Posted by: Tam | June 15, 2010

Could This Be True?

            As soon as I got home from the 5-day trip to Gonzaga Bay, the first website I visited was none other than Molly’s I’m A Sleep Baker.  When I saw that I was one of the winners, I was happy beyond words.  It’s silly to be so emotional about a pair of socks.  However, these are not your regular stinky socks, they’re “magical” Drymax socks! So, now I have two pairs of running socks.  Life is good. 

            Anyhoo, when I have more time, I will post up pictures about my trip and also update you about my running. 

            I am looking forward to going back to the “boring” routine, so I can eat healthy and run regularly.  Towards the end of this week, I will be doing my four-mile run.

Posted by: Tam | June 6, 2010

Welcome To The Blogsphere

           In the beginning, I only cared about one other blog, Greg Kopp’s A Fat Man’s Marathon.  As time passed and I found more interesting blogs, I began to read those too.  Today, I have moved to the next level of blogging-ness.  I am now a follower of Molly of I’m a Sleeper Baker.  She is currently doing a DryMax Sock Giveaway.  I can say no to Starbucks, girly things, trendy headbands, but Drymax socks? I cannot.  At 10 dollars a pair, these socks worth every penny.  I love them.

Posted by: Tam | June 6, 2010

Wild For Idyllwild

“Keep going straight until you smell Bengay.” (answer given to us by one of the helpers when asked “Where’s the registration area?”)

            I love Idyllwild!

            Over the weekend, Tamara, Laura, and I went to Idyllwild for our 5K Run/Walk.  It was my first official “race” with a bib (I’m putting race in quotation marks because I was not really racing against anyone).  It was a relaxing jog/walk.  We had small conversations about random things.  We got to enjoy the pine trees and the flowers as we were walking through Idyllwild Park.  We oohed and aahed over the cabins and the houses we saw.  During the race, I felt an itch to run and decided to leave Laura and Tamara to run.  I discovered that the altitude does affect my breathing.  It was hard to take deep breaths.  I ran for a little bit and then I waited for the girls, and we finished the walk together.

            After the race, we spent some time at Lake Fulmor, enjoying the tranquil scenery around us.  We then headed up to Banning, thinking there must be something exciting to see there.  We were wrong.  The town looked dead.  We continued to Palm Springs, the city of glitz and glamour.  As soon as we stepped out of the car, we were enveloped in the unbearable heat .  Beads of sweats rolled down our faces.  All we could think about were ice cream and water.  Although it was hot, but being girls, we did do some window-shopping.  After Palm Springs, we drove home with the resolution that we should do more races and more trips like this one.

From left to right: Laura, Tam, Tamara

Laura and Tamara at Lake Fulmor


Posted by: Tam | June 3, 2010

Running As Therapy

            Have you ever ran and cried at the same time? I have.  I did it yesterday. 

             Since Saturday, I have been on a roller coaster of emotions: happiness, excitement, anger, disappointment, frustration, and mostly sadness.  Every few hours, I had an urge to cry.  I felt like I was doing a balancing act and any minor disturbance could be the one to push me over the edge.  I tried self-talking myself into feeling better, but it didn’t work.  Nothing worked.  I kept wondering when it will go away, this dark cloud?

            By Wednesday, I was ready to run.  Running was my only hope to bringing myself out of the emotional dark place.  One mile into my run, tears started rolling down my cheeks.  I cried for a whole mile.  As I got to the third mile, I began to feel better.  My thoughts were no longer bouncing everywhere inside my head.  While my feet were moving, the morbid and negative thoughts slowly dissipated, and all that remained was clarity.  I felt calm. 

            It is very likely that I will run and cry at the same time again.  And if you happen to see me do that, don’t stop me and ask if I’m okay.  Just let me run.

            I found an article in the Washington Post about how running helped one woman cope with her depression.  Check it out if you have the time.

