Monday, March 26, 2012

Oakland Marathon 3-25-2012

We were so blessed that it didn't rain.  The Oakland marathon got off to a great start and I was feeling awesome.  Today was day three of my triple weekend and my first triple of the year.  My time was slow due to a miscommunication between the City of Oakland and the Oakland Marathon. At mile eleven they started removing the cones which caused us to get lost and I managed to finish in 6:19:48. 
wow...that's one big Afro...

nice medal and fleece jacket

"It's impossible" said pride.
"It's risky" said experience.
"It's pointless" said reason
"Give it a try", whispered the heart.

PIRATES COVE 50K   3-24-2012

Pirates Cove 50K was held at Rodeo Beach in Sausalito California.  After last Saturday's trail marathon in the rain I wasn't feeling up to doing 31 miles in the rain.  I asked the race director if she thought the race was going to be cancelled.  She relied no and that this was perfect running weather.  I had to do some deep mediating to find my happy place.  The trails were muddy and slippery and it rain the entire 31 miles but I wasn't cold and I finished in good time 8:27:56 and I got second place in my age group.

It rained all day

I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning to sail my ship. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
-Neale Donald Walsch-


What an honor it was to walk with Mr. Larry Macon, three time Guinness World Record holder of "Most Marathons Run in a Calendar Year" by a man.  Larry ran 113 marathons in 2011 and has run over 850 lifetime marathons.


I am fascinated by other people's
creativity and productivity.
I am in awe of their dedication
and determination to fulfill
their talents and desires.
Great achievers are those who
follow the yearnings of their souls.
They are those who challenge themselves
with daily sacrifices
and relentlessly endure the
inconveniences and consequences
that occurs as a result of their goals.
They are focused on developing themselves,
mastering their unique abilities,
and making their dreams a part
of their lifestyles.
They create their own lives
by never wasting a single day
and possessing the inner strength
to carry on through all of life's changes
with an open mind
and a hopeful heart.
-Deanna Beisser-

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

LA Marathon 3/18/2012

LA MARATHON 3/18/2012
Los Angeles California
I love LA and I really loved that it didn't rain.  18,729 finishers and I was one of them.  I finished 6:32:42
The course starts at Dodger Stadium and ends at Santa Monica Pier.  We traveled through Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Hollywood Walk of Fame and Rodeo Drive.
Kodak Theatre

Rodeo Drive

Beautiful Medal
"When you are able to lose yourself in the process and stay completely engaged in your work, you are going to become
a star at whatever you do!"
-Russell Simmons-

St. Patrick's Day Trail Marathon  3/17/2012
Riverside California
St. Patrick's Day Trail Marathon was held at Sycamore Canyon Park in Riverside.  The course was a challenging single track four mile loop.  The marathon did the loop six times and a small loop at the end.  I finished in 7:32:18
It never rains in Southern California...
I had ten miles of hard rain...
I managed to turn the grey skies blue...
Marathoning lets me be my true authentic self. It reveals my weaknesses and my strengths. It shows what my limits are, and what I am truly capable of .  Marathoning brings out the best and the worse in me.  It shows that if I push through and persevere that I can accomplish anything.  Marathoning is who I am and who I want to be.

Monday, March 19, 2012

In the "Spotlight" with Rose from Portland

Meet the amazingly awesome ultra runner Rose from Portland

Rose Bak  Maniac

 Growing up I was always the "fat girl". My weight ballooned as I got older and by my 30s I weighed over 300 pounds. While at the doctor in 2007 for a routine check-up she said my blood pressure was getting high enough for meds.  I thought, "This is it. I've been really healthy until now, but first it's blood pressure, then I'll be diabetic, I'm getting the fat diseases, I’ll be dead of a heart attack by 40". Resolving to finally do something, I joined Curves, a gym targeted towards women without exercise experience, and started to lose a couple pounds a month. Encouraged, I started making changes to my diet and the weight came off more quickly. Gradually I lost 125 pounds.
Soon I was walking too and a friend and I decided to walk the Race for the Roses Half Marathon in April 2008. One of the scariest moments of my life was going  into the Convention Center before the race, seeing the huge crowd of fit-looking runners in their little outfits, stretching and talking. I stood there in my cotton clothes and cheap shoes, clutching a plastic water bottle (not knowing there’d be fluids on the course), feeling like an outsider, wondering what I’d gotten myself into and praying I wouldn’t get lost on the course

