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Zero to hero—–how I go from 0 to 5k, and to half marathon

I started running when I was in college, a great friend of mine encouraged me to lose some weight and insisted that it would make me look so much better if I am thinner. She is like a robot girl, always had the energy to work and always have bright ideas. We spent all our time in the classroom studying, we went for runs on hot summer days. We talked about silly things like we both want to have the power enough that when we walk past people, they would all feel our energy. There are people in my life that have seen the best of me that I didn’t even think I have. They walk into my life and they passed. Only now do I understand that people that truly love you will be drown towards you. You don’t have to try to please people. Well this should be a whole post. Let’s stay focused for now and talk about my running.

I started running and make myself run for 4k, which is 10 laps on the school playground. I just made it a rule, I get up in the morning, I go run, however long it may take, however tired I was, I have to finish that 10k. Through that summer holiday, I lost quite a few pounds and when I come back to school, many were saying that I lost a lot of weight.

Tip #1:Don’t count on discipline, make it a ritual.

Like brushing your teeth, you don’t think about it every morning, you just do it. That’s what I did. Many would say that oh I can never make running a habit, I just don’t have that kind of discipline. For me, it is simple and brutal. Just do it. No excuse. Make it a ritual like brushing your teeth, you just do it without thinking about it.

JUST DO IT. Simple as that. Everyone starts somewhere, if you can only run 2 min then be it. Run 2 min, then you can walk 2min, maybe you have the strength to run again, then do another 2 min maybe. Next day you increase it to 3 min.

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Tip #2: Find a buddy, report everyday.

I don’t remember exactly how tired and out of breath I was when I started running. But I clearly remembered that I want to make sure that I report to my boyfriend everyday. I don’t want to miss one day. Everyday I want to be able to say that I have done the 4k, I am good.

Find someone who you really cares about, and who cares about you. Do it with them, or report to them everyday, or weekly, to have accountability.

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Tip #3: Find something you enjoy while running.

For me, music works. I just love listening to pop songs which make my blood pump. I also listen to podcasts while I run, it just makes running not so dreadful when you have some interesting materials to listen to. I will share what songs I listen to when I run, these are the jams! Podcasts that I listen to are Richroll podcast, Goodlife project, etc.

You can also run on trails in the woods, which is so refreshing and serene. You never get bored in the woods!

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Tip #4: Think about all the food!!

Running means calorie burned, means I need to refuel my body to better recover. If that’s not an incentive, I don’t know what is. Just think about that banana smoothie after your run! Creamy, chilly, sweet goodness!! Think about all the fruit you can eat, mango, papaya, watermelon, coconut water! Man I have to say Oh good heaven when I eat those juicy fruits! I also love baking, so I run and bake and eat. Works for me!

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Tip #5: Sign up for a race!

For me, the real deal all begins when I signed up for the New Orleans Jazz Half marathon. I started training according to plan seriously. I did my first race ever March 2014, which is a departmental 5k, which lead to the decision to run a half marathon. After I signed up for it, I really start to get serious about running. After the half, I had a little bit down moment for running. Then I came back full forth with the determination to run a full marathon.

SIGN UP for a race together with your best friend! That’s a sure good way to spend a Saturday morning. Sweaty and all excited!

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Tip #6: Take it slow.

Often times, we want the results too fast. On our first day of running we want to complete a 5K. And next thing you know, you have a sore leg that you can barely walk the next day. You stopped there, AGAIN. If we want to get there, we must take it slow, however much our body can take in. Don’t push too hard. It is the long shot, It is persistence that really matters. It is not just a week of running, or a month of running. It should be a life time commitment to exercise and an active life style.

30 day shred, 8min abs. I don’t buy it. Results come slowly, if you do it consistently it will come eventually. I don’t believe in losing 20 pounds in  2 months. I don’t think your body would like that. I believe in small changes that you keep for a life. Anything you believe that you can do it for your whole life, you should do that. If a diet plan or an exercise plan asked you to restrict your calorie intake to a minimal that you have so much craving, if it asked you to exercise more than 1h everyday, besides looking at all the sexy before and after pics, you should consider whether you can do it for the rest of your life, if you stopped restricting so much and exercising at the same time, think whether you will regain that 10 pounds back.

One step a time, take it slow, You will get there in no time.

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Tip #7: It is about the mindset.

Healthy is not all about diet and exercise, it is also about your mind. I recently read something like: it is not the food that you eat are making you fat, but rather it is the thought that the food you eat would make you fat really does.

