Monday, May 2, 2016

Packing in all the fun, and Apr 18 - May 1 training recap

Happy Monday! I got back last night from the long weekend in Pittsburgh and am right back at it in the office today. Wooo!!!
My dear friends, the Pittsburgh Half Marathon yesterday was simply awesome. Thank you to all of you for your tremendous support!

I am working on my race recap right now. In short, the event is extremely well-done and the hills weren't NEARLY as bad as I had envisioned. I had a blast. Many, many more details coming soon.
The starting line yesterday
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I am behind one week in sharing my weekly training recaps, so here are the last two weeks:

APRIL 18 - 24
MONDAY - Rest
TUESDAY - Yoga class, lift 45 minutes
WEDNESDAY - 3 miles incline work on treadmill (10 minute warm-up, 2-minute intervals between levels 3-7)
THURSDAY - 10 minutes stationary cycling, lift 45 minutes
FRIDAY - Yoga class, run 3 miles on treadmill
SATURDAY - Rest
SUNDAY - Ravenswood 5K

APRIL 25 - MAY 1
MONDAY - Rest
TUESDAY - Yoga class
WEDNESDAY - Zumba class
THURSDAY - 10 minutes stationary cycling, lift 40 minutes
FRIDAY - 3.5 miles of hillwork in Pittsburgh
SATURDAY - Rest
SUNDAY - Pittsburgh Half Marathon (recap coming soon)

Last Friday was my first opportunity during my Pittsburgh Half Marathon training cycle to do a training run on what I'll call legit hills. I've talked at length over the past few months about how I tried to simulate hills on the treadmill, bridge overpasses in Chicago, etc. However, there is truly nothing like training on the real McCoy. E.g.:
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My family in Pittsburgh lives within a stone's throw of some extremely challenging hills (as do probably 99% of all Pittsburgh residents). Traditionally, just going for a neighborhood run has always caused my quads tremendous grief. But wouldn't you know it - on Friday, I could already tell my incline work was handing out major dividends. I genuinely felt comfortable on those hills! This made me so much happier than I can even begin to describe.
I know some of you might be getting so tired of my hill talk that you are thinking about making a run for the hills. (Get it? RUN for the HILLS? HAHAHAHAHA yes I know that was a bad joke.) So let's talk briefly about a few other fun highlights from last week. If you follow me on Instagram (I'll follow back!), you'll recognize a couple of these photos.

Last Tuesday, I attended a Windy City Blogger event at Snap Kitchen. There, I got to try out my first-ever hand at food styling. Here is a snapshot of my finished product:
Spinach and goat cheese scramble plus an anti-oxidant juice - styled by yours truly
I learned food styling is SO MUCH HARDER than the professionals make it look on the Food Network or other cooking shows. This picture took me more than 30 minutes to stage. I went back and forth a dozen times on which props to use, where to place them, what colors to highlight, what background/plating/silverware to select, what angle to shoot, lighting considerations, on and on and on. I have much-increased respect now for all the beautiful food photos you see in magazines, etc.

Not surprisingly, the best part was that we all got to eat our photo subjects afterwards! The food was delicious - and of course, everything tastes better when you've styled it yourself. =D

Later that night, I attended the Fleet Feet RUNway Fashion show. This is a really fun annual event where various running brands showcase their latest runners' fashions. Here's an action shot from the night:
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After the fashion show, the Fleet Feet store hosts a shopping party with appetizers, beverages and goody bags. All attendees receive a $20 store credit that night. Obviously I couldn't let it go to waste! I snapped up a new running tank top which was already marked down - and made out like a bandit!

The next day, Fleet Feet hosted a giveaway for all the outfits featured at their show. I entered and was super fortunate to win the below outfit. Thank you, Fleet Feet Chicago!!!
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My friend Radhika is on the board of an organization called Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Last Wednesday, she invited me to attend the AAAJ Milestone Awards Benefit at the Chicago Cultural Center. What an honor! Many, many thanks to Radhika for thinking of me.
From L to R: Radhika, me, and Karthik
I met so many amazing people who work extremely hard to serve the Asian American community. The Milestone awardees were all incredibly inspirational. I loved hearing their stories.
Khai Yang, one of the night's awardees from Allstate's Employee Resource Group, making her acceptance remarks
In summary - it was a great, action-packed week! Now I am looking forward to a more low-key week to catch my breath. Whew!!!

How about you? Tell me about your week or weekend? Do you like having a calendar packed with lots of fun events, or do you prefer having a more open schedule to play things by ear?

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Linking up with HoHo and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap.

26 comments:

  1. Yay, I'm so glad you felt like the hill training helped!!! "Not as bad" is better than "terrible" :)

    I like having a balance between totally packed weekends and quiet, relaxing weekends. Because I suck at relaxing ha ha. Last weekend I was busy non-stop in Ohio, so it was nice to slow down a bit this past weekend. Yesterday we just sat around watching TV for most of the day, which was a really nice change of pace.

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    1. Thank you so much, Anne! YES - I'll take almost anything over "terrible" - especially when it comes to hill-running. =)

      Completely agree - it's nice to have a mix of busy weekends and quiet weekends! On the busy weekends, I sometimes get frazzled, but on the quiet weekends I sometimes get antsy. =) I am glad you and T were able to relax so well yesterday - what a wonderful treat!!!

