Sunday, November 30, 2014

Philadelphia Half Marathon 2014 Race Recap

Philly Half Marathon Race Recap 2014- aka joining the sub 2:00 club!

You know, a normal family running outing.
My senior year of high school I ran my second half marathon, or tried to. I DNF'ed at mile four after dislocating my knee and falling on the cement. The knee wouldn't go back in for several minutes so I had to go to the emergency room. The nurse that came in to the room asked me what I'd been doing when I fell and I told her I had been running a half marathon, that I was a runner. "Oh you're awfully large for that, aren't you?" She said, "my niece runs cross country, but she's tiny." It's embarrassing that that is something I can remember word for word when it happened almost four years ago, but nevertheless, those words have gone through my mind multiple times. Today was a turning point. I finished the Philadelphia half marathon in 1:57:29 and I cried when I finished. I've been trying to break 2:00 for three years now and there's been problem after problem. If something can happen to you during a race, chances are it's happened to me over the past four years. I've broken bones, gotten stress fractures, torn muscles, gotten sick, the list is long. None of these things are necessarily symptoms of my training, but when you have that much bad luck, you begin to worry if you will always have bad luck. I am not the skinniest runner, I am not the fastest runner, my school comes before my running- these are all obvious obstacles. And while I really do love running, I will admit that after my heartbreaking 2:18 in Baltimore this October (I got a cold the week before that left me so dehydrated I walked a decent portion), I was having some serious doubts. A normal runner would tackle this doubt with better, different training, but with Philadelphia just two weeks before my final exams, I had run a total of ten miles (all on the treadmill) the week before and was running on very little sleep. This is probably not how the pros do it.

That being said, when I toed the line this morning, I was determined. I felt good, the weather was perfect, I could do this. Then my watch stopped working. I decided immediately that I wasn't going to let my inability to remember to charge my watch ruin my run so I ran the whole race solely by looking at the clock time, and subtracting 4 minutes, (the time it took me to get to the start line) and match it with my pace band. I was able to run 8:55 minute miles every time almost exactly. I tuned almost everything out and obsessively monitored myself hoping nothing would go wrong but preparing myself for when it eventually did. But then an amazing thing happened- I got to mile 12 and I was almost exactly on target to run 2:00. I knew I could run sub two, my secret goal the whole time, If I just pushed a little harder. It's such a strange thing, purposely making yourself hurt to do just a little better. But when I got to the finish, I knew I had done it! I actually started crying. I saw my dad and he was waving at me and I told him immediately that I had finally cracked 2:00 because I knew he would get it.
I am not an "ideal" runner. At 5'11" and 150 lbs, I'm never winning a marathon or anything, but i think you would be hard pressed to find a person who loves this sport more than me. A part of me wishes I could go back to that day and tell that nurse how wrong she was. In reality, I'm sure she had no idea that what she said would stay with me for as long as it has. But I know now that I can do it. You can go to school and I have a job, and not be a tiny stick and still accomplish your goals. Anyone can be a runner- I'm a runner :)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

CMM Recap

One day I will run a half marathon and everything will go swimmingly. Until that day I will continue to try to see my races as a glass half full experience no matter what. I actually went out to run this race with very few expectations. This race was mainly about the trip and included many firsts. My first time booking a flight, my first solo flight, and farthest south and west I've ever been in the United States. The trip was foremost about having a cool adventure with one of my friends of eight years who goes to school at Vanderbilt University. Secretly, however, my goal was the ever elusive sub two hour half. On paper, I know I can run this fast but a steady stream of injuries and inconveniently times illnesses have kept me from peak performance on race day. My current PR- 2:08:13. I put zero pressure on myself from Thursday night when I got on the plane to Nashville to the morning of the race on Saturday. I ate whatever I wanted, I walked a lot, I went to a party late- all things I would normally neurotically avoid before a big race. But the thing was, race morning I felt great. And I had the training to back me up. I tend to avoid longer runs because the sad truth is that my knees just can't do it. I'm saying it right now, I will never be an ultra marathoner. But I had run five days a weeks starting in February with speed workouts, a longish (7-9 miles) run on the weekend, and the week before my race I had gone to Rockefeller state park to do some hills. Bottom line, when I got into my corral at 6:30 am I was already thinking of calling my dad at the finish to tell him that I had finally broken 2:00 while eating ice cream the day before. I was basically a medical marvel.

