Hustle, Hustle

Can it have been over a year since I lasted posted? I guess that’s what happens when you’re actually living life. Making time to blog is literally impossible. For me, that’s been the case.

After my last post, I discovered the awesomeness called SeaWheeze and life hasn’t been the same. I became a Lululemon addict and find myself constantly making sure I haven’t missed out the newest print or color for the items I love. I wear Lulu all the time now and it’s hard to believe I didn’t before last year.

I became a member of OrangeTheory. At first, I loved my home location. I’d tell you where that is, but I don’t want to put them on blast. I will say that I’ve been to other locations now and know my home spot isn’t as suited for me as I had originally believed. I haven’t quite pinpointed it yet, but I think it’s the service. For as much as it costs to go there, the level of expectation is higher. I feel like in that case, the service of the 24 Hour Fitness I went to was better. Sad, but true. The trainers themselves have been terrific and it’s definitely helped to make me a better runner. That, I love.

My girls are seven, four and almost two. Life is a whirlwind now. I blink and the day is over. I wake up when it’s dark to start my day either at OrangeTheory or at the office and before I know it, it’s the afternoon and I wrap up to rush home. I travel much more often now whether it be for work or for fun. This helps to keep me on my toes and sane because I always have something I’m planning for. I have to keep focused in order to get everything done. I won’t lie and say I haven’t forgotten socks or panties for the girls. Thank goodness for hand washing and hair dryers.

I’ve planned a girls’ weekend for Palm Springs with friends. I have a day full of meetings leading up to the minute I leave. I’m hoping the day will go as scheduled, so I don’t have to scramble at the last minute. There’s nothing worse. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Chicagoland Training

It’s officially summer here in sunny Southern California. To those who argue it’s always summer in this area, they didn’t experience to two weeks of June gloom leading up to the official start to the season.

All joking aside, it’s summer I tend to enjoy and dread the most. On one hand, it’s rather predictable that it’s going to be hot. I mean it’s really warm. Almost 100 degrees everyday. It’s easy to plan for this type of weather. Wear maxi dresses and you’re all set. However, any athletic activity outside sucks.

I know we’re lucky because we don’t have to deal with any humidity and I completely agree with that. We only deal with a dry heat and that’s not bad at all. It still doesn’t make for a pleasant run when you feel like your feet are on fire from the heat of the ground and your face feels like it is melting off. In order to avoid dehydration and a sunburn is to run when the sun comes up at 5am and even then, it’s already 70 degrees outside.

I promised myself I would focus on training for the Chicago Marathon because I didn’t want to just get through it like I had the Los Angeles Marathon. I took the summer off from any races to make it happen. My last half marathon was Rock n’ Roll San Diego and I don’t run another one until SeaWheeze in August. Between now and then, I’m trying to get my groove back.

When I ran in San Diego, it was the first time since I found out I was expecting last year that I enjoyed running. I don’t so much hate running or anything. I just haven’t been able to get it together. My pace is hella off from where I was before I got pregnant and I feel defeated because of that. It sounds ridiculous, but I haven’t been able to get over that mental block.

I start off strong and focused, but little by little I begin to doubt myself and before I know it, I’m slowing way down. It’s not because I’m not in shape. I know my body is more than equipped to handle it, but I don’t push myself. I can feel myself giving up and there’s just no feeling worse than that.

I headed back to the gym since it’s just too warm to run outside and did okay. I gradually started to run on my treadmill in the office and began to feel a little more confident. Then I completely changed course and decided I would ride the stationery bike at the gym to mix things up. My husband bought me a trailer to put my daughter in, so I could ride my beach cruiser just around the neighborhood. All of a sudden, the bicycle factor made me happy.

Still not 100% on the running. I went on a mini-vacay and went to the hotel gym in the morning before everyone woke up. I rode the bike, but decided to walk instead of run after. I kept thinking I was being chicken and needed to suck it up and try. It never happened.

In less than fifteen weeks, I’ll be in Chicago. I know I need to get in the right frame of mind, but am just not there. What’s worse is I know I can finish, so the fear of not completing the race isn’t something I can use as a means to shock myself into training. What is wrong with me? I know I love running and I know I want to run, but I can’t actually do it. There’s this great disconnect inside of me and I need to get it together.

I just need to run.

