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Run For Fun

finalrun.jpgWeek 16 Sunday Run – The FINAL One
A year and half ago, I wouldn’t have thought of even saying the following: “Today, I ran 8 miles for fun.” Since it was our last Sunday training for the San Diego Marathon participants, and since it’s a taper week to “take it easy”, we thought it would be fun if we made this a “Run For Fun”, where the Westside TNT Team invades the streets of Santa Monica and Venice with some shenanigans and costumes!

The day before I went to Wal-Mart and bought some golden boxers for only $5. I originally planned on wearing some mesh T-shirt, neon shorts, and neon wristbands, but I didn’t have much time, and since 80s style is a bit trendy at the moment, I would have paid a bunch. $5 gold boxers will do. I mixed it up with some aviator sunglasses I used for my “Dick In A Box” costume for Halloween, and a funny afro wig. What was I? I had no idea, but it looked silly. Most of the team were in a costume-wearing mood as coach Kevin was Bleeker, Coach Christy was Juno, many of the girls wore 80’s spandex, some wore bee outfits, Joe was Indy Jones, and much much more. I’m sure spectators along the beach were amazed at 75 or so runners being silly. It was our final run. Why not, right?

Photos from the run!

Never Gonna Give You Up

Tonight was Karina’s Mentor Group’s fundraiser event at the Santa Monica Bar & Grille, in yes you guessed it, Santa Monica. They are usually closed on Mondays but with some TNT pulling some strings, they opened it up for us. It was Karaoke Night, and it was so fun! From songs by The Killers, to 80s Rock, to Pop, all the performances were amazing, and the crowd getting into all the performances made it that much better! Whenever our team gets together for social events, there’s never a dull moment!

Pictures and Videos from the event

Hot Hot Hot

Homer Simpson runningWeek 15 Sunday RunThe weather this week wasn’t as hot as our 17 miler, but it was definitely a huge factor with how much I struggled this week. It has been a while since my long run mainly due to being out of town, but I still decided to run with pace group 3. I started out with group 3, but ended with group 4. Running along the residential area of San Vicente Blvd with all the flowers and pollen made it really difficult to breath. I had a choice between running in the heat, or in the shade with the pollen. Luckily, towards the end of the run, the breeze came in and cooled us down a bit. There goes my negative split runs again because I did so much better during my second half of the run!

In The Habit

I woke up VERY early this morning to check out some strength cardio class at 24 Hour fitness, but when I got there the class was full. What the? Oh well, so I just did a little cardio on the elliptical machines and some weights. Wow, this is good. 6 out of 7 days this week I did something cardio-related. I came to the realization that I’m in the habit in all things active. Shaweeet!

Santa Monica Friday

santamonica.jpgWho runs on a Friday night instead of going out? I do. Tonight I decided to keep my running habit and ran 45 or so minutes along Santa Monica. I started at our usual running spot, “Shutters” (which is a restaurant along the beach), nearing the time of a beautiful sunset, and headed to the Venice pier and back. It’s definitely a lot more active along Venice as I ran past busy bars and restaurants. I really love the sights and sounds of many people walking, biking, and running along the beach. I also ran by the usual smell of marijuana from random people on the sidewalk, and ran by some weird looking people who just give you a crazy stare like I shouldn’t be running at this time of night.

I recently bought some new shoes which I was trying to break in, but it posed a problem during my run. I started to have shin splints which I never had, and only started to get them ever since I used these shoes. The pair that I wore were the same model as my previous ones, but it was a newer model. Not even a mile into the run I was aching. I walked for a bit until the pain went away, but I was motivated to get back to my car before it got too late. I really think something is wrong with my shoes because that’s the only variable that has changed for me ever since the pains came. We’ll see how it goes.

Keeping Pace

track2.jpgI’ve been very good this week in keeping up with my mid-week runs. Monday at the gym, Tuesday in Brentwood, and then last night we had the second session of Track Training at Santa Monica High School. It wasn’t as tough as last week because this time around was all about keeping a consistent pace, for 20 laps. Coach asked us what our target marathon time is, then he calculated what kind of pace we should keep during our run. I want to break 5 hours for the marathon, so he suggested I finish each 2 lap set in 5 minutes. We did 10 total sets at that pace, with decreasing rest times. The first 5 sets were 3 minute rest peroids, to 2, to 1.5, to 1 minute. We didn’t realize how long were were running for until the end, because we got out of there at 9:45ish. So a total of 24 laps, including the warm up and cool down laps equaled 5.6 something miles. It probably went under the calculated 6 miles because I took the inside lane most of the time.

Since we are tapering until the event, this will be our final track training, which I will truly miss. It’s not too far from where I live, so I plan to run here now and then, just to keep up my cardio workout. This is the final stretch folks… can’t wait!

