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.


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…)


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.


2013 Goody Challenge: Week 9 – Disneyland Half Marathon

Week 9 Recap:

What a week!   It’s a vacation week at Disneyland as well as my half-marathon!   Even though I skip one of my mid-week run, I didn’t feel like I’m slacking off due to many miles of walking I did around the park.    The race itself was a lot of fun!   It was Disney race after all, so you know that they were going all out to make sure the runners had a great time.

9 weeks down, 19 weeks to go!

Plan for this week

Tues: Run for 45 minutes

Thur: Run for 45 minutes

Sun: Half Marathon!

Tuesday 8/28

Drew and I met up after work for a quick run.   She took me to a different trail this time, which turn out to be the same trail that I ran every week, it just more east.   I didn’t feel too hot as I had cramp and my stomach was giving me all kind of grief but I ran anyway.   I kept up with her for the first 20 minutes and I told her to ran without me as I just need to run slower than normal and took more walk break.   I finished 3.16 in 40 minutes.

Thursday 8/30

I skipped the run, but I walked around at Disneyland Park all day.   My fitbit indicated that I walked for 8 miles so I was calling it good

Sunday 9/2

Another half-marathon!

Race day!   I woke up at 3:30am and was having major abdominal cramp.   I was not happy camper and really didn’t want to get up and move.    I slowly got up and put my running gear on, ate breakfast and head out.   Our hotel located 5 minutes from the start line, which was awesome.    I met Kendra, Brent and Ben at the corral.   After the usual ‘before race’ photo, and it’s our corral turn to start.

First 6 miles went by fast and I was having a great time.   I paced myself really well and felt strong.   The sun started to rise and it got really warm, really fast.   I slowed down a bit due to my cramp and the warm weather, plus it was really, really crowded in some area of the course.   Disney always organized an awesome race.  There’s a lot of supporter, cast member, cheer leaders and you will get more high-five during this race than you can even imagined!

I saw my husband and my girls standing on the bleacher with their signs and cowbell shortly before the finish line.   It was SO awesome to see them and my girls was smiling cheek-t0-cheek!   I crossed the finish line shortly after, felt strong and happy.   I PR’ed my last half on the same course by12 minutes!!   It was an awesome day and absolutely a fun race!


I hit $6,000!   This is so awesome and I am just amazed on how generous people are!   I’m not done yet, and visit my fundraising page for more info at http://tinyurl.com/GoofyChallenge


TinkerBell Half-Marathon: Race Recap

I had an incredible weekend.

No, I didn’t break my half-marathon PR and I wasn’t the first (or probably last again) on my age group, but I finished another half-marathon yesterday.  Remember when I post here about my next crazy adventure?   Well, by completing that race I finished the challenge!  I did Disney Coast-To-Coast challenge and January is not even over!

Inspiration Dinner – Team in Training

Thank you VERY, VERY much for everyone who donated and support my cause.   There were total 369 runners from Team in Training for this race and collectively, we raised ONE MILLIONS DOLLAR!   ZOMG.  That’s a lot of dolla.   I was very impressed and touched.   This money can do so much for further research and patient support and I can testify and attest to that from the personal experience!  I have a stack of thank you card that I need to send out for all my generous donor who supported and helped me during my 2011 fundraising season for THREE different event.   Everybody was so generous and they were continuously support me on various event!   Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I was on the slideshow!

The pasta dinner was great.   It was a wee bit crowded and there’s a bit of mishap about seating arrangement, but it got fix right away.  Food were good and I had wonderful company.    They put all the ‘In Honor’ and ‘In Memoriam’ pictures on the slide and it feels really weird to see my own picture up there!

We wrapped up the dinner by 8pm and I went back to the room and get my things ready for the race.

Race Day

PreRace. I’m ready!

My husband woke me up at 3am (YES, THREE AM) to get ready.  I was not a happy camper.   After I whined about 10 minutes, I finally got up and got myself ready.   I ate my usual pre-race breakfast, english muffin + peanut butter + honey + banana and head downstairs to meet the rest of Team in Training runner.    We hung out for a bit, took pictures and started to walk to our corral at 4:30am.

Unlike WDW Marathon, my husband able to walk me all the way to my corral and stood there with me while I was waiting for our corral turn to start.    It was a good 40 degrees morning, calm and a bit chilly.   I felt surprising calm and not anxious.

First wave of runner and the wheelchair went out promptly at 5:45am and my corral started at 6:05am.    There were so many people with running skirt and wings!  It was very, very cool!

