Personal Records (PRs) & My Running Life

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2011 Hood to Coast Relay – Run Time!

I am often asked about my running background & personal records that have been set, so I figured this is a good avenue to document all the questions that have been asked.

Personal Records
First, let’s begin with the PRs from various distances through the years. Pretty much all the PRs happened over 3 years ago when I was much more dedicated to racing and training.  So here they are:

5Km: 18:28 (5:58 min/mile) Race to Wrigley 2012
10Km: 39:32 (6:15 min/mile) Coyote Hills 2011
Half-Marathon: 1:22:56 (6:19 min/mile) Santa Rosa 2010
Full-Marathon: 3:04:14 (7:01 min/mile) Chicago 2013
Half Ironman Triathlon: 5:49:50 – Napa Valley Vintage 2011

As of this writing, I have participated in 63 races with the first-ever race in 2004 (Chicago Shamrock Shuffle 8K).  I have been able to run races all over the USA, including some of the more popular races like: Chicago marathon, Boston Marathon, Big Sur marathon, & San Francisco.  To date, I have finished 10 Full marathons, 23 Half Marathons, & numerous shorter distances.

Running Background
I guess you can say that I have been blessed with having speed and endurance, but I did not really embrace running until my late 20’s. Here is the quick story of how running became a part of my life:

Growing up, soccer was my sport of choice.  From the age of 10, I started playing in park district leagues, which eventually lead to playing club level soccer a few years later. I was pretty intense & dedicated about playing up until high school, even to the point where I was trying out to for the Illinois state team.  Being so competitive from an early age + the pressures and expectations from high-level sports, I eventually got burned out/lost interest in playing soccer at that level.  Playing soccer was not fun anymore at that time. However, playing soccer all those years provided a good fitness base for when I decided to try running later on. Please note – I do enjoy watching soccer & one of my goals this year is to start playing pickup games regularly again.

First Race with the Happy Drunk
Fast-forward to after graduating college, my first job out of college was working in downtown Chicago for a IT consulting firm. It was a typical office lined with cubicles throughout the space. A few months into the job, one of the guys who sat next to me asked if I wanted to run a race. First, let me quickly describe this guy…he would be described as a “life of party” type person: full of energy, funny, and got along with everyone. He also was always down for a happy hour (aka he liked to drink a lot). Working out, running, or anything physical was not in his vocabulary! He made a promise to his wife to do (1) physical activity each year & this race was his choice.

After the co-worker asked if I would like to join the race with him, I thought to myself “if he could run a race, I could too!” Of course, his rationale was there would be a beer tent after the race & his wife was the driver 🙂 Anyways, the race was the 2004 Chicago Shamrock Shuffle 8k (about 5 miles). Traditionally, the race takes place in March and loosely marks the start of the outdoor running season in Chicago (because Chicago is friggin cold during the winter).  I did not really train for the race & ended up finishing under 39 minutes (7:39 min/mile pace). The Shamrock Shuffle race planted the seed to my future with running!

10-Mile Challenge
A few more year passed without any races & by this time I had already relocated to San Francisco.  At this time (2008), I was the typical gym person – lift weights a few times per week, along with some treadmill time.  Gradually, I became bored with the gym routine and challenged myself to run a whopping 10 miles! So, I was motivated one weekend day and charted a course via mapmyrun through the streets of San Francisco. It was definitely a challenge, but I remember feeling so relieved/thrilled/fulfilled that I was able to complete the long distance.

2008 happened to be the year I joined the organic food company as well. Many people in the company are/were endurance athletes and encouraged me to run races. It also helped that the company offered reimbursements for races as well! So I registered for a half marathon and full marathon within the calendar year! Why not go big!?!? After completing these races, I was pretty much hooked on running!


Chicago Marathon 2013

Soon after the marathon, I joined a running club that provided more structure and coaching to refine my skills. These were the few years that I was really dedicated to the sport, but I have let off the brake after finishing the 2015 Boston marathon.  I still do enjoy running for exercise and well-being though. Next race is the SF Rock & Roll Half, which I am documenting the training for. Remember – Running is a journey & not a final destination.

For me, running allows me time for many things to happen: to think, to relax, to decompress – it is my personal spa 🙂

Make Today > Yesterday




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