Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Run4Kids 100 Miler

I had the honor of running (power walking) my 7th 100 miler for the "100 Mile Club".  The 100 Mile Club is a physical fitness and life skills project for all individuals based on the goal of running (walking) 100 miles at school or work during a single school year.  The 100 Mile Club provides the opportunity to run or walk 100 miles at your school.  See their website for more info!
The kids made my day!  What I learned from a six year old.  Meet Sean, he walked with me and I learned that a worm has 5 hearts and a moth lives for 3 weeks.  Sean was so excited for me to see this dead moth.  I had to get down on my knees and look behind a generator.  Sean ran about 4 or 5 miles.  This is Jordan and she said "I only ran about 12 or 13 miles because I helped set up".  Wow, an excuse to why you only ran 12 miles! These kids are amazing and their parents are too. 
We made history!  Three Guinness World Record holders at the same race.  Pat Sweeney, GWR holder for "Most Miles run in the Sand", 94 miles, Jerry Knox, "Fastest Time Dribbling Two Basketballs" and me Yolanda Holder, "Most Marathons Run in a Calendar Year".
Nice seeing my good friend Raul...
I get asked this question a lot when I do 100 milers.  Do you stop and rest or take naps?  The answer is no.  I don't have that leisure of resting because I'm afraid that I won't make the cutoffs.  I try and make my stops at the aid stations/bathroom one minute or less.  Run4kids 100 Miler had a strict cutoff of 28 hours and I finished 27:33:26.
It took determination, sweat and tears but we finished while many dropped.  Congrats to Jean on her 100 miler PR and Steve for his never give up attitude.
7th 100 Miler
I"m very excited and honored to share that I am one of 10 team members in Run For Tomorrow. Run For Tomorrow is a continuous relay-style run around the world by a ten person team of experienced distance runners.  The team will raise awareness about the importance of healthy living and exercise.  We are also attempting an official Guinness World Record for "Longest Relay".  You can follow us at   Check out our route over 30 countries!

Monday, March 18, 2013

In the "Spotlight" with Yahya from Malaysia

Meet Yahya from Malaysia
Pain is my friend. That’s what I tell my friends who ask me how it felt like when I ran 42.195km on 18th November 2012 at the Penang Bridge International Marathon in Malaysia.  Born and breed in the city of Kuching, on the island of Borneo, I was never athletic at school.  From school librarian to school magazine editor to being a member of the school chess team, I warmed the chair all the time.  Luckily for me three years was spent in England and five years in America.  It was only in San Francisco that I woke up to the joys of sports thanks to the Giants and the 49ers and thanks to housemates who liked playing baseball and touch football.  This carried over when I went home. I started playing ping pong, tennis and badminton.
Life was good. I was now athletic. Then in mid-1998 the pain came. It was not my friend.  Slowly at first and then it came like gangbusters.  Both my knees were hit with osteoporosis.  It was so bad that I could not play any of the games I loved.  No part of my body was going under the knife. Lucky for me a doctor friend recommended that I take mega doses of glucosamine every morning before breakfast.  I did this for three years. The pain was so unbearable that I would take more and more powerful painkillers.  It came to the point that I was virtually addicted to them. Only with much persuading and will-power was my doctor able to convince me to lessen the painkiller dosage. I still remember that fateful day when he told me to stop taking them altogether. I delayed it for weeks. When the time came, the pain was gone! My knees were fine.
Of course I didn’t jump straight onto the badminton court. I had gained weight. So I started jogging.  Very slowly at first because at the back of my mind I wasn’t sure my knees would hold up. I shied away from ping pong, tennis and badminton for good. Not once have I played those sports competitively.  Slowly the strength in my legs helped my knees and before I knew it I was back to normal again. From time to time there are niggles but nothing taking glucosamine doesn’t squash. Having never run competitively in school it took me awhile to decide to enter any sort of race. So when I did enter a 5km run organised by a popular shopping mall on 17th June 2012 it was unbeknown to me the start of a momentous journey.
Hit the finishing line in 6:27:13 in Penang. That was the biggest milestone of my life. Never once did I think I had it in me. The impossible had become possible. The pain was there, but it wasn’t my knees that were hurting, it was my legs and feet from completing the marathon. I knew there and then that this was what I had been looking for all my life. On 3rd March 2013, I completed the Brooks Half Marathon in 3:03:13.  I knew my times were slow, but I was fifty, and over-weight, and just plain happy to be running. So happy was I that I signed up for three full marathons for this year. I may even add two more to it.  I just want to run some more, like my heroes from the Marathon Maniacs.  I read their inspiring stories and I know it is possible because I have done it too!
Wanting to share my experiences I have created a blog ( and called it “Fat Old Man Running.” The sheer joy of running spurs me on.  I have learned a lot about myself while training for my runs.  It has trickled into my everyday life too. I am more disciplined and I know how to pace myself in anything I do.  My run does not stop at the finishing line.  My journey of self-discovery continues with every stride I take.  Along the way if I can help others then that is a bonus.  Nothing beats being in the middle of a sea of runners who each have a common goal.  How we run our race is ours to choose.  At the end of the day whether we finish first or last we are all champions. And yes, the pain is now my friend. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Gardening is Therapeutic

