Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Break from a Hiatus Update

It's been a while. I haven't been here since mid May. I needed a break. Not worry about turning on my laptop after dinner or sneaking in a blog or two (or 10) during my work hours. And strangely, it's been a nice break and freedom.

But, I definitely miss the runners and the running community... and wondering what the heck is going on with you all!

I just dropped in to say hi and tell you that I completed the following while I was away!

May 31 - RnR San Diego Marathon 4:33:44 (with the ROHOs and ran with Maritza)

June 7 - Muddy Buddy (with Audrey, soooo fun!)

June 20 - Stadium to Stadium 10k 54:22 (PR'd by 4 seconds! ;-)

I still have Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon coming up on July 19th. And also the San Francisco Marathon, which I am officially pacing the 4:45 group. I am so excited and thrilled to be a pacer. I haven't trained this hard since I was training for the CIM. Knowing there will be a group of people counting on me to lead them to the finish has been a huge motivating factor. My PR on that SFM course is 4:09:29 and it will also be my 5th time running it... so I'm not stressed about the time or the course. I just hope I can run at a consistent 10:52/mile pace!

Also, I got an email today from the director of Hope Runs that the 777 Challenge has been cancelled. Due to the current economic climate and fundraising issues, they have decided not to pursue the endeavor anymore. This is VERY disappointing, of course. I wasn't anywhere close to where I needed to be and have been on the verge of resigning from the team. But I was hoping to see the challenge carry out and provide exposure to the runners and the organization. They may start up again in the future but no definite plans right now. A HUGH THANKS to all of you who've supported me emotionally and financially... THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How To Turn Around A Bad Day

Now that Big Sur Marathon is done, I am in full training mode for the Rock n Roll San Diego Marathon on May 31st. That leaves me with less than 3 weeks until race day! In all honesty, I have been more in recovery mode than training mode. I have been seeing a chiropractor and therapist to treat my IT Band strain. With the electrotherapy and other treatments, my leg has been feeling much better. With all that said, I've been still baby'ing the injury and not been going all out. For example, last weekend, my 20 miler turned into a pathetic 10 miler. Obviously, I should be peaking with 50+ miles last week and this week but this time around, training hasn't produced the high mileage that I had hoped. I am doing something differently this time. A little less miles but more cross training like Elliptical machines, spinning, more core focus and weight training. I know most of you guys do this already but usually, I'm all about running!

I guess I'm being "flexible" but at this point with so little time left, I am counting on the training that I put in for Big Sur last month. I plan to do my regular weekly runs and my last 20 miler this weekend but I hope that's enough. It's been also getting really warm out here in Northern California!! I miss my winter, already!

My biggest concern is pacing Maritza for her PR goals at SD. I don't want to struggle to keep up pace with Maritza when I'm supposed to be her pacer!!

Very excited to meet so many bloggers that weekend. There's an email going around discussing blogger meetup/Tweetup on Saturday for lunch. If anyone else is running RnR SD and want to meet up, please leave me a comment with your email address! :-)

If you're wondering about my blog post title, I'm not having a bad day. It's a title of a song from Hella Sound. I was interviewed by the fabulous John Frenette at Hella Sound. Hella Sound is custom running music sync'd to your pace. Seriously, it's amazingly effective. I usually do my easy training runs at about 9:20 average pace. When I listen to "How To Turn Around a Bad Day", I run at about 8:40 average page. I turn the music on and I go into auto mode at a faster pace. It's simple amazing how your feet moves to the beat! Anyway, please check out my interview here and if you're more interested in how Hella Sound works, please click here!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Big Sur Marathon Race Report

Here's the recap for those who wants the short and sweet version. Hubby and I ran the Big Sur International Marathon on Sunday and did our personal worst: 5:35:28 marathon finish. But, we had a lot of fun overall and look forward to our next race. :-)

Now, for those of you who wants to hear the rest of the details (that would be oh about 3 of you, maybe)... here we go.

The weekend started off great, weather was great and we both felt good about the race. Originally, it was just me racing on Sunday. But via Twitter and Bart Yasso (@bartyasso), I was able to snag a comp entry for Duane. I was thrilled, we could experience Big Sur together. I knew it was going to be a tough race for Duane since he didn't train. But the last few half marathons he ran, he didn't train and still pulled out a sub 2 hour finish! So I thought he could do it. I was concerned, though. We've all heard of men who die on marathon courses? Well, he's in that age category. So we told ourselves that we were going to take it easy and just have fun. No need to push hard.

