I will no longer be posting anything here — please visit www.traceb.com instead. Thanks!
I will no longer be posting anything here — please visit www.traceb.com instead. Thanks!
I can’t believe that every single year I find something new that I love about running. After coming back from nearly a 10 year break from competing, I fell in love with the marathon distance. Shortly after that, I fell in love with track, which by the way, is something I hated in high school and college. I knew that I also wanted to get into ultra marathons (anything longer than a marathon) after reaching some short(er) distance goals first. What I love about ultras is the opportunity to be out in nature, breathing in crisp cool air, rugged and challenging terrain, and of course, not having to worry about getting hit by a car.
A few weeks ago I went to REI and bought a Camelbak and Peanut Butter GU (YUM) because I wanted to start hiking and trail running on the weekend. It might seem silly but that stupid pack really got me excited and moving in that direction to finally get out there. My friend Ashley, who also had an infatuation with the marathon had recently switched to running ultras and was hiking nearly every weekend at Mt. Wilson, so I asked if I could join her the next time she was headed out there. Although I had become somewhat familiar with this trail, seeing her check-in every weekend on Yelp and noticing that it took several hours to complete, made me anxious to challenge myself in a new way. We agreed on the weekend and headed out really early, around 6am, stopping by on our way out. Duh. We were definitely on a mission, and I was glad that Ashley had let me join her. Read the rest of this entry »
Wow, I don’t even know where to start since so much has happened lately. I guess I will start by saying that I had been planning to return to school and keep my resolution to finish everything I start (and not start things that I may not want to finish) and had registered for classes in Orange County at a junior college with only two classes needed to complete my AA. My plans following this completion would be to go back to the university and focus on what I really love: athletics.
Surf City Marathon was less than a month away and I began having serious talks with my coach Sylvia. I remember her being really honest with me and asking me to ask myself if I was ready. We began these talks after I began to get frustrated with injuries that seem to haunt me during marathon training. One particular conversation left me sad for an entire day, she said that maybe we should even consider focusing on shorter distances including the 5,000m or 10,000 for the upcoming track season. Although I had been talking about running track after Surf City, I was in a bad place that day and I just kinda blurted out, “I am too slow to run a 5k or 10k, I am only decent at the marathon!” Boy, did that make her frustrated, considering I just had a pretty good summer season of 5ks and even nearly breaking 18:00 at Cypress. It was her next few sentences that made me rethink everything, especially when she said, “this marathon is controlling your life.” Wow, she was right in a way. All I could ever see or appreciate was the damn marathon. I wanted to (and still do) want to break 3:00:00 so badly that I simply put on my blinders to any other running competitions. How ridiculous…I love running and running was becoming my worst enemy.
A few days later while I was picking up some things at a random place in Fullerton, a gentlemen came up to me and asked which events I run. I was wearing a USA T&F backpack that my therapist had given me after returning from the Pan American Games. I simply responded, “10,000m and 5,000m but I am about to run a marathon in less than a month and haven’t competed in track since Bakersfield College (BC) back in 1999.” We exchanged a few words and I gave him my card and found out he was the head throw coach at Cerritos College. A few days later I was contacted by the head distance coach John Gold Goldman at Cerritos College and he was interested in me joining the team for a season of track.
What?! Really? Me? I am 32 years old and I don’t even think I have any eligibility left since I red-shirted my freshman year at CSU, Sacramento (1997-98) and even ran XC and track at Bakersfield College. At this point I was really confused. School started at Cerritos nearly the next week and I was already set at the other school in Orange County. Long story short, all this started happening at the same time I was conversing with my coach about stepping back from the marathon to get in a good track season as an unattached runner, getting my ass kicked and gaining some really good experience and hopefully a few PRs. I thought long and hard over the weekend, my coach told me she would support me no matter what I decided but to think it through. Without a lot of time waste, I consulted with my close friends and boyfriend and the consensus was to go for it. I met with my potential new coach at the school, we had tracers ran on my transcripts and before I knew it, I was all cleared to run (kind of). Lucky for me, I was eligible simply for the fact that I only ran one season of track at BC and had somehow managed to complete an additional 24 units since my last season of competition over 10 years ago! Weird. Luck. Whatever!
The hardest part about making this decision quite honestly was leaving my coach. I feel like I learned so much from her and we figured out how to work like a team. I really grew as an athlete and a competitor and most importantly, found a new respect for the sport that I hold so dear. The easiest part however, was knowing that I was given another opportunity to complete something that I left behind so long ago. Seriously, who can honestly say that they have had another opportunity after such a long break? I did have my doubts and even called my new coach to tell him that I kind of felt like I was in shock, going to practice again with college athletes much (much, much) younger than me. I told him I wasn’t sure I was making the right decision and asked if I could think about it over the weekend to make sure. I also asked him, “What’s in it for me?” I mean really, why would I do this? He was really honest and told me that he wouldn’t go through all this to get me on the team if it wouldn’t benefit Cerritos as well and we agreed that the plan would be to get picked up for a Division II school (I don’t have any Division I eligibility left since I redshirted at a Division I school previously) which should be very possible if I could run like I had this past summer.
Finally, after committing, I was almost in when I failed my school physical due to a detected hear murmur. I told my boyfriend, this is all too coincidental — either I was called to run and get back in school, or I was called to find out about this so-called heart condition. A week later, after getting an EKG and Echocardiogram, and probably a good amount of money later (still waiting for the bills), I was finally given the green light and tomorrow will be my first race at Mt. Sac running the 5,000m. I really don’t feel race ready but it is still early in the season. My goals are simple: Break 18:00 in the 5,000m and try to run a 36:00 10,000m and hopefully go to the Stanford Invitational again and state finals!
