Pacing Recap: Brazen Victory Half 2018

Hello! February went by in a blur, and here we are, almost 4 weeks since I last blogged. I’m doing well for the most part. Still adjusting to the “new” job — I went to a work meeting/conference in Dallas during the 2nd week of February, came home for 36 hours, then T and I went LA to see Mike and Katie (of RaceRaves fame!) for President’s Day weekend. I logged my lowest weekly mileage ever during half marathon training — 2.3 miles, on a treadmill, in between work meetings. But, you know, what’s done is done. Or rather, what’s not done isn’t done. 😉

Hiking with Mike and Katie at Temescal Canyon

I came back from that 2.3 mile week and got back on the training horse, doing my usual ~10 miles during the week. That Saturday (the 24th), I headed to Richmond to pace the 2:20 group at Brazen’s Victory Half Marathon. This is one of the newer Brazen races and I had yet to run it. It starts up near Richmond Marina, then runs south along the shoreline to the Albany bulb (just north of Golden Gate Fields), then back again to Richmond. Admittedly, it’s not the most exciting course — I’ve run these paths many times during marathon training and it’s often a “let’s put on headphones and put one foot in front of the other” kind of slog. However, it is extremely flat, and on a clear day (like last Saturday), there are beautiful views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.

I got to the race at 7am, when I was supposed to meet my fellow Trivalley Running Group pacers, but no one was there yet. It was unusually cold (real feel 32 degrees F!), so I went back to my car to stay warm. Eventually, it was time to face the weather and I met up with the pacing team at 7:30 for a group photo.

Pre-race Group Photo (PC: NT)

After some more shenanigans (I was unusually disoriented that morning — * foreshadowing *), I did a short warmup and lined up in the start corral at 7:50.

So the two things I regret about pre-race preparation (or lack thereof): not looking at the course map and not knowing where the aid stations were. Not a huge deal, but I feel like, as a pacer, I should be able to give runners some basic information. There was also a huge gap between the 2nd and 3rd aid station (and subsequently, the 4th and 5th aid stations), for which I felt it would have been good to be mentally prepared.

At 8:00 a.m., the airhorn sounded and we were off. I was really lucky during this race to have people running with me almost the whole time. There are some races where I’m pacing no one — not even someone who might be following me, like 10 seconds behind. Sometimes there are people around but not all of them want to engage in conversation. So, it’s a total crapshoot.

quarter mile_PC

At the start of the race (quarter mile in). Photo: PC

For the first couple of miles, I was running with A. My legs already felt heavy and it was only mile 2. Oh well. I lost A at an aid station, but picked up M, who was using the race as a training run for the L.A. Marathon. We chatted on and off until the halfway point, where she decided she needed a stretch break. I noticed that we were running just a tad faster than 10:40/mile (according to my Garmin), but my time elapsed was on track at each mile marker. So, I went with the mile markers instead of my Garmin, which is what I tend to do when I’m pacing.


Around Mile 1. Photo: Brazen


Somewhere near the turnaround.

After I completed the lap at the Albany loop, which is the only section that’s not on pavement, I ended up talking to W. We ran together pretty much for the rest of the race. W told me that if he stuck with me, he’d have a 4+ minute PR. Challenge accepted! At about 9.5 miles, I pulled off course to make use of park restrooms (yay flushing toilets). I sprinted for a few minutes to catch up with W. I was happy that I made up my time lost (about 3 minutes) and maybe that’s what led me to zone out a bit. I somehow missed a turn and ran through a set of red cones.

albany bulb

Finishing the loop at the Albany Bulb and about to catch up to W. Photo: Brazen.

Thinking back, I must’ve seen the aid station in the distance and subconsciously decided to run towards it on the shortest path possible. As I approached the aid station, a runner came from an adjoining trail came up and yelled towards me, “Hey, you cut the course!” I was completely stunned and confused. One of the aid station volunteers confirmed that I had come from the wrong direction. What made it worse was that I had about 5 runners following me. The aid station captain was just about to call Sam, one of the race organizers, to ask him what we should do when W pointed out that we didn’t run too far off course — we could just go back to where we missed the turn and get back on course. Thank goodness for W’s clear thinking! It was probably a 100 yards, so not that bad of a mistake. I was pretty annoyed at myself nonetheless.

