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Yesterday was the beginning of my third week of training. I’ve been very excited since I started the 16-week training schedule and proud to be done with two weeks. Yesterday was supposed to be an easy three mile run. I came home late from work yesterday and was not real motivated to run but knew I had to get it out of the way before it became any later.  William decided to run with me and also carry 5 lb weights with him.  The great thing about this point in my training is that my runs are getting easier.  It used to be difficult for me to start a run. My legs would feel heavy and it would take me about ten minutes to adjust. Now when I start a run, I feel great and can easily finish the first hill of my run without any problems.  So the first five minutes of my run yesterday, I was feeling great and pumped up.  My pace was nice and steady.  William realized that it was more difficult than he thought to carry weights with him but managed.  I started to throw punches in the air like Rocky style to  motivate him with his weights and to do something different in my run. I figured why not?  My cardio was steady and I was having fun with it.

I think I have mentioned how uneven the sidewalks are around my neighborhood. There are a lot of trees on the sidewalks causing them to create little stacks of concrete throughout the area or hills.

 So far I’ve been careful not to trip over any but yesterday was different.  As I was throwing punches in the air, William was running right behind me. Then it happened. My foot got locked in one of those cracks and I flew forward.  Everything after that happened so quickly.  I flew forward in full force and started to land. My knees hit the concrete first, then my hands landed on the ground. I didn’t stop there, my body still was going forward so then my left shoulder hit the wall that happened to be there for the house in front of us.  And then my left side of my head hit the wall.  I felt like a church bell where all of of sudden I had been banged up for the seven o’clock hour.  I laid there  shocked and saw William coming towards me with his weights.  Everything hurt and was I was shaking.  Or maybe my head was still vibrating from the crash to the wall. I kind of wanted to cry but I did not want to.  I did not want to be a baby about it but at that moment I did not know how to feel. My knees were pretty banged up and I didn’t want to get up right away.  Immediately William wanted me to go back home to ice my knees. I became angry at the streets!  Stupid streets!  Why were they so uneven! I was already almost up to a mile into the run and then this happened.  So we started to walk back towards the house.  A few minutes into my walk everything started to hurt. William felt really bad for me because he saw everything happened. He described it as being slow motion and saw the order of each body part hitting something and had no time to help me. Not only that but I was loud!  My bones are loud! We remember hearing each body part hitting something.  It was like if somebody had dropped a trash bag full of bones out in the sidewalk. That was me.

William was just happy that it was not worse and I did not have any fractures. It was just bruises and scratches.  We finally made it back home and we iced my knees for a while.

I then felt the pain come afterwards but I know it won’t be that bad.  My head felt better  afterwards.  I was disappointed that I did not get to finish my three miles.   I guess I still cannot throw air punches and run at the same time. Stupid sidewalk.

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I stated on my last post that I started to panic about the marathon. Just a few months away and I feel that my progress is very slow.  I don’t mind the running, it’s finding the time to run that has been the biggest challenge for me. I wake up in the morning usually before the alarm wakes me up at about 5:30am. I’m one of those people that wakes up when there is daylight.  But just because I wake up so early does not mean I have the energy to go outside to run.  I was able to do this at the beginning of the year. It’s just very difficult.  I wake up, go to the bathroom and as I’m sitting there peeing, I start feeling the cold and the stiffness of my body.  So I crawl back under the bed sheets and tell myself “just ten more minutes under the sheets” and then I will go run.  I do that for about half an hour and before you know it, it’s time to get ready for work. I’m an early bird but not an early runner. I need to warm up for about an hour before I decide to go run in the morning.  I know I will need to change that because I know I do not always have time after work to run. I think this has been part of the reason why my progress has been slow, because I count on the evenings for my training.
So as my worries began about my training, Coach William came to me with a solution to all of this. He gave me a sheet that he researched online that is a 16-week marathon training schedule.  It was the perfect timing for this. If I get on this schedule now, I would be on my 2nd week of training which is not bad because I basically did week one with the miles being a little different.

