Friday, October 29, 2010

Photo Friday!

I LOVE this:
Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

When is one ready to train for a full marathon?

How do you know when you are ready to run your first marathon?

With 3 half marathons under my belt, and numbers 4 and 5 around the corner (LA County ½ on December 12th and the Walt Disney World ½ on January 3rd), when am I ready to take the next step in tackling a full 26.2 miles?  I absolutely don’t know. I toyed with the idea of time – “I need to run a half in xyz time before I can progress to the full.”  I thought of mental preparedness – “If I set my mind to it, I know I will be able to.”  And of course I turned to the Twitter world – “How do you know when you're ready to go from the half marathon distance to the full 26.2?”  Some of the responses I got are as follows:


@Love2Mags you don't wait until you are ready and just do it, then trust in your training. 


@Love2Mags If you have run 4 or 5 1/2s without any problems, you can run a full

@Love2Mags I registered for my full on impulse..If I can finish in one piece, so can you. Find a training program & trust it.


When u've got the desire 2 make committment @Love2Mags How do you know when you're ready to go from the 1/2 Mary distance to the full 26.2?

@Love2Mags When you mentally want to and you're willing to train


You dont, you just register

As anyone who has read any of my race reports knows, I am not a fast runner.  Of course when I take the plunge and run 26.2 miles, I will not be running for time.  I will run as a test of mental strength and endurance with only one goal in mind – to finish.  I am toying with the idea for now (maybe the LA Marathon in March…?)

What do you think?  When is one ready to run a full marathon?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chapman 5K Recap

A few months ago, I signed up for the Chapman 5K.  Why?  Because: 1) I love to run, and 2) Chapman is my grad school!

The 5K was last Saturday, October 23, making it my first run post the Long Beach ½ Marathon on the 17th.  (Okay okay, I got a short 2-miler in on the 21st, but it was very slow because my left hamstring kept seizing up).  When I woke up Saturday morning, it was POURING!  Absolutely curl up in bed-wearing sweats-watching a movie-while drinking hot chocolate down pouring!  As I mentioned in my previous blog post, my Company’s event, “Get Our Kids Moving” for pediatric obesity was being held that same day in Utah.  So in honor of our event, I wore my t-shirt!  I also wore my fabulous pink Team Sparkle skirt!  Just because it was dark, dreary, and down pouring, why couldn’t I be bright and sparkly?! Haha.
My friend and classmate, Sam, picked me up and we cruised to school.  The rain started to let up, and by the time we got the campus it was a light drizzle.  We checked in and got our bibs, then lined up at the start.  The gun went off and the beginning was so bottlenecked that it took forever to “run” the first 500 yards.  It finally opened up and I settled in with a nice easy pace.  My left hamstring was SUPER tight still.  Around mile 2.5 I heard “GO TEAM SPARKLE!!!”  I turn around and it’s Carrie’s (Team Sparkle) daughter and husband!!  I had been tweeting with Carrie the day before and this was her 8 year old daughter’s first 5K!  Very exciting!!  They passed me, and man oh man, she was keeping GREAT pace for an 8 year old ANYONE!

I picked up my pace and when I saw the 3 mile marker I bolted.  I don’t care how slow I run, I will always finish strong!  And that’s what I did.  I took off and sprinted to the finish!  Carrie captured these pictures of me in action:
I met Sam @ the finish line and we grabbed some Coach’s Oats, Vita Coco, and OJ.  I also saw the fabulous Team Sparkles girls, and two of them won the award for fastest in their age group.  Go Team Sparkle!
Chapman did a great job putting this event on. I really liked the medals, and I was thoroughly impressed with the tech-tees (non-cotton sweat wicking tees) even though the small I got fits more like a large. Great fun run through and around Chapman campus and through Old Towne Orange!


Friday, October 22, 2010

Boogie Box for Pediatric Obesity!

