Category Archives: Half Marathons

Christina Runs 101

 I put together a short question and answer blog entry. I think you might find it intriguing. If you like it, feel free to post the questions and your answers on your blog. Enjoy!

Why do I run?

I could go on and on about why I run, but to make it short and sweet, I love the way running makes me feel. I love pushing and challenging my body, I love the sense of accomplishment I feel after every run, and I love how running cleanses my soul. I am unable to run right now and it is killing me. I can’t wait to get back into it.

 Why do I race?

I race because I am competitive. Scratch that, I am very competitive. Racing keeps me motivated and keeps my eyes on my goals. I am always looking to run faster, stronger and harder and racing is a great medium for this. Plus, I’m not going to lie, the medals are pretty sweet!

When is my favorite time to run?

I prefer to run early in the morning. I am the type of person that can wake up, get dressed, lace up my running shoes, and be out the door in 15 minutes ready to go. Last year, while training for the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Marathon in Las Vegas, I met my group at 5 a.m. to complete our long runs (18-23 miles). We would run for about an hour in darkness before the sun rose. Those runs were so awesome because in the blackness of early morning we would encounter the other dedicated marathon runners in our area. Then, the sun would slowly rise and it would feel as if we were running an entirely new run.

What is my favorite race distance?

My favorite race is the half marathon. In my opinion, nothing compares to the half marathon. It is long enough to be a distance race, but still short enough to run it quickly. Apparently, this has been my favorite race for quite some time now. Back in 2008, I posted a blog entry about my love for the half marathon. https://christinaruns.wordpress.com/2008/05/22/of-all-the-distances/

What is my favorite treadmill workout?

I found this workout online (I wish I could remember where I found it at because it is amazing) and I fell in love with it the first time I tried it. In fact, I blogged about it here: https://christinaruns.wordpress.com/2009/09/13/good-week-of-running.

This run is a speed workout that consists of only two ladder sets and it is designed to make your goal race pace for marathons seem like a piece of cake. Here is the kicker, each ladder set is a combination of distances put together and you must run each different distance at a certain pace. Plus, in order to do the workout correctly you CANNOT stop or rest in the middle of a set.

The workout is 2x 400/800/2400/800/400. You run the 400M distance at your best mile pace, the 800M distance at your 5K pace, and the 2400M distance at your goal marathon pace. Trust me, by time you reach the middle of each ladder, that goal marathon pace feels like you are practically walking! Plus, the last 800M and 400M runs are pure torture. It is a great workout.

What is my favorite speed workout?

I must say I am a traditionalist here. My favorite speed workout is 6x 800M with a 400M recovery jog in between each set. I do not even know how I managed to do 8x 800M repeats in high school. Six is enough for me.

 When did I first realize I wanted to run a marathon?

I first realized that I wanted to run a marathon before I even quite knew exactly what a marathon was. I was 17 and on my school’s cross country and track teams. I knew that running a marathon was one of the ultimate running experiences and I knew I wanted to run one.

 What was my most frightening running moment?

In February of 2007, I was running an 18 mile training run in the early evening on a weekday with some members of my running group. The run started out nice, but about three miles in it started pouring. We were running through a trail that crossed through many (slightly major) roads every so often. At each road we crossed though, we had a stoplight and a cross walk. We approached this one and the rain was really coming down. One of my friends stopped to tie her shoe and I proceeded through the intersection. I didn’t realize it, but the rest of my friends stayed back with the one who tied her shoe. I was a little more than half way through when I heard my friend Alex yell my name in a panic. I didn’t see it, but a car was about to run a red light at the intersection I was in. If I didn’t stop running when Alex called my name, I would have been hit. The lady driving the car was on her cell phone and she saw me once it was too late, slammed on her brakes, and swerved to a stop about ten yards past the intersection. I was literally inches away from the car as it screeched passed me. I was completely shaken up. After the rest of my group caught up to me and we made it to the other side of the road, I glanced over and saw the driver of the car sobbing. That was by far my closest call to date.

