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[6/1/16] J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge [3.2 Miles]

June is a special month for me, and I started it off with the Day 1 of the J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge in Central Park on June 1st. There were 15,000 runners and walkers, from 329 companies. I expected to finish the little-over-5K course (which was originally supposed to be 3.5 Miles instead of 3.2 Miles) at 10:30 min/mi pace. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that I actually finished it in 9:47 min/mi pace, which is almost a whole minute shaved off per mile since my last race in April.

According to official times, I ran 3.2 miles in 31:20 minutes, finishing 7411th place out of 14732 participants.  Right smack in the middle!

What’s So Special About June?

CTEqbHMUEAA2WukJune is a special month for many reasons. First off, it’s my birthday (this weekend). Second, I was diagnosed with Arteriovenous Malformation shortly after my birthday, five years ago. Third, this upcoming week is my 4 1/2 year “Annie-Versary” (as my craniotomy was December 7th, 2011- a “half birthday”). Finally, I made the leap 2 Junes ago and moved to New York City, which began my journey towards independence and working. It was a huge shift from a “survivor,” “patient,” “dependent,” and “student” to “Independent Adult in the Adult World.” Two years later, I can’t really say I’m even half way there in the “Independent Adult in the Adult World” category, but I’m still trudging along!
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Corporate Challenge

Screenshot_2016-06-01-21-55-15The J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge is a corporation-based race held in a dozen countries across multiple continents. The original one resides in New York City, and this is their 40th year. I met up with my colleagues (I’d never met any of them before), and walked to Central Park, and spent most of the time leading up to the race and the after-race Party at a bar chatting with them.

Once the race started (which took, for us, 20 minutes because there were 15,000 other people running), I lost my coworkers, and ended up running alone again.  I still find it very difficult to self motivate, so I spent majority of the half hour convincing myself to not stop, and to keep trudging along, no matter how slowly I was going. The mile markers alongside the race path seemed to stretch longer and longer apart…

I “sprinted” the last ~0.3 miles of the race, and ended up retching after the finish line, but drank some water, doused myself with some more water, and grabbed a banana, and felt pretty good after a few minutes.  After a little while, we left to go to the after party sponsored by our company at a bar, stuffed ourselves with bar food, and left.  By the time I got home, it was 10:30 or 11, and of course, I had the early shift this morning…

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Excuse my Post-Race-Glow-And-Sweat Look!

Training

Since my first race in 2016 (Run for the Parks 4 Mile Race in April), I hadn’t really increased my running, but I joined a NYRR Weekly Group Training Program (I just registered for the next session too!). I participate in the weekly Turnover Tuesdays, which focuses on “interval training (faster short runs with rest intervals between them) and hill repeats.” Interval Training supposedly helps you get faster and help you figure out how to pace yourself, which is something I really need to learn.  I missed a week because of my vacation to San Francisco, but aside from that, I have been consistently attending since the first week of May.  It’s very nice to have running programs be set for you so that you can just trudge through it and complain for a few miles in your head instead of having to make one yourself and have only yourself to curse. 😛 I’ve even managed to rope my coworker into this as well.

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Conveniently, June 1st was #GlobalRunningDay, so I was able to get my miles in to celebrate it by running a race. Next year’s is July 7th, 2017, and hopefully I will be able to take part in it again, maybe this time with the New York Road Runners.

But What About the Aneurysm/AVM Walk?

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Photograph by MahVentura Photography

Last month, as many of you know, I traveled to the other side of the country to attend the Annual Aneurysm and AVM Awareness Walk hosted by The Aneurysm and AVM Foundation. I am still in the process of writing up an entry for this blog on it, because it was a trip I had been wanting to make for YEARS, and it takes a lot of thoughts and feelings to complete.

I had a lot of fun, took a lot of photographs, and wrote up a quick entry on my portfolio’s blog about it.

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[4/10/16] City Parks Foundation Run for the Parks [4 Miles]

 City Parks Foundation Run for the Parks | New York, New York
4 Miles | 42:46 Minutes | 10:42 Minutes/Mile

ABM_1460478000To kick off my 25 Race Miles in 2016 Challenge, I ran a 4 mile race in Central Park last Sunday called the City Parks Foundation Run for the Parks (New York Road Runners), which benefits the City Parks Foundation.  My best friend took a 5 hour bus ride up on Friday night to come run this race with me, which made my first race that much better, because running alone is pretty lonely and scary, especially in a high-anxiety and crowded situation like a 7000 people race in smack middle of Manhattan.

