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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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The only time I was really tired was right after the Merrel Mud run on Sunday. I took about  a two-hour nap after taking a shower.  Monday I woke up with full energy and stayed home to clean and organize the house. The whole day I was moving around and ended the night by going to to the LA Clippers game!

Today I woke up just fine but was tired by 5pm on the way home from work. I knew I wanted to run because this upcoming week is going to be busy and did not want to get behind like I have in the past.  I’m also having knee pains on my right knee. My knees are a little scratched and bruised from the mud run on Sunday. William gave me some stuff to numb my knee while I ran.

I decided to do a quick three mile run just to be able to do something and aim to run five miles tomorrow after work hoping my knee is not hurting anymore.  So I started my run and played my iNano to some Astronomy by Metallica.  It’s the perfect song to start your run because it starts slow and about a minute into it, the guitars and drums start going crazy and gets my heart pumping.  The knee pain didn’t really go away but I pushed myself to run and the music in my ears was helping.  The last half of the three miles was painful on my knee. I had to walk the last tenth of my last mile because the pain was getting worse.  I ran three miles n 29 minutes. I came home and William put frozen fruit on my knee and here I am blogging on the couch.  Hopefully tomorrow I do better.

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“Do your best and forget the rest” – Tony Horton

4:40am.  It was still dark as my alarms goes off. I turned it off, go pee, and crawl back to bed under the soft, warm bed sheets.  4:50am.  The alarm called me again. I turned it off and continued to lay in bed.  4:58am.  I dragged myself to the bathroom to take a shower.  5:20am.  William got up and took a shower.  Once I was fully awake, I packed my extra clothes and made some oatmeal for both of us.  I was actually not nervous about the race yet.  Just very sleepy.  We left the house at about 5:50am to pick up our last trooper Mike. As you all know from previous blogs, I’ve used this past week to prep myself for the Merrel Down & Dirty.  This whole year I have been running with the exceptions of some gaps in February and March.  Then there is Mike.  Mike is one of William’s friends that has never ran or done any exercise.  He plays baseball in a local league and that’s about it.  He has been hearing about our experiences and William’s marathons for a quite a while and finally decided to commit to a challenge. However before today, he had only worked out for about 1 week and a half.  He just bought a membership at the gym and has tried to get himself in shape this past week for this race. William and I both knew that this was going to be very tough for him but all agreed that we would stick together and help each other get through the race.

We arrive at Castaic Lake early enough to check in, stretch and get our body somewhat loose.

Stretching 

It was very cold and we did not have the courage to take our sweatshirts off at first.  We left them on until about 7:45am when we had to check in our bags.  We then headed to the starting line right before 8:00am.  We decided to go into the first wave possible. Why not!  At this point I was eager and excited.  It was not until the gun went off and we started to run is when I felt nervous.  The first half a mile was cold and all I was trying to do was to warm up and create a nice slow pace to start easy.  I wanted to conquer this race and I wanted to push myself.

at Castaic Lake

The first few obstacles were easy. We had to go under nets and sure enough the steady incline began. The hills had started. I tried to keep myself at a good pace and for the most part it worked. After the first hill we had to do 10 push ups.  I have not done any for quite a while but still got down and heard Tony Horton’s voice in my head, “Do your best and forget the rest.” So I did and gave the hills 10 push ups.  There were some areas where I had to power walk up the hills.  Mike immediately in the first mile was out of breath and sweaty.  William and I kept ourselves near him so we would not lose him.  Mile two came fast and for the most part we running uphill until mile three.  The obstacles that we had were actually pretty easy. There was one where we had to climb up some walls and crawl in tunnels and under nets, and also climb some nets.  At once point we had to walk on lumber strips that were very wobbly. It was not a good idea to balance yourself on these when other people were on them. If someone fell of these, it looked like it would be very painful. There were volunteers there helping you but I did not want any help. I wanted to walk on these without any help. The yoga kicked in and I walked on them without any problems.  During this time Mike was a real trooper cracking jokes trying to stay alive.  Early in the race his lower pack was giving him problems. We stretched out our hamstrings a few times during the course to help out his back and it seemed to help him quite a bit.

Third mile had a nice view of the Castaic Lake. We were probably at the highest of out those hills and the scenery was very beautiful. By this time, the day was not as cold, the shine was bright, and we were enjoying ourselves on this picture-perfect day.  At some point in the fourth mile, the first mud lake was to be accomplished. We had to crawl in mud and the water was very cold.  After the crawling, my clothes became heavy with mud but it was not as bad as I thought it would be.  Once you kept running, nothing mattered. I kept thinking of Tony Horton’s P90x phrase, “Do your best and forget the rest.” That’s what I was trying to be the whole time.  I tried my best and did not think of anything else but the enjoyment of the whole race.  The fifth mile was probably my favorite. This mile was already going downhill. It was basically a trail with many switchbacks and nice scenery.  The sixth mile was back at the recreation area back to the event where it started.  The only other obstacle that stood out for me was the “slippery mountain.” It was where you had to pull yourself up with a rope not using your feet and knees.

It was difficult for me because I still cannot pull my whole weight yet and also one of my pinky fingers is injured so it was hard to grip the rope with my hand without causing pain on my finger. William and Mike both helped me get through this one.  The last obstacle was the big mud pit.  It was not so bad and I unlike the others tried to keep my face away from the mud. William went in there like a beast and crawled that pit very quickly. Mike did the same thing too.  The bottom of the bit was rough with rocks and rubbed on my knees.  All three of us crossed the finish line together.  It felt great to finish and finally get this race out of the way.  We were muddy and very happy.  We then showered in cold water and changed clothes and had a hamburger.

The above picture was after we were dry and changed.  You can see some mud on our faces. We did not have our cameras right after the race when we were full of mud but I’m sure some will show up soon on their website.

Overall the experience was most needed with me. Last year I had ran the Gladiator Run which was a 5k. I was so out of breath the whole time and had to stop and slow town the group. This time, it was a 10k and the hills slowed me down a bit but I had a lot more energy and my legs kept going most of the time.  It also excited me for the rest of my training.  I was worried this past week that I was going to struggle a lot on this race but now that I have finished it, it has given me confidence to continue to push myself and not give up no matter what obstacles I face.  Just pace and race…

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