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Posts Tagged ‘goals’

I know I’m very late on posting my end result.  Before I left to Maui, I was working about 12 hour days just to make sure I had everything done before my seven day vacation. Once I arrived to Maui, I did not have access to a computer.  After the vacation, I have been working non-stop until yesterday and today which are my first days off.  So now it’s here, the end of my journey. But really, it feels like the beginning of my new life because of what I have accomplished.

We arrived in Maui on Wednesday September 12 early noon. Maui is simply gorgeous and breathtaking. William and I were surrounded by beauty.  Everything was green, clean, and radiant.  It’s a beautiful island to visit.  Prior to the vacation, I had one of the most busiest months at work and was only able to get some quick runs here and there. However I was not as nervous anymore. I knew that no matter what, I was going to finish the marathon even it took me many hours to finish it.

Once in Maui, we had until Sunday to get excited for the marathon. There was one morning where we ran in the sand for probably two miles. Mostly every day we were active with something, either snorkeling, hiking, walking, or eating.  Saturday evening, we made sure to go to bed early since we had to be at the bus line at 3:00am. The marathon was scheduled to start at 5:30am on Sunday.  We woke up at about 2:00am and got ready.  I made myself eat some cereal as well. We walked to bus line walk awake. It was very early and I began to get tired.  I slept most of the bus ride to our starting area.  We arrived at the starting line at about 4:00am.  William and I ate a muffin and a banana for some fuel.  That’s when I decided to pay my first visit to the bathroom which was good because I did not want to go once I started running.  We then stretched and did some warm up routines with the crowd. It was pretty funny watching everyone do the same warm up routine.  Right before the marathon was going to start, I had to go to the bathroom again. So I took advantage of the opportunity and went again. Once I was finished, everyone had walked already to the starting line. William was the only one waiting for me. Lucky for us the marathon did not seem over crowded. I heard from somebody that the maximum count would be 2,000 runners.

We were now at the starting line waiting for the gun to shoot. I will still not nervous and was feeling pretty happy.  The sky was still was night and there was a slight breeze. Once the gun shot was heard, the crowds started to move and spread apart from each other.  William stayed near me the whole time. The plan was to start slow and easy and not run too much the first half of the marathon which is when we were going to get all the hills. I wanted to save energy for the end of the marathon. I felt confident and I told William that I wanted to finish the marathon in 5.5 hours.  I did not know if that was realistic but I was feeling good about it.

The first few miles went by quickly. We were running through the city and the residences.  At about the third or fourth mile, the sky was turning gray and there were some clouds in the sky. It was nice to run this early and watch the sky transform.  We walked some of the time but mostly kept a steady running pace.  I started to look around at the runners to see who we can possibly run by.  There were couples, seniors, a lot of Japanese runners (the marathon was sponsored by Japan Travel Bureau) and not a lot of young people. Most runners looked like they were in their thirties.  There was a loud annoying couple that we kept passing by that did not seem to get along, there was a girl with a lot of curly hair that looked like it was her first time running, and there were some fast walkers.  A nice range of runners I would say.  My left leg was very tight. My hamstrings had not been stretched out properly so I was running with a lot of tightness on my left leg.

At the 6th mile I was still feeling good except for the left leg. We stopped a few times to stretch it out hoping it would help.  William and I found a fast walker who we over heard saying that he usually finished his marathons in about five hours, at the latest five and a half. So we decided to run around him so we wouldn’t fall behind. It seemed to work. Anytime he started to creep up behind us, we began to run and once we were ahead of him, we would walk a bit. I did not want to get tired early in the race. William and I were both very excited to be running with each other.  I think it was one of our most exciting moments. We talked about all kinds of things during the run and I think it was good for us.  I’m one lucky gal to have him around!

