Sunday, December 5, 2010

I did it! A Sub-4 at the California International Marathon

Today, December 5, 2010, I ran my 6th marathon and 4th marathon this year.  My goal from my first marathon has been to get a sub-4.  3:59:59 would be unreal for me.

In my first marathon I injured my knee and it took me about 5:20 to complete as I had trouble running.  I could not run for about 6 months after the knee injury.

I sort of healed (still wear a brace on my knee and it does get painful at times) and then started running again.  I wanted a sub-4 in my second marathon, but fell off pace by mile 16 and finished with a 4:16:08.

Earlier this year, I ran Oakland and San Diego.  In Oakland, I got sick the week before (very sick).  I still ran and was on pace for a sub-4 . . . until mile 20.  It was all downhill from there.  Finished at 4:17:58.  For San Diego I again tried for a sub-4.  It was hot and I again fell off between mile 16 and 18.  Finished with a 4:21:11.

Then, in early November of this year I ran the Morgan Hill Marathon.  This was a “training run”.  I did not try to get a sub-4, but it is always in the back of my mind.  I ran a PR of 4:09:55.

I had only 1 goal for CIM.  A sub-4.  3:59:59.

This year has been great because of my baby girl, Brooklyn.  It has been a great year to watch her grow (she turns 1 on Dec. 19th).  Yet, with work, teaching and a baby at home . . . it is hard to get runs in.  I do the best I can.  I have many late night runs at 11pm start time when I have to get up early.

Training for CIM has been tough.  Mostly because of time.  But, running feels so good.  It makes me feel healthy and also something that I can control (to some extent).  Yet, when you don’t reach a goal, you feel horrible even if you did something special (completed a marathon).

I’ve had some bad events occur at work which were out of my control.  Running a sub-4, I felt was something that I could control.  Something that I could push for and strive for.  And, I knew if I did not get it at CIM, I would try again.  Yet, I really wanted it at CIM.

My plan was simple:  start behind the 4 hour pace group and keep them within reach.  I did not want to run in front of the 4 hour pace group because I wanted to use them to control my pace.  I also did not want to be in front of them and get passed by them (that has occurred in the past and it feels devastating).

I looked to my Garmin often, but my pace was set by trying to stay within 5 feet and 30 feet of the 4 hour pace group.  I did good the first half.  No real problems.  Felt strong.  One of the issues I had with CIM was that the water stations were so crowed.  Maybe, because I was generally running behind the 4 hour pace group (large crowd), but it was very difficult to get water. I had to stop on a number of occasions just to get the water.  The 4 hour pace group would get a little ahead  of me (maybe 100 meters).  That was okay for the first half.  I would just pick up the pace and catch up.

About mile 16 I could feel myself getting tired.  I told myself just stay with them.  Yet, my legs were getting heavy.  Just before the mile 18 marker there was another water stop. My handheld was getting very low so I needed water.  However, the water station was packed and I had to go to the water table and pick up a few cups to fill my water bottle.  The tired legs then got the best of me. I continued to walk for a little while.  I’m not sure how long.  I saw a post a head and said I will run when I get to that post.  I did.

However, the 4 hour pace group was now far ahead.  I was also struggling.  I was going slower.  I felt like crying.  Soon, I could barely see the 4 hour pace group.  They had to be 1/4 mile in front of me by the time mile 19 had come.  I thought I had blown it.  All those late night runs.  All the tempo and speed workouts.  The long runs.  The training marathon.  I thought I was not going to do.  But, I looked at my Garman and I knew I still had a chance.  My Garmin was at a 9:08 pace.  I told myself to push hard.  I told myself that it was not over.  I could do this.  I was exhausted, but I dug deep.  I fought to not fall any further off.

By mile 20 I was feeling a little better.  I had lowered my avg pace to 9:07.  I could also see the 4 hour group was a little closer.  I told myself that I would push hard.  I would try to catch them by mile 22.  I pushed hard.  Though, I needed more water.  I had to slow down at another water station at mile 22 (this was a big issue – I felt – not enough tables.  The stations were too crowed and you were forced to stop).  This time I started running as soon as I could (after getting the water).

I kept gaining on the pace group.  By mile 23 I caught them.  I told the 4 hour pacer that I was not going to fall behind him.  I skipped the water stops at mile 23.5, 24.5 and 25.3.  I told myself that unless I pass out, I’m not stopping and I’m not slowing down.  I had fought off the urge for a restroom break all race.  I could feel some urge to go to the bathroom, but I told myself that I won’t even look at a porta potty.  Fortunately I was able to fight off any urge and did not have to go . . . while running (but I would have).  :)

Miles 22-25 were maybe the hardest miles I have ever ran. I was tired.  I wanted to slow down.  I wanted to walk.  But, I was not going to slow down.  I knew I had this.  I just had to push.  And, I pushed as hard as I could.  I’m not a fast runner (as far a BQ runner), but I do the best I can with the time I have to train.  Keeping pace those last 3 miles was tough.  Yet, I did it.  I even went a little a head of the pace group.  Soon I saw mile 25.  I knew that I could run a mile at this pace.  I focused and kept looking at my watch counting down each .25.  Then, I got to mile 26.  I knew I had this.  I ran solid the last .2  I did not speed up.  I was not trying to get a few extra seconds faster.  I was trying to enjoy it.  I crossed the finish line at 3:59:12.  I nearly cried.

It felt incredible.  To work so hard for something and to fight through that horrible mile 18-19, I felt amazing.

It was my hardest race.  I dug deep.

I’m so thankful for everyone of the blogs that I read, the few people that read my blog, all of my running friends, and my great family.  Training for a marathon takes a lot of time and effort.  I needed the support that I received from so many sources.

