Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I suck at writing race reports

Seriously - how do you all of you crank out such wonderful, detailed race reports so quickly? I guess I'd rather read everyone else's than write my own. But the Nike race report is in progress and hopefully will be out soon. I will say this - I had a fabulous time!

Anyway, in other news, I took the entire last week off from all physical activity. That was nice. Surprisingly, I still managed to post a teeny tiny weight loss for the week for Viv's Independent Weight Loss Challenge.

My goal now is to get reacquainted with my wonderful (and unfortunately, pricey) gym. It's a great gym, the spa-like kind, but I would just rather be outside running with friends rather than be inside lifting weights and stuff. But I also need to get my money's worth, so my goal is to go at least 2-3 times a week. Even if it's just to lift weights for half an hour.

So far I'm off to a good start as I took a Cardio Dance class last night and even stayed afterward to lift weights! I can't even remember the last time I did that so I'm definitely feeling it today in my arms, abs, and of course my legs. Tonight is spinning with my favorite teacher.

I do have at least one more race for the year - the 5 mile Turkey Trot back home on Thanksgiving day. And, like everyone else, I've been compiling my race calendar for 2009. I did not want to go overboard like I did this year, but I keep finding new races I want to try! Stay tuned for the tentative list...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Happy Friday - Another tag

I read this on Laura's blog and thought I'd join in on the fun...

Rules: Each player answers the question themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blog and leaves them a comment letting them know that they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve answered the questions on your blog.

10 Years Ago (1998):
- I was living in Dallas, TX
- I shared an apartment with one of my BFFs
- Was a bit more huggable and had really bad skin (Love the Accutane!)
- I was finishing up a sales engineering rotation program with about 40-50 other new college grads from schools all over the country - mostly Big Ten and Big 12 schools
- As a result, I watched a lot of college football that year

(On a side note, I loved that Laura was playing on the internet in her early teens. When I was that age - I know, I know, I sound like my parents! - I was making music mixes from the radio by using the record and pause buttons on my pink cassette player!)

5 Things on Today’s "To Do" List:
- Make pretty powerpoint slides
- Get a pedicure after work (after all the HMs, my feet need help!!!)
- Stop at Nordstrom's to pick up some goodies
- Take out the trash
- Finish my Nike half marathon race report!

5 Things that I would do if I were a millionaire:
- Buy a home near where I live
- Hire someone to clean that home
- Like Laura, hire a personal trainer and maybe a personal chef while I'm at it
- Buy homes for my siblings as well, maybe another one for the 'rents back in the motherland (Philippines) - this is assuming I am a multimillionaire
- Travel / see my family more often

5 Places I have lived:
- Michigan (Troy from 0-5 yrs, Ann Arbor from 18-21 yrs)
- Suburbs of Cleveland, OH
- Dallas, TX
- Hoboken, NJ
- Northern California (My home base for the last seven years)

5 Jobs I have had:
- Concession stand (ice rink during the school year, pool during the summer)
- Extra for a VH1 music video countdown show (OK, I did this once but I did get paid!)
- Party dancer for a bah mitzvah (OK, I did this once but I did get paid!)
- Internships at random places including NASA in Cleveland - I didn't do anything cool there but I did enjoy sneaking off to the Visitor's Center to buy freeze dried ice cream
- Various sales / marketing roles in the semiconductor industry

I now tag......


Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's Nike race weekend!

I am in the final stretch people... my last half marathon of the year! It will be the fourth one in under two months. (If I only knew then what I do know now...)

I'm looking forward to this one. Despite it having the hardest course, I consider the Nike event an "experience" and I'm just excited to be a part of it.

I think another reason is that I had to earn my spot. I couldn't just hand over my $$$, I had to tackle this:

Since I wasn't lucky enough to get selected in the lottery, I had to earn a spot with the Nike Club Run frequent runner card. Each punch on the card represents a different "task" - such as attending a Nike club run, bringing a friend, doing a shoe trial during a training run, etc. This is the third year in a row that I have earned a spot through the Nike Club Run SF.

None of it was tough as I love training with the Nike running club! Plus you get free stuff! Every time we did a shoe trial, we got a free pair of Nike dri-fit running socks. So I have at least a half dozen new pair of socks from this year alone.

