Friday, December 6, 2013

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

I just wanted to thank all of my friends and family who supported me as I trained for and ran two marathons in three weeks! With your help I raised $1703 for the Diabetes Hands Foundation.

Your love and support continues to amaze me and inspire me. I could not achieve any of my goals without your love.

I've made a short video to show you my experience!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Running My Little Legs Off

First of all, I want everyone to know I am NOT crazy! I didn't mean to sign up for 2 marathons in 3 weeks. After the Boston bombings in April I felt like I really wanted to run a marathon to show all those who would want us to hide in fear that they cannot stop our love of running, cannot stop our desire to come together, cannot stop our need to make this world a better place. So I signed up for the Budapest Marathon with the intention of running it in support of a cause.

A month later I got an email saying: Congratulations, you have been accepted to the NYC Marathon! (and your credit card has already been charged!) Well I wasn't going to pay for a race and not do I ended up with a training schedule that had me running the Budapest Marathon as my last long run for the NYC Marathon.

I was a little nervous about doing two 26.2 mile races so close to each other, but my friend Zara did two marathons last year in one week, so I figured I could do 2 in three weeks! (Of course she did not look very happy during the second one...but she did it and that's what's important!)

So I began my 84 days of training. I began to track my progress on instagram using the hashtag #84daystonycmarathon (which I realize now might have been confusing because people thought each time I used it I still had 84 days left until the NYC Marathon...but it was really describing the number of days I was taking to train for the race).

This was day 19: 4 mile run and core

So day 63 of my training finally arrived, which was October 13, or the day I had to run the Budapest Marathon. We had arrived in Budapest 4 days earlier and I had unfortunately come down with a bad cold. I was coughing and sneezing. I felt weak and I was being pretty crabby. I was also really worried about the race. The Budapest Marathon only allows you five and a half hours to complete the race. I had create a pace band for where I needed to be at each 5K and I was pretty confident about being able to complete it on time. But then I got sick and I read the race brochure and it turns out they had 6 different cutoff times and these times were actually faster than they should have been if you divided the five and a half hours evenly. After some crying and feeling sorry for myself and considering just running the 30K (about 18 miles), I decided I would just suck it up and do the best I could. I was going to run as fast as my little legs would take me!

A big motivator for helping me commit to the full 42.2K (26.2 miles for those of my metrically challenged friends) was that I had been fundraising for the Diabetes Hands Foundation by telling all my friends and family I was running 2 marathons in 3 weeks. So many people were supporting me because I had taken on that challenge, so I had to do it. I at least had to try my hardest. The night before George also decided to help me out by running the whole thing with me to pace me to make sure I made all the cutoffs. (See, I'm not the crazy one...I'm not the one who decides to run a marathon the night before and then does it like it was nothing!)

So with George's help, and all the support of my friends and family at home I ran the marathon and finished with 14 minutes to spare!

Day 63 of training! I was all smiles once we were done!
I had run my little legs off and the next two weeks I couldn't believe I had to run another marathon on November 3! The weekend after the marathon I was supposed to run 14 miles (according to my training schedule) but I could basically only manage 4 miles a day for the following 2 weeks! I have to say I was getting a little nervous.

Luckily last Friday my legs finally started to feel better. I ran 7 miles on Friday and 7.5 miles on Saturday. My back was a little tight and I could tell my body was probably a little mad at me for pushing it so hard so soon after it had just seen  me through an entire marathon...but again I couldn't give up. I still haven't reached my goal of raising $1500 for the Diabetes Hands Foundation, and even if I had, everyone donated to me because I had committed to running these two races, not one of them, so I have to keep going.

I fly to New York on Thursday. I'll check in at the expo on Friday, eat lots of pasta on Saturday and then get up Sunday morning, take the subway to the ferry to Staten Island and at 10:55 am start another 26.2 mile run. I'm excited and I'm nervous, but mostly I am determined, determined to do this no matter how much it hurts because it's so important to me to help raise diabetes awareness and help create a world where no one with diabetes ever feels alone.

If you haven't donated yet and want to help support an amazing foundation please make a donation today!

(Or just click on the widget above).

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Five Things I Learned at the Vineman Aquabike

Five Things I Learned at the Vineman Aquabike:

1. An Aquabike is no joke. Just because you aren't running a marathon at the end of the race, doesn't mean you should slack off all season long. Knowing that all I had to do was swim 2.4 miles and then bike 112 miles kind of led me to slack off a lot in the last 10 months. Don't get me wrong, I still worked out. I biked with my friends on Tuesdays, and ran on Wednesdays, and I did all the long bike rides and runs with the team on the weekends, but I hardly ever looked at the schedule, and just kind of did whatever I wanted. Bad idea! By mile 90 I began to feel weak and nauseous. I felt I needed more calories but I didn't want to consume anything. By mile 95 (the last water stop) I was in tears. The volunteers were very concerned and encouraging, and promised I would be able to make it up Chalk Hill. I did make it up, but spent the last hour of the ride in tears.

