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The Amazing Touristas Race of LA

Earlier today, my friends Erin and Greg put together an Amazing Race type scavenger hunt all around Los Angeles. What a great fundraising idea!

Each team will have 5 hours to race throughout all of LA trying to pick up the most points by going to each of the designated Tourista spots and snapping photos of their team. We had to show our special bright object (we had a bright green mitten with Santa Claus) to signify that the photos were true and not taken at some other date. The ENTIRE team that gets back to the original start location in time AND has accumulated the most amount of points wins the CRAZY HUGE jackpot of gifts/tickets/certificates etc.

Size of team: 4-5 people per team.
Cost: $40.00 p/team pre-registered.

There were only 6 teams for this event, starting from the Pan Pacific Park in Los Angeles. Our team was called Gretchen’s B!tches, and consisted of my friends Gretchen, Sheila, and Carlos. We went to famous L.A. spots such as Pink’s, Mann’s Chinese Theater, Highland for the Hollywood Sign, the swanky Beverly Hills Hotel, and much more. We only focused around the Hollywood / L.A. adjacent cities, but some teams even went as far as Dodger Stadium and the Queen Mary in Long Beach! Besides the tasks around L.A., there were bonus points for taking photos of current state license plates, and also taking photos of luxury cars (people didn’t think this was fair because people went to luxury car dealerships).

Overall though, it was crazy fun. I went to places that I’ve never been to in L.A. before, and that’s pretty sad because I was born here. It was also weird walking around Hollywood in the daytime, because I’ve always wandered those streets for the nightlife. Can’t wait for the next one (oh, there will be a next one for sure… so if you’re interested, let me know!)

Check out the photos from The Amazing Touristas Race of LA

Truth About Stretching?

The New York Times’ Gretchen Reynolds just wrote a great article on stretching. I remember back in P.E. where we would have to do static, cold, stretches before any activity. Now, studies show that static stretches before any warm up to the muscles are ineffective. The best way to increase muscle strength and effectiveness is by loosening muscles and tendons to increase the range of motion of various joints, and to warm up the body. In Team In Training, we actually do a mix. We actually do some static warm ups, but only after a light jog to the beach. I wonder if this new way of thinking will change up our coaches mind about stretches? The article and video introduces some new dynamic stretches to try out.

You should read the article and/or watch the video at New York Times.

Use The Restroom

… even if you don’t have to. That is one lesson learned from yesterday’s San Jose Rock N Roll Half Marathon. You see, 4 miles into the Half Marathon, I had that urge to go pee. Usually I’d go find a bush on the side the road, but the San Jose course was primarily residential, so I waited until the next port-o-potty, which was at the end of a Farmer’s Market. 4 restrooms, BUT only one was operational, and the rest had padlocks on them. What?!? So the line was extremely long. By the time I was back on course, it was mainly the walkers. (Not that there’s anything wrong with walkers, but I started at a mid-area corral, and I just wanted to illustrate how much has passed)

I did play a little catch up, picking up my pace, but after a while I just realized that it’s not going to do me any good, and I wouldn’t want to risk any injury, so I continued to enjoy the course. It was pretty much flat the whole way. Tree-lined residential streets, great crowd support, and perfect weather. I couldn’t ask for anything more. This wasn’t a “TNT” event, so many of us who registered came into it thinking it’s just a “fun run”. Who would’ve thought 13.1 miles is considered “fun”? Well, I finished in 2:52:12. I was a bit disappointed, but hey, I’m just glad I finished injury-free (especially since I have not ran since the Disneyland Half / Nike+ race a month ago!)

View my photos from the San Jose Rock N Roll Half Marathon

Spin, Spin, Spin

Spin class, known as 24Cycle, has been one of my weekly habits. Mondays at 7:30pm in the Santa Monica 24 Hour Fitness led by Katyia. It’s pretty much all up to you because the instructor isn’t going to tell you what resistance to put, neither is she going to tell you if you’re going too fast or too slow. It was all about feeling what’s most comfortable but challenging at the same time. I definitely feel the burn each and every class. I can use this kind of training to help improve my leg muscles and conditioning for my running. It’s a tiny bit easier now than the first class, but still very challenging.

