Virtual 12athon: Month 4

So this was perhaps the hardest 12athon run I’ve had so far in this whole experience. It was entirely my fault, as I made several bad choices leading up to it.

Bad choice #1: On Tuesday, I decided to go for a hard 4 mile hilly run around UCLA, and then follow that run with a workout that included 50 pushups and 75 squats. When I haven’t done either of those exercises for at least 2 months. Ow.

Bad choice #2: Last night I decided to stay up until 2am working rewriting and formatting my portfolio, which is a requirement for graduation from my masters program. I also may have consumed things which included large amounts of caffeine, and small amounts of alcohol. Ow.

So, this morning, dehydrated, tired, and with screaming quads, I deferred running for awhile in favor of portfolio writing. And a tv show. And about 10 minutes where I laid on the bed and debated sleeping. I did not want to run. And I really didn’t want to run 12 whole miles.

But I got up and did it anyway. Not very happily, I might add.

My husband came along to be my bike crew, since his leg is still having some issues. I wore the Garmin, and now understand exactly how awesome all those little numbers can be. Having a countdown on my arm is utterly addicting. I also wore my usual running shoes, Vibram FiveFingers (KomodoSport).

I ran about 6 miles out-and-back on a bike path next to the freeway (I can run faster than the 5 freeway moves during rush hour…woo!) and then another 6 mile out and back from the house. I am working consciously to improve my fueling and test out foods during my longer runs now, so I had a banana at mile 4, a handful of Trader Joes pretzels at mile 6, and a hilarious pouch of what Starbucks calls baby food (really pureed fruit) at mile 8. It all worked well, although the Monster Rehab I cracked into with 2 miles to go won’t be making it into any race day plans. But by then I really needed the caffeine.

Thanks to the run and portfolio printing, I missed a work event, which was a bummer only slightly alleviated by the fact that I could earn points for it. My type-A personality revels in the virtual gold stars.

Final challenge list: Naturalist and Stung By Bees. Eyeing some big points for next month. Hmmm, 12 miles uphill can’t be too hard, right?



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Race Recap: Honda LA Marathon 03/18/12

So that didn’t go exactly as planned. My two goals going into it were: (1) Have fun, (2) Finish. (3) was a bonus goal (have a time beginning with 5) that was not really something I was going to think about during the race. It turns out that I only really nailed goal #2, but there was some of goal #1. Mostly though, it was just an intense and amazing experience.

We packed up all our gear the night before. We brought way too much stuff, but wanted to be prepared for anything. I was worried about my fueling, since on previous long runs I’ve had an issue with getting enough fuel without upsetting my stomach. This would turn out to be a valid fear.

That Camelbak also has a Gatorade/water solution in it, as well as two pairs of dry socks, rolled up in plastic bags. The day before the marathon poured rain, and last year, 2.42 inches of rain fell during the entire race. By the night before, forecasters still weren’t positive whether it was going to rain or hold off.

We got up at 5, had bagels and coffee before driving to Dodgers Stadium. Despite it being a point-to-point course, we opted out of the race shuttles, since my parents were going to pick us up in Santa Monica and give us a ride back to the stadium. Since I’d made us leave ridiculously early, we got to the race start around 6:15 after taking back roads and avoiding any possible delays on the freeways. So we sat in the car for awhile before having to hang out in the cold. After a little debate and discussion of the forecast, we had opted not to do gear check. Around 7:00, we got out of the car and headed towards the race start.

We found the bathrooms after a little confusion, but never found the mythical free food tent. We also had trouble figuring out exactly where the entrances to the corrals were, but ended up standing in a large group outside the corrals, which would get funneled in once other racers started.

We listened to the wheelchair and handbike racers take off, then the lady racers take off (followed by several minutes of the announcer making really awful statements about the ladies being chased by the men…awkward), and then heard one of the Pussycat Dolls sing the national anthem before everyone else got to leave. It took us about 15 minutes to cross the start line once the horn blew.

I LOVED the first part of the course. There were people on their roofs and sitting in their windows cheering, there were taiko drums and live bands at several points, and I didn’t really notice the slight hills, although I tried to keep my pace even and not get too caught up in the excitement. Unfortunately, I got really hungry (adrenaline and cold probably) and started eating way too much, way too quickly. By the time we hit Hollywood (around 13 miles), my stomach was not in a great place. That was when we started walking a lot, because I was just too nauseous to run any more.

That was when I really started to notice how amazing the spectators were. There were so many groups of people who weren’t affiliated with the race out there handing out oranges, bananas, pretzels, and tortilla chips. Whenever you walked up to take some, they would check your name on your bib and cheer you on. I saw a sign on a storefront that said, “If you’re feeling down about the state of the human race, go watch a marathon,” and I really did feel so encouraged that people were generally awesome. I was feeling horrible, but at the same time, it was really inspiring. I think the cross-dressing cheerleaders in West Hollywood were probably my favorite part, but the hundreds of people who yelled my name along the way were also helpful.