Happy Friday! Every year my company puts on a large-scale event to bring awareness to a health issue. Last year, our Public Relations team worked tirelessly to break the Guinness Book of World Records for simultaneous yo-yoing to raise awareness for yo-yo dieting. This year, their efforts did not stop!
This year, my company and our amazing PR team has partnered with Boogie Box Fitness at Valley Fair Mall in West Valley, Utah to demonstrate how to 'Get Our Kids Moving for Health'! To raise awareness about our nation’s pediatric obesity epidemic and to encourage families to adopt more healthful lifestyles, hundreds will dance to a mix of martial-arts and hip-hop moves. They have choreographed a flash mob dance (remember the flash mob “freeze” at Grand Central Station and the seemingly random people freezing for 5 minutes?) that will happen at the mall seemingly out of nowhere!

Here is the YouTube video from yesterday’s flash mob dance.  I love how the mall-goers totally get into it (like the man dancing at minute 1...awesome!)
Get Our Kids Moving for Health!
If you happen to be in Utah, come out to the Valley Fair Mall at 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, October 23, 2010 for a FREE event. Everyone will learn this dance and get a free t-shirt.  Everyone who attends will also be entered in a raffle to win a WiiFit. This is a fun event for the whole family. Come on out and Get Our Kids MOVING!!!

And be sure to get your family and friends moving, too, by sharing this link!  Get Our Kids Moving Demo

Happy Friday guys!  And thank you for your support!!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Long Beach 1/2 Marathon Recap

First of all, I want to say thank you to Run Racing for putting together an incredible, organized, and exciting race!  Everything was so well done.  And thank you to all the volunteers for donating their time today.

I was ready for today.  I logged my training runs with the exception of a few, I was healthy, the weather was perfect (cool with a thick marine layer), I was completing my California Dreamin' Racing Series, and it was hometown.  I felt ready.  Friday I went to the expo to pick up my bib and CA Dreamin' jacket, and yesterday I met up with some awesome Bloggers and Twitter friends @ Paroloccia for some delicious pasta and pizza.  (The Running Green Girll took some pics if you're interested :) )  We had a wonderful time.  We laughed, talked shop, swapped stories, encouraged each other.  I was in good company which only solidified my thoughts of success and hopes of hitting my goal.

I woke up at 3am this morning and took my time eating breakfast.  I took a shower and dressed in my race outfit that I had laid out the day before.
Left side: Race gear
Right side:  Post run gear, including CA Dreamin jacket and LB tee
I was so excited.
It didn't take me long to get there, and when I finally did, I made camp at the Sole Runner tent.
I chatted with Michelle for a while before it was time to line up in the corrals where I met with Kristy.
We finally got to the start about 30 or so minutes after the gun went off, and we ran together for about 3 miles.  It was awesome running with her and she made the first few miles feel like a breeze.  I was 100% on pace (with a few seconds to spare!).  I was feeling great.  Then I hit mile 7 and saw a million spectators, and a massive monsoon of emotions flooded me and it took everything to fight back the tears.  Why?  I HAVE NO CLUE!  At this time I checked my phone and I had the most inspirational text from one of my best friends who also is a runner, and that made me smile.  She unfortunately has the flu otherwise she would have been there (possibly even running me in!).  I also tweeted how I hit some emotional wall, and the responses I got were overwhelming.  Valine, who is also known as the RunningFairy, was more like my running angel--she tweeted me probably a dozen times to keep my spirits up and to encourage me to keep going.
Then at mile 9, I had to pee and alas!  I got a visit from a certain monthly friend.  Terrific.  I wasn't expecting that for a couple more days.  Then at mile 10 I was done.  I mentally couldn't go on.  I wanted to cry.  I thought for a brief moment about stopping, but quickly told myself "No way in hell you're backing out.  You can do this.  Finish and complete CA Dreamin.  Walk if you have to, but DON'T QUIT.  NEVER QUIT."  And I didn't.  I walked...a lot.  I finally called my bf, who had also been texting me, and I couldn't catch my breath.  He heard my struggle and he talked me through the next mile.  I needed that more than anything.  He couldn't be there today on the course, but having him on the phone with me was exactly what I needed.  I finally told him I was going to finish so we hung up and it took every ounce of strength for me to pick up my thighs and run.  Around mile 12 I saw a marathoner, a guy maybe 18 or 19 years old, hit the wall.  He fell to the ground and the medic came, but he was done.  Here I was, struggling to put one foot in front of the other fighting a mental battle, but this guy could not physically finish.  I felt sad, but he kind of inspired me to push a little more.