Half way down the trip to Big Sur, which is about 2 hours away... we ran out of gas. Literally. We knew we were low on gas but we had so much fun talking that we totally forgot. (Note to Duane: See? If I was on Twitter and tweeting, you might have remembered to get gas!!)

Thankfully, we rolled to a stop about 200 yard away from a gas station as we tried to glide off the exit ramp... And quickly, D was able to get a gallon of gas.

Duane in action!

We were on our way again! Yay!! We got go the marathon expo in time to meet up with our pals Shelly, Michael, RoadBunner and Dennis... Although, I only remembered to get pic with Shelly! The expo was packed, there were supposedly about 10,000+ runners that were doing the marathon, relay and various other distances. We picked up our bibs, shirts and shuttle passes and checked into our hotel.

Shelly & me at the Expo
Shelly, who just ran the Boston Marathon 6 days before is a champ. She could down beers the night before and still pull out sub 8 min avg pace marathons. Craaazy. She's my hero.

Dinner was awesome! Really yummy food at Cantinetta Luca in Carmel. I just have to remember that their pasta portions are TINY! I was content but... when Shelly said she was meeting her friend Greg at the Knuckles bar at our hotel, I couldn't say no!

And, of course, we had to go for round 2... With our beers and the Texas Fries! Did I mention our shuttle to the starting line was at 3:45 AM??

Oh yes, the famous Texas Fries at Knuckle's Bar @ the Hyatt! More carbo loading!
D and I finally went to bed around 10:30pm ... and totally Zzzzz'd.

Next morning, or rather 4 hours later, we were up and at it. Here's my race outfit... Although, it was so cold, I ended up running with my long sleeve the entire race. Btw, I found some great deals on for the Hyatt at Monterey... for about $130 a night. They normally go for $350+! Needless to say, I was very happy with the deal and the beautiful hotel.

Here's me at 3:30 am all gussied up for the marathon!

Big Sur International Marathon is a point to point race, starting from the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park running along the scenic Highway 1 and finishes in Carmel. Now, in order to bus the thousands of runners the race shuttle starts at butt crack of dawn. We caught the 4am bus to the windy Highway 1 freeway. One perk (if you call it that) of waiting for the race to start is that they have coffee, hot chocolate and bagels for the runners. It was SO cold, I regretted wearing shorts!! Brrr.

Dennis at the start line!
And the gang! Don't they awfully look happy and excited??
Duane and me!Can you feel the excitement??

So the race started at 6:45am and we crossed the start line a few moments after. We started with the 3:40 pace group because Shelly and Dennis are fast! But soon after, the 4:10 pace group caught up to us. We stayed with the 4:10 pace group until about mile 10 when I *had* to go to the bathroom. Apparently, I didn't finish all the business before the start!!!!

Um, of course, I picked the Port-a-Potties near the Taiko drummers and it felt really odd. I could feel the drum beats while I was "going"! Oh and did I mention how windy it was? I was scared the Port-a-Potty was going to tip over!!
The Taiko Drummers (Pretty cool!)
Immediately after this, Hurricane Point faced us. Look at this elevation chart for the big elevation change. (Click on the chart for a bigger version.)
We went from 100 ft to 600 ft of HILL, over 2 miles! Talk about a tough climb. Up until this point, we were doing ok. Even with Duane's non-training we were still able to pull out a 2:20 half marathon split time. If it wasn't for the darn Hurricane Point, we would have a much more decent half split time. We thought he might even PR! Anyway, this is where things stated to go downhill for Duane. Literally. His knees started to hurt and so did his old Achilles Heel injury. The downhills hurt his knee so bad, he had to walk gingery most of the time... Poor guy. I thought he was being a wimp and I got mad at him. Oops.

Hurricane Point
Bart Yasso once said that if you do one marathon in your life time, it should be Big Sur. (Or something like that...) Anyway, I could see why that is so. The course is breathtakingly beautiful, with the beatiful Pacific Ocean to the left hugging the coast of Big Sur! But then, it's a super challenging course, with lots of hills and elevation change of 600 feet!

How do you think I got up this high??
Right around the half way point is the famous Bixby Bridge piano player... You can hear it from about a mile away and it's the most beautiful sound! Although, I've anticipating getting to this point for so long that it was a bit anticlamatic when we walked by this guy...

