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California Dreamin’ Series Racing Finisher 2011

February 7, 2011 2 comments

San Francisco 2010
Long beach 2010
Huntington Beach 2011

Just finished the California Dreamin’ Racing Series 2010-2011. This is the last time that they’re either having the medal I just received and/or the last time the series will include the events that I did. It seems like Huntington Beach will still be apart of it since it was in the 2011 but they aren’t aloud to say whats in it or what the medal will look like.

I’m really glad that I signed up for these races after the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll last June. They were a lot of great experiences, even though troubling, challenging, and exhausting as well. With San Francisco, I had a lot of firsts. It was the first time that I drove alone for that amount of distance and it was the first time that I went to San Francisco taking the 5 freeway (last time we went was on train). It was the first time I had run 9 miles and it was the first time I had run 9 miles in an event. It was the first event that I did alone, now that I think about it. San Francisco was a lot of fun, I met a lot of great people and the drive was an experience too even though it was a little tough right after the fact. They have great colors, my favorite of course (cyan). I might go back if I have the time just for the colors.

Long Beach was great because it was a culmination of all the 5ks that I’ve done with a little extra added on. So, it was nice running in a place that I recognized. It made everything a lot less stressful. I also had someone drive me which cuts the stress level down in half. It’s not really that it’s hard at all or even that stressful. But worrying about all the semantics, logistics, getting there on time, am I going the right way? Is this the right place? Not having to worry after about getting home is always helpful, just have to worry about staying awake long enough. Almost showed up late for this one and I don’t know who this guy was that was running with me to the start line, he seemed like a soccer player, but we ran a mile to get to the race before it started. Ten seconds after the “gun” goes off and we were off. Extravagant medal and the most extravagant ribbon that I’ve seen. It was the 20th anniversary so they put some extra time into everything.

And to finish the series, Huntington Beach. The most relaxing run/walk that I’ve had yet. This run may have been more relaxing than the 5k’s that I do. Not that those are strenuous but it’s always hard work because it’s only three miles so the pace can be two to three minutes faster. The best beachfront event that I’ve done so far. I was really happy with this event. I don’t want to say it was the best one because they all gave me so much in their own right but it was definitely the one that left the best impression with me, not so much for the event but the mood, the vibe, all other things that come with it. Excited people, great signs, relaxing atmosphere, a victorious and dramatic finish. I can’t say enough that this one was just amazing.

Will I do the series again? All depends on when the events on and how many they want to put in it. It was a great series, I would definitely do it again, but my study schedule may or may not conflict.

Anything inspirational to say about the series? I learned so much from it and had so many wonderful memories with so many amazing people. As far as draw dropping comments, I can’t think of any this time around. I’m glad I did it and I’m glad people read and kept up with it.

Thank you everyone for reading, I really appreciate it. Thank you for everyone who donated their time in driving me there, paying for gas (mom, Grandpa), paying for registration fees (mom, Surf City), and anything else I forgot to mention. I may have said this before, but I’ve done the going alone and it’s pretty okay, I still have a great time but it’s always much better when someone goes whether its driving, participating, or cheering. Thank you so much.

I’m a Cal Dreamin’ 2011 Finisher. Woohoo!

[Oh, and thank you to the Cal Dreamin Series for giving me my first racing jacket. It’s styling. I will definitely wear it in the colder weather and maybe tomorrow to show it off for a second.]

Walking with my Cousin for his First Half Marathon

February 6, 2011 1 comment

Just ran the Huntington Beach Surf City Half Marathon 2011 for the final part of the California Dreamin’ Racing Series 2011. My mom went to the convention to save me time of going there especially Friday at 2:00 PM, would have been so much traffic. She didn’t know that I was an XL in long-sleeves. I went to try on my Cal Dreamin’ jacket and it barely fit, very snug. I went to try on my race shirt in the morning and it looked like a weight lifters shirt. If my muscles were any bigger it would have ripped. Flattering of course but would have been hard to run in.

