20 mile week = COMPLETE!!

One of my summer running goals was to build up to a 20 mile week, and I can proudly say that I did it¬†ūüôā Now I just have to keep it up for the rest of the summer… I have also accomplished my sub-7 minute mile goal, so the next one to tackle will be the 25 minute 5k! Including last week and the week before, I have run a total of 46 miles in three weeks, which is pretty much more than I have ever run in 3 weeks. Ever.

A summary of my week:
Sunday: 3.28 miles at 8:31 pace, but I think that’s wrong because I used Nike+ instead of my Garmin. I did run in my Brooks Pure Flow 2’s so maybe that’s why I was a bit faster than usual
Monday: 3.01 miles at 8:53 pace
Tuesday: 3 miles. Speed day! 800m warm up, 2 x 800 (3:20, 3:28) with 2 minute rest in between, 2 x 400 (1:38, 1:40) with 2 minute rest in between, 1 x 800 (3:40 — had to be careful because of unaccompanied children fooling around on the narrow indoor track), 800m cool down.
Wednesday: 2.8 mile recovery run at 9:36 pace. Meant to go around 10-10:30, but the last mile+ of my run was a huge downhill
Thursday: rest
Friday: 3.1 miles easy at 9:35 pace for the last 2.1 miles. I ran the same route I usually run, and at mile 1, I noticed that my Garmin was stuck at 0.45 so I restarted it. First mile was around 9:40ish
Saturday: 5 miles easy-ish at 9:16 pace for the last 4 miles. At mile 1, my Garmin was stuck at 0.49 so I restarted it. First mile was around 9:20ish. Ughh I really regret buying a Garmin because 1) it takes foreeever to get the satellite 2) it keeps on getting stuck! Oh well.

Thanks, Garmin. Very helpful :p
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The rest of my run:
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I did my “long run” of 5 miles today by listening to the opera Cavelleria Rusticana. It was a good way for me to keep the easy pace because I tried to imitate the singers’ breathing as I was running. It worked¬†out pretty well I think because my breathing was super easy, and I was pretending to sing along while breathing, if that makes any sense.

Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 4.24.35 PMHere’s a summary of the opera, using names Gossip Girl style to connect with a more 21st century audience:
T (tenor) and L (mezzo soprano) used to be together, but now L is with A (baritone), so T is now with S (soprano). Little does A know, T and L decided to rekindle their past flame. S finds out. Some complicated stuff happens, church people and wine are involved, and S in her operatic jealousy decides to tell A about T and L. A and T then duel it out Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton style. T dies. S faints. The end.

Sorry. I totally did not do the opera justice, but that just means you should go see it yourself!! So much more entertaining than Keeping up with the Kardashians.

What do you like to do on your long runs? 

Long Weekend Musings, Part II: Beethoven Edition

I put this photo on my Instagram earlier, but then I discovered the Nike+ picture function, so I made this:Image

I’m pretty sure the numbers are way off, but look at¬†the Trader Joe’s vegan strawberry ice cream! Yummm. It’s in the mug that my friend got me for my birthday last year. I was able to recognize the piece as soon as I got the mug¬†hahah. It’s Beethoven’s Op. 2 No. 1., a lovely piano sonata¬†but not my fave. It’s very¬†Haydn-esque… given that it was written in the early period and was dedicated to Haydn. Heh. Although I think he produced some amazing works in the early period and defied conventions and whatnot,¬†I personally prefer middle/late Beethoven. If you want to know what I mean, just listen to the second movement of Op. 111 on Spotify (starting at around 7:40) — does that not sound like jazz from the 20th century? Genius!

