Last month I checked off one of the biggest items on my list of life goals. It was one of the most daunting goals and one in which I was really reaching for the stars because I never imagined I would be able to run a marathon.

I began training 16 weeks prior to race day. Training was mostly good, with a few rocky weeks of running injuries, and my goal finish time in turn increased. But I felt prepared, that I had done just about everything I could to be able to run 6.2 miles further than my longest training run of 20 miles (which, by the way, seemed impossible after I finished that 20 miler).

Saturday was packet pickup day.


I found my name on the runner’s wall.

Then I went home to prepare and resume carbo-loading which was in fact my absolute favorite part of marathon training.
I texted photos of my outfit to my cheer team so they would be able to spot me along the way. Then, it was time to turn in early so I could get up at 3:45 am for my pre-race breakfast.
I arrived at the bus pick-up at 5:30 am.
The bus was crowded and I asked a girl if I could sit next to her. We started chatting and she asked if I lived locally. I told her I used to but now I live in Hawaii. What I did not expect was for her to say, “Me too!” I was pleasantly surprised to make a new friend on the way to the marathon start.

When we arrived in Folsom, I stayed on the relatively warm bus for a while, but decided I better get in on the restroom lines. I stepped off the bus and was greeted with a chilly breeze. I stood in line for the port-a-potty for about 30 minutes, watched the sunrise, ate a snack, and then it was time to go!
All of the sudden the national anthem was being sung and I realized I needed to get out my iPod and put my sweats in the donation pile. It was difficult to hear what they were announcing and I couldn’t find any of the pacers or my corral, but the gun went off and everyone was going, so I just started running. I was beginning my first marathon!
I could finally feel my feet again at mile 2.5 and discarded my gloves on the side of the road. I was surprised at how many people (males in particular) were stopping really anywhere on the side of the road to relieve themselves, but I just averted my eyes and kept chugging along. I felt great. The weather was perfect, I was super excited and I was looking forward to seeing my friends and family that had come out to cheer me on.

Around mile 8 I saw the first familiar faces. I waved to the parents of one of my best childhood friends as they cheered for me and snapped some photos. It was amazing how much of a bounce it put in my stride to see friends that had stood in the cold and waited for me to pass to give me encouragement.

Winding through Old Fair Oaks I looked forward to seeing my parents at mile 10 and got ready to throw my headband to my mom. These are some of the photos they were able to capture while they waited for me to arrive:

The elites at the front of the pack

And the rest of us…

At the halfway point I began experiencing some knee pain which was unfortunate, but I prayed and God took it way. Then it would come back, and I prayed some more. Fortunately, right around mile 14 were my aunt, uncle and cousin in Carmichael cheering me and pushing me on. Then, I went through the aid station covered by my alma mater and saw one of my favorite teachers from junior high.

I was really looking forward to seeing my parents and mother-in-law at mile 18, but when I passed through they weren’t there. I was so thankful to spot my mom’s bright pink sweater at mile 19! This is a video my mother-in-law took of me passing by.

The mile markers began appearing further and further apart, but I was determined. My pace slowed a little but I never stopped running. My husband (who wasn’t able to be there) was watching my little dot tracking me on his computer screen and said he couldn’t believe I held my pace so well and was about to finish. I was reaching the capitol park and the crowd on each side of the road was thickening.
This guy cheered me up and my pace quickened.
I saw the finish line and all of the sudden I felt like I was sprinting, giving every last ounce of energy into this amazing moment. I spotted my family, my aunt and mother-in-law and I couldn’t take the huge grin off my face. I crossed the finish line.

My mom captured my finish in slow-mo and my uncle was there to give me a high five.
I met up with my cheer team and all I kept saying was, “I can’t believe I did it.” I finished! And I beat my goal of 4:45 and finished in 4:43:35.

It is an indescribable feeling what I felt when I crossed the finish line and realized one of the biggest accomplishments of my life.


