Monday, October 4, 2010

My Chat with Mel Keflezighi!!

Meb & Me
It was super exciting to interview Meb Keflezighi at the Rock n Roll San Jose Half Marathon expo on Saturday 10/2! (If you don’t know who Meb is, he is a 2004 Olympic Marathon Silver Medalist and also the 2009 NYCM winner. Yeah, he’s kind of a big deal!) I didn't have as much time as I thought with him since there was HUGE line of people wanting to meet him at the Sony booth so I made it quick (Less than 10 minutes!). Meb was very personable and real. I don't know what I was expecting but I was definitely left with a great impression of him! It’s not everyday yours truly gets to interact with an Olympian!

Here's my interview with Meb! I just jumped right in. He also really liked my iPhone 4 doing the recording.

Julianne: Meb, I'm gonna jump right in. I asked my friends and blog readers to help me find out more about you. And, Dennis from San Jose wants to know if you chafe at all.

Meb: Do I chafe? Yes, definitely and a lot during the off season. I chafe between the thighs and under my arms because I run without a shirt! And if I don't use Vaseline I'm in big trouble.

Julianne: Most of us "regular" runners chafe all over (and I gestured all over) and we definitely wondered if the pros do, too.

Meb: *laughs* Of course we do! But definitely on long runs and races, you should use something like vaseline or Body Glide to prevent chaffing.

Julianne: What's your pre-race ritual or favorite food before the race? Mica from Urbana, Illinois asked.

Meb: Definitely pasta the night before a race. I can't wait to have that tonight. I totally love spaghetti with meatballs. I am totally ready to go the next morning. That's my ritual. But I also love Mexican food, like burritos especially on my hard run days. And I love eggs.

Julianne: I love eggs, too! You have a fantastic website and you're very active on the social networking thing, like Facebook and Twitter. Has it changed how you race, network or interact with fans? This one is from Layla in Lodi, by the way.

Meb: It's been really great to connect with fans and friends online. It's so much easier this way. It's also a big honor for me to meet my fans and interact with them. Twitter is all about me letting people know where I am and what I'm doing. I guess being online is the trend right now and it's where the market is. When I was up in Rock n Roll Seattle earlier this year, I mentioned on Twitter that I was going to be at the expo. And one fan apparently drove up from Portland to meet me after he saw my Tweet. I was really honored.

Julianne: Wow, that's awesome! Jason from New York City wants to know if you're planning on winning New York City Marathon this year?? And how do you stay motivated to win such a big race?

Meb: That's my goal to win New York City Marathon! God gave me this talent to run and if it motivates people than it's my job to do it. I keep going because the talent from God isn't tapped out yet. I'm still running races and PR'ing so, I feel really blessed.

Julianne: Do you ever have days when you don't feel like running and how do you get yourself motivated? This one is from Katie in Boston.

Meb: There are days but it doesn't happen often. It's really an honor to do a job that I am really passionate about. Just like any other people, when I'm feeling under the weather or something, I don't feel like running. But, once I'm out the door, I do more than I set out to do. Again, I try to remind myself that I have a responsibility since God gave me this talent for running. It's really an honor.

Julianne: I heard you injured your hip back in 2008. What was the road to recovery like? Quan from San Jose wanta to know.

Meb: Actually it was my pelvis and I had to take 10 weeks off. It wasn't easy! The most difficult part of the process was getting the correct diagnosis. It was originally diagnosed as a sports hernia and got examined by the doctor in NYC (who also happens to be the medical director for Rock n Roll) and got scanned at Columbia U. Good news was that no surgery was required but the bad part was that I couldn't run.

Julianne: Yeah, I guess it's easier to treat once you know what it is. If you're guessing what's wrong with you, how do find treatment right? My next question comes from Audrey in Los Gatos. She wants to know which celebrity you'd like to pace in a marathon if you ever got a chance?

Meb: *laughs* Well, I did meet Halle Berry once so maybe if she asked, I'd love to pace her in a marathon! My wife said if they ever make a movie about me, then Halle needs to play her. *laughs again* Of course, I'll play myself!