So pretty!! Seriously, worth the pain. Duane and I walked a lot. We stopped a lot, too. We definitely took our time and enjoyed the scenery. And took pictures, too. Lots of them!
We tried taking lots of our own... but as you can see above, it didn't always come out well. A nice couple that we ran with for a while (who were also walking) offered to take our photo! So nice. :-)

Too bad something got in the way!
Around mile 16, Duane was wiped out. The no-training was starting to really show it's ugly head. We got passed up by the 4:30 pace group a while back and even the 5:00 pace group. *sigh* Soon after, another pace group caught up with us. Jeff Galloway's pace group. I overheard people saying Galloway promised a 5 hour-ish finish, if you followed his 1:1 method. Run 1 minute and walk 1 minute. I've heard of the Galloway method before but never really understood. Michael is a die-hard Gallway runner and you can read more about his adventures on his blog. We were really excited about the opportunity to run with the famous marathoner, Olympian and author! I was too shy to ask for a photo with him but I definitely got a pic of his back. LOL!

We ran with Jeff Galloway's group for a long time. For a good 4 miles anyway. I definitely noticed that it was easier to walk and run! Duane's knee on the other hand, didn't like the stopping and starting again... So we walked. Starting mile from about mile 21 we walked, all the way to the finish. I thought about going ahead and leaving Duane behind but misery loves company and he wouldn't have been in that misery if it wasn't me. I felt responsible and well, at that point, I had kissed a sub 5 hour finish good bye. Might as well stick together, right? And, honestly, I was happy to walk, too. Marathons are no joke. I don't know why I never remember the painful parts of the marathon when I sign up for these!

Cool mile markers!
This elderly couple passed us a few times... for the last time around mile 24! At this point, I was hoping to finish under the alotted 6 hour time for the race.My Big Sur International Marathon experience was ... definitely long. We finally crossed the finish line at 5:35:28. And painful, too. Because of the downhill runs, I ended up gripping my toes and the balls of my feet against the shoe soles too much. And ended up with some gnarly blisters again. And I realized no matter how slow we ran or walked, 26.2 miles is just LONG time to be on your feet. I was so tired!

Here's our medal. It's made out of ceramic!
Yeah, so it wasn't my best marathon. But with my 8th marathon under my belt, I'm glad for the experience. You know what they say, a marathon humbles you. Well, not only did the Big Sur Marathon humble me but it totally kicked my butt. Duane and I talked about what a tough course it was but so unique and beautiful. We will definitely be back. Next year, I am going to conquer Hurricane Point!

Monday, April 13, 2009

I’m Famous! (Ok, not really…)

Since I’ve started fundraising for the Hope Runs 777 challenge, I have been blown away by friends and strangers coming out of the woodworks to help me. Not just financially (which is great and still need more), but also in ways to promote my cause!

Here are two great examples…

Chris Russell (also @cyktrussell) from RunRunLive offered to interview me on his famous running podcast! I was totally nervous about my first live interview for a podcast but everything seemed to fall into place. (Even if I did bumble up a few times… *sigh*) Maybe good practive for live TV one day? Well, one can only hope! If you’re interested in checking out the podcast, you can either click here OR search in the iTunes Store for “RunRunLive” and download episode 63. Let me know if you listen to it one day. Again, I can’t thank Chris enough for willing to feature me. Wow!

Ethan Austin from Give Foward (an innovative giving/fundraising site) and Play City (where you can use sports to make a positive impact on our local and global communities), who offered to interview me on their Play City blog. Ethan has not only been fantastic in giving me fundraising tips and ideas but providing really great emotional support. My interview with Ethan just went live today and you can check it out here. There are pictures of me on the blog post.

Most of all, thank you ALL for being part of my adventure. I love my social network/community on my running blog, Twitter and Facebook. You make me feel like I’m not doing this alone!

Oh, a quick question... I'm totally new to the running podcast thing. Do you listen to them while you run? And if you DO listen to running podcasts, what are they? I'm looking for recommendations! ;-)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Race for Roses Half Marathon Report

Sunday was a perfect day for a half marathon in Portland! Last time I met up with the Portland Bloggers and Joggers (PB&J) gals, they convinced me I needed to run the Races to Roses half marathon. I'm a sucker for running races so it really didn't take much for me to be convinced. Especially it only cost $40 and also the proceeds were going to Albertina Kerr Center, a local Portland non-profit that "works with children who have emotional or mental health challenges, individuals with developmental disabilities, and their families".

