Category Archives: running

Park half marathon 5 years later

Before I dive into the race recap… let’s see what happened last week.

Last Sunday we went to Alyssa’s first birthday party. Now that Lizzy has showed us how well she behaves, we take her out more often.

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she had fun playing in the crib… staring us with her amazing hair!!!

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Sofia’s loving her new class. Every day I go to pick her up, they are doing something different. This time was a dough playing? Sofia loves everything cooking related and it’s pink, so I let her play.

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on Saturday we went to Susan’s house and celebrated early the chinese spring festival.

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these two girls are bounding so much!!!

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Susan’s mom prepared a nice spread of dishes for us.

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It was lunch time and Lizzy didn’t have her nap yet and was a bit annoyed. So I ate quickly and went home with her early and let the rest of the family have some more fun.

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then I rest for the rest of the day because Park Half Marathon started at 7am on Sunday 9/11. I had the outfit prepared

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I run it in 2011 with two friends. It was my first half marathon and I ENJOYED so much the training and the race that I can’t find any reason not to do it again. This time.. 5 years later with two beautiful girls, I went back. Originally with 5 friends but one got injured and couldn’t run.

I woke up before 4am (Lizzy’s schedule). After feeding her, I couldn’t go back to sleep and I had planned to wake up at 4:35 anyway so I got up early. Had a big glass of water while I pumped, a bowl of oatmeal and 1 decaf coffee. I prepared breakfast to go for Tony and Sofia, and a mug with coffee for me just 1 hour before the starting time.

At 5:35am, I went to wake Sofia and Tony up. She was super excited to go to watch me race again and didn’t even fuss when I woke her up 1.5 hr before her usual wake up time. I dressed her and help her with teeth brushing and we were ready.

We left the house at 5:50am, on the dot to the plan. My friends already pick up my bib the day before so we had plenty of time before race. We arrived the area around 6:15am and saw runners walking around. We parked quickly and joined the crowd to the starting line. It was quite a walk. When we arrived we spot Belen and her bf Ale. All excited. Then Belen and I went to the potties line (long line) and managed to finish the business just 15 min before 7. I still didn’t have my bib. Fortunately Tony and Ale met with Agustin and Ghana and got my bib. ALL READY! I had to say bye to my loves… but knowing they’ll be waiting me at the finish line was the best part of the race.

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I lined up behind 2:00:00 finish time. My A goal was to beat my PR which I thought it was 2:00:00 (turned out it was 1:57:21). My B goal was to finish well and injury free.

The race was packed… so much larger than in 2011. As last time, I run without music and glad I did that because it was impossible to run without knowing what was going on around me, there was always someone passing by or I needed to find a way to pass by.

Mile 1-6 went fast, mainly trying to run and pass people in the narrow path. I felt good, I felt strong. I tried to maintain between 8:30-9:00. The course was a rolling hill so it kept me entertained. I was thirsty and felt empty stomach because it was been almost 2 hours since I last ate. I waited until the first water station to have the 1/2 pack of GU that I carried. On the way, I passed Ghada and then Ale.

When I passed mile 7, I checked my total time, it was exactly 1 hour. I told myself… okay, you have a chance to PR, just maintain the pace and maybe push a bit.

Mile 7-10 was the hardest. I knew I passed the midway but still have a long way to go. I struggled to maintain the pace. Fortunately there was a woman that had similar pace than mine, and we were passing each other for entertainment. For each mile, I made sure I was on the way to reach the target of finish under 2 hrs.

Along the way there were live music (a guy and a piano in the middle of the trail side), superman, high five guys and tons of neighbors cheering us. My mental game was to look for the next entertainment spot or water station.

Mile 10-finish was uphill. I knew that was coming and was ready to tackle it. I slowed down on the hill and return to the normal 8:45 pace quickly. My upper body was getting tired, my legs started to be felt but I knew I’d do it. I just needed to keep up until the end. In moments when I struggled, I thought about the happiest things in my life: the moment Sofia was born and handed to me; the first time Tony asked me to marry him; and Lizzy’s smile when she sees me everyday. They gave me the strength to keep pushing until the very end.

Once I saw the tunnel, I knew I was going to PR and still managed to finish strong even picking up a bit of pace until I crossed the finish line.

Sofia and Tony were waiting for me there among the crowd. They were excited, I was exhilarated.

Belen and Agustin arrived few minutes before. We waited for Ale and Ghada. I toured with Sofia to the food area. They offered water melon (the best!), oranges, banana, bagel, scrambled eggs, sandwich, pasta, cookies, pizzas, even sausages. I had no appetite at that moment but still managed to have watermelon and a banana.

