Friday, April 29, 2011

to be a mermaid

The Mermaid Run East Bay is a week away and I gotta say that I'm REALLY excited! I'm running the 5K with Miss Lori and Miss Lyn. Both of these lovely ladies also signed up their daughters to run the race. AWESOME! For those of you who don't know about the Mermaid Series, please check out their mission statement:
Mermaid Series is building a welcoming community that inspires women from all backgrounds to uncover and realize their full potential.

Mermaid Series strives to serve as a catalyst for change in women's lives as they set and discover new goals for themselves in fitness and in life. By providing training, support, motivation and eco-friendly events we are committed to the pursuit of our participants healthy lifestyle.

Our events aim to provide an opportunity for a positive change while making each woman regardless of their ability feel welcome.
This is exactly what I love about the Mermaid Series and why I have decided to participate in both bay area Mermaid events this year. Any organization that honors building a community of support in order to inspire change in people's lives deserves a BIG KUDOS in my book. I'm always the first to admit that I'm not the greatest runner and running isn't my favorite thing in the world. However, running has and continues to play an important part of my life.

As I've mentioned before, I started running because I believed in the cause I was running for. I wanted to push my body for something greater than nice calves and bragging rights to completing a marathon. However, in the process, running became a symbol of how I would tackle life's challenges. Of the many lessons I've learned while training for a marathon, it's that the race - whatever that may be for you - is about finishing. It's not about the time or the distance, it's about finishing. I learned that all too well when I crawled in tears to the finish line in Maui.

When people think of the concept of running, most people think in terms of running away from something. Each time I run, I ask myself one question: What are you running to? When I've answered that question, my goal is clear and it makes running (the activity) worthwhile. Again, I can't wait for Saturday and many many more Mermaid runs to go!

Today's Small Victories
I made it to yoga. YES!

Today's Workout
One hour of yoga

Notes (to myself) about this workout: Yoga rocks. I need to do it more.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

born this way

fathlete confession: No matter what you say or think, I am NOT a Gleek! However, I am in deep love with this week's episode which featured Lady Gaga's "Born This Way." Here's the clip:

In particular, I LOVE what Tina (aka the Asian gal on the show) declared. It's become my new mantra of sorts. It goes a little something like this: ‎"If I don't have many Asian sex symbols to look up to, I have an obligation to become one myself. My new mantra is: Be the change you want to see in the world."

POW! Eat that, world of haters!

Today's Small Victories
I ran. I sucked. But I did it. Oooh! I finally found my running hat.

Today's Workout
Run 5K

Notes (to myself) about this workout: This was the worst run I've done in quite a while. I was sucking air, my hands were swollen, and I just wasn't feeling it. It's not like me to not finish a run, so I ended up walking the last half mile. Many thanks to Miss Lori for hanging in there with me. Gah. Bad run:(

On another note, I wonder if compression makes a difference. This was the first run I did where I was compression-less. Hmph.