I don't know if you can tell...but under the glasses I was still crying after I finished. 
2. Sometimes you just need a hug. When I was done, I was still crying. I think it was just so hard and I had been so scared I wasn't going to be able to finish that I was super emotional and I needed to release it all. After crossing the finish line I walked down the shoot and saw Dennis, our team manager, who saw I was crying and just hugged me for several minutes. It helped me realize I was done and that I never had to do anything like this again if I don't want to.

3. It's so important to have a cause. At mile 95 when I was sitting at the last water stop dreading going up Chalk Hill, I thought about how my body just wanted it to all be over. But my mind knew that I had signed up for this event to raise money for cancer research and so many people had believed in me and donated to me and I couldn't give up until I crossed that finish line. They believed in me, so I had to believe in myself. I don't know if I could have finished on my own, but I made myself finish for all those who had supported me and believed in me.

4. 10 years of summer swim team do eventually pay off. As you can tell, this wasn't the easiest race for me, and I hadn't trained the way I should have. But thank goodness for all those summer mornings I had to wake up and swim for an hour and half before it had warmed up. Two weeks before Vineman I realized I hadn't been swimming much, so I better try to practice a little. I spent 3 days a week (for two weeks) swimming in the pool and in open water. After that I was able to swim 2.4 miles in 1 hour and 11 minutes! There is no way that I would have been able to slack off so much and still swim that fast if it hadn't been engrained in me as a kid. Lucky me! Now I just need to make sure I do all the biking and running training that I need to do before my next race.

I was really happy with this part of the race. Maybe I should just join a masters swim team.

5. Endurance events are NOT and individual sport. Yes, they say it's an individual sporting event. But there is no way I could have ever done this without the support of my friends and family and boyfriend. Even though I wasn't in the best shape, I was obviously in good enough shape to finish the race, and I owe that to Jasmine and George. Both of whom wouldn't let me give up on my hardest training rides this year. I would have cut all of my century rides short this year if it hadn't been for Jasmine slowing down to stay with me to make sure I didn't cheat and go home early. And George wouldn't let me sit and wait for him at the gas station during our 65 mile ride that had more than 5,500 feet of climbing. I wanted to give up all those times, but George and Jasmine wouldn't let me...because of them on race day when I wanted to give up, I knew that I could keep going. They were with me in spirit telling me to suck it up and finish.
Mile 10 of our first century of the season: Primavera. Look at my fake smile. I already wanted to give up, but they wouldn't let me! Thank you both so much!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Louie Tri

Every year Team in Training’s Iron Team organizes an Olympic distance triathlon in honor of Louie Bonpua. Louie is one of our team’s honorees, who lost his fight with Leukemia in 2002, but not before he had completed Ironman Canada with Team in Training. This year, in his honor,we went down to Monterey to do Louie’s first tri: Pacific Grove. The day was overcast and cold, the water looked menacing and was full of kelp. I really didn’t want to get in the water. But I thought, so many people suffering from cancer would do anything to be able to have this opportunity. So I jumped in the freezing cold water and swam for 30 minutes.

When I first got in, I was freezing! I couldn't breathe. I'd try to put my face in the water to swim, and it would take my breathe away. I kind of freaked out, and turned on to my back and did back stroke for a while. I thought 'this is what is must feel like if you don't know how to swim'. It was so scary!  But luckily I warmed up after a bit and by the second and third lap around the buoys I was feeling good. 

Once we got out of the water we had to do four out and backs on a road that ran along the coast. I don't really like doing the same thing over and over again, but it was a beautiful ride and I kept getting to see all of my teammates.

Once I was done with the ride, it was off to the run. Of course I had to stop by the potty...because I know there are people out there who will pee on themselves during a triathlon to save time, and although I once considered this idea, I have come to the conclusion that I am not one of those people.

The run was three out and backs. My back was sore, and I kept thinking, is that where my kidneys are? Are my kidneys ok? I really wanted to walk, but it was only a 10K, that's just 6.2 miles and I knew I could run 6.2 miles without I did. Well...if you can call jogging at 12 miles an hour running.

At the end my friend Nic caught up to me for a photo finish!

