Nov 29, 2013

Claremont Sunrise Rotary Turkey Trot 5K: 11/28/13

I woke up at 6:00 a.m. to a fully cooked turkey that had been roasting overnight in the oven. The house smelled so good and my dogs were hanging out by the oven hoping to score some turkey! Cooking the turkey ahead of time makes things much easier and allows time for things like early morning Turkey Trots on Thanksgiving morning.
This was a local race which about is about 15 minutes from my house. Parking is easy and close to the start line and the race is reasonably priced. The course is mostly flat but the first two miles are slightly uphill and the last mile is all downhill. I have not been doing any kinds of speedwork for some time so I went into this 5K with zero expectations. I told my son and my other half that I would probably finish in about 25-26 minutes.
I was more excited about meeting up with Caroline and Megan. Caroline and her family were running their first family race so I was looking forward to seeing them cross the finish line. We wished each other well and then we were off. I took it easy for the first two miles and then just let myself glide into the finish. I don't have a finish line photo to share with you because apparently my other half did not see me until it was too late. I waited for Caroline and Megan to finish in hopes of snapping some pictures of them crossing the finish. I finished in 23:35 which was not a PR but I was happy with my time in spite of zero speedwork. I swear I am going to start doing speedwork again since I would really like to run a 5K in under 23 minutes.
After the race I headed to Starbucks to grab my favorite Caramel Brulée Latte and then home to finish my Thanksgiving cooking. I ate way too much but I enjoyed it!

How was your Turkey Trot?

Nov 27, 2013

What I Am Thankful For and What I Plan to do on Thanksgiving Day


November is coming to an end and I cannot believe that tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. We also have about 27 days until Christmas Day. Sometimes I get caught up in all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays and forget to stop and count my blessing so I would like to share some of things that I am truly thankful for in my life in no particular order.
1. I am thankful for my health.  As most of you already know, my Dad is still fighting cancer and going through chemotherapy. His condition has remained stable, meaning that the cancer has not spread but it has not gotten any better either. Even though he is not cancer free, I am thankful that he is still here with us and is still able to work and enjoy his life. He had a scan late last week and we are waiting for his results. Please pray that the results are favorable.

2. I am very thankful to be employed. I know that I have said this a million times but I am truly blessed to have such a great job. I have been unemployed in the past but thankfully not for a long period of time. I know how tough it is when you don't have a job and there are bills to be paid. It is a terrible place to be and I know that there are people out there who are dealing with financial issues. Money isn't everything but in this world we need it to survive.

3. I am thankful for my family and to have two healthy children. They are great people and we support one another no matter what type of situations may arise. They support my running and make it possible for me. I know that I am nothing without them standing by my side. They take care of my son when I need to go for a run or watch him when he doesn't want to go to my races. He says that I take too long to finish marathons! My family is always proud of me no matter what the result may be and for that I am thankful.

4. I am thankful to have a home and food on the table. So many people have lost their homes due to the poor economy and that makes life pretty tough. I am also thankful to have food on the table since so many people are homeless or have been displaced for one reason or another.
5. I am thankful that I have stayed injury free this year and that I can run. I have become good friends with my foam roller and my Stick and I have become much better at listening to my body. There are days when I really want to run but if I am not feeling 100% I know that it is not worth it. The foam roller has saved my life and even though it can be painful I am committed to living with the pain :)
My plans for Thanksgiving include running a Turkey Trot (5K) first thing in the morning and then hurrying home to cook the Thanksgiving meal. I usually pop the turkey in the oven the night before and let it cook over night on a really low temperature in a roasting pan. It comes out really tender and juicy. We will be feasting on turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, veggies, rolls and maybe some other goodies. This will be our first Thanksgiving without Grandpa so I know that it is going to be tough for my Grandma. We will be picking her up and spending the day with her even though she said that she was going to just stay home by herself.

What are your plans for Thanksgiving Day?

Tell me one thing that you are thankful for today?

Nov 26, 2013

My Plans for that BQ!

Over the past month or so it is so motivating and exciting to read all of the blog posts from those who has been accepted into the 2014 Boston Marathon. Just seeing all of these posts really gets me motivated and thinking about my dream to someday run the Boston Marathon. I don't talk about this subject enough because to be honest, it scares me to death! The whole purpose of this blog is to document my journey to qualify for the Boston Marathon so I should probably talk about this topic more often than I do.
I did mention that my goal race for my attempt at a BQ will be the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon on May 25, 2014. I chose this race because I really like the course and race day weather was perfect when I ran it earlier this year. I also like that it is a smaller race with about 1500 other runners. Big races are a little overwhelming for me. I prefer a smaller crowd since the whole experience seems to be a little less chaotic. I like that the crowds are thinner at the expo, getting to and from the start is much easier, and securing a hotel room is also easier even if you do it at the last minute.

