Posted in Running, Thoughts

Monday Motivation – Bucket List Race Challenges

A week and a half ago, I went back in time 10+ years ago and reflected on how far I’ve gotten since then. In that same post, I briefly mentioned that I had a plan for the future. Since it’s motivational monday, I thought today would be an appropriate time to tell you about them.

Awhile back, I wrote about my Half Marathon Bucket List. It was a list of 8 races that I had either already done or wanted to do sometime in my life. Well, I will have completed 5 of them by the end of this year so why not add a few more to the list? I’m only in my late 20s. I have a lot more races to run. 🙂 Without further ado, a few more additions to that list:

The Abbott World Marathon Majors (WMM)- I read about this on a fellow blogger’s page and even though I hadn’t even run my first WMM race (NYC marathon), I knew I wanted to complete this challenge. The WMM consists of six races – New York City, Chicago, Boston, London, Berlin, and Tokyo. All of the races except for Boston have lottery entries, which make them fairly difficult to get in and even if you did get into all of them, running the Boston marathon requires a speedy qualifying time. At my current age, I would need to run a marathon time of 3 hrs 35 min. That’s a 8:12 min/mile pace. Holy crap. If you remember, I ran the NYC marathon in 4 hrs 48 min. That means I would have to shave off over an hour of my time to qualify. That’s insane! Luckily, there are other ways of entering these races (i.e. charities, tour companies, etc) and Charlotte over at The Runner Beans does a very good job at highlighting them.

So why do I want to finish this particular series? Well, I do like to shoot for the stars when it comes to goals and also, the medal is amazing.

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The Six Star Finisher Medal

If you manage to run all 6 races, you get the lovely six star finisher medal. There doesn’t appear to be a time limit so my hope is to enter a few lotteries each year and hope I get into at least one a year. New York City has already been crossed off and I’m running Chicago this year. Woohoo. That means I’ll have 4 more to go. I’ll be entering the lottery for the 2018 Berlin race this year and hopefully, I’ll be able to get in. *Fingers crossed.* Boston will definitely be last on my list. I’m going to try time qualifying and I’m sure the training will take years. Who knows? If I stay at my current pace, I can qualify at age 69. LOL. I’m hoping it won’t take that long, but you never know.

The Dopey challenge – This challenge is aptly named. You run a 5k on Thursday, a 10k on Friday, a half marathon on Saturday, and a full marathon on Sunday. That’s 48.6 miles in four days. On average, I log about 20-25 miles in seven days. LOL. Okay, I admit I may have gone off the deep end with wanting to do this challenge, but hear me out. Last month, DisneyWorld had their marathon weekend. The running community on Twitter blew up my feed with pictures of people having a blast at DisneyWorld and I’ve always loved Disney related things. LOL. So the idea of running the Dopey Challenge kind of just got seeded into my brain. I obviously wouldn’t be running for time. That’d be crazy. I’d take photos with all the characters and get my fill of Disney. The marathon distance even allows runners to ride the Mt. Everest rollercoaster midway through the marathon. LOL. How cool is that?

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Credit to 40 bibs for this fabulous photo of her medals.

For finishing the Dopey challenge, you get six medals – one medal for each race, a medal for the Goofy challenge, and a medal for the Dopey challenge.Registration for these races open up next week and it’ll be their 25th anniversary (5th anniversary for the Dopey Challenge). I’ll probably be signing up unless someone talks some sense into me. 😛

So there you have it, my new additions to the bucket list. I can’t wait to run them all!

What races are you looking forward to? Have you completed one of these races? How did it go?

 

 

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

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, Training

40 Thoughts I had during the NYC Marathon

Last week, I ran 26.2 miles for the first time in my life. It was the furthest I ever ran. It was also the longest. For 4 hours 48 minutes and 49 seconds, I placed one foot in front of the other and during that time, you can bet that I had some crazy and not so crazy thoughts. Here they are from start to finish.thoughtslist

I might have missed a few thoughts along the way, but overall, my thoughts were positive. It kept my spirits up and I felt invincible when I crossed the finish line. Obviously, the pain set in after the adrenaline was gone, but it was worth it.

What kind of thoughts do you have while running? 

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. 🙂