I ran hard back to the missed turn and tried to make up for lost time, apologizing profusely to those who followed me. In the craziness of it all, I stopped my Garmin out of habit, so now I had no idea how much time I lost during that whole debacle. I decided to estimate chip time based on time of day — assuming that we started right at 8:00 a.m., and that I crossed the start line about 30 seconds after. I still felt like I was running (time) blind, something a pacer shouldn’t be doing. Even though I picked up the pace, I was relieved to see that W was still with me. I managed to pick up a couple more runners in the last mile, too, who seemed happy to be finishing with the 2:20 pacer.

This is the first time I’ve crossed the finish line as a pacer with no idea what my finish time was. So, I was super relieved to see that I finished in 2:19:37, 23 seconds off my target. Even better, I helped W achieve a 4+ minute PR. Victory indeed! But still, there were some valuable lessons learned — I need to be more on top of things before and during races. And never, ever stop my watch!



About the race:

  • Organizers: Brazen Racing
  • Cost: (n/a, I was a pacer)
  • Course: Out and back course: starts at the Richmond Marina, runs south along the shoreline to Albany, and back again. Completely exposed, so can be warm if the sun is out. Total elevation gain/loss: 125 feet according to my Garmin. I was surprised to see that because it seemed completely flat. Asphalt/cement for a most of the course, with a small gravel/dirt loop at the turnaround in Albany.
  • Parking: Plentiful and free.
  • Aid stations: 6 with water and Ultima electrolyte drink. There was probably food, but I didn’t look for any. There was a large gap (about 4 miles) between Aid 2 & 3, and Aid 4 & 5. On a warmer day, that would have been brutal.
  • Bathrooms: Many porta potties at the start and some park bathrooms en route.
  • Swag: Nice looking war ship — Richmond was where ships were built during WWII (and home of “Rosie the Riveter”). If people ran the Bay Breeze, they got a special connector piece that connects both medals for the B2V challenge. Lots of food afterwards, as usual. Free race photos taken by volunteers.
  • Misc.: This race has decent PR potential, depending on the weather. Though it was cold at the start, I eventually warmed up. The scenery is a mixed bag — there are a few nice views of SF and the Golden Gate Bridge, but also quite a few lackluster areas. As always, Brazen puts on a good race. This would be a good race to try to PR (weather permitting), or for those looking for a easy, fun run that’s not super crowded.
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Posted in Pace Group, Race Recap

Race Recap: 2018 Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon

I’m taking the microblogging format to race recaps, y’all! Let’s keep this brief and to the point. The day before the race, I carb-loaded like a champ, with pancakes, leftover spaghetti, and chicken rice porridge (congee/jook). I woke up around 5:00am on race morning, with the goal of getting to the Great Highway parking lot by 6:30am because I remembered that I waited until closer to 7:00 last year and it was almost full.


All of the post-race drinks ready for consumption. The La Colombe triple latte was AMAZING — flavored with cane sugar and comes with lactase (so it’s lactard-friendly!) #NotAnAd

My strategy was to race by feel, with my Garmin displaying time of day rather than lap pace. I was glad that I didn’t have a time goal because it was going to be warm for February in SF — likely in the 70’s and partly sunny by the time I finished. Pre-race logistics went well, and soon I had managed to spot SP, KH, and Angela just by hanging out by the porta potties. 😉 We chatted for a little bit before getting into the start corral. No pre-race selfies — because I’m a #badblogger.

At about 8:10, we were off! It took me about 2 minutes to actually cross the start line. KPSFHM one of the largest half marathons in California, I think. I noticed that, even before I started running, I was already sweating. Yikes. Anyway, instead of giving you a mile-by-mile recount, here are the snapshots I remember from the race:

  • Mile 0.5-1.5: This race tends to be crowded at the start, so I tucked in behind 3 women running abreast. They were running at a good pace for me, so I kinda let them do the dodging, weaving, and getting people out of the way. I think this might be a good strategy in the future!
  • Mile 3: first Gu of the race (I ate one about 15 minutes before the race started). Salted Caramel, yum.
  • Mile 4.5: mental chatter/whining started – a bit early for negativity, I thought! I pushed those thoughts aside and forced myself to smile and be patient. As we’re always telling my 11 year old nephew, “We’ll get there when we get there.”
  • Mile 5.5: my absolute favorite part of the course! The elevation drops significantly as runners go toward the ocean. I saw a 9 (?) year old girl running with her dad, just chugging along, like it was NBD. I wanted to give her a high-five and tell her how cool she was, but I didn’t want to be patronizing.
  • Mile 6.5: I see and cheer for the first place male coming in to finish the race (the last 6 miles are out and back). As I turn left onto the Great Highway, I take a deep breath and finish the rest of my 2nd Gu.
  • Miles 7-9: I search for Angela and SP, who I expect to see coming back (on the out and back), but I only see SP. I also saw Devon Yanko and yelled out a garbled, “Go, Devon!” (my throat was pretty dry)
  • Mile almost-10: I made it to the turnaround! Woot!
  • Miles 10-13: death march, as usual. I focus on a few runners ahead of me with good form. I promise to try to stay with them. In particular, I stick with 2 guys with blue camo tees, and a woman in a red singlet. The woman and I run side by side for the last mile before we make the final turn into Golden Gate Park.
  • Last bit: That hill into GGP always kills me. As I climb up, I exchange a few cheerful words with an older gentleman, who kindly reminds me to focus on my form and use my arms. This seems like a good idea until I remember how weak my upper body is. Finally, I follow the gentle right turn of the road and see the finish line. I have no gas for a final sprint.
  • After I finish: The red singlet lady sprinted past me at the last minute, then thanked me — she had been using me to pace her at the end. I told her I had been following her too, on the Great Highway, so it was a two-way street. Good feelings all around.

Here are my splits (Garmin):Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 2.58.37 PM


Post-race selfie with SP

A few notable things (at least to me, anyway):

  • I think my splits were pretty even if you take into account elevation changes and weather. I think there was probably a slight tailwind on the “out” portion — miles 7-9, and a headwind on the back portion — miles 11-3… though I could’ve also been getting tired.
  • I finished 4 minutes faster than last year, despite the warmer weather and coming off a smaller fitness base (2016 vs. 2017 as a whole). I think running by feel might be my new thing, y’all.
  • This ranks 3rd out of 4 Kaiser SF Halfs in terms of finishing time, but I’m pretty happy with how I ran the race. I felt like I gave it my all.
  • I might have discovered a solution to my pre-race caffeine issues. It’s complicated and a bit TMI, but I’ve had bathroom problems if I have coffee before a race. Even tea can upset my stomach. But if I don’t have any caffeine, it leaves me feeling deflated and tired. So, I decided to experiment with one shot of espresso with a lot of almond milk (basically a latte). My theory was that the milk would balance out the espresso and hopefully not upset my stomach too much. And it seems to have worked (knock on wood!).
  • This was a productive race in terms of giving me a point of reference for Oakland next month and for practicing pre-race and race day logistics.
  • Post-race recovery has been kind of brutal. I was a little sore, but very, very tired on Monday. I’m still feeling a bit run down (pun intended) 4 days out from the race. I guess this is what being an older runner means??

After the race, Angela kindly hosted bRUNch at their temporary digs. There was great food and even better company. I neglected to take any photos because: #badblogger. But here’s a fun one from bt:


Cheers! (Sweaty lens “filter” LOL)

Official race results:
2:01:19 (9:15/mile)
1862/4971 overall, 634/2404 F, 93/330 (F 40-44)

Logistics can be found on my previous race reports (here and here). They have essentially stayed the same except that the t-shirt and medal have both improved in design and quality.


The little blue whale moves!

p.s. Did you run Kaiser? If so, post your review on RaceRaves by 2/18 for a chance to win a free entry into next year’s race and other cool prizes!

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So you’re running a race next week?

