Saturday, December 4, 2010


Abuelo is the Spanish translation for grandfather. Adding ito/a to a name is a form of showing affection towards someone in Latin American culture. "Lito" was my name for my maternal grandfather. There really are no words to truly express the special bond we shared ... I actually started writing this blog 3 months ago, on the anniversary of his death, but was too emotional to share my thoughts publicly (my emotions are still pretty raw but I now feel ready to share). I did speak to my parents about it, to help deal with the overwhelming sense of grief I experienced that day. I definitely think of Lito often and miss him everyday but I was caught off guard by the strength of my emotions ... realizing he's been gone for 17 years (half of my life). Time really does fly by.

Aside from my parents, Lito was my biggest fan and the glue that held our family together. He was such a huge part of my childhood and was by my side for many important and special moments growing up. He was in the hospital waiting room, anxiously waiting my arrival as my mom went into labor prematurely and was there for over 36 hours. He watched me take my first baby steps in his front yard and took pictures so my parents, who were at work, could have a keepsake of the moment. My 1st, 3rd, and 10th birthdays were celebrated at his house. The summer of my 2nd birthday, my parents decided to take a road trip to El Salvador. They had a brand new car at the time and Lito tagged along for the ride. Apparently, I was a great mini hostess offering Lito beers along the way. He was with us at Magic Mountain the day that my aversion to roller coasters was born. He was by my side for my first airplane ride as we flew cross country to spend part of the summer with his youngest brother, my uncle Jack, and his family in Washington, D.C. and Maryland. Lito thought this would make a good present for my 11th birthday. Not only was it my first vacation, it was also my first time away from my parents; I don't think they would have allowed me to travel with anyone else. He was right... That was an amazing birthday gift! I visited our nation's capital, met extended family, and bought a Jem doll with leftover spending money ;)

By far, my favorite memory of him is dancing the waltz during my quinceanera. I had been patiently waiting for my 15th birthday since as long as I could remember. It was a day that my mom had visualized since the day I was born and Lito used to tell me that he looked forward to dancing the waltz with me on that day. Apparently, I was a tactless little girl because it seems I once told Lito he'd be dead by the time I turned 15. RUDE! I know. I'm embarrassed I ever uttered those words but in my defense I was little and it seemed like I would never reach my teen years. Thankfully, I was wrong and experienced a wonderful celebration dancing De Nina A Mujer with my Dad and a waltz with Lito. Unfortunately, there was another important family celebration going on that day... Lito's sister was celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary. We were sad to have missed such a momentous occasion and although I took for granted that fact that Lito would be there to share that waltz with me I realize it was a bittersweet moment for him because I'm sure he would have liked to have danced with his sister as well.

Lito moved in with us his last two years, which was great because looking back, I feel like I got bonus time with him. He used to love riding the bus so when I started attending public school he used to meet me after school to accompany me home. He and my parents worried about me since the first 10 years of my schooling had been in small parochial schools and they knew I had lived a pretty sheltered life. It gave Lito something to do and he felt good making sure I arrived home safely. Eventually, I asserted my independence and started riding the bus home with friends. Occasionally, I would run into Lito on the bus returning from errands on his way back home. Since he loved to travel, he spent nine months of his last year alive in El Salvador and Honduras visiting family and friends. Unfortunately, my parents and I did not know how sick my grandfather was at the time. He came home just in time for my high school graduation, I think he knew it meant a lot to me to have him there. He was so excited to learn I had been accepted at UCLA and would start college that fall. Because my graduation party had been the bigger deal that summer my 18th was quietly celebrated at home. We did go to dinner to celebrate my dad's birthday a week later. That would be the last time the four of us would celebrate something together. Just four weeks later, two weeks before my first day of classes at UCLA, Lito passed away from heart failure.

There are so many little things that remind me of him ... brewing my morning cup of coffee (he was an avid coffee drinker roasting beans from his tree), doves, a bottle of Michelob, chicharrones (his truly were the best!), and golf caps to name a few.

I know he would be very proud of the person I am today and many of the goals I have achieved.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

National Running Day!

