Half Marathon Realness

I’ve been saving a blog post for my experiences with my first half marathons. I wanted it to be inspiring, and very real. I was so fixated on being inspirational, but also had to balance my mental toughness to share. Weird? I don’t know why I put that pressure on myself for my blog posts. But after talking to my high school sweetheart, Derrick. He told me to just simply share your experience. Don’t lie. Be truthful. Be real.

So here it is folks. As you know I’ve been running thoughout 2015, while training with a personal trainer, getting down to a healthy weight, and stablizing a runners schedule. I’ve done 5Ks, 10Ks, and ended 2015 tapping into Half Marathons. Half Marathons are hard. It’s double the distance for a 10K. Pure intence training is definiety needed for Half Marathoners. My goal was to at least try a Half out, complete it, and cross that finish line. I did. But it was definietly tough. Mentally, and phyiscally.

Photos provided by the wonderful volunteer photographers of Brazen Racing

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This was my second Half Marathon I scheduled purposely short after Christmas Day. It was the ‘Almost New Years Eve Half’ hosted by my favorite Bay Area running community Brazing Racing. I’ve been running with them all year long, and will continue to do so with my children.

I love what Brazen Racing has created. Hosting races across the Bay Area in Northern California, catering to any running type. Fast or slow, the community of fellows runners is hands down very welcoming. Their mission of getting every possible person active and enjoying the outdoors. That spoke to me. Before my ‘JourneyTo 30‘ I was such in dark place, not knowing my calling, not having an outlet, a positive active recreational sport to enjoy. Something freeing. For my soul.

Check out more about Brazing Racing HERE.

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There was a point in my training, where I was getting bored of the 5Ks and 10Ks. I wasn’t the fastest. But that wasn’t my goal. The finishing numbers when I did try my best, was good enough for me as I typically would be top 10 within my age group. My trainer at the time highly suggested doing Half Marathons. So I signed up for 2 towards the end of 2015.

My first Half Marathon was a struggle. Read more about my experience HERE.

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I’d like to call myself still a beginner runner. Well, at least for Half Marathons.  Something to know, about this beginning journey is I’m doing all this by myself. Yes, I did have a personal trainer, but that was all for the good foundation of weight loss trimming, and toning my figure.

Overall, all my running has been done by myself. Running dates, happened very few times. It was usually, a casual morning jog around the lake with a girlfriend turned coffee date. I never had really anyone to push me, but myself. And that was a challenge. I told myself I could do it. 13.2 miles is nothing. Keep a steady pace. Train hard. Run everyday.

I’m not here to make excuses, about my not to par running schedule and training system. It’s only my, myself, and I to get my butt across the finish line. And that’s part of my JourneyTo30.

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The struggles of pushing yourself, getting up, and telling yourself you have to run. Something I’ve been telling myself is, “Even a bad run is better than no run at all.” I’m not here to compare peoples situations, but only myself on days I’m super lazy. There are crazy days where I am super motivated to run, other days, I don’t even feed my soul by running.

Throughout the autumn season, I felt like I was always motivated. But one thing I did fail at was learning to be disciplined. In order to achieve your goals in the gym, running, loosing weight, toning up, bulking up, learning a new language, a new skill, whatever that goal is…It’s all about disciplined. You can never be always motivated. It’s all about disciplining yourself, and having consistency.

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To many many runners, it’s not about the medal. It’s about the experience and journey. The medal is just a token and memorabilia of the event. To anyone out there, following my JourneyTo30, let’s stay on track. Starting something new is easy, but staying consistent is what differentiates successful from the average.

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It’s a process. It’s a process. It’s a process.

Change takes time.

I plan to crush is in 2016.

Goal set for Half Marathons 2.5 hours.

 

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First Half Marathon

Just two days after my Thanksgiving Nitro Trail run, I had my first ever first half marathon. After a 10K, without any major training besides the casual neighborhood runs one and twice a week, my body was already completely sore. Coming into a half marathon after my Thanksgiving run, being sore was a struggle. If I had the body 2 days ago on Thanksgiving besides running a 10K I would have preformed well, but that just wasn’t the case. This was a great example for myself to learn off of mistakes, hanging onto youth, and acquiring a sluggish, slow, stagnant routine what I thought would help me get through the race. I was so wrong, and it totally bit me in the ass.