The first month of 2018 is almost behind us. That means the Kaiser SF Half is next week! I feel like once I decided that Kaiser was no longer going to be my goal race, I stopped seriously training for it. Despite my best intentions, no midweek workouts got done. Whomp whomp. I did manage to have two pretty decent long runs – last Sunday and today. Before we get to that, though, here are the stats from the last two weeks:

Week of 1/15:

  • number of runs: 4
  • total miles: 19 (sad)
  • long run: 9.8 trail miles (with 2000′ elevation gain!)
  • non-running activities: none 😦

Week of 1/22:

  • number of runs: 5
  • total miles: 24.2
  • long run: 12 miles
  • non-running activities: 2.9 miles of faster pace walking (Friday)

So last week’s long run on trails was good in many ways — I got to spend a couple of hours with DD in the redwood forest, and it was an incredible workout. However, I could tell during the run that my muscles were already crying out for bloody murder. In fact, when we got back to the parking lot after 7.7 miles (that took us almost 2 freaking hours!), DD practically had to drag me out for another 2.3 to make it 10 miles for the day — something I had told her I wanted to do at the start of the run. We trudged along at 12 min/mile pace. I was glad we got more miles, but man were my legs beat! I haven’t been that sore/limped like that since after CIM 2016. It took me almost 4 days to get back to normal. My first run back on Tuesday was a slog, and Wednesday’s run was only slightly better.

Fortunately, by this morning’s long run, things had improved dramatically. I ran 12 flat miles along the Bay Trail, finishing with some faster-ish miles. I figured that if I want to run sub-10 minute miles next week at Kaiser, it might be good for me to practice physically and mentally. A little bit of self-induced “suffering” never hurts in terms of building grit. The last two miles (9:21, 9:07) felt TOUGH. Plus, it took me 2h3m to run 12 miles… which makes goal setting a little dubious next week. On the other hand, this was my longest run since December 3rd, and my biggest week since then as well. So hopefully after a little bit of rest this week, I should be feeling good?


Sunny, clear skies and 60 degrees in January. California living is good.

OK, so on to race day strategies. Honestly, I don’t have any concrete plans since Kaiser isn’t a goal race. And because I haven’t truly raced a half marathon in over a year, I think it might be fun to run Garmin-blind. I’ll switch my watch to time of day and just focus on staying present and running to my potential. I’ve run Kaiser 3 times previously, and my finishing times have been 1:58:51 (2014), 2:00:23 (2015), 2:05:13 (2017). I don’t think I’m in shape to finish under 2 hours or even beat 2:00:23, but I’d like to finish under last year’s time. Whatever happens, the good news is that there’s already bRUNch plans in place with good food, champagne, and fun friends. Cheers!

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Posted in Trail running, Training

2017: Year in Books

After reading/listening to 36 books in 2016, I set my goals at 30 books for 2017. Sadly, I only read 18 books. I blame this on the fact that I spent most of the year listening to political podcasts instead of reading. The good news for you is that this should make the list easier to read! I’ll list them in order of most to least favorite:


Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa
I tend to enjoy novels where each chapter jumps around — either from different characters’ perspectives or through time. YHIAMTSOAF was one of those books. The story focuses on the day of the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle, which broke out into riots. Each chapter is written from the perspective of a different character, and I appreciated that the author makes an effort to make each voice human – from the protesters to the cops to the WTO delegate from Sri Lanka. The two main characters are Victor, an earnest 19-year old, who accidentally joins the protest, and his step-father Bishop, who happens to be the chief of police. There are so many layers of the story… I can’t really explain how great this book was. I haven’t been moved by a book like this in quite some time; I think the last one that affected me so much was A Little Life.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Best novel I’ve read in a while. Adichie manages to pull off the trifecta: compelling characters, engaging plot, and depth (including commentary on race, immigration, poverty, sexism).


Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Homegoing starts off as a story about 2 half sisters in Ghana in the 1700s who grew up not knowing about each other, and continues as an epic geneology of their descendants to present day. One sister is sent to America on a slave boat, while the other stays in Ghana, the wife of a British slaver. Through each chapter, a different voice is presented, describing an experience from that place and time. I felt like I learned a lot about the slave trade, Jim Crow, desegregation, and Ghanaian culture and history — all from the first-hand lens of these well-developed characters. Highly recommended.

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
Fantastic as far as memoirs go. I laughed, I cried, I learned a lot about South Africa and how it was to grow up colored (mixed race) in the post apartheid era.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck
This is one of T’s favorite books. I also really enjoyed it, even though it took me about 2 months to finish it because it’s really long. I wish I had written a fresh review right after I finished it, but thinking back about it, I thought it was a really lovely story about the lives that people led, whether people decided to open themselves up to others or stay closed off… of course there’s a lot of allegory (Eden, brothers – one good and one bad, the evil woman/Eve, etc.) I did eventually get invested in the characters but I didn’t love them the way T does. After I finished it, I could see how East of Eden is viewed as Steinbeck’s best and one of the best American novels ever written.

