Friday, June 20, 2014

Introducing- RUNNING BOY!

In case you haven't noticed, I've been away from my blog for some time.

It's not that I haven't been running.



I am still running on a regular basis, but I've added a few things to the mix.

In addition to running, I've been biking.



I've been swimming.


I've been writing!



While running, biking and swimming fulfills my physical needs, writing fulfills my creative need.


During my absence, I've decided to combine my passion for running and writing.



Introducing...


Romelle Broas
Published June 11, 2014 with MeeGenius

The question that everyone is asking is, “Running Boy, why are you running?” Follow Ned, Anna, Tommy, and Peggy on their quest to find the answer as Running Boy takes his friends on an adventure of self-discovery and fun.  The fast-paced text will pull readers into the story as they engage in the wonders of running. Experience the feel, the sights, the sounds, and the smells that Running Boy experiences on his run and you’ll find the answer to the question that everyone is asking.

By writing this picture book, I hope to instill the love for running in the hearts of children. For you runners with young kids, I hope you join me in sharing the wonders of running with our children. 

It's summer time so what better time to get excited about running & reading!

You may get a preview of the story at MeeGenius. The eBook can be viewed on: iPad,  iOSAndroidWindows 8Amazon , Nook, and the web.

If you are interested in more of my children's stories, feel free to visit my alter ego at www.romellebroas.com 


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

MY FIRST TRIATHLON

It's been quiet on my blog.  To bring you up-to-date, here is a run down of what I've been doing these past months:
  • I learned how to swim and have been fine tuning my strokes and improving my endurance
  • I bought my first road bike and have been cycling more
So you see, I've been suffering from an identity crisis.  Am I Running Girl, Cycling Girl, or Swimming Girl?

I am all THREE!

On September 22, 2012, I participated in my first triathlon.  I opted for a sprint tri- 400 yd. swim, 13 mi. bike, and 3 mi. run.  Here is how it went:

SWIM
Shadow Cliffs Regional Park
I felt confident going into the race.  I put in a lot of hours in the pool and I practiced swimming with a wet suit in open water...okay, just once.  It was the first time I've ever worn a wet suit. I was surprised by its buoyancy.  After practicing in it, I felt the swimming, which I feared, was going to be no problem.  The idea of the wet suit gave me a sense of confidence.  Well...

Nothing prepared me for the splashes, the swells, the crowd, and the vastness of my surroundings.  I freaked out, but didn't panic.  I tensed up, but managed to float.  But I could not get myself to perform a proper swim.  I'd catch myself gasping for air and losing my technique.  As a result, I developed a bad calf cramp- the kind that stiffens like a rock that you can't get rid of.  I ended up doing a back stroke with one leg.  Imagine the difficulty of swimming a straight line.  



The Life Boards I refused to get on even with a cramp
The swim was daunting.  I felt defeated.  But I refused to give up.  I backstroked the rest of the way.  After a while, It looked like I was the only one left in the water.  I was so relieved when I saw the end in sight.  I didn't experience the, "Yay! I did it!" kind of reaction.  It was more like, "Finally."  

The fact that I just learned how to swim 1-1/2 years ago wasn't enough to feel accomplished.  My competitive nature argued, "I could've done better.  I should've practiced harder." 



Lessons learned:
  • Practice in open water more than in the pool
  • Learn to breathe on my less dominant side (my left)
  • Learn the breast stroke too

CYCLING
There isn't much to say about the cycling event.  The roads were straight and mostly flat. The ride was fast and smooth.  I was relieved to be out of the water and on wheels.
That's me, #594!

In this leg, I passed quite a few cyclist.  I was determined to gain some time. Each cyclist I passed was a step up from being last.  

RUNNING
Of all the 3 legs, running is my strength.  But after having swam and cycled, I wasn't so sure.  

The run started with a hill.  I was not happy about that.  In fact, there were a couple of small inclines that felt like huge mountains.  By this time, I felt that I wasn't going to meet my expectations if an 8 minute mile.  So, I ran the best I could. Again, it felt good whenever I passed someone. 

In the end, it was bitter sweet.  I didn't experience the feeling I got the day I finished my first marathon or my first duathlon.  It was the swim that bothered me.  I had imagined a better performance.  But I am happy with my cycling and running.  It made up for my swimming.