I started training for the LA marathon a couple of weeks ago so training for my goal race will kind of overlap. I want to allow myself 20 weeks to train for this race just in case life happens and I have to skips some long runs. I will use the LA Marathon as a training run to keep myself familiar with the distance and to gauge where I am at. The fear of the distance also seems to settle in when I don't run 26.2 miles a while. I never feel like it gets easier so I feel like I have to stay with it yet be careful not to push myself into an injury.

I am not sure what training plan I will follow but I know that I want to get back to doing speedwork. I am currently about 4 minutes away from my qualifying time of 3:45 but I know that my qualifying time will not be enough to get me there.  I pretty much need to run about 15 seconds faster per mile based on my current PR. Running 26.2 miles at an 8:30 pace is easier said than done but I am going to give it my best shot.

I don’t have a back up plan as of now should I fail to BQ in May. I guess I am trying to stay positive for now but I am sure that as the time gets closer I will start to formulate a back up plan which may include hiring a running coach. More than anything, I don't want to put too much pressure on myself. I love running and I want it to stay that way :) I just have to believe that one day it will happen for me!

Any suggestions on training plans?

Any suggestions on a good running coach in the Southern California area? 

What about an on-line coach?

Nov 24, 2013

LA Marathon Training Week 2; 11/18/13-11/24/13

We are finally getting some rain in Southern California so this kind of put a damper on my training this week. Running in the rain can actually be pretty refreshing but the problem for me is that I have to run at night when I get home from work and it is already dark. I don't think I like the combination of dark and rain so I am kind of forced to run on the treadmill. I am slowly getting my mileage to where I want it to be and this week looked like this:


Tuesday: 6.3 Miles @ BQ Pace
Wednesday: REST

Thursday: REST
Friday7 Miles (Hope for the Philippines 5K Virtual Race and 4 additional miles.) I started my run with the 5K and then added 4 additional miles. I actually did some 400m repeats. I have not done speed work in a while so I was pretty proud of myself even though I was dying!

Saturday15 Mile Long Run with my girls. We ran the first 13 Miles together and I ran the last 2 alone since I needed to get 15 in this week. It made the miles fly by which was great!

Sunday: REST


In other news, I may be adding a half marathon to my Race Schedule in a couple of weeks. I was planning on being a spectator for the race but one of my friends is unable to run due to a heart condition. She offered me her bib since there are no refunds or rollovers. She is in the same age group as me so I don't think I will be doing any damage by running with her bib. It will be the first time that I actually do this.

How was your week?

How is the weather out your way?
It has been in the low 40's to mid 50's here in the So Cal in the morning and then it warms up into the 60's by the afternoon.

Nov 20, 2013

11/17/13: Surfer's Point Half Marathon (Our First Half Marathon and #14 for me)

I think one of the most exciting things about being a runner is inspiring others to get into running and helping them reach their goals. Not only has my other half started running but my older sister, well she is only 11 months and 3 weeks older than me, has started running too. I think is great and I am so proud of them for giving it a try even if they do not end up loving it as much as I do!
Now about this "couples race." Days before the race he kept telling me that he was ready. I think he just wanted to get it over with. The night before the race he was telling me that he wanted to run the race that evening since he was getting anxious! We took a quick walk over to Starbucks and then Finish line which was really close to our hotel room and he said he was ready but was still not ready to commit to a time. I agreed and we went back to the hotel and went to sleep.
The half marathon did not start until 7:15 a.m. so we set the alarm for 5:30am and we took our time getting ready and eating our breakfast. We left the room about 6:30am and walked over to the Start. He mentioned that his back was hurting so I asked him if he was okay to run the race. He thinks that he may have slept wrong but the pain is still there. Not really sure what that is all about since is the first time it occurred. This was the view when we first got to the Start. It was about 54 degrees and it felt perfect.

This was an inaugural race and was also a really small race. I think the full marathon had less than 100 participants and the half marathon had about 300-400 participants. For being an inaugural race, I thought it was as organized as it needed to be. There were only a few porta-potties but with the amount of participants it worked and there was never a long long. 
Water on the course was great and at every mile and a half. We carried our own water just in case they ran out of water. I did not want his first experience to end on a course that ran out of water. The only complaint that I have is the lack of photographers on the course. We only saw one and I think he was a one man shop.
The marathoners started at 7:00 a.m. and then the half marathoners started lining up. He wanted to line up with the 10 minute + mile group so we did. There were pacers for both the half and the full but we did not want to run with a pacer.  The half marathon started right on time and we were off and running. I stayed next to him or closely behind him so that I did not make him nervous. His initial pace was around 9:25 so I reminded him not to take off too quickly. He also wore his Garmin to monitor his pace but I reminded him anyway since I know how that race day adrenaline can make you do silly things at the beginning of a race!

