January 2015

Welcome to 2015…..

I started the New Year out with the Rose Parade Bandit Run, an unofficial sanction race. I did this last year and it was a lot of fun.

One of the floats

The Rose Parade Bandit Run starts around 4:30am in the morning. We run the parade route in reverse. The route out is about 5.5 miles to the floats. This gives us abut 30-45 minutes to look at the floats up close. Then we run back before the parade starts.

What makes this so much fun is all the people who have stayed over night on the parade route. Unfortunately, this year with the colder weather, there weren’t that many people sleeping, walking around, or just talking within their own groups. But regardless, it was still a lot of fun though a bit on the cold side.

Some of us stopped on the way back at a pub for some substance, be it beer and/or food. I opted for the food as I couldn’t quite stomach having a beer that early in the morning.

Patty, Chris and I ran back just before the parade got near the pub. I’m glad to say we did beat the floats and the bands as they came down the route or else, we would have been running on the sidewalk with all of the people waiting for the parade to reach them.

I opted not to register for any races prior to the LA Marathon. I wanted to be sure I stayed focused on my training for this, my first marathon.

View from Del Cerro Park

Overall, the training has gone well. I do worry that I am not getting the long miles in. The main reason is we are still running/walking mountains. Most of these runs are about 6-7 miles up a mountain which we try to run as much as possible then 6-7 miles running back down.

So I’m not feeling that ready yet. Though I have been reassured that all of this mountain running/walking is building my endurance that I will need to do the 26.2 miles.

I did do an extra mountain run/walk on January 19th with a group of SoleRunners up to Mount Lowe. In the early 1900s, a railroad and cable car transported people up to the hotel and tavern. There was also an observatory before fires and winds destroyed it all a few short years later.

Mount Lowe...Inspiration Point

Mount Lowe…Inspiration Point

This hike/ran was by far the most challenging of all the mountain “runs” I have done. We did a combination of hiking and running up Mount Lowe’s trails hugging the mountain side, stepping over old tracks, and chicken type of wire that prevented the rocks from slipping as we stepped on them. And we ran the majority of the way down, all the while, trying not to slip on the loose rocks and gravel on the trail or go over the side.

My leg muscles were certainly achy for a day or two after that hike. But I certainly felt like a badass as this hike took us about 5 1/2 hours to do 11 1/2 miles with an elevation climb of over 4500 feet along with our stops to enjoy the magnificent views of the LA Basin and beyond.

The fish at San Pedro's pier.

The fish at San Pedro’s pier.

I ended the last day of January with my longest run, 4 hours. And by far, the most miles I have ever run, 17! My feet and mainly three toes on my right foot hurt by the time I got done.

I must say I was surprised that by the end of the day after a nap, my body felt fine and even my three toes and both feet no longer hurt.

As we end this first month of 2015, are you on target for your goals? What are you doing that is keeping you focused? Or are you trying to get back on track?


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December 2014

This gallery contains 4 photos.

The year is ending and with that, this is the time to spend with family and friends to celebrate. It’s also a time where the days are shorter, weather tends to bring overcast clouds, and thoughts turn inward. I love long, warm, … Continue reading

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November, Birthday Month!

November is my birthday month. It is also the month where I like to really reflect on my life and what I want to achieve personally in my life for the next year.

For this coming year, there are really only two items I would like to achieve. Both will require me to stay extremely focused. One is personal and the other is business.

For my huge personal item, it is a marathon. My target is the LA Marathon on March 15th.

As anyone who has trained for a marathon knows, the training schedule requires a commitment of your time. It’s not only running 2-3 times but it means strength training with lots of squats, planks, pushups, and bridges, then there is yoga, and spin class all of this just during the work week.

Then we come to the weekends. Saturdays are long runs. Right now, we are still in the fairly easy part of the runs. But within the next few weeks, the runs will be harder. We are running hills that are steep. And our runs will go up to 5+ hours.

What concerns me the most will be whether my body can hold up to the 3+ hours of running up and down hilly trails.

So with that concern in mind, I have decided not to go ahead and pay for my registration just yet until I feel more comfortable on whether my body can do this or not.

My business goal is one of being more focused and to grow my business by 20%. Other than that, I can’t elaborate with all the compliance we have to contend with.

So with both of these huge goals for 2015, I will have to make sure I manage my days to achieve what I need to do every day. And when I get discouraged, I will have to remind myself of one of my favorite quotes from Laozi “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

With the new year almost upon us, what are your big goals for the year? Do you have goals that scare you? Goals that stretch your imagination?



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June/July 2014

First, there was the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, vacation, and then recovery!

