Monday, March 28, 2011

My race calendar for 2011 is here!!!

Now that LA Marathon is finished, its time for me to pick a few races for the year. I ran allot of half marathons last year, so I'd like to focus on a few 5k & 10k races. Surprisely I enjoyed the 26.2 distance so I'm definitely going to run another full this year as well.
I want to focus on getting faster and make running more enjoyable then what it already is for me. I also decided that I'm going to get back in the pool. I found a really great adult swim class at our city pool last summer that helped with technique and breathing, so I'm definitely going to sign up again. It's a great incentive when I go running during the summer to be able jump in the pool after. Once I get my breathing down perhaps a sprint tri will be in my future, if not this year maybe next year. Penny has also convinced me to try a trail run again. I'm very excited about it, I love hiking so this may be a new fun thing for me. We're already planned to hit up the trails of Malibu on April 10!

So here it is my 2011 race calendar...there may be changes but as of right now this is it!

Seal Beach 5k - April 2
Palos Verde Half Marathon - May 14
Fresno Classic Half Marathon - May 22
Long Beach Full Marathon - October 9
Long Beach Turkey Trot 10k - November 24
Las Vegas Rock N Roll Half Marathon - Dec 4
Santa to the Sea - Dec 11

I took the week off of running since LA. Spent some time with Robert and enjoyed a fun weekend of Disneyland and the movies. I had a little muscle pain pop up behind my knee that went into my calve, so I've been foam rolling and trying to get it back into shape. Its feeling allot better then it did a week ago, so I think tomorrow I may try something small around the neighborhood. This weekend will be my first little race since LA. My friend Krissy has been working really hard on training for a 5k so I'll be running with her in Seal Beach. I know she's going to do great.

If you have any 5k's you'd like to recommend to me in the OC or LA area please let me know!

Next post will be for the products to keep your skin and hair looking fresh during hot summer training!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

LA Marathon - Race Report

Rain-storm, noun. – a storm accompanied by rain.

Storm, noun. – An atmospheric disturbance of strong winds accompanied by rain, snow or other precipitation and often by thunder and lighting

I felt as though I need to share with you the meaning of a rainstorm because that’s pretty much what I had to run through for my first marathon experience. Everyone kept saying “Your going to remember your first marathon forever, take everything in and enjoy yourself” Well I did take everything in and so did my shoes, pants, shirt, hat and even Mr G my Garmin (R.I. P. Mr G). It was indeed an experience I will remember forever, and if someone asked me if I would do it again the answer would be ABSOLUTELY...just hopefully in better weather!

My weekend of becoming a marathoner started on Saturday. My dad was also running so he and Robert went down to Dodger stadium with me to pick up our bibs and shirts in the afternoon. We met up with my friend Brent who was running and was just as nervous as I was. The last time he ran a full marathon was Long Beach in 1990. He was really looking forward to redeeming himself in this race since his first wasn’t really what he expected. He had been training for the Susan Komens 3 Day Walk for Breast Cancer, so once that was finished he wanted to keep the training going so he decided mid November to run LA. We constantly went back and forth via email with strategy plans and how we were doing with our training, so I was excited that he was there running with me.

The start at Dodger Stadium

I was looking at all the LA marathon merchandise and decided that since it was my first full I wanted something, a hat or even sweatshirt. But this time my dad wanted to get me something so he bought me this fancy bright orange LA Marathon jacket. I love it and love it even more that he bought it for me.

The bright orange LA Marathon jacket my dad got me. I wanted that chair so bad!

That night I had a light dinner with Robert then headed over to stay at my parents house. I was in bed by 10 and alarm went off at 2:30am. I slept fairly well which was surprising because I was super nervous. Dad and I were out the door by 3:45 did our normal 7-11 stop so he could get coffee, still don't know how he does this coffee thing before a run. We made it to Santa Monica by 4:45, and did a little run warm up to the shuttle area. The shuttle ride is what really got my nerves, and my thoughts were going all over the place. Everyone look liked zombies on that ride to Dodger Stadium and when I saw the shuttle driver turn on the wipers I knew we were in for a wet day. I had been on denial of the weather since it kept going back and forth 50%, 11%, 30%, then back to 11% change of rain. I came prepared with a rain type running jacket and running tights which was a last minute wardrobe change from shorts and a tank top. I can handle the rain I just can’t handle it hitting my face, totally freaks me out.