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama
I requested Dreams from My Father from the library after watching Southside with You – the movie based on Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date. I realized that I only knew the vague outlines of Barack Obama’s life, and I wanted to find out more. The book documents Obama’s early life in Hawaii, Indonesia, back in Hawaii, Southern California, NYC, Chicago, ending with his trip to Kenya just before going to Harvard Law School. I found it really well written and an insightful look at what it was like to grow up biracial in so many different places. It’s also the story of a young man living in the shadow of a father that he never knew. Reading this memoir in the light of the fact that Obama went on to become the 44th President of the United States is extremely awe-inspiring. And of course, there’s the contrast between 44 and 45 that I won’t need to elaborate on here.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Short and sweet fantastical story. Gaiman successfully treads the line between wholesome childhood memory and monstrous horror (but nothing too scary, I promise).


The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
3.5 stars. I picked up this book at a book swap because I remember liking the film adaptation. It took me a while to get into it – the author switches rapidly between different characters and timepoints, so it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on. The prose is poetic and the characters well-developed, but I found myself having to re-read entire paragraphs. There were definitely some things I had to look up (Gilf Keber, sapper, Almasy) – otherwise I would’ve been completely lost. It’s lovely in its own way, but it wasn’t my favorite.

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
A solid 3 stars. I wanted to love this book- I feel like the “woman scientist memoir” genre is severely lacking. My expectations were tempered by my friend MK’s lukewarm recommendation as she gifted me her copy. Jahren’s writing is quite good, but I had two major issues with the book: one, I could not relate to her personally at all. I feel like her story may give the impression to the public that all scientists are anti-social workaholic weirdos — which many are, but not all. Two, I’m not a plant person and I never will be. Her plant analogies and metaphors failed to stir any feelings within me. I enjoyed the second half of the book much more than the first. Like MK mentioned, I wish that Jahren fleshed out some of the discrimination or unfair treatment she experienced as a female scientist rather than making quick references here and there. I recall only one incident where she discussed in detail how she was treated differently as a (pregnant) woman.

All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister
I really wanted to like this book based on principle, but I found it to be too scattered. I wish the author had focused more on specific topics. Some chapters were full of paragraphs where she jumped from one anecdote or statistic to another. It was hard to keep track of all of the points that were being made.

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
(Fiction) I enjoyed the writing and the first half of the book. The second half of the book got a bit melodramatic and out of control; I started wondering what was the point. The ending is disappointing. So I’d say it started off with 4 stars and ended at 2.

The Vegetarian by Han Kang
*audiobook review*
This is an intense and bizarre novel about a woman who, after having a series of dreams, decides to become a vegetarian overnight – and then proceeds to engage in some very strange behavior. It’s written in 3 sections: one from her husband’s perspective (with interspersed sections from the perspective of the main character), one from her brother-in-law, and one from her sister. The story is engaging and it’s interesting that the reader never truly gets a clear explanation from the main character. I wouldn’t mind reading the book again (instead of listening) because I feel like I missed some crucial details and also some of the imagery.

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen
This was a collection of short stories about Vietnamese refugees and immigrants. Even though I’m not a refugee, I expected to connect with some of the stories because I’m an immigrant and an Asian American. However, I never really felt anything while reading these stories, and I can’t recall a single character or plot line. I still would like to read Nguyen’s The Sympathizer.

Moranifesto by Caitlin Moran
2.5 stars. I went into this book with high expectations because Moran’s “How to be a Woman” was one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. I think if I had more time with Moranifesto, and read each essay over a longer period of time, I would’ve enjoyed it more. Alas, I borrowed it from the library, so I had a limited window of time to finish it. I forced myself to read several essays in a sitting. The essays are so short that, even though they are entertaining, don’t linger with you for long. There were many British references that went straight over my head. And while I generally agree with the author’s political stance, I found the arguments a bit irritating (not sure why).


Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris, David Javerbaum, Antony Hare (Illustrator)
2.5 stars. Interesting concept to break up your typical play-by-play celebrity memoir. I got the e-book version from the library and the app wouldn’t let me jump from chapter to chapter (the links didn’t work). So I missed out on the “Choose Your Own Adventure” aspect. I like NPH, but he’s only a bit older than me and this book felt a bit self-indulgent. I had zero interest in the chapters about magic and, though his love for his children is clear, it was also a bit much. (I should note that some celebrities – e.g., Amy Poehler – manage to write lovingly *and* movingly about their children.) The nice thing about the format is that each chapter was at the most 5 pages, so I could move one quickly from one to the next.

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
2.5 stars. I received this book as a birthday present. It’s my first novel by Alice Hoffman, and I was looking forward to it because I had heard great things about her other books. ‘Rules’ fell flat for me…maybe because it’s about the kind of whimsical/superstitious magic that’s never appealed to me. Or maybe because I didn’t fully related to or liked the characters. Even when horrible things happened to the main characters, I didn’t feel invested because I always felt like they’d be ok. For example, when they’re supposedly bankrupt/destitute, they still manage to find a cute house in the Village and somehow survive by selling little trinkets/charms?? Also, the prose caused me to roll my eyes a lot…like every other paragraph just about. There was a lot of telling, not showing.

In the Woods by Tana French
Meh. It’s an interesting enough premise: a detective is assigned to solve a murder of a 12-year old girl in the very same woods where his two childhood friends disappeared 20 years ago. Unfortunately, I felt like it was about 150 pages too long, and after a while, I just didn’t care who did it or what happened. I also started hating the main character. Yes, he’s flawed like so many in this genre, but in a very unlikable and annoying way (IMO).

It’s Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak Into Happily Never After by Andi Dorfman
I don’t know if I’m more embarrassed about wanting to read this book enough to request it from the library, or about finishing it in 2 days. As I expected, it’s not very well written, full of cliches that appeal to the 20-something “basic” female demographic to which this book is targeted. However, as a fan of the Bachelor/ette franchise, it’s quite satisfying in its tell-all format. Any satisfaction was followed immediately by remorse though, much like indulging in too much junk food.

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Happy Friday

Hi there! Friday afternoon is probably the worst time to post (in terms of views), but the best time for me logistically, so here I am. I think I’ll restart some semblance of a training log, just to keep myself accountable that yes, I’m actually training for a race now. Otherwise, it’s too easy for me to skip/reschedule/shorten runs.

Last week’s stats:

  • number of runs: 5
  • total miles: 21.9
  • long run: 8 miles
  • non-running activities: 2.4 miles of walking, half-hearted attempts at pull-ups

This week hasn’t been stellar so far. I haven’t been able to get to bed as early as I want to, so I’ve had a hard time waking up in the morning. On Tuesday, I was able to sleep in and run at lunch time. However, after a late dinner with colleagues on Wednesday, my Thursday morning run was pushed to this morning… it’s weird how it’s been ingrained in me that Mondays and Fridays are rest days. Unless it’s a day off work, I cannot motivate myself to run usually. But this morning, I made myself do it! Yay for me. It’s the small victories, you know?

I will say that the highlight of last week was the 8 miler with KH and SP. Sure, I probably should’ve run 10, but whatevs. The time went by SO fast and we were able to push the pace (relatively, like 10-20 seconds/mile) while talking, so it was all good.


KH & I on the Bay Trail in Hayward (pc: SP)

This weekend, I’m planning on doing 10 tough trail miles with DD. Two weeks out from Kaiser, I probably should be doing 12+ on some rolling pavement, but I’d rather tackle some trails with good company. It’s a good thing that Kaiser is no longer my training run!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

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So, those of you who follow me on Strava probably already know that I’m not training for Kaiser as a goal race anymore. Even before I went to Taipei, I had a feeling that my fitness wasn’t at the level it needed to be to hit my goals, and that my target paces were too fast for what my body could reasonably handle. It was only week 1 of training and I was already adjusting workouts, so I knew I was in trouble. Then, there was Christmas, followed by a 14 hour plane ride to the other side of the Pacific Ocean. Jet lag and the desire to spend as much time as possible with my family trumped everything, not just running, but other leisurely things I had planned on doing such as blogging, organizing photos on my computer, and reading.

