Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Race Rewards

I love rewards and incentives they push me toward my goal, help me save money, and enhance my accomplishments. For almost a year I have been eyeing a race necklace on Etsy. It was everything I wanted sterling silver, a running shoe charm, a heart charm, and a 13.1 charm. Although, it would be under $40 after shipping and handling I felt like I should earn it rather then buy it right away (this helps me save money). I told myself after 5 races I'd get for myself. So, here I am 6 races completed (including last years 2), I purchased it 2 weeks ago and now it's here. I love it.

Necklace by TheRunHome on $33

I've already mapped out my rewards for the next 6 months. I want to reward myself after every 3-4 races (only when I beat my previous time). The next reward comes at race 8, I really want an arm pocket so I can easily carry my id, house key, debit card, iphone, and lip balm.

i-25 Armpocket $39.95

My final reward comes at race 12, a Medal Holder. This is so ideal for me to hold the 12 medals I earned this year plus the 2 from last year.

Victory Medal $49.95

I may have to add a spa day in there somewhere : )

Monday, May 27, 2013

Race #4: Fit, Fab, and Lean in 2013 Virtual Half Marathon

The Official Medal

As I continue to stick to my 12 Race Challenge I find that each one in it’s own way becomes more fun yet more challenging. I spent January and February training for this year of races which thus means I’d have to double up in some months to reach my goal of 12. Racing can be expensive and time consuming considering travel to each location. I completed the Divas Half Marathon in early May and now here I am 2 weeks later doing another. On a fluke while perusing the Black Girls Run Bay Area facebook page I seen a post for a virtual run. I had never heard of a virtual run before, so I instantly became intrigued.

My race bib

Virtual runs provide convenience and a bit of leniency for runners on the go who still want some structure, a medal, and desire a form of communal support. Similar to normal races virtual runs require people to sign up and choose their race distance. However, unlike other races runners can choose their own course be it on a racetrack, a treadmill, or in their neighborhood. Also, runners get up to 2 weeks to complete the race. Some virtual runs allow you to be apart of another race at the same time while getting run credit for theirs.

  • Choose own course
  • Run with friends or dogs without having to register them
  • Easier to gather a support group
  • Anytime desired (don’t have to wake up early)
  • Don’t have to rush to packet-pick up
  • Save money/half the price of normal races (average race is $75-$150)
  • Still get a medal
  • 1-2 weeks to complete

  • No water stations
  • No race shirt (some offer shirts)
  • No sideline support or attractions
  • No post-race after party
  • Motivate yourself the WHOLE WAAAAY (13.1 miles)
  • No professional photographers or cute photo booths
  • No free treats from packet-pick up day

    Pre-Race at Oakland's Lake Merrit

The pros and cons are pretty even so it truly depends on the person. I spent the first week of the allotted time trying to gather up 4 of my friends, to coerce each into running a 3 mile stint with me- yet it was difficult getting folks schedules to coincide. So, I eventually ran it alone. However, I did manage to gather a small sideline support group (with a sign and all) to sit on the lake and watch me as I ran past.

It was a nice run, I didn't train as usual being that I completed a half marathon 2 weeks prior. So, it got real at mile 8. Although, I didn't have a running group to motivate me, there were many familiar faces in the community offering support.

I would do a virtual run again however, I’d prefer to gather a group of friends or a running group together to help build motivation for when it starts to get tough, which is somewhere between mile 7 and 10.

I cannot wait to get my medal which is said to come sometime in mid-June. I will post it here once it comes. YAY!!!

Time: 2:26

Monday, May 20, 2013

Race #3: May 2013 Divas Marathon Series

Posing like a Diva
My most anticipated race ever. I had heard so many good things about the Diva’s Half Marathon I had to do it as apart of my “12 Race Challenge”. This is a race for SUPER girly-girls who aren't afraid to sweat. Most races hand you a medal and some water at the end. This race, hands you a Princess Tiara, a pink feather boa, a red rose, champagne in a flute, and your Medal is put on you by a handsome shirtless firefighter. And of course you get water and post-race snack food.