At about the tenth mile we started to slow down. I started to get hungry and I wanted a piece of a banana but none of the stations had bananas, they had oranges.  I knew that if I had a piece of orange, I would probably go to the bathroom again. After the 12th mile, there was a water station with bananas, yay!  I had a piece and felt better.  We finished half of the marathon in two hours and 37 minutes.  Not bad since I had done my Montecito half marathon right under 2.5 hours. We were not so behind but I knew that my legs were getting tired.  The muscles on my left leg were no longer tight but now it was about endurance.  I knew that I was going into the hard part, the part I had not really trained for.  After the 13th mile, my bowels were moving again and had to go to the bathroom bad. There were porta potties at each water station and I finally saw one that did not have a line at about the 14th mile.  It was so disgusting in there.  It looked like there had been some accidents in there from previous runners.  I did my business not fast enough and I started to gag because of the smell. It was also very hot in there and it seemed I started to take a shower in my own sweat. This was probably the only bad experience of the marathon-using the potta potties. So gross.

Once that experience was over, William and I ran a bit more. We had lost our fast walker that we were supposed to pace it with.  Once we reached the 15th mile, I had to walk. At this point, we were walking and running right by the ocean. It was a beautiful view but it just started to get very hot. We made sure we drank water and Powerade at each station.  After the 15th mile, the marathon was becoming more difficult to run and we had to walk more. The sun was beating down our necks and the feet were becoming numb.  I did not know what I was feeling in my legs but just knew that I did not want to stop.  I was disappointed in myself for walking but William reminded me that it was not about the time, it was about finishing.  He reminded me that this was more than just a marathon, it was about not quitting and proving that you can do anything you want in life.  This helped my attitude. We passed through more miles and I felt like I started moving slower. Once we reached about 20 miles, I was beat.  I couldn’t get myself to run again so we tried to walk fast.  My goal of 5.5 half hours was turning to 6 hours.  My miles went from averaging 10 minutes, to 15 minutes, to now about 20 minute miles. We finally reached Front Street and only had about four miles left to go. We passed by the Banyan trees and the shopping strip that we had previously visited. People were cheering us on and yelling “you can do it!” I felt like saying to them Why don’t you try it? I know I was just being cranky because I wanted to finish. It was the longest and slowest four miles to go.  I would say that this part was the hardest part because your body does not have anything else to give and now it’s just up to your mind to keep you going.

We started to see our destination two miles away. I was not excited yet. I was not going to be excited until I crossed the finish line. The finish line was at the Westin Hotel, our neighbor hotel to where we were staying at the Hyatt Regency.  About less than a mile to go and we were almost there. We started to see runners that were already done and leaving and were still cheering us on. We got closer and started to see the finish line so out of nowhere we began to run together holding hands. I don’t know where I got the strength to run but we did and ran the last portion before we crossed the finish line.  We got laid by seashells and got our medal, finally!!!

I don’t know if I have ever experience something this hard. There have been some beastly mountain hikes I have taken but this was different. It was a great victory that I thought I never could possibly accomplish. I never thought myself as a runner and here I was, crossing my first marathon finish line with the love of my life.  Running this marathon is the start of a new chapter in my life.  Since I have read Born to Run and finished this race, I have decided to make some changes in my life in the way I eat and live. I want to live simple, eat less and better, and continue running.  I want to continue being physically active with new obstacles and run another marathon someday.  I have new positive perceptions in life and I want to continue inspiring people to push themselves to their limits. It’s a great outcome.

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It’s been too long since my last post!  Ever since I ran the half marathon, it feels like I just have not been able to catch up.  My runs became shorter or not at all. Work was busier, I was tired, it was very hot, too hungry, too tired, too dark outside, or just couldn’t get my ass outside to run.  I have not done a long run since my half marathon. All my runs have been anywhere from four to ten miles.  I don’t know if it’s because I experienced my most difficult run at the half marathon and feared that it would be worse or if I just did not have the mental energy to continue.  My time was limited to very early mornings at 5:30am or very late evenings after 9:00pm because of the heat wave we have been experiencing.  Work hours increased because it is now my busiest time of the year with events.  It is now 16 days before I have to run 26 miles. Ah!!!!!

I started asking myself why am I doing this?  What am I trying to prove?  What is my goal?  Am I doubting myself? I’ve never been a quitter but reality started hitting and my training schedule had fallen apart. So I kept running whenever I could but my runs had changed. I was out of breath a lot, my muscles were always tight, and I was too tired to run too long.  William motivated as much as he was able to but I think this was something that I had to figure out on my own. I had hit a brick wall and did not know how to break it down.