As for running, I think I could’ve done the shorter workouts — as it was, I ran about an hour every other day. However, going out for a 1.5-2 hour long run twice during my 12 day visit just seemed self-indulgent. It was actually stressing me out a little too. So, I made a decision early on in my visit to push back training. I’d put in the “unsexy miles” (credit: Elle) during my Taiwan trip, use Kaiser as a long run/workout, and make the Oakland Half my goal race. As soon as I made that decision, I breathed a big sigh of relief. I mean, it’s not good to make goals and then push them back or scrap them altogether. However, when it comes to my health, family, and friends — those come first. My parents are 76 years old and my mom, in particular, is aging at an alarming rate. My annual trip to Taiwan is the only time I get with them all year. Do I spend that time running or do I spend it with them, watching TV and talking about nothing important in particular (though occasionally, some really good things come up in those moments)? I chose the latter and I don’t regret my decision one bit.

I got back Sunday night to a rain storm in the Bay Area. My plan for January is to run a tad more than I had been in Nov/Dec — about 25-30 mpw, with maybe 1 tempo run or a 2 x 2-mile interval run once a week. Then, I’ll start training for Oakland at the beginning of February.

I’ve also been considering my running goals for the rest of 2018. Maybe I should go for another half marathon later this year, or a fall marathon. Or maybe I’ll copy Cathryn and do multiple half marathons this year, with the idea of spreading out my training into several efforts. The other thing I’m tempted to do, and the complete opposite, is to do one or two 5Ks a month and see how fast I can get at the shorter end. Yet another (disparate) goal I had in mind was to do the Brazen Dirty Dozen 6 hour race. I don’t really have a strong desire to do another 50K right now, but for some reason, the idea of a 6 hour race seems intriguing. Clearly, I have no idea what my goal for 2018 should be! I think part of the ambiguity has to do with my new job. I’m still trying to figure out when the busy periods are and how to best coordinate that with training.

I’ll end this post with a slideshow of photos from my Taiwan trip. Enjoy!

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2017: Year in Running

Greetings from Taiwan, and Happy (belated) New Year! I’ve been here for about 11 days already, but I haven’t had much time to blog until now. I hope everyone’s 2018 has been off to a good start so far.

Even though this past year has been quite lackluster on the blog posting front, I thought I’d stick to my annual tradition of doing a year-end summary. Here are the wrap-ups from 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Best Race Experience:
I didn’t bag any PRs in 2017, but I did manage to successfully execute my race strategy at several races. Performance-wise, I’d say that the Alameda Holiday Kick Off 5K was the most successful. I surprised myself by finishing first in my age group. Woot!


Best Run:
I think this has to be the 13 mile Marin trail run back in April. We had such beautiful weather and the company was fantastic. IMG_0550

Best Piece of New Gear:
Technically, I bought my first pair of Lululemon Speed Shorts in 2016, but they’ve been my go-to shorts for long runs. They’re super lightweight, breathable, and cute (if I do say so myself)!


Pacing at Summer Breeze in August in my speed shorts

Most Inspirational Runner:
This may sound cheesy and generic, but I’m more inspired by my (real and virtual) friends than pro-athletes. Everyday people who are able to balance family and work on top of training get serious kudos from me.

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Just run, even if life gets in the way. It doesn’t have to be fast/pretty. 😉

And now for the numbers:

Miles: 831 (Garmin Connect) — beating out 2012’s total by one mile!

Races: 10, in reverse chronological order

PRs: zero

Age Group Awards: One – Alameda Holiday Kick Off 5K (1st out of 26)

Reflections: 2017 was the first time in the past 5 years when I didn’t run more than 1000 miles. On one hand, it’s disappointing — I would’ve liked to keep the streak going. On the other hand, 831 miles isn’t bad considering that 2017 was also the first year where I haven’t trained for a marathon (since 2012). There were also some major life obstacles that took priority, such as anniversary party planning (July) and interviewing for/starting a new job (Sept-Oct). I’m actually proud of myself for being fairly consistent without an overarching goal. I hope to get back into training for something in 2018 — more on that in a future post!


This was somehow one of the most memorable but also one of the most miserable runs I’ve ever done. Loved the company, but I was chilled to the bone for hours afterwards!


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On the docket…

2/5/18 – Kaiser SF Half Marathon
3/25/18 – Oakland Half Marathon

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