Part I- Cleared to Run & SF Marathon Expo Weekend

I have been gathering my thoughts about the past weekend. I figured I break it down into two blogs because there is too much awesome to share in just one post. . It was different being on the support side rather than the participant side but I am so glad that I did it.

Earlier last week, the Cardiologist gave me clearance to run at my last appointment on July 21st. Just a little bit too late to run 13.1 miles in six days.. I was beyond excited but didn’t get to run until last Friday morning due to work and life schedule. I did two miles. Kind of slower than my usual turtle pace but to run my hood after a month off was welcoming.

With the Friday, pre-dawn run, I made my way to SFO to pick up Wes and May to take them to the city. It was great to finally meet Wes and reunite with May.  For those who don’t know, May was the first person I met from the 2014 team last December ! No visit to Bay would be complete without some Philz coffee so we did that. . Dropped Wes at The Westin and get May to drop off her bags. May and I decided to get brunch on Chestnut Street and hang out for a little before Expo madness.

The expo was held at Ft. Mason. Different location from last year.  I was stationed at the info booth and boy did I get a lot of questions.  From: Where do I pick up my bib? to What will the weather be like on Sunday? To my all time favorite question of the entire two days, Do I have to wear clothes on Sunday?  It was a grand time sitting and chatting it up with many racers.  Throughout the day, I got to meet people I’ve been following on social media. Special shouts out to my Friday visitors: BayRunnerJamie and QwietStorm!! I wish my phone wasn’t dead at that time so I could snap pictures w each of them! I was working the info booth w/ ambassadors Miriam & Stan on Friday.

Info booth w/ Ambassadors Miriam & Stan! Photo credit: Charles Lim

Info booth w/ Ambassadors Miriam & Stan! Photo credit: Charles Lim

But the most surprising and unexpected thing was meeting running king and Chief Running Officer of Runner’s World Bart Yasso.. It all started with a tweet..

Next thing I knew, Lark, the awesome marketing guru from The SF Marathon walks over to the info booth and introduces Bart to me.. Wow!

After the expo, got to hang with some of the ambassador team during dinner at Thirsty Bear. Special thanks to Wes for organizing! Truly a good time to meet and catch up with ambassadors who made it out! We also had Bart Yasso join us for dinner. How cool is that?

being sidelined

I have to admit being sideline is not fun. I’ve gone through all the emotions. Anger.. Sadness.. Guilt.. Depression of not running. As my running friends get ready for The San Francisco Marathon, I feel a bit sad that I won’t be running the race. I am humbled that friends have asked to write my bib number on their bib as they run the race for me.

The SF Marathon was my “A” race of 2014. It was what I was training for since the beginning of the year. Though I haven’t run many half marathons, SF is the one that I love. My hometown, weather, the views and crowds. I know the course like the back of my hand. I know which part of the course to take it easy (downhill on Lincoln), where to let my legs fly in Golden Gate Park and which of the views I can never get tired of (running on the footbed of the Golden Gate Bridge) Last year, I did not hesitate to sign up for the race two weeks after finishing.

It’s hard to be patient and listen to the doctors. Walking for 30 minutes and water aerobics. Not my thing. I do it just to keep somewhat active. I used to think I wasn’t a runner. But the more time I have had to think these past three weeks, I really am a runner. I use running to see and experience the world around me. Funny but true, I am probably only person in my circle that knows where to use the bathrooms around the Embarcadero, Crissy Field, Fort Mason, Presidio and Golden Gate Park. Yep, that’s what I learned in my two years of running. Joking aside, I miss feeling the wind on face as I run the hilly parts of the Presidio. I miss the sounds, sights and not so great smells of Golden Gate Park and Panhandle. I miss my four mile speed workout that I used to do every other Wednesday around Lake Merced.

Regardless, I will be present during the SF Marathon weekend to give back to running all that it has given me. I will be at expo on Friday and Saturday at the information booth. I will be at the finish line and Ambassador tent cheering and celebrating with everyone. I am sure there will be tears, hugs and fist bumps all around.

Running & Training Hiatus

The past week has been overwhelming with doctors appointments,phone calls with Aetna to triple check my insurance plan covers the doctor visits / treatments, trips to the lab for blood work and the Walgreens down the street from my house to pick up new but old prescriptions of medications that I used to take when I was unhealthy. The pharmacists at Walgreens gave me a long time no see greeting since I haven’t been around for the past two years to pick up seven types of meds due to losing weight. It was heartwarming to get a welcome back but not really. The medications have made me feel dizzy, sleepy, stomach upset, using the bathroom more than I need to and slower. I feel like I am in a daze. The dosages are no joke and I feel horrible. I try to down play how I physically feel but all I want to do is curl up on the couch and sleep .