Gardening is therapeutic and good exercise.  I was sick last week with a cold that knocked me off my feet.  I broke my streak of walking a mile or more every day since January 1st.  I did manage to put in 54 miles and two days of pilates.

I love shopping for flowers and I can stay in the gardening department for hours. I believe my biggest challenge on Run for Tomorrow won't be power walking 26.2 miles daily but staying mentally focus. My training will consist of daily mediation.
Run For Tomorrow has given me a wonderful opportunity to share my passion for power walking marathons and raising awareness about healthy living and exercise.  We are at the developing stage and your donation is greatly appreciated.  Please go to my page and make a donation.  Also while you're on our website take a look at the route.  The map is up and are we coming to your city?  I hope so and I can't wait to meet you!
"Take care of your body.  It's the only place you have to live."
-Jim Rohn-

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

In the "spotlight" with Baby Mia

Meet the new generation of pregnant women...Violeta ran marathons up until her 8th month!
One of my passions is to run .. I'm a runner and I've been thru a lot since I started back in 2009 physically and mentally, but always with huge rewards.
It wasn't after I found out I was pregnant that the hardest was yet to come, not knowing what to expect and learning so much in the process, has make this a wonderful journey of perseverance, strength, and will power which only has made me a stronger person.

Running was tough to do while carrying my baby, being pregnant is already tough on a woman's body, not to mention all the symptoms that occur during this time and it seems I had them all. I was sick to my stomach for 4 months which eating wasn't so pleasant, low iron (anemic) also makes a pregnant woman feel tired all the time, pregnancy also makes joints weaker, a previous condition from a car accident (sciatic nerve) from a fractured spine made running very painful as the baby got heavier. Many times I thought of quitting but I had the support of my fiance Steve Heisler, which many times dragged me out to run, and all the encouragement from my running peeps. But every time, crossing that finish line and realizing I had yet again accomplish a goal made me forget about all the struggles and pain.
Always trying no to overhear my body, not to overwork my heart and keeping hydrated I manage to complete 5 full marathons, 5 half marathons and 1 5K and many miles of training in between since the first week of my pregnancy till the 38th week.
This was my journey and how I felt:
Pasadena RNR half marathon 02/19/2012, only days pregnant, finish that race feeling strong and earning a huge PR.
 Beach Mania half marathon 03/04/2012 at 2 weeks pregnant, I was beginning to feel baby taking my strength as I finish 10 min later my PR time, even tho I didn't know I was pregnant at that time.
The Honda LA Marathon 03/18/2012 at 4 weeks, low iron made a difference on my performance, baby being a little peanut still needing nutrients and already making me feel weak, even tho I earned a course PR by almost an hr.
 Rockin the Marina half marathon 04/29/2012 at 11 weeks, I had no training what so ever for this race feeling so sick that I had no desire to run, but it was a very special day as was Steve's first half marathon ever and the start of another whole journey for him, we ran and finish a race together for the very first time.
The OC half marathon 05/06/2012 at 12 weeks. still feeling sick to my stomach and tired manage to finish only 6 min after my half PR, it was a very nice race and I was glad to see many people before, during and after the event.
 The Pasadena Marathon 05/20/2012 at 14 weeks. The Pasadena Marathon was my second full marathon running pregnant as I was still learning things about running with a little bundle was very cautious, ran while it was cool in the am but it got really hot as the time I reached mile 18 , to avoid my body from overheating I walk and run the rest of the marathon thinking on baby's safety first. That day we passed the 90's ... it was a very hot day.
