Arizona Surprise

Walking to the mailbox to get my Joe Exotic mask (dumb quarantine purchases) there was an unexpected package from my sister in Arizona. Enclosed were some cards and school photos from my nephews and a handwritten letter from my sister with some photos from my childhood and family. It’s things like this that are really making this time especially hard since I’m not able to see my family. However it’s also things like this that really make me look forward to seeing them all when this whole stay at home order is over.

Tough Times

With this whole Coronavirus situation that the world is going through, our lives have definitely changed. We’re to stay at home, wear facial coverings, gloves, etc. The once busy streets and stores are now empty. It’s a change in our daily lives that a lot of us are struggling with.

We tell ourselves no big deal right? I honestly thought that I would be ok with staying at home but this week this is all hitting me really hard. Seeing my siblings and nephews on a regular basis has always been very important to me and on Tuesday for my birthday, my sister dropped off some snacks to me. It was a very awkward situation having to keep distance and not being able to hug her. She then sent me a text message that I later read and man did that hit me with a wave of tears that I could not hold back. Later that day on a Zoom call with my family I started crying again seeing everybody’s faces. I would be lying to you if I told you that I wasn’t getting teary eyed as I write this.

 

These really are tough times but I understand why we are being told to stay home and keep our distance. I know that once this is all over We’ll all celebrate our love for our friends and families on a level of gratitude and appreciation for one another that we have not felt before. Stay strong everybody.

Stay Active, Be Responsible

Things really have gotten bad over the last week with this whole Covid-19 situation. Running has become such a social activity but with the social distancing we’re all supposed to be practicing, it has pretty much put a stop to big group runs.

That doesn’t mean you can’t stop running and training. Your race was canceled but your training hasn’t been wasted. There is no such thing as wasted miles. Keep the ball rolling and build a better base for future races once things “get back to normal.” Make the best of this situation, find a new hobby, read that book you’ve been meaning to get to. We’re all in this together!

California International Marathon 2019

The California International Marathon from the Sacramento Running Association is known as a fast course with a net downhill elevation profile as well as the typically great weather conditions since Decembers in Sacramento are usually very cool which makes for great running weather. The downhill isn’t anything crazy where it would destroy your quads/glutes since the max elevation is 350ft and finishes at around sea level. I registered for this race planning to race it with my brother Cong but he had told me that he wanted me to run it for a goal because of the favorable course and weather.

The drive up was nice. We accidentally missed the exit for the 5 North and ended up on the 99 which was a pleasant surprise because it actually took us through the city of McFarland which is home of the high school cross country team that the movie McFarland, USA was about.

We arrived in Sacramento around 4:30pm, checked into the hotel and headed straight for the Expo for bib pickup at the Sleep Train Arena. This was a fairly small expo which is fine because I don’t really spend much time at them anyway. I prefer to just get in, get my bib and head back to minimize time on my feet.

The weather for most of the weekend had rain on and off for most of Saturday. That a few of us went on a shakeout run and towards the end of the run it started raining. Michelle had a 5K later in the morning but the weather turned out pretty nice for that. Also for the first time ever she negative split a 5K race so big congrats to her, she’s got some big things coming up in the next year!

Later that night some of us from LBRC met for an early dinner with Brenda since she now lives in Norcal and it’s always great to see her when the opportunity arrives. We also used this chance to plan out cheer and aid stations for those of us running the marathon the next day.

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Race Day. Goal is sub 3:25. My marathon PR at the time was 3:33:59. I have tried for 3:25 twice prior with unsuccessful results. With this cycle I wanted to try something a little different than in previous training cycles. All my cycles before were 18 week cycles and this time around I trained for 10 weeks. My long runs were a little slower, my easy runs were a lot slower. I wanted to go into CIM with fresher legs and for the first time I went through a training cycle with no aches, pain or soreness. I felt great going into race day but was it because I didn’t have the fatigue of a long training cycle or because I didn’t train hard enough? my marathon training paces were closer to a 3:20 goal but I did that in anticipation that I would slow down in the later miles.

