Year 2016

This year has been one of training for not one but two marathons. I trained and ran the LA Marathon, again, and the Marine Corps Marathon, for the first time. Sprinkled in between these two and the training were a nice family and high school reunion.

Donna Canterna, Will Hess, and me.

Donna Canterna, Will Hess, and me.

The LA Marathon was very special for me. I loved that Donna Canterna came down and ran it with me. But what made it especially special was having my grandson, Will, ran it. The memory of him running to SoleRunners’ Aid Station around mile 18-19 and when I saw him after I came in will forever be imprinted within me along with all the Saturday drives for our training runs. Will 2016 1

The Marine Corps Marathon was one that I was scheduled to do last year but couldn’t due to my shoulder pain. So this year, I entered via a charity to insure that I got in instead of trying through the lottery.

This marathon made me nervous while training as there were two mile markers that us runners needed to meet or else be swept off the course. Even though the course changed a bit prior to the race which allowed the markers to be early and the time the same, I was still nervous. Along with this, I had a couple of aches that interrupted my training.

I did make it through both mile markers thanks to Ray Ontiveros. Ray was more than kind

Made the second and last cut-off with over 45 minutes to spare.

Made the second and last cut-off with over 45 minutes to spare.

enough to run and walk with me making sure I made it all the way to the finish line. This is a race I would do again in a heart

Only .2 more to go!

Only .2 more to go!


Our family reunion was a lot of fun. It was a great time to see the cousins that showed up to enjoy the weekend of old and new memories.

My high school reunion was another fun event especially as I got to spend time with my best girlfriend from high school, Candice Bush. We’ve been best

Candice and I at our high school reunion.

Candice and I at our high school reunion.

friends for 48 years! Yep, a long time!

As a family, we spent Christmas in Florida. That was fun as we

Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach

were able to see more family and catch up with them.

This is also the year, I turned 65! Never could I imagine turning 65. But I’m blessed to be healthy and with a sound mind. I love that I can do marathons and still feel that I can get stronger and run faster even as I age year by year.

So here’s to a year that was fill of fun and to a new year filled with more fun and lots of running!




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March 2016

Boy, it’s been hard to keep my focus on continuing to train this month.

My goal is run 100 miles each month in 2016 for a total of 1000 miles. So far for January, February, and March, I have been able to do so.

I have started to be serious about my speed workouts. Instead of doing them occasionally, I’m scheduling them into my weekly training. Saundra, one of the SoleRunners, has agreed to be my accountability partner.

Speed workouts or Yasso 800s as they are called will make you faster. According to an article in Runner’s World to do a marathon in 4 hours, you should train to do 10x 800 meters 4 minutes each.

Now my goal isn’t to do a marathon in 4 hours, or at least not yet. My goal is to do the Marine Corps marathon in 5 1/2 hours. So I’m slowly training for that. Right now, I’m still doing 400s as I work up to the 800s. I’m hoping to start doing the 800s next month.

Right now, I’m able to do 8x 400s and my speed is pretty decent. My last speed workout for this month averaged 10:18/mile with the best 400 at 9:58/mile.

Too early in the morning with my grandson and daughter at Hot Chocolate San Diego

Too early in the morning with my grandson and daughter at Hot Chocolate San Diego

The only race I did this month was the Hot Chocolate 15K in San Diego. I did this with my daughter and grandson. Overall the race was great though I didn’t like all the hills. I’m not sure if I would do this one again, though the bling and the jacket were nice swag gifts.

SoleRunners, the group I train with, is currently in what is

Waiting for the ranger to open up the gate at Fish Tail Canyon

Waiting for the ranger to open up the gate at Fish Tail Canyon

called a bonus season. Besides still running together, we are doing a series of 5 hikes on the different trails around the San Gabriel Mountains.

