Friday, May 28, 2010

Running "Housewives"

So for anyone who watches the Real Housewives of New York, you too were enthralled and possibly slightly worried about Kelly Bensimon and her behavior while filming in St. Bart's. To me, she came across as someone who needs professional help, and sees everything from a child-like perspective (not in a good way). When I checked out some comments people made on her social networking sites, she received a lot of mean ones. True, she came across as completely out there and zany. However, I do want to point out that she is a runner, and ran the NYC Marathon a few year ago in less than 5 hours. so no matter what her problems, I'd like to think that running keeps her saner than she otherwise would be.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More hills courtesy of Westwood

Speaking about hills from my last post, I have gotten into the habit of running the UCLA perimeter - which you know if you are familiar with campus, is a series of ups and downs. I find that when I run, most people are running the other direction. I personally like going clockwise because I love the steep incline up Gayley to Veteran and then to Sunset. Sometimes, the Star Maps guy is there. Maybe next time I'll buy a map and run across celebrities houses. I'm slow enough, so I think I could enjoy the experience. And maybe I'll even pass by running TomKat!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

10 mile hills -

How did I get so far behind in posting? I joined the leggers for a 10 miler along the ocean to Temescal canyon, up to Sunset, and through a series of hills until we got back home. This route never gets easier, but if you try, it does get manageable.

Two words I use to mentally move and get over the hilly hurdles: "Love" and "Relax". Calm your mind with positivity, and your legs will follow! Of course, I have also used "Kill this hill" in the past, so whatever works.

Today was also a reminder that we are pretty much in summer! It was sunny already at 7:30am. Hoping for cool breezes in San Diego for the marathon in a few weeks.

Happy running,

Sunday, May 16, 2010

13 mile run in the afternoon

Venice Beach on a Saturday afternoon can be a scary place, especially when you turn a corner and you see someone in an alien mask crouched along the side of a wall, staring at you.

Initially, when I turned at the pier and headed south, I knew I would have to navigate through an unrelenting stream of bicyclists, strollers, walkers, surfers, talkers, stalkers, weirdos and street artists. I welcomed it. Distractions are always good when you plan to run for a long period of time. And hey! This is Venice , with incense and other mood-altering aromas wafting around, shouldn’t I expect the promise of synergy in the air? The answer is apparently “No”. And that was proven before I even hit Venice Beach when confronted by one of a runner’s worst enemies: Mother and stroller.

I had peeled a sliver of running space for myself and was holding the line like a high wire acrobat, happy with my achievement, when the mother in question, slowly but surely and without looking behind her to spot me, turned right in front of me and stopped. When she didn’t reply with any reaction that I existed, I told her that I was right behind, to which she replied, with plenty of attitude, that I was the one who needed to move over. I had already run off by then, so I tried for the next couple minutes to get her bad karma out of my mind. Slowly, I am realizing why we usually run so early in the morning. No babies, no mommas, no nobodies. And the people who are there aren’t wide awake yet to cause any problems.

I don’t want to say mothers and their poor unsuspecting babies are an enemy – But on the road and on the path, there are people who assume they have the right of way ALL the time. This list includes:

Women with young children and strollers

Dogs and their people (the blame goes mostly on their people, who can blame a dog?)

Girlfriends who can’t break the bond of walking side by side.

And sadly, Runners (sorry, it’s true).

I know that when I am running, I try to be courteous, but if I run into a walker, isn’t it my right of way since I am moving at a faster speed? Shouldn’t they move over?!

There was no love and no synergy on the boardwalk, especially with skateboarders and bicyclists. So I veered off into safer (and saner) waters – That’s when I spotted the alien man – ran along Speedway (much nicer in the morning), meandered through Venice canals large and small, headed down Pacific until Ocean Park, where I turned east and eventually made my way back home. .

I ended up with a 13.3 mile run – Happy that it was done, but will stray away from any afternoon run through Venice in the future.

