Friday, December 21, 2007

Whole Foods Soy Protein Powder (Natural Vanilla Flavor)

The day before I went on vacation last week, I stopped by Whole Foods to pick up a few bars to pack and also picked up a pouch of their soy protein powder to try. I had been thinking about getting a can of the stuff, but I definitely wanted a trial run before that. Fast forward to a week later. I was sore from weights and such for the second day in a row, which reminded me that I had the pouch.

I've had protein powders before, though in whey form. I used to swirl them around in ice water, and it really didn't taste half bad. Expecting the same thing, I mixed the soy protein and drank away.

To put it simply, it was gross. No flavor, thick, gag-worthy (I nearly vomited, but I guess you didn't need to know that). I looked on the label and noticed that there were no carbohydrates, 110 calories per serving (the whole pouch), and 24 grams of protein. So I guess it tasted like that for a reason. I ended up having to chase it down with additional water and the skin of a muffin that someone brought to work.

I don't want to give up on soy protein, because it's a lot of protein for both your calorie and monetary buck. I noticed that the back of the pouch said to add it to soups, cereals, baked goods, etc. If I'm to continue with this, I will need to find something to put it in, though I am disgusted with the concept of thickening my soup. Maybe oatmeal would be a good candidate when I start having that again. I eat Quaker Weight Control instant oatmeal (which is SUPER good in Banana Bread flavor with 160 calories and 7 grams of protein); the soy powder would bring it to 270 calories and 31 grams of protein, 11 more than a Clif Builder's bar for the same number of calories and probably more fulfillment). I wonder if the oatmeal will taste less good, though.

UPDATE: So trying a very similar protein blend (Genisoy) in the oatmeal rendered it a gross mixture, but I choked it down anyway. I think I will try to shake it up with soy milk in the future and just chug it down. I have to use up a whole canister now...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Rose Bowl Inaugural Half-Marathon

EVENT: Rose Bowl Inaugural Half-Marathon
DATE: Saturday, December 8, 2007
LOCATION: Pasadena, CA
RACE BEGAN: 8:00 am
FINISH TIME: 02:05:04

The start time for this race was supposed to be 8 am, but I think they lingered and started at 8:03. The national anthem could barely be heard, even though there were maybe about 1000 people out there. This was the first of many things that made me wonder why I signed up for an inaugural run that pretty much cost $90!!

The course was definitely tough. Pretty tough incline between miles 2-3, then the trails began at around mile 6.5. Oh yeah, and I should probably mention that my speed-demon sister passed me shortly before mile 6. My 10k split was probably around 0:57, not bad for me. At mile 7 as we were about to turn a corner, a guide said, "If you see people walking, just run around them." I turned the corner and found myself at a rocky, VERY steep, VERY narrow trail, where falling would mean serious injury. I obviously walked there. Shortly after that, there was a similar, less narrow climb that was three times as long, which I also walked. At the top, some girls dressed in Ms. Clause and elf outfits congratulated us for reaching the top of the hill, only to be thrown into some tunnel that smelled of paint.

Another not-so-grand point of the race was miles 8-9 that were in a lonnnng parking lot. I got so bored that I walked, and I found out later on that my speed-demon sister had done the same. But basically the second half of the race was on a mix of trail (a bit wet from the recent rain we had) and asphalt. Mile 10 was partly downhill, which was nice, and 11-13.1 were relatively flat. I recall that at mile 10, I was clocking at around 1:37, so I knew I would not make my sub-2 goal. I wanted to throw up during the last .1 mile, so I couldn't sprint and almost forgot to get my chip collected.

Gun time was about 2:06, chip time around 2:05, a PR by more than 6 minutes. Considering everything (the course and my cough due to a week of working late, sleeping less than ideal, upcoming finals, etc.), I was pretty happy with my performance.

...But, the medal was beautiful, and I got to cheer my other sister and friend in since the crowd was small.

Overall, an interesting, challenging race. I am not so sure about competing in the Pasadena Marathon next year if it is going to be of that difficulty. I also am fearing the marathon. Hm.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Aquaphor Sample

In this entry, I talked about how Aquaphor helps with chafing, so now it's time to get a sample of your own (while supplies last)!



Sunday, December 2, 2007

Running Makes Your Gut Bigger

Running makes your heart big (I'll probably write more about that later), but it also gives you more guts.

At my first track meet ever in the spring of 2000, there were not enough JV hurdlers to sweep up points in the 100m hurdles. I had trained with the sprinters for about 3-4 months, and although I was already signed up for other sprint events, my team duty was salient. I had exposure to SOME hurdling, about 50m worth during a "hexathlon" that took place to find our strengths, and no, hurdling was not one of my strengths found that day.

I rememeber kneeling in the blocks, wondering how this would go. Gun. Boy, those hurdles are a lot taller in the 100m than the 300m, I thought. I probably cleared the first five hurdles and then started faltering. Anyone who hurdles knows that once you lose your rhythm, it's VERY difficult to settle back into it. So I was intimate with the ground and slowly finished the race, even though everyone else had long finished. My finish would still be worth 1 point, and as it goes, you should always (if it's within your ability) finish what you start. My teammates helped me clean up some minor scrapes with water bottles.

A bit of perspective here. The only other time I've met ground while running was at a 400m race. I was neck-in-neck with the girl behind me, and in order to cross the finish line first, I dove. The damage was a bit more mild that time.

But the story below is an extreme case of courage, tolerance, and strength. I am not endorsing this level of extremity, but it is certaintly admirable. Now it's time to run and be thankful for my good health and healed foot.



Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fage Me

So I made a run to Whole Foods recently, since I had an hour to burn. I spent WAY too much money there (you'll find out on what in a future entry), and one of the things that contributed to that was this yogurt.

I've heard so many things about Fage (pronounced: fah-YEH) and finally decided to give into the hype. For $1.89, I was thinking, "It better be good!"

I got this 2% kind, because the 0% next to it weighed less, ha ha. The 0% has 80 cal and 13 g protein, and the 2% has 130 cal and 17 g protein (the "whole" has 200 cal and 20+ g protein). But yeah, after a 6-mile run, I didn't want to settle for the weenie one, especially if I was paying $1.89 for it.