Our first hike was to Fish Canyon Trail followed by Chantry

Fish Tail Canyon's waterfall

Fish Tail Canyon’s waterfall

Flat Recreation Area. These first two were to basically get our feet wet before we start on the last 3

LA Basin is definitely fogged in at Chantry Flat

LA Basin is definitely fogged in at Chantry Flat

next month with the last one being around the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

Hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains gives me a deeper appreciation for nature. Words can’t describe how beautiful each different canyon is with the flowers now blooming, the birds chirping, and the water running over the rocks and down a stream.

Another SoleRunners’ Bonus event was

My finished art work.

My finished art work.

a Paint Party where you follow along with the instructor to paint a chosen picture. This was so much fun as everyone interpreted the art work in their own way. Besides being just fun, I run with an amazing creative group.




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February 2016

February is suppose to be the wettest month for the LA area but it turned out to be one of mostly warm, sunny days. This made for great racing weather.

But February also made for a good case of sunburn if I wasn’t careful. I made sure I wore my Rodan + Fields’ Reverse Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ Sunscreen especially when I was out running.

Surf City Half Marathon started the month off for me. Though this race is a bit of a nightmare to get to, it’s a great, easy race with most of the course right by the ocean.

I used this race as a training run because the LA Marathon was the following weekend. I started out with Patty and Debi, both fellow SoleRunners, running at a fast pace. After about 6 miles, Debi and I slowed down allowing Patty to go ahead. From there, we ran and walked. It was really a perfect training run as I didn’t stress out my legs. My goal was to finish around 3 hours and that is what I did.

This was also the third race in a series for me of the Beach City Challenge. The first two being Orange County Half and

Beach City Challenge Medal

Beach City Challenge Medal

Long Beach Half. When you race all three consecutively, you receive an extra medal. Every year that extra medal is different. This year, it is a starfish.

The LA Marathon organizers decided to hold the marathon a month earlier, February instead of March, due to the Olympic Trials. The trials were held on Saturday with the LA Marathon being held the following day.

If you have never seen the Olympic hopefuls run, go support them at least once in your life time. They are fast! The men ran a marathon in just over 2 hours while the women ran it in around 2 1/2 hours! That is just amazing!

There are at least 200 men and 200 women in the trails. But only 3 men and women each make it on the team. Can you imagine being just 5 seconds behind and missing the team?

My post of the LA Marathon was posted on 2/22 which you can read here.

The following weekend after the LA Marathon was another busy weekend.

Fish Canyon Falls

Fish Canyon Falls

Saturday, the SoleRunners hiked to Fish Canyon Waterfalls. It was an easy hike of about 5 miles and it took us about 3 hours. It’s a busy trail so take your time to enjoy the views.

Sunday, I ran the Firecracker 10K so I could get the shirt. I know a silly reason to run a race. But it is a very soft shirt with

This shirt is so soft.

This shirt is so soft.

a monkey imprinted on it. It is the Year of the Monkey.

This 10K is a basically an uphill, very steep 3+ miles run followed by the same steep downhill. I was surprised that I did so well especially after the LA Marathon. I did this 10K in 1:15:47.

The rest of this month was spent starting to train for, hopefully, the Marine Corps Marathon in October. My focus is not so much on long runs as it is on strength training and getting my pace down.

This was the third month I have run over a 100 miles. My goal for 2016 is to do over 1000 miles. So far I’m on track to do so. Only 791 miles to go!


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LA Marathon 2016

LA Marathon was a WOW race for me.

After months of training and a healthy dose of self-doubt, I stood in a crowd of 20,000+ other marathoners with my grandson, Will, and my girlfriend, Donna.

Donna Canterna, Will Hess, and me.

Donna Canterna, Will Hess, and me.

I was nervous and excited to finally be at the start line. Doubts swirled around my mind as last year, I had a hard time finishing this race. I didn’t want a repeat.

LA Marathon starts at Dodger Stadium with “I Love LA” sung by Randy Newman blaring from the loud speakers mixed in with the announcements along with the cacophony of competing voices as each corral crosses the start line.

Because we are not fast enough to qualify for a start corral, we are in the last corral squeezing in with others as we walk to the start line. But it isn’t long before we are there. The race starts with a slight hill between the stadium and the parking lot out to the gates before the course starts the downhill run towards Chinatown.

