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Going Half Crazy: Part 3

  • Mar 23 2015
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Spring is finally here and it seems like I'm on track to writing about each of these races one year after each of them! I'm super excited to share my March, April, and May races with all of you. Right now is one of my favorite times of the year to run in California's Central Valley. Hopefully some of you come out to either our big fall and spring half marathons. We have the 2CM Two Cities Marathon and Half in the Fall and the California Classic Weekend Half Marathon in March, and the Century ride in May! These have definitely been some of my favorites!


Race #8 California Classic Weekend

A couple friends of mine, Nader and Alissa, ran the race as well as my Dad, sister, and nephew. Alissa was proudly wearing one of her Endure tank tops, it was a super cute "Eat My Dust" tank. She and her husband Nader were both dressed in super neon green so they could stand out. This would have normally worked if all of the volunteers weren't dressed in neon green so it ended up being super hard for them to spot one another along the course. Alissa set a personal best time and it was awesome being there to witness such a big accomplishment.

I ran the entire race with my dad, my oldest sister Melissa, and her (then) 11-year-old son Christian. My dad and I both ran the half and my sister and my nephew ran the two-person relay. The course begins in downtown Fresno right next to the Grizzlies Stadium. It continued through Fresno's historic Tower District, through Fresno's Chaffee Zoo, and back through downtown Fresno, past our gorgeous City Hall, and back to the stadium. My sister ran the first half with my dad and I, and my nephew met us right before the zoo. It was awesome running through the park with him and my dad and crossing the finish line with all three of them. My sister Melissa snuck back onto the course to finish with us. It was such a fun and memorable race. We didn't even take the race very seriously and still finished the race in 2:02!

Christian, Dad, Melissa, and Me before the big race!

Saying "bye" to my nephew Christian before he takes off on the bus to the relay hand-off.

Me, my dad, and my sister Melissa at the starting line.

Me and my friends Nader and Alissa after the race. This is the photo of the 2014 Finisher's Medal.

Medal Earned: California Classic Finisher's Medal with Fresno's most well-known buildings and a tiger representing the zoo! One thing that I think could be improved on this medal would be a different medal for each race. The Half Marathon and 5K finisher's got the same medal, wish each were different, even if it were the ribbon!
Running Buddies: Friends Nader and Alissa at the starting line and my dad, sister Melissa, and nephew Christian
Inspiration: Running alongside my family in the county I grew up in. Other family members along the way cheering us on were my other sister, my brother in law, and my son was there at the finish line.
Tips: If you're not from Fresno, learn about all of the landmarks and what they mean to the city. Come a day early, pick up your packet at the expo and visit the Tower District, eat food at Doghouse and possibly try and catch an FSU basketball game across the street. Take time to visit and enjoy the zoo too! One tip for running the half marathon, make sure you know where you are on every turn during the last 2 miles. You will be doing "city switchbacks" through downtown and it will feel like it's never-ending unless you know where you are. You literally will be going back and forth through downtown a number of times before heading back to Chuckchansi Stadium, so be both mentally and physically prepared rather than discouraged when the last turn, isn't really the last!


Race #9 Not a half, longer! Big Sur International Marathon - 21 Miler

My race in April was one of my top three favorite races ever. As far as the course, it blows every other race out of the park. A close second would be the Big Sur Half marathon that is held in the middle of November every year. This was such an emotional and meaningful race to me that I can't even think of where to begin. So I'll start months before the race, a little while after I decided to register, summer of 2013. I wanted to register for the full, since this was something I had put on my bucket list to complete. However, my alarm was set at the incorrect time and before I got onto my computer, the race was SOLD OUT!! My dad and I decided we would register for the 21-miler instead of the full. We were pretty disappointed but in the end it was probably the better option for us.

About a month later, my dad was feeling chest pain and had complained to my sister Janielle and I about it. He's a registered nurse so we didn't think much of it because we assumed he would know if it were something he should be worried about. Later that night my mom found out, who is also a nurse, and she took him to the emergency room. My sister and I both felt guilty for not doing something when he had first mentioned it. He had a chest scan and they found something that had multiplied in growth filling his lungs overnight. Our family was distraught. My dad had always been very health conscious. He's told us before that all of his siblings and many of his relatives have died from either heart problems, lung cancer, or diabetes by the age of 60. He was to run 60 in three months. A heaviness took over throughout our family.

