Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween and Other Miscellany

So it ended up raining after work yesterday. Which was a bummer because I was really looking forward to running 8 miles at a trail near work and burning off the Indian buffet lunch that I overdosed on. I ate in anticipation of burning it off in the run. A little rain doesn't usually scare me but the rain was quite steady and didn't really feel like getting soggy shoes. So, what a girl to do? I headed to the gym instead. I really don't like to run on the treadmills. Does anyone really? And, the gym near my work is always crowded and not easy to hog the treadmill for more than 30 minutes. I knew I had to break the rules and really, be a bad gym member and not share. Good thing for my iPod and good running mix, I don't know how I got through the 8 miles on the mill but I did! Running on the treadmill is really hard for me because I get so tempted to stop and say, I can make it up tomorrow! It's so easy to push the pause button and stop where as when you're out on th road or trail, you have return to your point of origin. Besides the all the crazy amount of calories that I consumed at lunch time, I really am serious about my training for th CIM. I kinda half-a$$edly ran the Nike Marathon and I really want to run a sub 4 hour marathon at the CIM. All that motivated me to stick to my 8 mile treadmill run. Oh and I want to lose some weight so that I can shave off some time off my PR! I only had to switch treadmills once because people were waiting and I felt guilty about hogging my machine. But, I did re-start the machine over once when I thought no one was paying attention. I swear, I felt dagger stares on my back coming from people waiting for the machine. I'm so sorry!

After my sweaty 8 miler at the gym, I went to go visit my younger sister who's 15 weeks pregnant! (I'm the oldest of 3 girls!) I feel like I'm surrounded by pregnant women these days. My husband's cousin is 18 weeks pregnant, my best friend is 26 weeks pregnant and of course, lovely ND is 24 weeks along. :-) As a matter of fact, I'm throwing my BFF a baby shower next weekend! Oh and yes, it will be my first time being an aunt. She finds out the sex of the baby next week, I think! My sister and I ate my mom's left over lasagna (she dropped by earlier to drop off the food), watched Elizabeth (the movie) and watched my sister knit.. She's starting up her own business selling baby beanies, scarves, greeting cards, handmade jewelry and other hodgepodge. I somehow missed the day God was handing out the crafty talent gene.

Here's a photo of my 2 sisters on my wedding day. The pregnant one is Sujin on the right. My youngest sister Sue (on the left) lives in Riverside, CA and don't get to see her very often. I'm off to the right with Duane and the flower girls. Rest of the bridesmaids to the left.
Just for the heck of it, here's a picture of my good looking family. I guess I was off taking pictures? (Sujin, mom, dad & Sue)
And another gratuitous photo of me and my husband... along with the flower girls.
I can't believe it's already Halloween. Where did this month go? I have no Halloween spirit as usual and we'll probably go meet some friends in the city for dinner and drinks (sans costume). Tomorrow, I'm shooting for 16 miles in the morning then heading up to the Healdsburg area for the Russian River Wine Tasting event with the hubby and another couple. We'll be staying overnight, yay! Too bad this event didn't coincide with the half marathon last weekend! (Or maybe that was precisely the point...) Hope the rain lets up!!

And, of course, best of luck to everyone racing this weekend!!

Steve in the Tesfa 5k on Sunday
Training for Half and her husband at the 10.3 trail race on Sunday
The Running Lamintor in the NYCM on Sunday!!
Marlene in the Hamilton Half Marathon on Sunday
ncrunner12 in the City of Oaks Marathon *first marathon*
Marci in the Hamilton Marathon on Sunday (She JUST signed up?!?!)

Ok, one relevant photo for the day courtesy of Heineken:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

TIaRT: Super Powers

The TIaRT over at Runner's Lounge this week calls for runners to ponder about what kind of super powers they would love to have. Honestly, I'm not much of a superhero expert so I had to rely on Google to help me with the type of super powers there are out there. There are A LOT of super powers, apparently! I actually found this article that listed some creative and cool super powers!

Now, not all of these would be applicable to runners but I found one that I would LOVE to have the super power of the Metabolism Woman. According to the article I mentioned earlier the author wrote: "I would use this power to eat fried foods, eat more chocolate and drink more alcohol, knowing that my *super metabolism* would just burn it all off, keeping me fit and trim, without paying for it with hours at the gym."


Of course, I would change mine so that my "super metabolism" would kick in when I start running! I would eat and drink whatever I wanted and if I ran (even only a mile), it would all be burned off! All of it. And then some. How awesome would that be? Sure, if I was truly lazy, I wouldn't even need to run! But then, what would be the point? I love running!

Man, this was really fun to think about... (And I think I am obsessed with my weight. I've written my last 3 TIaRTs on some kind of weight related topic!)

If you're really into this super power stuff, you can even vote as to what you think is the best super power! And here's are some funny and practical super powers you can chuckle over.

