Marathon #11 – 2016 WDW Marathon

Yes,  you read that right.   Marathon number 11.   ELEVENTH!.

There were so much running and races between my last recap to now, and I don’t even want to play catch up.   I’ve been slacking busy!  Yes, that’s my excuse and I’m going to stick to it.    However, I do want to write this particular one because it’s very different than any of my other races.

Remember when I ran 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon and I paced my friend, Rebekah?   It was my first race that I actually did not do it for me.   I ran that race solely because I made a promise to Rebekah that I will get her to the finish line for her first half-marathon.   It was the most rewarding experience for me because I got to experience the joy of completing her first half-marathon through her.   The distance that once impossible for her.    Since then, I have paced several friends through their first half-marathon, even their first 10k/half-marathon challenge and I enjoyed every one of them.

Fast forward to December 2015 – a good friend of mine, Patty Holiday, asked me to help her with her first marathon.  She had run 18 miles so far and was about to run her first 20-miler and needed moral support for the rest of her training and during the race.     The word absolutely came out of me so fast and I even told her that I would get a bib and run with her to the finish line.

I contacted a travel agent (shout out to Magical Miles Travel!  Sarah Bergman is an awesome travel agent to work with!) and she had a marathon bib available.   I grabbed two bibs for me and the husband, called DVC to see if I can score the lodging and scoured the interwebs for cheap airfare and the stars just lined up perfectly.    I got us a room at Saratoga Springs Villa and got a round trip tickets for me and the husband from Seattle to Orlando for $389 round trip/person.    That’s almost unheard of, but hey — sometimes the last minutes thing really work on your favor.    We took a red-eye flight on Friday from Seattle to Orlando, went to Expo on Saturday, ate, mingled and rested.

Race Day

Our alarm went off at an ungodly hour of 2:30 am.    My body was still on west coast time and I was not a happy camper (I never was one on that hour).    We got dressed, ate quick breakfast and hopped in the bus around 3:30 am.    It was warm and humid, even at 3:30 am, especially for this Pacific Northwest Girl.    I texted Patty to check on her, and she told me that she was on the bus and almost at the drop-off area.

The rest was kinda blurred to me.   I remembered the bus drop us off, and we walked through security and towards our corral.    Since I purchased our bib late, we did not submit our proof of time for a good corral placement, so we both at corral L.   We hung out at the back of the corral and before I knew it, the race started.    I tracked Patty’s bib so I could keep an eye on where she was at.   She was at corral J and she crossed the start line around 6 am.    I told her to stick to her interval and stay on the right side of the course and I will find her.   We texted back and forth, and around 6:20 am, I crossed the start line.

Mile 1-7

Lilo & Stitch!

Lilo & Stitch!

Oh, the humidity.   Yes.  This was a miserable seven miles for me.   I was slightly jet-lag and tired and it was waaaaaarrrrmmmmm and humid.   We kept steady 30/30 ratio and average around 12:30 pace even with the crowd.   I saw my friend Carolyn who brought my sunglasses (Thank you Thank you Thank you!) since I left that in the room, hugged her and headed into the park.

I didn’t stop for any pictures with characters, other than Lilo & Stitch (my youngest daughter is a huuuuuuuge fan of them, so I had to stop) but took some background photos  here and there but boy, it was very crowded.   I ran into several friends and tried to shorten the gap between us and Patty.    I texted her and she told me that she was just short of mile 5 when we left the Magic Kingdom.

We passed mile 7 and I still did not see the sign of Patty, and I was starting to get worried.    Did I miss her?   Did we pass her and not see her?    I told the husband to veer to the right and stop since I needed to text her, and I heard a shout…. YANNI!

