Category Archives: 5k

Back to Normal Life?

Remember how I used to blog here?  And share about my trips?  And runs?  And other random crap?

I’m finally “settled” in DC, I had my parents in town for the better part of a month, and my sister-in-law just spent three weeks here with us.  To make things extra special, the week I had in between visits my computer decided to rebel and I had to restore it to factory settings (after spending lots of $$$ to recover my pictures, since I had failed to back them up after leaving Manila).

Visitors are gone, and Ellie finally naps during the daytime (OMG!), and goes to bed consistently around 6:30/7pm every night, so I predict more blogging to come (I hope someone still reads this!  I will go back to blogging about trips and running and baby!).

And Ellie is getting cuter and cuter each day.  Case in point…


Life has been super busy thanks to all the visitors from Brazil (but oh so fun!).  I may have given up running the marathon, but I haven’t given up on running…  Aside from the Ridiculous Race (which was more fun than running),


I ran the Crystal City Twilighter in July, the 9/11 5k, and the Navy Half Marathon just last weekend (I did better than I expected, but horrible compared to my other half marathons, thanks to extra weight, still being out of shape, plus blisters and foot pain – but I’m still vain and can still smile at a camera when I see it one!)  Kathy and Jen ran the half with me, and provided amazing company!


I still have the Army Ten Miler and the MCM 10k to run, before winter sets in. The much cooler weather in DC should help the running too!

I even got my sis-in-law, Lara, to wake up butt early with me yesterday and run to DC, and though she’s still a new runner, so she had to walk quite a bit (plus she was testing out her Newton shoes), she still went 5 miles, which is a record for her!


Ellie had lots of firsts during the time Lara was visiting…  First taste of solid food at 6 months…


First time riding in a shopping cart…


First visit to a museum…


First metro ride (though this picture is from her 6th metro ride or so).


First zoo visit – see the sea lion swimming behind her?


First time petting a cow (this brought giggles out of her!).


First swimming class (which she LOVED).


And we also had Lily’s first visit to Old Town Alexandria (yep, the puppy has not been forgotten!).


Ellie is also liking her stroller more and more, and though I have now mastered wearing her on my back, my poor feet just can’t handle it for more than dog walks or shopping trips (I really really need to call that orthopedic surgeon already to get his opinion…  2 hours is still the limit they can handle a day – whether walking or running – before horrible pain sets in, and when carrying Ellie, it comes much sooner due to the extra weight, which sucks).


Karl is still busy learning Portuguese, and he got a lot of practice when my parents and Lara were here.  I can’t believe that exactly 3 months from today we’ll be arriving in Rio de Janeiro.  Time is flying by…

Until then, hope to update much more often, as I still have a lot to catch up to!


Filed under 5k, Baby, Half Marathon, Lily, Non-Running Stuff, Pictures, Runs

Brooks Run Happy 5k Race Recap

Run HappyThat’s right!  Despite my lack of running since arriving in Manila (one outdoor run, a few treadmill runs does not “running” make), I decided to sign up for the Brooks Run Happy 5k.  For two reasons, really:  the 500P (about 12 dollars) registration would give me a free Brooks tech t-shirt AND a medal.  You guys know how I like medals (didn’t I run the National Half, just so I can get one last medal before leaving DC?).  The tech t-shirt wasn’t even too bad, I like that it’s sleeveless, which I wear a lot more during runs in the heat, but I’m not sure about the VERY BRIGHT color.



There were different options for this race:  a 15k (9.3 miles), a 10k, a 5k and a 3k (I guess so you can sprint all out?).  I chose the 5k because I’m nowhere adapted to this heat yet, and I know that even in bad conditions I can pull off a 5k, even if slowly.

The kicker?  We were supposed to get there at 4am (4 AM PEOPLE!), for a 5:50am race start.  I even asked the guys at the registration (since you had to do it in person at the store, there is NO online registration here in Manila), if I could get there a bit later and they said “No, ma’am, 4am.”

