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 Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Third time’s the charm – SD RnR race report 

Hey everyone! It’s been over a week and a half since I last ran the San Diego Rock N Roll half marathon and I’m happy to report that the overall experience was a success! I ran this course in under 2 hours, which was a dream of mine ever since the first time I ran it 3 years ago. 🙂 Without further adieu, my race report and some lessons I learned throughout the trip.

Health and Fitness Expo

Lesson #1: Take the trolley from a transit center to get to expo. It’s $2.50 one day and $5 for an all day pass. If you’re planning on going by trolley to get to the race, buy a 2 day pass for $9 and save yourself the hassle of downtown parking and high parking rates.

I easily got to the expo in Saturday afternoon by trolley, picked up my bib, changed my corral, and spent a few hours volunteering at the HoneyStinger booth. I’m one of their ambassadors and when they asked for volunteers to help man their booth, I jumped at the opportunity. For two hours, I cut up waffles and filled up bowls with whatever they were running low on (while also tasting their newest products). It really was a fun gig and I walked away with some free product as a thank you for volunteering. Whoo. Thanks HoneyStinger! I definitely have enough HoneyStinger fuel for my summer marathon training. 🙂

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My HoneyStinger score 🙂

 

While I was at the booth, a few people who I’ve interacted with online came to see me. I had told them I’d be volunteering and they actually dropped by. I was estatic and extremely appreciative they took their time to see me. I met the talented Briana from @MatMilesMedals (IG),

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Briana

crazy ultra runner Chelsea from TheDancingRunner, and fellow BibRave Pro Fallon from SlackerRunner.

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Chelsea and Fallon

After working my shift, I checked out a few other booths. While at the ProCompression booth, I saw other runners I followed on Instagram (Brian from PavementRunner – the organizer of the #WeRunSocial ornament exchange I took part in last year and CarleeMcDot – an incredible runner who I won a giveaway from last December). I definitely had a fangirl kind of moment.

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The WeRunSocial crew and I

I also made a stop by the SportHooks booth for an add-on medal rack, but was sad to find out they had run out. 😦 I’ll be sure to stop by at the Los Angeles Rock N Roll expo in October to get one then. I also met up with BibRavePro Emily from @AZSunGoddess (IG) and Fallon again later that day. 🙂 I had a wonderful time circling the expo. They have a lot of variety and entertainment and is still to this day one of my favorites.

 

 

 

Pre-race

Lesson #2 – This ties back to lesson #1. If you’re local, drive to Qualcomm stadium or one of the other trolley transit centers and take the trolley to downtown. From the stop, you have to walk about 10 minutes to the start line. Consider the walk a warm up. Taking the trolley will save you LOTS of stress, time, and money. Even if you’re not a local and you’re not in central downtown, do this option. It is by far the best way to get to the race. 

This year, the race had different start times depending on which corral you were in. I was in the first 10 corrals and was amongst one of the first few corrals released. I got there around 5:45 am, dropped off my stuff at gear check, made it into the #WeRunSocial picture, met Maria from @Running_notybaby (IG), and was off to race.

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Maria, Briana, Fallon, and I

Race time – 

Plan A – Beat my PR of 1:52:34

Plan B – Run a sub 2 hour half marathon

Plan C – Beat my course PR of 2:07:31

My plan for this race was to try and PR. I had done so well in the past few races I figured why not shoot for it. Unfortunately, I had pulled a hamstring the week before and was just going “wing it” during the race. Mile 1 went off just fine. I wasn’t as fast starting out, but I was in under the pace time. I saw some drag queens in Hillcrest that boosted my morale, but mile 2 to 6 was a struggle. Even the mile 4.5 bar that some neighbors set up wasn’t enough to pump up my energy levels. The humidity was high and by mile 5, I was already wishing it was over. It also didn’t help that I had been having lower back problems a few days before. By mile 6, I knew I wasn’t going to PR. I was still on track for Plan B and I also planned on trying out my new StimGear compression arm sleeves around mile 7 so I tried to remain positive. At mile 6.5, I activated the cooling packets from StimGear and within seconds, a rush of cold hit my wrists and began cooling me down. The packets were actually so cold that I tried pumping my arms faster so I’d warm back up. LOL. The effects wore out after 15 minutes and the rest of the race was kind of a blur. I was so focused on finishing in under the 2 hours that I didn’t enjoy the rest of the race. I did finish the half in 1:54:11, but I regret not slowing down even a bit to make the event more enjoyable.

