Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

Chicago marathon training has commenced!

This is a week late, but Chicago marathon training has commenced! The Chicago marathon will be my second full marathon and I’m nervous as hell about training for it. Last year, I ran the NYC marathon and had an absolute blast. I wasn’t shooting for a particular time. I just wanted to finish, which I did. 🙂 This year, it’s time to shoot for the moon.

Since I’ve been getting faster the past six or seven months, I decided to try for an ambitious goal. I finished last year’s marathon in 4 hours 48 min and 49 seconds. This year, I’m hoping to shave down 49 minutes and run the Chicago marathon in under 4 hours. Holy crap, right? That means I would have to run a full 2 min/mile faster AND do it for 26.2 miles. O.M.G. I only started running sub 2 half marathons last December. I’m thinking about it now and this has got to be one of my craziest goals yet. I find myself giggling whenever I think or talk about it. It could be part nerves and part excitement. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s all nerves, but whatever. LOL. 

Marathon training has commenced and I’m going to try and put my best foot forward – literally. Last year, I tried to follow this Women’s Running plan. I ended up doing 3 out of the 4 runs a week and I think my peak mileage was 31 miles. This year, I’m following Hanson’s marathon, which emphasizes CUMULATIVE FATIGUE. I’m essentially running on tired legs for 17 weeks. LOL According to the plan, I’ll be hitting 57 miles during peak week. Yikes! The plan is actually 18 weeks and I started a week late, but that’s fine because I’m already starting off with a base mileage of 21 miles a week. 🙂 I’ll try my best to recap each week’s workouts, but since I’m also trying to graduate in August, I may miss a week or two. Hope you’ll forgive me. 🙂

Week 1 

Monday (Rest) – I actually did rest – unintentionally. I was coming back from vacation and didn’t get a chance to run. Luckily, it worked out for me since I wasn’t supposed to run anyway.

Tuesday (Easy 4 miles) – According to the Hanson plan, easy runs are supposed to be EASY. Since you’re running so much, you have to run a chunk of the miles at an easy pace. I’ve never really tried training this way so my first easy run kind of failed. My target pace was a 10:15 min/mile. I ran at an 8:17 min/mile. Oops. At least I hit 4 miles. 🙂

Wednesday (Rest) – Sooooo I did not run on Wednesday, but I did attend a free spin class and according to Hanson’s method, crosstraining is a big no no. LOL. But the class was free and I wanted to take advantage of it. Oh well. 🙂

Thursday (Easy 4 miles) – Ran 4 miles close to my target pace. Also, attended another spin class because, all the free classes end on Sunday. I had to make the most of it.

Friday (Easy 4 miles) – Ran 4 miles, but my pacing was all over the place. I ran for the first time in a sports bra and I was feeling very nervous about being judged so I ran faster to finish faster. Maybe I’ll get more comfortable just running in a sports bra one day. 🙂

Saturday (Easy 4 miles) – Nailed my pacing and mileage. Also, I took my last free spin class. 😦

Sunday (Easy 5 miles) – I had actually run a little more than 4 miles on the other days so I only had to run a little over 4 on Sunday to finish the week off with 21 miles. Hooray!

Sooooo can I actually do this? And the answer is that I honestly don’t know. I’m scared. This plan could completely blow up in my face, but I’m trying anyway. It’s better to shoot for the moon and land among the stars, right? 🙂

Have a great week everyone! 

 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

A Year of Running in Review – 2016

Merry Christmas Eve Eve Eve everyone! With the year coming to a close, I figured I’d recap my year of running and boy was it a fantastic year. 🙂
Best race experience: Oh man, that’s a tough one. Can we just call it a tie between the San Diego Holiday Half Marathon and the TCS NYC marathon? With the San Diego Holiday Half, I PRed by a full 8 and a half minutes and with the TCS NYC marathon, I RAN IT. It was my first marathon and with such an amazing crowd support, it was the most fun I ever had in a race.

Best run: Hmm, I would have to say running my 20 miler 2 weeks before my first full marathon. I was in a happy mood all morning and was able to keep a steady pace for the full 20 miles. It was at that moment that I realized I could actually finish a marathon because 6.2 more miles was nothing anymore.