This makes for a fast start and one you need to be sure you go fast enough but not too fast as there are 24 miles to go. The course flattens out until we get to about mile 5 where we start a steep uphill climb near Disney Concert Hall.

From there, the course isn’t so bad. It basically alternates back and forth between a slight downhill to a slight uphill for the next 4 miles through Echo Park and Silverdale until we veer right from being on Sunset onto Hollywood Blvd (mile 9).

It was nice to see my family at mile 9 with iced towels, water, extra food, and extra bottles for my water belt. Also it was nice to be able to give them our warmer clothing instead of carrying it for 26 miles.

Continuing on Hollywood Blvd to just past Brahman’s Chinese Theater before dropping back onto Sunset, the course continues with the slight uphill and downhill. About 1/4 mile before we turn off Sunset, we begin a steep uphill climb where most everyone is walking to save their legs, including me.

Once we turn off Sunset on to N. San Vincent Blvd, it’s another fast downhill before we turn onto Santa Monica Blvd. Then it’s mostly flat through W. Hollywood, Beverly Hills and a quick run down Rodeo Drive.

When I made the right onto Wilshire Blvd. at around mile 17, I knew that SoleRunners’ Aid station was only about 1 1/2 miles away. Another place to replenish, get another ice cold towel, find out how Will and Donna are doing, and to pick up Saundra who ran me in.

At the aid station, Anna Perne, Saundra Whitehead, Donna Canterna, me, Patty Thompson, and Alessandra Verduzco.

At the aid station, Saundra Whitehead, Donna Canterna, me, Patty Thompson, and Alessandra Verduzco.

Will was ahead of me by 1 1/2 hours and Donna, surprisingly, was at the aid station.

With Saundra and Donna, I left the aid station to run the last 7+ miles to the finish line.

Saundra took real good care of me so I didn’t have to think about anything except whether to run or to walk. She made sure I had water to pour over me so I wouldn’t overheat.

I walked the hills from mile 20 until mile 23, even the slightest inclines, to save my quads as they were starting to really ache.

We stopped briefly to say hello to Donna’s family at mile 23. We left Donna there so she could spend a bit more time with her family, knowing she could easily catch up with us.

From mile 23, it’s basically a fast downhill run. Once we turned onto Ocean Blvd, we could see the finish line. Saundra stayed with me until the beginning of the chute just before mile 26.

Almost to the finish line

Almost to the finish line


At times when you run this long, it’s always nice to have something to look out and this race does afford you that and more.

One of the first things I noticed was the legacy runners who have run all 31 LA Marathons. There are 173 of them left and their times range between a little of 3 hours to over 7 hours. Then there are the Elvises that ran pushing their boombox blaring Elvis’ music and a man that ran dribbling a basketball while juggling.

Each of the different areas of LA has a different character with highlights. Chinatown has the Wong Tail Dance Team, Disney Concert Hall has the Hongo Taiko School’s Taiko drum

Richard Craft who took this picture with one of the lovely ladies of W Hollywood.

Richard Craft who took this picture with one of the lovely ladies of W Hollywood.

ensemble drumming, and Hollywood and Vine have weddings being preformed or renewal of vows. But the best was in W. Hollywood. The ladies were out in full force dressed to the nines with platform heals I’d never be able to walk in.

Comparing this year to last year, I would have to say that the support of the race organizers, the people who cheered, supported us with food, drink, and sprayed us with water was so much better.

I ran 2016 LA Marathon in 6:28, cutting over an hour off my last year’s time. Will, my grandson, did his first marathon in 5:19.

Will crossing the finish line.

Will crossing the finish line.

And Donna was right behind me.

Donna and I with our medals.

Donna and I with our medals.