Yes, that's right it's National Running Day! Unfortunately, I didn't run today but since I work for a running store I did see our running group off for the Weekly Wednesday Run. I also celebrated by buying a new pair of shoes & pants and registering for the Inaugural RnR Los Angeles Half Marathon taking place in October. I'll be running on the course that I PR'd on 4 years ago. =)

Monday, May 31, 2010

I really can't believe a year ago today I finished my third full marathon! More amazing is the fact that it was 6 months after my second 26.2. In 6 days, I'll be participating in my 10th half marathon as a member of the San Fernando Valley Marathon TEAM. This will be my third fund raising event with Team in Training and am proud to have raised approximately $6000 cumulatively. Over the past 365 days, I have run 4 halves, 1 full, and cheered on some friends in Boston!!! I wonder what the next 365 days will be like... I'm excited about my new job, looking forward to making an impact in the Valley's running community, and taking my running to the next level :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Gratitude, pride, and excitement

The end of the amazing 2010 Summer Season is near. It's amazing to see the majority of the TEAM has completed their fundraising, logged in the long mileage, and is ready for race day. It never fails to surprise first time marathoners that the day does arrive when 10 miles is ONLY 10 miles =)

It was great seeing the Fall Season getting their start today. Five years ago, I was one of the nervous/excited new participants ready to train and fundraise for the Nike Women's Marathon benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society... it's crazy to see how I've evolved as a runner and volunteer and also amazing to see how friends and team mates have also evolved in their racing.

Huge thanks go out to Macy's and their Matching Gifts program! I have reached my fundraising minimum thanks to them and still have a few weeks to reach my goal of $2500.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pity us runners - The Boston Globe

Pity us runners - The Boston Globe

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Hilarious article published in The Boston Globe on Sunday. I know my running peeps can relate. Enjoy!

I left my heart in Boston...

I've been a bit quiet the last few weeks taking a much needed break to get things in order. The personal challenges of the last 18 months have continued... I returned to running at a time when everything around me seemed to be falling apart and running is what has kept me sane and out of trouble for the most part :) however the last 4 weeks were once again filled with personal challenges and disappointments and I lost a bit of my drive to run. Deciding to go to Boston to cheer on Peter & Kelley at the marathon was one of the best impulse decisions I've made.

Not only did I get to experience a bit more of New England, I got to catch up with Amy S., got to extend my TNT family to include members of the New England TEAM, and had a blast cheering for Tyler, Peter, and Kelley!

The entire Boston Marathon experience is unbelievable! From the Expo, to the course, to the fans it is a memorable time. I had considered running as a bandit because I thought I'd be sad to not run the course with Kelley like we had planned a while back ... but I realized that after my disappointment 4 weeks ago here in LA I did not have a 26.2 in me. I happily chose to wait for Peter & Kelley at the start of Heart Break Hill and have no regrets! Running and walking with them carrying my signs and hearing the crowds cheer them on was surreal. I'm tearing up as I'm writing this because it was so amazing. I am SO filled with PRIDE and have been inspired by them to continue my goal of running the Boston Marathon someday in the near future.

I guess this time in Boston was just what I needed to be inspired to run well again. Look out San Diego here I come!

FULL OF LIFE: Marathon run celebrates decade free of cancer

FULL OF LIFE: Marathon run celebrates decade free of cancer

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An article by the inspirational Kelley Last :) So proud to have been out on the course to cheer her on!

Friday, April 2, 2010

BP update

I am heartbroken to report that Brooks Paul passed away on March 26, 2010 two weeks shy of his 19th birthday. I mentioned Rental Girl & the I "<3">

Here is the slide show from his memorial ...

Monday, March 22, 2010

What a day! Part 2

I forgot to plug Running Skirts, Vita Coco, and Ultima Replenisher for helping me have a fun and successful day out on the course. I almost forgot I was also supposed to mention Rental Girl who was wearing an I <3 BP on her back. she was riding on the bus next to me and asked me to pin the square to the back of her shirt. Oh and the ride home was hilarious... Sue Baker was threatening to throw Raul out of the car until she discovered if you dig deep enough he has a good heart... ask him about how he helped a wheel chair participant along the course.

What a day!

So the day many of us had been anxiously awaiting for months has now come and gone... March 21, 2010 the 25th Anniversary of the LA Marathon. My day started with my alarm going off at 3:30 am, I geared up and headed out the door to pick up Sue Baker at Balboa at 4:30am. When we were nearing our exit in Santa Monica we got a taste of the chaos that we were expecting prior to the race.

