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.




San Diego Rock & Roll Marathon Recap

I am a three-times marathoner.   Me.  THREE TIMES.  Me.    The one that walked, ran, hobbled, walked some more and finished and beat my personal record by 21 minutes.

I am so humbled.    I dedicated this run for those who can’t run.   For those who are no longer with us, and for those who were robbed by cancer and its treatment for the privilege to be able to run.   There are many of them around, but in this particular run, I dedicated it to Tom Roush (b | t).  Tom is a dear friend of mine and he’s currently facing some major challenge in his health.   His previous challenge prevented him from being able to run and it’s another thing that we take it for granted.    We didn’t realize how lucky we are to be able to go out and just run until that is no longer an option.


We met for a team meeting on Saturday where the coaches and our team leaders gave us last minute tips and tricks as well as the logistic on what’s going to happen on the race day.   I have a great opportunity to speak in front of everyone and thank everybody’s effort on their fundraising.   To really show that they made a difference.   I am a living proof on what that fundraising all about.    It was deeply touch with so many awesome people I know on this team!


Mission Moment

Shortly after, we head out to Team in Training inspiration dinner.    This probably the biggest inspiration dinner I ever attended!  There were 1,500 TNT runners and their family in the room and together, we raised 4.5 millions dollar during this race!  That is VERY impressive numbers.   Our chapter alone for the summer seasons raised $153,000!    Wow.   This is what I am talking about.   The cure is around the corner and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is working hard to raised all these funds so they can fund more research for the cures.    YOU, my friends, are part of this awesome thing because many of you supported me, either by donating to my fundraising or encourage me during my training run.   For that, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you!

Race Day

The alarm went off at 3am.   Yes THREE AM.   I was so cranky and really didn’t want to get out of bed.   After half hours just dilly-dally and did nothing, I slowly got up and got myself ready.    We were told to meet at the lobby at 4:15am so we all can boarded the bus at 4:30am.    I told Karen (b | t) that I will meet her by the corral.   Karen is another dear friend of mine and one of my awesome corporate sponsor for this Summer season, the one that actually talked me into running to begin with.   I never forget when she dared me to run Portland Half Marathon on 2011 shortly after my Rainier summit trip.   Few months ago, I dared her to do this marathon with me.

We started with a very slow pace and 2-1 ratio for the first mile, then changed to 5-1 afterwards.  First five miles went by really quick until I had to go to do a quick stop at the porta-potties.   We decided to go to Starbucks instead (yes, the stores opened their restroom for runners).   Initially I was so happy to see that there were no lines.   We waited and waited but the lady inside the restroom spent FOREVER in there.   I swore it took almost 10 minutes before both Karen and I ran back to the course and continue on.


We were THAT cheerful the entire run

I don’t remember much until the about 13 miles.   We ran through Mission Bay park and it was really nice running path.   Weather was overcast and breeze which was great for me.   Karen and I kept our 5-1 ratio and  managed to still joke around during our walk breaks.   She even live-blogged during the run!    We hit mile 18 and my asthma that been bothering me lately started to acting up more and slow me down a bit.   I took more puff from my inhaler and continue on.   Karen and I kept outrun each other, but we managed to stay together.

Mile 19 came around and it was the beginning of a long, very long gradual hill.   About 2 miles long.   I shorten out my ratio down to 2-1 and grind through it.   Again, Karen live-blogged during that hill and I assured you, even the picture didn’t really show it, it was a very long hill!

Mile 21, both Karen and I decided to sprint, well, ran fast on the downhill.   Yes, we knew that was bad for our knees but we did it anyway mainly because I just wanted to get done.    It felt so great to head down that hill fast that way!

Mile 22 was a mission mile stretch.   It’s a stretch of street that filled with signs with name of the people that we run this race for.   I started to cry to see my name on few of that signs.  It was overwhelming to see it!

Sign with my name!

Sign with my name!

