Dumbo Double Dare – There are more than a medals and PR

Dumbo Double Dare Challenge

Dumbo Double Dare Challenge

What in the world is Dumbo Double Dare, you might ask…

It’s a mini Goofy.  Ha.

Remember back in January when I did the Goofy Challenge?   Well Dumbo Double Dare is a similar challenge, but it’s a wee bit shorter distance.  10K and Half Marathon (13.1M), back to back in one weekend at Disneyland.

This was my fourth 10k and my seventh half-marathon since I started my running journey a little over 2 years ago, but this time I had a different goal.   No, not that I want to finish in a certain time or break any records.   My goal for this race, especially the half, involved another runner.  A very good friend of mine, Rebekah.   Rebekah never had run anything more than 5k before.  She completed a sprint triathlon a few years ago, but she’s not sure about the ‘running’ part.   She told me that it would be impossible for her to be able to complete half marathon.   Ha, I said.  Challenge accepted.

When I started my running journey, I remember saying the very same thing to my friend Karen.  In fact, I owe it to her to push me and build confidence in me that I could actually do this and now I want to pay it forward.   I started to talk Rebekah about a different approach to running, about the Galloway method and how that allows ordinary people, like me, to be able to complete an endurance race, such as a half marathon or even full marathon (or both and call it a Goofy.)   She was hesitant, but agreed to give it a try.

I never forgot our first training run.   We did 2-1 run/walk and by the time we were done, I asked her if she knew how far we ran.  She said.. maybe a mile or so?  I smiled and told her that we just did 5k and she was beside herself!   She didn’t hate it, she wasn’t struggling, she was… feeling okay the entire time!    I sent her a Galloway training plan and told her to follow it and promised that I would be there for her during training for questions and encouragement as well as run beside her through the entire half-marathon.   From start to finish.    She reluctantly agreed.    I registered her for the half, and we were all set.

That first 5k turned into 5 miles, then 7 miles then 9 miles and her longest run was 10 miles.    She struggled, but she kept going. She had a lot of doubt, but she kept on going.   It was an incredible joy for me to watch her progressing.    Oh, just to clarify, I’m not a coach in any means.   However, I am lucky to be part of Team In Training and have their wonderful coaches as well as Coach Tony at my disposal for questions and running tips/tricks and I relayed relevant information to her every chance I got.

Long story short, we did it!   I completed both a 10k and half marathon and Rebekah completed her first half marathon!   I was delighted and it turns out — there are more than the medals and personal records on this race.   The reward and satisfaction of knowing that you encouraged someone else and inspired them to make a posative change in their life and complete something that was once unthinkable — waaaaay more worth it than the medals or personal record.    I urge you to do the same.   Find someone that you can motivate, inspire, and encourage and help them achieve something that they thought impossible, even if it takes a dare….  I dare you to try!

Pay it forward.  It’s so rewarding.  You’ll see what I mean.

Disneyland 10k

Alice in the Wonderland (or french maid?)

Alice in the Wonderland (or french maid?)

The husband woke me up at 4am (what an awesome husband, he is).   I was cranky.   I have never been a morning person or morning runner, and to be up at 4am to run, definitely NOT my cup of tea.   A few of us agreed to meet at the lobby at 5:15am so I reluctantly moved my behind and get myself ready.    We walked to our corral and the first clue of trouble arose.     It was a warm 81 degrees outside according to my weather app.   It was humid as well.

Armando decided to pull back from his corral A and hung out with me.    I reminded him that I was waaaaaay slower than him and he gave me the ‘girlfriend, I’m running with you today — so shush‘ look.    Alright, I think.   Gun went off and before I knew it — our corral moved.   I started a bit slower but then I settled to my normal pace.   I decided to skip the first walk break, and second and third and finally decided to run the whole thing and not take a walk break at all.    It was so hot and humid, and I didn’t have my fuel belt with me since I was going to just rely on the water stop.  Big mistake.

First one was around mile 1, then there was none until mile 4.    That 3 miles in between water stops turned into a miserable run as I was very thirsty.   Lesson learned here — ALWAYS rely on your own hydration/fuel.    We ran through both parks and I actually really like the 10k course as we spent very little time on the road and mostly in both parks as well as downtown Disney (I got to see my girls who waited for me on the balcony of our room!).

