Monday, April 28, 2008

La Jolla Half-Marathon

EVENT: La Jolla Half-Marathon
DATE: Sunday, April 27, 2008
LOCATION: Del Mar & La Jolla, CA
RACE BEGAN: 7:30 am
FINISH TIME: 02:10:46

Part 2 of 3 of the Triple Crown.

The idea of running the hilly La Jolla Half-Marathon had been looming for months, and when the morning finally rolled around, it decided to warm up to an unusual 85 degrees.

Tea Time: Yeah it was one of those mornings that required no warmup wear. I wore one anyways and had to take it off shortly after I got to the startline.

The day before, I had taken the Amtrak to my sister's (Tea Time) place in Orange County and drove the rest of the way to Del Mar in San Diego. We stayed at a really nice place that was just across the street from the start. As we stood in the starting corral, I was just hoping to come in under 2 hours and 15 minutes. I was taking into account the heat, hills, and the fact that I had to run without my beloved iPod because they were supposedly "prohibited."

Tea Time: This was Julie's first time taking a Amtrak train. She thought it was going to be worse than what it was. I think she actually enjoyed the ride. We headed to the Corner Bakery for breakfast after I picked her up and from there we headed down to Del Mar. Lucky for us the 5 was free flowing that day. Yeah, it sucked that they printed that MP3 and Ipods were prohibited but half the people at the startline had them on. I'm pissed about that because I could've really used some music during some of those difficult miles.

There were two starts for the race, one at 7:30 for those running 8-min/mi or faster, and another at 7:40 for everyone else. Knowing that people never follow the rules, I broke it and started in the first wave. And good thing, too, because I later heard that for some of the runners toward the back, they had run out of water at some of the water stations. The water stations themselves were lacking to begin with (at every 2.5 miles or so)!!

Tea Time: There is also something very unnerving about being served electrolyte beverages that had been mixed in a large trash can. I was so thirsty and hot that I drank it anyways. The things I do out on the race course. :s

The first few miles went well. I was running comfortably at around a 9-min/mi pace. As I reached the fourth mile, I had to walk because of a hill, and I pretty much walked all of miles 5-7 as we headed into Torrey Pines State Reserve.

Tea Time: Oh man, you could feel the heat as you ran. Even from the start. I guess we were lucky it was dry heat and not humidity. I knew it was going to be a tough run. The course was really beautiful and it would probably be more pleasant had it been cooler. The miles through Torrey Pines was very challenging. I tried to run but walked about a mile. I honestly didn't hate it. It was such a good feeling to get to the top. Some of the down hill part was too fast but who am I to complain about that.

Miles 8-9 were really rough on me because not only was I out of gas, but dehydration was rearing its ugly head. I was breathing very quickly to flush out some of the heat, but nothing worked. I looked for shade, tried to fan myself, and thought about taking my shirt off, but honestly, the heat was unbearable. I tossed water cups on myself... my shoes got wet and then instantly dried up again.

Tea Time: Hmm, I have no recollection of these miles. The heat was starting to get to me at this point as well. I was dumping half the water on my head and drinking the other half. People had their hoses on and was spraying it at people and I tried to run under all of them. It was THAT hot, because I normally don't like to get water on me when I run.

Mile 10-11 or so was downhill with a nice ocean view. I ran this mile in 8 minutes. The rest I basically ran/walked, because the hills kept coming in a psychologically-damaging way. The very end was a sharp downhill, and I was practically dancing as I crossed the finish line. I grabbed my medal and basically left the place as soon as possible. That was probably the toughest race I've ever done, not counting the marathons.

Tea Time: These miles came slow. I thought I was going to die. Way too hot for a day in Spring. Overall, a challenging course but nice scenary. Don't know if I will get to do this again since there are so many races out there to try. But I thought it was nice and the ribbon was blue and the medal was round!! It takes so little to please me. :)

Overall, I am not too disappointed with the outcome. And I think I need to give kudos to myself for doing it without my crack... er, I mean, music. Pace was 9:59/mi, some miles run in 8 min/mi, some at more like 12 due to the 4-5 miles of walking I did. One of these days, I am going to get a huge PR somewhere... stay tuned for that.


Here are some "borrowed" photos! :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Adidas Clima-Lite Shirt and Shorts

This past Christmas, I received a V-neck T-shirt and a pair of black shorts with blue stripes on it. I think people were trying to tell me something (i.e., "Stop running in men's boxers!!").

Both of these products are from Adidas, made with Clima-Lite material that wicks moisture from the skin. I have worn the shirt once so far and realized I need to wear a better sports bra underneath (I took care of that later) due to a problem I won't mention but I'm sure most would know about.

The pictures are not exactly what I have... the blue is slightly less "bright" than that, and my shorts have 3 blue stripes on the side, not black like in this one.

