It’s been a week since my half… so, what now?

I sit here in my sweaty running clothes as I contemplate this exact question, and what time I should cook dinner.

I still can’t believe that it’s been a whole week since I’ve ran and completed my half marathon, even more amazed at the fact that the past week just literally flew by! Tomorrow’s already Monday, not exactly looking forward to the work week to come. Blah.

I had a really chill weekend. I had dim sum yesterday with some friends, and then shopped for a friend’s birthday gift afterwards. After that, I went home and binged on some DATELINE (one of my new addictions) and gummy worms. I managed to get a 5k in the morning, but whew was I tired! A whole week of not running always gets me. But as tired as I was, it was good to be back. I just can’t sit still for too long. I’m happy that I’m at the point where I just have to be active somewhat. I don’t know how I never exercised before; now, I can’t imagine ever not!

Today, I finally got around to clearing my closet and getting rid of a LOT of clothes and shoes. I dumped them all at the Goodwill, where someone would get more use out of my old Hollister sweats and sweaters. My boyfriend and I are moving to our new place in two weeks, so I thought it’d be best to start getting rid of stuff that we don’t need! The clothes were just the start. I’m just anxious to move! Thinking about dismantling our bed frame and hauling the fish tank and such just makes me – UGH. I hate moving, but I’m excited to move to a beautiful new apartment with complete amenities and that beautiful gym and heated pool.. sigh. I swear, I’m telling myself, this will be home for a WHILE. I do not want to move again next year. 

After binge watching another new addiction (since the most current season is on Hulu) – America’s Next Top Model – I decided to go for a quick run. I did the high intensity interval training workout that I LOVE from a Runner’s World article (found here if you’re interested!).

Right now, I’m itching to do some more shorter races, but I want to focus more on speed. Let’s face it: half marathon training really slowed me down. Before upping the miles, my 5k pace per mile times were starting to average around 8:50s – now, they’ve climbed back up to 10:00+ per mile. Pretty much, just when I was getting faster, I got slower, the benefit being me being able to run a LOT more. Since I’ve completed my half, I want to try and focus on a new goal and work on bettering my 5k times.. or even my 10k times. In truth, I haven’t done any 10k races at all just yet!

I’ve already been checking out two races in late November. As much as I want to do a race sooner, I can’t, because I’ll be doing some moving for the first two weekends next month. I want to do another 5k for sure, but I also want to do a 10k. We’ll see what my budget holds.

Any recommendations on how to build on speed? Particularly short distances? I don’t want to keep relying on HIIT – if anyone has any methods or training plans, please let me know! I’d love to give them a try. 🙂

Well, I should get started on dinner. Going to be making some pasta tonight!

Till next time,

P.

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Nike Women’s Half Marathon 2014 | San Francisco / PART TWO: THE RACE!

I awoke early the morning of the race – I had set my alarm at 4:00 am so I had enough time to get ready, eat breakfast, and drive to downtown from the East Bay with my stepdad. Thanks to a sudden urge to go to the bathroom, I realized it was already 3:45 am – might as well get up then. I turned on the TV and Zenon: The Zequel was on. Hello, childhood! I had it play in the background as I got ready. My parents woke up shortly too, and we all had a quick breakfast: I just had a dinner roll with peanut butter and coffee. My stepdad and I would go to the city first; my sister, the kids, my brother and his family, and my mom would follow later on.

My stepdad and I got to downtown pretty early – at around 5:30, to be exact! I had a lot of time on my hands, so I took my time getting to my corral and grabbed a Gatorade at a corner store. There were already a lot of runners there! With all the spare time, I made sure to use the porta potties TWICE before the race started.

Thank you, fellow runner, for agreeing to take this photo of me!
Thank you, fellow runner, for agreeing to take this photo of me!
All the people in my corral!
All the people in my corral!

I was in my corral for about an hour. Yes, an hour. The race started at 6:30 with the first wave of runners. There was loud music blasting from speakers all around, instructors on a stage at the front of each corral showing us stretches, and a bunch of dancing lights. The energy was definitely there – but by the time it was 7am, I was just about over it all. I was just so anxious to start! Finally, my corral – the third wave – was on it’s way to the starting line. Daylight had already broken by the time we got to start!

Here we go!
Here we go!