I crossed the finish line feeling great even though I sweat so much from the heat.   My Garmin recorded 7.1 miles run with 11:25 pace (not sure why it’s a mile longer) but official time recorded me with 11:51 pace.   Oh well.

Awesome Armando and I.  And our bling!

Awesome Armando and I. And our bling!

Disneyland Half

Rapuzel.  Happy Rapunzel

Rapuzel. Happy Rapunzel

I was even crankier on this day.  The husband woke me up at THREE in the MORNING.   Gah!  I grumbled and mumbled but managed to get myself ready and met Rebekah, Karen and Armando at the lobby.   We walked to our corral and wowza, it was already warm and humid out.

RunDisney tweet said there were 17,800 runners for the half marathon, divvy up by 7 corrals.   It was so crowded and the corral was overflowing.   We waited around for 30 minutes and before we knew it — our corral was up.   Rebekah and I agreed to use 3-1 ratio and started SLOW.  We did really well and we stopped at every water station to take water and Powerade on every other station.   First hour went by quick, then the sun was up.   It was really, really hot and humid and that really put a damper on the experience.   Rebekah stopped and took pictures with a few characters and we hummed along, one mile at the time.   I was SO proud of her because she was doing really awesome.   We didn’t skip our run part (other than when we walked through the water stop) and kept our ratio throughout.   We even did some silly jump in front of photographer!



Mile 10 came around and Rebekah started to struggle.   Her longest run before this was 10 miles so I believe it played with her mind a lot, but she was such a trooper.   We chatted and listened to our respective music/audiobooks and I told her how much it meant to me to be able to run.   It’s a constant reminder to have gratitude for me, the ability to run and do endurance activities because there was time, not too long ago, that I could not do that even if I wanted it.   I cherished (well, okay — sometimes grumbled) every aches as a result of running and I never take it for granted.

Shortly after mile 13, a few hundreds yards to the finish — I heard someone called my name and there it was — the husband and my girls, as well as Rebekah’s husband and all three of her kiddos, cheering us from the side lines.   We held hands, raised it up in the air and cross the finish line together.

We did it.   I was so overwhelmed with emotions more than because I did it, but because she did it!    The joy on her face, the sense of accomplishment that she experienced showed loud and clear and that gave me the such a joy.    On top of that, the fact that I just completed my seventh half-marathon only a little over two years since I started running really overwhelmed me.

Despite the heat and humidity, the average of 10 miles a day of park hopping and walking that I did for 4 days in a row and a 10k race the day before — I completed another half-marathon with Rebekah!   It was such a success because my goal was to get her across the finish line with me, upright and smiling and I think the picture speak for itself!

Upright AND smiling!

Upright AND smiling!

What’s next

Well, I have Portland Marathon in 5 weeks (October 6), followed by San Francisco Nike Women Half Marathon (October 20) and end this year with Seattle Half Marathon (Dec 1).   I believe that’s what I have for the rest of the year (don’t hold me to it, I might sneak in a local race here and there if my coach lets me or just doesn’t notice and read this far in the blog…)


Sparkle Skirts Giveaway!

Sparkle Skirts!

*** UPDATE 9/14/2013 – 3PM PST.   I have conducted the drawing (yes, I know – it’s three hours behind.  Will blog about that later).
Please check the result here .
CONGRATULATIONS for all the winners!   ***

*** UPDATE 9/13 – 12PM PST:   Please do NOT mark your donation ANONYMOUS if you are purchasing the raffle as I have no idea who you are to enter your name to the raffle .    If you marked your donation with anonymous by mistake, please contact me ASAP so I can note your name.  See the detail here ***

*** UPDATE 9/11 – 8:30PM PST:  SparkleSkirts informed me today that they are going to sponsor ADDITIONAL SKIRT to give away!  Which will make FOUR happy winner!    From the bottom of my heart — thank you very much for supporting the cause that I believe in.
Sparkle On! ***

As part of my continuous fundraising for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, I am giving away 3 (three) of ANY Sparkle Skirts products to three winners via raffle.  The winners can tell me which one they want, what size and I’ll purchase them and have the product mail directly to you (to the address listed on donation information).  Sparkle Skirts made SUPER awesome running skirts.

