Staying on Track During the Holidays

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This post is sponsored by Wellcoin. All opinions are my own.  With fall racing season behind many of us and the arrival of colder, darker mornings, it’s easier to choose to stay in bed rather than get up and run or workout or to choose the couch and covers over a nighttime walk or choose a second serving of cake at the holiday party. For years, I dreaded the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year for these very reasons. They were usually my unhealthiest and by the time the New Year rolled around, I’d often be unhappy with how I felt. I’ve learned that a realistic and manageable approach to exercise, eating and routine can result in a much happier holiday season (for me, it has very little to do with the number on the scale – especially since we don’t have a scale in our house and more to do with how I feel). Below are a handful of things I focus on as the holidays approach. Be Realistic: Instead of completely avoiding my favorite foods during the holiday season (my mom’s cheesecake, seven layer cookies and mozzarella-packed Italian stuffing), I am more realistic when I show up to Continue Reading →

A Break From Training


Are you following me on Instagram? Make sure you are for some fun news and giveaways soon! ——– About two weeks ago I decided to take a break with training. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still running most morning and have every intention to train hard for Boston in the spring. But right now, I just need a mental and physical break from being tied to a training plan. I think it’s partially because I’m adjusting to a new normal for me and my family and I’m trying to find that happy balance where I don’t feel like I’m running myself ragged. I think it’s also partially because I am a bit worn out from a long, hard training cycle. I was pumped up after Wineglass and had plans to put my head down and continue working hard through Boston. But my body, heart and mind are not in it right now. The truth is, for a few weeks, I didn’t have much of a desire to run long on the weekends. Zero desire to run 8 miles every day. Zero desire to run in the freezing cold. And I was getting annoyed with myself and frustrated that I Continue Reading →

Winter Running Necessities


Last year was the first winter where I can say that I truly ran through the entire winter season. In years past, I start out with the goal of running on the roads, but typically end up doing most of the sub-freezing runs on the treadmill. I strongly dislike cold weather – give me an 85 degree day over 0 any day of the week. But after a few spring marathons where I finished not feeling as good as I wanted or running the times I thought I was capable of, I made a promise to myself to try to learn to love (or at least accept) the colder weather. I wanted Boston to be a strong race and I knew that in order for that to happen, I needed to focus on more running on the roads, regardless of wind, cold, rain or snow. And so, in the Boston trainup, I did just that. With the exception of one tempo long run, every long run was outside. And virtually all of my easy or recovery days were outside as well. The speed days were a tossup – I chose the treadmill when I was worried about footing or visibility Continue Reading →

Feature on ESPNW + Family Priorities


A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Gina, a photographer for ESPN-W. She was interested in my Army story and potentially wanted to include me in a Veteran’s Day piece ESPN-W was putting together. Everything worked out and I’m incredibly honored to have been included in this story, even more-so after reading about the other seven female Veterans that ESPN-W chose. The photo shoot was so incredibly fun. We got to shoot in the rain (you can see the rain if you look closely!) on my favorite trail by my home. Then returned home for some still shots and filmed interview. The hardest part was not smiling and trying to keep a straight face – I am a super smiley person so to force a straight, serious face was not easy for me! Click here for the article. Also wanted to wish all the veterans out there a Happy Veteran’s Day! Thank you for keeping my family safe! ——— I’ve taken it easy the last few days in regards to running and training. I woke up incredibly tired on Monday, chalked it up to a jam-packed weekend which resulted in little sleep and went out and ran. By Continue Reading →

My “normal” day as a working + running mom


I am five weeks into my new job and finally feel like I have a rhythm and routine that is sustainable and feasible – at least for the time being. I’m sure there will be obstacles or bumps along the way, but no sense worrying about how I’m going to get around them before they are even in my way. A lot of readers have asked what a typical day is like for me lately. I wanted to wait at least a month until the dust settled and I had a better handle on the day-to-day routine.  So here goes: 3:45-4:10am: Wakeup. This varies based on the day, type of workout and number of miles I am planning to run. I make it as late as possible to squeeze out even an extra 10-15 minutes of sleep! Monday and Wednesday are usually my speed days and/or longer mileage days, so I tend to get up closer to 3:45 on those mornings. Coffee. My husband or I set it up the night before, so it’s all ready by the time I make it downstairs. I straighten up, empty the dishwasher and do little things around kitchen until coffee is ready. Some Continue Reading →