I just came back after a one week trip from Alexandria, Virginia.  I went with my mom to visit my brother and his wonderful family.  They live right by Mt. Vernon and if you know Mt. Vernon, you will know that there is a beautiful scenic trail along the Potomac River.  The weekend that I was there was my weekend to run 20 miles.  I only managed to do somewhere between 8-9 because I had to turn back and go to the bathroom.  Yup it still happens!

I was disappointed at myself for being this behind in my training. William always tells me that I beat myself up too much. I couldn’t help it. I felt so triumphant after my half marathon and somehow I felt I began to fail right after it.  Being in Virginia and visiting my brother, his wife and his 22 month old son made me think about a lot of stuff.  I looked at my brother’s life and how he has spent about 17 years of his life in the ARMY and observing the end results: a beautiful family, great home, visits from the grandparents…I can imagine they are pretty happy.  And then there is my mom who struggles each day with her life at home but yet her happiness is seeing her children happy.  I look at my life and see how I live in a fast-pace world full of chaos.  So yes, my mind was in different directions and I guess I was just trying to figure out how to get back on my feet and find out why I got myself in this situation.

Before I had left to Virginia, William had shoved a book to read in my suitcase. It’s the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. William warned me how this book was going to change my life and especially my motivation about running. So I started reading this book on the way back to Los Angeles in the airplane. I was hooked immediately. It has been a while since I’ve read a good book and this was perfect.  I recommend everyone to read this even if you are not a runner.  It’s basically about the Tarahumara Indians and a man knows as Caballo Blanco (white horse) and their running skills. The Tarahumara Indians, which I grew up hearing about since I was child, are a tribe that live in one of the most hidden and lowest parts of the Earth in the Copper Canyons of Chihuahua, Mexico.  They are known for their running. They can run all day any day.  They live simple, eat pinole and drink chia water. There were also other people in the book like Caballo Blanco and Ann Trason that can run 30 miles in day as if it was an hour workout.  I know this is not what I am trying to do but reading this book started to put things in perspective for me.

When I first decided to run a marathon, I did it because it was on my “Health/Fitness” category to accomplish some day.  I also like to inspire people. But inspire them to do what exactly?  I like to help people not give up.  I am where I am today because I don’t like to take no for an answer.  One of the reasons why I don’t get a long with my old-fashioned-traditionalist father is because I don’t listen to him or his unrealistic ways.  I don’t like to be stopped. I like to explore, I like to live my life at my fullest, I like to help and encourage other people.  This marathon is a part of that.  It’s a way of saying “you can do anything if you put your mind to it. ”  Fuck the challenges.  They will always be there trying to pull me down but my mind is a lot stronger than that. I know it.  All of a sudden I have my mental strength back.  Yup, a book did it for me.  It was a reminder to me that there is always going to be something trying to stop you, but at the end of the race, it takes yourself to cross that finish line. I began to envision myself running in Maui. Power walk up the hills and pace my run during the flat surfaces. The Tarahumara is in me. We all need one. Yes, I know I have not practiced my long runs at all and it’s 16 days away. But it’s not about my physical strength anymore, it’s what I can do with my mind, like it’s always been. I’ve always had the faith that I can get through anything so why stop now?

Yesterday was a very busy day at work. It was my second day back at work and still trying to catch up. William and I were supposed to go to the beach after work to run but by the time I got out, it was late.  So we headed home and ran in my neighborhood. My run was different. There were some knee pains I had but my mind was calm and I was in the zone. I stopped focusing on my body and was just thinking of keeping my mind at peace.  We ran a little over four miles because it was dark and I did not want to trip and fall again.  It was a good run.  I am not going to worry about it anymore. I’m just going to try my best and forget the rest.