While we’re on the topic of Beethoven piano sonatas, here are my top 5 picks:
5. Sonata No. 23 in F minor “Appassionata,” Op. 57
4. Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111
3. Sonata No. 17 in D minor “Tempest,” Op. 31 No. 2
2. Sonata No. 81a in E flat major “Les Adieux,” Op. 81a
1. Sonata No. 31 in A-flat major, Op. 110

All available on Spotify! Or maybe one day I’ll record myself and put them on YouTube. I think I have a recording of me doing Op. 31 No. 2 somewhere…

LOVE LvB ‚̧
In my 5th grade music class, we had to do a presentation on an artist of our choice. While all of the other girls chose the Backstreet Boys or N Sync, I decided to be super cool and chose Beethoven. My friends from elementary school will never let me live that one down hahaha. Guess who’s still relevant in 2014?¬†Hint: it’s not N Sync! I think the piece of Beethoven music I shared was the Allegretto (second movement) of the 7th symphony. So gorgeous.
In college, I took a class called “Beethoven” for my music minor.¬†It was definitely one of my favorite classes of all time.
Of course that wasn’t enough, so after I graduated, I took a class on Coursera called “Exploring Beethoven’s Sonatas.” It was taught by Jonathan Biss at the Curtis Institute of Music. Curtis was so nice and retweeted my Tweet about being so excited for the class. Dream come true.

What’s your favorite Beethoven Sonata?¬†Just kidding :p¬†What are your favorite songs? (for running or just in general)

Long Weekend Musings

First long weekend of the year. Woohoo!! I really needed a break from work so yay.¬†The best thing about my job is that I get to work with people from all over the world. The worst thing about my job is that I know when other people have bank holidays. First week of May? EVERYONE was out on holiday. International Worker’s Day or something. At least we get Labor Day in September. Sigh. But¬†I feel like the French people I work with are always on holiday. Not fair. Well, now I finally get mine. Catching up on sleep and being thankful for all the women and men who have sacrificed their lives for this country. America ‚̧ ‚̧ ‚̧

And snacking, of course. I went to Trader Joe’s after work yesterday and stocked up on some yummy goodies:
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The strawberry ice cream is amazing. It’s also vegan! Who knew vegan could taste so good? And cookie butter!! With crumpets. Delicious.¬†

Current¬†music obsession:¬†Vaughan¬†Williams’ “The Lark Ascending.” Violin¬†and orchestra version of course. As much as I love the piano (duh), some things just sound better with an orchestra, like Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.” The piano version is really cool and difficult to play, but I think the orchestral version sounds better because it has more dimension. Thanks Ravel!
My Vaughan Williams infatuation¬†is also probably a result of me being obsessed with all things English as of late (see crumpets above). Tehehe may have some exciting news to share with you in a few weeks ūüėČ

Today’s run:
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I did 13 miles last week and this week. Working my way up to my goal of 20 miles per week. Will aim for 15 next week.

Anyway, I’m off to shower and then getting froyo with a friend. Pinkberry! Yum yum. I think I’ve consumed more sugar in the past 48 hours than I have for all of 2014. Haha my life is so exciting.

Do you have any exciting plans for the long weekend? 

Alumni Weekend

This weekend was my 1st college reunion. Has it really been one year already? Time sure flies… On May 7th, 2013, I handed in my last undergraduate paper for HIST 412: History of China. Paper title: “The Cultural Revolutionary √Čtude: *insert pretentious words and ideas that I’m not comfortable sharing on this¬†blog.*” It was about the Philadelphia Orchestra’s 1973 visit to China ūüôā I had soooo much fun writing and researching¬†because 1) it was about MUSIC 2) I¬†used primary resources in Chinese and English 3) it was the first paper I finished before the 11th hour, so I got an A+ on the paper and in the class as a reward for not procrastinating!¬†I then had the most incredible senior week,¬†graduated from college on May 13th, took the GRE’s on June 25th, started work on July 8th and have been on¬†my corporate hamster wheel ever since.

It was¬†so¬†nice to catch up with¬†my college friends who I haven’t seen in a year, and being with them¬†made me realize how lucky I was to have spent four¬†years surrounded by¬†such passionate, intelligent, and fun people. That’s what I really miss about college.¬†Oh, and seeing this every single day for four years wasn’t¬†too¬†shabby either:

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Seeing everyone and hearing about their lives and goals reminded me that I have so much more to give, and¬†I’ve been so¬†subdued¬†this past year.¬†In 2018,¬†at my 5th reunion, I hope to be proud of¬†my life and happy with my decisions. Until then, lots and lots of hard work to be done, more degree(s) to be earned, a life partner to be found (thanks Roy Vagelos for the College graduation speech last year), but for now…

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA CLASS OF 2014!

