Getting to Staten Island

I’ve been working on my race review for the NYC marathon for about a week now. However, due to lack of time, having any energy in my body to type and of course the editor mode being a pain in the arse; the days keep slipping away and I’ve only written about 1/3 of my experience. I wanted to make sure that I stay as honest and detailed as possible so give me a few more minutes/hours/days.

But I did wanted to share a small tidbit with you about one of my favorite things, the Expo. So please accept this small offering while I finish writing.


 

It started with a trip to the Jacob Javits Center on Thursday afternoon with a mission to pick up my bib and walk around the Expo.

Yeah, I'm gonna get my NY on

Hell yeah, I’m gonna get my NY on!

Of course I needed to get a picture of one of my favorite runners who would be joining me on the running route that Sunday, Kara Goucher.

#BFFS #runningbuddies

#BFFS #runningbuddies

Of course, she was a little quiet during our get together but whatever.

Then I followed up my time at the expo with my favorite thing, shopping.

I love new running gear!

I love new running gear!

There’s something always fun about buying running gear. Especially gear from a prestigious marathon that you’re gonna kick ass in. I had been saving my pennies for this expo and bought a few things that I had been eyeing online. I love this hoodie, by the way, its perfect whenever winter decides to kick in.

And then I saw this amazing wall post and I had to get a picture with it.

WorldMajorsPoster_NYCMarathon

As some of you know, one of my life goals is to run all six of the World Major Marathons. Well, after Sunday two out of the six have been completed with only four more to go; and one of those four happens to be Boston. Yeah, I don’t have the goal to complete them all before I turn 40 or something. I just want to get them all done before I die. I can’t believe I’m already a third of the way there!

After spending a few hours wandering around, checking out all the sales and getting my running geekiness on it was time to go and tackle a few other tasks. (Like having to work Friday and trying to get over a damn cold still.)

The next time I would be in the city would be with some friends eating carbs, in the lower East side on a cold and windy evening trying to calm my nerves before one of the biggest running events.

From One Day to the NYC Marathon

Seven years and one week ago, I went down to Harlem on the first Sunday in November to see a friend at the time run the NYC marathon. I wanted to get there early and have a good spot so I parked myself right before the 22 mile marker right on the curb. As soon as I got there, the elite women runners started to round the corner and I decided to capture this once in a lifetime moment of seeing these amazing athletes at their peak. I had been watching them in the morning as I was getting ready to come into the city and I was in awe of Paula Radcliffe, the British marathoner who was leading the pack. I amazingly got my camera out at the right moment and was able to get this shot.

Paula Radcliffe is in the lead. You know, the blur running by.

Paula Radcliffe is in the lead. You know, the blur running by.

Yep, she is the blur in the lead who was going so fast that I didn’t have time to let my camera focus on her. But I’m proud of this photo, I actually love it! It just goes to show you how strong of an athlete she is. Anyways, I took this photo and sat at that corner watching other marathoners run through the city until late into the afternoon. At some point, I quietly told myself, wouldn’t it be cool to do that one day? Maybe I can run a marathon.  

Well, instead of doing one, I’ve run three and last week was the race that inspired this all. Last week, I ran the New York City Marathon.

I’m still in awe that I completed it and now I giddily look back on the adventure, even though it was the coldest run that I have experienced in a really long time. But not matter, I was pretty much all smiles along the route and enjoyed taking in every moment that I had while running around my favorite city. I definitely wanted to honor the experience with its own post but I can’t help and look back at this photo and think of the person who took it. At the time, I had only been running on a treadmill at a gym and only participated in one road race; terrified of ever running outside because I didn’t want to deal with hills. Now, I train on the hills of Golden Gate Park, I’ve run several races with plans for more, especially in the world of marathons. If I had known then what I was about to do I would’ve laughed.

Even now, I have a smile on my face. DAMN! I ran the NYC Marathon. That was awesome!

The First Run is the Deepest

Yesterday, I went for my first run since October.

Ok, well that’s technically not true. I tried to do a 1 mile run the day after Christmas and I swore I thought I was going to die. No seriously, I thought I was going to cough up a lung, my heart would stop beating and I would just fall over. Of course, this could be partially blamed on the fact that I was trying to run a sub 10 min mile. Yeah, not smart at all.

So yesterday morning I decided to give it another go but with a different goal. I was going to have fun.

