Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Just a quick update for now as I just got home from being up since 4AM this morning.
As documented in the pic below, I finally have completed my first marathon! And you know what? It is *really* hard! :P No, seriously, it's crazy that people love this! (And he knows who I'm talking about. heehee) I never had problems with half marathons, but the full - wow, it is a toughie, that's for sure.
Anyway - my official chip time was 5:33:58, 12:44 min/mi pace. I ran the Nike half last year with a time 2:13:35, 10:11 min/mi pace. I guess those "extra" 13.1 miles (although mostly flat) are killer!
I feel exhausted but physically, I'm OK. I managed to survive the hills with minimal pain - of course, the two Advil I took in the morning and the two ibuprofen I took during the race helped a lot with that! (Let's see what I say tomorrow morning.) Also, it looks like I maintained ownership of all of my toenails, although I just discovered I got the nastiest blood blister on my left toe (sorry for the TMI) which I'm sure will be lovely for our upcoming Cabo vacation.
Really, the only discomfort I had was that I managed to get a really bad case of painful hiccups at mile 16 which has been on / off not only throughout the rest of the race but even to when I just got home half an hour ago! That *really* sucked.
As expected, the weather was *awesome* compared to Chicago, however, it was warmer than last year. I was fine until we exited Golden Gate Park onto the Great Highway which was a long stretch in the sun as was the tour around Lake Merced. But guess what? Plenty of water and gatorade! What a luxury.
Finally, many thanks to those that came out to support me. My apologies to Andrew who waited a long time for me at mile 9 but never found me (the race was still pretty crowded at this point, and c'mon this is a women's marathon in SF, thus *tons* of short Asian girls running around). Neeraj and Renu are rockstars for giving me the boost I needed by running alongside me as I approached the finish line. And for being my own personal videographer and photographer! Take that, Brightroom! And of course, I am so thankful that Pete, Karen, and Paul waited several hours after the half marathon to help greet me at the finish line. (Plus, now I have witnesses that I kicked it in high gear for the final run to the finish! OK, it was only for 100m or so, but whatev.) Pete and Karen both rocked the half, by the way.
I will have more to blab about another time (course review, etc.) but I am soooooo tired!!!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Anyway, I guess I'm pretty much ready to go. This time I even remembered to attach my timing chip to my shoe so I won't have to worry about that in the morning.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Unfortunately, Nike does not provide live runner updates. So assuming I finish in 5 hours, below are my expected split times and the associated mile marker. The clock times should be fairly accurate as I will be in the first corral with all the other Club Run SF gang.
Note: 5 hours was actually my goal for Chicago - I will probably finish closer to 5:30 for this one. But these times should still give you a good idea on when to keep your eye out for me.
Also, if you are planning to cheer me and the 20,000 other runners - let me know where you'll be! I had two friends in Chicago looking for me but they never found me. And since I didn't know where they were stationed, I didn't see them either.
Should be a fun race as Karen and Pete are running the half as well.
So here are the split times! Sorry the formatting is wacky... it was the best I could do with my Excel spreadsheet. Course map can be viewed here.
Goal Finish Time: 5:00:00
Start Time: 7:00:00
Mile Pace Clock Location
1 0:11:00 7:11:00 Washington St. and Davis St.
2 0:11:20 7:22:20 Embarcadero and Bay
3 0:11:18 7:33:38 Aquatic Park
4 0:11:34 7:45:12 Marina Blvd and Fillmore
5 0:11:23 7:56:35 Mason St. and Halleck St.
6 0:11:20 8:07:55 Mason St. and Long Dr.
7 0:13:48 8:21:43 Lincoln between Washington and Kobbe
8 0:10:43 8:32:26 El Camino Del Mar & 25th Ave
9 0:11:42 8:44:08 Clement St. & 34th Ave.
10 0:11:40 8:55:48 Point Lobos Ave and Merrie Way
11 0:10:50 9:06:38 JFK Dr. & 47th Ave
12 0:11:43 9:18:21 JFK Dr. & 30th Ave
13 0:12:09 9:30:30 JFK Dr. and Stow Lake Dr.
14 0:11:23 9:41:53 JFK Dr. and Over Dr.
15 0:11:16 9:53:09 Middle Dr. and Metson Rd.
