2013 Seattle Marathon – Recap

Yes.  I just completed another marathon.   2013 Seattle Marathon was my FIFTH marathon since I started to run a little over 2 years ago.    What a journey and I am patting myself in the back as I’m writing this post for such an accomplishment.   No, I didn’t break my personal record or even have spectacular time, but this race, in particular, very special to me.

Another Medal!!

Another Medal!!

I spent a whole month of October trying to battle my health challenge.   Needless to stay, it was quite a month and it was a major set back in my fitness.    For those who knows me, this should not come as a surprise but the whole thing just lit a fire under me.   I consulted with my coaches and they came up with a quick plan to get me ready.   I already have the base training and endurance since I just did Portland Marathon in early October so I just need to keep it up.    Easy peasy, I said.

November arrived and I totally flunked the training.   Even on the “easy” plan that my coaches put together for me, I fell short.   I didn’t have enough energy to even follow it.    I did the best I could, with sweat, (no blood) and tears.   I was worry and nervous leading up to the race day and kept wondering if I had it in me this time to finish it.

Race Day

The alarm went off at 5:30am.   Groaned.  I hate this early morning race day routine.   The husband woke up before me, made sure my pre-run breakfast ready (he is awesome).   It took me another half hour before I actually rolled out the bed and got myself ready.   I supposed to be at the team meeting at 7:30am and I knew there was no way I could be there on time, so I left message on our team FB page to let the coaches know that I wasn’t going to be there.   We took the monorail to Seattle Center (yes, I didn’t want to walk 3/4 miles from Westin Seattle to Seattle Center) and I was by the Seattle Center House shortly before 8am.   I decided to use their bathroom (real bathroom!) instead of the porta potties by the start line and head out about 8:10am to the corral.   It was not as cold (about 45 degrees) but it was pretty windy.    I ditched my running jacket and gave it to my husband, but kept the light shell.

8:17am — I crossed the start line.

Running on the floating bridge!

Running on the floating bridge!

First few miles went by really quick.  I took off my light jacket about mile 1 and put it on my waist.   We ran on 5th avenue towards the freeway and I was feeling great.  I maintained my 2:30-1 ratio and being really consistent about it.   Leigh Anne, a fellow teammate, who volunteer her time to be Team in Training sweeper (which means — she will run with the last TNT runner– ME–until the next hand off to another sweeper) kept me company.   We didn’t talk much as I never much of a talker when I run but she was there with me.      About mile 4.5 — I started to run at I-90 bridge.   I was a bit worry about the wind, but thankfully, it wasn’t bad at all.   In fact, the weather in overall was awesome.   Overcast and 55 degrees.      We did out and back on the bridge and turn around at Mercer Island.   I was still feeling great

There was sideways strong wind hit me while the photo taken. No joke

There was sideways strong wind hit me while the photo taken. No joke

Mile 9 — I started to feel fatigued.  Uh-oh, I said.   I had a long way to go for being fatigued this early.   This reminded me of Nike Half SF as I was feeling somewhat the same.     I started to breath heavy, since every step required more energy for me to take but I kept on going.   I caught up with the one of our teammate who walked the marathon (they had an hour head start), so Leigh Anne stayed back with her.   I kept going, and ran with a fellow runner who told me he was an TNT alumni (and I can’t remember his name!!).   He kept me company until we entered Seward Park and he had to take a quick stop at porta potties.   I kept going and out of nowhere, Jeff Barber and Kelly Brennan (another TNT alumni — Kelly was my winter season coach) showed up and they started to run with me.   I was so happy to see them and actually teared up a bit.. not sure why.   I am a cry-baby, after all.

Mile 11 to 15 flew by because both Jeff and Kelly kept me distracted.   The wind started to pick up and wowza, it hit me hard sideways!!  I maintained my ratio but I know my pace dropped a bit.   Coach Lisa joined us at mile 15 so I had THREE awesome people literally run around me.    We said good bye to Jeff and Kelly at mile 17 and I kept on going.

Mile 18 – I looked at my watch and it said 4:02.   I did a quick calculation in my head and told myself, okay, I had 2 hours to get 8 miles!  That’s doable and I will break my PR!

Mile 19 – Coach Glen joined us and I was so happy to see him.   I had asked him to ehm… pull me to finish.. so to speak .. haha.   We ran together, took some pictures and at mile 20, we said good bye to Coach Lisa as she need to run back to our other teammate who was behind me.

Told ya our coaches are awesome!

Coach Rod and Coach Glen. Love, LOVE them!