I have 21 Miles of running remaining to fulfill my pledge of 25 Race Miles in 2016. In the upcoming 2 months, I have 3 races for total of 10.6 Miles (a 4 Mile, 3.5 Mile, and 5K). This means I would have finished 14.6 Miles by end of June, leaving me with 10.4 Miles to spread out in the next 6 months, which comes out to 3~4 races (5Ks or 4 Milers). I have one in fall that I know I am attending, so I am free to find 2 or 3 more races!

Race Day

IMG_20160412_120908 We had to arrive at Central Park by 8AM, which was difficult with the ghastly wind chill and “feels like” temperature of 25 degrees. I thought I registered for a spring race, not a mid-winter race, but alas… Somehow, we got out of the apartment at 7AM to make it to the park via the subway, and before we knew it, we were surrounded by thousands of people in full running gear, warming up all over the park.

Due to the temperature being so low, I began to feel pretty nervous about the race and whether I would emerge from the next hour unscathed, because I could feel my muscles being completely tight from the cold. It would have been horrible to end my 25 Mile Challenge by getting injured in the 1st mile. However, by the time our corral had been ushered up to the start line, I was feeling pretty pumped, and in a “Just Do It!” mentality.

I wasn’t going to set too high an expectation for myself. My only goal was to finish the race, even if it meant walking for half of it. We began running, and almost immediately hit a hill, but all of the hills were fairly lenient, and not at all like the “hills” I had expected. There were many down-hills, so over all, all the slopes created a very entertaining run. It also didn’t hurt that we had a scenic run around Central Park, and I was able to point out various landmarks to my friend as we ran, and hold a conversation throughout the whole race.

I did much better than I expected (I thought I would be lucky to finish the race within an hour), with the 4 mile time of 42:46, which put my mile average pace at 10:42 minutes per mile. We didn’t have to stop, and managed to finish before 1400 or so people (we won’t talk about how many people we finished after).

One Day to Race Day

IMG_20160412_123037By Friday, there was a forecast of rain for all day on Saturday, which meant we couldn’t do the “practice run” that we were planning to do in Central Park in the morning (which I was looking forward to, because it was the first time I ran with my best friend in 2 years). We wanted to do a course preview run before checking in to NYRR office and picking up our bibs and race T-shirts in Manhattan.  Fortunately, come Saturday morning, the rain held off until around lunch time, so we did manage to put in a 5 mile run, going to the waterfront and back.  Though the weather was a bit chilly, it was still great weather to run in, and with the threat of rain, there weren’t too many people out on the sidewalks for us to crash into. Though we stopped for silly videos and photos along the way (what’s a good run with a best friend without silly photos??), in total, we ran 5 miles, which was definitely more than I ever ran since Cross Country in high school.

Deciphering the Race Time

pace Getting the 10:42 min/mile average, which translates to “11 minute mile,” means that I have gone up a corral for my next race, going from “L” (the last start group, with fastest race mile average of 11:30 min/mile) to “K.” My goal for this year is to get to a 10 minute mile, which will take me up to the “J” group. 🙂 Hopefully, I will chip away at the seconds to reach 10:30 min/mile, and by the end, reach 10 min/mile pace.

Being able to run this race, and at this pace has given me the confidence boost that I needed to “unlock” the mental block against trying to run faster and farther. I have been running on the treadmill at around 5.5~6 miles per hour pace, and 11~13 minutes per mile pace outside. Now I feel like I can try 6~6.5 miles per hour pace on the treadmill, and consistent 10~11 minutes per mile pace outside, which would help me reach my mile pace goal of 10:30 minutes per mile. So definitely excited for the upcoming few months in terms of running!

Coming Up Next…

My next race is The 11th Annual Aneurysm and AVM Awareness Walk (Event Fundraising Link) in San Francisco in mid May, which is the event that inspired me to begin running back in January. I am very excited to visit friends in California, and take part in an event that supports a nonprofit organization that does so much work for AVM survivors like myself!