Sunday, August 11, 2013

Past & Present

I stumbled upon this video on my phone the other day. It was taken about 8 months ago. My dad's driving beside me as I run down a mountain in my parents' hometown in Taiwan. Please note my dad's enthusiastic cheering and my reaction to stray dogs...

video
Aaanddd I am a heel striker. Nothing new here.

Moving on to the present!

I finally did my first long run in preparation for my fall marathon. I've been putting it off since the beginning of summer, but with 11 weeks until race day it's time to get serious.

Here's a look at my week in running.

Monday- 4 difficult miles outdoors. Mentally and physically I was not there. Could have been attributed to a weekend of drinking and poor eating while celebrating my brother's birthday. <--- crummy food makes for sucky running :(

Tuesday- 11 miles split up into two sessions. 8 miles at 5:30 am on the treadmill before work and 3 miles outdoors after work. Random speed and hill work thrown in on the treadmill to avoid boredom.

Wednesday- 8 easy evening miles on the treadmill.

Thursday- 10 miles on treadmill.

Friday- 16 miles on the treadmill. I procrastinated a little too much and by the time I was ready to run, it was already 3pm and disgustingly hot outside. Wanting to avoid intensifying my tan lines, I resorted to the treadmill. I was a little nervous about this run because I had never run more than 15 miles at a time in the old, sweaty, hot-as-f* gym. Thankfully I was prepared with hydration and fuel. My setup shown below generated a few too many stares for my liking... In order to avoid a soul crushing blowup on this run, I started out with conservative 8:50 minute miles and slowly increased my speed for the first 5 miles until I reached a comfortable 8:30 pace.



Saturday- Off. "Cross-trained" at Disneyland by walking around and standing in lines all day.

Sunday- 12 miles outdoors by the beach.

Total= 61 miles. I still stick to my philosophy of running based on feel. I know that specific training plans with intervals/hill work/strength etc. will make me faster, but by listening to my body on a daily basis I am able to consistently run high mileage without getting injured.





Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Long Overdue Reunion

It's a day of celebration of sorts! Not really...it's just an arbitrary day I chose to sign on to this lonely little blog of mine.

What has happened in the past 7 months or so since my last post?

  • Studied abroad in Hong Kong
  • Visited Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Macau, Taiwan, China
  • Got lazy with running in the heat, humidity, and my own sweat
  • Ate my way though ethnic cuisines and finally started eating pork again after 6 years. (this has sparked a really unhealthy love for bacon)
  • Ran in the Hong Kong half marathon, achieved a personal worst by a few minutes or so. (don't run this race. No crowd support and 2 miles through an underground tunnel with no wind/thousands of other runners absolutely kills you)
  • Ran the RnR San Diego half marathon and got smoked by my brother who ran a
    "long run" of 8 miles in preparation
  • Moved to Santa Monica for a summer internship
  • Ran 21 miles to celebrate 21 years of a happy, healthy life

So a whole lot of "stuff," lets put it, has happened in the first half of the year. Any resemblance of quality running was left in the dust.... leaving me in the dust in the only two races I've shuffled my way though this year.

But not all is lost! I'm officially signed up for two races and am motivated to run far and fast.

I'm currently signed up for the America's Finest City Half Marathon on August 18th and the RnR St. Louis Marathon on October 27th. I'm hoping to use the half marathon to gauge of my speed. Marathon #3 will hopefully be lucky my BQ. 

My shoe rotation for this training cycle will be the Brooks Pure Flow 2s and the Saucony Kinvara 4s, two new-to-me styles. So far, I'm loving both. The Sacuony's are a bit more of a minimalist shoe, which is great for shorter, speedier distances while the "heftier" Pure Flows help cushion my joints on long runs.

I also recently bought an overpriced yoga mat from lululemon in hopes that the hefty price will motivate me to place my lazy butt on the shiny pink surface and do some stretches and core work. We'll see. It's currently hidden in a corner of my apartment collecting dust.

TLDR; Both the blog and I are up and running.