16 0:10:46 10:03:55 Martin Luther King Dr. E of the Great Hwy
17 0:11:13 10:15:08 Great Hwy and Ortega St.
18 0:11:30 10:26:38 Great Hwy and Wawona St.
19 0:11:43 10:38:21 Skyline Blvd. and Lake Merced Blvd.
20 0:11:25 10:49:46 Lake Merced Blvd. and Clearfield Dr.
21 0:11:26 11:01:12 Lake Merced Blvd. and Brotherhood Way
22 0:11:05 11:12:17 John Muir Dr. and Lake Merced Blvd.
23 0:11:29 11:23:46 John Muir Dr. and Skyline Blvd.
24 0:11:23 11:35:09 Great Hwy and Sloat
25 0:11:08 11:46:17 Great Hwy and Pacheco
26 0:11:18 11:57:35 Great Hwy and Lincoln Blvd.
26.2 0:02:23 11:59:58 FINISH
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Bib number: # 8288
It really is a women's event. Nike raffled off $900 Tiffany diamond earrings every hour tonight. Brandi Chastain was there picking out the winners.
I also stopped by Macy's afterward and bought over $100 worth of Nike Women's Marathon paraphernalia. Normally, I would wait until afterward but I just wanted to make sure I got the sizes I wanted. I will wait until after Sunday's performance to actually use it. On a bright note - this stuff is cuter than the New Balance Chicago "Marathon" gear. :)
In other news, I finally got my TNT race tank tonight. My mentor was nice enough to drop it off while I was up in SF. And... um... well, it's too darn small! I heard they ran snug which is why I ordered a medium but for some reason I got a small instead. Worst case, I guess I could wear it, but it's more snug than I would like AND it's pretty short as well. It's not like I have a long torso or anything - I'm only 5'2" after all. But it was like a crop top on me!
I'm checking to see if I can make an exchange. Sammy does not need to be exposed during my marathon debut!
I have a lot more items to post before Sunday so keep checking in. I really appreciate all the support I've received so far this week - you guys rock!
Sunday, October 14, 2007
I finally made it back to the gym on Thursday for some easy elliptical work. Unfortunately, Friday and Saturday ended up being rest days as well.
Now it's one week from my marathon so I must get running again! Luckily, I'm in the perfect place - NYC, and my hotel is just 6 short blocks away from Central Park. I never actually ran there, just people watched. But I did some quick googling and discovered that there is a 6 mile running loop along the perimeter of the park. PERFECT!
I didn't even get out there until ~9;30AM but the weather was fantastic! Such a refreshing change from Chicago. :) I could tell that there were a lot of runners getting ready for the upcoming NYC marathon with their fuel belts and Gu's.
I also learned that in two weeks, the Men's Olympic marathon trials will be held on my running route! It's interesting... the trials occur the day before the big NYC marathon but the Olympic hopefuls will not be running that marathon course, instead they are running the Central Park loop 5 times.
Anyway, here are some pics I took from my cell phone during my run.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
What can I say - I rebound quickly! After the disappointment of Chicago, I couldn't bear to let my four months of training go to waste. So, after bombarding Nike organizers with emails and phone calls, I am happy (elated, thrilled, giddy even!) to announce that I have officially upgraded from half marathon to full marathon status!
If you told me a month ago that I would be running the Nike full, I would have flipped out. Yes, I did all my long training runs with Nike, including running on portions of the actual race route. However, the 18 and 20 mile runs were especially painful for me, particularly the hill portions. So I couldn't imagine dealing with that for a whole marathon!
But expectations are different now as I don't even know if my legs will have recovered by then. I just want to have a chance to prove to myself that I can finish a 26.2 mile race. If it takes me forever, oh well. And let's face it - it couldn't possibly be more miserable than the Chicago fiasco, right???
Another thing I have going for me with the Nike race is Team in Training support. The Nike race is my official TEAM event so I will have my TEAM jersey for it. Which means... LOTS of strangers cheering for me!!! :) If it's anything like last year, most of the spectators on the course will be TEAM-related and for some reason, they only cheer for TEAM runners. If there aren't any purple shirts running by, they are particularly quiet. Anyway, I'm looking forward to mooch all the support I can get!
