Saturday, August 29, 2015

Almost died in the heat but completed first race of the year!

This week, I made a rash decision to sign up for a half marathon as part of my training run. However, there was only one 'nearby' at the Rockaway Beach. The travel time from my apartment to the Rockaway Beach (17th Street) was an hour and 45 minutes which I thought was way too long, but I had no choice than to suck it up and run the race. I was getting a little bored with running in Central Park and the suburbs at home, so I figured I'd switch up the running scenery. Luckily, I was able to stay over my friend's apartment in Williamsburg to cut my commute shorter this morning!

The course of the race was 3 loops on the broad-walk with 3 different distances which added up to 13.1 miles.  I personally thought the start time was too late at 8am since it was already getting hot. The race wasn't as enjoyable due to the duration of exposure to the sun for the entire race and there wasn't any shades. It was pretty brutal, nonetheless, I fought through the mental game, refused to stop at any point and made it to the finish at 1:51:43 (no PR). I thought I was really going to pass out in the fiery heat! I was a bit disappointed with the time since I have been doing more interval training and distance running on the weekends, but I guess my body just can't beat the weather and the lack of sleep I had. All in all, I was happy to complete this race and had a chance to check out Far Rockaway (never been there before!) Lastly, great people at the race and very friendly organizer! They even included cookies and a banana muffin in the goodie bag along with a bright T-shirt! =)

Beautiful day at the beach!

The finish line

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sweet 16! NYRR Long Training Run #2

I set my alarm for 5:45 this morning and hit snooze.. Finally I dragged myself out of bed right before 6:00. I made a myself a peanut butter toast (my typical breakfast before any long run) and shortly headed up to E102nd where the training run starts. The weather today was quite humid compared to Long Training Run #1, but I knew I needed to hit sweet 16 (that was the distance I ran last year this time). After exhausting my body for 2 hours and 17 minutes, I got 16 miles down! =D It's been 3 1/2 months since I returned to running after my injury and there's been no signs of any injury recurrence so far! (knock on wood)

There are a few new things I started this summer including a Fitness Instagram account and NYRR running classes for 10 weeks! Follow me @ Littlerunnerr  You can find vegetarian/vegan recipes, healthy desserts and other good stuff on my account =) More to come on the running class! If you are interested, you can find more information on the link here! NYRR Running Class

8/17 update (post 16 miles): my body feels normal today surprisingly. I think yoga may have been a great contributor to my training routine! I have been going to a yoga vinyasa class at YogaToThePeople in East Village once a week. I think it's very beneficial to anyone whether you are an athlete or not! So I attended a yoga vinyasa class tonight and I definitely felt the tightness in my adductors and my lower back mostly due to long distance running. Not only did the class stretch out my whole body, it also relaxed my mind after work on a Monday haha 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Happy National Running Day!

Happy National Running Day! 😃👣

What is National Running Day?

According to, National Running Day is held annually on the first Wednesday in June when runners everywhere declare their passion for running.

I'm very extremely grateful that I can celebrate National Running Day with my short run this morning! The ability to run again is beyond stupendous!  Running enables me to find strength and confidence in myself as well as providing me a clearer perspective! How does running affect you?
And how are you celebrating this special day? 

Morning run along the East River in UES 

After a prolonged 7 months recovery from various injuries I suffered from last years marathon, I can finally lace up my Asics and run! Long story short, due to my vegetarian diet and vitamin D deficiency, etc, it took much longer than expected for me to run again. Sometimes your body is just like a capricious system. During my recovery, I swam, biked, did weight training and yoga. I love Yoga To The People! Check it out if you haven't already! It's been over a month since I started running again, 2-3 times a week consistently to slowly ease into distance running and start my marathon training! More to come, stay tuned 😎

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mission accomplished: finished NYC Marathon (with a stress fracture)

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t” – Rikki Rogers

It's been quite some time since I last updated my marathon training. Why? 1) I was depressed and couldn't bring myself to share my feelings that I had a tibial stress fracture 2) I was in denial about my injury 3) most of my free time was spent on various appointments every week and active healing 4) I was ambivalent about being able to finish the marathon.