There were TONS of runners. Like the start of any race, people get bunched up. But in this case, people were bunched up the whole way. Not that there wasn’t any room to run, I had just never been in a huge race so this was all new to me!

I kept my pace steady, and had my phone off so I didn’t see how much I had left to go, what time it was, etc. I really lost track of time during this race, and it was nice to just focus on my surroundings and actually doing the run. I didn’t want to fuss with speed of any sort, especially since my foot was still hurting a bit. I had it wrapped up in athletic tape to keep it stable.

We roamed around the city and before I knew it, we were at Golden Gate Park by mile 4. It was really crazy how fast time went; it was also really foggy throughout, so it even added more to the sense of losing track of time.

At almost every mile mark, there was something there: a live band, cheerleaders cheering, a DJ, a vast amount of volunteers passing out water, fruit, and various types snacks ranging from Luna bars to chocolate bars!. There literally was something going on throughout this whole race. It was GREAT! The energy was positive throughout, everyone was happy.. it was just great!

All that fog! My kind of weather!
All that fog! My kind of weather!

At around mile 7, a pace maker had caught up to me for a goal of finishing at 2:40. I thought I was in pretty good standing, because I thought I was going much slower when I actually wasn’t: I was still within my goal! I passed the pacemaker afterward and used seeing her as a way to keep myself in check. After all, I still wanted to finish at a good time!

Well, hello there!
Well, hello there!

BUT THINGS CHANGED AT MILE 10. My goodness. This hill was brutal. The fog just kept concealing how much higher we had to go. It was dreadful, but I managed to keep running – even though I ran as slow as a turtle! Many others walked this part as well.

"Goodbye, pacemaker," I said as she trotted up the hill with ease.
“Goodbye, pacemaker,” I said as she trotted up the hill with ease.

Mile 10 was definitely the hardest part of the whole race. It was literally almost a mile of continuous, arduous, uphill.

And then Nike had the nerve to post this sign at the top:

What hill?! THIS HILL!
What hill?! ONLY THE MOST DIFFICULT THING I HAVE EVER HAD TO DO THUS FAR IN MY WHOLE RUNNING CAREER – jk, what career? :p

After mile 10, the race got surprisingly easy. It suddenly went all downhill, and before I knew it, I was at mile 12 – just one mile left to go! My boyfriend, who was tracking me online throughout the whole race, had sent me encouraging text messages that I got to glance at as I pressed on.

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Yay, mile 12!
Yay, mile 12!

You know how they say the first and last mile are the hardest? Yep. Couldn’t be any more truer. I anticipated seeing the mile 13 marker and it honestly felt like forever. When the crowds started gathering more and more, I knew I was within the finish. I eventually saw the pink flag waving “Mile 13”, took a sharp turn, and zoomed straight for the finish. Those interval trainings paid off, because I flew from there on.

And boom! I was done!!!

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After I crossed the finish line, all of us just kept walking forward and we were greeted by more volunteers handing out finishers goodies, including a beautiful black and blue water bottle (filled with water, too!), a reusable finisher’s tote bag from Whole Foods filled with FOOD, some chocolate milk, and a heating blanket! At the very end, before we left the finish line area, were booths that were like security checkpoints at airports. Here, volunteers were passing out the beautiful, little blue box that most of us ran our butts off for.

My stats, according to my RunKeeper. My official time was 2:42:22!
My stats, according to my RunKeeper. My official time was 2:42:22!

Through the sea of runners and their families, I finally found my own, and we took countless photos as I was greeted with hugs and kisses and congratulations. I was really happy that my family was able to be a part of this – they were one of the main reasons I really wanted to run San Francisco!

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After that, the celebrations pretty much continued. My family and I met up with more family and went to eat at a Filipino restaurant to celebrate both my sister-in-law and my stepdad’s birthdays, in addition to my finish. It was just a wonderful feeling, to be surrounded by those I loved, and got to finish a race that I have been training hard for the last three months for, not to mention a race that I’ve been wanting to do for the longest time!

My official time was 2:42:22 – my boyfriend had sent over my stats as he saw it online. I was really happy with my results – with all running, no stopping / walking, and some gnarly hills, I thought that I did well enough. I mean, since it was my first half marathon, I pretty much still PR’ed, right? 🙂

Since Sunday, I’ve been wearing my finisher’s necklace and just cannot stop admiring it. It’s just so pretty!