New marathon date: Sunday, October 21st, 2007
As a side note, I'm still planning to run the Disneyworld Marathon in January, but now that one can go back to being the fun one, i.e. run, walk, stop to take pics with Mickey, Lilo, etc. :)
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Sunday, October 7, 2007
That's the short story - if you want *all* the details, read on for my personal anecdote as well as tidbits I picked up from other runners and spectators. Pics at the end!
Back in February, I thought I was so clever for picking the flat, "fast" Chicago race for my first marathon - I was not expecting to deal with ~80 degree weather. However, in the days before the race, I had checked the forecast religiously so I knew it was going to be a hot one. Once I arrived in Chicago, the forecasted heat for the marathon was practically the biggest news in town (next to the Cubs being shut out of the championships).
The morning of the race went perfectly. I ate my breakfast and drank my fluids two hours before the race, got all my gear, lathered on the sunblock & body glide, took my advil, etc etc. During the morning news, they again discussed the heat and stressed that runners should focus on that more than their pace. They expected that runners will probably have to add 10-20 minutes to their finish time. (Remember this point later.) My parents met me in the lobby and walked with me to the race start (like a little kid on their first day of school - haha). I made a pit stop and headed to the corral. I decided to be extra cautious and started near the 11:30 minute/mile pace group. It was all fun and exciting at this point. The gun went off and we all cheered with excitement. And then we just stood there. Heehee... we slowly started walking ahead and I finally crossed the start line 22 minutes later.
It was probably at least 70 degrees at this point. I think within the first mile, I started feeling overheated. Nothing serious... just... ick! But it didn't take long before I really started to heat up. My goal quickly changed from finishing under 5 hours to just finishing period.
Now, I like to minimize what I wear on me as much as possible - for example, I didn't want to deal with a fuel belt. I did wear a slim runner's pack to hold my Gu's and my cell phone but I barely noticed that at all. Luckily, my TNT mentor advised me to carry a disposable water bottle so that I could skip the first aid station since that tends to be the most crowded. And that tip alone SAVED me today.
First aid station went fine. Second aid station - NOTHING. Literally, there was nothing - no tables or anything. Just hundreds of paper cups tossed to the side of the road. They had already run out of fluids. Someone shouted out, "Sue the marathon!" Thank goodness for my water bottle! Third aid station - well, at least they did have Gatorade and water but guess what? No cups!!! If you didn't have your own cup or water bottle, well, you were screwed. This ended up being a common theme for several of the aid stations so I didn't let go of my water bottle for the rest of the race. I saw on the news that a lot of the runners ended up going to convenience stores along the course to buy their own fuel.
It wasn't long before I felt the weather ramping up to full 80+ degree heat. I did my best to deal with the situation by regularly consuming my Gu gels and gatorade & water (when I could get them!!!), etc. I really watched my pace as well. But the heat! Holy crap! It was like this force that completely drained me of any energy I had. I thought the SF hills sucked but I may have preferred them over this. There were several points on the course where I really felt like I was going to pass out / throw up / or both - something I've never experienced before in any race. (And those that know about my history with fainting spells know I am not being overdramatic.) What's worse - when I would stop to take a walking break, I felt even more light-headed. I was really terrified that I was going to pass out during this race! But here's the thing - after training for four months and having all my awesome friends and family support me, I was *not* going to give up. No matter what.
So I struggled through. There were long patches of course out in the open sun with no shade in sight. Those sucked. But every now and then there were some shady areas. So that helped - I felt I could recover a little in those areas. I had my trusty heart rate monitor on, so I checked that regularly to make sure I wasn't pushing myself too hard.
There were some good things. For one thing, the supporters did not disappoint. It seemed like there were spectators along the entire course. And because I had my name on my shirt, it was fun to hear people cheering your name. And I loved all the people with the water hoses - I don't even know how many times I had people spray me down. One nice lady even gave me a baggie with ice cubes and advised me to wear it in my sports bra which did help a lot.
By the halfway point, I think I had slowed down to a little over a 12:00 min/mi pace. Around mile 15, I heard rumblings from one of the aid station volunteers on a megaphone that if we didn't get to a certain point in six minutes, we were going to be taken off the course. I mean, I knew I was slow but I wasn't that slow! I was totally confused and just kept going.