What made CIM so great was having running friends there.  To meet with before the race, during the race and after the race.  They are awesome people!

I feel silly to be so happy and nearly tearful to have just a sub-4.  It’s not a BQ.  It is something that many runners get.  Yet, it was a goal I’ve had since I started running. It was something that for me was special.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Morgan Hill Marathon, CIM coming up and Have a great Thanksgiving

I have been very, very bad at blogging.  It is just tough to find time.  But, I started blogging because I wanted to document my runs and hopefully provide a way to keep connected with other runners.  So I guess it is time to update.

About three months ago, I decided to sign up for CIM (the California International Marathon).  I’ve been training for that and hoping that maybe I can have a great day and finally get a sub-4 (fingers crossed).

I’ve trained hard.  At least as hard as I can with my regular job, teaching and a great awesome now 11 month old daughter.  I have had two 50 mile weeks and a number of other weeks in the 40s.

I also ran the Morgan Hill Marathon as a training run on November 7, 2010.   I had 21-23 miles planned that week and decided to just add 3.2-5.2 more miles and run a marathon.  The course was very hilly so I knew it would not be a sub-4.  I took it as a training run (meaning there was no taper – it was as if it was just a long run scheduled during my marathon training) and decided that I was not going to go out and try for a sub-4.  My plan was to run a 9:30 pace and keep it for as long as possible.  The first 15 miles were hills and I was hoping to get through that at the 9:30 pace and just run as long as I could without . . . a walk break.  This would be my 5th marathon.  In my prior 4, I always had to take walk and bathroom breaks.

It turned out to be a good day for running as it was in the 50s.  However, it rained most of the race, which left me a little cold.  But, I would rather take a little rain than the heat.

I started off a little slow – about 9:37 pace and about mile 4 decided to pick it up to get to my 9:30 pace goal for the first 15 miles. 

The marathon had about 1100 feet of climbing (I’m told).  The course was not closed to cars at Morgan Hill, we were running on the shoulder of the road (sometimes with CHP cruising by on their megaphones telling us to move over).   However, there were only about 180 finishers for the marathon so there was plenty of room and a lot of time to run by yourself.

The best part is that some of my running friends were running it (which is why I thought it would be a good idea to sign up) and others showed up to support us.  I ran mostly by myself, but it was great to see people I knew on the course and people cheering me on at the finish.

As for my training run, I got to mile 15 at 9:30 pace.  Then, my goal was to go as far as possible without walking.  I was not trying for a time, just to fight and go as far as possible without taking a walk break (or even a bathroom break – which is very hard for me).  After mile 15 we had about a 1/2 mile down hill and then the rest of the course were minor rolling hills (one hill, on an out and back, about mile 21 and 23 that was not large, but at that point in the marathon it felt large).

About mile 18 I was getting tired and it was raining hard.  But, then rain slowed down and  I ran into one of my running friends cheering me on.  She joined me for about a 1/2 of mile.  She talked to me and encouraged me.  By the time she left, I had it in my head that I would push to get to mile 21 before I take a walk break.  About mile 20 there was an aid station. I carried a hand held water bottle with me.  What I do is open it up and then dump the water from the aid station into it.  I try to get two to three cups as I pass an aid station.  At this station, I opened my water bottle and reached for a cup.  A lady down the line yelled out “refill it over here” as she pointed to a large water container off to the side where I would have to stop and fill my water bottle.  I had to yell back (as I took the water cup), “I’m trying not to stop”.

I made it over the hill at mile 21 and decided to try to push it to mile 23 before walking.  That would have been the max mileage of my planned long run before deciding to do the marathon.  Mile 22 was tough.  I was tried and many other people were walking.  When you see people walking and you want to walk, it is very tempting to stop running.  Yet, I pushed on.  Then off in the distance I saw what appeared to be one of my running friends who had been ahead of me the entire race.  I decided to try to catch that person before I stopped.  I pushed forward and caught up to him about mile 23.  The hills took some energy out of him and he was slowing down.  I said hi as I kept going past mile 23 and decided to try to make it to mile 24.  I had to pass that aid station again and the same lady yelled out me to “fill up my bottle over here.”  I had to again yell “I don’t want to stop”.   It was annoying.

When I made it to mile 25, I told myself, unless I get injured I’m going all the way without stopping.  I made it!  I was so happy.  It was not a sub-4.  That was not my goal.  But, it was running a marathon without taking a walk break, bathroom break or any break.  That was a first!  It was also a PR of 4:09 plus about 50 seconds on the a very hilly course.  Not bad for a training run.

Hopefully, I’ll have a good day at CIM.

Here are some pictures from the MH Marathon:

 MHM5MHM4 MHmarathonMH8 MHM3MHM6MH2     

And, the best picture – me with Brooklyn:

Nov10Brooklyn 253

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thinking of my dad and an update

Three years ago (on Oct. 28th, 2007) my dad passed away after a battle with cancer.  I decided to post as I think about him tonight because his death brought me to running.  I started running not to get a time.  I started running after his death because it was a lifestyle change.  It was about being active and doing an activity that could keep me healthy.

I did not smoke like he did (which caused his cancer).  But, I was overweight and at risk for high blood pressure and diabetes.  I used to like running in the past (shorter mileage), but it had been years since I ran.  I decided it was time to start running again.  I also focused on changing my diet (less junk food and more fruit and vegetables).

Since I started running, I ran 4 marathons and a number of half marathons.  More importantly, I lost 50-60 pounds from my pre-running weight.  I have done so doing an activity I love.  I can thank my dad for bringing running back into my life.