Finally I saw mile 13 up ahead and I started running.  I felt like I was sprinting, but I was probably running a 12 minute mile, maybe slower.  I crossed the finish line and got my medal.  The medal was beautiful, and so was the ribbon it was on!  I saw the pictures of the medals before, but they looked so much better in person.  It was worth it :)  I stopped at the exquisite sand sculpture to get my photo taken.  Here is the final was incredible!
The front
The back
Then remembered to get my CA Dreamin medal!  How could I forget?  I only wish I picked up that medal before taking the sand sculpture picture.  Oh well.  Then I went back to the Sole Runners tent, grabbed my stuff, took off my shoes and put on my sandals, and I wanted to go home.  I didn't stop at one of the delicious smelling food trucks, I didn't even get my free beer at the beer garden!!!  I just wanted to be home.  Once I was in my car, I cried.  I let myself cry for 2 minutes, no more.  That was the only time I was going to sulk.  Two minutes to cry over a terrible run, then I was moving on!  Two minutes later, that was that and I felt better.  Hey, every runner has a bad run right?  I'm proud I finished despite it all.  And I managed a smile for a picture with both my medals:
Seriously, thank you thank you thank you to everyone who was sending me encouraging texts and tweets, and talking me through too {Sean!}
The drive home that normally would take 15 minutes, took me an hour and a half.  When I finally made it home, I showered, iced, and my dad cooked me a delicious gourmet breakfast of eggs and blueberry waffles.  Delish!
My kitty liked the medals too!
Today was not my day.  To put it in perspective, I ran worse today on the flat course of Long Beach than I did when I ran the hills of San Francisco with an injury!  Today was not the perfect race I had imagined, but I finished.  For that I am proud of myself.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Long Beach Marathon Sand Castle + Sole Runners!

Happy Friday!

Yesterday was pretty awesome.  During lunch yesterday I walked down to Shoreline Village where the Long Beach Marathon start/finish line is.  People were setting up the finish line corral,
fences along Shoreline Dr, tents, and the most incredible thing...the SAND SCULPTURE!!!  I met two of the very talented architects, Greg and Ko, who were so nice and let me scope out their progress.  It looked incredible already and they still had so much more to do!
When I asked Greg how they keep the sand from blowing away, he brought out one tool...a hose.
They keep the sand very moist which acts as a glue.  Let's just hope it doesn't rain!  Seriously though, it looks incredible!  The front is the medal which they are delicately working on and the back is the ribbon, which is pretty and structurally very supportive.
Amazing!!  After chatting for a bit, I walked along the Ocean path before returning to work.  Here's another beautiful icon that we will see on the Long Beach Marathon course -- the Queen Mary!  (It's a little off in the distance here)
It was a beautiful day :)

After work I went the Sole Runners meeting/pre-LB carb dinner/info session.  I've been looking into running clubs for a while, and I really liked Sole Runners.  I was on the fence about joining, but that changed as soon as I walked in the door.  I was immediately greeted and befriended by AMAZING people!  I even got hugs, and I am a hugger!  It was great!  We swapped stories, they told me why they love Sole Runners, they told me about their running experiences both great and was so fun.  And Coach Steve is awesome.  He reminds me of a more runner/athletic (thin and fit) version of Thomas Haden Church (he even sounds like him a bit too!)  He was enthusiastic and so full of energy, I can't wait to run with him!  So without any further hesitation, I joined the Sole Runners!  I got some goodies including a Sole Runners tech tee, some Clif & Power Bars, a book on Chi Running, and my training schedule for the next 8 weeks (post LB).

Long Beach is in TWO DAYS!!!!!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Long Beach 1/2 Mary is just around the corner!!

