Official pacer = a challenge in itself

My pacing partner Rose got me through using my own advice.

The Malibu Marathon 2014 was the start of my first official pacing gig…and it couldn’t have been the worst and best experience of my life.

My interest for pacing grew from a non genuine place in my running heart. “I want to run a free race! Pacing shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Sign me up!” It’s very true what they say:

When you begin something that’s not from the heart, you finish it with a huge life lesson learned.

Looking at the course map, it displayed a seemingly flat with a tainted description of it being a fast course. I thought pacing a 5:30 for a full marathon was going to be a walk in the park since it’s a slower-than-average time for me. Easy, right?

The first ~5 miles were fun until my legs realized “Hey, the terrain isn’t changing. It’s too flat!” Yup, my legs have a mind of their own and don’t prefer a flat course for long periods of time so they started buckling. The view didn’t help the situation until the course wound through fancy schmancy homes and the beautiful ocean water appeared ahead. This was where it got interesting, too…with them hills…rolling hills, to be exact…incredibly high rolling hills, to be extra specific.

Having to keep a slow, steady pace for 5 hours and 30 minutes was incredibly taxing on my body. It was hurting and my mind began failing. “This hurts…that hurts…what the…I can’t finish this…I can’t…” My pacing partner kept trying to get my mind right but I was a ball of crazy emotions. Runners were depending on me to get them through their goal time in exactly 5:30 – no more, no less. I told my partner “Go. Go without me. I’m done.” She said “You start it so you have to finish it.” What she said is how I live my life on a daily basis so why on Earth would I quit now? Even though it was an absolute struggle, I almost crawled my way to the finish with tears ready to stream down my miserable face.

Though I crossed the line 4 minutes behind goal time, my pace lead assured me that almost everyone had a rough race with it being really hilly and the course lies we were initially told. Still, I was disappointed in myself and wondered why the heck I got myself into pacing the first place.

I signed up with the mind frame of “It’s a free race!” but succeeded with a fresh outlook of “I inspired many runners to keep going. If I’m inspiring them, I better follow my own inspiration during times of despair.” An advance runner even told me as I was hobbling in the sand “You paced this advanced course? You’re an advance runner now.” I believe that all things happen for a reason so there was a huge reason why I signed up and had this official pacing experience be my first. I had a new appreciation for pacers/pacing, I should pat myself on the back every so often, and this was a challenge to better myself because

If you believe it, you can and will achieve it.

Until the next post…

keep on running!

Inspiration: For the Weekend

 

This quote couldn’t be any truer. 

Until the next post..

keep the attitude up!

PSA: Selfies

Just don’t do it!

The following is a Public Service Announcement:

If you must take a selfie to capture the moment(s) while running then, please, take it while running or pull over and take a quick snap as you have a stampede behind you.

Imagine running, being in the zone, and then oops! – you accidentally tremble over the person in front of you because they immediately came to a full and complete stop to take a picture of themselves. Why, inconsiderate human being, why?! I know you’re “in the moment” and want to capture that moment but you’ve just got to think about how you’d feel if that were to happen to you.

This post came about reading an article on Hong Kong banning phones on the course and the always hilarious blog Shut Up + Run writing about it.

There was one race in particular where I had to stop quickly, plenty of times, from accidentally shoving the person in front of me because they decided to (and not at a moment’s notice) walk or take a selfie. Not only did this cause a ripple effect but made my knees go “What the ****!” I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again:

If you must take a selfie to capture the moment(s) while running then, please, take it while running or pull over and take a quick snap as you have a stampede behind you. Everyone is trying to get to the same place you are: the finish, and hopefully without injury.

I took this while running. Action shots are funner anyways. 😀

This has been a Public Service Announcement.

Until the next post…

keep on running!

Inspiration: For the Weekend

This is bookmarked on my phone. I read it daily. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a lot of trouble handling #15.

Running is more than running – it’s teaches you about life.

17 Things Running Teaches You

Posted by: on May, 17 2013
Found on ThoughtCatelog and written by Kovie Biakolo

1. To be good at anything, you have to put in the time and effort no matter how talented you are.
2. Your abilities and someone else’s abilities are not the same. Do the best that YOU can do.
3. If winning is your objective, realize that you have to work 10 times harder than the next best person.

4. No matter how hard you work and how prepared you are, disappointments will happen.

5. The most gratifying experiences usually come as a result of enduring the most painful trials.

6. To be great at anything, you have to risk failing terribly at it.

7. A lot of people endure the same pains that you do.

8. If you focus on putting one foot in front of the other, you will eventually reach the finish line.

9. You cannot reach the finish line unless you start.

10. The mind is a very powerful thing. If you can train your mind to keep going even when your body wants to quit, you can achieve some incredible things.

11. Learning the difference between physically being unable to continue and giving up.

12. Accepting that every day is different — some days 5 miles is really easy, other days it feels like a cruel punishment.