When I start to get uncomfortable with my decision I just remind myself that I have the opportunity to finish what I started, I get to do what I love, and most of all, according to my new coach, “It’s only 4-1/2 months of (my) life.”
That’s right, it’s been nearly 12 years, what’s 4-1/2 months?
So all of my friends have been messaging me like crazy wondering what is going on. I know…I have been avoiding you all because I didn’t want to tell you anything until I had firm plans. Anyway, Surf City passed and I purposely didn’t run since something else came up. Will update you about that later…Right now I am in the middle of updating this blog — I couldn’t stand looking at it anymore! Right now the theme looks different and it will continue to look different as I have more time to update it. I found out today that teammates are visiting my site and sharing with everyone — I find that funny and I hope they find what they are looking for. If you know me, you know I am an open book and can ask me anything. Anyway, will update you soon.
Yesterday’s Santa to the Sea Half Marathon closed out my 7th week of running including my first 50-mile week in a very long time. These past weeks have been very trying and roller coaster-like. It was interesting to see my fitness level upon my return, which was much better than I had anticipated and I was elated, but then my mental fitness seemed to suffer more and more as the weeks progressed.
I mentioned in my last post that I had one small hiccup in my training since coming back. That small hiccup was me diving for the bouquet at a wedding (wearing 5″ heels) that send me crashing to the ground, giving a crotch peep show for all in front of me. Oh my gosh, what was I thinking? I would never go for the bouquet but my boyfriend’s brother Greg urged me on so I thought what the heck. I did not end up catching the bouquet, I caught a single rose (meaning someone is off the hook) and I hurt my ankle. I have to take three days off from running to make sure everything was OK and on the fourth day, I ran without a problem. Thank goodness! It’s pretty tough being a runner since you sometimes have to give up small luxuries like high heels – stilettos specifically. I can’t completely rid myself of them because sometimes a girl needs to feel sexy and shoes sure do help.
Anyway, on a related note, I came across this headline: Brides race for prizes in Serbia
What? Are you kidding me? I always tell my friends about the race, or actually a dash with women wearing high heels and then I find this! This race is actually safer since you wear whatever shoes you want and potentially take home the designer dress you wear if you qualify for prizes. Pretty good way to save some money if you ask me!
Thank goodness October is here — August and September felt like the longest months of my life! I had been meaning to post about a few personal issues lately that really pulled on my heartstrings but I just didn’t have the energy to go back there and relive that whole ordeal. I kept thinking about it and finally I thought that I should just get it out of the way since in some respects, those dreadful experiences did in some weird force me to reconsider some of the choices I made and to reevaluate what’s important.
It all started with the final couple of weeks of my young cousin’s life. He was battling cancer and me not being so close to my family, I observed the progress over Facebook. Me being the worrier that I am, decided that I should probably schedule a few appointments just to make sure I was OK. Read the rest of this entry »
I promised myself that today, my day off from exercising that I would do two things — work on a craft project and post on my page. I finished the craft, (see photo below) and I am in the middle of typing my post now so I’m happy about that. Seems like two things that aren’t really that complicated to squeeze into my schedule but I have been so crazy busy lately that I rarely get to do the other things that I love. It seems that my weekdays leave me only enough time to get a run in after work and not much else. Weekends aren’t much better because I typically have a long run on Sunday which means I am prisoner on Saturday to reserve any energy I have for it and then after the run on Sunday, I am completely wiped out for the rest of the day. Complete party pooper. Grandma. Whatever. It probably sounds like I am complaining but really, I do enjoy my running and I know that I have to endure this schedule (temporarily) if I really want to break 3:00:00 in November. It all comes down to how badly I want to achieve it. I am so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life that support me, especially Dom. Poor guy (or lucky guy) rarely hears from me during the week and only gets to see me like one, maybe two nights throughout the whole week.
This weekend a group of us are going to see Journey, last year we saw a cover band at the OC Fair and had a lot of fun, can’t imagine how awesome this will be. The concert will be on Saturday night and that morning I will be running the City of Cypress 5K. Thank goodness the race is before the concert or that would be an event killer. Let’s just see how Sunday’s run goes — I probably will call in sick. Coach, don’t read this.
Anyway, training has been going exceptionally well. I am really excited to see what the future holds. I was just messaging someone today about how I am afraid to celebrate my current training after what happened to me the week before LA Marathon. I guess I shouldn’t be so afraid but I do know that anything can happen from now until November until I cross that finish line I can’t really celebrate. Coach has been so great, her training programs are extremely good (and even more difficult) and I can literally see and feel the difference. My running mates, especially Radell have been very motivating and encouraging and I know that they are also contributing to my improvements. I would suggest to anyone who wants to improve — run with people that are gonna push you. Don’t get discouraged if you are not the fastest, in fact I am practically the turtle on the team. At first it kinda sucks, especially when you have to chase people around the track and during tempos but at the end of the day, you get so strong physically and mentally and it helps you as a competitor.
For my race this weekend I have a goal (of course) to try and beat my last time of 18:32. I want to shoot for a 5:52 pace and try to finish around 18:10. Every time I get nervous or doubtful, I just think about the hard workouts that have prepared me for this moment. I’d say of all the workouts I had in the last two weeks the one that hurt the most was a two mile repeat (two of them) at Griffith Park. I nearly gave up and I wanted to cry (or at least I told myself that I would cry when it was over). By the time the workout was done, I had accomplished it. Yeah I was off during my last repeat but I did it and I was so happy that I didn’t give in to my weakness. Looking forward to the race and testing my training.
I ran across this great quote the other day and it really hit home – hope you enjoy it:
“The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show us how badly we want something.” -Randy Pausch
Hope everyone is running happy and healthy!
