3rd Annual NYRR Mini 10K

I ran my slowest race yesterday but it is and will always be the most memorable and funnest one. Why? Because I ran the entire thing with my favorite twin Christine. We even crossed the finish line hand in hand!

Although I’ve started with my sister in her corral for every race this year, I’ve always “ditched” her after the start, ran my own pace, and met up with her at the finish. But since this was my and her first race since we started running NYRR races (my third / her second mini 10K), I decided to make it special and run the entire course with her.

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And….I had a blast! We took snaps, selfies, and boomerangs. It was so much fun, although I felt bad that I might have pushed her a bit hard in the beginning.  We actually didn’t PR by her standards compared to last year’s race (finished 1:00 minute slower). We think it’s because we went out too hard and she was so tired by the end.

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I can’t say that I didn’t benefit from it too. Ever since my on-again-off-again hamstring and calf pain, I’ve had a hard time getting fast again. I would still run through the pain but pay for it afterwards. My recovery time has increased from 1 day to 2 days. I felt pretty good after the race today, which was a plus since I have another one next Saturday.

 

Let’s Talk About Running

Happy June!

On again and off again injury has me thinking about running. I’ve taken 11 days of rest from running since completing the Brooklyn Half two Saturdays ago on May 20. That’s a lot of days for me! I’m just sorta, kinda happy that it was rainy last week and I haven’t missed out on good running weather.

During this time, I’ve found other ways to fit running in my life, including listening to Ali Feller’s podcast Ali On The Run. This rambling of mine is actually a response to her post of the same title. One of the most resonating podcasts I first listened to was Episode 10: The Worst Mistakes I’ve Made as a Runner because I could relate to a number of them. Here are the ones I’ve been through too:

1. Not taking enough rest days – (if any)

Hence the injuries I’ve had on and off since last year. Tendonitis jumping from one leg to the other because I don’t fully rest and recover before running again.

2. Losing brain cells on worrying about taking a day off from running, and feeling guilty when others were completing 10+ miles

My family can attest to this. There would be 10 minute conversations and convincing me that no running for a day was okay.

3. Running through pain – (and not the sore-after-a-good-workout kind)

See lesson #1

4. Obsessing over numbers – (and not truly enjoying running)

Running just to see the numbers on my Nike app increase and reaching the next goal level.

5. Running without getting stronger – (I have no upper body strength and super not flexible)

Stretching and foam rolling seemed to slow and time consuming. Yah – I’ll rethink that.

I wasn’t always a runner. In fact, like Ali, I didn’t grow up an athlete. I got clobbered in basketball, kicked in soccer, ran away from the ball in dodgeball, and stood in out-outfield in kickball. The only sport I did was swimming, but I wasn’t fast at all. I started running in high school as part of a class called Polar Bear. I don’t remember what possessed me to sign up for a class that required me to run outside in the dead of winter but I figured it was a sport I could do. We ran along the West Side Highway for 30-40 minutes.

2015 Women's Mini 10K

Mini 10K: one of my first 9+1 qualifying races for the 2016 NYC Marathon

I really enjoyed running, especially in the city. I love people watching; it’s always so interesting seeing what people are doing on the streets. Sometimes I create stories of where these people are going! The West Side Highway is a great running path – so many out and about, especially during the warmer months. In college, I started running almost everyday, usually starting my day at the gym or outside running. As my mileage increased, I started using my watch to track how far I went. Later when I got a data plan, I used the Nike app for tracking. While it’s an amazing app, I found myself focusing more on the numbers and not how I was feeling during my runs. I was still aware of my surroundings, and observed the places I ran, but I didn’t really truly enjoy it. There were days I felt so tired but still ran anyway. I guess I was what you could consider burnt out or overtrained.

Listening to Ali has inspired to revisit what running means to me because listening to someone talk out loud about the same issues I experience with running makes it so much more easier to accept. I was so focused on running for the numbers that I was forgetting what I loved about running. I was afraid that I would “forget” how to run if I didn’t run every day. For those of you who know me, I don’t have a very active social life. I only know 3 things: work, running, and food. Running is basically 1/3 of my life.