Given the above, it was a nightmare that I did not foresee nor ever thought it could happen a month before the NYC Marathon. Did I cry? No, but I was very close to. I felt like it was the end of the world for me because it was a significant commitment I made to myself and of other momentous meanings. Even though I was inconsolable, I received positive support from some fellow running friends in Run & Chug, the Rise and close friends. I kept a positive attitude and focused on healing both physically and mentally. Of course I also received concerns from various folks including my family, my doctor, my physical therapist and co workers. I heard the same speech on permanent damage and what not. I refused to digest it and tried to block the negativity out since I was already degenerated from dealing with my injury. Nonetheless, I was determined to run at a slower pace. Though a subliminal message was still somewhere in the back of my mind that my legs could become dysfunctional at any point during the race.

On the marathon day, I woke up extra early to tape both of my shins and carefully slipped my compression sleeves on top on the tapes. This is the video I used: taping posterior shin splints I wasn't very excited which is the complete opposite of how other runners felt. I was worried about permanently damaging my legs and feeling excruciating pain that I can't finish. I took a real deep breath once the race began and starting running through the wind tunnel - the lower level of the Verrazano Bridge. I was almost blown away but safely made it to Brooklyn and saw Rob. That's when I started to feel excited!

Throughout Brooklyn, I saw quite a lot of familiar faces cheering for me! Brian and his family, didn't get to take a picture with them. From mile 4 on, I just listened to music and kept going because Becky was waiting for me at mile 8 with other friends! The picture depicts our love in a nutshell!

After mile 8, I was looking for Cory and Erin and their friends near McCarren Park in Williamsburg. Erin made me a poster and almost left out the 'H' in my name! It was awesome seeing them! Nonetheless, the pain in my legs really built up around mile 12, I slowed down a lot and walked a bit. I was really scared that I couldn't go any further because my feet, my ankles, my knees and my shins felt like they were falling apart and I was not even half way done. So I took another Advil, had a bite of my homemade peanut butter sandwich and a couple chomps which I stored in my waist pocket. Finally I made it through the Pulaski Bridge and the Queensborough Bridge because I saw a lot of runners running for charity such as cancer and I thought those people are in greater pain than the pain I was feeling, that was one of the biggest motivation to keep me going.

After getting off the Queensborough Bridge, I missed my Run & Chug friends because I forgot where they were cheering. But they made cute posters!! 

I didn't see anyone else I know on First Avenue, but a lot of spectators cheered for me because I had my name on my shirt! Each cheer brought me a little further! I took a gel pack at mile 17 and had another bite of my peanut butter sandwich. After going in the Bronx, I still felt energized. I was getting really excited as I approached mile 20 and knowing I have only 6 miles left which I could totally do! I saw Becky and friends from the Rise unexpectedly at mile 22 (I think). And Becky even ran with me for a few minutes down Fifth Avenue! At mile 23, I saw my pt Raechel and other pts from Finish Line. As I headed south by Mount Sinai, my roommate, Alyssa was there cheering! She was working at the hospital that day and asked for a quick break as she tracked me down! I was really running on adrenaline down Fifth Avenue and into the park and in the park. I knew I had to finish because my best friend, Michelle who traveled all the way from Boston, was holding my boot by the Finish line. I finally made it to mile 26 and high-fived her and Eric!

Shortly after seeing Michelle and Eric, I made it to the finish and earned my first marathon medal!!! I was overjoyed that I crossed the finish line!!!

It was a dream and a miracle that I finished! I truly appreciate all the support I have gotten from everyone from training to injury to race day!! It was also bittersweet because I wish I was able to run at my normal pace and not worry about how bad my fracture was post race.

I missed Lauren unfortunately, but reunited with her and her awesome poster at the bar post race!! 

9 of us did the marathon from Run & Chug! Can't wait for NYC Marathon 2015! I definitely think I am capable to run it again and run it a lot faster!

I recalled what Michael told me when I was signing up for races to fulfill the 9 + 1 requirement in 2013. He highly encouraged me to run a marathon when I said I can never do a marathon. He said I'll thank him when I finish the marathon. I did not believe him, but I did after I completed it!