As with each half or full marathon, you always learn lessons. Here are mine:

  • Steve, my running coach, last words to me were run your own race. I kept telling myself this throughout the race.
  • Put your potatoes on top of your water bottles so you don’t forget them.
  • Have clear instructions for family if they are doing an aid station, ie…instead of them asking me what I needed since my mind wasn’t registering what I needed, they should be handing what I packed in the ice chest to me. Since I didn’t give them those clear instructions, I ended up running on 4-5 gel blocs, lots of water, about 10 oz. of my electrolyte drink, a small bite of potatoes from SoleRunners’ aid station, and handfuls of pretzels.
  • Don’t wait to grab what you need when it is being offered especially if you are getting hungry. I waited too long to get pretzels that were being handed out on the course.
  • And lastly, have a mantra that you keep repeating to yourself. Mine was “I’m strong, I’m powerful, yes, I can.”
2016 Finisher's LA Marathon Medal

2016 Finisher’s LA Marathon Medal




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January 2016

January was a great month for concentrating on my training for the LA Marathon.

For my birthday present last year, hubby gave me a gift certificate to be coached one-on-one with my running coach. Though I started at the end of December, the majority of these coaching sessions have been in January.

These coaching sessions besides giving me one-on-one time with my coach to ask questions and get tidbits on how to handle different parts of LA Marathon course has helped me feel better about my ability to conquer this marathon. On our last run together, we ran an average pace of 11:59 which was the best I have run in a very long time.

Running with the SoleRunners has also given me the confidence as all the runners are so supportive and encouraging. And the wealth of information that you receive from running with other more experience runners is invaluable.

My Rodan + Fields business is slowly growing. Who knew that washing my face twice a day and sharing my love of the products would give me the time freedom to spend with my grandchildren.

In fact, I have been able to see several of my granddaughter’s water polo games. She takes no prisoners in that water. I’m so proud of her.

Will, my grandson, who runs with me is learning that training during the week is important and has stepped up his training. I understand it is hard to run by yourself everyday and for a teenager, it is harder. I can’t wait to see how he will do at the LA Marathon.

Soon my youngest grandson will be back playing baseball and with the ability to work my Rodan + Fields business on my iPhone/iPad, it will give me the freedom to watch him play.


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The Year that was 2015

2015 was a weird year for me especially the last 6 months of it.

Running, of course, took on a major focus for me. I ran the LA Marathon, Orange County Half, San Diego Rock n Roll Half, and then the Long Beach Half.

But it was between the San Diego Rock n Roll Half and the Long Beach Half that I got injured in the strangest way.

I pulled something underneath my right shoulder that had me visiting too many doctors and other practitioners to figure out what was wrong and how to treat it. I’m thankful that I finally found a deep tissue massage practitioner that released the stiffness and pain for me without drugs.

Because of this injury, I had to sell my registration into the Marine Corps Marathon. That was depressing but I didn’t want to pay all that money out and not make the sweep.

So instead I concentrated on getting my pacing back to where it was and train for the LA Marathon in February 2016.

One of the biggest joys I have had this year is having my grandson, Will, run with me. He has done the San Diego Rock n Roll Half and the Long Beach Half. He is now training for the LA Marathon.

This was also the year that I decided to hang up my mortgage advisor licenses. Though it was a hard decision, it was time. I have been in the business for almost 25 years. The business has changed, in some ways for the good and some ways for the bad.

I still enjoy earning my own money so after much thought I joined Rodan + Fields. Rodan + Fields is the # 4 premium skin care company and growing. If you have problems with acne, want to reverse the signs of aging and wrinkles, and/or have sensitive skin, drop me a line.

And for the men, we have just added a new line called Beyond the Shave.

The best part of working with Rodan + Fields is what we call Time Freedom. I’m able to train more for my races especially for marathons as well as fit in my strength training and yoga.

2016 is looking bright and promising in all areas of my life. I feel truly blessed and grateful.

How was your 2015? What does your 2016 look like? Will there be a major change in your life for this year?

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May 2015

May found me doing 2 half marathons, the Orange County Half at the beginning of the month and the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll at the end of the month.

But what made this month so special for me was my grandson, Will.

Will has decided he wants to do the LA Marathon with me next year. So we are starting our training to that goal.

