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I’m going to Hong Kong.

Every year I try to visit a new place in the US or abroad. This year I’m heading to Hong Kong during my birthday and Thanksgiving. I’ve never been out of the country for either of those days. Another first!

Seattle to Hong Kong

Seattle to Hong Kong

I had about 60k plus miles in my Delta account. Not enough for a free  flight, but enough to lower the price of a ticket. The ticket price was $781 and some change. With my miles discount the price was reduced down to $181. Not bad at all.

I’ve never flown in any other class than economy for international travel. Since I saved a good amount of money on my flight and I’ll be in the air during my birthday, I’ve decided to splurge a little.

Delta offers a Delta Comfort+ class. It’s a step up from economy. It cost roughly $200 to upgrade my flight, which stops in Japan for a short time before heading to Hong Kong. Both legs are included in the upgraded. I didn’t upgrade my flight back to Seattle. But it’s tempting.

The amenities for Delta Comfort+ include Sky Priority boarding (one of first to board), dedicated overhead bin space, extra legroom (about 4″), superior snacks (not exactly sure how they are superior), free drinks (of the boozy variety), and complimentary premium entertainment.

I arrive pretty late on my birthday. I hope to get in a birthday meal and a drink before getting some much needed sleep.

Instead of getting a hotel room, I found a nicely priced AirBnB in Causeway Bay. It’s near shops, parks, etc. Perfect location!

I definitely want to run while I’m there. Does anyone have any recommendations on running routes or running groups in Hong Kong?

Disclaimer: This blog posts looks like an ad, but it’s not. Delta did not compensate me in any way But it would be nice if they upgraded further me for my birthday. Insert wink here.


RECAP: Seattle (Half) Marathon 2013

3 years ago my first race was the Seattle Marathon. I was undertrained and overconfident. Needless to say the race didn’t go as planned, which you can read here.

I woke up at 5:30AM sharp! Got ready and caught the bus  to the Seattle Center. The bus was 5 minutes late, go figure!  I arrived and walked fairly quickly to the start to get into the mass corral. Lucky I arrived with 15 minutes to spare. Though I didn’t have enough time to check in my bag. A friend was nice enough to hold it. I made my way to the corral, but for the life of me couldn’t find an opening through the barricades. Me, and everyone else, climbed over the barricades into the corral. I made it just in time. The National Anthem was starting.

BOOM! The gun goes off. It took a few minutes to get to the start line and for the crowd to open up. I started my Garmin. It was the last time I would look at it until the finish line. Miles 1 -4 were great! Running under the monorail tracks, through downtown and then eventually onto the I-90 Express Way. I was running at a comfortable pace. I felt really good.

After coming off I-90, the course turned onto Lake Washington Blvd. Miles 5-6 are my  favorite miles of the entire course. Running by Lake Washington and the great views of the other side of the lake. This part seemed to go faster than I expected. I didn’t want to run too fast, so I ran behind people who were running a decent pace.

I knew what was coming up. The part of that course I wasn’t looking forward to, miles 7-9. Hills. Big hills. These hills kill my legs. I knew that I couldn’t power up them. I ran to the top of the first hill and had to walk for 30 seconds before running up the next hill. Geesh! Needless to say I was really happy when I was at the top.

Miles 10-12. I was starting to run out of steam. I popped a couple of Cytomax chews. It gave me the boost I needed to get through miles 10 and 11. Mile 12 was tough. I was spent! I knew I ran at race at a faster than I wanted to pace. Did I mention this race was the furtherest I ran since my ITBS injury earlier this year? And it was the first long run for my LA Marathon 2014 training.



The last mile I gave it my all. I knew the finish line was close. Before I knew it, I crossed the finish line. I did it! I got my revenge on the Seattle Half Marathon!

I finished in a faster time than I expected – 2:00:05. I planned on running a lot slower, easier pace and not pushing myself too much. Overall not a bad training run!

LA Marathon 2014 Training – Week #2

Definitely getting back into my

I used my Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13 instead of the Mizuno Wave Sayonara. I realized at the end of this week that I like running in the Mizunos more. My ankles moved too much in the Adrenalines, which caused my ankles to be very sore this week.

Had to cut my 5 mile run on Saturday short due to the ankle soreness. I rested on Sunday and didn’t  run my scheduled 6 miles to rest my ankles. From this point on it looks like I will be mainly using my Mizunos.

The weather is slowly getting colder and colder. Luckily it has been pretty dry – no rain!

11/19/13 46 3 3 8:56 0:26:49 Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13
11/20/13 34 5.04 5 9:19 0:46:58 Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13
11/21/13 28 3.6 3 9:25 0:33:53 Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13
11/23/13 28 3 5 9:28 0:28:24 Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13
11/24/13 6

LA Marathon 2014 Training – Week #1

The first week of LA Marathon 2014 training is complete!

