#36 – Avenue of the Giants – What went wrong…

Oh Hi! Welcome back to my blog! It’s been so long. Covid really did a number. And now after all this time, I have something to write about…

After 16 long Covid months and 3 postponements, the Avenue of the Giants marathon was finally here! I honestly wasn’t sure how I was going to perform because it had been so long since I ran a full (almost 2 years!), but also my training was just okay. It wasn’t anything amazing. I was happy to run with some other running friends during this training period, which is definitely helpful in getting through the long runs, but I knew my body wasn’t what it was like last year pre-Covid and while training for this race during the Spring of 2020. I also had to juggle training around my crazy work schedule and swap days and my 20 mile run that should have been at the 3 week from the race mark ended up being 4 weeks out.

I ended up traveling solo up north to Humboldt County and went the afternoon/evening before. Found an Airbnb just about 20 minutes or so from the start of the race. I settled in for the night after driving in a good amount of rain on the way up. I ate some pizza that I cooked before I left home, I had a smoothie from the town store in Phillipsville, and hydrated well during the week and that day. I laid out all my running gear and was ready to go as best as possible. I ended up falling asleep kind of early, but I think that’s just because I drove four hours and was just done for the day. Oh, and my period randomly started. How lovely. Wasn’t expecting this and this can also not be so helpful during races.

I got up bright and early Sunday morning and drove through the rain on the 101. It was a little scary being so dark and slick. When I arrived, everything was going pretty smoothly until I asked a couple next to me in the parking lot if they knew if there was a gear check. She mentioned she hadn’t run this race in years and had forgotten. Then she mentioned something about the email we got with our bib number and I stopped in my tracks. What? What email? I didn’t get one.

So as luck would have it, as I arrived to the table to get my bib, they didn’t have me on the list. Oh man! Had to talk to the RD and sure enough, for some reason they had pushed me to the 2022 list rather than this race. Easy mistake with all the postponements and everything else going on. She was very accommodating and helped me get on the roster for that morning. Got my bib, goodies and finished getting prepped for the race. Ate my Kind bar, banana, drank some Nuun, and utilized the porta potties with no lines.


Race start was 7:45. Less than 200 people at the start. It was misty, wet and humid so I knew this was going to be interesting for myself knowing I don’t do so well in humidity. Most people wore their masks at the start line, which I appreciated, and as the gun went off and we spread out masks came off. All good.

It took my legs a few miles or so to feel warmed up. They actually kind of felt a bit heavy, but after mile 4 I started to feel good. I had my music and just tried to settle in. I had no time goal in mind, so I just settled with the fact that there was no PR or BQ for me in this race and was completely okay with that. It wasn’t even a thought really.

The course was amazingly beautiful with all the lush greenery and tall trees. Well spaced out water and Gatorade tables and some porta potties spread out as well. Volunteers were kind and helpful.thumbnail_49ED7328-0C6F-4A40-944B-7893D948D7E6

As I got to about mile 9 my music stopped. I realized the condensation from the humidity was getting into my phone through my armband. Oh well, no music. I kind of trudged along but I  was just feeling ok. At one point, I felt that my back was completely soaked. You could see other people with completely wet shirts and shorts.

No amazing bursts of energy and no real amazing running feelings. Then around mile 18, after I had already taken a few walk breaks for a few seconds, my right knee started to feel funky on the side. Nothing major but something was off. I kept running but as the miles went on, the feeling was getting worse. I started doing intervals of walking a few seconds or so, then running. But the distance between these was getting smaller and smaller. I ended up having to use the restroom around mile 20 and it was after that, that my knee was getting tighter and tighter. I could walk but once I started running again, my knee just felt like s$&t. The last couple miles were brutal. I could barely run but would still get the intervals in. I literally was saying out loud “you can do it you can do it you can do it” over and over. “Just get to the finish line.” My watch also lost gps signal the last few miles. So everything was going wrong. No music, no phone, no watch, and my body was falling apart. The absolute worst. And no spectators. That was difficult too.