Posted by: Tam | May 30, 2010

The Hungry Caterpillar

            It’s Memorial Day Weekend and I am back in Orange County to visit my dear parents, which means it’s non-stop eating for me.  There’s always food at my parents’ house.  Not packaged foods, but REAL cooked food.  Even if you stop by my parents’ house at 2 o’clock in the morning, you would certainly find a delicious Vietnamese dish waiting for you as soon as you sit down at the dinner table.  In fact, the first thing my mom asks anyone who comes through the door is “Are you hungry?” Yup, it all started with that simple greeting and the eating marathon has not stopped.   I have been devouring food like a hungry caterpillar.  I wolfed down a bowl of bò kho (beef stew) with half a loaf of baguette.  Then I took a nap.  I woke up to the lovely smell of bánh xèo (sizzling crepes) and to make my mother happy, I ate ten of them (which is a record for me).  Two hours later, I had a bowl of bánh canh (noodle soup with seafood).  In between, I had blue berries, papaya slices, bananas, and carrots for snacks.  And I washed it all down with an avocado smoothie! The shocking part is, it’s only 8:05 PM.  I still have two more hours to eat.  Believe it or not, my mom is already asking if I’m hungry.

Check out some yummy Vietnamese dishes:

bánh canh (seafood noodle soup)

bánh xèo (sizzling crepes)

Posted by: Tam | May 29, 2010

Strength Exercises: No Miracle Yet

            Almost one week has passed since I started the strengthening exercises.  My arms are still scrawny and I cannot do one proper push-up even if my life depended on it.  I am not expecting any miracles to happen.  However, at the rate I am going, I worry that even after six weeks, I still won’t be able to do any real push-ups.  Although I might not have the upper body strength, my lower body strength is not too shabby, thanks to the running.  I was able to do 25 squats.  Yay me!

Posted by: Tam | May 29, 2010

Cold War On the Treadmill


* make sure shoelaces are securely tied before starting to run

             Buenos dias my faithful followers, which probably consist of three people.  In a span of four days, I have grown to like the treadmill.  Case in point, this whole week I have been using it to run instead of running outside.  Lately I have been swamped with work and given the choices between work or run, I always pick work, which means I cannot start my run until 9:30 ish.  I do not feel safe running outside when it is dark.  I fear of things jumping out of bushes and strangers behind my back.  Super paranoia.  So, that’s where the treadmill comes in handy. 

            Do you remember how in the last post, I mentioned about the gym at Armando’s place where “no one uses”? Well, it turned out I was wrong.  People do use it, namely, this one chick who likes to wear super tight gym clothes and has a pair of bouncy boobs the size of cantaloupes.  While I was stretching and getting ready for my run, she came in and got on the treadmill.  My heart did a little jump inside my rib cage.  I felt tensed.  I felt competitive.  I was eyeing her, trying to gauge her level of fitness.  After I finished stretching, as I got on the treadmill next to her, I secretly hoped that she would be one of those who run for five minutes and then give up.  Yes, I am evil.  Well, 15 minutes went by and la chica was still running.  I did not want to be the first one to stop.  I picked a spot on the ceiling and tried to focus on it, but to no avail.  I could not zone her out.  Her breathing and the sound that her shoes made aggravated me.  20 minutes went by and she was still going strong.  I could not let her beat me.  I stared at her in the mirror with my evil look.  At one point, I caught her trying to sneak a peak at my monitor.  At minute 22 she slowed down and started walking.  Aha! She has given up, I thought.  Two minutes later, she went back to running.  A cold war was taking place on the treadmill and neither one of us was willing to back down.   Well, at exactly 25 minutes and 30 seconds, my silent opponent stepped down from the treadmill and walked away.  I discovered that a little competition was good for my running.  I ran 2.5 miles at a 10:30 pace and did not feel very tired, because the whole time my mind was occupied with trying to beat this girl. 

Recap of Week 5:

Monday (5/24): Tried to jog home from work.  Jogged for 45 minutes.  Armando came to my rescue and picked me up.

Wednesday (5/26): Ran on the treadmill for 2.5 miles at a 10:30 pace.

