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Portlandia, Official Icon for Portland Oregon

Yay! All done! Finally, all those months (9 to be exact) of training have finally come to an end by (I wish I could say, with a bang!) completing the 26.2 mile marathon in Portland, October 4th, Sunday.

Such A Pig Bib, Medal & 26.2 Magnet

My Official Shirt & My Good-Luck Charms

Target time of 6.5 hours just didn’t quite happen. I had problems early on, at mile 3. The toes to my right foot started to scream at me, with intense burning sensation. I can only think, ‘Oh boy, there are 23 more miles to go. How am I gonna finish this?!’ I was totally miserable as I reached mile 14, where I had a complete exhausted feeling and racking my brain for new strategy. Mile 17, which is the highest peak of the race literally on the St. John’s Bridge, was supposed to be the WALL. My wall started at mile 14.

But I had weapons of distraction on the ready by then. I puffed the last puff of my asthma inhaler, put on my mp3 player and swallowed (yuck!) 2 of the 2x caffeine gel for a boost. That changed everything. I was able to pass about 20 racers (some of which were seniors and some who were shorter than me. hahahahaha!). Also, I noticed that the burning sensation on my toes had ceased; with the conclusion that my feet were swollen enough to elevate the toes from touching the bottom of my shoes.

I even cheered on racers who were dragging their limping legs, as I passed them by. I would say, ‘xxxx more miles to go. Pick up, pick up!’ But deep down, I’d say, ‘Darn, xxx more loooooong miles to go.’ Even the last mile seemed like forever to reach.

Finally, I see the finish line. Hardly anyone on the sidelines were cheering. But surprise, surprise, my training coach was there and was happy to see me. I was just going to wave to her, but she came and hugged me. It was really a nice gesture, but all I could think then was, ‘Hey, you’re delaying my finish time.’

So, what was my finish time? Let’s just put it this way………I beat the 8 hour clock! Because after 8 hours, the organizers were supposed to clear away the area. Unluckily for my race partner, who always beats me in the dust at other races, finished at a dismal 9 some hours. Others were still there till 10 hours. So, really, I shouldn’t be whining, right?

It’s just my first full marathon. One learns alot at any first time events, right? First time marathon….lots of lessons learned. I mean A LOT! During the race, all I could think of was WHY? WHY WERE YOU CRAZY ENOUGH TO THINK YOU CAN DO THIS?!

After the race, the mind set is in a different state. In a state of euphoria for:

  1. overcoming one’s self-doubt;
  2. not giving up; not even the thought of giving up;
  3. not succumbing to the mental circus of thoughts going on during the race;
  4. and lastly, for actually reaching the finish line.

There’s a wish (death wish?) that there would be more marathons to accomplish even if it meant ‘just walking them’. This is very addicting! In a positive way!

Notes of Importance from This Race:

  • The weather that started with rain overnight before the race, turned out really wonderful with overcast skies (hate sunshine!) and about high 30’s into 40’s, I think. So, no overheating feeling there.
  • I didn’t overdress, one lesson I learned from the Eugene Half Marathon.
  • I didn’t overload on crappy useless stuffs in my backpack.
  • From watching other racers, I saw a couple with Cyclist’s Vests on. They seemed happy without any burden to carry. Next time I will invest in one and put all my necessities in the back pocket.
  • And depending on the amenities of the race, I will minimize carrying my own water. Portland Marathon was great giving out water and electrolytes and gummy bears. For this race, I loaded up with my own electrolyte thinking I’ll just drink their water. After so many miles, I was getting sick of and bored with drinking & eating SWEET stuffs like such electrolytes (which by the way is an absolute necessity) and power bars. To this day, I don’t even want to mention power bars. AND GELS!
  • As for food, variety is the keyBeef Jerky, dried fruits, pretzels, cheese stix, and trail mix would give one a no humdrum feeling.
  • And last lesson learned: it’s not only the physical that we train to accomplish feats of impossibility, one has to tackle and train THE MIND. Long races play tricks on the mind. It can drive you insane (well, not literally).

So, onto other races. In the meantime, I would like to tackle running, I mean RUNNING (not walking) a 5K.

Until the next marathon…….I remain optimistic and positive. On to a healthier lifestyle! Remember, walking is a way of life, use it!

Behind the Start Line at the Fountain, Early Morning Prior to Race, Hardly Awake

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Yaaaaaay! What exhilaration! What accomplishment! The 3rd Annual Eugene Marathon is over!

The goal: to walk a half marathon (13.1 miles)

Target completion time: 4.5 hours

Accomplishment: Completed a half marathon in 3.5 hours!!!!!!!

Awards:

  • The medal (not a chocolate medal as I wished; and everyone got one);
  • A quarter-sized diameter of a blister on bottom of right foot;
  • A dead nail on one of the little toes of same right foot.

