Cal International Marathon 2005

Saturday, August 13, 2005
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Thursday, October 3, 2005
Sunday, October 9, 2005
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Monday, December 5, 2005

Last December (2004), I had to stop half-way through the Cal Marathon due to a knee injury. It was a very emotional decision as I had to decide between stopping or pushing through the pain for the honorees who have had to endure much worse. In the end, I decided to stop because I wanted to be able to run another day and because I knew the honorees would not want me to hurt myself just so I could run in their honor.

Earlier this year in May, I was able to complete a half-marathon with Team in Training, but have been taking some time to rehabilitate my knee. I have decided to train for a marathon once again so I can conquer and complete the Cal International Marathon this December and get that damned monkey (that nagging feeling of having an unfinished event) off my back!!

As some of you may know, my father passed away in 1997 from liver cancer. There was nothing that could be done for him when he was diagnosed as the cancer had spread through his major vital organs and chemotherapy would have killed him for sure. Even though my father didn't have leukemia or any other blood cancer, I still continue to train and raise money in his honor. Research in the blood cancers are finding applications for other cancers as well and I hope that some day, no one will have to suffer through leukemia, lymphoma or any other cancer.

In addition to training/running/fundraising for my father, I'm also completing this marathon in honor of all individuals who are battling blood cancers - Honorees like Galen Cook who is now almost 10, but was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 2, and Mary Ellen, who has been cancer free for 20 years now and many others. These people are the real heroes on our team, and we need your support to cross the ultimate finish line - a cure!

I hope you'll visit my web site often. Be sure to check back frequently to see my progress. Thanks for your support!

Saturday, August 13, 2005
It was chilly and overcast in San Mateo as the team prepared to run 4-8 miles at Sawyer Camp Trail. In fact, it was almost drizzling when we started out. I had just had a great 5.8 mile run on Thursday, so I was hoping to do somewhere between 6-8 miles but not push myself too hard.

I started running with another mentor on the team, Andy, who was trying to run the entire distance and not do run/walk which he did last season. We got to chatting about various things and next thing I know, we were at the 4 mile turnaround point! I ran back to the start with Run Captain Jodi and had a great run. In fact, I had a couple of sub-11 minute miles (slow for many people, fast for me :-)). My knee held up just fine and didn't pose any problems, so I was very excited about that.

We have our Stanford 5k Time Trial this Saturday, where the coaches use our times to break us out into waves (running groups based on speed). It's also a historical event because it will be the last running event at Stanford Stadium before they tear out the track this fall. Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 27, 2005
So before I start talking about today's run, just a quick note on last Saturday's 5k. I ran as hard for about as long as I could for the 5k - mind you, that's still slower than molasses compared to some, but I managed to run the TNT 5k in just under 30 minutes! I was able to sprint to the finish and then fall to the ground panting for air :-) I was very happy with that time and that I was able to push myself for the duration of the run. Okay...onto today's update...

Kevin and his sister Alicia (visiting us from DC) went with me to Half Moon Bay, where the run started out a bit chilly. I ran with one of the Honoree Captains (and my good friend) Carolyn and we set out on the out-and-back course, with the goal of running 10 miles.

It was perfect running weather - just a bit overcast, not windy, not too cold and not too hot. I recently started wearing Mizuno running shoes but I was a dork and left them at the office after my Thursday buddy run. So I was wearing my old Asics, which apparently my feet have revolted against. Around mile 6-7, I could feel some hot spots on the balls of both my feet. By mile 8, they were turning into blisters. Carolyn asked if I wanted to stop but I just wanted to get back so I could get out of those running shoes! But hot spots and blisters aside, I had a great run and was able to complete the full 10 miles with NO KNEE PAIN!!! That was the best feeling!

Afterwards, all of the runners headed into the ocean for a freezing cold "ice bath" which prevents the leg muscles from swelling, which slows down their recovery. My so-called-friends made me get in waste deep...can you say COLD!?!? I'm sure my muscles will thank me for it later.