Julianne: Meb, what's going through your mind the last few miles of a marathon? You must be exhausted at that point?

Meb: It all depends. If I'm winning? I have all the energy in the world! I could go forever, I think!

Julianne: Um... I don't know what that's like but wow, that sounds pretty amazing.

Meb: Well, if there's someone ahead of me, I'm thinking I need to catch up very soon. Or if there's someone right behind me, I need to get away. I just need to keep up the speed and the endurance.

Julianne: This is so exciting. You won RnR San Jose last year and you plan to win tomorrow, yeah?

Meb: Oh that's the plan I plan to do the same thing I did last year, from here to NYCM.

Julianne: Good luck tomorrow and next month at New York!! And thank you for your time today!

Did I mention Meb won the race again yesterday??? Yes, he did! He won by quite a margin, too. Part of the RnR SJ Half is an out and back course and I saw him when he had just entered the 13th mile. That guy was sprinting the whole way but he didn't even look tired. Of course, I was only at mile 5 or 6! Really awesome to see him and as I yelled out to him "Go Meb!" I felt like I was cheering on a friend. It was really an honor to meet him and getting to talk to him of course! Thanks to all of you who helped me with the questions. :-)

Ps. I don't know if you noticed the little "inset" looking image of the Sony Walkan MP3 player (on the bottom left corner) in my picture up at the top... It's actually not an inset but a little pop up card that was on the table. Meb trains with the Sony MP3 player is a huge fan! I love this pic of Meb running! --->

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Questions for Elite Runner & Pacing (again)!

This is really exciting! I just got confirmation that I'll be interviewing the 2009 New York City Marathon winner and Olympic medalist Meb Keflezighi this Saturday at the Rock n Roll San Jose Half Marathon expo!!!!!! When Sony first asked if I'd like to do this, I had no idea how ELITE Meb was (or is)! It's really exciting that I get to meet someone who WON the NYCM and an Olympic Silver Medal. So I only have 30 minutes to do the interview and my mind is blank right now thinking of QUESTIONS to ask Meb. I'm sure he's been asked the same questions over and over again so I need your help with some creative questions. Please send me some ideas via email or post a question in the comments section! I'll be sure to let him know it was you who asked. :-)

On a related note, I'll be pacing the 2:20 finish group for the RnR SJ Half! So if you're running the half, look for me. I'll also be at the expo on Sunday. I'm thinking there's a pacer's booth?? I'll also be pacing the Inaugural Morgan Hill Marathon in November!! If you're in the area, come join us for the half or the full. I'll be pacing the 5:00 finish group.

It's also been uber hot this week, 100+ degrees in the Bay Area this week. I've been running in the mornings instead but don't have as much time to put the miles in. It's supposed to start cooling down today so looking forward to getting in 8 miles after work. I'm hoping it will be overcast and even COOLER on Sunday morning for the half marathon!

Ok so questions for Meb?? :-)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Happy To Me!

Yes, Happy To Me! (Our 3 year old niece used to say that at OTHER people's birthdays... So cute!)

It crept up on me again. My birthday... For the first time EVER, I have no desire to celebrate. I'm thinking I can deal with a low key celebration this year. I've never had any issues getting older, but having some difficulty swallowing the fact that I'm 36. Wow. Deep breath....

At the same time, I can't believe how lucky I am with all the blessings in my life! I have so much to be thankful for! Really, I am so blessed. Life is so good!

I've been trying something new. with my running routine. Running after my boot camp in the morning. I've been trying to do 3 to 4 miles in the morning and then trying to get another 4 to 5 miles after work. It also works out on evenings when I have plans (like tonight and tomorrow) and don't have time to get the runs in... Maybe I'm uber warmed up but I've been pulling out like 9 minute miles. I can see some improvements with the speed and it's really encouraging. Hopefully I can run at consistent sub 9 pace again! (Although, this morning's 4 miler was kind of crappy but then I did have quite a few glasses of Pinot Grigio last night at dinner.) I've also been trying to lose the weight that I've put on the last year. Ugggh, it's a never ending battle! If only I didn't like to eat so much???

