Sunday, December 7, 2014

Naha Marathon

My First Marathon & First International Marathon

Before the Race:
I wasn’t stoked nor a bit excited like I usually would be before a race.  Maybe I was more worried because I only ran a total of 30 something miles one month prior to the race. On top of that fearing that, I would be one of those who collapses because of the lack of training or even rest. Due to the fact I was working 12-14 hours days for the whole month before the race.
Anyways, that’s not all the negatives before my race, I sort of tweeked my ankle running 20 miles two weeks before the race. So that didn’t help at all, icing it up and then running shorter miles. I ran six miles after for Thanksgiving, which wasn’t good and then decided to see a masseuse and had acupuncture done to my ankle. Which it did feel better. Then decided to run 11 miles the next day, (bad idea). Which brought pain but not as much as it first did. So, then it was nothing but recovery for rest of the two weeks.

Race Day:
Still wasn’t feeling excited at all or it could be that I told myself not to. So that I can conserve my energy because when I get all hyped up, my body just ends up using a lot of energy. Then I’ll end up sprinting at the beginning of the race. Anyways, there was about 30,000 runners I believe and we were staged into corrals. 

A lot of OPP runners were there but most of them were or ended up in the last corral. Ended up you ask? Well if you were not in your corral by 8:40am. You were told to go to the back of the corrals. So if you were in corral A and you didn’t make it, no questions asked, you were told to go behind corral H.  Anyways, before the corral barriers were closed. We had a OPP group photo to take, which was located all the way in the back. Then we would have to speed walk to back to corral D. Anyways, once we were staged, we were told to walk to the start line and waited for the race to begin.

Well, I had a friend that wanted to pace with me because I said I was going to stay at a steady pace of ten minute mile pace. Anyways, she needed to use the rest room and she asked if I could wait. So, I did. Well once she was finished the middle of corral F was running by. So we quickly got back on track. Hitting up at about eight to nine minute pace.  

Well as we were cutting through at mile three I started to feel some pain from my left ankle. (Which I tweeked from the 20 mile run). Which at mile 11, I believe when I told my friend to just take off because I will end up slowing her down.
So I started to run walk  because of the pain. Went to all the stations that had the, “numbing,” spray. Which didn’t work at all but I was more trying to make it a mental thing. Well by now my ankle was in so much pain that my run was shorter and my walks were longer.  Then I started to feel cramps creeping up in my right leg. So when I did, I’d stop and stretch for a bit. The cramps would come in every now and then.  At mile 19 -20 I saw a few folks from the Stroller Warrior Group who are also apart of OPP.  So I stopped and they asked how I was doing. Told them I am in pain because of my left ankle. Then I was offered some ibuprofen, which was my life saver. I went on to run walk and the pain went away but when it did. Muscle spasms were on full attack.
My first muscle spasm was when my right quad was cramping up. I stopped to stretch it out and when I released my leg. Hell broke loose and pain that I have never felt in my life. My calf started to spasm out, which I was fighting through it. So after five minutes of that, I was back in the race. Every other cramps that started, I would stop and walk it off before it got worse. Same goes with muscle spasms that crept up. BUT at the last 5k, I decided to stretch my quad again but this time it was BAD! As I let my right leg go, it locked in an L shape. So I was fighting to straighten it out and when I did my right ankle started to spasm out. It was turning my ankle inward and it felt like it wanted to snap off. So I fought that too, it was so damn painful that I had a tear and I felt like this was it. I had to throw in the white towel and call it quits.
5k to go and less than an hour left before the cutoff time, I decided to suck it up and push on.  Doubling everything from the aid station supporters, bananas, salt, mandarins and water. The last 5k seemed forever but when I saw that I was on my last km. I knew I was going to make it, so I pushed to and through the finish line.
The weird thing is that once I crossed the finish line. All the pain went away and I was like WTF! Haha! Also, when I finished, it felt like my other first races. Awkward because there wasn’t anyone there to congratulate or cheer me on but I don’t blame them. I didn’t want them to wait an extra 2-3 hours for me. Haha! So I finished it at five hours and 48 minutes.  12 minutes before the cutoff time, which felt great.
I didn’t emotionally break down when I crossed, which I thought I was going to do but I believe I think I wasted all the emotional stuff when I was in pain. The course was great and the supporters was awesome. Wish I wasn’t going through my painful ordeal and see what time I would of finished but we will have to wait and see for the Okinawa Marathon in Feb 2015.