First of all, I can’t even believe I can focus long enough to put this post up. I just applied a clay mask and my face is literally pulsating and it is not even completely dry! If you want to try an amazing facial mask, you have to try this — at least for the experience: Aztec Secret’s Indian Healing Clay. My friend Chris told me about it and I told my BF’s sisters about it and we all love it. I picked it up from Whole Foods (I told you this store takes all my money!) for like $6-7 bucks plus $3 for the apple cider vinegar that you need to mix in with powder. I neglect my face a little too often, opting to spend $100 on new running shoes rather than getting a facial. This mask kind of makes me feel better about buying the shoes and only paying $7 for this facial.
ANYWAY, today I had a great track workout with my coach. We did a ladder-type workout and it was THE hardest run in a long time. Coach decided to come to my workout to critique my form and to see what I can do. She actually ran with me – I had to stay on her shoulder, right behind her. As I mentioned before, my arms feel like lead and today was no exception. The first 1600 felt good – 5:40 splits. All the others were hard but I hit my marks. I get so frustrated when I do these kind of workouts where I am on the verge of missing my marks. These shorter distances make me experience a pain like I have not ever felt – it is not easy for me to want to get back out there on the track or in a 5K but I know that I have to do it if I want to get faster. (Stop being a puss Trace!) Coach was glad she was able to run with me – she said I am faster than she thought and she is no longer going to take it easy on me. I know I will have my work cut out for me. Glad this workout is over and a little excited to think I am heading towards a full recovery.
A few exciting things came my way today: I registered for the SF half marathon in July and I got some new running shoes! I am excited about SF since last year I had to cancel my participation because of my stress fracture. This year I have a lot of friends running either the full or half and we love getting together for these types of events so it should be a blast. I have no idea what my timed goal should be – how fast can I prep for a mary? It is only 10 weeks away and I hear it is NOT a course for a PR …I guess I should talk to coach.
I also headed to Runnergy during my lunch break to pick up another pair of shoes. I did just buy a pair of Saucony Grid Flex this past weekend but I bought them with the intention to race in or wear to the track. I still needed a pair of trainers badly because I don’t like the Mizuno Wave Riders (14) at all. I absolutely fell in love with the 13s and when they came out with a new model, I gladly swooped up a pair. Unfortunately they didn’t grow on me and I have never experience so many blisters and feet issues. I scoured the internet, checked local running stores and even had Runnergy call Mizuno direct to find the 13s – and there aren’t any size 9′s anywhere in this country. I thought this might be a good opportunity to try out a different type of shoe with similar features but maybe lighten the shoe up a bit and go with something a little less heavy and bulky. Up until the Wave Riders, I was mistakenly wearing shoes with too much stability when I needed a more neutral shoe. I have been wanting to try the KSWISS – they have some nice shoes and I tried on the Blade Light (I think) and the Adidas Adizero Boston 2s before deciding to go with Adidas. I not only liked the obnoxious color, I loved how light they were. I was able to test them out today during my track workout and loved them. I am hoping to wear them during my normal training runs and then find a good pair of flats for the track. After that I won’t buy anymore shoes for a while (although I still want KSWISS). I totally got hooked up too – Jeff (the owner) gave me a pretty good discount and I love that I can totally ransack the place when trying on a million pairs of shoes all the while feeling comfortable telling him that the color of my shoe is almost important as it’s technical features.
Anyway, I have to get this mask off my face…my pores can’t possibly shrink anymore and I am tired of smelling vinegar. You should still try it out though…
I am all about counting when it comes to my training – I count the months, weeks, days, miles…everything! Every time I trained for a mary or any other special occasion, I have always counted: Week 1 of 18, Day 23 of 60 for example. I don’t really want to do that anymore because when it gets to the wire, well, I haven’t had much luck making it to that final day. :) But it’s me and I can’t help it! …And it does help. Kinda keeps me on track and focused. Well, I am at it again and I guess it is safe to say this is my THIRD week back officially!
Week two by far has been the most challenging, ending the week with 46 miles and falling short during my tempo run. I was so frustrated that day – how is it that right before my marathon I ran the last 4 miles of a 22-mile run at 6:40 pace but I could not run 4 miles at 7:00 pace? Fortunately my long run ending that week was a 10-miler and I hit my targets perfectly — I had to focus, but I did it. YES
Week 3 (last week) was a bit easier – only 36 miles but I had a track workout on Tuesday and finished the week with a 12-miler, averaging around 7:28 per mile. Nothing this week (including my track/tempo) was as challenging as my long run. That run was hard because I ran near my home and I get bored running the same loops year after year, not to mention I was alone. Cardio-wise, it was a little tough and I had to work to make up for my slow starting miles. I finished the workout beaming with excitement and ready to really focus on something in the near future. IT’S ABOUT TIME.
Right now I am really excited to run with my coach and four of her other athletes this weekend for the Magic Shoe 5K. We are registering as a team and hopefully we can win as an all Female team. I will most definitely be the weakest link but I don’t care – I am gonna push through just like I did at Surf City in February. It’s only the start of my speed-like runs and I know I will get better as I get more speed runs in. I have no idea what I will run a 5K in – 20 minutes? IDK! Don’t quote me on this!