With less than three days to go until the Long Beach Half Marathon, I'm getting more and more excited!  I sometimes drive Ocean Blvd going to work in the morning, and this week I've been super giddy because the road barricades are on every corner ready to be set up for Sunday's marathon!  When I first saw them on the corners, I was overcome with a rush of excitement and some nervousness.  But I had the biggest cheesiest ear-to-ear smile on my face!  In less than 3 days, those barricades will be up, and I'll be running the Long Beach 1/2 Mary and complete the California Dreaming Racing Series!
I have my checklist of everything I need to do Friday and Saturday.  Tomorrow I am going to cruise over to the Expo to pick up my bag, bib, and goodies, and then just hang at home and lay out everything I need for race morning.  That way if I forget something, I have time Saturday to take care of it.
As for the race itself, I'm running this one alone.  Surf City I ran with my cousin, San Francisco I ran with my brother and best friend, but Long Beach will be for me.  This is my hometown and I want to run the streets of Long Beach with a big smile on my face and HAVE FUN!!!
I haven't thought too hard about goals, but I am aiming for a 2:45ish time.  Ideally I'd love to hit 2:30, but I don't want to hold myself too accountable then be angry if I don't hit it.  I will push myself, but like I said, I want to have fun :)  I will say this though, for the first time (for running a long distance race) I'm healthy.  No colds or flus, and no dealing with IT Band or foot injuries *knock on wood*.
Long Beach, let's do this!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Maple Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

A couple days ago I was exploring Runner's World online and came across some delicious and healthy smoothie recipes.
This morning after running 6x200 sprints and a mile warm up and cool down, I decided to try the Maple Pumpkin smoothie.  After all, it IS fall and I LOVE pumpkin.  The smoothie was absolutely delicious!  It's a little thicker and was easier for me to "drink" using a spoon.  I probably could have added a little more soy milk, and I did put a little more pumpkin and tofu in than what was called for, so I'm sure that contributed to it's consistency.  The smoothie tasted like fall in a cup, it's healthy and makes for a great recovery drink (or whatever you want to make it for!), and it's pretty darn filling for a single serving.

Maple Pumpkin Pie
1/2 cup plain soy milk
1/3 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup silken tofu
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
1 teaspoon real maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Why it's good for you:  Pumpkin is high in fiber and beta-carotene, an antioxidant that protects eye health.  Silken tofu lends a thick consistency and (along with soy milk) provides a nondairy source of protein (great for lactose-intolerant folks).  Studies show that regularly eating nuts and nut butters (like peanut butter) can lower your risk for developing heart disease and type-2 diabetes.  Maple syrup adds sweetness along with compounds that have anticancer properties, while cinnamon "helps keep blood sugar steady," says Ilana Katz, R.D., a sports nutritionist in Atlanta, "preventing fluctuations in energy levels."

Nutrition Info:  212 calories, 17g carbs, 5g fiber, 11g protein, and 12g fat.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

History of the Marathon

A while ago my brother mentioned to me how the marathon came to be.  I was unfamiliar with the story, so I Googled.  Here's a summary of what I learned: 
The marathon  race  commemorates the  run  of  the  soldier Pheidippides  from a battlefield near Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B.C., bringing news of a Greek victory “Niki!” over the  Persians.  Pheidippides collapsed  and died at the end of his historic run.

When the inaugural Olympic games were held in Greece in 1896, the legend  of  Pheidippides was revived by a 24.85 mile run from Marathon Bridge to Olympic  stadium  in  Athens to be held on April 10 of that year.

The Greek postal worker, Spiridon Louis won the first organized marathon with a time of 2 hours, 58 minutes, 50 seconds – that’s an average pace of 7:11 minutes per mile!

At the 1908 Olympic Games in London, the marathon distance was changed to 26.2 miles to cover the ground from Windsor Castle to White City Stadium.  The 2.2 miles were added on so the race could finish in front of King Edward VII’s viewing box.  This added two miles to the course, and is the origin of the Marathon tradition of shouting "God save the Queen!" (or other words relating to the Queen) as mile post 24 is passed.  After 16 years of extremely heated discussion, this 26.2 mile distance was established at the 1924 Olympics in Paris as the official marathon distance by the IAAF.

Pretty cool huh?!


Friday, October 8, 2010

10K for Breast Cancer + 5K for Lupus!

Last weekend I participated in two races: 
1.  10K walk for breast cancer on Saturday
2.  5K run for Lupus on Sunday
Both were local, and both were a blast!