I looked to my right and there was Patty.    She stopped shortly before mile 8 so she can text me because she was struggling.    I looked at her, did my quick scan (yes, I did check her out from head to toe to make sure she didn’t fall earlier and ya know, have bloody knees or something) and asked her how she was doing.     She told me that she wasn’t doing well.    It was only mile 8 and she didn’t know if she could actually keep going.    She looked .. panicked.    I told her to diss her timer and follow me.    The husband told her to drink and eat the snack and made sure she wasn’t dehydrated.   We stopped for a good 5 minutes to regroup and we started to run again

Mile 8-17

Mile 13. Not the halfway

Mile 13. Not the halfway

I started Patty on 30/2-minutes interval.   We shuffled for 30 seconds and we walked for 2 minutes.   I told her to focus on my steps and just follow me.   The husband was task behind her and entertained her with his constant stories (This is true.   He could make stories our of anything during the run).    I looked at my watch and we were around a 16:30 pace.    We passed mile marker 9 and the husband shouted… look we are half way to mile-18!    I laughed at his silly-ness and secretly hoped that Patty was not too much annoyed by his sense of humor but she seemed to play along so we kept going.    We entered the Animal Kingdom and I decided to skip Everest ride (yes, for those who never run WDW marathon — you can ride the ride in the middle of your race) and stay with Patty, even though she insisted of me to go ride it.     We took a quick picture and kept shuffling around.    Patty saw a few of her friends who cheered and volunteered, and I saw some of mine.   I was all good so far.

Mile 17. Still in a good spirit!

Mile 17. Still in a good spirit!

We were on a steady pace of 16:30 and our gap between us and the balloon ladies (official 16-min/mile pacer) were getting shorter (I tracked them so I know when they hit certain timing mat).    I was starting to get a little nervous so I switched our interval to 30/60 without Patty even knowing it (she probably cursed me inside .. haha).     I was so proud of her though as she was doing exactly what I was asking her.    Follow my steps.   She ran when I ran, she walked when I walked.     I told her to only focus on the 30 seconds we were running.   That’s all because most people can shuffle for 30 seconds and as long as we were moving forward, we were good.

We left the Animal Kingdom and kept on going.    Patty was in good spirits (or so it seems) even though there was a shorter walk break, but my muscles started to get tired.    Since I was pacing her, I ran slower than I normally did, and walked more than I normally walked and guess what — my muscles were not trained for that much of walking.    I can feel some of the twinge on my muscles so I started to run a bit faster to mix it up a bit.    The husband ran in front of Patty (sometimes backward) and paced her, and I was behind her — keeping a distance so I can do ‘run’ break to work my muscles differently.     I started to doubt myself on this whole ‘pacing someone for a marathon’ thing.   What was I thinking?   What happened if *I* could not go on?    I mean, I just came out of TFL injury after back to back Marine Corps Marathon and New York Marathon and diagnosed with Pneumonia 2 months prior.     Whooooo… boy.    I was on full on panic mode.   It’s one thing when it’s only me that I have to worry to get to the finish line and I know that I have enough stubborn cells in my body to do it, it’s a whole ‘nother thing when you have other people rely on you to get to the finish line.

Mile 18-24

Mile 20! Well, the smile still there!We hit mile marker 18, and the husband made a comment that not too long ago, he was saying that we were half way point to mile 18.    I mumbled something along… well, that was a long time ago, but I didn’t think he heard me.   We walked through World Wide of Sport (ESPN complex) and gosh, I hated this part.    I hated during Goofy 2013 and Dopey 2015 and I still hated it in 2016.     I looked at my watch and realized that we were only 12 minutes ahead from the balloon ladies.    We ran into a few friends, took pictures, stop at porta-potty and we kept going.    Slow, but steady.    We left WWoS and saw the parade bus aka. sweeper bus shortly after mile 21 and Patty suddenly ran a bit faster.    The sight of the sweeper bus just lit a fire in her and I started to feel confident about everything.

The momentary panic feeling went away, and we entered Hollywood Studios.    We took a few pictures with the characters as there were no lines.    I knew that we would cross the finish line together that day, even if both the husband and I had to drag her with us but Patty’s spirit seems to be up and she looked more confident than she was several miles prior.      I kept us moving with the same pace.   I switched us back to 30/2-minutes and the husband just ran/walk backward in front of us while continue to feed us with some stories about something.    Oh, how I love that husband of mine!    All of the pictures on this post were taken by him.    He ran with full-size camera in his hand and I love how he documented the whole race for us.