After waking up at 3:45am, I didn’t get out of bed for another 15 minutes, because for the first time ever, I actually considered not going for a race I signed up for, as I would rather sleep.  But I told myself to do this one, and if it was that miserable, I didn’t have to run one again while I’m here (the horror, right?), and eventually got out of bed, changed, and we made our way to the street to grab a cab to the race start.
We arrived there at 4:45am.  There was really no reason to get there at 4am, or even at the time we did.  Next time, a 5:30am arrival will do just fine.  We weren’t fully awake yet, and we sat and waited for a loooong time…

Quite a few people were already there, but most arrived much later…


This was our first time in Fort Bonifacio/Bonifacio Global City, so we enjoyed seeing all the high rises.  This area is even fancier than Makati, where we now live.  And there’s soooo much green space here, it would have been perfect for walking Lily! (The one park across the street from us doesn’t allow pets…)


The good thing about the 4am time, was that the weather was actually pleasant at that time.  Perfect running weather even.  But of course, it didn’t take long for the sun to come out, and the pleasant temperature to change pretty quickly…





It wasn’t even 5:30 am yet, and the place was bright.  And it was a lot warmer.  I quickly realized that my choice of outfit, the black Cherry Blossom 10 miler race shirt, was a big mistake.


Right away, I noticed something different about the way races are in Manila vs. the US…  While in the US most people don’t wear their race shirt to race day (why wear a shirt if you haven’t earned the right yet?), here, the race shirt was EVERYWHERE.  I was one of the odds one out by wearing a different outfit.


The other thing?  While in the US you see a few people here and there running before the race to warm up, here it was the majority of people, at some point or another would sprint back and forth, or do all sorts of stretching and jumping.  I admit that it was at this point that I got very nervous.  I told Karl how there’s only serious runners, and I knew I’d have to be slow because of the heat, and I was really afraid of being last.  Plus, this is the smallest race I’ve ever been part of, with maybe 1,000 people total, so there were no guarantees there would be people even slower than me.


Finally, the 15k and 10k people were told to line up at the start.  The 15k would start at 5:30am, and the 10k would start 10 minutes later and so on.


And they waited.  And waited.  And waited.  While the weather got hotter and hotter and hotter.


I figured this would be the perfect time to go to the porta-potty.  While the line wasn’t long at all, with maybe 20 people waiting in each porta-potty (there were a total of four of them, and weirdly enough, they were separated by male and female), for some reason I waited a good 20 minutes in line.  I guess when you put all women in the same line, it’s bound to take longer than a bunch of men or a  mixed line.

But at least we had signs like the blue one below to keep us laughing:


And the porta-potty?  Less spacious inside than in the US (it’s harder not to touch anything), but the toilet looked like a real toilet, with a flush and everything.  SO NICE not having to see what other runners did in the bathroom!  No more looking at poo volcanoes that go over the toilet seat!  Plus, while we were waiting, a cleaning guy actually came along and quickly cleaned the inside of the porta-potties so it wasn’t completely gross either!

Yes, I had to take a picture of the inside.  When else do you wait a long time to use it, and it looks like this when you walk in?


Before the race started, I also grabbed a chilled “Pocari Sweat” bottle – a Japanese sports drink.  It was surprisingly good.


Finally, half an hour after the race was supposed to start, the gun went off.  Shortly afterwards, the 10k people were starting as well.



And then it was at last our turn to go.  We lined up and waited for the gun.



And off we went!  Within the first quarter mile, I knew I wasn’t going to be last.  I was passing people and a ton of people were already stopping to walk.  It doesn’t help that we started half an hour later than we were meant to and that on that half hour, the weather got much warmer…



It was really cool running through Bonifacio, as none of us had been there before.  It wasn’t flat, but a very gradual uphill followed by a very gradual downhill, so it kept us challenged.


My first goal was “don’t walk” my second was “finish in less than 35 minutes” while my third goal was to attempt an 11 min/mile pace.  I’m sad to report that I was only able to meet my first goal…  I only quickly walked the water stops because it was so hot that I had to make sure to drink enough, but the water wasn’t refreshing by far:  it was HOT!  Couldn’t they at least had chilled the thing?  It was 85 degrees outside, so the water was just as warm.  Ugh.