What I like most about this class is that the instructor varies the patterns and workouts. What helped me the most was the interval training where we would do intervals of sprints and hills for 5-10 minutes. Sprint as fast as you can, then when you’re done, up the resistance and then repeat. What a workout! I was sweating so much that my shorts got wet from my shirt’s sweat. I know, I know, too much information, but that’s how intense it is. I’m already interested in buying the special shoes for it that clips on to the pedals for a greater leg workout plus more efficient power handling with each stride.


A year ago, Active.com was a so-so website for all things activity-based, from swimming, running, to team sports. I first learned about it when I registered for my first marathon. It was a wealth of information, especially the running articles I subscribe to via e-mail, but I never really used it because it was too slow, and the UI was clunky. I’m a visual person, and I understand and appreciate well thought out design. I noticed a few redesigned elements a few months ago, but never really dove into it.

Today, I decided to go back to Active.com to look up old marathon times, and also to get more inspiration for content for this site. I logged into my account, I was caught by surprise. I thought, “Nice! This would have been so useful during my training season!” It’s MyActive, their personalized portal for your athletic interests.

What do I mean? Let me tell you about the features I was exposed to. Depending on your location, it displays the upcoming events based on the activities you’re interested in. You can search and claim all your past race results. Yes, ALL. I searched my results and it showed my old Nike Run Hit Remix 5Ks and my other marathons. Active Trainer is another feature where you log your daily training stats: how you feel, your health vitals, how far you’ve run etc. You can also map your runs, share it with the Active community, and also search for other people’s routes. There’s some social aspect to the site too, where you can interact in the forums and ask whatever questions you may have about your favorite activity.

I’ve only touched the surface of what this website is all about. I’m sure most of you who are in Team in Training already have an account with Active.com because of your fundraising pages, but I invite you to roam around MyActive, I know I am.

Check out my MyActive profile
(yes, it’s still bare… I just started)


It’s really great to hear that one of my good friends, Vanae, has recently joined Team In Training up north to train for the Hawaii Full Marathon in December. She told me that my friends and I were her inspiration to give TNT a shot. Are we really that inspiring? Maybe because they know we didn’t like to run or work out, let alone run a marathon? Whatever the reason is, TNT has that viral marketing effect because so many great experiences come out of it.

She writes:

Hey guys, it’s Vanae.

You know me. I don’t run. Heck, I don’t even remember the last time I excercised! But I was really inspired by close friends who recently completed the Team in Training.

Vanae is also the founder for Rock Your Awareness, and I met her a couple years ago at her “Date a Rockstar” fundraiser, so she’s no stranger to philanthropy. Since then we’ve gone to NY with friends, and we try to make the LA / SF connection time to time. I’m really excited for her since this is her first ever marathon, so check out her fundraising page here:


Sponsor A Mile

Here’s a good idea from a friend from New York, Michelle DeForest. Her season is coming to a close for the October 19th Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. Another push to get some donations is to donate $50 to sponsor a mile. Genuis! Your name is listed on any mile you choose, along with a URL. That’s $50 well spent on donations, plus additional marketing of whatever site. She has a pretty good list of people she promotes to via e-mail, Facebook, multiple blogs, so It would be a good idea to promote your own TNT donation page, your blog, etc.

From her donation page, she writes:

The Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco is ****28 days away!!!****

More importantly, my fundraising deadline is in (OMG) ****10 days**** away.

So, here’s my last fundraiser: I’m raising money for each mile. It’s going to work like a sponsorship. Each mile is worth $50 (because if I “sell” all 26 miles, then I will reach my fundraising goal of $5,000.00!!

Rules: Donate $50 here: http://tinyurl.com/runwithme AND tell me WHAT MILE and LINK to whatever you want (your blog, startup, your cause). I’ll publish it anywhere and everywhere I can (my blogs, fundraising pages, thank you emails, twitter).

