What Being a Mermaid Means To Me

“I am swimming really fast with my mermaid sisters through the ocean waves.  A pod of dolphins swim around us.  We all jump into the air, doing perfect flips, before submerging back into the ocean waves.”

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Mermaids are the most amazing creatures EVER. Really.

When I was a little girl taking summer swim classes, I totally wanted to be a mermaid.  I used to imagine myself as the elusive aquatic siren,  and I drove my mom crazy with my “mermaid” stories.

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My mermaid a-ha moment came one day (I remember this very clearly), when I was 8 years old, and I was back-floating in the very chlorinated pool during a busy summer swim class.  The sunlight streamed through the huge ceiling windows, and rainbows refracted from the rays of sunlight onto the water, making everything sparkle and shimmer.  I suddenly forgot where I was, and I thought, “I am a mermaid in the big blue ocean, and I am happy.”

So began a lifetime of mermaid dreams.

When I was in college, I used to lap swim for exercise.  I also practiced holding my breath for as long as I could underwater, so that I could pretend I was a real mermaid. I used to drive my friends crazy as I suddenly popped up from underneath the water.

As a working adult, I still dream about mermaids.  So when my friend recommended The Mermaid Club, I jumped at the opportunity.  I can finally make it official – I can actually become a mermaid! Yaaasss – my life dream come true!!!

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The Mermaid Club is a group of amazing women who support and promote fitness and well-being.  There is no requirement for membership! Initially, I thought that I would need to swim a lot to be part of The Mermaid Club, but The Mermaid Club is so much more inclusive.  It is open to everyone who wants to live life and make waves.

From The Mermaid Club website, http://livelifemakewaves.com/:

“Are you a Mermaid?

The Mermaid Club is a diverse and vibrant community for women. We promote good health, fitness, well-being, inspiration, motivation, positive vibes and positive change. Our goal is to provide a fun and safe environment for women to connect with each other across the globe to empower, motivate, and feel alive. Our stories are real about real women who train hard and race, both for fun and competition.

Join us in our mission to…

  • Empower, motivate, and feel alive
  • Promoting good health, fitness, well-being, inspiration, motivation, positive vibes and positive change
  • Participate in local and globe events and give back to the community
  • Connect with each other across the globe.”

How awesome is that?

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Now, I am an Ambassador Leader for The Mermaid Club, and I love every moment of it.  These days, I am preparing for my next full marathon (the San Francisco marathon) so I am running a lot and doing hill training. I go hiking and dragon boat paddling.  I do yoga and meditation.  I am doing Self Magazine’s Bikini Body challenge.  Most importantly, I am doing all these things as a mermaid. Sometimes even dressed like a mermaid. Life is good.

I would love to hear your mermaid a-ha moment!  I would also love to hear what being a mermaid means to you!

Also, if you are not already a mermaid – how about joining The Mermaid Club?  We would love to have you!  Let’s be mermaids…together!  Let’s live life and make waves…together!

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Race Recap: Avenue of the Giants Half Marathon

Half Marathon #63.

I felt so tiny.  The ancient redwoods towered over 300 feet tall.  I was running, and when I looked up, I could barely see the sky.  It was covered by the majestic branches of the redwoods.  It was awe-inspiring.  I could not remember the last time I was this relaxed.

Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?  Even though it felt like a scenic and peaceful dream, I was actually running the Avenue of the Giants Half Marathon.

It was absolutely AMAZING.  I kept looking around, and “it is so beautiful” kept going through my head. At the beginning of the race, it was foggy and cool – almost perfect running conditions.

I cannot say enough good things about this race.  It was a small race (there were 1,299 half marathon finishers, 523 for the marathon, and 586 for the 10k), and it felt like a small race.  But, I never felt alone during this race.  I felt like I was surrounded by supportive and friendly runners during all 13.1 miles.

And, did I mention that it was so beautiful? Running through the giant redwoods was SPECTACULAR!  This is possibly the most beautiful and peaceful half marathon I have ever finished.

It was almost surreal.  Most of the other runners wore bright colors, and it contrasted spectacularly to the HUGE dark brown trunks of the ancient redwoods.

The miles just flew by.  I did not use my headphones.  Instead, I just listened to the rhythm of our collective footsteps and the wind going through the branches of the redwoods. It was the best music.  I felt so at peace.

Every breath I took, I breathed in sunshine and redwoods.  My lungs are so accustomed to smoggy city air, that the air here felt like heaven.  I even felt more energized! In fact, halfway through the race, I felt so strong that I picked up my pace.

