2013 Long Beach Marathon Weekend

2013/10/14 at 8:19 am | Posted in Cycling, Discipline, Exercise, Health, Inspiration, Life, Milestone, Motivation, Running, Victory, weight loss, weight loss blog | Comments Off on 2013 Long Beach Marathon Weekend
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First of all, my apologies if I have not posted here in a long time. I’ve just been sidetracked by other things and starting to catch up.

Secondly, before we get into this past weekend, I seem to have forgotten to mention that I did one more event in between then which was the OC Fair 5k in August. I had an overall time of 39:51 but this included the time I stopped to play a game and win a stuffed animal for Anthony, so you can probably deduct a good 5 minutes from that. In fact, my time was 33:47 on Endomondo with the time stopped.

At any rate, here I am with the stuffed animal, ready to throw it over to Anthony who was waiting for me.


Shortly afterward I made it to the finish line.


So that’s the one I forgot but the big news was what happened over the weekend.

Being that I’ve ridden in previous Long Beach Marathon events, I was part of a handful of participants who were eligible to register their child for the Aquarium of the Pacific Fun Run on Saturday for free. I asked Anthony if he wanted to do it and he said he was up to the task of running one solid mile around the aquarium and beyond, so I signed him up. In the meantime, he was proud of telling me about the “training” was was doing for the event while at school – running away from other kids. I told him sprinting is fine, but you’ve got to find your pace.

He did, and 11 minutes after the start, he crossed the finish line.


He was sweaty, he was thirsty, he had his medal. He now knows the glorious feeling of crossing that finish line and having hundreds of strangers cheering him on. Yes, he is officially a runner! We’re so proud of him for what he did and he’s told me he wants to do it again, and I have no problem with that. Congratulations, Anthony. You did a fine job!


Now onto Sunday. In this post I mention that this year I would tackle riding the VW Think Blue Bike Tour as well as running the 5k. I made the commitment and signed up for both without much hesitation and not knowing exactly what I had gotten myself into. With the bike tour starting at 6 am and the 5k at 8:30, I figured I had plenty of time to do both events.

But, as has been the case since 2010, the bike tour started about 20 minutes late. I would just have to step things up a notch to make it back in time to run the 5k. This would be easy since The Powers That Be decided to chop a whopping 10k from the bike tour route, much to the disappointment of myself and may other riders. Sadly, it was the most scenic part of the route but in order to accommodate the runners (as was the reason given), the tour was reduced to 20 miles.

The route also started in a different direction as well as through a smaller starting gate. This made for a traffic jam just as things got underway and many cyclists almost fell since they were clipped in and ready to roll. Not a wise choice by the organizers.

But with all of that out of the way, I crossed the finish line at 1:19:28 according to Endomondo (official times are not tracked).



One down, one to go. I had just enough time to do some stretching and prepare for the 5k.

The 5k started at about 8:35 (or at least that’s when I started my time). I felt pretty good going into it but about 1/4 miles my legs started to cramp horribly. I walked a little bit then picked up the pace and again, more cramping.

This continued until about Mile 2.5 at which point I decided to not let it bother me anymore and jog all the way to the end. Once I saw that finish line ahead of me I turned it on and sprinted as fast as I could to cross it, proud of what I had just accomplished.

After waking up at 3:30 am, getting on the train to the event at 4:50, walking to the venue and arriving at 5:10, waiting for the bike tour to start then riding 20 miles at 6:20, then finishing up and running 5k at 8:35, I had set out what I planned to accomplish last year at this same time.


Two events, two medals. Done and done.


But more importantly, the joy of sharing the weekend’s accomplishments with my son.


And before you ask, yes, I…well, WE plan to do this all over again next year! It was a great weekend and something the family would love to experience all over again.

Stay motivated, guys!

More pictures from this weekend can be seen on this Flickr set.

Coaster Run 10k

2013/03/10 at 9:48 pm | Posted in Discipline, Exercise, lifestyle change, Milestone, Motivation, Photos, weight loss, weight loss blog | Comments Off on Coaster Run 10k
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Years ago, Uncle Lou gave Anthony some pointers on how to swim and tread water.

When he saw that Anthony was having trouble with it, he dropped this piece of advice on him:

“A man can do whatever he wants.”

Naturally, he meant “whatever he wants” in terms of whatever he sets his mind to do. And while this was my first 10k, his words resonated during the entire run and helped me pull through.

The sold-out race started around 7:30 am with waves of runners leaving every minute and with me being in the 7th wave, it took some time to cross the starting line. But once I got going, I never looked back and the first half breezed by fairly quickly.

I continued and at about Mile 4, I slowed a bit to take some sips of water from the bottles on my hydration belt. I would only take a few two more breaks, one for each remaining mile. By the time I turned the corner and saw the Mile 6 sign, I was pumped.