Okay, enough gripes, I guess. So I cracked open this baby in my car and tried to poke at it, only to find it is covered by parchment paper. After getting through that weirdness, I tasted what was the creamiest yogurt ever. I sometimes get a carton of plain low/non-fat yogurt, but this was just, as my classmate says, "bomb." It is everything I like in plain yogurt and a very good protein source.

Yes, I am on a protein trip lately. I find that eating more of it helps me heal up better after runs. Stay tuned for more protein-rich food reviews.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Review: Zipfizz

Guest review of Zipfizz: I was at Costco recently and there was a sample table hawking this Zipfizz stuff. Zipfizz is a healthy alternative to sports drinks and coffee to give you energy for whatever you may need energy for. This guy made this stuff sound so wonderful that I bought a box. Yeah, I am easily sold and am always on the look out for anything that will help me better my running abilities. So this guy was saying that this powder in a tube that you mix with a bottle of water has 30% more electrolytes than Gatorade and has all these vitamins and this and that. He made Julie and I a bottle each and we sampled it in the store. Julie drank her really quickly and got a "caffeine buzz" from it. It has 100mgs of caffeine, which is about 1/4 the caffeine in a tall Starbucks coffee, just to give you some comparison. Not much if you think about it. I really like the stuff and am glad I purchased it. I mix a bottle up everyday and take it with me to my noontime run or workout and it really helps me power through it. Below is a link to the Zipfizz site for more info on the product. I think they may also sell these at vitamin shops and health food stores maybe.

Also, zipfizz will enter you to win a free months supply of zipfizz if you fill out a brief survey.



Monday, November 19, 2007

Half-Marathon Triple Crown!

Three races. One special medal. One friend who talked me into it. One heck of a challenge.

Carlsbad - January 20, 2008
La Jolla - April 27, 2008
America's Finest City - August 17, 2008

I guess this means my race plans for next year are changing. And the traveling will be nice.

OC Half-Marathon: January 6, 2008
Carlsbad Half-Marathon: January 20, 2008
LA Marathon: March 2, 2008
La Jolla Half-Marathon: April 27, 2008
(deleted) Palos Verdes Half-Marathon: May 2008
America's Finest City Half-Marathon: August 17, 2008
(not sure anymore) Pasadena Marathon: fall 2008



Friday, November 9, 2007

Being in the Zone

Since Julie has been so busy lately, I thought I would fill in with some reviews and such. I remember when I first started working out, I use to love eating those protein bars and just about any food in bar form. I was really into Power bars and Clif Bars. I still like these but they can have a strange taste to them. Eventually, I just stopped eating bars. Don't remember why but recently I started looking into them again. Well, I guess it also has to do with the fact that I've been running more in training for the LA Marathon. It's weird but the more exercise I do, the less appetite I have. But knowing how important it is to eat when training, I've been trying to find bars that are easy to eat and digest and will give me enough energy to run. I was at Costco one day and bought a big box of Zone Perfect bars. I didn't know what to expect from them since I had not had them before but the bars have 14g of protein, 7g of fat and 210 calories. Let me just say that they are also really good. I mean, I could eat these all the time, but I won't. I am only going to eat these in desperate situations when I don't feel like eating real food. Since I started running again, I have also started a weight training program and watching what I eat. I hope in time, I will look like this....

Ok, maybe not this good, but maybe losing some fat around my mid-section. Wish me luck! Perhaps I will update on whether the strength training is working or not. Stay tuned! Have a wonderful weekend. Long run here I come.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What's a Peroneal Tendon?

I haven't been updating as much as I should, so I just thought I'd talk about the first 2-3-ish weeks of marathon training. Mainly, I am going to rant a bit. While everything started off well, I was hit with a familiar pain in mile 4 of 5 a few days ago. I had to finish the run because I was away from my starting point, and since it was hurting more to walk than run, I went on.

Fast forward to a few hours later. The pain was along the right side of my foot, the exact opposite of the left side foot pain I had last year after running 20 miles. I guess I was tackling too many hills too strongly. I limped over to CVS and got some athletic tape/bandage so the Icy Hot patch I tacked on the area would stay.

So I spent two days in this wrap, the second day in a boot, which actually helped a lot. Strangely, even wearing these heeled peep-toe shoes feels better than wearing sandals at this point.

I slapped the running shoes on again today and ran three miles. I think I was feeling worse from undigested food than the foot issue. It felt worse to walk afterward. Assuming I can continue on like this, I will just have to be careful over the next week or so while this heals (that's how long it took last time, and I had also run on it back then).

Since this keeps plaguing me, I self-diagnosed on Google and found that the peroneal tendon (longus) was the probable culprit. There are two tendons connected to the ankle, one running along the inner side of the foot and the other on the outer side. These tendons can tear or inflame, in a case called peroneal tendonitis. The worst outcome is surgery, though that's the worst outcome of everything, I guess. I don't think I need to worry, but I've been eating as much protein as I can to promote healing.

Way to get myself injured less than 1/6 into the program. Go me!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

NOVA Marathon Challenge


I just finished watching the program described below. I thought it was a very inspiring piece, though it made marathoning seem scarier than it usually is. My favorite part was one of the team member's (Steve) statement that he went for the challenge because it was so ridiculous that it's "intriguing."

The segment featured 12 people who rarely exercised and put them on a 9-month (yikes!) training program to run the Boston Marathon. Many of them had other issues besides being sedentary, such as stress fractures, previous heart attack, obesity (common), and even a guy with HIV. Obviously, they had their struggles. I thought it was cool how they talked about some of the physiological aspects of running, such as VO2-MAX, glycogen, and other muscle and bone issues. It didn't make it sound very alluring, to be honest.

Watching those novices cross the finish line reminded me how good it will feel in Los Angeles in March. I gotta start training my huge muscular butt harder (inside joke).

P.S. I made it home from my Advanced Stats midterm about halfway through the program, but thanks to the person who recorded the first half for me!


Original Post:

Nova, a popular PBS show, is airing the results of a study of the physiological effects of going from inexperienced exerciser to marathoner on Tuesday, October 30th.

