Golden Gate Park and San Francisco Beach

Running through Taiko Jam and California Vacation

Last week, I headed out to California to participate in the North American Taiko Conference 2011 and perform with Soh Daiko in Taiko Jam on August 20th. We had a great time and I met so many wonderful people!

I stayed in a dorm and saw that there was an activity board in the lobby. I added “6:30am Running” to the list of events and low and behold, I met some fellow runners! One was Santiago (well, we sorta planned to run together), another was his roommate, Joe, and the other person who diligently ran with us through the conference was Ken from Seattle. Together over the weekend we did 12.5 miles around Stanford University’s gorgeous campus.

After Taiko Jam, I went to stay with my mom in San Francisco. She lives near Golden Gate Park and definitely one of the highlights of the trip was being able to run through the park to the Pacific Ocean and continue on the beach. On Monday, I was able to do 5 miles through the park and another 5 on the beach. The next day I beelined for the beach, and Wednesday was a real treat when Nathan, a friend from middle school, joined me!

Not only was it fun to run in a new place, but it was also gorgeous, the weather was cool (even a little cold – a HUGE change from NYC heat and humidity!), and my mom was so cute driving around after me and jumping out of the car to take photos. Thanks for your support, Mom!!!

First day through Golden Gate Park

On my way

Tuesday's run starting from Mom's street

Rainbow through the sprinklers

6:30am - Ready to run and waiting for Nathan's text

Nathan and I make it to the edge of the park to the beach!

Pacific Ocean and Us

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I’m Running in the Rain

From Discouraging to Pleasant

Surprise Breakfast

I have not had to run in the rain much this year. However, on Sunday, New York’s rain broke records – in one day, we had twice the average monthly total! After spending the day sleeping till 10 a.m. (something I haven’t done for months!) and getting treated to French toast, going cookie-hopping, and watching a great movie about Steve Prefontaine, aptly named “Prefontaine,” I thought it best to skip the long run planned and make it up the next day. I am confident in this decision after seeing submerged cars and waterfalls in the subway on my way home.

I did make up my long run (there is something about running more than 10 miles that just sucks the life from my lungs! Every step after 10 miles can be agony!), and was due for an easy 45 minute run today. I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and looked outside – it was dark and gloomy, but I dragged myself out of bed and got on my running gear.

I stumbled outside to see a man with an umbrella – OH! It’s raining! Too tired and too lazy to walk back up the stairs or to spend much time thinking of what to do, I stepped out into it all.

And it felt good.

It’s still summer so it was only a tad cold, and it made me feel more awake and focused. I trotted up to my running path, which is about a mile from my apt, and saw two cargo ships crossing each other in the cloudy waters. A man totally drenched ran by and shouted “Good morning!” Even though I had to keep wiping the water off my eyes (next time I will wear a hat), it was a lovely rainy morning by the Bay.

Hiding from the rain no longer!

 

Dismissed

For all ya’ll out there who say you can but didn’t….

After taking up running on a sorta whim, I have had to work myself up from running 2-3 miles on a treadmill, being proud of my first 5 miler, taking it to the streets, running 2 days in a row, getting through physical therapy after busting my ankle, working my capacity up from a 6 mile long run to an 8 mile long run, to a 10 and now 16 mile long run. This is ain’t no joke, people! And I am not laughing. This is serious and hard work.

Yes, it is a hobby. Yes, I obviously like it or find it challenging enough to keep at it. But don’t be standing there telling me after you hear that I ran 10 miles that “I would but I would get so bored.” Really. Really? So, not only must I be entertained by very mundane things like running for a long time, but you ALSO can run 10 miles just like that if you weren’t so bored. RIGHT.

I have a feeling that saying dumb things such as the above is one’s immature way of not admitting that they cannot do that, not having any appreciation for the fact that someone else can, or one might be really so dull to think that they could actually run 10 miles without working up to it.