Completing Race for the Roses literally changed my life. It gave me a love for racing and a sense I could do anything, even something sporty, which I’d never done in my life. I set my sights higher and later that year walked the Portland Marathon. Walking turned into running and I continued to race.
At my second marathon, the Newport Marathon in 2009, I became aware of a group called the Marathon Maniacs.  They were festive in their yellow shirts and greeting each other on the out and back. I thought to myself, “How cool would it be a part of that club some day?” I figured it was a few years off though. Four months later I did the Portland Marathon again and the Greek Marathon in Athens. Then I realized that if I did the Seattle Marathon over Thanksgiving weekend I could qualify for Maniacs. Seattle was two days away but registration was still open, so clearly it was meant to be. I was so thrilled to realize that I'd become the kind of person who could just go do a marathon on a whim, so I did and qualified for the Maniacs.

I've now completed 21 marathons and ultras (and attempted two other ultras) and worked through a few injuries along the way.  My life has completely changed due to racing and I love it! I might be one of the slowest in the race, I’ve even been last a few times, but I can always finish.  For a girl who spent most of her life on the couch, that’s pretty exciting! 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Catalina Marathon - 3/10/2012

Avalon California

Catalina Island Conservancy Marathon is one of my favorite marathon and is one of the toughest in America with its hills and trails.  There were spectacular views of the ocean and beautiful scenery throughout the island.  This year the weather was picture perfect and I finished the race in 6:45:46.

2am ferry ride with maniacs Raul and Haywood...

Picture perfect...

Perfect weather...
Lot of climbing...

Maniac Andrea making the climb...
Beautiful day on Catalina Island...
Tough it a tender way
Don't spend your life climbing the mountain.  Be the mountain, soft from a distance, but so much stronger than others imagine you to be.  Toughing it out in a tender way.  Enfolding the seeds of all the dreams you have planted, and spending each day and all it brings.  knowing you are capable of riding out any kind of storm.  Taking in the views.  Letting the streams flow.

And simply knowing that seasons will pass and changes will come, but the higher you lift your spirits...the more you will stand in the sun.
-Douglas Pagels-

Riverside California
I'm trying very hard to get used to doing doubles again.  My mind says let's go but my body says no way.  I had the pleasure of seeing Brad and Mary at the Run the Canal Marathon in Riverside.  Each day is a blessing and so is the weather.  I finished in 6:29:07

Keep Believing in your Dreams
Yolanda "Walking Diva"

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

In the "spotlight" with Rick from Illinois

Meet the amazingly smart and funny Rick from Illinois!

My journey to a healthier lifestyle started at the end of April 2010 when I was surprisingly diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. There I was, looking at a glucometer showing a reading of 297 (normal is between 70-99). At 50 years old, I was an obese 351 pounds and now, a diabetic. And as the doctor explained what Diabetes was and all the ways it can shorten my lifespan, I decided on new goals for my life:

1) to get control over my diabetes (without long-term medications)
2) to live a more active, healthy lifestyle
3) to get to a healthier weight by losing 160 pounds


I joined Weight Watchers the very next week to learn about better food choices and portion control. I met with a Registered Dietician to learn about Carbs, Fats, Protein, Fibre, and Calorie intake. I was put on three daily medications. "Change your eating habits first, then we'll add in exercise", the doctor said.

So the journey began. By the end of 2010, I was 50 pounds lighter but still on diabetes medication and finding it difficult to walk for longer than 15-20 minutes at a time. I was making progress but I needed to do something more.

On January 2, 2011, with my doctor's approval, I started walking on a treadmill. By the end of January, I was walking 45-50 minutes a day, 5 days a week. In February, I started Strength Training for two days a week and using stationary bikes. In March, I graduated from walking to very slow, light jogging.