For the record, I am not employed by them or being paid/compensated by any means to write about their product.   I’m their die-hard customer, love their products and used it myself for many of my races.  Their running skirt is very functional, not only cute and flattering, but have two large pockets on the side, one zipper pocket in the front (or back) and do not chafe or ride up (used the skirts during two marathons so far).

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 SPARKLE ON! at the message so I know this is a raffle purchase.   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 shortly after to confirm your entries.   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).

The drawing will be held on Saturday Sept 14, 2013 at 12pm PST using Random Picker Generator

Gentlemen — if you have a lady runner in your life, this would be an AWESOME surprise on top of the great cause you’ll be participating!  Don’t let ‘I don’t wear running skirt‘  stop you for participating!

Sparkle On!


Two years!

There it is.  Captured by my Nike plus app!

There it is.
Captured by my Nike plus app!

On July 30, 2011 — I went out and attempted to do my very first run ever. After being constantly nagged by two of my friends, Karen and Erin to register for Portland Half Marathon, I finally pulled the trigger and register myself. After all, I just finished Mt. Rainier climb and felt fairly fit, so this whole running thing shouldn’t be that hard. Boy, was I wrong. I went out for a run on this very day, two years ago, and found myself in so many aches and pain after about 10 minutes. I walked, hobbled, walked some more, jogged, ran, hobbled some more <insert some profanity words here>, got lost, got lost some more and finally able to find my way back to the car, about 5 miles later.

I almost gave up. I was super sore, embarrassed (remember, I thought I was fairly fit) and mad.

Then I was hurting for a few days. Then I got more mad, and decided to give this whole running thing another try. And another try.

1,271 miles, three marathons, six half-marathons, countless 5k and 10k, two radiation treatments and side-effects struggle in between, here I am. I am a runner, and I love it. Sure, there were bad runs and the moment that I can’t wait for the run to be over, but in overall, I have grown to love it. I witness my body changed, and in awe on how far I have become. From “Oh my God – I have to do 8 miles today??” To “I am going for a short-8 today“. I have become stronger, healthier (despite my other health challenge) and happier and I contribute that to my love for running.

To my husband, John, who always been there for me and support me with this new found love. The one who rode his bike alongside me on most of my long runs, or drove me to my TNT practice and wait for me with our dog, Mack, while I ran or stay home with the girls so I can go out and run. The one that cheered for me on ALL of my races, waited for me at the finish line. The one who always believe in me and my ability to accomplish so many goals — from the bottom of my heart, thank YOU.

Here’s to many more years of running, many more miles, many more races and many healthy year ahead!


Swim, Bike, Run

No, I do NOT have any triathlon race on the horizon.

Many of you were asking me if I’m training for any triathlon since I decided to be a triathlete, and witness my whining about the early morning swim and my bike ride adventure because who woke up at 5:30am and be in the pool at 6am if you are not training for a race, right?   Apparently, this girl does.

I purposely do not want to register to any tri race this year, not because I have a second thought of being a triathlete, but because I really am trying to build a good baseline for my swimming, biking and yes, even running, before I commit myself to many weeks of triathlon training program.   Beside, I am still in the middle of Fall Season of Team in Training for several upcoming race and have committed to their training program, plus some other Disney races that I have already registered.    My plan this year is to swim and bike on my active recovery days as a cross training while learning the correct way to swim, bike and run.


My ability to swim is limited to thread water, float and dog paddle myself across the pool.   I can somewhat sorta do a breast stroke and went from one side of the pool to the other, but that’s pretty much it.   I contacted several swimming coach, and went for an assessment swim lesson.   Coach Kimberly Lorton is fabulous and I did a lesson with her in Seattle pool.   I really like her (and she was TNT coach a couple seasons ago!) but I can’t seems to find a schedule to work for both of us, and she only coach on a handful pools.   After some more search, I contacted another coach that her name seems to be all over beginner triathlete forum.   Coach Theresa Trinka-Hoard is a 5 (FIVE!) times Ironman finisher and a wonderful coach.   I began my lesson to her at Redmond pool and managed to have consistent schedule with her on the club pool that I belong to which is so awesome as I don’t have to go to a different pool for my lesson.    First few lessons – I felt like I a big fat whale.  Actually, worst than whale since at least whale know how to swim.    I realized now that I know nothing about swimming efficiently.   There were many frustration on my part, but she patiently taught me the basics.   I mean, really the basics.   I learned many drills, and more drills.    I have a lot of work to do, but I know that I am improving a little bit.  I didn’t feel like I’m inhaling the whole pool water anymore whenever I did the drill now, and actually understand and can acknowledge when I didn’t do things correctly.     I haven’t even work on the endurance training part of the swim yet (no swim lap) as she wants me to focus on the drill and technique.


