Monday, October 31, 2011


Happy Halloween! And now to celebrate, here are things related to running that scare me the most.

1. Running without a garmin
I'm sad to say that this one makes it on the list. I am afraid to run anywhere without knowing my exact mileage every 0.1 miles and my pace every second. It's a problem, but unless they have a rehab for garmin addicts, I don't see this fear going away anytime soon.
Even with a garmin obsession, i still managed to notice my surroundings and take a call phone picture. In the path by the lake that my school encompasses.  

2. Being injured/Using foam roller
I am afraid of getting injured and not being able to run and missing my birthday race. That leads to my second point. Foam Rollers are scary. Even if mine is pink and supporting breast cancer.  But to avoid injury, foam rollers are important. Or so I hear.

3. Getting out the door
As much as I enjoy running, I always dread getting out the door. Because no matter how I might enjoy it,  sitting in my warm bed eating chips and surfing the internet seems way better than braving the freezing temperatures. But something makes me head out the door each day.
On the same route as the above picture. My school is pretty. 

4. That I will get really fast
What if I rock my training so much that I end up qualifying for the olympics at my next half marathon. And I would have to leave school to go train in Oregon at the Nike campus. And people I admire like Kara Goucher won't talk to me because I'm her competition?

Could happen. Maybe . . . In my dreams

5. Tempo Runs
For some reason, whenever you attach the word tempo to run, I psych myself out. 5K in 7:34/mile pace? No problem. 2 or 3 miles tempo run at 8:00/mile pace? Hells no.
What I probably look like when I see the word tempo

What are your scary running moments? Happy Halloween! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rain Run

I finally went for a run in the rain! I always have used rain as an excuse to skip out on my daily workouts in the past, but I just went out and did it. In central New York, it can rain for days, and I didn't want rain to be a reason to miss out on days of running. I wore warmer clothing than I have donned in the past, put on my old pair of  sneakers and set out to run four miles to work.

Luckily, all I needed today for work was a pen. I spend a few hours a week teaching international TAs English and today I just had to film their sample lectures and write down feedback. So I put a pen and my phone in the pocket of my handheld, which fit perfectly.

If the road was a runway, I was definitely Tyra.  I rocked that road. I just felt so hardcore chugging along in the elements. I did get a quite a few weird looks. I must have looked crazy with wild wet hair and a smile (which is not what you expect from a person in the freezing rain running). I did run into one other runner, but he kept his head down. I wanted to  give him a "We are totally bad asses" nod. The excitement definitely got to my head. I'm certain that at one point during the run, I considered trying out for America's top Model in case they decide to do a rainy sports shoot.

I got to work a little early to go to the bathroom to document my milestone. Yay for cell phone self portraits in bathrooms.
Very sexy. 
Note my jacket. I thought it was waterproof. I planned on taking off the outer layer and going into work in my "dry" shirt. 

Clearly not. In fact, it looked like I had awkward boob sweat even though it was just the rain. So I stayed in the wet jacket. 
To prevent my hair from looking too wild, I tied up my hair in a pony and also braided it.
Not too shabby for a windy rain day. Look how red my ears are. 

Unfortunately, the building that I worked in wasn't very warm. In fact people kept their jackets on, which meant that I was just cold in my wet gear. So on the run back, I didn't even wait for the garmin to catch. I knew it was a mile away and just ran it fast to get home. I thought it had gotten colder on the way back, but I wasn't sure if I was just making it up. But as I got home, it started snowing. I totally rock at this exercising thing. I even got in some good foam rolling! 

What was the best moment of your week? Between tests and projects for classes, this was the best I've felt all week. Running is awesome. And all your comments on the job posts were  very interesting. Thanks!
Or ran in it. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Birds do it . . Bees do it

And so do bacteria and most importantly fruit flies. And there's this wonderful subject that studies this phenomenon of everyone doing it called genetics. And if you have been unfortunate to have never studied this wonderful subject, you should go to your nearest library and pick up a textbook. It will eventually cause you to go a little off the rockers and name your kid so that her initials will be the same as a start codon (AUG). That's what my genetics professor did. And if you don't remember/know what a start codon is, I envy you very much.
Not as happy as I look in the picture. Genetics is definitely evil.  And I probably will never use it again. 
So the reason for this post is that I've been thinking about things I like to do, and the career that will make me the happiest. I like to run. I love reading running blogs, signing up for races, etc. I'd much rather buy a cute running gear than other clothes. Especially since I've been throwing on a race shirt before running out the door to make it to class on time. Yes, everyone knows I've ran half marathons and 5Ks, and I will continually remind them with my race shirts.

