Race Recap: Variety’s Superhero 5K

I got a complimentary race entry to the Variety’s Superhero 5K through an email list a few weeks ago (my company does volunteer days at the charity so I’ll probably be spending a day there at some point soon. Great cause). I figured why not register and decide later, so I made a deal with myself last night — I won’t do the race unless I wake up by myself without an alarm. I don’t like running in the morning, so if my body naturally wants to avoid it, then I’ll go with it. At around 7am, I woke up without my alarm, figured that it was plenty of time to get to an 8am race. I made some scrambled eggs, microwaved some sausage links, chased my food down with water and boom I was out the door by 7:30am. I got to the race around 7:45am, picked up my bib, and did a super brief warm up.

I wanted to take it at a comfortable pace because I’m planning to do a track workout later today with my bff J.S. Bach (I think Baroque music is the best for 800 repeats). It was also more for mileage purposes because I’m at 15 so far for the week and I’d really like to make that 20. Because of this, I purposefully ran without a watch and kind of just chilled. I don’t know my splits, nor did I know where the mile markers were. I just ran. Took a walk break for water. Sprinted the last 200 meters so that the photographer could get a good action shot of me. Overall, I’m happy with how this race went. I got my miles in and really enjoyed the course.

…And apparently I placed 2nd in my age group with a 29:04 (9:22/mile pace). Wait what?! I didn’t stay for the awards ceremony because I totally did not expect to ever place in anything. Do race directors usually just mail the medals if you’re not there? No clue because this is a new experience for me. Haha.

Oh, did I mention that this race was superhero themed? There were people in superhero costumes, and it was pretty adorable.

I got some sweet swag at the end of the race:
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The comfiest shirt ever. I’m already wearing it.

photo-23Two things I’ve been meaning to try — uber and Vita Coco coconut water. Sweet.

Have you ever done a 5K just for fun? Any big races this fall?

Accountability.

This post is dedicated to my friends, Anna and Lindsay, both of whom suggested taking Snapchats/photos of ourselves at the gym to prove that we worked out. I’m not going to post selfies on the internet because that’s not how I roll, but I’m going to use this blog to keep myself accountable because I’ve been slacking a bit! And it’s not like I can get on a scale and see that I’ve been slacking because…

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…none of that Chick-fil-a weight will physically manifest itself until I’m approximately 60, according to this graphic at least. Ha. Ha. 

My week so far: I did 17ish miles this week! 4 runs total. I’m planning to swim tomorrow. Woohoo. As you can see, I cannot handle humidity for my life. 

  • 4 miles, 77 degrees, 80% humidity (11:05/mile). Major strugglebus. I was basically run-walking. 
  • 6 miles, 79 degrees, 51% humidity (10:23/mile)
  • 3.5 miles, 84 degrees, 43% humidity (9:35/mile)
  • 2.5 miles, 81 degrees, 41% humidity (9:50/mile) + fast speed intervals (total of ~1-1.5 miles)

I’ve also been doing some core and arms. I played on the monkey bars today and did like 2 pull ups. I also did 4 x 1 minute planks with 1 minute rest in between each. Monkey bars are still so much fun but SO MUCH HARDER when you’re 5’4 instead of 4’5. Elementary school monkey bars are basically a plebeian version of joining a CrossFit gym. #poor

Anywayyy, some long term stuff and goals:
I’m trying to break the 2:00 barrier for the Philly Half this year. My PR is 2:14:40, so I feel like if I can build up my endurance, 2:00 is a reasonable goal. Still trying to break 25 minutes in the 5K as well. 

Any fun plans for Labour Day weekend?
It’s my birthday week, so I used up my vacation days. Wheeeee. I already bought my birthday running outfit. Heh. 

Midsummer Night 5K Series Recap

I have been majorly slacking on the miles lately because of the hot weather. I’m still afraid of the treadmill so I’ve been visiting the pool instead. Swimming, not aqua jogging.. because I don’t own a belt. heh.

I’ll do a short recap of the Midsummer Night 5K series.

Race #1: Skipped. It was the day after the Navy Yard 5k — the 5k I did at work where my time was off by 4 minutes because I got to the starting line too late due to a meeting running over haha oops. #corporatestruggles

Race #2: 26:50. Hot and humid. I think it was 84-86 degrees with high humidity, so it was challenging and I had to walk and stop for water. Not a good run for me, but I purposefully took it easy due to the conditions. I did beat my time from last year on the same course by a minute though 🙂

Race #3: 26:44. POURING RAIN + thunder and lightning. It started POURING about halfway through mile 1 (7:55) and I could barely keep my eyes open because of the rain. I was compleeetely soaked. Guess I’ll need to do more practice runs in the rain! Am sooo glad I didn’t bring my iPod with me for this run because I would’ve had to sing the 3rd movement of Chopin’s 2nd piano sonata to it.