I kept trying to get slightly more carb-y things down, but I was having nausea and heartburn that kept me to a walk most of the time. We would get in a few short runs before I had to stop and walk again. Leo was being great, trying to keep my mind off of it, and encouraging me to walk whenever I had to. Despite having not run much for almost 1.5 months due to an injury, he was feeling great, and could easily have run this marathon a lot faster than we did. I was feeling really discouraged, because I didn’t know if it would be possible for me to finish feeling as awful as I did. Leo stole my phone and surreptitiously texted a few people, asking them to text me back some encouragement since I was feeling so bad.

At mile 18.5, everything got really bad and I threw up. But after that, I felt great again. Like, beginning of the race great. I ran the next 1.5 miles until we came met up with my parents at mile 20.

That’s me running towards my dad for a hug.

At this point, having only 10K left in the race seemed like a piece of cake. My body was really pushing happy chemicals into my brain, since I didn’t feel awful anymore, and I was very low on fuel and water. So it’s possible (read, totally likely) that I ran way too much during this point of the race. No Garmin, so no accurate splits, but I felt incredible up until about mile 23. That’s when I started feeling bad again, and our pace slowed to walking.

This section was a long stretch through a residential/small business area, and there were tons of people out on the course offering water, food of all types, and IcyHot massages by the side of the road. It felt like the longest 3 miles of my life, and I couldn’t believe that so many of us were running, walking, and limping down the road for what seemed like forever. Again, I felt like I might not finish, but I was so close I couldn’t sit down or stop moving. I just kept walking, trying to ignore the pain in my feet. Finishing a little faster would have probably helped my heels a little more, since walking did not do them any good.

Finally, we turned a corner and saw the ocean, and the wind picked up to the predicted 40mph gusts. We were still walking, and Leo kept telling me, “Don’t worry, we can walk all the way into the finish if we have to.” We saw the finish line in the distance, but I didn’t feel like trying to run until about .1 from the line, and we ran it in. I instantly became a marathon cliche by bursting into hysterical tears as we crossed the line. The pain, the distance, and the awesomeness of everyone out there on the course all contributed, and I was extremely happy that I could now sit down. I got my medal, my parents threw one of my old swim parkas over the fence to me, and I started choking down pieces of a plain bagel to try and get my system back in working order.

After finding a place to sit down and wait for my parents, we headed back to Dodgers Stadium, and then back home, where we proceeded to eat bread, bacon and eggs, and watch 5 episodes of Big Bang Theory before falling asleep. It was  a really, really amazing day. Although my time is incredibly slow, I’m still really proud of myself for feeling that awful and still moving forward. So it’s a win in my book.

I actually don’t feel all that bad today. My feet feel the effects of all the walking. but everything else feels pretty good. I’ll definitely be wanting to hit another marathon when I have my fueling better under control (experimentation!) and see how well I can do with more training and more carbs/protein/fat rather than sugar.


10K: 1:10:51

20K: 2:31:47

30K: 4:17:03

40K: 5:46:04

Finish: 6:06:52


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Virtual 12athon: Pi Day Bonus

Luckily, the Pi Day Bonus Run had a short option, since I’m taking it easy until the LA Marathon. 3.14 miles, with the pi symbol on your clothes. Done, and done.

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Virtual 12athon: Month 3

This post is late, because school ate my life. Normally, I’m not one to mind schoolwork, but all of my classes this quarter have been closer to drudgery than usual. A 20 page paper on Andrew Carnegie is not my idea of a good time.

But, with only 1 paper left due (not until next Thursday), I wanted to continue memorializing my 12athon efforts.

I had all sorts of crazy plans for this run. I had gone through several permutations of challenges, added up all the various point options, but after writing two papers back to back, and with the LA Marathon coming up this weekend, I decided that I would do just a straight 12 mile run. Although, I ended up being late to class, so I also claimed the Stung By Bees point bonus.

I took all my marathon gear for a last trial, including my new running shorts (Lululemon…the hype is for a reason), and my compression socks, which I hadn’t tested on a long run yet. Still not sure about the hat…hoping to find my black one.

The route was a two-loop course, totaling 13.27 miles. It was hard, but extremely energizing to realize that I could now get up before class and run a half-marathon if I wanted to. Very mentally helpful for marathon prep.

I also finally discovered DailyMile, and started logging all my running mileage on there. I mostly love it for the statistics and graphs…I live for gold stars from the internet.

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Virtual 12athon: Month 2

So begins month 2 of the 12athon! For this month I decided to tackle the:

Masquerade: Run in a costume based on a holiday in that month. Photo or video evidence mandatory! 8 POINTS. 4 more points if you run as Cupid on February 12! (I did not run as Cupid, because I didn’t want to deal with wings…but I did dress up!) and,

“That Guy”: Sign up for a 10K, cross the finish line, turn around and run the course in reverse (stopping at the 12th mile is optional). 8 POINTS (I didn’t stop at 12…ran 12.4!)