Mile 20 – I was still feeling decent.  No longer great, but it wasn’t as bad.   I was still maintaining the run-walk ratio until about mile 21.5 when we hit BIG hill.   When I said.. big hill… I really meant… BIG HILL.    It’s 120 feet elevation (based on my GPS) from mile 21.5 to mile 22.   That’s the first time I decided to just walk.    So we walked the hill and I can feel that my head spinning and I get dizzier by the minute (sorry I didn’t tell you, coach Glen).   I felt cold, like REALLY cold.    I kept on walking until the top of the hill and started to run again on the downhill, and walked again on the hill.   My pace started to drop tremendously even on the run part

Mile 22 – Coach Rod joined us and I continue to run/walk again as the street started to level up a bit.   Both of my coaches kept me entertained and distracted!  It was awesome.

Mile 23 – We entered the Arboretum and it was ehm.. a lot of hills.   That stretch is not foreign to me because that’s one of the coaches favorite for practice.   My right calves started to cramp badly that I had to stop and stretch (and hug a tree!).   I continued to walk and saw the mission mile about half way into the Arboretum.   Mission mile is a stretch of mile (or less in this case) on the course that filled with pictures of many that lost their life to blood cancers.   I started to cry when I saw Tyler Bledsoe photo in there, then Siona, a daughter of my fellow teammate, and Heather, a sister of my coach.   It was yet another reminder on why I run.   I run for them, because they can no longer run.     Jeff Peterson, our campaign manager,  was around the mission mile and he ran with us for a while

So happy to see him!!

So happy to see him!!

Mile 24 – Coach David joined us.   I knew we were close and my spirit was up.   I started to jog/walk again (see I said jog instead of run) and felt okay.   Then from a distance, I saw someone familiar.   IT WAS MY HUSBAND, JOHN.   There he was, standing on the side of the street around mile 24.5.   I sprinted (yes, I said SPRINTED) to him and leaped into his arm.   I was SO HAPPY to see him!!!!   He brought me banana, which I devoured within a second and he joined us.

Mile 25 – Coach Glen and Coach David said good bye and I continued with Coach Rod and ran into Coach Ginny.   I continued to walked until I saw my friend, Kat, with her sparkle skirt and Santa hat.   I ran and hugged her, took the pretzel (which was awesome) and continue on.

Mile 26 – The stadium is around the corner and I started to run.  Coach Ginny and Coach Rod stayed back when I entered the stadium and I continued to run, lifted my hands, big cheesy smile and cross the finish line!   I did it!   My FIFTH marathons!!

OfficialFinishPhoto

I did it!!

No, I didn’t break my personal record but by far, this is the toughest race I ever done and with perseverance, determination, stubbornness and a lot of support from coaches, TNT volunteers and alumni, I managed to move my body with my own two-feet for 26.2 miles.   I hugged my husband after the finish line, cried on his shoulder as well as on Coach Rod and Coach Ginny’s shoulder.

I did it.

Friends, if you are reading this far, and you are questioning yourself about your ability to complete a long distance event (half marathon/marathon), know that if I can do it, please believe that you can do it too.    You can’t complete half marathon or marathon if you never cross the start line.

Dream big, reach for the sky and you will surprise yourself on how far you can go.

Until the next race.

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Medal Rack Giveaway: Result!!

First of all, I want to thank you for everyone participation and support to the cause that so dear to my heart!  It warms my heart to know there are SO MANY compassionate people all around!   I also want to apologize for the delay in drawing.   I was out running and completely messed up the time (I know, excuse, excuse!) and scrambled around when I got home to enter all the names.   I really need to be better on this!!

Without further ado, here are the winners!

  1. Erica Sanchez
  2. Elizabeth Westman

Congratulations to all the winners!   You will receive an email from me within 24 hours  with an instruction how to get your new Medal Rack!!

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Medal Rack Raffle Giveaway!

Awesome medal rack.  No, medals are NOT included

Awesome medal rack. No, medals are NOT included

11/10/2013 – 7:30pm — RESULT is posted at http://yannirobel.com/archive/2013/11/medal-rack-giveaway-result/

11/10/2013 – 6:30pm PST:  I’m working on the drawing.  I know, I know.. I’m about 90 minutes late.  Got carried away at the trail during my long run (excuse..excuse).  BUT – I’m working on it right now.  STAY TUNED

Yes, another raffle.  Another giveaway.

As you probably already aware, I have tremendous passion for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society due to personal connection that I have to the cause and I am very fortunate that I know so many generous people who want to be part of this amazing opportunity to end blood cancer.   I have been approached by a generous sponsor who is willing to give away TWO absolutely awesome medal rack from Allied Medal

You can pick and choose any design you want (even custom design), how many bar you need and let me do the rest!   I’ll order it for you and have it ship to your house! Easy peasy.

For the record, I am not employed by them or being paid/compensated by any means to write about their product.   I love their product and own one myself to hang my medals (see above) and they are sturdy and really have a good quality.