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It was 5:00am on Saturday July 21, 2012 and I was wide awake thinking about the half marathon in two hours.  I laid in the comfortable fluffy Hotel Indigo bed in Santa Barbara trying to get myself mentally ready for the Run Montecito-Summerland Marathon.  This usually happens to me. I get nervous the last few hours of whatever I’m trying to do. I never think about it days before. It’s always right before the activity happens that I get nervous. I finally got out of bed at about 5:20am and took a shower and got dressed. I wore my black yoga pants because I still haven’t found the running shorts that I’m comfortable with. I wore my new white thick and tight sports bra creamed in vaseline.  I put on my new and first marathon shirt that was given to me the night before when I picked up my bib and put on my Asics running shoes with purple shoelaces.  I was somewhat ready. I decided to go outside and get my poop loop out of the way.  Our hotel was walking distance from the beach. It was the perfect area in Santa Barbara. I ran parallel to the beach for five minutes. It was cold and very foggy but the breeze felt good as I ran.  I usually do not like running in the morning, especially this early. But for some reason this five minute felt good. Maybe it was because it was right by the ocean and I love being by the sea.  It gave me motivation and encouragement. Sure enough after 5 minutes, I had to go the bathroom.  There’s one out of the way.

For the people that know me, I know they wouldn’t be surprised on my conversations about poop. I’ve maintained for the most part a high fiber diet for the last 12 years of my life and it has led me to constantly keep an average of four poops per day. Don’t think it’s gross. I like that I’m not keeping wastes in my body.  It just happens more when I run. I’ve blogged about it before how I’ve had to create a “poop loop” before I start my run so I don’t have to stop once I start running. So now I run five minutes before I start my official run so I can get the poop out of the way. It always works.

So going back to my morning…we left the hotel after 6am and got to Cafe Luna before 6:30am. There was plenty of parking and it was not crowded at all. It was going to be a very intimate run!  There was a nice breeze coming from the ocean.  I decided to jog again for five minutes and sure enough I had to go to the bathroom again.  Once that was out of the way I began to stretch. I felt ok and was trying to keep calm and not get so nervous about the race.

7:00am had now arrived and William and I were lined up towards the front of the starting line.  All of sudden the race began and everyone started to run.  My heart began to pump fast. I became nervous.  Immediately there was an uphill on the next block and I became very anxious and nervous to the point I couldn’t breathe.  I didn’t want to stop to walk because I just started but I just felt stressed and uneasy.  So I stopped and walked and told myself to breath deeply and calm down. I felt I just needed a minute to get myself together.  I took deep breaths and tried to get myself focused by clearing my mind. It worked and I began to run again. I just tried to maintain a steady pace and follow the runners. At this point, William was a few feet behind me.

 

 

The first few miles were fine once I stopped panicking.  We were running parallel to the ocean and there was no sun yet.  It was so far a cloudy breezy day.  I maintained a good pace for the first three miles and William stayed behind me.  Once the third mile began so did the hills.  This is when William caught up to me and I started slowing down. I did not want to start walking the uphills. I did not want to get very behind where I was the last one running! I was so worried about that. With only 160 1/2 marathoners, I did not want to be the last one!  The hills got worse and I became slower. By the time the fourth mile was there, I was power walking.  William had maintained a good pace and he was not ahead of me. The hills were very difficult.  My surroundings changed from viewing the ocean to being with the mountains. It was beautiful in Santa Barbara. I was breathing the forrest trees and enjoying the scenery around me.  There were still runners around me and I thought maybe if I try to pace myself with others, I would get a little better.  There were a few girls around me that seemed to be at my pace so I started running  behind them. However I was still going uphill and my running didn’t last that long. I had to stop again to power walk.  People were passing me by a lot.  There was another girl I tried to follow who was wearing a back pack.  That seemed to work a little better. There was also a very old man running the whole time and I don’t think I ever saw hims stop to walk. He maintained his pace the whole time when he was going up hill. I thought that was very impressive and I wanted to be there!

So many things were running through my mind through this journey. I no longer saw William in front of me.  I started thinking about the Maui marathon and thought how in the heck did I commit to this!  Running these hills were very difficult and I knew that it was not going to get any easier in Maui.  I thought a lot about the marathon during my run. I thought how I always commit to things and then wonder why I do it. I reached the sixth mile and finally the hills started to go down.  Yay!