What is my most memorable race moment?

My most memorable race moment occurred at the Rock and Roll Las Vegas Marathon on December 6, 2007. I grew up in Las Vegas so this race was pretty nostalgic for me. Plus, this was the first race where my parents were at. In addition to my parents being at the race, my family (aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins) were waiting along the course with signs and cow bells. I’ve never had that kind of course support before and it was great knowing they were out there cheering me on. I passed by them three times, with the last time at mile 22 where I was able to run past them and give my little cousins high fives. I was totally pumped after passing them. Then, I was nearing the finish line (all the while knowing I would accomplish my goal of running a sub 4) and I hear my mom call out to me. She saw me cross the finish line.

 What is my ultimate running goal?

Even though one of my biggest running goals is to run Boston, I want to use my passion for running and help people. Once I am a teacher, I would love to participate in the Students Run LA program as a mentor and coach. The SRLA program is one that reaches out to at risk teens and challenges them to run a marathon. The program provides the teens with all of the necessary running gear and the guidance and coaching necessary to complete a marathon. In completing a marathon, these students are more likely to finish high school and realize that they can do anything they set their minds to.

Do I run with an iPod?

This question has two answers, yes and no. Yes, I do run with an iPod when I am running on a treadmill, but I do not run with one outside. Personally, I believe it is too dangerous and I do not want to risk anything just so that I can listen to music while I run outside. What if I had been wearing headphones during that run in February 2009? I wouldn’t have heard my friend Alex and I probably would not have stopped. I do not even want to think of what would have happened if that lady would have hit me. I also do not race with music. I like to hear all the sounds of the race. Plus, I like hearing the runners behind me so that I do not cut them off or trip over them.

What kind of awards have I won?

Since I started running again, I’ve only run a few 5Ks and one 10K. Here are the awards I’ve won in these races.

  • 02-03-07 – 5K – 1st in AG
  • 05-31-05 – 5K – 1st in AG
  • 10-03-09 – 10K – Overall Female Winner

Okay, those are all of the questions for now. I will probably have another post like this in the future. Please feel free to answer these questions in your own blog, or as a comment in mine!

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Running Scrapbook

I finally updated my running scrapbook. If you are looking for something to do with all of your racing bibs, here is an idea. I have some of my timing chips and safety pins in here also. What is really neat is seeing how my times have improved throughout these past couple years.

If you live in Southern California, or race here, you will recognize a lot of the races 🙂

These are my first 2 5Ks after knee surgery.
Left: Run For Russ 5K – Chino, CA – 2/3/2007
Right: Claremont Village Freedom 5000 – Claremont, CA – 7/4/2007
My First 1/2 Marathon!
Left: City of Angels 1/2 – Los Angeles, CA – 12/2/2007
Right: OC Half Marathon – Irvine, CA – 1/6/2008
Surf City Half Marathon – Huntington Beach, CA – 2/3/2008
My First Marathon
Los Angeles Marathon – Los Angeles, CA – 3/2/2008
More LA Marathon
More LA Marathon
Long Beach Marathon – Long Beach, CA – 11/12/2008
More Long Beach Marathon
Left: City of Angels 1/2 – Los Angeles, CA – 12/7/2008
Right: Surf City Half Marathon – Huntington Beach, CA – 2/1/2009
Left: Inagural Pasadena Half Marathon – Pasadena, CA – 3/22/2009
Right: Harvest Festival 10K – Chino Hills, CA – 10/3/2009
Long Beach Half Marathon – Long Beach, CA – 10/11/2009
Inagural Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon – Las Vegas, NV – 12/6/2009
More RnR Vegas
More RnR Vegas

This is it for now. I left out 1 5K, the Chino Hills Challenge in May 2008 (my PR race) because there wasn’t any room, but other than that all of my races post knee surgery are here. Two 5Ks, Seven Half Marathons, and Three Marathons.

