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.
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.
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!
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!
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