Dad and I got off the shuttle and OH MY GOODNESS it was cold. We went straight to the stadium to use the restroom and get out of the wind. Dad told me to meet him back at section 44 after I was done. So that’s exactly what I did, but to my surprise my dad wasn’t there so I sort of got into a panic mode “where is he”, “what if I don’t find him before the race starts”, “what if he said section 34 and I’m here at 44 but now he’s looking for me and we don’t find each other “, “I can’t run this race alone without dad”, I was seriously starting to feel like a 5 year old who got lost at the mall. My dad doesn’t carry his cell phone with him and he’s known to sort of wonder away, so I didn’t know what to do. I decided to just take a gamble and ask someone nicely to yell for my dads name in the bathroom for me, but before I could even do that I found him still waiting in line. How is the mens restroom line LONGER then the women’s?? Finally my heart stopped pounding and I repeated to my dad like 6 times "I’ll be at section 44, go to section 44, section 44 ok”! As I waited for him I found Bob, Melissa and Candice sitting in the stadium trying to stay warm, oh familiar faces thank goodness!!! I said a quick hello gave a few hugs, they assured me I was going to do great and then I was off to...well you guessed it...Section 44 to get my dad who was not allowed to leave my sight again for the rest of the day!

Our very fashionable throw away outfits!

I got a text from Lauren and Jordan letting me know they were heading over to the corral. So we went over found everyone. The only person missing was Brent. He was texting letting me know that he was stuck in traffic on the 5 and didn’t think he was going to start the race with us. I let him know we were by the 5 hour pacer if he made it in time thats where to find us. Luckily he made it and we were all together to start this journey through LA. I was beyond happy to have the girls there with me, Brent and my dad all starting the race together. It calmed my nerves so much and I was feeling really good and so excited.

Smiling early in the run!

Finally we reached the start line and we were off. Miles 1-3 were perfect, we kept a comfortable 11 min mile pace and we were all staying together. Not sure what water station it was, but some how my dad and I lost everyone. I even lost my dad for a second, but after what happen at the stadium I made sure to let him know “please don’t get lost” So the rest of the race was just me and dad with hopes of finding everyone one else at some point. We coasted miles 5-8 with a perfect pace and I was doing exactly what Penny told me too, “enjoy the moment look around, give kids high fives when you see them, have fun” The rain was hitting, but not to much yet until we hit the Hollywood area at mile 9 then it dumped on us for the rest of the run. We were hitting puddles that were ankle deep. I mean it went from a slight tolerable rain to “are you kidding me” within seconds. I had no choice but to embrace it and take everything in. I was already wet there was no use crying over it. I looked up and all around while running down Sunset, I wanted to remember everything. I did have to stop for a potty break so I let dad know and when I came out I found my dad drinking a Starbucks coffee!! He went into Starbucks to get a little warm and the lady gave him a free coffee. Leave it to my dad to run about a 1/2 mile with coffee in hand.

We finally hit mile 15 and I check Mr G to see what my time was and I realized I had hit stop when I was wiping the rain off the lens. I was able to figure out that it was about a mile off so every time I looked I had to remind myself to add a mile. Most of the inflatable mile markers were down because of the storm so all I had was Mr G to guide me.

There's the rain, yup it was like that the whole time!

Dad kept checking up on me asking if I was ok, I just smiled every time and said yup! He told me how proud he was over and over throughout the coarse, and said "We're doing great time for your first marathon" I couldn't help my smile every time he cheered me on.

Mile 17 was my dream mile...RODEO DRIVE!! The stores, oh all the designer stores!! Dresses, shoes and purses OH MY!! I couldn't help but to try to window shop as I ran by. It was pouring rain more then anything but I didn't notice because of all the sparkly things in the windows. I had a joke with Lauren telling her it would be funny if I was seen running the rest of the race with a Louis Vuitton bag over my shoulder. Her response "I wouldn't be surprised" HAHA!

At mile 18 I found my cousin Mary working the water station. She was unable to run this year so she decided to volunteer. You have no idea how it felt to see my cousin there at 18 screaming and crying for us. She was so happy and hugged me so tight telling me how proud she was and how she was waiting until we got to her before she left. She even made me cry a little, she just kept saying "I'm so proud of you guys, so proud" After seeing her my adrenaline went through the roof. I was ready to finish the race and get out of this rain!

My legs began to get heavy around mile 20 and continued to stay that way the entire time, so we started a run walk with a group that was pacing for a 5:30 finish. When we hit 22 the rain became more of intense and I swear as I looked down I saw hail. I was over it by then and looked at my dad telling him "I don't want to do this anymore, my feet are wet, I'm cold this sucks" He just smirked a little and reminded me we only had 4 miles to go. "We can do this come on, just a few more miles and we’re done. Up there right around the corner mom and Robert are waiting for us”

Around mile 19-20

So I pumped my little legs and ran as much as I could, the wind was now forcing the rain to come in at a angle so all I could do was keep my head down so my hat could cover my face...rain on my face ARGHH!! I swear miles 22-26 feel like they take hours to finish. When was this street going to end??? I just wanted to see the beach and mile marker 25. Finally we go to the corner my dad was telling me about, and I look ahead of me to see if I could see the orange finish line. The rain and wind were so bad that stuff was flying all over the place. Then in the distance I saw the finish, mile 26.2 and I got the biggest lump in my throat ever. I can’t believe I’m doing this, I’m finishing my first marathon!! I thought of my grandpa and my friend Esrin who were with me the whole time watching over me. I thought about all the times I was a spectator waiting for my dad to finish and how much I envied the runners and now I was one of those runners. My dad ran a little past me to hit the finish a few seconds before me. I couldn’t wait to get to that finish, so I ran a little faster and I heard some people cheer for me but all I could focus on was my dad. He crossed turn around and threw his arms in the air screaming “YOU DID IT, YOU DID IT!!” He hugged me so hard and thats when I finally burst into tears. I did do it!!! I finished through the worst rain conditions I have ever seen in Southern California, and I'm a freakin marathoner!!! Finish time 5:40!