. . .  As for an update.  I’m still running.  My next big marathon is CIM in December.  I used “big” marathon because I signed up for a “training” marathon on Nov. 7th (the Morgan Hill Marathon).  It is a bit crazy to think I’m running a marathon as a training run.  Not sure what that means yet, as it is my first training marathon.  I guess I think I’m going to take it easy.  Not go for time.  Just try to relax and have fun.

Sorry for not updating this blog.  It has been very busy at work and with the baby at home.  Brooklyn is doing great.  She is 10 months old.  She is crawling now!  Moves all over the house.  It is such a blessing to have her in my life.  She had her first fever last week.  It was horrible . . . for me.  She did okay.  She was a little miserable at times, but overall she generally stayed happy.  Just less active and hot.  Yet, for a first time dad (with my wife away on business for two nights) it was so stressful.  I was scared and unsure of what to do.  I talked to my sister, neighbor, advice nurse, people at work . . . trying to get a understanding of what to do.  But, we got through that first fever.  I have much more appreciation for my mom after that.

I have some great pictures of the baby that I put up soon.

Oh – I also ran the San Jose RnR Half Marathon.  My wife and sister also ran it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Back from Vacation and two barefoot runs

I spent last week in Maui and had a very good time.  It was great to have a week to spend with my daughter who turned 8 months today.

Here is one picture from the trip:


I ran three times in Maui – one being a 10.38 mile run.  And, I ran 7 miles the day after we got back.  The best thing about the 7 mile run was that I took Brooklyn in the Bob stroller.  We now sit her up in the Bob (i.e. we don’t use the car seat).  It makes the run a lot more exciting for her . . . she can actually see what’s going on around her rather than stare back up at me.

The problem with the Bob stroller is that I think it throws my running form off.  After the 7 mile run, my knee was hurting.  I’ve hurt my knee during my first marathon in 2008 and it always seems to flare up.  I can’t go on a run without wearing a brace to help prevent any injury.  It is very frustrating as I wish I could just run pain free or without the worry have getting injured.  It’s been two years since I recovered from my injury and it still flares up.

So, I’ve decided to give barefoot running a shot.  Reading born to run did help push me over the top and go for it.  But, I also read blogs and articles on barefoot running.  From what I’ve read it can help you with injuries.  Not sure, how long this will last or whether it will cause more problems.  But, I thought it was worth a shot.  I’ve tried ChiRunning (and it has helped me with my form), but I think I need to try something else.  The concept of barefoot running makes sense to me (even though today someone told me I’m crazy).

I ran 2 miles on Tuesday barefoot after a short run with shoes.  I then ran 4 miles tonight barefoot.  After tonight’s run the bottom of my feet are sore.  Likely due to pushing up to 4 miles too soon.  But, my knee actually feels much better after the run.  It has been sore all week.  For the first time this week, it actually feels good.  I find that a bit odd, but I’ll take it.

I’ll see where this goes.  If it seems to work out, I don’t think I’ll stay completely barefoot (I’m a wimp) and would buy FiveFingers to provide some protection for my feet.  At least, I’ll have something more to blog about.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Maui and a Pony Ride

Sat morning I head off to Maui for a great week vacation.  It will be my first vacation with Brooklyn.  I’m excited.  The plane ride will be interesting.

Hopefully I will get some good runs in.  I need to get  a long run (12-15 miles) in likely on Sunday or Monday.  I will try to find a good spot and hopefully wake up early to beat the heat.

Oh . . . here is Brooklyn’s first Pony ride:

Also, here is Brooklyn with her horse Bubba.  Bubba is really my wife’s horse, but she plans to give him to Brooklyn once she gets older.

Good running!

Friday, July 30, 2010

First (and second) run with Brooklyn

Brooklyn is now over 7 months old (almost 7 1/2 months).

This past Sunday, I took her on our first run together.  A short 3 1/2 mile hilly run at the Stanford Dish.  Here is our picture at the end of the run:


We left her in the car seat which fits in the BOB.  I have taken her on many walks in the BOB (with the car seat), but not yet on a run.  I really wanted to run with her seated in the BOB (not in the car seat).  She gets board just looking back at me for 30-40 mins.  She loves being outside and likes to look around (when we go on walks I tend to carry her unless she needs to sleep), so I suspect she will enjoy being seated in the BOB where she can actually see.

She is only about 16 pounds.  She can sit up, but is a little light so we decided to wait maybe another month.

She did great.  She looked at me puzzled for about 10 minutes and then feel asleep the rest of the run.

As for me, it was different running with a stroller.  Going up a hill was hard.  It takes a lot of energy to push that stroller up a hill (while you are running).  It is also difficult going down a hill.  The problem is that the stroller wants to fly down the hill and you have to keep it under control.  So I constantly have to slow the stroller down.

The front wheel also locks (which is suppose to be used while running with the BOB).  Thus, I spent of lot of energy moving the stroller in the right direction (and to prevent it from going off road).  I think with the front wheel locked it is not as easy to maneuver.  However, it could be just because of my inexperienced running with the stroller.

In addition, my running form/gait, I think was completely off.  I really have to work on making sure I keep good form.

Overall, I had a great time and was really excited going for the run with Brooklyn.

I also went out during the middle of the week for my second run with her.  A run around my neighborhood.  Also, about three and 1/2 miles.  On the second run,  Brooklyn did not fall asleep.  She looked at me a lot, likely wondering why I have this funny struggling look on my face (as we went up some steep hills).  The rest of the time she played with some toys.

I had great time running with her.  I can’t wait for her to be able to sit up in the stroller.  I really hope he comes to enjoy her time with me as we run around and around.

I also changed the title of this blog since I want to also focus on moments with Brooklyn.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Half Marathon update

I have been horrible with blogging.  I have tired to follow blogs (but that is hard too).  Just tough with work, teaching, trying to get in runs and my baby daughter – now 7 months old.  Here are some pictures:

IMAG0296 IMAG0304

Now about the half marathons.