On the running front, I haven't been as good as I should. I had a busy day on Tuesday at work and by the time I got home (after my long a$$ commute) I had no desire to go to the gym. It was my cross training day and I totally skipped out. Bad me. Wednesday, I went for an easy 6 miler after work. Today, I'm going to shoot for 8 after work and go visit my sister who is 15 weeks pregnant!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

i *heart* new york!

Seeing Cindy's Food Porn blog today (on her recent vacation to New York City) got me really excited about my upcoming trip to NYC in 3 weeks. Work is sending me to Tarrytown (our HQ) for about a week but planning to check out my old stomping grounds in Manhattan over the weekend. My wonderful hubby is planning to join me over the weekend and already, we've been talking about where we're going to go eat. Haha.

So we're in the process of making reservations at Sfoglia one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants in the Upper East Side. I called yesterday and left a message but they haven't gotten back to me, yet. Or Babbo (I haven't been) or Blue Hill, our other favorite restaurant. Or we might try Sugiyama which was very highly reviewed on Yelp. I can't go anywhere without reading Yelp first. Hehe.

Anyone know what the latest eats are in NYC?

That's also the weekend of my 20 miler. Not sure if i want to run Central Park 3 times (which I've done before) or run the perimeter of the island, which really isn't my ideal run... Question for Running Laminator and Laura (or anyone else in NYC for that matter), what do you guys do for your long runs?

Ok, I am really jealous that I am missing the NYCM this weekend. I am totally going to throw my name in the lottery for next year!! And best of luck to the Running Laminator and my friend Jason C who are running the race on Sunday!

Over the weekend, I did a 9 miler trail run with my running group and had some good chats with my running coach. She is a few years shy from 50 but she's in such a great shape (runs 3:20 marathons) you'd never think that she's approaching that age. I'm totally inspired! She's planning on doing the Surf City in February and I'm contemplating that marathon, too. (Although, I've told all my friends to run the Kaiser Perm Half Marathon on the same day in San Francisco... Oops.) I rested Sunday because the trail run was SO tough. I don't think I was fully recovered from the Nike Marathon, yet. Which was nice because I got to sleep in and have a lazy Sunday. I went out for a 6 miler after work yesterday and FELT great! I was doing about 9:10 mile pace which I haven't been able to do for a little while.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Nike Women's Marathon Photos

Happy Friday everyone!!
Just wanted to thank you all for being so wonderful and encouraging about my weight battle and running. It's really great to be able to share these things with my running community! Thank you again. I can't believe I weighed that much and I will NEVER go there ever again. Still, it scares me from time to time when I'm up in weight as I am right now. If you look to the sidebar of my blog, you can see me 2 months ago at the SFM where I was 10 lbs lighter. And here are my most recent photos from the Nike Women's Marathon. You can see, 10 lbs on my frame is quite a bit. I'm only 5'3".
Not a great shot but not bad... Probably the best one out of the set. Not sure what I'm thinking with the victory sign...

Having another Japanese tourist moment here... Minus the smile. I was in pain!

A little dazed and confused. And tired. Very tired.

A ha, I found the SFFD fire fighters and the Tiffany boxes!

AND, best of luck to everyone racing this weekend!!! Best of luck to:

Marci and Laura at the Niaga Falls Marathon
Alisa, Aron and Kristen at the Healdsburg Half Marathon (with I was there!)
Erik at the Tulsa Run 15k
Mrjwhit at the Silver Comet Half Marathon
Frayed Laces at the Niketown 30k
Jennifer B at the Medical Center 10k AND 5 k Classic (yep, she's doing both back to back)

Did I miss anyone? Let me know! :-)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

TIART: The Weight Battle

Here's my contribution to TIaRT theme over at Runner's Lounge today, which is Running & Weight:

I don't know anyone who doesn't struggle with their weight. With our society focusing so much on healthy eating and exercising, most of us do conscientiously think about our caloric intake and what we burn. I wish I was one of those people who are naturally thin and don't have to worry about their weight. But I think about it everyday and have be careful what I put in my mouth. If I don’t, like I have been the past 2 months, I’ll balloon up and gain 10 lbs in a heartbeat. Since I got married 2 months ago, I have been not paying attention to my portions or the quality of food that I put into my body. And, I didn’t run for 4 weeks after the wedding due to post wedding stress, honeymoon, laziness, etc. As some of you know, I ran a marathon 5 days before my wedding and took off some time to reward myself. (By being sedentary!) And sure enough, I am up 10 lbs. Yikes! I know many of you also struggle with "weight" and tackle this on a daily basis. And sounds like, some of you have been really successful in losing a lot of weight!

For several years after college, I carried around excess of 50 lbs in fat. Thank goodness, I lost the weight about 7 years ago. Thanks for running and Weight Watchers! I've kept most of it off but I’ve gained about 10 of it back recently and now about 20 lbs overweight. (That's a lot!) I can feel the extra weight bouncing and jiggling with me when I’m running. I got my BMI measured a few months ago and I’m in the unhealthy range again. Hello, I run! I exercise! But it doesn’t show on the scale! I’m a little tired of my yo-yo dieting. Besides, the joys of the weight loss and the disappointment that comes with the gain is really emotionally devastating.