Moving Forward!

Moving Forward!

For the husband, this was his fifth marathon in 2 years.    Yes, from the last race recap on this blog to this post, somehow the husband became a runner and started to run the race with me.    From couch to Half-Marathon in summer 2014 and he ran pretty much all the races with me (with the exception of a few local races).

We moved along slowly, but steady through Hollywood Studios and I knew there’s one more hard sweeping point, which was outside Hollywood Studios, before the narrow trails towards the boardwalk.    I saw the parade sweeper bus out there as we walked near it and I was so relieved to know that we made it through all the sweep point!!!     I shouted to Patty as we walked towards the Boardwalk … YOU ARE GOING TO BE A MARATHONER!!    She was all teary eyes with a huge grin on her face and said, yes yes I am!

Mile 24 – 26.2

These ladies cheered FOR SEVEN HOURS!

These ladies cheered FOR SEVEN HOURS!

We entered Boardwalk and was passed by balloon ladies but I knew as long as we kept moving forward, we were okay.    I took one good look at Patty and decided to ditch the interval and just walked, and ooooh we did.    We joked, we laughed, we cried a bit and before long, I saw familiar faces.    It was several friends of mine (I love you to pieces, ladies) that waited for me there and cheered me!        Jill (in the picture, green shirt with banana… ooh.. banaaanaaa) and Carolyn (she was not in the picture) flew to DC several months prior to cheer me and the husband during Marine Corps Marathon.   Heather (blue shirt, holding the sign) ran half-marathon the day prior and was on her feet, cheering for SEVEN HOURS!!!

I puffy-pink heart all of these ladies!!!

We walked through the Boardwalk and entered Epcot and I started to get a little emotional.  I remembered my first marathon, on this very course.   I still vividly remembered, to this day, how I felt when I looked across the lake and saw the Epcot ball and those feelings were bubbling up out of nowhere!

I asked the husband to walk ahead towards Mexico pavilion and got Patty a frozen Margarita.   I promised her that the day before, so (oh how I love that husband of mine) the husband ran ahead, stood in the line and waited for us with a frozen margarita on his hand!    We ran into several other friends and it was just the most amazing thing.    We continue to walk and before we knew it, I saw the finisher chute.

The husband stepped back a few feet and captured an amazing picture of us crossing the finish line!

The FINISH LINE!!

The FINISH LINE!!

Epic Finish Photo!

Epic Finish Photo!

Disclaimer:   We did not block the finish line (feel free to peruse marathonfoto and check out our finisher video) and there were a good ten feet between us and the husband who took this awesome shot

Patty and I hugged each other and I was so so very proud of her!    The joy that I experienced when I cross that finish line with her was indescribable.     She almost gave up at mile 8 and she didn’t. She kept going.   She moved from start to finish with her own two feet, all twenty-six point two miles of it!!!!      And as for me — I get to experience the joy, the amazing joy that as a runner, completely beyond everything I ever experienced.    If you are interested to read Patty’s recap, she blogged it here.

Footnotes

If you never pace or run someone on their first race, be that 5k/10k/Half-Marathon or Marathon — I highly suggested you try it.    To actually run a race, not for yourself.    It was so very rewarding and you won’t regret it.     This saying below always something that I live by and I hope, on January 10, 2016 — Patty really looked at me and think that.     Because if I can inspire ONE person to achieve something that once impossible for them, everything that I do carries so much value

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eCoach by Jeff Galloway Raffle!!

That’s right!

You read correctly!  Jeff Galloway donated 6-month session of eCoach with him to benefit Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as part of fundraising that we are currently doing.   If there are at least 100 entry, there will be TWO eCoach Session as a raffle prize!!

Yes.  THAT Jeff Galloway!!