I crossed the finish line with as much steam as I had in me and, once crossed, was handed my medal and immediately started to sob. It was pretty emotional not only for it being my first 10k but also for the fact that I dedicated the run and medal to Uncle Lou. It seems his words my guidance as I continued to run at a pace that was no doubt one of my best to date even if I dropped a few seconds from miles 4 through 6. The official results:

  • Gun – 1:15:14.5
  • Chip – 1:05:48.5
  • Pace – 10:37

All in all it was fantastic run to be a part of and I look forward to 2014’s event. But the one thing I won’t look forward to is this: bandits.

For those who don’t know, a bandit is someone — not considered a true runner by other runners — who sneaks into an event without paying but reaps the benefits by getting a medal. Keep in mind that running events take a lot of time to put together and benefit a variety of organizations. A bandit is a low-life who not only cheats a paying runner out of their medal but also the beneficiary out of their money. It’s a lose-lose for all involved. Just imagine if your kid finished their first 5k and, thanks to a handful of bandits, all of the medals were gone.

In other words, a thief. Not cool.

But it seems that there were a lot of them at this popular event and one of them even bragged about it on her Instagram feed.


This was posted on the Coaster Run’s Facebook page. Looks like user celisshy isn’t all that shy if she is brash enough to bandit this run then go about bragging about it on Instagram — and tag it #coasterrun. Many runners began to criticize her and, curiously, her feed was soon made private. I hope she felt the guilt of it all, especially knowing she cheated kids out of their medals. The good thing is that the organizers have promised to give medals to those who didn’t get them as soon as they have more made.

Anyhow, I did take some pictures and they can be seen below in what is my first WordPress album ever! Note that these are a combination of photos from my phone, Ann’s phone and Anthony’s Samsung Tab.

And as for Uncle Lou’s words, yes, he was absolutely right. A man can do whatever he wants 🙂


Getting Closer to Half Marathon Distance

2012/11/13 at 10:30 pm | Posted in Discipline, Exercise, Health, Inspiration, lifestyle change, Milestone, Motivation, weight loss, weight loss blog | Comments Off on Getting Closer to Half Marathon Distance
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It’s been getting a bit chilly here in southern California. Sure, 40 degrees at 7 am isn’t exactly freezing when compared to other parts of the country this time of year but for those of us that have lived out here all our lives, it’s pretty cold.

But regardless of the weather I made it a point to go out Sunday morning for a decent run since the previous week’s run of 5k was just awful: I had little motivation to do it and was tired by Mile 1. Such is life.

Last Sunday was not the case. I knew I was going to go at least 5 miles. This was in my mind starting on Friday and into Saturday. So when Sunday finally rolled around, I was more than ready.

And in the end, I reached yet another milestone: 8 miles! Here’s how it looked on Sports Tracker.


There’s very little difference when comparing it to my 7-mile run from two weeks ago. I think I may have gone maybe an extra block but pretty much followed the same path.

Overall it was a good run and I didn’t really hit my groove until Mile 4 along the bike path. It was then when my legs pretty much took over and I was on cruise control, and also when I was passed by a few runners who exchanged pleasantries with me as we continued. One asked how I was doing.

“Starting Mile 5,” I said smiling.

“Only 10 more to go!” he replied. I chuckled and nodded as if that was really going to happen.

But they passed me I began to think about it. Would it be so outlandish to think that another 10 would be possible? After all, I started running after walking 1.5 miles during my lunch hour got boring and from there is just snowballed:

  • 1.5 miles became 2 miles
  • 2 miles turned into 5k
  • 5k stretched into 5 miles
  • 5 miles has been increasing incrementally into the 8 miles I did on Sunday

So no, to think that I might one day reach that point is definitely not crazy. The next time out I might just choose to add another mile and push it up to 9, then 10 miles. Once that’s easy then why not add another 5k which would turn it into a half marathon?

It’s looking very likely but it will continue to be baby steps.

The good thing about my 8-miler was that my average speed, average pace, and max speed were better than my 7 mile run. I’m pretty happy about this.

Now comes the bad news: I may have injured myself. Gah, not what I wanted! I have a slight pain on the bottom of my right foot and ankle, and the only thing I can compare the pain to is when I sprained my ankle years ago. It’s not as bad but the feeling is definitely similar.

There’s a good chance I am going to stay off of it this weekend as I don’t want to injure it any further of have it worsen while I’m out running. If anything, I may have to revert to walking a few times before picking up the pace and distance. It’s a day-by-day thing that I’m keeping a close eye on.

The good news? This is the first time I’ve been injured since I starting running some 2 years ago. I know they happen but man, it stinks having to sit on the sidelines.

I’m off to tend to my gimpy foot. Here’s hoping it’s back in order in a few weeks – 9 miles, I’m coming for you!

Oh, and as for my kicking the soda habit? It’s been almost 3 weeks and while the temptation has been there, I haven’t touched one. I’m sticking to my plan and I refuse to let it get the best of me!