The funny thing is, I know the formula to losing weight. (It’s no secret, right?)

Eat less (or eat right) + Exercise More + Commitment = Weight Loss

It's so much easier to indulge than limit myself, and easier to give in than deny. This week’s TIaRT made me think about how I can share my weight loss/struggle/journey with fellow running community. Then, I realized, I don't really have any weight loss tips or secrets. I could tell you the Weight Watchers, South Beach Diet and The Daily Plate has worked for me. But it might not be for you. We all need to follow a modified and personalized formula that I listed above. I know I will continue to struggle with the weight battle, probably forever. But I will do what I can do not lose the war.

This is something I will do starting today.

- Make a commitment

- Make a lifestyle change

I’m going to LIMIT my sugar and refined white flour intake. I don't think I can cut it out completely but I'll limit it. I’m going to pay attention to my portions. And most importantly, I’m going to make a lifestyle change and stick to it. (And hopefully my husband won't be making his famous oatmeal cookies or brownies for midnight snacks!) And I can’t wait to tell you when I finally reached my healthy weight range and BMI one day! Very soon!

On the running front, I took a day off yesterday. I've been in Portland for the past two days for work and have had no time to myself. (Looks like I'll be back in the beautiful Portland area and hopefully I'll have more time to meet up with fellow bloggers here!) I fly back today and look forward to a nice 6 miler in the afternoon. Also, so happy to hear the Arien O'Connell got her winner's prize and recognition! Heck, it took Nike 2 days but at least they did the right thing!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Recovery Run & More Nike News

I went for my first recovery run since the marathon last night. I went for a slow 7 mile jog after work and it felt so good. It's time for CIM training! I mean, I'm still sore. I had to stop at mile 4 and 6 just to catch my breath! But, moving my legs and pumping my arms, being out there just felt soooooo good! I felt so alive and purposeful. I don't know what it was. It made me so happy to be running again. Maybe I was just happy to run alone without the crowd?? But, it reminded me again that I really *heart* running! (And why I run marathons!)

In other news, did you hear about this woman who ran the fastest time in the Nike Marathon on Sunday but didn't win? Apparently, 24-year-old Arien O'Connell ran the fastest time of any of the women but because she didn't run with the Elites, she wasn't awarded a prize! Amazing and totally lame!! You can get the rest of the story here. I picked this story up from Erik and Leslie's blog. And you can do something about it here, if you think she deserves to recognition of the win:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Nike Women's Marathon Race Report

I mean, my LONG 26.2 miles training run. (And warning, long post!)

I still can't believe I ran the Nike Women's Marathon yesterday morning. It was my 5th one to date. And probably one of the most challenging course, I've ever run. There were so many grueling hills in the first half. What were they thinking changing the course to have even more hills? Even for San Francisco, it was a bit much. Seriously, it made SFM seem easy in comparison! I ran the NWM Half about 4 years ago and it wasn't nearly as bad. For those of you, who want the shorter version: I ran my slowest marathon ever, finishing at 4:35:19.

So the first picture is the starting line at the NWM that I took with my phone. I met up with the Jamba Juice team around 6:15am at a near by JJ store and we walked to Union Square together. By the way, I didn't go to bed until about 12:15am but I woke up surprisingly recharged and ready to go at 5:40am! I was just excited. But not nervous! It was strange, like I was getting up to go on a regular weekend morning run or something. But, knowing that I was going to run a marathon got me really pumped up on the way to San Francisco. However, seeing the streets blocked off for the race was what finally gave me the butterflies in my tummy!!. And, second thoughts and doubt. What the hell was I thinking running a marathon without proper training? Oh well, too late at that point. No pain, no gain. Right? We were told that JJ team would get a special escort to the front of the line, behine the Elites. But as we got closer to the starting line, the crowd of 20,000+ people soon swallowed us up. We lost our team leader and well, my friend and I (and Duane who wanted to see me off at the start) soon had to navigate on our own. We were trying to get through the bodies of people that were lined up behind the 6:00 to 8:00 min corral and there were way too many people pushing to get through. It was nuts. The few race coordinators that were around told us they knew nothing of the JJ start section! At that point, I started to panic. I still had to go to the bathroom and drop off my stuff at bag check!! I told my friend she should go look for her co-workers because I had to take care of some business. After a few minutes of frantic search, Duane and I found the porta-potties. And the lines were ridiculous. I sent off Duane to drop off my bag and I waited in line... Fortunately, the line moved quickly but I started panicking some more when some lady began to sing the national anthem. Omg, 2 minutes to go! Good thing I went to the "bathroom" because I'm sure I was a few pounds lighter at that point! ;-) We ran around to see where I could enter the race corral area but it was impossible. Too many people were also trying to do the same thing. Just then the gun went off. YIKES! It was starting! And then I saw several runners, going under the elastic fence that separated the corrals and I followed them right through. Funny enough, it was my pace group: 9:00 to 10:00 min pace! As I started running, I waved good bye to Duane. He was wishing me luck and I could see that he was really excited for me. (I think he wanted to run it, too. Next time Baby! Maybe the CIM?) What a great hubby I have! Waking up at crack of dawn to drive me to the city, walking me to the starting line and wishing me good luck! And he was going to come back to pick me up at the end. I waved bye to him and crossed the starting line. I was only 3 minutes behind the official gun time.