There was this one part during the half, when we passed by the campgrounds.  It looked photo perfect.  Tiny tents nestled among the giant redwoods.  A lot of the campers came out to cheer for us.  Also, inside the campsite, people were barbequing, and I took many deep breaths of the delicious aromas.  My stomach suddenly growled, and I hurried along!

The finisher area was totally awesome too.  It was hot when I finished – around 80 degrees.  All the fog burned off while I was in the redwood forest.  But, the finisher area is right next to Eel River, and it was refreshing.


Dex and our friends took a few photos here.  We could have stayed much longer, but we needed to go back to the hotel.  And then back to reality.  Sigh.


I could not have asked for a better race.  It was beautiful, cool, and fast. Yeay, I just finished Half Marathon #63.

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Check it out:  http://www.theave.org/

Have you ever run in a race that was so beautiful that it took your breath away?  Please comment!!!

 

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My 1st Mindful Triathlon

Yesterday, I completed my 1st mindful triathlon at the sold-out Wanderlust 108 festival.  A mindful triathlon is a 5k; followed by 75 minutes of yoga; and then 30 minutes of meditation.  I had the BEST time!

I admit that I was a bit apprehensive about the mindful triathlon.  It was supposed to rain in San Francisco the day before.  Sure, I could run a 5k in the rain/drizzle/fog.  No problem.  But, yoga in the rain? Meditation on wet grass?  And what about the rest of my Wanderlust tribe?  Would they still show up, or will I be alone for the mindful triathlon – in the rain and cold? With other like-minded crazy strangers????

LOL – I should not have worried. It actually rained on Friday, and it was sunny on Saturday.  Also, on Sunday morning for Wanderlust, it was blue skies, sunny, and warm. Plus the grass was already dry.  PERFECT!  My tribe gathered, and we were all excited about spending the morning completing a mindful triathlon together!  YEAY!

We got to Golden Gate Park right before the 5k started (triathlon part 1).  There was already a huge crowd at the starting line.

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Everyone at Wanderlust was so very nice and friendly.  I immediately felt a sense of connection with all the other (aspiring) mindful triathletes!

The 5k was totally laid back and casual.  It was untimed, and Wanderlust provided a very generous 2 hour time limit.  It was a nice route through the Park, with cheer stations  and 1 water stop along the route.  I was pleasantly surprised by the good organization.  Part 1 done!

Next, we went searching for a good place to lay down our yoga mats.  Wanderlust had a huge stage set up, and we found really good spots within 10 rows from the front! We hurriedly laid down our mats because volunteers let us know that over 3,000 other people will be coming soon, and it will be very crowded.

After we laid down our yoga mats and secured our awesome spots, we went to the festival.  Many of the booths gave away free food samples, and we took them all!  I loved the Brew Dr. Kombucha samples. The acai mini bowls were delicious.  Kashi gave away an assortment of free bars.  The Perfect Bar was yummy.  It was a great festival, and everyone was so friendly.  The longest line at the festival was for free yoga-inspired bags from Ford.  These bags were big enough to hold my yoga mat, and made of good sturdy material, so it was worth the wait!

We could have stayed at the festival longer, but it was time for yoga (triathlon part 2).

Yoga was AMAZING!  I stretched.  I laughed.  I challenged myself. MC Yogi who led the first part of this huge outdoor yoga dance party session, made jokes and I almost lost my balance sometimes.  But, it was so very fun. There was music, and we clapped and snapped in time.  We also danced on our mats! Then, Cat took over the 2nd part of the yoga.  The sun shone brightly on all of us, as we collectively did sun salutations, tree poses, and downward dogs.

There was this one moment, when collectively we were all in downward dog.  Cat said to feel the sun warming our backs and to feel the breeze going through our limbs, through our bodies.  It was almost other-worldly in how perfect that one moment was.  I felt so connected to everyone and to nature. The time just flew by, and next thing I knew, Part 2 was done!

Immediately, the last part of the mindful triathlon began.  Vinny Ferraro took the stage, for 30 minutes of guided meditation. I closed my eyes, and I concentrated on my breath and on Vinnny’s voice.  Usually, I have too many random thoughts during my mediation practices, but at Wanderlust, I was fine.  Maybe it was warmth of the sun on my arms, or maybe it was the cool breeze that flowed around my still body, or maybe it was being with over 3,000 other like-minded people.  I don’t know, but it felt AWESOME!

When I opened my eyes again, I was a mindful triathlete.  Part 3 was done!

I turned and I congratulated my tribe.  We were all mindful triathletes now- we did it together. YEAY!