My training schedule

I started week two on June 5th.  If you read the chart above, the week starts on a Monday but I will actually start the week on a Tuesday. This is because I would rather have my rest days on Saturdays instead of Fridays or Sundays. In my daily schedule, I usually always keep my Sundays free so this would be a good day to do my long runs instead of Saturdays where I usually work for my job. If I keep this training schedule, I should be able to finish exactly on the day of my marathon.  Week 16 will be Hawaii week!

When William showed me this, I became very excited. I think each brain is different and I do better with visuals and calendars. I guess what was missing was some set direction. Before this, I knew I had to run shorter runs during the week and longer runs during the weekend, and be able to increase it every week.  Now that I have a chart, I know exactly what I need to do and when to do it. Also, it came at the perfect time. If I don’t follow this schedule, I won’t be able to run the marathon.  This chart makes sense to me and so far I’ve been able to follow it.  So far I finished week two without any problems.  Week three starts today!

May Analysis

May was finally better for me. I felt I was running more consistent than before.  It’s the month I added some hikes to build endurance and something different.  I was also trying to add more healthy meals to my diet. At one point I even started to count my calories to make sure I was not being a pig. Because as a reminder to all, I work in a restaurant and I’m around food all day!  So I downloaded this app that would help me track my calories.  I was trying to eat smaller meals and more meals a day. It worked for about a week and then I got tired of researching how many calories each meal has. It takes forever!!! My goal in all of this was to eat healthy while I’m running so much.  I want to maintain the energy I need for my runs.  I hear too many different things on what to eat.  “Eliminate your sugar and dairy,” “Don’t eat too many carbs” “High on protein, lean on fats” “Carbs are good, they are your energy,” “Don’t eat fruit” “Eat fruit, it’s natural and healthy.”  At the end of the day, there are many different ways to eat and I still don’t know what’s the best for me.  So what I’m going to do moving forward is to stop listening to all of these other diets and maintain a balance diet as best as I can. This means that I will allow a little bit of everything in small portions. For the most part I will stick to my basics. Here are some examples:

  • Breakfast options: either oatmeal, protein shake, or scrambled eggs with vegetables
  • Lunch:  either homemade chicken meal, tuna sandwich, or salmon meal
  • Dinner:  either protein shake, small sandwich, small meal on whatever I cook
  • Snacks:  apples, zucchini hummus, nuts, seasonal fruit, chocolate silk soy milk

When I cook, I think it’s pretty healthy. I always buy organic meat, buy the gluten-free pasta, lots of green vegetables, and I also use a lot of spices to flavor the meals.  I just have to make sure I don’t stuff myself and stop when before I get too full.

Going back to my runs for May, I ran about a total of 60 miles.  My longest run was a 6.5 run and my longest hike was about 10 miles when I hiked Mt. Baldy.  My average run was about five miles. I wanted to make my minimum run six miles but there were days where I wanted to get home and do other things and did not have the time to make my run longer.  The above chart is a snapshot of my runs for May through Nike Fitness. There are some runs that are not recorded because I forgot to take my iNano with me when I ran, but I do remember which runs they were.  Overall I’m pretty happy that I was able to get my runs in May.  At the end of the month, I still got worried because I realized how close September is and I’m still only at about 6 miles.  I started to panic because it seems that I will not get to my goal of 13 miles in July!  Gotta keep trying!!!

Mt. Baldy Journey

In the beginning of May I decided to add hikes to my calendar to mix it up a little and not get so bored of running. Plus, hikes will help build strength when I have to run up hills.  When I go hiking, I usually go to the mountains where the elevation can get up to 8,000, sometimes even more.  So in May, William and I planned two hikes for the month with my brother Ray.  The first hike took place at Mt. Baldy on May 12th.  Mt. Baldy happens to be the highest in the San Gabriel Mountains or the highest in Los Angeles County reaching an elevation of 10,064.

We started our day by waking up very early in the morning and met up with Ray at Duarte.  We rode to the mountains and started our hike at 8:57am.  The weather was neither hot or cold, the skies were clear blue and the pine trees and chipmunks were waiting for us.

