Racing Recaps

Rock n Roll Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon

This is 1/2 Marathon #2 for my Marathon Training.

Unfortunately I messed up the training weeks and this one fell into my speed training weekend.

Last weekend was the 3 hour run and next week is my four hour run. So I kinda jumped out of my schedule and added another long run this weekend for the Rock n Roll.


So is this marathon worth it?

Well, I really don’t know how to tag this one. With over 30,000 runners competing for space down the Las Vegas strip, it can get crowded over the first few miles. But, I must admit, the starting line was much more organized than the Disney World 1/2 Marathon a few years ago.

We arrived after Snoop Dog’s concert, just as the sun was setting. We decided to walk to the starting point, forgetting, once again, that everything is big and far in Vegas. At a brisk walk, it took about an hour  to get to the start from our hotel. So by the time we got there, I already had 5k under my belt and I was sweating (we are in the desert after all). But all was good and and we were eventually ushered out to the starting line and everything went smoothly.

The first few miles were crowded, and with all the excitement my pace was a little too fast. But I felt great and ‘convinced’ myself that I could run like I did 5 years ago.

I kept my pace up and ran down the strip and past our hotel (the Encore) just before the 10k marker.  I also stopped a few times along the strip to take videos and photos of the various bands like Kiss and Elvis playing along the way. Plus I always enjoy talking to some of the volunteers at the hydration stops.

Then we started getting into downtown Las Vegas and that’s where things started to go bad…

It was my first time downtown and it was little too dark on the side streets. Unfortunately, I sprained my ankle on a road reflector when switching lanes – and that resulted in an instant ‘time to walk’ attitude.

This was mile marker 10… two hours into the race. Still an easy 2h 45m finish even with a sprained ankle, or so I though!

Next came complaints from my bladder. Darn it. Why now!

So my new mission was to look for a port-a-potty. Unfortunately, there were none to be found. I ran and hobbled for ages and soon it became my only mission in life! So I had to take some detours off course, find a place to sneak out, find a restaurant, a McDonald’s, or a construction site.

Then to complicate matters even more, there was no water at the last 3 water stations. I give the volunteers credit of trying to fill up cups as fast as they could, but how could that happen!?! What is everyone behind me going to do?

Well, no matter as I was almost home.

However, with the search for a toilet (more than once) and lack of water at the remaining stations, it took me an additional hour to make it hobbling to the finish line.

Did I break 3 hours? With all the extra pit stops? Uhm… nope!

3.5 Stars

  • 5.0 Stars for organization at the start
  • 4.5 Stars for the course
  • 4.0 Stars for entertainment along the way
  • 2.5 Stars for the ending (no space blankets, bananas/water only)
  • 1.5 Stars for port-a-potties along the course
  • 2.0 Stars for water along the course


Niagara Falls International 1/2 Marathon

One of the advantages of training for a marathon is to add a few 1/2 marathon during the Long Run portion.

I can do this because my running pace is fairly slow.

When my training calls for a three hour long run, I can sign up of a Half-Marathon and not be worried that I didn’t do enough time on my feet.


Niagara Falls International is a beautiful course. The run starts in Buffalo, goes over the Peace Bridges at the boarder, loops onto the Niagara Parkway and finishes up at ‘The Falls’.

The 1/2 Marathon starts along the parkway and you can easily forget about running, as you enjoy the trees with sparsely lined homes on the left and the river on the right. There was even a paddler keeping pace with me for a little while.

Of course, the weather could have been a little better for the run. The rest of the week was beautiful, but during the race it rained. Not a bad rain, but enough to get instantly soaked, cold enough that you need a few layers, and windy enough that you need glasses to keep the rain out of your eyes. But, hey, we all have to experience this type of run sometime, no?! And with the scenery along the course and lack of thousands people trying to pass you (like the Disney races), every moment was enjoyable.

To top it off, the last 3k is slightly downhill to the finish line. So I decided to sprint the remaining distance. But… it was a big mistake as running full speed down hill is not a good idea for my knees. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem for most runners. But, being 55, having a torn meniscus,  and being over weight does not make me ‘most runners’. Next time I think I will just keep my pace.