The course started out right at the beach and stayed by the water for the most part. The view was amazing! I kept telling him to focus on the view if he started to feel tired.
The course was supposed to be pretty flat but there were some areas that had some steep uphill climbs. 
Luckily they did not last long since I could see the look of panic on his face whenever we would see one of them coming. 
He was still feeling strong at the half way point and I kept asking him how he was doing. At this point I was running a little in front of him so I could take pictures of him and keep him going. I also took care of refilling our water bottles when needed and I also opened his GU for him and kept track of when it was time to fuel up.
During out training runs, he would always stop to use the bathroom. I could tell that he was trying not to but right before Mile 8, he started looking for the porta-potty. 
The course loops back to the finish right around Mile 9 and the it goes out two miles and then back to the finish. There was a decent climb at Mile 11 and at this point he told me that he was starting to feel a little tired. He never stopped except at the one bathroom break but I could see his pace starting to drop and I encouraged him to stay strong since we were almost finished. His back was really starting to hurt but he toughed it out and I was pretty proud of him since I probably would have quit or taken a walking break.
He told me that he wanted to give it everything he had to the Finish and at Mile 12.5 he was going to kick it into gear and go for it. And he did. We sprinted to the Finish Line at a 7:51 pace and crossed the Finish Line with our hands held and raised in the air. Unfortunately there was no photographers there to take our finish line photo but we did get this amazing picture right before Mile 9 that we absolutely love! It was the best $7.99 that I ever spent! I have posted this picture all over social media so please excuse me for being so obsessive about it but I can't help it.
He told me that he enjoyed the race and he really enjoyed it because he loves running with me. I am now trying to convince him that if he can run a half marathon, he can run a full marathon. He just looks at me and laughs whenever I talk about it. I guess that is better than a "NO." I will give him some time before I start bugging him again.

Our official time was 2:08:17. He finished 12th in his age group and I finished 10th in mine.  
Have you ever ran a race with your spouse/significant other?

Nov 18, 2013

My Favorite Race Photo and Meeting a Running Goal

I don't think I have ever purchased a race photo in the last three years that I have been running races.  They are just too expensive and I haven't loved one enough to actually spend the money.  I just had to buy this one. Surfer's Point Half Marathon was a very small race and this photo only cost me $7.99. Best deal for a race photo that I love! I am behind on getting the race recap up but could not wait to share this photo of our first half marathon together. 
I also hit one of my Running Goals for 2013! My goal was to run 1200 miles in 2013 and to date I have ran 1202 miles! With one month and a couple of weeks left in 2013, I am going to more than exceed my goal! This makes me happy since last year was not a great year for me and I fell short of my goal of 1000 miles.

Which reminds that I should probably check in with the other goals that I set for 2013 to see how I am doing? I can't believe that 2013 is almost over.

How are your Goals for 2013 looking?

LA Marathon Training-Week One (11/11/13-11/17/13) and a Virtual Race

My rest week training for the LA Marathon is not off to a great start! I had so many things to do after I returned home from running Ragnar Las Vegas. I had lots of dirty laundry and then I had to catch up with my family, friends and my fur babies. You know, the most important stuff. I finally managed to get a run in on Thursday since I had a half marathon to run on Sunday.

Here is a quick recap of my week:


Tuesday: REST
Wednesday: REST
Thursday5.00 Miles @10:32

Friday: REST

Saturday: REST
Sunday: Surfer's Point Half Marathon (13.20 Miles) with my other half! He did great and I am so proud of him. I will recap our first half marathon together in a separate post.

TOTAL MILES:18.2 Miles

I will be participating in the Hope4Philippines5k virtual race to raise money for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan.  Registration is only $15 but you can donate more if you are able. Each participant will receive a free Active Band and there are also some awesome prizes you can win. There is also a race bib available that you can print out and wear while you run your 5k. Please go and SIGN UP!
The plan is to get my behind back in gear next week and really start taking things serious.I am thinking about adding a Turkey Trot to my race schedule on Thanksgiving Day. This lady and this lady are really twisting my arm so I guess I have no choice but to consider it. 

Please spread the word about the Hope4Philippines5k virtual race since there are just a couple more days to sign up! 