The last 3 miles of the race somewhat a blur.   I knew I was so happy we were almost done and the fact that my husband greeted me at mile 25 with his big smile just gave me a boost that I needed.   One of my coach, Erica, who ran with me during some of those hills as well as towards the end also gave me the push that I needed.

Upright and Smiling!

Upright and Smiling!

Then the finish line.

Karen and I sped up and we both smiled cheek to cheek.    We had hold hand, up in the air, big cheesy smile and cross the finish line together.

For me personally, this is the best marathon ever.   Not because I PR’ed by 21 minutes, but mostly because I did it with my dear friend.   Because I can say that I motivated her to complete her first marathon, and because we started, ran it, and finished together.

Karen, thank you for allowing me to be part of your first marathon.    Thank you for continuously to support me and agreed to do more of the crazy races with me  (yes, stay tuned for that).

Until the next race.


Longest Run Practice

Last weekend was the longest run practice for San Diego Rock & Roll runners on our team.   Our schedule called for 270 minutes.  For those who can’t convert fast enough, I’ll make it easier to you.  It’s FOUR HOURS and HALF.   On your feet.  Moving.

I ran longer than that before, distance and time.   However, I still had butterfly in my stomach before my (very) long run.  Am I going to make it?  Can I run that long?  How my body is going to do?  Am I going to have ‘bathroom’ problem?  Is there a bathroom in the trail?

Yeah, I drove myself crazy sometimes with those thought but I always thought it’s good for me to still questions those.  It keep me grounded and humbled and respect the distance (time).   To be able to do this is a privilege.   I don’t take it for granted.   I cherish the moment and the ability for me to do this.

Weekday Run

Glowing Mountain in my neighborhood

Glowing Mountain in my neighborhood

My weekday scheduled called for 60 minutes on Tues, 40 mins on Wed and 60 minutes on Thursday.    I ran in the morning on Tuesday before work and I actually enjoyed that a lot.   The 50 degrees, blue sky and sunshine morning might have a lot of things to do with it.  I ran at my favorite trail at Snoqualmie with my puppy, 30 mins west and back.   I rocked the run and recorded the fastest 5 miles I ran in a very, very long time

For Wednesday — I went  out in the afternoon after work.   I didn’t feel like going to the trail, so I ran around the neighborhood instead.   It was glorious afternoon, as the sun made the mountain glow.  It’s a wee bit warm for my taste, but there was a lot of breeze.   I did a nice slow 5k and enjoy every moment of it.

Thursday – I skipped my run.  I walked instead for an hour around my office.   And no, not because I can’t run.  It’s because — well, I just did my hair and didn’t feel like my pretty-all-stylish-ready-to-go-out hair would get sweat all over it if I run.   Coaches — I’m sure you understand, yes?   Girl have priority here.

Weekend Run

Me - Ice Bathing at Lake Washington

Me – Ice Bathing at Lake Washington

I woke up around 6am and felt really tired.   No, not because I didn’t get enough sleep.   It’s the side effect from the treatment that I’m going through.   I felt my head throbbed.   Durnnit, I said.    I was about to move my backside for 270 minutes and this just ruined it.   This new treatment of mine, as good as a result that I have it now, could really made my day turn from cool to awful within minutes.  Everyday is like a box of chocolate, you never know what kind that you are going to get.   A good day?  A so-so day?  Or awful day?

I moved very slowly, put on my running clothes that I put out the night before and get ready.   I took a couple advil and ate my pre-run breakfast (toasted english muffin + peanut butter + honey + banana) and headed out.   We got to the trail just in time for the team to gather and listened to the coaches.   Our run that day was limited to 20 miles, or 270 minutes.   Whichever comes first.    It’s a bow-tie route at Burke-Gilman Trail.   We started at Matthew Beach and head south towards University of Washington for a quarter of our time/distance, turn around and back to the start and head north to do the same.    First 10 miles actually went really fast.   I did a quick stop for bathroom at Silver Cloud hotel (yes, they let us use their restroom).   It was getting really warm and I was so happy that I had a chance to splash cold water in my face.