I came in over 3 hours and was actually shocked at the slow time. I planned on breaking the 3 hour mark based on my pace. However after everything was done, I realized that I miscalculated my pace for a 3 hour half. I was thinking it should be ~ 9 min/km pace (a very very long run training pace), so I was pacing around 8’40”. In reality, it was supposed to be under 8’31”.

Oops! Well that’s okay.

It was a training run, after all – and I did get a nice shiny metal and had an enjoyable experience.


The OC Fair 5k Fun Run

As in our family tradition, every year we go out and do the Orange Country Fair Fun Run. This was to be my first race since I started training for the Marathon – but wait… it’s not really a race… just a Fun Run!

So this year we invited some non-runner friends to join us.


Knowing the routine, we got to the race 10 minutes before it started taking a back road to the fairgrounds. The great part about this is that everybody is already at the race and there are no huge line ups.

We walked to the front, took a quick photo and then found our friends. The race started and off we went.

The first 1k around the parking lot actually involves a little running as everyone is trying to ‘position’ themselves. Then once we got into the fair, it was time to have fun and win some prizes at the stalls. I was lucky enough to win a little piggy (this year’s mascot) at the basketball hop challenge and then off we went, stopping for a slide run a little later and then jamming with Pikucho (another tradition).

Total time was an hour where the actual run/walk time (not waiting in the event lines) was around 40 minutes. Unfortunately, we never saw our friends. Apparently they didn’t know it was a Fun Run and(12 year old) Bryan  took off and ran the whole thing. His mother then took off after him and the father? Well… he was a little smarter and took his time to enjoy things. Bryan’s mother completed the run in 42 minutes. Not bad for someone who has never run before! Yet, for some reason, we didn’t hear from them all week, only to find out later that they were moving slowly around from day to day with muscle aches all over their bodies. LOL – Yes, definitely been there, done that! So I don’t think they will be joining us for another race anytime soon.

But all in all, it was a fun time and we got some cool finisher medals!


Disneyland 1/2 Marathon Racing Recap

Distance: 21.9km Time: 2:59: Pace: 8’10 kCal: 2,841 Heart: 140/155 RPE: 3 Type: 1/2 Marathon for fun

Well the Disney ½ marathon and coast-to-coast challenge are over.

My goal was to run it in under 3 hours with character stops along the way. But silently I was thinking 2h45m. It didn’t quite happen that way.

Of course, it took well over an hour to run the first 5k, but that’s what you get when standing in line to get your picture taken with Daisy and Aladdin and Captain Hook and Thomas Train and … you get the picture. And of course there was the nature-related pit stop!

It would have been nice to just keep running around Disneyland and California Adventure a few more times, but it was time to head out onto the streets. Besides, with all the distractions I may have never finished!


At Mile 6 – the sun was making things hot, but not the 90°F plus temperature I was expecting.

At Mile 9 – I had so much fun running into the Angels Stadium and seeing the crowd, that I totally missed the mile marker.

At Mile 10 – I realized that it would all be over soon, as there were no more lines to get into! I must admit I was a little disappointed to hear that Chip and Dale were not going to be around this time. I was soooo much looking forward to getting another photo shoot with them to match the one taken in Orlando.

At Mile 12.5 it was time to head to the finish line. I still had lots of energy and decided to put on a great finishing show sprinting to the end (and of course bumping into those that suddenly stop right at the finish line!). Donald Duck was there to great me and give me a high five. But before I could get my hand out, I got sideswiped by 3 teens as they ‘jumped’ all over him. Poor Donald…

Total time 2h59m – HA!
Under 3 hours… Just like clockwork.
Of course it took another 3 hours to leave, since the battery was dead in my car. But alas, that’s a story for another time.

Thank you Disney.
We had a great time and those medals?
They sure look mighty nice!


A New 5K PR – But Wrong Direction!

