Tag Archives: running

Fast Flats and Magic Macs: 2017 Oakland Half Marathon Recap

Days later, I’m still riding the high from Sunday. Was it even real? Did it really happen? Sure, that blood blister you didn’t ask about on my right pinkie toe says yes, that was real, but even with over 40 races under my belt, this is the first time that I have ever walked away from a race and wanted to pinch myself. It’s Thursday now, and it’s still surreal as ever.

It has been a long time coming, but it started with some great coaching, some confidence boosting and my “party dress.”

There’s something to be said about having a uniform. A competitive soccer player growing up, uniforms were something special, something with a sense of pride and a sense of something bigger than oneself. Practice uniforms were only for practice. White uniforms were for home games. Wearing our colors were so we could represent on the road. As a member of the Oiselle Volée team, I see my singlets the same way: they are uniforms, and they only come out on game day.

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Ekiden Coaching: Week 3

After just three weeks of remote coaching, I can understand why folks swear by it. There’s something rather lovely about both the accountability factor and receiving a daily text reminder about what the training plan is for tomorrow.

WEEK THREE: HOW’D IT GO?
This was a last week of “building” before heading into a recovery week in week 4.

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How to Make Your Garmin Stroller Run Ready

In the spirit of keeping it real, I don’t read manuals. If it has more words than a Lego how-to guide, I more likely than not set it aside (cough cough, lose it in a pile of manuals) and only rummage it up if the Internet and I can’t figure out what I’m after. Over the weekend I was toying around with my Garmin Fenix 3 Sapphire when I realized I could create my own activities for tracking.

Um, where the hell have I been?

Naturally, on the eve of the first East Bay Area Mom’s Run This Town meet-up, I had to create a “Stroller Run” option for my Fenix 3.

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Ready to add your own custom activity app? Here we go!

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We Run the Town: Half Marathon Recap

See part 1 of my Oakland Running Festival We Run the Town Challenge recap here.

Runners are a wonderfully crazy bunch, and I am one of those crazies who do things non-runners (and sometimes even fellow runners) don’t understand — or in some cases, things even I myself can’t quite explain. Case in point: seven months postpartum and just beginning to get back into a regular fitness routine, I decided it would be a good idea to run a 5K and a half marathon on the same day. Brilliance abounds when you’re sleep deprived.

After running an accidental PR in the 5K, I had a bit of waiting before the half started. I didn’t realize at the time that I had run a PR; all I knew was my legs felt not quite as fresh as I’d have liked, but I couldn’t figure out why. After grabbing my bag (as bag check at the Oakland Running Festival is phenomenal – it was so easy to get my bag checked, run, get it back, check it again – you get the picture) I settled in under a tree. Sweats on to keep warm, check, change of socks almost out of superstition, check, fuel… that’s where I failed. I couldn’t eat the protein bar I’d brought, but managed a banana and some Skratch Labs fruit drops. Thanks to social media, I met up with a coworker, which automatically put me more at ease. From there it just seemed folks were rolling in. Continue reading

Those Splits Are Bananas: San Jose 408K

For the third year in a row – and second time racing ‘live and in person’ as opposed to running remotely – I toed the line at the San Jose 408K, a race that has grown in importance for me every year. The first year, I ran remotely. Last year, I ran with my parents while quietly pregnant. This year, I was honored to run with my tall, speedy cousin. South Bay born and raised the 408K is becoming a ‘family’ event for me — and this year was quite memorable.

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While I was bummed I couldn’t get out to San Jose early enough to pick up my Represent Running ambassador gear. Under Armour hooked us up big time with shorts, shoes (yes shoes!) and a great “Represent Running” screened tee, I was still excited to be part of the crew. I kitted up in my long sleeved Oiselle Volée top thinking that if I couldn’t rep RR, I’d at least shout out to my fellow flockstars. (Sadly, I didn’t see another bird on the course. Bummer.) I even made good on my threat of bringing a teeny flat version of East Coast RR team member Dani so she could be part of the action too! Continue reading

Running Daydreams

My running dreams and aspirations have snowballed over time, exacerbated by all the new and exiting things I never knew about that I have discovered via social media. It seems like just yesterday I was toeing the line at my first race ever – a San Francisco 5K I ran with coworkers.

my first race ever

I distinctly remember running down the Embarcadero with my coworker Jenni. Neither of us was necessarily ‘well trained’ for the event, but we were young (and to a certain extent a little dumb, or at least, I was,) and excited to try something new. I was determined to run with her even though she tried to tell me to go ahead. Three point one miles felt so far! I remember being so happy when we reached the turnaround point. The smell of sourdough was in the air, the tourists were abundant and I was already dreaming about breakfast. It wasn’t until the end where I had some legs left and she was beginning to tire, when I heard our boss yelling from the top of a stairwell “Come on Ignacio, finish strong!” that I left her side, pushed and ran hard through the finish. It was my first race ever and there were no medals, no big arch, no photographer, just a taped off chute and some volunteers removing timing chips (whom I nearly missed in my excitement of being done.) I had done it: I had run a 5K!