in defense of running

The 2005 Runbutans
To put this all into context, it all started with this post where Freddy talks about running and marathons and why they're over-rated. Recently, this same exact post was re-visited here. I'm not going to lie. I didn't really appreciate it the first time around. With that, I posted the following response (which no one really cared about):
Marathoner or CrossFitter or both, it all comes down to different strokes for different folks! Don't let the fatty fool you, I ran a marathon five years ago and it was a great experience because it showed me the different ways in which I could push my body. In fact, whenever we're doing a tough WOD (e.g. Mr. Josh) and I want to throw in the towel, there's always a voice inside me that says, "Come on Joanne, you've run a marathon in dead heat of Maui, you can do this!" There is just something about finishing a marathon that continues to be meaningful to me today. 
Also, I ran the marathon to raise money for a charity that was near and dear to my heart. At the time, it wasn't about health. It was about pushing my body in the name of something beyond me. Training for the marathon also provided me the chance to get to know SF and Berkeley in ways that I wouldn't have. Running is a great way to explore your neighborhood, appreciate nature, and such. It's as fulfilling as you make it. 
I agree that long distance running isn't ideal for most. Marathon training tore up my feet! Shortly after finishing the marathon, a friend sent me an article about a long-term study done on marathoners and ultra-marathoners. It stated that these athletes were more prone to heart failure because the body isn't meant to handle that stress. It also stated that such athletes tended to develop mental "issues" later on in life. Something about oxygen to the brain. I'm not saying that the article was 100% correct, but it was enough for me to re-think running. 
I have great respect for runners and athletes from all walks of life. Do what you love and what adds to your life. At the time, long distance running worked for me. Currently, CrossFit works. At another point in my life, something else may work. I decide the destiny and parameters of my fitness. No one else does.
In re-visiting the debate, I certainly do not like it any better the second time around. There is a difference between a perceived standard of fitness versus someone setting a personal goal for him or herself. Also, it's unfair to post two opposing bodies to represent the variety of athletes that run (both short and long distances).  Alas, this time, I decided to just shut up... for the time being. Luckily, my gal pal Lori chimed in as a voice of reason. Here's what she had to say:
When I first started at OW, don't know if anyone remembers, I couldn't even run a 400 without stopping! With just the training at OW I completed a 5K in good time and now am training for a 1/2 marathon. OW rocks! 
I actually hate running and now realize I hate it because it is all mental and in my head. Everytime I lace up the shoes for a run, I convince myself that I can't do it or that I will be bored to death....but I push myself to do it to break that mental barrier. The more "running fit" I become the more I am enjoy it and being outdoors and the more rewarding it is becoming hitting new PR's both on distance and quickness. 
I think Crossfit and distance running is a perfect combo...why not? win! Plus you get to buy all kinds of shoes! 
Also, thanks Angela! :)
In short, every sport or athletic skill has its value. Though I've declared time and time again that I'm not interested in doing another marathon, I make this claim having given it a fair shot. For now, marathons have no future with me. But I commend anyone who is willing to take on the challenge. It's a different experience and one that I continue to value. Unlike some, I don't think it's fair to disregard a sport without having gone through the experience first (cough cough. comments section. cough cough.). It's just plain unfair. To those who claim that anyone can do a marathon, DO IT. Then talk your shit.

Monday, April 25, 2011

the fierce runner

Taken at the Kaiser 5K earlier this year.
I'm not sure if you all know this, but this blog started when I decided to run the Maui marathon back in 2005. It was originally called "the fierce runner" (hence the URL). Back then I had fantasies of being a bona fide runner, participating in marathon after marathon.

However, that dream died quickly when I started having major blister problems. For some reason,  every three years, the running bug tends to bite me. This year is no different. After the marathon, I didn't touch running until 2008 when I ran the Nike Women's Virtual Half Marathon.

I can't quite remember why, but I haven't run much since then. This year, 2011 is again, the year of running. It started with the Kaiser Permanente 5K back in February. I ran this with Miss Lori because I've always wanted to run this event. It was a lot of fun and I plan on doing it again next year. Because this was such a great event, Miss Lori and I decided to run the Mermaid Run East Bay in a few weeks. That's also a 5K that we signed up ages ago. Miss Lyn will also join us:)

With the Mermaid run on my mind, I was wondering if I would be ready or willing to run another half marathon. I've always wanted to run the Nike Women's Half Marathon again. It's a great event, but terribly difficult to get into, since they pick via random lottery. As luck would have it, one of my students told me that this year, they're allowing college students to bypass the lottery and get in for a discounted rate. Viola. I'm in and running it in October! fathlete confession: I'm seriously considering signing up for the San Jose Rock n Roll Half Marathon just two weeks prior the Nike Half. It would be a good practice run. Hmmm.... Still seriously considering it.

Finally, I've been so jazzed about the Mermaid run that I decided to sign up for the Mermaid Run San Francisco in November. This time I'm doing the 10K.

Yes folks. This is the year of the fierce runner. Watch out!