The first couple miles, I can’t barely pass anybody as there were so many people and I took my time and tried to make my way to the side so I can get a good pace going.   We made our way towards Disneyland park from the employee entrance where you can see the train, parade car, and other behind the scenes stuff.   It was a lot of fun!    That path took us to the side of Main Street USA inside Disneyland Park and we ran towards the Sleeping Beauty castle.   It was absolutely stunning.  The sun just rise and it made the castle sparkle!   I didn’t take a lot of pictures this time around as there were a long lines on each of Disney Character for runner who wanted to take pictures.   Pretty much all the princesses and their prince were out, I saw Jack Sparow, Mickey and friends, Toy Story character.   It was so much fun!    I had to made a potty break inside the park and unfortunately, every bathroom had a very, very long lines.   I stood there and went anyway but that took about 5 minutes out of my time.

Me at Mile 10

From Disneyland park, we ran towards the center of city of Anaheim.   There were so many volunteer and entertainment around!  I saw my husband, who wore a tutu (yes, in spirit of TinkerBell) and carry a cow-bell and a sign.   It was sooo good to see him!   Then I saw Karen Lopez (t) and Rob Farley (t) at mile 5 who also had a sign with my name on it.

Karen and Rob F. took an extra day from their busy days to stay at Anaheim so they can cheer me.    These two awesome people were on their way home to Toronto, CA and Adelaide, AU from spending a week in Seattle for training/meeting but they bought extra ticket to LAX and spend extra day for me.    They are my #SQLFamily.   I met both of them via SQL Community and I mentioned this on previous post about how awesome this community is.   I’m very blessed and honor to be able to call them a friend.

We ran through the city and I saw Karen and Rob. F again between Mile 8 and 9.   I had a cheek-to-cheek smile and I felt great!    Shortly before we entered California Adventure Park, I felt a sharp pain on my ankle.   I had one of those uh-oh moment again as the pain was significant.  For those who don’t know, I sprained my ankle 10 days before my full marathon, then ran the full, then I spent two weeks walked around the park at Disneyworld.  So this ankle took a lot of beating lately!

I stopped running, stretched and massage the tendon a bit.   I knew I had about 5k to go and I wasn’t going to quit it.   I stopped at the medical tent, took some Tylenol and slowly jog my way towards California Adventure Park.    I enjoyed my time running through the park and tried to forgot the pain in my ankle.   The cheer-tweets from my #SQLFamily were constant throughout the whole 13.1 miles.   I felt SO much love!!

I finished! Upright and Smiling!

We ran through the park and out and I knew that the finish line was around the corner.  I barely could hear my music as the tweets came constantly over my iPhone.   I started to run faster and I saw my husband WITH HIS TUTU on top of the bleacher.   I waved to him with a big smile.   I saw Karen and Rob F. again by the finish line and I lifted my hand up, had the most cheesy smile and cross the finish line.

I did it.   I finished.

I got my space blanket, my medal, and went to Coast-To-Coast tent and got ANOTHER MEDAL for completing the challenge.   We then proceed to post-race refreshment where I drank entire powerade in one shot, ate banana and took my official post race picture.

I saw my husband from the distance and leap into his arm.   I did it!!   He gave me a very proud look!!

A few minutes later, I saw Karen and Rob. F.  We hugged and Rob F. told me that they had a surprise for me.   He pulled out his phone and play this video here.  Go ahead and click that link or paste this to your browser:  http://youtu.be/iUuEcdQWjZc

I was about to die of excitement.   That’s JEFF GALLOWAY!  He is the running guru, the Olympian, the mastermind behind the run/walk method, the official Disney Coach and he was TALKING TO ME!

You think that would be the highlight of my day, right?  I finished, got my medal, got another medal, and saw the awesome video.   Well, I thought so too, until I walked into the Platinum VIP area where my husband, Karen and Rob F. was when they cheered me on and I saw Jeff Galloway there.   I shook his hand, gave him a hugged and we chatted for a while.   I mumbled almost the entire time because I was just a way too excited!!

Me and Jeff Galloway. Can you tell I was excited?

I had incredible weekend.

Not only because I finished the race, met with my running guru but because I was surrounded with family.   I had an incredible and awesome support from my husband and my SQL Family,  in person (Thank you so much Karen and Rob F.) as well as virtually (Thank you Erin Stellato, Jes Borland, Rob Drysdale, Sarah Strate, Tamera Clark, Tom LaRock, Richie Rump, Andy Leonard, Grant Fritchey, Robert Davis, Tom Roush, Steve Jones, Jeremiah Peschka, Merrill Aldrich, Dave Levy, Shahryar Hashemi, Allen Kinsey, Diane McNurlan, Tracy McKibben.  I’m sure I probably forgot someone here, my apologies)

I am very blessed.   This professional community that I belong to become a second family to me.  They are there not only when I wasn’t sure what causing the ruckus on my server, but when I need a support for my challenges and adventure.