Medal for the Half Marathon

Post Race Notes

That’s my walking partner’s legs on the left and mine on the right. Check out how my right foot is stepping funny. That’s because the blister was intensely painful, like a blister on top of a blister.

That's me on the right!

I started limping at mile 4. The rain was steady at the start of the race and my socks and shoes were soaked. Decided not to change socks knowing if I did, the blister which I could feel had already adhered to the sock will rip open. Miserably, I limped till the end.

My walking partner got pulled along with the runners and had to run along with them. She finished 20 minutes ahead of me.

All along the course, I was tempted to check my time but held off till the end. The best and sweetest surprise was at the finish line when I could hardly believe my eyes. I shaved AN HOUR from my goal time. If only I could jump up and down at the finish line! But pain and fatigue prevented me from doing anything crazy like jumping or bending or anything. But sweet success, I did it!

And you’d think that after the race you are soooo hungry you could eat a horse or a cow, all  I just wanted to do was NOT TO PUKE. So I didn’t partake on the free pancakes. A banana, 2 bags of chips (for the salt intake), 3 bites of turkey subway sandwich were all I could stomach. Then it was off to a long, deep, relaxing massage. I actually napped till it was over.

We stayed till the end of the race. Although I forgot to take a photo at the start of the race (how could I when the area was jam-packed with people), I made sure to take a photo of the sixth-hour time.

Check out the time!

This week is a no-training week, a goof-off week. Then, on to a more rigorous training for the Portland Full Marathon (26.2 miles of hills and bridges) in October. My goal is to finish it at 6.5 to 7.5 hours considering the uphill battles. Mind you, during the race yesterday, I was actually asking/telling myself, “why, why, why am I here when this race is such a painful ordeal; why, why, why, oh why? I’ll never do this again!” After a day (today) of rest, I’m hooked. This is a new addiction! I can’t wait for the next training.

But before Portland Marathon, there’s the Butte-to-Butte 4.5 mile fitness walk. Butte-to-Butte has no 10k walking race, unfortunately.  Butte-to-Butte’s 10k run is brutal as the history indicates, with almost a vertical climb at the beginning of the race.

I might enter 1 or 2 more half marathons somewhere. We will see. It’s more like my knees will tell me.

Overall, I’m really, really glad I didn’t back out of this crazy idea to enter a marathon.

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Melanie Roach ~ An Inspiration

Truly a picture of motivation and influence to women! Let this video speak for itself!

She’s an inspiration!

I believe she placed 6th in the 53 kg. category of weightlifting in the 2008 Olympics. But it’s not the winning that matters, does it?

There are women out there who are plainly a great encouragement to other women. And I’m not talking about the self-absorbed ones with goals of flawless skins and perfect bodies; ambition towards recognition and ties to money and fame of Hollywood-like proportion.

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What? Olympic Rowing Is Over?

August has come, and now it’s almost gone.

With all things considered, I didn’t realize just how hectic my August daily schedule would be. I knew it would be busy, but that I would have some control of situations. Obviously not!

I missed most of the 2008 Olympic opening ceremony, games, controversies and highlights. What I regret most is missing the ROWING EVENTS. Darn! I saw a snippet of the prelims, but not the finals. I didn’t even know who won what category until now. Darn again!

If anyone is interested to see the results, USA Today offers it here. For me, the interest lies in the Final A ranking for Women’s Eight, Men’s Eight, Women’s Single Scull and Men’s Single Scull.

Women’s Eight: 1st place USA; 2nd Netherlands; 3rd Romania   Awesome USA team!

Men’s Eight: 1 Canada; 2 England; 3 USA  At least USA ranked up there!

Women’s Single Scull: 1 Bulgaria; 2 USA; 3 Belarus  USA Women Again!

Men’s Single Scull: 1 Norway; 2 Czech Republic; 3 New Zealand

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The Beauty & Grace That Is Rowing

Why am I broaching this subject here on this blog? Plenty of reasons why. First, I just saw the U.S. crew entry to the 2008 Summer Olympics. It all brought up bittersweet memories of rowing.

2008 Olympics rowing entry  (just be patient with those ads being plugged)

What is rowing?

 

Rowing is a very team-oriented sport. It’s not like basketball or baseball, etc., where one or two team members can pull up the game. In rowing, if one crew member is slacking, the boat speed can let you know. Synchronization is the key.

When you row, you do not see where you are going.   That’s when a coxswain (cox for short) comes in. A cox is the captain, guide, coach and the great motivator. A cox is actually the most important part of the crew. A good cox can lead you to victories or great finishes. A not-so-good cox can frustrate the team. But every one on the boat is as important as the next. A tall rower has the advantage; but the cox has to be lightweight because that person sits on the stern, the part that may put drag on the boat if weight is over 120. That’s why the cox and the bow (small or light person) need to balance the ends of the boat. The bow should even be lighter weight than the rest.