Some statistics from the 32nd California International Marathon:
Entrants: 8261
Starters: 5945
Finishers: 5804

Boston Qualifiers: 1283
Streakers (32-Time Finishers): 12
U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifiers: 30


This past weekend I did my first triathlon on the island of Lana’i.


The start was at Hulopo’e Beach and we walked there in the morning to get set up in the transition area.

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We had orientation and then walked to the beach for a pule, or prayer.

IMG_9428DSC02178There was a surreal moment just before we were about to start. I snapped back into reality just as they yelled 5 on the 10 second count down. I realized I didn’t have my goggles on so I snapped them into place, the conch shell blew and we were off!

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The 1/2 mile swim went by super fast and I finished it in just over 10 minutes, a PR for me. At first I couldn’t see anything with all the splashing and bubbles but then it started to clear up and I could see the bottom of the ocean the whole time and a few fish.


I ran to the transition area to get ready for the 10 mile bike ride. The moment I stopped at my bike a huge wave of nausea came over me (must have swallowed a bit of salt water during the swim). I put my shoes on, threw my shirt over my head, put my helmet on and forced down as much water as I could.  At that point I was feeling slightly better so I ran my bike out of the transition area, hopped on and started riding.DSC02235

IMG_9431 DSC02247The bike ride was crazy. It was so hot and the first 4 miles were all uphill. A lot of people were walking their bikes up and at first I felt bad for them but then I realized that they could walk their bike up almost as fast as I could ride up. It finally leveled off and the dirt trail began. I got a second wind and a smile spread across my face as I flew down the last 6 miles of fun dirt trail.

I came in for my transition to running the 5K to the finish. It was a lot of rolling hills, and again super hot, but I made it!

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It was an awesome and fun experience for my first triathlon.




Anniversary Getaway to the Big Island of Hawai’i

On September 5 Brandon and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary. We took a little anniversary getaway to the island of Hawai’i — the Big Island.


These are some shots we got of the Big Island from the plane.lava lava2aerialThe reason we were able to get these close up aerial views is because we were flying in a 9-seater turboprop plane, a Cessna 208EX Grand Caravan.cessnaI was slightly anxious about taking this flight, but the airline had really good reviews and it was cheaper than taking Hawaiian Airlines, so we decided to go for it.

Instead of going to the main terminal, you check in at the commuter terminal. Then you step on the scale with your carry on to get weighed.weigh

There is no TSA to go through, someone just comes out and calls your name and tells you what row to sit in, then takes you out onto the tarmac. Then you climb the stairs and duck your head to get into the tiny plane.

It was quite an experience, but a much better one than I expected. It was nice not to have much waiting time. They recommend you check in 45 minutes before the flight, but we found out you probably only need to be there 15 or 20 minutes before your flight. And once you’re on the plane the pilot and co-pilot turn around in their seats and give a short safety briefing, then they turn on the plane and you’re off!pilots

Since they fly lower than most other flights you have an awesome, close up view of the islands. It was fun to see Maui from this perspective as we took off for the Big Island.

We flew over one of our favorite beaches in Spreckelsville.spreck

And we got to see Maui’s awesome beauty from above.

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Looking into Haleakala crater through Kaupo Gap.


A waterfall in the dense forest.waterfallBefore we knew it, we were back on the ground and on the island of Hawai’i.planeThe Big Island has some of the clearest, most beautiful water, and the most gorgeous white sand beaches. I actually felt a bit envious when we arrived at our favorite Big Island beach, Manini’owali beach, or Kua Bay.manini

We had a blast playing in the ocean.b aBrandon took me to Brown’s Beach House at the Fairmont Orchid for our anniversary dinner.fairmont

It was romantic and delicious.anniversarypieabThe highlight of our getaway was our day trip to South Point and Papakōlea Beach, or Green Sand Beach.south

South Point is the southernmost point of the United States. It is likely the area where Polynesians first came to land on the Hawaiian Islands.south2

Because of the immediate drop in depth in the ocean along this coastline it is teeming with large pelagic fish that would normally only be caught from a boat offshore. Therefore, this area is very popular with fishermen.fishBefore we left for our trip I had read that some adventurous people like to jump off the tip of South Point into the ocean 30 feet below. The author of the article I was reading advised that this was very dangerous as the currents in this area don’t stop until they take you all the way to Antarctica. Brandon took his chances.

