2013 Hollywood Half Marathon and 5k/10k

2013/04/09 at 9:18 pm | Posted in Discipline, Exercise, Health | Comments Off on 2013 Hollywood Half Marathon and 5k/10k
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On Saturday, April 6, I took part in the second annual Hollywood Half Marathon event and no, I didn’t do the half marathon. But I’ll get into that a bit later.

In last year’s inaugural event, I ran in the 5k and set my current PR of 31:51. It’s not hard to do when you consider that most of the first half is going downhill. And I figured since I already ran 5k, I’ll make this year the year in which I make it my first 10k.

But we all know how that went.

At any rate, Hollywood was indeed my second 10k of the year and it was much more memorable than last year’s event. For one, there were water stations in abundance along the route. This was a huge upgrade from last year’s event in which large bottles of water were randomly placed on the roadside. Also, the start time was bumped to 6 am and the finish line was moved down the street. All that aside, I still rode the train to the event to avoid 1) driving and 2) paying for parking.

And the results:

  • Gun: 1:25:54.9
  • Chip: 1:10:48.1
  • Pace: 11:25

It’s definitely slower than the Coaster Run:

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

However, it seems there’s a little discrepancy. For the Coaster Run, I logged 6.16 miles on Sports Tracker but for Hollywood, I logged 6.33 miles.

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So if you take those two things into consideration, one could say that since I ran .17 miles longer and since it took only 5 minutes longer to finish, my time at Hollywood of 1:10:48.1 is a new 10k PR. And I’m totally fine with that!

A few of the highlights:

  • Passing a runner dressed as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz who was carrying a basket with a stuffed Toto inside
  • Being passed by three runners in Marilyn Monroe dresses
  • Being cheered on by every LAPD officer working the event
  • Strolling Hollywood Boulevard and the Chinese Theater before either got crowded with tourists
  • The horrible cramp I got while walking back to the train station
  • The poor woman in front of me who stopped to take a picture of the Mile 5 sign – and twisted her ankle in the process
  • Seeing runners stray off-course to stop at McDonald’s or Starbucks

Yes, there are pictures. Allow me to show them to you.

As for that thing I’ll get into later, well, here it is.

  • 2012: Hollywood 5k
  • 2013: Hollywood 10k
  • 2014: Hollywood Half

Yes indeed, folks, I’ve made my decision. In 2014, the year I turn 45, I will be running 13.1 miles through Hollywood and beyond and the training has already begun. The plan is to get down to a weight of around 190 and build up my stamina so that I’ll be able to run most if not all of it without much difficulty. In case you couldn’t tell in some of the pictures, I’ve gained a little back – I’m at about 220 now and I need to get myself back into a solid program of eating right and exercising regularly. I have a year to do it. I will get there.

And as of now, this is my last event for a while. In fact, it might be the last one until October rolls around since the Long Beach Marathon Bike Tour and 5k are the only ones I have registered for. We’ll see; there are few more that I want to tackle but you know, these events are not free and I’ve got a family to look after.

Well, that’s all I have for now. We’ll see how my latest weight loss plan progresses!

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.

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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 🙂

coasterrun

Awesome 80s 5k

2012/09/03 at 9:56 pm | Posted in Exercise, Health, Inspiration, Life, Motivation | 2 Comments
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Another month, another 5k in the books!

I ran the inaugural Awesome ‘80s Run on Saturday in beautiful Pasadena, California or more to the point, the Rose Bowl loop. I had contemplated long and hard about doing this one or the Conquer the Bridge event since I’m not exactly made of money and must choose between events most of the time. In the end, this event won and I’m glad it did.

As the name implies, the event was ‘80s themed with participants encouraged to dress in ‘80s fashion and believe me, the neon was out in force for this one. Well, maybe except for me:

80s

But at least I have stories behind my outfit. The hat was from the 1984 Olympics which were held in Los Angeles, the shirt was from Depeche Mode’s 1988 concert at the Rose Bowl, and the Walkman (not visible) was the one I had in high school in 1986. The rest of the stuff was thrown together and were the best ‘80s-like items I had.

