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2015 Achilles Hope & Possibility 5 Miler Run Recap

The Achilles Hope & Possibility 5 Miler was held on Sunday, June 28th in Central Park. I’m a huge fan of races held in Central Park because my commute to the start involves a quick 10-15 minute walk (AKA more sleep for me!).

Achilles Hope & Possibility 5 Miler

I woke up fairly early and went through my traditional routine of peanut butter + banana toast with coffee, followed by foam rolling and stretching, before setting out towards Central Park. It was a humid and foggy day with the threat of rain, but of course the excitement of race day trumped all.

Achilles Hope & Possibility 5 Miler

I lined up early in my corral, eyed the medals hanging for motivation (I had no idea there would be medals), and patiently waited until the start. Twenty minutes later, we were off!

Achilles Hope & Possibility 5 Miler

Mile 1 – 2.5
It wasn’t too crowded at the start of the race and I settled into a comfortable pace. Given that I was still easing back into running and had just run the Queens 10K the weekend prior, I didn’t want to overload my legs. It was muggy and super humid but the temps hovered around the mid-60s. My last-minute decision to run with music (something I never ever do) turned out to be the perfect boost to what already started out to be an awesome run. I had just “discovered” a new-to-me artist – Clean Bandit – via this song that you all probably have heard already, and ended up grooving to their music all through my run.

Mile 2.5 – 5
I honestly can’t really recall in great detail how the race went, but at the halfway point I was hit with the ultimate runner’s high! It was right around the time this song by Clean Bandit came on and I instantly fell in love. The mixture of classical music seamlessly blended into an EDM track seriously did something to my brain to release a stream of endorphins. I started speeding up and passing people, all while dancing awkwardly with a huge smile on my face like a crazy person. I was flying and loving every single second, it was intense! (P.S – this song and this song by Clean Bandit are both SO GOOD). I’ve gotten a runner’s high a few times before, but it happens much less often these days. Of course, I ended up using every last bit of energy remaining to sprint across the finish line and pick up my medal.


(Can someone please explain to me why the average pace given by my Garmin is so off from the official pace listed for the race??? It happens every single time!)


Final Time: 46:01 (9:13 min/mile pace)
Place: 1326 / 3320
Age Division (F, 25-29): 81 / 292

I was so grateful that the rain held off all morning, but of course it started raining while I was en route back home!

Achilles Hope & Possibility 5 Miler

• Race course – Central Park is the ultimate runner’s oasis, and we didn’t even have to run the dreaded Harlem Hill!
• Water stations – There were plenty of water stations along the course despite the shorter race distance
• Medals – Because who doesn’t love race bling?

• Not a 9+1 qualifier – This is honestly the only con I can think of for this race, it would’ve been nice to have it count towards the nine races I have to run this year!

Even though this race didn’t count towards my 9+1 race requirement for guaranteed entry to the 2016 NYC Marathon, I still really enjoyed participating for such a great cause. I can definitely see myself running this race again next year!

♥ Irina

2015 Queens 10K Run Recap

I ran the NYRR Queens 10K on Sunday, June 21st in Corona Park in Queens, New York. After a long, 3-month hiatus from running, this was my first race since slowly returning to the habit at the start of June. The race was scheduled to start at 8AM, but endless rain led the organizers to postpone the race by one hour to 9AM. No issues on my end, I appreciated the extra hour of sleep!

I didn’t sleep nearly as much as I would’ve liked, and woke up tired yet eager for the race. Despite the sleep deprivation, there was no denying that I deeply missed that feeling of adrenaline on race morning. My last race morning (NYC Half) was depressing and filled with pain (physical and emotional), so the happiness I felt before the Queens 10K was a very welcomed change.


I ate my typical pre-race breakfast of toast + peanut butter + banana with a huge cup of coffee (with coconut milk ice cubes! a new love), packed some extra clothes (in case I needed to change after the run), and set out to make the 1-hour trip to Queens.