My finish time:  1:15:01

I managed to pull ahead and finish in the middle of the pack (a tad better than average overall and in my age group).  

What I accomplished so far this year:

  • I learned how to swim and swam in open water for the first time
  • I picked up cycling
  • I completed my first triathlon
I TRI!  

~HAPPY RUNNING, BIKING, AND SWIMMING!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

HOW LOSING MY KEYS HELPED ME FIND MY MOJO


I know, it's a stretch.  What do keys have to do with mojo!  Hear me out.
It’s been an unbelievable month.  I lost 3 keys in 2 weeks and lost my running mojo too.
Image from www.Ilovesurf.com

I’ve never lost my keys before (pause) well, not that many in a short period of time.  I lost my padlock keys, post-office box keys, and office keys.  Incredibly, I found them all! 

It took me 3 steps to do it.
1) Think back
2) Retrace steps
3) Ask for help
...and a little bit of luck!

I had just returned from my vacation when I discovered I had lost my keys.   I traced my steps back to the location where I last remembered seeing my keys and asked around if anyone had turned them in.   Two weeks had past so my hopes weren't high.  To my surprise, my keys- all 3 of them, were waiting for me in a lost and found box at each site.

Unbelievable!  I know.   If I could find all 3 keys, I should be able to find my running mojo too.  It was worth a try.

I followed the same steps.

1) I thought back to when running was enjoyable for me.  It was a time when I was training for my first marathon.  It was exciting and fun.   And since it was my first, I had no pacing expectations.  

2) Next, I had to revisit it.   So, I signed up for another marathon and made a training schedule.  There was no backing out now.  I have a goal to work towards and a plan to stick to.   I did not set any pacing goal for myself.  I just ran.

3) I wouldn’t have been able to get my keys if it weren’t for the good people who were kind enough to turn in my keys.  Likewise, I needed to find a running group who I can count on for encouragement and support, and to whom I can be accountable to. 

Now I look forward to my runs.  Going back to where it all started  helped me find my mojo…thanks to my lost keys.

Have you lost and found your mojo?  I’d love to hear about it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review of the Mermaid Series Duathlon/Triathlon


There’s nothing fishy about the Mermaid Series’ Duathlon/Triathlon.  

On June 9, 2012, I participated in my first duathlon in Oakland and it was a great race. This event provided an easy-going atmosphere for newbie and seasoned athletes looking to impress their family and friends with their athleticism.  No frills here except for serious physical action.

Here’s my review of the Mermaid Series Duathon:

WEATHER
The sunshine and cool weather greeted athletes from all over the Bay area. It was a perfect day for a duathlon with its light breeze and 58 degree weather that gradually warmed up to about 70 degrees.

PARKING
Free parking!  I love it.  What’s even better is that parking was easy to find and plentiful.  I got to the event at 6AM and was able to park inside the Harbor Bay Ferry Terminal parking lot.  There are only 150 spaces and it’s on a first come, first serve basis.  If you get there between 6 and 6:30AM, you should have no problem finding a space in the lot.  Otherwise, you can easily park in the residential areas which are very close to the venue.

PACKET PICK-UP
There were several options for packet pick-up: Thursday at the Sunnyvale Sports Basement, Friday at the Hampton Inn in Oakland, or on the morning of race day. 

I chose to pick up my packet on race day and arrived at 6AM, which is the time the registration and transition area opens.  Picking up my packet was a breeze.  There were no lines.  In fact, I don’t think it ever got crowded.  So there was plenty of time to browse through my envelope and prepare for the race.

TRANSITION AREA
The transition area also opened at 6AM.  And even if I entered the transition area half an hour after opening, I was still able to get a good spot for my bike. The area was well marked, fenced off, and guarded by volunteers.  It was easy to get in and out of the area without getting in anyone’s way.

PORTA POTTY
There were about 10 in all plus a public restroom, which to me is a luxury.  The good thing is that washing stations, complete with soap and paper towels, accompanied the porta potties- another luxury item.  Although there seem to be few stalls, long lines was never an issue.

COURSE
Run:  The flat out-and-back route outlined the harbor with views of the San Francisco cityscape.  The course was a paved recreational trail closed off for the event.  Due to the wave starts, congestion was not an issue. 