Post Race:
Well right after the race, OPP was hosting an after part. Kind of glad that they were not there that long because most of them had to shower and change over. I didn’t because I didn’t want them to wait for me haha. Anyways, everyone there was sharing their horror stories and believe it or not there was blood. Haha! So, there was a few of us there who just finished running their first marathon. So I wasn’t alone.

The only pain that I was feeling was from my ankle but the worse was about to happen. Next morning, I was flying out to Texas and that wasn’t a good flight. Haha! My legs started to feel sore and my left ankle seemed to get worse. My connecting flights were less than an hour to get to. So I would have to carry my carry on and backpack off the plane, onto a connecting bus ride to my connecting flight. Then landing, getting off the plane and waiting at customs and so that was too much for my legs. Haha!

Lessoned learned:
Do not work 12-14 hours a day for a whole month before race day.
Do not run a fast pace on a long run before race day.
Take ibuprofen with you to the race or take one before it starts.
Bring some salt supplements for the race.

Do not fly out the morning after the race.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Shouhashi Half Marathon

Finished: 2:18:41
Overall Placed: 1,133th
Age Group: 619th

All I can tell you is wow! With a about an estimate of 8,140 half marathon runners in a small area. What a crazy experience, a lot of shoving when the race started. 

Anyways, the race didn't start til 9am, which to me was a terrible idea. I mean there was no overcast nor any constant breeze. The sun wasn't being too nice, it felt like it wanted to come watch too. So it was blazing straight down on me. Which caused me to stop multiple times. My head was fried and I could not think. 

Well there is a nice tiny hill that we hit. It wasn't to bad but a gradual... long... ass... hill. haha! It was pretty tough. It owned me, and I ended up walking. I mean after that, I didn't mind the camel humps. 

Throughout the time... well the pain. I tried to keep my mind sane by keeping creative and dumb. haha. Dumb as in, fooling around with silly photos. 

Anyways, Im also glad to have ran it with a lot of my motivating friends from the group. Whom are really supportive and who continue to push you to the last bit. So, I wanted to thank Karen, who knew I still had quite a bit more to push. Which I did but I had to stop because of my knee. Also, want to thank Desiree for running with me in the last stretch. And as well as Dar for checking up on me and seeing if I wanted a fresh drink of Aquarius. 

But going through the pain was worth it. The scenery was amazing. I have never been in this part of the island but now I can say I have. Maybe next year, if I can stay til Feb 2016, I will conquer this route again. So we will see. haha! 

Overall the best things I like about events like this. Is the environment and that I am able to hang out with people that have the same passion and goals that I have. Once again Okinawa Pavement Pounders is here and representing. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The run before the storm!

Well you can call me crazy but I would say you'd be calling a group of runners crazy too. Yes, I decided to go for a run just before Typhoon Vongfong intense outer ring decided to hit Okinawa. I only did it because I had a urge to run and that jealousy sat in while others in my group did it too. Well they ran way before I even got off work. 

Anyways the photo above has a wave crashing into the seawall which was taken 4 days ago from this post. The wind was blowing but not as hard. This was a last minute decision either to run because I got off work late, so as usual or most of the time. I just said screw it, I'm going for a run. Knowing that I wasn't the only one in my group that did that night. 

Well on Friday when we were at TCCOR-2, we were finally told to go home and prep things for this typhoon because this particular one is slow moving and very powerful when it reaches us. I mean it wasn't suppose to hit us directly but not its path shows that it will go right on top of us by Sunday morning.

 So again, I contemplated to go for a run and I was fighting with myself. Seeing others post their "Pre Typhoon Run." I decided to go. Despite the high winds and that the typhoon is a lot closer than it was for the other runners. So I was able to push 5 miles at a 7:42 min pace. Which I am feeling the soreness as I type this. Haha! 

Running down the seawall, the waves were not as big as it was 4 days ago but the wind practically was pushing me. At one point I was running at a 5 min pace and I didn't know it until I started to get a side ache. haha! Then on my way back, there was a section of the route when I hit wind resistance. During that section it felt like I was literally doing the, "Running Man Dance." Seriously! I was leaning forward as far as Michael Jackson did during the Smooth Criminal music video. 