RnR AZ 1/2 Race Recap

My blog wouldn’t be a true and accurate account of my running if every post was an upbeat and happy regurgitation of a recent run or race. As much as I would enjoy explaining how much fun I had in Arizona at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon and Half-Marathon, I can’t really do that.
The shortened version
I pulled out of the race at mile 6. I was able to run for about 2.5 miles and the rest of the time was a walk/job. The last mile or so I walked the course desperately looking for a race official or medical tent.
The extended version
Friday – We drove from California to Arizona. Boy that was one boring drive. It was all desert, cacti, and dirt. There were so many trucks and RVs on the road that it made the drive exhausting and frustrating. Finally when we got to Arizona, we checked into our hotel and rested a bit. That night we went to downtown Tempe and explored a bit. Downtown Tempe was an interesting and fun little section near ASU. There was some sort of performer, preacher, or beggar on every corner and
neat boutiques, restaurants, and bars lining the streets. That night we ate at Gordon Biersch Brewery. I’ve eaten at one before in San Diego and it was pretty nice.
Saturday – In the morning we drove to downtown Phoenix to go to the convention center. Of course we went during a time when Deena Kastor and Ryan Hall weren’t there, but it was still neat. This is the first expo Zac has ever been to and he actually liked it. It was a nice, big expo with a spacious layout. As usual, once we left, people seemed to be flooding the expo. I always like going to them earlier on Saturday, or even on Friday, instead of Saturday afternoon. At the expo, I signed up for the RnR San Diego Half (which I am thinking might not have been the best idea now given my injury seems more worse than I thought) and I got a neat shirt for it. Also, I scored a tech shirt for the RnR Vegas Marathon for only $10! What a deal! The rest of the day we visited Zac’s younger brother who lives in AZ for right now. Before bed, I set out allof my race day stuff to make sure that I had everything that I needed.
RnR San Diego shirt for registering. Fitted, super cute.
RnR AZ Tech shirt
RnR Las Vegas tech tee front
ONLY $10!
back
All of my race stuff lined up
Race Day – The race didn’t start until 8:30 a.m. That is such a late start compared with what I am used to. Then again, it was still pretty dark outside at 7:00 a.m. Going into this race I was fully prepared to have to walk/run it because of my recent injury, even though I stayed off of it for some time and it felt much better. Seeing as how the race was a point-to-point race, there were shuttles taking the runners from the finish to the start, and the race information said to expect a 40 minute shuttle ride to the start. Given this information, I planned to arrive at the shuttle location a little more than an hour before the race start. What I didn’t expect was the long line of people (approximately about .3 miles or so) waiting for the shuttles. While in line, I met a nice lady and unfortunately I don’t remember her name. She was super nice and we talked about school, past races, her recent home purchase, and my injury. By time the shuttle reached the destination, the race had already started. With all of the congestion in downtown Phoenix, the shuttle had taken almost an hour to get there. As I got off of the bus I hear the last part of the National Anthem and the race started. I’ve never been late to a start like this before and of course the shuttle dropped us off at the end of the starting line, by corral 24, and I was in corral 3! I jogged up closer to the start and jumped into corral 7.
The starting line view from where I jumped in
As I crossed the staring line, I started my Garmin (which for some unexplainable reason decided to work all of a sudden) and took off. As I started running, I was cautious and very aware of how my foot was feeling. After a mile I was ecstatic that my foot felt fine. Just running amid all of the other runners, pain free, was an amazing feeling. Then, I reached the second mile and my confidence grew. I realized how much I missed running these past couple weeks and how much I genuinely love running. I was also thinking that I would be able to make it the whole race without walking; I wasn’t concerned about my time, I just wanted to finish it. A couple minutes later, my foot began to hurt. It was a painful, burning and stinging sensation. I ran a few more strides, realized I needed to stop, made my way to the outside of the road and began walking. I fought back tears with all of my will and tried to keep on. Walking didn’t hurt and I was thinking I could probably do a walk/jog.