And after getting 15 punches, we each got this:

I *love* this shirt - it's a high quality, dri-fit shirt. The last two years we received cotton T's so this was a big upgrade for us. By the way, for those running Nike, I plan to wear this shirt with my black running skirt (again!) and a light blue Nike running cap.

After 25 punches, we earned an entry into the race (but you still have to pay). After 30 punches, we get the VIP treatment which means access to special pre- and post-race tents and a special start corral at the front (behind elite runners only). It took me about 7 weeks to finally earn my spot at Nike.


My friends and I headed to the Expotique Thursday evening for "Ladies Night". We were only there for a couple of hours, but we could have stayed there all evening with all the activities going on (which all had long lines!). They had drinks and appetizers as well as massages, manicures, gait analysis, free iPod engraving, photo booth, shopping, etc.

Here's Niketown during race weekend:

And once again, they had the names of all the runners on display - can you tell?

A closer look... can you find mine?

It took awhile, but KB and I both got our iPods engraved:

Afterward, we picked up some Nike merchandise. Normally, we'd rather wait until after the race, but we just couldn't resist. I picked up a hoodie and a tee. I should note that I bought the exact same hoodie at last year's race in maroon, but it is my favorite sweatshirt and so comfy, I figured - how about another?

So that's it for now... I don't have any grand expectations for this race. I've only done a handful of runs (3 miles or less) since San Jose RnR. My left knee still feels a little off from time to time so hopefully the downhills aren't too harsh on me.

I was also hoping there would be some pace teams for this race but I can't find any information on them. Oh well! On my own again. I definitely plan to bring my iPod this time around so I need to do some work on my playlist.

Good luck to my dear friend KB who is making her marathon debut this weekend! And I'm hoping to see a lot of you bloggers out there on Sunday :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Take It and Run Thursday: Running Quotes and Sayings

Just a quick post for now, but here's my contribution to Take It and Run Thursday: Running Quotes and Sayings:

"I eat hills for breakfast."

I read this on Frayed Laces and it always cracked me up. I don't think that really applies to me, but I'm going to be using this as my mantra as I tackle the Nike Women's Half Marathon this weekend! :)

Race Report: San Jose Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 Marathon

So two Sundays ago, I ran the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 Marathon. It was my first time running any of the Rock 'n' Roll events and it was a lot of fun. Here is my review in bullet form:
  • Course: It was a loop throughout San Jose which I like since that means no shuttles were involved. The portion through downtown San Jose was fun, but for the most part, the course is not too scenic. Also, it was nice and flat with a few exceptions for underpasses and what not - no major hills, though.
  • Entertainment: Bands at every mile of course! Wide variety of music, too, so that was fun.
  • Weather: The forecast said high 50's which made me very excited. I neglected to note that it also said "Sunny" which ended up draining a lot of energy from me.
  • Amenities: Water and Cytomax at every aid station. They also gave Power Shots (I think?) at one of the stops. After the finish, they had cold water towels which I loved!!!
  • Expo: Pretty decent for a half marathon. And I was amazed by the wide selection of race gear they had - more than Nike! They had all sorts of different styles and a lot of them were pretty cute, too. I guess since it's part of the RnR "chain", it's easy for them to have a wide selection.
  • Size: I think there were almost 10,000 runners total? Including those crazy elite runners that run at 5:xx paces!
  • Good for out-of-towners?: Definitely! The expo and the race start/finish are both conveniently located within walking distance of the downtown SJ hotels. There is stuff to do in that area but you're also only an hour from SF and a couple of hours from Monterey.
  • Post-race entertainment: Very fun! Runners get a free beer and there is live entertainment at the finish. However, I left right before the headliner (Credence Clearwater Revisited).
  • Post-race food: Tons! More than my little arms could hold. I should have stolen an empty box like other runners. Sadly, no cookies, though.
  • Chip timing: Yep, they used the D-tag system.
  • Medal: Very cute and colorful (see below)
  • Race shirt: Bleh. Short sleeve, white cotton T.


I headed to the expo on Saturday afternoon. We had to sign a form that was mailed to us ahead of time which I didn't open until I went to pick up my bib. I was in for a big shocker - do you know what was listed as my predicted finish time???


Did I really enter that? What the heck was I thinking? Well, it turns out that way back in February, when I first registered for this race, I had it in my mind that I could shoot for a new half marathon PR (by 8+ minutes, no less!). Oops. I kind of forgot about that. I guess I was too busy squeezing in two half marathons and a duathlon in the month leading up to it. Oh well, maybe next year!