Sub-7 Mile!!

Well, that was pretty anti-climatic… I listed my summer running goals on yesterday’s post, and one of them was to run¬†a sub-7 mile. Today I went to the track to do a mile run to¬†test where I am so I can figure out ways to build towards my goal, and this is what I ended up with:

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Oops. I honestly had no idea I was capable of it given that I have yet to break 7:20 in a long, long time no matter how hard I ran. The last time I ran sub-7 was nearly 3 years ago, so I’m super happy that I still have it in me! I was exhausted for a good 10-15 minutes afterwards hahaha. Patting myself on the back, but now it’s time to revise the goal ūüôā break 6:50! I’m also eyeing my PR of 6:45 from freshman year of high school.

My 400m splits from today (not ideal; last lap should be faster — something to keep in mind for next time):
1:45
1:42
1:43
1:45

It feels like summer…

A¬†big congratulations to the sensational¬†Abbey D’Agostino who dominated Heps this past weekend, winning the 10k, 5k, AND 3k. Her story¬†and accomplishments are absolutely inspirational, and it’s so amazing to see an Ivy League student-athlete be so incredibly successful. I can’t wait to follow her professional career (New Balance, anyone?)

In the boring world of a recreational runner-musician, I went for an easy 3 miler this morning and was dripping in sweat by the end. It was a nice way to start the day, but I just can’t believe my body already thinks it’s too hot. Guess I’ll have to work on that because it’s barely 70 degrees! It’s supposed to hit 80 later today, I think.. yikes! Good thing I got the run out of the way.

My easy 3 miler, accompanied by Rachmaninov’s second piano concerto:
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I have some running goals for the summer:

  1. Increase my mileage to 20 miles/week and maybe 25-30/week by the end of the summer. Right now, I’m a 10-15-ish miles/week girl. I had a high of 27 miles one week while training for Broad Street, but the other weeks were in the high teens at most. I did the same thing last year for Broad Street, except I ran even less! I did a lot of elliptical/cycling though, so maybe that helped. But yeah, hoping to increase mileage to get stronger and run faster.
  2. Run a 25 minute 5k. I have three 5k’s lined up for this summer (maybe 4?): June 12, July 10, August 14. I ran 2 5k’s last summer, and I think the only “training” I did were maybe 1-2 mile runs around the neighborhood. Oops. Although, to¬†be fair, I was studying for the GRE’s, researching grad schools, and starting my first adult job :p¬†
  3. Run a sub-7 mile. I haven’t done this since 2011 when I used to get up at like 6am and run before¬†physics class. I doubt I was doing 20 mile weeks, but those days need to happen again.¬†
  4. More speed work and long runs.

Also, I got new shoes! They’re technically an old model (Brooks PureFlow 2), but I heard really great things about them, so I decided to give them a try. I took them on a short run on Friday when they arrived and then did another short run yesterday (I did my 3 miler today in my Brooks Adrenalines… didn’t want to put too much mileage in a more “minimal” shoe without building up to it).

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They are so light and feel great.¬†I’ll continue to do some updates on these as I put more miles in them. Here’s yesterday’s run around the neighborhood:

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5K Lunch Break

I’m going to have to keep this one short because I just got home and finally showered hahaha. Off to bed soon so that I can be out the door before 6:30am, rinse and repeat. I did a 5K race at work today during lunch. There was¬†a decent number of runners (maybe¬†50-60?) considering it was a corporate event, but I think about half the people opted for the 1 mile run.¬†It was my first run since¬†Broad Street¬†on Sunday, so I had to be careful. I’m slightly sore from Sunday :/

My race time was 26:40, but I forgot to stop my Garmin after I got to the finish line. Oops. The distance my watch recorded was also only 3.05. Hmmm. Oh well.

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I’m still going to take it easy for the next few days. My goal for this summer is to improve my 5K time. I remember back when I started running again two years ago, I did a timed 5K for myself, and it was around 25 minutes. I haven’t been able to do that in a race yet, so that’s my goal for this summer!

Elevation map for today’s 5K:
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What are your summer running goals?