My aunt and I signed up to walk the breast cancer 10K walk in Long Beach together.  Since my aunt lives near the start, I woke up and drove to her place around 7:30.  She's only 3 miles away and I was planning on running there, but I didn't hear my alarm go off so I was a little pressed for time once I woke up.  It thunder-stormed the night before and was supposed to again that day, which made for a beautiful sunrise.
When I got to her house, we had enough time to enjoy a cup of coffee together before walking to the start line.  It was the perfect weather for walking.  There was a cloud cover and since the course was along the bay and ocean there was a cool ocean breeze.  It was a little humid, but still pleasant.
We finished in an hour an a half, and just as we did the thunderstorm came back.  We heard the loud cracking of thunder so hustled back to her house before driving to breakfast.  We went to this little cafe around the corner and just as we walked in it started down-pouring!!  We enjoyed watching it while eating our delicious veggie egg scrambles :)
My aunt and I had such a good time together as we always do, and this was the perfect way to start our Saturdays.  The walked raised over $210,000!!  Save the boobies!!

I signed up for the 11th Annual Lupus 5K a while ago and later discovered one of my Twitter friends was running it to!  We decided to meet up and run together.  It was our first time meeting in person, and she is absolutely awesome!  We ran 1.5 miles to the starting line, picked up our Lupus 5K tees that we tucked around our iFitness belts, and lined up at the starting line.  The race was sponsored by CHP, LA County Sherrif's Dept, LAPD, LA Fire Dept, OC Sherrif's Dept, and OC Fire Authority.  Needless to say, we felt very safe if anything was to happen!  There were cops everywhere!!!  There was even an equestrian cop:
And the starting line had flashing lights on it!
The course was ALL rolling hills, and I don't train on all.  But Kristy runs those hills all the time and she kept me going!  She gave me fun pointers on how to better run hills without expending as much energy.  We also talked the whole time, about our jobs, boyfriends, races we've run, races we want to run, our sports teams (she's a Red Sox and Pats's a good thing she's not into basketball otherwise we'd be in trouble...Lakers v. Celtics oh my!)  Haha.
We finished the hilly course in about 35 minutes.
After we crossed the finish line, we ran back the 1.5 miles for a total of 6 miles that morning!  I had a ton of fun and I hope to run more races with Miss Kristy!

This weekend is already here, and it sure is a big one!  With 10-10-10 on Sunday, I want to wish everyone who is racing the Chicago Marathon a happy, safe, and fast race!  Enjoy it and have fun!!!!!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My 100th Post!

This is my 100th blog post!  I spent the last few days thinking about what I wanted to write about.  I thought about a recap of my running journey the past year, but I did that on my blog's 1st birthday.  Then I thought of listing 100 things about me, but thought that could get pretty tedious (both to read and to write).  I just so happened to stumble upon another blog, RunnersRambles, and I really liked what she did for her 100th post.  It was essentially the 100 things I had brainstormed, but broken down into 10 sections with 10 bullet points in each...Much more fun and interesting!  So, thank you Aron @ RunnersRambles for giving me a little inspiration J

So here are 100 things for my 100th post (in no particular order)!

10 things about me:

1. I love peanut butter
2. I’m a complete foodie and the the food network is constantly on in my house
3. I love baking cupcakes, especially my red velvet cupcakes
4. Photography is a hobby I’m passionate about
5. I love shoes – I have over 500+ pairs of shoes (and do I wear them all? Probably not)
6. Anything pink and/or sparkly makes me happy
7. Disneyland is one of my favorite places to hang out
8. I played soccer for 13 years – midfield was my position
9. I double majored in Finance and Economics
10. I lived in NYC for 4 years

10 running essentials:
1. Garmin
2. iFitness belt
3. Sharkies (thank you Surf City for introducing me to these)
4. Body glide
5. Iphone/camera
6. Ipod (although I am using it less and less and for no reason in particular)
7. Road ID (I always carry my regular ID in my belt too)
8. Bandaids (just in case, mainly for longer runs)
9. Injinji toe socks (no more toe blisters!)
10. Zensah and target sports bras

10 of my favorite places I’ve traveled to:
1. Paris, France
2. Provence, France (I was on the top of Mont Ventoux (the largest mountain in the region which has gained notariety from the Tour de France) on my 17th birthday)
3. Rome, Italy
4. Lake Como, Italy
5. Marbella, Spain (I spent my 15th birthday there!)
6. Whitefish, Montana
7. Hawaii (Maui and Kauii are my favorite islands)
8. Jamaica
9. New York, New York
10. Vegas