It's a happy week with so many birthday celebrations but at the same time, it's been sad, too. Duane's aunt passed away last week and it's never easy when a family member passes away. My thoughts and prayers are with Lauren, Kyle and Uncle Mas... They are really lovely cousins and very funny uncle...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

6 Reasons to Run!

I read this morning a really simple yet awesome article on Women's Health Magazine titled "6 Reasons to Run". And I couldn't agree more on why we SHOULD run! I know I'm preaching to the choir here but thought it was a good reiteration as to why those of who do run manically should continue to do so. And if you just happened to stumble onto my blog and thinking about starting, here are some reasons why you should. Below is a brief synopsis of the article. For the full version, click here.

1. It's so easy - Right? You just go out there and run! You don't have to even run far at first. Maybe run around your block at first, around the school track, on a treadmill for a mile, and build up your distance slowly!

2. Yet so hard - According to the article, running burns more calories than any other cardio vascular activity. The harder you run, better workout you get! But we all know, it's NOT easy!!

3. Your knees will thank you - I always thought running tore up your joints and knees but apparently that's an old wives' tale. So go run!! It's better for your knees!

4. You'll stress less - Duh. No brainer, right??? Who doesn't feel better after they go for a good run?

5. It can prevent disease - You run, burn calories, lose weight, better better better for your body! Something else I didn't know, besides running prevents heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, high blood pressure, and boost immunity to colds and other viruses, treadmill running also improves your vision! Go figure!

6. You'll probably live longer - There are slew of benefits to running. Living longer for all off the reasons above and then some. How awesome is that???

Again, more details and why you should run here. It just made me all around happy reading it. Today is my rest day but made me want to go out there to run!

Thoughts?? Do you agree, disagree, or are there other reasons that the article missed??

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cross Training & Marathon Training

I somehow dragged myself out of bed at 5:30am this morning, wondering why I torture myself this way, for my morning bootcamp sessions. I love my bootcamp, going 3 times a week at 6am at The Ice Chamber facility (which is about 10 min away). It's getting up and geting there that's the hardest part. Once I'm there, I'm doing all sorts of isometric workouts, kettlebell workouts, partnering up with really great athletes and like today, running around with 35 lb sandbag on my shoulder and working up quite a sweat. Like I said, getting there is the hardest part. It's probably the best cross training workouts I've ever engaged in. I used to love to spin but that got old kinda quickly... I was just curious how other runners mix up their cross training, when they're not running.

I've begun my training for NYCM and CIM officially! Ran 10 miles on Sunday with Duane and met up with the ROHOs (Aron, Kristin, Tara and Maritza) and other awesome local runners (Audrey, Layla and RoadBunner) for brunch in Walnut Creek.

Yummy pancakes for brunch!

Girls who run together brunch together!
And last night somehow managed to run 8 miles after work. I felt really great on Sunday for the 10 miler. I averaged about 9:40 per mile. Last night was another story, I think I eeked out about 10:15 min per mile average. I am just thankful I can even pull out these miles without stopping. Taking several months off and getting back into the routine was a bit painful but feeling good about the running workouts again! I don't think I'll be PR'ing anytime soon but I'll be happy to run a race where I gave it my all.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pearl Izumi syncroFuel Running Shoes Review!

Me and my synchroFules, first time out!
I haven't had much luck with running shoes. It's probably due to my low arch and wide feet, combined with a smallish feet (dress shoes 6.5). I could never find the RIGHT running shoes for me. For a while, I ran with a pair (Asics Kayano 15) that gave me the worst kind of blisters on the arches of my feet. Turned out it was way too narrow. Then, I ran with another brand (Mizunos) that gave me blisters on the bottom of my 3rd and 4th toe pads (strangely enough, only on my right foot!). I found some thin socks to wear with these and I thought I got it just right. Then Mizuno's decided to discontinue my shoes. UGH. I even bought a pair of "customized" running shoes for my gait, over pronation, wide feet and etc from Somnio but they rubbed my feet the wrong way and hurt my feet when I ran in them. It just goes to show, the "right" shoes for one person isn't a right feet for another runner.