Taking 11 days off from running (and not trying to sneak in a run or light jog in between) has helped a lot. I’m finding new interests, and I don’t feel like I’ve lost my running. In fact, I’ve started to enjoy the stationary bike (somewhat). One of my goals this summer is to learn how to ride a bike really well (biking in a crowded city, or at least controlling it well enough to bike on the West Side Highway).

In honor of Global Running Day next week on June 7, I’ve decided to try a new running goal for this month: running naked as Ali says. I’m ditching my numbers and running based on how I feel. I’ll use the app to look back at my miles in the future but I won’t run based off of it. No more running 2:46 minutes more to make it a round 5.0 miles. In fact, there’ll probably be more photos and snaps and Insta-stories to record all my running miles. Ali Feller – you’re such an inspiration!

 

Fred LeBow Manhattan Half Recap

It’s Sunday evening and I’m lying on the sofa with my feet propped up, kind of like a cat claiming its territory. Earlier this morning, my sister and I ran our first NYRR race of the year – mine, as a long run for the Dusseldorf Marathon in April, and hers, as her first half marathon! *Snaps & claps*img_0735

The race was the Fred LeBow Manhattan Half, an annual January race held in Central Park. From my research, it seems like this race has always been cursed with cold, frigid weather. In fact, last year, it was cancelled due to a snow storm. The year before, temperatures were in single digits with winds in the double digits. This year, although it was on the foggy and cloudy side, temperatures were in the mid 40s – a bit chilly but still a blessing.

Although running Central Park 2.5 times isn’t the most interesting route, it is, in my opinion, of the hardest. The new route this year takes runners up Harlem Hill twice on the West Side and up Cat Hill three times on the East Side. You’re literally running on hills on hills on hills.

We woke up at 5:00AM to prepare for the race. It was an 8:00AM start on West 94th Street so it was a slightly longer commute than the Columbus Circle start area. My dad drove us to the train station and we caught a 6:10AM train. I munched my usual Honey Nut Cheerios as my pre-race fuel during the ride, and arrived at the start area around 7:30AM. After checking in our bags, we lined up in the corrals. I decided to start in the later corral with Christine and stay with her until we hit the start.

I would say that my splits using the Nike Run Club app were pretty consistent. My finish wasn’t a PR, but what counts is that I finished! I didn’t cramp up or turn numb on any joints, so that was good. After I finished, I joined my friend Jing at the mile 13 mile marker to cheer on my sister. I had seen her twice during my own run and was happy to see a familiar face in the cheering squad. She commuted early from Queens Queens to cheer for all of us. She has such spirit!

The tracking app kind of off so I used Find My Friends instead to find my sister (thank you Apple!) I was ready with my phone to film her finish.

After she got her life-saving bagel, apple, pretzels, and retrieved her bag, she didn’t feel to well so we found a bench to sit down. Apparently chugging down 2 cups of Gatorade and devouring a bagel didn’t sit well with her. But luckily a quick burp was all she needed to fix herself and we were on our way to our post-run noms.

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she’s actually dying

Since it was her first half and she wanted to get brunch, I asked her to choose. Normally after a race, I just head home. No celebrations for me. I was telling her that for my first half marathon I ran it, got some freebies, used a porta potty because I really needed to, and after some persuasion from my mom to take the bus and not walk back to campus, took the bus back to my dorm. After a meal at the dining hall, I went back to studying (yes, the nerd in me).

We stopped by JuicePress on Madison Avenue to get our #jprunclub juices. This time I got a carrot and apple juice while Christine chose a berry smoothie. We walked several avenues down to 3rd Avenue to The Barking Dog for lunch. Luckily there was no wait and we were seated immediately.

After a long wait, the waitress took our orders. I initially wanted to go to Doughnut Plant and get a donut after the meal, so I wanted to get something light and went with a blueberry muffin. Unfortunately, they were out of blueberry muffins (totally ridiculous to be out of muffins at 12PM on a Sunday, but it is what is it), so I decided on a black forest and turkey sandwich on focaccia. Simple, but it was so good. Christine ordered the Chef’s Omelette, which consisted of shrimp, corn, and feta cheese. We both ordered hot cocoa to warm ourselves up. Since I ordered a bigger size lunch, I postponed Doughnut Plant for another day. Plus, I really wanted to go home and warm up.