I have to admit, the first few days were tough. It’s been awhile since I’ve done back-to-back-to-back runs. I’ve taken a different approach to my training this time. I’m running my mid-week runs a lot easier than I have in the past. They are about a 1-2 minutes slower than my normal pace. Pace control isn’t one my strong points, needless to say it’s been a bit of a challenge. Overall  a really good first week.

I will be using two pair of shoes for training – Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13 and Mizuno Wave Sayonara.

11/12/13 48 3.05 3 10:02 0:30:38 Mizuno Wave Sayonara
11/13/13 52 5.36 5 9:21 0:50:04 Mizuno Wave Sayonara
11/14/13 46 3.01 3 9:15 0:27:48 Mizuno Wave Sayonara
11/16/13 39 5.07 5 9:16 0:46:59 Mizuno Wave Sayonara
11/17/13 46 8.88 9 8:57 1:19:56 Mizuno Wave Sayonara

Hood To Coast 2014

It’s only two months after Hood to Coast 2013 and I’m already writing about Hood To Coast 2014!

Unfortunately the team I was on this year (Pure Michigan) did not get selected in the lottery for 2014.

Hood to Coast 2014!

Fortunately I was lucky enough to have a friend who needed runners on their team. I will be running Hood To Coast in 2014 on team Need4Speed!

LA Marathon 2014, Revenge!

After I DNF’d, which you can read here, during the 2013 LA Marathon I told myself that I would be back the next year…for revenge!

Registration for the 2014 LA Marathon opened on October 1st at 9:00AM. I was registered at 9:06AM. I’m IN! Training starts in the middle of November.

LA Marathon Registration

Are you running the LA Marathon?

RECAP: Hood To Coast 2013 – Team Pure Michigan

This journey to Hood To Coast all started here.

Quick intro about the team – The team name is Pure Michigan, because all the members of the team (except for Chris and I) have ties to Michigan.

I flew into Portland early Thursday morning the day before Hood To Coast. I was to meet my teammates for the very first time in person. The only person I have met prior was fellow San Francisco Marathon Ambassador, Chris. I met a few of my teammates then it was off to pickup the rental van.

We piled into the van and we’re off to Mount Hood! We made a quick pit stop at Safeway for some food and snacks for the next few days.

We stopped off at a condo in Government Camp (6 miles from Mount Hood) where other teammates were staying. It was nice to meet more  teammates! We were only there for about 10 minutes before we were off to the Timberline Lodge where the rest of the team was staying, including me.

Me (with sun in my eyes) at the start line of Hood To Coast.

Me (with sun in my eyes) at the start line of Hood To Coast.

That night all the  team met up for a late dinner and team meeting. It was decided that we all meet at 10:30am the next morning to decorate the vans.

On Friday morning I woke up at 7:30am, visited the start line to watch teams start and bought a Hood To Coast hoodie. I never buy any merchandise from a race unless the race is really special to me. This was definitely one of those races!

At 10:30am we met in front of the Timbeline Lodge to decorate the vans.  After the vans were looking pretty awesome we headed to start line to wait for our start.

Decorating Vans #1 and #2

Decorating Vans #1 and #2

The first runner took off at 1:15pm. Hood To Coast started for Pure Michigan! We hopped into van #2 and drove to the first major exchange which was the parking lot at a Safeway. Everyone bought some lunch and waited a few hours for runner 6  to arrive.

Our first runner took off at 6pm. We drove to the next exchange and waited for the runner. While we waited I finally met another fellow San Francisco Marathon Ambassador, Holly. Nice to finally meet her! We exchanged runners, drove to next exchange.

I  couldn’t believe this was really finally happening! And I couldn’t stop saying that out loud.

I was a bit skeptical about how my legs would perform during HTC. My IT band wasn’t 100% and my calves were pretty sore the week prior.

Leg 10

It was finally time to start my first leg – 5.12 miles! I was really nervous, but excited to run. It was pretty dark at this point, so I was wearing a headlamp and a reflective with LEDs. Both were required. I stood at the exchange with the rest of the team anxiously awaiting runner 9. I heard the volunteer yell out our team number. I saw our runner get closer. He handed off the slap bracelet. I was off and running! So much emotion happening at this point. THIS was finally happening, I was running Hood To Coast!

My first leg was very interesting. For awhile it was just me, the darkness, and the weird creature noises coming from the bushes. No other runners anywhere to be seen. FINALLY I heard a runner coming up quickly from behind. He started to pass and exclaimed “What a great night for a run! Have a great run!”. Now I really didn’t think the runners would be very talkative. Boy I was wrong! From there on out I pretty much talked to every runner that I ran by. Even if they ran past me, which they usually did, I  said “Nice pace!”. I always thanked the volunteers and spectators when I ran by them. Even gave one of the volunteers a high five! One of the spectators yelled “You’re second!”. I yelled back, “Yeah! Second to last!”. I could hear them laughing as I ran away.