Still no sign of Ghada. We got worried. 30 min later she texted Belen letting us know that she had to quit. She was devastated and I felt for her. Weeks and weeks of training, expectations about getting to the finish line strong, especially this is part of her NY marathon preparation, they all raised expectations about this race. But sometimes we have to make the hard call and do what our body calls us for. My friend Sarah said: the beauty of running is that if at first you don’t succeed then you dust yourself up and try again for a different race. I can’t agree more. Running will always be there for when she’s ready. I told her the next day that I’d run with her next year if she wants to. We run for life, not for a particular race.

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very beautiful finisher medal.

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then I checked my previous finish time and realized I was already running below 2 hrs.

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but still managed to cut 2’4” this time 😀

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once home, showered, put the compression socks and had first full meal at 11am. Two Ezekiel breads with hummus and eggs.

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just 2.5 hrs later I had lunch: baked cod, roasted broccoli and steamed rainbow corn

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despite the race, I wasn’t sleepy so I took care of Lizzy while everyone else took nap

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she’s just so adorable

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then Sofia woke up and we went to a friend’s baby girl birthday party

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Sofia had fun playing and eating sweets.

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a beautiful and delicious Peruvian cake

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when I got home it was time to bath Lizzy. Love how chubby she is.

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a wonderful way to end my long day.

Next goal: marathon next year!!!

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Running: fueling the hunger

Running is going well… very well. I’m following the plan and completed 10 miles last weekend. But hunger level has been crazy since the week my long run was 9 miles long.

I’ve been running for 2.5 months, my weakly mileage has increased from 15 miles to over 25 miles now. I don’t recall I’ve been this hungry during my previous half marathon training nor when I was breastfeeding Sofia, so the only explanation I can think of is that it is the combination of the two that drives up my hunger level.IMG 1250

My weight has melted off quite rapidly 1 month after I started running so for the last 2-3 weeks I’ve been increasing my food intake consciously, aiming  400-500 cal. more daily.

As many other runners, the day of my long run I don’t get extra hungry, but the following day, specially after midday, I’m insatiably hungry. I’d eat every hour and still seems impossible to calm my hungry.

People would think running allows you to eat more which would be great! But let me tell you, this hunger is not like the normal hunger that builds up slowly, instead when it comes, it comes with all force and I can’t focus on anything until I eat.

I’ve been testing different things around to see if I can avoid it. So far I’ve tried to eat more the day of the long run even I don’t feel like. And the following day, eat more during the day. Basically eat up the energy burned during LR that was not refueled that day. It helped a bit.

Although I eat more to fuel my running, I don’t crave junk food, instead I still prefer whole food with a lot of vegetables, protein and whole grains.

Breakfasts have been toasts with eggs and/or turkey slices and LC

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lunch has been larger than normal, a combination of protein, healthy carb, and vegetables.

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(butter seared scallops, roasted asparagus and japanese yam)

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(cauliflower rice, asparagus, scallops and japanese yam)

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(cauliflower rice, asparagus, kabocha and baked beans)

I have 2-3 snacks a day, such as corn

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banana protein oatmeal bar

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goat yogurt with raspberries and brown rice crisp

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protein waffle with PB

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oatmeal with PB2

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I am still trying to find the right way to fuel to sustain my training and breastfeeding. I want to do it in a healthy way because from all I’ve read, that’s what elite runners do, eat real foods because that yields the best performance.

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Running: morning routine

I’ve developed a routine for my morning runs, something that I look forward to everyday from the moment I wake up.

5:34am I wake up by myself (rarely need an alarm)

Step 1: check weather, both temperature and humidity (hate when it’s above 70). It was hot already and humid!!!! Well… more will power from me then.

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Step 2: check how I slept, particularly deep sleep. Whenever I get more than an hour of deep sleep, I feel rested. Not that day. More will power then!

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Step 3: check how Lizzy is sleeping to know whether I should nurse her first or pump.

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Step 4: pump and store

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Step 5: drink 1-2 big glass of water. On that day, it was long run so I had a packet of instant oatmeal with maple and brown sugar. I also prepared the water to carry on.

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Step 6: choose the podcast. It is so important to have a good podcast for my runs. I’m obsessed with Run to the Top. I think I’ve listened to 90% of them and there are over 100.

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Step 7: put the shoe and get out!

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Step 8: select the workout of the day and run! (just noticed that my garmin has the wrong date, it should have been a sunday!)

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Sun was just coming out. It was a quiet morning but beautiful.

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After my run.. I came home… drunk more water, stretched and showered. Then it was fueling time. I’ve been doing toasts with goat cheese or LC, with turkey or two sunny eggs.

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I don’t get hungry usually after the run so I don’t need an extra large breakfast. But I make sure I eat within an hour to help with the recovery. But the day after the long run? ITS RUNGER TIME. That needs another post. 🙂

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