Race for Roses wasn't just ANY half marathon for me. It was my first race as a pacer and for Alisa. I was a bit concerned because my hip has been bothering me for a few weeks now... Not sure if it's my IT band or sciatica nerve or the hip socket. Sometimes, it feels like all 3 of them hurt at the same time. Last Sunday, I had planned on a very hilly 18 miler and around my 10th mile, my hip flared up so badly, I had to tell my hubby who was out riding his bike on my run to go back and get the car. It was that painful. Discouraged, I had taken the whole week off and only went out on Saturday to make sure I could even run! Fortunately, Saturday's 6 miler proved I could indeed run. I took it easy and ran 6 miles at about 9:10 pace. It felt good to run after a week off.

I flew up pretty late Saturday night and when I got to their guest bedroom, my awesome race shirt and bib was sitting on the bed! (Hello, a small tech shirt? I love this race!! I normally wear a medium or sometimes large. Ugh!)

The next morning around 5am, we downed some toast with peanut butter and yummy French press coffee (the best way to drink coffee ever) and headed out to the race. One thing I really loved about this race is that the race starts right outside the Portland convention center so you can actually wait inside the center. The weather was perfect but still, a little chilly at 6:30am...

Here's Alisa and me. Yeah, she's tall. And well, I'm short. Her new nickname is Giraffe. I'll tell you in a little bit.
I was told the route would be pretty flat... but, it wasn't! There were couple of challenging hills but that also meant fast downhills. So, granted the hills in Portland are nothing like the hills in SF but a hill is a hill, nonetheless!

Oh, we also ran (literally) into Cindy around mile 4... She was doing the half marathon as part of her training run for her Vancouver Marathon in a few weeks. She was going to run another 7 miles after the race! Yes, she really does have sexy legs in real life! ;-)

Alisa did super well for the first half... she went out strong and ran it faster than her normal pace. But of course, I know first hand what a fast start does to you... She did slow down in the second half but she pulled off a strong race. I definitely had to pull a drill sargent act once or twice but Alisa was definitely motivated to PR on Sunday. She definitely didn't give up. I admire you spirit Alisa. I know another huge PR is waiting for you around the corner. Maybe RnR SD?? :-)

I told Alisa I would make her sprint near the finish... and she did. When the finish line was in sight, she took thoses long long legs and sprinted past me. It was like a giraffe graces whizzed by me. I had no chance. I was the hippopotamus!!! So that's how she got her new nickname on Sunday. The Giraffe.

Oh, btw, she did PR. By 11 minutes! Alisa's official half marathon finish time is 2:27:04!!! I came in a second later according to the official chip time. I know I was there to encourage Alisa for those 13.1 miles but really, it was ALL Alisa. Congrats on your PR, Alisa. You totally deserve it!!

Here's our group photo... Sarah, Mr. Pi (aka Alisa's hubby who drove us to the race and cheered for us, what a sweetie), Alisa, Amy, Emily and moi.

Here's the PB&J girls all cleaned up! You can read more Race for Roses race reports on their blog, too! They all ran excellent races on Sunday!
Amy, Jen, Alisa, Emily and me. Sarah was running a little late. :-)
This is how *I* celebrated after the race!
And then some more!

Here is my favorite photo from the race... The Hippo and the Giraffe.

One last thing, I also ran my half marathon for Tim and Jeannine Oberholzer. Jeanine passed away on Saturday from Cystic Fibrosis... Here's my finisher rose from the race and the medal that I dedicate to them.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Status Update on Fundraising

Here’s where I am so far with the fundraising. I have officially raised $900. (The Chip In widget on the right doesn't have all the totals!) A paltry amount to $45k. But, this is from my personal network of friends and family (and some of you), who opened up their wallets to support me. I have had donations as big as $100 to as small as $5. Every little bit counts. And I thank you very much!! I also had a small Tweetup last Frday at SNOB (Sonoma, Napa or Beyond) where I was able to meet some great people from Twitter. I absolutely LOVE my network on Twitter. I didn’t raise a whole lot of money there but it was great to network and meet people who gave me some great advice.

Give Forward has generously offered to partner with me and Hope Runs to help me gain more exposure and fundraising. Thank you Ethan for your willingness to help and offer up so many great suggestions!! I am hoping this partnership will also generate a lot of exposure for me and Hope Runs!

