My Road to 13.1



An item high on my Bucket List that sat there until I cheered for a group of friends who ran the Kaiser Half Marathon. First thought was- Ok I will start running. Goodness, it wasn’t that easy as I thought it would be. I could barely run a mile not to include grasping my breath, and thinking-do I really want to run? I was advised to just start a run-walk-run routine, and the endurance will just build on. The Yoga, Cross-Training, and Kickboxing were part of the run. The 15-minute run was a struggle – the rest is my story of being a Half Marathon Runner.


To get me motivated, I signed up for the 2011 Golden Gate Headlands Marathon. Good idea right?!?  Wrong! Being so naïve with the races and the tracks—I got myself into something that I never knew was the beginning of my marathon journey.


Golden Gate Headlands Marathon was a big surprise for me and my friend Bobbeck- this was a trail run. Telling you, not just a trail run but more of an amazing race! 7-miles! of pain and fear of getting injured climbing up the muddy mountain and slippery tracks. Oh yes! Not to mention holding on to bushes just to make it through the climb. The first few miles were just the beginning of the struggles and the thought of just turning around and calling it quits! Thanks for the encouragement of Bobbeck and fellow runners—”let’s just do this slowly—this isn’t a marathon!” We finished the agony of mud, rocks, rain, and sands. It was a fulfillment kind of feeling, but I said to myself—never ever I’m going to do this trail again!




So I decided to just continue to build my endurance and joined fun runs. One was the Alameda See Jane Run with my friend Sheila. At this point, I was on a running pace of at least 3 miles with a breeze. Yes! This was a biggie for me who started with a 15 minute 1/4 of a mile.



Don’t ask me why but I signed up once again for the Golden Gate Headlands Marathon. It was more of a challenge and in my mind I gave myself the benefit of the doubt. Now there’s no blaming and turning back. I made it through with a bit of struggles the first few miles but finished with a better pace and time.  Thanks again for the cheers and encouragement of a friend.





October of 2014 I signed up for the San Francisco Kaiser Half Marathon 2015. This is it! I have to check this off my Bucket List. Realistically it was not a consistent workout plan until my friend Elaine who is a Certified Trainer started to give me tips and made a personalized program for me to follow. I was a stubborn trainee and blamed it on the winter weather a couple times I missed a day or 2 of training. Thanks to my friends who are professional Marathon Runners- Dollie, Elaine,and Monique. You gals are always my inspiration. Special Big Thank You to my PAMAKIDS Running Group!


February 2015: I said to myself, this is the day I’m checking it off & this is FUN! Along with my good friends-Tania & Sheila who registered for the 5k –we were fully motivated by the adrenalin of the crowd.



5-Miles: It was cold and misty. I paced myself to a 13-minute/mile pace. Enjoyed the view and the cheers of the crowd along Golden Gate Park.

6-9th Miles: I started to pick-up my pace up to 11-minute/mile. The plan was to pick it up on the 7th-mile, but I got bored and excited.

10-11th Miles: Exhausted! And talked to myself” I should have paced it through 7th!…Oh well. But where is the Turnaround! I have to stop twice to stretch. At this point I felt my energy was downhill, and my muscles were tight. Leia! Take it easy and just finish this race without any injury but finish it at least under 3 hours! Yes! I challenged myself.

12-13th Miles: The crowd was overwhelming towards the end. The cheers were the scaffold  & the energy picked-up one more time! Sprinted all the way to the Finish Line. Heard my friend’s cheers and I was ecstatic!


Now, what! I checked it off!  Everyone I knew said, “once you do your first half you’ll want to do more or a full”. Well, that didn’t happen to me. I was pretty exhausted and tired of long runs consuming an entire day of my weekend. I said I’d never do one again. One was enough. Not until I read the email of the Napa Valley Half-November 2015. Hmmm! As much as I’m in love with Napa why not run the Marathon once in Napa. Was that on my Bucket List? Well now it is-I said to myself—my mind was overflowing with should I do this or not? Well, why not! I think I can!



Napa Valley Half: I gave myself the thought that I have 6 months to train, it should be better this time.  Thanks again to my professional Trainer Elaine!( I wouldn’t be at this point without your program and encouragement.



October 2015: one month to go and I was on vacation in Florida. I have to stick to my program and at least accomplish a short run on weekdays and 1 long run on weekends. The excitement of waking up before sunrise. Sounds easy but hard if you are on vacation. Surprisingly I was able to with the push and tips from friends. Thanks to  Coach Paul for running with me and the pieces of advice. I never thought I would be able to run the Miami heat!

November 8, 2015: The Day! My goal was to finish at least on a 12-mile pace or in 2hrs 30 min. I woke up at 4 am, stretched and loaded up with more carbs for the day! Checked the weather, Oh boy! The forecast-RAIN!



7 Miles: as planned, I slow-paced the view of the vineyards, Mount St. Helena, and the Palisades.  Despite the rain and cold weather, I psyched up myself that I will finish this race and hoped that the rain would stop. I enjoyed the view of the Silverado Trail.


8-10th Miles: I started to pick up slowly and learned my lesson not to overdo it – at this point. Runners were encouraging and cheering for each other as the spectators were gone gone gone because of the weather. Special thanks to the volunteers who cheered and handed out Gatorade notwithstanding the rain. I stretched on the 10th mile; I thought to myself that this race was definitely better than my 10th mile on my first marathon. The rain stopped! Sun peeped in and out. The half-way turnaround point—goodness I have to stop and use the bathroom! Well, more of a Portalet! My thoughts—can I hold through and beat my time or just go and lose time. Unfortunately, there was a line! Oh well, I will just take off the time from my official time. That was an 11-minute pit stop. Yes! 11- minutes were precious 11 minutes of my race time.  My worry was not being able to pick up my pace. So I started slow and started it off through the 11th.



I sprinted towards the Finish line and just wanted to end this race with a Smile! My thoughts at this point?  VINO Time! Cheers to my Bucket List.


13.1 Deliberations of Running:

  1. Discipline
  2. Eat the pain
  3. Get out of your Comfort Zone
  4. Accept the failures
  5. Fun for your health-Live a Healthy Life
  6. Alone Time & learning how to self-talk
  7. Never Quit
  8. Happiness shouldn’t be at the Finish Line, enjoy the road
  9. I’m sick of Gatorade
  10. That double shot espresso this morning wasn’t a good idea
  11. At 3 miles: My thoughts: 10 more miles to go! 10 more miles to go!
  12. At 10th mile: Leia! Never again! This time, I mean it!                                                                                                                                                                                        13.1 Run with a full Love in your heart- not Half


Running was once just a Dream…Run with your dreams!













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3 thoughts on “My Road to 13.1

  1. Leia, my sweet friend, Thanks for the kudos! But it was your strength and determination that got you to the finish line. I love the pictures! Did I see you’re running another one on Valentine’s Day? Still trying to figure out my race goals for next year. Love ya!


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