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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Disneyland Half Marathon Recap

This was only my 2nd Half Marathon this year and 19th Half Marathon overall.

I know I have been missing a few race reports for the past few races, I have been slacking off lately, so in order for me to catch up, I need to get back on it by doing this report first, then I will slowly but surely catching up on my reports.

So this was actually my first time signing up for ANY Disney's races, I have ran the Disneyland Half Marathon 2 years ago but I was just running for my friend was injured at that time so she couldnt run it. The reason that I never signed up for their races was they are just too expensive for just a half, but after I saw their medal of last year's, which was their 5th Anniversary, I figured I just wanted to sign up at least for once. So I did, and I am I did.

The Expo

I went to the Expo on Friday since I had to work late on Sat and didnt think I could make it. I got to the Disneyland Hotel like around 11:30am, expo opens at noon, there were a lot of people waiting in line already. There were 2 sections of the expo, one was underneath the hotel where we pick up our bib, print out our waiver and stuff, then we had to go back to the main floor for the actual expo where we pick up our goodies bag and shirt and visit all the vendors.

The Marathon Show Joe Taricani and me at the expo

After I picked up my goodies bag, I walked around the expo to see if I could get some freebies, which I got a few!!! I got a water bottle from Geico's booth, got an Angels' hat from the Anaheim Angels booth, I also got a tote bag, notebook, t-shirt, a discoball keychain, etc.. I caught up with Joe Taricani from The Marathon Show who was doing the interview at the expo and also at the race!! Always fun to see him doing interviews. So after about an hour and a half, I left the expo and heading back home so I could get ready for work.

Pre Race Carbo Load

Since it was only a Half Marathon,  I decided to just to cook myself a box of  Mac n Cheese while watching the IAAF World Championship Marathon in Korea on TV. I hate to feel too full on race day, so just a regular size box of Kraft's Mac n Cheese would do it for me.

My carbo load meal.

Race Day

I woke up at 3am, wore my brand new pair of Nike, which I bought a few months ago at the Outlet by Las Vegas, they are very comfortable to wear right out of the box, then left my house around 3:30am, drove up to Anaheim in half an hour without taking the freeway since I live on the same street as the Disneyland, just a few cities away. Once I got to Anaheim, I stopped by 7-Eleven to get some coffee, Gatorade and 2 donuts, which tasted nasty!!! I only took a bite each and threw them away!!

I tried to drive around the area to see if I could find a street parking so I wont have to pay for parking, but no luck, so I decided to just give in and park at their designated parking structure, where I had to pay $15!! Disneyland sure doesnt make my wallet happy. At around 4:45am, I started to gather all my stuff and headed to the start area, I was suppose to meet up with my Maniacs/Fanatics friends not too far from the start, but there were just too many runners that I couldnt make my way there, so I had to skip. I then walked my way to the gear check area to check my bag, which was my goodies bag's bag,  this huge see thru plastic bag kind of reminded me of NYC Marathon which they can see the contents of your bags, just for security & safety reasons.

After I gathered all the stuff that I needed, I walked my way toward the starting corral. The starting area was very well organized, volunteers were doing a great job telling us where to go to our designated corrals. Once I was inside the Corral A, I heard someone called my name, and it was my fellow Maniac Emil, he was sitting by the curb getting some last min rest, he has been running the Disneyland Half Marathon every year since their first race 6 years ago, he also ran the Disney World Marathon so he was on his way to get the Coast to Coast medal just to complete both races. We chatted for awhile before we headed toward the front closer to the start.

Moment before the start, the annoucer was introducing the runner, whose name is Whitney Henderson,  who had run all the way from FL to CA to raise money for  Souls4Soles Charity. She started the journey back in June, ran thru 6 pairs of shoes and said she will end her journey in Manhattan Beach on Labor Day. What a incredible runner!!!