First, there was the Jungle run in Los Gatos on July 11th (a few weeks late).  I was not expecting a PR (which would require a sub 1:50).  After the SD marathon, I’ve not been in heavy train mode.  I decided to run it, but it was close and I felt in good enough shape to have fun while running it.  So, the Friday before the race, I took Brooklyn with me to sign up.  I’ll pause at point and just state that babies get a lot of attention.  The sign up was in a running store in Los Gatos downtown.  I drove down there with Brooklyn and walked her around the downtown.  A number of people asked me about her and made comments.  It’s really fun to be out in public with your baby!

When I sighed up, they asked if I was going to push a stroller.  Not yet!  I’m not sure Brooklyn will like being pushed around for two hours.

On to the race.  It went okay.  I started off a little too fast (about 8:15 pace the first few miles).  I told myself I wanted to be about 8:30 at the halfway point and then see how I feel at that point.  So, I slowed down a little and ended up about 8:30 at mile 6.5.  I followed my plan and tried to kick it up a notch.  That only lasted for about two miles.  It was getting hot out and I do horrible in the heat.  Basically I slowed back down.  Then, mile 11-12 was uphill and in the sun.  My avg pace fell to about 8:40.  I was struggling.

My wife’s co-worker was running the race.  He passed me about mile 10.  I tired to keep him in sight.  He was picking it up and that forced me to pick up the pace the last mile.  The last portion of the half takes you to the los gatos high school track where you run about 300 meters on the track.  As I neared the track, I tired to kick it up a notch.  When I hit the track I knew I had a chance to catch my wife’s co-worker.  With about 100 meters left I caught him and told him if we wanted to race to the end.  I’m not sure if he said yes, but I kept going and finished with a time of  1:52:13.  My first race in the 40 plus age group.  :)

Here is a picture:


My second half marathon was the Napa-to-Sonoma half marathon.  This is a race that I signed up to because a friend wanted to sign up (many, many months ago).  Well, she never signed up.  I actually forgot about it, but then get a reminder e-mail.  I decided to run it since I live about two hours away.  The only downside was that I had to wake up at 3:15am to drive to Sonoma.  My wife told me that I’m crazy to wake up at 3:15am to drive two hours to get on a bus for another trip, just so that I can run 13.1 miles.

The benefit of this race was that it was in wine country!  The negative was that I did not know anyone.  :(  However, just before the Half I read a post from Julie and she was running the half.  Since I was there early, I wondered if I would see her.  There were about 3K people there and I suspected I would not.  However, I ended up looking up and seeing someone taking pictures . . . it was her.  I went over to say hi.  We talked and hung out until the race started.  It was really great to meet her and have someone there that I “know” (at least through the blog world).  It really added a lot to my experience in the half.  I’m a bit shy and likely would not have talked to anyone so it made the race that much more fun.  Julie has a great race report that you should check out.

On to the race.  It started with a large hill.  I moved in and out of people and was making good time.  I again had to slow myself down (I was going too fast the first few miles).   My plan was to run an 8:30 first half and then try to pick it up the second.  I was about 8:10 or so the first few miles so I slowed down and got my avg pace to about 8:30.  Then, picked it up at the half way point.  I was doing great.  I felt good. My avg pace was quickly approaching 8:20 about mile 8 or so.

Then, I made a big mistake.  I felt the need to use the restroom for the past few miles.  I kept my eye out on the porta potties, but they always seemed full.  About mile 8, I saw one open.  I jumped in real fast (just had to go pee).  I jumped out and continued.  I did not lose too much time.  But, then . . . the police officers stopped us.  I was at the front of the line facing HWY 121 (I believe).  I recall reading that you have to pass a highway and may get stopped.  I could not believe it.  Some people were getting upset.  But, what could you do.  Finally, they let us go.  If I had not stopped, I would have made it through (the people that were around me before I stopped for a bathroom break, did not get stopped).  Oh, well, that dropped my avg pace to about 8:40-8:45 by the time we were able to start running again.

I tried to finish with a strong kick and finished with a time of 1:51 and change.  Not a PR and not a sub-1:50, but still a solid race.

Best yet, I saw Julie again at the finish.  She came in strong and did great.

And, there was free wine tasting after the race.  Free Wine Tasting.  Sign me up next year!

The race was a great experience save for the stop at the highway.  I had fun, enjoyed the great views, loved the medal, and tasted the wine.  Here are some pictures:





Friday, June 25, 2010

30s are gone, but I got 5 more minutes

It’s official – I’m now done with my thirties.  However, I now only have to run a 3:20 marathon to BQ!  Awesome!   There are great benefits to getting older (well at least one).

The sad part is that at my current pace, I need to hit 60 before I can BQ.  But, it’s great to know I have 5 more minutes and five years to at least attempt a 3:20.  First, I need to get a sub 4.

After my dad passed away, I decided to run a marathon.  I thought it would be a good thing to do before I hit 40.  Well, before I hit 40, I ran 4 of them.  Not quite sure when my next one will be, some time later in the year, but I would be great to PR at 40.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

San Diego R&R Marathon – Number 4 done!

This past weekend I ran the San Diego marathon.  In summary, it was not my best time and not my worst time.  I did not have high expectations going in due to the fact that I have just been so busy the past two months.  I got my training in, but I lacked a lot of real quality workouts (especially on the long runs).

I hoped to run between 4 and 4:30.  I struggled with my 18 and 20 mile runs (mostly because I was just so tired from long work weeks) that I did not expect to get under 4.  I had another busy week so I knew I would not be rested.

