Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Carefree running and vacay-ing.

Sorry for the delay. Didn't mean to upset my one reader that I have (Jimmy). I saw you on Saturday, Jimmy, so you don't really need to be updated, right?

Anyhoo, I went on my 16-17ish mile long run in SoCal this Friday. It was such great weather, high 60s, clear, and carefree. In New York, I'm constantly aware and looking out for possible dangers. It could be cars, pedestrians, icy roads, etc etc. Here at home, there is barely anyone walking on the streets, and there is nothing to worry about as far as weather. It was also Christmas morning, so there were NO cars. I didn't have to think about anything, but just zone out and run. I love that about suburban running. I also love that about Central Park in New York. I think that's why I keep going back there.

Southern California has some seasons. Right now, it is "winter", but it's actually fall. This lasts for a couple of months, and it skips right over to summer. It's actually pretty, though. Here's what the streets look like right now in So Cali Caliente. I'll take my camera on my long run this weekend to get a better sense of my routes.

After my Friday run, I have not done any exercise. Actually, I did some spontaneous yoga:

But I mostly played around in fantasy lands like this:

I also got a medium size tattoo on my back, and have been on hiatus from anything that makes me sweat while this thing heals. I am itching (in more ways then one) to pound some cement, though. I think I'll be able to go out on the road tomorrow.

Sorry for the brief post, but I'm on vacay! HAPPY HOLIDAYS! and I'll see you all in a few days. Jimmy, I'll see you Thursday night.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

"Playing" in the snow!!

There was a blizzard warning this weekend, which is why I did my 13 miles on Saturday AM, before the winter storm watch started. Went to the park, blah blah blah, nothing to note, let's forget about that one.

IT SNOWED IT SNOWED IT SNOWED! Holy crap, did it snow! I stayed with a friend Saturday evening in Manhattan, because she was going through some tough times. We stayed in, watched happy movies, ate pizza, baked cookies, and squealed (well, I squealed) every hour as a legit blizzard hit the city.

I came back to Queens later on today (Sunday) and I wanted to go out into the snow so badly. However, I didn't feel like going out to Central Park by myself. My roommate was gone for the holidays, my other friend that I had just left had to take care of family, and I didn't really have anyone else to call on. So! I decided to run in the snow. I have been warned fairly often NOT to do so, but I also have been told by several runner friends that it's freakin fun. I decided to go out on a short run, not go for speed or anything competitive, and just run through the snow like a 10 year-old.

O M G. It was the best thing I've ever done. So SO Sosososososoo fun! And, for you readers, I brought my camera!

Here's a shot of the street near my apartment. I love looking down this street, because you see Manhattan. Can you spot the Chrysler Building?

I had made several rules for myself. 1) This is purely for fun, and not for any training purposes. 2) Therefore, walking and running is permitted, if not recommended. 3) Icy streets can take me out for an entire season, so don't run fast, and run carefully. 4) Be attentive of surrounding. With these commandments in my head, I was off!

I think I ended up doing about 5-6 miles, but I was out for longer than an hour. The snow in Queens was not as plowed as it was in Manhattan, and there were mounds and mounds of untouched snow. It was like an obstacle course, and I hopped, skipped, did little jumps here and there, and sometimes straight up fell into the snow. Oh my oh my, this was just SO SO SO fun. I ran through the snow, when I saw a path made out like this:

I ran to my usual bridge, and the uphill:

Ain't no thang.

The bridge was WINDY but empty, and at another level of challenge. I stopped sometimes to look at Manhattan and it's snow-covered wonder.
I finished running the bridge and headed home. I thought I was done, but couldn't help sneaking in one more childish picture:

I thought this snow-danger-talk was all paranoia. I was about to turn the corner to get to my apartment, when I was suddenly was met with a group of fire trucks. I feared that there was a major accident in front of me. It turned out to be a fire.

Although this had nothing to do with running, I felt like it was a reminder to me that I could not take today's accident-free run as something that's expected. Safety first, safety first, safety first... (continuing mantra)

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Next long run will be in LOS ANGELES! CAN'T WAIT!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

When you own up to the label: hardcore

Today was brutal.

This is what I did:

You can click on the link above to get a larger map, but the total mileage today was 17.7. Ooof. I also ran apx 8-9 miles yesterday (I'll calculate later), which is a grand total of at least 25 miles this weekend.

To make things a tad more difficult, it rained today and was 38 degrees, and my iPod stopped working around the 6th mile. I ended up running about 2 hours without any music, which actually wasn't so bad.

It was brutal in the sense that it was fucking hard, but it wasn't brutal in the sense that it sucked. It didn't suck. It was one of those runs that made me feel hardcore, because I was getting drenched when it was cold enough to see my breath, and the whole experience was totally Rocky-like, when he was running up those stairs. (I won't criticize Rocky for wearing cotton sweats.) Everyone running around me were wearing leggings and shooting snot rockets, and were legit training runners.

There are 3 rules to abide by when running in the rain. They are:
1. Do NOT wear cotton, or sweats, because it will weigh a ton in 20 minutes.
2. Watch out for cars. You are not a horse. You CAN stop.
3. Don't give a flying fuck about anything else.

The last rule is crucial. You get to a certain point where you don't care that your shoes are wet, and you don't care that you are cold, because you're in a strange limbo of internal warm from accelerated heart rate and numbness because of the actual outside temperature. You look crazy, but you worked hard to look crazy and BE crazy to be running in said condition.

I ran from the QB bridge to Central Park, where I did a loop around the reservoir. I then went out of the park to the Upper West Side and went to Riverside Park. I at first regretted going out of the park because I had to stop and go according to traffic signals, and had to go through a tunnel. Tunnels = foul smell, because many people live and go to the bathroom there. However, once I got through that, I was met with a long clear and wide road, which was an absolute dream. I ran down with no one around, and it was so freeing. I could have gone forever. I reached the top of the park, turned around, and ran back to go back into Central Park and back home.

Needless to say, when I came home, I was chilled to the bone. I showered and ate, and I've been wrapped up in my Slanket for about an hour and a half now, but still feel cold. Here is a cameo of my Slanket (gift from Carmen - Thank you!!):

Trying to defrost and get on with the rest of the day.

FYI, totally underrated use of the Slanket: wearing it backwards, which just really means wearing it like a giant robe.

See you later, and HAPPY HANUKKAH!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Too cold? Never!

Last night, it snowed for the first time since I've been living here in New York. The term snow is used broadly here, because it was technically sleet, but I ignored the wet streets and just looked up at the sky, amazed at the flake-like drops falling from the sky. It's getting colder and colder as the days go by.

When it comes to running in the winter, the temperature never bothers me. I would MUCH rather run in the freezing cold as opposed to the blistering heat. I've done both, and I'm convinced that it's never too cold to run. HOWEVER, there are weather-related obstacles like icy streets and lower visibility that genuinely scare me. I thought about those 2 possibilities while gazing at the "snow" last night.

Thankfully, it cleared up this morning, but it was even more colder than yesterday. 33 degrees! Coldest run yet.

The first half of the battle of running in the cold is actually getting the urge to get out there. My urge is fueled by the fact that I'm going to be running a marathon, and that it will just get harder and harder to get out there as it gets colder. It's also fueled by Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, which I load on to my iPod to listen to during long runs. Today in particular, it was also fueled by the desire of running to Lady Gaga's new Fame Monster album. (I can't get enough of her. Her ferosh-ness has trumped my general distaste for electronic music. )

For whatever reason, I was really craving an apple before my run, which is not something I normally eat. ( I usually opt for yogurt with jam - I know, dairy before run, but it's just been working for me.) I ate the apple, and stepped out into the painfully cold wind. It was painful at first, but the apple allowed me to get a good pace going right away, and after about 10 minutes into the run, I was not cold any more. I was only reminded of the winter when my face hurt from the cold, or when my finger tips lost the sense of touch. ( I don't know how to fix this problem with my fingers. Every winter, my hands get red and chapped because of my tendency to expose it to extreme temperatures, but I HATE running with gloves on.... Hmmmmmmm...)

I went to Central Park again, surprise surprise. I'll think of another route one of these days, but I can't help it. I love repeating what works. Since I ran 16 miles last week, and since I still have about 14-15 weeks before marathon day, I decided to "take it easy" by scaling my mileage to 13 miles today. That just simply means that I run from my apartment and around the park and run all the way back. It's nice because I don't have to think very much about it.