I have also been very conscious with my diet. I love food. I love anything that is thick and bread-y — like carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, double-singles animal style with chopped chiles, maple donuts, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, etc. I am NOT letting myself over-indulge at this point. I do eat them, just not as often. I noticed a slight change in my tummy and butt (I do the daily butt-squeeze-in-the-mirror-test), specifically cellulite and although I ALWAYS have it, it was really, really dimply and I didn’t like it — especially with bikini season coming up! It’s been a few weeks and I notice there aren’t as many dimples so I am OK with what is there, it is what it is and I do like my butt and wouldn’t want it any other way! ;)
At my last doctor’s visit, my coach told me to get my ph levels checked – TOTAL FAIL! I have since then purchased litmus paper (arriving on Thursday via my boyfriend) and daily testing will be in effect. Having said this, I try to eat many more fruits and veggies and I don’t forget to take my minerals. And as always, I have a new obsession (actually two) — Green SuperFood Powder (specifically the Lemon Lime flavor) from Amazing Grass that I drink once daily. I have been trying the individual packets, testing all the brands and flavors and this one I can actually stir in with 8oz of water and not heave. Before I found this one, I would stir the powder in with only a little water and down it like a shot (minus the lime and salt).
Also, I am happy that I FINALLY found the Perfect Foods Bar! I remember when I spectated at the San Diego RnR marathon last year (11 months ago!), I ate all my friend’s sample bars. They were sooooo good – I don’t even know how to explain it but the peanut flavored bars literally fell apart in my mouth. My friend said I could get them at Whole Foods and I made it my mission to get some. Sadly enough I didn’t really pay attention to the brand because I thought I would find them easily and only a week ago I found them! I never looked in the cold raw food section of the market and that is where they were the whole time! I only found them when I noticed this woman dump two whole cases into her cart. As she left the aisle I hurried over to see what I was missing – gold mine! Anyway, these bars a soooooo good – did I already say that? Well, I bought my own bars and have been eating one everyday although I fight myself not to have two per day as they are kind of high in calories. They just taste like peanut butter blended with honey…
I found both of these things at Whole Foods. Typically I try to stay away from this store because I want to buy everything — from Toms shoes, to organic skin care items, to vitamins and of course really unique food items. I decided that even though I get half the food for twice the price (compared to Trader Joes), I am only going to shop here. Doesn’t make sense to you but I justified it like this: When I go to Trader Joes, I buy random stuff that gets tossed in the trash week after week. Shopping at Whole Foods puts me on a budget and I make sure to get what I really want and need. Plus, I always love their stuff!
Anyway, all this talk about the grocery store is getting me hungry, I have to eat! And one last thing, don’t act like you don’t do the butt-squeeze-in-the-mirror-test…
Yep, the first one in who knows how long. Hopefully I will be able to eliminate some of the long overdue items from my task list including laundry, budgeting, cooking, organizing and even listing some items for sale on Craigslist (Twilight Series books – anyone?) I also want to read some more books on my Kindle — I am in the middle of two: The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty and 50 Self-Help Classics (think Deepak Chopra, Ralph Waldo Emerson, etc.). Complete opposites, I know but I love them both!
Tonight (Friday) started pretty good, I took a little nap after work before heading out the door for a 7 mile run. The runs are getting easier but I am a little annoyed that I am not in the same shape that I was when I got injured. I am making progress though and that is all that matters. Also excited to get a run in with my coach and a friend from LARR on Sunday. I think we are going to get in 12 miles at Griffith Park and hopefully I can hang with them. Coach said we are going to run MY pace – we shall see about that!
Alright, I am out for the night. Going to open my $4.95 cent wine that I picked up from World Market. They had this sale – $4.95 regularly $14.95 . Sounded pretty darn good…now I have to find out.
I am not gonna lie. I am so frustrated. I am in soooo much pain. Something happened to me, don’t know when, don’t know how. Seems like I might have a slipped disc or an issue with my sciatic. Not sure if that is good news compared to thinking I had some problem with my butt. Whatever it is, it is one of the most painful things I have experienced! Thankfully, I am started to feel better today – still in a lot of pain but walking with less of a limp.
Following the race on Sunday, I went back to the doctor (chiro) on Tuesday for some more adjustments and a lot of prodding to figure out where and the heck I really hurt. Oddly enough, I can’t quite pinpoint it. We did some pretty intensive Active Release treatment, Class-4 Laser and Ultrasound and that left me quite exhausted. The only real information I left with was to rest for a week.
In speaking to my coach I told her what was going on in my mind. For the most part, and in truth, I am ready to deal with the fact that I might or might not run Boston. Do I really, really care? No, not really. I want this sub-3 and if Boston will delay that then I’d rather wait. Our hopes are high, I am resting/recovering, trying not to eat the whole refrigerator and enjoy some long deserved time off. More than anything I am frustrated. For one, I listened, learned and was patient and yet this had to happen right around showtime. Right now I am not talking Boston, I am going no matter what, but I don’t want to talk about it too much and consume my mind with what-ifs. Deep down though, I want it.
Anyway, enough about running. It is definitely not my life (although it does make it a little funner)!
So, I moved about a month ago to a new place and I haven’t really had time to settle into my new space. Yesterday I unpacked one of the last two boxes and I started thinking about my next project. I simply cannot not do anything, I have to keep busy and I have to have a plan or I will go crazy. Something to work on I know… This past weekend I told my boyfriend that I wanted to refresh my Spanish speaking skills. I have a lot of friends that speak a lot of Spanish and I think it would be nice to converse with them in a language that I love and lost while studying Hebrew. Now when I speak Spanish, I accidentally say certain things in Hebrew – all in the same sentence! My friends are probably thinking, “That is not Spanish, what the heck is she saying!” I don’t bother to mention it is another language…I probably should so they won’t think my Spanish is super horrible. HAHA. I am not fluent in Hebrew though – I know about 500-700 Hebrew words and phrases and my accent is pretty incredible. One day I hope to know several languages, I find them so interesting. Anyway, I look forward to this – it’s also an excuse to bust out my note cards, markers, pens, and notebooks. I love all that stuff.