Nov 14, 2013

Ragnar Las Vegas: 11/8/13-11/9/13

This past weekend I ran Ragnar Las Vegas with some pretty amazing people. Our team was sponsored by Nuun and Pro Compression and I owe them a huge thank you for everything! THANK YOU!!!
Our team consisted of 11 women and 1 dude in a sparkly skirt!
Me, Hyla, Zoe, Vanessa, Nicole, Caroline, Kelsey, Jenny, Sara, Matt, Brianne and Brennan
I was in Van #1: Me, Caroline, Zoe, Kelsey, Vanessa and Nicole. I could not have asked for a better group of girls to spend 24 plus hours in a van with! I loved all of the them!
Our teammates in Van #2:  Sara, Brianne, Jenny, Matt, Brennan and Hyla. I stole this picture from Hyla's blog.

I wish we could have spent more time with Van #2 but both vans are kind of on opposite schedules during a relay. While one van is running their hearts out, the other van is pretty much recovering, eating and sleeping.  We were able to meet up with a few of them the night before the relay started so I am glad that I was able to meet and get to know a few of them.

Caroline and I caught a plane to Las Vegas on Thursday night and we spent the night in this pyramid with Kelsey and Vanessa! I think I drove Caroline nuts with my snoring but she was just too nice to tell me. I think Kelsey may have won the snoring contest though!
The Luxor sky beam was visible from every place we drove that van on the relay course. It was pretty amazing!

Our fearless leader, Zoe, picked us up from our hotel at 9:30 am on Friday morning. The van was packed with lots of snacks, water, and Nuun of course. Thank you Zoe! We headed to the Start to pick up our bibs, attend the safety training, and decorated our van while we waited for our start time.
The 187 mile relay starts at Mt. Charleston, Nevada at an 8600 elevation level and ends in Henderson, Nevada at Lake Las Vegas. There was snow on the ground when we arrived at the Start but for some reason I wasn't even cold. As you can see, I am the only one in the picture without a jacket.
Our team started at 12:30pm and we thought we were going to be the last ones to finish since we started so late and the course and the exchanges seemed kind of empty when we were present.
Our team was just a very fun and energetic group to be around! They were so positive and encouraging to our team mates and to the other runners out there on the course. They really gave me a burst of energy and the motivation to get out there and run my best! 

I was Runner 3 and a ran a total of 11.47 miles. Here is a little break down on each of my legs: 

Leg 3: My first leg was my favorite and it started about 2:15 pm on Friday afternoon. It was all downhill on SR-195. It was so super quiet that it felt weird but it was peaceful. Our van drove by cheering me on and I knew they were coming when ever I heard that cowbell! I felt so free running on that open road. I was the only runner out there on the road until Mile 4 when I chicked a dude but gave him a high five and encouraged him to stay with it! It was my only leg without traffic signals and it was pretty amazing. It was so amazing that I may have ran my fastest 5.5 miles ever.
Leg 3 Stats: Distance: 5.5 Miles, Avg. Pace 7:18 and Kills=2

Leg 15: My second leg was my night run and it started about 10:20 pm on Friday night. I always get nervous on my night run because I am so afraid of getting lost. I hit one really long traffic signal on this leg. The Ragnar staff made me wait for the signal so I was not able to run through it even though there were no cars coming (BOO!). I did not stop my Garmin at the signals so my average pace includes the stops. All of the turns were clearly marked so I was happy that I did not get lost.
Leg 15 Stats: Distance: 2.13 Miles, Avg. Pace 8:34 and Kills:3

Leg 27: My last leg started at 7:40 am on Saturday morning in 48 degree temps. It was perfect weather and I was ready to be done since I had not slept very much. My quads were a little sore so I was planning on taking my last leg easy if my quads were not going to allow me to run pain free. This leg was supposed to be an even 4 miles but ended up being a little short due to a slight change to the course. I caught so many long traffic signals but the good thing is that my quads were not hurting while I was running and I was able to finish strong. My average pace was around 7:30-7:40 while I was in motion.

Leg 27 Stats: Distance: 3.84 Miles, Avg. Pace 8:42 and Kills=5

It felt great to be finished but I just didn't want it to be over. I was still on a runner's high from all of the positive vibes from the ladies in Van #1 so we agreed that we would do it again sometime in the near future.
Once Van #1 was finished, we drove straight to the Finish Line to wait for Van#2 to finish things up. 

We walked around the finish area and ate some pizza and visited Megan at the Nuun booth. Zoe and I picked up our extra medals for running Ragnar Las Vegas and one other Ragnar race in 2013. I ran Ragnar So Cal in April, 2013 so this was an added bonus for me!

