Sunday, August 31, 2008

Holy crap, I have three more of these to go????

So even though I had no goals for today's race, I did manage to achieve a personal record. For worst half marathon time! Final chip time - 2:17:19, 10:28 pace. Which actually isn't *that* bad for me, but not that great either.

I did love running through the Disney parks and seeing the characters and stuff. Full race report to come...

For now, I need an ice bath and a shower and then I'm hitting the parks before flying home tonight.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Race Weekend!

Just wanted to do a quick post before I go nighty-night. Tomorrow is the first of my four half marathons this season. Yep, it's now four total because I was officially able to register for the Nike Women's half marathon this week. Yay Nike Club Run SF!

But back to this weekend - tomorrow is the Disneyland Half Marathon and I'm super excited for it. I have no race goal for this one - just want to have fun at Disney.

This is a quickie trip for me as I flew in this morning and will fly out tomorrow evening. Luckily enough, I was able to check into my hotel at 9:30AM this morning - I'm staying at one of the Disney "Good Neighbor" hotels that is right across the street from the main entrance to the parks. (Side comment: I have a perfect view of the Disneyland fireworks right now from my hotel room - sweet!)

I was pretty low key today. I got to meet up with two of my SoCal friends, LO and DH, for lunch at Downtown Disney where we dined at Rainforest Cafe. It was so much fun catching up with them!

Then I hit the expo which was conveniently located at the Disneyland Hotel right by Downtown Disney. I love how it is so easy to just walk everywhere. Anyway, I picked up my bib (#2480) and goody bag and stuff. Here is the race shirt:

While at the expo, I also got slapped with a "Coast to Coast Challenge" bracelet.

This is for people who also did the Walt Disney World Marathon and/or Half Marathon in January in Florida and are now doing the Disneyland Half Marathon tomorrow. Similar to the Goofy Challenge, we'll get an additional medal. And I actually took a peek at the medals we're getting tomorrow (normally, they just show last year's medals at the expo) and the Coast to Coast Challenge medal is pretty awesome! IMO, I think it's the best out of all three so I'm soooo excited!

Anyway, now I'm back at the hotel and everything is all laid out for tomorrow and my 4AM wake up call.

Yep, I have two outfits ready to go because I couldn't decide - haha.

OK, I guess that wasn't such a quick post. I'm kind of bummed now because I was getting pretty sleepy before but now with all the "explosion" sounds of the fireworks outside my window, I'm wide awake again. But I'm going to try to go to sleep now anyway... so nighty night!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Thanks Nancy!!!

Earlier this month, I participated in Nancy's 8 on the 8th virtual race. My results were horrible (8 miles at 12:25 pace - bleh!) BUT Nancy was kind enough to award me with a really awesome prize - an OFFICIAL 2008 Beijing Olympics pin!

Check it out!

Thanks, Nancy, you're the best! All of us running bloggers really appreciate all the hard work you put into these virtual races!

And since she liked my Beijing photos, here are some other random ones...

Tiananmen Square / Forbidden City

Great Wall

Summer Palace

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Catching up on my last two weeks of running

So here are the highlights from these past two weeks of running. Overall, they've been awesome as I've really tried to push myself lately. I ended up doing all three of the weekly Nike club runs - Wednesday and Saturday in SF, and Sunday in the east bay - all locations that are pretty much an hour from my home. So the driving part is kind of annoying but it's been so fun to run with my friends and hundreds of other runners.

Two Wednesdays ago - Niketown, Union Square

Normally, I avoid the weekday run in SF but I had about four friends or so heading to Niketown that evening so I couldn't miss the chance for a fun evening run with my buddies. Now as I may have mentioned before, I typically like to run at a more "leisurely" / conversational pace during group runs - usually the 11:00 min/mi pace group. But since I couldn't find them (turns out they were waiting on a different floor), my friend and I just joined in at the tail end of the 10:00 group. I figured they would eventually take off without us but since I was with my buddy, it wouldn't really matter.

But amazingly enough - I was able to stick with them. My Garmin took a while to get a satellite but when it did, I saw we were doing better than 10:00 minute miles! And for me, I typically only hit 9:xx paces when I'm in race mode so this was pretty exciting.

We did 4 miles total but Garmin only logged the second half:

2:04 miles at 9:21 pace

Two Saturdays ago - Marina, SF

I ran 10 miles with the 11:00 pace group and I was pretty pleased because we actually managed to get under our target pace this time, even with all the hills!