So in my search for the perfect running shoes, I'm always talking to some shoe specialist at Fleet Feet or Sports Basement trying to find the "right" shoes. A few months ago, I was contacted by the wonderful people at Pearl Izumi to try out a pair of syncroFuel running shoes. I was really hesitant at first. What if this pair tore my feet up, too? I took a huge chance accepting the pair without trying them on. I figure, what do I have to lose but a few blisters??

Back in first week of May, I received my pair of syncroFuel and took it out for an easy 7 miler. There are some running shoes that I'm totally ok running in for a few miles but anything over 5 or 6 miles, I'd notice discomfort. I'm happy to report that the syncroFuel was absolutely wonderful. The moment I took the first step, I noticed this bounce and cushion, like I was on a trampoline (ok, hyperbole, sorry)! And it hugged my feet in ALL the right ways. I love being hugged by my shoes. You don't know how ecstatic I was on that run!! And, it just made me realize my current New Balance just didn't have that "right" fit. I had to buy slightly bigger to accomodate my wide feet. 3 months later, I'm happy to report that I STILL LOVE these syncroFuel shoes!!! Last few months, I've put many miles in these shoes but I swear I could still feel the bounce. I'm probably due for another pair REALLY soon and felt comfortable enough to write a review finally!

So, a few things. The syncroFuel is extemely well cushioned and is really awesome for the mild/over pronator like me. A few other things:

- High-abrasion Seamless Race upper with hybrid mesh combination.
(100% recycled polyester mid-foot mesh and breathable forefoot mesh)
- 360ยบ of reflectivity for added safety during low light conditions.
- SKYDEX® Heel crash pad.
- There's even a trail version of these shoes!

More from here:

Honestly, I think I found my go-to running shoes and I plan to stock up, just in case!!! Pearl Izumi syncroFuel, I heart you!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Calling all female runners in the Bay Area for Athleta Focus Group!

Want to participarte in a focus group/market research for running wear? Sounds pretty cool, doesn't it? I just wrote them to participate!

Athleta needs your help designing the best running clothes ever. They are looking for runners to attend a focus group and share your opinions. In order to participate, you must run at least 10 miles a week and be available to attend a focus group in San Francisco on September 9th. They will pay you for your time. If you are interested, please email: or call Arline at 650-871-6800 ext 3006.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Official Sony Sponsored Runner! (That'd be me!)

I must have done something really good in my past life! I don't know how this happened but I was approached by Sony to be part of their new Marathon Sponsorship Program!! I was on the fence about running the Rock n Roll San Jose Half Marathon but this definitely pushed me to do it. And, I get to be sponsored by Sony, wear a Sony branded shirt during the race and wear this fun gadget: W Series Walkman® MP3 Player, along with a video camera! Sounds way too good to be true!

I know Danica is also part of the Sony sponsorship... Anyone else???

This is going to be pretty awesome and can't wait to tell you all about it.

Oh I also need to write up my race review for See Jane Run and The Giants Half Marathon... I'm getting to those!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Visit to the City of Trees

Seeems it's not very common that people visit Idaho! Hehe. Aside from my blog, I was asked this question quite a bit. Duane and I went to Boise on a very short trip to visit one of my oldest friends. Heather and Ron (and their 2 girls) live about 20 minutes outside Boise. I've known Heather since 4th grade, the first friend I ever made when my family immigrated to the US. I wish I had a picture of Heather and me back then to show you... But I'm sure it's buried some where in my old room at my parent's house. Heather moved out to Idaho after she got married about 10 years ago. And, Heather and Ron have made a really great home for herself and her family in that potato state. If you haven't been to Boise yet, maybe you should think about making a trip out there in October! I'm considering the City of Trees Marathon in Boise on 10/10/10! And hello, it's only $73 for registration fees! So if you're interested in joining me... Check out this link for the City of Trees Marathon website!

There was also a Susan G Komen 5k Saturday morning of our visit... Only discovered by accident when we went to the Boise downtown farmer's market. If I had known, I woulda ran it! Oh well, I shoulda done some research. But needless to say, I didn't get much running in this past weekend.

