Running with bunch of Turkeys

No, this isn’t a blog about the annual Turkey Trot.  Nor will you find any silly jokes about running among overweight couch potatoes.  I have been there and I was one of them.  This blog is about my wild turkey encounter this past weekend.

For the past 4 months now, I have been running at Rancho San Antonio on the weekends.  Along the popular running trails, there have been frequent wild life encounters.  I spot quails, rabbits, deers and wild turkeys regularly.  Although  I generally run right past them, this past weekend I was so intrigued by a large school of adolescent wild turkeys that I stopped to observe.  I took some pictures and videos which I’m sharing via this blog.

It was 6:50am on Saturday.  Although the parking lot was full already, there were relatively few people in sight.  It was a cloudy day.  As I exit the parking lot and ran toward the hills, I encountered a large school of adolescent wild turkeys.  They must have been hatchlings from early Spring.  They were feeding on the grass near a popular walking path / running trail.  I approached them with caution, trying not to disturb them.  With the adult wild turkeys, they will generally move away from the human presence.  These turkeys didn’t really care I was there.  I was able to observe their natural behavior up close and personal.

Rancho San Antonio Wild Turkeys Part I

These wild turkeys are such beautiful animals.  It was such a pleasure to start off my run with the opportunity to hang out with them.  It sure gives a whole new meaning to “running with bunch of turkeys”.

Rancho San Antonio Wild Turkeys Part II

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My Sun Blog Page

I just noticed my old blog home page on blogs.sun.com is still accessible.  Although it’s still displaying the Sun Cloud template, I suspect it will get Oracle-tized soon.  Here’s a screen snapshot to preserve my old blog in its final resting state, in case the site gets decommissioned like the rest of sun.com.

Training for the S.F. Half Marathon

After hearing about the San Francisco Marathon last December from a friend, I decided to signed up for it (1st Half Marathon).  As someone who didn’t run regularly, I was uncertain whether I could even run 13 miles, let alone finish under the 3 hour course limit.  But, I was undeterred.  I figure I should give it a try, before I get too old (add to my bucket list).  Besides, how often do you get the opportunity to run (or walk) on the road bed of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Although I recognized the need to start training as early as possible, I procrastinated.  I did very little running between December and March.  In fact, my workout regime consisted of  just a weekly flag football game with the guys at work.  I was also doing little to shed the holiday weight gains, eating out 4 to 5 times a week.  Around mid April, I finally started running on the treadmills at the gym, twice a week.  But, I would either get bored or exhausted after about 25 minutes of running.

I needed a plan as I quickly realized in May that there wasn’t much time left to get in running shape.  I still didn’t know if I was capable of running a half marathon.  For some (stupid?) reason, I decided to also sign up for the Los Gatos Jungle Run, a half marathon just 2 weeks prior to the S.F. Half Marathon.  It was meant to be a warm-up run so I can gauge my readiness.  I never intended to finish the race or run the entire course, so I thought.

I probably should have consulted the experts, but I devised my own training plan based on the amount of training time left.  My plan was simple.  I needed to increase my running distance by at least 1 mile per week while maintaining or improving on my pace.  My baseline for the plan was a 5 mile run at Rancho San Antonio on May 31 (pace:  13:00 / mile).  It was definitely an aggressive plan.

In the month of June, I crammed in as much running as possible, without risking injuries or burn-out.  I ran on the average 2 to 3 times a week for a total of about 12 to 15 miles.  On week nights, I ran 4 miles around the neighborhood to stay in shape.  On the weekends, I headed over to Rancho San Antonio to run on the dirt trails.  I enjoyed it much more than running on the treadmill or the neighborhood roadways.  Gradually, I incorporated some elevation to test my mental and physical endurance while I continuing to expand on my range.

The tables below shows my running log for the month of June and July.  Surprisingly,  I was able to stick to my plan and got my self in running form by the end of June.  I did adjust my eating a bit by eating healthier and not eating out as much.  I lost 5 lbs from my training which feels good and definitely helped improve my running time.

Last month, I successfully completed my very first and second half marathon (13.1 miles) runs.  Previously, my longest run was a 10k (6.2 miles) which I ran under 1 hour and 10 minutes (pace:  11 :24 / mile) in the 2009 Silicon Valley Turkey Trot.  I originally signed up for the Los Gatos Jungle Run as a precursor to the SF Half Marathon  run so I can gauge my readiness.  I never intended to finish the race, but I ended up running the entire course under 2.5 hours (pace:  11:28 / mile).  It provided me with the confidence that I needed to not only run in the SF Half Marathon, but to try to improve upon my personal time.

Despite the hilly course and the crowd on the Golden Gate Bridge, I completed the SF Half Marathon in 2 hours and 16 minutes (pace: 10:24 / mile).  It was my personal best time and it totally erased my fear from last December when I signed up for the race that I may not finish under the 3 hour course limit.  Boy, it felt great reaching the finish line in full stride, to be cheered on by a large crowd and my family.  My parents, sister, nephew, wife and daughter were there to congratulate me after wards.

I originally signed up for the S.F. Half Marathon, so I can check it off the list of things to see or accomplish.  Along the way, I have developed a passion for running.  Already, I have signed up to run in another half marathon in October.  No doubt, I’m definitely planning to run in the San Francisco Marathon next year.  I think the only question is whether I should run the 2nd half of the course or train for the entire 26 miles.