Yet Another Running Milestone: 7 Miles

2012/11/01 at 9:24 pm | Posted in Discipline, Exercise, Health, Inspiration, lifestyle change, Milestone, Motivation, Victory, weight loss | Comments Off on Yet Another Running Milestone: 7 Miles
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It seems like just last week I was patting myself on the back for what had been, up to that point, the longest distance I’d run on pavement.

It turns out that my PR only lasted a week because last Sunday, I pushed myself into running a solid 7 miles and like the week before, celebrated in the front yard when I got home. The run looked a little like this (click to enlarge).

7 miles

Again, I’m not exactly Usain Bolt but I was up to the challenge and I completed it. I refused to change my mind at any point during my run and just kept on going. In fact, my legs weren’t as sore (if at all) when compared to the previous week’s 6-mile run. Perhaps my body is getting used to or it I just happened to eat the right recovery foods.

Either way, and as I said in the aforementioned post, I’m continuing to add distance to my runs so that I can prepare for my first 10k next year.

As it turns out, I’ve already registered for it and can’t be more excited!

For the second year in a row, I will be running down Hollywood Boulevard and more as I participate in the second annual Hollywood Half Marathon event. Last year I ran the 5k and had a blast but this year I decided that it was time to kick it up a notch and stay true to my word.

If I keep running distances like this I’m pretty sure I’ll be in great shape to handle 10k when April 6, 2013 rolls around. This will be my 3rd event of 2013 with the 30-mile Firecracker Bike Tour in February and Coaster Run (which I still need to register for) in March.

And of course, there will still be the Long Beach Marathon Bike Tour that I will be riding in for the 4th straight year. In fact I hear that registration begins in a few weeks and as you might have read, I’m turning it into a duathlon.

So the question is, how far will I run this Sunday? We’ll see!

New Running Milestone: 6 Miles

2012/10/21 at 8:23 pm | Posted in Discipline, Exercise, Health, Inspiration, lifestyle change, Milestone, Victory, weight loss, weight loss blog | 4 Comments
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When I was in the middle of my weight loss program, I would walk at least one mile during my lunch hour so that I could get at least a little bit of exercise in during the day. But as I continued to do this I soon came to realize that, while beneficial, walking was getting a little boring.

That’s when I bought the treadmill and started jogging on it at night. Not only was it something new but it was a way for me to kick things up a notch by going at a higher rate of speed. Not much higher but still faster than walking.

And that’s what weight loss and exercise are all about: trying new and challenging things to prove to yourself that nothing will stop you and that you can achieve lofty goals.

Today I challenged myself and met a goal I didn’t quite plan on: running over 6 miles.

Until today, I would run my standard 5k around the neighborhood on my predetermined path. But this morning I chose to mix it up a bit by running 5 miles on yet another predetermined route.

I hit the pavement at 7am knowing that 5 miles would be in the bag by the time I got home and that was nothing new. I had run 5 miles in the past without too much difficulty. But when I reached Mile 4, something inside of me clicked.

While jogging through the park I started to give myself a pep talk.

“Six miles…you can do six miles…four miles down…what’s another two…do it…DO IT!”

And with that I turned up the heat and started running faster, not knowing exactly which direction to go. I relied on the Sports Tracker app to keep track of my distance but as far as direction goes, I had no plans.

I just kept running until I reached the next major intersection and then started heading home. By then, I was at 5.25 miles so I kept on going. Up the street, down the street, back and forth until my app finally logged 6 miles.

In the end, I ran 6.06 miles or just short of 10k. This is good because I have made decided that 2013 will be the year I start running 10ks instead of 5ks (finances permitting).

You haven’t heard the best part of the story. At the end of my run, I jogged onto the lawn of my house I spiked my (empty) water bottle to the ground, clapped, threw a few fists into the air, and pretty much celebrated my accomplishment on my front yard. This was my first time running over 6 miles/nearly 10k and I was very happy about it.

There were a few neighbors outside when I was reveling in my personal victory and yes, as you can imagine, I was stared at by them. While it seemed like I may have been having a nervous breakdown or just going nuts in general, I can assure you that my reactions were solely based on the fact that I had just set a goal I hadn’t planned on – and I was pumped about it.

Here’s how it looked on my app (click to enlarge):


Look at the stats. Am I the fastest on two legs? No. Is 6 miles the most amazing distance ever recorded? Not to some but to me it is and the fact that I was out there no matter how slow I may have been going at times doesn’t change the fact that I’m still a runner.

I achieved something that wasn’t on my radar for the day, which will make running 5k seem like a walk in the park. This is why you must challenge yourself to better because one day, whether you plan on it or not, you will be.

And trust me when I say that when you get there, you will find it hard to contain your excitement.

Now go out and set some goals for yourself – then beat them 🙂

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