Finally, at mile 18, I slowly clued in to what was going on. I was trying to keep jogging as much as possible but it was getting harder, not only because of the heat, but because everyone around me was walking! It was so hard to get by anyone! Then I heard the announcement on the loud speaker. The race was cancelled due to the heat.
Now at this point, I was getting bits of information from random people so I was really confused as to what was going on. From what I understood, they were cancelling the race because they didn't have enough water and gatorade supplies to keep us hydrated. I still wasn't sure so I asked a cop that was in the middle of the course if the race was cancelled and he confirmed it. Later on, another race organizer started telling everyone over the loudspeakers to stop running and to walk instead. Other runners were saying that they had heard that we had to walk to the next aid station where there would be busses that would take us all back to Grant Park (finish area).
I think I was still in disbelief as to what was going on. I mean, there were still spectators cheering us on. (Although some had signs that read, "Race Over".) It sounded like the organizers wanted us off the course so I just thought race cancelled, might as well head back. I didn't even think any of us were going to get a finisher's medal. So around mile 20 (after not seeing any busses), I just followed the rest of the pack of runners that went off the course to take a "shortcut" back to the finish line.
So we walked and walked and walked and then ended up meeting with the last part of the race. I guess they still kept the course open! I sort of wished I had just walked the rest of the course, but that probably would have added at least another half hour to my finishing time and that would have just made my family more worried. (More on that later.)
We all joined back in and at this point, we were one mile from the finish. I was definitely pooped, but I managed to pick it up to run the last 400m. (And wow, that ended up being a lot harder than I thought!) We finally turned the corner and there it was - the finish line! The awesome part was that I managed to see my parents with their signs right on the sidelines as I headed toward the end. They even had flowers for me which I ran with toward the finish. :) I love my parents!
I also managed to raise my arms for the finish line photo. Well, at least I have a photo to pretend I finished. :P Anyway, if you look up my times, I do have a finish time but obviously it is not a real finish time as I didn't even walk the entire course. Most likely, they will modify this to "Did Not Finish" in the official results. It sucks but I'm getting over it. They did give us all medals, though. Normally, I wouldn't feel like I deserved it - but I really pushed myself until they told me not to, so on that note, I am proud of my accomplishment. However, I did refrain from acquiring any 2007 Chicago Marathon apparel, which was going to be my birthday present from my parents. I'm not sure I need the reminder of how I tortured myself for over five hours on a hot, sunny day. :P
I talked to my parents and my sister after the race, and they also had already heard the news that the race was cancelled. My sister and her family were at the Runners Reunite area waiting for me and they had heard around 12:30PM or so that the race was cancelled and that runners were being picked up in busses to be taken to Grant Park. They also said they heard tons of ambulances going back and forth. (Unfortunately, one runner did die and ~300 other runners were taken to nearby hospitals.)
Meanwhile, my parents were at the finish line where they also heard the news. The announcer apparently said the marathon is now over and now it's a "fun run" for the runners. Sure, I'll go with that.
I felt really bad for my family. I don't pass out a lot, but I get light headed from time to time which my family is well aware of and you know, families overworry. So when they got word about all the heat exhaustion going on, they immediately started worrying about me. I had my phone on silent and my mom's phone went straight to voicemail. When my sister couldn't get ahold of my mom, she thought we were in the hospital! Then my mom commented how she was cheering on all the runners at the finish, but after awhile she stopped because she was so worried that I hadn't arrived yet.
It's not just my family. My good friend PLH also ran the marathon and her parents also came into town for it. After it was taking her a long time to finish, her dad ended up going to the medical tents to see if PLH had been treated by them.
Oh, and remember at the beginning when I said runners should expect to add 10-20 minutes to their finish time? How's this for a data point - PLH has a good friend that runs 4 marathons a year, averaging a 3:35 finish time. Her time today was 4:40! I feel bad for those runners that were hoping to qualify for Boston with this race - like the two people we met yesterday at the pasta dinner.
Part of me is really sad that they cancelled the race on me and all those other runners, but part of me is glad because otherwise, I would have kept going and I probably would have ended up in one of those medical tents.