I really love the shorts. They are some of my shorter ones, but they make me look athletic, which is always a joy. =) They are very secure and are comfortable. And the different length may help with my shorts tan, although exposing that extra inch or so of my gigantic thigh takes some guts. Of course, I'm sure most people wear much shorter things, but you should really see what I typically like to run in -- race T-shirts and shorts that approach my knees. Yeah, I'm super cool...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Dave Heeley's Third of Seven Magnificent Marathons

On Tuesday, April 8, 2008, I had the privilege of running with a blind runner, Dave Heeley.

Heeley is a 50-year-old from England. He embarked on a mission to complete seven marathons in seven days on seven continents. This record-setting attempt is also an awareness cause for the Braille Institute. The first two legs he ran were in Antartica and Brazil, and the third in America. And just by luck, he chose California... Southern California... Pasadena!

So I put on my running shoes to join his entourage, which consisted of people running a lap or more from the Pasadena Marathon founders group and kids (contrary to the media releases of this event, I did not see college students). We were blessed with overcast weather and slight breezes at some parts of the route. The event seemed pretty low-key overall. One loop around the Rose Bowl is about 3 miles, so he pretty much did that loop about 8 times. It was a mostly flat loop with some minor inclines that I recall from walks/races I've done in the past. There were water stations at each mile, which also had whole Powerbars (some of their reps were relaying the run as well).

I caught the group, which was about 12 in size, at around mile 7 and stayed until mile 16. I wasn't planning on doing so much, but I felt good. We were going at approximately 10:20 pace, very steadily. I could tell he was feeling the energy from hearing the footsteps and breathing around him. I had never run with people before, so what an experience.

I'm sure you're wondering how Dave finds his way around (see picture). His sighted guide, Mac, was linked to Dave at the wrist. He definitely deserves props as well. Dave, Mac, and the rest of the entourage were very down-to-Earth, British accents and all.

Dave finished in about 4 hours and 35 minutes. The measurement was done informally on a Garmin watch. His next run is in Sydney, Australia and ends in the London Marathon on the 13th. VERY magnificent, I would say.



Friday, April 18, 2008

Z Glove

Not long ago I was walking around the expo the day before the Surf City Marathon and came
upon a booth that was selling these "Z Glove", I know, so catchy right? Anyways, I talked to the
people manning the booth and tried it on and took some pamphlets but did not buy them.

When I got home, and especially the next morning in the torrid rain that has now made the Surf
City Marathon that day be renamed to Soak City. I really wish I would've had these puppies that morning. It was so cold! Anyways, some months later while I was walking around the LA
expo, I saw the booth again and this time around I purchased a pair. I dunno, maybe
it was impulse, maybe it was nerves about the marathon, who knows. Also, who knows why I
purchased it in hot pink, but I did. And I have since wore this pair of Z Glove(s) a couple of
times. They are really nice. As the guy at the booth corrected me, they are not arm warmers.

They are compression wear. Something to do with bloodflow to the arm and other such
interesting things. Here is their website, I'm sure they will explain it much better than me. They also come in lots of different colors. I mean, not a
ton, but enough to match all your outfits. Here is a photo of me and my hot pink Z Gloves doing
some serious lifting, NOT!

I think the great thing about these gloves is that they stay up and do not move unless you move
them. And each glove has a thumb hole, so you can wear it hooked onto your thumbs for arm
and hand coverage or tucked under for just arm coverage. I will most likely buy another pair if I
see them at another expo. This time, maybe in black or white. My favorite colors..hehe.

Bullfrog Marathon Mist

Another Christmas gift I received was this SPF 36 spray sunscreen from Bullfrog. This was my first spray sunscreen, so it took a while to get used to the "cold" feeling that occurs from the spraying, especially on a cold morning. But I think it has helped me protect myself better because I'm more willing to put it on before long runs and races because my hands stay relatively clean and greaseless.

It is definitely a good idea to make sure that the spraying covers everything since you're not rubbing everywhere yourself. The California sun can be relentless, so if you miss a spot, you're a goner. Fortunately, the sunscreen leaves a clear layer that disappears after a while but is good for checking the coverage. I don't use this on my face, but I've used it on my scalp, which has prevented sunburn up there.

The smell is pretty fresh, a little better than most sunscreens, though I really don't like the smell of sunscreens in general.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Larabars - Expanded Review

Nobel4Lit: On 2/5/08, Tea Time posted the following entry. Because I am growing to like these bars even more, I made some updates in green and will continue to add to this as I eat more of them. I am very surprised that I am diggin' these bars, because typically I don't like soft food.


I know these bars have been around for awhile but I just recently noticed them showing up at every pre-run expo. Larabar has been out representin' at almost every run expo I've been at. They are always really generous with their samples. I mean to a point. They allow you to pick two samples each time you come around, so depending on how many times you want to walk back and forth to the booths..haha, just kidding.

