Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My First 5K and Yours too

My first 5K was a charity run in 2007. I was covering a lecture for the Sun Community Newspapers in September- An event at the El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana hosted by an affiliate group in support of the Jewish Home of the Aging. I had recently started running seriously, and the goal of a 5K two months away was both feasible and exciting. I liked the Jewish Home too and wanted to help with this worthy cause. I set up my fundraising site through kintera.org and by that December, I had raised $500 and set an all time PR with my first 5K.

It isn't difficult to raise money when you are promoting a good organization and putting your feet where your mouth is. I had fun that first race, and it eventually led to many more 5Ks, 10Ks, a couple of half-marathons, and three marathons.

Would you like to set a goal to complete your first 5K? If so, I encourage you to do so at the Lexus Santa Monica 5000 on September 12, 2010 and choose the John Wayne Cancer Institute (JWCI) as your cause. Just like the Jewish Home for the Aging, the JWCI also has affiliate groups that support the mission of the institute. Partners in Progress is one of these groups. They help raise funds that promote institute functions not commonly supported by charitable donations such as lab and specimen maintenance and education & outreach.

I raised $500 when I ran my first 5K. How much will you raise?

First, register for the Lexus Santa Monica 5000 on September 12th. Then, set up your http://www.firstgiving.com/ fundraising page, or use the one Partners in Progress has established for the group. Then, start contacting your friends and family. You will be surprised at all the people in your life who will support YOU and the your cause.

And let me know if you sign up!

Happy running,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


So now that I have finally posted my San Diego Rock N' Roll Marathon race recap, I can blog about my regular running routine, which at the moment, is absolutely nothing.

In San Diego, I noticed I hurt my knee around mile 23, but persevered anyway. I had taken two Tylenols early in the race already, masking whatever pain was there to begin with. Maybe it was running with compression socks, but my left kneecap felt like it was screwed on too tightly and the setting was a little off.

I haven't run in 2 weeks, and still get little painful nudges when I walk too fast. I have done no physical therapy, or massage or anything else. It's nice to have a break. My mother has recommended a chiropractor/masseuse, but I have an unsubstantiated bias toward chiropractors - thinking he will contort my leg in an unnatural way when I'm not looking.

I'm starting to look at the people running around my area after work and contemplating the craziness of running. "Where are you going?" "What's your hurry?" I want to tell them. I will try to run this weekend before my running identity escapes completely and I become a grouchy vehicular bystander.

Happy running!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

San Diego Rock N' Roll Marathon Race Recap

Sunday morning, the plan is to meet LA Leggers in front of our hotel at 4:45am. Graciously, Rosa offered the extra seat in her car to me for a drop off in the morning. I sleep relatively well for a race day (relatively meaning not waking up every 30 minutes!). I get ready, wear my recently purchased at the expo “I know I said I would never do this again” headband , and meet with the other Leggers. There are doubts. Such as: “Do I really want to do this?” “Can I even do this again?” But doubts are drowned out by the morning routine and eventually, excitement. "I will run this marathon." "I have nothing to prove to anyone." "One step at a time!"

We arrive at the start line and proceed to the porta potties – the longest lines I’ve ever seen . I wait with them for about 15 minutes, and decide to save the porta potty stop for later and I leave Rosa, Gary and Patricia, and head to my corral. San Diego Rock N’ Roll is partnered with Team in Training – which raises money for lymphoma and leukemia research and organizes a large-scale training program for participant fundraisers. Let me just say this – Based on my experience at this marathon – Team in Training IS the event. Not only are they here in full force from all over the country and Canada, the crowd cheers are generally directed to them ( “go team!”). It often felt like their event and the rest of us, as Leggers Abby said, are “interlopers”. That being said, it IS nice to have motivated people around you during the race. Even if the TnT folks seemed to only talk to each other. This was a surprisingly quiet marathon.

Anyway back to the corral. I join my corral 29 so I am there by the start time of 6:15am. Somebody started at 6:15am, the gun went off, but it sure as heck wasn’t me. By the time my corral was ready to go (yes, that meant waiting for 28 other corrals in front of us), it was 40 minutes later. By now, I really did need to use a porta potty.

I start out the race relatively slow. We run through city streets downtown, and then head into the Balboa Park area. The most memorable sighting is in this very early mileage is the beautiful outdoor organ, Spreckles Organ Pavillion , with a musician playing for us. It was an awesome sight!

So this is a Rock N’ Roll Marathon, but since the bands are every mile or so, there is a lot of dead air in between the few seconds you pass them by. I can think of three instances where the musical acts weren’t even playing when I looped around. Truth be told the most memorable musical stop was the organ.

The course views takes a downward turn when we run roughly 4 miles on cambered freeway. There is no band, probably because there is no room for it, and the slanting road is annoying. Thank you to Frontrunners Gay & Lesbian running club for hosting the water station on the freeway. They are troopers! Supposedly this is the most scenic freeway in San Diego (fwy 168). I do remember foliage, but I bet you it’s way more scenic a drive than it is a run. And whose heard of a scenic freeway anyway?

Yesterday was overcast. Today is not. Actually, the sun is out by 8:30am. It’s not hot, but it’s not happy either.