Ate a good butter and pasta dinner when I got home from work the night before. Watched a movie with my mom and little cousin and then passed out on my bed. Don’t even remember falling asleep. I just remember my mom coming in trying to wake me up. Took the usual cutting it close time to get ready. Put the spray on Vaseline that we picked up in Vegas a few months back and it worked really well. I didn’t do too much running in the race so I’m still a little iffy on it but if it holds true when I run in the summer than I’ll definitely start using that over the cream. I don’t mind either one but they did say the spray worked better.

When we go to the parking lot at the Civic Center the bus was right there which was nice. Sometimes you have to wait 30 minutes to get on and then 10-20 minutes to get to the event. It’s always nice to start the event on time. When we got there we made our way to the expo. When I saw it I was pretty happy because the jacket wasn’t really wearable and neither was the shirt, I would have worn it once, maybe twice. Walked in and we asked politely if we could switch them, they didn’t even think it was a problem. We walked over to the shirts and they weren’t as lenient about it because I already had one on which is understandable. Fortunately they had one last XL try-on, awesome. Tried it on right there and it fit wonderfully. It was a little loose (which I don’t mind) and I could tell that a lot of people had worn it (again, don’t mind). With long sleeves, I can’t stand when they go to just the wrists, they always have to go past like a girl’s jacket usually does. If they’re that big, usually, the sleeves aren’t as constricting either. We also found out from talking to the volunteer that it was luck the tent was still open, so thank you to all the volunteers for keeping it open.

We walked out and took some pictures with the Surf City logos. Then we made it to our wave and walked up three more. The hardest part is waiting to go because twenty minutes with people arm to arm seems like forty minutes. My cousin was bouncing off the walls in anticipation of doing his first one. I almost feel bad for the people around us, it was like a slow-motion pinball machine.

The metaphorical gun goes off and we started our first run. We took off and kept running and kept running. I just did three half marathons in January at a 12:00 pace, a lot of the time an 11:30 pace and I knew I was running a lot faster than that. I just kept telling them, guys you’re going really fast. They kind of looked at me like we need to keep going, I just said alright. We made a pit stop just short of the three mile marker. Ten minutes later and a little stretching during we were off again. We made another pit stop a mile or two after, 10 minutes and stretching again. We were doing a little jogging down this curved slope and all of a sudden, 3:00 pacer comes out right behind me and I just go, see, you guys were hallin’. 3:30 pace, which is usually what my mom gets, a little bit over that is about a 15:00-16:00 pace.

This was really just a fun run. No pressure at all like I was feeling on the other ones in January (’cause I wanted to break that 2:30 time). I just went at their pace, talked a little, a lot of great signs that we can hopefully put up on the site soon. It was the best beachfront one that I’ve done yet. I’m not sure I can get much better than that because I knew every part of the beach I was running on, I knew the whole course except for a neighborhood we looped into (it’s always nice running in a place you recognize). The sun was looking like it was going to be hot when we started but the marine layer was fantastic until about mile 11 then it was a little hotter, the clouds moved away.

My little cousin was so funny. At the start he says, “Hey you want to race to the mile marker?” And we did. He would say it a few times. At about mile 8, I said to my mom, “Watch this.” “Hey, dude, you want to run to the mile marker?” “Heck no!” He did a great job though. Even for being tired he still had a lot of energy and could have done a little more. He’s a trooper and he really helped out the charities that the marathon supports (I believe making wheelchairs for third world countries).

For this one, our thing we kept saying during the run is that we’re all going to cross the finish line together. Well, it’s a longstanding joke for the people that know that my mom brags about beating my friend and I in the LA marathon, our first race in 2007. So, I’ve made it a thing to finish before her in every run we do together and I have. This one, I said no way because you’ll go a little ahead and jump or take a big stride. So, I was in the middle at the end holding both their hands. My mom couldn’t get the last little bit in (rightfully so), until about a 100 yards away. So, we ran across the finish with hands up in the air crossing the finish. We’ll look at the photos to see who crossed first!

We got our medals, Jarret was basically knighted by the volunteer that gave it to him. We got food and stocked up on those aluminum wrap coverings (for other races). We went to the red carpet for a few pictures. Maybe I should call it the black carpet, though? Almost always is on asphalt and only for Rock ‘n’ Roll I believe do they actually have a small red carpet. I feel bad for the people that were waiting in line because we took four photos I believe. One of my cousin, one with everyone, one with me and my cousin, and one with me.