I started off at a comfortable pace, about 9:30. I ran the first 2 hills comfortably and thought maybe I'd finish around 4 hours and 15 min. Wishful thinking. When we started climbing our 3rd big hill up to the Golden Gate Bridge around mile 6, I knew I was in trouble. That's when I first started to walk. And after that, I walked up almost all the hills. I kept telling myself that this was a training run! No need to over do anything. No injuries! The rest of the first half wasn't that bad. I clocked in around 2:10 according to the 13 mile mark and was feeling pretty good. I thought I could finish under 4:30 at this point. But once I got on the Great Highway, I started getting discouraged. Especially when I saw the Elite runner coming in to their last 2 miles or so. It also didn't help that I walked so much. My thing is, once I start walking, it's so easy to stop and walk. And the walking becomes much more frequent than I would like it to be. (See Leslie? I walked, I took your advice! ;-) The majority of the 2nd half was around Lake Merced and I didn't like it at all. I think the area around Lake Merced is a bit boring! I've ran around it before and didn't like it then, either. I had to stop around mile 14 to slather some Vaseline between my legs! I put Body Glide all over my body except that *part*! I started chaffing around mile 12 and it hurt so bad. It hurt even worst when I walked so I had no choice to run until I saw the next aid station. But, wow, the Vaseline totally worked. If I ever run out of Body Glide, I know what to resort to from now on! Oh anyway, back to walking. I think it was also easier to walk because there were so many walkers during the race. I think I hit the wall around mile 17 and it lasted until the end. I couldn't get back in the swing of things. I was shuffling and as much as I wanted to, I had difficulty pumping my arms. I was thrilled to see the mile 20 marker but even then 6 miles seemed SO far away. I walked some more. And ran. Painfully. When I approached the final 2 miles, I wanted to run the entire way. But no, I had to walk again. The last mile, I did run the whole thing. I wanted to stop so badly. But the spectators were starting to build around the end so of course, my ego wouldn't let me stop. I was so happy to see the end. I was so tired, I didn't even have the energy to sprint the last 100 yards or so. I usually sprint in but I knew I was already past the 4:30 mark and figured, it wouldn't make a huge difference. And again, I told myself that it was a training run. A training run with a shiny Tiffany bling! Oh and I got to see Aron that too far from the finish line and that perked me up to finish strong.

By the way, there were TONS of Team In Training runners... it was like a sea of purple moving along. Or maybe the "purple wave "is more appropriate? I really enjoyed seeing runners from various states and reading their causes. I always get so moved by runners with "in memory of" or "I'm running for ___". Of course, it was way too crowded! Apparently there were 20,000 runners on the course.

Here are just SOME of the amenities on the course:

- The Coat Check and Coat Donation around mile 2.5 was awesome. I didn't run with a coat but if I had, I may have donated it to this good cause! You see so many people tossing their jackets and sweatshirts early on in the race and this is a great idea to give these to charity.
- Socks by Lady Foot Locker - Why socks? They are not easy to carry! I grabbed a pair because I was kinda delirious and I can't pass up anything free. Especially running socks. Although, I regretted it as soon as I took it. HOW THE HELL AM I GOING TO CARRY THEM? I saw a few socks thrown on the ground past their table. I guess others changed their mind, too. I saw some ladies wearing them like gloves. Very smart! I put mine in my Nathan pouch. And completely forgot about it.
- Luna Moons - In a small cup. Thank you! I didn't have to struggle trying to open the packages! They had this one flavor that was kinda orangey looking but I could NOT tell what the flavor was. It was yummy, though.
- Ghiradelli chocolate squares - I love these. They were the best pick me ups. I think this was around mile 20 and I was dying for just about any kind of carbs at this point.
- There were also 2 Pedi Care Stations provided by Lady Foot Locker at miles 6.5 & 13.3 but apparently, I missed them completely. Although, there is no way in hell I would stop during a race to get manis and pedis? Hello, this is a timed running race!
- Jamba Juice smoothies at the end. God, they were so good and so filling. But I was freezing after I finished 2 cups. Haha. Yes, 2!
- How could I not mention the Tiffany necklace and the SFFD fire fighters handing them out, telling me that I did fantastic? I think I managed a smile at the end when I got my necklace. And man, I earned it! (Great photos of the necklace and finisher shirt on RoadBunner's race report, btw.)

I thought the food at the end of the race was just blah. Luna bars, bagels, bananas and water. Nothing really exciting. Ok, the smoothies by Jamba Juice were a nice though. But hello, they are one of the sponsors of the race! I thought SFM had better finish line food. But, an awesome ammenity at the end was being able to check your race results via laptops. Of course, by the end, I was limping around in pain and wanted to go home badly. Everything hurt so badly. So I didn't get a chance to check. I didn't even get to say hi to Audrey or Aron, who were both texting me. I wish I had checked my offical finish time because the website with the results were having technical issues all morning and I wasn't able to see until around noon today. Which was:

I actually don't live in Emeryville... That's the Jamba Juice headquarters!