The scaling back of mileage is also something I'm doing new this time around, compared to my last marathon training. Last marathon, I ran Tue Thu Sun, and cross trained Mon Wed Fri and Sat, especially being conscious of not running on Saturday, since it's the day before my long runs. However, after doing some research, I've started running 6-7 miles on Saturdays as well, and taking it easy on Friday. Apparently, training the body to run hard during the weekends will make me stronger. I've been afraid of injuries, but so far, my long runs have been slightly stronger after running about an hour the day before, sometimes at race pace. I ran 6 quick miles yesterday, and ran a steady 13 miles today. I think it's working so far, especially with the swimming I do on Mondays.

Anyhoo the 13 miles were great, starting with Lady Gaga, and then with This American Life, and then Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, and finishing with Lady Gaga again. I don't know if it was the apple, but I didn't need a Shot Block or a water break, and ran all the way through with no supplements. Might have been the gigantic bowl of hot rice I ate yesterday which warmed me after a day out in the snow (sleet).

The next couple of weeks will be about balancing holiday activities and my training schedule. I might have to run some of my long runs on Saturdays, or even Mondays, and some runs may be delayed... I have to be honest here, I am totally OCD about my running, and I hate when things interrupt my running schedule. In fact, I haven't gone out on Saturday nights for the last couple of weeks so that I will have a descent long run. Yes, this is not normal, and yes, I know that it's no big deal if I miss one run. And no, I am no Grinch, and I actually love the holiday season, and the activities that come with it. I'm especially excited to see my family in Los Angeles, and go on runs in Los Angeles again. ( Los Angeles is an AWESOME running city, by the way. )

Now that my fingers have regained feeling, and I'm properly showered and fed, I am off to Manhattan to get some holiday shopping done. I've done this a couple of times, and end up purchasing things for myself. This WILL NOT WILL NOT be the case today.

Sorry for the disorganization of this entry. Perhaps, I'll think of a new route to run soon, or perhaps carry my camera with me next time...? Esca-laters!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Familiar 16 miles.

Today was a great run, from beginning to end. It was one of those runs that reinforced my love for all of this training.

I won't go into detail about scenery and route, because it's more or less the same, except I ran all the way through and didn't take the bus. I meant to run 13 miles, but because it felt so great, it ended up being 16 miles. You just don't fight it when you're on a groove! (Although, many running articles state the contrary, and warn about over-training... Whatevs.)

I'm completely a creature of habit in all sorts ways. I eat the same thing over and over. I do the same thing every night. I run the same route week after week after week. I run on the streets, and there are sections where I'm usually the only person running. After 4 months of running in the same area, I definitely notice familiar faces, and they recognize me as well. In fact, there's a homeless man with missing front teeth who stands right next to the Dunkin Donuts every morning, that does a little Running Man routine each time I pass by. I can't do a whole lot except smile and run past, since I don't carry change when I run, but it's a city experience in itself.

Once I start crossing the Queensborough Bridge, I notice familiar running faces too. It makes my day when strangers wave, or give a quick nod. There are a lot of bikers on the bridge, as well, and the nice ones also acknowledge my presence. (The mean ones yell at me to get out of they way.)

In Central Park, it's rarer that I see someone I recognize, but I see types of people that make it all the more interesting. It made me smile today to see an older man carry an F. A. O. Shwartz bag, which I completely assumed that it was for a grand child. I'm always impressed with the hardcore moms and dads that run with those fancy-wheeled baby strollers. There are tons of dog walkers. Today, there was a skateboarder who had a Rottweiler by the leash, and they were both mad-dashing parallel to each other down some steep hills. The skater knew what he was doing, though, and steered clear of other people, so it was highly entertaining to watch.

Running outside allows me to be part of other people's daily lives too, and it's especially true in a place like New York where there are constantly tons of people outside. Back in the suburbs of LA, there were only about 5 people outside walking/running when I would run. That has it's charm too, because we got to the point of stopping and chatting at traffic lights, and get friendly.

Anyhoo, today was great, and I'm glad to have gotten the mileage in. Must have been the stuffing+pumpkin pie carbo power that really fueled me for those 16 miles. My ass is sore, and I haven't moved much since 3 hours ago, but it's the type of exhaustion that makes me feel accomplished.

Hasta la next week!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Slow But Steady

What. A. Week.

I think the way I feel about my long run (before the day of the run) is determined by how the rest of the week had been. This week, I have to admit that I wasn't very enthusiastic about my long run because I've had one of the most exhausting week since I moved here 4(!) months ago. It started with getting over a cold from that dreadful fever last week, and proceeded with a non-stop work week, thanks to the Annual Elected Coordinated Period for Medicare. (In layman's term, it's a period of free-for-all for most people who have Medicare, and the phones won't stop ringing.) I worked and worked, and even went to an off-site some where 30 minutes away from Jamaica, Queens to do presentations. I was already exhausted on Monday from being sick, and I was depleted on Friday.

I was battling a general fatigue throughout the week, but I had completely gotten over the cold and really didn't have any excuse to ditch my run. After stalling for a little bit, I finally just got over it, got ready, and went out the door.

This entire week, when I first start running, I've had this sensation that I'm not really there. My mind becomes a big blur, and it's almost miraculous that my legs keep moving, because I have no conscious thought through my head. I'm blaming it on the fact that I'm tired. I had this sensation again this morning, and I wasn't really aware of what I was doing until after I crossed the bridge, which is pretty much 3 miles into the run.

On Sundays, there are considerably more people running then any other mornings. I try to not pass any judgments, but you can tell right away if someone is not a frequent runner. The dead give-away is if anyone, male or female, is running in sweats. After you run a couple of time, you realize how burdensome it is to wear heavy clothing, and you pretty much shy away from anything cotton. When I see someone running in big old sweats I assume right away that they don't run very often.

I ran to Central Park. I went around the reservoir twice today (SO much better puddle-free), got back on the loop route, and kept running. Around mile 8ish, I noticed how slowly I was going, and these sweats-clad people were passing me. When I run for more than an hour, I never feel like I'm flying the entire time, but the fact that these infrequent runners were passing me left and right made me realize how SLOWLY I must have been going. I couldn't go any faster, though. I just couldn't. I shook off the dumb pride and kept at my own speed, and trucked along the E 110th St. hill. (Just fyi, you're going to hear about this hill often. It's pretty killer and long.)

Last week, I had a problem of mustering the energy to keep going. This week, that was not an issue. I was going tortoise-slow, but I didn't want to stop. I ran the entire 12.7 miles I ended up running. (That 0.3 miles that would have made it 13 kind of kills me) I was slow but steady, and I felt good when I saw Columbus Circle. Columbus Circle is on the last mile of my route, and I've made the mistake several times of expecting to see the CNN building at Columbus Circle way too early, and thus being discouraged and tired. Today, I was surprised to see it at the time that I saw it, and went on my merry way towards 5th Ave, which is the end of the route.

I could have gone further and crossed the bridge, but there's something about going from the beautiful park to the industrial part of the bridge that makes it unappealing, especially at the end of the run when you kind of need a boost. I figured I ran at least 12 miles at that point ( I need my heart rate monitor to actually track this kind of shiz), and saw the bus and took it home.

So that's that. FINALLY a successful run. I suppose next week is my half-marathon mileage week. I should be more than ready, since I have ample time to rest before, aka Thanksgiving weekend. HAPPY THANKSGIVING everyone!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Obama fever weekend.

I rarely get sick. I get sick once a year, if that. When I do get sick, it hits my like a brick wall, and I'm usually surprised and unsure what to do, because it's so unfamiliar to me.

The last time I got sick was on Election Day last year, and is illustrated here. On Friday evening, right when people were leaving for a happy hour, which I intended on attending, I suddenly got this sensation of extreme warmth around my head, but chills on my body. The heater/AC tends to shut off around 5:30pm - 6:00pm sometimes, so I first thought that the chills were due to that, but I still couldn't shake off the odd feeling, so I passed on the happy hour and went home.