Little did I know that would be the first of many races. Since that day back in 2009, my reach goals for running have changed greatly.

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Still Movin’

IMG_3889Throughout these last 29 weeks, I’ve done my best to listen to my body, something I am told that pregnant and non-pregnant runners alike should follow my lead on (thanks Erin!) Running Bay to Breakers was when I first heard a clear, solid warning shot from my body: “Hey. We can handle this okay down here today, but you’re going to have to start reigning it in a little.” When I felt the first notions of weight shift, I slowed my pace and focused on my stride. When I felt the first ligament aches, I strapped on my FITsplint and don’t workout without it now. When my knees and hips spoke up during Bay to Breakers due to rapid front-loading of weight, I went against my minimalist history and snapped up a pair of Hoka One One Cliftons.

It’s almost become a mantra for me: “Move as best you can, while you can.

And now it’s finally happening: I’m slowing down in a more obvious fashion. What can I do but be okay with it? At least I’m still movin’ – as best I can.


Since Bay to Breakers, I have kept pretty busy.
– I survived my glucose test. As someone who isn’t good at fasting normally, fasting, drinking a bottle of “cheap kids soft drink”-like beverage and then hanging out for two more hours without eating was rough. I likened the post-beverage experience to drinking too much Red Bull in college while writing papers. Suddenly, your heart rate is up, you feel a little jittery and you sweat at random. It made seeing a note on the bottle about not consuming the beverage unless requested by medical professionals rather comical. Who would drink that stuff of their own accord?
– On days that allow it, I’ve logged some very short runs in the aforementioned Hokas. Notably, they did bring relief to my knees and hips, something the baby boomers of the office laughed with me about. “See?,” they said, “That’s why [we] like them! Game changers.”
– The opportunity arose to work the Sparkle Athletic booth at the Run Like a Diva San Francisco expo and I of course accepted. Not only is working the booth fun, the gals helped make sure I got my bib last year when I ran, so I wasn’t going to miss a chance to help them. Carrie was a joy to work with and it was my pleasure to share homemade cupcakes. It was rather fun to have women comment on my bump while I helped them with skirts and sleeves. One woman said it was “so inspiring” that I was still running while pregnant, a comment that really made my day and I have held onto since.

IMG_3800The race director for the Title 9K series, a women’s-focused run series my workplace puts on that includes two dedicated stroller divisions, has long said that I am easily T9K’s biggest advocate. I’ve participated in every Bay Area race, helped out in Boulder and was given the opportunity this year to return to Spokane for the second Title 9K Spokane and first-ever Title 9K 5K option. Let’s be real: when the director asked me to be a part of her “dream team” for her final race with us and asked if I would announce the race, I jumped on it! (Need help at your upcoming event? I’m a seasoned packet pick-up, aid station, bag check, finisher’s area, pre-race prep pro, in my humble opinion. Holler!)

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While I was in Spokane, the day before the race I laced up and previewed the Title 9K Spokane 5K course at Riverfront Park with a coworker. This proved to be highly beneficial, as we followed the arrows that had already been laid out and were able to identify some sticky spots in the loop that might be confusing, allowing us to ensure that either signage was added or that course marshalls would be present to direct the flow of traffic. My 3.1 miles for the day were dedicated to someone who cannot run — yet. Thank you Carla for slowing your roll a bit so speed bump and I could keep up. All of us had fun enjoying what little down time we had amidst the race-prep madness. Plus, who could say no to a giant Radio Flyer with a slide? Not us!
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The race itself was highly memorable for me, and not just because it was my first time working a Title 9K as the announcer – or because I was pregnant (which, mind you, made the “usual” long days seem even longer.) The Spokane Title 9K yielded a first that really made my heart sing. Sure, it’s a women’s focused race and yes, it furnishes two categories solely for stroller participants. Yes, the Ragamuffin Run pre-race is always adorable… but that wasn’t what nearly brought me to tears this year. It was a smiling winner: not only did she win the stroller runner division, she won the ENTIRE 9K race.

At the race start, participants are allowed to seed themselves as they see fit and I definitely saw quite a few folks giving the woman whose stroller wheel was on the start line questioning looks. There were murmurs. There was even someone who told her “Strollers start in the back.” But I saw the confidence in her stance, paired with an Ironman-edition BOB stroller, and knew that this woman meant business. She wasn’t improperly seeded: she was there to win. As she pulled through the finish with a big smile, the child in the stroller cheering as well, my heart sang. Not only had we of the race series ever had a stroller come through in first place, this woman embodied so much that we as women strive for. She was an athlete, healthy, fit, and happy and it showed. At the awards ceremony, it was clear that her children shared this love with their mother and were proud of her, eager to follow in her footsteps. She had found a balance of training for herself and spending time with her family, all while keeping things fun for everyone.

Really, she embodied what I hope to one day.

It’s only a matter of time now for me. Here’s to one day leading by example and being that smiling mom with the cheering child in the stroller.