Besides that, I am going to continue to work on the running group logo/website and of course some sort of craft project. I will keep you posted…I KNOW you are so interested in that. JK
Geez, I am on a roll with my blogging – let’s see how long I can keep this up? The truth is that I always have things to blog about but I get lazy and then the moment passes.
First of all, I have been experiencing a weird feeling on my left calf. I didn’t think too much of it until yesterday when I noticed it was significantly more painful. I iced last night, slept with compression socks and then iced again this morning but the pain was still there and I was really, really worried. I called my coach who immediately told me to get a deep tissue sports massage so I left work early to get worked on. The massage was sooo painful! Almost immediately I was told that it was a muscle spasm. We spent one full hour just working on my gastrocnemius muscle and it just wouldn’t let up. Of course I am all worried because the timing is so bad! My coach thinks I am dehydrated and depleted of minerals – she is probably right though because even though I am working my ass off with all this training, I am totally neglecting my normal diet. I don’t drink enough water and my bf is always telling me to drink more. Last week I had major headaches and my tongue felt really weird and dry and then I remembered that I hadn’t had much to drink over the past few days. Crazy huh? True. Also, I am putting in around 45 hours a week in at work and always short on time. It is rare that I have anything decent for breakfast and dinner (lately anyway). I eat a good lunch but then I just fall asleep with an empty stomach. Heck, when I eat at home, I do it standing up. Regardless of what is going on with my calf, my habits must change! I am going to try to prepare my meals on Sunday for the week ahead. Let’s just hope this spasm thing goes away ASAP! I took today off and am going to rest tomorrow too. Fingers crossed!!!
OK…enough thinking about that! I finally got my Boston Marathon stuff! So excited! I assume I shouldn’t wear it until Boston – right? I am a little disappointed with the shorts, I ordered a small and they seem a little snug. I think I need to try them on again to make sure I am not crazy. Either way, the colors rock – lime green is one of my faves (behind grass green and then neon pink)!
I was fortunate enough to meet my friend Adrian last year training with LA Roadrunners (LARR). Embarrassingly enough, I happened to be the one who blurted out loud, “What’s that?” while realizing simultaneously time that this thing I was referring to was actually a tether (shoestring) that was being used to guide Adrian, a blind runner during our run. Oh man, I wanted to crawl into a hole and die. A few runners looked at me but didn’t say anything, knowing I realized the answer to my question.
I will be honest and say that this was not the only time I would want to crawl into that hole…like a few weeks ago at the track when I asked him why was wearing two different shoes.
I am still feeling the effects from last weekend’s festivities — mostly good memories but also a lot of fatigue.
Before I begin this tutorial-like post, I’d like to say that this taping method has worked great for me in helping with Plantar Fasciitis (PF) and Iliotibial Band (Friction) Syndrome (ITBS). Obviously I am not a doctor but this method was taught to me by my doctor and a few of my friends have used this method and liked it.
My blog has been pretty dull lately and that is simply because I am SO busy! I guess that is much better than having a boring life right? Anyway, I can’t believe that we are only 6 weeks away from LA Marathon! Seriously, can you believe it? With that in mind, it is time to prepare for other things…
Every marathon I run has to be meticulously planned – yes, things happen and I will tweak things here and there but overall there is a lot of time spent on just planning the darn thing – far more than the training schedule. This marathon (LA Marathon) kicked off with a 20-week training plan, and most recently I have been experiencing with gels since my stomach is acting all sorts of funky lately. Seriously, it is making weird noises as I type! With only a short amount of time and plenty to do including Surf City Half, Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker 10k, a move to a new apartment, testing out my new racing shoes and purchasing my new outfit (say what you will but I can’t race in the same thing twice), I really don’t have much time for else. The next point of attack is making a list of things that I cannot be without the morning of the race. As silly as it sounds, there is no need to stress yourself out at the last minute since you already have so much on your mind. Give yourself a little break and prepare ahead of time.
Having said this, I thought I would put my simple list of 5 things I can’t do without on race day but that list quickly turned into 7!
Here are the things you won’t catch me without at LA Marathon:
1. ROAD ID ANKLET ID (www.roadid.com) – Seriously, this is one of the most important things I depend on whenever I am running and you should look into getting one too. Better safe than sorry!
Wow. Time flies. We all know this and all say this but man, that’s the truth! I don’t have anything interesting to report since the last three weeks have been a blur with crazy holiday schedules and horrible weather (horrible for California that is) – my training has been anything but steller.
The funny thing about running is that so much of it is mental. Just when you think you are going to run slow for slacking off, you are able to do amazingly well and run much faster than you thought. I would say that how our body thanks us for rest. You know how awful you feel during a taper? You feel guilty for slacking and preparing for a race and then everything turns out fine. I am banking on this rest or tapering experience to push me through the next weeks of training in an attempt to stay positive for slacking so much recently.
On another note, this weekend LARR (LA Roadrunners) will be meeting at Dodger Stadium, we will be running 2 loops around the stadium as well as the LA 5K course through Elysian Park. I personally need this “hill training” as I rarely have an opportunity to get any trail running into my schedule.
Click here to see the 5K course.
Anyway, I hope everyone is great at the start of the new year. Thank you for all the motivation and encouragement. A special thank you to the recent messages I received from random individuals who gave training advice and encouragement – all of it is appreciated!
I never thought I would run a marathon, let alone Boston. It seems like an immediate goal for most marathoners and I too had that in mind after hearing so much about it. Boston. Boston. Boston. Blah blah blah. Happy to say I qualified December ’09, but unfortunately it was just a few weeks after registration closed (I had no idea before I even finished the race that it was sold out). At the time I was disappointed because Boston 2011 seemed light-years away. Well as most of us adults know, time doesn’t slack – it speeds by, almost too fast, and I found myself already looking into hotel accommodations (booked!) and flights (still need to do) before registration even opened. I had read somewhere that Boston was expected to sell out well before NY (11/07/10) so not wanting to wait another whole year, I set a few alarms, Google calendar reminders and even someone else’s alarm to make sure I was up at 0600 on the 18th to register.