10 Running “firsts”:
1. Mud Run – San Diego Mud Run (November 2009)
2. 5K – the Long Beach Turkey Trot (November 2009)
3. Runnning in a costume – Make Room for Santa 5K in Irvine, where I wore a Santa costume (December 2009)
4. 10K – San Diego Resolution Run (January 2010)
5. My first lost toenail (post San Diego 10K)
6. ½ marathon – Surf City (February 2010)
7. First injury and physical therapy for it – ITB syndrome (summer 2010 just before San Francisco Half Marathon)
8. Running with a water bottle – hearing the swishing of the water made me have to pee the whole 9 miles (June 2010)
9. Ice bath – post long run (June 2010)
10. Seeing my brother and best friend cross the finish line of their first long distance race, the San Francisco Half Marathon – that was a very proud moment for me (July 2010)

10 things I’m thankful for and proud of:
1. My wonderful family
2. My loving boyfriend
3. Having a college degree
4. The opportunity to go to Grad School (I graduate 2012!!)
5. My health
6. The ability to run
7. My job, especially now when unemployment is so high
8. My incredible friends
9. Having raised $10K for breast cancer in my life so far (I plan on raising so much more as my life goes on!)
10. Finishing my first long distance race, Surf City Half Marathon

10 songs on my iPod:
1. “Only Girl” by Rihanna
2. “Like a G6” by Far East Movement
3. “Power” by Kanye
4. “Bottoms Up” by Trey Songz
5. “Stereo Love” by Edward Maya
6. “Just the Way You Are” by Bruna Mars
7. “Runaway” by Kanye
8. “Criminal Intent” by Robyn
9. “Hey Baby” by Pitbull
10. “Toot it and Boot it” by YG

10 reasons I run:
1. The natural high I get after an awesome run
2. To challenge myself
3. To stay healthy and in shape
4. So I can eat (I love food)
5. I love races
6. The feeling excitement, accomplishment, pain, and relief of crossing the finish line of a race
7. Not going to lie, I love the medals from races :)
8. Being outdoors and seeing new places (or old places from a new perspective)
9. It’s my personal time to think, run off stress, be at peace in the environment around me
10. It’s fun! Fun to get outside, fun to go shopping for new running clothes/gear, fun to travel, fun to blog about it, fun to sweat it out…its just fun!

10 bloggers who inspire me:
1. The Running Fat Guy
2. Must Run!
3. The Journey of a Running Green Girl
4. CAUTION: Red Head Running
5. Operation Jack
6. Running with Daniel
7. Just Another Day in {our midwest} Paradise
8. Barbie Runs!!
9. Punk Rock Tri Guy
10. Asthma and the Gift of Running

10 things I love to do:
1. Run
2. Photography
3. Shop
4. Wine taste
5. Eat
6. Cook
7. Travel
8. Enjoy a quiet evening at home
9. Go to the movies
10. Hang out with my family and boyfriend

10 words to describe my personality (I asked two people to describe my personality and this is what they came up with):
1. Bubbly (x2 – both people said this!)
2. Engaging
3. Funny/Fun
4. Contagious
5. Kind
6. Encouraging
7. Idealist
8. Enigmatic
9. Ambitious
10. Stubborn (I’m adding this one myself :-P)

Here's to 100 more happy posts!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Avon 40 Mile Walk for Breast Cancer Recap

Happy October and Happy Breast Cancer Awareness month!!
If you're new to my blog, I am a HUGE advocate for breast cancer awareness.  My Grammie (now approaching 92 years!) is a survivor, and I have seen far too many people suffer from this disease in one way or another.  I love posting about *pink* things, such as what I've posted here and here.  In honor of Breast Cancer Month, here is my Breast Cancer Walk recap:

A few weeks ago on September 11th and 12th, my friend Amanda and I walked the Avon 40 mile Walk for Breast Cancer for our 2nd time.  We first walked it in 2008 and were completely moved and humbled and we knew we wanted to walk again.  So this year, we walked 39.3 miles for the second time to fight breast cancer.
This year the walk was in Santa Barbara (in 2008 it was in Long Beach which was so convenient for us!) so we cruised up Friday afternoon to check into our hotel and scope out the expo.  We walked along the beach path and it was the most beautiful day ever!  We saw the opening ceremony site being set up and were overcome with excitement!