The beginning of the hike, about 6,000 ft elevation

At the start of the hike my body felt good. My heart started pumping right away and I felt the burn on my butt as I took each step.  At one point we stopped for a second to drink some water and I was able to feel my heart pumping out of my shirt!  It was a great feeling because I did not feel tired. I was very excited to be surrounded by the mountains.

We only had a total of two backpacks between the three of us.

They consisted of the essentials for a hike: lots of water, food, snacks, and some miscelleneous items.  Just from William’s backpack, he was carrying four liters of Smart water, two Vitamin waters, six meat lovers sandwiches (that I made at the crack of dawn), and trail mix.  I did not get to carry a backpack but I know I eventually will have to. It’s a pain but I know it’s necessary if I will want to do more hikes.

As we hiked, the switchbacks increased and the steepness did as well.  

The views just got better too. As you can see from the above photo,  we were in the middle of magnificence.  There is no better place than to be with nature. It is such a great feeling to be away from the every day life and city. It’s peaceful and tranquil, just what everyone needs to decompress from the hardships of our every day lives.

If you see in the background, there is a man who was trailing behind us who had his skis with him!  We were so curious of where he was going to use his skis. The only areas of snow were ice patches that were scattered in random places where they were melting.  It was not enough to ski but we thought it was funny that this man was hiking with his skis.

As you can see from the above caption, there is no place to ski!

Our resting point was going to be at about 8,000 ft of elevation where there is a small green house located in the middle of some trees.

The little green house

The little house was closed but there were some benches and tables to take a rest. Conveniently there was an outhouse right behind it.  We stopped to enjoy a lunch.  We had already hiked more than hour, probably two hours by now. The hike up to the house had not been easy but we managed.  I know that if I had not been running before this, we would have taken longer and maybe not even had made it this far.  I have to mention the satisfaction of eating during the hike. Food does not taste any better than when eating it at a hike.  Every bite is delicious and savory.  Those sandwiches that were trapped in the backpack since early morning tasted like the best sandwiches ever on the planet.  They were simple too. They had three kinds of meats: peppered turkey, roast beef, and ham. They each had one slice of cheese with Veganaise and mustard.  Simple but the best!  Food just tastes different when you have been hiking non-stop for a couple of hours. It’s a great feeling.

Once we rested, we gathered our belongings to continue to the summit of Mt. Baldy.  We were high up in the mountains close to the clouds and navy sky.

I forgot how beautiful it is to be that high in altitude, where the sky is darker and you feel you are close to the outer universe.

Off we went to the peak and everything got difficult.  We were in the 8,000 ft of elevation or probably higher by now and the breathing began to change.  It was harder to catch my breath and difficult to hike.  The inclination was almost a flat wall and somehow we were climbing this wall that was no longer a trail but instead loose rocks everywhere.

Almost seems we were climbing the wall to Mt. Baldy’s summit

I don’t know if I had gone this high before. The highest I have hiked was a few years ago was in the San Gorgonio wilderness in the mountains of San Bernardino where we hiked about six miles up from 6,00o ft in elevation to 9,000 ft in elevation.  It reminded me of a hike like that but Mt. Baldy was worse because we were getting up to 10,000 ft in elevation in less than two miles.  It was a beast!  It was a hiker’s high I guess. It was a thrill where the end results was a satisfaction feeling that cannot be described.

Once we reached the summit, I made sure to take a picture of the evidence that we made it!

Highest point in Los Angeles County

It was quite an accomplishment and it felt good to be up there.  We did it!

Everywhere we turned we saw beauty.

On top of the world

A great moment that will not be forgotten.

At peace

A moment of happiness.

We stayed at the peak for a while and enjoyed the 360 views.  We scoped out the areas and found an area where it looked like someone had skied in a patch of snow. Minutes after we saw the same man with skis going up the snow. We had lost this man when we reached the green house. It looks like he took another trail and found the his snow. This was so funny.  This man hiked up Mt. Baldy in the left over snow. Here he is resting after he reached the summit.

The man with the skis

Good for him!

Once we absorbed the greatness of the summit, we decided to hike back down.  A minute into the hike down the summit, my legs were trembling. It had not occurred to me how much more difficult and strenuous the hike would be on the way down. By this time, the legs were tired but we were using different muscles to hike down but it didn’t matter.