Picking up the world's largest bib and my pint class BECAUSE I'M 21 NOW

I'm pretty sure Meb won Boston last week because he ate ice cream on a deck the afternoon before. And yes, it was warm enough to wear shorts. I now understand why people want to live in the south. 

As you can probably guess by the way this is going, things took a turn for the worst pretty quickly. By mile two I discovered I must have gotten food poisoning. How I have no idea because I'm pretty sure the symptoms would have shown up long before two miles into a race but one thing is certain, when you are having serious stomach pains, running hard for two more hours is not a good idea. I know, I'm basically a doctor. I somehow managed to finish the race. I had to stop four times total during the race, I was unable to eat anything and could basically only stomach gatorade in small sips which I stopped at every water station to get. I was becoming one of those stop/ start runners I loathed. Upside was the course was beautiful. I 100% recommend this race. The course is fair with not too many hills, tons of support, and lots of spectators. You go by Belmont and Vanderbilt, lots of residential areas with people sitting in lawn chairs playing the Rocky theme song, and also the more populated city areas which reminded me a bit of racing in Philly. There are also tons of really fun bands playing. I used all this to keep my mind off how I felt.

By the time I crossed the finish I was at 2:16:53. I had stopped my Garmin, however, every time I had to make a full stop, bringing me to just over 2:05. I was pretty devastated. If I hadn't had to stop, it definitely would have been a PR day at the very least, if not a possible sub 2 day.

When all else fails, do it for the medal.

But this trip wasn't really about that. It was about experiencing a new place through running and being brave trying something I've never done before. In that sense, I succeeded. I also have to be proud of the fact that even while feeling pretty terrible, I was able to keep moving at basically a 9:30 pace. My last half in Philadelphia had been slower than that and I had only had a cold to bring me down. (Yes, if you ever need any advice about running while potentially really injured or really sick, I'm your girl. ) I KNOW I have sub 2:00 in me. Today was not that day but I stuck it out, I never quit on it, and when I got back, my friend was there with a diet coke and more ice cream. Bring on the adventures and the PRs because I'm ready for them. :)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Spring Break Catch Up and Nashville Half Tomorrow!

I didn't have time to update over spring break but I was taking lots of pictures. It was a good week, if not very aptly timed. I have finals in four weeks so break made me feel like I needed to be working. What I really did...

My dad took this picture of me driving after not doing so for months. No car for me in NYC. I'm a good driver, I swear!!

Made this Matzo Spinach Lasagna from Martha Stewart Living for Passover. Verdict: Not as good as regular lasagna but I thought it was very good for what it was. Would definitely make it again for passover. 

Selfie with the bro and roommate who graciously came to visit us ALL THE WAY UPSATE (jk, 1 hour is not that far)

Anndddddd Selfie with these adorable little girls. 

Soft Serve (or dole whip, whatever that is) at Jumpin' Jacks!
Running Boston Strong on Patriot's Day before tuning in to watch the Boston Marathon

We had waffles when I came home from break to celebrate my roommate's exciting new job (!!!)

When I got back from break, I immediately had to start getting ready for my trip to Nashville. I left NYC yesterday and will be here until Sunday. The race is tomorrow. This was trip was filled with many firsts including, my first time booking my own flight, my first time flying solo, my first time visiting Nashville, and this is the farthest south I've ever been in the US. Pretty cool.
Grand Central from my place waiting for the shuttle bus to take my LGA

Manhattan looking SO small from my window on the plane. This view gets me every time. 