The morning started calm and bright like any usual race day. Chilly, cold, windy, but always beautiful. The cold wind, is never really something to complain about on race days. Take a look at that morning sunrise. My half was held at Quarry Lakes. Basically my backyard. A flat terrain, trail perfect for beginner half marathoners, and runners. That’s a major reason why I signed up for this half. Flat and oh so local.

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I woke up the morning feeling terribly sore, and in discomfort. I knew had to complete this half marathon. As much as I was in pain, and was not in my 100% tip top shape, it was only myself to blame for my flat and lax attitude towards a hefty challenge. The 13.2 miles, was going to be a challenge  for me. I knew I gad  to complete it. Weather walking, light jogging, or running…Whatever my legs were capable of doing. My main goal was to finish. At the beginning of the start line (corral) I tried my best to stretch, warm up, and get my legs ready for the upcoming miles. A simple leg lift was difficult for me to accomplish. I knew I was in trouble.

As the gun went off, the light jog began. I knew I had to reserve my energy, and not only that — but gage exactly what my legs were able to do. The pain was horrible. Throbbing, stiff, IT bands hard, and just heavy. No sugar coating, but my mile 1 I was worried. The MC made an announcement before the gun went off, that at 10:45a if you are no wear near mile 9, you may just need to call it a day. I refused to there. I told myself, if its one thing, I need to finish this half marathon at a good time, under the 3.5/4 hour max point. There is no need to walk this whatsoever especially in my condition.

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Mile 8 arrived and I was still a bit worried. Typically, I never look at my phone while I run at races. I have my own mental clock, because I know a current pace I can withhold. But since my body was in a worry-some condition, and performing at my usual normal pace was such an unknown. I had to repeatedly take a look at my phone every 30mins or so. Thats about every 3.5 miles for myself.

At every Aid Station, I took advantage of the aid. I drank water, snacked on a few things, get in some sugar, and salty snacks. Just a nibble on one potato chip made my energy spike up just a tad. I knew I was going to finish. Not at my ultimate best time, but I knew I was going to finish. Every mile after mile 8 was such a struggle. The sun got hotter, the distance seemed longer. The turn around point was shortly after mile 8, and reaching mile 10 was torture. The race was extended to Alameda Creek Trail, with connects Fremont and Union City, and crosses along the 880 freeway. The turnaround was around the freeway underpass, and you’d have to make your way back to the Quarry Lake Regional Park. It felt so far during the time coming back to the regional park. At one point, I did feel like giving up, and going to my parents house. (They live quite close to Quarry Lakes, and was only a block away from one of the aid stations.) As tempting as it was, I didn’t. I needed to finish.

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About 3 hours since the gun, I crossed the finish line. In pain, but relief, I couldn’t believe I finish. A part of me felt like crying… I received my medals (medals because I completed both Thanksgiving runs hosted by Brazen Racing), and I downed a water, and ate as many orange slices as I could. I finished. I can’t believe I did it.  13.2 miles done. It wasn’t easy. It never really is. But I was disappointed. With myself, and careless, overconfident self. I spent about 30 minutes relaxing, on a bench reflecting on my performance, and also people watching.

 

Here are my (poor) results of my first half marathon. It kicked my ass. I didn’t really want to post this, being in embarrassment, but you know, this is a document, and memory of my performance. Good or bad, I this is my Journey To 30It’s life, and this is how life is. It throws you curve balls, and obstacles. God won’t throw you anything you can’t handle. I knew I was capable of this half marathon. Although, I approached it with a careless, casual, and lackadaisical way….I was able to finish it. I’ve learned from my mistake of taking training lightly, and now I know how to approach these half marathons.   

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Take a look at these results. I plan to improve. Drastically. This is a promise I’ll give to those readers who follow my JourneyTo30. And also a promise to myself. I have plans for 2016. And completing a Half Marathon isn’t one of them. It’s stabilizing my health and fitness regimen, and  immensely improving. I plan to crush is enter my 30’s. And just not in my 30’s……Forever on as I’m alive. To me, overly exceeding in being happy with yourself, including family and health is success. And….boy, oh boy, do I already feel rich in it. I’m only getting richer.