That's when I started working with a Personal Trainer, who encouraged me to join her cardio class 3 days a week. Then she suggested I consider running. I was skeptical, but she worked with me and I slowly started to RUN. My first race was the Weight Watchers 5K that May; I finished with my family cheering me on. It was a wonderful feeling! And I even got a medal for coming in second in my age group! After that, I was hooked and started to focus more on running.

In August, I reached an important weight loss milestone, having lost a total of 100 pounds since May 2010! And because of my weight loss, better eating habits, and improved physical health, my diabetes had been under control (normal blood sugar levels) for almost 4 months! I was beginning to see a real possibility of reaching my three goals!

My running was also improving! I ran my first 10K in late August. And I decided to set a big milestone: to train for and run the Disney World Half Marathon in January 2012. I do best when I have a challenge before me!

In October, Goal #1 was reached! My doctor took me off all my diabetes medications! My diabetes was fully under control through diet and exercise alone! What a blessing and sense of accomplishment!

I also achieved Goal #2 -- living a more healthy, active lifestyle -- with my weekly routine of running, strength training, and swimming. I was feeling the best I had ever felt!

And Goal #3? Well, at the end of 2011, I had lost another 60 pounds for a total of 110 since May 2010! I call this a "Win" for Goal #3. I was still losing inches off my body and gaining lean muscle mass. It was very encouraging that I was now wearing a size XL instead of 4XL. I felt like a new person!

I ran a total of 13 races in 2011. Never in a million years would I have dreamed of doing something like this! And I am still on my journey. I still have 50 pounds to lose to reach my 160 pound weight loss goal.

Oh yeah! And the Disney Half Marathon? I ran it in 2:29:01! It was a magical and powerful moment when I crossed that finish line! I also ran a 5K at Disney with my 13-year old son (his first race).

I have more races in my future! I finished my second Half Marathon on Jan 21st and qualified for membership in the Half Fanatics! A proud moment for me!
I am keeping an online record of my journey at to hold myself accountable and hopefully encourage others to try. People say this all the time, but seriously, if I can do this, anyone can do this. It just takes the desire to take the first step, and then keep steppin!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Malibu Creek 50K - 3-3-2012

MALIBU CREEK 50K - 3-3-2012
Malibu California
Malibu Creek 50K was held at Malibu Creek State Park, located in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains with spectacular views.  I have done Malibu Creek 50K many times and it's one of my favorite Southern California Trails.  Hundreds of movies, television shows, and commercials have been made in this area.  My first loop (25K) I finished strong in four hours but my second loop I struggled with heat exhaustion and managed to finish 9:07:58.  
Beautiful views.
Very hot!
I finished last and got first place in my age group.  Love it!  Thanks Michael...


It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.

People who fulfill their dreams are not merely lucky; neither are they necessarily the most talented.  Rather, they understand the value of perseverance and determination.  They believe that setbacks are simply a means to grow, and that small failures only pave the way for new insights.  They know where they are going even when others do not and believe in their own dreams when others doubt.  Their vision comes from within - and it is always burning in their hearts.
-Lisa Crofton-

Huntington Beach California

Beachmania is held in beautiful Huntington Beach along the scenic bike path.   I was feeling a little weak after yesterday's brutal 50K. I had the pleasure of walking with Rosemarie.  Five years ago Rosemarie lost 110 pounds and managed to keep it off through running.  I finished 7:21:43.
Beautiful March day in California...

Nice seeing my marathon friends Laura & Steve...

They have confidence in themselves
They have a very strong sense of purpose
They never have excuses
They always strive towards perfection
They never consider the idea of failing
They work extremely hard towards their goals
They know who they are
They understand their weaknesses
as well as their strong points
They can accept and benefit from criticism
They know when to defend what they are doing
They are creative
They are not afraid to be a little different
They look for innovative solutions
   that will enable them to achieve their dreams
-Susan Polis Schutz-