Monthly Archives: October 2012

Nike Women’s Half Marathon

Two Sundays ago I was lucky enough to join in on a San Francisco tradition, the Nike Women’s Marathon. I’d heard stories of this race, but didn’t really understand how large of an event it would be. Friday afternoon I went into the city to the “expotique”.  Fortunately I arrived early and was able to bypass the huge lines. It was a madhouse on Friday, but I hear it was significantly worse the next day. As for my feelings on their expo format, I wasn’t impressed. There were five vendors and huge lines to interact with each of them. Perhaps I was a touch bitter because I wasn’t able to get my legs taped, that or I’m just a traditionalist and missed the onslaught of running vendors.

As I was waiting for a friend, I foolishly decided to walk to the Nike store to find my name on the wall. My name was located just at eye height so it wasn’t tough for me to locate. Still having time I wandered into the store and tried to avoid purchasing any swag. They didn’t provide us with the race shirt until crossing the finishing line, so I somehow justified the purchase of a new sweatshirt. I deserve a new one, right? (Don’t answer that…)

On Sunday morning I woke up bright and early to walk a mile to the start line. Being the punctual individual I am, I arrived seven minutes before the starting gun. Not that it mattered, my wave didn’t cross the start line until 7:26am. I kept thinking that I could have slept longer, granted that wouldn’t have allowed me to be overwhelmed by all the of the individuals at the starting line. Seriously, it was madness.

The first few miles involved a lot of weaving in and out of clusters. Unfortunately the pace groups were very large, so it was easy to get stuck behind slower individuals. Not that I cared much, my only goal was to finish and hit on some firemen… We ran down a similar path as the San Francisco Marathon, so I knew what was coming my way. This meant that I’d tackle some of the same hills and this time I hoped I’d be more prepared for them. And I was!

NWM added some interesting stops along the way and they brought out quite the crowd. There were huge groups of fans along the way which added a lot to the experience. Nothing feels quite as good as having people cheering you on for the entirety of the race (unlike other races I’ve run recently). This definitely motivated me along the course.

Of the entire race, I’m proudest of the fact that I pushed up some hills that I wasn’t able to previously. Granted I didn’t race up all of them.  SF has some serious hills and I know better than to push too hard or I’ll be grumpy and frustrated later. Initially I thought that I’d slow down because of the elevation change (over 1000 foot gain), but I managed to complete the race just three minutes slower than San Jose. I don’t know how I pushed it out, yet that won’t stop me from being happy with my performance. Hopefully I can take this newfound energy with me to New York City next weekend when I run the marathon.

Have you ever considered NWM? What awesome races would you suggest?

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Tell Yourself a Good Story

While I was at Fitbloggin this past month, I heard some really beautiful stories. I didn’t resonate with all of them, but one statement has really stuck with me. I was sitting in on the discussion, When You Have a Lot to Lose, and Nikki was talking about her weight loss journey.

Nikki mentioned that the story you tell is the one that others believe. And sometimes the most important story you tell is the one you tell yourself. When you wake up, rather than complaining about the time or the weather, say something positive. Look in the mirror and tell yourself one great thing about who you are and one great thing about what you will accomplish today. Because today you will successfully accomplish something.

Although I’ve had a tendency to be melodramatic in the past, these days I’m waking up with a new attitude. The other morning I woke up and thought, “I’m tired, this is going to be a long day.” But moments later I realized my foolishness, why say that to yourself when you can invigorate yourself with a few simple statements?

In fact, I used this tactic while running the San Jose half last weekend. I told Maggie about this theory around the half way point and we began to talk about how great we felt. I said that my legs felt fresh and I could go for many miles more. We shouted about how awesome we were. Then there was that one comment about how great my butt looked… Come on, sometimes you have to have fun with it. :)

So do me a favor, tell yourself something positive today. And tomorrow. Then keep the trend going and remember that you are an amazing specimen worthy of great things.

What story did you tell yourself today?

Rockin San Jose

This past Sunday was the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose half marathon. Last year I came within thirty seconds of my half marathon PR on this course and this year I initially had hopes to break that record. Sadly it came to my attention recently that this wouldn’t be possible. My legs have been grumbly for the past few weeks. Of course it didn’t help that it had been almost two months since my last double digit run. But I’m not the type to back down (especially after I’d already registered).

So I did everything possible to ensure a good race. I carbo loaded on Saturday with a simple bowl of spaghetti and marinara sauce. Went to bed uncomfortably early. I even had my legs taped up for the first time to help with calf/shin cramping. By the time I woke up on Sunday I was feeling fresh-ish.