Ojai to Ocean Marathon 06/03/2012 at 16 weeks. Feeling better from the nausea and a bit stronger Ojai was a very good run, the lack of training made it a little hard to finish but Steve paced me for the last 6 miles.
Run in the sun marathon 07/09/2012 at 5 months and 1 week. This marathon was tough because it was most running on concrete, baby already heavy and low in my hips made it painful to finish.
The San Francisco Marathon 07/29/2012 at 6 months. One of the most beautiful marathons in my opinion, I ran half the distance and walk the other half, loving every single mile, seeing many friends along the course.
ET Full Moon half marathon 08/05/2012 at 6 months and 1 week. This is a run at midnight, in a elevation point of 5000 ft... very tough, I just had run a full marathon a week before, Baby was already low and in my bladder, even tho I was tired I wasn't going to quit.
Los Angeles Rock n Roll 10/28/2012 at 38 weeks. After many visits with my doctor he did not approved for me to do the total distance of a marathon or half marathon but only a mini marathon 5K. It was very fun and I had my two daughters to do their first 5K with me.
I Kept active walking and jogging till the very last day of my pregnancy. I do come across people and I always tell them if a pregnant woman can do it, pretty much everyone can do it. I am now happy to say I have accomplish a lot from having a healthy pregnancy, healthy weight gain and I had a healthy 8lbs 7oz baby with no complications and a easy delivery. I made no excuses for myself not to do what I love, having two teen kids, dealing with work and taking care of a home besides my pregnancy was never an excuse for me to stay home sitting on a couch. 

After baby Mia was born I'm back at running, so far I've completed 4 half marathons, first one when baby was  6 weeks old, the week after I ran the second and two weeks after I ran the third the following week I ran the 4th improving times at each one of them, now I am currently training to run The Los Angeles Marathon in two weeks where Mia will be 3 months old, I have drop 19 lbs of that extra weight after delivery and I'm feeling stronger as time passes by.  Being a pregnant marathon runner has been an amazing experience, yet the road does not stop here since I have much work to do now that my baby girl is born, getting back to where I was in fitness also hopping to reach new goals and PR's.
Once again I thank Yolanda for letting me share my journey as I think there's very little information about running and pregnancy.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

In the "Spotlight" with Shawna

Meet Shawna who is courageous, strong and beautiful!
Yes you are worth it!

I am worth it!

I am not sure why, but I have the overwhelming desire to share my story today. I feel that many people are my 'friends' on FB or my followers on Twitter, but have no idea who I am or where I came from. I can see in your stories and the things you have shared with me that you struggle with things that I have experienced or continue to experience.

I have been told recently that people look up to and admire me. Those comments mean the world to me. There was a time I didn't like myself. I didn't like who I was or what I thought people thought of me. It took growing up, the love of my husband, my faith, and running to help me see that I am worth it. I am worth the effort, I am worth the time, and I am worth the struggle that I have endured. All of it combined as made me pretty amazing!

Here is how I got there:

My Dad was never really around. He drank and hung out at bars more often than he was home. When he was around he wasn't attentive. I don't remember any good memories with him. There was always

drama in my house. When I was 8, my parents split up for the final time. When I was 12 my Dad went to prison. For a very serious crime and for a very long time.

