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Category Archives: Running

4:40am:  Woke up before alarm went off at 4:45. Made coffee and ate a few pieces of brownies I baked last night. 


I watched some random YouTube videos while drinking coffee before husband wakes up…  I like watching inspiring and uplifting videos in the mornings.  They put me in the right mood to start off a productive day.  This morning I watched about bullet journaling and how it improves productivity and lifestyle.  I’ve been thinking about starting one but I don’t think I have the patience.

5:45am:  Went out for a long run.  I ran 11 miles with 5 x 800m.  Satisfied with the splits.  I felt good.  I love track sometimes.


8am: After shower, I made a breakfast taco with eggs and salsa. Ate with beets I roasted last night.  Followed by more brownies πŸ˜›  


I don’t remember much what I did between the brownies and 11am.  I read my book, played game on my phone, talked to my husband.  Just stayed on the couch basically.

11:30am:  Walked to Farmers Market with hubby.  We both love this farmers market so much, it’s so lively and has a good variety food stands and a live band. In the summer I go nuts on the stone fruits they sell here.

 

Husband got food from a few food stands and I ate from him.  Samosa, fish taco, hot dog, and boba. 

I got those Lula Roe tights as a gift (thanks, T) and I wore those out today.  And I could not believe how comfy they are!  Soooo soft and stretchy. I just need to figure out what tops to wear with them.  I will love to wear them for traveling and red eyed flights.

12:15pm: Walked to Trader Joe’s for grocery shopping.   Just a few blocks from farmers market. 

A couple of adults and kids were giving free hugs at a street corner.  I hugged 3 strangers and they were so nice πŸ™‚



1pm:  Stayed in the area and watched a movie (Guardian of the Galaxy vol 2) at this historic/old but cool theatre. We saw it on 3D and I think I got a light headache from it.  It’s funny and action packed, lots of computer graphic.  It’s a fun movie!



4pm:  Picked up Ethiopian food from Ensarro for early dinner.  It’s our favorite Ethiopian restaurant.



5pm:  Done with dinner.  Ate icecream and more brownies for dessert…  Hong Kong Milk Tea is a new flavor from Humphrey.  Wish it had more tea flavor.



6pm:  Finished reading Waking Gods… I’m giving it 3 stars.  It’s a sequel to Sleeping Giants which was amazing.  Sequels can be a hit or a miss.  This one is kind of a miss.  But if there’ll be another sequel, I’ll still read it. I need to know what happens!

I actually enjoyed the story and the plot. I’m just not a fan of the writing style.  The whole book is presented as pages of interviews, dialogs, journal entries, and news reports.  

That was the 12th book I read this year.  (I set a goal to read 25 this year.)

7pm:  Cracking open a new book from the library.  It sounds very promising! Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.

8:30pm: Watched the first few minutes of Manchester by the Sea on Amazon Prime then hit the hay.  

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Consistency is essential in training.  It’s not a single workout that improves your fitness.  It is a few weeks or months of being consistent with runs and workouts  that brings you closer to your goal.

I’ve been consistent with my tempo runs and track workouts past two weeks and I’m already seeing some improvement in my fitness.  I realized how much I’ve missed speed training!

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Week 2:

M – upper body weight (10 mins)

T – 6 miles with 2 mi tempo @ 8:08, 7:54

W – rest

Th – 5 mi w/ 6 x 400m @ 1:52, 1:53, 1:50, 1:50, 1:47, 1:44

F – 3 mi easy

S – 10 mi easy

S – 6 mi easy

Weekly Total = 30 miles 


I ran by this during my 10 mile run and I had to stop to take a picture.  (Golden Gate Park)

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Week 3: 

M – lower body weight (10 mins)

T – 6 miles with 2 mi tempo @ 7:53, 7:46 — improved from last week and felt easier

W – rest

Th – 6 mi slow w/ hills mixed in, 900 ft climb

F – 3 mi easy

S – 10 mi w/ 2x800m @ 3:37, 3:48; 4x400m @ 1:46, 1:46 1:48, 1:42 — another improvement

S – 5 mi easy

Weekly Total = 30 miles
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I am now ready to increase the volume/length of these speed workouts. 

This morning (week 4, Tuesday) I did a 3 mile tempo run during my 7 miler and the tempo miles averaged 7:45-7:50 pace. Progress! Little at a time.

Summer is approaching and life will get a little busier but I will plow through this 5K training πŸ™‚ just one more month!

On a COMPLETELY unrelated note, how sick is my new phone case?? I may be a case of 33 going on 3, I still love glitter like a little girl.