Brentwood Mid-Week

brentwoodmap.jpg It’s already near the end of the season and the majority of my mid-week runs have been on the treadmill at 24 Hour Fitness, with the exception of one Saturday run in Hollywood. Last night was my FIRST mid-week run with the team. I never went to any of them in the past because I lived in Pomona, commute was far, or I would just get out of work too late to go. I finally decided to go, and I’m glad I did. It was a pretty good turnout, at about 10 people, most of which were of the faster pace groups. My mentality during the run was the same as track training. Since the distance is much shorter, I’ll give it my all to go a little faster. The scheduled 45 minute mid-week run was right on schedule, lapping the Brentwood Country Club twice, and just finishing a few minutes over.

The Brentwood 4.3 Mile Run

First Track Training

track.jpgWe just started the third major section of our training in TNT. The first third was working on our base, where strength training occured, making sure our bodies will transition into longer miles nicely. The second third was all about hills. This time around, we started working on speed. Track training was at the Santa Monica High School, not too far from our Sunday meeting spot.

The training? We started off with a mile (4 laps) warmup, then our sets consisted of 3 laps at a faster than normal speed, 1 minute rest, then 1 lap of full on sprint. We did a total of 3 sets, each with 3 minute rest periods. I’ve never done track training in all my TNT seasons, mainly because the last third of training was always a busy time for me. Each session was timed, and according to the times that were yelled out, most of us went at such a fast pace, we would finish a minute faster than expected. My lap time, on the final set, final lap was 1:45, which was considered 2 pace groups faster than I would normall run. Nice! I’ll try to beat that next time! I was totally out of breath, and out of energy, but you know what? I feel great!

Christine Wonica’s Story

christineI’m starting to receive some newsletters from the LLS (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) containing some touching stories about the families we are helping. I’d like to share with you Christine Wonica‘s story, a blood cancer patient who became part of the LLS family through LLS’ First Connection program, one of the many support programs available to patients across the U.S. and Canada.

Christine and Tom Wonika had what many would call the perfect life – they had a new daughter, they would soon move into a new home, and Tom had just started a new job. But in March 2002 Christine found out that she had acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). It was a major challenge and they tackled it together.

Christine, like most AML patients, was encouraged to begin chemotherapy. While Christine was getting this treatment, her husband Tom contacted The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) for advice and guidance. He soon learned about the First Connection program, which matches patients with trained peer volunteers who have been through blood cancer. Christine was able to talk to someone else who had also had AML. It was a great relief.

“We shared our experiences. Just hearing the similarities that we had was very comforting. It was good to know that I wasn’t alone or crazy and that other people felt the same way,” says Christine.

Christine was in remission after her first phase of chemotherapy, but her cancer returned nine months later. She had more chemotherapy, and then had a successful bone marrow transplant in November 2003. Throughout the entire ordeal, the family counted their blessings. Christine and Tom’s parents were able to step in when needed, and Tom was able to continue working.

Despite the challenges that came with cancer Christine admits that she feels the experience of living with AML was one of the best things that could have happened to her. She’s stronger, and has more compassion and passion for life.

“The fight against cancer is really bad. But the light at the end of the tunnel is more amazing than you can ever imagine. Now I have the chance to really appreciate the things that I fought so hard to keep in my life – like the sun shining and my daughter’s smiles.”

98 Degrees

98 DegreesWeek 12 Sunday Run:
It was HOT. Very HOT. Probably not 98 degrees but it felt like it! According to the forecasts, the highs were in the mid-90’s. People even said that it was the hottest in Santa Monica in YEARS. Why? Why during one of our longest runs of the season??

Our Santa Monica/Palicades/Brentwood 17 Mile Route started on Ocean at the entrance of the Santa Monica Pier, worked our way North through the Palicades, down San Vicente, then back up San Vicente up to the Brentwood Area then ran all the way back down to where we started, and then some. There was a steady incline in the beginning of the course, but 6 miles of it was just too much for me, even with hill training earlier this week! I ran out of energy quick!

This is my third season with the Team, and it was definitely one of the hardest training days of my life. I believe some of the 20 milers in the past were easier because of the flatness of the course, and the weather. I was a bit frustrated at my run because I prepared very well for this run – I did not go out, I had a pasta dinner, I did not drink alcohol, I had a good night’s rest. During the run, I struggled to keep up with my pace group. We did our usual 7 minute run / 1 minute walk intervals, but towards the end I’ve never stopped so much for walk breaks. I’ve never cramped up so badly during a run. I’ve never ran out of breath so quickly. I’ve never been so hungry at mid-training. Luckily, I ran with Erin, who we kept each other company during the run, because it was just one of those bad days for us.

The weather affected me in so many ways than one. The pavement reflected the scorching heat of the sun, making it terribly difficult to stay cool. The air was too hot to even breathe in. Every opportunity I could get to a shade, I took it. At the water stops, I would pour water on my head and to the back of neck to cool down. I tried so many ways to regulate my breathing and temperature – every little bit helped. In the end, I enjoyed a simulated ice bath in the freezing beach water of Santa Monica. It helped out a lot because I’m not as sore today than I usually would.

Even though I felt this was my worst training run ever, I’m happy I finished 17 miles with a higher pace group than usual, and again, I’m not here to win any medals. This was definitely a Personal Record (PR) for me, not for time, but the challenge. I felt beat up, but not lost. It’s just one more step towards the goal, coming up in a few weeks!