Anyways, overall stay safe and don't be stupid and run during the severe portion of the Typhoon. If the announcement says to stay indoors. Stay indoors. We have lost too many in a week to the water. Its not worth it.. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

200 Miles!

Well ever since this 2014 started, I always told myself to have run 100 miles per month and to reach 1200 miles before the end of the year. Well since I am coming short, due to the fact I was sent to the US for training. Anyways, ever since Ive came back, I have been hitting the pavement hard and trying to maintain 100 miles a month. As the moves went by, I slowly ended up running more than just 100 miles. 

Well today, I have reached a milestone and goal which I was influenced by one of my favorite running partner Liz Andrews. Since she has reached 200 miles by the end of August. I was determined to do the same for that same month but I came up about 40 miles short. So then I decided to push in September. Regardless of the races, I was able to reach 200 miles on the last day of September. 

This is an amazing accomplishment and a milestone to achieve. For some reason I wasn't to end up wanting to do more to pass 200 miles for the month. haha! But I don't think I will again. My knees has taking its toll but proud that I pushed it to the last mile. Anyways, people should set some goals and if not, at least set a milestone to see how much you can push yourself and slowly increase. 

Overall, 200 miles in one month is harder than a lot of people think but pushing it mentality.
Cause I did.  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Running Photographer

Running photographer is basically just someone in a group who is crazy enough to take photos during a run or a race event. Not caring about how much he/she is carrying. As for me, when the light is still out, I would take my GoPro along with me. The good thing about the GoPro, is that its compact and water proof. So no matter what it is way better than pulling out your phone to take photos but also the fear of getting it wet from rain or sweat. 

Also, the good thing about having a person who runs and takes photos is that you can capture action photos. As well as having something to keep, when everyone ends up leaving as time goes by. In our case Permanent Change of Station (PCS) since we are all in the military or affiliated with the military.  Which is also the sad part of having a tight bond with each other. So this is why I like taking photos on the go, so that we all have memories to fall back on.  

So no matter where I go and no matter what gathering OPP does or race events we attend. I will always continue to bring my camera. From a 5k to even a Full Marathon, I still don't mind carrying my GoPro. I mean I know I won't be the top finishers, so that placing isn't important because at the end. We all cross that finish line and we are all amazing runners. So why not capture that moment with photos? 

At the end, everyone is capable of running and taking photos too. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Back to Back Races

Well, let me say this first... What an awesome weekend it was. Glad to have shared the pavement with my fellow Okinawa Pavement Pounders (OPP) friends. Anyways, it was my first time doing this and I made it through. haha!

Beat The Heat Half Marathon
Saturday Sept. 21, 2014

Most of the time when runners know the course prior to the actual race event. They would tend to do a pre run, just to get use to the course. Well none of us did, we procrastinated but never did. Haha! This was a pretty tough race and as well as my first race in Okinawa, Japan. Oh how the heat caught up towards the end of the race. Haha! This time I was smart to hydrate before race day but did not carb load. 

During the race, I was pushing it. With the right music, I was able to motivate myself to keep going and catching up to my friends. Yes, I did know there was hills but after learning from my first half marathon I did. I ended up killing the hills by running up it. When I did, it felt awesome. 

Along the way, OPP was able to motivate and help push each other pass the finish line. At the same time, cheering each other at the finish line. I have never felt any better, belonging in a group. Not like the other few races I've done during the beginning of the year. Where I would cross the finish line and having the awkward lost feeling. Haha! 

Magic 10 Miler
Sunday Sept 21, 2014

Ok, I know it seems crazy but lets just say I wasn't the only one to take up the, "back to back," challenge. haha! After filling up my body with Pedialyte, I was still sore from the race from the day before. It was because I was pushing it. Anyways, the sucky part about this race was that it started at 0800 in the morning and the sun was already up. The good thing about it was that there was a breeze and some what cloud cover. 

Despite the soreness of my quads, I was still able to push towards the end. I mean running on the flight line (landing strip) that seem to have taken forever. haha! I was able to push my last mile back. Once I crossed the finish line, I was already out of breath and my quads where just pounding. haha! Anyways, after that though, I was glad my races were over. 

 (It was nice to see another Marine I work with)

 One of Two OPP runners that was down to run back to back cause we influenced each other to.

Just like any other run or race we do as OPP. The best thing I love about us, is the group photos at the turn around or end of a race or run. It's something to look forward to and which also motivates me to hurry up and finish to make it on time. haha! 

 The Back to Back runners!

It was a great weekend and it was fun. As much as I tell myself that I don't think I would ever do this again but if our group decided to do it. I am down to do with them as well. I am very proud of them and as well as proud of myself. 


A weekend worth everything!