Went to the Results booth. The Cal Dreamin’ medals were all guarded by five or six volunteers. I said later that if the medals were real gold, they probably would have been police. I ripped off this tag that says I get it. Luckily, they have a list of all the people who finished and got my ticket. I met up with the volunteers and they let me in. It was like going to a place only a few get too, pretty neat. The Surf City medal and the Cal Dreamin’ medal are very nice. They make a lot of sense, the colors work together fantastically. They did a great job.

After that, went to our regular Coco’s celebratory dinner and now I’m here writing this story.

Oh and we took a lot more action shots with this marathon which are always the better ones (better than the stills before or after, always the hardest to get or the most expensive).

Final thoughts of the race. It was just a very relaxing run. I didn’t have much of a care in the world and I feel a lot better running it. It was almost like a workout, get pumped, energized, and you feel better about yourself. That’s exactly how I feel right now. Wasn’t tired at all during and no recovery time it seems like, not sore at all. Maybe a day or two just from acid build up and a little skin breakdown. The biggest thing I worry about right now is recovery time, so the fact that it seems very minimal is really great. I’m wondering if that means my body is building the muscle it needs to do these.

Last one for a while. Thank you to everyone who follows and keeps reading. I appreciate all the support because as easy as a lot of people make it look or maybe I make it look easy, there are a lot of times where it can get stressful and exhausting.

Long Beach International City Bank Half Marathon 2010

October 18, 2010 2 comments

Grandpa: $10 for convention parking
Mom: $90 for the race
Sami: for driving down and cheering me on during the race.

I have a lab report to write and a bio exam to study for so I will make this quick. Worked a 12 hour shift before the half marathon and got a flu shot that morning. I always have a general malaise the day after than I’m usually fine (knock on wood). I was so tired my mom had to come in my room twice, Sami had to make me a bowl of cereal, it took me 20 minutes to leave and I still wasn’t awake. We left for the half marathon at 6:20 and found that road blocks were already put up. We had to go all the way around and I ran a mile to the start line with 90 seconds to go before we started. I ran about 2 miles and the malaise from the shot came in. I started run walking the whole way. I would do a good two to ten minutes of running on any given interval and then speed walk.

We all were very lucky to have perfect weather. It was just overcast enough to be cold but not raining. The sun didn’t come out until much later in the day. A lot of the 5k’s we are used to doing we went by such as the Turkey Trot, Ataxia Walk, and the Long Beach AIDS walk. It was great to finally do a half marathon in a place I recognize. It’s a lot easier that way, a lot less nerves and stress.

I paced myself a lot more and I’m not sure if it’s because of the pacing but I don’t feel all that achy considering I just did a half marathon. I might be getting around the same 3:00 time but my body is handling it much better. Not sure if that’s because of the pacing or the training, probably a little of both. My official time for this one was 2:53. Not bad since I thought I was going to get a 3:30 when mile two came around with nausea, aching, and weakness.

San Francisco Second Half Marathon 2010

July 26, 2010 2 comments

I went up to San Francisco for the half marathon this last weekend. The team wasn’t with me because it was kind of far, last minute, and they have a run to do in Philadelphia in about two months. Even though money grows on trees, it’s getting a little scarce here. I drove up at about five in the morning and made a pit stop about half way to get gas. The gas station I went to was $3.03 and the one right next to it was $3.23, epic fail.

I went straight to the convention with two hours to spare, thankfully nothing happened or the whole trip may have been worthless. One great thing I learned about the conventions is that Information has maps on where the buses will take you and when they will take you. If I didn’t find this out I may have never found the bus stop in time nor the parking garage.

After that, I found my hotel as fast as I could so I could get some rest for the run the next morning. Watched some Scrubs on Hulu and ate a sandwich I packed for dinner. Didn’t have enough money for food so I packed everything I thought I would need to eat. Read a few pages in The House of God and passed out. The Hotel was alright considering the price. If the window wasn’t painted shut to the wall, it wouldn’t have been all that bad.

I got up at about five in the morning, did my morning ritual, and left the key on a closed desk without anyone there. Took about ten minutes for the GPS to start working on the road and it got me right to the Embarcadero center parking. A few people I knew were going in the same direction and we made our way to the buses with about five minutes to spare.