About halfway through my run I heard something on my right. I looked and saw two green eyes. Holy *&^%! I had no idea what it was, but I ran FASTER! I  heard gun shots, which I think was from a gun range and also heard some guys arguing in a backyard.

I really took everything in. I had to keep telling myself “This isn’t a race. Enjoy yourself and surroundings!”.

Overall it was an AMAZING run. Probably the best night run I have ever ran. As I approached the end of my run I could see the exchange. I yelled my number out to the volunteer and they yelled it out to the exchange. I handed off the slap bracelet to runner 11. I felt AWESOME!

Exchange 12

Runner 11 ran, finish her run and passed off to runner 12. After runner 12 finished we decided that we needed food before we fell asleep at the next major exchange. We drove all over St. Helens, Oregon looking for some food. EVERYTHING was closed! We finally found a 24 hour Mexican restaurant (Muchas Gracias) thanks to a billboard. I can honestly say that I don’t remember how the food tasted. At this point I just wanted to fall asleep. Everyone ate, hopped back into the minivan and made our way to the next major exchange.

We arrived around 1am at the exchange. Me and two other teammates found a nice spot in the field with other fellow runner zombies. I initially fell asleep, but kept waking up every 15mins or so. I had to use the restroom really bad. I didn’t want to leave my comfy sleeping bag. Plus I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find my way back. Around 2am (I think) it started to rain! I covered my head with the sleeping bag and kept on sleeping. I woke up around 3:40am, rolled up the sleeping bag and made my way to the minivan. All of my teammates were standing there ready  to send off the next runner. I decided to finally use the Honey Bucket. I was in a groggy daze at this point. It still seemed like a dream!

We did more of the same that morning: Drive to the exchange, drop off runner, pick up runner. Repeat!

Leg 22

Is it my turn to run again?! Out of the three legs this is the leg that I was not looking forward to running. It was about 1.75 miles uphill and 5.06 miles all downhill for a total of 6.81 miles. I wasn’t sure how my IT band would handle the uphill.

We drove up the exchange and the first thing we all noticed was this steep hill all the runners were running up. Do I have to run up that?! Wasn’t expecting that! I quickly hopped out of the van, because I had to use the Honey Bucket and runner 9 was going to be at the exchange very soon! I used the restroom and waited for the runner. Before I knew it, there he was! I was almost caught off guard. I grabbed the slap bracket and made my way up the steep hill from hell.

The steep hill wasn’t too bad. I was glad that was the only steep part of this run. I made it to the top of the hill, which was about 1.50 – 2 miles of uphill to climb. My IT band was screaming at me the entire way up. It seemed like it took forever. I was so excited to be at the top of the hill. It really took a lot out of me. I knew from here it was all downhill. I FLEW down the 5 miles of hill. I talked to every runner that I ran by on the way down. Everyone I talked to was in good spirits. My team drove by and yelled. I was so happy to see them! Luckily they caught me on the way down the hill and not on the way up. I looked pretty terrible on the way up!

I handed off the slap bracelet to runner 11 at the exchange. The leg that I wasn’t looking forward to actually was a pretty good run!

Exchange 30

We decided just to head straight to the exchange to eat and rest up. We arrived at exchange about 3-4 hours early. A teammate and I immediately headed to the food stand to order some burgers. I’m pretty sure we ate those burgers in under 3 mins.

Exchange 30 traffic jam.

Exchange 30 traffic jam.

As I walked back to the food area to buy some waters I noticed Lonnie’s (who I know from twitter) team van! It was great to finally meet him!

Everyone pretty much lounged around until it was time for runner 7 to run again.

Leg 34

My last leg and shortest of my legs at 3.36 miles. It looked like an entirely flat leg. Right!  I waited at the exchange for runner 9. He was flying along his leg. I knew he was going to be there very soon. Before I knew it, there he was. SLAP! And off I go!

My leg started off pretty flat. Then some hills appeared. What the? Flat course? Nope! I really wasn’t mentally prepared for the hills. I was prepared for a nice flat leg! I was pretty fatigued and hot, but I powered through the hills. I talked to the runners along the way. They also were wondering where this flat course was!

I was about 2 miles in when I noticed two girls on the side of the road. They had a wheelchair with a bin on top filled with water and apples. One of the girls asked if I wanted to cool off. I splashed my face with  the water. I had no idea what other grimy hands or faces had used the water previously. I was so hot that I really didn’t care!

I could see the exchange! I was almost there! I used the last of my energy the last .36 miles. I handed off the slap bracelet to runner 11. I WAS DONE! Words can’t even describe how I felt as this point. I just ran Hood To Coast!

Seaside here we come!