However, the good thing about the San Diego marathon is that my sister was running her first half marathon (she joined team in training to help her get ready for the half).  I decided to sign up for the marathon so that I could join her in San Diego and share the experience with her.  I thought about doing the half and running with her, but she had her team in training friends to run so I thought it would be best if she enjoyed her experience with her training mates.

I flew in on Sat and my sister (who drove down) picked me up at the airport.  My wife and daughter did not go (we thought it would be too crowed and difficult to move a 5 month old around the course).  Then we went the expo.  From there I joined her in a team in training dinner on Sat night.   Here is us that the TNT dinner the night before:SDmarathon5

She stayed in my room and then we woke up at 3:30am to get ready for the shuttle at 4am.  Early, early, early.  I still don’t understand the reason to leave at 4am.  But, that was the TNT plan so I just went along with it (I stayed in the same hotel as my sister with the TNT people and they had it all planned out).

Here we are on the bus:

SDmarathon9 And, now near the start line – to wait a good hour and 45 minutes.

SDmarathon10 With about 10-15 minutes to go until start, we wished each other luck and went to our appropriate places.  Some pictures of the start:

SDmarathon2 SDmarathon7 

Soon I was off and running.  The weather was okay to start.  I thought it was humid, which caused me to sweat a lot.  I started off though with a solid pace, about 9:05mm.  I kept that up for about 5/6 miles.  I had to slow down because I had to use the bathroom.  And, I mean I had to use the bathroom ASAP.  I found a pp.  By the time I was up and running my avg pace was down to 9:15mm.  I decided just to keep that pace and see how I felt at the halfway point instead of trying to make up the time now.

However, come mile 9/10, I had to use the bathroom again.  Again, this was not optional.  I had to find a pp.  I did and when I got through the line and out of it, my avg pace was over 9:30mm.  I knew that under 4 was not likely now.  I thought I had to keep a better pace to have a shot.

So I just tried to relax and enjoy the race.

But, then the sun came out.  I am not a strong runner in the sun.  It gives me a beating.  Miles 7-10 were an incline and then we had to deal with the sun.  By mile 16 I was spent.  My avg pace was still about 9:30, but I was baked.  I gave in and started walking to gather myself.

Lucky for me, I saw someone I run with in the bay area.  Among the 25K or so runners, I noticed her pass me (I think I had started running again, but slowly).  I caught up to her (actually ran faster).  She was surprised to see me.  We talked and she gave me a second wind.

She was struggling with the heat as well and we decided to run to the aid stations and then walk through them as we dump water over our heads and refill our water bottles.  That worked great.  It kept me going.  Although I hate walking, I felt okay walking through the aid stations.  I also turned off my Garmin.  I decided that I was going to finish this.  It would not be my best time, but whether it took me 4 1/2, 5 or 6 hours I was going to finish.  They had mile markers so there was no need to worry about how far I had to go.  My pace would be what it is and I would finish.

My running friend started getting cramps and had to stop to stretch.  I enjoyed running with her and felt she gave me a second wind so I stopped with her.  She told me to go a head but I decided to wait.  She stretched and then started running again.  This was maybe mile 21 or so.  I tried to slow down and stay with her.  Eventually, maybe about mile 24, she fell off a bit and I kept going – I felt that I needed to since the heat was giving me a good beat down.

The last few miles were tough because it was hot and there was no shade.  I saw people on the side.  It is scary.

Finally I got to mile 26.  The last .2 of the marathon was great.  There were tons of people cheering you on.

Overall, it was a tough race for me.  But, well worth it to experience with my sister.  And, run not into 1 of my running friends from the bay area but another one (about mile 22).  Then, all three of us ran into each other after the finish line.  Oh, and my time was 4:21:11

Here are  some pictures (some of my other sister and both my sisters kids supporting my sister who ran the half):





Thursday, June 3, 2010

This Weekend: The San Diego Marathon

Wow, it has been a little while since I posted.

I have still been running, but it has been very, very busy.  Work is crazy busy.  Then, I have started teaching a class.  And, lastly Brooklyn is now 5 months old.

My day begins with her waking up about 6:30am.  Brooklyn now sleeps through the night!   I play with her while my wife gets ready, then, I’m off to work.  Get home and play with her some more.  Then, we put her to bed about 8:30pm.  Then, I have to get caught up on work and prepare for my class at night.  I also have to fit in time to run.  So, it has been hard to keep up with this blog and to read other blogs.

However, I thought it was time for a quick little post since this weekend I will be running the San Diego Marathon.  My sister is running her first half marathon so I thought it would be fun to join her in San Diego for the weekend and run the marathon.

My training has been okay.  I’m not expecting my best time because my training has only been okay.  I feel that I can run the marathon, but I’ve just been so tired on some of workouts I feel that I only “got them in” but a number of the workouts were not real quality workouts.

I’ve done my Yasso 800s (build up to 10 800s at about a 7mm pace) and tempo runs (followed a plan where I got up to 6 miles tempo pace, 5 min walk, then 6 more tempo miles).  That was hard (my temp pace was between 7:40 and 8mm, I would start a little slower and then build up to 7:40mm).  I also got in an 18 and 20 mile long run.  But, a number of those runs were difficult because my energy level was really low.  But, I got them in. 

I’m going to try to take pictures of San Diego.  When I was in the Navy I spent boot camp and school in San Diego.  It is a great city.  So I will try to enjoy it, even though it might be a major struggle.

Hope everyone is doing great!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Race Report: Oakland Marathon – third marathon completed!

Okay, no PR.  And, goal not obtained.  But, I finished!

And, I feel I did the best I could.  I was sick for a week and a half and still have a sore throat and congested.  I had so much stuff coming out of my nose during the marathon I ran out of tissue (and I had a lot with me).