Last but certainly not least, today's run was capped off by a catered breakfast at fellow team member Mark & Erin Fratkin's house just a few miles down the road! They love the team and what TNT has done for them and just wanted to throw a big breakfast party. His son was DJing, people were eating and having a great time - a perfect ending to a great run!

I do want to take the time out to thank all of you who have donated this season. Your support, both financial and emotional, means a great deal to me. Those of you who still want to make a donation still have time to do so - I'm hoping to reach (or surpass) my goal before the end of September. Thanks again!

Saturday, September 10, 2005
The Portola Valley run is the team's first killer run -- killer in terms of views AND hills. This run has a lot of climbing, and then when you think you're done climbing for a while, it levels off a bit, you might even go down hill for a while but then, as predictable as flies on poop, you climb some more :-)

Carolyn and I decided early on that we would walk up a lot of the hills and reserve our energy for this extremely challenging 12 miler. We did jog up some of the easier or shorter hills (gradual climbs didn't count as hills) and overall had pretty good energy throughout the run. When we got to our last major hill on the Windy Hill trail, we were both pretty beat. Our legs were just tired of going uphill. After we got to the top, the rest of the run was great. After all, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that it's much easier to go down then it is to go up :-)

On Sept. 24, I will be running 14 miles in San Francisco for our infamous Lake Merced run. It is a great urban run with parts of it in Golden Gate Park, but it can be very challenging coming back on the very windy (blowing wind, not curvy) Great Highway. The latter part of the run is also a psychological test. The streets are alphabetical and it's unnerving to see that you're only at the I street (Irving) and you have to get to W (Wawona) before you can turn on the following street (Sloat) and then run another mile or so to get back to the start.

As I have done this run in the pouring rain and still have a good run, despite being soaking wet, I am confident it will be another great run. My knees have been holding up thusfar and my stamina is improving. So wish me luck!

Thursday, September 22, 2005
Just a quick update -- I've run over 100 miles in training runs and workouts so far this season. This morning's 5.86 mile buddy run got me over that milestone and I felt great! I anticipate logging another 100 miles by the time the marathon comes around. Thanks for all your support and words of encouragement -- it definitely helps!

Thursday, October 3, 2005
It turned out to be an absolutely beautiful day in the city. Not a cloud in the sky even at the early 7:30 am hour. The run around Lake Merced was mostly uneventful (about 4.5 miles), Carolyn and I picked up Coach Amy and Captain Marlies at the water stop and headed down Sunset Blvd which was quite soggy in the middle of every block. Sure made getting into a consistent rhythm difficult! I twisted my right ankle twice as we headed into Golden Gate Park -- not a bad sprain just enough to feel weird. I decided to run through it and keep going. When we got to the Great Highway, it was getting warm -- and I am not a warm weather runner. Just kept plodding along with Carolyn and Amy and made it to the finish. Overall it was a decent run -- but it is tough running when you want to pass out :-) Good thing I knew there were honorees and other teammates waiting to cheer me in at the finish! That definitely kept me going!

Coming up on October 8 is our signature Woodside run - a 16-miler this time! We will be having our Honoree potluck afterwards -- so I'll be thinking about our honorees (and about eating) during the run...probably will make me run faster too!

Sunday, October 9, 2005
Holy cow. 16 miles in Woodside. Woodside is a beautiful run but one of the hardest runs (regardless of what distance you're doing). Woodside has been and is still one of my favorite runs because of the varied terrain, the amazing views and the sheer character-building that it provides. But yesterday it was not my favorite run...

I started with Carolyn and Marlies who quickly left me in the dust since it takes me forever to warm up. My left calf and hamstring were tight and I was a bit worried about cramping so I started slowly. We went into Huddart Park and up up up into the hills. I took those easy and walked up the hills instead of burning up my energy early on. After running down the hill and onto the "beach" paralleling Canada Road and Hwy 280, we hit the first water stop at Edgewood Road - by then I was in the groove and had negotiated with my left leg not to cramp. We ran out another mile and turned back to the water stop before heading into Edgewood Park. That's where the real fun began...