Scurrying to my computer, I immediately felt the lag of the website and upon filling out required fields on the registration page and hitting submit, I was taken back to the registration page again. I repeated this process over ten times before stomping my (healthy) foot on the floor and heading out the door to work. At work I had the same issue until finally I tried with Safari and got in – Phew!
So now I am in – well, they still have to verify my qualifying race and time and I don’t expect that to be an issue. Heck, I don’t even know if I will make it to the starting line that day – I could get injured again or something but I am still excited…qualify for Boston…CHECK! This excitement lasted only one whole day because as luck would have it, I receive this lovely email from Marathon Tours:
“We are sorry to hear that Boston online entry had closed out online before you had time to register. As the official travel agency for the Boston marathon we are working to secure race entry to the 2011 Boston Marathon for clients who have a name on a pre-existing hotel reservation with us for the2011 year prior to October 18, 2011 and who are currently qualified to participate in the race.”
Talk about a low blow, I already imagined how much I wold hate Heartbreak Hill and I could now understand the frustration of many other runners who qualified for 2011 but couldn’t get in because the race sold out in less than 8 hours – really, really sad. I immediately called Marathon Tours and was informed that the webmaster had sent out the email too soon and it was supposed to say, “If you were unable to register…” THANK YOU running Gods, I will just pretend I never got that that email – I am still in (I hope).
What really excites me more than anything is that I will be able to see my cousin Amy who lives with her family in Millbury. We are nearly the same age and only met once when we were five years old (we didn’t get along very well that ONE time) and have a lot of things in common, one of them happens to be running. She is excited to have me in town and we can finally catch up on life and each other. This is the exact reason I will be in Boston regardless if I race or not.
You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper, and it would vanish – it was so fragile.
These are the words of Marcus Aurelius speaking to Maximus in Gladiator. Silly maybe, but this what always pops up in my mind whenever I’m asked about my goals or how my running is coming along. I find myself almost afraid to speak about my future running plans or cheerfully say that my foot is all better because as satisfied as I was with my race performances before the fracture, I still feel like a failure. More than that, I couldn’t do the one simple thing in life that I really enjoy. I also hated the fact that I proved so many doubters right (or at least they thought they were right) – that I was going to get injured. At the end of the day though, they may or may not have been right but that is another blog to come, I hope. It has also been a tough road coming back with several foot pain scares that dragged my 12-week forced vacation from running to nearly 18. I’m going chance it today and say I feel great. Very confident that everything is and will continue to be OK. I feel very strong physically and mentally — I am just in a happy place and that makes this slow starting journey much easier.
Right now I am starting my second week of running – sporadic running, no particular program for the first 4 weeks. Just getting a feel for where I am now and establishing a base so I can begin a real 18-week marathon training program that will land me at the starting line of LA Marathon next year.
My goals now are much different than before, I want to focus on a timed goal instead of how many I can cram into my schedule in one year. I remember when I decided to do CIM – my first real marathon, I was very strict with my training program after nearly a 10 year break from competitive running (dear God I am old). I had to prove to myself that I was indeed a decent runner – running (jogging) 3 – 5 miles every so often while wearing cotton sweats and tee shirt wasn’t cutting it. I had even told myself if I did horribly, I would just continue running for the fun of it and not worry about my times anymore.
Having said all this, I think I am back but just not ready to tell you that my next goal is 2:59:59. Yep – true. Maybe impossible but I won’t know if I don’t try and I have 6 months of training to prepare. I’d say that is plenty of time. Someone told me last night not to worry about failing because the ones that love me will never think less of me if I fail and the ones who judge me are the ones I shouldn’t care about anyway. I think he was right – thank you for putting that into perspective.
Thank you to all my running friends (some posted below) that kept me sane until this point – I owe you big time!
Last month I finally decided to try my foot with running again and it was disastrous. Yes, I was a little stir-crazy and I charged out the gates with 32 miles in the books by the end of week ONE (don’t even ask about the pace as you will surely call me stupid). That was a very short week let me tell you, because I could barely finish my last run that week due to a very familiar pain in the exact same spot I had incurred the fracture (notice I use the word ‘incurred’). Days following that last run I was limping and felt hopeless. I felt as everyday passed, my running goals were passing by and that really got me down. It’s no secret I like to exaggerate everything in life (including running goals) so I spewed out nonsense about not running for the rest of the year to make sure I was healthy. That spew out of my mouth quickly became something I wish I never said because I am not a doctor and if I could run sooner than that, I would want to. I ended up taking an additional month off, bringing me to today with 20 weeks off since my injury. Once I finally had enough guts to see my doctor, I had a good feeling everything would be OK. When I felt the pain last month I avoided seeing him because I was scared to find out what COULD be wrong – it was one thing for me to say I WANTED to take the rest of the year off, but to actually hear it from the doctor is another thing.
It has been quite sometime since I have visited my own site. Perhaps I have avoided it because the injury feels so fresh (literally), or maybe I was too embarrassed to admit defeat. Whatever the reason, I feel like it is time to face it and move forward. From the moment I fractured my foot and until now, my emotions have been up and down – a real life roller coaster. Today I decided I would just come home from work, take a shower and sit in front of my computer and let it all out. And as if it isn’t hard enough to do this, I thought I would make it more interesting by indulging on Wild Habanero Cheetos all while trying not to stain my white keyboard and rub my eyes (I guess if it happens, it will be well worth it – kind of like my 12/12 goal).