I still had an appetite so I ate dinner, but I definitely felt the fever coming. I started calling it Obama Fever, when talking about it to my roommate, because it's quite literally a year after his election/my last fever. I went to bed, waking up several times in sweats, chills, hives, you name it, and spent the rest of Saturday in bed. It's also been a year since I spent 17-18 hours in bed, the majority of it being sleeping.

I thought about the proposed long run, that I had told myself I'd do today. Internet gives contradictory advice on exercise + illness. I was on the borderline of a lot of things. I had an appetite (good), my fever broke (good), I had some throat issues (bad), and my chest was feeling tight (bad). I woke up this morning feeling alright, with evidence that I had gone through another fever fight, with sweat on my pjs as evidence. However, I felt fresh, no aches in my body, and I had eaten the last night, and no stomach issues. I decided to try the 11 miles out, with the condition that I not brand it as a failed run if I don't make it the 11 miles.

So, I strapped my gear, and my pod-cast, and off I went.

The beginning felt great this morning. I'm telling you, RANDOM. However, around the 3rd mile, I definitely felt tightness in my chest that was new. It didn't help that I was breathing in colder air than my body temperature, but it wasn't enough to stop. I made it across the bridge to Central Park, as usual, and went on my merry way around the park route.

One of the many great things about Central Park as a running route, is that it's easy to add mileage, and make it an enjoyable run. This time around, since I was adding a mile, I decided to run around the reservoir, which is a 1.58 mile addition, and a beautiful scene to run along. I made it to the reservoir, expecting a nice scene, but was met with one of my least favorite running obstacles: puddles. It had rained the day before, and along the entire narrow running route were huge puddles of water. I hate puddles more than running in the rain. It made everyone running/walking along the reservoir to slow down, and hop, skip, and splash along it. It could have been worse, because there weren't that many people running around it, but...meh.

I ran and ran, and ran the hill of E. 110th St., and I just totally crashed, energy-wise. From the moment I hit E. 90th something street, I started walking/running and about half a mile from Columbus Circle, I just started walking. I drank all the water that I had, and ate my Shot Block, but I just couldn't get the energy to continue running. I finally exited the park, and got on the 59th and Lexington, where I took a bus home. I think I ended up running about 8ish miles, give or take.

I'm showered, and inhaled a bunch of steam from the hot water, ate a bowl of oatmeal, and have NPR Weekend Edition Sunday streaming. I'm feeling a little off, but I can't tell if it's because of the cold, or because of the run. I'm coughing a little, but not more than before, and nursing my throat with a trusty Ricola cough drop. Crossing my fingers that this won't last past tonight.

Again, not a FAILED run, but an honest attempt. Sigh. Stay tuned for next week.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Brain can say 13, but legs may say 10.

After a glorious rest day on Saturday, I was all geared up for my 10 mile run this morning. I was more excited than usual because I had a new water belt, new running gear, and a new iPod Shuffle. (My old one that lasted for 2+ years died just last week... Oh the places I've taken that Shuffle..)

I told myself I would do 10 miles, and off I went to Central Park.

My usual route takes me from my apartment, across the Queensborough Bridge, a little into Manhattan up the tip of the SE corner of Central Park, and back across the bridge to my humble (rented) abode. That's about 6-7ish miles. When I want to run more, I enter Central Park and work my way around.

I don't care how cliched it is to say this, but Central Park is such a gorgeous park to run through. If you decide to do the entire loop, it's about 6 miles. What I had planned on doing today was half of my usual route crossing the bridge, the 6 mile Central Park loop, and across the Queensborough Bridge to go home and take a bus home. This equals to 10 miles.

On top of running in one of the prettiest parks, we are currently in the best running season of the year: fall. I hate running in the heat. I'd rather run in the winter, than run in the summer. Fall is just perfect because of the crispness in the air. This morning was no different. The air was fresh (or as fresh as it can be in NYC) and I was out the door, after loading 2 episodes of "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me" on to the Shuffle.

I still haven't figured out the science in how to get a good start. It's still random to me. There are some mornings when I feel like shit, but the minute I start running, I feel like I'm the lightest being on earth. Then there are mornings like today, where I wake up with no problem, excited about the run, and my legs feel slightly like dead-bolts. I couldn't get a groove. Thankfully, the first part of my route is down hill, so I built some aided momentum, but I was still struggling when I crossed the bridge. It wasn't until around the 6th mile that I actually felt like I had a good pace. The rest of the time, I felt pretty slow. My sister told me during my last marathon that I picked up the pace from the 13th mile and on. I guess it's better to be stronger in the latter half than the first.

The park was breathtaking. The trees were all sorts of yellow, red, and green. I was looking up at the trees throughout my run, which might be why my 6th mile felt great, because it was in the midst of the autumn foliage. I admit to almost crashing into people because I was so distracted. I used to do that while driving, where I would be distracted by the clouds and almost run red lights. This space cadet is much safer for herself and society when not maneuvering a vehicle. Now, it is just other runners, which is less hazardous...?

Central Park is FULL of runners, bikers, walkers, etc. Some people have complained about the crowd, but I honestly don't mind it. I don't feel cramped, and there's enough space for everyone. For the most part, people are courteous, and I feel an unspoken camaraderie. Sure, there may be some snooty elite runners who look down on my running and my iPod (a huge no-no, apparently) but there are so many runners on different levels that I don't feel intimidated to the slightest.

The 6 mile loop ended up being wonderful, despite the steep hill on E. 110th St when crossing over to the west side. I was feeling really good up until Columbus Circle, where I drank my first sip of water, 1hr 15 min into my run. I'm glad I had the water belt. Once I exited Central Park, I only had the bridge left to complete my 10 mile run, which was my plan. I had refueled with one of those Shot Blocks from Clif Bar (which is just like a giant gummy bear) and began crossing the bridge.

Going towards Manhattan on the Queensborough bridge is a long but gradual hill. The other way around is a short but STEEP STEEP hill, and the Shot Block definitely did what it was supposed to, especially because it was the 9th mile. I conquered the hill, and was running across the bridge, and entertained the idea of running the whole way home, instead of taking the bus, which would turn my run from a 10 mile run to 13 mile run. I was feeling good. I thought I could do it. I got off the bridge and started running more, when my legs started protesting. It wasn't in pain, but it wasn't moving much. It was as if my legs had entered into an agreement with my brain that it would do 10 miles today, and they were protesting the breach of contract. I obliged with a compromise, and instead of running it, I walked the way home. It was actually a nice cool down, and hopefully it will make me less sore.

Now I am here, in my room. I ate my favorite breakfast of peanut butter and banana sandwich, and am listening to NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, while punching out this post. My ass is already sore, but I can't ask for a better way to spend a Sunday. Next week will be 11!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Marathon, round 2!

Hello there. Have you abandoned me? I don't blame you. I'd like to say that I have a lot to report, but alas, such is not the case. I can't even say that I've been incredibly busy, because that would be a lie. I can start saying that as of this week, because several projects have picked up and I was occupied a lot more than before, but it doesn't give me an excuse for the extended absence from this blog, except the fact that I had nothing to say.

HOWEVER! That is about to change! HAZZAH!

I've decided to dedicate this blog from now until March 21st, 2010 to write and report about my marathon training. Yes! You heard it right. I am running ANOTHER marathon, and it is the same marathon, the great Los Angeles Marathon. It's going to be the 25th race, with a brand new course. I happened to watch the New York City Marathon last weekend, and I simply could not sit still. I signed up a couple of days later, and I am extremely excited!

I'm going to record how each of my long runs go, which is mostly going to happen on Sundays. It'll give me something to look back on, and perhaps there will be some tidbits that you all might find entertaining.

There are some things that I'm going to change about this marathon training that I wanted to share with you:
1. Really monitor my eating the night before my long runs. Before, I thought it was a free-for-all when it comes to carbo-loading. It is not so. I think this lead to my weight gain from my marathon training (which I haven't lost, but meh, it's also extra muscle) and there have been mornings where I felt less than stellar right before the race. Carbo-loading means a meal of mostly carbs, and not a LARGE meal with mostly carbs. Less fun, but that's the way it goes.
2. I'm going to get a heart rate monitor. I'm not going to be running for speed, for several reasons, but I think finding out my heart rate will help me understand how much I should be pushing at what mileage. (I'm eyeing the expensive Garmin... it's just so cool...)
3. I'm going to rest. I have a problem with resting. I can't sit still these days, so I don't really do the advised rest days. I'm usually swimming, or running. This really doesn't help. I've designated Saturdays as rest days, although this isn't set in stone. I am going to rest, and it starts today. ( Just FYI, I ran 6 miles on M, swam 2k meters on Tu, ran 6 miles on W, swam 2k on Thu, and ran 5 miles on F. REST NEEDED.)
4. I'm going to get a water belt, and use it on my long runs, along with some sort of sugar boost. I've totally zonked out on several long runs to Central Park, and I think it's good to get used to supplementing myself with some sort of sugar. When I trained in LA, I only used a water belt once, and I've hit the mental wall many many many times.