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My next half marathon is 2 days after Christmas. I’ve been training pretty hard. I don’t ever want to flatline, and fall into a sluggish mode during training ever.

Aim to improve. Everyday. And learn from your mistakes………….

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(Sorry for the split notes. Side tangents. And motivation “go-getter” attitude. It’s my mind telling me to type it for myself. And to re-read and engrain into my head. #GetIT)

Thanksgiving Runs

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While some may be preparing themselves for Thanksgiving, my main focus this week are my two upcoming Thanksgiving races!! Earlier this year I signed up for a back to back Thanksgiving runs –The Nitro Turkey, and Quarry Turkey hosted by Brazen Racing. As I’ve sticking with my new years resolution of becoming a healthier and happier me, I like to put my new evolved body to the test. Pushing it in something performance wise, in a community of others with similar goals. I love the atmosphere and energy races bring. It’s a great positive gathering who are all running for something or another.

I’ve strategically planned out my races all of 2015. The turkey races are the third and second to last races of the year, and I plan to crush them completely! I’ve been pushing myself so hard this year to keep a healthy mind and body, and I’d like to thank my success to that to my dedication and focus to running. The planned out runs holds me accountable to my fitness goals, and training. This Thanksgiving will mark my last 10K before entering the world of Half Marathons. I can’t be anymore excited. I’ve ran 10Ks well enough everyday that I know my body is able to handle the entire 13.2 miles.

If you’ve embraced a healthier lifestyle this year I applaud you in your achievements!! It’s very hard to stick with your fitness goals because of all the temptations of sweets, carbs, and all naughty foods out there! Especially now, during the holiday season — which is the primary reason I planned out my races during this time!! Once you block out all the temptations of naughty foods, stress, and control a strict sleeping schedule, you have everything in the bag..

Good luck to those who have upcoming races this holiday season! I digitally cheer you on, your focus to a healthier and happier lifestyle!

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Hikes, Runs, and 20lbs Down

I’ve FINALLY hit the 20lb mark of my fitness journey!! I can’t believe it!! In the beginning of my fitness journey it was nearly impossible for me to see the end results. Sit-up’s were difficult, 2min planks were painful, but one thing that was for sure was I was definitely able to see the end results of my workouts. While I work out, I overlook my exercises on what I have to do. 10 minute warm ups of 2min toe taps, planks, hamstring stretches, and calve raises. I also oversee my morning route for my run. Weather, I’m doing 3miles or 6miles, I make sure I stick with that assigned route and complete it with 100%. I usually stick with my neighborhood boroughs. I know the amount of sets/miles I have to accomplish, and in my head I begin to visualize what I will feel and look like at the end of that workout.

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Current weight June 18th, 2015

Along with running everyday, putting in my miles, working out, lifting weights, and eating alot more healthier and leaner; I also keep busy with combing my workouts with setting a date or outing with my friends and family.  This past week I kept busy running trails with my son (in the jogging stroller of course) hiked with my cousin who recently moved back to the Bay Area, and also hiked up Mission Peak with a local Canadian YouTube star, who coincidentally moved in a couple blocks from my parents house.

Here’s a short recap of the East Bay Regional Parks I’ve currently been checking out. All are within a short couple miles drive from my house. It’s pretty amazing. I’m undoubtedly, without question keeping in within my morning run/hike routine and putting it on rotation.

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Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge is located in the southern part of San Francisco, Bay Are, The Refuge headquarters and visitor center is located in the Baylands district of Fremont next to Coyote Hills Regional Park, here in Alameda County.

I’ve been to Don Edwards multiple times already within the 2 weeks of the month, and I absolutely love it! It has a great view of the marshlands and SF, though it is a bit tainted by the traffic of the Dumbarton bridge (bridge connecting Fremont to Palo Alto). The trail that I frequent is very short, but it is pretty. Overall, its a quiet park. There are a few attractions, but the flat trail that extends out the marshland is so long! Definitely a great trail for trail runners!!

(Some parts of smell kinda funky, but what can you say, Its nature!)

