somewhere over the rainbow
August 13, 2010, 12:32 am
Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , ,

morning view of south oahu atop Tantalus

I’ve been busy. Playing. Chasing rainbows. With less than two weeks before my five-year chapter of Hawaii living has to end, I’ve been doing not much but play, eat, play.

Playing includes running, of course. This past weekend, Ivy suggested that we run the 10-mile Tantalus–Round Top path as my farewell scenic run. It was a daunting five miles of relentless uphill running on Tantalus Drive followed by five miles of knee-crushing downhill on Round Top Drive. I admit I was a little apprehensive about the idea at first. Ascent of 1,415 ft over five miles is nothing to sneer at. We run some hills every week, but never in consecutive miles.

So we started at exactly 5:40 a.m. after stretching on the street lamp-lit road, a 60+ year old lady who was already finishing her morning walk said to us, “are you girls going to run the whole mountain? If you’re good runners, you’ll finish in about two hours.” Hence we good runners went on our ascending ways.

A clear view of Diamond Head midway up Tantalus

It was my first time running this route, Ivy’s first time in four or so years, so we took it slow and consistent at about an 11 minute mile pace. Even at times steep, the path was surprisingly not harsh on the legs. The air was cool, crisp, and moist, awakening every last bit of me that wanted to keep sleeping. And although it was raining, the vegetation along the route was so dense that we felt only the shadow of the rain.


Lined with ginger flowers, bamboos, and eucalyptus plants, Tantalus Drive gently exchange hands with Round Top Drive as we came to a plateau of about 500 meters. The descent came upon us before I knew we were running the next five miles. Running uphill can be difficult, but downhill running for a person with a bad knee like me is even more challenging. It’s like driving with one foot hovering the brakes at all times. It took a good mile before I found my rhythm, a pace and form that didn’t aggravate the still delicate knee. The descent was not nearly as pretty, and we started to have to yield to cars on windy turns. By then the sun had warmed up the air, evaporating the moistened clouds.

A look at my watch, we were already at 9 miles. Every good run has to come to an end. At 9.81 miles, we were back at our starting point clocking in right at 2 hours and 33 seconds. I guess we were, at least per our soothsayer’s words, good runners.


Running Efficiency
June 14, 2010, 7:19 pm
Filed under: Life, Running | Tags: ,

I try to exercise three times a day. Exercise my voice, my mind, and my body.  Running is as much a mental training as a physical one. I like to accomplish all three in one run.

Sometimes getting into running shoes alone is an exercise of the mind, discipline of the will, or lack thereof. Or some runs don’t take off until the third mile, when my whole body finally agrees to move in accord. Once physically in motion, it’s a mental game–my favorite part of any run. How far can I go, how to change my stride when my legs feel tired or heavy, how fast can I speed up. And when I find a good rhythm, I start singing, sometimes aloud, most often not. I go through particular piece of music I happen to be working on, using the rhythm of my foot strikes as the tempo of my songs. My favorite song for speed work is Queen of the Night’s aria “Die Hölle Rache” from Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Listen here and you’ll see why it’s a fantastic speed work song. That’s why you’ll almost never find me running with my iPod. I have everything in my head.

Every run refreshes my mind, awakens my senses, sweats out every negative element that is enshrouding my creativity for life. While some runs are inevitably harder than others, I have never come back from a run regretting that I went out in the first place.

The 2009 6@6 Club Marathon Training Plan
September 10, 2009, 8:24 am
Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , ,

Marathon training has officially begun, two weeks ago. Our goal this year is to PR, beating the 4:30 time. To do so, we need to run about a 10:07 pace for the entire 26.2. Our speedwork pace felt easy to me, I was still able to talk so it is probably time to speed up a bit. What concerns me about this training plan that we are following is that it has us running at 10:58 pace even up to the last training long run but all of a sudden expects a 10:07 pace on race day. Is that realistic? Can adrenaline sustain 26 miles?

I need to consult a running coach on this. It shall be tweaked. But here it is:

1 24-Aug
2 31-Aug
3 7-Sep
4 14-Sep
5 21-Sep
6 28-Sep
7 5-Oct
8 12-Oct
9 19-Oct
10 26-Oct
11 2-Nov
12 9-Nov
13 16-Nov
14 23-Nov
15 30-Nov
16 7-Dec

Sat Sun Total
Long Run Rest 16 miles
Dist: 8 mi / XT
Long Run Rest 18 miles
Dist: 9 mi / XT
Long Run Rest 19 miles
Dist: 10 mi / XT
Easy Run Rest 16 miles
Dist: 5 mi / XT
Long Run Rest 21 miles
Dist: 12 mi / XT
Long Run Rest 23 miles
Dist: 14 mi / XT
Long Run Rest 24 miles
Dist: 16 mi / XT
Easy Run Rest 19 miles
Dist: 6 mi / XT
Easy Run Rest 27 miles
Dist: 18 mi / XT
Long Run Rest 30 miles
Dist: 20 mi / XT
Long Run Rest 28 miles
Dist: 16 mi / XT
Easy Run Rest 23 miles
Dist: 7 mi / XT
Long Run Rest 30 miles
Dist: 20 / XT
Long Run Rest 24 miles
Dist: 12 mi /XT
Long Run 16 miles
Dist: 8 mi
Rest Marathon Race Day 35 miles
/XT 26.2 miles

O.N.E-The NATURAL Sports Drink
August 25, 2009, 4:02 am
Filed under: babble, Running | Tags: , , ,


An entire open refrigerator in Whole Foods neatly packed with this product caught my eye. A sucker to advertising, I bought one to try after one of my runs. It’s called O.N.E. (One Natural Experience)–100% Coconut Water–marketed as the “natural sports drink.” The comparison on the box shows that O.N.E. has over 15 times the amount of potassium, 2/3 the calories, three times the magnesium, less sodium, and less sugar than the popular G sports drink. Not bad.