We did it!!!! 26.2

We got our medals then hiked down the line of spectators waiting for family members. I spotted Robert right away then next to him was my mom. I jumped into his arms, and he was telling me “See I told you, you can do it” My mom hugged me and cried, she was so excited that we finished the race together, she also mentioned how worried she was that we were out on the coarse with the weather that had hit a about 20 minutes before we got there. She described it as being a monsoon HAHA!

So thats my very first marathon race report. This was one of the best experiences of my life, and I wouldn't have wanted this to have gone any other way. Yes the weather was horrific, but it made it more challenging and showed me I can do things if I really push myself mentally ad physically. There were plenty of times on the last few miles I want to give up, but I couldn't let myself down, and I couldn't let my dad down. I've been asked already will you do this again...SURE WILL!!

This is a video shot by my friend Glenn Jones. He came to spectate the race and help out a few friends. Thank you Glenn for letting me share this on my first marathon post! This pretty much shows how the weather was for us and how amazing all the volunteers were for being out there in the cold conditions. I wish I could send each of you a thank you card!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bring on the 26.2!!

So this is it, all my hard work for marathon training is almost over. I did my final 2 mile run last night to the store and back just to see if my legs were ok. As I was running lots of things were going through my head. This was my last baby run before the big day, my nerves have been on over drive all week. I can’t stop day dreaming about it on the drive to and from work, while at work and just sitting at home. I just don’t know what to expect and that’s what is getting at me. It’s sort of how I feel about Thai food, I want to try it but I’m scared it’s going to be to spicy then I’ll be leaving the restaurant upset and hungry. I guess I shouldn't really compare the two but its the best way to describe it.

My training took a turn for the worst for about 2 weeks mid February. My grand-father became very ill, and he past away the weekend I was suppose to run my 18. With everything going on I had no desire to put my running shoes on much less even look at them. I was 2 weeks behind on training and I questioned running the marathon at all.
I had tried to run the Chinatown Firecracker 10k the weekend my grand-fathers health took a turn for the worst and it was one of the worst running experiences of my life. It was so bad I didn’t even write about it because I don’t want to go back and read it. My mind played so many emotional games with me that day and focusing on running was not one of them. I was scared that this was going to happen to me for LA, so I really contemplated not doing it at all. I spoke with Chris about everything and he assured me that I could do this. I decided that if he was able to do what he did after loosing loved ones, so could I. He also told me how he uses running as a way to be with his loved ones, how he chooses that time to be with them and run for them. So I decided to do the same. I took a few more days off then planned to run my 18 alone one Sunday morning. I figured if I was going to have a mental breakdown about grandpa while running I wanted to do it alone. To my surprise it was a great run and Chris was right Grandpa was there with me the whole time. I came home that day in the best mood I had been in 3 weeks and ready to run my first marathon.
Since that day I've been on top of my training and not missing a beat. I even went out got a new "good luck" outfit and got my running shoes bless by Fr.Thomas at the me crazy but it made me feel better HAHA!

I know the next 4 days I’m going to be flooding Lauren and Bob's email in box with 101 questions, and reaching out ot fellow runners via Twitter and Facebook. I had a plan, but I decided I'm going to just go run, have fun and do what I can. I think if theres a plan I'll expect way to much out of the race then be upset when it doesn't happen. I'm totally ready with a great mid set and I've very excited to see what my outcome is. The only thing that is really concerning me now is RAIN..yes RAIN! Crazy right!! The news is saying we are going to have a wet marathon Sunday so that's a whole other thing that I'm to sure about. I'm positive I'm not going to melt or anything, but wet running shoes doesn't sound very fun for me but as my mom would say "Its just water"

There are a few people I want to thank from the bottom of my heart for helping me out with training and encouragement for my first full..First my dad, he pushes me to be the best runner and always makes me feel like I can do better, my boyfriend Robert for putting up with "We can't go anywhere Saturday morning I have to run" and sitting for hours at finish lines waiting for me, Lauren, Penny and Jordan..BIG THANK YOU Ladies for running and training with me, Chris you helped me get through the loss of my grandfather and made me look at things in a different perspective, Bob your constant marathon advice is so much appreciated and Brent thanks for being the best virtual running buddy EVER!! SO THANK YOU EVERYONE!!

So that's that, my next blog post will be my LA Marathon Recap! If you any of you readers out there have any advice for this newbie, please share I'd love to read them!! For those running LA Sunday KICK ASS!!!!