Before I get to my performance, I want to state that Oakland did a great job.  There were about 1,100 full marathon runners.  There also was a half and 5K.  Overall it not a large race.  Yet, the community came out in full support as if 25K people were running it.  We went through various types of neighborhoods (some very nice and others struggling).  But, every neighborhood we ran through there were people out of their house, on street corners, looking out apartment windows cheering us and supporting us.  Many people had their own water/food stations.  A man gave me a water bottle.  The support made me feel great.  It was a major lift running “The Hill.”  Oakland – you did a great job.  Thank you!  Based on the community support I would recommend this race to anyone.  You feel the pride in the community.  There were many “thank you for running Oakland” comments.  There were streets (in all types of neighborhoods) were every house had people in front of it supporting us.  First class community support.

As for me, I stayed the night in Oakland to avoid the drive across the bay.  Which overall I think was good.  I had loud people next to me . . . well the TV.  But, the front desk gave me ear plugs and it worked.  I was able to fall a sleep about midnight and got an okay night sleep.

I brought two of everything with me, shorts, shirts, shoes, soaks.  I tried them all on and determined what felt right or best.  I left my hotel room at 7:10am and was at the start line a few minutes later.

The race started at 7:30am.    We would meet up with the half runners about mile 17.

The first ten miles were all hills.  Up and down.  It was tough.  Miles 5 had a very large incline.  Unfortunately, I passed someone who passed out, not moving much, in the middle of the street.  The ambulance came while I still near and the ambulance left and past me on the way.  I hope she is okay.  It did get me to think that no matter what my goal is the main thing is to finish the race.  It’s tough because you want to do your best, but when you have a wife and baby – those things are far more important.

I slowed down just a little (I was doing about 8:45 pace) on “The Hill” which generally were a number of hills (long ones) from miles 5-10.  At mile 10 after the last hill, I was about 9:05 pace.  Mile 11 was a down hill and I was able to drop my avg pace.  Miles 12-14 had a lot of down hills, but a number of up hills.  It was tough.  It was not “hot” but it was in the 60s and very sunny so I was feeling exhausted.

I pushed on and made it without stopping until mile 19.5.  I wanted to keep running, but I was exhausted and felt very light headed.  I needed to regroup so I walked for about .25.  Then ran.  Then walked some time later.  Basically, the last 6.7 miles were tough.  I was at a 9:09 pace at 19.5 but ended up falling into the 9:40s.  Mostly about four walk breaks hurt my time.  When I ran, I was also running slower than normal.  I was fatigued.  Was it being sick?  Was it The Hill?  Maybe a combo.

But, I did it.  I ran that last mile plus and came in at 4:17:58.  Not a PR and a big falloff the last 6.7 miles.  Overall, I feel good about the race.  I gave it the best I could coming off being sick that caused me to be in bed for two days (missing work – which I never do).  After finishing, I felt very light headed and thought about going to an Aid Station.  I found a good shade area and sat down for a good 10-15 minutes a felt better.  So I feel I did what I could.  I just did not have my normal energy.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Night before the Oakland Marathon

My third marathon will be in the morning!  Hopefully, I will complete it (not get injured).

I thought my training went well until I hurt my ankle about two weeks ago and then I got sick less than two weeks ago.  The flu I got was horrible.  It caused me to work two days of work and I did not run for 6 days.  By the time I started feeling better, my ankle was okay!  So that’s one positive.

I took it easy this week running since I was still trying to get over the flu, I have stayed congested and I have had a little sore throat to date.  I feel okay though except for carrying tissue with me.  I ran four times this week, but only 3-4 miles per time.  The last two runs I tried to keep a really good pace and felt good.  So we will see how it goes.

There is a large hill (miles 5-10) and it is suppose to be hot (for me anyway).  I like running in the 50s and I think about miles 20-26.2 it will be in the mid to high 60s.  So not getting sick would have still made it tough to get a sub 4.  With the ankle and still recovering from the flu, I suspect I will end up b/n 4 and 4:30 (large range).

I plan to start off and try to keep a pace to get in under 4, but Ii don’t feel great, I will just  back off and try to “enjoy” the marathon.  So my main goal is really going to be to run as much as possible.  I only want to stop if (i) I have to use the bathroom or (ii) I need water refill.  Other than that, I just want to run the 26.2 miles (even if I have to run slower than I would like).

It is amazing that soon I will have completed my third marathon (unless an injury prevents me).  That is quite amazing when in June of 2008 it was so difficult to run even 1 mile.

I started running because my dad died of cancer in late 2007.  He smoked.  I did not smoke, but I was out of shape (232 pounds).  I worked a lot (but never on my body).  I never made time to work out.  Though 7 or so years before I used to run (shorter distances and slow, but I stayed in shape).  I decided that I was getting older and I need to focus on my health (not only on running/working out but on what I eat).  I changed my diet and got in shape.  I write this so that I can remember why running is important to me.  It is part of being healthy.

I’m now going to be 40 years old soon and have a 3 month old daughter.  Being healthy is important so that I can stay active with my daughter as she grows.  I lost my dad (who was only 60) way too early because he did not take care of his health (by smoking).  So running is not just a hobby, I have to remember.  It is something I love to do, but it is about living a healthy life.  And, to complete another marathon . . . regardless of the time . . . is something to be proud of.  So I’m just going to try my best to enjoy the marathon and do the best I can.

Since this will be my first marathon as a father, here are some pictures of Brooklyn:

She is having fun in her favorite chair


Her first trip to the ocean:



Her feet touch the beach for the first time


In her other chair


Oh that’s not Brooklyn, Jenny what are you doing?