The front of the necklace! I love the design!
The front of the necklace! I love the design!
The back!
The back!

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And so ends my Nike Women’s Half Marathon journey – 265.1 miles later. I’ve learned and endured a great deal through it, and only now do I understand how people can get addicted to running half-marathons.

Because now, I’m already looking up my next one! Preferably, a flat course, this time. 😉

I’ve decided to take a couple of days off and just recuperate not just from my run, but from my busy weekend. I just had a lot to do, and traveling always takes a toll on me. I am getting antsy, and might just go for a nice, short 4 miles this weekend.

But for the meantime, it’s on to the next one.

Till next time,

P.

Nike Women’s Half Marathon 2014 | San Francisco / PART ONE: THE EXPO

Last Sunday, I accomplished my first ever half marathon! After three long months, over 250 miles logged, which even brought the start of this very blog, I had ran and finished the very race I was set out to do. And I cannot believe it’s OVER!

Let’s start from the very beginning.

It was a very eventful weekend. On Saturday, my sister, her kids, and I drove to the East Bay to pick up our Mom. We were on our way to San Francisco to attend to my cousin’s birthday celebration – and of course, to pick up my race packet. We had an early morning start, and by noon, we already had our Mom with us and were already on the way to the city. We decided that it would be better to go to my cousin’s party first, then head to Union Square later before heading home. After having some much needed bonding (and eating) time with my family, it was time to head to downtown to quickly get my things before the expo closed.

We were pretty much stuck in traffic, being that it was already around rush hour. Once we got to downtown, my sister and I thought it was a better idea for them to go ahead and find parking, and for me to just walk to Union Square because it would be quicker that way. I hopped out the car and I went off. It felt good to walk in my city – my home. I rushed over to the expo as more and more people kept gathering at the crosswalk, the closer I got.

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The expo was inside a HUGE Tiffany blue tent. There were volunteers and fellow runners everywhere, rummaging to get in line according to bib number to get inside the expo. As many people as there were around me, getting my packet was pretty much a breeze. After getting in my designated line, a volunteer took me over to the main line inside. I simply provided my name, ID, and confirmation number and my goodies were quickly handed over. Yay!

I didn’t realize that it would be so quick. My sister had given me a call and let me know they found parking, but they would just stay in the car and wait for me, meaning that I didn’t have much time to explore. I quickly went through the expo and got a free bracelet (a different color according to the miles I’ve racked) and saw a bunch of other highlights: there was an area where you can measure your gait, a place to grab some race gear, an area to get your hair braided (I was sad I didn’t have time for this!), two huge walls for you to write a message at, a wall to take pictures in.. There was so much to do, but I had so little time!

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On my way out, I passed the stage. Luckily, I didn’t miss who the speaker was and saw that it was the Olympian, Shawn Johnson herself! I listened to her Q&A for a bit and headed on out. Still, it was so inspiring to see her, even better knowing that she would be out there with us running as well!

Shawn Johnson!
Shawn Johnson!

On my way out, I took a photo of this awesome sign!

I had to snap this photo really quick; people were actually in a LINE to take a photo with this thing!
I had to snap this photo really quick; people were actually in a LINE to take a photo with this thing!

I was sad that I didn’t get a photo anywhere near any of the signs – I was too rushed, and there were too many people around me. I didn’t even get to find my name in the wall with everyone else’s (that was running this year) name on it! Eh well. Next time. I headed to the parking lot where my family was and only there did I take a good look at what I received. I actually didn’t get to take a photo of all the goodies, but the goodie bag consisted of:

  • A generous amount of gel
  • A Peppermint Luna Bar
  • A bag of trail mix
  • A generous sample of Paul Mitchell’s dry shampoo
  • A generous sample of Neutrogena sunscreen
  • A $20 gift card to Nike.com (HELL YEAH! There’s $20 off my registration.. ha)
  • A logo tech tank top
  • My race bib – 11331, baby!
  • My pace bracelet for my corral
  • Some coupons
  • Four safety pins – you can never have enough safety pins

I was pretty pleased with the goodies, and I LOVED the tank! I already had a Tiffany blue long sleeve especially for the race, so I didn’t plan on wearing the tank just yet. Gotta keep it crisp…

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And with the fluttering in my tummy, I went to bed at 9:30 pm that night, and slept a good night’s sleep. My whole family went to bed early as well – after all, it was going to be a super busy morning!