Distance: 5.2km Time: 39:06 Pace: 7’32 kCal: 2,195 Heart: 141/199 RPE: 4 Type: 5K Race

This month has been so hot and between earthquakes and heat waves, running has not been #1 on the list. It’s around this time that I start looking for fitness gyms to get on the treadmills.

Yes – I know most of my friends out there do this in the winter months when it’s -20° …

Oh how I would love a little cold weather right now.

But be that as it may, I’ve been trying to get out and run. The sad part is that my running pace has gotten so slow, that it’s embarrassing! As a matter of fact, I got a new PR – in the opposite direction!

I ran the OC Fair Run last weekend to post a time of 39 min. WHAAT!!
I can almost walk it in that time! What happened to 30 minutes!?!
But I figured it out while running on the beach a few days ago. My stride is 1/2 – 1/3 of what it used to be. Ooooh boy…

Read the rest of this entry »

Turkey and Trails

Distance: 5.22km Time: 0:38 Pace: 7’18” kCal: 541 Heart: NA RPE: 5 Type: 5k Trail Trot
Distance: 5.11km Time: 0:40 Pace: 7’59” kCal: 515 Heart: NA RPE: 7 Type: 5k Trail

I didn’t get too much running in over Thanksgiving, but I did manage to pull off two 5k Turkey Trots around the Monterey Peninsula just north of Big Sur, CA.


The first was the Salinas Valley 5k (Thursday).
This was a fun 5k event where the kids were having a blast. There was even one Turkey handing out water at the 2-mile mark. The course took place at the Toro Regional park.

The trails where nice and there was one hill that was a killer, but all in all it was a lot of fun. I did need to walk at one point.

There was a stretch that involved running through wet grass. That’s how I ripped my ACL in the first place – slipping on grass. So I still have a phobia and decided to walk it.
Total Time: 38 min.


The Second was the Peacock Areas 5k (Saturday).
Nice trails with lots of trees and hills. Some of the downhill trails where a little steep and dangerous… so I took those REALLY slow. But, man! What an experience. There were some people that even went out with baby strollers! I have no idea how they could navigate the course, let alone run with a good time.

some really cool pictures here

When I was nearing the finish line I was totally exhausted… and was not going very fast at all. As a matter of fact, my Portland Marathon Pace was faster! Go firgure.

Well… To be honest, I was fighting a serious cold that I picked up late Thursday night (definitely from someone at the Thanksgiving buffet). Total Time: 40 min.

Of course, after a 7.5 hour drive back on Sunday, I was feeling pretty terrible and ended up with a bad chest cold. I took it easy all week and doc says I need to rest another week, before doing any serious running.
So let’s see how things go.

Portland Marathon

Did you all think I gave up after the marathon?
Nope – not me! I just took a month off for family commitments, attending a great wedding back east, and a very long convention in Las Vegas.

But, things are finally settling down and I’m getting back into my training routine for yet another run. But more on that at a later time. For now let’s talk about the one race that started it all…




WOW! That was fun!
And… I plan on doing it AGAIN!!!

Now, to be honest, I was getting nervous over the last few weeks before the marathon, especially after the doctor said NO to my running the event. So, first let me clarify that I did not run the whole thing. I took the advise of my doctor and applied Jeff Galloway’s approach at the last second when I attended his talk the day before at the expo.

Originally I had hoped run it in 4:30.
Next, I thought about running 1/2 of it and then walking the rest for 5:15-5:30
Then after talking with the doctor and experimenting with everything, my goal was just to complete it under 6:15. That would give me plenty of time to enjoy, take pictures, and to have a great experience. Of course, I was not too happy about having to go over six hours after all the training I did. It’s amazing how a knee injury, followed by a serious cold, can destroy the perfect plan.

Then after talking to Jeff, I decided to do a 3:1 run:walk routine to finish between 5:30-5:45.
Of course, everything is great at the beginning and it takes discipline to not run longer than 3 minutes at a time. The first 5 miles were so easy! Then after 15, 16, 17, 18 miles… you kinda forget to look at your watch or hear the beep (I was using my Nike GPS Watch), or those walk intervals seems so short, or the timing just doesn’t quite match with the water stations and you decide to walk a little longer (what happened to all that dicipline during my training sessions!!!)