This Rock ‘n’ Roll Half was fun though I knew I wouldn’t PR due to my surgery in May, not being motivate and able to train like I normally do. But it was fun to spend the time with BJ, my son-in-law. He, of course, did his in 2:16 while I did mine in 3:11. Not my best time nor my worst but I also knew without training properly for it, I figured on around 3 hours to finish.

I do think this is their biggest turn-out for all of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series. I was floored by the amount of people moving around during the race and afterwards. And as always, this event is well planned out. Now if they could get the weather to cooperate that would have been even better. It was humid and hot which is unusual for San Diego.

Vacation deserves a whole post by itself so please read my post on Vacation 2014 once I get it finished.

After vacation, I immediately flew to Tampa Bay, Florida for a workshop for my business. They call the room in which the event is held in “The War Room.”  It is well-named as 20 of us sat through 2 1/2 days of mind blowing step by step talks on how to build a team. I’m certainly looking forward to putting all this new knowledge to work in growing my own real estate mortgage team.

These last two months, running again took a somewhat backsit to the rest of my life. I’m glad to say I did run while on vacation so I have been able to get miles in but not as many as I normally do in a month.

It did take me about two to three weeks to get back into the groove of training as jet lag took a toll on my sleep and whole body.

I started training again with my running coach, Steve, but instead of doing one-on-one, I am doing his group training with his SoleRunners. I’m so glad I decided to do my training this way this time as I’m having so much fun. Though it is a drive for me to train with them, I am finding that in the first few weeks with them, my pace is getting better and I have a lot less aches.

Instead of running miles each week, we run by time which is new for me but I’m settling into this way of training. One advantage of this is we all get back around the same time. Another advantage as with every group of runners, we all run at a different pace so there is always a couple of runners who run at your pace. You always have someone to run with. Also there is a huge emphasis on loosing up before we start running and stretching via yoga after we are done. These are normally done as a group which again makes it fun.

Also with SoleRunners, there always seems to be several splinter groups that runs at least 3 other days during the week. I have found these are fun to do as well even though it means a long drive through traffic for me.

I am finding that my love for running has reached another level of enjoyment for me. Is there something that you love to do that has become even more of an enjoyment for you by doing something a little bit different? Tell us! We would love to know.



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May 2014

Another busy month for me!

On May 2nd, I traveled to Seattle where Cindy Bingham and I then drove to Vancouver, Canada to surprise Donna Canterna.  She was running her 1st marathon in support of her oldest brother who has Parkinsons.

I couldn’t believe we actually pulled this off . There were times, both Cindy and I almost slipped when talking to Donna. She was surprised! But more importantly, Donna did her 1st marathon in 5:45! Way to go, Donna!

And thank you to Susan Howard Wade, Pamela Sue Wuest, Joyce Leslie, Danielle Rosenow, and all the ladies that I missed who knew and kept the secret for us so we could surprise Donna.

The Vancouver BMO event this year was rainy and cold. And even though I PR-ed (2:40:17) by 5 minutes off my best half time, I must say I didn’t enjoy this as much as I normally do. I am sure it had to do with being so wet running that I never really saw what was around me as well as being so cold afterwards. It took 2 very hot showers and the heater in our room turned up to 85 degrees to finally get me warm.

But with this PR, I been thinking long and hard about starting to train for a marathon in October. Steve Merkel, my coach, assures me that I can do this. But he has also told me not to register yet for 3 reasons, it never sells out, we may have a heat wave which we don’t want to run in, and I may suffer an injury. So we don’t register until we are about 2 weeks out.

What this means is I’ll have to be more focused on my training as it is not just doing the weekly runs and Saturday long runs. There is strength training, spin, and yoga classes to help me across the finish line.

As a family, Mac, Niki, BJ and I did the 5K ROC in Carlsbad. It was a fun and wet race with lots of obstacles to either go over, under, or between. We all voted that the best obstacle was the one we had to sprint to before flopping down on our tummies as we slid through soap bubbles. Sorry, no pictures as there were no photographers during the event.

Surgery for my gall bladder on May 11th was a success! It was basically a 2 hour laparoscopic surgery. I was at the hospital about 8 hours. I came out a bit swollen around the belly where they punched 4 holes into my abdomen to suck out the gall bladder. Once out, the doctors told me I  had one rather large gall stone and several smaller ones.

The best news, I no longer have issues with heart burn and acid reflux. The somewhat bad news is I found out my blood pressure is slightly elevated. I’m slowly dealing with that now.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to start running as soon as I wanted to. I did start walking within 2 days of surgery to help get the swelling down.