10.10 miles at 10:57 pace

Two Sundays ago - East Bay

Although the Sunday Nike runs are flatter than the routes in SF, it's usually a *lot* hotter. I'm not sure which is worse for me. Anyway, I only wanted to do 4 miles but the shortest course that was offered was 6 miles so I ran the first two with the 10:30 group and then turned around and came back to the start. The first two were kind of slow:

1: 10:58
2: 10:45

At this point, I said my good-byes to the group and headed back on my own. I wasn't really trying to push myself to run faster, I think I was just anxious to get back and eat and stuff - haha. It was pretty hot at this point, so I was really surprised when I saw this:

3: 9:38

So I decided to push myself a little further:

4: 9:03

I couldn't believe how well I was doing since it was a pretty warm morning! And I know this sounds dumb, but I kept hearing a loop of the Olympics theme song in my head while I was running. Maybe that was what was motivating me to push myself :)

At the 4 mile mark, I looked at my Garmin and noticed my average pace was just over a 10:00 pace. Being the numbers geek that I am, I thought to myself, I know I can finish under a 10:00 pace! So I kept on running (pass the start with all the water and goodies and stuff!) until I did just that.

0.28 mi: 2:12 (8:00 pace!)

Total: 4.28 mi at 9:58 pace

This past Wednesday - Niketown, Union Square

I had a relatively quiet day at work that day so I decided to head on up to SF again. I really like having these pace groups to push myself (at least for the short runs) so I decided to stick with the 10:00 group again.

It was tough - especially when trying to make conversation with people and stuff. I actually kind of lagged behind a bit during the halfway point but finally caught up with my group toward the end. It was also fun because I randomly ran into my cousin during the run - that was a fun surprise!

Anyway, Garmin again struggled with picking up satellite so I didn't get the complete run again. Out of the 4 total miles, Garmin recorded the following:

2.84 miles at 9:14 pace

Saturday (Yesterday) - Marina, SF

This was actually a pretty uneventful run. I needed to be quick because I had plans with my friends that afternoon so I did four miles with the 10:00 group. I actually only did the first mile and a half with them and then did the rest on my own (their routes again were 6 miles or longer). It was kind of hard to push myself on this run but I still managed to finish under a 10:00 pace:

4 miles at 9:45 pace

Sunday (Today) - East Bay

Today I was very excited to have my friend SG join me for my 6 mile run with the 10:30 group. We went on the Iron Horse trail and then through some nice neighborhoods. It was a bit warm and the route had some rolling hills here and there but we still finished at a pretty decent pace, although a bit under the 6 mile target:

5.64 miles at 10:19 pace

So that's it for now. Hopefully, I will be a bit better at more promptly updating my blog. My first half marathon of the season is this weekend at Disneyland. Goal for the race: Have fun! I'd like to approach this one as a "fun run" and take pics with the characters and stuff which I missed out on during the Disney World marathon.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Another sign I've been dehydrated...

... I've been getting nosebleeds lately! Ick. Luckily, it hasn't happened on my runs this weekend but it's no fun. (Note I am typing this with a piece of tissue stuck up my nose. Hot, I know.)

I need to get better with drinking my water. Even my optometrist told me to drink more water as she could tell my eyes were dry during my exam on Friday. (To SG - yes, that means I am no longer mooching off Dr. M, anymore - haha) On a positive note, my eyes have not gotten worse as my prescription is still the same - sweet.

I ran again with Nike this morning - only 4 miles as I could still feel some soreness from yesterday's 14 miler. I got a free pair of Nike dri-fit socks for trying on their shoes during the run. Two years ago, they gave away white socks, last year it was pink, and this year it is black... I don't know, I think it looks kind of weird to wear black socks with running shoes. It reminds me of my dad or something.

Anyway, back to watching the Olympics!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Race Report: 8 on the 8th

First off, I'm so happy to report that I have completed my peak training run this season for the series of half marathons I have coming up (Disney, Chicago, and SJ RnR - so far). 14 miles - DONE! (Can I just say that I am so excited not to have a full on my schedule this year?)

Anyway, I am using the first 8 miles from today's run for Nancy's 8 on the 8th - Olympic style virtual race. Unfortunately, I had a worse showing than my first 8 on the 8th race. No biggie - this time I was running with the Nike club through the hills of SF plus I had to run with a slower pace group because none of the pace leaders in my normal group was planning to run the full 14 miles today.

Total time for 8 miles: 1:39:20 (12:25 pace)

Since I don't really have anything interesting to report about the "race", I could at least do something sort of related to the Beijing Olympics. So here are a couple of pics from one of my recent visits to Beijing - I think these are from May 2007.

Countdown to Olympics clock by Tiananmen Square:

Great Wall:

Thanks again, Nancy, for coordinating yet another fun virtual race!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Race Report: SF Marathon 5K

I know this sounds kind of geeky, but I *love* marathon weekends! No, I didn't run in one myself this weekend, but I got to take part in the SF marathon activities Saturday and Sunday and the vibe was awesome! I love all the pre-race excitement and anticipation and the post-race celebration and happiness.

Saturday morning started with an 8 mile hilly run with the Nike club with unusually warm and sunny weather. It was a lot more challenging than some of our previous routes - felt like the hills would never end! Later that afternoon, my friend (KB) and I make a quick stop at Sports Basement and then hung out on Chestnut St for some lunch and walking around.