Earlier in the race when I was feeling way better


It’s funny how when you run a marathon you still think “ok, amy, you can get in by 4 hours. It will be fine.” Then it moves to “ok, amy, you can get in by 4:15…no big deal.” Then you see that you are about to hit the 4.5 hr mark and you still say “amy, dude! It doesn’t even matter. You ARE going to cross the finish line (even though you considered finishing only half but then said NO! to yourself) however the hell you get there! Even if you crawl on your hands and knees!”


The last couple miles when I was barely holding on


So my official time was 4:31:22. One of my worst times. But I finished. I gave myself a few seconds to tear up over the agony and what felt like an incredibly unsatisfactory performance. I don’t know why my knee did that since I haven’t had any knee issues in like 10 years. It’s a major IT band flare up. Like super inflamed IT band.


A guy asked me how it was while I was collecting my food goodies at the end. I was disappointed in myself and I replied “It was shitty.” I don’t think he knew what to say to that, poor guy.

I hobbled to my car to change, eat and hydrate. Ate an entire orange so fast, with juice running down my face and arms, but it tasted so amazing. And then got in my car to drive 4+ hours home. That did not help my knee at all but thankfully I had some ice packs in my cooler so I would put them on my knee while I was driving. On the drive, I ate pizza and grapes that I brought and some Doritos they gave at the end of the race. I also drank coconut water and a pressed lemon juice/dragonfruit beverage to hydrate. I knew I needed to get calories in me fairly quickly so I didn’t feel like crap on the drive home.

I checked the official results the next day, to make sure my bib made it in, and weirdly I placed 3rd in my age group. It’s not really saying much cuz that was out of 9 but, hey, whatever. 25/62 gender placement and 86/160 total runners. Not too bad considering I was a wreck. (Insert gigantic laugh) But imagine if I had been in my normal tip top shape…I saw the results for the top 10 women and I possibly would have placed in there. I wondered if this race had happened in May 2020 if I would have had a way better outcome. Honestly, I know I would have. No doubt.

So now I’m nursing my right knee. I need to do some work to get it back in shape. It’s only Tuesday (wrote this yesterday, but published today) and the inflammation has gone down quite a bit but it’s definitely still irritated and I need to take care of it. Lots of icing and stretching and I’ll continue with the stretching for weeks. I have a race in Dec so I just want to make sure I will be healed for that.

I’m glad I finally did this race but there are a few things I would have done differently. Maybe stayed a couple nights up there. Wished I had a friend or two with me. We can’t control the elements but I wished my body had felt better and my training was more solid. I probably shouldn’t have helped my friend weed her yard, because my body was a little sore from that and I had a knot in my right buttock and I think this is what may have caused the knee issue. But it’s ok. It can’t always be perfect. As a few of us runners say “Marathons are hard”. I am still happy it’s number 36 marathon to check off!

New beginnings

Let the year begin…

It’s Feb 1 and we are already one month into 2017. I feel like I have a better handle on this year than last. Thank goodness! It took me six weeks to start running again, but on Jan 15, I finally did it and got my butt out and started my training for the Great Wall Marathon! I feel good -  my body feels really good. It just feels awesome to have a plan and have the motivation to want to run.

I took the six weeks off without hesitation. I didn’t even count the weeks, honestly. I took my mandatory three weeks off after the CIM in December, but then I was busy going to Paris, with the holidays and going on a roadtrip to Arizona and L.A. and back, and just vegging out for a bit. I also needed to gain back some weight. I actually feel like my body is almost where it should be.

Last year, I didn’t have a plan and I was going out of my mind. But this year I feel a bit more relaxed about it all. I have the Great Wall Marathon in May to look forward to and I am so excited! There is still a lot to be done between now and then, but it will all get done.

1) Training – I’m already on Week 3! But I do need to get lots and lots of stair climbing into the mix of it all
2) Flight – still need to book that but already have an idea of cost
3) Visa – need to get that done and sent off by mid-March
4) Stay positive and motivated!