CAM01223At any rate, the vibe was excellent with everybody checking out each other’s outfits and costumes. I saw people dressed not only in ‘80s fashion but also ‘80s icons: Ghostbusters, Hulk Hogan, Boy George, Richard Simmons, and a few were even dressed up as Rubik’s Cubes and Simon games. It was amazingly cool, and there was even a replica Back to the Future Delorean you could get your picture with. To see some of the craziness yourself, click here to view their album on Facebook.

Okay, costumes aside, there was a 5k and 10k to run. Unfortunately there was a delay in getting the run going as the police had to limit the number of runners to 100 per pack. By the time I started going, it was almost an hour past the original starting time. Not cool but not something I’d cry over. It’s not like I had a job interview or anything.

CAM01222

By the time I started going, I realized that maybe standing around for too long may not have been good after all as I started cramping up before I hit 1/4 mile. But I persisted, told myself I was fine and kept going. Just keep going…uphill…

One of the big complaints with runners was the lack of water stations during this event. There was one at about the halfway point which worked out fine for me but apparently not with others. It’s turned into a great, big ugly discussion on the event’s Facebook page, complete with name-calling and profanity. There was also a lack of nutrition at the race’s end, something I wasn’t prepared for as every run I’ve done has had either fruit or bagels at the finish line. Simple advice even for me: people, always come prepared with your own just in case.

In the end, however, my experience was more positive than negative. I met a few friends there and we started off together but then separated about 1/2 mile into it. And hey, I also met someone who was also at the Depeche Mode show in 1988!

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Sadly, she admitted to throwing out all of her shirts from that tour and offered to buy mine. Not for sale, I told her 🙂

Finishers got what will probably be one of the heaviest medals in their collection:

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This medals is seriously thick, seriously heavy, and seriously cool! Despite a few glitches, the Superhero Events team – they are also responsible for the Hollywood Half events – provided a memorable event and venue, one that was a bit more nostalgic for myself and my fellow DM fan. You could tell that people were loving this event despite the fact that most were probably born in the ’90s.

I left the event with yet another medal for my wall and a yearning to go back to the ‘80s for only a moment to see if we actually did dress as hideous as we did that day.

But I think we know the answer to that.

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Next event: Long Beach Marathon Bike Tour on October 7!

Running the Streets of Hollywood

2012/04/08 at 7:36 pm | Posted in Exercise, Health, Inspiration, Life, lifestyle change, Motivation, Photos, weight loss, weight loss blog | 2 Comments
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I’m pretty sure my Facebook friends are tired of hearing about it with all the stuff I’ve posted there, so here’s the last time they will see anything about it – until next year, at least.

I had the pleasure of running a 5k in that ran along the streets of Hollywood, CA. Well, down Hollywood Boulevard and back at least.

The inaugural Hollywood Half Marathon and 5k/10k took place this Saturday and despite its problems (as I will detail later), it was a great time. How often is it that you can run down Hollywood Boulevard with thousands of others and not be a part of a mob of angry citizens up in arms about [insert source of frustration here]?

But as I said, there were some issues that were outlined by some runners later, including:

Parking: Not an issue for me because I rode the MTA trains to the venue and to Universal City Hilton to pick up my bib and timing chip on Friday. Once there, though, I witnessed what other participants would later complain about: traffic going in and coming out of the hotel was disastrous. Not only that, even if you took the train to the hotel, you had to walk up a massive hill to get there. And I heard that finding a spot was next to impossible and leaving the hotel as well as the event itself was almost impossible. Again, I thank [insert appropriate deity here] for the MTA.

Cups: Again, this was an issue that I hadn’t dealt with personally but read about on Hollywood Half’s Facebook page. Apparently there was a serious lack of cups along the half marathon route which did not sit well with many. Being I ran the 5k, I didn’t have the need to hydrate as often as the half-marathoners so I didn’t even notice the problem. Water was handed out at the end of the run as were bagels and bananas.

No Electrolytes: Lack of what your body needs during a long run was also a strike against the organizers of the event. Again, not an issue for the 5k runners. In fact many of them reported no complaints about the event.