Back story is that I’m training for two events this year, a half marathon in June and the New York Marathon in November. I somehow convinced three of my friends (sorry, ladies) to run a ½ marathon last year and now we’re training for it. We’ve got a schedule going, planning on doing some trainings together and of course good old fashion accountability.

Well, Monday was Day 1 of training and guess who slept through her alarm? Yeah, so much for a good start. However, I stuck with the program; just because I missed the first run doesn’t mean the whole schedule was off. So I continued with cross training Tuesday and a 25 min run on Wednesday.

And then it started to happen again. I wanted to compete with myself.

I’ve been away from my running sneakers for almost 3 months now , ok, 2 weeks. It doesn’t seem that much, but to my body it feels like the first time running again. I didn’t want to wake up early, I felt tired and winded in the first few minutes and it was too cold (all my East Coast readers are gonna roll their eyes at that last comment). It was the hardest run but the most rewarding because I had fun again.

I started the route off telling myself, “No competing! This is not track day.” I kept reminding myself to breath, to enjoy the quiet time and to just focus on the getting the 25 minutes whether big or small; and sure enough it worked. I got the high again.

I was reminded why I like to run in the morning and how nice the cool air can feel when you first start going. I got to run along with barely a soul out enjoying the sun rise. I even was able to wear one of the Christmas presents Jon got me, Oiselle Arm Warmers. They are perfect for the California early mornings; something warm enough to get you out of the door, but easy to take off when you don’t need it anymore. I left my iPod at home so as not be distracted and I just ran without thinking.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had that feeling, a feeling of no judgment. There have been so many times where I’ve had a mileage or pace so focused in my head that I set myself up to fail. Not that it’s a bad thing to have a goal, but remembering to give yourself some grace is a good thing. I don’t have to run every single training session better than the last, as long as I make progress over time thats a good thing. I also get lost in the idea of people are judging me while I run. Yeah I’m not at my best pace or even in the best shape, but I’m still going and one day soon I’ll get there. I’m one step and one day closer to a PR!

I was reading Runner’s World’s series, How Running Changed Me: John Critchfield yesterday. I love reading that series, it totally can get anyone inspired. He mentions this great quote that now is sitting on my desktop and my office wall.

“If you’re out there on the road or trail, breathing slightly harder than you would be at the ice-cream sundae bar, you’re in a moment of personal perfection regardless of what you did or didn’t do the day before.” —Marc Parent, Runners World

I’ve missed this. I’ve missed the freedom. I sometimes I forget that I’m a two time marathoner. Dammit! I was hardcore once. Now, I’m gonna make it three. Man, I am a badass!

Be a badass!

Be a badass!

Running Blues

It is exactly one month since I ran the Chicago Marathon and I haven’t run since.

Here’s what happened…

Here we go!

Here we go!

For those of you that aren’t aware and didn’t get my obsessive updates, I ran the Chicago Marathon this year with Team In Training. I signed shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing and since I had already done a marathon I wanted to do another to prove to myself (and the world) that marathoners are hardcore. It was a journey worth taking again. 

The view from the hotel. AMAZING

The view from the hotel. AMAZING

I made it to race day with a lot of bumps along the road. Getting to training was really hard regardless of time and location, but it was difficult for me to get out of my head a lot of times. I had a goal in mind and I was so set on that number that I forgot how much I love to run. It was to the point that on the day of the race I  had to throw out my goal and focus on completing the race before they started shutting down the route; fortunately I did. As soon as I crossed the finish line I found the passion again and I was already talking about the next race (which will be New York in 2014) and how I wanted to do better.

Fun Fact: Both Chicago and New York are part of the six major marathon races in the world. The other four are Boston, London, Berlin and Tokyo. By this time next year, I will have technically run two out of the six which means that I only have to get into four more to be a bad ass. Yeah, I’m already thinking about which one is going to be number three. 

After running my second wave of 26.2 miles my body was hurting everywhere and I mean everywhere. Every time I had to get up and go to the bathroom I cried a little because I ached from the bottom of my feet all the way to my shoulders. I spent the next day walking around the city with family and it helped with the healing process. By the time we got home to San Francisco, I was walking pretty normally but feeling pain in my foot that still wasn’t leaving. After a visit with the physical therapist a couple of weeks ago it was confirmed that I have plantar fasciitis. It’s a nice little injury on a tendon that runners often get and if it not treated it can cause bigger issues for the next race. With that said, the doctor put a stop to all running (and I mean all running) until I’m done with physical therapy which should be by the end of the month. I am bummed for reals. I’m already itching to get ready for New York and I can’t even go for a 1/2 mile run. So what have I been doing to distract my frustration? I’ve been looking at Half Marathons to run.