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Coyote Hills

Coyote Hills Regional Park is on the southeast shore of the San Francisco Bay. The Coyote Hills themselves are a small range of hills at the edge of the bay; though not reaching any great height, they afford tremendous views of the bay, three of the trans-bay bridges (Dumbarton, San Mateo Bridge, and the Bay Bridge), the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, the Peninsula Range of the Santa Cruz Mountains and Mount Tamalpais.

Its a light hike, if you are trying to get slowly getting into shape. Also, its a lovely hike, with a beautiful view… But since I’ve been quite active, I decided to do the higher and intense hikes, along with my jogging overland stroller. Luckily, I went with my cousin, who was able to help push up the jogging stroller (45lb stroller with my 4yr old 30lbish son. A rough total of 80lbs!) up the steep inclines. There are so many different routes for you to take to see depending on how adventurous you’d like to be that day – its amazing!! I certainly plan to go back!!

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Mission Peak

I’ve been to Mission Peak a handful of times, but I’m always down to do it with first timers. My trip with time around was with a girl named DebraMaye. Our story meeting is quite different from any other. This Mission Peak hike was maybe one of our first one on one meet-ups ever.  If you’re familiar with YouTube and the beginning of make-up gurus, Debra was one of the starting originals. Native Canadian from Calgary, I messaged her 4 years ago as a fan, and also reaching out to her promoting my small business of event styling at the time. Later down the road, she ended up moving in with her now husband she now reached out to me asking for help style her special day this upcoming September. So for combining a wedding meeting, and also my morning cardio I offered her to hike Mission Peak with me as a first time for herself now as an Californian.

Mission PeakAt the tip-top of Mission Peak.

Mission Peak is a public park that borders and overlooks the Silicon Valley. It is very popular with local hikers, bicyclists, sightseers and tourists from beyond for its vista and strenuous climb. It’s a full six-mile (10km) round-trip. The “Mission Peeker” marker pole at the top is the most famous geo-tagged landmark of Fremont. You can check out my last visit to Mission Peak HERE.
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DebraMaye & I at the “Mission-Peeker”

Flag Hill

Sunol Regional Wilderness is one of the best hiking locales in the East Bay hills northeast of Silicon Valley. This Flag Hill Loop is one of the best ways to see Sunol. This loop is relatively short at 3.7 miles, but it’s no cakewalk: Flag Hill summit is 1.3 miles and 900 feet above the Sunol headquarters. It’s a tough climb. The view from the top is one of the best in the Bay Area, well worth the climb. In springtime, the hills are popping with California poppies and many more wildflowers.

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So, if anyone asks how did the I get the weight off? Look above. I fill my week with active running, and hiking. Everyday. No excuses.

The most memorable days usually end with the dirtiest clothes right? Get sweaty. Get fit.

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Shed’s Off Like Water

Weigh In

Current Weight at 5/15/2015

In the beginning of my health transformation I was struggling with side planks, sit-ups, and could barely lift 15 pound weight over my shoulders. It was so hard for me to vision a future healthier and happier me. Starting off at 144lbs and out of breath doing side planks at 30seconds – made me want to become stronger and stronger. Sweating so hard after a 6mile run, and after a workout session with my trainer, made me feel so high. A healthy high.

After finally getting over the the 10 pound hump, my appetite has definitely curved, and exercise had became a staple in my everyday daily life. There are weeks when I hit it hard everyday. Some days, I may slip due to resting my muscles due to being sore, or by scheduled appointments, and household errands. But those days I wasn’t able to go to the park to run, I end up working out sometime later in the day from home. Mountain climbers, body builders, 2 minute warm-ups, and so on. I create room and space in my living room, and do my exercises while watching TV.

This is just a weigh-in check post, to document how I’ve been feeling lately. I want to remind myself to never give up. If you’re going through a transformation like myself, create a contract to yourself, or follow yourself taking a pictures. I’m tired of the old me, the memories of the old me, and the feeling of that me. Continue looking forward, be persistent. I want to inspire others, because I feel my story is so relatable. Before children I was 115lbs, and after carrying two children in my body, and a poor diet afterwards, its time to take charge. Food is fuel. Make it good food.

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