It was a great day. I remember when I first started training with Team in Training 3 years ago, and I spent 3 months training for my first Olympic distance triathlon. Now the same distance is just a fun training day. It makes me thankful for my health, and my friends, and Team in Training. It also reminds me how powerful every single one of us can be if we just choose to stick with something.

And the best part (besides raising money and awareness for cancer research, which is really the best part) was that we got to have an incredible seafood meal when it was all over!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Where Does Motivation Go?

Iron Team started about 2 months ago, and after wanting to run the Honolulu marathon, and then the Paris marathon, I finally decided I would fundraise for Ironman California 70.3 with Iron Team (a half Ironman which will take place in Oceanside, CA on March 30).

So I transfered my fundraising money, and signed up, and then, well, then I didn't do much. I'd workout once in a while. I'd go to the team workouts once every couple of weeks. I was busy with Thanksgiving and Christmas, busy with work, and not feeling that great and really not feeling motivated.

In fact I thought that I had lost my motivation. But where would it have gone? Was it hiding in the pizza boxes filing up my recycling bin? Or maybe it was lurking around in the early mornings that I had started to sleep through as much as possible.

Maybe I had just used up all the motivation I had. Since training for my first Olympic distance triathlon with Team in Training in 2010, I'd done 6 century rides, 5 Half Ironmans, 2 marathons, 2 Ironmans and fundraised over $16,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  I thought that maybe everyone just has a finite amount of motivation, and once you use it up, it's gone.

Was my motivation all used up? Was it hiding somewhere? Could I ever find it or get it back?  I sat for a while and thought about it. If my motivation was lost, where would it have gone? Where could I find it? What did I use to do?

And it came to me: my motivation could be anywhere. At times I've been motivated to go and see my friends and workout with them, at other times, I am just on a mission to follow the training schedule, I just do whatever it says to do. Other times I've been motivated because I know that people have donated money to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society because I asked them to believe in me. Motivation doesn't come from one thing. It comes from my desire to help others, my desire to help myself, my desire to have fun. I was looking for something I thought I had lost, but I realized I still have all those things. My friends and family still believe in me, I still want to be healthy and happy, and I still have that training schedule I can get out and start following. It's all right here with me. Now I just have to get out there and do it!

Where do you find your motivation?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Iron Embo's California Voter's Guide

I'm pretty sure most people know who they are voting for for president, and for those of you who are still undecided, I figure there is enough info out there for you to make a good choice (Obama of course).

But I was talking with my dad this morning about the California propositions, and I realized there are some sneaky ones out there. So for those of you who have a liberal leaning in politics, but might be too busy to look in to the issues yourself, I've come up with a nice short voter's guide for California voters.

1. Prop 30: YES
Why: Tax the rich to support our schools? Yeah, I'm down with that.

2. Prop 31: NO
Why: It adds bureaucracy and adds layers of restrictions and poorly defined requirements and leaves key decisions up to unelected bureaucrats. Plus my dad is voting NO, and he's pretty awesome.

3. Prop 32: NO
Why: Let's see, campaign finance reform that was written by billionaires to make sure they, themselves are excluded from it? I think not!

4. Prop 33: NO
Why: it's another deceptive insurance company trick to raise auto insurance rates for millions of responsible drivers in California. And they tried to be sneaky and make it seem like we are voting for discounts. (Mercury Insurance's billionaire chairman George Joseph has spent $8 million to fund this prop. When was the last time an insurance company billionaire spent a fortune to save you money?)

5. Prop 34: YES
Why: My religious and ethical feelings and beliefs aside (I don't believe any one has the right to take away another person's life) there are two major flaws with the death penalty: 1. It costs more to put a prisoner to death than it does to keep them in prison with no possibility of parole, so it would save the state money. 2. There are always cases where a person condemned could possibly be the wrong person, and then you would have killed an innocent person.

6. Prop 35: YES
Why: I think human traffickers should receive increased prison sentences and fines. We need to take a stand and show that this is unacceptable!

7. Prop 36: YES
Why: Because it will save the state money, and I don't think a person who has only committed non-violent crimes should be condemned to life in prison. We need to save those spaces for violent criminals. Yes, I've been a victim of a non-violent crime. My car was stolen, and it sucked! But if the kids (I don't know if they were kids, but it seemed like a prank a kid would play) had been caught and it was their third non-violent felony, I really don't think they should have gone to prison for life for stealing my 1997 Saturn Coup.

8. Prop 37: YES
Why: I'd like to know if my food is genetically engineered or not. Plus, even though there may be flaws with this proposition, we have to start somewhere. And I'm sorry, but Monsanto is funding every single No on Prop 37 commercial I have seen. If Monsanto doesn't want this, then I definitely do!

