2016 Race Calendar

Since I started running in May 2015, I want to complete at least one Half Marathon* in each State, plus D.C. and Puerto Rico, before I move out of the U.S. to another country. Here’s what I have sign up so far for 2016.**


QDR 30K Spring Marathon Tune Up (Mar 26, 2016)


Staten Island Half Marathon (Apr 2, 2016)


The day I ran my first half marathon of the year started with light rain. It was sunny that same afternoon, but between 9am and 11am during the race, it was heavy rain. Of course I was drenched as I’m always under prepared for any travels, and ended up having a fever and lying in bed for the next two days and missed my training run and Spanish class, I found the race experience with Trimara Sports pleasant.

I woke up at 5am, and spent 2 hours on trains and buses to get to Staten Island, but I had a good time. Now I’m considering signing up the Holiday Half Marathon at the end of this year with Trimara Sports as well.

NYCRUNS Queens Half Marathon (Apr 17, 2016)


It’s a half marathon in my neighborhood, of course I’m doing it. I really enjoyed running with NYCRUNS, they have put up a good race, with lots of post race bagels and fruits. And I couldn’t believe there were more than 1,000 people came out to run on a Sunday with limited 7 train service.

Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon (Apr 30, 2016)


This is my first marathon and my goal is simple: to cross the finish line in upright position. I have been training for the KDF Marathon since January and if I don’t collapse during running, I hope to finish within 4 hours and 15 minutes.


Camp Chingachgook Challenge (Half Marathon, Aug 13, 2016)


This course is beautiful but hilly, and the weather was hot. But then I get to swim in the lake and enjoy the best post race food! I always loved Lake George, back in my college days, my boyfriend and I used to spend long weekends here, relaxing and shopping at the outlet malls. It felt great to be back.


Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon (Sep 10, 2016)


I love almost everything Amish, so when I found out that the finisher’s medal has a horseshoe and the race course runs along the farmlands of Lancaster, I signed up right away. Everyone who knows me well knows that I travel to Lancaster to spend weekends several times a year. Maybe this will be the start of a new tradition, running Bird-in-Hand Half and then refueling with Smorgasbord.


Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon (Oct 8, 2016)

This ended up being my first DNS (did not start) race. On the Thursday night before the race, as I was walking through a door, it closed while I was crossing the threshold and hit my right ankle hard. I was immobile for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I was really upset so ended up eating the entire bag of oreo cookies in Saturday afternoon.

I lived in Brooklyn for a year before moving to Queens my current apartment. I would love to do a half marathon running through Prospect Park.

Runner’s World Half & Festival (Oct 14-16, 2016)


Really happy to be able to run again. The RW Half & Festival is a great event, they even provided shuttles for us who live in NYC. The weather at the start was cold, but then it warmed up after I finish. The course was hilly but beautiful. I would like to come back and do their Grand Slam someday.

Marine Corps Marathon (Oct 30, 2016)


They say money can’t buy happiness, but when I received an email from my bank that my card had been charged $140 (means I won the lottery to enter MCM), I was in fact quite happy, almost ecstatic to be honest. When I told people I will run the MCM, almost everyone told me I’d have a great time and the race is really beginner friendly. I can’t wait :)


Cambridge Half (Nov 13, 2016)


My running buddy wanted to do this race because she went to school in Boston years ago, and I’m simply tag along. Why not :)

* I would only run half marathons, marathons or longer distances, because I’m thrifty and usually a 10K costs not much less than a half marathon, but the course is much shorter. To me, it costs more to run a 10K than a half marathon (dollar per mile wise), so I would only do half marathon and longer distance because it’s cheaper “per mile” to run.

**This list will be updated as soon as I sign up for a new race before Dec 31, 2016.


Now I Own A Server

I have finally decided to pay for a Virtual Private Hosting service last Tuesday. I had the standard VPS from Bluehost, along with my Heroku free tier, now I have two platforms to host my weekend projects and be as nerdy as I want to.

I couldn’t help telling my non technical friends about it, and had to explain that getting a VPS for me is the equivalent to receiving Christmas gifts for them.

It’s time to unleash my startup spirit: make great things and actually deploy them.

Introducing Just 1KG More

It appears that I have spent way too much time writing code for the past few months. I probably should be blogging about it too, even if it doesn’t interest anybody. So let me start by letting everyone know my latest project: Just 1KG More — a website built exclusively for nonprofit organizations that want to minimize operating cost.