I took advantage of this program myself when I completed 2014 Marine Corps Marathon 2014 and Dopey Challenge and LOVED it!!

Here’s the detail of the eCoach by Jeff program (taken from his website)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Getting you to the finish line injury-free!  E-Coaching by Jeff Galloway

This Individual “E-Coaching” Program gives you a training program designed by Jeff and direct, priority access to him when you have questions or clarifications. Whether you just want to run without pain, or qualify for the Boston Marathon, we will provide you with 6 months of coaching support, a training program to your goals, and many other items. This program is for all levels of runners, including beginners.

Jeff’s overall training philosophy is to provide you with a program toward your goals while “having a life”, family, career. At every level, Jeff recommends lower mileage, fewer days per week, walk breaks. Over the years, over 98% of his participants have success in finishing marathons, and similar success rates at other distances.

Here’s what you’ll receive:

  1. Jeff will work within your time available for training
  2. He will help you set up a realistic goal
  3. He will design a schedule to your goal
  4. Weekly e-conferences, with fine tuning of workouts
  5. Prioirity email access to Jeff
  6. Train for a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, or Full Marathon with Jeff’s help!
  7. Individual Training Program to the goal of your choice by Jeff Galloway
  8. A copy of one of Jeff’s books (Galloway Training Program, Galloway’s Book on Running–2nd Ed. or Year Round Plan)
  9. Direct email access to Jeff, for questions and clarifications, with priority
  10. Free Monthly E Newsletter
  11. Opportunity to ride on the Galloway Bus for the New York City Marathon start (if you are doing NY Marathon this year, this is HUGE DEAL!!)
  12. Discounts on Fitness Vacations at Lake Tahoe Meet and run with other Galloway Members at races around the world

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Here’s what you need to do to be part of this awesome raffle:

  1. Purchase a raffle ticket by donating to our Team Robel fundraising page at:  http://TeamRobel.us.
  2. Raffle is $25 for 1 entry, or $50 for 3 entries
  3. Please do not make your donation anonymous.   I need to know who you are so I can enter your name on the raffle
  4. Write eCoach with Jeff on the comment section.
  5. We will close the entry on April 12, 2015 at 6pm PST and will do the drawing immediately after
  6. Winner will be announce on this blog, as well as receive email from us.   We will also do our best try to tag you via Facebook!

TNT_JY

 

That’s it!   Pretty simple!!

Thank you for supporting yet another effort of me to raise money for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!

GO TEAM!

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Another raffle. More Sparkle Skirts!

They Sparkled!!

They Sparkled!!

Please check out the RESULT here!  Congratulations for all the winner!!

What do you know.  I love Sparkle Skirts.  I can’t remember when was the last time I ran without wearing one.    The skirt is not just pretty and flattering, but it super functional.

Disclaimer:  I am NOT employed by Sparkle Skirts or get any sort of compensation from them about the product.   I’m just their die-hard fan and really, really adores the products.

Anyway, I’m all about spreading the love and sparkles and I just happened to have an encounter with yet another generous donor who will donate THREE Sparkle Skirts of your choosing for the raffle.   HOW AWESOME is that??   I’ve done quite a few of these raffle and I’m always amazed with generosity of others to support a great cause that so dear to my heart.   This is your chance to get ANY skirt you want (with any embellishment if any), with such a minimal cost AND contribute for great cost (tax deductible!).  ALL PROCEEDS ARE FOR LEUKEMIA & LYMPHOMA SOCIETY.

So here’s how to get into this fun shenanigans.   Please read through it as it is slightly different than previous raffle I had.