This is such a great idea, that I wanted to document this (for future use), and to spread the word. It’s a great cause, so check it out – http://tinyurl.com/runwithme

Nike+ Human Race

Yes, we took our sweet ass time on this one. I mean, c’mon… we did 13.1 miles that morning. The Nike+ Human race was a nighttime run in Los Angeles (near the USC area) which was another 10K (6.2 miles). The main motivation for this run was to watch Kanye West perform at the end. To our surprise, we found out that Common was also performing.

Some of us were sore from the morning, or just plain ol tired, so we did 3:2 intervals. If you thought we were kicking back in the Disney Half Marathon singing songs, we took this one to another level. Some of us had drinks (yes, alcoholic drinks) in our water belts. Bad idea? Yeah, maybe, but we had our fun! We continued the singing, the taking pictures, and the games. We all started together, and we all finished together. No matter what pace group you’re in… we did this as a team, which was the most rewarding. We finished just in time because once we crossed the finish line, the Kanye West performance just started. He was amazing. He played most of his hits, and Common came in for a song or two.

You can view the photos and videos from this event here.

Disneyland Half Marathon

Yesterday I missed the cutoff time at the Anaheim Expo due to your friendly traffic from LA to the OC. Because of it, I wasn’t able to get a goodie bag nor my race singlet. This morning was event #1 of 2 in one day. Even then, no matter how early I woke up, I caught traffic to the event. That’s LA for ya.

Ok, enough about my whining, and let’s get to the event. I was able to finally get my singlet at the info booth, and I was off to the corrals which was a bit different than I’m used to. They were more vertical, rather than horizontally sectioned off like the Rock N Roll Marathons. The sun wasn’t out yet, but I could feel that high energy from everyone. The crowd consisted of all ages, coming in all shapes and sizes, meaning, some people were dressed either Disney costumes or running gear.

We ran through Disney California, through Disneyland, through the sidestreets of Anaheim, to the Honda Center, Anaheim Stadium, then back to Downtown Disneyland at the ESPN Zone. It was such a fun race because through the parks, we stopped and took pictures of the rides, the characters, and the crowds. We would pass our times singing to old school jams by Boyz II Men and Jodeci. We would play games splashing water on each other, tell funny running (and drunk) stories of our past, and the usual antics we would do during our training. I ran with a few TNT alumni, and also some first-timers. It felt great not thinking about the time we’ll finish. I was afraid the day would be too hot, but it was manageable. It was a little humid at first, but I got used to it. We ran at a 5:1 interval the whole way, taking it VERY easy considering there was one more race to go that night!

You can view my photos here.

What’s a Dollar To You?

Gas prices are up, rent is up, food is expensive, and clothes don’t come cheap. You sit there and think, where is my dollar going? We consume all types of products day to day, and even buying small little things here and there add up to big bills and a dent in your wallet. We even lose loose change in our cars, our couches so easily. We tip our waiters, our bartenders, our restroom attendants, our hosts just like that. Do you know where your money is going?

One of my good friends, Erin, is a mentor in this season’s Westside TNT Chapter, and she’s taking the “power by numbers” approach. She calls it The $1 Project. She only asks each person to donate $1, but at the same time to tell your friends, family, and the rest of your network. This will only work if everyone participates. I’ve sent her link around yesterday, and I know a few people already donated, and some interested in helping her out. You never know who wants to help unless you try.

Dear family, friends and friends of friends….Hi!

I am doing a little experiment here on the concept of social activism mixed with “The Tipping Point” and I need to run it by you. Here is the gist:

Last year I joined Team In Training/TNT (a marathon group who raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society/LLS) to run in memory of my grandmother and in honor of Donna and Ricky. I crossed the San Diego Rock ‘N Roll Marathon finish line and decided to do it again in Honolulu and Arizona.

Normally in these programs people will send out letters or emails to EVERYONE they know asking for as generous a donation as they can spare in order to help them reach a specific goal. That was me last season, and it worked, but it’s not quite my style.

See, I joined TNT to make a point. I want to spread the word. Educate. Kick major ass. I’ve realized though, that you are only as big as the sum of all your parts. If my parts include myself and 20 other donors then kudos to us for raising it all, but it’s not big enough. Not enough people will be touched. We need major coverage here people, so I’ve come up with another idea.

Check it out – The $1 Project