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)


Back to Life, Back to Reality

I’m borrowing the song title from En Vogue because that’s exactly what is happening in my life. Last year started out strong, but fizzled with the pregnancy of my third daughter. I hadn’t anticipated I would be expecting, so it hit me like freight train. Don’t get me wrong. It was a happy freight train, but a freight train nonetheless.

Little Wonder’s nine months in the womb was a battle between us. She felt I should spend it nauseous and I had a hard time accepting I had her growing inside of me. We both fought hard to the end and she arrived just as expected in the middle of November.

In terms of my races, Baby Dylan was very gracious to me. I think it might be the only time she and I were on the same page. I ran my last race, a 10K, just three weeks shy of her birth date. I enjoyed the time with her after my C-section delivery and worked from home during my six weeks off.

After spending the holidays with my other two daughters on winter recess from school, we all went back to our normal routines yesterday. My littlest comes to the office with me and spends most of her day in her crib by my desk or in her Baby Bjorn. I’m fortunate enough to have her with me at work. It’s essentially the best of both worlds.

I received the clearance from my OB to resume running right at the new year. I went on an annual New Year’s Day hike with a good friend and began chipping away at the rust that has accumulated for months now. I tested intervals yesterday for the Rebel Challenge happening next weekend at Disneyland and found I can keep a pace well below the expected 16:00 minute mile, so I will be just fine.

In 2015, I don’t want to pigeon hole myself into stereotypical resolutions with completely unrealistic goals. Rather than say I want to spend less and save more, I will simply say I plan to be more frugal. I will also focus less on trying to be perfect because it is okay to make mistakes. I then become less of a robot and more of a human being. Lastly, I want to try and be a little more mellow in general. I think these are resolutions I can actually live with.

Are you running Star Wars Half Marathon next weekend? See you there if you are! I’ll be hitting the race with my running BFF and we’ll be rocking our usual Sparkle Athletic skirts. Go Team Sparkle!

2015 Already?

I find myself baffled by how early registrations are coming up for races now. It’s so hard to commit to something for the summer of next year when I’m seven months pregnant now. I kept telling myself as registrations opened I would restrain myself, but it’s so difficult. I already had issues dealing with missing the Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World next February. I literally tried to figure out a way to somehow bring my newborn to Florida with me and have perhaps my husband or mother watch her while I ran the Glass Slipper Challenge again. Then I realized how ridiculous I was being and that it was just one race weekend. I wasn’t going to die if I didn’t remain legacy for GSC.

At what point do you admit you’ve become a full-fledged runner? It all starts out so innocently when you set out for your first run and before you know it, you’re trying on running shoes at your local running store and shelling out hundreds of dollars without batting an eye because you know you NEED these items to improve your race experiences. Once that commitment is made, you’re already so far gone you don’t even realize it. That’s what happened to me anyway.

The next step is venturing out of your local area for races. Sure, it’s one thing to travel a car ride away to stay overnight somewhere to run, but that didn’t sustain me. I wanted to travel and have new adventures. This leads to committing earlier and having to budget and save up for these travel excursions. Deciding whether or not to travel with family or by myself was the next step. Ultimately, it was more cost effective and time efficient for me to travel alone for my furthest races, so that’s exactly what I did.

Now, my priorities have shifted and I have to think of my soon-to-be three children. I can’t feel as good about leaving them with their father especially when the little one is so young. I don’t want to miss being there for her as I was with her two older sisters. Thus, I devised a plan to only run the runDisney events in 2015 because they are local and can be enjoyed by the whole family. We can make a small vacation out of the weekend in Anaheim and have fun together.

Of course this should have been enough, but it wasn’t. I don’t know what is wrong with me, but SeaWheeze registration opened last week and I had heard so much about this race, so I was curious to what all the fuss was about. It just so happened I checked on the day registration opened and before I knew it, I was hitting ‘Refresh’ on my computer to see if I could get a spot. Once the glorious ‘Register’ button popped up, I was feverishly trying to beat the clock to fill out all of my information. I don’t know what came over me. Out of fear I would back out, I immediately booked a hotel and started looking at plane tickets. I know it sounds crazy! The most ridiculous part about it was the race isn’t until next August! That’s almost an entire year away. What if I don’t even want to run anymore by then? Yeah right. Who am I kidding? I’ll be the first person at the gate for my Air Canada flight to Vancouver for the event weekend. It looks like my youngest daughter’s first plane ride will be to Canada.

Between this Canadian excursion and my attempt to complete my first full marathon at the thirtieth anniversary of the Los Angeles Marathon, I think I have signed up for two big enough adventures to sustain me for 2015. I say this of course three months before 2015 has even begun. I’m going to try really, really, really hard to maintain my composure and not let the excitement of another race take over me. I’m only looking to either run the Napa-to-Sonoma Half or the San Francisco Marathon (1st Half) in July, but I haven’t committed yet to either one. Otherwise, I think I’m good. I have to be good, right?