Nutrition + Fueling for Marathons


Last week I talked about my training for Wineglass. One of the questions I was asked was about nutrition – if I changed anything, how I fueled on runs, etc. You can have the perfect training plan, but if your diet is not meeting the needs of your body, you can get injured, sick or not make it to the start line as trained or healthy as you could be. For many years, I had a general rule of thumb that I fueled on any run over 90 minutes. Even when I was running long in Iraq and didn’t have access to gels (during my 2nd deployment), I still found ways to fuel. I carried little packets of peanut butter or handfuls of peanuts/trail mix in bags in my sports bra. I’m a big believer in making training harder than races. So less fuel, water, carb-intake, etc during the training cycle and during each run than I would give myself on race day. I want my body to be able to run longer miles with less fuel so that on race days, it will feel easier (or at least provide a mental advantage) when I have consistent calories and water Continue Reading →

Returning to Work + Juggling Training


So, I returned to full-time work (out of the house) three weeks ago. I haven’t worked outside the home in almost FIVE years. I realized I never really talked about what I did before I became a mom and began blogging, so here is the full story. I attended West Point for four years and then spent six amazing years in the Army. They were truly some of the most rewarding and exciting years of my life (I don’t know if there is any interest in what I did while I was in the military – please let me know if there is and I’ll talk about it in a separate post!). After leaving the Army and returning home to NYC, I felt pulled in two directions. Part of me wanted to continue what I had been doing for the previous six years in the Army. I had all this intelligence experience and absolutely loved my last position (Lethal Targeting Officer for the Division). And so that was what I initially pursued. I applied for and was offered a job as a DEA analyst in NYC. But during the pre-employment process, a private company approached me and offered me an amazing job. Continue Reading →

Wineglass Marathon Training – By the Numbers


One of the aspects of Coach Hadley’s training that I love is that there isn’t a day on the plan where we switch to marathon training – everything you do is training for your goal race (even recovery periods). I never technically stopped training after Boston – and the plan and training runs seamlessly transitioned from recovery to light speedwork to short intervals to long tempos. So it’s hard to say I trained for “x” number of weeks or months. After Boston, I took a few days off and then gradually picked up the miles over the course of the next couple of weeks but didn’t start speed or longer weekend runs until close to the end of May. I was pretty sore after Boston and needed a bit longer to get back into the swing of things. As the months progressed, workouts became more focused on the marathon distance – so longer long runs, longer tempos, steady state. When I look back on the training for Wineglass, a few things really pop out at me. read moreTweet

2015 Chicago Marathon Race Recap – Saucony 26 Strong


I had the honor of running side by side next to Ruth for 26.2 miles through the streets of Chicago on Sunday as she ran her first marathon. It was part of the Saucony 26 Strong program where Saucony partnered 13 “veteran” marathoners with 13 first-time marathoners – for coaching, advice and support over the last six months – with it culminating with the Chicago Marathon this past weekend. I am so inspired, impressed and motivated by Ruth. She decided only a few years ago that she wanted to run a marathon (I actually think that it was at the 2013 NYC Marathon when I met her for the first time!). She was a relatively new runner at the time and spent the last few years working on increasing her mileage. She ran her first half marathon last spring and then began the training for 26.2. I love that her age, situation (she’s a grandma!) or lack of running background dissuaded her from chasing down her goals. She set her eyes on the marathon finish line and trained her butt off the entire summer through the brutal heat and humidity – and even through a fall and stitches on her chin Continue Reading →

2015 Wineglass Marathon Race Recap – 3:12!


This past weekend I completed my 12th marathon – and set a 3:11 min PR with a time of 3:12:04. I have an entire post that I will share when I get a chance to edit it – it highlights the last few months of training that got me to Wineglass in the best shape of my life. I wrote it during taper as a way for me to look back on training as Coach and I were going over race plans and time goals. But, I decided to hold off on sharing it until post-marathon. I am thrilled with another PR – my 2nd big PR in as many attempts this year. Six months ago, my PR was 3:21:32. It is now 3:12:04. I have taken more than 9 minutes off in just over 5 months after years of fighting to break 3:21…and I am now knocking on the sub-3:10 door. There is a small part of me that is a bit disappointed that I didn’t walk away with a faster finish time. I had a pretty amazing training cycle this summer – the best training cycle of my life – and the numbers definitely pointed to a sub-3:10. read moreTweet