The start of the trail to the green sand beach was near South Point. After a short drive we parked and were immediately offered a roundtrip ride for $30/person by one of the locals waiting there with their 4WD vehicles. It’s 3 miles each way to get there and back and we decided to hike it.bra

It was hot, but the terrain was interesting and the coastline was nice.dirtwater

It seemed to take forever (probably because I was hungry and we only had one Nutri-Grain bar to split between us), but once we arrived at Papakōlea we knew it was all worth it.green

I couldn’t believe the color of the water, or that I was actually seeing green sand.


It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to.ag

Papakōlea is one of only 4 green sand beaches in the world, the others being in Guam, the Galapagos Islands and Norway. The reason the sand is green is because of olivine crystals. They are one of the first minerals to form when the magma cools after lava flow. The ocean waves erode the cinder cone, and since the olivine is more dense than the other ash fragments, it stays on the beach longer and makes it green.ab

After we spent some time on the beach we were able to catch a ride back to our car. It was my first time 4-wheeling and it was a crazy, bumpy ride. We saw some tourists in a Jeep attempting to navigate the extremely uneven terrain. There are so many different little routes and paths made by the locals that it would be difficult to know the best way to go without potentially tipping your vehicle over. We were glad we hadn’t tried it ourselves.


We were finally able to refuel at Punalu’u Bakery with our most favorite liliko’i (passion fruit) malasadas.malThank you Brandon for a perfect anniversary trip–happy 5 years!




Exploring the Pacific Northwest

We planned a little vacation around our SeaWheeze weekend. After flying into Seattle, we explored downtown a bit, then drove into Canada and on to Vancouver for our half marathon. After that, we drove back into Washington and to Anacortes to catch the ferry to San Juan Island.

We met my parents in Seattle.

parentsashwheelAnd walked through Pike Place Market.


And got all stocked up on Chukar Cherries.


I got a little grossed out at the gum wall…


Then up to Canada we went. At the border we stopped at the Peace Arch.

motherWe had a great time participating in the SeaWheeze Half Marathon as shown in Yoga. Run. Party.


Then it was back to Washington and on to Anacortes.


We got in line to catch the ferry to San Juan Island.


I hadn’t realized how many islands there were in the area. It was a fascinating view.


After we docked in Friday Harbor, our first destination was Lime Kiln Point.



This area is known to be one of the best places in the world to watch orcas from land. Unfortunately we didn’t spot any.



It was a bit difficult hiking the day after our half marathon, but the sights were beautiful and well worth the discomfort.


Starting in 1860 lime was produced in this area for 60 years. Lime kilns such as this one were used to fire the limestone to produce lime.


It was time for lunch so we headed over to Roche Harbor.


Apparently their donuts are world famous so of course we had to try them out.


Our accommodations were definitely a highlight of the trip.


It was difficult to find a place to stay on the island, but this place happened to have availability and turned out to be awesome.


Three peaceful lakes surrounded Lakedale Resort.


We stayed in Cabin 1.


Brandon practiced fishing on the shore just behind our cabin.



It was the perfect place for some recovery and relaxation.

bfishingafishingreflectAnd for some dancing in the firelight.

firefire2 fire3Some of the other sights we saw on the island were English Camp and American Camp.

englishIn 1859 the US and Great Britain nearly went to war over a pig that was shot by an American farmer. There was already tension building between the two countries over possession of the San Juan Islands, and so the Pig War crisis began. Both sides agreed to a joint military occupation of the island until ownership of the islands was determined. American soldiers and British Royal Marines remained on the island for 12 years until it was ultimately decided that the islands would be US territory.

americanWe also hiked to a beach near American camp.

beachfamIt was a super fun and memorable trip.