Spending time with family… and a possible stress fracture.

I arrived in Northern California yesterday afternoon. My dad had picked me up at the airport along with my nephew, and we ended up getting some Boiling Crab before heading home by my sister’s request. Ah yes, the start of good eating once being back home.

Today is my Dad’s birthday, and my sister and I took him out for lunch at Sizzler. Honestly, Sizzler is one of the only chain restaurants in which I think they actually have good steak. Anyway, the rest of things to do on our agenda today is to just relax, spend some time at home, and watch some movies after dinner. Probably the best thing to do, because this weekend is going to involve even more driving.

The dull feeling on the top of my right foot still persists, and I decided to look up what it possibly meant. A pinched nerve? A bruise? Maybe. I felt the top of my foot, and felt a slight bump; my left foot didn’t have one. It didn’t hurt, though – maybe it wasn’t a bruise. Now, I’m worried. I looked up my symptoms further, and further read that what I have is a possible stress fracture on one of my metatarsals.

Great.

I thought back to last Sunday, and I know that my right foot did hit the curb. Could that have been what caused it? Then again, my right foot had been having issues these past couple of weeks anyway, especially after my long runs. Ugg. I really cannot believe that all of this is happening right before my half. While I’m not too sure of what exactly is wrong with my foot just yet, I do know that after this half, I need a break.. and a visit to a podiatrist.

Now, the emphasis is just for me to finish this half. I don’t even mind the time anymore. Then again, I should’ve not minded the time to begin with. Distance, distance, distance. That’s it. Just finish. That’s what I trained for. That’s what I’ll try to do.

Tomorrow I’ll be heading to San Francisco and finally picking up my race goodies! Super excited about that, at least!

Now, to plan how my family and I will be getting to the city on Sunday…

Till next time,

P.

A short, beautiful evening run, and some shopping! (Half Marathon Training Day 109)

I woke up feeling really groggy today, so I missed my morning run and slept in a little longer. I felt groggy all day during work, and even right now, I still feel groggy. However, I did manage to get a quick run from work to the park and back – just a little over 2.5 miles.

I haven’t ran since Sunday when I fell, and during my run today I felt some slight discomfort in my right foot. I know that my left knee was the main point of impact, but my right foot was the one that hit the curb first. My foot isn’t bruised, but after today’s quick run, I feel like I did sprain it a bit. I’m a little worried, and I hope that it’s healed up by Sunday. For now, I’m going to do some stretches and massaging.. even icing, if that will help. I just feel like there’s a sort of air bubble in my foot – I think that’s the best way to describe it.

My flight is tomorrow, and I haven’t even packed yet! Luckily, I have all morning to pack. I also managed to get a new running top for Sunday – a color very close to Tiffany blue! 🙂

Overall, I’m happy today is pretty much my Friday, although I will still be checking emails for work for the rest of the week. I’m also really excited to get some time with my family! There’s so many birthday celebrations to attend to this weekend, with one each day leading up to my race! Phew. I can already tell that this weekend is definitely going to tire me out!

Till next time,

P.

Bruised knees and a cracked iPhone screen: the misadventures of my last Sunday training! (Half-Marathon Training Day 106)

Today’s run was pretty eventful, let’s just start off.

I decided to follow my RunKeeper training plan for today instead of an 8-miler; I figured I should follow the plan for the last week, at least. I had to run 5 miles, then slow and fast intervals afterwards.

It was really cold when I woke up this morning and had the window open. I peeked out and saw that it was really foggy outside – something that rarely happens in my part of town.

I got ready and was out the door by 7:30. It looked REALLY eerie because I only realized just how dense the fog was! And I was playing Tove Lo’s album, and one of the songs had some sort of alarm in the background – eerily similar to that alarm from Silent Hill. Eek! I was a bit freaked out. Really. It looked empty outside, and it was super quiet, and I could only see cars when they were just approaching me.

Just look at that fog! There were actually a lot of cars around too. Most of them just driving past me, eventually disappearing into the fog.
Just look at that fog! IMG_7354

There were actually a lot of cars around too. Most of them just driving past me, eventually disappearing into the fog.