Picking up my bib at the expo to run the St. Jude Country Music Nashville Half Marathon tomorrow! Also pictured: my souvenir beer mug.  Pretty stoked to be 21 :)

I'm pretty excited for the race. I feel like I am definitely strong enough to complete it as I've been running pretty consistently five days a week with a long run day once a week, usually about 8 miles. I would have liked to go farther once but as usual school got in the way and school is always a priority for me. This trip is mostly about having fun with one of my oldest friends (who lives in Nashville, we've been friends for over eight years now) and seeing a new city. So far from what I've seen, it's a great place. Lots of music (obviously) but also a lot of art and cool little restaurants and cafes. Also WAY cheaper than NYC which is always welcome. I mean, last night I ate out for $10 AND the food was delicious. I cannot remember the last time I did that. It is also WARM here. I believe I have commented on my ability to wear shorts to my friend about 15 times already. Whatever happens, I'm going into this race uninjured and not sick which hasn't happened for a while. That and I'm in a good mood again. I've been bummed out for a while for various reasons and seeing a great friend and feeling the sun on my face is making everything 1000X better!

Awesome Printing Press and shop, Hatch Show Print in Nashville

Alert- typography nerd totally geeking out

late lunch eating yummy mexican food in Nashville

Because even on vacation college kids need to write papers- coffee/ study break at Ugly Mugs

Thursday, April 10, 2014

GoPro at MoMA

I'm working on a web design project that is going to be a virtual MoMA docent tour. A huge element of the project is photographic so I borrowed a GoPro camera and walked the museum to see what I could get. These are a few of my favorite shots. 

Edward Hopper's "House by the Railroad"

Some Water Lilies by Monet

One of my favorite paintings, "OOF" by Edward Ruscha 

Monday, April 7, 2014


Yesterday I went to MOCCA, the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival. I got to meet Alison Bechdel, the author of Fun Home.  If you are into graphic novels, I would recommend for sure.

Had to work on a project for a class today and I needed to take pictures at the Museum of Modern Art. No trip would be complete for me with out visiting this painting.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

HEY, I have a website now

It's and you should check it out!
It's baaaaaack

Subway type is the coolest. That's all. 

This was on my bubble tea on Friday. Okay. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Epic Salad Recipe!

College student struggles- Eating something healthy that doesn't take a long time to make. But after snooping the Whole Foods salad bar, I came up with this. It makes 2-3 servings depending on how hungry you are :) Personally, I need to eat a lot of salad to be full, especially if I do a long run.

3 chicken breasts
green and red leaf lettuce
can of black beans, drained and rinced
can of corn, drained and rinsed. (Fresh would be better, but it's not in season here)
your favorite salsa
Cindy's Avocado Vinaigrette (I got it at Whole Foods)
3 Tortillas


1. Grill your chicken. Since I live in an apartment, I used my George Foreman grill but hey, if you have a real grill, fire it up! I didn't have to marinate my chicken so I just brushed some olive oil on the breasts and then sprinkled salt and pepper on them. Now that's I'm thinking of it, marinating the chicken in the avocado vinaigrette would probably taste great! But you can do whatever you feel like.

2. Cut up the chicken into bite sized pieces after grilling and put in a medium mixing bowl. Then take your corn and beans and mix with the chicken. That's your base!

3. Make your own chips! You can skip this part but I really think it makes the salad. All you have to do is cut up some tortillas, brush with a little bit of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Then put them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Watch them because when they start to brown, they burn quickly. But seriously, these taste way better than store bought chips and you can control the salt and oil on them.

4. Assemble your salad. Wash some lettuce and put it at the bottom of the bowl. Then put one third of your chicken mixture on top (Or all of it if you are making this for more than yourself). Next, put some dressing on top and mix up the salad. Top with salsa and chips to taste. That's it. YUM!

Update- still working on this, but almost done, I think. I'm still shaky on the "B".

Moody shot of my school I took on Tuesday. 

My school had "kindness week" to promote being  kind, something I think we could all use a reminder of.  We had a "kindness tree" in the lobby where you had to write something nice on a leaf to hang up. This was one of my favorites. Oh FIT, you never disappoint. 
Turning 21 in style this weekend with my amazing roommate. Great way to end the week!