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January 2008

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Start of our racing season already

It was a gloomy cold morning. It said 30 degrees on the news, but when I stepped out at 7:30 am, it felt colder with wind. I hesitated for a minute and wondered if I were better off hopping into a cab, but saddled on my bike and headed uptown. It was the beginning of 5 borough Half-Marathon series, Manhattan Half in the Central Park. Fueled by last weekend's win and inspired by Kathrine Switzer's book which I'm chugging down every day, I was in great spirit. The familiar territory of the park should be easy compared to Bermuda's long hills and gusting winds. Boy, but it was cold on sunday morning. We were greeted by Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi at the start line. That was a great bonus. When we started the race, he went the other way jogging outside of racers, and cheered us on. First three miles, my toes were like frozen like rocks in my shoes. But after the first loop, we were all well-warmed up. Then I noticed frosts forming over other runners' caps. By ten miles I sweated enough that I was beginning to feel cold again. I struggled a little through the last three miles, and felt I needed to start running more miles. I finished in 1 hour 35 minutes, nowhere near getting award this time, but did enjoy the race after all. It was disappointing with all those big sponsors, they didn't have hot chocolate for us at the finish. Only two more weeks to the second one in the series. I actually haven't ran all five races in one year. This year I think I'm going to attempt it.
on january 30, 2008 @ 12:41 am [link]

I survived Bermuda Triangle

I was off to Bermuda Friday morning to participate in the three-day running event, Bermuda Triangle Challenge. They are having this race weekend for many years, but this was the first year they were promoting the 'Triangle Challenge' as a new race package. It was 1-mile on Friday night, 10k on Saturday, and Half or Full marathon on Sunday. I signed up for the Half marathon. Just coming back from my sprain litttle over a month ago, I wasn't thinking of any serious running, but my goal was to enjoy and finish all three races. Upon arrival, my teammate Sid from Central Park Track Club was there to greet me at the race number pick-up. He's been coming to the event for 29 years earning his title as a 'honorary Bermudian.' In two hours, I had to head out for my first race, a mile run along the front street in the city of Hamilton. There were only 59 of us crazies signed up for the 'Challenge.' Among them, which I didn't realize until the next day, was the legendary 'Marathon Woman' Kathrine Switzer, who was the first woman to run Boston Marathon with official number in 1967, but almost got shoved off the race by the race director only because she was a woman. She was the guest star of the race weekend! Anyway, our mile race for the Challengers were the opening event of the evening, followed by kids and elite races, and to my surprise, I won! It was my first win as an adult! It already made my trip. Next day was 10k, to experience the hills of Bermuda. I was already terrified of the half-marathon on sunday. That night, at the pre-marathon pasta party, I walked in late and there was this lady with a black t-shirt with 'Marathon Woman' printed across her breast speaking up front. I thought the Pasta Party would be something like the usual bunch of excited runners conversing over a boring pasta dinner, but this looked more like a conference. But then in a few minutes I realized who she was. And she was very entertaining and inspiring. This woman revolutionized women's distance running! I was running with her this entire weekend! Of course I had to buy her book and have her signed, 'To Etsko, ...who knows running is magic and marathon is victory forever!' I wonder that was why I couldn't sleep well that night for excitement. We just missed rain overnight, and it was sunny morning on Sunday. Warm and humid, and windy. It was a beautiful low-key event, less than 400 runners, no pushing or waiting around in a crowd. I was at the front, hanging out with elite runners, and sun was just coming up. The first few miles, which had big hills, was not as bad as I expected. My shoe lace came undone and I cursed myself for still not remembering to double knot. At mid-point, Sid was there, excited to take my picture. Then more gradual hills followed. And there was no water station. There was no water station after mile 4 I realized, and I began to panic. It was hot, humid, and I was tired. Mile 7, Mile 8, and there was no water. Wind was against up all the way. ALL THE WAY. Even in downhill, it was too windy to relax. I had to push my way down. It was a memorably miserable tough race ever. Hill kept coming and coming, and we did not get any water until mile 11. But locals were there sitting on their chairs, since they know it is a long race, cheering us on. When I finally reached the finish line in 1 hour and 44 minutes, terrible time compared to other races, Sid was there to wrap me in space blanket. I said I'm too hot. It was so horrible there was not water from mile 4 to 11! Turned out that I was sixth woman and the first in the age group. But I didn't know until the award ceremony that evening that I even won money for that! I earned $100 and that was the first prize money as a runner ever in my life, and to my surprise Kathrine Switzer who won her age group award said that it was the first money prize she earned ever in her running career. Unforunately they didn't have any award for the 'Triangle Challenge' winners this year for this being a trial inaugual event, but unofficially I have won the female Bermuda Triangle Half marathon winner three races combined. I didn't get enough sun but it was a great vacation.
on january 21, 2008 @ 10:34 pm [link]