But I'm not quite sure how to find the perfect career. I definitely want to do something that will allow me to continue to devote tons of time to running and thinking about running. So I guess investment banking is out.
That's me thinking about running. Not falling. Like I've been falling on my butt every day on this one part of sidewalk for the past few days. 
It would be awesome to work for Runner's World, if I was a world class runner with tons of advice and know-how. Or journalism skills. It would be interesting to design running shoes, which is sort of in the engineering side, but not chemical engineering. It would be the best if I was a world class runner and I get paid to train. But I guess that would make running stressful.

I am not quite sure what I want to do with my life. And also how to go about finding it. I also would like to have a running club at work. I guess the biggest thing is to get hired first somewhere. So I can figure out what I like and what I don't. Also, is it bad that whenever I have a job interview, I look up the town that I'd be working in to see how many races are nearby? I have a secret (I guess not so secret now) hope that at an interview somewhere, the interviewer will ask me about running. And we will hit it off instantly. And I will have a job and security and money to buy random running things that I don't need.

Sorry it's not very running focused. But finding a job that will also allow me to continue this running thing is important to me. So it's sort of about running. And I'm still working on making a reasonable training schedule for the half marathon coming up.

And thanks to everyone who suggested websites and ways to save money on things! They were very helpful. So how did you guys find your dream job? Or how are you looking for it? And what's a good way to look for a full time position? And if you happen to own a company looking for a chemical engineer, you're welcome. Now you can stop looking and start drawing up the hiring paper work. :P

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Running on a Budget

Everyone who doesn't run has always told me that running is the cheapest sport. And while it's not exorbitantly expensive, like figure skating or skiing, I found that running does get expensive. I am not the most frugal person, but I get a serious case of buyer's remorse, so I try to cut back on some of the costs. And here are some of the things that I've thought about.

1. Compression Socks. I WANT!!! However, they do run up quite the coast. At least the ones that I've found have been upwards of $30. If anyone knows of cheaper ones, please share. Additionally, when I read blogs of some serious runners, they have compression shorts for the thighs, compression shirts, compression everything! So being the cheap/poor college student, I've started wearing my tightest jeans whenever I feel that I need to recover.
Clearly this is me. Nevermind that I actually don't own a pair of skinny jeans. But I like to pretend I look like this in my jeans. 
Verdict: To be seen. I really can't give an informed verdict until I get actual compression socks. But after races, when my legs are especially sore, an Advil does do the trick.

2. Good pair of running shoes These babies can cost about $100 dollars give or take twenty dollars, which is still more than I used to spend on running shoes. I used to get the sale sneakers with the cutest color. And for me, it wasn't too bad. However, when I seriously started training, I went to a specialty running store and got fitted for a pair, because that's what everyone else was doing.
Cleaner version of my current running shoes. I totally picked it because Ghost sounded cool. 
Verdict: It wasn't a necessity for me until I got into serious training. And even then, I am not sure, because I didn't attempt to run in non specialty sneakers for 25-30miles weeks. I'd probably continue buying specialty running shoes, because that's what everyone else does. And they've been doing it longer. 

3. Sports Massage I probably will never shell out my money for a painful massage. Maybe a relaxing one next to a pool, but probably not a hardcore sports massage. I just bought a $25 foam roller to work out my sore spots. It's just as painful but much cheaper especially since I don't see it breaking anytime soon. I am not even sure if it can break unless I try to cut it in half with a saw. 
Verdict: I will stick with my foam roller. But again I haven't tried a sports massage. 

4. Races I can't imagine not running races, so I will continue to pay the fees for a bib and a shirt. Although, since it is costly, I would probably keep on running cheaper local races unless there's a special occasion (birthday). 
Look, a bib, a shirt, and free water. And spectators next to me. Totally worth the $20. 
Verdict: I refuse to give it up. 

5. Fueling I've stopped spending money on energy gel things. I found that for a distance up to the half, I don't need any.
Verdict: I don't need them. But maybe I'll run faster if I do take in some fuel during a run?  

6. Garmin A must for me. It's the most expensive item, other than my laptop, that I own in my room. But I am obsessed with the numbers. Maybe too obsessed. But it saves me time from having to map out my route beforehand and time=money. Therefore, I've paid off for my garmin by now with increased time? I'm just going to believe that because it makes me feel better about the cost of a garmin. 
Verdict: Most important thing i have. 