All in all, I did have a great time and even set a new personal record for a 5k:

results

Is it the best? Of course not, but it’s my best and that’s all that matters to the guy who used to be 300 pounds. For comparison, here’s what I logged on Fitness Tracker.

Honestly, the way I finished, I’m considering a 10k later this year.

Like all inaugural events, it was a learning experience for the organizers to improve upon for next year’s event which I am already looking forward to.

And by then, who knows? I might be running in the half marathon.

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For more pictures from the event, click here.

Wet&Wild 5k is Done!

2011/08/27 at 10:03 am | Posted in Discipline, Exercise, Health, Inspiration, lifestyle change, Motivation, Photos, Victory, weight loss, weight loss blog | Comments Off on Wet&Wild 5k is Done!
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This was taken before the run and will post a few more taken with an actual camera (not phone) later.

Summary: finished in about 42:00 or so but I’ll post my official time when I get home. Right now I’m relaxing with the family at Wild Rivers where we had to run through a wading pool of sorts.

Had a great time and looking forward to doing it again!

UPDATE 8/28/11: Alright, since I’ve got some time to do it, here are some highlights/memorable events from the run.

The day started at 5am since I had planned on leaving by 6am to get there in plenty of time for the start at 8am. Irvine isn’t exactly a long drive but when you go to events like this, you just never know what the traffic will be like so it’s always best to plan for any unexpected delays.

We did get there in plenty of time so we checked out the few exhibitor booths that were there. I tried a sample of a drink called Body Armour and it wasn’t too bad so I need to look for that the next time I’m shopping. We sat around for about 30 minutes before I had to get in line according to my anticipated finishing time, do some pre-race stretching, listen to some of the rules, etc.

This is a shot of the field from where I was standing, in the “29:00 – ???” group:

After the National Anthem and a prayer (more people seemed attentive to the former than the latter), the horn sounded and we were off. We trudged along through the parking lot of Wild Rivers and out onto the sidewalk the made a u-turn, where the first water station was. It was poorly manned and most of us had to wait for our water to be poured which is not good.

Despite that, I have to admit that I felt pretty good as I started on my way and at about the first mile, I was in my zone as I usually am. The run came back into the parking lot and started to wind through Wild Rivers itself for the first of two laps. During the second lap, we had to run/walk/wade through this (photo was taken after the run):

This was a most welcomed break from the rest of the course which at times was rather narrow and definitely blocked with walkers and people with strollers, who should have been kept at the rear of the field. Not only that, the wait to get into this Lazy River was just ridiculous as some people removed their shoes before entering.

Up until this point, according to my Endomondo app, I was averaging 11:30 per mile but my lap time for the last mile dropped dramatically as I “ran” through the river: 16:40. If not for that, I could have finished in about 34 minutes or so but considering the wait time and the conditions (but especially the wait time), this was not unexpected.

I crossed the finish line at 42:29 with an average pace of 13:14 according to my chip results. And in case you’re wondering what 5k looks like, here’s the course as recorded by Endomondo:

That seems like a good distance but once you’re up and running, it’s really not. Here’s the portion of the course known as the Lazy River, as noted by the dark blue line:

And although I didn’t finish anywhere near the Top 3 in my age group, that didn’t stop me from pretending I did:

So despite the event’s flaws, I had a good time participating as well as hanging out at Wild Rivers afterward. Next event: the Long Beach Marathon Bike Tour on October 9, 2011. I started my preparation by buying new tires today so I’m ready for that one.

Oh, and those Asics running shoes I’m wearing? I bought them at Savers a few months back for a mere $3.50. They were practically new and half price on the day we were shopping, so that saved me some money for sure 🙂

By the way, part of the run is a challenge to “Beat the Cow” or someone running in a cow costume since the Chick-Fil-A is a huge sponsor. And if you do beat the cow, you get a free meal.

Did I beat the cow?

No, I didn’t. I got beat by a dude in a cow costume. But at least I wasn’t a sore loser about it:

I told the bovine I was disappointed for not beating them but there’s no shame in that. The cow consoled me with a friendly pat on the back. We’re cool.

I’m done for the night. My legs are starting to feel the effects of the run and I need to relax!

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