Results: Team Nuun/Pro Compression did great! We finished 60th out of 339 team in the Mixed Open Division.

I have one more thing to share with you before I end this post:NUUN and PRO COMPRESSION have so generously offered some great discounts for you:
Code: ragnarvegas
Good for: 20% order
Expires: 12/31/13 

Code: nuunpc
Good for: 40% off + free shipping
Expires: 12/31/13

Nov 11, 2013

Ragnar Las Vegas: Meet the Ladies of Van#1

When Caroline first asked me to run Ragnar Las Vegas I was really excited! It is really not that difficult to get me excited when it comes to anything that has to do with running! I was a little nervous about joining the team since all of the Runners in Van#1, except for me, are 2012 Hood to Coast Runners and Nuun Ambassadors. I am a avid Watermelon and Fruit Punch Nuun drinker and a fan of Pro Compression so I was not concerned about running on a team that was sponsored by products that I do not truly love. I was more concerned about how I would fit in with the team and how they would accept me.

I am pretty easy going and I am not high maintenance at all so I figured that I would just be myself and let everything else just fall into place. I am so glad that I accepted Caroline's invitation because Ragnar Las Vegas turned out to be one of the most incredible experiences ever. All of the girls were so sweet and I never felt out of place for one single minute. There was a lot of HTC 2012 flash backs going on in the van but I really understood it all after seeing what a great group of ladies I was surrounded by.

The positive vibe and team spirit in Van#1 was incredible! All of the cow belling, cheering on other runners, and supporting our own runners while they were out running their legs was just unbelievable. Each one of the girls brought something special to this team that just made it all come together. Caroline already did a great job of describing the team in this post but I would also like to add my two cents and share a little about her too.
Nicole (Runner 1): This lady just had a baby four months ago and looks like a super model! I know that it was tough for her to be away from her son to come and run this relay with us. She killed her first leg of 7 hilly and hard miles with an average pace of 7:50! It must be the watermelon Nuun! Nicole is such a positive person and never stopped encouraging all of us when the fatigue was starting to set in due to lack of sleep. She was my go to person when I wanted to complain about my quads being on fire. She never wanted to inconvenience anyone and was always willing to help in any way that she could. I kept bumping into her the entire time so I think she wanted to punch me in my face a few times! 
Kelsey (Runner 2): This lady is special. She was the youngest runner on the team and there were lots of moments when we would talk about movies or songs on the radio and Kelsey could not relate to them because they were before her time. I think we were all in disbelief that she had never seen the movie "Dirty Dancing." I love Kelsey's determination and positive attitude about running. The smile on her face while she is running is absolutely priceless. When my runs got tough I thought about her big smile that came to greet me since I was Runner 3 and she handed off to me. I swear I am going to take a trip to Tennessee just to visit her so she can show me around her hometown.
Caroline (Runner 4): This lady is a true friend. I knew from the first time that I met her that she was someone special. It is no secret that her stomach does not always agree with running but she gets out there and does it anyway! I truly admire her determination to keep running in spite of the not so pretty things that she has to deal with. She is coming back from an injury and ran her legs with 110% effort. Caroline is also a very devoted mother to her two sons. She called her boys to see them off to school and to say goodnight every day and always asked me if I had done the same. She even checked in with the tooth fairy to make sure that he was doing his job properly! Caroline was our photographer and she has some serious dance moves. Maybe she will share one of her dancing videos that I so willingly took of her!
Zoe (Runner 5): She was our fearless leader and van driver. The girl can seriously drive a van and knows how to get from one exchange to another without a problem. She took such good care of all of us and never once complained of being tired. She ran her legs like a boss and was always smiling and keeping the team motivated. She ran a ton of miles and I know she had to be exhausted. Instead of complaining, she was out making friends and supporting other runners while dominating her legs. 
Vanessa (Runner 6): I have been a long time reader of Vanessa's blog so I pretty much know everything about her that she has shared. She is one of the most genuine and kindest people that you will ever meet. She is such a selfless person and always puts everyone else's best interest before her own. Vanessa was the one to remember to bring water bottles to the exchange when our runners were coming in. She was the one offering to get coffee or snacks for us so that we would not have to walk to get it ourselves. She was the one offering to fill up all of our water bottles in the van. She was so confident even though 2 of her 3 legs had some issues. Her first leg ended up being longer than expected due to a road closure and her second leg was the toughest of all the legs. She earned some major respect from Van#1 for running 10 serious uphill miles..alone... in the middle of the pitch black of the night... with no van support. The girl is speedy and is a running beast but oh so humble all at the same time. 

I miss all of these ladies already! I have so much more to say so I will do a second post to share more about my contribution to the team.