First year is the novice year. After that, it’s masters level (not necessarily because you become skilled). Being a master rower means you are beyond college level, or over 21 years of age. It takes 4 to 6 years of daily practice to become fully skilled in the art of rowing.

My Experience With Rowing

In 1996, I discovered rowing. My initial interest was in whitewater and recreational kayaking. A strong upper body is needed to be able to kayak. Since I already had stronger legs (due to dancing, maybe?) and wanting to have an all-around workout that would make kayaking more enjoyable and effective, rowing was the answer. I didn’t realized then how rowing could be more addicting than kayaking.

So, I joined the rowing club and took lessons. For about six years, in between making sure that my family needs came first, I made sure I had time for myself. Having to go to rowing practices gave me structure and goal. Looking at it now, at top form I was juggling taking care of #1 priority ~ my son ~ his schooling, his swimming sports, his recreation, quality time with him, bla-bla; #2 priority ~ Mr. Wonderful, who by the way, is like another child to be taken care of (hahaha!); working full-time night shift averaging 4 to 5 hours of sleep; and lastly, rowing. I cannot imagine now how I did it. It couldn’t be done, of course, without the help of and schedule coordination with Mr. Wonderful. But six wonderful years of rowing set up goals and commitments that other aspects of my life were able to conform. I lived and breathed rowing. Knitting (and even dancing) was cast aside.

I was the bow seat (since I was the smallest and lightest) in a crew of 8. We went to competition all over Washington and Oregon. I even competed once on a scull boat. I was dead last. Even with handicapping due to being the oldest, the score adjustment couldn’t get me bumped up. Fourth ’embarrasing’ place out of 4 competitors. hahahaha!

But no matter, I was lean, very healthy and life was happy. At 108 pounds, that was the lightest I had gotten as an adult. I had muscles. There was alot of practice time commitment, about 2 to 3 times a week. In the wee hours of a weekend day or 3 hours before dusk on week days, a group of 8 dedicated women would carpool to the lake and practice for an hour or so, be it rain, shine, snow, hail, fog, wind, or in darkness. It was always worth it.

However, six years after I joined, I had to stop. And I’m still regretting it to this day. A brief moment on any given day, the thought of rowing comes to mind. Never fails. Such regrets.

There were several reasons why I had to stop: 1) membership had gotten more and more expensive; 2) rigorous practice schedule; 3) there was more to life than just rowing; 4) and the most compelling reason to stop was KNEE INJURY.

I’m so miserable just talking about rowing and not being on the water. Just the sight of water excites me. Kayaking was also my other favorite past time. I had to stop that too because I’m just so miserable not being able to be on the water. Damn it! But wait, I have plenty of kayaking stories for next time.

Mr. Wonderful, at the least, is happy, that I’m doing neither kayaking nor rowing now. Once he asked me why can’t I just go jogging, running, or walking. Kayaking and rowing involve carrying and dragging around long, skinny boats ~ huge pieces of equipment that need huge energy and space. What can I say?! It’s just like knitting…..needing LOTS OF YARN!

Thus, such was the short-lived life of my rowing experience.

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Physics Over Sports Everytime

I’m trying to avoid posting about a Black Sheep Gathering interview I did for one of the alpaca owners; plus some more pictures I wanted to add, just like I promised on the past post. Don’t ask me why. Okay fine, I’m being lazy.

Mulling over what topics to blog about instead. Hmmm!

First I thought, the excitement has begun over the Pre-Olympic Track and Field games starting to happen this weekend into next week. If you are not a Track & Field enthusiast (just like me), let me fill you in. Hayward Field and even more importantly, Prefontaine, Bowerman and Phil Knight of Nike (yes, that Nike) put track & field and Oregon in the map. It’s like golf and Tiger Woods (disclaimer: for 21st century recognition anyway).

But honestly, since I have not quite an interest in track and field, I wasn’t sure I was comfortable making adulation about it and the Pre-Olympic Trial Games. So, it would probably not do justice if my descriptions of the games will not be 100% correct, since I’m just partial to the subject. But here it is anyway, for those who are interested in such sport.

Must be fair, must be fair!

HOWEVER……

I found something that really gave me exultation. The HADRON SUPERCOLLIDER is almost ready! Yehay! The New York Times has thorough coverage of this mammoth machine.

Inside the Hadron Collider Complex

It will be functional in August. However, with all the hype to get to that point, it will make or break the physics world or the earth itself. Scary, huh? I am! But excited nonetheless! Imagine what new discoveries we can find outside of earth. One scientist mentioned that we may discover more than 4 dimensions that we already know about. Oh, I’m swooning! I might faint. So gotta go! Tat-tat for now.

HAVE A FUN SUMMER by the way! At least for the people in the U.S. and other places that have the same summer time as we do. The rest, HAVE FUN anyway!

 

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