We headed down to Tidelands park for the race start at 8…after the bathroom line, I had about 2 minutes to make it to the start. This picture was taken before I dashed off and shouldered my way through the walkers. Note the candy colored outfit, and the Valentine’s Day socks I found at Walgreens at 10pm! My husband had planned to run with me, dressed in similar colors, but due to injury, he became my bike crew/film crew for the day.

The race started with a run under the Coronado Bridge, then we ran by the golf courses until we reached the Strand, before we turned around and came back the same route.

I tried to reign my speed in for the first 10K, and came in at a 1:03.14. I can’t wait until I can do another 10K and see how far I can actually get under an hour.

I got my timing chip cut off, so I didn’t confuse the poor computers (or race officials), picked up my medal (because they were awesome, and I didn’t want them to run out) and headed out on the course again! I got several yells of “wrong way!” as I ran off, but it was hilariously run to run against the stream of people. The course got pretty sparse, and race officials were actually breaking it down, but Coronado has huge, safe, quiet streets, so it was pretty easy to stay on the same course.

My second 10K wasn’t too far off the pace of the first, and aside from my break at the 10K and one stretch break, I didn’t walk at all. A first for me! You can also see in the video below that I managed to beat 2 people during my 20K journey…I wasn’t last. 🙂

It was one of the best run races that I’ve ever been a part of, and one of my best races…both ways. 12athon month two DONE!



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Unbreakable: The Western States 100 @ the Santa Monica Public Library

Two of my favorite things: ultrarunning and libraries.

While in class one evening, I was surfing the web (yes, I multitask during class sometimes), and I found Anton Krupicka’s blog. I’d been hearing a lot about him, ever since Leo started his January experiment, since he’d done a lot of research into ultrarunning and ultrarunners. So I was curious to read back through some of his entries to learn about his training and mileage. I was scrolling through when I noticed that he’d written that he’d be in Southern California that weekend for a screening of Unbreakable: The Western States 100 in Santa Monica.

I’d heard about Western States through several running blogs, and I’d seen the trailer, but I hadn’t been paying attention to when the film was coming out. So I did a little internet digging and found a link to buy tickets to the screening, which just happened to be held at the Santa Monica Public Library.

As a library student, I’ve been hearing about SMPL since I started my grad program. It’s commonly looked upon as one of the best libraries in the area, and I was dying to take a look around. So I surreptitiously got my credit card and bought tickets (ok, that’s probably stretching the limits of multitasking during class).

It was a great event. We showed up early and wandered around the library for awhile. They have some cool shelves for their new book displays that really showcase the books, and are more inviting than regular shelving. I’d really like to see if they ever had older shelving, and compare the circulation numbers, because I’d bet money that the new shelving helps. The teen and children’s areas were also really well designed, with a top-notch collection and great technology integration.

The screening was held in an auditorium off the main library. We got started right on time, and the film was fabulous. Great soundtrack, great cinematography, and a good balance on the background of each runner and race footage. It was amazing to see people actually racing a 100-miler, as opposed to just surviving one.

The Q&A afterwards was also really interesting. The filmmaker answered some questions, and so did Anton and Scott Mills (Race Director of the San Diego 100 Mile Endurance Run, and ultrarunner in his own right). Unfortunately, there was no one to ask my questions to (seriously, what do other female ultrarunners do for underwear? sports bras? bathroom stops?) but I loved the general information nontheless.

I managed to space and forget that my iTouch is also a camera, so no pictures, but I definitely want to get a copy of the movie and watch it for inspirational purposes. Nothing like watching someone run 100 miles to make your 10K look like a piece of cake.

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Workout Week Wrap-Up: Week 5 (January 29-February 4)

Sunday (1/29): 6.2 mile run (Beach Party 10K)

Monday (1/30): 1.5 mile run with fitness challenges

20 burpees

20 star jumps

20 pushups

40 mountain climbers

50 high knees

20 tuck jumps

20 squats

Tuesday (1/31): 6.0 mile run on the treadmill in 1:05.00, 4.1 miles run at home in 55:00

Wednesday (2/1): Day off

Thursday (2/2): 1.5 hour dance class

Friday (2/3): Day off

Saturday (2/4): Day off

Weekly Mileage: 17.8

Year Mileage to Date: 100

This week, my singleminded goal was to reach 100 miles in the month of January. I had known I was getting close for awhile, but towards the end of the month was the first time it actually became a tangible goal. Tuesday was packed, but I managed to bang out 6 miles on the treadmill at school before coming home to finish out the month. I was really excited to hit the 100 mile milestone (ouch) and I can’t wait to see what my total mileage for 2012 is going to be.

Of course, after that I took several days off, but I needed a break from the insanity of January. I’m going to try to keep my nutrition going well, even though I’m running less. so that I can get back into it easily.

Oh, and no real race recap for the Beach Party 10K. It was a pretty small race, and not my best pace wise, so I wasn’t feeling the write-up.

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