Another pet peeve I have is people who say that they ‘could’ run X amount of miles because their legs are very strong and they don’t get tired (“I have never run so much that I have gotten tired” is something I have heard) but it’s just that they can’t breathe after awhile. You know what that’s called? It’s called “can’t.” It means you cannot run X amount of miles. Booya.

Class dismissed.

Bladow! from NY's own MC Handlebar, the moustached devil rapper

Btw, I feel much better after a day of rest post 16-miler and managed to do my intervals (6×1000) this morning before 6am!

16 Miles Certainly is a Long Run

The farthest I have ever run happened on a Monday night.

Last night I did my Long Run which was supposed to happen on Sunday. I didn’t run at all on Sunday, though, since I did an 8+ run with Santiago on Saturday (which is normally a day off) and practiced taiko for 5 hours afterwards. Instead I went hiking which was super relaxing and refreshing.

West Milford

This put me in a position to do my long run on Monday after work. Not an ideal time or day for me. But it had to be done, since it’s in my training program, and it had to be 16 miles.

I seriously was dreading it all day. I was having anxiety about it all throughout work – partially a good thing because I made sure to keep hydrated since I sweat out every drop of water in my body during Sunday’s hot, humid hike. I even had a nice pasta dinner on Sunday night, which I finished for lunch that afternoon. Still, 16 miles is a daunting amount, considering I almost passed out after my 13.1 trial run. I made up my mind to not let my pace or time bother me, that the goal was simply going to be to run the outer loop of Central Park twice (12 miles), and the inner loop once (4 miles). I was also a tad worried about being in the park too late, there are still some seedy bums there, but I did a little internet research and many people said they felt pretty safe since there were a lot of other runners and cyclists out there at all hours. I went to the UWS and changed into my running clothes and said “Just do it!” (heh)

Before the 16 miler I was smiling! Afterwards, I was smiling...inwardly.

Low and Behold! I did it. I need to download my splits when I get home but considering that I was not pushing myself at all for speed, I finished at a pretty good estimated time. I ended up doing it at an average pace of 10:13 per mile, and in total, I did 16.4 in 2:47:47.

I will say that the first loop around was pretty “eh” – probably because I was so anxious that it was ‘only’ the first 6, that I had 10 more to go even when that was done, and I was stiff from sitting around my desk. The first half of the second loop went much better, since I was warmed up, I knew that by the time I would finish, there would only be 4 more to go, and I bumped into a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time who ran with me for a few minutes to catch up. However, it was getting pretty dark and near the end of the loop, I needed water badly so I drank up a flood at the next water fountain.

The last loop was definitely unpleasant. Here is where sore shins and stressed knees started whining, telling me I was crazy and it was late and I wasn’t going at a good speed anyway so why bother, etc. I shut them up and kept chugging along. I know a lot of runners make a strong finish in the last 3 or so miles, but I have not mastered this yet and although I would get waves of smooth running, every now and then, it really felt like I was clomping along without much control over my feet. I’d try to overcome by straightening out my arms swinging and running more on my toes, but if I wasn’t concentrating on this, it would all go to shit. Oh well. Not the strongest finish, but I finished! And the lady at the bodega was nice enough to open my beverage for me since I was too sweaty to do it myself!

I have to say, Central Park in the evening was very pretty. The first hour was a bit too hot and humid to enjoy but dusk was gorgeous. After around 9 though, these mythical night runners and cyclists did not seem to be out in full force. There were not many people around and I kept looking behind me to make sure I could see at least one other person around….but in general it was pretty desolate. I was glad to be out by 9:45pm, because by then, I could only see 3 people in the whole area.

Longest run of my life (so far) completed! Yay! Taking a break today and watching a movie with my feet up!

Luv Running

Luv Running Songs

My current favorite running tune. Intense video.

Love is crazy, love is rough, but love is life…and the other thing.

Running is active mediation for me. My life has gotten relatively stressful over the past few years and running time is my time to think about anything and everything, digest my goals, imagine my dreams, sort out frustrations and confusion, etc. It has been helping me a lot, and I am thankful I have this time. It makes me stronger, better, and helps me to be the best person I can be.