From the bottom of my heart.   Thank you.

Until the next adventure


Week 11: Portland Half – Race Recap

Wow, where do I start.    Well, let try this — I RAN HALF-MARATHON!!!

Yes, I am squealing as I said that with a full blown excitement since for me personally, this is a huuuugee accomplishment.   Never in a million years, I imagined myself to do a long distance run, let alone ran 13.1 miles.   Who does that?  I mean – WHY anybody in the world do that?  I used to questioned that.   I’m a mountaineer.  A hiker.  I am certainly NOT a runner.

Training Recap

Six months ago, my friend Karen Lopez (t) asked me if I want to join SQL Run, and I was probably intoxicated when I told her –  Sure, why not!  Before I knew it, I was on the list of people who were going to run (see her post here).  At that time, I was busy preparing myself for the climb (remember my Mt. Rainier climb preparation – I was quite busy then) and didn’t think much about it.  I told myself – I’m pretty fit, I can do this, and I can start my training after my climb.

Fast forward a few months, I climbed the mountain and it was time to get serious with this running business.   I joined Team In Training and I have to do (another) fundraising, shortly after my fundraising for the climb as well as training for the half.    That was eleven weeks ago, and boy, I was so wrong with ‘I’m pretty fit, I can do this easily’ part.

I was injured.  Multiple times because I wasn’t building up my endurance slowly.  For those that know me, patience really not my strongest suit.  I felt like I can run more, and that’s when it backfired.   I stuck it out though.  I made a public commitment that I was going to do this, and I wasn’t going to quit.  I was too embarrassed to quit, even though there was many, many weeks that I didn’t want to run anymore.   There.  I said it out loud.

Then along the ways, something changed.   I was starting to like it.   Then a few weeks after, I was starting to love it, and before long, I was actually enjoying my running time.   The sound of my breathing, the shoes hitting the ground,  the ever changing scenery as I ran.  The peace in my mind as I created a void for just myself during my run.   The opportunity to just reflect and just be.   That’s my escape.   For those who know my personal battle with cancer, you know that I also have challenges after challenges during this training and there was time that I actually thought I had to literally drag myself for the entire course of the half-marathon due to never-ending fatigued that I experienced as a side effect of my newly dosage medicine.

It was quite an experience, and I’m not even talking about the race yet.

Fundraising and Inspiration Dinner

As I mentioned above, I joined Team In Training as a preparation for this race.   Team In Training is part of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and they raised money for blood cancer research and patient support.   Obviously, this organization hold a very dear place in my heart as I am their living example of what their organization can do, and what the result of the research do to a patient.

I have to give a shout out to my SQL Community.   This community is so generous and awesome!  I just get done with the fundraising for American Lung Association for my climb which I raised over $10,000 and I turned around and start another one and I raised $2,350.00!!  Waaaay more than what the minimum required or what my personal goal was!   I have very generous friends who believe in my cause and supported me all the way.   I feel so blessed!

The night before the race, we were invited to an inspiration dinner hosted by Team In Training.   I have invited Brent Ozar (t), Rob Farley (t) and Ryan Malcom (t)  to join me and my husband, John for the dinner.   It was EPIC!  Right from the start, we are greeted by Team In Training alumni, coach and volunteer and I am not talking by just ‘Hi, how are you, nice to see you here‘ greeting.   They are all dressed up in purple, with all the bells, sign and full blown cheering us!   It was pretty awesome!!     There must be over 300 peoples on the ballroom!   Those were runners and their families, coaches, alumni and volunteer of Team In Training.

The event started with announcing the numbers and statistics.  As a group, we raised over half-million dollars for this event!  That is very impressive!!   The slide on the projector was displaying the pictures of the survivors, honorary members and the loved one that we lost.  It was.. bitter sweet for me.   Then my name was called to the podium.   It’s my turn to say a word or two.

I stepped in to the podium and thank everybody for their effort.   I’m one of the lucky one and the reason that I can stand before everybody at that very room is because 15 years ago, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society decided to fund research of my current medicine, which was then approved and made available to public 10 years ago.   This medicine allow me to have a normal life.  As normal as you can be, when you are a survivor.    Because of it, I was able to climb the mountain and was about to run my first half-marathon.   I want everybody there to know that their effort and hard work actually do save life and give hope.   To me.   And to the rest of the survivor and their family.   There were tears everywhere, and I hope that was tears of joy.