I arrived with a full hour to spare, and the scene was already poppin’! Music was blasting, runners filled the park, and the rain held off!

Queens 10K

The temps were creeping up and the humidity…oh the humidity! Us runners all know that humidity is seriously destructive, so you can assume how crushing the 95% humidity felt.

Queens 10K

Queens 10K

I strolled around for a bit before finally lining up and patiently waiting for the race to start.

Queens 10K

There were about 8,500 runners, so it took almost 10 minutes to cross the start line and begin!

Queens 10K

Mile 1
9:58 min/mile
The humidity caught up with me almost immediately. I felt myself heating up but my legs felt good and I was so absurdly happy to be back on my running game. The course was pretty crowded but I didn’t mind it too much. The first mile flew by but I was internally complaining about the heat almost immediately.

Mile 2
9:38 min/mile
I officially overheated! And so the bargaining began – I started splitting the race into smaller parts and working towards smaller milestones in order to avoid mentally checking out. I had no time goals but I did want to avoid walking (unless pain hit). The humidity was no joke, I completely forgot how horrid it was to try and run through all the moisture!

Mile 3
9:41 min/mile
I did my best to notice all the scenery but my mind kept wandering back to the humidity (I know, I know). I grabbed water every time it was available, which seemed to help since I never really got my expected dehydration headache (does anyone else get those?).

Mile 4
9:43 min/mile
Hitting the halfway point always feels awesome, and this was no exception. I refused to look at my pace prior to the halfway point, but allowed myself to reevaluate after my Garmin beeped at mile 3. My pace seemed to remain consistent but I was mentally ready to be done with the race…I wanted my medal!

Mile 5
9:29 min/mile
We started running along the highway towards the turnaround point. Seeing all the people running back towards us served as the ultimate motivation to keep pushing. My Garmin was already 0.1 miles off from each mile marker, but for the first time I allowed myself to think of a time goal. Was it possible to finish under 1 hour? Mental math told me yes but my body resisted. Reaching the turnaround point was awesome, especially because it was at the MetLife Stadium!

Mile 6
9:08 min/mile
The final mile was rough! I felt my heart rate skyrocket up and even got dizzy at one point, but I kept speeding up as a sub-60 minute finish felt more and more real in my mind. I started passing people (always a nice surprise) and was determined to finish strong. I even accidentally elbowed some chick while accelerating…oops. Those final 0.2 miles…you guys…I have no idea where I got the energy from, but I sprinted at full speed and crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face. 

Queens 10K

Final Time: 59:57 (9:39 min/mile pace)
Place: 4207 / 8675
Age Division (25-29): 370 / 979

Queens 10K

After chugging some water and snagging an apple, I hopped on the train back to Manhattan in full glee. Look at that view!


All in all, I loved this race

• Fueling & amenities – there were many water/Gatorade & Port-a-Potty stops
• Post-race goodies – apples, water bottles, pretzels, the usual spread of goodies!
• Flat course – I can’t recall any hills except a single small one around mile 3
• Race shirt & medal – the tech tank is extremely high-quality and the medal is elegant and stunning

• Non-scenic route – as much as I loved running in a new area, I wish there was more to see (although running by the MetLife Stadium was awesome)
• Far from Manhattan – this might only be applicable to me, but it took me almost an hour to get from my apartment to Corona Park
• Crowded – the start of the race was crowded and continued to be throughout the race (although it was tolerable)

I”m not sure I would do this race again, mainly because of the proximity to Manhattan, but it was fun nonetheless!

♥ Irina

A to Z, All About Me!

I’m a sucker for surveys, and this one has been floating around the blog world lately. So of course I couldn’t resist!

A – Age: 26

B – Biggest Fear: I’m truly terrified of tsunamis and tornados, but I think I’ll be ok considering that both are unlikely to strike NYC

C – Current Time: 9:52 PM

D – Drink You Had Last: Kombucha!