I have a few other events coming up in the next few weeks. On April 3rd, I am hosting a Ghetto Gourmet style dinner at an undisclosed location in the San Francisco East Bay. It’s a gourmet 4 course meal with wine pairing by a talented chef who has worked at various upscale restaurants in the Bay Area. One of them being a Michelin Starred restaurant. It’s a major deal to get a Michelin Star, by the way! Here’s the link, if you’d like to attend (or know anyone who might).

Another event I have is a Guest Bartending gig at The Boardroom in San Francisco. I’m doing it with a few other girlfriends (including Tara and Maritza), who are willing to donate their time to make you some delicious cocktails. ALL CASH tips will go straight to Hope Runs. So, if you’re in the area on April 9th, please stop by and bring lots of dollar bills!! (Larger bills are ok, too!)

One last thing, are we friends on Facebook? Would you like to be part of my Hope Runs 777 Challenge group?? And I have another blog over at WordPress to document my fundraising efforts... (Don't ask me how I am planning on keeping up with that one since I have a hard time keeping up with *this* one!!!)

Thank you for reading! :-)

Oh, wish us luck tomorrow, The Dirty Divas (me, Shelly, Audrey, Tara & Maritza) has a mud run challenge at the Big Sur Mud Run tomorrow morning!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Race Reports, Garmin and Baby... OH MY!

I know, I know. I've been bad. Bad about blogging and bad about reading blogs. I haven't abandoned it or anything. Just... bad about updating. So, I'm going to give you a quick succession of brief updates about me and what's been going on the past few weeks.

So, the painful memories of Napa Valley Marathon dissipated pretty quickly although, the remnant of the running plagued for several days! Blisters from the marathon lingered around my feet but I also got more. Ugh. Turned out, I had the wrong type of shoes for my wide feet. I needed more stability than motion control. Anyhow, I was directed to the "right" shoes by my new favorite shoe guy at the Sports Basement. Hello, Mizuno Alchemy 8! I ran on it a few times and it's SO much better!

Two Sundays ago on March 8th, I ran my first free race ever: The Sports Basement 5k in Sunnyvale. There was a 175 cap on the runners and it was definitely a fun run. There were bibs but no timed chips, although our finish times were recorded as we crossed the finish line. Nothing fancy but definitely a run I'll do again. Mega points for free t-shirts and great swag for a free race! My official finish time was 24:35! Not bad considering my PR for a 5k was 24:15, when I weighted 10 lbs less and it was the first time I ran after Napa Valley!

This past Sunday, I ran my first 12k at the Emerald Across the Bay 12k in San Francisco. It's one hilly ride but a beautiful course and well worth the pain. I also got to run it with Maritza, Tara, Kristin, Sandra (she was in an earlier wave) and my good friend Michaela. We all ran a fantastic race and I'm really proud of my 1:04:56 finish. That is a 8:48 min average pace... which for me, is pretty decent. In all honesty, I was disappointed that I didn't run faster but really, I'm pretty happy with what I did. As you can see, I looked very happy running it, too. I'm such a ham in front of a camera! (Did I mention it rained the WHOLE time??)
While I was up in Portland last week, I also got to do a Tweetup with fellow runners: Christine and Michelle from Running Chicks in PDX (top)and Amy, Alisa and Justin (bottom). :-)

Oh and did I mention I have now joined "The Fellowship of Garmin"? Or the "Church of Garmin"? I bit the bullet and threw down some serious cash for the Garmin Forerunner 405. If you remember from my previous post, my Nike+ Sportband died in the rain. And I was so hearbroken, I couldn't get another one to replace it... So I decided to upgrade to what the "serious" runners use. I had issues setting up "Kermit" the first day but I soon figured it out and now we're happy as can be.
And guess what? I was asked to pace the San Francisco Marathon in July!! I didn't have much choice but I am pacing the 4:45 finish group. I don't really care about the time, I know I can do 4:45 easy. I get to run my 5th SFM for free!! Woot!

I also ran the Mermaid Half Marathon (a women's only event) this past Sunday. I thought I was ready for a PR but turns out, I wasn't. There were some strong gusty winds in both directions and towards the end rain... again. AND mud. Lots of mud that felt like I had 10 lb ankle weights on both legs! Below is me, our friend Shelly and Tara at the start. Oh things started so well... We started off at sub 8:30 pace and I soon petered out. I finished at 1:58:35. Not my best finish but considering, not bad! We also saw Audrey at the end but we didn't get a pic together. :-(

By the way, thank you ALL for your encouraging and supportive comments on my Napa Marathon post. I got choked up thinking how lucky I am to have such an amazing running community behind me.