Twenty Random Facts About Me

Twenty Random Facts about Me

1. My middle name is Dawn. My name is very American despite me being so Japanese. Thus, I made sure each of my girls had a Japanese middle like I wished I had.
2. While pregnant, I tend to crave non-food related things. The oddest was with Erin. I craved EDM music. This is probably why her favorite lullaby was Turbulence by Steve Aoki. True story.
3. As an adult, I have an obsession with the original television show Dallas from the 80s. My lifelong goal is to visit Southfork Ranch. I can’t believe I just said that.
4. I have three tattoos.
5. I love Psychology. I think I may have missed my calling by not getting a doctorate in that field. I joke I’ll go back to college when one of my girls does. I’m sure she will love that.
6. I learned to speak Japanese before I did English, so technically English is my second language.
7. My childhood crush was Doogie Howser, M.D. It was the only night of the week my parents let me stay up later, so I could watch the show.
8. Aside from the birth of my daughters, the best day of my life was a day Anthony and I spent together in Berlin, Germany. I can remember every detail of that day as if it were yesterday.
10. Growing up, I despised Hello Kitty. I mean I legit hated her. Now, I love her. I have amassed a serious collection in just the past ten years. It’s slightly hilarious.
11. I’m all about trains. Whenever I travel, I try to make a point of using the train as my main mode of transportation. Ironically, I have never taken any trains in LA and I grew up here.
12. Speaking of LA, I don’t mind the traffic here. I know that sounds like an odd thing to say, but I suppose I’m just used to it. I accept that’s just part of life if you live here.
13. I’m a diehard Padres fan. Even though they are perennial losers, I can’t imagine liking any other team but them. They own a little piece of my heart.
14. Anthony and I met at Pure Nightclub in Las Vegas. Friends, what happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas.
16. The number 16 is actually my favorite number because of Hideo Nomo. He was the first Japanese baseball player of my generation to play in the MLB.
17. My favorite drink is Ramune, a Japanese carbonated soda. Growing up, it came in a glass bottle with a marble inside. Looking back, it was a pretty dangerous choice because we would break the bottle open to get the marble out. We’re lucky no one ever got hurt.
18. I collect Le Creuset Mini Cocottes. My favorite ones are flower shaped from Takashimaya.
19. I hardly wear my wedding bands or engagement ring. I try really hard to remember, but more often than not forget to. My husband is pretty good about not making fun of me too much about it.
20. I really want to visit Charleston, South Carolina and Boston, Massachusetts. Those are two places I really want to visit in the US.

Thirty-Five and Counting

When I started running in late 2012, a half marathon seemed like an impossible challenge. I found training schedules online and became dedicated to reaching this goal I didn’t even realize I had until one day I just wanted to complete it.

My nature is not the “one and done” type. Some people are, but I am not. It’s my addictive personality. Something that drives me to keep pushing and moving forward until I’m satisfied I can’t go any further.

To be perfectly frank, I have crossed sixteen half marathon finish lines in two years and only ONCE did I think to myself I could probably go once more. To be perfectly clear, I had no desire to run more than thirteen point one miles ever.

Pregnancy can make you do funny things. You’d think the third time around I would have had a better grasp on that. Not so much. Just before I found out I was pregnant, the hormones had already kicked in and I was entering lotteries for marathons in Berlin and New York. Looking back, I’m not sure what I was thinking about… Getting so gutsy out of nowhere. Thankfully, I didn’t get in those races as I couldn’t have travelled to those locations as I was so pregnant by then. God was smiling on me.

Eight and a half months pregnant, I decided I would sign up for the 30th anniversary Los Angeles Marathon. What would possess me to do such a thing you ask? I have no real solid answer for you. I kept thinking to myself if I was ever going to run a marathon, I wanted to do so by the time I turned thirty-six. LAM was running two weeks before my birthday.

All the while recovering from my C-section, I kept telling myself I would be fine to train in eight weeks. I had a solid base running half marathons, so I would just need to build the miles. When time came to do the training runs, I would cut them short or just bail on them completely. Things were looking grim.

There’s the great quote which states “I don’t like to gamble, but if there’s one thing I’m willing to bet on, it’s myself”. That’s me. In a nutshell, it’s talking directly to me. I knew it was risky setting out to run twenty-six point two miles under these circumstances, but I knew deep down I would finish. My sheer determination would carry me.

I injured my right knee the week before LAM in San Diego running the half marathon there. I had never injured any part of my body during a race before, so I was scared. To compound my already nervous fears, I read the weather each day leading to the race was getting warmer and warmer. Talk about horrible luck! What could I do at this point? Bow out? No way, no how. This was going to happen.

I ran the LA Big 5K on Saturday to work through my jitters and it could be one of the smartest decisions I ever made. Getting a chance to familiarize myself with the layout at Dodger Stadium for Sunday’s race made me feel a thousand times better for what was coming. I enjoyed a leisurely and relaxing run with a seasoned veteran named Wesley. He gave me great advice and I felt so lucky to have finally met him as we share many mutual friends. It was fate we were brought together that particular morning.