E – Easiest Person To Talk To: so I have a friend in a far far far away country and we talk all day every day…it’s kind of a special thing

F – Favorite Song: Hurricane (Halsey – remix), although this changes weekly but for now “I’m a wanderess, I’m a one night stand, don’t belong to no city, don’t belong to no man

G – Grossest Memory: hmmm this is a tough one, the first surgery I ever shadowed was pretty gross initially but I ended up really enjoying watching it at the end, so maybe it wasn’t actually my grossest memory

H – Hometown: born in Moscow, lived in Chicago for 19 years

I – In Love With: life! and running, oh my gosh running

J – Jealous Of: everyone currently in medical school (seriously)

K – Kindest Person You Know: my best friend Anya

Anya & I

(blonde + brunette conquer the world)

L – Longest Relationship: 3.5 years

M – Middle Name: Yuriyevna (fun fact: Russian people don’t have middle names, we simply use our father’s name and make it “feminine”)

N – Number of Siblings: one, shout out to my awesome sista!

O – One Wish: world peace! I kid I kid, my (more realistic) wish is to figure out who I am and what I’m meant to do in this world

P – Person You Spoke To On The Phone Last: Mom ♥

Q – Question You’re Always Asked: “Are your eyelashes real?” yes, yes they are betches

Tarte mascara

(my eyelashes are naturally long but this Tarte Amazonian Clay mascara is THE BEST and helps lengthen them without added chemicals or other fake crap)

R – Reason To Smile: life is good you guys…it’s a beautiful thing

S – Song You Last Sang: Cheerleader

T – Time You Woke Up: 6AM

U – Underwear Color: red (TMI but it’s the way to go during this time of the month, if you know what I mean)

V – Vacation Destination: my family and I are going to California next month!

W – Worst Habit: biting my nails…someone please help me stop

short nails

X – X-Rays You’ve Had: oh where to begin? arch of foot, right knee, left (or right?) shin, yearly ones at the dentist, lower back/spine (I have scoliosis)

Y – Your Favorite Food: chocolate, preferably at least 85% dark

Z – Zodiac Sign: Leo (meow)

Thanks for tuning in for this randomness about me. Now it’s your turn, go!

♥ Irina

Frames From The Weekend 7/10/2015 – 7/12/2015

Hello and happy Monday! Look who’s back…meeeee! I’m actually writing a Frames From The Weekend post, it’s been way too long.

FFTW Summer2

(Link up to ‘Frames From The Weekend’! Read the official “rules” here.)

Sadly, I didn’t take any photos from the weekend with the exception of yesterday’s awesome evening run, so there isn’t much to share. I stayed in on Friday to study chemistry and crash early. I woke up at 6AM on Saturday and headed out to the Bronx to volunteer at a free clinic (a weekly thing), which was later followed by more chemistry work until the evening. Come nighttime, I threw on my new Banana Republic romper (I got it on super sale for $20!) and made my way to Union Square to meet up with a friend. We had grand plans to get fancy drinks but ended up just sitting in her apartment and talking for 2+ hours! She’s a good friend here in NYC but this is the first time we really got to know each other. I’m so grateful to know such intelligent and incredible ladies here in the city!


{I went to sleep very late on Saturday (i.e Sunday) and ended up sleeping in on Sunday and skipping my planned morning run. It was super hot outside so I avoided running midday and just continued studying chemistry. The evening came around and I finally decided to attempt my long run despite the lingering heat. I set out 30 minutes before sunset and chose a brand new route – the outer rectangular perimeter of Central Park. Running through Harlem at dusk wasn’t the greatest but I absolutely loooooved running in the dark. 7 miles later, I was in pure bliss. Running and I are having a pretty serious love affair right now, pray for me and my legs please.}

I actually have a pretty mellow week ahead of me, and I’m super grateful for the extra time to catch up on life. I’m trying to slowly study chemistry in preparation for next week’s exam to avoid cramming the night before. Cheers to not procrastinating!

Are/were you a procrastinator in school, work, or life in general?

♥ Irina