It was finally time for our runner 12 to run the home stretch to the finish line at Seaside! The entire team waited in the holding chute at the finish line waiting for our last running. There she was! As soon as we saw here running toward us the entire team cheered! We all walked through the start line, which was pretty congested. We got our medals and took the official finish line team picture.

We celebrated with beers on the beach! Some even dipped themselves and their medals into the Pacific.

Needless to say, I had an AMAZING time during Hood To Coast. It was the most challenging and fun races that I have ever ran. I was lucky enough to have the nicest, most amazing teammates a runner could ever have!

Hood To Coast BIB and Medal

Hood To Coast BIB and Medal

Hood to Coast is a few weeks away. What to bring?

Hood to Coast

Hood to Coast is a few weeks away. I’m making a list of what I need to bring with me. It’s never too early to plan. Plus I love making lists. Oh, and buying new gear.

Hood to Coast has a great recommended packing list here. I used their list and added/removed items to make my own list.

□ Three sets of running clothes
□ Running shoes – Hard to run without my running shoes!
□ Change of clothes for beach
□ Gloves for running – Just in case, but most likely won’t nee them.
□ Sandals – Bringing a pair of flip flops.
□ Glasses – Can’t run without my glasses. I will run the wrong way!
□ Towel
Sleeping bag/small pillow – Will just use a hoodie or rolled up clothes.
□ Toiletries (Deodorant, toothbrush/toothpaste, etc.)
□ Reusable water bottles – Have plenty to bring!
□ Reflective vest (for nighttime legs) – Recently bought the Amphipod Xinglet Flash LED
□ Plastic Bags/Ziploc bags for wet clothes
□ Handy Wipes, antibacterial
□ Extra Batteries for headlamp
□ Cell phone/charger
□ Petzl headlamp
□ Sunscreen
□ Camera/charger – So my iPhone doesn’t die taking a bizillion pictures 😉
□ GoPro Camera plus head mount and cables – It will be fun to document the journey!
□ Hoodie  for the “cold” nights
□ Compression sleeves – A must for recovery.
□ Headphones to listen to tunes between legs
□ Backpack to hold all my stuff
□ Arm strap to hold iPhone while I run

Cytomax was generous to donate a lot of nutrition for the team. They are the best! Thank you Cytomax!

I’m sure stuff not on this list will make its way into my bag. Never fails.

San Francisco Marathon 2013 Recaps

Usually I would be posting a recap of the San Francisco Marathon. However I was unable to run it this year due to an IT band issue. Instead I’m posting the recaps of my fellow AWESOME San Francisco Ambassadors.

First Half Marathon Recaps

Heather Gonzalez – San Francisco Marathon First Half – Race Recap


Second Half Marathon Recaps

Alisyn Gularte – #SFM2013

Paulette Ference – SF 2nd Half Marathon Race Report

Full Marathon Recaps

Krissy Murphy – WORTH THE HURT: The 2013 San Francisco Marathon Recap

Christopher Malenab – Race Recap: 2013 Wipro San Francisco Marathon

Alyssa Yell – Race Recap: The San Francisco Marathon, take 3

10 marathons I want to run

I’ve been thinking about the  10 marathons that I would like to eventually run. The list has been stewing in my brain for awhile. But now it’s time to share it with the rest of the world! These are in no particular order.

  1. ING New York City Marathon – One of the largest marathons with lots of history. I’ve been trying for the last two years to gain entry into the race via the lottery with no success. Hopefully it’s in the cards for 2014!
  2. Boston Marathon – THE marathon everyone strives to run. I most likely will have to raise money for charity to run this, because I’m not that fast. Quite honestly, I would feel honored to raise money for a charity to run this marathon!
  3. Big Sur International Marathon – I saw an awesome picture of runners on the Bixby Bridge. I was sold! Plus friends tell me how much they love this marathon.
  4. Chicago Marathon – Another marathon that you have to run just once. I’ve only been to the airport, never actually in the city. It would be an AWESOME way to see the city!
  5. Marine Corps Marathon – Another marathon that my friends talk about. Plus it’s another city that I haven’t been to.
  6. Portland Marathon – I’ve ran the Rock N Roll Portland half marathon and loved running in this city. Plus I live only a few hours from Portland.
  7. LA Marathon – Earlier this year I attempted to run this marathon, but due to IT band issues I had to DNF. I WILL be back in 2014 to start AND finish this race. There will be a lot of emotion when I cross that finish line!
  8. Amica Insurance Seattle Marathon – I’ve run the half marathon a few years. It was actually my first race ever. But I need to run the full and I will be running it this December!
  9. California International Marathon – Every year I think about doing this race. But it never makes it onto my schedule. I’ve looked at the course map many, many times.
  10. Eugene Marathon – I’ve been eyeing this one since I started running. Great running town! You get to finish on Hayward Field. How awesome is that?!

What are your top 10 marathons?

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