Luckily, my family is here with me so they already gave me their shoulders to cry on as I had my own private pity party. They're still so proud of me regardless and they don't understand my feelings about me not really finishing. Oh well. Family is easy to please. Seeing my nephew also made me feel better. I got to spend lots of quality bonding time with him this weekend - he is sooooooo cute! He's so much more fun at 3 months than he was at two weeks - heehee. He smiles and laughs and even has these pseudo-conversations with us!
Anyway, there's the whole story - I know it was super long but I figure it'd be easier than me telling the story over and over again. I wanted all of you to know what went down but I don't want any sympathy. It is what it is. I'm disappointed with how things turned out, but I am not disappointed in myself.
I guess at this point, I should announce that "Plan B" is already in place. If you haven't already heard, I am currently registered to run the Walt Disney World Marathon in Orlando in January. I registered back in July before I realized what a pain in the a** it is to train for a marathon. I just thought it would be a fun, laid-back follow up to the Chicago one but I might have to take it more seriously now!
Finally, I just want to thank everyone for all the encouragement and support you've given me over these last several months and especially this weekend, as well. Don't you worry - I *will* be a marathon finisher at some point. Plus I still have the Nike half in two weeks!
On a fun note, I do have some pics from my 20+ mile "fun run" :)
7:00AM Race Morning - Smiling big as I do not know what is to come...
Me and my dad with the poster my TNT mentor made for me
Me and my mom with the poster I made at the expo the day before (I figured they would be more likely to use it if it had their nickname for me)
I took this pic with my cell phone while lined up in the start corral
My mom actually managed to capture this pic during the final stretch before the finish - I don't know who I'm looking at, though
Reunited with my parents at the end (I had wiped away the tears by this point)
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Well, it was supposed to be an easy day but I'm pooped. I did a quick one mile jog this morning, then went to the expo with my friend Pam (above), met up with my sister and her family and got some yummy deep dish Chicago pizza, then finally rested a bit. We ended up doing the pre-marathon pasta dinner at the hotel since it was easy and I was tired.
I have all my stuff laid out and ready to go for tomorrow. Despite record-high temperatures, I think tomorrow will be a lot of fun. I'm thinking of it now as a "fun run" and just a sightseeing tour of Chicago. :)
Check in later for more updates!
P.S. Thanks so much for the shout-out, Kirby!!!
Friday, October 5, 2007
Let me give you a couple of examples just from this afternoon... before we left the rental car lot, my mom and I sat in the car watching my dad slowly circle our car about five times or so, giving it a thorough examination noticing every discoloration, ding, scratch, etc. Finally, when he was satisfied and ready to depart, he manages to ding the car next to us when he opens his car door to get in. Classic.
Then my mom tries to tell a story about my sister's son - something about him tying a string on my mom's finger? Turns out she was trying to say that he has her wrapped around his finger.
OK, one more... my dad tried to tell me another one of his boring jokes he picks up at work - this one had something to do with a bookkeeper and a mafia boss. I couldn't even follow the joke because I was too busy laughing at how my dad pronounced mafia, which was ma-FEE-uh (as in Sophia).
And don't even get me started on stories about my dad using a GPS unit for the first time - wow, I could start a separate blog on just that alone. (Did any of you catch The Office last night? My dad is almost as bad as Michael ...)
OK, maybe these are really only funny to me. (I bet my sister would laugh, too, though.) It's all in good fun, though - my parents rock!!! I just hope they don't read this...
Anyway, I'll have a real running update tomorrow. Tomorrow morning, my friend Pam and I are headed to the expo to pick up our race packets and bibs.
So I have finally arrived in Chicago and let me tell you, it is HOT! As in, literally, the weather is hot, not in the sense that it's hip and happening. Although, I guess that could apply too.
I'd been watching the weather forecast all week so I knew it was going to be hot. But I didn't get the full grasp until I stepped on the jetway from the plane. Not only is it hot, it is also HUMID. Ah, yes, the midwest summers. How I *haven't* missed you so...
This does not bode well for me as I do not like to run in the heat. Which is why I drove two hours round trip every Saturday to train in the city - to avoid the south bay heat! I would have much preferred the cold, rainy forecast from Monday... hot and sticky for 26.2 miles? Egads. But like I've said before, I'm really just hoping the energy and exciting of the marathon will help me forget the discomforts I will have to deal with.