SO! HERE WE GO! I will report how my long run goes tomorrow. I'm going to be doing 10 miles, which is the most that I've ran since my half-marathon in September. I'm not too worried about it, but am looking forward to let you know how it goes.

Now off to enjoy my REST Saturday!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The One who will listen.

I am one of many interests, like you all. Just to list a few, I'm interested in health care access, cooking, claymation, public radio, and clothes. It's a wide variety, and not really related to each other.

I've realized how hard it is to find pleasure with talking about my interests to people around me these days, mainly because the people around me are not as intrigued about what I can't stop reading/thinking/searching about. I've found myself in more than one occasion where I would passionately talk about something and see that the other person's eyes are kind of glazed over, and I've lost their attention. This is no fault of theirs because a) I am almost always guilty of rambling and 2) it's not their fault that they don't find whatever I care about boring.

Not being able to hold a conversation is a painful thing. It's frustrating to not be able to express what's going on your head and say what you mean to say at the exact moment you mean to say it. I've always had slightly oddball interests than many people, but it's felt increasingly isolating as of yet.

I think it has to do with the fact that I've moved away from the people who, despite not having common interests, knew how to listen in a way where it felt as if they cared that I cared about those things. I remember several times in the past couple of years where I would come home to my former roommate Peter, and unload on him about the frustrations about public benefits coordination, or about what happened that day in national politics, and he would actually absorb what I was saying and respond with questions that allowed me to talk more. (I do lurve to talk.) Peter and I don't share all of the same interests, and the majority of the time, he didn't know the specifics about the topic I was talking about. But he made me feel like I was talking to someone who wanted to learn about what I was saying to him. He talked to me about his theater issues, and I hope I was able to do the same.

I've also maintained the most successful long distance relationship with my friend Naoko, and she is the champion of letting me talk for hours, regardless of what topic. Naoko and I have almost NO common interests, but what we share is a common sense of humor, morality, and sense of self. This is a product of 15+ years of paging/note writing/text messaging/ emailing and phone calls, and I am more and more aware about the rarity of the type of relationship I have with her.

It might be the fact that I'm the furthest that I've ever been away from people like Naoko and Peter, for an amount of time that hasn't been defined. Sure, I was in another country, but that experience had a definite time limit, and I WAS surrounded by common-minded people, also known as my precious Fulbright friends. I don't regret moving, because I am living out the dream that I've always had. I also have very welcoming people here who are my rocks of support. It's just the little moments of disconnection that I've noticed that has made me more sensitive about how hard it is to find people who will listen in a particular way that allows one to indulge in my interests.

I guess it's only recently that I've really noticed how odd I actually am. I have a feeling that this phase isn't an exclusive one that only I'm going through. Maybe on some level, everyone is searching for an outlet, and that's what they look for when they talk about The One. I'm still a gigantic sceptic/borderline non-believer of The One, but I am hopeful to find someone here that might let me be the freak that I actually am, whether that be a mate or a friend. I hope you all have someone like such, or that you will find someone very soon.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Smiles aren't cheap.

When I'm walking by myself in public, I have often been stopped by (older) men who tell me that I need to smile. It's already happened to me twice this week, once by the guy manning the elevators at the Empire State Building (I'm getting my tourist jolleys out before work begins) and on the packed subway on a Friday evening, by a man who I assume is a dock worker, because he was wearing a union shirt. (YEAH THE WIRE!)

"Smile. Life ain't that rough." "Girl, the day's over! Smile!" Sometimes, it's just, "Smile."

When I was working at Starbucks, years ago, I was praised as a fine barista. The one time I was criticized was when the manager talked to me saying that I need to smile more and be cheerful to the customers and ask how they're doing. I didn't know that I wasn't smiling, and all I wanted to do was get the customers their coffee as quickly as they wanted it to be done.

Whenever I'm told to show my pearly whites, I'm always caught by surprise, because the advice implies that I was in a foul mood. I never am, at least, I never am when I'm told to smile. I suppose I look like the crabbiest girl on the street when I'm not conscious about emotions.

I started thinking about how I must look to strangers, and the type of first impression I give off and how unapproachable I must be. (Although, I frankly would not like to be approached by the type of people who feel inclined to tell me that I need to lighten up.) Then, I started thinking about why it's expected that I smile, and realized that it's because I'm a short and unthreatening-looking kind of girl (until the see my biceps), and because I'm meant to be the mascot-like persona that these people like.

It's a little step further than what these men must have meant, but I resent it. First, you would never tell men that they need to smile more. They're allowed to be non-bubbly. They're allowed to be jerks and assholes without a whole lot of repercussion, except money and power. Second, women are expected to be full of emotions, even if they have nothing to be emote about, especially when the sole objective on their mind is to get from point A to point B. Third, smiling takes an extra muscle on your cheeks! It's actually a movement that doesn't need to be repeated when not provoked. There's value to it, and it doesn't need to be whored out.

I'm less emotive than some but I'm not an ice queen. I have been told that I am a personable, likable, but calm person. I cry at some movies, but I hate romance movies, and reading Twilight only left me with a shrug, and an "eh", but Harry Potter Book 6 left me with clammy hands and a block in my throat.

I feel I ration my smiles appropriately, and that it should not be expected, especially if I don't know you, and I don't intend on knowing you. My smiles are saved for the appropriate occasions, and they are appreciated and I appreciate it because of it.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

"Body Type"

I generally do not like and female-geared fitness magazines.

I mainly don't like them, because a) I don't care/know a whole lot about skin care and expensive fashion and b) their health/nutrition advices are regurgitated over and over again.

My old roommate P subscribed to Men's Health, and I often found myself more interested in what was written in there than other magazines like Shape. However, for Christmas, I decided to try out their female counterpart Women's Health as a gift subscription, to see if I'd find it equally worth my time.

Sadly, (although better than a lot of others) I rarely found information in there that enlightened me. HOWEVER, there was one thing that I noticed one day which put Women's Health in the realm of publication that I can mildly appreciate. That, my friend, is the addition of "Athletic Build" in their "Body Type" category.


You know the body types that magazine feature some times. "Boyish", "Curvy", "Pear-shaped", etc etc. They often use it as a basis of what you should wear to hide your flaws and flaunt your best features. I'm sure many people, including myself, didn't fit in any one of those. There are usually only about 3-4 options, and you can't categorize American women figures into 4 types.

My issue was always, the following: I was way too bulky for "Boyish", I didn't have enough boobs for "Curvy", and I was an upside-down "Pear-shaped". I had wide shoulders and a narrower waist. Hence, I was man-ish. I was a swimmer for a good part of my life! My shoulders are broad and my arms are a forced to be reckoned with. At my farewell luncheon, a co-worker had praised me, stating that I was "not only the strongest woman in the office, but one of the strongest people."

So, when I saw this and their bathing suite guide last month, and was pleasantly surprised with the addition. Until this point, I kind of considered my features man-ish (as I just mentioned), but I like the newer label of "Athletic". That's right, bitches! My arms swim, and my legs ran a marathon. It's a good thought.

It's a struggle enough for everyone to feel comfortable in their own skin, as it is for me, even now. But when a publication recognizes something you thought was not common, it's kinda nice, no? I'm still on the fence about categorizing your body type in general, but Women's Health receives some kudos for representing an often ignored one. That's better than most.

Monday, August 31, 2009


So, if you have been following me on Twitter (which I doubt) you will know that my old roommate P and I (mainly P) have been tweeting each other about our diets. P is on a quest to lose some pounds through the Body for Life program, and I decided to ride on his coattail by keeping track of what I'm eating and developing some healthier habits.

Mainly I've been trying to do some lifestyle changes, and I realized some things that I do.