Bike:  The bike route was a nice ride in and out of the Ferry Terminal with tree-lined roads and a few office buildings.  My biggest complaint is the road condition.  It was awful.  I spent my energy dodging cracks and finding less rocky areas to ride on for fear that I would get a flat tire.  In preparation for the race, I made sure my tires were fully inflated for speed, which turned out to be a nuisance.  I could feel every bump and crack in the road.  If I knew it was going to be this bad, I would’ve brought my mountain bike instead! 

SCHWAG
The interesting thing about the schwag was that there was no bag.  Instead, it’s called the “virtual bag” that you receive online.  Mermaid sends you an e-mail with a “virtual bag” link, which directs you to all sorts of store coupons.  I guess it’s a good thing, because I sometimes hate receiving coupons and event postcards in my goody bag.  It makes a lot of trash.  The virtual bag is more earth friendly.  But it would be nice to get a real bag…with some edible treats…but leave the coupons in the e-mail.


At packet pick-up I received a nice grey t-shirt tailor-made for women.  The fitted shirt had a nice soft feel to it.  It’s become one of my favorite race shirts.

POST RACE
Finishing line:
Since this event was small in numbers, there wasn’t too much fanfare at the finish.  But since it wasn’t crowded, I heard the announcer call my name as I crossed the finishing line.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard an announcer call out my name in all the races I’ve ran so that was special. 

At the finishing line, young volunteers handed silver pouches to finishers.  In the pouch was a necklace, which I thought was pretty cool.  I’d describe it as urban-chic.  It’s a 2-pendant necklace engraved with the words:  WORK IT.  LOVE IT.  TRI IT.  DU IT.  It’s contemporary, stylish, and sporty.  It definitely defines the duathlon/triathlete.

Food:
Muffins, bananas, grapes, strawberries, orange juice and get this…
chocolate chip pancakes lined the buffet table.  It was yummy!  Also in the post-race arena were my favorite vendors: Popchips, Zico, and Luna bars.

Massage:
There were also 3 masseuses there for your pleasure.  Again, since this was a small race, the wait list was not long at all.  You can sign in, eat, browse the vendors, and then get the massage you deserve.

Pictures:
I was grateful for the photo booth they offered at the event.  This was my first duathlon and I wanted to capture it, but due to circumstances my family wasn’t able to attend and I decided to leave my camera at home.  The photo booth was a fun way to capture your achievement with chalkboard-style flowers you can hold up with words of your choice (i.e. I did it!  Rock Star.  My first Tri!).  And they have it set up so that you can immediately notify your family or friends on Facebook, Twitter, or via e-mail.


THE GOOD MERMAID
The Mermaid Series Facebook page offered video tips that helped me tremendously.  It showed me what to expect at race day.  So when I got to the event site, I knew exactly what to do, where to go, and how to set up my gear at the transition area.  I highly recommend reviewing all the videos they offer to help make your first multisport event go as smoothly as possible.

THE BAD MERMAID
I have to mention that there were a few unhappy people at the end of the day. For some unknown reason, some participants didn't get their race recorded.  That made it impossible for the results to be finalized on race day.  Many of us waited 2 hours for the results only to be told to go home since they didn't have it ready. 

Even after a couple of days after the event, the results were not finalized.  They keep sending “preliminary” reports, which I think is a waste of time.  It only played with my emotions.  My name kept bouncing up and down between 2nd and 3rd place in my age division.  After a while, I stopped looking because I was afraid I was going to end up on the bottom of the list.  I wished they’d just e-mail the FINAL results. 

OVERALL
Regardless of the minor faults, I still recommend the Mermaid Series.  It’s a fun, fast, friendly event.  The race itself flowed smoothly.  And the number of participants was just right.  It’s a perfect race for the first-timer, casual racers, competitive racers, and anyone in-between.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

PERSPECTIVE


Photo courtesy of: http://tenlap.com/show-the-way/
A friend of mine invited me to stay overnight at her house on a recent trip to Seattle.  The next morning, we decided to go for a run.  She opened her window curtain to greet the morning.  

“Gorgeous day!” she said, bright-eyed and cheery.  

As I sipped my hot tea, I visualized a tantalizing run through the quaint neighborhood of Queen Anne, known for its stunning architectural homes, sweeping views, and charming shops.

After finishing my warm cup of Chai tea latte that warmed my soul, I stepped outside to get a whiff of the fresh scent of evergreen.  Instead, cold musty air dampened my spirits.  “It’s cloudy and drizzling!” 