Me Posing w/ race bib

I just completed this race a couple of weeks ago. I got a hotel a few blocks from the start/finish line which made commuting easier. Packet Pick-up included a Health and Fitness Expo which was extremely crowded. I was hoping to get a new shirt from Black Girls Run, but they were out of product. Although, many vendors had some cute things nothing truly caught my eye. So, I left with my packet and a mini-container of chafe balm.
Pre-Race Carb load dinner

Although, I like nice things I am also conscious of being money wise, so being that I spent money on a hotel I knew I could at least make my own carb load meals for the trip. I packed Oatmeal and raisins for breakfast, bananas and a pro bar for snack, fresh beet, kale, apple juice for lunch,  a heaping portion of pasta with pasta sauce filled with veggies, and a large portion of garlic bread for dinner, and a cookie for dessert. (I was so stuffed I never got to the cookie). After dinner, I did a light 30 minute exercise in the hotel gym (I love hotel gyms).

6:20 am- Leaving for race

Later, I laid out my gear, soaked my feet and gave myself an at home mani/pedi and face mask, while watching the Food Network. I drank 10 cups of water and 4 cups of coconut water throughout the day (for electrolytes). I was so excited for this race and was somehow under the impression it would be full of fun Diva activities-so I was prepared to stray my usual goal of cutting 2 minutes from previous race time (which was 2:30).

I awoke on time ready to conquer 13.1 miles, I left the hotel in my first semi-costumed race outfit: black tutu, pink race shirt, water belt, ribbon and bow in hair, mascara and bright pink lipstick (1st time I've ever worn makeup to a race-but hey it was a race for Divas :).
Brittany and I post race (She made this cute sign)

Costume and make-up. I was ready. Outside so were other runners, thousands of women flooded Burlingame streets headed to the race in pink tutus, Super Woman Capes, crowns, tiaras, running skirts, multi-colored socks and arm warmers. I was dressed down compared to these ladies. The race began at at 7:01 am. I was expecting race attractions as my excuse to slow down and take pictures but there were none, by mile 4 I realized I’d have to stick to my goal of improving my 2 minutes from previous race. My goal time was 2:28. The course was very narrow and sometimes dangerous many women stopped and walked leaving little space for runners to pass safely. The pavement was also very uneven at points, which was hard on my feet, and knees. Running group Black Girls Run were representing in mass numbers and each time I seen them I got a dose of motivation to keep going.
Handsome, shirtless, firefighters hand us our  medals 

At the infamous mile 12 I became weak, my legs were cramping, my stomach hurt- I was struggling. Close to the end, I spotted my friend Brittany holding a sign that read: “You can do it Diva Anjalee” I felt so much better. It was just the extra push I needed to get to the finish line. At mile 13 people passed out feather boas and tiaras in  just few more steps I’d be at the finish line. My legs began to lock, I could hear Brittany yelling “you can do it woooo”, my inner voice telling me to keep going, my legs saying “we are going to fall off”, and then I seen the time clock: 2:27:53. I ran as fast as I could with only 7 seconds to make my goal time I ran and counted with the clock- with my hands up in the air I completed- 13.1 miles at 2:28. I made my way to the handsome shirtless firefighters who put my medal on for me. I got a rose, took more pictures, a bagel, some champagne and it was over. I did it. I returned to my hotel for some rest and continued to wear my tiara and medal for the rest of the day. It was awesome being among so many fit, supportive, and girly-girl women. It was fun and cute race. I can't wait until next years.

My time: 2:28

Race Bling-Super heavy medal- I love it! 

Post race awards: Roses, medal, feather boa,  tiara 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Race #2: April 2013 Running of the Elk, Half Marathon

Based in Elk Grove, CA this race was very well organized and supported children with learning disabilities. Runners were encouraged to wear Elk Antlers in support of the theme "running of the Elk" and to represent city pride.