My legs felt so wobbly at this point. I was able to run once the hills were over but my body felt numb.  I just kept running. I was still around the backpack woman and caught up to the old man running. I passed him up!  I tried to maintain a steady pace in the sixth mile. I even got my first cup of water from the volunteers. My hips felt like they were going to collapse. I tried to walk a bit to rest them but that didn’t work. I think my body didn’t want to stop anymore. It was in running mode and if I walked, I felt all the body pains. So I kept running and then I started feeling stomach cramps. It started to feel like there were knots in my stomach and they got very painful!  I then walked and took deep breaths to see if it would go away.  I was irritated because I was finally running but had to slow down for my stomach cramps. Once I started taking deep breaths, it seemed to calm my stomach down. So there I went again trying to run again.  I was wearing my iNano and according to my time at that point, I was not doing so bad on time.

During the seventh and eight mile, I knew I was tired but kept running.  I tried to think of things that would keep my mind off the running. I started imagining my friends at the finish line rooting for me when I finished even if they were not going to be there but it helped me.  I also realized that it was my last day to be 32 years old and I was running a half marathon on my birthday eve!  What I was to start my 33rd birthday with already a half marathon accomplished!  I thought about William and how much he has motivated me and how together we help each other accomplish certain things in our lives.  I thought of how it would be great to live in a place like Montecito.  We passed through some grand estates and I hear that one of them was Oprah’s home.  I thought of my family and tried to imagine them shouting out my name when I ran through the finish line.  I enjoyed this portion of the run because there were hardly any runners around me.  Everyone had spread out throughout the course and I just had to make sure I did not take a wrong turn.

I think I finally learned during this time of my run what the point of all of this was. I started this race thinking to myself that I did not want to be last. Now I knew what this madness was all about. It was about committing to something and not giving up. It’s about finishing at your best with whatever it is.  It was not about the time I was going to do it in, it’s about having the strength to tell yourself that you can do whatever you put your mind to. It’s all in the mind.  So somehow I knew that I was going to finish the Maui marathon no matter what.

I made it through the ninth mile and my body was still going.  I don’t know how but it was very difficult.  Maui is going to be huge!!! All of a sudden another hill began at the end of the tenth mile. What the heck!?  Another hill?  It was not a short one. It seemed like it was one full mile that was going uphill. Why would they do this to us and put an uphill at the end of the marathon??  It wiped any energy I had left to give. I was so frustrated because I had already carried good pace the last few miles and thought I was going to finish in about two hours and 15 minutes. But this last hill blew that away. It felt like the hardest hill ever!  And then I hear the old man’s footsteps. The same one that I had already passed was coming back.  Oh no! Did it slow me down this much!  I was so exhausted.

Somehow I got passed that awful hill and there I went downhill. It seemed like this marathon was never going to end!  I thought I was near when I saw the ocean again but there were some turns and I was back in the middle of nowhere running all by myself. Just keep going Melissa, just pace yourself is what I was telling myself.  The 12th mile was the longest mile so far. I knew I was getting very close when I started seeing the marathoners walking towards me. This means that they had finished and were going home. I asked one of them how close I was to the finish line and she said that I was very close “Just past that turn and you should start seeing the big finish banner” she responded with a smile.  I was so close but yet so far away!  I wondered if William was there at the finish line waiting for me. I knew I was not the last one because I had again passed the old man and the girl with the backpack.

Finally I saw the finish line ahead of me. I looked for William and didn’t see him in the crowd.  Where was he?  I got closer and heard the people cheering for me. I looked up and I saw William running through the crowds trying to get close to the finish line.  I ran and ran and ran until I crossed the finish line!  There was a lady there waiting for me to give me my medal. William was there too with a big smile. I took the medal and took William’s hug. It was finally over!!!

I

My official time was 2:28:54.6. I did it in less than two and a half hours! No way!  William was very impressed with my time. He thought I would finish in three hours or so. According to him, it was a very difficult half marathon. Below is how my pace changed throughout the race.

I finished 6th place in my women’s age group from 31-35.  Not bad!  I was very happy it was over and felt good about it.  I can’t believe I’m actually running. I never thought myself as a runner. I was once told my an orthopedic doctor that I’m flat-footed with introverted hips and that I should not try running for exercise.  This just shows that sometimes people are lazy!  Any of us can do whatever we pleased  and I am proud to say that I ran a half marathon!

