30,000 New Friends: Guangzhou Marathon, 2016

I have had one month to recover from one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life, the Guangzhou Marathon, December 11th, 2016. As I ponder what race I’ll attempt next, allow me to take a moment to sum up what one of China’s biggest racing events is like. Riveting!

For any runner choosing to challenge themselves to a footrace over a course measuring 42 kilometers + 195 meters (26 miles plus 850 yards), you know that the 16 weeks leading up to the event are crucial in your ability to simply arrive at the starting line on race day. If you make it to the finish line, you have completed a feat that only 0.5% of the U.S. population has completed.

With the ups and downs of China’s pollution situation, I must confess, there were many missed workouts due in part to the extreme air conditions. I rely on an app called Air Matters for a daily report on the pollution. Notifications can be set to inform one at a given time of the air quality. If the notice reads, “Not Suitable for Outdoor Activity,” then I would abide by the suggestion…sometimes 🙂 and refrain that day.

Organizing and keeping track of a running log is highly recommended by running coaches and exercise professionals. As a once Personal Trainer, I enforced this upon my clients because I know how beneficial the record keeping process is. Furthermore, I use a wearable with Garmin Connect to track my runs. You can follow me on Garmin Connect as m0mijoaqjuli.

Speaking of wearables, I use the Garmin Forerunner 235. This running watch was recommended to me by my dear friend, Tara Gaines. You can read about her prego running in Runners World. She has been running for many years all over the world. She is an amazing mother, wife, teacher, runner, friend, and all that comes in between! I don’t know how I ever trained effectively in the past.

Back to the experience…

December 11th sneaked up on me faster than green grass through a goose. Race morning came and my husband and children accompanied me to the start line….along with nearly 90,000 other runners and spectators. There were people everywhere! You really won’t understand crowds until you attend a mass event in China. Shoulder to shoulder BO, spitting, and starting line jitters created an uneasy sense of anxiety in me as the thought crossed my mind of how I would find my family later if there were reason for a mass exodus of all of the people at one given time. The thought of trampling struck fear until the crowd had me pushed toward my starting area where all of the runners in my pace group were high-fiveing and encouraging one another about the event. Others were hurrying to the port-o-toilets as their nervous jitters had gotten the best of them and all they could think about was not leaving racing stripes in their undies before the real competition ever started.

It was race time and there were 30,000 new friends lined up at the starting line with me. We were all about to embark on an experience of a lifetime and collectively joyful about relishing in the moment together. The BO remained but the jitters faded as we all began to congratulate one another before the gun fire ever popped. You see, getting to the starting line was an experience in itself and they all labored hard to make it to this point as well.

The excitement increased as the choppers made a grand fly over enticing participants to scream, wave, and pour water on each other. Confetti flew and balloons were released as the ricochet of the gun fire reverberated off of the gigantic city skyline. It was go time. No turning back because about 15,000 other runners were behind me inching me toward the entrance of the starting line. Consequently, the only move one could make

gnz-mara-finishers-certificate

 

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Florals in Phuket

In December, we made our annual trip to Phuket, Thailand. Nevertheless, I just can’t help but share some of the beauty the Kingdom of Thailand has to offer. God’s bountiful floral creations can be explored and enjoyed all over the island. All of these photos were taken with my iPhone 7 Plus and I think it has provided some pretty stellar captures. Furthermore, no editing has been applied to any of the photos. The Birds of Paradise is my favorite!