Lost and Found

The second week of the year is quickly going by. The beginning of the week was quite dramatic. Two new faces arrived and I'm surrounded by boys! Monday morning when I came back from shopping rounds I couldn't find the padlock for bicycle. Maybe I dropped it at the market. I went back to Essex street and sure enough, the little lock was right there at my parking spot. Delighted, I stopped in for a cup of latte at Dunkin Donuts and Jamaima, the little Indian lady owner, was so happy to see me she gave me coffee for free. We had a nice chat and I thought how nice it was to see her. One hour into business, I sent my new guy Joe out for delivery. A minute later he returned and said the key didn't work. I stepped outside and realized that the bike is not there! He had to walk all the way to Grand and Eldrige. At five o'clock I ran to Frank's Bike Shop on Grand to purchase a replacement bike. Monday is usually a busy delivery day. I had to settle for three-speed black girl's bike. It's so heavy, hard to steer, but I had no other choice. It did turn out to be a very busy night, lots of deliveries, take-outs, and full house of diners. With my other new guy Aaron, I didn't have a moment to step out of the kitchen to say hello to my friends for about three hours. But we survived Monday. Next day Apocalyn called and said, "I dreamt that your bicycle came back." I laughed. When did a stolen bicycle ever come back? Like those guys occasionally knocking on my door trying to sell me a stolen bike and this time it will be our own bike? In the evening Cesar came back from a delivery and stormed into kitchen, "The bike is in front of Dunkn Donuts!" I froze for about long 5 seconds and said, "I put it there!" I realized that the friendly conversation with Jamaima totally distracted me and I forgot to take the bike! So the bike came back in our hands.

Someone asked me what my new year's resolution is this afternoon. I really don't have one yet. Ping had a great concept of new year's resolution that it should be something easy to accomplish. She said, "one time my resolution was to eat more vegetables." I think I'm eating enough vegetables already. I want to write a recipe for a day. This being a leap year I'll have 366 recipes by the end of year. But then I already owe 10 recipes. I'll see if I can catch up. Otherwise I'll come up something else to accomplish.
on january 11, 2008 @ 12:26 am [link]

year of rat

Almost a week into the new year 2008, and I feel that already so much has happened. The second day of January I made my debut at the criminal court for the summons I received for 'riding a bicycle on sidewalk in reckless manner.' I was like among the few people who looked like a decent responsible citizen. When I walked up, the judge immediately offered if I'm going to plead guilty, I'll be given a fine of $95 for the reduced charge for 'disorderly conduct.' If I'm going to plead not guilty, I'll have to come back for a trial in later date. Of course I've chosen to plead guilty and pay $95 for my 'disorderly conduct.' What else was I supposed to do? Fight for my honor? It was the year of rat all right.

But my luck quickly turned around the next day. I went shopping in a Japanese market and they had a New Year ruffle for the shoppers. I won fourth prize; the lady lang the bell, and gave me a bag of rice. I must say this looks like a good year. It was terribly cold morning- wind-chill factor about zero degrees. When I returned to the restaurant after my shopping and found the refrigerator warm when I poked my head in. Of course it was warm. It's almost 40 degrees in there! Three weeks after the injury, I started running again. I'm enjoying sweat icicle around my neck again.
on january 6, 2008 @ 10:57 pm [link]

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