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

For Uncle Lou

2013/03/05 at 10:26 pm | Posted in Exercise, Health, Motivation | Comments Off on For Uncle Lou
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On Friday, I got word that my Uncle Lou had passed away. It wasn’t too surprising considering his health problems as of late but still shocking to know he’s gone.

He was the man who taught me and all of my cousins how to swim and motivated us by throwing coins in my aunt’s swimming pool. He was a mariner who loved to spend days at sea and was also a published author. It was our love for the written word that drew us closer together in his later years.

All of this said, I miss the man and can’t get over the fact that I will never see him again. It’s upsetting and breaks my heart at the same time.

But he will be remembered.

During this Sunday’s Coaster Run, I will have this image affixed to my bib.

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I am dedicating my run and medal to the memory of this great man whom I miss dearly.

This one’s for you, Uncle Lou. Thanks for everything.

For more information on his books, visit LouCruz.net. His final book, Soulsearch(ing), is available for purchase here.

Like It’s Dynamite

2013/02/22 at 9:09 pm | Posted in Exercise, Health, Life, weight loss | Comments Off on Like It’s Dynamite
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267947_10151465053925042_1930891769_nTomorrow morning I will be getting my first medal of the year when I cross the finish line of the Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker Run’s 30-Mile Bike Ride. It’s my first time riding in this event so I’m pretty excited yet somewhat freaked out about it since I’m roaming into unknown territory.

I mean, I know L.A. but this is nothing like riding in Long Beach like I have for the past 3 years (and again this year): no street closures, a lot more hills, etc. But regardless, I’m committed to it and I can’t wait to see what challenges lie in store for me.

But what’s going to be great about Saturday’s event is what will take place before it: the lighting of 100,000 firecrackers right in the center of Chinatown. It’s a pyromaniac’s dream and something that can only be done legally in Los Angeles during events in Chinatown since fireworks are banned within the city.

What makes that so great? Well, who doesn’t like firecrackers?

And it just so happens that the organizers of the event held a contest on their Facebook page a few days ago that would give 3 randomly selected riders a chance to help light the 100,000 firecrackers before the event starts. All interested parties had to do was change their profile picture to this to qualify for the contest:

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Oh, you know what the heck it’s implying and what it actually means. Don’t act like you don’t.

I figured I had nothing to lose so I went ahead and changed my profile picture. So imagine my surprise this morning when I read one of their Wall posts that was congratulating the winners of the contest, one of whom was me.

Yes, that’s right, people. I was one of the lucky 3 riders who was selected to help light the 100,000 firecrackers and I can’t tell you how happy my inner childhood pyromaniac is. This is without a doubt a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m completely honored and stoked to have been chosen.

This is taking tomorrow’s ride to a whole new level. I mean, come on. It’s called the Firecracker Run because the lighting of the firecrackers is a BIG part of the event, and I’m going to be a part of that opening ceremony.

This is nuts. How did I get to be so lucky?

Meh, I don’t care. All I know is that I’ll be 1 of the 3 lighting up those suckers tomorrow morning then hopping on the saddle to tackle almost 30 miles around Los Angeles.

Videos and pictures will be posted Saturday. Stay tuned!

(Posting this video to avoid the painfully obvious correlation between Katy Perry and the lighting of pyrotechnics)

…For An Old Guy

2013/02/08 at 3:03 pm | Posted in Discipline, Exercise, Health, Inspiration, Life, weight loss, weight loss blog | Comments Off on …For An Old Guy
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IMG_20130122_190746 I left work early today so that I could attend an assembly at Anthony’s school since he was getting an award. I told him that I wouldn’t be able to make it since we were busy at work but, as I do from time to time, I surprised him.

And being that I made it home with little time to spare, I stayed in my work clothes and only changed my shoes – from dress to running, for comfort and because it was raining.

Once the assembly was over Ann and I waited in the car for Anthony and his friend who we watch on Fridays. Close to dismissal time we headed over to the school to meet them. By the time they were dismissed it was drizzling a little bit and the two of them decided to make a run for my car.

So I decided to have a little fun with them. I asked Ann if I should try to pass them up and get to the car before them. She agreed and off I went.

From a dead stop down the sidewalk I sprinted passing a few students and parents along the way. In the end I did beat them both to the car and as I waited, I noticed Ann approaching and laughing.

“Did you hear those kids?” she said pointing behind her.

“No. Why?”

Ann tried to regain her composure. “They said, ‘Wow, he runs pretty good for an old guy!’”

Woah woah woah, hold the phone, Mabel! For an old guy? What, because I have some spots of gray hair* as well as a graying goatee, that makes me an old guy?

Pfft. Whatever! It’s a state of mind, kiddies. You remember those words when you’re uh…older – say, in your teens – and can’t get yourselves to get up in the morning to exercise or don’t want to mow the lawn. This “old guy” turns 44 in a week and feels as fit as ever.

I’ll give you old.

Ahem. All that aside, I did get a compliment from the parents I passed who told Ann that I indeed run fast – period. She told them that I run every weekend and whenever I can and again, another compliment.

And that made me feel darn good.

But old? Come on, kids. I’ll take on your mom or dad any day of the week from a dead stop like today. Then you tell me who the old guy is 🙂

*It’s more than a “patch” but you know…oh well.
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