Michael and I at the first marathon training run (I should probably bake him a dozen cookies now)

It's been over a week since the marathon, my leg has been feeling better day by day. I don't think I broke my leg. The first couple of days were the worst, my legs were in complete pain especially walking down the stairs.....
I am waiting for my latest MRI result, I am a bit anxious! I think anything is possible if you strongly believe you can do it. I took a huge risk and loaded 26.2 miles on my injured leg, but I don't recommend other runners to do the same. If you do, listen to your body and don't push it!

How did I deal with my injury pre race? A bunch of things! I looked into different outlets to speed up my recovery. 

My healing regime consisted of the following:

1. I was put in a walking boot which takes the pressure off my right leg to prevent further damage to the fracture. I wore it religiously all day every day! I was restricted from running, jumping, spinning, high impact activities and plyometrics. I hated the boot and I still dislike the boot (currently still wearing it, some people say I have been rocking the boot which makes me chuckle and got me on a few dates) 

2. I amended my exercise routine: swimming, biking with low resistance, core workout, yoga with modification, weight training with modification

3. my doctor prescribed a bone stimulator - a low intensity ultrasound (I have been using it twice a day, 12 hours apart) This is an expensive device..Thank god my insurance covered it, the retail price is $5,000!!!

4. I inserted orthodics in my running shoes because I have relatively flat feet

5. I went to physical therapy twice a week at It's a great facility! My pt is Raechel, she does soft tissue massages on my legs and stretches with me to alleviate tension in my legs. She also assigns stretching exercises to increase mobility in my hips and glutes and foam rolling exercises to do at home. She is an awesome pt! 

6. I went to for acupuncture sessions to release the "qi" in my legs. I had Imani and Jon and they were both really good and professional. Unfortunately my insurance does not cover this, I had to pay $70 per session. I bought a package of 5 for $300 eventually. I went for a few times before the marathon. How does acupuncture help?

7. My doctor recommended a bone density exam for me. My result (Z score) was below the standard deviation in my age group probably due to my diet as a vegetarian. So I was asked to take Calcium and Vitamin D supplement. I take it once a day after meal.

8. I drank a lot of tart cherry juice which helps to reduce muscle inflammation. 

9. Put on kinesio tape and compression socks!!

10. Most importantly, I stayed mentally strong! I believe psychological stress delays the healing process and it's true!

Overall, I think my tibial stress fracture was primarily driven by unhealthy bones, flat feet, lack of mobility in my hips and glutes which my shins overcompensated, heel striking when I run and continued running on my initial injury, shin splints.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What a major milestone (18 miler)/crushed Harlem Hills 3 times!- NYC Marathon training week 8

Last Sunday was another early rise for me and for other fellow runners who are either training for a marathon, NYC, Chicago, Marine Corps, Berlin, Philly, etc or they are just simply out of their mind and in love with the Harlem Hills.. If I wasn't training for the NYC marathon, I wouldn't have forced myself to skip out on Saturday night fun. Anyway, my anticipation for the 18 mile tune-up built up so much that I couldn't get a good night sleep, but I am sure I was not alone. I woke up a couple of times in the middle of the night thinking it was time to get up, but it was not. I could not bear the thought of missing my alarm and missing the run since running with a group for 18 miles is so much easier than doing it on my own.  That feeling could compare to missing an important job interview perhaps!

In short, the run was 3 loops in the park with plenty of fluid stations and volunteers. It was another well organized event hosted by NYRR. I only paid $10 for this, the cheapest and longest race I have ever done, but yet it was the hardest race thus far! The distance challenged me mentally and physically again. For mental preparation, I updated my music playlist so I could just get into running zone with beats. I already convinced my brain that I just completed 16 miles couple weeks ago, I could totally run another 2 miles. In terms of my physical training leading up the the 18 miler, I switched things up a bit this time! I reduced my weekly mileage and incorporated some interval training (8 x 100m & 4 x 400m) and increased my core workout instead! The result was rewarding! I felt less out of breath and I was able to use my core to push myself up the hills to reduce tension in my legs. (The high intensity of interval training is proven to improve aerobic capacity and it did in my case! Check out this article on improving aerobic capacity) There were times where my legs felt heavy and tight, but I stretched them out while I was hydrating at the water station. I made it to the finish in 2 hours and 36 minutes. My pace was a bit slower than the 16 miles run mainly due to stopping at more water stations and stretching my legs. Overall, I was just very happy to finish without killing my body! The completion of this 18 miler definitely boosted my confidence up that I should be ok/ready for the marathon even though I still have some training left! But the thought of running the marathon is still surreal! 7 weeks to go!