Best new piece of running gear: I bought 3 pairs of running shoes. Two pair of Brooks Ghost 8 and a pair of New Balance Vazee 2090. LOL. I just couldn’t help myself. The Ghosts helped cushion my feet and the Vazee 2090’s helped a lot with speed work. I never thought I’d be able to run that fast. haha

Best running advice you’ve received this year: When you’re really tired, repeat a mantra over and over again to get you through. Mine was basically a pep talk to myself. “You got this. Push it!”

Most inspirational runner: I would have to say it’d be Kelly Roberts. I really like reading stories from runners that I can relate to. I discovered her blog recently and her posts have been extremely motivating. After reading her struggles, I think that if she can do it, so can I.

Favorite picture from a run or race this year: This picture definitely takes the cake. I finished my first ever marathon with a sub 5 time and a negative split. Of course, I’d kiss my hard earned medal.

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Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: TCS NYC marathon – I had such a blast and would run it again, no doubt.
If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be? Your limits are only defined by you.
Thanks Courtney for the Year of Running questions!
How was your year of running? Did you accomplish your goals? PR? What’s in store for 2017? 
Posted in Running, Thoughts

Chicago Marathon here I come!

Hello lovelies!

I just wanted to share with you all today that I received an entry into the Chicago Marathon! HOORAY! After entering the lottery last month, I’ve been counting down the days until the results were announced. And now that I’m in, I couldn’t be happier. chicagomarathon

When I first embarked on the marathon path, I only planned on running one marathon. I’d do it and then I’d be done – a one and doner. Little did I know that once I embarked on that journey, I wouldn’t actually be stopping at one marathon. I don’t know how many I’ll do in my lifetime, but I’m not stopping any time soon. Here’s to my entry into my second marathon!

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Cheers!

Did you get into the 2017 Chicago marathon? Have you ever run it? If you have, how was it? 

Posted in Running

Splits and Strava, and Shoes! Oh my!

About a month before my first full marathon, a friend of mine sent me this challenge – the Strava Back Half challenge. The challenge was to run a USATF-certified marathon between October 9th and December 4th of this year. Easy enough, right? *Insert eye roll* (kidding)

On top of that, you also have to do it with a negative split. Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Why on earth would I accept such a challenge? Well, because the reward is a brand new spanking pair of New Balance shoes. FREE SHOES. AND you can pick whichever one your feet desires. That’s a freaking sweet deal, right? Damn right, it is.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, running a negative split requires you to run the second half of the marathon faster than the first. There are some articles (here’s one) suggesting that you’ll improve your time by running a negative split. Your muscles are still cold at the beginning and slowly warming them up will help you later. You’re also saving your fuel for the second half. There are also articles that say the opposite. Negative splits are difficult to achieve and doing it for a marathon is like asking for a miracle to happen because the second half is where most runners hit the “infamous wall.” It happens when your body runs out of sugar (glycogen) (which it prefers) to burn and as a result of that, you slow down a LOT. Thanks STRAVA. Just give us an impossible challenge, will you?

 

Little do they know, I am always up for a challenge. Well…ALWAYS is a strong word. Let’s say, USUALLY. If it’ll give me a good story to tell people, I will usually convince myself to do it. Side note: I will also do a LOT to get a good picture. 🙂

Anyway, two weeks before my marathon, I did a few practice runs with negative splits and HOLY CRAP, IT WAS HARD. The longest negative split I ever did was a 10miler before my marathon and after that run, this was me –

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Nope. That negative split ain’t happening.

So I put it in the back of my mind and resumed normal training.

Flash forward to me at the start line of the NYC marathon thinking, “Okay. Why not? Let’s give it a shot. If I don’t get it, no big deal. At least, I tried.” I don’t know what it was, but something in me clicked. Mind over matter? I had on my apple watch and was constantly checking my pace. It also helped a LOT that my Nike Run app also announced it as I passed each mile. (For a more thorough re-cap of my thoughts during the marathon, click here.)