Anyway, while there, I finally got to meet Julianne! Luckily, she had a camera with her since I kind of forgot to bring the battery that comes with mine (doh).

Don't we look all nice and clean? :)

Race Day

I loved having the race so close to my home and with a start time of 8AM. That means I got to wake up at 6AM instead of 5AM, what a luxury!

I got to the race about an hour ahead of time. Wow - they had tons of port-o-potty's! I don't think any line had more than three people. I did a bit of a warm up jog and then found my corral. Off we went!

The weather felt nice and cool. I was hoping it would stay cold for most of the race, however, I'd say within the first mile we came into a stretch where the sun was out and I knew that it would not be a cold one.

I was pretty consistent with my splits for the first 5 miles or so but eventually, I could not pick up the pace. It wasn't necessarily hot, but there was a lot of sun on the course and I think it really did a number on me. I drank water more often but I couldn't really push my pace too much. Especially in the last mile where I really wanted to try to pick it up but I noticed my heart rate was getting to 185 (extremely high for me!) so I just kept running at what felt comfortable.

I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 2:17:08, about the same time as the Disneyland Half.

After we finished, we all got a water bottle and a nice cold water towel. I was so happy to have both as I wasn't feeling so hot at the end. I had sprinted the last stretch of the race and I was still breathing hard when I finished. I think the sun was getting to me, too. There were these long lines at the finish to get your pic taken (mine is below), and while standing there under the sun, I felt really weak. I ate the rest of the luna moons that I had in my back pocket. Also, everything seemed really bright, like white-bright, if that makes sense. One person accidentally bumped into me, and I felt like I could have easily just toppled over. I ran into an old TNT friend and chatted with her a bit, but while talking, I could sense that my breathing was still off, like I had to take mini-gasps of air or something. Overall, it was just weird and I was really glad that I asked my friend and her fiance to come meet me at the finish.

Official Results

Chip Time: 2:17:08
Pace: 10:28

Overall: 5047/9563
Gender: 2079/5375
Division: 376/901

Afterward, I found my friends and they were awesome with helping to take care of me afterward. Such cuties. Also, GC tried to take pics of me crossing the finish line and they were so hilarious. I'll see if she still has them... in one, you could only see my orange hat and possibly a hand, another one was just feet (maybe mine, who knows) and another one was a guy that jumped in front of her camera. The one photo she did get of me was after I finished and it might quite possibly be the most unattractive photo I've ever seen of me. So yeah, you won't be seeing that.

Once I felt better, we got some beers and found a spot on the lawn with the blanket they had brought. It was so nice to be out there - the sun feels great when you're not running, haha!

Here is the back of the T-shirt we all received with the medal.

Cute medal!

And for The Office fans, I saw someone running with the shirt from the Fun Run for Rabies 5K! You know, this one:

I need to get one of these!

Anyway, it was a fun race and depending on the schedule, I'd probably sign up again. (Too many fun fall races!) It would be great to get some of my friends to do it, too.

Other race reports:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pictures from the Mermaid Duathlon

I finally got pics from the Mermaid Duathlon. I was excited to see they got a pic of me on my bike. Road bikes really are amazingly thin - I'm actually surprised I don't just fall right off the thing!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tagged (My 150th Post!)

Thanks, Aron, for tagging me! It's my first time being tagged so I am very excited. :) Also, I just realized this is my 150th post so I figure this is a good time to share useless information about me - haha.

6 random things about me...