Saturday, November 24, 2012

Quarry Turkey Half Marathon

Running has been ****-tastic lately. Insert whatever word you'd like there. I apologize to everyone who has been patient with my grumpy endorphin-less self. 

I had full intentions of running the 10k Silicon Valley Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning but after getting injured a few weeks ago and unintelligently racing the St. Louis Half Marathon, the left hip/butt pain left me with sub-par running or no running at all. I managed 3-4 miles at a time, with pain.

Fortunately when I got home for Thanksgiving break, the pain magically disappeared. Boom. Bay Area magic? I'll take it. But two days before Thanksgiving I ran 5 miles at a 9:30 min/mile pace, and it was hard. HARD. Heavy breathing, gasping for air. You name it, I felt it. Nope, no 10k race for me.

By some miracle, I was able to run 10 miles at around a 8:30 pace on Thanksgiving morning. That translated into a Friday morning last minute signup for the Quarry Turkey Half Marathon on Saturday. Casual. Trust me to do an impromptu race. I was desperately needing some motivation and confidence. 

Friday night. I ate my way through Thanksgiving #2. What? Who says we can only indulge once a year? Feed me, I'm a runner. This may not have been the best idea, but I wasn't meticulously planning my race strategy like I usually do. I woke up nice and full and ready to run.

Race day. Ran 13.1 miles, what's new? 1:45:xx. 2nd AG. 

Meh. Pretty much the same time as my first half-marathon a year ago.

That and I was less than a minute slower than the 1st female in my division.

But enough about me. I'm just grumpy (I'll get over it.) 

Today is about you. 'Tis the season to be thankful. And I am. Today marked my 10th race in the past year (or my 10th road race ever) so I just wanted to thank everyone who has ever supported my running. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

St. Louis Half Marathon Recap

I made it! I survived! Somehow I managed to run the St. Louis Half Marathon, even finishing in a decent time.

On Wednesday, four days before the race, my left hip started to act out. It was really tight and I couldn't quite pin point the pain. Some steps were fine, but other times I could barely manage to put force on the leg without feeling like I was going to crumble to the floor. At that point running the half seemed impossible.

I took Thursday, Friday, and Saturday completely off. No running. All I did was rest, eat, and stretch. I didn't even go get my bib, claiming that I wasn't going to run on Sunday; my friend ended up getting it for me, knowing that I'm stubborn as hell and probably would run it.

Fast forward to Saturday night. I tried "running" a few strides to see how it would feel. I took a total of 5 steps before crying out in pain. The odds did not look good. I decided then that I wasn't going to run. I spent the rest of the night doing some reading and eating cookies. No pre-race carbo load, no nothing.

I set my alarm for 5:30 so I could go to the race with my friend Jeff (who PR'd again, running a 1:32!) and cheer him on. I didn't lay any of my clothing out like I usually do. The next morning, I threw on some comfortable running clothing, grabbed my garmin, bib, and ipod, and headed out the door without eating breakfast as I wasn't planning on running. No pre-race rituals of coffee, oatmeal with peanut butter, and bathroom breaks.

At the start, there were physical therapists who were giving free consultations to runners in pain. I went up to them, described my pain, and they did some horribly painful stretches/massages on me and told me I was cleared to run. WHAT? I couldn't believe the doctor's words. It hurt to walk minutes before and now i can run? What kind of miracle worker, fairy godfather, genie in a bottle are you??

Well, I took a few strides 5 minutes before the start and lo and behold: MINIMAL PAIN! I wasn't compensating my form at all so I thought to myself, "I'll just take it easy and DNF after 2-3 miles."

2-3 miles turned into 5, then 8. At that point my hip started hurting a little, but I told myself to stay in the game and targeted a girl to follow for the rest of the race. At mile 10, my pace slowed significantly and my form started to compensate. But I was too far in to quit. I finished, awkwardly hobbling across the finish line in 1:46 and didn't positive split too badly!!



Some say I'm courageous for finishing. I think I'm a foolish, stubborn runner who likes pushing my limits a little to far for comfort. 