This is a photo of Donato, who also works at Jamba Juice. He ran the full marathon in drag. I heard he ran the full in tutus last year. Notice his cute purse?? :-)

You can get more scoop on the Nike Women's Marathon from these ladies who posted their race reports and mini trailers already: KK, Alice, Marathon Martiza, RoadBunner. Oh and of course, check out Danica's race report from her Virtual Nike+ Half Marathon. I'm still waiting for a few more of you to upload your race report! ;-)

I am really happy that I finished. Even if I walked and ran a slow race. I am really happy that I didn't injure myself in the process! Oh and can you believe the NWM raised over 18 MILLION dollars? Wow. I feel really great about myself in so many ways!! And to all of you who ran the half and the full yesterday, YOU are amazing. Really. Ok, WE are amazing! ;-)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Nike Expo & Soap Box Derby

Just got back from the Nike Women's Marathon Expotique and I think I caught the excitement bug. This the second time I've done a Nike race and it wasn't a whole lot different from the years previous... but still fun, nonetheless. Although, this year, they had the iPod engraving stations, which were pretty darn cool. I got my favorite quote engraved:

"Well behaved women seldom make history." - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Up close!

There were long lines everywhere! It took me 45 minutes to get my iPod Nano engraved and a few times, I thought about ditching the line all together. But somehow, I stuck with it. I didn't even bother with the photo booth or the gait analysis... or the mini manicure stations! There were long lines there, too. I did stop by the Jamba Juice Cheer Stations to say hello to my friend and pick up my official Jamba shirt! So this is what I'm planning on wearing tomorrow.

THE outfit!
Back of the shirt! So cute!The cool timing chip!
I'm planning to meet the rest of the Jamba Juice team tomorrow morning at a JJ store near the starting line and apparently we're getting shuttled to the front of the line?!?! Oh I can't wait to see what that's going to be like. Although, I'm sure everyone and their mother is going to pass me up when we first start. I'm planning on starting very slooooow.

Duane and I also braved our way over to Dolores Park for the Red Bull Soap Box Derby... There must have been several thousand people there. It was a zoo! And the soap box cars that were in the competition were pretty neat.

Some guy selling homemade tamales on the street with a ghetto sign. Hehe.

After we finished our ginormous burritos that we picked up on the way, we head back home. I am so pooped right now! Last night, we stayed out until 3am celebrating a birthday with friends and today, we're driving down to Santa Cruz to celebrate yet another birthday. I'm hoping to be in bed by 11pm tonight. And I sincerely hope I can sleep either way during the drive, since Santa Cruz is at least an hour away from us. (The worst part of it all is that I did NOT drink at all last night and won't be drinking tonight, either. I try to stay away from all forms of alcohol the week of any race but it's SO hard! Do most of you follow this religiously? I have to admit, there are some days when I run with hangover, it feels so good. Like a good detox! But then, the longest run I've ever gone with a hang over is 12 miles... I am SO drinking tomorrow night!!)

I am excited about the race tomorrow!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

First Friday Freebie

It's been a busy week for me, not a lot of time to blog or read them. But I'll catch up!

This is my first official Friday Freebie! Ok, this could be first and last but still. I wanted to share this wonderful free download that I found this week. Bebo is a networking website, like MySpace and Facebook, I think? Not sure, I've only logged into it once or twice but recently I started getting email advertisements from them. I opened one email I received earlier this week planning to unsubscribe and found this subject in the email: 15 Free Songs on iTunes. Yep, as soon as I read free and iTunes and I was all ears. So I clicked on the link in the email and I was asked to add iTunes as my friend on Bebo. Afterward, I got a download code for those songs. It was super easy and now I am 15 song richer on my iTunes. So there, that's my freebie for the day. Go here to download your own code and you can get your own regular free monthly music mix! I listened to most of it already and they're bands that I had never heard of but weren't too bad. Some of them were actually pretty good. I always like discovering new music so I was happy. Did I mention it's also free?

This past week has been a light running week. On Monday, I ran a 7 miler at a very easy 10:15 pace. Wednesday, I went to my first track workout with PacWest. Really enjoyed the track workouts. I don't get to do them very often so I just ate it up. Did couple of strides and then did four 400s at about 1:45 at each. Didn't want to over do it since I have the Nike Marathon this weekend. I also did my final "taper" 4 miler run very slowly this morning.

What do I expect this weekend? Lots of running. Lots of Nike Spirit. Hopefully chocolate on the course and cute SF fire fighters handing out the Tiffany medals. I don't have a goal since this is supposed to be long training run for the CIM but I hope to finish under 4 hour and 30 min! I am planning to go the expo today and get my iPod engraved like Audrey!