This is good timing, as the unofficial start date of my marathon training is October 29. I have class the night this is supposed to air, but hopefully I can catch it on another PBS station or have someone record this for me.

Being someone who swings between utter idleness and running for hours, I'd like to know what I'm doing to myself -- the good and bad.



Friday, October 26, 2007

Let the Training Begin

Monday marks the official first day of the 18-week marathon training program a-la Hal Higdon. I'm doing the Novice 2 program because I want to improve my time but don't have the number of days to train that are called for in the Intermediate. I am probably going to make some modifications to the program. For instance, once in a while, I like to do repeats, so they may take the place of some short/moderate runs. Also, the long runs are going to flip-flop around due to my horrendous schedule. I am starting the training off with an 8-miler on Monday either at 6 am or 5:30 pm depending on how things go, though I am opting for the earlier time in the event that I get worn out going hundreds of miles on an off-site.

I always like to have one week without a long run scheduled in the event that I get sick, too busy, etc. It's a safety cushion, of sorts. So I guess in a way, my training has already begun, though I'm still feeling a bit worn from the half that was almost two weeks ago (though it might be my schedule that is tiring me rather than the running itself... who knows).

Top 3 Hurdles:
    • sleep: You need more of it while training... crud.

    • hunger: I recall eating a LOT last year while training, and my erratic eating schedule as of late might not cut it. I should probably reintroduce oatmeal into my breakfasts/lunches, and along with my Jamba Juice addiction (w/Immunity boosts), I should survive.

    • schedule: I already mentioned this. Oh, and although this is unrelated, one of my toenails is already having major trouble. =/
Top 3 Life-Savers:
    • Jamba Juice: I mentioned this.

    • winter break: Yes, I get a month off of school during some of the toughest weeks (not the peak, though, unfortunately), which will help (although I have two vacations scheduled in there, possibly a third). I will make the most of it!

    • others: Swapping running experiences is always fun.

Good luck to everyone who will be (kinda) training along with me. The stripe-earning part of marathoning takes place BEFORE you get to the start line. It is not having the guts to run a marathon that is admirable; it's the dedication brought forth during the 18+ weeks prior that distinguishes "marathoners" from other runners and 99% of the rest of the world.



Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Kool 'n Fit Sport Spray

I've had my legs sprayed with analgesics before, but by the time I resorted to them, my legs were too numb to feel anything. I have a soft spot for these because I associate them with the emotional highlight of my first marathon. However, I learned that you don't have to run 26 miles to benefit from such sprays.

The Kool-n-Fit spray feels tingly, and as its name implies, cool, when it hits your legs, much like a menthol cough drop. It has a slight citrus scent, which makes it slightly more tolerable to the olfactory nerves than other sprays. I headed over to a Kool-n-Fit booth after my recent half-marathon, which was lucky for me, since that's where I found my sisters, almost as if they had been counting on me to be in pain, ha ha.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Long Beach International City Bank Half-Marathon 2007

EVENT: Long Beach International City Bank Half-Marathon
DATE: Sunday, October 14, 2007
LOCATION: Long Beach, CA
RACE BEGAN: 7:30 am
FINISH TIME: 02:11:58

This race was particularly special for me for three reasons:

- It was my longest race since the marathon.
- It was the first race I've repeated so far.
- It was the first time I ran a race with people besides my sisters.

I was trying to PR in this half-marathon, though my secret goal was to hit 2:00. It might have been able to happen had the weather not been so hot (it was low/mid 70's pretty much in the beginning, which was a huge contrast to last year), my stomach didn't hurt, a chest muscle didn't cramp, and my hip didn't suddenly give up in the tenth mile. I had other forces working against me that morning, but I probably shouldn't elaborate.

Anyway, the first few miles went smoothly. I was forcing myself to slow down because I knew I would lose it if I didn't. I hit the 10k point pretty quickly (for me, at least). I think anything over that mileage is no-man's land for me. I dramatically slowed down after the 10k point because everything started to fall apart. I already knew I wasn't going to make my goal at the 10k point, so I just accepted it and was now just aiming to PR. I didn't miss the GU station at mile 10 like I did last year, but after a small mouthful of chocolate gel, I gave up and drank water and Powerade.

The last miles were brutal. I actually had to stop and walk a few times because of some of the things I listed above. Upon crossing the finish line, I took a finishing picture and proceeded to the food/fluid area, where I didn't get to "crust" any bagels because they were the onion kind (yuck).

Luckily, I PR-ed, though not by as much as I had wanted. I know I was capable of doing better (based on training and the last race I ran), but with races, you never know what can happen. You just have to enjoy the experience for what it is. And I, of course, definitely enjoyed it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Inspirational DDR and Running Story


Long before I picked up the running habit, I was a consistent Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) player. This game comes from Japan and popped up everywhere in US arcades, then made its way into PS2 consoles. You play by simply stepping on a dance mat's arrows that correspond to what appears on the screen, while short songs play (although this is probably an oversimplification). It is difficult because you need to have some sort of rhythm and stamina.

After I started running a lot, it became even more difficult because after a few songs, all the muscles in my legs started tightening up. Not giving up, I still played... just less often. Now that I am very busy and the weather is not amenable (yet), I haven't touched the mat in months.

But with the advent of a new game (DDR Supernova 2), I am preparing to lug out the metal dance mat we have and stop by a store to pick up the new game. I am determined to bring this fun hobby of mine back into my life, and the story below confirms that it may be to my benefit.

Yeah, I can relate ANYTHING to running.

- Julie


DDR Marathon Training: Myth or Reality?

Hello. If someone had told me a few years ago that I would be able to run a 26.2 mile marathon I would have laughed. If someone told me that not only would I be able to run it, but my training would only be playing a video game, I would have want to know more.

Well my friends, it’s true. Here’s my story. In 2004, my friend convinced me to run the Chicago marathon. Now, I had never been a good runner. In fact, I hated it. But I thought if he could do it, I could do it.

I started training the standard Hal Higdon way, running small distances at first then incrementally running longer and longer distances. The problem was I wasn’t making much progress. I ran the distances but at a very slow rate. I felt tired and stopped often, even when running just a few miles. Plus, I really didn’t have any fun running. Although I was training regularly, I stopped training a few months before the marathon.