My next race is on Sunday. It’s a 5K steeplechase on a horse farm with obstacles. I’ve never done a “cross country” race before, so this will be interesting! Would 30 minutes be a realistic time? I have to jump over barns and logs and stuff, so I have no idea… will post a recap after the race!

(Update 8/17/14: it’s raining in the ‘burbs of Philly, so I decided not to go to the race. It’s not nearly as bad as the thunderstorm on Thursday, but one 5K race in the rain is enough for one week 🙂 kinda sad I’m missing out on the horse jumps and cross country terrain, but I’m going to try to stay dry today)

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I also got a pair of new running shoes. I wasn’t sure how I felt about my Brooks Adrenalines, so I got fitted at a running store and ended up where I started. I began my running journey in the Asics GT 2100 series (after I got shin splints from wearing Nike shox. AHAHA those were the days…), but when Asics came out with the first generation of the GT 2000’s last year, I just didn’t like them as much, so I decided to give Brooks a try. I like the Brooks PureFlow 2’s for speedy runs, but the Adrenalines weren’t as amazing as my old Asics. I tried the Brooks Ravenna 5, New Balance 860, and Asics 2000 2. The Ravenna 5’s weren’t bad. The New Balance 860’s were wayyy too wide. The Asics 2000 2’s were a Cinderella shoe moment. *waves sparkly wand* early birthday present for myself.

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Have you ever done a cross country race? Do you have a favorite pair of shoes/model?

#TransformationTuesday

I’m going to write a recap of the Midsummer Night 5K when I find out my chip/clock time. I think it’s somewhere south of 27 minutes. It was 84 degrees and humid, so I was riding a strugglebus pretty much the entire time. Walk breaks, water breaks, etc. A girl in front of me puked at the finish line, and as I was about to sit down on a bench to eat my water ice, another girl next to me on the bench started puking. 😦 hope they were ok. Yeah, there’s a reason I left my pre-med days behind. Yours truly took it easy and made it home sweaty but unscathed 🙂

Today is Transformation Tuesday on Instagram. I posted this photo: 
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The top picture is from the summer of 1997. I was practicing scales/Hanon in China. The bottom photo is from the summer of 2011. I was performing with the Penn Glee Club in Norway. I was accompanying the group on this piece in the photo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA-UDCEiDzA. The pianist in the YouTube video plays a B’s at the end instead instead of G#’s. Not sure how I feel about it because I think I prefer the G#’s… but I digress. Listen to it and let me know what you think! 🙂 I absolutely love it and had the pleasure of recording it with the group, so maybe one day I can share it with my offspring hahaha. 

How is everyone dealing with the warm weather? I haven’t been able to do a long run since two Sundays ago because of how hot/humid it’s been here in Philly; I’ve been swimming on all the days sans thunderstorms. Maybe I’ll start carrying around some ice cubes in my shirt or something, but I have to be careful about drinking water / eating cherries that are too cold post-run because I don’t want to pull a William Henry Harrison (the only Penn alum to serve as the president of the United States).

In the mean time, I made a tentative cooling playlist for my (intended) long run this weekend. Here’s to hoping this playlist does its magic:
1) Vivaldi: Concerto for Violin and Strings in F minor, Op. 8 No. 4 “Winter” 
2) Glazunov: “L’Hiver (Winter)” from The Seasons Op. 67
3) Chopin: Étude in A minor, Op. 25 No. 11 “Winter Wind”
4) Schubert: Winterreise
5) Puccini: La Bohème “Oh, Là, Le Guardi! Aprite!”
6) Tchaikovsky: The Seasons, Op. 37a “November” and “December”
7) Suk: “Tale of a Winter’s Evening,” Op. 9
8) And maybe everything by Grieg and Sibelius because just thinking about Scandinavia makes me shiver a little

Any other suggestions are welcome. 

Finding the ideal time to run

Now that the sun is scorching hot and the days are long, I can play around with my running schedule a bit more. It’s incredibly hard trying to fit everything I want to do in my schedule, so I have to experiment. In my dream world, I’d have 1 hour a day to practice the piano, 1 hour to run/workout, 2-3 hours to study, 8 hours to sleep, 1 hour to have dinner and relax, 1 hour to catch up on reading/news/world happenings, but work + commute = 12+ hours of my day, so my ideal schedule is pretty much impossible. If only I worked 8 hour days with a 1 hour (total) commute. Sigh.

Anyway, since I now work more regular hours (no more 3am calls woohoo, although I do have a 9pm meeting on Tuesday followed by a 5am meeting on Wednesday. Love globalization. Do not love giving up beauty rest), I can now have more regular running hours too. I tried a few different things this week — running before work, running during work (instead of taking a lunch break), and working out after work.