 

 

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Oh July, how painful you have been!  July has been a big challenge for me. My work schedule has been getting in the way of my training. I’ve had to work every weekend in July and when I do that, it’s usually a heavy offsite where I’m working a 14 hour shift on a Saturday on my feet non-stop.  This means that I instead of running my long run on Sunday, I run it on Monday and do a lousy job because I’m still recovering from the offsite. This also puts all my other runs during the week behind.  William and I also decided in July that we should sign up for a half marathon the weekend where I need to accomplish 14 miles, which happens to be my birthday weekend as well.  Why not start my birthday with a half marathon accomplished!  It was perfect. This way I got a little experience from an actual marathon and it also made me stay on track for July with my training.

We registered for the Run Montecito-Summerland 1/2 Marathon.  It’s a 1/2 marathon that William found online that would take place on July 21st right up the Santa Barbara area. One day before my birthday. It was a perfect plan. We would drive Friday night, run Saturday morning, wine taste Saturday afternoon, have a lovely dinner by the wineries, go to the beach Sunday morning, and return Sunday evening.  We were able to book two nights at Hotel Indigo right on State Street near Stearns Wharf and downtown Santa Barbara.  It was a last minute decision that we didn’t really plan early but we were both excited to make this trip happen.  We were also trying to get friends to go but last minute plans for everyone else did not work out.

Like I said earlier, training this month was very difficult.  My 10 mile run that I had to run on a Monday was difficult because I was super tired from a wedding I had worked on Saturday. Since it was a weekday, William decided to run from work to the house to accomplish the 10 miles. I had the day off so I ran from my house and met William at the fifth mile and run the last five miles together towards the house.   I remember my legs were tired and I did a lot of walking the last three miles of the run.  I was able to finish the 10 miles in two hours and 32 seconds. Not the best time, or at least not the best for me.

Running on Fletcher Street

The following weekend I was supposed to run 12 miles. It was also the weekend before the half marathon. This meant that this 12 mile run was very important to finish.  However, I worked both Saturday and Sunday!  Saturday I worked for about 12 hours and Sunday I worked about 8 hours. Both dates were me being on my feet. It was awful and I was very tired.  William was very good about giving me back and leg massages to release some soreness from my body. I knew skipping the 12 mile run was not an option.  But how was I supposed to run it when my legs did not have the energy? Monday came along and I was super tired and still in pain. My lower back was not at its best.  William texted me at about 5:20pm to ask me if I was ready for my run.  I responded to him that I would start it closer to 6pm. I did not know how I would accomplish this but I got dressed and made myself go out there.  I walked  the first half mile to get my body warmed up and then started running after the half mile.  My back was killing me and my legs were very tired.  By the time the mile ended I was walking again. I thought about my options and knew that I did not want to turn back and quit. I also knew that running 12 miles was not going to happen. I thought of how I’ve told myself before that I would try my best at whatever I do and at that instant, my best would be to walk until I met up with William.  I tried running a few more times but by the 2.5 mile I was walking again.  I walked all the way to Silverlake and got to 4.2 miles and still no sign of William. I did not want to continue walking too much because I should also be recovering and give my legs some kind of rest.  I thought maybe I missed William somewhere so I decided to turn back.  While I was walking on Fletcher, William came from behind me and found me! I guess he had started to walk on Silverlake thinking I was close by. I turned a little too early.  He agreed that it was the right thing to do was to walk miles instead of nothing.  Somewhere a long the way, my left calf to my achilles tendon started to hurt really bad. I tried to stretch it out but it wasn’t helping. By the time I got home, I was limping.  I was not sure what I did but I figured I would wait a day and find out where this pain was going.

On Tuesday, the pain did not go away from the achilles tendon area. I know hurting your achilles tendon can be very delicate and sometimes it can take a long time to recover. This is the last thing I wanted and were just a few days from the 1/2 marathon.  Tuesday night I worked a long day.  I still had the pain on Wednesday and still limping at work.  That Wednesday night, William rubbed my calf and leg.