I will be moving into a new house at the end of this month and I am looking forward to this. Lots of changes ahead. I am in the middle of writing a book (which is going to be a very interesting process!). I do also have other things on my mind that I may want to challenge myself with later this year. This could be an ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ kind of year. I’ll keep you posted!

Keep being you – keep being AWESOME!


I finally have a plan!

My last post explained that I didn’t have a plan and it was driving me insane. I was literally going insane. Well, good news, I have a plan! I guess things all fall in line the way they are supposed to. I just didn’t think it would take so long.

After not getting into the New York Marathon (again!), I considered fundraising for Team in Training. I found out, though, that they were all sold out and had no spots left. Just my luck! I also found out the fundraising minimum was higher than I thought, so it was just as well that it didn’t work out. So, I got a little agitated and kind of freaked. Yeah…this sounds like weird behavior.

Very quickly, the Iceland Marathon came back around as an idea. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time now but kind of scrapped it for this year’s plan since my 40th birthday is coming up in September and we were pretty set on going to Bali to celebrate. But after all the NY Marathon stuff, I decided that maybe Iceland might be what I needed. So, Clint got on board (he actually suggested it again) and I registered for the race just a couple weeks ago!

I decided that the Iceland Marathon WILL BE my 40th birthday celebration! Isn’t that a little weird and crazy?! I don’t care. I know it’s what will make me happy. Traveling and running to celebrate the next decade in my life….sounds great to me!!

So, today starts my next 18 week journey of training. 18 weeks of building this body up to running 26.2 miles again. I’m really excited! I’m really excited I have a plan finally and I’m really excited about seeing Iceland and running through the country in August!

I’ll try and keep you posted on other great running related stuff very soon (I’ve been slacking as of late). I do have a lot of cool stuff going on. Hope you are all having fun out there – Spring has Sprung!

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis



What’s the plan?

Yeah, that’s what I have been asking myself this whole month. That’s what so many other people keep asking me as well! Every January, you start with a clean slate and look at the year ahead and plan adventures, mini vacations, races and more. But, I have yet to plan anything and it’s been very strange for me. Honestly, it’s been driving me bonkers. I am a planner so not having a plan is hard for me.

I have been trying to be calm about it and be okay with not having a plan for a change, but I am feeling the need to at least get some races on the calendar. I feel like, when I have a plan, then I have a goal or something to look forward to and something to work towards.

I recently was accepted into #TeamSRA which was really exciting! I was part of Sacramento Running Association’s Ambassador team (called the AmbasSRAdors) last year and applied again for this year. They decided to split it into two teams and I will be part of this newly created one. So, this helped in my motivation of continuing my passion of running! It’s exciting to be a part of a team of runners who feel the same and love being a part of the Sacramento running community.

I also applied for the New York City Marathon lottery last week. I have lost count on how many years I’ve done this, but I am sure it’s at least 5. Hopefully, I will be chosen this year! It would be a nice 40th birthday celebration to run this!

As far as other races, I have no idea yet what I will do (other than the CIM which I run every December). I have an idea for a international race, but I’ll let you know down the road if/when it comes to fruition.

So, until then, I will just keep running my short runs, keep thinking about where I want to spend my money, what races sound fun this year, and what will keep me motivated. What races are you running this year?? Anything fun and interesting or anything you want to suggest??

**Note: I wrote this in January and forgot to (didn’t want to) publish it.**

Leavin’ on a jet plane

Well, the time has come once again to get packed and ready to leave the USA and head to another country. Sometimes, I can’t even believe how fast time flies. It’s been 4.5 months since I found out I got into the Tokyo Marathon and a lot has happened in these past months.