Here’s the verdict:

  • Running before work: 5am alarms + me = not friends. I did a 3 miler before work on Thursday, and I nearly fainted due to hunger because my body can’t process food so early in the morning. Did not enjoy this experience and don’t plan on replicating it ever again :/
  • Running during work: Gym at work = best thing ever. I’m not a complete introvert or anything, but spending my lunch hour talking to coworkers exhausts me. It’s me, not them. I’d rather spend it alone working out and relaxing. I feel that it makes my afternoons at work so much more productive too. Instead of being drained after lunch, I get a second wind. I’m also low maintenance, so I hop in the shower after my workout, blow dry my hair for like 5 minutes, and I’m all set to be back in business casual. I don’t wear makeup or do my hair thanks to being blessed with wonderful genes. Ahaha just kidding. I’m just lazy :p So yeah, this works really well for me. I’ll be doing it more often. This plan will probably get me through the winter too! 🙂
  • Running after work: I’m wayyy too tired after work to want to workout after work. The work day and the commute home are already tiring enough. I have to take a bus to the train station, take the train to another train station, transfer to another train, and then after I get off, I have to walk 10 minutes from the station to my house. Managed to finish Orange is the New Black (the book) during my commute this week though!!

Monday: faux speed workout after a long day at work = 1 mile around the block (7:41 pace)
Tuesday: 30 minute cycle (8 miles) during my lunch break because step class was canceled. SO SAD.
Wednesday: Rest… was supposed to do 3 miles but moved it to Thursday morning instead
Thursday: 3 miles (9:50 pace with two walking breaks)
Friday: 4 miles (9:07 pace)
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 8 mile long run in the heat accompanied by Celine Dion 🙂

16 miles this week woohoo.

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When do you run and how do you plan your runs to maximize your day?

Philly Half. Registered.

I just registered for the Philly Half Marathon. Eek. I guess this is my official announcement that I will not be moving across the pond to attend school this year. Getting two acceptance letters from two prestigious institutions was a nice way to stroke my ego, but a £20,000+ tuition price tag plus £££ living costs in London plus giving up my job is definitely not worth it. I plan to attend graduate school eventually, but a one year masters program in the same field as my undergrad studies is probably not the way to go. LSE is also notoriously known as being a “cash cow,” so who knows how much I’ll actually learn… I know giving up a year in Europe is so anti-Millennial, but I’m proud of my practical adult decision because I know there will be other opportunities to live or visit Europe (I was in London twice already in the last 9 months for work! Went to Paris too). So yeah. Not London-bound, but I’m fine with it because I know better things will come along.

I did a 7 miler yesterday. Super easy pace because I was dyingggg. Too hot and humid. I was literally riding a strugglebus for all 7 miles, but YAY I did it. I’m such a wimp when it comes to hot and humid weather.
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I did a 5K at work two weeks ago. The race started at 12:00pm, but I was in a meeting (yes, in my running clothes) until 12:01, so I didn’t get to the starting line until 12:04ish. I basically had to run the entire race by myself because I was behind the walkers when I started. I didn’t have my Garmin, but according to my $15 sports watch, I clocked the first mile at 7:46 pace. Oops too fast. I finished around 30:12 gun time / clock time, and I forgot to stop my watch at the finish line, so I don’t know what my actual time was. Sadness. I think was somewhere between 25-26 though. On the bright side, not a single person managed to pass me during the race heh. Still chasing sub-25 this summer! I’ll be doing a 5k on July 10th, so I hope to be closer to my goal by then!

Happy Belated National Running Day!

Last post for a while. I’m taking another big exam soon, so I’ll be in my zone for a bit 🙂

Sorry for not writing about National Running Day yesterday. I don’t think it would have been appropriate for me to post about “National Running Day” on the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. It would have felt way too trivial. Anyway, making up for it now.

I did an easy 2 miler yesterday, and today I did a 3.1 mile tempo run in my Brooks PureFlow 2’s (review forthcoming). I had meant for it to be a 30 minute tempo run, but I miscalculated the distance and ended up back at my house at the 3.1 mark, so I called it a day:
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Oh, and if you’re wondering where I got my Brooks PureFlow 2’s… I bought them at DSW about a month ago just to try them out because they were only $40. Terrible idea for an Asics GT2100 series devotee, I know. Then I saw Hungry Runner Girl (one of my favorite bloggers) post about the same deal on her blog a few days ago, so I bought another pair in black hahah. I didn’t realize that it was that great of a deal! Oops. They’re also available at 6pm.com for $45 and $50 depending on the colors, but the prices on that site fluctuate way too much. Not gonna lie, I’m probably going to get the white or purple pair(s)…

What’s your favorite running shoe? Do you ever stock up on running shoes when they’re being replaced by new models?/on sale?