As I was walking, I met up with another runner who was also walking. I approached him and asked if he was also injured and he told me that he was signed up for the full, but had back surgery 4 weeks ago so he switched to the 1/2 and was going to walk it. He was a very positive man. He was saying how it was better to be out there walking than not doing anything at all. While walking with him I learned that he was from North Dakota and that he and his wife had signed up for and trained for the full together (until he hurt his back). She was still running the full. We decided to start jogging again and I didn’t make it too far before my foot started to hurt. I encourage him to go on ahead of me and I wished him luck as I went back to a fast-paced walk. At this point in the race I was almost to mile 4 and the thought of pulling out of the race entered into my mind. Just thinking of pulling out of the race brought tears to my eyes. As a few drops slid down my cheeks I thought of that man and his positive attitude and kept walking. I tried jogging a couple more time but each time was more unsuccessful than the last one and I finally knew what I needed to do. I knew I needed to pull out of the race, something I had never done before and never thought I would ever have to do. I was a little more than 4.5 miles into the race.
From that moment, I began desperately looking for a race official, police officer, or medical station. I was texting Zac telling him what was happening and trying hard to fight back the tears. I located a Team In Training coach along side the course and asked him where the next medical station was and he told me it wasn’t until mile 8. It was a horrible feeling knowing I needed to pull out of the race and not knowing exactly how to. I couldn’t locate any of the people who I knew could help me. As I continued to walk along the route, I finally approached mile 6. I saw the mile marker, the time, and a race volunteer. I told him I needed to pull out of the race and I stopped right there. The decision was final; I had pulled out of the race. DNF. He called into the SAG wagon. It was at least an hour and a half away and so I continued on to find some police officers who could help me locate an address to give to Zac to put into his GPS so that he could pick me up. As I was talking with the officers, the same girl that I met in line and sat with on the shuttle stopped by. She asked how I was doing and was sad that I had to pull out. She gave me a hug, wished me a speedy recover, and I wished her good luck on her race, and she went on. One of the officers volunteered to drive me to the hotel and I was so grateful. Even though I had already decided to pull out of the race, it was not official. I was in a police car en route to the hotel. I was bypassing the course, bypassing the finish line, and bypassing my chance to see Deena Kastor in the awards ceremony.
The lady police officer took me to the closest point that she could. I had to walk about a half of a mile alongside the last stretch of the marathon to the hotel. Zac was walking to meet me. The minute I met up with him I began sobbing. I was just so upset with myself, frustrated with being injured, and disappointed that I had to drop out of the race. He assured me that it was “just a race” and one I could do over again. Still, I was pretty bummer.
After I got back to the hotel, we got in the car, grabbed some lunch, and headed back home. I’ve never had to DNF before and it is horrible. I didn’t think my injury was this bad and was certain that 2 weeks was plenty of recovery time. If you are still reading this, thank you. This has probably been my longest blog entry to date, but I had a lot to say about my bad race experience. On a positive note, once I am healed I do expect to return to running long distances and racing and in the meantime I am riding the bike at the gym and focusing on weight lifting.