Official Tokyo Marathon packet

It’s taken me until about NOW to get excited about this trip because I have had some other things preoccupying my mind. It makes it hard to look forward to a vacation racecation. But, now that I am leaving in 5 days from now, I am getting a little anxious and have a lot to take care of before I leave. Mostly I have to make sure I am prepared with everything I need to bring (running gear – especially the shoes!) and I’m leaving Clint behind to take care of the last bit of paperwork and chaos going on with our house in escrow (!!!). This wasn’t the original plan. He wasn’t able to go because of work, but I guess it’s worked out that he couldn’t go to Tokyo so he can handle house stuff while I am away, although I am bummed he won’t be on this journey with me. So, I’m not only packing my luggage but packing our house at the same time. Ha!

10407854_10153632341708484_4778113372603688523_nA couple weeks ago, Clint and I were lucky to have Kaori visiting and got to show her around Sacramento. Kaori is our friend Shin’s daughter and both are from Japan. We met Shin at the Trinidad and Tobago Int’l Marathon last year and were totally happy to accommodate her on her first trip the U.S. Shin sent Kaori with a care package for me filled with Tokyo maps and items that may be helpful on my first trip to Japan. I was very excited! Shin has been amazing in helping plan out our trip in Tokyo via email, so I know we will have a great time seeing the sites along with getting me ready for the marathon.


Kaori was a trooper and got up at 6am with me to run part of my 13 mile run

I’ve been simultaneously training for the Tokyo Marathon (Feb) and the Boston Marathon (Apr) so it’s been interesting. I am mostly following the Boston 365 plan and joining the training group for workouts, but I have had to adjust recently to taper slightly for Tokyo and also got a bad cold last Friday that lasted about 5 days. I feel much better now, but I missed out on a long 16 mile run (I got in 8), which I really needed or I felt I needed.

10432999_10153631941683484_4384499054668087628_nAt this point, my body does feel great. It does feel strong and I feel like the extra speedwork and training workouts will be beneficial. I’m not trying to go super fast or PR in Tokyo, I really just want to have a good race and have fun. Boston is a little more important to me as far as getting to the start line healthy and strong and fast. Don’t get me wrong, I want to do well in Tokyo, but I am not going to beat myself up over my time or whatever happens.


I’m going to TOKYO! It’s going to be an amazing experience!

Don’t fret – I’ll post a race recap when I return!th

Is this an addiction?

Last night, we had some friends over and the topic of addiction came up. There are many different types and forms of addiction. The question came up as to whether my running was an addiction. Now, I have been running a long time. Since elementary school, as a matter of fact. Obviously when I was younger, this running was definitely not an addiction. It was a sport that I was interested in and I enjoyed the competition aspect of it. But now that I am running marathons, and multiple marathons a year, does this mean I am addicted? As in REALLY addicted?

Some may firmly say yes. Some may joke and say yes. And others may say no. Can exercise become addictive to some people? Sure! Do I like to exercise every day (or almost every day)? Well, yes! I love it! It makes my mind feel good, it makes my body feel good and overall, I just feel GOOD! Notice, I didn’t use the word need. I don’t actually NEED exercise, but I really like and want it.

Screen Shot 2013-02-09 at 8.13.07 AMSo, now I bet you are saying this is really an addiction. “An exercise addiction can have harmful consequences although it is not listed as a disorder…This type of addiction can be classified under a behavioral addiction in which a person’s behavior becomes obsessive, compulsive, and/or causes dysfunction in a person’s life.”

Are running marathons becoming an obsessive thing for me? Are they starting to cause a dysfunction in my life? I don’t believe so. So I asked my boyfriend. He said, “It’s a good thing, because it keeps you sane and level.” He says that I drive myself crazy with other things in my life, so this is good for me. (At first, he did try to say it is an addiction, but he was joking.)