As creepy as the start of my run began, once I turned a street, the sun started shining, and eventually the fog lifted.. Thank goodness. I actually had to take out one earphone out of my hear just in case a car just sped right on through while I was crossing the street.

Funny enough as it is, the fog had nothing to do with what happened next: at about 2 miles into my run, I fell. On my knees and flat on the sidewalk. Hard.

I was running on the side of the road – and I prefer it to the sidewalk, because it’s actually even – but once parked cars started getting in the way, I ran sideways toward the sidewalk yet again. I guess I didn’t take a big enough step, because before I knew it, I tripped. You know that helplessness you feel when you fall? Yep.

So I fell flat on the sidewalk, my left hand with my iPhone in my Race Case; I heard the scratching. I knew my iPhone was damaged. Since I used my left hand to break my fall, my phone pretty much got scuffed on the side, with one crack right across the screen. Honestly, at the time it was the least of my worries. I got up, quickly made sure I was okay, and kept running.

A sane person might’ve stopped and turned back home… but this was my last Sunday of training. I had to finish my last Sunday of training, haha. Dedicated? Maybe a little crazy? I’ll take it.

The rest of my run went okay, and surprisingly, I felt good. I maintained my pace at around 11:20 the whole way. However, I did feel my knees burning as well as my hands. I would check on my legs at stoplights and only saw a couple scratches. I thought I was okay.

When I got home and did my stretches, only then did the adrenaline wear out and I saw just how badly my knees looked: they were purple. I iced them immediately and elevated them. I took some anti-inflammatory medicine afterwards to help ease the swelling. Right now, they feel much better, but my left knee is really bruised up.

However, other than the bruising, my legs are fine. No sprains of any sort, thank goodness. For the rest of the week, I plan on taking it easy anyway, and icing my knees when I have the chance.

Yep. Ouch.
Yep. Ouch.

Anyway, I am still in disbelief that the half is in exactly one week. I’ve been planning with my family where to meet this weekend and etc… it’s just crazy! I have no idea how I’ll be getting any sleep the night before. Earlier this morning, Nike released a time-lapse video of the entire course and I just am so juiced! The hills don’t look too bad at all! 😀

Well, I hope everyone’s had a safer Sunday on the road than I did today. 🙂

Till next time,

P.

I am almost there, I am at the in-between.

I don’t even know how to describe exactly how I feel right now.

Not that I feel anything negative, of course not. I’m as peppy as can be (especially since it’s almost the weekend again – YES!), but I guess I’m more nervous because my half marathon is coming up.. and fast! On Monday, I received an email with my information regarding bib pickup at the Expotique in downtown San Francisco… Like I said, fast.

I’m feeling excited: I can envision grabbing the Tiffany box from a handsome firefighter and taking endless photos of my sweet victory as I clutch the blue boxed beauty tightly in my hand.

And then I feel dread: what if something happens while I’m running? What if I run much slower than I trained for? What if I have to use to port-a-potty a lot, AND wait in line for a long time? What if I trip? What if I sprain my ankle?! WHAT IF I GET SICK? i better not sit next to anyone on the plane that has a cold. Blah. Just so, so many thoughts.

And then I feel anxious: I just want to start it, do it, and be done with it.

Other thoughts:

Negative splits, FTW. Take it easy. I should buy a whole new running outfit just for this race – perhaps something blue. I need to watch what I eat the night before. I need to get a good night’s rest before. I need to make it on time. I CANNOT BE LATE.

My mind has just been clouded with so many emotions, that the only thing I know that will help me feel better is to go for a run.

I did a short 5k yesterday morning because I didn’t want to rush getting ready before work. I enjoyed the extra time, making myself a cup of coffee and some eggs before getting changed. Tomorrow, I plan on doing 4 miles. 5 on Saturday (OR go on the elliptical), and 8 on Sunday.

My training schedule for next week is really lax. There’s a 5k I think on Tuesday, and a 15 min. run on Friday or Saturday before the race, to get my blood moving. I’ve already been discussing with my sister how we’re going to get to the Expotique, and all the things we’re going to check out while we’re there.

Sigh.

I just need to chill.

Because now, I’m starting to feel like I’m getting sick. :X