What are some of you guys' methods for saving money? What things are a necessity for you when you're running? 
This makes me feel totally hardcore. And it's so true. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Johnny's Run Like Hell 5K Race Recap

I did it! I ran like hell and set a brand new, sparkling PR.
You can see me running across the finish line as the clock shows my time. 
My new PR for the 5K is 23:28 which is a 7:34/mile. It was good enough for me to get third place in age group out of 21! My overall place was 67/523.  And I also got a bronze third place medal. First time in my life I got anything other than a participation trophy for a sport. Did I mention that the second place girl was four seconds before me? I wish I had pushed to the front of the pack before the race, because I spent a good part of the 5K fighting to run ahead of all the slow people in front of me. I may have been rude darting in front of people whenever I saw even a small opening, but a girl's gotta do what she's gotta do in trying for a PR. But at least I placed and got a medal. This just means next time, I'll do even better. 

Unfortunately, I don't have any mile splits for you guys. After I crossed the finish line, I couldn't think. I didn't see the timing people scan me in. I just stumbled toward the water. I even forgot to stop my garmin! Then I spent the next hour or so trying not to throw up. I think it's the full bottle of water I foolishly chugged after the hardest race of my life so far. But totally worth it.

This time, my bfriend ran with me. He was able to fight the crowd better and was in front of me for a while, but when I caught up, he shouted, "Go Rena go," which really sent me off.
Here we are looking really happy before the race. Btw, the shirts we are wearing are the race shirts. It was colder than we expected and those were the only long sleeves we had. 
Here we are looking really tired after the race. The bfriend clocked in at 27:03. 
Did I mention that this was a costume race with six pack runners? I didn't realize that so many people would be dressed up, or I would have tried to find something. It was a lot of fun to watch all the runners. And the bfirend's mom was nice enough to take tons of photos with her iphone. 
This lady with the stroller was really fast. She was easily in front of me with a stroller, in costume. But then she decided to wait for her daughter. And I passed her. 
There were also a group of really fast looking guys in underwear and capes. I passed them in the last 0.5 miles. Booyah! There was also a man who tried talking to me in the last 0.5. I grimaced and panted at him. He must have thought I was a weirdo, because he didn't say anything else. 

I am coming up in the back in front of Alan from the Hangovers. He had a baby carrier with a teddy bear strapped to him. And the Fred Flitstone in front of me ran the whole thing barefoot. No vibrams or anything. Just plain old foot on asphalt. 
The green guy had his whole body covered even his eyes. The only thing he had was a hole for his mouth. I can't imagine running like that. 
There were some funny six pack runners. (Six pack is a group of six runners all connected by something running together.)
You can see the mario cart racers. And the guy in a big white  ball next to the mario carts was an egg. He was connected to five other runners in the back who were sperms. So It was a pack of sperm chasing an egg. 
Next time I do this race, I'd definitely dress up. And the best part about this whole race was that according to McMillian Running Calculator, with my 5K time, I could run an equivalent of a sub hour 50 min half marathon! I will be posting my training schedule for my birthday race soon! 

I hope everyone's weekends went well. And for everyone who raced, please share! And what really helped me mentally for this race was that I didn't look at the distance screen of the garmin. I just kept my eyes on my pace. I think if I kept on looking at my mileage, I would have lost heart. What works for you when you're trying to run fast? 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Random Things Thursday/Saturday Morning at 1:30AM

So as you can probably see, I've been playing around with the template for my blog a lot. So my random things Thursday is quite overdue.

1. Thanks to everyone who commented about the whole birthday race thing. 
So, I just did it. I registered.
I am still cringing a little thinking about the price. 
Now I will promptly try to erase the expensiveness of the race from my memory. And now there's this additional pressure to not walk and keep my pace. I better PR on my birthday after all this. And the money too.

2. What do you think about my new template?
I've been playing with the template a lot. What took a long time was that I'd find a good template that I wanted to start out with. Then, I had to edit it for hours and hours to make it fit my needs more. In retrospect, I should have taken a basic web design course during my undergrad years since it's handy. But I took the hard way and edited it . . . very painfully. One of the main reasons I chose chemical engineering was that no advance physics or programming course was required. Little did I know that Physical Chemistry is Quantum Mechanics in disguise! It was a bad year full of wave functions and particles in boxes.