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Do you want to become a mindful triathlete?  Check out Wanderlust 108:  http://wanderlust.com/108s/

 

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Favorite Workout Playlist: My Sweaty Thirty

Argh.  I had to pay a lot of taxes this year.  Dex and I wonder why we need to pay the IRS so much money every year.  It’s so frustrating!!!

When I am frustrated, I go running.  When I run outside, my running buddies’ conversations, my own footsteps, and/or the ocean waves are my music.  But, when I run on the treadmill, or when I do weight-training, I listen to music.

 

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Here is my SWEATY THIRTY list of best songs for running/moving/working out:

  1.  “Be Good to Yourself,” by Journey
  2.  “Born to Run” – Bruce Springsteen
  3.  “Bittersweet Symphony,” by The Verve
  4.  “Dog Days Are Over,” by Florence and the Machine
  5.  “Don’t Stop Believin’,” by Journey
  6.  “Don’t You Worry Child,” by Swedish House Mafia
  7.  “Einstein on the Beach,” by Counting Crows
  8.  “Eye of the Tiger,” by Survivor
  9.  “Feel This Moment,” by Pitbull feat Christina Aguilera
  10.  “Firework,” by Katy Perry
  11.  “Gonna Fly Now (Rocky’s Theme),” by Bill Conti
  12.  “Gonna Make You Sweat,” by C & C Music Factory
  13.  “Hey Ya,” by OutKast
  14.  “Geronomo,” by Sheppard
  15.  “Holding Out for Hero,” by Bonnie Tyler
  16.  “I Like It,” by Enrique Iglesias & Pitbull
  17.  “I’ve Got the Power,” by Snap
  18.  “Mermaid in the Night,” by Jimmy Buffett
  19.  “Moves Like Jaggar,” by Maroon 5
  20.  “On the Floor,” by Jennifer Lopez
  21.  “Played-A-Live (The Bongo Song),” by Safri Duo
  22.  “Please Don’t Stop the Music,” by Rihanna
  23.  “Pump It,” The Black-Eyed Peas
  24.  “Rain in the Summertime,” by the Alarms
  25.  “Roar,” by Katy Perry
  26.  “Rock Lobster,” by The B-52s
  27.  “Run the World,” by Beyoncé
  28.  “Under the Sea,” from The Little Mermaid
  29.  “Waterloo,” by ABBA
  30.  “When Love Takes Over,” by David Guetta (featuring Kelly Rowland)

The list is in alphabetical order – my favorites are the mermaid-related songs🙂

I feel better just thinking about sweating it all out.  Let’s get sweaty soon!!!

 

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Race Recap: Rock ‘n’ Roll San Francisco Half Marathon

 

Even though I am a legacy runner for this race and even though the course is beautiful, I cannot lie.  The Rock ‘n’ Roll San Francisco half marathon is hilly and challenging.

Don’t get me wrong – I love this race so much that I sign up for it every year.  I also recommend it to everyone! But, I am also nervous every year before the start, because my body remembers the difficulty level of the race.  Check out the elevation chart – we gotta go up and down some CRAZY hills!!!

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Rock ‘n’ Roll San Francisco Half Marathon – April 3, 2016,  My 62nd Half Marathon

At this half, my running buddies and I started in the dark, at 6:30 am at Ocean Beach.  Crowds of runners stood near the heat lamps. It was windy and cold. Once the race started, we ran straight for a few blocks, and then we immediately turned right on Balboa Street — onto our first hill. Argh!!!  So soon???  I remember craning my neck, trying to see the top of this first hill, in the early morning light, and thinking, “here we go!”

Within the 1st mile, I started to sweat, and I took off my running jacket.  I should have stashed it in gear check! I am warming up QUICKLY!

Within the first 5 miles, the course went up the Balboa Street hill and over to Sea Cliff, where beautiful mansions are on hilly streets. Then, we went up more hills leading to the Golden Gate Bridge, including the dreaded Lincoln Boulevard hill (it is sooooo long and steep). Fortunately, wear blue: run to remember, a running community that honors the service and sacrifice of the American military, were on the dreaded Lincoln hill.  They had the most supportive cheers, the biggest smiles and so many American flags waving in the wind. They were awesome!  They made all the difference!


Check out wear blue:  http://www.runrocknroll.com/san-francisco/promotion/2016/02/wear-blue-to-remember/

We finally ran onto the Golden Gate Bridge.  By this time, we had only run 4 miles.  A challenging beginning to any half marathon!

Over 6,000 runners ran across the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin, where I stopped for photos (I could not resist, and it made for a perfect rest stop, too).