The second half of the run started to get a little difficult.   Not because my feet are sore or it’s hot, but my head just hurts and I’m getting fatigued.  Fast.  My body was reacting to the medicine that I took differently that day.  I slowed down my pace and grind through it.   One of my coach ran with me for the last 6 miles and boy, I was thankful for him.   It kept me focus and moving forward.   Around mile 18, I started to wheeze.   Durnit, I said.  Not again.   My asthma been acting up a lot lately,  like I need yet another medical condition to deal with.   I shorten out my run/walk ratio down to 2-1 from 5-1 and even skipped the run part a few times, which seems to help.

Four hours and a half later, I clocked in 20.29 miles.   Not my best run, but considering all the things that I had to deal with since the morning, I think I deserve a pat in the back.   Having my teammate cheered me at the end, high-fived and hugged made me teary eyes.   THIS, this is what it’s all about.   I love my team, my fellow runners.   We are connected with the same cause and the same passion.

Shortly after the run, I plunged myself at Lake Washington.   Submerged my body from hip down to a very, very cold lake water.   It felt SO cold but I know my muscles would thank me later


I had an overwhelming response last week on my birthday.   I asked a lot of people to donate and help me reach my goal, and I did.  I’m at $5,430!   However, don’t let the limit stop you for contributing to this awesome cause.   Every dollar matter and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!   Please visit my online fundraising page at  


Adventures Update

Wow.  I am totally lame.   I haven’t update this blog since January!  I have totally no excuse other than I have not make this as a priority and that’s kinda lame.   The most important part of my training is to have accountability.  I need to publicly announced my next race, blog my training progress (or complaint), record my success (or delayed success — I don’t like to word failure) and hopefully inspire others along the way and I failed miserably on that part.

However, better late than never, so here goes an update.

I’m going to run another marathon.  Yes.  I broke my ‘I can only do one marathon a year’ rule.   On June 2nd, I will be at San Diego Rock & Roll with my Team in Training people and will give my best so I can yet cross another finish for 26.2 miles of crazy.   Wait, that’s not all — on June 22nd, I will be standing at the start line and will run/walk/crawl my way to the finish like for Seattle Rock & Roll Half Marathon.   That’s right, marathon and half (again), but this time at least, they are separated by three weeks!

But Yanni, why in the world you do these (crazy) runs, you might ask.

Well, I could come with lists of reasons but there’s one that always stand out for me.   BECAUSE I CAN.

See, I know so many people that are not fortunate enough to be able to run, let alone do any marathon.   Not because they don’t want to train or put an effort, but because they are physically cannot do that or being constraint with cancer and its awful fallout from it.    I am SO lucky and fortunate that even with my own physical limitation, and believe me, I have many of those — I am still able to do this.   I am able to put hundreds of miles of training run and give my best and more to complete the challenge of marathon/half-marathon.   Every time I cross the finish line, I am being reminded of how lucky I am to be able to do this.   It really humble me and THAT make me want to do the race over and over again.    The fact that I am part of Team in Training and help Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to raise money to end blood cancer and give the blood cancer survivor a hope, that just make the whole thing even worthwhile.   It hit so close to home, their missions and what they do and I will do many, many races with them in the future

I lost my father last Wednesday (4/24) to a sudden heart attack.   I have somewhat complicated relationship with him and it really hit me hard.   It really make me realize more than I already believe that life is SO short and you just never know when it’s your time to go.      Make the time to chase your dream.   Always hug your loved ones, and tell them you love them and smile often.   Set a goal that seems so far away and work your way, chunk by chunk towards it.    This goes for everything, not just running a marathon/half.   The sense of accomplishment you experience when you reach that goal is far greater and so worth it than any struggle you have during it.   Trust me on this, I’ve been there, done that!