Spring is here!

I haven’t run a good race in over 1.5 years and I’m bored of running slow.  I’m going to change things up a bit with my running!

Ever since I started running five years ago, I focused on running long distance races.  Now to change things up, I am signed up to do a 5K race 7 weeks from now.  Because I did no speed workouts for the last 1.5 years, I’ve lost quite a bit of running fitness.  Track workouts and tempo runs will be back in my life again.  They are keys to getting faster.

My (preliminary) goal for this upcoming 5K is 23 minutes or under.  That’s 7:23 pace.  I’m not in shape now but I think it’s doable.  The only other short race I’ve run was a 10K and I ran a 7:26 pace… two years ago when I was much fitter.

I will document my training journey for the next seven weeks.  Writing about it on the blog will hold me accountable to continue training hard πŸ™‚

Today (Saturday), I squeezed in a short track workout during my 10 miler.  I warmed up with 5 miles easy then did 10 x 1 minute at my neighborhood track.  I ran 1 minute fast, 1 minute of jog/recovery, and repeated 10 times.  I set my Garmin to beep every minute at track and I didn’t even look at my watch for pace.  My FAVORITE part of each speed workout is reading the pace afterward!  It’s so satisfying.

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It’s my first track workout in a long time so short intervals were a good start.  There’s much progress to be made in the next few weeks.  I’m excited for the new training cycle!

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A brief race report:

I ran Rock n Roll San Francisco half marathon three weeks ago.  I ran 1:59 and it was my second slowest half marathon to date!!!  My slowest was my first ever half marathon in 2012 and finished at 2:01.  This shows how unfit I’ve become (and it kicked me in the rear to train again.)

My favorite part of the course was this….  there was a major hill to climb toward Golden Gate Bridge, and there were pictures of fallen soldiers lining the course for a good half mile or longer.  It’s such an emotional, touching part of the race.

My second favorite part of the race course was running on Golden Gate Bridge.  The highlight for me was seeing my dad on my return route on the bridge.  We highfived each other but our hands missed and we just kept running.

Finish line was pretty crowded but it’s normal.

My dad finishing his very first half marathon!  We couldn’t be more proud.

He has his eyes on a PR in his next race in August!

Have a nice weekend, and Happy Easter to those who celebrate!


Happy New Year! It’s a new year for new beginnings! So refreshing.

First of all, my husband started a blog on sustainable and healthy living topics. Check it out:  Modest Health.  Several good articles have already been written based on his knowledge of working in a sustainable business environment and his personal experience in a healthy, fitness lifestyle (he’s a marathoner… and a fast one)

Now let’s get to my 2017 goals!

I started working toward these goals since last month already.  I couldn’t wait til a turn of a new calendar to get started.  

I made sure that my goals are MEASURABLErealistic, and attainable.

Goal # 1:  Read at least 25 books in 2017

I somehow slacked off on reading in 2016. Blame it on life changes such as moving and getting married. Also blame it on traveling more than I ever had in my life. I just didn’t find the inspiration to read last year. So I finished only 13 books.  (I list all the books I read on Goodreads so it’s easy to keep track.)


I entered these Reading Challenges on Goodreads.  I read 51 books in 2011, versus  13 books in 2016.  I’m sure I can find more time to read.  I already went to library twice last week to get books so I am on track. 

Goal #2:  Learn at least one new Instant Pot recipe per month

We received an Instapot or IPot from our wedding registry (thanks, jie!) 


(Instant Pot)

So far I’ve used it a few times to make basic stews.  I would like to find new recipes because that thing can do so much more! There are many web forums and blogs dedicated to IPotting and electric pressure cooking.  One new recipe each month with IPot seems doable.  I’ve been in a cooking rut lately so this will be good for me.

Goal #3:  Take 15000 steps per day on average 

I don’t have a Fitbit or Apple Watch and I don’t want to obsess over the numbers on a daily basic.  Having said that, I do look at my iPhone’s built-in Health App once in while to see my activity levels. 

I carry the phone with me on my runs so the steps are counted.  (Since I resetted my phone recently, I lost my data for last year to report).  My typical work days can range anywhere from 10000 to 20000 steps depending on whether I run and how far I run. Weekends are a little more active, around 25000 steps. On average I was around 13000 steps each day in 2016.

Below is an example of my steps yesterday. It’s not accurate sometimes but good enough. I ran 5 miles in the morning,  then walked to a supermarket and a donut shop about 15 minutes away later on in the day. So the numbers should be a little higher… but close enough.


So let’s say my daily average in 2016 was 13000 steps.  I will try to increase it to 15000 steps  in 2017!  I walk a lot on my work commute and I like to run so this is an attainable goal.

If you haven’t tried this app, just open the app and see how much you’ve been walking.  The app is built-in on iPhone 5S and later generations.  The data are at your finger tips!

The App on iPhone >>  

I will try to report my progress on all three of these goals periodically!  So stay tuned for that :). Now that I wrote those down and published the goals, I will have to make these happen!!!

Have a great 2017!


Hi all!

There are just so much going on with life, I’m not even gonna try to explain.

Promise me you will try these chips if you can find them. They are so good, I was dangerously close to finishing a big bag in one sitting. It’s not as spicy as I expected but still really good and addicting! Even if you don’t like Lays’ thinness, you may like the flavor of this one if you like spicy stuff.

 

Spent a Saturday morning in Berkeley with interesting sights like this one:

Tasty Pot in Berkeley makes the best individual hot pot I’ve had!  I have yet to try Boiling Point but I really want to.img_4558

I’ve been spinning again. I find that it really helps with my running and is my favorite cardio cross-training. I’m not training for any races now but I want to regain some fitness I lost over past several months!  Here we go. 

But it’s always hard for me to go to a studio/gym. There’s so much time wasted in driving to/from the place and I’d rather spend that time running. It’s the easiest for me physically and mentally. That’s why I can’t stick to any other workouts.  With running, I don’t need to think about it. I just change and go. The world is my gym! 

Let me rant for a minute about taking public transportation to work.  

Usually the Muni line I take is pretty good and reliable. It’s almost always on time and people riding it during rush hour are mostly working professionals.  But at my Muni station, the escalator has been out of service for two weeks. During the morning rush hour, there’s a LINE to go up the stairs.  Since both sides of escalators are down, everyone has to use the stairs. And some people are naturally slow with going up the stairs but the faster people can’t pass the slower persons since we have to go up in single files. 

Ugh, if they can’t fix the escalators in two weeks, when will they ever fix them?

And to end the post on a positive note, let’s talk more food.  I had an amazing burger at Grand Tavern in Oakland past weekend ❀️ I hadn’t had one in a while so it hit the spot. 

And today I discovered a hidden gem of a Vietnamese food in SF. It has some dishes that you don’t normally see.  It’s a scary walk to get there but I think it’s worth the risk πŸ˜‰ Go at your own risk though. Pictured here are Bun Mam, Hu Tieu, and Banh Mi Xiu Mai. I miss the food in Vietnam!

 

It’s almost end of March. It is true when people say time passes by faster when you’re old.  They aren’t just making small talks, it’s actually true!
 


It’s been 9 days since I got back.  I’ve been catching up at work and with friends, family, and relatives since I got back. It’s nice to be back!  

I have to say though that taking a vacation is good for your soul and it sure makes you appreciate your daily routine/life when you get back!  You live out of your luggage for days or weeks and experience unfamiliar yet exciting things. Then you feel removed from reality to some extent after a while. I don’t know if this makes sense.  One of the best things about coming back from a long vacation is to be HOME and back to the routine that you love (and if you don’t love your daily routine or your everyday life, it’s a wake-up call to make changes.)

Having said that, I’m back to my running routine.  I’ve been running long distance for the past couple of years.  This was the longest break I’ve taken from running and lost quite a bit of fitness.  Last month, I ran only 39.5 miles total. That’s less than how much I typically run in a week last year during training! It’s gonna be a long road back to fitness.  

After watching the dramatic finish of Shalane Flanagan and Amy Cragg at Olympic Marathon Trials past weekend, I’m feeling more inspired to kick-start my speed training.   

 

So…… I am registered for a few half marathons this year to keep my running fresh and motivating.

March – Oakland Half

April – San Francisco Rock n Roll Half

September – Giant Race Half 

So I will say this here for accountability that I will train for a PR at the September event. My half marathon PR now is 1 hour and 43 minutes.  Last year I wasn’t able to focus on half marathon pace since I trained for a 50K and two full marathons at much slower paces. I’m excited about this change of pace!  

You all know I love to blog about food all day long. I kind of miss taking photos of food 😊 I have not been eating anything so exciting lately to be honest.

XLB on Geary: 

Chinese New Year Picnic with relatives. Apparently my aunts forgot to bring main dishes so we ate what we had 😁  

My Valentine was out of town on Vday so I spent it with my parents. (My dad and I were sitting on the bench at first and my mom swooped in quickly for the pic. Hehe)  

Hot pot with family:  

Some home cooking:  

My favorite way to make salsa.
 