Once in the park, my right knee (yeah the one that's been giving me problems) and my right hip flexor started hurting. Darn. I started alternating walking and jogging. Then I noticed that when I was running uphill, my left leg would hurt. And when I was running downhill, my right leg would hurt. And when it was flat, it was a crapshoot which leg would hurt. Ouch.

I was the most worried about the knee, since that's been plaguing me since the Woodside 20 miler last November. I have more or less figured out that if the knee doesn't get warm or hot to the touch that it's not too bad -- fortunately it never got warm even though it was causing some pain. I just knew I had to get through the run, which I did, with Carolyn's help -- she ran with me back from the last water stop, about 3-4 miles away from the finish. Good thing we had the honoree potluck to look forward to -- honorees are a great inspiration but combine that with FOOD and it's an even greater motivation!

So, even though it was a tough and at times, painful run, I was very glad to finish the run. Not just because it was over, but because I pushed myself mentally and physically to keep on going. And it helped to rebuild some of the confidence that I had lost over the past year. That alone is almost more important than the actual running itself.

The marathon is just 2 months away and our longer harder runs are still to come. I will need to continue to train and dig deep when the going gets tough and the pains start to creep up and linger. Being reminded that our honorees go through much more pain during their treatments certainly helps me keep moving. Thank you for your continued support and words of encouragement. Stay tuned for the next update, which will be in a few weeks when I run the Nike Half Marathon in San Francisco!

Sunday, October 23, 2005
What a great day to run the Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco! It wasn't too freezing when I got to the start line (at the ungodly hour of 5:45 am). I met up with other teammates and we hit the porta-potty line a few times and then were raring to go at the Union Square start! I was a bit nervous since I hadn't really run for almost 2 weeks so I took it slow and made sure I warmed up properly and didn't go out too fast. I ran with Carolyn and her beau Carl (a run captain on our team) until about mile 3 when Carolyn decided to stop and stretch. I kept on going since I was feeling good.

The course starts out pretty much flat until about mile 5-6 where it goes uphill after going through the presidio. The city was beautifully calm with the fog still lingering on the coast. The mile markers were a bit off (mile 5 took 15 minutes while mile 6 only took 6 -- and I normally run 11-12 minutes/mile), but I tried not to think about it too much. The hills were kinda steep but the Rancho buddy runs helped me run more than I walked (though I hadn't run rancho in a while).

The bottoms of my feet - where the balls of my feet are - began to hurt with each step, starting around mile 7 or so. At that point I knew I was already more than half way there and that I'd just have to suck it up and keep on truckin'. After all, I had honorees cheering for me all along the way!

Around mile 8-9, there were great downhills - those of you who know SF would know the area around Cliff House. I took the opportunity to go as fast as I could without (1) falling and killing myself and (2) without killing my feet too much. That felt great to fly by people! Unfortunately as soon as I hit the Great Highway, I was stopped flying and resumed my snail's pace :-)

After reaching the Great Highway, the course veers into Golden Gate Park (a mile-long gradual uphill). I was feeling pretty good overall, and tried to ignore my throbbing feet. At times, I needed to walk a few steps to relieve them of the pounding. With every step, I knew I was getting closer. Once we hit the turn at Mile 11.5, I knew it would be downhill from there. I was able to slowly pick up the pace because of the decline (though it picked up the pain as well).

When we reached the Great Highway again I knew I was almost there. I could see the finish line less than a block away. As I got closer, I knew my body was able to finish in true Kimberly style -- a sprinting photo finish. It felt great to be able to fly by people in the finish line and shave off a few extra seconds. Of course, I passed the finish line and panted like crazy :-)

I got the chip removed from my shoe and got my finisher's bling, I mean, "medal" from men dressed in tuxedos, handing out little blue Tiffany's boxes. The medal's great - it's a silver necklace, with a pendant of a woman running, and it has a Nike Swoosh and '05 on it as well.