Leaving for Arizona tomorrow!

As excited as I am to run my first race of 2010, I am also a little apprehensive. I haven’t run in a couple weeks because I’m nursing a foot injury and I’m really hoping it won’t give me any trouble in this weekend’s Arizona Rock and Roll Half Marathon.

Here is the course for the half.

Zac is going with me to Arizona. I am really excited to share this experience with him . He has NEVER been to a race expo and he has only gone to one race. While in Arizona, we also plan on visiting his younger brother and going to an eatery that was featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Adding to my excitement to this race/trip is the fact that Deena Kastor, Ryan Hall, Dean Karnazes, and Sione Fa from the Biggest Loser will all be participating in some Arizona Rock and Roll fun. Deena and Ryan are running the half and Dean and Sione are doing the full. Actually, Dean is doing a 50K by running some before the race. Deena is one of my running idols and I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of her.

Finally, adding a cherry to this already sweet running sundae is Everclear. Yes, Everclear. Not the throat scorching alcohol, but the band. I was a huge fan in middle school and I’m excited that they are the headlining concert for this race. It is pretty cool!

May my feet be swift, my foot be healed, and all participants have an amazing race and story to tell for this event.

Favorite 2009 Running Moments

At the end of every year, I put together a list of my favorite running moments from the year. It is my way of reflecting on the good and looking forward to the future. This year, I am also adding in a list of my running goals for the new year as well.

Top Running Moments of 2009
5. Finally getting over my anti-running capri attitude: Running capris are awesome and until recently I hated them. I only bought them because Vegas was going to be pretty chilly and now I wear them all the time.
4. Running with and meeting even more running friends: What can I say? I LOVE the people in my running group. I enjoy their company on our long runs, I thrive off of their motivation and support, and I look forward to seeing them every Saturday morning. Even if I’m not in a running mood, or if I am dreading the long miles, or if the weather is horrible, I wake up early on Saturday mornings with a smile on my face because I know I am about to be in the company of some of the greatest people.
3. My New  1/2 Marathon PR: For what seemed like forever, I was stuck with a 1:50:XX half marathon time. I trained and trained and still had difficulty breaking that mark. But, that was until 2009. In October (a week after my favorite moment #2) I ran the Long Beach Half Marathon. I can honestly say that I’ve never run a half marathon with so much heart before and I left every once of evergy I had on the course. I finished in 1:42:19. First, I was exstatic that I broke 1:50; secondly, I was even more pumped that I completely smashed my previous PR of 1:50:XX!

2. Winning the Harvest Festival 10K: In October, I signed up for a 10K on a whim. I’d never run a 10K race before and felt that the 6.2 miles run would be an excellent tempo run for my 1/2 marathon the week after. While I didn’t meet my time goal for the race, which was coming in under 45 minutes, I finished in 45:19 and was the first female to cross the finish line. I’ve placed 1st in my age group before, but never as the first female to cross the finish line. It was awesome.

1. Accomplishing my goal of running a sub-4 marathon: In December I ran the Rock and Roll Las Vegas Marathon. I completed this marathon in 3:58:04 and was so elated that I accomplished a goal that I’ve been working toward since I started training for marathons in 2007. Even though I am super happy with my time and progress, it is time to step it up and eventually shave off an additional 18 minutes.

Running Goals for 2010
1. Run a 3:40 marathon and qualify for Boston
2. Run a race in another state besides California and Nevada
3. Run a sub 1:40 half marathon
4. Run a sub 45 minute 10K
5. Log in at least 1500 miles throughout the year.

Cheers to all. Have a happy and healthy 2010!

Deena Kastor AND Ryan Hall will be in AZ

http://running.competitor.com/2009/12/news/hall-kastor-to-run-pf-changs-rock-n-roll-ariziona-half-marathon_7343

I’m so excited. While paroozing the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon website (http://arizona.competitor.com/) I read that both Deena Kastor and Ryan Hall will be running the half marathon. This will be their first races for the 2010 season. I’m so excited. I really hope I get to catch a glimpse of them 🙂

Do I dare delight the desert double down?

I am considering running the Rock ‘n Roll Arizona 1/2 Marathon on January 17 after running the Rock ‘n Roll Las Vegas full on December 6! I am not worried about being able to do it physically or mentally, I know I can do that, I think the expenses of an extra traveling marathon are holding me back. I wouldn’t run it to break my 1/2 PR (1:42), but knowing myself I would absolutely want to break 1:50. Also, with last week’s announcement about the LA Rock ‘n Roll, I want to get in more RnR races to get some serious bling!

If I run AZ after LV, I get the Desert Double Down medal. Plus, it is a great start to the 2010 racing season!
Then, I could do AZ, SD, LA, and LV in 2010! Oh, decisions, decisions!