Finished a page on my coloring book:  

Bought these in Thailand and love them in my skincare routine! Good to know that I can buy big bottles from Amazon when I run out.  

Have a nice day!!


Happy 2016!!!

I realized I don’t have much free time on the trip to update the blog so I will summarize two days into one post πŸ™‚

Yesterday was New Year’s Eve and was our first full day in Paris.  We reserved tickets to go up Eiffel Tower and skipped the line that looked to be a few hours long.   I thought this was a low season in Paris…

Going up to the top was awesome on a sunny day!  Great views of the city!


  

You can see the longggggg line forming below me under the tower.   People can save HOURS of their precious time in Paris by reserving the tickets ahead of time and skip the line…

There’s an ice skating rink on Eiffel Tower on its second level right now:

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After Eiffel Tower, we walked to the Christmas Market near the base of Eiffel Tower.

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Got some food to eat there: crepe, sausage, and potatoes.

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Another ice skating rink to watch while eating

Then we went to a carousel (merry-go-round) by the Eiffel Tower and rode on it.


A moment later (not on carousel), I had the biggest surprise of my life.  And now my BF is my FiancΓ© πŸ˜€

I was pretty much speechless and shocked for some time!  We walked around TrocadΓ©ro afterwards and went to Napoleon’s Tomb nearby.

Even though the place was magnificent, we were in no mood to continue touring.  We figured we should call our family and friends to deliver them the big news, so we cancelled our plan to go to a museum and came back to our apartment.

For NYE night, we walked around Latin Quarter and St. Germaine to shop for souvenirs. I love the area… It has both tourists and locals hanging out and was quite a fun, festive atmosphere. We spent our entire evening here.

  

Had a lovely celebratory dinner and drinks to ring in the new year.

  

Today (New Year Day)

We ran in Luxembourg gardens for about 20 minutes.  (I am loving my neon pink running top. I am also loving not wearing my garmin.)

Today is New Year Day so most museums and attractions are closed in Paris.  The only museum opened (from our list) was Musee D’Orsay so we decided to go there first thing.


Glad I didn’t get kicked out for doing jumps.

We ran up to 5th floor to see the famous clock.

Then in the next room, we found that there’s another clock and they built a fancy cafe directly there for the suckers (us included) but it’s worth it because we sat in front of the clock and took selfies while sipping coffee πŸ˜›

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The cafe is called Cafe Campana.  Its one of those places that you go for ambiance, not for food.

D’Orsay houses many famous pieces by french artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, Rodin, Renoir, and many more.

Look for someone’s head in the pic above

We beat the crowd because by the time we were done at 12:30 pm, there were big lines forming outside. Early birds get the worms??


Next, we went to Arc de Triumph.  It’s closed for the holiday so we will have to come back to climb up the arch.


We walked around Champs-Elysee and ate at a super tourist-trappy place called George V Cafe. 7 euros for a bottle of water 😑

I got a croque madame. (I know I know, I just wanted to take a pic of my πŸ’ lol)


At 2pm, we watched a New Year Day Parade on Champs Elysee.  It was not anything super spectacular but still good to see.

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We then walked to Seine River to do a scenic cruise tour.  Today was a VERY chilly day unlike yesterday and I was a bit under-dressed.  We stayed inside for most of the ride.


Most restaurants were closed and our neighborhood supermarket was also closed for New Year Day.  We decided to take away some crepes which turned out to be a very good decision.  Look at that CHEESE!


I’m starting to miss Asian food though!


Continuing my previous post

After visiting The Bean, we went to the Cultural Center to warm up for a bit. We looked through a few exhibits of modern art including this lounge with rocking chairs and art installation on the ceiling.

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Then afternoon tea at The Allis:

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Very good pastries and little sandwiches.  

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It was only three hours after our lunch at Al’s Beef so we couldn’t finish our tea sets. We had leftovers (pictured below, minus the pots and plates) to take home.

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I spent a morning running after Santa.  It was near 30F with wind chill.  It’s not a comfortable run for me. 

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The run was something like 3.5 miles so I didn’t actually spend a morning running 😁 I’m enjoying the break from training. No more fear of losing fitness from not running.

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Then we spent an afternoon in the city to watch Chicago Bears (The only time I cheat on my Niners would be with the Bears. I got this tshirt as a Christmas gift so it was a perfect reason to wear it out. When in Chicago… Right?)

  

Brunch with BF’s friends at The Frontier

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The Bears won and we headed back while rubbing our bellies (or maybe it was just me.)