At the same time, I became aware of the game Dance Dance Revolution for the Playstation 2. I had played this game before, but only when the arcade was almost empty so I could play without looking too stupid. At that point, I was 27 and about 40 pounds overweight.

The last time I had played in the arcade, two friend and I were in an arcade in Reno when we saw a DDR machine. Thinking my ability was at least average, I suggested we play. They declined, but I played one game. My friends were actually a bit impressed with my mediocre skill. Once I got off the machine, some bored looking teenagers wearily walked up and, looking utterly bored, jumped on, fired up the heaviest level, and played DDR the way it was meant to be played.

Although I had given it my all, their performace had written an indelible mark on my psyche: I was old. My mind immediately came to the conclusion that I was too old to learn this new game, too out of shape, and I should give up and never come back. Which is exactly what I did.

This was until I found out about the DDR home version, about a year later. My good friend Birdy suggested we played. Although we both sucked initially, having competition at my skill level motivated me like nothing before. I quickly became addicted, and although I had totally stopped my marathon training (and at that point had no intention of running it), I played DDR about two hours per day.

Now, I was still overweight, but at this point DDR did what the running didn’t do: the pounds literally melted away. I went from about 175 pounds to 155 in a matter of weeks. I had to buy all new clothes, and for the first time in years I felt YOUNG again. Limitless energy, defined physique and all the rest.

Now, about a month before the marathon, my friend suggested we go running again. I hadn’t told him I had stopped training, but I thought why not? Although at the time I had stopped training, I couldn’t even do eight miles, after my DDR “training”, I was able to run 13 miles without a problem. In fact, at then end I felt I could keep going. My heart felt strong, and my legs had newfound muscles.

I started running again, but only on the weekends. On the weekdays, I kept doing DDR. My DDR skill level went up too: from beginner, to light, to regular, then finally to heavy mode.

When it came time to do a 20 mile run, I finished (yes, I was dog tired, but I did it). After that, I didn’t run again until the marathon; I kept doing the DDR.

Finally when the marathon came I was able to complete it in a little over 4.5 hours. Not an astounding time, but not bad for having trained perhaps 1/3 of what the normal training schedule is.

After it was over, I considered what had happened. I had used a video game to train for the Chicago marathon. Hmm… I wondered if I could train exclusively for a marathon using only DDR.

St. Louis Marathon

At that point I stopped running althogether for the winter. I even stopped playing DDR regularly for 3 months. Another friend of mine suggested we run the 2005 St. Louis marathon. It sounded good, but running in the winter was not my idea of a fun time. But in January, when he started training, I decided to implement my DDR training plan. I would only run once a week to ensure I was keeping up with my friend who was training the old-fashioned way. Well, I finished that marathon under 4 hours! Running once a week for a few months and playing DDR daily. My friend, incidently, finished 28 minutes afer I did.

Fast Foward One Year

Well, after all that I stopped everything. Running, DDR, exercise in general. I am unhappily back up to 175 (I believe my optimum weight is 155). Last weekend the 2006 Saint Louis Marathon came and went, and I didn’t run at all. Another thing last weekend: I played a game of DDR. To my utter shock, I could barely do 3 songs. This is compared to my prime (1.5 years ago) when I could do 30-40 in a row. It really hit me: I am totally, completely and absolutely out of shape.

Then I decided: It is time for another marathon…It is time for DDR!!!

So this web site will chronicle my training. I may run once a week, or maybe not. My goal is to finish the 2006 Chicago marathon in under 4 hours. And like before, I intend to use DDR as my primary trainer.

Feel free to comment. If anyone wants to train and chronicle their training on this web site too, feel free. If you have never played DDR I suggest you do so as soon as immediately. Through that game, all things are possible!



Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Guest Post: October, Flu Shot, Colds and the start of training for the LA Marathon

October is here and that means that the weather will be getting colder and perhaps wetter. It is also that time of year to get your flu shots. I just started to get them last year because I was afraid the flu would hit me hard and take me down and out of training. Some people say that getting the flu shot causes you to have the flu which in my experience is not true. I felt perfectly fine after I got the shot so this year I will be getting it again, that is unless they have a shortage again, in which case I will not get it so that those who need it more can. I personally think it is a good idea since to get sick right before the big race is just unfortunate.

Also, as the weather gets colder I start to be more mindful of germs and getting sick which is why Vitamin C and Airborne are my friends during this time. I take Airborne in the tablet form. I just drop a tablet into a bottle of water and shake it up and drink it. I can't say that it is delicious because it isn't. It isn't bad just not great. Kind of taste like mediciny lemon-lime soda. Yes, it has somewhat of a fizz to it. I can say that it is better than Thera-Flu tea. I cannot say enough about prevention during cold and flu season. If you go to a public gym often then you will know that lots of other people also use those machine and sometimes even when they are sick. Go figure! So never rub your eyes or put your hands in your mouth after you have touch anything at the gym. I've gotten sick lots of time from using the gym. If you run outside, you lessen the chance of contact with as much germs but keep warm if it is cold out there. Germs are also on door handles and high contact areas so please wash your hands after contact and use antibacterial hand gels. I normally have fears of germs but during cold season I am extra careful. Although if you have a very strong immune system then none of this matters. I have a friend who I will call Pigpen who tells me that he never gets sick even though he touches lots of yucky places and rarely washes his hands and then eats. If you are not like that than it is better to be safe than sorry.

Finally, if you are planning to run the LA Marathon in '08 or any race in the spring, then this is the month to start training for it. I say this only because this is the month I will start logging lots of miles again. Good luck to everyone to get those runs in, it is especially tough for me with the upcoming holidays and such but the So. Cal weather is great for running during the Autumn/Winter season. So go out there and run!

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Walk in the Park

On Sunday, September 30, the Pasadena Humane Society hosted a 1 mi/3 mi walk called the Wiggle Waggle Walk for Animals at the Rose Bowl. I think I saw hundreds of dogs there with their loving owners who wanted to help raise money for less fortunate dogs with no homes.

Two of my favorite pups, Bear the Shiba Inu and Teddy the Yorkshire Terrier, walked 3 miles in the hot morning sun. They had several water stations for the dogs, as well as one or two for the humans.