We picked up our complimentary hat for raising a minimum of $2,200 and decided it was time to eat.  So we walked to Sharkeez down the street from our hotel and had some of the best fish tacos I'd ever had and an iced cold beer.  Totally hit the spot.  Since we had to wake up at 4:30am, we walked back to our hotel, laid out our attire for the next day including my fabulous Team Sparkle skirt (which I got literally 100s of compliments on!), and I packed up my backpack and we hit the hay.
SIDENOTE:  In 2008, I had the gnarliest blister the medics had ever seen.  Yes, the medic treating me after day 1 at the Wellness Village called all the medics over to check out the monstrosity of a blister that plagued almost my entire foot.  It hurt like a bitch!  But now it's actually quite funny.  It was HUGE!  In order to prevent that from happening this time, I decided to change socks every hour or so, and to also bring a change of shoes if needed. 
So I packed my backpack with 8 pairs of socks (extras just in case), spare shoes, sandals (you never know), and the necessary bandaids, water, snacks, ID, camera, phone, etc.  So everything was ready to go!  The gray hat you see here was our freebie for raising $$$!
Day 1:  26.2 miles

4:30am and I wake up to Dashboard Confessional "Stolen".  Why not start my day on a good note, right?  :)  So we got dressed and headed outside.  Realizing it was too dang cold to walk to the opening ceremony, we hailed a cab that just happened to be driving by and he brought us to the site free of charge.  We tipped him generously.
Immediately at the site we walked over to the "I walk for..." table to pick up our bib and write who we walk for.
Then we had some time to kill before the opening ceremony started...
So we signed the giant pillar:
We jumped around:
We showed our guns to give breast cancer a warning:
And then the opening ceremony started.
The day was September 11, 2010.  Nine years after the 9/11 attacks.  *Never forget*
The beach left me speechless (pic taken later in the day):
During the opening ceremony, they announced that the 2,800 walkers raised more than $6.4 MILLION!!!!!
Then the tears came...there were 6 speakers, all of whom had been affected by breast cancer.  One husband's wife died from it and his daughter was recently diagnosed, one woman was a survivor herself, a 15-year old boy was volunteering for his mom, etc.  All stories were so very touching.  I couldn't stop thinking about my Grammie and her battle, and remembering my Uncle and his battle against lung cancer that he eventually lost.  Despite the sadness, I was overcome with a powerful feeling of hope.  2,800 people and $6.4 million dollars.  Wow.  In this troubled economy, those numbers are staggering!  That's roughly $23,000 for every walker.  The numbers alone tell me there is hope.  Hope that we can beat cancer together.
Once the tears dried up, we were off!  It was so foggy being on the water, and the path was so narrow that it created a bottleneck for walkers to get through.  We finally got through the bottleneck and were totally amped up!
We took pictures at every mile marker, but I won't post all of them because that's a lot :)
Mile 5 and feeling like a million bucks!
We goofed off the entire time!  Singing and laughing, dancing and talking!  For us, it was the least we can do to walk while so many people are enduring chemo and radiation (I've seen both first hand in severe cases...I can't even imagine).
Sock change!
This sign wasn't for me, but I was stoked there was another Maggie walking!  I've only met two other Maggie's in my life and the lady saw how excited I was and held out the sign for a pic.  I like to think it's for me hahaha!  Either way, it gave me a surge of energy!
Howdy!  Getting a little John Wayne action at mile 12!  Still feeling like a Walk-star...
Half way for day 1!!!
At the rest stop at the Santa Barbara Mission.  Time to refill our H20 bottles, reapply sunscreen, eat some Red Vines and take some pictures!
The majority of the course was uphill.  And I mean UPHILL!  We walked up into the Santa Barbara mountains!  It was crazy!  And a lot of it was off-road on gravel and dirt paths.  At this point we were so tired of the uphills that when we heard a lady at this rest stop shouting that it was all down hill from here we were so relieved.  Well, the lady LIED!!!  We kept going uphill until about mile 22!!!!  Like I said, walking is the least I can do :)  But I think the course was poorly planned in that a majority of the walkers said that it was pretty strenuous, too strenuous for a lot of people.  We saw several women fall, including one woman in her 50s fall on the gravel and bust her chin and mouth open.  The EMT arrived promptly to take her to the ER.  I think the course planner should reconsider the "off-roading" for next time.  A lot of the chatter Amanda and I were hearing on the route was "Ugh this is ridiculous.  Why'd they move it from Long Beach anyways?" "Long Beach was flat and scenic.  What's the deal with all the hills and off-the-beaten path and walking along freeways?"  "Did you see that woman fall?  She's the 5th person I've seen take a tumble!"  Things like that.  Oh well!  It was still fun!  And the views once at the top were beautiful.