For months the new Stadium to the Sea course had been promoted, all of us veteran runners were anticipating madness because even though this was the 25th LA Marathon we knew to expect the kinks that usually happen with all first time races. So I took a detour and got to my pre-purchased parking lot location. We found some empty porta potties and then boarded the 5:24 shuttle. I was so happy to think we were on schedule...and then we got stuck on the 110 freeway! We sat on the freeway stuck in typical LA traffic for a good 45 minutes. At one point, the lights in our shuttle turned off and I thought oh the bus driver must be turning of the lights so we can nap like they do on the flyaway... um negative... one of our fellow males runners had to pee so he peed into a bottle at the front of the bus! Many of the women were jealous because obviously we don't have the ease that men do of simply peeing into a bottle. All I kept thinking was thank God I had the sense to use the empty porta potties before boarding.

I found out later yesterday that apparently there had been an accident on the 110. Many of the marathon shuttles were stuck with who knows how many runners on board! As we got closer to the stadium, we saw the mass exodus of runners abandoning cars and shuttles and racing to the stadium. I thought about it but didn't feel like adding extra mileage (and potentially hilly extra mileage) to my day. At some point, we figured out the race start had been delayed so Sue and I found our fellow LA Racers in the nick of time :) I wanted to wish my TNT teammates luck in person but I had to settle for texting them good luck because there was no way for me to reach them in the crowd. I also had the pleasant surprise of running into Joe Egan and his friend Josh at the start! I haven't seen my BFF Joe in probably over a year.

So in typical LA fashion the marathon itself started late. And we were finally off. I was not prepared for the hills or humidity! The body glide wore off fairly quickly so good thing I had packed some vaseline. TMI, I know, but it's the reality of marathoning. Oh and here's a tip for all the newbies out there... don't forget your sunscreen I have some really ridiculous tan lines today courtesy of my 2009 Nike Women's Marathon Tiffany's necklace and the ktape on my knees. I was hoping I was just dirty but this time it was actually a tan :( or burn I should say... at least I'll now have a base tan into the season so I should be pretty tan (for me) come June 6th for the San Diego Marathon! I hope that doesn't clash with my TNT plaid skirt :)

I'm not sure why but this was by far my toughest race. I've heard many friends comment that as well. Of course, there are a few that PR'd (Personal Record)... congrats Natalia & Raul! I walked a lot and had hoped to run the last 6 miles but it ended up being more like the last 2 miles. The timing chip on my bib didn't work so this will be my PW (Personal Worst) on record. Although, nothing beats the disaster of 2008 aka the Honolulu Marathon (my second full marathon). I might have come in under 7 hours if I hadn't stopped to use a real bathroom. Karen Cooksey, fellow LA RACER, was gracious enough to let me use her bathroom since she was right off the course. So much for not adding extra mileage or time. Oh well, I guess it was too much to ask to complete 4 marathons without stopping for a bathroom break.

Along with running/walking past so many landmarks of the city it was great to be surrounded by Legacy Runners (they have run every single LA Marathon). There are over 200 of them and I personally know one of them. I was happy to see Alan who I met last year but I was unable to catch up to him. He's an adorable older gentleman (legacy runner) who decided to race Jassmine and I last year. What ends up happening during races is that some of us will pass each other back and forth depending on our intervals or breaks or endurance during the race. Sadly this year, I didn't see many friends on the course because I was too slow. Last year, I saw Wayne Fong (legacy runner for both Long Beach & LA) , Dr. Conklin, Alan Cloninger & Janet Comer on the course. Although, I did see Susie Comi and Marcie Joseph briefly.

It was great seeing personal cheerleaders along the course! Many thanks go out to Bucket, Erica, Bridget, Tyson, Christy, Karen, Serene, Liz, Esme, Esther, Niki, Xochilt, DeeDee, Tia Emi & Julio, and of course my Mom & Dad (although my Dad was cranky it took me so long)! I hope I didn't forget anyone. And to everyone that texted and sent me Facebook messages many thanks to all of you as well! It helped me not feel alone along the way xoxo

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The calm before the storm...

Happy to report I have been reunited with my laptop! She's all better now so I can return to my status as communicator extraordinaire. So tomorrow is the next big day in my life...the 25th anniversary of the LA Marathon and my fourth full 26.2. It's still hard for me to believe how my life has changed in the last 5 years and how blessed I am to be a member of the running community! Apparently, I've been channeling my inner Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) because I was late to practice and to dinner today. As much as I love daylight savings, apparently I haven't quite adjusted to the change. At least, I know I'm well rested for tomorrow. It will undoubtedly be a beautiful Los Angeles day! I'm wishing all the newbie runners the best race experience possible and for all the Veterans may we all have a great race! Can't wait to run through my hometown the best City in the World! And to all the spectators thank you so much for making race day special for the 25,000 runners!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