By the way, my friend Heather is one of the most talented women I know. She's really into digital scrap-booking and photography. She once was a director of a Montessori school, education consultant to the state of Idaho and fabulous athlete. Recently she's been a stay home mom and with her 3rd child due in 8 weeks she's a very content and very busy stay home mom. If you know anyone who needs an event/wedding photographer in the Boise area (maybe after August), check out her photography website!

Yesterday it rained on and off for most of the day. Since when did it rain in May in the Bay Area? And it was a lot cooler than normal. I went out to my usual running spot and hoped that the rain would cease... As I left work the rain seemed to be dwindling but once I got to Pt Isabel, it was POURING. I was disheartened... Thinking: I shoulda went to the gym straight. And also secretly happy that I got out of running. I decided to go home and rest. I was feeling under the weather after all and been coughing all day. I drove about half a mile and noticed blue sky peaking through the north part of the my hood! And I thought about the 2 upcoming half marathons and I REALLY wanted to run... So I drove back. And waited several minutes for the rain to pass. Low and behold, not too much later, the rain stopped and I bounced out of my car in my new SyncroFuel Pearl Izumi shoes. (More on the shoes later!) Maybe because I didn't think I was gonna be able to run, I was really excited and happy. I felt good the whole time, too. It was still cool (mid 50 degrees) and overcast, which was perfect. I ran pretty evenly at about 9:33 min average/mile pace! I've been clocking in 10+ min per mile lately so this felt really really good. I don't think I'm going to breaking any records in June for my two half marathons but I think I'll run them at a decent pace!

I am hoping for a longer run today, hopefully a 8 miler. It's a beautiful day today. Nice and sunny. :-)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Ran The Relay and Survived!!!!

Gosh that was fun catching up on everyone's blogs. Ok not *everyone* but I'm definitely catching up! I got through about a dozen today. Good thing it's kinda slow at work. ;-). Before you report me to my boss... a quick recap. Did I mention I went on a girls trip to Cancun for a week? Yes, it was blissful. It was all about relaxing in the sun, margaritas, massages and well, eating. Happy to report that I got one run in on the treadmill but that was about it. And I ambitiously packed about 3 running outfits, too. C'est la vie.

Last weekend, I ran a super duper fun relay! It was The Relay: 199 Mile Relay from Calistoga to Santa Cruz. Technically it ended in Davenport, a few miles north of Santa Cruz. I have a good story to tell about Davenport (one day)... it's about me in high school, sneaking out at 2am, getting the car key locked in, hitch hiking and somehow making it back home, etc. Anyway, back to The Relay! The distance was 199 miles broken up among 12 runners. Our team consisted of The ROHOS, Katherine, Kristen and a few others. Our team name was "That's What She Said (TWSS)" and the entire weekend's conversation ended up with someone saying "That's what she said!" Funny enough, it didn't get *that* old. I had one of the easier legs.... I was runner #2, with 13.9 miles total. More details on each of the legs here.

Aron, Maritza and Katherine have written up awesome race reports already! I just want you to know that I SURVIVED. Considering I ran maybe 30 miles total for the year before this relay, I wasn't even sure I could complete my legs!

Leg #2 (Easy) 4.7 miles - 43 min @ 9:08 pace
Leg #14 (Hard) 5 miles - 50 min @ 10:00 pace (Can we say hills?)
Leg #26 (Easy) 4.2 miles - 39 min @ 9:17 pace

Runners in order (in our van):

Runner 1: Maritza
Runner 2: Me
Runner 3: Kristen
Runner 4: Tara
Runner 5: Mark
Runner 6: Katherine

A few notable things. It was eeky hot during leg #2 and I went out way to fast! I clocked in my first mile at 8:40 min and I knew I had slow down. My second run (leg #14) was in complete darkness (can't see nada) and ran with a flashlight. But I loved it. It was eerily quiet but at the same time very serene. I wasn't the only runner out there of course. Various other runners from other teams were also out there but we were spread apart so it definitely felt like I was out there alone. But when runners passed me up or team vans drove past, I knew people weren't far from me. Not at any point did I feel scared or afraid, I never felt like I was in any kind of danger, either. My last leg was down in the backside of Stanford University and by this time at 10am it was getting to be quite hot. Again, I am so glad I had one of the easier legs. Because that course had some REALLY tough climbs!