We decided to take the Q train on the new Second Avenue line home. After a quick nap on the train, we were so happy to finally reach home!

Crazy weather week + winter running

We got some wild weather last week (not that I’m complaining). It started off super cold with temperatures feeling in the sub-10 degrees range on last Sunday after the first snowfall of the year and continued into Monday. I opted to stay inside to bake cookies and muffins for the week, which kept the house quite warm!

The week warmed up each day after that and reached a fabulously beautiful 60 degrees on Thursday. Even though I had done a 6 mile tempo treadmill run on Wednesday, I couldn’t resist not running outside to enjoy the great running weather. So, I did an easy 5 mile recovery run after work and captured this beauty.

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Unfortunately the great weather ended Friday and temperatures dropped into the 20s and 30s on Saturday when my sister and I went out for a 9 mile long run to Coney Island. There wasn’t a lot of wind so with our UA ColdGear and light jacket, it wasn’t too bad. I ran an easy 11:26 pace with her since she is just taking up running. It was nice to run together and we promised to have a monthly run, just the two of us for some sister time.

Yesterday, on Sunday I went out for my own run to acclimate myself to running in the cold. I’ve actually learned to enjoy it. If you are anyone who knows me, I HATE the cold. I’m literally the worst person to be around in the cold. I’m cranky. grouchy. crabby. Basically the world’s biggest hermit. But unless I’m running in a snowstorm with Siberia-like wind gusts, I think I can handle it. Sure I’ve got to slow down my pace if there’s ice or snow, but it’s actually refreshing to get out in the cold to get the blood flowing. Summer running is nice, but really icky by the end. Winter running is refreshing and I don’t feel as disgusting, but of course getting warmed up afterwards is the main priority. I don’t want to catch a cold!

After the run, I headed to the new NYRRRun Center to pick up runnings bibs for next Sunday’s Fred LeBow Half Marathon. The new space was awesome and it was great to see race stats, running gear, and lockers available for use. I’ll definitely be using those when I want to run in Central Park.

I also stopped at Juice Press for one of their free juices from participating in their #willrunforjuice Instagram campaign. Every Sunday morning, from 9am until 12pm  you get a free juice when you go on a run, and post to Instagram with #willrunforjuice, #juicepress. Then you go to any of their local Juice Press locations, show the cashier your photo and get a free juice! It’s a great motivation for cold winter running. I chose the blueberry protein smoothie. (FYI disclaimer: I did not realize the full name of the drink before choosing. I just saw blueberry and was won over.)

Today is Martin Luther King Day so I get the day off. Taking a day off from running, so I’ll be making dinner. Cross my fingers that it’ll be a success. If it’s good enough nd presentable, I’ll be sure to share it here!

Last weeks workouts:

Sunday: REST (and baking)

Monday: Nike speed workout

Tuesday: PopSugar dumbbell workout

Wednesday: Nike 6 mile tempo workout

Thursday: 5 mile easy run

Friday: REST (and Barnes & Nobles)

Saturday: 9 mile run

2nd NYRR Mini 10K

Women’s only races have a special spirit to them. Yesterday I ran my 4th women’s only race, the NYRR Mini 10k and had a blast! This race is especially cool because the elite runners (as in women who qualify for the Olympics and/or win marathons) run with us. I even got their autographs post-race.

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The special thing about women’s only races is the particularly strong camaraderie and genuine support that all the women have for each during the race. So many mothers/daughters, sisters, and best friends come out to run this race – many for the first time, and many for the 15th+ time. This original women’s only race celebrated its 45th year yesterday, and I was able to celebrate it with my very own twin sister, Christine, who was running her very first race and very first 10k at the same time! After I finished my race, I headed back to the course (on the sidelines this time) to see her finish. Continue reading