We like to stuff envelopes. :) We love donations!!! So where is yours?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Marathon Madness

Very excited about daylight savings because it means I'll be able to run outside longer and more often although I need to scale back this week since my next full marathon is 6 days away! It seems like LAM snuck up on us. There is so much buzz and excitement over the new Stadium to the Sea course and the race has sold out at 25,000 participants! The weather is finally warming up so next Sunday will be a glorious day for all! I have received my cheetah skirt so my race day outfit is ready to go :) I ran 7 miles on Saturday with my amazing teammates and walked with Sue Baker at Porter Ranch yesterday... we were nearly blown away! By accident, we took the scenic route and did more the 5 miles... oops. Oh well, we'll be ready for whatever hills come at us next Sunday. Excited for the Expo on Friday!!! I also just booked a flight to Boston next month. Very excited to see my good friend Amy and meet her fiance. Amy has run Boston a few times because she's super fast although she won't be running it this year. And more importantly, I will get to cheer on Kelley and Peter!!! Although, I'll be honest part of me is tempted to run the race with them as a bandit since that was the original plan. We'll see how I do next Sunday... That would be pretty crazy to complete 3 marathons in 4 months since I'm also training/fundraising for the San Diego Rock n Roll...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Weather cooperates yet again...

So happy mother nature decided to cooperate yet again this weekend. We were finally able to do our timed mile and break up into pace groups. I was very happy with my 10:50 mile and I was the interim pace group 4 leader. Hoping my computer gets fixed soon...feel kind of lost without it :( Had a great time at Scrap for a Cure last night. Kelley did an awesome job as hostess and raised a lot of money!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Goodbye February... Hello March

"The distance race is a struggle that results in self-discovery. It is an adventure involving the limits of the self." Paul Weiss

February ended on a bittersweet note. Although, my professional life took a hit, I can't complain about my social life or training. I'm now a bit superstitious in my training/racing so considering the disappointing racing and training I've experienced in the past few weeks my 4th marathon will be a success!

I'm just elated that our Summer TEAM is maintaining high energy despite the ugly weather we've been experiencing. We had great turnouts at both midweek practice and on Saturday and even managed to have a lovely potluck before the torrential downpour resumed. Lauren's Menchie's fundraiser was a huge hit, Bucket's faux bday/Happy Hour was a success, and those of us who were able to attend Sunday Funday at Blue Dog Beer Tavern had a great time!

I am also completely blown away by how quickly, I was able to put together my next fundraiser! With the help of a few friends, my participants and I will be hosting Laugh for a Cure at The Comedy Store on March 28th. Really looking forward to this as a great way to raise money and celebrate finishing the 25th LA Marathon.

I knew there was a reason I <3 Dr. Drew! He's a runner, too :) His quote below, could not be any further from the truth... running is cathartic, meditative, and rewarding.

"I do recommend running as a cure-all. It's the magic ingredient and an important physical release. It has helped me look and feel better." Dr. Drew Pinsky, Addiction Specialist and TV Host

Saturday, February 20, 2010

miss social is seriously tired at the moment

Unfortunately, I'm a bit too tired to blog today although believe me I'm bursting from the joy & excitement of another successful practice and first official team social. Since I'm running the Pasadena Half with some of my fellow Los Angeles RACERS tomorrow I'm sure there will be more to write about in the upcoming 24 hours. So for now I'm sharing Kelley's blog since she captured many of the same thoughts I felt like sharing today And yes I am Kelley's PR person and biggest fan :) !

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

First midweek of the summer season!!!!!

OMG, I'm so excited I'm seriously bursting at the seems. It reminds me of the when I was cheering on my teammates in San Diego RnR 2006 and I broke my cowbell! I'm riduculous, I know =) It's part of my charm ;) If I could do cartwheels I would. Why am I so excited? ... because we had an amazing turn out for our first midweek practice this evening. We even had someone show up who isn't officially registered with the TEAM, yet! So glad the time is now 7pm =) Looking forward for our next practice on Saturday! And last but not least thanks to Jennifer Johnson & Benita Marti for donating today!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

First day of Summer Season 2010

What a beautiful day! Not only was it a beautiful day weather-wise [oh, you know, just another typical Southern California Winter day :) ] but I got to spend some quality time with some of my favorite people! That would be the San Fernando Valley Marathon TEAM (Team in Training) which benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS.) It was a little bit chilly at first but by the end of practice I had shed some layers and was glad I decided to wear one of my running skirts. Yes, you read that correctly... I run in skirts! It's the cutting edge of running fashion. Running may not be glamorous but it doesn't mean you can't look cute along the way. I'm the Mission Captain & the Social Captain for the season so it gives me an excuse to plan social events and interact with all my teammates. I'm also mentoring 4 participants and am also fundraising this season! What can I say... staying busy keeps me out of trouble.