The reason I mentioned this is because when I got to the mile 2 marker, I really thought we had walked more. It was really some of the longest 3 miles of my life because I was not really allowed to run. I guess running and walking are two very different animals (pun intended).



Guest Review: Ipod Shuffle

I am back once again and this time to review the Ipod shuffle that I won as a door prize a few weeks ago. I am so lucky! I had the original shuffle and loved that it was so light and portable for those long runs but when I got this baby, wow, it is even better. Aside from the fact that it smaller and has a built in clip, it can hold up to 240 songs (1 GB). I love the clip part because I use to have to wear my old shuffle around my neck or hold it in my hand since I was too cheap to buy an arm band. I also really love all the colors it comes in. Mine is pink. I saw it in purple yesterday and am only slightly jealous. I really like mine. Great improvement over the old design.

One of "Those" Lists...

You Know You're a Marathoner If...
(excerpted from a website the ones that apply to me)

~ You roll your eyes when people talk about low carb diets.
~ "18 weeks" becomes your most important unit of time.
~ You'd rather run a marathon than go on a "real" holiday.
~ You no longer think people who run marathons are crazy.
~ After finishing a really tough 26.2-mile run, your first thought is: "Next race, I'm going to...."
~ You have a pile of shoes in your closet because you feel like you have to have new running shoes every 400 miles.
~ You spend too much time on the Internet reading about other peoples' workouts.
~ You think high 40s/low 50s and overcast sounds like perfect weather.
~ When someone mentions that they live in another city, you immediately think, "Oh, I hear that's a good running city" or "Good God! I couldn't live there! Their marathon is cruddy and there's nowhere to run!"
~ You get up earlier on weekends than you do during the work week.
~ You shower about 12 times a week.
~ Every time you see a runner when you're driving you feel like you too should be running, even if you ran 15 miles earlier in the day.
~ When you go away for a weekend (or week) your most consuming thoughts are how you are going to get your runs in.
~ When you're driving somewhere and you see a distance to next town sign and automatically calculate how long it would take to run there.
~ You wear more electronics on a run than are in the dash of your car.
~ A 5k is considered speedwork.
~ You daydream about Sunday morning's LR all week.
~ Missing a day of running depresses the &*#@ out of you, even if you're sick or injured.
~ You understand what is meant by BQ,CIM,MCM, etc.
~ You can drink from a cup while running and don't mind that half goes on your chest.
~ Complete strangers come up to you and say "I saw you running the other day..."
~ The phrase "you're crazy" or "how can you possibly run that far" doesn't even warrant a response any more.
~ You've run more miles than you've driven so far this year.
~ You think ultra runners are only slightly crazy.
~ Your friends realize they can't threaten you with "I'll kick you out of the car right here" because they know you can make it home, and you might actually enjoy the challenge.
~ It's okay to have a mistake and run an extra mile, but if you realize you shorted yourself .2 miles on any run, you freak out.
~ You work out the difference in distance between running in lane 1 and running in lane 4
~ You know who Pheidippides is.
~ You know the story of why the marathon is precisely 26 miles 385 yards (42,195 metres).
~ You feel a little insulted when you tell someone you've just run a marathon and they ask, "Did you finish?"


Excerpts from:

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Real Men Wear Kilts

I thought I was being eccentric by wearing a skort to race, but check out (well, I take that term back... just look at) these alternative running bottoms.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Lentil Cookies

I recently received a sub-batch of these (using cranberries and omitting coconut) from a friend, and I thought I'd share because they supposedly have 10 grams of protein per 2 cookies (they aren't big, so that's pretty darn good).

These are soft, a tad dense, but not too sweet. Very good post-run snack.


From the Food Network Show: Good Eats

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield: 4 1/2 dozen


9 1/2 ounces whole-wheat pastry flour, approximately 2 cups*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
8 ounces sugar, approximately
1 cup 6 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature, approximately 3/4 cup
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups lentil puree, recipe follows
3 1/2 ounces rolled oats, approximately 1 cup
4 ounces dried fruit, approximately 1 cup
2 1/4 ounces unsweetened dried shredded coconut, approximately 1 cup

*Cook's Note: If desired, a quarter of the whole-wheat flour can be substituted with lentil flour for a denser, stronger flavored cookie Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice.

In the bowl of a stand-mixer with a whisk attachment, cream together the sugar and butter on medium speed. Add the egg and mix until just incorporated. Add the vanilla and lentil puree and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture and blend on low speed until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the oats, dried fruit and coconut.

Form the dough into balls about 2 teaspoons in size and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper, leaving about 1-inch of room in between. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 195 degrees F is reached on an instant-read thermometer.

Lentil Puree:

4 ounces lentils, approximately 2/3 cup, picked over and rinsed
2 cups water

In a small pot over medium heat, combine the lentils and the water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Remove from the heat and puree. If using immediately, let cool. The puree may be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or in the freezer for 2 to 3 months.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups lentil puree



Peanut Butter!

Sadly, I can get through a jar of this in a week and a half. Peanut butter has such a bad reputation. People complain that it's fatty and addictive.

Yes, peanut butter has 16 grams of fat per 2 tablespoon serving, but it's monosaturated, aka "good" fat. Also in that same serving, you get 7-8 grams of muscle-building vegetarian protein and good satiety.

I wouldn't recommend eating this too close to a run, but it's a great post-run snack when combined with whole grain breads, fruit, or vegetables. Maybe even out of the jar.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

JanSport Fifth Avenue II Fanny Pack

Geez, the words "fanny pack" don't sound cool at all, and believe me, wearing one is certainly not cool, either.

However, I had to give myself a bigger butt than usual wearing this because a few weeks ago, someone took my water bottle while I was doing a long run. I had hidden it behind a tree, and when I came back for it around mile 6 (of 10), it was gone. Defeated, I had to cut my run short.

I picked this up at Sport Chalet. I am a fan of JanSport because I used to envy all the kids who had JanSport backpacks that seemed to last forever and ever without breaking (plus they looked cool), while my ghetto, un-cute, boyish, hand-me-down Chinatown backpacks would develop holes that would have to be sewn up over and over again. On that note, don't get me started on "Adidos" items...