Today’s run kind of kicked my butt–my lower back hurt mid run, my legs feel more tired than usual post run even at just a 9:30 pace. It was the perfect time to try out the new drink. The taste is good–if you’ve ever tried drinking fresh coconut juice, you would know that it’s a very mild, almost non-existent flavor; nothing like coconut milk or coconut flakes. And the taste is exactly that.

30 minutes after consuming the earth-friendly box of natural juice, I do feel more replenished and my muscles less sore. I have no idea if it is simply a psychological effect, but I definitely feel less depleted now than I did before the drink. Perhaps a better test is to drink the conventional sports drink next time to compare the after effects. It is, by ounce, more expensive than the widely available sports drinks, but for now, I would recommend it unless you have fresh coconuts growing in your backyard.

Running makes everything better
August 15, 2009, 6:33 pm
Filed under: babble, Running

I’m in a bit of post-Italia withdrawal.  Good thing I am in the midst of family, and that makes things better.

Everyone asks, “what are you going to do next?”

“Get back to work,” I’d say.

“I mean your next big step,” they’d query.

I ask myself the same thing. There are some thoughts and new plans in the works, and I’m excited to set things into motion, but this momentary withdrawal feeling needs to be addressed. Thus running I went.

While I was able to log in a few runs in Italy, they were not at my usual pace or distance. And while those runs were all hill work, they were more scenic runs that training ones, so I still feel as if my legs are rusty from the month-long hiatus.

One never knows how the first run back after a break will feel. Sometimes the run begins heavily, and it takes a mile or two before all body parts coordinate themselves. Sometimes the whole body is on strike and the run is simply exhausting and weary. There are times, however, when the first steps promises an energetic, exuberant run. This was this case today.

I just went for a 3-miler back at my usual pace of about 9:20. The summer Texas air was heavy with humidity and nearly suffocating, but I was exhilarated with a thumping heart and big sweaty drops rolling down my face and chest.

Needless to say, I was tired afterward, but the exhaustion put me in sprightly mood. Next time you need a pick-me-upper, don’t reach for the tiramisu but go out and exhaust yourself. I promise you a cheery return.

The strangest question asked of me on a run
June 24, 2009, 9:35 pm
Filed under: Running | Tags: , ,

During my half marathon race last week, I was asked the most enlightening question on any run:

“So what did you eat for breakfast this morning?” asked Rosie.

“uhhh…,” I replied in mild shock at the question, “I don’t eat before I run, you do?”

“What? You didn’t eat before running 13 miles?” Rosie questioned in matching amazement.

After giving my lengthy reasoning on why I don’t eat before running, which are mainly the lack of habit, rolling out of bed ten minutes before I get picked up does not give me time to eat, and fear of GI issues if I ate before running, Rosie drops another edifying line:

“or maybe if you eat before you run, you’ll be running three hour marathons.”

I have honestly NEVER thought of fueling my runs; I only think about refueling my body afterward. And even then, I never follow the within-the-hour post run rule of replenishing my muscles.

Maybe I will try eating before my next run. But it means I would have to either wake up earlier (uggh!) or just stuff quick food in my mouth…but I like to enjoy my food. What to do??

eggs benedict

Runners, do you all eat before you run?

Falling down
April 26, 2009, 9:18 am
Filed under: Running | Tags: ,
“Because I’m falling down
With people standing round
But before I hit the ground
Is there time
Could I find someone out there to help me?”
–Duran Duran, Falling Down

Who falls running (not sprinting) on flat, well-paved, not to mention extremely familiar roads in broad daylight?


Apparently, when you’re chatty, sleepy, and unfocused, you’re prone to hurt yourself even on paths you know well. In my four years (and counting) of running, I’ve never fallen. I’ve pulled muscles, blackened toenails, but never gone down. Yes, I am a little angry at myself because the fall was not heroic, not even necessary, but just plain dumb.

Between the time my left foot lifted midair and alighted by gravity to strike the pavement again, I briefly looked down and saw that it was veering further left towards the adjacent grass as it was ready to touch down. At the same moment, I also saw a black hole, an abyss opened up right at the site of my upcoming left foot landing. Before my brain could register: “DANGER-reposition left foot,” the foot was captured briefly by the cavity and twisted right as the rest of my body thrusted forward. My right knee knew better than to let the foot beneath it absorb all the impact, so it valiantly bent itself and plunged onto the cement. The right hand, being such steadfast partners to the knee, stretched itself out as well.

The fall took no longer than three seconds, and my body slided no more than a foot on the ground.  From the brief supine position, I rolled up sitting to examine the damages. Right knee and hand bled instantly, but that’s to be expected. Luckily, I fell near a Team In Training water station so I asked for water to rinse the wound, but she offered antiseptic ointment as well.

I ran the remaining 3/4 of a mile to the car feeling okay. (Another) Dumb thing I did.

A day later, the wounds are healing well. The twisted left leg is, obversely, now making known what pain I have brought on it. Ouch. ouch. ouch.

Lesson learned:
Look where my feet are landing! Focus.
Go to bed early the night before running at 6 a.m.
It is okay to walk after injuring myself because my stubbornness 
can spawn more damage.