To purchase the raffle entry — please visit my fundraising site at http://pledge.yannirobel.com.   Raffle entry is $5 for one entry, or $20 for 5 entries.  To identify the raffle entries — please put MEDAL RACK  at the message so I know this is a raffle purchase and DO NOT mark your donation as ANONYMOUS as I need to know who you are to enter your name to the raffle.

ALL proceeds will go directly to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (I will not accept cash/check for raffle entries — please purchase directly via the fundraising site).   I will send you an email within one business day to confirm your entry.   Please note that I will not publish or share your information with ANY party (other than Leukemia & Lymphoma Society since you are donating directly to them and they need your information).

You can purchase the raffle tickets until SaturdayNovember 9, 2013 at 11pm PST and the drawing will be held on Sunday, November 10, 2013 at 5pm PST using Random Picker Generator

Thank you for your continuous support!!

 

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Sparkle Skirts Giveaway Part Deux – RESULT!!

First of all, I want to thank you for everyone participation and support to the cause that so dear to my heart!  It warms my heart to know there are SO MANY compassionate people all around!   I also want to apologize for the delay in drawing.   I was about 3 hours behind due to some yet another unforeseen issues with my laptop as well as with the RandomPicker site that completely out of my control.

Without further ado, here are the winners!

  1. Lara Shields
  2. Amie Pirkle
  3. Susan Williams

Congratulations to all the winners!   You will receive an email from me within 24 hours  with an instruction how to get your new Sparkle Skirts!!

This drawing was conducted using Random Picker site and it was randomly sorted.   If you would like to check if your name is being entered to the raffle and the integrity of the drawing, you can check the protocol and result here.  Please enter your full name (the one you were using to purchased the raffle entry) to validate your entry as well as the number of your raffle tickets.

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2013 Nike Women Half San Francisco – Race Recap

Two weeks after Portland Marathon, I was standing at another starting line for yet another half-marathon race.   This race is part of Team in Training Fall team and I am so happy that I can be part of it even with some health challenges that I’m going through.    I got the doctor’s okay by Thursday, the same time that I also came down with a full blown cold.   The kind that gave you an earache, sneeze-fest, congested nose and a sinus headache.   Lovely, I thought.

The husband and I hopped on the airplane anyway on Saturday morning and head to San Francisco.   I barely remembered the flight as I slept the entire time courtesy of benadryl.   It was pretty uneventful to say the least, other than my left ear that felt like explored when we landed.

We dropped our bag, and headed straight to Expotique.   Yes.  It is indeed called Expotique.    I wasn’t really impressed by it cause it felt very Nike’ish.   Not that many other vendor and it’s more like a party central.   I got my race package, some freebies from Nike+ and headed out to Nike Town for some race specific merchandise.   We walked around for a while, and I got bored really fast so we decided to head back to the hotel and rest up.

Inspiration Dinner

I love to go to Team in Training Inspiration Dinner.   If you never been to one, you should tag along to any of your Team in Training runner and attended one of them (they have to purchase ticket for you).   You walked through receiving line of SO MANY Team in Training alumni, mentors, captains and coaches and they cheered you on!   It was seriously awesome.    Some important number to share — there were  2,900 TNT runners for Nike Women San Francisco and we raised over 9 millions dollars!!  That was very impressive!!    This year is the 25th anniversary of Team in Training and in the past 25 years, there were 600,000 runners and over 1.4 billion dollars raised for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.   Yes, that’s billion with ‘B’.

Bruce and Georgia Cleland

Bruce and Georgia Cleland

Our guest of honor was Bruce Cleland and his daughter, Georgia Cleland, the one that started them all.   It was an honor to be in the same room by them.   Go ahead and read the about them.   I’ll wait.

After dinner, we went back to our hotel, get my gear ready and lights out by 9:30pm.

Race Day

My husband woke me up at 4am.   Blessed his heart for putting up with me on so many races that I did.  He woke up before me, got my breakfast ready, filled my fuel belt bottle then had to listen to me whining about how early it was.    Every single race, I hated the 4am (or 3am in Florida.  Hello!) time to get ready.   I mean, really?  FOUR AM?

Me and Armando.  We are sparkle-twin

Me and Armando. We are sparkle-twin

After fifteen minutes of tossing and turning and whining, I finally got myself ready.   We had to be at the lobby to meet with the rest of the team by 5:15am, so we slowly mosey ourselves downstairs.   We chatted for a bit and around 6am — we all walked out to our corral.    I was at the last corral (11+).   I didn’t like the way the corral set.  There were SO MANY people in the corral!!    Armando decided to stay with me in my corral and gave me his famous “girlfriend, I don’t want to hear it.  I’m going to stay with you from start to finish” look so I didn’t argue with him.

My goal for this race was fairly simple.   I just want to finish.   I really don’t have expectation.   I started with already a half-tank of energy due as I was still trying to recover from my last treatment and I was battling a cold.   I knew the course is hilly, and I knew that I didn’t do much hill workout during training (yes, coach Glen… I should’ve listen to you more) so I was actually (secretly) glad that Armando decided to hang back with me.