The route was pretty though, and we loved the palm trees!



Finally, we saw the finish line approaching, and as usual, I took off in a sprint, only to be faced with yet another obstacle once I got closer:  there were orange cones starting about 20 feet from the finish line, separating those finishing the 15k/10k/5k/3k, so there was only enough space for one person to get through in each line.  So I couldn’t sprint to the finish, because there was no way to pass people.  It’s not like I’m competing against people at the finish line (though we all secretly do that too), but I’m also competing against myself, and having to run slower than I’m capable of because the people in front of me haven’t chosen to sprint was a bit of a bummer…

But it was hot, and we finished and I got my worst 5k time ever (for a race I’ve run the whole thing – I ran one 5k slower than that back when I had to run/walk to the finish, years ago).  But at the end, I was fine with my SLOW time of 35:32 (11:26 min/mile – yes, the pace is slower than my 10 miler pace a month and a half ago, which was already slower than my paces from last year…).

I survived the heat, while wearing a black shirt, when I also had stupidly chosen to leave my hat and sunglasses at home.  I guess a good thing about having such a slow time is that my next 5k in Manila, it better be a guaranteed (Manila) PR!


The medal?  It was cute, but the worst medal I’ve gotten so far (it was a thin piece of metal, glued in a wood board).



After the race, we had to wait in line to get our “goody bag” – a small reusable bag with a granola bar, a few fliers, a magazine and a hand sanitizer.  While waiting in line, I took one last picture.  20 minutes after crossing the finish line and I’m still super-red!


Despite HATING some parts of this race (super-early start time, HOT water at the water stops, narrow finish line chute), I really enjoyed myself, and will definitely run another race in Manila again – hopefully sooner rather than later (I have to find other runners, because Karl already said he’s not waking up that early on a Sunday again!).


Filed under 5k, Manila, Philippines, Pictures, Race, Race Report

Race Picture!

Definitely not a flattering picture of me (looks like I’m feeling myself up — why is my hand so high up by my boobs?  Horrible running form!), but it’s the only picture caught of me at the 9/11 5k this weekend.

At least it looks like I have both feet off the ground for a change…  Can you spot me (in blue), between the two guys also wearing blue?

And I have a SUPER CUTE skirt on, but this is the only picture from the WHOLE DAY where it kinda shows.

The skirt is from Skirts Sports, which I reviewed a while back — I’m still wearing them and loving them months later.  I really should be getting some kind of commission for the number of people I have recommended them to.  Plus, I have them in every color now, so my bank account is drained.  They’re totally worth it though!  And I’m planning on getting another one in this color — I got TONS of compliments on them at the race — and the pink one in this print as well.  I used to complain they didn’t have enough colors and prints.  Now I hope they stop coming up with new colors and prints!!!  I cannot afford to keep buying a new $65 skirt (no coupons online, sadly) every few weeks!


Filed under 5k, Pictures, Race

Arlington 9/11 5k Race Recap

The 9/11 5k is one of my favorite races!  Not only it was my first race EVER back in 2007 (when I couldn’t even run 3 miles without a break), but a day of remembering is still very important to me (I posted my 9/11 story here).  It is also one of the most fun races in this area because of the atmosphere and the after-party.

My brother came to town super late on Friday night, so after finally waking him and his wife up at noon, we drove down to my sister’s for a bit then went off to meet up some of my running friends in Crystal City for the race!

I also finally got to see Angela, who came home safe after a long stint in Iraq!  Yay!

The racecourse this year was different than what I had run last time, in 2008 (last year I missed it, since it was on the same day as the VA Beach Half Marathon).  While in 2008 it started and ended right under the American flag, this year, the start line faced a different direction (the flag marks mile post 3).