Congrats to all who ran Palos Verdes Marathon and Half-Marathon, and the Santa Monica Classic!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Listen to the Duke

After achieving my fundraising goal of $2000 in support of the John Wayne Cancer Institute, I have decided to continue this effort in conjunction with my two upcoming marathons - The San Diego Rock N' Roll Marathon on June 6, and the ING New York City Marathon in November. Please consider making a donation today. Consider donating in the following increments:

$5 - in support of my first 5K.
$10 - in support of my first 10k.
$13.1 - In support of 13.1 miles.

Please visit my firstgiving website at

Thank you!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Short runs after long runs are hard runs

I had a great 18.5 miler on Saturday. Felt good, good time, and most importantly, I could have gone further if I needed. The next day, I took a foam roller stretch class at Revolution Fitness and then, upon the advise of Carri the instructor, I took a very long walk. Here are one of the rollers we used.

I took another long walk on Monday, did some strength training on Tuesday, and then FINALLY, I ran early Wednesday morning. Why are short runs so hard after long runs? I like to run...but I also like to sleep! I know I am not the only one with this issue.

Once I got outside and started going, I relied on the mental workouts I have been doing to get me through 5 miles.

Mental workouts? One of the hardest aspects of running is convincing yourself mentally to keep going. You want to stop. You need to stop. You would lie down on the sidewalk if it was socially acceptable. You want to take a break. You don't want to do this awful thing anymore. How do you get past all the self-doubt?

Give yourself a marker - like a lamp post or a tree - and decide that you will clear your mind of all distracting thoughts up until you reach that marker. It can be a real effort. Distracting thoughts are anything; from the desire to change the song you are listening to on your iPod, to wanting to scratch your leg, to thinking you are not going fast enough, to constantly looking at your watch. Remind yourself that you are now strengthening your mental endurance. It may be hard, but it's all worth it in the long run (literally, it's worth it for your long run!)

Happy running, and remember to exercise your mind while you run!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Last Long run before San Diego Marathon

A month before the San Diego Rock n' Roll Marathon, I knew I needed to put in 18-20 miles in my training to be prepared on marathon day. The last time I ran 18 miles was a while ago, so I needed to convince both body & mind that I could do it. I headed out around 5:45am with a plan to run as many miles as I could until I met with my pace group at 7:30am around muscle beach in Venice. With that goal in mind, I was off.

Now for anyone who is a newbie, please know that the first 2, 3, 4 miles are always the least fun. Actually, it wasn't until I hit mile 6 that I started to feel good. The first 4 miles are definitely still a warm-up. This is the "joy" of long-distance running - You have something good to look forward to. It may be hard at the beginning (and hard at the end) but the middle is usually worth it.

So I ran to the Marina. Parked alongside the water around 7am, I spotted people sitting behind the wheel of their cars, enjoying the sun glistening atop the Marina water. It was really beautiful. I should do that too. Drive to the Marina in the morning and sleep in my car drunk with the beauty of the view. Then again, these people may have actually been drunk.

So I turned around at the Marina and caught up with Legger 12's at around my 9 mile mark and their 2.5 mile mark. I joined them for 7.5 miles north into Santa Monica/Brentwood territory and back to the beach. I added an additional two miles on my own.

The run felt good. I averaged about a 11:50 min/mile pace which I am happy with. Of course, all I did the rest of the day was eat, lay around, watch TV and sleep - basically mirroring the activities of Victoria, my cat. That's the one drawback of running long miles, it leaves me exhausted. But sometimes, it's soooo nice to just lay around and relax.

Happy running!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cinco de Mayo Half-Marathon Race Report

I will say right now that I love the Cinco de Mayo Half-Marathon. It started on time, the weather was perfect, the scenery lovely, and for a charity race, this was very well-organized. I am not affiliated with the race in anyway, but I must say it's my new favorite half-marathon.

Okay so I have only done 2 half-marathons (the other being San Jose Rock N' Roll Half), and don't have a wide base of comparison, but all expectations were exceeded with this May 2 race in Irvine.