A few of my running friends from Run & Chug (NYC Fun Run) also completed the course. We had a boozy brunch at Uptown, it's a great spot for group gathering! Left to right (Stephen, Jen, Wayne, Rob, me, Molly and Mike) I love this running group, the energy, the people and their support make my training experience 100x better! 

 The weather was perfect! mid 50s when it started and it rose to the 70s in the afternoon. We spent it well under the sun in the park afterwards!

Despite the glamorous feeling of conquering 18 miles, my stomach didn't quite feel glamorous after the run. It was cramping and hurting for no good reason... But I did some research at home and found the following common causes:

1. dehydration
2. overload on gel packs
3. the levels of electrolytes are too low
4. Intake of Advil prior a run
5. Intake of food within 30 mins of starting a run
6. Intake of heavy, high-fat meals the day before a run
7. Intake of alcohol the night before a run

Here are the articles I read, feel free to take a look at them!

Based on my research, I might be able to draw to conclusion on why my stomach did not feel great post my long run. I had 3 alcoholic drinks the night before, I ate a peanut butter toast 20 mins before the run, I did not hydrate myself and I do not take any gel packs in general so my level of electrolytes were definitely low.... For my next long run, I will make sure I don't make the same mistakes! I might also try Nunn (link) since some runners suggested it! This might be the ultimate cure to my stomach problem!

I will be posting my training schedule sometime this week!

Monday, August 18, 2014

16 miles before 10 o'clock - NYC Marathon training week 4

Waking up at 6 in the morning on the weekend doesn't sound strange to me anymore... It may sound crazy to some people why I get up so early to run, but it makes 100% sense to me and my fellow runners because we all have the same goal at the end - be able to cross the finish line and feel accomplished! My body felt quite sore this morning after a few hours of softball on Saturday, but I knew I need to get my miles in regardless. I definitely battled hard both mentally and physically to conquer 16 miles today, the longest distance I have ever ran in my life thus far!! 

I am very thankful that NYRR offers pace group for the Long Training Run #2. I ran with the 8:30 pace group the whole entire time and I definitely believe running with a group keeps you going even if your body feels quite exhausted! The route started out on 103rd Street heading up to the Harlem hill. We did a full loop in the park (6 miles), then 2 loops minus the Harlem Hill (5 miles each loop). 6+5+5=16!!!! My legs were hurting especially my right hamstring during the last couple miles but I remained mentally strong and told myself to push past the pain that I'll be done very soon. I used the breathing techniques in yoga and just kept myself in the running zone with my workout playlist. The next thing I saw was the 16 mile mark! I finished in 2 hours and 18 minutes =) I am glad my body did not completely break down after 16 miles, but very exhausted!

After my run, I saw some familiar faces: Michael, who encouraged me to partake in the 9+1 last year to qualify for the marathon this year. He said I'll thank him when I cross the finish line on November 2nd and I know I will because it'll be one of the most rewarding experience!

I also saw 2 friends, Molly and Wayne. We belong to this running group called NYC Fun Run. We run and we chug! It's an awesome group, feel free to check it out -

On our way to brunch! 

Below is my training update:

7/29/14: 4.00 miles at 8:12"/mi
7/31/14: 3.25 miles at 8:30"/mi
8/2/14:  9.07 miles at 8:32"/mi
8/4/14:  3.00 miles on the treadmill (probably 8:00"/mi)
8/6/14:  5.28 miles at 8:28"/mi
8/8/14:  13.00 miles at 8:49"/mi
8/10/14: 5.02 miles at 8:11"/mi
8/13/14: 5.02 miles at 8:29"/mi
8/16/14: 3.16 miles at 8:14"/mi
8/17/14: 16.15 miles at 8:33"/mi

I have not been doing any track workout, so my running pace have been slower than the spring..It's time to get back to interval training to pick up my pace a bit! I would say softball has definitely taken time away from going to track! Time to shift my focus and dedicate my life to running till November 2nd, hopefully my pace will improve when I check in again in a couple of weeks!