Now for the race in itself…  This is not a race to PR in.  In the past, people held up pace signs so you could align yourself with other runners your speed.  This year, there was no such thing, so it was a free for all.  At the first tenth of a mile, you make a left turn onto a local street and that was a HUGE bottleneck.  After starting the race and picking up speed, all of a sudden I found myself walking because I couldn’t get past the crowds around me.  Eventually I settled on the left of the course and started passing people through there, weaving in and out of the orange cones that divided both directions of the race course.  The course was mostly crowded the whole time, but the first mile and a half was specially packed dodging people all over me.

I was running for a PR, hoping to keep my time under 31 minutes.  My previous 5k PR had been 31:28 in July at the Crystal City Twilighter — when the weather was 102 degrees with heat warnings, and I walked every water stop — about 5 of them — because I didn’t want to chance overheating (I had already run 14 miles that morning).  I figured I could probably get under 31 minutes for this one, but wasn’t feeling too confident since I hadn’t been running all week.

Once the bottleneck started, I thought I wouldn’t get there at all.  It was frustrating, and I kept running to the sides to dodge people (yes, I was actually passing people for a change!).  But my goal was to keep my pace below 10 min/miles, and it was surprising to see that despite all the dodging, I still finished my first mile below a 9 min/mile pace!  (My fastest mile ever!)

I had eaten some chips at my sister’s, and not drank enough because I didn’t want to have to pee mid-run, so it’s no surprise that even though the weather was in the 80’s and much cooler than my last 5k, I had cotton mouth, it was so dry, I had to keep wiping gunk off the sides of my mouth with my shirt (GROSS, I KNOW!!!).  There was only one water stop on the whole course, so when I passed the first water stop, I walked a bit to drink it, as I was having such a hard time with my dry mouth, I wanted to make sure to actually drank water properly.

My body felt great throughout the whole race, but I wish I had sunglasses, because even though it was 6pm as the sun was shining hard in our faces for most of the run, and I wish I had hydrated more, because it really started to get me on the last mile, where I considerably slowed down and was having a hard time maintaining a pace below a 10 min/mile.

When I finally passed the 3 mile marker (the only one I saw), I kicked it to the end.

My mistake?  I let my dry mouth dictate my speed for too long — I finished the 5k with plenty of energy to keep going at the faster pace.  I should have picked up speed sooner.

The good news?  Despite the bottlenecks, my dry mouth, the sun in my eyes, and finishing the race with more left to go, I still PR’d!  Heck, I took over 2 minutes from my 5k PR of a month and a half ago, finishing in 29:06 (9:22 pace).  I could not believe it!  I guess there’s something to be said about it being 20 degrees cooler…

Right after the PR…

Of course, I can’t help but wonder:  what if there were no bottlenecks during the first mile?  What if I had picked it up sooner than with a tenth of a mile to go?  What if I was properly hydrated?  What if I had not walked to drink a couple of sips of water during the water stop?  My GPS counted that I had run 3.18 miles in that time — that shows how much dodging I ended up doing throughout the whole run!

And, that stupid 6 seconds?  It kills me.  I KNOW I could have gone 6 seconds faster if I knew it was what it would take to round out the number!

Regardless, I cannot freaking believe how much time I shaved off my 5k.  And don’t you love getting medals for a 5k?

My brother after completing his first 5k!  (He looks drunk, but he’s just tired from traveling for almost 24 hours the day before…)

Everyone had a great time too — and we enjoyed plenty of pizza, burgers and hot dogs at the end of the race!

Oh, and of course, the unlimited amounts of free beer!

My brother and his wife both had a great time, despite only running this because I sort of made them do it.

Karl was also super happy because even though this was his first official 5k (he tagged alongside me before, but first time he actually signed up for one), he met his goal of keeping a pace of under 7 min/mile, finishing in 21:20!  I’m proud of him!

He was also the only one of us who got caught by the race photographers (clearly squinting at the sun):

After the race, a few of us went off to Bailey’s which seems to be our tradition for those races in Crystal City…

You can totally tell I’m super excited to have my baby brother over for the week!


Filed under 5k, Pictures, Race, Race Report