13. Pace yourself.

14. You cannot give 100%, 100% of the time.

15. Sometimes you need a day off, a day off from everything.

16. The worst time, the slowest pace, the last person to finish the race is still better off than the person who refused to try.

17. Even if you fall, even if you cannot finish today, you can and should pick yourself up and try again tomorrow.

To bookmark it yourself, click here.

Until the next post…

keep on running!

All I need to do is run.

After New Year’s Race Los Angeles at Night, I absolutely needed a new running program. I considered going back to the one I used for Nike Women’s Marathon SF 2012 but knew I’d quickly get bored of it, so I browsed online until my sister said “Hey, I have a program you can use.” I checked it out and “Yes, this is the program I will use to train for the LA Marathon!”

The LA WHAT?! I’ll get to that in the next post.

This is Brian’s baby girl. I used to be her preschool teacher. Now she’s my personal trainer. Who runs who now?

Welcome to BRIK Fitness. The owner’s name is Brian Nguyen though I knew him before this. One day, BRIK held a fundraiser for Train 4 Autism. “Donate $10 and have some fun working out!” I’m all for donating to causes I believe in and it sounded like a good time, so I went. I’m not saying this because I know him but I had the most fun working out with encouraging coaches and friendly faces! I dislike any sort of strict/mundane/no-pain-no-gain workouts so this caught my eye. I didn’t sign-up with them after this though because I didn’t think I needed it. It came time to train for the LA Marathon and I, coincidentally, received a message from Brian.

“Hey, how’s it going? When are you coming into the gym?”

The what? Yes, even though BRIK had me at first kettle bell I didn’t think it was necessary to join any gym. For what? All I need to do is run.

“You need more than running. You need strength training. You need to build your core before you can be a successful runner.”

To make a super long story short, it took a lot of convincing to get my butt in the gym because I can be that stubborn. He created a program specifically for me: a long distance runner who wants this, this, and this. BRIK’s workouts are super fun but really kick your butt when all is said and done, which was exactly the program he designed for me. This was (is, actually) my daily schedule: go on my fun run and then do my fun workout or vice versa. One day, he told me he’d been watching me run and had some suggestions on how to improve my form (among other things). Every so often he’d hint at reducing my running schedule, too (with good reasons, of course). I’d let the latter slip through one ear and out the other though, and call it a day. Every.single.time. I already agreed to work on my core (which makes sense to me now. Runners, please, work on your core to become a better runner!) but I stop at anyone telling me to reduce one of my great passions in life.

It came time for the LA Marathon and I tried to keep what Brian told me, on the course, in mind. Once I hit mile marker 20, however, I threw everything out the window because I just wanted to cross that dang finish line. I happily finished and felt like a super champ so I was (already) ready to train for my next marathon. I gave my body a week to recover and got right back on that pavement the following week. Familiar pain started making itself apparent right when I took that first stride. Crap. Instead of assuming what it was or guessing how I can relieve it, I texted Brian for some guidance. Would you like to know what he responded with? Here you go:

“Stop f*cking running. You need to…”

I about had it. I threw my phone (gently, of course) and began bursting into tears. Who the *beep* was he to say that to someone who lives to run? Though his following messages included “..your body needs this..please listen to me..I care about you..blah blah blah..”, I never felt such anger towards someone who has never done anything wrong to me or my family. I didn’t talk to him for a while after this. I actually don’t know who contacted whom first but I somehow found myself back in the gym, and we had a nice little pep talk. We have a lot of little pep talks every time I see him in the gym now. I’m pretty sure it’s because I wreak of stubbornness and he knows how much I love running. Through pep talks, trying to understand biomechanics (runners, you know what I’m talking about here), and telling me “I’m not trying to hurt you. I care about you. I know you’re going to run no matter what. I just want you to be a successful runner.”, the one thing that finally stopped me in my tracks was when he said

“As long as you come into the gym, you can continue sticking to your running schedule. But if you get injured, don’t come to me because I’ve been talking to you about this.”

Hearing that brought so many flashes of runners I personally know getting injured, stories of runners who would persist through the pain and end up having to bail on a run because it became unbearable, and professional runners who had to stop running for good because their body just couldn’t take it anymore. To hear a doctor tell me “You can’t run anymore” would be one of the worst moments of my life. I truly want to run for as long as I live. The very next day, I gave Brian my running program to adjust. It’s been a frightening ride but I (finally) trust him. After all, he’s been an athletic coach for years and is the personal trainer of Mark Wahlberg. Yes, that Mark Wahlberg with the funky fresh body.

Meet Brian.

Runners: listen to your body and argue with your strength trainer. It’s been an emotional as well as physical process but I’m seeing results (don’t tell Brian – I don’t want him to think he’s been right all along ;)).

Until the next post..

keep on running (without injuries, of course)!

Before we begin…

Need I say more?

Actually, yes:

11. Have fun! 😀

Trust me, you will not want to ignore these commandments.