Anyway, now that I am older, there was some glee associated with the purchase of a JanSport item. I was finally able to give this a spin this morning on an 11-mile run, and I think it served its purpose, keeping my cell phone, mace, iPod, and water bottle with me the whole time without a significant effect on running. I'd say the only noticeable things were a slight noise from the zippers, pre-chafing because I didn't bother to adjust it properly (it was 6 am...), and slight up-and-down movement that also might be related to improper adjustment.

It is VERY nice to be able to drink water when I want. I'm sure it will also come in handy on longer runs when gels and such are needed. Still, I must say that this morning's 60-degree weather shrank my need for water significantly. It was just a very nice run in very nice weather.

Another upside to having an expanded butt is that I look even more atrocious on the road, which might decrease my need for mace. (I'm not taking any chances, though.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Update on My Nike+ iPod Sport Kit

This was a strange (ongoing) sequence of events...

When I crossed the finish line at the Nike Run Hit Remix on Saturday, I stopped the clock on my Nike+ iPod thing. I briefly noticed a small red symbol in the upper left-hand corner of the screen, but I thought that it was just an indicator that I was on a 5-mile course.

A few days later, I was checking to see what the kit had recorded my race time to be, which was when I saw a "Sensor: Low Battery" message. I Google-d a bit and discovered that this message appears when about 2 weeks of battery life remain in the sensor (the red oval piece).

NOOOOOOOO, I thought. The battery is not replaceable, meaning I'd have to fork another $30 for a new kit. But wait... it's Apple... don't they have good customer service and a one-year warranty on all their products?

I had to fax in documentation of my purchase in order to change my warranty period, but all went well, and I'm receiving a replacement in the mail soon. Upon receipt, I have 10 days to send the "defective" product. (Praise: I can keep the kit until my replacement comes... very nice of them to not make me do without it while waiting.)

What qualifies it as "defective?" Well, the battery is supposed to last about 3 years, or 1,000 miles. Clearly, at a bit over 250 miles, I was supposed to get a lot more life out of that sensor. Hopefully all goes well, in which case, I owe Apple a huge thanks.

I posted this as sort of a warning to the owners or prospective owners of this kit. You may have to deal with such inconveniences, but I still think it's totally worth it. Even if I had to buy a new kit, I still like the audio feedback, which is something that Garmin would not be able to offer. Not that I have anything against Garmin, but to carry another piece of equipment when I run turns me off big time.

UPDATE: The new kit came the next day via DHL Express. I packed up my old one to return in the same box. The replacement kit works fine, and actually is pretty accurate without calibration. Of course, I will eventually need to do it, though. Yay Apple!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Lance Armstrong Foundation

I am briefly posting this link as an attempt to get people to sponsor me for the half-marathon I'm doing next month.

I figure it's better to try than not. Every little effort counts.

I chose the Lance Armstrong Foundation because a close friend of mine lost a parent to cancer a few months ago. This charity helps those affected by cancer to life the best life possible through education and attitude alignment.



Nike Run Hit Remix (2007)

EVENT: Nike Run Hit Remix
DATE: Saturday, September 15, 2007
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
RACE BEGAN: 9:00 am
FINISH TIME: 45:55 (gun); 44:58 (unofficial Nike+ time)

NOTE: The "Start" mat failed to work, so the "gun" time above is my time assuming I was at the front of the line. Of course, there was a gap between the gun and when I actually crossed the start line, thus beginning my timing. Luckily, I used my Nike+ kit pretty adeptly during the event, so I actually have a more accurate (though still not the best) time to report.

HALF-SPLIT: 23:30, meaning second 2.5 miles done in 22.25

Oh well, I shouldn't be obsessing about such small things anyway.


I have attended two of these Nike runs before, though only as a spectator. The former 10k distance of the race seemed daunting before I took up running as a hobby. So I would join my other non-running sisters for breakfast once the race started and finished before the race's end.

No more of that. The only breakfast I wanted was the runners' post-race breakfast. So I joined my sister's co-worker's team and continued training on the half-marathon program I was already on, although I did back off a bit during the week of this race in order to stay as fresh as possible.

The packet pick-up was at various locations at various times, but we chose to get ours a week prior to the race at a Sport Chalet. There, we obtained our PERFECT shirts and free samples of Jamba Juice. I was also convinced by a Nike+ shoe guy that I should see if Nike shoes will work for me, since I had always thought they were meant for more narrow feet.

Now onto the race:

After a long wait, the race began with Blu Cantrell singing the national anthem and "Hit 'Em Up Style." I started off just making sure I didn't get burned by too many people. Finished mile 1 in about 9 minutes. Same for mile 2. By then, I was starting to feel tired and overheated (it was probably approaching 76-80 degrees by then). Not accustomed to running sub 10-minute miles for that long, I thought about walking so many times. We turned around, so most of the remainder of the race brought on the same sights and bands. I passed Naughty by Nature, The Sugar Hill Gang, Dawn from En Vogue, and finally, at mile 4, Sir Mix-a-Lot. The Three Runner-teers: I am the one on the right.

At this point, I was getting a stomach ache, although I hadn't eaten that morning. I was hunched over and badly wanting to walk, but I pushed on and just slowed down on and off. Finally, I hit the coliseum, where the downhill slope sent me rolling toward the finish line. The clock said 45:55 when I crossed the line.

Regardless of what that equates to in official time, I am happy that I (at least) met my 45-minute goal. It seemed a bit lofty to me beforehand, since this was my first short race. Short races are scary because the strategy is quite different... it's not just running as slow as necessary to get to the finish. There was actually some pride involved here, since I think I expected to do well because of all the running I've been doing.

Post race, we were treated to Jamba Juice (Nike Protein Berry Workout), numerous pastries, pancakes, fruit, sandwiches, yogurt, oatmeal, and even ice cream bars and beer. I stuck to most of a banana, half a mini Clif bar, some yogurt, fruit, and pickings of the pastries. I was so sick from cramming the banana down so quickly that everything else did not settle well, or else I could have eaten a LOT more. I didn't even have any muffins, scones, or crusts of peanut butter sandwiches.

