Philadelphia Half Marathon: Sub-2. Check.

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My training paid off! In mid-ish October, one of my coworkers and I came to the scary realization that the Philly half marathon was in 6 weeks. I hadn’t really been running at the time because I was taking exams and writing applications, but we both made a pact to go for our goal of sub-2. We started running during lunch and kept each other accountable for weekend long runs. I ended up doing 5 miles (a race — Penn Radnor 5 Miler), 7 miles, 10 miles, and 4.5 miles as my long runs. I consistently ran 15-20 miles a week (ok, maybe there was only one 20 mile week lol) and got the majority of my miles during lunch. We would do 3 around the Navy Yard. I definitely think¬†consistency helped me get to my goal ūüôā ūüôā ūüôā plus my summer strugglebus miles must’ve whipped me into shape too.

My splits via my Garmin Forerunner 10:
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Miles 1-6: Very comfortable.¬†I ran without music (lol) and just fed off the crowd. I made sure not to go out too quickly. Despite being slow for my assigned corral, I found myself having to push through a lot of people just to keep a steady¬†tempo. A little after mile 6, these two obnoxious frat boys (sorry for stereotyping, but I have no other way of describing them)¬†CROSSED THE STREET while we were running. Ok, the Philly Half/Philly Marathon has a lotttt of runners. You don’t just cross in front of the runners while the race is¬†going on. One of the guys nearly tripped me, so I shoved him to the side towards the sidewalk as hard¬†as I could and I kept going. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Miles 6-10: THE STRUGGLE. Hills upon hills upon hills. Thankfully I ran into my friends Anna and Allie at around 6.5. Then I saw my parents around 7.5. I tried to eat a gu chomp (black cherry) around this time, but it was disgusting, so I tossed it out and drank water instead. I felt like I was walking up those massive hills.

Miles 11-12:¬†Don’t remember much. Continuation of the struggle.

Mile 13: REALLY faded. I was running only with my head at this point because I was so tired. I probably should’ve forced those gu chomps despite their gross taste. Will have to find a better alternative next time.

Mile 13.1: GO GO GO GO GO. I kept on looking at my watch, but I knew that I was well within the 2 hours, so I eased into the finishing chute, got my blanket and medal and then left the premises.

WOOHOO. I def¬†struggled a lot towards the end because of the massive hills, but I did it!!! And my coworker did too! We didn’t run together, but he got 1:58:48. Haha. Training buddies woohoo.

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This was a 16 minute PR for me! I ran the Philly Half for the first time in 2012. It was my first half marathon, and it was during¬†first semester senior year, so I was too busy to train. Looking back at my DailyMile entries (pre-garmin days wahoo), I can see why I did so much better this time. Consistency really does pay off. I’m going to take a break for a few days, but I can’t wait to be back. I might actually run through the winter this year. Maybe.

Have you reached any running goals lately? Any Turkey Trot plans?

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Running shorts… and an avian rant

I first learned about Oiselle at the 2013 Penn Relays. My first impression: “Wow, someone didn’t pay attention in French class.” French lesson of the day: you can’t make all nouns feminine by replacing the ‘eau’ at the end with an ‘elle.’ Yes, “oiseau” is actually a masculine noun, but there are obviously female birds in France. They’re still “oiseau.”¬†The website used to have something about how Oiselle is the French word for bird or something.¬†No need to be annoying about it by making it all feminine and stuff. Whatever. B for effort though.

Flash forward to 2014 — I started doing some trail running and track workouts¬†near my house. I usually drive there, and storing¬†my car keys during the run is a pain in the butt. Literally. I have a bajillion pairs of Nike tempo shorts that I got for like $10-15 throughout the years, but the pocket isn’t big enough for my car keys, so I decided to look around for some shorts that have zipper pockets. Alas, I stumbled upon the Nike Rival shorts. I bought two pairs as a splurge for my birthday and am in loveeeee with them.

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But because I wear them so often (already, I know), I ordered a pair of Roga Shorts from Oiselle to add to my shorts rotation. Yay: 1) they have a zip pocket 2) they were on sale. Woohoo.

They arrived today, and they look like this:

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If you’re charging $46 (full price) for a pair of shorts, at least make the quality live up to its price tag. Ugh. In addition to those orphan seams, the shorts¬†felt stiff and scratchy because I’ve been spoiled by my Nike Rival shorts, which were around the same price.

I never liked the Oiselle brand that much from the beginning (can I please just call it Oiseau? GENDER EQUALITY), and getting sub-par shorts didn’t help.¬†I also found out that they have this little exclusive club called “The Flock,” where you basically pay $100 to join, wear their singlet to races, and write hashtag Oiselle, hashtag TheFlock on every social media channel ever. It’s a brilliant idea, really. Get a bunch of wealthy white women to pay to join a cult so that they can continually funnel¬†their money towards the brand.¬†You PAY to market them. Absolutely brilliant.¬†But this is a¬†company that claims to empower women.

If you really want to empower people through running, check out Back on My Feet and Black Girls Run. I know the¬†comparison isn’t completely¬†fair because these two organizations are non-profits, but my point is that buying a pair of $46 shorts is not empowering at all, unless you think that flaunting wealth is empowering…

I personally love running because it’s something that can connect people regardless of age, gender, nationality, income level, heritage, culture, hair color, you name it. You can run¬†a 4 minute mile¬†or a 14 minute mile. It really doesn’t matter because, above all, you’re a runner. It pains me to see a company make this sport seem so divisive and cliquey.

Anyway. I could elaborate more on the last part, but I don’t want to seem so negative. I’m just really disappointed. To summarize: 1) Oiselle is not a French word¬†2) Oiselle Roga shorts are of mediocre quality 3) Oiselle¬†is the opposite of empowering

As for¬†my new Roga shorts… I’m kinda tempted to keep them for the back pocket, but I’d rather not. Does anyone have suggestions for running shorts that have pockets big enough to store car keys? Or any other creative solutions?¬†

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! ūüôā
  • 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 ūüôā

16 miles this week woohoo.

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

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 ūüôā

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?

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?