3. Sort of freaking out about the 5K tomorrow
I am totally not ready. I haven't done nearly enough speed work. I'm just trying to tell myself that it's all about enjoying myself.
Wild and fun. Gotta remember that. 
4. Weird injury in my Achilles tendon area
The reason I took such a long break from running (my last run was on Monday) was that I developed this weird pain in my Achilles tendon area. I don't know why. It just started hurting one day after class. I am not sure if it's running related. It happened randomly on Wednesday so about 48 hours after my last run. Regardless, I've been resting it so I hope it feels better for the 5K.
This guy died from getting shot in the Achilles. And actually had the tendon  named after him. Troy wasn't the best movie, but very easy on the eye. 
5. I can't believe I just spent like 85 dollars in one shot!! 
It will all be worth it when I PR on my birthday. As you can see, I'm still shell shocked about the whole paying for an expensive race thing. I think part of it is that I've only been running small local races that are <$40. So now I shall go on a diet to save money. I spend so much money on snacks, it's not even funny. Cutting off snacks will make me healthier. Considering I probably spend about <$20 on sweets per week, cutting them out for like a month will pay for the race. 

And what's on you guys's thoughts? Good luck to everyone who's racing! And for the rest of you who aren't, I hope you get in a good run or two. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Birthday Gift

I wish I was writing this post telling you guys that I just bought myself the best birthday gift ever. But I didn't . . . yet. For half of December and most of January, I'll be back in sunny California for winter break. That also happens to be when my birthday is. And my birthday happens to be the race day for 13.1 marathon Los Angeles. It would be awesome to be able to run a PR on my birthday.

But, the race fee is around 85 dollars including processing fee. And I still can't bear to part with 85 dollars to run the race. That's almost a new pair of running shoes. There's another race a little farther away from my home and a week earlier that's around 60 something dollars. But I really wanted to run on Venice Beach. Decisions, decisions. And even 60 something dollars seem very expensive to me.

I was totally prepared to do this on January 15th on the Venice Beach boardwalk.
True that
But I guess, now I'm not sure. I have five days to decide util race fees increase again.

Am I crazy for thinking a half marathon is an amazing way to spend my birthday? Should I shell out the bucks? 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How Much is Too Much?

I am a competitive person, and I like thinking of myself as a runner. Call me vain, but it feels nice to think "I'm a runner," whenever a run gets hard or I'm out there alone chugging away. And because of my competitiveness, I can never find the right middle ground. Races are often horrible (from pushing too hard), or not as fast as it could have been. For 5Ks, I usually try to give it my all. And so far for half marathons, I lose mental edge in the middle when it gets hard. Because I figure, why did I pay $40+ dollars to not have fun, so I slow down.
Definitely my problem for a half. 

Now the reason for my post. Whenever I start adding tempos and interval runs, I get the same nagging shin pain. It's not serious, but annoying and makes me wonder if I should cut back. But with school, I barely get in 20 miles a week, so I don't know where I could even cut back. And I figure that it's reasonable to have some pain and soreness with working out regularly. I guess I'm just not sure where to draw the line.

On a happier/stressful? note, I signed up for my second 5K. I signed up thinking that I would try to PR, but that thought was stressing me out last week, so I decided to shoot for a time around my last 5K's time or slightly faster. I will just give it my all and remember that I didn't do any speed intervals while training for my second half.
I WILL run like hell. And I WILL have fun with it. 
Fun fact: The race starts at a bar. And it will have six pack runners which are group of six runners all connected together somehow. If I had five more runner friends, I would have definitely been up for that.

I am excited. And I will now go contemplate whether the shin thing is too much and I should rest or not. And of course the first pic is from fb I <3 to run. Love that page!

Have a happy Monday tomorrow! And what should I do? Where do you guys draw the line when it comes to running pains?
And because everyone who runs/reads my blog is a sexy beast . . . 
Let's go eat some sexy beasts!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Random Things Thursday

1. Garmins are expensive
I had  24 hours of panic mode yesterday when the garmin refused to work after a 5 mile run. So I spent a good part of today looking at every website for a new garmin or a good timex stop watch that can lap. But magically, the garmin started working today in time for a good interval workout!
One garmin forerunner 405 costs about $200.
Forerunner 405 = 2 good pairs of shoes = about 1,000 or so miles of fun
Forerunner 405 = 3.5 moderately priced half marathons
Forerunner 405 = 8 reasonably priced 5Ks
Forerunner 405 = 100 cups of java chip frap from Starbucks.
You get the point.

2. There's a pretty tree on my way from classes that makes me want to run. 
It's a very pretty tree. And my phone did a decent job at capturing it. 
I don't know why it makes me want to run. But it does.

3. Running is good but training is even better.
When I don't have a training plan, I can't muster enough motivation to go out and run. I ran intervals today because I'm debating on signing up for a 5K next weekend.
Just think of my face instead of the cat's. Totally what I look like.
Found on google images for a lazy cat. Training rocks, because it makes me do speed workouts and while they hurt, workouts make me faster. And faster is always good.