Mile 20 and welcome to Montecito!  And what a site it was!  To our right was the beautiful ocean
And to the left...the *MANSIONS OF MONTECITO* including Oprah Winfrey's house!!!  Oh man, were they gorgeous.  One house was having a photo shoot in the backyard.  Did I say backyard?  I mean countryside!
Onward we walked!
We both were feeling surprisingly good!  I could feel a couple blisters forming though.  It was kind of perfect timing because Amanda's friend who is a nurse was volunteering as a medic and happened to be stationed at the mile 20 rest stop!  She fixed me up and I was as good as new.  Well, almost.  We were starting to get a little tight, and my hip was getting stiff.
Just about a 5K to go!
These ladies were awesome!
Around mile 25 Amanda's boyfriend and her son who had been cheering for us along the course, parked and walked with us.  Almost there...almost there....Just about there....26 mile marker!!! Only 0.2 miles to go...
26.2 miles DONE!!!  We did it!  Day 1 complete!
By this point we were pretty tired.  First order of business at the Wellness Village was stretching foot massages!  After a heavenly foot massage, we picked up some free goodies, and off to dinner we went!!
After dinner we went back to the hotel and showered, and I think I fell asleep around 8:30pm while watching Snow White with Amanda, her bf, and her son in the hotel room.

Day 2:  13.1 miles

Luckily Day 2 had a later start than the previous day so we were able to "sleep in" a little.  I woke up feeling pretty sore, but not nearly as bad as I expected.  We hobbled around the room getting ready, and as we moved, we loosened up a bit.  We put on our matching pink shirts and black capris (we actually did NOT plan to match, we just happened to pack the same outfits), and Amanda's bf drove us back to the course from our hotel.
Mile 8 and feeling {surprisingly} great!
Even the ambulance was pink :)
Seriously, this girl made the miles pass so quickly!!  I <3 her!
We stopped just after mile 10 where they served "lunch" (it was like breakfast time).
After the lunch stop, we walked along the Seal Reserve.  It was beautiful!  It was a dirt trail along the cliffs and beside a train track (which we totally walked on before a train came!).
Just before a train came!  Yikes!
Only one more mile to go...
Almost to the FINISH!!!!
We did it!!  13.1 miles on day 2 done!!!
We walked 39.3 miles and it was incredible!!!  We grabbed some snacks and ice at the respective tents, stretched, and relaxed before heading home.
On my way home I stopped at the gas station and picked up 2 bags of ice and as soon as I arrived home I took a dreadful (yet totally helpful) ice bath.  I was worried about how I'd feel the next day because I had an 8am flight to New York for business, but I felt GREAT!  And no blisters!!  I really attribute the lack of soreness to my running.  Two years ago I wasn't running like I am now, and I think that gave me a solid foundation.  The ice bath helped a ton too :)

That weekend was another memorable and inspirational weekend, and I am ecstatic that Amanda and I were able to be a part of it.  Together we have raised close to $10,000!  I am so proud of us!  I am eternally thankful to everyone who supported me, both economically and emotionally, on my journey.  The power of hope is incredible, and power in numbers is a force to be reckoned with.  So watch out cancer, we're going to kick your ass!!!!

On another breast cancer note, tomorrow I am walking with my Aunt in a 10K for breast cancer to kick off pink ribbon month and to kick cancer's butt!


Me and Grammie (1986):

Me and Grammie (2010):