Good luck to Audrey and RoadBunner who are doing the half; and good luck to Maritza, Taunya and Tara who are also running the full in the Nike Women's Marathon on Sunday! Yay girls!! (Did I miss anyone?) See you lovely ladies at the starting line! And Aron, I'll be looking for your signs in the peanut gallery!

Monday, October 13, 2008

CIM, Here I Come!

Reading all the race reports from this weekend has really inspired me! So, I signed up for the California International Marathon (CIM) in Sacramento on December 7th! I just bit the bullet and signed up. Totally impulsive Monday move, as usual. I have about 7 weeks to train for it. I mean, REALLY really train hard. I even joined a Pacific West Athletics training group for the CIM. They let me join half way through with a prorated rate and I start Wednesday with their track workouts. Of course, I'll take it easy for the Nike marathon on Sunday. That one doesn't really count. I know I'm not really ready for it. But I might be in December!

Aron, Leslie and TinaGirl, I'll see you guys at the starting line!! :-) Anyone else want to join us on December 7th?

Now, hopefully all will go well on Sunday at the Nike Marathon and I can start training like a mad runner. I love my running problem! ;-)

Friday, October 10, 2008

TGIF and Tagged!

Is it me or do Fridays seem to come around faster and faster? It's great but why do they come around so quickly??

Thank you for all the marathon/running book suggestions! I ordered 26.2 Marathon Stories (for pictures) and the Ultraman by Dean Karnazes for some inspiration from at ridiculously cheap prices. I've written down all the other titles and hope to order them one after the other. Thank you for again! If I'm not running, I will be reading!

Also, did a great 6 miler yesterday. I tried loosening my laces as ncrunner12 suggested and it's a little better. But we'll have to see. I'm resting today but going for 8 miles tomorrow!

And, I've been tagged by *Aron* and ncrunner12... Thanks for the love! So here are my 6 random things:

1. I've lived in Kazakhstan for 18 months from 2001-2002. During this time, I had an opportunity to northwest China, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. Yep, you heard me correctly. After 9/11 tragedy and everything else that ensued, Afghanistan was opened up to outsiders. I was able to enter with international aid organizations to do "aid" work. It was life changing, to say the least!

2. I commute 53 mile each way for work - no morning runs for me, sadly. Sometimes, it takes me up to 2 hours. My hubby and I carpool together so it's usually less but still. We really need to do something about it. Either we move closer to my work or I need to find a new job. I'm starting to have mini-breakdowns about the commute these days. The thing is, my work relocated back to the Bay Area from New York so I have to pay back my relocation fees. Which is about $10,000+. Yikes. (Good thing I work from home on Fridays!)

3. I am currently sporting eyelash extensions. I know, this probably sounds strange but these kind of cosmetic enhancements actually exist! I have individual fake eyelashes glued to my natural ones. (Someone else did it and it took 3 hours. I know, I'm crazy!) They are super long. Without it, I nornally look like a fire victim. Oh the things I go through to look "good".

4. I can whistle to just about any tune. And really good at it, too.

5. I have 3 tattoos and early next year, planning on getting more. I found this awesome tattoo artist near by but she's so booked up, I have to wait til February of 2009. I currently have a tiger (born the year of), phoenix (I was young when I got this one) and my name in Chinese characters... Not sure why I did that because I'm actually Korean!??! I am planning on getting on dogwood blossoms because I need something a bit more feminine! I love how it looks and what it represents.

6. I don't turn red when I drink. Which is a good thing when I don't want to look sloshed. The bad thing is that I get sloshed way too often because of that exact reason...

Happy Friday everyone!! Have a great weekend and great races for those of you who are racing. You are all Kenyans to me. REALLY! (What is it about Kenyans that moves us so much??)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

TIART: Signs That Keep Me Going

It's Take It and Run Thursday again at Runner's Lounge! Today's topic is "Signs you would love to see while running your race."

I loved the interesting and relevant trivia signs along the San Francisco Marathon (SFM) route. For example:

Where was the fortune cookies invented?
Where was The Grateful Dead play their last concert?
The tallest building in San Francisco is...

Anyway, I'm just going by memory so they're verbatum but there were quite a few of these kinda trivia!

During the race, I'd read one and usually can't wait to find out the answer... And there are times when I miss it and wish that I had paid more attention to the signs. Of course, I've ran the SFM 4 years in a row and noticed that these trivia haven't changed year after year! But, even when I know the answer, I anticipate seeing the trivia questions and look forward to the answers. They definitely keep my mind off the pain!

My favorite sign EVER is a sign that some guy was holding after I emerged from Golden Gate Park into Haight Street, during my first SFM. Somewhere around mile 19, maybe? The guy was holding up high this sign: YOU ARE ALL KENYANS TODAY. I remember how inspired and moved I was when I read that sign. I felt renewed and strong. I felt like crying with pride! Even as I type these words, I'm getting emotional because I can still remember that moment. I would never be an elite marathon racer, nor win a race. But, when I run in a marathon, I feel like a Kenyan. And I'm doing something I never thought I'd be able to do. Here's a good compilations of other marathon signs from Elite Feet for Runners.