If it’s one thing I learned in Seattle, it’s to embrace what you have and appreciate the beauty in the little things.  In Seattle, it often rains so any break in the weather pattern is always a welcomed delight, even if it is cloudy and drizzling. 

Here in Pacifica where I live, I used fog as an excuse not to run.  I’ll look out my window and if I see is a grey mist, I’d crawl back into bed.  “It’s too cold and windy.  I’ll get sick,” I’d complain.  If I use that excuse all the time, I’ll never get to run for a good part of the year. 

Now when I look out my window, I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and say to myself with a smile, “It’s a gorgeous day!”  Then I lace my shoes and go out for a run.  There is nothing like the feeling of joy and accomplishment after a nice long run…no matter what the weather is.

Happy Running!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A REVIEW OF THE DIVA HALF MARATHON


Feather boas, tiaras, sparkles, shirtless men, champagne, red roses...oh my!  

The Diva Half Marathon made its debut in San Francisco on May 6, 2012.  The event is all about celebrating the DIVA in you with all the glam, glitz, and glory.  It's a run that caters specifically to women. 

I have run many half marathons, but this is my first Diva run and I enjoyed it with all its pinkness and girl power.  It gives the Nike Women's Marathon/Half Marathon and the See Jane Run HalfMarathon a run for their money (pun intended). 

The Diva Half Marathon had all the craze that the Nike Women's event offered and the easy, breezy course of the See Jane Run event.  Here's my review of the Diva run:

PARKING: 
None.  I'd say that this is the biggest negative of this race.  However, they offered 2 hotels were you could park.  One of them is walking distance to the start, but you had to pay for parking.  It was $4 for the first hour and $2 for every additional hour.  The other site was further away, but they offered shuttle service.  At this hotel you pay a flat rate of $15.  I'd much prefer FREE.

COURSE:
The course is paved and flat. You're sure to PR in this event.  I set out to "run for fun" with no expectations and ended up with a PR.  The energy of the event, the perfect weather, and beautiful views carried me through.  Pink floras paved the way and welcomed runners on the warm, sunny morning.  And the out and back course offered views of the San Francisco Bay. 

We ran on the streets for half of the time, which led us briefly through a neighborhood and office buildings.  Heading back towards the finish, we were directed to a recreational trail that skirted the bay.  I thought the running path would be too crowded to run, but it flowed very well.  There were no bottle-neck situations on this run.


As far as entertainment is concerned, there wasn't much.  There were patches of cheering onlookers at the beginning and end of the course.  Along the route, there was only a couple of cheering squads.   The highlight was a Chinese dragon dancing to the beat of the drums.  Other than that, it was a quiet run.

WEATHER:
As I mentioned, I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day.  It was 58-60 degrees with clear, blue skies, and plenty of warmth and sunshine.  Since we started at 7:30AM, we missed the high temperatures that were expected that day.  I have run this course many times and gusty winds are always a deterrence.  But on race day, the winds retreated to just a breeze.

WATER STATIONS:
This is the first time that I ran a race without carrying any water in my hand or on my waist.  The event provided adequate water and lemon-lime Gatorade at about every 1-1/2 miles.  There were 9 water stops in all.

What the water stops lacked were garbage cans.  That makes more work for the clean-up crew later.

PORTA POTTY:
There were porta potties at the park, but very few along the course.  I can't even tell you were those were.  It seemed scarce.  I only noticed 1 or 2 areas along the way with 2 or 3 porta potties each.  Fortunately, I didn't need to use it. 

GEAR CHECK:
Gear check was placed in the park where the finish would be.  The start is only a short walk away.  Checking in bags was easy.  But the check-out could use a bit more organization.  There was no line when I went to pick up my gear, but I waited 15-20 minutes for my bag, because the guy couldn't find it.  Then that's when the line and crowd started forming. 

The bags were grouped by bib number, something like 1000-2000.  But within the group, the bags were not in any numerical order.  Imagine searching through a thousand bags to find one.  They could've easily arranged it during check-in and during the 2 hours they had to wait for the runners.

SCHWAG:
I got a pretty, pink-reusable bag with a very nice tech shirt tailor-made for women.  Not much in the bag except a few coupons and no samples.