His prison sentence was horrible to understand. I took it as a direct reflection of me and who I was. I didn't want anyone to know where he was. When I was 14 we moved to Chihuahua Valley to live on my Grandparents' property. My freshman year of high school included a new set of friends, a new school (my 12th since kindergarten), and new fear. I didn't want anyone to know where my Dad was and I constantly worried about it.

I played softball then and constantly looked to my uncles for their approval. It never came. They were very good at comments like, "you throw like a girl, you run like a girl, you play girl sports." They were baseball coaches and their acceptance (or lack of it) meant a lot to me.

Just like every high school kid, I wanted acceptance and social standing with my peers. I also wanted acceptance from boys. All through high school I had tons of boy friends, but no boyfriends. I thought it was because I just wasn't attractive or popular enough for them to like me.

What followed HS was a horrible marriage to the absolute wrong man. Like many young girls feeling unattractive, I married the first guy that showed interest. We had a baby and a divorce within a year.
Divorced and a single mom at 20. I had no good prospects of a career, no college education, and no hope. I really felt horrible and useless.

Not long later I met Brady. He adored Lucas and I. He was so good to both of us. In the back of my mind I thought he would get bored and move on. Who wants to be the Daddy to a child that is not biologically yours? Apparently, Brady did.

Six months after we met he left for Marine Security Guard School. I was devastated. He made me so happy and the thought of losing him was crushing. His MSG tour was 30 months long (I only saw him 4 times in those months), and somehow, we made it through it. We were married 4 days after he came home. After we were married, we moved to Fort Lewis, WA.

While living there, I got pregnant and had Colby. We were so happy to have added this sweet little boy to our family. Brady also officially adopted Lucas. I knew our family would last, but I felt like I had married out of my league and was really lucky to have Brady. A small part of me doubted him when he told me I was wonderful and amazing. I didn't feel worthy of that praise.

Meanwhile, I got fat. Horrible eating habits and a complete lack of exercise added up to over 200 pounds. I was miserable in my own skin. We moved to Hawaii and I was too fat to wear a bathing suit. Too fat to enjoy the outdoors with my sons.

In late 2003, I took control. I lost over 50 pounds and began to really live for the first time in my adult life. I started walking, and then running. I ran my first 10k with Brady on Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Other Marines were saying things like, "How cool you ran together" and "I wish my wife would run with me, she's still in bed" It made me feel amazing. Not only physically, but mentally. I loved that I could run with Brady. I know it was painfully slow for him, but he didn't seem to care. He was so proud of me.

We moved to Uganda and then Barbados. I had Mimi and was faced with losing the weight again. I went back to running, which meant 1 mile loops in our cul-de-sac while pushing a jogging stroller. Upon moving back to Hawaii, I raced a few 5ks with that same stroller. Running was the key to my weight and so much of my confidence.

When Brady deployed to Afghanistan in 2008, many things occurred that took me off track. Our lives were turned upside down and running was completely abandoned for about 10 months. I gained weight and self-loathing because of it. Looking back on it, the therapy that running provides would have helped, but I didn't see past our problems to know that.

In the summer of 2010 we moved to California and I rediscovered my love of the run. To celebrate my 35th birthday and graduation from my PhD program, I signed up for the Disneyland Half Marathon. I used a training plan for the first time and loved the routine.

I was petrified to run 13.1 miles. I really wasn't sure I could do it. When I called Brady from the finish line he said, "Is there ANYTHING you can't do?" Turns out that finish line sparked an all-out obsession.

Since that 13.1 mile journey, I have run 16 half marathons, 22 marathons, and 9 ultras (including 2 100+ milers). I am always scared and experience self doubt a lot, but it doesn't stop me. I know that with the right determination and training, I really can do anything I set my mind to do. It has been a long journey, but I believe in myself. I love myself, and I can't wait to find out what lies ahead for me!

 You can visit Shawna at: