Official Charities

Aside from being a great way to motivate, exercise, and have fun, the Southland Credit Union’s Race on the Base provides an excellent way to give back through our official charities. Participants, spectators, volunteers, or anyone for that matter, can donate through our Crowdrise online fundraising site. ( Read below to find out more about the great causes that our charities support.

The Cancer Support Foundation of Los Alamitos has been a long-standing official charity of our event.  This group was developed out of the Los Alamitos Medical Center in 1981 as a way to better serve the needs of local cancer patients. To date, the Cancer Support Foundation has served over 9,000 cancer patients and their families. Provided services include practical assistance (financial assistance to the patient), resource information, hospital visitors, and support groups. The Cancer Support Foundation is entirely self-supporting, raising money through fund raisers, grants and community donations. All donated funds stay right here in our community and all of the services provided are free of charge. Many people have found it very rewarding to give back in honor of a loved one or simply to support this great effort to help patients in need.

New to our race this year, Honoring Our Fallen is an official charity with the mission of assisting Family members of Fallen Heroes during the initial shock of notification. They work with appropriate government agencies and community members to provide comprehensive support. This assistance includes linking families with the resources they need to cope with life after loss. Honoring Our Fallen envisions being able to provide national, comprehensive support to the Families of all Fallen Heroes within 24 hours of notification by local, state or federal officials. They want to see these families be honored in a way that allows them to focus on grieving with little other stressors like media involvement and public interest. Honoring Our Fallen supports military Families where support is needed, and how it’s requested. They also strive to link organizations who provide other support services – counseling, financial support, housing assistance, etc. – with Families who need it. Every situation is different and every Family is different — but they are all Heroes — and deserve proper respect during the most difficult time of their lives.

The JFTB MWR (or Joint Forces Training Base Morale, Welfare & Recreation) operates out of the base that we hold our event at. An MWR exists at installations around the world with the purpose of providing support and leisure services to military personnel, families, veterans, and civilian employees for free or at discounted rates. Each branch of the military offers a variety of services depending on resources and geographical location. Such services can include fitness centers, pools, restaurants, golf courses, and special events. The concept behind this group is to provide “the same quality of life afforded the society they protect.”

Frank McIlquham’s The Rock Club – ‘Rock for Vets’ Music Therapy Program began in early 2010. Benefit concerts have proven to be an excellent vehicle to raise community awareness and funds for therapy programs. The “Rock for Vets” Music Therapy program offers hope to veterans returning from recent deployment, Vietnam veterans and beyond who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other conditions. The Therapy Program provides Veteran’s a chance to learn a musical instrument and learn to play or sing as part of a musical group.  Groups practice twice a week and as they further develop their musical skills, perform in public at a variety of locations both within the hospital and at community organizations and functions. This group provides both therapy and purpose. With the large number of Veteran’s returning from war, effective therapy programs are still in the trial stages.  The Rock Club – ‘Rock for Vets’ Music Therapy Program has had such a dramatic impact in a short period of time. The organizing committee would like to invite you to be part of the significant growth in Long Beach, California and Nationally. Your support can help ease Veterans’ transition back to civilian life after serving their country. 

Finally, LAEF (Los Alamitos Education Foundation) provides enrichment classes and extraordinary educational experiences that benefit EVERY STUDENT, at every level, in every school in the Los Alamitos Unified School District. After-School Enrichment Programs and the Summer Enrichment Institute keeps students learning throughout the year. LAEF’s support helps ensure that over 99% of Los Alamitos Unified students graduate from high school. Their programs also contribute to almost 70% of students meet all CSU/UC entrance requirements, with the percentage continuing to climb each year.

If one of these great charities doesn’t suit you, that’s ok… you are always free to (and encouraged to!) support the charity of your choice. Make a team in honor of the charity of your choice and start raising funds and awareness TODAY!

Hungry Holidays

First and foremost, if you are reading this, let me congratulate you on surviving the end of the world! We did it!

Oh, the Holidays. They are a joyous time of year. It is filled with laughter, presents, beautifully corny songs and wonderful family traditions. And then, there is always that one kind of awkwardly distant relative that you can’t help but watch to wait and see what weird thing they will do or say this year. Everyone is busy during the holidays, whether it is braving the masses at the mall to shop, taking in the seasonal sights and sounds or attending one too many ugly sweater parties. Aside from the magic of the season that brings people together (or maybe even a part of it), there is a very distinct trend that slips its way into the holidays each year.

The sights and sounds of the holidays bring back so many warm memories, but nothing, at least for me, stands so vividly in your memory than the familiar smell and taste of holiday foods. It’s the hot cocoa wafting toward your nose, the white chocolate peppermint bark dancing along your tongue, the cakes, the pies, the cookies, and the chocolate, oh the chocolate… Any semblance of a diet or normal, healthy eating habits goes right out that frosted window. Baked goods and treats are one of the easiest gifts to give and so there they are by the stocking full, sneaking into your already too-full tummy. But it’s ok… that’s what the holidays are for. They are a time to be thankful for what you have: friends and family… and delicious treats.

There are far too many holiday parties and gatherings to go to… who has the time to work out? It’s ok, there is no judging here. So you go right ahead. Take the time to fully enjoy your family time and your treats. Just remember that the “oh I’ll get to it soon” (“it” being “working out”) time is right around the corner. You can’t push it off too much longer. The 1st of the year is always the busiest day at the gym… I should know, I’m always there. As one of the first racing events of the season, our race falls at a perfect time for you to use it as a goal to shed that holiday weight and get yourself back into shape. So set your goal and start working towards it. Hit the gym or hit the pavement, whatever works for you, and I’ll see you there in 2013! HAPPY HOLIDAYS everyone!

Face of the Race 4.0: Bored on the Run

A friend of mine posted on Facebook a few days ago, asking if I would be interested in running a 10K with her in August 2013.  I haven’t even run my first 5K yet and this half-marathoner is asking me to run the 10K.  I “LOL”-ed. 

It’s not the physical challenge I am afraid of. I just don’t have the attention span to run that long. I mean a 5K (a little over 3 miles) is already a mental struggle for me. There’s no way I could sustain running for more than an hour!

The distance hasn’t been that much of an issue now. I no longer feel like a 5K is a long way.  You have now read about my physical struggle with getting off the couch to run (Link to last week’s post:  Just the other day, I ran from Farquhar down Los Alamitos Boulevard to the Shoppes at Rossmoor in one shot before taking a walking break. That’s one whole mile without stopping!

However, now that I’m getting more comfortable physically, I find myself struggling to keep my focus on the run.

Most people say that their minds clear while they run. While I do have bursts of clarity, most of the time I find myself thinking, “Oh my gosh! How long have I been running? I’m not even there yet? Jeebus…I’m so bored right now.”

There are all kinds of resources on the internet to help a newly minted runner with his/her mental development such as focusing on your breathing, talking to yourself, visualizing yourself crossing the finish line, and using dissociation like listening to music, daydreaming, or chatting with a friend.

I’m pretty much employing all of them in a different order on my meager 5K run just to keep me from throwing in the towel after the first mile.

1. Heel-Toe Rock Concert

I like to sing. So instead of having my playlist set to just upbeat, workout music, I put in several sing-along anthems.  I usually sing the song in my head or mouth the words while I run. But there are some occasions that I sing it out loud.  Residents of Rossmoor might have heard a broken and pitchy renditions of Grease’s “Summer Nights”, Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”, or even Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe” passing by some mornings. It’s not an injured cat whizzing by your window.  That would be me: run-singing.

Also, while it might look like I’m having a seizure when I run, I’m probably hand-dancing or air-drumming to Sergio Mendes or The Who’s “Baba O’Riley”.  I’m okay. Really.

2. Visualizing Running Scenes

There are songs that get you to rock out and then there are songs that give me motivating visualization. Some do it through the lyrics. Like Bon Jovi’s “Living On A Prayer” – “Oh, we’re half way there. Whoa-oh, living on a prayer!”  Or Foster the People’s “Houdini” – “Focus on your ability, then they can’t get what they want to steal.”

And others just trigger imagery that motivates. Like a mental image of Captain Jack Sparrow in his adventures when I hear the Pirates of the Caribbean’s “He’s a Pirate”. (Yes. I really do have a classical piece in my playlist.)  Or the piece de resistance, Fifty Cent working out and running on a treadmill in “In Da Club” video. ( ) The song also says, “Go, shorty! It’s your birthday!” And since I’m 5-foot-nothing, that’s my own personal cheerleading from Fifty Cent right there, yo.

3. Self Pep Talk

I watched the movie “Touching the Void” several years ago.  It’s based on a true story where the main character falls off a cliff while ice climbing and breaks his right leg. Not only did he survive the fall, but he also crawled and hopped his way out for three days to the base camp 5 miles away with all of his injuries, little water, and no food.  In the “making of” documentary, Joe Simpson, the person on which the character was based said that to get himself off the mountain, he would aim for a spot a few feet away to crawl to. Once he got there, he would aim for the next few feet and repeat the process.  Just a few feet more. Just a few feet more…

Once the music has lost my attention, my muscles start to ache, and/or my breath becomes ragged, I thought of Joe Simpson, and I would pick a spot a few yards away to focus on.  Just get to that tree. Just get to that house. Just get to the corner. Just a few yards more…

4. Story Time

I did a writing exercise in college where we had to go people watch and come up with a few sentences of story about those strangers.  So, when boredom creeps in, I’d try to think up some stories about what I see on the run to keep my brain occupied. 