I'm so grateful to be able to honor friends who have battled a blood cancer or who are continuing the daily fight. This season I am dedicating my fundraising efforts to honor my dear friends and running partners Kelley Coco Last and Peter Valk. I also run in memory of a few people who unfortunately have lost their battle. That is why TEAM in Training is SO amazing we literally get to save lives one mile at a time! I am inspired and humbled by all of our honorees, they are all truly Incredible Individuals. Earlier this year, we were told that LLS had raised over a billion dollars and I am proud to say that I am one of 42,000 participants who has crossed a finish line for the cause! Please join me in the fight to help find a cure for blood cancers. Every dollar gets us that much closer to a cure. Thank you in advance for your support!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

What a great weekend!

Saturday I ran 15 miles as part of my prep for the LA Marathon... I was a bit concerned because I haven't been keeping up with my midweek training and I've been at this long enough to know it was going to be a rough morning. Fortunately, three fellow RACERS and the TNT SFV spring team were training at the park as well so I wasn't alone for the 3.5ish hours.

After the run, I went to book club. I LOVE book club!!! The members are some of the most amazing women I've met and I was invited to join 5 years ago by a member who I trained with for my first marathon.

Then I treated myself to a hot stone massage which was AWESOME and ended a long day by sharing dinner with another fellow runner and close friend.

Sunday I was up early to help Kelley with a yard sale fundraiser. All proceeds from the sale benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund Clinic. We had a lot of fun and raised over $200!!! I'm so blessed to have Kelley as a friend and to have been able to share today with her.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

link to fundraising site...

TNT Weekend all around. Go TEAM!

There really are so many reasons why I continue to train for marathons... this weekend was the perfect example of some of those reasons. On Friday night, we celebrated Rachelle's (one of my mentees/running partners) birthday, last night I played in a Beer Pong tournament to help support Hilda's (one of the Spring Team participants) fundraising goal, this morning I ran 3 miles with the fabulous Sue Baker and went to More than Waffles to celebrate Peter's birthday, and in a little while I'm off to Sunday Funday to meet up with more teammates/friend's.

Yes, it sounds like a lot of socializing/partying but it's all for the Cause and since I am the Mission/Social Captain and a Mentor for the Summer 2010 season it's part of my "job" =).

I am so grateful for all the amazing wonderful people who make up my running family! TNT/RACERS <3 you all lots!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I've Got My Reasons... First Official update

As many of you know I ran my first full marathon (26.2 Miles) in March of 2005. In May, of that same year I joined Team in Training and completed a half marathon in October. I had such a great time I returned to the team in 2006 as the web captain for the Summer and Fall seasons and ran 4 half marathons between September and December of 2006. Due to some injuries and choosing to focus on work, I took a break from running and the TEAM.

After a random chain of events in 2008, I registered for and completed my second full marathon in Honolulu on December 14th. It didn't quite go as planned, but I survived the race and the trip to Oahu. The LA Marathon was going through some transitions in management and the 2009 date was set for Memorial Day. So on Memorial Day 2009, I completed my third full marathon. Since then I have finished an additional 3 half marathons and returned to the San Fernando Valley Team as the Social Captain during the Winter season.

Sixty days from today I will be running my 4th full marathon! It will be the 25th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Marathon as well as the 5th anniversary of my first marathon. I am returning to the TEAM for the 2010 Summer season as the Mission/Social Captain and as a Mentor. This past weekend Iwas so inspired by my three mentees that I decided to also run the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon on June 6th. I will be dedicating my 5th marathon to my dear friend Kelley Last and Peter Valk who will be running the Boston Marathon as part of the Dana Farber Team in April. Kelley is celebrating 10 years of being cancer free and Peter has just completed his second round of chemo. They have been a daily inspiration since I met them 5 years ago. I hope you will support along my journey in the upcoming months. Go TEAM! xoxo, chely

Monday, January 18, 2010

I'm doing it

I've been inspired!! I am fundrasing for the San Diego Full Marathon. :) Details to follow.