Thankfully its 3 days after the race and I have been feeling very minimal pain/soreness in my left hip. It's slowly going away due to the amount of foam rolling, compression, and stretching I have been doing. I'm pretty sure that the pain would be gone if I had waited to run for a few more days. I've been cross training on the bike and the elliptical and will probably do so for the rest of the week. I want a full recovery soon so I can start training for a marathon in 2013!


As for the course, it's an out and back loop with tons of rolling hills. It passes Downtown Clayton, Washington University, and loops around Forest Park. Course support was friendly but sparse. I would definitely run the half again because its convenient and local. It's a small, challenging, and and well-run race with not much to see on the course.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Injuries.

Injuries are a runner's worst nightmare. Not only does it mean taking time off from something you love and look forward to doing every day, but it also means losing some fitness that you've accumulated. For me, it also means having to avoid the temptation to just "try it out" and run.

I've never been injured, despite logging continuous heavy mileage weeks. However, a few days ago, something felt wrong in my left hip. I couldn't quite explain the pain and wasn't sure if I just landed awkwardly and tweaked something or if the injury is something more serious.

After taking three days off, I can firmly say that it feels better. Does it feel good enough to race on this Sunday? I'm not quite sure. I'd rather take the DNS than put my long-term ability to run at risk. Missing a week of running is fine; missing months because I was stupid enough to race on an injury is not.

I think I'm going to decide whether or not to run on Sunday morning. For now, "RICE," cookies, and essay writing (to focus my mind on something else) is getting me through this hardship.

Oh yeah, I definitely forgot to mention. I impulsively signed up for the St. Louis Half Marathon last week. It would be a shame to miss because it goes right through campus. :(


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Love Your Body

I'm going to focus on something a little bit more serious today. It's national Fat Talk Free Week and I'm apart of a student-run group on campus called Reflections. We dedicate our time towards spreading awareness about eating disorders and promoting positive body image across campus.

The reason why I'm bringing this up here is because runners and all other athletes are not immune to "fat talk" and eating disorders. If anything, we have a heightened awareness of what we put into our bodies, how our bodies look, and how our bodies perform.

I, personally, am in a really good place with my own body. I didn't start to run to lose weight, like many others. However, one thing that did affect me was that I was in shock at how much I was eating when I started running. I started to run because I wanted to become a better runner and race various distances. Still, I was not aware of "runger" (run-hunger) and it quickly caught up to me. I started to become very wary of how much I was eating. It took me awhile to adjust my diet accordingly, but now I know how to fuel my body adequately so I can perform optimally. When I run more, I eat more. When I don't run as much, I eat less.

On the other hand, it's not that simple for others. Food and exercise for some consumes their thoughts to the point where it negatively affects their every day lives. Aside from the most commonly talked about eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia, there are others not so well-known that are  ignored and disguised as an excuse for living an extremely "healthy" lifestyle. Orthoexia Nervosa is a disorder where healthy eating becomes an obsession and sufferers reject certain foods deemed as "unhealthy." Exercise Bulimia is where individuals feel compelled to exercise everyday to burn off calories consumed. This is very similar to the notion of "exercise guilt" that we often hear people talking about.

What I'm getting at is it doesn't matter what size you are. If you run, then you are a runner. You are a runner no matter how fast or how slow you are. It doesn't matter if you run or if you run-walk. Fuel your body, treat it well. As a runner, nothing is more important than "Loving Your Body." It'll thank you and help you reach your goals.

So I urge you to change the conversation about "fat talk" this week, month, year, even for the rest of your life. Saying "I feel fat in these jeans" or "You look so thin in that dress" are examples of "fat talk" that we should avoid. Shift the topic of conversation away from our bodies to other more important things such as personal accomplishments, upcoming travels, and things that simply excite us in daily life. Eliminating "fat talk" one person at a time makes all the difference.

Love Your Body (LYB),











Angela

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rock and Roll St. Louis Recap

For those of you who don't know how I did on Sunday... I don't know how you've managed to escape my excitement thus far. Here's a recap to get you on board!!