So, my total time? 5h 50m.
Okay, okay. Not an amazing time. But I’m happy based on everything that’s been going on.

The marathon was great! I loved every minute of it!

I know I was way to conservative at the beginning and never experienced ‘the wall’. But then that’s okay, because I loved every minute of it!

Next time I’ll have more experience. It’s one thing to go on one of your long training runs by yourself. It’s another to be out there amongst thousands of people.

Here are some of my most memorable moments…

Mile  Why it was so cool…
0 Pitch black and getting everyone excited to start!
(photo) (photo)
3 Talking/Running with Herb.
He was out running 3 weeks after having 2 knee replacements.
6 Tripping up and crashing to the pavement, and getting a bloodied hand and swollen bloodied knee. But luckily it didn’t affect my ability to run and finish the race. Plus the medic was only ½ a mile away. Even after a month my knee cap is still bruised and hurts when touch. Bummer!
9 A photo session with a bunch of other runners – just out having some fun. Wasted a good 5 minutes right there with everyone swapping cameras 😀
13.1 New PR for my 1/2 marathon by a few minutes. And I still had a bundle of energy left for the second half!
17.5 Next was going up the hill, taking the bridge, and passing Check-Point-Charlie. As I pulled out from the pack, I felt the wind on my face and it was great!
21 Okay, not a memorable moment, everything seemed to be a blur but…
22 Next came the downhill and I was itching to run. Besides, at this point, it was easier to run than walk. Nice…
25 A straight away with crowds cheering us on both sides. I picked up my pace as I heard everyone shouting my name. Don’t you just love bids with your name on it?!?
26.1 Around the corner and across the finish line running proud with my hands in the air.
(photo)It was an amazing time.
Of course at the end I splurged on M&Ms and grapes. I never knew grapes could taste SOOOOO good after a marathon… not to mention flowers (LOL)!



The OC Fair 5k Fun Run

Distance: 5km Time: 0:33 Pace: 6’29 kCal: 579 Heart: 155/163 RPE: 5 Type: 5k Race

I took this weekend easy and signed up for the Orange County (OC) 5k Fun Run and Walk.

I did this event last year and ended up walking some of it, so I have this feeling of coming full circle. This time, however, the 5k was not difficult and I ended up taking it nice and easy, pretending that it was just one of my weekly training runs.

There were a lot more people this year, too. Probably because it was only one event instead of two. And…

There was a traffic jam for the first 1 mile!

I ended up being a little slower than usual, but that was due to the congestion of people.


The fun part of this event was that I got a (non-running) friend of ours to join the event.
And of course, my wife joined me as well so we had a fantastic time!

More Photos Here
The first mile was around the parking lot and the last two miles were inside the amusement park.

It was a lot of fun running through the fair and checking out the rides with nobody on them. Thirty-three minutes later (yes, my famous 33 minute runs!)… it was all done and we got free admission into the fair before it officially opened. They also gave us an additional ticket that we can use anytime over the next week. Pretty cool…

I also posted a few other pictures online. Hope you have time to check them out!

My Pasadena 10k Race Report

Distance: 10.12km Time: 1:08 Pace: 6’49 kCal: 1118 Heart: N/A RPE: 6/7 Type: 10k Race

This was my third 10k of the month and I think it was one of the most organized races I’ve been to yet. It was held on a school campus and the road closures and organization for parking was excellent.

Plus the camera people were all over the place before the races coming up to people asking if they’d like their pictures taken.

Everyone was happy and cheerful.


It’s hard to believe that it was extremely cold and pouring rain.
I’m sure glad I had my umbrella – but I needed to pack it away before the race.

I must admit I’m getting more organized with this whole race thing, too. I had my knapsack and it only contained the necessities. No kitchen sick, or extra food – Just a clean fresh pair of socks…
I love clean socks after running – it’s like being in heaven.