Going down very slowly

I wasn’t able to feel my legs and I couldn’t control the trembling and weakness they felt! It was awful, very awful. I fell about four times because my legs gave out, or maybe I was just slipping easier because I had no more strength to give. It seemed to take forever to go down.  I was the slowest of the pack. The trails looked so different going down.  I kept asking how we managed to get up!  This trail all of a sudden seemed impossible!  All my steps were slow and careful. I was trying to use the surrounding rocks to hold on to for balance.  It seemed there was never a break.

Rocky finish

We rested a few times a long the way but it never got better.  I had not experienced this kind of work to my legs before.  No matter how many breaks we took, my legs were not recovering and I knew there weren’t going to anymore for the rest of the hike. There was no room to quit either.  I just had to tough it out and pace my steps. Every single step was closer to our destination.  Even when reaching the 7,000 ft and 6,000 ft elevation where it wasn’t as steep, I was still having a hard time.  I wondered if this was the way I was going to feel for the marathon.  At least I was catching glimpses of the reality of the marathon.

At last, we reached the bottom of the mountain.

I couldn’t be any happier to reach the end of trail. If you click here, you can view the recording of me reaching the end. I was not exaggerating when I said I was slow. Even it seemed flat, it was still difficult. By the finish point, I had spaghetti legs. We finished the day with a total of about ten miles.  It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to do more!

The 6 mile runs

The Mt. Baldy hike that I did on May 12th did wonders on my body (Mt. Baldy post to follow soon).  I almost forgot how a hike helps the body in so many ways.  Some time this week I managed to come up to 6 mile runs each time I ran.  The hike I did last Saturday really helped a lot on my endurance. After Saturday’s 10 mile hike at Mr. Baldy, I was sore for a few days.  I was not able to run until Wednesday May 16th where I actually felt good to run after being so sore from my legs. I was ready to change it up a bit and asked William what my goals should be for the week.  He responded that I should focus on the length of my run rather than my distance. “You should be able to run at least one hour after hiking Mt. Baldy,” said Coach William.  I thought it was good idea and remembered reading this somewhere.  It’s not about the distance, it’s about how long you can take it!  So I decided to run about one hour.  I ended up running five miles up towards San Pascual Avenue and back to my house.  I felt very energetic like a ball of fire running through the streets of Highland Park. I almost did it in one hour. It was getting really dark so I only did five miles in 53 minutes.

I did it again on Friday evening after work and this time I ran down San Pascual Avenue, to the park, and to the beginning of one of the Arroyo Seco trails.  It was 3 miles to this point and did it in 30 minutes. I ran back to my house after hitting the beginning of the trail. I realized that I was running more and walking less.  My legs felt they were on a good pace for the most part of the run.  I ended with six miles in one hour and three minutes.  I was very happy to accomplish this part of my training.  I felt more confident in achieving my goal that I have which is to run 13 miles by July.  Just a few months ago I was running two to four miles runs and now I feel that my minimum I should be running is six miles during the week.  I actually feel somewhat of a runner!

I hit a brick wall on Sunday, May 20th.  I had the most laziest Sunday ever and knew that I had to get in my run. This Sunday run was supposed to be my long run but I had no energy or motivation to get my legs out there to run.  I did not want to quit but I did not have any urge to get up and run. William did not look like he was giving in.  He was determined to do a run on Sunday because he had skipped a few runs during the week. We had also been indulging in munchies and treats because we were busy watching the basketball playoffs. Now it was time to run and I had to do it.  I got dressed and started my run with William. Immediately my body felt heavy and my knees felt they were getting pounded on the concrete.  I stopped a few times to walk on this awful long run.  I did not want to quit. How could I after hiking ten miles and running a total of 11 miles this past week?  So I pouted and pushed myself and tried to keep up with William.  What a big difference from Friday’s run to Sunday’s run. We were almost at the midpoint from Friday’s run when William turned around and asked me if I wanted to turn around.  “I made it this far feeling like this, we might as well make it to the midpoint and then turn back,” I responded. “Yeah! That’s the spirit!”  William was very happy with my response.   We started late on the run and once we reached this point, it was dark and turned back.  I know that I would have not made it this far if it wasn’t for William. He made this run happen.  Sometimes it’s just one of those days and Sunday was one of them for me. On the way back I finally started to feel I was at a good pace.  The last portion of the run I ran steadily but it basically took me the whole time of the run to get this pace!  Oh what a drag. I ended up running 6.45 miles in one hour and thirteen minutes. I would say that this has been one my most difficult runs I have done.  And it wasn’t even the road, it was me and the lack of energy I had.  I hope they get better!