So after the national anthem was sang by an Army soldier, a few fireworks were fired up above the sky, and then we were off we go!!! My goal was to get between 1:50-1:55, I even printed out my split time wristband on my right wrist but I never looked at it since it was hidden underneath my arm warmer, which wasnt necessary since the weather wasnt really cold at all!! I should have left them in my bag,  I was warmed up the momemt I started to run. It was around 65 degree, kind of humid early at 6am in the morning, the sky was still dark early on. I was trying to run the left side of the road so I could run my own pace and worry about other runners. There were already a lot of spectators on the street cheering once we got on the main road within a mile. Then we ran the next 3 miles inside the Disneyland which was really cool since the park was closed early on, we even ran thru some backlots area where only the employees are allow to go during park hours.I saw a lot of Disney's characters cheering for us runner, I tried to not  to stop and take pictures with them cuz I wanted to try to run a fast half marathon and get under 1:50. I was running around 8min pace so I was really running faster than I should. I was even passed by the 1:40 pace group, I knew that wasnt my goal so I didnt bother to follow them.

Then after Mile 4, we started to run  outside the park on the main road, there was this little uphill to cross right over the freeway, I tried to maintain my speed and pace myself on the over hill. I saw this guy running with the back of his shirt stated that he is single and actually put his phone numbers on it!! that was really clever!!

Around Mile 5, there were a bunch of marching bands from a local school playing on the right side of the road to entertain us, then around Mile 6, there were a group of Hispanic Heritage performers with full on costumes performing on the left side of the road this time to cheer us on. Then around Mile 7, another group of performers, this time they were Hawaiians performing some Hawaiians dance and musics, it was awesome that we get to see different ethnic groups out there on the course.

Now around Mile 8, we started to enter the Honda Cener parking lot where they have TONS of people cheering us!! even more cheerleaders from local high school!! Then we made a right turn on the Santa Ana Rive Trail about Mile 9 and ran for about a quarter of a mile on the dirt, the sun was already up at that point so I was a little bit heat up, I stopped to walk a little bit just to take a break. Their aid stations were incredible, they were fully stocked with water and blue Powerade, the volunteers were awesome as well. I had to take 2 cups of water/powerade everytime cuz it was pretty warm.

Now the best moment finally comes, running inside the Angels Stadium, just before we ran inside, the great volunteer held a sign that said "SLOW" since there was a downhill leading toward the the Stadium. Once we were inside, there were even MORE spectators waiting for us to run thru, even some were from boys and girls scouts, I even saw the Angels' cheerleaders, aka The Strike Force. There was also a jumbotron showing the runners running by. Then after we exited the stadium, there was another orchestra band playing outside to pump us up!! Sometimes I really think these bands are WAY better than those rock bands at those Rock n Roll's events. I stopped by the aid station a little bit to rehydrated and continued my run, with only 3 miles to go, I had to stay focus and finish strong.

Getting ready to enter the stadium

Here is a video of me running thru the Stadium, it's a bit shaky though.

The Angels cheerleaders, aka The Strike Force

I told myself that I had to maintain a 9 min pace for the next 3 miles in order for me to get under 1:50, so I just stayed focus and tried not to stop and get thru the last 3 miles. I tried to count my steps to 100 and if I feel good after 100 steps, I will start over from 1, this helps me to maintain my pace when I am tired.

After Mile 12, I knew I could get under 1:50 even if I walk the final mile, so as we ran thru the back of the California Adventures, more spectators and cheerleaders were cheering continously, I was giving high five as I ran thru, then after I passed the Mile 13 marker, I saw there were a few photographers on the side, kind of surprised me that they have that many photographers on the course!! I raised my arms as I always do when I see them so I would look good in the pic, then once I see the Finish Line infront of me, I did a nice sprint to the finish and finished at 1:47.38!!! A New Disneyland PR!!!

Met up with my running friends at the finish.

Here are my splits: I ran a negative split the last 5miles!!! I am still shocked!!

Mile 1 - 8:02
Mile  2 - 7:54
Mile 3 - 7:58
Mile  4 - 7:51
Mile 5 - 7:59
Mile  6 - 8:07
Mile 7 - 8:10
Mile  8 - 9:01
Mile 9 - 8:56
Mile 10- 8:24 
Mile 11-8:11   
Mile  12-8:07  
Mile 13-8:05  
.1 mile - 57 secs

Overall, I really enjoyed this Disneyland Half Marathon, although they are a little pricey, but it was all worth it at the end, a very well organized race with great volunteers, great aid stations, great course entertainments, great crowds!!! I would love to do it again next year!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Palos Verdes Maraton Recap

This was my 9th marathon this year and 82nd marathon overall.