Race start officially at 6:30am, but our corral didn’t go out until 7:15am.

We started slowly.   My plan was to do keep running until about mile 5.5 (when the big hill start) and switch to run/walk.    I kept my pace steady.  Slow, but steady (around 12:30’ish pace) the first 5.5 miles.   I saw the husband at mile 4.5 and was SO HAPPY to see him.   I love seeing him on the course.   It always made me smile and gave me a little bit push that I needed.  My leg felt fresh, and ready and my congestion didn’t bother me as much and I was doing great.

Then we hit the big hill at mile 5.5.  It was foggy, so even though we walked next to Golden Gate bridge, we could barely see anything.    I walked the hills and continue to run (or should I say jog?) for the next couple miles.   Around mile 8 — I felt fatigued suddenly hit me.    I almost anticipated the fatigued so that didn’t really surprise me.   I know I switched to shuffle/walk because my run part was more like a shuffle.    I ran into coach Glen at mile 10 and he ran with us for a little bit.     I know the finish line near because I can see it (the course did a loop next to the finish line) and I ran into my husband one more time.

The last mile and a half, I barely have anything in my tank.   I totally underestimated how fatigued I can get after the treatment and I didn’t even know how I can move to the finish line.   I focused on the next mark, the thought of the finish line chute, the next goal, and somehow, one step at the time, I crossed that finish line.

Armando and I hug each other, got our Tiffany necklace and headed out towards the exit.   That’s when it was so chaotic.   The line to pick up finisher shirt was separated by the shirt size, so Armando and I got separated.   I got my shirt and was shivering cold because we were standing yet in another line to pick up our mylar blanket and food.   The line barely moved and there were no way out.   I was starting to hyperventilate because I’m a bit claustrophobic and being in the middle of the crowd that way, plus the drop in my body temperature almost sent me to a panic attack.   There were absolutely NO cellphone signal in the area.   I have no idea where my husband was and really hope he would meet me at the family reunion area, so I headed out that way.

I finished!

I finished!

I waited for 15 minutes and my husband were no where to be found, so I decided to walk and head towards the shuttle.  I wandered around and could not figure out where was the TNT shuttle.   The people at TNT tent pointed me to ‘a direction’ that turn out was wrong.   There were about 6 ladies around me, all TNT runners and we were all confused.   I was so cold, and tired and I just wanted to get back so I decided to skip the shuttle and went ahead to call UBER taxi.   I stood there waiting for the car, and hopelessly tried to call my husband again.   This time — I barely had a signal and finally get a hold of him.   I was SO GLAD to hear his voice and he finally met me and we headed back together

I really didn’t like the way the end of the race was.   I think it could be manage a way better and the mylar blanket should be given immediately after runner cross the finish line (right after the necklace).   It was a cold day and after 13.1 miles (or for many, 26.2 miles) — you were in a complete stop, standing in the line with the crowd for a good 10 minutes.    The gal next to me kept saying that she felt like she was about to fainted!   It was total chaotic.

The course itself was not bad.  I mean, it was hilly as expected and it was supposedly to be beautiful if we can actually see the scenery but it was pretty foggy, so we can’t really see anything.   Course support was great, and I didn’t have any issue getting water/snack/orange slices etc and there were a lot of people that cheered us.

Lesson Learned

I always tried to learn something on every race.   Here’s what my notes, in no specific order

  1. Make sure your bottle cap are put correctly.   My first sip on my bottle resulted in gatorade splash all over me
  2. Always, always made sure your playlist ready.   Somehow, I had my Christmas list on and as much as I love Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, it’s not really a song I want to run with
  3. Always made plan with your partner just in case you don’t see each other at the finish line, or have no cellphone coverage.   This is the first time that my husband didn’t see me cross the finish line even though he was standing right there (he still frustrated about that).   Because of no cellphone coverage, he lost the ability to track me and waited by the finished line about 15-20 minutes after I crossed (while I waited the same amount of time at the family reunion area).   If we had a plan — like, be at the family reunion and do not move from there no matter what until we see each other, I would save myself from a lot of frustration
  4. Be kind to yourself.    I am known to be stubborn.   There I said it.   I got frustrated with myself when I didn’t meet a certain bar that I set for myself.   Sometimes, that bar is ridiculously high and I wasn’t being kind to myself.   This race taught me a good lesson about that.   Adjust your bar accordingly.

In overall — I am pleased with what I accomplished and grateful for my experiences.    I want to thank everyone for cheering me during the race, sent me encouraging notes and believe in me.  Armando, thank you for staying by me from start to finish.   You made the race enjoyable and I honestly can say that you helped me push through the last mile and a half when I needed that.

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