  1. Raffle ticket is $25.  Everyone get one entry so it’s fair chance for everybody.   Of course, you are more than welcome to donate more than $25 but you only get one entry just like everyone else.
  2. Get your entry at http://pledge.yannirobel.com .   Please do NOT make your donation as anonymous as I will need to know who you are to enter your name on the raffle.    Please also put:  More Sparkle on the notes so I know this is an entry for the raffle.  You should get email from me within 24 hours to confirm your raffle.
  3. I will close the raffle on February 4, 2014 at 11pm PST and will announce the winner on February 5, 2014 at 12pm PST to ensure the winner will get their skirts on time for Princess Half Marathon!
  4. I will use random generator site (http://www.randompicker.com/) to select the name of the winner.  You will be able to check your entry to make sure your name is entered to the system (and if I messed up and skip your name, you are guaranteed to received a free skirt, just sayin’)

That’s it.  Pretty simple, peeps.
SPARKLE ON!

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Recap and Goals

Yes.  I’m fully aware is January 6.   I’m about 6 days late on this, but hey — I’m still recovering from cold/ear infection/flu things that I’ve been having since a month ago.   So. Annoying.

A lot of things happen in 2013 but I’m going to steal Tom LaRock‘s style and did something different.  Instead of listing my accomplishment or things that I did (because I already did that on my Facebook wall.  What?  You’re not my Facebook friends?  Well, too bad!), I’m going to list things that didn’t happen.   Things that I’m publicly hold myself accountable.   So here goes in no particular order:

  • I did not serve in the ministry at my church.   I was part of Children Ministry and I used to serve in the preschool classroom.  I loved it and enjoyed the interaction with the kids while teaching them about faith.    I didn’t do anything in 2013.  Not even once.   It was beyond me that I had time to do so many races and run, but I didn’t make the time to serve.   This definitely is going to change in 2014
  • I did not write a single post on technology subject.  Nada.  Not even one.   Shame on me.   I work in pretty awesome company, and my new role gave me so much new and cool things to learn in such a massive scale.   I wanted to share it, but I didn’t get around to do it because would require me to put aside the time, and I did not make any priority to do it.   This is going to change in 2014
  • I did not do any triathlon.   I wanted to do something different and I thought that I can finish at least one sprint triathlon in 2013 .  I bought a bike (and yes, she have a name.  Her name is Ariel) and hired a swim coach to help me with the swimming part.  Somehow, life happened and I had to make a choice to drop it for 2013.   I’m looking forward to resume my swimming lesson and ride my bike around again when the weather is a bit warmer (I’m a winter wimp.  Get over it)
  • I managed to sneak a trip to Mount Rainier on December 30, so this actually should not be here.  But I’m going to put it anyway because that’s not really the ‘spending time in the mountain‘ that I’m going to mention here.   I did not spend (enough) time in the mountain.  I really, really love the mountain.   I’m a mountaineer.  I love, LOVE hiking (more than running, believe it or not) and I didn’t really do that last year.   We did one short moonlight hike to Rattlesnake Ledge and drove to Mount Rainier once.  That’s it.  For the whole year, and that’s kinda sad especially because I’m blessed with so many beautiful trails and mountain around me.   This year — we will focus our summer to explore the mountain again.   John and I are planning to come back and climb Mount Rainier this coming summer.  Stay tuned for the detail
  • I did not attend PASS (Professional Association of SQL Server) Summit last year.   I attended PASS since 2005 and never miss one since.  Until last year.   It sucks, but I really didn’t have the choice as I had to do this ‘therapy’ thing for my health challenges.
  • I did not file my taxes on time.  EVERY year, we had to file an extension then we scrambled on October 14 to file it.  I’m a queen of procrastinator when it comes to file our taxes.   I don’t get it.  It’s not like we own our business and have some complex return.   It’s just pure laziness.    2014 will be the year that I will file it on time.
  • I did not build my Death Star and Star Destroyer Lego.  Again.   For those who know me, you know that I’m also a big fans of Lego.   I owned classic Death Star and Star Destroyer set and those (along with many sets) sitting on the corner, unopened.   That babies are going to be built this year, and everyone will see picture about it when I’m done.   That’s a promise

I have more, but at the moment, I don’t have enough brain cells to remember it.  I blame it on this cold medicine.

There you have it.

I wish you a very blessed 2014!

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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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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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