Later that day, I headed to the SF marathon expo to register for the 5K. I get such a kick out of expo's, mostly to see what freebies are there but I also like to see all the products. Have you guys seen the GasCap?

I don't think it's something that I would personally wear but it's good to know my options for storing fuel. Also, I saw the running shirt with one of my favorite sayings: "This seemed like a good idea three months ago." I'll have to get it next time I tackle a marathon.

They also has this cool thing where you could get your bib screen-printed on a technical shirt. I thought that was a cool idea - and I think it was reasonably priced, maybe $20-30 or so?

I missed the seminar with Dean Karnazes, but I did see him signing autographs and taking pictures at the expo. As soon as I saw him, I knew there would be a pic on Laura's blog - and I was right! :)

I was also able to buy the 2007 SF half marathon shirt for $5. I ran the 2nd half last year but got a size small shirt which fits OK but is a little snug. The medium is just right! Does anyone else struggle with what size to order for the race shirts? You just never know how they'll fit... for example, I got a size small (ladies) for the technical shirt for the Disney marathon and it's a little loose but fits fine. I ordered a ladies' small again for Disney's Women Run the World 15K but that shirt is way too small!

After the expo, I headed back to my friend's place as she was gracious enough to let me crash at her place for the night. We had a yummy salad + ravioli dinner and then I helped her get ready for a night on the town, while I got ready for an early bedtime.

First, I had to make sure all my stuff was out and ready to go for the next morning. The SF marathon used a new timing method this year - it's a "D Tag" that was a strip attached to our bibs which we then attached to our laces.

Seemed to work fine and it was nice to not have to worry about returning a chip.

Race Day

Race morning went well as I had plenty of time for parking, a potty stop, sweat check, and a quick warm up. The weather was perfect that day for running! Nice and cool and a little overcast.

I ran into one of my Nike pace leaders who is definitely a die hard - she was planning to run the 5K despite being in a car accident yesterday! She didn't appear to be injured but still, that's hardcore.

I was also excited to see two of my friends, JL and TL, who were also running this morning (one was doing the marathon and one was doing the 5K). They had just returned to SF after living two years in London and I was looking forward to catching up with them. Luckily, I spotted TL at the start of the 5K so I got to catch up with him while we waited for the start. They had some kind of weird pre-race event... I couldn't really see but it looked like a guy wearing a mattress was racing a guy in one of the character suits, I think it was a bee or something? I don't remember. But it was kind of funny though to see a running mattress.

Anyway, I'm not sure when the race started because I don't remember hearing anything, just seeing everyone take off. I couldn't even really see the start mat either so I just clicked my Garmin and off I went.

The course is nice and basic. It's all on the Embarcadero so it's pretty much a straight route with two hair pin turns.

I should also mention that there are MUNI trains that run alongside the Embarcadero. Somewhere after mile one, they actually stopped us so that one of the train cars could cross! I couldn't believe it. This is a timed 5K, people!!! It was only one car so it wasn't that bad but I definitely had to jog in place for a bit waiting for that thing to pass. The sad thing is that it almost happened again at another point later on when I was making the second U-turn at the ballpark. Argh...

By the way, while I was running, I definitely could feel the effects from the previous day's run in my legs. Oops. Maybe not the best time to try to set a new 5K PR.

5Ks are so challenging because you really have to push yourself - sure, it's only 3.1 miles but you've got to be ON for those 3 miles. I was definitely getting those "Where is the d^&* finish line?" thoughts after mile 2 - haha. I sprinted as fast as I could one toward the end and the clock read 27 something when I crossed. I knew it was close but I probably did not set a new PR...

Official Results

Distance: 5K
Chip Time: 27:41
Pace: 8:55

Place Overall: 227 out of 1088
Women: 86 out of 683
AgeGrade: 53.49%

Now, if you have time, please take a look at my personal records listed on the right.

* pause *


Bleh. I blame the MUNI car. Ah well, I'm actually still pretty pleased with my results. This might be the only other time I've finished with a sub-9:00 pace.

So after the race, I caught up with TL and after getting our post-race goodies, we went to the finish line to wait for JL. We arrived when the 3:00 marathoners were finishing. One guy was limping to the finish - amazing! And our girl, JL, rocked it out with a 3:23 (WOW) finish! Woo-hoo!

Here's a pic of all of us at the post-race celebration:

(By the way - the post-race party had this pretty good cover band that I got a big kick out of. They played everything from 80's tunes as well as recent stuff, like The Killers. Fun, fun!)

So... I guess I can use this race for the Shave Your 5K challenge. My stubble time was 28:45 so with my shave time of 27:41, I've got a delta of -1:04. I might try again if I find another good 5K this year. Next time I run one though, I will make sure to do it with "fresh" legs.

On a final note, congratulations to JL, Laura, Lam, Aron, and Julianne on their fabulous marathon finishes!
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