Then, we ran back to San Francisco. I totally love running on the Golden Gate Bridge. The views are incomparable!!!

Back in San Francisco, I sighed with relief.  The hardest parts were over.  Only the small hills were left!

But, by that time, my legs were tired, and my spirit overwhelmed.  So, I slowed down during the FLAT part (yup, I know), along the Marina.

Then, there are some more hills on Larkin Street (is it ever going to end????).

Finally, I made it to the final stretch – which is ALL DOWNHILL!!! Let me repeat that.  ALL DOWNHILL.  Whee! So I sped up again.  I can’t describe how wonderful it was – to look downhill – and to see the finish line!  YEAY!

The finish area was awesome, because we were right in front of the San Francisco City Hall.  I found all my running buddies, plus I saw many familiar friendly faces.  It was like an epic rockin’ PARTY.


A totally awesome race – I already registered for 2017.  I give this race 5 stars out of 5 stars.  Rock on!!!

http://www.runrocknroll.com/san-francisco/

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My 2-year Blogiversary and Ambassador Leader for The Mermaid Club

Wow -time flies by so quickly.  I can’t believe that it has been 2 years since I started my blog.  In the beginning, I wanted to chronicle my running and racing, my highs and lows, and to post photos of all my shiny bling.

But, for many mundane and dubious reasons, I have not done so. LOL.

Luckily for me, it is never too late to start again! I like to believe in “Never Give Up!” Besides, it is the second day of the new lunar year (of the monkey), so it is also a good time to make new resolutions!

Now, I have a VERY IMPORTANT announcement to make:

I have been selected to be a Mermaid Club Ambassador Leader of The Mermaid Club. 

Wow – I AM THRILLED!  I have been a Mermaid Club Ambassador for the past 2 years, and now I have been promoted to being an Ambassador Leader! I am totally excited.

 

The Mermaid Club is a dynamic group of totally badass individuals. The Mermaid Club “promotes good health, fitness, well-being, inspiration, motivation, positive vibes and positive change.”

I am always inspired by all the women (and men) I have met through The Mermaid Club, and I am thrilled to be a Mermaid Club Ambassador Leader!

Learn more about The Mermaid Club, and come join us!  Let’s live life and make waves together!  http://livelifemakewaves.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My 10-Year Half Marathon Anniversary

Or My 10 Year Runniversary

Or My 10 Year Halfiversary

Wow.  I cannot believe that 10 years ago, on November 6, 2005, I crossed the finish line of my very first half marathon.  It was called the US Half Marathon, and it was the longest 13.1 miles that I have ever run (really).  It was 13.1 pure newbie miles in the rain, and on the Golden Gate Bridge.  And I was wearing all cotton (really).  Plus my bib with the magic number of 131 (I still have it, too):


More importantly, when I crossed the finish line 10 years ago, even though I was VERY happy, there was a small part of me that wondered, “Is this it? I thought completing a half was supposed to be a life-changing event. I thought I would feel DIFFERENT. I thought I would feel MORE.”

There were no fireworks as I crossed the finish line.  It was rainy and cold, and I was shivering. There was almost no one left, since it took me close to 3 hours to finish.  I felt waves of happiness, but who wouldn’t? I can finally stop running now, and put on my warm sweatshirt.

I grabbed my medal, and it immediately became my most favorite possession EVER.  But, I still felt ordinary.  I didn’t feel any different.  That night, I celebrated my first half marathon finish with my boyfriend and family, and I felt very happy.

Now, 10 years later, on November 8, 2015, I crossed the finish line (holding hands victoriously with my sister) of the same race (it has a different name now – it is called the Golden Gate Half, but it is basically the same course), and I felt VERY DIFFERENT.

In the last 10 years, since that 1st rainy finish, I have completed 58 half marathons, 3 full marathons, and many many races of other distances, and a few relays, too.  Apparently, it was the most life-changing thing I could have done.  I can only realize that through hindsight.

I am grateful daily that I had the courage to show up at the start line 10 years, because it turned out to the BEST decision that I ever made.

In the past 10 years, I have met the most amazing people – most were runners.  I have finished epic races.  I have laughed. I have cried.  I have been injured.  I have been amazed.  I have been healed.  I have been slow.  I have won my age group. I cherish each and every memory from the last 10 years, because I became a much better person.

I am so very very grateful🙂

Here is my medal from 10 years ago (left side), and the medal that I just received on Sunday (right side).

Happy 10 year half marathon anniversary to me!  Or happy runniversary! Or happy halifversary!  No matter what it is called, I will take it. It’s been a marvelous 10 years.