OH and we had an unexpected surprise Saturday morning! My sister delivered 3 weeks early. Averie Eunhae Lopez showed up at 11:15am weighing 5.8 lbs and 18" long. Thankfully, my sister had a wonderfully short labor... less than 2 hours and pushed for only 15 minutes? I hope that's all genetic! Here's Averie at Day 2! Both mother and baby are doing wonderfully!! (More gushing about niece to come!!)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Napa Valley Marathon Race Report

I completed my 7th marathon on Sunday and I have to say Napa Valley Marathon was one of the most grueling and painful races to date. Wait, let me start from the beginning. I've been training for this marathon since early January when I signed up for it. I had just run CIM in December and felt really good. I PR'd by 12 minutes at CIM and I felt like I could run another marathon pretty easily. So I started training, putting in the miles and hitting all the long runs. I wasn't planning on breaking another personal record this weekend but I wanted to do well. There was a lot of things I could control, like my training plan, nutrition, degree of workout, etc. One thing I didn't have control over was the weather.

I woke up Sunday morning at 4am to the sound of rain. It was expected. The weather forecast called for rain on Sunday. All week. I saw the heavy clouds forming by Sunset. But, I really really hoped that the rain would hold off until later Sunday. Like after I was done with the marathon. I've never run further than 8 miles in the rain and it wasn't because I chose to. I got caught in the rain! I heard the sound of rain, which I normally love but that morning, it was a sound of dread. I fell asleep for another 45 minutes and woke up. I got dressed, ate my pre-race peanut butter sandwich and faced the music. Questioning my sanity the whole time. I live about an hour away from Napa and as Duane drove me and my friend to the starting line, I saw the windshield wipers moving back and forth, back and forth. The rain was coming down. During the drive, I had all sorts of thoughts. Should I not run? What if I didn't finish? All sorts of doubts.

Started decently enough... (with my friend Dennis, who PR'd by 12 minutes, btw!)
At the start line, starting 6 min after gun time! (I'm in the pink shirt!)

We parked not to far from the starting line and I had to use the Porta-Potty as usual. This was supposed to be a smaller race, with about 3000 runners. Apparently, everyone and their mother had to go because the lines were really long. To make a long story short, I started 6 minutes after the gun went off. I kissed Duane good bye, even took a photo of me at the starting line and then, off I went. Marathon #7! I wasn't really nervous or all that excited. I figured I'd just enjoy myself and see where the run took me. It was actually kind of nice to start late because I didn't have to weave through people and saved me a lot of energy. Maybe that's why I started off too fast. Maybe if I started on time, I wouldn't have rushed in the beginning? Did I mention, it was still raining?
Me around mile 3, still going strong!
Did I mention that it rained the WHOLE time???

The first couple of miles were a breeze, I passed a bunch of people and felt I even caught up to my pace group. I must have been running around 8:30 min pace. There were a few hills in the beginning, actually, hillier than I expected but I still had a lot of energy at this point. Then, around mile 3, I felt wetness all around my feet. My shoes were wet. And so were my socks. At almost mile 4, I glanced at my Nike+ Sportband to see how fast I was going. It was blank. My watch died. I totally panicked. I didn't even know how far I had gone! I saw Duane around mile 5 and I shouted to him, "My watch died! Please go find my other watch in the bottom of my gym bag." The poor guy had to run with me for a few yard to catch what I was saying. Good thing I brought my gym bag with me where I have an old Timex Ironman watch. When Duane caught up with me around mile 8, I was completely soaked, freezing and already tired. My shoes sloshed and felt really heavy. Duane passed my the Timex and when I looked at it, it was an hour off due to the Day Light Savings from last year! Ugh, why didn't I check before??

It went downhill pretty quickly from there. I was still on target for a sub 4 hour finish at around half way point. I was running a bit too fast and Duane actually missed me twice, somewhere around the half way point and also at mile 18ish. I didn't see him again until mile 23. I had expected to see him and was really sad that I didn't. I was really struggling and could have used his lovely smile. The amazing thing is that at time when I didn't see Duane, I got to see the ROHOs! The girls had told me that they were coming up to cheer for me, which was the most awesome thing ever. I had text'd them at 5am to tell them not to come due to the rain but they came anyway. All dressed in ROHO gear with the BEST signs in tow. I think I heard them from half a mile away, with their cheering and cow-bell'ing. There wasn't much crowd support for this marathon, not sure if it was the rain or not... but it was pretty lonely out there. So whenever I neared any kind of crowd, I figured the noise came from them. And it did! They were like a little ray of sunshine during a storm... literally! If you haven't seen their spectator reports, go check out Aron, Tara, Maritza and Kristin's blog. They have some awesome photos!! I love the signs!!