I started off painfully slow. I made sure to high five as many people as I could during the first half of the marathon. I took pictures of the scenery and texted friends who were tracking me during the race. It was my way of making sure I slowed the eff down. Then, as I made it into the second half of my marathon, I started slowly picking up my pace. It was tough, but because I started off painfully slow, it felt easier to run at my normal pace. I even managed to avoid hitting the wall. Towards the end of the race, I ran like all hell broke loose. The adrenaline was rushing through my veins and since I had saved so much energy from the first half, I was able to race like Flash to the finish line. Okay not really, but I did pass a lot of people towards the end. 🙂

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TADA! – My imperfect negative split for 26.2 miles

After checking my splits on the official NYC marathon site and STRAVA, I couldn’t believe it. I had run a marathon AND on top of that, I had miracously managed a negative split. Hooray! stravanegativesplit

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Introducing my newly hard earned FREE NB shoes – Vazee 2090

Have you ever tried running a negative split? How did it go? Was your time faster or slower than usual?

Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts, Training

I did it! – My NYC Marathon Race Report

Apologies for the delayed race report. It’s been a whirlwind of a week with all the craziness that’s been happening the last few days (NYC marathon, traveling, and elections).

Anyway, onto the topic of the day…

MY FIRST MARATHON! 

The entire experience was amazing and I honestly could not have asked for a better one. Here’s my report of my experience.

Health and Wellness Expo: I arrived in NYC Saturday morning, got my butt to the Health and Wellness Expo, and grabbed my bib. Since I got to the expo kind of late in the day, I didn’t have as much time to explore. The expo was super overwhelming , but my friend told me to embrace it all. So I did. I quickly went to see all the vendors, tried their samples, and even scored this fancy schmancy jacket at 50% off the original price.

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I’ve been finding any excuse to wear it ever since I got it. 🙂

I also bought some hand warmers while I was there because it was supposed to be hovering around 45 degrees F and I’m a California girl. Me + 45 degree weather = no bueno. So after buying some last minute items, I left the expo and made the trek back to my hotel on the upper west side. Once there, I laid out all of my running gear and made sure I had everything ready for the next morning.

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5 Hammer Gels, my racing bib, flip-belt, sparkly soul headband, clothes and Honey Stinger honey waffles all ready to go

I had a quick dinner at a Thai Market and then headed off to bed soon after. Thankfully, it was daylight savings time the next day so I got an extra hour of ZzzZzzzZs. Perfect for race day.

Morning of the race: Getting to the marathon start line was a marathon in itself. I left my hotel at 7 am and got on the metro to arrive at the Staten Island Ferry WhiteHall Terminal. I then ferried over to Staten Island where I waited to get onto a shuttle that then took me to the start corrals.

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The 1 took about 50 minutes to get to WhiteHall Terminal
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At WhiteHall Terminal waiting to get onto the ferry

I got to my corral just in time for my wave to be released at 11 am. Whoo! If that wasn’t good timing, I don’t know what was. In all honesty, getting to the marathon wasn’t too bad. Yes, it did take a few hours to get there, but I was surrounded by fellow runners and everyone was so friendly. 🙂 I met a few other solo runners and we just chit chatted about nerves, training, and our overall experience with running. Before I knew it, it was race time!

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This is Rebecca, a Brooklyn native that I chatted with while making my way to the starting corral.

Race time: I don’t know what it was (maybe it was the music, the weather, the other runners, or just the overall energy of the race), but I knew from the start line that it was going to be a great race. The DJ was blasting Taylor Swift’s “Welcome to New York,” at the start line and I just soaked it all in.

We first started off on the The Verrazano Narrows Bridge,  which is about a 2 mile long stretch. The bridge gives you an amazing view of the city and I’ll admit, I slowed down a bit on the bridge so I could just take in more of the scenery. (I also didn’t want to burn out too quickly since I had 26 miles to go).

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Heading up the hill on the bridge
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I wish my picture could have captured the beauty of the city.

After the bridge, we immediately entered Brooklyn, which was full of energy. (Thank goodness, too because 12 miles of this race was in Brooklyn).

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Fans are there waiting for you almost immediately after the bridge.

The fans lined the streets of Brooklyn to cheer us on with signs and high fives.

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It was refreshing to see something other than “You’re almost there.” 🙂
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One of many hills we ran up. Aren’t the trees pretty?

