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Posts Tagged ‘healthy-living’

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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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!!!

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