Over Memorial Day weekend, he ran twice and then followed it up with 2 days of running during the week.

Will after his first 6 mile training run.

Will after his first 6 mile training run.

The next weekend was the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K and Half Marathon. We were signed up to do both races.

Will at his corral for the 5K.

Will at his corral for the 5K.

Will ran the 5K in about 30 minutes and I’m sure he would have finished with a better time if he didn’t have problems with his hydration belt. We solved that problem after the race.

Will and I after we finished the 5K.

Will and I after we finished the 5K.

Though I am proud that he ran the 5K in such a stunning manner, it was the half that I am most proud and inspired by him.

Mac, BJ, Will and I before the half.

Mac, BJ, Will and I before the half.

After starting the race with his dad, he took off at around mile 1 to run it by himself.

Everyone knows how hard it is to stay focused when you are running but especially when you are running 13.1 and have never done it before. All sorts of doubts come into your head, you get distracted, and you, or at least for me, get bored with it all. That is one of the reasons it is so great to run with others.

But Will ran the half by himself, stayed focused and finished it in 2:11! An amazing time for someone who hasn’t trained to do this.

Beaming Will and his dad after the half.

Beaming Will and his dad after the half.

Maybe it is just being young, youthful, and not knowing better, but I couldn’t be prouder of Will and his accomplishment.




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April 2015

April finds me still training, hiking, and re-thinking how to strengthen my body.

Since the LA Marathon, our running group has been on break. But to keep training, I’ve taken to hiking/running around the area trails and mountains with other SoleRunners.

These hike/runs have been on easy to so-hard-I-didn’t-think-I’d-make-it back to my car trails. We’ve gone from Mt. Disappointment to Inspiration Point to see the views, to Switzer Falls to see the falls and the fallen chapel, and to the rolling hills of Chino Hills where we saw a bobcat and a coyote.

In the Chino Hills’ hike/run, I become a part of Uncle Sam’s Trail Runners. To be a part

My new running pin

My new running pin

of Uncle Sam’s Trail Runners, you have to do 5 hike/runs with this group. It’s great to be a part of this group as it’s a smaller group. You definitely have the opportunity to know each other better in these trail runs which I love.


20150412_201551936_iOSI also climbed up to Mt. Baldy for the Climb for Heroes. This climb was in support of the veterans who have lost limbs in the war and helps them realize their dreams to climb mountains. What made this is special was we were able to meet the young man who will be climbing Mt. Everest this summer. In fact, he left 2 days after this climb for Mt. Everest. 20150412_201641411_iOS

On a side note: this group of climbers are safe as they are on the north side of Mt. Everest. But my heart goes out to all of the people in Nepal.

If you have a chance to do this type of climb, it is well worth it to support these brave young men and women. It is truly inspiring especially when you realize how hard it is for you to climb up and down a mountain with trails that are narrow and slippery from the broken rocks that litter the path.

My strength training for this month has been more of a hit-or-miss. But I will have to be more consistent if I want to avoid IT Band issues and overall injuries as I continue to ramp up miles as I start to again train for a marathon.

I am trying to get up to 6 sets of 15 squats per day as well as the same number of sets of lunges before I start doing them with a jump between each one. But besides these, I need to do more upper body strength training.

What is the one thing you struggle with that you know you need to do to get to the next level?


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March 2015

March is always a month of remembrance for me as it is my parents’ birthdays. Dad would have been 108 and Mom 95. It’s still hard to believe that both are gone. I was so lucky to  have them as parents. My love of travel and adventure was destined because of them. We lived and traveled the world from the time I was born to the time I left home at 17 years old.

March was also the month that I wanted to become part of the 1%. That is 1% of the population that runs a marathon!

The marathon was the LA Marathon.


Chris, Ray, and I

I had a lot of  support for this marathon. My family, SoleRunners’ Coach, Steve Merkel, all the SoleRunners,  SoleRunners’ Ray and Chris who ran with me for the first 18+ miles, the SoleRunners’ Aid Station organized by LeAnn, the SoleRunners who cheered me when I got there to our aid station, and Donna who flew down to get me to the finish line after the aid station.