I get advice from family (mainly my parents) telling me to cheer up and smile. My dad tells me that it’s because I eat too much cheese or diet that caused my chest pain. I love cheese but I wasn’t pigging out on it. A couple of slices here and there after running. That was it. It was my treat after running 8-10 miles. My mom tells me to get off the couch and move.That I don’t have to be half-marathon runner to be healthy. She told me that I could Zoomba. No offense, but I am the most uncoordinated person in the world and don’t want to make a fool out of myself.I know that they mean well and scared them with my hospitalization. I am thankful for my friends and extended family who let me vent and cry via text, FB messaging and phone calls. It’s been sad.

I am thankful to be able to recover. Though, my heart is a little broken that I can’t run or do any work with the trainer for awhile until my medical team figures out why my blood pressure and heart are crazytown. I have never been one to love fitness or running. Somehow during my time losing weight these past three years, I came to enjoy it. It gave me a sense of accomplishment that I did burpees and kettle bell exercises. The results seeing definition in my body was also a boost of confidence.

Although, I didn’t let training and running define me, it has been a big part of life. Having a shitty day at work on a Monday or Thursday? Trust trainer to kick my ass and make me laugh about trying not to flash the gym. Feeling sad or have a race coming up? A speed run around Lake Merced usually made the ache go away. Running was how I got my life back together after being lost. Talking or taking meds didn’t cure my depression. Running and getting outside did. I miss my group runs on Saturday through San Francisco and hanging out with my pace group. It frustrates me that all the work I had been building has come to a stop even for awhile. I didn’t do all that work to end up at the same place I was three years ago. I am at a lost. A friend told me last Friday, everything happens for a reason. I surely believe that whatever reason it is, I will see it soon. Hopefully, I will come back stronger.

Thank you everyone for all your thoughts, well wishes and texts messages over the past week.

Zooma, Why I Heart the Running Community and My Health

Zooma was a great race. I was doing good and feeling the course until mile 10 when I experienced leg cramps. Knowing myself, I should have worn the compression socks on the longest run of training but I forgot to pack them. Alas, I wore the socks that Zooma gave away to all the participants. The course was beautiful. Sun and lots of wonderful views of the Napa Valley. This race took me three hours to finish.  It wasn’t my best time and I didn’t care.  It was a training race before the real race. I’ll have a full recap soon.

The real story of Zooma was I landed in the hospital on Saturday night.  I was feeling chest pain like I never felt before. Like one of my nephews was sitting on my chest and wouldn’t get up kind of pressure. It would come and go in the afternoon after the race when we were touring Napa. Though after dinner but when I was lying down, it wouldn’t go away. So my friends who are saints and my guardian angels, drove me to Queen of The Valley Hospital.  Within five minutes of checking into the ER, I was called in by the nurse and hooked up to an EKG machine and blood pressure cuff.  My blood pressure was extremely high and the EKG had a little abnormal reading.  The nurse took my blood and administered blood pressure medication. For the life of me i couldn’t remember the meds I took.  Results of blood test showed I had an elevated level of troponin. This caused concern along w my high blood pressure to the doctor and I was admitted to the hospital.  I stayed in the ER for about five hours monitoring my BP, heart rate and testing my blood. My blood pressure wouldn’t go down after a couple of doses of IV meds.

I was taken up to a room around 4 am.  I have never been hospitalized.  The nurse I had was gruff and didn’t really listen to me. She kept on asking what meds I took for my asthma and i kept telling her, I do not have asthma. She didn’t explain what the meds she was administering in my IV, even though I asked.    I knew I was in for the long haul.  Nurse kept asking me why would I run a race and how come my blood pressure was too high.. The bed side manner wasn’t really there.  No offense to the nurses I know, but this lady was rough.  Around five thirty, I was moved to another room to be on a constant drip of high blood medication and BP / heart monitor checks every 15-30 minutes.  My BP was slowly going down . The attending physician made his rounds around 9:30 am and explained my situation.  I needed my BP to go down and see the cardiologist.  The cardiologist was very kind . He took time to get my health history and facts. He told me that it was good that I was in the hospital and told