First, although I've known this for a while, I've come to realize that I eat LIGHTENING fast. My entire family eats fast. I don't know why, because we never have to be on survival mode, and food is always plenty. If I'm not conscience, an average meal takes 8-10 minutes. (I timed myself.) So! Another new goal I've tacked on on top of others is this: To eat my meal in 20 minutes. This is surprisingly hard. Basically, I need to take smaller bites and swallow before picking up the food for the next chomp chomp, but it is hard hard hard! Why 20 minutes? Well, it's roughly twice the amount of time I usually take, and it's roughly the amount of time one episode of "30 Rock" runs. I've been eating while literally watching the clock on the DVD player. It's kind of nuts, but I'm slowly getting into it.

Second, I almost almost ALWAYS crave something sweet after a meal. I didn't think I had a sweet tooth, but I've realized that I do. While, I never crave intensely sweet things like whipped cream and caramel, I like the sweetness in food, in general. My favorite condiment is ketchup. I love Japanasized Italian food, because they all taste like ketchup. Mirin-flavored Japanese food sings to my heart. I go through 3 jars of peach salsa a week. And even then, after a meal, I want some sweetness. SO! In order to kick this fructose habit, I've decided to brush my teeth after every meal, to see if I can curve it. We'll see how that goes.

I've been told that it takes 2-3 weeks to develop a habit. My challenge is to do this for 2 and a half week, and see if it sticks.

Yay pkisbodyisforlife.wordpress.com ! (P's quest.)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ugh bug.

This dilemma again.

I've been looking for jobs that have somewhat of a logical continuation to the job that I previously had. I loved my last job, and even more, I loved my organization. ( SHOUT OUT TO LTSC!) I gained a family in a setting that I never imagined I would find myself in, and I wouldn't trade that experience for the world. For. The. World. Deciding to work there is easily one of the best decisions I've made in my life so far.


New York City is notoriously expensive. I'm already paying much more in rent than what I paid in Los Angeles. However, the jobs that I'm finding attractive, getting interviews for, and giving me a chance, are positions that pay the same, if not slightly LESS than what I used to make.

I started looking at corporate positions today. Now, I have to tell you all straight up, I have ZERO judgment about corporate jobs. I think it's just as responsible to plan for your future and have positions that will allow you to have a safety net, as it is to work in a service providing position like I did. In fact, I'm being selfish by getting my conscious jolleys doing non-profit work, and kind of ignoring my future.

There's a job right now that I really really REALLLYYY am interested in, but the pay is low. However, the experience I will gain will be remarkable, especially when I think about post-graduate education.

But am I not young enough any more to take a job for the "experience"?

I'm scared that I might have just crossed that line this year. I want to believe that I'm not. I know I'm still young. But am I now in a position where I seriously have to start thinking about security over potential career advancement? Should I already be advancing in my career and really think about stabilizing myself? Or am I young enough (as in do I have enough time) to do a job that will give me network and skills that *MIGHT* make me a better person and a better candidate for future job/school opportunities?

The corporate jobs that I found and applied for today, resemble the temp position that I was really bored with before my job at LTSC. But, the pay difference is ridiculous. RIDICULOUS. The fact that I speak Japanese makes it jump so much, and it twists my heart and makes me sweat. However, a) I have no actual job experience in these fields, i.e. finance, business analysis, etc etc, and b) I know that I'll feel bored/anxious/like I don't fit.


Insights will be greatly appreciated...

Monday, August 17, 2009


I am a sloth.

Today is arguably one of the hottest day of the summer in NYC. I can do heat. I can. But humidity has become a beast that I can't seam to tame.

Today is also arguably the least productive day I've had since I moved here. I have been sweating since 9AM, and haven't really moved since then, either. I've only moved to fix myself something to eat. ( I never lose my appetite because of weather, or anything, for that matter. When I don't feel like eating, I know that it's deathly serious.)

I finally peeled myself off of the ground and got to the nearby Starbucks to apply for jobs.

Phew. Chilly.

Say what you will about Starbucks (as in: their drip coffee tastes like shit, they're a huge heartless corporation, and they're coffee is overpriced). I can't find another place in the universe that makes me as productive as Starbucks. I easily wrote 80% of my 65-page senior thesis in college at a Starbucks near my apartment. My college roommate Carmen can attest to that, because I saw the baristas there more often than I saw her.

Anyhoo, just another update to my peoples in LA that I am alive (and that I am still the shiniest, sweatiest person in NYC.)


Sunday, August 16, 2009



I promised you a project, but I didn't plan well enough, and I've got nothing for y'all tonight, except for that photo of me with my new chair. It's a "telephone chair", and I fell in love with it the moment I saw it at an antique shop. I know, I have no income, and I bought a chair. I did furnish my room, though, FINALLY. I built a shelf and I moved everything, but I am now officially the shiniest, sweatiest person in NYC. I'm starting to feel like I live here!

I swear I have more to tell you. But, I'll come back really soon for it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I owed you, and here it is.

Yes, I am alive, and well.

Let's start from the beginning.

The number one question I've got these last couple of months is this: Why did/are you move/ing to New York?

I've wanted to live in New York since I was a teenager. My reasons were really shallow, but oddly, it hasn't really changed. I saw shows like 'Friends', 'Will and Grace', 'Sex and the City', and all that other crap, and was mesmerized by the romanticized New York on TV. I decided that I wanted to go to college there. I had to run this by my parents (mainly because they were going to pay for my education), and I was met with an, "Absolutely not," from my mother. She told me that there was no way in hell I was going to survive New York City, especially with the ridiculously glossed over image I had of city life. To prove my point, my mom took me to New York City during spring break, when I was 16. It was April, and it was supposed to be spring time, but we were met with snow. On top of the weather, my mom reFUSED to take taxis, and dragged me on foot and subway every where we went. My suburban ass could not take it. (Just a side note: My mom grew up in Tokyo. She is a seasoned city girl. I was no match.) I succumbed to my mother's wisdom, and did not apply to any out of state schools.

However, the thought and desire of wanting to live in New York City never left me. During college, I visited several times with P, and after college, I kept visiting my college roommate Carmen over and over again. In between there, I also lived in Madrid, and tasted the life of living in a walking city. I loved it. I really really loved it. Once I got back to Los Angeles, I couldn't wait to go back to another urban city. (We all know how I shouldn't be driving, based on my records.) However, I fell in love with my job and my organization, and decided to stay a bit longer in LA.

Earlier last year, I had the crazy idea of becoming a lawyer, and dove into the deep end of LSAT classes and applications. I applied to every possible school I knew about in New York, but, guess what? I got rejected by ALL 20+ schools I applied to, and not just NY schools. ALL. I was crushed. Being the analytical person that I am, I dissected all the reasons why I was so sad about the rejections ( besides the pure fact that no one wanted me). In the end, I realized that one of the main reasons why I was disappointed about not going to law school was the fact that I might have to stay in Los Angeles for another extended period of time. I loved my job in LA, but it wasn't enough for me to enjoy living in Southern California any more.

So. I moved.

I realized my dream that I've had for 10 years. I didn't have a plan (still don't), and it was pretty reckless of me to move here. But, so far, I've loved it. Whatever romanticized image I had of New York has been replaced with a harsher reality, but it's far more exciting than I ever thought. For the most part, I am glad to be here.

Are y'all updated now on why I came here? Good! Because here's an update on what I've been up to.

I've settled into a little part of Queens and been loving it. I was at first hesitant about living outside of Manhattan, but now I prefer it. If you've seen "Julie and Julia", I live pretty close to the area where Julie Powell lives. The train she takes home, going up and down those stairs, is the train I take every day. Manhattan is great, but it takes a lot out of you. There are literally models and CEOs walking down the street with you, and it can get tiring. Coming home from Manhattan to Queens has been comforting, and I feel really grateful.

On the job front, I've got nothin', but I'm being optimistic. I've had the chance to explore Queens and Manhattan, run in Central Park (although never the same route, because it's so confusing), and ate at various spots, including the famous Shake Shack. I've also had the time to be completely obsessed with 'The Wire', which is a show that requires time and care. (I can't start with this show without dedicating an entire post on it. It is the greatest thing to ever be shown on television.)

I've been alright. :)

So, that's that. I'm thinking about starting a little project, so if you've been patient with me and read this post, you might wanna come back on Sunday.