POST RACE:
About 100 meters from the finishing line, runners received pink feather boas and a tiara to finish in style as paparazzi and shirtless firemen awaited at the end.  There you receive your medal and a beautiful red rose.

What is impressive is that the medals were very large and heavy.  It even had a sparkling gem that spins in the center of the medal.  Behind the gem, is a place for your photo.

The roses are also worth mentioning.  They were individually wrapped with cellophane and stored in water-filled vials.  I really was expecting a bunch of wilted roses left over from someone's prom night.  But no, the roses were beautiful, fresh, and healthy.

After you receive your medal and rose, you have the option of taking your picture with a backdrop of the Diva Half Marathon logo.

After picture-taking, you are led to a tent-covered buffet of champagne, apple cider, bagels, banana, and grapes. 

OVERALL:
The debut of the Diva Half Marathon in San Francisco (Burlingame) went very well.  I would definitely run this race again.  The course was easy and peaceful.  I loved the festivities that embraced girl power without having to deal with the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds. 


I give the Diva Half Marathon 4 out of 5 tiaras!





Sunday, April 1, 2012

Blog Award


Lady Gwen of Run Gwen, Run! Write Gwen, Write!  issued me the Sweetest Blog Award and the Roaring Lion Blog Award back in September 2011.  I’m embarrassed to say that it has taken me this long to accept my award. But as the saying goes, “better late than never.”  So here it is.  It is now my duty to pass on the torch and award other bloggers this award. 

Roaring Lion Blog Award

First, here is the history of the Roaring Lion Blog Award.  This award originated on September 1, 2011 by Gracie of I Am Writer...Hear Me Roar! 


Gracie is a 17-year-old Canadian who loves to read and write.  She describes herself a rebel of sorts and decided to create her own award to honor all those who are "awesome." 

The thing about this award is that there are no rules.   Her generous heart opened the award for others to give freely and acknowledge anyone who they feel should be recognized without limitations.  All Gracie ask is that you post the picture.  After all, she made it herself with Paint.  So the effort deserves some recognition, don't you think?

Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award



I'm sorry that I have no idea who started the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award.  But the cake looks sweet and irresistible.  So how can I resist not passing along the award.  This one has rules.  Here it is:
  1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
  2. Share 7 random facts about yourself.
  3. Pass the award on to some of your own deserving blog friends.
  4. Contact those friends and let them know. 

This is the first time sharing random facts about myself.  And I’m finding that this exercise is a lot of fun.  It allows me to reflect on my past and my nuisances. Thanks again, Lady Gwen, for the awards!

7 things about me:
  1. I took my first swim lesson (ever!) in 2010. 
  2. I’m a military (Navy) brat.  But I've never moved around much like most military families.  We pretty much stayed put in Hawaii….sad.  I know. 
  3. I used to be a hula dancer for tourist in Waikiki.
  4. I wrinkle my nose (like Samantha on Bewitched, played by Elizabeth Montomery...or Nicole Kidman for you younger generations) as a habit without even realizing it. If only I could do magic with my nose!
  5. I love cheese.  All types of cheese- hard cheese and soft cheese.  And even stinky cheese! But no artificial cheese please.
  6. I was in the movie Jade, starring David Caruso as an extra.  You can see the back of my head in one of the scenes.  In the 1996 TV Movie, “Lying Eyes,” you can see the front of my head.
  7. Some people will say I’m shy.  I’m not.  I’m just quiet.  There’s a difference.
Okay, enough about me.  Let's hear about you.  


And the Award goes to…
  • Praying Runner is a journal of one man's reflections, thoughts, prayers, and running.  Praying Runner has dedicated all of his runs in memory of his loving wife.  Read about his inspiring journey to run 50 marathons by age 50 as he spreads hope and the power of prayer. 
  • Next Stop: Our House  Where the food is good and the company is better. Formerly of Feeding My Competitive Soul, she shares with us anecdotes, her workouts, home projects, and healthy recipes.
  • One Mile More.  Here is an inspiring pictorial journal of a runner...a Marathon Maniac!  Mohan has been a team captain for Team In Training for 5 seasons and has ran numerous races- 31+ races in just 2011 alone.

Please stop by their blogs and find out more about them.

I N S P I R E

Reflections. Insights. Ruminations.  
Running-girl's quest to inspire...