So, I would love to see more signs with trivia relevant to the city or the race or about running itself. I might as well learn something if I'm running 13.1 or 26.2 or longer!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Running/Marathon Book Recommendations?

Seems like quite a few of you are reading running or marathon books. I've never read a running book before. Ever! But I'm ready to start reading one. Does anyone have any good recommendations? Either for good running tips or inspirations or just great running stories? Picture books are welcome, too. :-)

On the training front, I'm technically supposed to start tapering for the Nike Marathon on Octobe 19th. But, how do you taper when I haven't really trained for it?

I've recovered surprisingly fast from the half marathon on Sunday. The top of my right foot is a bit sore again and thinking my shoes need to be retired. I've definitely run more than 300 miles on my latest GT-2130 and I think it's time for a new one. My Achilles tendon has also been behaving well and no pain since that one time. Maybe it was confused. Or maybe I am?

I have this picture on my Blackberry Pearl now, thanks to Erik's post last week. It really inspires me to get a pedicure. Haha. Ok, kidding. I want to go run!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rock n Roll San Jose Half Marathon Race Report

I stayed up late last night writing up my day yesterday and I really regretted that this morning. I was excited about the race today so I had a hard time falling asleep and on top of that, I got up at 5am. I have to start drinking less water before I go to bed! I somehow fell asleep again and got up around 6:15am. Which is bad since we needed to leave the house no later than 6:30am to drive an hour to San Jose! Yikes. We rushed out of the house and somehow found parking quickly and got over to the starting time with 10 min to spare. Phew!

As soon as we neared the main drag of the race, I could smell the race spirit in the air. There were tons of people, warming up, stretching and doing whatever race preparation they needed to do. I was in corral 3 but apparently there were 13 corrals, with about 1000 people in each corral. Wow. I have never been in a race with that many people! When the gun went off, Duane and I took off pretty quickly. Much faster than I should have. With all the excitement and the crowd, I couldn't help it. Besides, my mind always want to run at a faster pace but my body has a harder time catching up! After Mile 2, I realized I needed to slow down. My lungs were working over capacity and I was feeling slightly lightheaded. I pulled it back a little. Around Mile 6, I realized I had to reconsider my running pace, yet, again. What the hell was I thinking I could "wing" a 13.1 miles?? Ok, need to pull back to over-self confidence, too. The sad (but inspiring) thing was around this point, the elite runners were coming down their final stretch on the other side of the road. And seeing these running machines and their amazingly fast strides made me want to pump my arms and pick up my speed just a little bit more. I'd never win a race but I can win the Julianne race. I struggled through most of the latter half. There was a point, when I thought about the unthinkable: walking. But I told myself, just a little bit longer. Not quite yet! It was especially disheartening to see runners by the dozens started passing me up, again and again. I told myself over and over, this is a race against me. Not against anyone else. I started to visualize an empty road with just me running, and it actually helped. The funny thing is, I was complaining about how lonely the SFM was... But it seemed a bit crowded today with 10,000+ runners. Hmm. I need to find a good balance.

What also helped me get through the race was that there was a runner carrying the US flag, who ran ahead of me for the most of the entire way. On the back of his shirt, it said: Gimme Something To Run For. And below it was a hand written sign "Support Our Troops". It was very inspiring to see someone who was so passionate about something to run 13.1 miles with a US flag on a big pole. He was carrying it high enough that even when I fell behind quite a a bit, I could see the flag bobbing. It gave me something to catch up to. I guess he was my "rabbit"! I didn't think I was going to finish the race under 2 hours. My legs were super tired and I felt like I had lost some steam after starting out too fast. I had slowed down so much around mile 6 that I was sure I was doing a 10 min mile pace. Thank goodness for the race clocks every 5 miles or so, it helped me keep track and reminded me where I needed to be. Around mile 10, I realized that I could still make it under 2 hours. So I picked up speed and maintained my pace. For the most part, anyway. Around mile 12, the clock said 1:48. I knew, I could run a mile in less than 10 miles! When I saw the 13 mile marker, I turned it on. Full. Speed. Ahead. I was in pain but it felt so good. I even passed up the guy with the flag towards the end. I wanted to tell him that he helped me along the way but I never saw him again. I was a also a bit emotional, too. End was in sight, yay! As I sprinted across the finish line, I knew I didn't PR but so happy with this time:After the race, I met up with a few friends and even got to see Aron and her friend. Here's the pic from my phone camera:

Ok, note to self: No more gray technical shirts at races.

Great job Aron and Audrey on a great race today!! Oh and Duane PR'd today. 1:59:46. Cleared 2 hours by 14 seconds! :-)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Nice Surprises!