I miss all of you!


Friday, July 31, 2009

Fuck me.

I moved to New York City this week, from Los Angeles. More on that later.

I'm trying to get some health insurance, but look at this shit:

How the fuck am I supposed to afford that? I'm a healthy 26 year old with no pre-existing conditions. I can't afford an HMO, and the $151+ that will ONLY cover costs if I get hospitalized is steep enough for some reevaluation.


I canNOT get hit by a bus for at least 2 weeks...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Em Jay.

Michael Jackson was someone that was always in existence in my memory. He was just a given, like George Washington and Mickey Mouse.

However, I am slightly too young to say that I grew up with Michael Jackson's Thriller, or Bad, even. I was a kid, sheltered, in a non-American household, and my only interests were cartoons and playtime. I do remember Bad, and I remember seeing the video "Black or White". Those were my initial MJ memories, but what also simultaneously accompanied those memories were the court proceeding details. When I knew who Michael Jackson was, I already had the impression that he was involved in something wrong.

I grew older, and I heard his music, and it wasn't revolutionary to me, but instinctively familiar. I think that's a testament to his genius. I didn't think about how amazing his songs were, but how it was already a part of my melody library. I watched him dance, and I was entertained, but it was already established that he was the best dancer in the world. He had already gone through 3 lifetimes and back by the time I started being interested in pop culture.

My past image of Michael Jackson was as conflicted as his legacy. I doubted him, I thought he was strange, and I definitely made unkind remarks about his appearance and choices. But I ALWAYS danced my heart out when his songs came on the radio, and considered him the King of Pop.

In retrospect, and with some wisdom that age has brought to me (ha... I feel stupid putting my age of 26 and the word "wisdom" together), I now only hear his music and mourn his tragedy. I think he was largely misunderstood. I think he made some poor choices, and demonstrated some lack of judgment. But I also think he suffered, and that the majority of his missteps were not intended with malice. I haven't been able to stop listening to his songs since the day he passed, and I don't think I ever will stop. I've grown to love and become obsessed with "Off the Wall" as an album, and come to crave his more mature tracks, like "Man in the Mirror" and "Human Nature". I find his dancing to still be unmatched, and truthfully, I hope it never will be.

I hope no one ever comes close to Michael Jackson, and that he is at peace. His artistic fame will truly be immortal, and that is probably what Michael Jackson wanted most.

Friday, June 05, 2009

ain't no lie

Remember this?

I was not lying.  

CAPRIS!  Sadness...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Ugly Side of Marathons.

I'm still high off of the marathon, and love thinking about that day. It's been more than a week, and I sincerely can't wait to sign up for another one.

However, today, I'm going to talk about the reality of it all. Overall, I think marathons are not very healthy. Does that stop me from doing another one? Ah heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllls no! I do all kinds of shit that are unhealthy for me. I'm not a 50+ year old man, so I'm hoping that marathons won't kill me one day, via heart attack.

With that said, today I wanted to tell you about the bad parts or marathons and marathon training. So many people commented about how unfazed I looked in the pictures (not here, but on Facebook, emails, at work, etc), but the reality is, it was hard as shit.  The entire journey was difficult.  That doesn't mean that it wasn't enjoyable, because it was.  But I'm here today to tell you some weird surprises that I've encountered.  Duh duh duuuuuuuuuuuuuuh. ( Just kidding.  It's not that dramatic.)

A lot of people might start running to lose weight.  It's a high intensity workout, and when you get into the running grove, you do end up dropping some pounds.  You would think that, as you pile on the mileage, you would burn more calories.  True.  However, have you seen people who run marathons?  Aside from the professionals, a lot of people (including those who have trained for months) are normal sized.  It's not a pack of rail thin people running towards a finish line.  This is because you get huuuuuuuuuuuuuungry.  Duh.  You eat.  And eat.  And EAT.  I'm here to tell you, that ever since I went past 13 miles, I gained 8 pounds.  ( I don't know why I bolded that.  It's fun.)  A lot of it is muscle.  But a lot of i t was the extra body mass that I needed to last the 26.2 miles.  My pants are a little tighter, but I ran the thing in less than 4 and a half hours.  That's gotta be something, right? 

Second off, training was FUN but tapering SUCKED ASS.  You would think that the running miles to get to 20+ miles is torturous, and a week of eating carbs and not running is heaven.  I'm here to tell you that it was the complete opposite, at least for me.  I love running.  Those long runs were exhilarating.  I wouldn't have gotten to the 20+ if I didn't love it.  Tapering, on the other hand, made me restless, bloated and constipated (sorry if TMI), and stiff.  My muscles started hurting from lack of movement.  At first, eating carbs only was kind of fun.  However, you don't get to eat EXTRA food, but you're supposed to REPLACE other food groups WITH carbs.  It doesn't mean a piece of cake everyday.  It means more vegetable and grains in place of that ounce of chicken.  (  I didn't follow that very well.  I definitely went overboard and indulged, but whatevs.)  

Finally, running for 4+ hours straight is definitely torturous on your body.  2 days after the marathon, I got a sharp pain in my ankle, and had to limp for the rest of the week.  I swam and kept my muscles moving, but I got really scared.  I rested and pretty much recovered since then, but I definitely had a moment where I thought I had fucked up my foot pretty seriously.  I got lucky this time, but marathons could hurt you.  In fact, every year, someone does die every year.  (Not to scare you, or anything.) 

Having said all that, though, it was still one of the best experiences of my life.  All the pain and trials and tribulations were worth it, and the high I felt afterwards was priceless.  Glory comes with a price, and I would pay it again to  feel that euphoria.  

SO!  What are you waiting for??  If running a marathon is one of your goals, NOW is the time to RUN!!!  Honestly (and I say this with all my heart), if I can do it, YOU CAN.  

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My First Marathon

Oh man. I finished the marathon. Oh man. It was the best run I've done so far! (I've been telling people that it was the best run of my life, but I've realized that I'm far too young to declare anything as the best of my life.)

Here is my post to tell you, dear reader, about my day, step by step. Brace yourself! I'm going to talk about everything, including body fluids, body parts, and body functions, so it won't be the best thing to read over, say, lunch. (I promise it's not that gross.)

I woke up without an alarm, and without fatigue at 3:45AM. I know, crazy. (Crazy is a word I'll be repeating several times, FYI.) It was the nerves. I promptly tried to empty my stomach, i.e. poo. Semi-successful. It has been very important for me to go to the restroom before my runs, simply because it feels better. When 4:30 rolled around, I ate a breakfast that has worked for me this past year: Ezekiel cinnamon raisin English muffin, smeared with peanut butter, and topped with banana. Usually, I'm starving when I eat this breakfast, but I wasn't this particular morning. However, I KNEW that I would collapse without a proper breakfast, so I "forced" down the breakfast. ("Forced" in quotations, because you basically would never have to force me to eat banana and peanut butter together. Heaven in the form of food.)

My parents picked me up at 5:30AM. They have been volunteering at the LA Marathon, passing out water, for the past 3 years. This year, they were going to be at the end of the marathon, and offered to take me to the race really early. I sat in the car without saying much. I was pretty nervous. I chugged my sports drink silently ( a Japanese one that is infinitely better than Gatorade, but unfortunately named Pocari Sweat... why the Japanese include Sweat to describe a drink is beyond me), and fidgeted the entire way in the car.

We reached Downtown Los Angeles, and stopped by my dad's gym so that I could pee. Pee #1. Afterwards, we walked to 6th and Figueroa where the race started. We passed by the finish line, and my mom snapped a photo, since she wasn't going to be there when I cross it:

As we walked to the starting line, I started seeing the other participants. There were so many different types of people! Old, young, men, women, hippies, hipsters, jocks, moms, dads, etc etc. There were several older runners at least in their 60s, who proudly had "LEGACY" branded across their T-shirts. A legacy runner is someone who has been running the marathon since it started. This was the 24th LA Marathon. DaZAAM!

We reached the starting point, where only runners could enter. My dad demonstrated his parental duty, and snapped a photo of me to start the day:

Do you see the bottle of Vaseline in my hand? I was told over and over to slather myself with the stuff to avoid chaffing. That, I did. All over. However, I neglected one spot, which I later found out after the race. I neglected to smear Vaseline under my breasts, because it simply didn't occur to me that I could chafe there. However, when I was showering after the race, I felt a sting, and realized that I had little raw spots under my boobs. Who would have thought my little boy breasts had the ability to move so much to chafe?! Not me! I was actually impressed with my boobs.