It was definitely an amazing feeling to have people root for me even though they didn’t know me. I high fived so many children, I lost count and I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so much during a race, let alone a 26.2 mile race.

After Brooklyn, we entered Williamsburg, which has a huge Hasidic Jewish community. Many of them were headed to work and so I saw a few of them dart across the streets in order to get there. I also got a few stares here and there since they’re not used to athletic wear. There were less spectators at this point, but I was still having a blast running around and looking at all the differences of each neighborhood.

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The Pulaski Bridge – Most runners walked up the bridges

Next bridge up was the Pulaski Bridge. This bridge took us into Queens. It also has a great view of the city.

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The sky was so blue that day. It was so hard to NOT smile.

Queensborough Bridge, which was the third bridge we crossed was probably the hardest bridge. It’s in between mile 15 and 16 and is all uphill. Many of the runners walked up this bridge and I saw a lot of people stop to stretch their calves. I even saw a guy being tended to by a medic. :-/

Luckily, I trained for hills and was prepared for this. I just leaned towards the ground and pumped my arms and within 10 minutes, I was off that bridge and in Manhattan, where more crowds of people were waiting.

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Running up 1st Ave with all the other runners

Running up 1st Ave was pretty tiring (miles 16 – 19), but the crowds pulled through for me. Their cheers got me through Manhattan, into the Bronx, and back into Manhattan again.

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The Willis Ave Bridge
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And the Madison Ave Bridge

Once I got to Central Park at mile 23, I knew I had it in the bag. My boyfriend was waiting for me at mile 25 and my brother was at mile 26. I knew I had to get to them. Plus, Central Park is amazing. As a Californian, I don’t get to see the leaves change color so Central Park was such an amazing place to run through.

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Hello Finish Line!

Crossing that finish line felt AMAZING.

20 weeks of training. 65 training runs. 2 pairs of running shoes. And 26.2 miles later, I had achieved my marathoner status.

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I did it guys. I’m a marathoner!
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Kissing my hard earned medal

And you know what? I’d do it again in a heartbeat. All the sweat, tears, and countless hours of training I put in made me a stronger person, both mentally and physically, and I’m happier because of that.

So, did you run the NYC marathon this past weekend? If so, how was it? 

 

Posted in Daily happenings, Running, Thoughts, Training

It’s Good Luck Box Time!

Disclaimer: The following post will consist of a lot of smiley emojis. I am just THAT happy. You have been warned.

Okay guys, the NYC marathon is in 4 days (FOUR DAYS, GUYS! I’m FREAKING out right now) and my nerves are a WRECK.

Luckily, I received a surprise Good Luck Box a few nights ago and it has significantly improved my mood. ^_^ For those who don’t know, a Good Luck Box is a box that is specific to runners (like how Lootcrate is specific to geeks and gamers, but it’s different in that it’s not a subscription box). Inside the box are items picked by fellow runners and can be given out as a gift before a race. The box is sent to the runner the week of their race in hopes that the items inside will give them luck for the race; hence, the name of the box. 🙂

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This little gem arrived on my front doorstep a few nights ago. 🙂

Inside the box, you will find a note (with a penny inside) from the person that sent it to you along with all the goodies the Good Luck Box team picked for you. They pick items from a variety of vendors and not every box has the same items.

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Inside, I got this note from my boyfriend who bought the box for me.

I arranged all the items in a way that showcases them all (or at least, I tried to).

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All the goodies I received

Depending on when you order the box, you may get items that are geared towards pre- or post-race. I got a little bit of both. Although, it might not seem much to the average person, these items mean the WORLD to runners. 😀 Chamomile tea to calm my nerves the night before a race. Good Luck Pasta in the shape of four leaf clovers for carbo loading pre-race. Honey Stinger chews and waffle for the actual race (I LOVE Honey Stinger), and a Tiger Tail foam roller for my aching muscles post-race. Seriously guys, I’m in love with this box. 🙂

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My favorites!

I tried picking out my favorites to show you, but everything was so thoughtful I ended picking out the majority of them. 🙂

So have any of you gotten a Good Luck Box? If so, what did you think? If not, maybe think about getting one for yourself or a friend. It’s a great mood booster. 🙂