It took about a 1/2 hour to get to the starting line and about an hour of waiting in the freezing cold.  They had heating lamps but there were crowds of people already around them. I met two people waiting there that made it a little more bearable. They were from southern California and they had both completed the Huntington beach 1/2 marathon. One of them is up for being a legacy runner if she completes the event next year. We all ran together for about two miles, lost one of them in the crowd. Lost the other one at about 4 miles in a water stop.

I met up with a couple that was running at my pace about a mile later. It was the girl’s first time running in an event like that and they were native to San Fran for about ten years. She said that she runs in the park and doesn’t really do these. I kept telling her that she was doing really well for her first time and that she should think about doing the whole series along with Rock ‘N’ Roll. I have a feeling she’s going to look into these events a little more now. The guy said he found out the day before that he was going to do the run, I was shocked that he had kept up the whole time; we were on mile 8, running at a 2:30 pace, and he was still chugging along. You could tell he was serious because his whole shirt was a pool of sweat.

They kept me going for about five miles until I couldn’t hold in a bathroom break any longer. I went to a car wash that was open and ran to their bathroom. The five minutes it added to my time wasn’t the worst part, it was that I had lost a lot of my motivation and momentum to keep jogging the whole way. I met up with another couple after that and kept up with them the whole run. One of them was doing the full marathon and she looked dead tired, can’t blame her when she was on mile 21. She was crying, could barely run anymore, and her foot was bleeding into her shoe at mile 24. The other guy was helping her along for the last 6 miles, what a guy. Got her the Cytomax and water she needed and the salty snacks they had right near the end.

I kept telling her that she could do it and she’s almost there and he kept doing the same. When I was lagging behind, they said the same thing. My momentum got so bad that I could barely jog the flash finish an they took off to their side of the race. I ran in to see my time at 2:54, which is about 40 minutes better than the San Diego event.

I was happy that I finished and qualified and elated that I beat three hours, which is the estimated time of finish I put down for the run. I had no idea I would actually beat what I said.

They were handing out these large pieces of tin foil that was great for keeping warm, I hope they all do that when the event is expecting cold weather. Next were the medals, at this one I remember not even feeling a sense of accomplishment, only now do I feel it. I guess I was so tired, I just wanted to eat and sit down. The volunteer said congratulations which is always nice, they have to be tired of saying that twenty thousand times.

Next came the food. I grabbed so much of it that I had to get a cytomax box just so I could hold all of it. I was lucky enough to get a Bear Naked bag to throw all the stuff in to because all of it was getting really heavy. State Farm was offering a free photo, I’m assuming as a promotion. I’m not even sure if there was a catch, they gave me a very nice looking, laminated card to the photo. This was great because I didn’t get any pictures.

After that, I went into a hotel so they could help me find where I parked. I saw someone else trying to find parking and he was in the same boat, but kudos to him because he did the whole marathon. After waiting an hour for everyone to disperse, I hopped on the road for seven hours. Made one stop and then drove five hours home on one tank of gas and a very full bladder.

The team is going next year to finish up the series and I’ll definitely be going with them. 

Favorite parts? I ran nine miles without stopping and if it wasn’t for a bathroom stop, I may have run the whole thing. I’ve never run nine miles without stopping for any event or training, the most I had done I believe was six miles. I also learned a lot about doing events in other cities and driving for eight straight hours.

Favorite Freebies? I absolutely love their theme color, cyan, my favorite color. I wanted a cyan shirt they had at Road Runner but it was too much money, now I have one to run in. Maybe people won’t mind if it smells?. I also am very happy to get those string, bag backpacks. I had one from Donate Life but it broke a few months after they gave it to me.

Favorite Saying? “Yeah, you started off with the SF marathon as your first? Are you sure you want to do that?” Apparently SF is one of the hardest marathons around here. It’s like when we first started doing these events and found out the run we did was really a 10K, a lot for us back then.

Recommendations? If it’s your first time doing the SF marathon, choose the second half, it doesn’t have nearly as many hills, half the race is in a park. The first half is in the city and they were saying it was all hill. Plus, the second half you get 30 more minutes to get an official time.

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