April Analysis

A little late on my analysis but not forgotten. I would say that April is the month where I began to push myself more and actually had more time to do things.  My weight stayed the same at 171 lbs but I feel that my running has improved. This was the month where I was able to add hills to my runs. Most of my runs have been around my neighborhood where the streets are uneven and on hills.  This should help because I need to build the endurance to last the hills of the Maui Marathon.  I was also able to accomplish my first race of my training, the Merrel Down and Dirty which was close to 6 miles in Castaic Lake.  I was racing up hills and different obstacles.

I have also had more time to cook and eat healthier meals than the previous months.  It  has not been consistent but I feel that I was drinking more shakes and eating healthier meals.  I need to make sure that my diet is consistent and the right one for a runner in training.

I think I had said in a previous post that my goal was to run 13 miles by June. Given my history of training, I think I’m better off moving that goal to July.  I have to be realistic and acknowledge that I do not always have the time to run about 5 times a week so I’d rather give myself one more month to conquer that goal.  I am trying to run longer runs when I can and I am confident that I will be able to run 13 miles by July, which is also the month that I should be ready for Tough Mudder!!!

May posts to come soon!

Tom Petty Week

I didn’t get much running done in the beginning of the week.  On Saturday, April 21 I worked a wedding that took me the whole day.  I was very tired on Sunday  the 22nd but had to work again in the office because I was preparing to leave for three days to Albuquerque to see the Tom Petty Concert.  William and I left very early Monday morning to Albuquerque by plane and we were there until Wednesday.  It was a lot of fun but very hot and dry!  Not a place where I would want to live.  We ate any meal that had green chiles and drank a lot of alcohol. This is what you have to do when you are on vacation!  We also shopped and explored the city.  The Tom Petty Concert was wonderful and very worth it!

So Thursday was back to work. It was my catch up day and tried to get out as soon as possible because I wanted to get home to go grocery shopping. My plan is to get back on my healthy diet. William and I haven’t been doing as good as we should for the last month on our eating habits. I can feel it in my tummy and I don’t  want it to get worse.  So after work I went to Costco and Ralphs and stocked up on lots of greens and protein meats.  It was so noticeable that the cashier even commented “very healthy stuff.”  It was all green vegetables, greek yogurt, and fruit.  Hah!

I was also able to squeeze in a quick run on Thursday.  William and I did “The Loop” which is a circle going up some streets towards El Paso Drive, Avenue 50, and back on Lincoln to my house. It was 1.5 miles and made me very tired.  I felt behind again but knew that it was up to me to change this!

Friday I worked and went out with friends so no time for a run.  Saturday was another catch up day and began to cook my recipes.  I started the morning with a green shake: yogurt, mint, 1 cucumber, kale, 6 celery sticks, pineapple, ginger, cardamom, agave nectar, 1 scoop of protein, 1 spoon of natural fiber, and 1 green apple. I used the juicer for most of the greens and then combined everything in a blender.  It was the perfect way to start my day.

For lunch, I had a Which Wich Sandwich in Burbank because William and I were doing some shopping in that area. We came back home and I went back to my recipes. We then decided to do another “Loop” for a run but extended it by a street so it was 2 miles.  The new extension was an uphill street and it nearly killed me!  We did the loop twice! Hooray for 4 miles on Saturday!

For dinner I am making a kale salad with pine nuts, radish, marinated in olive oil and lemon juice.  It will be topped with quinoa mixed with dried cranberries, parsley, chopped carrots, mint, and some other spices and oils.  I will finish it off with marinated honey-grilled chicken.