This race has inspired me to keep training for the half-marathon I have next month. I really want to PR, so that means I need to train harder and take better care of myself in the process. I also hope to obtain a good visor by then. Running without one today was not the best move.

Nike Dri-Fit Feather Light Visor


I first knew of the existence of this visor while picking up a race packet at Sport Chalet. However, they did not have a black one, and knowing how I like to wear green, the blue and pink ones abound were not going to cut it.

Upon trying it on, I noted how light it was compared to generic visors I've worn previously. Also, the moisture-wicking Dri-Fit material seemed alluring.

I called many places and drove around looking for this, until I finally came upon one at A Snail's Pace. I happily swooped one up for $18, which sounds steep for a hat, but hey, it's Nike.

I wore this on an outdoor run today. I was supposed to do 8 miles, but I stopped after 5.5 because I didn't want to be in the heat anymore. My hair did not poof up like a souffle like usual, and it was indeed light. Plus, I felt really cool with the swoosh on my forehead.

I washed this in warm water like the care instructions said, and it seems fine to use for another day. All in all, totally worth everything. I could have used this during the race to shade my face from the burning sun...

The Nike website has this hat, for those who want to shell out extra for shipping and don't want to go on a quest for it like I did.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Nike Personal Best Knit Acceleration Short - Womens

I bought a pair of these Nike shorts over the weekend at a Sport Chalet while I was there picking up a race packet. This is about the most high tech and expensive pair of shorts I had ever bought. I have always just thrown on any old pair of shorts but I thought I would test these out and see if they are any better. I actually got this because I was looking for a pair of shorts with the hidden key pocket to hold your key(s)s while you ran. Up to now, I had been tying my car/house key to my shoelaces. Not the most comfortable feeling as I was always worried that I would lose the key during my run. I must say that these shorts look very cool. I got a black/dark grayish pair in an XS. I think Nike clothes run a bit bigger because I normally wear a small. It fits nice, not too loose and not too tight. I have copied and pasted some specs on these shorts below. Wore these for the first time today doing the Nike Run Hit Remix in LA and I really liked it. It kept my skin dry, didn't ride up, and no chafing of any kind. Really comfortable shorts. I have no regrets buying it. Plus, my key was safe and sound after the run.

Price: $38.00 (on sale at for $30 women sizees M-XL only)

Inner drawstring on the waistband for easy adjustment Mesh insets provide ventilation in heat zones Dri-FIT breathes and wicks sweat away from the skin Origami mesh pocket provides easy storage 3.5" inseam Fabric: Body: Dri-FIT 88% polyester/12% spandex plain jersey Mesh inset: Dri-FIT 80% polyester/20% spandex circular knit mesh Item: 5-207693

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Unique 9/11 Tribute

I found this in this morning's local newspaper (San Gabriel Valley Tribune).


Marathon helps bond troops, Afghans
By Alison Hewitt Staff Writer

SAN DIMAS - When Army 1st Lt. Amanda Wilson crossed the finish line Tuesday to win a marathon in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, it was both an echo of and a long way from her cross-country racing days at South Hills High School.

The San Dimas resident organized the Sept. 11 memorial races on her Army base to honor fallen comrades, but also to build morale among her fellow soldiers and neighboring Afghans.

Ninety people joined the race run inside the base perimeter to keep safe from enemy attacks.

Twelve of the competitors were Afghans, including four interpreters, Wilson said.

"When I had my interpreter running side by side with me, it made me realize how far we have come," she wrote in an e-mail interview from Jalalabad at the end of the race.

The Afghans who ran congratulated the U.S. soldiers, she added.

"For the first time, we all felt like one team," Wilson said.

Contributions from donors in the San Gabriel Valley paid for racing numbers that competitors pinned to their shirts, as well as medals, T-shirts, tote bags, sports snacks and more.

Wilson's mother, Donna, took charge of fundraising, blasting past the $1,000 goal to bring in $2,600.

"Running is just such a big part of her life," Donna Wilson said. "Because it's always been such a passion for her, she tries to pass that on."

The day's events included team races and an individual marathon, which Amanda Wilson won in 108-degree heat.

"So 65 laps," she said. "And boy was it hot!"

For several years now, Wilson has run in a marathon every year, including one in Germany. She said she would like to organize another one next year - with one caveat.

"Hopefully, not in Afghanistan," she said. "I think Germany is a more suitable climate."



Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Propel Fitness Water Powder Packets

And now for something new. I recently asked Julie if I could review some products on her site and she agreed. So this is the first of the guest reviews.


I got a sample of this powder in the Nike Run Remix race packet that I picked up over the weekend. It is the berry flavor one. It also comes in lime/lemon flavor. I read somewhere that Walmart is selling a box of 10 packets for $2.96. I have not personally seen them there myself for this price but I wasn't looking for them. I have heard that this item may be difficult to locate, so if you come upon this somewhere for a good price, please feel free to share. I like the idea of this product because they are portable. Propel fitness water is really refreshing, but I think it is only good for replenishments after short runs. I tested this out on a 5-miler yesterday and it was quite refreshing after my run. You just open the packet and pour into a 16.9 oz bottle of water and shake it up. It starts out kinda pink but eventually ends up clear if you shake enough. It is best cold, not so good when it has been sitting out for a while. I must say that it is very similar to the premade Propel water. All-in-all it was good, I may pick up a box if I happen to see them in a store but I will not be going out to look for them specifically.

Nike Protein Berry Workout

Jamba Juice, a place that causes pure addictions through their nutritional smoothies, has renamed their Berry Protein Pizzazz to the Nike Protein Berry Workout. Available in both whey and soy (my choice) varieties, you can drink this after a workout for muscle recovery! They come in at about 280, 420, and 530 calories for the small, medium, and large sizes, respectively.

I got to try a sample (or many samples, depending on who you ask) of this while picking up my race packet the other day. It has a predominant banana flavor as well as a good shot of strawberry. Since this is my favorite smoothie combination (Matcha Green Tea Mist/Blast is a very close second), I'm glad it now has the Nike name associated with it! (The picture below is not of the said smoothie, but you get the point.)