Yes! I know it’s a bad idea to run in my condition but I’ve been looking at races that I want to do next year & the following year, so that’s not so wrong. First one up is the Divas Half Marathon in 2014 a nice smooth route that I have run before. I’ve already recruited a few friends to join in and have a good time. For me, it’s something to aim for that I know once recovered I can just focus on getting to the finish line with a stellar time. (Yes, I’m back on the time thing, but halfs are a little easier on me mentally since 13 doesn’t scare me anymore.) After that, we have New York, so I need to focus all time and energy on that one. After that we’ll be getting ready for 2015 and I’m hoping to get into Disney’s Tinker Bell Half Marathon and the Disney’s Princess Half Marathon. Why? For two reason:

1. I want to go to both Disneyland & Disney World. (I’ve never been to Disneyland & I’ve only been to Disney World once in my life.)

2. Not only would I get 2 medals for completing the races but I can get three more!! Yeah! A total of FIVE!! One for doing a challenge on both coasts. But I can also do the Glass Slipper Challenge at the Princess Half Marathon, which is run a 10K on Saturday follow up with the Half Marathon on Sunday. Yeah, I’m extra crazy.

I think this recovery process is getting to me since I’m trying to do back-to-back races in 2015.  I’m mentally trying to make sure that I don’t lose focus. I miss how running was natural to me and my morning routine. If I start setting goals now it’ll be easier to work up to the challenges in the coming months. I’m hoping all this plotting for all small races will help me work my way up again to remember the pleasure of going out and having some quiet time while watching all the people go about their morning. I miss that. But until I get the ok, my only focus is rolling out my IT, stretching my feet and finding a way to shave off 15 minutes to my PR.

Here’s the Highlights

I was actually talking to my boss today about my blog which reminded that I have a lot of catching up to do. Actually, I haven’t been back here in about 6 months. It’s not like my life has been boring or anything it just seems that time keeps getting away when I want to write. So instead of going out to a club on a Friday night and dancing like a mad woman with my husband, I’m going to spend the night catching you up on some of the highlights of my life. I’m just kidding. My plans all day have been to sit on my couch, in my pjs and  watch a movie with Jonathan; which we’re doing now. We live the most boring lives sometimes. 

A little review of the last 6 months:

– I got a job working at Dolby! I’m not going to go into all the details but it’s a great place to be for a former film student/tech geek like myself.

– I’ve legally changed my name to my married name, so I’m now part of Jonathan’s family. That was an emotional trip.

– I’m running the Chicago Marathon this year with Team in Training. I’m running 12 miles tomorrow and I’m freaking out.

– I finally got Jonathan a first anniversary wedding present.

– I went to my first Trent Reznor concert, which was amazing!

– I started drinking coffee again this week. It’s so delicious; I missed it.

Let’s start off with that, and I’ll give you the full details soon. Right now, I want to go to bed. A 7am start time for my run is not too far from my future.

Olympic Marathon Fever

The Olympics were a huge deal when I was growing up. Regardless of whether or not it was the Summer or Winter Games my mother and I always sat down after dinner to watch what happened that day whether or not we knew the sports. (Side note: my mother actually got to see some of the events during the 1972 Olympic Games in Sapporo. Apparently while watching the luge she spent most of her time warming herself by a fire and then running to the guardrail to cheer on the athlete.) We’d always root for Team USA but we also rooted for the UK (my father’s native homeland) and Colombia (my mother’s birthplace). I was always inspired by the people who had made it so far, getting a chance to compete and seeing their own national pride. But the one thing that my mother loved the most about the Olympics were the Opening and Closing Ceremony. I swear there is a VHS tape somewhere with the opening and closing ceremony for the 1992 Lillehammer Games and 1994 Barcelona Game. Why do I still keep it? Because you never know when you’re going to be at a dinner party when someone is going to request to see it; but not on just any old format, on VHS!

I always loved the swimming and gymnastics events. Growing up I was a pretty good swimmer so I actually understood the skill that was required to be so fast. I always wanted to be a gymnast so to see those kids do all those flips and performances was always amazing. However, out of all them I always loved the track & field events. The awesome thing about the track and field is it comes down to being the fastest human being in the world. How many people can say that?!