Honestly, I love the direction of where my life has gone and is going and marathons are just part of it. Without this challenge, structure of training, goals, and events to look forward to, what would I be doing in my life? I really don’t know. For now, I am happy and content with what this “addiction” has brought me. I really feel it’s healthy and it really allows me opportunities to travel more. Would I have gone to Germany if it hadn’t been for the Berlin Marathon? Would I have gone to Trinidad & Tobago if it hadn’t been for their T&T International Marathon? Probably not. I also have the Dublin Marathon coming in a couple months. I’m sure at some point I would have gone to Ireland, but having a reason such as running a marathon in this country only makes this adventure happen sooner. I also have many other marathons in different countries on my bucket list. It’s all purely to see the world and a great way to do it.

I still find running a great sport and love the competition of it.

So, if it is an addiction, I’m sure my family and friends will have an intervention down the road. But I think I can say with confidence that’s it’s not hurting me or anyone else, so we’re all good…for now. (I joke!)


I’m about to embark on my 15th marathon this weekend.

If you had asked me seven years ago about running a marathon, I would have said it wasn’t even on my radar, never thought of it, not interested in it.

Now, I’m 15 marathons in. Kinda nuts. I wouldn’t change a thing though. It’s given me great health, I’ve met lots of different people all over the country and world, I’ve traveled to great places, and I continue to dream of other places I want to run.

I’ve also gained a lot of great friends through this community of runners.

There are times when running is hard and times when it’s easy and amazing. There are times when I wonder what the heck I’m doing and why. There are times when I’m really hard on myself for a bad race or training run. There are times I realize this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

I’m a runner and these legs of mine are pretty amazing. I hope to be doing this for a long time. Cheers to #15!

Exciting news!

Today I got some exciting news! “Congratulations! You have been selected to be a Vitalyte Brand Ambassador.” Say what? Is this for real??

A little over five weeks ago, I submitted my application to be a Brand Ambassador for Vitalyte. I had tried their Chia Surge Energy Gels (see post: “Drinks that make me go mmm!”), liked them, and thought it would be really cool to represent the company and spread the word about their great, healthy and delicious products. I didn’t hear anything back and then forgot about it until I opened my email today!

What is a Brand Ambassador, you ask? “A Vitalyte Brand Ambassador is a runner, a sprinter, a surfer, a yogi, a lifter, a walker, an athlete. A brand ambassador is everything that Vitalyte is: Endurance, Agility, Speed and Strength.”

So, I am really excited! I will get different products and other cool stuff shipped to me each month. I get to blog about Vitalyte, Instagram and Facebook about Vitalyte, and share my experiences and spread the word about Vitalyte. Sounds pretty easy and fun, right!?!

It’s going to be like being sponsored by a product, kind of. I mean, I don’t get paid to do this like an elite runner, which is totally fine. That’s not why I submitted my application. But as a moderately okay runner, I’ll take it as a compliment and I can’t wait to be a part of their Brand Ambassador team and have this support by a great sports nutrition company! I officially start July 1!


Eugene is near

With less than 5 weeks until the Eugene Marathon, I’m starting to get a little excited. If you had asked me a couple or few weeks ago how I was feeling about this race, I would have had a different answer. But now that I am getting close to the taper and have one 20-mile training run under my belt, I’m feeling a little better.

Tomorrow is my last training session of the 8-week training with SRA. I have actually liked going each week and getting in extra speed work, interval training, Fartleks and hill training. I train mostly by myself, so it’s been a nice change to meet up with the group and get some extra motivation.

The hot weather has been a challenge at times, but I have been able to work around it most of the time. Getting up at 5am for a long run is definitely not my favorite thing to do, but I have to do it when it’s going to be a 90+ or 100+ degree day. If you asked my pal, Rick (an ultramarathoner), how he likes his training runs, he’d say the opposite. That crazy guy LOVES to run in the heat.

This week is the 2014 USATF Outdoor Championships here in Sacramento and I am volunteering for 5 days of it. I’m super excited and this has also led to a spike in my motivation and inspiration! I will give a recap of my experience after it ends on this Sunday.

You can read more here – http://www.usatf.org/Events—Calendar/2014/USATF-Outdoor-Championships.aspx

And here’s my lovely badge – e6smx3c9

Hope you all have a great week!