Just 1KG More is a simple tool that allows nonprofit organizations to post project destinations, along with a list of items that could be used or need for the project. Travelers who happen to travel to the same destination can sign up and choose how much and what they are willing to carry (for the organization), starting at 1kg.

I created Just 1KG More for myself.

I travel to China at least once a year, and for an international flight, I can have a checked bag for up to 23kg for free. However most of the time my checked bags were around 19kg, so then each time I travel, there’s about 4kg of free space I can fill with donations and supplies for nonprofit organizations that need to be transported to Northeast China.

I have completed the backend work for Just 1KG More, and my next steps are:

  • Finish front end work
  • Start internal testing with friends and volunteers
  • Beta Launch
  • If the website gains users, then redesign the UX for production launch

One of the benefits of Just 1KG More is leveraging already available resources. Nonprofit organizations receive non-monetary donations, such as school and medical supplies, clothing, and much more. Travelers often have extra space in their packed suitcases. Just 1KG More can works to bring them together.

This is just the start! I’m looking forward to talking with you, and receiving feedback on Just 1KG More on the approach to the beta release in early 2016.  Send me an email at daniel@danielatwork.com, start a conversation on twitter @danni1990 and sign up for the project newsletter to learn more!

You can find the current version of the code here on github.

This work is licensed under an Apache License.

An Amish Weekend in Lancaster, PA


Lancaster County is about 3 hours drive from New York City, with glorious farmland, Pennsylvania Dutch smorgasbord and Amish themed tours, it is truly a wonderful weekend getaway from your busy city life. I first visited Lancaster in the summer of 2013, and have been coming back at least once a year ever since.

Arrive Thursday Night

If you leave the city around 5pm or 6pm, you can manage to get in Lancaster before 9pm. I would recommend staying in the East Lancaster area, such as Bird-In-Hand, Paradise or Ronks etc. Those locations are very close to the Amish settlement, and have supermarkets and restaurants nearby. There are lots of hotels along the Lincoln Highway East, or if you like Bed & Breakfast, many of them are along the Old Philadelphia Pike.

Friday with Old Order Amish

Friday is for Amish, but first stop by Lancaster Central Market to get breakfast. Lancaster Central Market is the oldest farmers market in the country (according to its website) and opens Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It has the standard farmer’s market stuff: fresh fruit, produce, coffee and tea. There are also Amish crafts, cookies, cakes and pies sold. It also surprised me with its gluten-free bread and cookies.

Now onto the Amish adventure. Amish Farm and House is a must stop for its informative bus tours. The tour takes you through the photographic Amish farmland and makes stops at Amish craft shops and roadside stands to try their homemade lemonade, ice cream and hand rolled pretzel.


Another must-do is the “Visit In Person (VIP)” tour offered by Amish Experience at Plain and Fancy Farm. Buy tickets online and enjoy a very personal visit to Amish businesses and family. We visited an Amish dairy farm and a soap shop, and saw the process of milking cows and making soaps. And the best part is our last stop at an Amish home, we got to sit in the living room of an Amish family and talk to them. One of the daughters of the family is a school teacher for Amish kids, so we actually looked at their textbooks used in school. It’s very informative and very personal. There is also an Amish Experience Theater at Plain & Fancy Farm where you can see a screening of “Jacob’s Choice”  about a young Amish boy’s struggle in choosing the Amish church, or leaving behind family and community for the “English” world.

Whether you choose to go on a buggy ride or drive through the back road on your own, a must stop is the Countryside Road Stand for its soft pretzels. They are made fresh, you can watch the Amish ladies make them right in front of you.  They are hot, buttery and so yummy. They also have homemade ice cream and root beer.

Saturday in Hershey

On Saturday you can either extend your Amish adventures or do something different and visit the Hershey Park. Hershey Park is about an hour away from Lancaster, with an amusement park and a water park, you can spend all day there. At night after the entire day of rides, dine at Khana Indian Bistro for some tandoori chicken or fish curry, the food is great and it opens late.

Sunday in Strasburg

0002924_0002924-R1-E013Lancaster is like a lot of other small towns that has quiet Sundays, because a lot of restaurants and shops choose to close on Sundays, but there are still some fun things to do. Climb aboard on the trains at Strasburg Rail Road and enjoy a 45-minute, round-trip ride through the scenic Amish countryside to Paradise, PA and back. Marvel at more than 1,000 acres of farm fields as they pass by your window. Reserve tickets online for first class cars, or just walk up to the ticketing booth for coach class.