The swelling and the stitches made running harder than normal. My motivation to train like I normally do wasn’t there even though I knew I was running San Diego Rock ‘n” Roll Half Marathon with BJ, my son-in-law, on June 1st.

To train, I had to wear my compression capris and a Spandex cami under my shirt to keep everything from moving and pulling while I ran. The compression tights I don’t mind, but for some reason the cami bothered me. And if truth be told, even with the capris and cami, my muscles around my abdomen would occassionally hurt and ache when I ran.

With this surgery, I have fallen behind in my yearly goal of 1000 miles. I’m at 348 miles and short by 68 miles to keep on track. I will need to re-focus to get back on track. Unfortuately, I won’t be able to get them all back in a month. But if I do the marathon training, those miles will quickly be a mere blimp on my yearly mile goal.

For now, I just need to focus on not getting behind more. The rest will take care of itself.

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April 2014

April 2014 was an interesting and busy month for me.

The Big Sur Relay Marathon on April 27th was a great adventure. Cindy Bingham flew into LAX and we did our first of three road trips for 2014. It was over 7 hours to drive just up to Big Sur where we met up the ladies who were on our 2 relay teams as well as 3 ladies doing the marathon. We also took about 10 hours to get back to LAX because we were busy taking pictures along the way. This almost caused us not getting Cindy to the airport on time.

The race itself was a real logistic event for the organizers. We ran on Pacific Coast Highway which is a 2 lane road for about 63 miles with no real way to detour onto another road. As runners, we were able to use the lane closest to the coast while the support vehicles used the other lane. Also there was  no cell service on a good portion of this highway so short wave operators were posted about every 1-2 miles on the race route. This reminded me of my dad who loved to talk to different people around the world.

I’m glad to say my training with my coach, Steve Merkel SoleRunners.net, paid off which made me giddy with laughter when I got to Hurricane Point on my leg of the relay. To get to Hurricane Point, my first two miles had an elevation climb of over 600 feet. Somehow, I managed to run 90%-95% of those two miles. After that, it was downhill and rolling hills. I did my 7.2 miles in 1:31.

As for the rest of this month, I’ve been running as much as I can trying to keep myself on pace to do 1000 miles. I did take several days off in a row to deal with a slight groin pull and then again to deal with my gall bladder attacks.  Even though I am a bit behind to stay on task to do this, I’m surprised to see myself  at 318 miles and only behind by 15 miles.

Unfortunately, I will have to have surgery in May between the Vancouver BMO Half on May 4th and San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll on June 1st. The good news is my surgeon has told me I will only be sidelined for a few days. And no, I won’t be able to do an 8-10 mile run the first week. But I will be able to do a few miles to start. I do have a feeling, there will be a lot of walking the first few days.

The doctor has also cautioned me that I won’t be doing a PR for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half. So my goal will be to do a 3 hour half.

It has taken a bit longer than I thought but as of the last day of April, I am back working, licensed in both Washington and California as a Mortgage Advisor. I have stayed with the same parent company and just transferred to one of their Southern California offices.

As I start May, I am beginning to re-think several of my goals, both personally and professionally. Nothing firm yet as they are still rolling around in my head.

So as we move closer to the half of 2014 being gone, have you been reassessing your yearly goals? Personal ones? Professional one?






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First 5K of the Year

This past Saturday, I ran a 5K as part of the LA Marathon weekend event with Team Parkinson.

I have been volunteering with this group for the last 8 weeks. And what a wonderful and inspiring experience it has been for me.

This group has been put together by the USC Department of Neurology with Team Parkinson, The California Community Foundation and InCourage Physical Therapy. Steve Mackel, SoleRunning.com/Trithiscoaching.com, is their coach.

We have met every Thursday at the Rose Bowl to walk or run as well as to provide this wonderful companionship leading up to the 5K. After our walk, Sarah Ingersoll provides this wonderful lunch for everyone that consists of a lentil-type of soup, bread, water, coffee, and yummy chocolate cookies.

These ladies and gentlemen are at different stages of this debilitating disease. But not once do you hear them feel sorry for themselves. Instead they share information with each other as well as encourage each other to go one step further.

This video from 2013 captures the true essence of this amazing group.

I can’t wait to be a part of this amazing group next year.

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Happy Birthday, Mom and Dad

Just last month, I was reminded how fortunate I have been to be born to these two people. My parents, though 13 years apart in age, celebrated their birthdays a day apart, March 4th and 5th.

dad2 (468x362) - Copy

1932 England, my dad is in the back. His parents are on the left and right. The ladies are his cousins.

My dad was British by birth and migrated to the United States in steerage. My dad’s parents and brother also migrated though they came at different times. They all become American citizens and settled in Rochester, NY.