On Saturday morning, I took the metro to the expo in Downtown St. Louis. I was in and out fairly quickly as there wasn't really much going on. Compared to the RnR San Diego expo, this one had significantly fewer booths but was still run smoothly.

My friends and I had a pretty fun, leisurely day. Post expo, we went to get crepes and massages. I had never gotten a massage before a race, and I was pretty nervous as to how it would affect my performance. Luckily for me, it wasn't a painful Thai massage and I felt like the masseuse got the blood flowing in my legs to warm me up for Sunday's race. I had decided not to run on Friday or Saturday and leave my legs fresh and ready to go for the race. Then, we went shopping and I got a new race top from GAP, which could have been an extremely bad idea but I didn't chafe! Win.

After a few hours on my feet, we came home so I could rest up and carboload. In other words, I decided it would be a great idea to make triple fudge banana bread from How Sweet Eats. DELICIOUS.

I think i had about a third of the bread that night/morning. Perfect pre-race fuel? I think so.


I made the perfect playlist on my iPod Shuffle. I like to listen to electronic dance music that will keep me motivated and energized. Around 2 am I finally fell asleep...I slept for about 3 hours... from 2am-5am. Excitement got the best of me! I got up pretty groggily, so I had 2 Starbucks' via packets to get me going and then ate a New York City plain bagel. Delicious. Thankfully I had laid everything out the night before so my morning was extremely easy going; I didn't have to worry about forgetting anything last minute. I wore Asics DS racers, Pro Compression socks, Lululemon running skirt, Nike Pro Compression sports bra, and my new Gap tank.

Around 5:45, my friend Jeff (who ran a 1:35! so speedy) and I took the metro down to the race, which was the best idea ever because it literally took us to the start line. It was also so much fun seeing all the other runners up so early in the morning ;) We got downtown around 6:15, and I headed to the Brooks VIP porta potties which were super nice. I had gone to Mizzouri Running Company the week before to get Nuun and the nice guy working gave me the vip pass for free. The VIP porta potties were located in trailers had running water/lights like a real bathroom. The toilet paper even said Run Happy! No long lines= happy runner. After a quick stop to the gear check, some warm up strides, and stretching we were ready to go.
I was in Corral 1.... Immediately after entering the corral I felt extremely nervous, wondering if I belonged there. I have a tendency to start out too fast, only to burn out in the end. I wanted to run a smart race this time so I headed towards the 1:40 pace group only to see PACER RON! He paced me for about 17 miles of the GO! St. Louis Marathon before I fell apart. I was so excited to see him again and hopefully keep up this time. Redemption at last. I also saw my finance professor (he ran a 1:27!!!!) at the start line. Needless to say, everything was going in my favor. The temperature was perfect; It was a cool start and comfortable throughout the rest of the race.

The race started 10 minutes late which bothered me a bit because I had warmed up in advance and had started to get a bit cold. I also didn't feel so great for the first 5 miles or so (the banana bread was catching up to me!), mentally debating slowing down or trying to keep up. I'm glad I ran with Pacer Ron as he kept talking to me and encouraged me to keep running. Around mile 7, I started to feel better and realized that I could potentially hit sub 1:40, so I kept on going. At mile 8.5 I choked down half a gu, and I definitely felt it kick in. I was on top of the world at mile 10, feeling better and stronger than I did at the start of the race. At mile 11.5, Pacer Ron told me to surge ahead. He had been watching me run and said that I looked strong and told me to find my final kick. I dug deep for the final mile and a half and crossed the finish line with a huge smile. THANK YOU PACER RON!!

I finished with an official time of 1:38:56.


Beyond. Ecstatic. Negative splits. Sub 1:40. What else could I ask for?


Everything, and I mean everything played out perfectly. I say perfectly because I don't want to make excuses for why I could have run faster. Could I have? Maybe, probably. Do I actually want to dwell on it? No. I'm proud of my PR and there will be times in the future when I can crush it.


Also, what?? This was on the official website. Sweet. I was hurting towards the end...

Next goal: 1:35. Let's go.