So I think there are 12 Larabar flavors
  • Pistachio: Tea Time's favorite
  • Key Lime Pie: not as bad as I imagined; the one I had was chock full of almonds!
  • Apple Pie: pretty good; tastes like a worse-for-you apple pie
  • Cherry Pie: no medicinal cherry taste that is usual of cherry-flavored things =)
  • Ginger Snap: my new favorite; subtle gingerbread cookie flavor
  • Lemon Bar: I don't like lemon-flavored things, but this was actually quite good
  • Banana Cookie: not too sweet; the nuts make it like banana nut bread
  • Cashew Cookie: nutty, and textured a little rough so you know it's ground-up nuts
  • Pecan Pie: obviously not exactly like a pecan pie, but tastes indulgent and nutty
  • Cinnamon Roll: a tad sweeter than the others but still very delicious
  • Cocoa Mole: I was disgusted when it suddenly became spicy
  • Chocolate Coconut: not bad; could stand to be a little more chocolately
I think they recently added a coffee flavor one but I am not sure. What's special with these bars is that they are unprocessed and raw; for those who like raw, hehe. Their claim to fame is that they are energy bars at its purest form. It is basically made of dried fruit and nuts "mooshed" together. They have no added sugar and other stuff some people may find undesirable, but you can read all about that at their website.

I am writing this review because at first I was kinda grossed out by these. The sample packages I got were really cute and they looked ok but at first bite, it just tasted strange to me. I guess I am one of those people who are afraid of the taste of "pure"...haha. Anyways, as I said before I've been seeing them at lots of run expos and everytime I walk by their booth, I can't help but take some samples. Lo and behold, I actually fell in love with one of the flavors. I love the Pistachio one. It is one of my favorite things to eat. It's moist, nutty and not too sweet. Can't believe that I actually like this stuff now. Go figure!


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Amphipod Endurance Pack

Guest Review: Amphipod Endurance Pack

It's guest review time! I purchased this "fanny" pack thing back in February before the LA Marathon because the bouncing of the CD Logic case I was using to carry stuff for longer races was starting to bother me. I actually found out of this pack from reading an article from about marathon preparation. I went to the website and asked the customer service person where I could get one asap since my marathon was less than 2 weeks away. The customer service person was so nice. She could not find a store near me that had one in stock so she offered to waive the shipping cost to me and I accepted. I was really excited when I got it in the mail. I couldn't wait to try it out.

This pack is really cool and for $27 it should be. I still experienced some minor bouncing but the other features kinda made up for it. First, the pack is breathable, which means that it allows air to circulate between your back and the pack. Which is nice when you sweat alot. Second, there are so many compartments to put your things and yet it remains really slim and everything stays in place when strapped on. Third, I personally think it looks nice and I am all about running fashion...hahaha. I guess in the end this pack was worth the price to me and I use it all the time on long runs. If I had to do it all over again, I would buy it again. Go to their site and check out all the cool running accessories they offer. Customer service is great too!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

UCLA Run/Walk 5k

EVENT: UCLA Run/Walk 5k
DATE: Sunday, April 13, 2008
LOCATION: Westwood, CA
RACE BEGAN: 8:30 am

This was my first 5k. I stayed over in Westwood to take a whack at this distance for the first time.

The race began at 8:30 am with a loud firetruck siren. I sped off with my Facebook friend, from nearly the front of the line and got burned by so many college students. As soon as I took a breath, I realized how hot the air was, being amidst a heat wave in Southern California. And my throat was burning from the sudden illness I had picked up toward the end of the week due to my stress. Not good.

The course was not too interesting... curved around from Wilson Plaza to the Court of Sciences and back. On the way toward the halfway point, I saw my friend and waved. My other friend said hello to me, but he said I was concentrating too hard and didn't notice him.

I walked at every hill... a total of about 4 times, around 1/4-1/3 of a mile. I felt so guilty!!! I did not walk at all in the 10k and in some of my half-marathons, but for this 5k, I thought I was going to pass out a number of times and had to stop. My legs were not spent at all, but everything from the head up felt so bad!! Okay, enough of my guilt.

When I came in, I was surprised that the clock was in the 26-minute range. I ripped off the bottom of my bib for the timing but took so long to get it to the collector (but I think they accounted for it?). There was a lot of food post-race, but I instead sat around with my Facebook friend to chat for a while.

I proceeded to a Teo Chow recess event in which I won a watermelon eating contest. It was actually counted by teams, but I was by far the first one to declare I had finished my allotted portion. I think I do better in eating contests than 5k's, but I may give this distance another whack sometime soon.

I don't know if they took any pictures, but if they did, I will post my dying-ness.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

...And Many Drops to Drink

According to the article below, I might be drinking too much water. I think I get at least 10 glasses, if not more, per day!

The article basically attests that there is insufficient evidence for these commonly believed benefits of "8 glasses a day":
  • Weight loss/appetite suppression: I believe this because hunger is hunger...
  • Flushing of toxins/clear skin: I also agree, though my skin woes are beyond a water issue
  • Decreasing headaches: I had frequent headaches in high school that went away after drinking more water, and I hardly get any nowadays
So take this article with a grain of salt, or a bottle of water. Of course, I agree that as a runner, one could easily overhydrate, but I sweat so much (ask anyone) that it would be pretty tough.