snacks. And tons of sunshine.
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I truly enjoyed this race and would recommend it to anyone who has completed a 5K or 10K and wants something a little longer in distance before taking on a half marathon. I’m already excited to run it again next year.
Why I Enjoyed the Across the Bay 12K:

  1. I said this already but…you get to run across the Golden Gate Bridge! Even better, you get to run along the side that is normally reserved for bicyclists, so you get a different, refreshing view. This was one of the most beautiful courses I’ve ever ran.
  2. The organizer, Represent Running, did a great job of spacing the waves. I was worried there would be some serious bottlenecking on the bridge, but there was none due to 15 minute time differences in corral start times, as well as that big hill at the beginning of the run.
  3. There were tons of photographers along the course – more than I’ve ever seen at a race – and lots of great photo opps.
  4. Finishers received a sweet medal (seen above) and a great Under Armour shirt designed by San Franpsycho.
  5. All of the food items in the finisher’s bag were gluten-free! Oh, and there were free popsicles provided during the post-race festivities.
  6. If you don’t want to run the 12K, there is also a 5K option that keeps you within the San Francisco city limits.
  7. Oh, and how cool is the artwork on the sign below? Little touches like this really show that the organizers tried hard to make this a great experience overall.

Tips for Next Year:

  1. If possible, carpool or get dropped off at the bus loading zone before the race by a non-running friend. We had a semi-challenging time finding parking nearby.
  2. Get there early. We waited a while to get on a bus to shuttle us from the finish line to the start line and missed the beginning of the wave we should have started with.

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To round out the day, Michel and I went to church nearby, then had a decadent picnic of gluten-free beer and sandwiches at Lake Merritt in Oakland while we listened to the Oakland Municipal Band play calypso music. It was perfect.

If you want to check out the next race organized by Represent Running, check out the Let’s Go 510K, which is on October 9th, 2016 in the East Bay.

PLUS, if you’re interested in signing up for it, use REPRESENT2016ML to get 10% off registration.




Discovering the Mendocino Coast

Sunset over the Mendocino coast

Sometimes you just have to push the pause button on your work life and remember how humbling it is to stare into the vastness of the ocean. Or recognize how extraordinary it is to feel really tiny standing among and being swallowed up by a bunch of gigantic trees.

Fortunately, I was able to enjoy this splendid feeling recently as I celebrated my boyfriend Michel’s birthday with a two-day trip to Mendocino, a tiny, charming coastal town in California about three hours north of San Francisco.

Celebrating Michel's birthday along the Mendocino coast

The drive up to and through Mendocino boasts some of the most beautiful stretch of coastline I’ve seen. If you’re looking to get away from the Bay Area bustle for a day or two for some R&R or quality time with Mother Nature, I couldn’t recommend it more.

There are so many things to do in Mendocino and the nearby area. For the active types, there is hiking, kayaking, and tons of trails to run along, and for the gourmands in the house, there is some truly delicious food available here. Plus, sunsets. Everyone needs to stop moving and just sit on the beach and watch the sunset every now and again.

Here are some of my favorite recommendations for spending a couple days in Mendocino.

Eating breakfast tacos and a burger at Circa '62 restaurant in Mendocino County


We enjoyed breakfast as Circa ’62 at the Inn at Schoolhouse Creek, which is just a few miles south of the town of Mendocino. And when I say “enjoyed,” I mean enjoyed. I had the Mexican tacos, which included pork carnitas, scrambled eggs, caramelized onions and jalapenos, a cherry tomato salsa, and cojita, served with corn tortillas and spicy papas bravas. Michel had the breakfast burger, which is the largest burger I’ve ever seen. And by biggest burger, I mean it was taller than his head. The ingredients were fresh and the flavor was hard to beat.

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Thoroughbred Treadmill Studio – A Treadmill Workout You’ll Love


Treadmills and I have a love-hate relationship. The use of one is obviously awesome for working on intervals and prepping your body for hills, since, you know, you can control your speed and incline manually. In fact, running hills on the treadmill in preparation for the San Francisco Nike Women’s Half Marathon saved my butt (literally) for the notoriously steep Mile 10 haul of the race.