By Thursday morning the pain was gone!  It was just a tight muscle that I had and William was able to release some pressure I had there.  Thursday evening we had to get another run in between the marathon. Besides my 8 mile walk on Monday, my last run had been on Friday the 13th for 6 miles. It was time to get another one in.  We ran only 5.3 miles because we also wanted to save strength for the 1/2 marathon on Saturday.  I was feeling confident that I was going to do good in the half marathon.

Friday morning we were both very excited. We packed, went to work, and started our drive to Summerland at 5pm. We made it there just in time to pick up our bib and shirt.  The location where we picked up our bib was Cafe Luna which was also the start and finish line.  This is when I started questions.  It had just hit me that I did not bother to ask how difficult this course was or how many people were involved. We asked the volunteers there how many people were registered for the 1/2 marathon and they responded that there were only 160 runners.  Yikes!  This was going to be competitive! I had not realized how small the group was of runners. I finally started to get nervous about the race. What if I would be the last one finished!  I did not want that.  What if I had to stop and go the bathroom a lot of times? I started having second thoughts about the race and started thinking that I was physically not prepared for this.  I had not even accomplished 12 miles yet!  My farthest run I had done was 10 miles and the last week I only got in a 5 mile run.  I was in panic mode.  That Friday night we went to bed early at the hotel so we would have a good night sleep and wake up at about 5am to be at the location by 6am. I also had to wake up early because I had to do a 5 minute run before the marathon so I made sure I went to the restroom.

The whole night I couldn’t sleep. My mind never went to sleep. I kept dreaming that I missed the marathon or that I was very behind. Finally the alarm went off and it was official.  The half marathon was just two hours away and I was wide awake.

 

 

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Yikes!  I have waited too long to blog!  It’s only because my schedule has been all over the place. Now it’s time to catch up!  I would say June is the month of change.  It’s the month where I started my official training schedule.  I run about three times during the week and run my long run on Sundays.  The fall I had early in June delayed me a little. I might have skipped about two runs during the week day but I did not skip my long Sunday run, which is the most important run of the week!

June has been a big success. I noticed improvements with my body.  I get less tired during my runs and I’ve been able to run uphills!  There are still a few which kill me but overall I think I can manage a few uphills.  For June, my longest run that I achieved was eight miles.  It was a great 8-mile run because my friend Carmen waited for me with her two daughters at the 4 mile mark with some water. I surprised myself on how steady I was the whole time. It only took me 1 hour and 24 minutes to run 8 miles.  I was pretty pleased at myself! However, now that I’m running longer, there are some consequences to that.

After my 8 mile I discovered a painful red rash under my breasts.  I got so scared! William explained to me that it’s chafing from the clothes and skin.  All runners experience this.  I went to a woman marathoner for advice on this one because William does not have the boobies that I do.  The woman marathoner told me that most women get this.  There is no perfect sports bra for this but things that will help according to her is to put vaseline (click here to listen to the vaseline song) in those locations that will rub a lot. Also the tighter the breasts are in the sports bra, the less movement.  I started putting vaseline under my breasts and wearing tight tank tops with the sports bra until I get better clothes. So now I’m showing more cleavage that I wanted to but oh well, I have to protect the twins!

My body has also been changing. I told William that I feel like a cocoon. I’ve been trapped in this cocoon for a few years and now I have began my metamorphosis with my training.  My fingernails have been growing fast and firm. They are unbreakable!  My legs definitely feel stronger and tight.  My belly does not stick out as much or does not look bloated.  I’ve been breaking out on my face a lot. There’s been zits all over the face!  It must be the sweat or possibly my body is releasing lot of toxins.  So release the toxins!  I’m also hungry all the time. I eat about every two hours and sometimes I can’t keep up with myself. The great thing is that William bought us a grill. I’ve been grilling everything that we eat!  Chicken, tilapia, vegetables…it’s all delicious and healthy!  I’m still about the same weight at 170 lbs but I does not matter. I can feel the changes each day.