Straight for their site:

Power this smoothie down before or after your workout to help build muscles and promote cell growth. An Original sized smoothie is packed with 19 grams of protein, as well as healthy helpings of calcium, phosphorous, and vitamins C & D. It's a classic, all pumped up. Made with soy protein, a vegan protein derived from soybeans.

Ingredients: Soymilk (Contains Soy) [Water, Brown Rice Sweetener (Filtered Water, Brown Rice), Soy Base (Filtered Water, Organic Soybeans), Natural Cane Juice Sweetener, Isolated Soy Protein, Tricalcium Phosphate, Natural Vanilla Flavor with other Natural Flavors, Vitamin D2, Carrageenan], Frozen Strawberries, Frozen Bananas [Frozen Bananas, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) and/or Citric Acid], Ice, Soy Protein Boost (Contains Soy) (Soy Protein Isolate, Lecithin).

Try one for yourself!

Monday, September 10, 2007


If your thighs are burning, and you haven't been running, you must be doing a squat (come on, laugh at my attempt at a joke).

As part of my regimen, I attend a circuit-type class called FitMoves once a week in which we often have to do many (many) squats.

Upon telling this to my friend, she asked, "But don't squats make your legs big?"

"I don't know," I said, keeping a mental note to ask the people who are telling me to do them whether that is true. I still did them anyway, thinking that my thighs are so huge that they really can't get any bigger unless I suddenly ate a truckful of muffins or started on a steroid cocktail.

But before I had a chance to ask such an embarrassing question, I stumbled upon this really cool site. It is called Stumptuous and is basically a guide for women to weight train. Among its many useful pages is one regarding myths about squats and how to do them properly.

The take-home message I got from the squat page was this: I should keep doing them! Endurance athletes tend to have more trouble with squats, but they can also help with endurance. Plus, I will take the bonus of improving my balance.

The site had another page on how to work up to pull-ups. I have been working on this and am glad to know I'm doing it correctly. It won't be long now...


It's Hip to Flex

Each month, I seem to develop a new pain related to running that keeps me from doing as well as I hope. Sometimes it's a busted toe, shin splint, sore quad, or weak ankles. This time, it's a pair of sore hip-flexors.

Why is this bad? My subjective experience is that a sore hip-flexor (I call it the area where your leg connects to the rest of your body) forces a short stride. No good. Time to stretch.

Pictured here are variations of a lunging stretch that is said to loosen up in that area. However, be careful not to overdo the stretch, as I'm sure this can cause injury.

I will be doing this myself over this week in preparation for my next race (which you will hear about early next week).

P.S. Might I add the rule about stretching: after cool-down only, not as a warm-up.


Thursday, September 6, 2007

New iPod

(I WISH this was under the "Gear" category, but alas, I do not own one of these...)

So just when I thought I was set with my gear, a new iPod came out yesterday. I don't think it's very attractive, but look at how much more fancy the Nike+ thing works on it. However, $199 for 8 GB sounds VERY sweet ($149 for the 4 GB, which is what I paid for my refurbished 2nd Generation Nano). Wi-Fi capability is nice, also, though I don't think it will automatically sync your run data onto the Nike website. Now if it did....

No, I'm not going to jump on this bandwagon... yet. I would much rather upgrade the Nike+ itself to keep track of things such as intervals and heart rate.


Sunday, September 2, 2007

1000 Miles

This morning at around 6:45 AM, I ran my thousandth (estimated) mile since I decided to take on distance running about 1.5 years ago. I'm sure this milestone (heh, no pun intended) would have come sooner, but laziness... and life... happens.

Does anybody else have that Vanessa Carlton song ("A Thousand Miles") or Moby's "Thousand" stuck in their head?

Okay, enough of this strangeness. It's 9 AM, and I am obviously up too early.

Friday, August 24, 2007

McMillan Calculator

This is a really swell training tool. Since I've never had an official 5 or 10k time, I was looking for a target pace for my repeats. I just inputted my half-marathon time, and it went to work.

I am pleased to know that I can run faster than the predicted times this calculator gave me, but it's a pretty good approximation. Try it for yourself if you're short-distance challenged like me!


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kashi Treats!

Some good, sweet carbs....

Choose among:

Oatmeal Dark Chocolate (cookie)
Original 7 Grain (crackers)
Trail Mix TLC (bar)


Monday, August 20, 2007

Weight Training

I'm surprised I have not discussed weight training, as it has become pretty important in my routine and has probably helped me avoid injury and run faster.

Here are some of the things I do regularly (enjoy the varied pictures I found on Google). I usually do 3 sets of 10 with 30-40 seconds of rest in between. This is probably a bit minimalistic to some people's standards, but keep in mind that I'm not only a chick but a time-pressed one who crams these sessions in after runs.

- leg curl: to bulk up my already huge hamstrings; usually between 30-40 lb.

- leg press: to bulk up my already huge running thighs (quadriceps and butt); I've done up to 110 lb.

- adductor machine: inner thighs; usually around 55 lb.

- abductor machine: outer thighs; also around 55 lb.

- standing calf raise: usually around 25 lb.

- shoulder press: usually around 30 lb., though I know I can do more but don't want to grow that area any more than it already is

- seated row: usually either 40-50 lb.; works triceps (mine are detestable), which is why this was one of the first machines I ever used

- lat pull down: (ignore the supine grip in the picture; my palms are usually faced away from me) nowadays I'm up to 65 lb., with the goal being 90 lb. so that I can eventually do pull-ups

- ab bench crunch: because I can't stand doing ab exercises on the floor

And some things that I do less regularly due to unavailability or embarrassment:

- cable cross: I do a few things on this machine, mostly working the triceps and chest. Most commonly, I'm making an "X" with my arms in front of me. I haven't had access to one of these in a while, so last I checked, I did 25-30 lb. (per side)

- assisted pull-up machine: I hope to one day (soon) not need the "assistance;" right now, I think I am lifting about 60-70 lb. of my own body weight up (I will leave it to your imagination as to how much assistance I get). Also, these machines usually come with tricep dips, which I also do (with the same assistance)

- leg lifts/ab crunch: I don't like doing these because I feel that my heaviness hurts my shoulders when I'm propping myself on the elbow rests. I usually bring my legs up and kick them out so that I'm in an "L" shape, though I also do what the picture below is doing.