I pass by my cousin Alex in front of the mall near our hotel, which is about mile 14. I earlier run into fellow LA Legger Abby a little after mile 13 , which was perfect timing. We are on a slight incline, it is sunny outside, and I am starting to falter on self-motivation. I run with Abby for a bit while we chat and continue until about mile 18. This is when we start to leave land and see water! There is a breeze, and I feel like I have energized with Abby’s help. She is hurting a bit because of the heat and takes it easy, so I head off on my own. I soon run into Gary who is determined to finish under 5 hours (by the way, he does). Mile 18-22 I am feeling really good. I don’t take my walk breaks as much and I enjoy the scenery.

Only problem? The paths around Fiesta Island are narrow and the Team in Training people are walking. THIS is the problem with corrals based on race time expectation (instead of a past race time). My impression is that this is a big first timer race. People guess they can run faster and choose a corral that is too fast for them. I spent a lot of time here zig zagging through walkers and slow runners. There was a lot of grassy area here though which was a fun change.

Around mile 23, we enter into a hot hot part of the island. Honestly, this part looks like a desert. And… things are starting to hurt. At mile 24, I stop taking my walk breaks because I want to get to the end faster. My knee is hurting, but the goal now is to finish. Around this time, I see a water stop manned by Target. Anything distracting helps!

There are a lot of crowds at the very end, and even though I finish 26.2 miles before the official finish (according to my Garmin, my total distance is 26.5), I make it to the finish line in 5:17:20. I get a little teary eyed as I go through the finisher’s section. I very nearly achieved my goal time of 5:15:00! So I am happy. We don’t receive anything to wrap around ourselves since body temperature has shot down, but the food available here is nice. I also have been running with my fuel belt (I like having it, but the fully loaded bottles meant extra bouncing when I ran faster), and I drink my bottle of Pedialyte which I keep for the end. Now it’s time to find Alex, and the finish area does not make it very easy to know where you are going.

So I would like to end my post here. I’m happy with my time, a new PR, and feel like I really pushed myself. I ran most of the marathon by myself and am happy. I want to end on a happy note. So it doesn’t bother me that much that the end was confusing as to where to go to meet your family, I had to sit on the parking lot ground in the sun, or that “Big Bad Voodoo Daddy” had already played and I missed them – since they started on-time and I didn’t cross the start line until 40 minutes later! Or that getting back to the hotel via their shuttle system was a bit agonizing because of the necessary standing (thanks Alex for standing in that one line while I sat!). But all in all, I am happy. I don’t think I will do this race again any time soon, but for what it was, it was a success.

Now taking time off from running and will soon start training again for ING New York Marathon in November!

Happy running!

Here’s a pic of my medal. Alex promises more pics will be coming soon. She’s the one that took them.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

San Diego Rock N' Roll Marathon - Saturday at the Expo

I drove out to San Diego Saturday with my cousin in tow and headed straight for the expo to pick up my Rock N' Roll bib, timing chip, and various paraphenalia. This part is always very exciting. There were alot of people - full, half-marathon, and relay runners - all - I had heard that about 30,000 people were registered. My last marathon was nearly 4 months ago, so I was anxious a few days before, but now that I was at the expo, I was starting to feel good. The expo was nice. The goodie bag wasn't anything too special except for the tiny bottles of olive oil and vinegar that proved to be the best marathon swag. I love this sponsor partnership. The oil/vinegar mix complimented the artichokes that my aunt made and we brought with us. Yay!

Another highlight of the expo was taking a photo with a running elvi! (Pictures soon to follow!) There were many products represented, although I did not see that many races there. Disneyland Half-Marathon had a booth even though they are already sold out. Some more race booths would have been nice if they were giving out discounts.

So, I missed the amazing line-up of runners speaking at the expo. Ryan Hall, Dean Karnazes, the Gouchers, Meb and more were speaking in San Diego. Supposedly, SD is where alot of them are training during the summer.

After the expo, we checked into our hotel (chosen because of other LA Leggers staying there), and we carbo loaded at Cheescake Factory that night. I took the carboloading seriously, and opted for pizza. Hmm...maybe that was the cause of my indigestation the first 5 or so miles of the race?

The weather expo day was overcast and perfect. Saturday would have been a perfect running day - But as it is, we ran on Sunday, when the heat and sun began descending early, around 8:30am. More on that soon!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

San Diego Rock N' Roll Marathon, T-3days

When I first registered for the San Diego Marathon, I knew that there was a chance I would switch to the Half. There is a BIG difference between a half-marathon and a full marathon. And you know it when you run it. Somewhere between 13.1 miles and 26.2 miles, you go through a change. It's no longer primarily a physical challenge, it is now a mental challenge. Maybe that's why it is so exhausting afterward. The mind affects the body, and vice versa. After a grueling mental marathon, the body needs to recover, so the mind in turn can recover.

I will repost all the marathon fun after this weekend. There will be other LA Leggers in attendance and I am scheduled to carbo load with them the night before. By carbo-loading, I will probably have less pizza and pasta and more rice, potatoes, and also protein, which is very important. Wish me luck and let me know if I should look for you in the crowd!

Happy marathoning!!!