Training Update

I will try to do weekly update starting next week, including my training plan.   For now, I’m just going to summarize what I’ve done so far.

I started my training for these events on Feb 8.   Summer season for TNT kicked off at Feb 1 which was a week after my Tinker Bell Half Marathon (yes, I did that one too AFTER Goofy Challenge.    Sorry for lack of update).   I attended the kick off party, but chose to skip the run and give myself a break.

Fast forward for today, I did 18.02 miles earlier (220 minutes — yes, that’s 3 hours 40 mins).   TNT training plan is using time based, not mileage based.  This season is the first time that I actually am being a stickler on following it and I love it!   It’s about the time on your feet and you have less pressure to do certain miles when you are not feeling your best.

Me and my girls

Me and my girls

Weather was nice breezy 50 degrees all morning with absolutely no rain.   It was awesome.   I had such a great run!   My pace was steady (and slow) and I was doing great until around mile 13.   I hit the wall.  YES.  The WALL.   I struggled with it, and tried to asses if I actually feel physical pain that raised a red flag, but I knew it’s all mental.   I mentioned that to one of my coach who ran alongside me, and about a few minutes later, I heard my daughters screamed my name and held a sign that said ‘Happy Birthday, Go Mama Go” and my heart just melted!   That was exactly what I need!!   That gave me enough boost for another 5 miles and finished my run today!   As a bonus, my husband and my daughters saw me again at mile 16 and my daughters ran the last 2 miles with me!   Now, if only I can have that during the race….  (not going to happen, I know)

In overall, even with ‘hit the wall’ feeling, I had great run and very pleased with it.   In fact, when I looked at my running app that tracked all my runs, this is the ‘fastest’ 18-miles I ever did (compare the previous 18-miler I did).  Not too shabby!

Tomorrow, I’ll have to do 40 minutes recovery run.    Will try to do that earlier in the day as supposed to the later.

Fundraising Update

I am so blessed that I know so many generous people!  To date, I have raised $5,160.00!!   In fact, I raised over $700 in the last hour (I asked so many people that in lieu for birthday gift, to donate to my fundraising and boy, did that work wonderfully).   Thank you SO very much!!   For you who want to be part for this awesome fight against blood cancer, you can join me by donating online at   I will do all the running and you’ll just skip a latte or two.

Special Message

I will end this post with so much gratitude.   I feel so blessed.   What a wonderful birthday and here’s to many, many years of health, strength, perseverance (okay, stubbornness), success, joy and lots of love.   Thank you for being part of making my day awesome!


2013 Goofy Challenge – I run because I can and for those who can’t

I am sitting here at the airplane on my way home to Seattle, with very sore feet, couple blister on my pinkie toes, and the biggest grin on my face.

I just completed 39.3 miles in two days.   That’s THIRTY NINE POINT THREE miles.  Half marathon and full marathon, back to back.

That’s a milestone that I can’t even comprehend a few months ago.   Let me give you some background story for those who don’t know.    Last September, I had to endure three weeks of radiation treatment to battle pesky little cells that took over my body shortly after I signed up with Team in Training for the winter season of Goofy Challenge.   I was bummed and disappointed, but I didn’t let that discourage me.  In fact, I looked at it as a challenge and determined to make it happened.

So I had it plan.   I looked at my training schedule carefully and work with my doctor’s office to schedule the treatment.   I was lucky that I have the luxury to do that.   I did Disneyland Half Marathon a weekend prior the treatment and started my first round the Tuesday after for three weeks.   It was brutal.   It did wonder to my muscle, to my body and most importantly, to my mind.   I started to doubt myself and unsure that I am going to be able to do that.    I was so tired and fatigued and I wasn’t able to eat.  I lost 11lbs in three weeks, not in a healthy way.   I was weak, and I had a hard time to even walk, let alone run.