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  2. Congratulations on the Half Marathon! It sounds like an amazing event!

    Wow! you had a super busy week! fashion shows and all! Congrats on the new outfit win! #totallyjealous

    Can't wait to read the Pittsburg Half recap!

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    1. Thank you so much, Ana! I'd heard so many amazing things about the Pittsburgh Marathon/Half - and even so, the experience blew me away. This was an unusually busy week for me for certain - and the giveaway was totally just a stroke of luck. =) Believe me, this is not typical for me by any stretch of the imagination! =D

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  3. Congrats on your half!! Sounds like you had an amazing week, and I can't wait to hear about your race.

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    1. Thank you so much, Michelle! I know you've been killer swamped with everything on your plate - and I am really glad you were able to take some time for a "fun" day on Saturday!!!

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  4. First off, congrats on owning Pittsburgh! You ROCK!

    Holy crazy week! Can you imagine what it would have been like to have to smash playoff Hawks into that? #silverlinings

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    1. Thank you so much, Bobbi! I was totally thinking about your words about the downhill finish ruling. You were so right! =)

      Oh my goodness - yes, I did think about how crazy it would be if we were trying to watch Blackhawks playoff games these days, too. As sad as I am about them being done for the season, it is nice to not have to deal with the killer stress levels and lack of sleep! It's a HUGE silver lining!!!

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  5. Glad the hills weren't as bad as you'd been imagining. And I'll be interested to hear your recap & thoughts. :)

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    1. Jessie - thank you again SO MUCH for your thoughts on those hills around Duquesne! You were absolutely right on all accounts! I'm going to be mentioning you in my race recap. =) I can't wait to read your recap, as well!!!!!

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  6. This month is definitely a busy month. I have one day of vacation after I get back from Cali, but that will be spent grocery shopping, picking up Allie from the vet and getting her annual checkup, laundry, all that fun stuff.

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    1. Ahhhh, Tinker Bell is coming up so soon! Super excited for you! This month is going to be AWESOME for you - can't wait!!!

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  7. Sounds like you had one hill of a time! Womp, womp! Looking forward to your recap!!

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    1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! You crack me up, Pete! I think we have very similar senses of humor. =) Thank you again for your awesome pre-race advice, Mr. Master of Race Strategy. I was definitely thinking about your suggestions on course, and they kept me smiling. =D

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  8. Congrats on conquering those hills! Glad you had a great time!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Kayla! Really appreciate all of your support going into the race!!!

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  9. Crazy busy week before Pittsburgh! Running probably felt relaxing, right?

    You are right, there is no way to train for hills here. My coach had me pulling that weighted sled and that was really good prep for Big Sur. I'm sure everyone else was tired of me talking about hills too. But hey, it's a thing...

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    1. You know it, Wendy! I've never tried pulling a weighted sled but I can only imagine how challenging (and helpful!) that must have been for your Big Sur hills! You KILLED it out there!!! And I LOVED hearing you talk about hills since it was such a focus for me, too. The more hills talk the better, I say! =D

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  10. Wow, what a busy week for you! The food styling workshop sounds really fun. I barely ever take pictures of food, but whenever I have, I've always thought they turned out looking pretty lame. I imagine a workshop on that sort of thing would be very helpful!

    Bethany @ Accidental Intentions

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    1. Food styling is SO MUCH MORE difficult than I realize! I always thought you just kind of lay the food down nicely on a plate and snap away, but it's totally the opposite. I've got some friends whose food pictures on social media always come out looking like 5-star gourmet chefs - I wonder now if they took some kind of workshop, too?

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  11. Hills! What hills? You did great! Your hill training paid off! I can't wait to read your recap. You wouldn't think it would take that long to style food. But, that's what I get for thinking! At least you were able to eat your subjects. How cool you won one of the outfit from the fashion show! Enjoy some rest! Thanks for linking with us Emily!

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    1. Thank you so much, HoHo! It is my dream to say "what hills?" Thank you for indulging me. =) Likewise - that's what I get for thinking about food styling being easy, too. Thank you for hosting the link-up, as always!!!

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  12. I would have been chicken to run hills right before the race! It worked out well for ya :)
    Looks like they had great stuff at the fashion show, I have never been to one.

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    1. Thanks Karen! I actually felt like I needed to do some kind of running because I hadn't run at all for almost the entire week leading up to the race. Didn't want to go in completely cold, you know? The runner's fashion show is the only one I've ever been to and it's super laidback and casual. =)

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  13. You did have a busy two weeks! The Blogger event sounds very cool an great job on your food photo! My calendar is always full and I really get antsy if there is more than a week or two between things, kind of like I'm getting now without a distance race in my near future. Not to say there isn't other things thought. I have go to stay busy! It just wouldn't be normal for me if I wasn't. Thanks for linking up with us!

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    1. Thank you so much, Tricia! Ah yes, I understand the feeling of getting antsy without a distance race in the near future, too. Right now all I have are 5Ks and one 10K! It's a little unsettling to be focusing only on speedwork! You are such a traveling woman - it's awesome that you and your family get to experience so many different areas, and that you get to run races in so many different places. Thank you for co-hosting with HoHo, as always!!!

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