I was (and still am) pretty proud of myself for completing a tough run and pushing myself past the pain. I remember going up the hill around mile 6 and seeing some of our honorees and teammates cheering and yelling "Yay, Kimberly! Woohoo! You go, girl!" and that just gave me the boost to keep trucking up the hill, even if only for a few more steps. And, while I didn't break any personal records on this run, I'm pretty stoked with my 2 hour and 32 minute finish time, as it is my second fastest half-marathon, just 4 minutes slower than my fastest (I've done 5 half's so far).

Enough rambling -- given that I've survived the Nike Half, it means that I can and will continue training for the Cal Marathon in December. Continue to think happy thoughts as I go back into training mode and try to stay healthy and positive. Thanks for the continued support! And a special Thank You to Kevin for waking up much earlier than he ever does to come out, cheer for me, help me find my bag (a fustercluck of a mess, but that's another story) and drive me to the hotel and back home!

Saturday, October 29, 2005
It's back to Woodside, following the Nike Half. As mentioned before, Woodside is not an easy run -- especiall

Monday, December 5, 2005
I had one goal and one goal only yesterday up at Sacramento, and that was to finish the Cal International Marathon and get that damned monkey off my back that has nagged me since I had to stop at the 13.1 mile point last year due to knee injury.

Two words...

Mission Accomplished!!!

Here are all the sordid (okay boring) details...

Met up with Carolyn to catch the 5:00 am bus to Folsom (start of the marathon). We got there at 5:30 am for a 7:00 am start. It was cold...bone-chilling, knee-knocking, goosebump-generating, outright fricken-freezing!! Several of us huddled for didn't help much though!

The race started at 7am and I knew it was going to take me at least my usual 3 miles or so before I was fully warmed up and in my running groove. Unfortunately, that never happened. Around mile 4 or so, I had to start walking a little bit every mile to catch my breath and give my body a rest. Nothing was hurting or injured but it was like my body forgot how to run. My lungs, my legs, everything - "Running? What's that?"

I remember thinking around mile 8, "I have 5 more miles just to get to the half...and then I have to run another half marathon after that...ugh...another hour to the half and then another 3 hours to get to the finish after I even going to make it to the finish before they start opening up the course to traffic?...okay, can't keep thinking like this, just shut up and keep on running". And that's what I did, with Carolyn's help, who was running the first half of the marathon with me. Coach Amy also caught up with us around then and kept running with us. I didn't know until later that day, that a severely jetlagged Amy had thrown up a few times during the run but kept on plugging on with us to get to the half (and you all think I'm crazy)!!

Around mile 11, my right knee started hurting...not a lot, but enough to make me worried about it becoming Cal 2004 all over again. Please, not that, it doesn't hurt too bad, maybe it'll go away...and it did. I finally was making it to mile 13.1! I wanted so badly to stop and be done with it, but I also knew that if I stopped, I'd have to do it again next year and I wasn't about to do that. I saw my friends and fiancee up ahead and knew that if I got caught up in the moment, I'd stop, cry and not want to keep going. So I put my head down and just focused on keeping my legs moving. Everyone cheered and Kevin yelled "Hey fiancee!" and I just waved, head down and said "Not now honey". I passed the 13.1 mark (thank you, Carolyn) and now it was Jay's turn to run with me for the last 13.1 miles.

Jay started off telling me that I was still running with good form, light feet, head and chest up. He told me to keep focusing on my technique and keeping my feet moving and just keep on going. I knew that every step I took was literally getting me closer to the finish. It didn't make the running any easier though...and my mind was also ready tired from waking up early, forcing my brain to stop the negative talk, forcing my body to do something it really didn't want to do. Shut up and keep on running...