Lessson #3: If race conditions aren’t favorable to PR, slow down and enjoy the experience. There’s course entertainment and lots of things to see along the route. Not every race is meant to be a PR. 

Post-race – 

After crossing that finish line, I grabbed my medal and all the food in sight. LOL. Unfortunately, the race AGAIN forgot to provide bags for us to carry all the food given out at the finish line. Don’t get me wrong. I am super grateful for all the goodies they gave us at the end, but a bag would have been nice to carry all the stuff in. I instead was dropping things left and right and had to sit down on the side of the curb and eat some things so I could carry the rest of it with fewer problems. LOL.

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At the finish line

 

I made my way to the festival, grabbed my gear bag, and sat down to eat the rest of the food I received. After a few minutes, I quickly got cold to the point where I started shaking.

Lesson #4: Bring a change of clothes or a jacket and put it in your gear check. 

Luckily, I had stashed a jacket with me in my bag and put it on. Had I brought a change of clothes, I think I would have recovered a bit better. I was soaked in my sweat and was shaking for a bit even after I put my jacket on. I planned on meeting up with more friends after the race, but because I was so cold and by myself, I decided to just head home. I have never appreciated a shower more. LOL.

Overall – The expo was amazing. I had a great time interacting with other runners and wish I had more money to go to more races and meet other people I’ve interacted with online. The race was a little lackluster, but I think that could have been due to the humid weather. Ew. The race entertainment could have been a bit more interesting, but I will say that the neighborhood support was wonderful. It was amazing to see people come out and support us with alcohol, water bottles, and other things. 🙂

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The center spins too

Woohoo. My 14th half marathon is done. Now onto my 15th next month. 🙂 Have you run a Rock N Roll race? Which one? How was your experience? 

 

Posted in Daily happenings, Running, Thoughts

And it’s June.

And just like that, the month of May is done and we’re onto June. You know what that means, don’t you? It’s time for my monthly recap!

Networking – For the past few months, I have been helping the San Diego chapter for the Association of Women in Science (AWIS) plan a STEM conference called WIST (Women in Science and Technology). I decided that being involved was better than not so I put myself out there and worked with other scientists in all different fields. Isn’t that what networking is about? Putting yourself out there and hoping you make an impression? I don’t know if I have made an impression on anyone yet, but I think I’m bettering myself just by going to these events.

All of the months of preparation culminated in a conference with inspirational keynote speakers, motivational workshops, and enthusiastic attendees. I walked out of that conference inspired and ready to jump into new experiences (even scary ones) head first. “If they could do it, why couldn’t I” was the mentality I had walking out of there.

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At WIST’s non-bench career panel
Graduate School – Thank goodness for attending the WIST conference. Ever since attending, I feel like I’ve been more productive. It also helped a lot to hear about other scientists’ struggles through graduate school and beyond. There are still moments where I worry about my future, but I tell myself to just put one foot in front of the other and before I know it, the scary part will be over. At least that’s how I’m approaching my committee meeting deadlines. So far it’s worked for me and I hope it will continue to work in the future. 🙂 *Fingers crossed*

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Preparing for my committee meeting
Traveling – It’s been awhile since I last traveled. This month, I went to Austin, Texas for a few days to visit the boyfriend. He actually lives outside of Austin so I got to experience a lot more countryside. It was a nice change of pace and I enjoyed walking around the area. I even saw fireflies by the Colorado River!

While in Austin, I went to Sixth Street and went into a few bars to escape the heat and listen to some music. There were some cool bands and I’m sad I wasn’t able to stay longer. The heat just drained me and I napped a lot while I was in Texas.

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Walking down Sixth Street
LOL. Maybe I’ll drop by again on my next visit. I also did another escape room called The Escape Game Austin and did not escape. Womp womp. Despite not escaping, it was the best escape room I’ve ever done. I would recommend this room to anyone in Austin. The puzzles were extremely clever and intricate. There was so much teamwork involved and I never felt left out of the group.

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Prison Break!
This visit was just to get my toes wet. I will actually be visiting again this month and I will be better prepared for the heat. Any suggestions as to what to do there? 

Running – I didn’t run any races this month, but I did hit my monthly mileage goal of 83 miles. I actually ended up running 90.7 miles! Woohoo. I think it was easier to hit this month because I started doing more group runs. Movin Shoes, a San Diego based running shoe store holds weekly runs and I’ve been able to make a few of their weekend ones. I even started my memorial day with a 10k run up and down a monstrous hill. I also attended a few other group runs with Run North County and Lululemon for their #morethanmilestour and have found them to be more exciting than running alone. Six + miles isn’t so bad when there are others running it with you. 🙂

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We got free lululemon apparel for participating in their tour too!
This is good news guys and gals. It means that I won’t be running alone during my long runs this summer! Hooray! I expect to run some long runs alone, but at least I’ll be mixing it in with group runs too. Yay!