Now that I’m planning on running my second marathon I’m a little more excited over the people that are competing and seeing how well they do on a mentally killing course. Preparing for a marathon is never easy and three of my running inspirations will be there: Paula Radcliffe, Kara Goucher, and the first timer Gladys Tejeda.

Paula Radcliffe

Paula Radcliffe

I first saw Paula Radcliffe run in the NYC Marathon back in 2007 when she flew by me in Harlem. I took a picture of her and she was going so fast that my camera only captured her as a blur. Seeing her running the course and looking so strong was the first time that it entered my head, “maybe one day I can do a marathon”. Her movements were so controlled and she looked as if it was effortless. She won the race after just giving birth to her daughter 10 months prior. She gave birth to her son in 2010 and according to an article in The Daily Mail she was training 14 miles a day when she was 5 months pregnant. Proving that women can be the greatest marathoners.

Now gearing up for London it’ll be interesting to see how she does. She’s won the London Marathon years ago but she hasn’t done well at the Olympics. In Greece, she hit a really bad wall and didn’t finish the race, while at the Beijing Games she came in 23rd. She’s nearly 40 and has been training for London, however a few injuries have started to creep up on her now, so the question is: will she compete? I hope she does and  she can finish in the top 3. I mean seriously, here’s a woman who has won several marathons but not the Olympics! She needs the win. But if the Olympics don’t work out I hope she runs NY this year because then I can say that I ran with her.

Kara Goucher

Kara Goucher

Kara Goucher

Kara made her marathon appearance in New York in 2008 and placed third. She did it again in the 2009 Boston Marathon. Yeah, pretty impressive. After running the Nike Half  Marathon last year I decided to pick up her book, best decision ever! Although I’m not training as intensively as her, she talks about things that I haven’t thought about, like what I’m going to do when I’m pregnant, recommendations for fuel and reminding me that no one ever sleeps before a race. I pick up her book at night, before I go to bed, to give me inspiration for when I do my trainings in the morning. A little read to get me motivated.

I’m eager to see her do well. She’s been an inspiration and relatively close to my age I appreciate her wisdom. I think she can really take this race head on and come home with a medal.

Gladys Tejada

Gladys Tejeda

If you’re looking for an inspirational story, just read Gladys Tejada’s journey. This will be the second time she’s ever SEEN the Olympics and her third marathon race EVER! Yes, her third marathon race! She qualified for the Olympics on her FIRST race in Seoul and won the bronze in the Pan American Games. I read her story online yesterday and spent half the day picking up my jaw from the floor.

A girl from a small village in the Peruvian Andes, she never thought about the Olympics until four years ago when she saw it on TV for the first time. She’s been training in the Andes mountains in her village so you know she can handle the endurance for sure. To imagine a girl who has worked at a flour plant, the daughter of farmers taking on the Olympics for the first time is what the Games are all about.

I’m really hoping she gets a medal but with so many marathoners who have been training for decades it’ll be tough. It’s going to be interesting to see how she handles it, but I have strong hopes for her to finish in the top 10.

The marathon race isn’t until Aug. 5th but I can’t wait! Wishing all the best to the marathoners, swimmers, gymnasts and athletes. Go Team USA!

What events are you looking forward to? What country or athlete are you rooting for? Did anyone else still have recordings of the ceremonies like I do, or is it just my crazy family? 

New York in November or Bust

This past Thursday, the greatest news was emailed to me.

I'm In

Holy Schnikes! I got accepted!

Yes, people of the world, I got into the New York City Marathon. I was one of the millions of people who hoped and prayed and my prayers were answered. HUZZAH! So in November of this year I’m going to be running the 5 boroughs, probably peeing in my pants and hoping to get my name in the New York Times with a 4:20 Personal Record (PR). My last race was 5:30 and it was torture, but fortunately with New York, it’s a relatively flat race. I mean the only hill is in mile 1 getting out of Staten Island.  SA-WEET!

Right now, I’m not in the marathon zone at all. I’m running a half marathon next week which should help and today I signed up to train with a local running group in my town, A Runner’s Mind. The staff there are super nice and since it’s early I think they’ll be the best people to get my fat butt into kick arse mode. However, I don’t think I’m going to be the best person to be training with every Tuesday at 6am.

Ahh running season; the perfect reminder that my days of sleeping in on Saturdays will be just a dream for a few months.