I am just struck when I read this. Really, if you enjoy every single bite of the bagel you eat, you smell the wheat, you love the simpleness of a bagel, how is that bad for you. Some people label food as good or bad. Banana is bad for too many calories, potato is bad for being too starchy, peanut butter is bad for the fat. But there is nothing wrong with all these food, these are all nature’s gift. I love my bananas, I like potatos, and peanut butter! If you sincerely enjoy the food that you are eating, take every bite with full appreciation, it is not going to make you fat!

At one point after my half marathon, I just ditched running. I don’t fancy the idea of running 3h alone. I believed that was crazy and it does no good to my body. But I got back to it with the mindset of giving it another shot. With no stress, just see how I feels. I loved it! The time running, is the time I have to myself. I know it makes me a happy person. Then it switched, I still have that losing weight mindset on the background I admit, but I start to look at more things than that. How far can I go, how fast can I go, how quick do I recover. There is much more than just the scale.

DO IT FOR YOURSELF. Don’t run because it is the craze now, Don’t run because you saw the before after pic of someone else. Don’t run because you think it make your friend think more of you. If you don’t like running, find something else to keep you active. You HAVE TO ENJOY IT!

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Please leave any comments below, I really want to connect with you guys! If you have any questions I would be happy happy to answer!

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Friday Fives—I am going home!

1. How do I do on a plant based diet?

Recently I have been experimenting with a plant-based diet. At first due to health reasons and the incentive to improve my performance in running. I did see improvements in recovery time and my energy. And it comes together with meditation practice. I don’t feel heartburn anymore, I feel good when I run and I recover almost instantly. The other day when I had a 10 miler, I didn’t feel any sore in my legs the next day. Although I had a minor injury in my left foot for a few weeks, I have improved a lot not only in milage, but also in my performance in the run.

I have watched a documentary which addresses animal agriculture in a environmentalist view. Which gives me more reason to stay on this life style. Truth is, before when I eat a lot of meat, it is mainly the mental game. I feel that I need all that meat to maintain the muscle, but from what I experience now, I don’t really need that much protein and if cows and chickens are fed corns and millions of gallons of water to grow, I can enjoy my corn on a cob directly rather than eating the steak. It just saves energy and land and air and water. Win win situation.

2. Going back to China for vacation!

Getting excited about going home! Going together with my fiance, 3 weeks of good food ahead! Hope that doesn’t result in an extra 5 pound on me! A lot of food pics to come!

3. Favorite fruits, veggies.

Favorite fruit, banana, cheap, sweet, makes you happy. Good for smoothies. Papaya, so smooth like heaven! Mango, sweet and tropical. Oh and watermelon!

Favorite veggies, cabbage, potato.

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The pic on the left is my green smoothie for breakfast. On the right is Chinese braised potato and carrot. OH SO GOOD!!!!

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Fresh Figs! I never had fresh figs in China, I only had dried ones. These are so juicy!

4. Good documentary.

Cowspiracy. I watched it on Youtube.

5. I got my Bike!

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Used bike from local donation based bike shop. Awesome riding in the woods!

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What a nice sesame seed muffin, got a crack on it!

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It looks so easy, because you work so hard.

I just started my banana bread selling paired with a local donut shop a few weeks ago, and I am happy people are asking for more! I walked to the shop thinking about the idea of doing an interview with the owner. Their donuts are so good, much better than Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donut. Homemade fresh everyday. Nothing compares! Just standing in the shop with all the aroma going on is great experience. The owner asked if I want a free donut, I said I will be happy to have one, she offered the fancy fritter, we cut it in half ans shared. I also had their iced coffee which is my other favorite. And I built a bike! Now I got my own bike, I can go on rides together with JB. The bike shop runs on donation, they got old bikes from people and they can help people assemble their own using the old frames and staff that still work. The staff who is helping me is so great, he does all kind of long distance bike ride. He is now saving up money for a tour across North and South America. After that he is going to Africa, that’s his life, he is going to travel, if he runs out of money, he will get a job. He is only 20.

This week’s long run is 10 miler. I have switched to raisins for fuel during long runs. Nothing wrong with that, I want to ditch all the GUs and gels. Being minimalist. Recently I have been wanting to buy a Garmin running watch. After doing some research online, I learned that they don’t have solid customer support. I am so so disappointed. I think customer support should be the priority that a company pays attention to. Then I finally got to the conclusion that I am going minimalist and not going to be using a watch. I am just going to let my body tell me what to do.

Meditation practice is going well. Though I just realized that there is still one major problem here. I always want more. I should just let it go. I am faithful that everything will fall into place. But I am too eager for that to happen real soon. That could cause potential problem. Summer, take it easy.

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I love snow crab leg! especially when it is buffet!

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Watch the sunrise.

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Great trail walk with JB. The park is so peaceful.

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Not even half bowl korean food. Owner is grumpy.

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I like to jump.

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And jump some more!

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Yoga pose!