1. I've only met two "bloggers" so far - Leana at the Minnie 15K in May and Julianne at the SJ RnR half last weekend. It's always fun to meet people with common interests - hopefully, I'll meet more of you at upcoming races!
2. I'm a huge TV junkie - I watch it all! I know, I know... it's a horrible habit but I can't help it! I actually started a TV blog (before this one) just to have a place to voice my random comments since most of my friends don't watch the shows that I do. So if you're ever bored - feel free to check it out! That one, Pop Culture Addict, only has about three readers (no joke).
3. I never did any kind of physical activity growing up. Nothing. In fact, I never really did any kind of regular exercise until I was in my late 20's and realized I was getting more huggable than I would like. But it wasn't running that helped me lose weight - it was hip hop dancing! (Oh - and a healthier diet, too) I never studied dance but I enjoyed it so I found a studio that offered classes for adults and went several times a week, eventually joining a performing crew (strictly amateur) and that was my main source of exercise for about three years ... and then I got into running!
4. I have 33 first cousins - 26 on my mom's side, and 7 on my dad's side. (What can I say? I come from a Catholic family!) I'd say about half of them are in the US and half are in the Philippines.
5. I have a huge sweet tooth. I love all kinds of baked goods, but especially COOKIES. (yum... cookies...) By the way, if you need a good chocolate chip cookie recipe, here's one that I stole from my friend which ALWAYS gets good reviews.
6. My running "career" almost lasted just a few months! I ran my first 5K in 2002 but I guess it just didn't really stick for me back then. I found the email I sent to my running friends about it - here it is, my debut race report, for your amusement:


I just wanted to share my good news with you. I am
very proud to announce that I just completed my very
first 5K yesterday! I know, I know, that's "kid
stuff" to you seasoned runners, but it was a huge
accomplishment for me. I've never been able to run
for any long period of time but two months ago I
decided to give it a try. Mainly because the weather
has been so nice and I was looking for something to do
outside. So I started with the run/walk thing and I
could only run for like a minute and then I'd have to
stop and walk because I would get bad cramps or what
is referred to as "side stitches" by you runners
according to the various websites I've read. :) By
the way, I use the term "run" very loosely, I'm still
at such a slow pace that it's more of a "jog", just
slightly faster than my walking pace - hahaha!

So anyway, I set my personal goal to do a 5K, and jog
the whole time and not chump out and walk any part of
it. Well halfway through the run, I got those d*&^
cramps again, but I toughed it out - with the help of
some breathing tips I learned :)!

Anyway, I think I was at a 12 min/mi pace which I know
is lame but I just think it was cool that I was
actually able to do something aerobic for 37 minutes
straight! Who knew!

But alas, I don't think I'll continue - it's kind of
boring! I mean, I kept up with it b/c I wanted to
meet my 5K goal and I am signed up for a 6 mi run at
the end of the month (definitely one that I'll
run/walk), but I don't know ... it doesn't seem to be
my thing. I don't know how you guys were able to do a
whole marathon - geesh!!!


I know, I can't believe I wrote those words either. I finally picked up running again a few years later. And as you know, it stuck this time.

So now I am tagging the following (although I'm sure most of them have already been tagged by now):

Absolut(ly) Fit
Delusions of Other People's Grandeur
Excuse #1 I'm Not Fit to Run
Feet Meet Street
Out for a Walk
Running and Some Sauce on Top
Running Knitter
The Running Laminator
Steve in a Speedo?! Gross!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Guess what?

This chick is having a birthday today!!!

(I rocked the bowl cut.)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Race Report: Banco Popular Chicago Half Marathon

[NOTE: This is the much-delayed race report for the half marathon I ran three Sundays ago.]

So back to my earlier post, I hate to disappoint all of you but here are my REAL results from the Chicago Half Marathon.

Once again, I was able to "beat" my personal worst time for a half marathon. No worries - the fact that I just finished this darn thing was a big enough accomplishment for me.

I had been planning a visit to Chicago to catch up with friends and for some crazy reason, I thought it would be fun to combine it with a half marathon. Never again! I am, however, intrigued by their Shamrock Shuffle in March (you go drinking afterward!), but not races that take me over two hours to complete.

The weekend before the half, I chatted with my friend PH (who was also running the half) and she told me they had been having perfect running weather in Chicago. So I was pretty excited since the Disneyland Half two weeks earlier had been a little warm and sticky for me.

I flew in Friday afternoon and it was raining. Light rain, but it was present all day long. It rained when we headed to Navy Pier for the packet pick up and it rained as we bar-hopped on Southport that night. Rain, rain, rain.

On Saturday, I woke up to more rain... it was POURING. It was ridiculous. People couldn't even leave town because the nearby highways were flooded. Apparently, Chicago had a record amount of rainfall in a single day that day. It was that kind of weather when you look out the window and immediately think, "Yeah, I'm not going out there". So I didn't! PH was an awesome hostess (with the cutest pup ever!) so we spent all day indoors nice and dry. We watched college football and The Devil Wears Prada, played Scrabble, explored facebook, etc etc. We checked the race site for the latest status and the race was still on - rain or shine!