I also bought new running shoes.  It was time to switch them out and get new selections that I will be using for the marathon. I met William at the store to go shoe shopping. He was very helpful and laid out about six different pairs of shoes for me at DSW.  I tried each pair and walked around in them.  I ended going with the same shoes I bought in January but the most recent version without realizing this!  This must tell me something.  The shoes I have are Asics Gels for women.  They have been the most comfortable for my running. I’m glad to say that I have not had any issues with my running shoes.

Overall for June, I feel that this has been the turning point of my training. For the first five months of this year, I was trying to get my body used to run steady and to learn how to run.  June hit and I feel it’s stage two: The Metamorphosis month.  My body has reacted to my running and it is transforming each day.

Running here I come!

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Getting injured during training can be very frustrating.  After I ate it on June 12th, the training became a little difficult.  The next day after my knees were badly bruised, my body was very sore and especially my back. I think it’s because I hit my left side of my body against a wall as I was falling down.  I felt like I had been in a car accident. Luckily it was my rest day and I had also made an appointment with my chiropractor. I went to the appointment after work and I described to my chiropractor my fall and she said that I had been whiplashed.  I receive a 50 minute massage well needed!  At one point I fell asleep and snored a little. It was relaxing. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a massage.

The following day on Thursday was my my 4-mile run.  I thought I was going to be ok with it but it was very painful on my knees. They were very swollen and it caused me to stop a lot and walk instead. I still managed to finish the run in 42 minutes.  On Friday I went to work and my knees hurt the whole day.  Friday was supposed to be a 3-mile run. After work I decided to instead take a walk instead of a run. What I did not want to do was to baby my knees too much but I also knew that they needed to heal. At this point my left knee had a huge scab that cause my skin to tighten up. It hurt every time I had to straighten my leg or bend it.  I was able to walk to Fresh and Easy which was about a total of two miles.  It was the first run I’ve had to skip since I started my 16-week training. I was bummed about it and worried that I was not able to run over the weekend.  Fortunately Saturday was a rest day and relaxed the whole day.

Sunday the 17th was my first seven mile run!  William and I wanted to run it in the morning and not wait around. We had oatmeal in the morning and by the time we got out of the house it was about 10:30am.  The day was clear and sunny with a nice California breeze.  Immediately when I started the run, I felt very heavy and tired. It wasn’t necessarily my knees that were hurting, it was just very difficult to run.  I wasn’t even lasting a mile without stopping! William was way ahead of me and did not seem to be having the same challenges I was having. I didn’t know why it was so difficult. I was so tired.  Then it started getting hot and felt that this run was taking forever!   The run was towards San Pascual and instead of stopping by the trail, this time we had to run to Arroyo Blvd and stop at Madeline Drive and come back. I didn’t realize that Arroyo Blvd was an uphill.  I was in hell!  This has been the worst run ever.  My body was rejecting every second of my run!  William was not being soft on me either. He kept pushing me (which I think helped me finish it) not to stop.  On the way back, probably on my fourth mile, I got very emotional and teary-eyed.  Too many emotions started running through my head and felt very frustrated and restrained from everything.  What a painful run.  My knees also began to hurt and felt like they were very swollen.  I don’t know how I made it back home but finally did. I didn’t even complete the seven miles. I only accomplished  6.23 miles. I don’t know what went wrong this time. Was it the time of day? I’ve been running only in the evenings after work. This one was my first morning run in a long run. Maybe I didn’t have that much energy in the morning, but I had my oatmeal!  Maybe it was the heat getting me tired.  I don’t know. I just know that it was awful! I was very disappointed with myself.

My fourth week of training started on Tuesday the 19th.  My knees were still bothering but I felt I did not feel I had room to slow down, especially about going through that dreadful run on Sunday.  It was only 3 miles on Tuesday and knees did begin to hurt by the end of the run. It was very had to run downhill.  My knees were getting pounded on the downhills and I don’t think it was helping the healing.  Wednesday was rest day and Thursday was five miles that I did a lot better.  I still had to stop to rest my knees from the pain but did manage to finish 5 miles. My running has been looking good now!

 

Tomorrow will be my first 8 mile run.  I’m a little nervous and I need to make sure that it’s nothing like last Sunday.  I hope I do better!

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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!

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