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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sometimes I Run from my Demons

This is going to be difficult post to write. During my runs, I usually reflect on what is going with my life and my with my family's life. Lately, I have been ruminating about where I am in life and how my past decisions got me here.
There are many reasons why I run. One of them is that I almost never have been successful in anything I have ever done for myself. It took me more than four years to finish my Bachelor of Arts Degree with only one class left to complete. After I finished my Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology, I slaved away at years of unpaid internships to obtain my Marriage and Family Therapy license only to stop short of a few hundred hours to licensure.
Last year, I enrolled in an online college to earn my credential to teach special education. I have passed most of my classes and yet I had failed to finish some of them. I have yet to enroll again and finish what I had started. Now I am working as an instructional assistant and quite honestly not feeling fullfilled with my job. I earn the same amount of money as someone who has not graduated college.
I seem to know how to sabotage any chance of success that I may have. This includes even my interpersonal relationships. I tend to hurt the people I should care about the most.
Running has become for me a means to meet a goal I have never yet in other aspects of my life. Yes, I know it seems that I am putting more meaning into my running than I should, but sometimes I feel that it is the only good thing that I have going to for me. Every step, every mile and every finish line has become to me a symbol of my own achivement.
Running is something that no one can take away from me. No one pushed me into it, no has any expectations from me, and no one else can accomplish this but me. So far, I have accomplished more than I expected of myself.
Yes, I do run from my own demons. Sometimes they chase me like a sonofabitch. I am getting faster, I am getting stronger. I know I will out run them. I know I will persevere.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Weekend Race Review

This is will be my first ever race review on my blog! The best part? It was also my first double race weekend! 
On a last minute, impulse decision I signed up with Brazed Races Summer Breeze 5k. I've run with them before and I was truly impressed with how they treat their runners and their volunteers. The people who run these races are truly nice and wonderful folks. Their runs are mostly on trails on the East and South Bay Area. Each run has a 1/2 mile, 10k and 5k option. And they even offer a "hikers half", they usually walk the half marathon and are given an early start. If you sign up for the race early you even get your name printed on your bib! 
The Summer Breeze run was done at the San Leandro Marina which was a very scenic park on the East Bay Area. The beginning of August was quite foggy and therefore it was a bit chilly this morning (thus this run has also been called the Summer Freeze). The route was along the bay and was mostly flat. It was pretty cool to watch the fog slowly lift as I was running. I so wanted to slow down and take pictures, but was to overcome with my need to get a PR. I was bummed coz I forgot to wear my Garmin. Although, I had on Runkeeper, I didn't really feel like taking it out of my utility belt every time I wanted to keep pace and I really don't wear headphones when I am running with a group of people. 
The Brazen Start Arch
                                            As I was running, there were a few thoughts running through my head:  First, I was thinking that although I wanted to PR, I also did not want to get injured. I had the Giant Race the next day and I am also training for my first half marathon. Second, I have never wanted to finish a race at a great time so bad, that I did not get any sleep the night before. I literally had two hours of sleep and I had to be at the location at 6am since the boys were volunteers (my race did not start till 8:30). I also kept thinking about how bad I was as a mom since I didn't stop to take pictures with my kids at the aid station!
Anyway, I reached the finished line in 32:06 minutes! I ended up number 14 in my age group (40-45). And contrary to what my husband said, there were more than 14 in my age group (there were actually 49)!
Brazen treats their runners like royalty with a massive feast at the finish line: bagels, snacks, candy, and yes this: 
The bling and the prize!
I came home ready to run the Giant's Race the next day!
The Giant's race was something that I have waited for for sometime now. I signed up for this race back in May. I even signed up for the San Jose Giant's race so I can get the take two award. I am a San Francisco Giants fan so the idea of a finish line on the baseball field was beyond awesome. I also get to run along the San Francisco Bay another plus. There were 20,000 plus runners from all the different distances. The energy around the ballpark was incredible. The sea of black and orange gearing up for this road race was pretty amazing. I was pumped. My wave started at 7 and seeing the Bay Bridge still shrouded in fog was cool. Once again, I did not stop to take many pictures since I was gunning for a PR. In hindsight, since this was my first Giants race, I probably should have taken the time to enjoy my surroundings. I ran a steady 11:10 pace the first 4 miles (this time, I wore my Garmin but the GPS did not connect till after mile and a half). I was only able to check my pace after the race on Runkeeper. I only walked a few minutes during each mile. The fifth mile was getting tougher, but I was determined to run on the field. So I kept running. I swear my face lit up when I saw the Park! I was so happy to see my husband cheering me on near the finish. 
Lit up in a good way!
Running into AT&T Park felt electric. The scoreboard was showing all the runners as we were crossing the finish line. I felt as if I was standing on hallowed ground, the world series Giants played their best games here.  I was to stretch were Buster Posey had stretched! I was on an unbelievable high! The medal was pretty awesome too. It was modeled after the 2012 World Series ring. I was too excited after the race, that it was too late when I realized that I didn't take many pictures at the finish either. I am still really bummed about that. I guess I am just going to have to wait until after I run the half marathon next year.

 I never thought that I would ever run for a PR. When I started running, I just wanted to do it for my health, happy that I am able to finish without fainting. It feel great to be able to run beyond what I thought my limits were. I still have those nagging doubts in the back of my head which tells me that this is all just a passing hobby. Something that I would never continue and it is a daily struggle to over come those doubts. 

Do you like taking pictures during your races? Do run for time or for the experience? Do share your thoughts!
The medals from the San Jose Giants race and the Giants race with the turn two award.