9. Prop 38: NO
Why: It taxes people who only make $17,346 a year to fund schools. It is a massive income tax hike for the middle class, your rates could go up by as much as 21% over twelve years. When Prop 30 is also being voted on to tax the rich to fund schools, I don't think we need to have this tax as well.

10. Prop 39: YES
Why: It requires that all corporations doing business in California pay taxes determined by their sales here, no matter where they are based. If they are getting the opportunity to use our incredibly large consumer market here in California, I think they should also be paying their fair share of taxes back to the citizens in the state who are buying their goods.

11. Prop 40: YES
Why: Seems like even those opposed to this proposition are no longer opposed to it, so why should I be?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

10 Things I Learned at the Chicago Marathon

1. Don't ever trust George and I made reservations with them months ago for a one bedroom apartment, and the place canceled our reservations the day before! (I had confirmed on Wednesday, and they canceled them on Friday). wouldn't help us at all!

2. Be patient and kind and persistent and good things will come to you: After 3 hours on the phone ,with the place that canceled our reservations, George got us very nice one bedroom at the Courtyard Marriott, which was on the race course.

3. If you are going to Chicago in October, be prepared to run in COLD weather: Otherwise you might be forced to buy a cute penguin hat to keep your ears warm, but all your friends might think that you are wearing a fried egg on your head.

4. Marathons freakin' hurt! I thought since I had trained for this one, actually trained and followed a marathon schedule, that this would be a nice long jog. Well by mile 13 I had to switch from running 9 minutes/walking 1 minute to running 4 minutes/walking 1 minute, and my legs started to feel like a jack hammer was hitting them. Or actually, like they were jack hammers hitting the pavement really hard, over, and over, and over again.

5. Counting down makes things easier: At the half way point, I told myself: "Hey, I just have 13 more miles to run. I can do that. I've totally run 13 miles before!" At 14 miles I told myself: "I just have 12 more miles to run! I can do that, I've run 12 miles before!" At 15 miles I told myself: "I just have 11 more miles to run I can do that! I've totally run 11 miles before"...and so on. You get the point. Basically I had to keep telling myself over, and over that I could do it. I'd done it before and I was going to do it again!

6. Don't kid yourself: if you can't run for 10 minutes at mile 15, then you aren't going to be able to run 10 minutes at the end of the race either. At mile 20, I started thinking: "Wow, just 6 more miles left, if I was running 10 minute miles then I would be done in an hour" (BTW, I was NOT running 10 minute miles, but whatever). I thought: "I can just run it in, no more walking breaks!" Ha! That lasted until the next 4 minutes when my watch beeped, and I decided that maybe I would stick with the run/walk until mile 23. At mile 23, I knew I could just run it in. I mean, it would take me only 30 minutes if I was going 10 miles per hour (which again, I wasn't). But again, the first time my watched beeped after I had passed mile 23, I stopped to walk. I thought: "Well, 3 miles is a little long, but I will definitely run in the last 2 miles." Let's just say, I did run in the last .2 miles, and running down that finish line shoot is quite amazing!

7. I am actually an ultra-marathoner: No need to sign up for the ultra team next year. I did an ultra last Sunday. First we had to walk 1.75 miles to the starting line. Then we ran 26.2 miles. Then it was .5 miles just to walk down the finisher's shoot to get our medals. Then we had to walk 1.25 miles back to the hotel. Then we had to walk 1.4 miles to get to dinner and back. So my little legs took me 31 miles on Sunday, and that's an ultra marathon!

8. Nothing Beats Zachary's! I love Zachary's, but I thought being in Chicago, I would experience the true Chicago deep dish pizza and be blown away. But what I learned was that nothing beats Zachary's. In fact the pizza in Chicago didn't even come close! I didn't even want to eat the leftovers for breakfast!

9. Friends and family support is so important: Knowing that my parents were out there on the course waiting for me to come by and cheer me on, and knowing that my friends were out there running with me, made my day!

10. And most importantly: It may not be a good idea to do something new on race day! So I thought it would be cute to wear my Jasmine Barranti underwear. You know, that way I could pretend she was running with me. Well, normally I don't wear underwear, and they started chafing at mile 2, and I had to spend the entire race sticking my hands down the front of my pants trying to readjust them, which wouldn't have been so bad, except that the streets were literally lined with spectators, so I had to do this directly in front of people staring at me and yelling at me to not give up, and keep going!

All in all, it was a great race, a great weekend, and a great vacation. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to run a marathon (or watch other crazy people run a marathon).