*Scroll down for the background story.

Run10_650:14 min. 167th out of 2144 runners (96 out of 1806 females).

It’s been well over 48 hours, and I am STILL shaking over those stats.

Needless to say, my 2014 RUN 10 FEED 10 experience well exceeded my expectations. When I registered for this run the second time around, I had a pretty good gauge on the route and how long it has taken / would take me to run the entire 6.2 miles. Last year, I completed the race in 53:05 min – so of course, I decided that THIS year, I was going to cross that finish line at 50 minutes flat. All I needed was a good pace, good music… and a little bit of luck.

My Dad always says, “luck is just preparation meeting opportunity,”  and, like all his lessons, I’m glad this one was able to truly resonate. So, in preparation, I created a simple plan for myself (read, more sleep, less booze, run sprints). I followed these rules to the tee (well, you know, give or take some bumps along the way). Training for this 10K was one of my highest priorities for the last month, and it looks like two days ago, preparation and opportunity met me on the West Side Highway.

Throughout the morning, I had kept time on my iPhone via the Strava app (which is absolutely fabulous, btw), to make sure I stayed on pace. At the end, I looked up at the official race clock which read around 51 min or so, give and take. Despite knowing deep down that shaving three minutes off of my time was a long shot, I’ll admit my heart sank a little. I had given it my all, and today was just not the day…


I ended up checking my official race time and I say this in the most enthusiastic and least dramatic way possible: my heart literally stopped beating for a (hot) sec. 50 minutes and 14 seconds.


My running buddy!

I cannot even begin to describe how remarkable it is to see your hard work pay off!!

Comprehending that success is measured in many ways*, as long as you have purposeful goals and you are willing to work hard for them, has been a personal milestone. It was only when I had a chance to step back and finally break my soul-sucking workout routine was I able to see that “going to the gym in hopes of abs” was not an achievement that would fulfill my needs. I stopped working towards physical results, and remembered what it meant to be an athlete again.

I think this race was extra special for me because I had two of my best friends waiting for me at the end, and even a running buddy! Not to mention being able to satisfy my philanthropic side (Here & Here)! Okay, okay, the free bagels and yoga mat at the end also helped (…and the free, bright hair ties…and free stickers…and the – also free – pint of mint chip gelato in my freezer).

And success is even sweeter when you have support from family, friends, and even your coworkers 🙂


Hils & Cha at the finish line!



Thank you to everyone who made this year even more fun than the last!


*T H E   B A C K G R O U N D  S T O R Y

A few things to note:

  • I’m a gym rat (read, I find I have a hard time getting the day rolling along if I don’t get a decent sweat sesh right when I wake up)
  • I’m also a morning person
  • I desperately want abs
  • I tend to measure success on physical results (i.e., still don’t have abs, etc.)

As of late, all of the above still stands resolute, except for the last bullet.

I think that evolving from an “athlete,” to a runner, to a gym buff, it’s very easy to get lost in the physicality and lose track of what’s important. For at least a year, I tried every diet, cut out this kind of food (or even a whole category), to ‘healthy substitutions’ to drinking apple cider vinegar before meals – EVERYTHING. My body would fluctuate from feeling perfectly thin to uncomfortably bloated to just existing. I couldn’t figure it out – where were the results? Why was I still unhappy?

When my sister left, I flew home to spend time with my family to see her off before jetsetting to Miami to visit my best friend, Audrey, at grad school. When I was home and working that week, I was able to truly observe what it means to be part of the Ton family. My diagnosis: we’re a little crazy.

Sometimes I think it’s a miracle that I am still vying to go home as often as I do, because every single time I step off that plane, it is almost like entering a circus. We just do not know how to sit still (read, tennis practices, tournaments, workouts, family dinners, work, meetings, shopping, Mom’s cooking, TANNING). While I can say I love every second of it, it gets easy to fall into this erratic routine. It’s an inside joke at this point, that the Ton family is always running around (#sorryforbeingpopular).

And this, I realize, translated into my health and well-being (or I guess you can even say, lack thereof). I am very routine-driven (#TypeA), and for as long as I’ve lived in New York, I think I’ve been unhappy because I fell into this gym, work, eat, sleep, repeat routine; and after a while, I just couldn’t shake it! If I missed a step, my whole day felt out of place. That wasn’t okay. Throw in the fact that it is so easy to meet another disgruntled local (the train is late, my apartment is too small, why is coffee so expensive, etc.), and well, simple math.

One of the life lessons I took from my sister during her time at the Naval Academy: there is ALWAYS enough time. There is enough time to do it all, when you make the time to do it.
I’ve come to recognize that when it feels like things are too much… actually, ESPECIALLY when it feels like things are too much: MAKE A CHANGE. Disrupt your routine so vigorously that you allow yourself a chance to start fresh. Miami was my disruption, and I am incredibly grateful for it.

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