This race had a nice course a lot of wide roads to support walkers/joggers/runners and many nature highlights. While running I met a 2:30 pace group hosted by the Running Zone shoe store. My actual goal time for this race was 2:33 (2 minutes less than my last race time) I decided to stick with the pace group until the end to make my goal a reality. At mile 5 we had a large group of 20 men and women yet, by mile 9 we were a small group of 5 women. 

I began to struggle at mile 12. Being that I went to this race alone without friends or family the lack of visual support got to my head. As I neared the end I realized there will be no one to meet me at the finish line, take my picture, drive me home and listen to my race stories. I get a little glum which isn't the best mood for a runner on their last mile. I gradually got over the mile 12 hump by visualizing a warm bath and relaxing with my new medal. I pushed through, shaving off not only 2 minutes but 5 minutes from previous race time. Yay! me.

My time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

I try to reward myself after each race. Rewards can be great motivators, super relaxing, and the extra push needed to get past the mile 12 hump. My go-to rewards always include some form of pampering, shouldn't it be required after running 13 miles? I love massages, facials, and manicure/pedicures. I know these treats don't come cheap. Enlisting a friend or family member should cut down the cost or search for online deals on groupon and livingsocial to reward your efforts.

I have yet, to reward myself for this race- I was in a rush to an event directly after. so IOME. Can hardly wait.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Race #1: March 2013 Oakland Running Festival

On my way to the race

The Oakland Running Festival is a highly anticipated event. It is the absolute talk of the town. The entire week I couldn't stop talking about it and nor could anyone else. I spent January and February training for a year of races and finally, my first race was here.

I was beyond ready, well trained, ate a carb loaded pasta dinner, prepped my clothes the night before, and was ready to rumble. 

The course was full of support. There were cheerleaders everywhere with signs, music, whistles, and BIG SMILES motivating us the whole way. The course took us on a tour around Oakland to the good, bad, and the beautiful. There was a post-race party at Snow Park  swarming with sweaty, smiling, and sore runners listening to Blues music, drinking beer, and snacks while kids played in jumpers. The weather was amazing, the city at peace, and I had just completed 13.1 miles.

My time: 2 hours and 35 minutes

Tired at mile 12 but still smiling 

I rewarded myself with a manicure and pedicure and lunch at one of my favorite restaurants: Shan-gri-La. I deserved it.

Chasing a Dream: The 12 Race Challenge

I am all about self improvement and I like to challenge myself to try new things often. I am not big on New Years Resolutions because I am often creating new resolutions each month. However, this year I decided to make a resolution like never before. It all began last April 2012, when my aunt invited me to run a half-marathon (13.1 miles) with her and some friends. I gladly agreed-yet slowly and reluctantly began training. I went into the race blind not knowing what to eat, how to train, or the proper shoes to wear. I completed my first half marathon in 3 hours and 10 minutes with little to no training, in 6 year-old running shoes that no longer had tread, and having eaten only a smoothie the night before. I didn't have a clue. My feet were swollen and sore and I could barely walk for days.

Besides the grueling aftermath of the race all I could remember were the peaceful trees towering over me, the calm of the river, the encouragement from cheerful volunteers, and the natural high from pushing my body beyond its limits. I felt like an athlete again. I dabbled in various sports as a child through high school but as I got older I resorted to running only for maintaining health and fitness.

Until now.

Since the race last April, my New Years resolution was initially to run 6 races in 2013. But here we are in May with 4 races under my belt, now my resolution no longer feels like a challenge, so I've decided to run 12 races this year. I've learned the importance of a good pair of running shoes and comfortable socks. I realize now I need to “carb load” 2 days before to fuel my body, and I consistently train weeks ahead. I’ve learned so much from this experience and I continue to learn more and more about myself: my strengths and weaknesses. Running races has become one of the most fulfilling activities I’ve ever participated in.

If I could get everyone of my friends and family, young and old to run a race with me, I would. Running clears the mind, exercises the body, and the commanderie amongst other runners builds community. I will document my 2013 races here. I love and need the encouragement, your comments and well wishes are welcomed.