That sums up my month. How was your May? Anything interesting happen that you’d like to share with me? 🙂

Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

Half #14 here I come

Yes, it’s that time again: the week leading up to a half marathon, the San Diego Rock N Roll Half marathon to be exact. I’m not going to lie; I’m pretty excited about it. I didn’t race at all this month and I’ve been missing the racing atmosphere terribly. Maybe that’s why I’ve been doing more social runs lately; so that I can be around people when I run. LOL. I’ll also be meeting some online bloggers for the first time so I’m pretty stoked about that too.

Anyway, today’s post is a bit of a ramble. I’ve been feeling more confident with running as the months go by. I’ve managed to maintain my average of 21 miles a week and this past weekend, I logged almost 24 miles! I also ran every day this week, not because I was obligated to, but because I genuinely wanted to. Every day this past week, I woke up wanting to run. I didn’t necessarily run in the morning, but the feeling was there. At night before I fell asleep, I thought about how many miles I could feasibly run the next day. It’s kind of crazy. I might be enthusiastic to run because I’ve been so stressed out about my pre-thesis committee meeting that I’m using running to keep my stress level in check.

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Running around
Or maybe it’s because I’ve run for 3 years now and running has now become a part of me. And you know what? I love it. I love talking to people about running (probably a little too much) and I love encouraging others to run. 🙂

Speaking of which, if you are visiting the health and fitness expo on Saturday, let me know! I’ll be volunteering at the HoneyStinger booth from 1 – 3 pm and we’re giving out free samples. 🙂 Come say hi! 

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My personal HoneyStinger collection – can you tell I love them? 

 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

The Running Community

Apologies for such sporadic posts. I’m in the midst of writing my manuscript and preparing for my pre-thesis defense committee meeting and my blogging has dropped in priority.  I did set out a resolution to write at least one post a week so here’s my post for the week. 🙂

I wanted to write a little bit about the running community. During the past few months, I’ve met these fantastic runners and I just wanted to share three things I’ve learned about runners.

Runners are extremely supportive. I don’t think I’ve ever met a more supportive bunch of people. Every runner I’ve met online or in person has always encouraged me to pursue my run goals. They get excited hearing about them and push me to keep going even when I’m feeling discouraged after a bad run. Also, if you didn’t know, most runners will stop and help out a fellow runner in need (See examples A and B).

Runners are social creatures. Ever do 10+ miles alone? It’s not fun. Runners, for the most part, thrive when running with other runners. There’s some type of camaraderie that’s formed during a run. I’ve done a few social long runs and I can definitely say that there is a difference in the run. I go to these runs alone and always find it refreshing when other runners strike up a conversation with me during the run. Even if we’re not speaking, the fact that they’re there with me running the same course makes it better somehow. Speaking of which, if you are in San Diego and need a long run buddy, let me know! I have to start training for the Chicago marathon soon and running in the summer for 13+ miles is going to be brutal alone. 


Runners are just amazing people. Maybe I’m just meeting the right people, but every runner I’ve met has been awesome. Maybe it’s the endorphins? Last weekend, I met a runner who asked me if I took a minute out of each day to appreciate the fact that I was living in San Diego. He was just so grateful to be living here and it definitely made me take a step back and appreciate how lucky I was. 🙂 That same weekend, I met another runner who was completely supportive of my goal to run a sub 4 marathon. Yikes! Did I just write that – a sub 4 marathon? Ack. Anyway, she started giving me tips and was super excited about the goal. I told her I was concerned about running long runs alone this summer and she immediately asked her friend if he could tell me about social run groups in San Diego. Because of that connection, I found out about a lot of SD run groups and am hoping to check each of them out. 🙂 

So there you have it – a few things I’ve learned about the running community. What have you learned? Care to share? 

Posted in Running

Five races down, Six+ races to go 

Happy Friday everyone! This will be a short post, I promise. The year is almost half over and I have run five races – two 5ks, a 10 miler, and two half marathons. That leaves me with at least six more races to go. I say “at least” because I haven’t completely banned myself from signing up for more races even though I really should.