This race was on May 14th and it's overdue for the race report, I have been slacking off writing my race reports, but I am trying to get back on it, in a hurry!!!
I have ran this event for the past 4 or 5 yrs, since it's the 2nd oldest marathon in the US just behind Boston Marathon. It's a small marathon unlike Boston, plus with a lot of rolling hills, definately not a first timer friendly marathon. But I enjoyed the beautiful oceanview along the course, that's why I go back every year. Plus I have ran my first sub 4 at this tough course, so that makes this race kind of special to me.

But this year they have made some major changes to this race, before it was a simple out and back course, but this year it was out and back AND out and back, which means you go out 11 miles out and back, pass the finish line, then another 1.5 miles out and back, then run the same course for the 2nd time, so you get pass by the finish 2 times before you actually finish. They did this changes just to minimize the closure on the main road because of budget cuz I guess. So this year we ran thru alot of residential streets with beautiful houses near Rancho Palos Verdes with ocean cliff view.

Race Day

I met up with my friend early morning so we could carpool together, we drove to the designated parking structure at local mall so we could take the shuttle to the start. It was really cold in the morning around 5am so we just hung out at Starbuck to keep ourselves warm. There was a little drizzy but not too much. We hopped on the bus and got ready to head to the start. The previous years they didnt require shuttle service since the race was start and finish at the same location so everyone would just park at the parking lot near the finish.

So after we finally arrived at the start after a couple of turn arounds since our driver got lost, or didnt know where to make a turnaround so we passed the start area twice. We then headed to pick up our bib and timing chips, the t-shirt will be picked up when we finished. One of my friends was gonna run this race but she couldnt make it so I used her timing chip and ran for her, which mean I have 2 chips on my shoes. =-)

The race, both the marathon and half marathon, started at 7:30am, it was nice and cool weather thru out the day, even a little misty drizzy when I come back around Mile 11,  perfect condition for a marathon. When I passed the finish line for the first time around Mile 11, I had to run a dreadful and boring 1.5 miles out and back to the finish AND do the same loop all over again. It was a small marathon with only around 220 runners doing the mararthon distance, around 1000 doing the half marathon distance, so the course was pretty wide open. At one point during my 2nd loop, I found myself alone running by myself with no one in sight,  infront of me or behind me. There were little spectators on the course so it's unlike other huge marathon events where they have spectators every street corners. But the volunteers were awesome, even there were little kids came out and volunteers, something that you dont see that often in a race.

I finished the race at 4:31.13, then I went to pick up my t-shirt and was looking around to see if they have any food like the previous years which they had banana, orange, watermelon, begal, etc.. But this year they have NOTHING but water, so I was really disappointed that they couldnt continue to provide enough food for the race. Plus, they seems to raised the price of the entry fee a bit this year, and with no post race food, it's gonna be hard for me to run this race again next year.

After we got back from the race, my friend and I went to California Kitchn Pizza for our own carbo reload. =-)

Overall, I think this race could have been better had they not changed the course a bit, the reason I enjoyed the prevous years was it's a small marathon, nice and quiet but challenging course with great post race food and entertainments, but this year they seem to gone down a notch a bit. Hopefully they will improve from this year and make some changes for next year's.

Next Race..........................Running with the Devil Marathon, 6-25-2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Big Sur International Marathon Recap

This was my 8th marathon of the year and 81th marathon overall

 Got to meet Bart Yasso at the expo
 Pre Race Dinner
 My carbo load restaurant
 My carbo load meal
 Race Day
 Getting ready to run Big Sur!!!
 Randy and I inside the Safeway before the race
 Runners getting their coffee fix at Starbucks inside the Safeway before the race
 Never seen that many runner inside the supermarket before
Waiting in my corral before the start

 Bumped into my friend Brooke( the start
 My goal was to finish around 4:30, last time I ran Big Sur, I finished around 4:40.
 Famous piano player on the course, since it's a out and back course, we get to see him twice instead!!

  7 more miles to go!!

 Almost done!!

 Met up with my friend Alyssa at the finish line. I finished in 4:24.55!! A Big Sur PR!!
We all get a tray of food after we finished.

 I went to this place for some breakfast after the race. They were about to close when I got there but were able to fit me in. GREAT FOOD!!!