But until this past weekend, my opinion has always been—and I think many people will agree—that treadmill workouts are just kind of boring, and not as enjoyable as getting an outdoor run in.

However, that opinion was rocked last weekend. I took a 45-minute treadmill class at Thoroughbred Treadmill Studio in Mill Valley on Saturday, and no joke, this was seriously one of the most fun and rewarding cardio classes I’ve ever taken.

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Super Simple Green Smoothie Recipe

super simple green smoothie

You know how sometimes you’re running reallyyyy late in the morning, but still want to start your day off with a healthy breakfast?

If you don’t know this feeling, I deeply admire you and wish you could teach me your ways. For the rest of us who tend to hit the snooze button hard and often, I want to share my super simple green smoothie recipe that only takes a mere 4 minutes to make. Yes, 4 minutes!

From gathering your ingredients, to twisting the lid on your mason jar before running out the door, this green smoothie is easy, nutritious, and so quick to make you’ll have no excuses for not having a healthy start to your day.

Four ingredients are all you’ll need: spinach, banana, almond milk, and chia seeds.

Spinach is one of my favorite greens to add to a smoothie, because it’s not very bitter. Plus, the sweetness of the banana mellows the spinach out so that it doesn’t taste like you’re drinking a salad. I promise, this drink is super tasty!

Also, this smoothie is loaded with fiber, which will help keep you full until lunch. #ALLthebenefits



  • 1 cup organic almond milk
  • 1 1/2 cups loosely packed organic baby spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds


Combine all ingredients together in a blender, cover, and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy, or into a mason jar for an on-the-go breakfast.

San Jose 408K Race Review

Posing with our medals after finishing the San Jose 408K Race to the Row

I ran my third race of the year on Sunday morning (what, what!), the San Jose 408K. It’s also my third time running this particular race. It’s so good, I just keep coming back!

El Niño hit hard and it poured rain ALL day and evening the day before the race. It was so bad, Oakland had rolling blackouts and my neighborhood was affected…while all of my running clothes and socks were in the washer, mind you. Fortunately, power came back on within the hour, I was able to finish washing and drying my running gear for the morning, and we woke up to a gorgeous, sunny day.

The 408K is a quick 5km run (4.97 miles) that starts at the SAP Center in downtown San Jose and ends in Santana Row, the perfect setting for enjoying a post-race mimosa or two. It’s an incredibly flat course sprawling the suburbs of San Jose, with only two minor hills along the route.


I ran this race with my sister Mikayla, who has made it her goal to run more this year. We arrived early so that I could take a few photos with the Represent Running ambassador team (which I’m excited to be a part of this year!), get warmed up, and take in the race day energy.

The San Jose 408K starting line in downtown San Jose

We crossed the start line at 8:19 and headed down the Alameda, then down neighborhood streets lined with beautiful blooming trees.

Around Mile 4 we hit Memorial Mile, which always gets me all emotional. Veterans and active military line the street to cheer on the runners, and it’s such an awesome opportunity to thank them for all that they do. It’s also a great tie-in since the 408K benefits the Pat Tillman Foundation.

The San Jose 408K Memorial Mile Sign

Then it’s onto Mariachi Mile, the last stretch of the race. At this point, the sides of the route are dotted with various mariachi bands, all playing music and cheering you on to the finish as you pass by Valley Fair Mall, down Stevens Creek Boulevard and into Santana Row where you can collect your finisher’s hardware.

2016 408K finisher's medal

Reasons Why I Love Running the 408K:

  1. It’s SO well-organized. Shout out to all the volunteers and Represent Running staff!
  2. Veteran’s Mile and Mariachi Mile are great.
  3. The shirts and medals are always unique and well-designed.
  4. It’s fun, easy, and flat, which makes this race inviting for new or non-runners.
  5. I think I really realized how much I love running as I waited to cross the start line at last year’s run. I even wrote a blog post about it.
  6. The 408K is one of three races in the Run the Bay Challenge. If you run all three races (one in San Jose, one in San Francisco, and one in Oakland), you’ll receive a super medal.

After the run, we drove out to Willow Glen to enjoy a post-race Swirl at Aqui’s, followed by brunch at Bill’s Cafe. Truth: frozen margaritas and crispy hash browns are all you need after crossing a finish line.

Swirls from Aqui Cal-Mex and an omelette and hashbrowns from Bill's Cafe in Willow Glen

Overall, it was a great way to spend Sunday; plus, the 408K got me all kinds of excited for my upcoming races in 2016!

The next race that Represent Running is hosting is the Across the Bay 12K and 415K, held on July 10th, 2016 in San Francisco. (If you run the 12K, you’ll get to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, which offers amazing views of the city!)

If you’re interested in signing up for the Across the Bay 12K and 415K, use REPRESENT2016ML to get 10% off registration.

Let me know if you’re going! Hope to see you there or out on the pavement sometime!

Until then, I’ll be working on upping my weekly mileage so that I’m ready to run a half…and dreaming of the next time I can brunch in San Jose.🙂



Valentine’s Day Weekend Recap: Running, Sunshine, and Picnics

With temperatures in Oakland and San Francisco reaching (and happily relaxing into) the high 70s this past three-day weekend, my last few days have been filled with morning runs, long walks, Valentine’s Day indulgences, and picnics every freaking day. If there’s anything I love more than Mexican food, chocolate, and running, it’s a good picnic.

Saturday morning Michel and I woke up early to go to a Valentine’s Day fun run/scavenger hunt hosted by Fleet Feet SF in the Marina, which had us running all over Chestnut Street, up the Lyon Steps, and through the Presidio along with some other great singles and couples.

I met an amazing woman named Monica who, like me, has never been what you’d call a “natural athlete.” But what she lacks in athletic upbringing, she makes up for with an intense drive and sense of self-competition. She’s now running 50ks and has her first ultra coming up this spring! She left such an impression on me, telling me to “NEVER let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, or stop you from doing what you want to do.” This woman is a boss.

Feeling inspired (thanks, Monica!), slightly exhausted (the Lyon Steps are no joke), and increasingly hungry, Michel and I grabbed coffee and took a stroll down Union Street before hitting up Whole Foods for picnic staples and going to Dolores Park for our first picnic of the weekend.

Cheese + crackers + people and dog watching = the recipe for everlasting happiness.

Sunday included an early leg workout at my gym, church at Canvas in San Francisco (so good!), then a solo interval run and coffee shop time. After this, Michel surprised me by taking me to Lake Merritt in Oakland and pulling out flowers, as well as a bottle of wine and chocolate for a sunset picnic in my favorite place in the world. Perfection.

On Monday, we woke up really early, walked around the lake, got coffee, and made a plan to go to Grand Lake Kitchen, a well-reviewed brunch and lunch spot in Oakland that ALWAYS has a crazy-long wait. In fact, we arrived 20 minutes before they opened, and there was already a line! However, if you have tastebuds, don’t let this line deter you from this amazing place. I had the chilaquiles (!!!) and Michel had the pork belly hash, and both were AMAZING.

After that, I hit the park again with a good book and some sparkling water to soak up even more sunshine. (My white legs were thankful.)

I start my new job next Monday, so I’m kinda still on a mini-vaca and will be continuing to try to soak up as much sun as possible  over the next couple of days.

This morning’s agenda includes a long run through Golden Gate Park.

How did you spend your Valentine’s/President’s Day weekend? Whatever you did, I hope you treated yourself to something special and enjoyed being wherever you are.

With love,



What I Learned from Whole 30

Michel and Melissa from Cook Slow, Run Fast excited about just finishing a Whole30

Guess who you’re looking at? Two people who have recently finished the Whole30!!  (We’re also mid-run, so there’s that too…)

I completed one last year by myself, and Michel decided to join me for my second time around because: 1. He saw how awesome I felt after finishing Whole 30 last July and 2. He felt ashamed about the ridiculous amount of cookies, cheese, and wine we consumed in December.

Parts of the last 30 days were incredible; I was full of energy, I was stoked on eating delicious breakfasts (eggs again, wahoo!), and I felt stronger at the gym. On other days, I dreamed of pouring Nutella over every single sugary food known to man and couldn’t stand the sight of another egg.

Since reflecting on these ups and downs, I’m here today to share a few things I learned while on the Whole 30.

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