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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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, 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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