Next Race.......................................Palos Verdes Marathon, 5/14/2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Labor of Love 50 Miler

Ok I guess I haven't been updating my races for awhile so I will make it a quick recap of this race.

This was my 2nd 50 Miler event, last year I did the American River 50 up north in Auburn, CA, so this year I decided to do this Calico Racing's event, since it's close to Vegas so there wasnt too much of the driving, only around 4 hrs or so. Plus I was on my quest to get my SLAM, which I have to complete 4 Calico Racing events within a 12 months period, and  Labor of Love event was my 3rd out of 4 events that I needed to complete.

Packet Pickup - Friday, 4-8-11

The packet pickup was located inside the REI store in Henderson, which was about 15 miles from Las Vegas, the processing was pretty nice and fast, I was in and out of there in about half an hour

Pre-Race Dinner

I helped organized a carbo load dinner at Bucca di Beppo nearby Vegas, there were only 8 of us so it was a small group, which worked out best because we could get to talk to everybody all at once instead of having a large group.

Race morning - Saturday 4-9-11

It was REALLY REALLY cold in the morning, after I picked up my friends, who were also running the race, we  drove to the parking area which was only a few miles from the start. We stayed inside the car since it was 24 degree outside at 5am!!! We stayed in there for like an hour then we had to take the shuttle bus to the start.

The race started at 7am, I decided to keep my arm warmers and gloves with me the whole race. We started running on this paved road inside the beautiful Loyell Canyon. For the 50 miler, all we had to do was run this 11 mile stretch out and back twice, which makes is 44 miles total, then a little 3 miles out and back to complete the 50 miles. They have 2 full stocked aid station about 5.5 miles, and the water station every 2 to 3 miles.

Since I was doing the 50 miler, I was just trying to take it easy and take it slow, my goal was to beat my previous 50 miler time, which was 11:08. After 4 miles of climbing, there was finally a long stretch of downhill leading to the first fully stocked station, they had cup o noddles, pretzels, bananas, etc. After I grabbed a few snacks, I continued my way and looking forward to the turnaround point at Mile 11 mark. When I reached the turnaround point, I had the volunteer made me a cup of Cup of Noodle cuz it was still cold that time. Then I  finished the first loop in around 4 hour. So I had pretty good chance of setting a new PR for 50 Miler.

A quick self portrait before I went for my 2nd loop.

For the first time in my running experience, I have ran in the snow!!! It was around Mile 33 when I was on my way to the turnaround point for the 2nd time, there was actually snowing while I was running. I still had my arm warmer and gloves on cuz it was REALLY cold, as you can see it in the picture below, plus I had not one but 2 cups of noodles to warm me up!!! the sodium from the soup always help. I actually continued to walk back while I was eating the noodles at the same time, I felt like I was in heaven when I taste those noodles.

Here is me enjoying my cup of noodles IN THE SNOW!!
The aid station had hot water boiling to keep us warm.

I finished the 2nd loop a little over 9 hours, then after I grabbed yet another cup of noodles, I went back for another loops, but this time it was only 6 miles, 3 miles out, 3 miles back. I was running/walking with this guy who was doing the 100 miler, which he had to complete the loop 4 times!! He was on his way for his 3rd loop, he talked to me and encouraged me to push myself a little when I didnt feel like running, then when I reach the turnaround point, he continued his way while I finished my last 3 miles!!

I finished the 50 Miler in 10:29.28!! A NEW 50 Miler PR!!! I also won 1st place for my age group!! Actual the first 2 overall finishers are in my age group, but there is not double dipping, they cant win both award, so I guess I will take it. I got this little cactus as my trophy.

Overall, I think this is another challenging fun course, actually all the Calico Racing's events are challenging AND fun!! I will definately do this again soon, maybe 100 miler next time. =-)

Next Race.......................Big Sur International Marathon, 5-1-11

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bataan Death March Marathon Recap

This is my 7th marathon this year and 80th marathon overall!!

I still cant believe that I have ran 80 marathons!!! I picked this race as my 80th marathon because I needed a new state to complete my a marathon in all 50 States journey, so far I have completed  16 states. Plus I heard this one is a very memorable and challenging event that a lot of people go back every year just to participate in this event.