I have a confession to make.   I was 10 years old the last time I rode a bike, before my big fuss about ‘I have decided to be a triathlete’.   Yes.  10 years old.   So, the bike and I haven’t really friends for over 30 years.   Can I ride it?  Sure, I know how to balance, pedal and ride on straight line but can I really ride it?   At that time, I didn’t even own a bike so my first challenge is to find me a bike.   After several, okay, seventh trip to the local bike shop, spent hours of talking to many bike-expert on the shop, test-ride about 6 bikes, I finally purchased a bike that I believed fit my needs.  Meet Ariel, my new best friend.  Her and I are getting to know each other and I like her more and more every time.  A lot of you asked what made me decide to get her, so I’ll let you in my thought process.  Fist of all,  I know that I will mostly ride around my local trail which consist of gravel and compact dirt road, and maybe on asphalt/paved/some back road so I want something that can do that, and also can be use for ride around the town.  I also want to have a  bike that I can use for my first triathlon race, and you know, be decent.  I figured if this whole swim, bike, run business really sink in and I want to do the unimaginable (like.. the half Iron or even (gasp!).. Ironman) years from now, I’ll invest on different bike for that.    Since I brought Ariel home, I have taken her for a few rides and loved it.   The bike that fitted for you, just for you, made a whole world of different on how you feel while riding it


I recently joined Always Running and Coach Tony Williams agreed to coach me and help me run more efficiently.  Yes, I am a three-times marathoner (plus handful of half-marathons) and know how to run, but just like swim and bike, I don’t know how to run efficiently, utilizing my strength and work around my limitation.   I respect Coach Tony greatly (and challenged him constantly) and probably raised his blood pressure and gave him gray hair since he agreed to coach me.    I enjoyed working with him so far and he helped me with my running form, my confidence and gave me many insightful advice on how to make running as a lifestyle, instead of focusing on a race.    I’m still coming for Team In Training practice and run with team as well as following their training schedule, but Coach Tony adapted the schedule for me, for my current ability and help me plan  my run, how should I run it and what’s the goal for each run.

So there.  That’s what’s going on with me lately.   I have decided to be a triathlete and I am making it happen and will continue to push forward towards my goal, which is pretty simple for this year.   I want to be comfortable with the three sports and learn how to do it efficiently.

My workout schedule still follow Team In Training plan, but with slight modification to incorporate swim and bike, so it’s something like this:

Mon:   Rest (My favorite day)
Tue:     Run (Hills/Tempo)
Wed:    Run (Target pace)
Thu:     Swim (Drills)
Fri:       Rest (Another favorite day)
Sat:      Long Run (Slow steady pace)
Sun:     Bike

How do I make the time, you asked, between this schedule, work full time, mama of two kiddos, and a wife?  Ongoing fatigued from life in general AND for me personally, my personal battle with my health?   I’ll be the first one to admit, it’s not unicorn and rainbow.  In fact, it’s full with stormy sky, a gloomy day and many, many tears,  but I made it as a priority and find a way to make it happen.




I have decided to be a Triathlete

Okay.  I am making it really public here as I’m writing it on my blog.   I have said that on my Facebook wall last month, but that’s limited to my Facebook friends, not to the whole world (not like the whole world are reading my blog, but you get what I’m saying).    So here goes:


Yes.  This is for real

Yes. This is for real

I’m still figuring things out, about the sport itself, learning how to swim (dog paddling doesn’t go well on the race), getting my (first ever) bike, learning the gear on the bike (switching gear on the middle of the hill to the wrong gear = miserable hill ride), and re-learn how to run efficiently.   No, I don’t have any Triathlon schedule in the near future, as I really just want to build the baseline, but stay tuned for more update as I’m embarking this new crazy adventure.

I’ll post some update on what I’ve been up to, training wise, very soon.   I’ll be needing a continuous support, nudge, kick on the bum to get me out of the door and do my training from all of you, so stay tuned.

Much love.