3:25:05. I missed my goal by 6 seconds. my race plan was executed for the most part but I missed my goal by 6 seconds. I didn’t go out too fast, I stayed consistent, nutrition and hydration went exactly as I wanted. Legs felt tired after 20 miles and I could not hold a sub 8 minute pace after that. With everybody saying it’s a downhill course with some “gentle” rolling hills I didn’t expect the hills to just come one after another. At no point in the race did I ever feel like I was going downhill but more so like the course was just flattening out. The finish was bittersweet because although I missed my goal by seconds, I got a an 8:54 PR and most importantly, I ran the whole marathon, no walking, to bathroom stops and this is what I’m most proud of myself for. Would I have done something different? I honestly don’t know and I don’t want to think about it too much. The result is the result and I should be happy with it.

This was the most well organized event I’ve raced and I’m sure I’ll be back in the future. 4 marathons in 14 months is enough for me.

Berlin Marathon 2019

The Berlin Marathon! One of six Abbott World Marathon Majors! I was lucky enough to get drawn from the lottery to race this event and boy what an experience this was! Being my first time to Europe and hearing about how great Berlin was, I went into this with no goal except to enjoy it and have fun. Because this falls at the end of September I was not able to take much time off work because it’s the end of our fiscal year and once month out from the SEMA show.  I arrived Friday evening and went straight to the Expo for bib pick up. Because of the time constraint I was on to meet up with Jeannine for dinner, I was in and out, picking up my bib and apparel. No pictures on the name wall, just one out front before I went in. And dinner was at Burgermeister, which was good and reminded me of Five Guys for anyone wondering.

The next morning was the big Breakfast Shakeout run. The run started at the Charlottenburg Palace and ended at the Olympic Stadium. This was a fun experience and I believe there was about 11,000 participants. I also met some new friends here. One being someone i knew form Instagram that lived in LA but have never ran with and the other two were mutual friends with Jeannine. I love meeting new people in the running community, it’s just funny that these people live in LA but it was in Berlin that we met.

The rest of Saturday was spent walking around the shopping district then resting/stretching for the next day’s race. We had Pho for dinner and FYI, they do not use hoisin sauce or Sriracha in their Pho! It wasn’t bad, just different from what I’m used to.

Race Day! 45 minutes of sleep had me wondering how I’d feeling during the run. I wasn’t too tired since I had a good night’s sleep the previous night. The plan was to run with Jeannine but through a series of unfortunate events we ran solo. I started at the end of the of starting block to try and find here but never was able to. The funny thing is that based on our start and finish times, we must have been pretty close to each other most of the way and I saw here cross the start line on the big screen as I made my way to the start line.

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This was fun! I high fived as many people as I could, just ran this without worry even though rain started about an hour into my race. It got bad enough to the point where by bib actually got soggy and ripped, causing me to have to have to hold my bib up for pictures. In my 21 my legs started getting tired and so from there I jogged and walked to the finish. One thing that I was unprepared for was the lack of food on course. I had my gels on my but every other marathon I’ve done there was pretzels, chips, etc on course and with Berlin, there was none. I think this may have had to do with my getting light headed and dizzy on the train afterwards. Getting some gummi bears in me had me back to normal later.

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Official time of 3:42:50. my fourth marathon and 3rd slowest time but I’m not even worried about that since this was just for fun. I’m really proud of Jeannine because this girl ran a PR by herself! The one thing I’m a little sad about is that I didn’t spend as much time in Berlin as I’d have liked to, I will definitely be back to sight-see in the near future.

Surf City Half Marathon

I had a whole overview of the race including day before, warm up and updates by mile. Decided since I don’t think that many people care or even read this I’ll keep it short.

Goal was sub 1:30:00 and I was able to finish in 1:29:06! Strava result here. MIssed the first wave because I had to poop so I had to weave through the second wave in the first few miles! Super ecstatic about this finish! Can’t wait to see what this year holds more me!