Maximizing Wellcoin Activity + Rewards


It’s been about two months since I started using Wellcoin on a daily basis (I first talked about it here). It’s been a learning process for me – for the first week or so, I wasn’t logging my activity in the most advantageous way and therefore wasn’t maximizing the wellcoins I could be earning! So, I wanted to share some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned about the app and how to maximize your wellcoins! – Always choose “verification”. You can earn more wellcoins by letting the community verify your activity. The community can give you anywhere from 1 to 5 stars – if you earn 5 stars, you can triple the wellcoins you originally were receiving for that activity. So if you post a healthy lunch for 20 wellcoins, have the community verify it and you can receive 60 wellcoins! (Note: the verification option is on the final screen before you submit the activity (see below).) – Attach a photo. A photo will increase the chances of your activity being verified – picture of your meal, treadmill readout, weights, scene on your run – it doesn’t matter – as long as it helps show that you are logging the Continue Reading →

Wineglass Marathon Training Update (T-2)

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The hay is in the barn, the money has been deposited…less than two weeks to go! Just one long tempo workout and a mid-ish distance run on Saturday and then nothing but short, easy runs before race day! This was a big week of running for me. At this point in training, there are no short speed workouts on the plan. No more 600s, 800s, mile repeats, two mile tempos. Those were to build speed. For the last few weeks, the focus has been on longer workouts that will make marathon pace feel easier – long steady state, longer tempos and longer tempo intervals. See the similarity? They are all LONG. These workouts have been sprinkled throughout the cycle and have been gradually building in length – and three of them culminated this week – longest steady state (12 miles), longest LT tempo (5 miles – total 11 miles) and longest long-run tempo (16 miles w/ 8 @ tempo). I’ve seen these workouts on the plan for several weeks now – and I’ve been a bit intimidated. Each of them, alone, is tough enough. But to have all three over the course of six days made it even more so. read moreTweet

Wineglass Marathon Training Update (T-3) + Returning to Work!


LESS than 3 weeks until it’s time to lay it all out there – getting close!!! I feel like the last 4-6 weeks flew by – just like the end of the summer. School started for my little guys on Monday – Pre-K 4 and Pre-K 3! I’m also happy to share that I got another job offer this week – and will be accepting! Everything about this job and position feels right to me and I’m over the moon ecstatic to return to work. Most days will be close to 13 hours out of the house (it’s in Midtown East so the commute will be 60+ min in AM and 90+ min in PM) and I know running will have to take a backseat. Not sure what I’m going to do yet in regards with training and racing – I think decisions will be made as we go along and I see how much running I’m able to fit in. But I feel ready to shift around priorities and cut back where I need to. So, Wineglass is rapidly approaching. We are down to 19 days. 19!!! Thankfully, I had a pretty solid week of training last week. I felt great, Continue Reading →

DICK’s Sporting Goods


This post is sponsored by Vocalpoint and DICK’s Sporting Goods. All opinions are my own.  Six weeks ago was the first time I had been in a DICK’s Sporting Goods since their remodel . Since then, I’ve been back four times – once to look for some items for myself (see below!), twice to look for things for my boys (running clothes and soccer shoes) and once for pool toys. It has become a store that is fun and enjoyable for my boys and I to go to – even when we don’t have anything in particular to buy! The aisles are wide, it has bright lighting, there’s TONS of options for running and workout clothes…AND, there is a little track for them to run some laps while I shop! One of the coolest parts of the store is where various brands of sports bras are organized according to support – it makes it much easier to find the exact sports bra you are looking for! I found an awesome outfit for me to wear for my core and strength workouts during our last visit. I’ve been focusing on the “other” aspects of running at nighttime after my little guys go to Continue Reading →

Humana RnR Virginia Beach Weekend + Recap

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This past weekend, I had the pleasure of spending a few days in Virginia Beach for the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon. It was a fun ~48 hours filled with some running, great food and lots of time with friends! I landed in Norfolk Friday afternoon and after a quick Uber ride, was in the Virginia Beach area. I met up with my friend, Chris (aka RunWestin) for dinner at Eat – and were joined by Jennifer and Michael. The food was amazing – definitely a great restaurant to try if you are in the VA Beach area (thanks, Jen, for the recommendation!). Saturday morning started off bright and early – Jess picked me up and we headed to her in-law’s home where we sat around and chatted for several hours (we had plans to watch the sunrise with her children but the rain and stormy skies prevented that from happening). We finally made our way to a local park for a few shakeout miles. This park is gorgeous – relatively flat, packed dirt to run on and TONS of local runners getting their long runs in. I even ran into Ally while we were there – it was Continue Reading →