Rest of Sunday is a good time for shopping. There is Park City Center Mall and several outlet malls in the area and since PA has no sales tax on clothes and shoes, buy as much as you can carry ;)

Where To Stay

I usually book a hotel on Priceline.com because I interned at Priceline.com and loved it. I don’t work there anymore because I can only work full time for an employer that sponsor H1B visa, but I still love to use Priceline.com every time I travel. Sometime I also like to stay in other people’s homes through Airbnb.

What Else To Do

Visit Hayloft Candles for candles of all occasions and see how candles are made. There is also a petting zoo free of admission.

If you are interested in religious shows and experiences, one time my host recommended me to Sight & Sound Theater. I’m not religious so I didn’t go, but I see the good reviews on Yelp and other travel websites.

For gifts and souvenirs, check out Kitchen Kettle Village for Amish dolls, pickles, foods and crafts.

For outdoors, make a stop at the Wolf Sanctuary of PA.

Where To Workout

I usually do at least one Bikram yoga when I travel. In Lancaster, that’s Bikram Yoga Lancaster. For gyms, I’ve only been to Formular Fitness and Aerobics, and it’s a decent gym.

Where To Eat

For lunch and dinner, definitely try the Pennsylvania Dutch smorgasbord, there are Plain & Fancy Farm Restaurant, Good ‘N Plenty Restaurant, and Miller’s SmorgasbordLititz Family Cupboard Restaurant & Buffet also serves breakfast buffet worth trying. Some restaurants in the area don’t open on Sundays, so you need to either call ahead or check Yelp to confirm the hours.

For fresh produce and treats, you should check out Miller’s Natural Foods and Kauffman’s Fruit Farm.

This category “Take Friday Off” is inspired by WSJ’s “Take Monday Off” on it’s Life section. So far my weekend getaways are restricted to places within the US because I can only renew my visa in my home country (China) and I have to do it once a year, so if I make a trip to some other country, I’ll have to go back to China, renew my visa before entering the US again. It’s really challenging because all I want to do is to spend money and have fun, and not being able to renew my visa in the US gave me a lot of trouble since I work at WSJ on breaking news, I can’t afford to break the “Breaking News” just to spend 3 days in Cozumel.

Sobre Running

El otro día, he leído un articulo en Runner’s World México sobre ser una corredora lenta, y me siento lo mismo: no me da vergüenza para ser una corredora nueva y lenta.

Conocí a correr un poco tarde en la vida.

Primero, permítanme comenzar con mi historia de running: NO HE CORRIDO NUNCA EN MI VIDA. El único ejercicio cardiovascular en mi rutina era correr al cruzar la calle en mis chanclas mientras coches vienen. Otras personas también dicen que no han corrido nunca, pero la mayoría de ellos, al menos, se han tomado las clases de educación física en escuela secundaria. En contrario en China donde yo crecí, no corremos en la clase de educación física, clases de educación física era una vez a la semana, y con frecuencia se pasó por otras clases más importantes, como la literatura china o matemática. En serio que nunca he corrido en total 24 años de mi vida antes de decidir cambiar mi vida como una resolución para el año nuevo al principio de 2015.

Empecé a correr una vez por la semana en el gimnasio en mayo de 2015, y durante varios messes progresé a 3 o 4 veces por la semana en el Prospect Park. El mes pasado, me matriculé un medio maratón en diciembre. Tengo un plan de entrenamiento solo para completar el medio maratón, no deseo que vaya a hacer más rápido. Para mí, completar un medio maratón ya es una victoria.

Podría leer el articulo en la página web http://www.runners.mx/article/que-tiene-de-malo-ser-una-corredora-lenta

(I really don’t speak much Spanish, that’s why I’m still learning, taking Spanish classes twice a week at Instituto Cervantes. This post is not intended to serve as running resource or Spanish example, and I’m sure I’ve made tons of grammar and word choice mistakes in it. If you are also a novice runner or trying to learn Spanish, just work hard and have fun!)

ClassPass is truly “Unlimited”


Jess from ClassPass has contacted me and made my account unlimited, and I was able to book my 31st class in my current billing cycle!

It is because ClassPass automatically sets a 30 class limit when we joined, but if we reach out to them, they can always increase it.

Original Post:


I tried to register a class the other day and ClassPass didn’t let me, instead, it showed me this:

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 12.20.55 AM

“You have already reserved 30 classes, the maximum number allowed for you ClassPass each cycle”.

I wish that instead of saying “unlimited”, ClassPass could just tell me it’s 30 classes per billing cycle.