There's been some nice surprises for me in the past couple of days. I got an email yesterday morning from

This message is generated as confirmation of your recent registration on You have been successfully registered for the following:

Registration: 2008 Nike Women's VIP Marathon and Half Marathon

Purchase Date: 10/03/08
Category: VIP Marathon Registration

Name: Julianne

You are now registered for The Nike Women's Half Marathon and Marathon, a race to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Race Start:
Union Square, San Francisco, CA

Holy cow!!! I really really had given up all dreams of running the Nike Women's Marathon in 2 weeks. Yes, you heard me right. 2 weeks until the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. I had been trying to get into this race for several months but it's been sold out for a long time now. My friend who works for Jamba Juice corporate told me that they had a waiting list for their corporate spots and would add me on... just in case anyone dropped out. I had no news from my friend... UNTIL Thursday afternoon. There was a spot for the marathon and she asked me if I still wanted to run it. I said, OF COURSE I DO. SIGN ME UP! That's when I got the email. And it also says I'm registered for the VIP Marathon? Not sure what that means but I'll find out soon enough, I guess. (This registration was also free thanks to Jamba Juice!) I am so excited. I've run the Nike Half before and I really wanted to run the full. There is a slight problem, though. I have not been training for a marathon in the past month or so! After I gave up my dreams, I've been training for my Rock n Roll Half Marathon in San Jose tomorrow!! Yes, tomorrow. (As Duane is making our potluck dish for our cousin's son's birthday party, I am typing away in the kitchen. He is such a great husband!) And then we have to hit the sack to get up early for tomorrow's race! Anyway, back to the Nike Marathon. I am so not ready and I don't want to injure myself so I plan to take it easy. Run at a good pace but not overly pushing myself and WALK if I need to. Especially those lovely San Francisco hills.

Also, I also received an email from Tom and Amy from the Runner's Lounge! I was selected to receive an autographed copy of "The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life" for contributing to this week's Take It and Run Thursday (TIaRT) : Life Lessons Learned from Running! Wow. Talk about nice surprises! I've read many of the TIaRTs from this week, which left me touched and inspired... And I am truly honored to be selected!

Today, D and I drove down to San Jose to pick up our race packets for tomorrow's race. And ran into a few unexpected friends who are also running the race. I also had an opportunity to meet up with Audrey finally!! It was kinda neat. Our virtual friendship finally connected in real life! So, of course, we had to take some pictures. Good thing I had my battery in my camera, unlike someone who shall remain nameless: A u d r e y

Audrey & me

Audrey & me at the expo sign

I also picked up this awesome license plate from Women's Running Magazine (formerly Her sports) by subscribing to their bi-monthly magazine. $20 subscription for a year and a half and the license plate was something I couldn't pass up. Aren't these cute? If you see a 1997 green Ford Mustang with this license plate, it's me!

I am really excited about the race tomorrow!! Ok, I really need to hit the hay now!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

TIaRT: Creating My Own Destiny

In contribution to this week's TIaRT's theme: Life Lessons Learned from Running, I wanted to dig deep. Back in my freshman year in high school, I wanted to run. I thought cross country was so cool. Besides, the junior varsity team had some hot looking guys!! On top of that, I was never good at sports that involved hand-eye coordination. I stank at every group sport... from softball to volleyball to basketball, you name it. But, running, that was something I thought I could do. Cross country was perfect!

I told my parents that I wanted to run cross-country. I thought they would be excited for me. But, I got this response from my dad, "You're not built for running. You shouldn't do it". Not sure if he thought I had two left feet or if he was concerned for me but I think I burst into tears at that point. He tried to explain to me that I just wasn't meant to run long distances. That my body wasn't built that way. Maybe I should try tennis, instead?

I was so hurt. I wanted him to support me and believe that I could do it. Or at least, pretend to! Even if he didn't really think so. I ran anyway. I wanted to prove him so wrong. And I did. That Freshman year, I joined the cross country team and ran for the next two years. I think I was the slowest girl the first year. But slowly, I improved. I started passing people up. And it felt so great! I loved running. I loved the power it gave me.

Several years back, I told my parents that I was going to train for a marathon. My dad said this time, "Do you think just anyone runs a marathon?" I wasn't surprised by his response. He's not as heartless as he sounds. To his eyes, his little girl just wasn't the running type. Well, since then, I've run 4 marathons. The very first one, I finished just a bit over 4:13. Running wasn't always consistent since high school. But it was gave me self confidence when I was out on the road, pounding the pavement. Sure, I don't look like a runner, even now. But, when I cross that finish line (whether it be a 5k or 26.2 miles), I know I did my best. That I started. That I am as good as I think I am. It gives me confidence that no one can take away from me. I know I can do anything I put my mind to. This is what I learned from running: That I create my own destiny and expand my potential in life... I created this running life, for myself and no one can take that away.

I went for another 5 miler after work on Tuesday with D. You're right, I felt so much better! It only felt like I was wearing 5 lb ankle weights this time. Not 10! Ha! I rested yesterday and will again today. I'm sorta kinda tapering for the Rock n Roll San Jose Half Marathon on Sunday. I'll go for a short run on Friday... then RACE time again! I'm very excited about the half marathon! Bunch of my friends are running it, as well as Aron and Audrey!!