16 Running Quotes To Motivate You For Your Next Run


This post was originally featured on Women’s Running (it can be found here). Sometimes it may be easy to find the motivation to get out the door at 5 a.m., set out for a long run in the summer heat or to move on from a workout that didn’t go as planned. However there may be some days where the motivation just isn’t there. I’m with you. Some days I need a little external motivation—and often, it comes in the simple form of someone else’s words. Below are 16 running quotes that help me when I need that little extra bit of push to keep moving forward. Winning the Mental Battle “Running is nothing more than a series of arguments between the part of your brain that wants to stop and the part that wants to keep going.” — Unknown “Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.” — Continue Reading →

Wineglass Marathon Training (T-5) + RnR Virginia Beach!

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So, this was a tough week of training. Physically, I am feeling fine – the pain in my foot disappeared as quickly as it appeared and I have been running pain-free all week. But mentally, it was a challenging week. I flew out to SF on Friday morning for one of my college gf’s weddings, so coach and I adjusted the plan so I would get my long run in on Thursday. Realistically, there was ZERO chance (or desire) of me running long while I was in SF – my focus was on spending as much time with my West Point girls as possible – and a 21 miler did not fit into the plan. So we decided to shift the week and do the long run on Thursday. Unfortunately, I woke up Thursday and just didn’t have the motivation to run for almost 3 hours. I made it 5 miles and called it a day. The thought of another 16 miles – alone and mostly in the dark – sounded miserable to me. So the plan changed to me running at 4am on Friday. I’ve never run that early before but I needed to be on my way to the Continue Reading →

Juggling Family, Work And Life With Long Distance Running


This post was originally featured on Women’s Running (it can be found here). Training for long distance races (half marathon, marathon, ultras) is difficult in and of itself. It becomes a whole other challenge when you factor in all the responsibilities many of us have–being a spouse, having children, owning or maintaining a home and/or working a full or part time job. I had more flexibility with my time before I was married and had kids. It was fairly typical for me to spend a couple of hours each day working out or at the gym. I’d run (with no set training plan–just however far I felt like running that day), cross-train and do some strength or core work. These days it is a delicate balance to juggle my responsibilities with my training. My “free” time is limited. I no longer have the luxury of running whenever and however far I like. And so, my training has to be adjusted a few ways. Make each mile count. Gone are the days where I just head out to run with no idea of how long or far I will be out. I’ve been forced to get smarter with my training. I Continue Reading →

Wineglass Training Update – T-6: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back


Last week was another solid week of training for Wineglass. Through Saturday, I had run 61 miles over 6 days with intentions of 5 recovery miles on Sunday – which would have made it my highest mileage week this cycle (66). But I woke up Sunday and my left foot was hurting. The pain was on the top part of my foot – towards the middle to outside part. It didn’t hurt to the touch nor was it swollen. But there was this sharp pain that came and went throughout the day. My plan was to just let it be for a couple of hours and then try my run, but the pain had not subsided by 11am, so it became an unplanned rest day and panic started to set in. I don’t run through pain. On a day-to-day basis, nothing hurts when I run – nor before or after. So anytime there is even a small amount of pain or even something that just feels “off”, I don’t run. It’s just not worth it to me. I woke up Monday and the pain was still there – not nearly as strong, but enough where I felt it was not Continue Reading →

Why Your 1st Mile is the Most Important


This post was originally featured on Women’s Running (can be found here). —————— For years, I thought that the most important mile of each run and race was the last one. That’s the true sign of how the run went, right? If you finish fast and strong – and most importantly, feeling good – it’s likely you will put that effort into the “good run” category, regardless of how much of the run went well up until that point. But if you are hurting, slowing down or are counting the seconds until the run is over, it’s likely going to be a run you soon hope to forget. It’s easy to judge an entire run by that last mile. But I’d argue that it’s not the most important mile. These days, I put a whole lot more focus and effort into the first mile. Run that first mile too fast (which is SO easy to do, especially in a race environment) and the rest of the run could end up being pure torture. For everyday training runs, that first mile is my warmup. I aim for it to be my slowest mile of the day. It’s a mile where I let my Continue Reading →