4. I really want to run a 5K.
I am DYING to run a 5K. After two half marathons, I want to feel fast again. But since September has been a dismal month of no intervals or tempo, a fast 5K may not be possible. I want to try though.

5. I have thunder thighs.
But all the better to thunder down the course with. I've always had a body type with bigger thighs than my waist (annoying when buying pants), but lately I realized that when I look in the mirror, I appreciate them more than I used to. Especially true when I looked at my race photos from the bread run. My face was a scary grimace in the last sprint to the finish, and my legs are awesomely strong and springy looking.
Bam! Finishing strong. 
 I told you my thoughts. Your turn.What are you guys thinking about? 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bread Run Half Marathon Recap

I finished my second half marathon! 
I don't know why I'm twisting so hard. But that was me sprinting to the finish. 
Unfortunately, I was mislead into believing that I'd get a medal for the half. Nope! I got a lapel pin with the 5k finishers. But at least my bib says half marathon. 

A photo with everyone that I know who ran the 5k. the small thing that i'm holding up is the lapel pin. 
But the race was excellent. Despite no medals. There was post race chocolate milk handed out by a pageant queen. Milk tastes better when it's handed to you by a pretty person. :) And I also got a post race massage, which ended sooner than what I needed (all afternoon). And despite it being a small race, 85 people ran the half, the organization was excellent. There were digital time displays at about four locations, and I was able to run and drink because they handed out small water bottles rather than cups. The course was also completely closed to traffic. One bad part was that because the race was so small, I was mainly alone most of the time. 

So coming in to the race, my main goal was to have fun. I would have liked to beat my time from the Oak Tree, but I had no high hopes since I barely got in one day of running per week in the days leading up to the race. But I finished at 2:07:23 which is 9:44 min/mile  and a PR by about 6 minutes. I was very surprised since the day was so hot and the race started at 10:30AM. Running 13.1 miles in the blazing sun with no shade = not so fun. 

Look at all that sun. And see my bike shorts peeking out from underneath my usual running shorts? Best idea ever! No chafing. 
Did I mention that I started off slowly than I normally do? That was frustrating but awesome. I started wishing I was dead a lot later than I did at the Oak Tree. It started getting super hard around mile 9.

Look at the girl right behind me. She was also in my age group and came in 3 seconds behind me. 
Overall, I feel awesome and can't wait to do another one. I even feel less sore than I did after the Oak Tree. Actually, yesterday, I started getting a headache (probably from exerting myself in the heat) so I took two Advila. After an hour or so, I noticed that I had no soreness in my legs. I was so happy, thinking that my foam rolling and my superior physical shape has reduced the soreness. But that night as the soreness came back, I remembered the Advil. :( One day, I will be fit enough to run a strong half and also not feel sore. 

And to help you guys have a great Monday, here's a pic from I<3 to run on facebook. It's the story of my life. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Long Run Sunday

For some reason, I seem to always need an extra day to get used to the idea of a long run. I schedule all long runs on Saturdays. Then I make up excuses, go back to sleep, and have to do the long run Sunday. Yesterday, I planned on getting a 12 miler in the morning, then going to the apple festival to reward myself. Well, it was very cold and rainy all day, so I convinced myself that I was getting sick.

But that clearly did not stop me from going to the apple festival and getting pumpkin funnel cake and deep fried oreos. 
As a side note, I wasn't a big fan of deep fried Oreo. The Oreo gets too soggy, but the funnel cake was awesome. 

Then I got some veggies and fruits to make a balanced diet. 
I would have taken picture of my corn and hot chocolate, but it was gone too quickly.
For fruit, I chose to have caramel coated apple with white chocolate chips, m&m's and nut toppings. 
Great fueling for the long run. And it must have worked, because despite the chilliness, I logged 10 miles in 9:06/mile pace with the last two miles at my Oak Tree Half goal pace.For the Bread Run, I am just aiming for something less than 10:10/mile. It was a great confidence booster that maybe I would be able to finish the half marathon this coming weekend despite a sad lack of training. 

Oh and I finally got to try cliff shot blocks. I didn't get that magical boost in energy, but it didn't disagree with  me. A step in the right direction!

All in all, it was a great way to start October. A great run along with tons of junk food. Hopefully rest of October stays awesome. 

And just to start your October with awesomeness, here's a picture from i<3 to run on fb. I found this sacrilegious since I'm Christian, but it still made me smile. And I sort of think of it whenever I do a long run on Sundays. 

Please don't be offended.