Race Day

Me, My Team and my Coach

I woke up at 3:30am and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I tossed and turned and finally decided to get ready around 5am.   I have to meet the rest of my team at their hotel by 5:45am.    I was a bit nervous and antsy but I knew that I’m ready for this moment.    We had a team meeting and chatted with our running coach and started to walk to our corral.   I was placed at corral W.

Our corral started to move around 7:20am and at exactly 7:27am – I crossed the start line.   There were so many people around me that I had a hard time to even walk!  I started my application to track my time, turn my audiobook on and started my run.   I did 3-1 Galloway method, which was run for 3 minutes and walk for 1 minutes.

It was hard to get into a rhythm because there were so many people but after the first mile, I finally get into my zone.   5 miles went by so fast and I didn’t even realized them.   My coach out of nowhere run alongside of me an d started to chat and made sure I was okay.   It was a pleasant surprise!!  He ran for a couple miles with me and went off to the side of the road to check on the other TNT runner.   I saw John and Ryan at various point during the cross with their big sign and smile!   It was so awesome!!   There so many spectator and especially, Team In Training supporter!!!

I heard my name called and I looked up and I saw Erin Stellato (t).   She was waaaay ahead of me, but we ran into each other on this one stretch of the course and it was so, so awesome to see her!!    Shortly after, I saw Jes Borland (t) who literally screamed her lung out when she saw me!    Shortly after, I hit the 8 miles marker and turn around on that stretch and I saw Karen, Brent and Rob Farley went the other way.  I high-fived them, screamed their name with a huge grin in my face and went on with my running.    Somehow, I missed Rob Drysdale (t) and Allen White (t) on that stretch.

Around 10 miles mark, my coach run alongside me again and gave me some encouraging wisdom to power me for the rest of few miles.   I was pumped and not even once I had to talk myself to keep running!

My 'I just ran 13.1 miles' face

My running app told me that I have a mile to go and I was pumped!   I ran faster and harder and crowd was just chanting and cheering all of us!  I can’t express with words how I felt other than awesome!   I kept on running and I heard my name shout out LOUD.   I couldn’t really see where the voice came from but I knew that was Jes and Erin.   I kept on running and I saw them on the right side, behind the fence.   They were bouncing up and down, screaming my name loud and I was in heaven!  I looked at to the left side and I saw Ryan, Bill and Doug holding #SQLRUN sign.   I ran even faster, my tears started to fell and I barely can see anything as I started crying.   I lifted both of my hands up and crossed the finish line.   I did it.   I finished!  Upright and smiling!!!

I got my medal and space blanket and walked towards the food line, which by the way, AMAZING.   Got my finisher shirt, roses, trees and pendant.    I had one thing in my mind.   I want to see my husband, John.    I knew he was there by the finish line, even though I can’t see or hear him.   I kept walking and found myself by the Team In Training tent.   I signed off, high-fived a lot of peoples, ate more foods and saw Rob D., Ryan, Bill, Mike and Doug.   They were standing by Ray of Hope tent.   I joined them and chit chat for a bit before I caught a glimpse of John in the corner of my eyes.   I ran towards him, literally leaped into his arm and I lost it.   I cried my heart out.   This was a huge accomplishment for me as I had so many, many challenges leading up to this point.   Not even a year ago, I was undergo three weeks radiation and since then, I climbed the mountain and now, ran a half-marathon!!

Runner Reunion

Half-Marathon Runner. Awesome group of people

After a hot shower, stretched and a lot of water, I went to have lunch with the rest of my friends I mentioned above.   It was the most delicious brunch I ever had!   We chatted, we took pictures, we drank, we ate and we had so much fun!   I looked around the table and found myself tear up a bit.    I had amazing support, amazing friends and amazing group of runner.    I’m very proud to call these people my friends, my new extended-family.   I love them.  Because of them, I can proudly say now that I am a runner.

Thank you.   Thank you for your support, your encouragement, your friendship and most importantly, thank you for being in my life.

Lastly, I want to thank my husband, John, who put up with my whiny days, drove me at the wee hours and rode his bike alongside with me while I did my long run without even a single complaint.

I can’t do this without you.

What’s Next

I have the next crazy thing line up, but I think I’m going to save it for a different post.   Stay tuned.   You will know soon.