I started off 2017 with six planned races. I kind of got carried away along the way (FOMO is real guys and gals) and signed up for more. LOL Oops? Sorry, not sorry. I’m having a blast racing about my city and later this year, I’ll be racing in 4 additional cities. 🙂 Hooray! Updated 2017 Race ScheduleAnyway, the running bug is back. Maybe I’m overwhelmed with work and this is how I cope – by literally running away from all my problems. LOL. I kid. I am thinking about about signing up for a trail half marathon though. I’ve never run a trail race before and I think it might be fun. Also, I really want to try a Ragnar Relay one year. Running day and night while also hanging out with your sweaty running buddies in a van? Count me in. LOL. I was invited to two different relays this year, but because of timing it just didn’t work out. Hopefully I’ll be able to do one soon. They look like so much fun. 

Have you done a trail race before? A Ragnar Relay? Did you enjoy it? Any advice for a potential first timer? Also, what other fun running activities are there out there? I’m all ears. 🙂 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Mini – Product Review

Disclaimer: I received a Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Minis to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

It’s been a month since I last reviewed a product, but I’m back with a review for the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Mini headphones and it’s a good one. 🙂 I’ve been testing these out for almost a month and a half and honestly, I don’t know how I ever went on runs without them. Let’s get down to it, shall we?

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What are type of headphones are they? The Aftershokz Trekz Titaniums are a set of wireless sports headphones that have an open ear design, meaning they do not stick directly into your ears. Instead, they rest on your cheekbones and sound is delivered to your inner ear through mini vibrations. TrekzTitaniumBoneConduction

 

What advantages do these headphones have over other ones? 

  1. Wireless – There are no tangled wires that can get caught on things as you run. Ever run by a branch and have your headphones catch on them and pull your earbuds out? That will never happen with these. Wireless headphones are also huge right now ever since the new iPhone 7 came out and did away with the headphone jack.img_8636
  2. Open ear design – The headphones sit over your cheekbones and are never directly put into your ear. This allows you to hear outside noises, which is especially important if you’re a runner. You’ll want to hear if others are running by you and if cars are nearby. These headphones allow you to be alert and safe while out on your run. If you really don’t want to hear outside noise, these headphones actually come with a pair of ear plugs that you can use. It may sound counterintuitive, but all you have to do is put in your ear plugs, put on your headphones, and ta-da, you’ll only hear your music, podcast, show, etc. I did this while on a 3 hour flight and it was a total game changer for me. I went from not being able to hear my podcast because of all the outside noise to hearing my show crystal clear. I will always try to fly with a pair of ear plugs and these headphones from now on.img_9213
  3. Multipoint pairing – This is kind of a nifty function and I don’t actually use it all too much, but it is cool to note. You can pair the headphones to two different devices. The most common combination would probably be your iPad or computer and your phone. If you were watching Netflix on your iPad or computer and then got a call, your headphones will automatically switch to your phone. Once you’re done with the call, the headphones will automatically switch back.

Are there other noteworthy features? Yes, of course. 🙂 My favorite feature is that I can use these headphones to talk to people on the phone. Some headphones have mics that are inconveniently placed and I will have to move the mic closer to my mouth to talk. The mic is well positioned on these headphones and the person on the other line hears me perfectly fine.

Controls are very easy to use. If your music is playing, double click on the multifunction button to skip a song. Click once to pause or play a song. You can adjust the volume with mere clicks. If you don’t have music playing and someone is calling you, click once to answer and click again to end the call. Easy, right?

Despite the open ear design, the sound quality is surprisingly still very good. I’m not an audiophile or anything, but I’d give these an A. 🙂

The headphones are lightweight. They don’t bounce when you run and fit very well around your ears. Also, if you need to take them off, you can just have them hang around your neck without any fear of them falling off.

The battery life on these lasts anywhere from 5 – 6 hours. 🙂

Are there things you didn’t like about them? As I said before, these are my opinions and yes, I did find a few things I didn’t like about them, but I think they’re very minor issues.

If I wore them long enough, my neck would feel a little sore, but I think this might actually be due to “text neck” if anything. Also, if was very windy outside, I wouldn’t be able to hear my music very well.

If you’d like to learn more about these headphones, please feel free to ask me or check out other BRP reviews below. They have two sizes – the regular or the mini. I have a small head and tried out their mini and it fit perfectly for me.

Amy – Jenna – Jessica – Frank

You can order your own through bibrave.aftershokz.com and get a free Stainless steel water bottle with your order. 🙂 Also, join us on Twitter @BibRave for #BibChat on Tuesday, May 30th at 6 pm PST for a chance to win a pair of Aftershokz Titanium Minis. 

Have you tried these headphones? How do you like them?