22 Days till Taiko Jam, 30 Days till Bronx Half Marathon

Anxiety

I am counting down the days to some landmarks in my life. One is Taiko Jam, a taiko concert during the North American Taiko Conference. The group I am in, Soh Daiko, has been rehearsing very hard to show those west coasters what we are made of out here in New York City. We are going to do great (I am sure!) but I am getting the jitters as the taiko community will be watching us, and so will my Mom and Big Sis!

Hachidan Uchi, Brooklyn Botanical Garden Sakura Matsuri 2011

This means I will be in California from August 18 – 25, meaning my half marathon training is going to get a little wonky at what could be a critical time (the race being the 2nd landmark). I plan on waking up early and doing my prescribed training but you never know what happens once you get out there. I certainly won’t compromise my performance to adhere to rigid training but at the same time, I don’t want to be disappointed on race day because of something that I could have done better.

I have been having running nightmares, of all things, about being too slow or struggling through the half marathon rather than enjoying it! I started the week off with classic runner’s Breakdown – fatigued, not recovering, a bit depressed even! I also had to work late numerous times this week, once until 9:45pm, missing taiko practice. I am examining my training schedule and wondering if this is going to be enough. If I can’t do what I want in training, how will I ever pull it off during the race? I didn’t sign up in time to do a full 10 week program and I am left with these next 30 days to squirm in the discomforting realization that I may not have a realistic goal. Which, to say the least, is disappointing personally because I am the type of person who doesn’t truly grasp the meaning of the word “can’t.”

Perhaps I am still in Breakdown and will swoop out of it after a few more feel-good runs. In any case, I strive to keep moving forward, literally and figuratively!

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Monday Night’s Trial Half Marathon

A half marathon is clearly not just 3.1 miles more than a 10 miler….

I decided to do a trial half marathon last night, in light of just having signed up for the Bronx Half and the fact that it is only about 4 weeks away. Ideally, I would do the half in under 2 hours, and I thought I had better test how far away this is from being realistic. I was primed for it after 3 days of rest (Friday being too hot, Saturday was the Soh Daiko performance at the Natural History Museum, and Sunday…well, that was beach day) so off I went at 8:20pm for my evening trot.

My neighborhood course is around the bay, so it is all very flat. I have done numerous 10 milers there and usually they aren’t too strenous because I just try to make it through, regardless of the time. I think I usually finish 10 miles in 1:28-ish.

Part of my course by day

View towards the pier

After talking to my mom and assuring her that I would be careful and it would be easy (I didn’t tell her I was doing the full half-marathon, just 10 miles) I was on my way. I was pretty sure I would be fine, its only 3.1 more miles! Wrong. I was feeling pretty good until about mile 9. Then I felt a bit like vomitting. And I still had 4.1 miles to go!!! I was just running out of steam. I haven’t felt that way in awhile, and each mile was getting longer and longer. I heard that you should mentally push yourself for the last 3.1 miles and so I stubborned up and kept going. I knew I was slowing but I didn’t care anymore, I just had to finish! And I was still on track to be done under 2 hours, I just could not give up. This was the easiest it was going to be, I figured, being flat and cool and windy. If I couldn’t make it this first time, I was worried I never would. Sprinting the last 200 meters, I finished in 1:54:40. Yay. Sort of.

I then collapsed on a bench and lay there for a good 5 minutes. Eventually I got up and walked to the closest bridge over the highway to get out of the gauntlet. I didn’t make it far before I got so dizzy, I had to sit down for another 20 minutes for fear of fainting. I was extremely dehydrated and regretted not bringing my phone to call Shaun (see my great friend below!) and ask for some water to be brought to me. But I did this to myself, so I had to make it back home somehow. Eventually I got up and shuffled home. I considered asking strangers for a ride, or going into a bar to ask for water in despertation. I did neither and finally crawled up to my apartment where I kicked off my shoes and drank water, juice, water, lemonade, and some more water. Everything hurt, even swinging my arms. Lesson learned! The half marathon will not be a breeze, it will be something to reckon with and I need to prepare properly starting now!

Shaun and Me

Bronx Half Marathon Sign Up!

I signed up for the Bronx Half Marathon! It will be on 28 August 2011 and I will have just come back from a trip to California where I am participating in the Taiko Conference and performing with Soh Daiko in Taiko Jam. This means I have to keep in shape throughout!

Thanks to Santiago’s push, I decided to sign up where as before, I was thinking I would not want to do such a landmark race for the first time ever after being beat from travel. But  you know what? I can do it.

And I have also treated myself to a sports watch, also my first ever, to motivate me to keep improving. It should arrive in about a week so I can test it out before the big race!

New York Road Runners                     

New York Heat Wave

No Running!

Gobi Desert's Singing Sand Dunes, Oct. 2006

I cannot fathom the runner’s out there right now. I would be reduced to a puddle if I tried to do my usual Friday morning Central Park run.

Luckily, this heat wave has been all over the news all week long so I planned ahead and got my mileage done by Thursday morning. That would be 7 miles Monday, 10 on Tuesday, 9 Wednesday night, and a short brisk 4 miles on Thursday morning. Believe me, my knees are feeling it. It is not good to cram in miles like this but I did what I did because the guilt of not getting my 30 miles in would hurt a lot more.

(Way to start a running blog, right? With a day of no running! Ack!)

In the Beginning, there was a Black Foot…..

My sister and I

This is the journal of a personal transformation.

From tom boy to nerd, from dancer to actress, from kendo to taiko, from wondering to knowing, I have made one transformation that is staying with me: I am a runner!

I am going to share with you my running log, updates, my motivation, my music, my back story, my world adventures, and everything else in hopes that my two feet will take me very far in life. Your feedback and your stories are welcome!

Growing up Half Japanese, Half German, born in Connecticut