So, besides the little spots of ROHO sunshine, it was a tough run. So let's see, where was I? I was soaked to my socks, my Nike+ died... My Timex had the wrong time and I forgot how to set it and didn't bother to even start the timer. Oh and my left ankle started sending out sharp pains. And the best part was that I started to feel lots of irritation on the soles of my feet. Yep, blisters were forming. I did something really stupid. I bought brand new shoes a week before my marathon and I figured since they were Asics GT-2140s, shoes that I have never had issues with, I was good to go. Maybe under normal circumstances, that may have been ok even to run in a marathon. But in the rain, brand new shoes were probably not a smart choice. I felt irritation and pain in areas that I don't normally feel. Like on the balls of my feet. I am not going to share these blister photos with you because I wince every time I look at my feet. And I don't want to gross you out! I have a total of 5 blisters the size of a quarter EACH. One of which I freshly popped and drained tonight. They all hurt like a mother during the race but somehow, I was able to block them out!

Anyway, back to the run. Somehow, I managed to make it to mile 16 but at this point, I was done. I thought about quitting. But the idea of a DNF was worse than any physical pain. I knew Duane and the ROHO girls were out there waiting for me at the next landmark and I couldn't let them down! I already felt bad that they had to wait so long for me! Slowly, my sub 4 hour finish started slipping away from me. I had to walk a few times, every few miles, I walked for a few minutes. Around mile 22, I knew I couldn't stop anymore. Because it just hurt too much to start running again. My feet were screaming murder and I figured if I ran, I would finish that much faster. A few times, I had to choke back some tears, also because if I started crying, I knew I would hyperventilate. It was hard enough to breathe as it was!

Some more photos for your enjoyment... Courtesy of Duane's excellent photography... LOL! My husband might be bad at taking running photos but he's pretty fabulous!
Yeah, I was suffering and in PAIN.Why are the last 6 miles the LONGEST miles in history? In my delirious-ness, I somehow managed to knock out those last 6 miles... seeing Duane at mile 23 helped and the ROHO girls at mile 25.5. Heh. They were there at the very end. Jumping up and down, waving their arms and shaking their cow bells. I wish you guys could have seen what I saw. It really took all my energy, not to cry. I was exhausted, whipped, a bit defeated but never felt so loved!

And when I crossed that finish line and saw my finish time of 4:20:XX, I was a little surprised. I thought I would finish much later.

My official chip time is 4:15:19. Not my best but certainly not my worst. It was probably one of the most emotional and challenging race, ever. Not because the course is hard... The Nike Women's Marathon takes the cake for that one but because so many things went wrong for me. If only the weather cooperated, if only my NIke+ didn't die, if only my shoes were broken in, if only my ankle didn't hurt, if only my feet didn't blister... if only I had trained more, if only... Gosh, let me get out of my pity party. There are so many "if onlys" but it is what it is. I don't want to dwell on all the things that went wrong. There will be good races and bad races.

And this will be one of those that I'll learn from. I ran 150 miles each in January and February but I don't think those miles really prepared me for this race. As for the post-race hoopla, I didn't have the energy to do much. I congratulated other finishers and took pictures with my friends from Twitter (who, by the way all happened to all PR or run really great races IN THE RAIN) got my post-race soup. All I wanted to do was get out of my wet shoes and clothes. I was a little delirious at this point and almost forgot about my friend Dennis, who we gave a ride to! Oops. He also PR'd by 12 minutes and finished a 3:36 race. Hello, 12 minutes? Grrrrr. I was supposed to meet up with the ROHOs but I just couldn't. Emotionally and physically, I was drained. We got back home and Duane made me the most delicious cheeseburger ever. I ate two. And then passed out promptly. I needed some alone time to lick my wound and forget about the morning. I woke up feeling much better. It looked like it finally stopped raining, too. I thought about my finish time and didn't feel so bad about 4:15:19. After all, I ran my 7th marathon...