That being said, I hit one of my goals this year of a sub 1:30 Half. My other goals for year are:

5K – 18:00

10K – 40:00

Marathon – 3:25:00

Taipei Night One

I’m here in Taipei for the AMPA trade show. Flight was ok, a little warm on the plane plus the two people next to me busted out some hard boiled eggs to eat which was odd. Also the guy in front of me had the same cat neck pillow I bought at Daiso, what are the odds of that?

Here’s the hotel I’ll be staying at, the Ambassador Hotel which is pretty nice and actually has a fitness center. I’ll be using this to get some runs in because walking around just now didn’t seem to runner friendly.

Was pretty hungry since the last meal on the plane was not very good and I barely ate any of it. Picked up some sort of bun filled with veggies and another filled with beef, both very good and only cost NT$50 which is about $1.75 US. A little further down the same street was a dumpling spot that was pretty busy and looked really good. Got a plate of 10 for only NT$60 which is about $2 US, these were made fresh and were really good! I thought I got a lot by getting 10 but I looked around and people had plates of 20 for just them. Guess I wasn’t really that hungry compared to the locals.

L.A. Marathon – Stadium to the Sea

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Welp I did it. I ran my first marathon. After a 19 week training program with the Long Beach Running Club I can call myself I marathon runner. In the days leading up to to the L.A. Marathon I was nervous about hitting my goals that I had set for myself;

A. Finish in 3:50

B. Finish under 4 hours.

Whenever somebody had asked me what my goal for the marathon was my response was always “Sub 4.” I didn’t tell anyone about my 3:50 goal because I honestly didn’t know if it was realistic for me or not since with running anything over 18 miles in training I’ve had cramping issues and my pace slowed down quite a bit after that.

I finished with a time of 3:54:24 (Strava Info Here)

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I hit by B Goal but not my A Goal. I thought I has done enough as far as being hydrated all week and on race day as well as proper calorie and salt replenishment but again the cramps started around mile 18 with things getting really bad halfway through mile 20. At this point there was a lot of walking and stopping to stretch out but keeping an eye on my watch and how much distance was left, I was sure would still hit my sub 4 hour goal. Knowing that at 17 miles in I had an average pace of 8:33 and sustaining that till mile 20 then losing 20 seconds of overall average pace int he last 6 miles is a little disheartening especially since those miles are predominately downhill.

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Doing some more reading this week looks like it’s just a part of long distance running, my muscles may have not been used to the demand of 3+ hours of running and should have got in some more long runs or incorporated some weight training and better recovery practices. There are just so many variables to this that I still need to figure out.

Overall I am happy that I hit one of my goals and was able to share the whole experience with my family, friends and the thousands of strangers cheering along the route. Would I do this course again? I told myself no but there’s something inside me that knows I can better this time in the future. Don’t know why I didn’t get the two pictures that I wanted which was one of me after the finish by myself and one with my brother since’s he’s guided me along this journey… man I F’d up.

Marathon….

How has everyone been? It’s been a while since I’ve posted. It seems as though my life has switched from predominantly cars to running and just being active in general.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of helping @lbrc with their aid station for the Long Beach Marsthon. Seeing our friends and other runners suffering with smiles was such a joy.  The aid station was originally just intended for LBRC runners and friends but as it turned out, we ended up giving aid to pretty much all marathon runners! The fact that they were doing something epic was inspiring.


Witnessing all of this made me ask myself why am I not running? Why am I not participating? I really don’t have any excuses, I could have ran the half marathon if I had prepared myself but I guess I was content on running 5-6 mile distances. That weekend, that’s all going to change. I’ve registered for the L.A. Marsthon and with the help of my brother Cong (@congruns), the @MiniMall Milers and LBRC I’ll be able to finish it! The only person stopping me from doing this is myself!

Let’s do this!