Runner's Footprints

Runner's Footprints

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Year in Review

One of the most common questions I receive is: how do you race so often so consistently without injury? This often is then followed by: what can I do to get faster? My philosophy is simply this: Endurance sport is a lifestyle; the more you want to achieve from it, the more you will need to put into it. Meaning if you desire a goal strongly enough, you will do anything and everything within reason to achieve that particular goal. Going faster, going longer, going more often is not a product of simply continuously adding mileage to your body. Every individual’s physiology is different and every individual has his/her own unique responsibilities that need to be taken into account when attempting to incorporate an active lifestyle into their lives. Ask anyone that knows me closely, I absolutely love running and have grown to appreciate the sport of triathlon in recent years as well. If it were completely up to my desires, I would most likely run everyday as long as I could and race every weekend all weekend all over the world; however, there is a strong reality tugging at my shoes to remain somewhat grounded. I am highly committed to my spouse, family, and career; therefore, I have over the years experimented with myself what works best given what I hold as my priorities.

Memory of Pasadena
As shown below, I have ran 38 races total in a variety of distances in 2011, the most number of races I have ran in all my career of racing for the past 12 years. Within those 38 races, I have achieved seven PRs in race distances from the 10K to the Ironman. Even though I love every time I have the opportunity to race, one of my most proudest and tearful moments this year was running the Pasadena Marathon with my father, a cancer survivor who was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. He has taught me that if we believe it, it CAN be achieved. The mind is a very powerful tool often overlooked in endurance sports. The will to continue to fight even when it hurts most is usually the defining and breakthrough moment. I started the Pasadena marathon not expecting to PR but when I looked into my father’s eyes as I passed Mile 12 and he was approaching Mile 8, his eyes told me I could do it. And I did. Each mile thereafter required me to push myself more than I had ever before but when I reached that finish line, I needed to wipe the tears from my eyes to see I had just ran a 3:20:04.

Memory of Coeur d’Alene
Another very notable moment was Ironman Coeur d’Alene. Even though my PR for the Ironman distance is 12:34:08 achieved this year at IMAZ, my most memorable was IMCdA when my father and brother decided to drive 24 hours nonstop from Los Angeles to Coeur d’Alene to support me on my second Ironman triathlon. It’s funny how the mind can quickly forget the extreme pain sometimes that is felt during some of these race distances or maybe it’s just me. J The challenge that day began the moment I stepped into the lake to the moment I made it across the finish line. The lake was frigid ice cold and it was the first time in my life I had the desire to quit soon after just starting. I had never quit anything before in my life but the stabbing pain of the cold water had me begging and gasping for mercy. All I could do is imagine my father and brother’s concerned faces as they stood on the shore trying to follow with their eyes on my swim cap as long as they could. I knew the rest of my family stood patiently at home near the phone waiting for updates of my progress and safety. Again, I knew I could not give up because it was the desire to finish what I started that propelled me further. After more than a hundred miles later, I found myself once again at a breaking point as my body screamed with pain as I approached Mile 20 on the marathon portion of the race. My brother stepped out of the car and hugged me, “Sister, you can do it. I know you can. I know it hurts but I know you can do it.” And I did. I hobbled in at 14:00:05, only about a five minute PR from my first Ironman time but this course was hillier than a son of a gun. My brothers words were like magic but it was more his faith in me that gave me the strength to continue.

Final Thoughts
So how do I get faster, go longer, and race more often? Balance quality over quantity, especially if time is limited. As shown in the graphs below, I am far from a high mileage runner but what it neglects to illustrate is what else I do outside of running. I swim, bike, strength train, practice yoga, and cross train with other physical activities as well. When I train, I aim to make every mile count. Every training session has a purpose and everything I do daily also influences my race performances. How much I sleep, what I eat and drink, how I manage stress, and how I rest effectively. As I stated early, endurance sports is a lifestyle; the more you want to achieve from it, the more you will need to put into it. There is a sea of knowledge I have learned over the past decade that I can and plan to share in more depth with others. However in the meantime, I leave you with the thoughts: do what makes you happy every single day because tomorrow is never promised. Each time I toe the starting line of any race, I am beaming with excitement to reach the finish line. Not because once I cross I am finished. The greater excitement is recognizing that in reality there is no finish line and I aim to be a lifelong, healthy runner for as long as my legs will carry me. 
2011 Personal Records Achieved:
12/18 Winter Solstice 5miler         32:28
10/1 RAD 10K                               42:12
6/4 Fontana Half Marathon           1:26:45                
5/20 Pasadena Marathon              3:20:04
8/14 ET Full Moon 51K                 4:37:08                                                          
9/11 Superfrog Half Ironman        5:54:33
11/20 IMAZ Ironman                    12:34:08

2011 Race Distances Completed:
Half marathons                     8         
Marathons                            14                  
Half Ironmans                       3
Ironmans                              2
Other                                    11
Total                                     38

2011 Monthly Run Totals:
My graph
2011 Weekly Run Totals:
My graph

2011 Race Schedule:
1/9 Walt Disney World Marathon- 3:23
1/23 Carlsbad Marathon - 3:26
2/6 Surf City Half Marathon - 1:38
2/13 RnR Mardi Gras Marathon - 3:20:48*
3/5 Red Rock Marathon - 3:38
3/12 Fight On Sprint Duathlon - 1:36
3/20 LA Marathon - 3:32
4/2 Ironman 70.3 Oceanside - 6:03
4/9 Santa Anita 5K - 20:38
4/18 Boston Marathon - 3:33
5/1 OC Half Marathon - 1:38
5/7 CAR May Day Trail Marathon - 4:09
5/15 Pasadena Marathon - 3:20:04*
5/22 OC Olympic Triathlon - 2:58
6/4 Fontana Half Marathon - 1:26:45*
6/19 CAR Rockin' With Dad Half - 1:37
6/26 Ironman Coeur d'Alene - 14:00:05*
7/17 CAR Run the Beach Half Marathon- 1:37
7/31 SF Marathon - 3:35
8/4 Playa Del Rey 5K - 20:10
8/6 Xterra Snow Valley Half Marathon - 2:13
8/14 ET Midnight Full Moon 51K - 4:37:08*
8/21 Pikes Peak Marathon - 8:41
9/4 Disneyland Half Marathon - 1:39
9/11 Superfrog (70.3) Triathlon - 5:54:33*
9/17 OC 10K - 43:42
9/25 Orangeman (70.3) Triathlon - 6:44
10/1 RAD 10K - 42:12*
10/9 RnR Denver Marathon - 3:38
10/16 Nike Women's Marathon - 3:37
10/23 Race for Rescues 5K - 21:58
10/30 RnR LA Half Marathon - 1:48
11/6 NYC Marathon - 3:39
11/13 Malibu Half Marathon - 1:39
11/20 Ironman Arizona - 12:34:08*
12/4 RnR LV Marathon - 3:26
12/11 Holiday Half Marathon - 1:35
12/18 Winter Solstice 5M Race - 32:28*
*personal record up to date

Sometimes your most difficult challenges are your most defining.
Conceive it, believe it, and you will achieve it.


  1. Fantastic post!! :) Great Year Nadia! you rock!

  2. Thanks Lily & thanks for sharing your blog too!