I entered the starting line, and immediately felt this BUZZ. It was exhilarating! I was amongst runners, amongst people who trained as hard as I did. People were doing little light jogs up and down the street, stretching, eating bananas and bars. I will never feel that buzz again. It's a sensation that I think people only feel during their first race.

I immediately lined up to pee at the porta-potty. Pee #2. I went to the sun-block table and slathered on some XXXXX branded extreme sun-block. Then, I had to pee again. Pee #3. I waited impatiently, and also patiently for the announcer to tell us to start lining up. Impatiently, because I couldn't sit still, but patiently, because I was nervous to start running.

Suddenly it was time. The President of Honda said a few words, and then the Mayor said a little something. He blew the air horn, and we were OFF! which makes it sound like we busted into a run, but in actuality, it was a slow walk to get to the starting line. What can I say, there were 14,000+ of us!

I started running. The first part of the race was downhill, and I caught a glimpse of the SEA of people ahead of me. It was CRAZY! I didn't have my iPod on yet, and I just took everything in. People were happy, and we were all so excited to have started something we have been anticipating for so long. The bikers, who had finished their portion of the race, were cheering us on, along with the early rising spectators. Things were going great and THEN... I had to PEE. Now, people have told me how professional runners pee while running to save their time, but #1 I ain't no professional, #2 Apparently, there's a skill to peeing while running, #3 Hell to the NO. So, I ended up lining up at the porta-potty right at the end of the 1st mile. I'm not sure how long I waited, but it was worth it. After I peed for the last time, I felt infinitely better, and felt so light and strong and brisk. I had to control myself not to go so fast.

I ran the first 8ish mile without an iPod. There was no need! There were performers on some of the mile markers, and just the rhythm of the strides of everyone around me was enough. I controlled myself pretty well with the pace, literally chanting "Pace, pace, pace," to make sure I was going at the right speed. (By right speed, I mean kind of slow, but steady. I don't keep track of the real time.) We first ran through the Crenshaw District, which is a historically black (and previously Japanese) neighborhood. People had drums out, and large ass speakers blasting some Motown. It was uplifting! At that point, I wasn't tired at all, so it only just added to my mood.

Around mile 8-11, it got a little more quite, so I put on my iPod. Music does wonders. I'm always the fool that lip syncs to songs while exercising, and this marathon was no different. I was having a dance party in my head. I also ate a Luna Sport Moon, to refuel and avoid cramping.

My sister had told me that she was going to be around mile 13, so once I hit 13, I bbm-ed her that I was near. I ran past mile 14, when I heard a volunteer from work yell out my name. I turned around, waved, and when I turned back, my sister was there with her camera. I got super excited, which you can see here:
I passed her, turned another corner and saw a co-worker who had ran the LA Marathon 2 years ago. I watched her run, which was a huge part of the reason I even started running in the first place.

The race picked up from there, mentally. I was already feeling great, and seeing people I know made it almost euphoric. This is also when we started entering West Los Angeles neighborhood, and tons of neighbors were outside watching, some with food and water. I grabbed oranges, water, and sips of Gatorade (TOO SWEET), and kept on going, tackling the hills around the area. I oddly felt really strong running up hills, almost stronger than on flat asphalt. I'm not sure why, but it definitely worked to my advantage.

I passed by a few other co-workers, and other people I knew, all of them so excited to see me. This kept my momentum going until around mile 18, when it got slightly harder. However, I saw Korean letters, and got excited, because I knew the Koreatown was near, which meant it was the last leg of the race. Never have I felt more happy to see Korean!

I struggled and trucked along to get to mile 23, where I saw my parents. Their booth was passing out water and oranges, and I was holding off since around mile 15 to take advantage of it:
That orange slice in my hand was the meatiest, juiciest, sweetest thing I have ever tasted.

I left my parents, and headed towards mile 24. Mile 24 to 25 was the hardest. I knew I was going to make it, but it was just enough to make it painful. Once I saw mile 25, we started turning into Downtown LA, and I saw the finish line. I took off my iPod, and gave it all I got.

One MAJOR detail I forgot to mention: I ran this marathon as a fundraiser for my work, Little Tokyo Service Center. The Friday before the marathon, people signed my shirt with words of encouragement. That red smear above my ass is supposed to say www.ltsc.org . I wish I could show you the entire shirt, but I forgot to take a picture of it before, and now everything is smeared. Oops. (P.S. I know you're all distracted by that gigantic man running ahead of me in that picture. I am too.)

I ran and ran, and saw my roommate scream my name like a girl, jumping up and down in the crowd. (LOVE YOU P!) I made it to the finish line, seeing 4:24:50. WTF! 4:24:50!!!! I was SO HAPPY. (Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of me crossing the finish line, except for what is offered on the marathon site. Maybe later.) My goal for this marathon was simply to finish, with the sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight hope of finishing it under 5 hours. I couldn't believe my eyes.

I walked through the volunteers, got my medal, got my picture taken, and went to search for my friends. My sister spotted me, while I was on the phone with her:
I was greeted by the greatest people, and felt so happy to be in that moment. I'd done it! Not only had I done it, I'd finished and ENJOYED every moment of it! The cherry on top of it all was, when my sister told me my actual time. She had it directly texted to her, and it was 4:20:15. 4:20:15. I don't think I could ever repeat that time again. One additional thing about this particular marathon, was that the weather was PERFECT for running. Foggy, crisp, and with a slight breeze. I couldn't have asked for better weather.

I loved running the marathon. I LOVED IT! Would I do it again? I would, over and over and over again! Madre mia, I think I'm in love.

Thank you for all of your support. I sincerely appreciated it. I got your texts, your wall-posts, your emails, and your comments. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!

love, lisa

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I'm still here!  I finished the marathon!  I will have a recap for my 2 followers (broham and Carmen), and I will post as soon as people send me their pictures.  Woop!  

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Oh Em Gee!

So, here we are!  Tomorrow will mark the start of the 1 week countdown to the marathon, and the start of The Official Taper. 

I have been dreading this taper, more than the marathon.  It's been a REALLY LONG TIME since I've rested for an entire week, and not be active.  

I'm going to have to keep myself REAAALLLL busy before getting stir crazy. 

I'm going to focus on resting my muscles, and remind myself that it's all for the benefit of the big race.  

Let's see how The Official Taper Day 1 goes.  

Sunday, May 03, 2009


I've been telling people that I ran 21 miles today, but I just calculated and it's actually 22.71 miles.

I, however, do NOT feel ready.

Last night, I carbed up like I've never carbed up before. I'm embarrassed about the amount I ate at Souplantation, but let me just say that there were several blueberry muffins consumed, and that shit ain't no joke! I did, however, carb up on better things than last week, but I still woke up this morning feeling like a ton of brick. In addition, I woke up later than planned. Oh well, the day continued.

So, I went on my merry way with ambitions of completing my 20+ miler, with all the aspirations of running the entire way. I had my iPod loaded up with several very long podcasts from NPR (This American Life, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, and several Fresh Airs) and started out alright. I was thinking in my head, "YES! Blueberry muffins ARE good for you!" as I worked my way through my regular route.

Then, I made a turn to go on a route that I had added to get the mileage, which circled around a local botanical garden. This is where things went off-course, literally. I got lost. I should have known. The area is notorious for little tiny streets and curves and turns, and I have the worse sense of directions. I grew up around here, so I thought I knew the area, but driving around the place ( this IS LA) and walking/running around the place are very separate experiences. On top of getting lost, I was getting lost amongst hills after hills after hills. This was only supposed to be the first 4th of my route, and I was getting my ass KICKED! I could have definitely used a Garmin right around then, but I work in non-profit, and am a social worker, and had to settle with a watch with the straps that came off, which only had stop-watch functions.

By some divine intervention, I some how get back on course, but that detour really through me off and I had to stop and walk almost every 4-5 miles. I must have stopped about 3 times and walked for about 10 minutes each time. I feel really shitty about that. I was convinced that I would be able to complete the whole thing without stopping, but my ass, quads, calves, feet, everything was giving out. At around mile 18, I was SO close to turning around and going home. I was thinking, "What the fuck am I doing? This is so fucking hard, I can't fucking do this.." (Excuse the expletives, but you try running that amount without profanity.)