Friday (5/28): Ran on the treadmill for 35 minutes at a 11:45 pace.  I made it to 2.97 miles.

Posted by: Tam | May 23, 2010

Idyllwild Race and Push-ups

            It’s official! My friend Tamara and I will be participating in the Idyllwild 5K & 10K Run and Fitness Walk on June 5th.  We are planning to walk the 5K distance, however, if I feel ready by then, I might run it.  Besides the race, we have plans to do a little bit of hiking at San Jacinto State Park, eating, sightseeing, and window-shopping.  A lot of eating.  We might even stop by Palm Springs to shop.  Oooooh, my body is tinkling with excitement just thinking of the adventure we will have!

            So there, my little spiel about Idyllwild, now let’s move on to the real talk of the day, push-ups.  I am starting my strength training today.  For now, I am focusing on two exercises, push-ups and squats.  As you all know, I cannot do the conventional push-ups yet, so I am starting my training with wall push-ups.  I am using the training schedule provided by as a guide. 

          Today’s schedule:

  • push-ups: five sets of 2-3 reps, 60 seconds of rest in between
  • squats: five sets of five reps, 60 seconds of rest in between
Posted by: Tam | May 22, 2010

The Caffeine Debate

coffee beans

            Is caffeine good or bad for runners?

             The answer depends on your source of information.  According to the article “The Benefits of Caffeine” at Runner’s World, caffeine helps muscles recover more quickly, keeps bones healthy, and increases sprint speed.  However, has an article that suggests caffeine is bad for you because it increases the acidic levels in your cells and tissues.  High levels of acidity lead to slow recovery rate, muscle soreness, difficulty staying focused, and a weak immune system.  Besides Runner’s World and EverymanTri, you can also find information about caffeine and its effects from an article posted on the Vanderbilt University’s website called “Caffeine and Sports Performance” by Jack Hartley.  This article is more balanced in that it provides both sides of the argument.  The author’s conclusion is that caffeine “has been proven to increase physical endurance but has many side effects and precautions.”  In other words, caffeine can be both good and bad.  So consume it in moderation. 

            While we are on the topic of caffeine and coffee, here are some caffeine-related factoids:

  • the average coffee drinker consumes 3.1 cups per day
  • the United States is the world’s largest consumer of coffee (it appears we do suffer from an energy crisis)
  • the International Olympic Committee (IOC) bans the use of caffeine in their competitions
Posted by: Tam | May 22, 2010

No Longer A Treadmill Virgin

            I have never seriously ran on a treadmill before.  With so many buttons to push, treadmills intimidate me.  I always had this nightmare vision in my head, where I go to the gym, I get on a treadmill, I push the wrong buttons, it starts going too fast for me to catch up, I fall flat on my face, and everyone around me starts laughing at me, including the cute guy in the corner.  I guess deep down inside, not only do I have a fear of treadmills, but anything that is related to the gym.  The gym is where all the physically fit and strong people are, and I am not one of them. 

            So I try to avoid the gym as much as I can by choosing to run outside.  However, this weekend I am staying over at Armando’s place, where there is a small gym that no one uses.  How perfect! I can learn how to use a treadmill, and finally overcome my fear of it for good.  After 30 minutes of running at a 12 minutes per mile pace, I discovered that there are pros and cons to using the treadmill to run versus running outside.  Let’s go over them, shall we?


  1. Easy to control your pace
  2. Don’t have to worry about getting run over by irresponsible drivers
  3. Know exactly the distance you’ve ran and the calories you’ve burned
  4. You can watch yourself run (if there’s a mirror in front)


  1. Boring (no change of sceneries)
  2. The time is in front of you, so you tend to keep looking at it, counting the seconds dragging by
  3. You have to look at yourself while you run

            Would I use the treadmill again? Only when I cannot run outside.  Do I feel confident enough to use it at a regular gym? Still no.  For now, I am willing to put up with the irresponsible drivers, just so I can listen to the birds sing, observe other people, and breathe in the outside air.

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