I slept more on Saturday night than I normally do before a race. This helped me to feel more at ease and less stressed the morning of. I was feeling confident in myself and tried not to get into my head too much.

I arrived early to the start line and just waited. My running bestie, Laurel kept the conversation light and helped me to get into the right mindset to head out. When the race began, I felt good.

Throughout the course, we stuck to the intervals method of Jeff Galloway as Laurel had success with this during her other marathons. I trusted her and she knows me, so we went with it and it worked like a charm. We saw many friends along the route and each smile and greeting put my heart more at ease. Before we knew it, we had reached the halfway point.

Then the heat began to kick in full force. It was reaching eighty degrees and we were just trying to stay hydrated and focused. Once we got to nineteen, Laurel felt her knee give and told me to go ahead. I felt horrible leaving her, but by then we had found another friend, Sandra and they would stay together.

At this point, I kept telling myself I only needed to finish a 10K and it would be done. My best friend, Jason chased me down by car with his fiancé, Brian and their cheers and hugs provided me with much needed moral support.

Within two miles, the heat was more than I could handle and it caused me to vomit. I knew I didn’t need to stop, I just needed to slow down. When I threw up a second time a mile later, I realized the finish line would only be possible if I walked. Not pretty, but I would finish.

And that’s just what I did. My time wasn’t ideal, but I wasn’t last and my body felt great after. I didn’t hurt and by then, my nausea was gone. I didn’t care. I just kept thinking if I had trained, I wonder what my time could have been. It was in that moment I knew, I would be running another marathon.

Suffice it to say, I already entered the lottery for Chicago and will register for LAM tomorrow. My Valentine’s Day next year will be spent running from the stadium to the sea again. Where will you be?

Side note: I can be seen on the front page of the Long Beach Press-Telegram and on the digital copy of the LA Times. In addition, you can spot me in the LA Marathon video of the start. Don’t blink though or you’ll miss me. Thank you to Sparkle Athletic for not only adding sparkle wherever I run, but also making me super easy to spot even in a sea of 26,000 people.


Back in the Saddle

Running the Rebel Challenge last weekend was a reality check. I suppose a runDisney event was probably not the place to start again after my running hiatus, but that’s how everything worked out. I finished the 10K and the half marathon in back-to-back days, so that’s a plus. My body felt like jello after and I hadn’t experienced that feeling since two years earlier when I had completed my first half marathon. My time was horrific, but I had a great time with the character stops and my running bestie, Laurel. I took the advice of a lactation consultant who advised me to drink tons of water even when I wasn’t thirsty, so I would be able to keep up my milk supply for Baby Dylan. Everything worked out as well as I could hope for… except for my time.

It sounds insane because I had fun and I know part of the jello feeling I had was more mental than my actual body. I heard 3:39 and my heart sank. Last year, on Super Bowl Sunday, I ran my PR of 2:28. I know that’s not the fastest time in the world, but for me, it was huge. A year earlier, I’d run my first half at 2:52. I felt as though I was making huge strides despite telling myself that my time was never a factor for me. I guess hearing my friends’ PRs of around 2:00 made me feel like I could push harder.

Then life stepped in. More specifically, I found out I was expecting. After that, I just plateaued and stopped training at all. I simply ran the races on my calendar and that was that. I had such awful all-day sickness (it’s not morning only, so why do we call it that?) and with two other children to care for already, I just didn’t want to run anymore than I had to. Pity party of one over here…. I kept telling myself how blessed I was to be pregnant again when so many others couldn’t even conceive one child, but it still just sucked.

Here I am how many months later and I felt like I had fallen off of a cliff time wise. I’ve been debating back and forth about returning to Surf City to see how far away I am from where I was last year and I just can’t seem to pull the trigger. It’s all fear. I’m the first person to tell myself that when you live in fear, the only person who loses is you and that’s the honest truth. I know it is. I just can’t seem to bring myself to register. I know I will either find out I’m not as far away from Laurie circa 2014 as I think I am or I will find out I’m basically kidding myself and I’m just a different person now. I’m afraid it’s the latter. This terrifies me with roughly forty-five days to go into my first marathon. I’m basically chicken. I can’t deny it. I totally am.

My running sole sister, Nadine is taking me under her wing and guiding me through the mental trenches I am in. She promises to help me restore the faith I once had in myself in time for the LA Marathon. She’s run well over twenty-five of them herself, so I trust her implicitly. We’re shooting for sixteen miles together on Sunday. This number doesn’t seem insane to me and I feel hopeful I can overcome this obstacle I have encountered. I probably sound crazy. In fact, I know I do. Fifteen half marathons later and I have doubt?

Come on, Laurie. You’ve got this. You can do it. You’re going to be just fine.

Pray for me.

Rebel Challenge (Full)