The day before I drove through the race and I knew there were no serious hills (yeah!). So I was pretty confident that I was not going to get lost. I also checked all my equipment the day before (lesson learned).

We lined up in the coral and once again I’m at the back with half the people still holding their umbrellas. Each time I tried to inconspicuously edge my way under one, I got looks of hostility. Oh, well. Take it like a man. 52°F and raining – while I’m in my shorts and t-shirt.

At 3 minutes to the start, I link up my foot-pod, GPS satellites, and heart rate monitor to my watch. Oops, the HRM in not linking. Oh crap – not again. But with experience, I said what-the-hey and just turned it off (later I found out that the battery died overnight). No music this time either. I wanted to focus on my running.

At 7:30 I’m ready to go, but still no start signal. I was getting cold.
Three minutes later we’re off.

It was raining quite a bit, but at least now I was on the move and started to warm up.

Before I knew it we passed the first 1k. It was all down hill no I ran a faster-than-normal pace. Next, around the curve and up a small hill – these were nothing compared to the week before… so up I went. I flew by the first water station and kept on going.

I was looking to someone to follow. But everyone was either faster or slower than me. So rather than keep a steady pace, I let the road and gravity dictate my speed and stride length. I then found a group of runners that I could be with. But only a few minutes later we reached the 5k turn-around and they were gone.

Once again I was on my own.

At the 4k mark I grabbed some water, and as I was sipping it, a 7 to 9 year old boy whizzed right by me. Thirty seconds later the puffing mother slowly passes on my left. That was some cool excitement.

I saw my wife just after the turn-around and knew she was going to get a PR and easily break 1 hour. Me? I was doing pretty good and my ankle was still behaving. My goal was to get under 1h08m and at a 33m turn-around time it was looking good.

Ten minutes later I was day-dreaming and noticed that my pace was a lot slower than it should be, so I picked it up again. Five minutes later I was doing it again. I guess the sound of the rain is just too soothing for me. But finally I become more aware for what I was doing… I was running! Oh, that’s right.

I felt like Forrest Gump running from coast to coast.
At the 8k mark I became more aware of what I was doing and finally become more alert. I slacked off a bit and I was determined to make up lost time, but it was all up hill until the end.

So I did the best I could and sill couldn’t find anyone with the same pace. As I was passing people that were walking and encouraged them, knowing that we were almost to the end. After doing that I few times, I looked behind me to see those that I just talked to, bringing up the rear. That was when I felt like Forrest Gump running from coast to coast.

I felt sorry for leaving them behind, but the end was near and I wanted a string finish. I came around the final curve and saw the finish line just up ahead. The half-marathoners were also coming in now (they started earlier), so I finally got to run with the pack. Next thing you know, we’re all sprinting towards the finish line.

Did I break 1h08m? No. Missed it by 29 seconds. But I’m sure I could have if I didn’t loose focus. I’ll know what to look out for next time, so it was another great experience… and that last 30 seconds sprinting in the pack was very exhilarating.

Oh, and my wife? Yup! She broke one hour!
Time to celebrate.

Temecula 10k Race Report – The Vineyards

Distance: 10.29km Time: 1:15 Pace: 7’22 kCal: 1187 Heart: 148/176 RPE: 7 Type: 10k Race

Okay okay – so this race report is over a week late!
Last week was a hectic week and it took everything I got just to stay on top of my work.

Honestly, I don’t know how all you bloggers and twitter gurus have time to run, read, write and tweet!

But don’t you just love WordPress?
I can simply change the date, back and everything is perfect… or am I supposed to do that?

Yeah – I know…
I’m supposed to write ahead of time and that way, everything is automatically posted.
One day… one day…

It’s like when I used to have the lab report already written up before going into the biochem lab and just fill in the numbers.

But I digress.
This is about running, not my previous years at University.
So where was I?

Oh yes, a race report about the cool run I had in the wine fields. Read on…

Read the rest of this entry »