I signed up for the Pediatric Cancer Research Fund Cinco de Mayo Half-Marathon back at the Pasadena Marathon expo in February. I loved the theme and the promise of mariachis on the course. Their booth was decorated with sombreros, and since I had been following their twitter account already, I decided to go for it.

A little over two months later, I leave my place at 5:15 am taking the long but fast drive to the Irvine Spectrum. I should go to Orange County more often - It really is pretty. The day's race is schedule is packed starting with the half-marathon about 45 minutes before the 10K, which starts before the 5K run, which starts before the 5K walk. The crowd is small, but the energy is positive. The national anthem is sung,we set our watches (although mine doesn't catch the satellites right away, what's new?) and we start exactly on time, almost to the dot!

I meet two people pre-start. First, I meet relative race newbie Sylvia who completed her first race at Surf City (my new trend is meeting people in parking lots). And second, Andrea from my Leggers pace group finds me at the starting line! She had seen from our website that I was running this race, and I'm glad that she found me. What a coincidence, since earlier I thought I had spotted Andrea and her sister while walking toward the start. You think it, and it happens.

As promised, there are mariachis along the course, and volunteers wearing sombreros, although some of the teenagers are too groggy early on a Sunday morning to actually put them on their heads ( still commend all teenagers who volunteer at races, what would we do without you?). There are also cheering fans, all of which is more than the sideline entertainment we had at the Pasadena Marathon. Until I find another, I will continue to use the Pasadena Marathon as my point of reference regarding dearth of non-water station entertainment (if you consider water stations entertaining). But in time, they too will continue to grow in the right direction.

The beautiful course through Irvine is huge plus. I can't tell you exactly where we went, but we crossed bridges, residential areas, tennis courts, rivers, hills, a freeway overpass, fields, many of which had the option of running on road, grass or dirt. As we passed over one bridge, I enjoyed watching a tai chi class down below. It was a course that kept you interested.

Also, I meet John - A 75 year old member of the California Cruisers, a running group in Orange County. He is the kind of person whose energy just draws you in. I run alongside John for a little over a mile. When I ask him who he was running with, he said his wife. ME: "Where is your wife?" JOHN: "I left her for a younger woman." John is so funny and positive, that he was another big plus for this race. He mentions that he had run the OC Half-Marathon last year, but thought this race would be more fun.

So I chat with John. He started running 22 years ago, and has since run 115 marathons in all 50 states and 7 continents. His favorite (or at least most memorable) was in Delaware, which includes a trek through a river. Next, he is on his way to the Athens Marathon in the fall. He is flying out on Thursday and running on Sunday. I asked him if he plans to adjust to the time change in advance of the marathon, and he replies "I have never fallen asleep during a marathon". Meeting John is one of the reasons I love running. Hopefully I'll run into him again sometime in the future.

For a charity race, these folks knew what they were doing. They started exactly on time, the course was gorgeous, the running crowd was serious and energized, and at the last quarter mile of finishing, I got to run alongside a marching band playing "Don't Stop Believin'". Sure, we ended up running into the 5K walkers at the very end, but it's also fun to dodge through people. With a half a mile to go, I was ahead of schedule pace-wise and feeling pretty good about it.

Something I forgot to mention - I was wearing BRAND NEW SHOES. Crazy, huh? Possibly not the smartest idea, but it was time for a change. These may be my last ASICS Gel Kayanos too - I'll be searching for a new brand soon.

All in all, this half-marathon far exceeded expectations. I also enjoyed the mariachi entertainment at the end, and sang along to "Cielito lindo" although I only knew the Ay ay ay ay part. And if I had $10 in cash, I would have also enjoyed a burrito and some beer in the beer garden if had known I needed more cash - so that was a small tiny negative.

Congrats to all the race weekend warriors - OC Marathon, Pittsburgh Marathon, Flying Pig Marathon, Vancouver Marathon - You did it!