I am so grateful that I am surrounded by people who constantly lift my spirit up.   There are so many prayers, support, people rallied together to bring my family meals, encouraging notes and slowly but sure, my stubbornness were back.   I started to focus my mind to this race.   It was my distraction.   Whenever I felt really down, I imagined myself crossing the finish line and I picked myself up.   I forced myself to be out in the trail and just be there.   There were days that I can only walked for a very short time due to fatigued but I kept coming back to the trail until the end of the treatment.

That was 15 weeks ago.

Today, I looked back and can’t help but getting so emotional about the whole thing.   I have won, and this is why I run.

I run because I can, and I run for those who can no longer run because they are no longer with us (Tyler and Dawn, this is for you) or they faced serious health challenge that prevent them from doing so (Tom, this is also for you)

Someday is today.

I am Goofy!

I am Goofy!

Half Marathon Recap

My husband woke me up at 2am EST.   It was brutal because of the time different.   We were told to meet at the lobby at 3am and head out to the bus together with the Team In Training group.   By 4am, we were hanging out by the bag check tent to have last minute gathering.   Our coaches kept reminding us to hydrate and pace ourselves well due to the heat.   My teammate, Tim, and I are in the same corral and we agreed to stay together and did 2:30/1 run-walk ratio.   The gun went off at 6:03am and off we went.   The first 5 miles went by so quickly.   We were very conservative and pace ourselves well.   We got to Magic Kingdom about an hour or so after we started and I saw my husband right in front of the castle.   I literally leaped on his arm and gave him a hug.

Can you tell that I'm excited?

Can you tell that I’m excited?

We stopped for a few pictures and ran around the Magic Kingdom.   There were so many people that cheered us and it was a lot of fun.    I stopped in every water station and took at least one cup of water and one cup of PowerAde.

Around 7:30am – the sun was up and I could feel the heat was rising.   It was really, really hot.   The air was thick and it was very humid.    We slow our pace a bit but kept the same ratio.   Tim and I entertained each other throughout the course and before we knew it, we crossed the finish line.

I was dancing away as I crossed the finish line and high-fived Donald.   It took me 3:03 to finish but it was exactly where I want it to be due to the heat.

I got my medal, head out to the race retreat tent and met my husband there.   I hung out there for a while and ate before we hopped back at the resort.    I took the ice bath, stretched and napped.   It was a good day!

Marathon Recap

Second days in a row to be woken up at 2am really did wonder to my mood.   I was cranky.   I wasn’t happy and the blister on my pinky toes from yesterday’s run wasn’t really a big help either.   I slowly got myself ready and hopped on the bus.

It was already humid when I was waiting at my corral.   Tim and I agreed that we were going to stick together again and even did a bit lower pace from the beginning.   I can feel the thick air and it was really, really warm at 5:30am.


My friend Tim and I, in front of Magic Kingdom

The first five miles went by fairly quick as well.   I was drenched in sweat when I saw my husband in front of the Magic Kingdom castle again.   I leaped to his arm (again) and kept on running.   We took 10 minutes bathroom stop at Magic Kingdom for Tim as he wasn’t feeling all too well and I waited for him.    We took a few more pictures with the character throughout the park and kept on going.

Shortly before we enter Animal Kingdom, it was my turn to take the bathroom break.  The lines were so long, and I was drenched in sweat.   I splashed the water on my face and felt better afterwards and continued to run.

There were a lot of runners that stopped and rode the Everest ride at Animal Kingdom but we decided not to do that, as I was afraid that I would get cramp if I sat down.   Shortly after we left Animal Kingdom, I felt a sharp pain in my chest.   I slowed down a bit and tried to figure out where the pain came from.   Then, I breathed fast during my run which causes my chest to hurt even more.    I slowed down even more and eventually I told Tim to go ahead.   He didn’t want to leave me behind, but I knew it at the time that I might have to walk the rest of the course so he took off.