If Batman was to live in that big house, where would his Bat Cave entrance be?  Can that runner’s dogs run with him on a marathon?  Are those mushrooms around that tree edible?  What if the “soccer mom” in that Escalade who almost ran me over at the stop sign was really a CIA agent hunting terrorists?  

I’m just hoping that all of these crazy stories will keep me on the road.  With the weather turning a little bit colder and rainier these days, I came close to paying up at the gym to use their treadmill just to keep my training schedule. But the thought of the massive boredom that comes with running on a treadmill is worse than facing Mother Nature.

And now that the holidays are upon us, running through the neighborhood and imagining what the holiday decorations would look like at night is definitely a great distraction.

Time to load up some rocking holiday music and hit the road!  Happy Holidays, everybody!

Face of the Race, Oakley.

Face of the Race 3.0: Getting Over the Pain

This entry was written by our Face of the Race contest winner, Oakley. Join us as she continues her journey!

I’m a wuss. Ask anyone. 

Unless it’s the good-hurt that comes with a deep tissue massage and a deep yoga stretch, I don’t like pain. I do not subscribe to the “Pain is weakness leaving the body” philosophy. Pain is, well, pain. It hurts. And I don’t like it.

Almost all of my failed attempts at running in the past were because of my pain aversion. I quit because I didn’t like the way my lungs burn after I sprinted down the block.  I quit because of the muscle soreness I would experience the following day.  I quit because I went out once on a cool day without a hat once and the pain in the tips of my ears drove me to tears at the end of the block.

But then over a casual conversation, somebody mentioned that if running really is that painful, nobody would be doing it. And therefore whatever training program or tips I was using (which was none) must be wrong.

“You’re doing it wrong” is not just a meme. It’s a fact. All of my attempts at running, I had been doing everything all wrong!  I never consulted anybody or read anything about running. I just got up and started!  I mean, it’s running. Not brain surgery. There shouldn’t be any methods to this, right? You just…run? 

But then I didn’t know how to break my sprinter habit and slow down so I don’t end up being out of breath. I didn’t know how to gently acclimate my body to the new high impact fitness routine, or how to properly dress for a cool weather workout.  All of this preparation would have kept the training pain at the minimum.

So when I decided to give running another try this past September, I did research first.  I found one of those couch to 5K training schedules which starts very slowly with alternating jogging a minute with walking for a minute and half for 20 minutes a day, a few days a week.  My body did protest then too, but it was something I expected. It also wasn’t a lot to quit over.  As I continued with the program, I was adjusting well and enjoying every little victory.

I came close to quitting once again by the time I got to the 3-minute run interval.  I started to have issues with my knee.  I knew for sure it was the shoes but also found through my research that some newbies have knee issues because our quad muscles are still weak. We should add some strengthening workout until  our knees stabilize.  A new pair of shoes, several ice packs to the knee,  and a few weeks of running only once a week later, the knee pain was gone.  And I was once again back on track.

Instead of making pain the excuse to quit, I was working to get rid of the pain so I can continue running.

Wait. The wuss is actually trying to move forward? Who am I, really?!

As of earlier this week, the treadmill informed me that I ran 20 minutes straight at about an 18 minute-mile pace, then walked for about 5 minutes, and ran again for 10 minutes at 17 minute-mile pace.  I’m proud to say that running for 20 minutes straight was the longest stretch of running I have gotten so far. 

Pain is still not my friend, but I’ve learned to work with it. Maybe it really is weakness leaving my body after all.

Race for FREE- Sign up for Southland Credit Union

If you’re like me… you like anything and everything that much more if it is free. Free food literally tastes better. Free movies seem more enjoyable. Free advice is better than therapy. Now, maybe I’m biased, but what would make you like an already great event (like Race on the Base for example) that much more? What if you could participate for FREE?

(Insert drum roll here) Well… you can! What is the catch? All you have to do is create an account with our title sponsor, Southland Credit Union. Sound like a trap? It’s not! It’s true… you have to submit a $25 deposit to open an account. But you can withdraw it. You can keep it. You can invest it. You can make it rain. You can do whatever you want because it is still YOUR money!

If you’re not sold already, I’m going to pitch this idea a little more to you (even though it really shouldn’t require much convincing). Southland Credit Union is an Orange County based credit union with a long standing history in the area. They regularly give back to their local communities through donations, sponsorships, and more. Another great thing about credit unions in general is that they tend to co-op. This means that you don’t necessarily have to do all your banking specifically at a Southland Credit Union branch… you can go to one of their many partners for banking or ATM usage which includes Schools First FCU, 7-Eleven, Arrowhead CU, Altura CU, Visterra CU, and many more! This eases your banking experience and makes everything that much more accessible.

This is a fantastic opportunity… what are you waiting for? Stop reading… go register!

To register, visit and click on the Race on the Base link in the scrolling picture menu along the bottom of the page. You can also stop in at their Los Alamitos branch at 10701 Los Alamitos Blvd to fill out and submit a form in person.