Later that night, my friend, JL, came over to PH's place and we all indulged in some amazing Chicago deep dish pizza. Carb-loading at its best! Yum, yum.


Still raining.

The fun part of this race was the company. Besides PH (who I've been friends with since first grade!), our friend from high school, CH, was also running as was her husband. They brought a friend of theirs, as well, so we had a good sized group headed to the race that morning.

The race started in the south side of Chicago at Jackson Park. Our race started early as we had to sprint to catch the Metra train to get there. We barely made it!

Once we got to the park, it was still raining. Even worse, we had to cross the park to get to the start line - a park that had now turned into a bunch of mud pits! Not fun. The gals all had to visit the port-o-potty so we actually joined in with the race after it already started - maybe 10 minutes later? Good thing we had chip timing!

I ran with PH and CH for the beginning of the race, who both run a lot faster than me. It seemed fine but probably not a good way for me to start a half marathon - according to Garmin, the first three miles were around a 9:30 pace which would be OK for a 10K for me, but not a half.

Eventually, we let PH run ahead but CH was nice enough to stick around with me. It was her first half and she didn't seem to care when she finished. So I ran most of the race with her which was fun because we got to catch up a bit more and stuff. But I'm sure the talking slowed my pace. I tried to let CH run ahead but she was so nice to stick around with me. The first half of the race was so funny - the rain was right in our face. I wanted a towel to wipe my face! We were completely drenched. And every now and then, we'd step into a big puddle. You know that feeling... squishy ickiness!

Every now and then, I'd glance at my Garmin and we'd be at a 10:45 pace... so I knew we were going slow but oh well. I just couldn't push myself to go faster. I remember feeling really fatigued though. Toward the end, maybe around mile 10?, CH stopped to walk a bit. I kept on running because I knew she would easily be able to catch up with me at the pace I was going. I stopped for water at the next stop and tried to find CH but I couldn't spot her. I waited for a bit, too, but then just kept on going. So I ended up doing the last part of the race on my own.

Around mile 12, I heard someone cheer my name but assumed it was just a friendly spectator since our names were printed on our bibs. Turns out it was another friend from high school and her BF. I couldn't believe they came out to stand in the rain to cheer us on - what sweeties.

They had signs marking off "3/4 mi to go", "1/2 mi to go", "1/4 mi to go", etc. That last quarter mile seemed to last forever! Finally, I crossed the finish line and I was so happy to be done. Mainly because I wanted to get out of the rain and get indoors.

After finishing, I went to the meeting spot and found the rest of the gang who were all huddled underneath the Tylenol tent (along with a bunch of other runners.) I felt so bad because some of them had been waiting for almost 40 minutes until I got there! Funny moment: I was standing at the edge of the tent and one of them offered to let me take their spot under the tent (it was *that* crowded) and I said that's OK since I'm already drenched anyway. At that exact moment, a bunch of water that had collected at the edge of the "roof" of the tent decided to completely unload right on top of me. It was like being on "You Can't Do That on Television"! That cracked me up.

Anyway, we headed back to the Metra - the train ride back was one of my favorite parts of the day. We had one of the cars pretty much to ourselves so we had plenty of room to just chill and talk and stuff. Once we got back to the station, we all got some Starbucks treats.

It was probably around two hours from the time I finished the race to the time we finally arrived back at PH's place. My hands and feet were still wrinkled like prunes. That post-race shower was probably the best shower ever!!!

My one regret is that I didn't stretch enough after the race. I think I was too concerned with getting the heck out of there! So I ended up being really sore and limping like an old lady for a few days after the race. I really felt the pain with my IT band, too. I've had a couple of massages since then that seems to have helped.

Here's the medal and the T-shirt that we received:

Final thoughts... runners really are nuts. I mean, the weather was horrible and still over 10,000 runners showed up for this race. As I was running down Lake Shore drive with rain dripping down my face, I looked around and just thought, we are one crazy, sick bunch.

I probably won't be running this half again... the course wasn't that interesting and there wasn't much for entertainment. Plus, it was difficult to get to/from the race and the expo.

BUT I had fun that I got to experience it with friends since I usually do my races solo. And I loved the looks on people's faces at the Metra station when hundreds of us soaking wet runners walked in.

I did it all for the cookie.
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