The following morning, a winter storm hit the Chicago region. I love snow!  I don’t think I saw snow at all this year until now!

  

This was after an hour or two of snowing. 

  

We headed out to Mitsuwa Japanese supermarket for lunch. Ramen really hit the spot in this weather.  I also have to admit that this was my first time at Mitsuwa. I’ve never been to any of the locations in CA. 

Spicy miso ramen πŸ‘  
 

The snow continued to come down.

  

Giada, the Saint Bernard, got more and more excited. 

 

By the evening, the snow covered the streets in a thick blanket. Enough for a snowball fight while shoveling.

  

I tried to shovel for about 2 minutes. It was hard work and it didn’t get far 😁 I handed the shovel back to him and ran back inside. It was freezing cold literally.
   

The following morning, the roads were cleaned up. Piles of snow shoved to the sides were higher than the cars. It’s a sight I would never see in CA.

 

That was a fun, successful trip to Chicago.    We had Chicago hotdogs/polish dogs three times on this trip and a Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza last night.  Thanks, Diana and Company πŸ˜„ I’m sure I will be back next year.

Now onto the second leg of our trip: PARIS! πŸ‡«πŸ‡·


Every second counts. This is going to be my new mantra in running races. This year I’ve run seconds away from milestones.

Oakland half marathon @1:44:57

See Jane Run half marathon @ 1:49:01

CIM with a mere 23-second PR

And yesterday (I went against the textbook rule of refraining from racing right after marathon) …. I ran a trail half marathon @ 1:46:01.  Five seconds behind 3rd place woman in my age group.

I’m not trying to win an Olympic or any race for that matter. Still…. Every. Second. MATTERS!

So I wanna recap about the trail race yesterday in Fremont. It’s called ZombieRunner Quarry Lake Run and they have distances from 5K to Marathon. It’s a “trail race” but very flat. And for half marathon, about 1/3 of the race is on asphalt.

I did not prepare for this race.

I didn’t carbload (had a pesto sandwich and ice cream sandwich for lunch and Chinese banquet meal for dinner with 12 courses but only one of them contained rice/carbs)

I drank a lot of wine at the banquet that I was woken up by thirst two times the night before race. I was horribly dehydrated.

I had a pop tart before race (who still eats pop tarts?) instead of my proper pre-race breakfast (bagel usually).


I also did not plan the race outfit well and was peeling off layers and repinning my bib a few minutes before the start of the race. It was a frigid drizzly morning in Fremont, I decided to go with a light layer of long sleeves with gloves.

 

  

Since I just ran a marathon two weeks ago, my body was still in repairing mode.  I planned to go easy and run around 2 hour mark (9 minute pace or so.) But once the gun went off, the race got to my head.  I did try to hold back my pace and was happy to be maintaining around 8:07 pace comfortably for majority of the race.  It didn’t feel slow and easy, but it was not a hard all-out effort either.

I threw away my gloves around mile 3 because I thought it was getting warm.  But it got colder in later miles with some head wind and it became drizzly.  My fingers were freezing! I brought only one gel with me and took it around mile 7.  By mile 10, I felt my energy dipping lower and I started to feel fatigue.  But the race was almost over by then.  I love half marathons!  It’s so quick but not too quick!

Saying hello to my lover at finish line.  I passed so many people in the second half of the race, and that felt GOOOOOD!  The Man finished first in his age group for 10K so it’s a good day for him too!

When I crossed the finish, all I could think about was DARN IT, I did it again… I missed the minute mark by one second.  But it was neither a PR nor a PR-attempt.  I gave myself a good race and I was happy.

 

 

This race concluded the 2015 racing year for me.  I will not be able to run long in the next few weeks due to travelling.  But running will always be here for me when I’m ready next year.


I’ve been having some fun playing with my jewelry making supplies! It’s an outlet of creativity!  I have so much to learn in crafts.


A work in progress.

I like them simple.  But my “simple” may be different from yours πŸ™‚

I made the thick necklace that sits at the base of my neck and layered with my existing necklaces.  The thin strands were bought ages ago.

Hmmmmm…. So many possibilities!  I have several Swarovski crystals to play with for my next projects.

Okay now onto some of my favorite random images lately:

What a nerd.

 

Love this pic from a scavenger hunt a few weeks ago!  Running buddies for life 😍😍😍

MY FAVORITE DOG!

WHAT SELFIE?

 

In a few weeks I will be going to these countries. I’ve been counting down!

The temps are not too hot or too cold.  Pleaseeeee stay this way!!!