I overheard a couple of people on my plane this morning talking about how they were also running the marathon. I would have commented but they were two rows behind me and I wasn't really fully awake yet at 6AM in the morning. I saw another lady with a Team in Training gym bag wearing last year's Nike marathon finisher shirt so I'm assuming she's doing the marathon as well.
Otherwise, I haven't seen too much marathon stuff in the airport (where I am typing this now - I'm waiting for my parents to arrive on their flight from Cleveland) other than some billboard ads by the baggage claim.
Anyway, keep checking my blog this weekend as I will be regularly posting updates.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Unfortunately, my TNT race shirt won't arrive until the week of the Nike Half. That's OK - I've decided to wear one of my dri-fit shirts that I've used during training instead. I chose a BRIGHT YELLOW one - I'm hoping my family will be able to spot its neon color.
To encourage support from the spectators :) I plan to write my name on the front of my shirt. The big question - what, if anything, should I write on the back???
I enlisted the feedback of my Wednesday running buddies for ideas... here is what we came up with:
- I hope I win!!! (My runner up idea)
- Are we there yet? (Used by Renu)
- Your feet hurt 'cause your kicking so much ass! (Found on a blog)
- This is my first marathon. Let me beat you. (Pete's idea)
- Stop looking at my ass (I was just kidding)
- If you beat me, you have no chance of getting my number (not my idea)
- Why couldn't Pheidippides have died at mile 20? (If you're clueless like me, here's the Wikipedia entry.)
So what did I pick??? Well... that will be unveiled later. But it was definitely Renu and Pete's creation that just really cracked me up. Stay tuned!!!
My schedule is crazy this week but it was worth the drive for this run because I now have VIP access for the Nike Half on October 21st!!! In order to get this, you have to get all 30 punches on your frequent runner card - 15 Nike runs, 6 shoe trials, bring 5 buddies (thanks Kelly, Andrew, Scott, Pete, and Renu!!!), 2 "retail" punches, and 2 "mystery" punches. And now I'm all done! What a relief...
I had VIP access for last year's Nike half so of course I had to get it again. :) We get special pre-race and post-race tents and we get to start in the very first corral, right after the elites. It was so much fun last year... I thoroughly enjoyed the buffet after the race. :)
Anyway - we did 4 miles last night and although the pace was slow for my running buddies Pete and Renu, it felt good for me and I didn't really feel any pains so that was awesome. We all got $5 Jamba Juice gift cards and for trying on their shoes again, I got another pair of Nike dri-fit socks - pink ones this time! Woo-hoo!
Monday, October 1, 2007
Yep, as my watch reminds me, it is now 6 days until the marathon. Where did the time go??? Just kidding, I feel like I've been training forever.
I just received my confirmation packet in the mail, so I'm getting really excited now! I mean, I have a bib number and everything!
2007 Chicago Marathon Bib #: 25501
By the way, feel free to stalk me - sign up for runner tracking!
On a related note, I just got my number for the Nike half as well:
2007 Nike Women's Half Marathon Bib #: 12165
My TNT workout went really well, too! Because the group was doing a more challenging run on the weekend, they gave us a more basic workout on Thursday - just an easy 3 mile run on the LG creek trail.
I was really happy with this workout because I ran with some of the other girls who are slightly faster than me and I was able to keep up with them for the whole run. Sure, I couldn't chat as much, but that's OK!
At the end of these workouts, we always group together at the end for announcements and stuff. This past week, my mentors surprised me by announcing how I was running the Chicago marathon and even made me a poster! Here's a pic of it:
Here's a pic of me with one of my mentors (my group is lucky enough to have two - a husband and wife team):
They are super nice and supportive. I'm going to pack the poster with the eight million other things I'm bringing to Chicago :) Who knows, maybe my family will want to use it. (If it survives the rain, that is.)
On Saturday, I managed to do an easy 6 mile run on the LG creek trail again. My legs feel better, although not 100%. Honestly, I think I'll be OK on Sunday. As with any of my long runs, the first three miles will be rough but after that, I will just be in auto-pilot mode. Hopefully there will be enough activity along the course to keep me entertained that I won't notice any discomfort.