It has been near 18 weeks since my injury and I am not anymore ready to run than I would have been during week 6. I speak of this experience as a roller coaster and if you’ve never been to Magic Mountain you may not understand what I am talking about. I kind of thought this injury would be like similar to Freefall – I would just close my eyes, raise my arms in submission and just FALL, it would be over relatively quickly. Unfortunately this ride seemed more like Revolution – a longer ride with several unsuspecting turns, 360s and I kept my eyes open the entire time trying to predict the next path (run) until it finally stopped and I ended up with a migraine AND foot pain.
I am sure I could keep going on about these feel-sorry-for-me stories but that really isn’t my intention. As awful as I feel sometimes, I have had some pretty amazing things happen to me. Maybe they happened because I wasn’t so focused on running – who knows…
Just a few days ago I received an email from a friend of a friend who was trying to achieve the same goal and unfortunately fractured her femur during her third race. Such a simple email from someone going through something similar – someone who didn’t even have to take the time to contact me. Sometimes it is easy to forget how sometimes a few simple words of encouragement can affect a person. Fortunately for me, I experienced several words of encouragement by many other runners and although I am probably a little too emotional, they weigh equally on my heart and memory – THANK YOU.
This past week of training was rather difficult for me – a great week now doubt, it just didn’t come easy. It followed a very short running week (totaling 11 miles – immediately following LA Marathon) and plenty of rest. It was time to increase my mileage while still not over-do it. The plan was to run between 35-39 miles, a track workout and to finally wear my orthotics so I can build up my mileage in them and ultimately be able to wear them during a marathon. I finished the week with 34.71 including the ever-dreaded track workout and even incorporated a 13.1 race into it. The orthotics are not yet my friends and have caused the pain from PF to return…
I Can Think Clearly Now…
I haven’t stopped smiling since mile 23 of this race. I am extremely happy for so many reasons but mostly because this race is now behind me and no longer controlling me.
The 41 days following Surf City to the day of the race, I encountered every obstacle possible including a nearly three week break from running (or working out) due to a painful right IT band to almost walking and crying at mile 20. Mentally I was a wreck, completely exhausted, doubting my ability and already forecasting a slow race performance. When all was said and done and I crossed the finish line (injury free – YAY!), I was very happy with both the race results and performance even though it was an A Event without a PR.
In retrospect, and finally being able to think clearly and logically, I realized that I could have really jeopardized my performance simply for letting my mind control me during these 41 days. It wouldn’t have mattered if Steve Prefontaine took me by the hand and set me on the bleacher stairs to give me a pep talk, I just wouldn’t have believed him; I was beyond help. The good news is that I can learn from this mistake and remember, exactly read from one spectator sign during the course: “TRUST YOUR TRAINING.”
I know, I know. Where have I been (at least I am asking myself that)? Well I took off a few weeks from running to get completely rested from Surf City and you know what? My knee is better! Yay! In all honesty, I am a little nervous — only 11 days until LA Marathon. It is so weird for me to be nervous since I haven’t felt like this since I competed in high school. This break was really difficult for me, I wanted nothing more than to to put on my trainers and RUN! At least I am back…
Besides not running, a lot of great things have happened and I will share that soon!
11 days have already passed since Surf City — I can’t believe it! Time really flies, and before you know it, it will be my dreadful birthday, then Christmas – geez! Since my last race, I haven’t done much of anything physically; my knee still hurts and I’ve been very busy with so many other things including work, friends and of course preparing for LA Marathon (will post about this later). While I am actually enjoying my time off from running, I have sort of become a Worry Wart. That worries me (see, I told you) more than anything because once I get these negative thoughts in my head, it is so hard to get them out. I know my training and race performance will suffer simply because I might push myself physically harder to avoid feeling any sort of loss and also because I will start to doubt myself and what I am doing. It’s getting pretty exhausting, continually talking myself out of all this negativity BUT I am doing it!
Why I run.
I don’t like when people ask me why I run. Actually, I don’t like when people ask me why I run when they say it with a look of disgust on their face. Couple that with, “I wish I was as skinny as you,” and I officially lose all interest in that person.
Running has always been something that I did. Why? I never wanted to ask myself that question. I just did it and I do it. And if ever there has been something steady and constant in my life, I would say it’s running. Why question something that has always been my shoulder to cry on?
I hesitated posting about this because it’s such a sensitive subject for me. And maybe I shouldn’t be so agitated when I am asked that question, but I know, deep down, it has been my cover for deep-rooted issues and pain and I’d rather avoid that… Well, tonight, not really doing much of anything except catching up on all my magazine subscriptions, I came across the “The Father Lode,” an article in this month’s issue of Runner’s World. I read it once and I cried. I read it again and cried. And then I read it again and decided I would open up a little. Of course my story is different, but I can relate to it on so many levels and so I will slowly share (part of) my story with you.
Joining the Los Angeles Roadrunners (LARR) has been a great experience. I will never forget the first morning I got to the parking area which is at the Westminster Elementary School in Venice – hundreds of runners everywhere. Seriously. Tons of runners. All ages. All levels. I figured it was about time that I start running with a group of people – I was really tired of training alone and I needed the camaraderie and competitive push.
I joined late (officially started September 12th and I joined October 17th) – during the 10th week of my 18 week CIM training schedule but made sure to keep my focus on CIM until that race was over and then look towards LA Marathon later.
LARR is the official LA Marathon training program that meets for 27 weeks – every Saturday, our only group run and our longest run of that week. The great thing about this organization is that you never have to worry about running alone, there are over 20 pace groups and you are constantly reminded why we are so lucky to live in LA: views of the ocean from Santa Monica all the way to the Marina, beautiful weather, and home course advantage (we regularly run the last few miles of the race during this run).