Friday, March 19, 2010

The wrong Tapering Checklist

The Oakland Marathon is 8 days away.  And, here is my checklist in preparing for it:

1.  Injured.  Check.  My ankle/lower leg is still sore.  It is getting better but very slowly.  Hopefully in a day or two it will be fine.  But, I can run on it right now.

2.  Sick.  Check.  Even if I was not injured, I could not run because I started felling sick on Tuesday night.  I went into the office on Wed and by later afternoon on Wed I felt horrible.  I was sick in bed all Thursday.  Hoping I get through this flu soon.

So for this tapering week I have only been able to run 4 miles on Monday.  Hopefully, by Sunday I can get a couple miles in so that I can run a few times next week.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Injury? Frak!

Okay, less than two weeks from the Oakland Marathon.  Last night my leg (just above my ankle started hurting).  I was not even running.  It started getting sore after work.  I planned to run 4 miles that night and I did, but I took it slow.  It hurt the entire time but not major pain.

Now this morning it continues to be sore and more painful.

I think it is my Peroneal Longus Tendon.  I’m quite sure the injury is not too bad – I would not be able to have run last night.  Yet, I can’t run 26.2 miles on this so I’m hoping it gets better soon.

I’m worried that initial treatment says to rest it for two to four weeks.  I don’t have two to four weeks!

Hopefully, a few days off will do the trick.  I might try to go to the doctor, but they will just say to rest it and see if the pain goes away so I guess I might give it a couple of days before going to the doctor.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

12 weeks old and 12 miles run

This Sat., Brooklyn turned 12 weeks old!  The time has went by really fast.  I can’t believe she will be three months old on the 19th.  We are reading to her at times.  We have a number of baby books, but I wonder why we have to stick to baby books.  I started reading her Shakespeare and my wife is reading her Marley & me.  The baby books are fun though.

By coincidence, my scheduled run this morning was 12 miles.

Because of “The Hill” at Oakland I wanted to get in a good hill run.  I thought about driving to Oakland and running The Hill, but that takes an hour both ways . . . which means less time with Brooklyn on the weekend.  So I decided to go to Rancho and run up to Black Mountain.  Well, not all the way up, just 6 miles up.  I thought that would give me a good hill workout and would be harder than running “The Hill”

Thanks also for the comments, much appreciated.  I know that I can complete the marathon.  I might not get a sub-4, but I need to stay positive and just do the best that I can.  I mean . . .  I need to just enjoy the experience and challenge of the marathon.

I’m also using Windows Live Writer for the first time. Seems easier than blogger . . . still need to get used to it.  Thank you Aron for your post suggesting it.

I got out to Rancho before 8 am and started my journey up in elevation.  My legs were really tired (it is time to start tapering).  They did not want to get climbing.  I pushed myself really hard this week in my speed workout (10 x 800s, at 7:00 pace, resting pace at 8:34 for .25) and a 5 mile temp run at 7:30 pace, last mile at 6:30 pace.  I did both on the treadmill so I used an elevation up to 2.  The elevation made the workouts harder, but it felt good to complete them.  My legs though still felt the workouts and were tired.  As I was running, I told myself that I need to start tapering to get my legs rested for Oakland.

It was a great day out.  It had rained the night before so some parts were muddy, but not like the 30K race two weeks ago.

I made it to 6 miles and decided to run to the 2K elevation rather than turn around.  I made it to 6.5 miles when I hit 2K elevation.  I noticed that twice I climbed over 500 feet in a mile.  That was great because the Hill climbs 500 feet over 4 miles.  The problem is that going uphill means I go slower.  At the 6.5 mile mark my avg pace was about 10:30, which means getting a sub-4 in Oakland could be very tough.  On the way down I was about to drop my avg pace to 9:25.  It was a tough run, but I’m glad I did it.

Here are some pictures from my run (I had to upload them from blooger, windows live writer would not let me):

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Getting very nervous about the Oakland Marathon

I really, really, really wanted to do the LA marathon, but due to schedule conflicts I could not make it.  I decided to sign up for the Oakland Marathon.  Which is now less than three weeks away!

I signed up for it because I was running a lot during the winter and thought it would be "fun" to get in a local marathon (three people that I ran with during the winter were running it).

Yet, the more I read about miles 5-10, the more I think . . . "why did I not just do LA"!

The issue - is that miles 5 to 10 have an elevation gain of about 500 feet!  Today I read the course description and Miles 6 to 11 are called "The Hill"

I do live in the bay area, but I am not at all familiar with Oakland.  So I am getting very nervous.

I know I can complete the marathon, but I'm worried about . . . you know . . . time.  I think either (i) I will go too fast and "The Hill" kicks my butt so for the second half of the marathon I go very slow or (ii) I go too slow on "The Hill" to save my energy and still am tired in the second half that I can't make up the time.

I feel that I can get under 4 hours.  I feel so much better prepared than my last marathon especially after my run last Sunday.  But, with "The Hill" I might have to face that this might not be the marathon for me to get a sub-4.

I'm thinking of maybe trying to drive out there this weekend (or next) and run those 5 or so miles to get an idea of what type of pace to keep.  I'd likely though just get lost or something since I don't know that area at all.

I know I need to be positive so I just need to not worry about time (it is so hard) and just focus on trying to have fun and finish the marathon (my third!)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Last long-run before the Oakland Marathon is done!

I got in my last long run today (Sunday).  I generally do my long runs on Sat, but I had family in town so I had to push it off until Sunday am.  I planned a 20 mile run along Steven's Creek Trail to Shoreline park.  I started about 2 miles away from Steven's creek trail at a local park.  I did not take any pictures of the run, but I do have pictures of Brooklyn below.