During the time my dad was in the hospital, one of my best friends, was getting married. My family stayed home to be with my dad. I was part of the wedding party so I traveled to southern California by myself.

For a couple weeks the doctors couldn’t determine exactly what it was that was taking over my dad’s respiratory system. We were afraid it anything from a small heart attack to lung cancer. It turned out that my dad had textbook Valley fever. There were spores that he had inhaled that began to grow in his lungs. The severity could range anywhere from it not affecting your life at all to death. Luckily, my mom and her instinct acted in time to treat him and he’s still alive and well today. Months later we celebrated his 60th birthday with an “It’s not cancer” party and we as a family drove to Sacramento for a fun day at one of our favorite breakfast spots, the Tower Café, lunch at Joes Crab Shack, touring the train museum, old time photos, and walking around old town Sacramento.

It did take my dad a while to recover. My sister ran in his place for the races he signed up for, the Two Cities Half Marathon in Clovis and the Big Sur Half Marathon. By the time our 21-miler came in April, he was ready to go. The expo was fun. I got to work it with one of my good friends Aimee. During the expo we met a girl named Lori who had the endure logo tattooed onto her wrist! It was awesome. I saw Lori on the course during the race too!

It was an emotional race for the both of us. The sights and the sounds along the race were absolutely amazing to say the least. We enjoying running up the hills, walking down the hills, and taking both scenic photos, and silly ones as well.

I will never forget the feeling I had the moment I thought there was a chance I could lose my dad forever. He’s the rock of our family and we all love him so very much.

Medal Earned: A hand-made 21-Miler Big Sur Medal with a leather cord

Running Buddies: My dad and I ran the 21-miler together. My friend Mika ran the full.

Inspiration: My dad.

Tips: Although I wished I had run the full, the 21-mile distance seemed perfect. Bring a fully charged phone with plenty of memory to take photos. Enjoy the beauty. Drink lots of water and enjoy the yummy strawberries when you’re nearing Carmel. From the pianist, to the course, to the officials, everything about this race is amazing.


Race #10 OC Half Marathon

This was my first race I had ever run by myself. With the exception of my friends Mika and Robyn during the race and at the finish, I had no running buddies and no family cheering me on along the way. Going to bed the night before this race was lonely. I was alone in the hotel room, getting my race outfit together, instagramming it, with nobody helping me decide what to wear. I woke up by myself, ate my energy bar by myself, had a cup of coffee by myself, and drove to the starting line by myself. It was definitely a strange feeling. I had never done this alone. I'm kind of a needy person with a strong need for other people's approval and there was nobody around to tell me good luck, to hold on my long sleeve shirt after I started the race, or to take a picture of me in front of the starting line. I wanted my family there, or even just a friend to start their watch alongside me. But I was alone.

I stepped into the first corral and awaited the national anthem and the start of the race. There I met a very friendly girl who I found out had run the course a number of times. I had never run this course before and was somewhat nervous. I had a goal of running under a certain time and I had a little bit of pre-race anxiety. I don't get it often, only when I have a goal I'd like to reach. Lately I had been running races just for fun and not for time. The girl I met helped take the nerves off talking about how awesome the course was and how she's done it for years. It was great to be able to talk to someone at the start of the race. It was as if I had met a friend that I had a lot in common with, but runners really just do have a lot in common with each other. I'm so thankful to have met her. I wish I had her name or brought endure business cards with me so I could know how her race went!

Since I had already been running for months, I had a goal of running this race under two hours and hoped to run around 1:55. I surpassed my goal and ran 1:52! It was a new feeling having to dig deep for the last few miles and the last quarter mile I had a stranger running alongside me pushing me along. To me, that's what running is all about. It's about encouraging one another, being there for someone when they need you every step of the way. Because whether you know the person or not, in a way, you're their team mate, running the course with the same challenges, the same pain, the same struggle, and stepping over the same finish line with an amazing sense of accomplishment. Sometimes running is lonely, but sometimes you'll also be very surprised how many people are there for you along the way.

This race was my fastest of the 12 races. Not my lifetime PR, which is about 10 minutes faster, but I was proud of this one.

Medal Earned: The US Bank 10th Anniversary OC Marathon

Running Buddies: I did this one solo :)

Inspiration: I had to dig deep, friendly runners along the course helped push me through the finish.

Tips: Check out the course beforehand to see what to expect. Either way you won't be disappointed. Orange County is gorgeous everywhere.

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