I departed from Palo Alto early to avoid traffic and found that it was incredibly easy to find parking near the start and finish line. With time to spare I went to find Maggie, the awesome chick I met at Fitbloggin. We had discussed the possibility of running with one another and, although she didn’t know it at the time, I had hopes of using her as a pace rabbit.

At the halfway mark my lower back began to ache. I’ve never felt something like that before and I didn’t know how to react. All I knew was that Maggie was kickin’ butt and I wanted to keep moving. She had mentioned that 50-75% of the way through the race was her toughest point, so I did my best to move along smoothly. And we did. And it was good.

Each time we passed a stage, I did my best to rock out with them. There was a lot of 80s music, which was fantastic. I may not have been alive when the songs were topping the charts, yet I know each and every one. I haven’t always loved the performances on a race path, but this time it really helped keep my spirit up.  By mile 10 I was letting everyone know how awesome they looked. When spectators said, “You can do it!” I replied, “We are doing it!!” It was probably the  most glorious race I’ve run. And as we reached the end, I made sure everyone knew what I was looking forward to the most. Chocolate milk. *

We crossed the finish line three minutes slower than my PR. Perhaps we could have pushed to make it, but I’m not dwelling on that. Maggie set a new record for herself and I am so glad I was there to run with her. Scratch that. I’m so glad she was there to run with me. I learned quite a bit from this race and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

Expectations and goals change naturally overtime. No, I didn’t set a new personal record, but I did finish the race with a huge obnoxious smile on my face. I pushed my body to move faster than I had planned and didn’t let myself slow down for any small excuse.  I worked hard and felt great. And isn’t that a beautiful thing?

What is the craziest thing you’ve seen someone do during a race? How do you handle a change in goals or expectations?

*Dearest fellow runners, I apologize if my enthusiasm was distracting or annoying to you. Sometimes you have to psych yourself up to push yourself harder.

Fitbloggin Part 2

And now that I’ve had a full week to process all of the awesomeness that happened at Fitbloggin (and to dive head first into grad school), it’s about time I complete my recap.  Right?

Check me out, I’m tramping!

Saturday started off with another bang. I dragged Melissa down to bounce on some tiny trampolines. Supposedly it was a fitness class, but it felt more like child-ish behavior mixed with inappropriateness from the instructor. I kid you not, he told us to “hit your bad kitty”. I’m still uncertain what he was referring to. So we jumped, then got on the floor and did some awkward dance moves. Afterward I was shocked at how much I was shvitzing. But I didn’t have much time to relax since it was absolutely necessary to Zumba! Although many people didn’t tramp, I swear that everyone got in on Zumba. It was a huge ball of fun. Who doesn’t love dancing? And let me tell you, all our sexiness rocked that dance floor conference center carpet.

After a seriously necessary shower, I ran away to the Natural Products Expo next door. Let me tell you, there is nothing life a conference center full of  natural food products… I spoke with so many vendors and picked up a bit too much. Fortunately my bunk mates were more than willing to take some free samples with. I met some great companies, who you’ll probably here about in a little bit, and learned plenty about the industry.

Then I jetted back to Fitbloggin so I could LiveBlog for the best (and most teary jerking) discussions of the event – When You Have a Lot to Lose. It was absolutely beautiful to hear each person’s story. It made me really reconsider things in my own life. The rest of the day I spent with the great roomies. We had crabcakes (naturally since we were in Maryland), had a slight fiasco with a patio umbrella, and enjoyed the reception where Robby won a KitchenAid mixer (that will be mine!). We spent the rest of the night relaxing around the grounds. I got picked up by Biggest Loser star Mark. Okay, that is a lie, I jumped into his arm and he couldn’t do much about it. Fortunately he was a good sport.

Our entire room woke up early on Sunday to prepare for the 5k. I had made plans to run with Maggie the day before and she was a perfect running mate. In fact, I’m hoping she’ll pace me for this weekend’s half marathon. Melissa was even kind enough to slow down and stick with us for the entire thing. Somehow having these two awesome ladies around me made me push a little bit harder.

The entire event ended on a high note of hugs and see-you-laters. Then off Pinky and I ran to the airport. It was sad to part from everyone and return back to California, but I knew it was time. The next day I started classes and TA-ing a class with a bunch of rowdy and confused engineering undergrads. This promises to be a very hectic and frustrating quarter. But I’m up for the challenge (as long as I can fit some training and healthy eating into the schedule). I’ve made some changes to my habits, in fact I’m even staying up later these days! But more on that soon.

What are your big plans and goals for October? I’m hoping to rock two half marathons and drop all those pounds I gained this summer.