As with every race, you never know what will happen. In fact, Steve gave us a meditation to read and think about. One of the lines that stood out for me was:

“Everything that I will go through during this race, will be precisely what I need to learn most.”

This one quote proved to be so true for me.

I knew I could run the 26.2 miles since I ran almost 22 miles on my last long run without incident. In fact, I felt great after that 22 mile run-no aches or pains.

And yes, the heat was a concern for me. It was in the mid 80s to high 80s. But I made sure I had family situated at certain points on the course with ice, water, coconut water, baggies of ice, and cold towels. I also had the aid station.

But the one lesson I need to learn, to figure out is why my IT Band decides to flare up during some of my races. This time the problem started at about mile 14-15. By the time I got to our aid station, I knew deep down this was really becoming a problem. By mile 20, I knew if I ran anymore, I wouldn’t be able to get to the finish line. So I walked as fast as I could to not be swept off the course.

My other lesson is I am truly fortunate for my friends and my running community both here and in Seattle. I received emails, texts, Facebook messages and posts, cards, good thoughts and support before and during the marathon. Their support was humbling. I was and still am so grateful to have had it. I’m so lucky to have this amazing community in my life.

And my last lesson was when you are hurting and don’t know if you can make it, Donna is the person to have with you. She made those last hard miles seem so easy.

Donna and I

Donna and I

Yes, I did get to the finish line and I did get my medal.

The bling.

The bling.

No, it wasn’t the time I wanted it to be, 7:47, but the most important thing for me to remember is I did cross the finish line.

And yes, I would run another one. In fact, on a lark without much hope, I put my name into the lottery for the Marine Corps Marathon for this October. And yes, I did get in.

What major adventure will try to accomplish?


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February 2015

The first day of February started out with a recovery run from the previous day’s 4 hour/17 miler. I was able to do a 5.5 mile easy run though I was a bit achy.

But there was no slowing down from that longest run as the next weekend, we ran 4:30 hours/18 miles.

Instead of running up the mountain, we took the ocean/marina/cruise route. This allowed

Waves crashing over the breaker.

Waves crashing over the breaker.

us to stop to see the waves crash over the breaker and take another picture of the wire fish which has trash

Me, Chris, Rose and Anne in front of the wire fish.

Me, Chris, Rose and Anne in front of the wire fish.

from the ocean in it. A good reminder that we should always pick up our trash and dispose of it properly.


Korean Liberty Bell and Pavillon

We followed this run up with a recovery run the next weekend. On this run, we ran up to the Korean Liberty Bell. The view from this bluff is gorgeous and we couldn’t have asked for a prettier day. We also run by some of the bunkers that the military put in during WWII to protect our

One of the many bunkers on the hillside.

One of the many bunkers on the hillside.



Backside of one the mountains we ran up, down, and around.

Backside of one the mountains we ran up, down, and around.

The running didn’t stop there as I went with some of the SoleRunners on a run/hike of 11+ miles over President’s Day. We started at Switzer Parking lot before going around and up the mountain before running down a firebreak road back to our cars.

SoleRunners' Group on this run/hike.

SoleRunners’ Group on this run/hike.






And then we had, I should say, I had my longest run to date…5:26 hours/21.59 miles. On this run, I was determine to get as close to 22 miles as possible as this would be my longest run in training for a

My only picture of this run, taken before we started.

My only picture of this run, taken before we started.

marathon. This meant no stopping for sightseeing or picture taking during the run.

I learnt a lot on this run. It takes a lot of mental fortitude to keep going when the bottoms of your feet hurt, running with others certainly motivates you to keep running, and never underestimate how far you can run.



We ended the month tapering down on the miles by running up the mountain again, making sure we don’t injury ourselves before our marathon, and believing in ourselves

California Sunflower

California Sunflower

The view coming down from the mountain.

The view coming down from the mountain.


that we can run 26.2 miles.






Instead of weeks and months, the countdown has started now in days to my first marathon….

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