My mom was born in the Philippines. Her dad was an American, an Army soldier, from Philadelphia and her mom was Filipino. Her whole family survived living through the WWII under

My mom circa late 1930s

My mom circa late 1930s

the Japanese occupation in the Philippines except for her father who died in a Japanese concentration camp.

My parents met and married right after WWII in the Philippines when my dad came to the islands with the War Damage Committee before he returned to the Army/Air Force.

For the first 17 1/2 years of my life, I was raised in 5 different countries around the world before I lived here in the United States. Yes, I had been to the States several times during my upbringing but never for a period of longer than 60 days.

My world revolved around different countries, customs, and sights. I never once felt that I was deprived even though we had no television, no radio to listen to, and our closest friends or my family moved after a year. It was our way of life. And to be truthful, I didn’t have a say in whether I liked it or not. But I did like it.

Besides living in 5 different countries, when we did have to return to the States, we would normally circle the world visiting family in the Philippines, friends who had moved to a new country or because my parents wanted to see a sight in a country along the way.

As I reflect about those memories, I know how fortunate I was to see the world without cells phones distracting me, hotels surrounding and pushing up against some of the worlds’ greatest sights, and when the world was, maybe, just a bit calmer.

Though I have lots of memories, my three most memorable ones:

  • Going to St. Catherine’s monastery in the middle of the Sinai Peninsula with my mom, my sister, and this other lady and her kids. There was no actual road but our driver knew the way through the desert. This monastery sits right at the bottom of the mountain where Moses got his 10 Commandments. At that time, you were allowed to stay in the monastery with the monks. We had to bring our own food, our own flashlights, and sleep in a dormitory style room. It was and still is definitely the most spiritual place I had ever been to even though I was a young girl of 11 or 12. And if there is only one place I could go back to, this would be the place.
  • Riding horses around the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx before going through the date palms and looking for a fallen palm so I could jump it with my horse. I did this every Saturday or Sunday if my dad played golf near the Pyramids.
  • Fishing that short time with my dad in Kashmir. The water was icy cold and the view was breathtaking. Oh, and I also caught the only fish that day even though my dad had been out there for hours.

And yes, there are other places just as memorable, like the Taj Mahal which we visited numerous times, the Grand Palace in Bangkok where my mother would do her Temple Rubbings while my sister and I ran around the palace grounds in the 1960s, and taking a freighter from Penang to Genoa for 45 days. There were only 10 passengers and we were a family of 5.

Today, my mother would have been 93 years old and, tomorrow, my dad would have been 107.

Happy Birthday, Mom and Dad. I still miss you both each day. And thank you for the wonderful upbringing you gave me.

I love you both,

Your youngestBetsy in Kinomo June 1953 Japan (2) (427x640)

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February 2014

My running seems to have improved over the last two months and especially into February. I have seen my pace drop by at least one minute on my long runs which is huge. I have also run over 165 miles in the last two months.

I continue to train with Steve Mackel, SoCalRunning.com. Under his coaching, my pace has continue to improve as well as my overall endurance. I am now able to run 5 miles without stopping. This is a change in the way I have run in the past. In the past, I was doing a 9 minute run/1 minute walk. In ChiRunning, it is about sensing your body, knowing when your form is getting sloppy and to walk when you need to and then to start running again just prior to when you start to feel guilty.

Another change in my running is I now run all the time with a metronome and no tunes. It allows me to be more consistent with my pace. I must say, I get some strange looks as I beep down the street and keep count…1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4 or when I  can say, “Yes, I can, yes, I can, yes, I can” as I climb some steep hill.

I’m still in training for the Big Sur Marathon Relay. My goal is to conquer this hill near our house as part of my training. It is about 1 1/2 miles from our home before it starts to go straight up. I want to be able to walk up it without huffing and puffing halfway up. And though it is only about 1/2 mile climb, it has an elevation of 500 feet. Good training for my leg of this relay run.

I must admit some days are better than others as are some weeks. My body tends to get tired and achy, probably from not recovering well, so just the thought of getting up and running on some mornings can be hard to overcome. Though I try to overcome most of this, sometimes I just allow my body to recover by going to bed very early, sleeping in and having a very lazy day.

Besides running, one of the things I have been doing each week for the last 6 weeks is walking with a group of people who have Parkinson’s. I started this for two reasons but mainly in support of my girlfriend, Donna Canterna. Her oldest brother has just found out he has Parkinson and I wanted to do something to support her and her family even if it is from afar.