I've been running a lot of hills this winter so I wanted to get in a good long run at a steady pace.  My goal was to run the first 10-miles between a 8:30 and 8:45 pace and then see how I do on the way back.  Running hills is much different as it is harder to maintain a fast pace so I was unsure how I would do in the second half (if I could keep the pace up).  I hoped to come in with an avg under 9:00 for the 20 miles and I hoped to run it without stopping (other than if I need water refill or a bathroom break).

In addition, this was going to be my first long run alone.  :(  I've been running with a group most of the winter.  Even if my family was not in town, I planned to skip the group run on Sat since I wanted a flat run for my long run.

The run went great.  I started off at a 8:35 or so pace and kept it up.  I wanted to make sure I did not push myself too fast the first few miles but still gave a little room to slow the pace if needed.  I felt good.  I used powerbar Gel at mile 5 and 10.  I kept a steady pace.  About the half way point, I dropped the avg pace to about 8:33.  On the route back, I tried to keep the steady pace.  My goal was to make it to mile 15 at about an 8:30ish pace and then try to gut out the last 5 miles and hopefully not fall too far off pace.

By mile 15 I lowered my avg pace to 8:30.  I kept it at that avg pace for a few miles.  I started slowing down in miles 17 and 18.  My avg pace dropped to 8:34.  I decided to try to keep it at that pace to the end.  I was getting tired the last mile, but pushed hard and dropped my avg pace to 8:33 for the 20 mile run.

Here are some recent pictures of Brooklyn, she is 11 weeks old (as of yesterday):

Me and Brooklyn:

Brooklyn with Jake and Jenny

Brooklyn having fun (that is Jenny that you can see)

Brooklyn with her friend Leo:

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mud, Mud and Mud - the Sequoia 30K Trail Race

I am behind in my posting - been a busy last couple of weeks with the baby and work.  But, I have been able to get my runs in.  Last week I ran 15 miles at the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve.  I left my iphone in the car so I was unable to get pictures.

This weekend, Saturday, was the Sequoia 30K race.  There was a storm in the area so I was quite unsure how the conditions would be.  It rained a lot in the south bay on Friday so I was thinking of backing out.  But, I have the Oakland Marathon coming up at the end of March and needed a good training run in.

I woke up early and make the drive across the bay.  I arrived at the same time as my running friends.  One was coming off an injury, another was recovering from a very long flu and another was running the 50K.  I knew they would be there, but it was great to see your running friends from the get go. I overheard someone introduce herself to someone (I was just standing near my friends waiting to start).  I knew aron was running the race and this person sort of looked like her (from what I could recall) and it sounded like she said her name was aron.  I was maybe 60% sure it was her so I introduced myself and she confirmed that it was her.  It was great to see another person that I knew on my first trail race!

The race started and I felt good.  Though, I was very conflicted.  Two of my running friends can generally go faster than me (but one was injured and one had been sick so they were taking it slower).  I was not sure if I should wait for them or keep going on.  I promised my wife I would try to be back about 1:30/2pm so I wanted to maintain a solid pace.  I ended up going ahead (still feel a little bad).  :(   I enjoy running with people and talking with people, so it can also be very fun to run with your friends.  But, I needed a good training run.

Well if I knew what was going to be a head of me, I might have waited for them.  The conditions were . . . well . . . muddy.  I hate the mud now!  There were a lot of rolling hills.  Which means a lot of downhills.  Which means many muddy downhills.  Oh, I was also running in running shoes, not trail shoes (due to my prior knee problems I only feel comfortable in 1 type of shoe and it is not a trail shoe).  The downhills were a nightmare for me.  I could not stop my speed or, frankly, my direction.  It was very frustrating.  I would try to go slow and then I would build up speed and I could not slow down.  The mud gave me horrible footing.  I felt horrible because I almost ran into a couple of runners at various times (including aron . . .sorry).  I decided (it was early in the race maybe mile 4 or so) that I would have to walk downhill if it looked muddy.  I did not want to hurt myself or, worse, someone else.

I battled the frustration of running in the mud for a while.  I actually was not having that much fun.  And, running a race is suppose to be fun.  Luckily, I ran into this:

The trail is now a little river.

It was great.  I ran through the middle.  My shoes got very wet, but already were anyway.  The good thing is it made me laugh.  I told myself that I just need to enjoy the rest of the race.  If it was muddy and I had to walk, then so be it.  If the trail was full of water, so be it.  That is the beauty of running. You can go out there and do it even when the conditions are not optimal.

So I told myself that every time I feel that I am losing my balance or I have to run through water, I will just laugh and enjoy the experience.  Soon I started feeling good out there.  Enjoying the race.  I ran into someone who was running a 50K and we talked for a little while (it was her 3rd ultra).  I than ran into one of my running friends (the injured one) - he turned around after a while because he did not want to push his recovery.  I talked to him for a while.

The next thing I knew is that I was at the aid station.  I filled up my water.  He told me it was 2.7 to the finish.  I looked at my watch and thought there is no way I can make under 4 hours.  I went ahead and tried to run a little faster to see if maybe I could get close to 4 hours.  I did not have a goal time for the race, but under 4 would be nice.  I kept checking my Garmin and it did not look good.  But, then, out of now where the finish was in site.  I thought is this correct (I had to have a least a mile more)?  This has to be the 50K finish.  Nope, it was the 30K. I finished in about 3:51.  I found out that the aid station was 2.7k away.  I just assumed I had 2.7 miles to get to the finish.  It felt great to finish.

I also came away very impressed with the ultra runners.  To run 31plus miles in those conditions . . . is very impressive!

To show that I was not kidding about the mud, here is some proof:

My pictures of the race came out horrible.  I would check out Aron's blog as she has some good pictures.  Here are some of my pictures:

And, the best part of my day was coming home to Brooklyn: