Face of the Race 2.0

The time has finally come to announce the entry who will be featured as the Face of the Race and receive a FREE entry to the race of their choice. Congratulations to… OAKLEY!

As winner of our Face of the Race contest, Oakley will be featured on the blog as we check in on her progress leading up to the race, the day of the race, and after the event is over. Join us here and at the Race on the Base as we follow Oakley on her journey! Below, we have included a copy of the winning entry:

I recently posted a blog about my bucket list. (http://www.oakmonster.com/2012/10/02/looking-for-passion-in-a-bucket-list/)  If you take a look at it, you’ll see that running a 5K isn’t on that list. 

I’m running the 5K at Race on the Base to prove to myself that I am not a complete and utter failure than I think I am (most of the days).

Distance running has never been a passion.  Growing up in Bangkok, Thailand, I was never much of an athlete to begin with.  20 years in the U.S. later, I’m still not much of one.  In the past few years, though, I would attempt to get into running every now and then.  First, there was the treadmill at the gym, but I got bored very quickly. Then I tried running through the neighborhood, but then it was too hot/cold/early/late or I was too sore/tired/stressed. 

For the past 10 years, I would get all pumped up to run and then quickly abandoned it.  Back then, I didn’t have the two things that drive me now:  time and self doubt.

I’ve been out of permanent work for the past 18 months.  Temporary freelance gigs have been keeping me afloat from August 2011 through May but now I am once again unemployed.  There is only so much job search one can do before she starts seeing herself as the most unqualified candidate in all of Orange County and therefore the most horrible person in the world and worst wife in the universe.

Getting on the 9-week Couch to 5K plan was just my plan to get distracted from all the negativity surrounding my situation.  My goal was to be able to run from my apartment on Los Alamitos and Farquhar to the Base’s entrance on Lexington and back—about 2.5 miles—without dying.  That’s it, and that’s all.  I wasn’t going to run any race. 

But then I thought, Race on the Base is right around the corner. Another half mile(ish) and I have 5K.  Why not just do it?  After all, I am really starting to enjoy running.

With all the time that I have now, and the self doubt that I try to keep at bay, signing up to run the 5K at the Base becomes an achievable goal I can work toward and a perfect excuse to get out of this perpetual pity party courtesy of my unemployment.

After the first few weeks of training, lapping around the Little Cottonwood Park, I realized that running—well, jogging right now—is more than just a perfect distraction.  Running gives me a sense of accomplishment and measurable success.  Last month, I could barely run down my own block.  Today, I jogged straight down Los Alamitos Boulevard from Farquhar to Rossmoor Way in one shot. 

Instead of moping around the house, with running, I am doing something.  I am going places…literally.  I feel strong even when I panted so hard I almost passed out in front of Katella Deli.  I have control of my life back again with how far I want to go or how hard I want to run, or if I want to get lost in Rossmoor or make Nevin’s Donuts my last stop before walking home.

I’m not just running away from my presence any more. I’m running toward a promising future.

— Oakley B.


Though it seems long ago, we recently wrapped up the Halloween season (which apparently means it is instantly Christmas time according to Target) that is infamously filled with urban legends and spooky superstitions. The way my brain works… I started by thinking of superstitions…and then because I’m a mild workaholic, work snuck into my innocent work-free thought process… work lead me to Race on the Base… and that lead me to remembering how I’m responsible for this blog and superstitions could be an interesting topic to discuss. And now here we are.

I used to play sports in high school (yes, by referencing this at all I am still clinging to my glory days). I am a mildly superstitious person by nature, but this is especially true when it comes to sports and my game day routine. I remember that I had certain things I had to do to warm up, specific foods I would eat, and most importantly… my game day outfits and accessories. At some point, I was apparently struck by the idea that a head band, long socks, and two wrist bands (both on the right arm, naturally) would transform me into an instant lady version of Michael Jordan on the court. I soon realized I looked completely foolish (and still shake my head as I look at pictures), but it was too late. I played great one day early on while I happened to be wearing that combination… and I never looked back. I wore that same combination every single game day from then on (don’t worry… I normally washed them first). My routine had been set, my superstitions ingrained. I couldn’t just drop this tradition since I had been playing well. It wasn’t up to ME after all, was it? Consequences from breaking superstitions are clearly out of my control. If I lost, it wasn’t because I played horribly… it was because I somehow messed up my game day routine.

Well that’s enough about me… let’s turn the tables to you. What, if any, race day routines or superstitions do you have? If you have an off day can you immediately pin point what went wrong in your routine? Tell us all about your quirks that keep you going. We won’t judge here (after all I told you about my ridiculous outfit, so I’m not sure I have room to say much)… so feel free to share your race day secrets.

Veteran’s Day

Intro: This entry is shared by one of our Race Team members. This team member has special personal ties to the military and wanted to share an individual perspective in honor of Veteran’s Day.


With our military ties and theme, we are obviously regularly mistaken for military personnel ourselves. Sometimes I feel almost guilty that people make this mistake and thank us for our service. At the same time, I am proud that we are able to be tied to them in any way, even if only by affiliation of our event theme and hosted location. I am proud, not to earn undue respect and gratitude, but to be given the opportunity to help support a military installation through positive media and donations.

Yesterday was Veteran’s Day. With that in mind, I hope you don’t mind me getting a little more personal than usual. I am going to speak from a personal perspective, so please know that I am in no way trying to speak on behalf of military people everywhere and I have no goal or agenda in sharing this other than discussing an element of the human experience and my pride in my ties to it.

My father is a veteran, as is my older brother—the Air Force and the Marines, respectively. Childhood in a military family is a unique experience. Stability can be inconsistent with one or more of the family figureheads gone for extended periods of time with minimal contact. It is a simultaneous source of pride and pain.

I think family dinners, holidays, birthdays… are all things that people can take for granted. For most of my birthdays my dad was on a ship or stationed somewhere far away out of contact. It was before the drastic technology boom made contact with families and loved ones at least somewhat more accessible. I think when you’re younger it can be harder to appreciate the sacrifice that is being made by family members. Sometimes I was consumed by the only evident fact= they weren’t there. Something that made acceptance harder was that when my family members returned home… they weren’t the same person they were when they left. This wasn’t necessarily good or bad… it was just different. In my experience, there is something about the military life that seems to change people. It seems like the things that they have seen and the things that they have done are ingrained in them forever. So much of my experience with my ties to the military has not been easy. It has had a dramatic impact on my life and on my family dynamics as a whole. But throughout it all, I know that I am fortunate in that my family has always returned to me, even if they aren’t who they used to be.

When growing up in a military family, my expectations were altered. They had to be. I didn’t expect people to be there for every occasion, but I tried to appreciate when they were. I was guilty of taking this for granted too at times, but ultimately I had to be strong for the sake of those around me. I always felt like staying strong at home was the least I could do when my dad and brother were busy risking their lives for our country and our freedom. Their sacrifices made it possible for me to have food, to go to school, to feel safe. Though it was hard at the time, I am forever grateful for that.

I am not sharing my personal family history for appreciation, pity or any undue sympathy. But military life is an undeniable part of my worldly experience, and I know that is true for numerous people out there. It helps define people and impacts people’s lives in ways they may not even realize. I divulge because I am someone who tends to find comfort in shared experiences with others. Today, yesterday, or any other day, whether or not you have ties to the military, I hope we can all take the time to acknowledge the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. This year, my dad retired as a disabled veteran: Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. Though words will never really feel like a worthy trade, I want to say THANK YOU to my dad, to my brother, and to all the men and women who sacrifice family time, birthdays, holidays and more irreplaceable time and memories in order to protect our country.

Here are a few recommendations on how you can support and/or learn more about veterans and the sacrifices they make:

There are Veteran’s organizations that exist to both support those who have served as well as to educate the surrounding community at large. They can also provide the opportunity to get involved and actively support their mission. Two well known nationwide organizations that have local branches are the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion. If you’re not sure how to express your gratitude… you can contribute to an organization such as these, personally thank a veteran for their service, or simply send positive regards their way. The sacrifices they make are ones we’ll never truly understand without personal experience. With the freedom we are provided by our brave military, we can honor them and we can thank them.

The base which we operate out of is the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos. Since I know I won’t be able to do it justice, I encourage you to visit this link: http://www.militarymuseum.org/LosAl.html for more information about the origins and history of JFTB. I also recommend visiting http://www1.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp for some background information on how the celebration of Veteran’s Day came about. “In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day (*became Veteran’s Day in 1938) will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”   

And just in case you’re sappy like me, here’s a link to a video about a marine surprising his brother: http://youtu.be/YiFh9DJJpPM

Check out www.welcomehomeblog.com if you enjoy seeing those little surprise homecoming visits as much as I do!

Racing Clinics

Our first race clinic is just around the corner. Held at Oak Middle School on Saturday, November 10th from 9:00 to 11:00am, this clinic will be the perfect introduction to our race experience. Throughout the series of free clinics, athletes will be given the opportunity to talk to experts that will provide information on anything from nutrition and injury prevention to training tips and techniques. The clinics will also provide insider information on our race course so that each athlete can have a working knowledge of what to expect on race day in order to better physically and mentally prepare. Again, these clinics are FREE. They are perfect for someone who is new to the race scene or a seasoned athlete looking for a refresher or tips for our specific course. RSVP by emailing mricks@cityoflosalamitos.org… We hope to see you there!

Are these clinics helpful? If you are passing on the free clinics, what would make you consider attending them? What are YOU looking for?

Be sure to add these to your calendar! Future clinics:
January 12, 2013           9:00-11:00am                Oak Middle School
January 26, 2013           9:00-11:00am                Oak Middle School
February 9, 2013            9:00-11:00am                Oak Middle School
February 16, 2013          2:00-4:00pm                  Community Center