Me at Animal Kingdom

Me at Animal Kingdom

After Tim and I split, I walked for 15 minutes or so and my chest felt better so I started to run again, but the pain came back so I finally stopped at the medical tent around mile 18.    I had a suspicion on what caused my pain, but I wanted someone to confirm it.    I told the nice lady at the medical tent that I had ‘congested chest’ (way to play it down, I know) and she gave me a very cold bottle of water, and grabbed her statoscope and listened to my chest and told me that she heard crackled and suspected fluid in my lungs.   She also suspected that my ‘congested chest’ might turn into pneumonia and told me that I should probably go to the hospital so they can order an x-ray for further observation.    I politely told her that I don’t want to and when she went to get something at the other side of the tent, I quietly got up and walked away.

That was exactly what I suspected.   See, I had fluid in my lung cavity so many times as that was one of the side effects of my medication and went through the whole routine more than I want to count.  My body usually re-absorbs the fluid by itself.   In a few occasions that it didn’t, I had to undergo some procedures to drain the fluid.   I didn’t want to go to the hospital during the race and I had 8 miles to go.   However, I knew that running is no longer an option because of this.   So, yes, I was being stubborn, but I was within my boundaries (yes, this is me justifying my action – stop judging me)

I stopped at the next medical tent and took a couple Tylenol and kept on walking.  I texted my husband and told him what’s going on and told him that I was no longer running.   He told me that he love me and I kept on walking.

At mile 20, I started to get a bit worry about time because I knew that the sweeper would pick the runners up as they were closing the course.   I knew that I need to get to Hollywood Studio.   It was safe zone for all the runners because you were not going to get picked up anymore.

I looked at my watch, and I saw the 7:00 pacer run past me.  I decided to follow them.  They were doing 40/30 run-walk ratio.    It was very conservative, and I didn’t feel as much pain so I followed them.   I got to Hollywood Studio and was so relieved.   I made it thus far!  I was safe!   I dropped out from the 7:00 pacer group and started to walk again.   There were so many people cheered us inside the park and that lifted my spirit quite a bit.   The tweets from all my friends (thank you so very much for that, by the way) were a HUGE moral boost.   I was exhausted at that point.   The bottoms of my feet were very, very sore and I just wanted to be done.

That's me.  Crying.  When I spotted my husband

That’s me. Crying. When I spotted my husband

My husband was waiting for me by the boardwalk, which was a short walk after Hollywood Studio.   I spotted him as soon as I crossed the bridge and I started to cry.   I was so emotional and I was really, really tired.   He walked with me until the end of the boardwalk and I entered Epcot area and spotted my two coaches, Siri and Nadine.   They walked with me throughout the Epcot and all the way to the mile 26 which I broke down into tears again with both of them on my side.     I took a deep breath, and started to run the last 0.2 miles towards the finish line.    7 hours and 25 minutes later, I crossed the finish line.    I walked towards one of the volunteer who gave me the Mickey medal and proceed to the Goofy tent to get my Goofy medal.

I finished!!

I finished!!

I could care less about how long it took for me to finish it.   I FINISHED.

I texted my husband to meet me at the race retreat tent and as soon as I saw him, I leaped into his arm and I lost it.   I was bawling in his arm.     I made it.   I did something awesome.   I overcome my challenge and did it with the flying color.

Thank you SO very much for those who constantly cheer me throughout my race.   I had so many tweets and Facebook messages that in some point, it actually overtook my music.   It was epic.   I love it and it helped me tremendously.    There were so many of you to list here but you know who you are and I know who you are.  I am very grateful to have that much support and full with gratitude.   This is something that I will never take for granted.

Thank you!

Thank you!

If you read all the way here, I hope that I inspire you to dream big and live your life to the fullest.   I hope that I inspire you to overcome whatever challenge you have in front of you by perseverance and commitment to success.   The only thing that stands between you and your goal is yourself.

Dream big.  Smile often.  Make a difference.   Know that YOU can accomplish anything that you set your mind into.

Go you.

Until the next race.