Thursday - 3-24-11

After I arrived at the El Paso Airport, I went to pick up my rental car, BUT I found out that I did not bring my temporary driver's license, because I lost my wallet a few weeks ago and I only brought my citizenship certificate to get on my flight. So without my DL, I couldnt rent a car and I was stranded at the airport!!  I didnt want to take the taxi to my hotel room because I know it would cost a fortune!! So I figured out from my iPhone that I could take the bus from the airport to my hotel, with one transfer, which took only an hour and a half total and $3, WAY cheaper than taking a tax. The bus stop was about 1/4 mile from my HoJo so I didnt mind the walk, at least I got to my hotel finally.

Friday - 3-25-11

Since I dont have a car to get me around town and my friend wont get into town until Saturday afternoon, I just decided to take a walk down to Downtown El Paso, which was about 6 miles from my hotel, I carried my camo backpack with my laptop inside, cuz I wanted to get used the heavy weight on my back, and make my way down there to do some sightseeing on foot. Once I got to the El Paso/Mexico border, I decided to walk to Juarez, Mexico with ONLY my citizenship certificate with no passport or driver's license, call me crazy!! And YES, I was able to get back to the US after walking there for an hour, but I probably wont be back there again, it's definately not a vacational spot. So after all day of walking and sightseeing, I walked back to my hotel and crashed after I stopped by a restaurant for some delicious hotdogs.

At the Mexico/Texas border.

Saturday - 3-26-11

So my friend Brent, who was also doing the race, picked me up from my hotel room and we drove to the White Sand Missile Range in New Mexico to pick up our bib and everything. He did that race the previous year so he knows how to get there better than I do.

Once we got inside the military base, we made our way to the gymnasium where most of the runners/marchers stayed for the night before the race, FOR FREE!! They have showers and lockers and everything, but you will have to bring your own sleepbag, or you could get one of their cots offer to runners on a first come first serve basis. But Brent and I decided to sleep in the car for the night,  cuz that's how we roll!!! =-) But it was REALLY windy outside our car, we could feel our car move!!

Pasta Dinner

The pasta dinner that they prepared for us at their cafateria was awesome!! Nice warm pasta with a few sauces, dinner rolls, salad, brownies and cookies, totally got my money worth!! We also got to meet a few World War II Veterans also.

me, Brent and Nina got to me one of the WWII veteran.

After the dinner, we went to watch this free movie :"The Great Raid" they offered at the nearby theater, this movie was about how the
 6th Rangers Batallion rescue more than 500 American prisoners of war back in the days from the notorious Cabanatuan Japanese POW camp. Great movie!!

Race Day - 3-27-11

This is the FIRST time I ever wore hiking shoes, long pants and carry a 10lbs backpack in a race!! My original plan was to march the challenging course with a 35lbs backpack, but because I dont think I could handle 35lbs bag, so I just changed my mind and dropped it to 10lbs instead, I just wanted to have a good time and just enjoy the experience without worry about the time.

Before the race begins, they had a ceremony honoring those veterans who had fought for our country, there were hundreds of soldiers dressed in army uniform who were also carrying 35lbs backpack on their back and ready to march the course. 

Here is our timing chip that we get to keep!!
Nina and I met one of the veterans at the start.

Runner/marchers getting ready hr before the start.
 Part of the course are on these sandy trails for miles.

Mile 13 marker, halfway done!!!
One of the aid station on the course.
 A long stretch of dirt trail.
There are many marchers with a full on militiary unform with heavy pack on their back.

Another aid station on the course.
Here is one of few marchers who carried a flag for the entire 26.2 miles

Here are 3 marchers carried their Philipine's Flag duing this long windy uphill stretch.

1 Mile to go!!!
Almost done!!!
I finished in 5:51.51!!
Got to meet of the veterans at the Finish Line.

Overall, Bataan Death March is a must do for ANYONE, runners or walker because you get to experience what the soldiers have gone thru back in the war days, once you have ran this race, you will never ever forget the experience.

After the race, a bunch of us went downt to the White Sands National Monument to watch the sunset, this was one of the most beautiful place I have ever been to, it's so peaceful, it's a great place to relax after the race.

I had an unforgetable trip in New Mexico, El Paso and Jurazes, Mexico. Bataan Death March is definately a race I will run again in the near future.

Next Race............................Labor of Love 50 Miler - 4-9-11