Jay was wearing a pedometer which also gives him pace information, so I kept asking him what my pace was. It was important because they had a Highway Patrol car going at a 13:44 minute/mile pace and once the patrol car passes you, they open up the roads and you have to run on the sidewalk and stop at the stoplights. Not to mention, they start tearing down the water stops and if you finish, you might not get an official race time or medal! Can't have the car pass me! Not now! Not after all this work. So I kept asking Jay for updates.

The miles in the teens seemed to go by faster or at least not as badly as the first miles. I think it was because I started picking out the runner/walker ahead of me and then vowing to pass him/her. It almost became a little game. By by the time we got to mile 19-20, it started going downhill from there. My body was really getting tired now as was my brain, my eyes, and everything else. We kept trying to distract me with talk of Jay's upcoming vacation and even discussion of something called "Freakonomics", which my brain really didn't comprehend at mile 22 (actually, I still have no idea what Jay was talking about).

I was slowing down, needing to walk a little more, feeling more and more drained. Captain Carl met up with us around 24 and ran with us which was great to have another person to distract me and encourage me. Then Head Coach Vince ran with me around 25 and gave me final words of wisdom and focus to help make sure I enjoyed what was about to happen...reaching the finish line after training hard, fighting through a terrible run, both physically and mentally...

And then the final turn and there it is...the finish line. Time to kick it up a notch, I couldn't sprint in true Kimberly form, but I still accelerated into the finish! I pumped up both arms, cheered and screamed! I DID IT!!

I found Kevin and cried as I wrapped my arms around him and told him that I did it. He told me he was so proud of me. It was a wonderful moment. Then I told him that I didn't get to get a medal because they ran out, but that they would mail it to me. But then, Captain June offered me her medal which she had gotten because she happened to run someone into the finish line, but she didn't actually run the marathon. So I ended up with a medal after all :-)

It was a long day, lots of pain, lots of fatigue and fact I'm still in a lot of pain and still tired and sleepy, but I'm done. I accomplished what I set out to do, and I never have to run Cal again (unless I get possessed by a bout of insanity, in which case, someone please remind me about this run).

Some interesting facts/stats:

  • 2 pairs of Mizuno Alchemy running shoes
  • ~20 packs of Power Gel consumed, 6 of which consumed on Sunday alone.
  • ~30 pints, or about 7.5 gallons of Gatorade consumed
  • 230 miles run prior to the marathon
  • 256.2 miles run including the marathon
  • $2200+ raised this season
  • $22,400+ raised over the 10 seasons that I have been fundraising

I have so many people to thank...because without them, I wouldn't have made it to the finish:

  • Kevin - Thank you for putting up with all my training this season, my aches and pains and requests for massages, for your support, encouragement and love. I couldn't ask for a more perfect fiancee :-)
  • Carolyn & Jay - Thank you so much for running the marathon with me and for training with me all season. I couldn't have done it without you.
  • Marlies, Carl, Emma, June, Glenn and everyone else who was at the half and at the finish - Thank you for going to Cal, sticking around and cheering me on, even though I wasn't very sociable or happy at that point. I was happy to see you, I just couldn't show it then.
  • Honorees - Thank you Doug for being there on Sunday & also to Mary your caregiver. Thank you to Cynthia, my girlfriend's mom who was diagnosed earlier with Hodgkin's lymphoma - I was thinking about you during the run and it kept me going. I run for you both and for many others who have won and lost the fight against leaukemia and lymphoma and related cancers. You are my inspiration and the reason why I keep doing this.
  • Donors - Thank you for your generous donations this season and all the seasons that you've supported me and this cause. I couldn't keep doing this without your help with the fundraising.
  • Friends & Family - Thank you for your words of encouragement, support and good wishes. I am humbled to have such wonderful friends and family who support me in these endeavors.
My training is done, my event is over and now I'm headed off to Honolulu to support the rest of my teammates at their marathon and to give my body a bit of rest and relaxation. Thank you for all the support this season. Don't feel bad or sorry for me for having a bad marathon - but celebrate with me that I accomplished my goal.

Thank you and GO TEAM!