Did I mention I chaffed around my ankle, where my socks sat? Sorry for the mug shot of my foot. It ain't pretty on this side, just think what it looks like on the other side!I wish I could share my blister photos but seriously, I am embarrassed to show them to you guys!

Was it all worth it? YES, of course!!!

Oh, did I also mention I signed up for the Big Sur Marathon on April 26th?
I seriously am questioning my sanity right now! (Why am I such a glutton for punishment?)

Thank you for reading my long race report... (again!) I apologize if my grammar isn't all correct... it's almost 1am and I'm pooped but I had to write my race report! And now that I got all the whining out of the way, I'm kinda proud of myself!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Exciting News!!!!

And no, I'm not pregnant. I've told people I have some exciting news to share and most of them asked me if I was pregnant. So, let's just get this out of the way, I'm not pregnant. Ask me again mid next year. Haha. So, my exciting new is that I am the newest runner to join the Hope Runs 777 Challenge!! A few weeks ago, I saw TFH's on Hope Runs 777 Challenge and I was hooked. I had to find out more about this challenge. I mean, it's my RUNNING DREAM to run a marathon in all 7 continents!! Did you read my interview with the Runner's Lounge early in January? I mentioned that it was my *dream*!! I was so excited, I couldn't stop thinking about it all day!!

Just to give you a brief introduction to Hope Runs... here's what I copied from TFH's post. :

What is the Hope Runs 777 Challenge? In 2010, Hope Runs will be leading a Guinness World Record-breaking endeavor to complete 7 marathons on 7 continents in only 7 weeks. With a team of dedicated runners, we are committed to breaking some fantastic Guinness World Records (yes - there are some left to be broken in the area!). We are also proud to be running a green event through carbon-emissions-offset sponsoring.The Hope Runs 777 Challenge will help bring the issues facing the 14.5 million AIDS orphans in Africa alone to the forefront of the world’s consciousness. By pushing ourselves to the limit, our team will raise awareness for the issues facing orphaned and vulnerable children (OVCs) all over the world, mobilizing people everywhere to become more involved. With each member of the team covering his or her own costs and committing to raise thousands more toward the cause, this effort will help to make a lasting impact in places that need it most.

For more details you can click here for where the proceeds to go and all the other exciting stuff!

Of course, later that evening, I consulted my husband about the 777 Challenge becaues I wouldn't want to commit to something THIS HUGE without this support. And as usual, he was very excited and supportive of me! He knew I've been wanting to run 7 marathons in 7 continents and excited that my dreams are that much closer in coming true. Not only that, I'd be able to help orphans with AIDS in Africa. It can't get any better than this!!!

So I immedately wrote to Hope Runs the next day and we've been going back and forth on my fundrasing goals iron out the details It's taken a little over week to finalize everything but I sent in my signed contract/consent form yesterday. And so, it's official. I am running the Hope Runs 777 Challenge!!!

Of course, there is the little itty bit about raising $26,000 dollars for the cause and raising my own travel expenses, which would add up close to $40,000. Daunting, I know. Scary. Petrifying. Holy sh*t. OMG. OMG!!!!

So, basically, I need about 40,000 people to donate a dollar. Or, about 20,000 people donate $2. Or, 8000 people donate $5. I have a few other fundraising ideas but... I need your help. If you're so very inclined to help me with my cause, would you donate a dollar? (Of course, more would be welcome!) Also, the ROHO girls have already offered to help setting up fundraising events with me locally. What would I do without these girls??? Also, do you know anyone who want to sponsor me?? I'm looking for corporate sponsors!

If you'd like to donate, please follow THIS LINK and look for the donate button on the right column. PayPal is the preferred method because you can specify that you're donating to me. I looked into using but they take 7.5% out of each donation so that doesn't do us much good. I need all of it to go to Hope Runs!

Oh, and in case you're curious, here are the 7 marathons!!




January 2010


Miami, Florida USA

February 2010

Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon


February 2010

Buller Marathon


February 2010



March 2010

Kilimanjaro Marathon


March 2010

Antarctica Marathon

King George Island ANTARCTICA

March 2010

Maraton Fin del Mundo


Also, if you have any fundraising ideas... please let me know!!! If you'd like to help me raise the money for Hope Runs, that would be awesome, too! Also, please feel free to point people to this post!! I need to drive a lot of traffic to my blog so that people are reading and donating...

Thank you. I feel like such a sales person. But it is for a very worthwhile cause! Did I mention I'm really excited?? :-)