Then, all the podcasts ended, and music started kicking in. I've been doing my long runs with podcasts, because it used to do a really good job of distracting me. I don't know what it was about these podcasts... I could be that one was discussing symptoms of schizophrenia, and another one was about the Soloist, and none were really funny and upbeat as usual. The first song on my playlist after the podcasts happened to be Janet Jackson, and suddenly, I had the energy to finish this sucker. Janet sang, "It's alll for youuuuuuuuu," and "Come on get up" and other encouraging words, and I found myself mouthing the words. I was thinking, "Yes, Janet, Ms. Jackson, cause I am literally nasty (dripping in sweat and dust and dirt), I will fucking DO THIS." I finished the last 6-7 miles running the entire way, and it turned out great. Not only did Janet do her thang, but MIA popped on, and I ran faster and faster, or at least that's how I felt. (I should see how I run the last hour, because I actually must be running like I'm wearing diapers. I feel fast, but I'm sure I'm just waddling.) I finally finished, went UPSTAIRS to my apartment, and fell to the ground with a bottle of electrolyte enhanced water.

Phew. I'm still supercalifragilisticly nervous, but there's no turning back. I've scaled down my goal of finishing under 5 hours, to just completing the marathon. I'm not going to feel guilty about having to walk. I'm going to tackle it with all I've got.

There's only a couple of weeks left, so I'm going to slowly start scaling down my mileage. OOooohh, this bitch is goin to get CRAZY!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Update and nerves.

Monday- Swim with my 6:30AM older Chinese ladies posse at the gym. CHECK
Tuesday - Easy or fast run, depending on my legs. I'm hoping for a 6 miler. CHECK
Wednesday - Walk + Run interval on the treadmill (barfhateBORING), and weights. CHECK (and not so bad)
Thursday - Fast run. CHECK
Friday - Swim and weights.
Saturday - Whatever I feel like, and that won't kill me. Carb party.
Sunday - 20+ mile / JUDGEMENT DAY.

Today is Thursday (like I needed to remind you), and I'm so nervous.

I realized yesterday that what I've been doing above is not ideal, and that I might break myself, since it's less than a month from my marathon now. I didn't plan well, which I NEVER do. I decided to run this thing last week. I must be insane bananas.

But I HAVE to get this 20 miler down, otherwise I'm never going to make it. I know I can do the 20 miler, but I'm afraid of what it would do to me on the day of the marathon (which is on the 25th).

You thought this was going to end with some coherent thought at the end, but nope. I got NUTTIN. I'm just fraackin' nervous.

I guess I just have to look forward to that Carb Party. Anyone want to join??? Blueberry muffins at Souplantation!

P.S. I've been Twittering: find me, I'm lisa_speaks. I love Twitter, but not to follow my friends. Love them to death, but I can care less if they're eating or drunk or illegally updating from their car in traffic (if they're in CA). What I LOVE about Twitter is following celebrities, like Shaq, Peter Segal, and Christopher Walken. It's like I get a joke from them everyday.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Holy shitty run, Batman!


I ran 13 miles today, and it was the shittiest 13 miles I've ever ran.  It has SHAT on my confidence about this marathon. 

To start off, I went to a very fun carb-filled party last night, and wasn't too smart about what I was eating, or what I was drinking.  Basically, I ate too many fatty and salty foods, and I drank soda and sake.  Smart.  I've adapted this "I can shove anything in my mouth because I'm training!" mentality, and today is proof that the above is NOT true. 

What ticks me off even more, is that today was GORGEOUS.  I was such pleasant weather.  There was a nice breeze, the temperature was just right, and I was so excited to go on the run.  The first 3 miles, this time around, were actually not too bad.  Number 5 and 6 were so so.  7-13 were absolute disasters.  I was getting really dehydrated (and still had not gotten any kind of water pack), and I started getting a cramp in my stomach.  It's the type of cramp you get when you first start as a runner.  That cramp that you get on your first run EVER, where everything hurts around the 2nd mile, and when you get that sharp pain on your side.  THAT one.  Ugh.  I had to stop and walk a couple of times, which I hate doing, because it brakes my tempo.  Then, around the last mile, I TOTALLY. ATE. SHIT.  I fell, stubbed my toe, scraped a little of my knee, and if I weren't holding my broken watch, I would have done a number on my hand.  Thankfully, my watch took the impact and is all scratched up.  

I've tripped before, but had enough strength in my legs to not fall down.  I suppose my limbs were weak at that point, and I just fell.  A car passed by, and totally saw the whole thing, and stopped and reversed, but as soon as she saw me get up, she went on her merry way.  I'm fine, but it was just the poo icing on the crap run.  To top it off with ca-ca cherry, I'm prettttyy sure I saw a dead cat on my route.  It was sprawled out on the grass, and looked as if it was napping, but when I saw that it's eyes were rolled back and kind of lifeless, it didn't look as endearing.  I wasn't sure, though, and I ran past it and didn't have the guts to go back and check.  Sorry, cat.  I later went home to my parents' and saw my dog in the exact same position in our backyard, but he was happily snoring, and it made me feel a little better.  

Sigh... now I'm QUITE nervous.  I'm still going to tackle the 20+ mile next Sunday, but this time around, I'm going to eat at Souplantation, instead of a Filipino family food party, and opt for the salad bar instead of the lumpia bar.  I'll save the lumpia bar for AFTER my 20+ miler.  

Here's my plan for the week:  
Monday- Swim with my 6:30AM older Chinese ladies posse at the gym.  (I am one of the youngest people at the gym at that time, and am CLEARLY the youngest person in the pool.  The pool is dominated by Chinese ladies in their 50s - 60s, and they treat me like Michael Phelps, because I can do more than doggy paddle.  They are really sweet, and try to include me in their gang. )
Tuesday - Easy or fast run, depending on my legs.  I'm hoping for a 6 miler. 
Wednesday - Walk + Run interval on the treadmill (barfhateBORING), and weights.
Thursday  - Fast run.
Friday - Swim and weights. 
Saturday - Whatever I feel like, and that won't kill me.  Carb party. 
Sunday - 20+ mile / JUDGEMENT DAY.  

My toe still kind of hurts.  And my ring toenail has been blue for about a week.  I have disgusting feet, and I am proud of that.  

Saturday, April 25, 2009


That is the number of miles I ran last Sunday, and what prompted me to sign up for this year's Los Angeles Marathon.  

Yes, it's a month away.  But I'm PSYCHED (which is a word I've always associated with a little craziness, and I think it's particularly appropriate in this situation.)  

So, let me tell you how this  18.75 went down.  

The most I've ran before that was 15 miles, which I only had done once the week before.  That 15 was painful at the end.  My legs were gelatin-like, and I was also getting really thirsty.  ( I had never carried any water during my runs, which is something I'm thinking about.) 

I told myself that if I could do 17 miles, then I could do reach 20+ miles a  couple weeks before the marathon, which means that I have enough mileage to finish the race.  So off I went.

First of all, I tried to leave early (around 8:30AM), but it was already warm.  At the end of that day, the temperature rose to 90+ degrees.  It was HOT.  I would have left earlier than 8:30AM, but I had a late night on Friday working on some things and also chatting with my roommate, who I rarely see. 

My legs felt like deadbolts the first 3 miles.  This is often the case, but usually by the 2nd mile, I pick up.  The 1st mile is always the worse, but on that day, I struggled a little longer.  After around mile 6-7, I felt a good pace, although I was aware that I was going considerably slow.  I decided that if I was going to last until the end, it's OK to go slow, so I trucked along.  I went a little further than my planned route, and really pushed toward the end, but suddenly felt light around 15-16.  It's funny how that happens.  Sometimes, the last 2 miles are the fastest and the lightest.  

I finished 18.25 miles in a little under 3 hours (and by little, I mean seconds), and it was already 89 degrees outside.  I decided that I had it in me, and signed up 2 days later.  

I know I said I'd never do a marathon.  WEeeellllll... yeah.  Woops!  This week, I'm taking it easy and going to bust out 13 miles.  Next week........ 20.