The morning of my first group run I didn’t really know which group to run with – I was thinking Group 3 or 4 because I hadn’t yet run CIM and I was kind of scared that I would fall off during the run. At the last second I decided on Group 3 (8:30 pace). I thought this was a fun group but I kept running into the heels of the runners in front of me and knew I should be in Group 2 if I wasn’t such a wuss. Finally, a little persuasion from a close friend (the same friend who pushes himself so hard, he barfs), I joined Group 2. The difference between each group is 30 seconds. It may not seem like much, but it is a big deal when you get deep into your mileage towards the end of the season and right before the race. It was exciting to change groups not only for the challenge of working towards a faster marathon, but for the new friends I met (small group of us communicate regularly and share our workouts, goals and even look towards each other for motivation encouragement). I started consulting with a few friends about moving again *gasp* and they were all for it. It finally sunk in when I told my friend Janel R. that I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with their 7:25 pace (marathon goal pace 3:15). I would be the only woman and if I couldn’t hang, it would be obvious. She didn’t hesitate to remind me that I had given her similar advice when she decided to change groups. I couldn’t be a hypocrite, and I knew that if I didn’t at least try, I would never know what could have been. It was New Year’s Eve when I finally decided that I would do it no matter how scared I was. As soon as I got back home that morning, I called my friend Frank P. (also a Group 2 runner) and told him I was doing it. He was very supportive and we chatted about it for a while including our own separate goals (his also includes triathalons). The words were officially spoken and I had to do it. My last email about this decision was to Phil, our Group 2 pace leader letting him know that I wanted to do this and I wanted his opinion (blessing). He of course, was very positive and suggested that I try it out. He reminded me that LARR is the perfect place to try out different groups. The night before my first run with the group, I made sure to get plenty of rest, I prepared as if it were a marathon. Right before my run, I saw Frank and asked him to join me for this run and he did. (I think Group 1 was always his group, he just didn’t know it until after that run.) To date, I have only ran with this group twice – a 14 and 15-miler (the last two runs). The first five miles are kind of challenging but after that it just feels right. The funniest thing about this whole (stupid) group dilemma is that after my first run with this group, they decided to split the group into two – a 7:25 group and a 7:10 group (does that mean there is a Group 0?). This made perfect sense since there are some REALLY fast runners in the 7:25 group and I was wondering myself why they didn’t have a Group 0. Still, just when I thought I was getting there… Oh well, I will consider that my new challenge. JOKING. I wouldn’t call myself a Group 1 runner (yet)…it is too early (or too late in the season) to find out.
To say the least, I am happy with my decision, not really worried now about failing or falling off anymore because at the end of the day, I want to remind myself that I gave it all I had.
Splits from my last two Group 1 workouts (Garmin Forerunner 405):
Click here to visit the LA Roadrunners website.
Last Saturday during our 16 miler with LARR, I overheard (eavesdropped) another runner talking about his friend who according to his Garmin (watch), had burned over 80,000 calories. My curiosity got the best of me and when I got home, I had to check my own stats. To my surprise, I had just hit 100,000 calories since March 29, 2009. I am not neecessarily proud of that, and I never count them. (I was actually happier to discover that just yesterday, I hit the 1,000 mile mark in training!) Seeing that number was really weird and hard to fathom so I did some comparisons with some items that although I like (love), I eat in moderation…well, except for the Starbucks.
I look back at 2009 with a feeling of growth — personally, spiritually, physically and professionally. I know that running has contributed significantly to all these areas, making me a better me to both myself and others.
It was when I decided to take my training up a notch, and not settle for that same boring loop at Balboa Park day after day, year after year, that I immediately accrued all kinds of plans and goals. Before I knew it, the year was over, I was happy and truly loving all the people in my life. I even managed to get in two half’s and ultimately, my only real running goal, California International Marathon (CIM).
All the hype surrounding that marathon – the training programs, new friends, PR’s…EVERYTHING, gave me the courage and motivation to push myself further to run 12 marathons in 2010. At that point, I couldn’t want it more and I knew I might regret verbally expressing that goal to others without thinking it through, but I didn’t care. I felt invincible. That’s what the marathon does to you (or to me), and I loved it, and now I need it.
So here I am. I know my goal is achievable — it won’t be a “run” in the park, I’ll have to race according to how I feel, avoid injuries and most importantly, I will have to keep my ego in check. Not the ego you may be thinking of, I am talking about the ego that tells me to run faster when I know I shouldn’t, or the ego that keeps reminding me that I shouldn’t do such a thing if it’s going to prevent me from going after a PR. I have to remember that at the end of the day, this is my goal, my race, the only one I am competing against is me.
2010 is going to be amazing and I can’t wait to share my experiences with you.
Sometimes I feel like people really do too much for me. Today I was surprised when my good friend gave me some special gifts for the holiday. Besides feeling a little overwhelmed, a part of me thought I must be a running freak or something — let me tell you what I got:
This person knows me so well — the tape was definitely needed. I have been using some other cheap stuff to tape my arches (plantar) and I didn’t really want pay $12 for a roll! The cheap stuff I use has worked surprisingly well but using this stuff feels like putting on new socks. Do you know what I mean?
The books, well I’m excited to have them and I can’t wait to read them. I have to first finish The Vampire Chronicles and I am only on the second of 7 (The Vampire Lestat).
Leading up to my marathon, I watched a lot of running movies and videos including Spirit of the Marathon and this was on my list. I know someone who plans on running Badwater so Running on the Sun was definitely next on my list.
The gift card — well I am a Jamba Juice and Robek’s Juice junkie. I already used the card and enjoyed my Berry Topper.
Seriously, that was so nice, but I would have been happy with a card (well, a running card). JK