They call this relay "California's Longest Party" for a reason and I have to say it rang  true for me. Being stuck with 5 other people in a van, showering in random places, numerous Porta-Potties and eating/sleeping at unusual hours was... REALLY FUN! Maybe it was the team, our van-mates but overall I had a really great time. And did I mention for a great cause? We raised over $800 for Organs r Us! Thank you all to those who donated!! And yes, I would totally do it again!!! But I promise, I'll train a little bit more next time around.

And now, here comes the pictures. Maritza and Aron both posted awesome YouTube photo montages on their site... These are all from my iPhone. Excuse the crappiness! Oh and one more thing, our TWSS team was sponsored by Punk Rock Racing Gear!! Thank you Ron! :-)

Maritza, our t-shirt model

Van #1!

Maritza is SO ready!

The Runners!

Team Bonding~!

Aron anchoring us in with Tara!

Team TWSS at the finish!!!

And I'm off to Boise for the weekend!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New York City Marathon Here I Come!

You guys are so awesome. Thanks for coming by and dropping me a note. It's really wonderful knowing that I wasn't forgotten... *sniff*

What an exciting day! Found out that I got into the New York City Marathon via the lottery!!! Yay. There was some confusion at first because I signed up both Duane and myself and when I saw the charge for 1 entry, I wasn't sure who got accepted. Turns out, it's me! Good thing November is still months away and I get my ramp up my training and actually be ready. I'm also really excited to go back to NYC, I haven't been back since I left in April 2008!

I went out last night thinking I was going to do 5 miles but ended up running about 6! The overall pace was about 10:30 min per mile and although my legs were tired from getting so much exercise in 2 days. I also stopped and walked briefly around the half way point, I was tired! My legs are pretty sore right now and debating if I want to go out again tonight. What would you do? I also got up at crack of dawn this morning to go to my boot camp session so I'm kind of sleepy, too. I won't get a chance to run again until Saturday morning... So maybe I should?

Who else is going to NYCM??

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

First Real Run for 2010

I hesitated posting on my running blog. After all, the last post was in July 2009! Yikes. I haven't run since the Nike Women's Marathon back on October of 2009. I think I was slightly traumatized from running 6 marathons last year (Napa, Big Sur, RnR SD, SFM, Chicago and Nike Women's). So I took a LONG break. No running. No nothing! Actually I was totally cheating on running with makeup. I've been moonlighting as a makeup artist and it has consumed all my free time. Now I need to find a good balance between the two.

I actually signed up for the Napa Marathon again this year but I didn't run it. I couldn't even give away my bib! I heard the weather was much better this year than last... I am running The Relay with the ROHOs and a few other fabulous runners so I thought I'd better put my butt back in gear. I dusted off my poor neglected Garmin 405 and went out for an EASY 5 mile run last night. In all honesty, I did do a few miles here and there on the treadmill for a few weeks before but it wasn't easy. Good thing I have one of the easier legs of The Relay. I am in no shape to run up any hills or some of the longer legs!

The weather was gorgeous yesterday after work and I ran one of my usual routes along the Richmond Marina. I guess I got a little excited because the first mile I clocked in at around 9:45 min pace. The rest of the run was uneventful and around 10:10 min pace... A few times I wanted to stop and walk but decided to press on. I haven't had that much JOY from running in a long time. I was so bogged down with training that running became a chore for me. Old habits die hard and I kept glancing at my 405 to see how fast I was running. I definitely put on some weight during the winter (that's what happens when you eat like you're training for a marathon but no running) and I could tell on my knee joints... And the speed definitely was suffering. But, I figure it was a good start. I'm going to try for another 5 miles tonight after work and see how I feel. I LOVE that feeling of pavement underneath my shoes and the wind in my face.

Am I back blogging? I don't know, yet. But I did start this blog as a running journal so I'll try my best. Oh anyone else waiting anxiously for the NYCM lottery tomorrow???? I also signed up for the Nike Women's Half today. I am not doing that marathon again anytime soon.