This Team Parkinson’s meets each week for about 8 weeks leading up to the LA Marathon and 5K. I am totally in awe of these men and women who walk and are mostly training to walk/run the 5K on March 5th with a few running the full marathon. Their spirits and will to overcome this disease along with their family members and caregivers are something to be upheld. I will be running this 5K and will be at the finish line cheering them all in. Or if one of these inspiring people needs assistance, I will be more than happy to walk with them in this 5K to give them what little inspiration I can to get them to the finish line.

I did get sidelined for a week from running with a slight health issue. I woke up with a severe case of indigestion this past Sunday night. Having a case of indigestion isn’t something new to my body except that this was downright painful and lasted longer than normal, about 4+ hours, and the pain was in my back and up my neck. So after being up most of the night, I went to the ER.

My main concern was “heart attack?” You would have laughed at the thoughts and conversation I was having with myself in the middle of the night.  “I’m to healthy to have a heart attack”, “I just ran 10 miles the day before so there is no way I can be”, “This is nothing. It’s all in your head.”,  and “Breathe, relax, it will go away.” All great self-talking points in the middle of the night.

Thankfully, I wasn’t having a heart attack. Instead after several tests, I have been blessed with a couple of gall stones. Unfortunately, I had another attack a couple of days later which had me up several hours during the night until the pain pill kicked in. There is a doctor’s appointment in my future so I can figure out how to avoid these midnight adventures.

Though these attacks made me lose a week of training, I wanted time to allow the morphine and pain medication to get out of my body and to be sure my body was fine. But even with that time off, I feel that I am still on track to achieve the 1000 miles this year.


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January 2014

Last year was a crazy, stressful year for me. So with that in the rear view mirror, 2014 can only be a super great year.

But I did manage to cross several items off my list last year. I have also deleted and added some new ones to my list as I tend to do each year.

Running seems to be the center in my life. I have found it to be a super stress reducer as well as a great way to clear my mind and to just think.

My goal of running 800 miles last year was achieved. I did 802 miles so I  thought I would challenge myself to do 1000 miles this year.

I did manage to run 5 half marathons and do Ragnar last year along with a train ride from Seattle to Los Angeles. This year, I don’t plan on doing that many halfs and no Ragnar though I enjoyed that whole experience immensely.

I started 2014 off with the Bandit Run down Colorado Blvd in Pasadena. We ran the Rose Bowl Parade route in reverse at an ungodly hour of 4:30am to where the floats where lined up. After wandering around the floats for a bit, we then ran back. The parade route was lined up with people sleeping, just waking up, or just wandering around. It was a great way to start off 2014 even though it was early and an 11 mile run. I will definitely do this run next year, taking pictures and spending more time looking at the floats.

This year, I decided to train more to support my desire to continue to run longer and faster as well as get my body stronger.

So with that goal, I’ve been busy running. Yes, to run longer and faster means I have to run more! I am training with Steve Mackel, SoleRunners, a couple of times each month. Steve is a ChiRunning Coach which is the form of running I have found most suited for my body. My goal is to make sure my form is correct as well as improve my pace.

I’m hoping that with all of this running and getting stronger, I will be strong enough to start training for a marathon, yes 26.2 miles, in 2015. Right now, I’m looking at either the LA Marathon in March or the Marine Corps Marathon in October.

To achieve this goal, I have taken up yoga, a strength training and a spin class. Though I try to do all 3 of these classes each week, I have found I’m lucky if I can get 1 out of 3 in along with running 4-5 times a week. If I can’t get in more than 1 class during the week, I do try to do at least 30 minutes of some type of strength training at home.

I would love to tell everyone that my body loves all of this but it hasn’t quite gotten there yet. Endurance running is hard on anyone’s body especially in the beginning and my body is no exception. But my body is slowly acclimating to this level of activity, my energy level is mostly on the upswing, and best of all, my pace has picked up.

Besides getting myself ready to do a marathon for next year, I’m also training to do several events for this year.

First, I am doing the Big Sur Relay Marathon this April. We will have two teams with 5 ladies on each team. I will be doing leg 3 of the relay for one of the teams. This leg has the best view but also happens to be the hardest leg. It will be 6.9 miles with the first 2 climbing 600 feet up to Hurricane Point. As I take breaks on these 2 miles, I will be sure to take pictures of the views and runners.

Five weeks after Big Sur will be the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Half. This will be another hilly run. So I’m hoping all of this training will pay off. And towards the end of the year, I will be doing the Inaugural Vancouver Rock ‘n’ Roll Half.

My other goal for 2014 is to be more consistent with posting on my blog on a more regular basis. So that means, one post per month as a minimum. I’m hoping to do more.

So with that, I do hope that 2014 so far has been joyful and filled with great passion for you and continues to be so throughout this year.





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